Sweet Dreams, by Gregory K.H. Bryant

 

(From “…Sequences – Scripts for Animated Shorts”)

 

(3-4 minutes)

 

(soundtrack – silence for the first full minute – the suspicion comes to us that there is a problem with the audio track – faintly, a mere insinuation of ambient sound, a bare whisper which could be a breeze through the dry branches of a dead tree – do we really hear it?)

 

a bedroom in a Victorian home – the image on our screen is rendered entirely as a wood engraving, all in black and white – no color in this sequence – the images are all assembled as in a collage by Ernst – over the bed is a sumptuous canopy – in the bed are two nude children, a boy and a girl – they are sleeping, arms and legs incestuously entwined – we hear the subliminal whispering of the wind –

 

on the floor, the dresser, the cabinet, the desk and chairs are dozens of heads, severed from their bodies, all of many sizes, all disproportionate to the room –

 

a nude woman with the transparent wings of a dragonfly steps out from the closet, lithely stepping over the disembodied heads – she has the head of some nightmarish insect, or, perhaps, a spider with dozens of eyes, but her body is human, and beautiful, rendered with the delicate lines of a master 19th century engraving –

 

– she leaps to the floor, and steps into the darkened hallway beyond – on the floor of the hallway are many more hundreds of severed heads – some of them move their mouths convulsively, as if only recently severed from their bodies, and not even yet quite dead – the nude spider-woman flits down the endless hallway like a dragonfly, hovering here and there over several of the still struggling heads –  she picks each head up in her hands, and kisses it passionately with her spider’s mouth – a profoundly sexual transaction – her passion satisfied with each, she drops it like a an empty rind upon the floor –

 

we watch as she disappears in the distance of the darkened hallway –

 

cut back to the two sleeping children – the girl turns in her sleep, groans faintly, yawns, stretches, then drifts back into a deep sleep, rubbing her shuttered eyes with the backs of her fists –

 

(fade to gray, then to black)

 

a soul-rending scream cuts through the black – it drags out to a gargling, then choking sound – the sound of some impact, we can’t quite make out the significance – it could be the sound of heavy piles of wet linen splattering against a cement floor – it could be the sound of whole sides of beef being chopped with axes – this sound drags on interminably

 

fade to silence

 

(roll credits)

 

*****

Gregory K. H. Bryant is an artist and storyteller who dabbles in poetry.  He is a registrar with the National Air and Space Museum, where he has been a staff member since 1978.

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