And we're off.
Later I am told that title is a line from a song by Tears for Fears. No matter where he found it, it triggered something in me that blossomed at mega-warp speed. I sat down on the Monday after he told me this, January 2013, and in one day burned through over 5,000 words. The best word count writing day I'd ever had, though I am not a stickler for word counts. I believe when I am locked in the words flow, that's what matters. But this one, it demanded to be told NOW! Over the week that followed I rounded it into shape and it was done.
It was also another story with an appearance by the curious Mr. Liu. I don't use him as a crutch, his appearance, though often on the fly, is essential to what the story is trying to convey. This story is from a completely different angle then the two previous stories in which he appeared. We've got our regular Joe, or in this case a regular Derek, headed to a movie theater after having an argument with his girlfriend. We've got him being warned off of a specific movie by an Asian gentleman who does not seem to belong, yet he sneaks into that theater, to see that specific movie, and runs into all sorts of Chaos. Wrong place, wrong time, pure descriptive madness.
This was also a good story for exploring a more pure definition of what it means to be alien (I thinki I touched on this in the blog post for "Broken Teacup," too; excuuuuse me) (If not then, at some point. When? Doesn't matter. It's my blueprint for writing aliens, though). My take is direct and does not comply to any 'rules' one might deem necessary. I mean, alien can be anything. Anything. The rules we use to define what life as we know it is like, what it takes and what is required NEED to be tossed out the window, shattering glass and expectations. There's a moment in this story where something that is alien is described as a box-like creature. There are elements that make that box-like Thang alive. I remember my editor saying something to the effect...let me see. She said:
"In Derek's position, I would be more worried about the monster that just finished with the big man or the herd of monsters hiding in the dark. The box doesn't seem like much of a danger."
My response, in line with my thinking on what it means to be purely alien:
" My take is at this point, it is obvious the square-shaped thing is the one running the show here and if it seems angry, by the loud chattering, that would perhaps make me more fearful of it than the other monster. The other monster may appear more gruesome to us, but since we are dealing with creatures outside of the norm--yes, that is a reason I made the square-shaped creature seem just odd, not scary--at least Derek gets that vibe here. "
And now my font has gone all alien as well, besides bold for the point being made. Point being, alien should be Alien, not subject to our rules, regulations, patented perceptions or Anything of that nature because it quite simply does not follow any of these. Or it/they might, but that's the point. There are no limits.
"I forbid my mind nothing."--Clive Barker.
Just felt like tossing that into the mix. One of my rules for writing and thinking.
Anyway, here's a touch of our poor schlub in love as he sits in the movie theater with only one other person there and things kind of...tilt.
He tries to focus on the movie and not think about the guy behind him. After a couple minutes tamping down his agitation, he coughs and hears a tiny snicker echo in response. He catches his breath and again tries to focus on the movie.
On the screen, the guy with the professionally tousled, brown hair and the too perfectly trimmed twenty-four hour shadow is reading with a flashlight the last lines from something scribbled on the wall in too-runny movie blood. The plucky blonde who has uncharacteristically— for a horror flick of this meager ilk— not removed her skimpy baby doll tee hangs on his arm and every word. He says, “The dread is in knowing you will have to forever live where the light won’t find you.” The flashlight goes out.
The screen goes dark. Too dark.
After twenty seconds or so— twenty seconds that feel like twenty minutes to Derek— there’s a thump on the back of his seat. His heartbeat picks up its pace, attaining a strong gallop.
Another ten, perhaps fifteen seconds pass before the big guy sitting behind Derek, that mountain of a jerk, makes some hacking, gurgling sounds, as if he is pulling up a mouthful and is planning to decorate the back of Derek’s head with the green slime.
The silence heightens these strange, throaty sounds.
Seconds tick by; soldiers on a mission.
Then, the friggin’ jerk kicks the back of Derek’s seat. Tap, tap, tapping, as if those soldiers have picked up the pace to a jog, trying to catch up to Derek’s rapid fire, double-bass drum heartbeat.
Derek shoots straight up from his seat, turns to say something, anything, to this major fuckwad, no matter he is big as Godzilla, when he sees what is really responsible for the sounds.
Perched on the big man’s chest is
Well, if you want to know what's there as well as more about Mr. Liu, Derek, and That Which Lurks In The Shadows, including something shaped like a harmless box, well...
Here's the Amazon US link, my friends. Also available via Amazon UK as well as the Barnes & Noble link, too! It's only letting me put the hyperlink to & Noble, hope that works. Oy!
As Clive has always reminded us, it's not just a harmless box...
Here's some Phenomenal art by Hector Pineda, a truly talented artist.