New Cape High Short Story Book!

Haven’t done one of these for a while! I’d actually forgotten how fun they are to do<3 Hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Cape High Advent ’21 Day Twenty-four

Day 24

Instead of the backdrop, or the chair, the screen shows Toodles, who’s holding her phone as she does her rounds. It’s obvious that she’s moving, because the background keeps changing from outside to inside, and room from room.

“Hi, everyone! Santa’s a bit busy today, doing his rounds, so I thought I’d answer all your heart-felt wishes, since, well, you know who I am,” she says. “How are we doing?” she asks as she finally stops in a room.

“Those calculations that the kids did are working wonderfully, Toodles!” and elf says. The wall is covered in maps, with Santa’s REAL route showing up in real time. “He’s two entire towns ahead of where he was last year!”

“Very nice,” Toodles says.

“Very nice, indeed!” the elves cheer.

“So thank you, Zoe, Charles, and Davis, you’ve done a very good job with your calculations! Now, we’re going to go to the delivery dock, so forgive me if I’m running while talking,” she says, and the background starts blurring. “It was wonderful to see all of you, and hear all your thoughts. This was such a blast to watch—except, no trying to steal Christmas! We have a very important job to do, and you could break a lot of hearts! Which is what I have to say officially, but I LOVE those silly Christmas special comics, so make sure it’s entertaining, okay?”

There’s laughter in the background as she pulls to a stop again. This time they’re in a room LOADED with mountains of presents. “How are we doing, everyone?” Toodles calls out.

“It’s going faster, so we grabbed the cookie and coco division to help out!” someone calls out.

“Oh, dear,” Toodles says. “We need at least two of the C and C working, guys! It’s VITAL!”

“Why is it–”

“Helloooooooo, North Pole!” a voice comes from above. The screen turns from Toodles to look up, showing Skye coming through the ceiling while tugging the other Deadly Darlin’s behind her. “We’ve come to ROB YOU!”

“Get someone on C and C duty right now,” Toodles says out of the corner of her mouth. “We need cookies, STAT!”

At least four elves run out of the room at top speed.

“Raindance! You get the gigantic robot for Robo, I’ll get Cubby’s stuff!” Skye says. “Jersey! You’re–”

“Already on it,” Doris says, and several elves go flying through the air, only to get grabbed by Skye.

“We can’t have you crushing the presents! Throw them GENTLY, Jersey Devil!” Skye says.

“I’ll have to get back to you,” Toodles says. “Merry Christmas, everyone! RAINDANCE! You are dangerously close to being put on the naughty list, right now!” she shouts, and the screen goes black.

***

Cape High Advent ’21 Day Twenty-three

Day 23

Instead of a teenager, Nico is sitting in the chair with Kodiak perched on his lap. There’s a moment of silence before Elidee says, “Um, I thought Freddy was coming for this one?”

“He’s on his way to the North Pole right now, so he and Blackbird can film the big… ahem… day,” Nico says, jiggling a leg slightly.

“That sounds awesome, can I go?” Elidee asks.

“They called it, first, and since it’s villains versus Legends, they have the top billing. Can’t exactly send Hall TV over, can you? Speaking of which, I can get your journalism training set up, if you want. You’re old enough to start.”

“Yeah, I was going to talk to you about that,” she says. “But, um, what am I going to do for today’s, then? Should I go see if I can get Charles, or maybe one of Carla’s little brothers?”

“AAAH!” Kodiak says, waving his hands.

“Kode, here, wants to tell Santa something,” Nico says, looking at his son. “Go ahead, kid, tell the jolly man.”

“Aigga!” Kodiak says, and then looks satisfied with himself.

“We already had this talk, Kode,” Nico says, turning the boy so they’re looking at each other. “You can have ALL the big aspirations you want—you can be a superhero, or a villain, or make gigantic robots, or–”

“AIGGA!” Kodiak says.

“But you aren’t going to grow up THAT fast,” Nico says, “and asking Santa for it isn’t going to work. For one, you only have a couple of days until Christmas, for another, Santa only gives presents. You know, toys, clothes, stuff like that.”

“I’m asking for a puppy!” Elidee offers.

Kodiak frowns, pouting. “Ughy?” he asks.

“You want a… puppy?” Nico asks.

“Ahh!” Kodiak says, his face going bright again.

“You’ve already got Clinky,” Nico says.

“Ip!” Kodiak says.

“Ship?” Nico offers. “What sort of ship?”

“Oooh!” Kodiak says, waving a hand in the air.

“A spaceship,” Nico says. “Okay, sure, I’ll borrow the blueprints for the mini ones that Pan and the Colleck boys make.”

“Isn’t he asking SANTA for that?” Elidee asks.

“What’s the fun in that?” Nico asks. “Santa would just give him one of those plastic ones. C’mon, kid, let’s go get your Christmas present started.”

“Wait, wait,” Elidee says. “What about his dreams and aspirations?”

“AIGGA!” Kodiak cheers, lifting his fists into the air.

“He dreams of getting big,” Nico says. “Not that quick, kid,” he tells the boy. “You’re the first of my kids I actually get to see do that. You need to take your time.”

***

Cape High Advent ’21 Day Twenty-two

Day 22

Trent is floating in a seated position over the chair, wearing a Santa hat and drinking a gigantic mug of eggnog. He has a mask on, but he’s wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans instead of his uniform. The t-shirt has a comic featuring his brother riveting a massive metal Christmas sleigh together, with pieces of metal reindeer littering the ground.

“Are you trying to encourage him?” Elidee asks.

“Encourage who?” he asks.

“Cold Steel to try and steal Christmas,” she says, and her hand comes into view, pointing at the shirt. “I know for a fact that both Dragon and the Deadly Darlin’s have all said they were going to, already.”

“The Deadly Darlin’s aren’t stealing Christmas,” Trent says. “They’re robbing the North Pole, right? There’s a difference.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be… I dunno, more heroically offended by the fact they’re doing that?” Elidee asks.

“Eh, it’s not my territory, and besides, Raindance is sisters with Toodles,” he says. “They’ll probably just distract them with hot chocolate and cookies—and now I want to rob the North Pole,” he says. Elidee starts laughing. “Just for the cookies, of course, I wouldn’t take any presents, or anything,” he says.

“I know, that’s what makes it funny,” she says. “After saying that on a video going to Santa–”

“Ah, whoops, forgot about that fact. Can we edit that part out?” Trent says. Elidee starts laughing, again. In fact, there’s a tiny blink, showing that the filming had been cut, and then it starts again.

“Okay, let’s try again,” Elidee says. “What would you like to say to Santa?”

Trent looks extremely serious at this question, and as he opens his mouth, watchers are certain he’s going to say something about world peace. “If you have any extra cookies, you know, after the job’s over, I’m volunteering to help clean up the problem, now,” he says.

“You just had to look as serious as possible for that, didn’t you,” she says.

“Because I am as serious as it gets, right now,” Trent says, only to grin. “I’ll even eat the pies!”

“You’re so altruistic,” she says, and he starts laughing.

“I think the cookies are the real reason my Dad always wanted the job,” Trent says. “Just imagine, and entire night of cookies, milk, pies, and giving presents. Yeah, it sort of sucks we don’t have the right abilities. I bet those cookies are delicious.”

“Okay, we get it, you like cookies,” Elidee says. “Now, what about dreams, aspirations, or something you’d like to tell your future self?”

“I’m going to graduate, get a place of my own, marry my girlfriend and have a couple of kids,” he says. “I’ll just do it while saving the day on a daily basis. I dunno about what else. I’ve got a really long life ahead of me, so I figure I’ll come up with stuff as I go.”

“Anything to tell your future self?” she asks.

“Don’t ever take it for granted,” he says, going serious again.

“Take what for granted?” Elidee asks.

“Anything,” he says, grinning crookedly. “Or, more importantly, anyONE.”

***

Cape High Advent ’21 Day Twenty-one

Day 21

“Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree!” Emily sings, spinning around in a circle.

“You realize that Hana already did that, right?” Elidee says, once again off-screen.

“I know, and it was awesome,” Emily says as she plops down on the chair. “I’ve been trying to get her to make me a Christmas tree dress, too.”

“She won’t?” Elidee asks.

“She says I’d make a better candycane,” Emily explains, seriously. “I’m not sure if I should agree or think it’s a comment about how skinny I am, honestly,” she adds. There’s a moment of silence. “You can laugh, I’m fine with it,” Emily says. The sound of Elidee laughing comes loud and clear. Emily grins.

“So, do you have something to say to Santa?” Elidee asks.

“I did notice that nobody really had a LOT to say to him, did they?” Emily says, looking thoughtful. “It isn’t that we don’t believe, or anything, but…”

“But they either don’t have anything they want, or they’re thinking about other things, huh?” Elidee offers. “I mean, when you go to a school like ours, you don’t really have to worry about getting the latest phone, or something like that. Although, seriously, I STILL want that puppy.”

“Nico makes robot puppies!” Emily says.

“No thanks, I want a real one,” Elidee says. “And a new pair of shoes! They have the CUTEST winter boots on sale right now!”

“And I sort of wore out my favorite Converse,” Emily says, thoughtfully. “A new pair of shoes sounds perfect! So, let me do it properly… Santa, I’ve been a VERY good girl this year. I even saved a planet from a meteor not that long ago, that counts, right? And I know my bedroom is a little… messy–”

There’s a laugh from off-screen, and it isn’t Elidee’s.

“But I’m the only one who has to deal with it!” she finishes in triumph. “Well, me and Ditto and Repeat have to deal with it—you’d honestly think with three sets of hands you could keep your bedroom clean, wouldn’t you?” she says.

“My room is clean and I only have one set of hands,” Elidee says.

Emily makes a face at her, and then tries to look like it hadn’t happened. “But what I want for Christmas is a new pair of shoes and a skateboard!” she says. “One with my logo on it! I’ll even give you permission to USE my logo—on that one. You’ve got to go through my Hall for other uses. Thanks!” she says, waving her fingers at the screen.

“Any dreams and aspirations? Or something you want to tell your future self?” Elidee asks.

“Mmm… nah,” Emily decides. “I’m terrible at listening to my own good advice, no point in wasting the screen time!”

***

Cape High Advent ’21 Day Twenty

Day 20

The chair is empty. The backdrop keeps changing, and once in a while you can almost see an outline of someone sitting there, but it disappears so quickly that it seems like an illusion. “Okay, that IS cool,” Elidee says, finally, and someone laughs.

A teenage male shimmers into view. He’s grown since the last time he showed his face in public, and somewhere along the line Carla had managed to fix his hair into chunky braids that fall down past his shoulders. “I think you caught me a few times, though, didn’t you?” he says.

“The camera’s a Technico,” Elidee says. “I could have had your heat signature the entire time, if I wanted, but that wasn’t part of the bet. Why don’t you introduce yourself, since most of the people haven’t seen you before—because you didn’t have any pants on last time.” This last part is said in a droll tone, but he starts laughing, again.

“Hey! It’s not like anyone SAW me runnin’ around in boxers!” he protests. “And it was at home! I live in the dorms, you know?”

“Uh huh,” she says. “You were probably a streaker baby, weren’t you,” she accuses him.

“Guilty,” he says, lifting a hand at the screen. There’s a bittersweet look on his face as he thinks about it. “But anyway,” he says. “I’m here to answer some questions, right?” To everyone’s surprise, probably, he’s staying visible. “I’ve got a question, though. Why are you on that side of the camera?”

“What?” she asks, startled. “Because this is a letter to Santa, too, right? You don’t just have someone on the screen with you when you’re talking to Santa.”

“Yeah, but I don’t really HAVE anything to say to Santa,” he says. “Nothing I want can be wrapped in a box.”

“But you do want something,” she says.

“Yeah… but nothing that I’m going to get for Christmas,” he says, shrugging. “So come over here, I don’t like everyone’s eyes being on me. Here, I’ll get you a chair,” he says, disappearing off-screen for a second before coming back with another chair. A second later Elidee comes around and drops down on the seat. “You want to know what I want to tell my future self, right?” he asks.

There’s a slightly flustered look on her face as she straightens her clothing and messes with her hair. “Um, yeah, that’ll work, she says. “Did I REALLY have to get in front of the camera? I haven’t even fixed my hair up properly!” she complains.

“You look as cute as always, so relax, already,” he says. “And I don’t know what I’d tell me, heck, I don’t even know what to tell me, NOW. So I guess you just wasted, what, twenty minutes of film?”

“Not wasted,” she says. “You showed your face, right?”

He gives her a crooked smile. “And how is that important?”

“I’m just going to ignore that one,” she tells him, waving it off. “Hey… you ever consider going villain?”

The screen goes black before he replies.

***

Cape High Advent ’21 Day Nineteen

Day 19

“Wow, I’m not used to being on this side of the screen—well, I am, but not in this way,” Jennifer says, fidgeting in the chair. She pulls out her phone, pointing it at the screen. “How’s it going, anyway, Elidee? Have you gotten anything really good yet?”

“YOU are the one being interviewed, here, Blackbird, not me,” Elidee says, and we see a hand come out, pointing at Jennifer. “So I’ll be asking the questions, thank you, very much! Do you have anything to say to Santa?”

“I heard that the Deadly Darlin’s are planning to rob the North Pole this Christmas,” Jennifer says.

“How did you hear that? That should have been my story!” Elidee complains.

“You snooze, you lose, Eli!” Jennifer says, smugly. “But actually, they were plotting it all out just the other day. They’ve been hopping in on a regular basis to see what sorts of presents Kodiak gets for HIS special advent.”

“Kodiak’s getting his own personal advent? He’s not even old enough to talk, yet!” Elidee says. “No, of course he’s getting one. Is it all digital?”

“Most of it is, yeah, like an entire show of dancing snowmen and a trip to space,” Jennifer says. “We’ve got it in the system if you have the time to check it out.”

“I will DEFINITELY do that,” Elidee says.

“I mean, it’s not a REAL trip to space,” Jennifer says. “They don’t plan on taking him off planet anytime soon, but I think they used some footage from one of the spaceships to make it feel like one.”

“That sounds awesome,” Elidee says. “Now, do you have anything NON-spoilery to tell Santa?”

“I seriously didn’t believe he existed from the time I was four until I started going to Cape High, so I guess I should apologize?” Jennifer offers. “Sorry I didn’t think you existed, Santa. I know better, now.”

“And that’s it?”

“Yeah? I mean, it’s not like I want a barbie doll or a—wait, I could use a new pair of shoes, actually. I mean, you can never have enough shoes!”

“And do you have any hopes and dreams, or aspirations you want to tell us about? Or maybe something to say to your future self?” Elidee asks.

“Mmm,” Jennifer says. “I managed to lose those extra five pounds when I started school, but you will DEFINITELY have to watch it in the future, Future-me! Like, I LOVE sweet things, and it’s horrible. Maybe we should convince Aubrey to boost our powers just a little bit, after all, so we can eat however we want!”

“THAT’S what you want to say,” Elidee says, dead-pan.

“You don’t have this problem, so no judging! I need to look good for the camera!”

“And your boyfriend, right?” Elidee teases.

“Oh, he can just deal with it,” Jennifer says, waving it off.

“Oh my gosh, did you just admit you were dating Gecko?!” Elidee asks, squealing. “I KNEW IT!”

“I meant my future IMAGINARY—oh, be quiet,” Jennifer says.

***

Cape High Advent ’21 Day Eighteen

Day 18

“Um, I thought Freddy was coming,” Elidee says. Max is lounging on the chair, wearing his uniform.

“He was otherwise detained,” Max says.

“Did something happen?” she asks. “Should I postpone this one?”

“No, you’re fine. I’m going to be the one interviewed today,” Max says. “You went ahead and interviewed Cold Steel, didn’t you? That means this is fair game! Besides, you need to make a commitment. Are you going to be a villain?” he asks, moving closer and looking at the camera—or actually right behind it.

“What?”

“Want me to ask Santa for it?” Max says. “Santa, I’ve been a very good boy this year, and all I want for Christmas are more female villains in Central!” he says, grinning cheesily. “We need to up our game, or the Central villains will lose to the South Branch!”

“How would you lose to the South Branch?” Elidee asks, with a hint of amusement. “You’ve got a ton of villains!”

“All we have are guys, practically,” Max says. “The world is changing, Elidee! We need both guys and girls! Just look at the Deadly Darlin’s, they’ve got a gigantic fan-following—they’re even stealing some of ours!”

“Okay, that’s true,” she admits. “I mean, I’m a huge Deadly Darlin’ fan, myself–”

“TRAITOR!” he roars, pointing at her dramatically.

“And YOU invited them to join the villain parade in the past, remember?” she points out. “But now’s not the time–”

“There’s no better time than this,” he says. “Elidee, join me on the shady side,” he says, holding out a hand.

There’s a long pause, where the screen focuses on the empty hand for a few seconds too long. “Maximum,” she says.

“Yes?” he says, his hand staying right where it is.

“If you could tell your future self something, what would it be?”

“Darn it,” he mutters, finally lowering his hand. “I would tell myself…” he thinks about it for a long, long moment. “Keep your father-in-law from messing with time travel. Except if I say that, will it screw up the things that got fixed? Yeah, even I’m not sure about that one… How about this!” he says, cheering up again. “Don’t screw up too much.”

“You just ripped off Sunny’s reply, didn’t you,” she accuses him.

“It’s a good one,” he says.

***