The RMIT Gazette is a dynamic daily newspaper produced, published and distributed around Melbourne during the Emerging Writers’ Festival. We’ll publish the Gazette’s top stories online during the festival.
At the Dandenong Scriptwriting Workshop led by playwright Jessica Bellamy, writers were told to create a list of things that we have knowledge or interest in. At the top of my list, I wrote the word bats. Underneath that was coffee. What resulted was this short screenplay:
EXT. Outdoor eating area – morning
It’s Sunday. The roads are devoid of traffic. Ornate, wire tables and chairs fill the outdoor eating area of the café. They’re all empty save for one.
CASSIE (24, dressed head-to-toe in black—typical Melbourne attire) sags in her chair, the steam of her latte curling in the air. Her laptop is open on the table, with a blank Word document on her screen. She TAPS her fingers against the keys.
A CRASH echoes from inside the café, again.
She straightens and holds her phone in the air. No reception. Cassie throws it onto the table, then sips her coffee. She shakes her hands and TYPES a sentence.
Black letters materialise on a white page. She pauses, assesses her work, then deletes it. There’s no inspiration.
A car speeds down the bitumen in a cobalt streak. Nothing was inspiring, not even the refurbished Victorian buildings that stretch into the cerulean sky. Not even the emerald patches of grassland had been preserved.
Small, onyx silhouettes dot the sky. Their outlines are clear but their finer features aren’t. Cassie can see their wings, outstretched as if they’re basking in the morning warmth of the sun. There are three, maybe four, of them. One of the winged creatures breaks formation, landing on the lush lawns.
It’s a baby bat.
Cassie doesn’t acknowledge the animal and sips her coffee. It went cold. She crinkles her nose and glances around, searching for anything to stimulate her creativity.
The car parks aren’t full, and the spaces that are taken have stickers declaring how many children and dogs the family have. No trams rattle down the street, there is no familiar comfort of the city. She’s in the thick of suburbia.
She TYPES, then deletes what she wrote. Cassie glances at her notepad, which reads: Walk faster you oaf, her eyes shone, BLARGH HUMBUG.
Nothing. Cassie tears the page into uneven squares. A wind stirs the stray curls of her hair. She frowns, then places her half-full cup onto the torn pieces of paper. Cassie holds her phone in the air once more. Still no reception.
CLANG. She turns toward the source of the sound. It’s the baby bat. Its talons GRATE against the empty wire chair opposite her.
Cassie’s fingers are poised above her keyboard, her focus on the infant animal in front of her, ready to touch type.
The bats wings unfurl. Its white veins spider-web across the black membrane of its wings.
Cassie’s fingers fly across the keyboard.
It doesn’t move. A tuft of pale fur covers its neck, like a scarf.
She doesn’t stop typing.
She hits enter.
The bat SHRIEKS and takes to the skies.
Cassie doesn’t stop typing, finally inspired.
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