Enter The Night (Part One)

I thought I would share what I read out this month. I intend to read the next part to the writing group next month… once I have worked on it a bit more. I thought it might interest people to see what I had produced.

Feel free to leave comments if you see any problems, or if you like it! Feedback is always useful.

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Enter the Night

She stared out, leaning over the rail in an attempt to look tough and mature. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but after Chicago…

Still, the sight of the ocean was something that captivated her. She had never seen the sea before. Never once gazed out, and saw endless stretches of water to the horizon. Even at night, with the stormy clouds above, it was a sight for her to see. Samantha just gazed away, not wanting to look away, to go back up the pier and to the reason why she was in this poky little tourist trap. Still, the clothes she had managed to rustle up while she had stayed for a few days in San Francisco helped to make her feel more edgy, more a streetwise brat.

Of course, before she had gone of on her quest to find her mother, she had thought herself streetwise. How could she not be, watching her father deteriorate as she had grown up? Having to clean up and after them both, and try to get some sort of food inside of them? Over time, it just became too much, for both of them. She had screamed and shouted, having a horrible tantrum. A wild, terrible force unleashed from the deepest centre of her. Throwing things, stuff smashing against the wall… and her father pressed against the wall, eyes wide in terror. His words, burned into her memory.

She did that, too…”

She had tried to apologise, to make amends. Samantha looked back bitterly at the memory. Why had her Daddy rejected her like that? Become so distant? Why couldn’t he help her, drive out of her the furious fuming anger that still swelled and welled inside her? And when she lost her temper, she ended up doing things. Maybe what everyone at school said about her was true. Both she and her father were losers.

Her father… she beat back the tears, not wanting to cry like a pathetic little baby. As much as she had defended him, she knew that there was truth in their words about him…

Her Daddy. The memories started to pour back to her, despite her efforts.

A failed musician with a crippling drug addiction that had given him the disease that had eaten him away. He’d tried to get clean, and stay clean, but it never took. Samantha didn’t hate her old man, just felt… disappointed in him. She had listened to his music, and there had been talent, particularly when he had been with her mother.

 The same mother that had vanished when she was just ten days old. According to the stories about her from her aunt. As much as she was mean and bitter at her aunt and uncle, she was also grateful that they had taken her in. a year of foster care had been more than enough for all sides to handle. Home after home ended up rejecting her, meaning she was back at the children’s home regularly. She wasn’t certain if it was her anger or her looks. She couldn’t help it if her Daddy had been a mix of different colours and backgrounds. Well, if her foster families hated it, she despised it. Looking into the mirror, with no clear idea what to describe herself as. Particularly as she had a tanned -like skin, jet black hair, and bright, piercing blue eyes. Like shards of ice staring and stabbing out. Her nose, mouth… one look at her face suggested she was a white girl, but the skin and hair… and then there were her eyes, the same as her mothers, light coloured.

Paler than the sea, for certain…

She had been there for hours, when it had been day and sunny. Strange how the storm had surged in like that. As if boldly announcing something ominous and dangerous. Maybe it was warning everyone that she was in town? Wandering amongst them in her white crop top, black fake leather jacket, fake black leather skirt with the black leggings. Black leather fingerless gloves and black shiny boots with flat soles and knee length sides. She had added the black trouser braces, though she didn’t need them to keep her skirt up. She had gotten hold of a chain, so she could swing it about and keep people back. Was she getting paranoid? After what she had encountered in Chicago, she wasn’t sure…

It had started off okay, her asking people about her mother, showing them the picture she had of them. It had taken her time to put together all of the information she could, researching as much as she could from the Internet before she even thought about setting off.

She might be fourteen, but she wasn’t a stupid child. Despite what everyone thought of her. she’d been patient, putting down into computer file every last scrap of information she could remember from what her father had rambled on about her mother. Towards the end, when the immune-devouring disease had eaten away at so much of him, his mind had started to become incoherent, and he would rave and mumble about her mother. She had been there, staying with him. To hell with school. Her Daddy was dying, and she wasn’t going to simply abandon him.

She had been found by his body, crying her eyes out as she gripped his cold, stiff hand. She had to have three grown men grip and handle her, her anger and mindless need to stay with the only family she had in the world. Then, after a year of the falsity and cold fostering system, her aunt had appeared. It had taken a moment to remember her, having met her… how old had she been? Samantha couldn’t remember now. All that mattered was that she had other family. Her brother’s sister, who had been trying to locate the pair. Daddy had been in the habit of moving them about a lot.

They were all probably celebrating, her aunt, uncle and cousins. She had been hell to live with, she knew it. She just couldn’t work out why, though. The burning, searing rage that ate away inside her. It was there now, stalking and skulking, like a caged animal waiting to escape and unleash itself onto anything or anyone it could. Of course, all of the adults in her life had tried medications with her, but it didn’t help. If anything, it made things worse, because she wasn’t clear headed enough to keep control of the fury. Or at least try to. It wasn’t as if she was successful. Particularly when the other kids at school tried to pick on her, or her cousins. Not that they did that any more. Even if they were much bigger and tougher than she was. So, when they shoved her, she ended up shoving them back harder. Boo hoo.

Of course, it had meant that she had ended up getting a reputation as a bully. What a surprise. The kid with the food blended ethnicity was the trouble maker. she’d spent time looking into it, and sure enough, there were medical studies that were turning up, saying there were an increase in the likelihood of mental problems in mixed race people. Samantha tried to put it out of her head. She knew she was a mistake, a screwed up example of how human relationships could go wrong.

Maybe that was why her mother abandoned them? She was staring at her little baby girl, and saw nothing in the child? What if – and Samantha tried to bury the notion as best she could yet again – had she been rejected? What if she found her mother, and she didn’t want to know her?

But then, what had her Daddy meant by saying that her Momma had gone into a destructive rage like she had?

And then there was Chicago…

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The Coven (Prelude)

Back in January, I speculated on whether there was a story in Alan Rickman and David Bowie’s death. I managed to find a way to link it up, so I had homework completed for the writing group I now attend, which I have previously talked about. I thought I would share what I read out.

Hopefully, this will interest some people.

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She looked around, the black and white sleeveless dress with the symbols from playing cards adorning the knee-length edges, twirling and swirling at her knees. She swallowed hard. Was she dreaming, or was she awake? She never knew when it was like this…

Dark, gloomy night wrapped around her. She decided to run again, ignoring her knee, to escape them. She didn’t know who they were really, but she doubted that she was really being chased by Alan Rickman in his Snape outfit, or David Bowie, his head bandaged around his eyes. How did she know what he looked like? A large part of his face was covered up, silvery short spikey hair showing in tufts above his bandages. How could he see? All there were for eyes were buttons sewn onto the bandages, like he was a twisted rag doll. Snape was easy to understand, with just black spheres for eyes. The skin stretched over the skull and boney body, as if mute testimony of the grave. Both men were dead, so it should be a dream… but she had already scraped her knees when she had fallen over earlier. She could feel the blood starting to get sticky and hard.

If it wasn’t a dream, then who was chasing her? She didn’t know. She felt like she didn’t want to know, either. But where was she? The streets looked more and more Victorian, and not at all like the London she had lived in all of her life. Thick, swirling fog was sifting around, too. She quickly looked down, regarding the Gothic Alice in Wonderland costume she was wearing. Why? How? When had she put it on? If it wasn’t a dream, she would remember… right? But she couldn’t. Then again, she had blanks in her memories. She had worked it out a couple of years ago, though hadn’t dared tell anyone. She brushed a few stray strands of her dark hair out of her face, and back to the rest of her bob-cut locks. She looked about nervously, wondering if the dead men – or whatever they were – had followed her. Nothing. She started to run, twisting around to look ahead properly-

Colliding into a black robed figure. She shrieked in shocked panic. she tumbled to the floor, staring up at the dead Harry Potter actor. He… or it looked down on her.

“Love is more powerful than all of my magic,” the being intoned, then broke into a terrifying, rictusesque grin, the teeth stained and dirtied, like long inhabitants of the grave. She scrambled to her feet, and then started to run like crazy, heart pounding fiercely and forcefully, her lungs raw from the excessive oxygen usage, hands feeling tender from being scraped and scratched as she fell to the floor earlier. Pressing them to the floor to get up had only reinforced their tenderness, the pain locked away after years of experience. You didn’t cry in her family…

It took her several minutes to realise she wasn’t in any streets. She paused, to twirl around to take in her surroundings. Of course. She knew where she was. After all, Highgate Cemetery was at her doorstep, so to speak. She started to run, trying to get to a familiar part. Assuming she was in the right part. The Eastern Cemetery was further away from her home, whereas the Western Cemeteryif she went the right direction – would end at the junction that pretty much faced the Victorian gatehouse that allowed her to get home.

“Pretty Bella! Pretty Bella!” sang out a voice. She turned, swallowing hard. Revolving on a plinth was a horribly familiar bandaged man, grinning proudly as he held out a battered book with a black star on it, somehow revolving round and round, seemingly on display. Below the plinth were shuddering juddering, shaking figures. Thin and dirty, seemingly grave-raised. They moved forwards in a jerky dance-like style.

She looked up, seeing that it wasn’t really night. It was the sun, completely eclipsed. She fumbled, and took out a golden pocket watch. Four past ten… She looked up, and the Undead Alan Snape Rickman being was next to her.

“Fear is the mind killer, Pretty Bella.” It stroked her hair, as she stood, fear-frozen, the fingers on the strands making her feel tingly and wanting to shiver from the teases of electrical pulses being sent along her nerves. She swallowed, trying to get her heaving breathing into order. It gripped her by the chin, and then adjusted her head to make sure she was looking up, and into his eyes. The black pits of nothing that showed that this wasn’t a man, it was… she didn’t honestly know, but she knew that it was no man, whatever it really was. She just stared, suddenly enthralled by it. It kept on touching and stroking her hair, the corpse-cold hands making her shiver as much as the stroking. The pulsing and pounding in her head and ears made it feel all the more real, in a swaying, jilted way.

“Don’t fear… hate. Hate with all your black heart. Do and be what is your nature. Be the Pretty Isa, to prophesise the coming of the Harbinger of the Light-Bearer,” it said as it held a hand forwards, giving her something. A knife, with a handle made of… she felt like vomiting when she realised what she was holding. She started swallowing hard, to try and remove the acid taste in her mouth. The handle was so cold and smooth, though one look made it clear why it was so, and the curves and ridges that were a part of it’s nature. She dropped the spine handled blade, stomach churning further. She wanted none of what actions she knew she was being directed to do. Suddenly, she was pushed to the ground, arms splayed outwards as her hands were pierced with long, square nails.

“Suffer for your virtues!” Sang out the Bandaged Preacher. “Bella Isa, purify yourself! Anti-Anointed!” it sang out. She was gagged before she could scream, being carried on the wooden object she had been pinned to. Searing heat came from her side. She didn’t want to know what it was causing that. Suddenly, she could see a tower looming up from the horizon, electricity sparking and showing from the top, arcing and striking the clock that was set into the structure…

“I have to tell you about the future!” sang both the Bandaged Preacher and Undead Tutor-Mage. She blinked. How did they end up inside the tower? And there were robed, masked figures… and a rather large dog… she started whimpering.

“Happy birthday to you!” They all sang as the dog leapt forwards-

And she realised she was bolt upright in bed, screaming her lungs and throat raw, cold sweat streaming from her shaking body. The night light was streaming in, the curtains never closed. She was too scared to be in the dark. Especially when she had just come back from a family get-together. Being part of the Denby-Ashe family meant obligations and duties, even if you were the pariah in the family. Not only that, but she was feeling bruised and scratched, and unable to remember much of the weekend just past. As was usual, she reflected sadly.

The girl with the bob-cutted hair reached under her pillow, and pulled out her rainbow covered dream book. She had discovered a few years ago that if she wrote down the dreams and nightmares, she then could sleep again, having forgotten about them. She put on the desk lamp, quickly scribbling away in a neat, precise script that had been beaten into her as a child. Sloppy handwriting was not allowed in her family. No matter how much you were the black sheep of the flock…

It took her little time for her – her mind was still stuck on the name Bella, which was only half her name – to put down all of the details meticulously. Years of expert punishment had ensued she would always be meticulous in detail.

Bella…

She hated that name, because it made her think of Twilight, and she didn’t want to be connected to those stories. Why her friend Fleur loved them… To her, it seemed that Bella was choosing between necrophilia and bestiality. Neither was appropriate to her. Love should be with someone you… well, loved. You need to know that person, understand them. She much preferred the older stories, like Austen, Gaskill and Eliot. It also helped her positive feelings that she had read the tales from books that were either First Edition, or near enough. One thing she loved about the wealth of her family, which was a rather short list, indeed…

She put the book back under her pillow, and then switched off the light. Writing it all down had helped to calm her, ready for sleep. She was looking forward to it as well, the day at Sixth Form. She was up to date with all of her work, and had figured out ways to needle her tutors. And being at one of the families’ many estates had meant access to a lot of useful material. For example, reading from a three hundred year old edition of Shakespeare, memorising the texts, knowing how the differences translated to the modern letter renderings. Not only that, but she had used the library of the family estate she had stayed at to look for any books on Shakespeare and the occult. Not to impress her tutor, but to find anything that could serve as intellectual torment for him. And that book written in nineteen hundred and nine, by Theosophicals… whoever they were, was a perfect place to start, too.

As she closed her eyes to sleep, she thought up little schemes to wind her English tutor up, the arguments to use and try to infuriate him with… all the while silently watched by three owls, perched on her windowsill, looking in…

Rest In Peace Slate

At the start of the month, I ended up making one of my wonderfully infrequent visits to my Facebook account. Something cropped up in the feed, and it caught my attention:

31 August at 22:59 ·

RIP Slate, it was a great ride.

Now this was from a friend I have known some time, so I straight away was paying attention. I expressed my condolences, and what words I could place together that was respectful and considerate of someone I had never met. Then there were other comments, and I was feeling more and more confused.

It turns out that Slate isn’t a real person, as in of this physical world. He is a LARP character. As in Live Action Role Play. I expresse my relief at this, because a person’s death is always a gravitas inducing event.

The matter has stayed with me, however. I have been mulling over this character death, pondering it whilst I’ve been actively trying to finish off the story I started at the end of July.

I have been pondering, because it has made me think quite a bit. I do Role Play Games myself, and have a number of characters for a number of different games. Some are not too exciting, because my group has never really done very many adventures with some of the games we play. Others, however, are far more important to me. There has been many adventures, deadly situations, personal trials. They have grown from being humble simple adventurers, into powerful heroes capable of leading great armies, and deeds well known.

Something to consider is the fact that RPGs are a form of storytelling. There is a skill and art in running a game, to make it seem like you have free will, when all you are doing is following the script. In fact, I could sit down, and write some of the adventures, because we have some classic tales.

Of course, my characters have not stayed in their respective games. My first ever character has appeared in a novel of mine. Paige Cousyn. She still is alive – amazingly. She is a Call of Cthulhu character, a game notorious for characters encountering very grisly and spectacular demises – sometimes in the first adventure. So the fact I have had her for a number of years now is something amazing. I saw opportunity to use her, and make it credible, to boot. Moreover, she will be having a bigger role in the novel I plan to write in November. More on this in due course…

I also intend to use Melissandre, my half Fae sorceress as well. I have a way to jump universes, and plan to use her in some way in a future story.

I hope to get some more blog posts up in the near future, and try to make this become far more regular. I want to talk some more about November, and the n ext National Novel Writing Month challenge. As I’ve mentioned, Paige will be in it, and life has been both cruel and kind to her. But will she be up to taking on the horrors and trials? Of course, she is just one of a number of characters. All of the action will be based in London, particularly Highgate.

And yes, I’ll be uising the Cemetary as a location. I wonder if there will be a tombstone with “RIP Slate” on it? Now that is a most interesting question indeed…

The Coven (2015) Film Review.

I felt like writing a review of this film, the reasons being will eventually become evident.

I bumped into this film quite by chance. I was looking online at random images, and I was curious to see if I could find online the poster to the film The Craft. I did so, but then encountered this:

Those of you who have seen the cover – and poster – for The Craft, will straight away recognise just how similar it is. Well, I immediately was amused by this discovery, and started to delve deeper, to find out more. In the end, I watched it, having gotten hold of a copy. (That might prove difficult, getting hold of an unburnt copy of the DVD.)

I sat down watching this, flicking between it, and responding to replies on my forum. I think this was a large mistake on my part, because I was seeing it in smaller chunks, and wasn’t fully paying attention to it. As a result, I was getting more and more creeped out by it, as it developed. Then I had a question pop in my head, and then I realised what a steaming mess it is…

I honestly don’t know what to make of this film, and i pity the Film Board person who had to sit down and watch this to rate it. You get the feeling like they wanted it to be a horror for tweens and maybe young teenagers. But with all of the references to sex, drugs, drinking and the like, it would never obtain a rating low enough to acquire it.

You also have the Mackie twins, Holly and Cloe, in this film. It has been a long time since St. Trinians, and i was interested to see how their quality of acting was nowadays.

The film starts of in historical Highgate School. This is where it all starts to go horribly, horrendously wrong. The pupils present looked like they were rejects from the local Comprehensive, and they were sitting at single tables that made it look like an exam is about to take place. Add to that the fact that you had Dexter Fletcher arrive to teach, looking like he was a renegade Time Lord just escaped from Gallifrey. And, for some reason, he is teaching Wicca to these schoolkids. Add to that the fact that the students clearly have had prior lessons, due to mentioning Margaret Murray and the books on the topic she wrote.

I have no idea what sort of school casually teaches Wicca in its classes. It didn’t even seem to be linked to any subject, either. Truly bizarre, but Dexter Fletcher skilfully moves the pace along, and you don’t think much about it, at least not right away. But then, you get the setting up of things: The enigmatic Uri Clef had taken seven of his followers, and none were seen again.

I’ll digress here. There is lengthy reviews about Uri Clef, and how he was in a mystical fights against darker forces in Cochranian Wicca… really going into some depth about this fictional character that is only mentioned in passing. It is utter rubbish. If you pause the film at the newspaper reports, it clearly says that no-one knew who he was, or his background. He had simply appeared from no-where, and was recruiting followers by his charisma.

Of course, past dark deeds in the local woods is too much to resist for the clique of bad girls in the class. (weirdly, most of that class was female. I stopped to check, because it was completely weird.) They end up plotting and scheming to go to the Coven, a group of ancient trees in Queens Wood, stay there the night, and see what they could witness. Hardly shocking; teenagers test their stupidity levels by doing something blatantly a Bad Idea.

So, in the end, they set off, using the bus. All but one. She was trooping around the school alone, and collared by Dexter Fletcher’s character. A nice location piece… but here is the problem. Highgate School is a private school, and is obviously that. If they had made it that they were in a private school, it would have made it all so much more believable. I’m certain the school would have been okay with that, given how they are fine having school leavers produce bizarre videos of teachers weilding plastic guns, and shooting down pupils. And then there is the clip where the Head is given a suitcase full of money, and is throwing it in the air, laughing maniacally… quite, quite strange.

In any case, they bother to use the actual locations, which is something of a bonus, I guess.

The girls end up in the woods, and eventually, after a lot of drinking, smoking and drugs, start to get attacked by demonic forces. More specifically, Lucifer on a black motorcycle. Yes, you saw correctly; not content in ripping off The Craft for the poster, and then rip off Harry Potter with the beginning sequence, followed by stealing camcorders in the woods from The Blair Witch Project, they then proceeded to take from Ghost Rider as well.

And after a lot of mumbling and running around (making Scooby Doo proud in the process,) you mercifully get to the end.

I was admittedly getting creeped out by this film, until I had a question pop into my head: Why is Lucifer riding a motorcycle in the woods to get these girls? It is a very valid question: The film did start off with Wicca, which doesn’t have Lucifer, or Satan. That is Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Lazy, lazy, lazy. And worse, I was left traumatised by discovering that there were films in existence that makes David DeCoteu’s efforts look good.

This film palpably doesn’t make sense in the slightest. Not in plot, not in acting, not in directing,  Not in how they spent £615,000 as a budget on this unrelenting disaster of a film…

In the end, I was left roaming around the next week after watching it in a daze. I couldn’t believe how everyone in the process thought it a good idea to make this film, then release it.  I then started asking… could there be a way to salvage it? What could be done to make the story work? In the end, I ended up producing a story outline from that stealing pile of celluloid manure. I’m planning to write it in November, and am looking forwards to doing so.

I don’t think I’ll be watching this when I do so, for inspiration. It’d probably suck it all away from me.

Utter, utter mess of a film, and a massive disappointment. And I didn’t go in to this with high hope to begin with…

The Changing Of The Guard

I have to express huge annoyance.

Firstly, it has been fifty thousand years since my last blog post. (Okay, I know it wasn’t, but it feels that way.) I hadn’t meant to have that happen, but then one thing led to another…  Still, I hope to correct this lack of activity, and try to get back to a weekly schedule. Hope…

Another way I have been annoyed is how conspiracies have been mounting up on me. I ended up with story going into confusion, as I tried to work out what happens next, (something I now know,) I ended up with the staff canteen being too much of a distraction to do too much. Then The Bluetooth keyboard packed in (It wasn’t the best of brands in the first place,) and the phone prove to be getting way too temperamental. (It turns out that having your phone fall out of your pocket – and into the toilet – isn’t the best thing for a smartphone. And no, I hadn’t flushed…) And then I had the left earphone of my earphones just die on me. So, I had to use an old pair, that wasn’t working properly, but at least still had the left earphone working.

Add to that the home internet running out as well… It felt more and more as if i was regressing backwards, and would soon be writing stories (and communicating with the wider world,) by finding a cave, getting lumps of charcoal, and then writing on the walls, hoping I could work out what I was doing. (I don’t think I’d have even fire at that point.)

So, I have been patiently waiting for pay-day, and then swung into immediate action. First, I got myself a new keyboard, and earphones. I couldn’t get Sennheiser earphones, because they had sold out. So, I settled on Sony. I then waited until i could get to the phone shop, where I got a new phone, one that was the direct replacement of my toileted phone, which was on special offer. Add to that the maximum sized Micro SD Card it could take, and I was much poorer, but back in action.

At least, that was the plan.

Well, so far, the plan isn’t working. It is succeeding in leaps and bounds. The new phone is performing much, much better than I had envisioned, and has a larger screen as well. Which makes typing much easier. It also is much faster as well, with a good processor, and the proper amount of RAM to go and do stuff. That was a problem with the previous phone, which I nicknamed Tiger-Lily. It would do stuff, but it took quite some time to do it. Not helpful. With Optimus (the new phone,) I am blinking in shock – several days after buying it – at the sheer speed of the thing.Hare and the Tortoise indeed…

I also have been working in the Library, and am doing well there. It has hit the point where I am getting “In The Zone,” and that is a brilliant thing for me. It means that i am now doing all sorts of word play, and having fun with telling the story. I might well post up what I have been doing, to give a visual explanation.

The wonderful thing about using a Bluetooth keyboard and a smartphone, is the fact you have less weight and bulk to carry, are faster to set up and pack away, And can take the phone with you if you need the toilet, or need to look at dictionaries… something I do a lot of. There is nothing like walking to the Dictionary Shelf, taking off the shelf the particular volume you require, (A proper dictionary is a large, heavy pair of tomes,) and then rifle through the large book to find words you are looking for. It also allows for a break from sitting down, and helps get a tiny bit of exercise in.

So, this is where I am at… sort of. The story in question is now over ten thousand words, and is developing new characters that didn’t exist until a couple of days ago. I kid you not; a simple background character, once I had a reference photograph t play off of, has become a much more significant character for the story. And slowing me down in the process… Still, I am certain it will be all good, once I have finished the story. Preferably before the end of next month…

So watch this space for more details, and maybe an excerpt or two…

And I am feeling less annoyed now.