The Welcome Stranger [Barnaby Taylor, 2018]
Two pints, says Mepham as he walks in the door. Billy is already there. And Stu. Make it three, Mepham says as he spots the boys playing pool. How’s it going, lads, he says as he walks over. Billy is lining up a shot. Red ball, centre pocket, he says though he doesn’t need to. Just hit it, says Stu. And hurry up. Stu is always in a bad mood. It doesn’t matter what you do, he always see the bad in things. Billy isn’t so bad. A couple of pints and he likes a laugh. But Stu can be wearing if you are not careful. Mepham stands next to Billy. He puts the pints on the ledge by the mirror. Mepham goes to light a cigarette. His phone lights up. The text message arrives.
God aint glad. w’v foes of d faith n d kngdm.
Mepham looked up from his phone. Stop playing, lads, he says to the boys. You both need to choose, he said. What you gonna be? Alguacil? Alcaide? Billy looked up. What about you, he said. You need to choose as well. I already have, said Mepham. Malleus Haereticorum, that’s me. Typical, said Billy. You would be, wouldn’t you. I suppose you need me to choose as well, says Stu. You know you do, replies Mepham. You know you do. We have been through this a thousand times. We knew this was coming, didn’t we. The phone goes again.
God nos who’s rong n hs sinned. sn a calamity wl occur 2 doze hu av condemd us 2 deth.
Here we are, says Mepham. It’s kicking off nicely.
Not you too, Paul Hewson, I said to myself. The images were grainy. The glasses gave him away. It was snowing in the footage. The garage forecourt was empty.
Bono was talking on what looked like a Mobira Cityman 900. 183 x 43 x 79 mm. Those things have a total weight of 760g. They were nicknamed ‘Gorba’ in Finland because Mikhail Gorbachev used one during a press conference in 1987.
Who would be on the other end of a phone like that? And what would be said? I could only imagine.
Here is the first in an occasional flash fiction series.
The Eleventh Film re-imagines the birth of cinema as something altogether more sinister by offering a Lovecraftian take on the world-changing event that took place in Paris in 1895.
The Eleventh Film
The first public film screening was organized by Auguste and Louis Lumière and took place on December 28th 1895 at the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris.
Eleven short films were on the bill that night.
When passed through a projector, the average film was 17 meters long and ran for approximately 50 seconds.
Only ten films are listed for posterity.
- La Sortie de L’Usine Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory ) (46 seconds)
- Le Jardinier (L’Arroseur Arrosé) (The Gardener, or The Sprinkler Sprinkled) (49 seconds)
- Le Débarquement du Congrès de Photographie à Lyon (The Disembarkment of the Congress of Photographers in Lyon) (48 seconds)
- La Voltige (Horse Trick Riders) (46 seconds)
- La Pêche aux poissons rouges (Fishing for Goldfish) (42 seconds)
- Les Forgerons (Blacksmiths) (49 seconds)
- Repas de bébé (Baby’s Breakfast) (41 seconds)
- Le Saut à la couverture (Jumping onto the Blanket) (41 seconds)
- La Places des Cordeliers à Lyon (Cordeliers Square in Lyon) (44 seconds)
- La Mer (Baignade en mer) (The Sea/Bathing in the Sea) (38 seconds)
The eleventh film was called The View of Pazuzu returning to the World. This was a simple desert scene, with a half-buried broken statue anointed by a baleful simoon.
It only ran for one second and was not noticed by most of the audience.
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.’