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Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

22 August 2005

Eviscerate your memory.

My pal Wes recently posted excerpts of a Great American Novel he started to write when he was a teenager on his site, inadvertently dredging up memories of my own G.A.N. I wrote it when I was twelve and thirteen on an old Royal typewriter (this was in the days before PCs, my child). It's 85 pages long and titled "The First Odd Thing in K. G. Wert's Life or The Second Plane of Zcalpoi", and it is one of the two or three most embarrassing artifacts of my entire life. About the only good thing I can say about it is that I did finish it, although it involved a truly staggering degree of deus ex machina maneuvering to tie up all 653,402,391 loose ends.

Anyway, I was tempted to post excerpts from it despite its hideousness, but Blogger for some reason would not let me. "The required field may not be left blank," quoth Blogger, without explaining what the required field was. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of Blogger (you reading this, Kev?). I went through the post about twenty times trying to find the HTML error, unsuccessfully, and finally decided it was a sign that I shouldn't attempt to force this freakbaby on an unsuspecting readership.

So you'll just have to imagine the badness.

Instead, I'll give you this: a book report I wrote in 1989, when I was a freshman at Analy High School. Mrs. Ford asked us to read a book of our choosing and write a one-page review. I thought that was too easy, being a young smartypants, so I decided instead to write a review of a book that didn't exist.

I got an A+.

Herewith, the text of the report:

"The Devil at Doorknob Inn", by Doris Watanabe, is a 249-page excursion of growing terror. Watanabe is a master of mood, and makes "Devil" impossible to put down. The main characters are Barnaby, a 36 year old grain farmer, Lobelia, a coquettish country girl, and Mistress Webster, a mysterious woman who runs the Doorknob Inn outside the village. Their lives are tangled suddenly on a cold week near the end of March.

Barnaby has been growing more and more attracted to Lobelia as March passes by, and finally summons the nerve to invite her to dinner. She accepts, and they begin a flirting romance. Barnaby feels he never quite reaches Lobelia's heart, for she always seems distant.

After the relationship has matured somewhat, there comes an evening when Barnaby and Lobelia are travelling in a carriage toward home. Suddenly a pair of glittering red eyes appear ahead in the darkness. The horse breaks free and runs in fright into the new-fallen snow. Lobelia shouts "Again? Why?" before the eyes vanish and a blood-curdling death neigh is heard. The horse is found with its stomach gouged open and smoking, and entrails scattered on the snow. It is still over four miles to the village, and the only available refuge is a decrepit inn with a swinging sign reading "The Doorknob Inn". Barnaby and Lobelia order a room from a silent, white-haired woman and sleep an uneasy night there. The atmosphere of the place is claustrophobic, and while Barnaby tosses and turns, images flutter through his mind, of the eyes, the horse, and Lobelia screaming "Again?"

The next morning he and Lobelia wake to find that they are snowbound inside the inn. The old woman, Mistress Webster, seems to be mute, for she will not answer their questions. Barnaby feels trapped.

So far the tale is semi-standard fare, though well told. But things take a bizarre turn. I will not describe everything, but some key occurrences are the discovery of a body in the onion cellar; another body in room 6; a severed hand on a bedside table; red burn-marks on Lobelia's ears when she attempts to leave the inn; an axe under every bed; the bloody footprints of an animal leading in from the outside door, which is barred tightly from the inside; and the cloying snow which never seems to stop. Finally, one night, when Barnaby finds a fingernail in his stew, goes to bed and is attacked by a floating candle that burns a strange symbol on his arm, he has had enough. Armed with a shotgun, he wrenches open the outside door and --

I will not reveal the surprise ending of "The Devil at Doorknob Inn", except to say that Mistress Webster is not mute, and Lobelia is not as innocent as she seems ... All in all, "Devil" has the power to chill even the bravest reader.

2 Comments:

Anonymous frederika the Loyal and True said...

Who in the world are all of these people judging you, suddenly?

Anyway, I was wondering, you don't mind if I write the book, do you? It might be a relaxing project.

You actually bragged to me about this, back in the day, but never really showed it to me in all its glory. My, my... what fun.

So, can I write it? Can I? Can I? I promise I will rip you off completely.

Your Sweet Former Love,

(who isn't just sampling blogs),

Frederika the Lionheart

1:36 PM  
Blogger Wesley said...

Awesome. Did you get to read it out loud to the class? I remember that bit of freshman English. Now that was horror.

Sarah wants to know if anybody's optioned the movie rights yet...

5:06 PM  

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