Cheerage Fearage, by Kimberly Dana
Description: Welcome to Camp Valentine – a cheerleading camp with raging spirit. A ghost that is! It’s ten years after cheer captain Lexy Mills’ bizarre drowning, but the bloodthirsty pranks are still going down at a hypnotic pace. Urban legend says it’s Lexy seeking revenge, picking off cheerleaders one by one in a symphony of horrors. Peppered with humor and wit to offset the diabolically scary, CHEERAGE FEARAGE will have teens salivating for more Tiki Tinklemeyer and tales of the sleepy, supernatural town of Valentine. CHEERAGE FEARAGE is the first installment of a paranormal jaw-dropping teen series, jam-packed with chills and thrills that will leave no pimple ungoosed! Fire up as the girls get ready to fly high and die! Ready? O-kay!
CHEERAGE FEARAGE is an award-winning Writers Digest Young Adult novel.
The silver moon threw light on the two girls as they eagerly peeled off their clothes, tossing them in heaps on the wooden dock. They jumped off into the vast lake, giggling and squealing at the shock of its coldness as the dark water swallowed up their tanned, limber bodies.
Although fierce competitors on the school’s most exclusive faction, the two girls were the best of friends with much in common. They ran with the same elite crowd, dated the same square-jawed jocks, and chose the same stylish trends to be mindlessly imitated by the featureless masses. Quite simply, they were perfection personified coupled with a “rules-don’t apply-to-us” attitude that even the teachers chose not to challenge – the outcome resulting in unequivocal classroom suicide.
“Nervous about tomorrow?” asked the sandy blonde with an I-know-better grin.
“Yeah, right,” shot back the redhead. “It’s in the bag, sister. Fly high or die.”
“You know I love you best, right?
“Of course. It’s you and me forever.”
They traded playful splashes and squeals until, without warning, the blonde gripped the redhead’s neck, forcing her under. She held down the thrashing body, welcoming the newfound power and control that had evaded her for so long. Vindication was only moments away….
Responding to a startling kick to the shin, she released the girl without delay playing it off with a full-bodied laugh. “What are you doing?” the redhead yelled, spastically choking. “You trying to kill me?”
“Relax,” said the blonde. “You’re my best friend. I would never hurt you. You know that, right?”
But the redhead didn’t answer – at least not with words. Her shrill scream was cut short by the blonde thrusting her under again, this time with even more force. She yanked tufts of the covetous red hair everyone always spoke about, the crowning feature that solidified her title of reigning school beauty. Brutally jerking her head to the left and then wrenching it to the right, she forced the girl to swallow massive amounts of water.
The redhead’s adrenaline now metastasized into rank, primal fear. She kicked and scratched for dear life, causing the blonde to tighten her grip. Overcome with sheer panic, followed by pure helplessness, the redhead relaxed into an inevitable surrender.
With the determined patience of a professional assassin, the blonde counted slowly to fifty, waiting for the shapely, agile form that had cruelly beat her out of every competition to go still and flaccid forever. She delighted in feeling the strong steady pulse slow to a mere fleeting throb and then finally to complete nothingness. When the time came, the blonde released the body into the dark water without pause or sentiment, and gracefully swam back to the dock, crawling up the ladder with a smooth, athletic gait.
Giddily content, the blonde patted away streaming lines of lake water with her tank top, tossing it back on along with her vintage cutoffs. She left the other’s clothes balled up below the “NO DIVING” sign and never looked back. The long-suffering second-in-command was now the captain of the Valentine Cheerleading Squad.
It was official. The queen bee had be dethroned and destroyed.
The Valentine Post
August 6, 1999
The body of Alexa “Lexy” Mills’ (17) was found floating on Camp Valentine Lake this morning where the squad captain was attending annual cheerleading camp. The bizarre death was ruled an accidental drowning by the deputy sheriff of the Valentine Police Department.
Since she was a young child, Mills had experienced episodes of somnambulism, a disorder where the affected engages in behavior normally associated with wakefulness during sleep, more commonly known as “sleepwalking.” According to her distraught mother, Lucille Mills, it was not unusual for Lexy to sleepwalk outside at night, although she never had a history of suffering bodily harm hitherto.
Tonight the sidewalks of Valentine High School teem with red roses, teddy bears, and pom-poms, as friends, students, and teachers pay tribute to Mills. A visibly shaken Katie Towne, co-captain of the cheerleaders, echoed this sentiment between sobs, “Lexy was my best friend and embodied the true spirit of Valentine High. She was everyone’s role model and a beacon for the entire student body. I don’t see how we’ll get along with out her. High school will never be the same.”
In addition to captaining the varsity cheerleading squad, Mills was president of the poetry club and active in the Valentine Church Youth Group. She would have been a graduating member of the 1999 senior class.
Ten Years Later…
Lonely farms, dusty diners, never-ending wheat fields. Was there nothing else to look at on this coma-drive? I sighed and played with the radio scanner, half listening to Mrs. Tinklemeyer wax parental pride while making it perfectly obvious she OD’ed on the caffeine this morning…
“Dr. Tinklemeyer and I are unequivocally elated with your impending extracurricular endeavors! Here we are, new residents to the town of Valentine and already my children are aspiring to the extramural pursuits of cheerleader and varsity soccer respectively. We are just so delighted!”
“Junior varsity, Mrs. Tinklemeyer,” I corrected. “That means everyone plays regardless of talent and ability. In other words, you don’t have to worry about Toby being the tool benchwarmer.”
“Speak for yourself, Ms. Four-Eyed-Flirt-in-a-Skirt,” laughed my twin, flipping the shaggy bangs he so proudly wore over one eye. “Whoever heard of a Magna-obsessed cheerleader? Mrs. Tinklemeyer, do you realize Tiki’s the first person to transcend cliques? Hey T., maybe when you crossover, you can combine the book club and cheerleading squad. You know, do book-of-the-month cheers!” He mimicked in a high voice, “Ready? O-kay! Books are tight! So fight-fight-fight! Go Nerds!!”
“…Now Tiki and Toby Tinklemeyer, please terminate this exhibition of reciprocal sibling derision instantaneously! Here I am applauding your imminent successes. Don’t make me assume regret,” chided Mrs. Tinklemeyer, lifting her oversized rhinestone sunglasses and giving us the eye.
I should have kept my mouth shut! Toby can goad my Achilles heel with a red-hot poker like no one’s business, and it did nothing to calm my already twitchy nerves and fragile ego. Bottom line: I’m a freaktard with self-esteem the size of a pea, destined from birth to suffer teen-misfit syndrome and be perpetually plagued by Sally Self-Conscious and Natalie Negative Thoughts.
You want the gnarly details? Although the laundry list is long, the three things I hate most about myself are:
1) the living, breathing mass of unruly Medusa frizz that sits on top of my head;
2) my thick, horn-rimmed, Hey-the-Geek-Guild-called-they-want-their-glasses-back glasses;
3) and, my freakishly elongated philtrum, which is that vertical groove just below your nose. Whereas 99.9 percent of the population’s philtrums are only an inch long, mine looks like a stretched out piece of chewing gum. To make matters worse, it perspires profusely whenever I’m in a socially awkward situation, which inevitably causes people to stare and inquire which inevitably causes it to perspire even more.
Oh, and as far as my athletic prowess, activities requiring basic coordination completely elude me. You know, the normal, everyday things regular people take for granted, like walking across a room without tripping. Such treacherous journeys often result in calamity for the likes of me. Which makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs, WHY IN THE WORLD AM I IN THIS CAR HEADING TO CHEERLEADING CAMP? It would be almost funny if it wasn’t so tragic…
My mind tripped back to the muffled conversation I wasn’t supposed to hear between Dr. and Mrs. Tinklemeyer when discussing yours truly:
“Tiki is a cerebral child who suffers from a severe, debilitating inferiority complex. Do you really think cheerleading camp is a suitable remedy for her confidence issues?”
“We haven’t a choice, darling. Cheerleading per se may have a reputation for being insidiously vapid, but it was all they offered this summer when we went to register at the high school. Now it is extremely critical that Tiki gets off to a favorable start this year, meaning abstention from solitary confinement and reading those inane cartoon books of hers. It’s clear Toby’s a natural extrovert with an aptitude in social dexterity but Tiki – I just worry sometimes.”
“I know, lovely. I just hope it’s the right thing for our Tiki.”
The right thing? No, sending me to cheerleading camp is absolutely the most spiteful, cruel, hateful thing you could do to someone schlumpy like me! And so what if I wear an invisible “Keep Away” sign over my head twenty-four/seven? Truth be told, I much prefer sitting in my bedroom lair reading about sword-wielding school girls than socializing with my – god forbid - peers. At least by myself I don’t have to talk to another human being, which inevitably causes me to wither into a stuttering, stammering, sweating, purplish-red blob of facial tics who can’t string a single sentence together.
But as always, my clueless, fossil-aged adoptive parents meant well. And they were right – in a mere four weeks I’d be starting high school; public high school, on top of that, and who needs to be lost and friendless? I just never imagined my friends to be the hyper-competitive, micro-miniskirt plastic types who started everything with “Ready? O-kay!”
Cheerage Fearage, by Kimberly Dana