Scribblings: Night’s Legacy
I haven’t been overly happy with the first two stories I’ve written this year but maybe third time is the charm? Let’s hope so. Next up is “The Night’s Legacy” which is the re-reboot of this story. Here’s a bonus Terrible Tip for you: if you have trouble coming up with a title, go rummage through song titles. I couldn’t think of a title but I figured the word “Legacy” should be involved since it’s about a girl picking up her mother’s mantle as a hero. So I went to Amazon MP3s and ran a title search of “Legacy” and saw something called “Legacy of the Night” and that seemed somewhat appropriate since superheros work at night. Also you could consider “Night” a substitute for “Knight.” Although I’m not sure if it’s better as “THE Night’s Legacy” or “Night’s Legacy.” Or maybe they both suck.
Anyway, I started breaking out my rough description of the story into an outline to help keep me on track. So as usual I’m going to post it here so I can refer back to it later if I don’t have the file handy.
Overall thing: As the title suggests, Louise has to embrace the legacy of her crime-fighting parents and stop the evil villain from destroying the world.
- Louise Locke is 23-ish and working at a Denny’s-type restaurant on the graveyard shift. A couple of rowdy customers harass her but she deflects that and deflates their manhood in the process. Later they try to take revenge in the parking lot but she kicks their asses and gets arrested.
- Later Louise is in jail when her mom Jessie shows up to talk the cops out of charging Louise. Louise isn’t happy about this, but she decides it’s better than rotting in jail.
- Outside the jail, Jessie pleads with her daughter to come back with her to Renaissance City. Louise is hesitant but her mom looks positively ancient and she did bail Louise out, so she finally gives in.
- They arrive in Ren City and Jessie takes Louise up to her old bedroom, which Louise last slept in when she was 13. Louise is tired enough that she falls asleep even though it’s the early afternoon.
- When she wakes up, she finds a note from Jessie saying that she’s gone to the museum and will be back later tonight. So Louise decides to go out and finds a bar where she gets into more trouble and makes a narrow escape.
- When she gets back home she sneaks in and expects her mom to be pissed. Except Mom isn’t home! So Louise calls her mom’s office but no one answers. Louise tracks down the number of her old friend Dr. Johnson, who says that Jessie left work shortly before he did at 10ish. They do a little chatting and then she lets him get back to sleep. She tries to stay up for her mom, but falls asleep.
- Meanwhile, on the waterfront, Finnish mob boss Jarko Rahnasto (aka Mr. Nasty) is overseeing a big delivery of guns. Then the local superhero the Silver Seraph shows up and kicks ass on everyone. Mr. Nasty manages to escape.
- Back at the sporting goods store that serves as his hideout, Mr. Nasty laments that annoying superhero thwarting his attempts to expand his influence in the city. Then a message comes in from an anonymous source offering a solution to Mr. Nasty’s. There are instructions for a meeting the next night. Mr. Nasty decides to look into it.
- At 4am or so Jessie returns home. She takes off the armor and inspects the latest of her bruises and sores. Then she finds Louise napping on the couch and takes her little girl upstairs and tucks her in just like old times, along the way wondering where things went wrong.
- Louise wakes up in her own bed and her mom tells her that she has a new job in the museum’s gift shop. Louise doesn’t want to go but decides that she could use some money. At breakfast, Louise notices bruises on her mom’s arms that Jessie explains away with some lame excuse Louise doesn’t buy.
- After breakfast they go to the museum, which hasn’t changed much since Louise spent many hours there as a child. Her mom takes her up to the gift shop, where she meets her new coworkers: the attractive and mysterious Tony and the annoying suck-up Megan, who went to high school with Louise.
- Megan shows Louise the ropes and Louise soon finds the job is a nuisance that involves picking up after little kids who routinely make messes in the store and dealing with other obnoxious customers.
- At lunch Megan continues blabbing while Tony gives Louise several significant looks. When Megan finally leaves, Tony and Louise talk and he asks her out to a party that night. She agrees.
- Before going back to work, Louise runs into Dr. Richard Johnson, whom she crushed on when she was little and wanted to be just like until she dropped out of school. They talk until he suggests he could get her back into college. Then she excuses herself to go back to work.
- At the end of the day, Louise says goodbye to Megan and promises to see Tony later. Then she goes to her mom’s office. She talks to Jessie’s secretary, who says Jessie has been working late for years and hints that it was ever since Louise dropped out of school and went off the grid.
- On the way home, Jessie falls asleep in the car. Louise wakes her up later and at dinner they have a frank talk about Jessie’s health. She says she’s fine but Louise doesn’t buy it.
- Louise is concerned about leaving her mom alone, but Jessie tells her to go out and have a nice time—just not too nice. Eventually Louise agrees and takes her mom’s motorcycle to the club, where Tony is waiting for her.
- They dance and drink and are having fun. Then Tony excuses himself, promising to be back. Though he says he’s going to the bathroom, Louise notices him going into a VIP room. She waits for a while but when he doesn’t come back, she decides to go home and give him the business the next morning. Again her mother isn’t home when she gets back.
- The next morning, Louise suggests that they go together to visit Dr. Pavelski, Jessie’s primary care physician. Jessie says there’s no need; she went a few weeks ago and was healthy as a horse. But Louise sees new bruises that seem to belie this.
- At work, she gives Tony the cold shoulder until they can finally be alone. Then she gives him the business. He says that he tried to find her but couldn’t. He promises to make it up to her and she agrees.
- At lunch she leaves the museum to head over to Dr. Pavelski’s office. She barges in and demands to see her mother’s records. The doctor eventually agrees and lets her see Jessie’s file. She’s perfectly healthy—for a woman of about 80. Unfortunately Jessie is only about 50, so Louise is really concerned about the arthritis and osteoporosis and whatnot that are affecting her mother.
- After work, Louise and Jessie have an argument in her office about Jessie’s health and Louise’s snooping. Louise finally says she doesn’t care what her mother does and then stomps away. But as she’s about to leave, she finds masked men rushing inside!
- Louise hides and tries to use her phone but someone’s jamming it. The masked men break in with very little difficulty and evade all of the museum’s security while also taking out the guards. Louise tries to hide in the Egyptology exhibit but they find her. She attempts to fight them off, but they overwhelm her and knock her out.
- One of the thieves is particularly interested in the Staff of Ra. As he’s getting it, the Silver Seraph descends upon them! She beats up most of the robbers, but the one gets the Staff of Ra and speaks a few words that cause it to shoot lightning! He shoots the Seraph a few times until she can’t fight back. Then the hired goons take off the armor. Mr. Nasty puts a couple bullets into Jessie. Before they can finish her off, a masked hobo shows up and drives them away. Before she passes out, Jessie tells the hobo to help Louise.
- We have a flashback to when Louise went off the grid. Her mom picks her up from the latest college she’s gotten thrown out from for bad behavior. Louise is 16 at the time and could have earned her doctorate by now if she’d stopped getting into fights with students, professors, and so forth. At a diner Jessie tries to tell Louise that she doesn’t need to push herself to be a genius like her mother. Instead of taking this advice to heart, Louise skips out of the restaurant and hitches a ride far away from Ren City and her old life.
- When she wakes up, Louise is in the emergency room. She has a nasty bump on her head, but otherwise she’s fine. She asks to call her mother, but the doctor tells her that Dr. Locke is already upstairs in surgery! Louise goes up there and finds out that her mother was brought in with a couple of gunshot wounds in the chest. It’s very dicey whether she’ll live or not!
- Dr. Johnson shows up to comfort Louise but Louise feels that it’s her fault for being so cruel to her mother before the robbery. Dr. Pavelski comes out of surgery eventually to tell them that Jessie has survived the surgery but that one of the bullets hit her spine and in all likelihood she’s going to be paralyzed!
- Louise is in the waiting room of intensive care later when Megan shows up. She and Louise talk and while Louise is grateful for Megan’s support, she wishes Tony were there. She’s tried calling him but he hasn’t answered her calls. Then Dr. Pavelski appears again to tell Louise that Jessie is awake!
- Jessie goes into her mother’s room. Her mother is bandaged and looking in even worse shape than before. As Dr. Pavelski indicated, Jessie can’t move her legs. How permanent this is remains to be seen. Jessie is alert enough to tell Louise it’s not her fault (which only makes her feel guiltier) and that if she has any strange dreams, she shouldn’t do what they say. Louise takes this bizarre advice with a grain of salt.
- Meanwhile, Dr. Johnson goes to his office to write his report on the robbery when he finds one of the thieves has returned to the scene of the crime to rummage through Richard’s files! Before Richard can stop him, the thief shoots him and then runs away.
- Louise is at the hospital that night when Tony finally visits. She tells him that her mom is stabilizing but it’ll be a while before she’s out of the woods. Out of the way of private eyes they make out a little.
- Their making out is interrupted by Megan rushing in and saying that Dr. Johnson is dead! They go over to the museum, where Louise tries to see her mentor, but the cops won’t let her through until Tony creates a distraction. Then she sees Richard’s dead body with a few holes in it.
- Detective Amanda Murdoch interviews Louise about both crimes. Louise tells her everything that she can but there still seems to be no logic to the crime.
- After everything she goes back to the hospital where her mom wakes up again. Louise doesn’t tell her about Dr. Johnson, though, not wanting to upset Jessie when she’s in such a weakened state.
- Later, Mr. Nasty and his thugs are going over the loot from the museum heist. He’s not sure why the stranger wanted to rob the museum, but now that the Seraph is dead, he can start doing big business!
- The stranger shows up wearing a hood and carrying the Staff of Ra. The stranger outlines his plan to use Mr. Nasty’s mob to loot the wealth of Ren City and redistribute it to worthier causes, like Robin Hood. When Mr. Nasty balks at this, the stranger shoots him with the staff. He decrees that any who don’t join him in his crusade will be destroyed. Guess what Mr. Nasty’s goons decide to do? With that settled, the stranger decrees they will start hitting all of the banks in Ren City!
- Knowing that home isn’t safe after her mom and Dr. Johnson being shot, Louise leans on her old ways and takes refuge in a dumpy motel. On the lumpy bed she has a vision of Dr. Johnson telling her to go back to the museum.
- Louise wakes up and decides to go to the museum since it’s time for work anyway. Megan chides her for coming in, but Louise says there’s not much she can do at the hospital right now. So she gets to work on her crappy job.
- At lunch she hears Dr. Johnson’s voice telling her to get in the elevator. She thinks maybe it’s some kind of evil prank, so she gets in the elevator. The voice tells her to punch the button for the sub-subbasement. She does, expecting to find some joker waiting for her. Instead there’s just a bunch of old junk. The voice guides her to a hidden room though and there she finds the lair of the Silver Seraph!
And I was playing around on “The Sims 2” while printing some stuff so I made most of the main characters referenced in the outline so far:
OK, so on the left is our main character, Louise Locke, whose hair should be darker red but whatever. In the middle is her mother, Dr. Jessica Locke, who doubles as the hero known as the Silver Seraph. And even though she looks old she’s only 50–that’s what so many late nights of getting beat up will do to you. Finally on the far right we have Louise’s father Sam, who is also a vigilante known as The Private Eye, which is why in this he’s wearing a fedora and suit but sadly I couldn’t find a trench coat. Again he’s probably in his 50s but living on the lam kind of makes you old before your time.
And the rest! On the left is Dr. Richard Johnson, Louise’s mentor and surrogate father when she was little. Then is Tony Donato, Louise’s supervisor at the museum gift shop, who’s also the secret villain (spoilers!). Next to him is Megan Putnam, Louise’s coworker at the museum gift shop who went to high school with her as well. Tony, Megan, and Louise are all dressed the same because that’s the gift shop uniform more or less. And finally on the right is Jarko Rahnasto, known as Mr. Nasty in the city’s underworld and may be the only Finnish gangster in the world.
Finally, here’s the first scene I typed up this morning!
She liked working the graveyard shift the best. The other girls hated the lack of tips, but she preferred the quiet of the diner after midnight. Except for the occasional trucker coming in for coffee, pie, and scrambled eggs she had the place to herself most of the night. She spent that time sitting at the counter with a book, a new one every night. On a really slow night she could finish two books.
She was halfway through an analysis of mythic symbolism in hieroglyphics of the Old Kingdom when her first two customers came in. From their baggy pants, T-shirts, and lack of beer guts she knew they weren’t truckers. From the way they staggered over to a booth and practically fell into it, giggling all the while, she knew they were college kids trying to sober up. She’d seen their kind often enough at Northwestern, Berkeley, Michigan, Brown, and even Renaissance City Community College to recognize them.
She gave them a couple of minutes to settle into the booth and pretend to read the menus. Then she strolled over with two cups of black coffee. “Here you boys go,” she said. As part of the act she took the order pad and pen from her apron. “Anything else I can get you?”
The way the boy in the red T-shirt on the left’s head bobbed up and down, she knew these two were going to be trouble. “How about your phone number,” Red T-shirt squinted at her nametag, needing a moment to pull together all six letters, “Louise?”
“Sorry boys, I’m unlisted. Maybe you’d like some homemade pecan pie instead?”
“Only if it’s as sweet as you,” Red T-shirt said. Louise tried not to roll her eyes at this. The drunker the boy, the more suave he thought he was.
“Sure. What about your friend?” She glanced over at the other boy, whose chin rested on his blue T-shirt. He’d probably passed out. “Maybe a glass of water to pour over his head?”
Red T-shirt cackled at this as if it were the funniest thing he’d ever heard. “You’re a funny, chick Louise. Why don’t you sit down with us?”
“Against store policy.”
“Who’s going to know?”
She turned back to the kitchen and shouted, “Hey Miguel! Come out here a second.” A few moments later the kitchen door banged open and out came all six feet-eight inches and three hundred pounds of Miguel Santiago.
He folded his arms over his white T-shirt stained with seventeen years of grease and dirt. “You got a problem?”
Red T-shirt wasn’t so drunk that he didn’t understand the significance of Miguel’s appearance. His face went paler than Miguel’s shirt. Louise smiled and then turned back to the cook. “Could you fetch some vanilla ice cream from the freezer? I think these boys want their pie ala mode, don’t you?”
“Sure,” Red T-shirt squeaked. His partner had slept through the entire encounter.
“I’ll be right back.” She gave Red T-shirt a wink before she sauntered back to the counter for two slices of pie.
Miguel ladled a slab of ice cream on each slice. In Spanish he muttered, “Why a girl like you work in a place like this?”
He’d asked her that every night for the last six months she’d been working at the diner. She gave him the same answer she always did, “I just like the ambiance.”
Red T-shirt set a new record in eating his pie and drinking his coffee. For good measure he ate Blue T-shirt’s as well. He didn’t even ask for the bill; he just dropped a twenty on the counter and dragged his friend out of the place.
Louise collected the bill and then stuck it in the cash register. She took out the appropriate change to split the fifty percent tip with Miguel. As always he tried to decline the money and as always she convinced him that he was the one who had really earned it. “Buy a couple Happy Meals for the kids,” she said.
He took the money and then she sat down on her stool to continue reading her book.
So there you go. Much more than you ever wanted to know about this project.
See you in September!