05/06/2016

For Annabelle Part I


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Welcome to book 3 of The DSU. If you want to download and own this in full as an ebook, please follow the links...



The pricing on Smashwords is dependent on you. You may choose to download the ebook for free or pay otherwise.

This is a story in 4 parts, links forwards and backwards will be provided top and bottom. Comment below or tell me what you think at:



Before jumping straight into things, a quick synopsis...

A Backpacker goes from store to store where he engages in conversations with clerks before killing them and robbing their money, all in search of a something very specific.


Before we start...

This is a story told in the rough form of a screenplay - a movie.

If you've never read a screenplay, you'll need to know the following:

EXT - Exterior. Found in scene headers to indicate we are outside.

INT - Interior. Also found in scene headers, but to indicate we are inside.

(O.S) - Off screen. Found next to character names.

(V.O) - Voice over. Also found next to character names.

(CONT'D) - Continued. Used to indicate continued speech next to character names.

SUPER: - Superimpose. To indicate text is seen over images.

The rest should be self-explanatory.

Enjoy...

FADE IN:

EXT. DESERT - DAY

A blistering hot day. A small figure wanders in this arid and endless wasteland. Yellow and blue, that's all there is to see. Sand, sun and sky. Nothing else.

This figure is the BACKPACKER. He is the Backpacker because he wears a backpack. There is not much more to say about him as of yet.

Thirty-something, a bit scruffy, but otherwise unremarkable.

His bag clunks as he walks. There are metal objects within his bag that move about against softer material.

In the man's pocket, not his waistband for some reason, is a revolver. It sticks out of his side looking uncomfortable. He doesn't seem to notice it though.

The man walks with his chin up. He's sure of himself and where he is going.

All around him is desert, nothing else, just blue and yellow.

INT. STORE - DAY

A general store that looks over a hundred years old, stocked with all your modern everyday items.

Everything about the store is a contradiction to what's in it. It's as if the guy who owns the corner store near your house watched too many westerns, liked the look of things, yet, still wanted to sell cans of Coke and Snickers bars and extortionate prices.

Out of the window is nothing but sand and sky.

At the till is a fed up and bored CASHIER, late forties.

Backpacker enters, he surveys the store then casually walks up to the till.

BACKPACKER

Hey, how you doing?

CASHIER

All right. What can I get you?

BACKPACKER

I don't know. What you got behind there?

Taps the counter.

CASHIER

What? Under here?

BACKPACKER

Yeah, why not?

CASHIER

My lunch.

BACKPACKER

I'm guessing that's not for sale.

Cashier shrugs, exhaling a polite laugh.

CASHIER

You want some smokes?

BACKPACKER

No, no, no, thanks. Erm... some water?

CASHIER

Yeah, that's back there, in the fridge.

Backpacker goes to the fridge to get a bottle.

CASHIER

So, you a hitchhiker, or camping, or... what?

BACKPACKER

What do you mean?

Backpacker brings the bottle back to the till.

CASHIER

The bag. Where you off to?

BACKPACKER

Nowhere specific, at least I don't think I am.

CASHIER

That's one forty-nine. You coming from somewhere then?

Backpacker digs some coins out of his pocket, in doing so, lifting up his shirt and revealing his gun.

Cashier grows very anxious.

BACKPACKER

Again, nowhere specific. You ask a lot of questions.

Cashier forces a smile. Backpacker looks at the coins in his hands.

BACKPACKER

How much was it again?

Cashier tries to talk, but can only manage a stutter.

Backpacker looks down at his gun.

BACKPACKER

Ohh! I'm sorry, I really am.

Backpacker takes the gun out of his pocket and places it on the till.

BACKPACKER

This isn't a hold up.

Cashier doesn't want to believe him.

BACKPACKER

Hey, trust me, man. This was my father's gun, well, my father-in-law's. Annabelle's father.

Backpacker smiles, thinking the situation is explained.

CASHIER

It was one forty-nine.

BACKPACKER

(handing him the money)

I'm sorry, he died recently and I was picking up the gun.

Cashier puts up a relaxed facade.

CASHIER

Oh, ok. I'm sorry for your loss.

Backpacker just shrugs.

CASHIER

Doesn't it have a belt or something?

BACKPACKER

I like you, always got questions.

Backpacker laughs for an awkward second, he then opens the bottle and starts drinking.

BACKPACKER

You get many customers in here?

Cashier shakes his head, no.

BACKPACKER

You must get bored.

CASHIER

Yeah, well...

BACKPACKER

I used to work in a store. Didn't last long. The owner hated me.

CASHIER

That's the way it is, man.

BACKPACKER

What do you mean?

CASHIER

Owners... they don't much like anybody, you know. When I started out the same happened to me.

BACKPACKER

You started out here?

CASHIER

No, way out west.

BACKPACKER

You the owner?

CASHIER

Yup.

BACKPACKER

No shit. You seem like a nice guy, I mean...

CASHIER

I don't know...

There's another awkward silence. Backpacker downs the water.

BACKPACKER

That was good.

He goes and gets another.

Cashier studies the gun as he goes.

BACKPACKER

One forty-nine?

Cashier nods. Backpacker hands him the money.

BACKPACKER

Two ninety-eight on water? Right about now, I'd be asking if you were some kind of ball-buster, but I like you, man.

CASHIER

Thanks...

Backpacker opens up the water and takes a sip.

BACKPACKER

I think I understand your point of view, you know.

CASHIER

You do?

BACKPACKER

Yeah, but stop me if I'm being too presumptuous. I mean, you've got to talk to the people, you know. You're sitting in here, what, ten hours a day?

CASHIER

Something like that.

BACKPACKER

And it gets boring, you need to make the most of service, you've got to get your piece out of things, you know. You've got to get a conversation flowing.

CASHIER

I guess so...

Backpacker picks up a pack of gum and sets it down.

CASHIER

One o-nine.

BACKPACKER

That's a strange one.

Backpacker hands him the money.

Cashier takes it then passes him the change for all three items, leaving the cash register drawer open.

BACKPACKER

Oh, I forgot about that.

Backpacker checks the coins before putting them in his pocket.

BACKPACKER

Anyways, how do you do your pricing? Is it purely mathematical? You know, profit versus competition. Or is it, like, best guess?

CASHIER

I don't know...

BACKPACKER

I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend. Of course you know what you're doing. I don't need to know the business side of things.

Backpacker offers him some gum, he declines.

BACKPACKER

You want me to go?

CASHIER

No, no, no...

BACKPACKER

I'm not bad for business then?

He laughs then throws some gum into his mouth.

BACKPACKER

It's just that I'm so comfortable in these places. My father used to own this pawn shop. It's a different business, but there's probably crossovers. Right?

CASHIER

I think that... yeah...

BACKPACKER

My father used to play music though. It made the place... I don't know, more relaxed. You ever play music?

CASHIER

Sometimes. Around the holidays.

BACKPACKER

That's cool. You like music?

CASHIER

Of course.

BACKPACKER

Who'd you like?

CASHIER

Oh, no one specific.

BACKPACKER

No one specific?

CASHIER

Yeah, everyone I guess. I like all music. What do you call it...

BACKPACKER

Oh, it's something like, elect... something.

CASHIER

Eclectic.

BACKPACKER

Ahh, that's right. Me, myself, I like heavy metal. You like anything on the heavy side?

CASHIER

Nah.

BACKPACKER

But you just said you were eclectic...

CASHIER

I know, b -

BACKPACKER

It's all right, I get it. You don't think heavy metal's real music. I get that one all the time.

CASHIER

No, it's just not for me, you know.

BACKPACKER

Me, I think it's for everyone.

CASHIER

Music's so subjective though.

BACKPACKER

You see, I don't agree with that. I think that's what scared people say: 'let's agree to disagree', 'let's say it's down to personal preference', 'to each his own'. Personally, I say that's all bullshit.

CASHIER

Really?

BACKPACKER

Really. I mean look at it this way. To you, is music art?

CASHIER

I suppose.

BACKPACKER

And, to you, what is art?

CASHIER

I don't know... self expression.

BACKPACKER

It's emotional output.

CASHIER

That's what I said.

BACKPACKER

You said self expression.

CASHIER

Exactly.

BACKPACKER

(hits the counter)

That's bullshit! I'm sorry, I'm coming on too aggressive.

CASHIER

No, no, it's all right.

BACKPACKER

Well, what I mean is... art isn't a person saying 'this is me'. It's not a statement about the painter, author, creator. That's much too pretentious.

Cashier is not sure he agrees.

BACKPACKER

You see, art is nothing without an audience. I mean, who's going to say that Mozart is a genius or that Van Gogh is incredible, but the audience? To say that art is this one way thing is... I don't know, I want to say selfish or vain, but those aren't the right words. Maybe just stupid.

CASHIER

I think I get what you're saying, like, the author is dead or something.

BACKPACKER

I'm not sure what you mean.

CASHIER

Like, the writing and the creator aren't connected... unrelated, you know.

BACKPACKER

That doesn't make much sense to me.

CASHIER

I don't know...

BACKPACKER

What I was saying is that painting, music and stories only ever convey emotion. Let's look at heavy metal. What's the emotion there?

CASHIER

I don't know.

BACKPACKER

It's not a trick question.

CASHIER

Aggression?

BACKPACKER

Exactly. Aggression. Heavy metal conveys aggression.

CASHIER

You could say violence at times.

BACKPACKER

Of course not. Where'd you get that from? Aggression is an emotion. Violence is an act. Look at film, there is no such thing as violence on the screen. It's aggression, emotion.

CASHIER

I don't think I follow.

BACKPACKER

It's just images and characters. When you're sitting in a theater there's no act of violence going on. When a bad guy is stabbed fourteen times, or stomped to death, it's just aggression, anger, being displayed.

CASHIER

I disagree.

BACKPACKER

That's fine because right now we're talking about music. You see, all music uses emotion. It's incited through tones, notes and rhythm and so on. You can play fast and it can be euphoric or... or aggressive. You play a G, it could be happy. You play a D it could be sad. You play clean, it can be relaxing, but if you play distorted it can be invigorating. What music is, is a combination of these, and more, elements to convey specific emotions. Now, heavy metal is best at this.

CASHIER

Isn't that down to the listener, the audience, as you said?

BACKPACKER

I didn't say the audience dictates what art is, but merely experiences it and allows it to be of significance.

CASHIER

So heavy metal just is the best kind of music?

BACKPACKER

For all intents and purposes, yes. Heavy metal, no matter if you're a fan or not, makes you feel something. If you like it, it's great, it's like a bazooka on your shoulder or fire in your chest. If you don't like it, you don't understand what's going on, you might feel scared -

CASHIER

To me, it makes no sense, it's just noise.

BACKPACKER

That's because heavy metal has great emotional depth.

CASHIER

Sounds like bullshit to me...

BACKPACKER

It's not.

CASHIER

There's just too much going on. It's not music, it's noise.

BACKPACKER

That's the one that really gets me: 'it's just noise'. To people who don't listen to heavy metal, it may just be this wall. But once you grow to understand it, you start getting in tune with the emotions, you begin to perceive its depth. There are so many undertones, ways of listening, ways of feeling -

CASHIER

How about rock?

BACKPACKER

What about it?

CASHIER

That's kind of close to metal.

BACKPACKER

It's a completely different thing.

CASHIER

So you're talking about, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Slayer--

BACKPACKER

For me, no. To me, heavy metal is Slipknot, Parkway Drive, Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying, Trivium, Deftones, in part at least -

CASHIER

I've only heard of Slipknot.

BACKPACKER

Well, I mean, you're eclectic, right...

Backpacker laughs.

CASHIER

I still don't see your point.

BACKPACKER

Hold on, I've not got into this yet. Music is supposed to be an exercise for the mind and ear.

CASHIER

Of course not. Music relaxes -

BACKPACKER

No, music can relax. It's supposed to -

CASHIER

Supposed?

BACKPACKER

It's what I was saying wasn't it?

(under breath)

Fucking...

CASHIER

You can't say things are supposed -

BACKPACKER

Well--just--you know...

The Cashier pipes down, hands up.

BACKPACKER

If you let me...

CASHIER

Go on.

BACKPACKER

Music is supposed to challenge. Otherwise, what's the point?

Cashier shrugs.

BACKPACKER

You see, the best music has layers. Songs should have this... quality. You should be able to listen to them over and over, you know. When a song has layers, you pick out parts: a bit of the toms, guitar one, two, bass, cymbals, keyboard, bass drums... a bit of this, that, here and there. Not just the voice. I-It's...

(stumbles, finding words, hands waving)

What I want to say is a song shouldn't be flat.

CASHIER

You're going to have to explain that.

BACKPACKER

Ok. A song can't be singer and background music because I'm not a caveman. I don't want to see the tribes people banging rocks on trees, the same beat over and over as some moron wails. You know?...

Cashier half laughs.

BACKPACKER

No, there should be complexity, an artist at each instrument. Not a machine and a talent. Fuck that, right?

CASHIER

I suppose. You prefer the concept of a band then?

BACKPACKER

I like the idea of creativity, actual artistry. Music is for an ear, but the ear...

Backpacker searches for a long while...

CASHIER

I'm really not seeing your point.

BACKPACKER

I don't know, I doubt you want to see it anyways.

Cashier shrugs to himself.

Backpacker picks up the gun. Cashier's reminded of the possible threat.

BACKPACKER

You sell headphones here?

Cashier shakes his head, no.

Backpacker looks away and thinks for a moment.

CASHIER

For the music?

BACKPACKER

Huh?

CASHIER

The headphones, the music, you know... heavy metal.

BACKPACKER

No.

Backpacker almost leaves the store, but stays put.

CASHIER

Is there anything else?

Backpacker shakes his head, no.

They stand in an awkward silence for what seems like forever...

CASHIER

Who -

BACKPACKER

What?

CASHIER

The headphones, I'm sorry, maybe I could order you some... um... who were they...

BACKPACKER

Annabelle.

CASHIER

Your girl?

Backpacker stares at the Cashier for another eternity.

Cashier goes through all kinds of emotions: confusion, fear, anger, but on the outside, he tries to remain calm.

BACKPACKER

Ok.

CASHIER

What?

BACKPACKER

Hold on.

He drops his bag and kneels.

The Cashier looks over his counter to see that he's about to unzip his bag.

BACKPACKER

Just a moment.

Cashier leans back.

He looks over his shoulder to a telephone on the wall.

Backpacker stands and...

BANG

... blows the Cashier's head off with his revolver.

Blood splatters, the Cashier drops backwards.

Backpacker leans over the counter, unphased, quite amused actually. This is not sadistic amusement, more like the amusement felt with a sense of accomplishment.

He points the gun at the dead body and thinks about shooting again. He doesn't. Instead, he completely forgets the body. To him it no longer exists.

He brings up his bag and takes out a box of bullets, three are missing.

He unclips the cylinder and takes out the two remaining bullets to refill the box. He then puts the box into his backpack along with a dozen other boxes.

Backpacker jumps over the counter and starts loading the money from the cash register into his bag.

Each coin he takes he checks before putting it in.


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