Saturday, 1 July 2017

FTM Magazine Article

I am officially a published author...

Originally published on https://ftmmagazine.com/ (HERE) on 10 April 2017, the link is no longer active, so I am posting my article here:


Self-Harm, Transition...

It was never a choice. I did not one day decide to be a boy. One day I simply allowed my true self to come into being. | Erik Garkain


My body is scarred.

From my shoulders to fingertips, under my clothes, over my chest, my stomach and my legs – all support a tracery of scars inflicted through deliberate self-harm. Self-harm had been a way for me to release emotional pain and stress: the only way I could feel in control of my life.  It made me feel alive. It made me feel something, not just so disturbingly numb.

If you could see under my shirt, you’d see other scars too: surgical scars that helped salvage this life. I have two identical scars curving from my armpits to my sternum – double bilateral mastectomy with chest reconstruction; and, a horizontal 20cm scar underneath my belly, just above my pubic line – total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

Ten years ago I was living a completely different life. I was bordering on my 21st birthday, working with the elderly in an aged care hostel, and, at the beginning of what would become a five year relationship of relative heteronormativity.

I was also a girl. I often wonder if my self-harm was a consequence of my latent gender dysphoria?

I was male on the inside. It was a feeling I hadn’t come to accept, or believe could be fact. I was carrying a weight that I’m sure rings familiar with anyone who has borne the confines of a closet. My ‘closet’ was an identity I had been taught, not one that was true. The hormones were wrong, my body was wrong; it had bits I couldn’t associate with, it did things that terrified and disgusted me.

Coming out was a challenge. I have always been shy. I don’t often speak up, even if I have something worthwhile to contribute, so, to come forward to the people in my life with something so personal, was a terrifying prospect. When you come out as trans, it immediately cultivates all sorts of unwanted and personal intrusions: Is it a sexual thing? Does that mean you’re gay, or straight? Do you like boys or girls now? Are you pre-op or post-op? What have you got ‘downstairs’? And my favourite: If you don’t have a penis, you’ll never be a ‘real’ guy. But I shouldn’t have worried. My family have always been supportive, my sisters – amazing. I don’t often give people a chance to be anything else. If they want me in their life, they will respect my choices.

Strangers are harder. Historically gays have been persecuted by just as much misunderstanding and judgment as the transgender community, but a lot of trans people feel ostracised in queer safe spaces, as if we don’t belong. A lot of the discrimination I have had has come directly from the gay community: My choosing to be male didn’t make it so because I would never have a penis.

It was never a choice. I did not one day decide to be a boy. One day I simply allowed my true self to come into being. I would never choose to become a second class citizen; to open myself to discrimination and hate with possible abandonment and rejection from family and friends; to jeopardise my job security; to lose the right to marry; or, risk ever finding a partner who could accept me… None of this is anything I would willingly choose. It was simply the next step of my existence, and it was always going to happen.

Looking back this past decade, to the start of my transition, the doubts were strong. But now I can see what I have achieved. Physically and mentally I am in the happiest place I have been. As each day passes, my confidence grows, and with it, strength to be who I really am, and that is a wonderful feeling. If I could go back, I wouldn’t change my journey, because changing that would change the essence of who I am. But perhaps some words of solace for the darkest of nights: You’re not weird, you’re not crazy, and these feelings, they won’t go away. Don’t listen to the people in your life that want to make you feel worthless. Don’t listen to the people who want to tell you who you should be. Listen to yourself. Only you know how you truly feel. And yes, at times it will be tough – out on that ledge, exposed to the world – but you need to be yourself. That is where your happiness is. You are better than you think you are. You are great, and people love you, for you.


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Patrick White Playwrights’ Award 2016

...Thank you for applying for the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award 2016. We have now received your online application and script.

The judging panel will have selected the winner of the Award by May 2017, at which point we will advise you of the outcome of your entry.

Please note that the judges’ decision is final and no correspondence or discussion will be entered into. We also regret that we are unable to provide individual feedback to your submission...



Saturday, 1 October 2016

A fantasy novel I am working on...

Where dense forest joined water on the outskirts of Forest Blakt, I crouched. I stared unblinking out into the Waterfalls of Lake Neb, focused on any movement among the cascades. Lined with jagged rocks and algae that waggled beneath surging water, the Skyggen prince Azrayh stood motionless under the deluge, his lean and pale body almost luminescent under the glow of the moon. Frightened that any movement could scare away my prince, I watched him carefully, as I had since he’d surfaced when the sun disappeared beneath the horizon some hours ago. I’d been waiting for the young Skyggen to lift his head and take a breath, but Azrayh remained as he had, a drowned water statue.
‘Azrayh,’ I whispered finally, desperate for my lover’s return. Impossibly, he snapped to attention, his amber eyes finding mine in an instant. He dove into the water and surfaced just metres away. I could almost touch him. I edged closer but he stayed just out of reach, his wings slowly undulating the water, gazing vacantly at me. His eyes, once bright and filled with curiosity, were empty and hollow, devoid of the passion he’d once had. I could have sworn there was a faint blue tinge to his skin, he’d never been quite so pale, his scars transformed into translucent purple veins about his flesh.
Stepping into the muddied edges of the lake, viscous darkness engulfed my legs to the ridge of my black boots as I waded further into the water – closer to Azrayh. I reached out to collect him into my arms but he frowned and backed out of reach with a flick of his wings. In the water he was faster. He smiled at me, as if this was a game, lifting a svelte arm and holding it out for me.  I grasped it before he could change his mind. With a strength I had never imagined he dragged me down into the water, laughing as I was doused up to his chest, soaking my clothes through.

I threw my arms around his naked waist for an instant before recoiling so violently I smashed backwards into the surrounding banks of rock. His skin was ice cold, even in the tepid water. The void that embraced me when I held him was endless. Desperate I pressed my hand against his chest. ‘What’s happened to you?’ I withdrew. ‘How long have you been out here?’

‘Swim with me pretty,’ he cooed, ignoring my questions. ‘I will show you sights of this world unknown to the—’

‘Azrayh, do you know who I am?’ He wasn’t there.

He laughed delightedly and for a moment I allowed myself to indulge. That laugh. But it wasn’t him. He wasn’t there. ‘Of course I do… You are beautiful…’ He ran a finger down my cheek. I could see the green tinge of algae collected in his long nails, and he reeked of the depths, of coral and darkest caverns. All familiarity I once knew – gone. ‘I would show you a world that mirrors—’

‘Come with me!’ Angered at the unfairness of life, I hauled my lover from the water. 

Azrayh shrieked as he hit the rocky banks, water running in rivulets down his torn and scarred leathers – last remnants of the proud armour he’d once donned.

I collapsed next to him, my hand on the Skyggen’s chest holding him against his will, with strength and incantation. ‘Your heart is not yet cold,’ I warned. ‘You are not yet of the deep. Please fight it Azrayh. Please.’ The fear of losing my lover was too real.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

She'll kill me when she reads this...

My best friend is an avid gardener. In a few short years she’s turned a once barren backyard into a wonderland for native birds and insects. She is macabre with a penchant for gore and surgery and a love of nature and native propagation. She is androgynous with a shaved head and large green eyes. She has body piercings, scarification, and a pair of gargoyle wings tattooed on her back which she wants extended into a xenomorph tail down her legs. She has the chemical elements for psilocybin mushrooms and DMT tattooed on her neck but tells people who ask that they’re dopamine and serotonin. Other than this half-truth she is incapable of telling lies, shy, somewhat anxious (especially with phone calls), hates conflict, super intelligent, gentle, meticulous. She can’t make decisions and is often sad. She doesn’t like social gatherings, prefers to be alone or with close friends, loves to cook with fresh ingredients from her garden, and abhors clutter. Her home is minimalist – everything in it has purpose. If there is artwork it’s dissected bodies or true-to-life medical illustrations. She’s building an anatomically correct piñata from skeleton up, to bash away personal demons, for an upcoming birthday. She works in an indigenous plant nursery and has plans to one day own her own business selling native plants, homemade food and handmade wares. She just needs to banish self-doubt to enable her plans to come to fruition. She has lots of acquaintances and few true friends, but those she has know her worth and adore her completely, even though sometimes she doesn’t have the confidence to see it herself. She’s spiritual and believes that this is only one of many lives lived.

Clues to her personality (some truth, some fiction):

1. Can’t lie but hates conflict – so when she tells people her half-truths about her neck tattoos, saying they’re ‘feel good’ elements, she can’t keep eye contact and fiddles with her lip piercings. She doesn’t trust that people will be reasonable with the truth.

2. Shy – She doesn’t like to meet new people. If there’s a stranger in the house she will linger in her bedroom until they go away.

3. Anxious – She will sit at her desk for half an hour staring at her phone in preparation to make a phone call.

4. Intelligent – Her words aren’t casual and every one is thought out and planned ahead. She lives in her head most of the time. She won’t casually respond to a question – her answers take time.

5. Gentle – She holds her budgerigars in her hand while they happily nibble on seed.

6. Meticulous – Everything in her house, bag, and mind, has a perfect place and a perfect order.

7. Sad – Her smiles are rare and take some effort to form.

8. Self-doubting – Compliments from others are often shrugged off, or excuses found to discount them.

9. Doesn’t like making decisions – She often becomes frustrated if she has to make a decision, something like what to order for dinner can have her in tears and without food.

10. Macabre – She rejoices while watching real-life TV shows about surgery.

My friend is meticulous (Latin meticulosus from metus ‘fear’. Is she afraid of what might go wrong if things aren’t so perfect?) In everything she does, she has an extreme attention to detail. She cares about the small things and getting things exactly right every single time and won’t stop until they are perfect. She thinks before she talks and creates structure, order and compliance. She is organised, graceful, hates making mistakes and writes lots and lots of lists. She needs space, quiet and sensitivity. I don’t know why she is like this but it’s helpful to me because she edits my work, organises our trips away, and cooks awesome meals. I think she likes to be in control. She doesn’t thrive on chaos, can barely function in it. When she is in my kitchen she gets frustrated because I don’t have the perfect tool for a certain requirement. I’m a ‘many uses for one thing’ person. Any cup will do for a measurement, if indeed I even measure. She needs precision. She likes to produce things of a high standard and as such she needs to be meticulous.

MY BEST FRIEND TURNED CHARACTER

The child looked upon the needle in wide-eyed horror. Azha trapped his attention in her placid green eyes and only then was she was able to pick up the needle without him flinching away. It was a large needle – far better at closing wounds on a warrior, not a small child who’d fallen from a tree – but it would have to do, it was all she had.

‘Do you have any sister’s Tobin?’ She asked as her fingers deftly threaded the bone needle with a braided silk suture. Quietly she blessed the needle and pointed it east before shifting her attention to the boy. As she worked she hummed a barely audible enchantment that soothed Tobin’s mind and dulled his senses. His anxiety flittered away and Azha was able to stitch the wound closed. Drunkenly the boy blathered of his family and life in general until she had finished.

‘Done,’ she said simply. The boy’s mouth dropped open a little before he dared look at his arm. Where moments ago it had been a red raw gash now nine neat little stitches disguised the wound. His face changed in an instant. Forgotten were the moments of intense distress that had penetrated Azha’s afternoon nap. Forgotten were the streams of blood he’d thought he’d lost and never recover from. Now it was a warrior’s wound, one he’d survived, one none of his friends had… He beamed.

‘Thanks Healer Azha!’ He jumped up, restless to be back with his friends.

She flinched at the title he’d named her, but he was already off with barely a nod. The villagers had dubbed her their healer, and though she didn’t refute it, she disliked the dependence it gave them. They respected her for her knowledge of medicine but were wary of her solitary life and use of magic. Despite the fear, Tobin’s mother was sure to come by later to offer thanks. They were diligent with their thanks and continued to remind her of her worth to them. Azha would conveniently be out picking herbs or collecting water when they came by. A gift basket of dried meats and fresh fruit would be left on her porch as always. Many times the villagers had offered her services or insisted she allow an assistant into her home, but every time, she refused. She enjoyed things as they were, however hard chores were becoming.

Azha rose with a sigh and rinsed her hands and instruments in the stream. Cold water jarred her joints. The cramps were getting worse. How long until she could no longer wield a needle, plant a tree, hold a cup of tea? Banishing the thoughts she unfolded her instrument wrap and replaced the tools carefully into their assigned places to be sterilised later that evening.

She wandered home stopping to admire the seedlings that had sprouted in the recent rains. She discovered a cluster of rare purple herbs and breathed in deep the sedate mint aroma.

Her home was small and offered little in the way of creature comforts, but it offered all she needed. To a casual gaze it was invisible in a copse of fallen trunks and dense bush; spider webs lined the porch protecting her from negative energies.

A large black bird cawed at her from a tree top, its beady yellow eyes judging her for being away so long. ‘Oh shush Worm, it was hardly an hour!’ It cawed again and landed gracefully on her right shoulder, instantly fussing with her scarf to make more room for its oversized body. ‘You need to cut down on grubs.’ She said as it unhooked her scarf and pitched it to the ground. Worm croaked and looked away. Azha smiled and poked the bird playfully.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Hands of Goodna Cemetery

Based on True Accounts.

1. EXT. GOODNA CEMETERY – NIGHT

A battered P-plate car pulls up next to a large fenced-off cemetery. There are few street lights but the moon is full and high, bathing the cemetery with spooky shadows - it certainly doesn’t look like a nice place to be after dark.

There are large trees and neat gravesites but furthest from the road the trees become denser and the gravesites more tattered –paths less trodden.

DANNY (18) football superstar, and LOLA (17) wannabe cheerleader, climb out of the car, giggling.

Danny struts over to the passenger side and embraces Lola in a bear hug. Looking around, Lola is not impressed.

LOLA: I didn’t think you were for real, bringin’ me ‘ere.
DANNY: Are you kiddin’? It’s tradition.

He pokes her playfully but Lola pulls away, her arms wrapped around her own body. It’s not cold but something has chilled her.

DANNY (CONT’D): Come on bae it’ll be a laugh, an’ you’ll get to tell your squad about how I took ya “down to Goodna”.

LOLA (groaning): How romantic!

The headlights of a car round a bend and approach from a distance.

DANNY: Quick!
She gives in to him as he pulls her towards the fence where he lifts her over in one simple movement and with little effort he scales the fence himself.

He grabs her hand and together they flee deeper into the cemetery. Shadows seem to reach after them.

2. EXT – GOODNA CEMETERY – CONT’D


Lola’s giggles ring out through the night as Danny catches her in an embrace and backs her into a large tree. His hands are all over her.

DANNY: It’s said… (he begins nibbling her neck) …that this cemetery was used by the ol’ Woogaroo Asylum and there are hundreds of headstones identified only by numbers… The grave digger died before he could put up a plaque so all the names are lost.
She ducks out of his grasp.

DANNY (CONT’D): It’s them that haunt here at night, wandering ‘round, wonderin’ who they are.

LOLA: Haunted? For real?

She glances around, wondering… the trees becoming sinister and more claw like reaching long tendrils down towards the pair…

DANNY: Uh huh. Last weekend Jase covered his car in flour – like the ghost hunters said – and drove down Stuart Street, not even IN here. When he got home there were hundreds of fingerprints all over his car as if something had been clawing to get in… I swear, true story.

LOLA (laughing): He covered his car in flour?

DANNY: His mum was well pissed. Might be that ghosts don’t want no one to be here?
They hold hands, meandering down a twisting path. Danny’s other hand wanders over her body until…

DANNY (CONT’D): BOO!!!

He grabs her waist suddenly and she startles.

LOLA (laughing): Jerk…! Oh look.
Ahead, highlighted in the moonlight, they come across diminutive headstones, barely a foot tall, at least fifty in a neat semi-circle, and numbered – impersonal to the people they represented.

LOLA (CONT’D): That’s so sad…

She drops down onto her knees in the leaf litter. One of her hands runs over a headstone, her fingertips tracing the number.

LOLA (CONT’D): …to be forgotten… You won’t forget me like that? I’m not just another girl you bring down ‘ere?

DANNY: You bae, how could I forget you?

She smiles, content for now, as he leans down to kiss her. She allows it, his hands moving over her body – under her shirt, up the legs of her shorts. He crawls on top of her, resting her gently back on the ground and gyrating his groin against hers. She moans.

LOLA: Oh, Danny. Oh Danny! Ow Danny. Ow. DANNY!

As her moans turn to cries she scrambles away from him.

DANNY: What?!

He stands up, adjusting himself, miffed at the rejection.

LOLA: Something was pinching me.

She rubs her upper arm and he laughs at her.

LOLA (CONT’D): For real, it kills!

DANNY: Lemme look.

She moves over to him but the light is too poor to make anything out. He rubs her shoulders placating her instead. He kisses her ear.

DANNY: Don’t worry. (Whispering) I’ll protect you from the grabby ghosts.

LOLA: Maybe it’s them protecting me from you?

She sticks out her tongue and escapes down the path, deeper into the cemetery where the graves are more spaced out, more elegant and more run down.

DANNY (calls): You don’t need protecting from me bae. Well, maybe my… GRABBY HANDS!

He roars playfully and gives chase, following her hysterical giggles.

3. EXT. GOODNA CEMETERY – NIGHT

Danny and Lola are deep into each other, making out and rolling around in pine needles. Headstones loom over them throwing shadows across their bodies like disembodied clawed hands.

A headless weeping angel seems alive in the moonlight and Lola screams, spotting it in the gloom.

DANNY: Lola chill, don’t be weak.

He’s losing patience. He moves to grope her again but she swats him away.

LOLA: I’ve had enough Danny – I wanna leave.

DANNY: What’s that?

He motions to a patch of red raw scratches and fresh bruising down the side of her torso.

LOLA: I don’t know. I thought it was just the leaves and shit, but it’s creeping me out. We shouldn’t be here! I wanna go!

DANNY (sighing): Okay. Fine.

4. INT. CAR, GOODNA CEMETERY – NIGHT

Lola is sitting in the passenger seat rubbing her legs and fingering faint scratches.

DANNY: Jeez bae… (He takes on a spooky tone) Maaaaybe it was the ghoooosts—

LOLA: Don’t. Let’s just get outta here.
An amused grin crosses his face before he starts the car.

Nothing.

He tries it again, this time revving the engine, but it’s as if the car is stuck. It rears to move forward but has stuck fast.

Lola glares at Danny.

LOLA: That’s not funny—

She pauses.

DANNY: I’m not—

LOLA: Shush!

DANNY: Lo—

LOLA: SSHHHHH! Listen!

Outside something is scratching against the metal work of the car, pawing against it, as if to get in.

DANNY: What is that?

LOLA: Please can we just go?

DANNY: Lola, I’m trying!

He tries the car again. Nothing. It’s revving. It’s trying to move – almost as if the handbrake is on and it wants to go – but something is holding it back.

He sighs and flings the door open.

DANNY (CONT’D): I’ll check the—

Lola’s face contorts into a soundless scream. A disembodied arm clings to the open door – claws latched deep into the paintwork. Danny sees and jerks the door back closed.

DANNY (CONT’D): Whaaa—?

Lola is climbing up onto her seat – as if the hands might come through the floor of the car to get her. She’s pressed against the door but doesn’t trust the window so she backs against Danny. She’s crying, bordering on hysterical.

DANNY (CONT’D): It’s okay.

He slams the locks down on both doors and his arms come around her, his hand stroking the back of her head.

5. EXT. GOODNA CEMETERY – SUNRISE
The sun comes up on a car parked outside the cemetery. It could almost be a different place as the sun lifts away any sign of anything sinister within the graveyard and light fills the darkness.

6. EXT. SUBURBAN HOME – CONT’D

The P-plate car pulls up in a driveway and Lola jumps out before it’s even come to a halt. She’d exhausted – a sleepless night evident on her tired face. She slams the door and motions to lean in the open window. Before she gets there she is backing away in horror.

From in the car Danny looks concerned.

DANNY: Bae?
He climbs out and comes around to her. He stares at the car, fumbling for Lola’s hand as they both back away silently.

Deep within the paintwork are huge scratch marks that had almost made it to the handle…

SMASH FADE TO BLACK.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

GLITTER GIRL

FADE IN:
1.   INT. SMALL HOUSE, BEDROOM - DAY

The bedroom is small and in disarray. Strewn over a double bed are piles of woman’s clothes of all colours and designs. Clearly the cupboards have been emptied and dumped on the bed.

To one side there is an old crumbling chest of drawers with a huge cracked mirror above it. Before the mirror sits a thin androgynous young man, DANIEL (17), staring hopelessly at his reflection. On his face are fading bruises and a fresh splatter of blood. He wears a dress that falls lifelessly down his chest making him appear waifish and masculine. He tugs half-heartedly at the straps.

Daniel turns away from the mirror and glares at the clothes on the bed. He jumps up, seizing armfuls of the clothing and sweeping them to the floor. He continues this until the bed is entirely clear… revealing a human shape hidden under the covers.

He pulls back the doona to reveal the recently deceased pale CORPSE OF HIS MOTHER. She is wearing a black dress that has been stabbed and mutilated around the torso area.
Daniel smiles at her. He kisses her forehead before proceeding to undress her.


2.   INT. SMALL HOUSE, KITCHEN - EVENING

Amongst mould and mountains of dishes, Daniel does his best to prepare a meal and set the table, not forgetting the most important thing: his father's bottle of Jack Daniels.

Daniel grins as he pulls the bottle down from the alcohol cabinet and rinses a glass. He places them both side by side on the table. He’s wearing the black dress he’d removed from his mother but it’s been tucked into a pair of jeans so it now resembled a shirt.

The microwave dings and he removes a ready meal. By the time he places the on the table, grabs and cleans a fork, his FATHER ambles into the kitchen.

Silently Father collapses into his prepared seat and cracks open the bottle of Jack Daniels, not even bothering with the glass.

FATHER
(irritated)
Where's your mother?

DANIEL
She had to go out.

Father pokes at the meal, making no attempt to eat it. Daniel watches him silently.

FATHER
Get out of here!

Before Daniel can leave, Father pushes the uneaten meal away and stands up. He wanders out of the room with the bottle in his hand.
Daniel clears the table and retreats back to the safety of his mother's room.

3.   INT. SMALL HOUSE, BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS

His Mother is staring up at him when he walks past her and returns to the vanity. She’s half uncovered, her limbs splayed.

Distracted, Daniel finds his mother’s makeup, making the effort to line his eyes in kohl, surround them with green and cover his lips in the brightest red he can find.

All the while he’s mumbling to himself (or to her) incoherently.

As if he’s spotted her disarray in the mirror, Daniel returns to his mother. He folds her arms gently across her chest, closes her mouth and caresses her eyes closed.

He pulls the doona up to her neck to cover all the unsightly stab wounds over her chest and stomach and rests her head on a pillow.

He kisses her forehead.

DANIEL
Be still Mother.


4.   INT. SMALL HOUSE, LOUNGE - NIGHT

Daniel slinks in the doorway watching his Father who is mumbling incoherently at the TV, clearly drunk.

He fetches another bottle of alcohol from the kitchen and carries it over to his father. His father takes the bottle, pushing the mostly empty one to the floor.

As he cracks it open he looks his son up and down, trying to focus on him.
FATHER
What the fuck are you doing home? You should be out making money!

Daniel's eyes narrow as he realises his father's mistake. His father grabs his arm, dragging him closer.

FATHER (CONT'D)
Daniel? What the fuck are you doing wearing your mother's stuff?

His father wrenches his son down so far he almost stumbles to the ground, but as the bottle smashes him hard across the head he goes down anyway.
FATHER (CONT'D)
I have fucking told you again and again not to do this shit!

Daniel scrambles up crawling in the broken glass and spilt alcohol. A trickle of blood runs down the side of his face.

His Father is climbing to his feet.
Daniel is thrown against the wall as his Father hisses abuse in his ear.
FATHER (CONT'D)
You want to be a bitch then I will treat you like a fucking whore!

His father's hands come up Daniel's skirt, and Daniel attempts to escape but is restrained quickly.

Daniel grins weakly as his father unbuttons his own jeans and slides Daniel’s dress up.
FADE TO BLACK.
FADE IN:
5.   INT. SMALL HOUSE, KITCHEN – NIGHT

Lit by only moonlight, Daniel sits in the dark at the kitchen table. His breathing is heavy and strained. His make up is smeared and there is dried blood caking the side of his face. His lip and cheekbone have swelled significantly and his dress is torn around the neck and left in haphazard ruins.

He is staring blankly at a bloodied knife.

6.   INT. SMALL HOUSE, LOUNGE – DAY

The house is immaculately clean and Daniel sits on the sofa in front of the television pouring himself a cup of tea from a pot.

He is wearing a beautiful summer dress, his make-up applied carefully over bruising and scabs, his hair is pulled back into a scrunchie.

He is beaming.

Beside him on the couch are two Decaying Corpses, both dressed like porcelain dolls in fancy clothes and wigs with glitter and coloured make-up upon their rotted faces.

Daniel leans back into the sofa and drapes his arm around his Father. He looks at the man lovingly and reaches over to kiss him on the cheek.

FADE TO BLACK.
END.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

BLACK WEDDING

INT. GRAND RECEPTION HALL - EVENING

A wedding reception well under way - full of laughter, frivolity and dancing... Exhaustion is evident on the faces of the wedding party, and inebriation on the guests. SHERYL-LEE, a late-20s blushing bride in an elaborate white dress, makes her way towards the bridal table. She reaches for a glass of water.

Beneath a flawless mask of make-up her weariness begins to show. TILLY, the Maid of Honour, grabs her from behind, intercepting her quest, and instead hands her a glass of champagne.

TILLY (giggling): Don't be a pussy Sheryl-lee! Do you think Timmy wants you sober for the night you finally get to do it?!

Tilly sticks out her tongue and playfully elbows Sheryl-lee in the ribs. Sheryl-lee laughs but it takes effort.

SHERYL-LEE: Shut up!

She takes the champagne to avoid an argument. Perhaps the alcohol could dim the ache of her feet She finds her groom amongst the many faces of family and friends, TIMOTHY (handsome - bookish, 30yrs), his face awash with the joy of the day. He is slow dancing with an elderly woman, his mother.

He meets Sheryl-lee's gaze from across the room and holds it. A genuine smile reaches his eyes and she can't help but return it. He whispers something into his mother's ear and she reluctantly pulls away so he can motion his bride over.

Sheryl-lee finishes the champagne and pulls free of her stilettos. Leaving them and the empty flute on her table, she manages her way through the dancing crowd. 

A moment of blinding whiteness fills the world with emptiness.

Sheryl-lee missteps only for a moment before continuing. The flash so brief it could have been imagined. A few nervous laughs come from the guests but the incident is quickly overlooked. The crowd parts to let the bride find her way across the dance floor.

Sheryl-lee finds the arms of her groom as the music dips into a slow romance.

SHERYL-LEE: My husband.

TIMOTHY: My beautiful wife.

She falls against his chest, suddenly overcome with weakness. Perhaps she shouldn't have drank that champagne so quickly? Her face flushes and she closes her eyes trying to reign in the sickly feeling that embraces her. She is lulled by the slow gentle movements of her husband's dance.

Timothy fumbles a step, jerking her into the present. Sheryl-lee looks up at him - his face flushed red. He looks down at her, his eyebrows knitted in concern.

TIMOTHY: Babe, are you okay?

She frowns, the question taken from her lips. She watches as his face colours further - a huge contrast with the crisp white shirt he wore. The veins in his forehead become visible, as too the marbling rising from his collar.

SHERYL-LEE: What's wrong?

Sheryl-lee stumbles away from her husband, grasping for the nearest chair. All around her guests are fumbling for seats or collapsing to the floor - their skin mottling to a bruised purple and green.

Timothy stumbles towards her. She grabs his hand and pulls him outside...

All around the picturesque wedding setting bodies litter the ground - swollen and decomposing. Some twitch leaking green and brown fluids. ADAM, the best man, has collapsed into a settee, his discoloured fluids staining the white table cloth.

SHERYL-LEE (mumbling): We're going to lose our deposit.

Sheryl-lee stops, drops Timothy's hand and sucks in a shuddering breath. Behind her, Timothy collapses. She turns to him - his face bloating and purple. He has swollen to twice his size and his three piece suit is stained and wet under the strain. She glances down at her own attire - her once white dress now a filthy remnant of its previous beauty, her decomposing fluids ruining her day.

TIMOTHY (moaning): Sherrryyyllll-llleeeeee...

His arm stretches out to her and he groans.

SHERYL-LEE: Babe, I'm hungry.

She stumbles, collapsing to the ground. Her body twitches in the throes of death. And finally - is still.

EXT. MANICURED GARDEN RECEPTION - CONT'D

A bird's eye view of a wedding party - a mix of glamour and decomposition, wiped out so fast some guests are still seated leaning against one another. Others in piles on the dance floor never understanding what had come over them. Wet decay has been replaced with dried mummification. Weeks should have passed before this sort of decomposition was evident.

The bride and groom, recognisable only by their stained attire, lay embraced.

Restless in death Sheryl-lee twitches, life suddenly returning.

END.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

BÊTE NOIRE

EXT. CITY BACK STREET – LATE EVENING

The weather is bleak – a lightning storm highlights the dark grey sky in angry flashes.

A Man (42, harried, wearing a cheap suit) hurries on his way home from work. He brings his briefcase over his head as fat drops of rain start plopping to the Earth. His mobile phone rings - obnoxious technology in this powerful show of nature - and the Man fumbles to locate it whilst attempting to remain dry.

Once answered, the caller has barely had enough time to say a word before the Man is shaking his head.

MAN: No. No. No Jeffrey. As I already told you this morning, I want the Wilson’s account to be settled first. Yes, then deal with Carrigan and his incessant demands. Why is this so hard for you to understand—?

Lightning bleaches the world in an instant of blinding force, followed closely by a deafening crack of thunder.

The Man looks at his phone, shakes it as if reviving it and returns it to his ear.

MAN: Hello? Jeffrey? Jeffrey! Damn it!

He stabs at his phone with his thumb. No signal.

Another lighting white out, this time, as it dissipates, A body is briefly illuminated in the street ahead.

The Man pauses, squinting ahead as if the body is a trick of the storm. The hand holding his phone, temporarily forgotten, falls to his side.

FUUUU-WOKKK!

He startles in fright as another crack of thunder rips the world. His briefcase no longer a suitable shield to the rain, he submits to a dampening.

The body - barefoot, dressed entirely in black, androgynous, and apparently unconscious - is almost impossible to see in the backdrop of the gloom. Only the paleness of its skin gives away its position.

Regaining his sensibility, the Man walks over to the body, approaching cautiously – drunks could be dangerous – even, psychotic drunks, to be out in this weather?

He rolls it over with the least amount of contact – did he really want to soil himself on this possible hobo? The body flops almost lifelessly, a tinge of blood at the corner of its mouth; its eyes blink open slowly… staring past the Man, to the sky above, longing.

MAN: Hey, are you alright?

Neither male nor female, the creature closes its eyes. Impossible to tell tears disguised in rain, its eyes say it all: it mourns.

CREATURE: Father’s angry.

The Man, less scared now and more concerned, wipes the blood from its mouth. He brushes the long dark hair from its face.

MAN: What happened to you?

The worst hurt anyone could possibly imagine has come to pass; inflicted on this poor precious beauty, and evident on its face.

It looks from the Man, to the sky above…

CREATURE (sobbing): I fell…

The Man follows its gaze to the Heavens above: dark grumbling clouds alive with ferocious activity and static power…

FADE TO BLACK.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Come Away With Me.

A review I just found for one of my short films, 'Come Away with Me'. 

From the MRC (Media Resource Centre) Lipsync magazine HERE. 

Review by Emily Brindal: 

"Come Away with Me is a dark tale of love between two selfdestructive gay men. While there is no rock ‘n’ roll, there is sex, drugs and self-harm. If there were a nice antonym for ‘light-hearted’, I would insert this word here. It is intense and unashamed in its intensity. The cinematography is beautiful and really engages the viewer in the story. It also adds tension which is at times lacking in the performances. Although overall the film is more serious than some may prefer, it achieves what it desires to – it confronts the viewer and asks them to consider the line between love and self-destruction."


You can watch my film HERE.