30 Day Challenge: Day 22 – Motives (Extract 2)

 

 

See Day 6 for Extract 1.

 

INT. MILLETT-JONES HOUSE, KITCHEN – DAY

FELICITY, JULIA, ADELAIDA and LILY are sat around the table. All take a sip of their drinks. Calm. Then:

ADELAIDA: So, Ed got himself fired.

FELICITY: No…

ADELAIDA: Yeah. He was messing with the numbers so he could bring a little extra home and guess what? The stupid bastard got caught…

LILY: What do you mean, messing with the numbers?

ADELAIDA: Carrying the two over, flipping the one, dividing the seven… I don’t know. All I know is that he was screwing his clients out of a lot of money…

JULIA: Why? He makes a shit-tonne as it is! I assume…

Julia drinks her wine quickly.

LILY: What are you gonna do?

ADELAIDA: Well, I mean, I can make money from my business until he finds another job…

Pause. Felicity, Julia and Lily look unsure, awkward almost.

Julia reaches in her bag and takes out another bottle of wine, stalling for time, while Felicity and Lily avoid eye contact with Adelaida. The three seem to indicate to one another that one of them should ask the obvious question.

Julia finally asks less than sensitively:

JULIA: So…remind me, what are you on now? The hand-made stationary or the kids’ clothes?

ADELAIDA: No, the jewellery.

Julia pours herself another glass of wine.

JULIA: Right, of course…

FELICITY: Wait, what happened to the candles?

ADELAIDA: Oh, that was ages ago. Before the wind chimes.

LILY: I forgot about the wind chimes…

Adelaida fiddles with her earrings.

ADELAIDA: My jewellery’s good though, right? You’ve seen it. I can make enough money with it…

Felicity, Julia and Lily nod, unconvinced, all sipping from their drinks to avoid commenting.

ADELAIDA (CONT’D): I just can’t believe he’d be so stupid. You know what his defence was? He was worried he wasn’t making enough money for me…

FELICITY: At least your husband was trying to make you happy…

LILY: What’s Doug done now?

FELICITY: He stole my job.

ADELAIDA: What? He got Partner?

FELICITY: Yep. And he didn’t tell me about it until all the contracts were signed. He didn’t even tell me he was going for it! How shady is that?

JULIA: Bit of a dick move.

LILY: You were planning on going back to work soon, Flick?

FELICITY: Well, yeah. Zach and Danny will go to school in September, and Matty and George will be old enough for nursery, so I figured I’d go back then then Lawrence would promote me, as promised… But apparently my husband beat me to it.

Felicity finishes her wine. Julia goes to fill Felicity’s glass, but she puts her hand over the top of it indicating that she doesn’t want any more.

ADELAIDA: So, when you go back you’re gonna be-

FELICITY: Doug’s employee… And there’s no chance of any of the other partners leaving or retiring any time soon so I’ll never make partner there now…

JULIA: I can’t believe he didn’t tell you about it.

FELICITY: I know. But it all makes sense now… This is why he put so many babies in me. It was all part of his plan to steal my job.

JULIA: Well, at least your husband put his baby juice in you and not in someone else.

LILY: What?!

Julia goes to answer when:

ADELAIDA: Jack cheated.

Adelaida pours herself another glass. Julia looks over to Adelaida, annoyed.

LILY: No…

JULIA: Oh yeah… With our young, skinny, perky, attractive, homewrecking, dick-sucking, husband-fucking, STD-carrying, dumbshit slutbag twat bitch whore of a secretary…

Julia downs her wine. Pause. The others are sat in a state of shock at Julia’s rant. Then:

ADELAIDA: You know what? I hate men… Like, why would Ed think I need more money?

Julia looks pissed off that her problem has been sidelined.

ADELAIDA (CONT’D): My God, have you seen the size of our house?

JULIA: People from space have, Adie.

Julia holds her glass out to Adelaida, indicating she wants some more wine. Adelaida is oblivious.

FELICITY: Why can’t men have babies and go on maternity leave and fuck up their careers?

Julia clears her throat, trying to get Adelaida’s attention.

ADELAIDA: They wouldn’t be able to take it.

Julia taps her glass with her fingernail to try and get Adelaida’s attention. Adelaida still doesn’t notice.

ADELAIDA (CONT’D): Have you seen that video on Facebook with the two guys with the…what are they called? You know, the things… The electrodes! And they get shocks that are like contractions-

JULIA: I’ll give you a contraction if you don’t give me the bloody wine!

ADELAIDA: Oh, sorry, Jules.

Adelaida passes Julia the bottle. Julia pours herself another glass.

FELICITY: Anyway, what about you, Lily? What’s going on with you?

Lily shrugs, smiling.

LILY: Nothing really, everything’s good.

JULIA: Oh come on, Nick must have done something…

LILY: Nope.

ADELAIDA: He hasn’t forgotten to do something or said something stupid or pissed on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night and let you walk in it?

The others look to Adelaida, like ’what?’

ADELAIDA (CONT’D): Honestly, I could pee standing up and aim better.

JULIA: So, nothing?

Lily shakes her head.

FELICITY: You make it so hard to like you sometimes, Lil…

Everyone laughs, but they all know there’s an element of truth to what Felicity said.

30 Day Challenge: Day 21 – Burn, Burn, Burn

 

 

Ok, so I did say you’d never see a poem on here, but it’s Day 21 and I’m deprived of all creativity right now… So you’re getting a weird kind of sort of poem that’s not a poem because it’s a story but it rhymes… Just deal with it.

I wrote this in a poetry class I was forced to take at uni –  I’ve given it a quick edit and that’ll have to do for Day 21. I’ll try harder tomorrow, I promise.

Here’s Burn, Burn, Burn. (I’m sorry.)

 

She lit the photo and watched it flame, silently thinking “Burn, burn, burn,” while she sat stationary in the ruins of their life, knowing she was nothing if she wasn’t his wife. She knew he was the one to blame, and so she whispered, “Burn, burn, burn,” whilst he lay upstairs drenched in his adulterous ways, she let the flames turn into a blaze. As the heat ripped through all she had to her name, desperately she cried out “Burn, burn, burn!” while the scarlet storm scorched her fingertips, and the smoke began to stain her lips. She didn’t feel an inch of shame, and all she screamed was “Burn, burn, burn!” His betrayal raged through her heart more than the heat, lost in obsession, she shrieked, “You evil fucking cheat!” The life they had she could never reclaim, and so she wished him to burn, burn, burn. Engulfed in anger, she ignored his smoke-filled cries, only recalling his million lies. She was done playing his awful game and so she let herself burn, burn, burn. Then he staggered down, woozy from the fume, while she sat, still, imprisoned in her own tomb. He dragged her outside like she was his to claim, and she still was cursing him; “Burn, burn, burn!”

They watched the house glow with fire, how the hell did things get this dire? And when he turned to her, and roared, “You stupid bitch, you could have killed us! When will you learn?” She looked at him, knowing that only in hell would he burn, burn, burn.

 

30 Day Challenge: Day 20 – Perspectives (Novel Extract)

 

 

See Day 8 for Chapters 1 & 2, and Day 13 for Chapter 3.

Chapter 4: Amelia

She doesn’t answer. Of course she doesn’t answer. Melanie has to be one of the most closed off patients I’ve ever worked with. She’s pretty much incapable of answering a question straight; each response she gives can be interpreted in at least seventy-three different ways. It’s like having a conversation with Google search. What’s really baffling about her though is how she’s able to control her body language; she gives very little away. Her blood work has told me more about her than she has.

‘We all have fights in our marriages, Melanie. I mean, just this morning, my husband came downstairs and complained that breakfast wasn’t ready and that annoyed me…’

She stares through me; I’m not sure she heard anything I said – not because she’s crazy, but just because she couldn’t care less if she tried. Fact of the matter is, I don’t actually think she is crazy.

There’s something more to her story, something neither she nor her husband have told me. What Richard said about her doesn’t all add up as it should. I believed every word he said when I interviewed him, but the more I think about it, the more plot holes I find. He said she was delusional, but she’s shown absolutely no sign of any confusion here. He said she likes a drink, but she’d have been suffering from withdrawal symptoms if she was as dependent on alcohol as he implied. He said she was a compulsive liar, but in the time she’s been here she’s barely opened her mouth enough to tell a lie. Politicians on the other hand, well, all they do is lie.

I think Melanie’s afraid I won’t believe her. I don’t blame her. She knows as well as I do that psychiatric patients aren’t usually the most reliable of sources. Something tells me that she isn’t like other patients we have here in the hospital. Either that or she’s one hell of a good actress.

I’ll try a different tactic.

‘My husband is cheating on me.’

Now that got her attention. Her head bolted up so fast to look me in the eye that I’m surprised her neck didn’t snap. I can see the judgement wash over her face as she tries to figure out why I just told her that.

The cool, collected facade slips a little, revealing just a glimpse of vulnerability. I’d put money on it; Richard really is having an affair. Very smart – covering up the truth with the truth. Well played, Senator.

‘With some blonde woman from his office. All boobs and ass, no brain.’

She smirks; she knows I’ve figured it out. She’s as sane as I am.

‘Sounds like a real whore.’

I’ll say. Debra Louise – no last name, just Debra Louise. Weird, right? She’s tall, she’s thin, and she’s a lot younger than I am. That’s according to her Facebook page, anyway. Typical; my husband had to have an affair with a cliche, didn’t he?

‘And why exactly are you telling me this?’ Melanie has a unique ability to completely control a room, even now; I’m the only one who can get her out of this place, and yet she talks to me as if I’m one of her housekeepers.

‘Just so you know I understand the desire for revenge.’

James has been sleeping with his little slut for nine months now. All the stereotypical signs that you see in movies were there – makeup on his collar, receipts in his pocket for flowers I never received, overnight stays in expensive hotels for non-existent conferences. It’s amazing that I didn’t realise for so long. I guess it’s true; we only see what we want to see.

‘And what’s that got to do with me?’

I can’t help but smile. She knows damn well what it’s got to do with her.

‘Is your husband having an affair?’

30 Day Challenge: Day 19 – Unsaid

 

 

He played ‘PLAIN’ and I played ‘PROUD’ then he played ‘SOUR’ so I played ‘SELFISH.’ He put ‘HATEFUL’ and I put ‘ANGRY’ then he put ‘JUDGY’ but I said ‘That’s not a word.’ So he changed it to ‘PICKY.’ I placed ‘CHILDISH’ and he placed ‘DULL’ then I placed ‘SPITEFUL’ so he placed ‘BITCH.’ I swapped a letter and he put ‘SLUT’ then I put ‘JEALOUS’ so he put ‘WHORE.’  I played ‘CRUEL’ and he played ‘VICTIM’ then I played ‘ABUSIVE’ so he tipped the board over and the words were unsaid.

30 Day Challenge: Day 18 – Celtx is My New Enemy

 

 

So, this isn’t really a creative piece of writing… It’s a flat out rant that I’m using for Day 18, because it’s late and I’m tired and no, you can’t stop me. This counts, ok?

This post is coming so late because Celtx, the screenwriting software that has stuck by me through thick and thin ever since I discovered it at uni, betrayed me tonight. Shocking, I know.

It’s the deadline for the 4Stories Scheme tomorrow so I thought I’d put the finishing touches on my application today and have it sent off my 3pm at the latest. Celtx had other ideas, and by other ideas, I mean that Celtx decided to turn into a gigantic pile of horseshit and screw me six ways from Sunday.

Apparently, Celtx doesn’t like to format scripts correctly on Sundays, so for most of today I’ve been manually formatting a 50 page script. Anyone that knows Celtx will know that usually it’s a dream to use, but not today people, not today.

I eventually, after many hours of screaming, swearing and fighting all urges to throw my laptop across the room, finished my script. It’s all sent off now, but Celtx is dead to me.

Of course I will continue using Celtx as it’s free and I can’t afford Final Draft because I’m not a billionaire. Just let the record show I’m not pleased about it.

That’s all.
Laura

XOXO

30 Day Challenge: Day 17 – Just Some Guy I Used To Know

 

 

He ordered a plain black coffee and a French Vanilla Latte for her while she clung to his tanned, sculpted arm, digging her inch long nude acrylics into his skin. He said, “Babe, go find us a table,” so she scurried off in her florescent orange high heels that clashed with her outfit but unbelievably matched her skin. He watched her half tripping over the wheel of a baby’s pram and knocking into an elderly lady with a walking stick.

He turned back to the barista, smiling apologetically, embarrassed, while she began her latte art. “Oh, she doesn’t like the leaf drawings…” The barista said she could do a heart instead. He said, “Great”, but thought that it might be pushing it a bit far.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” He searched the room for her, his girlfriend, or bless him, was she his wife? Following the high pitch pig squeal that of course he told her was cute but told his mates was fucking annoying, he found her. She stood up, looking at her own arse, turning around like when a dog chases its tail. She peeled a yoghurt pot lid off her skirt, which would be better described as a belt, and flaunted a mini-tantrum. After wiping the strawberry gunk off, she turned around to the table next to hers, planting her tits in the face of the gentleman sat there so much so that if he were to sneeze her cleavage would swallow his head entirely. “Excuse me, sorry to interrupt, but is there anything on my skirt?” She swung around showing him her behind.

His stare lingered a little longer than it should have and his wife stood up abruptly throwing her iced tea over him before storming out. The gentleman rushed after his wife, yelling, “Jesus, Suze, I didn’t do anything this time!”

The girl, we’ll call her Lucy – she looks like a Lucy – sat down, finding a compact mirror in her purse. She leaned over on the chair inspecting her own bum whilst flashing the entire room her vagina. He stood at the counter watching all this, questioning why in God’s name he was with her.

“That’s £6.30, sir. I hope she likes the heart.”

He handed over a tenner and said keep the change. Grabbing the drinks, he wandered over to the table while she waved manically at him, as if it would have been impossible for him to see her even though she was dressed like a traffic cone.

It was then he glanced to the window thinking of freedom, of escape, but instead he spotted me. I sipped the last of my Chai Tea Latte, picked up my bag and phone and walked to the door. He gave me a nod and I gave him a smile, followed by the finger.

He laughed while sitting down with her. I walked out knowing that she’d ask ‘Who was that?’

He’d reply “Just some girl I used to know.”

 

30 Day Challenge: Day 16 – Cold Tea

 

 

I walked up that familiar, winding road on a day not unlike today; the sun was trying to break out of the clouds and I could just feel the warmth of it on my skin, yet the road glistened as the puddles of muddy water soaked through to my socks. I had been to this house only a few times as a child but I held a vivid memory of it. I had expected it to be different; to seem smaller than I remembered or to look older; more jaded, but somehow my memory of it and the scene I saw before me matched perfectly.

I arrived at the gate I used to have to climb over in order to unlock but this time I reached over with ease flicking the bolt out of place. The rusted hinges groaned as I pushed it open and seemed to shut without my help, generating an ugly, dull sound that scared a small bird out of its nest in a tree a few yards away. I walked up the pathway listening to my footsteps recreate the crunching noise they used to make on the stones as I ran my hand through the lavender that lined the path; the petals fell into my hand without much encouragement. The house itself looked harsh, sharp and unfriendly, built out of dark, chipped stones that were only interrupted by the tall, murky windows and a front door, so tall that opening it felt like you were giving it permission to crush you. I reached for the door knob; its cracked golden metal glowing cheerfully, though its coldness burned to touch. Still, I opened it.

I entered the long, thin hallway and almost instantly my eyes began to sting as the iciness of the room harassed my vision. The door slammed shut behind me, violently whipping the wind through my hair and then darkness eclipsed the room. The gaps between the door and its frame ahead created a sharp slice of light that highlighted the flying particles in the air. Though visibility was restricted, I could just make out three other doors; two to my left and one to my right, as well as the staircase that stretched to the second floor. I swept my hands across the walls searching for the light switch but instead they found themselves trapped in cobwebs while the flaky, milky-green wallpaper edged its way up my fingernails. Finally I found the switch. The light bulb hummed a quiet song and flickered on and off a few times before maintaining a pale brightness that lit the hallway but refused to invade the corners. The light exposed an old man’s boots lined up precisely along the wall; at least six of them, yet only one pair seemed to have embraced the outside world. The others lay neglected, dusty but not dirty, still waiting for an adventure that would never come.

I followed the beam of light to the door while the force of my breath untangled the floating specks in front of me. I searched for the door handle, half expecting it to burn my skin but upon inspection, I realised there was no door handle; just a square chunk extracted from the place it should have been. I pushed the door instead and though initially it fought me, eventually it gave in only crying out a high-pitched scraping whine in protest as it juddered into the kitchen.

The white glow from the six floor-length windows and glass door making up the entire opposite wall flooded my eyes; it exposed everything in the room leaving nowhere for imperfections to lay undiscovered. To my left were wooden kitchen counters with black marble-effect tops; they looked new in contrast to everything else in the room, yet were tarnished with deep scratches of sharp knives and burn marks of several siring hot pans. A misty silver sink was embedded in the third counter; water stains blemished its surface while murky yellow limescale wrapped itself around the taps as an ivy bush wraps itself around a telephone pole. In the corner of the room was a dark brown agar; one of its doors slightly open releasing the sweet smell of freshly baked jam tarts while a stovetop kettle hissed and vibrated furiously hinting in no subtle way that it was ready. The steam from the kettle had collected on the saucepans hanging above the agar and they appeared to be sweating as if the hooks holding them up where keeping them there against their will.

The rest of the room was fairly plain; the walls were painted in a restrained yellow while the tiles blended into one another creating a dark mess on the floor. There was a large rectangular wooden table in the middle of the room with five chairs. The sixth was stood in the corner shamefully broken, while the others, haphazardly fixed with duct tape, sat proudly around the table. There was a small vase of synthetic flowers stood perfectly in the centre of it as if measured to be so accurately placed, yet tea coasters were left abandoned in no particular order. Two mugs sat on the table; a delicate lilac one on a coaster with the red stain of a woman’s lipstick smeared around the top, while the other, a chunky white, slightly chipped mug was placed almost deliberately not on a coaster; the remains of tea dribbled down the outside of the mug immersed into the layers of the wood.

The door whined again and I turned around. There stood my great-grandmother. Ten years had passed but somehow, like the outside of the house, she looked the same.

“I never thought I’d see you here again.” She drew her words out slowly, with a low, dry tone that still terrified me. She stretched out a shaking hand for the lipstick stained mug on the table and sat down clumsily while sipping what must have, by then, been cold tea. She glared at me impatiently. “Aren’t you going to sit down?”

30 Day Challenge: Day 15 – Paranoid

 

 

Keep walking. Just keep walking. Pretend like you’re on the phone, in deep conversation. You’re so involved with the conversation that you don’t even notice. Laugh, you’re amused. Act like you’re talking to a good friend, one who will call for help if they hear anything suspicious in your voice. They know you that well. How the hell do you act that? Glance back. Is he still there? Walk faster. But not too fast, you don’t want him to know you’re scared. Laugh again. Everything’s fine, everything’s great. It’s not dark or secluded or terrifying. No one is following you. You’re just chatting away on the phone. It’s casual. This is a normal situation. He’s probably not even following you, he’s just going the same way. People walk the same way all the time. Cross the road. You’re fine, just over thinking things, as usual. Such a drama queen. Get over yourself. Glance back. Is he following? Walk even faster. Not long until you’re home now. He’ll be gone by the time you get there, you’ll see. Just don’t panic. It’s fine. You’re fine. Cross the road again. Any people? Any cars? Anyone at all? Damn it. Should have pretended you were talking to a boyfriend or a husband on the phone. He wouldn’t still be following you if he thought a man was waiting for you to come home. That a man would miss you if you didn’t show up. That a man would come looking for you. The alleyway. This isn’t a good idea. This is a terrible idea. It’s the quickest way to get home, but it’s an alleyway. No, go around the other way instead. It’ll take five times as long, but it’s out in the open. It’s better. Is he still there? Maybe he wants your bag. He can have the bag. Maybe you should drop your bag and run. But you need your keys. Can you subtly get your keys? No, they’re probably right at the bottom of the bag amongst all the useless crap you said you’d sort out last week. Why didn’t you? What if he wants more than the bag? Walk fucking faster. Glance back? How close is he? How big is he? Can you out run him? No. It’s fine. You’re ok. You’re just being paranoid. You’re just being-

30 Day Challenge: Day 13 – Perspectives (Novel Extract)

 

 

See Day 8 for Chapters 1 & 2.

Chapter 3: Melanie

‘How are you feeling today, Melanie?’

This woman is like a bad case of herpes; painful, irritating and ridiculously difficult to get rid of.

Sporting another outfit fresh from the run-away-from-good-taste collection, this time a blue and white striped top and white wide-legged slacks complete with a navy neck scarf that fully qualifies her to jump aboard ship and become a sailor, she walks into my room, bright eyed, rosy cheeked, talking to me as if I am missing a chromosome.

‘It’s a beautiful day outside. I’ll open a window and let some fresh air in, shall I?’

She bounces over to the window, opening it before I even have the chance to answer. She’s one of those people who are happy all the time – with every movement she exudes her joy for living; it’s sickening. You could tell her that her grandmother just died and she’d probably still have that wide, goofy smile plastered on her face. To me, that indicates insanity, but no, I’m the one stuck in this place.

Amelia walks over to me and begins undoing my restraints. I only have to wear them at night time now… Aren’t I lucky?

‘Did you sleep well?’

I’ve found that if you don’t answer Amelia’s questions, she’ll just keep asking you more. So, I have to throw her a bone every now and then. I just wish that it’d smack her around the head and kill her. Or at the very least give her some pretty serious brain damage.

‘I slept just fine, thanks.’

I don’t think I’ve strung a sentence together in the week that I’ve been here that hasn’t been laced with sarcasm. Richard always says that I’m ‘too sarcastic for my own good’ and that he never knows where he stands with me. Maybe that’s because he’s a fucking moron. How long has the man known me? You’d think after twenty years he’d be able to identify the difference between ‘Oh wow, that sounds great!’ and ‘Oh wow, that sounds greeeeeat.’

‘Good, I’m glad to hear it.’

Amelia’s wised up to it now though. At first she called me out on it, telling me that my use of sarcasm was ‘a classic Freudian defence mechanism’. Well, I’m sorry; what did Freud know? The freak wanted to fuck his own mother. Anyway, I think she’s finally realised that my sarcasm isn’t going to stop; it comes as naturally to me as repulsive outfits come to her. Now she mostly just accepts whatever I say as sincere.

‘Your husband called, asking after you…’

‘He’s all heart.’

Richard’s always been good at getting people on his side. Professionally he charms people with his good looks, his warm voice and his intellect – even his opponents are a little bit in love with him. He’s created a persona that is flawless. And personally it’s even easier for him. People look at us together and he’s the star; the honest, respectable hero of Oklahoman politics. And me? I’m the bitch.

And what can I say? I am a bitch. I’m the type of person that walks past a homeless person without it crossing my mind to give them my coffee or the change in my purse, whereas Richard would give them his wallet, cards and all, as long as a camera is rolling, that is.

Amelia’s fallen for him too; hook, line and sinker.

‘Would you like to talk about your marriage?’

I look at her; one eyebrow raises itself almost automatically. Have I wanted to talk about anything so far? The thing is, if you open your mouth to talk too much in a place like this, they’ll find a way to twist what you say to prove you’re insane. Of course, if you say too little they’ll call you a mute and surprise: you’re still a fruit cake. A sane person can’t win here, yet you’re still forced to play the game.

‘You seem to hold a very negative opinion of your husband…’

‘Well, he had me committed to a mental institution – I’m not exactly thrilled with him.’

‘Why did he have you committed, Melanie?’

Because he’s a vindictive, spiteful, manipulative bastard…

‘Your husband suffered several injuries to his person: bruises, nail scratches, bite marks… Do you know anything about that?’

Damn, he’s planned this well.