What I'm Working On Now

Three short films are in Post-Production, soon to be submitting to film festivals.
Producing/editing a pilot for a new web-series inspired by the Alice in Wonderland tales.
Producing/editing a documentary on Gene Roddenberry and the genesis of Star Trek The Original Series.
There are a number of other projects in development, just waiting their turn to be produced.

Friday, August 31, 2012

POETRY: AUGUST LIMERICKS 4/4

This month I wrote mainly in limerick
A style that is snazzy and slick
But after four weeks
Of my limerick streaks
Of this form I am sure you've grown sick

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

SHORT STORY: DRAGON SLAYER part 1

The knight's armor glinted ever so slightly in the gloom of the dragon's lair. Smoke laced the air and an orange glow gave vague detail to the surroundings. The scorched walls had long since been rubbed smooth by the dragon's bulbous form. The knight, it seemed, couldn't help but glance down from time to time to take in the amount of wealth the dragon had hoarded over the centuries. Mostly coins and small trinkets, the mound of gold grew deeper and broader the farther into the cave the knight progressed.
Before long the knight paused, listening. He must have heard the dragon breathing because he unsheathed his sword and slung his shield off his back and held it out in front of him. This was not the most intelligent knight the dragon had ever faced.
Still, the dragon thought, Had he come in with sword and shield in hand I would have killed him by now. Perhaps he's smarter than he lets on.
The dragon watched as the knight began to stumble in the ever increasing darkness. Humans were such curious, if irritating, creatures. Life had been so much more pleasant before they got organized and began hunting down his kind. Still, he got a certain amount of satisfaction from letting them all try. If nothing else, it helped pass the time.
Dragon!” The knight's voice split the once tranquil air and the dragon scowled. “I come in the name of the king to rid this land of your foul stench!”
The dragon stayed silent. Waited. This knight could only be very smart or very stupid and either one could prove to be dangerous this close to him.
This land has suffered beneath your shadow for long enough,” the knight continued, “Too long have you butchered our flocks and burned down our fields!”
The dragon couldn't help but snort at this.
You laugh at me?” The knight demanded, turning in circles as he tried to discern where the sounds were coming from as the echoes reverberated around him.
No, human,” The dragon spoke in the grating language of men, “I laugh at the thought of any of my kind wasting their time with your flocks and fields.”
Liar!” The overzealous knight cried out, waving his sword around wildly. The dragon caught no hint of magical warding upon it. “These past seven years you and your kind have been devastating the lands of this kingdom!”
But only these lands,” the dragon purred. The knight turned and some etchings on his armor flashed. He was warded, though how specifically the dragon couldn't tell, yet.
The knight, for his part, took a few moment to think over the dragons words.
And apparently only the well known dragons have made attacks,” The dragon went on, “Since I haven't seen any signs of dragon fire near the dragons you and your kind haven't found yet.”
What are you getting at, Dragon?” The knight demanded.
Tell me, human,” The dragon asked and he shifted his weight on his bed of gold, “How long has your king sat on his throne?”
The knight was silent for a few moments before answering.
Seven years.”
So then tell me, human,” The dragon said as he ignited his fire, illuminating the cave and temporarily blinding the knight, “Why would my kind suddenly decide, after centuries of leaving you all alone, to begin hunting your beasts and burning your fields? I assume the king has proclaimed his right to all the riches found within the dragon's lairs.”
The knight was just regaining his eyesight when the dragon pounced. He'd had enough time to examine the knight to know that the wards on his armor would be of no use, and that his sword and shield were simple mundane tools. The knight was a fool, probably insulted the wrong nobleman and got sent on this fools errand.
Well, yes, he has...” The knight whimpered at finding himself pinned to the ground by the dragons talon, “But only because you and your kind have stolen it.”
The dragon purred as he flicked the sword and shield away. One could never be too careful.
And who is it that we have stolen such vast wealth from?” The dragon growled as his anger increased. “You have seen my bed of gold, taken in its weight, and there are over a hundred of my kind within the boundaries of this kingdom with similar beds. Now tell me, what noble houses have we ransacked? What royal families are now destitute from our pillaging?”
The knight stammered, the dragon shrugged, and the knight was crushed beneath the weight of the dragons talon.
Your king needs to be dealt with,” The dragon said as he licked the knight from between his claws. “But should one of my kind do the deed it would only serve his goals of bringing an end to my kind and stealing our wealth.”
The dragon finished cleaning up the remnants of the knight and then wadded the knights armor, sword, and shield into a neat little clump to be taken out later.

Monday, August 27, 2012

IMMOLATION: CHAPTER 31

Tea Leaves sat outside his apartment in his car, listening to the engine idle. Everything looked fine, but if Early Bird was inside...
Tea Leaves shut off the car and made his way up the steps, on the lookout for any signs of forced entry. Nothing. He unlocked the front door stepped over the threshold and into the dark entryway. He didn't turn on any lights and instead crept from room to room. The bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room were empty and undisturbed.
Tea Leaves stood facing the cupboard. He opened it and reached behind the folded linens to the hidden switch and flipped it. The back of the cupboard swung open and Tea Leaves stepped in through the now open door and into the other kitchen. It looked very much like the kitchen he'd already searched, except for the dirt and filth that covered everything. It had taken him a lot of hard work to make the dirt and grim look natural. That was important, make them believe they were in a broken down and abandoned part of town. Makes them less likely to try to escape.
The dirt on the floor looked undisturbed and Tea Leave followed the steps he'd memorized long ago so that he could walk without disturbing the dust. The kitchen was untouched, as well as the bathroom. All but one of the four remaining doors were false and triggered traps when opened. None of the traps were triggered and before long Tea Leaves found himself with only one more door to check.
He hadn't been in that room for a while, longer than he really should have left it alone. He opened the door. Everything was as he remembered it, everything where he'd left it. His stomach turned and he shut the door. He'd never had to deal with guilt before, never regretted doing what he did...until now.
He sighed, still facing the door. He should really go in and clean things up a bit.
Hello, Simon.”
Tea Leaves spun around, shocked at hearing his name, his real name, in time to see the hulking form of Early Bird looming over him, bringing a heavy fist down into Tea Leaves face. Tea Leaves' knees buckled beneath the blow and his vision blurred.
You are weak, Simon,” Early Bird growled and he struck again, this time planting a booted foot into Tea Leaves' stomach.
I killed her, she's dead,” Tea Leaves pleaded with Early Bird and he curled up into the fetal position to shield his body from any more blows. “See, in there, she's dead,” Tea Leaves risked pointing a trembling finger to the room he'd just looked into.
I have seen your work,” Early Bird rumbled, “But you waited, you postponed, and that indecision could destroy us all.”
Tea Leaves looked out from his cowering shell and met Early Birds gaze. “So, are you here to kill me?” He asked.
Early Bird stooped down so his face was level with Tea Leaves. “Most certainly,” He said.
Pity,” Tea Leaves said and his arm shot out toward Early Bird, a damp cloth held between his fingers.
Tea Leaves pressed the cloth against Early Bird's face and Early Bird fell back, staggering and coughing but he did not fall unconscious. Tea Leaves cursed but he was up on his feet in a flash and delivered a swift kick of his own to Early Bird's face who crashed backwards onto his back with a groan.
If you really wanted me dead,” Tea Leaves said as he placed another well aimed kick into Early Bird's back, “You should have shot me, or stabbed me, or slit my throat while you still had the element of surprise.”
Tea Leaves brought another kick around but Early Bird was ready for him and he deflected the blow. Tea Leaves wavered off balance and in that moment Early Bird threw himself into Tea Leaves and both of them fell to the floor.
My instructions,” Early Bird grunted as he and Tea Leaves wrestled on the floor, “Was to make it last.”
Tea Leaves elbowed Early Bird and struggled free of his grip. He rolled over on the floor and turned to face him once more but was faced with an empty hallway.
Where—
Early Bird reached around from behind Tea Leaves and held a damp cloth to his face. The damp cloth he'd tried to use against Early Bird before.
Tea Leaves held his breath and fought against the headlock but he knew he didn't have much time before he'd succumb.
You are meant to linger, Simon,” Early Bird panted through his broken nose and swollen lip.
Early Bird said something more but Tea Leaves couldn't make it out as the world around him faded to black.

Friday, August 24, 2012

POETRY: AUGUST LIMERICKS 3 OF 4


Each year there's a season called summer
That I love for the weather's much warmer
But now the time's come
To end all my fun
And I find that a really big bummer

*

Last week it was clear skies and sunny
But now it's all gray clouds and runny
Such is my life
The North-Westerners plight
Of rain clouds that breed like a bunny

*

Go jump o're this wall over there
And swing beneath bars over here
We run too and fro
As we practice parkour
Every motion performed with a flair

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SHORT STORY: DRIFTWOOD

Small waves lapped at the floating piece of driftwood and the rhythmic motion almost rocked the sleeping man off of it. As it was, he awoke just in time to catch himself and resettled his body back into place. The sun glared down on his face, skin raw and peeling from exposure and his lips looked like nothing more than thin sheets of tissue paper clinging to his face. His eyes, milky white, stared up to the sun without blinking.
The last few days had not gone according to plan, he decided, and he turned over onto his side. The driftwood was wide and accommodated a lot more movement than he had originally thought possible when he came across it. But even then, with all the swimming he had to do to get to the piece of driftwood he didn't feel like moving much once he'd climbed aboard.
He stared, unseeing, as the waves lapped at the wood, the blue-green water splashing his face and stinging in his wounds. He could still remember what it was suppose to look like and in his minds eye he pictured the ocean spreading out before him.
So beautiful, he thought, I should let myself down into it, the cool water would feel good.
He began to move but stopped short. He couldn't do it. He knew if he went into the water he'd lose the driftwood. He'd drown.
Would that be so bad?
He sat up and dipped his feet in the water, relishing the cool relief. The burns on his body were only in part from the sun. The rest were from the fire.
The fire.
Things were going so well until the fire. By all rights it shouldn't have started. Everything was designed so that there would be no fire. Of course, the Titanic had been designed to not sink and everyone knew how well that worked out for everyone.
I deserve to drown, he thought and inched closer to the edge. No one was supposed to get hurt, no one was supposed to die Now he was the only one alive and it was all his fault. It was, after all, his design, his plan.
Even if he was found and rescued they would probably execute him. Well, they would if they found out the truth and there was no way of knowing what kind of evidence there would be after the fire.
The fire.
That was all he could see now, that glorious, blossoming plum of flame rising up into the night. The flash had blinded him but not before etching itself forever into his memory. The blast that followed threw him from the deck of the doomed ship and into the water. After that he just swam and swam and swam until his hands hit the piece of driftwood that he now floated on.
Everything was going so well, he mused with regret. Another couple of hours and they would have been within sight of land. Who knew where he was now. He was no navigator, no man of the sea, and knew nothing about currents. Logically, he knew that if he stayed on the log long enough it would either strike land or become waterlogged and sink. Though either option probably required more time than he could survive without food or fresh water.
The fire could have been put out if he hadn't drugged the crew. One of them would have seen it when it was still small and put it out. Or at least the alarm would have been raised and they could have gotten onto the life boats. But then again, if he hadn't drugged the crew he wouldn't have unknowingly started the fire.
He'd argued all these points the night before while he swam and later floated on the driftwood. There was no way he could have known that the stove was broken and wouldn't turn off and he'd needed to turn the stove on to get the water boiling for the tea that he later used to drug the crew. The passengers would never have thought to check the crew quarters for the source of the smoke, and even if they did there wouldn't have been anything that they could have done. By the time the smoke reached the passengers the fire had already reached the engine room.
He edged himself a little closer to the water. So many beautiful people, so many wonderful lives, all snuffed out because of one little mistake. None of them were supposed to have been hurt. They weren't even going to know that anything had happened until they'd reached the shore. The crew wouldn't remember what had happened and just assume they'd nodded off for a few minutes, and in fact, they would have woken up in a few minutes time had it not been for the fire.
The fire.
The drugged tea kept them all asleep while the room filled with smoke. If a window had been open or a door left ajar, perhaps they would have awoken on time. Perhaps they would have seen the fire in time. He had wondered why he hadn't seen the crew filtering back out among the passengers but assumed they were just getting chewed out by the captain for all falling asleep on the job.
Even then he knew he should have checked in on them but didn't want to risk being caught. There was nowhere to hide that many strongboxes except for under his long coat where he'd fitted special pockets to help him with the heist but even with his precautions, he didn't want to risk associating himself with the theft any more than he had to.
He moved to slide the rest of the way off the driftwood.
Ahoy!” A voice shouted out to him.
He turned to look but of course could see nothing. “I'm blind!” He shouted back.
He could hear the engines now, the splash of the water as the approaching boat cut its way toward him.
He was saved.

Monday, August 20, 2012

IMMOLATION: Chapter 30

Tea Leaves fidgeted with his napkin beneath the table while Green Tea opened their meeting but he couldn't seem to get himself to concentrate on what was being said. Their meeting this time was held in a private room at the back of a high end restaurant that Early Bird had set up. The only problem, and this was what made Tea Leaves so uncomfortable, was that Early Bird wasn't there. And though the others in the group might not know it, Early Bird was a part of their group for more than just his connections in Africa.
I'm sorry,” Tea Leaves interrupted Green Tea, “But shouldn't we wait for Early Bird?”
The others at the table stared at him, puzzled expressions on their faces. At last, Feather Weight spoke.
Weren't you listening?” He asked, “Green Tea just said he was sick.”
Really?” Tea Leaves said before he could stop himself, “I mean, of course, sorry, just a bit distracted.”
So we have noticed,” Green Tea said, emphasizing the word 'we' and doing nothing to calm Tea Leaves nerves.
It's just with the third package set to go tomorrow and all, I'm just a bit frazzled, excited.”
Bird Feather nodded solemnly, “Yes,” she said in her gruff voice, “The last two have not had much effect but tomorrow's, hitting such a large population,” She trailed off.
The others around the table were silent as they all recalled how Leaves Early had convinced them to target two particular nuclear plants in heavily populated areas. Even if they changed their minds now it was too late to stop it.
Yes,” Green Tea said to bring everyone's attention back to him, “It is regrettable that the last two disasters have not had the effect that we hoped, and even more regrettable that we must go to these extremes, but thankfully Leaves Early had the foresight to plan for this before she left us.”
Tea Leaves fumbled with his napkin and made a failed grab to catch it before it fell to the floor, knocking his silverware off the table in the process.
We all miss her,” Green Tea said and held Tea Leaves gaze a few seconds longer than Tea Leaves was comfortable with.
I, I'm afraid that I'm not feeling all that well myself,” Tea Leaves stammered, “Must be catching.”
Green Tea didn't make any response to this and instead turned his attention back to Bird Feather and Feather Weight. “Here are your passports and tickets,” He said, pulling two envelopes from his suit jacket and handing them across the table. “Your flight leaves tomorrow a couple hours before the third package become active.”
I should hope so,” Feather Weight stated when he looked at his itinerary. “That airport isn't too far from the nuclear plant.”
A calculated risk,” Green Tea stated. “If your flight is delayed for more than an hour, leave and we will reschedule your flight.”
Feather Weight and Bird Feather nodded, the seriousness of their situation played clearly on their faces.
It's a pity Leaves Early won't be here to enjoy our success with us,” Feather Weight said.
Tea Leaves could feel the sweat running down his face. “I'm sorry,” He said, rising from the table, “But I'm feeling quite ill, I shouldn't have come. Good luck with your work ahead of you.” He nodded to Feather Weight and Bird Feather , shook Green Tea's hand and then made his way to the exit as fast as he could. Every minute in the meeting, away from his apartment, was another minute Early Bird had to search it.
The restaurant wasn't very difficult to navigate and within a few minutes he was in his car driving as fast as he dared. He knew his hasty exit would only confirm Green Tea's suspicions, if he did indeed suspect Tea Leaves. He had to admit that it could all just be his guilty conscience. Still, his apartment was over an hour away and Early Bird could have already had a good hour and a half to search it. If he'd found the right door, looked in the right places, he'd be a dead man.
Perhaps he hasn't found it,” He murmured to himself.
Before long, a pair of flashing red and blue lights caught his attention.
Oh no,” He said to himself, “Not now, not this time.”
But there was no denying the pursuing police car reflected in his rear view mirror. He pulled over, determined to get this over with as quick as possible. The police car pulled up behind him moments later and the officer got out and sauntered up to his window.
Tea Leaves rolled down his window and spoke before the officer could say anything. “Yes I was speeding, no I haven't been drinking, I'm feeling quite ill and I'm trying to get home before I lose my regrettably large lunch.”
The officer stood motionless for a moment, taking in Tea Leaves pale complexion, sweat and trembling hands.
Get going,” He said at last, waving his hand, “But not so quickly this time, okay?”
Tea Leaves nodded, unable to believe how well that worked, and pulled back onto the road. As soon as the police car was out of sight he sped back up to his previous speed.

Friday, August 17, 2012

POETRY: MORE AUGUST LIMERICKS

August Limericks 2/4

My dream from last night was quite odd
You see, it involved a white Cod
Who got up to dance
Wearing frilled underpants
And when finished, swam through the sod
*
There once was a man from Nantucket
Who rode down the stream in a bucket
He sang as he bobbed
Of the people he'd robbed
Who in turn tied him up in the bucket
*
Last night I met Billy the Troll
While out on an evening stroll
I warned him full thrice
That he'd better think twice
And he did while he chewed on my skull

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

LAST NIGHT'S NIGHTMARE

*Names have been changed.


The sounds of fire, of breaking glass, and screaming broke through my veil of sleep and my eyes shot open. My wife, Grace, beside me in the bed was already awake, sitting up in bed and looking horrified. Through our bedroom window we could make out the outlines of numerous figures shambling around across the lake, attacking and eating other people.
Zombies.
I couldn't believe it but there before my very eyes was proof. I watched as a person got bitten, and then broke free of their attacker only to turn and attack someone else moments later.
Grab Will,” I told my wife, indicating our two year old son in his crib, as I got dressed.
The zombie hoard was still on the other side of the lake from us but it wouldn't take long for them to reach us. I crammed our 72 hour kit into my backpack and then checked my bike over.
What are you doing?” Grace asked when she'd finished packing Will's diaper bag and joined me by the front door. “We won't need the bike.”
The car's out of gas,” I reminded her, “And besides, the streets are going to be flooded with cars. We'll be sitting ducks if we get caught in a traffic jam.”
Grace nodded but still looked reticent to use a bicycle for our escape.
The bike checked out and together, the tree of us climbed on. Grace sat on the seat holding Will while I stood to peddle our way through the mayhem. The zombies reached our side of the lake as we left and our neighbors' screams were just beginning. As I'd imagined, the roads were a parking lot.
I pulled out my cell phone and made a quick phone call, having my wife hold the phone to my face while I continued to pedal and steer the bike.
Hello?” A tired voice answered on the other line.
Paul!” I exclaimed in relief at hearing my brothers voice, “You're not going to believe me, but the zombie apocalypse is happening right now.”
There was silence on the other line for a few moments.
Paul?”
I'm here,” He said wearily, “But it's the middle of the night and I'm not in the mood for jokes.”
A woman reached out of the car we were passing and screamed for help. I had just enough time to turn and see that her lower half had already been chewed off and that a half dozen zombies were working on her torso. I swerved to avoid her grasp.
I'm not making it up,” I assured him, “We're on our way to your place now and with any luck we'll be able to make it in about an hour.”
A zombie lurched out from behind the cars ahead of us. Grace screamed and I searched frantically for a way to dodge the zombie but we were boxed in by cars on both sides. It would take too much long to stop and move the bike by hand and it began to look like the only way was through.
You there?” Paul asked but before I could respond, Grace threw the cell phone at the zombie, smacking it in the head and distracting it for just long enough that we were able to zip by.
That was close,” Grace breathed and she held me tightly, Will sandwiched protectively between us.
Most of the screaming was behind us now, but there were still shambling figures moving between cars and along the sides of the road. The screaming was finished here, I figured, because there wasn't anyone left to do the screaming.
Grace's grip tightened even further when a pair of zombies in front of us turned on each other and began fighting, biting huge chunks of flesh from one another. It seemed that they didn't care what they ate so long as it was human.
At least we're not the only one's on the menu,” I said.
Next thing I knew, I was on the ground, skidding to a stop and Grace's screams pierced the night. I scrambled to my feet, shaking my head clear and stumbling back towards the bike as fast as I could. A zombie had stumbled out into our path and knocked us over, but from the looks of confusion on its face I could only assume that it had done so by accident. I took advantage of its momentary confusion and kicked it in the face, knocking it over and giving me a clear path to the bike and my family.
Grace was in hysterics but I managed to right the bicycle and get her and Will back onto it before the Zombie could get back up. I started to peddle and the zombie made a few swipes at us but we got through without it being able to stop us. We rode on without incident for a few minutes. And then Grace began to scream.
What?” I asked, shocked at her sudden outburst and I looked around for the source of her panic. “What's wrong?”
I wanted to stop but shadowed figures were lurching out of cars and buildings all around us, following the sound of Grace's screams.
What's wro—” I began but then I heard it; the snarl, the inhuman growling, and I recognized the voice: Will.
I managed to look back at them and saw my son straining to bite my wife. Grace held him tightly, but I could see blood on her arms from where he'd already bitten her.
He's infected,” Grace said when she saw my terrified face, “I'm infected.”
I had to look away, not only because I was steering the bike but also because I thought I might be sick if I continued to watch as my son fought, my wife's blood and flesh dribbling down his chin.
You'll be okay,” I assured Grace, “We'll get to Paul's house and—”
I can already feel it,” Grace said.
Just hang on,” I told her, still unwilling to accept it, “Just hang on!”
* * *
An hour later I pulled to a stop in front of my brother's house. He was out on the front porch, sword and baseball bat in either hand. He gave me a matching set when I reached him.
Where's Grace and Will?” He asked.
They won't be joining us,” I said.
Paul nodded gestured to the roof. “I figure up there's the safest place for us to wait for rescue.”
Stephany?” I asked in reference to his own wife.
Paul didn't meet my eyes. “She won't be joining us either.”
I didn't press the matter, but I couldn't deny my confusion. The zombies hadn't reached this far yet, I'd passed the last of them a half hour before.
Paul stared out towards the distant downtown, an orange glow illuminating his face. A few of the buildings were already burning when I had passed through them on my way to Paul's house but now that they'd had some time to grow and spread, the downtown area looked like so many burning towers. Some had already collapsed.
Stephany didn't believe it at first,” Paul began without any preamble. “Even after we saw the reports online, she couldn't believe it. Then downtown caught fire and...she's always had a phobia of zombies.”
I knew that, even the barest mention of zombies caused a visible reaction in her.
She locked herself in the bathroom,” Paul went on, the orange glow making his face difficult to read, “And then...well...we should probably get up onto the roof. I think I can see some movement down the street.”
Together we climbed up onto the roof and took it in turns keeping watch. Before long, the shambling hoard reached us and all we could do was try and stay hidden while we waited and prayed for rescue.

Monday, August 13, 2012

IMMOLATION: Chapter 29

The room was dark until a small flickering flame lit and cast long, wavering shadows like so many dancing figures. There would have been nothing extraordinary about the flame were it not for the fact that it hung in the air, in the middle of the room, alone. Slowly, the flame began to bob through the room, towards the hall and eventually into the bedroom at the end.
Wha-?” Melanie said as she stirred in her sleep. She was always a light sleeper.
The fire began to grow, though it stopped once it reached the size of a melon, and hovered above Melanie's bed. Her eyes shot open and she jumped back from the fire. It went out.
Someone knocked on her door.
Melanie jumped out of bed and threw on a robe before going to the door. The air in her apartment was unnaturally warm from the fire and Melanie waved her hand about in front of her to clear the air.
Joan,” Melanie began the moment she opened the door but didn't get to finish.
Joan burst into the apartment, sobbing, her clothing scorched in places, and she collapsed onto the couch.
I've killed him!” Joan managed to say between sobs. Everything else came out as intelligible.
What?” Melanie dropped down onto the couch beside Joan, “Who?”
Joan continued to convulse with her crying.
T-T-Tom!” Joan stammered and fell face first back into the couch were she proceeded to scream.
You burned him?” Melanie asked and regretted the accusation in her voice, not to mention the fear she felt at being so close to Joan.
Joan screamed again, beating the couch with her fists and leaving scorch marks on the upholstery. It wasn't until then that Melanie noticed that the burns in Joan's clothing were fresh, and spreading.
Joan, you're still burning,” Melanie said as she backed away.
Joan turned to face her, tears sizzling as they streamed down her face before evaporating into steam. The effect was terrifying and Melanie continued backing away.
Help me,” Joan plead, holding out her hands toward Melanie.
Melanie fought back her fears for the moment and reached for Joan's hands but stopped short. The air above Joan's hands wavered from the heat pouring out of them.
I...” Melanie hesitated, Joan's pleading eyes boring into her.
Melanie slowly took hold of Joan's hands.
It'll be okay,” Melanie managed to say before the heat from Joan's hands overwhelmed her. “Ow!” She cried and pulled her hands back.
Please!” Joan shrieked, still in shock and not thinking clearly as she reached for Melanie.
No,” Melanie pulled back even further until she fell off the couch, “Joan, you're going to burn me!”
At hearing this, Joan regained some control over herself and the heat radiating off of her cooled.
Is Tom really dead?” Melanie asked after a few moments, still sitting on the floor rather than rejoining Joan on the couch.
I don't know,” Joan whimpered and she began wiping off the ash from the couch were she'd burned it. “I burned him so badly and I...I ran away.”
Melanie jumped to her feet, “You mean he's still out there?”
No,” Joan said at once, “No, help came, they loaded him into an ambulance, but,” Joan wiped her face and eyes, “But I couldn't stay. They...that if they...”
Joan collapsed back into her sobbing and Melanie inched away a little more as the air around Joan heated back up.
I'm sorry,” Joan said, “I'm doing the best I can to control it.”
It's okay,” Melanie said for lack of anything better, “Just tell me what happened.”
They're going to take me away!” Joan shouted.
Melanie jumped backward and ran a few steps before she could stop herself. “Calm down,” Melanie said in as commanding a tone as she could manage.
Joan was slipping back into her state of shock. “I'm holding back the flame,” She said, hands shaking and eyes darting around the room. “But they're going to come for me. Please, you have to help me.”
Joan was advancing on Melanie and backing her into the narrow kitchen. Bits of fire were sparking around Joan and burning her clothes even more.
Please,” Joan plead again, holding her arms out as though she thought hugging Melanie would make it all better. “Please, help me.”
Joan was almost to Melanie, the heat was almost unbearable and Melanie shrieked, “No!” and grabbed at the only thing she could think of, the faucet. The nozzle of the faucet could detach and a length of hose extended a couple of feet from it and Melanie pointed it at Joan and sprayed her in the face.
The cold water had little effect on the fire but it seemed to awaken Joan to the reality of what she was about to do.
I'm sorry,” She muttered and slumped down to the floor. “I'm—
There was a knock at the door.
Both of them froze and Melanie motioned for Joan to stay down in the kitchen behind the counter while she answered the door.
And if you need it,” Melanie held out the faucet nozzle, “Use it.”
Joan took the nozzle and Melanie made her way to the door.
Who is it?” She called through it.
It's me, Mike.”
Melanie let out a sigh of relief and opened the door. Mike immediately pushed his way passed her and began looking around the room.
She's not here yet?” He asked when his initial search revealed nothing.
Who?” Melanie asked.
Joan,” Mike said, “She's gone crazy, burned Tom to a crisp, though amazingly he's still alive. Though, they're not sure how long he'll survive with how thoroughly she's fried him.”
A short burst of water sounded from the kitchen.
It's nothing,” Melanie said at once, grabbing Mike by the arm before he could go and investigate. “It's been doing that all day, now tell me why you think Joan's gone crazy.”
Mike stared at her hard. “That's just what everyone from the restaurant is saying,” He said, sitting himself down on the couch.
Melanie left the front door ajar and then joined Mike on the couch, sitting so that Mike had to put his back to the door to face her. “But you've seen her, worked with her,” Melanie said, “You know that she just goes off sometimes. She can't help it.”
Maybe so,” Mike said, though he didn't look convinced, “But still, I'm not going to let her endanger you any more.”
My hero,” Melanie stated dryly, “But Joan is my friend and I'm not going to abandon her. Especially right now.”
That's noble of you,” Mike said, “But it's only a matter of time before she loses control again and next time it could be you that the paramedics are having to scrape off the ground.”
Melanie put her hand on Mike's knee. “I know you're doing this to keep me safe, and I am so sorry about Tom, but I am not abandoning Joan and there's nothing you can do about it.”
I was afraid you'd say that,” Mike said. “But it doesn't matter. They'll find her and lock her away where she won't be able to hurt anyone else.”
No!” Joan shouted, jumping up from behind the counter and spraying herself in the face with the hose to keep her fire distracted.
I knew it,” Mike shouted and leaped from the couch. As he landed, he pulled a taser out from where he'd tucked it into the back of his pants and took aim at Joan. “Don't make me do this, Joan,” Mike said. “The police are on their way and I wanted to make sure they wouldn't have to shoot you.”
What do you mean?” Melanie demanded as she tried to pull Mike away from Joan.
I figured she'd come to you and so I told the police,” Mike kept his eyes on Joan and, despite Melanie's attempts, he also kept his aim. “They said they'd give me five minutes so I would imagine they'll be joining us shortly.”
They're already here?” Joan asked.
Mike nodded. “Just outside there, waiting. If you go peacefully then no one else will have to be hurt.”
Melanie could see the panic rising in Joan's face as the water on her body began to steam. Melanie made her choice and punched Mike as hard as she could right across the jaw. Mike spun partway around, a stunned look on his face before he collapsed to the ground.
Ow ow ow,” Melanie said as she cradled her fist.
Mel,” Joan said, shocked, “You just—
Go!” Melanie hissed, “Out the back window, quick!”
Joan hesitated for just a moment before she took off. Melanie continued to rub her hand while she waited for either Mike to wake up or for the police to come in, whichever happened first. As it turned out, the police arrived first.
Are you alright?” The first officer to take in the situation asked.
Just fine, officer.” Melanie answered and braced herself for all the awkward questions she knew were about to begin.

Delay on IMMOLATION

Hey all, sorry for the delay on IMMOLATION. I promise to have this week's chapter up by noon tomorrow. Stuff happened, life is busy and today's chapter just wasn't ready for posting. I'll see about posting two chapters this week to make up for being late.

Keep reading, and enjoy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

POETRY: AUGUST LIMERICKS

So for the month of August I'll be focusing on limericks, in part because they're so much fun and in part because I would like to get better at them.

Dear Ken was a boy with spare chub
Who spent most of his days in the tub
And one day they found
That dear Ken, he had drowned
With naught for last words but glub glub

I fell down a hole over yonder
And on landing I could not but wonder
At how I had found
So expertly the ground
When most times I miss and I flounder

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Ever-Evolving Film Reel...

Just a quick note for those of you who like my movies, I've been compiling my film reel and would appreciate any feed back people have on it.


SHORT STORY: INSOMNIA

Shadows played on the ceiling. Thoughts raced. But all I wanted was sleep.
I should shut off my alarm, I thought to myself. I don't need to be up for anything.
I moved to find my alarm in the dark.
No, I stopped myself, If I sleep in, it'll only make it harder to fall asleep tomorrow.
I turned back over and resumed staring at the ceiling. I should be use to the insomnia by now, but for some reason I wasn't. Still, thoughts and ideas churned through my mind preventing my from being able to drift off to sleep. Faces of people I knew, places I'd visited, even a few imagined events, all good memories. And always, there was her. Every one of my memories, she was by my side, smiling, laughing, crying. Through thick and thin.
I chuckled at the memory of the time we climbed to the top of the school's flagpole on a dare, and got stuck. The clasps that held the flag hooked around our pants and we got flipped upside down. Unfortunately, we'd climbed the pole in the middle of the night and had to hang there for hours before someone noticed.
We don't do things like that any more, I thought, sighing. We don't do much of anything these days.
Still, she slept peacefully in the bed and I couldn't complain.
At least she still keeps me around.
The room was quite different these days than before when we still spent every waking moment together. The doll house and its occupants were the first to go, replaced by the vanity and accompanying makeup. Then the clothing began to change, throwing out the little dresses and bringing in the jeans and T-shirts. Finally the general mess and clutter took over everything else.
I rolled over, careful not to disturb her slumber, and lied facing her. She looked so at peace when she slept. Unlike how she looked most days when she was awake. Sure, our carefree days of childhood were pretty much behind us. She had a job now, some would even call it a career.
When was the last time we actually talked? I asked myself.
Of course there was the general, 'how was your day?', 'how was work?', and so on, but that didn't really count. At times I wondered if perhaps she was bitter about my not being able to work. I knew she hated it whenever I came to visit her at the office and after the first couple of times, ending with her shouting at me, she's just ignored me whenever I turned up. I can't help it, though, I get so lonely sitting at home alone all day.
I could leave her, I thought, not for the first time.
The outside world held the thrills and adventures I'd been longing for ever since we'd grown up and stopped exploring. She'd probably be just fine without me, she might even be better off.
I sighed and rolled back onto my back. But how would I survive? I can't really do anything on my own. I need her like she needs air. She just doesn't need me much if at all any more.
I'm just being melodramatic, I told myself and rubbed my face with my hands, hoping to massage some sleep into my eyes. It didn't work.
Do you want me around? I thought, looking over to where she lay.
Of course I do,” She muttered sleepily.
We never do anything together anymore, I thought.
Having you around is nice,” She said, still slurred through half-moving lips.
I need more than that, though.
She didn't say anything more and her slow, rhythmic breathing returned to normal.
I think it would be best if I left, I thought, Regardless of the consequences.
I started to crawl out of the bed.
Don't go,” She murmured and her hand caught hold of mine.
You don't want me, I said, Not really.
I still need you,” She said.
I hesitated. Could I believe her? She was asleep, of that I was certain, so whatever she was saying she believed to be true. Or, at least true from the perspective of her subconscious.
I don't think you do, I told her, pulling my hand free. I'm holding you back. You need to meet other people, date more, maybe even get married, I paused, choking up and trying to hold back the tears. And you can't do any of that with me hanging around, getting in the way.
A few tears slid down her cheeks but she never woke up as I walked out of the room and down the hall.
Twenty-six is far too old, I assured myself as I got nearer the front door, For anyone to have an imaginary friend.
With that I stepped out of the apartment, relieved that I was finally taking this step, and ceased to exist.

Monday, August 6, 2012

48 Hour Film Contest...Fun and Frustration have become friends

*Note: I had some awesome pictures inserted into this post, and then the editor kept crashing and losing the post and otherwise making me pull my hair out...so, for my sanity and the continuance of this post, please refer to the facebook page for the film The Soul Virus

A few weeks back, I co-produced a short for a 48 Hour Film competition. All of the teams had to wait until the official start of the 48 hours to do ANY creative work. Though we could scout locations and assemble crew/cast. At the beginning of the 48 hours, each team would draw a genre from a hat (ours was Sci-Fi). In addition to this, everyone had to use the following three elements:
Character: Reginald/Regina Worthington - Banker
Prop: Traffic Cone
Line of Dialogue: Holy Crap! Did that really just happen?

The films had to be 4-7 minutes in length and turned in on time, other wise they would not be eligible for any of the awards. Though, late films would still be screened at the theater where they were holding the awards ceremony.

So, in our team there were 4 producers:
Steve Edmiston, writer-producer of 3 feature films and numerous shorts, who also handled the writing and directing for this project
Jeff McCord, who produces games by day and films on the side, who also handled certain locations and some directing for us
Myself, who's just getting started in this business, and handled legal, created the story, and dabbled with lighting on the film
And Jake, who works for a local TV station and who also wrangled crew for us.

The story was an Adam-and-Eve-Post-Apocalyptic scenario. Disease wipes out almost all of humanity, girl meets boy, boy is a jerk, they meet an older man (Reginald), and in the end the girl picks the older guy over the younger guy.

We spent several hours, from 7 pm Friday night to 3 am Saturday morning working on the
story/script/casting, and then had call for our cast and crew at 7 am that same morning. So, with what little sleep we could muster, we began filming. And then our PA for running errands got lost. And camera batteries began dying even though they should have had a full charge. Airplanes and helicopters flew overhead ruining our audio.

Thankfully, our crew was awesome and were able to come up with some very creative ways around these problems. My personal favorite involved our boom operator lying on the ground at the feet of our actors, just barely hidden by a berm, so he could be close enough to get the sound without picking up the other ambient noise.

At last, at 11 pm Saturday night, filming was finished. Our editor had already begun her work as scenes were completed but now she had everything to work with. Our editor, use to Final Cut 7 and Adobe Premier Pro, however, was having difficulty with the Final Cut Pro X suite she had available to work with. Youtube tutorials could only do so much for her, but she makes her living as an editor for a reason and she blazed on through. Our deadline was Sunday, 7pm. At 6:30 pm we had a 7 minute cut of the film...and it was terrible. We'd made a really great 10 minute film, instead of a 4-7 minute film and those 3 minutes of additional cutting that had to happen to get us into the required time took too much out of the story.

We held an emergency teleconference with all 4 producers. After some deliberation, we all agreed that a good but late film was better than a bad film on time. We re-cut the film up to 10 minutes and got it in late.

The only other time I've been late with a film was when our gear got stolen. Every other time when things went wrong, I'd found a way around it. So this was not a pleasant experience for me, having to turn in a project late. Still, I had to agree that it was for the best.

In the end, we got to see our film up on the big screen and we're now in the process of tweaking an refining it so we can take it around to film festivals (which is why it's not going to be up on my blog for some time since most festivals don't want the films up on sites where anyone can see them).

Now what did I learn? Awesome people make awesome films, even if you don't win. And working with great people tends to teach me things I didn't know before, which is always a huge boon.

IMMOLATION: Chapter 28

Oh, come on,” Tom urged, taking a sip from his glass.
Joan didn't look up from her plate as she cut her steak into several smaller pieces. Tom's request would be harmless were it not for the fact that they were sitting in a crowded restaurant.
You're going to ignore me?” Tom asked, “You'll hurt my feelings.”
Joan looked him in the eye and couldn't tell if he was being honest or not. He seemed earnest and, having already upset him once, Joan knew better than trust his outer show of confidence.
I'll get in trouble,” Joan said flatly before returning to her meal.
Fair enough,” Tom said, “But you will have to show me one of these days.”
Joan put down her fork. “I don't see what the big deal about it is,” She said, “You've seen fire before.”
Yeah, on a log.”
Tom's expression betrayed him and Joan knew he was only trying to rile her.
You can't expect me to believe that you've never noticed the spot on my back.”
Covered in hair,” Tom said offhandedly, “Doesn't count.”
Joan's eyes narrowed and she had to fight to keep her pilot light from igniting. Tom's persistence was becoming annoying.
Well I don't like how you're turning me into something just to be looked at,” She said in a firm tone, “So let it go or this might be your last date.”
Tom slumped. “I'm sorry,” He said, “I didn't mean to come across that way.”
Again, Joan found it difficult to tell whether he was telling the truth or not.
I just think it's cool that you can do what you do,” Tom continued, “And it's a whole lot more interesting than talking about me.”
Well there's more to me than just fire,” Joan said, “And I think I'll be the judge about whether or not you're interesting.”
Tom smiled and nodded his head before taking another sip from his glass. “But just so you know,” He said, “I grew up here in the city, was a shy, sheltered child who got everything I ever asked for. My parents died in a car accident while I was away at college and I've been floating on the inheritance ever since.”
Really?” Joan asked.
Tom nodded. “Yup, except for the part about my parents. They're living happily in Europe herding sheep.”
That's not funny,” Joan said, her pilot light practically begging to be lit.
Which part?” Tom asked, his face still set in his playful smirk.
What part do you think?” Joan demanded as Tom's charm grew more and more upsetting.
It was just a joke, come on,” Tom said, holding up his hands in defense. “My parents are fine, still live in the city, and I have dinner with them once a month. Honest. What about yours?”
Joan's breathing came in short bursts as her emotions swelled. Of course Tom couldn't have known about her family, but she couldn't sit there, looking at his smiling face. She stood up and began walking briskly away. If she could just get outside and down an alley she could burn without anyone seeing.
Hey,” Tom called out in astonishment, “Joan! What's wrong?”
Joan kept walking, holding back the tears and fire as best she could.
The moment the crisp evening air hit her face, Joan broke into a run. The sun had set since they'd arrived at the restaurant and dusk had settled in full making the world gray and shadowed. An alley opened up suddenly half a block into her run and Joan turned down it, grateful for how wide it was and for its lack of windows and doors.
Fire burst into the early night and Joan cried, screaming to drown out the roar of the inferno around her. She hated herself for losing control, for how her fire still intensified her emotions, for how little control she really had. They'd lock her away, she knew it. It was only a matter of time.
Another voice reached her ears and Joan turned around. What she saw drove back her tears but fueled her fears all the more.
Tom was lying on the ground just a few feet away from her, screaming as he burned. Joan tried to pull her fire away from him but it wouldn't obey.
Help!” Joan shouted, but where they were both deep into the alley she doubted anyone would hear.
Tom continued to writhe on the ground but most of his movements brought him closer rather than further away. Joan doubted he even knew which way was up, blinded as he might be by the fire and pain.
Get away from me!” Joan shouted to him and Tom pushed himself in the right direction. “That's right, keep moving!”
Joan could only stand there and watch, hoping that Tom's screams were growing faint because of the distance he'd put between them. Joan tried again to extinguish her flame but with similar results as before when she was struck with an idea. She looked up, checking to make sure there was nothing above before she focused on channeling as much of her fire upward.
It worked. The fire shot upward between the buildings on either side like a tornado. The swirling flame whipped around her, smacking her hair into her face, but it was held close around her and that was what was important.
Tom, free of the fire, curled up into the fetal position. His clothes and skin were so badly burned that it was difficult at first for Joan to tell them apart.
I'm going to get help,” Joan assured him and she ran passed, back toward the mouth of the alley.
Behind her, Tom whimpered and moaned.
Once she got back onto the main sidewalk, it didn't take very long for her to spot other people.
Please,” She shouted to them from where she stood, knowing better than to run towards them as a burning pillar and potentially frighten them away. “Please, I need you to call an ambulance.”
A middle aged man not far from her complied and pulled out his cell phone, though shock played clearly on his face.
My name is Joan Darcy, I'm the girl who burns and my friend's been burned,” Joan explained quickly once the man finished dialing and held the cell phone to his ear. “I didn't know he was behind me when I ignited... please,” Joan's tears returned and hissed as they were evaporated by her spiraling flame, “Please tell them to hurry.”