Monday, August 30, 2010

Scraps: Luna and Leo, Leo's story

Wind, water, bird, rabbit... the last scent charged her. Her eyes, the most human thing about her, the pupils dilated, her pulse quickened. Hunger yes, but there was more kill, devour, yours... She stood on two legs too tall. Too tall to walk on all fours. Her body ached to walk on hands and feet but her back would not allow it. The shape of a woman, standing in a battered t-shirt and pants she'd stolen from a donations bin outside the University library. She didn't know why she even needed clothes now. Her fists tightened at her sides. That was the other part, the weak part, the part that had let them hurt her, that wanted to speak. Like they wanted to her to speak. A growl rose in her throat, she would never do anything they wanted ever again. The scent of the rabbit came to her again and in an instant she ran, her feet barely touching the ground. There was a flash of claws and of soft brown fur and a terrible scream and then only the sound of the stream running through the woods...

The woman in the cabin put a hand to her belly, "I know ladybug, I'm fixing us some dinner right now." It was no good she knew, she'd known since she'd read the cards. She was not going to live much longer. But the cards had said nothing about the child, well...the cards had said a great many things about the child but not the promise of death. The woman held on to that, she knew they would find her and kill her but there was a chance the child could be born. That's why she ran. She also hoped it would give a chance to get the child to her father before she was killed. She forced herself to think of things at hand. She frowned, the soup could use a little longer. She walked to the open window and watched the moon rest in the tops of the pines. Her hand rubbed a gentle circle on her stomach as a half remembered tune came to her. How did it go? She began to sing "...Tonto el que no entienda cuenta una leyenda..."

The girl lay her blood covered hands in the stream, licking the coppery taste off her lips. She pressed her hands hard against the stones at the bottom feeling their smoothness as her heartbeat slowed down. She was about to look for a place to sleep when she heard the voice in the distance. A few rental cabins lay that way, and the girl had kept her distance from them. She was startled to realize she was walking in that direction. She stopped, she snarled, the weak part was acting up again. No, Bad, Alone... But the voice continued singing and it was like smoke on cool fall evening, the girl didn't understand the words but that only added to their enchantement. Angry at her weakness she kept walking.

She could see the cabin a little bit now through the thicket. A woman stood at the back window, the girl saw she was heavily pregnant. The girl insisted to herself to go no further, she sat down and wrapped her arms tightly around her knees. She listened and it was like the woman was singing to her "...Luna quieres ser madre y no encuentras querer..." The girl felt something uncoil her in her for the first time as sleep overtook her, she hadn't even time to wonder at why she was crying when she slipped into unconsciousness.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scraps: Alex and Evie, beginnings

"Oh Evie, Really?" Alex's eyes shone in disbelief. Alex didn't handle upheaval well. I tried again, "Alie, I think we should try to humor him, just go along-," her eyes darkened, "just this once! I know, I really do. But we're not going to make it a habit."

Alex had been sitting cross legged on the kitchen table, she jumped down and began to pace. That was a good sign. She might still say no but at least she was giving it some thought. Her feet padded against the floor, she'd kicked off her her pumps when she'd walked in the door earlier. They lay in the corner, the glitter over the toes sparkling in the light. The apartment was mostly lit from the light from the street lamps and business signs outside the window streaming in. Our tiny kitchen was our conference center. Neither of us took to cooking much and Alex had put forth the great idea of using the cupboards for our growing collection of books.

Alex continued to pace, her breathing slow and even. I stood up and nervously ran my hands over the skirt of my dress, smoothing out invisible wrinkles. My dress was forest green velvet, a few shades darker than my skin. I watched Alex pace, looking more and more like a big cat in a cage. I didn't like it. I knew she didn't and that's why she paced. She would pace and pace herself into frustration and finally force herself into action.

Her lips were pulled into a thin line, the glint of her fangs barely visible. Her spots seemed to shift in the half light of the kitchen, it was getting darker. She stopped stock still. "Oh to hell with it," she sighed. She turned to me, "Get your coat, I'll grab my shoes. Let's do this."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Introducing Movies, The Pajama Game and my Grandfather

Of all my close relatives I think I take the most after my late maternal grandfather. Reserved, curious, and an unfortunate tendency to get prickly when wished to be left alone. Biannual trips to the apartment he shared with my Great Aunt where a regular part of my childhood. I loved them, it meant new toys and even better, it mean a trip to the Smithsonian's Air and Space museum.

He loved movies, the ones and stars he grew up with who were Classic Hollywood to me. His favorite musical was The Pajama Game and we would usually watch it when we visited. I loved the tempera paint bright colors, the dancing, and the songs. And even then my favorite characters were the supporting ones, and my favorite song a quieter or funnier number instead of the big showstopper.

It could be difficult to get close to my Grandfather, like it is to get close to me, but when we watched movies barriers fell. We were an audience and an exchange of knowledge and memories was happening, without a word being said between us. We show who we are in the movies we love. I don't know what sent me to look for clips from this movie on YouTube, only that when I started watching them I thought of my Grandfather and missed him as I haven't in years.

I watch the clip below, my favorite number from the show, and I see my Grandfather watching the TV set in an apartment high above the streets. And he's not an old man, distant and unapproachable. He's a cinephile delighting in their voices, the cherry tomato red of her starched pressed skirt against the gray factory interiors, Eddie Foy Jr's expressions, and Reta Shaw being light as air on her feet (Bob Fosse's lively choreography practically counts as it's own character.)

So I know another reason I love movies, I watch this and I don't wonder where my Pepa is or if I'll ever see him again. I watch this and delight in the same things and know that somehow he's watching it with me, and always will.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Suzy, do you know anything about... witches?"


A favorite blog, Arbogast, is having a second go round of the achingly lovely The One You Might Have Saved blogathon. That character that if you were guiding the hand of fate, or of the screenwriter, you would have spared.

The first one to come to mind for me was Sara from Suspiria, played by Stefania Casini. We meet her and her immediate taking of Suzy (Jessica Harper) under her wing puts us in her corner. Her kindness, warmth, and curiosity would have marked her as a fine lead herself. But alas, she is the fatally too curious best friend of the final girl. The very things that make her so alive are the very things that doom her.

It's rare to see a healthy friendship among young girls in film which makes it especially sad to know it won't last. The two have a chemistry that oddly feels more at home in the impish innocence of The Trouble With Angels than Argento's black hearted fairy tale. In horror friendships tend to end in betrayal or cruelly cut down, Suspiria gives an extra twist of the blade by giving us both. Further, horror often speaks to our ache for companionship, for connection, and how that not being met or (sometimes literally) severed leaves far more traumatic scars.

At the film's end, as Suzy wanders from the burning mansion dazed and smiling (slipping into madness?) I can only wish she had Sara walking beside her. Two girls frightened, but having each other to lean on. Not even minding the rain and wondering what on earth they are going to tell the police when they walk to the end of the dark wood and out into the land of the living.