Sunday, February 11, 2018

Bradbury Challenge Week #6 Plus Rosemary's Baby

And here's the second week of February. Already. I' should have written this bit by bit like I did last week, but like I mentioned in my last post, I've been out of commission for a lot of last week. I've been sick with the flu, as has most of my work, and it's been difficult to manage a lot during the day by myself, especially since I haven't really felt like doing anything. I'm pushing myself to do this now. It's one of THOSE days. Tomorrow, since my breathing treatments have worked, it's back to work and everything else that comes with it. Honestly, we need to close the whole place down and disinfect the whole thing. But, I digress. Today I don't have any detailed updates, except that I did still manage to write, and even create a few ASMR videos--just not any with my face or voice in them. The three that I have cued up are things that have been waiting to be be put together. I just need to upload them, which I usually have to do when I'm at work when I'm not actively using my home internet because it takes a while and sucks up all my internet. Again, I digress. In any case, I do have another installment in my #WomenInHorrorMonth18. This is a brief bit of #flashfiction about Rosemary Woodhouse from Rosemary's Baby. If you've never seen it, it's a classic. It preys on all the fears and hopes of marriage and motherhood, of what happens when one person is selfish and manipulative. Rosemary is systematically groomed and isolated from her friends by her husband Guy, and taken under the wing of Minnie and Roman, who befriend her as she rides out an increasingly difficult pregnancy. I've included the YouTube link to the the audiobook at the end. I've read the book and listened to the audiobook and seen the movie enough times to have it memorized, so, yeah, I.m somewhat of a fan. And this is one of those rare cases where the movie is pretty close to the book, which is pretty good. Anyway,I hope you enjoy. HIS FATHERS EYES Being a new bride is so exciting. You have so many new ideas, and hopes and dreams about what the brand new life you’re going to share together. So full of hope and optimism. You found someone to be your mate that was really the hard part. I mean, finding a guy (whose name really was Guy, by the way) who said he loved you and wanted to marry you, sweep you off to the big city. New York. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And Guy was going to make, she just knew it. She knew it like she knew the sun rose in the east and set in the west. He has talent. He had exactly what it takes. Guy was everything. He was the epicenter of her world. He always knew the right thing to do, for both of them. He knew where the best of everything was, even if they couldn’t always afford it and above all else he made her laugh. It’s what she loved about him the most. She loved being a bride. It was like being initiated into a new secret society—one that everyone knows about of course, but that you can’t really belong to unless you have the invitations made. She delighted in them all. Picking out the colors (yellow was the rage in 1967) and her bouquet was made out of daisies. Guy wore one in his boutonniere. He smiled and indulged her, “Whatever you want, honey, it’s your day.” “It’s OUR day, Guy.” “Everyone knows this is for the bride.” He patted her cheek and kissed her on the forehead like you would a child. She adjusted to life in New York so well; it was as if she were a native. She made friends easily and was secretly pleased at not having to work, not if she didn’t want to. Some women wanted to work, just so they’d have something for themselves and some women had to, but Guy’s theatre career was really taking off. He was doing a lot of television and radio. She’d sometimes hear him when she was out shopping, which she liked to do on Thursday afternoons. This was one of the parts she liked best about being a housewife. The meal planning. It made her feel good to sit down, and organize everything on a sheet of paper, and determine her route. The Italian butcher for her meat, and the street market for fish and vegetables. She had read in a women’s magazine (which she also really loved) how to make her own grocery bags from yarn, so she made her own. She was so proud of them, and when she went to show Guy after spending all of Monday morning working on them, he grunted in acknowledgement and said “That’s great honey,” his eyes already on the t.v., his after work snack and his beer resting on the edge of the couch. She should allow that twinge of disappointment to thread through her. They’re just stupid grocery bags. But it was something she made, she was proud of it, proud of showcasing her skills at being frugal. It probably wouldn’t save them mountains of money, but, still, it was something she made, something she worked hard on. She wanted his approval more than anything in this world. She fought the urge not to throw it in the trash. It was the stupid women’s magazines that must be it. They were always telling her to do things that would make her house a home, how to please her husband with attractive centerpiece arrangements and an aesthetically pleasing dinner. Always have his after work snack and his drink. She carried his slippers like a dog. So eager to please, she might as well have her own tags and a bowl with her name on it. That’s what she thought afterwards, looking into the cradle now, with all of them surrounding her, watching to see what she would do. She didn’t know what she had done with the knife. After the initial horror had passed, and after she had spit in Guy’s face (and what a thrill she got out of that) she knew she couldn’t leave this baby to the rest of them, or with him. Leave him for Guy to raise? A bunch of old women whose oldest children were older than she was? The same people who had tried to convince her she was crazy rather than just tell her the truth? Someone had brought her a chair, a rocking chair. It was cushioned, and now Roman was placing the baby in her arms, more the proud papa than Guy. He was beaming as if it were his own child, or grandchild. Guy was still in the hallway, in the shadows, looking at her but not looking at her. She felt like she was underwater. Minnie’s tea sat cold. They had hooked her in, and he knew it. He was trying to be nice now. We weren’t sure how you’d react, Rosemary. He was talking, but Rosemary wasn’t listening. He was Dubrovnik, after all. She was looking into her baby’s eyes. The one old woman, whose name she couldn’t recall, was still eyeing her suspiciously, as if she would throw the baby out the window. No, she couldn’t do that. But what would they do about his eyes? They were gold, with the pupil slit like a cat’s eyes. There wasn’t any hiding them. How could he go to school? Her breath caught for a moment, but she forced herself to smile. They had to see her smile. There would be a way around this. Baby’s eyes change. They change all the time. There was something building in her. A power she couldn’t name, not like a witch’s power like she had read about, not like these witches, but something else. She was his mother. There was power in that. She looked up and met Roman’s eyes, and he nodded at her, an understanding passing between them. She had upstairs, all the baby clothes Guy, that liar, packed away. She was going to be able to shop for a boy! Images of little jumpers and navy blue rompers with red buttons filled her mind. She would just have to find a way to disguise the eyes, somehow. And she would have to do it on her own. She would be filing for divorce and full custody of the boy as soon as she was able. Her mind was whirling. She opened her mouth to speak, drawing in air, and felt the room tremble with weight. She felt power being drawn to her. I want the cradle back in my room where it belongs. I want all my things back. There were some muffled protests, but Roman just held up a hand, and nodded. Rosemary fixed her eyes on her son, whom she noticed had done nothing but coo in her arms since she had picked him up. She swore he smiled at her. Guy, I want you out. I want you to leave. Find a hotel or some place, I don’t care. Honey, c’mon, let’s talk about this. You got what you wanted. We all did. I’m filing for divorce in the morning. While I’m out, you can take your things. After that, I’m changing the locks. I don’t want to see you, I don’t want to look at you, I don’t want to think about you. Ever. You’ll never see me or the baby again. Why don’t you stay here tonight, dear, Minnie spoke up. Until things settle down, huh? No. Rosemary stood up. I’m tired of being told what to do by you people. All of you witches. This is my baby. Tonight I’m sleeping in my bed with my baby next to me. Roman, do you really think this is wise—an old man she didn’t know stood up, face red in protest. Good, she was hitting a nerve. She smiled, and the smile felt cold. Her baby, Adrian, the name floated to her mind, began laughing a baby laugh. She didn’t know her heart could be this empty, or this cold. I think Adrian approves, murmured Roman.

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