Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace

Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace by Jonathan Friesen Read Free Book Online

Book: Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace by Jonathan Friesen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jonathan Friesen
won’t want my sentences in there
    She deleted them, hit save, and silently read:
    â€œHow could you do this?”
    â€œDo what?”
    â€œYou know, bring me here. You don’t know the Darkness that awaits.”
    Pages and pages of dialogue filled the screen. But there was no description. No narrative.
    Of course, Nick probably doesn’t know, or can’t remember, or …
    Chloe thought for an instant, leaned in, and spoke.
    The lake stretched out for miles, clear and blue and shimmering, with clouds of pink and purple …
    Hobo barked and stared intently at the screen.
    â€œYou don’t like pink and purple? Fine.” She turned back to the screen. “Patches of white hovering over the water.”
    Chloe kept adding. Hobo kept barking. Finally, Hobo lay down and Chloe glanced at the clock.
    â€œWow, okay, better get home, but at least it reads a little smoother.” She powered down the computer. “I think he’ll like it, don’t you? I mean, you heard him — he said I could help.”
    Hobo was asleep. Chloe slipped out of the room, off their property, and ran home.

    W EEKS PASSED, and inside Aldo’s Movie Palace
The Vapor
was a huge success. Mom smiled a bit more, and seemed to worry about Grandpa a bit less. Who would have thought a horror flick could make such a positive difference?
    The kids at Chloe’s school continued to be horrid, but her mind was elsewhere — in a different world: one named Retinya. Nick’s fantasy was alluring and terrifying and offered the perfect escape. Chloe dreamed of it, sketched out its inhabitants, and spent Mr. Kolberg’s algebra class creating detailed maps of the landscape.
    She carefully traced the Wandering Road, marked the location of the wood elves’ invisible kingdom, and stared lazily around her kitchen.
    â€œChloe!” Mom clanked two pans together.
    â€œOh. Sorry. This homework is really absorbing.”
    â€œAbsorbing.” Mom frowned. “Maybe my task will bring you back. I want you to take a break from Aldo’s. Q will take your place in the booth after school starting today.”
    Chloe dropped her spoon into her Cheerios. “But we’ve never done so well. Don’t you need me?”
    â€œSomeone needs you more.” Mom eased down across from her. “Nick’s mother called. Apparently, Nick’s back home. He won’t be in school tomorrow, but he’d like to see you. Something about a screenplay?”
    â€œHe wants to see me?”
    â€œThat’s what Mrs. Harris said. I want you to go over to their house after school.”
    â€œBut —”
    â€œHe’s expecting you.”
    Chloe pushed away her cereal bowl — she wasn’t hungry. She’d been making changes to his script every day for two weeks.
    This little meeting isn’t going to be pleasant
    School zoomed by, and Chloe stepped off the bus in front of Nick’s gate, her stomach filled with butterflies. She entered the gate’s code, walked up to the door, and knocked.
    It swung open immediately.
    â€œIs that you, Chloe?”
    â€œYeah, Nick. I — Ow! Don’t yank the hair!”
    With a yank, Chloe’s attempt at a pre-war peace talk was ended promptly, and she had no choice but to follow him to his room. Nick sat in front of his computer in stony silence. She stared at the screen and chewed her nails.
    â€œI thought your work here was limited to taking care of Hobo.”
    â€œOkay, it was.” Chloe took a deep breath. “But Retinya, it’s really good. I kind of got lost in it. Blame Hobo too. He helped.”
    â€œMy dog helped you write a script?”
    Hobo turned away.
    â€œIt was weird. He barked and I wrote and — Oh, like I’ve been trying to say, I may have gone too far.”
    â€œMay have? I listened to the script. I should just call it Re-Chloe-ia.” He hinted a

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