Prologue: The Shadow
The shadow lurks behind the corner. He slinks past the dimly-lit parking lot. An illuminated sign nearly expels his darkness with light. He gazes up into its glow, eyeing its emboldened bronze letters.
Tolkien Middle School.
The shadow curses its name, wondering why a school that has been out of service for nearly half a decade still leaves their blasted sign on. Turning away, he trips over a meddlesome rock and hits the ground, landing hard on his shadowy butt.
The shadow grumbles and mutters to himself before charging straight into the abandoned entryway of the school. The only familiar sights that greet the mysterious intruder are the dusty plastic blue table, the water-stained carpets underneath a gaping hole in the wall where a water fountain once proudly stood, and a heap of discarded papers and scraps sitting in the center of where the library should have been.
The shadow cares not for the memories. Well, he does. But the memories he searched for were ones much sweeter. Bittersweet. The shadow wouldn’t be a shadow if he wasn’t treading the line of light and dark, after all.
As he came to a row of rusted lockers, he gave a particularly ancient locker a good triple-kick until it opened. There, amidst an unopened box of colored pencils and an especially smelly pair of gym shoes, sat a pile of old books.
But these were not any old books.
They were her old books.
The shadow yanked the folders, notepads, booklets, pamphlets, and repurposed textbooks out of the locker, hugging them greedily to his chest.
“You’ll see…” The shadow giggled mischievously as he pulled out a brittle photo from within a crinkled book’s yellowing pages. A merry gathering, a fellowship, stood frozen in time. The shadow scanned the picture for one figure in particular. He inhaled the accumulating dust and coughed. Then he saw her.
“You still need all this,” he spat. “I know you do. I just have to find you, Frankie. I will.”
Chapter 1: Old Friends
“Do you remember how we met?”
Her question caught me off guard so much that I nearly fell out of my chair. There were many parts of my life that seemed a little bit hazy. Obviously, I knew the broad strokes of my past. The details, however, were as much a mystery to me as they were to everybody else. Such is the life of Noah Minch. But this memory?
This one I remembered. My fondest memory. One I would never forget. The day I met Frankie Boyd.
“Of course.” A smile spread across my face faster than light. “I needed a tutor for English class. Your brother Robby offered to help. My family and I cooked up some chili, prepared an extra seat at the dinner table, but when we opened the door…”
“Surprise!” Frankie spread her arms, mimicking what she did the first time I laid eyes on her.
I laughed. “The first thing I remember ever thinking about you was…”
“My looks? My hair?” She bit her lip coyly. “My perfume?”
I blinked. “You wore perfume?”
“I always tagged along with Robby. But when I heard we were going to your house, well, I improvised.” She wrinkled her nose. “Hey, gimme a break. You were cute.”
A warm glow spread over my face even faster than my smile. “I hope that hasn’t changed.”
She batted her eyelashes. “I’m wearing perfume today, aren’t I?”
“The first thing I remember thinking about you…” I continued. “…was that we needed an extra chair for the dining room. It’s funny, that chair’s never moved since.”
A coat dropped in between the two of us as the person who dropped it sat down at the other side of the table. “When are you guys gonna pull up one for me?”
I peeked over the rustling coat with a knowing smirk. “Hey, Jim.”
“So, I’ve been thinking about the wedding…” His eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store. “Do you guys do cookie tables here?”
Frankie blinked. “Cookie…tables?”
“I know what you’re talking about,” I said. “It’s like a huge cookie buffet that they have at weddings around here.”
“Yeah.” Jim licked his lips. “Back when I lived in Pittsburgh, they were, like, the greatest thing.”
“How many weddings have you been to?” Frankie tipped her chair forward.
“Only a few,” I interjected. Then, seeing the confuzzled look on Jim’s face, I realized the awkwardness of what I’d just said. I leaned back in my seat.
Why did I say that? Jim and I never went to any weddings together. I’ve only ever been to a couple of them myself.
“Oh!” I perked up. “I remember one time where I was getting too rowdy at a wedding. Mom took us outside to go grab some ice cream, as if the cookie table wasn’t enough. I got cookie dough flavoured, and of course we got a rocky road for J–”
“Sorry, uh, brain fart.” I shifted in my chair uncomfortably. “But, um, yeah…are we having a cookie table, Fran?”
Frankie frowned. “I mean, maybe? It wasn’t really in the plan. Sounds kinda expensive.”
“I’ll make it work.” I slipped my hand into hers. “You can count on me.”
“I-I know.” Frankie forced a smile.
I held my head. The intricacies of my and Frankie’s wedding would have to wait.
I stood from my seat. “Hey, I’ll catch ya both later. I gotta…go…see Clark.”
Frankie’s expression dipped as she slouched in her seat.
I ran my hand across her shoulders. “Love you.”
“Yeah.” Frankie’s voice faded as I started to walk away. “Love you, too…”
“Anyways, about that cookie table… I think that chocolate chip-” Jim started to tell Frankie while I left the room. I didn’t get to hear the rest of his suggestions.
Chapter 2: Crap Dangit I Burnt My Spinach Puffs
Adulting is seeing your friends and family you haven’t heard from on Facebook, announcing engagements and babies, all the while you sit in your apartment, in the hometown that you never left, feeling a sudden crippling fear that this is it.
And I don’t know – I bow my head, I think that maybe tonight’s dinner should be spaghetti with cheap Great Value marinara, or Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, shaped like classic Star Wars characters or Cars. Maybe it’s Ramen tonight. Yeah. Ramen. Ramen is the perfect chicken soup for my adult-soul. These are the “adult” decisions Mom and Dad would tell me and Frankie about… what kind of dinner to eat tonight. If I should swipe left or right on this dating app. Adult decisions that, in the end, have no consequence.
It was the childish decisions that did. My prom date is someone I don’t forget about, the college decision makes my lifetime – even the decision to not go. The running away, the… seeing your friends and family on Facebook, and not in person. I haven’t gone to a Boyd Christmas in well over half a decade.
The funniest thing? I haven’t had the desire to look up my sister, or my mom and my dad. Dad hasn’t posted in months. I don’t know if he’s dead – I’ve changed my number so many times, I doubt they could even reach out to me. But Frankie. I’m still friends with her. Heck, her LinkedIn is frequently updated with business-like posts, none of which reference me, or the family she came from. She’s making the Boyd name for herself.
Stop lying to yourself, Robby. You know you look her up, you know you check in on them. You can’t help yourself – deep down, you want to see what they’re up to. And each time you get yourself hurt, because everyone is more successful than the Boyd that is still living in Chafton.
… Ugh, Let me check that Facebook out real quick.
Journal, why do I hurt myself?
I do things that ruin my night, that push me to the brink. And boy, there we are. She’s still with Noah, which is wonderful, I love the guy – I’m happy for them! Believe me, I am not one to lie… And she’s engaged.
Which, that’s great. But it sucks that I don’t get to hear from my sister about this. I had to find it second-hand, amidst posts of the beautiful college campus she’s living on, and photos of dogs she finds cute.
F.O.M.O. – the fear of missing out. Everyone around me is getting older. My sister will be married. I didn’t even receive an invitation. I’m not even afraid anymore of missing out, because it’s happened to me. I look over at that box that I found in the old school – the box filled with things she and her friends made, a fellowship. She needs to remember. They need to see.
Alright, Journal. After some planning, some budgeting, and lots of coughing (I need to dust this place so bad…), I’ve bought a plane ticket. Cortland, New York: here I come.
Chapter 3: For Better or Worse
Date nights are perfect when you’re engaged, because it’s usually us in pajamas, sitting down on the couch, and turning on a movie that we’ve seen time-and-time again. I look at Noah, smiling when he quotes the same scene that he knows by heart. Monologues we love, and quirky lines we can repeat back and forth with each other.
Then the movie ends, and the brief moment of escapism – just like a book I don’t want to end, but I close the novel – is gone. I look at Noah. Kindly, he lays a kiss on my forehead, and I smile. I’ve spent well over a third of my life with this man – I can do a lifetime with him.
But even then, that’s after the escapism dies down. Brief lapses in the honeymoon phase, and I look at him. We’ve grown. We’re in college, we’re nearing that graduation as well. It’s always a milestone.
And with each milestone comes the fears. Middle school graduation brought fears of high school – of fitting in, of growing acne, of growing apart from old friends. The end of High School, while it brought rides with Noah, windows down and music blasting… slow dances in my prom dress, and he in a tuxedo… It also brought those same worries: That we wouldn’t see our family much, we would grow older, we’d need to fit in into a whole new place, a bigger lake. And then he proposed, and my heart skipped a beat, but already I could see a whole new realm of worries.
Growing up. This was it – this was “growing up.” And I know how these types of fears go. First, I start to shake.
“Fran, are you cold?” He asks.
“No. I’m fine.”
Then I open my mouth to say something, “I-” but nothing comes out after.
“What? Sweetheart, you can talk to me.”
And then the tears.
“I’m sorry.” I say, not quite sure what I’m apologizing for.
“I don’t know!” I say. The mood swings come out too. A sudden shift from crying, to maybe loving, to angry. This… was an angry exclamation. Noah, immediately, bounces back. And I see in his face this sort of worry that I had seen whenever we’d get into rough patches, which were bound to happen. He’s so nice, I know he’ll stick with me through thick and thin.
Next, my words flow from my mouth, “What if it’s all not going to work? What if the wedding costs too much, and we’re not even graduated, I mean, I have an internship, but what are we going to do when we need to place the mortgage on the house?”
And I hyperventilate, and he places his hands on my shoulders, “Look me in the eyes. Fran. Look me in the eyes. Breathe.” I start crying into his chest, “It’s going to all be fine. It’s going to be good.”
“But I’m so scared, Noah.”
“I am too.”
“They never talked about this in the movies. They never described the stresses-”
“We haven’t watched that one movie with Kylo Ren and Black Widow yet, but according to Clark, they do…”
“I don’t want to see two people bicker for two hours, we do that for a couple minutes every once in a while and it’s the hardest thing we deal with!”
“I know, Frankie.” He pets my hair, “I know.”
Eventually the sobbing stops. The sudden stress bubble pops, and the gunk is laid out in front of my partner and I, and we can’t pick up the pieces right now.
“I… I keep having dreams.” Noah said. “McQuarrie…puppets…thumb wars…and us.”
“Do they feel real?”
I furrow my eyebrows, and I look at the carpet. I bundle up a bit more in my blankets.
“But… But it’s probably nothing. It’s not real, it never happened. I have a life here that I need to focus on. I have you. And that’s enough.” He says, pulling me in, and we cuddle up, and he holds me, “I love you, Frankie. That’s all that matters.”
I smile, “I guess the world could be ending, and it’d all be fine if you and I were together to watch it burn.”
“Nice, was that from the movie?”
Suddenly, a knock emanates from the dormitory door, and we sit up. When Noah opened that door, I would’ve preferred to see a burning blaze outside, engulfing the world in its entirety. But all I saw was my brother.
Who I hadn’t seen in over half of a decade. And of course Noah makes it seem like not a day has passed between them.
“Oh, Robby! Come on in!”
Chapter 4: Brothers
By Robby and Noah
I’m sitting across from her, and immediately the room has gotten quiet. The plane touched down mere hours ago, it took me forever to find them, and now… I’m here.
She’s grown. The pictures don’t do it justice; she’s taller, about my height now. Her auburn hair was just like Mom’s. A streak of freckles cover her nose, the same ones that I have, and her eyes seem to have dimmed, as though a lifetime has passed between us.
“Where the %#*@ have you been?” She asks. It takes me and Noah back. He sighs and nods his head, backing out from the discussion. Silently he closes the door to the dorm. Now it’s just me and her.
“Francesca, I’m sorry-”
“No, no-no-no. You don’t get up and disappear for six years, on the cusp of my junior prom, do whatever you want, and suddenly show up on the doorstep of my fiance’s dorm, acting like an ‘I’m sorry’ will do it.”
I held my hands up, “listen, Francesca if I could just explain-”
“Do you know how much we worried for you?” She puts her thumb and her index finger onto the bridge of her nose, something she had done whenever she was getting annoyed, stressed, or angry, “We tried calling you over and over. A fight against Mom and Dad about wanting to be a ‘free thinking’ man, who wanted to do whatever you wanted. Now look at you!” She motioned to the mirror that was in Noah’s room. I looked at myself, my beard a scraggly mess, my face tilted practically in this confused look, “and you reek, Robby. You couldn’t have bathed yourself? Did you drive?”
“No. I-I flew and got an Uber.”
“Did everyone on the flight wear a gas mask? You smell terrible. Like raw fish mixed with Rib-b-q sauce.”
“Will you at least let me speak?” I beg. I just need her to listen to me, to hear me out for once. She’s starting to cry now.
“Just… Just speak. This is too much.”
“So, I brought you something. Congratulations on the engagement… and the invite.” I said sarcastically.
“We would’ve invited you if we knew where you were.”
“I-” I didn’t know how to respond, “I understand. I see. Anyways, what I wanted to bring you was this.” I reached into my backpack – the only bag of luggage I brought with me – and removed the box. I sat it on Noah’s coffee table.
“What is this?” Francesca asked. She looks around the box, flipping it around in her hands, examining the intricate design.
“Did we ever make something like this? Is it a memory box?”
I don’t know how to answer, but I nod, “Something like that.”
She opens it up, and, looking inside, her angry face turns… well, unexpectedly a lot more angry.
“Puppets? A photo of me and those guys from Tolkien? You held onto the Foldoship crap after all of these years?”
“Yeah, I just thought-”
“You know Dad’s in the hospital, right?”
I paused, stammering a bit, “Wh-what?”
“You bring me puppets and stuff, but Dad is in the hospital. He’s been sick, Robby. For months. I’m glad Noah proposed to me this early, because at least he may still be around to hopefully walk me down the aisle.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Second time you’ve said that, man. Like I said, we missed you.” She sighs, “I missed you. I was hoping you’d be around.” She cups her face in her hands, and I sit down next to her, resting my hand on her back. She starts to cry, “You missed so much. So, so much.”
“I know… But I am back to ask you something.”
She looks up at me, tears streaking her face, “What? You brought me a gift that I didn’t want, you showed up at my door, why is it that you’re the ghost of Christmas past, haunting me unexpectedly?”
“I… I’m here to ask you, Noah, and Jim if you can become the… Foldtastic Four.”
I can see the gears moving in her head, like a computer booting up. Her eyebrows furrow.
“You’re $*&#!ing me. Get out.”
“It’s important, Francesca.”
“Don’t call me that name, and get out.”
She picks the box up and throws it at me. I cower a bit to dodge it, and out falls the Tolkien mementos, “I said ‘get out’! You can’t come back into my life when we’re adults and ask me to play puppets with you. Leave my fiance’s dorm now.”
I pick the box up, and I don’t know what to say as I open the door, but I leave with a final goodbye, “It’s important, Frankie. It’s… dire.”
I closed the door, and now, Journal, I find myself trying to sneak into the Beta Gamma Rho fraternity party to forget about this and see how it felt to be a college student. But they’re giving me weird stares.
I walked downstairs to the common room. At Claremont University, our Dorms have a common area, where a TV sits with some couches. Usually, student’s are down here, working away at their thesis. I’m usually one of those students.
There’s Jim. He’s grown a goatee, and he’s reading a book.
“Dude, you need to shave that thing.” I tell him, “It looks horrendous.”
“I am a scholar, Noah. Scholars need beards.”
“You look like a villain. And scholars need tweed jackets, dingus.”
“Dude? When’s the last time you’ve seen a tweed jacket, 1970s berry-sucker.” I look at the tweed jacket that I’m wearing, and I pause, deciding that it’s best to not mention that I, myself, am wearing a tweed jacket. “Um, Doctor Who had one for a bit.” I pause. “Berry sucker? Pardon?”
“‘Pardon?’” Jim mocks, “What’s next, you’re going to photosynthesize me a question?”
I sit next to him, looking into the book he’s reading. Some crap about Art History, his major.
“Boring. Nothing like Math, I tell you.”
“Art and History involve so much math and calculations. The curve of a crease in a origami fold is important to the whole design, the year and date and position of the moon would have influenced an artist-”
“No, it doesn’t. Math and star signs or whatever have no correlation.”
He socks me in the arm at that comment, “Shut up, tweed jacket.”
“So you did notice!”
“Didn’t think I’d see the one your father had, huh? ‘Noah Minch, Noah Minch, living in his dad’s stench. Meanwhile his smoking hot best friend is going through the trench…’ of uh… Art History. I had a song for this, I swear.” We both share a laugh.
“Man… where has the time gone?” I asked.
“I… don’t know, man. I don’t know.” He sighs, “We went from being roommates freshman year, joking around, partying.. to me studying art and you looking at graphs for a living.”
“Speaking of… Robby, um…came back.”
Jim glares at me, “Really?” We have only known each other for four years now, but he knows the whole deal about Robby and Frankie.
“And… How’s Frankie taking that?”
“I don’t think she’s taking it well. She started off with saying ‘Where the %#*@ have you been?’ and after that I decided that, y’know, maybe it’s best for me to leave.”
“Man. That’s wild.”
“Yeah, before that whole occurrence, I was trying to tell her about these nightmares I keep having. We’re at McQuarrie, and I’m there with some people that I never really seen. Curly hair and stuff. It’s… all a blur.”
“Curly hair? Sounds like Dwight Tharp.”
“Him? But we never talked to him.”
“I know, but that whole EDU-Fun deal was really big at McQuarrie, remember? Virginia’s Origami Rebellion? I wasn’t there for it, but it was big on the news for a bit.”
“So, maybe your dreams are just subconsciously putting those kids in there. We took psychology classes together, we learned a bit about that.”
“But… They speak to me. They say stuff, like calling me Jekan.”
“Jekan?” Jim laughs, “Sounds so Sci-Fi man, maybe it’s from one of those Pulp novels you like to collect. Maybe there’s a book like ‘Jekan the Space Pirate in… Cartoon Zombies from MARS!’ That’s been on your mind?”
“No. No, it can’t be.”
I’m looking at his face, and there’s something so familiar about his appearance. From the spiky hair, to the butt chin, to the little smirk he has while listening to me. “I could’ve sworn. For a moment, while I dreamed this, I could’ve sworn these were real.” He was familiar. “And you were there too.”
His eyebrows furrow, “What?”
“You were there too…right?” I held my head. “Or am I just going crazy, y’know?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “I know.”
Two little words that rattled me to my core. Two words I’d heard so long ago, from very far away. The clouds of my mind parted. The vision. The nightmares. Finally, all at once, I remembered.
Chapter 5: Foldtastic
This party blows.
A part of me is happy I never decided to go to college, thanks to this party. I mean, I recognize the lack of opportunity, yeah, but like… this party is terrible. It could be because Frankie is at a nerds school, so they’re all standing around, looking at each other awkwardly, and occasionally giving me weird glances. I… don’t want to be here. So, I duck out.
Journal, I don’t know what to do. Frankie rejected my request for help, and I’m… really torn up over it. I need a final word, I need something to say. I approach the dorm building and I step inside. I walk into the common room, and there sits… somebody… and Noah.
“I know.” The guy with the goatee says. Then I entered the area. Noah looks a bit lost in thought, and then he looks at me, and he musters a smile, though I know it has to be hard.
“Hey, man…” He says.
“Hey. Listen, your fiance didn’t want these and wouldn’t hear my pitch, so… I’m kind of lucky to see you guys.”
“Yeesh, did it not go well for you two?” Noah asks, “I mean, you’ve been out of her life for years, and I was worried about you. She… had a lot of nights with tears because of that.”
“I know, and I heard about Dad… I’m freaking out. That’s… that’s why I kind of need this.”
“Well, I guess you can tell me.” Noah sighs. He looks at the kid next to him. “This is Jim, by the way. He’s my roommate.”
“Oh, happy to meet you. Well, listen.” I open the box for them, and Noah starts grabbing the puppets and pictures, “I have a request for you guys.”
“Puppets?” Jim says, “Like the McQuarrie Rebellion?”
“Something like that.” Noah says, “Tolkien had its own little collective, Frankie told me about that too. She mentioned something about you as well, Robby. You were there.”
“Yeah, I had Gandalf.” I struggled to remember other Lord of the Rings characters, but I guess my puppet and Gandalf were similar in nature.
“Sweet. What sinister group were you all talking down?” Jim asked, “And why didn’t it end up on the news?”
“We were tasked with protecting a lucky ring, our whole job through middle school. Protecting it from rival schools, from other students, and even greedy teachers. Pretty underground.”
“Cool.” Jim mentioned, “Where’s the ring now?”
“… I don’t know.” I said. I literally didn’t know.
“So are we going to find it?” Jim asks, “I need a distraction from my thesis.”
“No, but I do have a request. I’ve done some research into this place, and the nearby city of Madison, New York. The schools here have Marvel puppets.”
“Yeah, Claremont High has X-Men.” I say.
“And- trust me, I’m building up to this, there’s a dire situation down in Chafton, Virginia, that I think only you all could help me with… So, I want you three – plus me – to form the Foldtastic Four. Thank goodness you’re around, Jim. I was thinking we’d need to find somebody to be the Thing.”
“But I’m just as fantastic and smart as Mr. Fantastic!” Jim complained.
“Dude.” Noah says, “I’m a computer science major. I think–”
“Enough bickering, I had already decided it.” I mentioned, “Obviously Frankie would be Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman. I’d be The Human Torch, since I’m her brother. Noah would be Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, since you’re marrying my sister. And Jim, you’d be the Thing.”
“Yeah, in retrospect, I don’t want to give the wrong impression that I’m dating Noah’s girl.”
“When you pulled that at the Phi Tau party, nobody believed you anyways.” Noah mentions, laughing to himself, “There was no way you could pull a girl as pretty as Frankie, that was the general consensus at that poker game.”
“I lost all my money and then you all poured pudding on my head. I don’t remember much else.”
“Yeah, because you were-”
“Gentlemen!” I say, cutting them off, “Are you in or not?”
Noah looked at me, and a slight grimace formed across his mouth, “I mean… Robby, don’t you think we’re too old for puppets?”
I had prepared for this question, “We may be, but they represent the best of us. When I used S-Gandalf, I knew it was because I was the oldest and smartest of the group, I could guide the others, and I could help people. We could do that here, as a team.”
“Self actualization. Another psychology concept. You’re saying the puppets are the best versions of who we could be—“
“We’re adults.” Noah cuts him off, “We have actualized as much of ourselves as we could. I’m smart, I know I am, so I’m already as close to Reed Richards as I could be. I’m getting married to the woman I love, and I hope to have kids with her one day. And besides being the brother to my fiancé, what else makes you close to being Johnny Storm?”
I thought for a moment, “I’m hard headed with what I want. I’m in the shadow of my sister. I can make my own if I was just given the shot.”
This silenced Noah. Jim sighed, “Dang.”
“You… you really think that?” Noah said.
“Yeah, I do.”
Noah looked at the puppets, defeated at what I had just told my soon-to-be brother in law.
“We… we won’t have to fold them, right?”
Chapter 6: I Hate to be the Bearer of ANY News.
“She’s not going to be happy about this,” I say. Me, Jim, and Robby are climbing up the steps, “We’ll have to tell Clark and Emily that we can’t tutor them for a bit, and, well, it’s definitely a slight chunk of our wedding savings, traveling to Chafton and all.”
“Chafton is a terrible name for a city.” Jim mentions.
“Yeah, it is. Whenever Frankie told me about it, I always thought she was saying ‘chafing,’ which was a concerning name for a city.” Thoughts of me and her in grade school, me turning around in my chair to look at her flash through my head.
“Ew. I hate chafing. I would always chafe during football.” Jim grumbles, “I’m chafing right now.”
I look behind me, down at my roommate, “You’re serious?”
“Gross. Get some hydrocortisone cream from my drawer when we get in there.”
I open the door to me and Jim’s dorm, and the place is left untouched while Frankie sits on our couch, a crappy one with flowers on it that Jim got (stole) from his grandmother (he tells me she doesn’t even notice it was missing from the trash can… we had so many bugs for a few weeks).
Frankie looks at us.
“Why’d you bring him back?!” Frankie yells. I raise my hands in defense.
“Listen, listen, you’re not going to like me for this, but I think we should do this thing he’s asking of us.” I then told her all that Robby had told me.
“So, we’re going to go back to my hometown, to face an unknown evil that he’s not telling us who it is,” She motions to Robby, who’s busy looking at the ground, “And we’re going to have puppets while we do it?”
“Yeah.” I said.
“What about Clark and Emily?” She asks.
“Well, I figure we’ll let them know, and we’ll be on our way. Clark could even stay in the dorm while we’re gone, take care of the place.”
Frankie thinks for a bit, and she nods, “Yeah, that sounds good.”
“I’m sorry, Fran.” I say, “I know you don’t want to do this. But I can talk with my family, they’ll probably help cover the costs of whatever is removed from the wedding. We got this in the bag.”
Frankie sighs, “I was going to stay here tonight.” Dang, “but I guess I’ll pack my bags.”
Frankie pushes us aside, but Robby quickly reaches into his pocket, handing a blonde puppet to her, “Don’t forget this. She needs to be with you. You’re the Origami Invisible Woman.”
Frankie looks at it, then back at Robby. She frowns and shoves it into her pocket, leaving just the guys.
“Anyone want to turn on the game while we pack our stuff?” Jim asks, “There’s drinks in the fridge, Kool-aid Jammers and stuff.”
“I don’t have much to pack,” Robby says, “I was only coming up here for tonight. I leave tomorrow morning… and I bought three other tickets.”
I look at him, “For real?”
“Yeah, I was going to give them to random kids if you didn’t agree to this. Which, I mean, is messed up, but oh well.”
“There’s not much to do in Virginia anyways, it would be like sending a kid to prison, but it’s a whole state.”
Jim laughed at my comment, “And no one wants to watch Escape from Virginia. They go and watch Kurt Russell in New York.”
“You… you make your own fun in Virginia.” Robby sighed.
“Yeah, that’s why we both left.” Jim says, “It’s easier to find other people’s fun up here.”
We started packing up, and we both went to bed for the flight tomorrow. I told Frankie the time, and I couldn’t fall asleep, because right below me, in the bottom bunk, sat Jim. But I knew him as Jacob, some time ago.
I don’t know. I don’t know what to do.
Chapter 7: A Fold Away From Four
By Frankie and Noah
Noah’s texts run dry. That’s how it always is, though. He’s not much of a texter, he prefers facetime or phone calls, so he’ll say stuff like “I’m sorry” and not much more when I try and reach out. It drives me up the wall, because I’ve been known to write the equivalent of a novel in a text, and all I’ll get is an “Ok we’ll talk about this in person.” or “Gaming.” I know it’s not because he doesn’t care about my emotions – I know he does – it’s just that he can’t handle the stress of responding in a written format.
So, I’m writing here instead. Tomorrow, we’re leaving for this trip, and all that Noah could seem to talk about in our texts was how he remembered that Jim’s name was Jacob in these dreams, and how he can’t seem to shake that realization off. Obviously, this was done through careful interpretations of his messages, like ‘I dream of him/Jacob/Wild/Lol’, and ‘IDK NBD GN,’ Which only leaves me mentally drained from the convo. Suddenly, my brother is back into my life, and Noah is busy with his dreams, and I’m… Safe to say, I’m freaking out.
I’m not going to bed. I’m writing this on my phone in my car, right outside of a Wendy’s, because my dorm is not a place I want to stay at right now. I don’t even want to see my roommate Isabel. I just need to think.
And thinking shifted from going into the Wendy’s and buying a biggie bag, running into Clark and Emily on a late night weekend date.
“Hey, it’s Frankie!” Emily said.
“Oh, hey!” I said to the couple, “I’m just going to my car.”
“Hey, you don’t have to do that. Come sit with us! Where’s Noah?”
“He’s at his dorm with his roommate… and my brother.”
“You… you have a brother?” Emily asks.
“Crazy. I mean, people forget I have a brother all the time, even though the dude won’t get out of my hair.” Clark grumbles, sipping a coffee… at midnight.
“Are you sure that’s good for you?” I ask.
“I have a high tolerance now. Can’t really tell if coffee is good for me when I’ve developed such a resistance to it.”
“In layman’s terms, no.” Emily says, giggling a little, “But a brother, huh?”
“Yeah… Listen, you two may not get it, but…” I told them everything, from the fight to Robby showing up, to the fact I’m now a part of some team. I showed them the puppet, and Clark took it from my hands.
“The craftsmanship is that of a grade school student'” he grumbles. “This is horrible.”
“I mean, like terrible craftsmanship. How old is your brother?”
“Two years older than me. Twenty four.”
Clark can’t help but laugh. Emily tries to shush him, but I let him continue, “Sorry, sorry. This is just… bad! Reminds me of my mark one puppet, but even then, mine was better. What’s with that little face right there? Was this done with crayon and colored pencils?!”
“When did you become such a snob?” Emily asks him, raising a skeptical eyebrow.
“Three years of this will change a man,” Clark muttered. “I hate to say this, Frankie, but aren’t you a little bit too old for this? I mean, I can understand like a high school freshman doing this, but you’re a senior. In college. I was having second thoughts about the origavengers when I was nearing the end of my sophomore year! Now I’m a Senior for Pete’s sake.”
“I tried telling him no, but Noah felt bad.”
“He takes pity on a lot of people, huh?” Clark says. I smile, it’s what I like about him. Even after we first met, when I got in trouble at school sometimes, he still took pity on me. He wanted me to be the best version of myself. It’s how he took on Clark to tutor; the poor kid had been ostracized at Claremont High almost as soon as he got there. He and Noah clicked almost immediately.
“He can be that way, yeah. But it’s because he can’t help himself. Deep down, beneath that whole exterior of geekiness, and then slight sarcasm – he just wants to help people.”
“Frankie,” Emily sighs, “I… it might sound crazy, but listen – time is limited, and this might be a sign. We don’t like it when people we don’t want to hear from show up at our doors unexpectedly, but… usually it’s for a reason. We don’t know why, but we need to see where that hallway goes whenever the door suddenly unlocks.”
“In layman’s terms,” Clark says, smirking a little after repeating what Emily had said earlier, “Go with them, reconnect with your brother. You don’t know, you might regret this chance.”
Two high school students telling me, someone much older and wiser than them, what to do. Yet they’re right, and I… kind of hate that. Like, the younger kids know so much more. So I sigh, “You’re right. I’ll get going, before my biggie bag.”
“So, how long will you all be gone?” Clark asks.
“I think it’ll be a week. We were going to ask you two to care of Noah and Jim’s dorm while we’re gone.”
Clark’s eyes widened, as though the coffee was kicking in… “A dorm to myself?” He exclaims, “Dude…”
“Yeah, we just need someone there.”
Clark gives me a thumbs up, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.”
We said our goodbyes and I drove back to my dorm. Isabel took my biggie bag, because I lost the appetite. I packed all I’d need for the trip, and I tried to sleep. The next morning, I was in a rush to get clean, dressed, and to the airport to meet them.
I’ve flown in a plane once in my life before this. My family took a trip to Disney World, and we flew to Florida together. When I moved into college, they drove me up, and it’s been tradition for me to drive all the way back to Virginia to see them. We don’t have time for that, though, because Robby says so.
Before we boarded the plane, I was able to have some one-on-one time with him while Jim and Noah bickered over what expensive coffee to buy at the McCafe.
“What is it, man? What exactly is happening in Chafton?” I asked.
Robby looked away from me for a moment, thinking up something to say.
“Do you remember when the foldoship fought Sauronigami?”
Ah, yes, I do remember. I remember how he worked with us, how he did so much for us, and how he – “You were Sauronigami.”
He furrows his eyebrows, but I know this stuff. It’s why I got so angry about the picture, because I knew how much he was bullcraping all of us in it, planning to betray us.
“Yes, you were. You snatched the ring, Robby. Why don’t you remember this?”
“Because I’ve changed! I swear! I’m still the same old Origami Gandalf everyone liked.”
“You’ve changed into a shadow of a person, dude. And liked. There’s a reason why you don’t hear from them anymore.”
He looked stunned, and for a moment, I was stunned too. I was back to my grade school self, being rude to people whose names were not Noah Minch, and getting angry at any minor thing. But it was true, no one talks to him. I’ll also admit, the reason I’m this way was because of what Robby had done.
“…Yeah. Listen, I’ll help you, but you need to promise to turn a new leaf. Please.”
“As long as you promise to stop bickering with me. Here’s your ticket.” He hands me my ticket, and we sit away from each other. Noah sits down by me.
“Hey, what number is your ticket?” He asks. I show him, reading 7A.
“Oh. Me, Robby, and Jim all have 19A, B, and C.”
“So he put me in the very front, away from you all?”
“Baby, we could switch.” He says. But I’m getting frustrated again, with the fact that it’s early, and we’re nearing finals season, and now I’m going to be away from my husband-to-be. I’m getting stressed out.
“But I want to sit with you.” I say.
“I know, but–”
I raise my hands in the air, “Ugh! It’s fine. It’s fine. I’ll just sit there.”
I should’ve said no – the guy next to me kept trying to invite me to his wedding, and his bride-to-be was someone he had met literally an hour before takeoff. Hearing this story (and how it wouldn’t end) was the worst part of this experience.
Chapter 8: The Trap
By Noah and Frankie
“Dude, I’m finally on an origami team! Man, I used to tell my mom that I wanted to be on one so bad after reading about the McQuarrie kids. I have wanted this, and now I have it! Even though my Thing puppet looks pretty bad…” Jim said, smiling while we drove the rental car. We all agreed that since Robby smelled that terrible, we were sure that a Little Tree Black Ice air freshener would be no good. Jim sat in the back, while Frankie sat up front. The rental was an old vehicle, with a stick shift. I hate driving sticks, but it’s okay – that’s what Dad taught me to drive with.
I couldn’t get it out of my head – how he looked when he was younger, how he was a bad guy, with a Papertine puppet. But it wasn’t real. It couldn’t be real. It was as though the Jacob revelation had made everything come into a new light. I remembered so much more; how I’d talk to Dwight and the other students, despite them being a grade above me. How I was this “chosen one,” how I had survived cancer in that timeline too. It all felt so real.
And there was this thing about skittles, something that made no sense, and everything just gets foggy.
“Yeah, listen man, I need to tell you something.” I start to say. I want to tell him about the fact we were related in some… previous life. How we knew one another. But he looked happy, and he was older than that kid in that old life.
It was futile – there was no need to live a life in these dreams. If I believed they happened, when clearly they never did, then it was pointless. I have a better life here. A better future. This was real. There’s no skittles and magic, there’s nothing like that. Here, in reality, I’m not trapped as a Middle School student. It’s reality.
“Sure, what is it, Noah?”
“Nothing, actually. I was just going to say that these Origami Teams are always funny, but usually it’s composed of literal children. We’re adults, we can deal with reality.”
“I know, I know. Do they say their catchphrases, though? Like, do I say ‘It’s clobberin’ time?’” He asks.
Frankie turns around to look at him, “Dude. They’re puppets.”
“I understand that, Francesca.” He says ‘Francesca’ like a pouty child, and it clearly ticks Frankie off, “I just want to fit in with the whole idea, you know?”
“Jim, just know that if I could swerve this car into a ditch, I’d kill you right now.”
“I don’t think Sue and Ben Grimm fight like this.” Jim said, “If we have our roles to play, then you wouldn’t threaten homicide, because heroes don’t kill.”
I look to my right to see Frankie give the classic crazy eyes. She holds her hands out, tensing her fingers, as though she’s imagining choking Jim. She sighs an exasperated sigh, “I give up. I wish I could just disappear like she can.”
“She can’t teleport.” I say, “She just turns invisible.”
“Since when were you a Fantastic Four nerd?” She asks.
“Jim and I watched the movies last night as homework…anyways, we’re here.” Robby had given us coordinates, something that, much to mine and the GPS’ chagrin, we struggled to determine. It seemed like it was in an empty area, which was something that I decided was best not to tell Frankie or Jim, because then they’d think that Frankie’s stinky brother would be trying to kill us in a secluded area states away. But, me and the GPS were wrong; quite wrong.
Charred and empty, the gate to Tolkien Middle School swung open.
“CLOSED – DEMOLITION BEGINS IN THREE TWO DAYS.” The sign read in front, along with a new picture of a design for the school.
“Tolkien was closed?” Frankie asks, “Where did kids go to after this?”
“I don’t know… but I guess we’ll find out. There’s Jim’s car.” I said, parking next to it. We stepped out and started walking towards it.
Moss and grass had overtaken the burned down building. It looked scary. I had never actually been here before; I went to McQuarrie, and because of that I never took a trip to Chafton, just an hour or so away, because seeing away games from our terrible football team was not something I wanted to see.
The door had a note taped to it, reading “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”
Jim laughs, “Someone was reading Dante’s Divine Comedy, huh?”
“I guess. Let’s go on, gang.”
“That’s a Fred Jones thing, we’re not… Scooby Doodle or whatever.” Jim grumbles, “Reed would say something to the effects of -”
“Okay, dude, seriously. Just because we get the puppet doesn’t mean we’re supposed to role play with it.” Frankie groans, “Open the door, Noah.”
Noah opened the door slowly, and I saw the inside to my first ever school in well over half a decade… and it was not a pretty sight to see. The murals that the kids painted everywhere had faded, covered by moss and burned marks. A light fixture hung from the ceiling.
“Anyone home?” Jim said. His voice echoed through the halls.
“Robby?” I say, “You got here minutes before us, man. We know you’re here.”
But silence only ensued. There was no conflict here. Suddenly, I felt myself getting frustrated again.
“You have to be kidding me, he bailed on us, didn’t he? He had to.”
“Don’t lose hope so soon, Fran. We just need to continue exploring.”
These halls are not mine.
They’re not mine because I’m older now, I’m wiser and I’m… taller. I’m so much taller. What used to be bricks I could barely reach, but I would see Elijah and others jump up towards the tops of the ceilings, I now duck under so as to not hit my head. The empty classrooms still have their desks sitting there, charred as well, but they’re desks that I’d be unable to fit into now.
Childhood. It’s something I should’ve held onto longer. And for a moment, I wish it was all different. I wish I could turn back time, to when things could be simpler. But I’m an adult, and it’s as though the future swiftly approaches, and that’s okay, because that’s what I need to focus on. There’s loss, highs and lows. To live in the past is pointless; it’s not worth being stuck in a time that has passed. Move on.
“That’s it!” I exclaim.
“Huh?” Noah says, running into Ms. Hoult’s room. Jim walks behind him, heaving.
“Robby brought us, more specifically me, to wish things were different.” I said.
“But… But he knows we can’t change things, right?” Noah asks. He sounds a little bit concerned about that, “We can’t travel back in time or anything.”
“Of course, but he wants us to reconnect with that childhood-like wonder. It’s obvious he doesn’t want us to change… to grow.”
We hear a rolling sound from the hall, and me, Jim, and Noah freeze. It sounds like a cart, large and in charge. This being a middle school, I figured whoever was dragging it was pushing something like a box TV, maybe full of DVDs and VHS tapes on fitness and how to do a perfect pushup.
Robby pushes it inside Ms. Hoult’s room, and it’s not a cart at all – it’s a Shredder. Noah sweats a little.
“Oh, crap.” Noah says.
“What? It’s just a shredder.” I say.
“I… I know.” He, nonetheless, grabs my hand.
“So, you guys caught me!” Robby says, “But, it’s with a good reason, I swear.”
“Robby, do you know how much money this cost you? Just to bring us to an abandoned school?” I ask. I’m seriously tired of the antics at this point, “You dragged us up here, brought us to this mildew, burned down place, and… Where do the kids even go to school in Chafton?”
“I’m well aware, yeah. But it’s for a good reason. The local government said they’ve been working on it while kids go to middle school virtually. But, listen Frankie – I brought you three here to see just how much you’re needed.”
Noah steps in, “You think we don’t know that?” He exclaims.
Jim jams a thumb towards himself, “I know I’m needed because I’m told that everyday by my therapist!”
Awkward silence is awkward after that comment. We all look at him, and then back to Robby. He doesn’t know what to say.
“You set us up, dude.” I say.
“I didn’t.” He cries, “I just thought that for once we could reconnect with our childhoods.”
I clench my fist and I approach Robby, he starts to back up as I slug him across the cheek. The impact of the fist to his face is felt in the quiet, empty, dusty and burned school. He coughs a bit after the punch, feeling his face.
“YOU are an ADULT, Robby! You’re an adult for pity’s sake! You pay car payments, and you have an apartment! You dragged us down with money you didn’t have, to make us play puppets in a school that is an environmental risk. What the heck is the shredder for, anyways?”
Robby is rubbing his face, a bruise is already starting to form across the cheek, “It’s the Doom Shredder, like Doctor Doom. It’s a bad guy that we could face.”
If this was a sitcom, I could imagine myself turning and staring face-to-face with the camera, because this statement was the dumbest thing I have heard of.
“You’re joking, right?” I ask.
“N-No…” He says, “I just wanted a team again… like the Foldoship. With you, and some others, and me as a part of it.”
“Robby, you dingus! YOU were Sauron! You still are! You made the antagonist for us, dude! And it’s a shredder! It would’ve been so much more… sensible… if it was a bully or something.”
“Freakin’ Zack Martin.” Noah grumbles.
“Yeah, like Zack Martin!”
“But… a shredder, and puppets.” Robby says, pointing to the Shredder, which has green all over it.
“Your Death Shredder or whatever it is means squat to us.” I say.
He’s crying now, “I don’t get it. I worked on this. I figured it would’ve done something – spark a flame in your heart, ignite a desire–”
“Robby, cut the crap, dude. We’re growing up. It’s just how it is.”
“But you and Noah needed to remember where you came from.”
Jim steps in between me and Robby, “Robby, Ella Fitzgerald said something to the effect of ‘it’s not about where you came from, it’s about what you do.’ Listen, this isn’t my fight. It never really has been. I haven’t known you guys for a lifetime, but I still love you all just the same… This isn’t it, man. It’s a hyperfixation on something that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme. These days were the days that bound you and Frankie together, yes, but they’re not the ones that define you.”
“Yeah. Like, life is a constant twist and turning of definitions. I wake up one day and I define myself as a fiance, a husband-to-be. The next day I’m a person applying to a job. One day, in the future, I’ll be a father. But those are definitions that continuously change.”
Robby is getting overstimulated; his eyes are bouncing from one person to another.
“Don’t peak in middle school, Robby. It’s an awful mistake.” I tell him, “If those are the best years of your life, then those next eight-or-so decades will be boring.”
“But… But… I was going to be Sauron,” He takes out the same old puppet he had from Middle School, covered in tape because of all the creases, the wear and tear that he has. Sauron has wings as well, “Like the pterodactyl from the comics.”
“… Seriously?” I ask him.
“Guys, give me your puppets.” I tell Noah and Jim. They listen to me, but Jim is reluctant to pass the Thing over, “Come on…” Jim sighs and hands me the puppet. I have three out of the four Fantastic Four characters in my hands, and I turn on the Shredder.
“What are you doing?” Robby exclaims. I pluck the Origami Sauron from his finger, and I throw them all into the Doom Shredder. Robby’s face – the shaggy, red beard, the bags under his eyes – they all droop into a face of devastation as Crease Richards – the elastic Mr. Foldtastic, Susanigami Storm – The Origami Invisible Woman (I don’t care about puns), and The Thing (Jim didn’t even get a chance to name his puppet) are shredded along with Sauron. Sauron’s wing is the last to go.
Robby breaks into a sob. He collapses to the ground, crying about the loss of paper, thanks to the Doom shredder.
“Why?” He asks me, “Why would you do this to me?”
“We can help you, Robby.” I say, “We could get you back in touch with Mom and Dad. I could help you get back into college, you could pursue the life you aim for.”
“But… but… my childhood.” He’s defeated.
“Childhood is never permanent, bro. We enter different ‘hoods’ of our lives, and it’s destructive to try and stay in one. Come on, we have some growing up to do.”
“We’re still growing up now.” Noah says, smiling. I hold my hand out, and Robby grabs it.
“Guys… do you smell that?” Jim asked. I smell the air, and I’m picking up the faint scent of smoke. Like cigarette smoke, tobacco and that burning singe. But it’s strong, and I know none of us here smoke. Jim opens the classroom door, and his eyes widen.
“Oh, crap.” He says.
“What is it?” I ask. He closes the door.
“The school is on fire, again.”
‘Oh, crap’ indeed.
Chapter 9: The Fantastic Four
By Everybody (Actually just Jim but I’ll just say Everyone to not seem biased)
“Open the window!” Jim, the hero, exclaims, “That’s the first lesson to any fire-escape. It’s what Dad told me, and I never listened to the other parts.”
“What?!” Noah yelled at him, entering panic mode.
“What can I say? Call of Duty is fun. I didn’t need to listen to fire-safety tips from Pops.”
Robby shatters the window with a desk chair. For a place that had been burned, glass was somehow left standing… for now.
“Do you not remember the other parts!?” Noah yells.
“Honey, they’re obvious.” Frankie, oddly calm during this extreme time, says, “We leap.” She looks outside the window, takes a breath, and dives out. Luckily, it was only on the first floor, so Robby, Noah, and Jim are able to escape as well. Jim did a pretty freaking sweet roll with his landing.
They continue running for a bit, escaping the flames. Noah, Frankie, and Jim get into their rental car, and Robby hops into his old vehicle. (Robby’s comment: Hey! 2006 is NOT old.) Quickly, they drive away from the scene, and they live to tell the tale because of it.
Noah, after reaching a safe enough distance from the fiery-land that is (or was) Tolkien, grabbed Frankie, and kissed her for a while. Jim sat back, stoically looking on at the sunset behind them. Because he doesn’t need that affection to be amazing. He’s just that amazing on his own.
“Jacob- er, Jim, could you look away?” Noah asked him. Jim smiled, and looked to the right, at the sunset above the Waffle House they were parked in. It was gorgeous, but not as handsome as him. (Frankie’s side-remark: There’s a reason we didn’t have him write any chapter for this thing.)
“Wait.” He says, “You said Jacob – that was my father’s name. It’s my middle name too. Jim Jacob Cornwallace.”
Noah stops kissing Frankie (good, it was getting gross), and stares at Jim, “You’re serious?”
“Yeah. I like Jake. I thought I told you this. Remember? We were watching the game, drinking some kool-aid, and I told you about that.”
“I think… After this pretty freaking sweet thing that I experienced with you two, I should go by ‘Jake.’” Jake says, stroking the sweet goatee that NO ONE could make fun of, simply because of how awesome it is.
The sun set in front of the Waffle House, and they had a terrible meal that I- er- we – er- they will spare the details of. They all agreed not to discuss the potential arson they had caused, and rather, they worked with Robby to plot out the rest of their lives.
But Jim didn’t listen to it. Because Jim is so awesome, all he needs to do is focus on his plans.
Chapter 10: Aftermath
We flew back to Cortland and arrived at Noah’s dorm, totally exhausted. The place was well-kept, thanks to Clark. He didn’t want to be paid, because he said that the experience of staying on a college campus was more than enough for him. Noah was a bit concerned about this statement, though.
“If he went to any parties…” He grumbles.
“I doubt they’ve been happening.” I say, “We’re approaching the end of the year. They’ve probably quieted down, you know?”
“Hmmm… Clark, did anyone come up here?”
“Huh? No. Nah… Absolutely not. Anyways, I’ll see you guys around!”
Me and Noah gave eachother side glances, “He brought someone up here.” I say.
“Yeah… the room wouldn’t be this clean if he didn’t.”
“What are we going to do?” I ask.
“Nothing. We were high school students once. Given the chance to have a place of your own for a week? You’re going to have some fun. I’m just happy he left the place better than he left it. Even Jim- er- Jake’s wall of soup cans is straightened up.”
“It’s a pantry.” Jake grumbled.
“They’re empty, and they need to be thrown away!” Noah shouts, “Anyways, how’s that site going?”
“Oh!” I had totally forgotten about it. In the days before leaving, we helped Robby out in cleaning up his place, fixing up his resume, and applying to jobs – seems like he’ll be helping out at Tolkien when it reopens next year, while he’s attending college classes. We had talked about how if McQuarrie, Tolkien, Claremont and Wheeler existed, and they were full of these origami wielders, then maybe there were more of them out there. Robby and Noah quickly got to work – Robby using his design skills, Noah his coding, to create a forum and a website for these schools, called “The Folders Connection.” It was to help these kids stay in touch with one another. We started with McQuarrie, but we also sent it out to some kids at Wheeler and Claremont. Then it spread to schools internationally; a school in England called Ilkey Grammar School had received word of it, and a student named Henry spread it around there. Somehow, through a kid at Wheeler, a school in Jutefruce, California, received the site. We made sure to tell them not to give any personal info, and I act as a main moderator for the site. We also had a semi-partnership with some of the schools, making this site a pen-pal site for these kids who share similar interests.
A kid who didn’t know how to use the site, only going by “King Crease,” was causing trouble. That was the first thing I saw when I opened the site.
“HI MY NAME IS KING CREASE WHO ARE YOU?” The message board said.
“I’m Silas! I go to McQuarrie. My puppet is Darth Papergus.”
“Hey, hey, calm down. I can’t talk long, Mr. Cunningham is calling me back to class.”
“Hey! I’m Linkin. Am I late?!”
“LINKIN IS A BAD NAME”
“I was born with it! My puppet is of Link, from Legend of Zelda!”
“TYPICAL. I AM KING CREASE”
“Cool! I’m Linkin!”
“I AM KING CREASE”
Then the conversation ended.
Elsewhere, someone had posted a photo of a wall graffitied with swears, which I had to instantly take down, though it had gotten hundreds of likes, the caption asking for help. I considered banning the user, ◇Annashred▪︎Crease♡, but realized that sometimes, it’s better to let things slide.
“Yeah. It’s looking okay.” I say, “I think we just need to keep a watch of it. Maybe get some more moderators.”
“That’s good, that’s good. I’m happy that’s up and running, though. Now these students can stay in touch and help one another.”
“It’s like a world-wide origami gang!” Jim says.
“Heck yeah, man!” Noah exclaimed. I smiled. While it’s good to let go of your own childhood, it’s great to help younger generations make sure their childhood is better than what you had, rather than being old-geezers, saying “back in my day, we didn’t have this site.” So what? Make the site for the younger ones! Help others!
Ugh, I digress. Enough “Frankie on her soapbox.”
The point is: The Foldtastic Four was never something that was necessary, because the bond was there already. What matters is what we do. Because then we can truly be… Fantastic.
Gosh, that movie was terrible.
Epilogue: The End…and a Beginning
I was thinking about this:
That trap that I set… was not a trap at all. It was just a shredder. There were no fires that could’ve been involved in it, because I didn’t have any way of making flames out of thin air or something. How did the school catch fire?
I’ve been helping out with construction, and I’ve been attending classes as well, and I may be teaching next year for a new class of kids. At the old site of Tolkien, the charred remains show no sign of foul play. But it doesn’t make sense. How does a fire just suddenly happen?
Anyways, I found a pretty cool “Asami miniature lighter” while cleaning the area up, with a “C.B.” on the back. It’s neat, and I’m going to hold onto it… I think this “C.B.” was the one that did that to us.
But I need to be an adult – I can’t get caught in these past mysteries… right?