Posts tagged fantasy
Posts tagged fantasy
I’ve had a few questions about the trailer and thought I’d answer them here.
1. “Why did you go with an animated trailer instead of live action?” The short answer: Because I wanted to. I love anime and manga and wanted something in that vein. I also love simple illustration and think this hits that note.
2. “Where did you get the music? It’s creepy.” My step-father, Russell Lee, did the original arrangement of Alouette. The song has an important role in Larkstorm and he managed to find the haunting element I wanted.
3. “Is that really you doing the voice over?” It is indeed. It only took a hundred tries to get it right.
4. “Who made the trailer?” My brother, Cameron Lee, did the storyboard and editing. His two friends - Amanda Lee and Michelle Tsang - did the illustrations.
“Heya, Birdie, you wanna hurry up a bit? If you haven’t noticed, it’s cold.” Beck waves his gloveless hands in front of me. “Daydreaming again?”
I shake my head. “Did you see that? The snow?”
“What? The snow devil?” His dimple deepens when he grins. “Yeah, it seemed like it was following you.”
“It did, didn’t it?”
He winks. “That’s my Birdie, master of the elements.” He scoops up a handful of snow with his bare hand and tosses it at me. I step to the side and the snow narrowly misses me.
Beck blows on his cold, wet hand and makes puppy eyes at me. I consider giving him grief for throwing the snow at me, but instead, I reach for him. “Give me your hand, Mr. I-Crave-Heat.” I push our joined hands into my pocket. Despite his claim of being cold, his warmth radiates through my glove.
He gives my hand a small squeeze and motions to my wristlet. “Can I share?”
I hit a button, beaming the sound into his feed, and turn up the music. He sings a few lines of the refrain while performing some weird dance move. Beck drags me along after him. I laugh and shove him with my free hand. We stumble, tripping over each other’s feet, but Beck catches me before I fall.
“Nutter,” I gasp between laughs.
“You mean that wasn’t an elaborate excuse to get me to wrap my arms around you?” I know he’s joking, but heat flares across my face. Thank God I’m probably already rosy from the cold.
“You are so bizarre sometimes,” I say as I right myself.
He bows and then shoves his hand back into my pocket.
Around us, the snow dances and sways again. We walk on a few more minutes, Beck leaning into me so that his hand stays connected to mine.
A rush of air hits me from the right, then another from my left. They tickle over my body, probing into the loose edges of my jacket. When they find an entrance, they race under my clothes, like a swarm of invisible mosquitos.
What are they?
Before I can figure it out, the tickles become nibbles, then bites. I swat at them, striking my arms, legs and torso until they recede.
Behind me, a whisper. I spin to confront it.
“Who’s there?” My weak voice wavers more than I’d like.
Hushed voices float across the field, churning into one another and mingling with the wind so that I can’t make out specific words.
Something, or someone, watches me from the grass. My quickening pulse thunders in my ears. “I can hear you. I know you’re there.”
A tall, young man steps into the path in front of me. My breath hitches. Even in my confused state, I can see he’s gorgeous. Chiseled jaw, piercing blue eyes, light brown hair. The kind of guy Kyra would make all kinds of inappropriate comments about.
He throws up his hand, like telling me to stop. I freeze.
“Bethina’s waiting for you,” he says, the words razor sharp. For being beautiful, there’s something ugly about the way he regards me.
A sliver of pale yellow streaks through the grass. Dull blue appears to my left. A glint of green pulls my attention to the space behind the man.
All around us, dozens of people crouch low in the swaying grass. Watching me.
The man, dressed head-to-toe in muted red, squares his shoulders as if to challenge me.
The hair on my neck pricks up and I take a step back. “I know.”
My eyes find his wrist. Like mine, it’s bare. So, he’s not a State-identified Sensitive. But who, or what, is he? And does he have something to do with the invisible mosquitos?
The man glares at me before retreating back into the grass. He whistles a few snappy notes of a song I vaguely recognize, and vanishes.
I swing my head from side to side – surely he didn’t disappear?
As I change behind a screen- my small attempt at privacy - Beck emerges from the shower. The scent of soap—Beck’s soap—tickles my nose and I grin. Thankfully, I’m hidden and he can’t see my reaction.
He doesn’t need the encouragement - things are hard enough as it is.
“How do these even fit you?” he asks.
I peek around the screen. He stands next to my closet, dressed, but his hair is damp and tousled. He holds the jeans out in front of him like they’re some sort of foreign object, though I know he’s seen a pair before—they’re not that obsolete. “They’re so small. Look!” He shoves his feet into the legs and they get stuck around his ankles. He hops to my bed, nearly tripping in the process, and tries tugging them off.
I pull on my blouse and walk around the screen toward the mirror. “They’re authentic, Beck. There’s no smart technology in them to stretch to the right size. And even if there was, they’re still not meant to be worn by a six-foot-two giant.”
While he struggles to disentangle himself, I smooth my chestnut hair into a loose ponytail. Neat and tidy, just like a future Stateswoman. In the mirror, I see Beck has stopped fighting my jeans and is watching me. Flutters tickle my heart. His eyes burn for a second but then he returns to just regular old Beck.
A weird tension hangs between us. It’s been happening more and more lately. When I catch Beck staring at me, he’ll look away or pretend to be doing something else, and then we avoid each other for a while until the awkwardness passes.
But we don’t have time for that this morning, so I stick out my tongue and hope it distracts him.
“Oh, you did it now!” he growls playfully.
I’m pulled off the ground and hurled through space. The unexpected sensation leaves me dazed and unprepared for what comes next. I land on my bed, my legs dangling over the edge. Beck leaps on me and straddles my waist. He deftly pins me, holding both my hands over my head with one hand.
I look up at him, suppressing my urge to shriek and laugh simultaneously. “We’re going to be-”
The burning look returns to his eyes.
It stops me cold.
“Come out, come out wherever you are. We know you’re here,” a man’s voice sing-songs.
I fumble with my wristlet, trying to find the alarm feature with my frozen fingers.
Why aren’t the school security alarms sounding?
Beck’s fingers wrap around my wristlet. At first, I think he’s going to sound the alarm button, but he does nothing. His rapid breathing fills my ears.
“Come now. This is no way to play.” The man’s voice is so clear, he must be on the other side of the small hill Beck and I have hidden behind.
“Our footprints,” Beck mumbles. “He sees our footprints.”
My body shakes, not from cold, but fear. If he catches us…I press my eyes shut and swallow my scream. Around us, the snow whirls, frantic like the beat of my heart.
Suddenly, I no longer feel the pressure of Beck against my back. He stands on top of the hill, fully exposed.
“What are you doing?” I cry.
Beck keeps his attention focused on what he sees before him.
“Looking for me?” he asks. He sounds calm – not like he’s facing down our greatest threat.
Why would they be looking for him?
My feet slip as I climb the slight incline and I use my hands to steady myself. When I reach the top, Beck positions himself between me and the dozen Sensitives standing below us. My eyes instinctively flit to their wrists – all bare. The State hasn’t caught them yet.
Beck reaches behind himself to hold my hand tightly, as if trying to absorb my trembling.
To my surprise, the ragged group doesn’t attack. They watch Beck and I with confusion, their eyes darting between the two of us and our enjoined hands.
From the back of the group, a disheveled woman steps forward. She lifts her arm, points at us – me. She’s pointing at me.
“I know who you are.” Her crazy eyes gleam. “I know.”
A silent scream lodges in my throat. Of course she does. I’m Malin Greene’s daughter; the direct female descendant of Caitlyn Greene, one of the Founders of the State and the reason Sensitives are hunted.
Everyone knows who I am.
And Senstives hate me and my family more than any other.
My heart whirls as my fear gives way to anger.
Beck’s fingers release mine and travel to my wristlet. He pushes the alarm button, the one I couldn’t find earlier with my numb fingers.
A loud wail fills the air. Sirens. The barricade hums to life, lighting up. In the near-distance, security guards rush toward us.
“We will be free!” the crazed woman shouts. “You can’t stop us!”
I angrily raise my hand to tell them to leave us alone, that there’s no hope for them. They’re caught.
An impossibly blinding white light flashes. Beck screams, “No!” and throws me to the ground again, forcing my gaze away from the Sensitives, toward the distant bay.
“No. No. No. Please,” Beck whispers.
There’s no sound from the bottom of the hill.
“Lark? Are you okay?” He stands in the shadow of the trees, hidden from view.
I shake my head and hope he’ll go away. I don’t want him to see me like this.
“You need to leave, Beck. You can’t be around me.”
He ignores my order and crosses the expanse of sand. “I need to talk to you.”
“I don’t think this is a good idea. They’re probably already looking for you.” I hide my face from him.
“Doubt anyone is looking for me,” he says. “They sent me to find you.”
So that’s how it is. Beck’s here to do what I know he has to: send me away. Tell me he doesn’t want me.
He’s here to tell me things we both know are lies.
I twist the chain of my necklace around my fingers and wish this moment away. Even though I know he doesn’t mean it, I still don’t want to hear those words. I take a deep breath and prepare to have my heart ripped out.
But instead of doing what he needs to, Beck sits next to me. His warmth envelops me and pushes some of the sadness and worry away.
“Not the best day, is it?” His voice is heavy, but there’s not a trace of sorrow.
“You could say that.” I stare out into the night. Tears stain my cheeks and I pray he doesn’t notice. I hug my knees to my chest and rest my head on them.
Beck’s hand strokes my hair. He tugs at the ends and wraps them around his fingers. I close my eyes and savor the feeling of being close to him again.
With that one gesture, I realize he’s not going to do it. Beck won’t tell me to leave. He won’t lie to me.
I turn my head toward him, my hair falling across my face. Through the strands, I study him, trying to discern whether or not it’s really him or Henry again. His eyes look hopeful, not sad. Not at all worried. I sigh. Only Beck would be optimistic when everything seems hopeless.
He’s making this worse.
All my life, I’ve turned to him when I haven’t known what to do. But now, it’s my turn to lead. I need to be strong and do the right thing: If Beck won’t let me go, I’m going to have to make him not want me. I’m going to have to force him away.
I fumble with the clasp of my necklace. When it falls away, I gather it in my hand and force it into his. A faint tingle runs along my skin when my hand brushes against his.
Beck stares at the necklace before clenching it in his fist. He holds it for a moment, closes his eyes, and then drops it into his pocket. When my lip trembles, I realize I’d been hoping he’d refuse it, or maybe even clasp it around my neck again.
“What do you want, Beck?” My flat voice sounds empty, like I feel.