Evan Baughfman
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Victor, Victorious

The following is a short excerpt from a novel that I recently completed.  Victor, Victorious was actually first written as a play, but it didn't really work for the stage, because there were just too many scenes.  

Converting the script to prose took a lot longer than I had anticipated, but, in the end, I think it was worth it.  I was able to add details that strengthened the plot and characters.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Even though the full moon glowed bright, Victor Villa blindly ran along Huntley Park’s bike path, his heartbeat outpacing legs.

That.

Seemed.

To.

Move.

In.

Slow.

Motion.

An impenetrable fog wall concealed a gnarled tree root that reached up for him from beneath crumbling concrete.

Victor’s bare foot (in his frantic state, he had of course lost one of his shoes) caught the root, and down he went. Hard. He cushioned his fall with his face, nearly jarring a couple of his teeth loose.

Dazed, the teenage boy paused for a moment, tasting blood, quickly deciding he would make a lousy vampire. Somewhere very nearby, a monster howled.

Now, Victor screamed.

“Help me! Please! Someone! Anyone!”

Which only drew the awful beast that much closer to him. Duh. 

What was he doing out so far past curfew? He was smarter than this! He was the last person who belonged in this horror movie scenario!

Victor stood, winced, realized that he had definitely screwed up his ankle. He steadied himself against a tree trunk. He was done for. A midnight snack.

A terrible stench, like a bathroom jammed wall-to-wall with wet dogs, filled his nostrils, found its way down his throat. He gagged, held back vomit for as long as he could. Which wasn’t very long at all.

The fog parted, and before him, maybe fifty feet away, was a giant wolf the size of a small car. The creature had crimson eyes and grey fur. It snarled, revealing switchblade teeth.

“No, help me!” Victor cried. It was worth another shot.

Suddenly, two police officers appeared in the grassy patch across from him. Their guns were drawn, aimed at the werewolf.

Officer #1: “I hate these things!”

Officer #2: “Yeah, I’m more of a cat person myself!”

Victor smiled, until he saw that their weapons were gripped in shaky hands.

The impossible animal turned its hungry gaze to the men. It growled and took a step in their direction.

Officer #1: “Freeze!”                                                 

The werewolf did not freeze. It took another step toward the cops. Another.

Perhaps it was thinking, Mmmmmm. Bacon.

Officer #2: “Yeah…um…stay where you are! You have the right to…um…remain silent!”

The werewolf howled. It charged at them. 

The officers fired round after round into the beast, but it remained unfazed, a locomotive with dripping jaws.

Officer #2: “When are they gonna give us silver bullets?!”

The werewolf leaped onto #1, which surely made him do a #2. He screamed in terror as the monster slashed at him with fangs and claws, gouging into his Kevlar vest, trying to get through to his internal organs.

His partner removed a can of pepper spray from his utility belt and hosed the beast down with the stuff. Annoyed, the creature smacked the man’s hand away. The officer accidentally sprayed himself in the eyes. He fell to his knees, crying out in agony.

Officer #1: “Help us! Please!”

Officer #2: “Someone!”

Officer #1: “Anyone!”

Victor shook his head in disbelief. He tried to hobble away from it all, but his ankle was a lead grapefruit.

Victor was prepared to call out for help again, but another voice beat him to it.

“Help!” yelled a girl. “Heeeeeeeeeellllllllllllp!”

The fog peeled back some more, revealing Mikaela Martinez, the little brown-eyed beauty from his Science class, crumpled in the grass behind the werewolf. She, too, held a wounded ankle.

What the hell was she doing there?!

The werewolf turned its attention from the cops to Mikaela. Licked its chops.

Victor balled his fists. “Leave her alone!”

Wow. He hadn’t expected to sound so confident.

The wolf didn’t even seem to hear him. It stepped toward Mikaela and snarled.

Miraculously, the pain in Victor’s ankle had vanished. Looking down at his feet, Victor saw that he was now suddenly wearing a pair of fresh Jordans. A bad-ass black and silver cape draped over his shoulders. A facemask covered his eyes.

He lifted from the ground, rising higher. Higher.

That’s right. He could fly, couldn’t he?

He wasn’t just average, helpless Victor.

He was someone better.

Once he remembered that, he zoomed over to Mikaela, falling from the sky like a gift from God. He landed with the grace of a ninja between the girl and the monstrous wolf.

Mikaela clapped her hands together. “Victorious!”

The teenage superhero looked over to the distressed damsel. “Sorry I took so long,” he said. “Was just waiting to appear at the most dramatic moment possible.”

“You sure did!”

His smile shone like a flashlight. “Don’t worry. I got this.” There wasn’t even a sliver of doubt in his voice.

Officer #1: “We’re saved!”

Officer #2: “Aaaagh! My eyes! My eyes!”

Victorious shouted to the monster, “Ready to fight a real hero?”

The werewolf glared at the new visitor.

“That’s right, come to me,” Victorious taunted. “I got you, homey.”

The beast then sprang forward, a razor-sharp blur, mouth open like a bear trap. Victorious met it halfway with a swift kick to the dome.

As it tumbled end over end, the werewolf tore craters into the well-manicured grass, ripping the sprinkler system’s piping out of the ground. Geysers of cold water spurted into the air. The wolf raked long nails into the earth, stopping itself after a few seconds. It shook the pain from its skull.

The monster dug its claws deeper into the terrain, lowered its head, tightened its back leg muscles. Ready to attack again, it sprinted across the grass toward Victorious.

But the hero was ready, too. He stood still, cracked his knuckles. He clenched, unclenched his fists at his sides.

Within moments, the werewolf was close enough to leap for him once more. Like uncoiled springs, the monster’s legs propelled its heavy body upward. The beast took flight above Victorious, splaying four sets of claws out, ready to shish kabob the hero a dozen times over.

Victorious would have none of it. He timed things just right, and, as the werewolf descended, the hero himself jumped.

He held out a stiff palm, rammed it up into the creature’s throat, gripping onto its neck like a vise. Then, they were off, above the treeline, rising into the sky at blazing speed.

Yes, the werewolf could jump. But Victorious could soar.

As wind roared past them, the wolf crazily swung for the hero, attempting to land a blow. However, that stopped once Victorious began to squeeze its breath away. And the higher he carried the wolf, the more the animal whimpered like a frightened puppy.

Victorious spoke to the beast, words spilling from his mouth in frosty plumes. “Alright, freak! Time for the pound! A pound…to your face!”

With his free hand, the hero punched the wolf beneath its bloodshot right eye. The force ripped the monster free of his grasp altogether. The horrible animal rocketed away from him, sailing over a passenger jet, vanishing behind some cloud cover.

Victorious chuckled coldly. He knew he had just launched the beast into space.

The full moon was larger now that Victorious was closer to it. He gave it the finger and then zoomed back down to the park. 

His controlled his descent so that he landed as softly as a feather next to the waiting policemen. Mikaela cheered.

Officer #1: “Wow.”

Officer #2, rubbing his eyes: “What did I miss?”

Officer #1: “You just missed the coolest thing I have ever seen.”

The cops high-fived Victorious and shook his hand.

Officer #2: “Thank you for doing what we couldn’t.”

Victorious nodded. “You’re welcome.”

Mikaela hobbled over to her hero but lost her balance after two pathetic steps. Victorious caught her.

“You saved me,” said Mikaela once he righted her, allowing her to rest against his solid chest. “How can I ever repay you?”

Victorious felt nervous. “Well…um…You can…well…If you wanna maybe sometime…”

Mikaela giggled. “Yeah?”

A balding, muscular Latino man with an unkempt beard stepped out from behind a tree. He wore a wrinkled, sweat-stained T-shirt and plaid pajama pants. In one hand, he held a half-empty bottle of beer.

“Victor!” the man yelled. “Victor!”

Victorious clutched Mikaela tight. He couldn’t believe it. “What…?” he squeaked. “What are you doing here…?”

“Victor!” shouted the drunk, his father. “Get up!”

Victorious backed away from this new monster. He allowed Mikaela to drop at his feet like a sack of flour. He didn’t even mind that she scuffed the Jordans.

“Ow!” the girl cried. “My wrist!”

It didn’t matter. None of it mattered. Victorious had to get away. He just had to.

He made a weak attempt to fly, but it was like he’d forgotten how to do it. He couldn’t even jump more than a few inches. He felt as if his feet were stuck in tar.

Had to get away. Had to, had to. Get away. Get away now.

“Help me,” he pleaded to the cops. “I need your help!”

But they merely shrugged at him.

The glaring alcoholic closed in on Victorious.

“Hey! Victor!” yelled his father. “Get up!”

-------------------------------------------------------- 

“I said, get up, damn it! Now!”

Victor’s eyes fluttered open to the sound of his father shouting. A black and silver Los Angeles Raiders blanket covered the better part of the boy’s head.

“Now, Victor!” his dad, Arturo, demanded, walking up to the bed. “I ain’t playing around here!”

Victor cursed softly. His dad had turned yet another awesome dream into a living nightmare.

“Come on!” Arturo screeched. “Move it already!”

God, he was an awful alarm clock.