Suspense
Date Published: 7/1/2020
Publisher: Épouvantail Books, LLC
 
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Murder and Madness in the High Sierras
The tragic and gruesome story of the Donner Party is being made into a movie, a tale of cannibalism and treachery high in the snowbound mountains. The cast is made up entirely of children. One by one, they are dying. The series of deaths are haunting the production, each one of the “accidents” at the hands of Florentino Urbino. Driven by greed and jealousy, he is killing off the film’s stars to line his pockets by selling off the gruesome footage of the accidents.
Six-year-old actress SeaBee Danser in her black veil is his next target. She is the only one who can see through the black curtain that Florentino Urbino drapes over his deranged and murderous heart.
Can she survive?
Can he be stopped?
Will any of the children be left standing?

 


Chapter Four

Black Curtain

My name is Florentino Urbino, call me Flor, everyone else does. In the ugly world of movie- making, I’m what’s called a fixer, and no one’s better at that than me. You’re coming along with me, how can you not? I’ll lead you up and down the backside of Hollywood, including the nasty parts. Best if you buckle up because we’re headed far up the skirt of this machine, our first stop is that day’s filming of Rascals – The Sequel. Let me pull the black curtain back for you so you can get a better look.

Here we are on the movie set, as usual, with a mess on our hands. In this case, it’s Trenton’s dead body on the ground, his head a bloody melon.

“What the dog fuck was that?” the mouthy Assistant Director yelled with no filter as usual. He was standing beside me, back of Camera Two.

The other forty-seven members of our second-unit film crew kept their noses to the grindstone, maintaining their unblinking focus on equipment and tasks—all of them obscenely overpaid and overfed. They knew better than to lift until Dice broke the creative spell by shouting, “Cut.”

Because that word had not yet been called, our cast of child actors remained frozen in their poses and expressions as did the stunned audio, camera, and lighting teams.

Imagine a series of three concentric rings, each one larger than the other and, as always, in the middle —the center of attention, deserved or not—the cast, those enfants terribles with their soiled and greedy hearts.

I was in the second ring, amidst the extended boom mics, cameras, lights, and defusing panels, a single step back, a hand’s reach away, from the alleged brains of this film, Dice, our Director. Dice, both pretentious and visionary—when lucid—was our second- rate, overwhelmed, in-over-his-head leader. He was crouched to my right beside Camera Three, his eyes aligned with the lens, one hand on the shoulder of Bear the Director of Photography with his aides and writers panting at his back.

Am I jealous of Dice and all his acclaim and awards and reputation as a brilliant, hard-working visionary? You bet I am. Worse, he’s in my well-deserved role.


About the Author

Greg Jolley earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s. Or goes surfing.

Contact Links
Twitter: @gfjolle
email: gfjolle@sbcglobal.net
 
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