Here’s a test ident for Bara Cailín. I am trying to capture that particularly unsettling feeling that I always associate with British science fiction, supernatural and horror television shows from the 1970s – in particular, Roger Price’s The Tomorrow People (1973-1979); Children of the Stones (Peter Graham Scott, 1977); and Nigel Kneale’s wonderful Quatermass IV (1979).
Bara Cailín began as a simple experiment in writing flash fiction.
I had had the idea of young child teaming up with an elderly academic to save the planet from a cosmic threat for a while and was looking at how best to develop it. Having worked at Trinity College Dublin I also wanted to make this institution an integral part of the story. So I started writing.
I always knew that the structure was going to be episodic, even before I thought of publishing it as a daily serial, and so as I began writing I could see straightaway how the story was going to unfold. The short form really helped as well; allowing me to focus on generating narrative momentum whilst also allowing me to create enough space for other people to fill in their own blanks.
As you know, I have been publishing the daily sections as chapters and this seemed fine to begin with but now that I am at the stage in the story where a natural break has occurred (but yet to be revealed) I have had to reconsider the structuring of the project. In fact it was only this afternoon that the current structure came to me and I have now changed the existing posts and those yet to be published in order to fit this new format.
Essentially, I am now using a Chapter and Verse structure, with each ‘existing’ chapter now becoming a verse. This means that as the adventures unfold Bara Cailín will become a series of chapters, each one containing a series of numbered verses.
The beauty of this structure is that it allows me to retain the story’s episodic nature whilst also delineating clear breaks in the unfolding of Inteachán’s adventures. Another reason for reorganizing the story of Bara Cailín in this way is with regard to the future of the project.
I am currently looking at how I can further develop the series – I just haven’t decided how. I am already working on a screenplay and I can see the story’s potential as a feature, animated or otherwise. But that is just one possibility. The adventures of Inteachán and her struggle to save the world from the NotBeSpeak would also work equally well as an animated series for television or YouTube or any other audiovisual platform. Another idea would be for the adventures to be illustrated and turn Bara Cailín into a novel, graphic or otherwise. As you can see, at this stage I am simply open to any and all possibilities.
The most important thing is that the story will continue as a daily serial published on my blog but who knows what the future will bring?
If you have any thoughts then please feel free to let me know.
What does the future hold for Bara Cailín?
Mac cleared his throat, opened his Miscellanea and started reading.
‘Fomhóire means ‘from the sea’ and is the name given to the divine powers, or gods of night, death and cold. The Fomhóire were misshapen and were believed to have the heads of goats and bulls. They also were believed to have only one leg and one arm each, and these grew out of the middle of their chests. The Fomhóire were the ancestors of the evil faeries and, according to legend, of all misshapen persons. The giants and leprechauns are also said to belong to the Fomhóire.’
Mac stopped reading. He turned to Inteachán. ‘Every civilisation has its own names for spirits and faeries and demons and balrogs and wights. Here we have always tended to use the word ‘Fomhóire’.’
‘We have always known them this way but I now know them as another – the NotBeSpeak.’
‘But what are they?’ asked Inteachán. ‘I don’t understand.’
Mac smiled again.
‘How could you?’ he said kindly. ‘They are Everything and Nothing at once. All and Nought together.’
‘Every infection needs a host,’ said Mac, ‘and the NotBeSpeak need the biggest host of all; the world.’
‘How do we stop them?’ asked Inteachán.
‘How do you stop them,’ Mac corrected her. ‘I am old and my days of fighting inter-dimensional demons intent upon cataclysm are long gone.’
‘How do I stop them?’
‘They can only be stopped by preventing them from taking their final form.’
Mac smiled sadly.
‘If we know what final form they wish to take then that is how we can stop them.’
‘But, I am only now beginning to understand what form their final form will take.’
It was growing dark outside. Inteachán pulled the curtains over the window. In the orange glow of the lamp Mac looked even more ancient than normal. Inteachán sat down on the small footstool in front of the fire.
‘What are the What-Be-Speak?’ she asked.
‘Not ‘What,” Mac replied, ‘but Why.’ He looked into the distance. ‘I have spent my whole adult life searching for an answer to that question. I am no closer to the answer now than I was when I started.’ He blew his nose vigorously. ‘In fact, I’m probably further away today than I have ever been.’
Everyone said that it was a gas leak that caused the explosion that destroyed No. 23 Wolseley Close but Inteachán and Professor Mac an Bhaird know better.
‘Do you remember hearing anything just before the explosion?’ asked Mac. ‘Think carefully.’
‘I think I remember a sighing sound,’ replied Inteachán. ‘Like a sigh that got louder and started to scream.’
‘‘Fomhóire,’ Mac said softly. ‘The NotBeSpeak.’
‘The What-be-Speak?’ said Inteachán.
‘They walk among us,’ replied Mac. ‘Since the start of Time and even before.’