Chapter 1: What Makes Up a Monster?
Stan’s a geek, he knows this. He never doubted this fact of life. Stan is one of those strange kids in school, so often picked on because he is different. He knows he was odd but doesn’t want to be seen as different. Stan wants to be a regular kid.
Stan and his small circle of high school friends are fed up with the constant harassment and teasing from the other students. The other kids in school regard them as sport. Every time hurtful things are said, it drives a dagger deeper into their souls. But Stan is not alone. At least his few friends are in the same predicament. The brunt of jokes, the teasing, poking, and prodding, they just want to be left alone.
“The annual Halloween party is coming up,” Stan announces. “We should make an impression on our tormentors. Something they’ll never forget. Maybe it’s time to turn the tables on them. But, are we willing to study the skills and practice to become a horrible monster? How can we transform into the hideous creatures we see in the movies or read about in books? What deformity do we have to take on? What do we need to work on to become truly monstrous?”
Stan and his band of misfits have decided they are not going to take it any longer. The Halloween party will be a good time to make their transformation, to change their image. It’s time for a little payback. They will become the deepest darkest fears from their imaginations, the monster which lives and grows under the bed. The things that go bump in the night. This was what Stan and his friends want to become.
The kids want to make their transformation as real as possible. They realize they need to find out what real monsters are and how they act. What makes a monster really monstrous? They don’t want to be just scary; they want to be the scariest. But… are they willing to do whatever it takes to become the very best monsters?
“Are we talking about Frankenstein?” asks Stan. “Or can any scary horror movie beast be sufficient?”
“What we need are lessons,” Tammy informs. “On what it takes to be the perfect monster. We have all seen horror movies, right? We should be able to make a list of the things we need to know and learn.”
Stan asks Marcie to take some notes. “We need to keep track of what ideas we come up with.” Marcie flips open her steno pad and writes down the list of monster traits as they talk.
- The creepy walk, arms stretched out in front, as you walk.
- The limp.
- The horrible scream in the night.
- The growl at your victim.
- The really cool makeup.
- Hysterical laugh.
- Dripping blood.
- Old tattered clothes.
“We can do most of this with just costume and make-up,” says Stan. “But there are a lot of ideas here. We need to implement as many of these monster traits as possible. They just need the proper frame of mind. We have to ‘want to be,’ the big bad monster.
Dutch queries, “We only have two weeks before the party. Can we get it all done before then?”
Each night they gather at Stan’s to watch old horror films and work on their plans to become the monster of their dreams. When the group meets they sit in front of the television in the den. They each take turns bringing videos to watch. One night, Tammy brings some old books she found in her attic.
“One of these is full of spells and incantations.” says Tammy. “My mother says her great great grandmother was a witch. I don’t believe it, but maybe we can find something in here we can use.”
When the movies are over, Tammy talks about the new spells she’s read about in her book. She identifies several she thinks will help them become their choice of monsters.
“Are we playing with fire here, with this book?” Eric said. “I mean, we can do something we’ll be sorry for later and not know how to get back out of it.”
“What… are you scared?” Dutch sneers. “I think we should do everything we can. I want to get even with those jerks at school.”
Stan ignores them both and tells Tammy, “Keep looking for something we can use, but be careful. We don’t want to turn into frogs or aardvarks.”
After the movie, Tammy stands in front of the group and recites a few passages from her book. She selects a couple of spells which claim to bring forth the true creature inside and show itself.
The kids work on their costumes and go through their monster lessons until the big night arrives. The spells are chanted once more, and they are ready to go out for the night. This new monster crew walks along the sidewalk while trick-or-treaters cavort. Most every house has their porch light on, and the small groups of children are scurrying from one house to the other. At every encounter, they do their best to scare them and drive them over the edge with fright.
Some of the adults comment these are the best costumes they’ve ever seen, and they can’t get over how realistic they seem to be. One of the parents tries to pull off part of a costume only to find the costume seems genuine, the scent of blood and sharpened horns are as real as anything he can imagine. The creatures before him are truly monsters. He grabs his kids and races in the other direction.
The Halloween party is already underway when the gang arrives. They make an entrance, with most of the party-goers in awe of the most hideous creatures they’ve ever seen. But they are not really frightened because it’s Halloween. They know it’s only make-believe.
Chapter 2: The Transformation
Stan and his friends are so into the transformation from their scared lives to the powerful self-confident lives they now appear to have. They decide to keep the costumes and makeup in place for the next day, arriving at school all made up as they were the night before. The kids try to make fun of them teasing them because Halloween was over the night before. But the realism takes something out of it—teasing Stan’s crew isn’t fun anymore.
Stan and his friends like the way they can scare their friends. Despite the half-hearted teasing, they agree to keep the costumes on throughout the day. Near the end of the school day, Stan and his friends meet up in study hall, sitting in the corner of the room and discuss their experiences of the day.
“How did your day go?” asks Stan.
“It was great,” says Tammy.
“I had a great time,” claims Dutch. “Everyone commented about how my costume looks so real. They wanted to touch my horns, but I wouldn’t let them.”
Marcie recounts her experiences. “The drama coach asked me ‘Who did our makeup?’ I told her we did our own makeup and costuming. She acted amazed. She wants to have us do the makeup for the next production for the school drama club. But I told her we would not be interested in helping.”
“I think we should keep this going for as long as possible,” Stan suggests. “Let me ask you all something. Have any of you got harassed or picked on today?”
None of them had been teased since the weak efforts when they first arrived at school. It’s been a very calm day, and most of the usual bullies have been leaving them alone. No one bothers them, except for the curious people who want to look behind the masks.
“What do you say we keep things going like this for as long as we can?” asked Stan.
“I’m all for it,” said Dutch. “For the first time in my memory I did not get chased down the hallways. This time, I did the chasing.”
“Me too,” said Tammy. “I am respected as an individual. No one bothers me.”
“What about at home?” asked Stan. “Will any of you have any problems at home?”
“I’m sure I will,” Marcie says.
“I think we can help with that,” Stan encourages. “We’ll go over to your house after school, and we can tell your parents we are in the drama club’s new production. We are working on our parts and need to get into character. Do you think they will believe us if we all go there as we are right now?”
“That might work,” says Marcie.
“OK, anybody else?”
“No,” says Dutch. “They don’t care about what I do or who I do it with.”
“Me either,” says Eric.
“How long are you planning to carry this out Stan?” asks Tammy.
“How long do you want to be the monster you are?” replies Stan. “I am tired of being picked on. I like the respect the others are giving us. I don’t know if it’s their fear or if they just don’t know how to handle us in our costume.”
Pleased with the plan, they part company and head to their respective homes.
Chapter 3: Change is Not Always Good
Stan wakes the next morning feeling sick to his stomach. He glances in the bathroom mirror as he hurries in. He notices his makeup still looking good. Relieving himself and feeling a little better, he decides he won’t be sick after all.
He takes a closer look in the mirror, amazed how long his makeup has lasted. He reaches up to his face and rubs on his cheek to smear the makeup. It does not smear. He then takes hold of the large prosthetic ear. He pulls on it. It does not budge. Then, Stan pulls off the t-shirt he wears at night to find his chest covered with thick, luxuriant mat of monster hair.
“This can’t be! My costume didn’t include chest hair. Where did this come from?”
“I have to check on the others,” Stan thinks.
Stan calls Tammy and inquires if she was having any problems. “Have you been able to remove your make-up?”
“No! Stan I can’t get it off. I have been in the shower for the past hour, and it won’t come off. What are we going to do?”
“Calm down,” Stan said. “Let’s get together. We’ll get this figured out. Come over to my house and bring that book! I’ll call everybody else.”
At Stan’s house, the monsters meet in the den, terrified they will stay this way forever. How are they going to fix this mess?
“I’ve been reading through my book,” Tammy explains. “I can’t find anything that tells how to reverse the first spell and turn us back into the kids we were. Right now I think we’re stuck.”
“Well that’s just great!” Eric nearly screams. “I can’t stay like this and walk around looking this way for the rest of my life! Stan, you’ve got to do something.”
“Look, everyone calm down,” Stan says. “We’ll figure this out and get back to our old selves.”
“Wait a minute.” Dutch exclaims. “I like it this way. I don’t want to change a thing. This was great! I wish I would have done this, years ago. No one messes with me.”
“Dutch? You like this?” Marcie asks.
“Yes I do. I’m not changing back. I am not going back to be the scared kid running in the halls all the time.”
Chapter 4 Now What?
In Homeroom the next morning, Stan and his friends appear to be made up for another day of post Halloween. Now the other kids are not taking this lightly. They demand answers for the frightening appearances. Stan and his friends try to explain they are not playing a joke on anyone, they cannot remove the make-up. As much as they wish to be normal again they are stuck. Suddenly the homeroom class rallies around them and throws out suggestions to help. It quickly becomes a class project to help their friends. Word races around the school that the Geek monster squad is in trouble and they need help. More students offer their ideas to help the monsters change back into their old selves.
None of the other students suspect they are lying to them or pulling their leg. They confirm their belief in their story and provide moral support for their dilemma. Stan gathers his fellow monsters together for a private talk about the reactions to their problem, and the love and support they are receiving.
“I have kids coming up to me and giving their ideas on how to fix this,” says Tammy. “I have talked to girls today who have never spoken to me in the past.”
Eric agrees, “Everyone wants to help. They all think it’s terrible.”
“I for one am glad we can’t change back,” Dutch counters. “The moment we change back, they will be on us like piranhas circling us in a pond.”
“I don’t think it will be like that,” says Stan. “I think they are honestly concerned for us. I think they will be a lot more sympathetic with us in the future.”
“What should we do now?” asks Tammy.
“We should just go back to my place and read through Tammy’s book and find the cure before it’s too late,” Stan replies.
“Do you think we can eat a few of these people before we go back to your place?” asked Marcie. “I’m starving.”
“NO, Marcie. I think that would be very bad,” Stan growls. “Come on we need to go.”
When all of the monsters convene back in Stan’s basement again, Tammy starts to read aloud from her book. The groups listens for anything that sounds like the spell which transformed them into the monsters they’ve become. But, after hearing all the passages Tammy had selected, they concur none sounds like it will solve the problem.
“Don’t worry, we’ll figure something out,” says Stan.
“We want to reverse the process,” said Marcie. “What if we record the spell and then replay it backwards?”
“Do you think it will work?” asks Eric.
“It’s worth a try,” Tammy says. “My mom has a recorder that plays backwards.”
“That’s it!” shouts Stan. “That’s why she’s got such a recorder.”
“Let’s go to my house and give it a try,” offers Tammy.
“I’m not going,” says Dutch.
“What?” asks Stan. “Why not?”
“I’m not going to change back. I like it just the way it is. I want to stay this way.”
Dutch departs Stan’s house by himself while the rest head to Tammy’s house. Tammy locates the recorder, and each monster speaks into each recording the spell. Finally, they reverse the heads and play the tape backwards. One by one, the monsters slowly return back into the geeks they were.
“That feels strange,” said Stan. “I am glad that’s over.”
“I was afraid we were going to be stuck like that forever,” Eric gasps. “It’s all that book’s fault and Tammy for bringing it into our group.”
“Stop right there, Eric,” demands Marcie. “You can’t blame Tammy for this. We are all in this together.”
“You could have stopped any time,” says Stan. “Besides, look at what we’ve accomplished, how we changed the perception of the other kids in school.”
“That’s true we have more respect, and this has changed some of the kidss minds about us,” said Tammy. “But what are we going to do about Dutch?”
Stan stands, moving to the recorder to shut it off. “We know how to change things back as before. Let’s just hope Dutch will come back to his senses before it’s too late.”
On nights of the full moon a creature howls in the dark, and is sometimes seen running through the streets late at night. It bears some resemblance to the geek once known as Dutch. The former monsters know Dutch is still out there. They leave notes for him to find but it’s been several months and there’s been no contact. The hope fades that they will ever talk to Dutch again, but they take comfort in knowing that they’ve transformed into something more than geeks and oddballs. They’re regular kids.