Act1 - 05/25

EXT. SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY
Clean spring, leaves are just starting to bud. Lumbered,
quaint houses line the street, and most lawns have a tall
tree or two growing. It’s all very orderly and placed,
except for the heavily reinforced doors and the iron bars on
every window.
A pair of children [4 & 5, dirty, gleeful] are playing in
the lawn of one of these houses, dancing around a sprinkler.
Rows of freshly planted flowers flank the lawn on either
side, and the porch windows hold little hanging gardens as
well.
An older couple, MIREI [51, delicate, sitting] and JOHN [56,
same] and a young woman, SUE [27, in gardening gear, exuding
calm happiness] watch the children from the porch. Taken as
a whole, it could almost be a Saturday Evening Post cover.
Sue wipes the sweat from her brow, visibly pleased by the
sign of effort.
SUE
It looks nice, doesn’t it?
MIREI
It does. You did wonderfully. But
really, we didn’t need you to do
this.
SUE
No, I wanted to. It felt right, you
know?
She licks her lips.
MIREI
There’s water and tea inside.
SUE
That’d be great.
INT. HOUSE - KITCHEN
The kitchen is a mix of modern and old appliances, homely
and warm. It feels like a safe. lived-in place. The walls
are covered in pictures of the Sue and her family. Before
she opens the kitchen she takes a moment to go over them.
It’s nearly all pictures of herself, a smiling 18 year old
beside her first car, 22 in a graduation cap and gown, 24 in
a wedding dress, 27 besides a pair of smiling children.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 2.
There is one picture, the biggest, that sticks out starkly,
and the one that she hovers over for a moment. It’s Sue, 12,
with a surprised glowering look, scabbed knees, a moody
child.
A door somewhere in the house closes loudly. Sue looks
around for which door it might have been.
INT. HOUSE - UPSTAIRS
She’s looking around a hallway. A few toys are scattered
around in desultory piles, some clothes as well.
She opens the bedroom door, nothing unusual. She opens the
bathroom, still nothing. More doors: an art room, a rec
room, a storage room full of more toys, chests and plastic
covered furniture. Nothing.
She comes to a room with ’SUE’S ROOM’ on a bronze placard,
where she hesitates upon putting her hand on the doorknob.
After a moment, she opens it and steps inside.
INT. HOUSE - SUE’S ROOM
The room is a bright, happy place. The wallpaper is yellow
and purple flowers cascading down, star-shaped lights hang
from the ceiling, a big milky-white armoire, more toys, two
beds, an old CRTV, movie posters from the 80s and 90s
(Empire Strikes Back, Robocop, Princess Bride, etc.)
There is a STRANGER in the center of the room, waiting for
her.
The stranger is a copy of Sue, but one who has lived a very
different life. Her hair is a different color and cut short,
she is burnt brown by the sun where Sue is fairer, and her
clothes are stiff and bear marks of being worn down by the
elements.
Sue and the Stranger watch each other for a beat. The
Stranger walks around slowly, picking up knickknacks, old
books, a framed picture of Sue with her children.
STRANGER
Interesting that they kept the room
like this.
SUE
They wanted to turn it into a rec
room. I told them that I- that I
wanted to keep it the way it was.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 3.
Stranger nods.
STRANGER
There’s two beds here.
SUE
Lukas and Robin like to stay over
sometimes.
STRANGER
Lukas and Robin...Good names...did
you name them or-?
SUE
They were young enough for us to
name them.
STRANGER
The look like nice kids.
Beat. Sue is slowly losing her composure.
SUE
Are you here to-?
STRANGER
To what?
SUE
I don’t know. You said- I can’t
think of any other reason you might
be back.
The Stranger groans. She pulls over a chair and sits down,
she rests her sword down. It’s like she’s letting loose a
long, pent up sigh,
STRANGER
Can I have a moment? Just close the
door behind you. Please? I won’t be
here when you open it, I promise.
Sue doesn’t have any kind of response. She just nods, closes
the door behind, and leaves the stranger to bask.
END TEASER
4.
EXT. SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY
On a black background, white text: 1999
Cut to the neighborhood, largely unchanged from what we saw
before, only the doors are wooden instead of metal, and the
windows aren’t covered in iron bars.
A lone BICYCLE RIDER [No older than 19, jeans and a jacket,
gawking and really smelling the roses] slowly makes his way
down the lane.
YOUNG SUE [12, loose school uniform and backpack, bouncy and
energetic], is walking on the sidewalk, swinging a branch
around like a sword, mumbling in that low, self-narrated
kind of way. She’s pretty into whatever fantasy she’s
enacting right now.
She spots a crumpled up dollar ahead of her, under a large
oak. She quickens her pace.
Above, in the tree, a pair of other children, LEE and CAMMY
Greymark [13 & 11, smug little shits, also in uniforms]
wait. Cammy is a wolfish, aggressive looking child. Lee is
calmer and somewhat on the chubby side. Lee is eating an
apple and bites down to the core just as Sue passes
underneath to pick up the dollar.
He lets the core fall and it plonks right onto Sue’s head.
SUE
Ah, shit!
Her swear makes Lee and Cammy burst into laughter overhead.
Sue looks up with a look of
SUE
(cont)
Cammy! Lee! God, why did you do
that?
Cammy laughs.
LEE
Cause it was funny. Not like it
hurt anyway. Could have dropped a
rock on you.
CAMMY
Yeah, don’t be a baby.
The two children let their legs hang from the branches. Sue
raises her hand as though to make an impassioned statement,
pulls back.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 5.
SUE
Whatever. You guys suck.
She starts walking away. Cammy whistles at her.
CAMMY
Oy, where are you going?
It’s like pulling teeth just turning around to answer her.
SUE
What?
Beat.
CAMMY
You’ve still got our dollar.
Sue looks down, realizes that she’s still clutching the
dollar in her hand.
SUE
I found it on the sidewalk. It’s my
dollar.
CAMMY
No, it’s not. I put it there, it’s
ours, you just picked it up for us.
Now give it back.
SUE
No.
She turns her back on Cammy and keeps walking. A rock hits
her behind the leg and makes her take the knee. She looks
behind. Cammy has two stones in her free hand, another one
held up to throw it. Lee is impassive.
SUE
(cont)
I said no.
LEE
C’mon, Cammy, let her go home.
Another rock comes flying down, misses Sue’s head by an
inch. Cammy casually plays with the other rock in her hands.
Sue leans down.
CAMMY
Last warning.
Staredown beat.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 6.
SUE
Fine. I’ll give you your stupid
dollar back.
Cammy smirks. Sue picks up the stone and blindly flings it
back up at Cammy. Cammy dodges, the stone bounces off the
trunk, and conks Lee in the head. He cries out and tumbles
from the tree, landing inches from the pavement in a sobbing
heap. Sue looks with her mouth open, as does Cammy.
CAMMY
(whispering)
Oh shit.
Sue looks up, then down to Lee. She turns and starts
running.
Across the street, the Bicycle Rider is on the curb,
watching.
INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
Sue is sitting alone on a big couch, her uniform tidied and
tightened.
It’s a very orderly living room, though everything seems a
little too big for her, the coffee table, the lamps, the TV.
Paint cans are in the corner, and half the room is
blue-taped for a new coat, a cold off-white taking over a
warmer orange beneath.
She dangles her legs from the edge of the couch and picks up
one of the mags from the coffee table: Other Worlds. There’s
a big grasping headline: "STILL HERE" and a portrait of a
man with a hundred-yard stare.
She flips through it idly, then tosses it back on the table.
A door opens.
MIREI
(os)
Yes, uh-huh, thank you.
A door closes. YOUNG MIREI enters the living room [orderly,
refined and businesslike]. She doesn’t say anything, just
kind of lords over as Sue meets her stare. Beat.
MIREI
You can wait in the garden instead
of your room.
7.
EXT. BACKYARD GARDEN - DAY
Rows of beautiful, delicate flowers make up the backyard. A
partial greenhouse covers some of them, and a tall white
fence cuts it all off from the rest of the world.
Sue has a stick and she’s walking around, mumbling under her
breath. She swings her stick around and slices the air.
SUE
Stupid, stupid...
She takes a swing and smashes the bulb of one of her
mother’s flowers. Sue drops her sticks, panics, looks back
to make sure nobody can see her. She picks up all of the
petals and hurries away to a gate leading outside.
Outside the gate, she dumps the petals into the trash. She
looks around to make sure no one sees her.
On the curb across the street, the Bicycle Rider waves. She
waves back, then goes back inside the gate.
INT. HOUSE - DINING ROOM
Sue, Mirei, and YOUNG JOHN [scholarly yuppie, stick-like],
sit around the dining room table. It’s a big oaken thing,
made to accommodate far more people. Styrofoam containers
litter the tabletop.
Sue is an object between Mirei and John, and she munches
away while her parents barely peck at their dishes. Mirei’s
tone sounds like she learned how to speak to children from
Dr. Spock’s manual.
MIREI
Lucy Greymark came over today. Sue
threw a rock at Lee. He has a
fracture.
John pushes his plate aside. He too sounds like he gets most
of his child-rearing advice from Dr. Spock’s.
JOHN
Sue, please, remember what we said
about things like this.
MIREI
That’s right. And don’t worry, we
believe your story, we are not
against you. But you shouldn’t have
hit anybody. You should have just
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 8.
MIREI (cont’d)
walked away. Be the bigger one and
walk away.
SUE
I did.
Mirei sighs.
MIREI
You didn’t though.
JOHN
Whenever someone makes you mad,
just stay calm and try to be above
it. Getting angry doesn’t do anyone
any good.
MIREI
So true.
Sue finishes her plate. Mirei and John are hanging on for a
response.
MIREI
(cont)
So, are we good?
SUE
I think we’re good.
Beat while Mirei and John look pleased with themselves. Good
Parent award ribbons all around.
MIREI
And, just so you know, I saw you in
the garden today. You hit the
flower-
Sue reddens, aghast and shamed.
MIREI
(cont)
You didn’t need to do that, you
could have just told me, it wasn’t
that big of a deal-
Sue’s grasping for something, anything to end this line.
SUE
Next time I’ll make sure that I get
Cammy instead of Lee.
Appalled looks all around.
9.
INT. HOUSE - SUE’S ROOM
The door closes with a harsh slam.
Sue is sitting at a child’s desk, lamp on, blank sheet in
front of her. She taps a pen lightly against her forehead
before trying to scrawl something out.
She groans.
She turns on her small TV and flips through the channels,
flipping through news and commercials before landing on a
movie. Conan the Barbarian is playing, the iconic scene.
BANDIT
(tv)
Conan! What is best in life?
CONAN
(tv)
To crush your enemies-
Sue pauses to watch the rest of the scene play out.
CONAN
-see them driven before you, and to
hear the lamentation of their
women.
She chuckles, she seems happy for a moment, but it quickly
fades.
She looks back to her paper and groans.
INT. SCHOOL OFFICE - DAY
Posters and college pennant flags are stapled in such
numbers as to cover the wall from floor to ceiling. A large
window looks out over a construction site.
Sue, John and Mirei sit opposite COUNSELOR KENNY [mid-40s,
rough, perfect posture] nicknamed THE BRUCE.
MIREI
...and we really wanted to give
this to them.
She hands over an envelope with ’From: Sue, To: Lee’ written
on it.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 10.
THE BRUCE
Great, I know that the Greymarks
will be doing the same. A nice
little exchange and it’ll all be
water under the bridge.
There’s a loud racket coming in from the window. He gets up
and closes it.
THE BRUCE
(cont)
Right, so, uh-
JOHN
...we’d hope this whole thing could
just blow over.
THE BRUCE
Ah, right.
(Beat)
Now, I hope you don’t mind my
asking, but how are the two of you
holding up. I heard that things
are-
MIREI
Oh, we’ve hit a snag. That won’t be
happening.
The Bruce suddenly feels that he has bumbled into an awkard
topic.
THE BRUCE
Oh, I’m sorry. I know how long you
were both trying.
JOHN
Yeah, yeah. But it’s alright.
He pats Sue on the back.
JOHN
(cont)
We’ve got Sue. She’s enough of a
handful as it is, I don’t know how
we would have handled three.
MIREI
Or four.
The adults all laugh. Sue could be anywhere else right now.
The Bruce notices this and reaches out to her.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 11.
THE BRUCE
Don’t be too down about this. A day
in class and you’ll forget all
about it.
Sue forces a smile and a nod.
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
The classroom is dark while the teacher mans a projector
showing slideshow images of...things. Bizarre creatures,
people rioting in the streets, a great fissure in the earth
from which smoke rises up.
The LINDS TOLKI [30s, chipper in tone, ’hip’ with the
students] is in the middle of recounting a personal story.
She has that kind of tone where she really wishes she could
be doing research instead of teaching middle-schoolers.
LINDS
...I was about as old a you all are
when this happened, feels like it
was so much longer ago now. We had
to move pretty quickly when the
warning went off.
She flips to a picture of a marine who looks more like a big
game hunter, smoking a cigarette next to the corpse of a
monstrous, horned animal. The children collectively respond
with a mix of ’oohs’ and a few utterances of ’sick’.
Sue watches intently from a middle row. Up ahead, Cammy
looks back every so often to throw a glance towards Sue. The
teacher continues to regale the class.
LINDS
(cont)
I know, right? Pretty cool. It’s
like some old monster from Star
Wars. Like a rancor. Yeah, the
rancor. You kids ever watch Star
Wars?
Not much of a response. Sue looks around, decides not to
raise her hand.
LINDS
(cont)
Right.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 12.
Next slide. It’s just a bunch of people standing around,
fresh-faced, college age, in a horrible mix of clothes;
half-robes, fresh animal skins, jeans, cheap white-collar
suits. There’s a long, dark splatter that stretches across
all four of the people in the picture.
Not quite so many expletives from the class now.
LINDS
(cont)
These people though. These are the
ones you had to watch out for.
Sue looks up. Linds shivers and goes to the next slide, a
big map of the US. She raises her hand.
LINDS
(cont)
Sue?
SUE
Who were those people? From the
last slide?
Back to the last slide. The mood fizzles out. Everyone’s
looking a little closer, taking in all the details, and it
doesn’t sit well.
LINDS
Uh, where to begin? Crazies, most
of them. Thought the fissure was
the end of the world. Thought they
could really take everything that
was coming out of it and do
something with it. Imagine a
hundred thousand people with the
power to shape the world as they
saw fit. What a time, I’ll tell
you. What a time.
There’s a beat while the class just kinda takes that all in.
Linds finally notices this sudden mood shift and tries to
bring it back down.
TEACHER
If you’d like I could recommend
some books on the kinds of
thaumaturgy they-
The bell rings. The class, and Sue, are all eager to get
out, and rush out over the supplications of Linds to come
back if they have any questions at all.
13.
INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - LOCKERS - DAY
A few straggling students rush out of the hallway, leaving
Sue alone to set her books down. A door at the end of the
hallway opens up and in walks Cammy. Sue sees her coming,
decides to face her. She closes the door to her locker.
CAMMY
I got your letter.
SUE
Yeah?
CAMMY
Yep.
Up close, we can see that Sue is actually taller than Cammy
by a good few inches.
CAMMY
(cont)
You should have just given me back
my dollar.
SUE
Are you really going to fight me
here? In the hallway?
CAMMY
If that was what I wanted you’d
already be on the floor.
SUE
So then what?
CAMMY
You broke my brother’s arm, gave me
a scare. That calls for recompense.
SUE
That’s a big word for you, Cammy.
And I swear-
Cammy raises a hand.
CAMMY
No. You’re not going to swear,
you’re going to listen to me, and
you’re going to do exactly as I
say.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 14.
SUE
And why would I do that?
Beat.
CAMMY
We have at least 6 years left here.
How unpleasant do you want those
years to be? We’ve had our little
fights. Do you want those fights to
become a war? Because I will
declare war on you if you force me
to.
Sue falters under Cammy’s icy stare for a painful beat.
CAMMY
(cont)
Let’s talk.
EXT. SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION LOT - DAY
The school construction lot is a dusty, torn up landscape.
Equipment and rebar litter the grounds, and caution tape and
blue tarp cover much of the superstructure being set down.
Sue runs through, tears slowly running down her cheek. She
looks around, seeing if she’s alone. The grounds are whisper
quiet. She sits on a pile of lumber and quietly sobs.
She sobs only for a moment. Fear and sadness turns to anger.
She’s digging into the earth.
A bicycle bell rings. The rider is watching her from across
the lot. He waves. She waves back.
RIDER
You alright?
SUE
What?
RIDER
I said-
He walks over. There’s a kind of lackadaisical, carefree
attitude to his voice, almost hippy-like.
RIDER
(cont)
Are you alright?
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 15.
SUE
Yeah, I’m alright.
RIDER
Huh. Funny, you don’t look alright
though. I’d say you look the
opposite of alright.
Sue wipes away at her face. The rider sighs.
RIDER
That girl really getting to you,
huh?
Sue looks at him, nods.
RIDER
(cont)
It happens. It still sucks.
Everyone tells you you can’t do
this, you can’t do that, blah blah,
bunch of pansy dumb-asses.
He chuckles, Sue chuckles a little, breaking out of her
somber, angry mood.
RIDER
You want to show her?
SUE
What?
RIDER
I mean, do you really think that
anybody will help you out? In any
kind of meaningful way? Because I
think we could help each other out
right now. You know, like, take
care of her.
Sue tenses up. She tries to keep her reaction under control
but she still looks scared
RIDER
(cont)
Oh, no. Not anything really bad.
God, you kids watch too many
movies, damn...
Sue looks away sheepishly.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 16.
SUE
Do you mean...hurt her?
RIDER
Oh, no. Well, pain is relative, but
even so, this won’t hurt her. If
anything I think she’s in more
danger from you than from me.
Beat. Rider smiles and lightly taps her shoulder with his
fist.
RIDER
(cont)
You’re a little scrapper, you know
that? I saw you hit that fat kid
off the branch. You should be proud
of that.
Sue reflects on this for a moment, her spirits lifting from
the praise.
SUE
How? How do we do this?
The Rider’s face is blank, utterly unreadable.
RIDER
It’ll be simple. We’ll just give
her a scare she’ll never forget.
I’ve dealt with people like her
before. They just need a
good-(pause while he huntsfor the
word)-jolt. But first I want you to
do something for me.
SUE
What?
The Rider extends a hand.
RIDER
I want us to shake on it. I want us
both to be in this, together.
Partners, just for this.
Sue looks at his hand. She looks around. The construction
lot is desolate, and wind howls between the bare, skeleton
frames. The Rider smiles at her with a gentle, empathic
smile.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 17.
RIDER
(cont)
It’s just a shake.
She shakes his hand. The Rider smiles. He’s got perfect
teeth.
EXT. SCHOOL FIELD - DAY
Cammy is walking along an empty field. She has a phone and
she’s idly snapping pictures of things, an old rusted bike
someone left, a piece of playground equipment, a squirrel
that runs by.
She looks up from her phone to see Sue looking at her from
across the field. Cammy smirks.
CAMMY
What do you want?
SUE
Just letting you know that I
thought about what you said.
CAMMY
Hmm?
SUE
I remembered when I hit your
brother with that rock. It was
pretty funny when he fell out of
that tree.
She makes a few mocking yelps and acts as though she’s
falling from a branch. Cammy puts her phone away.
SUE
(cont)
I mean, he’s such a-
She hesitates and her face looks a little pained.
SUE
(cont)
-your brother’s such a fatass that
I was surprised he was able to
climb up that tree at all.
Cammy is absolutely itching to make Sue eat the floor right
now. They both stare each other down. Sue is the first to
bolt, Cammy gives chase.
18.
EXT. SCHOOL EXPANSION LOT - DAY
Sue leads Cammy through the construction lot, under beams
and around rebar until she takes a turn into a completely
tarped wooden frame. Cammy chuckles as she slows down to
enter.
CAMMY
Alright, you ready to-
Sue jumps her. She has a piece of stone in her hand. She
scraps with Cammy, eventually kicking her off and holding
the rock piece over her haed as though to strike. Cammy
prepares to rush her when the Rider sneaks behind her and
pushes a rag to her face. Cammy panics and starts to
struggle.
SUE
That’s right. Take that you stupid-
She hesitates, like it’s a sudden escalation of bad words.
SUE
(cont)
...B-bitch!
Cammy’s eyes close. The Rider gently lays her down on the
floor.
RIDER
Cool.
He wipes the sweat from his forehead and laughs.
RIDER
(cont)
Well you really clocked her, I’ll
give you that much. Like I said, a
scrapper.
SUE
Ok, now what? Do we tie her up or
something?
RIDER
Well, your job is done. You can
leave if you want.
SUE
But I thought-?
The Rider pulls out a strange device from his pocket, a kind
of translucent tube with a needle sticking out of one end.
He jams it into Cammy’s neck, who jerks when he does.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 19.
SUE
(cont)
What?
The Rider is not listening to her. The vial slowly fills
with amber liquid, eventually filling the entire receptacle.
He slides the needle out and holds it to the light.
RIDER
That is beautiful. Really
beautiful.
He regards Cammy.
RIDER
(cont)
Sorry, kid.
Back to Sue.
RIDER
(cont)
Thanks for the help. She’ll be
alright, just give her a few
minutes and she’ll come around.
SUE
What did you do to her?
The Rider slides the receptacle back into his pocket.
RIDER
Held up my end of the bargain. She
won’t be bothering you any more.
He looks up to the sky with a broad smile. He jumps onto a
beam leading out of the tarped frame. He takes a moment to
look back and give Sue a parting salute.
RIDER
(cont)
Really, thank you.
He jumps away, leaving Sue and Cammy alone. Sue watches
Cammy for a moment.
SUE
Cammy?
Cammy breathes raspily. She’s deathly pale and sweating. Sue
pokes her with a piece of rebar. Cammy twitches, but is
otherwise unresponsive. Sue reels back, drops the rebar. She
looks around to see if anyone else could possibly be around.
20.
Cammy’s leg starts kicking, trying to get her body back up.
Sue slowly walks away, then runs as Cammy starts to rise.
EXT. SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD - SUNDOWN
Sue is walking in a daze. She looks down at her filthy
uniform.
MIREI
Sue?
MIREI
(cont)
Sue? What’s wrong? Are you okay?
What happened? Sue, you need to
tell me.
Sue snaps to attention.
SUE
I saw Cammy, at the construction
site.
INT. SUE’S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
The room is a bustle of activity. The red and blue of police
lights are shining through the windows. Uniformed officers
shuffle in and out. Detectives and operatives in strange
gear, like a cross between SWAT gear and a late medieval
witchfinder’s armor.
HUNTER
Can you describe him? Any details
at all?
She looks past the door. A small crowd has gathered, a tape
line keeping them at bay. Lee, with his arm in a cast,
crying, and a woman in her 40s are yelling at a police
officer.
SUE
I...I don’t remember.
INT. SUE’S HOUSE - SUE’S ROOM - NIGHT
Mirei holds Sue close to her. John stands in the doorway.
Mirei kisses Sue on the head and looks visibly shaken. She
goes over to the window and makes sure the locks are set.
Mirei kisses Sue again and she leaves with John, closing the
door behind them.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 21.
Sue is alone in the quiet. She breaths out and reclines onto
her bed. She puts a hand to her heart and breaths in an out
slowly. She has a strange look, like she’s just exited from
a dream, a faint smile. She takes her hand away from her
heart. Her voice is a whisper.
SUE
I did it. I really did it.
She exults for moment, the thrill of the moment pulsing
through her. But it’s quiet, and we linger. There’s a white
noise in the room that grows oppressively louder.
The light smile fades. Her breath quickens and dread
arrives.
END ACT 1