Autodidact: self-taught


Ghosts I-IV

by V. L. Craven

1-I: Light grey sand on a barren beach on an overcast day. The Atlantic ocean. The synth sound is wind. There are no birds flying and there are no waves. The water blends into the sky. You stand, looking straight out at the water.

2-I: A white sun is rising behind the clouds and mist. Fat drops of rain landing here and there. The circles the rain leaves on the sand. Holding out a palm and catching drops. The rain stops.

3-I: Running up beach house steps and into a modern building, silver and black lines. Two people sitting on black leather sofas in a large living area. The side of the house facing the ocean is floor to ceiling glass. The rain is falling heavily now and the wind is blowing sand until it’s tamped down by the rain. The clouds are moving slowly then faster and the waves are gaining momentum. The rain is falling in undulating sheets. A pier is visible down the beach and the waves are crashing against the pylons.

4-I: The sky is becoming a darker blue as the morning mist dissipates. As you turn your back to the windows, lightning flashes behind you and like a snapshot.

5-I: Walking down a hidden but familiar path in a forest between autumn and winter. There’s a bite to the air. Running fingers over the last of the leaves on the waist-high bushes. Paying attention to every physical sensation.

6-I: Sitting at the side of a dry river bed, watching wildflowers sway in the breeze. Watching someone walking a great distance away. Aware that they do not know they are being watched. Feels like a secret of the universe–no one else will experience this moment. The wind is insistent on the flowers, but does not reach you because you’re behind the treeline. The sky is bright blue. There is a decrepit barn in the middle of the field. You make your way through the field, keeping the building between yourself and the other person so they won’t know you’re there. It’s important that no one know where you are.

7-I: Inside an abandoned warehouse. All of the windows are broken–pulverised glass is everywhere. Rusted hooks and pulleys are there. Climb to the second floor and swing from the equipment. The rust comes off on your hands like dried blood. The smell of iron. Shadows fall as the sun hangs low in the sky outside.

8-I: Come across pipes and throw them off the second floor to hear the clanging below. Count the seconds the sound echoes. Throw several at once and watch them roll away. Wind two chains together, hold on to them and let them spin you until you’re dizzy. Hang upside down from them and wrap your legs around them. The sight of your hair hanging above your head. Take running jumps at the chains and see how high you can fly, if you can kick the opposite wall. Lie panting on the cold cement.

9-I: Walk back home in the dusk, running a pipe along the metal barriers. Pretend you’re the only person in the world. Kick rocks along in front of you. Car lights come from the opposite direction. Wonder what the driver thinks about a genderless person walking in a deserted place. Realise you could get a ride from that person and kill them and no one would know.

10-II: Montage of 5 or 6 mid-teens in cyber goth clothes having an evening out. From putting on make up, dreads and leather accoutrements to being crushed in a car together, laughing. To dancing in slow motion with glow sticks in the dark to going home.

11-II: A silent Bergman film. Black and white. Jump cuts of a person walking on a beach, far away, then close, interspersed with a smiling face of a mime and a tarantula crawling across rumpled bed sheets while a woman sleeps peacefully.

12-II: Someone playing a grand piano on a bare stage in an empty theatre. Pianist imagines an entire band with him, and an audience watching. A man with a gun stalks in the shadows of the second balcony. We see the pianist through crosshairs.

13-II: A child bouncing a rubber ball on the ground. He’s walking normally, but the world around him is in slow motion. It’s a bright, spring day. Kids are playing in sprinklers, squealing in muffled laughter. All colours are super saturated. People are washing cars in driveways, all the houses look the same. People do not see him.

14-II: A teenager in that neighbourhood is in experimenting with personalities. Trying on first one outfit and make up/hair combination and then another. Dancing in different styles. A boy in a neighbouring house is watching. We go into his room, where he’s he’s painting a Lego model of a sub-machine gun to make it appear real. He’s dressed like an all-American boy, but he’s reading The Anarchist Cookbook and has books about Charles Manson, Gein, etc.

15-II: Dutch angles on an unidentifiable, but abandoned building. There are no clearly defined walls or doors. Interspersed with shots of the rave to be held there that evening.

16-II: Song being played at rave. Strobe lights. People outlined in day-glo green and orange. Drinking out of green cups. Guitarist plays alongside DJ with electronic equipment and computers. Crowd moves as one from a distance, up close they’re doing their own thing. Single people stand in the middle of circles and play with fire and dance as though they were moving backwards.

17-II: Teens wake up the next morning, all having slept on someone’s bedroom floor. The first one gets up and climbs out the window to go home. Two more awake, then another. The last to wake up lives there. Goes downstairs to have breakfast with family.

18-II: Variety of scenes where people are keeping the beat of the song. Playing tennis, running, basketball. One person is sitting on a picnic table–a teen in industrial goth clothes–watching this happen. Feels like an invisible observer in life. Tries to keep the beat everyone else is so effortlessly keeping, but can’t seem to do so. Friends show up. One has a small electronic device that has a knob like a volume knob. He turns it to bring the world into sync with them. And everyone else loses the beat, though they don’t know it.

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