Monday, February 5, 2007

Parallel

Just to give you an idea of where we're going, here's the introduction to our comic book. This will surely change quite a bit as it moves from short story to script to artwork. But at its core, it's the same stories and characters you've already met. This piece draws primarily on Sophie and The Attic. We're just tying them all together into something larger. Hope you like it!


Sophie slept. Her ice-blonde hair covered her closed eyes in chunky shards. Less than a mile away, Wyatt was making his escape.

"That's my girl, Emma," he cooed to the girl, barely over 20, who was pulling a chair into the center of her hospital room's floor. "See the door?"

She winced. She hated his voice. Though to her, it sounded much like her own voice rattling around in her head. And in any place but a place like this, no one else would have been able to hear him.

At The Briar, Wyatt had lots of potential friends. The crazy and the gifted both ended up here, and they were the only ones who listened to... people like Wyatt. Yes, people is close enough.

Emma was too short to reach the ceiling even from the chair, much less pull herself up into it. "Rabbit?" Her voice was shaky, her eyes dilated, her hands bloody again. "Rabbit? I can't get the door open."

Wyatt wished there were a broom, or a ladder, or something useful in the sparse room. "Try the other chair. Lift it over your head and pull the door down with it." Emma got the second chair, climbed up again, and held it over her head with the legs in the air. Eventually she managed to knock one of the ceiling tiles away, leaving a black hole in the center of the ceiling.

"No ladder," she muttered.

"Stack the chairs."

"I'll fall!"

"You only have to get into the attic. Who cares if the chairs fall after you've got your grip?"

In all honesty, Wyatt didn't care that much if the chairs fell before she'd got her grip. A little, because Emma was gifted and crazy, and could be valuable. Still, ultimately replaceable.

But she managed. As the two of them climbed into the ceiling, the chairs fell over on the white tiles with a loud thud.

Sophie was shifting in her sleep.

In the dream, she was four again. Just old enough to remember. A phone was ringing in the kitchen. She peeked out of her old bedroom, began an endless march down the hall of her childhood home. The darkly-stained wood floor shifted, twisted and grew longer and longer. The ringing in the distance stopped, cut off by her mother's voice.

"Hello? ... Gillian, hello! ... I was just finishing up in the kitchen. We should be at the service in less than an hour..."

The voice anchored Sophie's perspective, and walking became much easier. She made it to the end of the hallway.

Emma and Wyatt were making their way down their own dark hall, on hands and knees through itchy, ancient insulation. Emma was beginning to whimper, frightened of whatever she saw in the dark.

"Don't worry, girl," said Wyatt, trying (and failing) to be comforting. "We're getting out of here. There should be an elevator shaft. Just feel along for it."

The ceiling groaned underneath them, and a tile fell out from under Emma, crashing onto the floor of a concrete room below. Hopefully no one was around to hear it.

"Kitchen," said Emma.

Wyatt didn't argue with her.

Sophie turned to see her mother standing over their old iron stove, an anachronism she insisted on including in an otherwise modern 1970's kitchen. "Momma?"

"Sophie, honey, what's wrong?" asked her mother, holding a hand over the phone's receiver.

"I'm having a bad dream," she said, thinking, That's not quite right, is it? And she ran toward her mother's arms.

Emma and Wyatt were almost at the elevator shaft, near the corner of the top floor of the building, when the ceiling started to give way.

Sophie tripped over the telephone chord. She put out her hands to brace her fall.

Emma tried to hang on to the thin metal beams between the empty spaces of the ceiling, but those gave way, too.

Sophie fell onto the hot stove and screamed, trying to pull her hand away.

Emma hit the floor with a sick, soft noise.

Sophie's mother dropped the telephone, running to her and grabbing her arms, pulling as hard as she could.

Wyatt watched as blood began to pool around Emma's head.

Sophie passed out as the flesh of her right hand tore, leaving tendons and smoking skin on the iron.

"Dammit," said Wyatt. "Dammit."

They're so fragile.

Sophie woke up. She didn't wake up screaming anymore, just sweating. She wiped the sweat from her forehead with her right hand. That hand had a hole in the center of the palm. You could see right through it.

 

4 comments:

David Hodges said...

Love the little hints that drop from somewhere unknown and point somewhere else unknown, like: "her hands were bloody again." Every other sentence is oblique in one way or another. Keeps the mystery mysterious.

simpleton said...

I want that comic.

Aura said...

This was really good!!

Michael-Ann said...

To be honest, I was never a comic book reader (perhaps a couple of issues of the Fabulous Furry Freak brothers back in the 70's) so my point of comparison is not very good... BUTTTtttt... I really like your style of writing, you manage to create a great sense of the characters and the "mood" in very short order.

When I read your posts I ALWAYS come to the end of each one thinking "...AND?!!!..."