Story no. 34. Yay! I’m glad to be back!
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Black screen. LOW SINGING is heard in a young man’s voice, in strong dialect. The sound of wind rises and gradually overpowers his words with a LONG, HIGH WHISTLING.
Fade up. A SHEPHERD sits alone in a clearing in the middle of a deep forest, surrounded by dense trees covered in vines. This is not a natural forest, but one where strange creatures and nightmares live. The shepherd is young but looks exhausted. The ground is covered in patchy snow. His head is bowed over the wet, still body of a wolf, or something that could be a wolf if not looked at too closely. It has too many legs and too many eyes. His shirt hangs over a nearby branch, and his bare chest is splattered with dark liquid.
Cut to his face in profile. He breathes deeply, and his breath makes steam in the frigid air.
We pan down his body to see a knife, a plain blade with a re-wrapped hilt, lying on his thigh. It drips onto the snow.
We cut to his face again; he presses his lips together and leans forward, and we hear the sound of the KNIFE CUTTING INTO FLESH as he starts to skin the wolf.
Khirkara profoundly regretted taking this job. He had a degree. He had spent five years and untold sleepless nights for that damn piece of paper, and for what? So he could play some sort of historical yes-man to a megalomaniac making a psychedelic movie rendition of a fairy tale?
He ought to be studying for a professorship. He ought to be a visiting scholar at some foreign university, or at the very least Caillon. (Hell, he wasn’t proud. If the history department at Eilarao would have taken him, he’d have gone. At least it was far away.)