You are on page 1of 112

In the Dark Places

by Ragnar Tørnquist

FADE IN: EXT. ROAD - NIGHT We open on a dark stretch of road, slick with rain, bordered by tall pines. A car -- SUV; black, expensive -- passes slowly through the downpour. INT. CAR - NIGHT ELLIE MORGAN -- late 40s, elegant -- is driving. In the seat next to her is MICHAEL, 8, Ellie’s son. He’s playing a Gameboy. Ellie glances at Michael, smiles. He’s focused, doesn’t notice. SOFT JAZZ plays on the car’s stereo. EXT. FOREST - NIGHT - ANOTHER TIME We’re in a dark fairy-tale forest, beneath the canopy of gigantic oaks. Here, too, it rains. SOMETHING HUGE AND FAST CRASHES through the thick underbrush. It’s a LARGE HORNED STAG. It’s running for its life. Seconds later, THREE HUNTERS follow. They are shadows with spears and bows. They leap barefoot over roots and rocks. They’re almost as fast as the stag. FURTHER ON The stag is slowing, impeded by the foliage. It’s weary. It won’t last much longer. INT. CAR - NIGHT - NOW It’s difficult to see very far ahead. Ellie turns up the speed of the wipers, to little avail. EXT. FOREST - CLEARING - NIGHT - ANOTHER TIME The stag comes to a clearing in the forest. For a second, the full moon breaks through the clouds. The clearing is about a hundred feet in diameter. The large primordial moon is reflected in a black pool at the center of the clearing. The stag slows as it approaches the water...and then an arrow embeds itself in its left flank.

2. It’s just a flesh wound, but the animal rears and gallops on, back into the thick of the forest. INT. CAR - NIGHT - NOW Ellie leans forward, peers into the night. The headlights aren’t doing much good in this weather. She glances at her son again. Michael’s fallen asleep. EXT. FOREST - NIGHT - ANOTHER TIME The stag CRASHES through more underbrush and heavy foliage, and arrives at the edge of a deep gorge with a steep descent. The moon has vanished again. There’s only darkness below. The stag decides: A final desperate leap into the unknown...and across millennia-INT. CAR - NIGHT - NOW --and SOMETHING LARGE lands in the middle of the road, right in front of the car. The headlights reveal a LARGE STAG. The stag has landed not fifteen feet from the car. Its head turns towards the light, eyes reflecting the headlights like white saucers, like headlights themselves, blinding Ellie. She steps on the brakes, turns the wheel a hard right. The car begins to SKID off the road. Ellie reaches out to Michael... CUT TO: INT. BUS - DAY CERI, 19, is sleeping in the back of the bus, her head leaning against the window. Raindrops run like tears on the glass. Outside, it’s a dull November afternoon. The gray-green landscape rolls slowly by. Fields and forests. Fences and ferns. Telephone poles. Ceri is a pretty girl. Long raven black hair, pearly white skin, tall and slim. There’s a thick paperback book in her hands, and a large red backpack on the seat next to her. There are A FEW PASSENGERS, but it is still eerily quiet.

3. The bus hits a BUMP. Ceri wakes with a start. The paperback novel drops from her hand to the floor. INSERT - BOOK "THE DARK PLACES" by "NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR ELLIE MORGAN". The cover is luridly gothic: A dark forest where shadowy things lurk. BACK TO SCENE Ceri picks up the book, turns it over. On the back there’s a picture of the author: It’s the woman from the car accident, ELLIE MORGAN. She puts the book on the seat next to her and turns to look out the window. EXT. WELSH COUNTRYSIDE - ROAD - DAY The bus passes a field where a flock of wet sheep huddle together under the umbrella of a massive oak. The sky is an ominous bruise. Rain falls in heavy sheets. TITLE: "INTO THE DARK PLACES" EXT. WELSH COUNTRYSIDE - ROAD - DAY The bus crosses a bridge and starts to climb a low hill. Scattered trees, sheep, and fences. Though the rain has abated somewhat, the sky is still turbulent. INT. BUS - DAY A LARGE WOMAN, 40s, across the aisle from Ceri, glances over and spots the book. She leans in. WOMAN (quietly) Ellie Morgan? Ceri turns, puzzled. The woman points to the book. WOMAN Her final novel? Ceri nods.

4. WOMAN She wrote such wonderfully gruesome books. It’s a real shame what happened. Like something from one of her stories. And her boy. He was only eight... (shakes her head) It was almost like she knew what was going to happen. Like-(whispers) --she could see into the future. Ceri turns towards the window again. The woman doesn’t take the hint. WOMAN It’s like I always say. She waits for Ceri to take the bait. What. WOMAN There are no coincidences in life. Some things are meant to happen. Ceri closes her eyes. Leans her head against the window. WOMAN Morgan was originally from parts, did you know? Yes, blood. They say this is she gets her stories from. (nods) It’s like I always say. You cannot escape who you are, no matter how hard you try or how far you go. (looks at Ceri) How about you, dear? Visiting family? Ellie these Welsh where CERI (sighs) My grandfather. Ceri has an American accent. WOMAN That’s wonderful, dear. Where does he live? CERI Don’t really know. I’m supposed to get off at the Mill. CERI

5. WOMAN (frowning) Are you certain, dear? Why, I don’t think anyone lives out there anymore. CERI Someone does. My grandfather. He has a farm. Ceri turns away from the woman, folds her arms, closes her eyes. EXT. WELSH COUNTRYSIDE - BUS STOP - AFTERNOON Ceri gets off, backpack in hand. The doors shut and the bus drives off. She’s alone. It has stopped raining. Cold rays of sunlight penetrate the black and blue clouds. The fields look neglected, the hills wild and untended. A few ramshackle stone fences have partly collapsed. There are no animals. The only sign of population is the bus-stop sign and a gravel road that leads off from the main road. The gravel road is bordered by moss-grown stone fences and wild fields. Where the gravel road joins the main road, there are two crumbling stone cairns. BUS STOP - LATER The light is fading. The rain starts to come down heavily again. Ceri scrambles to pull a raincoat out of her backpack. Hurriedly, she puts it on, zips it up, but it doesn’t appear to help much against the cold. She’s shivering now. BUS STOP - LATER The light is disappearing fast. It’s still raining. Ceri looks distraught, looking left and right on the main road. Finally -- the SOUND OF A CAR, coming down the gravel road. Ceri turns to face the approaching vehicle. Headlights illuminate her pale face. Moments later, a RED PICKUP TRUCK comes to a stop where the gravel road meets the highway. A TALL MAN steps out and approaches Ceri. He’s wearing a faded yellow raincoat. The hood is up. He’s silhouetted by the car’s headlights. It’s an ominous image.

6. When the tall man sees Ceri, he stops. Hello. Ceri Morgan? CERI Yes. You’re Bran Morrighan. The tall man, BRAN MORRIGHAN, 65, comes closer. He lifts his hood, revealing a gaunt and weathered face. He smiles briefly -- it’s a smile without pleasure, one that isn’t often used. BRAN I am. I’m sorry I’ve kept you waiting. It’s okay. Bran points at Ceri’s backpack. BRAN That yours? I’ll take it into the car for you. Thanks. He lifts the backpack into the rear of the truck. BRAN There is dinner on back at the farm. Okay. BRAN It will be dark soon. We should not be out in the dark, in the rain. Bran goes around to the driver’s side door, opens it. Ceri hesitates for only a moment, then walks over to the passenger side. They both get in. Bran U-turns -- kicking up a cloud of dirt -- and drives back up the gravel road, past the stone cairns, away from the main road. EXT. GRAVEL ROAD - LATE AFTERNOON The gravel road winds its way past weed-infested paddocks, rotten fences, and overgrown fields -- past groves of oak trees, over grassy knolls and through shallow vales where streams run heavy with rainwater. CERI CERI CERI TALL MAN CERI

7. INT. TRUCK - THAT MOMENT It’s hard to see more than fifty yards ahead, but Bran is going fast. Ceri looks apprehensive. She glances repeatedly out the passenger side window. BRAN You got here all right? CERI It’s a long trip. So it is. Silence. The truck hits a BUMP. The chassis RATTLES. Ceri holds onto the dashboard. BRAN I’m sorry about Michael, about your mother. There is a long pause. BRAN I’m sorry I wasn’t there. Ceri turns to look at him. Her eyes are wet. CERI Are you? Because you were never there, Bran. You didn’t even come to the funeral. What right do you have to be sorry? Bran keeps his eyes on the road. Ceri looks away, out the window. GRAVEL ROAD - THAT MOMENT The truck approaches the edges of a dense, black forest -the first we’ve seen. This is the Wildwood. The tall trees form a solid, black wall. Inside there is only darkness. The gravel road skirts the trees, running parallel with the increasingly overgrown fields on the right hand side. Bran’s truck speeds along, disappearing into the rising night. EXT. FARMSTEAD - SUNSET The rain has abated quite a bit. The sky has cleared up in the west. The sun sinks blood red below the horizon. To the north and west, past the farm, the Wildwood continues. BRAN

8. INT. TRUCK - SUNSET The headlights illuminate two buildings; the house and the barn -- both dilapidated, the barn more so. Bran stops the car in the front yard between the buildings. BRAN Right. Here we are. CERI (quietly) I remember now. I had a hard time picturing it. But now that I see it, I remember. (beat) It looks different. BRAN It’s been a while. CERI It’s been a lifetime. EXT. FARMHOUSE - PORCH - SUNSET Bran, carrying Ceri’s backpack, opens the front door. He lets her enter first. INT. FARMHOUSE, HALLWAY - NIGHT A narrow hallway, illuminated by a bare lightbulb. Light green wooden boards, hardwood floor. Beyond rustic. Archaic. A steep staircase goes up to the second floor, and an open doorway leads into the kitchen. There’s little decor, only three framed black-and-white photographs on the walls. Ceri looks at them in turn. The first photo shows the farm in its past glory, barn and farmhouse both with fresh coats of paint. It could be the 1940s or 50s. The second photo is of a YOUNG BRAN, late 20s, with a little girl. This is ELLIE, Ceri’s mother. She looks no more than eight or nine. The third photo is a black-and-white photograph of a BEAUTIFUL YOUNG WOMAN who looks eerily like Ceri. CERI Is that my grandmother? Bran stands at the foot of the stairs with the backpack.

9. BRAN Mm. CERI She looks just like... She stops short of ’me’. BRAN I have to get the room ready. I’ll take your bag upstairs. There’s soup on the stove. Help yourself to some, if you’re hungry. Ceri nods. Bran goes upstairs. She stares at the picture for a few more seconds. Then she steps into the-KITCHEN - NIGHT It’s genuinely rustic -- not the Pottery Barn variety: White wooden panel walls, rough hardwood floor. An ancient and NOISY fridge, a white gas stove. There’s a closed door at the opposite end of the room. The kitchen table is set for one. Ceri serves herself some soup. She sits down to eat. Dips her spoon into the soup, lifts it, SNIFFS it. Tastes it. There are NOISES from upstairs, Bran WALKING AROUND. The old house has thin walls and floors. Ceri eats slowly. She lifts each spoonful to her lips first and BLOWS on it. Bran continues to MOVE AROUND upstairs. Soup DRIPS from the spoon into the bowl. The NOISES from upstairs stop. Ceri’s face tightens, her eyes squeeze shut. She drops the spoon into the soup. Soup SPLATTERS onto the table, her sweater. Her hands go to her head, to her temples. She rises unsteadily, neck bent, MOANING. Her chair topples, CRASHES to the floor. Ceri grabs the glass from the table, stumbles to the sink, starts the water running. The SOUND OF THE WATER is DEAFENING. She fills the glass. Water spills down her hand. She drinks it in large GULPS, spilling more water onto her sweater, her pants, the floor.

10. She lowers the glass again. Left hand pushed against her left temple. She looks out the window behind the sink. THROUGH WINDOW First there’s just her own reflection. Then, outside, between the house and the forest... ...SOMETHING moves. It’s a LARGE STAG. It’s staring right at Ceri. It moves nervously, tossing its head. Moments later, it leaps away into the forest. KITCHEN Ceri stands as frozen... A beat. ...and then she collapses to the floor. INSERT - GLASS OF WATER As it SHATTERS-INT. ELLIE’S CAR - NIGHT - FLASHBACK --and the shattered fragments become a jumble of light reflecting off the water and the windshield, and we’re back on the forest road. The car spins out of control,veering off the road, towards the ditch. Ellie struggles with the wheel. Michael is awake, confused, reaching for his mother. A large tree looms in the windshield. A collision is inevitable. BLACK BRAN (V.O.) ...Ceri? Ceri! INT. KITCHEN - EVENING Ceri is on the floor. Her head on a towel. A moist cloth on her brow. Bran hovers. BRAN Are you all right?

11. CERI Mm. Head. She tries to sit up. Bran helps her to her feet. He pulls out a chair. She sits down. BRAN Do you need to lie down? Should I call the doctor? What happened? CERI ...it’s nothing serious. BRAN You were out cold. I should call the doctor. CERI It’s okay. It’s happened before. Bran sits down, but he can’t sit still. Before? CERI After the accident. After the funeral. There have been blackouts. BRAN Have you seen a doctor? CERI I’ve seen all the doctors. They say the same thing. The blackouts aren’t symptomatic of anything. They’re just... (beat) They just are. I black out. Bran gets up. Paces. BRAN Is there a pattern to it? ...no. Bran picks up the towel from the floor. Folds it. Well. He puts the towel in a drawer. BRAN If you feel all right? BRAN CERI BRAN

12. CERI (shrugs) I’m sure it’ll pass. Eventually. Bran sits down again. Fingers DRUMMING nervously. BRAN If you’re sure. (beat) I’ll be just a minute. He rises and walks over to the closed door. It opens into the adjacent LIVING ROOM. THROUGH DOOR Bran takes something from the top of a cluttered bookshelf. BACK TO SCENE He returns to the kitchen, closing the door to the living room behind him. He places a photo album on the table in front of Ceri and pulls his chair around. Bran opens the album from the back. Ceri leans in to look. INSERT - PHOTOGRAPH This is the final photograph in the album: CERI, 5, sits on her mother’s lap on the porch of the farmhouse. Ceri looks ecstatic, but ELLIE, early 30s, is grim. BACK TO SCENE Ceri looks up from the album, to her grandfather. BRAN You didn’t stay long -- two days -- but I got to see your mother again. I got to meet you. CERI I remember some of it. It was summer. Everything was green. I’d never seen anything like it. BRAN You were a city girl. CERI Still am. This place was an alien world. It was real wilderness. (beat) A fairy-tale.

13. She smiles. Remembering. CERI I would ask my Mom if this was where Hansel and Gretel got lost, or where Goldilocks lived with the three bears. I was spellbound. She must’ve gotten so sick of me talking about the farm. (smiles) And about you. You told me stories. About the forest and the hills, about fairies and elves, princes and princesses. I thought you were a king. I always wondered where you kept your gold crown and scepter. Ceri looks down at her hands folded in her lap. She flexes her fingers. CERI Like in a fairy-tale. She moves her fingers slowly. Studies them. BRAN The farm has seen better days. There’s only so much I can do on my own. CERI Okay. If I can help...? BRAN Winter’s coming. There’s not much to be done this late. (considers) I’ve been thinking about giving the porch a new lick of paint. If the weather clears up. CERI I could help. When we moved into the new house... Ceri passes her hand over the picture of her mother. BRAN I could use some help. Ceri smiles. CERI Are there any more pictures of her?

14. BRAN That’s all I have -- pictures of your mother. He pages backwards through the album, reversing the flow of time. The first photograph is of ELLIE AT SIXTEEN. Her face is set -- grim, almost. BRAN This one...’73. The day before she left. I didn’t see her again for three years. CERI She doesn’t look very happy. She wasn’t. CERI Three years is a long time. He turns the pages. The clock is turned back on Ellie from age SIXTEEN through ELEVEN. In no picture does she ever smile. CERI She’s so serious... BRAN After her mother passed, Ellie didn’t like having her picture taken. She would refuse to smile. It was as though she didn’t want anyone to see her happy. (turns the page) She was happy...sometimes. She loved the farm, her secret places. CERI Secret places? BRAN That’s what she called them, the places she alone knew about. Where she could hide herself away when she wanted to. Bran reaches the halfway point of the album. There’s a photo of BRAN, ELLIE, and GWEN. Bran is young -- around thirty. Ellie, barely ten, smiles broadly for the first time. It is Gwen, mid 20s, who is grim now. BRAN

15. CERI (quietly) It’s amazing how much I look like her. Gwen. BRAN (nodding) I noticed it the first time you were here, and when your mother sent me a picture a few years later. You had her features, unlike Ellie, who got saddled with mine. (frowns) But now, the likeness... You look so much like your grandmother. CERI How did she die? BRAN An accident. (deep breath) It was a terrible accident. She drowned. And Ellie... It was very hard on Ellie. CERI That why she didn’t like coming back here? BRAN (lost in thought) What? (beat) Yes. Yes. (stands up) It is late. Let me show you the room. He closes the album. INT. UPSTAIRS LANDING - NIGHT There are three doors here, two of which lead to bedrooms, one to the bathroom. The walls are bare. Bran, trailed closely by Ceri, opens the door to the left of the stairs, leading into-ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT It’s a little girl’s room, kept like a shrine. Everything is neat, tidy, and clean. Ceri’s backpack sits on the floor in front of a large closet. There is a narrow bed -- freshly made -- a desk, and a curtained window.

16. The shelves above the bed are stacked with books. BRAN Just the way she left it. CERI This was Mom’s room. You haven’t cleared it out? BRAN What would I do with the space? I have no need for it. And it makes the house feel more alive. CERI (to herself) ...ghosts... Sorry? CERI It must get lonely out here. BRAN Don’t know anything else. (shrugs) The bathroom is down the hall, I’m calling it a night. Tomorrow morning I’m going into town early, but I’ll be back by noon. Unless you want to come...? CERI (shakes head) I should sleep. I’m very tired. BRAN Well. Good night, then. ’night. Bran closes the door behind him. Ceri stands in the middle of the room. She squeezes her eyes tightly shut. Clenches her fists. BREATHES SLOWLY. DEEPLY. CERI Mom. If you’re there... (another deep breath) I’m sorry. I had to come. I know you didn’t want me to. But I have questions. And I didn’t know where else to look. (exhales) You were never easy to figure out. CERI BRAN

17. She opens her eyes again, sits down on the bed, runs her hands along the dry white linen. Ghosts. She looks up at the shelves above the bed. There are some white porcelain figurines, decorative rocks, dried flower petals -- and many, many books. Ceri runs her fingers along the spines of the books: "Treasure Island", "The Count of Monte Cristo", "The Hobbit", "Mary Poppins", "Winnie the Pooh"... ...and many more. Ceri checks the closet. It’s empty. She walks over to the window, parts the curtains. THROUGH WINDOW Ceri’s reflection. The moon, covered by clouds. Beyond the mirror image of the room -- a vast dark shape, barely visible. The Wildwood. She lets the curtain fall. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - LATER Ceri is under the covers. The bedside lamp is lit. She’s reading from her mother’s book, "THE DARK PLACES". She’s reached the halfway mark. She’s not able to focus. She pages backwards, reads a little, then flips to the title page. INSERT - TITLE PAGE Written in red, in Ellie’s handwriting, is the following: "For the Secrets that haunt us & cripple us. For a past that will never be resolved. Never let the darkness cloud your heart and mind. Love. Ellie." BACK TO SCENE Ceri closes the book. Puts it carefully aside. Stares up at the ceiling. CERI (quietly) Good night, Mom. She turns off the light. CERI

18. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - MORNING Pale sunlight falls through the white drapes onto the bed, where Ceri’s waking. Ceri YAWNS and stretches. She looks rested. She rises. Walks over to the window. Parts the curtains again. THROUGH WINDOW It’s a completely different world from the previous evening. The sky is a clear and deep blue. THE WILDWOOD -- specked with color -- bathes in pale November sunlight. The woods look much smaller now that they are no longer obscured by darkness: A dense valley of trees nestled inbetween rolling green mounds and fields, and bordered, to the north, by hills. This is the last of the primeval wildwood; a pocket of history, a remnant of the endless forests that covered the land in ancient times; dark green and wild, beautiful and intimidating. It is a fairy-tale forest, a birthplace of magic and myth. INT. KITCHEN - DAY Ceri scopes out the fridge. It’s almost empty. A bottle of milk, cheese, black bread, a few apples. She grabs an apple, BITES into it. CHEWS. Grimacing, she tosses it into the garbage. She goes through the door into the... LIVING ROOM Large, gloomy, and messy. The windows are curtained. Bookshelves on all four walls. The furniture is from the 1950s and 60s: A worn sofa, a rickety table, lamps, chairs. Books, papers, and newspapers are stacked on all surfaces -- like a library after a hurricane. In the middle of the room stands an easel with a halfpainted CANVAS. There are paints and brushes on the floor below it. More canvases -- some completed, most not -- are stacked against the wall beneath the window. The canvas on the easel depicts a forest scene. Heavy on the dark blues and blacks. Ceri walks over to the shelves, inspects the books.

19. On the shelf next to the sofa she finds copies of her mother’s novels, as well as a clip book. Ceri browses quickly through the clip book. It’s crammed with newspaper cuttings -- interviews, articles, and reviews -- from Ellie’s career. All of it carefully pasted in, neatly chronological. She puts it back, and picks up a copy of Ellie Morgan’s "THE BLACK POOL". It’s worn, and has obviously been read many times. There’s a second door at the other side of the room. She opens it. It leads into the... HALLWAY - DAY Ceri walks down the hallway and notices a door set into the staircase. She opens it. BASEMENT STAIRCASE A stairwell goes down into the basement. It’s pitch black down there. Ceri searches for a light switch, but finds none. HALLWAY Ceri closes the basement door. She returns to the foot of the staircase, looks upstairs. UPSTAIRS LANDING The door to Bran’s bedroom is slightly ajar. Ceri pushes it gently. It swings open, allowing her a good look of the room. THROUGH DOOR It’s spartan. A twin bed, a commode, a closet. A window overlooking the front yard. There are three framed photographs on top of the commode. BRAN’S BEDROOM Ceri enters the bedroom and walks over to the commode to look at the framed pictures. The first picture is of ELLIE, age six or seven. The second picture is of CERI, age twelve. The picks up the third picture. It’s MICHAEL. He’s no more than tree years old, and grinning from ear to ear.

20. CERI Mikey... As she puts the picture down again, she spots a letter on top of the commode. She picks it up and looks at it. INSERT - LETTER The letter begins: "Bran, "Please, do not try to contact us anymore. You owe us nothing, and I expect the same courtesy in return. I kept my promise with Ceri, but made no such promises regarding Michael--" BACK TO SCENE A SCRATCHING NOISE makes Ceri jump and drop the letter to the floor. The SCRATCHING continues. It’s coming from the window. Ceri picks the latter up and puts it back on the commode. She tiptoes over to the window. Unlatches and opens it. THROUGH WINDOW A BLACK RAVEN lifts off, wings beating fast, SQUAWKING INDIGNANTLY. The raven flies across the yard, towards the barn, disappears behind it. BACK TO SCENE Ceri stares at the barn. EXT. FARMSTEAD - BARN - DAY The barn is dilapidated, walls cracking, weeds growing tall around it. It hasn’t been painted in a long time. Ceri checks out the barn door. It’s padlocked. The lock is shiny, new. She RATTLES the door. It’s solid. She gets close and puts her eye to the crack in the door. THROUGH CRACK It’s quite dark, but light falls in pockets through holes in the ceiling. There’s a rusty tractor, bales of dried hay, stacked chicken cages, various farm tools, machine parts. And what looks like a circle on the floor. Black soot. Burned into the floorboards.

21. BACK TO SCENE She tries the door again. It won’t budge. INT. FARMHOUSE - HALLWAY - DAY Ceri checks the coat hooks behind the front door, the pockets of Bran’s raincoat. Nothing. KITCHEN - DAY She opens and closes all the drawers, the cabinets. Nothing. BASEMENT STAIRCASE - DAY She looks down. There’s a key-ring hanging from a hook on the wall. She grabs it, goes through the keys one by one. Nothing. EXT. FARMSTEAD - BARN - DAY Ceri circles the barn, determined. Stacked against the wall facing the forest, there’s a pile of firewood about five feet tall. Above it, a broken window. Ceri pushes the woodpile. It appears stable. She looks up at the window. Then she climbs up. She manages to lift herself up onto the stack. The window is still too high to look inside. Cautiously, hands to the wall, she stands. Her head is now level with the bottom of the window. There are a few shards of glass in the frame. She removes them, tosses them to the ground. She reaches up, puts her arms through the window. There’s a SUDDEN EXPLOSION OF NOISE AND MOVEMENT. Ceri SCREAMS. A BLACK RAVEN flies right into her face. Its talon cuts her cheek, its wings tangle with her hair. Ceri stumbles backwards, arms flailing to keep her balanced. The raven frees itself and lifts off. The stack begins to topple. Ceri is losing her footing -and she begins to slip sideways as the logs roll... ...and then she’s being grabbed by STRONG ARMS, lifted to the ground. Feet planted solidly again, Ceri whirls around, and finds herself face to face with DANIEL GRIFFIN, 25 -- clean cut, blond hair, square jaw.

22. CERI Oh god-DANIEL Sorry. Are you okay? The young man has an American accent. CERI (steps back) You scared me. DANIEL Sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you. (points to Ceri’s face) You’re bleeding. Ceri touches her cheek where the raven scratched her. There’s some blood. CERI Shit. I should clean it. (frowns) Wait -- what are you doing here? This is private property, and my grandfather is right back there, and... (points to house) ...and all I have to do is yell. There are guns. DANIEL Guns. I’m not-Okay? DANIEL I’m Daniel. Daniel Griffin. Okay. DANIEL I’m sorry I frightened you. Looked like you needed some help. CERI It wasn’t what you think, because I was just, you know-DANIEL Climbing on top of the firewood. CERI Okay. What are you doing here? CERI CERI

23. DANIEL I came to see Mr Morrighan. I didn’t see his truck, so I thought he wasn’t around. Then I saw you, and... CERI He’ll be right back. (clears throat) So I’m Ceri. Granddaughter. DANIEL That makes sense, because he mentioned that. That was today? CERI Yesterday. I came in yesterday. It was late, and I didn’t get a chance to look around. So that’s what I was... And you’re not from around here, are you? DANIEL (laughs) Sorry. This is just a very confusing conversation. No. Just visiting. Actually, I’m writing a paper, which is why I’m here. Mr Morrighan’s been helpful. Okay. DANIEL Sure you’re okay? CERI Surprisingly -- yes. She touches her cheek again. Winces. Looks at her fingers. There’s blood. CERI You know, I should get this cleaned. She starts walking around to the front of the barn. Daniel follows. CERI By the way -- thanks. I could have hurt myself. I know better now than to climb firewood for thrills. DANIEL Is that what you were doing? CERI

24. CERI What? DANIEL Climbing. For thrills. CERI Sure. You know, you shouldn’t sneak up on people like that. DANIEL Even when I’m saving them from a broken neck? CERI Yes. Helpful with what? DANIEL With what? Okay. The paper. They pass Daniel’s car in the yard -- a battered late 70s model brown Datsun,. CERI You’re writing a paper? DANIEL Like a dissertation. Maybe I’ll turn it into a book. About myths and legends. They’ve reached the porch. Ceri stops, turns to Daniel. CERI So you’re a -- what’s that then -- a historian? DANIEL I’m studying for my doctorate. CERI And there are things worth writing about round here? Myths and legends? DANIEL Absolutely. (animated now) It’s a fascinating area. You’ve seen the Wildwood. He points to the line of trees bordering the farm on two sides. The Wildwood? CERI

25. DANIEL That’s what they call it. The old forest. CERI Why do they call it that? DANIEL Because that’s what it is -- a wildwood. CERI I haven’t heard that word before. DANIEL Okay, so it’s a forest left unchanged by humans, still as wild as it was before people settled here. You won’t find many of them in this country. CERI I thought it was just a forest. DANIEL There are not many forests as old as this one. And there’s not much left of it. This is all there is. It’s fading. CERI How can a forest fade? DANIEL It’s a living thing... (off Ceri’s reaction) ...which sounds a little strange. What I mean is that the forest is a complex ecosystem. It can’t exist in a vacuum. That’d be like cutting off your pinky and expecting it to survive without the rest of your body. CERI They cut it down? DANIEL Most of it. Over a period of hundreds of years. It’s a miracle that this last pocket has survived. CERI And this is why you’re here? To write about the forest?

26. DANIEL No, but the forest is an important part of history. It’s a living artifact. Being inside it is like traveling thousands of years into the past... (beat) Which doesn’t mean that I spend my time walking around the forest. I talk to people, I visit museums and antiquarians, research private collections... Gather information. CERI And what does Bran help you with? DANIEL He’s lived here a long time. I ask him questions, he points me in the right direction. He knows a great deal, your grandfather. He’s a fascinating man. Really? DANIEL You don’t know him well. CERI No. I’ve met him just once before -- when I was five. I can’t say that we have a particularly close relationship. DANIEL Okay. You came here to get to know him better? CERI He didn’t tell you anything. DANIEL He said you were visiting? CERI So yes. To get to know him better. To learn about my family’s past. DANIEL Okay. You’re bleeding again. CERI

27. CERI Oh. (wipes at her cheek) Shit. So I need to get this cleaned, and... (considers) ...you can wait in the kitchen? She starts towards the door, turns around. CERI I mean, if you want. I’m sure Bran will be back soon. Okay. INT. KITCHEN - LATER Daniel is sitting by the kitchen table. He gets up when Ceri comes back downstairs. There’s a band-aid on her cheek. How is it? CERI (shrugs) Just a scratch. I cleaned it with alcohol. You never know. Do ravens have rabies? I doubt it. She gets a glass from the cupboard. CERI Want something to drink? DANIEL I’m fine, thanks. (sits back down) There are lots of them here, Bran told me. (off Ceri’s reaction) Ravens. Used to be a problem for the crops. Now... I guess he doesn’t much care? Ceri fills the glass with water from the sink. CERI It can’t be easy. My mother left in 1973, and he’s been alone ever since. I think. (MORE) DANIEL DANIEL DANIEL

28. CERI (CONT’D) (sits down) You know, I never asked him...if there was ever anyone else. I should ask him. (sips the water) So you were talking about the research. You interview people? DANIEL (nods) I’ve been here three weeks now, and I’ve gathered a pile this high-(hands two feet apart) --of material relating to my paper. Not counting a suitcase filled with books. I wasn’t sure how much I’d get out of this trip. I’ve been very lucky. CERI That’s good. Where are you from? DANIEL Originally? Massachusetts. But I’ve lived everywhere. We moved around a lot, my Dad and me. CERI I grew up in Philadelphia, but when my Mom’s books became popular we moved to New York. Ellie Morgan, the author? (Daniel nods) Then just last year, after I’d started college, she got it into her head that she wanted to move to the country. I’ve always wanted to live in the country -so she waited until I moved out? Anyway, she sold the brownstone and bought a big house up in Connecticut. DANIEL I’m sorry about what happened. Okay. DANIEL I didn’t know that Bran was Ellie Morgan’s father when we first met. Such a weird coincidence. I brought a couple of her books to read while I was here. She was a good writer. CERI

29. CERI She was a great writer. She should have written proper books, not just those silly ghost stories. She told me that she would get around to the Great American Novel one day, after she’d gotten all those other stories off her chest. (beat) I don’t know if she was joking or not. She tucks her hair behind her ears. Looks towards the window. CERI I can see where she got her stories from. This place... (beat) It’s a little intimidating. DANIEL It’s...atmospheric. CERI And the forest? The Wildwood. Gothic? (smiles) So I see your point, yes. But it’s not all "oooh!", ghosts and goblins -- the Wildwood is also very beautiful. I should take you on a-There’s the SOUND OF A CAR ARRIVING. Ceri gets up and goes over to the window, looks out. THROUGH WINDOW It’s Bran’s truck. Bran steps out, shuts the door. He notices Daniel’s car, walks over to look inside it. Then he glances up at the window. EXT. FARMHOUSE - THAT MOMENT Ceri, in the kitchen window. She waves. Bran is about to wave back, but stops himself. Instead, he just nods. He goes around to the back of his truck and lifts out a cardboard box with shopping-bags in it. INT. KITCHEN - DAY As Bran enters, carrying the box, Daniel gets to his feet. DANIEL

30. DANIEL Mr Morrighan, hello. Need any help with that? No. He puts the box down on the floor by the fridge. Sizes Daniel up. BRAN What are you doing here? DANIEL Oh. I thought we’d agreed...? BRAN Well then. (looks at Ceri) I’ve got... (beat) What happened to your cheek? CERI (touches band-aid) This? Oh. Just a scratch. I’m okay. You didn’t... CERI Pass out? (glances at Daniel) No. Hey-(to Bran) --did you get any groceries? Because the fridge is a little spartan, and I’m starving. BRAN I got groceries. I thought I’d make lunch. CERI I’ll make something. Do you mind if Daniel stays for lunch? (to Daniel) Are you hungry? She starts going through the bags, pulls out some eggs, milk, and bread. Okay. (to Bran) If it’s okay with you? DANIEL BRAN BRAN

31. CERI I’ll make some omelettes and toast. BRAN There’s enough food. I need to wash my hands. He leaves the kitchen and goes upstairs. DANIEL I’m not sure he’s too happy about having me stay. CERI But you had some questions, didn’t you? For Bran. DANIEL I can talk to him another time. CERI You’re staying. My omelettes are fantastic. But you’ll have to help. DANIEL Okay. What do you need me to do? She puts a bowl down on the kitchen table, next to the eggs. Egg duty. DANIEL I can do that. I was afraid you’d ask me to slice the bread. My cooking skills are limited to scrambling eggs. CERI (laughs) I’ll remember that. He smiles, and starts cracking the eggs. INT. KITCHEN - LATER The plates are clean. Daniel is clearing the dishes away. Bran has lit up his pipe. The room is filling with smoke. Ceri COUGHS, and goes to open the window. Bran doesn’t appear to notice. CERI (to Daniel) Just leave the dishes in the sink. She walks over to him, steers him back to the table. CERI

32. CERI Do you guys want some tea? BRAN (pipe in mouth) Mm-hmm. DANIEL Tea would be great. (sits down) Thank you, Ceri. She fills a kettle with water and places it on the stove. Turns the gas on. CERI So where are you staying, Daniel? Ceri starts opening the cabinets one by one. DANIEL At a bed and breakfast near the village. It’s nice. I’m the only guest. People come and go, but right now it’s just me. (shrugs) I have a TV. And three channels. When the weather’s good. CERI (to Bran) Tea? Bran points at a jar next to the sink. She opens it, gets three bags of tea. CERI (to Daniel) How far is the village? Daniel looks at Bran. DANIEL From here? What -- half an hour? Bran removes his pipe. BRAN Forty, forty-five minutes. CERI Do you go often? She places three mugs on the table, each with a tea bag in it.

33. BRAN Not often. Only when I need to visit the store. Most of the folk I knew back when have gone away. Some have moved, some are dead... The few that remain aren’t particularly happy to see me. Why’s that? BRAN I reckon they don’t like to be reminded of the past. Daniel leans slightly forward, staring intently at Bran. CERI What do you mean? BRAN Not everyone appreciates having old memories stirred up. Some believe that water under the bridge is just that. There are worries enough in the present... (looks at Daniel) ...we don’t need to go looking for more. Daniel looks away. Bran puts the pipe back in his mouth. Ceri looks back and forth between the two. The kettle WHISTLES, distracting them all. EXT. FARMHOUSE - LATER Ceri follows Daniel out. They stop by the car. She steps closer, looks up at him. CERI I’m sorry about Bran. That was a little uncomfortable. DANIEL You don’t have to apologize. It’s been nice. CERI Okay. What was that all about? I thought he’d been helpful. DANIEL He has been. Don’t worry about it -- I had a good time. (touches Ceri’s arm) Listen, would you maybe like to take a walk tomorrow? CERI

34. CERI A walk? Okay. If you want? CERI Okay. I’d like that. When? DANIEL Around lunchtime. I’ll come by. You’ll be here? CERI (gives Daniel a Look) Right. So I’m gonna be where? On the beach, getting a tan? (off Daniel’s reaction) Seriously. It’s not like there’s anywhere to go. DANIEL I’ll show you. Tomorrow. He gets into the car and gives Ceri a smile and a wave before he drives off. Ceri watches the car disappear down the road. She goes inside. INT. HALLWAY She passes by the kitchen entrance. Pauses. Bran’s still sitting at the kitchen table, smoking. He’s staring into the distance, and doesn’t notice her. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - AFTERNOON Ceri is unpacking. She’s tossed her clothes on the bed, a couple of books on the floor. She adjusts the time on her alarm clock and places it on the shelf above the bed, next to some porcelain dolls. She picks up one of them -- an antique Victorian doll -- to inspect it closer. Its head falls off, bounces off the bed, and rolls under the closet. Ceri grimaces and puts the doll’s body on the bed. Then she gets down on her stomach and reaches under the closet. As she feels her way under the closet she discovers a loose floorboard. She lifts it aside and pulls out a square object wrapped in a white handkerchief. She sits up and unwraps the package. DANIEL

35. It’s a diary. Excited, Ceri sits down on the bed and opens the book. INSERT - DIARY The first page contains a short passage. Ceri reads the words aloud as she traces them with her finger: CERI "My name is Ellie Marie Morrighan. I am ten years old. These are my Secrets." BACK TO SCENE Ceri frowns. She puts the diary aside, and picks up her copy of "THE DARK PLACES". She opens it to the first page. As before, Ellie’s inscription begins with: "For the Secrets that haunt us". The word ’Secrets’ is similarly capitalized. CERI (to herself) "Secrets". Ceri picks up Ellie’s diary again. She turns the page and starts reading. CERI (V.O.) "September 24th, 1967." She scans down the page, then begins to read from the top. CERI (V.O.) "I live on a farm by the forest with my mother Gwen, my father Bran..." As she reads, Ceri’s VOICE-OVER is replaced with the VOICE of ELLIE MORGAN, age ten. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) ...father Bran and my cat Merlin. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world. DISSOLVE TO: INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1967 Ellie’s bedroom looks very similar, even though it’s thirty-six years ago.

36. The curtains and bedcovers are different, there are more items on the shelves -- more books, more pictures -- and there are prints on the walls, some of angels and saints, others of elves and goblins. The moon shines brightly through the curtains. ELLIE MORRIGHAN, 10, sits by her desk, writing in her journal. She writes by the light of a kerosene lamp. Ellie appears to be intently focused on her writing. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) Most days I go to school, which is far away. Father drives me to the main road, and I take the bus into the village. Often, after school, I go to the library. On Saturdays, I help out at home. On Sundays, after church and before dinner, I explore. EXT. FARMHOUSE - DAY - 1967 Ellie walks around the back of the house with a long stick in her hand. It’s a sunny day in autumn. The garden is still green, but the leaves on the trees are turning red and orange. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) I explore the house, the barn, the garden. There is always something that I have missed. There is always something new to see. There are always secret places to discover. She walks to the edge of the forest. Stops. Looks into the dark places. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) Sometimes I go into the Wildwood, but I never go far on my own, never so far that I cannot still see the garden. Only with father do I go further. We explore the woods together, just the two of us. EXT. THE WILDWOOD - DAY - 1967 BRAN MORRIGHAN -- much younger, around 30 -- trails his daughter down a narrow path through the forest. Ellie keeps glancing over her shoulder at her father, but she stays bravely ahead.

37. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) He takes me down the hidden paths that only he knows, to the secret places that no one can find unless they want to be found. Without him, I would be lost. The Wildwood would lose me. But father always knows the way. Always. INT. KITCHEN - DAY - 1967 Ellie and Bran enter the kitchen, where GWEN MORRIGHAN, mid-20s, is cooking dinner. She looks tired, but she smiles at them both. Ellie runs to hug her mother. Gwen kisses her daughter’s head. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) Mother doesn’t ever come with us. She says she doesn’t like to walk in the woods, that they are too dark and too wild. She says that the Wildwood gives her nightmares. KITCHEN - LATER - 1967 The table is set, and the family has sat down to eat dinner. Bran is SAYING GRACE. Ellie’s and Gwen’s hands are folded, their eyes closed. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) I think mother is having nightmares again, because sometimes she is up late at night. I hear her. Once, a few days ago, I woke and heard her downstairs. But when I went down to find her, she wasn’t there. Maybe she went to the barn? EXT. FARMHOUSE - PORCH - DAY - 1967 Ellie is playing with her CAT -- a gray tom -- on the porch. The trees are golden. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) It’s already late September, and it will be winter soon. I like winter, when Christmas isn’t so very far away. She scratches the cat, MERLIN, behind his ears. He PURRS.

38. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) I know what I will be wishing for this year -- a little brother. (beat) Or sister. I’m not picky. I know I shouldn’t be. A brother or a sister, either one would be good. Merlin pricks his ears and runs off, leaving Ellie alone on the porch. She hugs herself. It’s chilly. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) Because sometimes, when mother and father are busy, I get a little lonely. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1967 There’s a KNOCK on the door. Ellie closes her diary and looks up. Yes? Bran opens the door. Tuck you in? Ellie beams at him. YOUNG ELLIE I’m going to bed now. Bran walks into the room. Ellie jumps into bed, lets him tuck her in. BRAN What were you writing? Secrets. Oh. (taps his nose) Don’t worry, Ellie, I won’t tell anyone. Not even Merlin. YOUNG ELLIE Silly. Merlin already knows all my secrets. She smiles up at Bran -- an adoring smile. BRAN YOUNG ELLIE BRAN YOUNG ELLIE

39. BRAN Of course he does. Cats know all the secrets and all the secret places. That’s what cats do. That’s why they’re special. (kisses her) Sweetest dreams, my little fairy queen. YOUNG ELLIE (giggles) Good night. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) We are all very happy. I would not want to be anywhere else...not for the world. Bran turns off the lamp and leaves the bedroom. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) But I am worried sometimes. I’m worried about mother. She is tired. I’m worried about the animals -- because father’s said that they have been acting strangely. And I’m worried about my dreams...because they frighten me. (beat) They make me feel like I’m slowly drowning in the darkness. CUT TO: INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT - NOW A sudden KNOCK on the door startles Ceri. She closes the diary, holds it to her chest. Yes? BRAN (O.S.) Dinner’s ready. CERI Oh. I’ll be right down. She tucks the diary into her backpack. INT. KITCHEN - LATER Bran and Ceri are eating dinner in silence. Ceri lowers her utensils and looks at Bran. He doesn’t notice. She CLEARS HER THROAT. Bran looks up, stops eating. CERI

40. CERI It’s good. Good. He stares at her for a second, then continues eating. She waits, but he says nothing further. EXT. FARMHOUSE - PORCH - NIGHT It’s dark. The stars have come out in force, each one bright and clear. The moon hasn’t yet risen. Ceri sits on the porch, gazing up at the sky. Her breath makes small clouds of condensation. She’s wearing a thick sweater; neck up, sleeves pulled over her hands. The door behind her opens and closes. Bran sits down on the other end of the porch, lights up his pipe. CERI So when did you want to paint the porch? Bran considers, puffing on his pipe. BRAN Tomorrow morning? If the weather’s good. Okay. They sit in silence for a little while. CERI When did Mom start writing? Early. He lowers his pipe. BRAN Well. She started reading when she was four. She must have read everything in the house, and I would take her to the library every week. She wrote her first short story when she was eight. It was called "The Saddest Duck". CERI Ellie Morgan’s first story was about a duck. If her fans only knew... BRAN CERI BRAN

41. BRAN (chuckles) Oh, it wasn’t without its morbid parts. As far as I recall, the duck met a tragic end. Your mother was always fascinated by scary stories. CERI Do you still have them? BRAN She took all her stories with her when she left. Now you can buy them anywhere. They’re basically the same stories. Some of them we made up together on our walks. I reckon they stuck in her head. CERI And you’ve read them all? Mom’s books? BRAN A dozen times. They’re good, but I always knew she could do better. CERI She was afraid her fans would be disappointed if she didn’t stick to horror. BRAN Maybe it went deeper than that. CERI You mean what happened to Gwen? BRAN It wasn’t easy for Ellie. It wasn’t easy for either of us, living alone out here -- more and more people left and didn’t come back. Ellie was so close to her mother... Bran looks at his pipe. It’s gone cold. BRAN There was bound to be a lot of darkness in her stories. He lights it up again. CERI Forests were such a strong theme in her stories. I never understood why.

42. She looks in the direction of the Wildwood. CERI It was such a dominating presence, right outside her bedroom window, for so many years. Mm. He exhales a cloud of smoke. BRAN Some day, it’ll all be gone. It clings on now, but its time has passed. The world has changed... (shrugs) There’s little room for the old. CERI Why didn’t you come to the funeral, Bran? Well. (beat) I miss Ellie a lot, Ceri. Every day since the day she left. I wish I could have met your Michael. Life is filled with regrets... He empties his pipe, tucks it into his pocket. BRAN I haven’t been well, and it was a very long trip. I hadn’t seen your mother in fifteen years. She wanted nothing to do with me. CERI She was your daughter. I know. He stands up. BRAN There’s a reason for everything, and it may not always be apparent. But I’m sorry I didn’t go to the funeral. If only for your sake. I hope you can forgive me. Bran goes inside. Ceri gazes up at the brilliant stars again. BRAN BRAN BRAN

43. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - LATER Ceri sits on the floor reading Ellie’s diary. She turns the pages, moving forward in time. CERI (V.O.) "October 12th, 1967. I heard something at school today, and when I told father he was very upset. He said that I shouldn’t be listening to the other children -- that they say things sometimes that aren’t true..." Ten-year old Ellie’s VOICE picks up: YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) ...aren’t true, but I know that this is true. Because I heard the adults talking about it too. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - EVENING - 1967 Ellie’s at her desk, writing in her journal. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) Two cats have died, and they didn’t just die. Someone... (whispers) ...murdered them. INT. CLASSROOM - DAY - 1967 It’s recess. THREE GIRLS -- amongst them, Ellie -- have gathered in the corner. They’re WHISPERING to each other, making sure no one else can hear. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) That’s what Marjorie said happened to her cat. One of the girls -- MARJORIE, a redhead -- is wiping tears from her eyes. She said drowned, and save had tied wire. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) that Lancelot had been that he couldn’t swim himself because someone his feet together with

EXT. BUS STOP - DAY - 1967 Ellie’s waiting, alone.

44. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) And Marjorie said that Lancelot wasn’t the only cat who had drowned. She said that Fiona Thomas’s cat Willow was dead...and that there were others, too. They say the cats are dying. INT. TRUCK - DAY - 1967 30-year old Bran is behind the wheel. Ellie sits next to him. They’re driving down the gravel road towards the farm. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) They say that it’s happened before. EXT. FARMSTEAD - DAY - 1967 Ellie jumps out of the car, runs inside the house. Bran climbs out slowly. He seems distracted. He looks towards the barn. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) They say it’s coming back. INT. KITCHEN - 1967 - THAT MOMENT Ellie runs into the kitchen. Mum? The kitchen is empty. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) I don’t know what "it" is, but I’m worried. I’m worried about Merlin, about what’s going to happen him. She runs out again, into the hallway, up the stairs. INT. UPSTAIRS LANDING - 1967 - THAT MOMENT Ellie knocks on her parents’ bedroom door. Mum! There’s no answer. She opens the door. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) I’m worried about what’s going to happen to all of us. YOUNG ELLIE YOUNG ELLIE

45. INT. MASTER BEDROOM - 1967 - THAT MOMENT The bedroom looks very different, brighter, more colorful. There are pictures on the walls, books, clothes, brighter curtains. There’s no one here either. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) And I’m worried about what’s happening to mother. Ellie walks through the room, to the window. THROUGH WINDOW - 1967 - THAT MOMENT Bran is leading Gwen out of the barn. She’s having trouble walking. Bran appears angry. Gwen holds one hand to her head. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) She’s not well. (beat) Not well at all. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT - NOW Ceri closes Ellie’s diary, tucks it away in her backpack. She lies down in bed, stares at the ceiling, hands folded on her chest. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - LATER It is past midnight. The room is dark. Ceri’s asleep. The stark moon has risen, shining through the curtains and casting sharp shadows on the floor. Ceri turns, MOANS. The curtains flutter. The window CREAKS open a crack. A chill wind passes through the room, RUSTLING papers, causing Ceri to shiver. She wakes -- looks up, notices the open window. Ceri rises unsteadily, shivering, and walks over to the window. THROUGH WINDOW The moon hangs fat and pale over the forest, framed by black clouds. On the lawn below the bedroom window, halfway between the house and the trees, stands the STAG. It’s looking up at Ceri.

46. BACK TO SCENE Ceri takes a step backwards. Her hands go to her face. Seconds go by. She lowers her hands again. INT. UPSTAIRS LANDING - NIGHT Ceri closes the door behind her and tiptoes quietly by Bran’s bedroom door and down the stairs. HALLWAY She goes outside... EXT. FARMHOUSE - NIGHT ...and round the back to where she saw the stag. EXT. FARMHOUSE - GARDEN - NIGHT The stag is still there. It stands ten feet from the forest, SNIFFING the air. When it spots Ceri, it lowers its head briefly and gazes at her. The stag is calm. Ceri’s freezing, her body shaking. Her breath is white. Cool dew clings to her bare feet. She approaches the stag cautiously. As she nears, the stag becomes agitated. It dances, doesn’t bolt. Its black eye remains on Ceri -- it’s making WORRIED NOISES. Close now, she stops, reaches her hand out to the large animal. Easy. The stag calms down again. Turns its head towards her hand... Just as she’s about to touch it, the stag rears up on its hind legs. Ceri has to step backwards, arms raised to her face, to avoid being struck by the animal’s hooves. The second the stag is back on all four, it bolts -straight into the forest, where it’s immediately swallowed up by the dark. Ceri lowers her arms, takes a step forward...and collapses to the ground. EXT. FOREST ROAD - NIGHT - FLASHBACK We’re back at the scene of the accident -- on a wet and dark forest road. CERI

47. IN SLOW MOTION, Ellie’s car HITS THE DITCH, BOUNCES, and continues straight towards a large tree. INT. ELLIE’S CAR - THAT MOMENT Ellie is throwing her arms over her boy, hoping to protect him. The stag in the road has become diffuse now, obscured by the water and the darkness -- and yet its eyes are bright like headlights. The stag is transforming into something else, something larger and darker... INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - MORNING - NOW Ceri wakes with a start, confused. She looks around as though surprised by where she is. She’s in bed. The bedroom window is closed. It’s light outside, but it’s a gray light, a cloudy day. INT. BATHROOM - LATER The bathroom is white tiles and white porcelain -- clean and utilitarian. There’s a sink, a large mirror, and a bathtub with a shower curtain. Ceri is in the shower. The room is filled with steam. It has obscured the mirror. IN SHOWER Ceri lowers her head to rinse her hair. She looks into the tub. The water running from her feet is brown. Supports herself with one hand on the wall, she raises first one foot, then the other. They are both soiled, brown and green. She looks at her hands. Her palms are dirty. She washes the dirt off. EXT. FARMHOUSE - PORCH - LATER It’s a gray morning, clouds low and uniform, but it’s not raining. Bran is painting the porch. He’s finished a corner of the railing and one of the posts. Ceri comes out the front door. CERI You started without me?

48. BRAN You were sleeping. I just wanted to give myself a head start. I’m not young anymore. He hands her a brush and a pail of paint, and points to the other corner of the porch. BRAN I’m not about to do this on my own. Meet you in the middle? Okay. She carries the paint across the porch, and starts painting. SERIES OF SHOTS - PORCH Bran and Ceri painting the porch: -- Ceri dips her brush in the paint. -- Bran stands up to wipe his forehead. -- Ceri uses long strokes on one of the poles. -- Bran gets down on his knees to paint between the railings. EXT. FARMHOUSE - PORCH - LATER Ceri’s taking a break, flexing her hands. They’ve made it almost halfway to the middle -- Bran’s still ahead of her, but only by a little. Down the gravel road, towards the highway, a PICKUP TRUCK approaches. Bran, on his knees, stands up -- gazes towards the approaching vehicle. He looks concerned. The truck passes the final turn. There’s a logo painted on the side of the car. Christ. (to Ceri) You should go inside and eat lunch. I need to speak with these people. Okay? BRAN They are not good people. They want the property. CERI BRAN CERI

49. CERI Why? BRAN Out with the old, in with the new... The truck stops in the farmyard. TWO MEN step out -construction worker types. Bran steps off the porch and goes to meet the men. INT. KITCHEN - DAY Ceri looks out the window, to where Bran is speaking with the two men. It appears to be a civil conversation. Their VOICES are a LOW MURMUR. Bran leads the men away from the house, towards the barn. EXT. FARMHOUSE - PORCH - DAY Ceri comes out of the house. Bran and the visitors are nowhere to be seen. She walks into the yard. Looks up at the house. She circles around the house to the back, into what used to be the garden. FARMHOUSE - GARDEN Ceri crouches on the ground where she saw the stag. The ground has been disturbed, but it’s impossible to tell if the tracks are from a deer or from something else. She walks over to the edge of the forest, to where the stag disappeared. A PATH winds its way into the woods. Ceri looks back, briefly, to the house -- and then she walks down the path, into the woods. EXT. THE WILDWOOD - PATH - DAY It’s much darker in here. The gigantic trees tower over Ceri, blocking out the sky. On both sides of the path, the foliage is heavy, impenetrable. The path itself is narrow. It rises and falls, over rocks and streams, past anthills and fallen trees, twisting left and right, never straight. Ceri treads carefully, keeping her eyes to the ground. Branches and roots, slick rocks and tussocks, threaten to trip her at every step.

50. FURTHER ON She passes beneath the trunk of a huge tree that’s fallen across the path. FURTHER ON Ceri leaps across a stream with muddy banks. She checks for tracks. Aside from her own, there are none. EXT. THE WILDWOOD - CLEARING - DAY Ceri emerges from the woods into a clearing. The sun is out -- passing between clear patches in the cloudy sky -yet the clearing appears cast in shadow. The clearing is about a hundred feet in diameter, with a DEEP POOL at the center. A still river, partly obscured by grass and weeds, cuts across the clearing. Ceri approaches the pool, walking slowly and deliberately. The ground is wet. Her shoes sink into the earth with every step -- SQUELCHING -- but not so deep that they get stuck. She comes close to the water’s edge. The pool is a clear black, still as a mirror, and yet the sky and the sun don’t reflect in it. Cautious now, she leans over to look into the water. Ceri’s reflection stares back at her from the pool. It’s as though she’s watching herself drowning. But her face looks different...more like-Gwen. CERI

Transfixed, she stares into the water, where her reflection wavers slightly...and then there’s a second image, right behind her own. Bran. The phantom image is gone as soon as it appears, but now Ceri has leaned in too far, and her right foot begins to sink into the mud. Shit! Ceri pulls back -- at first the foot is stuck, so she pulls harder, and then she’s stumbling backwards and she hits a tussock. She falls. Lands on her butt. CERI

51. It takes Ceri a moment to gather her wits. She removes her right shoe. Her sock is still dry. She wipes the shoe on the grass, puts it back on, and gets up again. She casts one last glance at the pool, and then she backtracks to where she thinks she entered the clearing. The path isn’t there. She looks left and right. The forest curves inwards around the clearing. The line of trees is uniform. She considers, then follows the woods to the right, peering into the dense foliage, until she reaches the river. She turns around, heads in the opposite direction until, again, she arrives at the river. Hurriedly, she returns to where she originally thought the path was. Hesitating only a moment, she pushes her way through the thick branches and the underbrush...into the dark. EXT. THE WILDWOOD - DAY It’s darker still in here, where there’s no path. The tree canopy is a solid roof, and the underbrush is so heavy that the ground isn’t visible. Ceri battles her way through, pushing aside and breaking branches. It’s heavy going, and she has to stop from time to time to catch her breath. FURTHER ON She stumbles again, but catches herself against the trunk of a tree. Her palms rub against the bark. A broken branch pokes out, barely missing her eye. She wipes her face with the sleeve of her sweater. Her eyes are red and wet. She’s tired. There’s a SOUND -- SOMETHING MOVES, behind her, BRANCHES SNAPPING. Ceri straightens, breath held. Her eyes go wide. Again: The unmistakable SOUND of SOMETHING MOVING THROUGH THE WOODS. Something LARGE. Something FAST. Ceri starts backing away, and then she turns and runs, as fast as she can, through the woods. SERIES OF SHOTS - THE WILDWOOD -- Branches SNAP into Ceri’s face. -- She crawls up an incline, slipping in the soft earth.

52. -- She jumps across a stream, barely making it across. -- Ceri pushes through thick foliage that grabs at her -and then... EXT. THE WILDWOOD - PATH - THAT MOMENT ...Ceri stumbles back onto the path. The light is suddenly much brighter. Without pausing, she runs back up the path, back towards the farm-FURTHER ON - THAT MOMENT --and almost crashes into Daniel, who’s heading in the opposite direction. Ceri SHRIEKS, and Daniel jumps. Jesus! (beat) Ceri? Jesus -- you scared me! CERI I scared YOU? (pushes him) What are you doing here? I almost had a heart-attack! Is this your M.O., scaring people to death? God. That’s the second time in two days... DANIEL I came looking... What happened to you? Shh. CERI DANIEL

She moves closer to Daniel, grabs his arm. CERI (whispering) Listen. They both stand still for a few moments. There’s not a sound to be heard anywhere. What...? CERI There was something in the woods, something following me. I swear. Something big. DANIEL

53. DANIEL (intrigued) Along the path? An animal? CERI No, in there, in the forest. DANIEL What were you doing off the path? CERI It disappeared. The animal? CERI The path. (sighs) God, you have no idea -- I was so scared. I went all the way to the clearing, and then I couldn’t find my way back. DANIEL You should always stick to the beaten path. CERI If I’ve learned anything today...that would be it, Daniel. This is the last time I take a walk...oh! The walk. I forgot. Daniel shows her the bag on his back. DANIEL Supplies. You started without me, so I brought lunch. Unless you just want to go home? CERI Five minutes ago, I would’ve killed to be back at the farm. But if you promise me that it won’t be very exciting at all, and that we won’t have to battle any trees, I’ll take that walk. DANIEL I promise. It’ll be incredibly boring. CERI Good. So what do you think came after me in there? They start walking. DANIEL

54. DANIEL Honestly? Maybe a badger. CERI A badger? (shakes her head) I don’t think so. I would have guessed a bear. A big one. Maybe a deer. CERI Not likely. Wolves? A beaver. CERI Shut up. I’m serious, it was huge. Like a moose. DANIEL We’re not in Canada, Ceri. CERI They migrate? The moose? Okay. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. HILLTOP - AFTERNOON Ceri and Daniel are climbing a hilltop to the east of the forest. It rises high above the landscape with a clear view of the Wildwood and the surrounding fields and mounds. The sky has cleared, though there are still scattered clouds. They follow a moss-grown stone fence along the edge of the mound towards a solitary tree growing at the top of the hill. Daniel points to the massive oak as they approach. DANIEL See that oak up there? CERI (out of breath) Uh-huh. DANIEL DANIEL DANIEL

55. DANIEL The oak is significant in Celtic mythology. The sacred oak, B le-(he pronounces it "bee-leh") --was the origin of life. And the word ’druid’? Yeah. DANIEL It comes from the words "dru", for oak, and "vid", knowledge. Knowledge of oak. Knowledge of nature -- of the power of nature. CERI So druids worshipped trees? I thought they were more into big stones. DANIEL Actually, Stonehenge has little if anything to do with druids. And I don’t think they worshipped the oak. It was more of a symbol. Like an altar or a cross. CERI And the druids were like priests? DANIEL Yes, but religion and science were one and the same back then. The druids were more like intellectuals, keepers of knowledge. Keepers of the balance between man and nature. CERI Are there any druids left today? DANIEL Probably not in the true sense of the word. But some traditions have been carried on through the centuries, into modern times. They reach the tree. The air is clear, and they can see for miles around. CERI (breathing heavily) This was one such spot? (leans against the tree) This hilltop, this oak? A temple? CERI

56. DANIEL There was probably a grove her at some point. So yes. But probably not this oak. He runs his hand along the tree’s trunk. DANIEL Of course, oak trees can grow to be more than a thousand years old. So who knows? The old beliefs were still strong here a thousand years ago. Christianity couldn’t wipe them out just like-(snaps fingers) --that. Ceri sits down with her back to the tree, facing southwest, facing the sun. Like the oak. DANIEL Like the oak. Old and strong. He sits down next to her. CERI And this story? ’Bile’? The tree. DANIEL ’B le’. The tree of life. A link between this world and the Otherworld -- the spiritual world. Long ago, there was probably a grove of oak trees right here. A circle where druids performed their rituals. CERI Human sacrifices? DANIEL No, more like... More like prayers -- chanting, dancing, offerings. We honestly don’t know that much. We’re assuming things. CERI It’s strange to think about what this place was like so long ago. It’s humbling. So little has changed, and still...everything has changed. The world is very different. CERI

57. DANIEL And yet the old linger... CERI Like the Wildwood. DANIEL (frowns) Yeah. (turns to Ceri) Are you hungry? CERI I thought you’d never ask. Daniel unwraps the sandwiches, hands her one. He pulls out a thermos and pours two plastic cups of tea. Ceri takes one of the cups. They start eating. CERI (between bites) It’s nice up here. (chews) You were right. (sips tea) There are places to go. DANIEL You just needed a guiding hand. Mm. (swallows) So how long are you staying? DANIEL I haven’t decided yet. I’ve only scratched the surface. But there’s only so much I can do here. There are libraries I need to visit, people I need to talk to. In England, back home. CERI When’s your work due? DANIEL When it’s ready. This is important to me. I’m not rushing it. They eat in silence for a few moments. DANIEL How about you? CERI What, how long am I staying? CERI

58. He finishes the sandwich and empties his cup on the ground. Yeah. CERI You know. When I came here I thought, two weeks, three tops. I have an open return. I can go back to school whenever -- that’s not an issue. She takes another bite of her sandwich, chews. CERI And I have money. You have no idea how well Mom’s books are selling now that... DANIEL I can imagine. CERI Her fans are a morbid lot. They see the accident as a sign of something, some deeper truth to her stories, She wraps the remainder of her sandwich. CERI Like violent deaths are rare in real life? But to these nutcases it’s... (beat) I’ve seen them pick apart every car accident in every story she’s ever written, and somewhere along the line she became prescient...psychic. "She knew how she was gonna go, dude!". It’s sick. She takes a sip from her cup. CERI She just died. It was a horrible accident. It rained. The road was slippery. (shakes her head) There was nothing meaningful, nothing ominous, nothing preordained about any of it. Death is never that. Death just is. Maybe. DANIEL DANIEL

59. CERI Because you don’t want to believe that death is meaningless? DANIEL It doesn’t have to be. Don’t you think there’s an argument to be made for destiny? That some events are so unlikely, so coincidental, that it’s highly unlikely that they are just...accidents? CERI I don’t believe in destiny. I believe in treading our own paths, regardless of the past, regardless of other people. I believe in taking chances and seizing every opportunity as it arrives... (leans in on Daniel) ...and damn the consequences. She kisses him. He’s momentarily surprised, but he doesn’t pull away, and soon the kiss becomes a passionate one. They embrace. After a long kiss, Ceri pulls away. She touches Daniel’s face, holds onto his hands. CERI See what I’m saying? DANIEL And this is not destiny? The fact that we both ended up here, at this moment in time, in this remote spot? That’s just, what, "coincidence". CERI Don’t ever read too much into things, Daniel. It doesn’t have to be fate in order to be good, or real. Besides... (smiles) ...it’s just a kiss. Don’t read too much into that either. She gets up, pulls Daniel with her. EXT. FARMHOUSE - PORCH - SUNSET Ceri and Daniel are back at the farmstead. They’re kissing. Around them, darkness falls. The lights are on in the farmhouse.

60. Ceri eventually pushes Daniel away. CERI You have to go. Now. Why? CERI Because otherwise I won’t be able to let you go. DANIEL That sounds okay with me. CERI I’m not sure how Bran would feel about that, Daniel. DANIEL Okay. You could come with me? CERI I can’t. So I could, yes. But I only arrived here two days ago. I need to spend more time with Bran. DANIEL But tomorrow? We could drive into the village, eat lunch. CERI I can see you tomorrow. That’s good. He kisses her again, a quick kiss. Good night. She smiles, pushes him away again. Daniel gets into his car and drives off. INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT Ceri and Bran are eating dinner. BRAN So you had a good walk, then? CERI We did. Sorry we didn’t get to finish the porch. DANIEL DANIEL DANIEL

61. BRAN We’ll do it another day. You and Daniel are getting along? CERI He’s sweet. What happened with the people who came by? BRAN Nothing. (cuts his meat) Well. What always happens. They ask me to sell the land, I tell them no, they threaten me -- I tell them to go to hell. (chews) They leave. And come back again. (drinks water) And again. (beat) Some day soon, they won’t leave. They’ll take the Wildwood. CERI How can they do that? Isn’t it protected? BRAN Strangely, no. Most of it, what’s left of it, belongs to me. More potatoes? No thanks. BRAN (forks the last potato) The last of it -- aside from what’s left today -- was chopped down in the early 70s, when the last of the neighboring farms folded. I’ve asked the forestry commission to look at it. They never have. CERI Have you considered just selling? BRAN (he stops eating) There hasn’t been a day these past ten years when I haven’t thought about it. (beat) But if I don’t fight them, there’ll soon be nothing left. (MORE) CERI

62. BRAN (CONT’D) We will have lost the last of the old forests -- and so much more than that. We will have lost a part of ourselves. He mashes his potato in the sauce. CERI Sounds like a good cause to fight for. BRAN Even when it’s a losing war? He continues eating. INT. KITCHEN - LATER Ceri is washing the dishes. She gazes out the window, across the lawn, towards the forest. With the lights on in the kitchen, it’s difficult to see anything out there. She wipes a plate, puts it aside -- picks up another. All the time she keeps glancing up and out. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - LATER Ceri’s in bed. She’s reading Ellie’s journal. She pages forward, scanning the text. A section catches her attention -- she begins to read. CERI (V.O.) "Mother is getting worse. She doesn’t sleep very much anymore, and she is always tired..." As before, Ellie’s VOICE picks up where Ceri’s finishes: YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) ...always tired. They are often angry at each other, mother and father. Sometimes he yells at her. I don’t like that. (beat) The other day I found a new secret place. Just a little one, big enough for a mouse, maybe, but not for me. I wonder if Merlin knows about it? He hasn’t been around all day. (beat) He’s probably hunting. Ceri pages forward, begins reading again.

63. EXT. FARMHOUSE - GARDEN - DAY - 1967 Ellie is standing on the lawn, looking around, CALLING for her cat. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) Merlin has disappeared. He has been away before, sometimes for several days, but I know that something terrible has happened. I can feel it. Dejected, Ellie gives up and goes inside. INT. KITCHEN - DAY - 1967 Ellie’s sitting at the kitchen table, reading. Her father enters. He ignores her as he goes over to the fridge. He appears tired and angry. Ellie looks up at him, but she doesn’t say anything. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) Father doesn’t talk to me, unless he’s telling me to do something or when he’s angry at me. Sometimes, when I try to talk to him, he doesn’t say anything at all. I don’t think he hears me. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1967 Ellie, in her nightgown, stops writing. She closes the journal, blows out the light, goes to bed. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) He doesn’t even tuck me in. She pulls the covers up to her chin. She looks scared. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT - NOW Ceri turns the page over. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) (whispering) I think something is coming. Ceri stops reading. Closes the diary. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - LATER It’s the middle of the night. Ceri wakes with a start, a SCREAM on her lips. She fumbles for the light-switch, finds it. Her face is pale, covered in sweat.

64. She hurries over to the window, looks out, down into the garden. There’s nothing there. INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT The bathtub is filling up. Ceri sits on the edge of the tub, hands cupped to her face. INT. BATHROOM - LATER Ceri’s soaking in hot water. The steam is thick, obscuring everything. The mirror has fogged up completely. She rises from the tub, wraps a towel around herself, pulls the plug to drain the water. Ceri moves to the sink. She starts running the cold water. The mirror begins to clear up. Using her hand, Ceri wipes the mirror. She wipes a big circle right in the center, to see her face. As she looks at her reflection, it suddenly appears to waver ever so slightly -- and for a moment her face doesn’t look like her own face: It looks like Gwen’s grim and unsmiling face. Ceri’s hands go to her mouth, her eyes open wide. She SCREAMS. The mirror image SCREAMS back at her, and it’s just Ceri now -- a very frightened Ceri. Seconds later, there’s a KNOCK on the door. BRAN (O.S.) Ceri? What’s the matter? Are you okay? I’m fine. She sits down on the toilet, visibly shaken. CERI It was...just a spider. I saw a spider. BRAN (O.S.) (hesitant) Are you sure? Yes. CERI CERI

65. BRAN (O.S.) Okay. His FOOTSTEPS RECEDE into the bedroom. CERI (to herself) Something is coming... EXT. GRAVEL ROAD - DAY Daniel’s Datsun travels down the gravel road towards the highway. It’s another gray day, with the promise of rain. INT. DANIEL’S CAR - DAY Ceri sits in the passenger side seat. She’s quiet. Daniel glances at her repeatedly. What’s wrong? Bad dreams. About...? The accident. Yeah. (beat) I’ve been having nightmares too. Last few weeks, I wake at the strangest hours. Could be the weather, the changing seasons. Could be. They’re approaching the main road. DANIEL (hesitant) Are you sure you’re okay? CERI Listen...I know you’re just trying to be nice. I’m sorry I’m a little out of it. I didn’t sleep well, but I’ll be okay. DANIEL Okay. You hungry? CERI DANIEL CERI DANIEL CERI DANIEL

66. CERI A little. Yes. Okay. EXT. WELSH COUNTRYSIDE - BUS STOP - DAY The Datsun passes the stone cairns and turns left, onto the main road. EXT. WELSH COUNTRYSIDE - ROAD - FURTHER ON - DAY Daniel’s car passes a TRACTOR. The fields here are in better condition. There are even some grazing sheep. EXT. WELSH COUNTRYSIDE - PUB - DAY The car pulls into the empty parking lot of a roadside pub, "THE GREEN DRAGON". It lies surrounded by green fields and groves of trees -- a picturesque and rustic location. INT. PUB - DAY Daniel and Ceri enter the pub. Daniel tips his head at the PUBLICAN, a scrawny man in his 50s. DANIEL (to Ceri) You want a beer? Sure. He extends two fingers to the publican, who nods back. They sit down in a booth by the window. Daniel puts his hands out across the table. After a moment, Ceri takes them. Finally, she smiles. CERI It’s nice to get away from the farm. DANIEL Fed up already? CERI It’s a little claustrophobic, living with a lonely old man I hardly know and the ghosts of two women. Claustrophobic isn’t the right word. Suffocating. (she turns Daniel’s hands around) Memories and secrets. CERI DANIEL

67. DANIEL What does that mean? CERI It means that I’m making it my mission in life to avoid secrets. She pulls her hands back. Turns to look out the window. DANIEL Some secrets are inevitable, aren’t they? She looks back at him. Frowning. Considering. Then: CERI How about you, Mr Griffins -- any dark secrets in your family? They stare at each other. A beat. DANIEL Dark secrets? (pauses, thinking) Every family has their secrets. But they don’t affect me. Whatever secrets there are remain moored in the past. They don’t interfere with the present. CERI I thought you believed in destiny. DANIEL Okay, but... That doesn’t necessarily mean I believe that the sins of the fathers are visited upon their children. You don’t? DANIEL Wouldn’t that be a terrible thing to believe? That we can never free ourselves from the shackles of our heritage? That old secrets can keep us chained? CERI Some secrets are like chains. Whether we notice them or not. Whether we believe in destiny or not. CERI

68. DANIEL But unless they are your own secrets, how can they be your chains? Ceri’s about to answer when the publican arrives with two pints of beer and menus. All right? DANIEL Thanks, Thomas. The publican walks off. They browse the menus. Daniel glances at Ceri over the top of his menu. DANIEL I’ve eaten lunch here a number of times. It’s good. Mm. CERI PUBLICAN

She sips at her beer, grimaces slightly. DANIEL What are you in the mood for? Food. DANIEL Ceri...are you sure you’re okay? She lowers the menu. She looks tired, but she smiles at him. CERI I’m sorry. Yes. What do you recommend? DANIEL The ploughman’s lunch is excellent. Okay. DANIEL Of course, it’s just plain farmer’s food, nothing fancy. CERI Yeah, because I’m incredibly picky when it comes to food. DANIEL I don’t know what you’re used to. CERI CERI

69. CERI I’ve been eating with my grandfather for the past three days. You don’t think I can eat a, what, a farmhand’s lunch? DANIEL Ploughman’s lunch. CERI Okay. So that’s what, steak and eggs? DANIEL Cheese, bread, and pickled onions. CERI Deli food. I can deal with that. DANIEL No, see, you get a plate with a piece of cheese, a loaf of crusty, dark bread, some butter, pickled onions. It’s not a salad or a sandwich. That’s it? DANIEL It’s traditional. CERI So’s haggis. ’Tradition’ is not a good reason to try anything. Okay, so I will try it. But I’ll hold you personally responsible if it’s a disaster. DANIEL I warned you... CERI You said it was "plain". Plain is fine. It’s "disaster" that I’m worried about. The publican comes over to their table. All right? She points to the menu. PUBLICAN CERI

70. CERI (to publican) Why’s it called a "Ploughman’s Lunch"? What’s a ’ploughman’? I’m guessing a man who ’ploughs’? This is his lunch? The man looks confused. DANIEL What she means to say is, we’ll both have the ploughman’s lunch. PUBLICAN (put out) All right. He wanders off. DANIEL You’ve got to know how to talk to these people. CERI "These people"? DANIEL You don’t ask questions. That means you’re an Outsider. CERI And that’s bad. Mm. Very. She smiles. Puts her hands back on the table. He takes them. Rubs her fingers gently. CERI This is not so bad. I like ’traditional’. It beats IKEA and Starbucks. DANIEL You get used to it. CERI So what are we doing afterwards? I mean, after we’ve eaten our ploughmen and emptied our tankards of mead? DANIEL I have to make a stop in the village. DANIEL

71. CERI Good. I’m in the mood for crowds. DANIEL Uh, okay. Might have to disappoint you a little there... DISSOLVE TO: EXT. VILLAGE - DAY The village consists of a number of buildings arranged alongside the road, on both sides of a river. A stone bridge spans the river. There are few stores -- a postoffice, a grocery store, a bookstore -- and a pub and a church. The sky has gotten darker. There are no people anywhere. Daniel’s car parks outside the bookstore, right next to the church and the adjacent cemetery. EXT. BOOKSTORE - CONTINUOUS Daniel and Ceri get out of the car. Ceri looks over to the cemetery. DANIEL I’ll just be a minute. Do you want to come inside? CERI It’s spooky. There’s no one around. He takes her hand, and they enter the bookstore. INT. BOOKSTORE - CONTINUOUS It’s gloomy inside. The dust hangs thick in the air. The store appears to deal mostly in used books, as well as assorted items like maps, candy, postcards, and travel accessories. The proprietor, MERYL -- 60s, short and round -- comes out to meet them. She beams at Daniel. MERYL It’s nice to see you, Daniel. (sizes up Ceri) Hello, dear. I’m Meryl. I didn’t know Daniel had such a lovely girlfriend. CERI Okay. No. I’m just a friend. Ceri.

72. MERYL (disappointed) Oh. Well. (to Daniel) Don’t let that stop you, dear. (she winks at Ceri) Daniel spends far too much time with his nose in old books. DANIEL (uncomfortable) So I just wondered if there were any news about those books? MERYL (to Ceri, whispering) See what I mean? (to Daniel) I have something that might be of interest. She walks towards the back of the store. CERI (to Daniel) I’ll just wait here. He squeezes her hand, follows Meryl. Ceri begins to browse the shelves at the front of the store. Most of the books here are paperback novels -crime thrillers, romance, travel literature -- and classics. Right in the middle of the first shelf she finds copies of several of Ellie Morgan’s novels. She runs her fingers over them -- "THE BLACK POOL", "THE FOREST", "THE DARK PLACES" -- to the adjacent books. One book in particular catches her attention. INSERT - BOOK It’s titled: "DRUIDIC RITUALS IN MODERN TIMES: BLACK MAGIC, WITCHCRAFT AND DEMON WORSHIP" BACK TO SCENE She pulls the book out. Pages through it. Reads a passage. CERI (V.O.) "It is a popular and widely held belief that Druids were vanquished by the arrival of Christianity. Not so! (MORE)

73. CERI (V.O.; CONT’D) There is indisputable evidence of heathen druidic rituals surviving well into the twentieth century." She pages forward again, reads another paragraph. CERI (V.O.) "Modern Druids, like their ancient predecessors, use black magic to worship Satan. There have been reports of human sacrifices in remote locations in England, Wales, and Ireland, where Druids have drained the blood of their victims to appease their demon gods." She tries one more section. CERI (V.O.) "In druidic teachings, possession was not just limited to humans. Beasts, forests, rivers -- the land itself -- could be tainted by the darkness. The Druids saw themselves as Guardians protecting humanity against the evil from the dark places..." Ceri shakes her head and puts the book back on the shelf where she found it. Then she reconsiders, and places the book at the very top of the shelf, far into the corner. She wanders over to the travel accessories and picks up a small flashlight. She switches it on -- it’s dim, but it works -- and off. Meryl and Daniel return from the back of the store, Daniel carrying three heavy books. MERYL (to Ceri) Oh, that flashlight is old, dear. No one ever buys them. I’m not even sure if it works anymore. I tested it. MERYL Well, no sense in charging you money for it. Besides, your boyfriend-- oh, pardon me, your "friend" here is my best customer... (MORE) CERI

74. MERYL (CONT’D) (off Daniel’s reaction) All right. My only customer. So you just keep that flashlight, dear, if you want it. Thank you. Meryl smiles at her. Gives Daniel a Look. MERYL Remember what I told you, now. (she nudges him) Don’t be a fool. Meryl winks at Ceri again, and starts RINGING UP Daniel’s books. EXT. BOOKSTORE - AFTERNOON Daniel opens the car’s trunk and dumps the bag of books inside. DANIEL Would you mind terribly-(shuts trunk) --if we made one more stop? CERI Of course not. Where? Daniel points over her shoulder. DANIEL Right over there, actually. She turns to look. It’s the cemetery. CERI You sure know how to show a lady a good time. DANIEL We don’t have to-CERI (grabs his hand) It’s all right. I’d actually like to see it for myself. EXT. CEMETERY - AFTERNOON They enter the cemetery. It’s small, packed with tombstones, all of which are very old -- some so old that the inscriptions are impossible to read. The weed grows thick in places. No one’s been buried here for years. CERI

75. Daniel walks by the tombstones, looking at each in turn. Ceri follows him. It’s gotten colder, and she shivers, but Daniel doesn’t notice. He’s reading the inscriptions intently. CERI What are you looking for? He doesn’t answer. A few moments later, he stops, crouches. Ceri stands behind him. She reads the inscription aloud. CERI "Sian Gryffith... Born December 2nd 1958, died October 30th 1967." (beat) Who is this? DANIEL (quietly) She was the last victim. CERI Victim? Of what? Daniel stands up, brushes dead leaves from the top of the tombstone. DANIEL The murders. Back in the late 60s. CERI There were murders? DANIEL Three children died. CERI I didn’t know. DANIEL Soon after, people started moving away. CERI Okay, so that’s why. Bran said that people moved away around that time, but he never explained why. (beat) Do you think this has anything to do with what he said the other day, during lunch?

76. DANIEL (lost in thought) They were never sure about who committed the murders. They captured a transient -- he’d been stealing food, harassing some children. He was charged with the murders but never convicted. They stopped investigating after a while because there were no clues, no resources... CERI You know a lot about the case? DANIEL Hmm? Oh. It popped up in my research, and, you know, people talk. He stands looking at the tombstone. Ceri looks around the cemetery. CERI Wait, do you think Gwen -- my grandmother -- is buried here? DANIEL It’s the closest church to the Morrighan farm. So yes. I would guess that she is. Help me look? They start searching. After a few moments, Daniel calls Ceri over. I found it. Ceri joins him. The tombstone is plain, with a simple inscription. Ceri reads it aloud: CERI "Gwen Morrighan. Loving mother and wife." (beat) She died on November 2nd...1967? Only three days after that girl... DANIEL Sian. Yeah. Strange coincidence. CERI Weren’t you the one who said there were no coincidences? DANIEL CERI

77. DANIEL I didn’t say that. I just said that some things are too coincidental to be mere chance, that there’s a probability-(off Ceri’s reaction) --in my mind, a probability, that some events are destined to be. CERI Okay. But this one? Her drowning so soon after the murders? DANIEL Yeah. Who knows? I mean, you must be asking yourself why she did what she did. What? DANIEL Your grandmother. CERI Why she did what? DANIEL Commit suicide. Ceri turns to Daniel, puzzled. He doesn’t notice. He’s looking at the tombstone. DANIEL Bran must have been broken up about it. Having to raise his daughter alone... Yes. (looks back at tombstone) Let’s go. It’s getting cold. INT. DANIEL’S CAR - LATER They’re on their way back from the village. CERI Listen. Maybe I don’t want to go back to the farm just yet. DANIEL Okay. What do you want to do? CERI I don’t know. Maybe I could come back with you? CERI CERI

78. DANIEL To the B&B? Okay. It’s not very interesting. It smells like cat litter, and the landlady is insane. If it’s okay? DANIEL Yes. I’m not allowed to have, um, female visitors-Oh. DANIEL --but the woman is deaf and blind, and I could bring a marching band up to my room without her noticing. CERI (laughing) That’s convenient. DANIEL You’d think. But the room’s too small. Shame. DANIEL Because otherwise... CERI ...the marching band. Okay. You’ll have to settle for me. Damn it. Ceri LAUGHS, and Daniel grins. EXT. BED & BREAKFAST - LATER They park outside and walk inside. INT. BED & BREAKFAST - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS They sneak up the stairs. The LANDLADY comes out from the back, stares nearsightedly up the stairs. LANDLADY Anyone there? Hullo? INT. DANIEL’S ROOM - CONTINUOUS Daniel locks the door. DANIEL CERI CERI CERI

79. CERI Close one. DANIEL She’s sharp as a knife, that woman. Ceri giggles. Daniel kisses her. She kisses him back. The kissing gets heavy. Daniel pushes Ceri up against the wall, she wraps her arms around him. They kiss some more. CERI (breathless) The bed. Daniel swings her around, lifts her. She LAUGHS. Shh. (cocks his head at the door) She might be listening. CERI You said she was deaf. DANIEL That’s true. Go ahead -- make as much noise as you want. He falls back on the bed, pulling Ceri with him. She GIGGLES. CERI Are you sure about that? I can make a lot of noise. Daniel grins, pulls her closer. They kiss some more. Ceri begins pulling Daniel’s clothes off, and Daniel follows her example. INT. DANIEL’S ROOM - LATER Ceri’s head is on Daniel’s naked chest, her breasts against his stomach. He’s running his fingers through her hair. CERI He lied to me. DANIEL (sleepily) Who? CERI Bran. He lied about my grandmother. DANIEL

80. DANIEL What do you mean? CERI (sits up) What you told me in the cemetery, about Gwen committing suicide? Bran said she died in an accident. He never said anything about suicide. DANIEL Okay. Maybe he didn’t want to upset you. CERI There are so many secrets, Daniel. (turns to him) I found something. I didn’t tell anyone. A diary. DANIEL Whose diary? Gwen’s? CERI No, my mother’s diary. From when she was ten. I found it hidden away in her room. Bran never read it, I think. If he had... What? CERI If he had read it, I don’t think he would have left it where someone might find it. DANIEL Why do you say that? CERI Because...because there are things in there that makes me question everything. The children who died? I haven’t gotten that far yet, I don’t even know if Ellie wrote about any of it, but there’s this part about pets being murdered. DANIEL That’s how it started. First the pets, then the children. No one could ever prove that there was a link, but there had to be. DANIEL

81. CERI Thing is, I don’t know how much I want to know. And I don’t want to start distrusting Bran. But if he didn’t tell me the truth about Gwen, what else has he lied about? Daniel doesn’t say anything. CERI There’s more. There’s something very wrong at the farm, Daniel. I can’t put my finger on it, but I don’t feel very comfortable there anymore. DANIEL You can stay here. CERI I would. But I came here for a reason, and not just to see my grandfather. I came to get answers. There was a reason my mother didn’t want to come back here. There was a reason she never spoke of my grandfather. And... (beat) And now I think it may have something to do with the children, with my grandmother’s death. DANIEL Listen... (beat) I have to be honest with you, Ceri. I’ve only told you half the story. Yes, I came here to do research about the people who inhabited the area thousands of years ago. But that’s only part of it. I want to find the link between the past and the present. CERI What do you mean? DANIEL These killings, in the 60s. They weren’t the first. It’s happened many times before. At irregular intervals, dating back to the earliest recorded events in the region. (MORE)

82. DANIEL (CONT’D) Sometimes as much as seventy-five years apart, other times as little as thirty years. Every time, children died. Bound, drowned. CERI How can that be? If it’s happened over and over again? DANIEL I don’t know yet, but I have a theory. It’s a little out there. (embarrassed smile) Witchcraft. She gives him a Look. DANIEL Really. Witchcraft. Paganism. Black magic. Ritualistic blood sacrifices. The belief in dark forces. I don’t believe in the supernatural aspects of it, but I do believe that there are people who believe. And that’s all that’s needed for witchcraft to exist. Faith. CERI What kind of witchcraft are we talking about? Wicca? DANIEL No, not contemporary witchcraft, not populistic neo-paganism. I’m talking about beliefs dating back thousands of years. I’m talking about a religion predating Christianity. I’m talking about traditions that hail back to Paleolithic times. CERI And the murders...? DANIEL Blood sacrifices. (beat) Witches, warlocks -- whatever these people called themselves -making blood sacrifices to appease natural forces. He turns on his side, facing Ceri.

83. DANIEL It’s just a theory. It sounds extremely tabloid, but it makes a certain kind of twisted sense. Turns out that pagan traditions were documented in this area well into the 1920s. (shrugs) Of course, after the latest murders, back in ’67, people started moving away. Your grandfather is pretty much the only one remaining. So there’s little chance that events will repeat themselves again, not anymore. CERI What are you saying? Nothing. Yet. CERI Are you implying that Bran is a, what, a Satanist? DANIEL No, I’m not. And it’s not Satanism. It’s much older than the belief in the modern devil. This hails back to the worship of ancient forces of nature -the woods, the hills, water... The sun and the moon, day and night... (beat) Life and death. CERI So how is Bran involved? DANIEL I don’t know, but he was here when the last murders occurred, he’s been here for a very long time. If anyone knows the truth, he might. CERI And you think this has something to do with Gwen’s suicide? DANIEL I’m not saying that. But she took her own life, or so they say, right after the killings stopped. It could be coincidence... DANIEL

84. CERI But you don’t think so. (beat) More secrets... DANIEL Or the same ones? Ceri stares at him, frowning. Then she kisses him. The kissing turns passionate. Daniel rolls Ceri around. He’s on top of her. They kiss. INT. DANIEL’S ROOM - LATER The sun is setting. The room has turned blood red. Ceri wakes up cradled in Daniel’s arms. She moves. He opens his eyes. She kisses him on the shoulder. CERI I have to go now. No. Why. CERI Because. Because I can’t stay here. I have to talk to Bran. Yes. (yawns) I’ll go with you. CERI You have to drive me home. But I’m going to talk to him alone. (off Daniel’s reaction) I have to. He’s my grandfather. I just want to know why he lied. DANIEL Should I come by tomorrow? CERI Okay. But don’t say anything to Bran. It’s our business -- him and me. (gets up) But I want to see you again. (smiles) And again. He smiles back at her. They get dressed in silence. It’s a comfortable silence, filled with stolen glances. DANIEL DANIEL

85. EXT. FARMSTEAD - NIGHT Daniel’s car drives into the yard. Ceri gets out and leans in to give Daniel a brief kiss before he drives off. EXT. FARMHOUSE - PORCH - CONTINUOUS Bran is sitting on the porch, smoking his pipe. Ceri pauses by the front door. CERI I have to talk to you. She goes inside. Bran lowers his pipe, puzzled. INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT Ceri sits down by the kitchen table. Takes a DEEP BREATH. Looks Bran in the eyes as he too sits down. CERI It’s about Gwen. Bran SIGHS. CERI Why didn’t you tell me the truth? About her death? Who told you? CERI That’s your answer? Daniel told me. BRAN What business does that boy-CERI He thought I knew! I came here to find out about my mother’s past, and you leave something like that out? Don’t you think it’s kind of important, that my mother’s mother committed suicide -- that it might possibly explain a few things? Like, for example, why Ellie never wanted to come back? BRAN Nothing is ever simple. BRAN

86. CERI I’m not looking for easy answers, Bran, but I am looking for answers! And if you can’t give them to me, I’ll have to find them elsewhere. How many more secrets are you keeping from me? Bran says nothing. CERI I know that something terrible happened here almost forty years ago. I know that you’re not telling me everything. I just want to know why. Why did she kill herself? What happened? BRAN (quietly) I don’t know, Ceri. We don’t know what happened. She drowned. Where? BRAN In the forest. In the dark. In the night. (frowns) That boy has absolutely no right to go digging into our family affairs. What’s past is past -and no amount of nosing around will make it any less so. (stands up) I’m going to bed. I have to get up early tomorrow. We could talk more about...about your grandmother some other time. About your mother, too. Sure. He leaves, and Ceri folds her arms and puts her head down. CERI Some other time. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - LATER Ceri’s sitting at Ellie’s desk, paging through her journal. She stops. Starts reading. CERI (V.O.) "Things are not so good..." CERI CERI

87. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1967 Ten-year old Ellie is sitting in the same spot that Ceri’s occupying, thirty-six years later. She’s writing. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) ...and Mum and Dad are fighting. All the time. Dad is always upset, and Mum is always sad. She doesn’t sleep very well at all, because she is never in bed. She walks around the house. She talks to herself. EXT. FARMSTEAD - DAY - 1967 Bran is chopping wood out by the barn. Ellie watches him from the upstairs window. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) Father frightens me, because he shouts at Mum, and he doesn’t speak to me the way he used to do. INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT - 1967 The family -- Bran, Ellie, and Gwen -- are seated by the kitchen table. Bran is SAYING GRACE again. His eyes are closed. Ellie’s hands are folded, but she glances back and forth between her parents. Gwen stares straight ahead at nothing. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) Mother doesn’t let me go anywhere. The school is closed, and I haven’t seen my friends for the longest time. (whispering) I think everyone is too scared to go anywhere. EXT. BARN, CHICKEN COOP - DAY - 1967 Ellie is feeding the chickens from a bucket. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) I think it’s all because James Evans’ little brother, Tom, disappeared. Mother and father won’t say, but I heard that they found him in the river -- just like the cats. Her father passes by. Ellie stops to look at him. He doesn’t notice her.

88. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) He was dead. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1967 Ellie continues to write. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) I have nightmares every night. I wake up and I think that Mum and Dad have gone away. And there’s something that has taken their places, something dark and horrible. Ellie puts the pen down and closes the diary. She slips into bed and blows the lamp out. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) I want to go away. I want us all to go away. Before it’s too late. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1967 Ellie wakes in the middle of the night. She gets up and walks over to the window -- parts the curtains. THROUGH WINDOW Gwen, wearing nothing but a white nightgown, crosses the lawn into the forest. She is swallowed up by the trees. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) Before it gets dark. EXT. FARMSTEAD - AFTERNOON - NOW It’s another gray day. Bran is out by the side of the barn, chopping wood. IN WINDOW Ceri’s in the kitchen window. INT. KITCHEN - THAT MOMENT She sips her tea, watching Bran. INT. UPSTAIRS LANDING Ceri stands in front of Bran’s bedroom door. She takes a DEEP BREATH, pushes the door open. INT. BRAN’S BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS Determined, she walks up to the commode and picks up the letter. She sits down on the bed and starts reading.

89. Ellie Morgan’s VOICE -- her ADULT VOICE -- ECHOES in Ceri’s head: Bran. (beat) Please, do not try to contact us anymore. You owe us nothing, and I expect the same courtesy in return. I kept my promise with Ceri, but made no such promises regarding Michael. (beat) Leave us be, and I will let the secrets rest. There is little point in stirring up events that are long past -- because it is too late to rectify anything. (beat) If you contact me again, however; if you attempt to contact Ceri or Michael, I will tell everyone. If I ever see you again, our secrets will be secret no more -the world will know what happened... (beat) ...because I will be able to bear it no longer. (beat) Ellie. Ceri sits on the bed for a moment. Then she puts the letter back where she found it. INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS Ceri opens the basement door and takes the small flashlight out of her pocket. She switches it on. The light is dim but serviceable. BASEMENT STAIRCASE As soon as she’s inside the stairwell, she shuts the door behind her. She continues down the stairs, leading with the flashlight. BASEMENT The basement is crammed with boxes on top of boxes, piles of yellowed newspapers, bags of clothes, a workbench with tools, and a large freezer. In the far corner of the room, there’s a desk and a lamp. Behind the desk, on the wall, someone’s pasted what appears to be newspaper clippings. ELLIE (V.O.)

90. Ceri points the flashlight at the wall and moves closer. There must be a hundred clippings here; from newspapers, from books, photographs -- all of it related to the murders. INSERT - WALL The headlines scream out: "THREE CHILDREN MYSTERIOUSLY DROWNED, FOUL PLAY SUSPECTED" "SERIAL MURDERS SHOCK QUIET COMMUNITY" "’NO CLUES’ SAYS CHIEF INSPECTOR" BACK TO SCENE There are dozens more, from newspapers across the country. The stark black-and-white photographs show police combing crime scenes; smiling pictures of the dead children; shots of the village -- the church and cemetery in the background. Ceri moves the flashlight, REVEALING another section. This one is older, the newspaper clippings even more yellowed. INSERT - WALL The headlines are similar: "DEAD CHILDREN BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN MURDERED" "HORRIFIC CRIMES IN SMALL VILLAGE, NO SUSPECTS APPREHENDED" The stories are dated October 1933. BACK TO SCENE Ceri moves the flashlight across Bran’s desk. It’s littered with papers, books, drawings, pictures -most of it relating to the murders, some of it of a different nature: There are diagrams, sketches, incantations -- warding circles, magic rituals, blood sacrifices... Witchcraft. INT. HALLWAY - DAY Ceri exits the basement. She switches off the flashlight, closes the basement door. She runs back upstairs.

91. KITCHEN DOOR Bran emerges from the the doorway, a cup of tea in his hand. He looks from the basement door to the staircase. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - LATE AFTERNOON Ceri picks up the journal, turns the pages, nearing the end. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) This morning, I woke up very early, because I heard mother and father outside. They were fighting. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - DAWN - 1967 Ellie stands in the window and watches her mother and father in the garden. Gwen is dressed only in her white nightgown. Bran has grabbed her arms. He’s shaking her, SCREAMING at her. BRAN What are you doing? What are you doing out here? You promised me! Where did you go? She shakes him off. Steps away. Glares at him. GWEN I’ve seen what you do, Bran. I’ve seen it! Did you think you could keep it from me, this...obscenity? This wickedness? This profanity? You’re going to burn in hell! BRAN You don’t understand, Gwen. (desperate) It’s for you. For all of us. To protect us. The responsibility has been left to me alone. GWEN Spare me. You’re sick. I’m taking Ellie with me. We’re going away. Far away from you. BRAN You are not taking her. GWEN What are you going to do, tie me up? Kill me? Because that’s the only way you can stop me, Bran. (MORE)

92. GWEN (CONT’D) (shakes him off) Touch me again and you’ll regret it. I’m stronger than you think. Touch me again and Ellie is not all you will lose, you monster! She storms away from Bran. Ellie lets the curtain fall. She’s shaking. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) I hate my Dad. He hurts Mum (beat) He’s a monster. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - LATE AFTERNOON - NOW Ceri’s reading is interrupted by the SOUND OF A CAR ARRIVING. She puts the diary aside. Listens. A car door SLAMS. INT. UPSTAIRS LANDING - LATE AFTERNOON Ceri walks downstairs. EXT. FARMHOUSE - PORCH - LATE AFTERNOON She opens the front door. Looks out. Daniel’s car is parked in the yard, but Daniel himself is nowhere to be seen. ACROSS YARD The barn door is ajar, and there is a flickering light inside the barn. EXT. FARMSTEAD - LATE AFTERNOON Ceri crosses the yard to the barn. BARN DOOR She sneaks up to the door, tries to peek through the crack. She sees only a flickering light, and Daniel, facing an unseen Bran. DANIEL --knew you were the one, it wasn’t hard to put the pieces together after what Ceri told me.

93. BRAN (O.S.) You don’t know a thing, Daniel. This is older than you can understand. DANIEL I understand fine. You’re a dangerous man. BRAN (O.S.) (quietly) You have no idea. Ceri pushes the door open just enough to squeeze through. INT. BARN - THAT MOMENT The barn is dark -- except for the circle in the middle of the floor. It’s burning; a faint, bluish fire that casts a ghostly light on the two men. Bran stands in the center of a circle. He’s stripped to the waist. There’s a knife in his right hand. On his hands, arms, chest: Blood. On the floor in front of Bran there’s a DEAD RAVEN. It’s been gutted. Daniel stands six feet away. Tense, expectant. Neither man is blinking. Neither man has noticed Ceri. DANIEL You murdered her. BRAN You wouldn’t understand. DANIEL And the children. What? No... He points the knife at Daniel. Daniel takes half a step back. BRAN No! You didn’t really think... (beat) Is that what you’ve been doing here, playing detective? DANIEL All the evidence points to you. BRAN

94. BRAN (to himself) I tried to protect the children. (to Daniel) You don’t know how wrong you are. DANIEL You tried to protect them by butchering them? Is that how your black magic works? BRAN (stares at his knife) You don’t understand. The darkness took them. (looks at Daniel) Like it’s taken you. It’s come back. He takes a step towards Daniel, who backs up even further. Stop! Ceri jumps out from the shadows. CERI Stop it! (to Bran) You killed the children? And Gwen? BRAN Ceri? What are you doing...? Don’t listen to-DANIEL (to Ceri, hurriedly) Run, Ceri. As fast as you can. (to Bran) You leave her be! I’m the one you should worry about-As Daniel SPEAKS, Bran leaps forward. Daniel manages to grab his wrist, and the two men begin to struggle for the knife. Ceri SCREAMS. Bran slips, and Daniel pushes him away, into a stack of hay. One of the bales tumbles to the ground, rolls into the burning circle. It catches fire. Within moments, the flames have risen high. DANIEL Run! Bran gets to his feet. He’s still got the knife. CERI

95. BRAN Go, Ceri! Bran lunges at Daniel, who sidesteps. Now the flames are between Ceri and the two men. She hesitates only a second -- then turns and runs. EXT. FARMSTEAD - SUNSET Ceri runs towards the house. Quickly at first, then she slows, stops. She looks back at the barn -- uncertain now. Then she sees the STAG. It stands by the edge of the forest, worried, dancing. When the stag sees her, it tosses its head. It doesn’t flee. Ceri looks back at the barn again. The fire has gotten stronger. She can’t see the two men. The stag, restless, hops towards the forest path and then back. Watching her. A beat. Then: Ceri starts towards the stag. It runs ahead of her, into the garden. EXT. FARMHOUSE - GARDEN - SUNSET The last of the sun disappears below the horizon. Black clouds have gathered overhead. It’s slowly starting to rain. The stag is waiting at the head of the path. CERI Why are you doing this? Where are we going? The stag tosses its head, continues into the forest. Ceri follows. EXT. THE WILDWOOD - PATH - NIGHT She tries to keep pace with the stag, but it runs ahead, disappears into the darkness. Ceri keeps running. The rain comes down harder and harder. CUT TO: EXT. FOREST - NIGHT - ANOTHER TIME And we are back in time -- back to the ancient forest -back to where the STAG is being chased by the HUNTERS with spears and knives. CUT TO:

96. INT. ELLIE’S CAR - NIGHT - FLASHBACK ...where, again, Ellie Morgan’s car veers off the road before an unseen object -- an object that looks nothing like an animal now, eyes bright as headlights -- and CRASHES into a tree. CUT BACK TO: EXT. THE WILDWOOD PATH - NIGHT - NOW Ceri leaps over rivulets and ducks under hanging branches. The stag is no longer anywhere to be seen. The rain is torrential now -- it soaks Ceri through. She slips on the wet ground, her feet SQUELCHING in the mud. CUT BACK TO: EXT. FOREST - NIGHT - ANOTHER TIME The stag zigzags to avoid its pursuers. But they are closing in. CUT BACK TO: INT. ELLIE’S CAR - NIGHT - FLASHBACK The car’s headlights are still operating, illuminating the forest. Smoke is coming out of the engine. It is completely silent. CUT BACK TO: EXT. THE WILDWOOD - CLEARING - NIGHT - NOW Ceri finally emerges into the clearing. The pool is barely visible through the pouring rain. The water level has risen, and the ground is mud. She’s exhausted. She collapses to her knees and we-CUT BACK TO: INT. ELLIE’S CAR - NIGHT - FLASHBACK There is SILENCE. The front of the car has been completely smashed. Ellie lies twisted across the steering wheel. Dead. White headlights illuminate the scene. Another car has stopped at a right angle to the road. A door SLAMS, there are RAPID FOOTSTEPS, and then a PALE FACE appears in the driver’s side window. It’s DANIEL.

97. EXT. THE WILDWOOD - CLEARING - NIGHT - NOW Daniel emerges from the Wildwood into the clearing. He’s soaked through. He slows when he sees Ceri. Stops. Wipes water from his face. His shoulders rise and fall with his BREATHING. There is blood on his shirt. DANIEL There you are. (smiles) I was looking for you. CERI (confused) You were there. Daniel tilts his head. Frowns. CUT BACK TO: INT. ELLIE’S CAR - NIGHT - FLASHBACK Daniel, looking through the driver’s side window, stares at the still bodies of Ellie and Michael. Then he glances into the back seat. He CATCHES HIS BREATH. Begins to back away, slowly at first. Then he turns and runs back to his car. A car door SLAMS shut, an engine ROARS, and as Daniel’s car pulls away, WE FINALLY REVEAL: CERI -- strapped into the back seat of her mother’s car -bleeding from a head wound. She’s staring straight ahead, dazed and disoriented... Ceri was in the car all along. CUT BACK TO: EXT. CLEARING - NIGHT - NOW Ceri’s staring at Daniel. CERI I remember now. I remember you. (confused) You were there. The accident. It was your car. In the road. How...how is that possible?

98. DANIEL (looks away) I was coming around the turn too fast. It was raining. I lost control. Your mother’s car was right there. There was nothing I could do. Her car went off the road. Into the trees. I stopped. Hoping that... (shakes his head) ...hoping I could do something. But they were both dead. I thought everyone was... (looks at Ceri) Until I saw you. In the back. He comes closer. DANIEL I got scared. I ran. There was nothing I could have done. CERI (to herself, quietly) There was no stag. He stops. Touches her face. Tucks her wet hair behind her ears. DANIEL It wasn’t my fault. See, it was supposed to happen, because it put me on the trail, Ceri, finally, after so many years. Secrets... (smiles) ...work both ways. And actions are never without consequences. CERI (dazed) What are you saying? DANIEL I’m sorry about your brother, but sins are like genes. We can’t get rid of them. (beat) When I read about your mother in the newspaper, the day after the accident, it rang a bell. "Ellie Morgan". The author. And I knew immediately what the connection was. He throws out his arms. Grins. Lifts his face to the heavy rain.

99. DANIEL This place! (beat) Ellie Morgan came from this place. Same as my father. What? DANIEL The deeper I dug, the more obvious the connection. I began to wonder, are coincidences of this magnitude even possible? Or do some events converge in such a manner as to preclude chance -despite our best efforts? (beat) I realized then that there was nothing I could have done. The accident wasn’t my fault. CERI I don’t understand... DANIEL "Sian Gryffith", remember? The stone in the cemetery? You see, before we became "Griffins", our family name was "Gryffith". (beat) No? She was my father’s sister, and Bran Morrighan murdered her. But no one ever paid for it. It all just...quietly went away. Because who would want to upset the balance of things for just three little children? Ceri stares at him -- and then she tries to run, but Daniel grabs her, yanks her towards him, and punches her in the stomach. She collapses on the wet ground, HEAVING. Daniel grabs her feet and pulls her along, through the mud, towards the water. DANIEL All actions have consequences. And your destiny is in your blood. Ceri struggles, kicking, but Daniel is strong, and Ceri is dazed. DANIEL Until your family’s blood runs cold, there will never be peace. There will never be justice. CERI

100. When he reaches the pool, he steps forward and puts a hand to Ceri’s throat. Gently at first... DANIEL Until you are all gone, the circle will not be closed. ...don’t... DANIEL Don’t what? Don’t kill you? Ceri claws at Daniel’s hand which is blocking her air supply. Don’t fight? He releases his hand, and Ceri GASPS FOR AIR. Daniel grasps her hair and her right arm, and pulls her towards the pool. She SCREAMS. DANIEL There’s no such thing as coincidence. Daniel rolls Ceri over on her stomach and puts a hand on her neck. Then he pushes her head into the black water. UNDER WATER Ceri’s holding her breath, but air is escaping. She attempts to roll around, to grab at Daniel, but his hold is too strong. Suddenly, SOMETHING LARGE falls over the blurred shape of Daniel. There’s a brief glimpse of HOOVES AND ANTLERS, and then Daniel is knocked into the water. BACK TO SCENE Ceri throws her head up, GASPING FOR BREATH. She crawls back from the pool on her knees and elbows, COUGHING up water. Blood rises to the surface of the water, staining the black with red. Finally, Ceri’s able to turn around. Bran stands unsteadily on the bank, a large branch in his hands. Bran...? CERI DANIEL CERI

101. He drops the branch, collapses to his knees, his BREATHING SHALLOW. His shirt is soaked with blood and rainwater. He’s as white as a sheet. CERI You...you killed him. BRAN (faintly) He was killing you. Ceri crawls closer, on her hands and knees. Until she’s only an arm’s length away from her grandfather. CERI And Gwen. What did you do to her? Did you murder her too? BRAN No story is ever complete without an ending... He clutches his side, shifts. He’s shivering. Blood seeps out through his fingers. BRAN ...and until you know what happened here, you will never understand. (swallows) Just listen to me, Ceri. Before it’s too late. Just listen... DISSOLVE TO: INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - NIGHT - 1967 We’re in Ellie’s bedroom, thirty-six years ago. It’s the middle of the night, and Ellie sleeps. The door to her bedroom opens, a SHADOW enters. The shadow moves to Ellie’s bedside, puts a hand on her chest. Ellie wakes with a start, is about to scream...and then the shadow resolves into GWEN. She’s wearing only her white nightgown. Her face is pale. She looks like a ghost. GWEN Shh. It’s just me. ELLIE (rubbing her eyes) Mummy? What is it?

102. GWEN Come on, sweetheart. We have to leave. Gwen grabs Ellie’s hand and pulls her out of bed. GWEN Quickly now. Before he comes. Who? GWEN He wants to take you away from me. They leave the bedroom, Gwen pulling Ellie, running... UPSTAIRS LANDING ...down the stairs... HALLWAY ...out the door... EXT. FARMHOUSE - GARDEN - NIGHT - 1967 ...and into the garden. ELLIE Where are we going? Gwen pulls her towards the path. GWEN To a safe place. A secret place. Ellie follows, reluctantly. EXT. THE WILDWOOD - PATH - NIGHT - 1967 Gwen pulls Ellie through the forest. They are no longer running, but Gwen walks fast, faster than Ellie can manage. ELLIE (sobbing) Mum...please! You’re going too fast. GWEN We have to. He will get us. Ellie starts SOBBING. Gwen stops. Kneels down in front of her daughter. Brushes her hair back. GWEN Shh, sweetheart, don’t cry. We will be safe soon. ELLIE

103. She stands up, takes Ellie’s hand again, and leads her further into the dark woods. EXT. THE WILDWOOD - CLEARING - NIGHT - 1967 They reach the clearing in the middle of the Wildwood. The moon is bright, and its mirror image dances in the black pool. Ellie stops. Gwen pulls her on. GWEN Almost there. Almost there. Ellie follows, hesitantly. ELLIE Where are we going? GWEN To a very secret place. Come on, sweetheart. Ellie begins to resist. Wait. Gwen pulls harder. Stop it! Her mother stops pulling, though she still holds on tight to Ellie’s hand. She looks at her daughter, smiles. GWEN Don’t you trust me? We will be safe here. ELLIE Safe from whom? GWEN Your father. He wants to hurt us. Why? GWEN Why. Because... (confused) ...because he’s protecting it. The forest. (beat) Because he’s protecting the Wildwood. (MORE) ELLIE ELLIE ELLIE

104. GWEN (CONT’D) (angry) Because your father could never see much farther than the borders of his cursed forest. He knew what it was capable of, this place, and yet... She yanks Ellie’s arm, pulls her towards the pool. Ellie’s CRYING, but Gwen doesn’t care. GWEN He didn’t want to leave. I told him what it was doing to me. I told him I couldn’t stand it. And then he drags you into it, shares his dirty secrets with you -makes you his. When Ellie again resists, Gwen grabs her daughter by the hair and keeps pulling. Ellie starts SCREAMING. GWEN You’re filthy. But it washes off. They’ve reached the pool. Without hesitating, Gwen forces Ellie into the water. Then she leans over and holds Ellie’s head under the water. UNDER WATER Ellie’s eyes go wide with shock. She opens her mouth. Water floods in. BACK TO SCENE Gwen is on her knees as her daughter struggles against her grip in the dark water. There is movement behind her -- SOMETHING approaches quickly. Gwen half turns before the SHADOW is upon her, and then she’s yanked back from the water, violently, and she tumbles to the ground. BRAN rushes forward to the pool to pull Ellie out. Ellie emerges from the water, COUGHING. Bran lifts her up and away. Holds her in his arms. BRAN (worried) Are you okay, Ellie? Can you breathe? Ellie nods. She’s still COUGHING. But she’s BREATHING. Bran puts her down.

105. BRAN You know how to get home. You know the way. Go. Quickly. Don’t look back. Ellie glances at her mother. There is murder in Gwen’s eyes. Go. Ellie starts to walk, then run, to the path -- back towards the farm. Bran turns to Gwen. She stands up. GWEN What are you going to do? Are you going to let them take me? What are you going to tell them? BRAN Those children, Gwen... GWEN It’s this place! I begged you, you bastard! I begged you to let us go! BRAN (shakes his head) There’s no point, Gwen. We both know what you have done. GWEN (starts crying) It wasn’t...me. Bran, please. There is a darkness...and it’s come for me. It’s coming for Ellie, too. I wanted to hide her away. Bran approaches Gwen, who backs away, towards the pool. GWEN And...and we can go away, while there’s still time. We can go away -- the three of us. Bran is close now. Gwen is near the edge of the pool. BRAN It’s too late. I can never leave. Gwen stares at him, tears flowing from her eyes...and then she smiles. No. GWEN BRAN

106. She lets herself fall backwards, silently, into the black pool. Bran makes no move to stop her, and he doesn’t jump in after her, as the dark waters envelop her white body, and she sinks from sight... DISSOLVE TO: EXT. CLEARING - NIGHT - NOW The rain hasn’t abated. If anything, it’s stronger than ever. The forest surrounding the clearing is no longer visible in the downpour. Ceri holds Bran’s hand as his BREATHING turns QUICKER AND SHALLOWER. CERI (quietly) I think I understand why you never told anyone. (beat) It wasn’t to protect Gwen... It was to protect my mother. You didn’t want Ellie to have to live in the shadow of a murderer. You didn’t want everyone to look at Ellie and see only Gwen. Bran squeezes her hand. His eyes are starting to glaze over. CERI And you were the one who made her leave...because you knew that if she stayed, the secret might some day come out. And then Ellie would be the one to suffer. She loved you. You pushed her away. BRAN (tired) To set her free... CERI I see that now. But I don’t understand what you were doing in the barn. BRAN ...someone has to... He COUGHS. There is blood on his chin. Ceri wipes it off. CERI Bran, you shouldn’t--

107. BRAN The forest. (deep breath) Ceri. Someone has to stand watch. Someone has to ensure that it doesn’t happen again... (another) ...that it stays here, at the black heart of the Wildwood. CERI What? That what stays here? BRAN The thing that eats... The darkness... (sighs) That’s what I do. What I’ve always done. Balance. CERI So Daniel was right about that, about what you do. The old beliefs. Witchcraft. (beat) But not why. He didn’t understand why. BRAN It had claimed him already...the darkness. He starts COUGHING HEAVILY. Ceri puts her arms around him. Holds him. CERI Please get up. Bran -- I can’t carry you. You have to get up. He SIGHS. He’s slipping. He focuses on her. BRAN Go back, Ceri. Leave this...place. I will be fine. I have to stay... (long pause) ...to watch... His eyes close. His head falls forward. Ceri tries to hold him up, but she can’t. Bran? Bran? She feels his pulse. Again. His wrist, his throat... No... CERI CERI

108. She stands up, backs away from Bran’s body. Then she turns, runs towards the forest’s edge. The path is gone. The Wildwood has closed. Desperately, she looks back to the clearing, and it’s as though the pool has grown larger, swallowing the clearing. The rain is flooding the river. Ceri runs back and forth, staring desperately into the woods. Still no path. When she turns around again, the water level has risen again, and it keeps rising. The black pool is only ten or fifteen feet away now, and tiny rivulets like tentacles are snaking their way towards Ceri. Ceri panics, tries to force her way into the forest, but the foliage is too compact, the underbrush too dense. She’s trapped. Suddenly, SOMETHING LARGE CRASHES through the trees and lands in the clearing. Ceri whirls. It’s the STAG. It stops gracefully, turns to Ceri, lowers its head. Its antlers brush the ground. Ceri looks from the stag to the rising waters to the trees, and now she notices that the stag has cleared a path into the Wildwood. Ceri, with a final glance at the animal, runs into the forest. She turns one last time before he forest closes off her view of the clearing, and she sees the stag turn to face the black pool. EXT. THE WILDWOOD - PATH - NIGHT Ceri runs, faster than she’s ever run, through the Wildwood... FURTHER ON ...and on she runs, as the rain begins to abate, slowly but surely... EXT. FARMHOUSE - GARDEN - NIGHT ...until she emerges from the Wildwood into the garden. It’s not raining anymore. Ceri stops. Stares at the sky above the farmhouse.

109. It is red. The air is filled with smoke. Something’s burning. Ceri walks through the garden, past the house, to the front yard. EXT. FARMSTEAD - FRONT YARD - NIGHT The barn is ablaze. The flames have engulfed the building. Black smoke rises into the sky, which is beginning to clear up. Bright stars wink into existence. Ceri sits down on the porch. She stares first at the burning building, and then at the stars above it... DISSOLVE TO: EXT. FARMSTEAD - DAY The sun is bright, the sky a clear blue. Only the black remains of the barn mar the landscape. There’s a police car parked in the yard. TITLE: "ONE WEEK LATER" INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - DAY Ceri stands in the middle of her mother’s old room. She’s all packed. She holds Ellie’s diary in her hands. Weighing it. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) I don’t want to write about anything anymore. I want my head to be empty of words. I want for the memories to go away. I want to forget. INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - DAY - 1967 Ellie sits on the floor. She folds her diary into a handkerchief. Then she lies down on her stomach and places the wrapped diary into its secret place under the closet. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) If I hide our Secrets away, maybe some day they will just go away. Then I won’t have to feel like this... INT. ELLIE’S BEDROOM - DAY - NOW Ceri makes up her mind. She sits down on the floor.

110. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) ...like I am drowning. (beat) I will never write again, because if I do, I’m afraid the Secrets will come out, every single one of them. Ceri puts the diary back in its secret place under the closet, and replaces the loose floorboard. YOUNG ELLIE (V.O.) And that must never happen. Our Secrets must stay where they are, for all time to come. Stay... Ellie’s VOICE MORPHS -- from that of ELLIE OF TEN, to that of ELLIE AT FORTY-SIX. ELLIE (V.O.) ...in the dark places. Ceri stands up, gives the room one last look...and then she leaves. EXT. FARMHOUSE - PORCH - DAY A POLICE OFFICER -- male, 30s -- leans against the vehicle, arms crossed, patient. When Ceri exits the house, he straightens, walks around to the passenger side, opens the door. Waits. Ceri closes the front door. Locks it. Turns and walks away. She stops for a split second when she sees the halfpainted railing -- but she forces herself to keep moving, down the steps, into the waiting vehicle. The officer SHUTS her door. INT. POLICE CAR - DAY The officer gets in and starts driving. Ceri gazes out the window. At the farm disappearing behind them. At the Wildwood. CERI (V.O.) Sometimes you have to get to the end before you can understand the beginning. Sometimes a story is better told in reverse. And Secrets? She closes her eyes and leans back in her seat.

111. CERI (V.O.) Well, the thing about Secrets is, until they stop being secret, they never truly go away. EXT. FARMSTEAD - DAY As the police car drives away down the gravel road, it passes several large trucks heading towards the farm, towards the Wildwood, carrying MEN and machinery... FADE TO BLACK.

Related Interests