The Body of Christopher Creed By Carol Plum-Ucci Harcourt, May 2000 Carol Plum-Ucci • Her roots are in Brigantine, NJ (South Jersey), which inspired the “Pine Barrens” setting of this novel. • She is a young adult novelist, freelance writer, ghost writer, critic, speech writer and an essayist. OVERVIEW • This is a story about mysterious disappearance of a high school outcast. • Christopher Creed is the boy no one likes. • He is popular for bullies to tease. • He never seems to fit in high school cliques. • When he disappears, he captures the attention the entire town of Steepleton and upsets the lives of those who tormented him. OVERVIEW (continued) • Torey Adams – Steepleton’s high school football star is profoundly effected by this disappearance and he makes it his mission to discover what happened to his classmate. In this process, he discovers important truths about the impact that his actions have on the lives of others. Torey Adams • For sixteen-year-old Torey Adams, Creed's disappearance becomes a major turning point in his privileged and sheltered life. • The only apparent clue- a cryptic e- mail message written twenty-four hours before Chris turned up missing, which draws Torey into the mystery and sets him on a path filled with terror and pain. • In his search for the truth, Torey slowly discovers that some mysteries are not meant to be solved - they are simply meant to overcome. Christopher Creed • Chris Creed grew up as the class freak… the bullies' punching bag. After he vanished, the weirdness that had once surrounded him began spreading. It as as if a darkness reached out of his void to grab at the most normal, happy people-like some twisted joke or demented form of justice. It tore the town apart. Who is a potential outcast? • You might become an outcast if: – You look different (short, tall, etc.) – You are from a different culture – You dress differently from others – You have a disability – You are socially awkward (maybe immature) – You are quiet and reserved Social Outcast Alone Different Stereotypes Character Descriptions • Torey Adams - He is an only child from the rich part of town who has been given every advantage his parents could afford. • Ali McDermott - This character is one of the Steepleton elite, a member of Torey's clique and is a cheerleader and an honor student. • Bo Richardson - This character is a boon, a large boy who has a reputation for violence. This character once pushed Creed off the bleachers and broke his ankle. Character Descriptions • Christopher Creed - This character is a misfit who wants to be liked so desperately that he comes on too intensely for most of the people around him. • Mrs. Creed - This character grew up in the boondocks where the character's own father severely abused and humiliated her until she was old enough to run away and join the military. • Bob Haines - This character was the father of Digger. Character Descriptions • Digger Haines - This character was a star football player when Mrs. Adams was in elementary school and was planning a military career after high school, but after a motorbike accident, he lost his leg. • Renee Bowen - This character is the daughter of the chief of police and a friend in Torey's circle. • Mrs. Adams - This character is Torey's mother and a lawyer with the district attorney's office in Steepleton. • The Indian - When Torey was a small child, he saw an this character in the woods near the Lenape burial site. Object Descriptions • This segment provides students with a short description of all the major objects described in this book. Object Descriptions • Creed's Note - This is the suicide/runaway item Christopher Creed sent to the principal the day he disappeared. • Creed's Diary - This is the item that Bo Richardson attempts to steal from the Creed home that contains Chris's imaginary account of his relationship with Isabella. • Library Computer - Christopher Creed's mother unplugged his home computer, so Creed used this to send his e-mailed note to the principal. Object Descriptions • Computer Disk - This item onto which Ali and Bo transferred the note becomes a major part of the evidence against Bo in the murder of Christopher Creed. • Creed's Treasure Map - This is a guide Christopher Creed created so that he would not forget where he had buried treasure in the woods when he was young. • Creed.doc - This is the document Torey writes and sends out to individuals using anagrams and variations of his and the boys' names from Creed's note. Object Descriptions • Creed's Bedroom - Ali is able to see through her bedroom window into this space's window. • Torey's Guitar - Torey is a musician and owns this instrument. • Three Rock Grave Marker - In the Lenape burial site, there is a grave marker composed on these and is where Torey finds the body of Bob Haines. • Psychic Vision - This is how Torey and Ali learn that Torey will find a body while alone in the Lenape burial site at a grave marked by three large rocks. Object Descriptions • Boon - This is the name of the local kids who live in the part of town called the boondocks. • Wawa - This is the name of a local convenience store where Bo, Torey and many of his friends hang out. • Lenape Indian Burial Grounds - This is behind Torey's house and is believed to have been created by a tribe of Lenape Indians when they lived in the area. Chapter Abstracts • Chapter abstracts are short descriptions of events that occur in each chapter. • They highlight major plot events and detail the important relationships and characteristics of characters and objects. Chapter 1 Abstract • The novel is about a young boy, Torey Adams, and how his world is shattered when an unpopular boy in his school disappears. • Torey Adams moves to a boarding school for his senior year of high school due to troubles after Chris Creed disappears. • Torey explains that it is better at his new school because no one stares at him, and he can act like a regular kid. Chapter 1 Abstract • Torey emails someone named Alex Healy asks him if the name Chris Creed means anything and if it does to read the attachment. • The document is regarding Chris Creed's disappearance two years ago. Chapter 2 Abstract • Torey wrote this document at the request of his doctor with the hopes it would provide him with some healing. • He has not read it since he wrote it but sends it out to anonymous recipients. • The e-mail goes on to explain what the disappearance of Chris Creed did to the town of Steepleton. Chapter 2 Abstract • Torey provides the names of three people who can vouch for the veracity of every word in the attached document. • Torey knows now that he is ready to read the document and that he has sympathy for the person he was two years ago. Chapter 3 Abstract • Torey is in church one Sunday with his friends when Mr. and Mrs. Creed are allowed to make an impassioned speech to the congregation. • The Creeds explain about their son's disappearance the Thursday before and ask that if anyone has any information. • Torey knew there was a search for Chris the day before and that an e-mail was sent to the principal that was supposedly from Chris. Chapter 3 Abstract • Torey also got the impression that the Creeds were holding on to the idea of Chris running away and not kidnapped by criminals. • Torey listens to the Creeds talk about their son and wonders how they can be so wrong about him. Chapter 4 Abstract • The Creeds talk about Chris as though he were a happy, well- adjusted kid. Torey knows that is the opposite of what Chris was. • Chris was awkward, annoying and obnoxious. Chris was the constant butt of jokes and the target of abuse. Chapter 4 Abstract • Even though Torey and his friends did not beat on Chris in over a year, there was a group of kids that had. • The boons, kids from the poor side of town or the boondocks, were often picking on kids like Chris. Chapter 5 Abstract • Alex and Ryan go back to Torey's basement with him to await the rest of their band so they can get in some practice time. • Ryan suggests that Creed drowned himself in the woods and that they will find his body in a few weeks. • Torey remembers a time when he hit Chris Creed in sixth grade and asks the others if they ever hit him. Chapter 6 Abstract • The conversation turns to the note Creed sent to the principal from the library computer. • Alex says that he could probably crack into the school network and find a copy. Alex does just that. But there is no copy of the note. • Alex breaks into the principal's inbox for his e-mails and finds a copy there, which Alex prints out. Chapter 6 Abstract • The note explains how he is tired of being an outcast and living under the strict control of his parents. • Chris mentions the names of several of his classmates whom he admired and wanted to be like, including Torey. This upsets Torey. Chapter 7 Abstract • Torey runs into a friend, Ali McDermott. Ali and Torey have known each other since they were small. • Torey wants to talk to Ali about Chris Creed because she lives across the street from the Creeds. • Ali takes Torey out a side door where the fire alarm has been disabled. Ali immediately lights up a cigarette. Chapter 7 Abstract • Torey thinks of how different she has become since her parents' separation. Now she has a bad reputation and does not seem to care. • Ali tells Torey about Creed, of conversations the two of them had and about how strict Creed's mother appeared to be. Chapter 8 Abstract • Torey and Ali agree that Mrs. Creed's behavior toward Chris and her denial of any personal blame in his disappearance is strange. • Ali also tells Torey about a diary that she saw Chris write in and then hide behind a painting. Chapter 8 Abstract • Torey is worried about Ali. Ali seems very different from the girl Torey used to know, depressed and closed off. • When Ali suggests that Torey come over after dinner the next night, Torey jumps at the chance. Chapter 9 Abstract • Torey enters the cafeteria and finds his friends as well as his girlfriend, Leandra, and her best friend Renee. • Torey explains that Ali was having a problem and that is where he has been. Renee has unkind things to say about Ali. Chapter 9 Abstract • Torey is annoyed by Renee's comments and is also disturbed to see that Alex and Renee appear to be getting together in a romantic sense. • Torey puts Creed's note on the table so that everyone can read it. Right away, Leandra and Renee get in on the speculation as to what it all means. Chapter 10 Abstract • Both girls think the note implies that Chris has decided to commit suicide. • However, Leandra suggests that perhaps Chris did not even write the note. • What if someone else wrote it to make it look like Chris had run off or committed suicide when he was really murdered? Chapter 10 Abstract • All eyes turn to the boons then, especially Bo Richardson. They discuss how dirty some of the boons are. • Torey immediately feels uncomfortable with the conversation and wishes he had stayed outside with Ali. Chapter 11 Abstract • Alex and Ryan do not show up for band practice that night, which upsets Torey. Torey sits in the basement and works on writing a song. • Suddenly, Torey feels like he is not alone, as if someone is watching him. Torey becomes convinced that someone is in the game closet. Chapter 11 Abstract • Torey imagines that someone is in there watching him; Chris is in there hanging from a rope. • Torey walks calmly to the door and pulls it open only to find it empty. • Torey's pager goes off a second later, giving him a second scare. It is Leandra. She's railing against Ali who caused practice to go longer. Chapter 12 Abstract • Torey becomes irritated by this conversation and tells Leandra he thinks she should stop gossiping about things she does not understand. • Torey thinks about Creed, about how it is really possible that he did commit suicide, with all the times he was hurt by the people around him. Chapter 12 Abstract • Torey imagines that one day Creed woke up and for the first time saw himself the way other people saw him. • Torey also marvels at how everyone would rather think that Creed was murdered than to believe that their own behavior had anything to do with Creed's disappearance. Chapter 13 Abstract • The next morning Torey confronts Alex about not showing up to band practice. He was with Renee, though he tried to lie initially. • Then Alex tells Torey about another time when he hit Creed. Alex had been about twelve. Chapter 13 Abstract • Mrs. Creed came down to the Wawa, a local convenience store, to make all the local kids who did not help with the search on Saturday feel guilty. • Creed talked to Mrs. Kyle and told her that she wanted to believe that Chris ran away, but that she had been watching his bank account. Chris had not taken a penny. Chapter 14 Abstract • She was beginning to think that one of the boons killed her son and wrote the suicide note to throw everyone off track. • Mrs. Creed's number one suspect was Bo Richardson because last year he pushed Chris off the bleachers and broke his ankle. • Torey is the only other person who sent Chris to the emergency room, in sixth grade when he hit him for touching his guitar, and no one was saying Torey had killed Chris. Chapter 15 Abstract • When Torey arrives at Ali's house, Ali takes him directly to her bedroom. She shows him Chris's house and they watch the family. • Mrs. Creed comes into Chris's room and looks for something. Ali says she thinks she's looking for Chris's diary. • Bo Richardson, who is Ali's boyfriend shows up and tells Ali's mother to quit making so much noise during sex with her boyfriend. Chapter 15 Abstract • When Bo, Ali and Torey are alone again, the conversation turns back to Chris Creed. • Bo decides that they have to steal the diary before Mrs. Creed can find it. Bo takes off his boots and charges out of the house. Chapter 16 Abstract • Torey chases Bo out into the street and asks if he has a plan. Bo says no, but he has broken into houses before. • Torey then wants to know why Bo wants to do this, since he will probably get caught. • The police interviewed Bo and wanted an alibi for when Chris went missing. He figured it was only a matter of time before they charged him. Chapter 16 Abstract • Torey says he will call the Creeds and lure them out of the house while Bo breaks in and takes the diary. • He demands money from Mrs. Creed then tells her to meet him at the ball field. Something she said bothered him, but he didn't know what. Chapter 17 Abstract • The police have detained Torey and Bo because they found Bo leaving the Creed's house and a neighbor saw Torey talking to Bo. • Torey tries to convince his mother that Bo is innocent of everything related to the Chris Creed case. • Mrs. Adams doesn't want to help Bo, but Torey's pleas and Ali's constant sobbing change her mind. Chapter 17 Abstract • Mrs. Adams goes into the interrogation room where Bo is being questioned and demands the chief let him go if he is not being charged. • The chief asks some leading questions, clearly hoping Torey and Ali will pin the phone call Torey made to the Creeds on Bo. • The police hold Bo with juvenile delinquency for giving the police a hard time. Mrs. Adams seems to be impressed with Bo's considerate behavior. Chapter 18 Abstract • Torey and Ali tell Mrs. Adams everything that has happened thus far, including how Ali got her copy of the note and where the disk is now. • Ali also tells Mrs. Adams her theory that Mrs. Creed hurt Chris herself, based on what Ali has observed over the years from her bedroom window. Chapter 18 Abstract • Mrs. Adams wants to know if Bo broke into the Creed house. Ali says she does not know. She saw that he couldn't get in Chris's window. • Mrs. Adams assures Ali that the police will not charge Bo with murder until a body is found, and she is certain one will never be found. Chapter 19 Abstract • Torey has trouble sleeping that night, so he goes into the guest bedroom with Ali to read Chris's diary. • Already Ali has discovered that Chris had a girlfriend in a bordering town where he worked in his uncle's coffee shop. Chapter 19 Abstract • On the final page is a list Chris made of all the things that are good about him. He seemed to want to give himself good self-esteem. • Torey stands to go to bed. Ali again theorizes that Mrs. Creed killed Chris. • Torey does not agree, however, after remembering Mrs. Creed's reaction to the phone call. Chapter 20 Abstract • The next morning Torey's friends want to know why Ali is with him, but they also want to know if they were arrested with Bo Richardson. • In homeroom, Torey falls asleep on his desk. Alex wakes him and chastises him for turning on his friends. • Somehow Torey's friends seem shallow to him now. Torey leaves the classroom to go to the restroom and finds Ali in the hallway. Chapter 20 Abstract • Ali tells him that she read more of the diary where Chris talks about going to a psychic with Isabella. • The psychic told Chris that she saw him dead in the woods. Bo shows up at school due to Mrs. Adams getting him out.