By Larry Rodness
19 year old Emylene Stipe is a 2nd generation Goth who, like every teenage girl, is trying to find her place in the world. One night she comes upon an old painting in an antique store and is compelled to purchase it. When she brings it home an image of a young woman appears in the sketch and then magically materializes in her apartment. Emylene nick-names her 'Poinsettia' and they soon become fast friends. But Poinsettia has an ulterior motive for her sudden and strange intrusion into her host's life which causes Emylene to question her whole belief system.
LARRY RODNESS BIO
Larry Rodness began his entertainment career as a professional singer at the age of 19 and has been performing in Toronto for over 35 years with his wife and singing partner, Jodi, at venues such as The Old Mill, Royal York Hotel, Skyline and Bristol Place Hotel as well as countless corporate and private functions.
In the 80's Larry studied musical theatre writing with PRO under Broadway conductor Layman Engel, which led him to write for dinner theater. He then moved into the screenplay arena where he has written over a dozen screenplays and has had 3 scripts optioned to date. In the past 2 years he has also become a published novelist.
Information on other writings is available on www.larryrodness.com
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The next day during her lunch break, Emylene returned
to the antique shop to find the sketch sitting there on the
dusty floor, leaning against the grimy picture window. She
looked at it more closely this time. The artist had framed the
winter scene by drawing a weathered old wooden fence that
zigzagged from the foreground all the way to a line of trees
that met the horizon. In the center of the sketch stood the
subject of the picture, a great cypress tree surrounded by a
blanket of pristine snow. Aside from that there was nothing
distinctive about the picture at all except that Stelio seemed
captivated by it. And yet the more she looked, the more
Emylene felt a strange emotional tug. The sketch was serene
and unsettling at the same time, evocative but distant—just the
right mix of perversity for the heartsick Goth.
Her mind firmly made up, Emylene pushed open the
paint-peeled door that creaked as if it objected to the intrusion.
The air inside hung heavy with the smell of melancholia.
The items on display, not so much antiques as other people’s
castaways, were piled haphazardly onto shelves and tables
in no particular order. This was not so much a store as a
graveyard, a tomb for forgotten relics and memories. And
if that wasn’t bad enough, Emylene sensed an air of gloom
emanating from the shopkeeper himself who was behind
his counter, staring sour-faced at her. He was a tall, gaunt
man in his late sixties with wispy grey hair who had lived
in the district for over thirty years and suffered them all—
the druggies, the hookers, and the hustlers. He took one
look at Emylene and made up his mind about her before
she said a single word: Goths. If they were so in love with
death, why didn’t they just slit their wrists and let the rest
of us get on with our own miserable lives? Nevertheless,
Emylene greeted him with a cheery hello.
“Hey there. The picture in the window, the one with the
tree? How much?” she asked.
“It’s not for you,” he replied with a trace of a European
“Maybe it is.”
“Why? Why would you want it?”
“I dunno exactly,” replied Emylene. “It just kinda
speaks to me.”
“Really. And what does it say?”
“It says… ‘I’m lonely, I need a friend, a nice place to
live.’ So, how much you want for it?”
The storeowner stared at Emylene at first with curiosity,
and then with disdain. “A million dollars,” he replied. “You
got a million dollars? If not, don’t waste my time.”
Emylene offered her prettiest smile while she lifted the
picture from the floor and eyeballed it like an appraiser from
Sotheby’s. There was nothing particularly artsy about it. The
dust covering the frame and glass told her it had probably been
lying around for months, if not years. Artistically, the scale
was tipping more towards ‘garbage’ than ‘antique.’
“I don’t have that much, but I’ll give you a hundred,”
“You really want it? Tell you what. You come back
Emylene knew what was coming next.
“…dressed from head to toe in white. You wipe all that
black polish off your nails and the paint off your face, and you
come here dressed like…”
“…like a little lady?” asked Emylene.
“Yes, like that, and she’s yours.”
Emylene put the picture down where she found it.
“See you tomorrow then,” she sang as she left the shop.
Although she had never met this man before Emylene
knew him all too well. Her parents had taught her early on
that whenever people were confronted with something odd
or strange, they generally went into “fear mode.” This man
was afraid of something and desperate to keep control of
his domain. To do that, he needed to demystify Emylene by
degrading and shaming her into showing that beneath all the
make-up and the gear, she was as dull and ordinary as he was.
Emylene needed to show him that she was a grown-up, and no
one was going to push her around. Both were in for a shock.
The next day Emylene returned to the store as requested,
wearing the only white dress she owned and treasured—an
exact replica of the bridal gown Miss Lucy was buried in,
after Dracula turned her into a vampyre. When Emylene
stepped across the threshold of the store, she looked more
frightening than she did in anything she had worn in black,
and the look on the store owner’s face instantly faded to the
same pallor of white as the dress. As Emylene approached him
she slowly opened her hand.
The owner drew back, fully expecting to find a beating
heart pumping away in her little palm. Instead there were
five twenties. He hesitated a moment, wondering whether
to deny her the purchase and shoo her out, but instead,
he scooped up the bills. Emylene took the picture and
exited the store. Not a word was said between the two.
After she left, the owner crossed himself, and then oddly,
tears began to roll down from his eyes.
When Emylene returned to her apartment, she hoped to
find another note tied to a black Bacarra rose, which signified
that Stelio was back in town. She was anxious to surprise him
with the sketch, but there was nothing waiting for her.
The next morning she looked again. Still no rose or
note. A week went by without any contact from Stelio, which
frustrated Emylene to no end. Whenever she dropped by his
shop, she was told he was away on business. Was he avoiding
her? Had he grown tired of her? Never, she told herself, how
could he? Perhaps his wife found out about them.
In the meantime Emylene looked around for just the
right place to hang the sketch. There really was only one place
for it. A nail went into the plaster with two bangs of a hammer
and the picture was hung upon the wall opposite the main door
of the apartment so that it would be the first thing she’d see
upon entering, and the last thing upon leaving.
That done, Emylene took a moment to appreciate her
new acquisition. Ignoring the slap-dash method with which
the simple brush strokes were applied, she concentrated on
the basic elements of the scene—a rickety wooden fence
that zigzagged all the way back to a line of trees in the
distant horizon. A few wavy strokes indicating a blanket
of unblemished snow, and of course, the lone Cyprus that
commanded center stage. So simpatico did she feel to the tree
that, for a moment, Emylene fancied the artist must have had
her in mind when he drew it—two lone entities against the
world. That was all and yet, there seemed more although she
couldn’t put her finger on what, exactly. Perhaps it was in the
hastily drawn strokes that she had all but ignored until now.
What was the artist’s intention? Was it just plain laziness or
was there a sense of urgency? But then, because even Goths
get hungry, Emylene stripped off Miss Lucy’s bridal gown and
bounced downstairs to grab a sub.
It was 8:15 when she returned. When her world changed.
When the glorious mystery of the picture began to reveal
itself. When she gazed upon her new treasure and noticed for
the first time footprints in the snow that were not there before.
My 5 Star Review
I received the book from the author for an honest review.
Interesting and well executed plot that keeps you glued to the book till the last page. Or as Emelyne would have said "Perverse".
We meet Emelyne at the age of nineteen leaving her parents home to stand on her own feet like any ordinary young person that seeks independence. Her natural ability to rebel against everything in life did not prepare her for the life changes she would experience when meeting Stelio. A second generation Goth, this young lady new much about the darker side of life but nothing could prepare her when a framed picture came to life and altered her own drastically. As a Goth, she was trained by her parents to question everything, especially the very important one about Death. Soon death became a reality when her neighborhood, family, friends and neighbors acted strangely, and it was up to her to save the day.
Meeting Laszlo with an outrageous tale but yet so believable that she had to trust him to save everything dear to her. Her cunningness, strong will and wit stood out the most making her character believable and likable.
Taken back in time as you learn more about the evil Stelio and the connections between him and Laszlo. Giving you a glimpse in the world of revenge and Vampyres. The Mira character a good villain that kept the plot alive and entertaining.
Every scene a building block in the plot keeps the book filled with twists and intrigue. Well written as good and evil embark on capturing the soul of the human being.