Saturday, October 19, 2013

Arkham Asylum – Respite – Brian Manton

Wide panel.
Over the shoulder shot of an Arkham Asylum orderly, Jason McCallister. He has tight cropped hair, a thick neck and small ears.
In front of him is a small garden area, lit with sunshine. Roses meander through a trellis archway. Small trees are adorned with white blossoms and small birds. A bumble bee studiously surveys the red flowers on a thick green bush. There is a wide array of plants and colours but it is an ordered and well kept garden.

Jason:  This used to be my spot, you know. Every break time, out for a ciggy and pretend that this is all there is.

Large panel.
Reverse shot. We see Jason sitting on a bench. He is wearing his work clothes – pale green overalls with flash on the breast that reads STAFF. Jason’s face is weathered and stress-beaten. He is in his 30’s but could pass for late 40’s. His expression is vacant, as though he is staring through the garden – not seeing it at all. (Note: he is not smoking)
He is dwarfed by the threatening hulk of architecture behind him – Arkham Asylum looms at his back. This is the rear of the institution so we don’t see a main entrance or any signs with the name.
Though the garden was in sunshine, much of the sky above Arkham is overcast, leaving the building mostly in shadow.

Jason:  Try to forget for a minute that Arkam even exists.

Jason:  Inside, you’re part of it.

Jason:  The things they say to you. Sick things.

Jason:  At first you can’t imagine how they even come up with that stuff but after a few years you start to think of sicker things to say back.

Jason:  You don’t say any of it, of course. But it’s there - in your head and you can’t unthink it.

Jason:  This place gets inside you. It follows you home and ruins your dreams.

Jason:  Somehow, out here, I could trick myself into forgetting.

Side view of the bench & garden.
Jason sits there, holding his head in his hands.
In front of him – a vision from his memory (desaturated, to illustrate this) - Two figures stand before him. A female patient in white overalls holds the teeth of an open set of handcuffs to the neck of another orderly, younger than Jason. Mid 20’s, scruffy brown hair. She holds his hair tightly with her other hand and pulls his head back.

Jason:  One of the inmates – not even one of the weird ones – killed young Bill here, right in front of me.

Jason:  It happens. New guy doesn’t follow the procedure to a tee. Happens too much.

Jason:  But that’s all I can see when I sit here now. Can’t see past it.

Close on Jason. Tears well in his eyes.

Jason:  I still come out here.

Jason:  I don’t know why.


  1. Again, not a supervillian in sight, and you manage to find a smattering of humanity in an inhuman place. Well done interior monologue.

  2. A beautifully tragic piece, and another side to the horror of Arkham.


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