Sixty Seconds Remaining

by deerinthexenonarclights

This strange semi-horror, semi-sci-fi story about a computer that eats people in a less than literal way is basically based on a dream that I had last night, but also around the fact that this actually happens to me on a daily basis. It’s very rough but very short, so at least there’s that. I’d like to say that it’s Harlan Ellison-esque in that way.  Enjoy, and feel free to criticise/psychoanalyse in the comments if you’re so inclined. (Though do forgive the formatting. I love writing in Celtx but getting anything out of there is near impossible.)

Page 1: 3x1x1

Panel Description Dialog
1.1 Caption: Friday Afternoon.
1.2 The Front Door of a standard suburban house.
1.3 A kid in his late teens (16-18) opens the door. He’s wearing a school uniform and carries a bag on his back.
1.4 He enters the house and walks down a hallway, perhaps we see this from a first person POV.
1.5 The Hallways opens out and we see from a perspective perpendicular to the far wall as the boy enters this space from the left of page, walking towards the right. The center of the screen shows where the wall opens up into a small study, paneled doors either side of the entrance; sitting inside it is a desk, chair and computer. (Thus the wide panel matches the triptych above, the lines of the doorway flowing from the borders above.)
1.6 Same shot. This time the boy walks back in from the right wearing casual clothes.

Page 2 3×3

Panel Description Dialog
2.1 The boy sits down at the computer, we see this from mid-distance.
2.2 We move in closer, over the shoulder. Now the screen is visible beside his head.
2.3 Closer again so that now the panel is just the screen, which shows a Firefox browser with a few tabs (Reddit, The Pirate Bay, IGN, Hotmail)open to Google.
2.4 Hotmail becomes the active tab and we see the kids inbox with a few unread emails, In reverse Order: “Hang-out Saturday Nite? Don’t tell Nick!” from Kathy Jenkins, “Patrick Added Friends You May Know” from Facebook, “Bio assignment – You Done It?” – From Nick Jenkins “Beta Test the Best New Site You’ve Never Seen, Now!” from (Blank) and “Your Receipt no.1912777133” from Itunes Store. The Mouse hovers over the second last, mysterious message.
2.5 It’s open. The message banner is a picture of a cloaked man in a Guy Fawkes mask holding a smooth white (not-skin) finger over his mouth, indicating silence. The text reads: “Shhh, this is top secret. If anyone besides you is reading this, close the browser. If anyone else has access to your email account, delete the message. If you are not the owner of the IP 14.201.136.247, you should not be reading this.”
2.6 He scrolls down: “You have been selected by friends and fate for a most important mission. We have gathered together many of the brightest modern minds – I cannot say who, but think of what you are doing and what you are doing it on and you may well guess some – to make a site that will supercede all others. What they have created is not just Internet 3.0, but five or six whole generations ahead and we need you to help them test it. This is not a scam Sam. Click Here to be one of the first non-psychic people to ever get a glimpse into the future.” SFX: ClickFATHER (BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER) Sam!

Page 3 2x1x1

Panel Description Dialog
3.1 Sam turns in his seat to face the voice while behind him the screen shows a slightly open lipless mouth. SAM: Yeah?
3.2 The Mouth opens behind him as Sam speaks to his off-screen father. A File icon appears on the taskbar at the bottom of the page, something is happening on the computer. FATHER: Whatcha doin’ in there?SAM: Nothin’. Just checking some stuff. Emails, Facebook…

FATHER: Ok, but don’t be on there too long.

3.3 Another wide panel, semi-side on. We see Sam sitting in front of the computer, staring. On the screen the teeth have now receeded to border the top and bottom of the window while sleek, minimalist styled content floats around the centre. It’s too far away to see just what it is exactly, but it looks new.
3.4 Same shot, only now it’s night time; the room is dark except for the unnatural glow of the monitor that bathes Sam, who sits unmoved.

Page 4 3x3x3

Panel Description Dialog
4.1 The Father – a man in his mid-fourties, decently fit with a decent amount of hair wearing decent semi-formal buisness atire and glasses – stands in the doorway a short distance from the entrance to the study (at the right end of the hallways as seen earlier) and shouts: FATHER: Dinner!
4.2 Same shot. Sam walks out of the study towards that other door, rubbing his eyes.
4.3 Sam sits down – mirror the composition of the earlier shot (2.1) – at the dinner table. His father looking up at him. FATHER: Where have you been? I’ve been calling.
4.4 Sam spikes a potato… SAM: Just in the study.
4.5 …then moves it straight to his mouth, ravenously. FATHER: Doing?SAM: I told you, nothing much really.
4.6 Sam stops chewing, mouth full, when he hears his dads response. FATHER: Nothing much? For three hours? Hmmm…
4.7 They stand over a sink; the FATHER washing and SAM drying the few dishes from dinner, both looking down at their workload. SAM (MUTTERING): Three hours? It can’t be.

 

FATHER: It is. What it “can’t” is be good for your eyes.

4.8 Sam looks up at his father, squinting his eyes in an exagerratedly agressive manner. SAM: My eyes are fine. You’re the one with the glasses old man.
4.9 The FATHER splashes SAM quite heavily. SAM attempts to hold the glare with sopping wet hair.

Page 5 1x1x1x1

Panel Description Dialog
5.1 The pair walk past the camera into the lounge room; SAM towards the Three seater and his FATHER towards the recliner. SAM: Is there anything on?FATHER: Hah!
5.2 Shot from same position. They both sit in front of the TV, which blares something inane. Sam seems restless.
5.3 Sam stands up and walks towards the camera. SAM: I’m just gonna go finish something.FATHER: More! Sigh Fine.
5.4 Reverse the shot from the previous three panels to show the lounge room from the opposite wall. Revealing that it was the computer POV that we saw before.

Page 6 1x1x1x1

Panel Description Dialog
6.1 SAM sits down again. In the corner of the screen we can see a small progress bar and his desktop, it reads 11%. FATHER: Just another hour though, OK?
6.2 Over the shoulder shot of SAM as he looks over at the FATHER, who is sitting is the single chair watching the TV. SAM: Yeah, Dad. I promise.
6.3 Sam clicks the FireFox icon and maximises the window (Capture in mid-flight).
6.4 17% now. FATHER: Come on. You promised!

 

SAM: What?

 

FATHER: We said one hour.

6.5 SAM turns around again, we see his face. He looks tired, drained. SAM: But it’s only been like five seconds! Fuck!
6.6 The TV is off, the FATHER is now laid out on the Three-seater in his pyjamas, book spilled out by his side. FATHER: Shut it Down!

Page 7 1x1x1x1

Panel Description Dialog
7.1 SAM wearily starts closing all the normal tabs and programs. SAM: ok.
7.2 His mouse hovers over the X in the corner of the screen but he can’t click it before he is interrupted by his father. The bar reads 67%. FATHER: Come on, it’s a whole new week of school in the morning. You need to get some Sleep.
7.3 SAM slams back in his chair. SAM: What! What are you talking about? It’s only Friday.
7.4 The FATHER wanders into the study and points at the screen. FATHER: In what country? (Beat) If you don’t trust me then ask your machine mother. Look there.
7.5 INSET The bottom right hand corner of the taskbar shows the date and time: 11:38pm on Sunday.
7.6 SAM stands up and backs away from the computer. SAM: That can’t be!(Beat)

 

Dad, I swear. It only seemed like a few minutes. (Beat)

 

What happened to Saturday? I had a date planned!

 

FATHER: Seems you go more for brains than beauty. You spent it in here.

Page 8 1x1x2x2x2

Panel Description Dialog
8.1 Sam keeps backing away from the computer without ever breaking eye contact. SAM: No, but I didn’t. I…I thought-

 

FATHER: Well I Know that you need to go to bed. Come on.

8.2 SAM moves out of the room muttering, leaving the FATHER to stare quizzically at his son SAM (MUTTERING): It must have been that site. I… What was it though?
8.3 SAM brushes his teeth, he notices how weary he looks in the mirror.
8.4 The FATHER turns to the still open screen.
8.5 SAM throws aside his pyjama pants, one hand on the light switch.
8.6 The FATHER leans over the chair, holding the mouse.
8.7 Sam sits on his bed, lit only by the latent moonlight.
8.8 The FATHER sits down at the desk

Page 9 2x2x2x2

Panel Description Dialog
9.1 Sam sits up, the sun shining through his window.
9.2 The strange site is still up on the screen. The loading bar, now in the centre of the screen, sits at 98% and now that it is maximised we can see more of it; it is labelled Sam and also reads “Sixty Seconds remaining”. Above and behind it, the next window down, is a second similair bar; it reads “Complete”.
9.3 SAM pulls his pants back on as he exits his room.
9.4 Zoom out a little from 2, A shadow of a head covers some of the screen. “99%” and “30 Seconds”.
9.5 SAM walks down the hall towards the study.
9.6 Then into the study to see his fathers corpse, emulsifying in the seat by the computer.
9.7 Tears in his eyes he looks to the screen. “5 Seconds”
9.8 Black. SFX: Ding! SFX: Thump.
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