2 min read

VCR

Test shot for short film. Static tv in an industry warehouse type setting. Brick wall. 

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Photo by Zach Vessels / Unsplash

☠ Readers beware: This story is from a writing project I did between May 24 to June 24, 2021. The goal was to write a new story every day. Although I'm happy with them, they are first drafts and many could use some work.


racing down the tracks, the crunch of stones with every step, the train bridge ahead stretching across the river

“Hello? Mark?”

“Ian? Is that you?

“Hey, yeah. Sorry, I, uh… It’s been a while.”

“No worries, man. Life happens. How are you doing?”

“Okay, good…”

“And how’s Olivia? Work must be hard through all this.”

“Yeah, yeah, I suppose so….”

“Ian, are you okay?”

sliding down the banks, reeds swaying in the rushing current, the sun low to the horizon

“Something strange happened, and well, I need your help.”

“Sure. What is it?’

“I… I got a VHS tape on my doorstep this morning—“

“Okay. Like, one for a VCR?”

“Yeah. Don’t know who left it. No name, no note. Just the word ‘play’ carved into the spine.”

“Nothing creepy with that.”

“Yeah…”

“So did you?”

“Did I what?”

“Play it?”

“Yeah…”

“And…?”

“What?”

“What was on it?”

walking past the wood pilings, the train bridge towering above, a path leading into the trees

“Ian, do you remember Caroline?”

“Who?”

“Caroline. Tall blonde. We hung out with her in grade eleven.”

“Oh, yeah… I think so. Why do you ask?”

“Do you remember what happened to her?”

“She moved, didn’t she? Sometime during grade twelve.”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s what I thought.”

“Okay? So, why are you asking all this?”

the old house, with rotting floorboards and shotgun blasts in the walls

“I saw something on the tape. Something that didn’t make sense.”

“Mark, what did you see?”

on the second floor, caught in the dust and dancing light

“Are we sure she moved away?”

“Pretty sure.”

a body, crooked and bent

“What was on the tape, Ian?”

blonde hair and blood.

“Are we sure?”

Part 2 here


Writing notes:

There’s a couple of things going on with this one.

Today is National VCR day, which is why this came into being. But this is all a two-part story, with the second half coming tomorrow, which is Best Friend day.

Some of the stuff that tripped me up was how to shape the story so that it didn’t get too nostalgic, how to tell the story showing and not telling, and who the heck has a VCR anymore.

I wanted to bounce back and forth about what was on the screen and the conversation, although it feels a little too stripped down.

I don’t even know if the conflict is there: Ian received a tape and called his friend. What is on the tape is different from his memory. I don’t think there is any resolution and really only a fracture, but this could be considered an ending for some people.

It feels like my writing notes aren’t very specific, but the story is very abstract. Hopefully, tomorrow fills out more of the details.

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