Chain Gang - Create your own Storylines
If you’ve ever felt inspired by Radio 7 to create your own storylines, here’s your chance to have some broadcast.Chain Gang homepage
Award-winning author Robert Shearman has written the first part of a drama – and we want you to send us your plots for the remaining episodes. Over thirteen weeks you can help Robert unfold an exciting tale.
Dave Addison's Storyline
As Susan’s “What am I” fades to silence - the images of the labyrinth, Mrs F and the embodiment of the book dissipate, leaving Susan standing in the bookshop basement, the book at her feet and the Man rising from the floor nearby.
“What am I?” Susan repeats. The Man approaches but Susan, untrusting, keeps him at a distance. He tells her to look at the book - a small piece from the spine is missing.
The Man cautiously explains that this is what she comes from - made, grown to be as near as match to the DNA of the skin of the book as possible, he continues on to say that she was never meant to know. Susan numbed beyond belief asks “Why have I been made?” The man says he will tell her but that they must get to a place of safety. Susan, carrying the book, hesitantly leaves the bookshop with him.
As they hurry the Man informs Susan that her imaginary life was created to keep her safe until she could understand her “capabilities” and that she is not alone - four Susans were made. Two are insane, one is near death and one has been lost.
(Gentle, conversational. Not as if this were of great Import and Significance, but a fairy tale told to a child. Ambient background:)
MAN: Once upon a time an ape decided there had to be more to life than eating bananas. He began to walk about on hind legs, putting the other apes’ noses out of joint, who could no longer work out what he was any more. Truth to tell, nor could he. He started painting upon the walls of caves, he came up with an alphabet and language so he could scribble things down. He began writing books – just to ask that one question he could never quite find the answer to. Who am I? What on earth am I?
(And a quick reprise from last episode, as SUSAN reaches her epiphany. There is reverberation on the last few words, and then the whoosh of movement...)
SUSAN: It’s a blank. I’m a blank. What on earth am I?
(The echo of the labyrinth has gone.)
MAN: I’m sorry. You were never meant to find out.
SUSAN: What happened? Where did they go?
MAN: When you got excited, you transported yourself upstairs. You haven’t mastered your powers yet. You’re in the bookshop, look.
SUSAN: I have the power to do that?
MAN: And much good will it do you, unless we get out of here right now. Come on...!
SUSAN: I’m not going anywhere with you. I want answers.
MAN: There isn’t time for this...!
SUSAN: I thought getting married would be adjustment enough. Changing surname, joint back account. Now I’ve got to deal with magical books wanting my life, and the fact I no longer remember having parents. I’ve had it up to here. Tell me. Who am I? And from over there, not a step closer, thanks...
MAN: You want to know your parents. Well, here I am.
SUSAN: You’re my father?
MAN: (hard) As close to one as you’re ever going to get. Look at the book. Look at it.
SUSAN: I left it in the labyrinth...
MAN: You’ll never be apart from it now, not properly. Look at the spine...
SUSAN: (concentrating) Yes, I can... It’s damaged.
MAN: We took a cutting from it. So we could grow a new book. Something as close to the DNA of that living skin as we could.
SUSAN: (dead) Me?
SUSAN: (flaring) What for? I’m not even a real person, I’m just a... a growth!
MAN: You must come with me now. It’ll find you here. You’re in great danger.
SUSAN: I’m always in great danger! The woman downstairs wants me dead...!
MAN: Oh, she’s nothing. Listen. You’re not our first attempt to grow a book. There was one other. It... resisted us. It went mad. You’re of the same flesh, it’ll know you understand, it’ll be coming for you...
SUSAN: What does it want?
MAN: It stole you from us. Right from the start. Promised you another life. A life you mustn’t have...!
(The bell of the shop rings. The MAN falls silent. Footsteps. A beat. Hushed, even scared:)
We’re too late.
BRIAN: (softly) You’re mine, Susan. Til death us do part.
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