When a young hospice nurse befriends a strange man who claims to lived a strange, beautiful life, she believes she’s found an escape from her mundane life. But when the end comes for the man, his last words will haunt her for the rest of hers.
I’m not entirely sure what this is shaping up to be–movie, TV, short story. But there’s something here that I’ve been tinkering with for a long time and I like it, whatever it might turn out to be in the end. Definitely inspired–thematically, at least–by more classic works like Poe and Lovecraft.
Be sure to join me each night over on Twitch to chat along as I type like a monkey at a keyboard.
SHERRI MCGUIRE, a young hospice nurse, is obsessed with the futility of her existence, with how her day-to-day existence is seemingly on repeat. The routine of her job–tending to the folks at Horizon Gardens, watching them slowly rot away, surrounded by lingering death–is too macabre.
And then she meets new arrival, a highly agitated man named FRANKLIN WINCHESTER.
Franklin’s string of outbursts quickly proves to be too much for the staff–the strange, negative reaction to simply being at Horizon Gardens. His rejection of everything around him. The terrible things he says to the staff like a dog barking at passing perceived threats.
But it’s these fits of madness–creative madness, but madness nonetheless. It’s this behavior that has Sherri taking it upon herself to tend to Franklin personally once the other staff refuses to deal with him at all.
As the days pass and bleed into each other, Sherri comes to find solace in her daily routine. Her time with Frank growing longer and longer. Listening to this crazed, creative vagrant who appears completely sane and coherent whenever he speaks about his fanciful life. Like a man whose mind was shattered after discovering some painful, frightening truth.
He tells her of a life filled with adventure, excitement, and love. He traveled the world, saw such beautiful sights. Loved many women. That he never allowed anyone to keep him from living his dreams, no matter how crazy they might have been. It was his life and it’s up to him what to do with it.
But when she shares this information with the rest of the staff, they laugh. She fell for the crazy man’s stories. They tell her why he’s really here–that he was brought to them by the state after being declared mentally incompetent and a danger to himself.
After she learns of Franklin’s delusions, of his lies, Sherri confronts him.
Franklin defends himself, claiming that the stories and documentation about him are all fictional creations. That he was actually a writer, a creator of worlds. Stories, movies, comicbooks. He wrote them all and he loved all of his creations. But he was always lonely, unable to find the joy and excitement and love in his stories.
He often found himself lost in imagination, escaping into what he thought was just another fictional world of his creation. Where he could be love and be loved. Where he could find adventures in strange new places. Here he was a god and all reality flowed from him when he slumbered. And he called this place of dreams and nightmares the Elsewhere.
But now the end has come for him, he’s old and sick and dying. And he’s afraid of the void. It’s why she’s here, why they’re all here. She’s a creation of his imagination–a beautiful amalgam of several loves in his life. Horizon Gardens isn’t real, and neither is its staff. He might be lying dead in an alley, in his bed at home. He’s not sure anymore. He might even be dead, as time in the Elsewhere moves slower than in the real world.
But worse, when Franklin dies, Sherri and everything here will simply cease to be.
Disturbed by what Franklin’s just told her, Sherri flees.
Sherri suffers an anxiety attack and struggles with what Franklin has told her. She and several members of the staff discuss her concerns, attempting to ease her mind, to convince her that Franklin is simply a man near death who is not completely aware of what he’s saying. They don’t believe a word Franklin has said has any real meaning, but grow increasingly worried the more they think about it.
And then, the alarm sounds.
When the staff fails to revive Franklin, the world grows eerily still.
The world literally rips apart, ripping and tearing and being swallowed by an increasingly large void. As Sherri and the others struggle to cling to their remaining shreds of sanity and desperate hopes as the void takes them and everything else with it.