Monty threw himself down behind an untidy stack of dusty red boulders. They were a common feature on the red plains, and also very useful when trying to hide yourself on the endless open terrain that made up much of the continent. He heard a shout in the distance.
Behold, a short screenplay (intended 90 seconds, goes to two pages due to sheer number of scene changes) that I wrote for a university project this January. I wanted to emulate the feel of the monologue poem that is ‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning (thank you mum for pointing me there) but without the iambic pentameter, and to make it cryptic and a bit skin crawlingly creepy, but without revealing until the end what is actually going on.
I also liked the idea of breaking the fourth wall, and so went for that sort of thing. I’m rather pleased with the result, though it could do with a few revisions perhaps and some tidying up. Anyway, whether it works is entirely up to you. I might post my rushed shoot of it if I actually like it. Enjoy?
P.S. If you’ve never read a screenplay before, this is what they look like. Bit odd to read.
In which darkness falls; Sam falls over; nobody likes Bob and doors present more of an obstacle than normal.
Level Six, Administration Wing
“Hey, Sam, you get lost again?”
“Some of us have lived here for less than a month, Fen. Couldn’t someone at least spruce this place up a bit? It’s so grey! The corridors all look the same,” Samuel complained as he stumbled at last into the rooms Aerfen shared with her Uncle. She looked so smug sitting in one of the big comfy chairs furnishing the living room, and he had to laugh as she put her feet up on the coffee table and yawned.
“I could have died waiting. Aren’t you supposed to be fast after all that exercise?” She continued to tease him while pretending to inspect her nails for dirt, “You spend so much time in that gym, and yet then you just go and stuff yourself every night. No wonder you’re always late.”
In which secret experiments are revealed; we meet a man with a mohican; cars are dangerous and Samuel makes a friend.
“And this is the main kitchen and canteen. Most personal come here for their three daily meals. We cater for most tastes, so don’t ever worry about eating here; you won’t have any problems.”
The tour had been going on for an hour already and so far Samuel had not seen anything particularly interesting. There were all the facilities one might expect in a complex that employed a large number of staff, if on a larger scale than most. Real estate was apparently not hard to come by underground.
In which we meet a tall man; Samuel receives the truth; a large hole is revealed and we find out what a wall is when it isn’t a wall.
There was a moment of silence, then a door, yet unseen by Samuel, clanged open on the other side of the room. He broke the stare of the black tom and looked instead at the now open doorway. Beyond he could see faint sunlight coming from an overcast sky, and the bricks of another building. And the rungs of a fire escape. A very familiar looking sight. The alley they’d cornered him in! So he’d barely moved then.
His chain of thought was broken when the doorway was darkened by the figure of a man entering the room. The stranger paused for a second on the doorstep, his gaze lingering on Samuel. His frame was tall, but slim and athletic. Dark hair flopped forwards on to an equally wiry face, tilted to one side and smiling quizzically at Samuel. Stepping into the room he broke into a full beaming grin, extending his hand down to him and pulling him off the floor.
In which things turn orange; we meet the wider cast; thousands of taxpayers sterling is saved in demolition costs and Samuel has to run a lot.
Samuel ran. It was amongst a number of things he had become accustomed to in recent weeks, along with people trying to kidnap him, mind control of small to medium-sized mammals and extreme acts of violence aimed directly at him. He was still deciding whether or not he liked guns. As another crack echoed from behind and a nearby wall showered him in brick-dust and plaster he added another point to the ‘not at all’ tally. It was substantially larger than the pro-gun tally.
More gunfire brought him back into the moment. He sped up, using his last burst of energy to take a running leap at the fire escape ladder in front of him, pulled himself up and diving through the open door, which slammed shut behind him. He looked up from where he lay, exhausted, to see a pair of feet filling his vision. Attached to the feet was a man he knew only as Roger.
In which the truth is revealed; Samuel talks to a cat; extended metaphors are utilised and we receive a history lesson.
Samuel awoke to darkness. It was, in fact, so dark it was a few minutes before he even knew he was awake. He wasn’t sure if it was the sudden lucidity of his newly wakened mind that tipped him off, or the sharp and sudden pain of a cats claws digging into his side. In hindsight, it was probably the latter.
He sat up very quickly, and felt the claws recede into the blackness. He strained his senses, searching the emptiness around him for something that was in fact not emptiness. All he could hear was his own heartbeat, thudding in his chest. There must be a cat near him though. He’d felt the claws, and he hadn’t heard it leave, so by the power of elimination it must be close by. He started to flail his hands around wildly, hoping to strike something. He did. It didn’t move.
In which we properly meet Samuel; people have hangovers; the situation is sort of explained and cats are once again hated.
A calm had fallen over the house. The rowdy party goers from the night before had filtered slowly out, leaving only the dregs still sleeping where they’d dropped. Samuel picked his way through the refuse scattered on the floor, shoes in one hand and coat in the other, heading for the door. He stopped by the mirror in the hall to check his appearance. Black hair, short but messy; average height and forgettably faced, Samuel was someone who could blend into any crowd. People didn’t tend to notice him immediately, and if they did they found him to be ostensibly likeable. He was, in every way, an entirely ordinary 20 year old male.
A quick finger comb later and he was satisfied, leaving quickly but quietly and emerging into the morning sun to begin his long walk home. As he swung along the monotonous primness of the suburban streets he tried to recall the night before. Not a lot floated to the surface, but he caught snippets here and there: his friends smashing a window; the neighbours coming round to see what the commotion was and everyone hiding; talking to someone about… something and then somehow he’d woken up in one of the bedrooms feeling fairly fresh.
Firstly, where on earth did this come from? A Facebook message to a friend. Why the idiotic sounding name? Because I tried to think of the most ridiculous cliché defining name and tagline I could come up with at the time, and now I don’t want to change it. This is entirely on the spot writing, it isn’t trying to be anything amazing, the point was to make someone laugh. Weirdly, the first chapter came from the prompt ‘Mohawk’ which is clearly nowhere in the text. It is, however, coming later. I can’t say when, because as I’ve already said, everything is spur of the moment. No planning! I imagine the story is going to get pretty jumbled, especially as it’s already jumped back and forth in time about three times as of me writing this note. Good luck with reading it. No, really.
In which we are vaguely introduced to Samuel; there are too many cats; a feline mafia is hinted at and an angry spirit is awoken. The last part is a lie.
Samuel hated cats. This was particularly problematic for him due to his current proximity to a great many feline creatures. The mouth of the alley he had rashly entered was quickly filling up with a yowling mess of his least favourite furry beasts; scratching, hissing and circling, but most importantly and unfortunately fast approaching where he was standing. This was a problem.