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Manuscript Unleashed, Part Two

The main characters in Simon's book take on a life of their own, terrorizing Simon and his family. He must finish writing their story, before they finish writing his.

By Michael KinnalyPublished about a year ago 26 min read
Manuscript Unleashed, Part Two
Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash

Manuscript Unleashed, Part Two

Simon sat there with the note in his hand for several minutes, as chills rolled down his back. He read those words over and over again.

Finish writing our story... before we finish writing yours!

Finish writing our story... before we finish writing yours!

Finish writing our story... before we...

"Simon! Breakfast!" his mom called out to him.

Simon dropped the note and ran out of the room. He rushed downstairs and sat down at the table. He had to hurry and finish his breakfast so he could get back to working on the book. By now, he was really sensing the urgency of getting this done. These kids, which he created for his story, were playful at first. Now, they had really taken on a life of their own, and become much more sinister. He knew it would just get worse until his book was finished. Simon put another long day of work into his book, taking a break only for dinner. At the end of the day, he still had a great way to go. He really began to wish now that he hadn’t put it off for so long. If he only knew how much work it would really take; how much time it would take to write the whole thing… he would not have procrastinated. Simon really wished he could turn back time. Furthermore, he really hoped he could hold these kids at bay until he was completely finished with their story. He feared what would happen next; of what they would do. Simon didn’t know it at the time, but he was about to learn just how much harm these pranksters were really capable of. He went to bed that Sunday night and just before he fell asleep, he found himself humming. He even began to sing a little. “Simon Simon Bo-Bimon Banana-Fana-Fo-Fimon Fee-Fi-Mo-Mimon Simon!” Hmm… catchy little tune, he thought to himself.

Later that night, Simon awoke suddenly in a cold sweat and sat straight up in his bed. He looked all around the room but did not see anything out of the ordinary. Looking at the clock, he noticed it was only 11:30. It was a school night, so he knew he had to get up early. Simon checked to make sure he had set his alarm to go off at the usual time of 5:30. He sat and waited quietly, wondering what it was that caused him to wake up so suddenly. He waited, but nothing happened… so he laid back down and closed his eyes. Just at that moment, he began to hear the harmonica being played. Simon sat up in the bed again. It sounded like it was coming from downstairs, in the kitchen. It must be Mikey, he thought, he was the one who always had the harmonica with him. The music seemed to get louder, as if it was coming up the stairs then coming right up to his bedroom door. Suddenly, the door swung wide open and then just as quickly, it slammed shut again. Simon laid back down right away and hid under the covers. He waited, and waited some more, then slowly lifted the covers off his head. He turned to look at the door. Suddenly, it swung wide open again then just as quickly, it slammed shut. The harmonica playing began again, this time right outside his room and slowly getting softer as it went down the stairs and back into the kitchen.

Simon tried to shake it off as best as he could. He closed his eyes and tried to go back to sleep, but couldn’t. He could hear two voices down in the kitchen now. He recognized them right away. They were Mikey and Johnny, and they sounded as if they were arguing about something. All of a sudden, he heard a loud crash and what sounded like a window breaking, just like he had heard the other night. There was more running up and down the stairs, then Mikey and Johnny began arguing even louder. As Simon continued to lay there in bed as quietly and as still as he could, he could hear Jackie and Lindsay beginning to chant “Fight! Fight! Fight!!” “Oh no!” Simon thought, “I gotta try and stop them! They’re going to break something, I just know it!”

“No! Stop!” Simon yelled, as he charged down the stairs. But it was too late. The fight had been moved into the living room. Jackie and Lindsay were standing over the two boys egging them on. Both boys were on the floor and Johnny had Mikey in a headlock. Mikey wrestled himself free, then took off running. He bumped into a large bookshelf causing it to topple and nearly falling on Simon, who had to jump to get out of the way! Johnny grabbed a trophy that had fallen from the top of the bookshelf and picked it up. It was a bowling trophy that Simon’s father had won several years ago, before Simon was even born. His father had always had it proudly on display at the top of the bookshelf, for as long as Simon could remember. “No… don’t!” Simon tried to stop Johnny but it was too late. He hurled the trophy at Mikey. Mikey ducked just in time and the trophy went through the window, shattering it. Pieces of broken glass were everywhere.

“Simon Patrick Roberts! What the heck is going on down there!” His father was up and he was storming down the stairs. “Look at what you’ve done! The bookshelf, my trophy… the window! Now get yourself back to bed this instant before I give you something to cry about! MOVE!!!” Simon ran to his room as quickly as he could. His father always did have a temper, but he’d never seen him quite this angry. Simon now wished he’d never gone downstairs to try and break up the fight. If he had stayed in his room, he couldn’t have possibly been blamed for it. Of course, his characters all fled the scene as soon as they heard his father’s booming voice…. leaving him there in the living room with the mess they had caused. Simon figured it couldn’t possibly get any worse than this now. Little did he know at the time though, what the pranksters had in store for him next.

The next morning, Simon got up at his usual time. It was 5:30, Monday morning. He sat in his bed for a few minutes, thinking about all that had happened last night. He thought about his book, due in only four more days. He knew he had to get it finished even before that, though. The pranksters had taken over, and made life miserable for Simon and his family. Last night had been the worst to date, but somehow Simon had the feeling that these kids were getting ready to take their antics even further. He walked downstairs and sat down to eat. His mother sat and watched him while he ate, shaking her head. “I don’t know what we’re going to do with you Simon. I really don’t!” she said. “Your father was very proud of that trophy. He had it for ten years. You made quite a mess down here last night. I just really don’t know what we’re going to do. You can’t blame it on your characters this time, you know. Simon, you were down here. Now, your father caught you red-handed.” Simon just sat there. He had no words. His mother shook her head again. “Go on and get ready for school. And you be good today. I don’t want to hear of any more trouble, understand?” Simon nodded and then went upstairs to get ready for school. No more trouble, he thought. If only it were that easy. These characters of his were out to get him into trouble, and he knew it now. He knew they weren’t going to stop either, not until he finished writing their story.

As Simon walked to the bus stop, he started humming the tune that had managed to get stuck in his head. It sure was a catchy little tune, but he really wished he could get it out of his head. He began to sing a little; very softly, to himself. “Simon Simon Bo-Bimon Banana-Fana-Fo-Fimon Fee-Fi-Mo-Mimon Simon!” He wondered to himself… wouldn’t that song work for his characters too? What about Lindsay? He started singing again, but a little louder this time. “Lindsay Lindsay Bo-Bindsay Banana-Fana-Fo-Findsay Fee-Fi-Mo-Mindsay Lindsay!” He smiled and laughed to himself a little as the big yellow bus came around the corner and stopped. He got on and sat down. As he did, he felt someone smack him on his head. He turned around to see Lindsay standing in the aisle next to his seat. “So, you think it’s funny to make fun of my name like that, huh?’ she asked him. “I heard you singing there at the bus stop. What are you, some type of comedian?” Simon turned his head away from Lindsay, trying to ignore her, when he felt somebody else tap him on his other shoulder. He turned to see Jackie. She had managed to squeeze herself in the seat next to him, between him and the other kid sitting by the window. “Hey Simon, watch this!” But Simon didn’t need to watch. He knew what was coming next. Thankfully, the paper airplane landed on the floor near the front of the bus and didn’t hit anyone this time!

Again, Lindsay asked Simon, “So you think you’re funny? Making fun of my name? Huh?” Simon again tried to ignore her. He tried to ignore Jackie, sitting on his other side, too. He stared straight ahead, wishing this bus would hurry up and get to school so he could get off. Johnny and Mikey were both there in the seat in front of him. They were standing up, or perhaps they were kneeling on the seat itself… and were turned around, facing Simon. “Hey Simon!” Johnny cheerfully greeted him. Mikey began playing the old familiar harmonica. Apparently, the two boys had forgotten all about their little scuffle the night before, in Simon’s living room. But Simon sure remembered. The toppled bookshelf, his father’s trophy, the window. These two were carrying on now as if nothing at all had happened!

Lindsay grabbed Simon around the neck, putting him in a headlock. “Now listen to me, you little jerk!” she said angrily. “I’m the only one who makes the jokes around here! Nobody thinks you’re funny… and you can’t sing either! Got it?” Simon tried to nod, but he could barely breathe let alone move his head. He just sat there, tears coming down his face. After what seemed like an eternity, Lindsay finally released Simon… shoving him to the floor as she did. “Crybaby!” she said, mockingly. Then, once more… she began to sing. “Simon Simon Bo-Bimon Banana-Fana-Fo-Fimon Fee-Fi-Mo-Mimon Simon!” She leaned over and began singing very loudly in his ear. The other three joined in the chorus as well, just like they did the other night when they were in his room. “Simon Simon Bo-Bimon Banana-Fana-Fo-Fimon Fee-Fi-Mo-Mimon Simon!” Over and over again they sang, getting louder and louder each time. “STOP!!!” Simon screamed at the top of his lungs. All the kids on the bus turned around to look at him, and then started laughing. Simon was in tears. Mrs. Johnson looked up in the mirror above her, glaring at Simon for several long seconds but didn’t say a word… instead, she just shook her head in disapproval. Finally, the bus arrived at Valley School. Simon just knew the pranksters were not done yet, however.

Two hours later, Simon was sitting at his desk finishing a reading assignment. The fire alarm began to sound. It was an older fire alarm system; the kind that gave off a terribly loud buzzing sound. Worse yet, the buzzer was on the wall right outside the classroom and was extremely loud. It always made everyone jump whenever it went off. Simon looked out the window as he was getting up to exit the building, and noticed it had begun to rain. This couldn’t be just a fire drill, he thought. Mr. Wilson would never send them outside in the rain. It was either a real fire or somebody had pulled it for no reason! Whichever one it was, at least nobody could blame it on Simon this time. He had been in his seat the whole morning!

The fire truck arrived at the school as soon as everyone was safely outside, in the rain. After 45 minutes, the fire truck left and the all-clear was given to reenter the building. Mr. Wilson came over the intercom to announce what had happened. Apparently, it was a real fire. Someone must have been playing with matches and had set a small fire in the library. Nobody had been hurt but an entire row of fiction books had been burned up. The principal went on to say that they had not been able to identify who was responsible and there were no witnesses either. Simon, of course, had a pretty good idea of who it was. He wasn’t going to dare tell anyone though. He was just glad for once that nobody could blame him for this, but still he felt a great deal of anxiety. This was not just a silly practical joke; it was a dangerous criminal act. If these kids could set a fire in a building… what else were they capable of? Simon would come to find out the exact answer to that question later that night.

With a pen in his hand, Simon worked furiously on his book for two hours non-stop later that evening. He was getting closer, but he still had more to do. Time was running out. Even if he could finish it before Friday, would that be enough to satisfy these characters of his? At 9:00, he heard a knock on the door. It was his mom. “Time for bed, Simon!” “Okay, mom. Just a second!” Simon finished the paragraph he was on, then closed the book. He turned out the light and crawled into bed, hoping nothing crazy would happen that night. Nothing could have prepared him for what he was about to encounter though.

At exactly 11:00 that night, Simon woke suddenly and sat straight up in his bed. He was in a panic and drenched in a cold sweat, just like he was the night before. Something obviously must have scared him pretty badly, but he didn’t know what it was. He looked around the room real quickly and then laid back down, trying to shake it off. Suddenly, the bed began to shake. Simon pulled the covers over his head and waited nervously. The bed continued to shake for five long minutes then stopped. It started again, then stopped. He could hear laughing followed by his bedroom door slamming shut and someone running down the stairs. It was quiet for the next hour or so while Simon laid there in bed, hidden under the covers and too scared to move. He began to hear voices down stairs in the kitchen. It sounded as if all four of them were down there talking, but he couldn’t hear what they were saying. Slowly, he got out of bed and put his ear to the door to listen. He distinctly heard Jackie say “Yes! Let’s do it!” then the sound of car keys jingling followed by the front door slamming shut. “NO!” he yelled out loud. They were stealing his father’s car! He made it a point to grab the unfinished book and a pen before he went running out to try and stop them. Something told him he was going to need to take them along for this ride. Simon got outside just as Lindsay got the car started. “Hey Simon Simon Bo-Bimon! Wanna go for a ride?” she asked him. “No! Stop!” he yelled as he opened the back door and climbed in. Simon figured the only chance he had now of stopping them was to go along for this ride. He also knew he didn’t have much time left. He had to finish writing the book. His characters had completely taken over, and now his very life was at stake. He had to finish writing their story, before they finished writing his!

“Ready or not, here we go!” yelled Lindsay as she put the car in drive. Jackie was riding shotgun, and Simon was in the backseat with Mikey and Johnny. He opened his book and began writing as they sped off down the residential street, with the other three egging Lindsay on. “Faster! Faster!” they all yelled. Simon knew it would be difficult to write now with the car moving, and especially the way Lindsay was driving. The car sped down the neighborhood, careening around corners and blowing through stop signs while Simon struggled to keep his pen and book steady. He was trying his hardest to concentrate even though he was very afraid, knowing his life was in grave danger. Lindsay seemed like she knew what Simon was trying to do, as she continuously swerved to the left, then swerved to the right… slamming on the breaks, then stomping on the gas. Left, right… left, right… braking, accelerating. More braking, more accelerating. “Faster! Faster!” as the other three continued to egg her on. Two more pages written. “Getting closer!” Simon thought. “Getting closer!”

Lindsay turned the car onto another side road. Simon knew where she was going. She was headed for the country, and this was the last street in the neighborhood. Two miles to get to the main road which led to the country; this was the street that had three small speed bumps. As Lindsay made the turn onto this last neighborhood street, Jackie yelled out jubilantly “Here comes the speed bump!” Lindsay laughed out loud, then stepped on the gas again. She hit the bump so fast and so hard, the car tires literally seemed to come slightly off the pavement before landing. They all laughed, except Simon. He was getting very scared now, but was still determined to keep writing. He had no choice at this point.

“Here comes the next one!” Jackie yelled out again. She and Lindsay both raised their hands in the air as the car again hit the speed bump, even faster than the one before. “That was fun!” yelled Johnny. “Do it again!” Simon continued to write. Jackie yelled out one more time, just before the third and final speed bump. “Here comes the next one!” This time, they all (except Simon) raised their hands in the air as Lindsay flew over the last speed bump going even faster than she had on the first two. They all laughed with delight. All except Simon, who continued to write. Another page done! Closer… getting closer! Could he finish in time? Could he finish writing the book, and put these characters of his to rest, before Lindsay wrecked the car… which she surely was going to do if this ride was going to last much longer. Simon had quite literally never been so terrified in his life. They were about to enter the country, where Simon knew the roads were much more narrow and far more dangerous. Could he finish writing their story, before they finished writing his?

Lindsay came to the end of this street and blew right through the stop sign, making a hard turn onto the main road and nearly flipping the car over. It wouldn’t be too much longer now before the two lanes dropped to one and the road would become even more narrow. Still, Simon continued to write furiously… trying to keep focused and trying to keep the pen and book steady. “Faster! Faster!” The other three continued to yell out to Lindsay. The two lanes dropped down to one as she sped down the narrow country road. This was definitely the fastest and scariest car ride Simon had ever been on! “Hey!” Simon thought, as he put down his pen for a second. “This is actually kinda cool! It’s like in the movies!” Just then, Lindsay rounded a small curve going over 65 miles per hour to find a large animal lying in the middle of the road. It looked like a deer but it was not moving. She yanked the wheel to the left without slowing down at all. They passed the deer, and then she yanked the wheel back to the right so hard it almost gave Simon whiplash. They all laughed, and she sped up even more. “Okay, maybe this isn’t so cool!” Simon thought again to himself, as he went back to his book. A few more pages to go… he was getting closer. Definitely getting closer!

“Faster! Faster!” the other three continued to yell out. Lindsay continued to speed down the narrow country road as the curves got sharper and the hills got steeper. She laughed like a maniac as she sped up to 70 miles per hour, then 75… then 80! Simon continued to write. They came to the section of the road known by everyone as “The Rollercoaster.” Simon knew this road pretty well, and hated it. This was the road that always used to make him sick when he was little. It was several miles of steep hills, one right after another. The hills were so steep… you would climb them straight up, then drop straight down…. just like a rollercoaster. Simon knew it would be especially difficult now to write with the way the car would move up and down the hills, and especially as fast as they were going now. Never the less, he had to continue writing. He knew he had no choice. The pranksters, these very characters he created for this book he was writing… were going to get him killed now. His very life was at stake. He had to finish writing their story, before they finished writing his. He could feel his stomach literally jump up in his throat every time the car would drop down one of the hills. Still, he pressed on.

It was all Simon could do to keep from getting carsick. He was beyond frightened at this point, but he kept on trying, struggling to keep his eyes focused on his writing in the dark of the backseat at night. Struggling to keep the pen and book steady as the car went through the ups and downs of “The Rollercoaster” at terrifying speeds. Lindsay continued to speed up relentlessly, going over 90 miles an hour at this point. The other three were still cheering her on. “Faster! Faster!” they yelled. “Slower! Please… slower!” Simon whispered to himself. He was too scared now to yell or even move. Yet, he kept writing. Two more pages to go now. Closer… getting much closer!

At that moment, the road leveled out. They had come out of the rollercoaster section and were headed towards the river, with the long bridge going over it. Miraculously, they hadn’t crashed yet. Just ahead, they passed a sign that Simon had not seen before. “Bridge Out, Two Miles Ahead” it read. Simon remembered now why he hadn’t been on this road in such a long time. Two years ago, a hurricane came through and washed the bridge away. The road had been closed, just before the river, ever since. If the bridge was out, and Lindsay kept on driving… they would plunge right into the river! “Faster! Faster!” the other three yelled. Laughing once more, the young girl hit the gas again… speeding up to over 100 miles per hour, then 110… then 120!

She was really going to do it, Simon realized. She was going to end his story right here! This kid, the very character that Simon created through his own imagination, was really going to drive this car right into the river at full speed… with his three other “imaginary friends” jubilantly cheering her on! There was no time to waste. Simon frantically kept writing. One more page to go! He looked up briefly to see another sign. He was barely able to read it as they went whizzing by. “Road Closed Ahead, One Mile, Bridge Out” He continued to write. The car approached the river, now traveling at over 140 miles per hour. Simon was almost finished. Two more paragraphs to go. The car crashed through the barricade separating the pavement from the river, where the bridge used to be, and launched into the air. Lindsay, Jackie, Mikey, and Johnny were all laughing with delight. One more paragraph to go. After hanging in the air for a few seconds, the car began to drop towards the water. Simon frantically kept writing, even though he realized it was now too late. One more sentence. He was almost done! Simon jotted down the last period and closed the book just as his father’s car dived nose first into the water.

Suddenly, Simon sat straight up in his bed, wide awake, and drenched in a cold sweat. He looked around the room, wondering what could have happened that caused him to wake up in such a panic. Nothing seemed to be out of place. He looked at the clock to see that it was 5:29. One more minute and his ala- BEEP BEEP BEEP His alarm clock started to go off, cutting off his train of thought. He shut it off then turned on the light. Looking over at his desk, he saw the book still sitting there and then suddenly began to remember. The wild car ride. The bridge that was out. His father’s car! How was he ever going to explain all that? More to the point, how on earth did he make it back to his room; to his bed?

His mind moving at lightning speed, he began to think of what he was going to say. Ah, yes… he got it! Burglars broke into the house and got the keys. They took off in his father’s car before he could stop them! Yes, his mom and dad would have to believe him! Again he stopped to wonder. How DID he get out of that car and back to bed? That car was in the river and that was the last thing he remembered! Odd, he thought… very odd! “Mom… Mom!” he yelled, as he raced down the stairs. “Mom… there was… there were burglars…. they took the keys, they’re the ones who did it! Yeah… it was them… they took Dad’s car! They stole it!”

His mother looked at him, with a very confused look on her face. “Simon, did you have another bad dream? I saw your father before he left for work this morning, just like I always do! He just drove off 30 minutes ago! Are you alright?”

Simon looked around. Now he was confused. He went into the living room, where he had seen Johnny and Mikey fight a couple nights before. He looked at the bookshelf to find his father’s trophy still on display on the top shelf. Turning around, he looked at the window. It was completely intact, as if it was never broken! Simon went back to the kitchen. “Mom?” he started to ask, “Uh… what day is it? “It’s the 13th, Simon…. you know that!” The 13th? If it was indeed the 13th, that meant Simon still had almost a whole month to write his book! He would have just gotten the assignment the day before! It began to dawn on him… it was all a dream! The wild car ride, the fire at school, the fight… all a dream! There was no Johnny or Mikey. No Jackie. And thankfully, no Lindsay either! He hadn’t even started writing his book yet!

“Come on Simon… sit down and eat! his mom told him. “So, have you thought about what you’re going to write? What’s your book going to be about?”

“Uh… I don’t know yet, Mom!” Simon was pretty sure he was NOT going to write a story about the pranksters now. “But I’m going to start right away! I’m going to work on it every day, a little at a time! I’m going to pace myself this time! I’m not going to procrastinate!”

“Well, I don’t know who you are or what you did with my son… but sounds like a great plan! Before I forget, by the way, you know the new neighbors that moved in next door? They’ve got a daughter, she’s your age. She’ll be at the bus stop this morning, so make sure you say hello to her… and be nice to her! Her name’s Lindsay.”

“Did you say Lindsay?” Simon stared wide-eyed at his mother.

“Yes… Lindsay. What’s wrong now Simon, you look like you’ve seen a ghost! Now hurry up and finish your breakfast! You'll be late for school!”

Simon finished eating then went upstairs to get ready. Just before he left his room, he opened the book, which he had yet to start writing. No procrastinating, he promised himself. He was going to start on it that night. No pranksters either; he would think of something else instead. Simon grabbed his backpack and headed down the stairs, out the door, and to the bus stop. When he got there, he found his new neighbor waiting. She had short blond hair and blue eyes, and was slightly shorter than him. She was really quite pretty, Simon thought. But then again, so was the Lindsay from his book, from his dream. “Hi, I’m Lindsay.” she introduced herself, quite cheerfully. “You must be Simon. I’m new here. I just moved into the house next door to you!” Just then, the big yellow bus came around the corner and stopped at the curb. Mrs. Johnson opened the door. “Good morning Simon! I see you’ve met your new neighbor!” Lindsay turned to Simon. “Come on, sit with me. I don’t know anyone here yet.”

“Sure” he said. They boarded the bus together and sat down next to each other. “Got any brothers or sisters?” Simon asked of Lindsay. “Just my little brother” Lindsay replied. “He’s too little to go to school yet. He’s kind of quiet, but really likes playing the harmonica! His real name is Michael but we just call him Mikey!” Simon turned and looked at her. "Did you say Mikey?"

Just then, Lindsay opened up one of her books and a paper, folded up in the shape of an airplane, fell out. “Oh!” she said. “My mom left me a note. She’s so funny! Every time she wants to leave me a message, she always writes it on paper, then folds the paper, making a paper airplane!” Lindsay read the note out loud. “Just flew by to say… We hope you have a great day! We love you! Signed, J & J” Simon looked at the unusual signature. “It’s the way my mom and dad sign everything, even when they write a note to me” explained Lindsay. “They’re so funny! They both have the same first initial, so they sign it J & J."

Simon was curious. "What are their real first names?"

"My dad's name is John." Lindsay answered. "My mom is Jacqueline."

The big yellow bus then pulled away from the curb and took off for Valley School.


About the Creator

Michael Kinnaly

Welcome to my world.

I write stories and tell jokes.

I'll make you laugh, but also make you think.

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