PARASITES

The SUN burns bright, a furnace boiling in the pure blue sky. We PULL BACK to reveal EXT. WOODS, AERIAL VIEW - DAY We swoop over acres of pine, snow glistening from the treetops - a perfect day. The trees rush under us as we approach the treeline and dive into the EXT. WOODS - CONTINUOUS Tracking through a path in the forest, we join a DEER as it bounds across the snow, ducking and weaving between the trees and suddenly it STOPS, eyes alert. It darts across into the woods but we don’t follow, picking up HUMAN FOOTPRINTS in the snow. The tracks lead us up the cleared path to a EXT. WOODEN HOUSE - CONTINUOUS Isolated. The door wide open, swinging in the wind. The tracks lead right to the door and through intoINT. WOODEN HOUSE - CONTINUOUS The HALLWAY, stuffed with coats and boots. We pass through into the LIVING ROOM Where we stop. The back of a chair, we see the BACK OF A HEAD, someone sitting motionless. A fire roars to one side. A moment of quiet as nothing moves except the fire, fluttering under the mantel. After a long beat, a GUST OF WIND and simultaneously -- the fire flickers aggressively and -- the door SLAMS shut.

2.

The person doesn’t move an inch. A very long beat until We close in to the EAR of the head, revealing a trickle of blood. INT. VIOLET’S OLD HOME (FLASHBACK) - DAY BEGIN MONTAGE -- YOUNG VIOLET (5), cute as a button, pushes open a BEDROOM door to reveal VIOLET’S MOTHER (30), young and fresh, sleeping in a bed alone. Violet rushes in and bounces excitedly on the bed. Violet’s Mother rolls sleepily around, smiling and gives Violet a hug, ruffling her hair. -- Young Violet sits at a table in the KITCHEN, curtains drawn. In the gloom, Violet’s Mother enters with a cake showing 5 candles. She passes Violet a card. Violet hastily opens the card to reveal a hand written note on a scrap of paper. -- Violet carries the note to some DRAWERS in a HALLWAY. She looks up to her mother who gives an encouraging nod. Violet opens them, rifles through to collect a SECOND NOTE. -- Violet moves quickly now, understanding the game and lifts a plant pot in the LIVING ROOM to reveal a THIRD NOTE. She reads it and looks excitedly to her mother, who smiles. -- Violet dashes OUTSIDE the house to where a RABBIT is bouncing around the garden. She looks up to her mother, unbelieving. Violet runs over, stops a minute and heads back into the house. Her mother stands outside confused until Violet returns with a CARROT. She crouches at the edge of the pen and coaxes the rabbit towards her. She scoops it up, cuddles it. -- Violet’s mother and Violet (OLDER, now 8) are in a CLOTHING STORE. Violet’s mother selects an item out - a fancy dress for a date - and puts it up to her body. Violet gives two thumbs up. -- Violet’s mother, back in the HOUSE and wearing her new dress sets up a camera on a wall and heads over to Violet.

3.

The rabbit bounds over, Violet picks it and through the POV of the camera we see the gang of three and FREEZE END MONTAGE We PULL BACK to reveal a photo in INT. VIOLET’S BEDROOM (PRESENT) - MORNING VIOLET BROWN, 15 and feeling it. She’s dressed in her school best, but Violet doesn’t fit the clothes - she’s cut from a different cloth. She stares at the photo. EXT. SCHOOL - MORNING Small town; private school. Cars pull up. INT. SCHOOL HALL - MORNING Daylight illuminates a dusty school stage. A BALDING TEACHER (50) stands at the pulpit. BALDING TEACHER ...such a wonderful array of talent present... His voice drifts down to the attendant CROWD, a collage of parent-child partnerships, mums and dads gushing pride until... an empty chair. TEETH gnaw at the skin on a finger belonging to Violet, who sits alone on the end of the row, insulated by the vacant chair. BALDING TEACHER (CONT’D) Well, you didn’t come here to listen to me go on... Violet is clutching a cute sculpted wooden model rabbit, sitting upright, ears erect. BALDING TEACHER (CONT’D) So here to present the contestants for the Miles Foundation Scholarship - Mrs Barbara Miles. Enter BARBARA MILES (44), chiselled soccer-mom, who saunters across the stage to tickles of applause.

4.

Violet looks over her shoulder towards HARRIET HARBOTTLE (15), who returns a warm smile of encouragement. Mrs. Miles takes the pulpit with a firm grip. MRS. MILES Thank you. This scholarship has long allowed exceptional children in varying fields without the requisite means A THUD as the chair jolts Violet. She turns to see BARRY (15), staring off into deliberate ignorance. MRS. MILES (CONT’D) Our first contestant is Milton McManus. Come on up Milton! Applause masks another thud to Violet’s chair. She turns quickly, this time her face going straight into Barry’s awaiting hand. His face curdles into a smile, 15 years of wispy growth curtaining his top lip. VIOLET (whispering) Knock it off! She turns back around, focusing on the stage. She looks at the rabbit for support. BARRY (whispering) It’s not real, you do know that. (beat) You’re so weird. She shrugs. VIOLET Normal is relative. The surrounding parents pretend not to notice, focusing on MILTON (16) onstage as he holds up a clock that reaches zero and opens a set of prop curtains. Ripples of applause. MRS. MILES Now that’s just marvellous. Thank you Milton. Truly compelling. Now, let’s see, who do we have next... Violet Brown! Violet looks past Barry to see Harriet give a fist pump. Initial applause dies to a hushed silence.

5.

She composes herself, rising from her seat Realising too late that her laces are attached to the chair leg CRASHES to the ground. Rabbit ears race across the floor, the sound echoing through the silent hall. Violet lies there for a second. Her eyes drift to rabbit, then its ears. The hall is hushed, watching. She looks up to see the faces of Harriet, ESTHER and ZIPPORAH (who we will meet more later), all prim and proper. They all look away awkwardly. Up at Milton, he does the same. Violet slowly kicks off her shoes, still prone. Gets up. She moves forward and slowly but deliberately collects the pieces of her rabbit. Straightens herself out and walks towards the stage, toes poking out from the holes in her tights. Stands at the pulpit, lip trembling. EXT. SCHOOL - LATER Violet trudges away from the grand reception, her bag slung over her back. Behind her, children play in the snow covered school fields. EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY Violet slopes down the side of a busy road. EXT. SHOPPING MALL, ROAD - DAY A white rabbit. We pull back to reveal it’s the sign on a clothing store. Violet stares from across the road, entranced. Cars roar past. She steps out, gravity pulling her towards the shop. A blast of horns and screeches as cars swerve and halt around her.

6.

She snaps out of it, raises her hand it apology and dashes finishes her crossing. INT. CLOTHING STORE - LATER Violet browses a rack of t-shirts, still dressed in her school clothes. Shoes now retrieved. The bell rings at the front of the store and ANNA MARTINEZ (28), a tangle of hair extensions and bad relationships comes in, heads straight for the counter. Anna picks up a big stack of leaflets. ANNA (to cashier) Not many takers? The SHOP ASSISTANT shrugs. Anna nods acceptance. She wanders over to the teenage section and starts browsing near Violet. She picks one out, then looks at her phone. Brings up a picture and checks it against the shirt. The same. The shirt is pretty ugly. She holds onto it but starts to flick through the rack. Picks up another one. Smiles, more her thing. VIOLET Definitely the second one. ANNA You sure? VIOLET And definitely not that one. Anna takes another glance. ANNA I know what you mean but... Anna holds up the first shirt. Then the second one. ANNA (CONT’D) I guess this one is nicer. Holds the first up towards Violet. Violet shakes. The second; Violet nods.

7.

ANNA (CONT’D) OK then, guess I’m going to go against the curve. (beat) It’s Violet right. Are you going to come tomorrow? I hate to have a onetimer on my books. VIOLET Maybe. Violet watches as she pays for the shirt and leaves before wandering up to the counter. Violet picks up the last remaining leaflet that Anna missed.

TEEN RANGERS CAMPING WEEKENDER
EXT. HOUSE - LATER THAT NIGHT A row of small bungalows. Anna is walking in front of them. She turns abruptly towards A SMALL BUNGALOW She takes a breath, readying herself for something. In her hand is the shopping bag from the store. Knocks. Waits. Goosepimples rise. No answer. She looks to the windows. Lights are on upstairs. She grabs a phone from her pocket and scrolls down to ‘AMBER’, dials. A green phone appears momentarily on the screen. A second later, it flashes to red. She’s rejected the call. Frustrated, Anna raps lightly on the door. ANNA (under her breath) Come on Amber. Nothing stirs inside. She raps again lightly, increasing the volume as she frustration builds until finally she is banging on the door. A light flickers on downstairs. She waits patiently at the door. Nothing happens. She looks in the bag and pulls out the t-shirt from earlier.

8.

Looks up at the window. Tucks it back in the bag and rests it against the door. She’s about to leave when the door creaks open to reveal AMBER (15), preppy with a nose that begs to be looked down. The house emits a glow of well-to-do warmth, chardonnay and chortles. Amber gives Anna a look - well? AMBER You should’ve called. ANNA I know. I brought you something for tomorrow. She reaches down and passes the bag. Amber opens it and inspects the shirt. She looks confused. AMBER Great. ANNA Nice, no? AMBER You couldn’t even get the right one. ANNA I know it’s not the one you asked for. But I saw it and I thought maybeAMBER Thought that you knew better than me what I wanted? Amber pushes the door closed. ANNA Amber, wait. She turns round. ANNA (CONT’D) Maybe I could come by tomorrow morning? Just for a second. AMBER Dad’s taking us for a spa day and then shopping for a car. (ungrateful) But thanks for the shirt. (MORE)

9. AMBER (CONT'D) And Janice wants you to take the car out of the driveway. It’s been a month.

She closes the door. Anna waits a second, then kicks a plant pot. Anna looks around. Where now? Her beat up Ford. She ambles over, fumbling with her keys and gets in. INT. FORD - CONTINUOUS She slams the door and puts the key in the ignition. The dashboard lights come. The fuel light blinks red. Turns the key. A throaty cough and the car dies. Tries again. It’s done for. She pounds the steering wheel. EXT. HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER Anna takes another look at the house. The light goes out. She turns and starts walking. EXT. FOREST ROAD - LATER Anna trudges through the snow on the roadside. Her breath condenses, swirling around her. Lights twinkle from the town left behind and suddenly Anna seems very isolated, vulnerable. The dark of the surrounding forest seems to seep into the road. Anna’s arms squeeze tight, trying to fight the cold. Wind crackles the trees and we get the feeling that maybe something is rustling in the forest too. EXT. TEEN RANGERS HQ - NIGHT The moonlight silhouette of a creepy, run down building. Anna trudges towards it, visibly tired and shivering. There’s a finality about her approach that suggests for tonight, this is home.

10.

EXT. TEEN RANGERS HQ - MORNING The light now reveals the building to be a cheap wooden hut. Pine trees surround its edges, punctuated by clumps of hardened snow. On its side is a rusted plaque, the snow brushed away with a hand print. TEEN RANGERS HQ, SUPPORTED BY THE MILES FOUNDATION. A CATERPILLAR crawls its way across the top and goes in through a CRACK in the building. INT. TEEN RANGERS HQ - MORNING The caterpillar squeezes through a small tunnel, pushing past cobwebs and dusty insulation. It reaches a bundle of wiring and rattles downwards to a dangling light bulb. It loses its balance and falls down next to Anna, crumpled in a heap in the corner of the room, wrapped in her coat and a dirty blanket. Bowl of noodles next to her. She’s still sleeping. INT. VIOLET’S BEDROOM - MORNING Tiny, cheap. Hand drawn pictures smatter the wall, alongside the photo of her and her mother. An argument can be head next door, muffled voices echoing through the walls. A small roller bag sits on the top of a neatly made bed, half full. Violet’s legs poke out from underneath the bed, twisting and jerking. UNDERNEATH THE BED Violet rummages through a box of odds and ends before settling on something. BACK TO THE BEDROOM Violet tucks an artist’s carving knife into her pocket. She looks up and grabs the photo of her and her mother, gives it a look and puts it in the bag. INT. TEEN RANGERS HQ - MORNING POV: We watch Anna from the corner of the room. Approach slowly, tentatively.

11.

ESTHER JACKSON (16), who we might recognise from the school hall, stands over Anna. ESTHER Anna? She nudges Anna with her foot. ESTHER (CONT’D) Hey, Anna? You’re looking real classy right now. Anna wakes with a start. Looks at her watch. ANNA Shit. INT. VIOLET’S HOUSE - MORNING Violet creeps out of her room, every step deliberate and slow. Shouts rumble around the house. Down a STAIRWAY and towards the front door out toEXT. VIOLET’S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS Violet gently closes the door and makes her way down a very short shovelled pathway to the kerb. Houses are packed in side by side, the town planners concerned with quantity rather than quality. Canadian flags fly. Violent trundles down the road, feet crunching the rock salt covering the kerb, evidence of salt stains up her trousers before arriving at a BUS STOP EXT. TEEN RANGERS HQ - MORNING Anna is elbow deep in the hood of a rickety old bus, trying to manage a bulky coat and the delicacy of the operation. She pops up for air before diving back in, a well rehearsed routine. Out for a wrench, she gives it a tweak. Her clothes covered in oil. She looks pleased. She moves round inside the INT. BUS, TEEN RANGERS HQ - CONTINUOUS And pulls out a clump of keys, with a bright red bottle opener declaring ‘Don’t get sad, get mad’.

12.

Keys into ignition... choke... splutter... it dies. EXT. BUS STOP - SAME TIME Violet sits down and looks hopefully down the road. No cars. Not a soul in sight. She swings her legs under the bench. EXT. TEEN RANGERS HQ - DAY ANNA Esther! INT. TEEN RANGERS HQ - CONTINUOUS ANNA (O.S.) Esther! Esther surveys a backpack laid out on the floor of a small hallway. The contents are scattered on the floor. Snow shoes, snow pants, crampons - all have seen better days. She rolls her eyes, raises his head towards the shouts. EXT. BUS STOP - MORNING Violet stares down the road unflinchingly as the wind picks up and starts to batter the side of the shelter. INT. BUS, TEEN RANGERS HQ - MORNING Esther sits at the wheel of the bus. Through the windshield we see Anna back in the hood. She looks up to Esther giving a thumbs up. She takes a step back. Esther reaches to the ignition, with a look of excitement. Choke...... ROAR! EXT. BUS STOP - DAY The ROAR continues as we ANGLE ON a bus, pistons pumping towards the shelter in the distance. It’s loud. Violet’s face remains unmoved as she stares towards her impending redemption. The wind swirls around her as if she was the eye of the tornado. Her eyes don’t flinch. The low rumble gets louder, thundering towards her. The reflection in the glass shows the bus growing in size as it approaches.

13.

The noise of the wind and the engine become almost deafening, yet Violet is a statue, eyes of glass. The indicator blinks in the reflection. Still focused on Violet, still staring. The bus arrives in the reflection and pulls to a halt, indicator flashing in Violet’s eyes. She moves to stand when suddenly SOMETHING FALLS onto her shoulder with a squelch. Violet jumps and takes a minute. Just a clump of snow. She brushes it off and gets into the off screen bus. We stay on the clump of snow. The sound of the bus drives off. Something black shakes its way free from the snow and scuttles across burying into fresher snow. Was it an earwig? EXT. SUBURBIA - MORNING Behind the clad walls, men’s wives are frying up bacon whilst they are outside clearing snow from the driveway. This isn’t sexist; this is suburbia. ZIPPORAH (’ZEFRA’) JONES (16), who again we may recognise from the school hall, looks athletic, used to the outdoors, strides down the kerb. On her back is a 70 litre backpack, stuffed with all the right kit to make a trip away pleasurable. She has a hiking pole tucked under her arm as she carries two coffees. She passes a string of post boxes, drawing curious glances from a MAN, shovel in hand. After the fourth, she takes a turn up the driveway. The house is the kind of compact that smacks of Swedish design and wealth combined. Zipporah bangs on the door. There is a bit of a commotion behind the door. MILTON (16) answers, part of the new wave where science is cool. Hipster glasses to prove it. She thrusts a coffee in his hand. ZIPPORAH The bus leaves in ten minutes. You ready?

14.

MILTON I’ve still got some bits to do. You go ahead, I’ll see you there. ZIPPORAH Nah, it’s cool, I’ll wait. She barges her way in. INT. MILTON’S KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS It’s tasteful. Clean lines of pine frame the kitchen. One familiar set of curtains stand out, the elephant in the room. Ugly. As sin. ZIPPORAH Did you force them to put these up? Zipporah grabs a remote from the table and pushes the button. The curtains behind him close and reopen with a motorised whir. MILTON My mom says they are “wonderful”. He appreciates that they are not. She grabs the remote. ZIPPORAH Too soft your parents. It’s a wonder you turned out alright. MILTON And yet... He gestures to himself. ZIPPORAH (off the curtains) Maybe I’m being too generous. She pushes the remote and the curtains close again. ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) Still I’d be interested to know how you made them... if you wanted to show me some time. MILTON Listen, don’t miss the bus. I’ve still got a few things to pack up and no point you hanging around. ZIPPORAH You throwing me out?

15.

MILTON I try to steer clear of physical ejection if possible, it’s just DING DONG. Milton gives an awkward glance towards Zipporah then leaves her in the kitchen to get the door. MILTON (O.S.) (CONT’D) (hesitation in his voice) Hi. GIRL’S VOICE (O.S.) That’s the kind of enthusiasm I like for someone who’s gone out of her way to pick you up. Right? Zipporah clicks the remote. The low whir of the motor reveals Harriet standing at the door. BRAND NEW CAR running behind. HARRIET (O.S.) Is that Harriet subsides from view as Milton lets her in. They both enter the kitchen. There’s a moment of potential awkwardness until Harriet breaks it, apparently without having ever noticed it. HARRIET (CONT’D) Zipporah! Great, are you getting a lift too? Gonna be super fun, right? EXT. TEEN RANGERS HQ - LATER THAT MORNING The brand new car is parked outside the hut. EXT. TEEN RANGERS HQ - MORNING It’s cold and crisp. Anna is carrying a clipboard, pen primed to check items off. In front of her are Milton, Barry, Harriet, Esther and Zipporah. Anna is at Esther. ANNA Emergency rations? ESTHER Yeah. ANNA And spare thermals?

16.

ESTHER They were on the list, right? ANNA Right. But does that mean they made it into your bag? ESTHER Alright, alright, I’ll check. She stars rummaging in her bag. Next in line is Zipporah. ANNA Zipporah, you good? ZIPPORAH Ecstatic. Anna rolls her eyes. ANNA OK, then I think we’re done. Milton, Harriet, Barry, get the bags on the bus. BARRY (sarcastic, sycophantic) Of course, Miss Martinez. ANNA Alright Barry, let’s turn that enthusiasm into some action. Her voice trails off as something catches her eye. At the end of the long drive up to HQ appears Violet, dragging the roller bag across the gravel. The wheels aren’t turning and the ground snow is getting clumped in the mechanism. After along and torturous arrival, Violet lines up, covered in dirt. ANNA (CONT’D) Glad you could make it. Never had a one-timer. BARRY Shame about yesterday, right? I think you should’ve won. Really nice piece. But you can’t compete with true innovators like Milton here. Ain’t that right Milton? MILTON Leave it out Barry.

17.

ANNA Alright, enough flirting. Anna looks at the roller bag. It’s only going to be of use on a short haul cabin flight. ANNA (CONT’D) I’m guessing that doesn’t go on your back. VIOLET It’s all I could get. Anna nods, thinking. ANNA I think we can rustle you up a rucksack. Barry, go fetch one from the store room. His eyes narrow. ANNA (CONT’D) Come on, I’ve got a lunch date next Tuesday I need to make. EXT. BUS, TEEN RANGERS HQ - LATER ANNA Alright, everyone on board. VIOLET Wait! Violet grabs her bag from the luggage compartment, removes the photo of her mother and then pushes it back in. Comes round to the bus door where Anna is holding out a bag. ANNA OK, all technology in here. This is a nature weekend, not a cellphone convention. You might even have to talk to each other. (off Esther’s look) I know Esther, shocking right? ESTHER No problem. I’ve been practicing my anecdotes. They all trudge onto the bus, dropping their phones in the bag. We see Zipporah pick out TWO PHONES, then slides one back into her pocket before dropping the other in the bag.

18.

Anna pops the hood on the bus. ANNA POV: ENGINE She checks the engine. Feels OK. Slams the hood to see Barry, loitering. It startles Anna. BARRY Everything OK? She smiles. ANNA Just great, thanks. Are you OK? Barry nods suspiciously and slithers onto the bus. INT. BUS - MOMENTS LATER Anna sits at the front. She pops her Teen Rangers beanie on, tweaks the mirror to see the kids scattered in the group. Their teeth chatter in the chill of the bus. ANNA Alright, all good to go? Mutters from behind. ANNA (CONT’D) OK, I’ll take that as unbridled enthusiasm. She cranks up the radio, which starts pumping out some 80’s pop, blasts the heaters and everyone mellows. She checks the GPS on the front dash. Looks correct. A crank of the key, a splutter and the bus starts up. EXT. ROAD - MORNING The bus winds through densely wooded forest. Snow blankets the area, reflecting the bright morning sun. The roads are clear. SUPER: NORTHERN ONTARIO INT. BUS - MORNING BACK SEATS Violet carves “V.B.” into the back of the seat. Harriet chews on some candy. She catches Violet doing it.

19.

HARRIET Listen, I’m sorry about what happened. VIOLET Don’t see why. It wasn’t your fault. HARRIET No but... (beat) You’re not from around here. VIOLET No, I’m from here. It’s just here changes quite often. HARRIET That’s cool. Harriet offers her a sweet. HARRIET (CONT’D) It’s nice here. DRIVER SEAT The 80s pop starts to crackle as they head out of range. Anna wiggles the dial and the radio cycles frequencies. RADIO ...I’ve never seen anything... today Stephen Harper... front coming west... oui, mais il les mange... The fuel light flickers on. Anna finds some more pop tunes. ANNA (shouts back) We’re gonna take a rest stop at the next gas station. EXT. GAS STATION - MORNING The bus pulls into a run down gas station, all cracked paint, Maple Leaf posters and unshovelled snow. INT. BUS - CONTINUOUS The group rushes to get off the bus. ANNA OK guys, go stretch your legs. It’s 9:10 now, you need to be back here at 9:20. Don’t go too far.

20.

Esther peers outside at the bleak landscape. ESTHER Where are we going to go? EXT. GAS STATION - CONTINUOUS Everyone piles off the bus, scurrying towards the shop to stock up on snacks. Violet lags behind and stops and starts piling up snow. Anna spots her and slows as everyone else heads off. ANNA You don’t want anything from the shop? It’s a veritable treasure trove if high calorie snacks are your thing. VIOLET No, I’m OK. Anna pulls out a five dollar bill. ANNA Go on, treat yourself. It’s a holiday. VIOLET Hey, if it’s not organic, I don’t touch it. (then, genuine) How did the t-shirt go down? It was a gift, right? (beat) Unless you’re just reliving your youth. Anna smiles. ANNA It was perfect, thanks. EXT. GAS STATION - LATER Violet is piling snow on snow and has made pretty decent stab at a rabbit, all tucked up. She puts a piece of gravel in as an eye. Behind her, a CASHIER (30) is filling the bus, joking with Anna. A SNOW HARE bounds past in the distance, in a hurry to get somewhere... or away from something. Violet starts to follow the hare as it sprints into the surrounding forest.

21.

As she reaches the forest edge, Barry exits the shop behind her and makes his way onto the bus, alone. EXT. WOODS - CONTINUOUS The snow crunches underfoot as she speeds up, following the tracks of the rabbit. She gets deeper into the woods, no longer able to see the gas station. And then - nothing. The tracks disappear. Violet stops, disappointed and crouches down. She pulls out a knife and starts carving on the wood. ‘V.B.’ A flash of movement, too quick to catch. Violet scans again. The hare darts out of a shelter, wood cobbled together. It darts back in. She gets up and starts towards it. The hare flies out again and away into the woods. Violet approaches towards the shelter, when she notices BONES in small pile on the inside. They look like they could be human. She steps back, stumbles and falls, before getting herself back up and sprinting back towards the gas station. EXT. GAS STATION - MOMENTS LATER CASHIER That’s it, you’re all set. Be sure to stop past on your way back. Violet FLIES out of the woods. ANNA Will do if I survive this weekend. Hurry up Violet, we’ve got to go! CASHIER Don’t worry yourself, you got a few hours til it gets heavy. Right? Ain’t that far to the camp. Violet arrives, breathless. VIOLET Bones. There are bones in the wood. CASHIER Goddamn wolves. They’ll eat most anything. ANNA You OK?

22.

VIOLET Yes, it’s just... Yes I’m fine. EXT. VIOLET’S OLD HOME (FLASHBACK) -- Violet’s mother is still in her evening dress. She talks (unheard) to Violet, who is hugging her rabbit. It’s like she’s saying goodbye. EXT. GAS STATION The bus pulls away and onto the road. SERIES OF SHOTS -- The bus pulls up to a junction, clouded in trees. Straight ahead, a larger road. Left is smaller, tighter. It turns off to the left. -- Anna looks out the window at snow clouds up ahead. She looks at the clock. 11:12AM. She guns the gas pedal. -- The crankshaft rotates at increasing speed. -- The GPS is showing a windy S shape route on the map. Anna looks at it confused. This isn’t right. -- Crankshaft turning, faster, faster, starting to rattle. -- The bus skids on a little on a patch of ice as we CUT TO: INT. BUS - SAME TIME ESTHER Hey Miss, take it easy. Anna scrutinises the GPS. Violet stares serenely from the window. ANNA (O.S.) (reassuring) It’s OK, it was just CRASH! A DEER jumps out from the woods, its antlers smashing through the glass, just past Anna’s head. Blood drops and shattered glass pollute the air. Anna instinctively ducks, pulling the steering wheel with her. The bus jerks violently to one side. Through the windshield we see it’s heading straight towards a TREE.

23.

EXT. BUS - CONTINUOUS The wheels skid off the side of the road. The back wheel hits the dead Deer’s body, the bus topples onto its side, skidding into the tree. FADE OUT. EXT. VIOLET’S OLD HOME (FLASHBACK) -- The rabbit struggles in Violet’s arms and she drops it. It sprints off. Violet looks alarmed. Violet’s mother turns to run after it. The rabbit bounds into the ROAD. Violet’s mother follows. Her foot hits the tarmac. Her heel breaks. She crashes to the floor and looks up toEXT. FOREST - LATER WINDSHIELD A crack runs down the windshield, a wiper trying in vain to do its duty. Through the glass we see Anna, bloody, a mess. FOREST Trees pierce the snow with alarming consistency, providing the only interest in the flat topography. A light snowfall. Deer tracks lead into the forest. INT. BUS The clock is blinking 12:05PM. The GPS is cracked but lit. Nothing stirs. EXT. FOREST The bus sits in a moment’s solitude, alone in the forest. POV: Something watches the bus from behind the trees. It starts its approach.

24.

INT. BUS Anna is still slumped over the driving wheel. We track back through the bus. Everyone droops towards the windows, their safety belts cocooning them in mid air. Esther’s head rests on Zipporah’s shoulder. Barry stirs, woozy but limited motion. Milton is recovering, checking on Harriet. Violet, slung in mid-air. EXT. BUS - SAME TIME Petrol pours from the tank, running down the length of the bus. INT. BUS Harriet unclips herself and lands with a thud on the windows that now form the floor. EXT. BUS - SAME TIME The bus shifts slightly with the weight change. INT. BUS - CONTINUOUS Milton feels his necks. ESTHER (from the front of the bus) Dude! What the eff! Barry looks annoyed. BARRY Please, shut up. My head hurts. Violet tries to unclip her belt. Won’t budge. ESTHER What’s that smell? Harriet clambers eagerly over seats towards the front of the bus towards Anna. EXT. BUS - SAME TIME The bus shifts significantly, the metal frame skidding off the asphalt.

25.

A spark catches the petrol and a flame sprints up the side of the bus. INT. BUS - CONTINUOUS DRIVER SEAT Harriet places her arm gently on Anna’s shoulder. Milton rushes behind. MILTON Be careful! Her neck. Harriet gives Milton a look and very lightly reaches out again to Anna’s shoulder. Anna bolts into life, sending Harriet backwards in shock. ANNA Uh! HARRIET Ahh! It takes a second, then Anna is straight back on point. ANNA You OK? Is everyone OK? HARRIET Yeah... Everyone’s fine. Are you OK? ANNA Yeah, yeah. (thinks) I’m fine. EXT. BUS - CONTINUOUS Flames lick the underside of the bus, unseen by its inhabitants. Plumes of smoke start to coalesce in the air. INT. BUS - SAME TIME All the kids clamber forward, crowding the driver seat. Gasoline starts to flood, visible through the windows facing the ground. Anna sees it and starts thrashing at her safety belt.

26.

ANNA (calm) Kids, make your way slowly but surely out the back door. ESTHER Hey no problem Anna, we’ll get you out of here faster thanANNA Guys, I mean now. They look at each other confused until Harriet clocks the gas too. HARRIET Come on Esther I know she said slowly but you gotta actually move. They start to file away. Anna catches the buckle and crashes onto the floor. Violet is still stuck. Barry leads them past. BARRY Come on Violet, no time to hang around. Esther turns to comment on Barry’s terrible pun thenTRIPS, landing on her back. Esther’s POV: Through the improvised skylight above, she sees smoke overhead. ESTHER Smoke! Fire! Get the fuck out of here! Panic stations. Esther whirls round faster than she’s ever done in gym class towards the exit. Barry only cares about one thing as he barges Esther back to the ground on his way to being safely first out. Zipporah, Harriet and Milton take a more measured route out behind Esther who scurries after Barry. Harriet glances towards Violet, still struggling. HARRIET Come on Violet! She’s thinking about heading back to help when she is pushed along by Zipporah.

27.

ZIPPORAH Keep moving. HARRIET ButZIPPORAH Move! Violet, still twisting in her seat, caged in by the belt. She tries to squirm out from under it but her weight keeps it tight. Stuck. UntilAnna reaches down to Violet to help release the belt. ANNA Stay still. VIOLET I’ve got it. Gas pools beneath her and the flame skates along the surface. ANNA Violet, just let meVIOLET I said I’ve got it. She pulls out her carving knife and it slices through the belt. Violet crumples in a heap. Anna reaches down to pull Violet up but Violet brushes her off and gets up herself, as flames pool beneath them. They clamber down the bus, walking around the seat tops on what was the ceiling edge. ANNA The GPS! BOOM! An explosion rocks the bus. No time, they bolt for the exit. EXT. BUS - MOMENTS LATER Anna and Violet clamber out the back, where the other five stand paces away watching the blaze. ANNA Get back, for God’s sake!

28.

They all retreat and collapse in a huddle, watching the fire devour the bus. There are no spectaculars, just extreme heat consuming metal, followed by a desultory BANG. The group look at each other in disbelief. ANNA (CONT’D) Well, one of you kids must have a phone. Someone call 911. They all scramble. Zipporah’s first to it. She starts punching in the number. Heads off to make the call. HARRIET What now? ANNA We wait. Keep as warm as possible until someone comes to pick us up. Zipporah comes back, still on the line. ZIPPORAH (to the group) Where are we? Anna motions. Give it here. ANNA We’re somewhere in or near Algonquin Park... INT. EMERGENCY SERVICES CALL CENTRE We INTERCUT between the OPERATOR and Anna. OPERATOR You’ll have to be more specific or we can’t help you. Are there any landmarks around? ANNA (eyes searching) Nothing I can see. OPERATOR What was the last landmark you remember? ANNA We... stopped at a gas station. Don’t know the name. Somewhere off Highway 60. OPERATOR OK. Can you make it back to the gas station?

29.

Anna looks at the kids and moves to somewhere quiet. ANNA Listen that was a couple hours ago. It’s 20 miles at least as the crow flies. God knows how long on the road. OPERATOR OK, ma’am I need you to stay calm. ANNA I’m calm. What happens now? OPERATOR I’m going to try and get hold of the gas station and local police, see if they can send someone. I’ll call you back on this number. ANNA OK, OK. But do it fast. EXT. FOREST Expectant faces await. ZIPPORAH So? Are they coming? The phone rings. OPERATOR (V.O.) I’m sorry the local lines are down. I’ll keep trying. ANNA That means the storm is close. What are we supposed to do in the meantime? OPERATOR (V.O.) Seek shelter where you can find it. Anna looks at the sky. White. Snow falling heavier now. ANNA OK. OPERATOR (V.O.) Keep your phone on and I’ll update you when I can. Anna hangs up. Passes the phone back to Zipporah. Wind cuts through the group like a knife.

30.

A collection of tattered warmth, without their gear on the bus. ANNA We’ve got a decision to make and I can’t make it for you. EXT. GAS STATION - SAME TIME Snow plummets. INT. GAS STATION - CONTINUOUS The cashier pours a hot coffee and cranks an electric heater. EXT. FOREST - SAME TIME Etched into the snow is a large S. At the middle and bottom of the S is an X. ANNA (at the S) The road to the camp runs like this. Where we are here, the road runs east west, so (at middle X) I think we are here. (at bottom X) And the gas station we stopped at is roughly here. (beat) I think our best chance is to cut through the forest. She carves the lower half into a D. A few nervous glances exchanged. ANNA (CONT’D) Even if we miss, we’ll still hit the road and can find the gas station from there. Retracing our steps will take too long. She takes in the faces, the reality dawning on them. She flashes a compass. ANNA (CONT’D) It’s a straight shot south. Other option is we stay here and pray someone comes by before the storm.

31.

BARRY Sounds like the worst idea I’ve ever heard. Through the forest? ANNA As I said, I can’t decide for you. So we’ll vote. Sound fair? Six reluctant nods. ANNA (CONT’D) Well, I think you know I think we should go. BARRY Hell no. We wait. HARRIET I’m with Anna. ZIPPORAH (eyeing Harriet) Don’t be stupid. Nobody will ever find us in there. We wait for help. ANNA OK. Milton? Milton looks at Harriet, then Zipporah. MILTON I’m sorry, I don’t want to wait for a slow death. I vote we go. ANNA Esther? ESTHER Hike for miles through there? I’m staying here. ANNA Violet. It’s on you. We’re three for three. VIOLET You make me decide, how is that fair? (under her breath) I should never have come. ANNA Violet, I know it’s hard. No one wants to be in this position. But we have to decide. And make no mistake. We’re deciding. Not just you. But you have to participate. Help decide your own life.

32.

Violet looks unsure, overwhelmed. The SNOW HARE reappear behind the group. It stops and stares at her for a second. It heads back towards the forest. Stops. Looks back as if to say, come on. Violet looks conflicted, as if unwilling to bow. She pulls out the photo of her mother. EXT. VIOLET’S OLD HOME (FLASHBACK) The rabbit bounds into the ROAD. EXT. FOREST - DAY VIOLET OK. Let’s go. EXT. SCHOOL - DAY Barely see the school for white. EXT. TEEN RANGERS HQ - DAY Dumping snow. Howling wind. EXT. FOREST - DAY White clouds overhead. Snow getting heavier now. The skeletal bus now covered. PHONE Anna clicks off a call to 911. Looks up to see A rag tag team of seven, wearing everything they can find. ANNA’S COMPASS Points south. Straight into the forest. ANNA We do this, we do it together. Can’t afford to mess around. You ready? A sea of blank faces.

33.

ANNA (CONT’D) Let’s go. They step into the forest. Immediately the light lowers. ESTHER This is a bad eff-ing idea. EXT. FOREST - DAY The light is dim. Snow steady now. The band of seven march on. EXT. FOREST - LATER FALLEN TREE Anna stands back and Milton leads the way, leaping the fallen trunk. EXT. DEEP FOREST - LATER Milton tires at the front; stands aside for Zipporah to take the lead. Ploughing through the snow. Anna brings up the rear. EXT. DEEP FOREST - LATER Esther is panting, breathless. She slows to a crawl. Up ahead, a STEEP CLIMB. Esther lets herself fall into the snow. Feels the falling snowflakes melt on her face. ESTHER I don’t think so. I need a rest first. ANNA Five minutes. Anna stands. Can’t relax. Checks her watch. Watch reads 2:15. Looks up at the sky, clouds gathering, light fading.

34.

MILTON We did the right thing... leaving the bus I mean. ANNA Hey, you came for a hiking trip right? ESTHER (shouting from behind) I’m dehydrated over here. The group look at each other, realising their limited supplies. ANNA You’re sitting on pile of water. Come on, let’s go. Esther shovels snow into her face. ESTHER Holy shit it’s cold. Zipporah stands at the front, ready to take the lead. She looks drained. ANNA Barry, can you lead for a little while? BARRY No... it’s OK, someone else can lead. Harriet scorns his lazy gesture. HARRIET I’ll lead. She starts up the hill, strength sapping with each step. Violet slips in behind and the group start to snake up the hill. EXT. HILL TOP - MOMENTS LATER Harriet reaches the peak and... it’s beautiful. The snow seems to quiet to allow the view. Trees, valleys, all snow kissed as far as they can see. Violet arrives. Stops, stunned. VIOLET Wow.

35.

HARRIET Yeah. The rest of the group stumble up, Anna last to arrive. ANNA It’s spectacular. BARRY Yeah. Nothing for miles. As if to answer Barry’s cynicism, there is a faint hint of grey in the distance. HARRIET Look! BARRY Look what? It’s all the same. HARRIET Smoke... a fire! Anna looks relieved. Choice validated. ANNA Come on then, what are you all waiting for? ESTHER I need that nice roaring fire. And some marshmallows. You ain’t gonna see me for dust. Esther lets out a whoop and runs down the other side of the hill, each step losing more control until she crashes into a pile of snow at the bottom. ESTHER (CONT’D) Yeah! Zipporah, Harriet, Milton and even Barry take her lead and charge down the hill. Violet stands, thinking. ANNA (gesturing) After you. Violet takes a breath and pelts down the hill faster than anyone, crashing into Milton at the bottom. She looks up, meeting his soft eyes, enjoying herself for the first time. He gives her a smile.

36.

Zipporah watches. VIOLET Come on Anna! Anna raises her hands in a battle charge. ANNA TEEN RANGERS!!!! Races down the hill. For a moment, everything is right with the world. The Snow Hare bounds up. Looks. Darts further into the forest. Esther gets up. ESTHER Come on you lazy sons of bitches. She bolts off into the forest, following the path of the hare. ANNA Esther! Don’t run off! VIOLET Not that way! She’s already gone. EXT. NARROW PASSAGE - MOMENTS LATER Esther bounds through a narrow passage, her feet clumsily displacing the snow with every step. She darts round some trees. ANNA (O.S.) Esther! ESTHER This way! She sees the thick treeline ahead. Races through edge and DROPS FROM VIEW! EXT. NARROW PASSAGE The group follow Esther’s tracks with a sense of urgency. Round the trees.

37.

See the treeline. Stop. EXT. TREELINE - DAY ANNA Esther? No reply. She sprints following the tracks, past the treeline where she skids to a halt at a SHEER CLIFF. Esther lies ten metres below on a ledge, overhanging a thirty metre fall into a valley. Blood splatters on a BOULDER next to Esther’s body. She emits a GROAN. ZIPPORAH We gotta help her! She looks down. Big fall. Violet wanders to one side. Starts pushing snow off the edge. It piles up below, next to Esther. VIOLET Help me. The group kick into action, throwing as much snow down as possible, clearing huge chunks off the edge. And below, a safety pit. They all look at each other. BARRY I’m not jumping into that. ANNA I’ll go first. You’ll be fine. She gears up about to jump. MILTON Wait.. I hate to break the party but - how are we going to get back up? HARRIET For what? The gas station’s this way. She points to the smoke. Esther starts to come to.

38.

ESTHER Oh my god, my leg! ANNA OK, let’s do this. She takes a second - then leaps. Zipporah leans over the edge, Anna lost in the mound below. A beat. Esther cries out. Anna wriggles free and looks up. ANNA (CONT’D) OK, who’s next? The other five gaze at each other. EXT. LEDGE - CONTINUOUS Anna crouches to Esther’s side. ANNA Alright, let’s take a look at you. EXT. TREELINE - SAME TIME Milton is tentative. Violet touches his shoulder. VIOLET Trust me, it’ll work. ZIPPORAH I’ll do it. A second later and she’s gone. EXT. LEDGE - CONTINUOUS Anna feels Esther’s legs. Hits a certain point and Esther WAILS. Anna finds a branch and puts it by her leg for a splint. It’s a little lightweight. ESTHER You’re gonna use that? Behind, Zipporah, Harriet and Milton have landed. Anna looks at the flimsy branch and grabs a load more to shore it up. ANNA You’ll be fine.

39.

EXT. TREELINE Barry teeters on the edge. BARRY Nah, no way. This is stupid. This whole thing is stupid. We should never have left the bus. VIOLET I’m not really a people person Barry. Least of all for you. But we gotta go. BARRY Fuck you. I’m going back. He turns and marches off. HARRIET (shouts up) Come on Violet! It’s fine! It’s hard to hear over the snow and wind. HARRIET (CONT’D) Where’s Barry? VIOLET He’s gone back to the bus. She waits, as if for confirmation she can let him go. VIOLET (CONT’D) (a second too late) I’ll get him. EXT. NARROW PASSAGE Barry marches headstrong. VIOLET Barry! Her thighs burn as she runs through the deep snow. VIOLET (CONT’D) Barry! POV - TREE 1: He stops, turns. BARRY I thought I’d told you. VIOLET Listen, I know you don’t like me. And rest assured I detest you.

40.

POV - TREE 2: The pair talk. BARRY Damn right I don’t like you. I don’t like any of you. We INTERCUT between the pair talking and POV from myriad rapidly multiplying angles. Whatever’s watching, there’s a lot of them and they are coming in force. EXT. LEDGE Esther heaves herself up, hiding the pain. Anna nods appreciation, not wanting to cause alarm. The group are ready, waiting to leave, vulnerable as the snow and wind whirl around the ledge, deafening other sounds. They look in anticipation up to the TREELINE. HARRIET (hopeful) Come on Violet. The wind dies and we hear Barry shouting. The wind picks up again. Through the wind aPIERCING SHRIEK! It cuts to the bone. Then.... Silence. From nowhere, something LEAPS from the TREELINE, crashing into the mound of snow. Still. Anna tentatively approaches. Blood spatter traces the fall. The mound EXPLODES and Violet emerges, feral... bloody... in shock. Her carving knife in hand, clumps of flesh dulling the blade. She sucks enough breath to stammerVIOLET RUN! They freeze. Violet doesn’t wait. She turns and bolts across the ledge to a small footpath running off the side.

41.

The rest follow suit out of instinct, taking them down to theEXT. FOREST VALLEY ENTRANCE Thick forest. Low visibility. The wind calmer down here. A moment to catch their breath. They catch up to Violet, shaking and huddled. ANNA You OK? What happened up there? She’s panting, struggling for breath. ANNA (CONT’D) Violet? Where’s Barry? Violet stares down at the blade and lets it tumble to the ground. In a flurry we hear ZIPPORAH Holy HARRIET Violet - what happened? - shit. MILTON She kiESTHER

ANNA (CONT’D) OK, everyone be quiet! Let her speak. She starts mumbling something inaudible, then stops. ANNA (CONT’D) Violet, I need you to be very clear. Where is Barry? Her eyes drift to the floor. She shakes her head. ZIPPORAH Where’s Barry, Violet? Where is he? Violet continues shaking her head, sobbing. ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) Where the fuck is he Violet? And who’s blood is this?? ESTHER You have got to be kidding me! Esther pulls up in pain. HARRIET We have to go back for him.

42.

VIOLET No. MILTON We can’t just leave him there. VIOLET There’s no point. He’s dead. ZIPPORAH He’s what?! ESTHER Holy Jesus and Jehovah. ANNA Be quiet! Violet, what do you mean he’s dead? She shrugs - what do you think I mean? Harriet starts to well up, overwhelmed. ANNA (CONT’D) How? VIOLET Something attacked him. And then he attacked me... he attacked me! She crumples into Anna. Anna considers for a moment. Zipporah runs to Violet and twists her arms behind her back. VIOLET (CONT’D) Hey, get off me! ANNA Zipporah! ZIPPORAH If she’s telling truth she’s a murderer. If she’s not, she’s trying to leave him to die. I’m not leaving her loose. HARRIET Oh God. Oh God. ANNA Let her go. We’re fighting the cold here, not each other. ZIPPORAH So now what?

43.

ANNA We can’t afford to wait around. I’ll go back and see if I can get back up to find him. You push on. If he is alive and I can’t get up, he can follow our tracks. ZIPPORAH And if he isn’t? Anna shrugs. What’s the difference? EXT. LEDGE - DAY Anna looks up at 10 metres of sheer cliff, covered in ice. ANNA Barry! She searches the wall for hand holds, something to grip on, a way up. Nothing. ANNA (CONT’D) Barry!! Nothing returns her call but howling wind and snow. She turns and looks at the smoke in the distance. ANNA (CONT’D) Jesus, Violet. EXT. FOREST VALLEY - DAY Looks of uncertainty towards Violet. A cloud of silence. MILTON Most important thing is to get shelter, find a contact. That’s the best way we can help Barry. ZIPPORAH He’s dead Milton. She told you. We got ourselves a murderer. HARRIET Hey, we don’t know what happened. I’m sure Violet wouldn’t have... Her voice trails. Violet looks around, feels the support waning. Esther struggles to her feet. VIOLET You need help?

44.

ESTHER No. I’m good. She limps onwards into the forest valley. EXT. FOREST VALLEY - LATER Snow is really coming down now. Four walkers ahead. Violet behind, alone. Anna catches up. EXT. FOREST VALLEY - LATER A trail of blood appears in the snow, Esther’s leg leaking as she marches on. Violet looks at Anna, who returns a reassuring look. The rest of the group look back at Anna, inquisitive. She shakes her head and waves them forward. EXT. RIVERBANK - LATER Progress is halted by a river. Twenty metres of frozen uncertainty. Milton inspects it. Water still flowing fast under the ice. Looks a few inches thick. MILTON At any other time I wouldn’t fancy it. But... He looks up and down. No better crossings anywhere else. The wind picks up, sending shivers through the group. ANNA I’ve put up with too much shit today. We want to help Barry, we cross this river. And don’t foreget. There’s a hot tea and a fire waiting for me wherever that smoke is coming from and I want to see it tonight. Feel that warmth creep over me. ESTHER A frozen pizza.

45.

MILTON A hot chocolate. VIOLET I’ll go first. ANNA OK. Easy though. ZIPPORAH Don’t run away now. Violet looks around and finds lump of tree trunk. VIOLET Help me with this. Milton dashes over and they heave it up. MILTON One, two They hurl the trunk into the air. It takes a slow arc and accelerates towards the ice where it SKIDS across the surface. ANNA Good. What did I tell you, it’s all sunshine and roses from here on in. Violet is about to step out. Anna pulls her to a stop. Passes her a stick about two metres long, couple of inches thick. ANNA (CONT’D) Hold this out flat as you go. If the ice breaks, it’ll keep you above the river. Violet edges onto the ice, using the pole to balance. EXT. RIVER CENTRE Tentative steps. The wind is stronger out here, whipping snow into her face. A quarter of the way.. She slips, skids... rescues it. She looks back. The group look miles away. Faces seem hostile. Esther burying daggers from range. Wind WHIPS ACROSS. She gets dizzy, vertigo kicking in. She drops the pole.

46.

The group start shouting, inaudible through the wind. Shouts that seem to betray fury, anger. Violet steadies herself. Closes her eyes, feeling the snow melt on her face. Opens with intent. Bends, collects the pole. The SNOW HARE sits on the opposite bank. Violet looks at it. Shakes her head. No. Go away. BLAST of snow. It’s gone. Restarts her walk. EXT. OPPOSITE BANK, TREELINE POV - SAME TIME We watch Violet from up high, stranded on the ice as she shuffles towards us. The view scuttles back and forth. EXT. OPPOSITE BANK - CONTINUOUS Violet arrives, safe, relieved. EXT. RIVERBANK Everyone now has a pole. ANNA OK, Zipporah, you’re up. Zipporah looks at Violet on the other bank. ZIPPORAH I’ll go after someone else. ANNA OK... who’s next? They all look across. No-one volunteers. Until MILTON I’ll go. ESTHER Be careful. MILTON I’ll go slow. ESTHER I didn’t mean that.

47.

He looks at her. MILTON I know what you meant. Milton sets off, confidently. We watch from the riverbank as he carefully chooses each foothold and makes good time into the middle of the river. Losing a little visibility now. Much better view from EXT. OPPOSITE BANK, TREELINE POV - CONTINUOUS Milton is progressing well. The view shifts down to Violet, breath in the air. Focus on Violet. Scuttle closer. EXT. OPPOSITE BANK - CONTINUOUS Milton’s almost getting cocky now. Striding out. Increasing pace. Close. A thinner darker patch of ice in his path. VIOLET Milton! Careful! He hears almost a second too late and CATCHES himself, nodding thanks. He arrives on the banks, adrenaline pumping. Violet’s face spells relief. She spontaneously wraps her arms around him, just for a second, then retreats. Watching is EXT. RIVERBANK - CONTINUOUS Zipporah, squinting through the snow. Anger pools in her eyes. ANNA Easy as that. Zipporah, can you go with Esther? Zipporah still staring. ANNA (CONT’D) Zipporah?

48.

ZIPPORAH Yeah. ANNA Can you ZIPPORAH Yeah, I heard. Come on Esther. Esther looks ahead to a vortex of icy snow. ESTHER I’m so over this. ANNA Keep a distance back. Distribute the weight. Esther hobbles to the ice. Draws a deep breath. ESTHER OK, OK. Goes to take another step. Pauses. ESTHER (CONT’D) (to Harriet) You go. I need a second. Harriet looks to Anna who nods approval. HARRIET See you ladies over there. She takes a minute, then straight out. Soft but sure. Her pole barely moves in the wind. EXT. OPPOSITE BANK Violet and Milton watch Harriet - a black shadow through the snow - as she moves across. Milton squeezes Violet’s arm reassuringly. A moment of calm in the storm. MILTON You know, whatever happened between you and Barry up there, I’m sure he deserved it. VIOLET He.. It wasn’t like that. I CRRRRAAACCCCCKKKK as -

49.

EXT. RIVER CENTRE - CONTINUOUS Harriet’s face becomes panicked. Her foundations no longer solid. A crack, a creak and shePLUMMETS through the ice. The wooden branch skids on the ice, dancing around the hole before coming to a halt, Harriet’s fingers clasping to the last wet vestige of her humanity. Anna bolts in a heartbeat from the riverbank, speeding dangerously across the ice as EXT. OPPOSITE BANK, TREELINE POV A watcher surveys Violet and Milton EXT. OPPOSITE BANK As she watches Harriet drop from view VIOLET Jesus! Come on Milton She turns as we STAY ON VIOLET and she looks in horror towards Milton, eyes agape. VIOLET (CONT’D) Oh no, not again. MILTON (O.S.) What A SHADOW falls across Violet’s face, dropping from the trees and landing with a thud as Violet frantically crawls back from the unseen terror. EXT. RIVER CENTRE Zipporah starts after Anna onto the ice only to be met with ANNA (shouting across the wind) Stay back! I don’t know that it can hold us both! Anna skids to a halt near the icy hole. Harriet’s fingers are fading. Fast. Her head under the water, the current keeping her down. ANNA (CONT’D) Stay with me Harriet.

50.

She lays flat on the ice, spreading her weight, the whole motion seamless in the adrenaline and she PLUNGES her arm down into certain frostbite and heaves with all her might. Harriet’s head breaks the surface and she sucks in a breath. ANNA (CONT’D) Come on, you’re doing it. EXT. RIVERBANK Zipporah and Esther stare out as Anna gives another almighty pull, launching Harriet over the edge and onto the ice. ESTHER Jesus, thank fuck for that. Zipporah isn’t paying attention though - she’s focused on the opposite river bank where EXT. OPPOSITE BANK Violet is still scrambling back across the snow as footsteps crunch the snow in front of her. VIOLET No - Milton! She tears through her pockets and produces the carving knife as the SHADOW in front spreads across her. EXT. RIVERBANK Zipporah and Esther stare in disbelief at the barely visible two black silhouettes across the river. One, unmistakably Milton, walks towards Violet, hovering over her for a second before moving LIGHTENING FAST towards Violet. For a moment, the two shapes merge. After what feels like eternity, one shape rolls off, limp. ZIPPORAH Did she just? ESTHER Oh no she didn’t. ZIPPORAH I’ve had enough of this bullshit.

51.

EXT. RIVER CENTRE There’s a patch of heavier snow on an element of the river and Anna is guiding Harriet, who can barely function. ANNA Roll in the snow, it’ll soak up the water. She looks back as Zipporah belts past, ice cracking underfoot, her gaze following her trajectory to where Violet stands over Milton’s body. For a second, their eyes meet. Then Violet’s flick to her impending judgement. ANNA (CONT’D) Come on. She hauls ass, Harriet slung over her shoulder, ice cracking beneath her feet and at theEXT. RIVERBANK Esther gulps a breath and starts her own march across, a hobbling goose step. EXT. OPPOSITE BANK Violet stands over Milton’s body, the knife protruding from his gut. VIOLET I’m sorry... Violet looks up in time to meet the hurricane that is Zipporah as she flies head first towards her ZIPPORAH You fucking bitch!!! - tackling her to the ground. They wrestle, tumble on the ground. Zipporah rains blows down on Violet with the lack of coordination of someone driven solely by rage. Violet frustrates her flurry of hands, parrying each strike until Zipporah forges an opening... winds up... to be caught by aSPLUTTER from behind. Milton’s alive. For now. Zipporah peels from Violet and rushes over.

52.

ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) Milton! You’re alive! Hold still! Violet comes over. ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) Stay away! Stay the fuck away or I’ll.. She scrambles for a weapon. Violet acquiesces. Anna arrives with Harriet - Esther not far behind. ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) Evil’s among us. (to the group) I saw her this time with my own eyes. Anna looks overwhelmed. Harriet freezing. Esther limping. Milton stabbed. Barry, dead or missing. Zipporah out of control. And Violet... They look to her for leadership. She starts to hyperventilate. The kids look at each other, suddenly aware of the thin thread keeping them civilised. After a moment, her breaths become controlled. She’s back. Eyes of steel. ANNA Nobody moves a muscle without my express permission. Right now, she’s the scariest thing in the wood. She looks to the sky for a sign and its there - smoke, close now. ANNA (CONT’D) We get to whatever is making that smoke. At all costs. Everything else is secondary. For now. Zipporah starts to move. ANNA (CONT’D) (hisses) Zipporah She stops. ANNA (CONT’D) (calmer tone) - you give Harriet an excess layer. (MORE)

53. ANNA (CONT’D) She needs something dry to wear, right now.

Zipporah looks at her, waiting. ANNA (CONT’D) I said NOW! Speeds over. She bends down to Milton’s side, taking him in. He looks faint but alive, blood freezing around his wound. They all notice a trickle of blood coming from his ear. Anna traces her finger over it. Violet moves to stand up. ANNA (CONT’D) Be still. I haven’t figured out what to do with you yet. Focusing back on Milton she looks at the knife. ANNA (CONT’D) I can never remember... are you supposed to take these things out or not? His eyes roll, dazed in pain. EXT. FOREST PATH The sorry bunch march but the weather offers no respite, the storm hitting hard. Nothing can be heard over the wind, little seen beyond the snow. Violet’s hands are tied behind her back in a rudimentary manner. The knife is still lodged in Milton’s stomach as he is practically dragged semi-conscious by Anna in a feat of will over strength. Harriet has a new fleeced top, still shivering, struggling to stay with it. Zipporah cold, determined. Esther trails behind. INT. GAS STATION - SAME TIME A picture of warmth. Coffee steams in the corner and a TV runs a repeat of an 80s action film, the Cashier’s slippers twitching in view.

54.

In the foreground, the PHONE RINGS to no reply. EXT. AERIAL VIEW - DAY The group close in on a WOODEN HOUSE, smoke billowing from its chimney. The same one we saw earlier. EXT. WOODEN HOUSE - DAY The lights are on. Anna bashes on the front door. Waits a moment. Tries the handle. No joy. Smashes her elbow through the glass and opens the door from the inside. INT. WOODEN HOUSE - CONTINUOUS The group pour through the door to an ENTRANCE ROOM. It’s peculiarly nice inside, nothing like its shabby exterior. The decor is modern - someone takes care of it. Esther barges forward to the INT. LIVING ROOM Where she sits in a luxurious recliner. She puts her leg and splint up on one side. ESTHER Esther’s gotta take a load off. There’s only so much death and destruction I can take. The remainder pour in, investigating various elements of the house. Anna puts Violet on a chair. ANNA You stay put. Esther, watch her. ESTHER You leave her with the cripple? Anna stumbles through, Milton still on her shoulder, to the INT. KITCHEN Anna guides Milton to a seat.

55.

ANNA You OK? Nothing. ANNA (CONT’D) You’ve not said a word since. His eyes glaze over, his spirit fading. ANNA (CONT’D) OK, wait while I find the first aid kit. (shouts to living room) Someone call 911 and let them know where we are. INT. LIVING ROOM Esther, still reclining, leans over to a phone. Picks it up. Dead. ESTHER (shouts back) Phones are about as useful as my leg. Zipporah is putting Harriet in front of the dead fire. She searches for something to get it started. ZIPPORAH This’ll get you warmed up. Violet looks on. ESTHER Who the fuck lives here? Are we gatecrashing some dude’s house? ZIPPORAH I’m more concerned about present company. ANNA (O.S.) (from Kitchen) Can one of you watch Milton while I look for a first aid kit? Zipporah perks up. ZIPPORAH Sorry Harriet. Milton’s better looking then you are.

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HARRIET (almost inaudible) No.. Zipporah’s already gone. VIOLET Esther, let me free. I’ll start up the fire. ESTHER (laughing) Hell no. That the best you got? Fire ain’t gonna be the problem. She hobbles over towards the fire place. ESTHER (CONT’D) Can’t have you on the rampage now can we? INT. BATHROOM Anna rifles through the cabinets before landing on a first aid kit. ANNA Bingo. INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY A glow from another room catches Anna’s eye. High wattage glare seeps into the corridor. A GROAN from Milton downstairs regains her attention and she heads down the stairs. INT. LIVING ROOM Esther sits by the fire, moving logs from the coal hole and stacks them on top of each other. Harriet shivers next to her, semi-comatose with cold. VIOLET Listen, I know it looks bad. But Milton needs help. ESTHER You can say that again. Esther focuses on the fire, adding some kindling.

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VIOLET Something fell from the forest. It landed on him and he.. He attacked me! This draws Esther’s attention. ESTHER He attacked you? VIOLET Yes! ESTHER Funny, because he’s got a knife in his gut and you don’t. VIOLET He came at me. With that same look that Barry had. Something’s out there Esther. ESTHER What the hell would do that? VIOLET I don’t know. ESTHER What was it? VIOLET I don’t know. ESTHER What colour? Shape? Was it an animal? An alien? VIOLET It happened so fast. I ESTHER Don’t know. Right, I got it. You don’t know. I don’t know. (beat) Think it’s probably best if you stay tied up for the moment. She collects a match from a matchbox, strikes it and holds it against some newspaper. The fire catches, burning an article titled “GENETICIST WINS AWARD”, with a picture of a WOMAN grinning.

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INT. KITCHEN Zipporah is holding Milton down as Anna reaches for the knife. ZIPPORAH You sure? ANNA Hold him still. Anna pulls the knife out and Milton lurches forward in pain. ANNA (CONT’D) Easy. Blood starts to pour from the wound and Anna acts quickly, cleaning it up, applying pressure and administering a bandage. ZIPPORAH You OK? No reply. Anna gives her a subtle shake of the head. ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) Well, you are now. Ain’t that right? Milton looks stabilised. Still wordless. INT. LIVING ROOM - A SHORT WHILE LATER Wind and snow are battering the outside now. The clock reads 5:45. Through the fire’s flickering reflection on the windows we see it’s dark out. Esther has a marshmallow roasting on the fire. Milton is in the room now, a bit of colour in his cheeks but no life. Violet is still cuffed. She pulls the photo of her mother from her pocket. Zipporah walks in. Violet moves the photo out of sight. Zipporah catches the movement. ZIPPORAH (addressing Esther, Milton) Food will be ready soon. (to Violet) You said you weren’t hungry, right?

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VIOLET No. I’d like to eat. ZIPPORAH What are you hiding there? No reply. ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) You hiding your own food from the group? She struts over. VIOLET No, don’t be stupid. ZIPPORAH What? Zipporah pulls Violet’s hand out from under the table. Rips the photo from her hand. ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) Well, what do we have here? You think she’d be proud? Raising a murderer? VIOLET You’re gonna want to give me that back. Zipporah ambles over to the fire. ZIPPORAH I forgive you Violet. I blame the parents. She tosses the photo into the fire. INT. KITCHEN - LATER Cupboards are open and the kitchen is scattered with the spoils. Oven’s on and Anna and Zipporah are cooking up a storm. INT. LIVING ROOM Anna enters with gusto. ANNA Let’s eat. Violet’s eyes light up along with everyone else.

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Hopeful. They pile through, leaving Anna with Violet. ANNA (CONT’D) Sorry Violet. VIOLET Hey, I’d do the same thing. Please, I need you to believe me. It was self defense. Anna’s eyes look like they’ve heard this already. They didn’t believe it then, they don’t believe it now. She nods. ANNA I’ll bring some food through. You should stay here. Anna comes over and ties Violet to a radiator. She gives Violet one last look. She heads for the exit. VIOLET Wait! Anna hesitates, just long enough. VIOLET (CONT’D) I... Thank you. Anna nods, her back turned to Violet, not waiting to hear any more and continues through to the INT. KITCHEN It’s Christmas, Thanksgiving and any other celebration all rolled into one. Food, plates, drinks scattered everywhere. Everyone looks about as good as they can do. Harriet has warmed up, a small injection of life back into her. Esther is guzzling through slices of pizza. Milton is still... inactive. Esther puts down a slice for a second and gets up as best she can. ZIPPORAH You’re not leaving that?!

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Esther raises a glass of coke. ESTHER There’s only so much a girl can take! I’ll be back to finish it off, don’t you worry about that. ANNA Come on Milton, you should eat something. We’re gonna be here a while. Anna piles some stuff on a separate plate. ANNA (CONT’D) Zipporah, use your powers of persuasion to get him to eat. ZIPPORAH Where you going with that? ANNA We all have to eat. INT. LIVING ROOM Anna sits watching Violet eat one handed, the other strapped to the radiator. Violet gives her a nod of thanks. She starts struggling with one mouthful, pushing it endlessly around her plate. Gives a look of determination. Pushes it around her plate more. VIOLET The chase is better than the catch. Anna allows herself a wry smile and then leaves. Alone, Violet pushes the mouthful around the plate some more and frustration and anger build on her face. She gives one final push and the plate clatters the floor next to a waiting SNOW HARE. It eyeballs Violet. She stares it down. Scrunches her eyelids closed. Opens them. It’s gone. A flash of relief.

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INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY Esther lumbers to the top of the staircase, bathroom right ahead. She stops, clocks the glow coming from the INT. STUDY The door creaks open. Inside its more like a lab. Pictures of mosquitoes, earwigs and other insects dot the walls, alongside rows of textbooks. Esther slopes along, inspecting them. At the end of a long desk scattered with various microscopes, centrifuges and other kit is the source of the glow. An INSECT TANK. Nothing inside but some scenery. Esther peers down, leaning in. It’s refrigerated somehow and her breath begins to show as she gets closer. The CO2 swirls inside the tank for second. BAM! A HUGE BLACK PARASITOID slams itself against the glass, throwing Esther back in shock. It’s a huge earwig, pincers dancing at the back and a huge PROBISCUS (like a mosquito) protruding from the front. It thrashes at the glass, seeming to follow the traces of air as they float through the tank. ESTHER Holy eff. INT. KITCHEN Harriet is struggling to offer some soup to Milton, her hand trembling as she guides the spoon home. HARRIET Come on Milton. ZIPPORAH Here, let me. Zipporah reaches for the soup but Harriet pulls away.

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ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) Your hand. Just give me the fucking spoon. She grabs the spoon from Harriet, moving it to Milton. ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) Nice and easy. You don’t have to talk. Just eat. He leans a little closer, responding. ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) That’s it. Milton is getting close. His mouth begins to open, almost like he’s about to be sick. Zipporah drops the spoon, her face in disgust as we see on top of Milton’s tongue is a PARASITOID, latched on and its probiscus buried deep. Milton wretches violently VOMITS it out, the parasitoid tumbling on the table, lifeless. ZIPPORAH (CONT’D) I think I’m going to be sick. Anna arrives. ANNA What was that? Milton! Esther comes crashing into the room. ESTHER You will never fucking(sees the parasitoid) Oh fuck. Esther slams a NOTEBOOK on the table. The others look at her. She flips it to a page. ESTHER (CONT’D) They get in and they take over. ZIPPORAH What is it? ESTHER Take a look.

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Anna starts to read from the book. ANNA It’s some kind of journal. Finally, success in splicing mosquito genes with the wasp... In the last test, once inside their host, the creatures inject adrenaline and steroids periodically, keeping their host functional but with increased strength. ZIPPORAH What does it mean? ESTHER It means they take you over and jack you up. ANNA Wait - that’s not all. When the host was no longer of use, the creatures fed on their host, using them as a site for gestation, the hosts’ blood keeping them warm in winter conditions. Finally, an insect to survive the winter. To survive the elements. To succeed. ESTHER And then eat your fucking insides out. I dunno who lived here, but they were one sick puppy. You should see it up there. One big lab. Tanks, the works. HARRIET These things were designed? Bred? ANNA If they have broken out... They should be contained by the valley. We need to get out of here, now. The wind and snow rattle the window frames. Esther looks at the window, then at the parasitoid on the table. Milton suddenly drops to from the table to the floor, convulsing. Anna looks at Esther, then the book. Back at Milton. ANNA (CONT’D) Milton?!

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Tentatively approaches. His skin is crawling, literally, bulges scuttling under the skin and around his body. ANNA (CONT’D) Oh shit. Suddenly MILTON LURCHES UP and GRABS ANNA, a look of panic on his face. She watches in awe asSTREAMS OF PARASITOIDS pour from his mouth, some crawling out of his ears and heCOLLAPSES back down, his stomach bursting open as hundreds of these creatures overflow, his stomach hollowed out. ANNA (CONT’D) Move! Anna frantically swats a couple away that landed on her shirt and back tracks as fast as she can to the door as everyone scrambles away from Milton’s body. They SWARM across the kitchen floor. Esther scrambles into the living room, swiftly followed by Anna. INT. LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS Violet thrusts her attached arm outwards. VIOLET Cut me loose! Anna dashes over. Reaches to her pocket. Looks at Esther, then Violet. ANNA The knife! She turns back to the door as the parasitoids pile in, a torrent of destruction. Anna grabs the fork and starts to saw at the cord attached to Violet as the parasitoidsSTREAM towards Esther, and she tumbles and falls by the fire. She grabs a burning stick and tosses it at the approaching tide as a barrier but instead of repelling them THEY SUDDENLY RUSH TOWARDS IT, burning as they do. Anna, Violet and Esther share a look - what the hell?

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Esther wastes no more time, picks herself up and with the fire stoker propels several large burning logs towards the beasts asSome crawl up the table, covering the table top and AnnaSLICES through, cutting Violet free and they tumble towards the door. Esther follows, a bag of firelighters, kindling and matches in hand, and she limps through the door to join Anna and Violet in the INT. ENTRANCE HALL - CONTINUOUS Violet sees the bag. ESTHER Let’s burn it down. ANNA The others! There’s only a moment to decide before they are descended upon. Esther shrugs. ESTHER Fuck it. Those things got to die. She lights up a firelighter and quickly lays a barrier along the foot of the door using the kindling, tossing the lit firelighter into the mix. It catches, just in time to thwart the advance and soon the flames lick up the surrounding walls. EXT. WOODEN HOUSE The three tumble outside into howling winds and feet upon feet of snow. Hell, if it was cold. The flames start to take hold of the external walls. ANNA Esther, what have you done? ESTHER (shouting) I’ve done what had to be done. Otherwise we’d all be dead. Right now, they’re on their own. Let’s get out here. Violet is frantically searching for inspiration, her face exhausted and losing the fight.

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VIOLET I’ll go back in. ANNA No, you’ve suffered enough. I will. INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY Zipporah races up and dives into the INT. STUDY Where she slams the door shut. INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY Harriet follows suit, slower. She looks back down as the parasitoids struggle to get up the stairs. Some race off towards the fire. A moment’s relief until ONE FLUTTERS ITS WINGS, raising it up a few steps at a time. Others follow suit, a plague in the air. She turns and bolts, tries the door on the study. HARRIET Zipporah! Let me in. INT. STUDY - SAME TIME Zipporah ignores the shouts, slowly making her way down the long room. INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - SAME TIME HARRIET Zipporah! Harriet rattles the door again. HARRIET (CONT’D) Zipporah, please!! INT. STUDY - SAME TIME Zipporah examines some of the text books, suddenly serene.

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INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - SAME TIME Harriet accepts her fate and turns away from the door and darts into the INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM - CONTINUOUS Harriet grabs a blanket off the bed and shoves it into the gap under the door. Operating on pure adrenaline now. Shivering. Looks around, rushes to the window. Flames. She tries the window. Jammed. TAP.. TAP.. The sound of the insects pelting the door starts to echo through the room. Throttles the window again. TAPTAPTAPTAPTAPTAPTAPTAPTAP Heavy rain on a tin roof. Bullets from a gun. Full assault. INT. STUDY Zipporah leans in towards the TANK. Cocks her head, inquisitive. INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM Harriet looks frantically at the door, window frozen shut. She takes a step back, readies herself. A moment’s calm as she stares at the window to the cacophony of noise whenCRASH!!!! The glass shatters and Anna appears at the window. She clears the broken shards and snow swirls in immediately. ANNA Come on! Harriet starts to climb out the window toEXT. FIRST FLOOR ROOFTOP - CONTINUOUS ANNA (inaudible)..Zipporah?

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HARRIET What? ANNA Where’s Zipporah? HARRIET In the other room. Over there. Harriet gestures towards a window from where a glow emanates without. ANNA Come on! She heads towards the window, coming across a gap in the rooftop. ANNA (CONT’D) Help me! Anna looks back to see a hesitant Harriet, as the flames creep up around her. Anna motions her to follow. She stops. Shakes her head. Jumps into the snow below. Fire roaring below Anna moves to climb across a small ledge. Reaches her foot out, trying to hold it steady on the snow. About to shift her weight as THE ROOF STARTS COLLAPSING BELOW She stumbles... Slips.. Slides off the roof into a pile of snow below. EXT. WOODEN HOUSE - NIGHT It’s suddenly dark, alone, Anna isolated in a snow storm, the burning fury beside her feeling miles away. GLASS SHATTERS and THOUSANDS OF FLYING PARASITOIDS break free from the glowing window into the night sky. Half arc back, straight into the flames emitting a shriek. EXT. WOODS - NIGHT Violet and Esther watch the tornado of beasts swirl from the window. Violet collapses to her knees.

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EXT. VIOLET’S OLD HOME (FLASHBACK) -- The rabbit struggles in Violet’s arms and she drops it. EXT. WOODS - NIGHT Esther hobbles over to her. ESTHER Get up! She tries to pull on Violet as best she can. Violet snaps back to life. They turn and run into the woods. EXT. VIOLET’S OLD HOME (FLASHBACK) -- The rabbit sprints off. Violet looks alarmed. Violet’s mother turns to run after it. The rabbit bounds into the ROAD. EXT. DEEP WOODS - MOMENTS LATER Violet squints through the torrential snow where she spots a SNOW HARE and it darts deeper down the rabbit hole.

EXT. WOODEN HOUSE - SAME TIME Anna turns, finding Harriet’s footsteps leading off towards the EXT. WOODS - MOMENTS LATER Harriet burns all her energy, following human tracks. Her face blue. Barely alive. EXT. WOODS - MOMENTS LATER Anna follows the tracks. Panting. Cold. Black but for the distant glow of the house fire.

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EXT. DEEP WOODS - LATER Anna is lost, alone. She looks down, barely able to see her feet. No sign of the tracks, except for her own. A moment of silence. Anna and the elements. Then, a soft glow in the distance... INT. GAS STATION - SAME TIME Phone ringing. Won’t stop. For a long time. The cashier finally drags himself to the phone. CASHIER What?... Yeah, that’s me... Yeah but they should have been there... (looks outside) In this?... You think they’re in the valley... Yeah yeah, OK then. Hell, if I’m nearest. They don’t pay me for this you know. He grabs a rifle from a cabinet. EXT. GAS STATION - MOMENTS LATER A snowmobile emerges from a shed with a ROAR! INT. WOODS Harriet keeps running, stumbling, pitch black around, glancing up to the trees. Scuttling. POV - WATCHER: Watches Harriet. She looks up into the trees, blinded by the snow, panicked, paranoia sweeping over her. Something hits her face. She bolts back, terrified, wiping her face. Just a blob of snow. POV - WATCHER: Harriet. Alone.

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She trips again, her body giving way to the cold, struggling with the knee high snow. Looks again to the trees. Swears she sees something. Or.. Scuttling. Looks behind her. Nothing SCUTTLING. She raises her hands out as if to catch the falling terror, closes her eyes and lets out a blood thirsty SCREAM. Waits. Opens her eyes. EXT. COLLAPSED TRUNK - SAME TIME Fire crackles. Violet and Esther are huddled under the natural cover of a huge fallen tree trunk. The SCREAM cuts through the wind. ESTHER We’re all going to die out here. Violet warms herself on the fire. VIOLET This is the only place I stand a chance. Violet stares into the abyss, as if to say fuck you - come get me. EXT. DEEP WOODS - SAME TIME Anna hears Harriet’s scream. Somewhere to the east. She ignores it and continues plowing through the snow towards the light of the fire. EXT. COLLAPSED TRUNK Violet asks and the abyss answers. From the darkness bursts Harriet. HARRIET Thank God.

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She stoops, crouching into the small space. VIOLET You made it. HARRIET Just. Esther glances over to Violet, who shares the moment of anxiety, unsure of Harriet. ESTHER How did you get out? Did you hear that scream? Harriet nods, crouching over the fire, exhausted. ESTHER (CONT’D) You think they got Anna? Zipporah? HARRIET I.. I don’t know. ESTHER What the fuck do we do? Seriously. We gotta move. Right? VIOLET We wait. They warm their hands. ESTHER For what? VIOLET For whatever’s coming. Black outside the confines of the fire, excepting the sheet white. Violet glances across to Harriet. Her ear. BLOOD. She looks up quickly to Esther, eyes wide. As subtly as possible she raises a gloved finger to her ear and looks towards Harriet. Esther looks over. Catches it. Eyes wide as saucers.

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Instinctively she shifts away. Harriet notices. She takes stock of the two of them as they look at her, not trying to hide the suspicion any more. HARRIET What? They start to back off. HARRIET (CONT’D) What???? ESTHER Your ear... She raises her glove to her ear, pulling it away to reveal a drop of blood. HARRIET No... no. Harriet gets to her feet, defensive. Breathing heavily. HARRIET (CONT’D) Don’t be stupid here. ESTHER Stay back. Harriet senses the danger and backs off, inching into the dark. Esther fumbles around for a weapon. HARRIET Violet, please. You know what it feels like... Harriet continues to inch backwards - Esther has a large stick in hand. HARRIET (CONT’D) Violet, stop her. She’s almost enveloped in darkness. VIOLET Esther, leave her alone. Esther turns back and looks at Violet, considering for a moment. HARRIET Please, Esther.

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Esther takes a moment. She lowers the weapon. A wave of relief washes across Harriet’s face. HARRIET (CONT’D) Thank you. Harriet moves to return towards the light when A HAND REACHES FROM THE BLACK and pulls her into the unseen. A SCREAM pierces the night. Esther looks at Violet and she nods. They grab burning sticks for torches. Wave them into the black. It’s eerily still. Esther looks like she’s through. Panting. Terrified. VIOLET Time to take control. She marches forward determined. ESTHER Violet... Not a fucking good idea. VIOLET I left her once before. I’m not doing it again. She marches forward. VIOLET (CONT’D) (shouting back) Bring the firelighters! Esther hobbles at her top pace following Violet into the black. EXT. TREES - BLACK The weather has calmed now, the storm in a lull. Silence surrounds Violet. Violet swipes the air with her torch. Every shadow, every movement takes the form of one of those.. things. EXT. TREES - BLACK Violet presses on, Esther trails behind.

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EXT. VIOLET’S OLD HOME (FLASHBACK) -The rabbit bounds into the ROAD.

Violet’s mother follows. Her foot hits the tarmac. Her heel breaks. She crashes to the floor and looks up toEXT. TREES - BLACK Harriet. Standing clear in the woods. Eyes of glass. Suddenly she collapses to the ground to revealZipporah. She raises her arms and a swarm of parasitoids flood into Harriet’s body, squirming into every orifice. ESTHER Zipporah... But Zipporah isn’t Zipporah any more. A force of nature. Esther steps forwards towards her. Violet holds her back. Violet swings her torch. A few parasitoids are distracted and fly straight into the flame, burning to a crisp. Zipporah raises her head towards the pair, Harriet now dealt with, writhing on the floor. Violet watches, still. Esther gives her a push and barges her way towards Zipporah, swinging her torch as she goes. VIOLET No...! Zipporah watches Esther’s clumsy approach until she FLASHES towards her. Esther SWINGS her torch, Zipporah ducks effortlessly and side steps behind her. She grabs Esther round the neck and drags her back into the shadows. A second later and the light extinguishes. Violet’s eyes flicker left and right, scanning, petrified. She turns and bolts intoANNA

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And immediately tries to swing her torch into Anna. Anna grabs it midair. ANNA Be still. Violet writhes and then calms. Looks desperately at Anna. VIOLET I thought I could... SCUTTLING FROM THE TREETOPS. ANNA Let’s move, those torches won’t last long. She grabs Esther’s firelighter bag, looks at her compass. South. They head on. EXT. VALLEY LEDGE - NIGHT The Cashier’s snowmobile skids to a halt at the cliff edge. The Cashier looks down into the valley. He secures a rope around a tree and lowers himself down the cliff face into the unknown, rifle strapped across his back. EXT. AERIAL VIEW - NIGHT Two lights float through the darkness. We sense that just beyond their glow, claws of hell await. EXT. DEEPER WOODS - NIGHT Anna bounds on, compass in hand, barely able to make out what’s ahead. Suddenly she catches a snow buried log with her foot and collapses down onto it. Violet arrives behind as Anna gets herself up, brushes off the snow. Brings up the compass.. Smashed. She looks at it, it doesn’t work. She rips it off and hurls it to the ground. She looks away and Violet surreptitiously collects the broken compass. Violet looks at her, unsure how to respond. There’s a long beat, Anna haloed in the dark.

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Anna surveys the canopy, currently providing temporary respite from the snow. VIOLET You OK? After another beat, Anna starts collecting wood, kindling. VIOLET (CONT’D) We hole up here? ANNA We tried that already. She grabs a branch. Snaps it in two, inspects the inside. Satisfied, she adds it to the pile. ANNA (CONT’D) This should work. She starts to pyramid the wood. VIOLET You build a fire and those things are going to come right for us. ANNA Right. VIOLET And Zipporah and maybe Harriet and Esther too. ANNA Maybe, maybe not. But it’s the only way anyone looking for us is going to find us now. You with me? VIOLET Yeah. Anna and Violet get busy, snapping wood, gathering logs and checking for dryness of the tinder. The two develop a rhythm, Anna collecting and Violet following her foundations, crafting the pyramid in the earth. Violet grabs a larger piece from Anna and places it with excessive urgency - the whole six-foot pyramid shakes and wavers. Anna grabs it, steadies it from collapse. ANNA Go easy. No rush. VIOLET I’ve got it.

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ANNA No, you don’t have it. VIOLET I said, I’ve got it. Anna temporarily releases her grip - the whole thing wobbles and then she regains control. ANNA Sometimes life’s easier with a little give and take. Sometimes you gotta wait a while for the take. But you’ve also got to know when something’s being offered. Violet nods. Reaches up and grabs control of the pyramid and Anna shifts the weight of the branch, stabilising it. Violet starts adding more branches, cautiously this time. VIOLET Make sure you keep offering. Some people are just shitty receivers I guess. ANNA Make sure you receive this. Anna tosses her the firelighters. Violet plucks the bag out of the air, swinging the tote over her shoulder and looks at Anna with a smile. She reaches into the bag and grabs some firelighters, laying them down inside the pyramid. Anna readies her torch. She looks at Violet. ANNA (CONT’D) Whatever the Lord gave us down here, I’m damn sure going to take it away. WHOOSH! The pyramid erupts in flame. Anna and Violet exchange glances and then take positions, each clutching a lit torch. Light flickers off the army of trees and shadows dart through the forest. Trees creak under the weight of the snow and ice, threatening to collapse. Flames dance off Violet and Anna’s expectant stares.

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EXT. VALLEY LEDGE - SAME TIME The Cashier lands on the valley floor. In the distance a fireball illuminates the forest. He shakes his head and starts towards the bonfire, swinging the rifle from his back and cocking the weapon, ready. EXT. DEEPER WOODS - CONTINUOUS It’s eerily quiet. Stares continue into the black. A long beat as snow crackles lightly. Then a long, loud CREAK as a tree crumples under the weight in the unseen distance... landing with a CRASH. Violet jumps, swings her torch. ANNA It’s just the weight of the ice. Violet nods, wordless. And still they wait. And after an interminably long beat... a movement. And Anna squints into the black. And... from the depths of hell, the snow hare appears. VIOLET Get ready. They’re coming. SCUTTLING. Quiet. Getting louder. Their eyes dart into the shadows. Nothing. Louder now, a swirling vortex of sound but still nothing. Anna braces herself, tightening her grip on the torch. Violet focused. The sound almost deafening now. Scuttling in the treetops. And then, just as soon as the sound reaches a climax it stops. Silence. UntilCRREEEAAAAKKK

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Violet and Anna twist to see a huge tree bending towards them, snow waterfalling off the sides straight onto the fire and they dive to either side into BLACK. Violet’s eyes struggling to adjust. The only light now creeps from her torch. Dazed, stumbling, Violet recovers. Anna nowhere in sight. Nothing moving out there. She crunches through the snow towards the ashes of the fire. She rounds the felled log to see Anna, flat on her back in the snow. Next to her - a pool of parasitoids. The whites of her eyes stare panicked up at Violet as the beasts crawl slowly over her body. Another train of beasts distracted by her now extinguished torch. She holds her breath as they pry for an opening, unsure. Violet marches over and swoops her torch over Anna’s body and the parasitoids flutter into action, chasing the flame. She pulls Anna up as she bats some of the insects away. VIOLET (CONT’D) Let’s go! They both turn and sprint away from the oncoming hordes. VIOLET (CONT’D) (gasping for breath) Where to? ANNA South! We got to catch anyone coming to this fire en route. A swarm follow behind, in the edge of the light. EXT. WOODED PASSAGE - CONTINUOUS The pair duck and weave through trees and over hanging branches. Matching them step for step is an army of darkness. They emerge from the passage to theEXT. EDGE OF THE VALLEY - CONTINUOUS Moonlight illuminates a cliff edge. They hit the bottom of the cliff, a cul de sac - no way up, no way out. Death approaching fast.

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Anna looks around. Spots a small hole in the rocks, squeezing through to the rest of the cliff edge. ANNA Here, go! Violet stops for a second then darts into the gap. Squeezes her way in. Gets stuck. Scuttling. Grunts as she tries to push her way through. The bag catching. ANNA (CONT’D) Give me the bag. Violet hesitates. ANNA (CONT’D) I’m asking. It’s your turn to give. Violet passes the bag. It frees her up and she moves to keep going. VIOLET Come on! ANNA Keep going for God’s sake! Violet continues her squeeze. Pushes through to theEXT. FOOT OF THE CLIFF - CONTINUOUS Through the crack we see Anna squeeze into the gap, struggling with her torch. ANNA Go! VIOLET I’m waiting. Anna starts to fill the gap, her feet tangling and scratches emerging on her face as she writhes in the rock, trying in vain to push through. VIOLET (CONT’D) Come on!

83.

ANNA Go... for God’s sake, get out of here. Violet ignores her, reaching in to Anna’s outstretched arms. VIOLET Breathe. Violet starts to pull on her arm, heaving. VIOLET (CONT’D) Pass me the bag. No reply. Violet keeps tugging until out of Anna’s sleeve crawls a parasitoid... creeping up her arm... Violet not noticing until suddenly she sees Anna’s eyes start to roll in pain. Anna’s head rotates to reveal a parasitoid squeezing through her ear. Violet’s eyes widen and she looks to her sleeve to see one on her arm! Violet thrashes instinctively, crushing it on the wall. ANNA Surely, I see a fire. Anna’s arm slow arcs round and drops the torch onto the bag, unleashing immolation. The sound of hot air rushing through a thousand parasitoids’ screams through the air. Violet stumbles back and turns... runs... sobbing. Her feet mechanically in the snow and her perception blurs, the forest fuzzy, dark, moonlit... her eyes dance, icicles sparkle... Shadows envelop her... overwhelming despair creeping from the trees, bark and lumber cast shapes... A shape in the snow... a ghostly snow hare dancing circles... White and black... fire in the trees... Crunch... scuttle... blur... Her vision suddenly sharpens. As if on cue, the snow hare bounds out in front of her and takes the lead, Violet following without missing a beat. She bounds, increasing pace, the snow hare leaping ahead.

84.

Panting. Sweating. Surviving. Ducks tree branches along the edge of the cliff then hard right - back into the woods. Out of sight, obscured by a bank of trees. A heavenly chanting echoes through the forest, the epidemic rustle of branches in the wind. CRUNCH... CRUNCH... CRUNCH. Soft, gentle, unmistakable footsteps. Zipporah appears into view. A charred key ring swings from her belt hook. Don’t get sad, get mad. Slowly she follows Violet’s tracks, heading into the woods. EXT. FOREST EDGE - NIGHT Moonlit snow and the snow hare races through the forest. It reaches a fork in the cleared ground. One path back into the depths. Dark. The other is lighter, heading back towards the cliff and escape. The hare stops. EXT. FOREST EDGE - CONTINUOUS Just behind the hare is Violet flailing, panting, out of control. Ducks. Leaps. Pure inertia. She stumbles, falls into the snow, tears freezing on her face as she looks to the sky for solace. Then on the snow hare. It cocks it head, then slowly ambles in a circle, languorously meandering down the dark path. Violet watches, eyes glazed. Then something irritates her. She shuffles, uncomfortable. Reaches down to pick up the broken compass. Examines it for a moment. And there’s a moment of survival instinct that kicks in.

85.

Climbs to her feet. Brushes herself off. Watches the snow hare go. Goes the other way. EXT. CLIFF EDGE - MOMENTS LATER Violet hits the cliff edge, can’t find the path up. Starts strafing the area, probing. Finds a small ledge, clambers up. Looks up to the top of the cliff. A flash of colour. Squints up. It looks like some rope dangling down to a lower ledge. The way up - scree and jagged scramble. She reaches up, testing the first sharpened hand hold. Grips it tight. Shifts her weight up and SLAMS face first into the rock, crushing her nose. Stationery for a moment and then her face is SCRAPED back down towards the foot of the cliff, blood smearing the snow and rocks. She is dragged finally from the small ledge, her head cracking the side as she is pulled to the ground. Zipporah stands over her now motionless body. A BLUR. Dazed. Focus. Zipporah. Twirling her carving knife. Her eyes measuring Violet. The knife twirls to a stop in her hand. She exhales, ready for the kill. Violet’s hands grip the compass. From complete still, Violet kicks out a leg, slamming Zipporah in the knee. Zipporah stumbles back surprised and without hesitating Violet pushes her body forward, launching a second kick into Zipporah’s other knee, sending her tumbling to the ground. Violet is up, in a flash and pressing the attack but just as quick as she fell Zipporah’s poised and ready. Thrusts towards Violet. She swerves the blow, pulls Zipporah’s arm. Zipporah is propelled forward and Violet smashes her face, knocking her back. The knife tumbles to the floor. Equidistant. Violet clocks it. Zipporah eyes on Violet. The fight, evenly poised. Both girls, bloody noses.

86.

A CLICK. A gun cocks. A halogen torch light blazes on the pair. They both turn to see the cashier, gun raised, flickering between the two. His eyes, unsure. CASHIER Last time I saw someone behaving like this I had to put an end to it. VIOLET Please, help me! The cashier trains the gun on Violet. CASHIER That’s exactly what they said. ZIPPORAH She’s infected. You need to put her down. He swings the gun. CASHIER I need to do shit. He flashes the light in Zipporah’s face. A bloody mess. CASHIER (CONT’D) Show me your ears. She slowly turns her head. Blood everywhere, a crimson smudge. ZIPPORAH She broke my nose CASHIER Shut up. Open your mouth. Nothing evident. He flashes Violet. CASHIER (CONT’D) Now you. Same story. No way to judge. CASHIER (CONT’D) I should just take you both out and have done with it. Violet edges towards him.

87.

CASHIER (CONT’D) You gotta be smarter than that. VIOLET I’ve survived two attacks already. These things will take over. We have to kill her. Now. ZIPPORAH Please. You can’t trust her. I’ve been through so much. I just want to see my parents again. Save me. VIOLET She’s lying to you. ZIPPORAH She’s killed at least two of us already. She just told you! You have a chance to be a hero here. VIOLET It was self defence. I was attacked. Just take us both in. You can do the tests. Whatever it is you need! CASHIER There’s nothing heroic in a simple extermination job. He swings the gun towards Violet. BANG! Zipporah takes the opening and lunges in, jabbing him in solar plexus. He doubles over. She wrenches the gun from his hands. Violet is in shock. Blood pours from her shoulder. Her legs wobble, knees giving way. Stumbles, crashes to the snow. Zipporah puts her boot heel on his throat. Cocks her head. Shakes it pityingly. BANG BANG. Claret scatters the snow. She cocks the rifle again. No bullets. Rifles through the cashier’s pockets. Finds a couple more. Looks over to Violet, writhing, polluting the purity of the blanket snow. Zipporah wanders over, casually. Hobbling slightly, her knees struggling. Snow falling again. Melts on Violet’s face as she looks up. She starts to shake.

88.

The cold, exhaustion creeps in. Adrenaline waning. Zipporah stands over her. Smiles. ZIPPORAH Looks like we’re finally getting out of here. Zipporah raises the rifle up as VioletSLASHES the knife from under her body, carving the tendons on Zipporah’s knee. Zipporah drops to her knees. Violet plunges the knife into her neck. Once. Twice. Three times a lady. Blood spurts across the air. Violet breaks down. Tears. The life evaporating from Zipporah’s eyes. She looks to the sky. Snowflakes melting on her eyes. She wipes her face, removing some of the blood. Takes the carving knife. Wipes it clean. Looks up at the scree climb. She throws an arm forward. Drags. Then another. And slowly, progress. EXT. CLIFF, UPPER LEDGE - MOMENTS LATER Violet’s hand drags her forward again. To the foot of the rope. Wraps her hand around the rope. Heaves. Hand over hand. Wind whips. Lifts her way up finally to the lip of the cliff. Reaches over and pulls her way up over the edge. EXT. VALLEY LEDGE - CONTINUOUS Violet sees the snowmobile. Levers her way onto it. Revs... life!

89.

EXT. FOREST, CLIFF TOP - MOMENTS LATER The snowmobile tears through the forest, retracing the tracks it’s already made. Tears, streaming down Violet’s face. But she’s holding it together. EXT. FOREST - MOMENTS LATER The snowmobile skids as Violet sways, losing control. But it doesn’t flip. Violet stops it. Breathing. Panting. Exhaustion. She topples off the snowmobile. Stumbles. Looks up to a tree. Sees the ‘V.B.’ that she carved earlier. A moment of elation. And Violet starts to run. Crashes through the snow. Now unstoppable. Smashes through the forest to the EXT. GAS STATION - CONTINUOUS A beacon of sanctuary. Lights beaming into the surroundings. Violet dips into the final energy reserve and pushes towards the glass door. In the glass, her reflection shows Violet arrive at the door. Violet’s face reflecting relief. Pain. And finally, Violet breaks down. She reaches for the door. INT. SCHOOL BATHROOM - DAY Bloodshot eyes. Violet stares at herself in the mirror, drained, hair draping her face. Doing herself up. Foundation. Lipstick. Eyebrows. Dabs the excess off her lips with a tissue. Checks the reflection. Channels resolve. A SCHOOL GIRL emerges from a cubicle.

90.

SCHOOL GIRL Hey, you doing OK? Violet takes a minute. The girl taps her nose. SCHOOL GIRL (CONT’D) Still getting the nose bleeds? VIOLET I’m fine, thanks. Violet leaves, tossing the tissue. The School Girl tittivates her eyebrows. Washes her hands. Dries off the black smears with a towel. The School Girl finishes up and heads for the door, dropping her paper towel in the trash. We follow the towel, smeared black into the trash can. Another tissue, daubed in rouge. And another. Tipped in claret. INT. SCHOOL HALL - DAY Violet sits front and centre, the seats next to her filled by a MOTHER and FATHER figure, the MOTHER figure notably different from her memories, gripping her protectively. Violet focuses, eyes front. Hair draped long. BALDING TEACHER (O.S.) ...and whilst details surrounding this terrible tragedy are still unclear, we are very fortunate... Pupils dilate. Her hair drooping in front of her eyes. Violet raises her hands and moves to tuck the hair back behind her ears. SMASH TO BLACK.

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