Skies The Limit

Bat Fiction

What’s it About?

A spooky tale occurring the day before All Hallows Eve. Alfonso Bennett retaliating against a curfew learns a life’s lesson after being affected by a spell that punishes rebellious teenagers.


**Young Adult fiction with scary situations and YA-slang. Parental bashing, discussion of magic spells, and one thought of suicide. Eggs fly, but no fists **


(35 Minute Read)

Mischief Night changed my life. My ex-girlfriend’s dad almost caught me in her room, I got egged by a revenge-seeking old man, and a guardians spell had turned my best friend to stone. It got worse. By helping my best friend…I almost turned to stone myself. The thing is, once I knew why it happened…the statue thing, I tried to take his place… to be encased in stone forever. Yeah, it got very complicated. I thought for sure pigeons would be pooping on one or both of us in the morning.

I’ll tell you how it all happened. My name is Alfonso Bennett, but I answer to the name Fonso. Last night, the police enforced a curfew. Anyone under eighteen had to be accompanied by an adult after 6:00pm. It was Mischief Night. This is the night when kids like me cause trouble and break things around the neighborhood because we can. I was headed to Anna Richard’s house, my girlfriend at the time, hiding every step of the way.

At sixteen years of age, I proceeded in stealth, hiding behind cars and trucks. I faced arrest if caught, but the thought of causing trouble was exciting. Last year I slashed car tires, broke windows, and tossed bags of flaming dog poop on the Jersey City Police Chief’s front door. Believe me, there’s nothing funnier than watching somebody stomp out flaming poop all over their shoes and pants.

I did the poop prank on my best friend’s dad. Mr. Fraser throttled the Wi-Fi during our Call of Duty gameplay. That pissed me off so I had to get even for interfering with our fun. Unfortunately, he also happens to be the Jersey City Police Chief. He got the last laugh by enforcing a curfew on this day ever since.

My plan on Mischief Night was to install a streaming app on Anna’s phone so she could see what mischief I got into from her bedroom. I wanted her to come with me but her dad, Mr. Richards, grounded her. He and the police chief are good friends so they thought locking Anna down would ultimately hurt or lock me down too… HUH! GOOD LUCK WITH THAT! I text her that tonight would be GOAT. Oh…GOAT means Greatest Of All Times. Old people over 30 years of age wouldn’t know that. Just saying… I continued texting Anna.

Fonso: How you looking?

Anna: Bored. My dad won’t let me go to Kate’s slumber party.

Fonso: Kate?

Anna: Yeah. The new girl in history class. She’s fam.

“Wow. Kate’s already in the inner circle with the rest of the girls.” I said to myself. I text a one-word reply.

Fonso: Okay.

It amazes me how fast Anna can make friends with anyone. It’s because of her that we were together. My nerves are strong enough to break into a car, but not ask her out. So she asked me. It’s a feminist thing. I’ve gotten better expressing myself since we met. All I needed was someone to build my confidence, something my parents rarely did. Anyway, I fired off another text telling Anna I’m outside her window.

Anna’s house is a square white bungalow single-story home with a large front porch and an artificial green lawn filled with Halloween decorations. Her bedroom is in the rear. I tapped on the glass as green eyes look back through Venetian blinds. She opened the window and pulled me in. I crashed headfirst on a wood floor, busting my lip.

“Quiet! She yells just as loud. If my dad hears…”

“I know, I know. He’ll call my parents,” I said in a worried tone but thought to myself who cares. I ask for her phone to install ‘Watch Me,’ the newest live-streaming adult app. I press follow me on her profile and add Troy so we can stream in real-time privately.

“That’s pretty cool!” Anna said as I give her her phone back. “But I’ll have to tell my parents about the app later. They may have to delete it if it’s not one of their approved apps.”

“Don’t tell them,” I say defensively, thinking my mom and dad never checked my phone apps. Never cared. “What they don’t know can’t hurt us,” I say laughing to lighten the mood.

“Anna! What’s going on in there?” I hear her dad call out.

“Nothing,” she answers lamely. I hear slippers pounding the floor with purpose, approaching fast. Posing in the stance of a boxer, I look like a young Muhammad Ali. I’m ready to fight, to sting like a bee when I notice Anna’s fair skin is gray. She’s shaking like a leaf. I decide in a flash the best thing to do was jump out the window… head first.

The left side of my face connects with counterfeit grass causing, well…a rug burn. I’m quick on my feet, running like a busted burglar on the lookout for mischief patrol cops. My next stop was Troy’s house, but I took a minute to ask Anna if her dad saw me. I ducked between two cars, sit on the curb and type.

Fonso: We good?

Anna: Yes. So sorry you’re grounded too. I’ll call after I clean my room. Pwoms. Bye.

“What the what? I say, then realize she sent me a coded message. PWOMS. (Parent Watching Over My Shoulder) I text back my usual reply when I’m not sure what else to say.

Fonso: Okay.

I’m unaware as I sit on the curb someone was watching me until I got hit with a hard-boiled egg on the forehead. ‘Crack!’

“Gotcha! You little stink!” snapped an angry old man of dinosaur years wearing a black deerstalker hat and trench coat. “Let’s see how you like being ambushed. Here’s a raw one!” he shouted, throwing another egg that splattered on the car’s hood in front of me. The sulfur-like odor enveloping the surrounding air revealed his eggs weren’t the freshest in the box.

“Hey Holmes! I didn’t egg you. You got the wrong guy,” I lied.

“It was you. I never forget a punk face,” he said throwing another stink egg which exploded on the ground near me with a crack. The smell stank to high heaven.

“Phew! I’m calling the cops!”

“Go ahead, bloody curfew breaker!” he mocked as two more eggs sailed past me. Lucky for me he had an unsteady hand. I took the opportunity to run for it as he opens up a fresh carton of not so fresh jumbo eggs. Half a block ahead I saw a patrol car. If I flagged down the cop I could’ve gotten the deranged old man arrested, but they would’ve taken me in too. I believed the chief of police had a BOLO on me. That means (Be On The Look Out), for you older people. I decided to cut through Jersey City Cemetery to get away from both.

***

The ground, still wet from the previous night’s rainfall caused my sneakers to become muddy as I cut through dirt and grass. A thick fog drifts through as far as I can see. Warm, moist soil mixing with the cooler air temperature created a gloomy look throughout the cemetery. The white cloudy vapor cut visibility but I still saw a figure in the distance walking by tall tombstones, mausoleums, and getting closer. My heart raced as I ducked behind a tree, just in case it was a patrol cop or worse, the old man with the eggs. It’s neither. I see its a teen, possibly my age. He looked cold and scared. Perfect, my devious mind decides. As he gets close, I jumped out, grabbing him by the shoulder and yelled: “Hey what up?”

I have no fear of the dead since… they’re dead. But I do get concerned when a teen I’m trying to scare stops in mid-stride… and turns to stone.

***

The stone figure turned out to be a teenager, standing in place. This thing was a person, a teenager going someplace. Now it’s stone. I turned on the Watch Me phone app to contact my friends. They came into view, live-streamed after it connects with a chirp.

Fonso: I’m telling you guys, it was moving like it was on its way out the cemetery. {chirp}

Troy: I know JC Cemetery. I have relatives buried there. There’s no statue of any teens. {chirp}

Anna: I Googled it. It says there are historic figures in Jersey City Cemetery. All adults, no kids. {chirp}

Fonso: Well there’s one here now. {chirp}

I continued the live stream video so they could see what I saw.

Fonso: This is creepy, but perfect for tonight! Troy, get down here. I need help moving this thing. {chirp}

Troy: What! I thought you were coming over here! You know my dad wants me to stay home after what happened last year. {chirp}

Fonso: Don’t care what he wants! You owe me! Get down here before I change my mind about you being my best friend. {chirp}

Troy: Okay okay. I’ll sneak out. Be there in a few. Anna, you coming too? {chirp}

Anna: Nah. My dad’s scoping me out. He knew Fonso was in the house but couldn’t prove it. He nailed down the windows in my room and put an alarm on the front door. I have to watch you guys from here. {chirp}

My stomach turned over after hearing Anna talk about the trouble I got her in with her parents. Before she met me she had a good relationship with them. Disrespect for my parents is rubbing off on Troy and Anna. I fell back on my universal response to both friends since I felt awkward.

Fonso: Okay. {chirp}

***

While I waited for Troy, Anna found out some things that connected to the strange statue. She told me about a kid that went missing two years ago. The Youth Corrections Center in Jersey City released Lynel Morgan, age 15 for a supervised visit to see his parents during the Holidays. After a huge Thanksgiving feast with relatives local and out of state, Lynel snuck out and stole the family’s car. It crashed a block from the JC Cemetery. He hasn’t been seen since. It was rumored that Lynel was a victim of the Stone Spell. Its a form of punishment put on unrepentant rebellious kids by their parents.

The spell turns bad teens to stone, with no chance of escape, until they find another rebellious teen to transfer the spell to by touch. They have the opportunity to do this one day each year when they return to life on Mischief Night. Parents advise the best way to break the Stone Spell is Skies the limit for good, whatever that is. Anna advised me to stay away from it. I stand back out of reach but don’t leave. I’m waiting for Troy. My plan was to figure out how to use this new information to cause havoc.

Fonso: I think you Googled some BS parental folklore to scare straight kids. {chirp}

Anna: That doesn’t explain the statue. Stay away from it Fonso! Please! {chirp}

Just then Troy broke through the darkness, a flashlight beam leading the way.

“Wow! So that’s it, Troy says out of breath, a few steps away. I ran all the way here. It only took 5 minutes to get to the cemetery, but 15 minutes to find this spot, he said huffing.

Without warning, the stone statue of the teen cracked. Pieces of stone burst away revealing a boy. Troy dropped the flashlight and started streaming so Anna could see from his point of view. The boy shook off the rest of the stone like a wet dog shaking off water.

Troy: Anna! Did you see that! The kid just cracked the stone from his body. He’s human now. Did you see it! {chirp}

Anna: Guys! Get away from him. He’s dangerous! {chirp}

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, the kid reached out to Troy, hands looking for purchase. Troy tried to sidestep, but the stone boy was ready. I think he waited for this chance for a long time. Troy turned to flee but was exhausted from running earlier. The kid grabbed him by the seat of his pants, pulling them down…just before Troy turned to stone.

Before I could react the boy took off yelling “I’m free,” running at top speed towards the cemetery exit.

“I’m Free!” he yelled again. It was the last thing I heard before he disappeared in the fog.

My eyes open wide as I stood frozen in place. I didn’t know what to do. I just witnessed a stone boy turning human, grabbing my best friend by his pants, pulling them down… as he turned to stone. Troy reminds me of an old Coppertone sunscreen advertisement. The one with the dog pulling a kids bikini down.

Fonso: Anna! Troy is stone! He’s friggin stone! What am I going to do! {chirp}

Fonso: Anna! {chrip}

Fonso: Anna! {chirp}

I check the app. It tells me Troy is offline. One look at Troy and I see his phone is stone in his hand, which is also stone. That explains that. I check Anna’s status. It tells me Anna Richard cannot be found!

“What!” I yell. Then it hits me. Her parents must have deleted Anna’s profile on the app. I tried to text her next.

Fonso: Anna? What happened? I need help. Troy is stone. I don’t know what to do. Come down here quick and help me!

Anna: So sorry Fonso. My dad deleted the app. He said it’s for 18 and over adults for adult use only. Pwoms.

Fonso: I DONT CARE! You get down here now. I’m not asking. I’m telling you. I need help!

Anna always had a cool head during heated moments. After what felt an eternity, she texts me an ice-cold reply I’d never guessed was coming.

Anna: I talked it over with my parents like I told you I do sometimes. I think it’s best we break up. I cant help you. You have to help yourself. Figure out the cure. Skies the limit. Bye.

I put down my phone, dazed. For the first time since I arrived at the cemetery, I listened to my surroundings. I heard the faint sound of leaves rustling against mausoleums, last call birds fluttering about looking for insects to fill up on before flying south. The wind whispering quietly in the moonlight telling me… I’m alone.

Pacing back and forth, my thoughts whirl around like a Russian-roulette wheel gaining speed. Anna has left me. Spin. Troy is stone. Spin. Parents divorced. Spin. Curfews. Spin. Drinking. Spin. Stealing. Spin, spin, spin. I became dizzy and began to shiver.

I sat down next to my best friend. Tears run uncontrollably down my face as I think about my life, my actions. I knew my parents weren’t the monsters I’d made them out to be. I kept asking for more than they could give. Then I met Anna. She helped me stay out of some trouble but all I did was dig her in. I had planned to live-stream stealing a car and dumping it in the river. I’d make Troy come with me just in case I got caught. His cop dad would pull some strings and get us off the hook.

That’s what I planned. To bring my best friend down with me. But I know better now. No matter what happened to me I vowed to save my friend. He didn’t deserve this. I wiped my eyes. Standing up, I remember what Anna told me about the Stone Spell. It only affects disrespectful teens. The spell could be transferred to another.

Anna said ‘Skies the limit for good.’ For good. I felt sick at the thought. It means to die. The world would be a better place without me, and my death would save Troy. I hugged the stone statue that was my best friend tightly, praying I could transfer the spell by touch from him to me. I’m the truly bad one, not Troy. Nothing happens.
I looked towards the full moon and scream a guttural sound that makes the remaining wildlife run in the opposite direction.

“Take me, guardian. Take me! Please.” I begged. “I would take his place in a heartbeat. I promise you Troy and Anna will stay out of trouble…as long as you have me. I won’t be around to influence them for bad stuff. If I become human next year for one night, I won’t transfer the spell to another kid. The spell stops with me. I don’t want anyone else to feel like this, to be alone, like me. I promise… I promise…”

That’s when It happened. Troy’s stone body started to crack. Small movements in the stone caused the human underneath to break free. My friend was back. He pulled up his pants, then embraced me.

“Your back!” I said, excited to have my friend return but not understanding.

“I was stone, but I heard what you said.” He smiled at me. “You broke the spell. Skies the limit means giving your all, not death. It means putting others ahead of your needs. You were willing to swap places with me. Then you promised not to transfer the spell to others. You were willing to sacrifice yourself for me and other teens. That’s GOAT man,” Troy said.

“I, I’m just glad to have you back, I told him while turning my head away to conceal watering eyes.

“I Better get going. My dad may have noticed I snuck out. The sooner I get home the less grounding there will be,” Troy said.

“How about I call your dad. I’ll explain that I dragged you out past curfew, but more importantly, we found a kid wandering in the cemetery. He may not be Lynel Morgan, but he needs to be found and reunited with his family. Your dad, the Chief of police could get that going fast with my help… if he wants it,” I say. Troy agreed.

As we waited for his dad to pick us up, I thought about apologizing to my parents for being such a prick just because they divorced. And an apology is due to that old man if I ever see him without eggs. My bucket list of asking forgiveness was growing. Anna is at the top, but I feel too much damage has been done to repair that relationship. I sigh, then a question came to mind so I asked Troy.

“Hey, I thought on Mischief Night whoever was stone could turn human for a little while, at least long enough to turn someone else. Why didn’t you turn human again?” I ask.

“Oh, I could have. But I was mad at you for making me come to the cemetery. I didn’t want to take the chance I would change you. I wasn’t going to sacrifice you to save myself. As it turned out, your actions and me not turning you for revenge was enough to break the spell for both of us.” Troy tells me.

I saw a patrol car approaching with lights flashing at the cemetery entrance where we stood. Chief Fraser rolls the window down and focuses on me.

“You boys want to explain yourselves?” he said while making a gesture for us to get in the back seat of the cruiser. I opened the door and we got in. I took a deep breath and said to myself, ‘Skies the limit.’

Copyright © 2019 Darnell Cureton. All Rights Reserved
Shout Out To Nova – for story concept and development. Everybody needs a supernova in their pocket! 🌞
A/N – This will be my new format for story description and content. Let me know if it works… or not.
Thanks.


Below is the vintage tanning ad from the 1950s I made reference to in my story. Fonso wouldn’t know about it in real life but I thought it would be fun to mention it in my story. Those of you under 19 years of age won’t know what this is…Just Saying. happy writing folks! 😊

coppertone

  One thought on “Skies The Limit

  1. November 5, 2019 at 10:11 am

    How did you come up with all the slang? It seems to be evolving with every passing year. Whenever I think I ‘caught up”, it’s onto something else. Now I know how my parents felt when I was a kid.
    Interesting story and concept. Nice teachable lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 5, 2019 at 10:16 am

      I researched teen communication, abbreviations, text messages. Some of the slang came up. I bet they don’t use it anymore now that adults have the dictionary. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. November 5, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Oh, wait, this is not the same story as the published one. I shall read this one next.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. November 2, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    After looking at other people’s comments, I feel really old that I knew what the Coppertone advertisement looked like… (I’m not as old as the ad, though, I’m 43)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. November 2, 2019 at 8:07 pm

    I like it

    Liked by 1 person

  5. November 1, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Woooop, amazing piece of work my friend! “The limit for good”, I didn’t think of that meaning to die, like the protagonist anticipated. It’s interesting how that, and the real meaning of giving it your all, showed how the protagonist was willing to make such a sacrifice. I like that the Stone Spell affects only those unruly, disrespectful teens😂 I like the different format, I thought it worked really well because it felt more broken down and easier to read and digest. I liked that vintage ad reference and you showing what it is afterwards, pretty funny ad for the 50s! Very, very nicely done, Darnell! x

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 1, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      Thank you Caz. I didn’t think limit for good meant die either, but Fonso was feeling sorry for himself and only thought negatively as teen do at times. So glad you liked it…just saying 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  6. October 31, 2019 at 6:29 am

    Outstanding!!!! I am so impressed with what you did with the concept. I love the humor. I love the old man’s spunk. I love the part of returning the stone figure to his family. (That would make for an amazing next chapter!). Well done. LOVE every single detail.

    Liked by 2 people

    • October 31, 2019 at 6:58 am

      That’s a great idea! Maybe for next year we find out who that teen was and where he went. Thanks for the support Nova!

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 31, 2019 at 7:11 am

        I can’t wait clear till next year to wait. Maybe I write this chapter?

        Liked by 1 person

      • October 31, 2019 at 7:13 am

        Cool! I would love your point of view 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      • October 31, 2019 at 7:35 am

        🤗🤗🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  7. October 31, 2019 at 6:09 am

    Great story, Darnell, it had me hooked. Of course I remember the Coppertone ad, but I have to admit I was grateful for your ‘teen-speak’ translations 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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