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My Failed Attempts to Write a Goosebumps Novel

The Mask Next Door

Everyone hates masks. At least, that's what Warney thought. Warney was a bit on the hate side of most things, actually. So much so that he even hated people who hated masks.

"What a complex character we're dealing with," thought the narrator as he pat himself on the back. How wrong, he was, though. Warney was, in fact, so not complex that I could probably predict what happens in the entire story.

I predict that Warney will meet someone that just moved in next door. The person next door will act very mask-like and will say things that a mask might say. It will turn out that the person next door is actually a mask. Warney will hate this new neighbor almost most of all. I say "almost," because someone else will probably move in to the house on the other side of Warney's house and that person will hate masks even more than Warney. This new person will be named Garren or something stupid like that and Warny will hate Garren so much (because Garren hates masks and Warney hates people who hate masks) that he will temporarily forget about the mask that happened to live next door. Garren and Warney will eventually get into a fistfight and Garren will win. The mask will take pity on Warney and nurse him back to health. This will change Warney's view of masks, which will make him hate people who hate masks even more than he previously hated people who hate masks. Warney and the mask will team up to take Garren down. They will end up killing Garren, and as Warney looks up to give the mask a high five, he will find that the mask is gone and (perhaps) was never really there. Warney, freaking out, takes in a deep breath and gets a whiff of the inside of a mask (rubber and sweat). Yes, Warney was a mask the whole time. The end.

The narrator put his head in his hands, clearly frustrated with the accurate prediction of his story's eventual plot. "Fuck," he thought, and picked up his in-depth outline. Quickly, he tore it up and started from scratch.

The Living Mask Or Whatever

Everyone enjoys a good mask. Warney knew this, which is why he one day wanted to open up his own mask shop. He was only thirteen years old, though, so he had to settle for working at Garren's Scarin' Ya With His Masks Mask Shoppe. Every day after school, Warney would hop on his roller bike and pedal all the way to Garren's and help out in any way he could. Normally this would involve pricing masks or throwing out old masks. Today, he had a much more interesting job...

"Warney!" exclaimed Garren. "Right on time!"

"As always, Mr. Garren, sir," Warney said as he tied up his roller bike to the roller bike stand Garren had installed when Warney started working at the store. "Any new masks in today?" he asked.

Garren smiled. He would ordinarily enjoy watching as Warney excitedly tried on all the new masks and invented voices and back-stories for each of those particular masks.

"No new masks today," Garren had to tell Warney.

Warney's face fell. What was he supposed to do today, then?

"What am I supposed to do today, then?" Warney asked.

Garren smiled again. "I have something exciting for you today, Warney," he said, and gestured to the back room. "It's time you became an integral member of the Garren's Scarin' Ya With His Masks Mask Shoppe family."

"Do you mean-" Warney began, his eyes widening.

"-Yes." Garren confirmed. "It's time you started making masks of your own."

Warney jumped with Glee. Glee was another young mask-enthusiast who worked at the shop. He gave Warney a high five and shouted,"We're going to The Show, Warney!!!"

Garren grimaced."Actually, Glee," he began. "Only Warney will be joining me today. In fact, you're fired. Your work with the masks has been sub-par at best."

Glee lowered his head and slowly walked out of the store without another word. No one ever saw Glee again. That is, of course, until the Moongician's curse was lifted. It's not foreshadowing if you just say it, right?

Okay, didn't think so...

When Glee was gone, Garren turned to Warney.

"Now," Garren started, "It is time that you grow up and become a true mask."

"What?"

"Er... A true mask maker, I mean," Garren corrected himself, quite suspiciously.

"I won't let you down, Garren." Garren smiled.

"I know you won't," he said. "Now you'd best be off to home if you want to get enough sleep for tomorrow." He stopped suddenly. "In fact, I want you to skip school tomorrow. Fake sick. Sleep in as much as you can. You will need your rest for what you are about to endure."

"Endure?" Warney asked, confused.

"Just a figure of speech," Garren explained.

"What will I have to endure?" Warney pressed.

"Goodnight, Warney. Or should I say... Garren..." Garren said with a meaningful look.

"SHOULD you say 'Garren'?" Warney asked.

"Yes. You now take on the title of Garren."

"Wait, so Garren wasn't your name?" Garren Warney asked.

"No, my name's Ted." Garren Ted replied, and paused. "Garren? That's retarded."

"Yeah, I guess so," Garren Warney sadly agreed.

"Like 'Warney," Garren Ted said.

"You're mean today, Garren," Garren Warney pointed out.

"Please, call me Ted," Garren Ted said.

"Can I leave, Ted?" Garren Warney asked.

"Sure. See you tomorrow, Warney," smiled Garren Ted.

"Don't you mean "Garren"?" Garren Warney asked.

"No. That's my name. You're Warney," Garren said.

"So why did you-"

"-I like jokes."

"Fine. Garren, NOW can I leave?" Warney pleaded.

"Sure thing, Garren." Garren (Ted?) replied.

"So now my title is Garren again?" Warney (?) asked.

"Yep," confirmed Garren Ted. "Like I said, me likey jokes."

"Whatever you say, Ted," Garren Warney muttered.

"WHO THE FUCK IS TED, YOU LITTLE SNOT!?!?" shouted Garren. He turned to the corner of the shop and set his eyes on the push broom.

"Please," Warney muttered, not at all liking the turn this encounter seemed to be taking.

"Yes..." Garren whispered as he walked over to the corner. "Push broom."

Warney's eyes darted across the room, assessing whether or not he could make a run for it. By now, of course, Garren had returned with a push broom in tow.

SPOILER ALERT: The push broom is the villain, I think...

Garren swung the push broom as hard as he could and smacked Warney right across the face. Warney fell to the floor and Garren glared at him.

"Why did you just call me Ted, Warney?!?!" Garren screamed and glared at Warney. Warney spit blood onto the floor and looked up at Garren, who glared at him and stepped on his femur.

"I was confused by your joke about our names, Garren," Warney screamed as his femur snapped. The pain was unbelievable. He wiped blood from his mouth. All the while, of course, Garren was glarin'.

"What do you mean, 'joke'?" Garren asked.

"That little joke where you said my new name was Garr-"

"-I HATE JOKES!!!" Garren swung the push broom at Warney once again, this time hitting him square in the chest. Warney puked pretty instantly.

"You will pay for this insubordination, Warney," Garren warned.

"I feel like I already have," Warney pointed out, wiping blood and vomit from his mouth.

"Interesting theory..." Garren muttered. He ran his fingers across his chin. "You are free to go."

Warney got up slowly. His body ached and his head throbbed, but he was elated at the opportunity to leave this awful place.

"See you tomorrow to make that mask?" Garren asked nonchalantly.

"Yeah," Warney said as he limped to the door. "Probably not. You just beat the shit out of me and I'm fairly certain you wanted to turn me into a mask."

"You're a wise, boy, Warney," Garren whispered. "See you tomorrow."

"I don't think you heard me. I won't be coming back tomorrow." Warney left the building.

"See you tomorrow, Warney," Garren whispered, even quieter this time.

************

Later that night, the police showed up at Garren's Scarin' Ya With His Masks Mask Shoppe to find an empty warehouse.

"Looks like it's been abandoned for years," said Sgt. Lemurs.

Officer Jomathy Taylorb glanced up at the Sergeant and shook his head.

"Fuckin' kid," Jomathy began with a sneer. "Must have beat himself up and called us up just to get attention or something."

Sgt. Lemurs nodded. "Stuff like this happens all the time, rookie," he said. "Kids make up these silly stories so they can get popular on ViewTuber and FriendPlace."

"Either that or we don't investigate properly," Jomathy pointed out with a laugh. Sgt. Lemurs joined in and they both had a good chuckle.

"Ha ha ha ha ha!" came a third, much more sinister laugh.

Sgt. Lemurs and Officer Taylorb looked around.

"Did that push broom just laugh with us?" Sgt. Lemurs asked.

"I don't think so, sir," said Jomathy. "I don't think it would have a motive."

Sgt. Lemurs looked Jomathy up and down. "You're gonna be a good cop one day, rook," he said and jabbed Jomathy playfully in the shoulder. "Motive. That's good cop stuff."

Jomathy smiled.

"The end," the narrator thought about writing. He reread the story and shook his head.

Through The Looking Mask

People feel certain ways about masks. Warney certainly felt a very specific way about masks. He had a friend named Garren, who had a similar or differing opinion on masks. They were the best of friends, and together they would attend Masquerades (as well as Mask Parades). One day they met a mask that taught them an important lesson about being yourself. Then it made them go insane and kill each other. At one point during the story, they had to solve a riddle together.

The End.

For more Tales To Tell 'Round Midnight, click on the following...The Halloween That Was Actually Arbor DayThe Undelivered PackageThe Slightly Haunted Mansion Party Across The Street From The Significantly More Haunted Mansion PartyNow You Invisible, Now You Don't InvisibleNightmare At Nightmare High

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Cody Johnston

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