This Is a Book: Chapter Fourteen

Today’s chapter of This Is a Book is coming at you with a surprise announcement at the end of the post, so make sure to check that out when you’re done reading!

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Need to catch up on previous chapters? Follow this link.


Chapter Fourteen: Of Mice and Men

            “No,” I say. “No. You’re all crazy. I’m from the United States! We don’t believe in kings!”

            Randy tears the parchment from my hands and raises his eyebrows. “‘Find the king’? What is this?” A smirk takes up residence on one side of his face. I rip the paper away from him. Mr. Smith and Rose take a step away. I glare daggers at them.

            Turning back to Randy, I say, “Despite the fact that we have a zombie-ghost-pirate in our midst, it’s not a treasure map. And despite the fact that it seems like everyone around here has been putting a little more than tea leaves in their breakfast brew lately, it has nothing to do with that either.” I take a breath and turn to wave the parchment in Book-boy’s face. He smiles like he is delighted by my reaction so far. I scoff. “You people. Are all. Bloody. Looney Tunes!”

            “I’d be careful, Mary,” Rose says. She grins, but her skin is pale—well, paler than it usually is, anyway. “Your English is showing.”

            “Are you daft? I’m not blooming English!”

            She bursts out laughing. “Exactly.”

            I toss the parchment at her and stomp away, throwing myself into Book-man’s stiff leather desk chair. He opens his mouth to protest, but Randy shakes his head in warning, and he stops.

            “I saw that, you know.”

            “I just thought it would be a good idea to keep you from murdering the only lead we’ve got right now, is all.” Randy shrugs and crosses his arms. “Unless, of course, you’ve found another reporter with inside knowledge about this whole zombie thing for us to question.”

            “Shut it, Princess Randilyn, or I’ll run you over with a bus, too.”

            “Oh, dear me,” says Book-boy. “I dare say I forgotyou were the one who defamed that tour bus last year.” He takes another step away.

            “We had reason to believe the diplomat was an alien,” I say, glowering at him. “Wait, how do you know about that?”

            He doesn’t answer my question, instead asking, “And was he?”

            Before I have a chance to try interrogating him again, Rose shouts, “Could we please focus on the matter at hand?!”

            I don’t think anyone is more surprised by Rose raising her voice than Rose herself. I know for a fact no one is less surprised than Randy, who spends the next moment looking between Book-boy and me in confusion as he takes in our dropped jaws and wide eyes.

            “What just happened?” he asks after a second. “Did the ghost die or something?”

            “Zombie,” Book-boy and Rose correct in unison.

            “Same difference,” I say. They shoot me a look. “What? Rose is dead either way.”

            Rose ignores the comment. She is still pale and extra dead-looking, lips set in a firm line, as she nods to the parchment on the floor, then looks up to meet my eye. With a groan I lift it so she can examine the writing. Her fingers trace across the words.

            “I told you we shouldn’t have ignored the summons, Mary,” she says.

            “I told you I didn’t believe in magic, Rose,” I shoot back.

            “You believe in me, obviously.”

            “You’re like paranormal-science-fiction stuff more than fantasy,” I remind her. “Whole different ballpark.” I lean back against the leather of the chair and burrow into it, trying to get more comfortable. How Book-man stands to write so many creepy articles while sitting in this thing is beyond me.

            “Well, evidently the pixie was real, if we keep hearing about the prophecy.” Rose goes another shade paler.

Can ghosts—invisible zombies, whatever—actually get paler? Maybe there’s just something weird with the lighting in here.

            I glance up at the ceiling. Nope. That seems normal.

            Darn it all, now I’m seeing spots.

            “Or this could be the ultimate episode of Punk’d,” I say. “Ooh, I hope Justin Bieber’s running this episode, so I can run him over with a bus!”

            “You are absolutely hopeless.”

            “Can someone please explain to me what’s going on?” Randy asks. He’s leaning against the far wall beside the door, pants pockets bulging with things he must have stolen while we’ve been talking, the kleptomaniac. His pale face is lax with boredom.

            “Book-man, my dear fellow,” I say, “I’m afraid my colleague here has stolen all your paperclips. And possibly your butterfly clips, too.”

            “You are a horrible roommate, Mary,” Randy says. “I was going to sell these for a week’s worth of fish and chips.”

            “Where, on the office supply black market?”

            “Don’t worry about the clips, they come free with the office,” Book-man says. He shrugs and Randy sticks out his tongue. I roll my eyes. “Now, Miss Rose, what is this about a prophecy?”

            “Hey, why are you only addressing her?” I ask, leaning forward in his chair. “The dumb prophecy thing affects me just as much as it does the ghost-zombie-whatever!”

            His tone is sharp as he says, “I thought Rose might actually give me an answer instead of leading me in circles the way you seem to enjoy to.”

            I close my mouth, but I’m sure my eyes say enough for me.

            You’re going down, Book-man. Dooown. What kind of a superhero is someone named Book-man anyway? I should have named you Scrooge McBook or something instead, you little—

            “The prophecy is how Mary and I met,” says Rose. “It was around Christmas when a pixie approached the two of us in a cemetery and told us we had to save the king of Norland.”

            “Norland?” Book-man asks. He glances at Randy, apparently having forgotten that the kid can’t hear Rose.

            “What?” Randy asks. “Am I supposed to know what that means? Is it a place near Surrey? I think I did a bank heist in a place called Norland before.” He stops. “Wait, no, that was Newfoundland. In Canada.”

            “Not even Norway,” I mutter to myself. “He didn’t even get it confused with Norway. No, it’s Newfoundland of all places.”

            “Norland is a place that’s neither here nor there,” Rose says. “It’s a magical place.”

            “Sort of ethereal and annoying, you know,” I add helpfully.

            “I was thinking more of the word intriguing, actually,” retorts Rose.

            “Amazing,” says Book-man. “And the two of you have been prophesied to save this mystical country of Norland?”


            “I was hoping Rose would respond.”

            “Rose, what do you think of this quest for ethereal greatness?” I swivel the chair around to face her—but she’s not there. “Rose?” I do a 360 with the chair. Nowhere. Nowhere, nowhere, Rose is nowhere.

            “Where is she?” Book-man asks.

            “I don’t know!” I’m panicking now. I turn faster and faster in the chair, until I’m growing dizzy in my search of the teeny office. “Rose, Rose, Rose, where are you?” I stop. “Blast it all, invisible-zombie-ghost-pirates can’t just disappear whenever they feel like it, can they?!”

            “The parchment,” Randy says. He rushes over from the wall and scours the desk, the floor, the ceiling. “It’s not here!”

            Nowhere. Rose is nowhere, and so is the paper from the pixie.

            “Rose, get your butt back here!” I shout at thin air. “I’m not done antagonizing you yet!”

            Then I blink and I am nowhere too.


Now, for what you’ve all been waiting for! While Mel and I were being all writerly in New York City, she proposed the absolutely fantastic idea of getting some more people involved in the making of This Is a Book–primarily by asking YOU to help us decide who some of the new characters should be in up and coming chapters (sweet, right?). All you’ve gotta do is fill out the following form and leave your answers in the comment section below, and then we’ll round them all up in a week’s time (so you have until Thursday, April 18th to do this). Then Step Two in all this madness will begin: We’re going to jumble up all the characteristics you’ve given us to create new characters, post these lovely, monstrous creations on the block, and then it’ll be up to YOU to vote for your favorites to actually make it into the story!

Sound like a barrel of fun? Good. (I’m just going to answer for you here, because it definitely sounds like a barrel of fun to me.) (Plus, you… you know… can’t exactly answer… because this is a blog post. Oh well?)


The form of mystical, magical awesomeness:







Example of what your comment should look like:


TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: Magical speaking hippopotamus

SPECIAL ABILITY: Can turn anything into a very tasty baked potato. With sour cream (but no bacon).


DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Purple hair with highlighter yellow highlights


… Remember, you have one week to submit a character form, and then the real craziness begins!

Thanks for reading (and participating)!


15 thoughts on “This Is a Book: Chapter Fourteen

  1. Pingback: This Is a Book: Chapter Twenty | Julia the Writer Girl

  2. (Sorry it’s late, I had one of my friend make one and he had work)

    TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: Telepathic Mouse
    SPECIAL ABILITY: Can communicate telepathically, cause explosions and start small fires with her thoughts.
    PLACE OF ORIGIN: The dumpster behind the deli on Walsh St.
    DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Friendly, outgoing, sociopathic. Favored method of torture involves flooding victim’s minds with images of a scantily clad Dick Cheney. Has total control over rodent brethren. Likes to eat discarded Toaster Pastries.


  3. Pingback: This Is a Book: Chapter Sixteen | Julia the Writer Girl

  4. NAME OF CHARACTER: Lewis James Frogg

    SPECIAL ABILITY: Has super strength on Monday, can fly on Wednesdays, has x-ray vision on Friday. He has no idea why. It may-or-may not be discovered that his apartment was built over a buried nuclear waist drum. His control over these powers is hit-or-miss. He finds it easier to control the powers while listening to opera music or after meditation. He hates doing both of those things.

    PLACE OF ORIGIN: Queens, New York

    DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: He just received his powers and is very keen on figuring out how they work. His ultimate goal is to become an honest-to-god super hero, but he’s not really sure how yet. He enjoys: reading comic books, cheering on the Yankees, playing pac man on his phone (he’s on level 78), Brisk (what, it’s good!) and M&Ms. He’s got brains and bravery down pat, but his brawn is a little bit to be desired. He’s kind of on the nerdy side. Looks great in glasses but insists on wearing contacts.


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  7. Pingback: Then Comes the Baby in the Baby Carriage | The Ultimately Useless Stories of an Average Teenager



    SPECIAL ABILITY: He allows others to grammatically exist. He is a verb of being.

    PLACE OF ORIGIN: Linguistics


    TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: Young macho man. His good looks and suave personality catch the women (that is until they get to know him and discover his, um, problem)
    SPECIAL ABILITY: He has an embarrassing problem… he sweats profusely at the slightest stress, soaking his clothes and its so bad it pours out of his face and arms and he literally rains down onto the ground (see the irony – name is like dust/dry and he rains).
    PLACE OF ORIGIN: Arizona
    DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Dark, slightly wavy, shiny, thick hair. 5’10”, slender yet muscular. Wears cool dude clothes. Is stuck on himself. He saunters around like he’s God’s gift to women and doesn’t understand why they get turned off by him after they were initially so interested. He’s frustrated, but keeps trying the same tactics. But time after time, his stuck up personality and his sweating problem turn them off once they get to know him.



    TYPE OF CREATURE/PERSON: A buffalo-man

    SPECIAL ABILITY: Can make very long sentences that are actually grammatically correct. Also, can stampede over anyone. Ever.

    PLACE OF ORIGIN: The Wild Plains

    DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Very hairy. Also, a bit of a bully.




    SPECIAL ABILITY: Eats dirt

    PLACE OF ORIGIN: Underground

    DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Very stupid. He IS a potato after all.


  12. NAME OF CHARACTER: Elane Erica Levine


    SPECIAL ABILITY: Can transform into any inanimate object with a female gender in the French Language due to her French Family roots. Transformation takes effort and often over-exertion makes her very, VERY cranky.

    PLACE OF ORIGIN: Brooklyn

    DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: Oldest of five siblings, keeps her powers a secret, looking for adventure. Has a passion for: Graphic novels, Mozart and Metallica (not at the same time), hoodies, popcorn, Pranks, gaudy earrings, cute girls (as if a magical power wasn’t enough to hide), and Diet Cherry-Vanilla Dr. Pepper.

    Note: I have way too much time on my hands tonight…


  13. NAME OF CHARACTER: Schnezz (Or Schnezzie, if you’re trying to be cute)




    Notes: Be careful with my baby. Schnezzie is my one true love. xD


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