Welcome to Hereabouts!

“You think there’s more to the story?”

“The story? No. Stories are always simple. The truth, that takes work.”


Welcome to Hereabouts, home to Westfall, A Queen’s Ransom, and other weavings for the curious browser or beta-reader.

Long Reads

Westfall – A teen’s desperate attempt to save a nation from The King of the Western Fairies. (Warnings: violence and violent deaths, some sexual references and language, politics)

Quick Looks

Shorts – Shorter works written in my downtime to keep my gears turning. (TV-PG)

Poems & Songs – Verse and rhyme, often included in longer works.  (TV-G, mostly)

The Real Life – Personal journals on writing and life. (TV-G)

Scripts & Screenplays

A Queen’s Ransom (formerly known as Liliput) – A lesser-known Russian fairy tale about love, identity, and truth. (Warnings: fantasy violence, some adult themes, death)

Ivan the Brave (WIP) – A cumulative tale of three brothers, their mother, and a bitter and powerful wizard. (Warnings: fantasy violence, death)

Odds & Ends

Thereabouts – I also now keep up a writer’s blog on Weebly, featuring updates on my querying progress, summaries for other WIPs, and more.

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Borrowed Time

Three borrowed books sit on a shelf in the living room.

They collect dust, so now and then I wipe them off carefully.

I have twice put them in a paper bag, to carry them back to their owner.

I have twice pulled them out again to find a new place to set them.

It has been three years since they were handed to me.  I’ve half-heartedly tried to read them.

I don’t keep them to read them though.  I know I should return them.

But the day I return them will be the day when I’ve nowhere to put them.

That will be the day it’s time to leave Japan.

 

 

21: Test of the Third Born

To quote a flamboyant Lucius Malfoy, “It’s not over yet!”

Click here for Chapter One.


INT. THE CAVE – CONTINUOUS

THE PILLAR

Ivan clutches the stone, swings a leg over.  He catches his breath on his hands and knees.

 

IVAN

Are you all right?

 

The raven lights on the box, sets the egg inside.  Ivan hurries to examine it.

RAVEN

Sorry, master, I couldn’t carry both.

 

IVAN

No, it’s…

 

He glances back at the cliff, then at the egg.  He pulls out the needle, turns it, throws it down.  It pings between vines and turns black. 

 

RAVEN

What do we do?

 

The leaves curl over it.

Ivan shuts the box, wipes at tears.

 

IVAN

I don’t know.  But we can’t leave yet.

 

BELOW

The sea rushes and the souls wail, clinging to the walls, rattling their weapons. 

A clawed pale hand lies on the last stone step, as white sea foam rushes by.  The wishing ring glints on its finger.

A broken red eggshell goes gray.  Its insides, then its shell, turn to powder.

Ivan stands on the cellar cliff, clutching the box.  He swallows hard, doesn’t look down yet.

 

IVAN (CONT’D)

Hello?

 

The souls look up.  The sea water swirls.

Feet on the stairs.  Ivan’s.  He stoops, picks up the sword. 

He hesitates, sets down the sword, soberly pries off the wishing ring. 

 

IVAN (CONT’D)

For Lisa.

 

A glint.  Martin’s dagger. 

The souls stare, stricken.

 

IVAN (CONT’D)

Oh… You poor things.  Did he keep you here?

 

They still stare.

Distantly:  an iron step.

 

IVAN (CONT’D)

You’re free to go, I think.  I mean, if you want, there’re some things that are yours up there…

 

They cringe back, cling to each other. 

 

IVAN (CONT’D)

I mean, I’m not in charge here…

 

Clank.

 

BABA YAGA

I should say not.

 

EXT. THE UNDERWORLD – DAWN

The white rider appears in a glimmer of light, gallops west.

THE COTTAGE

Morya opens cupboards, pantries.  She pulls out rolls, cakes, stale bread.

Back and forth, she walks from the paddock to the ravens on the shore, strewing broken bread.

One belches a caw.

 

MORYA

I hope you clever birds have learned to serve better masters now.

 

She looks at the island, worries.

 

INT. THE MOUNTAIN – SAME TIME

Ivan and the crone face off.  The dog at her heels whimpers.

 

BABA YAGA

You have some potential, son of Symon.

 

IVAN

You know me?

 

BABA YAGA

I know everyone, eventually.

 

IVAN

I’m very sorry to have bothered you.

 

He reaches for the iron sword —

 

BABA YAGA

You know, I gave that to him.

 

— stops.  The dagger still glints. 

She eyes the souls.

 

BABA YAGA (CONT’D)

So, you thought you all could hide from me?  You’re as proud as the fool you followed.

 

She lifts a hand.  The sea starts to rise.  The other hand.  Quicker now.

Ivan dives forward as the body slips.  He lands hard, grabs Martin’s dagger.

 

BABA YAGA (CONT’D)

(still to the souls) Everything moves towards the center, and I am it.

 

She puts her hands together.  The rock cracks.  Eggs tumble.  Empty shells drift away, sinking…

The iron sword drops into the water.

Ivan stands back, clutching the dagger.

 

IVAN

You’ll drown them!

 

BABA YAGA

They’re already dead.  They just don’t want to believe it.

 

She eyes the black sinking shadow.

 

BABA YAGA (CONT’D)

My brother has been waiting for a long time for that one, but I think I’ll let him wait a bit more, the way he made others wait.  I think that would be… fair.

 

Around them, the mountains shakes and shatters.

 

IVAN

(stunned) But you helped him.

 

She smiles cruelly.

 

BABA YAGA

Because I had eternity, and he thought he was better than the gods.

 

Ivan backs away, shocked.  She gestures with a hand.  Red fire flashes, cage in gnarled fingers.

 

BABA YAGA (CONT’D)

What about you, Ivanushka?  What do you think you are?

 

He shuffles.

 

IVAN

I’m just a…  I’m…

 

He stops.

 

IVAN (CONT’D)

…kind.

 

BABA YAGA

Oh?

 

IVAN

Thoughtful.  Strong.

 

She laughs.  He clamps down on his anger.

 

IVAN (CONT’D)

Brave.

 

BABA YAGA

And does anyone believe that of you?

 

He hesitates.

 

BABA YAGA (CONT’D)

Everyone believes sorcery when they see it.

 

Ivan swallows.  The mountain cracks like thunder.

 

BABA YAGA (CONT’D)

Would you like to be something people would believe in?

 

Ivan shakes his head, clutches the dagger.

 

IVAN

I’m enough.

 

She’s surprised.

Ivan runs back up the stairs.

The dog barks and yaps.

 

BABA YAGA

Where are you going, Ivanushka?  And what is in that box?

 

Ivan runs up another stairs.  The mountain, its shelves, its pillar, its stairways, are shattering around him.  One stair falls through another.  He leaps, lands on a ledge, hurries along it, ducking, hands raised. 

The raven hurries after him.  A glancing blow with a stone.  It falls.  Ivan catches, cradles it.  It flaps to his shoulder.  They dodge a falling stone.

On the ledge, Baba Yaga scoffs, but shrugs.  She waves a hand.  Fog threads between falling stones.

 

BABA YAGA (CONT’D)

We’ll meet again, of course.  But I think…

 

She vanishes.

 

BABA YAGA (CONT’D, V.O.)

…I shall be busy awhile.

 

EXT. THE UNDERWORLD – SAME TIME

THE SHORE

The ground shakes.  The ravens scatter.  Koschei’s horse pulls fearfully at its post.  Morya looks towards

THE BLUE ISLAND

Trees crash, avalanches roll.

THE SHORE

 

MORYA

Ivan…

 

THE FAR SHORE

Ivan hurries to the rowboat. 

The goblins chase after him, swooping, screeching, diving.

Morya throws down her basket and runs back up the hill, across the PADDOCK, into

THE COTTAGE

She climbs to the loft, grabs her bow, arrows.

OUTSIDE

The ravens swarm, flee, cawing miserably.  The horse bolts for the woods.

 

MORYA

Fly if you must—

 

She takes aim…

 

MORYA (CONT’D)

—but don’t get in my way.

 

fires.

 

A goblin’s pierced through and shrieks.  It falls like a red-tailed comet into

THE SEA

With a splash.  Ivan shouts in relief, dragging the oars.  He hurriedly rows to shore.

Morya fires again. 

In the distance, the blue mountain is crumbling, rocks crushing sapphire trees, sand scattering at the shore. 

The ravens flee east and west, a flock hurrying across the sky, towards the entrance of the Underworld.


 

Fun Facts of the Week: Snake Princesses, etc.

  1. What else can be said about Baba Yaga?  Well, something interesting can be said about snakes.  I recently came across another story of Koschei the Deathless, in which he turns a princess into a snake for refusing to marry him.  Through the ordeals of a Cossack, she is restored.  After several undertakings, during which he takes her advice, he marries her and gains a kingdom.  The relationship between the word yaga and snake, and the pattern of new generations (Ivan and a princess) replacing the old ones (Koschei and Baba Yaga) seems to support my theory that in these tales the new pair replaces the old in a mirror of the natural cycle.
  2. To Beta-Readers, this screenplay is clocking in at about 166 pages, 50 beyond the recommended length for scripts.  What cuts (or reductions) would you suggest, based on your reading?  Do you recommend any resources to aid in reducing information into a shorter but still comprehensible form?  Whatever your ideas, please comment below.

May 6th clocked in as my best day for likes!  Thank again for all your likes, re-presses, and follows!