Thursday, April 18, 2013

Revisiting a Hack-Job: The Ghost of Leo (2005-7)

I'd been getting more in the habit lately of revisiting stories I'd written ages ago. 

on my movie blog, I'd been going through a list of what I consider my favorite movies... or at least some of them.

Just in case I hadn't posted the address yet.
I'm up to #85 (out of 101) and it was the Reese Witherspoon/Mark Ruffalo romantasy flick "Just Like Heaven."

Great movie, especially if you've got a box full of chocolates.
Just kidding. But it is a pretty engrossing film that I personally enjoy a lot.

Going through the synposis and such, I remembered that part of it inspired something I wrote, if only the last page or so.

Shortly before I started college, I began a story that was originally inspired by "Danny Phantom." Man, that was a great series.
Anyway, I thought about this mysterious character with a ghostly outline and these glowing green eyes.
I started going from stream of consciousness more or less, but little by little, I put things into it that just sprang to mind.

Anyway, after a while, school happened, my interest and focus tapered off and I found my way back to writing fanfiction, this time about "InuYasha." Great animé series, I'd mentioned it a few times.

One year, I made it my mission to complete everything I'd written and if there was no chance, I was going to "throw it out" or in the case of the PC world, delete.
And I'll be honest. I regret throwing anything away nowadays.
However little sense it made and how much copyright I might have infringed, I wish I hadn't gotten rid of this one story... where this guy was the only member of his family to survive a house fire, he's taken in by his Aunt Clarissa, who runs an animal rehabilitation place. He's having these fantastical dreams about dragons and such, but really, everything that came out was from the Playstation game "Spyro the Dragon." Which I still play to this day, even though I'd been through it thousands of times.

The gist of it was that, supposedly, in the fire he'd forgotten his name. It is never mentioned, merely alluded to, but ultimately, his name would have been the same of the small dragon he'd dreamt about based on Spyro himself. 

As for Leo, I got so far with the story, then decided later on I would severely shorten it because I wasn't coming up with a lot of ideas.
To be fair, the logic in my storytelling was always really sketchy. That's what I get for writing a story from an idea that isn't fully realized. Heck, my logic with Leo himself was extremely lackluster. 

The first scene had him materializing the bedroom of this girl he was in a relationship with. Technically, this story is told from Tricia's POV more than his. She spends the first part of it trying to figure out who he is or was to her.
Supposedly they were separated by this big accident. He lost his life saving her from it, and meanwhile, she received so much damage in the accident that she literally lost the first 13 years of her life.
The only life she knows is of the last 4 years... she's 17, a junior in high school. She lives with foster parents and has no memory of her real family.

There's the trauma of the accident itself, but supposedly an air-conditioner fell on her head from a second story window, which accounts for the other half of her amnesia and loss of long-term her memories.
With that alone, how much sense does all that make? Honestly, I haven't the foggiest.

According to Leo, they were neighbors with degree of age difference between them... 6 years. Supposedly they met when she was 11 and he was 17... how much sense that makes, I really don't know. He talks about how he had feelings for her that he had to keep to himself because with the age difference, it would be frowned upon, but after a certain point, he didn't care anymore. 

An issue goes on throughout as to what Leo is. He appears to Tricia a couple of times when she's rendered unconscious, either at night while she's asleep, or when she starts blacking out for no apparent reason on a school day.
First she believes he's a spirit or ghost of someone she knew. Then she keeps defending the fact that he isn't a ghost. I had a severe lapse in judgement there, obviously.

During this school day where it all starts, Tricia kinda starts to realize the illusion of popularity. She's surrounded by all these girlfriends, but realizes she doesn't know any of their names or anything about them other than them being cheerleaders, volleyball players and whatnot.
The logic is that Leo managed to create that illusion so Tricia would have security and stability, something she lost in the accident. Not sure how much sense that makes either.

The only thing that she maintains from her popularity is the attention of this guy, Wes. Seriously, the first name that came to mind... at the time, I really liked the name, but I don't remember where I got it.
Geesh, that statement isn't even accurate. She had a crush on him for years, but they'd only said a couple of words to each other. Suddenly, it's as if they're close friends because throughout the disorientation plaguing her mind (with everything being an illusion and such), he has her back no matter what.

She falls ill and luckily, at this specific time, the school is evacuated because of a bomb threat.
This isn't completely random, though. I think in September or October of my first year of school, we had to evacuate, take the stadium seating and we were forbid to use our cellphones (easy to say for me cuz I didn't have one at the time).
This is is merely a vehicle for Tricia and Wes to bond, and he's a gentleman for driving her home. 

Supposedly Tricia has the flu and throughout this time, her memories are attempting to come back through Leo. But the logic completely falls apart when she immediately gets better the next day and Leo materializes. 

The story that follows is that Wes is distrustful of Leo, who apparently came back into Tricia's life out of the blue. He sees him as being a few extra years older than Tricia does. From a destination, to Wes, Leo exudes the age of 25.

After that, I drew from another source of inspiration from my life.
We had faulty fire alarms in the college dorms and it would go off whenever someone burnt popcorn. There was one night, 1/24/06, where I woken up in the middle of the night by the alarm, but I was so tired that I decided not to get out of bed.
As the alarm blared louder, I started to suspect after a while that there might be an actual fire and I might die... because I was too stupid and lazy to get out of bed.

Luckily, it was a false alarm. 

I put the idea of a faulty alarm in the story earlier on, and later decided to incorporate that incident into the story as its climax.
To get the proper setting, I decided that Tricia was doing so well in these advanced placement courses that she had the opportunity to study at a local private school where credits for the advanced courses counted towards college credits. 
Throughout this, Leo tells her that he has a bad feeling about that place, "people change" when they go here, and so on. She doesn't buy into any of it.

Again, all randomly thrown together.

Then in the climax, the fire happens. Tricia doesn't bother to get up and out because she thinks its a false alarm. Leo breaks in to save her life. But Wes, who decided to transfer there because his parents happen to be really rich but he decided to stick to public school until now (how convenient!), confronts him and says that he saw him light the fire himself.

Then comes the biggest load of crap I ever threw together... and at the last minute, no less.
Even more convenient, this is when Leo is revealed to be a ghost. Wes tries to throw a punch, but his fist goes right through him... and seconds earlier, Leo had carried Tricia out of a burning building.
Age comes back into question and Leo confesses that he should be 24, but he is 19 based that was his age when he died. So Wes got a vibe from him that he was older than 19, even though he appears that way... again, my logic sucks.
But to save time and more meandering on my part, I'm going to copy/paste this part so anyone who reads can judge its legitimacy for themselves.

While they waited for the fire trucks to come and put out the flames, Leo explained the story of what happened. In his later years of high school, he went to that private school, but rumor had it that it was cursed. It had been built on ancient Indian burial ground. Those were also the years where his feelings for Tricia were the strongest. Due to the influence of the cursed spirits, Leo felt like he was developing another personality, a dangerous one that could hurt Tricia. At times, he’d have blackouts and wake up somewhere, not remembering how he got there.
Several months past and the blackouts were getting more frequent and he couldn’t remember anything he did over longer periods of time. At the same time, arsons were happening in the area close to the private school. Leo found himself waking up closer and closer to the scene of the crime. A few times, he’d be out cold for days at a time. He started to check a map of the area to see if there was a pattern. He circled each of the targeted houses and noticed that they were at different points off of a circle of homes around the private school. When he drew a pattern, the four houses were part of a pentacle symbol with the private school standing in the middle of it. He looked at the point above the school and Tricia’s house was the one above it.
When he found that out, he told Tricia and her parents to take a trip out of town for the weekend. She asked what was going on since she was seeing less of him. He told her that he’s been checking into the arsons and it’s had him up for the past few nights. He worried that her house was going to be next, but she thought he had nothing to worry about. Luckily, they had already planned to see family that weekend. Before they left, Leo took her into his arms. She asked, “Leo, you’re shaking, what’s wrong?”
“Tricia, I love you so much and I’d die if anything happened to you. I couldn’t live without seeing your beautiful face.” He gave her a kiss before they broke apart. During that weekend, Leo looked around for evidence. He then went into the private school’s dumpster and found some of his old clothes in there. He found that all of them had been singed at one point. He gasped when he realized that he had been the one setting the fires. He rummaged through his things and found plans that apparently his dark side had sketched. He too had drawn the pentacle pattern in his blueprints.
To see if this had any connection to the private school, he decided to Google “pentacle”. He found that the tribe of Indians that lived in this area was cursed by another tribe. This enemy tribe was a bitter rival of the residing tribe and since they were unequipped to defeat them in battle, they used the underhanded tactic of hexes and curses. The curse could only be broken if a pentacle was burned into the ground where their territory once stood.
The Sunday that Tricia was returning with her family, Leo was experiencing headaches and he had one last blackout before night fell. He felt something foul was in the area and it was coming from the school itself. He sensed that the restless spirits wanted to take this into its own hands because his feelings for Tricia were so strong that he couldn’t bear to put her out of house and home.
He saw the headlights of Tricia’s parents’ car go by the school, but suddenly it was acting strong. The car started careening out of control, almost as if it were under the control of the spirits of the Indian tribe. He rushed out of his dormitory, quickly realizing that he wouldn’t make it in time. All of sudden, he felt a new sensation. He started running after the car, steadily gaining speed. He could barely comprehend what was going on, but he had caught up with the car. He knocked on the window, telling Tricia to roll it down. He urged her to tell them to hit the breaks, but they weren’t working. He followed alongside the car until it came towards Tricia’s house. In an instant, it crashed into the gas main and the car burst into flames. Completely acting out of instinct, he opened the left passenger car door, grabbed Tricia and dragged her out just as the car exploded.
He realized that he had taken the impact of the blast. Tricia slowly woke up while Leo was dealing with severe 3rd degree burns. Not only that, but he was dealing with severe pain as well. She was all over Leo, asking a million questions at once. “Are you all right? How were you able to keep up with our car? Why’d you do that?”
Leo quickly figured out that the Indian spirits had possessed him in order to break their curse, but also to help him save the one he loved. He was cringing with pain that seemed inconsolable. Tricia realized that her parents had been incinerated in the blast and Leo was slowly dying from his injuries. His dying words to Tricia were that he wished only for her safety and her happiness. After he died, Tricia completely lost it. She didn’t want to leave Leo’s side and couldn’t believe that her family and her one true love had all died and she was the only one who was spared. So shaken by the incident, she was unable to move or sense that the trouble wasn’t over. That’s when the air conditioner came down from the 2nd story window and hit her on the head.
Leo said to Tricia and Wes, “I didn’t want you to come back here because I thought I’d set another fire to finish breaking the curse.”
“But how were you able to come back?”
“It’s hard to explain, the spirits of this tribe have called my spirit to different parts of the country to break other curses. I wanted desperately to return to see you once more.” He stroked her cheek, “I’m so sorry for all of this, but all I wanted to do was protect you.”
“So, did these ‘so-called spirits’ help you fix things so Tricia would have the ‘perfect life’? Like with her popularity and everything?” Wes asked. Leo nodded, “Regrettably so. I wanted her to be happy because of this incident. She lost everything she knew in one night and I wanted her to get past that.”
“Now that your spirit has completed its mission, are you going to return to the spirit world now?” Tricia asked, on the edge of tears. Leo nodded, “I’m afraid so.” He stroked her cheek, “I was so glad that I got to see you once last time. I love you.”
“I love you too. I wish you didn’t have to go.” He nodded before kissing her once last time. The moment their lips lost touch with one another, he was gone. 

so there you go.
The story ends with Leo disappearing, Tricia and Wes have a relationship through college but go their separate ways.
The final scene is inspired by the rooftop scene at the end of "Just like Heaven." Tricia meets William, a native american man with glowing green eyes,  and the two have an immediate attraction as if they met in another life.

I know reincarnation doesn't happen that quick, but it makes a little more sense than some of the other stuff in here. If I had room, I'd post the whole thing here, but if anyone else wants to filter through my so-called logic, they can contact me and make of it what they will.

The story isn't all that bad, really. It has a lot of good elements that could be made better with a little more focus, but the execution of it all is just ghastly.
But to fix it and make it legit, I just wouldn't know where to begin.

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