Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.
Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?
“What did he do?” Gracie broke the silence and put more beans on Josh’s plate.
It wasn’t that they didn’t like him; it felt unnatural. While their own father had not been father of the year, he was still their dad. Gracie didn’t have to like it, but some things were bigger than divorce.
“Aw, Ma,” he whined at her stern expression.
“He gave Wyatt four free tickets, and I want the extra one,” Josh crowed.
“Tickets…to Monsterland? I thought we talked about that.” Gracie put down her fork. She turned to Carter. “We didn’t take the tickets he offered to all the town workers. No…I won’t allow it.”
“Mom!” Both boys said at once.
Wyatt was first. “I don’t know why you don’t want to let us go. He gave me a special pass, one that would allow us behind the scenes, to see how the park works.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” Wyatt added.
“He has four invitations!” Josh shouted.
“Shut up, Josh,” Wyatt said hotly.
“Wyatt…” Carter warned sternly.
Wyatt’s cheeks grew red with frustration. He continued, his voice slightly elevated. “He gave me special VIP passes. He said it was safe. The mayor, senator, and governor are going to be there.”
“President McAdams too,” Carter said glumly and then added, “and me.”
“You?” Gracie looked miserable.
“We’ve all been called in. Jessup’s even bringing in volunteers. We’re not equipped to handle the level of people attending.”
“Dr. Conrad should supply his own guards,” Gracie said resentfully as she stacked used dishes.
“He is,” Carter placated her. “He is supplying them at all seven of the parks. He is having his global opening tomorrow. This is the biggest thing to hit the planet.” He shrugged, his face unhappy. “Look, Grace, once the president said he was attending, they had to pull out all thestops.”
“It’s like being part of history. I have to go. He asked us to be his ambassadors to tell the world about Monsterland,” Wyatt said.
“Carter,” Gracie implored.
“I agree with you, but Grace…” He looked her full in the face. “It’s safe. Conrad’s got it all under control.” He looked at the eager boys and then back at her. “I’d rather they got it out of their systems on a day when security will be high than a regular day. Besides, I’ll be there as well.”
Gracie still wasn’t happy. “What was the fight about?”
“Manny gave me an extra ticket. Max Peterson offered me five hundred dollars for it.”
“You’re not scalping a ticket,” Carter said, looking at his stepson. “You might as well give it to Josh.”
“See.” Josh beamed. “I’m going to Monsterland. Thanks, Carter.”
“Yeah, thanks, Carter,” Wyatt said resentfully.
“They can watch out for each other,” Carter said with a shrug. He looked at Wyatt. “Are we okay?”
“Do I have a choice?”
Carter said a quiet, “No.”
The room grew dark as twilight moved in. Josh rose to turn on the light to chase the shadows from the kitchen. In the distance, the wolves howled.
Grace’s lips tightened. “You’ll be home early?”
“Early in the morning,” Josh said.
“What do you mean, early in the morning?”
Wyatt put down his fork and knife, calmly stating, “The park opens at sunset, Mom.”
Gracie looked at Carter, question in her eyes. “Sunset?” Her voice squeaked.
“I’ll be working.” Carter looked at both boys. “I’ll be there Gracie,” he said, and the subject was closed.