Your Story II: Martin

The second comment to this post about me turning your requirements into a story idea has come in. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read the other post first. If you do, be warned that Martin’s requirements were a little, let’s say strange. However, I managed to turn it into a story (idea) that is certainly fit for all ages. Please excuse the length of the post, I got a little carried away.

What I got:

Language: English
Genre: Fiction

Elements: Six Flags, Snuff and Mr. C. H. himself

Start!

The story idea:

It was a rainy Sunday afternoon. Aspiring young author Christoph Hartwig, recently nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the controversial science-fiction movie “Alex and Charlie”, stood beneath the overpass. The rain was pounding on the pavement and he was happy to have some shelter. The reason for him being there was strange. His agent had told him to meet a mysterious caller there, a man who had only given his first name, Martin, and insisted that they meet in this mysterious way. At first Hartwig had thought the idea ludicrous, but as Sunday had approached, he had become more accustomed to the thought of having some real cloak-and-dagger antics in his life. Sure, being one of the most read authors of the time was nice, but it wasn’t exactly an adventurous life.

Four o’clock came and went. Hartwig grew fidgety. He thought he had been stood up and he felt a little foolish for coming in the first place. The only thing that kept him waiting was the torrential rain. Surely it would ease up any minute?

At a quarter past a shadowy figure approached the underpass. The rain made him hard to see and he walked slowly, casually. To casually for somebody drenched to the bone. When he finally entered beneath the bridge, he stopped and turned towards Hartwig. He just looked at him, a tall and lean figure with long dark hair and menacing eyes. Not somebody you would want to meet alone on a gloomy Sunday afternoon beneath an overpass. But the man didn’t speak, so Hartwig asked: “Martin?”

Now the words gushed out of the man’s mouth like the rain from the heavens. Yes, he was Martin. He was glad that Hartwig had made it. It was vital that he talked to him. Vital! Only he could help.

Hartwig was surprised at the soft voice that spoke all this. Even though the words came quickly, they weren’t hastened. They were gentle, caring – as of a man who truly understood how powerful a word could be. Hartwig felt a little frightened. Why should he be able to help the man? Nevertheless, he indicated to him to continue.

The story that Martin told Hartwig should change his life forever. It was a story of the most cunning viral marketing campaign ever devised. Martin was working for an advertising agency that had been hired by Six Flags to help develop the campaign. The famous amusement park chain was planning new sections in all parks devoted to horror movies, horror scenes and Halloween. To promote this, a number of videos had been made that showed horrible incidents. There was no clear connection of those videos with Six Flags, but their themes would be used in the new park areas. Shortly, the videos would be leaked to the internet. But Martin was worried. Some of the movies he had seen were clearly snuff films, films that showed the death of a person. At first he thought special effects were used to show the killing, but why then was there so much secrecy surrounding the production of just those films? And why did they not appear on the lists of movies the agency had made in case the press got wind of the viral marketing effort? With other words, Martin was very worried that those movies, three overall, were real and that the whole campaign had been used by somebody to dispose of three people.

Hartwig could not believe this. It sounded so unlikely. Sure, snuff movies had been a myth for a long time. There were even mainstream movies dealing with the matter. But there was not one proven instance of a person being killed on camera simply for profit. Surely they were just made to appear real. But Martin dismissed this. Why then were there no records? Hartwig conceded that he had a point – but why come to him? Shouldn’t Martin go to the police? Or a private investigator?

“I’m just a writer. Sure, a bloody good one, maybe one of the best, but this is not about writing. Why did you tell me about it?”

“Because you can help. Write a short story about what I told you. Do it quickly and publish it within the next two weeks, before the videos are leaked. They wouldn’t dare use the campaign when somebody has already written about it.”

“Write a story and get it published within two weeks? Do you have any idea how this business works?”

Martin just shrugged. Hartwig relented a little.

“Probably not. But it is impossible. And even if it was possible, I would just get in trouble. They would accuse me of stealing their idea – and rightfully so. And if some people really died, it wouldn’t help them. Go to the police. They can help you.”

Martin visibly deflated. His huge body sagged and all life had gone out of him. “You were my only hope” he uttered, in a hoarse whisper. “Just write the story. Please. Don’t name the company; just say that real snuff films were produced for a marketing campaign. Make it a mystery. You’re good at that stuff. And put it on the internet. You can do it anonymously. Nobody need over know that you wrote it. Please do it. I’m sure it would help.”

Hartwig felt sorry for the obviously broken man. Against his better judgment he promised to write the story.

And so he did. A week later it was published to the internet, under an alias. Nobody read it. Martin didn’t try to contact him again. Another seven days later, the first of the snuff films made it to the internet. Over the next month, those movies were the topic everybody talked about. More and more of them appeared. And then Hartwig’s story was read. Soon everybody knew the story and wondered about the connection. Surveys were conducted and suggested that 80% of people believed the movies were real. And everybody wondered about the author of the story and if maybe he knew the truth.

Some months later, the first Horror area was opened in a Six Flags park. It featured a ride that bore a striking resemblance to the third and last snuff movie, where a beautiful young woman was boiled alive. That meant the jig was up. Police investigated the company and soon the whole world knew that all those horrible movies were part of a larger campaign. Hartwig read the news reports with interest. Surely somebody would discover that the records did not include the snuff films. But nobody ever did. Everybody just accepted that everything had been a scam – and agreed that it had been a damn good one. Then, one sunny Sunday afternoon, Hartwig’s cell phone rang. On the other end was Martin – who told him the real story. That he had lied to him. That the story had been a part of the whole scam. That nobody died. Hartwig had trouble believing.

“Why didn’t just somebody at the agency write the story?”

“Oh, we needed the best – and that was the only way to get you involved. You wouldn’t have written the story for money. Only for helping out somebody in need.”

Martin apologized profusely. Finally he asked whether Hartwig would like to meet the young actress from the third snuff film. Just so he would know that nobody had been hurt, of course.

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3 Responses to “Your Story II: Martin”

  1. Martin sagt:

    Fantastic! I thought I had made it tough but it appears that you wrote the story with ease. Chapeau!

  2. Tine sagt:

    Den Worten von Martin kann ich mich da nur anschließen, auch wenn ich ‘chapeau’ nur aus dem französischsprachigen Raum kenne.
    Hochachtung für den ‘bloody good writer’!

  3. Generally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.

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