You are on page 1of 15

1

EXT. OCEAN - CLOUDY SUPERIMPOSE: "1589, ATLANTIC OCEAN" The vast Atlantic Ocean churns beneath a clouded sky. A tan speck in the water is revealed to be a mid-sized ship. Calm turquoise waves lap against its wooden hull. Onboard, the ship's crew moves with renewed vigor, for these are the last landless moments of their two month journey. A man dressed in military finery with an anxious expression on his face stands apart from the rest. WILLIAM KELLY, 25 squints into the horizon with dark eyes filled with complexity. His face is rugged beyond his years though his trimmed blonde hair and beard lend him an air of innocence. He glances to his right and left before he reaches into his pocket to fish out a locket. Inside is a painted miniature of a stunning woman with dark hair and gray eyes. He closes the locket and almost crushes it from holding on so tight. He tenses as he is placed in an affectionate headlock from behind by BRIGGS, 47, a burly seafaring man with an unruly brown beard. William discreetly drops the locket back into his pocket. BRIGGS You're wife'll be jealous when I tell 'er how much you've been man-handling that shiny new medal of yours. He points at the gold and blue MILITARY MEDALLION on William's uniform. BRIGGS You had to come up here on deck for some privacy with it, eh? He puckers his lips in a kissing motion. WILLIAM No Briggs, I just couldn't bear another one of your bawdy barmaid stories. One more tale about the Scottish redhead and I'd have thrown us both overboard. Briggs laughs heartily as William adjusts his medal.

BRIGGS Ahh, don't worry Blondie, I'll be sure to tell everyone about how you slaughtered those ugly Spanishsons-of-whorWilliam clears his throat loudly. WILLIAM Watch your language, Briggs. He tilts his head towards a few young women shielding their eyes from the sun as they emerge from below deck. Briggs rolls his eyes. SYLVIA DAVIS, 21, has a shock of white-blonde hair that is at odds with her dark brows. Her bun is pulled back tightly, giving her icy eyes a feline quality. WILLIAM Good day, ladies. YOUNG WOMAN Is it true? Is land almost in sight? BRIGGS Indeed. Should be any moment now. Silvia fingers her choker necklace with slender fingers. SYLVIA I can't wait to see my cousin, I wonder if she'll recognize me. WILLIAM I'm sure she will, Sylvia. And ladies you are welcome to visit anytime. I know my wife will be thrilled to have more women around. I can't imagine being outnumbered by men like Briggs, six to one. The young women giggle, Briggs grins. SYLVIA Thank you, William, but I won't trouble you for at least a few days, give you a chance to settle and your wife some time to calm her anger. WILLIAM Anger? Why would she be angry? SYLVIA

Well, it's just that 18 months is a long time to be gone. I'm sure even a saint would be a bit cross. William's eyes darken as Sylvia nervously plays with her necklace. WILLIAM (curtly) Elizabeth will understand it was my duty to stay and fight. Sylvia squeezes his arm. SYLVIA Oh, of course she will! And I will pray for you both! She nods graciously and takes the arms of the other young women. Together they head to the bow of the ship. BRIGGS She's lucky she's pretty, that one. Is their cousin so strange? WILLIAM Hazel? Ha. You have no idea. If I wouldn't have... William trails off, his gaze fixed on a speck of green beneath a swirl of darkening clouds. BRIGGS That's it alright, right where all those nasty clouds are turning. Hopefully we'll have our homecoming before the storm starts. EXT. BEACH - VIRGINIA SHORE The forty odd passengers make their way off the ship onto shore. They steady their legs on the beach and stretch in the sand. The women giggle as Sylvia almost falls over. CREW MEMBER Watch those sea legs, Miss Davis. Better to give 'em a moment to adjust to solid ground before you try anything too adventurous. YOUNG WOMAN How come he doesn't have to wait? She points at William who is setting out towards the woods,

canvas bag strapped across his back. One of his legs is still stiff, giving him a comical bob as he picks up speed. BRIGGS Because he's a fool in love. You'll find they do the strangest things. Never let it happen to you. Behind them, Sylvia digs her nails into her neck as if her necklace is strangling her. EXT. WOODS - CLOUDY William follows an overgrown walking path through the forest. As his legs begin to work, a smile spreads across his face. He dodges low-hanging branches and hops over fallen trees. He takes a sharp turn and suddenly digs his heels into the earth, and comes to a screeching halt. Barely able to stop his momentum, he teeters over a sharpened wooden spike that juts out of the ground. An inch further and he would've been gored below his sternum. Pulling back he notices more spikes lining a steep trench as far as the eye can see. A guard tower overlooks the defense. As he catches his breath and gathers his nerves, there is a RUSTLE in the brush. A tall, WHITE DEER gazes right at him, unblinking. William stares back for a moment before he snaps back to reality and takes out his compass for direction. WILLIAM (yells back) How long ago do you think they built this thing? THUNDER RUMBLES overhead but the woods remain silent. He swings his pack over the trench and climbs down into it. He emerges, filthy, on the other side. He scales the stacked logs, hoists himself on top. There is absolutely nothing on the other side. The forest is cleared but there is nothing but a grassy field. He shakes the compass. The arrow spins in circles. WILLIAM Briggs! Am I going mad? I swear on my life it was right here! Silence as he scales back down. On the other side he locks eyes with the frosted fawn again. It stares back then takes off running deeper into the woods on a less pronounced

trail. Without hesitation William chases after. He bounds up a steep embankment after the deer. On the other side he finds himself at the outskirts of the Roanoke colony. EXT. ROANOKE COLONY STREETS The streets of the town are completely empty, like a desolate dream. No voices sound, no smoke curls from the hearths, no livestock roam the pastures. He looks back, the white deer remains frozen on the hilltop. His ears pick up the eerie RINGING that can only be heard during absolute silence. WILLIAM Hello? It's William! I'm home! Silence. He walks down the street, the CRUNCH of DIRT under his shoes echoes in the emptiness. He starts to sprint down the streets of the ghost town, empty cabins becoming a gray blur. He reaches a stable and takes a sharp turn. His mouth gapes. There is nothing there. He spins, looks about for landmarks. WILLIAM No...no...NO. Elizabeth! Disoriented, he turns and sees the cross of the town church towering above. He runs to it, pounds his fists on the doors. WILLIAM Reverend Harris, open up! He shoves his weight against the door. It doesn't budge. Beads of sweat form on his brow and chest. He kicks the door in, pushes aside the splinters. INT. CHURCH Inside is dark and vacant. There is no dust on the pews and no strewn furniture, but the space holds the aura that no one has been inside for quite some time. Christ on the crucifix stares down at William ominously. William jumps as a BLACKBIRD SQUAWKS and flies up into the

rafters. He rakes his hands through his hair and exits the church backwards, never taking his eyes off the crucifix. EXT. CHURCH Thunder growls as rain pours down. Briggs, Sylvia and the others from the ship wander dazedly down the street. SYLVIA Where are they? Where's my cousin? Behind her William catches sight of a large, gray oak with the word 'CROATON' stabbed into its trunk. He touches the carved words. Dried sap has poured out the knife marks like coagulated blood. He slams his fist into the tree, bloodying his knuckles. WILLIAM Elizabeth! I WILL find you! P.O.V.: A pair of eyes watch his despair from behind leaves. EXT. ROANOKE CITY STREETS SUPERIMPOSE: "20 MONTHS EARLIER, 1587" William smiles as he walks through the bustling streets of the colony, a completely different feel from the cold emptiness he will encounter there in the future. CHILDREN GIGGLE as they chase one another. MEN SHOUT orders to each other as they construct the church that William will find vacant upon his return. He tips his hat at some young women hanging clothes on a line. They shyly smile back. In the home next door, a woman with red curls stands in a doorway. She clutches her collar to her throat as if chilled by the sunlight. He nods curtly. WILLIAM Good morning, Hazel. HAZEL DAVID, 20, does not acknowledge his greeting, nor does she take her eyes off him - even as he turns the corner. INT. WILLIAM & ELIZABETH'S CABIN Inside the cabin William's wife, ELIZABETH KELLY, 19, sits on the edge of their cot, tugging out threads from a quilt.

Though distressed, she looks even more beautiful than the painting in William's locket. WILLIAM What's wrong, lovely? She sighs. ELIZABETH I'm not feeling well again. I thought it might pass when we got back on solid ground. I think we only had one night where I wasn't retching from sea-sickness. WILLIAM And, oh how I loved that night! William winks suggestively but she frowns. ELIZABETH I'm serious, William. There's just something about this place that puts me on edge. I can't help it. WILLIAM Give yourself time to settle, Lizzy. It's a new land halfway across the world. I'm sure there are many folks here who feel as you do. ELIZABETH But not you? He pauses, smiles. WILLIAM I feel right at home and soon you will too. I promise you won't regret Roanoke. A tall, gaunt man, REVEREND HARRIS, 35 peeks his head through the open door. Elizabeth stiffens. REVEREND HARRIS Glorious morning, Mr. and Mrs. Kelly! BOTH Good morning, Reverend Harris. REVEREND HARRIS I didn't see you reading psalms to the children with the other ladies,

Elizabeth. I came to see that you were well. ELIZABETH I'm a bit...ill, Reverend, but I will be there to help this afternoon after a rest. REVEREND HARRIS Such fortune women have, that they may rest. Sadly a servant of God has no such luxury - for Satan never sleeps. They share a strained smile before he tips his hat, exits. ELIZABETH (mumbles) Obviously Satan has yet to hear one of his Sunday sermons. William grins, jumps on the cot to tickle her. EXT. FIELD - CLOUDY William and a half dozen men gather holding shovels and bags of seed. A flamboyantly dressed man with a sculpted beard approaches them holding several books. WILLIAM Men, I'd like you to meet Sir Arthur Harriot. ARTHUR HARRIOT, 28, nods and sits in the shade to sketch. HAL, 32, brawny with a handkerchief tied around his hair sneers as the men dig and Arthur draws. HAL Don't hurry to help, wouldn't want you to ruin your penmanship. WILLIAM Now Hal, he may look like a dandy, but he was here with the men that founded this colony. I'm positive that his knowledge of wildlife and native animals will prove invaluable. Closeup: Arthur's sketchbook holds a delicate scrawl and several detailed drawings of plants and animals. HAL

(grumbles) A good crop holds more value than a pretty picture any day. William's SHOVEL makes a CLANK. He bends, brushes aside dirt to reveal the side of a human skull, its jaw locked in an eternal scream. The men dig faster. In the hole 3 skeletons lie shackled together, iron chains around their necks. Hal falls to his knees, makes the sign of the cross and murmurs prayers in Latin. WILLIAM Men, let's cover them up! I'll move them myself at dusk. And not a word to our women, understand? They don't need be frightened with tales of old, dead men. O.S. a SHRIEK is heard. Hazel Davis stands eyes wide, hands cover her mouth in horror. HAL Silence yourself, woman! She stares downcast, hurt by his anger. William tries a gentler tone. WILLIAM Now Hazel, I'm sorry you had to see this, but please, keep it to yourself. These bones seem very old, sixty years even. Nothing to worry about now. Alright? Hazel turns but tilts her head back to stare into the pit. HAZEL You're wrong, William. They're not that old. All of their skins' just...gone. The men watch her walk off, cloak blowing in the warm breeze. Hal shudders. HAL She's as strange as the winter is cold, that one. Arthur stares down at the skeleton trio.

10

ARTHUR She should feel right at home then. EXT. FIELD - TWILIGHT William has set out across the field to gather the bones. He holds a shovel and a large sack and an unlit torch is shoved in his back pocket. He squints until he makes out Arthur in the distance, holding a lantern and papers. WILLIAM You're joining me, Arthur? ARTHUR Well, I am the town historian by default. History doesn't write itself, you know. William stares perplexed into the pit as Arthur catches up. WILLIAM Well, you may not want to include this in your histories - the bones are missing. ARTHUR What do you mean? He runs up and looks into the empty hole. ARTHUR (sarcastically) Well doesn't this place just get better and better? I can just see it now:'Come to Roanoke: land that even skeletons want to escape!' He dramatically mimics a headline with his hand. WILLIAM Maybe Hal came out earlier by himself to move them? Or animals even? ARTHUR Hal? By himself? That man is so superstitious I'm surprised he can find his way to church without calling on the power of the Holy Ghost. You saw the condition of those things - what animal would want a pile of dusty bones? WILLIAM

11

Well, there is someone else I have in mind. CUT TO: INT. HAZEL'S CABIN Hazel sits in a chair with her eyes closed. It's as though she is expecting the loud KNOCK on her DOOR. She rises, smooths her dress, and opens it calmly. WILLIAM Good evening, Miss David. HAZEL (nods) William, Arthur. And where is your third? WILLIAM Hal is at home with his children. Arthur and I went back toImpatient, she halts him with her hands. HAZEL I don't know where they are. Perhaps you should ask your beloved Reverend. ARTHUR Where who are? HAZEL Please don't play dumb with me. The dead men's bones, I don't know where they went. Some secrets are better left buried. You of all men should know that, William. She shuts the door in their faces. William looks ashen. INT. WILLIAM & ELIZABETH'S CABIN - LATER THAT NIGHT William enters his cabin with hunched shoulders and hangs his hat. Elizabeth stirs in bed. ELIZABETH William, where were you? Out. He blows out the lantern. WILLIAM

12

EXT. RIVERFRONT - THE NEXT DAY The sun shines on the Colonists as they fish in the wide river. Some cast their lines from the banks while other have rolled up their trousers and throw nets. William and Hal wade knee deep in the center. Elizabeth wanders away from a group of women resting in the shade. She holds her stomach, about to vomit. She crouches down to hide her sickness from the others and spies a black piece of rope sticking straight out of the sand. She blocks it from the others and tugs on the cord. It is a voodoo-like poppet, a black rope tied in several places to resemble a human form. Several crooked nails stick out of its knotwork body, piercing the head, heart, and groin. Her hands shake instinctively. WOMAN Lizzy dear, what have you found over there? Elizabeth springs up, casually swipes sand back over the mutilated doll with her boot and smiles. ELIZABETH I was hoping for gold but it was only a reflection in the water. WOMAN Well stop digging in dirt and come back and play with the babies like a proper lady. O.S. strange HOWLS and dog-like YIPS are heard. The colonists freeze, fear on their faces. The PLUNK of TENSION releasing is heard as something speeds through the air. Hal's body spasms as an arrow pierces through his heart and out his back. COLONISTS SCREAM as he tumbles into the river, dead. Hal's wife rushes through the water to run to him. SHE SOBS as a man holds her back. HAL'S WIFE W-Who would do this? The Colonists murmur as Arthur stares down at the blood as it clouds the water.

13

ARTHUR You didn't think you were alone out here, did you? William angrily SNAPS the ARROW and yanks it out of Hal's limp body and glares into the forest. EXT. WOODS SUPERIMPOSE: "5 YEARS EARLIER, 1582" Four sinewy HATTERAS INDIANS crouch low in the brush. From heir vantage point they watch as dozens of European men unload supplies from three giant ships. The leader, RUNNING ELK, 18, has a chiseled face, red antler tattoos across his shoulders and piercings through his ears. LITTLE WOLF, 10, watches the others for cues. His hair is shaved in a long mohawk and his almond eyes are the only ones that express concern. LITTLE WOLF Running Elk, shouldn't we help them? RUNNING ELK (thoughtfully) I'm not sure. Little Wolf's sister, BRAVE RAVEN, 17, has large dark eyes and black tribal tattoos accenting the sides of her face. She shakes Running Elk's arm. BRAVE RAVEN Grandfather White Crow was right. He saw them in his dream! RUNNING ELK Hush, Raven, I remember. He shakes her off. HE CRUSHES, 17, short but named for his muscled physique, CRACKS his KNUCKLES as he watches men dump more cargo crates onshore. Running Elk wordlessly turns away. The others follow and they take off running through the woods. EXT. HATTERAS VILLAGE - DAY The village is alive with activity as the four stride past.

14

Several little girls hold hands and skip past singing while their mothers sit sewing buckskin in front of rows of longhouses. The four climb a tall hill and pass through a garden filled with strange, spiney plants and bright flowers. At its peak sits the only circular circular hut in the whole village. Running Elk ducks inside while the others hang respectfully back. INT. GRANDFATHER WHITE CROW'S HUT The hut is hazy, smoke wafts from a large bushel of burning sage. GRANDFATHER WHITE CROW, 70s, wears a magnificent quail feather headdress. His face is filled with lines deep as canyons, but his sunken eyes sparkle with youth. Running Elk opens his mouth to speak, but his Grandfather, eyes still far off, holds up a palm to silence him. The HISS of a RATTLE sounds. Running Elk jumps. Obscured by shadows is RED SNAKE, 19. He is a tall, angular man with a nasal piercings and glinting eyes that soak up Running Elks discomfort. He begins to CHANT in White Crow's direction. An older man, WINDING STREAM, 35, pounds a heartbeat rhythm onto a ceremonial drum. His turquoise jewelry and chest plate jangles with the beat. EXT. GRANDFATHER WHITE CROWS HUT Outside, the others wait for Elk. Little Wolf does cartwheels while Raven sharpens an arrowhead. He Crushes makes no effort to hide that his gaze is fixed on a young woman below. SHE BRINGS SNOW, 22, a gentle, moon-faced woman carries jugs of water. Her hair is lopped short, a Native tradition to honor the death of a loved one. HE CRUSHES (wistfully) I miss her hair. BRAVE RAVEN Even more than you miss her husband? He Crushes, you shame yourself and dishonor the dead. HE CRUSHES Oh calm yourself, Raven. I hardly knew the man, of course I mean him no disrespect.

15

He watches Snow's silhouette grow smaller. HE CRUSHES But still...she should have been allowed to keep her hair. I don't think women as lovely as her should have to suffer a moment more than they already have to. Brave Raven looks at him sideways. INT. GRANDFATHER WHITE CROW'S HUT Running Elk presses against the wall, feeling out of place as Red Snake, his Grandfather, and Winding Stream continue their ceremony. Grandfather White Crow tilts his head back and SHOUTS in an unfamiliar language that makes Elk's eyebrows furrow. As Red Snake chants and shakes the rattle louder. White Crow's eyes roll back in his head and he collapses. Elk runs over to him, picks him off the dirt. He turns back to yell at Red Snake but freezes in shock. Above Red Snake's head a cloud of orange dust morphs and takes shape. The dust spirals like DNA then solidifies in a coil. The coil twists and transforms into a SNAKE. The huge snake slithers across the ground towards Grandfather White Crow. Winding Stream's eyes are still closed as he beats the drum. Running Elk jumps up to step on its neck but his foot stomps right through. The snake unhinges its jaws and bites through White Crow's moccasins. RUNNING ELK Red Snake, STOP! Elk lunges, tackles Red Snake to the ground. The snake arches its head back and explodes into a cloud of dust. The DUST SIZZLES and fades in seconds. Winding Stream stops drumming and opens his eyes, awakening from his trance. As they wrestle on the ground, Elk clasps his hands around Red Snakes neck. As Red Snake gasps for air he smiles. His pupils pool and transform into snake eye-like slits.

Related Interests