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This is the first of 6 story pitches I am going to post to my daily blog. This one is the darkest of them; so don’t be afraid to come back tomorrow to see something totally different. I’ve had this story idea since about 2002. I wrote a treatment of it in 2005 and really haven’t looked at it since which is a shame because it has a pretty good hook to it.

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The Pitch:
In the present day a 90 year old, but surprisingly agile man named Efram saves three teenagers by helping them hold off a gang of ravenous madmen until day break. Why are these men after the kids? Who is the strange old man, and why is he helping them?

Efram answers these questions by telling them his story as the night unfolds. Partly to keep them occupied and partly to get them ready for the real fight to come at daybreak. When dawn comes the heroes stand ready together but it won’t be enough to stave off the god of madness.

The original idea for this was a two or three part story that tells the history of Efram, while building the current story of the Jeffery, Charlotte, and Will and why the god of madness wants them, how he gets them, and what levels of darkness a person can reach and still stay sane.

The farthest I’ve ever gotten with this story is the general framework of the present day, and a flushed out back-story for Efram. Like all of the pitches I plan to do this week I’ve decided to post what I have to see what people think. If you like it let me know and I may be encouraged to continue, but keep in mind this is only the back-story to one of five main characters.

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In 1915 German solider Efram Muller was a junior member of a small unit doing recon on a private church in the French countryside thought to be used as an enemy base. What the team finds instead is a dark ritual of sex and murder beyond anything seen by a sane mind.

At the basement of this building barely organized rambling men perform a ritual by first raping and then killing a child. The German team is armed for war and don’t hesitate to attack, but before they can even begin they are stricken with maddening visions that rip apart their minds. They soil themselves, claw into their own skin, and literally gnash their teeth in a wave of madness.

Because of previous trauma, Efram is affected to a lesser extent. He can see the visions but can also somehow see through them in a way the others can’t. He sees a creature moving to each of his teammates and manages to empty his side arm into it.

Efram wakes up in an enemy hospital. He is questioned several times but because of his young age and low rank is found to have no usable intel and is deemed a low priority prisoner of war. He tells them what he saw in the church but is told that it was burned to the ground before they retrieved him. It is unknown how he got out alive.

World War 1 would rage on for another 4 years and during that time Efram begins a relationship with a French nurse. While a captive he starts seeing things that can’t be there. For a short time Efram begins to think he is going mad but begins to doubt this when subtle but very real clues are left to show him that the visions are more then just in his mind. By setting up some very careful traps Efram discovers that the visions only happen when he is alone because other people would be able to see them too.

Someone is trying to break his mind, but who, and ore importantly how and why

When the god of madness realizes his normal tricks aren’t going to work, He kills the nurse in front of Efram. Making it look as though Efram himself has raped and decapitated her.

Efram is still unsure of himself. He loved the nurse dearly and falls into a depression. He brings no defense of his innocence even though he believes in his heart that he is. He also believes that the thing that is out to hurt him is something incapable of being fought, and that, because of his past, is something he has brought upon himself.

The god of madness pulls one last trick on him by putting the nurses corpse in his cell. The guards think he has somehow gotten out, and brought it back with him. Because of the disturbing nature of the crime almost no investigation is done before he is charged, but Efram knows that the time between when she was last seen and the placement of the body means that only an outside source could have managed it.

By taunting him one last time it shows that this creature needed him to know who did this and why. It shows that he is vain and selfish, and possibly vulnerable. This creature is not some divine retribution because of his sins. It is petty thing that simply wants to hurt others, and takes special care with anyone who can resist even slightly.

Others can see the things he creates, and it only talks to him while they are alone because they would be able to see him just as well as he could. If this god is bound to reality, if none of what has happened is in his mind alone, that means the god can be harmed, killed, made to suffer. Revenge can be extracted if one is strong and patient enough…

Efram vows then and there to avenge his lost love, and all the others who have suffered. He sets his mind and his will upon it. He feels a rage he has never known channeled into this one purpose.

The thing that makes this man special kicks in here. He does not try to start on this action right away. He sits with the lifeless body of his love. He waits for the guard to return with others. He does not fight back when the beat him within an inch of his life. He waits, he thinks, he plans. He shows no outside sign that he is anything except the broken madman the god of madness desperately wants him to be.

He spends 20 years in a prison for the insane. He is cold and emotionless on the outside, a model prisoner. He doesn’t care about any of the violence or daily torment of the place, and spends most of his time alone, working out, reading any religious text he can find. He does not see the god of madness again, but can feel him on occasion looking and laughing at him and the other damned souls of the asylum.

In 1939 he is released on good behavior. Giving nothing but a new set of clothes and 5 dollars he walks away from the prison and into a small city in France. Within a day he breaks his parole and tracks down a dealer in the occult. When the dealer realizes Efram’s ambition; to hunt and then kill a god, he tries to run but Efram doesn’t allow it. To catch a monster he will become one. He’ll get his answers one way or another.