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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » And in your hands, people lie bleeding. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Caleb Strange
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Taking Jonathan Townsend’s idea of adapting the pattern of a story (raised in salsa dancer’s ‘Blood and cards’ thread), it strikes me that, in today's current climate of fear, society is still afraid of a silent people that may lurk invisibly, within our midst.

Of course, these people are not vampires per se, but their set of values and their ways are so alien to many of us that we see them as monsters, and we arm ourselves, metaphorically, with crosses and habits, and superstitions and garlic-cloves.

So this is the premise: today's vampires are not interested in extracting blood from your body; actually, they prefer to work the other way. Their goal is to introduce foreign agents INTO your flesh. Their story, from a short time in our future, goes something like this...


And in your hands, people lie bleeding.

A group with a grievance (and the wherewithal to do something about it) has infiltrated your country. As with vampires, so these people are almost indistinguishable from the rest of the population - the man next door, who smiles at you when you go to work, how well do you truly know him? And like vampires, these fanatical creatures are cruel and deadly. And they have a plan...

In the 1980's, in a supposedly non-existent biological warfare lab - actually somewhere in the West, but that becomes a moot point, once the genie is let out of the bottle - a fatal and highly contagious virus was engineered. To look at it under an electron microscope, it seemed a thing of beauty, but from the moment this twining thing entered your body, it systematically destroyed your body's capacity to heal. You bled to death, from the inside out, in indescribable agony; and by a cruel twist of fate, those closest to you, who tended to you as your wet body writhed and convulsed, till it became finally still, they too would contract the disease, and so the story went on.

Anyway, it should not surprise you to learn that some of these modern-day ‘vampires’ obtained, at a very great price, a small sample of this manufactured disease - a diabolic oil, odourless and clear in its vial.

Now, the story of how this virus swept across your country is TOO terrible to relate - suffice to say, in a short time, no one was left to bury the dead. And then the virus, hungry for new flesh, ate its ravenous locust-way across the rest of the planet, killing even those who had sponsored its release. Yet, to bring this infinite horror back into a human scale, you will tell the story of a family - a single family - whose terrible demise you will let stand for the countless billions who perished in similar, furious fashion.

(You show some photographs - a collection of snaps from the once-treasured album of an unremarkable family. Look, a laughing little girl is dancing with her dog in the haze of a lawn sprinkler. A proud son is matriculating from college. Two people are cutting a wedding cake. A bright blue summer’s day is spent at the beach. And many many more of these joyous moments in time, that are now lost, and recorded only on these dog-eared and fading scraps of paper. Some of your guests examine these poignant prints.)

You describe how the virus was released, one public holiday, in the busiest street of one of your larger cities. How this strange new disease raced across the land like a bush fire, annihilating all. And how the family (you give them no name) plotted the disease's approach on a map, and watched, in dreadful horror, as it encroached inevitably on their town. And huddled together in a basement (you stack the photographs into a pile, which you hold in your hand), with the windows locked and a gun pointing at the door, they could hear, every night, the dreadful screams of their neighbours dying. And then the silence. The terrible silence. Oh, how they thanked God for their miraculous salvation! But then, driven by hunger, they stepped back into the teeming air, and were also infected...

(The photographs become wet and red, as you say:)

'Agent H3 - mutation 12. Mortality rate 100%. Death results from the rapid and complete destruction of the host body's defences - blood fails to coagulate, etc. Usual cause of death, shock, brought on by the system-wide internal haemorrhaging.'

(And in your hands, people lie bleeding.)


Pray God that I’m wrong,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Seance
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Dagnabbit, Caleb!

If I had one-tenth of your creative ability to construct a tale that is reminiscent of De Maupassant, I'd be a happy camper...

I eagerly await "The Garden of the Strange".
Caleb Strange
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Seance,

De Maupassant is one of my favorite writers - way out of my league! - so I blush hotly at your kind and generous words.

Many many thanks,

Caleb Strange.

P.S. There's an old Guy de Maupassant thread here:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=14
-- QCiC --
Jonathan Townsend
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Can we get something from the Sapphire and Steel plots here too? They were spooky stories. The man in the photo got me wondering.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
jbohn
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Mr. Strange, let me say your moniker is well earned!

The description alone give me chills- I'm sure a working of it would blow an audience away. I never cease to be amazed by your imagination...

Jeremiah
Reis O'Brien
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Ooooohhhhhhh MAMA! That's a killer story! Run with it Caleb!
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

http://www.myspace.com/liar_4_hire
Caleb Strange
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Many thanks, my friends, for the kind words. I appreciate them.

Jonathan, oddly enough, I have only a vague recollection of Sapphire and Steel, almost all of which is coloured by a crush I had at the time on Ms. Joanna Lumley; so I've kind of forgotten the details...

If possible, could you expand on this - the series, not my schoolboy crush - and explain what you mean?

Regards,

Caleb Strange.

P.S. jbohn, please feel free to call me Caleb Smile.
-- QCiC --
jbohn
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Caleb it is, then. And you can call me Jeremiah.

Where DO you come up with your ideas? You have a positive talent for the macabre.

Jeremiah
Logan Five
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You have a talent !!
Self concept is destiny..
Caleb Strange
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Jeremiah and Richard,

Many thanks for your kind words.

Several Café members explore their respective sources of inspiration in this interesting thread:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=14

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
sniper1
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Are you sure the virus didn't go by the name of ebola hehe
THE MOST CRAZY MAGICIAN ON THE MALTESE ISLANDS
kaytracy
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Wow Caleb, once again you astound with your words!
I thought perhaps you would put forth a sole survivor on that one with the photomicrograph of the virus as the remaining survivor, and all the photo's now bloodied, but as usual you give a nice subtle final shock! Very smooth!

And for some current event tie ins, the US Anthrax issue, the biological concerns from Iraq, Sarin gas in the Tokyo subway, in the 70's 80's the Maharishi cult in Oregon did food tampering at local slad bar restaraunts, and grocery stores. I am sure there are a host of others around the world that we in the US are not made aware of every day!
Kay and Tory
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Clifford the Red
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Yeah Caleb, you're creeping me out! Hehehehhehe

I've thought about basing something on (not the Omega Man) The Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Caleb Strange
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Kay and Clifford,

Many thanks for your kind words. Let me add to your ideas:

1) I seem to remember a short story ('Dead Week'?) in which a biology student working in the campus Café, exhausted from sleepless nights revising, accidentally dressed the salad in something very nasty from the lab.

2) There is a truly dreadful scene in 'On the beach', where a young Australian couple, succumbing to the effects of deadly radiation wafting inexorably down after a northern hemisphere WW3, poison their child and then themselves, so as to avoid an angonising death. Now, I think if one tells an apocalyptic story, then it is most effectively done at this individual level. It is very difficult to get one's head round 'and then the comet hit, and 6 BILLION people died'. But, of course, tell the story at the individual level, and it becomes particularly distressing.

sniper1 the Ebola virus is rather nasty. You may also wish to consider this:

'Anti-healer'

The bacterium 'streptococcus A' is found in 10% of the world's population. In some people - no one yet knows why - it develops into necrotizing faciitis, otherwise known as 'the flesh eating bug'. This 'bug' can eat away at fat under the skin at the rate of several inches an hour, and it usually results in the need for drastic surgery.

Now, imagine this. There's this guy, see, and he's kind of a loner. You can probably guess that life for him, as a child, was pretty grim. He'd spend weeks in his room just to avoid those alcohol-fuelled fists and nocturnal advances. Anyway, he retreated the only place a tiny child could, deep into himself, very deep, into a place of quiet safety and control. And slowly, very slowly, his unusual abilities developed. A parapsychologist might call it PK - he just called it 'the game' - but, cell by living cell he learnt to reach, with his mind, into the bodies of other things and throw biochemical switches. Started with dogs and cats and birds at first - could make them migrate or grow hungry, and sometimes even make them well - but soon enough he moved on to bigger things.

Now, of course, he was following the path of the emergent healer, for they too can reach out and interact with other living things. But, unfortunately, HIS childhood had left him kind of twisted, and just lately, he's not been so inclined to heal.

He's got this book, see, about necrotizing faciitis, and he's sure he can trigger it remotely. Heck, it might even be fun, wondering whether the person in front of him at the bus stop is one of the 10% with strep A.

Who knows? Maybe he's standing outside your window right now, looking in, with the tendrils of his mind sifting through your tissues? And maybe, just maybe, he's found the switch...

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
kaytracy
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So Caleb, how many stories have you sold to the movies or tv for the scary bits!?
I think you could get pretty far just on the plot ideas you throw about with such abandon! ;}
Kay and Tory
www.Bizarremagick.com
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