absurdity, dreams, fictional, story

The Farmer’s Dream – A Story

nature-3125912_1280

 

It’s been a while, so I thought I’d share a little something I wrote a while back. Remember, when opportunity knocks you have the option to hide behind the sofa and pretend no one’s home.

 

The Farmer’s Dream

William was sleeping when the angel came to him.

He had been dreaming of hard labour in the field, ploughing and sowing. It was a common dream of his, one he’d often pondered the meaning of. He thought it was probably something to do with rebirth, or renewal, or fertility. More likely it was just too much cheese before bed.

In this dream, as in every previous dream of its kind, his plough would strike something hard, twist and buck in his hand. The dream would usually end there, but not tonight. Tonight the plough wrested away from his grip and sped off, leaving a deep groove in the soil behind it, merrily ploughing the rest of the field on its own.

He looked down at the ground, searching for whatever it was his plough had struck. A sharp corner poked out of the dirt. He dug away at its edges with his fingers, freeing it from the earth. He pulled it out to examine it more closely.

It was a box, about the size of his head, made of granite and marble but lighter than it should be. He was suddenly overcome by a strange feeling he hadn’t had on previous nights – he knew that this was a dream. He could feel the soft earth beneath his feet, could feel the cold rough surface of the box, but something was off; he was certain that he was actually asleep and in his own bed in the farmhouse.

“How curious,” he said to himself.

He looked around. The field was just as he remembered it from his waking hours, as far as he could tell. He wondered what would happen if he attempted to take control of the dream, perhaps to take flight or to change his surroundings. He looked at the plough retreating into the distance and willed it to come back. It didn’t.

“Perhaps I need a bit more practice,” he thought. “Let’s start with something small. Like opening this box.”

He opened the box.

A burst of bright light spilled out, blinding him. A great booming voice rang out in such rumbling tones that he could feel the soles of his feet vibrating.

WILLIAM, said the voice. HARK, WILLIAM.

William dropped the box in shock.

OW.

He nudged it gently with one toe. What was it?

WILLIAM, the voice resumed. ARE YOU HARKING?

“Um, I think you mean harkening?” William suggested.

GOOD, YOU ARE HARKING. PICK THE BOX UP, AND GAZE INTO THE LIGHT.

William did as he was told, though his hands were shaking so much he thought he would drop the box again. The strange voice rattled his back teeth.

I AM THE ANGEL OF DIVINE INTERVENTION. I AM TASKED WITH INTERVENING, DIVINELY. DO YOU COMPREHEND?

“No,” William answered honestly. The voice sighed, blowing the farmer’s hair back.

THEN I SHALL ELABORATE. I AM TO SET YOU ON AN ADVENTURE TO SEEK A GREAT FORTUNE. THE JOURNEY WILL SEND YOU FAR FROM HENCE AT GREAT PERIL, BUT IT IS OF HUGE IMPORT.

“What will I be importing?”

WHAT? NO. NO, I MEAN IT WILL BE HUGELY IMPORTANT. BECAUSE YOU WILL BE RICH.

“Well why didn’t you say that, then?”

BECAUSE… BECAUSE… BECAUSE IT JUST SOUNDS BETTER.

“Seems to me that sounding good isn’t quite as important as making sure you’re understood, don’t you think? Especially if you’re meant to be sending people on important quests.”

LOOK, DO YOU WANT TO GO OR DON’T YOU? BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE ALL NI-

“No, thank you.”

There was a moment of stunned silence.

I BEG YOUR PARDON?

“I said no, thank you. See, I’m asleep at the moment and I don’t really know how long I’m likely to be. I can’t go on a long quest and then have to oversleep in order to finish it. Who’ll feed the pigs?”

OH, AHAHAH, I CAN SEE THE CONFUSION. NO, SEE, THE QUEST IS FOR WHEN YOU ARE AWAKE.

“Eh? How’s that work, then?”

WELL, SEE, I TELL YOU ABOUT THE TREASURE AND WHERE IT IS, AND YOU WAKE UP THINKING IT’S A DREAM ONLY I’VE LEFT A SHEAF OF WHEAT OR SOMETHING UNDER YOUR PILLOW AS A SIGN AND SO YOU GO OFF AND SEEK YOUR FORTUNE, GROWING AND MATURING ALONG THE WAY UNTIL YOU RECEIVE YOUR FINAL REWARD OF A KINGDOM AND A BEAUTIFUL WIFE AND SO ON.

“Oh, so the quest is for after I wake up?”

YES.

“I see. Well, in that case… no, thank you.”

LOOK, WILLIAM, I DON’T THINK YOU’VE GRASPED THE BASIC CONCEPT OF-

“Oh, I have, it’s just that I don’t want to do it. I simply haven’t the time.”

There was no reply; the voice seemed to be pondering this. William felt more was needed.

“Like I said, who’d feed the pigs? And the cows would need milking, and if I don’t get the field ploughed in time for sowing then I’ll be buggered. I can’t just up sticks and travel off to foreign lands seeking my fortune and battling monsters and outsmarting evil viziers. It wouldn’t be fair on the livestock, or the people who’re counting on my crops. So thank you, but if it’s all the same to you, I’ll have to decline.”

He laid the box gently on the ground.

NOW SEE HERE-

“No, I don’t think so,” William replied firmly, slapping the lid shut. The voice continued, muffled and confused.

wait, what are you doing? william?

William placed the box back into the hole and started to shovel dirt back over it.

are you serious? this is ridiculous … stop, william. william.

William didn’t stop. He filled the hole and smoothed the dirt over until the spot was indistinguishable from the rest of the field. He patted his hands clean on his trousers.

“Now then,” he thought. “Let’s give flying a try.”

And with that, William flew off into the clouds.

The next morning there was a long white feather under his pillow. He threw it away.

THE END

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creativity, frustration, story, whinge, writing

Creative Atrophy & The Planet Business

I haven’t updated this in a while, mainly because I’m rubbish at keeping up with journals and diaries and anything that requires an attention span of more than a few oooh a butterfly.

I recently had a bit of twitter whinge (yes, I’m on the twitters, find me here) fuelled by frustration at lack of time, energy, money and self-discipline to write, film and generally seek out the creative life I want for myself. I need my dayjob to fund those little everyday things like eating, clothing myself, paying bills. But it eats up a lot of my time and a lot of my energy – time spent not at work should be time spent writing, but it seems I spend it either doing chores or recouping energy from working and doing chores.

Then my turn to write an installment of The Working Barbarian (seriously, check it out, it’s fantastic) came again. I forced myself to sit down, to relax and to write. And it felt good. Really good. I hadn’t written creatively since the end of the film-making course, and I didn’t realise how much pressure was building up behind that dam. I won’t say much about the quality or the quantity of the writing (which can be read at that site on Monday), but I will say that any writing is better than no writing at all. It was nice to be able to have a hand in sourcing the artwork for the chapter, to see a talented artist bring my words to life.

I’ve also been reading Bruce Campbell’s autobiography and the Guerilla Film-maker’s Movie Blueprint in an attempt to keep up creative momentum. Filmmaking is something I want to do, and right now it’s likely to stay a hobby and a dream. I just need to keep at it so I don’t fall into the ‘some day’ trap. Some day I’m gonna be a writer. Some day I’m gonna be a movie maker. Some day I’m gonna be a contender. You know the one.

In an attempt to avoid creative atrophy, I will keep writing. I will try to go back to the Pictonaut Challenge. I will try to write scripts, or at the very least ideas and outlines for scripts. I will try and write stories, not worrying about their length.

Stories like the tiny little one I wrote this afternoon. I call it The Planet Business, and it can be read below. I hope you like it. And if you don’t … er, that’s fine. I like it.

The Planet Business

No, no, no! Round, Carl! They need to be round! Why? Physics, of course. You can’t very well have a big flat plate of planet spinning around in space, that’d be stupid. It just won’t go. No, you can’t balance it on the back of anything else. Stop fooling around, smoosh it back into a ball and start over. That’s better.
Oh stop whinging, Carl. It’s rocky because rock is the best material for planets. Oh really? And what would you prefer, O Mighty Apprentice? Hah! You can’t make a solid object out of gas. No, it’s not worth a try. I said no. Gah! Fine, if it’ll shut you up, you can try making a giant gas one after we’re done with this one, ok? Ok.
Right, so what have we got? Molten core, check. Stick a few layers of rock around it. More. Little more. Ok, now spread the outer one nice and thin. It’s got to be crispy. It’s easier to make mountains if it’s crispy. Ok, pass me that tenderising mallet. A few good whacks should do it…
There, nice and lumpy. Ok, you remember how to make sea beds? Have at it, young man! Good. Oh, very nice. Watch yourself there, careful, CAREFUL oh bugger. No, no, don’t worry. If anyone asks we’ll call it a trench and say we meant to do it. Trade secret, that. Now fetch the hose.
Ok, that’s the water filled in. Lovely. Fetch me an atmosphere out the box. Hmmm? Methane, I think. Ok, hold it at that end and and peel the film off. Right, good. Stretch. Keep going, you’ve got to fit it round the whole thing. No, it will fit. It WILL fit, you just need to CAREFUL oh bugger. Well, there it goes. I bet that was the last one, right? Right. Hmm, looks like we’ll have to bodge one up. Hand me the cans. Let’s see, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon wotsisface, mmhmmm, yes, oh no none of that one, ok, yes. Hand me the empty bubble and the bellows. Aaaaaaand nice and slooooow…
Ok, now grab the other end and CAREFULLY pull it over and yup yup yes you’ve got it! All sorted. Looks nice, doesn’t it? It’ll make a nice home for the little settlers. Carl? Carl, you’ve gone very quiet and very red. Oh, don’t tell me you’ve forgotten the settlers. Carl? Carl, you IDIOT. The whole point of this bloody planet was to put the bloody settlers on it! Where are they? Oh for goodness sakes, that’s billions of years away! No, stop. I’m not interested in your excuses. This planet’ll just have to keep until we can fetch them back.
Right, pack up the tools. Stop crying, I’m sorry I called you an idiot. We’ll fix it, just – whoa! Bless you. You should put your hand in front of your face when you sneeze, Carl, you’ve just covered the planet in mucus. Hmm? No, I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’s not like anything can evolve from snot. Come on, let’s go.

absurdity, gibberish, Pictonaut challenge, story

Story: Business as Usual

You may or may not be familiar with my friend John Steele the Rogue Verbomancer and his Pictonaut Challenge. Essentially, it’s a caption competition. He finds and posts an interesting/amazing/though-provoking picture. We take a month to write a caption for it. A roughly-1000-word caption. With characters and a plot and ok I can’t stretch it out any further, they’re stories, it’s a story-writing exercise.

It’s a story-writing exercise I’ve been consistently failing to rise up to the challenge of.

But not this month.

This month, I emerge triumphant and incredibly early. A whole month? Pshaw! I tossed this off in a single afternoon! (I do hope that phrase isn’t more accurate than I intended it to be).

Is it any good? I’unno. Does it have any merit? Er, probably not. But I don’t care. I’ve been a creative desert recently, and it was nice to just open the floodgates and let rip.

So without further ado (because I don’t really want to big this up), here is Business as Usual, a rambling stream-of-consciousness muddle of gibberish with a dark thread running through it, based on the accompanying photo. Enjoy.

If you know the origin of this photo, do please let me know.
Business as Usual
I snuggle down the neon lime pavement with a smile on my face and a tightly-coiled spring in my step. The thundercloud sun bobs in the gravy sky and the barking trees smell delicious as ever. All is as happy as a pig in candyfloss.
I stop, turn, look up, wave to the sun. It waves back, droplets of fire spilling in all directions to light up the night sky in a glorious gooey wave. I ooo appreciatively and nudge my wife the porcupine. It hurts. It hurts so much. Make it sto-
“Oh honey,” she grunts and snuffles, “you seem troubled. Take a deep breath, love.”
No, I don’t, I-
And now I’m away in the sky, an soggy astronaut bathing his way through the stratosphere. I can feel the drool in the corner of my mouth but I can’t see it as I whizz past the North Star’s mirrored shades. The star gives me thimble thumbs ups.
“Aaaayyyyyyy,” I say, backstroking past. It nods sagely and bids me farewell.
I feel my wife snuffling at the back of my neck, licking me with her rough tongue. “There now, ain’t that better?”
It is, it’s so much better, better to be free than to be oh look a crab with the head of John Lennon. That’s a bit odd.
“I am the Walrus,” he intones, multifaceted eyes jingling.
“Coo-coo-ca-choo?”
“Right on.”
And away he scuttles. What a pleasant distraction. My phone rings. The harsh tones are piercing. My head hurts. Stop. How does it stop? Oh yes. I answer it. Easy enough.
“Dave?”
No.
“Dave? Can you hear me?”
No, no, I don’t want to, I don’t, you can’t.
“Dave, if you can hear me, come back to me. Please. I need you, Dave, I need you.”
I hang up with a snarl and eat the phone for good measure. It tastes of tears and chocolate.  She always does this to me. She always brings me back. Not this time, though, I won’t do, I won’t go back. My hands are cheeseburgers. My eyes are diamonds. My feet … my feet … damnit … my feet are towtrucks!
Relax.
There.
Smile.
Rodent teeth nibble my ear and I smile widely. One of my teeth falls out. No worries. I grow another, this one is made of wood. It joins its brothers, one obsidian, one plasterboard. I only have three now. I don’t need any. I’ve named them. Steve, Bob and Bacon Sandwich.
I laugh and run my hands through my hair, a clump of which comes out and flies away in a cloud of vermicelli butterflies. I’m so happy. I bounce like a football. I am a football, a meatball football goofball ball ball ball ball ball. I am all the balls.
My stomach rings. I ignore it. Let it ring. Let everything ring. The pavement rings. My wife rings, spines bristling in waves. John Lennoncrab rings. Here comes the sun, and it rings too. The ringing is a whirlpool, a rising tide that lifts me from my feet and sends me spinning gently into the cosmos. Everything drops away, melts into the black. There is only me, me and the ringing.
A cold burning sensation springs up in my hand, my clenched fist of a hand.  I open it. Nothing there. The sensation grows until a green shoot bursts from my hand, skin and bone peeling away like putty. Stem. Leaves. A beautiful flower bud. The bud unfolds and inside is a hotdog. It rings, so I eat it.
The world returns in a blast of noiseful colour, fireworks, Hawaiian shirts. An immense blob of humanity oozes towards me, screaming faces and flailing limbs thrusting out of the straining flesh. With one voice the faces roar and growl and gnash their teeth as the blob moves faster and faster towards me. I scream, grow wings and launch myself up and away, leaving it far far behind. A close call, too close to a moment of truth. I don’t want truth. I want this. This and only this.
I touch down on the roof of a shiny building. The building looks familiar somehow. A warning bell rings in my head, so I eat it. Can’t take any chances. I kneel, run my finger along the surface of the roof. They leave shallow grooves, the roof sticks to my fingers. I draw my name in the roof and lick my fingers. Cake. Butternut squash cake with a hint of anchovy. I grasp at the roof, pull great handfuls out, chew my way down into the building.
It isn’t until I stop chewing that I realise my mistake. I look around, panicked. I’m here. There. Here. The building. The lab. I can’t be here, I don’t want to be here, why can’t I go back somewhere else, anywhere else, anywhere but here.
Relax.
Deep breaths.
I look at my hand. It smiles and waves. Take heart. It’s not time yet. This isn’t really real real. It’s real but not as real as the really real realness. I giggle and gurn and cry and creep into my office (not my really real real office, no) on feet of lead and gum.
My office. I did it here, I created I poked I loosed I made I killed – no no no no no no. I slap myself, leaving shallow grooves, the cheek sticks to my fingers. I draw my name in my cheek and lick my fingers. Cake. Anchovy cake with a hint of butternut squash. Disgusting. I spit my cheek out and take a deep breath,
Deep breaths, but they aren’t working as good now. Damnit. It’s time soon. I hate time, this time, all time for all time.
My desk. My liquorice computer, my assistant and companion. I pour it a scotch from my medicine cabinet. It thanks me and drinks, sparks flying, smoke belching, face melting, blood running from its monitor eyes. I slap it off the desk and it melts into a laughing burbling puddle that sucks greedily at my shoes.
I leap over its reaching flesh-stripped cable arms, crash against a wall, bringing down my framed photographs from the wall. My co-workers at a lab party. My son, swinging a bat. My wife, my really real real wife.
And me.
There’s me, standing stock still in the desert, the vast spreading dust cloud rising behind me like Death’s sweet cinnamon breath. What a fool. What a stupid, stupid fool. I jab at the photograph, my fingers are pens. If I am a fool, I must look a fool. A stupid hat. Groucho Marx glasses. Hah! Take that, me! I stab at thee, me, foolish me, me the scientistfool, manfool, murdererfool. I obliterate me, photome, and my tears are wasps, stinging me relentlessly. I curl up on the floor, the buzzing of my tears fading away into nothing.
Light bursts, bright white light everywhere and the rumbling boom of the thrice-damned explosion. Time. Lunchtime. I crawl miserably towards the speck of darkness in the centre of the light. It grows, expands, fills my vision my eyes my being my life. Reality. Back to reality. I hate this time.
I open my eyes. I’m slumped on the floor of my lab, hunger pains stabbing me, atrophied muscles complaining with every move. I check the canisters. Empty. Empty. Empty. Empty. Empty. Empty. Empty. Full! Full! Full! And that’s it.
No.
Three?
Only three?
I cry, dragging myself across the floor to the packets of preserved food I had gathered weeks ago after it had begun. My tired jaws ache with the effort of chewing. Why is the self-preservation instinct so strong? Why can’t I just die?
I had hoped to run out of food before I run out of the gas. I don’t want to die lucid, I can’t, the pain of what I’ve done is too great to bear. But the need for food always brings me back, the weakness of the frail human body.  And my body is so very frail now.
For the hundredth time I consider eating all the food, or throwing it away, or spoiling it somehow. Hell, I consider dragging myself into the corridor, prising a gun from the cold dead hands of a security guard, blowing my brains out. But I can’t. I can’t.
The phone rings. I let it. I know it’s her. No one else rings me. There’s an answering machine. It’ll pick up. There it goes now.
“Dave? Dave? Please, if you’re still alive, please pick up. I love you.”
I sigh, drag myself back to the canisters. With weak trembling fingers I unscrew the top, the green gas spews out into the room.
Deep breaths. It’s slow.
“The virus, it’s gone now, Dave. There were …. Some people … but it’s gone, Dave, it’s gone and I need you. Please, please come back.”
Deep breaths. It’s slow but sure.

“You’re not what they say you are, I know it was an accident and it’s gone now so you can come back to me, Dave! I don’t … I don’t care how many people died! Come back to me! Please!
Deep breaths. It’s slow but sure and it’s what I deserve but I’m too cowardly to do it the hard way. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
The bottom of my stomach drops away. My eyes roll back, my limbs twitch and spasm. It begins again. Here I go.
Here I go.
I snuggle down the neon lime pavement with a smile on my face and a tightly-coiled spring in my step. The thundercloud sun bobs in the gravy sky and the barking trees smell delicious as ever. All is as happy as a pig in candyfloss.
Yes sir. It’s just business as usual around here.
For now.

Creative Commons License
Business as Usual by Sam Kurd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Christmas, story

Merry Christmas?

No one knows where he came from. No one knows why he came or why he does the things he does. All we know is that he Is, and that he has always Been.
There are some who say he came to us from a far planet, a planet of ice and snow. They say his alien nature gives him special powers and that the laws of time and space as we know them hold no meaning for him. He always appears wrapped in heavy furs to stave off our planet’s unwelcoming warmth.
There are some who say he is not from this Universe at all, that he somehow broke into our dimension from a gray space between worlds. He has a voracious appetite for food of all kinds for nourishment was previously unknown to him.
There are some who say he used to be a man. A man of boundless intellect and foolish curiosity, who immersed himself in occult studies and, through a pact with certain unholy parties, made himself like unto a God. The powers granted to him include dominion over the animal kingdom and a certain pliability of his physical form.
Wherever he is from, whatever he is, we live in fear of him. Not constant fear, but seasonal. For most of the year we carry on about our business, absorbed by our pitiful fleeting existence’s illusion of importance. As the days slip away and the night creeps in, though, we become more uneasy, more aware that time is marching swiftly towards the darkest season of all.
Then finally it is upon us. We festoon our houses in bright, garish decorations to scare him off. We build fearsome men of snow to fool him into thinking or huddling terrified families are protected. We purchase presents for each other in the hopes that he will see and know that he will not need to visit our homes to give us his dark corrupted gifts of horror and blood.
So wrap up warm and stay festive, my friends. For should you fall prey to humbuggery, then he may find you.
He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake.
And he is coming to town.
fictional, phone, story

Never Answer a Ringing Phone

I wish I still had a phone like this.

The phone rings merrily away, blasting me out of a pleasant dream involving grilled cheese sandwiches, a TARDIS and the complete boxset of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller. I grunt, brushing aside cheese-encrusted dream felt. The phone chirps again.
“Gruuurgh,” says my girlfriend, nudging me with a foot.
“Mrrrrrr,” I reply, holding my pillow over my face in a bid to suffocate myself back into the world of dreams. The phone clears its throat and rings again.
A sudden snarl, a whistle of displaced air. I’m now on the floor, pillow still clutched in white-knuckled hands.
“I’ll just answer that, then, shall I?” I mumble, slinking downstairs in defeat. The phone rings mockingly.
I pause in the living room doorway, taking in my surroundings. Through the haze of sleep it’s one half magical mystery wonderland of chocolate tables and gingerbread chairs, one half nightmarish dystopia of clutter and dirty dishes. I briefly fear that I know which is the more accurate. I pull up a chair and eye it warily. I lick it. I sigh. I answer the phone.
“HI!” screams a female voice with artificial cheeriness.
“Wha?”
“You may have been involved in an accident!”
The world spins around me. What? An accident? When? I haven’t had an accident, have I? Have I? I mean, surely I’d remember that sort of thing.
“What are you-“
I’m rudely interrupted by this mystery caller with no regard for the basic tenants of human conversation.
“If you feel you were not at fault and are entitled to compensation, press 9 now and quote the following reference code…”
Wait, wait, wait, lady, slow down. I’m still reeling here. I’m certain I haven’t had an accident. I mean, there was that time when my girlfriend knocked a 2ltr bottle of coke off the counter and onto my foot and bruised it quite badly but I don’t really think that counts. Besides, I didn’t tell the police or anyone, so how would this random woman know?
Which raises a valid point, I realise with growing horror. Whatever terrible accident that has clearly befallen me is obviously serious, otherwise I wouldn’t be getting a phone call at the early hour of – I check my watch – 11.30am. But why do they know about it when I can’t remember a damend thing?
Unless I can’t remember it because … because it never happened? No, that doesn’t make sense. No, the only logical solution is that my memories have been tampered with to ensure I don’t seek compensation! Those bastards! Those hypothetical shay sinister bastards! They must have kidnapped me and wiped the relevant parts of my brain! Well, that or lured me away with the promise of a pre-release Game of Thrones boxset, that would totally have worked. But either way, I’ve clearly been mentally violated by a superior force!
Wait … if they’re that superior to me, what if it’s even worse? Rather than wiping away my memories like an annoyed teacher wipes rude doodles off a blackboard first thing in the morning, perhaps my nefarious nemeses (henceforth referred to simply as THE AGENCY or THEM or THOSE BASTARDS) are even more pervasive a threat. Perhaps, rather than go to the hassle of dealing with me on an individual basis, perhaps they rewrote the ontology of the entire world to make it so the accident had never occurred. Whole groups of people going about their every day lives, not knowing that I had suffered some horrible tragedy, thanks to them, The Agency, those bastards. This valiant woman, my phonely saviour, must be the only person in the world to resist their metaphysical rewrite. Bless you, madam. Bless you.
I briefly wonder what kind of accident it was. Was I hit by a car? Did someone drop a filing cabinet onto me off an office block? Perhaps I was hit by a ladder in a cracking bit of old-school Chuckle-Brothers-style slapstick? All I know is, it must have been pretty damned serious if I’d caused such a stink about compensation that someone felt the need to make sure it had never happened. I make up my mind. I must know more.
“What do you mean, accident?” I blurt out, but it’s too late. She’s gone. A harsh dial tone screams in my ear as panic rises in my chest. What was the number I was supposed to dial? I stab at the 9 button, press it a couple more times for good measure.
It rings.
“Hello, Emergency Services, which service do you require?”
I shriek, hang up, fling the phone across the room. Emergency Services! A codename for The Agency if ever I’ve heard one! It’s a trap! The room lurches wildly and everything dissolves into strips of primary colours and the smell of bacon. Harsh laughter rings in my ears as I sink to my knees, banging my fists on the carpet and bawling like a baby. It’s over. It’s all over.  Someone taps me on the shoulder and I stumble, roll onto my back, helpless as a tortoise in a desert. I stare up at my attacker, blinking away the tears.
It’s my girlfriend. She gives me coffee.
“You’re an idiot,” she says, lovingly. “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” I whisper into my coffee.
Perhaps … I may have overreacted.
Jeremy, Pictonaut challenge, SFFS, SFFS Movie, story

From Page to Screen : "Jeremy", A Story Wot I Wrote

Well, I failed the Pictonaut Challenge. “Grenade in the Rain” languishes in a sub-folder of My Documents labelled ‘Fragments’, half-baked and awaiting its time to come into its own. And I’m OK with that. No, really. I slipped into a creative funk, as is wont to happen, and I let Real Life things get in the way, but that’s fine. I need to come to terms with the fact that I’m not expected to succeed at everything. I can’t even expect to achieve Good Enough every time, let alone Excellence. So it’s fine that “Grenade in the Rain” is unfinished.

It certainly helps that I’ve got something even better lined up.

If you know me (and if you don’t, I’m surprised that you’re reading this but welcome, stranger!) then you probably know I’m in the local Uni’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Society. Last year we made a little headway with our plan to make out own film. We entered the planning stages, got an excellent concept courtesy of John and made some sketchy plans. Unfortunately we’ve not really had much time/opportunity to flesh out the concept so that particular film has been placed on hiatus while we work on something that’ll prove a less ambitious dry run.

An adaptation of a short story by me.

I wrote it in an afternoon as something to send in for our society’s e-magazine. It’s not perfect, but it’s a serviceable little tale of a creepy stalker and a zombie apocalypse. Using this as a subject for our film scores over John’s more awesome concept in only one small but important way: it’s already written. Adapting it to a screenplay will take two weeks, maximum. Hopefully. If I keep at it each evening until it’s done, starting after work tomorrow.

I’m excited about this. We’ve lost the driving force of John, seeing as he’s been swallowed by Slough, but have gained another in the combined form of James & Mel, who between them have equipment, a modicum of experience and a shedload of passion – the latter of which is shared with my own and that of many other awesome SF&F society members – between us we WILL make this a success and we WILL leave our society with a new tradition & a legacy that will hopefully last well into the future.

If you’re interested in ready the story itself … well … you can. Here it is. I hope you enjoy it, please do comment and let me know – and if you’re interested in helping out with the film, give us a shout, we’d love to have you!

Jeremy
My name is Jeremy, and I am in love with a zombie.
Her name is Mary. We went to school together, though obviously she wasn’t a zombie back then. We grew up together, but we never spoke much.  She was one of the popular girls, always surrounded by a group of pretty interchangeable airheads. They may as well have been clones, but she … she was different. She was special.
I loved her from afar.  I’d sit in the row behind her in English class, paying more attention to the back of her head than to the lessons. I think I fell in love with her blonde dye job a little bit.  You could occasionally see dark roots at her scalp, but to me that was just endearing.  I love her hair. Sure, it’s not in the best of condition now, what with all the rotting and stuff, but back then it was shiny and luxurious. And it always smelled of strawberries. I climbed through her bathroom window once and checked out the shampoo she was using. I like strawberries.
When the zombie outbreak happened, there was a lot of panic, but school carried on as normal for the first week. Our town didn’t have a serious zombie problem for a while, but when they started showing up on school grounds then lessons were cancelled for obvious reasons. The world had more important things to deal with than algebra. I was furious. Not about algebra, but because I wouldn’t see Mary every day if we weren’t going to school.  Life wouldn’t be worth living if I couldn’t spend it with the girl I loved. Isn’t that what love is about?
I was lucky enough to run into her during tone of my forages for food and supplies. I was good at keeping out of zombies’ way; I’ve turned a lifetime of being ignored and unnoticed at school into a lifesaving talent.  My parents weren’t as lucky. I don’t care that much; we never really saw eye to eye.  For a pair of bigshot scientists, they sure weren’t very good at survival.
I watched as Mary ran down the main road that runs down through the centre of our town.  She had about a small mob of zombies following her. They move slowly, but she was wearing heels. I love her with all of my heart, but she wasn’t the smartest girl when she was alive.
I ran up beside her, grabbed her wrist. She screamed and hit me, but calmed down when I assured her I was still alive. I pulled her off the road and brought her to my house.  I’d boarded up the windows and front door so we climbed the oak tree beside the house and entered the house through the attic window.  My house isn’t totally zombie proof but I’d reinforced the doors and had other countermeasures in place. It still keeps them out, though I’m not sure how long for.
I made Mary a cup of coffee and she sat in my kitchen, sobbing.  I watched her. I love watching her. She wanted to know what was going on, why the world had gone crazy. I didn’t have any answers for her. I didn’t care. To me, the only important thing in the world was that Mary. Was. In. MY. Kitchen. My dream come true.  Lifetime objective? Achieved.
She had a bite on her wrist, so I washed it clean and bandaged it. I was closer to her than I’d ever been, touching her, my heart pounding like it wanted to burst out of my chest and leap into hers.  When I finished I held her and she wept. Then I kissed her, full on the lips.  That’s when things went sour.
She jerked back as if she’d been burned and lashed out, slapping me across the face. She looked so disgusted, as if it weren’t me that had kissed her but one of the rotting corpses that shambled and moaned outside.
“I’d rather die,” she said.  “I’d rather die.”
Well.
I sort of lost it.
I grabbed her by the arms and dragged her down the stairs to the basement.  My parents had a lab down there — nice thick walls, a security-glass window in the door, perfect for keeping specimens in. They’d trapped a couple of zombies in there, the zombies that had eventually torn them apart, but I’d dealt with them. The room was empty until I threw Mary into it, slamming and locking the door behind her.
She banged on the glass, furious. She was angry for about an hour. Then she cried some more. After a couple of hours she told me I was handsome, told me she’d kiss me and more if I opened the door. An hour or two after that she cried about being hungry. She sure used to cry a lot. I watched her cry. I stood in front of the little window and watched all of this. I watched her starve. I watched her get sick. Over two days, I watched her die. And I watched her come back.
   
You know, I asked her out once, back when she was alive. She looked at me, sneering. She doesn’t sneer now. She snarls occasionally, but she never sneers. I watch her through the window in door to the secure room I keep her in.  Sometimes she watches me back and we spend hours staring at each other. I can tell she wants me to let her out, so we can be together. I think I will, soon. We share something, a spark. I know she wants me now, I know she wants to be with me.
She loves me for my brains.       

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Jeremy by Sam Kurd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.