For the month of December, I’ll be world-building. This means taking a look at the people, places, and institutions that I have created over the last six months and trying to figure out more about them. This will involve a look at the stories in which they’ve appeared, and then some speculation, stream-of-consciousness writing, and with any luck a few revelations. In addition, I may come back and add new material as the Elves in my unconscious ship out new ideas, so I’ll be sure to link them up.
Your feedback as readers is, of course, more than welcome. There are probably questions that I’m forgetting to ask and holes that I need to fill.
Wish me luck!
Today I thought I’d do an institution and see what it is I’ve set up.
Over the course of the last six months, I’ve made a lot of schools. This really shouldn’t be surprising, seeing as how I am a teacher and all. What is a little surprising is how one of these schools has attracted a certain kind of student in my stories, and I’m not entirely sure how that happened.
I’m talking about Ravensbrook High School in Ravensbrook, IL. Whatever other qualities I’ll make up in a few minutes, I will say this for it: it produces more than its fair share of metahumans, and I have no idea why.
Let’s see what the stories say about Ravensbrook High and the town it’s in:
- Ravensbrook is not explicitly named in this story
- Carly Siminsky played softball. Janice Simone is the coach
- The emergence of Carly’s telekinetic powers caused the deaths of nearly a hundred people
117: Rachael Decker
- Ravensbrook Country Club is mentioned
- Rachael Decker went to school with Evelyn Pierce
119: Carly Siminsky
- Ravensbrook is confirmed to be in Illinois.
- The town is where popular Young Adult author Veronica Siminsky lives
- Carly Siminsky was a student at Ravensbrook High School
- The school has a basketball team
- The school has a softball team
174: Carl’s Dragon
- Carl Stockman and Annie Deaver are students there
- Carl is a new student.
180: Away from the Green
- Evelyn Pierce was a student at Ravensbrook
- She had to leave after the death of Rachael Decker
182: Self-Guided Tour
- Ezra Reznick was a student at Ravensbrook Elementary and High Schools
- Alan Tebow is a science teacher at Ravensbrook Elementary
- The high school took a trip to Washington, D.C.
Of the students that we have listed up there, three of them have some kind of meta-human ability. Carly has telekinesis, Evelyn can communicate with and manipulate plants (just not very well yet) and Ezra is able to pass through solid matter. Carl doesn’t have any powers that I know of, but he does have a dragon, and that’s almost as good.
In my head, Ravensbrook is a nice suburban high school with nice suburban kids. Their mascot is the Wolves, and they have a sports program that occasionally plays on the state level. They have a brass band and an after-school drama club, and they tend to rank in the upper third of schools in Illinois. All in all, not a bad place to send your kids, assuming you’re not worried about one of their classmates developing super-powers and wreaking havok.
Carly Siminsky’s telekinetic massacre was easily one of the worst accidents in the town’s history. During softball practice, she dropped to her knees while at bat, clutched her head and started screaming. People around her began to bleed from the eyes, mouth, and ears, and “twelve people died in the first sixty seconds. Nearly a hundred more in the minutes that followed…” Her coach, Janice Simone, somehow realized that Carly was at the center of this, and hit her with an aluminum baseball bat, knocking her unconscious. Coach Simone still has the bat.
What also made news was the mysterious death of Rachael Decker.  While visiting the home of Evelyn Pierce, who had caused something of a stir in biology class, Rachael suffered a fatal neck injury and died. Her wounds were consistent with being strangled by some kind of rope, but no evidence was ever found, and the Pierce family was not charged with anything. They left town soon after.
So it is not a town without its share of tragedy. Of course, the big question is why Ravensbrook should attract or generate metahumans like this. From a writing perspective, I think I might be able to get away with making at least one more superpowered Ravensbrook alum, because good teams come in fives, but that doesn’t answer the question. Is there a Hellmouth? A secret government project to create superhumans? Or is it just a weird coincidence? I honestly have no idea. I expect that it’ll be one of those things that reveals itself while writing. I hope so, anyway.
One of the interesting problems that these four kids bring up is that of timing. I haven’t done a lot to establish a solid timeline of events in Earth Prime, preferring to keep things nebulous. So if I want Carly, Rachael, Ezra, and Carl to go to school together, I can.
But I don’t have to. And what’s more, I don’t really want to.
In Escape 1 and Escape 2, I see Ezra as being in his early 30s. Carly is a teenager when we first meet her, and just about twenty when she shows up again in The Bad News. Rachael is in school when we see her in A Friend in Need, in her early twenties for Away From the Green, and definitely a woman – I see her in her 30s – in her first appearance as a bit character in Interviews. Fortunately, we’ve only seen Carl once, and he’s a student at the time. My instinct is to say that the age they were when I first created them is their age “now,” assuming I know exactly when “now” is.
What I do know is that “now,” Carly, Ezra, and definitely Evelyn are without their powers, thanks to the gene bomb that was referenced in Interviews – the creation of evil genius Tobias Rhyne that robbed metahumans of their powers. I know Evelyn survived it, but I can’t say for the other two. Carl and his dragon should be fine.
On top of that, the stories of Paul Barbeau tell us that there will be some kind of world-wide disaster that will turn humanity into a singular hive-mind, causing the few people left to try and use time travel to fix it. How old will the Ravensbrook kids be when that happens? I have no idea, but it’ll probably be in their lifetimes.
So while Ravensbrook has given me some good characters that I can have fun with, it’s also handed me a continuity issue that will force me to figure out where the most pivotal moments of Earth Prime history take place so that I’m not contradicting myself. Then I have to map it onto real-world history so that I can use real events as touchstones for the readers.
- Rachael Decker’s mother has made it her mission to find Evelyn Pierce and make her pay for the death of her daughter.
- A tour of the school, which culminates in the revelation of its Deep Dark Secret!
- A teacher with super-powers who’s decided to avoid the whole “hero” thing.
- The Siminsky Incident.
- A fifth super-powered student.
- A team-up of the Ravensbrook Five!
 Rachael is an interesting problem all her own. She’s my “Kenny” – she’s died in every story she’s been in, so either she’s cursed by Cthulhu or she has some serious continuity issues.
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