Chapter 1:

How to Spend Spring Break

Missing Reel


“Sydney!”


The harsh shrill came from in front of the classroom. A man in his late 40s, wearing a tan suit, tapped on his desk. None of the sounds he made caught the attention of the girl glued to her phone.


“SYDNEY!”


The intense scream made the girl jump in her seat. The confusing of the class laughing and the teacher's screams did little to bother her as she checked to see if her phone was okay.


“Thanks Mr Jones. Make her jump again!!”


The guys cheered at their classmates' suggestion. Mr Jones tried to rally down the uproar he created trying to get Syd's attention. Syd was about to return to the article she was reading when Mr Jones spoke up.


“Sydney! Spring break doesn't start until tomorrow. Please pay attention until class is over.”


As if on Que, the school bell rang to free Syd from Mr Jones' class. She hopped out of her seat, slinging her bag on her back. She made a triumph pose pointing at Mr Jones with her phone in hand.


“Looks like class is over! Seeya!”


Then she takes off out of the class. Syd danced her way through the halls of Corman High School. Her short legs glided her through the empty halls. The sound of kids swarming to the doors made her legs quicken its pace until she reaches a brown door marked 2-F. The door creaks, revealing a young-looking boy who towered Syd. Deep and heavy breaths left Syd as she tries to regain the energy she lost. Steadying her arms, Syd pushes herself upright to now tower the boy herself.


“Geez! First, as always, Syd.”


Syd, not paying attention to the words of the young sophomore, flashed a bright smile towards him.


“Man, so lucky! I should have left first.”


A voice from the back of the wild group caused laughter to ripple among the kids. The sophomores all saying their goodbyes to Syd as they filed out of the class. When the last student said their goodbye, she rolled into the class, taking the first that catches her eye. A man rolled out a whiteboard to the front of the class. His belly moves with every grunt as the man struggled to complete his task.


“Greetings Sydney. You know you could have skipped Cinema Club today.”


“Yeah, I could, but it's my last year! I want to savor it all.”


Mr Berman gave a jovial laugh that shook his belly. He began to write on the whiteboard scribbles on old comedies, most of them set in the 80s. Syd brought her attention to her phone, scrambling to get back to the article she was reading. It was the latest issue of Shed Fright, an online magazine that covers a mishmash of horror stuff. The range could go from actually monster sightings to some fan submitted horror stories. Syd didn't have the free time to get to the issue when it came out, but since things are slowing down for spring break, she decides to read it.


She was returning to an article about 7 lost movies, written by the co-creator of the magazine. Mr Berman noticing Syd not really paying attention to his writing cleared his throat. The echoing sound pulls Syd away just before she could resume her reading,


“You don't want to discuss the history of comedies?”


“Not really. But hey, since Jules isn't hear yet.”


Syd put her phone down as she leaned forward, resting her chest on the desk attached to the chair. A sharp tinge of satisfaction shot from her back to help fuel the cat like smile on her face.


“What's your favorite scary movie?”


Mr Berman paused to think if he should say the answer. It was a preposterous thought that he was afraid to answer such a simple answer. But he did avoid it every time Syd ask it because Jules was around. Jules crudely would talk down someone else's opinions if it didn't fit her tastes. With a soft gulp, Mr Berman prepared to give his answer.


“Gremlins.”


“Of course, it's something childish.”


The harsh words came from the doorway, causing Mr Berman to jump a bit. Standing there was a pale girl. The sleeves of her uniform blazer rolled up, She had long raven black hair that almost reached the end of her skirt. Her most striking feature was her deep blue eyes. They gave off a dark and icy incandescent glow coming from the strands of hair covering her hair.


“Jules, be nice.”


Jules took long, precise strides until she sat next to Syd.


“Forget about Mr kiddie film here. So what are the plans for Spring Break?”


Jules and Syd planned to spend Spring Break together, but there was a solid plan. Syd tried to not make eye contact as she thought of what they could do. She desperately didn't want to do the old routine this time around. It was their last year as high-schoolers and all, so the last time they could probably hang out. Syd's head did two small shakes as she didn't want that thought to grow, since she was still figuring out how to tell Jules.


“Since you have nothing, I have an idea. Two words. Giallo. Marathon.”


Since they became friends, Syd and Jules always marathon horror movies during long breaks they have. The Summers of Slasher, Paranormal, Zombies, and Vampires all passed. This was the Giallo year. Giallo is a form of Italian slasher films that had a strong mystery that went with their stories.  Jules wanted to watch enough, so she could truly understand the genre inside and out.


“Or we could do something else.”


Syd automatically agreeing with Jules shocked her. They became friends over their mutual love of horror movies. Syd was always ready for a horror marathon, but now she wasn't. Jules sank down into the chair, disappointed her friend wasn't excited about her plan.


“Something like what?”


“Well… How about we try to find a lost movie?”


Hearing the words lost movie, rose Jules from her sunken state. Even Mr Berman, now resting in his chair behind his desk, was interested in Syd's idea.


“I'm listening.”


“Well, I was reading the latest issue of Shed Fright….”


“Why do you read that crap?”


“It's not crap, Jules! It's pretty fun to read.”


“It lost all credibility when the creator gave Chime a bad review! He couldn't grasp Hideaki's vision!”


“That's nothing. Look, the guy curated a list of lost horror movies. He even found one of them! If he could find one, we definitely could.”


Jules shielded her eyes to Syd's optimism. This was all probably a marketing stunt to her. There would be no way this guy curated a list of lost movies and then finds one just in time for his issue. She had to bring Syd back to reality and get her on board for giallo time.


“Which one did he find?”


“Curse of the Skull Servant.”


Jules almost fell out of her seat. There's no way some internet loser would have found that movie. Besides, it was the most famous lost horror film, so of course he would use that to promote the magazine. Jules searched her thoughts for ways to bring her shock down. She had let the words effect her, but that didn't matter, the only thing that did… The sharp, playful smile reappeared on Syd's face. Jules knew that she couldn't get Syd to disregard the lost movie plan to know. She broke her cool and showed interest, and that was all that Syd need.


After regaining her composure, Jules weighs the idea in her head. It would be impossible for them to find a lost movie with no leads. All they have is an internet magazine that probably has zero clues. But searching for a lost movie doesn't mean that the giallo plans fall out completely. During breaks when they hit a wall, they could just watch a giallo. That way they're both satisfied.


“Which one you want to look for?”


Syd scanned the article as fast she could. She was ecstatic that Jules wanted to do her idea now. This would surely be a great memory for them to share. From her scanning, Syd found a movie that would fit along with Jules original plans after all. An American made giallo film that was discarded when the producer thought it was best to leave it to the Italians, then have a film muck up their finances even further.


“Tears for Isabella by Marceli Bornheimer?”


Jules's icy blue eyes widen. Excitement and joy radiated from those two pools of life. She reached out to grab Syd's hand with the wonder of a young child.


“No way, that's the film inspired by the works of Giorgio Monti! Man, if we could find that. It would be huge. Especially for the giallo research.”


“So it's a deal! We'll try our hardest to find Tears for Isabella! We probably need to go through a bunch of websites.”


“Gotta search for every Marceli interview we could find around that era.”


“" But we will definitely find it!””


The pure joy that beamed from the two girls brought a smile to Mr Berman's face. It's the reason he started the cinema club, to get the students excited about film. He wished the girls would get excited about other genres and not just horror. Still, the name Marceli Bornhiemer sound familiar to him. He listened to what Syd said about a producer shelving the film. Taking his laptop from his bag, Mr Berman searches through the cinema notes he has. Mr Berman scrolled peacefully to the giddy noises of Syd and Jules passionately talking about their plans for Spring Break.
Abraham B. A.
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