After Mulholland Drive (2001)
- A car wreck in the Hollywood Hills. The dark-haired girl — a raven hidden in baby skin. Possibly concussed, stumbling into the symphony of luminescence with fresh blood painting trauma on her body. The uncomfortable quiet of unforeseen tragedy echoes like the seedy hum of an underground nightclub. A grown man reduced to fear by a seemingly outlandish dream, a duo of nightmarish fantasies. It is neither night nor day when he finds himself stuck in a dizzying loop of surrealism. Man collapses into the arms of another, rendered helpless by a figure with nicotine-stained eyeballs. The beginnings of a smirk emerging on his muddied face.
- A young woman with golden hair is filled with hope. Entering the field of dreams in a place called LA. A wooden house with a maternal figure to take charge of her new life. The guest finds a woman naked, shielded behind frosted glass, the unknown curves are just visible. A wine-red towel wraps around the injured woman, her memory completely frazzled. Opening the purse she came with, they find wads of cash and a navy-blue key.
- To find their true existence, they find themselves in marlin blue opera houses. A woman sings, exuding all the pain that has been trapped in her soul. Both girls cling to each other, terrified of what may be truthful. If everything is an illusion, then why does it feel so real, so true? There is a sapphire box, and a key to match. Nobody knows what’s inside.
- A movie director craves creative control. From his fold up chair, he breathes in the wisteria smoke. His megaphone is cracked — beige tape masking the imperfections that he despises. His actress is dressed up in pink blossom décor. Surrounded by an existence that has the power to judge and destroy. His eyes are piercing. He stares into space with thick rimmed glasses, pondering his ego.
- Death by screaming. Unwanted ghosts turn up at her door, waving their hands frantically. Their laughter is louder than the rain. It all ends with the single shot of a gun.
- Dreams are a dangerously beautiful thing. They keep us moving on this axis we find ourselves on. When an immense sadness consumes us, we look for an escape into a world where anything is possible. Blinded by bright lights, money, and fame. Our faces relish at playing the game of life. The very act of dreaming will bring you before death itself. You’ll be on your knees, bound and gagged. Punished for choosing to live inside a dream, instead of being completely aware of how banal existence can be. As the heart croons one final time, the bloodied smog of California explodes into the sky’s capillaries.
Courtenay S. Gray is a writer from the North of England. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2020), and she has been shortlisted for the Literary Lancashire Award (2021). She also has an upcoming collection (Strawberry) in the pipeline with Alien Buddha Press. Twitter: @courtenaywrites