Sunday 27 October 2019
I had a few ideas for this post. Some were contentious and would have been sure to get me some sort of reprimand or telling off by someone, somewhere. Others were probably good ideas but not right to write at the moment. Of course, that left me stuck on what to write about. Through a bit of scribbling in my latest writing notebook, I realised that there was a character living in two of the pages that might want to see the light of day.
So, let me give you a little bit of a back story about how I came to jot down some rambling about it. Firstly, I’ve used ‘it’ in reference to the character because I’m unsure if it is male or female. My head tells me that it’s a male character – statistically, it is highly likely that should this character exist in real life, it would be male. However, my heart keeps leaning towards calling the character ‘her’. Statistically unlikely, but that shouldn’t hold back the creation of a female character who engages in the behaviour that this character will finds themselves committing to.
Secondly, I’ve been watching a lot of horror movies lately. A lot of zombie flicks, the Conjuring, Resident Evil, 28 Days/Weeks franchises, and a couple of old school horrors have graced the screen of my iPad Pro. Probably way too many horror and zombie movies actually. How do you know you’ve watched too many of these movies? Well, when you take your pooch outside to do her jobs at night, and find yourself thinking ‘Jeez, we’d be f**ked out here if there was a zombie apocalypse. No protection. Difficulty in safely moving from the back yard back to the house. Sh!t loads of places for them to hide. And holy hell, pooch, can you move around quietly so you don’t alert the zombies to our presence’ then you know you’ve watched too many of those movies in a short space of time. When you start considering how much noise your doors and locks make, how to best get from the house or yard to the car without getting attacked, the best egress from every room in the house to the car . . . yeah, you’ve probably overloaded on those movies. At this point, it’s best to throw in a comedy or a TV show to take your mind off your zombie apocalypse considerations.
What does someone who likes to write do in this circumstance? That’s right, we keep watching that genre of movie, and we write about it to get it out of our system. So, I wrote about it, and found there was the character that I mention before. She’s sitting in the pages of my writing notebook, and she’s waiting there to be heard. It’s only a short piece at the moment – a justification of why she’s about to engage in a particular set of behaviours. But it’s also a realisation for me, as a person, how people become so fixated on things that they act out this fantasy (although, that feels like the wrong word for this situation), or act upon the thoughts and feelings they have after exposure to certain stimuli.
I’ve just called it Character 1 because I’m undecided on the gender of the character, and I don’t want to go with a gender-neutral name because it won’t work for this person. In saying that, I feel like it is going to be a woman, and she’ll end up with a name that doesn’t imply there’s any malice in her body. She won’t be someone you expect committing herself to these behaviours.
Bit of a trigger warning in that I do write about suicide in this. Oh, and zombies.
Here we go . . .
* * * * *
My brain has spent far too much time thinking about how to survive in a new world overtaken by monsters. The movies I’ve seen have given me some ideas on how to approach survival, but they’ve left me terrified that I don’t know enough to survive for very long. I can’t shoot a gun. I have little upper body strength to beat the shit out of those things or general fitness to outrun them. I fear I’d be overrun in no time.
I see far too much in the ordinary things. The potential for horror, the entities that exist in that world, I see it everywhere. I see shadows where there are none, danger where none exists, apocalypse and disaster where there’s nothing untoward. And now I spend too much time considering how to survive it, who I’d sacrifice first, whether it would be safer in the countryside or more convenient for scavenging supplies in smaller cities, and whether I’d survive long enough to get away from the danger, or if I’d end up a casualty of the onslaught.
Is this how the madness starts? Is it how the crazy sets in? Is this the path that all those nut jobs we deal with travel? Am I going to end up one of those people, all-consumed by fiction, by crazy? Will I know if I turn into one of those people, or will I continue to think I’m completely sane?
I think this is it. I think it is how the madness starts. I think this is me going mad. Not completely bonkers yet, but mad enough for me to begin to worry that I’m going mad. I don’t want to be crazy. I don’t want to live with those thoughts. I want to be normal, unburdened by whatever this shit is that’s living in my head. I want to stop thinking the worst of every scenario or situation, circumstance, that I experience.
I haven’t started preparing. I’m not that mad. Not like those doomsday preppers. Not yet. I’m just thinking about the logistics of survival. I mean, if there’s a zombie apocalypse, I don’t want to be one of them. I’d kill myself if I knew there was no way out. But then I start thinking about how I’d kill myself if I had no access to guns – but it’s not like I know how to use one anyway. The best, quickest way I can come up with would be slicing and dicing my wrists with a knife. But I’d live long enough, if they had made it into wherever I was staying, to feel the bites they took out of me. And I’m too much of a coward to be able to cope with feeling that. Everything about having to live that life scares me. I don’t want to be around if it happens. I’m not strong enough for that.
You know, once you start thinking about these things, they don’t leave your head. You think about it continuously. The hows and whys, ifs and buts. Yes, this is how the madness starts.
* * * * *
Like I wrote, it’s only a short piece. it wasn’t meant to be some huge literary piece that would garner accolades for its content and style. It was only ever meant to be an in to the workings of someone’s mind. Someone who was on the brink of something, be it madness or something else. Maybe it will lead me into writing something else about Character 1 and whatever s/he is facing. I don’t know.