Something a bit different today. Last year, I finished a feature film screenplay I called, "Bloom". It was sloppy and unfocused, but the ideas I got down on paper I think are solid, and worth revisiting. The story is about a woman living on the edge of the woods, a beekeeper, a farmer, and an augur. It's also about a boy, who gets lost in the woods, and the woman who goes to find him. It's a story about myths and legends, about family and individuals, and about loss.
I've decided to come back to the story, the characters, and the world of "Bloom", told as a series of vignettes, and remake them for prose. This is a small serialized journey. Let me know if you love it or hate it, and we can go from them. This is as always, a dialogue. But for right now, please enjoy, "Bloom."
A still bamboo forest. The morning light filters down through the branches and lands in pockets on the ground. Trees oscillate slowly in the calm breeze.
An apiary sits on the edge of the woods, in a clearing. Some hives, like small hills, sit around the outside of a home forming a semi-circle. The home is a small, modest farmstead, if a bit of a fixer-upper.
A bee leaves a hive. It flies around, wandering but not aimless. The bee sniffs out the air and explores the surroundings. Some girls work on the hives, moving back and forth from hive to home as smoke billows across the ground. The bee flies further up and away, through smoke coming from the chimney, and into the forest beyond.
The bee swoops down towards the ground now, searching for a flower. From the brush to the side of the path, a black rat nibbles on some bamboo stalks that have fallen, half eaten. It sees the bee and continues eating, unconcerned. The bee flies along the path, over a log, and lands on an orchid. It spares no time and goes to work gathering pollen. Finished now, the bee begins to take flight, flying only a foot or two before being snatched out of the air by a fat raven.
The raven picks up the mantle where the bee left off, flying directly for a nearby branch in a tall tree, where it lands silently. The raven’s head moves so suddenly it seems to not move at all. It looks left, and right, cocking its head to one side, before looking down.
On the path once occupied by the bee is a woman walking deeper into the woods. She steps carefully over the log and the orchid, continuing on, with a clear destination in mind.
Her clothes are practical and well worn. She carries a sheathed machete in her left hand, and wears a rucksack slung across her right shoulder. She walks slowly, and with purpose. The raven caws at her from above. She looks up and sees the bird sitting there, almost mocking her. The raven meets her gaze, nonplussed. It cocks its head at her. She looks away and continues on.
The woman reaches a spot in the woods that have been clear cut. She sets her rucksack down against a standing tree and begins to work. She unsheathes her machete, widens her stance in the dirt, and takes a deep breath. She slashes the air like a samurai, holding the pose after making the strike.
The bamboo holds for a moment then falls slowly. She begins making a pile with several trunks, steadily working and carving out the forest. Her movements flow together into a routine cadence, a meditation as much as a chore. She stops for a moment, and wipes sweat from her brow. Something makes a sound like a owl hoot behind her, and she turns to find the source.
There’s nothing there. She turns back, widening out her stance again. There’s a rush amongst the trees. She looks around without moving her head; she’s fully immersed in her work. She makes a slash and becomes washed in a shadow. A flock of birds clear the forest. Distracted, she misses the mark complete but the blade finds a home.
A green bamboo bud is flecked with blood.
She winces and takes a deep drag of air. The machete sits blade down into the dark dirt. She looks up, raising her hands to her face. Her left hand is missing her ring and pinky finger, and she clasps her other hand round the wound, as if playing, trying to control the pain. The raven flaps its wings, and flies off to join the flock.