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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
The first chapter of a longer story, Monster Island

Submitted: February 21, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 21, 2019















 Somewhere not far from here, there’s a particularly small, particularly strange town.  It’s isolated by the fog that never seems to dissipate and always seems to be storming.  

 It’s a nice town- historic and pleasant- and doesn’t see too much action.  At least not by the normal civilians that live there. But I can assure you that the people this story has to do with are not, by any means, normal civilians.  

 And in the event that things in this strange, isolated, rainy small town get weirder than a normal civilian such as yourself might find acceptable, I’m asking you to do yourself a favor and consider two things.  

 One:  Reality is relative.  What might seem impossible to you doesn’t necessarily comply with the expectations of these abnormal civilians, so try to keep an open mind in that sometimes, this isn’t really as weird as it can get.  

 Two:  The beginning part is supposed to explain the premise, but I’d rather not spoil the experience of finding out what’s going on along with the characters.  So I’m just going to leave you with the thought that it really is semper aliquid.  







 Someone stepped into the little store wearing an expression like they knew exactly what they were doing and why, as well as when and where and how.  He had brown hair and something about him- whether it was visible or not- that was just plain weird.  He walked up to the register, where a middle-aged woman regarded him warily through an ancient pair of bifocals, and put his hands down hard on the counter.  

 “I understand you have six copies of Mario Kart,” he said seriously.  

 “We do,” the woman said after a pause.  

 “I’d like to buy all of them.”  

 No questions asked, no security buttons pressed under the counter.  This was a good sign already, since usually one or the other happened to him.  He paid and accepted the bag, but no sooner had he set foot out the door onto the busy sidewalk of South Main Street than he got tackled and hit the ground.  

“John!” the girl shouted.  “Geez, sorry about that.”

 “No, it’s fine,” he groaned and got up, brushing himself off.  The girl was already on her feet and picking up the Mario Kart games, setting them in the bag.  She looked at one and gave John a suspicious look.

 And here comes the questioning, he thought to himself.  

 “Only six?” she asked.  

 He shrugged.  “All they had.  There’s no actual video game store in town, so I had to deal with the understocked record store.”  

 “I’m surprised the record store had Nintendo games, let alone an outdated D.S. Lite game.  How’d you manage?”

 “Uh…  I asked.”  

 “That’s a first,” the girl said and they started walking down the rain-soaked sidewalk.  This was one day in Port Deposit when it wasn’t raining, but the still gray sky threatened it constantly.  A row of trees- each with only half their orange and red leaves left- lined the edge of the sidewalk.

“Sienna,” John started, addressing the girl he walked with, “do you think we’ll win?”  

 Sienna considered this.  “Nope,” she said after a moment of thought.  Then she thought harder, and looked up at the red-leafed tree above them.  “Well, I guess it depends on how you look at it. We have an advantage, seeing as the lab-”  

 “Laboratory,” John corrected absently.  

 “The lab has everything we need.  How many other people do you think have that?”


 “Wrong,” Sienna told him.  “It’s the only secret underground lab I’ve seen around here.  But anyway, we have all the supplies now, so the Bowser robot shouldn’t be too hard to finish.  So as long as-”

 Sienna was interrupted by a deafening CRASH! that shook the town.  The two exchanged surprised glances, but didn’t have to ask the other to know exactly what they were going to do.  

 They ran as fast as they could, John with his bag of Mario Kart games and Sienna with her box that contained a brand-new stainless steel toaster (did I mention that?), toward the source of the sound.  Through an alley for a shortcut, where on the other side they found something almost as horrifying as it was tragic.

 Sienna and John stared at the huge, menacing flames that shot up into the sky like…  Well, you know, now really isn’t a good time to make up a simile, because Sienna and John’s dismay couldn’t exactly be compared to anything simple.  Maybe it was like a gigantic, evil monster. Made of fire.

A gigantic evil monster made of fire that was tearing apart the frame store, along with their lab in the basement underneath.

 “Looks like we aren’t going to win, after all,” Sienna decided grimly as she watched the fire tear apart her hopes and dreams.

 “Robot Bowser isn’t going to like this,” John said.  




 Before the fire trucks came, before anybody around the burning frame store could stop screaming and running around frantically and come to their senses, another sound erupted from the busy street, only this time hollower and freakier.  

 It sounded something like this: “MROWEROWFLORWERERREWRREWER! 

 “Crap,” Sienna muttered.  

"Yay!  He survived!” John shouted excitedly.  

“Dude, he’s gonna rampage through the whole town and scare everyone- then kill them,” Sienna told him.  “You know how bad you are at Super Mario Bros?”

 “Horrendous,” John responded, though he still didn’t get why Sienna was so serious.  

 “Exactly.  And what happens to Mario every time you die in the Final Castle?”  

 “Bowser attacks Mario and…  Ohhh.  Right.  I see what you mean.”

“Mission Princess Peach is a go,” Sienna said purposefully as she looked at the road through narrowed eyes.  

 They split up and took off down the sidewalk, knowing exactly what they were doing and why, as well as when and where and how.  

 Sienna went toward the noise, still carrying her toaster.  She ran fast and passed a lot of horrified pedestrians who were running in the opposite direction.  This, she knew, was not a good sign. But it meant the robot was near.

 John left the bag safely under the bottom of a fire escape in a nearby alley, then snuck through the chaos unseen and into a store, where he ducked under a row of shelves.  “Sienna!” he shouted into the walkie-talkie he took off his belt.  “Give me a status.”

 “I’m approaching from the front,” she answered through her own walkie.


 “No, I’m gonna take it on.”  

 “Not without me,” John said, searching the shelves for something specific.  

“Then you’d better hurry up and get over here.”  Sienna kept running, and soon enough the eight-foot-tall, robotic Bowser came into view.  It had two red eyes and looked like it came straight out of a Super Mario game but took a detour through one of the Terminator movies.  But really it came from the lab that was currently burning down.  “How’s your side doing?”

“Not so good,” John answered worriedly as he searched the shelves frantically, knocking things on the floor as he went.  “I think I’m gonna have to bail.”

 Sienna took the toaster from the box, stopping on the sidewalk and letting Robot Bowser approach.  “At this point we probably don’t need the duct tape anyway,” she said. “Just come here with the games.”  

 “On it,” John said and dropped everything in his hands except the walkie-talkie and sprinted out the door.  

 “And hurry!”  

 John did exactly this.  He ran as fast as the aghast crowds of people would let him, and Sienna got ready for action without him.  She knew what to do.

 But…  that didn’t necessarily mean it would work.  It wasn’t like she’d ever fought off an evil rampaging eight-foot robot villain from a video game before, even if she was the one who built it.  

 She cut the toaster’s cord with her pocket knife and connected the frayed wires to a small homemade battery from her other pocket as Bowser continued to walk dramatically slow down the sidewalk.

 Eventually John reached the scene and crouched on the ground next to Sienna, holding out three of the little game cartridges meant for a Nintendo D.S. “Think it’ll work?” he asked.

 “It has to,” she said.  “If it doesn’t, you’d better have Mario on speed dial.”  

 John stood up and yelled at the robot, “Yo, moron!”  

 “RAWREMORREWER!” Bowser yelled back.  By then he was close enough to-  

 Sienna jumped back as the robot’s claw swiped at the ground where she used to be.  

 “Ooh, looks like he wants to fight,” John said.  

 The toaster made a few annoyed clicking sounds, but in a couple seconds the games inside complied and started to heat up.  What exactly was the purpose of this?

 Well, I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.  

“What are you, a turtle or a dragon?” Sienna wondered rudely and the robot roared a response she couldn’t understand.  

 “He’s a Koopa,” John answered.  

 “What the heck is that?”  

 “Uh…  You know what?  I really don’t know.”

 Bowser swiped again and the two of them dove to either side, giving the monster room to step forward.  John looked at Sienna with an expression she recognized as “Could you just do it already- you know, before this thing kills us both?”  

 Sienna obliged, taking a cartridge from the toaster- not without wincing at how hot it was- and throwing the toaster as hard as she could at Bowser’s face.  

 He roared incomprehensively, of course.  

 “Now!” Sienna shouted.  

 John got the robot’s attention and jumped out of the way of its claws, keeping its focus on him as he went to the other side.  Its back was now to Sienna, giving her a clean shot. She took it, shoving the little game cartridge into a slot in Bowser’s tail.  

 The two of them knew what was about to happen, so they immediately dove for the door of the store next to them. It stopped, and shook, and stopped again. Stood very still for a whole, silent second.

 Then it made a slight beeping sound.  

 Then it burst into flames.  

 And exploded.  

 And fell to the ground, smoldering.  

 John relaxed a little.  Sienna stood up to leave, but John yanked her back down behind the table just as another explosion sent glass flying everywhere through the store.  

 There was a loud, overwhelming ringing sound.  

 Then a few car alarms sounded.  

 Sienna and John stood up slowly behind the overturned table, looking through what used to be a big storefront window at what remained of the robot.  

 Or, more prominently, what remained of that part of the street.

Broken glass and broken- oh, who am I kidding?- broken everything was everywhere.  The pile of charred metal that used to be Bowser lay still for a moment, smoking, then lit on fire again.  

 More alarms.  

 “I don’t think we’re going to win,” John concluded.  






 A week later, it was raining.  Pouring, actually, but it didn’t affect anything any more than usual.  Sienna and John now found themselves in an elevator of Westing Apartments, going up to the penthouse to meet someone by the name of Peter Matkins.  Who Peter Matkins actually was, they didn’t actually know, but Sienna’s brother had sent them here, so Peter Matkins might not even exist, and there was some other reason entirely that they now found themselves inside this elevator.  

 Theoretically speaking, of course.  

 “This is taking forever,” John whispered to Sienna.  

 “Is it physically possible for you to be patient?” she asked him.  “We’re going to the penthouse. That’s far up.”

 “I swear your brother just sent us here to torture me.  I’m getting claustrophobic.”

 “That’s possible,” Sienna said, “but he’s usually right about most things, so let’s just see where this goes.”  


 In the time it took to get to the top floor, Sienna took in her surroundings.  Not that there were many surroundings to take in inside an elevator, but there were people- two of them, in fact- that she could see.  

 One, a girl maybe a few years older than herself, with blond hair in a tight ponytail and a steady gaze like she was ready for something to happen but was a little shy as well.  Which is kind of strange to take out of someone’s expression, but it’s what she looked like. She wore a yellow polo shirt and khakis, along with a simple pair of Nikes.

 The other was a guy around a year or so younger than the girl with the Nikes, but about as tall.  He kind of looked like he just wanted to go and skateboard with his other skater friends, which certainly fit with his outfit.  He had on dark jeans and a gray hoodie unzipped over a green T-shirt, a pair of Vans, and a dark blue beanie over a mess of dark brown hair.  

 Both of them were a good bit taller than Sienna, but since John was almost seven months older and about five inches taller, feeling short wasn’t really a big deal to her.  

 Another thing she noticed: the girl with the ponytail and the guy with the beanie stood on opposite ends of the elevator, clearly not familiar with each other.  

 Suddenly the elevator shook.  It steadied, and Sienna and John regained their balance quickly.  Then it shook again, this time more violently, and Sienna crashed into the wall.  

 Everything was a blur.  

 Then everything was out.  

 “Aw, man!” John said hopelessly and tried to shake Sienna awake.

 “Unconscious,” said the girl with the ponytail, walking over as the elevator steadied again.  

 “What?” John wondered through something between concern and confusion.  


 “I heard you,” he snapped.  

 “Then why’d-”  

 “Because she said something!”  

 The elevator was silent as Ponytail Girl and John listened, and so did that guy with the beanie from behind them.  

 “I don’t think she did,” said Beanie Dude.  

 “Wait…” Ponytail Girl trailed off, turning around and looking up at the digital number above the door.  It read 11, the same floor they’d been on when the elevator stopped shaking.  

 “We’re stuck,” Beanie Dude confirmed.  

“Great,” John said and stood up.  “I don’t suppose either of you know how to escape an elevator?”  

 Ponytail Girl and Beanie Dude shook their heads.  

 “Okay, because I do.”  John put his foot on the railing thing elevators have for handicapped people and climbed up so he could reach the ceiling, but…  

 “This elevator doesn’t have a door on the ceiling,” Beanie Dude said.  

 John stepped down bitterly.  “Fantastic. Now what are we going to do?”  

 “Call the police?” Ponytail Girl suggested wisely and took out her cellphone, dialing three numbers and putting it to her ear.  

 John and Beanie Dude waited patiently.  

 “No reception,” she said and put the phone back in her pocket. “Fantastic,” John said again. He slid down to the floor against the wall next to Sienna, and the other two did the same against the opposite wall.  

 “Is she going to be okay?” the guy in the beanie asked, looking at Sienna with concern.  

 “Yeah,” John said, much less worried.  “This happens.”

 “Often?” Ponytail Girl wondered, concerned for a totally different reason.  

 John shrugged.  “Not usually. Depends, I guess.”

 “On what?” Beanie Dude asked.  

 “Ugh, could you stop interrogating me?” John asked, frustrated, making a wide gesture.  “Geez, this place is already enough like a prison.”

 Suddenly Beanie Dude’s eyes lit up.  “Oh, I recognize you two! You’re the people from the news last week!”  

 “Um…” John said, not getting it.  

 “The ones who fought off that weird giant turtle robot and destroyed half of Old Church Road,” Ponytail Girl added.  

 “Bowser,” John corrected.  

 “Shouldn’t you two be in jail or something?  Or winning a medal?”

 “AHH!” Sienna shouted, jerking forward.  

 “Chill, dude,” John said calmly.  

“I am chill,” Sienna told him, recovering fast.  Then she looked around and saw Ponytail Girl and Beanie Dude, who were also sitting on the floor, opposite her and John.  “The elevator stopped, didn’t it?”

 “We might be here awhile,” Ponytail Girl said solemnly.  

 There was quiet for a few moments.  

 “I’m Declan,” Beanie Dude said.  “Who are you guys?”

 “Sienna,” Sienna said.  


 “Ellie,” said Ponytail Girl.  

 More quiet.  

 “Since we’re here,” John said, “we might as well clarify what exactly happened.  First, an angry gorilla with a rocket launcher swooped in and breathed fire on-”

 “Or,” Ellie interrupted, “one of the wires broke and the elevator’s emergency brakes stopped us from falling, but got stuck between floors.”  

 “I thought the apartment building got struck by lightning,” Declan said.  

 “I hate my brother,” Sienna muttered.  

 “I mean, it’s kind of his fault we’re here,” John agreed.  

 “Who?” Ellie inquired.  

 “Her weird brother who always seems to know what’s going on and what to do,” John clarified.  

 “And how to make me miserable,” Sienna added.  



 “Wait,” Ellie said, getting up with excitement out of nowhere.  “How could the elevator possibly have broken with just the four of us in it?”  

 “It’s supposed to hold up to nine hundred pounds,” Declan said.  

 Sienna frowned.  “How do you know that?”  

 “Because I live here.”  

 “There’s no way we add up to nine hundred pounds,” John stated the obvious.  

“Maybe the wires were already breaking when we got on,” Sienna theorized.  

 “No way,” Ellie said certainly.  “It would have happened sooner. We were in here for about a minute before it broke.”  

 “Either way,” Sienna said, sliding back down to the floor, “we’re stuck here.  Might as well introduce ourselves.”

 “I already said my name,” Declan said.  

 “Yeah, but that doesn’t really tell us who you are,” Sienna explained.  “You can’t know someone just by their name.  It’s like reading a book and only knowing the character’s hair color.  It doesn’t mean anything and no one likes a character with no depth.”

 “Alright,” Ellie said.  “I’m fifteen and I like reading.”  

 “I’m thirteen and I hate elevators,” John said.  

 “I’m fourteen and I skateboard,” Declan said.  

 “Couldn’t have guessed that,” John said sarcastically.  

 “I’m twelve and I play hockey,” Sienna said.  

 “Field or ice?” Declan wondered.  


 “My cousin used to play field hockey,” Declan said.  

 “So you two took out that robot, right?” Ellie asked Sienna and John.  

 “Yeah,” John said.  “Why?”

 “Do you do that sort of thing on a regular basis?”  

 Sienna squinted one eye and tilted her head.  “Maybe… once or twice a week? We’re scientists, and a lot of our…  experiments go wrong.”  

 “Wait, so that robot was…” Declan started nervously.  

 “You can’t tell anyone,” Sienna said seriously, “but we built it.”

 Ellie and Declan nodded.  

 “Well,” John said, “we used to be scientists.  But Robot Bowser burned down our lab.  So there isn’t really much we can do now.”

 “Everything- our materials, tools, supplies, ingredients, plans, ideas, books, and so on- were lost in the fire,” said Sienna.  

 “Gosh, that really sucks,” Ellie said sadly.  

 “I’m already forgetting everything I knew about chemistry,” Sienna said.  

Ellie and Declan took note of Sienna and John’s appearances, too, since they’d never seen them before either.  Sienna had longish, wavy dark brown hair and wore a purple, black, and white striped sweater; jeans; and a pair of black-and-white checkered Vans.  John had lighter brown hair and tan cargo pants with an orange-and-gray Under Armour sweatshirt, as well as Nikes kind of like Ellie’s.

 “So…” John said awkwardly.  “What brings you guys to this elevator?”  

 “Oh, I found this weird note in my locker yesterday,” Ellie explained.  “Something about meeting someone named Peter Matkins in the penthouse today at this very specific time.”  

 “Hey, I got the same note!” Declan exclaimed.  “Weird, huh?”

 “I hate him,” Sienna said firmly and stood up.  She started banging on the elevator door with her fists and shouted to anyone who might be able to hear, “Let me out of here so I can beat the crap out of my stupid brother for trying to make me make friends!”

 “He’d crush you in an instant,” John told Sienna.  

 She turned to him with a dangerous expression.  “Don’t test me, John.”

 He put his hands up defensively.  “Just saying.”

 “Wait, what’s going on here?” Declan asked.  “Are you saying this was a setup?”

 “I wouldn’t put it past him,” John said.  

 “If that’s what this is, then someone broke the elevator on purpose,” Ellie decided.  “Which means, if it was your brother, Sienna, we probably won’t be in here forever.”  

 “That’s what you think,” Sienna said.  She looked up at the ceiling and said, “Isn’t ignorance just bliss?”  

 “I am not ignorant,” Ellie said, getting annoyed.  

 “That’s not what I meant,” Sienna apologized.  “What I mean is that it’s not that simple. There’s always more to this stuff.”  

 “Your brother traps you in elevators with strangers often?”  

 “No, this is the first time that’s happened.  But…” Sienna stopped, pondering the situation.  “What’s the surest way to be friends with someone?”  

 “Buy them a burrito?” John tried.  

Ellie understood.  Her expression got serious and worried.  

 “Shared trauma.”  

 As if on cue, the elevator dropped.  

 Lots of yelling followed, and despite there being only four people, the relatively small space made for a good bit of echoing.  Which meant more chaos.

 Which meant even more yelling.  

 Finally the elevator stopped, and slowly the four of them got to their feet.  

 “Your brother is a jerk,” Declan said breathlessly.  



 “I don’t think he did this,” Sienna decided, leaning on the railing to regain her balance.  “He wouldn’t intentionally knock me out or almost kill me in a falling elevator.”

 “That’s debatable,” John said.  

 “Well, maybe he would do that to you.  But I’m thinking there’s something else going on here.”  

 “What are you saying?” John asked skeptically.  

 “I’m saying he doesn’t like you.”  

 “No, I’m talking about- wait, he doesn’t?  Why?”

 “Because you’re annoying.”  

 “What?!  I’m annoying?” John shouted.  

 “Yes,” Declan said coldly, “you are.”  

 “Kind of,” Ellie said, shrugging.  “But not as much as my cousin… Hey, the floor number,” she said, pointing at the digital number above the door again.  “We’re in the basement.”

 A mysterious feeling filled the elevator as the four of them met eyes.  

 “Well,” John said, “let’s hope nothing opens that door from the other side and kills us.” Sienna shot him an angry look.

 “What?” he asked defensively.  “We’re trapped. I’m trying to be logical.”  

 The elevator shook again, but that was as far as it could fall.  

 “Definitely not my brother,” Sienna said certainly, a little nervous.

 “Then what’s going on?” Declan wondered.  

 “I…  I don’t have any idea.”  Sienna looked at the ceiling with shame, and at the door with fear.  

 Everyone looked at the door.  

 “Something bad.”

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