I saw a dream. An idea for a story that I want to make into a film. Which I’m going to reveal to you in this article. But I’m scared to do so.
Hi and welcome back. If you are new here I am Ashik Satheesh a writer and filmmaker from Kerala (India). On this website, we learn the intricacies of how to tell great stories and thereby make the world a better place, one story at a time.
If you want a video or podcast version of the same (with the story read in English, and the rest in Malayalam), check here.
Why Reveal My Next Story?
I’m scared because what if someone steals the idea. What if the final film resembles nothing like the dream that I’m about to share with you? But I had promised you that I will take you along the journey of turning an idea into a story. Most people don’t get to see that. So I decided to face my fears.
The final film is probably going to be a lot different. Munnariv is entirely different. Probably this would too. And these are exactly the things you don’t see. That ruled out, let’s looks at the possibility of the story getting stolen. It might happen. I can’t help it anyway. I choose to have faith in the essential goodness of humans. Moreover I want to use this opportunity to get feedback on the story. Munnariv had been seen and read by over 50 people before it became what you saw.
Here it goes. The working title I have given for it is ‘Bed Demons’, a horror thriller.
Revealing My Next Story
A Hindu Police SI of a small hill station is brought to a Christian orphan’s hostel under his jurisdiction, because two of the children were found with recovering scratch wounds. The father in charge of the hostel says that there were no fights but that it is the work of devil at night. Of the 20 or so boys in white pyjamas and shirt, the SI has his eyes on one of the biggest boys there, who looks like a bully.
That night the police officer sleeps in a chair at the hostel to check for himself. The kids thank him for being there and sleep peacefully. Next day he tells the father that nothing happened and everything is alright. The father says it attacks only those who believe in Christ and the evil. The SI says he can’t do anything about that.
He goes on leave to his hometown to get married. Soon after the marriage he is called back as one of the boys with wounds is found dead. Post-mortem report says he had internal bleeding, but there were no significant wounds on his body.
Meanwhile the new wife, on her own, moves in to his quarters at the hill station. She is a doctor and takes up charge at the hospital there.
The SI goes back to the hostel. Questions the kids, especially the bully one, the father, the caretaker. The father and caretaker were once orphans who lived at the same hostel. The caretaker tells of the demon that attacks kids in their sleep. One that crawls under the bed sheets and stabs from behind. The father tells that this is not the first time that this has happened at the hostel. Once when he was a kid, living there, two of the boys had been killed too similarly. Long sessions of prayers and exoxism were conducted then by elder priests to purify the hostel of evil spirits. He says he is arranging for another one before anything worse happens. Before the demon goes so far as to possess someone’s human body.
The SI goes home clueless. He tells all this with the wife and says he is going to spend another night at the hostel. She makes him stay at their quarters that night because it is their first night together. They make love.
The next night at the hostel the SI changes from his uniform into white pyjama and shirt like all the other kids there. He sleeps on one of their beds, with his pistol under the pillow. He falls asleep. In his dream he sees something crawling up under his bed sheet. Waking up because of the SI’s ragged breathing, the bully boy comes to check. In his dream the SI instinctively reaches for the gun under his pillow and fires. It barely missed the bully boy. Every kid wakes up, even more scared.
The next day morning the SI sits at his dining table, one hand on his gun, the other scratching his back, something on his mind. The wife kisses him and serves breakfast. She tries to assure him it was an accident. He tells her that he almost killed a boy, that he is a police officer and this is unacceptable behaviour.
That night he again sees the creature crawling towards him from under the bed sheets. He lifts the sheet, but there is nothing underneath. He looks around. Suddenly something pushes him onto his bed. Two black hands pin his hands down from reaching for his gun. He tries to scream to his wife sleeping beside him, but another black hand covers his mouth. The creature comes closer to him to possess his body. His eyes turn black. The SI screams and resists… He is screaming in his bed, asleep. His wife shakes him awake. He gets up, scared, hugging her. She find scratch marks on his back.
The next day morning he calls in sick and they leave for his hometown. The wife casually asks the SI’s mother if he has ever had nightmares. The mother says that he used to have as a child, especially after his father left for gulf. But he stopped having them after few years.
They go to her colleague, a psychologist who specializes in Freudian dream psychology. When questioned the SI says he had been sleeping alone for so many years now that he does not know if he ever screamed in his sleep before. The psychologist questions him further on his father and how his absence affected him. The SI tells that he was sad and angry but soon came out of it.
After counselling the psychologist tells the SI and his wife that his dreams were possibly indicating the missing father figure, the protector, and it possibly started when his father abruptly stopped being there in his life. He possibly learned to cope with it in some time, but he miss a strong, masculine, guarding, father figure in his psyche. Probably joining the police force was to make up for it.
That night her goes to his bed, afraid. His wife stays right beside him, holding his hand tight. She sees in him a scared little boy. In his dream, he sees himself as a small boy is in a school corridor, lying down, hurt, crying and bleeding. Some bullies and walking away. His father comes and holds him. He pushes his father away, screaming that he wasn’t there to protect him. The father apologise. The boy weeps.
The school corridor changes to a dark black space. He hears something crawling around him. His crying stops. Fear overcomes him. He calls out to his father, but there is no response. The loud breathing of the demon get closer. The boy searches for something in the dark. He gets a pistol. He starts shooting around with it, aimlessly. He hears his mother’s scream, getting hit by his fires. He throws the gun down.
The SI, in his uniform, picks up the pistol. The boy runs and hides behind his strong legs. They hear the sound of the demon running towards them. The SI fires into the darkness, but it still keeps coming. In one blow the demon throws the gun out of the hands of the SI, with another blow hits him high into the air. It pins the boy down and towers over him. The boy screams for help.
The SI picks himself up, walks toward the demon, and grabs him by his two horns. He pushes the demon away from the boy. In one strong move he breaks the demons horns. It screams. It plunges at the SI, but misses. The SI grabs its arms and pulls them apart one by one. He finally grabs its jaw and rips its head apart.
The boy hides behind the SI’s legs. He lifts him up, hugs him, kisses him and says he’s is there now. Everything will be alright.
The SI wakes up in his bed, tears rolling down his face, his hands still clutching onto his wife, asleep by his side. He gets up, takes a shower and gets into his uniform. They head back to the hill station, along with the psychologist.
Back at the hostel the high priests are conducting the prayers and purification. The psychologist talks to the kids there. He says they’ll be fine. To the kids the high priests and their prayers have become their father figures.
On their way back, the SI questions the psychologist about the scratches on their backs, as well as his own. The psychologist says that it is probably bed bugs, that when one is dreaming, what happens to the body is amplified, like the bed sheets falling off appearing as being naked. Even a small prick by the coir fibre can appear in a dream as being stabbed, or as being bitten. Combine that with fears, and the susceptibility of the young minds to horror stories, they become demons that bite you in your dream.
The SI asks about the dead boy. The psychologist seemed confused. Says he doesn’t know. It is possible that the kids died out of shock. But he can’t be sure.
There you have it. I faced my fear and shared the dream with you. This is exactly how I had written it right after I woke up from the dream. This is a lot more elaborate than the dreams most people have. I don’t know why I dream in stories but that is how it is.
Evaluating The Story
In our last article in the Idea to Story series I gave you two criteria that I use to judge if an idea is good. If you haven’t read it, here is the same in in short. First is that an idea is a story only if it has a beginning, middle, and end. Does this story have all three? Yes it does. There also needs to be a character, his/her motivation, and obstacles. This story has those.
The second criteria is to see if the story resonates with me at this moment. Yes and no. This was a dream that I have even before Munnariv. I knew I’d never be able to make this as my first film. Now that it has been a couple of years since I need to reevaluate the idea in light of the things I have learned since.
I have taken a new step that I’ve never done before. I can move onto my next step, which is to turn this into a story. For that I would like to know what you liked and didn’t like in it. Subscribe to my newsletter or drop me an email. If you are reading this a long time after, I’d not be able to use your feedback. If so then you will find the next article in the Idea to Story series on my website. Thanks for reading.