Author: Larry Rodness
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: YA Supernatural/Vampires/Paranormal
Publisher: Itoh Press
Release Date: Dec 2012
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
18 year old Emylene Stipe, a 2nd generation Goth, is shaken to the core when her make-believe world turns out to be real.
A supernatural fiction about a 2nd generation teenage Goth teen named Emylene Stipe
who finds a charcoal sketch in an antique shop. When she brings it home an image of a young
girl appears in the sketch and then materializes in her apartment. Emylene introduces this girl
whom she nick-names ‘Poinsettia’, to the local Goth crowd and the two become fast friends. But
Poinsettia has an ulterior motive for her sudden and strange intrusion into Emylene’s life which
causes Emylene to question her whole belief system.
19 year old Emylene Stipe is like any other teenage girl searching to find her place in the
world except that Emylene is a 2nd generation Goth princess who finds it doubly difficult rebelling
against a family of rebels. Especially when her parents are figureheads of the community and
owners of the local Goth club called ‘Pall Bearer’s Paradise’. Eager to get out from under her
parents’ shadows and experience life on her own, Emylene moves to a small downtown
apartment and finds a job working in a textile store. It’s not long after that she takes up with a
mysterious, older gentleman named Stelio. During a romantic walk one night Stelio is captivated
by a sketch he sees in an antique store. Hoping to lure him up to her apartment and finally lose
her virginity Emylene buys the piece of art the next day. But when she brings it home she is
amazed to find a girl about her age in the picture who was not there before. And it appears as
though the poor waif is being pursued by a band of ‘Cowled Men’. Emylene reads the girl’s mind
and helps her escape from the sketch to Emylene’s apartment.
The girl appears to be a ‘tabula rasa’, a blank slate with no name or history. Because it’s
The Christmas season Emylene nick-names the girl ‘Poinsettia’ and introduces her to the local
Goth community, a friendly group devoted to all things dark and vampiric. The girls become fast
friends until shocking events occur. One day news comes of Stelio’s sudden and mysterious
death. Shortly after that Emylene becomes estranged from her parents. And that night Emylene
awakes to discover a fire burning down her apartment building. The two girls escape to the
Goth club where the sketch now hangs. It’s here that Poinsettia reveals her true motive for her
intrusion into Emylene’s life. Emylene and her community have been ‘playing’ at the vampire
experience for years. What they don’t know is that such a life exists and Poinsettia should know
because she is the real thing. She banishes Emylene to the phantom world of the sketch in order
to assume her position and lead the unassuming Goth community into a new and dark chapter in
their history. Emylene’s friends and family are led to believe that she died in the fire. Poinsettia is
now free to initiate her unholy quest.
16 months later drastic changes have come over the city. A sector of land has
sprung up around Pall Bearer’s Paradise known as “Other-Town”. By day it is a desolate ghost
town but by night it turns into a kind of Mardis Gras that allows people to indulge in every type of
sin or fantasy. Of course there is a price to pay. Some will perish immediately while others will
return only to slowly waste away. All will pay with their blood. As the visitors from the city increase
so do the borders of “Other-Town”. Only one elderly man knows how this came about and is
prepared to stop it. One day this man sneaks into Pall Bearer’s Paradise and steals the sketch
that Emylene has been banished to. Using an ancient magic he rescues her and brings her back
to the present. The old man is Laszlo Birij, owner of the antique store where Emylene purchased
the picture originally. He informs Emylene that Poinsettia’s real name is Mira and she is really 67
years old. He knows this because Mira is his wife and the one responsible for creating what is
now called, “Other-Town. He wants to stop Mira but this can only be accomplished by both of
them working together.
Laszlo explains that Mira was not always evil. Back in 1962 Mira and Laszlo met while
working on a luxury steamer traveling the Mediterranean Sea. The two fell in love and were
married by the ship’s captain who allowed them a 3 day honeymoon leave on the romantic Greek
island of Santorini. What they didn’t know was that the island was also a burial ground for
Vrykolakas (vampires). Deep in the cargo hold of the ship was one such demon named Stelio
who was on his way to the island to be executed. Resigned to his fate Stelio made peace with
himself until he sensed Mira onboard and was inspired to survive. When the ship reached the
island Stelio escaped and made off with Mira. With the help of 2 native Greeks, Laszlo rescued
his bride and spirited her back to the ship but not before Mira had been turned. Laszlo convinced
the captain to sail them to his village in Croatia so that the town elders could help him cure his
bride, unaware that Stelio was still in pursuit.
Back in his village Laszlo pleaded for help, but afraid, the elders sentenced Mira to
death. Frantic to save his wife, Laszlo sought out his aunt Madja, a witch, who drew a charcoal
sketch of the surrounding land and magically bnished the girl into the picture which was ruled by
their well-meaning ancestors, the Cowled Men. Laszlo then fled to America with the sketch to
await the day when he might redeem his bride.
Years passed and Laszlo gave up hope. What he did not know was that Stelio had
followed him to America, just as anxious to bring Mira back. Upon meeting Emylene, Stelio
sensed she might have the right ‘magic’ to free Mira from her captivity. He manipulated Emylene
into buying the sketch and released Mira who then traded places with Emylene so that she could
take over the Goth princess’s life. Over the following 16 months Mira began to build the new
empire her master, Stelio, envisioned.
After Laszlo brings Emylene up to date they strike a bargain; she agrees to help him stop
Mira and he agrees to help her find her parents whom she believes may still be held captive in
Other-Town. One night while gathering information the two are ambushed by the Vryolakas and
Laszlo is captured. Emylene escapes to the safe side of the city and the very next day she bumps
into her mother, Vandy Stipe, who is working at a local shopping market. Vandy tells her daughter
that after she and her husband, Theo, thought Emylene died in the fire, he went into a depression
and joined Mira, but Vandy wouldn’t. As far as Vandy knows Theo is ‘one of them’ now.
Meanwhile Laszlo is brought to Mira whom he hasn’t seen in almost 50 years. She offers
him the gift of eternal life if he will join her and help rule their ever-expanding Other-Town. She
even lets him leave to make the decision of his own free will. When Laszlo returns to the city he
finds Emylene and Vandy and all 3 vow to bring down Other-Town and Mira. However, in the
back of her mind Emylene suspects that Laszlo may still try to save his wife.
On the night of reckoning the 3 enter Other-Town and are approached by Theo who
tries to persuade his wife and daughter to be turned and join him. Emylene and Vandy reject
Theo and make their way to the Goth club to confront Mira. There they encounter Stelio, the
master vampire, whom everybody believed had perished. Stelio has a story of his own to tell.
Over 200 years ago Stelio was a Polish military hero who retired to the small island of
Mykonos and ended up saving it from marauders. There he fell in love with the mayor’s daughter
but the mayor refused to let them wed because he was jealous of Stelio’s growing stature in the
community. The mayor went so far as to sacrifice his own daughter to make sure the two never
wed. Stelio was also put to death but was revived and returned to avenge his lover’s murder by
her own father. From that time on he became an avenging angel, murdering corrupt men
wherever he found them. Eventually Stelio was captured and sentenced to perish on the isle of
Santorini. Locked away in the ship’s hold, he fell in love with Mira who was about to wed Laszlo.
When the ship reached the island he escaped and pursued Mira but was foiled by Laszlo.
As was related earlier, Stelio followed Laszlo to America where his intuition told him that
Emylene had the magical power to restore Mira. What he and no one else knew was that Laszlo
and Emylene’s family were related by blood and descended from the ancient Ostrogoths who
ruled Europe in the fifth century. Emylene, as it turns out, was a true Goth princess and the magic
she possessed had been passed down from generation to generation.
Stelio tries to persuade Laszlo, Emylene and her family to join them in eternity but a fight
ensues. Theo, who was masquerading as a Vrykolak, comes to the aid of his wife and daughter
and together they succeed in wounding Mira and killing Stelio once and for all. Other-Town burns
to the ground and the city is saved. But somewhere hidden away in the burned-out quarter,
Laszlo, who has survived, nurses Mira back to health.
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.
The next day Emylene returned to the antique shop to find the sketch sitting on the dusty floor, against the grimy picture window. The artist had framed the 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 a great cypress tree surrounded by a blanket of pristine snow. 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 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. This was not so much a store as a graveyard of forgotten relics. 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 seventies 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.
The storeowner stared at Emylene at first with curiosity, and then with disdain. "A million dollars," he replied. "You got a million dollars?"
Emylene offered her prettiest smile while she lifted the picture from the floor and eyeballed it like an appraiser from Sotheby's.
"I don't have that much, but I'll give you a hundred," she offered.
"You really want it? Tell you what. You come back here tomorrow…”
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."
"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. 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, that she was as dull and ordinary as he was. Emylene needed to show him that no one was going to push her around.
The next day Emylene returned to the store as requested, wearing the only white dress she owned—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 were five twenties. He hesitated a moment, wondering whether to deny her the purchase, but instead, he scooped up the bills. Emylene took the picture and exited the store. Not a word was said between the two.
When Emylene returned to her apartment, she 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 was all and yet, there seemed more although she couldn't put her finger on what, exactly. 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.