Author: Scriptrix PM
SEQUEL to LOLOMGWTFBBQ! The story of how Cary Trent's car becomes possessed by an evil spirit who may or may not be madly in love with her.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Sci-Fi/Supernatural - Chapters: 2 - Words: 7,205 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 04-26-12 - Published: 04-22-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3015684
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: This is a SEQUEL story to "LOLOMGWTFBBQ?", which I had promised to post a long time ago and then... never did. Truth is, I've had this idea for a long time, but it's taken me forEVer to get it actually written down. (Fun fact: I originally started it as a fanfiction for Meg Cabot's Mediator series! That version got scrapped because I couldn't get Suze's voice right. Better to use my own characters.) Anyway, if you haven't read LOLOMG, you might find yourself getting confused; also, this contains a few spoilers for how that story ends. But yeah. Enjoy. :)
Trufax: or, How Cary Trent's Car Went Psycho
I was so ready for it to be winter break.
I mean, even if you like school, there's only so much of it you can take before you start cracking up. And right about Dead Week—the week before finals—the crazy factor in Western Washington University's average student hits the ceiling.
Some speculate that the name "Dead Week" derives from the fact that the risk of stress-related depression and suicide is so much higher. (Okay, that was my roommate Lyddie, and she was joking. But it sounded plausible at the time.)
The only thing keeping me sane was my boyfriend, Isaac Masterson. We'd just celebrated our first anniversary—a whole year dating, ever since Freddy Bane's Halloween party senior year of high school. He let me whine about my homework, even though, as an engineering student, he had a whole lot more of it than me; and every evening he'd come over and study with me, leaning comfortably together on the couch with our textbooks balanced on our laps, his arm draped around my shoulders.
It nearly made the theorems I was memorizing bearable.
The weirdness started on a Friday. I remember because I was feeling so freaking TGIF that just getting in my gray Civic and pulling out of the parking lot was like watching a set of manacles falling off my wrists. (Shut up, I like bondage metaphors.) I plugged my iPod into my car stereo and cranked the volume. It was a Backstreet Boys ballad. How dorkalicious. Oh well—I didn't really care.
I was almost to my apartment, screaming the lyrics to "I Want It That Way" and speeding just a little, when it happened: my iPod randomly shuffled. This was weird because it was mid-song and it wasn't even set to shuffle. Plus mine was not one of those new ones that shuffle when you shake them—I'd had it for two years, since my little brother (who always got cool gadgets and then got bored of them) gave it to me. It switched to "Hello" by Lionel Richie, which made me roll my eyes; it was one of the songs that had snuck onto my iPod because I shared iTunes with my mom.
"Hellooooo," I howled along, laughing at myself. "Is it me you're looking foooooor?"
Snerk. I hit the Next button.
It went back to boy bands with "As Long As You Love Me," but I was tired of ballads and switched off the music before pulling into the parking lot of my apartment complex.
The rest of that day was basically normal. Lyddie had a fight with her pothead boyfriend and made him take his flea-infested sleeping bag from our couch when he left. (Thank God. He'd been there for like three weeks. And to say he smelled like feet would be an insult to feet in general.) I made macaroni and cheese to celebrate, and she cried dramatically over her plate for about half an hour but ate at least three-quarters of the food through her tears. Leftovers are a nonissue when Lydia Axel is your roommate.
Isaac came over, and we cuddled and did homework (sort of), and nothing else weird happened.
Until we took a homework break and decided to go get coffee at Wired, the coffeehouse down the street.
I plugged my iPod in again—it was sort of a driving reflex, like turning on the headlights—and backed out of the parking spot. Isaac grabbed it (the Nano) and was like, "Cary, are you seriously listening to *Nsync?"
"Um, duh. Child of the nineties," I said. "And that is the Backstreet Boys." We'd had this debate about six hundred times. He was never going to convince me not to like boy bands, but I liked listening to him try.
He was just getting going on his rant about how there was plenty of awesome nineties music that didn't come from boy bands, when my iPod did that weird shuffling-in-the-middle-of-a-song thing again.
It switched to Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend."
"Oops, sorry," said Isaac, who had just put it down. "Must have hit the wrong button."
He thought Avril Lavigne had even less talent than Nick Carter, so clearly he hadn't changed it on purpose. Hmm.
"Hey, hey, you, you," said Isaac, deadpan. "I don't think she likes your girlfriend."
"Oh, fine, change it to whatever you want," I said, laughing.
He scrolled down to an Aerosmith song and we started talking about something else.
But in the middle of that song, it changed again: this time back to BSB with "Get Another Boyfriend."
"Dude, I think your iPod's broken," Isaac said.
"Guess it needs charged?" Except I'd charged it the day before, and the battery still had a good amount of life left. "Stupid thing. My brother probably dropped it too many times."
By then we were at the coffee house, and quickly forgot about it, with the help of a booth seat, caramel lattes, and a shared chocolate croissant. But on the way home, it was the same story. The more we tried to switch the song, the more it played whatever it felt like. And the theme, I began to realize, was anti-boyfriend music.
It's not even like I have that many of those songs, but my iPod found every single one of them. By the time it dredged up "Potential Breakup Song," I had given up trying to switch it—wasn't worth the frustration—and was trying to talk over it to ask Isaac if he wanted to hang out tomorrow. But the volume seemed to be creeping up, too. Was my iPod possessed?
Finally we were home and the engine shut off—and with it, a sudden peaceful silence. I sighed. "See you tomorrow, then?"
"Yeah." Isaac leaned over for a goodnight kiss, which was always a bad idea because the kiss turned into kisses, plural, and if I wasn't careful I was going to end up asking him to spend the night.
Then, without warning, my car turned on again.
I broke off the kiss and stared at the key, its surfboard-shaped keychain dangling innocently. Neither of us had touched it; our hands had been, er, otherwise accounted for.
"What the heck?" Isaac muttered, summing up my thoughts exactly.
My iPod had turned on, too. It was now playing "It Makes Me Ill" by *Nsync.
"Stop it!" I yelled, so frustrated that I actually kicked the door. "Geez! I'm sorry, Isaac, can we take this outside? My car has clearly gone psycho."
"Yeah," said Isaac, still looking a bit confused. "Hey, you know, I actually have to get going. I wanted to finish up that math homework before tomorrow, you know, so we can have time to do something fun."
"Okay." That cheered me up a bit; I shut off the car, pulled out my keys, and slammed the door shut. "Night then, babe."
He kissed me again, then shouldered his backpack and headed off toward the bus stop. I watched him go, sighing. Why did my car have to be in such a freaky romance-killing mood tonight? I needed some love right about now.
"Stupid car," I muttered, kicking the tire. Then I locked it up and headed inside.
I told my best friend Hailey about it the next day.
I figured she'd just laugh, you know, like ha-ha isn't your car/iPod such a piece of junk, you should get a new one, oh by the way did I tell you about my new nail polish? She was pretty busy with her new boyfriend, David Hertz, whom she'd only met a couple of weeks ago; there'd been some kind of weird deal with these teachers, I guess they were breaking the law somehow, and Hailey and David worked together to catch them. He ended up taking a bullet for her or something. Anyway, they'd been hanging out, like, all the time, so I guessed Hailey would be all too eager to ignore me and get back to him.
Except she wasn't. She started asking me all these questions about whether my car was acting sentient, and when I asked her to define "sentient," she was like, "Would you say it's acting like it could be possessed by a human spirit?"
I held the phone away from my ear and gave it a weirded-out look. "Um… no offense, Hay, but are you high?"
"Just answer the question, Cary."
I sighed. "Well, my iPod did keep playing songs with a theme. Like, songs about hating someone's boyfriend. So if it was possessed by someone, it was someone who really hates Isaac." As soon as I said that, I suddenly felt a little scared. I had to remind myself that my car being possessed by an Isaac-hating ghost was impossible, and therefore he was in no danger.
"Ohh-kay," said Hailey. I heard her breathing for a second, then: "Can I come over and check it out? I wanna see if… never mind. I just want to see."
"I thought you'd be busy with David," I said.
"Oh… I kind of am." She giggled guiltily. "You wouldn't hate me if I brought him with, would you?"
I rolled my eyes. "No, no, that's okay. Isaac might be over later anyway." David was cool, like, in an art-nerd kind of way. He always wore at least one bizarre item of clothing; Hailey said he liked to shop at thrift stores, but that was no excuse for buying the loud shirts and weirdly-colored blazers that people got rid of for a reason. But Hailey liked sewing her own stuff, which meant some of her clothes were pretty crazy too; they made a visually overwhelming (but sweet) couple.
"Thanks, Cary," Hailey chirped, and we hung up.
I'd kind of hoped that, by the time Hailey got there, the car would be back to normal. You know, like when you take it in to get that weird whining noise fixed, but it stops making the noise as soon as the guy at the auto shop gets in it to do a test drive. Then he gives you this look like you're a dumb girl who doesn't know jack about cars. And for all you know, he's right, because it seems to be totally fine again.
But no. She got in, turned the key, and—because I took the iPod out—the radio switched itself on. There was static for a second, then it started playing "Who Can It Be Now."
Hailey grinned. I didn't understand her enthusiasm until she said, "Um, hello? Can you hear me?"
She was speaking to the car.
"What—" I tried to ask, but she put her finger to her lips and then pointed to the radio.
The song abruptly changed to Jaicko's "Oh Yeah."
"Awesome." She gave me a look that said, Don't interrupt, and addressed the car again. "My name's Hailey. My friend David's in the backseat. And I think you know Cary?"
In the club, in the hood, in the buildin', singin' oh yeah… oh yeah…
"Hailey, are you insane?"
"Just watch. Okay, guy possessing Cary's car, I'm going to test you to show Cary that I'm not insane, got it? All right. I asked you a couple of 'yes' questions. How about this one: are you gay?"
No no no no, don't phunk with my heart…
"I don't even have the Black Eyed Peas on my iPod," I said.
"I think it's drawing from the radio waves now," Hailey told me, "though I'm not sure how, to be honest. Well, they were all science majors, so I guess they're pretty smart—"
"Who was a science major?"
"Well, the guy whose soul is possessing your car," said Hailey.
I reached for the door handle. "That's it. I'm not staying in this car."
P!nk's "Please Don't Leave Me" began to play on the radio.
Hailey grabbed my wrist. "Hang on! I'll try to explain really quick." She took a deep breath. "So you know how we got those teachers arrested?"
"Mmhmm." It had kind of been all over the school paper. And all over the school grapevine, since most people didn't exactly read the school paper. The press had tried to keep Hailey and David out of it, but people sort of knew they'd been involved. Just not how.
"Okay. Well, they were doing experiments with this trippy tech that…um…let's just say that it messed with your mind. Sometimes to the point where it could rip you right out of your mind and suck you into the computer."
"No way!" That was so sci-fi.
"Trufax," she said, nodding solemnly. "David's friend Fin got killed that way. But we found out he wasn't the only one. There were three other interns for the program that mysteriously disappeared. We did a little research on the way over here, and we think we might have some idea who this kid is."
"Wait, wait. You think this guy got sucked into a computer? So how is he in my car?"
"Your iPod plugs into your computer," pointed out David, "which is connected to the Internet, which connects practically every computer on the planet."
"Dear God." They were well and truly bonkers if they thought I was going to believe that a dead intern was possessing my car.
"Hey, Fin somehow ended up in Hailey's cell phone," David said. "Anything is possible."
"Fin could show himself on his deathday, too," Hailey said, as if just remembering. "Did we write down the date of disappearance for these guys?"
"Yeah." David pulled out a piece of notebook paper and handed it to her. "One of them disappeared two years ago next week. The first one. Patrick Anderson."
The car engine revved.
"He knows Patrick Anderson," said Hailey excitedly.
The radio began to play "The Real Slim Shady."
"I think he's trying to tell us that he is Patrick Anderson, Hay."
We heard the chorus of some song that I couldn't identify: Yeah, yeah, yeah!
"Well. That helps a little," said Hailey. "Okay, Patrick, I'm going to plug in Hailey's iPod. Can you put yourself back into it? Is that possible?"
On the radio, Taylor Swift belted out, Tell me whyyy.
"Because talking to you through songs is getting really annoying," Hailey said matter-of-factly. "If I can get you back on Cary's computer, we can talk with IM chat or Word or something."
There was static for a moment; then, the chorus of "Life is a Highway."
"I think he likes it in here." David looked thoughtful. "Beats me why, though. If I were a ghost possessing a car, I'd at least pick a Camaro or a Mustang."
The radio defensively played a few bars of the Beach Boys' "Little Deuce Coupe." You don't know what I got…
"Okay, okay, fine," Hailey said. "You can stay in the car, although I think Cary ought to have some say in this matter, since, you know, she owns it."
Guilty static from the radio.
"We want to help you, you know," Hailey went on. "You can't be enjoying yourself, stuck in computers and machines like this. Whatever you need to do to move on to the next world, or heaven or whatever, I can help you do it. But you have to work with me here."
"Did he go in the iPod?" David asked.
Hailey shook her head. "He's just ignoring me. I think we should leave him alone for now. He'll talk when he's ready."
I got out of the car. "Since when did you switch your major to psychology, Hay?"
"Since a psych-major ghost spent like three weeks of my life inhabiting my cell phone," Hailey said, rolling her eyes. "God, am I starting to act like him? That's embarrassing."
"It's just, I didn't know you were this good at, like, manipulating people."
"I'm usually not." She laced her fingers through David's, glancing at him wryly. "I just happened to undergo a crash course in how disembodied people think."
"Patrick's different from him," David said thoughtfully. "More serious. Fin never got really mad, except when Dr. Gregory…" He let that thought trail off, though I was dying to know the real details of what happened. "I get the feeling that Patrick could go a little crazy. Maybe already has. He's been dead longer than Fin, which equals a lot more time to build up his frustration and anger."
"Do you think we can help him?" Hailey asked, lowering her voice to a whisper as if my car could hear her. "I know I told him we could, but what if he doesn't want peace? What if he wants to stay alive?"
"Then tough," I said, crossing my arms. "He's dead. He's gotta go. At least get him out of my car. I don't care what other car he haunts, but mine is off-limits."
On Monday, I caught myself checking the bus schedules and wondering if anyone would condescend to give me a ride to school, before reminding myself that my car was not actually broken. Musical ghostly manifestations or no, I was still the one who had control of the steering wheel.
I steeled myself, threw my backpack in the passenger seat, and stuck the key in the ignition.
The car revved unnecessarily, like a puppy excited to see its owner. (When had I started ascribing emotions to things my car did? Ugh, all that ghost talk had sent me straight to Crazytown.) The radio switched on, playing a staticky version of "Oh Sherrie." With the fuzzy sound quality, it was almost like the singer was saying my name.
"Can we skip that, please?" I muttered. "I have a math final to take, and it's taking all my brain power plus two cups of coffee not to forget all that crap I spent the weekend studying."
The radio shut off.
"Thank you," I said.
My first final of the week went okay, I guess; I was pretty sure I was going to pass. But at the end of the two-hour final period, I shuffled out of the classroom feeling totally brain-dead. Tomorrow and Thursday's finals hung over my head, but there was no way I was going to start studying until I'd had more caffeine, or a nap, or watched a couple episodes of Grey's Anatomy to make myself feel better.
As I got back in my car, Isaac texted me:
Isaac: how was it?
Cary: bleh. need hugs. comfort food & "study" sesh tonight?
Isaac: im in. so glad i only have 2 finals, ha ha!
I let him rub it in, because last week he'd been freaking out about the English paper his prof demanded in place of a final exam. Now that it was done and turned in, he'd magically forgotten how hard it was.
Throwing my phone in the cupholder, I started the car and maneuvered out of the parking lot toward my apartment. I may have been speeding just a teeny bit, zoning out, eager to be home…
Which meant I didn't see the student laboring up the hill on his bicycle until it was too late for me to do anything. He lost his balance, wobbled, and fell into the street, directly in my path.
I slammed my foot toward the brake, but it wasn't there. Because it was already being depressed, hard, by an invisible foot. My car screeched to a stop. If I hadn't been wearing a seat belt, I would've gone flying; as it was, I almost knocked my forehead on the steering wheel.
Chanting swearwords, I put the car in park and unbuckled my belt. "Are you okay?" I shouted as I got out. "I didn't run over you, did I? Are you hurt? Omigod omigod!"
The bicyclist got to his knees, having untangled himself from his bike. "I'm okay," he said, sounding kind of dazed. "You didn't hit me."
Someone honked; I was partially blocking traffic. I waved at them to go around my car and helped the kid up, offering to take him home and give him a band-aid for his scraped-up arm. He insisted he was fine and picked up his bike, beginning to push it up the hill, safely on the sidewalk this time.
I got back in my car and headed for home, shaken at how close I'd come to hurting that kid a whole lot worse. "Did you do that?" I muttered. "Patrick Anderson, or whoever you are? Did you hit the brakes for me?"
The radio blipped on, volume low, to play a soft "ooh yeahhhhhh, girl" from another song I didn't recognize.
"Um," I said. My hands were trembling. "Thanks. You probably saved that kid's life."
Everything I doooo, Bryan Adams sang on the radio, I do it for youuuuu.
How the heck was I supposed to respond to that? I just drove, trying to control my heartbeat, watching obsessively for pedestrians and going five miles per hour under the speed limit.
When I got home, I parked and jumped out of the car so fast I forgot to grab my keys and backpack. Taking a deep breath, I leaned back in to retrieve them.
"Thanks," I whispered again. "Really. Thank you."
Then I slammed the door and got the heck out of there.