Shadow Shapers – Story

December 24, 2013

The corridor was dark but had the warmth of home. Ashley knew she was dreaming but it didn’t feel like regular dream. She never remembered feeling warmth before in a dream. She’d never dreamt in colour either.

The corridor lighted to a dark blue and the smell of cooking bacon wafted towards her. Walking quicker, she expected the corridor to lengthen and for her to have to start running. Most of her dreams were spent running or screaming.

The doctors said she was repressing memory and her dreams were her minds way of dealing with those memories. It didn’t matter to her; she didn’t want to remember what happened to her brother.

The corridor ended in a large room with a long table. There were candles and a fireplace bathing the room in an orange glow and keeping it warm. Around the table were two other girls.

Ashley recognized Drew from her full arm tattoo. It was the only thing that looked the same. Her hospital clothes were replaced by a blood-red corset and long black skirt. Her face wasn’t deathly grey but healthy golden tan. Most surprisingly she wasn’t deathly thin. This must be what Drew could look like if she wasn’t puking every meal.

The other girl wasn’t familiar. She had short blond hair and large green eyes. She looked and dressed like Tinkerbelle.

Smiling and sitting down with the other girls, Ashley said, “Hi, I’m Ash. What’s your name?”

The new girl radiated happiness, she actually glowed, as she replied, “I’m Tara. Nice to meet you. Isn’t this a wonderful dream?” All three of them nodded together.

Tara was wearing a pair of earrings that looked black but when they were hit by candlelight, turned a beautiful purple. Ashley didn’t notice details like that in her dreams.

Each of the girls looked down at the table and saw food. There was a different plate in front of each of them. Ashley had a breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes, just like she used to order after church with her family. Her brother used to tease her that she must have a hollow leg.

The other two had completely different meals. Drew had a huge burger with fries and Tara had some form of curried chicken. They ate in silence, each girl savoring the intense flavour.

When they were done, the plates disappeared and a small box appeared in front of each of them. Each box was wrapped in a brightly coloured bow. Inside, was a necklace, each girl received a golden necklace with a gold sun pendant. In the centre of each sun was a heart shaped gem. Ashley’s was an emerald of dark forest green, Drew’s was a pink diamond, and Tara’s was a purple amethyst.

Without know why, Ashley put on the necklace and the other two followed her lead. The same calming warmth radiated from the gem, washing over her.

Someone shook Ashley awake and she returned to the clinical white light of her hospital room. Nurse Fishburn was waking her for her morning pills.

“That must have been quite the dream,” he said his baritone voice barely above a whisper. “You haven’t slept like that since you went off the sedatives.”

She could only nod as the cold of the hospital flooded over her. There was an ache of longing in her chest, for the dream.

Taking her pills and showing her mouth to the Nurse, she wished she could return. When he left she went to her dresser and pulled out a pair of exercise pants and a loose sweater. As she striped, she forced herself to look into the mirror and find the parts of her body that she liked. It was one of Dr Leslie’s assignments. She hated it, it felt odd appraising yourself.

As her eyes travelled down from her face they caught the glint of green around her neck. It was the sun necklace from her dream. Where did it come from? Could she have brought it back with her?

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Lately I’m easily… *SQUIRREL!*

December 20, 2013

I’ve been having trouble concentrating lately. Not during important things like reading, writing, or talking to my wife. It’s while watching TV.

I’m an avid fan of television and consume a lot more than I should. Especially while multitasking. My first writing project was a fanfiction staring a post Star Trek: The Next Generation Scotty. I think both television and video games have been greatly underestimated as art and educational. That’s a completely other post however.

Full disclosure, between television, movies, and youtube, I probably watch 30-40 hours a week, most of it while working. I’m a layout artist for the government and can easily multitask without affecting the speed or quality of my work.

All that being said, a lot of shows are having trouble keeping my interest. Most of them are new shows. The particular culprits are Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, Atlantis, Haven, and Grimm. I’d watch them and suddenly find myself looking at my phone or thinking about something else.

I thought it was me until I watched Nightmare on Elmstreet 3. I assumed I would have the same problem but I didn’t. Then I started re-watching Gilmore Girls and again didn’t get distracted.

So what was my problem? Was I bored? No. Were the shows boring? Not really.

I think I’ve come up with a reason. “Pacing” any good action, cop, adventure, or genre show has high levels of tension and action followed by cool-down periods. It’s a structure that’s shared between most of them. It helps to calm the audience or build tension depending on how it’s used.

I think the problem is simply that their cool-down periods are boring me. You know the part where they get ready, or the part where they explain, or the part where they chat about the secondary storyline. It’s just not keeping my interest.

This is an essential part of the story but it doesn’t have to be boring. Look at Castle, it has more witty banter and flirting during these scenes to compensate. Or look at Doctor Who or
Buffy, they do these scenes during running, or flying or while they move to the next thing.

Some shows, like Gilmore Girls, don’t need the ups and downs and keeps to a middle ground tension.

All the shows that keep my interest are seasoned with humour. I think the combination of strong character relationships and humour is what keeps me focused during the slower bits.

In writing, I always try to write something that it interesting and funny, to me, in the cool-downs or build-ups. The hope is that the reader won’t get bored or distracted.

These aren’t bad shows, most of them are still struggling to get their balance or get their balance back. If they were bad, I’d stop watching them.

What about you? Are there shows that just can’t keep your interest? If so what would you like to see them change?