Something amazing happened on Sunday evening. Andy was at my house. We were in the living room chatting, while the sun was going down. When it was dark, Andy looked out of the window and said, “There’s your mate.” (This was in reference to Arnie, whom I was expecting to call.) When I looked out of the window, I couldn’t see Arnie’s car in the driveway, which was odd because he never leaves it out on the street. I said, “There’s no one there.” Andy replied, “I could swear I saw somebody walking down your driveway.”
Okay, now I was a little unnerved. But, being a big manly man, I quickly waved off the irrational notion of someone skulking around my property in the dark. Andy reckoned he probably misjudged what he had seen at the top of my driveway; somebody was probably walking past the driveway, not into. But it bugged me that he had to use the word “probably.”
I received a text from Arnie to say he couldn’t make it, so Andy and I got on with our chat. After a bit, he said, “Darryl, would you mind closing the blinds. I hate the thought of glancing out of the window and seeing somebody staring back at me.” I did so.
There was a spooky mood in the air now. We ended up talking about the trapdoor in my hallway floor (something I’ve mentioned previously in the context of sewer manholes). I said, “Imagine you get up in the middle of the night to take a pee, and you walk along the hallway in the dark, unable to see much of anything. And when your foot comes down on the trapdoor, you’re surprised to discover that it’s sitting up at an angle, as if someone or something is peering out. The weight of your foot closes the trapdoor, and you’re left wondering: What the hell is underneath me? It starts banging the door, but is unable to shift your weight. But what can you do? You’re all alone in the house and you can’t take another single step.”
Andy and I started bouncing ideas off each other for where the story could go next. A couple of hours later, we had a pretty neat short film all figured out. We have no definite plans to make it, but we’re excited. Comparisons are unavoidable with the theme of our previous film Don’t Look in the Attic, but this one goes in a different direction (and we’d never call Don’t Look in the Basement, you’ll be glad to know). I don’t want to say too much, beause I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I’m just trying to convey something of the magic that happens occasionally and unexpectedly when Andy and I get together. Two heads are most definitely better than one.
What’s interesting is that Andy would have went home two hours earlier, and the story would have remained undiscovered, if not for the fact that he happened to glance out of the window at a particular moment and spot somebody walking past my driveway whom he thought was walking in. Heck, never mind Andy; the existence of the story hinges every bit as much on the walking dude doing what he did at the exact moment that he did. It also depends on Arnie cancelling. Without all these factors, Andy and I wouldn’t have creeped ourselves out and started talking about trapdoors. It seems amazing to me how a terrific story can be born into the world hanging on such a thin thread.
P.S. If anybody is wondering what has become of The End of the World and Beyond, I’ve decided to abandon the enterprise. I need to concentrate on where my passions lie (i.e. writing and filmmaking), or I’ll end up spreading myself out too thin and getting nothing done. I am, however, committed to the idea of podcasting my fiction. Is There Anybody Out There? went down a treat and generated a lot more feedback than The End of the World and Beyond.