sci-fi, historical, drama, political
In this scene, Polina - a young radio technician and immigrant to the USSR - has just begun work at Star City, the home of the Soviet space programme. Whilst struggling on a shift, she is confronted by an insidious looking man named Volkov, and beckoned into his dark, spider's web of an office.
VOLKOV: Polina isn’t it?
VOLKOV: I assume I may call you Polly.
POLINA: Of course.
VOLKOV: Well I won’t. I won’t do that. Polina, this isn’t the place for nicknames. This is the military.
POLINA: Ok. Yes. That’s... Of course.
VOLKOV: Do many call you Polly?
POLINA: My friends do.
VOLKOV: Oh. You have friends here already? That’s good.
POLINA: Well. Not so much. Not yet. I meant from home.
VOLKOV: This is not your home?
POLINA: Yes. Of course. But I mean where I came from.
VOLKOV: Of course. And where do you come from Polina?
VOLKOV: Well that’s what your file says too. But I asked you where you came from Polina... I asked where you came from.
POLINA: I moved around a great deal. The war and the fighting after that.
VOLKOV: A nomad?
POLINA: I suppose so.
VOLKOV: Middle name?
VOLKOV: Middle name?
POLINA: Sasha. Polina Sasha Semyenova.
VOLKOV: (laughing) Sasha. I thought so. Polina, my middle name is Ivanovitch. After my Father. Viktor Ivanovitch Volkov. As is the custom here in Russia.
VOLKOV: Why do you lie about your past?
POLINA: (beaten) I... I don’t know.
VOLKOV: You’ve obviously learned a great deal about your adopted country and yet you hadn’t bothered with a simple thing like that.
POLINA: Do I need to be Russian to work here?
VOLKOV: You need to be Socialist. That’s all. (jesting) I’d even accept a Yankee rocket scientist, riding in on a star-spangled fried chicken - if he could quote Marx.
Polina, relieved, laughs a little.
VOLKOV: There are no borders in Socialism. You should know that.
I regularly write story prompts for authors on the social storytelling platform, Dorian, and have also written some full episodes too. All are interactive fiction, with your choices dictating where the narrative goes, and are available by downloading Dorian onto a smartphone. Just search for Dan Dawes in the main menu. Stories include:
Secret Santa - comedy, festive
The Cat Burglar - crime, mystery, comedy
Festive Future (prompt) - comedy, historical, sci-fi, festive
Fright School - mystery, paranormal, teen drama
Sexy Alien Face (prompt) - comedy, sci-fi, paranormal
comedy, jukebox musical, farce, puppetry
In this scene, Janet - a new 'inmate' at Sleepy Brook Care Home for the Elderly - is being wheeled in by Faye, one of the owners of the home. Already present is Elsie, the longest serving 'inmate'.
FAYE: Will you just take that coat off?!
FAYE: What’s the point in keeping it?
JANET: If I take it off, I’ll never see it again. I know what these places are like. Keep you cooped up like a bloody chicken ready for slaughter.
FAYE: For goodness sake.
JANET: Pluck off our feathers first eh? Yes that’s the way to do it. Humiliate them. Dehumanize them. I’ve read all about your types.
FAYE: Well you’ll get used to it.
JANET: I don’t want to be here.
FAYE: Yes you’ve made that abundantly clear.
JANET: I have all my faculties, I’m perfectly sound of mind, and perfectly mobile when I want to be too. I’m not one of the disheveled, smelly, dribbling idiots you get in places like these.
Janet notices Elsie for the first time. Pause.
ELSIE: (waving slightly awkwardly) Hello there.
Janet immediately breaks eye contact. Pause.
FAYE: Aren’t you going to say hello back then Janet? Eh?
Janet says a lot by saying nothing.
There’s no good sulking Janet. You’re here whether you like it or not. It’s the way of the world. We’re born, we live, we have kids, the kids put you in a care home. And there’s no better home than this Janet. Isn’t that right Elsie?
ELSIE: (after a moment) Oh yes.
FAYE: ‘Oh yes’ - see? Now why don’t you two have a nice little chat. Best to bond now and get it out of the way. You’ll have to get used to each other. After all, you are going to be roommates.
FAYE: Yes didn’t you hear Janet? Maybe your faculties aren’t so good after all.
JANET: My son told me it would be a private room.
FAYE: Well… he lied.
JANET: And my son told me you were a very polite young lady!
FAYE: Well your son told me that you were a bothersome, lazy, cantankerous old bat who does nothing but complain!
JANET: I object to ‘lazy’.
supernatural horror, classic adaptation, psychological horror
The Signalman - a night watchman on the London Underground - is being haunted by visions and apparitions that he cannot explain. He confides in a mysterious young man who has missed the last train home, and has found himself embroiled in The Signalman's disturbed narrative.
The Signalman is a modern day adaptation of the short story by Charles Dickens, of the same name.
Down here. Doesn’t it feel suffocating? Like you’re drowning? Or that you’re being... crushed. All that pressure, you know? Surrounding you. And that, at any one moment, there could be a crack and everything pours in. All of the city. All of its mud. Choking in it.
I think of all those people above us. Pushing us down. Millions of tonnes of bone. A billion corpses. Its vastness. It crushes me. The past, the present, and the future. Of a city built on blood. Always built on blood. And its towers like giant tombstones. Brick, concrete, glass. Shards of metal rooted in so much blood. The blood of the poor and the blood of the world. And these towers of glass. Clean, bright, transparent. They reach as high as they can so they don’t have to look down. Running from their own reflection. Disgusted.
But we’re still down here. In its veins. Drowning in it. And all those bodies… Have you never felt that?