Summary: “One minute, Mr. Nydick was rubbing Jessica’s shoulders, in a wholly inappropriate way, under the guise of demonstrating… something about the Civil War, the next he wasn’t.”
Every person outside of the students of Sweet Valley Middle School vanishes from Sweet Valley. They’re just gone. And now people are developing strange powers. Inevitably, with these fight-happy idiots, it’s going to be a bloodbath.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: I have a deep respect for Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate. Their stint as Sweet Valley writers is the best run of the series. And Gone left me traumatised. This work is not mocking them. It is mocking Sweet Valley. And really, who doesn’t want to see what happens when you remove all the adults?
I will not be using the plot from the book series, just the basic premise of town + dome + super powers + young people = bloodbath. This is for two reasons: 1) I never do that kind of crossover, I think it shows a lack of imagination; and 2) Raven hasn’t finished the books and would murder me if I gave him spoilers.
1,826 / 50,000 words. 4% done!
One minute, Mr. Nydick was rubbing Jessica’s shoulders, in a wholly inappropriate way, under the guise of demonstrating… something about the Civil War, the next he wasn’t.
“What just happened?” Elizabeth asked. “And how are we going to know what part massages played in the Civil War?”
“Who cares?” Jessica asked and bounced to the blackboard. “Let’s play hangman!”
“Jessica,” Elizabeth chided her sister. “You know you’re functionally illiterate.”
Jessica shrugged and started drawing rude pictures on the blackboard.
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. It was just like Jessica to turn something serious into a game. Despite the fact they were identical—from their golden blonde hair, to the cute little dimples in their left cheeks when they smiled, and their eyes which were the exact shade of the Pacific Ocean—they had very different outlooks on life. Elizabeth was a spree killer, whereas Jessica was a serial killer.
Elizabeth was a prissy little know-it-all, with a well-hidden murderous streak a mile wide. Jessica was up-front in her destructive nature. She was a member of the Unicorns, an elite club for the prettiest and most popular girls in Sweet Valley Middle School.
Elizabeth claimed that the Unicorns’ snobbery bothered her, secretly she too reveled in being better than most—if not all—of her peers. The true difference between the twins was that everyone agreed with Elizabeth. But no matter what happened, the twins would always be the best of friends.
Around her, Elizabeth’s classmates took the opportunity to start chatting amongst themselves, apparently completely unfazed by the fact that Mr. Nydick had been there one minute and then popped out of existence the next.
The only student that hadn’t given themselves over to chatter was Amy Sutton, Elizabeth’s best friend next to her twin, who was looking her way hopefully. Elizabeth smiled reassuringly at her. At least Amy always followed her lead. “I think—” Elizabeth began, but started again with more volume when nobody responded to her first attempt. “I think we should go to Ms. Wyler’s classroom next door and see if—”
The door burst open and Janet Howell and Mary Robinson bounded in. “Ms. Wyler just vanished!” Mary said excitedly. Her eyes went straight to the teacher’s desk. “Your teacher vanished too?”
Through the open door, Elizabeth could hear the sounds from other classrooms—apparently all down the hall the teachers had either vanished, or were indulging a level of noise they never usually allowed.
Elizabeth opened her mouth to suggest that everyone without a teacher congregate in the lunchroom, but Janet Howell’s bossy tones cut across the general jabber in the room. “I think we should all go to the lunchroom and discuss what has happened.” She cast her queenly gaze around the room. “Even non-Unicorns are welcome.”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes. Sometimes the Unicorns—especially their president, Janet—acted as if the Unicorns were the center of the universe. She stood up straight, and looked Janet in the eye. “I think we should establish whether this has happened throughout the whole school. It might just be our teachers that have vanished.”
Janet gave her a long appraising look, followed by a short nod. “Yes, that’s a good idea. Elizabeth, you organize that and I will prepare myself to organize the school in the lunchroom.”
Elizabeth bristled with annoyance. “And who put you in charge?”
“I am the president of the Unicorns.”
“So what?” Amy Sutton asked, getting to her feet so she could stand by Elizabeth. “We’re not Unicorns.”
“I’m also a seventh grader. Nobody will want to listen to a sixth grader.”
Jessica slid between the two of them, now apparently bored of her rude drawings on the blackboard. “Of course you’re right, Janet.” She turned back to her sister. “We’ll do as you say.”
Elizabeth sighed. She never really understood the appeal of the Unicorn club, as far as Elizabeth could see, all they did was wear purple and coo, “he’s soooo cute” at the mention of Johnny Buck, Kent Kellerman or Beau Dillon. However, her sister cared deeply about the group, and Janet’s approval meant a great deal to her. Elizabeth forced a serene smile across her face and nodded.
Janet swept out of the room, tailed by Mary, Jessica and Lila.
“Jessica…” Elizabeth called after her.
Jessica gave her a thousand-watt smile. “I’m going to help Janet prepare for addressing the school. It’s my Unicorn duty. And you know you’re so much better at organizing groups to check things. I’d only slow you down!” Then she turned on her heel and sped off after Janet.
Elizabeth shook her head. Typical Jessica. At least she still had Amy, who was loyal to a fault.
Once Janet left the room, everyone turned to Elizabeth, who was known throughout Sweet Valley as someone who kept a level head in a crisis. She quickly organized everyone into groups of three, and told them to set them off in different directions to check rooms to see whether all the other teachers had vanished, and if so, corral the students towards the lunchroom.
“What if there are teachers?” asked Lois Waller, a fat girl who had once been so excited that Elizabeth called her on the telephone that she vowed to go on a diet. Of course, she didn’t actually begin dieting, but Elizabeth felt a rush of warmth for the fat girl and her devotion.
“Then tell them that we’ve asked all the students who have lost their teachers to go to the lunchroom. Tell them that I’ll be in charge until they get there. That will make sure they don’t worry too much.” Elizabeth added a decisive nod to that statement. It felt like an assertive and reassuring thing to do.
Lois muttered something that sounded like, “Return of the clipboard,” to her friend Caroline Pearce, but Elizabeth was sure she must have misheard. Fat Lois and gossipy Caroline would never badmouth her, she was sure.
That was the only question, so Elizabeth dismissed everyone, and joined her own group, which comprised of Amy Sutton and Julie Porter. Amy was a tall thin girl with lank hair and a vacant expression. While her sister would never appreciate Amy’s qualities, Elizabeth knew that beneath the lank hair and awkward frame was a heart of pure dedication to Elizabeth that bordered on religious zeal. Julie, on the other hand, was a girl with no discernible qualities at all—Elizabeth thought maybe Julie played the flute (something musical, at least)—but it was always good to have more than one friend around.
They reached the first classroom on their route and found it to be in the same disorganization as they had been in before the seventh graders had burst in on them. Kimberley Haver, Tamara Chase and their friends had clustered their desks together and were chatting in a most relaxed way. Bruce Patman and Jerry McAllister were at the blackboard, drawing the same kinds of rude images that Jessica had been inspired to draw.
Elizabeth politely cleared her throat, and when nobody noticed, she used her voice. “Excuse me, everyone. It appears that several teachers have disappeared, so we have decided to congregate in the lunchroom to discuss the situation.”
Elizabeth sighed and moved closer to Kimberley and Tamara, who were seventh-grade Unicorns. “Janet Howell wants everyone in the lunchroom as soon as possible.” She glanced around the room. “Everyone,” she added pointedly.
At the mention of Janet’s name, the two Unicorns jumped to their feet and started ushering their classmates to the door. Elizabeth gave Amy and Julie a knowing smile, and they went on their way again.
“This is all very strange,” Amy said as they set off again. “What do you think has happened?”
Elizabeth frowned as she considered the strange situation for the first time. So far her mind had been occupied with problem solving the simple things: find out how many teachers were missing, report to remaining teacher.
Now they knew that at least three teachers had just vanished into thin air while teaching. It was very peculiar. She rubbed her forehead. “I don’t know what Christine Davenport would think of this,” she said with a wry smile. Christine Davenport was the plucky heroine of her favorite mystery books, written by the best author in the world—whom Elizabeth had met—Amanda Howard.
“I think it’s aliens,” Amy said. “I can’t think of any other way that a bunch of adults would just vanish mid-sentence.”
“Oh, Amy,” said Elizabeth fondly. “You’ve been reading a lot of science fiction recently, haven’t you?”
Amy nodded seriously. “The book I’m reading at the moment is about a spaceship that crash-landed in a town hundreds of years ago and it got buried deep in the earth. The townsfolk are drawn to it, so they dig it up, and they get really smart and they invent things and their teeth fall out.”
Elizabeth raised her eyebrows to show polite interest. “I don’t see how that explains three teachers vanishing.”
Amy shrugged. “Oh, it doesn’t. It’s just a wonderful book.”
“I’m sure the answer is far more mundane. Maybe it’s a prank they’re playing on us,” Elizabeth said.
“Or,” Julie said in an attempt to remind readers she existed, “maybe this is a test. Maybe this is something they’ve planned out to see how we react to stressful situations. At a certain time, they all pull their vanishing prank, and now we’re being monitored to see how we react.”
Elizabeth shook her head and smiled. Her friends really had some strange ideas.