Last Thursday, cookiemonger wrote a summary for an imaginary book in her post, “What Happens When I Book Shop.” It was a Take That aimed at the generally-poor quality of free ebooks found on the Amazon store online. She found an ebook titled Threads That Bind, whose summary pegged the protagonist as a Mary Sue.

Inspired somewhat by a comment I made about how much more interesting the story might have been if the protagonist wasn’t excised of her flaws immediately upon receiving her super powers, CM wrote this:

Quoted from Post
Sadie Yang wears a lot of hats. She’s the president of the student council, an active member in the anime club, and works part-time to help support her grandmother and little brothers. She doesn’t have time to eat healthy or exercise, and can’t see a place for make-up in the budget. Then one day, she is kidnapped by burly men in ill-fitting suits, who use an ancient artefact to imbue her with supernatural powers. They demand that she fight the forces of evil alongside other kidnap victims her age. Eventually, she learns that it’s all the maniacal machinations of a crazed director turned wizard who wants to make the ultimate comic book movie. Even if he has to work his ‘actors’ to death.

I thought it was a great idea, so I offered to write an outline expanding on the summary. My outline ultimately took the story and characters in a different direction, which while interesting wasn’t really something either one of us wanted to turn into a novel. I called my version of the story, “Sadie and the Student Council.”

It follows after the ‘more’ tag.

Sadie and the Student Council
1462 words

Sadie lives with her grandmother and two younger brothers in a house owned by her late grandfather. Her parents, once divorced and recently remarried, are touring the world on the longest honeymoon ever – but they call and write, and periodically send back odd souvenirs. Sadie’s grandmother cooks and cleans, and she receives a modest pension check for all the years she worked as secretary to “The General.” Sadie works at the local library to help support her grandmother and brothers, and was recently elected student council president.

The student council is planning a dance around a film crew that’s given the school money to shoot in and around their gymnasium, and we see them discussing the possibility of holding the dance at alternate locations, pushing the dance back to a later date (the shoot is taking forever), or cancelling the event outright. They resolve to poll the student body and find out what they would prefer, and they put together a ballot. Sadie gets free copies at the library, so she volunteers to produce the ballots at work.

Around the school and around the town, Sadie has noticed a film crew van, with guys she assumes are part of the film crew. She even comments when she noticed them parked at the library. (“What, these guys are doing research for the movie? No way, they must need some book props.”) That night she’s jumped by burly men in suits – she maces one of them, but he’s protected somewhat by his sunglasses. There are too many of them and they overpower her, dragging her to the film van.

When the burly guys remove the bag from her head, she’s restrained on what looks like a film set, with a giant glowing cauldron billowing thick fog. She can’t see what’s going on too well, but she starts feeling woozy and falls unconscious again. When she reawakens at the hospital she’s told she fainted outside and the film crew brought her to the hospital. Sadie’s understandably freaked out and they administer a rape kit.

The library corroborates the information given by the film crew, that Sadie stayed late and any bruises she has seem to back up everything else, she lets it go. She talks about different sources of stress with her grandmother and/or friends, and together they realize the time elapsed means a low probability of any unlawful shenanigans. Also, she comes back negative with regard to any damage or violation, so everything seems to have been a freaky hallucination – until Sadie realizes her mace is missing from her purse.

The student council is sympathetic with her for her fainting spell and hospital trip, and they give her a break about the ballots that are also missing. They go to the library together to pick up the ballots, since they got blown around the parking lot, and Sadie thinks to check the copier for when she made the copies. Unfortunately, it’s a long shot and it turns out the copier doesn’t actually record when the copies were made. They do notice the film crew again, and one of them has a suspicious sunglasses-shaped outline of irritation on his face.

Later, the student council receives an apology from the film crew for taking so long to shoot in their gymnasium, and as recompense they offer to donate the props to the school. (“They just don’t want to clean up after themselves. Typical adults.”) The ASB goes to the gymnasium to check out the props and see what they can actually use for a dance, and it’s clear the crew was shooting a weird sci-fi/fantasy flick. The tone changes suddenly when the ASB is attacked by a weird gorilla-spider creature.

It’s a hair, black-brown beast the size of a large ape, with lots of eyes, big beefy arms, and a sticky, glob-like projectile that can it can hurl. (“It flicked a booger at me!” “It could have been worse.” “What do you mean?” “Have you been to a zoo before? Believe me, you’re lucky it was just snot.”) After the creature glues one of the guys on the student council with its web-thing, Sadie shields herself and the other students with a weird force field. She protects them long enough to escape, and then covers the boy while he frees himself.

((Sadie describes the force field like, “putting up a hand,” and when she stops stuff, “it’s like I could feel the sticky nastiness, but when the shield went away, it was like my hand was clean again. So weird.”))

Once the rest of the ASB has gotten out of the gym, the beast corners Sadie but she manages some kind of invisibility and evades the monster. She escapes the gym, locking the door behind her with the ASB key (handy to have that, isn’t it?) and they call the police and animal control. By the time the police arrive, the monster has trashed the set and escaped (beaten down a door, or chewed it off…), and they write off the thing as a bear attack. Sadie and the ASB give statements about the weird monster, but are convinced it’s a bear.

Later at home, Sadie sees her interview on the news has been chopped up and edited to make her look like a hero. Her grandmother and brothers are impressed, but she explains what really happened, and they think she’s just as cool. Her grandmother says she saw a lot of strange things in the service. Rumors fly at school about the now-legendary “spider-bear.” The student council decides to take advantage of the publicity to do a fundraiser to clean up the gymnasium, and change their dance to a rally/fundraiser.

During the fundraiser, the various members of the ASB voice to Sadie their concern about what happen, and they conclude that “they saw what they saw,” and that there was a real monster, not a bear. While the VP and treasurer are running the event, Sadie and the secretary decide to check out the film set. (They’re using the buddy system, and making sure someone knows where they are!) Sadie and the secretary easily sneak onto the film set, pretending to be interns and start poking around, trying to find evidence.

(“You should totally run for reelection next year. Can you be appointed student council president for life?”)

Together they find a private screening of the film “dailies,” which include footage apparently recovered from the wreckage in the gymnasium, showing Sadie protecting the students and evading the monster before it starts wrecking the set looking for her. Sadie and the secretary discuss what the crew might possibly do with the footage.

(“What are they going to do, blackmail you?” “Who are people going to believe if I deny having super powers? They’re making a movie.” “I guess you’re right, and they didn’t even have you sign a waiver or something. You could totally sue them for endangerment.”)

Sadie and the secretary are discovered by the burly men, who recognize Sadie, and she fends them off with her force shield so her friend can escape. Once the secretary has gotten away safely, Sadie uses her invisibility again to evade the suited men, and the two regroup in the relative safety of an empty trailer. Therein, they find tons of DVDs, presumably the evidence that the film crew has been exposing lots of people across the country to monsters and giving them supernatural powers.

They take the DVDs to use as “evidence” and slip away from the film set, going straight to the ASB. Together, the student council views one of the DVDs, and they decide they have to make sure Sadie is protected. Each one of them takes one of the stolen DVDs and promises to hide it and never give up the location, in case the film crew retaliates. Then Sadie contacts the film crew and demands the footage of her fighting the monster in exchange for the DVDs they stole.

The director himself shows up to “make the exchange,” but instead of bargaining for the evidence, he points out that the DVDs they took were of people who didn’t want to join him in his vision. He suggests that Sadie is “more reasonable” and offers her a job. (“What cause? Fighting monsters and the forces of darkness that threaten to consume our world?” “Of course not, I’m in show business to make movies!”) The director tells her she can’t have the footage back, and to keep what she stole.

By the next day, the film crew has vanished without a trace, and Sadie is left to consider her future.

“What are you going to do now, fight crime?”
“Are you kidding? I have a test tomorrow!”