If Wishes Were Horses...

Saturday, 30 April 2011


I did say someone would have to make a movie about this, and it looks like it'll have to be me, except that I haven't got the requisite equipment and Hollywood is unlikely to be interested. Undeterred, I shall blog to bring you the masterpiece that is...

On a sunny day, a young woman drives through a leafy suburban street. A cat darts out in front of her but she is unable to stop. Sobbing, she approaches the twitching remains of the cat and calls the police to report the incident. Then she leaves.

A month or so later, an older woman is washing her car late in the afternoon. Startled by a sound and sickened by a noxious stench, she looks beneath her car to seek the source. She screams as she is dragged under, but by the time her neighbours arrive, she is nowhere to be seen. It doesn't occur to anyone to look down.

Plagued by nightmares about the cat she ran over, Cecilia Breakheart wakes up in a cold sweat just as the dawn chorus begins. She looks wildly around, then gets up to wash her face. A sense of foreboding hangs over her.

At breakfast, news of the mutilated body under the car is splashed all over the newspaper her husband is reading at the table. Baffled, he peers around it to tell Cecilia, "Apparently, it was an animal."

A few days after that, the news on television is full of tales of missing people who have turned up partially eaten. A special squad has been called in to investigate.

At a secret government headquarters, a team of top scientists, army personnel and government officials have convened to discuss the matter, convinced that a rogue virus-infected animal is loose. They're busily blaming each other. After a while, Lieutenant Steve Gamble (played by Daniel Craig) slams his manly hands on a table to get attention. "Gentlemen," he says, "whatever it is, it has to be stopped, and all we're doing is blaming each other. I've hunted man-eaters all over the world from the Serengeti to the Gobi desert. I'll sort it out."

Somehow the others agree to this and allow him to take charge of the matter. He is given everything he needs and sets up an incident room, working with the police to make a map of the killings to work out how to find the beast.

The activity appears to be centred in the area around Acacia Avenue, Blingchester. 

Cecilia is increasingly frightened and sees that other people are locking their doors and afraid to go out by themselves. She sees a neighbour pointing at her car, and overhears her saying, "The Beast of Blingchester has struck again. Look at the state of my car!"

On Newsnight later on, Jeremy Paxman is discussing the matter with some MPs and one of the scientists we saw earlier on. "You know what this is," he insists. "This is a government experiment gone wrong."

"No," argues the scientist. 

"The genetically modified animals you were working on have escaped and are attacking British people. How do you explain this?"

"But I wasn't working on cats!" the professor protests. 

"Aha!" crows Paxman. "So it's a cat!"

"We're not quite sure," stutters the scientist, apparently shaken. 

"You were just now," says Paxman. 

Discomfited, Cecilia raises the remote control and changes the channels.

"Hey!" shouts her husband Clive. "I was watching that!"

Cecilia gets up and leaves the room.

Outside, a police incident van and other vehicles approach Cecilia's house. Armed with an assortment of weapons, Steve and his men, dressed in black, exit the vans and begin to set up surveillance equipment. They split up into twos and start searching for signs of the beast. Occasionally, they radio base to report in.

 Busy with his work, Steve acknowledges the reports and checks his Blackberry, which has an App connecting it to the Operation Ailur database. All sensors are working well, and the infra-red video cameras that have been put up are already returning images. Nothing out of the ordinary can be seen. Bats fly about catching moths on one and a local cat stalks a mouse on another. As Steve begins to move back to the incident van, his nose wrinkles when the stench of rotting meat wafts towards him. He says to his partner, "Can you smell something? Like rotten meat?"

Suddenly, there's a bang, a hiss, and one of the squad cars begins to sink. Steve shouts for reinforcements and he and his partner split and go to take a closer look at the car from either side. There's nothing to see. Distracted by an incoming call reporting the finding of another body, Steve heads back to the incident van while his partner lingers. A scream makes him turn around just in time to see his partner being dragged under the car.

Steve calls for reinforcements and runs over to the car. He sees the top of his friend's head and bends down to take a closer look, shining his torch under the car. Twin reflections of pure evil greet him just beyond his friend's twitching body, which is dripping blood. Horrified, Steve backs away and is pursued by the beast. Just in time, reinforcements arrive and the beast flees.

In her bedroom, unaware of the events taking place nearby, Cecilia prepares for bed. Faint sounds of men shouting make her turn around, her mouth full of toothpaste. She spits it out, then is startled by the sight of a pair of glowing eyes just outside her window. Fascinated, she pauses and stares back.

The beast crashes in, now swollen and huge, the size of a bear.

Cecilia screams and her husband comes running.

Startled by the screams and the shouts of approaching men, the beast flees back into the night.

"Darling, are you all right?" asks her husband.

"I've... seen that thing before," she says, "but I don't know where. I just know I have."

"What is it?"

"I don't know."

Cecilia collapses crying into her husband's arms.

Outside, the team is chasing the beast. Steve raises his weapon to fire on it, and although he hits it, the beast shows no sign of being injured. They shoot it repeatedly, but it keeps on going and breaks through the line of men surrounding it. They chase the beast, which runs down the street to an abandoned old building. Inside are the bones of some of its victims. They follow the beast to its lair and it turns on them, hissing, spitting and lashing out. Shooting repeatedly doesn't deter it and it kills three of his men, forcing Steve to withdraw and consider his options.

A call from HQ results in a plan to send a tank in, and helicopters have already begun to hover overhead.  From the chamber where the beast lies, Steve can hear the sounds of it moving.

Suddenly, the beast breaks out, surging past the cordon to the source of the sound. The approaching helicopter shines a light down to pick out the shape of the beast in the dark. Unexpectedly, the beast begins to paw at the dot cast by the light, trying to catch it.

"It's chasing the light like a cat," calls one of Steve's men.

"Follow it," shouts Steve, then pushes the button on his walkie-talkie. "It's acting like a cat, chasing the light," he tells the chopper pilot. "Lead it to the industrial park. I've got an idea."

The beast chases the light, frolicking and trying to catch it, followed by the men who have stopped trying to shoot it.

"Is it ready?" asks Steve.

"Roger that," confirms the voice of a colleague.

The helicopter leads the beast on a merry chase through the streets of Blingchester, watched by bemused residents from the windows of their houses. Some of them point cameras at the scene and speak of putting it on YouTube.

Finally, they arrive at the destination and the beast follows the light inside. It halts for a moment, confused, when the light is no longer there. It looks up, and for a moment it resembles the house cat it once was.

Outside, Steve shouts an order and the men withdraw. The building explodes. Flames leap high into the sky and everyone is bathed in an orangey glow for a while.

The following day, scientists pick through the debris and begin to examine the beast's body.

"As I suspected," says the scientist who was on Newsnight, "it's a common house cat, but grown to an emormous size."

"What caused it to mutate like that?" asks Steve.

"I don't know," says the scientist, an eager expression on his face, "but I can't wait to find out."

Cue ominous music.

The End.

Or is it?

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