Saturday, 26 April 2014

Wuthering Frights

Maybe you would like to read "The Ecclesall Witch Project"?  Obviously, I wrote it ages ago, and I only ever saw part of the Blair Witch thingy anyway. Col got a DVD and watched it.  I did watch a bit, but their getting lost in the trackless woods tied in to such a deep anxiety in me that I had to stop. Which helped to make me realise how wise the congregation is when it warns us not to watch such things.  I had to learn the hard way!

Everything we put in our mind makes connections in our brain. The Bible warns us to be careful what we allow ourselves to think about for that reason. The Maker of the brain knows its workings.

Anyway, as I had gone and watched the beginning of it, I couldn't help but muse about my 3 hapless sisters (the wuthering frights) trying to make their blockbuster movie, hampered by the fact that they don't have the same sort of forest in which to get their protagonists lost.  Its part of a series I wrote to amuse my sisters ages ago, when we used to have our regular writing sessions.  It ought to speak for itself, but as I am not Sue Knightspeare, I am going to have to say that the three sisters are always trying, and failing, to become famous. They have a brother, Branston, a swot who does his homework and keeps his room tidy. The sturdy Albert Cowlishaw is an admirer of the prettiest sister (I forget now which one she is - as I say, it was a long time ago), and the Count is a friend he brought back with him after a hiking trip to Transylvania. I wrote that trip up as a script many years ago, but seem to have lost it. They have an aunt, who has a wardrobe full of saris, and they live on the Wuthering Frights Council Estate, designed by their father, an architect.

The wardrobe full of saris sticks in my mind as, one day, the sisters hide in it, and find a mysterious world... where winter reigns.

So, lights go down, curtain goes up - and don't try this at home children:

by Me

In which we get lost in the dark fastness of Ecclesall Woods, the Entity has an encounter with Albert Cowlishaw, and many strange adventures befall us on the way.

“I’ve just been to see the Blair Witch Project sisters, I could spit!”  That was Ellis, crabby as usual.  

“What is the matter, sister dear?”  I asked her sweetly, knowing it would annoy.

“What’s the matter??   Acton, that could have been us. It should have been us.  We should have had the success with that film.  Don’t you remember?  When we sent you, and Albert Cowlishaw and the Count into Ecclesall Woods, with those two hand-held cameras.”

“Yes, well I told you from the start it wouldn’t work if you sent the Count”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full Currer.   Anyway, IF you remember, Branston wouldn’t go.  He had his revision to do.  And the Count wouldn’t let Acton be alone with Albert.”

Do you know, if I had lived in the days of Barbara Cartland, men would have fought duels over me.  I could see I was going to get the blame here, and thought I should dump it firmly in the lap it belonged to.     “If Branston hadn’t been so hopeless, as usual, then it would have worked.  Albert and I did our bit.”

“Oh, yes, Acton.  You certainly did.  I heard all about it from the Evil Entity we hired.”

“That’s right. I remember now.  It was when the first branch of Evil Entities R Us opened up in Sheffield.  That’s what gave us the idea.”

“Currer, stop talking with your mouth full.”   That was Auntie, from the cellar.  She was busy changing the Count’s earth.

“Yes.  And it was more than an idea.  We had it all planned out.  You know, the first night in the tent, there would be vague sounds around them – disturbing, but subtle.  Just a hint of unease in an otherwise jolly party.   The second night they would awake to find all those sinister bunches of tied sticks round the campsite.    And the next morning they would wake up to find one of their party missing.   Then as night fell again – and by this time they were hopelessly lost in the dark fastness of the woods – they would hear the screams of the lost one, drawing them on to the sinister old ruined house.”

“It kind of worked out, Ellis.  We did manage to get lost.”

“Well, that’s one thing I hadn’t bargained for.  Not in Ecclesall woods.   I was trying and trying to find you ever since we got that call from the Entity after the first night.”

“Albert thought it were right mardy.”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full Currer.  It was just pointing out, through understandably clenched teeth, that there was no point at all in it spending the whole night making subtle yet sinister sounds outside the tent, if the sounds coming from inside the tent completely drowned it out.”

“It wasn’t my fault Albert packed tins of Pork and Beans.”

“Nevertheless, Acton, it should have been thought of.   And I think that’s what got it so disturbed and its knots weren’t all they might have been.  Apparently it was dreadfully hurt when Albert retied them all the next morning.”

“Well, he was Chief  Scout, and Knotcraft is one of his badges.  He couldn’t really let it go, Ellis.   And anyway, the Count was missing during the night. That could have been all mysterious and exciting.”

“Yes, but that was part of the problem.  He was always missing during the night.   He spent the daylight hours huddled in the tent. And the night flitting round the woods.  In fact, during the harassment hearing, the Entity said that the Count was stalking it and kept wanting to kiss its neck.   And, when the Damages case came up, it turned out that, when the Entity did that thing where it attacked the tent from the outside, it severely damaged its shins on the Count’s coffin.”

“Wasn’t a coffin.  It was a Transylvanian sleeping bag.  He told us.”

“Currer, stop talking with your mouth full.” Auntie flew past with a couple of bottles of Dadda’s Pea Port that seemed to be going critical.

“Translyvanian sleeping bag.     Yes, well, how could you have failed to notice that the Count’s ginormous Transylvanian sleeping bag was missing from the tent the following morning?”

“We’d got other things to worry about Ellis.  It was our third night out there.  My eyelash curler stopped working on the second day but Albert just wouldn’t stop filming.  And he was very anxious to find the Entity of Ecclesall Woods so he could sign it up for his Knotcraft course.  But we did hear the Count screaming, and we rushed over to the old house, so it all ended right.”

“Yes, but it’s what he was shouting.  Didn’t I script:  “Incoherent screams of panic";  not:  “Come and see, I’ve found a fabulous cellar with a cosy corner for my sleeping bag”.   And I certainly hadn’t envisaged the film finishing with a jolly sing song round the campfire!”

“You must admit though, the rousing chorus of Gin Gan Goo combined with Albert’s legs in hiking shorts was a bit too much for some of the Preview audience.  They fainted in droves.”

“It’s no consolation, Acton.”

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