Note to self by Lewis Dowling
FADE IN: INT. BEDROOM - DAY - ESTABLISHING A screen flickers, static continuously playing. It flickers again, then goes blank. There is an old sofa facing the television, battered and ancient. Sitting on the sofa, upright and rigid, is ROB, in pyjamas. His eyes look unfocused, as though he is in a trance. In Rob's hand is the television remote. Rob sighs, and stands up, rubbing his sleepy eyes. He continues to hold the television remote, as he makes his way to the kitchen. INT. KITCHEN - DAY Rob enters, holding the remote limply. He drops it, as he shuffles over to the fridge. There are post-it notes on the fridge, written in capitals in stylised writing. Rob stares at the fridge for a moment, reading the note, before shrugging.
ROB You tell me.
Rob swings the fridge door open, revealing the writing on the note.
"WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SLEPT, ROB?"
Rob rummages in the fridge, then shuts it abruptly. He now has a pot of jam, which he begins to eat with his fingers. Rob sits at his dining table, and stares at the fridge, frowning. He continues to scoop jam out of the pot with his fingers. CUT TO: INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT Rob is still sitting frowning at the fridge. He blinks, and glances down. He is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, both are torn fashionably. There is a still a pot of jam in his hand, almost empty. (CONT'D)
Rob stands abruptly, knocking over the chair and dropping the pot of jam. Rob breathes heavily, and stares around the room, and out the window. As he is glancing, he notices that the note has changed. He walks over to it, and frowns.
"THERE'S SOMETHING WE NEED TO DO."
Rob rips the note off the fridge and screws it into a ball, grunting with frustration.
ROB Get out!
He throws the screwed up paper across the room, watching it bounce against the wall and roll away. There is a moment of silence, as Rob angrily stares across at the paper. SFX whispering builds up, and Rob clenches his hands over his ears, falling to the floor.
NOTE (V.O) We need you. Listen to us.
VOICE MONTAGE: A) NOTE (V.O) We hear you. B) NOTE (V.O) You can't escape. C) NOTE (V.O) Don't hide from us. D) NOTE (V.O) (CONT'D)
Where will you run? E) NOTE (V.O) You're needed. F) NOTE (V.O) Help. Help. Help. G) NOTE (V.O) Don't leave us. H) GIRL (V.O) Help! F) NOTE (V.O) You must listen. G) GIRL (V.O) (Screaming) H) NOTE (V.O) You must listen to us.
BACK TO KITCHEN
ROB Quiet! Get out!
Silence returns, and Rob is squatting in his kitchen, hands clasped over his head. He lowers his arms slowly, tentatively, before standing. He shakes his head and looks back to the fridge.
"YOU WILL HELP US."
Rob rushes over to the fridge, slams his palm against the note and scrunches it up. When it's in a ball in his hand, he slams his fist against the fridge, denting it in the process.
ROB What are you! Get out! Who do you think you are!
He stops hitting the fridge and throws the paper away. Panting with exhaustion, he leans back against the wall, and closes his eyes. CUT TO: EXT. UNDERPASS - DUSK Rob opens his eyes, and freezes with shock. The underpass is covered in graffiti. There are yellow lamps beaming down from the roof, casting an eerie glow. Rob looks to his hand, which is sprayed lightly with blue paint. Held loosely in his hand, is a can of spray paint. He drops the can, the clatter echoing down the underpass. Written in huge, bright blue, capital letters directly in front of him, is a note.
"YOU WILL LISTEN."
ROB No! Get away! Leave me alone!
Rob runs, towards the setting sun at the end of the underpass. EXT. APARTMENT BLOCK - DUSK Rob runs out of the underpass, and along the street, stopping only when he is well away from the ominous note. He stops, and leans forward on his knees, panting heavily with the strain of the frantic run.
NOTE (V.O) You will listen to us.
ROB No! I won't listen! You can't make me!
Rob punches the wall, scraping his knuckles. He grunts in pain, and clutches his ears as the whispering starts again.
VOICE MONTAGE: A) NOTE (V.O) Listen. B) NOTE (V.O) You can't run. C) GIRL (V.O) (Screaming) D) NOTE (V.O) It's pointless. All of it, pointless. E) NOTE (V.O) What have you ever done. F) NOTE (V.O) When did you last sleep? G) NOTE (V.O) End it. You must end it. H) NOTE (V.O) Top of the parking lot. I) NOTE (V.O) Standing on the edge. J) NOTE (V.O) (Shouting) Jump! Jump! Jump!
BACK TO APARTMENT BLOCK Rob is smacking his forehead against the wall, tears in his eyes. He grasps at his ears, desperately. He pushes his head against the wall, clenching his eyes shut tightly.
ROB Stop! Please, just let it stop.
CUT TO: EXT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT Rob pushes away from the wall, tears glistening in his eyes. His head is now stained red, but not from blood. In his hand, once again, is a spray can. There is a note on the wall, written in massive capital letters. There is also an arrow, pointing up to the roof of the building.
Rob staggers, and slams the can against his forehead. He throws the can at the fresh words, and drops to the floor.
NOTE (V.O) End it all. Go. Jump.
ROB Just let it stop.
NOTE (V.O) Hurry! Soon it'll all be over.
Rob slowly pushes himself upright. Methodically he walks forward, into the parking lot. INT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT Rob stumbles along, making slow progress through the parking lot. He reaches the stairs and stares up.
NOTE (V.O) Go. The top. Jump.
ROB (Mumbles) Just let it stop.
INT. STAIRWELL - NIGHT Rob climbs the stairs, step by step, glancing up to the top. He stops, looks back down, and begins retreating.
NOTE (V.O) No! To the top! You cannot run! Where will you go!
ROB Leave me alone!
Rob collapses, sitting with his head in his hands, sobbing slightly. He clutches at his ears, pulling on them harshly.
NOTE (V.O) Up. It'll all be over soon.
Rob pulls himself upright, using the banister to crawl along. He inches upward, taking each step slowly.
NOTE (V.O) Quickly! Soon it will be over.
Rob quickens his pace, slamming his hand against his temple. CUT TO: TOP OF STAIRS Rob arrives at the top, and stares at the handle, frozen as though catatonic.
NOTE (V.O) You must. There is no other way.
Rob wipes his eyes, and reaches forward, gripping the handle tightly. EXT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT STAIRWELL DOOR The door slowly swings open, revealing Rob. He takes a few steps, then stops, a frown on his features.
ROB What the?
NOTE (V.O) There isn't much time. It'll all be over soon. Soon, it'll be too late.
CUT TO: EDGE OF LOT A girl stands on the ledge, swaying back and forth. Her long blonde hair flowing along her back. She is looking down at the ground far below, rocking closer to the edge with each second. JESSICA lifts her arms to her sides and closes her eyes. Rob walks closer, staring at Jessica, and raises an imploring hand.
NOTE (V.O) We are in time.
FLASHBACK: EXT. PARKING LOT BASE - NIGHT There is an ambulance, sirens blaring. Hurried paramedics rush past, as they busily attempt to reach the centre of a crowd of people. Rob is walking by, and catches CLAIRE by the wrist. She stops and glances back at Rob. She is wearing a uniform, her nametag on the lapel. Her eyes are watery and shining.
ROB Claire, is it? What's happened? What's going on?
CLAIRE. She jumped, she jumped. I can't believe she jumped. I wasn't quick enough.
ROB Who jumped?
CLAIRE J, Jessica. I, I can't believe it.
Claire collapses into Rob's arms, crying heavily into his shoulder. He pats her head and comforts her.
CLAIRE (Into shoulder) I should've phoned her back. Why didn't I ring her?
ROB You can't blame yourself. We all wish we could turn back time.
The paramedics rush past again, this time carrying a stretcher. Jessica is lying in the stretcher, bloodied and broken. Her long blonde hair is matted with blood, and drapes over the edge of the stretcher. Claire bellows with grief as Jessica is taken into the ambulance, and buries herself further into Rob's shoulder. He pats her gently, looking into the ambulance. He catches a glimpse of Jessica's face, as the door slams shut with a crash. CUT BACK TO: EXT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT - EDGE OF LOT Rob shakes his head, and rubs his eyes, before glancing back to Jessica, still rocking back and forth on the ledge. Rob walks closer, staring at the long blonde hair.
ROB (Softly) Wait. What are you doing?
Jessica startles, opening her eyes and turning her head around to stare at Rob.
JESSICA Who are you! Go away! Leave me alone!
ROB Whoa, wait. I'm, Rob. Let's talk. It's Jessica, isn't it?
JESSICA What? How? How do you know that?
ROB Your friend told me. Claire, she said you'd rang.
JESSICA She told you?
ROB Yes, she's very upset. I've. (Pause) I'm here to help.
There is a silence, as Jessica stares at Rob. Rob takes a few steps closer, and offers his hand to Jessica. She doesn't take it, and instead wipes her hair from her face.
JESSICA She's upset?
ROB Yes. She doesn't want you to do this.
JESSICA But, why didn't she phone back? (CONT'D)
I said I was sorry.
ROB (Pause) It doesn't matter now. She forgives you. Just come down.
Jessica continues to stand still, staring at Rob's outstretched hand.
JESSICA She's not mad?
ROB Maybe. But if you do this, she'll be devastated. That's not what you want, Jessica.
JESSICA (Pause) Okay.
Jessica takes hold of Rob's hand, and he gently lowers her to the ground.
JESSICA Thank you.
Rob nods, and smiles. Jessica hugs him, tightly squeezing him. Rob stands still, unsure how to react. He pats her on the back and smiles softly.
ROB Go see Claire. Go talk to her.
JESSICA Thank you. I don't know what to say.
ROB Just go. Claire'll be waiting.
Jessica runs off, towards the stairwell, glancing back over her shoulder. She waves, and Rob waves back. He watches her until she reaches the door. She opens it, smiles, and waves again before shutting the door. Rob rubs his eyes, and stares at the ledge.
NOTE (V.O) It's done. We were in time.
Rob lethargically rubs his temples, then places the palms of his hands to his eyes and wipes away the tears. He walks over the ledge, and peers over, at the ground below. FLASHBACK: EXT. PARKING LOT BASE - NIGHT The ambulance door slams shut, and Claire continues to cry into Rob's shoulder.
CLAIRE It was such a silly fight. (CONT'D)
I wasn't even mad.
ROB It's okay, she'll be fine.
CLAIRE I just needed to get back to work. Why didn't I just phone her?
ROB You can't blame yourself.
CLAIRE But --
ROB It's not your fault.
CLAIRE I guess.
ROB Just go home and get some rest.
CLAIRE Thank you. I just wish I could turn back time.
ROB I know, we all wish that. (CONT'D)
But you can't change what's happened.
The ambulance lights shine brightly, and Claire stops crying into Rob's shoulder. She nods at Rob and rushes over to the ambulance. Rob watches her, until a blinding flash from the siren sweeps across his vision. CUT TO: FLASHBACK: INT. KITCHEN - DAY Rob is eating jam from the pot, scooping it with his fingers. He pauses halfway through, and stares around the room. He glares at his fingers, and licks them clean, thoughtfully. FLASHBACK: INT. BEDROOM - DAY Rob walks in, and sets the jam down on the side. He rummages through his cupboard, dressing in a pair of fashionably torn jeans and tshirt. He walks to the door, picking up his jam on the way. FLASHBACK: INT. KITCHEN - DAY Rob walks in, still eating the jam. Rob then stares at the fridge, and the post-it note written in capitals. He picks up a pen and a fresh note from the block. He takes the note off the fridge and writes a new one, before returning to his seat at the table. Time appears to rapidly pass, as he eats the jam with his fingers. The sun out the window sets, and soon it is night. He abruptly stops, frowning. He blinks, and glances down. INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT Rob stands abruptly, knocking over the chair, and dropping the pot of jam. He breathes heavily, and stares around the room, and out the window. As he is glancing, he notices that the note has changed. He walks over to it, and frowns.
"THERE'S SOMETHING WE NEED TO DO."
FADE OUT. THE END