This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by RAY WRIGHT
INSPIRED BY REAL EVENTS
Pitch black. We hear FOOTSTEPS sneaking up an old wooden staircase. Two people moving as one. Topping the stairs, they creep down the hall to the closed door that protects us. We can hear them behind it, whispering, bickering insanely, one shushing the other. The squeak of a door knob slowly turning. The faint click of the latch. And the door inches open, throwing a razor-thin shaft of light into the darkness where it illuminates a FRIGHTENED EYE As a ten-year-old GIRL sits up in bed. Dead tired. at the two dark faces peering in at her. GIRL I can see you... And the door closes, leaving us once more in total darkness. We can hear them bickering again as they shuffle away, their footsteps descending the stairs, fading into the uneasy silence of this old house... INT. FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM, LOS ANGELES - DAY A young teacher (DARLA) chalks a lesson on a blackboard in a sun-drenched Los Angeles classroom. DARLA -- and we know from yesterday that the base of a triangle times half the height equals the area. A girl in the back row raises her hand. Yes, Mia? DARLA Staring
GIRL Lucy’s asleep again. Darla puts down the chalk and comes up the aisle to where a slight, fair-skinned girl in a thrift shop dress sleeps head down on her desk. The girl from the opening scene. LUCY SHERIDAN. Darla stands over her with obvious concern. Puts a finger to her lips to quiet the giggles. DARLA Let her sleep. She draws the shade. girl. It drops a shadowbox on the sleeping
welcoming the beleaguered mother: . Overcome by emotion. you just got out of his way. Cuz I mean I don’t want him to be like me. The MARTINEZ FAMILY.? It’s painful for him to hear that. Sitting opposite is an LA County social worker. GANG MEMBER He would just go off. you know. DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES. He loves his son. Diego lagging behind. Is A glimpse of the boy he might have been. doesn’t it? He wipes his eyes on his tattooed arm. EMILY That really upsets you.. COUNSELING ROOM. has never seen him cry before.. quit the streets for him. The Martinez family heads down the hall.. Twenties. A family in crisis. The boy looks at his father. Emily musses the boy’s hair. INT.DAY A former gang member sitting with his wife and troubled eightyear-old son. GANG MEMBER Yeah.2. EMILY That’s the last time I make a bet with you. (to his parents) See you guys next week. start tearin’ the place down. INT. Attractive but overworked. EMILY And what you learned from your father now Diego’s learning from you.DAY Outside the conference room. EMILY. LOS ANGELES . nods. knowing their chances. Then turns to the NEXT FAMILY. EMILY A whole week without skipping school? that true? He smiles.. Emily watches with guarded optimism. You didn’t even know why he was doin’ it half the time. CORRIDOR . he nods yes.
The sad face draws Emily in. if you feel you need legal representation that’s perfectly within your rights.S. WAYNE (O. Handwritten on the front: SHERIDAN. absolutely not. Ski rack on the roof. Em. EXT. I read the medical report -well. He drops another file on her desk.. they found bruises and cigarette burns -Mrs Lynch. Broken bones. the phone down. An angry mother SCREAMING at her on the phone: EMILY No one is trying to steal your child. leaning in the doorway. Looks at it guiltily. Emily shoves the new file onto the shelf above her desk.. EMILY No. look at this. A flurry of obscenities followed by a dial tone. we all are. Faded red paint. An ancient bumpersticker says Educate. EMILY’S CUBICLE . INT. I’m buried -WAYNE Sorry. forties. Sighs wearily. A school portrait of ten-year-old Lucy clipped to the preliminary report. LUCY.3.) One less Christmas card for Emily. WAYNE How many active cases you have? EMILY Thirty-eight. WILSHIRE BLVD . gay. The hurried opening and closing of files reveals PHOTOS of abused children. Bruises. Cuts. Wayne. Takes it down again.DAY An old VOLVO WAGON skirts rush hour traffic on Wilshire. Emily trying to locate a single case amid the stacks and clutter on her desk.DAY It looks great. She opens it. Emily puts . Her supervisor WAYNE. look. EMILY You cut your hair. He walks off.
Emily gives a tired sigh. Drops the files in a chair. INT.NIGHT Noisy. INT.A. EMILY’S HOUSE . A charming male voice: DOUG’S VOICE Exhausted. YOUNG WOMAN’S VOICE #2 Hi. Faint smile under it. she resisted her tendency toward introspection and went to have a drink with her friend Doug. EXT. Long day. Tired. her faith in mankind shaken. not crazy about L. give me a call. BAR .DAY Cozy. hope you’re good. BEEP. Turns on the tv. Light colors offset dark hardwood floors. stack of files under her arm. her career path questionable. Turns it off. People suffering. YOUNG WOMAN’S VOICE Hey. EMILY’S HOUSE .DAY Emily’s red Volvo wagon turns in the drive of a single-person home she rents in a working-class neighborhood. World news. DOUG. Hey. Puts on some quiet music. it’s Suze. Thirties. . Sprinkles some food in a fish tank. Emily comes in. Professional type on a bar stool. trendy downtown bar. decompressing. BEEP. Violence. INT. just checking in. that’s his. peeling an orange. Referees through the glass. Her haven. Emily leans on an elbow as she drives. Jackie. but at ease with herself. Handsome. Em.4. BEEP. EMILY Don’t fight. VOLVO WAGON . He laughs when he sees Emily. Hits play on her answering machine as she flops down barefoot on the sofa with a magazine. missed you at yoga the other day.DAY IPod jacked into the car stereo playing hip alternative MUSIC.
In the end you’re a number to call for people who don’t have anyone else. The whole psychology thing. Recognizes a girl going by in the crowd.. Well-dressed. I can’t remember if I was supposed to call you or the other way around. isn't it? DOUG Regrettably. EMILY Hey Becca. DOUG Everybody’s full of it. So one of us is a major screwup. My family’s a train wreck. beer. A friend from school.? EMILY No. appreciates that. it’s just been a crazy couple weeks. He gestures to the bartender for another EMILY You know what freaks me out? DOUG That you have a four-year degree and make seventeen grand a year after taxes? EMILY I sit there talking to these families.. it's just about scoring chicks.5. Sits down beside him. They share a laugh. it’s me. like I’m some expert. . EMILY Be honest. You remember Doug. I mean. FRIEND (hugging her) Hey.. you know.. She gives him a kiss. The track Emily might be on if she weren’t a social worker. yes. Careeroriented. Emily nods. I had this moment today where I realized I might be totally full of it. There’s no way that’s bad. DOUG I am so in your head.
Doug saves her the trouble. reading the Sheridan file on her bed. under her breath: EMILY What are they doing to you? . Sadly. you might actually enjoy yourself.. DOUG So anyway. the job.6. FRIEND (handshake) (then to Emily) Listen. The preliminary report concerns her: “Socially withdrawn. my ride’s leaving. Hi. EMILY’S BEDROOM . I just..NIGHT Emily in glasses. leans in closer. And as they drink together after a long day. DOUG Hey. The girl departs. Hard to explain.. more than friends. Emily nods yeah. I’d be willing to consider a purely physical one. Sleeping at school. Doug hands it to her. the friendly banter giving way to a moment of real sincerity. I know. less than lovers. They exchange a look then Doug clinks his glass against hers. sipping her beer. Emily’s beer arrives.. INT. Lack of appetite. you get home you don’t have anything left. okay? Emily nods okay. Emily. DOUG I know. EMILY If it were anyone. EMILY I’m sure I would. let’s catch up soon.” Her gaze returns to Lucy’s photo. it’d be you. I’ve done some soul searching and I just want to say that if a full-on relationship feels like too much right now... smiles.
Lucy’s mother. Indicates the date. What the hell? hear the chain unlock. takes a newspaper from her bag. EXT. EMILY Friday was the fourteenth. Ghostly pale. It opens again. Then we . rundown family home on a once-prosperous cul de sac. MARGARET SHERIDAN. Emily She reaches to knock on the door and it opens abruptly. Is not. MARGARET Friday was the thirteenth. Monday the seventeenth. Walks on.. Gets out. SHERIDAN HOUSE . Child Services? spoke on the phone. Gone as soon as she sees it.7. rather amazed at the conversation she’s having. EMILY Today is the seventeenth. Checks that she has the right address. Emily pulls up. the security chain snapping taut. The door closes in Emily’s face.. Halfway up the walk something stops her dead in her tracks A WOMAN’S FACE staring at her through one of the lacy white curtains upstairs. A woman’s voice growls at her from the darkness inside: What? WOMAN’S VOICE EMILY Emily Jennings. bony face from the upstairs window. but it is. MARGARET You said the seventeenth. MARGARET EMILY I’m sorry. stands frozen for a moment.DAY A dark. The date of our appointment.? We Peering through the crack is the pallid. Emily. that makes today the seventeenth.
Lucy turns shyly away. the curtains drawn. EMILY Because we’ve found it’s more beneficial if the whole family participates. Pretty girl. EMILY My name’s Emily. trying to project professionalism in an arm chair that tilts to one side. Lucy peers down through the upstairs banister. Emily shakes her hand. .DAY Emily. merely allowing her to enter. steeped in a kind of puritanical gloom. LIVING ROOM.8. I’d like to meet you.. EMILY When do you expect your husband back? Margaret shrugs. anxious. Pale. not welcoming Emily in. MARGARET Well he’s not home so. Shrugs again. She steps aside. Gaunt. EMILY Come down. unsure what’s going on. Dark rings under her eyes. Margaret twitches one open in begrudging courtesy. Lucy. smiles. INT. INT. SHERIDAN HOUSE . EMILY (to Margaret) Is there somewhere we can talk? Margaret sighs and heads down the hall. Margaret and Lucy sitting opposite on the sofa. SHERIDAN HOUSE . sensing her mother’s disapproval. The house is tidy but sad. slowly down the stairs.. Emily sees her. Lucy hesitates. LUCY What’s yours? Comes EMILY Pretty name.DAY It’s dark. And we get our first good look at Lucy’s mother. file in hand.
EDWARD SHERIDAN makes his entrance. she wants to anyway. wants to talk to you.. Emily’s and Lucy’s faces reflect the same simple fear. FOOTSTEPS pounding up the cellar stairs. EMILY It’ll be okay. EMILY Do you have any way of contacting him? MARGARET Not if I don’t know where he is. gives Lucy a cautionary glance then exits. A menacing man with a gaunt face and dark deep-set eyes. MARGARET (O. sensing the lie. We hear the power tool get thrown aside. EMILY Would you ask him to join us? MARGARET He doesn’t have anything to say. MARGARET (O. We hear an angry unintelligible reply. Just then we hear a POWER TOOL go on in the basement. Emily holds out her hand.) I already told her..) That lady’s here. From the state. Edward! MARGARET (O. She .S.) EDWARD! Emily.9.S. indicates the floor. The power tool stops.? Margaret averts her eyes. The FOOTSTEPS are upon them. Their eyes meet. EMILY Would you ask him? Margaret weighs Emily’s resolve. We hear her open a door and holler into the basement over the noise of the power tool. EMILY Is that. Lucy not so sure.S.
EMILY Hi. EMILY (to Margaret) Is there some reason why your husband won’t speak to me directly? Margaret nods. his contempt obvious. Margaret sits on the other side. A battle of wills. Emily speaks with kindness and composure. MARGARET Eddie says we don’t have family problems. Refusing to be intimidated. trapped between them. she engages Edward’s stare. Edward whispers again in Margaret’s ear. That’s where we come in. MARGARET Eddie doesn’t like speakin’ out of anger. EMILY Mr Sheridan. gives Edward a look as though for permission. The kinds of changes they’re seeing are often associated with family problems. But his gaze has a murderous intensity she can’t match. Lucy tenses. EMILY I’m here today because Lucy’s school is concerned about changes they’re seeing in her academic performance. many times a family won’t even know they’re having problems until it’s too late. Emily does well to hide her fear. . EMILY That’s just it. We help families communicate and learn healthier ways of resolving conflict. Sits beside Lucy on the sofa. is there some reason you won’t speak to me directly? Edward just stares at her. I’m Emily -Edward forgoes the handshake. Battle lost. MARGARET Eddie says we don’t need your help. Edward leans over and whispers something caustic in Margaret’s ear.10. Hostile encounters part of the job. She looks down. shuffling papers.
this girl’s in trouble. . INT. Em. The new cases never stop. He’s dropping files on desks. I’ve done my job. I can Beneath Wayne’s humor. EMILY You put these files in front of me and you ask me to tell you what’s going on. WAYNE Wait. well. EMILY Every time I talk to you you sound more like a lawyer. EMILY I didn’t say weird. CHILD SERVICES . I’m telling you. hard-learned practicality. did you just fly to New York and meet my parents? EMILY Wayne. you’re gonna have to let this one go. a sober. we’ll do a follow-up in a month. I’ve told you. WAYNE No laws against being weird.11. The guy sat there the entire time staring at me. maybe because every time I make an emotional decision I get called by one. Well. you know that? WAYNE Yeah. WAYNE Wanna know what I can feel? The lawsuit we’re gonna get hit with if we violate her parents’ rights without any evidence they’ve done something wrong. I’m sorry. feel it. I said scary. what you do with it is yours. Wayne alone after hours with his conscience. Send it over to CMC. She walks off. Wayne pauses in mock bewilderment. the mother is like his emotional slave. there’s something going on and it’s not something good.NIGHT Emily follows Wayne along a row of cubicles after hours.
Emily. INT. trades looks with the parents as they go past. preparing to leave. Edward puts his arm around Lucy for effect. Edward directs his comments at Wayne. Benevolent faces.DAY Emily and Wayne in private conversation. we know that. affects bewilderment. brand new dress. Day she was born was the happiest day of our lives. ribbon in her hair. We’re not perfect parents. EMILY So you have no idea why she’s falling asleep at school every day? Why she’s not able to sleep at home? Edward looks at Margaret. Her eyes go to Emily. EDWARD Bad dreams? INT. .DAY Gazing fondly at Lucy. appearing coached as she eats an ice cream cone. she’s our daughter. PRIVATE CONFERENCE ROOM . CORRIDOR. EDWARD They really are God’s miracles. Mr Sheridan. A silent plea for help.DAY The elevator doors open with a DING and Edward and Margaret Sheridan step out in their Sunday best. but we figure if you let ‘em know how much you love ‘em a lot of the other stuff takes care of itself. who sits opposite the family with Emily. EMILY (hostile) Tell me.12. then Emily. since you’ve suddenly acquired the power of speech. CHILD SERVICES . She’s pissed off. disgusted by the charade. BREAK ROOM . doesn’t it concern you a little that Lucy’s grades have gone from A’s to D’s in three months? EDWARD Course it does. INT. Lucy between them. The Sheridan family in the other room. Wayne nods his agreement. With a glance Wayne cautions Emily about her tone of voice.
EMILY Five minutes. Lucy smiles. she was a writer. It’s the opening Emily was looking for. She wants to talk. it helps me sort out how I’m feeling. Misfires. Maintaining that precious eye contact. Emily bends for a sip after. EMILY He’s gonna be having bad dreams when he gets hit with child endangerment. Do you ever write? I do sometimes. So much for establishing trust. As she wipes her face. deepening it: EMILY What’s happening to you? Let me help. for the first time. (off Wayne’s reluctance) Don’t tell me you’re buying this daddy’s little girl routine? WAYNE So they’re overcompensating a little. EMILY A little? Let me talk to her. I just shot like a gallon of water up my nose. I can help. EMILY I knew someone at school named Lucy. She stops for a drink at a water fountain. eyes brimming with tears.DAY Emily walks with Lucy. Em -WAYNE Alone. . Lucy looks away. CORRIDOR . embarrassed: EMILY Okay. looking for a way in. Talk to them about how much they love kids.13. INT. Lucy doesn’t take the bait. She goes out the door.
She lowers her head in shame. Emily and Wayne alone with Lucy. Wayne looks at Emily. case closed. Emily’s mouth falls open.14.DAY A tape recorder is running. As Emily registers this in quiet horror. sweetheart? LUCY They hate me. INT. CONFERENCE ROOM . She’s hesitant to speak. cellar and talk.. tears rolling down. EMILY I’m sure they don’t hate you. EMILY You’ve heard them say that? Lucy nods. It’s okay. Parent on each side. EMILY You can tell him. shakes her head. Lucy looks at Wayne. I hear them..DAY Emily watches in agony as the Sheridan family steps into the elevator. INT. EMILY What is it. CORRIDOR . Lucy gives her one last pleading look then the elevator doors close and she’s gone. He’s on WAYNE Did you hear your parents say they were going to hurt you? Nobody sees what Lucy sees at this moment. LUCY They do. They go in the EMILY What do they talk about? LUCY Sending me to hell. our side. Edward glaring in at her through the window. naturally distrustful. .
EMILY I hope you can live with a dead child on your conscience. made it up? You think I WAYNE I think you’d do just about anything you had to do to help a child you thought was at risk. backing away from him. don’t you think? I care about these kids as much as you do. POLICE STATION . doesn’t want to hear it. you’re leaving this alone. Veteran of the force. Parents. Emily gives a resigned nod. WAYNE (hurt) That’s a little unfair. DETECTIVE BARRON’S OFFICE.DAY Emily and Wayne in the heat of an argument. A look that says he means it. all of it. WAYNE’S OFFICE . Emily. faith. have rights. Here are the facts. WAYNE Yes. you are. EMILY She doesn’t trust anybody. They haven’t laid a finger on her that we can tell. Man of quiet . INT.15. Meanwhile on your desk right now are thirty-plus cases of actionable abuse. Wayne. What about those? EMILY I’m not giving up on her. INT. EMILY So that’s it? We let kids get killed until they rewrite the goddamn laws? She exits before he can answer. that’s how the laws of this great land are written. And we have no proof they intend to. even bad ones.NIGHT Detective MIKE BARRON. but we can’t go around yanking them out of their homes on a hunch. from the job.
BARRON I can’t. you’re a part of the system that handles those situations. BARRON Maybe you just need to let it work. EMILY This girl heard her parents say they’re going to send her to hell. He’s doing paperwork. I’m sorry. Barron stops her. Emily. BARRON Was just thinking about you. Whatever Barron was going to say is no longer relevant. I’m desperate here. got a nice letter from Sandy Hutchinson. Tense beat. Last time almost cost me my job.16. A well-built silver-haired family man who played fullback at Brigham Young. The need for privacy now apparent. She starts to open the file. but the department doesn’t pay me to stakeout potential child abusers. BARRON Sickening as that is. I’m not.. it’s sitting in front of me which means our good friend Wayne thinks it fails to meet the criteria for child endangerment and has told you in no uncertain terms to leave it alone. .. Barron gets up and closes his door. EMILY Mike. EMILY The system is broken. Soberly.. BARRON You know how dear to my heart the work you do is.. Smiles warmly as Emily enters.? EMILY Surprise. after a pause: BARRON Well. Sits down at his desk again. She drops Lucy’s file on his desk. surprise.
. CUT TO: The blade of a circular saw SCREAMS through a pinewood board. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL .. Edward hammering down below. Lucy hugs her.) And Emily behind her. clinging for a moment. the speed of the handiwork conveying its urgency. Talking. EMILY I just wanted you to know I haven’t forgotten about you. No bullshit. As she goes to get on: Lucy. sinking it. She turns. breath held. A ten-pound hammer CRUSHES the head of a nail.S. EMILY (O. he glances up over his shoulder.. I feel like I’m talking to Wayne. CRUSHES another.DAY Children waiting for the bus after school. A HOMEMADE COFFIN Sensing Lucy’s stare. The bus pulls up to the curb. tired and solemn.. SHERIDAN HOUSE . fine. spitting sawdust. LUCY If I disappear will you come look for me? . Lucy stands apart.NIGHT Lucy peering into the basement through an air vent in the floor. I’m doing everything I can. EMILY What? Jesus. You don’t want to get involved. Give me evidence of a crime. Till then there’s nothing I can do.. BARRON Okay. INT. He steps aside and we see what he’s making. vertical bands of light on her face. CRUSHES another. Lucy ducks out of sight. laughing. I’m running out of people I respect. I’ll be all over it.17.. EXT. but don’t bullshit me.
EMILY Lucy. EMILY It’s me. um. thought you might be up.. news. here it comes BEEP. EMILY I’m gonna get you out of there. If I do? LUCY Backing away. World . Hangs up. Puts her number on speed EMILY If anything happens. call if you get this. LUCY I have to go. Tucks the cell phone in Lucy’s coat pocket. Channel-surfs. Emily watches. Helpless. Don’t let your parents know you have it.. EMILY You’re not going to disappear. leaving a message: ANSWERING MACHINE Hey. seeing the fear. anyway. INT. okay? Just press this. Lucy boards the bus. They get mad when I miss the bus.18. Emily waves back. Home shopping network. wait. Clicks on the tv remote.NIGHT A sleepless night finds Emily slouched on her sofa. Might be the last time she sees her alive. EMILY’S HOUSE . Cooking show. I promise. Lucy Emily holds her gaze. heart in her throat. dial. Lucy turns to go. Waves to Emily from a back window as it drives away. call me. Takes her cell phone from her bag. this is Doug. indicates the bus.
A child’s whisper... I want you to go over and open the window.) (softly.O.. drifting off) I’m sooorry... I can hear them. honey? LUCY (V.O.O. Watches it for a moment. wake up! INT.? LUCY (V.) EMILY (concerned but calm) Lucy? Are you okay? LUCY (V..... EMILY Okay. LUCY’S BEDROOM . Hip-hop music video..) I’m scared.. picks up.) I’m falling asleep. Emily. EMILY Lucy.... The phone RINGS. EMILY (from phone) Lucy. listen. Gangster with a mic. Emily mutes the tv.O.?! . no. EMILY Too late. Scantily-clad girls shaking their asses. I’m sorry... Can you do that? Lucy.? LUCY (V..) They’re waiting to get me.19.O.. Why? EMILY Why are you scared.NIGHT The cell phone lying on the bed at Lucy’s fingertips. EMILY Why are you sorry? LUCY (V. I met someone else.
Opens it. listen.NIGHT Slowly. plunging the room into total darkness. Gets the right one in the door. Throws a coat on over her bed clothes. we hear FOOTSTEPS coming up the stairs. quietly. INT. EMILY’S CAR . INT. EMILY Mike.NIGHT Edward carries Lucy toward the OLD GAS OVEN where Margaret waits. Margaret in front of him. Margaret rushes ahead into the . I know what you said. EMILY’S APARTMENT . dials a number in desperation. you’re not listening -(loses it) HELP ME! EXT. it’s Emily. Edward and Margaret peering in with frenzied anticipation: Lucy is asleep. Down the hall. INT. The time has come. KITCHEN . They reach the bottom.NIGHT Emily fumbles with her keys. kitchen. Moment of panic. moving in tandem. A shaft of light. INT. but -Mike. that girl I told you about. The illuminated screen casts an eerie glow on her SLEEPING FACE. STAIRWAY .20. EMILY’S CAR . Stopping at the door. In BLACK. The click of the latch.NIGHT The cell phone turns itself off. Jumps in. LUCY’S BEDROOM . doing ninety down the freeway. Edward descends the stairs with Lucy asleep in his arms. Starts the engine.NIGHT Emily red-lines the tachometer.NIGHT Emily drops the phone. holding open the door. Then a decision. Grabs the phone again. Peels off down the road. I think she’s in trouble . The knob turning. holding a roll of duct tape.yeah. INT. The door opening.
Emily hears something inside the house. Edward puts Lucy into the oven without waking her. cradling her head. Edward and Margaret intensify their efforts. He joins her. Margaret throws a piece of duct tape over her mouth.21. EMILY Leave her alone! INT. EMILY They’re not asleep. jamming Lucy’s legs inside the oven... Barron’s pickup arrives. silencing her screams as Edward wrestles her back into the oven. KITCHEN . starts pounding on the door. But as he lifts the door. Emily. As she jumps out. eyeing the darkened house. one of the metal hinges CREAKS. a reluctant accomplice. Barron lagging a few steps behind. But she kicks open the door again and the frantic struggle continues as. EXT.NIGHT Hearing Emily. BARRON They’re asleep. The duct tape peels off her mouth in the struggle and before the oven door slams shut she belts out one last desperate SCREAM. SHERIDAN HOUSE . BARRON What are we doing here? EMILY Saving her life! She goes up the walkway. Delicately. Kicks open the door before Edward can shut it. EMILY Did you hear that? BARRON I didn’t hear anything. With animal terror she thrashes her way out onto the linoleum floor.NIGHT Emily’s car lurches to a stop out front. . trusting her gut. Lucy jolts awake with a SCREAM.
BARRON Police. singeing her hair. Emily and he race in.NIGHT Emily and Barron rush in. SHERIDAN HOUSE . SHERIDAN HOUSE . EMILY Did you hear that?! Barron pounds his big fist on the door. KITCHEN .NIGHT The front door comes crashing down. kicked off its hinges by Barron. Emily sees Lucy trapped inside the oven. INT. EXT. it makes Barron jump. INT. Coughing as the gas fills the oven with a low hiss. hysterical. DOWNSTAIRS HALLWAY . knowing they’re too late: EMILY BREAK IT DOWN! INT. LUCY?! EMILY They take off toward the kitchen at the end of the hall. KITCHEN . The sleeve of her pajamas catching fire.NIGHT Emily. open up! EMILY Break it down! Barron rams his shoulder against the door. We hear it ignite beneath her with a faint poof. INT. GAS OVEN .NIGHT We see Lucy’s screaming face through the oven window as Margaret cranks the temperature dial as high as it will go.22. EXT. .NIGHT From inside we see Edward and Margaret peering in as Lucy claws at the glass with her fingernails. The first shimmering waves of heat rising up. but it holds solid.NIGHT Clearly audible outside.
Edward slouched against the fridge. the egregiousness of the crime makes the competency question all the more relevant. Edward tries to fend Barron off. JUDGE Yes. EMILY Oh my God. Backhands Margaret so hard it spins her around fully before dropping her to the floor.. Emily shoves Margaret aside and throws open the oven. Emily keeps saying the same thing over and over.. Shielding her from the sight of her parents: Margaret sprawled on the linoleum weeping. I hereby order the defendants undergo psychiatric evaluation to determine their mental fitness for trial. I gotcha.... blood pouring down his shirt. INT. The STATE PROSECUTOR and PUBLIC DEFENDER addressing the JUDGE.... EMILY I gotcha. but Barron has her covered. remorseless and defiant in their Sunday best. malice aforethought PUBLIC DEFENDER Your honor. I gotcha.23. It’s a mistake. COUNTY COURTROOM . STATE PROSECUTOR Prosecution asks that you disallow an insanity defense. Reduced to tears herself. his broken jaw hanging open like a man thinking wow. Barron unleashes a devastating blow that sends him recoiling into the fridge so hard the back of his head leaves a visible dent in the door. swatting out her burning pajamas with a dish towel.DAY Edward and Margaret holding hands at the defendant’s table. Among the many spectators we find Emily and Mike Barron. This was an act committed with premeditation. Pulls Lucy out onto the kitchen floor. . BARRON The hell’s the matter with you people?! Pajamas scorched. wild with terror. Margaret grabs a steak knife and rushes at Emily. Lucy cries in great heaving sobs in Emily’s arms.
Emily rolls her eyes at Barron. He’s crossing the line by telling her BARRON When we brought them in that night they told Captain Lister.. minion of the devil or something. Freudian dream analysis. try killing your kid. latenight cable? BARRON No. but my money’s on crazy. but that might be the world they’re living in. EMILY (laughs) Oh. Child psychologist..what is this. EMILY Steal a pizza. they knew damn well! BARRON It’s not that simple sometimes. San Quentin. some kind of demon spirit. They think she’s evil. EXT. this. She’s outraged. CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL . They knew. DOUG -. Emily’s friend Doug sitting bedside. EMILY Did they or did they not know what they were doing? That’s the legal standard. some justice system.24. COURTHOUSE PARKING LOT . that’s great . BARRON Well. dressings on her hand.DAY Barron walks Emily to her car.and what’s the most important thing we talked about that you have to remember? . INT. EMILY (stops on a dime) Meaning what exactly? Barron hesitates.DAY Lucy in a hospital bed. you’re gonna hate me for saying this.
Why? LUCY .no kidding. LUCY It’s not my fault what happened. Good news. see if I can get her to open up. It’s Lucy nods. We’ll get there. Shakes his head. DOUG That is some seriously proactive social work happenin’ there. How’s she doing? DOUG Typical reaction. EMILY Only for a few days. At the door he runs into Emily. I’m gonna put her in a group setting. You all right? EMILY Yeah.25. sweetheart. what’s that say about the world? He nods . LUCY Why can’t I live with you? EMILY Oh. crosses to the exit. Doug gives her a pat. blames herself. EMILY You get to leave here LUCY Doug said I might have to go to a state home. I’m okay. Emily comes over and sits on Lucy’s bed. EMILY Group therapy for kids. heads off. Strokes her hair. not entirely convinced. till we find a better place. tomorrow. awed at what she did. That would never be allowed. DOUG That’s right and you know what? not.
who is surprised to see them. STATE CHILDREN’S HOME . Lucy’s silence is a plea for rescue. EMILY It’s complicated. scratching addresses off a typed list with a ballpoint. suitcase.26.. Emily touches her arm. Lucy gives a sad nod. purely functional housing. Her back is to us but you can see she’s arguing with someone. EMILY’S CAR . Emily comes up the steps with Lucy and knocks. putting on a smile.. Nothing? EMILY We don’t COORDINATOR There was a mixup with the dates. TIME CUT TO: Emily gets in and starts the car. INT.DAY Sorry. . Emily can’t lie. are you hungry? Let’s get some lunch. there’s a whole process.DAY No frills. have any rooms. Lucy standing there holding a Through the windshield Lucy watches Emily on a pay phone outside a convenience store. What kind of food do you like? LUCY There’s nowhere for me to go is there? Heartbreaking. Emily rolls her eyes. COORDINATOR They were supposed to call you. EMILY EXT. EMILY Hey. I’m sorry. The COORDINATOR answers. I’m not even a foster parent. She turns off the engine and leans back with a sigh. A kind but beleagured-looking woman of fifty.
) . showing her around.. The head of the panel is a bloated bureaucrat in a polka dot blouse (NANCY). It’s terrifying.. .. offering support. INT. CONFERENCE ROOM .it’s clear what’s best for her. EMILY’S HOUSE . EMILY I can’t. Emily stares out the windshield. I’m sorry.DAY Emily comes out and nods yes to Lucy who waits with a guardian. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE CONFERENCE ROOM . Just my A ten-year-old girl stranded at a convenience store. she trusts me. NANCY This is highly irregular and I’ll tell you right now it makes me very uncomfortable.. I think if we just look at the situation .. But since.27. So much of our time is spent negotiating red tape. I. suitcase in her lap. I’m not mom material. six grave-faced administrators. I live in this tiny house. this one child .this one situation.DAY Emily walks Lucy through the house. Wayne is here. Wayne.. LUCY You don’t have to be my mom. Lucy. it wouldn’t work. INT.DAY At a round table. EMILY I know what it feels like to be that age and be unwanted. Emily addresses the CHILD WELFARE PANEL. you’ve spoken so persuasively on Miss Jennings’s behalf. She needs to be with someone she trusts.O. friend. tidying things self-consciously. wrestling with her conscience. INT.I’m going to go against my better judgement and approve this petition for temporary custody. As they hug: NANCY (V...
LUCY What’s this? EMILY Chamomile. Bathroom. LUCY’S BEDROOM . is your room. Kitchen.28. Lucy comes over to help unpack the clothes. Professional books and backup case files pushed aside on a shelf. Beneath the measured tone Emily’s pain is revealed. . A small office in which Emily has made space for a bureau and a bed. And here. raw and untouchable. Be okay? Lucy nods yes. EMILY I’m glad you’re here. She opens Lucy’s suitcase on the bed... INT. EMILY I like to think of it as a glass-halffull situation. I’ve met my dad twice and my mom’s not a part of my life anymore. Fish. remembering something..DAY They stop in the doorway. well. TIME CUT TO: Lucy in bed. Pauses. Why? LUCY EMILY EMILY (choosing her words) Sometimes people have kids and then decide they don’t want to be parents. sipping a cup of tea as Emily brushes her hair. when I get stressed out it helps me sleep. LUCY Where’s your family? EMILY My family. her entire life a rebellion against it..
bond between them. Em. EMILY I have to grab some of her things. noticing something on the . You did. It's quiet. eerily still.DAY Dark. abandoned. INT. Through a window she sees the Court Clerk drive off. SHERIDAN HOUSE . SHERIDAN HOUSE . EMILY I’m right down the hall if you need me. Lucy nods that it’s good. happened. Emily’s Volvo pulls up. It haunts her. INT. might take me a minute. Emily pauses at the door. the memory of what A SUDDEN KNOCK on the window makes her jump out of her seat. wall Slows. Turns off the bedside light. make sure you lock it on the way out. letting her in. A COURT CLERK. COURT CLERK I trust ya. if I could make it go away I would. A rare triumph. looks back at the lost child she’s taken in. EMILY’S CAR . EXT.29. Nice moment for Emily. then closes the door halfway. She's alone. Lucy settles. White shirt and tie. Emily brushes her hair. didn’t mean to scare you.DAY Emily closes the door. The guy there gestures a friendly sorry.DAY She eyes the house. glances around the dark interior. SHERIDAN HOUSE . She goes up the stairway. A natural EMILY None of this ever should have happened. EXT. LUCY She tucks Lucy in.DAY Emily signs a form as he unlocks the door.
she notes the door to Edward and Margaret's bedroom. Parts the curtains. Something . A FAINT SQUARE where a picture once was hung.the old oak bureau perhaps? . LUCY'S BEDROOM. In the backyard.DAY The door pushes open. Gives her a scare. But slows. by the garden shed. noticing something odd as she comes back around the bed A LONG DEEP SCRATCH in the wooden floor. She puts it down.30. Zips it and walks out. INT. Emily comes over and looks behind the door and sees. is slightly AJAR. Emily packs Lucy’s spare clothes into a dufflebag. at the far end of the hall. SHERIDAN HOUSE . INT. INT. Sees something out the bedroom window. More SQUARES farther up. inspecting various personal items aftershave. An ALARM CLOCK with a cracked crystal face.has been dragged repeatedly across the room.looking for clues to their madness. Succumbs to a natural curiosity. A SHALLOW GRAVE filling with leaves. EDWARD AND MARGARET'S BEDROOM . She picks it up and it GOES OFF in her hand. on the back of it.DAY Tattered lace curtains sway in a draft beside a bed with a moth-eaten coverlet. heads for the door. glasses. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY . Steps closer. hair brush . Emily peering in. A sad little master bedroom with old floral printed wallpaper and water stains on the ceiling. A few nails still sticking out. something even more bizarre TWO MASSIVE DEADBOLTS Emily . the wallpaper a half tone darker underneath.DAY Exiting Lucy’s room. hidden under a long runner rug. Edward’s handiwork. a long rectangular hole has been dug. She explores the room. Emily’s seen enough. peels back the rug and finds HUNDREDS OF LONG DEEP SCRATCHES in the floorboards leading toward the door.
Slides it in front of the door. . hon.DAY Emily looks in. Emily accepts the compliment. Looks over at Edward and Margaret's bed. door. DOUG Sometimes when our parents aren’t getting along it’s better if they don’t see each other for a while. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE GROUP THERAPY . Lucy among them. Slides-to the big heavy bolts CLUNK. GROUP THERAPY ROOM . Emily smiles and holds up a hand that says. Doug facilitating.DAY ABUSED CHILDREN aged eight to thirteen sit in a circle of folding chairs. that’s what a ‘restraining order’ does. imagining them here behind this door. Diego. hi. CLUNK. It’s good. waiting with other parents. It’s clear from these gestures how close they’ve gotten. into the wood.. other kids her age by the elevator. TIME CUT TO: Emily and Doug walk together after session. INT. crookedly. She closes the Pauses. Lucy sees her in the window and sneaks her a little wave. a wheelless caster bracket leaving another long scratch in the hardwood. I just wish I thought it was me making the difference. And as the door swings open she is looking straight down the hall at LUCY’S BEDROOM Emily stares. Lucy talking to DOUG She’s starting to come out of her shell. INT.31. And it's clear at this point what the deadbolts and bureau add up to A BARRICADE Emily stares at it. bewildered.. screwed hastily. Slides the bureau aside. Opens the deadbolts. Looks again at the bureau.
CHILD SERVICES DEPARTMENT . too. but she’s ready to face it. I think her mom and dad were barricading themselves in their room at night. smiles. you don’t think they’re crazy. EMILY’S CAR .DAY Emily pulls up in front of Lucy’s school... Emily. Pauses on the sidewalk. Okay? EMILY Emily Lucy nods. Emily. but I forgot. LUCY I love you. The second person: . New life. As they part ways. apprehensive. EMILY This is your new beginning. A pall hanging over the entire department. EMILY I love you. INT.DAY Emily draws grim looks as she crosses the common area. Lucy goes up the walk. EMILY I’m coming around. touched. New clothes. Emily watches her safely into the INT. hugs her. Lucy gets out. building. How sick is that? DOUG Hatred and fear are part of the same pathology . New haircut.32. EMILY I went by the house.oh. Big moment for Lucy. The first person she walks past says: COWORKER Wayne’s looking for you.
EMILY What’s up with Diego? Wayne hesitates. WAYNE We don’t know why yet. Emily stands there.DAY A police perimeter around a small house in a tough low-income neighborhood.. COWORKER #2 Wayne wants to -Got it. . The boy we met earlier. A coworker points over toward Emily’s cubicle . Cops and crime scene investigators on the scene. jumps out of her car. Mike Barron waves off the uniformed officer who moves to intercept her as she comes up the walkway to the house.DAY Emily and Mike Barron come along the uncarpeted hallway. EMILY She comes past Wayne’s office. She goes over. Local news media broadcasting live. looking for a file. EMILY What happened? BARRON Sure you want to see this? With an uncertain nod she follows him inside. EMILY Tell me what’s going on.. Emily pulls up. A photo of eight-year-old DIEGO clipped inside the cover. MARTINEZ HOUSE . MARTINEZ HOUSE . jaw on the floor. grave-faced. EXT. He finds it on the shelf. WAYNE Why don’t we talk in my office. INT. wanting to spare her the bad news.he’s there. A couple of news choppers hovering overhead.33. he killed his mother and father last night. Wayne’s inside. but. Empty.
Took three guys my size to subdue him. Emily looks around. EXT. BARRON Just your average American family.AN ATTACK DOG HITS THE GLASS RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS FACE. EMILY Where is he now? BARRON Juvie lockup.. please. aghast. comes back inside. EMILY An eight-year-old did this? way.. BARRON Gets a tire iron from the garage.DAY Emily and Barron come down the steps. MARTINEZ HOUSE . BARRON Had to use dental records to identify the bodies. locks all the doors and windows. The master bedroom. There’s no BARRON I was there when they brought him in. I need to talk to him. I care about this kid. . Barron recoils with a yelp.WHAM! . EMILY You want to know what happened? BARRON I know what happened. And. embarrassed. Mike. eyes the TRIO OF BATTLE-SCARRED PIT BULLS prowling the chainlink-fenced backyard. kills them in their sleep. Kid was climbing the walls. A bloodbath. no. I’m not taking you to see him. EMILY I don’t. Barron turns to the window and . Then.34.
Diego. He sees Emily approaching and immediately breaks down. shuddering with emotion: DIEGO Are they dead? Emily.DAY Doug tenderly consoles Emily. Wipes away her tears. EXT. stomach and sobs. nods yes. trades looks with Barron through the bars. Emily enters. INT. DIEGO (sobbing) I killed my mum and dad.. EMILY He won’t hurt me. Confused. Em. DOUG Every family you sit down with every day of every week is a family in crisis. The hair from her face. JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER . DOUG You’re one person. Those are your odds. Has his arms around her. Scared. Diego looks up at her.35. (then) I know somebody you did save. That’s the job you do. devastated. Diego buries his face in Emily’s EMILY What happened? Tell me what happened. Trying to beat them. They’re leaning against the railing. VENICE PIER .. The cop opens the cell.. The cop looks at Mike Barron who nods it’s okay.. Emily.DAY Diego Martinez sitting alone in a holding cell. gutted. wind on their faces. You can’t save the world. . EMILY Emily tells the cop at the cell door: Let me in.
Emily goes to get her.. INT. You okay? LUCY Emily nods.DAY Emily. takes her hand. breakfa-Sees Lucy hide something under her pillow. so I can have my own someday. LUCY Why do you do it if it makes you sad? EMILY My job? I don’t know. BEACH . putting on a brave face to spare Lucy. They walk on in silence for a moment. dressed for work.does that make sense? Lucy nods. EMILY (calls to other room) Breakfast. LUCY’S ROOM . I don’t know . . I guess. EXT. Emily barefoot now as well. Emily comes over. EMILY Honey. There’s no answer. Lucy nods okay. days later.DAY The plaintive cries of seagulls overhead as Emily and Lucy walk along the surf at sundown. Lucy on the beach below. EMILY It’s just work. I guess maybe I want to believe families can work. Don’t worry. walking barefoot at water’s edge. hem of her dress in her hands. Emily watches her and. halves an omelet with a spatula and slides the halves onto two plates. together. finding solace in it.36. brow arched. They walk off up the beach INT.. EMILY’S HOUSE . leans into Doug’s embrace and closes her eyes.DAY Stops in the doorway. playful.
like a lost child that sat down next to a pretty stranger who hasn’t yet noticed her.. I used to think it was my fault and I would try so hard when she got home to be good. he left before I was born. I wanted to know what happened to you. Linked by their pasts... Quiet . Lucy sits beside her on the bed. EMILY.. let me see. WITH HER MOTHER. She looks at Lucy.. she’d always go away again. but. EMILY She used to just leave. Disarming sincerity.. she’d just. EMILY Come on. AS A YOUNG GIRL. it didn’t matter. that’s how it was. Reminds you of a child from her caseload. or if she was. Lucy guiltily eyes the floor. EMILY You went through my things? LUCY I’m sorry.and I never knew when she was coming back. wins. (gestures ‘adios’) . Underneath it is a photograph. It’s a photo that captures her entire childhood. moment. together but apart.37.. so she’d think I was ‘special’ and stay next time or take me with her. Emily lifts the pillow. practiced at the task. Emily and her mother sitting on the steps of a house. Emily fights her emotions and... LUCY Where was your dad? EMILY Gone. do everything I could think of. Understands her deeply.. She sits down on the bed with it.. Emily’s gaze falls to the photo. First time I met him I was like thirteen. LUCY Is that your mom? Emily nods. More surprised than upset. lost in the image. then at the filing cabinet from which it was taken.. Emily’s ten-year-old face shows the quiet sadness of the disconnect.
I love you. She pauses.38. to make sure I haven't missed anything else? . make sure we haven't missed anything else.. LUCY What’d you say to him? EMILY Oh. I had all these things I was gonna say. Emily eyes the photo a moment longer then stands and puts it away in the filing cabinet. Wayne handing her case files to three COWORKERS. INT. feeling exposed. a portrait of contrition: LUCY Are you mad at me? EMILY No. (pauses.DAY Emily stops at her cubicle. And then I met him and I wasn’t angry. okay? Go through my private things without asking? Lucy nods okay.. Angry things I’d thought of and kind of memorized. Emily moves on. EMILY’S CUBICLE . I was just sad and I told him. Awkward moment for everyone. Lucy exits.. and turns the little key to lock the drawers. And um. EMILY You mean.. even if you don’t love me. Emily smiles a pained smile and then buries the memory. EMILY Omelet’s getting cold. WAYNE (sympathetic) I need another set of eyes to go over them.. Lucy. raw emotion) I said. registering a surprise. No. with a loving touch: Better hurry. I’m not mad at you.. (puts her arm around her) But I need you not to do that again..
WAYNE It’s just a legal thing. them back tomorrow.
They exit. She goes in and stares at the BARE SHELF above her desk. Her caseload gone. More than an insult. Everything she cares about. A pink phone message on her keyboard. Barron called. Important. INT. COFFEE HOUSE - DAY Newspaper headline: “INSANITY DEFENSE FOR GLENDALE COUPLE”. MUGSHOTS of Edward and Margaret below. The morning edition folded on a table between Barron and Emily. They’re drinking coffee. BARRON You watch, six months, their lawyer will hire some expert to say they’re rehabbed and they’ll sue for custody when they get out. EMILY She’s not going back there, I’ll take her out of state before I let them near her again. BARRON I didn’t hear you say that. Emily knows she’s misspoken, but lets it stand. EMILY You wanted to talk about something? Barron nods, sips his coffee, a bit uncomfortable. BARRON We pulled the Martinezes’ phone records. They got a call that night before the murders. From who? EMILY She picks it up: Mike
BARRON (sober pause) Emily, the call came from your house. What...? EMILY
BARRON Look, I’m not accusing you of anything, I just need to know what was said. EMILY That’s impossible. I might have called the week before...? BARRON I’m talking to you as a friend here, you know that, right? EMILY Did you not hear me? I’m telling you, Mike, as a friend, I did not call that family. BARRON Then who did? Go find the guy who broke in and just happened to dial the number of a kid whose case you handle. Emily starts to say something, but stops as a confounding realization comes to her. And then to Barron. INT. EMILY’S HOUSE - DAY Lucy sits on the sofa studying a photo of Diego. beside her, her advocate. Barron opposite. LUCY He’s in my group... (puts down photo) ...why, did something happen? Emily nods yes. Barron, gently, mindful of Lucy’s age: Emily sits
BARRON We’re trying to figure out why. He got a call Thursday night from this number. I’m just wondering if he might have said anything... LUCY It wasn’t me. BARRON You didn’t call him? Lucy shakes her head. Barron nods okay, then, speaking to her as a father might his own daughter:
BARRON Lucy, it’s hard sometimes to tell the truth, but I know you will because you’re a good little girl. LUCY I am telling the truth. EMILY My backup files are in your room. Diego’s is in there. Maybe you got curious and went through some, dialed a number? LUCY It wasn’t me, I swear. Complete innocence. Emily nods okay, wanting to believe, but remembering the stolen photograph. BARRON The call was at 2 am, are you ever up that late? LUCY I didn’t call him. BARRON Are you ever up that late? EMILY Mike, she said no. mistake. Maybe someone made a
Barron reads Emily’s posture and disengages, stands to go. BARRON Yeah, maybe so. Night, Lucy. INT. FRONT DOOR, EMILY’S HOUSE - NIGHT Exiting, Barron tells Emily as gently as possible: BARRON She’s lying. And goes down the steps. around and there’s Lucy. Emily closes the door. Uncomfortably close. Turns
LUCY Do you believe me?
DAY A PHOTO of Emily and Diego tacked to the corkboard panel beside her desk. I don’t want him back in that house. eating a doughnut. drops a manila envelope in her in-box. He what? He found Christ? When? That recently? Uh huh. caught unprepared. now. EMILY’S OFFICE . EMILY’S CUBICLE . Wayne. WAYNE’S OFFICE . talking on the phone: EMILY I don’t care if it’s a hairline fracture.42. INT. power pose.DAY Caseload restored. EMILY (re: Lucy’s profile) How’s it look? Normal. And the cognitive profile Lucy did for me the other day. Her caseload is still missing. This is bullshit. Lucy hugs her and Emily hugs her back. Well he should have found Him sooner. INT. EMILY Give me back my cases or fire me.DAY Emily walks in. DOUG WINTERS . What’s up? EMILY Right DOUG Copy of the Sheridans’ psych evals for the file. Doug leans in the doorway. Emily sits contemplating it. Emily is multi-tasking. And a computer printout. Hangs up. sorting backlogged paperwork. EMILY I believe you. Her gaze goes from the photo to the BARE SHELF above her desk. but she’s still thinking about what Barron said. opening mail. he broke her arm. INT.
But his tone suggests otherwise. DOUG What do you think? EMILY I don’t know what to think. (off Emily’s reaction) It’s no big deal. it just means I might have to push her a little. Bring her in after work.. I’ll do a one-on-one. gave the answers she thought she should. The Martinezes’ got a call Thursday night. I just. if that makes any sense. Mike thinks she’s . From my house. testing this normal is a bit abnormal. EMILY She’s ‘abnormally normal’? DOUG I think she faked it. DOUG Hmm.43. EMILY Do I have to beg or are you gonna tell me what’s going on? DOUG You have to beg. lying.. EMILY Why would she do that? DOUG (shrugs) She’s ashamed of who she is. DOUG Did you ask her about it? EMILY She said she didn’t. (same breath) Coming from an environment like that. Afraid nobody would want her if they saw the real her. I know. EMILY No. I wanted to talk to her about this anyway. Ashamed of how she feels.
. about the night it happened... they called from my house. EMILY I need to ask you something.44. INT. his breathing quick and shallow. Oh God. slow breaths. like someone might be listening. warily. EMILY What’s the matter? What’s scaring you? He looks at Emily. He departs.. EMILY Got you an extra in case it gets cold.DAY Diego eating macaroni and cheese from a jailhouse tray.. Diego nods without looking up. starts HYPERVENTILATING. Diego puts down his fork. I know you did.. Stares at his food. EMILY You didn’t? He shakes his head no.. you’ll be okay... his fear obvious now.. Still staring at his food.. Shakes his head no - EMILY Diego. really late? Diego stops eating. terrified. scans the test results with growing concern.. did you get a call. EMILY It’s okay. JUVENILE DETENTION CELL . Emily sets a folded blanket on the bed as she sits down to talk to him. a horrible WHEEZING sound in his throat. Emily. EMILY Emily tries to calm the panicked boy as he gasps for air. (yelling down hall) Can somebody help us down here?! . alone in her cubicle.
Emily talking to a NURSE by the check-in desk. Emily speaks at a whisper. EMILY Did she say something to you? that scared you? He gives a Something Diego replies in Spanish. the harsh upward light accentuating her tense features. JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER . jagged green line above the bed.. He holds her gaze in silence. INFIRMARY. . haunted by what Diego said. half lit and eerily still. Emily is photocopying at a work station. terrified.DAY A little two-bed infirmary with unpainted cinder block walls.NIGHT Emily beside him.. INT. EMILY It was a man? Diego gives another trembling nod. A chill goes through Emily. Diego in bed on an IV drip. trembling nod. a secret he’s afraid to tell. and a bit scared. CHILD SERVICES . Emily comes over to Diego’s bed. confused. as if to make the truth less frightening: EMILY Who called you? Was it Lucy? Diego’s PULSE ACCELERATES on the EKG monitor. DIEGO Era un hombre. NURSE He asked to see you before you left. ‘El’ dijo? DIEGO EMILY What do you mean. the office is empty. INT. his throat raw: El dijo.45. ‘He said’? His RACING PULSE a Diego looks at her. baffled After hours. barely discernible.
photocopying isn’t much fun. walking head-on into that eerie intermittent gaze. in Emily’s cubicle in the b. (to Lucy) Ready. sensing something.. EMILY Well.? Lucy just stares.. Emily walks back to her cubicle. What. enters the cubicle.46. (turns) here? Emily. guys. turning herself in circles on the office chair. Lucy heads down the hall to the conference room.. but he called her a he. EMILY Doug appears in the doorway. Sorry I’m late. DOUG (to Emily) You all right? EMILY This is weird.. knock. DOUG Knock.. (turns) like. Diego said it was Lucy that called. I’ll be right there. unnerved.. he said it was a man.. thrown by the sight of Lucy spinning in the chair. kiddo? Lucy nods and gets up from the chair. (turns) working.. Finished. .. (turns) you. DOUG Go ahead down. Lucy stops turning.. LUCY Do.g. The CYCLICAL SQUEAKING NOISE we hear is Lucy. Something very creepy about the disappearance and reappearance of that pale watchful face. stares at her..
are you afraid of the dark? You answered ‘no’. It is the face of a child.. I think some of those should have been yesses. are afraid of your parents? ‘No’. but behind those eyes there is a keen intelligence. they’ve been nice. are you afraid of being alone? ‘No’. Doug? Awkward pause. Lays it flat on the table. conquering them.NIGHT Doug sits opposite Lucy at the table. regards Doug with a look of frank appraisal. Question 16b. LUCY DOUG Any of your classmates giving you a hard time? LUCY No. DOUG So how’s school? Fine. is it. Doug’s brow arches then furrows. . CONFERENCE ROOM . DOUG You got me. 16c. Working through our fears. His face . What scares you? Lucy steeples her fingers and rests her chin on top.. Everybody is afraid of something.47. DOUG Sleeping okay? LUCY That’s not really what you want to talk about. is how we get better. Opens his file. You answered ‘no’ to everything in that section. DOUG Question 16a. Takes out her cognitive assessment profile. So I want you to tell me. keeps it easygoing despite what he’s just been told. Awkward smile. He turns and heads down the hall.what? Emily nods yes. INT.
DOUG About what? People. DOUG LUCY . LUCY LUCY DOUG Why. When I was twelve I was climbing a tree and I accidentally put my hand through a giant hornets’ nest.48. They had to rush me to the hospital. what about yourself scares you? LUCY I have bad thoughts. They didn’t like it. DOUG Fair enough. Pause. LUCY I’ll tell you what scares me if you tell me what scares you. Now. LUCY DOUG People in general or certain people? LUCY Certain people. Don’t climb many trees either. (smiles) Everybody has fears. Doug did not see this coming. what scares you? Me. DOUG You scare yourself? Sometimes. I got stung over a hundred times. Like who? You. I’ve been afraid of hornets ever since.
How am I? Facile. Why? DOUG A boyish LUCY You’re a grown up. Want me to tell you what that means? Dead silence. DOUG You have bad thoughts about me? (she nods) Why? LUCY (shrugs) I just do. Often lacking sincerity or depth. (then.49. DOUG Was there something I said or did that upset you? LUCY (shakes her head) It’s just the way you are. Silence. a relic from his own youth. if I seemed ‘smug’ or ‘facile’ I want to LUCY (girlish laugh) Don’t apologize. shyness emerges. too. DOUG Well.. um. if. You’re smug. DOUG LUCY DOUG Facile? (she nods yes) Do you even know what that means? LUCY Easily comprehended.. deadpan) (MORE) . Doug skewered by a ten-year-old. it’s embarrassing.
His paranoia feeding Emily’s. INT. EMILY Just tired. Weird. LUCY Are you mad at me? No. self-conscious. Doug confers with Emily by the water cooler. is CUTTING PEAS IN HALF ON HER PLATE AND EATING THEM ONE BY ONE OFF THE TIP OF THE KNIFE. That face. no idea. DOUG Don’t let her get in your head. looks at Emily across the table. EMILY What do I do with her in the meantime? Doug pauses.NIGHT Tense dinner. He’s sweating. Lucy. DOUG Talked to a lot of ten-year-olds. shaken by the encounter. baffled) I know a specialist. (then. That face. Looks across the darkened office to her cubicle where Lucy is turning circles in her chair again. HALLWAY. Emily barely touching hers. but with an almost surgical precision. EMILY’S HOUSE .. Like what? EMILY My DOUG Threatened. . smiles an eerie smile. I’ll call him in the morning.NIGHT Waiting until Lucy is out of earshot down the hall. Doug just stares at her. absently. Exits. She stops. That face. INT. In the hush she hears that faint CYCLICAL SQUEAKING.50.. CHILD SERVICES DEPARTMENT . I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that before. LUCY (CONT'D) Should we talk about school now? grades are getting a lot better.
. taking a bite of food: LUCY You’re funny. the brush. I’ll get Lucy stares at her. LUCY'S BEDROOM . bright. Lucy stares at Emily for a moment then sits again. EMILY Then. oddly Doug? EMILY He says you’re doing great. And it’s strange. stiffer.51. Tense silence. keeping her distance as she says goodnight: EMILY Get some rest. bonier. INT. LUCY Are you sure? EMILY Some other time. didn’t he? No. her posture seems subtly different. seeing through the facade. LUCY (stands up) It will make you feel better. In a voice at once innocent and menacing: LUCY Doug said something. thank you.NIGHT EMILY SILHOUETTED in the doorway. as if all her muscles have drawn taut under her clothes. LUCY Want me to brush your hair? EMILY That's okay. LUCY What did he tell you? Nothing. EMILY I said no.
deeper . Lucy's EYES GLEAM in the darkness. sorry. DOUG A telecommunications glitch. Finds the chapter he’s looking for. EMILY Lucy clutches her wrist as she turns to go. Emily. that it’s coming from INSIDE HIS EAR. but those eyes don't shut even after Emily has walked out and closed the door behind her. . A tense pause then Emily walks over and kisses her on the forehead. Hello? DOUG A strange INTERMITTENT STATIC BUZZ on the line. Goodnight.52.. scanning the DSM index. trapped. too. INT. LUCY You forgot to kiss me goodnight. BZZZZT. distracted. ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY TYPE. Doug flipping through a DSM IV diagnostic manual. He picks up. She starts to close the door.and realizes. in quiet terror.louder. The phone RINGS. BZZZZT. But he hears it again now BZZZZZZZZT BZZZZZZZZZT . DOUG Try again. LUCY I love you. forces a tender smile. Hello. DOUG’S CONDO .. EMILY I love you.NIGHT Football highlights on a liquid plasma tv. He hangs up. She turns onto her side for sleep.? BZZZZT.
Because as the FLUSHING NOISE FADES he can hear an ominous DEEP BUZZING SOUND RISING. and sees ANOTHER HORNET crawl from the ear canal. It’s coming from behind him. Straightens and looks at himself in the mirror. Flushes. Hits the flush lever. he turns his head sideways to the mirror. DOUG’S BATHROOM . INT. Nothing there. down his neck. trying to impose rational thought on the situation. Wiggles it around in his ear and when he takes it out there’s a HORNET sitting on the cottony tip. Did I just imagine that? Wedges his head under the tap Shaken. Drops it in. he turns to the sink. Its little legs twitching. Swats them dead. Picks them up and drops them in the toilet. Bare wall.NIGHT Doug opens the medicine cabinet and grabs a Q-tip. onto his shirt. Terrified. A false respite. Mouth gaping. And a brief one. followed by SIX OR SEVEN MORE! FUCK! DOUG Rationality goes out the window. half drowned. Stares at the empty bowl. He turns to have a look. Gone. Crushes them underfoot. With dawning horror Doug turns and checks his back in the mirror. With a yelp Doug swipes them from his shirt. Watches the hornet spiral away.53. Doug stares in disbelief. But it’s strange: the BUZZING IS STILL BEHIND HIM. and runs water into his ear. toweling his face. sees . Studies the last one for a moment. But as the water spills from his ear. He flails at them with the towel. scissoring its wings. it brings with it TWO MORE LIVE HORNETS. He throws the Q-tip in the toilet. but clinging to rational thought a moment longer. parts his hair.
and mouth . AN ENTIRE SWARM RAGING INSIDE HIS SKULL. head askew. FIGHTING ITS WAY OUT! Doug grabs his head in both hands and starts shaking it.LOUDER. He GROANS and brings a hand to his ear as something awful happens inside. anything he can find.a pilgrimage back to the mind that bore them. Disoriented. Catches sight of himself in the mirror. SCREAMING HYSTERICALLY. HIS ENTIRE SHIRT BACK IS CRAWLING WITH HORNETS! Whimpering like a child. eyes locked on the tv in the living room where football highlights play in silence. paralyzed. too loud and too deep. The BUZZING in his right ear spreads to his left . he sees Looking at HORNETS START CRAWLING FROM HIS NOSE. he takes two quick steps and tosses it in the shower. he undoes the buttons of his shirt. to be coming from the shower over there. Slams the glass door. Holding it by the collar. the terror of the moment on his face. Slipping his arms gently from the sleeves. his eyes. seals the crack with towels. They’re all over him. Fully conscious as the hornets fight their way back into his ears. He goes berserk and starts SMASHING HIS HEAD against the wall. the door. And watches the hornets fly around in the glass enclosure. pitching his head violently forwards and backwards like some demon-possessed heavy metal fanatic. trying to shake away the madness inside.CRACK!!! He sinks to the floor. But the hornets keep coming. FROM UNDER HIS EYELIDS. THE BUZZING NOW UNBEARABLY LOUD. bouncing off the glass. taking it off as delicately as possible. It’s a grotesque display that ends on a sickening note when. COUGHED UP IN CLUMPS as he gasps for air. the edge of the sink. nose. opening a deep gash in his forehead. stinging his tongue. astonished look on his face. its sources multiplying. But as he backpedals he realizes the FURIOUS BUZZING is too close. he stumbles backwards with an AGONIZING SCREAM. with one particularly violent head jerk. he snaps his own neck . A sharp pain in his head confirms it. BUZZING FURIOUSLY. And there he sits.54. smashing it harder and harder because the BUZZING WON’T STOP. This can’t be happening. cracking his skull. himself in the mirror. FROM BETWEEN HIS LIPS. ANGRIER. And now the nightmare takes a devilish turn. .
55. She hangs up. She comes down the steps to his car. EXT. walks past it and then stops.DAY Emily exits a counseling room. this is Doug. Up the drive. INT. noticing the window is open a crack.. the door starts to open. family EMILY See you next week. DENISE. No answer. never showed up. it’s Emily. it’s me. she extends one finger just far enough to push the button on the garage door remote clipped to the sunvisor. EMILY Did you try calling him? DENISE All I get is voicemail.DAY Emily knocking on the door of his Marina Del Rey townhouse. Slipping her hand inside. calling back to Denise EMILY Cover my desk. EMILY Doug. DOUG’S CONDO . CORRIDOR OUTSIDE COUNSELING ROOM . Emily dials Doug on a fax/phone by the Xerox machine. first RING: ANSWERING MACHINE Hey..and comes down the hall toward the common area. here it comes BEEP. stretching. . stands from an adjacent cubicle. A coworker Says goodbye to a young DENISE Seen Doug? He had an appointment with one of my kids this morning. A dark thought sends her toward the exit. On the .
COUNTY CORONER . (preempting his reply) I know the rules -. INT. No answer. EMILY NOOOOO!!!!! INT.DAY A door in the first-floor hallway opens. Muted. pale. Doug? EMILY Emily steps in. EMILY You did the autopsy on Doug Winters? CORONER (trying to remember) Winters -.oh. She comes up the stairs into the LIVING ROOM.please. FACE COVERED IN BLACKENED DAY-OLD BLOOD. EMILY How did he die? Family? CORONER EMILY Friend. right. . Calls up the next flight of stairs. Douglas. GUT BLOATED BY DECOMPOSITION. The tv is still on. intercepts a CORONER as he exits the exam room. you here? No reply. he meant a lot to me. Empty.56. bespectacled. EMILY Doug. a bit standoffish. It’s when she turns from the room to go back downstairs that she sees him: SLOUCHED DEAD AGAINST THE BATHROOM WALL. She goes up the stairs and down the hall and checks the BEDROOM. The bed unmade. EMILY Dr Johannsen? He looks at her. DOUG’S CONDO .DAY With stoic grief Emily walks down the cold. fluorescently-lit corridor.
He indicates his adjoining office. composing herself. suffocation. (breaking down) . EMILY You’re saying he did that to himself? CORONER It appears all his injuries were selfinflicted. EMILY Oh come on. I am shocked every day by the violence people do to themselves. Unfortunately. yes. quarrel with this man. INT. somebody dying like this? The coroner files the report. world weary.DAY He takes the autopsy report from a filing cabinet. I would never presume to know your friend better than you.some suicidal. CORONER’S OFFICE .I knew him! He was my best friend! She turns away crying. Her face the proof.. CORONER Miss. WINTERS etched in granite. CORONER Compression fracture of the third and forth vertebrae.DAY DOUGLAS J.57. He looked like he’d been beaten to death! Don’t tell me he was some .. CORONER Truly.. They INT. A final prayer read . She has no Reviews EMILY Have you ever seen this before. I am sorry. gives a quiet nod. Emily.. Severed his spinal cord. But the injuries suggest he was trying to hurt himself. his findings. go in. he succeeded.. CEMETERY . by a PRIEST as he is laid to rest. Actual cause of death was..
You know who made that call. Mike. driving home. Emily has to let her. Blows hair Lucy. Immediately HER LEGS STOP SWINGING. EMILY He was scared. And with her head still turned away: LUCY You think it’s my fault. Lucy holds her gaze. There was no one else in the house.58.DAY Emily. Listen. A small but telling detail. who measures her words. don’t you? She turns to face Emily. sensing Emily’s stare. Emily retracts it. (off his look) You think I don’t know how crazy this sounds?! .. Lucy registers the slight. Trapped in the lie. as if to test her. INT. and he was scared. EMILY’S CAR . across Emily’s haunted face.. He said she threatened him. not -BARRON You’re still in shock. gazing quietly out the passenger-side window. And as she drives on in that private hell. at her side. an emotional wreck. Then. Lucy. Instinctively. MIKE BARRON’S OFFICE . Let’s EMILY Diego said it was a man on the phone. red-eyed. the wider implications.DAY Emily. A breeze ruffles the clothes of the MOURNERS. reaches again for Emily’s hand. fault. sees her grief and reaches for her hand. Emily watches the coffin descend. INT. It was nobody’s She weeps openly. He came out of that room with her. EMILY It was an accident. is SWINGING HER LEGS in that contented way children do. holding hands with Lucy. sees something in her peripheral vision that sends a chill through her. confides in Barron.
DAY Emily digs through her in-box. Rips it open. I don’t know. EMILY Why is he in that state of mind? Why was Doug? Pull my phone records. INT. BARRON Emily. There were no Emily’s argument collapses. EMILY Her mother and father. vexed. INTERVIEWER .. She sits there for a moment. A VIDEO TAPE Typed on the label: Sheridan. can you tell me.. Something came through that door and they didn’t want it ever coming through there again. I already did. responding to the questions of an unseen interviewer. & Ed. her intellect telling her one thing. EMILY’S CUBICLE . what did you think the outcome would be? MARGARET You mean what were we doing it for? Yes. See if she called him. Prelim. Pauses at the door. She gets up to go. their bedroom door has these deadbolts on it. her gut another. INTERVIEWER And by forcing your daughter into the oven. Finds the manila envelope Doug gave her. Her haunted face and frank tone make the interview chilling. calls from your house. spilling things on the floor.Margaret Sheridan sits facing the camera. Dumps the contents into her hand. all I’m saying is a kid in his state of mind maybe isn’t the most reliable witness. CUT TO: ON A TELEVISION .. Psych Interviews. two of ‘em. BARRON Look. Marg.59. big ones.
INTERVIEWER Not Of you? Margaret nods. INTERVIEWER Why is that funny.60. we see Emily alone in a dimmed conference room watching the tape. INTERVIEWER Help me understand.. MARGARET To kill her. INTERVIEWER And why was it God’s will that you should kill your daughter? An eerie smile comes to Margaret’s face. what.DAY Pulling back. Margaret? MARGARET ‘Cause she’s not my daughter. INT. If you and Edward are Lucy’s biological parents. INTERVIEWER You’re her mother. how can she not be yours? MARGARET ‘Cause she’s not Of us. CONFERENCE ROOM . Why? INTERVIEWER MARGARET God’s will. INTERVIEWER What is she Of? . INTERVIEWER Who is she Of? MARGARET Not who.? MARGARET I bore her. but she’s not mine..
MARGARET She can make you see things. INTERVIEWER You think your daughter is the devil? MARGARET Not him himself. Stares at him. Whatever you’re afraid INTERVIEWER Any other ‘special abilities’? Visions. INTERVIEWER Evil incarnate? MARGARET I don’t care what you call it. Some MARGARET People die around her. INTERVIEWER And why do you think that? MARGARET Not what I think it’s what I know. is that a special ability? INTERVIEWER She kills people? . Her eyes black and unblinking. working in his name. MARGARET Damnation. secrets perhaps best left untold. of. Seeming afraid for the first time. Of him. INTERVIEWER Visions of what? Hell. INTERVIEWER How do you know this? Could you give me an example? Margaret pauses. I see. MARGARET Stop acting like you don’t know what I’m talking about.61. in his honor.
he stands. MARGARET Not by her hand.. wiping her eyes. It’s a side of her we’ve never seen. they just die. Soon as she was born they started dying.. INTERVIEWER You blame Lucy for their deaths? Margaret nods yes.and I mean they was healthy boys. Embarrassed. Margaret’s voice falters. her pain deep and undeniable. Unaccustomed to crying in front of strangers. please calm -EDWARD YOU AND YOUR GODDAMN QUESTIONS! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT! A pair of orderlies rush in to restrain him.. INTERVIEWER Why do you imagine you were spared? MARGARET I guess she couldn’t get rid of us till she found somebody else. I had two brothers. The CAMERA gets knocked ajar in the struggle.62. CUT TO: VIDEO OF EDWARD SHERIDAN in a violent rage. screaming through clenched teeth. MARGARET . Brent and Travis. Overcome by grief.. Now that she has. The tape ends as they take Edward screaming to the floor. Eddie. CLOSE UP ON MARGARET . three sisters. EDWARD IT’S NOT CHILD KILLING IF SHE’S NOT A CHILD! .face streaked with tears. she dissolves into tears. healthy as can be. Human. I don’t imagine we’re long for this world. Pushing his chair back from the interview table. his broken jaw wired shut: EDWARD THE HELL DID I JUST SAY?! INTERVIEWER Edward.
O. Innocent. she displays all the symptoms of a burn patient. There’s a PHOTO tucked inside the psychiatric file. Emily sits frozen by the realization: Edward and Margaret Sheridan. STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL . lowers her gaze to the table.. absolutely convinced she was on fire.DAY Emily and the CHIEF PSYCHIATRIST walk down a dark. Edward and Margaret in happier times . Victims..Woke up screaming. Emily’s age. they managed to sedate her. If you'd like. The transformation of their faces is shocking. But it’s curious. Writhing in pain. STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL . CHIEF PSYCHIATRIST In no condition for visitors as you can see.) Unfortunately Mrs Sheridan suffered a rather severe psychotic episode last night. Emily peers through a little square of reinforced glass. A padded cell. . afraid of him. And that’s the interview. Volvo goes up the winding tree-lined drive. Emily stares at the BLANK BLUE SCREEN... Margaret strapped to a bed. She holds it up to the newspaper mugshots for a before-andafter comparison.. Not criminals. Laboring to breathe.. institutional corridor.DAY An old brick orphanage turned psychiatric hospital. of course. transfixed. She wasn’t.YOUNG BIBLE CAMP COUNSELORS in T-shirts and hiking boots on a path through sunlit forest. CHIEF PSYCHIATRIST (V. Margaret’s door. Except the burns themselves. INT. Okay.63. Eyes swimming. INT. CHIEF PSYCHIATRIST . The year they met perhaps. Sweet. EMILY Emily’s She casts a departing glance through the window and shudders to see that Margaret’s roaming eyes have locked on her in a hollow stare. I could let you see Mr Sheridan? Emily hesitates.
A friend. Lucy's been staying with me Who died? Emily falls silent. EMILY Emily speaks. nods yes. (then) Ask what you came to ask. EDWARD Her voice cracks with emotion. She meets his gaze. EDWARD You judged us before you ever walked in that house..64. true understanding. She stops and collects herself.certain of everything and dead wrong about all of it. but you're. ummm.. Edward is brought in by two orderlies who seat him at a table opposite Emily and then exit. VISITATION ROOM. And there is eye contact. INT. EDWARD You oughta be.. or Edward nods yup.. Emily. EMILY You’re the only one I can talk to. After a moment: . how to be better parents . tries to. Jaw wired.DAY Restrained in a straitjacket. EMILY I know I'm probably the last person you want to see right now. PSYCH HOSPITAL . just to fill that awful void. His stare unnerves her. Regards her in silence. Sat there in our living room tellin’ us about our problems. EMILY EDWARD You’re scared. I. everything he says is spoken through clenched teeth. Dead silence. skewered again.
moves onto the next. And what she doesn’t see she just sort of senses it. till she's good and done with you. She’s not some innocent victim whose door you busted down and life you saved. That’s what she feeds on. Most terrifying moment of our lives.where we looked at each other and we was out of lies. She not a daughter of mine. EMILY What is she? It’s a question Edward has asked himself once or twice. But finally we got to a point where me and Maggy looked at each other (remembers so clearly) . We were a big family. She sees everything. Decency. Kindness. Bleeds ya dry. And you know. EDWARD You have that you’re good. And that’s where you are now. both of us. like when you call a friend and they pick up before it rings? (MORE) . EMILY Done with me how? EDWARD However she wants. lady. You think it's an accident her ending up with you? She saw you coming a mile away. we had an excuse for why it wasn’t her fault. every time. Why me? EMILY I don’t have anything. She’s not a ten-yearold having trouble in school. she went through us like a wrecking ball. And she’s not going no place. Emily silently registering this truth. Cuz it’s easier to lie to yourself than think bad things about your baby girl. He leans back in his chair and folds his arms with an almost casual air.65. every time something happened. EDWARD I’ll tell you this. EDWARD Can tell you what she’s not.
nods okay. First time she slept was the night you kicked in my front door.DAY Emily and Nancy enter the lavish office. Emily calls to her from behind. Edward’s features soften. CHILD WELFARE . Nancy. EDWARD I’m not a hateful man... After a moment: EMILY What does she want? EDWARD To know. what your idea of hell is. walking briskly down a corridor. I wish I could.DAY NANCY. Emily sits in haunted silence..? EMILY NANCY Emily. .66. EMILY What should I do? A pitying smile reveals Edward’s wired teeth. a minute. EDWARD (CONT'D) Only time you got the upper hand is when she’s sleepin’ but she almost never does.. EDWARD How strong’s your faith? INT. We checked on her every night for three months. Every twenty minutes. CORRIDOR. the bloated director from the custody panel.. and make you live there. EMILY (nods) Do you have a minute? I’m so sorry. up and down those stairs. I heard about Doug. approaching.. I look at you and I wish I could tell you you’re through the worst of it. CHILD WELFARE DIRECTOR’S OFFICE . That it’s gonna work out for you in the end. Nancy glances at her watch. INT.
Surely you can manage that long. She is. EMILY I know. That’s it. You make this work. on the line for you. I really do. EMILY Until when? NANCY Till we find a suitable foster home. you petitioned for custody.67. I appreciate what you did for me. Scary lady. but I think it’d be best if she was placed in foster care. NANCY Playing mommy isn’t the laugh-a-minute you were hoping. Nancy nods. you got it. EMILY How long is that going to take? NANCY You’re asking me questions you know the answer to. I’m done. NANCY You’re it. EMILY I don’t want her anymore. NANCY Now you look. but it’s not working out. huh? EMILY I suppose not. I put my reputation. NANCY How’s it working out with the Sheridan girl? EMILY Actually. Three to six weeks. NANCY Sorry. Nancy. She’s your responsibility. Nancy grimaces. quite possibly my career. not entirely surprised. that’s why I’m here. Don’t embarrass me. .
Dropping them in banker’s boxes. A third for good measure. Drops it in. Stops on Diego’s. the sofa. EMILY’S HOUSE . Grabs a second one just to be safe. Emily weighs the deadbolt in hand. knowing this as she continues toward the house.DAY With urgency Emily removes all her backup files from the shelf in Lucy’s room. INT. Lucy’s smile fades. Hides the key. EMILY He walks off. boxes it with the files. hands Emily a DEADBOLT from a shelf. Just then. window. Emily waves back but it’s a hollow gesture. a FLASHING RED LIGHT draws her gaze to the window A SCHOOL BUS stopping at the end of the block. INT. EMILY How do I make it work if it’s not working? However! NANCY Find a way! INT. Grabs the office phone. Unplugs the one by Opens the closet and tosses the phones inside with the banker’s boxes she put there.DAY Emily unplugs the phone in the kitchen.DAY A CLERK stops in an aisle. Eyes his photo. Waves. Puts it down and picks up the next larger size. LUCY’S ROOM. Locks it. HARDWARE CLERK That what you’re looking for? (nods) Thanks. she stops and meets it. EMILY’S HOUSE . HARDWARE STORE .68. watching as LUCY gets off and comes up the sidewalk toward the house. Emily crosses to the . Sensing Emily’s stare. Closes the door. testing the waters.
The sound of LUCY’S FOOTSTEPS on the front steps breaks the spell.its use as a weapon. Innocent.lost track of time. In a sudden panic Emily goes into the kitchen. until the last second when she tosses it under a sofa pillow. you can Emily returns a plastic smile. The point of the knife is almost touching her leg. Shy. self-defense. I know how busy you are. It’s in her hand as the door CLICKS open. the bus stops right at the end of the street. forced to contemplate the unthinkable . . If she moves at all. Emily hides the knife behind the fish tank. Hi.69. see it through the glass. EMILY LUCY You weren’t there so I took the bus. Emily grabs the knife. to the very pillow where she hid the butcher’s knife. herself in the mirror. and sits down to untie her shoes. LUCY Doesn’t matter anyway. LUCY A ten-year-old home from No good. Hi. Lucy enters. We hear LUCY’S KEY IN THE LOCK. school. Emily watches unnerved as Lucy crosses to the sofa. Eyes the blade. work . A jarring image: Catches sight of Sweet Emily Jennings with a butcher’s knife in her hand. EMILY Sorry. whether you’re there or not. holding it. So I can always get home. it will cut the skin. She comes into the living room. LUCY It’s okay. grabs one of the knives.
A bewilderment that seems genuine. Lucy nods oh. Finishes untying her shoes then gets up and walks into the kitchen.. EMILY How . Lucky.how would I know that? LUCY I thought you said you were going to see her. EMILY LUCY She turns for Emily’s reaction. Wow. EMILY Lucy nods then pauses and looks at the pillow. EMILY I never said that. or appears to. LUCY Can I have a shower? We had gym today. but she is actually looking at the end table. LUCY Are they being nice to her? Who? My mother. LUCY That one. says nothing. . LUCY Where’s the phone? EMILY Oh. Lucy heads into the bathroom.70. back turned. Closes the door. Emily. too. Pauses at the Emily nods.. Lucy frowns. Hm. Goes into the bathroom. caught in a lie. turns to Emily.. LUCY I must have dreamt it.. door. it wasn’t working. checks the wall.
INT. recoiling FEET standing just outside her door. INT. SHRIEK.DAY It sounds like EMILY’S VOICE is coming from the fridge until we sweep past it to see her crouching by a phone jack in the corner. A chilling stare. anywhere. INT. EMILY'S HOUSE . terrified at the thought of what's in store. Hands trembling. It’s the third lock. And just then hears a SOFT BREATH behind her. I don't want this girl in my house. making no overt acknowledgement of it. LUCY IN A BATH ROBE BEHIND HER. the other two already in place. EMILY’S KITCHEN . EMILY I don’t care. Emily crouched in the corner. She cracks opens the door. .NIGHT THE HEAD OF A TURNING SCREW . Hair dripping wet. Tonight. holding the phone. Slowly turns. HOLDING THE SCREW She hands it back to Emily. How much did she hear? Lucy walks out. She goes to the closet. Robin. Reaches to grab it and lets out a Grabs one of the phones. LUCY. IN PAJAMAS.Emily installing a DEADBOLT on her door in the middle of the night. We hear her bedroom door close. It slips from her fingers.DAY Ear pressed to the bathroom door. Just find somewhere that will take her. Whispering. she lines up the last screw. unlocks it. Oh shit. LUCY Good night. Emily unplugs the phone.71. ROLLS UNDER THE DOOR. Emily listens to the RUNNING WATER: Lucy taking a shower. EMILY'S BEDROOM .
she runs into Mike Barron and his wife and son. Emily and Mike talk privately. BARRON You wanna end up where they did keep talking like this. EMILY ‘No such thing as a bad kid. CLUNK.’ I always believed that. . She walks down the hallway to her bedroom. doublespeed. you know that better than anyone.DAY Sitting on a bench in a park that occupies the shadow of the old stone church. he saw violence and he repeated it. Emily. more for her than him. As soon as Lucy’s door closes. Halfway up. screwdriver clutched in her fist like a stabbing weapon. Emily closes hers and goes back to work. His wife pushing his young son on a playground swing. Scooting backwards. Winds that last screw into the wood and then slides-to the heavy bolts.72. only bad parents. she sits against the bed. CLUNK. EMILY Aren’t you? BARRON Diego grew up in a bad home. BARRON EMILY EXT. It’s awkward. EXT. CLUNK. CHURCH PARK . You’re grieving for Doug and you’re still confused about what Diego did. Emily is going against the tide..? Mike..DAY A bell TOLLS in a steeple. Down below. OLD STONE CHURCH . (off her look) I’m not judging you. wide-eyed with terror. walking up the steps past CHURCHGOERS who are coming down after morning mass. Her parents aren’t crazy. that’s the cycle. It’s a lie.
she whispers something to another girl. manipulative child is not a demon. Lucy. EMILY Why did she lie about calling him? BARRON ‘Cause she’s a liar. I think maybe you oughta go all the way in. let me tell you what Lucy is.73. deceitful. Nancy dismisses the group with a smile and theatrical applause. At the coat rack. Emily alone on a bench INT. Barron stands from the bench. Walks off to rejoin his wife and son. His concern edges toward sadness. SPEAKING CAUSTIC WORDS THAT HOLD THE OTHER GIRL CAPTIVE. The veil of Lucy’s hair partially obscures her profile. Lucy is a damaged child. Her SWEET INNOCENT GIRL LIPS widening into a smile. Emily watches Lucy cross the room. EMILY Mike. Session over. but through that veil Emily sees something chilling. BARRON I stopped you on the steps. But a damaged. It’s EMILY’S POV . Lucy among them. feeling Emily’s stare now. MORE MASCULINE. a moment so fleeting it might just be a trick of the eyes LUCY’S LIPS APPEAR THICKER. Emily draws a sharp inward breath.as she spies on Lucy through the window. Look. .DAY The circle of abused children. He indicates the church. a deceitful child. he’s got a couple of ‘em. a manipulative child. For a moment. turns to meet it. in the shadow of a church. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE GROUP THERAPY . that doesn’t mean she made him do it. you know I’m not crazy. Don’t run away from something just because it scares you. second-guessing herself for a moment. Ask my brother-in-law. Nancy filling in for Doug. a happy participant.
Nancy. Emily’s been under a lot of stress lately. This.74. Emily and Lucy arrive at the elevator. damage control. LUCY It’s okay. Emily hits the button. turns back to Emily. disarmed by the glowing praise. I don’t want her around the other kids. LUCY Why. LUCY See you next week. Storms off. But Emily knows what she saw. EMILY You’re never going back there. Erupts. but Lucy beats her to the punch. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE GROUP THERAPY . rushes in. NANCY Who do you think you are barging in there like that?! EMILY I don’t want her in group anymore. Nancy. to the amazement of Nancy. Nancy comes after her in a fury. busily reassuring parents. is it?! Emily opens her mouth to reply.and to the shock of the other PARENTS waiting outside. INT. but she’s really nice to me and I hope I can stay with her a really long time. Nancy. the other children INT. NANCY We’ll talk about this later.DAY . Runs her down. Emily? .DAY She throws open the door and Grabs Lucy by the arm and yanks her bodily from the room. Nancy doesn’t hear. NANCY Well that’s not your decision. GROUP THERAPY ROOM .
EMILY The elevator goes into a HELLISH Then It buckles The second CABLE SNAPS. Emily says nothing. Lucy indifferent as they plummet toward certain death. as Emily ignores her: LUCY Why. Why. We hear the first CABLE SNAP above them. practically hyperventilating. In the CREAKING HUSH that follows: No. Lucy continuing her verbal assault as they start to descend: LUCY Why. The acceleration is dizzying. The doors open. Emily clutches the rail with both hands. Emily’s knees. Emily? INT.. FREE FALL. EMILY W-w-what’s happening . LUCY Can I go back to group next week? EMILY You’re never going back there! Lucy looks at her as one regards a small dumb animal.75. Emily? Suddenly the ELEVATOR LURCHES TO A VIOLENT STOP. Emily? DING. The door closes. Lucy keeps asking the same question. SCREAMING as the elevator goes cannonballing down the shaft.DAY Emily and Lucy step in. looks up at the ceiling.?! Lucy has gotten her attention. in the exact same intonation.. Emily? Why. ELEVATOR . Emily? Why. . She is terrified. LUCY Are you sure? Horror as Emily realizes what she’s thinking.
Emily closes her eyes in anticipation of impact. She steps out. LUCY I can see you. Sees LUCY ASLEEP IN BED. EMILY’S BEDROOM . the car shuddering violently. Emily steps closer. breath held. watching bewildered as Emily releases her white-knuckled grip on the railing and staggers out. A businessman steps into the elevator. INT.76. HALLWAY . pillow. suitcase in hand. Snaps it quietly shut. Quietly as possible as she comes past Lucy’s door. Tiptoes down the hall. Her face horizontal on the Making sure the hall is .. A breathless pause then Emily opens her eyes. Peers in through the little crack. It’s open a crack. Just a soft. empty.NIGHT Fish swim languidly in the tank. Never was. EMILY’S HOUSE . The door opens a crack. in a coat and shoes. so badly shaken she can barely stand. the noise deafening. Looks over at the barricaded door. We’re looking down the darkened hall at Emily’s closed bedroom door. EMILY’S TERRIFIED FACE peers out. It’s after midnight.. And in the sudden BLACKNESS there’s no noise at all. packing a suitcase. INT.NIGHT From down the hall we hear the DEADBOLTS SLIDE QUIETLY OPEN.NIGHT Emily. It’s a horrible way to die. Draws a tense breath. distinct DING. And sees the elevator is no longer falling. The floor indicator light races toward L. The room pitch black inside. The doors glide open to the first floor lobby. Lucy gives her a quiet look and strolls out. But suddenly her EYES SNAP OPEN. INT.
77. in her hands and sobs. Jumps in. She sits zombie-like behind the wheel. silent. EMILY SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU MISERABLE MISERABLE WOMAN BEFORE I GET IN MY CAR AND COME OVER THERE AND BEAT YOUR ASS LIKE YOU BEAT YOUR SON! I HAVE YOUR ADDRESS! THINK ABOUT THAT NEXT TIME YOU CALL AND SWEAR AT ME! I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE! Slams the phone down. LUCY Don’t be sad. INT. after a moment. betrayed. LUCY IS SITTING IN THE PASSENGER SEAT! Emily recoils with a SCREAM. phone to ear. I told you .will you let me Mrs Lynch .Mrs Lynch . Emily backs away. This is your new beginning. Closes the door. INT. EMILY Mrs Lynch. Slams it shut.will you let that’s not what I said . having overheard. She unloads. And gets the scare of her life. Emily looks terrible. EMILY’S CAR . resigning herself to this latest horror. takes a brush from Emily’s bag and starts lovingly brushing her hair. sworn at. Buries her face Lucy. getting SCREAMED at.will you let me respond? . playing mommy. I did not you never sent me the .will you let Emily can’t take it anymore. Wayne arrives. interrupted every time she tries to speak.DAY Unopened mail and new case files piling up. throwing her body against the window behind her. Sits there looking rather dazed. It’s too much for Emily.no. Comes around to the driver’s side door. dazed in a different way. EMILY’S CUBICLE . tears streaming as Lucy tugs gently at the snarls. Lucy sits there.NIGHT Emily throws the suitcase in the trunk. Emily slowly lifts her head. Goes quickly to the front door. . She breaks down.
Heavy rain. WAYNE Um. backlit by a streetlight. but I just met this guy and he’s coming over tonight like for the night and it might be. five days without sleep. . you know. wrapped in a blanket.. Emily. pained by her predicament. EMILY I don’t want to go home. LOS ANGELES APARTMENT BUILDING . Emily levels a withering stare. The friend. BECCA Em. cast OMINOUS SHADOWS on the walls of the bedroom. EXT. kinda weird. Becca draws air through her teeth. do you think maybe I could crash here for a couple of nights? BECCA Sure.DAY Emily knocking on a door in an outside hallway.NIGHT Stormy night.. EMILY'S ROOM . disheveled.DAY Emily. Emily nods. BECCA INT. High winds.78. BECCA. EMILY I know I haven’t been a great friend lately. thrashing outside the window. Come on. but.. so. any other weekend you know I’d say yes. clutching the screwdriver. Not expecting her. doing her best to appear rational. you look like crap. go home. BECCA’S APARTMENT . And there’s nothing more to be said. I notice you haven’t taken any personal days. INT. when? EMILY Tonight and tomorrow. Emily huddles in the corner. It opens. The trees.. It’s the girl from the bar.
LUCY (O.WHAM . Is that it? Is she gone? And then suddenly .) Let me in. Far too violent for a little girl. absolutely petrified.WHAM . There's another KNOCK. LUCY (O.WHAM .S. innocent. let me in. A LUCY (O. And it's so intense that it's almost surreal what Emily is seeing. the words coming inhumanly fast like some auctioneer from hell LUCY (O. Emily's EYES JERK WIDE OPEN. let me in.WHAM! The door getting absolutely pummeled.? Emily says nothing. let me in.the pounding turns VIOLENT.WHAM! LET ME IN! LUCY (O. afraid Emily..S. let me in..) WHAM .WHAM .. Emily wedges herself into the corner. I'm scared. but doesn't answer... looking like it might splinter from the force. please. let me in. .WHAM . let me in.WHAM .S. barely breathing.79. SILENCE.WHAM! .. Emily. Lucy starts pounding on the door. let me in.) Emily? Please? I know you're in there.) Can I come in? Heart racing.WHAM! ...) Please. little louder. There is a KNOCK on the bedroom door. Emily listening. let me in.WHAM! . let me in. Lucy's voice. SHRIEKING in the voice of a child LET ME IN! LUCY (O. After a moment...? Emily says nothing. practically shaking the door off its hinges.WHAM .S.S.) WHAM . She looks at the door. Lucy's voice eerily monotone.WHAM . There is something very strong and very angry on the other side of that door.S.
Reaches the door. Raises the screwdriver. Slowly turns it. Tormenting Emily. Takes hold of the door handle. Here comes Margaret. howling and spinning like some crazed Whirling Dervish.what was that? She just stares. Just the shadows dancing on the walls. But there's nothing. then reaches a hand into the closet. Until she can't take it anymore. half begging. Fumbles at the deadbolt. A tense pause as she stares into that blackness. Opens the door. Runs out. Finds it. Gives it a tug. At the last second Emily gets the door open. Ready to stab. is a vision of unspeakable horror: MARGARET SHERIDAN Twitching spasmodically in a hospital gown. Emily scrambles over the bed. the veins standing out in her neck EMILY LEAVE ME ALONE!!! And the POUNDING STOPS DEAD. All we hear is the rain drumming on the roof. Emily stands up and comes slowly over to the CLOSET DOOR. And she SCREAMS as loud as she can. Her head snaps around . And there. It appears the nightmare is over for now. But not quite. Relentless.80. unable to breathe because whatever she just heard is INSIDE HER ROOM! White-knuckled grip on that screwdriver. PITCH BLACK inside. A sudden CLUNK in the closet makes her jump. BURNED. clumsy with rage and dementia. feeling around for the pull-string. . HIDEOUSLY She comes at Emily arms flailing. right in front of her. half cursing. Emily leaps aside and Margaret goes careening into the furniture. And Emily's QUICK TERRIFIED BREATHS as she stares at the door wondering what's next.
Margaret comes crashing out of the house. Keeps reading. EXT. hideous. back to the door. Running in the rain.. hitting the walls with her flailing arms. METRO BUS . chasing her down the middle of the street.NIGHT Dashes from the house into the abandoned street. EMILY She’s coming! Please! The driver sighs. Let me on! EMILY The driver points to the sign above the door: OUT OF SERVICE. Margaret nearly upon her. HALLWAY . reeling. Margaret right behind her. EMILY’S HOUSE . Unimpressed.NIGHT A metro transit bus idling along the curb. Emily spins. Emily throws open the front door. reading a porno mag. Keeps reading. INT. Emily comes running up to the door. Emily dives backwards onto the bus. Drive! EMILY BUS DRIVER There’s nobody out there.NIGHT The driver opens the door. Emily near hysterics at this point. the door snapping closed in front of her just as Margaret lunges for her throat. METRO BUS ..81. four.NIGHT Tears a path down the dark hallway. INT. weighing his obligations. . Margaret closing in fast. The driver meets eyes with her through the door. five. Pounds frantically on the glass. ten feet away. The DRIVER with his feet up between shifts. More pounding from Emily. Emily sees a city bus parked up ahead. Help me! EMILY Please! Makes a run for it. EXT.
I like it. WAYNE Wayne comes over. CHILD SERVICES DEPARTMENT . weird. Emily stands alone. What? He points. Is she dead? over. BOYFRIEND (re: the office space) No. Expecting to see Margaret. She .out .. Margaret is gone. Shivering..? WAYNE She awakens with a jolt.is . The SILHOUETTE OF A CHILD in the window. Was never there. Emily scans the sidewalk. INT. pokes his head in a Saw something No reply. nods to her .82.there! It sinks in the second time. the darkened streets outside the bus.NIGHT With a hydraulic HISS the bus releases its brakes and diesels off down the empty street. rain-soaked. cubicle.nobody . puts his hand on her shoulder.out. Wayne's face darkens. Staring at her house down the block. Emily.NIGHT Wayne and his BOYFRIEND shake rain off an umbrella as they cross the darkened office. sleeping in her chair. EXT.? WAYNE He comes Freaked. DRIVE! EMILY BUS DRIVER There . METRO BUS . It’s like those things they put baby cows in to make veal The boyfriend slows as they go past a cubicle. Em. The driver opens the door. Rain-soaked... looks terrible. EMILY head down on her desk.
. But the OFFICE CHAIR IS TURNING as if someone were just playing there. And the office is quiet again.? EMILY No reply. Calls over the partition without moving. you need to see a doctor. WAYNE You look like shit. . WAYNE Jesus .. she leans over her desk and peers over the partition into the adjacent cubicle..are you okay? EMILY (hoarse whisper) I. Wayne steps into his office in the b. Just A faint CYCLICAL SQUEAKING NOISE in the cubicle right next to hers. She spins. EMILY I saw a doctor. Recognizes the sound. She fumbles unconvincingly at some loose paperwork. Emily steps slowly back.. Goes rigid.. This is the one. EXT. scared as hell. CHILD SERVICES DEPARTMENT . Rising slowly from her seat. Emily puts her head in her hands. The opposite row. muttering to his boyfriend. Comes along the row of darkened cubicles. but the SQUEAKING CONTINUES. She looks in. following the sound to its source. then. she hears Emily closes her eyes. And now hears the same CYCLICAL SQUEAKING behind her. It’s empty.NIGHT Walks slowly from her cubicle.. I had some things to catch up on. Wayne. and grabs something then they exit. pressing down at her temples. he walks away.g. by her general appearance. WAYNE What did they say? EMILY (loses it) They said mind your own fucking business! Shocked by the outburst.83.
And we see the photocopies. She stares at the idle machine for a moment. bathroom mirror. Hears MORE SQUEAKING behind her. ejecting one final page as Emily enters the workstation. She comes over. stop. behind her.. lying on the floor. Someone is using it. Terrified. A man screaming in such terror that his face appears almost deformed. Turns them over. Continues through the EMILY Successive pages show the same two hands. Empty cubicle. its features resolving into murky focus as it approaches the glass. again and again and again. rushes down a corridor toward the lobby. the stack of pages tumbling to the floor. The first page is a photocopy of a PAIR OF HANDS PRESSED FLAT AGAINST THE COPYING GLASS. CORRIDOR. A torturous walk set to the RHYTHMIC CADENCE of the photocopier. It’s DOUG.. at the far end of the office. The night of his death. are totally BLANK. then at the STACK OF COPIES lying upsidedown in the tray. The chair winding slowly to a Emily backs away. Emily stares. CHILD SERVICES BUILDING .NIGHT Emily. but leaning forward into the inky blackness between them is a FACE.84. Like a snapshot from his Emily shudders. Head on a swivel. a different NOISE splits the silence.. Emily turns and stares toward the sound. Emily comes slowly down the aisle to the partitioned workstation.. the HARSH GREEN LIGHT SWEEPING ACROSS THE CEILING ABOVE IT. And sees there’s no one there.? No answer. Spins. Tense. leaving. And then it stops. picks them up. The last page is a horrific image.. INT. stack. Runs out. Hello. A NIGHT JANITOR WHEELING A MOP BUCKET . Tense breath. The XEROX MACHINE.. TURNING CHAIR. Suddenly. haunted.
DAY Emily sits opposite Edward Sheridan in the visiting room. Robin utterly confused. STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL ..85. ROBIN What’s the matter? Emily stares at the unsuspecting family. INT. She fends off a wave of emotion as the full horror of her predicament hits her. EMILY A ponytailed woman in her mid-forties. the child placement specialist Emily called from home. I found someone to take Lucy. Then. matter-of-factly. As Emily walks off. . They’ve helped us out before. Robin.... Turns the corner and RUNS INTO SOMEONE UNEXPECTED. EMILY (under her breath) Oh God. an odd sense of camaraderie between them. ROBIN What are you doing here so late? I tried calling you.. She shows Emily a custody form with an attached photo: A KIND HUSBAND AND WIFE WITH TWO YOUNG CHILDREN. facing that fear head-on: I can’t. EMILY I’m keeping her. EMILY (stunned relief) You did? ROBIN Anaheim couple. She walks on. ripping the custody form to shreds. Lucy’s next victims.. Emily’s face darkens. Jumps back with a SHRIEK before she realizes who it is.
Accept that going in and use it to my advantage. INT. To test you..... .NIGHT Middle of the night.? EDWARD Kill her? In her sleep. EMILY I don’t have any faith. the living room is lit by the eerie glow of the fish tank.. Don’t you understand? That’s why she’s doing this. EMILY How.86. I -EDWARD You have to. That leaves you with one option. can’t let her go. someone giving up their own life to take hers. EDWARD How ‘bout anger.. Eye contact. assuming you can. Count myself dead at the outset. EDWARD (nods yup) She starts all over again somewhere else. shakes her head. Can’t let her stay. EMILY If I get rid of her. EMILY'S HOUSE . spooked by something outside the tank. Suddenly they DISPERSE... if I put her into the system. how do I. (then. EMILY I can’t. That’s the one thing I don’t think she’d see coming. Test your faith. You have to find the strength. Edward... The filter humming. Emily looks away. The fish swimming languidly. thinking) Tell you what I’d do different. As Emily registers this. Got some of that? Emily lowers her gaze to the table.
Then. sedated. INT. A moment of indecision then Emily tightens her grip on the screwdriver and quietly slides open the deadbolts..NIGHT The bureau has been pushed in front of the deadbolted door to form a barricade. explains the rules: . INT. in her innocently menacing voice. don’t you? You want me Emily nods. EDWARD Where is she now? Some family somewhere? INTERVIEWER Why does that concern you.? No reply. to like you. she sees Lucy sitting in the shadows holding the remote. Emily lies in a fetal position on her bed.. stops in the living room doorway. Comes over to the door. LUCY I like it here. He’s straightjacketed. Turning. Lucy is quiet for a moment. I like you. Talking directly to the camera. The room bathed in the tv’s flickering blue light.NIGHT She comes slowly down the hall. Emily turns off the tv. EMILY (calls through door) Mike. LIVING ROOM .87. EMILY'S BEDROOM . following the VOICE to its source. Lucy mutes the sound and returns Emily’s stare. exhausted but unable to sleep. thoughtful. realizing the room is not empty. Edward? EDWARD ‘Cause you have to warn them...NIGHT THE TELEVISION Edward’s psych interview playing to the empty room. INT. almost empathetic. IMMEDIATELY IT SWITCHES ITSELF BACK ON. trying to listen. HALLWAY . She tenses at the sound of a MUFFLED MALE VOICE in the other room. haunted. Emily freezes. Thinks she recognizes it.
looking around. She holds Emily’s gaze then looks back at the tv. Done. If I say I want a new dress. licking her ice cream with a wicked little smile.because I always knew what they were thinking. trembling at what’s to come. sits on the bed beside a YOUNG NURSE who checks her temperature. Terror in Margaret’s voice. the Nurse heads out. you have to do it. you have to do it. The sound of doom to Margaret. new dress. Locks the door. METALLIC on the floor. She stands up. But they weren’t really secrets I guess.88. LUCY They did what I said for a while and then they stopped and started with the secrets. If I say I want to go to group..NIGHT Margaret. ribbon in her hair. Okay? Emily gives a haunted nod. I’ll check on you later. Maggie. INT.. LUCY You have to do what I say. Her footsteps sound oddly HOLLOW. If I say I want ice cream every day after school. remembering: A FLASHCUT of Lucy sitting between Edward and Margaret at the Child Services meeting. The Nurse exits. MARGARET Don’t leave me. CLICK-KA-THUNK. straps unbuckled. you have to do it.. (looks at Emily) . BACK TO SCENE Lucy stares coldly at the television: Margaret speaking with the sound off. MARGARET’S PADDED ROOM. YOUNG NURSE It’s okay. .. Margaret’s image reflected in the pupils of her eerie unblinking eyes. PSYCH HOSPITAL .
PSYCH HOSPITAL CAFETERIA . dinner tray in hand. THE GUARD SHOOTS HIM DEAD.surveying the room.NIGHT Edward. Margaret runs screaming to the door. It’s . It’s not a room she’s living in. AN OLD OVEN With dark scorched metal walls.. Vicious attack. INT.. going through the cafeteria line with other INSTITUTIONAL PATIENTS. the most excitement they’ve seen all year. daddy. He sits down at a table and starts eating. shocked by Margaret’s insane rantings. Unprovoked as far as anyone else is concerned. BUT WITH AN ALMOST SURGICAL PRECISON. The faint POOF as it ignites beneath her. Others join in. As blood pools around Edward’s body. ABSENTLY. taunting smile. stabbing him in the neck with his fork. like a practical joke. singeing her hair. Launches himself across the table at the guy. Edward turns on him. MORBIDLY OBESE INMATE SITTING DIRECTLY ACROSS THE TABLE IS CUTTING PEAS IN HALF ON HIS PLATE. Edward goes berserk. noticing something very strange: A BALD. maniacal. We can hear the low HISS of it filling with gas. MARGARET’S POV . some LUNATIC who witnessed the event starts to applaud. we see what Margaret’s hell looks like. The first SHIMMERING WAVES OF HEAT rising up. The YOUNG NURSE’S FACE APPEARS there in the window.. quiet. And as the applause spreads through the entire cafeteria. A bolted-down bed to one side.. Smiles a knowing. But there is no escape from the hell of her own mind. Then his WIDE WET MOUTH speaks in a little girl’s voice: LUCY’S VOICE I’m happy you’re getting the help you need. perfectly white. claws at the pane of glass like a madwoman. Takes another mouthful of food and suddenly stops chewing.89. EATING THEM ONE BY ONE OFF THE TIP OF HIS KNIFE!! He lifts his gaze to Edward. lost in his thoughts. A guard rushes over.
. A SMALL PHOTO OF EDWARD ON THE FRONT PAGE WITH A HEADLINE: HOSPITAL PROBES DEATH. After a moment: . You know why they keep passing you over? Do you.. Stunned.. Barron cues a voicemail message on his phone. After a BEEP we hear it. the voice of a demon: SINISTER MALE VOICE (mocking his earlier line) ‘It’s hard sometimes to tell the truth. intimate) Twenty years in the trenches. Lucy mingles happily with other CHILDREN.’ (then... Emily sits. EXT. Smiles and waves goodbye as she gets on the school bus. past the morning paper on the walkway. soft. but I know you will ‘cause you’re a good little girl. You might wanna sit. guttural. Michael? ‘Cause you’re soft. taunting. He closes the door for privacy.90. EMILY’S HOUSE . about Edward speaks for itself. DELIRIOUS LAUGHTER followed by a CLICK and a DIAL TONE. POLICE STATION . plays it over the speaker.. Soft. can’t make Lieutenant? Hurts. She meets Emily’s gaze down the length of the sidewalk. soft. At the bus stop at the end of the street. I know. BARRON The headline It’s a different Mike Barron than last we saw. Comes back and picks it up. doesn’t it? Shakes your faith sometimes. Gone is the quiet assurance. BARRON There’s something I want you to hear. INT.DAY Emily comes down the steps. Came in at two o’clock last night. Emily’s mouth gapes. BARRON’S OFFICE. A SINISTER MALE VOICE. Whatever happened rocked him to the core.DAY Emily drops the newspaper on Barron’s desk. Stops dead in her tracks.
DOCTOR Physically you’re fine. That’s what she’s been using. Grim pause. stress? How’s the EMILY I’m not sleeping. by BARRON Whatever it takes. Emily looks at him. voice wavering with emotion: EMILY She’s taking me apart. EMILY (re: Edward’s photo) He told me I have to kill her. Keep her at the house. A godsend. She hugs him. Reaches the bottom. and himself. what he says next. She called Doug. Barron registers that in silence. BARRON You’re right. Stuns her. . Disbelief. Emily digs through her bag. No cell phone. DOCTOR’S OFFICE . I was hoping you could give me something. Barron sits in front of her on BARRON I’m gonna help you get to the bottom of this.91. She loses it for a second. Staring into the bag.DAY Emily buttoning her shirt after an exam. BARRON I’ll help you. INT. the edge of the desk. Mike. Took me an extra couple of days to get your cell phone records. BARRON I’m gonna put Beth and Tim in a hotel.
NIGHT A high-rise hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Something moving. INT. . Emily. eerily still.NIGHT His footsteps echo in the parking structure as he walks along a row of parked cars. EXT. Spins. He continues onward. HOTEL ROOM .NIGHT Barron. HOTEL PARKING STRUCTURE . HOTEL CORRIDOR . hiding. A faint JANGLING SOUND stops him dead in his tracks. INT. but hears the faint JANGLING SOUND again a moment later. Emily watches the pen scribble. behind the rows of cars over there. Musses the boy’s hair and leaves. BARRON Take care of your mom. He turns and scans the garage behind him. glances at it with apprehension. The doctor writes on her prescription pad. HOTEL . BARRON’S WIFE Why won’t you tell me what’s going on? BARRON Because I can’t. trying to place it. Turns to his son.92. Closer this time. INT. you’ll sleep. sets down the overnight bags they’ve packed. EMILY’S CAR .NIGHT Barron strides down the corridor. It’s quiet. INT. Kisses her. his face reflecting the grim task ahead.DAY A prescription pill bottle on the passenger seat. saying goodbye to his WIFE and SON. DOCTOR Take one of these. There it is again. driving home.
one of their back legs twitching in anticipation. BANG! Deafeningly loud. But he can’t match their pace. ALL AT ONCE.. trodding into view from between the cars. Barron takes to the car roofs. It’s time to get the hell out of here. it echoes through the garage like a thunderclap. closing the gap with ease. gun still trained on the dogs. He bends.93. Barron fires an errant shot and takes off running. At the last second Barron jumps the partition. a trio of attack dogs sitting at quiet attention. Fires a warning shot over their heads. But as he continues toward it they reveal themselves. They sit down right in front of Barron’s car. He jumps up onto the row of cars and runs across the hoods. Barron lowers his gun. WITH EXPLOSIVE SPEED. It’s a surreal moment. Vicious. THE DOGS SPRING INTO MOTION. the kinetic calm before a predator strikes. Barron quickens his step and that’s their cue. he moves on. . Barron draws his gun. black-eyed. but continue their pursuit unfazed as Barron takes off up the adjoining ramp. clicks the button on his keychain remote. The dogs jump up behind him. The pit bulls crash skull-first into the concrete. just sit there staring. eyes livening with excitement. Can’t see anything.. He backpedals. Unnerved. trying to get a look under the cars. But the dogs don’t move. the deadly trio race along the row of police cruisers. The lights flash on his car fifty yards away. Jaws snapping at his heels. relentless in their pursuit. making no sudden movements. denting the metal. The dogs from Diego’s house. THREE PIT BULLS Battle-scarred. CHOKE-CHAIN COLLARS JANGLING around their necks. They watch him. the pitbulls leaping from car to car behind him. VICIOUS AND MUSCLED AND SMELLING BLOOD. square-jawwed.
He looks back just in time to see the dogs launch themselves. They hit him at chest height, sinking teeth in his flesh. Stumbling forward, struggling to keep their jaws from his throat, Barron doesn’t see what’s coming. The last car. The edge of the parking garage. He’s over the edge before he even understands, flailing his arms for a handhold that doesn’t exist. The ground, far below, flies up at him in a rush of acceleration. We hear a sickening THUD and find Barron lying face down on the pavement below, blood pooling around him. Clinging to life, he opens his eyes and sees the TRIO OF PIT BULLS SITTING OBEDIENTLY BESIDE HIM, unharmed, watching. But from a distance we see there is only Barron. Dying alone between the parked cars. No dogs anywhere in sight. INT. EMILY’S HOUSE - NIGHT Emily opens the front door, peers in, trying not to make a sound. Lucy...? No reply. EMILY Sees -
THE CLOSET DOOR IS OPEN. She comes closer. EMPTY BANKER BOXES strewn in the hall. SCATTERED PAGES.
At the far end, the light is on in Lucy’s bedroom. The door open a crack. A shaft of light spilling out into the darkened hallway. Emily comes down the hallway past SCATTERED FILE PAGES. Preliminary reports. Medical records. Personality profiles... She opens the door to Lucy’s room. INT. LUCY’S BEDROOM - NIGHT Freezes in the doorway, shocked by what lies before her. EMILY Oh my God...
Black eyes. Bloody noses. Bruises. Cuts. Burns. PHOTOS OF ABUSED CHILDREN COVER THE ENTIRE FLOOR. A collage of misery. Lucy is nowhere to be seen. quickly picking them up. Emily comes in and starts
Tucked between the file cabinet and the wall is a CORKBOARD. Emily pulls it out. It’s covered with PHOTOS FROM WORK. COWORKERS. HER KIDS. Two of the photos are turned around. She flips them over in rapid succession. Diego. Doug. She rips all the photos from the board. Photos bunched in her hands, she heads for the door, but hears something that stops her in her tracks A strange INTERMITTENT BUZZING NOISE It lasts two seconds and stops. She turns around, scans the room. Puts down the stack of photos. There it is again: BZZZZZZZZZZZT. BZZZZZZZZZZZZT.
Sounds like a housefly trapped against a window, but it’s bigger, angrier, and appears to be coming from the KNOTTED RUG at the foot of Lucy’s bed. Emily crosses to it. The BUZZING STOPS. She bends. Takes hold of a corner. Peels it slowly back to reveal BARE FLOOR Weird. Nothing there. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT! It’s coming from the
Emily straightens, turns. BED
As she approaches it the BUZZING INTENSIFIES, louder, more agitated. Pauses as she gets there, terrified of what she might find, the bed BUZZING FURIOUSLY FROM WITHIN. Something is trapped under those blankets, waiting for release. Emily extends a trembling hand, takes hold of the blankets and, slowly, rigid with fear, peels them back to reveal
BARE MATTRESS Impossible, because the BUZZING IS LOUDER THAN EVER. With a tense swallow Emily realizes it’s coming from lower, deeper within the bed, between the mattress and the box spring. She slips her fingers into the crack. And slowly lifts the mattress, the BUZZING GROWING FRIGHTENINGLY LOUD as its source is exposed, something hellish waiting for her as she cranes her neck and look to see what lies below HER CELL PHONE Vibrating. BZZZZZZZZZT. “INCOMING CALL...” BZZZZZZZZZZT. On the viewscreen:
She picks it up. Stares at it vibrating in her hand. Presses the TALK button. Brings it to her ear. The LOW STATIC of an open line. Emily... Emily flinches. EMILY Who is this...? MALE VOICE ON PHONE It’s Wayne, Emily, I just got a call, Mike’s dead... Emily, stunned, barely able to speak. EMILY No... he’s... WAYNE (V.O.) They don’t know if he fell or what happened... Emily’s phone hand drops to her side in shock. there, we hear Wayne’s voice: Emily? WAYNE (V.O.) Emily, are you okay...? From down Then, a RASPY MALE VOICE:
MALE VOICE ON PHONE
After a moment, she lifts it.
lip split. EMILY I have to go. innocent. moons of Jupiter. Hint of a smile. Pulls back the door and there sits LUCY quiet. Chews it.97. confidante dead. Emily grabs her by the arm. EMILY Get out of my house. She crosses to it. WHACK! Emily slaps her. On the brink of emotional collapse. Ganymede. Takes a bag of popcorn from the microwave. Callisto. Someone or something hiding in that dark corner over there. Lucy gets up and walks out. We got back our astronomy tests today. unimpressed. CRUNCH. her feet. Hard across the face. A++ Well done. CRUNCH. Emily swats the bowl from her hands. . LUCY Europa. expressionless. takes another handful of popcorn. EMILY What did you do to him? Lucy says nothing. It’s there on the floor. Her only Just then she hears BREATHING from behind the open door. Emily walks over and pitches the tv onto the floor. CRUNCH. Lucy. watching it like nothing ever happened. Tastes the blood with her tongue. Emily watches as Lucy goes into the kitchen. Empties it into a bowl. Io. The SCREEN SHATTERS. The taste of victory. Lucy sits up. Hangs up. Knocks her to the floor. Sits down on the living room sofa and clicks on the tv remote. Yanks her to EMILY WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM?! After a moment: LUCY He did it to himself. chin on her knees. Lucy! The There’s a LOUD BEEP in the other room.
LUCY Don’t yell at me.S. Her face catches the light from the hallway. Lucy’s features look altered somehow.. INT. Slams the door... Moment of panic. away. closer. Will they hold? Slides her bureau in front of the door... Closer. Lucy stands up from the sofa. but the overall effect is chilling. trembling as LUCY’S FOOTSTEPS arrive at the door. GET OUT! EMILY Flicking bits of popcorn off herself. takes off down the hall.? LUCY (O. Emily grabs the screwdriver. I’m sorry.98.) Can I come in so we can talk and work it out? There’s a GENTLE KNOCK on the door. I didn’t mean to. sharpened. yell at me. My mom and dad used to Emily backs away.. Bolts the deadbolts. remembering last time. EMILY Stay away from me! .S. clutches it in both hands.. front of the bureau just to be sure.S. LUCY (O.) Emily flinches. EMILY’S BEDROOM . Emily. Emily backs Then: A tense silence.. CLUNK.NIGHT Rushes in. Shoves her bed in In the silence we hear LUCY’S FOOTSTEPS coming down the hall toward the door. mortified. CLUNK. There’s nothing else to block the door with. Emily shudders at the sight. LUCY (O. It’s subtle.) Emily. CLUNK. THE FACE OF A LITTLE GIRL LAID OVER THE MUSCULATURE OF SOMETHING MORE DEVIOUS AND WICKED...
The DOOR SPLITS down the center. coming in. Whatever’s out there is Emily frozen in terror. brush your hair for you. The SECOND DOOR HINGE gone. Then the DOOR RATTLES and drops loose from the frame with a DEAD WOODEN CLUNK. Then: I’ll WHAM! The door shudders from a MAMMOTH IMPACT. LUCY (O. watching. WHAM! CRACKS APPEAR in the door as it bows from the tremendous force. I said I was sorry. .) Don’t be mad. WHAM!! WHAM!! WHAM!! WHAM!! WHAM!! One of the DOOR HINGES rips clean from the wall. EMILY STAY AWAY FROM ME!! Silence. The DEADBOLTS BENDING from the ungodly pummeling. WHAM!! The THIRD DEADBOLT lands on the floor at Emily’s feet with a METAL THUD. WHAM!! WHAM!! WHAM!! WHAM!! CRACKS FAN OUT into the plaster around the doorframe. it shook the door.S. Emily recoils.99. The DEADBOLT SCREWS getting yanked from the wood. Nothing holding it in place now except the bureau and the bed. this time it shakes the entire wall. dropping the screwdriver. Half the SCREWS HOLDING THE HINGES fly from the wall. A breathless silence. The FIRST DEADBOLT comes flying off. And now they both start to SLIDE BACKWARDS as whatever is on the other side starts pushing its way in. ANOTHER DEADBOLT flies off. Last time.
. a girl’s hand.. SINISTER MALE VOICE . the feet of a child. The feet step gingerly past the overturned bureau. We need to learn healthier ways of resolving conflict. And then they stop.. CRASHES to the floor. makes a hasty decision. but the fingers as they wrap tightly around the handle look strong and sinewy. still from Emily’s POV.. SINISTER MALE VOICE Wide-eyed with terror under the bed. The bureau overturns. but the BREATHING we hear sounds emphysemic and the VOICE is unquestionably male . Emily topples a high bookcase against the door and pushes back with every ounce of strength she can muster. SINISTER MALE VOICE . A pause and then.harsh. palms flat on the hardwood.until it’s too late.. Emily.. She hides under Emily. A HAND reaches down and picks it up. . we see Lucy lower herself onto her knees. WHAM!! ..Most families don’t even know they have a problem. The feet stop at the SCREWDRIVER. Emily’s bare feet slide backwards along with the bed. she watches those feet pick their way over the shattered remnants of the barricade. The feet stand motionless for a moment then turn and come toward the bed. taunting Emily as it comes for her: Emily. but it’s no use.100. SINISTER MALE VOICE Emily. We HOLD LOW on the open door as LUCY’S FEET step into the room... guttural. in her panic. The barricade sufficiently breached. as she leans her head down. stopping right in front of EMILY’S HORRIFIED FACE..with shocking force that hand IMPALES THE SCREWDRIVER IN THE WOODEN FLOOR! Another pause then both hands come into view. the bed.
. LUCY (playing mommy) What are you doing. crying now.. Emily screams. With a little girl voice to match. you silly pumpkinhead? Emily. EMILY LUCY (playing mommy) Two and three quarters. LUCY (playing mommy) You don’t want me to come under there and get you..... sympathetic. frowns. LUCY Here I come. No. Emily tries to go backwards. Emily recoiling in anticipation as the face comes into view LUCY’S INNOCENT FACE A little girl. stares in shock. do you? Emily.. wedges herself in the corner.. LUCY’S FACE SLIDING CLOSER LIKE THE HEAD OF A SNAKE... Lucy reaches her hand in. Emily backs away. Please. but there’s nowhere for her to go. hyperventilating. Two and a half. Trapped.101. almost LUCY (playing mommy) I’m going to count to three. Lucy. EMILY One. shakes her head... Three... LUCY (playing mommy) Two. . Lucy starts crawling under the bed.
. bright: LUCY Come tuck me in. Folds her arms. Emily. dries her eyes and enters. LUCY You better come. The fridge. Crushes them with the blunt edge of a knife. Stirs them into a cup of Chamomile tea.NIGHT We follow the TEA CUP. INT. EMILY WHAT DO YOU WANT?!! Lucy stops crawling..NIGHT A WHISTLING KETTLE on the stove. She freezes at a NOISE behind her. Emily puts her head down on the floor and cries. waiting for her in bed. Looks tensely over her Then. EMILY Okay. Emily. Lucy weighs Emily’s surrender for a moment. She adds sugar.. covering her mouth with her hands so she won’t make a sound. I want EMILY Okay. you to love me. takes it from the burner. EMILY’S KITCHEN . INT. okay.102. Dumps SIX SLEEPING PILLS from the prescription bottle. in Emily’s hand. playing the part. Lucy slithers out and we see her feet scamper from the room. LUCY What you wanted from your mother. Comfortable here under the bed. still in tears. as she comes nervously down the hall to Lucy’s room. shoulder. We can see Lucy in there. Delighting in the question. HALLWAY . sets her chin on them.. I will. I will. continues stirring. I’ll be right there. oddly . I promise.
EMILY Tomorrow’s our new beginning. Lucy considers this. tucking her in. hands Lucy the tea. Emily. I know. INT. picks up a brush and brushes Lucy’s hair. The face of a loving mother. takes a sip of tea. EMILY Emily Lucy takes a few more sips and sets the tea cup on the bedside table. nods okay. LUCY Maybe you should have it. angelic. LUCY I’ll be good. LUCY’S ROOM .NIGHT Sits down on the bed. LUCY Forever and ever? EMILY Forever and ever. Innocent. EMILY I’ll have one later.103. They flutter open one last time. LUCY EMILY I love you. . pauses. Emily kisses her on the forehead. cup to her lips. Did she drink enough? EMILY Get some rest. LUCY Lucy brings the Emily nods. Say it. gives the cup a nervous glance. Lucy looks up at her and for a moment she’s the little girl Emily met. closing her eyes for sleep. you look stressed. Chamomile.
Climb the walls. EMILY’S GARAGE . brushing her hair. . silhouetted. Amid the clutter is a lawnmower. Or is it a game? closes the door.. the bathroom. The fish. frantic in their tank. shaking. contemplating her next move. wary. Leans against the wall. expecting Lucy’s eyes to snap open any second. ignites. HALLWAY .NIGHT Emily stifling sobs as she douses the walls of the house. the kitchen. FLAMES SCURRY in a shimmering blue-gold sheet across the floor.? She doesn’t move. catch Emily’s eye. Beside it.. Emily. Emily watches from the door. Emily sits and watches as the door to Lucy’s bedroom is engulfed.NIGHT Junk-filled. LUCY Where are you if I need you? EMILY Right down the hall. The door lifts to reveal Emily. Emily stares at it for a long moment. a big can of GASOLINE.104. INT. Wedges a chair under the door handle. INT. Lucy’s eyes shut. INT. the entire house ablaze in a matter of seconds. TIP OF A MATCH strikes flint. It’s an image straight from hell: A YOUNG WOMAN SITTING ON A SOFA IN A HOUSE OF FIRE. She goes Emily Time of the essence. over and grabs the tank.NIGHT Lucy asleep in bed. staring at the HALF-FULL TEA CUP. all of it. The hallway. EMILY Sweetheart. Lets it fall. dead to the world. looking in. EMILY’S HOUSE .
burning. an inferno. Emily watching with neighbors on the sidewalk as the FIREFIGHTERS uncoil their hoses. Lucy comes through the crowd to her.. FIRE MARSHALL This your house?! (she nods yes) Anybody else inside?! (off her hesitation) Ma'am. Unscathed. Hollers Just now the FIRE MARSHALL crosses to the onlookers.105. The window to Lucy's bedroom is a bright red square. angry. rushes off. EMILY'S HOUSE . walkie-talkie squawking.?! The Fire Marshall sees Emily opens her mouth to reply. And as Emily stares at it. LUCY standing on the sidewalk in her pajamas. EXT. shakes her head no. locking the front door behind her. the figure of a CHILD appears. The house fully engulfed as fire engines arriving on the scene. Horrific. disbelieving what she's done. FIRE MARSHALL Anyone else inside?! Yes or no?! Emily. but sees something behind her that closes her throat. the only thing she saved.NIGHT Smoke swirling past her. not sure what to say.. in shock. arms at her sides. holding her fish tank. LUCY Her whole body ablaze. sirens wailing. over the noise and commotion: FIRE MARSHALL Everybody get out okay?! Emily wavers. her indecision. The Fire Marshall Emily stands frozen as More dismayed than . She backs away and watches it burn. she exits the house. She just stands there. TIME CUT TO: Billowing black smoke.
almost empathetic. LUCY Maybe we can find a hotel with a swimming pool. She sits up. Emily puts the car in drive. How people do to their own kids what their parents did to them.DAWN The FISH FLOATING DEAD at the top of the tank in the back seat as Emily drives down the freeway at daybreak. LUCY That was mean. isn’t it? How it gets passed on. CLICK. That’s why you got the job. Lucy gazing out dreamily at the sunrise. A suicide run. she tightens her grip on the wheel and calmly. resolutely.. Lucy turns and looks at her. eyeing the scorched remains of the house. Firelight playing on their faces. The fish bouncing off the glass in the tank at Emily’s feet. levels an appraising stare at Emily like the one she leveled at Doug.To prove to yourself you’re not like her. Together they watch the house burn. She draws up her knees and rests her chin on top. Because that scares you. EMILY’S CAR . Scares you more than anything. The acceleration pitches Lucy backwards into her seat. Lucy reaches over and turns it off. Emily says nothing. thoughtful. in mock sentiment. LUCY I love you.. gutted. INT. EMILY’S CAR . that you’re not like your mother. The firecrew stowing equipment. didn’t see this coming. JAMS THE GAS PEDAL TO THE FLOOR.. even if you don’t love me.NIGHT The blue halflight before dawn. eyes wide. LUCY It’s sad. She takes Emily's hand. Lucy. Emily looks at her.. INT. Emily turns on the radio. .. trying to drown out Lucy’s voice.. puts her hand on Emily’s. full volume. But defiant. Turning her gaze forward. LUCY .106. Emily and Lucy sit in the Volvo.
LUCY I said slow down! Emily ignores her. seeing the truck for what it is: a test of faith. LUCY Did you hear me? Emily stares dead ahead.107. Emily turns on the wipers. LUCY Yes. LUCY What are you doing? A tense smile from Lucy. Emily. LUCY What are you doing?! EMILY It's not real. Emily ignores her. Through the heavy rain we see A TRACTOR-TRAILER RIG CRASH THROUGH THE DIVIDING MEDIAN AND JACKKNIFE. weaving through SLOWER TRAFFIC THAT FLIES TOWARD THEM OUT OF THE GRAY HAZE. Lucy flits her eyes skyward. it is! EMILY Are you scared?! . IMMEDIATELY IT DARKENS AND STARTS TO RAIN. speeds on. Slow down. but reconsiders. LUCY Please. I’ll be good. changes channels like a tv. BARRELING AT THEM HEAD-ON! Emily goes for the brake. The tables have turned. panicking. Lucy shrieks in terror. unfazed. Lucy. beyond apology. She welcomes it. red-lining the tachometer. going eighty now. Tightens her grip on the wheel and goes full throttle again. Look out! LUCY And Lucy’s face sharpens. Innocent child all of a sudden. stop. She points down the road. right at the truck.
UNDERWATER They stare wide-eyed at one another through the water. You can see the BIG RIG DRIVER in the cab. THE AIR HORN DEAFENINGLY LOUD! But the impact never comes. Open road in front of them. THE CHROME GRILLWORK OF THE TRUCK RUSHES TOWARD THEM IN THAT FINAL MOMENT. And now Emily sees what Lucy sees - . It's not raining. Emily. INT. Lucy sits in silence. Or knows something Emily does not. the speedometer hitting a hundred. wrestling frantically with the steering wheel. I’M NOT!! EMILY Emily jerks the car off the road. Emily shackles Lucy with her arms as the water rises to cover their mouths. crashing through the guardrail. Trees snapping in half across the hood as they go careening through roadside woods and down a steep embankment toward EXT. Water rushing in from all sides. Inviting the head-on collision. EMILY ARE YOU SCARED?! She clutches Lucy’s wrist. Or welcomes it. Never was.108.DAY Impacts and sinks with frightening speed. In the blink of an eye the truck is gone. of death. LUCY’S LIPS CURL INTO THAT CREEPY MANNISH SMILE. Hair swirling around their faces as they sink to the bottom. triumphant. turns to her with a vindictive smile. screams STOP! LUCY Emily clenches her teeth in anticipation of impact.DAY The car tears through a chainlink fence and leaps off the high embankment into the water. her bag of tricks empty. The wipers SQUEAKING on a dry windshield. Lucy bracing herself. EMILY'S VOLVO . Pedal to the floor. As though she anticipated this. LOS ANGELES RESERVOIR .
talking to a uniformed officer is the PASSERBY who saved Lucy’s life. THE MUSCLES LOOSENING. drying off with a towel. Wet-hair clinging to her face. A FIGURE SWIMMING DOWN TOWARD THEM THROUGH THE MURKY WATER. EXT. And just when her death seems certain.. PASSERBY Right through the guardrail.. . Shivering.. who puts her arm around Lucy in a maternal gesture. shielding her from the sight of Emily as Emily did of the Sheridans. okay? look. SHE DROWNS IN STAGES. oxygen mask over her face. EYES FIXED IN A BLANK STARE.. never touched the brakes. she meets the gaze of Lucy who is being attended to by a female PARAMEDIC. Just don’t even Lucy nods. ARMS FLOATING LIMP. swimming to the surface with her. THE HOPELESS PANIC. a HAND grabs her by the shoulder and yanks her out the driver’s side window. Paramedics checking her vitals. NEWS REPORTER A remarkable story of survival this morning as a young girl is pulled from the Los Angeles reservoir in an accident police are calling suspicious. Clinging to her protector as she watches the ambulance take Emily Jennings away. semi-conscious. Onshore. Patrol cars. THE INITIAL FRANTIC FLAILINGS.. Pulls her from the car. the innocent victim.109. Paramedics.NEWS FOOTAGE of Lucy wrapped in a blanket sitting beside the female paramedic in an ambulance. Emily is left empty-handed. BANK OF RESERVOIR . EACH ONE DIFFICULT TO WATCH. stunned. THE SLOW DAWNING OF ACCEPTANCE. PARAMEDIC Don’t look at her. A HAND pries open the door and wrestles Lucy from Emily’s grasp. CUT TO: A TELEVISION . alone in her watery grave.DAY Ambulances. Emily goes by on a gurney.. Portrait of a child victim. Loaded into the ambulance.
pokes his head in. Margaret Sheridan. heavily sedated. .. Temporary guardians who’ve taken her in for the weekend. we just help out when the system’s full. quietly takes back his pen. EMILY Do you hear me?! He looks at her. Set. BAILIFF A BAILIFF Emily stands up from the chair she’s been sitting in and we see she’s wearing an ORANGE LA COUNTY JAIL JUMPSUIT. INT. Slouched on the vinyl sofa.DAY Emily talking agitatedly to a MAN IN A SUIT who is writing something and not paying attention to her. darling. MAN IN SUIT I hear you.. her public defender. INSTITUTIONAL PATIENTS watching tv in the psych hospital rec room. instructs her as they exit: MAN IN SUIT Let me do the talking in here. EXT. WINDOWLESS ROOM . There’s a KNOCK on the door. She snatches the pen from his hand. EMILY Where is she? Where’d they put her? Foster care? Is she with a family? You have to let me talk to them. Continues writing. LUCY Why can’t I live with you? RETIRED WOMAN Oh. We only see her face at first. we’re not foster parents. PRIVATE WOODED ROAD . The man. watching without comprehension.DAY Lucy walks a private road through sunlit forest with a kind RETIRED COUPLE.110.
Janey. innocent. After hours. A case file like all the others. The Caseworker exits. CASEWORKER Bye. Lucy smiles. shy. RETIRED WOMAN Some nice family that always wanted a little girl. a pudgy middle-aged FOSTER CARE SUPERVISOR and a younger CASEWORKER who is leaving for the day. SUPERVISOR Maybe I will. It lands on some random desk. quietly taking in the scenery. INT. SUPERVISOR See you tomorrow. Lucy. Alone. CASEWORKER Going to the thing Saturday? SUPERVISOR I don’t know. The name typed on the label: SHERIDAN. . It’ll be fun. FADE OUT. We’ll see. CASEWORKER Oh. another tier of the child welfare system. The office reminds you of Child Services.NIGHT Two women cross the office after hours. RETIRED MAN They’ll contact us. FOSTER PLACEMENT SERVICES . you should. A thankless profession. I don’t know. when your placement comes through. amid the usual backlog of mail and paperwork. LUCY.111. The woman puts her arm around her as they walk on. The Supervisor comes down the row of cubicles dropping files on desks.