Let the Long Night End

Postby SpartanAltego » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:02 am

Welcome, all. As I promised, I intend to let a little of my own fresh blood trickle down into the pot of creative writing here. See what comes of my witch's brew. Progress on the first full chapter (or 'parts' as they are codified in the story itself) is ongoing: deadline for release is December 8th - 9th, and it will be a quite sizable chapter I expect when it is all said and done. An eight-part tale, followed by an epilogue. I would like to offer an immediate summary, but first I think it's best to let the excerpt below speak for itself and go into further detail should I indeed be hitting the right notes for you readers out there. Prove that I know what the heck I'm doing before I start breaking the mold, so to speak.

The link to the fanfiction will be added to here and also posted separately when completed. For now, have a taste of what is to come...

EDIT: http://let-the-right-one-in.com/fancont ... -night-end

Let the Long Night End
Part I: God Only Knows (Oskar)

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it
‘Cause God only knows what I’d be without you

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” – Og Mandino




1982, New Year’s Eve.

Snow crunches beneath the heels of worn, thick boots on a frosty winter evening. It is dark, save for the scant sliver of light against the crescent moon and the handful of stars glittering stubbornly in the sky. A boy, warmly dressed in a silver parka, and dark pants, pushes branches away with gloved hands. A faint clanking and jittering comes from something inside his backpack, fastened securely to his shoulders. Just a little further now…

He liked to make this trip at least twice a week, when the weather allowed. But Michigan was notorious for its blizzards, and despite his consternation he could not in good conscience justify wading through five or six feet of snow, in a forest no less, for all of a few precious minutes of solace. Not because he was unwilling – quite the contrary. But each time the boy prepared to step outside and brave the harshness of the wilderness, a pair of large, brown eyes would appear in his mind’s eye, followed by the face he adored so much. Please, those eyes would say. Don’t be foolish. I’m okay. Take care of yourself. Please.

Today, though, he pushed the warnings aside – painful though it was to push any thought of his friend away. His companion. Today was too special to let cold or snow stop him. So, he took a cab past the city limits of Detroit and rode for several hours in silence, toying with an old Rubik’s Cube well worn by time and use, as he liked to do. He was very proud, because he finally discovered the right method to get three sides to be solid colors – once he had almost made it to four, but was dismayed when he discovered a single line of green running along the end of an otherwise yellow square. He imagined that his partner (wasn’t that a better word than ‘friend?’) was proud of him, too, and rubbed a spot on his cheek where he thought might’ve been kissed if she were there.

The hike had been hard, and the wind was against him, stinging his nose and cheeks. He had to squint his eyes and wipe them free of tears every few minutes. But the warmth that grew in his chest kept the cold of the outside from driving him back. Today, tonight, he would see Eli, and neither nature, man, or God above would keep them apart. His pace quickens when he finally spies his destination; a small hide-away cave, lit by a beam of moonlight as if to guide him. God, perhaps, had no interest in keeping these two of His children apart this night, and for that Oskar was thankful. Hurrying his steps as he became increasingly aware of the numbness in his fingers and toes, Oskar scurried to the cave’s mouth, ducking his head to avoid hitting it against the low ceiling.

Shaking snow from his gloves, he kneeled down to the mostly bare stone ground and slipped out a torch from his pack, clicking it alight. The beam shone bright and true, and he stepped confidently, if slowly, deeper into the mouth of shadow before him. The shrill shrieking of the wind outside faded the further he crept, and he listened intently, ears alert for a sound of a different timbre…there!

Soft rumbling from the farthest corner of the cave, where the sun couldn’t reach at any time of day. His torch-light fell on the curled shape of a young child, wrapped in blankets and head rested gently on a pillow, a stuffed bunny held tightly in the child’s arms. A purring child. Even now, Oskar never ceased to feel a surge of excitement and fulfillment at the very sight of her – his Eli, sound asleep. Away from the bite of the freezing winds, Oskar could feel himself warming again. Or maybe it’s just Eli, making me warm inside.

Setting his torch to the floor, pointed up so as to illuminate his surroundings somewhat, Oskar slipped off his pack and set it down, resting his back against the call adjacent to Eli and letting himself slip onto his rear. He checks his watch, bought cheaply from an odds-and-ends shop because it was broken, but fixed thanks to a little teamwork and Eli’s surprising depth of knowledge about the strangest subjects. A sigh he didn’t realize he’d been holding in slips out suddenly, leaving cool relief in its absence.

“Just in time,” he smiles, glancing at her coyly – more for his benefit than hers, given her state. “Five minutes to midnight. Thought you should know.”
He busies himself with chewing on a small piece of bread and cheese, and grabs a handful of snow from outside to stuff into his mouth, enjoying the taste of melting snow. The clock ticks down, and Oskar imagines that somewhere close by a bell is chiming and a man with a great and booming voice declares tonight to be a Happy New Year. Confetti flies into the air, people dance, and the world is together and at peace. It was a pretty thought.

He crawls over to Eli, careful not to disturb her from her spot, and plants a single, long kiss against her cheek, feeling his lips lose their warmth as they meet cold flesh. For some reason, the idea that he is giving his warmth to Eli is pleasant enough that he gives her a second kiss, then retreats. He lets the tips of his fingers rest for a moment against the spot, then moves back. “Happy New Year, Eli.”
Last edited by SpartanAltego on Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
"The dark is patient, and it always wins. But its weakness lies in its strength: a single candle is enough to hold it at bay. Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars." - Matthew Stover
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Re: Let the Long Night End

Postby PeteMork » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:50 am

Good descriptions! I can even feel the cold wind and darkness as he fights his way to her cave. And, of course, we're all suckers for anything that so effectively shows Oskar's selfless dedication to his true love.
You've also presented us with some good mysteries, such as: Why are they separated? Where is Oskar staying that keeps her from being able to stay with him? Is Eli in hibernation? And if so, for how long?

But one thing we can be sure of: The days only grow longer now, and summer will soon be theirs again. Keep it up! You're doing great!

P.S. I think Eli has blue eyes. Lina, however, has brown. ;)
We never stop reading, although every book comes to an end, just as we never stop living, although death is certain. (Roberto Bolaño)
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Re: Let the Long Night End

Postby ltroifanatic » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:22 am

I'm really enjoying it Spartan.As Pete said you've left us with lots to ponder about.Of course I'm a sucker for anything that shows the beautiful unconditional love they share.Loved the descriptions too.Felt like I was there and I've never even seen snow :lol: .If your first chapter is an indication,we have some great reading ahead of us.Thanks for sharing. :D
Please Oskar.Be me for a little while.
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Re: Let the Long Night End

Postby metoo » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:14 am

PeteMork wrote:P.S. I think Eli has blue eyes. Lina, however, has brown.

Lina's own eyes are a better fit to the novel than the pale blue contact lenses she sported in the movie.

I'd say it's a pity they used those contact lenses, since they take the life out of Lina's eyes in extreme close up shots. Compare Kåre's and Lina's eyes in the bedroom scene.
But from the beginning Eli was just Eli. Nothing. Anything. And he is still a mystery to me. John Ajvide Lindqvist
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Re: Let the Long Night End

Postby dongregg » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:46 am

metoo wrote:
PeteMork wrote:P.S. I think Eli has blue eyes. Lina, however, has brown.

Lina's own eyes are a better fit to the novel than the pale blue contact lenses she sported in the movie.

I'd say it's a pity they used those contact lenses, since they take the life out of Lina's eyes in extreme close up shots. Compare Kåre's and Lina's eyes in the bedroom scene.

Yeah guys. One of the few times I disagree with Tomas Alfredson's decisions. Whenever Eli shows up in my writings, she has brown eyes that seem to invite you in...to something.

Your story has begun terrifically. It's like I'm really there -- the cold, Oskar's yearning to see her that drives him on. And your presentation of Eli as a sleeping, purring child...Uh oh. I'm about to tear up.
"For the heart life is simple. It beats as long as it can." - Karl Ove Knausgård
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Re: Let the Long Night End

Postby ltroifanatic » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:02 am

Ahh..contact lenses.Well that's cleared a lot of things up.I was getting confused.Those eyes seem like they could swallow you whole sometimes.Eli asleep with her toy gets me running for the tissues everytime.. :wub: If your a parent you've probably said this a thousand times.."They're so beautiful when they're asleep".. :lol:
Please Oskar.Be me for a little while.
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Re: Let the Long Night End

Postby SpartanAltego » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:43 am

Yeah, as I recall from a fairly recent re-reading Eli's eyes are described as black in the novel, which is where I draw most of my portrayals from. My mind adjusted them to be brown, and now that it's been set as such I'm kind of fond of the idea. Hm. I wonder...Eli has a power of allure, as we see in her ability to bait Jocke in and Oskar's perspective when she is seconds away from feeding off him on the jungle gym. Perhaps I could handwave the inconsistency by having Eli's eyes and features be subtly different depending on who is looking. Makes him/her more appealing, and thus makes hunting easier.

Or I'll just edit the detail for the final draft of Part I. Which, by the way, is zooming along on schedule. If the pace keeps up, it may be finished and edited a little earlier than the 8th or 9th. Though I'm wondering if perhaps I should save it for the 9th anyway, given the upcoming group conference. Add a little zest of my own to the occasion. ;)

Still, the excerpt wasn't met with damning silence or loud disdain, so I figure that means I should go ahead and give a little bit of a summary of what to expect and what I seek to accomplish going into this tale. From the beginning, Let the Right One In always hit me hardest with its portrayal of isolation and the bonds that can form between two outcast souls. Friendship borne of empathy and sympathy, and later understanding and acceptance. Not to mention I'm a sucker for tragic and unconventional relationships in fiction, so Oskar and Eli sharing such a bright and beautiful love while also implicitly accepting the sacrifice of others' lives and happiness as a price to pay really scratches the sweet spot. Eli is cursed, after all: the happiest ending, Let the Old Dreams Die, still means that Oskar is now undoubtedly a predator and killer who has had to sacrifice some level of his soul to stay with Eli for eternity. He had to give up, to some extent, his own personal humanity (and compassion for strangers) that drew Eli to him in the first place.

But I'm getting off topic. "Let the Long Night End" is my effort to capture that same tragedy and bittersweet joy of the novel while continuing the story from when Oskar and Eli left Blackeberg. As the excerpt indicates, Oskar was not turned in Karlstad - he still wanted to stay human. This is for a few reasons; one, Oskar becoming a vampire comes with a certain foregone direction to it all. Either he kills, or Eli kills for him, or they both decide to die, or they turn themselves into the authorities for help. Pretty much every variation has been touched on by now. But Oskar remaining human has a little more uncertainty to it, even if that path has also been examined many times over the years by all you Infected. And it maintains that fragile balance where Eli must always, always be conscious of her vampiric nature even while trying to have tender moments with her friend. Love costs and takes effort; it's a house you're always building, expanding, and repairing. If Oskar is a vampire, then many of the hurdles he and Eli face as a couple would be negated. I prefer it the other way around.

Plus, there are emotional and character-centric motives behind Oskar staying human. As he grows up and Eli remains frozen, their relationship will be tested. What if he discovers he doesn't feel the same way about Eli he once did? What if his burgeoning sexuality (and Eli's many traumatic experiences with the sexual desires of others) brings a barrier between them? How will Elias feel to see Oskar grow older, closer and closer to passing through death's veil and beyond his reach forever? As Oskar matures, will his worldview grow more mature - and will that perception still be able to tolerate the moral weight of Eli's grim necessities?

But still. All that is to some extent something you've seen before, probably. I like to think that I'm a skilled writer, but there's only so many new ways you can be shown the same dinner before you have to acknowledge that it all sort of tastes the same in the end. You deserve something new. Let the Right One In is, despite its fantastical premise, a very grounded story: there is only one vampire who remains active for very long, who has only ever met two others, and very little indication that the supernatural is a widespread phenomena. Most of the evil in the world is the evil of mankind, not monsters dwelling in the dark. But. The thought occurred to me: what if Oskar and Eli did meet someone else, someone cursed and isolated just as they are (and are)? Many times we've seen in fanfiction a stranger who becomes a friend to our duo, and we see a transformation into a family unit of a sort. Paternal roles.

But those good Samaritans are usually human. The power dynamic is in favor of Eli, in the end, because he's the one with the vampire powers. And the narrative usually favors the sacrifice of the Samaritan for the sake of the duo, and sadly they rarely get to be fleshed out deeply enough to feel as though they have a unique relationship with the kids the way that we saw the uniqueness of Oskar and Eli's friendship unfold. So, I thought, why not mix things up a little? Why not have a good Samaritan who isn't a human, who is cursed and an outcast just like our duo, who in a sense finds himself in Oskar's position: looking in from the outside on a strange but beautiful sight, and slowing being deemed worthy of being Let In (and letting others in). It's not a family dynamic: it's the story of a love triangle, the unconditional love borne of innocence and empathy. Let the Right One In is the story of one and one becoming two (and one). Let the Long Night End is about one and two becoming three.

The alarm bells are probably going off now, though. An OC with a central role (though Oskar is the protagonist, let me assure you)? In a love triangle that encroaches on the very relationship we all came here to celebrate? And he's not a normal human? Probably smells like a self-insert at best and a Sue at worst. I'm treading on sacrilegious ground and really will need to bring my A-game to earn any right to not be dismissed out of hand. But, that's what I intend to do: bring my A-game and leave you all with something unique, sweet, tragic and fresh. And the title is a mission statement for our protagonists, familiar and new: because their nights have been very, very long; their nights of the profane and their nights of the soul. And one way or another, it must eventually come to an end.

I'll see you all with the completed chapter very soon. For now, I'll leave on a reflective note. JAL once stated on this very site that in his notes he knew right away where his climax would take place for the story: "blood and chlorinated water," he wrote. We all remember that scene at the pool, in the mind's eye image conjured as our eyes roll over words or up on the mental projector thanks to the excellent film adaptation. I had an epiphany of my own when I sat down and starting writing down notes. It sits right there, smack-dab in the middle of everything.

"Blood on a frozen lake, steaming in the light of the moon."
"The dark is patient, and it always wins. But its weakness lies in its strength: a single candle is enough to hold it at bay. Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars." - Matthew Stover
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Re: Let the Long Night End

Postby dongregg » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:30 am

The alarm bells are probably going off now, though. An OC with a central role (though Oskar is the protagonist, let me assure you)? In a love triangle that encroaches on the very relationship we all came here to celebrate? And he's not a normal human?

No alarm bells. You and your story are in a relationship, which means the story has a say in how you are writing it. I mean, a story is a story, not a rigid adherence to "the canon." And your story is moving along brilliantly. Looks like your A game to me. Or your A+ game!

I doubt that you'll get any static about your version of the tale or of the couple. I will admit, though, when I posted my first FF, I wasn't ready for forum members ranking me because "it's he, not she" and "Eli's not as nice as your portray her." Yes, she is. In the film. Just ask Lina what she thinks of Eli.

Anyway, I got over it.. Not! :P

Can't wait to read more!
"For the heart life is simple. It beats as long as it can." - Karl Ove Knausgård
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Re: Let the Long Night End

Postby sauvin » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:29 am

I saw the movie long before I read the book, and while I read it two or three times, I've seen the movie more times than I care to count. With the images of Lina that Google can serve up, together with some of the "behind the scenes" snippets, movie Eli is to me incontrovertibly a girl. If you scout around the forum's history, I think you'll find that opinions on the matter of gender vary, with some adamantly claiming that Eli is a boy because of the novel, others (like me) saying she's a girl (and some, like me, because Abby is also a girl), and yet others claiming that physical gender is irrelevant because "he" isn't a "he" anymore, or because "he" is too young to worry about the eventual implications of physical gender assignment (or was, at any rate, before "he" lost "his"). The forum refers to Eli as "him" or "her" in roughly equal proportions.

SpartanAltego, your writing is loads better than mine. I'm jealous. Especially since you seem more than capable of presenting a point of view and making a persuasive case for it, I think you don't need to worry too much about flying transverse to the "generally accepted grain", with a caveat:

In all the time I've been on this board, I can remember objecting to fan fiction only once. It tried to cut across the generally accepted grain by purporting to explore a sexuality I felt very strongly was completely unsupported by canon (novel or movie) and by the principals' respective ages. Put another way, it was just frankly and transgressively pornographic.

It's one thing to acknowledge that kids have secret lives that would almost certainly make their parents whimper - it's one thing to acknowledge that an unturned Oskar's growing needs would bring new dimensions to their relationship, and to explore the kinds of thinking processes that might go through their minds as they try to deal with them. It's another entirely to focus on the mechanics (he put his hand there, she made that kind of noise, and so on). The emphasis should always be on how they cope, and the only time we'd be concerned with how they grope (if they grope) is when the manner of groping materially impacts how they're coping.

That said, if you can come up with something we've never considered before, or not considered deeply enough, or misunderstood - if you can make us think - I think we'll hoist you up on our shoulders and march you up and down the street like a football hero even if we disagree wholeheartedly with the arguments you try to advance. Just based on what I've read from you so far, looks like I'm in for a treat.

As a side note:

Some time ago, the fan fiction area was overrun with bubble gum and bobbie socks sentimentality over the kids' perfect and eternal love to such a degree I had actually started considering getting a script for insulin to shoot up before logging in. I wrote a short "stream of consciousness" fiction illustrating how I thought an unturned Oskar might have turned out after thirty years of living with her (Eli). It was nasty, and it did draw a bit of fire. The site's founder sent me a PM a few days after people read it asking "was it everything you hoped for?" and said in public that it may have brought a bit of balance back to the forum.

(And then, just a few weeks or months later, Let Me In screened on theaters everywhere, and we all got a load of Abby's "minder". Talk about a man you never want to meet in a dark alley...!)
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Re: Let the Long Night End

Postby SpartanAltego » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:08 pm

Whew, that's a load off my shoulders. And the praise really means something, coming from the both of you whose works I count among the better cut of the bunch. Glad I've impressed thus far. :mrgreen:

As far as crossing that line, Sauvrin, you can rest assured I have very little (read: below zero) interest in writing even a single scene of that nature. Although it may come across as overly saccharine, I find the absence of carnal desire in the Oskar/Eli(as) relationship to be a critical element to my and many others' engagement with them. They are, after all, just kids. And sexual lust is generally portrayed in a negative light or tainted by a negative backdrop in the story itself with perhaps one exception. So Oskar's head-first crash into puberty and the examinations that follow will not lead to NC-17, R-rated, or PG-13 scenes of unsettlingly graphic underage copulation. Instead, it presents a new problem with a lot of emotional baggage for the two of them (Oskar, who despite his decision to remain human fears growing up into a stranger and Eli whose reasons need no elaboration).

Oskar's struggle with physical and emotional maturity is central to his character arc in the chapters to come. Eli, in my mind, reflects a stasis of childhood for Oskar - a pleasant fantasy that can go on forever, for a price. Her relationship pulls him in one direction, until the introduction of the tritagonist - whose name, Levi, means "to accompany" - provides a different perspective on the trials of aging, the ups and the downs. Since despite being cursed, Levi will not be an immortal. Quite the opposite: he's burning up, faster and faster, and his soul burns with it. He's not quite "Oskar at 40," but he could be one day and I think it's important that Oskar see for himself what a future as a human living with a vampire could inevitably cost him in his soul.

That's the tragedy (boy, I like that word when using it to describe these poor kids). Whether Oskar chooses vampire life or mortal life, he will die a little death inside because Eli's curse will always try to pollute their happiness with death. It remains to be seen if a third option is in the cards, and if the sacrifice it would take is worse than to choose the roads commonly travelled.
"The dark is patient, and it always wins. But its weakness lies in its strength: a single candle is enough to hold it at bay. Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars." - Matthew Stover
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