- Nicola Batty
- I am a writer of novels, plays and film scripts. I live in Manchester England with my partner Andy and our teenage son Jack. Andy and I started my Newsletter Raw Meat and began publishing with Rawprintz in 1999 to showcase my work. Some of you may be confused by my continual references to Ziggy, that’s my wheelchair! Both Andy and I are writers. I’ve recently lost my sight – hence the continual reference to my being confused! Thanks for visiting.
More About Me...
Unleash for the Writer's Island
As Tim Burton fell apart, large pieces of him fell into the pool of water that had begun to form around without anyone noticing. One of the cameramen who stood watching silently began to cry, and it may even have been a pool of salt tears… who could tell. As Elvira and Bartholomew edged closer together they became aware of a salt breeze lifting their hair; the walls that had enclosed them were now so insubstantial and smoky that they may have become merely a dream, a memory… something dissolving, dissolving and spinning slowly down the plughole. There was a low rumbling in their ears - otherwise the only sound was the general sobs of the frightened cameraman. The pool of water seemed suddenly to expand and little waves began to bubble and break… still the cameraman sobbed into his red handkerchief and Elvira gripped Bartholomew’s hand, pulling the wizard towards her.
“What’s happening? Where are we?” She muttered breathlessly, feeling the young wizards body close against her own. It felt like a necessary sensation, convincing her of her own reality. Elvira struggled to control her breathing, the words came rushing out, tumbling head over heels. “Where did the sea come from? Who’s pulling the strings? Or… should I say, who’s holding the wand?”
Beside her Bartholomew shook his head very slowly, his eyes still fixed on the crying cameraman - who had begun also to glance, following his directors directions.
“No, you’re wrong Elvira… not wand - but imagination,” he said carefully in a very low voice. “For look around you - everything’s shifting and changing even as we look. Someone else is in control… not a wizard, not a film director, certainly not a paper character like Alice.” Beside him Alice’s line borders fluttered in the sea breeze. The edge of the wizards robe moved silkily against Elvira’s arm as she responded to his words. “I don’t know where we are, or where were going… it doesn’t matter anymore. We’re only characters on a piece of paper after all - the writer may well choose to drop us at any moment that’s the imagination which controls us, the imagination that’s been unleashed… so that it’s absolutely without boundaries of any sort.”
Silence - only the sounds of the cameraman’s sobs and the gentle breaking of the waves. No walls, no boundaries… only a greyness stretching like the Manchester sky. Elvira lifted her face into the sea breeze and smiled slowly, deliciously.
“I feel it… and I want more,” she said quietly, her words sounding almost like a prayer - either that or a spell maybe. “I’m not frightened any more… I love somebody else being in control for a change. So… I’ll follow quite happily.”
For the Writer’s Island, this weeks prompt being ENVISION.
Elvira’s hand was on the door knob, but it froze just on the point of twisting it as a great scream ripped through the air. She didn’t turn at once; she felt not a little embarrassed by the scream, which was obviously a male one. Beside her Bartholomew, the young wizard, muttered something in her ear that was barely audible.
“What’s up with the famous film director now? These temperamental artists… I don’t know.”
Standing centre stage by the cameras, Tim Burton clenched his hands together dramatically and held them there posed in front of him, aware of the whiteness of his flesh outlined against his black shirt. He was a perfect picture, the black and the white. His face was contorted, harsh lines pulling down the corners of his mouth and causing his eyelids to twitch incessantly. Beside him the young actress Tabatha stared at him blankly – she had obviously not come across such emotion as displayed by Mr Burton before. She stared at him entranced. It was some moments before he was actually able to string some words together in a coherent order and raise them above the guttural noises that twisted in his throat.
“I can’t believe this is happening to me! I had the vision so clearly in my head – everything I wanted to see in The Looking Glass House… it was all there, all so real. But why has it all gone now? Where’s it all gone now?” The director shook his head frantically, his whole body beginning to shake uncontrollably. One of the cameramen nearby tried to give him a cup of tea, but he was pushed away as Mr Burton continued to play a central role in the drama. “For so long I’ve had this vision in my head – I’ve worked so hard to make it real. Got the actress all ready and had the Looking Glass house built, had it all laid out before my very eyes, I suppose. I can’t believe this is happening… that’s never going to materialise!” The directors voice trailed away as he began to choke back his tears, which forced their way out even though he was trying desperately to hold them back… he was, after all, Tim Burton the famous director. “The house - the dream - the vision is all shattered, it’s all gone… what am I to do now? Tell me what I’m supposed to do without my vision, without my dream? I was trying to touch it, it was within reach, but now… where’s it gone? Where’s it gone? Help me… please…”
Everyone around stared at the directors contorted face and shaking shoulders, open mouthed and silent. Nobody dared to move or say anything. As Mr. Burton’s tears began to rush from his eyes another member of the film crew moved towards him, touching him reassuringly on the shoulder.
“Here here, take it easy Tim… sit over here,” the cameraman said gently, his American accent causing the words to sound like a lullaby. He pulled up a green canvas directors chair and pushed Tim towards it, making the crying director sit down with a jolt. As he did so, a large portion of his shoulder collapsed beneath the cameraman’s friendly grip and it slid to the ground with a rather sickening thud. All around eyes were fastened on his tear stained face… which seemed to waver and decompose slowly even as they watched. Elvira and Bartholomew exchanged uncomfortable glances.
“Look at me! Look at me, I’m crumbling… I’m falling apart!” cried out Mr. Burton, a slight edge of panic creeping into his voice at this point. Fragments of his nose fell off into his black lap, while the whole of his right lower leg beneath the knee came away and collapsed onto the floor. His cries became almost unrecognisable as his body continued to fall apart. “Somebody’s got to help me, right now! Please help me… please!”
(Poem for Jeanne Heburterne)
There was a certain wildness about her
That ignited their passion and he continued to burn
Through those empty Paris streets after the great war had ended
But there was still fighting. He painted as she panted
Giving birth to ideas, and dreams of flight – but now the bird has flown,
that soaring far above have come to nothing –
the baby’s wails echoing around the bare studio walls
Even as her belly swelled once again in despair
she listened to his persistent coughs
Bouncing against the bare bones of his frame
Her scarlet lips still forced into a bleak smile which became twisted
As his friends urged him away –
“Forget her, Modi… have another drink!”
So he can blow on the glass to know he’s still alive. As the winter deepens
around the two of them
Clinging desperately together as the walls became decorated, playing with the flames of their passion
The paint still wet on his final portrait
As he was taken away to die.
She followed him backwards over the balcony crushing her head along with all her hopes
Leaving behind a burning trail of memories that won’t so easily die.