A motorboat tore across the lake. Chef Hatchet sat firmly up front, keeping it on course, while Chris McClean stood majestically, using wires to keep him in place as the wind whipped through his hair. He smiled boldly at the camera.
"Greetings, viewing world!" he exclaimed, trying to keep his composure and balance despite the high speed. "Thank you for joining us, you're in for a treat! Today we kick off another season of Total Drama, and we're going back...back to Wawanakwa!"
"You mean the island we blew up and sank?" Chef Hatchet remarked.
"The very same, Chef!" Chris said. "It's been rebuilt, better than ever! And it will be the perfect place to host our new season."
"I guess there ain't no beating the basics," Chef shrugged.
"Oh how wrong you are, Chef. There will be nothing basic about this season!" Chris replied.
"Whatever," Chef grunted.
The duo arrived at the dock. What once was a collapsing slab of wood, now stood firm with a white coat of paint, and studious railings lining the sides.
"Huh, they really didn't hold out the expenses," Chef noted.
"Nothing is too good for the show that has the country, dare I say even the world, hooked on the drama!" Chris exclaimed. "This season fourteen new teens are coming to Wawanakwa for a summer of torture, the likes of which you've never seen. Let's get ready to meet our rambunctious bunch!"
A larger boat now approached the dock.
"Our very first contestant of this new season is...Natalia!" Chris announced.
A young woman stepped off the boat. She had pale skin, made to appear all the most ghoulish by the dark black of all that she wore. Her eyelids and lips were painted black. Her hair was the same ashy white, though marked with black streaks. Her sleeveless leather top was made of a jet black weaved pattern. She wore a dark blood red skirt over black tights and large boots. Also black. She cocked her head silently as she examined the hosts.
"Is it just me or did it get real chilly in here!?" Chef asked as he shivered.
"They told me you would be here," Natalia stated with a hollow tone.
"Who would that be?" Chef asked.
"The voices in my head," Natalia stated, her tone unwavering. "They said I was on my way to meet the heralds of doom and death. And so I have."
"And so you have indeed!" Chris exclaimed. "But let's move on to our next contestant!"
A large muscular boy stepped off the boat. He had tanned skin that appeared to be bruised or dirty all over. He had short black hair and a firm stern look on his face. He wore an old grey shirt with a few tears, and a pair of dirt jeans.
"Mm," he grunted simply.
"Welcome, Ander!" Chris greeted.
"Hello," Ander stated.
"Oh...you have suffered," Natalia cooed, her head continuing to tilt.
"Haven't we all?" Ander said with a shrug.
"The worst is yet to come," Natalia remarked. "Oooh yes...the voices, they warn me...life is so fleeting, and soon we will yearn for the release of death."
"Uh-huh," said Ander, nonplussed.
"And shall we keep it going!" Chris said. "Presenting Nora!"
A girl danced her way off the boat. She had her eyes closed and slinked from side to side in a smooth motion, clearly rapt in the beat of her own imagination.
"Ahem, I said presenting Nora!" Chris repeated.
The girl did not stop dancing, she weaved her way in between Ander and Natalia, trying to take hold of their hands, though they both rejected. Eventually she stopped moving and opened her eyes.
"Well heeeeey, you cool cats," she greeted with a silky relaxed voice. "Are you all feelin' the vibe. I am feeeeeeeling that vibe and it feels so so good."
"Mm," Ander remarked with a shrug.
"The vibe I feel is cold...like death's tender fingers running down my spine," Natalia replied.
"Nah, nah, baydoll, that ain't the vibe I'm pickin' up at all," Nora said. "Only good vibes out here, like we all ought to be dancing."
Nora had a large black afro. She wore colorful attire, including an orange headband with a peace sign bead, a sunset inspired shawl, and tie-dyed gown, held up by a wide belt with a golden flower for a button.
"We are here at Wawanakwa and it feels sooooo...so funky!" Nora remarked, grooving her shoulders again.
"It's an island," Ander said with a shrug. "Nothing special."
"Have it your way, sweetums," Nora replied. "But I'm gonna ride this vibe till it takes me to the stars, ooooh yeah!"
"You can keep the vibe going, I am going to keep the line going," Chris said, "Up next put it together for...Cornelius!"
"Aw heck, Chris, I told ya, call me Corny!" a voice said as someone walked off the boat.
A small stringy boy hopped forward. He had long black hair that appeared as though it were growing in tangles and knots. The boy wore a red and black checkered coat, and a pair of baggy jeans. He had no shoes, leaving his feet caked with filth. Strapped to his back was a banjo.
"Howdy, folks!" Corny greeted.
"Right on, you funky devil!" Nora remarked, replying to his wave with a pair of finger guns.
"Ain't you all a fun bunch of folks!" Corny said as he joined the group.
"Perhaps," Ander replied. "But I do not know about that."
"Ha, funny guy!" Corny remarked, slapping Ander on the back.
Ander just raised an eyebrow quizzically.
"And now we have our staple cheerleader, Eden!" Chris announced.
A girl stepped out of the boat. She had fluffy blonde hair that bounced along her shoulders and down her back. She wore a lavender and white sweater over a deep blue skirt. She pouted at her announcement while arriving.
"Why do you have to introduce me as a cheerleader?" Eden demanded. "That's not my entire identity you know! But you just wanna slap me in that role, huh? Oh look it's the cheerleader, she's probably not the smart but at least she's pretty. Is that it, huh!?"
"Welcome to reality TV, girl," Chef remarked.
"I am not here to play some role for you," Eden declared. "Know that!"
"We're all playing roles though," Natalia replied. "Life is all just a show. We cut ourselves to fit into the shape that will get us through the world, and then when there's nothing left to take off, we drop to the ground. And die."
"DIE!?" Corny gasped. "No thank you, ma'am!"
"It is not a choice. It is inevitable," Natalia stated.
"I'm glad your token goth is happy to adhere to her stereotype, but not all of us are sheep!" Eden stated, giving a boastful glare to Natalia.
Natalia seemed unaffected.
"And now let's put it together for..Kirby!" Chris announced.
No one stepped off the boat.
"Kirby, baby, hop on out here, hun," Nora beckoned. "None of us bite."
"Don't be so sure about that," Eden remarked as she eyed Natalia.
A boy in a sailor's uniform, complete with the hat and ascot, marched off the boat.
"Forgive me," Kirby stated. "I was just saying farewell to the sea. It granted us a safe voyage, and for that we must all be thankful. One day, I shall return to your cerulean waves and you may take me back to where I am meant to be. Today...I must face the trials that await on land!"
"Howdy, friend!" Corny greeted.
"Ahoy, landlubber!" Kirby replied.
"Did I just get insulted?" Corny asked.
"Nah man, your vibes are still cooooool as can be," Nora assured.
"Bringing us to the halfway point," Chris continued, "it's Misty!"
A tall girl emerged next. She had wavy sand colored hair. She wore a cerulean tank top with white stripes, and a pair of navy yoga shorts.
"Hi to all the cute boys here," Misty said sweetly as she gave a dainty wave.
"Ahyuck, hi there," Corny said while blushing.
Ander just gave a nod.
"The sea has gifted us with a precious siren, her sweet song already gushes through my ears!" Kirby exclaimed.
"Oh great, just what this season needed, the team slut," Eden huffed.
Misty just giggled as she sauntered over to Eden.
"Aw, that was kinda mean to say," Misty murmured with the same sweet tone. "Do you think maybe you could….shut up!"
Misty flicked Eden on the nose.
"Rude!" Eden sneered.
"Well so is calling me derogatory names, sweetie, so watch yourself," Misty retorted.
"And now let's bring on out...Fabio!" Chris says.
The next boy to emerge is short and overweight, though he carried himself with so much confidence that it almost felt as though he was towering over the rest of the cast. He wore a large maroon top hat that had been bedazzled with rhinestones. His sunglasses were shaped like stars. He wore a loud orange and pink blazer, a belt with a dollar sign on the buckle, and sleek green pants.
"Hello everyone!" he announced. "I'm here for one reason and one reason only: To get me some MONEY!"
"Well heck, partner, that's kinda why I'm here too!" Corny added.
"Duh, it's why we're all here!" Eden huffed.
"Hey not all of us," Nora remarked. "Sure it would be a fine fiiiine prize to boogie on home with, but I'm just here for the funk of it all. Getting that groove on, making some memories, shining like a star on TV."
"I'm here because if I didn't I would have had to burn down my home with everyone inside," Natalia contributed coldly.
"All your reasons are perfectly valid," Chris confirmed.
"The arson one was a little concerning though," Chef remarked.
"But still perfectly valid!" Chris declared. "Now then here's another contestant...it's Yuka!"
Rather than step off the boat, the next girl emerged from the water itself, marching in a foreboding pace. Her gaunt face pointed forward with severe determination. Her ebony hair was tied up in a tight bun. She wore a brown coat with a fur fringe, and similarly formed pants and boots.
"You know you could have just...taken the boat, girl," Chef pointed out.
"Boats fail. I do not trust any machinations that were not made by my own two hands. But me? I never fail. In the North, you can only trust yourself. If you fail, you die," Yuka stated firmly.
"You die anyways, it just takes longer," Natalia pointed out.
"Gee whiz, lady, I can only hold my breath for two minutes, tops," Corny remarked, scratching his head. "How'd ya do that?"
"In the unforgiving land of The North, self control is everything. When predators are on the prowl, you must not make a sound, not even a breath," Yuka stated. "I have had much practice."
"When you say the north...where exactly are you referring to?" Misty asked. "Just super curious."
"The savage and unforgiving wasteland of...North Ontario," Yuka declared.
"Right…" Misty replied.
"Just a few more of you losers to get through," Chef remarked.
"Now, now, Chef," Chris chided. "Only thirteen of them are going to be losers, one of them will still be a winner. It could even be...Sammy!"
A lanky boy with shaggy brown hair and the outline of facial hair forming around his lips hopped off the boat. He had on a baggy white shirt and denim jacket, with a pair of brown pants.
"Hey guys, it's me, Sammy!" the boy greeted eagerly.
He went around the group, shaking hands with everyone he could.
"Hey it's Sammy, pleased to meet ya! Hey call me Sammy. Looking good, nice to meet ya!" Sammy said to everyone, most of them not even having time to react.
"Love that hair!" he said to Misty.
"Ooh, so-" Misty tried to say, but Sammy had already moved on.
"Now you look like a fun guy, let's be friends!" Sammy said to Fabio.
"Heh, well it's gonna cost-" Fabio tried to say, but once again, Sammy had moved on.
"Uh-oh, here comes trouble," Sammy said to Natalia.
"You have no id-" Natalia threatened, but also found herself cut off as Sammy continued his tour of the group.
"Well someone's eager to make some friends," Chef remarked.
"And I think all he's making is enemies," Chris noted.
"So who's up next then?" Chef asked.
"Presenting," Chris announced, "...Zenika!"
A girl with brilliant red curly hair stepped off the boat. Her fiery curls spiraled in all directions. Her square glasses seemed to be placed askew, hanging from her ears, while her eyes focused on a notepad in front of her. She had a black jacket over a red and blue striped sweater and a pair of gray sweatpants.
"Hm, interesting, interesting," she muttered to herself while scribbling more on the pad. "Yes yes yes."
Zenika looked up to examine the cast watching her. She then returned to her pad.
"Oh YES, it's exactly as I thought!" Zenika exclaimed, eagerly writing more.
"What's all this about?" Sammy asked.
"You...you all…" Zenika murmured as she pointed to the cast. "You all arrived in an order...but it is my theory that that order could have played out differently in another dimension, creating a string of consequences that change the outcome of this entire competition! I am residing in the timeline where I arrived one, two, three...eleventh! This will be wonderful for my studies!"
"Hmph, I do not need meaningless numbers to determine my fate," Yuka scoffed. "I will seize what I need by my own strength. Simple as that."
"The universe is anything but simple," Zenika declared. "So much of it we do not understand, could not possibly understand! I don't blame you, for choosing to ignore the deep complexities that trigger our very actions. It can be scary, discouraging news. Perhaps it is more comforting to ignore what we do not understand! But not for me! For me I look deep into the dark depths to shine the lights of science on a whole new age!"
"The age of darkness will be upon us soon," Natalia stated. "And then no amount of science will be able to light the way."
"Very poetic," Zenika replied. "But also very wrong! Poetry will not pave the way for progress, only science will guide us to the next stage of humanity!"
"Let's all meet contestant number twelve now," Chris said, "it's Omber!"
A stately boy calmly emerged from the boat. His hair was cut close, giving him a box shaped top. He had a crimson tie, and a grey tweed suit. His skin was sleek and his face gave off a calm thoughtful look.
"My oh my, how lucky I am to be joined by such a fine man," Misty cooed.
Omber gave a light chuckle to her comment.
"Pleasure to meet all of you," he said. "I can only assume that the casting has collected a wonderful assortment of interesting people."
"Hmph, interesting!? Yeah right!" Eden scoffed. "The casting team has only one job, and that's to tick off a bunch of boxes that we've all freaking seen before so many times! Good luck finding even a micro-organism of originality here!"
"Well, perhaps it's up to everyone else to be more than their boxes," Omber remarked sauvely.
"I AM!" Eden stated loudly!
"Hey baby, don't you be hating. I'll be whatever box you wanna tick, so long as it makes me rich!" Fabio announced.
"Mhm, typical!" Eden huffed.
"Up next!" Chris announced, before Chef whispered something in his ear. "Right, right. The network would like to remind everyone that while Total Drama is a dangerous, harmful, exploitative experience that encourages violence, lies, and betrayals...we respect people of all gender identities, and that includes our next contestant...Lex!"
Someone small and timid made their way off the boat. They had fluffy blond hair, almost like a cloud covering their eyes. Their blue eyes were watery, though pointed down. They clutched a sketchpad close to their frilly white top.
"H...hi," they breathed almost soundlessly.
"Hello there, Lex, no need to be afraid," Omber greeted. "We're all in the same boat here."
Lex did not look up, and continued to slowly inch towards the beach.
"Seems weak, pathetic even," Yuka remarked. "They would never survive in The North, would not even last one winter! Which by the way, is constant!"
"Oh...okay...okay," Lex whimpered. "I'm sorry."
"The North does not forgive, and neither shall I!" Yuka retorted.
"Wait I'm confused, what are they apologizing for?" Sammy asked.
"It does not matter, I do not forgive!" Yuka repeated.
"Okay…" Lex sighed.
"We just have one contestant left," Chris stated, "And it's…"
Suddenly the boat exploded in a fiery blast. Someone emerged from the fire, walking confidently not looking back. Rock music began to fill the scene. The boy had slick black hair and a pair of shades. He wore a black leather jacket over a gray shirt and tan dress pants.
"Josiah," the boy introduced. "Technically, that should be Agent Josiah, but I'll let it slide if we want to keep it casual."
"The boat was...not rigged to explode," Chef remarked.
"Just a little something I kept from my last mission, a souvenir if you will," Josiah said. "What can I say? I always love to enter with a bang."
"We'll talk about the damages fee later," Chris said. "For now go join your cast!"
"Hello, hello!" Josiah greeted as he mingled with the group. "Not to worry, there's plenty of Josiah to go around!"
"There will be when you are cut into pieces for us to share," Natalia stated.
"What?" Josiah remarked.
"Oh nothing," Natalia replied.
"That's right, get to know one another..since the fourteen of you are officially in competition now to win this season and earn yourselves one million dollars!" Chris declared.
"YAAAAAAA!" Fabio cheered to several annoyed glances. "Sorry, sorry, hearing about that much money just gets me all fired up."
"Right…" Chris continued, "Before we begin, feel free to take this chance to give a confessional and introduce yourselves to our audience."
Natalia-So many come to this island in the pursuit of rewards, success, joy...I however know that the hunt for joy is in fact an endless fuel of misery and disappointment. I find comfort in embracing this truth.
Ander-My family has not seen luxury. We live in a very difficult neighborhood, we get by on what we can. Sometimes I have to do things...I'm not proud of. But I would do anything to help my family get a better life. That is why, as much as it pains me to be away from them, I will fight my hardest on the show. We need that prize so that we do not have to live in fear of what each day may bring.
Nora-(she is dancing once more with her eyes closed) Oooooh can you feel that funky jam in the air!? I'm all about keeping it loooooose and chill, so miss me with the Total Drama, this is gonna be Total Groovy Island!
Corny-(rubbing the back of his head) Yeah truth be told...I ain't really got no home to return to. Life wasn't so peachy keen for me, so I left. But as long as I've got my banjo with me, I can play a sweet tune, and that's all I need! Though heck, the money would certainly be pretty nice too!
Eden-Yes I am a cheerleader, no I am not some bitchy brainless bimbo! Cheerleading actually takes a lot of effort that people do not talk about, but I will not be talking about it either because I am not defined by what I do an hour a day after school. I am a real person living a real life and I am more than just a character to stick on your TV show!
Kirby-It pains me to step away from the sea. Her beauty, her power! Truly, it baffles me to think how any man would choose to live on the land rather than give himself into that sublime mistress. And yet, even a seaward soul such as myself has needs that-try as she might-the sea cannot always provide. If I can win this prize though, then I shall never want again!
Misty-You wanna know the truth? (she bats her eyes) I do not actually care for boys at all. Most the time they're just savage lugs that will leave you disappointed and utterly uninspired. But they are oh so very easy to manipulate. I do just get such a rush from making them dance right off a cliff (she giggles).
Fabio-I have one dream in my life: To be really stinking rich! I have the soul of a millionaire just waiting to be unleashed. Hey, don't judge! Some people are born to be poets, some feel the call of music, but me? Money is my destiny and I am not ashamed to say it! I want to be living large, partying in the mansion and driving sports cars all around town. Until that day comes though, I'm still going to be living rich. Visualize your goals and all that!
Yuka-I was raised by The North, shaped by it into the woman that I am today. When you live under the harsh winds of The North, everything becomes a task for survival. Every day is do or die. So I do.
Sammy-Huhuhuh, these chumps ain't ready for me! Sure I'll pretend to be their friend, but really I just can't wait to get to the lying. I just can't help myself, I'm always stirring up a little fun, keeping people guessing. You can never be sure of what I'm gonna say, cause I am a master of deceit. Now I finally have a use for that talent? This is my time!
Zenika-The deep threads that weave our existence together are beyond basic human comprehension. And yet, I seek to understand them all the time! Has it consumed my life? Drawn me a little mad? Alienated me from everyone I've ever known? Perhaps...and yet I must proceed! History will not remember all that we lost, only what we learned! Science must be progressed!
Omber-I am a student of psychology, particularly the way criminals think. To win this game, I believe I'll need to think like a criminal. Luckily, I already have a key to enacting the perfect crime, and everyone here is going to fall into place just as I want them to.
Lex-Um...I'm actually...well I want to be a fashion designer. But I didn't say that cause...well I don't think anyone here really cares too much, so I'll just keep that to myself. Yeah.
Josiah-I've been trained to face off against threats to national security, completing missions of worldwide importance! I've since given up that life, for...reasons that are classified. Don't worry about it. The rest of these civilians though? Don't stand a chance!
The group of fourteen followed Chris and Chef into the woods of Wawanakwa.
"I can't believe we're on the grounds of the very first season of Total Drama!" Fabio exclaimed. "This is where it all began!"
"I hope the cabins will be co-ed," Misty remarked as she squeezed herself in close next to Josiah. "I have a feeling we'll be a little more...comfortable, that way."
"Hmph, I will not be sleeping comfortably in any shoddy construction," Yuka scoffed. "The outdoors would be far more habitable. This climate isn't even harsh. Anyone who complains is weak and foolish."
"Okay, cool opinion," Fabio said.
"You know, not like anyone asked me, but reusing the exact set just seems kind of lazy," Eden huffed. "Not like I would have expected anything else-"
As the group passed a hill, they were met with a surprising sight. Where the familiar campground once had been, now was filled with a villa of cottages and cobblestone roads. Masses of people milled through the small resort, some enjoying a fountain pool, others dining at a patio restaurant.
"What the?" Sammy remarked. "Is this the right place?"
"Now this is more like it!" Fabio exclaimed. "Living large!"
"Fascinating, miraculous!" Zenika exclaimed. "You have taken the lands...and transformed it...the Wawanakwa that once existed...is gone! Erased from being! Only remaining in our memories!"
"You say that like you've just deduced something incredulous…" Omber remarked. "Developing land is pretty common practice."
"Silence!" Zenika exclaimed, once again taking notes.
"After the success of the show, we were given offers to turn Wawanakwa Island into a tourist destination for anyone willing to foot the bill," Chris explained. "And while we could have relocated, I had a far better idea...Chef!"
Chef handed out blue and red aprons to all of the contestants.
"For this season, you will be working here at Vista Wawanakwa," Chris announced. "Welcome to Total Drama Resort!"
"You're making us work here?" Omber noted. "That sounds like forced labor."
"No one is forcing you," Chris explained. "You're free to walk away and forget all about being on this show, if you think a little summer job is beneath you."
"So lame," Eden remarked.
Others however were quick to accept their aprons and put them on. Eden and Omber eventually did the same.
Fabio-Hey, a job is the first step to money! It might not be the most glamorous work, but you gotta start somewhere before you can climb that ladder!
Eden-If I wanted a summer job, I would have applied at the mall. This is just some sort of scam.
Ander-Fine. There are worse things to be subjected too. Much worse. Having to work at a nice resort is far from something that will get me to complain.
Lex-Hm...I think these aprons could use a little tune up. They do not show style at all.
The group had moved closer to the bustling villa as Chris continued to explain.
"This season your challenges, nay your missions, will involve keeping this place running smoothly," Chris said. "You'll need to keep our guests happy, and more importantly, need to keep them spending money. You'll ha-Hey, aren't we missing a few?"
"Nothing is ever missing in the web of the universe! Everything exists simultaneously, and simply ends up where it is meant to be!" Zenika exclaimed.
"Well right now, where you're all meant to be is right here!" Chris said.
He glanced around to see Nora slipping into the pool and Corny sitting at a table.
"Yeah I'll have the lobster, please sir," Corny ordered. "And a large glass of Coca-Cola if you have it."
"Ah, now this is what true bliss is born, babydolls," Nora remarked to a couple guests also in the pool. "Nothing like letting your inhibitions go with a funky soak."
"Stop that!" Chris ordered. "These amenities are not for you to enjoy!"
"Alright, get a move on!" Chef ordered Nora out of the water.
Ander meanwhile just grabbed Corny by the collar and pulled him back.
"Easy there, buddy, no need for that!" Corny said.
"As I was saying," Chris said angrily while giving a glare to the two interlopers, "if you want to thrive in this season, then you are going to need to dedicate yourself to the success of this resort! So let's start that off right now with a challenge."
"Yes!" Josiah exclaimed with a fistpump. "I've been just dying to show off all that I can do. Get ready to be amazed, everyone. In fact, feel free to sit this one out, save yourselves the breath."
"Are you done?" Chris asked.
"Oh I'm just getting started," Josiah promised.
"Right," Chris said, unimpressed. "Well here's the deal, for your first challenge you'll be familiarizing yourselves with the lay of the land. There are only two bathrooms in this resort. The first person to locate each will become a captain and get to pick their team. Believe me, you'll want to make sure you get a good team, because if you can't function as a group...there's no hope for you."
"I hope I get a team with lots of cute boys," Misty giggled while twirling her hair.
"The sea will guide me to where I'm meant to be!" Kirby stated.
"But we're not at sea," Omber pointed out.
"Mm...then I shall close my eyes, and listen to her sweet serene song...let it whisper in my ear," Kirby said.
However the chatter from the crowd made it impossible to achieve any sort of silence, much to Kirby's frustration.
"Alright, alright, let's get a move on," Chris said. "This challenge starts...now!"
Ander-Hm, I hope to get a strong team. I am used to carrying my own weight, but having to carry others? Now that is...frustrating.
Lex-Oh I...well I hope someone picks me, but I'm not very...I don't really stand out. Maybe I should try to just win this challenge so I don't have to worry about it...Oh but then I'd be responsible for picking my team, I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings…
Corny-Aw man, we gotta get right down to business huh? I ain't never seen a place half as classy as that, let me take it all in for a minute, goshdarnit!
The group of fourteen scattered among the villa to search for their goals. Zenika sat down at a bench to focus more on her notes.
"Science lady! "Fabio exclaimed as he sat down next to her. "Come on I need your big brain to figure this out!"
"I am thinking," Zenika said. "This very spot...could be the birthplace for countless possibilities, think of what could be seen from this very seat. A string of choices...no, not a string, but a spiral. Yes, yes a beautiful spiral all circling around…."
Zenika began sketching swirls repeatedly.
"Okay I'm gonna need you to think a little faster," Fabio said.
"How pathetic," Eden remarked. "Clinging to the 'science type' in the hopes that she'll think for you? Truly just enabling these expectations that have been thrust upon us!"
"Uh-huh then why are you here?" Fabio accused.
"Well I'm uh...I'm just," Eden stammered.
"Face it, you had the exact same plan," Fabio pointed out. "Don't judge me."
"Shut up! I did not!" Eden pouted.
"AHA!" Zenika exclaimed as she got up.
"Nice, now we're getting somewhere," Fabio exclaimed.
"Yes...yes...yes….YES!" Zenika exclaimed as she traced the same few steps in a circle.
"Uh…" Eden remarked.
"With each step...I run the chance of entering the next timeline, of altering fate itself…" Zenika exclaimed. "Let time pass me by….or shall I pass through time!?"
"Yeah I think we're gonna need a new plan," Fabio sighed.
Meanwhile, Yuka had charged in the opposite direction, returning to the woods. She got down on one knee and examined the dirt.
"Hm..." she said to herself while studying the ground.
"I don't think you're going to find the bathroom out here," Kirby remarked,
"The tracks will guide me to where I need to be," Yuka said. "Living in splendor and luxury...you tend to lose yourself. Lose your edge. I will not be tricked into that trap."
"Very well," Kirby replied, "I just came out here to get a better chance to hear the call of the sea. The crash of the waves is all I need to clear my mind!"
Eden-Well this is what we deserve for trying to exploit someone's stereotypical role. If you want something done right, do it yourself!
Yuka-There is no 'lost' in The North, because there is no true place to call home for long. I will stay on the move, and get to where I need to be, one way or another!
Corny walked through the villa, staring in awe at each passing attraction, His jaw dropped with each window he passed, seeing baked goods for sale, souvenirs hanging, and all around people enjoying themselves.
"Oh goodness, oh gracious!" he exclaimed. "This has got to be what heaven looks like!"
"Well don't get too starstruck," Omber remarked. "We're looking for something...a little less appealing."
"All that you see are just passing fancies anyways," Natalia added, appearing from the other side. "Distractions meant to fool you into thinking that there is something worth living in life, while the darkness just festers away, eating at your heart and soul until it is too late."
"Huh...lady, you have some mighty interestin' things to say," Corny remarked, walking backwards so he could face Natalia. "I dunno 'bout all that, but I'll tell ya one thing that makes life worth livin', and that's a good song."
Corny pulled out his banjo and began strumming the strings. Some of the guests that they passed smiled and clapped for Corny, others covered their ears and urged him to stop.
"You've definitely got a knack for that," Omber commented.
"Just tryin' to brighten up the mood!" Corny replied.
"My mood has not been brightened," Natalia stated. "My insides remain cold, unfeeling, and black."
"Well...would ya like another song?" Corny asked.
"It will change nothing," Natalia said. "My ears have grown numb to all the white noise that this life provides. I only hear now the screams of paint, and the grim words of the voices that remind me that the suffering will only continue."
From behind a dumpster, Sammy watched the three walking by and rubbed his hands together evilly.
"Huhuhuh, time to cause a little trouble!" Sammy said to himself before running out after the group.
"Guys, guys, guys!" Sammy exclaimed eagerly. "Come quick, I just saw a sign that was pointing to the bathroom. It said it was this way!"
"Now hold on a minute," Omber said.
"Ain't got a minute to spare, friend, that prize is mine!" Corny exclaimed as he took off running down the way Sammy had pointed.
"Hold up, why are you trying to help us if this is an individual race?" Omber asked.
"Just trying to be a good friend," Sammy said with a shrug. "Don't think about it too hard."
"You're not my friend," Natalia stated. "However, I already expect nothing from you, so I cannot be disappointed."
Natalia chose to follow after Corny.
"It's your loss, bro," Sammy said to Omber.
"I'll be a good friend and let one of those two get it then," Omber said skeptically.
The alley ended up leading to a dead end and a single industrial door.
"Huh, nowhere to go but in there," Corny remarked. "Guess that's where the bathroom is."
Corny pulled open the door and entered. Natalia followed after him. The two found themselves in a dark warehouse. Crates were strewn about, some overturned, most filled with old broken merchandise. Though it was impossible to see much among the shadows.
"Aw geez, is there a light switch in here?" Corny asked.
"You can't escape the darkness that easily," Natalia stated. "It will always be there, lingering, waiting to consume-"
"Found it!" Corny exclaimed as he flicked on the lights and illuminated the messy storage room. "Cool speech though, feel free to continue."
"...I won't," Natalia decided. "This temporary reprieve will not keep you safe forever."
"Well right now it's good enough and that's all I need," Corny replied. "Though where in the heck would be this bathroom!?"
"Perhaps we have been misled," Natalia suggested. "I wish that I could say that I am surprised, and yet this deceitful behavior comes so naturally, I almost welcome it, as a cold reassurance that there is no hope for our people."
'That's right, surprise, you fools!" Sammy exclaimed as he pushed the door shut. "No escape for you now!"
Sammy tried to push a garbage can in front of the door to block the exit. He found that the receptacle refused to budge though.
"Come on, come on, work with me here!" Sammy grunted as he exerted all his strength into shoving the concrete container.
The boy just ended up exhausting himself and falling to the ground. As he looked down he realized the can was in fact bolted to the ground.
"Oh you have got to be kidding me!" he groaned.
"Didn't really think this through did you?" Omber remarked, watching the whole thing.
"Oh hey pal, this was just uh...just joking around!" Sammy explained. "You know, boys will be boys, all that!"
"Mhm...not a great first impression though," Omber noted.
"Well guess this was a bust, let's head on out," Corny said to Natalia.
"Perhaps I'll stay," Natalia replied. "This place strikes me as a good location to hide a body, perhaps many. It intrigues me to think how many tourists could have gone missing, gotten lost, and wound up here. Crushed underneath a pile of their own unwanted garbage that they pay so much for, where no one can hear them scream. Only darkness filling their lungs until they become just another vessel of filth to line the floors that no one dares to touch."
"Yeah I'm gettin' outta here," Corny exclaimed, rushing to the exit.
Omber-it was pretty clear to me that Sammy was up to no good, I mean why else would he be so eager to help out? If you want to manipulate people...it takes a little more finesse, otherwise you just look sketchy.
Sammy-Huhuhuh that would have been so sweet...I mean, obviously could have gone better...but those guys got so owed! Sammy is on a roll!
Misty and Ander milled about the crowds, taking in their surroundings.
"Surely someone here will need to use the washroom," Ander remarked. "We just need to be observant."
"Oh I'm being very observant," Misty remarked as she looked at Ander.
She was annoyed when he appeared to not get her hint, nor look at her.
"I said, I'm being very observant," Misty repeated.
"Yes, thank you for that," Ander said, still not looking at her.
Misty pouted and let herself pull away from Ander. She spotted Josiah, rolling dramatically from window to window and peering inside. Misty slinked over to him gracefully.
"You know, it's so hard to stay observant out here, when all I can observe is you," she flirted.
"Heh, I have been known to make quite the spectacle!" Josiah remarked. "Just sit back and enjoy the show, babe."
"Ooh, so confident," Misty flushed. "You know...I'm pretty sure that waiter there just got back from the bathroom. I saw him drying off his hands. And you know it just makes sense, they would have the bathroom near the restaurant. I want to go over there and ask him but oh...I'm far too shy. So many people there…"
Misty faked a timid giggle.
"Ah, leave it to me," Josiah assured. "I am a master at extracting information!"
"Show me how it's done!" Misty urged.
Josiah marched over to the waiter who was currently bringing a plate of pasta to an elderly woman.
"Sir, we can either do this the easy way...or the hard way!" Josiah exclaimed, picking up the table knife and pointing it at the waiter.
The young server very slowly placed the pasta on the table as the harmless knife was pointed at his neck.
"Uh...what?" the waiter asked.
"The bathroom, you're going to tell me where it is in the next three seconds or else you're getting a new breathing hole," Josiah threatened.
"Excuse me, what is the meaning of this!?" the old woman demanded angrily.
"Ma'am, this is an urgent matter, please stay out of it," Josiah ordered.
"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave now," the waiter said as he pushed the knife out of his face. "You're disturbing our guests."
"I'll disturb a whole lot more until you tell me where the damn bathroom is!" Josiah declared, tossing the plate of pasta on the floor.
"Well, I never!" the old woman huffed, getting up from her seat and storming out.
"Sir, please calm down," the waiter said.
"Oh, I'm very calm," Josiah replied as he leaned against the table. "In fact, I-"
What Josiah did not realize was that he was leaning on a folding table, which collapsed beneath him. The boy fell to the ground and the waiter took the chance to flee.
"Drat, he's getting away!" Josiah cursed.
"You'll get him, right," Misty cheered. "Show him who's boss!"
"That bathroom shall be mine!" Josiah declared.
Ander meanwhile did not seem to mind being separated from Misty. He came upon Lex and Nora. Nora was aimlessly dancing among the crowds, getting some confused looks. Lex was studying the brick exterior of one of the buildings.
"Whatcha feeling, sweetheart?" Nora asked as she twirled around Lex. "Come on out of the shadows and let yourself fly free."
"I'm actually just thinking," Lex murmured softly. "I'm wondering...maybe if we could get up this building, we'd have a better view. See where people are going. Look for what might be a washroom."
"Ooooh, bodacious!" Nora exclaimed. "Well get on up there! Soar to the sky, you funky freak!"
"I...i'm not sure," Lex replied nervously. "It seems easier in my mind, but in reality...well, what if I fall?"
"Allow me to help," Ander suggested.
The large boy grabbed a chair and brought it over then stood atop it. He gestured for Lex to join him. Lex tentatively obeyed. Ander then helped to lift Lex up so that they could reach the edge of the roof. Lex whimpered nervously somewhat, but was eventually able to grab hold and pull themselves up.
"I did it!" Lex said, still quietly, but triumphantly.
"Right on, sugar!" Nora called. "Now what do you see up there?"
"Okay, okay...um...a lot of people," Lex noted. "Oh uh...I think...well I think it might be over in that direction. There's a smaller building, it's hidden behind the cottages, but I think that might be it."
"Then let's boogie on over there!" Nora exclaimed as she and Ander took off.
"Oh wait, can someone help me down?" Lex called. "No? Okay...I'll just...I'll just wait here."
Misty-Ooh it just is too much fun to weaponize a man's ego. This might not help me much in this little challenge right now, but it's all about tilling the soil. Right now I want to put the idea in Mr. Macho's head that acting like the bloodthirsty fool is the way to go, so that when the time comes, I can just….(she snaps her fingers) tip him over the edge! (she laughs)
Josiah-I am a man of action! I don't mess around. No, I may not be a diplomat, but on the battlefield, when it's life or death, you don't have time to negotiate, just act!
Omber and Corny had walked away from the villa somewhat and entered a garden attraction.
"Okay, okay, there's gotta be a bathroom around here somewhere!" Corny exclaimed. "I feel it in my toes!"
"Guys, wait up!" Sammy called from behind.
"Who does that guy think he is?" Omber remarked. "Trying to mess with us and still acting like our friend."
"He's scum alright," Corny replied. "But you're gonna find people like that no matter where you look, can't let'em get to you!"
"Good advice," Omber said.
"Thanks, I came up with it myself!" Corny said proudly. "Just what I've found though. You let people get ya all worked up and they'll just give ya more grief. Sometimes it's better to just walk away."
"You get around a lot?" Omber asked.
"Sure do, friend!" Corny replied with a smile. "I'm something of a wander, never stay in the same place twice!"
"Really? What do your parents do?" Omber asked.
"Well uh...heh...ya see, that's kinda the thing," Corny said, his smile fading slowly. "Life wasn't exactly the best at home...and I wasn't exactly uh...wanted. So I left."
"That's awful," Omber gasped.
Corny gave a shrug.
"Ain't no use stickin' 'round there," Corny passed off. "I was better off seeing what else life had to offer."
"Guuuuuys, slow down," Sammy continued to call. "It was just a joke, no big deal."
Natalia gave a sharp laugh from behind him.
"See!? She thinks it was funny," Sammy pointed out.
"Oh I was not laughing at your failed prank," Natalia said. "The voices just told me about how you would die. I found it very amusing."
"That's not funny," Sammy shivered.
"It will be," Natalia said ominously.
"Aw heck, are we ever gonna find this thing!?" Corny sighed as the group traveled deeper into the garden display.
"You know, simple solution but we could try just...asking someone," Omber pointed.
"Hm...I like the way ya think!" Corny replied.
Omber approached a man in the garden.
"Excuse me, do you know where the bathroom is?" Omber asked.
"Just around the corner," the man answered.
"Thank you, sir!" Omber said.
The boy then took off running in the direction he had been shown. He soon found a small square building with two doors.
"Jackpot!" Omber exclaimed as he entered.
The boy found himself facing a mirror and row of sinks as he entered the washroom. No sooner had he entered did someone kick the door open behind him.
"The tracks never lead me astray!" Yuka announced. "I claim-HEY! How dare you get here before me!?"
"I guess the north isn't the only place to pick up tricks," Omber remarked with a smile.
"Do NOT insult the North! When you are on the move for survival you have no luxury of finding washrooms. You make do with what you have!" Yuka declared.
"And that's super," Omber replied, "but I still got here first."
Yuka angrily slapped a paper towel dispenser and caused it to spill over the floor.
Omber-I want people to think that I'm someone that they can turn to. It's always gametime all the time for me, but if people think I could be their friend outside of the game, they'll start to open up. Let me see how they think. And I can use that to get them to do what I want.
Corny-I don't like much thinkin' 'bout where I came from. It wasn't a good place. Lotta people have good lovin' parents who would do anythin' for their kids. Me? My folks would barely even look at me, and that was on a good day! I'd be lucky if they left me alone, cause if they had somethin' to say, it wasn't gonna be good for me. But that ain't my life anymore, and I couldn't be more pleased to leave it that way!
Ander and Nora raced through the crowds, trying to get to the location that Lex had pointed out for them. Nora weaved in and out of the people, while Ander just marched through and let them move out of his way.
"Oooh sweet serenity, there it is, hun!" Nora exclaimed as she spotted a round building just behind a few of the houses.
The two ran for it, but suddenly found someone blocking their way.
"And just where do you think you're going!" Josiah exclaimed, spaghetti dripping off of him. "You seem to be in a hurry, but I'll take it from here."
"Step aside," Ander ordered.
"You don't want to mess with me, I have been trained to go toe to toe with the most deadly adversaries," Josiah boasted. "You are-"
Ander just pushed him aside.
"I was not ready!" Josiah pouted. "Fine, you want to fight dirty, I can fight dirty."
Josiah grabbed a nearby parasol and used it to vault himself forward. From the air, he grabbed onto a banner and tore it down so that he could drop it over top of Ander.
"Ooh, now that was on jiggy move!" Nora gasped.
"Are the boys fighting?" Misty asked as she joined the scene. "Now that's something I could watch all day."
"Same here, sugar vixen, I know I should help..and yet I cannot look away, my legs are locked in some freaky deeky trance," Nora stated.
"Consider yourself bested," Josiah announced to the covered Ander as he stood before him. "You never stood a chance, don't feel down-"
Ander's fist emerged from the sheet and hit Josiah in the face.
"That is TWO cheap shots!" Josiah pouted. "Alright, no more Mr. Nice Guy!"
Josiah leapt at Ander, trying to put him into a headlock. Ander struggled back, slamming himself against the wall behind him, and crushing Josiah. As the fight went on, Misty slipped on by and allowed herself into the bathroom, pleased with herself.
"Oh dear boys, you can rest easy," Misty called.
Neither of the boys seemed to notice her and continued to wrestle with one another.
"Or keep it up, that's fine too," Misty said.
Misty-Letting men fight it out while I claim the prize? A dream come true.
Nora-Oooh snap, I s'pose I could have used this chance to boogie on over to that bathroom and won this thing. But it's chill, it's aaaaalll chill, I had a good time. Now someone else can make their party bunch, and I'll get to shimmy on over to whatever team is groovy enough to want me around.
The group of fourteen were gathered back in the center circle of the small town.
"We have our winners!" Chris announced. "Omber and Misty were the first two to find the bathrooms."
"And I was second," Yuka declared firmly.
"Yes, but there is no prize for second," Chris pointed out.
Yuka just furrowed her face.
"We will now form our teams," Chris said, "Omber will pick someone, then Misty, then back to Omber, until our teams are complete. Omber start us off…"
"Hm well...since he's such a good friend, I'm gonna pick Sammy," Omber decided.
"Huh...what? I mean, great choice bud, I knew you'd come through for me!" Sammy exclaimed,
"Hmm...I'm going to choose, that sweet, cute, little stud," Misty giggled while turning away coyly. "Corny!"
"Me? Ah shucks! Thank ya kindly, ma'am!" Corny exclaimed as he hopped over to Misty's side.
"She chose him!?" Josiah exclaimed. "He's not that good looking...I'm right here, y'know, what gives?"
"Perhaps she saw your poor excuse of fighting skills," Ander remarked.
"Hey, hey, watch it buddy!" Josiah shot back. "I would have put you in the ground if we didn't have to call it quits for this event."
"Denial must be comforting," Ander said.
Omber considered his options for his next pick.
"This is so degrading, making us stand here like we're up for sale on an auction," Eden scoffed.
"I'll pick Natalia," Omber decided.
"Very well," Natalia stated as she moved to join the team.
"Hmm…." Misty considered. "Well after seeing him in action in that hot, hot fight...I have to go with Ander!"
"Mm," Ander said as he joined the group.
"You want the LOSER from that fight!?" Josiah scoffed. "What even…"
"For my next pick," Omber said with consideration, "since she cut it close, I guess I'll pick Yuka."
"I do not need your pity," Yuka scoffed.
"Fine, have it your way," Omber replied, "I'm changing my pick to Lex."
"Wait…" Yuka said as realization hit her. "That's not what I meant!"
"Too bad," Omber replied.
"Don't worry, you can have MY pity, Yuka!" Misty offered.
Yuka did not like this offer, but she kept her mouth shut this time.
"I'm going to choose," Omber considered, "..Nora, to balance out Natalia's energy with a little positivity."
"Hate that," Natalia groaned.
"Turn that frown around, honeysuckle, it's time to shock a little life into this funky bunch!" Nora said as she shimmied over to the team.
"Hmmm, hmmm...who am I going to pick?" Misty sung to herself. "How about…..Josiah, come on over here."
"Badaboom, that is what I'm talking about!" Josiah exclaimed as he hopped over to the team.
"And that does it for the pick'em!" Chris exclaimed. "Congratulations to those of you who made it."
"Hold up, hold up, what about us!?" Fabio exclaimed.
"Well I said we would continue until the teams were full...I never said it would be teams of seven," Chris said smugly.
"Hm….yes, yes, I knew this was possible," Zenika said as she examined her notes.
"Oh screw off, you did not," Eden scoffed.
"Indeed I did...because there are infinite possibilities, and infinite outcomes...anything can happen, everything has happened, and we exist in the timeline...where the teams were only teams of five," Zenika explained.
"Omber, Sammy, Natalia, Lex, Nora, you will be The Hilltop Heroes," Chris said, "Your home will be the lovely cottage on the hill waiting for you."
"Ooh, now that is some supreme living if I do say so myself!" Nora exclaimed.
"I could have had a house on the hill?" Fabio sobbed. "Why...why does the universe mock me like this!?"
"According to my research, I think it is within reason to say that the universe is simply out to get you. Born at a bad time, your fate is not kind," Zenika stated.
"Misty, Corny, Ander, Yuka, and Josiah, you will be the Grotto Guardians," Chris said as he revealed a staircase spiraling down into the cobblestone road. "Enjoy staying at our underground spa."
"I can hear it," Kirby said as he put his ear to the ground. "The rush of the sea filling these springs, oh how it calls to me."
"Gee, I wonder why none of you got picked," Eden remarked dryly.
"Eden, Fabio, Zenika, and Kirby...I'm sorry to say that no one wants you," Chris said with a shake of his head.
"Fine, I didn't want to be on your loser teams anyways, I'll make my fortune another way," Fabio pouted. "Like Dogecoin!"
Omber-Why did I choose Sammy first? Simple. Nothing bonds people together than someone to rally behind to hate. (he grins) Sammy will make a fine first boot for our team to keep us united.
Misty-Of course I was always choosing Josiah, I just wanted to make him sweat a bit. Make him feel like he has some competition for my attention so that testosterone really pumps to his pea sized brain (she giggles).
Eden-This was some high school gym class crap. Completely rigged from the start. Was I supposed to show some cleavage to get the boy to pick me!? Not happening!
Lex-Oh goodness, to think that if I had not been picked this whole thing could have been over before it even began. I really do owe Omber a thank you.
Corny-Ah shucks, that lovely lady said I was cute? Well gosh she's got me all flustered up now. I'll have to puff out my chest and hold my weight though, we've got some tough guys on this team so I don't want no one thinkin' I'm the weak link of the bunch.
Kirby-I suppose I shall return to the sea sooner than i thought. Though I will be returning not as a richer man, but as a failure. I do not know how I can expect to ride the waves again with such a broken ego.
Chris took the four losers back to the beach.
"Alright you four, you've failed at this first task," Chris said. "You could not complete the task, nor could you get anyone to choose you for your team. But you are not out of the game just yet."
"Oh hallelujah!" Fabio exclaimed, throwing both his fists in the air. "Fabio is back, baby! The million will be mine!"
"You will start at a disadvantage for this loss though," Chris said, "You will be a team of four, one less than the others. And you will get to stay...here."
Chris gestured to an old trailer that appeared ready to collapse.
"Disgusting," Eden remarked.
"You will be known as the Seaside Suckers," Chris said. "Get comfortable in your new home, and get ready to fight hard to overcome these odds."
"Ah yes, it all makes sense now," Kirby said. "I am meant to be here, at the cusp of the sea, so that I may never be far from her loving embrace."
"It is the way that it was meant to be," Zenika agreed.
"You guys are crazy," Eden sighed, "This freaking sucks."
Chris walked up to the dock and faced the audience again.
"The season is upon us, folks!" he declared. "Three teams, one resort, infinite drama. This is the beginning of...Total Drama Resort!"
Author's Note: Hello everyone, thanks for reading! For those who have followed my other work, I know that I have many other ongoing projects or idea to get off the ground. I decided that I needed something a little smaller scale that was a little less daunting to take on for now. Whether you're a loyal follower or just discovering this though, hope you enjoy the season!