This is getting closer to the story I want to write. It still isn’t that. Writing this has helped move that ahead, so that one day, when I finally get what I want written down it may have some proper substance.
I think its important to get what you want written done, even if it is not perfect the first time. It can only improve over time, even if the second, third, fourth are not much better.
The below is the first part of something that will be much longer, that I’d quite like to finish if it turns out to be any good. I thought about holding off posting it until it was all done, but considered that this might mean it would never get read at all, and I do think its better than what is sitting in my reject pile (even if only slightly…)
I’ve been watching many sci-fi/dystopian/thriller type movies of late; I find them fascinating. Some are disturbingly relatable. Many so happen to focus on identity.
Then someone showed me this cartoon, which – absolutely bizarrely – I saw similar ideas in, or perhaps I’m seeing them everywhere (although this one managed it whilst being quite sweet and enjoyable):
Now Part One of my own short. As I say, I hope Part Two follows soon.
“Oh that’s just fantastic. Another one? That’s twelve now! How much more of this is there?”
The elevator doors had opened revealing a pensive pair of eyes. There was a face; hair; knees; nose; and all the other usual accompaniments too, but none of the room’s other occupants were really looking at those. They were all indistinguishable from their own. No one has ever seen their own face directly. Not once. The only way we see ourselves is from a photograph or at a glance into a mirror. As bizarre and unexplained the unfolding scenario was, none of the men seemed to acknowledge its gravity. The new addition drew little more attention, even when the feet edged gingerly into the room.
“We’ll call this one ‘Baker’?”, the man closest stepped forward and pointed to the new arrival, but he addressed the room instead. The Patriarch. He had identified ‘Baker’ as the youngest, the naïve one. That person whom people spoke about in front of, knowing they wouldn’t understand. He didn’t.
“Why Baker?” From behind, a pencil had stopped taking notes.
Patriarch continued, “He is the twelfth. The Baker’s dozen. Baker.”
There was a furious crossing out across the page, but the words were calm. “A baker’s dozen is thirteen.”
For just a beat, Patriarch was silent. He had been caught out. He turned to the one who challenged him and drew out his his index finger towards him, as though it were magnetised to the man’s face. “He’s Baker. Write that one down.” Writer recorded as such.
“My name is not Baker”, Baker said.
Everyone ignored him.
He took a moment to survey the room. An open plan office space, not too expansive. It held all the men in the room quite comfortably, but was probably at capacity. Fully furnished; computers; phones; a printer. All powered down. The strip lighting overhead, all off. The daylight seeping in from the windows from three sides gave just enough to see, even if the details were slightly obscured. Outside there was only sky, save for the speckled clouds and, of course, the sun.
Far in the distance, the sun was fast approaching the horizon. The watercolours surrounding it were splashing a rouged tangelo from the west. This sight was almost hidden due to the piercing glow. The shade provided blessed relief from its gaze. It was becoming ever apparent that this was not a problem to be contended with for long; the rank of shadows grew ever stronger.
Then there was that ‘thing’ with all the doors. There were none. The single egress was the elevator door, which was sealed shut. Like everything else, it was now powered down. This isolated world was a stage set far away from anything that could be considered knowable. A lifetime’s accumulation of experience was irrelevant.
Patriarch had been talking. He was spilling rhetoric as a drunk does his ninth drink of the night. Perhaps half of the room had been paying attention, although none were rapt. Everyone was grateful when the printer started humming into life; indeed, the looks on the faces across the room: Gratefulness first, then surprise. After that, doubt.
“One of your number is not what they seem.” Until now, this one had been silent, but as the printed sheet fed out, he was the only one to move and pick it up. Reader continued: “Find the werewolf. Eliminate him before he hunts you all. He will take one per night.” He looked up, at no one in particular and continued solemnly, “Night will come soon.”
“A werewolf?” Doubt turned to panic, “What crazy place is this? I’m trapped here with all of… you; and now, a werewolf is going to kill me?!?” Panic had found his shrill voice. The Peace and Reason that was self contained in the space was now fraught with holes; the amount of damage a piece of paper held in one’s hand can do has always far outweighed that of anything sharp or semi-automatic.
“It’s a metaphor.” Writer had stopped his note-taking once more, and contributed instead. His effort was wasted, as no one paid him any attention. He added this fact to his black book, keeping his future epiphanies to himself.
“Rubbish.” Patriarch replied, reaching out and snatching the paper from Reader’s hands. “No such thing as werewolves. This is ridiculous.” He scrunched up the paper and made to throw it but Panic held him.
“This whole place is ‘ridiculous’.” Panic took back what had been taken and did his best to flatten it out. He folded it once and, reverently, put it in his pocket. “This is our only way to make sense of what is going on here.”
“What sense is there in chasing werewolves and fairy tales?!”
“What option do we have? What would you have us do!?” The two men were nose-to-nose at this point, the distance between them shrinking as their voices raised. None of the others interjected.
“This…”, he continued, pointing frenetically between each of them, emphasising the “…Impossible.”
So it was.
As the final syllable faded, the word remained. One man; twelve men. Trapped in a place which, simply, could not exist. Speaking the word had exposed just how much it was smeared across the environment. Not one desk; no window; there was not a single face untouched by it. If they had not already, it would not take long for the men to realise it themselves. Everything that had once had a veneer of truth started to tarnish, underlining the layers of absurdity beneath. All with the exception, perhaps, of the word itself. It all appeared just plain wrong.
The sun faltered and was, finally, lost beneath the horizon.
There started the night.