Blue Light Productions presents

Blue Light Productions Presents,
episode the fourth,
"She knows where she stands with night,"
written by Ben Rawluk

     This is what happened.
     It was on a particular day, for all days are particular when something 
happens. It was downtown, in the part of town where fashionable shops and 
boutiques lie, waiting for the masses to Need things. Need will always bring 
the masses. Need and - Want.
     And the girl was downtown, of course; she had woken that morning with a 
sunbeam across her face. It had disgusted her, she supposed; too bright, too 
cheery for the morning. She liked nights better than mornings. She knows 
where she stands with night. Seized with the desire for some shopping, she 
pulled herself from bed and wandered around the room.
     The girl will be called Ravencroft, for that is how she wants to be 
addressed right now. It suits her: hair like the feathers of a raven, 
contorted around her head into a fashionable style that occasionally looks 
antiquarian. The hair (feathers) rustles in the wind, as she walks down a 
fashionable street, amongst the fashionable shops.
     She wore a simple, black haltertop and black jeans. They were, she 
supposed, the height of somebody's style, even if black was not that 
fashionable in summertime. It was the same black as her hair - the exact 
same black. The black of ravens. No jewelry of course; Ravencroft believes 
All That Glitters Is Not Gold, and if she's not shiny, people won't suspect 
anything. People, she thinks, are just like that. Mostly.
     The salon, she guessed, had been a splendid idea. Pampered, treated 
like the queen she was, Ravencroft had given the chore of her appearence 
over to someone else for the morning - this was more for the idea, the 
novelty of the thing, really - and now she felt divine, recharged. Of 
course, the stylist had screamed as he tried to do _anything_ with her hair, 
for it was like working with feathers. Or so he said.
     Ravencroft would be, of course, the first to admit that she liked to 
hear him curse under his breath, the beads of perspiration forming on his 
brow as he tried to justify the horrendous prices attached to his work. She 
would have giggled, but Ravencroft is nothing if not good at acting. She 
fancied herself a drama student, even, for a time. But that had been a while 
ago, and now she just satisfies those urges with little games of pretend as 
she plays with people.
     She had told the stylist his fortune. His face went pale, which for a 
moment reminded her of the sweet child she amuses herself with, wearing 
white makeup to make himself look gothic. She loved to watch people has she 
offered them their fortunes - her face would remain straight, deadpan 
perhaps. Except for the crinkle in her lip, ever so slight. So perhaps it 
hadn't been the most professional job - she told him everything, not just 
the good stuff. She didn't use a crystal ball either, or his palm, or tea 
leaves. They expect that kind of thing. She didn't even use entrails; that 
bit saddened her, because there was nothing like a good augur on a Wednesday 
morning. Then she left.
     Ravencroft's head turns, to look up at the boutique's sign; it is 
hardly subtle. Big sweeping letters, like a flood she thinks. La Belle 
Visage, proclaims the sign. She can almost hear it. With a giggle. And 
Ravencroft stabs out with her left hand, pushing the door open with a 
satisfying tinkle - those chimes hung over the door - and steps inside. Her 
skin like vanilla, she smiles warmly like an icicle, melting on a 
windowsill. And the girl behind the counter brightens considerably, for the 
day has been slow so far and she desperately wants to speak to someone.
     Ravencroft can see this in her eyes.
     "Good morning," says the girl, her voice is like cotton candy. "Is 
there anything I can help you with?" She leaves forward a little too much, 
her Need is so obvious in her little, grey eyes.
     "Why, good morning," breathes Ravencroft. The word 'morning' hurts her 
tongue, she mourns the night again. "I'm not sure what I'd like to buy. 
Perhaps you have some suggestions? Working here, you must be the _height_ of 
fashion." There is not a drop of sarcasm in her voice; or maybe there is, 
but it is lost to the girl. She isn't a nuances kind of girl.
     And the girl smiles - partly because it is her job, and partly because 
she is glad for the company. "Weeeeeell," she lets slip from her lips. "You 
look like a real miniskirt kind of a person. We have some lovely, new stuff 
- just in. From Paris. From Milan."
     From Jersey, Ravencroft silently completes. She knows, as they say, the 
score. "That sounds lovely," is what she says.
     "Mmn," says the girl, appearing from behind the counter. Ravencroft is 
mildly surprised that she has legs. "I think you'd look amazing in this blue 
one, here." She held up the blue miniskirt, offering it to Ravencroft. "It'd 
go lovely with your eyes."
     Ravencroft can't help it. "Aww," she grins, and takes the miniskirt. 
"That's sweet." Her hands - she runs them over the fabric, smoothly. "Silk, 
is it?"
     The girl nods, vigourously. "Yesyesyes. Silk."
     And Ravencroft's eyes fall on the cloth; it smells, she decides, more 
like polyester. Maybe it was some new hybrid, man-made and natural in one? 
Perhaps the girl didn't know - she just wanted the sale. And, Ravencroft 
decides, an inferior product would be worth the girl's day being brightened. 
She liked it when people were all happy and glazed over. "I really do like 
the colour," she smiles, as the thoughts dissolve.
     "It'll really break this black on black thing you have going." The girl 
offers a comforting grin, "All the magazines say that black's not 
fashionable right now. Summertime, y'know how it is - bright colours."
     "I didn't know magazines could talk," whispers Ravencroft, as she turns 
toward the dressing rooms. "I'll try this on, I think. Then you can tell me 
what you think."
     "Of course," giggles the girl, as Ravencroft disappeared into one of 
the boothes. A small sign on the wall inside read Dressing Rooms Video 
Monitored For Your Protection. Ravencroft shrugs vaguely, and proceeds to 
change into the blue miniskirt. Blue. Another shrug; the colour will drain 
like blood, by sunset. And she steps out of the booth, between the girl and 
a mirror. "Ooo." The girl's smile broadens; this is false, Ravencroft knows, 
but will say nothing. They don't like to be caught in the act. "You look 
simply divine."
     And the thin smile across Ravencroft's face grows. "Thank you." She 
looks herself up and down in the mirror. The miniskirt, it doesn't suit her 
as much as it could. The smell of polyester makes her want to vomit, 
quietly, in the corner. She appears to consider; they expect this. "I'll 
take it," she says, finally. Smoothly.
     "Wonderful!" The girl prances over to the counter, and rings it up. 
Money is passed, hand to hand. "Would you like to wear it out? I could get 
you a bag for your jeans."
     "Lovely," mumbles Ravencroft, and the jeans are shoved into a bag which 
she takes. "Would you like to hear your fortune?" The question hangs in the 
hair, as the glaze clears from the girl's eyes.
     "Fortune?" Her smile dissolves, for a moment. "Tarot cards? My hand?"
     "Hand," says Ravencroft; she could do without the hand, without the 
sweaty palm touching _her_ skin, but they expect some kind of spectacle. She 
peers over the esoteric lines, ley lines on flesh, runes in skin. She looks 
into the girl's eyes. Then she speaks her fortune.
     And the girl stands there, stiller than she's ever been. Her mouth is 
open; and this isn't a fortune, is what she is probably thinking, because 
when you hear fortune, you think forunate, you think it is something good 
that will be in your future, it is something you expect or hope or dream. 
Something you desire.
     "Bye, sweetie," is all Ravencroft says, she she leaves the store: the 
chimes tinkle her exit, the door swings shut, and life apparently goes on. 
But the girl behind the door stands, looking down at the floor, quietly.
     Ravencroft is walking again. She reflects, in passing, the cement is 
uneven beneath her feet, and she longs to ditch the boots somewhere - walk 
barefoot, really commune with the gods of the urban landscape. There are 
gods for everything else, after all - there have to be gods of the city. Her 
arms swing back as she walks, the bag swings back and forth as well.
     Ravencroft hungers.
     Her eyes, of course, drag down onto a cafe nearby. Her nose catches a 
whiff of something - someone, she corrects herself. "Shit," she says, "He's 
here?" In the cafe, of course. And thus, she waltzes right inside: eyes (the 
blue of motel vacancy signs) wide open, staring straight ahead. She has to 
be polite, of course. It won't do to upset him. Maybe, she reflects, they 
could sit down to lunch and make it through without one of them storming off 
in anger, or being reduced to those smiles - the kind of smiles that make it 
clear that the person wishes to slice someone's throat wide open.
     Ravencroft looks briefly at the boy standing behind the counter, 
dishevelled during the busiest moments of the day, wishing people would just 
finish lunch. She decides against telling him his fortune; she is no longer 
in the frivolous mood to toy with other people's aspirations, and the scent 
of steamed milk makes her feel drowsy. But, she thinks, where is _he_?
     "Sister," says a voice behind her. A voice like the static from one 
thousand vinyl records, all slightly used. Ravencroft takes a moment to 
collect herself, but ends up fuming. She hates it when he addresses her as 
'sister,' in a tone of voice suggesting he wished she would just throw 
herself in the sun already so he could get on with his day. Bastard, she 
thought, loudly.
     "Brrrrother," Ravencroft spits, turning ever so slowly to face him: he 
sits at a small, round table, alone. A newspaper rests in his hands, and a 
moccachino is on the table in front of him. His eyes, she can not see them - 
they are hidden behind a pair of shades (like little mirrors, she sees 
herself reflected back, boiling with anger). A haystack of platinum spikes 
flourishes on his head, like tall grass. The smile was enough to make her 
sick: thin but angled, sharp as any knife. "How good to see you again," she 
says, smoothly.
     "Won't you join me?" He pushes a chair out with his foot. "And what can 
I call you today? Still using Persephone?"
     "Ravencroft," says Ravencroft. "Call me Ravencroft. I haven't used 
Persephone in a decade, brother. And what should I call you?" Bastard, she 
repeats in her head.
     The smile sharpens. Like a thousand needle teeth, all visible: 
Ravencroft knows this trick, she uses it just as much as she does. It's 
wasted effort. "Winterthorne," he says, lightly. "You may call me 
Winterthorne, for it suits my fancy today. With an 'e' at the end."
     "You were always a pretentious bastard," says Ravencroft, as she slinks 
down onto her seat, dropping her bag onto the floor.
     "Touche'." Winterthorne smiles, again. "I really must compliment you - 
that miniskirt looks divine. A bit out of your usual colour scheme, though." 
He moves, slightly; His silvery, silk shirt flows over his emaciated torso 
delicately. White slacks, a pair of sandals.
     "It's barely fifteen minutes old, Winterthorne," breathes Ravencroft. 
"Give it until sunset."
     "Ah. Well. Such is to be suspected. You were never very good at keeping 
your clothing looking new, now were you? Comes from all those birds you hang 
around with. Sister, you really should branch out beyond the corbae."
     "It's traditional. Not that you could ever tear yourself away from 
those roses of yours."
     "Ah, but I have, Ravencroft. I do roses, yes. But I also do orchids, 
and lilies, and snapdragons. Bleeding heart, of course - such a beautiful 
plant, and such wonderful connotation. And oranges, but nothing new there."
     "I never understood the oranges, Winterthorne."
     "Nothing rhymes with orange," breathes Winterthorne.
     And Ravencroft feels the urge rising again: fill him with broken glass 
/ burn him where he sits / turn and run / breathe again. He is making her 
flesh crawl, giving her the invisible worms treatment - just desserts for 
what she did to him, when they were young. "Why are you in town?" Finally, 
she has asked it, she has gotten to the point. Why the hell is he here?
     "I hear you have a project going," he whispers, his voice now like 
razors. Using the full repetoire, Ravencroft thinks. "A boy with a thing for 
goths, and a girl who banishes demons."
     "It's my project," says Ravencroft, "You'll stay away from it. You 
wrecked the last one. Not this time, you weazly bastard. It's mine!"
     "That's no fair," says Winterthorne, "Didn't you ever learn to share?"
     "Give me one good reason I shouldn't kill you right now."
     "Because I don't want you to."
     So smug, she thinks. So goddammed smug. She stands; leg muscles 
contract, flex, fists clenching. "Stay away," she breathes out. "Let me have 
one thing all to myself for one time."
     "But I want to play."
     Ravencroft breathes in again. He says that (always) when he is envious. 
When he's platinum blonde with envy. She hates this, she wants to slash his 
head right off his body, she wants to run away, she wants to crawl into a 
little hole where he can't get at her, she wants to take her toys and her 
project far away from him. She wants to make his gums bleed: she did that 
once, he wailed and screamed for three days because of her. She holds that 
thought, a smile spreading across her face.
     "You can't stop me, you know. You have no right to keep me from 
     And Ravencroft's miniskirt has begun to fray the edges; the blue seems 
to bleed into loose threads at the bottom, which had turned black at the 
very tips. She grits her teeth; she will not storm off. She will not give 
him the advantage. She will stand her ground. She will...
     "A truce," he smirks. She hates his smirk. But: a hand extended, a 
white rose. "Peace offering, I suppose. You'll except it?"
     Oh, he's a tricky bastard. Ravencroft takes the flower, gingerly. Pain! 
Shooting pain in her palm; she looks - cuts, bleeding red. Thorns on the 
goddammed rose. Don't show weakness, don't show weakness...
     "Good." His eyes stare into her, from behind the shades (mirrors, she 
is glaring at herself), burning holes into her skull. He always does this. 
He thinks it unnerves her.
     "Just stay away from my project, Winterthorne." Her voice is as cold as 
his name. Her hair (feathers) shivers for a second, caught by some brief 
wind from outside. "I want to have something on my own, for once. 
     "Perfectly," he says. His breath: she can smell it, like oranges. Of 
course, like oranges. He'd probably, she guesses, eaten a whole barrel of 
them before coming here. He knew she'd sense him. Knew she'd investigate. So 
the bastard ate a barrel of oranges in her honour. She hated him, the big 
brother, the big success story. Always with the needle teeth. Always 
     Winterthorne is perfectly composed; sitting so still, body rigid in 
front of his standing sister. He breathes in and out calmly. She imagines 
him, flesh melting off his bones. A great, big cauldron. Big fire. Boiled 
Winterthorne for desert. Mmn-mmn-good.
     There is silence for five minutes as they stare. And then reality 
intrudes: cappucino machine, noisy customers. People look at them 
expectantly - Ravencroft is blocking the way. "I'm going," she breathes, 
after a moment of thought. No reason family should ruin her entire day.
     And she is walking again. More like skulking, though, down the alleyway 
behind the cafe. She realizes, as her left foot steps in front of her right, 
that she's forgotten her bag. A shrug; she can always get new jeans.
     Jagged black runs in a ring around the bottom of her miniskirt; it is 
still thin, but she can feel it, shifting. The smell of polyester is again 
overpowering, no longer suppressed by steamed milk.
     For a moment, Ravencroft's mouth feels full of bile; this dissipates, 
though. She forces Winterthorne from her mind. Her hair is done, she's got 
on a new miniskirt - what next? She thinks there must be something else to 
do. A bookstore, maybe? Find some sulking student, a philosophy major, and 
tell him about the failed theses? The turpentine? The last moment? No. How 
boring, she thinks. She wants something exciting.
     She could rob a bank; no, that won't work either. They'd be suspicious 
about her if she robbed a bank. It is something they simply don't do, and 
expect her to abstain as well. People, she thinks, can be so cruel.
     Ravencroft thinks as she walks. She begins to make a list of her names, 
for she has been around long enough to collect more than a few; they need to 
be organised, now and then.
     Traffic is slowing; the streets are not congested, today, and she 
smiles at that thought. The beep-beep-beep of car horns make her feel like 
an alarm clock when she walks downtown. She is glad for the break. The 
boutiques loom on either side of her. Shopping? "No," she says. One 
shouldn't spend all one's money in one day.
     And Ravencroft then stops in front of a dance school, looking up at the 
inconsequential sign over the door. Ballet lessons? An interesting thought. 
The adulation of the masses, cheering and clapping as her body moves in 
perfect synchronity with the world. The eyes, so wanton. So filled with 
Envy. The thought fills her with delight, sheer pleasure. Dimly, she 
remembers once upon a time owning a pair of ballet tights - yes, of course. 
They would be at the back of her new closet, and she remembers there was a 
rip in the knee. Nothing that can't be fixed, of course. Ravencroft is 
nothing if not industrious.
     She should head back 'home'.
     That thought is strange, and it makes her belly rumble; she has not 
eaten, after all. Hardly the perfect diet, not eating. And back home, at 
that building, there was a cafeteria. With a limited menu, yes. But still, 
it was food. She giggles - the word 'belly' amuses her greatly, she doesn't 
think she could every be described as having a belly. It just doesn't fit 
     The ring of black is much farther up her miniskirt, now. And the smell 
of polyester is weak, now; silk has begun to creep in, soothing her nostrils 
with its pleasant fragrance.
     They'll be home: The goth boy, the girl who banishes demons. Ravencroft 
doesn't know if she wants to deal with the girl, who is surly and less 
'open' to her glamour. The girl doesn't like Ravencroft at all; on some 
level, this annoys her. But at least the boy in black, white makeup 
plastered to his face, wants into her pants. "Wants into my pants," she 
repeats to herself. How crass. But he is a fool, in the end. Driven by his 
hormones and some foolish naivete', he is easy to keep under wraps, he 
responds so well to her voice. He is easier to understand. She almost - 
likes him, she supposes. He doesn't make her want to vomit. That's usually a 
good sign. Ravencroft's stomach rumbles again. She imagines it echoing, 
filling up the entire city - one sound, over and over and over. Her hunger's 
mating call. Calling to the food.
     She wants, so badly, to eat.
     Ravencroft looks up - the sun is bright, the sky so blue. A few wisps 
of cloud. How prosaic, she thinks. She much prefers the night. Stormy, calm, 
it's all the same: dark. Not all of this sunlight, illuminating everything. 
The sun was too hot, it sought to creep into her skin and burn her. Awful 
star, she thinks.
     Eat, her stomach calls to her, eat.


     So. The fourth episode of Teens in Trenchcoats is done. This is going 
out a lot quicker than most episodes - a lot less lag between, in this case. 
I actually felt inspired. The problem being, this is probably the fourth 
version of this episode I wrote: the first ones focused on Emily in various 
ways, bringing DeadHeadMan and Winterthorne as well. I wasn't happy with any 
of them on the whole; although, I did end up grabbing bits of them and 
sticking it all in a file of 'lnh-bits', stuff to use in later episodes that 
work better. And then this Ravencroft story knocked on my door and started 
using up my time. I think this was started at six o'clock this evening, and 
now it's twenty minutes to Midnight. There were breaks, of course, but 
still. I have no idea why there are no scene breaks; the story just didn't 
need them. Want them. Whatever. Um, everybody was created by me - 
"Ravencroft," "Winterthorne," "Teens in Trenchcoats," and related characters 
mentioned herein are all (c) Ben Rawluk, 1999. Yadda-yadda. If anyone wants 
to send me comments, please direct them to ... 
assuming nothing wacky is happening, I usually get right back to most 
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