Watch, in Spooksville, by Christopher Pike
Watch stared out at the hazy spidery mess of the sunset over spooksville. The small town seemed like it was being thrown around between all its monsters- or maybe it was throwing them all out into the surrounding, and indifferently waiting, with all its pastel-yellow lights. Waiting- for what?
There were 8 watches around his arms now. Three for his family, four for his friends, one for himself. Being 25 seemed so confoundedly ironic. Fighting the Spooksville monsters, he’d thought that Adults were foolish, not noticing all the garbage in their worlds, let alone, the monsters- now, he knew he’d been arrogant and naive. Unobservant. Had it been the glasses? Had it some how clogged up his ability to feel or think? Or the fumes from old Gharraggery’s factory? Or had it just been being young, and believing still that good and bad existed so clearly defined? He rubbed his nose ruefully. There was something a little dark and a little twisted in the gesture. Being 25 would have meant that by now everyone who had survived till 25, would have felt intensely how jaded and curious, and just weird every bit of their lives were- wonderful, frightening, surreal, weird. Ghost like. Spooksville had just made those things a little more seen than other towns perhaps- a little more honest than the rest of the… the what, really?
The bladed warmer shifted around restlessly at his feet. It wasn’t hungry- It would turn crimson then. Something was coming. Watch sighed. He waited, like the town.
He’d have to get off the living rock soon. The bladed warmer was slowly turning a brilliant red, and it might want to eat Watch, or at least nibble off his toes. Watch liked his toes- crooked, boney toes, that looked blue in the afternoon.
Had they known? Did they know? If they had would they have done what they’d done back then? He thought back to the fierce fiery summers with the old crowd- Adam, Sally, Cindy, Bruce, and later some others- he couldn’t even remember their faces.
A sudden feeling of sharp piercing mental pain. Ouch. Watch waited for it to subside, and the wave of thoughts, repetitive, fearful thoughts to crash and crumble. He took off his glasses and thought of all the thousand and one things running through his mind.
Had they known that it had all been a jaded farce? That they’d participated unknowingly in destroying things Spooksville could not survive without? It was not that grownups didn’t know or didn’t see. Maybe some of them didn’t. Or maybe most of them didn’t. There was still a lot though- who knew. WHO KNEW.
The Monsters never hurt anyone over 18. Never. Unless they hurt them first.
That made it unfair for kids, Watch supposed. But maybe there could have been a way. Maybe. To survive anyway. MAYBE.
Or maybe not. He felt the grimness- the flat part of him that had broken off at the edges- sneer at his futility. He laughed and felt a weird sense of… of comfort? from it. from all his hollow selves. Twisted, hollow, grieving, old, but not ancient, selves.
*Note: the above was pure fan fiction. As is always written above fan fiction, I do not own any of the characters or names, etc., and I do not want to get in trouble. 😉 Its based on the Spooksville series by Christopher Pike.
Growing up, I devoured Spooksville, the series of books for younger readers by Christopher Pike. I started reading it young, and this was before I read Narnia or Harry Potter came out, or Diana Wynne Jones- it seemed the perfect fantasy world, albeit a little short and simple. It inspired me to write the most impossibly long and curious compositions/essays about Lemuria and Atlantis and aliens and spaceships, for English class- I was getting very eloquent at describing exactly why these things were actually real.
Spooksville was a mixture of that wild, free, unending final frontier-ness in young people, that I think appears a lot in American literature- along with a complete irreverence of adults, and a bit of disdain at their perpetual foolishness. Of course, the few exceptions were wildly beautiful women or loser-like men. There was also that almost intangible feeling of the future- newness, youngness, and anything being possible- as well as almost-supreme power over oneself, and (I know it’s a little cliche in describing American things) individualism, and kids being very independent and resourceful and grown-up- with a special unique knowingness.
Like Harry, Ron and Hermione, only these three didn’t have that knowingness. Although they were incredibly resourceful- they also had an eternal never-growing-up part of them that was reflected in all the adults around them. In Spooksville- the kids were grown up and the adults- honestly- witless foolish bipeds- nothing more.
These things, in my opinion, became more pronounced in Pike’s older books.
Honestly, I was disappointed with Pike’s older reader books. They were not really what a 9/10/11 year old should read, and I think I was too innocent to realize that back then. Although, imo, they are considered significant works of American teen horror/thriller- they also had elements that were repeated in a lot of American teen horror/thriller things in the 80’s and 90’s, I think. It was all much more pronounced-that wild independence of all things, that smallness of the world, that supreme importance of the self over all things- even the whole world/the greater good- in Pike’s older characters. So impossible. So like teenagers. In Spooksville these elements existed in a humorous, laughing at the characters way- a way to frazzle up any notion of perfection in Adam or goody-goody-ness in Cindy that the reader might mistakenly be forming. In the older books, these elements became much more serious- they became law. I could barely take care of myself at 16, independently- but in the world of Pike, teenagers were super human.
There was always that one perfect guy.
A lot of that awesomeness- that fighting selflessly for something worth it- even if you couldn’t define exactly what it was, friendship, and doing impossible things, going on impossible adventures- all in a day- that’s what Spooksville had- and I wish that Spooksville had lived on into longer, more stylized and complex novels with that fiery sunny innocence/twistedness that characterized Spooksville. Spooksville is the town that would stay with me-Pike’s older books would not- not in that way. Sometimes I go wondering around Spookville’s dark gnarled paths, give the Bum a visit, and maybe hope for a glimpse of the legends of that town.