The Precursor Film

by Aswel Vidhen Buccat
Ariel is a boy with very wide imaginations. He would want to be a film maker. Every day, he watches sci-fi movies, making himself entertained with the colorful visual effects of those movies. He wishes to produce a film on his own, just like what he is watching on his TV. Hoping to have some equipment for him to use, he would like to start one immediately. But in reality, he doesn’t have anything for his dreams, and now he is still a college student.

In school, he always thinks much of himself. When he sees heroic figures in those sci-fi movies he watched, he felt like as if he was like them. He emulated their manner of speaking, and keeps on telling his classmates all about them. He wasn’t paying attention much of the teacher’s discussions. As a result, his class standing was quite low. His mind is always elsewhere, flying into the rainbows beyond reality. Several of his classmates were annoyed of his behavior.

One day, Ariel’s parents gave him a laptop. Its system requirements would fit enough to make him do video authoring. Right away, he started downloading some apps he needed for it. Then, he would start making one. He first took some photos of himself and started to edit them on Photoshop rendering different kinds of effects. He made so many images of him wielding a Star Wars lightsaber and Harry Potter effects. All of those images, he posted them on Facebook. Some of his friends think of those pictures are awesome, but others think those are funny. They left their funny comments with each image he posted. As many people start to like his photos, he was encouraged to continue.

The next day, he started to pay his attention on Adobe After Effects, wherein he came across some tutorials on the Internet on making a Star Wars lightsaber video. He studied those tutorial videos, and spent his time on making his own. However, it’s really hard for him to go over into the tutorial’s instructions. But he insisted to study the video, like learning how to rotoscope, which is the positioning of the lightsaber to every frame of the video. This took him several days to work for, and with that going on, he forgot about his school requirements.

A week has passed, and he was still doing his hobby. Then, one time, he met a girl named Nancy. She was pretty, and appeared to be the school’s sweetheart. He got attracted to her colorful and magnificent beauty beyond compare, as what he described in his all of a sudden beating heart. All his life, he never felt like that. He got nerves of steel, which he doesn’t seem to feel anything. It just changed when he saw her looking at him. He made a face which features his sprinkling eyes and an open mouth with a drop of saliva. Nancy laughed at his gaze upon her. As she left to attend her class sessions, Ariel was very much inspired of her. Since then, he kept thinking about her. He began to look for Nancy’s photos on Facebook and started to make several slideshows. Every image on his slideshows has photos of him and Nancy cropped into wallpaper. He added his obnoxious poem in those slideshows, which he thought be good. He wanted to attract more attention to himself in the public, to make himself famous not only in their school, but to everyone in the world. As soon as he finished his “masterpiece”, he posted his videos online.

The following day was the deadline of submission of Ariel’s school requirements. Instead of making those assignments, he spent his time making his fantasy slideshows. Thus, he doesn’t know what to do. He asked his classmates to check on their assignments, and asked them if they would do what he could not do. All of them cannot help him. His instructors scolded him being lazy and wondering of what he was doing. He didn’t say anything of what he really did, and he just absorbed all the loud yelling of his instructors. He got humiliated in class several times. Although that day was the deadline of submission of their assignments, the submission wasn’t over yet. At some point, one of his classmates approached him, and she gave him copies of her own assignments. At first he didn’t want her to help him, because he hated her for one reason. It was her not-so-good looking face, which made him irritated. She gave those to him willingly, and left them to him if he would accept them. Since Ariel is running out of time, he decided to just copy those assignments for himself. Luckily, with such rush, he finished all of his assignments in time. He submitted all of his assignments to his instructors. He bragged about them that he can do anything by himself. Of course, this was a lie. He just wanted to make his instructors believe in him, if he told about it otherwise, they wouldn’t accept them. So, in the end, he got passed through it. He never thanked the one who helped him. Her name was Sabine.

Sabine is a nice girl, responsible, kind and optimistic. She came from a decent family who works abroad. Her parents gave her enough money for her college funding. She is lucky the money given to her was more than enough, and she could spend some time to make herself experience some luxury like hanging out with her friends. When it comes to her looks, she was not as any pretty girl as boys would want. She was sort of a geek wearing eyeglasses. But looks, it doesn’t matter to her. She remains to be herself every time.

During Sabine’s first day in college, she already met Ariel. The two meet together in a complicated way. She ran inside the school and collided with him. The two fell into the ground, and stared at each other. Ariel was terrified to see her; maybe to him she wasn’t very pretty. As a result to Sabine’s clumsiness, Ariel yelled at her boldly that he attracted everyone else’s attention. He humiliated her in front of the public. As of Sabine, however, she never felt embarrassed. Instead of yelling him back, she didn’t. She just said, “I am sorry,” only those words. Ariel was so mad; therefore he never accepted her apology. Sabine felt delighted during that stare, and she eventually had a crush on him. Ariel never thought that they could be classmates, so eventually he begun to hate her. But as of Sabine, it’s the total opposite. She sat behind him, and her impression to him is that he is really funny. Those early years they were on the same class, after a year, they are still the same.

Later after the due date of those assignments, Ariel’s slideshows were already watched by the entire school. It was a disturbing matter for them, particularly for Nancy. When she watched those slideshows, she became very furious. To her boyfriend, he was even more furious. With his friends along, they decided to grab Ariel into the boy’s restroom. Eventually, they beat him up. Ariel received many blows from them. Then Nancy’s boyfriend entered into the bathroom. He introduced himself to Ariel with a name of Randy. Randy gave Ariel a critical blow on his guts, which was awfully painful for Ariel. He screamed out loud in pain. Randy told him to stay away from Nancy, or else he will actually kill him.

Ariel’s encounter was brutal. He crawled outside to breathe. Then, he saw a girl walking along in the hallway. She was Ariel’s girl in his dreams. He was very glad and delighted to see her. She was smiling to him, which made him blush, and even more as she approached him. But things went cruel after that moment. Ariel didn’t notice Nancy that she’s holding a baseball bat. She battered Ariel like a baseball onto his head, and Ariel was really hurt. He screams out very loud in pain. Several of the students walked by and noticed him. They would want to help him, but most of them are friends of Randy. They don’t want to make any trouble by helping him. If they do so, they would think they are betraying their friend. Instead they just warned him about Randy. Some students laughed at him that Randy beat him up; as they would think that he deserved to be beaten like that.

Eventually, Ariel was sent to the clinic, to tend his wounds. He had no idea that he was visited by Sabine as he was in his sleep. She brought some nutritious food and paid all his bills in the clinic. She never talked to him, in order for him to rest, and he doesn’t want to be bothered much when he was mending. Ariel ate all the fruits he needed. He asked the nurses who brought him food, but they never mentioned a name, and thus he began to wonder.

Ariel continued to attract some attention with his posts online. However, due to his encounter with Randy and his goons, online flames start to post comments ablaze, telling Ariel to stay away from Nancy or else his account will be hacked. But Ariel had enough of this trouble and he decides to find someone else.

One day, Ariel was on a computer shop while making some artworks. His art attracted a girl’s attention. She told him all about the art that pictures him with different special effects. It needs a woman’s touch, according to her. She added several features which included glittering effect, and she corrected the lighting environment to make it more realistic. Ariel was impressed of her, and when the image was uploaded online, many of his friends were amazed. There started another matter of girl’s attraction for Ariel. She gave him a name of Lyca.

Ariel and Lyca went to school together. They went hanging out on each other every school break, and they share each other their knowledge of Photoshop. It was not just photography she was good, but also to cinematography. But her skills are by far better than his. She can produce better videos in shorter amount of time. All of her videos are based on computer games. She’s very fond of playing games online.

With Ariel and Lyca together, it was unavoidable for Sabine to notice them. Seeing them together made Sabine upset. She was sad, but as much as she could take more of her suffering, she just accepted the fact that Ariel has someone else. Although, she always kept thinking about it, she was motivated to continue her studies and made several achievements in class. Instead of getting mad at Ariel and Lyca, she just gave them her kindest gesture of smiling at them.

The final year of their college years came. All of them are getting busy at their theses. Ariel and Lyca were together in a group. However, Ariel was still doing otherwise and left Lyca in charge of everything on their thesis. For Lyca, this is very much difficult. She gets to do everything at work, while her partner and boyfriend is having luxury. As of Sabine, she worked alone with her thesis. Although, she was comfortable making it, with pretty much enthusiasm and knowledge. As the time allotted started to wane faster, Ariel and Lyca had some quarrels about their thesis. While Ariel was online with his laptop, he was called by some of his instructors for his other subject matter. It was an urgent call, so he left his laptop under Lyca’s care. Lyca checked the laptop and saw the sessions he left online. He didn’t log out his accounts yet. Then Lyca checked Ariel’s opened bank accounts online. She saw that he got a lot of money. This made her interest much of it. Her anger escalated that she can’t take much of the predicament anymore. She copied his bank accounts private information to her mobile drive for her future use. Lyca then called someone else and told the person that she had the information he needed. It turned out that Lyca was a spy against Ariel. As Ariel returned, Lyca decided to stay with him for the rest of the day. While he was away from his laptop to monitor his accounts, the plan was already in motion. Ariel and Lyca had a very special day together, and she told him that the thesis was almost finished. They celebrated their success with a dinner date in a decent restaurant. It was a wonderful moment, filled with soothing music serenading on the corners of the establishment. The musicians played at them with their demands. The food was delectable of pork salad and red wine. With these on the environment, Ariel was glad to have a wonderful evening to spend with his girlfriend. After the date, Ariel and Lyca left the restaurant and went home. He wished to kiss her as she said goodbye to him, but she refused. She said she had some “important matter” to be accomplished with their thesis.

On his way home, Ariel came across with Sabine for a brief moment. He was on a hurry that he told her to stay out of the way. But she told him something about Lyca that he doesn’t know. She doesn’t like Lyca’s attitude. According to her, she doesn’t have a family and found her very suspicious of what she was actually doing. She begged Ariel to listen to her warning, but he refused to. He thinks that she was only jealous and trying to attract some attention. Then, he left Sabine, who was worried about him.

Meanwhile, Lyca went into a mansion after her dinner date with Ariel. Inside the mansion, there are many people who have a lot of money in their bags. The money was apparently stolen from the crowded streets. These people are criminals, wanted for robbery. They even hacked several websites and stole their funds with them, which is worth millions. Among these criminals were Randy, his goons, and his girlfriend, Nancy. Randy commended Lyca for accomplishing her mission, and he gave her a reward of a large amount of money. They talked about the history of Lyca with her family.

Lyca’s father was killed by bandits before she was born. Her mother gave birth to her in a sewer pipe line. After that, her mother died. There was a storm when she was born, and the sewer was flooding heavily with rainwater. Her mother’s body was taken in the undertow, while she was rescued by a man. He was Randy’s father. He adopted her inside the mansion, and raised her like his daughter. Randy’s father was a member of a large criminal mafia. He taught his children to do his dirty work, and they grew up robbing people. One night, they were in a bank heist and as his children got away with the money they stole, he was shot by police officials. Fatally injured, he told his children to leave. His children have no choice but to leave the scene. Their father was killed by the police officials just as he started to retaliate. But the police officials failed to retrieve the money. From the moment their father died, they made a promise that they will continue their father’s legacy, and he left Randy in charge. They went on robbing more people to survive.

Randy ordered his goons to hack all bank accounts of Ariel. As they finished doing so, they accumulated PH₱ 62,450.50 of all his accounts and transferred the money on Randy’s account. As of the thesis, Lyca erased Ariel’s name in the title page. She already talked to their advisers and told them that she was the only one doing the work and Ariel was doing something else. Thus, she claimed the thesis as her own.

The next day was the deadline of the submission and the final defense. They were well-attired to their formal wear usually for this day. As first to present was Ariel and Lyca. Lyca gave Ariel a draft of the thesis which still contains Ariel’s name on it. Lyca answered all questions given by the panel. As a matter of fact, only Lyca answered all the questions. Ariel was just standing beside her, waiting for the defense to finish. The defense was finished, and the thesis was a success. Lyca was very disappointed of Ariel, that he didn’t say anything for their thesis. He told her that he knows she can cover for her, so he let her do the work for him. But as for Lyca, she decided to end up their relationship because she can’t take it anymore. Ariel begged for another chance and he tried so hard doing so that he even hold on to Lyca’s foot while Lyca tried to walk away from him, struggling to remove his grasp on her right foot. Ariel didn’t let go of Lyca’s foot, as such he was dragged downstairs and his head and body were plowed against the stairway. Many people were watching. Lyca didn’t stand much of Ariel’s persistence, so she drew a pliers tool from her bag and attempted to loosen up Ariel’s hands on her foot. He felt more pain that he encountered with his previous girl he met. He eventually let go of her, and she left him, without remorse. Some people among the crowd were amused of what happened, and one of them took a video of it. The video was posted online and went viral in the Internet in a few hours.

Ariel had another embarrassing moment. He was taking it very deeply. As such he went into a bar, and drank a lot, leaving all of his classes unattended. He was called by the instructors and they were looking for him everywhere, but he wasn’t around. Meanwhile, after drinking for a few hours, Ariel was asked to pay his bills. He had no money on his wallet, but the bar can accept credit cards to pay. He had a credit card, and he handed it to them. However, the bartender found out that the credit card’s balance has nothing. Ariel did not believe the bartender, and asked him to check again. The bartender verified the credit card again, and found out that it has PH₱ 0.00. Ariel still refused to believe the bartender, and he went in rampant. The bartender called out the guards, and he was beaten by them. Then, they forced him to wash all the dishes and glasses in the bar, and he swept the floor.

Ariel went home, and couldn’t believe what happened. He checked his bank accounts, and all of them have no balance. That was very large money he had and his parents gave it to him. If his parents found out about this, they will definitely cast him away from home. His grievance of his loss was very heavy, and he couldn’t sleep much out of it.

The next day, he still was able to go to school, with only PH₱ 1,000.00 left in his pocket from his old savings. But it was not enough for the fees he should pay at school, so he was not able to march on graduation. He begged his friends for money, but only few they can give. One of his instructors approached him and told him about their thesis. He told him that Ariel was not included. Ariel tried to explain that he was Lyca’s partner, but due to the reason that Lyca was the only one working on their thesis, Ariel’s name was removed. His instructor informed him that he will not graduate, and forced to repeat his fourth year of college to work on another thesis. Ariel went looking for Lyca, but she wasn’t around. He found Sabine instead, who has successfully defended her thesis recently. She asked Ariel how was he, but he refused to talk with her. But she knew Ariel needed help, so she pleaded him to talk with her. He had no choice, knowing the fact that she was the only one who has a great empathy to him, so he talked with her. He told her his story, and she was so sad to hear it from him. He cried right after telling his story. He cried on her shoulder, and she provided him comfort to let his emotions go away. She told him that if he ever needs a friend, she will always be there for him. After that, she gave him some money he needed for a month. The first time for everything for Ariel to say thanks to Sabine, as his hate for her slowly dissipates.

Later at lunch time, after Ariel finished having lunch, he heard some noises coming from the school. There was an ongoing heist in school. There are several bandits who took Sabine as hostage, and they took also several members of faculty and staff inside the school gymnasium. Ariel saw Sabine having abducted by the bandits. He felt very guilty that he had a very deep hatred of her, and he never said sorry as he was crying for his own grief. Thus, he will never forgive himself if he doesn’t make anything up to apologize to Sabine for every doubt he had with her. He never felt so brave in his entire life, which he sneak into the school unnoticed. There were CCTV cameras in the vicinity, but the bandits sabotaged all the cameras. These bandits were heavily armed with automatic rifles, pistols and knives. As they executed the heist, school guards were killed in the process. They’ve taken most of the faculty and student body including the president of the college. Police officers came, but they are forced to stand down outside, to keep the hostages alive. The bandits demanded ransom in exchange for the hostages’ lives the college’s treasury.

Meanwhile, Ariel sneaked into the gymnasium where the hostages were. The hostages were tied up on the pillars of the gymnasium. He discovered that Randy and his goons were the bandits, along with Nancy and of course, he was shocked to find out that Lyca was one of them. He heard their conversation regarding of their previous crime involving himself, which they hacked his account and stole his money. Witnessing those things made him furious. Then, he was spotted by one of the bandits. Despite of being told to surrender, Ariel leaped onto the bandit and he wrestled him until the bandit was unconscious. He wouldn’t mind taking the gun from a bandit, because he never wanted to kill anyone. Instead, he found a crowbar in a storage room and took it as his melee weapon.

He tried to figure out a way inside, but there’s no way he can get inside with the bandits guarding on every entrance of the gymnasium. There is a classroom along one of the entrance of the gymnasium. From there, Ariel made a noise to lure the two guards to the classroom. As they entered the room, Ariel hit them with the crowbar, and they fall unconscious. This gained him entrance, however, there are still too many of the bandits inside, and he found ten bandits standing in position along a stairway. He again made another noise to lure all ten to their attention. Then, he stoned the bandits with bricks from an ongoing construction of another classroom. He continued doing so to the other bandits present, and from that moment, gunfire was heard. Randy ordered his goons to search for the troublemaker, and they geared up with their rifles. The hostages are relieved that there is someone there trying to rescue them, and they pray that whoever that someone was, he will succeed. Ariel went outside, the bandits saw him and they execute an open fire. He was able to dodge the assault and went into another stock room. The bandits followed him from there. Ariel went into the second floor of the room, and found a net full of shot pots hanging in the ceiling. As the bandits went inside for him, Ariel released the net of shot pots and the bandits were dumped by those heavy shot pots hitting them in the head.

Randy was a little upset of the bandits not returning into the gymnasium, so he dispatched more of the bandits to pursue the troublemaker. Ariel came across with a historical catapult, which was used several decades ago during World War II. Apparently, the college was once established as a military base camp of the rebels. They used the catapult to condemn traitorous soldiers to death. Ariel lured more of the bandits to his attention, and he led them into the catapult. Once the bandits were caught in position of the catapult, he pulled the lever and the bandits were tossed to the air. The airborne bandits had a terrible landing under the police’s custody, which were waiting outside. The police was shocked where these bandits came from, making them believe that someone is after them.

Ariel has taken down most of the bandits inside the school. Then, there were only three of them left: Randy, Nancy and Lyca. Randy ordered Lyca to go after the troublemaker. She was armed with an automatic pistol. She taunted the one they call “troublemaker” to come out. Without any moment to delay, Ariel came out and confronted Lyca. He demanded explanation on what she had done and asked her why is she doing so. She told him the truth, which she stole his money and claimed it as their own. She explained the fact that she was working with Randy because he is her brother, or stepbrother that is. Their plan took effect after Ariel messed up with Nancy of those posts online. As such, he sent his stepsister for him, to mess up his life, and she did. After explaining everything to Ariel, Lyca attempted to shoot him. He evaded those shots fired and quickly disarmed her. Both of them were pretty good in hand-to-hand combat. Ariel’s obnoxious dance moves were not as always sloppy when applied in situations like this. His emulations of those action movies he watched, surprisingly served him well. But Lyca has better moves, she was quicker than him. She issued him with stunning kicks making him recoil frequently. She leaped at him and kicked him again, throwing him against a wall in an ongoing construction site. Lyca mocked him as a pathetic insect, and she defies him and spit into the ground of those moments when they were still together. She told him to surrender, but Ariel would not. He noticed a pack of cement lying around beside him, and he hit her with it. The cement spilled around Lyca’s face, and Ariel knocked her out. Her head hit a cement block which made her unconscious and bleeding. He said he was sorry, but he realized much that she should be the one to apologize to him. But it was too late for her to do that, because what she had done was unforgiveable.

Randy was a little impatient of waiting for Lyca to return, so he went out to find her. He left Nancy in charge of the hostages. Ariel went inside the gymnasium and he found Nancy guarding the hostages. She was also monitoring a laptop where in they were attempting to crack the authentication of the school’s website accessing its administrative control. The procedure was taking a bit too long for them to access, so she forced the online administrator of the school to give the access codes to her. If he doesn’t do as she wishes, she will kill him. Ariel decided to save them, but then Randy got ahead of him. They had a little chat with each other. Randy was surprised to see him and impressed on how he did with his goons. He offered a deal to Ariel that if Ariel surrenders now, he might want to spare the life of his friend, Sabine. Secretly, Sabine was attempting to escape, and she was almost free from the binds in her hands. Ariel noticed her untying his binds, and decided to stall Randy with a little chat. A few moments later, Sabine broke free, and she attacked Nancy. This signaled Ariel to rumble with Randy and they started brawling to death.

Sabine disarmed Nancy first as they initiated their fight. They attempted to strangle at each other, hitting each other with their heads, and even pulling out hairs from their heads. They put quite a ferocious fight, and they scratch their sharp fingernails at each other, making them both bleed. Ariel and Randy are having an ultimate fight. Ariel could dodge Randy’s aggressive punches and kicks but not all the time. Ariel was hit in the face which made him bleed from his nose. This made him angry and stroke back with some powerful punches to Randy’s head. Then, they wrestled into the floor, ramming each other against the walls and pillars of the building. They also made use of chairs to hit each other. This became a bloody fight for them, bleeding and spilling drops of their blood on the floor. Sabine went well in dealing with Nancy exchanging her better punches as thrown to her. Nancy then threw a chair to Sabine, and grabbed the opportunity to deliver a painful kick on her body, recoiling Sabine against a wall. Her head was hit on the impact, so she fell unconscious. Ariel saw it, and calls Sabine, but Randy smote him with a chair. Ariel was struggling to get up, and trying to crawl into Sabine. But as he does so, he was consecutively smitten by Randy by the same chair. Nancy noticed that the computer has successfully cracked the code which enables them the website under their control. Randy told Ariel that once they have done their job, they will kill everyone in the building. But as Nancy was about to access inside, she was shot by police officials, who recently break inside the school vicinity. The shot was not lethal, so Nancy was just injured. They arrested all of the bandits and rescued the hostages.

Ariel rushed into Sabine to wake her up, and she did. He apologized to her on every doubt he had. Sabine gladly accepted his apology, and he didn’t owe her much of her kindness. She was grateful that he saved her life, heroically. With them being close to each other at that very moment, he kissed Sabine’s lips, and they kissed each other, declaring they love one another.

After the hostage drama, Ariel and Sabine went into the police station to report what happened. Ariel told that he was robbed by the criminals and he was hoping for a retrieval of what he just lost. The police responded Ariel’s request and they added an extra bounty into his bank accounts, rendering a total of PH₱ 85,280.50 on his balance. Ariel thanked them and happy that he got his money back guaranteed.

As for his studies, his instructors were grateful that Ariel saved their lives against those bandits. As such, he was given another chance to go over with a new thesis. They suggested reenacting the said hostage crisis into some documentary to be published not just in the school but to all broadcasting networks. Ariel gladly accepted the offer, and they started to make the project. Sabine helped him in that project by calling someone who can help him. It was her cousin, who is very skilled in making films. With the time allotted for them to work, her cousin taught Ariel on how to be a filmmaker.

Ariel and Sabine graduated college with flying colors. Ariel was hired to be one of the film producers in a broadcasting network, and Sabine became a college instructor of their own Alma Mater. Ariel was really grateful to have a true girlfriend like Sabine, and with the first time on his life, he went into church regularly and thanked God that He gave him an blessing, like He sent an angel for him to guide and love him.
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