.People in Grass Houses.
The eye of the queen, was as still as the castle of which she was now a part. She was still alive. As alive as the walls that create a castle. Alive, as one trapped in a fixed form. The form of an ambition. Of a King’s ambition.
All the king’s people, were divided, into the Diamonds, his royal family; the Clubs, his constant army; the Hearts, the complaisant clergy; and of course, the Spades, his biddable workers.
They were mere cards to him. Not individual lives. Just building blocks for a wish. A wish to live in a card castle. A castle that reached for the skies. For it was in the skies, that one could see beautiful circular objects flying past ever so often. These objects seemed like another dimension. They were spheres flying overhead. The king did not know what they were. All he knew was that he had to reach as high as they did. He just had to.
So he started to build the castle.
Until recently, the queens, and kings and jacks of all sections except the Diamonds, were already part of the card castle. Thus preempting any disagreement of the idea of the castle. And recently, the Queen of diamonds had started to prove to be… disagreeable.
The world was flat. A large circular flatland. It was edged with a wall of long strands of green threads that rose upwards. These threads marked the edge of the world. The Joker insisted on plucking these threads from the ground, and rolling them up before lighting them on fire and breathing in their scent. He called the strands, ‘grass’, and the name, like a Shakespearean word, became a part of their dictionary, just as the wall of grass had become a part of their lives.
The Joker inched along the wall.
His eye on the grass, he whispered, “I bet its greener on the other side.”
But before he could cross the border, two squealing cards came rushing through from the other side of the wall.
The three of them collapsed on the flat ground just as an ant appeared at the wall of grass. It moved swiftly towards one card, paused and rushed towards the Joker instead. The other two jumped up to help the Joker, but it seemed as though he did not need any help. Both the ant and the Joker were jumping around each other as if in greeting.
“What just happened?” said the timid voice of the 3 of Hearts.
“Do you… do you know the Ants Mr. Joker?” piped up a stronger voice of the 2 of spades.
The Joker, who had started to do a handstand as the ant clapped, looked sharply at the two cards.
He then relaxed into a smile, “What is it to know someone really?”
2nd of spades, “You have crossed the borders to meet them before? You know them?”
The Joker, “Well. Who defines borders anyway? They are just lines.”
3rd of Hearts, “But it’s forbidden! Its in the code!”
The Joker, “Well who defines this code anyways? They are more like guidelines.”
2nd of spades, “But…the king...”
The Joker, “The king is too busy building his castle. But what might two such upstanding cards as your self be doing on the wrong side of the grass eh?”
2nd of Spades and 3rd of Hearts, “We ...err... That is to say…”
A circular object flies overhead and casts a shadow over them.
They all stare silently up.
The ant scuttles away through the grass.
“We should move from here before the Clubs find us this close to the edge of the world!” whispered 3 of Hearts.
In silent unison the three cards start to turn away from the grass when The Ace of Clubs discovers their prohibited presence.
3rd of Hearts, ”Any wise words Mr. Joker?”
The Joker, “Yeah. RUN!”
The classic getaway scene is interrupted by a clash with another card that is swathed in strands of green threads, and running toward the grass border. The new card gets entangled with the Joker, and in a mesh of paper cuts, and groans the Ace of Clubs gets the upper hand.
As he pulls the new card to his feet, the green threads fall away to reveal the Jack of Diamonds. Ace of Clubs steps back and bows, “Your Highness!”
A flash of irritation from the Jack of Diamonds, “ Don’t call me that. That is to say… That’s what you call my father… Right. So. Carry on soldier. I was just meeting my friends here for a... a…”
“A view of the great castle as we discuss the great merits of the great King of Diamonds!” finished the Joker for him.
The Jack of Diamonds looked around at the speaker as if that was a rather implausible idea, but he turned to the Ace of Clubs and spoke with the authority that comes with privilege, “Indeed. Perhaps you would like to join our discussion another time. You may get back to your duties for now.”
“Sire, it is my duty to make sure the workers work,” said the Ace of Clubs as he looked over at 2 of Spades.
“You may escort the cards back to their duties. But they shall not be punished for agreeing to be my footmen for the day of course,” said the Jack of Diamonds with finality.
As the pack of cards started to walk back towards the construction site, the
Ace of Clubs tapped the Joker sharply on the shoulder and remarked,” Yesterday, I find you trying to talk to the Queen of Diamonds, and today, I find you trying to cross the wall. Now. It seems as though you have a taste for trying forbidden things, Mr. Joker. I emphasize the word ‘trying’. You will not succeed. Do not cross me again, or I will have you consigned to the castle.”
“Really now Ace. That would make it much easier for me to talk to the Queen of Diamonds now wouldn’t it? Tell me, was it you who suggested she be ‘consigned’ to the castle as well?”
Ace of Clubs tightened his grip on his spear, and a harsh whisper escaped him, “Don’t try my temper Joker. The Queen of Diamonds was a just and fair queen. She tried to talk the king out of this stupid castle…”
“At last!! We agree on one thing! This castle is stupid!”
Ace of Clubs looked toward the construction site.
“Perhaps the king might still change his mind”
“Ha! Good luck ‘trying’ that.”
“You are starting to bore me now Mr. Joker,” said the Ace of Clubs, as he started to walk away towards the castle guiding the 2 of Spades and 3 of Hearts, “I suggest you do not repeat our conversation to anyone.”
With those words looming overhead, a tangible shadow seemed to fall on The Joker and the Jack of Diamonds as they fell behind a bit, and The Jack of Diamonds looked thoughtfully after the Ace of Clubs. The shadow seemed to be darkening, and then a yell of, “Look out!” and a flurry of movement that resulted in a third crash of cards that very morning. As the dust cleared, the darkening shadow proved to be a sphere from the skies. It now lay close to the edge of the world.
The cards picked themselves up and looked back to the construction site where mayhem was breaking out as the sphere had cut a path of destroyed card homes till it rolled to a stop at the grass border.
As one the cards turn to face the strange object. It is a sphere with a pattern of black and white hexagonals on it.
3rd of spades whispers, “What is it?”
2nd of spades shakes his head.
The Joker takes a step towards the sphere.
It towers over all of them.
The Ace of Clubs breaks into a run towards the main land of the construction site, yelling the arrival of the end. Armageddon.
As he runs, the main land can be seen. So many card houses have fallen, and the path of the sphere has become a path of destruction. And it is this shortest route of destruction that he takes to find the King.
Back at the crash site, the rest of them slowly approach the grass where the sphere is.
3rd of Spades, “The gods have sent us a message.”
The Joker, looking over at the destruction, “Well he could have just sent us a leaf instead.”
Jack of Diamonds, “The King. Someone must tell the king what has happened.”
The yells of the Ace of Clubs cut above the cacophony of chaos.
“I think he might have noticed,” remarks the Joker.
The eye of the king, was on the construction site.
The king of Diamonds is sitting in his chambers and observing the building of his beloved card castle from his window.
The Ace of spades approaches and tells him what has happened.
The king looks out over at the broken houses and says, “The cards used to build them must be salvaged.” The Ace looks happy at the king’s suggestion. Then the king adds, “Yes… the salvaged cards must be used to add to his castle.”
The Ace’s face falls, but he ventures a question, “what is to be done with the alien creature itself?”
“Is it made of cards?” the king asks.
“No your highness.”
“Then it cannot add to my castle. Destroy it. If you want.”
The Army prepares.
They gather their spheres. They face this alien threat in their midst.
They start to march.
As they reach the site of the crash, the high priest, the 10 of Hearts, meets them with an army of his own.
The religious numbers say the football must be protected and worshipped. The army relays its orders to destroy it.
The Joker and the Jack of Diamonds look on helplessly as the sphere lays ignored, and the pack of cards turn on each other.
The workers start to leave the construction site to join the foray.
Cards lay crumpled in the dust.
And all the while, the king sits at his window, and watches his card castle grow taller.
Slowly all the workers leave the castle building and join the fight. The Jack of Diamonds is captured by the workers. The 3 of Hearts finds sudden passion in protecting his god sent message. The 2 of Spades tries to call the ants to help the Joker as he gets pulled towards the castle to be added to the construction site.
In all the pain and loss, the Joker too falls silent to the whims of such a castle.
The only two things left standing are the sphere, and the card castle. The king steps out of his chambers and towards the castle, when a large pair of hands seems to come from the giant person whose feet touch the ground and whose head seems to reach the sky. The person reaches for the sphere and picks it up ignorant of the chaos close to his feet.
As he turns on his heel, the foot of the person bears down on his castle.
The king lays crumpled on the ground.
But his castle is left standing.
The eye of the Queen blinks once.
And is still once more.
thumb nailing for final frames in progress.
thats the next post!