I'll Bring It In
Inspired by an old proverb: ‘If you leave your washing out overnight you will invite the Devil in.
Cate, exhausted, relieved, has arrived in her new flat with her newborn baby, Esme. She tries to do ordinary things, breastfeeding and endless washing, taking each day at a time, as she adjusts to her new baby and home. Nobody knows she is here and she wants nothing more than to be left alone.
But a neighbour has other ideas. Cate hangs her first lot of washing out in the sunshine, but the weather turns (in typical British fashion) before Cate can bring it in again. Esme screams for hours and Cate paces around with her. Tie-Dye listens from below. Later, Tie-Dye knocks at Cate’s door anxious that Cate bring her washing in before nightfall. Cate will not. Tie-Dye tells her that it’s bad luck if she leaves it out overnight and mentions that the Devil might get in. Cate, already scared and paranoid, feels very unsettled by this. Tie-Dye mentions how quiet the baby is.
A few days later, all the washing has disappeared from the line. Just a bloody trail is left. A knock at the door: Tie-Dye, with the basket of Cate’s washing. It is full of soiled and bloody rags and human hair. A well of a mouth opens up at the centre, letting out a long wail. She drops the bundle in her arms, not a baby, but scraps of clothes. The baby is a fantasy. Cate is haunted by her crime: An attempt to cut the baby from her pregnant friend and steal her.
Rebecca ParfittWriterFeeding Grief to Animals
Project Type:Short Script
Number of Pages:8
Country of Origin:United Kingdom
Focus Film FestivalWrexham UK
May 6, 2023
Rebecca Parfitt is a writer of poetry, short stories, articles, and more recently, screenplays. Her debut poetry collection, The Days After, was published by Listen Softly London in 2017. Her work has been published widely including, The New Gothic Review. She was awarded a Literature Wales writer's bursary in 2020 to complete a collection of short stories. In 2020 she was commissioned by the BBC and FfilmCymruWales to make her first short film 'Feeding Grief to Animals' as part of the Ffolio emerging film maker project in Wales. This was Rebecca Parfitt's first film, screenplay and director credit.
She lives and works in the Llynfi Valley, south Wales, UK
I wrote the original story shortly after the birth of my daughter. The early days felt like a sort of madness and delirium and I was often alone breastfeeding for hours on end and staring at a never-ending line of washing that I should have brought in ages ago. Sleep deprivation led to a feeling of paranoia, I felt depressed and I often catastrophised about the worst possible things that could happen to my baby. The early stages of motherhood felt terrifying, mind-altering, and not to mention, body-altering.
Motherhood is not a subject that is often explored in this genre of film. The horror genre lends itself well to animation as it gives full scope to visualise our worst nightmares - it gives the freedom to make virtually anything possible. I hope the steady unravelling of Cate and her story, and the unexpected twist (that she is quite literally nursing a fantasy) designed to unsettle and destabilise what the audience believe they are seeing; to make them feel as Cate does, makes it compelling, original, as well as packing a punch. The audience doesn’t know if she’s sleep deprived, suffering from psychosis, postnatal depression, or if she is deluded. This story depends on deception. Everyone, including the audience, are deceived on the reality of what is actually going on until the very end.
It is worth noting that I have an invested interest in the horror genre. I am the founder and editor of the magazine, The Ghastling, which is a magazine that publishes short fiction of psychological horror, folk horror, ghost stories, the uncanny and the macabre. It has been running since 2013 and is renowned for its quality of design, illustration and writing. It has a bit of a cult following and has gained worldwide notoriety.