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Entry 2-26-02 (originally written 2-20-02)
Is this a bad time?

We are looking down a corridor, narrow and featureless. Its walls are made of bare, gray cement with the occasional fracture or seam. It is like the passageway of a modern dungeon, dispiriting and claustrophobic. We look towards its terminus, a daylight-bright rectangle which is despairingly distant. There is a faint sound of wind blowing across unseen exits.

In the left foreground, Lavender leans against the wall. She hugs herself, crouching, almost cowering. She looks terribly alone; there might be nobody else in the world but her.

"I don't want to go," she says. "It isn't right." She almost sobs these words, sniffing. There is the faintest echo as they ring along the harsh walls.

She wears a kind of coverall, like a uniform, gray-white and unornamented. Whatever her circumstances it is characteristically halfway unzipped. Her boots are black and shiny. Lavender seems not just fearful but embarrassed as well, abject.

"This is all a mistake... I shouldn't be here," she mutters to the floor as she holds herself. Her eyes are hidden by the tousle of red hair, but a black spill of eyeliner-stained tears suddenly appears on her cheek. "I shouldn't be here, this isn't right," she insists, her voice growing thicker in her distress.

There is a pause. She sniffs. The wind rises, speaks louder as it pipes over distant doorways.

"Please. Don't let this happen." We do not hear a response.

Lavender pulls a white handkerchief from somewhere (her hip pocket) and cleans her face with it.

"...not my fault."

There are footsteps. She snorts back her tears, straightens herself, straightens her clothing. She is transformed, calm.

A figure emerges from a passage which was just out of frame. Black leather coat, leather cap, high collar, gloves, boots, face hidden in shadow; male.

"It's time," he says. His tone is neutral, neither deferential nor commanding. Lavender nods without saying anything, and the figure withdraws.

Lavender takes a deep breath, holds it, lets it out in her own time. She shakes her hair back, blinks, faces something beyond the camera. She brings forth a pointer or swagger stick which was concealed by her form. The voice of the wind at some point parts to admit a crowd noise; it was always there. She saunters forward confidently.

Now we see the other end of the tunnel, and are given little time to orient ourselves before the camera moves forward with Lavender, showing the breadth and depth of the space beyond, an enormous arena, jammed with people. They are in obvious thrall to her and roar when she appears.

Figures-- mostly men --in suits and uniforms are bound to a grille which spans the space to either side of her. They are almost uniformly transfixed with fear or disbelief. By the ends nearest her are two torchbearers.

Lavender pauses to regard the crowd. Her placid expression transforms by moments into a snarl, a caricature. Her eyes suddenly come alive, feral, burning, bright like polished lead shot, like onyx marbles.

"Are you READY?" she screams, deliberately topping off her voice into a shrill. The crowd's response washes over her but she is immovable.

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