*This is not a real article from The New York Times.
*This is not a real article from The New York Times.
This is an extract from a horror script I wrote for a cinema workshop.
NOTE: Charlie and Logan are brothers they are into a house threatening a family. Logan has killed Sarah’s father. Charlie is an undercover police.
INT. KITCHEN. EVENING
Charlie and Sarah are together. She’s shaking nervously, her hands are trembling. He takes her by her shoulders and screams to her.
I’m a fucking cop Sarah!
Sarah looks at him with fear in her eyes. She moves her look from Charlie’s eyes, she’s looking at someone else.
Charlie turns around protecting Sarah and facing his brother. Logan is pointing Charlie with his rifle. Charlie takes his gun fastly from the worktop.
CHARLIE (To Sarah)
Sarah runs out of the kitchen.
Both brothers shoot each other. Charlie wounds Logan in the arm but Logan shoots his brother in the throat.
Charlie falls down and dies drowning with his own blood. Logan spits to his dead brother’s body and walks out of the kitchen looking for Sarah.
You can’t hide from me bitch!
He goes upstairs and gets into a room which door is half open.
INT. WHITE ROOM. EVENING
Logan enters into the white room. On the floor there are marbles, he stumbles and falls down dropping his rifle which moves far from his hands.
Sarah is hidden inside a wardrobe. We see Logan from her POV.
A woman floating approaches to Logan very slowly (Logan’s POV). She’s covered with a black lace veil.
We don’t see her face but we can identify the necklace she holds between her fingers in her left hand: a sharp necklace feather-shaped. Logan stares at the necklace, it’s Lucie, his former girlfriend.
Logan doesn’t move, he’s frozen with fear.
Lucie comes nearer.
He didn’t expect Lucie to be there, he’s in shock.
He takes off the veil and we see her putrid face, a face full of bruises.
What the fuck…?
He tries to run away but Lucie grabs him by his wounded arm with her left hand.
Her nails press his wound, the blood covers Lucie’s hand and her necklace.
With a supernatural strength Lucie breaks his arm and makes him knee in pain.
She releases his arm and takes Logan’s face softly with her right hand forcing him to look at her.
Lucie stabs Logan’s eyes with the necklace blinding him. Logan screams.
Lucie takes the rifle, she pushes the trigger and shoots Logan in his chest killing him.
Logan’s dead body falls back.
We see a little boy juggling with marbles, he was behind Logan. Observing the whole scene.
The child moves his hands graciously and Lucie’s body falls, he’s been controlling her.
The kid with a neutral look at his face comes near Logan and puts two green and red marbles in his eyes socket.
The boy goes to the window before he leaves he leads a look to the closet where Sarah is hidden. She stares at him and sees how the little child heads to the big window and goes thought it.
We are in a near future where technology has evolved. Now the houses have a central computer, developed by Microsa Enterprise, which controls everything. Humans just need an app in their phone, smartwatch or if they prefer they can have a microchip introduced in their necks for being connected with their home all the time.
Simon’s home has a central computer as well and it’s Simon’s best friend. Mylos, that’s the name of the computer, has an access to all of Simon’s passwords, personal information and gadgets.
Simon turned on the television and was amazed to see his face on the screen along with a text which said the police were looking for him as he was accused of assaulting and stealing Castell Bank.
Simon has a terrible headache, a black uniform, laid on the dark blue carpet, is covered with blood. He takes the remote control and turns up the volume of the tv, all the information regarding the robbery of the bank comes as a waterfall to Simon. He tries to use his phone but it seems to be broken. A feeling of confusion and fear goes over his spine.
He heads to the kitchen to drink a glass of water and finds his gun and a mask like the one of the film V for Vendetta. He looks around and feels dizzy, Simon manages to go to the bathroom; there, in front of the mirror, he can see the blood coming out his arm. He tears his tee and sees the wound. Simon cleans it and puts a gauze for stopping the bleeding. The young man also notices an injury on his neck, he touches it and feels a small electric shock.
Simon goes back to the living room and sits on the sofa. He tries and tries again but nothing comes to his mind. He can’t remember what happened, why the News says he’s a criminal. The last thing he can remember is that two days ago he went to the bank, it was his last day before enjoying a vocational week for Christmas.
The presenter is now telling the audience a breaking new, Simon approaches the screen:
‘The criminal has been identified as Simon M. Saints, a worker of Castell Bank. Saints had been working for the bank for the last six years. He’s been reported as a dangerous and violent criminal. If you can give the authorities any kind of information please send a form to the police website via your Microsa Central System’
Simon rubbed his hands on his head in frustration. The News keep informing that he has stolen more than 20 million pounds and shot two workers during the assault.
It’s crazy! He can’t have done that… When he listens to the names of the victims a shiver runs through his body: Joyce Martin and Mark Stevens. The sweet Joyce who is about to be retired and Mark, his friend Mark, the one who brings muffins every Tuesday made by his wife for him, a lonely bachelor. Mark, the guard who had taught Simon everything about his job… No, he refuses to believe it. It just can’t be true, it has to be a nightmare!
The News program broadcasts the images recorded by the security cam: a man broke into the bank. It could have been anyone; but when he took off the mask, the same mask he has in the kitchen, there is no doubt about it, he’s guilty.
The man of the images first shot at Joyce then Mark tried to stop him, that was probably the moment when Simon’s arm was injured, he gets free and shot at Mark’s leg. Then he looked at the camera and shot it too.
Scared Simon turns off the television and goes to his laptop. He asks Mylos to search for the first train to the seaside. While checking the verification email of his tickets he notices a strange email from a secret mail address:
Balic Street, number 2 at 9 pm. And don’t be afraid if you can’t remember anything. Everything has an explanation.
Simon stares at the computer screen, he looks at his smartwatch, it’s 8.45 pm so he hurries up for getting on time to the intriguing meeting. Before going out he orders Mylos to erase all his information in case he doesn’t come back.
Simon takes his jacket and the door closes automatically behind him. Once Simon is at the meeting point he hears the sirens of the police cars. He starts running and Mylos talks to him:
The police arrive and arrest Simon.
The End (or maybe not…)
Where does the first travel guide come from? Is it a European invention? Does it have the same characteristic as the current guides? We’ll find it out in this article which analyses one of the first examples we can find in the Middle Age.
When someone names the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago in Spanish) we usually think in the gorgeous views, the surrounding nature and of course the pilgrims who walk in order to fulfill a promise they made to the apostle.
I’m sure you have seen, at least once, the typical symbol of the path: a golden shell that usually is in the floor or in the walls of the buildings in Europe as a guide of the path. If you have never realized of this sign go to Grand Place in Brussels or Madrid’s downtown, for example, and look for it because there are some that indicates you the Way. So if you want to go to Spain you just have to follow the shells as Tom Thumb followed the breadcrumbs!
According to the legend a hermit named Pelayo saw a meteor shower in the Libredón forest, where he discovered the tomb of the apostle St. James. That is why the city is called Compostela (literally field of stars). The king, Alfonso II of Asturias, decided to build a church where the relics of the apostle were found to commemorate St. James.
But this UNESCO’s World Heritage has a great historical importance too. It was not just a religious pilgrimage path. The route allowed the link between the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. Thanks to it, to Hispanic lands came numerous schools of thought, literary and artistic elements as well as different patterns of behavior. It was a two direction way-street; Christian Europe was able to discover, thanks to the Way, the Hispanic cultural legacy.
But what if I tell you that the first travel guide was found there, in St. James’ Way? I’m talking about the Codex Calixtinus, an old book from the XII Century which gives the pilgrims the needed and detailed instructions and different alternatives of the Way of St. James. If we analyze this old treasure carefully we will realize that it has a very similar structure to the actual travel guides.
Fifth Book (Libro V, Liber Pereginationis):
Let’s focus on this book, which is completely dedicated to help locate the pilgrim and indicate the different paths he or she will find there. It describes the roads that existed at that time through France and Spain, indicating the places and buildings of interest; character and way of welcoming the people, etc. This unusual travel guide ends with a complete description of the city and the cathedral. But this book also gives the pilgrims some advices to carry out an entertaining and easy travel; it suggests them where to eat, rest or sleep.
Now you may think these things can’t be just coincidences, so you must be wondering… is the Fifth Book of this codex one of the first examples of what we consider nowadays a travel guide? There are many evidences that show it is. It explains in detail the place, it gives different itineraries to follow and it situates areas not only of religious interest but also from a tourist perspective.
It is organized by books which are divided into chapters, each one with a theme of the Way and the area around it. So there is no doubt it is the best example to explain the origin of the tourist guide and the standardized form of its organization and structure.
In a current travel guide we can find the routes that are most interesting, the roads that will take less time, the ones which are simpler and the monuments we should not miss out on and even the customs of the native people. All of this information is also in this Fifth Book!
The codex offers places of worship to go, indicates where the rivers are… As a tourist guide also outlines the history of the places visited. As the codex was written to explain the Way of St. James it tells performed miracles by the Saint, his presence is throughout the book, being treated from different perspectives but always from the devotion. However, it is noteworthy that despite being a religious book, it focuses on other aspects besides to relate the story of the apostle.
In the Fifth Book there is a detailed description of the city and the summit of the Way: the cathedral. It explains its style of construction, appearance and construction phases. But the codex is not only letters and letters it also has an aesthetic value regarding at the illustrations of great beauty, artistic value, literary and even epic value too!
Its goal is not just extol the devotion to St. James it’s also to sponsor a city as Santiago de Compostela like the guidebooks which aim is to promote a place to be visited.
So the first guide was not a map or an Arabic document; it was this Fifth Book which was written in the Middle Age by the monk Picaud. Therefore we can say that the Codex Calixtino is a medieval travel guide which explains everything about the Way of St. James that has attracted so many devotees in its history.
In 2011 the codex, which is invaluable and priceless, was stolen from Santiago’s Cathedral. A serious mistake was made: the key that lock the box where the codex was kept was easy to find for a person from inside the cathedral. The police investigated the canons, researchers, musicians and employees for maintenance and cleaning. Finally the codex was found in 2012. It was stolen by an electrician who used to work in the cathedral; he also was in possession of other documents and objects of the temple.
After this unfortunate event the vigilance measures in the cathedral were reinforced in order to avoid the codex and the other valuable things were stolen again.
This is such a difficult question… Let’s start by the beginning: how many friends do you have? And among them how many are your BEST friends, your closest person?
To my mind each person has an average of four true friends. I’m aware there are some people who have hundreds and hundreds of friends, but it’s not a common thing.
At this point I think it’s worth defying four types of ‘soul mates’:
In a nutshell, from my personal point of view, every friendship is very important in our lives. You require all these people in different moments, from your same nationality or from other country. Look after them and don’t lose them for a stupid argument. Sometimes you’ll need to be patient, in other occasions they will have to be comprehensive with your behavior; but the point is to bear with the bad moments and enjoy the good ones. Otherwise you’ll regret to have missed a true FRIEND.
The human being needs different types of pals in order to socialise and be an active part of the community. So don’t think it twice, call and organize a dinner with your beloved special people!
Question: How many real friends do you have?; Do your friends correspond on some of these category?
It was 9 am sharp and Liv was late for job thanks to the disturbing amount of cars in the downtown… When she finally reached the park where the photo shoot would take place she realised she had forgotten her notebook with all the information regarding the models, dresses and designers. It was the first time her boss gave her some real power and all was a complete mess!
She was on the verge of suffering a heart attack when one of the stylists, Mark, an old classmate of hers, came with a cappuccino and the jewel in the crown: an impressive Harry Winston necklace made of platinum and diamonds. He started to juggle with the jewel; Liv couldn’t believe her eyes, she almost chocked with the damn cappuccino! She was feeling overtaken by the entire situation and screamed at him. Mark started to laugh, Liv gave him an evil look; she didn’t know what to do. She was about to lose her job and her friend seemed to have gone mad. When he saw Liv’s face turned pale he stopped and explained that it was the fake jewel, the real one was in the model’s neck.
Liv breathed deeply.
C’mon Liv, do you really thought I was playing with a real Harry Winston?!?!
Mark, we should go and talk with the photographer. She said with a tense voice.
When they were on their way Mark stumbled and threw the necklace into a lake.
Thanks God it was not the real one! Whispered Mark laughing.
Yes, ‘cause we’d be really fuck if it… Liv couldn’t finish the sentence Alex, the photographer came running to talk with her.
Liv, darling, I need the Harry Winston for the next pictures
But the genuine necklace is the one the model had, right? Asked Mark.
No, that’s the fake one; we use it just to check the light.
Mark and Liv looked at each other with eyes wide open. Suddenly Liv began to run under the stunned gaze of Alex and jumped herself into the lake where Mark had dropped the necklace. She looked for it but Liv couldn’t see the Harry Winston. Everyone was looking at her; the responsible for the photo shoot of one of the most well-know magazines in the fashion world was taking a dip in the lake in the middle of January…
She looked at the infinity wondering about what would be her next job when she found a little boy playing with the jewel. She went out of the lake trembling, with algae in her hair and without one of her Louboutin’s.
Hi, would you give me that necklace, please? Asked Liv with her sweetest voice to the little blond boy who must be 7 years old.
No, I’m an explorer and I found this thing from the Maya’s empire. Besides it sparkles, I like it! Told the boy with his eyes scouting his discovery.
Ok, listen, I’m gonna buy some candies for you and we’ll make an exchange, deal?
I think I prefer to keep my discovery, thanks.
Uuuuum, well this one you have can’t be Maya because they worked with gold not with this material over here. So… I have here a real Maya’s jewelry.
Liv took off a green and gold bracelet she bought in a Mexican street-market and gave it to the boy. The little boy looked to the bracelet and accepted the exchange nodding.
Liv came back to the set with the Harry Winston between her hands and with a smile in her face. But the editor-in-chief, Alana Brown, had seen the scene. She was tapping her heel on the ground, if looks could kill…
The music band stopped playing and all I could hear was the sound of the guns and the screams of one of the maids begging for her little child’s life. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t help. My dress got stuck on my wheelchair and I had fallen down. I managed myself to drag my body behind my father’s bureau. It was an impressive sequoia wood desk which belonged to my grandfather, Sir Thomas Arthenson.
It supposed to be a blissful day for all of us, it was a party, my party actually, to celebrate my 15 birthday but instead of being happy people were sobbing in misery. Human being is a very interesting specie when they feel they are at risk they don’t hesitate to save their own lives at all costs. My father witnessed it when his loyal partnership, Peter Waltz, betrayed him in our own home.
There was no escape, the only thought I had is that we all were going to die. After the sound of several shots a frightening silence came. No more shouting, no more tears, it was spooky; the only sound alive was the one of the wind hitting the picture windows.
I heard some steps coming nearby. The smell of the gunpowder was all around the room where I was hidden. The door opened and I saw a shadow coming in. I was only able to see his boots, a dirty and rough pair of boots. He examined the room looking for something or someone else… I had never been that terrified, just maybe that time when I got lost in the forest and mom finally found me, she was scary but nothing compare with that guy. The man came near the bureau, I closed my eyes, I thought that was the end, when he was about to discover me someone called his name and he left the room with some papers. I will never forget that name: Vlanys…
Looking now back to all my years I realised how lucky I’ve been in my life; I was married to the most amazing woman who gave me a lovely family full of joy. I’m happy because a kind soul decided I shouldn’t be a puppet and cut the strings to leave me fly. I’m 95 years old and I know my end is close. I think it is time to tell my story…
Back in the 60’s I was working as a police officer in a big capital, my prospects weren’t good, my colleagues didn’t fit with myself. I wouldn’t say I hated my job but what it was true is that when I joined the police I thought I would be chasing criminals not doing paperwork the whole day. I was miserable, I didn’t feel I was fulfilling my existence, my dream was to do something important, what has happened with my expectations?!
At home the situation wasn’t better, the arguments with my wife were very common until the day she just left with the kids to live with her sister.
I was in a bottomless pit. I barely spoke to my two sons, I was losing the track of their lives. Drinking was the only way to forget all my problems.
One day I was at home, my head was killing me, probably as a result of a mixture of whisky and the lack of sleep. The doorbell rang several times until I opened it. I saw a tiny old woman, she must have been in her eighties; she entered as if the house were hers. She seemed to be annoyed.
– “Robert, what the hell are you doing?”
– “I beg your pardon?”
– “I created you for doing great thing not for being a stupid, idle man. For Heaven’s sake!”
I swear for my life I had never seen that old lady.
– “Sorry madam, I think there’s a misunderstanding…”
– “No, Robert, there is not! I hoped not to be forced to do this but you obliged me.”
I was just freaking out.
– “Who are you?” She asked
– “Who am I?! Who is the one questioning about my life? WHO are you madam?”
– She sighed. “I’m Liv Noren, I’m a creator, a writer, a guide. Who are you?”
– “I don’t understand anything!” I lit a cigarette with clumsy hands. “Am I a fictional character?!”
– “It’s very simple Robert. WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?”
That strange woman could be very scary… I don’t know why I answered her.
– “My name is Robert Martin. I work as a policeman in the District number 19. I have two sons, Michael and Daniel, they’re 7 and 12 years old.”
– “Do you enjoy your life?” her voice was sweet, it seemed as she was no longer angry.
– “What kind of question is that?! Can’t you see me? I’m a failure, I lost my family and of course at work it isn’t better I don’t have any good prospects. I don’t have anything to live for.”
She stared at me with her sparkling grey eyes, despite being an old woman she was gracious in her movements as she was still somehow attractive and elegant.
– “That’s sad, very sad…” her voice sounded like that of a sympathetic mother. “And are you just going to stay here, drinking and crying how unfortunate you are, right? Because that’s easier, be sitting here with a bottle of whisky and not fighting for the things you want to get.”
What can I say, she was completely right!
– She smiled and gave me a book. “I’m sorry I can’t do any more for you, read that story and decide what to do with your future.”
I was dumbfounded. She left the house making a last comment. “Don’t forget tomorrow it’s Mike’s birthday, you’d better buy him the bike; he’ll like it”. She was true, tomorrow was 9th February. How could she know that?
I started reading the book. To my amazement my entire life was there! My childhood, school years, teenage era, my beloved wife, my children… It was the story of my life! Even the conversation with that enigmatic woman was written down on those pages. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was too much information; I needed to take a break.
I woke up in the morning full of energy, hoping everything regarding the mysterious lady and the book were just a nightmare. But the book was still there, on the small lame table in my dark dining room. I flipped through it again and I realised there were some blank pages at the end and a note:
‘You’ll have to find the way to finish your path’
What if she was right? What if we all have a destiny to meet? But what if we have in our hands to change the fate? I wrote the last pages of the book. I wasn’t a puppet anymore, I was the owner of my life!
I went to recover my family. I changed as a person, that writer changed me into a human. I looked for her everywhere, but she had gone. She accomplished her mission, Liv had saved me.
She lives alone in the countryside, in a small house with a beautiful garden full of red roses. She doesn’t have a family; she lost everything 30 years ago: her love, her child and her career. Myla follows the same habits every day: she wakes up at 8 o’clock sharp, then she takes a shower and she has just a black tea and a tomato toast for breakfast.
Myla cleans up the house and goes out to her garden to tend the flowers. Once her house is perfect she goes to the village where she buys bread and fresh fruit. She barely speaks with anyone, she’s a lonely person. Myla doesn’t like to share her feelings, a difficulty she has always had which has caused her numerous problems.
She knows her end is near and that day, she will be as lonely as the last 30 years of her empty life…