Hey, hey, hey!
Today we have another installment from Melanie’s Writing Games! I hope you enjoy this ridiculous little story. The quote below is this month’s prompt and can be found at The Write Hobby blog, and the story follows.
So three film producers are sitting at a bar complaining about their latest sci-fi movie. The script is lacking something important. It has no interesting worlds or locations. One of the producers, with more money than sense stands on the bar, almost completely drunk and brings the room to a stop. The producer yells out to the crowd. “A hundred thousand dollars to the person in this bar who can save this script and make the final combat scene set some place extreme. I want the location to be so fierce that the set becomes a character in my movie.”
A hundred thousand dollars?! You betcha Mary was up for that. She was on her feet and careening sharply sideways before the guy on the bar had even closed his mouth. It wasn’t often three rich Americans wandered into tiny Scottish pubs but she certainly wasn’t complaining.
“Yo!” she hollered, raising a hand above her head and pointing an ill-aimed finger down at her own scalp. “Right here, sonny-jim.”
She swayed left, then right, and then left again, before finally settling somewhere close enough to upright. Rows of large, inebriated eyes turned to peer at her. Great. She had their attention. All she needed now was an idea. Uuuhh…
“Well?” the wobbly man on the bar demanded, head skewed to the left as it fought some hanging beer mugs for space.
She remained frozen and another slow second passed. A proverbial tumbleweed scampered past.
One of the propositioner’s friends sprawled his upper body over the bar with a dismayed groan. “She’s got nothing. We’ve got nothing! We’re all hacks-”
“Picture a scene before you,” Mary said, voice loud, hands splaying out like fans as she stepped closer to the bar on unsteady feet. “Picture… picture a snowstorm! But, uh, instead of snow… it’s LAVA!”
While there were one or two startled gasps from the crowd, but most just cocked eyebrows and looked confused. The three rich men at the bar looked so unimpressed that even their expensive pressed suits appeared bored.
“How does-” one drunken by-sitter began, but Mary didn’t let them carry on.
“All around is a darkened landscape, the sky a deep, judgemental orange glow, the ground for miles around all, uh, dark.” Her eyes darted up and to the side as she desperately pondered just what the hell she was talking about. “Peat! Dark, black, squidgy peat hills rolling for as far as the eye can see! Flecks of molten hot… STUFF raining down like phosphorescent snowflakes, twisting slowly as they descend in the utter stillness.”
People were leaning forward now, listening closely. She had them, now to keep them.
“The air is thick and hot but there is not so much as a breeze to disturb a hair on your heads. All around, nothingness. Just thick, dense silence like the calm after a snowfall. Dampened, muted nothingness.”
You’ve said snow too many times! she thought in a panic. New words, new words! What little attention the three men at the bar had been showing was rapidly waning. One pulled out his phone and started jabbing at it, struggling with his hand eye coordination. Another’s eyes started to very slowly close over. The man’s words began to repeat in her head again. I want the location to be so fierce that the set becomes a character…
She grinned. “Just then, when you thought all was quiet, stood in the desolate quiet – uh, I mean silence – something stirs.” A little more attention came back as she wove between the tables orating, occasionally knocking into things and tipping glasses to disgruntled mutterings. “Perhaps that is the wrong word.” She spun on her heel, doing a full three-sixty and nearly ending upon her face. Three different hands shot out to steady her as her eyes bulged different sizes. She squinted them, forcing them to focus on the rich men. Somehow, there now seemed to be six of them.
“Everything stirs.” She raised her arms up in the air and began to undulate them like an eckied up octopus. “The ground rises in places and falls in others, moving like a sea monster, like great Nessie herself!”
“Nessie’s a bloke!” someone shouted from the crowd and she pointed a stern and angry finger at them.
“Don’t you start that shit with me again, Timmy. Don’t you dare.” She turned now manically wide eyes back to the suits, all of whom were watching her. “The ground moves and shapes itself as it likes, never making a sound, never breaking that eerie, haunting quiet. In places, cliffs as high as the Hebrides-”
“That’s not that high,” a petulant Timmy began.
She raised her voice to almost a shout, giving her very best Brian Blessed impersonation. “-and low as the Marianas Trench appear out of nothingness!”
This drew a couple of drunken ‘ooooooo’s from the crowd. At some point she had dropped into a lunge, both hands curled in front of her like a particularly enthusiastic glam metal act.
“That’s right,” she continued on, rising again and lifting an arm in the air, “and every fifteen minutes, it all-”
“Here,” said one of the suits, now stood right in front of her. She hadn’t even seen him approach, too wrapped up in her own genius, but he held out a small white slip of paper to her. She took it. A cheque for a hundred thousand dollars. Her face lit up, mouth wide with delight. “There you are. I’ll give you that if you agree to shut the hell up.”