This was the brief for Assignment 3: Rewrite a myth in an updated, modern version from the point of view of another character in the story.
I decided to use Rumpelstiltskin, a Brothers Grimm fairytale. You can read the original story here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumpelstiltskin
This is my synopsis of my modern re-telling of Rumpelstiltskin. Enjoy!
PDF Version: HUSH A BYE BABY
HUSH A BYE BABY
Tom Stiltskin is a 40 year old janitor in school who has worked as a janitor for as long as the students remember. He is invisible in the crowds, nobody acknowledges him as he sweeps the floor with his head down. But as he cleans, he always observes others. When the school term starts, a new girl, Jenna, joins. Being rich and pretty, she immediately gets drawn in the popular group and begins to hang out with friends who are bad influences. On the first day of school, Tom notices that Jenna is new and has joined the popular crowd, Marshall has gained weight and that Kim cut her hair.
Weeks pass by, and Tom’s life in the school is routine and mundane. He continues people-watching. When he brings rubbish to the garbage disposal, he passes by a group of students smoking. He makes eye contact with Jenna for a second then she turns away.
Later that afternoon, while he is cleaning, he overhears Jenna and her friend talking in the bathroom. Jenna is cries and tells her friend that she got pregnant at one of the parties last month and she wants to abort her baby. Upon hearing this, Tom looks up in interest but the girls leave the bathroom.
The school has a prom that night, and Jenna and her friends have their own private ‘party’ in one of the labs doing drugs. In the midde of the party, the police conduct a surprise raid on receving an anonymous phone call. Everyone runs out, including Jenna. A police officer runs after her.She runs, desperately looking for a place to hide. She crashes into Tom and begs him to help hide her and cover for her, but Tom doesn’t want to get involved. Both of them hear the police officer coming and she again pleads and cries for him to help her, and out of desperation she tells him she will give him money. He tells her he doesn’t want money but he wants her baby. She reluctantly agrees and so he hides her in the janitor’s closet and starts to sweep. The police officer comes by and asks Tom whether he’s seen a girl. Tom shakes his head and continues sweeping. He thanks him and leaves.
After their agreement, Tom goes home excitedly to tell his wife the good news. His wife cries in joy, sobbing that it has been so long. Over the months, we see that Tom starts becoming protective over Jenna, carrying her books, bringing her food etc. She becomes embarrassed and is resistant to his help. One time, he suddenly touches her stomach. She slaps him angrily. After that, she tries to avoid him but he starts to shadow her. When he comes home, he is about to tell his wife what happened but his wife surprises him with a baby cot filled with toys and baby clothes.
The next day in school, he catches Jenna smoking and angrily stomps out the cigarette. She starts to become more afraid at how obsessive he has become so she stops going to school. Tom notices she doesn’t come to school anymore so he starts driving by Jenna’s house everyday, watching her through her windows from afar. He stays in his car for hours everyday, just watching. On one of the nights he gets out of his car and walks towards her house. He climbs in through the window and creeps onto Jenna sleeping. She doesn’t stir awake when he places his hands on her stomach and caresses it. He hums ‘Hush-A-Bye Baby’ as he does this. Jenna, who is sleeping, thinks this is part of her dream. This continues for weeks. He starts hiding in her cupboards and watches her talk to her belly, smiling at the sight. Jenna feels that someone is watching her but she never finds Tom.
One time, while he is hiding in her cupboard, he sees Jenna doing what seems to be drugs and he bursts out of her cupboard to stop her. She screams and take out her gun from her drawer. They both try to get the gun and Jenna misfires at the ceiling. Jenna’s next door neighbour hears the gunshots and calls the police.
Meanwhile, inside the house the struggle for the gun between Tom and Jenna continues. They scream and argue- Tom insists that the baby is his and is angry that Jenna is trying to run away from her promise. Jenna kicks Tom in the balls and grabs the gun. A police officer suddenly bursts in to see Jenna about to shoot Tom. He orders Jenna to drop the gun at the count of three. She still refuses to back down and screams angrily at Tom. The police officer fires his gun at her. Tom dives in front of her and gets shot in the chest. As he is dying, he touches Jenna’s stomach and whispers to it. Both the police officer and Jenna look on in shock. Tom dies.
The next scene then shows Jenna preparing a basket of muffins. She drives to a house and presses the doorbell. A woman opens the door. It is Tom’s wife. Jenna tells Tom’s wife that she is sorry about Tom. As she hands over the basket, she shoots Tom’s wife in the chest with the gun through the tea towel. Jenna closes the door and walks back to her car, eating a muffin.
A few months later, Jenna gives birth in the hospital. She nurses it and lies down with the baby for sometime. The nurse comes in to clean her baby. Jenna smiles and kisses the baby as she hands the baby over. The nurse hums “Hush-A-Bye Baby” as she walks out of the room with the baby. Jenna hears the familiar tune and looks up, but she then she continues reading her book. Meanwhile, the nurse takes off her surgical mask and scrubs to a skirt and a tank top which shows the scar on her chest. She smiles at the baby in her arms as she walks out of the hospital, humming her favourite tune.
This the film poster I made for the story:
Images for the poster are taken from the following websites: