I’m beginning to think that I’m not the only one privy to the cosmic truth that tomorrow is going to look an awful to like today. Or yesterday. Next week. Or even some time soon. That’s an awful amount of heavy lifting for one truth but it is a weighty one, after all – most cosmic truths are, I suppose. Not for them the common or garden stuff, the basic, the mundane, the everydayness – not at all, cosmic truths like this one demand asteroids and night time pyrotechnics, bright lights and the fear of cataclysm or alien invasion, whichever comes first. Or perhaps they might arrive together, two parting gifts to a sceptical world who learn the ultimate truth just at the final moments of their existence. Either way, or, indeed, in all ways, depending upon which way you look at it, the cosmic nature of tomorrow’s being similar and/or identical to today, as thoughts go, is really a planet to gaze lovingly upon. Most of my day is spent thinking smaller thoughts like what should I wear and where should I wear it. Admittedly, this thought, in itself, has more than a whiff of the repetitious about it, but we’ll overlook the scale of this question for the magnitude of the other, even though both stem from the same source of discontent.
But surely if I know something today about how tomorrow will be then somehow I am privy to a further cosmic truth and might be able to somehow foretell, forecast, and predict the future and such an act of divination has to be appealing. Hasn’t this been the dream since forever ago? The one thing that humans have always craved and coveted, the availability of knowledge ahead of its determined revelation? And if this is so, and there’s no reason why its shouldn’t be, then why can I not get excited about my new-found divination? I suppose the answer is because as much as I am thrilled to be able to predict the future, the predicting of this same future simply indicates that my knowledge of what is about to happen is pretty much the same as my knowledge of what is happening now.
The desperation. The despair. The endlessness of the inevitable.
The distance. The silence. The isolation.
The not seeing and not doing because there’s no one to see and nothing to do.
I’m fighting back.
I’m not giving in to the endless opportunities to always give in. To my tired mind up always seems to suggest a way out, an escape, an opportunity to climb out of something; a pit, a hole, a darkness normally of our own making.
Yet when we speak of defeat we talk of giving up which, I suppose, means (and I love to be wrong so please correct me) that we are relinquishing the opportunity of escaping by surrendering an up-and-out manoeuvre for a down-and-in one.
Down? In? Retreat? Withdraw? Include only you? Exclude everyone else?
I’m normally against taking stands but I’m taking a stand today against not taking a stand.
The moment that you are, that moment before you turn, must be full of a lifetime remembered and about to be forgotten. That pain is brief but final. A forever pain.
There is anger. Despair. Hunger, of course. But also a notknowingness. Suddenly all thought is replaced by only instinct. Yet at the very heart of the creature there must still be the very slight and occasional reminder of a life before the virus. The twitch of an eye. A stare into space. The splinter of a fragment of a stab of a broken memory.
This is not a solitary life. Creatures gather together, swelling and swarming, driven by a collective urge to hunt and bite and rip and tear, boosting the ever-growing ranks. Swarmlike in their tendencies, they move like clouds of angry insects, their numbers forever swelling as they congregate and consume and then congregate once more. The habits of the infected are one and the same, restless and repeating, spreading, never-ending, only onwards towards the only goal, infection.
The viros look like anybody and everybody. They look like you and me. They are fully clothed. They are naked. They are ripped and ragged. Clean. Dirty. Filthy. Smeared with blood, especially around the mouth. The virus causes multiple physical reactions in its victims and this creates a wide range of possibilities for their portrayal. Aside from the blood smears, there are some common characteristics; twitches and other facial tics; a vocal range from roars to whispers to sighs and screams, all of which combine to create the chorus of some kind of horrific choir.
And so the task begins, as I start to turn the highly successful VIRO book series into a proposal for a TV series. Over the coming weeks, I will be sharing insights and updates as to how this process is going. So let’s begin at the beginning.
VIRO – The TV Series Proposal
GENRE: Horror/Science Fiction – Post-Apocalypse
TAG LINE: Four Kids, One Apocalypse
LOG LINE: As a viral pandemic turns the world into bloodthirsty creatures, a boy with special needs looks for his missing mum.
VIRO tells the story of Jake, a boy born with special needs who wakes one morning to find that the world has been catastrophically overrun by a deadly virus and his mum has not come home after work. Determined but unused to being out on his own, Jake sets off to find her.
The book series is set in the south east of England and Season One takes place in Burton-on-Sea, a fictional seaside town modelled on Hastings. The time is somewhere in the 1970s.
There is no knowing exactly where the virus came from and the point of the series is that no-one will ever know. There is a lot of speculation but no definitive explanation. This makes VIRO darker and bleaker as we soon come to realise that the world will not be saved.
The story is not a race to find a cure but about finding a way to simply survive. Science, like God, and society, is broken now. It makes no difference, especially to a group of teenage friends who don’t really have time to try and make sense of what has happened. They just want to stay alive.
‘I absolutely loved this book. Powerful and poignant, VIRO packs a punch. Sad and haunting, VIRO is a new take on the zombie genre.The characters are dynamic and interesting, finding strength despite their horrifying circumstances. Jake is a character that will stick with you long after the final page. The action sequences are thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat!’
As a viral outbreak turns the world into bloodthirsty creatures, a boy with special needs looks for his missing mum.
‘The writing style is beautifully compelling, and after the first couple of pages I couldn’t put it down. The author very skilfully creates a world and characters through deceptively simple prose that draws the reader right in. It is a fascinating blend of one-after-the-other edge-of-the seat scares, alongside a haunting narrative about what it is to be human.’
‘Capturing the voice of a young character with special needs (I spent 25 years as a special education teacher/administrator), Taylor’s story of a group of young people coping with a world disintegrating in front of them; with the loss of structure and trust, and with betrayal by the adults who should be protecting them is both uplifting and horrifying. Do not be fooled by the simple language of the narrator: there are hard questions asked and realistic, unsentimental consequences to the apocalypse confronting the children, and an ending that you are unlikely to forget easily.’
‘I absolutely loved this book. Powerful and poignant, VIRO packs a punch. Sad and haunting, VIRO is a new take on the zombie genre. The characters are dynamic and interesting, finding strength despite their horrifying circumstances. Jake is a character that will stick with you long after the final page. The action sequences are thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat!’
Get your copy today – Book One FREE for download HERE
After supper Mac, Gilly, and Iseult sat talking by candlelight. Washed and trimmed, Mac was back to something like his old self and whilst his friends were thrilled to see his return, they both still felt that something was not quite right.
‘We need to make a bed for Inteachán somewhere,’ Mac continued. ‘I want her to feel really welcome when she gets here.’
‘She has been away for a good while now and I don’t want anything to make her regret her returning.’
‘Other than the messianic pressure that keeps being piled upon her?’ asked Iseult.
‘She is only twelve, you know. Doesn’t she deserve something more normal for a girl her age?’ said Gilly.
‘Normal?’ replied Mac. ‘When was that ever a consideration?’
The clouds now part and the Crowley-Baird Inc. logo appears as if the sky was a giant screen. Behind the logo is a sunny dappled playful meadow and as the sunshine in the picture slowly fades the logo is replaced by the words ‘Terminal Transit.’ An automated voice begins to speak.
‘On behalf of everyone at Crowley-Baird Inc. we would like to welcome you all to Terminal Transit.’
The film playing now fades in to a beautiful sandy beach with slowly lapping waves and a hammock gently moving between two palm trees.
‘Congratulations to you and your planet for having been selected.’
The city continued to be pulled apart and as it was so the significance of records and metrics came once more to the fore.
It wouldn’t be a genocide without the concomitant cataloguing and noting and so the task fell to an army of hastily-appointed trustees with a civil service background to collect the last will and testament of every citizen.
Like the ultimate reality television show, everybody began to be forced at gunpoint to leave a record on video of who they once were.
Once their message was recorded, they were herded back to whichever landmark they had been assigned to destroy and the process continued.