Author: Larry Rodness
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: YA Supernatural/Vampires/Paranormal
Publisher: Itoh Press
Release Date: Dec 2012
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
18 year old Emylene Stipe, a 2nd generation Goth, is shaken to the core when her make-believe world turns out to be real.
A supernatural fiction about a 2nd generation teenage Goth teen named Emylene Stipe
who finds a charcoal sketch in an antique shop. When she brings it home an image of a young
girl appears in the sketch and then materializes in her apartment. Emylene introduces this girl
whom she nick-names ‘Poinsettia’, to the local Goth crowd and the two become fast friends. But
Poinsettia has an ulterior motive for her sudden and strange intrusion into Emylene’s life which
causes Emylene to question her whole belief system.
Larry Rodness began his entertainment career as a professional singer at the age of 19 and has been performing in Toronto for over 35 years with his wife and singing partner, Jodi, at venues such as The Old Mill, Royal York Hotel, Skyline and Bristol Place Hotel as well as countless corporate and private functions.
In the 80's Larry studied musical theatre writing with PRO under Broadway conductor Layman Engel, which led him to write for dinner theater. He then moved into the screenplay arena where he has written over a dozen screenplays and has had 3 scripts optioned to date. In the past 2 years he has also become a published novelist.
The next day Emylene returned to the antique shop to find the sketch sitting on the dusty floor, against the grimy picture window. The artist had framed the scene by drawing a weathered old wooden fence that zigzagged from the foreground all the way to a line of trees that met the horizon. In the center of the sketch stood a great cypress tree surrounded by a blanket of pristine snow. The sketch was serene and unsettling at the same time, evocative but distant—just the right mix of perversity for the heartsick Goth.
Her mind made up, Emylene pushed open the paint-peeled door that creaked as if it objected to the intrusion. The air inside hung heavy with the smell of melancholia. This was not so much a store as a graveyard of forgotten relics. If that wasn't bad enough, Emylene sensed an air of gloom emanating from the shopkeeper himself who was behind his counter, staring sour-faced at her. He was a tall, gaunt man in his seventies with wispy grey hair who had lived in the district for over thirty years and suffered them all—the druggies, the hookers, and the hustlers. He took one look at Emylene and made up his mind about her before she said a single word: Goths. If they were so in love with death, why didn't they just slit their wrists and let the rest of us get on with our own miserable lives? Nevertheless, Emylene greeted him with a cheery hello.
"Hey there. The picture in the window, the one with the tree? How much?" she asked.
The storeowner stared at Emylene at first with curiosity, and then with disdain. "A million dollars," he replied. "You got a million dollars?"
Emylene offered her prettiest smile while she lifted the picture from the floor and eyeballed it like an appraiser from Sotheby's.
"I don't have that much, but I'll give you a hundred," she offered.
"You really want it? Tell you what. You come back here tomorrow…”
Emylene knew what was coming next.
"…dressed from head to toe in white. You wipe all that black polish off your nails and the paint off your face, and you come here dressed like…"
"…like a little lady?" asked Emylene.
"Yes, like that, and she's yours."
"See you tomorrow then," she sang as she left the shop.
Although she had never met this man before Emylene knew him all too well. This man was afraid of something and desperate to keep control of his domain. To do that, he needed to demystify Emylene by degrading and shaming her into showing that beneath all the make-up and the gear, that she was as dull and ordinary as he was. Emylene needed to show him that no one was going to push her around.
The next day Emylene returned to the store as requested, wearing the only white dress she owned—an exact replica of the bridal gown Miss Lucy was buried in, after Dracula turned her into a vampyre. When Emylene stepped across the threshold of the store, she looked more frightening than she did in anything she had worn in black, and the look on the store owner's face instantly faded to the same pallor of white as the dress. As Emylene approached him she slowly opened her hand.
The owner drew back, fully expecting to find a beating heart pumping away in her little palm. Instead were five twenties. He hesitated a moment, wondering whether to deny her the purchase, but instead, he scooped up the bills. Emylene took the picture and exited the store. Not a word was said between the two.
When Emylene returned to her apartment, she looked around for just the right place to hang the sketch. There really was only one place for it. A nail went into the plaster with two bangs of a hammer and the picture was hung upon the wall opposite the main door of the apartment so that it would be the first thing she'd see upon entering, and the last thing upon leaving.
That done, Emylene took a moment to appreciate her new acquisition. Ignoring the slap-dash method with which the simple brush strokes were applied, she concentrated on the basic elements of the scene—a rickety wooden fence that zigzagged all the way back to a line of trees in the distant horizon. A few wavy strokes indicating a blanket of unblemished snow, and of course, the lone cyprus. That was all and yet, there seemed more although she couldn't put her finger on what, exactly. But then, because even Goths get hungry, Emylene stripped off Miss Lucy's bridal gown and bounced downstairs to grab a sub.
It was 8:15 when she returned. When her world changed. When the glorious mystery of the picture began to reveal itself. When she gazed upon her new treasure and noticed for the first time footprints in the snow that were not there before.
Perverse by Larry Rodness was in my words an exceptional read. I wasn't sure what to expect when I read this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. I am a big fan of strong female characters and Emylene is the epitome if this. The author wove a fantastic story and I couldn't stop reading till the end. He showed us a whole new world in the world of the Goth. And so not what I expected. Truly a great read and I can’t wait for what’s next.