Bedtime Stories by Joslyn Corvis

 

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Bedtime Stories  by: Joslyn Corvis

    Based on true events…

 

I woke up, my body feeling as if rigor mortis had set in when I saw the creature taunting me from the corner of the ceiling. There was a faint noise that sounded like cicadas on a summer evening which rose to ear-splitting  ecibels. I wondered if the sound was the creature laughing at me as it sneered in mockery of my fear. I tried to scream for help, but could only muster faint cries, which—thank God—woke my husband who put his arm around me. That broke the spell,  and just like that, everything went still and silent as I gained control over my body and my breathing regulated. I was no longer frozen in that horrifying dreamworld. I was safe in my own bed. That was the first night terror for me, and the beginning of many more.

Sometime after that first incident, I dreamt I had gotten out of bed and opened the door of my second-floor apartment which overlooked the parking lot. The parking lot was designed something like a courtyard, and I noticed a figure in a long gown with long hair on the far side of the lot. I watched her through the small crack, but something didn’t seem right. I closed the door, and against my better judgment, opened it once more but only a crack. She was closer this time. I knew I shouldn’t have opened the door that third time, and when I did, I found her crouching near the top of the steps, snarling like a rabid animal before rushing for the door and pushing it as wide as the chain lock allowed. I tried to close the door completely on her, but she was too strong. I snapped out of it in, adrenaline coursing through my body. The whole episode—from getting out of bed and looking outside to the absolute fear—was so real, but I told myself it had to be a dream since I woke up in my bed, next to my husband. Not long after that, the plague of night terrors became so common that it haunted me, even in my waking hours. I felt as if something unseen was following me, feeding off my fear and waiting until I was asleep to wage a full-on attack. Needless to say, I wasn’t sleeping well. Exhaustion had set in by this time, and I made the mistake of falling into a deep sleep in the dead of night.

On this particular night, I was on my back for some reason, which is strange in itself because I never sleep in that position. I felt a burning sensation on my leg, and at first I thought maybe a bug or snake had crawled into bed with me. In a panic, I looked up and the same “demon” I’d seen before was crouching over my legs, burning me with a hot poker. She raised the poker from my skin granting me a moment’s relief, then came down on my leg yet again, sending pain signals to my very core. With every downward motion, her mouth upturned in a triumphant, wicked smile, and her soulless eyes glinted with joy with each infliction of agony. I was at its mercy. When everything went back to normal, I got out of bed and checked my leg for bites: nothing. Even sleeping next to my husband couldn’t keep me safe from my dreams. I didn’t wake him up to comfort me and instead curled up next to him, if only to give myself a false sense of security.

Throughout my married life, and after the divorce, the dreams continued to come and go. Some dreams were more intense than others, and once they started, they would become frequent until running their course, then giving me a few months of peace before kicking in again. I experienced a long span of relief from the dreams when I moved in with my parents after my divorce. They welcomed me home and put me up in my childhood bedroom. As much as I hated to suffer the indignation of moving in with them, I knew I was going to need more support than I wanted to admit. It was a rocky start, but soon enough, I fell into a routine and my life was going great. I didn’t have a care in the world, and things were going better than I could have ever imagined. That’s when it started again, as if to remind me that I was never alone.

I was in my old bed and woke up to something restricting my breathing. A pressure exerted itself around my chest and back like a boa constrictor. I couldn’t open my eyes, but I could hear those cicadas all around me. Whenever I tried to scream for my dad, unintelligible words formed in my throat which manifested as feeble groans. But I didn’t give up. I fought against it so hard, and finally a gurgling scream rose just loudly enough in my throat that it broke me from the fit. I coughed and gasped. But at last, I could breathe! I felt relief until my eyes fell upon my bedroom door. Standing there guarding my exit was a three-dimensional figure. It was transparent, but strangely reflective. I studied it for a while, trying to figure out what I was looking at; I was no longer in my dream. It had a wispy human form, but no facial features. I made a plan in my head then followed it through, making a break for the door. I struggled to find the doorknob in my frenzy and ran to the kitchen. I was shaken, but still able to save face with my parents under the pretense of grabbing a midnight snack.

I kept telling myself they were just dreams or maybe manifestations of stress or imagination. Whatever they were, it didn’t matter, because they weren’t real; they simply couldn’t be. I didn’t want anyone to think there was anything more to it than there was, so for a long time, I kept my night terrors secret.

My stay with my parents had been extended mainly due to comfort and convenience, and I had yet another dream, except this time I know I wasn’t asleep. I spent the entire night running to the bathroom to splash my face in the sink, hoping it would bring me to my senses, and getting sips of water from the kitchen just so I wouldn’t have to be in my room. It felt evil in there, and I couldn’t lie down for more than a few minutes at a time without something disturbing me. The next morning, I grabbed a seat across the table from my dad and stirred my coffee.

“Couldn’t sleep last night, huh?” he asked casually.

“How could you tell?” I asked sarcastically.

“Because you look like hell,” he laughed “and because I could hear you all over the house last night.”

“Yeah, well,” I hesitated. “It’s going to sound weird, but I felt like something was in my room. Every time I got into bed, I could swear I heard weird noises. I even thought something touched me. I must’ve been dreaming,” I said at a loss for another explanation.

He gave me a strange look. He thinks I’m crazy, I thought to myself.
“I didn’t sleep well, either,” he said in his deep, calming voice. He stared into space and took a sip of his coffee. “I don’t want to scare you, but something was in my room last night,” he said.
We stared at each other for a moment or two, and a chill rose over my body. They weren’t dreams, after all
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Julius Gaw: The Great Black Hope

Julius Gaw: The Great Black Hope

by :  Joslyn Corvis

Heroes don’t always survive the storm; sometimes they just show us that someone is willing to stand up and give us a glimmer of hope and faith in humanity. They might go down but not without a fight, just like Julius in Jason Takes Manhattan.

We see an intrinsic heroism in Julius when he fearlessly organizes a crew to take down Jason Vorhees. Even after a near-death-experience at the hands of Jason, Julius doesn’t back down, which takes us to one of the best kill scenes in the history of Friday the 13th. This does not fall into the category of “best kill scene” for the same reason as, say for instance, the notorious “campers in the sleeping bag” or the “smiley face imprint on the tree;” this one is memorable because Julius met his fate with a dignity that most victims lose in a fit of hysterics in their final moments, especially when they realize exactly what they’re up against.

In his second round with Jason, Julius finds himself on a building rooftop with nowhere to go. In an act of bravery, he uses his boxing skills in the fight of his life, and from what we can infer from the subtle glimpses into his character, to save his friends. Every punch Julius throws at Jason gives us hope that he’s going to at least stun him long enough to get away, giving us a suspenseful feel of “sure uncertainty” that he is going to rise the victor somehow. This creates a new dynamic for fans of Friday the 13th because admit it: We are subconsciously on Jason’s side since we’re in it for the scares. There’s something special in Julius, and from the get-go we feel an attachment to him as we cheer him on in his final moments, hoping for the best yet expecting the worst. It’s a far cry from the typical experience of screaming, “RUN!” at the TV screen while peeking through our fingers while the suspense builds from the chase as Jason stalks after someone through the woods, and in a split second, it’s all over. Every time I watch that scene, my eyes get teary and I’m not ashamed to say it.

What makes Julius stand out is his attitude. We get a deeper connection to him from what minimal screen-time he has, especially by compare of main characters in almost any slasher flick. His fearlessness and determination comes across in a way that shows a sort of three-dimensionality lacking in so many of these types of movies.

Other characters who exhibit that brand of bravery seems to be often out of necessity rather than ambition, but Julius takes the risk of death upon himself and goes down in a blaze of glory. He doesn’t even fit the “tough guy” persona, like the carbon-copy guy in every movie who talks a big game, flaunts his machismo, and either backs down when things get real or is taken out in a screaming frenzy. Julius also creates a solid sense that “the black guy” does not have to be depicted as a thug, comic relief, or a sort of glimpsed over place-holder, maybe a sort of nod to Affirmative Action in some on-screen way. He is not boxed in by a stereotype or expectation of race or even horror movies, but breaks out into his own in a stand-out performance.

Julius’s character should have been a turning point in not only horror, but all genres, but sadly, it is few and far between that we truly see this kind of heart and valor portrayed by the cast members of horror movies, and even rarer in black characters. However, because of the rarity of this type of character, and because Julius is memorable to my mind (and in most peoples’ minds, even if not by name,) it should be held up to progressivity as what will one day become a norm in the portrayal of black characters featuring a variance in personality types and multi-dimensions, and of course, as heroes and heroines.

 

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 Hailing from the Red state of Texas, Joslyn Corvis is a very proud liberal and feminist. As a first-time college student as of January, 2016, she hopes to pursue a degree in Joslyn Corvis headshotpsychology to become a counselor. She enjoys parks when the weather is nice, late night trips to Whataburger, and sipping coffee from sun-up ‘til sun-down on weekends. You can find more of Joslyn and her works:  http://gothicgenie.wix.com/home

Tales From The Hood: A Social Commentary

220px-HoodposterTales from the Hood was a culturally expressive trilogy told in a metaphor of horror. The stories were real at their core, and so expressive of aspects of black culture that are addressed directly, yet mitigated by the perspective of supernatural horror so that these issues are hauntingly underlying in the forefront of our minds. We come away with a multitude of emotion, partly because we are not given much time to digest the outcome of each story before transitioning to the next. In the beginning, we are introduced to the crazy funeral director who makes the promise of “the shit” to a trio of gangbangers who stick around to listen to his stories.

In the first little story, “Rogue Cop Revelation,” a black councilman who is trying to bring about change by addressing the issues of crime and corruption being committed by those in authority. In a not-so-ironic twist, he is murdered by shady cops, while another black officer stands by helplessly. The black officer is “one of them” in the sense that he is also a cop, which may have helped to save his life, even though he is nothing like the others. We sympathize with the young officer because he was not the perpetuator of the violence, and we can’t blame him for putting his own safety above all else as his reason for not stopping the murder. After all, how many of us would have stepped in if it meant risking our own lives? He is, in his own unique way, just as much a victim as the man who was murdered. There is such complexity behind the story. The councilman was murdered in such a way that any progress he might have made e_tales-from-the-hood_vlcsnap-125513would be rendered null and void. Who would heed the words of a man fighting to keep drugs off the street if he were found dead of an extreme overdose? Once more, he was fighting against those who had the power to cover up what really happened. This, however, left the officer who stood by with the pain of guilt…so much that he hears the voice of the councilman seeking vengeance from beyond the grave.

In the second story, “Boys Do Get Bruised,” we are shown a life steeped in domestic violence, made all the more powerful because abuse is more prevalent in African-American households. The little boy shows up to school with suspicious marks on his face, possibly evidencing the unspoken horrors at home. The little boy speaks of a monster, which we find out is how he sees his abuser. Not a “monster” in the sense that an adult might use it to refer to someone who commits unspeakable violence against a woman or child, but an actual monster. This is completely accurate, as a child has the most honest vision of the world around them with grains of truth intermingled in between, even if their perceptions extend into the fantastical. I feel as this segment is very symbolic, 8b06558ceb6911e1955eaa75617f2616because we often lose our fears as we grow into adulthood. As we get older, we may feel untouchable by things that haunted us as children. Depicting the abuser as a monster not only shows us the inhumanity behind the evil of someone who has the capacity to harm a child, but also gives us, as viewers, the sense of something stronger than ourselves, thus putting us in the place of the little boy in the story: Hopeless. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t cheering the little boy on as David Allan Grier’s character fell victim to a most untimely death.

In the last story, and my personal favorite, “KKK Comeuppance,” a senator tries to change his racist image by—get this—purchasing a plantation home, rich in a history of slavery. He smiles to the public, adhering to his statements that he is not a racist and has shed his old ways. His personal cameraman, an African-American man whose purpose serves as “the black friend,” a sort of testimony to “prove” that he has changed a new leaf and to catch the senator’s recreational moments on film to show him in a different light, surely wouldn’t be supporting this senator if he were still a racist—Would he? This is the conundrum. If given the chance to be included in the “one of us” group, would talesfromthehood1you reject all that you are in order to rise above the struggle? He cracks jokes about his own race, and seems to side with the senator. This is an element of the movie that I have thought about long and hard. There are tributaries of thought that branch off from this on-screen relationship. What makes the cameraman different from other black people in the eyes of the senator, if it does at all? Maybe he is nothing more than a pawn in his political game. Did the cameraman truly remove himself from his racial identity in an attempt to achieve some sort of “superiority” by dissociation, and by association to a powerful white man? It did not, however, bring him immunity from the vengeance of the dolls in the painting. Because these dolls were possessed with the spirits of slaves, they brought a looming sense to this story of just how close in history and in current attitudes we are to racism, defying the cries of how the past is in the past. Just like racism, the dolls easily meshed into the backdrop of a scene painted at a time in history, not forgotten but ignored, by those who didn’t believe in the stories behind the painting, much in the way people ignore stories of slavery and lynchings in the old south.

In the last scene, we see the funeral director with the young gangbangers. I will not reveal exactly what happens, although I feel this is directly addressing the issue of “black on black crime.” I felt it was perfect as an “afterthought” to the movie, which, at the same time, tied into the “main idea.” Whenever white-on-black crime is featured in the c4cd157b7de2b7f223fd4c816cb282abe5ac8ec5news, or even as such a heavy theme just as in this movie, it creates a one-sided dialogue of, “What about black-on-black crime? No one ever mentions that.” And the thing is, it is talked about, but not everyone hears. Moreover, black on black crime is never denied, as implied by these questions that try to sidestep the conversation on the existence of racism. So, to anyone who asks those same questions in regard to the movie presented as a horror-based parallel to real life racism, ask them if they’ve watched it until the end.

Tales from the Hood is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen, and I love horror. However, it breaks the mold by combining scenes that are sure to keep you up all night with a powerful social commentary that comes through in the imagery, words, subtlety, and the overt. There is a consciousness and thought-provocation in the way that the stories are told and intermingled and segmented to soften the blow, just giving you enough time to recover from the horror and discomfort of the experience of one story before easing you into the next. This is a piece of art that should not just be looked at from one facet, but from many, to feel and experience the full effect.

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Hailing from the Red state of Texas, Joslyn Corvis is a very proud liberal and feminist. As a first-time college student as of January, 2016, she hopes to pursue a degree in Joslyn Corvis headshotpsychology to become a counselor. She enjoys parks when the weather is nice, late night trips to Whataburger, and sipping coffee from sun-up ‘til sun-down on weekends. You can find more of Joslyn and her works at http://gothicgenie.wix.com/home