Come Death

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Daily Deviation

Daily Deviation

October 12, 2013
Come Death by ~Quemaqua
Featured by BeccaJS
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Literature Text


Snow is falling in the winter of 1930 upon the exterior of a wood cabin set deep in a forested snowfield. We can hear the sounds of WIND and TREE BRANCHES RUSTLING as SHIPP begins to narrate.

Another one down.

A hole begins to burn in the side of the wall, spreading out quickly, almost as though it were paper, and we hear the FLAMES CRACKLING.  Through the hole we see that Shipp sits at a desk inside, writing furiously with audible PEN SCRATCHES.

Another one down...

Shipp's notebook has a variety of names written within it, some of which are crossed out.  He crosses out the name "Justice Edward Terry Sanford".

... and it still isn't enough.

Shipp slams the book closed.



Shipp, with a large canvas sack over his shoulder and a pistol in his hand, takes long, slow strides through the snow drifts, clearly deep in thought.  We hear FLAMES, CRASHING TIMBER, and the REPORT OF GUNFIRE as they echo in his mind. He wears an ornate pendant of red crystal on a silver chain around his neck.

All this because of you.

We see quick images flash over the scene, glimpses of a lynch mob (ECHOING SHOUTS) and a hanging man (ECHOING JEERS AND TAUNTS).

The loss, the damnation, the final gallop to the line from those makeshift gallows.

We see flashes of a courtroom (INDISTINCT PROCLAMATIONS), the inside of a prison cell, and a flaming house (CHILDREN'S CRIES). Shipp begins to ascend a snow-covered hill.

Even the murder of children. All of it. And for what? The lynching of a colored rapist? It's hard to believe you were able to sell such nonsense to anyone.

Shipp stops at a hole in the ground he looks to have dug previously.  He sets his pistol on the ground beside it and dumps the bag heavily down with a loud THUMP, staring into the hole.

My brother held the key, and all of you knew it. You sent him to prison under the pretext of justice, and you gave him up at the soonest opportunity. You may not have swung him from the rope yourself, but it was paid for by your own purse. You have been judged and found guilty.

Shipp looks at the bag and hears the voice of SANFORD speak to him.

He was an evil man and had to be stopped. His legacy couldn't live on. Not through his seed and not through yours.

You had no right! What you call evil you don't even understand!

Shipp fishes out a bottle of foul-looking liquid from a coat pocket and tosses it into the hole. He rubs his beard.

(more calmly)
His family didn't have to burn alive for your prejudice. His secrets were his alone, to be passed to me, not his sons and daughters. Not even his wife.

So we should have left all as it was, to let the lot of you take all of Tennessee into your hands? To spread your illness to our neighbors?  To take away the futures of our own children and our grandchildren? I think not, sir.

Shipp pushes the bag into the hole in the ground with one foot.

We are both educated gentlemen, Justice Sanford. To suggest that your actions could ever be seen as honorable insults my intelligence.

You insult it yourself by way of your allegiances.

Shipp sighs deeply and picks up a shovel from the ground.

Either way, I'm afraid the time for debate is over. What's done is done. Joe Franklin is gone, and Dr. Jones, and even Stonecipher. I have finally laid my hands upon you as well, but rest assured that those co-conspirators of yours who yet live will not be long behind you.

You will find them unwilling targets, and none too eager for the grave.  For those of us who have already been taken, it is a small thing. We will rest well in the knowledge that we have protected our own, a concept that you seem to have lost a long time ago.

Shipp begins filling the hole. The WIND WHISTLES and we hear the SHOVELING OF DIRT AND SNOW.

(grunting with effort)
My own are yet protected, Edward. That's something you seem never to have understood.

See how far the loyalty of your dark gods and their magicks get you, you blind fool. I wouldn't guess much farther than your brother.

(grunting with effort)
You know nothing of the price of loyalty.

Enough of it to avoid turning on my own species.

(grunting with effort)
Species is a small enough matter in the eyes of the cosmos. Your life was the price of my loyalty, and the lives of your comrades.

Shipp rests upon his shovel for a moment, staring at the snow that falls from the sky.

SHIPP (cont'd)
It may have taken me some years until now, and perhaps will take yet a few more before this vengeance is carried out in full, but know as you rot that it will be carried out.

Worry for your own end, Elijah. Your soul is not your own.

Shipp takes the pendant from around his neck and throws it into the now-shallow hole.

It never has been.

Shipp picks up his pistol.

Then God help you.

Shipp aims his pistol at the pendant and pulls the trigger.

Cthulhu R'lyeh fhtagn.

Shipp throws the pistol in the hole and resumes shoveling the remaining dirt.



Shipp stands alone atop the hill after his job has been finished, leaning on his shovel with one foot on the edge of its blade. We see several grave mounds being covered by the falling snow.

These lives of ours are forfeit.  All meet their end in one moment or another.  How much better to give up our breath for the protection of the stars than to waste it in protest of what we cannot change?

Shipp wipes his brow and breathes out a deep sigh.

SHIPP (v.o)
Beneath the sky, we're all the same.  We stand transfixed at our own frozen graves, watching on in silence.
Nog n'gha. Nog syha'h.
For #transliterations prompt #4, and dedicated to the talented *rushingtide, without whom this would never have existed in this form. She promised "a special outpouring of love for anyone who tackles a screenplay", and who in the world could pass up such an opportunity?

This is, in fact, my first attempt at writing a script of any kind. It was a horrible nightmare at first trying to familiarize myself with the formatting rules and such (and for all that, none of it carries over to dA anyway). But in the end, I have to say that this was a tremendous amount of fun, both the prompt itself and the undertaking of a short screenplay. I enjoyed the experience immensely and am in debt to =zebrazebrazebra and *rushingtide for leading me into it.

I would very much value a critique of this just because I really don't know what I'm doing. This form of writing is 100% new to me. I think I've only so much as read one or two scripts to a movie or TV episode in my entire life. Any feedback is helpful. I don't know if I even submitted this to the right category.

As for the story, this is a piece of alternate history fiction, and I don't really have the slightest idea how it came to be. This was such a crazy prompt, and such a brilliant one, that everything after the word "go!" was a complete surprise.

For those who don't want to click the above links, the process was to watch an uploaded YouTube clip of a movie that had had the sound removed from it, then to hear in your mind the sounds of the clip. Sound effects, very short bits of dialogue, and music occurred to me as I went, and I wrote them down. Afterward, we were tasked with writing a piece from that imagined soundtrack (not the actual contents of the film clip, just the things we heard in our minds while watching). I basically took each step that I had written down and fleshed it out, the above being the end result.

The historical references may be a bit obscure, and I didn't have any better ideas of how to include them in the story, so I hope this wasn't too confusing for anyone. Bonus points if you have any idea who these people are. And really, I have no idea how they found their way into this story.

Also, super extra bonus points to anyone from #translit reading this who knows why the "1926" from the video clip inspired me to add the elements to this story that I did.
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beeswingblue's avatar
A (late) congratulations on the DD! I'm not on dA much myself but luckily caught your Facebook message!