Abyssal, Act 1 Scene 1

When I wrote that three-act treatment last August I didn’t have the slightest suspicion that we’d be living through something like we are right now by the time I returned to expand it.  Then once we were under quarantine, I thought it would be horribly insensitive to revisit it.  At this point, I’m not so sure about that.  The pandemic element is ultimately ancillary to this story, and thinking about it I guess helps me turn some concepts over in my mind.  How constructive that is will remain to be seen.  This story has come to mean a lot to me, though, and I think it will evolve a lot now that I’m fiddling with it during a strange reflection of its own premise.  Maybe I will, too.

I don’t have specific plans for anything with this, but I’m writing it while imagining it in a visual medium, for practice and variety.  This first draft isn’t in any kind of standard format, just something that seems to make sense to me.  I hope someone else somewhere gets something out of it.


Keenan Cross

Abyssal (first draft)

Act 1

Scene 1

The field

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Free writing 50: Fire

There was just one more thing I had to get, one thing I couldn’t leave behind.  Someone grabbed at my arm but I shrugged their hand off, pushing back through the hallway against the flow of evacuating employees.  The alarm was high and shrill, had the timbre of a shrieking animal that assaulted my ears no matter how I tried to protect them.

The very highest quarter inch of the hall was beginning to gather wisps of smoke, just barely thick enough to see.  It looked, rather, as though the gypsum ceiling tiles themselves warped and bubbled.  Heat pushed back against me like giant, slow, gelatinous hands cupped and trying to resist my momentum.  They could not stop me, but there were other forces beyond them, hands that could press with greater force.  Burn and sear.

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Free writing 48: The new houses

The new Conversant struck a bell that rang into session a ceremony, the first of its kind.  He was a stocky, balding man with small, shrewd but strangely distant eyes and a slight pucker to every feature.  Yesterday, as throughout the long process thus far, he had worn a simple black suit, common for the middlemost class of commoners: today he came draped in antiquarian robes that enough of the audience found offputting that a murmur prevailed over the first words he spoke after ringing the bell.

“…sweep aside the nobility,” were his first audible words.  “because they were an affront to God.”

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Free writing 46: Greg who didn’t feel part of anything

(content warning: violence, but it isn’t described)

The need hit Greg suddenly.  At first he didn’t know what it was, if he was yearning for some unknown sensation or if he was just tired.  Weary.  He knew he was that.  He moped and he dwelled on it – as anyone looking on would say.  He would say rather, that he was examining it.  What he came up with after a long solo drinking session was: community.  That’s what he was yearning for.

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Free writing 44: Aggar, Rifus, Brile, and Brither

(Content warning: blood)

The magistrate deliberated with his counsel for a few minutes, before returning to the court to declare that there would be a duel.  The onlookers seated around him were uproariously excited: executions were good, quick fun, but a duel could be an afternoon’s entertainment.  Plaintiff and defendant both grimaced and sank at the shoulders.  Both cast shamed but also furious glances at one another as armed soldiers dragged them from their benches to prepare.

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