Saturday, January 24, 2015

Abandoned Child

     Once again Sam Goode missed the last bus. Sam submerges himself in his work and misses the bus to the commuter train platform more often than not. He thinks about work even as he walks the several blocks of dark streets.
     On this particular night, Sam's attention is drawn to a house which escaped him until this moment. Well, not the house per se, but to a dim light that reveals the front door standing open. He halts his trek to the train to study the situation. Whoever lives here may be in need of help. He pulls his cellphone from his pocket as he walks up the few steps to the house, but he doesn't make a call. From the stoop, he turns to look back to the street and to either side of the house. No one to be seen. Not a sound. He returns his attention to the open door. He knocks and shouts, 'Hello? Anybody home?' and steps inside.
     The light emanates from a single bulb hanging from the ceiling at the far end of a hallway. Nothing seems to be disturbed, though an outsider can never tell with certainty about a stranger's housekeeping. In this case, none of the sparse furniture is overturned. No drawers pulled out or emptied by ransacking. No one has answered his call. No one is home. Sam decides the resident left in a hurry and failed to latch the door. He is about to leave when someone sobs. 'Hello? Is someone here?' he calls out a second time. Again there is no reply, only continued crying. Sam's palms begin to moisten. He shouldn't be in someone else's house. He is beginning to suspect a crime of the sort he needs to avoid. He decides to leave.
     The crying gets louder. Sam realizes a child is crying. He can't leave now. Who would leave a child alone in his darkened house? The sobbing and cries now advanced to wailing. A door creaks open revealing stairs to the pitch-black basement. Sam switches on the flashlight app on his phone and proceeds step-by-step on high alert down into the darkness. Halfway, he pauses and scans the chamber with his flashlight. In the far corner sits a little boy. He stops crying when the light shines on him. A lot of questions need asking, but he doesn't want to overwhelm the boy.
     'What's your name?'
     'Sammy.'
     Sam squats to look the boy in the face as he talks with him.  'Sam is my name, too. What are you doing down here all by yourself.'
     'Waiting. I want to go outside and play. Will you play with me, Sam?'
     'Too late to play outside. Who left you here?'
     'Will you give me a hug, Sam. I'm a little cold.'
     'Sure, I will, kid.' Sam wraps his arms around the child and holds him close to his chest. 'You didn't answer me. Who left you here?
     'I feel warmer now.'
     'Sammy, you're avoiding my question. You're only a little kid. I want to know who left you here?'
     'You did.'
     'I did? That's not possible, Sammy. We've never met. You're mistaken.'
     'Sam, you left me here when you started working and you never came back. Hold me closer, will you? I'm shivering.'
     Sam tightened his embrace to warm the child all the while wondering what he should do with Sammy. Minutes passed. Sam stroked Sammy's hair and the child says, 'I love you, Sam. Please take me with you' as he began to fade away. Fade isn't accurate to describe what happened next. Sam's body absorbed the boy leaving him sitting alone in the dark basement hugging himself. Tears began to roll down Sam's cheeks. The upper door hinges creak again and begins to close.

      

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Between Floors

     Work made for a long, tiring day. Bridget focused on getting into her third-floor apartment, kicking off her Diane Von Furstenberg heels and collapsing into her plush club chair with a glass of wine. For once she opted to take the elevator than climb the flights of stairs. After today she didn't need any further exercise. She pushed the button and the elevator doors opened. She stepped inside and pushed the button for home, glad to be alone and not obligated to chat.
     As the doors closed and the elevator began to ascend, the lights went out. 'Damn. At least this is a short ride,' she said out loud to no one.
     'Touch me.' A man's voice. 'Go ahead. I know you want to. Touch me.'
     She was certain the car was empty when she entered. She panicked. Without any light the buttons all felt the same so she punched them all.
     'Touch me.'
     Panic turned to near hysteria. Again, she punched all the buttons wanting one of the to stop the elevator and open the doors. The elevator halted and the doors opened at the rear. Bridget assumed she was disoriented in the darkness and exited.
      Moments later, the elevator doors opened to the third floor. The lights were on and another resident entered. He spotted a woman's handbag on the floor. He picked it up and looked inside. The wallet contained a driver's license belonging to Bridget Houlihan which he pocketed.
     The man exited when the doors opened onto the lobby. He handed the bag to the doorman.
     'This was on the floor of the elevator. There's no I.D. but the wallets has some cash in it. Someone's bound to miss it.'
     'Very kind of you, sir. Thank you.'
     'Good night.'
     'Good night, sir.'
 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Watcher, Part Two

     His bladder is pressing for relief. Sandman hesitates to get off the bed because of a mysterious red eye staring from across the room. With caution he swings his legs over the edge of the bed slides his feet into waiting slippers. He walks into the bathroom without turning on the light. The white commode is effervescent in the moonlight. He sits. After his bladder is satisfied, he flushes the toilet with an elbow, turns on the tap, rinses his hands, dries them on the hand towel provided and returns to bed.
     The eye maintains its surveillance. Sandman turns his back to the eye and covers his head with one of the pillows.He can still sense the continuous stare. In the pre-dawn light he strains to determine an outline of the man or beast with the eye. He cannot. On his back now, he tucks his hands underneath his head and stares back at the eye. He is so focused on the eye the night clerk using a special glass pressed against the peephole allowing him full view of his naked body stretched out on top of the bed goes undetected. A sudden noise raises an alert; a kind of hissing-sucking salacious sound. His attention goes to the door. 'Who's there?' he calls out. 'Is someone there?' He waits for a reply. None comes. Still the hissing-sucking continues. He decides to pull back the bedspread from one side and cover himself. Better to get a bedbug bite or two than some pervert getting his jollies.
     More hissing. More sucking. The rooms fills with the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. Of course, the machine sits on the small refrigerator next to the desk. He forgot since he didn't plan to make coffee. The maid or someone probably set a times before he checked in. Sleepy now, he relaxed into the bedcovers. He told himself 'fifteen more minutes' as he closed his eyes.
     The coffeemaker disguised the sound of hundreds if not thousands of tiny feet marching across the room. In a matter of seconds they will reach their prey. A skeletal arm and hand extend out from under the bed and tries to beat a warning against the floor. Hollow bones on carpet aren't loud enough, nor quick enough.
     When the maid arrives later in the morning, the mans' bags and clothes remain as he left them. She changes the towels and vacuums a path from the door to the bed. She leaves without discovering or disturbing the guests under the bed.

The Watcher, Part One

    Harold Sandman hates motel rooms. Work forces him to stay in a lot of them. Motels make being a travelling salesman possible. Nothing recommends this one in the New Mexican desert over any of the other rooms this week. He settles his sample case on the floor below the window and hangs his two-suiter on the rod serving as a closet. He pushes a wide strap off his the shoulder bag.causing the bag containing changes of underwear and socks, a pair of jeans, a couple of polo shirts, a pull-over sweater, and his toiletries to land near his feet. Sandman doesn't open either of the bags of clothing to unpack and put away. Bugs. He doesn't want to risk bugs getting into his clothes, spreading plague and waiting to bite him. Instead, Harold strips off his travel clothes and fold them neatly into a cotton laundry bag he always carries with him which he places in an outside zippered compartment on the shoulder bag and takes a shower.
     Afterwards, he removes a pair of jeans and one of the shirts to dress for his search for a decent meal. He is meticulous in closing and re-locking the bag. He picks up his room key from the little desk common to every motel room and heads for the requisite coffee shop frequented by road-weary travelers.
     After his meal, he returns to his room to review his appointment schedule for the next day. He takes off his clothes with the same care he put them on, folds them and seals them back in the shoulder bag. He props himself against the headboard bolted to the wall, reviews his paperwork, returns the papers to the briefcase and the briefcase to the little writing desk no full grown adult can sit at and use. Again, he makes himself comfortable on the bed and channel surfs the television until he can't keep his eyes open. He turns out the light and fall asleep on top of the covers where he presumes no bedbugs can survive the air conditioning.
     Sometime during the pre-dawn hours Harold Sandman is startled awake with the awareness someone is watching him sleep

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The White Van

     Grey morning rain and sleet coated the streets. The chilled air is a great motivator to walk quickly. The timer on the signal light showed twenty-three seconds remaining to cross the four lanes of the boulevard. I knew I could make it, but a voice said 'Wait.' Twenty seconds remaining. I could still make it. Again, the voice said, 'Wait.' I decided I would cross the side street instead of the boulevard when the light changed and cross the boulevard at the next block. And then it happened.
     A white van sped up the hill from the river far too fast. The driver slid into a left turn, coming to a stop inches from a man who was standing on the corner. The driver of the van was only second away from pinning the man against a light pole. Ten seconds remained on the clock.
     While I stood watching the seconds click away, the van didn't move, nor did the man who stood on the corner. All activity suspended for those remaining seconds before the signal light changed.
     Ten seconds from not making it to work yesterday. Nine. Eight. Seven. Whoever spoke to me saved me.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

MISTER R Opening Scenes

FADE IN:

EXT. DIMLY LIT NEW YORK STREET. WAREHOUSES AND CLOSED

SHOPS.

A young blonde woman looks nervous and scared as she

hurries along a sidewalk. Every few steps she glances back

to see who is following her. Her heels click on the

pavement so she stops to remove her shoes. She looks behind

her once more and screams. A black shadow overtakes her.

She is next seen laying on her back on the pavement as she

tries to fight off a dark figure in silhouette. Something

glints in the streetlight. The young woman screams louder.

EXT. SAME URBAN STREET WHERE THE YOUNG WOMAN

COLLAPSED.PORTABLE FLOOD LIGHTS ALLOW US TO SEE POLICE CARS

AND AN AMBULANCE ARE ON THE SCENE.

A body on a gurney is loaded into the back of the

ambulance. Sebastian Stephens is talking to a young

detective identified as Nolte by the I.D. badge hanging

from his neck. An older man slips out of an alley wearing a

fedora and a black topcoat with the collar turned up. He

sees the police activity, pulls the brim of his hat down

over his eyes and detours away from the gathering. He

passes a taxidermy shop window filled with birds. A crow is

prominently positioned in the center of the display facing

the street.

EXT. EARLY SUMMER. MIDNIGHT. NEW ORLEANS.

MASSIVE FAST-APPROACHING STORM CLOUDS APPEAR TO BE LEAD BY

A MURDER OF CROWS FLYING PAST IDENTIFIABLE LANDMARKS

STREETS. THE CROWS CONTINUE WEST CIRCLING THE GARDEN

DISTRICT AND LOWER TO THE GARDEN GATE ON THE SIDE OF

SEBASTIAN STEPHENS' HOUSE. THE GATE OPENS ITSELF TO REVEAL

A BEAUTIFUL WELL-KEPT FRENCH STYLE GARDEN. THE LEAD CROW

DESCENDS AND LANDS IN THE SHADOWS NEAR THE HOUSE. A PAIR OF

INCREDIBLE BLUES EYES STARES OUT FROM THE DARKNESS. NO

OTHER FACIAL FEATURES ARE DISCERNIBLE AS THE CROW SURVEYS

THE STEPHENS' GARDEN: THE BACKDROP OF FLOWERS, THE GARDEN

LIGHTS, THE BRICK WALK LEADING THE VIEWER TO THE PATIO AND

FINALLY TO THE SEATED FIGURE OF SEBASTIAN STEPHENS. HE IS

30-ISH, FULL-CUT AUBURN HAIR, HIS FACE IS CONTOURED BY

STUBBLE. HE WEARS A PALE BLUE V-NECK PULLOVER SHIRT OVER

KHAKI PANTS AND SOCKLESS CORDOVAN LOAFERS. HE IS SIPPING A

GLASS OF ICED TEA AND IMPATIENTLY LOOKING AT HIS WATCH.

2.

Mister R steps out of the shadow of the house. He is

dressed completely in black except for pearl grey gloves.

Everything about him shows wear and age.

MISTER R

Mister Stephens? Good evening.

Sebastian stands at attention. Defensive. He and Mister R

size each other up for fight or flight like territorial

animals.

SEBASTIAN

I expected you hours ago. You said

this was an urgent matter, yet

you're late.

MISTER R

My apologies. You were kind to

agree to see me on such short

notice.

SEBASTIAN

You caught me by surprise, sir. Do

you always come around the rear of

a house when you call on people?

MISTER R

I knocked at the front door. There

was no answer. What a magnificent

garden. You have quite a green

thumb, Mister Stephens.

SEBASTIAN

(Holding up his hands for

inspection.) No green thumbs here.

My parents created this. All I do

is water the plants and replace

them as they die. No special

talent.

MISTER R

Still, you keep the magic going.

SEBASTIAN

Magic?

MISTER R

Of course.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Borrowers

     Where is my knit cap and my gloves? I had everything else I needed to go to work except my knit cap and gloves. I searched everywhere. The closet shelves and floor, under the bed and between the bed and the headboard, the kitchen, the living room, everywhere and they were nowhere to be found. Time was getting late to leave, so I relented and took another less-warm pair of gloves, but that was my only hat.
     My roommate emerged from his room just as I opened the door to leave. I asked him if he had notices my missing items when he came in the night before. He hadn't, but he would help me look again. 'No worries,' I replied. 'I've already done a thorough search. They aren't here.'
     'They have to be somewhere,' my friend replied.
     'The elves must have needed them. They'll bring them back when they're done with them.'
     When I arrived home from work that evening, my gloves and knit cap lay on the foot of my bed.