Hey! The name's Rafael...and I'm a plant. Yes, really. I have chlorophyll where most people have red blood cells. Apparently, I should have read the fine print on that sprayer of pesticide. Or I should have kept my promise to garden organically. Or at least I shouldn't have freaked out quite so much at the rampaging horde of hornworms that invaded my innocent little tomato patch. But what's done is done.
And it's not such a bad gig, really. Sure, I kind of miss eating sometimes. On the other hand, eating most of the things that I would eat if I wasn't a plant would seem sort of like cannibalism now that I am one. That kind of puts a damper on culinary appreciation, if you know what I mean. Now, all I need to survive is UV light, a bathtub to soak in, and someone to talk to me. I don't even need to waste hours sleeping anymore, so I can get so much stuff done. Really, it's a pretty sweet deal.
Except, of course, for the staring thing. It's not the green skin that throws people. Ever since the UFOs showed up, there are plenty of green-skinned people walking around. People don't give it a second glance anymore. No, what gets them is the leaves. They'll look at me, and then they'll do a double-take, sometimes a triple-take, and then, once they figure out that the leaves are not in fact a really stupid-looking hat, they'll stare. And stare. And stare some more. They'll follow me down the street just so that they can keep on staring.
It's gotten old. Really old. So when I heard about Stuart Redmond's little...er, expedition, I guess you could call it, I wasted no time in selling everything I owned that could be sold and signing up. I have absolutely no idea where I'm going -- where we're going -- now, but it can't possibly be worse than the stares. I can't take that anymore.
And it's not like the people I'm going to be living with are going to do much staring. Because they're all pretty much as weird as I am, even though all but our illustrious "leader," Stuart, look pretty normal on the surface.
Poor Stuart. He was once quite the ladies' man, and he was the scion of the richest family in the city, which likely helped with the whole "ladies' man" thing. His name and his face were plastered all over the tabloids...until he died, of course. A drug overdose, so they say. His mama apparently couldn't deal with her little darling's untimely death, and so somehow she had him brought back to life. Only it didn't work out quite the way she had planned...
...Yeah. Poor Stu's a zombie. And his papa can't deal with that. The scion of the family suddenly became the Family Embarrassment, and the Family Embarrassment has to be hidden away, naturally. So what's a filthy rich patriarch to do? Why, give Mr. Embarrassment a nice chunk of change and a nice chunk of land, one that's far, far away from the city. And that's exactly what Stu's papa did. Only Stu decided that he didn't want to go into exile all alone, and he invited six other people to accompany him, on a first-come, first-served basis, offering us free land and a new start. And so here we are.
There's Stu, the zombie. There's me, the plant. And then...Then there's Robin:
Oh, don't let his young, innocent-looking face fool you. Robin's a killer, of the blood-sucking kind. But you'd hardly know it. He's so...nice. Really, really nice. And shy to the point that he won't look you in the face when he talks to you. They say that vampires are supposed to be these hypnotically charismatic, larger-than-life people who are masters at dazzling and seducing the unwary.
Well, not Robin! No, Robin's all unassuming and just sort of...cute. As in the you-want-to-pat-him-on-the-head kind of cute. In fact, if it weren't for the fangs and the fact that he sleeps in a coffin during the day, you wouldn't suspect him of anything. Me, I'm hoping that the lack of red blood cells and the fact that I sometimes smell sort of garlicky will keep him away, at least when he's hungry. Here's hoping. Because a vampiric plant just wouldn't work too well...
Oh, and then there are these two:
That's Jonathan and Dominic, respectively, and they've been best friends since they were tots. But one night not long ago, when out carousing on a Friday night in the way that teenage boys will do, they had a run-in with a black wolf with glowing yellow eyes. And so now...Yep, they're werewolves. And like Stu's parents, their parents just can't deal with that and the embarrassment that they cause, what with the hair and the howling all night and the indiscriminate savaging of friends and relatives left and right. So here they are, young as they are, striking out on their own.
And then there are the real weirdos, the ones who aren't plants, or undead, or half-dog, or blood-sucking killers. The ones that other people would call "normal." But there's just something a little...off...about them.
One has to wonder why an old fart like him would be running off to parts unknown at this late stage of life. (One also has to wonder what his really hot and much-younger little blonde wife sees in him...but that's beside the point, I guess.) All I know is that he seems to be afraid of something. Ever since we left the city, he's almost literally been looking over his shoulder every other minute. He already knows Robin, too, I think; he's towing the trailer carrying Robin's coffin out to wherever it is that we're going with his SUV. And overall, he's just...shifty. I want to know what his story is, and believe you me, I will find out... I'm really good at that sort of thing.
And, finally, there's Michael:
Michael is perhaps the weirdest of us all in that he is apparently completely...normal. A normal, albeit slightly geeky, teenage boy. His only possession is a big honkin' telescope, which he won't let out of his sight and that he won't let anyone else touch...
OK, maybe that's a little weird, now that I think about it. But other than that, he seems like your average teenage geekboy. I'll just bet that he's memorized The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in its entirety. And I guess time will tell if there's more to him than meets the eye...
So that's our motley crew, boldly going where no plant, zombie, vampire, werewolf, or human has gone before. We're heading off into the great unknown to face who-knows-what who-knows-where. Stu assures us that we'll be arriving at wherever it is that we're going sometime tomorrow.
I just can't wait to get...Well, home.