A neighbor friend said, "We’re going into The Jigsaw!" We were young kids at the time, growing up in the wooded suburbs north of Seattle. The wooded area was vast, more than several miles in all directions. But my friend and I had easy and quick access to it as his own backyard served as our entry point. Throughout our young childhood and teenage years, we would venture in during different times and seasons.
There was something peculiar about those woods. Something mysterious, yet haunting because, at times, we experienced a lot of strange events. Like the sound of a train—traveling in the far distance within the woods. But the thing was… there were no trains or tracks in the entire wooded region! To this day, I still can’t comprehend or explain that event.
Or the time when we ventured in on a clear, sunny day after a snowfall. We discovered tracks. My friend, well-educated in the outdoors, could not identify them. As they were not bear, coyote, or cougar tracks. It gave me chills, seeing his face—perplexed by whatever they were. And then, the noise of something rustling in the woods, nearby.
And I vividly remember on one occasion, leaving The Jigsaw, all alone during an early, snow-covered, winter evening, right before sunset. As I walked out, the voice of a young girl called out, "Hey! Little boy! Over here!" I turned to look, and no one was there. I knew all the kids in my neighborhood, and this voice was not any of theirs. But the voice kept calling me back into the woods. I looked around—again, not a soul in sight. With that, I panicked and ran home in the deep snow.
My last encounter in The Jigsaw was when I was a teenager. Another neighbor friend, a few years younger than myself, came with a fellow friend to tell me about how they ventured into those woods (also through his backyard) and discovered an abandoned house—earlier that summer afternoon. With their urging, they told me to drop what I was doing and to come with them, that they would lead the way and show me.
Upon entering through his bog-like backyard, we made our way down a wooded ravine. A few miles in and past a large cluster of Douglas-fir trees, there it was—a two-story house out in the middle of nowhere. Deep in the heart of The Jigsaw. It was odd. Strange… seeing a home out in the middle of nowhere and now abandoned by an interior fire. There was no driveway. No garage. And insisting that I enter with them, I followed.
Inside, I walked into the living room and parted the curtains—revealing a murky swamp right outside the large living room window—without glass. In the kitchen, there were remnants of the fire that had taken place years ago. But, it was the kitchen that spooked me the most. Upon the countertops were sealed glass jars, about a dozen. And inside were black-tentacled creatures in each of them. It was the most disturbing and horrifying thing we ever saw, possibly even still to this day. After spending some time in the house, I urged them that it was time to leave and head back home. That event would be another mysterious chapter in our lives of the many peculiar events within those woods.
Sadly, a few years later, while in high school, half of The Jigsaw was razed completely and cleared out to make way for a new neighborhood. The mystery and awe were now gone. Bulldozed and wipeout instantly. And where the new houses stood, we now could see how expansive the entire forest once had been, and the remaining half across the distant valley, even more so.
And that is where my creative process began for my self-published short story, The Jigsaw.
Writers should write what they know! And from all those memories after all those years, I finally sat down and wrote them as a fictitious short story. It was part of a story collection called, Bizarre & Beyond that told four tales of the strange and unexplained. And while writing the stories, I decided to write all four into one feature-length screenplay after a local, longtime filmmaker friend said they would make great short films—after reading the loglines.
The comp for the script was Twilight Zone: The Movie meets Stranger Things. But a few months later, while writing the stories and the short scripts, I decided to discontinue the book for Bizarre & Beyond and the short stories altogether and continue with the short scripts instead. From there, I disbanded the feature-length screenplay for Bizarre & Beyond entirely and decided to write only two of the four stories as short screenplays. And from the entire process, The Jigsaw was the only completed segment with both the short story and screenplay. The second short screenplay, The Ominous, will be written later in 2021.
The Jigsaw is about brotherhood, friendship, legends, curiosity, and choices. Whether right or wrong, leading to fear, survival, tragedy—and the unknown! I felt the short script would be a great film festival contender. Upon entering it into its first contest within days of the deadline, it won Best Horror Script of the Month in the Gothamite Monthly Film Awards. A few days later, it became a FilmCon Awards Official Selection and won Best Horror Screenplay for August 2021.
Currently, The Jigsaw is on the screenplay film festival circuit until June 2022. But producers and directors interested in taking this project to the big screen for future film festival success, can contact me directly through any of the links provided below. An online ScriptHop presentation "Packet" is available upon request.
Logline: During a severe snowstorm, three friends decide to take a shortcut home. But their after-school journey becomes a horrific detour when they venture into the dense forest known as The Jigsaw.
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Suspense, Drama
Script: 29 pages
Characters: 3 school children (males); 1 adult female; 2 adult males
Time Period: Present Day; Winter Season
Location: Pacific Northwest Forest
Locales: School; House; Highway
Estimated Budget: Mid-Low to Mid-High
Content Rating: PG-13 for language and violence
Read the Short Story on Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099ZGMNKW
Brett Howard Nelson Web Links
FilmFreeway Page: https://filmfreeway.com/BrettHowardNelson
Writing Website: https://www.bretthowardnelson.com
Photography Website: https://www.bhn-photography.com