Tale #40: Methods of Torture, Methods of Death (extract)

[A man] so condemned would be taken to the edge of the bamboo forest and laid down upon the ground and shackled there so he could not move. Every day, maids from the village would wash and clean his body, and feed him and give him water from the lake.


When spring came the new growths of bamboo would rise up from the earth and push their way through his body. At the end of the summer his shackles would be cut, the maids would cease to feed him, and he was free to go.

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1. Written July 15th, 2015

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“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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Pumpkin

There was a pumpkin on my doorstep, smiling at me.

I don’t know what it was doing there, or why it was smiling.

Perhaps it had just killed something

or was at least thinking about killing something.

Perhaps it was thinking about killing me.

But I’m 6 foot 2 and presumably beyond its powers

So I wasn’t especially worried about that

I thought about asking it what it was doing there and/or why it was smiling

but in the end I didn’t

just in case it replied.

I leant over it and unlocked the door and sidled past it, trying to prevent it from getting in, but it slipped nimbly between my legs and disappeared inside.

Now there’s a pumpkin in my house and I don’t know where.

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Notes:

1. Written on the 30th of October, 2018

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