For my next Serial Saturday (meaning beginning with this blog) I’m attempting two dangerous things. 1) I’m writing a story which will be at least in part, an unusual tense and person.(I’ll let you discover it rather than clarifying what I mean here.) I think it fits, but it will feel a little odd, perhaps at first. I’m hoping it will flow ultimately. It’s not just a gimmick. I think it fits the story, as I hope you’ll see, and it also drives the sense of an unfolding adventure, almost like watching a tv show; which leads to the second dangerous thing. I wrote this originally as a webisode of 49 distinct cliffhanging episodes. I need far fewer resources to do this as a written story than a nicely done video, but I like the story enough I’m opting to try it here as my Saturday Serial. Rewriting what was exclusively a screenplay is an interesting exercise as well and is in many ways what lead to the unusual tense and person. Hopefully this all works and you enjoy this.
A few other notes before we start. Because this has so many episodes, I’m going to do Parts on both Saturday and Wednesday. It will still be called Serial Saturday, but you’ll need to catch parts on the mid week as well. So when you’re feeling those mid week blahs, there will be an episode to keep you going. It’s a mystery which will at times be truly mysterious, but I promise that I know where it’s going and it will make sense at the end. I am hoping the journey will prompt some discussion, guesses, exploration, ideas and so on. I’m hoping it will become just a bit interactive in that way. I think it’s going to be a good run, so if you like it invite others, talk about it on your blogs, your Facebook and on Pastormac’s Facebook as well and of course, comments are always welcome here.
And besides Saturday and Wednesday in two weeks I will be running my contest winner’s story in four parts, all in one week! The contest winner happens to be my daughter and her challenge can be seen here. Being my daughter she has made it very interesting and being her papa, I’ve decided to up the ante. Not only will I do three parts in close third person one for each sibling, but I will do each of these parts in Roshoman style with each part being a different perspective on the same trip gone wrong. The final part will be a surprise, mystery voice who will be able to show how all the “trip gone awry” actually works out to a trip gone amazingly right. The challenge for myself is I say all this with no idea of what the plot is yet. LQTM (Laughing quietly to myself, which is more accurate than LOL usually.) Well, anyway, keep an eye out for that and of course as usual,
Tomorrow I’ll update you on my pilgrimage for “next”
So, without further ado, here is part one of
The Stolen Man: The Beginning: episode 1-1
The images are confusing, sudden and disorienting.
A flash of a door; cool steel, small square frosted window. You look below the window but your eyes don’t seem to be tracking well. It’s like a flash, rather than a smooth transition; like a blink just a little too long. “A jump cut” they call it in the movies.
The number 76 below the window. A hand reaches just covering the number as it pushes open the door.
A flash of a long hallway behind the door.
Now suddenly you are inside the long hallway; it’s blindingly lit and you struggle to see, but you can barely make out doors, three on one side, four on the other. There are numbers and symbols on the doors, but you can’t quite make them out. One of them has a blank gray panel. You squint to see it and…
Suddenly you are being dragged down the hallway. Again, your eyes are oddly focused on the hand dragging you; a hand coming out of a white loose sleeve, like a lab coat you think vaguely. You don’t resist as you watch this hand pulling you by the elbow forward, but you do try to look up, to see whose pulling you. You can’t. You try to look right; does someone have your other elbow?
The doors you pass are all white with symbols, that you can see.
“Who are you!”
Why is he yelling at you? Who is yelling at you?
The hallway is gone; now it’s a street. A boy on a tricycle rides by in front of you; you smile but you’re not sure why.
Back in the hallway; a door with a diamond symbol on it.
You shake your head and for a moment things clear. You are sitting in a chair; something is on your head. Wires or tubes or something appear to be coming out of your arms. You can’t move, can’t stand up. You try to look at your watch but you can’t lift your arm.
“What time is it?” you ask the dark haired angry looking man standing over you.
“Who are you!” He demands again, only louder. He’s really angry. If you only knew why. “Tell us who you are! How did you get here?”
“Boy, I wish I knew,” you start to say but you are stopped when a sudden realization hits you, actually two realizations.
One, there are two people standing in the room with you; the angry looking yelling one, and another, quiet, passive emotionless, standing in the background. Two, you know their names, “Six” and “Seven”.
But those aren’t really names, are they? You close your eyes, shake your head again. Suddenly you drift out of the chair, across the room. Surprised you watch the angry man continue to yell at you, the you in the chair. The chair is not just a chair, it’s connected to the diamond machine.
Like the names, “Seven” and “Six” you just know this, but you have no idea how you know it or what it means.
You drift past Seven standing impassively, and out the door. Looking back you see that it’s a door like the others in the hallway, but this time you can make out the symbol on the door. It’s that black and white swirl thing; what do they call that?
“I’ll tell you who you are.” Six is no longer yelling, but still you hear him through the door. “You are…”
You awake with a start. You sigh in a sudden burst of relief and clarity. What a crazy dream. What in the world was that all about? Well, dreams are that way though aren’t they?
There’s a very attractive, but tired looking woman standing at the dresser just past the foot of your bed. She’s putting on makeup and she is speaking. You realize with a start that she’s been speaking and that this is probably what woke you.
“Troy. Come on. You’re going to be late. We can’t afford another sick day. You know that!”
The confusion is returning. The confusion from the dream. Now you can see everything, hear everything. You’re not drifting or being dragged around. You’re just lying here in bed. The world is behaving normally, except…
“Troy,” She’s irritated now. ”Come on! I don’t want to be late. I have a doctor’s appointment remember?”
You look at her in confusion. What she’s saying, how she’s saying it is all normal, if it weren’t for one thing. That one thing that’s been confusing you since you saw her.
Now she’s really exasperated, “You’re taking me, remember? Troy! What is up with you?”
You hate to ask. You know it’s not going to go over well, but you’ve got to ask, haven’t you? So you do.
“Who are you?”
“Troy” She responds, fear beginning to join her exasperation. What does she have to be afraid of, you wonder? You’re the one in a strange bed, in a strange house talking to a woman who keeps calling you Troy.
“I’m not Troy!” You jump out of bed, looking around in confusion for anything familiar.
“Troy, this is not funny.”
“No, no, it’s not. I’ve got to get home. Quit calling me Troy.”
“Stop it! This is not funny. What…”
There! On the chair, clothes draped over it just like you would do. You grab them and start to put them on. Fortunately they appear to fit, as you aren’t entirely sure they are actually your clothes.
You speak as you are putting on the pants and shirt, “I don’t know you! Who are you?”
The woman looks near panic and you’re starting to actually feel a little bad for her. Poor thing. Crazy woman wondered into your house…except it’s not your house.
You are trying not to yell, but you suspect you are anyway. “How did I get here? Where am I?”
Her voice is very low now, fighting back tears or panic or anger, maybe all the above.
“Stop it Troy. Please.”
“I’m not Troy.” OK, you definitely are yelling, but she’s just so infuriating.
“You’re serious. You really don’t know…again.”
For a crazy lady she seems to be accepting it easily all of a sudden. Sadly maybe, but easily. But then maybe that’s what crazy ladies do.
“I’m Helen. I’m your wife. This is your home, has been for the last 8 years.”
Now you’re starting to feel afraid. Something about this new tone; like you’re the crazy one, or stupid or a child.
“What are you trying to pull? I’m not married. This is not my home. I’m getting out of here.”
You’ve managed to get yourself dressed and after putting on your coat, going through all your pockets produces only a business card. No name on it, just a business title, “Sunnyvale Heights.” It means nothing to you. Maybe these aren’t your clothes? Never mind; they fit and it’s time to go home. You exit the bedroom, Helen following you quietly. Swiftly you cross to the closet, where the keys to your car are hanging and grabbing the keys you start to open the front door. As you grab the keys they jingle and for a brief moment, it’s like you are back in a dream. A sudden vision overtakes you; a vision of you, sitting in a car; your car, driving calmly, confidently.
“I’m not Troy.” You’re looking at the keys. Something isn’t right. Why can’t you think clearly?
“Stop and think a second. How did you know where the keys were? Those keys are to your car parked in your driveway here at your house. Where exactly are you going? If this is not your home, where is?”
That’s it. She’s nailed it. That is what’s wrong. You have no idea where home is, but still…
“This is not my home.”
“Then where, Troy? Where is home?”
“Everyone keeps their keys by the door.”
“I’m not Troy.”
“Then who are you?”
What a stupid question. Except she’s right. You suddenly realize you haven’t got a clue. You’ve been so focused on asserting who you weren’t that you’ve only now realized you’ve no idea who you are! Wow, that dream did a number on you, didn’t it?
“ I’m…I’m…I’m not Troy.”
“See you don’t even know who you are.”
“No, no I don’t. But I know who I’m not. I don’t know how you did this, or…why? Why Helen?”
You feel defeated, confused. Helen is leading you back to the living room by your arm, just like in your dream. That dream.
“Was it something in my food? Did you drug me? Please just tell me. I won’t be mad. I just want to get home. Get some sleep. Some time to think.”
Helen is looking at you sadly, even fondly. She’s reaching for your face as if to caress it, and you are thinking of letting her, “Oh Troy.”
You pull back suddenly, “I’m not Troy.”
Helen drops her hand. She’s speaking softly now, earnestly, “This is not the first time. We’ve been here before.”
“I’ve never been here before.”
“Do you hate me so much?”
“I don’t hate you. I don’t even know you.”
” What do you know? What can you remember?”
“Something important. I had something important to tell someone…What do you mean we’ve been here before?”
“What did you have to tell someone? Was it something about work? What do you know Troy?”
“Work, I…What’s with the interrogation? What did you mean we’ve been here before?”
“Nothing Troy. I just meant you’ve been acting differently for months now, like you weren’t yourself. What happened to us Troy? It was work, wasn’t it?”
“Nothing happened to us. There is no us.”
There was something, you are realizing, something important. What was it. and…work?
“Why are you so interested in work? What have you done to me?”
‘“Nothing, I’m just trying to help you remember. Troy, I’m on your side.”
“I don’t even know if I’m on your side.”
“You said you were doing something important for work.”
“No, no I didn’t say that. You did.”
“Yes, you did. You said…
“I don’t need a replay. It’s just that…I hate your work. Do you even remember what you did?
You head is hurting. You did… you do something important. What is it? You are standing up again, getting ready to leave.
“Look, I’ve got to go.
“Troy, where will you go?”
“How do you know you’re not Troy?”
“How do you know I am?”
You are watching Helen now, as she motions you to wait and runs off to another part of the house. You watch her go for a second. Too bad she’s not your wife, she’s awfully pretty. You reach into your pocket, planning to leave the keys on the coffee table, when you find the Sunnyvale Heights card again. Looking at it, another waking dream (a memory?) catches you…
A building, tall, at least ten stories, lots of darkened glass and a sign on the outside, “Sunnyvale Heights.” You’ve been there before!
A flash of a door; cool steel, small square frosted window. You look below the window but your eyes don’t seem to be tracking well. It’s like a flash, rather than a smooth transition; like a blink just a little too long
Where does a man go to piece his life together when he remembers almost nothing? He goes where he remembers anything! Sunnyvale Heights. That’s where your going. Running out the door, you catch a glimpse of Helen emerging from the back part of the house. She’s carrying a wallet, waving at you to stop, but you don’t. You run. You run out the door, and down the steps and in the direction of Sunnyvale Heights.
You run, but who are you?
(Click here for the next episode)