Mar 23 2009
They were no longer human…
- Angela Warner — protagonist; new girl in town; Mary’s BFF
- Mary Blanc — gun-toting avenger; currently in jail
- Jim Kline — stud football jock; Mary’s boyfriend; possible monster
- Kevin Christopher — Angela’s friend; in love with Angela
- Lt. Nguyen — cop investigating Mary’s murders; former captain in South Vietnamese Army
- Shining Feather — wise old Indian dude
- Mike Warner — Angela’s grandfather and guardian; horndog
- Plastic — Mike’s collie
- Todd Green — football player
- Kathy Baker — head cheerleader
Monster is one of Christopher Pike’s most well-known and -loved books, and I certainly remember devouring this book (pun intended) several times in the mid-’90s. It’s a mix of classic Pike (horny teens, a lot of cheating, good old-fashioned murder) and sci-fi Pike (aliens, time travel, lots of dream sequences). With Monster, Pike bridges the gap between his telluric stories of teens killing each other and faking their deaths (Gimme a Kiss, Last Act) and the otherwordly realm of spaceships and visitors from other dimensions (The Star Group, The Visitor). This mixture makes Monster quite similar to 1989′s Scavenger Hunt, which is actually one of my favorite Pike books, along with Spellbound. (Both books, and Monster, also feature teenagers eating people, which means that I probably need therapy…lots of it.) I loved Monster as a teen, and I found myself enjoying it as an adult, too. I can’t say that for all of Pike’s books — Whisper of Death especially pisses me off now in my crusty old age — so good on you, Monster. And with that, let’s get on to the actual recapping biz.
First things first, the opening lines are blatant untruths. The book claims, “It began with blood. It would end the same way.” But it totally doesn’t end with blood. Pike, you fucking liar.
ANYways. We open at a par-tay. No, it’s not Sweet Valley — it’s the small town of Point, to which our fearless heroine, Angela, is new. The party really gets underway when Angela’s BFF Mary comes in with a loaded shotgun. I know that in itself probably alarms most people, but I grew up in the country-fried back woods of Alabama, and that’s sort of the norm for our parties. Mary aims the gun at Todd, a linebacker, and basically blows him in half. Mary, Mary…why you buggin’? Mary moves on to head cheerleader Kathy and (literally) blows her brains out. She then fixes her sights on her boyfriend Jim, Mr. Hot Jock Football Player. Angela screams, and Mary’s shot goes wide, and Jim scurries out of Mary’s range. Angela tries to stop Mary, but Mary kicks her in the face. Nice! Angela then appeals to the rest of the partygoers to stop Mary. The kids, who’ve been just sitting around in stunned silence, start running around wildly. Personally, I would have already made a comical Whitney-shaped hole in the wall hauling ass out of there after Mary’s first shot, but hey, to each his own.
Angela runs outside after Mary and basically falls into the arms of a cop on the scene. We learn later that this cop’s name is Lt. Nguyen. Angela gives Nguyen a brief synopsis of Mary’s insanity, and Nguyen gathers up his fellow cops to go after Mary. Angela’s worried that Mary will get hurt by the cops, so she goes off on her own to try to talk Mary down. She runs into Jim on the way, and then they both run into Mary. Oops. Mary’s jonesin’ to kill Jim; as she tells Angela, “He’s not human.” Angela understandably think that Mary’s lost her goddamn mind. Before Mary can shoot Jim, Nguyen shows up to save the day. Looking down the barrel of a cop’s gun, Mary drops her shotgun, but then pulls a handgun out and shoots Jim in the leg. Nguyen shoots the gun out of Mary’s hand (AWESOME) and tackles Mary.
The next day, Angela goes to the police station. Really? The next day? Hell, in Gimme A Kiss, the cops had the whole frickin’ high school hauled in for interviews, like, fifteen minutes after everything went down. I guess because the cops have Mary in custody, they don’t see a reason for haste. Angela learns that Nguyen was a captain in the South Vietnamese Army, which undoubtedly means he is super-hardcore. Nguyen asks about Mary’s relationship with Jim, Todd, and Kathy, and Angela can’t figure out what those three had in common to inspire Mary’s murderous rage. Nguyen lets Angela visit with Mary, and Angela flashes back to the day she first met her friend. Mary was dancing like “a Greek nymph” by the lake to rock music, while wearing a skin-tight green leotard and tights. Because all the Greek nymphs I know wear spandex. We learn that Mary is gorgeous and has an awesome curvy bod. We also learn that Angela “seldom ate much.” This will be important later, methinks.
Mary tells Angela that Todd and Kathy “were not human beings anymore” — they were “monsters.” Hey, that’s like the title of this book! She says that, of late, some of the cheerleaders and football players were demonstrating supernatural strength — once she saw Kathy lift “at least 1000 pounds straight over her head” in the weight room. Angela’s skeptical, but Mary insists. Mary goes on to tell about one night when the monstrous trio picked up two couples at a bar and took them to a warehouse. The couples never came out (dun dun DUN). And when Mary went in the warehouse to investigate, there was blood on the floor. She implies that Jim, Todd, and Kathy ate the couples. I can totally see where one would reach that conclusion, given the evidence. She warns Angela to stay away from Jim. When Angela leaves, she lies to Nguyen that Mary didn’t tell her anything, but Nguyen taped their conversation. Of course. He sort of doesn’t disbelieve Mary, mainly because she seems so sane and sure of herself (don’t the craziest people always seem that way?), so he decides to track down this mysterious warehouse.
After Todd and Kathy’s double funeral, Jim approaches Angela. Jim is, according to Pike, a “totally rad dude.” I can’t tell if Pike is being sarcastic/ironic here or not. Probably? Jim asks Angela if Mary told him anything, and she vaguely replies that Mary was just talking nonsense. Jim says that Mary was pissed because Jim was breaking up with her, and that she threatened Kathy not to date Jim. I would say that this is a lame, irrational reason for a double homicide, but this is the YA horror world, where that sort of shit actually happens. Jim seems not at all injured from Mary shooting him in the leg. Also, he wants to take Angela out. Now isn’t that sweet?
Later that day, we learn that Angela’s grandfather Mike is a senior-citizen playa. Angela’s friend Kevin shows up. Kevin is totes in love with Angela. Aw, he’s Duckie! Angela and Kevin engage in some very non-sexy sexy banter (the kind that virgins in a sexually tense friendships make), and we are introduced to Mike’s dog Plastic, who stares at the lake all the time but won’t ever go in. Oh, yeah, guys, by the way? There’s a lake in the town, called Point Lake, that may or may not be absolutely vital to the plot of this book. Sorry I forgot to mention it before. Anyway, as they talk about the murders, Angela tells Kevin that, when she dies, she “want[s] to be shot into space and dropped into the sun.” You may just get your wish, Angie girl. Angela tells Kevin about Mary’s batshit ramblings, leading Kevin to exposit a little history of Point. The high school just opened last year, and initially a bunch of kids got sick for no apparent reason — mainly cheerleaders and football players. A bunch of experts and scientists were called in to examine the school environment and found no reason for the illnesses.
Angela and Kevin visit the library to do some research. Angela finds a reference in the newspaper archives to Point Lake being formed by a meteor. Kevin says yeah, that’s the prevailing theory. He says that the high school gets its water from the lake, but a lot of people in town (Kevin and Angela included) get their home water from a well. And apparently you can’t get a good compass reading in the town because of the magnetic iron in the ground. Well, that was fucking fascinating.
Angela goes to the football game on Friday night. She doesn’t notice anything supernatural about the team, although they are playing much better than anyone expected. Jim completes over 75% of his passes. That’s admirable, but far from supernatural. Hell, even Tony Romo can pull off a 75% completion rate. Call me when you reach the 90s along with Vinnie Testaverde. (Yeah, I love football. What’s it to ya?) Jim and Angela go out after the game, and Jim tells Angela that he wanted to leave Mary for her. Angela can’t see the flashing neon LIAR sign on Jim’s forehead, though, ’cause she’s consumed with lust for his body. They go to a restaurant, and Jim basically eats everything there. Afterwards, they go back to Angela’s place, where Jim almost runs over Mike’s bigass propane tank with his truck. Jim says that, if the tank exploded, it would blow up the whole house. Let’s file that away in Interesting Trivia That May Come in Handy Later, shall we?
Jim and Angela go for a romantic walk around the lake. Angela’s not hip to the oil wells on the hills raping the environment, but Jim appreciates them because his daddy’s money comes from them. Then Jim starts making out with Angela, grabbing her butt and groping her boob. HELLS YEAH! See, THIS is why I love Pike: the hot teen sex action! Oh, wait, that makes me sound like a perv, doesn’t it? I meant when I was a teen, I loved…oh, there’s no way to make this better, is there? Let’s just move on. Jim wants to skinny-dip in the lake, even though the water’s icy-cold. Hasn’t he ever heard of shrinkage? He takes off his clothes, and Angela is appreciative. He swims around in the lake for a bit, then comes out and chases after Angela, all naked and dripping. Angela thinks he intends to drag her into the lake, which would not be my first thought if a naked 17-year-old guy was running after me. She runs away, and he chases her — until he cuts his arm on a tree. Suddenly he’s re-pantsed, and gushing blood. Angela and Jim start making out again, and he opens her blouse. Get you some, Jim! Then there’s this line:
She felt a warm, sticky liquid being smeared across her belly as he squeezed her closer.
ZOMG SRSLY WARM STICKY LIQUID SQUEEEEEEEEEE…oh never mind, it’s just blood. Jim tries to play it off and continue the makeout session, which to me is more of an indication that he’s a normal human teenage male than an alien monster, but whatevs. Angela’s not having it, though. She’s both grossed out and worried that Jim might bleed out right in front of her. She ties his shirt around his arm as a tourniquet, and he leaves, but not before kissing her and touching her boob — “under the bra” (!!!). Then Angela goes to bed and ohdearlordinheaven DREAM SEQUENCE ALERT.
The World is alive. The World is hungry. The World is immortal. blahblah the World blah. Angela’s walking through a flowered meadow, and she tries to speak to God, but God’s not there. Maybe he’s in the bathroom? Then suddenly blood starts raining from the sky, reawakening the World’s hunger. Angela’s feet start to hurt, and she falls, and the blood starts to eat her.
When Angela wakes up, she feels like ass. She threw up after the dream, and she feels like she’s getting the flu. Yeah, I hear that season’s flu was a monster (get it? get it?). Kevin comes over, and he’s stunned to learn that the Point High football team won their game so handily. Apparently Jim was a pathetic excuse for a QB last year. Mike has left a note saying he’s gone to Chicago for a few days. Strange…the note is typewritten. Hmm. Also, the newspaper has an article about a football player sustaining a paralyzing neck injury in last night’s game, after being tackled by Point High player Larry Zurer. Better watch out, Larry — that player’s girlfriend might go crazy and try to kill you. People on the field didn’t think Larry even hit the guy that hard, but the doctor said “that boy’s neck looked like it had been cracked by a sledgehammer.” Angela tells Kevin that Larry Zurer was on Mary’s List o’ Possible Monsters. She wants to go talk to Mary, but first she needs food. They stop by McDonald’s, and she wolfs down a Big Mac, which surprises Kevin. ‘Cause remember, Angela doesn’t eat a lot, see?
Mary asks Angela if she’s been hanging with Jim, and Angela avoids the question by telling Mary about the crippled football player. Mary’s all, Damn, I knew it. Then she perceptively asks Angela if Jim’s suddenly acting all in love with her, telling her that he wanted to dump Mary for her. Angela ‘fesses up that she went out with Jim, and Mary is full of pity and contempt for her stupid, stupid friend. She tells Angela that Jim’s only acting interested in her to get to Mary, and that he’ll probably wind up killing Angela…or worse. Angela’s able to get a few more details out of Mary about the abandoned warehouse where the alleged couple-eating went down — namely that it’s on the edge of town and had chicken crates in it. Mary asks Angela why all of a sudden she’s almost believing Mary, and Angela tells her it’s because of a dream she had where she was eaten alive. If I put as much stock into my dreams as Pike’s characters do, I would have gone insane a long time ago. Angela leaves the police station and tells Kevin they’re going on a hunt for chicken warehouses. Hey, that’s Lt. Nguyen’s plan, too! What a coinky-dink! Because of course Nguyen was listening in on Mary and Angela’s convo. He got a bad feeling about Jim when he interviewed him — Jim reminded him of a soldier he once commanded who killed without remorse and raped a village girl. Nguyen killed that sick rat-bastard and never once regretted it. At least that soldier didn’t eat anyone alive, though, so…deviant soldier 1, Jim 0.
Angela and Kevin find the food wholesaler’s warehouse where Mary claims Jim, Kathy, and Todd ate the two couples. Inside, they find a strangely circular clean patch of concrete with dried blood in it. They’re both spooked. Angela feels that now is a good time to tell Kevin that she went out with Jim last night. Kevin asks, pitifully, “What’s wrong with me?” Aww. Poor Duckie Kevin. Angela says she doesn’t know what’s wrong with her, but that she doesn’t feel good. She starts to cry and says, “I had a bad dream last night.” She assures Kevin that she cares about him, and she lies and promises she won’t see Jim again. But emotional time is over now, and Angela wants to go to the library to research Indians. That’s what I call a fun Saturday afternoon!
After dropping Kevin off, Angela goes to McDonald’s. Man, Mickey D’s gets a lot of play in this book. She eats one Big Mac, but that doesn’t satisfy her gnawing hunger, so she orders a second one, extra rare. That’s actually how I eat my steak, so I just might be an alien monster. I’ll let you know if I ever find myself in a warehouse chowing down on anyone. At the library, Angela asks the stodgy old woman librarian (because everyone knows there are no young, sexy librarians in the world) about these two subjects:
The Indians who lived in this area before the white man arrived, and the meteor that created Point Lake.
Back that shit up for a second, there, Angie. Did you just say “the Indians who lived in this area before the white man arrived?” Who do you think you are — Leonard Peltier? Pike is always doing this shit, and it always annoys me. Unless Angela is actually Native American (suggested Indian name: Makes Out With Monsters), she just sounds absolutely culturally retarded saying something like “before the white man arrived.” GAAAHHHH.
OK, I’m calm now. Anyway, Angela has hit the librarian jackpot, because this old lady *hearts* Indians. She brings Angela a buttload of reading material on Point’s Indians (and one lone article on the meteor), and Angela gets to researchin’. She reads about the meteor first. A carbon-14 radioactive decay test showed that it hit about 100,000 years ago. Except that I’m sure it didn’t, since carbon-14 dating has an upper age limit of about 60,000 years. Plus it’s typically used to date organic material like fossils, not rocks. More likely the geologists used potassium-argon dating, although aluminum-26 dating is also a possibility. (I learned this shit from one of my ever-present audiobooks on a long road trip. I knew it would come in handy one day!) The author goes on to compare Point Lake to another meteor site in South America, which was apparently formed at the same time and by the same material. Angela notes the author’s name: Alan Spark, professor of geology at the University of Michigan. I don’t know how this Spark character got his Ph.D. if he doesn’t even understand carbon-14 dating, but whatevs.
Angela moves on to the documents on the local Indian tribe, the Manton. The Manton made several references to Point Lake, which they called Sethia, or Bath of Blood. Well, that’s a pleasant image. Sethia was connected to the word KAtuu. Angela can’t quite figure out what the KAtuu are, but she does surmise that they emerged from the lake and that they’re deadly. The Manton had a sacred rule that no member of the tribe was to ever drink from the lake. The old librarian tells Angela that if she really wants to get up close and personal with some Native American history, she should go visit Shining Feather, an old and gray Indian who was old and gray 60 years ago. Oooooooh, it’s so mystical!
Angela heads out to visit Mr. Feather. On the way, she eats a raw foot-long sausage. Insert your own foot-long sausage joke here. At Feather’s shop, Angela tells the old Indian’s great-great-granddaughter that she’s doing a report on the Manton and would like to speak to Feather. By the way, the great-great-granddaughter is never named, so I’m going to call her Tallulah, a name that is probably of Native American (Choctaw) origin and which also belongs to one of my idols. Because typing Tallulah is easier than typing great-great-granddaughter. Feather doesn’t speak English, so Tallulah acts as translator. Angela jumps right in by asking about Point Lake, but Feather doesn’t want to talk about the lake. He convinced some white settlers not to drink from the lake, to create wells for their drinking water instead. Angela says that now people are drinking from the lake because of the high school. Feather’s concerned by this — the children mustn’t drink from the lake because that’s where “the sickness” comes from.
Angela presses about the lake’s original name, Sethia, and says that she’s read about the KAtuu. She thinks some of the high school kids have changed into KAtuu. Feather tells her not to say that word because it’s evil, and he asks if anyone has died, and how. Angela says that the kids might have eaten four people alive. I have to commend Tallulah for maintaining her professionalism here in the face of such weirdness. She just keeps right on translatin’. Feather says the Manton called the lake the Bath of Blood because that’s “where the drinking of blood always started.” The KAtuu change on the inside before they change on the outside, but the first sign of the change is their hunger for blood. Angela thinks about her recent cravings for raw meat. Feather grabs her wrist and feels her pulse for a while, then throws her hand aside and gets all agitated. Tallulah tells Angela that she needs to get the hell out. Feather calls Angela “KAtuu.” Angela pleads with him that she wants help to know how to stop these people-eating bastards. Feather gives her a gold chain with a gold amulet of a headless bat. Hey, didn’t I see that on QVC last week? I think it was in the new Joan Rivers Decapitated Chiroptera Collection. Feather tells Angela to wear the chain and to kill the KAtuu. She asks Feather if she’s been infected, and he asks if she’s hungry. When Angela replies, “All the time,” Feather shakes his head sadly. Apparently Angela’s blood is as cold as the lake. With that cheery bit of information, Angela leaves.
On the way home, Angela basically buys up every steak in town. Maybe she’s just anemic, yo. She’s cooking when Jim comes in. He wants to eat dinner at the oil wells. That certainly seems appetizing. Angela notices that Jim is cold and distant now, no longer trying to charm his way into her pants and her bloodstream. But Angela still wants him: “He was bad, but he was so bad he looked good.” OK, seriously, folks. This isn’t a high school rebel who plays guitar in a band, smokes a lot of pot, and cuts class all the time. This is a guy who eats people. There’s having a thing for bad boys, and then there’s having no fucking sense of self-preservation whatsoever. Guess which side our Angie falls on?
Jim and Angela take their steaks up the hill to the oil wells, where we’re treated with this delightful imagery:
The silver light gleamed on the oily tubing. Up and down, in and out — pumping.
We get it, Angela. You’re horny. But there are plenty of guys out there you can fuck, and most of them are not alien monsters. (Some of them, however, are frat boys, and that may be even worse.) And probably a lot of them are better conversationalists than Jim, who helpfully says, “The lake is round.” Thanks! There’s no possible way that Angela could have observed that on her own. Jim does, however, know that the lake was formed by a meteor 100,000 years ago, and notes that “the impact liberate[d] more energy than a thousand nuclear warheads,” so I’ll give him tiny, tiny snaps for that. After they eat, Jim wants to go swimming. Obviously Momma Kline never warned her son to wait 30 minutes after a meal before swimming. They go to Angela’s house and make out, and Jim strips and dives into the lake from Angela’s bedroom balcony. Angela runs into her bathroom and takes off her headless-bat necklace. Probably not the best idea, but I can’t blame her. I love bats (no, really), and I couldn’t stand to wear a pendant featuring a decapitated one, either. She takes off her clothes and then jumps into the lake with Jim. You’ll never guess what happens next. THEY MAKE OUT. I bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? Somehow Angela’s tongue gets bitten — she doesn’t know if she bit it or if Jim did. Either way, you kids need some lessons in proper kissing techniques, ’cause ewwwwww.
So they keep right on kissing even though Angela’s tongue is bleeding all in both of their mouths. SEX-AY. Then they get out of the lake and go into Angela’s room, where they lie down (naked and wet) on Angela’s bed. And you can guess what happens next, right? If you said, “Angela falls asleep and has another fucked-up dream,” then you, my friend, must be familiar with the works of Mr. C. Pike. That’s right…we’re taken into another dream sequence. Angela is in the mind of the World, but her body is sent away to feed. She goes to Earth, where some humans greet her, “happy to see her again” — they think Angela is a human whom they sent off to explore the World a few months ago. Eventually Angela’s body changes into its “true” form, and she can fly. But now she can no longer blend in with the humans, so she retreats to a cave and is weakened. Then some humans in red uniforms bust up into her cave with “hand-held weapons that fired beams of ruby light.” Ooh, blasters! Sweeeet! A monster/alien is brought into the middle of the circle of humans and “decapitated by a beam that cut down everything in its path.” Hmmm…sounds an awful lot like a lightsaber to me. Look, Pike, Star Wars influenced me a lot, too, but surely you can come up with some of your own crazy-ass futuristic weapons. Angela thinks, “More humans would travel from the third planet to the fifth, and more of her kind would take birth.” Is “take birth” even an acceptable verb phrase? Somehow I don’t think so. Then dream-Angela is decapitated via lightsaber, and real-Angela wakes up.
Jim’s sitting, naked, on the balcony, staring at the lake. Angela goes downstairs and eats two steaks. When she returns to her room, Jim is gone. Good riddance, I say. Angela goes back to sleep, and this time she doesn’t dream, thank the gods.
The next day, Angela goes to the University of Michigan. You may remember the university as home to one Alan Spark, the geology professor responsible for the lone article on the meteor that formed Point Lake. Angela feeds him a line about writing an article on Point High’s water safety for the town paper, and he agrees to talk to her as long as she doesn’t mention his name in print. Well, Alan, I don’t see how you can humiliate yourself any further, since you’re already in print claiming that carbon-14 dating did something that it’s incapable of doing. Professor Spark goes on to talk about what he thinks is wrong with Point Lake’s water, and I just can’t help myself from nitpicking a bit. So if you don’t want to read about electromagnetism (but why on earth wouldn’t you?), then feel free to skip the next paragraph. Just know that Spark’s bottom line is this: the high magnetism around the lake has somehow affected its water.
Professor Spark starts talking about the strong magnetism in the bedrock of the lake. He mentions the health problems of people who live near high-tension electrical wires, which…post hoc ergo propter hoc. He claims that a popular theory for this phenomenon is that “the electromagnetic balance of the body is upset by the magnetic field the wires give off.” Um, no. No scientist would ever claim that theory. Professor Spark obviously didn’t get the memo that any biological effects from electromagnetism are from the ELECTRICAL forces rather than the magnetic. When we worry about EMF radiation, we’re worrying about non-ionizing electrical radiation. Magnets just don’t fucking bother us this much. Angela is shocked to learn that electrical wires give off magnetic fields. Well, duh, Angela. All electrical currents produce a magnetic field — and that’s pretty much the only way magnetic fields are formed. But I have to cut Angela some slack, because she probably doesn’t read physics books for fun like I do. You don’t have to tell me I’m a pathetic loser, because I already know. Professor Spark goes on to say that he told the people building Point High that it might be unhealthy for people to drink water that’s been continuously exposed to a magnetic field. Someone needs to tell Ghana that Professor Alan Spark thinks it’s unhealthy to hang out around a lake in an impact crater. Spark, to his professional credit, concedes that water can’t be magnetized, but then he goes on to say that magnetic fields can change the properties of water. OMG SRSLY? OK, here’s a quick lesson in basic magnetism. Only solids can be permanently magnetized. Non-solid substances with an odd number of electrons can be temporarily magnetized. Water a.) is not a solid, and b.) has 10 electrons. Magnetism does not affect it (except to almost-imperceptibly repel it, but that happens with any diamagnetic material) . Let me repeat that. MAGNETIC FIELDS CANNOT ALTER THE PROPERTIES OF WATER.
OK, no more boring electromagnetic talk, I promise. Spark moves on to a more logical (well, logical for this book) reason for the weirdness happening in Point. Apparently he found a fossilized microorganism in and around the lake, with “a DNA structure unlike anything on record.” He asks Angela why she’s only now getting around to writing this article, instead of back when the school was being built. Angela tells him that students have been getting sick again. Spark says he found the strange microorganism in Chile, at the lake formed by the meteor that crashed at the same time as the Point Lake meteor. Remember that, from like 20 years ago? This lake was called Lake Sentia by the Ropan Indians who used to live there, and the Ropans spoke of beings called the Kalair that came from the lake. These Kalair creatures were evil and craved human flesh. The Ropans happened to be excellent astronomers, and they believed the Kalair came from “the fifth planet.” Remember Angela’s dream, with the lightsabers and the blasters and that whole thing about the fifth planet? Spark says that he doubts the “fifth planet” was our current fifth planet, Jupiter, but rather a planet that used to be between Mars and Jupiter before blowing up and forming our solar system’s main asteroid belt. Yeah, no self-respecting scientist still thinks that. Plus, as Angela points out, Spark’s theory that the debris from this explosion formed Lake Sentia and Lake Sethia would mean that the asteroid belt was formed only 100,000 years ago. WHY HAS THIS MAN’S PH.D. NOT BEEN REVOKED? Anyway, blah blah, both meteor lakes are weirdness plus.
Spark points out that, last year, the students who drank the most water were the ones who got sick. Who drank the most water, you ask? Why, the football players and the cheerleaders, of course! They were practicing at school during the hot summer days, so they drank a buttload of water. Spark’s done with his pseudoscientific ramblings, so he asks Angela to fill him in on the recent Point High happenings. She tells him that Point has a few monsters running around eating people, and that she might be one herself. Whoa, whoa…TMI there, Angie! Angela tells Spark about her dream. Because people love it when you tell them your dreams. Angela’s starting to think Spark is smellin’ pretty tasty, so she runs out.
She heads to — guess where?? — McDonald’s! As she’s eating three rare Big Macs, she hears on the radio that Mary was released on $500,000 bail. That is so not good for Mary’s aliveness. Angela heads out to Mary’s family’s cabin, where she figures Mary is hiding out. Inside the cabin, there’s trouble both above and below. On the floor is a dead cop with a gaping shotgun wound; hanging from the ceiling by a thin wire around her neck is Mary. The scene is set up to look like Mary blasted the cop and then killed herself. Angela notes that Mary and the cop both look like they’ve been nibbled on a bit. Angela takes Mary down, because she can’t just leave her BFF hangin’. (Sorry, that was bad.) She starts crying as she holds Mary, but then her pangs of grief turn to hunger pangs. She wipes some of Mary’s blood onto her fingers, then licks them. YUMMY. As she’s doing this, Nguyen walks in. He’s been following her. He asks Angela what the hell’s going on, and she says she’s “become a naughty little girl.” Well, that’s a bit of an understatement.
Angela goes home and almost eats Plastic. Jim comes in, interrupting her. I’m so glad that Pike doesn’t kill animals as often as R.L. Stine does. Jim tells her that he wrote the note from her grandfather, and Angela looks at Mike’s closed bedroom door, realizing that “Jim had probably eaten him immediately after their first date.” Getting eaten on your first date can be pretty awesome, but I’m thinking this particular instance? Not so much. Jim tells Angela that she’s a monster now, and she wants to meet all of the others. She proposes a party that night. Woo! Monster party! Will they do the Monster Mash? Maybe slow-dance to some Monster Ballads? Watch a monster truck rally while they search for jobs at Monster.com? I got a million of ‘em, folks!
After Jim leaves, Angela goes into her grandfather’s bedroom. Mike is still there, in part(s). HA. Oh, I kill me. She cries a little over the grandfather she didn’t know well but still loved and admired, and she realizes that she still has a lot of humanity within her because she can still feel love and grief. She also realizes that’s she got the perfect opportunity to rid the Earth of this scourge, because in just a few hours all of the monsters are going to be under her roof. And that roof, my friends, will be on fire. And Angela won’t put it out because she wants that motherfucker to burn. That’s right: Angela’s going to blow up the house. She can’t depend on Mike’s 40-gallon propane tank, so she’s going to rig a gasoline bomb in the basement. But she doesn’t want to die with the rest of the monsters, because she’s convinced that even if she turns into a monster, she won’t be, like, a monster monster. She’s decided to use gunpowder as a fuse, so she’ll have at least a two-minute delay before everything goes kablooey. There is no possible way that this whole plan could at all go wrong. Angela goes shopping to get raw meat, some shotgun shells (from which to extract the gunpowder), 100 feet of rope, glue, and a razor-sharp hunting knife. Sounds like the makings of one hell of a party!
Next comes an ungodly boring segment in which Angela tediously fills up gallon jugs with gasoline. This task takes six full pages. I did not need to be walked through this effort, Pike. She thinks about how she still wants to fuck Jim, like, OMG YOU NEED THERAPY ANGELA. As she’s pouring the gasoline, she actually sings “Monster Mash” to herself. Dammit, Pike, quit stepping on my jokes.
Aaaand we’re suddenly with Lt. Nguyen, who has returned to the chicken warehouse for reasons unknown even to him. He looks at the dried blood, and it reminds him of watching Angela lick Mary’s blood off of her fingers. You know that somewhere there’s a girl-on-girl porno with that exact scene. He had the blood analyzed, and “the identity of the four victims has been established beyond doubt.” Wow, really? The dried blood yielded sufficient DNA for conclusive sequencing of all four people? And all four also had their DNA sequences entered into a searchable database so that the DNA extracted from the dried blood could be matched to existing DNA data? And all of this was accomplished in one day? Forget the monsters…it’s the local police department that’s supernatural! Nguyen learns that a mortician by the name of Kane wants to talk to him about the bodies of Todd and Kathy.
Meanwhile, back at the monster party, half of the football team and all of the cheerleading squad are chillin’ at Angela’s crib. Jim arrives fashionably late — with Kevin. Oh noes! This certainly throws a wrench into Angela’s well-thought-out plan. She tries to hurt Kevin’s feelings enough that he’ll leave, but Kevin is suspicious. Jim calms Kevin’s doubts by knocking him unconscious. He asks Angela if she’s hungry. Angela tries to run, but Jim tackles her, and she blacks out. I sense a dream sequence coming…
…But no, we’re back to Nguyen. He’s at the funeral home meeting Mortician Kane. And yes, that’s how Pike refers to the man, as if his first name were “Mortician.” There’s an elderly woman in a wedding dress on one of Kane’s embalming tables — Mrs. Blevin, who promised her husband they’d reenact their wedding vows in heaven. DAMN YOU, PIKE. That’s actually touching. Old people in love make me cry, y’all. Nguyen “gestur[es] to the white gown” and asks if Mr. Blevin “approved of this.” The hell? Approved of what? His wife getting buried in a wedding gown? Or the fact that it’s a white wedding gown? I don’t know, but it pisses me off that Nguyen wants to shit all over Mrs. Blevin’s sweet, romantic gesture. Anyway, that’s not what Kane brought Nguyen here for. Kane opens a container used to hold the blood drained from corpses during the embalming process. When he opens the container he used for Kathy and Todd’s blood, a repulsive smell of unearthly decay comes out. OK, I just lost my appetite, what about you guys? Apparently Todd and Kathy’s blood was stolen, or so Kane thinks. That…makes perfect sense? Also, there was something in the kids’ blood. Kane tilts the container so Nguyen can look inside. Growing on the container is “a mass of what could have been dark green algae,” and it stinks so bad it makes Nguyen’s eyes water. Kane swears the containers were sterilized before he put the blood in them, so whatever’s growing in there came from Todd and Kathy. And it gets better! The mass is crawling around in the container, and it appears that it wants to get into the container containing Mrs. Blevin’s blood. Well, alrighty then.
We’re back to Angela’s party and…ohmyfuckinggod it’s a dream sequence. Pike, you bastard! I thought I was safe! OK, sigh. Angela’s dream is of the day the World died. It was a long, long time ago. I can still remember how that monster used to make me smile. And I knew if I had my chance, that I could get in Angie’s pants, and maybe she’d be hungry for a while. Umm…wait, what? Oh, yeah. The World. At first, the people of Earth didn’t land their silver space ships on the World, because they knew that touching the World’s surface would infect them:
That’s what brought on the victim’s hunger. The parasite had to be fed, or else it would feed on its host. It hungered for the living iron in the dying blood — to bring about the polarity, the magnetism, that led to union with the mind of the World. It wasn’t sufficient to be infected with the parasite for the transformation to happen. That could make a human being sick, nothing more. It was only when the polarity in the blood of the victim reached a certain level that the “phase transition” to magnetism occurred.
Great. Magnetism again. The World may be immortal, but it obviously flunked physics class. Anyway, the humans realized that they could only land on the World in a place where none of its cells survived, so they blasted a crater into the World’s surface and landed, and began building a machine. One day, though, a careless human leaves the safety of the crater, and the World infects him. The other humans kill him (from a safe distance), but not before the World reads his mind and learns of the humans’ intention: the machine they’re building is a gigantic bomb. The World sent its creatures to Earth and basically wiped out the entire population, and now the humans want some revenge. The bomb eventually explodes, and the World goes all kablooey everywhere, but parts of it land on Earth, where they lie in wait for the day when they can take over new hosts.
OK, let me make sure I’ve got this straight. Humans were traveling in space and killing aliens with lightsabers 100,000 years ago? And then the human race went extinct because of the alien monsters? And then humans appeared again on Earth? Am I tracking? See, here’s my problem. You can mess around with the future and with alternate dimensions and other universes all you want, but to totally rewrite the history of the planet and the human race like that…and sort of out of nowhere, too…well, it just grates on my nerves. But whatever. In a world where magnets affect water, anything is possible!
You’ll be glad to know that we’re almost finished. When Angela regains consciousness, she and Kevin are locked in the basement. Kevin asks Angela what the hell’s going on, and she awesomely replies, “We are being held captive by thirty vampires from outer space.” That’s totes going to be my new voicemail greeting: Hi, you’ve reached Whitney. I’m currently being held captive by thirty vampires from outer space, but if you leave your name and number, I’ll get back to you…hopefully. Angela discovers that, although the bottles of gasoline are still there, the monsters took her fuse and her lighters. They also apparently poured blood down her throat. Hmm…I wonder where they got that from. Angela tells Kevin that she was planning to blow up the party, and Kevin thinks she’s lost her damn mind just like Mary. Angela breaks it to him that the monsters killed Mary, but Kevin’s still not convinced. He asks what’s wrong with her, and Angela gives yet another great response: “Right now I have many personal problems, but I can’t go into all of them.” Way to finally become likable, Angie, with only 28 pages left.
Kevin tells Angela that she’s not going to light the gasoline, but she begs to differ. She breaks off some wood from the wall paneling and goes all Girl Scout on its ass. But as she’s working her way towards that fatal spark, she hesitates. She doesn’t want to die. Angela, honey, you’re either going to die by fiery explosion or by being eaten alive by jocks and cheerleaders. Let’s go with the lesser of the two evils, shall we? Kevin hugs her and comforts her, and she can’t imagine why she was never attracted to him. Because you were too busy whoring it up with a blood-drinking, flesh-eating quarterback? They kiss, and as the kiss deepens, Angela basically starts chewing on his lips. Oh, Angie. How many times must I tell you: it’s not nice to eat your friends. She’s disgusted with herself, because she swore she wouldn’t become a true monster like the rest of them. She apologizes, then kisses him sweetly and deeply, and tells him that she loves him. Awww. Then she breaks his neck. Not awww.
We’re back to Nguyen, who’s at the cemetery where Todd and Kathy are buried. This might not be the best idea Nguyen has ever had. He stands over Todd’s grave. He hears moaning. It’s coming from underneath him. Coincidentally, those two sentences also open my latest erotic story, “The Monster Inside Her.” Nguyen realizes that Mary and Angela weren’t so batshit after all. He leaves the cemetery (good move!) to go to Angela’s house (bad move!).
Meanwhile, Angela has eaten Kevin. She’s not entirely herself; she knows who Angela Warner is, but she doesn’t really feel like she’s Angela Warner. Jim retrieves her from the basement for a meeting. Angela goes to her bathroom and showers off all of the blood and pieces of Kevin. She picks up a photo from her countertop and recognizes the three people: “Angela Warner, Mary Blanc, Kevin Jacobs.” Actually, it’s Kevin Christopher, but whatever. Expecting continuity with character names within the same book is probably just asking too much. She also picks up the headless-bat necklace and puts it on. She sees her connection to the World, but she also feels Angela Warner in her mind. Suddenly the spell breaks, and she is herself again, and she is crying and then vomiting up pieces of Kevin. She remembers her last-resort bomb in her bedroom closet. It’s always good to have a last-resort bomb. She grabs a lighter, but then she sees Plastic, the dog she almost ate but now doesn’t want to blow up. She encourages Plastic to jump into the lake to save herself, but the dog’s not having it. I don’t blame the dog. But how awesome would a bloodthirsty bat-dog be? Jim comes to fetch her, and she pretends to be KAtuu-Angela instead of human-Angela. She fakes out Jim, grabs the hunting knife she’s hidden in a drawer, and stabs him in the neck. Yay! Jim’s blood has a green tinge to it, ewww. Angela starts spilling gasoline all over the place, and then she flicks her Bic. She runs onto the balcony just as the gasoline ignites, and three explosions quickly rock through the house (the last-resort gas, the basement gas, and the propane tank). Angela’s knocked into the sky, flying towards the moon. Remember 100,000 years ago when we began this book, and she said she wanted to be shot into the moon when she died? How prescient she was. But gravity takes over, as it is wont to do, and she falls into the lake o’ the damned.
Nguyen gets to Angela’s house just as it explodes. Luckily he’s out of range. He understands immediately what Angela has done, and he salutes her and Mary as the house burns.
Epilogue: three months later. Nguyen has adopted Plastic, whom he found after the explosion, “soaking wet.” Can you say Monster 2: Bat-Dog? He’s taking a farewell walk around Point Lake, as he’s about to leave this shithole town for California. Six weeks after the explosion, something stole a propane tanker and blew up the oil wells on the hill. Oil spilled into the lake, which will be drained and covered over come spring. While walking, Nguyen finds an enviscerated deer carcass — the tenth in the past six weeks. And he feels like something is watching him. So we pan up to…
…a batlike creature with purple talons and leathery wings high in a nearby tree. The creature is tempted to eat the man below it, but then it touches an amulet hanging around its neck and remembers, “People were not for eating.” That’s one helluva existence you’ve carved out for yourself, Angie. I bet dying in that explosion doesn’t look so bad now, huh?
And with that, Monster ends.
I apologize for the ungodly length of this recap. I tried to cut out a lot of stuff, but with Monster, a lot of the details are important to the overall plot. Sure, some of these details make little to no sense, but they’re important nonetheless. But fret not: next on the agenda is R.L. Stine’s Broken Date, which will not require nearly as much detail or brainpower.