Digital Ischemia

25/11/2012

Grouse

Filed under: Glen Tosied — Teepwriter @ 17:13

“I need you to be still and quiet,” Derg hisses from beyond camouflaged pert buttocks.  His prostrate, well-kept 50s form is engulfed by the moor as if subsiding into thick custard.  Merrill, frazzled 30s, spread-eagles on voluptuous heather like a quilted starfish, well out of her urban water, sullenly gazing up at grey nothing.
“I’m peacefully protesting being an accomplice to murd—“
An oilskin sails over her face and, like a pet bird, as the lights go out so does her urge to speak.

Derg strides over, through tussocks and efflorescences of heather.  Merrill trudges, lags.  She contorts her face around several unacceptable conflicts.
“Like how you can set your sights on a living face and pull the trigger?”
“Dinner.”
“Rubbish.  And all this land management business, burning regime, etc. bollocks: naturally this wouldn’t happen every year.  That’s totally distorting the ecosystem—“
Derg expels an audible lungful into still air.
“—to suit a bunch of sadistic boys!”
“Healthy outlet for aggression.  Deer need culled—“
People need culled,” Merrill interjects.
“—Unless you’re reintroducing bears.”
“Why can’t we enjoy this beauty without having to fiddle—“
“Beauty doesn’t keep you warm at night.”  Derg approaches the thin end of his patience.
Merrill halts, wheezing.  Derg eases off, tilting his head back in frustration.
“Antlers do?!”  She splutters.
“The Land—“
“What possible justification could that tweed-encrusted sponge cake have for—“
“HA HA HA!”
A shockwave of hearty laughter blasts Merrill forward to a thirty degree tilt.  Derg pivots elegantly and flaps a resigned introduction for the benefit of the gigantic source of mirth.
“Merrill.”
The amused ogre nods his mane and shakes much of Merrill’s padded, stick-like forearm with his agricultural paw, displaying domesticated decorum.  Merrill teeters on the precipice of wasp-infested stroppiness.
“And you are?”
Derg faintly recoils, compresses his lips and raises his eyebrows for the punch line.
“The Tweed-encrusted Sponge Cake,” he introduces himself affably.
Merrill flails into argumentativeness, seizing upon Cake’s perfect proportions, “Derg said you were fat!?”
Large, I said,” Derg mutters, embarking gently upon fishermen’s gestures in all three dimensions.
“Why are you here?”  Cake wonders aloud, twiddling a tuft of beard.  Merrill smirks groundward at the reciprocal snip.
“Derg felt I was too agitated to be left unattended – his rage and despair being all nicely transmuted by the killing.”
“Right…”  Cake investigates a suspect idea from several angles.  “I might need something from you.”
“What?”  Merrill’s dubiety now matches her belligerence.
“Let’s start with your presence.”  Cake engages a low gear and forges effortlessly away, smirking at his cryptic mastery.

Derg waits for the next gust which gratifyingly tips Merrill the rest of the way to horizontal.  While she flails, he glances to the horizon.  The sky silently coruscates into ominous orange and purple.  He squints, understates.
Some fireworks.”

18/11/2012

Off Road

Filed under: Glen Tosied — Teepwriter @ 16:57

A pair of dainty legs and a pair of enormous eyes, with some patterned frock in between, prances across the road ahead of him.  She notices his approach and freezes, like a deer, indeed, and in those same swollen milliseconds during which the human imagines he has an easy chance to act, Blink conjures the whole vista.

The endless, single-track road, with apparently neither source nor destination, but surprisingly good quality tarmac, runs all the way to nowhere.  It’s not quite straight and not quite flat so that you can’t see far either way, but you have no sense of turning or of the slight incline that takes more power than you expect.

On either side of this axis, two hemispheres of moorland world are painted in a faded palette and textured to appear invitingly soft rather than impenetrably spiky and boggy with all the surprise hidden gullies and the heather that is harder work than snowdrifts.

All this around the distanceless, directionless road he has time to consider until inevitably she giggles self-consciously and falters into a confident, wide-legged stance.  His careless T-shirt and combats, over-grown hair, tall, V-shaped frame and slight lack of tone that testify to twenty years of hunched typing make no impression on her.
“Hello, man.”
Blink approaches, raising his hand.
“Hello, I’m Nicky.”
“Sticks,” she reflexes, thrusting splayed hands at him with one thumb folded.  “Nine.  Where are you from?”
“Finnerbeg.  Do you live here?”
“Just in the school holidays; Aunty Venom can’t cope with me all the time.”

Stumped for another age-appropriate question, Blink watches Sticks for a moment.  She takes her cue and glances at the direction she sprang from, recalling the rest of her world.  She scampers off the road, across the verge, up the banking.  She pauses, yanking her arm in encouragement.
“Come on.  Come and see Aunty Venom.”
Sufficiently intrigued, and welcoming the diversion from the unfathomable road without distance or direction, Blink adjusts his course to follow Sticks over the moor.

Blink struggles to keep Sticks in view ahead of him as the moor undulates with exhausting gentleness.  His oxygen-deprived brain wanders to part two of the deer analogy: after those few swollen milliseconds of hubris, the deer always gracefully revolves and effortlessly trots away, leaving the observing human to come to terms with his abject inability to even decide on a course of action.  The deer was never within his reach.

One of those surprise gullies: the more so for his brain being sapped of oxygen, after a short but unexpectedly draining trudge, and just when his eyes are lulled into roll after roll of moor, suddenly divulges a dilapidated hut, half-buried in folds of soil.

11/11/2012

Resolution

Filed under: What You Wish For-S — Teepwriter @ 10:47

EXT. BENACHAR HILL TRACK – DAY

Polly hustles toward town, seeking something.

INT. RURAL TOWN CHURCH – DAY

Polly reviews the Parish record about Innes.  Sparkly Minister peeks over Polly’s shoulder.

SPARKLY MINISTER
Did you know he made us a bench?

Polly raises her head, faintly shaking it.

EXT. RURAL TOWN CHURCH – DAY

Sparkly Minister leads Polly, points out the bench.  Polly traces the shape of the wood frame at the back with her finger: it matches her porch shelter.

DISSOLVE TO:

Polly wanders between gravestones, where she rested with Innes at the town festival, grieving.

EXT. BENACHAR HOUSE – DAY

Polly, scowling, opens the front door.  She steps back, dares her visitor to enter, find anything.  DOOMED GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATOR crosses the threshold.

INT. BENACHAR HOUSE KITCHEN – DAY

Polly shuffles to the kettle, flicks the switch, flicks it twice more, stares.  She reaches to flick the light switch: nothing.  She lowers herself on to a chair.

DISSOLVE TO:

Polly is paralysed on the chair.  The light flickers on.

SFX: hiss of kettle heating.

Polly reanimates herself.

POLLY
How did you do it?  You overlapped yourself.  The risk!

Polly squirms, twitches, resisting compulsions.

POLLY (CONT’D)
You could’ve outdone all your peers with this!

Polly strides out.  The kettle boils.

EXT. BENACHAR HILL TRACK – DAY

Polly wavers toward town, fighting indecision.

EXT. WILL’S HOUSE – DAY

Polly reaches the front door, presses the bell, steps back, fidgets.  She braces, forges around to the back.

Will tends his immaculate vegetable garden, bent over a shovel, sweating, heaving earth.  Polly tentatively approaches.  He glances up, freezes.  She holds eye contact, breaks down.

POLLY
I miss you.  I miss both of you.  And I miss him.  But you’re still here.

Will drops the shovel, strides the few steps to Polly.  He falters, wraps his arms around her, presses his head to hers.  She slides her arms tight around him.

POLLY (CONT’D)
Can we just be us for a little while?

WILL
You can have anything you wish for.

POLLY
I didn’t think I ever would.  In this time.

WILL
I know.

EXT. BENACHAR HOUSE – DAY

Polly embraces Will in the front doorway.  They gaze up to the wooden porch shelter, the circle carved into it, its embedded gold ring.

POLLY (V.O.)
You know this whole elaborate fantasy was completely redundant?

WILL (V.O.)
The fun is in the unravelling.

POLLY (V.O.)
Have you unravelled all your… experiences?

WILL (V.O.)
I have; some of them several times.

POLLY (V.O.)
Yes, there’s something of an imbalance to be redressed there.

WILL (V.O.)
I suppose…

POLLY (V.O.)
Story duty for you tonight.

WILL (V.O.)
Any story in particular?

POLLY (V.O.)
Yes, starting whenever you concocted this idiotic, maniacal, immoral–

WILL (V.O.)
Brilliant?  Brave?

POLLY (V.O.)
–Hare-brained experiment.  Naked, of course.

WILL (V.O.)
Right.

INT. BENACHAR HOUSE UPPER HALL – DAY

In the built-in cupboard, under a loose floorboard, in another metal box, a device like Innes’ glows, sparks.  A gap between floorboards widens, the box lid opens.  Finn’s captivated face reflects the eerie flicker.

04/11/2012

Separation

Filed under: What You Wish For-S — Teepwriter @ 16:26

EXT. BENACHAR HILL – DAY

Polly, Jade and Finn, dressed in muted colours, each place a small rock on the beginnings of a cairn.  Polly kneels, takes their hands.  They admire the cairn.  Polly hugs them, compresses her lips, controlling herself.

FLASHBACK – INT. INNES’ ROOM – 1867, SUMMER, NIGHT

Innes, gaunt and weary, faces pen, ink and several pages of a letter on the table.  Each written page has a different style, varying in neatness.  His eyes water with strain.  He dips the pen, scrawls.

INNES (V.O.)
The hardest thing has been no’ sharing this wi’ any yin in this time.  If ye had no’ helped me write it would ha’e faded.

Innes’ hand falters, shaking.  He massages it, writes.

INNES (V.O.) (CONT’D)
Having this half conversation wi’ ye these last years helped me mind my great life.  I hope ye find what ye need in yours.

Innes signs, folds the pages together, swoons.  He rises, staggers to the bed.

DISSOLVE TO:

Innes, semi-conscious, lolls on the coarse pillow, trying to open his eyes.

DISSOLVE TO:

Innes falls from the bed, crawls across the floor, reaches for the letter.  He cranks his frail fingers to lift a floorboard, pushes the letter under, drops the floorboard back.  He relaxes, slumps, closes his eyes.

FLASHBACK – INT. WILL’S HOUSE BEDROOM – 2017, AUTUMN, NIGHT

Will crouches, fidgeting, by the floorboard concealing Innes’ letter.  He eases the floorboard up, extracts the cracked, old letter, dusts it off, fingers it, stares.

FLASHBACK – INT. WILL’S HOUSE STUDY – 2017, NIGHT

Will perches on a comfortable chair, fingering the old, folded letter.  He unfolds the precise handwritten pages, opens the beginning, reads.

Will glances to a photograph of Polly with Jade and Finn, clenches his eyebrows, compresses his lips.

FLASHBACK – EXT. BENACHAR HILL TRACK – 2017, AUTUMN, DAY

Overcast, squally.  Innes dawdles, rubbing his head, arms.  He spies the house, apprehensive.  In the b.g., Polly herds Jade and Finn to the front door.  Innes is captivated, spurs himself toward them.

EXT. BENACHAR HOUSE – 2018, DAY

Polly flies from the house to the barn.  She emerges from the barn brandishing a garden rake, marches to the wind turbine.  She feebly wields the rake at the blades.

INT. BENACHAR HOUSE HALL – DAY

Polly sags against a wall, pale, dishevelled.  The garden rake lies on the floor.

POLLY
That is by far the most stupid thing I’ve ever done.

Polly straightens.

POLLY (CONT’D)
Why did you want to live and die alone?!  Why couldn’t you talk to me?  Were you so unhappy?

Polly reaches into the table drawer, pulls out Innes’ letter.  She glances away, puzzled.

POLLY (CONT’D)
When exactly did you leave?

Polly gags.

FLASHBACK – EXT. BENACHAR HOUSE GARDEN – 2017, DAY

MONTAGE
1) Innes bends over a shovel, sweating, heaving earth.  Polly greets him, feigning a revolted embrace.
2) Finn and Jade wobble on bicycles with stabiliser wheels, along a path.  Innes follows, his hands near both bicycle frames, thrilled.  Polly stands ahead, encouraging, elated.
3) Polly, Innes, Jade and Finn roll on the grass around the remains of a picnic, chuckling.
4) Polly rounds the house, halts, watches with fondness.  Innes wrestles with stones from a heap, fitting them together to rebuild the perimeter wall.

FLASHBACK – INT. BENACHAR HOUSE POLLY’S BEDROOM – 2018, NIGHT

MONTAGE
1) Innes thrusts Polly on to her back.  She widens her eyes.  He kisses and licks down her body, teases her.
2) Polly poses, naked, self-conscious.  Innes approaches her, caresses, kisses her body.  Innes becomes Will.

INT. BENACHAR HOUSE HALL – 2018, DAY

Polly shudders, curls, slides down the wall.

FLASHBACK – EXT. BENACHAR HOUSE – 1867, SPRING, DAY

MONTAGE
1) In low sunlight, Innes constructs the porch shelter around the front doorway from perfectly hewn beams.
2) Innes balances on a wooden crate to reach the front of the shelter, carves the finger-sized circle.
3) Innes smoothes rough wooden edges, embeds a gold ring into the circle.

EXT. BENACHAR HOUSE – 2018, AUTUMN, DAY

Trees and shrubs fade to yellow and brown.  Beneath the porch shelter, Polly hustles Jade and Finn out, laden with school bags, sports shoes, lunch boxes, toys.

INT. BENACHAR HOUSE OFFICE – DAY

Polly dusts the table, leaves the cloth at the edge.  She sinks into a chair, pulls papers from a work bag, hunts for a pen.  She finds a study note in Innes’ writing, freezes, sways, compresses her lips.

EXT. BENACHAR HILL – DAY

Polly struggles with the wind turbine controls, leans back, glances up.  The blades are still.  She stabs at the controls in desperation, filling up.  She slaps her hand on the frame, hunches in anger, slumps.

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