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TRACE

Written by Isabella Carson

FADE IN: INT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY BEN, an unshaven twenty-three year old, sits alone at a table in a crowded coffee shop. Hes absentmindedly ripping his empty cardboard cup to shreds. His hands are a raw, freshly scrubbed pink. A figure appears behind him. OLD WOMAN (O.S.) Excuse me, sir? Are you using this chair? An OLD WOMAN with garish blue hair gestures at the chair across from him. The chair is empty. BEN (startled) Oh...no. You can have it. The chair starts its painfully slow pilgrimage across the cafe. It makes a hideous screeching noise as the old woman drags it against the linoleum floor. BEN (CONTD) Here. Let me help. Where are you sitting? She gestures across the room. Ben lifts the chair and sets it at her table. OLD WOMAN (sitting down) Thank you, dear. She sits alone at the table. Ben looks at the empty chair across from her, confused. OLD WOMAN (CONTD) (wistfully) For my husband. I still have coffee with him every afternoon. She produces a picture of a jolly-looking old man. She tucks it into the tables napkin dispenser. He gives her a sympathetic smile and turns to leave the shop.

2. OLD WOMAN (CONTD) (concerned) You have something on the back of your shirt. He stops in the doorway, craning awkwardly to see his own back. A bloody handprint is smudged down the light blue linen. He looks back at the old woman, horrified. Everyone in the room suddenly falls silent and turns to look at Ben. He surveys the cold, calculating faces of the BARISTAS and the SILICON VALLEY TYPES working on their laptops. Across the room, a TODDLER IN A STROLLER giggles. Her teeth are small but definite fangs. Ben looks back at the old woman again. She smiles. Her pupils are growing, turning her eyes an inky black. EXT. STREET - CONTINUOUS Ben lurches out of the coffee shop. He grows increasingly paranoid, his pace intensifying as he moves down the sidewalk. The PEDESTRIANS he passes stop in their tracks, following him with suspicious eyes. He breaks into a run, sprinting the last block until he reaches a run-down apartment building. He punches in the security code and opens the door. INT. APARTMENT BUILDING - CONTINUOUS Ben stands in the dilapidated lobby, breathless, pressing the elevator button desperately. A well-dressed BUSINESSMAN walks up to stand beside him, his footsteps echoing off the tile floor. The businessman slowly turns to look at him with the same menacing expression as the passers-by on the street. Ben bolts across the lobby. He runs up four flights of stairs until he reaches an abnormally small door on the top floor. INT. APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS Ben bursts into the open apartment. Its chicly decorated and spotlessly clean. He approaches the kitchen apprehensively.

3. HEIDIS blood-soaked body lies crumpled on the kitchen floor. A bloody butcher knife rests on the counter. Ben lets out a hopeless groan. BEN (whispering) Fuck, fuck, fuck... He kneels down, crying over the corpse. BEN (CONTD) Im so sorry, Heidi, Im so sorry. I didnt mean to, baby. I got scared. Im sorry. He rises back to his feet, taking deep breaths in an effort to calm down. He has an idea. He fumbles through the kitchen drawers, the contents of which are a tangled mess of incidental objects. BEN (CONTD) (frustrated) Goddamnit, Heidi! He procures a pair of rubber dish gloves from under the sink and puts them on. He carefully washes the handle of the knife. He places it into Heidis limp hand, taking care to press her fingertips firmly against the handle. He searches frantically through the kitchen drawers, eventually finding a pen and a piece of paper. He begins to write, in feminine script: INSERT - BEN WRITES Im so sorry for the pain that my actions will cause. I felt that I had no other choice. Please forgive me. All my love, Heidi He begins to sniffle frantically again, a few tear drops falling onto the paper. He walks back to the kitchen and lays the letter on the counter. He shudders at the gory scene in front of him, vomiting suddenly into the trash can. He paces the kitchen, his back to Heidis body. He takes his phone from his pocket and dials.

4. BEN (CONTD) (frantically) My girlfriend...theres blood everywhere. I dont know what happened...theres a note...Oh god...Oh Jesus... He pauses while the operator speaks. BEN (CONTD) 198 East Madison. Please hurry...Oh God. He hangs up. A stray piece of paper has appeared on the coffee table in the otherwise spotless living room. He walks to it, picks it up, and begins to read. INSERT - THE LETTER Dear Mom, I am too weary to go on living in this hell. I love you and Im sorry. Yours, Ben The letter drops from his hands, floating down to the floor. He walks slowly back into the kitchen. An indistinct figure swiftly crosses behind him, unnoticed. The gore-stained kitchen floor is empty. He turns around, terror-stricken. A bloodied Heidi sits quietly on the couch, eyes downcast, her posture immaculate. HEIDI (sweetly) Baby... He begins to sputter, backing away from her. Sirens float up from the street below. Heidi looks up at him, her irises solid black. Ben moans in fear. HEIDI (CONTD) You have something on the back of your shirt.

FADE OUT.

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