Ch 18. High School Ritual: A Very Decent Proposal (SepSceneWriMo)

Four high school students encounter an evil spirit. Thoroughly cliched and hopelessly derivative.

Chadworth straightened his books one last time and shut his door. He possessed one of the wings of his parents’ palatial estate and he had formed a plan to improve it.

His father and fifth stepmother, who was only three years older than Chadworth, waited for him in the drawing room. 

“Father, Mother, I wish to make a proposal to you.” He straightened his bow-tie and cleared his throat. “I would like to convert my personal gym into a laboratory.”

Chadworth’s stepmother bounced up and down and clapped her hands. “That’s the first time you’ve called me ‘mother’!”

His father slammed down his beer.

“Hold on,” his father said, hitching up his pants and sitting down again. “What’s all this nonsense about you not playing football anymore?”

Chadworth inhaled sharply. “It is not nonsense. One day I realized the futility and ultimate meaninglessness of that barbaric—”

“‘Barbaric’?” his father roared, standing up once again. “That ‘barbaric’ game is what put this roof over your head and your Corvette keys in your hand! That scholarship was your ticket to the top and you blew it!”

“‘Blew it,’” Chadworth said and covered his mouth with his silk handkerchief. After a moment he uncovered it and said, “Just today I was admitted to Stanford to pursue a dual Ph.D. in quantum physics and botany. And yet you say I ‘blew it.’”

“Chad, that’s amazing!” his stepmother cried, jumping up. “Honey, listen to Chad, it’s amazing news.”

“I am not called Chad any longer, Mother, I am Chadworth.”

His father grabbed one of his own many trophies and threw it across the room. “No son of mine will go to college to study! A true son of mine would upgrade his girlfriend—he’d get THREE girlfriends—and fail all his classes and make millions playing football! My son—” He swayed back and forth, holding his head.

Chad’s stepmother wrapped her arms around her husband and said, “Chadworth, you know what happens when his old concussion acts up. I’m going to put him to bed and we’ll chat about it later.”

Chadworth nodded curtly and exited.

On the long walk back to his wing, he reflected on the past few weeks. How much everything had changed since the day the school was evacuated! He had wondered if that terrible headache was not in fact due to the smoke but to one of his own many concussions. But the incredible increase in his academic performance seemed to belie that. Nevertheless, his head hurt right then.

He thought to nap a bit before dinner but couldn’t doze off. He reached over and played with the Newton’s Cradle on his night-table. He suddenly remembered the vivid dream he had that night about the stadium and Vanessa and the giant A+. And right then, he saw a spiral of smoke rising from his Stanford acceptance letter. 

“My letter!” He scrambled up but fell back coughing when the smoke blew across the room into his face. 

Vanessa! It was Vanessa setting fire to his letter! 

And she was laughing! 

“Cease and desist!” He ran at her with his hand up.

She blew the smoke in his face and when he cleared it away, she was gone. 

He snatched up the letter which was as crisp and white as when he had opened it.

He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief. He must have dozed off without realizing it. 

“Over here, Chadworth!”

He spun around—there she was! Holding his memoir and a lighter!

“You wretched trollop! Relinquish that!” 

Her mouth, smeared with the black lipstick she had stolen from Natalie, twisted into her smirk as she held the lighter to the pages. The edge of his memoir turned to ashes within the glowing flames.

“Nooooooooooooo!” he screamed in slow motion.

Vanessa threw her head back and with her mouth impossibly wide cackled with deafening laughter.


Chadworth fell over a pile of books and hit his head on a table. He was out cold.

14 thoughts on “Ch 18. High School Ritual: A Very Decent Proposal (SepSceneWriMo)

  1. Great writing chops! Vanessa is an amateur. She doesn’t appear to know that spells can backfire and return to sender. Spell-casting is best left to experienced spell-crafters and casters. Perhaps Chadworth’s step-momma is a more experienced witch than Vanessa, who is playing with fire. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chadworth has definitely taken the biggest hit off the smoke pipe. Your descriptions of the family dynamic is a fine satire even Alfred E. Neumann would struggle to match.

    Liked by 1 person

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