Theodora Plays to Win (With Cheat Codes)
July 7th, 2000 – HIGHWAY SEVERAL HOURS NORTH OF BETHEL, NY - NIGHT.
Camden (Dark hair, tanned, age:20), sits in the driver’s seat, focused on the long winding road in front of her. Kara (Dark hair, Asian, age:20) is on her right, in the passenger seat. Kourtney (Blonde, Age:21) is seated behind Kara. Lauren is in the seat behind Camden, she has died black hair with blue highlights at the ends.
KOURTNEY: DHL was founded in 1969.
KOURTNEY: The moon landing was that year
KOURTNEY: Don’t you think it’s a bit suspicious?
CAMDEN (not really invested in the conversation): No.
KOURTNEY: They ship things places.
CAMDEN: Broadly speaking.
KOURTNEY (attempting to bring the point home): So…
Pause as Kourtney waits for Camden to figure out what she saying.
KOURTNEY (coaxing): 1960…the moon landing…
CAMDEN: I’m not putting two and two together.
LAUREN (mumbling): So was Licorice Pizza.
KOURTNEY: What’s that? Why would someone put Licorice on Pizza, gross… I want to try it.
Lauren puts her head in her hand and gazes out the window.
LAUREN: It’s not a food. You can’t eat it.
KOURTNEY: Licorice isn’t a food!?! I’ve never had any, I hadn’t even considered…
CAMDEN: Where the next rest stop?
Kara unfolds a map and stares at it, her gaze flicks over to the road in front of them. A sign reads: GAS STATION 10 miles.
KARA: 10 miles.
She folds up the map and throws it into the glove compartment.
CAMDEN: I wonder if they have an ATM.
KARA: I’ve got cash.
CAMDEN: You never lend me any.
KARA: Why would I?
CAMDEN: Why even bring it up then?
KARA: So I can tell you that I have more money than you.
KOURTNEY (suddenly): Guys! This is bad!
KOURTNEY: I have to go to the bathroom, like really bad.
KARA: Did you finish that whole bottle?
Kara glances back at the 64oz bottle of water in the middle seat. There’s still about half left.
KARA: That’s only half, and I seem to remember you didn’t get anything at the last stop.
CAMDEN: Can you hold it? We’ll be there in 15 minutes.
KOURTNEY: I would but there was that other bottle.
Kara peaks around her seat and sees another 64oz.
KARA: Holy shit, girl! (she turns to Camden) She has another massive bottle under her feet.
CAMDEN: Why would you drink that much during a long road trip?
KOURTNEY: We have that charity thing next week and I thought I’d go on a diet.
CAMDEN: What kind of diet?
KOURTNEY: So, waters supposed to be really good for you, right?
KOURTNEY: And like we’re always eating pizza and milkshakes and stuff.
KARA: Uh huh…
KOURTNEY: So, I thought maybe if I started drinking only water and cut out all calories-
KARA: What the hell! / CAMDEN: Seriously! / LAUREN: Jesus. Idiot.
KOURTNEY: I thought I would lose some weight.
CAMDEN: Why did you decide to start this now?
KOURTNEY: I thought since we were in a car, and away from all the yummy campus food for a while, it would be a good opportunity, but then Lauren brought up pizza, and I remembered I was on a diet and had only had water for the past 6 hours and I really have to pee!
LAUREN (under her breath): Christ.
KARA (to Camden): There’s not much around, you could probably speed a bit.
CAMDEN: You think you can hold it for 10 minutes.
KOURTNEY: …no, I’m like totally about to piss myself.
KARA: Pull over.
Camden stops the car and Kourtney crawls over Lauren to get out. Kourtney jumps the rail and runs into a patch of grass. Camden, Kara, and Lauren watch from the car as she pulls down her pants.
KARA: Why did you bring her?
CAMDEN: We’ve been friends forever and you know how she is.
LAUREN: Dumb as rocks.
CAMDEN: You’re not part of this conversation, butt out. (back to Kara) If I left her to her own devices, she’d end up being led around by some guy who just want to use her, or some troublemaking tramp. She’s safest with me, and I kind of owe her.
Kourtney returns to the car, once again crawling over Lauren.
LAUREN: There’s another door.
CAMDEN: You good?
Kourtney takes swig of water.
Camden shifts the car back into drive. They pull around a curve in the road and are hit by a blinding set of headlights and then an 18 wheeler.
“Next thing we knew, we were in these elf bodies, in an elf village.”
PRESENT TIME – LUNA’S OFFICE
“You came from another world?” Luna was extravagantly dressed in some sort of green military uniform. She had all kinds of metals decorating her collar, lapel, chest, her entire left side was decorated.
Everest, Bellamy, Katya, and Luna stood in a circle around a nervous blonde elf who was strapped to a chair. Much like how Katya imagined elves to be, she had, blue eyes, blonde hair, pointy ears, and a huge chest. She was beautiful but was lacking in Katya’s eyes when compared against the graceful, ephemeral beauty that Luna possessed. There was no room for debate, Luna was number one, full stop.
“Yes. I have all sorts of knowledge that could be helpful in exchange for your help.”
Bellamy got up close to pretty elf woman and she let out a scream. “Please! I promise! I didn’t come here to fight anyone! I really didn’t! I swear.” She was practically in tears, shaking uncontrollably. What did Bellamy do to her just then?
“That’s… very well.” Luna sighed.
“So, you’ll do it!” The elf woman took that to mean Luna had accepted her quest, but everyone else in the room knew better. Her thoughts were clear as day, “I wanted to fight someone.”
Things had taken a turn pretty quickly, it was no wonder Luna had gotten so pumped.
30 MINUTES EARLIER
Castanetta (or Annett as her friends and relatives called her) ran through the ship’s narrow corridors, she knew the captain’s quarters would be somewhere near the top and toward the front, she just had to watch out for passengers and guards. She was at level 35 so it was unlikely that she’d be pinned down if it came to a fight, but she needed to be careful nonetheless.
Sneak. Sneak, sneak.
She leaned past a wall, it appeared as though there was a wide open space between this hallway and the next. It was very unlikely there were any elves on board aside from the Captain, so it would be best to avoid being out in the open lest she be spotted. Annett didn’t have any items for invisibility and magic was hard to maintain. She decided to this the old fashion way. Invisibility magic was difficult so it would have to be an illusion spell. Illusions were actually an elf specialty and as long as it were only focused on one feature it wasn’t difficult to maintain for extended periods of time.
Humans were probably rare on board this ship, she’d scouted it in the previous skirmish and it seemed to be mainly comprised of faefolk and Demis; still, it was probably a better than walking around with her ears out. She cast a spell and her elf ears were replaced with human ones.
Back home, on Earth, a place like this would be dead at this time of night, but here there were monsters and beast-people, so even in the dead of night it was still a bustling place. There were all sorts of creatures, stuff straight out of nightmares. There was a thing selling little baby version of itself, another thing selling fish from it’s stomach, another that just looked like a mass black ooze, and a cloud hovering above them with teeth and a mouth stretched across it’s entire surface (she wished she hadn’t noticed that last one), Kara had been a fairly steely person back on Earth, she was the rock of her little group, and even since coming to this world she’d been able to hold it together, but this was downright terrifying. Annett closed her beige desert camo around her and marched forward, being careful not to look anything in the eye.
She managed to make it through. Annett turned down a side alley, then down a narrow set of stairs, a couple more turns then up a long set of stairs and then several more turns. She wasn’t lost, or at least she didn’t think she was, one of the children had given her an object they’d found in the woods, a Special Item that wasn’t unlike a GPS. It lead you to whatever you were looking for but it only worked for an hour then it shuts down for 48. Special Items were strange, there was stuff that looked like it came from Earth, but more advanced, and other things that seemed like it was straight out of DnD or a sci-fi film. It was so strange. Her friends and her and come across quite a few devices since they’d been living in this world, the elders said they were presents from the goddess. Kara and Camden had gone back and forth about the “Special Items” a number of times and eventually came to the conclusion that it was completely random. There were some useful stuff that came through, like the GPS but a vast majority of it was junk. Annett had found a bag of marshmallows and a cardboard movie theatre Standee of E.T. it gave the kids a spook but that’s about all.
Annett had started to wander off course while deep in thought. A beeping stirred her back into focus. The GPS had started to run out of battery. It was time to speed up; she broke into a jog. She turned and turned again until, SLAM a door hit her in the face smacking her against a wall.
“It was nice havin’ ya’ll over. Hmm?”
“What is it?” Everest asked.
“Oh, ain’t nothin’ to worry over, I’m sure.” Madame Ginger mentioned with a smile.
Annett stayed where she was. She didn’t feel like it was a good idea to move just yet. She waited.
“It was good hanging out again, sorry this one couldn’t stay awake.”
“Oh no, you’re both welcome anytime, and so’s the lil’ pup.”
“That one will have to stay behind, you hear?”
“Hush, spice, he’s just as welcome as anyone else.”
Annett could see through the crack near the hinges a human like figure begin to move past.
“Hold up a skosh there, Miss Everest.”
The figure retreated. There was some silence aside from the sound of clothes rustling. Had Annett been discovered, fae had incredibly olfactory senses, particularly ones of the beastman variety, even Demis had senses surpassing a human’s. Elves were fae, and in the forest or in mana rich areas their awareness could trump most species but here was neither of those places. Species with naturally heightened senses had the home-field advantage. Annett decided to turn around and backtrack only to come face to face with a boy floating in mid-air. He was dressed oddly and wore dark sunglasses despite being indoors. The boy started to grow larger like a giant thanksgiving float, blocking her in. She turned back around to find it blocked not by a door, but by a tall, muscular woman with a pink bull’s head. Sweat began to pour from every gland in Annett’s body. She unconsciously dropped the human ear illusion. An eerie, shadowy ambiance took hold of the hallway, the light had dimmed considerably due to the large boy behind her. The boar woman let out a dry chuckle.
“And what might a little elf like you be doing, lurkin’ out here?” Before she could answer she was hit with a splitting head ache causing her to drop to her knees. Dark spots began to overtake her vision, but before she was fully unconscious, she saw the same boy appear behind the bull-woman. What was he doing there? Wasn’t he behind Annett?
The elf was now incapacitated. Madame Ginger opened the door and yelled inside, “Change of plans.” Everest and Katya stepped into the hallway to see what all the fuss had been about. An elf woman lay on the floor, drool pouring from her mouth.
“What did you do to her?” Katya wondered allowed.
Bellamy sighed. Katya wasn’t exactly sure what that was supposed to mean.
Madame Ginger picked up the conversation baton, “Just knocked her unconscious is all. She’ll be right as rain in no time. Hey, Bellamy, would ya mind slipping over to Lady Luna’s quarters and giving her a shake, that’d be peachy.”
“Katya, why don’t you take Opal back to our place? This won’t take long, hopefully” Everest attempted to hand over Opal, but Katya shook her head.
“I don’t know the way back. I’ve only been here a day.”
“That’s alright. Give the young’un to me, I’ll get her tucked in and be back ‘fore you know it. In the mean, why don’t ya’ll two get ‘er to Lady Luna’s office and rope her up. Sound good?”
“Right.” Everest handed Opal over to Madame Ginger. Bellamy had long since vanished and now Everest and Katya were left alone with the unconscious elf. They picked her up and carried her up to the office without incident. It wasn’t long before Luna burst in, in full uniform with Bellamy in tow, and a couple minutes later the elf finally woke up, bringing us to present day.
Luna finally shook off her immense disappointment and took a seat behind her desk.
“Okay, start at the beginning.”
“Right, it was a dark night, we were on a road trip to visit Woodstock for an extra credit assignment for our Music & Movements class. Kourtney was technically the only one who needed the extra credit, but I think we were all a bit excited. We’d gotten a little turned around, and-”
“No, not that beginning! We don’t need to hear that again. Tell us what brought you here and what you need from us, please.”
“Okay, right. So, we were struck by a truck and the next thing we knew we were in the elf village…”
ABOUT THE CHAPTER
mattmallow here! I have a problem. When I finish a chapter, I want to post it. I had this all typed up yesterday and then I had nothing else to do but to wait, it was agonizing; however, my desire to have a semi-consistent posting schedule outweighed my desire to immediately publish this chapter.
Now to the contents of this chapter. The date used in the beginning is the release date for Scary Movie. I toggled between a few different dates including the original Halloween's release date, and Tree's birthday (from Happy Death Day); I wanted to include some sort of slasher themed easter egg. My initial idea was a group of sorority girls gets slashed by a highway slasher, but I didn’t end up going that direction; Instead, I decided to go with the most notorious serial killer in anime, Truck-kun. It still works, I guess. The main point of this chapter was to briefly introduce the 4 new characters that will be central to this arc, and basically nothing else happens. I also made the decision early on to have the flashback scene be formatted like a screenplay in order to make it seem cinematic, It’s really hard to do that in written form. In a TV show, you would just deepen the sounds and add black bars to the top and bottom of the screen. I’ll also admit to being sucker for idle chatter over a black screen, it’s a bit of crutch of mine to start my screenplays with a scene of characters having a discussion about some sort of silly topic that isn’t at all relevant to anything else, it makes the characters more relatable in my opinion and it’s a good tone setter.
Speaking of tone (and getting back on topic) I’ve been trying to be a little goofier with the characters. Katya in particular is taking the brunt of the damage. I have no qualms with altering the characters as I go. Her obsession with Luna was basically a spur of the moment decision on my part. Speaking of Luna, this arc will be focusing on her and the elves. We’re going to find out her backstory, and I have quite a few cool twists in store with the new characters. It’s going to be fun.