INCARNATION… A new Western Sci-Fi HyperShort by Anthony Lawrence #pitch #western #scifi @tordotcom @bleedingcool

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By no means is it easy to mix two completely different genres… unless you’re a master. Behold, …and welcome to an unusual 1908.

INCARNATION by Anthony Lawrence

“So you’re claiming that you’re an innocent man?” Jack tried to keep skepticism from his voice. Ed struggled to get his words out. He could barely breathe because the canvas jacket compressing his body was so tightly laced.

“They’ve tried to break me. My spirit. Fact is I never belonged to that gang and I never robbed the railroad let alone killed anybody.”

It was 1908. San Quentin was California’s oldest prison. Inmate labor had built the prison on 20 acres of land in Marin County near San Rafael. It consisted of little more than fort-like structures built on rugged bare land surrounded by barbed wire fencing. In the dim light of a solitary confinement cell in one of the structures, Ed lay on a simple cot, his face pale, his body constricted by the cruel straitjacket. Jack sat on a wooden stool close by, a notebook cradled in one hand, the other scratching notes with a heavy rude pencil.  “So how about the other stuff? You say all that’s true?” Ed’s grey eyes flashed and he managed to nod his head recalling the pain and the images. “You won’t believe it if I swear on the God of my fathers.” Jack just shrugged slightly. “Try me.”

There was a long pause as Ed perused Jack’s face for some sign of trust. When he found it, he continued. “I come from the future. Far in the future. Nobody believed me when I said I was part of a team of scientists in 2055. When I talked about drug-induced reincarnation they thought I was crazy. They don’t understand anything about electrodynamics or quantum physics.” “Neither do I” offered Jack still trying to suppress his natural cynicism. But he couldn’t hide his curiosity. “You say you were able to separate your consciousness, travel through time and space and experience past lives?”

“It’s true,” Ed replied as he gasped for air and twisted slightly to gain a little more traction inside the horrid jacket. “Don’t care if anybody believes it. I went back to the beginning of time. I was a prehistoric tribesman, a 4th century hermit; I was a 16th century Englishman who was the first white man to set foot in Korea. I was Ragnar Lodbrog, a Norse-born Roman centurion in the service of Pontius Pilate.” Ed sucked in another gasp of air and hurtled on backward as he recounted the tales of spinning through time and space in other personalities. “I was Count Guillaume de Saint-Maure, a swordsman of medieval France; Jesse Fancher, a nine-year-old member of a wagon train crossing Utah in 1857.”

Jack London listened intently to the man as he took notes, admiring the convict if not for his pure inventive imagination but fascinated by the exceedingly remote possibility that he could be telling the truth. By the end of the afternoon, as he was leaving the prison, the novel was taking shape in his mind. It would be something radically different from anything he had written before. He would call it “The Jacket” or even a more romantic title, “The Star Rover.” Wondrous ideas were swirling through his mind.

“I trod interstellar space, exalted by the knowledge that I was bound on vast adventure, where, at the end, I would find all the cosmic formulae and have made clear to me the ultimate secret of the universe.”

©2014AnthonyLawrence

Anthony Lawrence biography

Beginning his career as an actor in the early fifties, he performed in many plays and films, then began writing in television, nine episodes of Bonanza, then on to many other series such as Gunsmoke, Columbo, the Fugitive, Outer Limits, and the Twilight Zone, creating and producing Sci-fi/fantasy series such as The Sixth Sense and the Phoenix with his wife and partner, Nancy Lawrence. He was considered one of the most prolific writers in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, writing films for Blake Edwards, Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and three Elvis Presley films for Hal Wallis at Paramount.  He wrote and produced a three-hour Presley biopic starring Kurt Russell, has received four WGA nominations as well as being named on the Writer’s Guild list of 101 best-written TV series.