ISSUE 14 August 2015
An independent magazine aimed at bringing the works of the young and talented to the whole world.
You WILL be rewarded a copy of Garde Magazine Anniversary Issue!
An independent magazine aimed at bringing the works of the young and talented to the whole world. Believing in ideas, thoughts and concepts, Garde Magazine follows the principle of simplicity and honesty.
Founders Cleo Tse Natasha Chan
Creators Clarissa Brade
Contributors David Madsen
Special thanks Yuki Teraoka
Content Clarissa Brade Communication Design Hide and seek
Melissa Delteil Communication Design Shouldering the responsibility of communication
What is it... Interior & Spatial Design Yuki Teraoka
5 tips to get your creative career started For crazy and quirky creators out there
Movie Review The Babadook David Madsen
Story teller ODKST Kuro Ex Machina
Editorial We have started to talk to this yearâ€™s fresh graduates, which is an extremely creative process for us. It is truly an exciting moment because we get to hear and see all sorts of new ideas that never fail to surprise us. First of all, please allow us to express our gratitude to Maria Evrenos, who helped us go to a lot of graduation shows in London and dig out a lot of hidden gems in the UK. Among the fantastic creators in this issue, we have Clarissa and Melissa, who are both Communication Design graduates. They have different directions of creativity and have expressed it in very interesting ways, as you will see! David, back on the Movie Review track, shares his insight on scary movie: The Babadook. As he said, the movie is f---ed up in positive ways, we guarantee there are no graphic materials. Lastly, ODKST, continuing Kuro Ex Machina part 2 as the finale of this issue, updated the serialisation of his first English novel. Round of applause! As always, we have been trying to provide as much content as possible for your enjoyment and hope to hear your feedback. We thrive on your criticism and compliments. Our last wish: have a happy reading! Cleo & Natasha
Clarissa Brade Communication design
Hide and seek
Clarissa Brade designs 2-dimensional graphic works with no high-end technology, yet she manages to blend interactivity into her works that carefully challenge the attention of viewers. Clarissa is a Communication Design student who originally would have studied animation. However, her tutors in the University of Birmingham talked her out of it and she went for her second choice – illustration.
Her project, called “The Hidden,” is tropical themed, but rather than using the expected colourful shades of vibrant nature, she used black and white. “Monochrome has been a style used by many artists for years. I decided to use monochrome after I realised that colour wasn’t as appealing as black and white when light hits the pieces,” said Clarissa. She uses ink and dip pen to draw on hot-press paper, she explained. “They [the tools] allow me to express myself with my design. The
uncertainty of thickness of lines drawn is interesting. It helps me to think of the next shape with a slight unconsciousness as every shape or pattern will never be identical.” Despite their usefulness and elements of surprise, her tools also come with some difficulties. The biggest challenge of the project is smudging and avoiding spillage, she said. Asking about the idea behind “The Hidden” project, Clarissa admitted she was a big fan of Where’s Waldo (or Where’s Wally) and instead of hiding a man with a striped t-shirt between the bold and daring black lines of her project, has hidden butterflies, cocoons and extra fish. For the main image, she used tiger fishes, which is a species of fish that are be-
coming more popular in one of the places she has lived in – the Caribbean Sea. “Although tiger fishes are not Caribbean fishes, they have become more and more common amongst the waters in the Caribbean. I was intrigued by their stripes and spines, which allowed me to create a great pattern. I have hidden four fishes within one image because I want my audience to have fun while looking at it.” “I like interactivity within my work,” she added. “Instead of someone standing in front of a work and thinking ‘oh that’s nice’ and moving on, I love to
“They [the tools] allow me to express myself with my design. The uncertainty of thickness of lines drawn is interesting. It helps me to think of the next shape with a slight unconsciousness as every shape or pattern will never be identical.”
Clarissa Brade - The Hidden When I was little I was a fan of those American posters Where is Waldo. That idea is incorporated within some of the work you may find hidden butterfly’s, maybe a cocoon or extra fishes.
surprise the audience who stands in front of a work and show them the possibility of displaying more than what is shown.” Her signature is hiding little things within her ink works, she said. As inspiration for her greater works, Clarissa focuses on little but unique details that could be made into patterns. Rather than artificially made patterns, she appreciates the beautiful works from nature, considering them to be more valuable. She has also received a lot of positive feedback from viewers who saw her works in different settings and have discovered different creatures in her works. She was even encouraged to sell her design and get it made into products. As most of the communication design projects are mainly printed, Clarissa’s wish is to print her illustration on home wares such as shower curtains, tea cups, plates and vases. “What you see are just photographs. I am currently researching for manufacturers so the home-ware pieces not yet available to be sold,” said Clarissa. Unexpectedly, Clarissa’s dream is to work for Disney. She then said that “being my own boss and to be well known” would make her happy enough. When asked about her long term plan, Clarissa said, “I want to be relevant and to be known for what I love. I would love to work in the field of communication design and gain more experience. Maybe passing on my knowledge and experience to others too.”
melissa delteil Communication design
Shouldering the responsibility of communication
Melissa Delteil is a creator with lots of interests and ambition. She has studied and gathered knowledge about history, psychology and biology for her projects. Her interest lies in anthropomorphic figures in terms of design. Whatâ€™s more, she sees communication design as an altruistic subject and hopes to help others. â€œI want to create designs with positive impact. It could be educative design, help for the disabled or simply an accessible, well-designed and fun project,â€? she said. To Melissa, communication design is a wider form of visual com-
munication. It is based on the same principles of finding the right tone and the right media to convey a message, but communication design takes into account many new forms of communication.
I just couldn’t ignore the wider field of design and communication.” Her projects are in different formats: illustration, online, animation, voice-over videos and even flags along streets. When it comes to choosing, Melissa said “moving images and interactivity” would go to the top of the list.
“I have been fascinated since a very young age by the way associating certain fonts, colours and images could create a mood or convey an idea. Even though I was primarily attracted to illustration,
“They require viewers to actually look and even interact and think. I love the idea of making people stop and start looking, instead of just passing by and subconsciously absorbing images,” she said.
Her graduation project “Entre chien et loup” challenges audiences’ observation and reflection. Based on scientific imagery and mythical figures, Melissa was looking at the anxiety towards bio-engineering and manipulating DNA, and I’ve come to discover a more generalised fear towards the anthropomorphic figure. One can see the images of human and animal overlapped. Other than biological knowledge, Melissa said she learnt even more from the project. She had to arrange the extensive project from researching, printing, voicing-over, preparing images and so on.
ping and watching your screens and reading your book rather than displaying a flat mockup. I had so much positive feedback and interaction, the time and energy spent were largely rewarded.” There were two other projects Melissa designed with her memories, especially “Thonon: Vous êtes ici.” By giving colours and signals, the project provided a new way for tourists and habitants to view the city in a different way.
“But in the end nothing is more rewarding than an accomplished project, so this is what I’ve learnt: never let go.”
“Thonon relates to me very much: I was born and raised there, until my 18th birthday! I have a strange love/hate relationship with this town. I love it because it’s my hometown, but it can be a very un-friendly place (of course I hope my project will change that!)”
“It’s much better to see people stop-
Currently, Melissa is working on
Melissa Delteil - Entre Chian et Loup “Entre chien et loup” is a French expression used to describe dusk, that moment of the day when it is neither day or night. It literally translates into “between dog and wolf ”, as it is the point where it becomes impossible to distinguish domestic and wild, light and dark. “Entre chien et loup” is about the uncanny in-between, the shifting instant, the fragile balance between human and animal. Entre Chien et Loup is an ambitious art project about human fear when it comes to animals, in relation to various scientific fields: psychology, bio-engineering, breeding… The artwork in itself consists of four images, four human-animal hybrids slowly shifting and morphing. Each hybrid family, or specimen, refers to a specific human fear. The specimens are Predation, Disease, Brutality and Phobia. On May 14th 2015, Entre Chien et Loup won the John O’Connor Annual Student Prize.
an interactive children e-book which contains sounds, illustrations and interaction. Being supported by Stuart M. Souter, the voiceover actor of Uncanny Adventures of Dr. Ferretson, she is determined to produce the project in a larger extent. Yet this is not the end for her, she said she had an even more ambitious project in her mind for a while. “I want to make affordable children books for the blind. They’re usually very expensive because they’re handmade and require a lot of work and materials. But I’m hoping new technologies like laser cutting and 3D printing will help me create a book in which blind children will be able to touch the illustrations, and that parents or associations could get at a fair price.”
Melissa Delteil - Thonon: Vous etes ici The town of Thonon’s thermal water and location right between the Alps and Lake Geneva, close to the Swiss border makes a tourist destination. However after 1960 and the demolition of most of its historical centre and the construction of the Rénovation district it lost its character. Importantly, over the last twenty years there has been a general discontent from the inhabitants and negative feedback from the tourists. The concept is to place each and every person at the center of the signage system. The solution, using a Pantone range, has been developed as an identity and information system revolving around a geometric shape module. The shape itself is inspired by the mountains and the local architecture. It can be used as an arrow or a decorative element. The ‘colour wheel’ created for Thonon can also be used as a compass: each arrow indicates a direction, and its colour refers to a theme. It is used as if the viewer were at the centre of the wheel and looking around. A cardboard wheel can be spun and a little cut out arrow will indicate a colour referring to a tour or trail. This is the colour compass. The colours can be applied to signage accordingly to themes relevant to the street, building or structure where the sign is introduced. This allows an in-depth and quick visual understanding of the identity of the location, and it brings back the original colours of Thonon in a new, exciting way.
Melissa Delteil - The Uncanny Adventures of Dr. Ferretson The Uncanny Adventures of Dr. Ferretson is a self-initiated story, intended as a digital publication aimed at children 10 years and older. Each episode comes in the form of an animated book, complete with text and a voice over, compatible with portable devices. The first episode revolves around a sausage dog. Humour comes from visual jokes around the ridiculously impossible length of the dog, or the written puns based on the words “sausage dog” and “sausage roll”.
What is it...
interior & spatial design by yuki teraoka
My design career started when I was a high school student learning graphic design. However, I always have been interested in 3 dimensional designs. I decided to enroll in the University of the Arts to study FDA Interior design 2012, which mainly focused on practical and professional work. I still remember the excitement and being full of curiosity at the very beginning of the course. Everything was entirely mysterious to me since this was the first time studying abroad in Europe. The projects I encountered in my first year were nothing to do with the interior design that I was thinking of. Instead of designing spaces, I was asked to take a photograph of a space and talk about how I perceived the space. Even the next project barely had to do with interior design. I was asked to create an object by re-appropriating my childhood memory. It was rather a fine art than interior design I thought. However, as I studied more in the course I started to see more dimensions. I found that designing interiors is not only about rearranging the object in a box, but also understanding the importance of handling invisible elements
such as sound, light and shadow, memory and consciousness, laws and rules, etc. It is a design with more than 3 dimensions! So I experimented on hidden dimensions, which enhanced the overall spatial experience. During my second year my First group project was a community project to design the public space located in Dalston with the Decorators and Hackney council to enhance the social interaction among locals. We immediately found out that most of the green space available was for private access only. We then proposed a solution for that by providing them a park (a platform) which allowed them to design their temporary private space, inspired by a sliding tile puzzle. I also added a digital interaction in this project by creating a design simulation game, which can be uploaded onto social networks to enhance social activities like holding pattern design competitions of the park. My second project was to design the interior for the student accommodation located on the Stratford high street, which is right next to the Olympic Park. Although it was once a lively place, it is
almost abandoned due to an insufficient attraction for living. Therefore we decided to create a design to revive the local area. We came up with this alien parasite-like plants design concept, which takes the existing building as a host to grow within the building. In order to see this idea through, we decided to design sensory illusions by using an existing material to recreate the imagined environment. This was challenging because it was rather experimental, but l have learnt a lot about sensory interactions from it. I started to get more interested in the theoretical approach after graduating. I had a choice to bridge to the final year of the BA interior and spatial design. I took this great chance in order to be educated more in a theoretical and research approach. For my final year in BA, I got interested in elements which are more accessible in the virtual world. Such elements like political speech and anti governmental opinions spread faster on the net than in physical society. This made me curious about â€œWhat will happen if I brought a virtual system into our physical society?â€? Therefore I proposed a system of data encryption that hacks the existing censorship (based on the laws) to demonstrate the virtual data in our physical society. This way, we can retrieve true human rights from the higher power. From this project I learnt that not only will design solutions make places fancier, decorative or high tech, but rules/ systems can also be influential. It is indeed invisible but the result does appear physically. Throughout three years, this course gave me more questions about space than ever before. Ultimately, spatial design is a design of life, since if there is no space there would just be a void and because space exists, we perceive reality. That is why I think this course opened up my mind to millions of possibilities for my design career. I will continue to pursue the potential and meaning of the spatial existence.
The babadook by david madsen
The Babadook (2014), Causeway Films. Directed by Jennifer Kent. Amazon.com
The horror genre is at an interesting place right now. While mainstream horror for the past decade has stagnated, only giving us few, truly iconic series to look back at with dread and horror, the independent scene has exploded in a sea of both some truly exciting homage’s and original ideas. Of course, the fact that the smaller budget films of this particular genre are at the front of innovation isn’t exactly a new thing. But it seems more adamant now than before nonetheless. That may be because we haven’t really had a big horror series since Paranormal Activity. This has given a lot of room for smaller titles to breathe and try out new ideas. Seemingly most of them have clung to the good old haunted house and possession subgenres that proved so popular with the aforementioned Paranormal Activity, but most of them have come up with their own unique spin on these well worn genres. This leads us to today’s review of the critically acclaimed, Australian produced: The Babadook. It is in part a possession film, in part a psychological thriller with a heavy focus on atmosphere building and mood and seems almost smugly proud of the fact, that it basically doesn’t contain a single jump scare. The main plot of the film is that the widowed mother, Amelia, spawns an ancient demon, the titular Babadook, by reading a bedtime storybook for her 6-year old son, Samuel, a demon that then starts to haunt the small family with the ultimate goal being that the mother takes the life of her own son and herself. The general focus of the film however is the continued exploits of Samuel and the spiraling sanity of his
I love a film that dares to be more than just the sum of its parts. The problem is that this analogue is so heavy-handed and so much of the film is dedicated to it, it stands in the way of what could have been an amazing possession film.
stressed out mother. These exploits consists of Samuel protecting his mother from ‘the monsters’ by firing makeshift crossbows and backpack catapults at random, getting hissy fits every two seconds and in general behaving like a fulltime fuckedup psycho. The Babadook itself doesn’t show up before halfway through the movie, when it starts haunting Amelia, so most of the film consists purely of Samuel doing something batshit crazy, Amelia trying to fix it, breaking down in frustration, then pulling Samuel home, trying to scold him and finally giving up, waiting for the next episode. It’s a large chunk of the film that doesn’t really work. While actor Noah Wiseman does an admirable job for a child actor, Samuel is written in such an inane way, it becomes impossible to sympathise with him in the slightest. While this makes Amelia’s slow decent into madness more believable, it also makes for a poorly paced film, and one where I at the end almost wished someone would just stick a sock in his feeding hole and be done with it. It also means, that when The Babadook starts haunting Samuel, he doesn’t really change behaviour, since he has been annoying from the get go. Look, I understand writing a child for a horror film must be incredibly hard, especially in a film where the child at some point becomes possessed. Now, the reason Linda Blair’s demonic possession in the 1973 classic The Excorcist worked so well, was because she started out sympathetic. And so, when she would start to act out that shit was effective. Because that was a change in her character that didn’t fit, one that felt unnatural and out of place. With Samuel, the only thing the director, Jennifer Kent, goes for seems to be ‘be a complete brat from beginning to end, that’ll scare them!’ and it just doesn’t work. It says something that the saving grace for his character is when Amelia decides to begin to drug him. At that point I almost felt more relieved than Amelia. When the aforementioned Babadook finally starts to rear his head in door, the film gets a lot better for it. This is mostly due to a couple of key factors, firstly Essie Davis, the actress who plays Amelia. She completely nails the stress, the breakdowns and the final mania the charac-
The Babadook (2014), Causeway Films. Directed by Jennifer Kent. Youtube.com
The Babadook (2014), Causeway Films. Directed by Jennifer Kent. Overland.org.au
ter goes through. In the same film she embodies both Shelly Duvall in The Shining perfectly as the shy, quivering mother and Jack Nicholson in… well in The Shining also, as the loony maniac who chases down her own child with a glee that is almost infectious in the third act of the film. The second thing the film has going for it is the Babadook itself. So many films that focus on monsters fuck up the reveal completely by having a monster that is badly designed. As I stated before, the film definitely does not rely on jump scares, almost to a fault, but it sure as hell isn’t afraid of showing its best hand, when it comes to its monster. It’s not just that the Babadook is shown multiple times, sometimes front and center, it’s that despite of this, it’s absolutely terrifying. The designers of this thing seems to have been heavily inspired by German expressionism during the 1920’s which saw such films as Das Cabinet des Caligari (1920) and Nosferatu, Eine Symmphonie des Grauens and with its long nails and heavy overcoat and the way it seems to spawn from the shadows it looks eerily close to the monster from the latter film. Its deep voice sounds very reminiscent of the Jiggsaw from the Saw series but scratchier and… I don’t know… stranger. Even thinking about the Babadook now gives me the creeps.
Technically, the film crew has managed to do a lot with very little. The
The Babadook (2014), Causeway Films. Directed by Jennifer Kent. Startribune.com
soundtrack is minimalistic and adds to the creeping sense of dread and suspense. The special effects are mostly relegated to the scenes with the Babadook which works with a few exceptions. In one scene in particular Samuel is flung around in a bed room which looks completely ridiculous and out of character for the film. On the other hand another scene has the Babadook climbing on the ceiling which is clearly done practical instead of CGI and reminded me of one of the iconic death scenes from the original Nightmare On Elmstreet. As you’ve probably caught on to by now, The Babadook is a film that is very fond of wearing its many inspirations on its sleeve. From the overarching plot, that is right out of The Shining, the Babadooks itself, which appearance wise is almost identical to the Nosferatu’s, the way it is spawned which is straight out of Ringu (1998) – right down to a creepy phonecall the victim receives – and the idyllic suburbia in which the film takes place contrasted with the claustrophobic interiors of Amelia’s dingy house which is very reminiscent of the setting from Halloween (1978).
It is clear however, that The Babadook wants to be more than a trailer-show of the very best from the horror scene. No, this film clearly wants to be a think piece. This need and want to be something more than just a genre film is sadly also why the film stumbles both in pacing and character development of Samuel. Look, I get that the Babadook is supposed to be an allegory for domestic violence, this looming demon that can ‘posses’ the parent at any time to do horrid, terrible things to the one person he or she was supposed to protect. And I’m also aware that for this movie in particular, The Babadook is an analogue of the grief both Samuel and Amelia feels due to the loss of their beloved father and husband. And that’s fine. I love a film
that dares to be more than just the sum of its parts. The problem is that this analogue is so heavy-handed and so much of the film is dedicated to it, it stands in the way of what could have been an amazing possession film. Despite its many flaws, The Babadook is in some ways a great example of how exciting and fresh the horror genre is today. It clearly knows its roots, it knows why horror works, but it also veers its head in new directions in search for what might be next for the genre. The part where it stumbles is sadly in its attempt to be more than ‘just a horror film’ and while this certainly doesn’t doom the film, it does stop it from becoming something truly special.
5 tips to get your creative career started For crazy and quirky creators out there
Some tips from Garde Magazine to all the up and coming creative people out there
Garde Magazine has been hunting creators around the world for more than a year. We know how to find your good side, understand what makes you and your work unique and constantly strive to bring out the best for you and the creative world. Most importantly, we are a media company. We know what the press likes.
Top: Cover of creator Michael Chiu’s solo exhibition postcard Below: Back of the postcard, includes project description and contact information
So, if you’d like to join our fabulous, artsy, edgy, cool, amazing and humble (hehehe) magazine then here are only 5 suggestions we hope you’ll take into consideration and perform for us: 1. WE NEED: •Your website (searchable on Google). •Your contact details (no fake ones, we aren’t going to kidnap you so please be reachable). YOU DO NOT NEED: •To spend money. •To make an entirely pseudo name, unless this is how you want live your life (go for it if it is…we won’t judge much).
BUT YOU DO NEED: •To be creative, impressive and understandable because after all, you are a creator and people love that. Be the best you can be.
immediate attention. So more photos, less text, but still don’t forget the text!
2. WE ALSO NEED: •Photos of your magnificent works so we can flaunt them for you. •Description of your works so we can match them to your works and explain whatever bizarre or gorgeous creations you have made to our readers. •80% pictures, 20% text (although 90% pictures and 10% text is ideal).
3. YOU NEED TO: •Get off your backsides and be proactive! Chances like these come to people some of the time, but if you actively look for ways to show off your work then you won’t have to be a miserable couch potato and sit and wait for chances to happen. Pave your way to your ultimate goal. •If you really want to feature your creations here’s a kickstarter: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: •We totally understand that your projects have a lot of meaning and require a lot of explanations - we love them all. However, people are very visually stimulated and endless text in a magazine simply does not grab
4. KEEP IN MIND: •To treat everyone (your audience and our readers too) as creativity babies. •Spoon-feed us with your creative ideas, concepts and philosophies because your work
An example of Creatorâ€™s namecard: comes with all information required for others to get into contact.
Screen capture of Creator Yves Francoisâ€™ website. A functionable website is one of the most important tool for creators to be found.
often cannot explain itself no matter how much you want it to. (People are subjective like that). Doing this simply allows people to get to know you and your work better and isn’t this what you want? •Be as explicit as possible. Be precise and concise. 5. MORE FOR YOU TO DO: •Produce as much as possible. Life is tough and creativity doesn’t flow like a waterfall (we understand). But if you are active with quality and quantity, people will never get sick of you. •People who like your work want to see more of it. •Your work may not be for everyone, but there are always some wonderful people (or weirdos) out there who will appreciate your creativity. Being known and having your works shown doesn’t mean you’re not being yourself anymore. It doesn’t mean you’re selling your soul. We believe creativity should be shared with everyone. And we’re helping you do it for free.
KURO KURO EX EX MACHINA MACHINA by ODKST
Extant Taxxon There is a city. It is high above the ground, almost amongst the clouds, on endless pillars. It is a city of platforms, large and flat, in all kinds of colors. The platforms have no railings, it’s a freefall, straight down for what seems like eternity. But there is a bottom; the planet is completely green, covered in fields and tremendous forests. Among the clouds, a race of aliens live on these platforms. The aliens are made up of two parts, attached in the middle to form a symbiotic-parasitic partnership. There is a thinking part and a part made of meat that mainly processes food and feels the winds. These aliens make up the majority of the planet’s inhabitants. David and Dawn were walking in this city, David first. They were headed up a stairway (also without railings) that seemed to continue forever upwards. There were many stairs like this in the colorful city; not steep at all, just with an endless row of steps until the next platform. The view was vertigous, David told Dawn not to look down, but she did anyway. Her blue eyes widened. “It’s so far to fall!” she gasped. David kept walking up the stairs without replying. It was a clear blue day. Not many of the aliens were out; there was no one coming down the stairs to meet them, and the platform they ascended from was all but empty. The large, double-bladed axe, which was strapped over David’s back, flashed white in the sun. They were an odd sight, these two lonely humans, blond and pale and dressed in blue, carrying medieval weaponry as they climbed the endless, slightly curved stairway. The steps were of varying colors, red and blue and green; it all reminded of pieces of Lego, the whole
city was like this, with its thousands of platforms all connecting. Dawn was carrying a backpack, pine green and completely stuffed with things; brass buckles and belts covered the bulging sack. A harvesting sickle firmly attached to her right hip, she climbed without flinching, her fit, young body barely breaking a sweat in the morning sun. David led the way as the wind made ripples in his short, blond bangs, his back straight and his ocean blue eyes constantly scanning the stairs ahead of them. They were alert and focused, his face as straight as his back, his facial features as well defined as those of his sister. Their pale skin was smooth and unspoiled by stormy weather or harrowing events; these two adolescents had not had a hard life, lacking both in emotional stress and the toil of regular folk. They walked with confidence through this strange city, whatever misfortune had led them here, it had not broken their spirits, at least not in any way that was revealed by their physical shape or the cadence of their movements. Dawn, whose eyes were fixed on a point slightly down and in front of her, spoke. ”Hey.” ”What?” ”Who do you think – would win in a fight, between a lion, and a tiger?” David didn’t answer for a while. They advanced up the steps. “Don’t know. Have to think about it.” She made a face. “Bore.”
The blue sky was getting clearer, white clouds thinning and dissolving. It was a bright morning. We’re somewhere else now. An old-fashioned pub, smoggy and dank. The lights are low under the low ceiling. A man who sounds like David Carradine is sitting on one side of a wooden table. David and Dawn are on the other side. The man is older, possibly middle-age. He’s wearing a black suit and a dark tie of indeterminate color. The man says, “So you realize how much is at stake. I’m not saying it will be easy. Jobs like these never are. But rest assured that you are doing God’s work.” David nods. Dawn is watching the man intently, eyes indigo in the darkness. They are lit only by the fluttering lights of small candles on the wooden table. David asks, “What’s the end game? What’s in it for us?” The older man smiles. In his coarse voice, he says, “More than you can imagine. And”, - he turns away from the siblings, reaching for something under the table – “more than I can possibly show you at this moment. Not here.” Dawn’s face looks disappointed. She glances at her brother. Ignoring her, David says: “You said, last time, that it’d be unprotected. You said it would be ‘no biggie’. That’s what you said.” Still not meeting David’s eyes, the older man produces a suitcase from under the table. It is an old-fashioned, rectangular, chestnut brown Samsonite, decorated with gold buckles. He places the suitcase on the table, sliding it towards David. “Half now,” he says. “Half after the job is done.” David places one hand on the case, pulling it to himself. “Who?” he asks, simply. The man smiles. He is an aging fox in the candlelight, grey sideburns rough and unkempt. His forehead is full of wrinkles, his green eyes ringed with darkness. The man’s name: Joe Bob Fenestre. Flashforward to the staircase. The sky is now a perfect blue. The siblings are still by themselves, nearing the end of the stairs. Dawn is panting slightly. There is a dog on the stairs, a Siberian husky, lying on its side at one
of the steps. It is a big, greyish-white canine, well trimmed and fast asleep. Its eyes are shut and it’s not moving; you could easily mistake it for dead. David spots the animal. “Dog”, he says. Dawn looks up, indifferent. He takes one more step up the stairs, hesitant. The dog remains immobile. He keeps his gaze at it, carefully lifting one boot and putting it down right next to the dog’s fuzzy, grey stomach. The dog doesn’t move. David softly lifts his other boot, over and across the animal, then puts it down. The dog yelps. Its eyes open, watching David alertly. He quickly lifts his boot, freeing the dog’s left paw. David is close to losing his balance, leaning backwards on the small, unprotected step, almost completely dominated by the motionless dog. He waves his arms in circles through the air, once, twice, then regains his posture. Dawn, who has been staring at him throughout, exhales. “Easy”, she says. David says nothing, giving the dog one short look, then continuing up the stairs. Dawn follows, leaping nimbly over the Siberian husky and its selected spot. The dog flicks an ear, shuts its eyes and seems to go back to sleep. The climb continues. They reach the top of the stairs, stepping through a square hole in the massive plateau above them. Once out on this plateau, which is gold with swaths of dark blue, they stop for a minute to rest. This level is empty, just like the one now so far below them. David and Dawn are standing in the middle. “That damn dog”, David says. Dawn looks at him, curious. “What about it?” she says. David takes a look around, panting from exertion. “What was it even doing there?” He pants. “Damn near crushed its paw.” He looks at Dawn.
She shrugs. “So?” David looks away, then back at her. He seems unsure of what to say. His sister keeps watching him, uncomprehending. He eventually turns away from her, surveying the sky. The double-bladed axe glimmers in the sunlight. Dawn looks at her brother’s back as if trying to unveil a great mystery. It is very quiet on the platform. *** The bird flies, relentless, miles above the dark and empty street. The skyscrapers continue their rigid salute, an alley of massive, black buildings, like angry policemen. The sky is pitch black. There is little wind, despite the great altitude. The metropolis sleeps – or is it dead? We have seen no one, not a trace of life, since the young man at the balcony. No cars go along the motorway, so far below the bird of prey. Its red tail is barely visible in the darkness. The rusty color seems black, too. Still the bird flaps on, tirelessly, apparently in absolute awareness of its goal. This bird’s name: Kore. *** The man named Joe Bob Fenestre is holding up a small, brass key. “This”, he says, “will open the door to a hotel room. The room is nr 17, at the Norwegian Hotel. This is in the center of the city.” He hands the brass key over to David, who takes it. “When you’re inside, walk in the bedroom. In the suitcase to the left you’ll find my favorite axe.” He winks at David. “I know you’ll wear it with pride.” David’s face is indifferent. “As for you”, he turns to Dawn, “we’ll have to find something more delicate.” Dawn looks as
if she’s going to retort, but David puts a silent hand on her arm, and she says nothing. Joe Bob Fenestre leans back on his side of the table. He lifts a glass of whiskey to his lips; it’s hard to make out in the dim light, but they are broken and cracked, like a gravely road. Grey hairs surround them in thick, bushy layers. Taking a sip of his drink, the old man makes a satisfied noise. David is staring at him, not saying a word. Joe Bob eventually meets his gaze, subsequently putting one wrinkled hand inside his jacket. Grunting slightly, he pulls out a small bag, brown paper bag, a black string tied around its neck. He places the bag on the table. “Divine wisdom and superhuman strength”, he says. It is unclear if he is speaking tongue-in-cheek or serious. Either way, David grabs the paper bag and slips it into his pocket. “Thanks, Mr. Fenestre.” Dawn is still silently watching the older man. Her indigo blue eyes glimmer in the candlelight. She says nothing. Mr. Fenestre looks at her, then back at David, and says, “Any other questions?” Without hesitating, David says: “Who do you work for?” There is the ghost of a smile in Joe Bob Fenestre’s old and harrowed face.
On the blue-and-gold platform, Dawn takes a deep breath, closing her eyes. “Oooh, it’s so fresh!” she exclaims. After a second or two, David replies, “Yeah.” He is looking into the distance, surveying the abandoned platform. Dawn looks at him, then turns away. She performs an impromptu cartwheel, bare feet supporting her flawlessly upon landing. David keeps watching the surroundings. He doesn’t appear to be thinking about anything in particular. Looking back at her brother from a bit further away, Dawn says:
“Remember when I told you it will be a silent spring?”
David finally looks at her. “Yeah.”
This time, he is the one to keep his gaze on her as she turns away.
There is a mischievous smile on her face. She doesn’t say anything
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