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Peter Marwood
There are mushrooms.  With teeth.  At least fifteen feet tall.  The mushrooms, not the teeth, although they're pretty fucking huge too.  Marwood's shouting Shakespeare at them, but he's too winded from running away from the freakish fanged fungi to get the words out with the proper dignity, and then there's Withnail, lounging on the cap of a mushroom the colour of a drowned corpse. 

'Enunciate,' he drawls infuriatingly.  'Lips, the tip of the tongue, the teeth!'  He's wearing a spangled shawl like one of Marwood's lecturers at uni used to, blowing smoke rings up there like the fucking Caterpillar out of Alice in Wonderland, and Marwood is so annoyed that he has the gall to loll about looking like a consumptive poet with delusions of epicurianism that he almost forgets to be afraid of the giant mushrooms.

Almost, but not quite, because the next thing he knows, he's being absorbed by one of them, like something out of a horror film.  It's all soft, giving grey flesh, and Marwood thinks as he disappears into the cool, claustrophobic interior of the stem that his only option will be to eat his way out.  It's lucky he happens to have a knife and fork in his pocket.

Before he gets a chance to, though, a sword of cruel sunlight slices through his unconscious mind, and all is pain.  The mushrooms are forgotten as Marwood wakes with a vehement groan that's half-buried in whatever his face is mashed into.  Dirt, he registers after a moment.  Or more sort of mulch.  There's a ticklish feeling that could be grass.  Or something small and insectoid with an excess of crawly little legs.  Fuckfuckfuckfuck.  The noise he makes as he jerks upright, frantically batting at himself, sounds like his larynx tied itself into a knot around it and strangled it there in his throat, only to let it out once it had died, and once it becomes clear that there is nothing crawling on him, Marwood flops back to the dirty, mulchy ground with a groan of abject misery. 

'Oh, god.'  If a chronically depressed bandsaw had a voice, it would sound like Marwood in this moment.  'Where-- god, Withnail, where are you?  Where are we?  How did we get here?  What--?'

Something about a play, that's all he remembers.  Writing a play.  But that doesn't explain what they're doing in some fucking forest, and why his brain feels like it's been pickled in formaldahyde.  He groans again, a sound made up of entirely too many consonants, and curls up into a foetal ball in a fruitless attempt to escape the sunlight. 

'I hate you,' he addresses his knees as a Withnail proxy.  'You mad, delerious, lunatic tosspot.  And I hate the woods.  There are insects.  And mushrooms.'
 
 
Peter Marwood
'Just go along with whatever they tell you, luvvie, you'll be fine; honestly, it's just a load of old processionals and candles.  I'll be back in two ticks, don't fret your pretty head.'

And so saying, Iris had disappeared half an hour ago in a whirl of what she pointedly insisted was ocelot-- not leopard-- print and transparent platforms, leaving Marwood to deal with the preparations for Karthelon's biggest lux-annual holiday.  She'd told him the name of it, but as the sounds involved were apparently not physically possible for the human mouth to produce, Iris had ruffled his curls and told him to 'just think of it like Christmas.'

He's sitting in what feels very like a pew in a church right now, trying his hardest not to be seen.  No-matter what Iris might say, Marwood is of the general-- and firm-- opinion that keeping away from any and all alien attention when he has to fend for himself is the best course of action.  He doesn't have the constitution for this sort of thing, as he's told her innumerable times.  The Kartheloi aren't bad, as far as alien beings go; a little disconcertingly furry in some places, and the eyeballs in their hands are frankly fucking weird, but they're a cosmopolitan sort of race, and don't spare Marwood with his nude pink skin, legs which joint only at the knee, and a paltry two eyes a second glance.

Except for now, apparently.

He jolts out of his seat when a hand lands on his shoulder, and an alien he and Iris had met earlier is looking expectantly (at least he thinks it's expectant) down at him.

'Petyr!'  The Kartheloi seem equally incapable of pronouncing his name properly, and the vowels come out sounding thick, almost Russian.  'Come, why are you sitting around; the city youth all must go to the unmitigated crypt for the ceremony.'

Unmitigated?  Marwood blinks at him for a moment, before shaking his head, his hands fluttering up before him in an instinctive gesture of defence.  'I'm not from the city.'

'But you are youth,' the alien rolls over him neatly, cutting off any protests and hauling him up from his seat.  The hand-eye is round under its eyelid, and Marwood can feel the aqueous bulge of it against his arm with the force of the alien's grip.  The shiver of revulsion coils at the base of his spine like a sick worm, and Marwood twitches away.

'What-- why?'

'Enriches mortuary danke tmesis the arwydd definite of no.  No syntymäpäiväkakku, thenceforth.'

... That's not English.  That is definitely not English. Or, well, bits of it are English, but they're certainly not strung together in any way which makes sense, and Marwood's bowels are gripped by the sudden horror that he's now not only alone on an alien planet, but nobody can understand him.  It occurs to him that he doesn't actually know how it was he was able to understand them before.  He never asked.  Why didn't he ask?  He should have, surely.  There's no reason aliens on some random planet ought to be able to speak English, it had to be some technical trick.  But he's got no idea, because he's a wanker and a prat and never thought to ask.

He tries to make himself understood, manfully he tries, but to no avail, and uselessly, through the panic that's progressed from his bowel up into his lungs (he has the momentary image of it like cigarette smoke in those horrible doctor's office diagrams, gooping up all the little alveoli with tar and terror), all he can catch onto is what Iris left him with:  'Just go along with whatever they tell you, luvvie.'

Marwood's not gonna fight the bloke about it, not in this crowd, and the last intelligible thing he said was to accompany him.  So that's what Marwood does.

'Carolling praline.  Thoth esoteric but angiotensin.'

Shuffling along next to him, Marwood can only assume that's gratitude that he's decided to cooperate.  But who knows?  Maybe it's a commentary on his shirt.  Maybe it's the alien reassuring him that it's no worry, they're only going to slaughter all the youths in the city and burn their corpses in toxic sludge.  God, that'd be a horrible way to die.  Marwood finds himself contemplating the possibilities in gruesome detail as they join the hustling crowd of celebrants.  He hopes Iris shows up soon.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Peter Marwood
11 September 2009 @ 05:44 am
Character name: Peter Marwood
Character age: 23
Canon genre (movie/book/tv/etc): Movie
Fandom: Withnail and I

Canon point: Pre-canon by about three years

psychology, a not-so-brief history, and other thingsCollapse )
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