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FADE IN INT. DON’S CAR - NIGHT DON, a young middle aged man, drives a rural road, State Route 46, heading to East Palestine, Ohio. A female hand suddenly rests on his shoulder from the back seat. Frightened, Don glances in the rearview mirror, then looks over his shoulder. ON DON - Back seat passenger POV. Don’s eyes go wide. FEMALE GHOST (o.c.) (soft) Kiss me. Don screams. EXT. OHIO STATE ROUTE 46 - NIGHT Don’s car runs off the road, crashing, rolling over, a tire squeaking as it turns slower and slower. ELSEWHERE, NEARBY ALONG THE ROAD, a female figure in white with long blonde hair, casually walks by along the side of the road. FADE TO BLACK
ACT ONE FADE IN EXT. CEMETERY, DON’S GRAVE - DAY A small group of people are gathered at Don’s grave for the graveside services. PRIEST (o.c.) Ashes to ashes, dust to dust... TIME FADE ELSEWHERE, A CEMETERY ROAD NEAR GRAVE, two of Don’s friends, RICK JENNINGS and GARY OLSEN, approach Rick’s car as they leave Don’s grave site, the services just ended. Rick shakes his head. RICK Unbelievable! Just unbelievable! Gary nods. GARY (v.o.) Rick was right - unbelievable; guess it always is when it's a good friend and you're not expecting his death. Rick approaches the driver’s side, Gary the passenger’s side. They look at each other across the car roof. GARY Falling asleep at the wheel... so said the police report. (shakes head) Bull... (thinking aloud) Ashes to ashes... Rick looks back at the grave. A beautiful young BLONDE WOMAN (Female Ghost) stands at the casket, her head bowed. The casket glistens in the hot August sun.
RICK Who’s that? GARY What? Rick nods. RICK Her. Gary looks. GARY (soft) I don’t know. Never saw her before. She’s a looker though. RICK (soft) Yeah,... (nods) ...she is. Rick climbs into the car. Gary pauses, his eyes on the young Blonde Woman, then climbs into the passenger’s seat. ELSEWHERE, AT THE GRAVE, the young Blonde Woman slowly looks toward the car. INT. RICK’S CAR - DAY Rick and Gary stare out the windshield. RICK How about a cup of coffee? Gary slowly nods. GARY Yeah... Rick starts the car and puts it in gear.
EXT. DON’S GRAVE - DAY The young Blonde Woman watches the car drive away. EXT. CEMETERY GATE - DAY Rick and Gary pull up to the gate, pause for traffic, then pull out of the cemetery and disappear down the road. EXT. BARB’S RESTAURANT ON MAIN STREET IN TOWN - DAY People walk by on the side walk, going about their business. Rick’s car suddenly appears and turns into an alley beside the restaurant. EXT. PARKING LOT BEHIND BARB’S RESTAURANT - DAY Rick’s car pulls into the parking lot behind the restaurant. Rick and Gary climb out and start toward the restaurant’s rear entrance. GARY Falling asleep at the wheel. That’s nonsense. Rick nods. RICK Yeah. It is. Gary pulls the door open, then pauses. GARY The cops just don’t want to admit it. A moment silence as they stare at one another, then they disappear inside the restaurant.
INT. BARB’S RESTAURANT A small town restaurant with booths and a long dinner bar with barstools. Some patrons are at the bar, others in booths. Ceiling fans slowly turn. Rick and Gary make their way to the front of the restaurant and take a seat in a booth where they have a window view of the Main Street sidewalk and daily commercial business. A pretty young WAITRESS shows up with pad and pen. WAITRESS Can I help you? Smiling, Rick and Gary look up. RICK Ah, coffee. Black. GARY Me too. The same. WAITRESS Anything to go with the coffee? Rolls, pie, coffee cake...? RICK No thanks. Gary shakes his head. GARY Naw. The Waitress smiles. WAITRESS All rightie. Be right back with your coffee. The two friends nod and smile as she turns away. Rick watches the departing Waitress as Gary takes out a cigarette, lights it, then drags a clear glass ashtray in front of him.
RICK So, what are you doing these days? GARY Working on a new book. A followup to my last one. RICK Ghost Stories of Columbiana County, Ohio. GARY Yeah. I’m calling this one More Ghost Stories of Columbiana County, Ohio. Rick chuckles. RICK Why am I not surprised? The Waitress suddenly reappears, interrupting as she places steaming coffee cups in front of them. WAITRESS There you go. RICK Thanks. Gary nods. The Waitress smiles and winks as she turns away. RICK Well, what do you think? GARY The waitress? Rick chuckles, momentary glancing at the departing waitress. RICK No, not her. (looks at Gary) I mean Don and his so-called accident.
Rick sips his coffee, his eyes on Gary. Gary shakes his head. GARY I don’t buy it. RICK Neither do I. GARY On that curve between New Waterford and East Palestine? It was no accident. RICK You're thinking the same thing I am. GARY The girl, you mean. RICK Yeah, that's what I mean. GARY You know, it's ironic... (stubs his cigarette) ...all that ghost hunting bullshit back in our school days... ON Rick as he glances out the window just as the young Blonde Woman walks by outside. She turns her head, peering in at Rick, and smiles. GARY (o.c.) Who’d have ever thought that the ghost out on 46... Rick’s snared by her sudden appearance; his thoughts wander. TIME AND VOICE FADE Gary shakes Rick by the shoulder. GARY Hey! Rick! Hey man!
Rick shakes his head, comes back to reality, and glances at Gary. RICK Huh? Wha...? GARY Are you all right? You spaced out there for a sec?! Rick, still gathering his thoughts, glances at his coffee. RICK Yeah...yeah. I’m fine. Well, anyway,...I hate to drink and run; gotta be headin' home. Rick starts to rise from the booth; he glances at Gary. RICK The traffic to Enon Valley... Ah, want me to drop you off someplace? Gary, suspicious, raises his eyebrows. GARY No, No, it’s all right. I can walk home from here. Rick downs the rest of his coffee, digs into his pocket for money and lays it on the table. RICK For the coffee. GARY Sure. Rick hurriedly turns toward the front door. GARY (o.c.) Hey Rick! Rick stops, turns. Gary gestures toward the back of the restaurant.
GARY You parked out back. A momentary pause, then... RICK Oh...yeah. He nods, then starts toward the back of the restaurant. Gary watches, sees Rick beginning to hurry as he nears the back door. EXT. BARB’S RESTAURANT - DAY The door swings open against the outside wall with a bang. Rick hurries into the parking lot and to his car. INT. BARB’S RESTAURANT - DAY Gary shakes his head, sighs, grabs the money and rises from the booth. He walks to the cash register. The Waitress steps up. Gary hands her the ticket and money. WAITRESS Will that be all? GARY Yeah; keep the change. WAITRESS Thanks and have a good day. Gary nods and starts toward the front door as the Waitress rings up the charge. He leaves the restaurant. EXT. STREET CORNER - DAY Rick pulls up to a red light at a street corner.
INT. RICK’S CAR - DAY Rick glances out of the corner of his eye, sees the young Blonde Woman standing there on the sidewalk. She smiles and stares back at him. The light changes. Rick watches her while slowly pulling forward, then around the corner. EXT. STREET CORNER - DAY The young Blonde Woman, still smiling, watches Rick drive away. EXT. STATE ROUTE 46 ENTERING NEW WATERFORD, OHIO - DAY A sign along the road - Welcome to New Waterford. Rick’s car passes the sign, heading toward the only street light in the tiny crossroad village. EXT. STREET LIGHT AT NEW WATERFORD INTERSECTION - DAY Rick’s car pulls up to the red light. INT. RICK’S CAR - DAY Rick waits for the light to change. His eyes drift to a nearby road sign announcing the route number. INSERT: OHIO ROAD SIGN. A black number “46" on a white Ohio shield. BACK TO SCENE. Rick taps his fingers on the steering wheel as he glances at the street light.
EXT. STREET LIGHT AT NEW WATERFORD INTERSECTION - DAY The light changes. Rick drives on. INT. RICK’S CAR - DAY Leaving New Waterford, Rick follows the curve in the road. His eyes go wide and he leans forward, noticing a hitch hiker, the young Blonde Woman. As Rick nears, she begins to turn, sticking out a thumb. EXT. OHIO STATE ROUTE 46 - DAY The young Blonde Woman turns, sticking out her thumb, hitch hiking. She smiles as Rick approaches in his car. END ACT ONE FADE OUT
ACT TWO FADE IN INT. GARY’S STUDY Cluttered - books lying here and there; printed manuscript pages in disarray; an overflowing wastepaper basket; a couch haphazardly draped in blanket with pillow. A storm outside; there’s thunder. Lightning flashes through a window. Gary sits at his desk, lit by a small desk lamp, typing on his computer, working on a manuscript. Next to the computer - a telephone and book. INSERT: THE BOOK The title reads: Ghost Stories of Columbiana County, Ohio. The author: Gary Olsen. BACK TO SCENE. Gary stops typing, lights a cigarette. A flash of lightning; Gary glances at the window, then continues typing. He reads in VOICE OVER what he writes, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. GARY (v.o.) The legend is an old one, the same kind of ghost story you’d find in any rural American town. The legend is of a young woman... (pause) ...in her early twenties. She walks along a road, is hit by a drunk driver, and her ghost haunts the site of her death. (places cigarette in ashtray) Here, the road in question is State Route 46 between East Palestine and New Waterford.
The phone rings. Gary glances at the phone, then continues typing. The phone’s recorder kicks in and takes a silent message. GARY (v.o.) The story isn’t complex. People see the ghost walking along the road near the bridge where... TIME FADE Gary typing - he stops, lights another cigarette, then sits back and stares at the screen. His stare becomes distant, not focusing. GARY (soft, dreamy) Ashes to ashes...dust to dust. A peel of thunder interrupts him. He glances at the window. There’s a flash of lightning. INSERT: WINDOW In the flash of lightning, a silhouette of a female stands at the window outside, her long hair wind blown. BACK TO SCENE. Gary lays the cigarette in the ashtray and slowly rises from his desk chair, his eyes on the window. The thunder continues to roll. Another flash of lightning illuminates the window. There’s no one there. Gary shakes his head, turns to the phone, hits the message button. The voice in the message is distraught. JACKIE (o.f.) Hello Gary, this is Jackie Jennings, Rick’s wife...
INT. FUNERAL HOME - NIGHT Several are gathered for calling hours. The door opens; Gary enters. He peers around, turns to the guest book, signs it, then starts through those gather toward the casket. Hearing the voice of the Funeral Home DIRECTOR, Gary stops. DIRECTOR (o.c.) ...the look on his face...like he saw something that frightened him to death. Gary sees the Director talking to the mysterious young Blonde Female. The Blonde Female nods, then turns away. Her eyes catch Gary in a lingering glance. She smiles, then disappears amidst the people. Gary approaches the Director. DIRECTOR Ah, Mister Olsen. They shake hands, Gary scanning the crowd, trying to find the Blonde Female. GARY Who was that young woman you were just talking to? DIRECTOR To tell you the truth, I don’t know. She never told me her name and I neglected to ask. I presumed she was a friend of the deceased. GARY (distracted) Yes, well... ELSEWHERE IN THE ROOM, Rick’s wife, JACKIE JENNINGS, sees Gary and makes her way to him just as the Director turns away.
JACKIE Gary, I’m so glad you made it. I’m sorry I couldn’t make Don’s funeral. They hug. GARY Sorry you had to make this one. Gary glances around the room, then turns back to Jackie. GARY You’re going to think I’m crazy, but there’s this woman that... well... His words trail off as he attempts to find a way to tell Jackie. JACKIE What woman? Gary glances around the room again, then turns back to Jackie. GARY Never mind. She’s gone. CLOSE ON Rick’s open casket. MATCH CUT: EXT. RICK’S GRAVE - DAY CLOSE ON Rick’s closed casket. Gary, Jackie, the Priest, a few others are gathered as grave side services are held. Gary looks past those gathered. In the distance he sees the young Blonde Woman walking amidst the graves. He slips away from the service and goes after her.
ELSEWHERE IN THE CEMETERY, winded and frustrated, Gary stops his pursuit and peers about. The Blonde Woman is gone. JACKIE (o.c.) Gary...? Gary turns to find a questioning Jackie standing behind him, no more than ten feet away. JACKIE Was she the one you were talking about last night at the funeral home? GARY You saw her? She nods. JACKIE Yes. Long blonde hair. Long white gown. He sighs and nods. GARY Yeah, that’s her. JACKIE All right. What’s this all about? TIME FADE ELSEWHERE IN THE CEMETERY, Gary and Jackie slowly walk side by side. JACKIE So this ghost walks along the road hitchhiking. If you don’t pick her up, you’re dead. Gary nods.
GARY That’s about the size of it. But with a new twist I hadn’t counted on. Apparently she’s not restricted to the site of her death. JACKIE And you saw her at the funeral home last night and that was her we saw here in the cemetery. GARY And at Don’s funeral and in town on main street where Rick saw her. JACKIE Sorry, Gary, but it does sound rather crazy. They stop walking as Gary turns to face Jackie. GARY Maybe so, but I’m going to test the theory. EXT. STATE ROUTE 46 - DAY Gary’s car heads toward New Waterford. EXT. STATE ROUTE 46/STATE ROUTE 7 INTERSECTION - DAY Gary’s car pulls up to the stop sign. INT. GARY’S CAR Gary glances up and down Route 7. GARY (soft, thinking aloud) Ashes to ashes... He crosses the intersection and continues toward New Waterford on 46.
EXT. STATE ROUTE 46 - DAY Gary’s car continues toward New Waterford. EXT. STATE ROUTE 46 ENTERING NEW WATERFORD, OHIO - DAY ON the “Welcome to New Waterford” sign along the road. Gary’s car passes by. EXT. STREET LIGHT AT NEW WATERFORD INTERSECTION - DAY Gary’s car pulls up to the red light. He glances at the “Ohio 46" road sign while waiting on the light to change. GARY (v.o.) Two miles; straight ahead; two more miles. Ashes to ashes. INT. GARY’S CAR His breath is short, rapid. He grips the steering wheel, his knuckles white. His eyes are glued to the road ahead. EXT. STREET LIGHT AT NEW WATERFORD INTERSECTION - DAY The light changes. GARY Well, this is it. He drives on. EXT. STATE ROUTE 46 LEAVING NEW WATERFORD - DAY Gary tops a rise in the road, sees the curve with the short span of the bridge. GARY (v.o.) Three quarters of a mile... nothing's there, nothing at all. (mutters) Falling asleep at the wheel Hell.
He sighs, then starts to laugh, but stops as he notices a young Blonde Woman walking along the road. He leans forward over the steering wheel. GARY Well, I’ll be damned. Gary stares as he draws closer to the bridge. His fear rises; sweat trickles down his forehead. His mind plays tricks on him. He hears her voice, soft and ethereal. BLONDE FEMALE (v.o.) Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust... Gary chuckles as his bravado begins to rise in challenge to the young blonde’s presence. GARY Well, baby, you going to kill me if I don't pick you up?! (shakes head) I don't think so. You're just a legend; one of those stories told around campfires all over this damn country! You can just keep on walking, honey. EXT. STATE ROUTE 46 - DAY The girl turns, sticks out a thumb as Gary passes her by. At that instant... INT. GARY’S CAR - DAY Gary's eyes locked on hers. EXT. STATE ROUTE 46 - DAY A gleam in her eyes, she smiles as Gary passes.
INT. GARY’S CAR Gary glances in the rearview mirror, sees the young Blonde Woman walking along the road. He smiles, then chuckles again. GARY (v.o.) So much for that. Falling asleep at the wheel. Maybe... He breathes a sigh of relief, laughs to himself, and shakes his head. GARY Whew! Damn! For a minute there... tempting fate... He reaches for the car radio. A hand suddenly grasps his wrist. Gary stares at the hand in wide eyed terror. The hand is female, dried of death, shriveled and decayed. Finger bones show through cracked and peeling skin. And it protrudes from the sleeve of a white moldy dress. FEMALE GHOST (o.c.) You didn't stop for me. Gary still staring at the hand. GARY You can't be real! You can't be real! FEMALE GHOST (o.c.) I am and I’m here for you. Kiss me. Gary slowly turns his eyes to the ghost seated in the passenger’s seat. A dead moldering face stares back - parched and cracked skin clings tight to her skull, the skull showing through at several places. Long blonde hair hangs matted and stringy in thin strands from dried skin atop her skull.
The left eye shines bright in its socket while the right eye hangs on her cheek. Her lips are shriveled back and nearly gone; jaws crack open and squeak like a rusted door hinge. FEMALE GHOST Kiss me. The grinning skull leans toward Gary. He reels in terror, sits back, trying to push away from the dead thing. Face to face, the dead thing’s shriveled lips touch Gary’s. He closes his eyes, feels the car lurch sideways. EXT. STATE ROUTE 46 BRIDGE - DUSK The car glances off the bridge guard rail, then leaves the road. INT. GARY’S CAR - DUSK The car bounces off the road as the dead thing presses Gary back in the seat, the cold kiss of death on his lips. The car suddenly lurches sideways and begins to roll. EXT. OPEN FIELD OFF STATE ROUTE 46 - DUSK Gary’s car rolls in the field, bounding end over end, dirt careening through the air, then finally comes to rest. ELSEWHERE IN THE FIELD, an apparently unharmed Gary finds himself standing there, staring back at the bridge. Three cars are pulled off the road, their headlights glaring. People run toward him, then pass by as though he isn’t there. He turns and sees his car several yards away, lying upside down, steam from the ruptured radiator pouring into the air. The people gather around the wreck as Gary hesitantly approaches them. PASSERBY Look at his face. Damn, looks like he’s scared to death.
Gary joins them, sees himself lying on his back half out of the car. His eyes are open, staring, lifeless. His face covered in blood, he wears an expression as if he had seen something horrible. FEMALE GHOST (o.c.) Don't concern yourself. You’re at peace. Gary turns to find her standing next to him, no longer the face of death he had seen in the passenger's seat. She smiles and he smiles back, realizing she was right. Confused and uncertain, though not frightened, Gary feels his own arms, head, chest. GARY I’m warm...no pain, no blood, I feel...fine... RICK (o.c.) Well, you look no worse for wear. Gary spins around to see Rick and Don approaching, both smiling. Behind them stand hundreds of others on the gentle sloping hillside. Don offers a hand. DON Good to see you again, Gary. GARY Eh, ye...yeah. ...shaking hands. FEMALE GHOST Yes. Welcome. She kisses Gary's cheek, then turns away. Don, Gary, and Rick watch as she walks toward the bridge. RICK Well, someone else will be joining us soon.
Somewhere far off there’s a siren. GARY (v.o.) Police, maybe an ambulance. They're coming to get me. He smiles. THE END FADE TO BLACK
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