Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Spector Collectors





Plot: Man learns his children have been interacting with the ghost of an old woman haunting their home. He sets out trying to capture the ghost with the help of friends and turns the obsession into a business. Filmed as a horror but written like a comedy, this would follow as spiritual successor to the Ghostbusters. The audience should be on edge while watching this much smaller, non earth-ending tale, with personal stakes on the line, yet find themselves loving the characters and laughing along with them.


Characters

·         Simon: Protagonist and lead. Single dad with 2 kids, who are interacting with an unknown presence. When things begin to escalate, he takes charge and works with his friend to catch the ghost.
     o   Miles (10 year old son)- Emotionally shut off. Keeps to himself.
     o   Emily (5 year old daughter)- Innocent, but aggressive.

·         Edward: Partially deaf friend who is an engineer. Helps to discover things about ghosts and build the weapons. Strong willed. Possibly autistic. He often speaks with certainty and dry humor.

·         Clara: Robert’s co-worker who is into new age philosophy, astral projection, and spiritualism. Robert asks her for help and her opinion. At first she acts confident in her claims, but after some time of interacting and witnessing the poltergeist for herself she realizes she doesn’t know as much as she thought she did and very little of the spiritualistic ideas she has have turned out to be false. Still, she is intrigued enough to do a lot of the research for the team, helping to discover ancient principals that are exploited through science to fight and capture the ghosts.

·         Robert: Clara’s husband. A skeptical busybody, who assumes Clara is having an affair. Is obnoxious but redeemable.


STORY

First Act:  The children are acting weird. Talking to themselves in empty rooms, and casually asking about the old lady who lives down stairs. They call her Granny Boots and say she chases them. Edward, Simon’s friend, comes over and notices a low pitch noise that is bothering his hearing aids. The two work out that the noise must be coming from the son, Jordan’s, magnetic motor science fair project. Little by little the dad, Simon, begins to learn that certain things draw out and affect the ghost. The levels of creepiness continue to increase until one of the kids gets hurt. Deciding to go on the offensive, Simon takes inspiration from the Ghostbusters, assembling a team of friends to fight and capture the ghost. Their first mission goes pretty badly but after a few attempts, and a few more inventions, they manage to catch her.

Second Act: After successfully collecting Granny Boots, the team makes a business out of capturing more ghosts. The missions become more successful with the introduction of better tech, and the team begins to build a ghost collection. Each ghost should be identifiable and have a lot of personality including some stereotypical movie ghosts…
- Asian ghost (the Ring)
- Murderer ghost
- Suicide ghost
- Sweet wide eyed friendly child (Casper)
- Lonely widow
- Full room. The team track down what they expect to be a little ghost and set off a thermal pulse only to find an entire room full of Victorian era ghost children.
- False haunting where nothing happens but they take commission anyway.

Third Act: The collection of containment batteries magnetizes and pulls together. The combined energy of the ghosts in close proximity begins binding together creating a new ghostly monster, The Collection. The containment fails releasing this super ghost which is angry with Simon. No longer bound to any particular haunt, The Collection seeks to possess Simon’s children to get revenge and to gain life.  
  • Climax: Clara uses multiple thermal pulses to make the Collection fully tangible and overpowered. Edward engages the ghost in a fist fight, while Simon bypasses some of the equipment saftys and uses a combination of weapons to rip the Collection apart.

Themes: Collections have their cost; Time, money, and affection. Also, we have a responsibility for our creations, whether intentional or unintentional.


“Science”: The supernatural and the natural are split by a hair thin line. This line is exploited and allows the characters to interact in a way people wish they could.

  • Electromagnetic fields: The movie will make the claim that ghosts are affected by electromagnetic fields and use that as the primary explanation for how the tech works with and against them. In the same manner ghosts affect electronic devices; they are also affected by high powered electromagnetic forces. Because ghosts are intangible, they can’t be manipulated by conventional means, but specialized magnets are able to push, pull, and even contain the ghost in a suspension of their energy.
  • Thermal: Ghosts are often depicted in TV shows as creating low temperatures in areas. It is believed they draw out energy which creates these cold pockets. The team will use this to locate ghosts.
  • Salt: Kosher Salt is often considered protective and spiritual barrier. This is used in the solution of the containment batteries to hold the spirits.
  • Ghosts: Similar to most media, ghosts will be depicted as disembodied spirits. However, there will be a scientific spin on what the soul is. The soul is an electric element present within a person. We know that humans generate electricity and the brain functions by electric currents firing specific neurons in particular areas. So when certain people die during a massive collection of electricity accumulated within their body, they are able to translate those mental properties like a saved file into the electric current.

Weapons: New spins on familiar ghost fighting weapons.





·         The Ghaster Trap (version 1): A heavy garbage can sized barrel, difficult to move/use. Will be funny to try to bring ghost to the trap because the trap isn't mobile. Uses coils to create a high powered magnet. On the top is an electrode which arcs towards the ghost, polarizing it, so the magnet can pull it in. Only works in close proximity. When activated it has enough power to pull the soul out of a person.
 

·         The Ghaster Trap (verson 2): A weighted wheel, with coils creating a high powered magnet. On the top is an electrode which arcs towards the ghost, polarizing it, so the magnet can pull it in. Only works in close proximity. When activated it has enough power to pull the soul out of a person.

·         Dead Air Station: A special radio station broadcasting very low frequency sounds. The low frequency draws out paranormal entities. When in close proximity the Dead Air station picks up interference and begins to static.


·         Containment: Individual containers, consisting of glass, metal, and a salt soluble acid that holds the ghosts like a battery holds electric current. Kept neatly on a shelf in Edward’s house.


·         Thermal pulse: Thermal pulse sends a sharp sudden blast of electronic heat into an open room, which is absorbed by the ghost making them manifest into semi-tangible forms. Once the pulse is set off, the energy is forced into the ghost which makes them visible, vulnerable to the weapons and trap, but also increases their ability to act in a physical/violent manner.


·         Shield: Highly magnetized plate fixed to the users left arm. Pushes the tangible ghost with opposing magnetic poles. Intended for defense. 


·         Gun: A running issue in the movie will be that Simon really wants some form of gun to fight the ghosts… even referencing the proton packs the Ghostbusters have. However, Edward has problems making something that works. By the end he makes something but it doesn’t work as intended and through improvisation Simon gets a proton like stream to come out.

Explanations: brief explanations on conventional ghost themes and why they are standard in ghost lore.

  • Night time: Supernatural activity is not increased at night, rather is perceived more as Night is the only time things are silent enough for our limited senses to pick up on the creaks and subtle noises/shadows.
  • Energy Drain: Ghosts steal energy from the heat in the air as well as from electronics as a means of manifesting.  This is why they are constantly turning electronics on and killing batteries.
  • Confined:  Ghosts become tethered to objects and homes, like an electron is bound to an atom.
  • The hallway: Ghosts like hallways. A good passing through the hallway is like a trip to the beach for them.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Blood From Fountains


 
 
Do you hear the battle drum
Charging over mountains.
Very soon the end will come.
Blood will flow from fountains.
 
Everywhere the battle's near
Trumpets will be shout'n
The Sun and Moon will disappear
Nature will be drown'n.
 
Do you hear the people cry
Sorrows can't be counted
Very soon the end will come
Blood will flow from fountains.
 
 
WOAH.....Wait...  Wait... 
Fiery judgment is planned.
The Lord is coming soon.
 
WOAH.....Wait...  Just wait...
With sword in His hand
The Lord will come for you.
 
 
Do you see the arrows sway
Bullets shot in thousands.
Sin and soul will burn away
Say goodbye to spouses.
 
When the Angels take us all
All will be forgotten.
The plagues are coming to the world
Death has us surrounded.
 
Jesus comes to fight the war
His armies trumpets sound'n.
Demons die, He Saved the world 
Blood has flowed from fountains.
 
 
WOAH.....Wait...  Wait... 
Fiery judgment is planned.
The Lord is coming soon.
 
WOAH.....Wait...  Just wait...
With sword in His hand
The Lord will come for you.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Time Machine

 
Music is a time machine. It only goes backwards, though.
 
It only takes a connection to a note or noise, and suddenly you're gone. For the next couple of minutes you are displaced, revisiting your sepia soaked summer sunset youth.  You can see your world from the outside in as though your present self is a ghost within your own history.
 
You’re there… but you’re not. You can’t touch or change or affect anything. All you can do is sing along. And yet… the spirit within the melody can reach in and touch you. It can give you something back. Something you lost.
 
A piece of yourself.
 
A memory.
 
 A joy.
 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Asher's Ascent


Beneath the tapered awning, just outside an aluminum screen door, lay a small golden grass doormat occupied by a sleeping ball of fur. The air was warm and wet and wakening noise was ricocheting off every surface of the trailer park early in the morning. It was a refuge for many people who had been cast aside by the world. A place where different people could settle together with humble homes for a time and enjoy a sense of community before moving on.

Asher, the little ball of fur on the golden grass doormat, has been here for some time. Much like the occupants of the park, he too had been left behind, owning only a collar and a name. You see, Asher is a cat with abnormal qualities. You wouldn’t know it watching him sleep the way he does, that this cat had been blessed with two sets of eyes; Four, for those of you not counting. He was a beautiful and sweet animal with orange wheat hair, but there must have been a wire or two crossed with the extra peepers because little Asher was pitiful in his inability to navigate. Most days he’d just lay around but every so often he’d make off as though he were exploring, moving trailer to trailer, bumping into sticks and walls as though he were completely unaware of the obstacles directly in his path.
 
 

He was a peculiar little creature… but the kids loved him.  They’d be coming outside to see him soon enough, grabbing little Asher and parading him around before heading off to school. He loved it.

However, today a strange arch of light had fallen on Asher. The cat looked up, seeing the bow of colorful rays reaching up to something just off in the distance. The sight was astonishing, not merely because it was unusual for a folk like you or me, but because this quadruple visioned feline could actually see it.  And I don’t know if a normal cat could observe the colors Asher was seeing, but doggonit he could see colors not even you or I could make out. He stared upward, looking into the tiny hole in the sky teasing him and the people making their way out of their homes noted and laughed. They couldn’t see it. They couldn’t see the wonderful path of light reaching down to Asher. Only his extra set of eyes knew for sure it was there. He reached his paw at it and….

It was something… Something solid. His little paw touched it. The people continued to walk past the little cat, amused at his typical oddball behavior but they couldn’t see it. They couldn’t touch it like Asher could. He pawed again… And again… Solid… Solid.  

Curiosity is oft warned of being the end of a cat, but nothing like this had ever happened to Asher. Nothing like this had ever happened to anyone he’d ever heard of. Even to a cat, none of it made any sense at all. The little ball of fur sat back and then pounced forward onto the solid beam of light and was now standing on it. He wandered up and down, step by step, sniffing and trying to scratch at this unknown ghostly path, but all his other sense failed to perceive it. The people saw the cat, who appeared to be floating, and marveled. They Ooohed and Ahhed and raced towards Asher, scaring the cat higher up the bow. The higher he climbed, the more he could see. And seeing how he couldn’t really see at all, it was easy to understand why Asher really liked that.
 

The little cat worked his way up the stream of light, moving into the clouds where upon reaching just past the thick ghost of white mist that obscured his now perfect vision, he saw something… Something large… Something wonderful. Atop the clouds he had been through on the arch of light was an enormous mountain, whose mouth flowed with rivers and water that overflowed at the edge. It was then that Asher understood where the wet air had come from. As he surveyed the incredible landscape that peaked with a palace atop the highest point, the little ball of fur began to evaluate the opportunity before him.

It was a new morning.

An Interview With Skyler

    I was asked if I'd be willing to do an interview with a friend of a friend's daughter who has a career project for school and wants to be a writer. I agreed, gave my email and received this sweet letter...
 
Hi My Name Is Skyler, I am doing a project in my 6th Grade ELA class where we are researching careers, and I might want to be an author, so I was wondering if you could answer some interview questions, P.S. if you could please reply before Feb. 7 2017. Thank You!!
 
This was my response.
  
Hello Skyler,
Thank you for reaching out to me. I’d be happy to help with your ELA project.
 

Interview Questions:


Do you believe that your job is needed in our society? Why or Why Not?
 

Writers are absolutely needed. Every form of media you watch or listen, whether it’s the news, a movie, a play, or a song,  is the product of writing. Writing has the distinct ability to change society, person by person, with the message conveyed by the author. A good writer can change the world.
 

What is the most challenging part of your job?
 

The most challenging part of the job is rejection. It is altogether possible to pour your heart and hundreds of hours into a project to have it be rejected over and over, or even worse, that it would be completely ignored.  Because of that, writing can be incredibly frustrating and lonely.  There are so many books available, old and new,  that it’s easy for your voice to become lost in an endless sea of stories. It takes a lot of time and effort to refine your skill and make a name for yourself so you can stand out among all the other aspiring authors.


Are you satisfied with your work conditions? (Office Space, Provided Materials and Salary)? Please Explain:
 
Yes and no. Writing is cathartic, providing an opportunity to express deep emotions and personal beliefs in an incalculable amount of ways. I often find myself in a quiet place and dethatch from the world and those moments can be wonderful. However, I am not a successful writer yet, which means there is very little money paid to me and no materials provided. Anything I have, my computer, pens, paper, etc… I had to purchase myself. As of this moment, I have invested more time and money into writing than I have received back, which means I have to work full time at another job in addition to making a path for myself as a writer.
 

What college or university did you go to, and do you think you made the right choice?

I attended the University of North Texas for my Bachelors Degree in Creative Writing. I think the college was a good choice, but I feel as though I didn’t commit to my education as much as I could have. I could have spent more time on my writing projects, networking, and  building relationships. Wherever you decide to go is not as important as making the most out of where you end up.
 

If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be, and why?

I would change the pay off.  When you are a writer, there is no guarantee that the hard work you put into your work will ever pay off.  There is no promise. You just have to try, and fail, and try again… until hopefully something comes of it.
 

Please, don’t let any of the challenges of success scare you away from a desire to become an author. Keep writing. There is hope, and a lot of little victories. You will have people you never met connecting with you in ways you never imagined, all because they were touched by your words. The challenge and difficulty make the rewards all the sweeter. Whether you decide to write children’s books,  scripts for movies, songs for musicians, or articles for magazines, your desire on the subjects is what will ultimately push you forward. Writing is a profession of passion. If you care deeply and love what you write, you will never be able to stop.
 

            I hope this helps and helps to shape your expectations. It’s hard but it can be done. There are many successful authors and the world is waiting for you to be the next one.

All my best,

J.D. Clair

 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

THE GREIGLE


 


On the eastern end of town, just past the aged chapel but just before the creek, is Howells abandoned farmhouse. The blood red paint had chipped and dulled to rust in the forsaken seasons, losing the luster of love. The grass grew high, swallowing stones and the bottom of broken tractors. Every kid in town knew about the farm, and knew to not go there. Stories were whispered of the late owners, Ralph and Helena Howell, and their sudden departure late in the night. No one ever saw them leave, mind you, but they must have. The police arrived one day to find the house vacant. They searched high and low, thinking the poor couple must have fallen ill, or worse, been murdered, but no one was ever found. The furniture was still there, collecting dust and spiders. There was even food left in the cellar. But strangely enough, all the pictures were taken off the walls. Not a single photo of the Howells was left in the entire house. At least, no one could find one.
 

It had become a tradition; a right of passage, for the bravest kids to sneak in and find a single photo of the Howells… and of the handful of children who tried, none had succeeded. Every one of them said the same thing… The lumber skeleton was exposed with rot on the inside, and the furniture was peculiarly stacked in the four corners. Garbage and debris had soiled the interior along with webs and dust. And there, in the center of it all, was an empty living room decorated with a circle of ash and char that burned into the old wood floors. Within the circle lay a pile of rocks, mocking the shape of a man, as though it outlined a body that once rested within its borders. There were noises too.  Everyone heard them, the scratching from within the walls, and a hollow voice calling them in the distance.  Nobody knew what had occurred in that dreadful place, but all who visited were in agreement that  the house was most certainly haunted. 
 

But today, it’s Katrina’s turn. Katrina wasn’t the fastest kid in her class, or even the prettiest, but she was the most determined. When playing baseball, she always gets a base hit. Every Single. Time. Even when the pitcher tries to beam her with the ball. She has to hit the ball herself. She taught herself how play the piano, just so she could win a talent competition that she didn’t have a talent for. And word had it that Katrina went four whole days without eating a single thing to protest her bedtime. As far as willpower was concerned, she was a legend. And today, the legend of Katrina would collide with the mysterious Howell’s farm.
 

Katrina arrived with a group of children in the mid afternoon. They all wanted to be witness to the spectacle of Katrina’s victory.
 

They cheered her on as she walked up the long path to the house alone, screaming. “You can do it, Katrina!”
 

But as the hours passed, the children began to lose faith in their friend. One by one they all began to leave. All except Katrina’s closest friend, Allyson.  That was until the eastern sky dimmed from an impatient sun.
 

“KATRINA! We have to go NOW. It’s getting dark.” Allyson yelled, staring into the evening sky. The air had become split. In the east the sun glowed orange hot, leaving pink and purple trails that arched up all the way to a heavy blue barrier, where the first stars of the night began to appear like silver scales in a deep ocean.
 

Katrina poked her head out of the house to see her friend sitting on the dirt road just past the crumbled driveway. “I have to find a picture. You can go if you want.” Katrina announced with determination.
 

“You’re insane! You can’t stay here alone. It’s going to be pitch black in 30 minutes.”
 

“No. I have to do this.” Katrina continued on  with a deep breath.
 

“You can’t.”
 

“Why not?”
 

“Because… It’s… I don’t know…”
 

“What’s going to happen to me? I’ve seen the house. There’s no one here. No one ever comes here. Besides, won’t it make for an even better story to find it in the dark?
 

“I can’t leave you here!” Allyson stomped.
 

“Then stay! Or better yet, come in and help me.” Katrina returned, smirking at the thrill of leaving her scared friend outside in the dark.
 

“We have to go.” Allyson demanded.
 

“Nope!” Katrina continued to fish through the festered belongings within the dusty farmhouse.

“I’m going to tell!” Allyson threatened.
 

“Then tell.”
 

Allyson stormed off, rushing towards the pink and orange skyline that became thinner and thinner until both were out of sight.
 

Katrina remained in the home until the nightshade turned everything cobalt and the temperature fell to an uncomfortable cold. The coarse breeze moved through the walls with little obstacle, causing the entire farmhouse to shift and bend. As much as she hated to admit it, the house had become too dark to search through, and despite that, Katrina had already searched it through many times. If there was a photograph surly she would have been the one to find it. Too proud to give up, but too smart to keep looking, Katrina came to the realization that there might not be a photograph to find.
 

Following the cold wind out of the house and into the high grass, Katrina listened to rattle of rusted chains and tools clanging in the yard. The high moon poured white milky light over the land.  Katrina stepped slowly, taking a moment to drink in the fullness of the sight. It was eerie, empty, and still somehow beautiful.
 

It was then that that a soft scrapping noise could be heard. A low, almost hollow voice called from nearby, beckoning. Katrina stopped moving to hear it more clearly. It wasn’t the chime of rusted tools in the yard. This noise of scrapping was coming from the well.
 

She walked cautiously to a stone well, hardly even peaking from the wild lawn. The closer she approached the more clearly the sounds became, and soon she could distinguish a moaning. It was human and sounded to be in great pain. She looked into the black pit and called down.
 

“Hello? Is someone in there? Do you need help?”

 

“Help” the moan mimicked, almost as if echoing Katrina’s concerned tone.

 

“Okay… Okay… Stay here. I’ll get someone.” Katrina turned in a hurried step to race off and call for help, when something grabbed her foot and caused her to fall with a heavy SMACK against the ground. Dazed, she reached back to find her foot tangled the metal snare.  It was a chain. Katrina fumbled around to free herself, when the chain pulled tight, leading deep within the well. Frantically she rushed to get the chain loose, but it pulled tighter and tighter, dragging her up the stone cylinder, and into the mouth of the well. She held on to those stones with white knuckled strength, as her lower body vanished into the dark below.

 

“Help!” She screamed. Then, with one last large tug, the chain tore her from her grip and claimed her body as she fell into the well.


 


 
      *Thud*

 

           There was no water. Katrina landed in a thick mud, absent of the pool of water she expected to be below. There were no walls, but an open cavern, dark and void on every side; Only a single moonbeam shinning in from the hole above.

 
 
“Oh, my farside child. You shouldn’t have come here. “A voice curled with sinister delight. “ Long dark fingers with clawed tips stretched out and tapped on the stone walls. Stepping into the sliver of light shining down within the well, he showed himself. He was oil black and scab red, like the raw skin under a pealed blister had swallowed his entire form. His fang-filled face winced in discomfort as though the slightest motion caused great pain. He was a monster.
 


“My God! What are you?”
 

“From many places… from unheard spaces, I am the Greigle.”
 

 “Let me go!” Katrina cried.” Please.”
 

"Oh, I will let you go... but first you need to give me something."
 

"What?" Katrina said, trying to keep herself from gagging at the sigh of such a horrid devil. “What do you want?”
 

"Did you find a photograph in the house?"
 

 "All of this for a lousy picture? No, I didn't find it, okay. Now let me out of here you worm!"
 

 "The deal was you'd give me the picture."
 

"But… But... I didn't make a deal with you." Katrina shot back.

 
 "Then be cursed! Mah-hal-amick-e-nah!" a serpent, whose body was hardly as tangible as a shadow, slithered from the lips of the Greigle n the well and into Katrina's startled frame.

 
 "What? What was that?"

 
“I have cursed you, child.
 

“But... There was no photograph. I didn't make a deal." Katrina shouted in disbelief. Knowing she had done nothing wrong. "Take the curse back!”

 

“There is no taking it back."

 

"I'll go back up and find the picture for you. Just let me go!"
 

"You can go, but a curse like this can’t be undone. From now forward those who you surround yourself with will be held in endless torment. Car crashes. Cancer. Hearts will fail. Skin will rot. Everyone around you will fall apart. Accident after accident, they will all be your fault.””
 

“What do you mean it can't be undone? There’s nothing I can do?”
 

“Absolutely nothing.” the Greigle stated, pleased in his unjust scheme.
 

“And everyone I’m around… My mom, my brothers, the bus driver, my class at school… Everyone will suffer because of me?” Katrina contemplated with deepening and rational thought.
 

“Terribly.” The monster grinned devilishly.
 

“Then I will stay here... With you! May the curse you gave me be your curse as well.”
 

“But you’ll never see your family again.” The Greigle tried to persuade her.
 

“I’d rather die alone than bring pain upon anyone I love. You did this to me… So I’m doing it to you.”
 

"You can't do this to me." the devil pleaded, looking for an excuse to convince Katrina out of her decision. "If you do this, you'll die."
 

"Then we die together you wretched creature."
 

She had made up her mind. Nothing more could be done. There Katrina stayed, arms crossed in the bottom of the well, staring into the eyes of evil. Her jaw set. She was not moving.

Monday, January 9, 2017

ROOTS: A Peculiar Tale


Mom was raised really religious. I mean, nose in a Bible all day long. No TV. Nothing. So when Mom got pregnant she insisted I have a Biblical name. Dad on the other hand didn’t really care much for the spiritual. Said it was too much nonsense. After a lot of debate they came to an agreement. He could pick any name, just as long as it came from the Bible. I know you’re thinking he chose something cool like Abraham, or Jacob, or even Enoch. Nope. My dad chose Abimelech.   He’s kind of an asshole like that.
 
As if that weren’t bad enough they decided to call me Bimmy. I’m not really sure which is worse, but I guess it doesn’t matter too much because most people just call me “Hey you!” or “Harry Potter”. Whatever.  I can’t blame anyone but myself. It’s been a while since I cut my long dark hair and I do have round glasses. It didn’t help that I was always reading too. 

Everything else seemed normal, bland even, until the day I met Todd.  

It was autumn. I was in 8th grade and school had just let out. Everything was wet and cold with a casual rain, turning the asphalt roads and  paths into an enormous black mirror. I was walking through the park on my way home. 

“Hey you!” a voice called. “Harry Potter, over here.”  

“Original.” I replied disinterested. I looked over to see a High School aged boy running over to me. He was athletic and wearing a thick black hoodie similar to mine. 

“I’m sorry. I don’t know your name.” He said politely. 

“It’s okay. I’m Bimmy.” 

“Seriously?” He asked.  

I nodded with the same kind of odd grin I give everyone, while cursing at my dad’s sick sense of humor. 

 “That’s cool, I guess. I’m Todd.
 

“Okay…” I was kind of curious what an older kid wanted to talk to me about, half expecting it to be some sort of weird prank. “What’s up?” 
 

“There’s something peculiar about you.” Todd said to me, implying more than I could understand at the time. 

“Yeah. It’s a name. I’ll get it changed when I’m older.”  

“No. It’s something else… Wait! You don’t know do you?” 

I stared through Todd as if he was speaking in tongues.  I had no idea what he meant. 

“ Oh man. This is great. Okay… You are a Peculiar child. Gifted. Think X-Men.” 

“I’m not sure I understand.”

“You have abilities.” 

“Abilities? Like what? Please say metal claws.” 

“I don’t know. You have something though. I can see it in your reflection.” Todd looked down and I did too, seeing our reflection in the wet surface. 

“I don’t see anything.” I said. 

“But I can. Your second soul. It’s glowing green. That’s my peculiarity. I can see other peculiars souls in their reflections. 

“So you’re telling me that not only do souls exist but that I have two of them.” 

Todd nodded. 

“Thanks for the spiritual lesson.” I continued with a passive aggressive tone. “I’m sure my Christian mom and Atheist dad would be thrilled to hear that.” I actually laughed at the thought of both of their heads exploding in one earth shattering revelation that proved both their worldviews wrong. 

“You don’t get it.” He said with excitement.  “I bet you I can go under there?” Todd pointed down.

I looked at him confused, searching for a hatch or manhole lid. “Under where?”

“Ha! You said underwear!”

Todd’s an asshole.

“I’ll show you.” Todd stood still for a second, letting his body go rigid and in a single moment slipped through the ground into the black mirror below.

 


And just like that my world was turned upside down.  I moved around to see that Todd still existed in the mirror. I couldn’t hear him, but I could see him. He walked around  and jumped, making gestures that I could only assume meant “See! See!” He even put his hands through where I should have been, reached through my reflective body.  The entire experience sent chills of excitement and eeriness through my body like electricity.  It was so unnatural to not be able to feel the thing I was seeing. It was as though he was a ghost.  A minute or so later Todd came back through the wet black mirror he passed through.

“WOW! That was incredible. Where did you go?”

“We call it the Underneath. It’s where Peculiars like us go when we die: The Land of the second souls.”

“Like us? Does this mean I can do that?” I asked with dumbfounded excitement.

“Probably not that… but you can do something.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. I knew a girl once who could make plants grow really big and another one who could make fire.”

“Could you see me on the other side?”

“Yeah. It’s really weird.

“How do you do it? Maybe if I do what you do it’ll happen.”

“I get really still and think about water. Then my body just goes through”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.

“Sounds simple. Let me try.” I stood still for a minute or so, clenching my eyes trying to think about water; Trying to feel anything change in me. Nothing happened.

“Think of something else.” Todd implored.

“Okay… I got this.” I began looking around at the various things in the park hoping to find something elemental that could bring this peculiarity out of me. Water didn’t work, so why not air? I took in deep breaths of the crisp autumn breeze… Nothing. A man was smoking nearby. I concentrated on the burning embers that grew brighter orange as he took in a long drag… Nothing.

My mind wondered off as I searched through the scenery for anything to bring out this peculiarity. Maybe I could grow plants like that one girl Todd mentioned. I stared at the tree and squinted, trying to use my mind to make the dying leaves transform from the rose colored bouquet it had become back to its vibrant green. I could feel something in my body tingle a little. 

“What are you doing?” Todd asked.

“I’m trying to make the tree grow. I think its working.” My whole body felt aware, as if my nerves were extending out of my skin.

“Yeah it is. Look!”

“I don’t see it.” I said , staring even harder at the tree.

“No.. I mean, look!”  Todd pointed to the reflection in the water. All at once I could see that the change wasn’t happening in the foliage around me, but in myself. I was becoming a plant. My hands had all but disappeared into a tangled mess of wild roots. Thorns had pricked outward, making holes in my clothes. And moment by moment I was shrinking into an adolescent shrub.
 
 

            “What? No! Make it stop!” How do I stop it?”

            “I don’t know. Mine just goes back and forth easy. It’s not slow like this.”

            “What if I can’t stop it? What if I can’t turn back?”

            “I don’t know….”

“Well shit, Todd. You better figure-it –the-hell-out.”

            “I’m sorry. I didn’t know this was going to happen.”

            My body was transforming and I was freaking out. I was being pulled into the cold wet ground; the roots finding homes in the wet soil.  I tried to refocus and calm down. My face went blank for a moment when I realized something had to be done.

I didn’t know if it was instinct or desperation but I knew it was either him or me. I grabbed on to Todd. I could feel my body transform  from meat to vegetation, as limbs became vines. He tried to pull away and I held on even tighter, letting my thorns dig into him. He thrashed and screamed as the roots began to dig into his skin.  I could feel it all, the draining of life-like liquid as I absorbed the second soul from within him, consuming his skill. I could feel it all as though I were finally able to see the green glow in the mirror world from his eyes. I was taking his ability.

Todd didn’t deserve it. He was only trying to help me find my peculiarity. In a way I guess he succeeded.

“I’m sorry Todd.” I said as his body sunk and digested in my stem. I began to think of water, like Todd did, and I was instantly pulled into the Underneath. There my transformation into herbage had stopped and I was returning back to my normal self.  I looked deeply into the reflection of the water between the Underneath and the world of normal people. I could see Todd’s soul blended into my own, hidden behind my new white eyes. We had been fused into a single being.  

Turns out I’m kind of an asshole too. I guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.