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.

————–

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…

Is There A Story In David Bowie’s And Alan Rickman’s Death?

I have previously talked about writing a creative piece on the matter, and I felt I should explore the topic further, now that I have committed to it. I also feel I need to talk about it, if only to reassure myself I am doing the right thing.

As we all no doubt know, Alan Rickman and David Bowie have died. There is a lot of interesting details with them, but I also want to point out that a number of rock stars and actors have died during the same period,at about the same age that Rickman and Bowie. I also want to point out that there are a number of people suspicious of the whole affair, and are unconvinced of the pair’s demise, particularly when you have to consider the television appearance of a guy who looks uncannily like Bowie.

I want to highlight one essential fact: If they are still alive, then the identities are certainly dead. So, it matters not what has happened, we can say that they have passed away.

Alan Rickman is something of a disappointment to me, as I have certainly enjoyed his performances over the years. Amazing to think that the film Die Hard was his first major role, in both television and film. Before then, he had only a few minor roles. From there, he has had a career that has spanned decades, and covered a range of categories. He had a distinctive voice, and deliverance… It is hard to write about him, strange as it may seem. I am finding myself tearing up a little. No matter what may or may not come out about him, we certainly have lost a great actor. I want to share this quote, something he said, and I feel it tells us a lot about him:

“When I am eighty years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me ‘After all this time?’ And I’ll reply ‘Always.’ “

So, why write about him?

I’ll get on to Bowie in a moment, because there is a lot more interesting stuff I can say about him. But since I am now part of a writing group, I now have a homework to complete. And I need to include rainbows and current news into the piece. So, since I am constantly drawn to the supernatural, and horror, I have decided that a nightmare involving the two. Having them appear as animated corpses, along with other visual elements has proven a good starting point. And having Rickman as Snape – possibly his most iconic character – is a suitable homage to him, I feel. Moreover, at some point we will have to write about them, and use them creatively, even though they are dead. I am certain that Alan Rickman wouldn’t mind me doing so, particularly as I have just gone on record as saying he was accomplished, and I feel he had a powerful intellect, and a tenderness to him. I already used him as a basis for a character back in 2013, to create a hero that was so well hidden, the revelation that he was a good guy helping others was a shock to the few who have so far read the text.

As for Bowie…

Well, his real name was David Jones, and when he started off his music career, was going under the name “Davey Jones.” However, he discovered that a band called The Monkees had gotten famous, and had a member calling himself “Davey Jones” as well. So, he changed his stage name, calling himself after the famous knife, to make himself sound more dangerous and mysterious. Similar surrounds his ‘bisexuality.’ He admitted in the nineties that he had said he was bisexual to garner attention, and to cultivate a mysterious image about him.

One thing that is unmistakable is the occult connections Bowie has. Lyrics about the Golden Dawn, being in Crowley’s uniform, talking about the Kaballah… There is a huge amount of symbolism in his work, and he clearly had a fascination with the occult, even if he didn’t practice it. (I have no certainty he ever practised.) In fact, I noted the music Blackstar when it had first come out. It took three attempts for me to watch it over two weeks. There is such an overload of occultism and symbolism in the ten minutes long video that I was on overload, and was on some levels left traumatised by it. Lots of people have commented on it, and I’m not wanting to do a massive breakdown of the video. But if nothing else, there is a huge amount of visual imagery an detail crammed into it, and can be used as inspiration for many, many pieces of literature.

The video Lazarus is also filled with symbolism. Going in and out of that closet, the shadow rabbit that appears when his arms are outstretched and in bed, the dark blue with silver stripe astral travel suit he also wore in the seventies… again, there is quite a bit in there. And I have a sneaky feeling that this was intended, that we carry on talking about him for many, many years to come.

So, I will finish that piece, and go over it a couple of times, to make sure it is right, and respectful. And hopefully is read by them somewhere, somehow, and is enjoyed.

I’m Still Alive…

I know it has been some time since I last made a blog post. Well, there were reasons for that. I had a bad time with the NaNoWriMo 2015, though I did get the fifty thousand words done. Afterwards, I had a mental flop, of sorts. I’ve done very little, and I suspect that I had burned out mentally.

In the end, I sort of had a meltdown, of sorts, and stopped writing and working on all of my projects. It is only now I am trying to get back to writing, and finishing that November Novel, because I am curious to see what it is like finished.

Another change is the fact I have now started attending a local writing  group, which is now brining in some changes as well. I feel it is a good thing, because it is introducing a different dynamic and focus to my writing.

I will look at posting up some of the recent writings, to try and showcase what I have been attempting, and to see if anyone is interested in such posts. I am still trying to work out how to best use this resource, and what those who read the posts want to see.

All I know is that I am now planning to use some of the David Bowie music videos in upcoming writing, because Blackstar is utterly creepy. And if I can combine a rainbow somehow, I can then hand it in as the writing group’s homework…

I wonder if I can include Alan Rickman in somehow, and maybe Back To The Future? Additional challenges for myself, I suspect…

Rest In Peace Slate, Part Two

Oh the irony…

Back in September, I had talked about role-play characters, and how they could be used in my writing projects. I had also said the following:

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.

Of course, I had been thinking about characters, because a friend had posted the death of his character on Facebook. But at the time, I wasn’t aware of what was to come…

Basically, I now have Mellisandre being unplayable. That is because she has since had an adventure where she ended up a werewolf, and then she and the other characters had to find a cure, before the next full moon. I had ignored the fact that you had half-elves and half-Fae being inflicted, even though I was seriously wondering about the validity of the adventure. It was on the way home I realised that I had played the final adventure with her.

The curse had been given by the god Apollo.

This is significant, because she had ancestral curses, powerful demonic tainting of her bloodline. This is why she was part human in the first place: an ancestor – a member of the Unseelie Court – had made bargains with demons, and had been expelled. They then had to live as a human, a curse placed upon them, and future generations, to bind and seal the pact, to stop it manifesting.

This binding had already been destroyed, in an adventure years ago. Because I couldn’t have my character evil and demoniacally powered (even though I had given the detailed background beforehand,) I had to find a way to have her “rebound,” so to speak. Thus, I had her pantheon of gods give her the ability to Planeswalk, in short travel to other universes. Their plan worked, and she ended up on the world of Innistrad, where the Archangel Avacyn had enacted the Cursemute upon her. The Cursemute had also ended the curse of the werewolves on that world, turning them into a wolf-human hybrid, the Wolfrir. And so, for a couple of years, all was good, because I had found the perfect solution.

Until she ended up a blasted Werewolf.

The problem is, I now have a negated binding, and am back to Square One. But it is worse than that… How do you come up with something more powerful than the Cursemute? And what happens when it is undone again?

So, I have found a way to solve the problem, but the character cannot be played ever again. I can’t go through another session of working out how to make her playable again. The advantage is that she can end up in my stories, and I can still have fun with her…

But not as a Werewolf, I can assure you.

Preparing For NaNoWriMo 2015, Part Three

Well, it is nearly here. And I’m dreading it.

As those who have followed will recall, I made the mistake of thinking “Everything is ready… what can go wrong now?” Well, i ended up with the netbook going mental, and I had weeks of having to use my phone as a laptop. All old news.

But the problem lies in the fact that I had realised that there was more to do. Details on locations, fleshing out the characters some more, pinning down the time-line, and placing it in relation to the greater mythos… and my notes were trapped in a cyber-limbo.

Face-palms all round…

So, the moment I could, I got myself a replacement. That in itself is in some ways not as good as the original… but at least I can attach a monitor to it, which is helpful. As is my having a phone with a large enough storage capacity to use as a glorified USB stick. Tens of gigabytes of data was transferred, and I am still sorting things out. But now, I am slowly getting to put together the information… and with NaNo about to start, I can see me having to add information as I go along. Not the most helpful of situations.

But at least I have a chance of operating, and I still have the crazy plan to get the first draft finished within a week, then spend the rest of the month editing and polishing it. This is more to have a finished item, and not something waiting to be completed: there is more than enough of that on that pile. So an item done, dusted and completed would be a wonderful thing indeed.

What is also a fair bit nerve-wracking is the fact that I am now hosting Write-Ins in my town, not a idea I had in the first place. I expect it to be a simple affair, and all low-key: a few people meeting up, and doing Word Sprints. I also have had the idea of myself and friends having an all day session in the local library… which has now been added to the calendar. Thus a lesson of learning precisely what to say, and when. But there is potential advantage for a small group to emerge, and gel in my town, and that would be wonderful. And who knows? It might just carry on through all year round.

So, there is still lots to do, but lots to anticipate. And I am back at the literary precipice, preparing for the plunge…