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MICROCOSM

Written by Tony Ruggio

FADE IN: EXT. NORTH TEXAS RIVER - DAY The ebb and flow of a quiet stream. Tranquility is interrupted by a school of dead fish floating down-river. JACOBS (V.O.) Storms coming. INT. FUNERAL HOME - OFFICE - DAY Director JACOBS (mid-30s) hunches behind a desk, eyeing the resume in his hands through a pair of square glasses. Across from him CALEB PAXTON (23) waits for a flicker of hope. Stoic, reserved, hiding any hint of a chink in his armor. JACOBS Figuratively speaking. CALEB Thats what Im hearing. JACOBS Your folks preparing? INT. GROCERY STORE - DAY Frantic SHOPPERS hurry down a busy aisle, grabbing everything they can, as much as they can. Toddlers squeal, children whine, mothers and fathers hush and rush. Canned foods and unperishables fly off the shelves. JACOBS (V.O.) Gotta get those goods while you can. CALEB (V.O.) Yeah, my parents are nutty about that. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - DAY GEORGE PAXTON (early 50s) watches the five oclock news on a 60-inch widescreen like its a cat-and-mouse thriller. GEORGE Martha! Theyre rioting in New York!

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MARTHA PAXTON (mid-40s), apron smeared, oven mits ready for battle, cranes from the kitchen to get a look at the TV. MARTHA Its the end of the world, I tell ya. INT. FUNERAL HOME - OFFICE - DAY Jacobs opens a manilla folder. JACOBS Now, Ive looked over your resume and I have to ask, what does a liberal arts major seek to accomplish at a funeral home? Caleb shrugs, chink revealed. CALEB This was the best I could find. JACOBS (sarcastic) Im flattered. CALEB With all due respect, Mr. Jacobs, I dont mean to condescend-JACOBS Well, as long as you dont MEAN to. CALEB --youre in desperate need of an assistant, and I hold a four, count em, FOUR year degree. That counts for something, right? Caleb smiles weakly. Jacobs glowers. EXT. MAIN STREET - DAY Tight-knit buildings, PEOPLE LOOTING to and from, bicycles carrying STOLEN SHOES and FLAT-SCREEN TELEVISIONS. Small town humility abandoned. Pick-up truck passes through. INT. CALEBS TRUCK - DAY Caleb broods over the steering wheel, doesnt pay any attention to the chaos outside his window. RADIO DJ crackles.

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RADIO DJ (V.O.) Whats crackin, everyone, as you all know its a mere six hours approximate from 12:00 AM. December 21, 2012, here we come! Caleb flicks off the radio with a scoff. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - DAY George on the couch, Christmas tree in the corner, NEWS ANCHOR on the tube. NEWS ANCHOR What were seeing here is unprecedented. From coast to coast: rioting, looting, anarchy in every major city... Caleb strolls through the front door to find Mom serving up dessert and Dad playing with his younger sister LILY (8). Blonde, angelic, with rosy cheeks and a smile that lights up the room. LILY Caleb! Martha carries two small plates to George and Lily. MARTHA I have apple pie! CALEB Dinners over? MARTHA The leftovers are in the fridge. CALEB I told you Id be home at... Lily eats her pie. His parents just stare at him. GEORGE What? Dinners in the fridge. Caleb nods, sighs his way to the kitchen as happy times carry on behind him. Mother, Father and daughter dine on sweets to the blare of a twenty-four hour news cycle. Caleb cuts himself a slice of apple pie, joins them on the couch. Uncomfortable silence.

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CALEB The interview went fine, thanks. Martha looks up from her plate. MARTHA Whats that, sweetie? CALEB My interview-MARTHA You had an interview? Why didnt you tell us? CALEB I did... GEORGE (sarcastic) Way to use that degree, son. MARTHA Oh, that reminds me...whats it like out there? CALEB What do you mean? GEORGE You know what tomorrow is, dont ya? CALEB Its just hysteria, Dad. GEORGE Yeah. Thats what Im talking about. CALEB Okay, what ARE you talking about? GEORGE I got a call from Wilson over at Moovers and Shakers. Says people are looting storefronts left and right. In our LITTLE town there are people rioting. CALEB Whats your point?

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GEORGE The world doesnt have to end for the shit-LILY Hey! George flashes a warm smile. GEORGE pologies, pumpkin. (to Caleb) Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, none of em are necessary for the proverbial pie to hit the fan. The world doesnt have to end. It just has to believe it will. Caleb thinks on it. EXT. SMALL TOWN SUBURBIA - NIGHT Crow bar SHATTERS a window. Men BATTER each other down an alley. Switchblade CARESSES a helpless cheek. Match LIGHTS UP a trash can. LOOTERS, shrouded in black, fan through a neighborhood. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - CALEBS BEDROOM - NIGHT Gust of wind KNOCKS a tree against the window. Caleb wakes with a jolt. Glances at his alarm clock: 11:11 PM. Caleb squints, groggy. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - KITCHEN Lights out. Caleb trudges downstairs, creaky step after creaky step. Opens the fridge, fishes for a glass of milk. Nope. Caleb drinks right out of the carton. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM George and Martha sit up in bed, robes tightly wound, each perusing a copy of Readers Digest. HUNTING RIFLE on the bedstand.

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Martha looks out the window, fingers drumming. MARTHA Im gonna check on the kids. Climbs out of bed. GEORGE Caleb is a grown man. MARTHA Lily isnt. GEORGE Martha. She stops. MARTHA Hes still our boy. GEORGE And when does a boy leave the nest, I wonder? Martha rolls her eyes. MARTHA When his feet are on the ground. GEORGE He started walking at six months. His feet have been on the ground. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM Caleb drops on the couch. Flips on the tube. NEWS ANCHOR (O.S.) Ladies and gentlemen...the City of Angels is on fire. Out of the corner of his eye: a SHADOW flickers by the window. Caleb glances. Nothing. NEWS NCHOR (O.S.) A clash between anarchists and the L.A. riot brigade resulted in eleven fatalities...

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INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LILYS BEDROOM Lily lays in bed, wide awake. Grabs her teddy bear and holds it above her. Giggles. Stuffed animal hovers by moonlight, eyes reflective... ...until a SHADOW engulfs. Lily gasps, whips around to face the window. Nothing. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM NEWS DRONES as Caleb lays on the couch, struggling to stay awake. Clock TICKS on the wall: 11:58 PM. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM Lights out. George and Martha lay in bed. MARTHA What if those people come here? George sighs. GEORGE That is why man, in all his infinite wisdom, invented the gun, my bride. So that he may protect himself and his family from peasants seeking to rob him blind. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM Roof CREAKS. The sound of weight. Caleb opens his eyes. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LILYS BEDROOM Lily climbs out of bed. Approaches the window. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM Clock TICKS. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM Martha sits up.

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INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM Clock STRIKES midnight. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LILYS BEDROOM Lily opens the blinds to discover a HUMANOID SHADOW outside her window. Staring her down with two beady red eyes. Lily screams. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM Caleb sits upright. Head cranes to the stairs. Sprints for them. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM George grabs the rifle. GEORGE Riot scum! Leaps out of bed and Martha follows. Door doesnt budge. George grimaces. GEORGE What--? Rattles it, puts a shoulder into it. Nothing. GEORGE What the hell?! INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LILYS BEDROOM CALEB Lily! Caleb barges in to find blinds closed and Lily whimpering under the covers. Races to her side and rips away the sheets. CALEB What is it? LILY Theres a man outside my window! Tears stream.

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CALEB What?! LILY Look! Points. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM George slams a fist against the door. GEORGE Dammit! INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LILYS BEDROOM Caleb walks to the window, opens the blinds. Nothing. CALEB See? Its nothing. LILY I swear I saw something! CALEB Lily-LILY Grown-ups never believe the child! CALEB Thats because the CHILD has an over-active imagination. Tucks Lily in bed. LILY Do you think its the Grinch? Christmas is only four days away... CALEB The Grinch is a cartoon, Lily. He doesnt exist. You should know that. SCRAPING echoes through the house. Like nails on a chalkboard held up to a microphone. Caleb and Lily fall silent, listening.

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INT. PAXTON HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM George and Martha listen, fear escaping their gawking mouths. MARTHA What IS that? SCRAPING gives way to an EXPLOSION OF GLASS. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LILYS BEDROOM LILY Caleb! CALEB Cmon. Picks up Lily. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - STAIRCASE Caleb carries Lily downstairs. Stops in his tracks, lets her down on the steps. CALEB Stay right here. GEORGE (O.S.) Caleb! CALEB! CALEB Hold on! Runs upstairs. MARTHA (O.S.) Honey, are you all right?! Returns wearing slippers and carrying a pair of Lilys. Slips them on her feet, continues down into-INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM Covered in glass. All the windows shattered. LILY What happened? CALEB I dont know.

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GEORGE (O.S.) Caleb! Caleb hurries to the master bedroom. Stares at the door handle: no lock, no barrier. Nothing. GEORGE (O.S.) CALEB! Open the door! Caleb tries it. Door doesnt budge. Puts a shoulder into it. Not an inch. SCRAPING again. Lily screams. MARTHA (O.S.) Lily! GEORGE (O.S.) Caleb, whats going on out there?! Caleb turns with Lily. HUMANOID SHADOW flickers across the couch. LILY Im scared, Caleb. SCRAPING intensifies. Louder. Caleb lets Lily to the floor, walks to the center of the room. LILY Caleb? Clock on the wall TICKS BACKWARD, in sync with each step Caleb takes. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - CALEBS BEDROOM Alarm clock does the same. Stops at 11:11. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM Clock on the wall stops at 11:11. Caleb faces the couch, eyes glazed over. He loses control of his body. Legs buckle without bending. Back slides to the floor. Paralyzed. Caleb watches as a SHADOW PERSON MATERIALIZES IN FRONT OF HIM. Black body, red eyes, and the outline of a black fedora hat swiveling on its head. Lily covers her mouth, wanting to scream. Caleb can only move his lips.

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CALEB What do you want? CHUCKLING echoes. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM George and Martha hear it. GEORGE CALEB? CALEB (O.S.) Stay in your room. George and Martha look at each other. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM A high-pitched echo, neither male nor female, emanates from the red orbs glowing over Caleb. SHADOW Humans. Always trying to prove yourself. Failing. CALEB What do you want from us? SHADOW Want? Nothing. You think we desire what you have? LAUGHTER. SHADOW Such arrogant creatures. Believe you are it. Believe the universe revolves around you. Believe the end of Earth is the end of the world. Pout and pillage when you believe it might perish. CALEB We? SHADOW There is no alphabet for our name. Lily lets out a squeal. Shadow turns toward her.

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LILY Daddy... INT. PAXTON HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM GEORGE Thats it. Cocks the hammer. INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM CALEB Leave her alone. SHADOW Humans... INT. PAXTON HOUSE - MASTER BEDROOM George aims the rifle at the door handle. GEORGE Lily, go to the kitchen! INT. PAXTON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM Lily scurries down the hall, ducks inside the kitchen. SHADOW ...you wish to be alone. GUNSHOT rings. George blows the hinges. Kicks the door open and rushes in. Rifle VANISHES from his hands. Rifles shadow remains, drifts across the floor. Reaches the couch and MATERIALIZES IN SHADOWS HAND. George and Martha gawk, paralyzed on their feet. Shadow holds up the rifle. SHADOW Infinite wisdom. (chuckles) You WISH. CALEB Why--

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SHADOW --are we here? Tosses the rifle aside. SHADOW THE question. Isnt it? Raises a hand. SHADOW Come. They can move again. Caleb stands, slowly. George motions to Lily cowering at the refrigerator. She runs into his arms. Shadow DISAPPEARS. REAPPEARS at the front door. Motions, front door opens. Caleb, George, Lily, and Martha follow it outside. EXT. PAXTON HOUSE - NIGHT They walk out to find SHADOWS standing side by side with humans on every front lawn along their neighborhood street. LILY Daddy? George and Martha are speechless. SHADOW You are a microcosm. You are ONE being. You are ONE dimension. There are others. GROUP OF SHADOWS MATERIALIZE on the Paxtons lawn. Eyes glow. Hats swivel. SHADOW The world is bigger than your rock. Turns to Caleb. SHADOW Time to leave the nest. CUT TO BLACK.

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