“We would set our own hearts on fire for a mere moment of warmth”

This is a script/storyboard (plus some other bits) for a cartoon that I pitched unsuccessfully to the BFi for their Animation 2018 project (the winners of which are being shown on BBC Four this Sunday, and which should be brilliant).

If it had actually been made, it would have had sets built by Dan Rawlings and sound design by Chriddof, with slightly inept claymation (with wooden heads) animation by me (which was presumably the reason it wasn’t commissioned).

Also the other reason it probably wasn’t commissioned is because it is absolutely the most depressing thing I’ve ever written.

[Some of the models for this were later re-used in They Locked Me In This Room And Told Me To Confess, which was another unsuccessful submission for a thing (the Observer Short Comic Competition thing they run each year). Maybe these poor plasticine abominations are cursed in some way.]

[If you can’t read the words you can click on the image to enlarge it. If you still can’t read the writing, it is because it is illegible to all but me. I am sorry.]

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Notes:

1. Written in February and March, 2018

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Crack

There were a load of cracks all over the field behind our house. They weren’t there yesterday. They were only there today.

The biggest one of them was so deep you could put your arm down it and never reach the end. This worked whether you had a short arm, like me, or a long arm, like my dad, or a leg, like my mum, who refused to lie down, like we were doing, and just sat on the side and dangled a leg down there instead.

“What are they, though?” I said.

“Mouths,” said my dad.

“Mouths?” I said, uncertainly.

“Yep, mouths,” said my dad. I could see my mother shaking her head and putting a finger to her lips but he carried on regardless. “It’s been so dry all summer that the ground needs to get water from somewhere. So it’s opened up some of its mouths in the hope of gulping down a child or two.”

“A child?” I whimpered.

“Children are full of water,” my dad said, and laughed and made to push me down the hole but he didn’t push me down the hole.

I jumped to my feet and thought of mouths and began to cry and my mother said, “Christ!” but not at me at my dad. My dad just shrugged his shoulders somehow even though he was lying on the floor and then rolled over onto his back and looked up at the sky.

“He needs to grow up,” he said, bitterly.

“You need to grow up,” said my mum to my dad, while hugging me and assuring me everything was okay, everything was all right, they weren’t really mouths, they weren’t going to eat me at all. And she made it all better and I stopped crying and I really love my mum I do.

A little while later we went off to the shop to get some ice creams, and when we got back my dad was asleep on the blanket. My mum smiled at me and put a finger to her lips and then exaggeratedly sneaked over to my dad and rolled him up in the blanket and pushed him down into the crack.

You’d never believe how much water there is inside a person, how thick and dark and endless it all is.

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Notes:

1. Written on August 3rd, 2018

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