Thursday, 20 March 2014

Fade To Black. What's It About?

Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.  And vampires. No, not those kind of vampires. The kind who... well, you'll figure it out.

Welcome to the world of Elmeaux Originals. First up, I've decided to share - piece by piece - my novel, Fade To Black. This was a project completed in late 2007. It's up for sale on Amazon if you want a hard copy. If you do order, there may be subtle differences between that copy and these installments. A word here, a comma there. It's all good.

Just a bit of preamble. I wrote FTB as if the story was being told to me by the characters within. Most are quiet and patient as I write, but one of them, the main character, Allan Baird, actually "stands at my shoulder" and tries to manage the proceedings. Bossypants.

Do you remember the old Bugs Bunny cartoon where some unidentified pencil-holding hand draws Daffy Duck into various situations that leave the duck a little more than angry? His body gets re-modeled, the land drops out from under his feet, his beak gets erased, etc. Daffy complains to the author numerous times about these events but the pencil just keeps doing its thing. Then, as the cartoon ends, it pulls back to reveal it's been Bugs controlling Daffy's world. In my story, I play Bugs, and I have the pencil. The character of Allan is my Daffy Duck. He may complain, but has little control of the narration. I think there was a Carol Burnett sketch one time that featured a similar format. It's one of my fave ways to write; for me, it creates a deeper sense of immersion into the story.

Here's the blurb from the amazon site:

"A dark and intense psychological study that chronicles the destructive and tumultuous relationship between director Allan Baird and his leading lady, India Bowman. From the moment of first eye contact, Allan and India claw and clutch at each other through ordeals that both divide and bind them. The tangled path they travel is one through which only true lovers could ever find their way. 'They were the most perfectly matched couple in the world...and they never, ever should have gotten together.'"

I wrote the blurb. Allan approved. Heh, heh.

Anyway, I'll post chunks of the novel, first on the front page, and then, as new parts are posted, I'll move the previous ones into the Elmeaux Originals section.






Fade to Black

© 2008 CL Seamus





How about a story? After all, it’s what I do

     Once upon a time, a young lady named Annalee stopped at the bottom of a courthouse step. She eased sunglasses onto her nose, clutched documents to her chest, and turned a peaceful smile toward the clean November sky. It was the start of all things good. Barely seventeen, she’d just been legally granted the rights of an adult.


     A compact and solidly built five-four, the girl was padded with just enough baby fat to make her curvaceous and softly feminine. Athletic thighs and an old-world hourglass figure. She’d have killed in heels and an evening dress, were she ever to don such a get-up. The tomboy preferred T-shirts and jeans, but every once in a while, she’d squeeze her shapely ass into exercise leggings and throw on a tank top - and that, my babies, was enough to stop traffic. She wasn’t particularly busty, but in a tank top, a girl looks good by default. Dark brown hair? Maybe black. Maybe this and that depending on the light. She wore it shaggy, tucked behind delicate teacup ears. Eyes of smoky grey, skin smooth and fair, lips the natural pink of a glowing teenager. Turned-up nose with fawn freckles across the bridge - alas, freckles likely to be lost in adulthood.

Seventeen going on fourteen going on thirty

     There'd been no love lost between Annalee and her foster parents when the order was finally granted. She’d hardly taken time to get to know them. They’d provided her with life’s necessities and an education. Five years were a lot when all you had were seventeen, but the two she’d lost under the same roof with her bio-father dragged on longer in her mind than the uneventful years spent with harmless strangers.

     Late 1996, she’d gotten down to the ambitious business of finishing high school early. With the last scrap of her fragile emotional strength, she’d made a promise to get it done and walk away from the past completely. Her life so far had been all damage and broken promises, so if she could make this work, it would be the puff of air needed to feed the barely visible ember struggling for life in her heart.

     Court was impressed with Annalee. Good grades, two jobs, a small but functional apartment, and a solid savings account. With school over, she’d be able to put in more hours and start making real money.

     Job one had been the Malcourt Art Studio. Her foster parents had allowed painting classes when she was fourteen, and her love of art had eventually led her to work in the supply shop. Tucked under the wing of owner Darlene Malcourt, she’d learned the fussy business of getting the right equipment to the right artist. Theirs hadn't been a social relationship - more like an agreeable symbiosis. Annalee was too detached to be anything other than the shy face behind the counter every evening. She’d make nice, be helpful and cordial to all, but never did she talk about herself. Trying to get close to Annalee was the surest way of driving her back. There were rumours she was the same Annalee MacDonald from Templeton, who’d been in the papers some years ago following a shocking case of child abuse at the hands of a deranged father - not a rumour people took pleasure in uncovering. If this was indeed the same girl, the stories of what she must have endured were enough to grant space from further intrusions to her life. Unfortunately, she was that girl, and beneath the veneer lurked a messy and angry life, a nightmare that had stolen her most irreplaceable years.

     Job two, the more favoured, was doing small roles at the Avalon Theatre - the teenaged daughter, family friend, and the like. Nothing special, but enough in the way of experience to ready her for the adult world. She’d taken up casual acting in tenth grade. Of course, she couldn’t keep it up with her nose to the academic grindstone, but when her drama teacher told her there were sometimes small paying roles over at the Avalon, Annalee auditioned and landed a few parts. Twenty bucks here and there wasn’t much, but it gave her hope she might eventually move up to bigger roles.

     One day she found herself sidetracked by the likes of a man named Paul Mallory, one of the regular actors at the Avalon. Side-tracked didn’t mean a come-on. Despite flirtatious playfulness, she was nowhere near a point where she felt comfortable with the male of the species. She’d experienced some dating and even a few clumsy make-out sessions, but always walked away as detached as when she went in. Males were those around whom she was always cautious.

     Annalee had a thing she called PROTECTION MODE. It was something she’d found in those dangerous years as a child. It was the trick of being someone else, being somewhere else when things got too frightening to face. She’d used it a lot back then and had come to know how to draw upon it at will. She’d simply brought PROTECTION MODE with her to the stage. No matter what the role, she could go where needed by imagining herself in the dangers of back then, and making the character her safety space. Reviews in the local papers simply acknowledged the young lady’s credible acting skills - a notion she neither challenged nor answered with explanation.

     After rehearsal one evening, Paul told her of an open audition for the part of a teenaged girl in a film starting up at the new indie outfit called Conversion. A film? A movie? Could she really pull off something like that with PROTECTION MODE? Was she an actor or a one-trick pony? Paul gave her the newspaper clipping - the auditions were on the same day as Court.

     Annalee lingered a minute on that courthouse step and let the sun bathe her face. A tiny bud of possibility poked up through the dusty soil of her young life, and nothing would ever feel that good again. What the past contained for now was quiet.

     The audition awaited. She stepped to the pavement and started up the street.


     Edgar Allan Baird took more pride in his name than he let on. Though he’d always been Allan, he liked to include the E whenever he wanted someone to ask the question. Skinny - actually frail was a better word. Allan was delicate, but right for his bones. Maybe five-six. Maybe a hundred and fifteen pounds. His hair was dark enough to be called black; his eyes were a limpid, mossy green, his refined nose tapered and narrow. Allan had to be seen costumed to be appreciated. Eye make-up and darkly painted nails. In elegant steel rings, his fingers snaked in graceful femininity. At parties, he’d often turn up in a frock suit, complete with cuffs, vest, and watch chain. Patricide collar with silken tie, or banded collar with a jewel stud. Sometimes he broke the mould and wore muscle shirts and neck chokers. Sometimes he threw away the mould altogether and wore bra, panties, and stockings. His naturally pale complexion and dark hair made for somewhat of a Goth image, but he never thought himself Goth. If you’d ask, he’d tell you he was a Subculture of One. If he hadn’t been a well-to-do art school baby, he’d likely have spent more time explaining his wardrobe. Fortunately, he’d gotten in as an under-ground writer in college. His creepy fictions were renaissance pieces of psychodrama and fear, so by the time people actually met the author, his clothes seemed wholly appropriate.

Master of the mind-fuck

     In college, Allan fell into a crowd of young filmmakers and got practice when they’d put to celluloid a few of his short stories. As a writer, he was somewhat out of touch with those professing visual arts, but doing Shorts drew his energies in that direction. During subsequent years of education, he got fed up with repeated attempts to censor his writing, and so decided to try his hand at movies. He’d always been a huge fan of the Oldies. He was in love with Grant, Bogart, Crawford and Stanwyck, but most especially, Ingrid Bergman.

I could write films like that - something out of the ordinary, something so uniquely me

     With his love of old celluloid, and his own brand of imagination, the tales he’d tell would be nothing any audience had seen before, so he disappeared for a three-year hiatus and patiently cultivated five screenplays of singular design. Older than Dirt was a woven tapestry of the metaphysical, unexpectedly dropped into an extremely bucolic 1940s setting. Lady of Desire was a heavy murderous noir piece. The Diabolical Detective and Night’s Lesson were suspense, with all manner of twists and turns, and Veil of Murder a rousing homage to Black Widows. In short, he seemed to some the literary love child of Fritz Lang and Edgar Allan Poe.

     Conservatively dressed in the tamest of wardrobe choices, Allan stood before his bedroom mirror and considered his new custom-made topcoat, copied from a sample he’d photographed in Germany some years ago. There he stood, all in black, save for the shirt, which was shimmering purple silk. If Allan was Goth, he was Nouveau Goth, a true modern man. He smoothed his collar and mused of his namesake, “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?” He assumed poses to re-affirm satisfaction with his appearance.

Completely fuckable

     He should snap a photo for posterity. He should snap one for... posterior. He turned, peeked over his shoulder, and shifted his coat aside to examine his ass. Alas, no time for vanity. The twenty-eight-year-old dandy nodded final approval and moved to his bed table. He opened a pill bottle and tucked a lorazepam tab under one side of his tongue. One more under the other side and he was ready. He picked up his black leather case and left to make his appointment with the execs at Coleman-Kopanski.

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