I was walking home from the shops along the A59 dual carriageway. It was bright daylight and the road was busy. But I noticed that something seemed to be following me in the bushes beside me. I wasn’t particularly alarmed. It was either a cat or more likely the feral cockerel nicknamed Mike the Headless Chicken (he isn’t really headless, don’t worry) that lives rather precariously on the roadside. But I started to think, what if it was dark, and what if this was Cardiff, where just about anything could be in the bushes. By the time I got home, I had a plotline involving Beth, the Torchwood office girl who no does all the jobs Ianto used to do before I moved him up to more active roles.
Bushes on the A59 - home to who knows what.
A Pathway that would be darn spooky at night
Especially if it was longer
More roadside hideouts for things that lurkObviously it then needed fleshing out. I put a scene in first involving Owen doing an autopsy on a mauled Weevil, which set out in advance that there was something out there. Then it switched to Beth walking along The Triangle. The bit of the A59 in question does actually form a triangle with the original road that was cut across to build what is euphemistically called a by-pass although it actually goes through the middle of Preston City Centre. But this Triangle is a darker, more sinister landscape. I put Beth on a path that took her away from the traffic and the possibility of help and made it a more frightening experience.
SUVOf course, Alun and Ianto come to the rescue. Originally, they were driving the SUV, but for reasons I will get to it was changed to Ianto's Volvo. The scene with the creature crawling under the car was worked out later in the day. At that point I had decided it WAS going to be a Wolfman, but I also wanted it to be a creature with some extra skills, like the ability to flatten itself out and crawl through tight places.
Exactly how much ground clearance there is under the Torchwood SUV, I am not entirely sure. By pure chance I spotted a Range Rover and a Land Rover parked side by side in the Lancashire County Council car park – behind the bushes by the A59, and along my way home from the shops. Without incurring the wrath of LCC security, I examined both carefully, and they have about a foot clearance. But I think the SUV, which is a custom build based on a short wheel Land Rover, looks much lower than that, especially at the front with that meaty looking customised grill, while the back has a tow bar and some other bits that look even lower.
Anyway, I decided in the end it would be better not to use the SUV, and instead Ianto is driving his own Volvo XC90, which is also a vehicle that could be used off road, and could be a back up Utility Vehicle with equipment. But it is possible to find exact specifications for the Volvo, because it is a standard car. It's ground clearance is 8.2 inches, which is definitely a tight squeeze.
Getting into the drain would be an even tighter squeeze, but it made for a dramatic sequence in which Jack gets killed again in the cause of protecting the Human race. After I had written it, I remembered a couple of examples already in popular culture where sinister characters could do that. The evil clown in Stephen King’s ‘It’ came to mind, as well as a character called Eugene Victor Tooms in the X Files. I wasn’t thinking of either of them when I wrote this, although the Wolfman does display similar characteristics.
I needed some way to resolve this story. The obvious thing would be a manhunt for the Wolfman. But that actually would be a bit boring and predictable. Then I thought about the possibility of the Wolfman, back in Human form in the cold light of day, actually turning up at the tourist office, to ask Beth to forgive him for missing their date the night before. After that, it became relatively easy. It does change the mood of the story rather dramatically. Up until then it had been dark and sinister, but from there it becomes about a sad, pathetic man who isn’t getting much sympathy from Jack. And yes, the solution – locking him in the vault every full moon has been done before. Yes, it’s what they did to Oz in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I wasn’t thinking of that, either, at the time. Honest.