CHECKERBOARD - SHORT STORY
She looked at the square tiles on the wall and the checker board pattern on the floor and they made her smile.
It had all started ironically in a wood late at night. That was when they had met. They were there, right there, at the beginning.
She had been a student at film school. She had loved the movies, and growing up as a child had spent her private hours making shorts, putting on shows for her family, sending off her work to competitions and festivals, looking for a lucky break.
She had been able to choose a film school, and she had picked the best.
It was her friend Lisa who had seen the note on the student notice board. It was a common thing. There was always someone in the school with a project, looking for actors, technicians or just extras for a crowd.
This was a bunch of radicals shooting a horror flick in the woods. It was held to be ground breaking, the whole thing shot on hand held cams. Lots of jerky motion and raw realism.
That's where she had met Peter. He wasn't even in the movies. He was just a friend of a friend, drafted in to run around the woods at night, getting gored up, having a crack.
They had met over a cup of tea in polystyrene cups. Huddled together in the back of an old van, Billy the director, had borrowed for the night. It had been Love at first sight.
That was twenty years ago. It had been twenty years of blissful marriage. She had gone on to be a successful filmmaker. Arty low budget films that drew respect in the industry and won prizes at small film festivals. They often got included at Sundance and even Cannes back in '09.
Peter went on to develop a very successful Architects practice and she always thought they were the perfect couple.
It was ironic, because that film shot in the woods had gone on to be a worldwide hit. It created a whole genre of grainy films shot on hand held cams.
Being an eminent if low key film-maker, she often was on judging committees for festivals. She watched a lot of movies, some of them inspired, occasionally dreadful, but mostly entertaining enough. After all it couldn't be any better than this. Not only did she do what she loved, making films, she got paid for watching them too. Life doesn't get any better.
She had her own private cinema in the basement of the house. She spent a lot of time down here watching the films they sent her. She loved the old days when she wound the spools of film into her projector, but now it was all digital.
She settled down with a lovely bottle of dry white wine, and pressed play.
This was the third film she had seen this week that used that slightly shaky handheld technique. She found it rather passé. It was not a technique she ever used, but she always felt a slight frisson of excitement when she thought back to that film in the woods long ago. It certainly hadn't hurt her career to be associated with a revolutionary block buster.
This film was shot from the perspective of an, as yet, unknown character. She recognised the location. A famous metro station in Paris with art on the walls. She had been there many times with Peter. At one time they had even had an apartment in that district of Paris.
Nothing much was happening, a few drunks on a bench on the opposite platform were raucously singing an old French ballad, popular ten years ago. Then that rumble and rush of air that preceded the arrival of a train.
The camera waited for the train to stop and the doors to open. She realised this take was just being shot on the fly. The camera took the audience onto a normal looking subway train and turned right. A punk with a scarlet quiff and a tartan jacket, sat vacantly in the first seat, lost in whatever music he was listening to, but as the camera focused a few rows back, her heart seemed to miss a beat in her chest, and her numb fingers let go of her wine glass, which unnoticed spilled its expensive contents on her carefully chosen fabrics.
In a daze she wandered up to the kitchen. She looked at the shining rack of Sabatier knives. Not quite right. She remembered that time in the woods. She remembered the feel of the hammer. Her hand seemed to reach for the meat tenderiser of its own volition.
Like a wraith she made her way up the thickly carpeted stairs. Numb to everything all she could see was Peter and Lisa side by side in the metro carriage. Lisa had aged well. Still a beautiful woman, her silken lips whispered silently into Peter's ear.
Pushing open the bedroom door, she silently entered the room. Peter, always so perfect. She stood by the bed watching the rise and fall of his chest, his handsome face.
Tightly holding the handle of the tenderiser behind her back she brushed her fingers lovingly on his cheek, whispering, "Peter, darling."
She watched his eyes open sleepily, smiling with love as he focused on her face.
She didn't even cry out as she brought the checker board pattern down onto his forehead with all her might. That was what she remembered. The regular squares embedded in his forehead.
By the time they had found her the tenderiser had done its work, the beautiful patterns obliterated. Still she appreciated the images. Focusing back on the tiles of her new home, she was looking forward to creating the juxtaposition of squares when she came to film it.
COPYRIGHT RICHARD WEALE ©2020