Thursday, April 28, 2016

Who's Your Villain Parent?

Right, so: I have now finished watching Descendants for the second time with my children. It's a Disney TV movie, basically featuring the children of some of the greatest Disney villains being sent to high school over in the good kingdoms of Disney princes and princesses. The five main characters are Mal (daughter of Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty), Ben (son of Belle and the Beast, from Beauty and the Beast), Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen from Snow White), Jay (son of Jafar, from Aladdin), and Carlos (son of Cruella De Vil, from 101 Dalmations). The basic theme of the movie revolves around choosing your own path in life, because of and in spite of your parentage; the central plot revolves around Mal's mission to obtain the Fairy Godmother's wand so that she can free the villains from their imprisonment, and the growing romance between Mal and Ben -- but there are plenty of side-plots and the other characters all get their chances to show off. It's one of those things that could be horrible and schlocky, and in the event turns out to be amazingly well done instead.

So this got us to wondering who our own villain parents would be. It probably wasn't fair to ask the boys, since their only model for parents at this point are, well, us... but we had fun talking it over anyway.

Which leads me to ask all of you, my bright and creative readers: who would your Disney Villain parents be? And, as a result, what sort of powers or specialties would you have? And would you turn out good? Or maybe your parents were good -- in that case, who were they? And would you turn out evil? Or maybe just... evilish? (The movie is remarkably, and pleasantly, ambiguous about that. Just to pick one example, the son of Cinderella and Prince Charming is, well, not actually a very good guy.) So go with it: if you were making characters for a world like this, who would you be? What would your story arc look like? And where would you end up?

You can watch the preview below the cut:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016

No Fate in Twilight

The world passed in bits and flashes: a dark suburban street here, then far behind him; a flash of dirt road, trees on either side, then gone; two footfalls on someone's front porch, before it was lost. Reality surged and flowed around him, and he navigated from island to island in its stream. It was a dangerous way to travel: one misstep, and he could be lost beyond any hope of salvation or retrieval. It was also very, very fast...

...And whatever, wherever it was, this path was also familiar to the things that hunted. He kept catching glimpses of them, sliding and bounding. They avoided the islands but slithered darkly through the stream. Or maybe it wasn't familiar to them. Maybe they were only following him, in the way that seemed most natural to them. Vilisant was suddenly afraid that he'd shown them how to do something that they hadn't known before.

He was inside a warehouse, then gone. He was in a field of high grasses, then gone. He took four steps down an office hallway, then launched himself again.

They were still behind, and he thought they were starting to wind around him. It felt dangerously as if they were becoming part of his path; as if the wild flow of places and spaces around him might suddenly reach up to pull him down, and that it would be them when it did.

His foot touched down in a parking lot, and he pivoted and changed directions completely. He had the brief impression of a dark blot spreading out over the pavement around him, but he was moving entirely in the physical world now. They might still be hunting him, but they couldn't pull him down. He put on a burst of speed, and moved clear of the area before they could emerge. He was spending his energy too fast; he needed blood to replenish it. He wouldn't tire, exactly, and he wouldn't slow; but when the blood ran out, he would stop. And he could feel his body contracting, the flesh withering as he burned through the blood it held.

The parking lot had been out on the edge of a city -- which city, he wasn't sure. He'd been trying to reach Twilight, and Twilight wasn't a city that aligned well with the geography of the real world. Still... having a city nearby was good. The lore of his clan said that once, long ago, the darkness had kept outposts and forts beneath every city and town, and the light had held their corresponding outposts just above them. The struggle between them had been steady, with raids and brawls often erupting into the mortal world. Then one of the Powers had intervened, pulling all those almost-places into a single, labyrinthine city, contiguous and coterminous with the real world but not quite a part of it. After the initial bloodshed, the intrusions of light and dark alike had given way to control by the half-human, once-human species that were and weren't part of the middle world, that were and weren't allied with either side. The city of Twilight, as unsettled and unruly as it might to be, was a balancing point between darkness and light, and a buffer that held them back from direct incursions into the mortal world.

Vilisant hated the place. But it would keep his pursuers off him, and it was easiest to reach from the heart of a city. It didn't matter which one.

Should he try to feed, or try to push through? If he could reach Twilight, he would be safe. Even if he couldn't feed there -- and he probably could -- his clan would find him, and provide for him. But he was hovering at the edge of his strength; if he needed anything extra, if he had to force his way past them, he would falter and fall.

I'll risk it, he decided. He would be in as much danger, or more, if they caught him while he was trying to feed. Better to get to safety first, and worry about feeding later. Damn that woman. If she'd come with me, we could have been gone and back to the citadel before those things ever arrived. He was already moving when another thought struck him, and he chuckled: Wouldn't the Oracle Shiran be surprised if he died on his way to Twilight, before ever marrying his destined bride?

He launched himself over a wall, landed softly on the other side, and remembered what the woman had intended for him. Maybe that would be for the better. The road ahead of him led towards the center of town, and he sprinted along it. For the dead travel fast, he thought. I just hope the dark don't travel any faster...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

...Or not.

I was going to try to do some kind of writing last night.

Apparently it was vitally important that we hang doors, instead. Apparently it was critical that we do this now, and -- and I confess I'm baffled by this -- it was equally important to do it ourselves because we're just too exhausted to get professionals in to do it right.

I don't even... You know what? I don't care. It's done. The evening is gone. The doors are hung. Whatever.

I swear, though, the way April is going? We're going to finally get the garage cleaned back out and everything back in place inside the house...

...and it will be just in fucking time for the Zombie Apocalypse to arrive, and force us to evacuate the city entirely.

With my luck, they'll show up right in the middle of Secondborn's birthday party, so we'll end up having to escape with a bunch of traumatized kindergarteners who are screaming for their parents, in a van that's low on gas, with nothing but Batman cake and Capri-suns for supplies.

You just watch. When it happens, I won't even look surprised.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Perchance to dream...

I made it through work yesterday (barely), then picked up the boys, made dinner, and collapsed on the couch for a brief 11-hour nap. Woke up this morning to discover that the boys had laid down two rows of those inflated plastic packing pillows -- either to cushion the fall if I rolled off the couch, or as a trap for when I woke up. (I asked, and of course you're right: it was a trap.) I made breakfast and took a long, hot shower which will no doubt come as a great relief to my co-workers.

So I'm back at work, the boys are at school, the Beautiful Woman is in the middle of the Season Of Grading, and the cat still wants treats. I'm... better. Still a little strung out, I think, but better. I spoke to my Dad again yesterday, and he's still moving along; I think he'll be okay until he runs out of things to do. The boys have expressed some sadness, but they're doing pretty well so far. We've had a ton of condolences come in, and I'm behind on responding to them (because, well, unconscious) but believe me when I say that I appreciate every one of them.

This would be a good day to have a bunch of mindless edits to make, stuff where I could keep working but mostly run on automatic pilot. Instead, I need to sort through some projects, make some strategic decisions, and start getting some things in motion. This probably isn't the best day for trying to use my brain like that, but it needs to be done so that's what I'm doing. More later, when I have some time to settle down and do more writing...