Thursday, May 8, 2014

Flash Fiction: Out of Time

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Recently, I agreed to participate in a flash-fiction event hosted by Bluebelle.  I was to write a short story under 1000 words based on the prompt that she gave me:

The door creaked- which was odd, because that door never creaked.

Here is the result of that prompt!  :D  Enjoy!

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Image result for cherry tree public domain

My mind was wandering... sorting out problems which could only be understood in a world of dreams. In my minds eye, I moved through a vague and shadowy landscape, peaceful and quiet... full of memory and musing, fantasy and questions.
Gradually, I felt myself returning to the world of the living... I felt a breeze blow across my face, and a lock of my hair move across the bridge of my nose.
My limbs felt like lead. For a moment, I could not move. My mind was in a fog...
My eyebrows furrowed. I parted my lips and drew in a deep breath. As soon as the cool, sweet air touched my lungs, my body seemed to realize how desperately it needed that air.
Suddenly, I found that my limbs were infused with new energy from that life-giving breath, and I pushed myself up and gasped.
My eyes were encrusted with sleep. I rolled over onto my knees and clawed it away, blinking rapidly as tears came to my eyes. The light streamed down on me, filling my senses with its warmth.
I was beginning to get my bearings. My mind was coming back to me, and I found I could think clearly once more.
I had been sleeping... so deeply, it felt like death. I could not remember what had caused me to sleep in such a manner, nor for how many hours, or days, I had remained in that spot.

Hunched on my knees, I drew several deep breaths before I managed to lift my head. My vision was bleary, and for a moment, my surroundings twisted and turned as though I were looking through marbled glass. When at last my sight cleared, I recognized my surroundings as a green woodland. Tall, majestic trees rose high above me, stretching their graceful limbs toward the sun.
Now I vaguely remembered coming here. I had taken to the forest to traverse the wild, and escape for a few precious hours from the endless monotony of my life in that modest village I called home. But what had transpired on that walk, I could not yet recall.

Rising unsteadily to my feet, I rested my hand on the trunk of the beech that had sheltered me. As the effects of my long slumber began to fade, I realized that I was not far from my home. I could just make out the outlines of the path that would take me to my cottage.
Judging from the position of the sun, I knew that I must have slept all night and woken well into the morning. I could only imagine how worried my sister Sally, seven-year-old brother Jack must be. Sally had likely sent her fiance John for help, and John had likely summoned the entire town. Running my hands through my hair, I hastened back to the cottage to set their minds at ease.

But even as I made my way home, questions echoed loudly in my mind. What had happened to me? What would have caused me to fall asleep so close to home? I recalled carrying my rifle with me. What had become of that?
As I drew near the cottage, I saw smoke rising from the chimney and smelled sausage on the air. A sudden hunger made me vigorous, and anxiously I sprang up the steps and onto the porch. With a bright smile that I hoped would cool my sister's anger over my absence, I flung the door open.
“Good morning, Sally!” I said.
As it swung open, the door creaked loudly- which was odd, because that door never creaked.
The young woman leaning over the stove gave a start, and swung around to face me with wide eyes. My greeting froze in my throat as I saw that she was not my sister. Her blond hair and blue eyes were completely unfamiliar to me. I could not recall seeing her in the village before.

Her mouth open wide in surprise, she fumbled for a moment before giving a shocked outcry. “Excuse me, sir! Who are you?”
I shook my head. “I think I should be asking you that question. Are you a friend of Sally's?” I said with a chuckle.
The woman's brows lowered into a frown. “Sir, I demand to know what you are doing in my house.”
I laughed incredulously. “Oh come on, what's the joke? Where are Sally and Jack? Is John in?”
“I don't know what you're talking about, but if you don't start explaining, I will let the dog loose on you!”
My eyes caught sight of the large wolf-hound watching intently from the hearth. Swallowing, I stepped back, glancing around. Suddenly, I noticed the tall, healthy cherry tree in full blossom through the back window. I froze. That was impossible. I'd only just planted that tree that spring, as a present for Sally. How could it be fully grown?
“I-” I stammered, struggling to find the words. “I'm Rip! Rippald van Winkle? I live here with my sister Sally and my little brother Jack...”
I swayed on my feet, overwhelmed with the revelation of the cherry tree. The implications... how long did I sleep?
So disoriented was I that I barely noticed the woman calling for her husband. Her voice was shaking, much as my own hands were trembling with confusion.
A man appeared in the doorway. “Mary? What's wrong?” he asked his wife.
“Jack...” She whispered, pointing in my direction.
As I looked up to meet the eyes of this new man, I nearly fainted. I would have thought I was looking into the mirror. His face was pale, and his dark hair was in disarray as he beheld me in utter shock.
“Rip...?” he whispered hoarsely. “Is it you?”

I did not hear what he said next. My legs crumpled beneath me as I sank to the floor. The world was going black... I was fainting... fainting...

How long did I sleep? 

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-Rayne Speryll

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rayne's Comedy Hour Episode V

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Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the fifth episode of Rayne's Comedy Hour!

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-Rayne Speryll

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Howl's Moving Castle Dreamcast

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One of my favorite books is Howl's Moving Castle, by Dianna Wynne Jones.  Several years ago, Hayao Miyazaki produced an anime adaption of the book, which is quite enjoyable- but unfortunately not very faithful to the book.
Even though the anime was enjoyable to watch, I would love to see a live-action film that is closer to the original plot of the book.  If there ever was such a movie, these are the people I'd like to see in it.  :D

I hope you enjoy!  If you've read the book, let me know what you think!

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I chose this actress mostly for her looks.  The only role I've seen her in is Cousin Rose from Downton Abbey.  That character- I might add- is nothing like the character of Sophie Hatter.  However, she seems to have the right sort of look about her.  Young, innocent, yet spirited and beautiful.  
To be honest, casting Sophie was hard.  If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!  I'm still open to consideration.

UPDATE:  As of March, 2015, since watching Lily James in her role as Cinderella, I am now much more sure that she would be good for the role of Sophie Hatter.  With her willful spunk from Downton Abbey mixed with her naive sweetness from Cinderella, I think she'd do quite well.


Since Sophie spends the majority of the book cursed to look like an old woman, Maggie Smith would be the real star of the show.  I chose her because I really like her as an actress.  She is famous for such roles as Cousin Violet from Downton Abbey, and Minerva MacGonnigal from Harry Potter.  Not to mention, if you look at them the right way, she and Lily James resemble each other.... slightly.  Maybe.  Or it could be just me.  ;)


Howl was another hard character to cast.  No one quite looked right... until I found pictures of Bradley James with long hair.  Then I suddenly remembered his cockey, obnoxious, but endearing portrayal of Arthur from BBC's Merlin.  Add a heavy dose of charm, and I think that he could play the part of Howl decently.  Though once again, if you have other suggestions, let me know!


I think the only thing I've seen Freddie Highmore in is the movie August Rush.  But he seems like a thoughtful, studious young man who could play Michael.

the voice of

Billy Crystal voiced Calcifer in the anime version.  He did it so well that I wouldn't imagine casting anyone else for the part.


Martha Hatter is the youngest of the three Hatter siblings, and is said to be the prettiest.  Also, being the youngest of three in a fairy-tale kingdom, everyone knows that she is the most likely to succeed.  However, Martha has different plans in mind...
Emma Watson, I hear, is considered one of the prettiest actresses today.  She has a smart, kind look about her that seems perfect for Martha.


Lettie Hatter, the middle child of the Hatter Family, is described to be nearly pretty enough to rival her sister Martha, but unlike her younger sibling, she has more ambitious, adventurous plans in mind.  Though she is stubborn and insistent on her way at times, she is very kind and loyal toward both Sophie and Martha.
I thought it would be nice to include some lesser-known actors and actresses in the cast, hence my decision on Miss Hiddleston.  Though she has yet to gain any great fame, she is the younger sister of one of my favorite actors, Tom Hiddleston.


Though she is the mother of Lettie and Martha, and the adopted mother of Sophie, Fanny Hatter is said to be young and pretty yet, and still looking for more chances in life.  
Yet another casting choice from Downton Abbey, but she seemed right for the part.


I've been fond of Cate Blanchett for some time, ever since seeing The Lord of the Rings.  She is quite beautiful, and plays a wonderful "magical woman", as evidenced by her performance as Galadriel.  And look at her!  Does she not look like a woman who could destroy you, if she pleased?


Wizard Sulliman, a friend and fellow countryman of Howl's, is described as having a charming, craggy face.  After some thought, I remembered David Tennant, who looks like he could play a good Sulliman.


I've seen James McAvoy in X-Men First Class, and The Chronicles of Narnia.  He has that certain look about him... handsome, goodwilled, but with a slightly hotty and sarcastic attitude, much like Prince Justin in the books.

(SPOILERS:  for the odd bit of the book where the character Percival, who is made of Justin and Sulliman combined, I thought that they could use CGI to map their facial features together.  END SPOILERS)



In her performances in Pride and Prejudice, and The Importance of Being Earnest, Judi Dench makes it clear that she plays an excellent, imposingly grand woman, thus making her perfect to play Howl's dearest, (if feared), mentor.  

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-Rayne Speryll

(DISCLAIMER:  I do not own Howl's Moving Castle.  This cast list is only a fan-cast, made out of love for the book.  It is by no means official, nor is it approved by any of the actors listed.)