Saturday, February 17, 2007

I See Creepy People

So here’s a true story that I heard that I wanted to transcribe and interpret what this must have been like. I also love the “creep factor” as Adam likes to put it. So…

There is a girl named Liana who is traveling around Europe. She has spent the last few nights in a rusty old hotel waiting for her friend in Amsterdam to let her know it’s cool to come visit. Liana finally gets the call early on the third morning of her wait and rushes off to the train station because there are only a few trains and she needs to make it to her friend’s place before this friend leaves for the day. Liana gets to the station, which is immensely crowded and gets in line. It seems like an eternity but she finally gets a ticket. She runs as fast as she can to her train, bags floppy around her wildly, and jumps on. She walks quickly to the nearest compartment, opens the door and shuts it behind her. She takes a deep breath, but as she sits down she realizes that there are a few other girls in the room she chose. They are three gothic girls, and when I say gothic I mean the real deal. Painted up completely white with black eyeliner, black nail polish, and all black clothes with lace and crazy boots to match. Liana being a bit more on the preppy American girl side is a little uncomfortable but says hello, getting a response of a cold stare from the girl in the middle of the trio. The other two girls are whispering to each other and looking at her strangely. She gets more and more uncomfortable until the door to their room opens and the conductor comes in. He asks to see Liana’s ticket. She is just happy that someone else came into the room besides the less than talkative gothic girls. The conductor takes her ticket and tells her it is the wrong one. She is dumbfounded and tries to tell him that she just got the ticket and it has to be the right one. He continues to tell her that it is the wrong ticket, not the one for this train. She starts to become a little hysterical. They argue for a few minutes and finally the conductor asks her to come with him and they will figure it out. She grabs her things and walks out of the room. They walk about ten feet and the conductor stops and turns around. He proceeds to tell her that he was sorry he had to do that to her but he had to get her out of the room...

At this point I will show what happens with description rather than him actually explaining it but basically this is why he took her out of the room: The two girls sitting on either side of the trio had just killed the girl in the middle and propped her up so that no one would be able to tell she was dead. That’s why she was staring. The girls that committed the murder were waiting for the next stop so they could leave their old friend on the train as they got off. A stewardess had somehow figured out that she was dead (despite the fact it was hard to tell she was dead because her face was painted and the black clothes covered up any blood that would have been visible) and reported the incident. The conductor had to get Liana out of the room because the police were on their way and they were going to come in and arrest the girls.

The story ends with a swarm of people (mainly police) rushing around her and arresting the girls and the conductor leaves her along to help with other things. She is standing in the middle of the madness too shocked to move.

So that’s the gist of what is happening, the fine details will show up with the actual story. And now for the forms:

Graphic Novel: This is my top choice because I’m kind of obsessed with graphic novels. And when I say kind mean I just really am. In this form I would tell the story from the narrators point of view or from the close third person. The illustrations would allow me to really show what the surroundings looked like when I imagined it. I also like the way it would pull the reader in and help express the more film-like/theatrical ending and overall feel the story.

Oral History: This would be from the point of view of Liana. She would be telling the police the recount of what had happened to her. It would be an attempt to get as much information about what she saw as possible. It would definitely get across the emotional factor but I feel this might be hard to find good enough actors with time to do this. But it would still be pretty cool.

Hypertext: This would be a straight text narrative but with links like we saw on Tom’s Chip in the Brain story. The reader would click on things that highlight memories. Whenever she sees, smells, tastes, or touches something that brings up a memory, the reader will be able to click on the experience to read the memory. This way the readers can get a better sense of who she is in this shorter tale that is mostly about the experiences she is currently having.


Lauren said...

There's an American manga called Bizenghast, that is full of haunting, creepy, but somehow stunningly beautiful imagery. You should check out the goth getups in there. I am picturing a fantastic-looking graphic novel of the story you've described, if you have a large enough supply of black ink to pull it off. Since your story is rooted in visual imagery, I think comics would be a great medium to use.

Tom Kealey said...

If you like the graphic novel form, then go for it. That might be reason enough.

One issue: What does Liana have to do with all this? There's nothing, as described at least, that makes her presence change the story. In other words, it could be me, or Tessa, or a robot or zombie that gets on that train. The middle girl is still dead, and the conductor is still trying to get her out of there.

I wonder if we would understand LIana better if she had some interaction with the goth girls. I wonder if that would change the outcome of the story, and show Liana's character changing in some way.

It would be interesting if Liana was goth in high school, though is a prep now, and can relate to these girls in some way.

What if she is a little older than them and sort of thinks to take them on and show them how to get around Europe?

Well, brainstorming. I like this, and there's lots of opportunities with the graphic novel. Rock on.

Sam Tanzer said...


got to go with the graphic novel. I think the story and images are perfectly suited to the medium. Center goth gives cold stare: zoom in on face and eyes.

I do agree with Tom about Liana. Why is she special? Maybe some flashback panels relating her to the incident at hand in some implicit way. Maybe she's not as normal as we think? I think the bare bones of the story are great, and I think the graphic novel's a perfect choice. But there's gotta be something else that invests me in Liana or it's gonna be a pure sequence of events.

Chadé said...

Jumping on the train, I think you have to go graphic novel here. I'm wondering, though (given that many, including myself, are confused about Liana's role) if the story could somehow be told from the point of view of one of the goth girls. Maybe one of them didn't want to go along with the murder and she got dragged into it (oh, the pressures of high school cliques). Maybe she's trying to silently plead with Liana to get her out of there too. I also like Tom's idea that maybe Liana used to be a goth and she's reminiscing about the "old life" when the conductor comes in.
Also, the story seems too resolved from the beginning. The conductor already knows that the girl is dead and the cops are already coming so all that needs to happen is Liana needs to get out of the car. How could this story be less linear? How could Liana have an impact on the story? Could she discover that the girl was murdered? Just ideas, I'm excited to see hwo it turns out.