INT. SMALL HOUSE - SASHA’S ROOM - NIGHT
A Crucifix hangs on a barren wall. The sound of PAGES RUSTLING fills the quiet room.
On a small bedside table rests The Book, a thin volume bound in black leather with a cross emblazoned on the front in gold.
Two young teenagers, SASHA NEWCOMB (13, black with messy hair) and DANIEL MILLER (A shy looking boy of 14, white and elegantly dressed) sit on Sasha’s bed, an open copy of the book in their laps.
The two stare at the floor awkwardly. Sasha reaches over, and holds Daniels hand. Slowly Sasha leans over and kisses Daniel on the cheek. He raises his hand to where she kissed him, turns to her and smiles.
Slowly Sasha and Daniel lean in towards each other, and peck their lips together.
Suddenly the door is SMASHED open. The two teenagers leap apart and sit rigid with terror. A man in long flowing white robes storms into the room, a large assault rifle aimed at the children.
He wears a large golden helmet with a cross shaped opening in for his eyes and a small grill covering the mouth. He is a CRUSADER, a soldier of god.
Get on the floor!
Get on the floor!
The Crusader smacks the back of Sasha’s head with his rifle, knocking her off the bed. Daniel crawls down and prostrates himself on the floor.
Two more CRUSADERS walk in, their rifles aimed low. A MAN dressed in luxuriant purple robes strides in, his hands behind his back. He is grey haired, and distinguished looking. He looks around the room with obvious disdain.
CRUSADER 1 (CONT'D)
Now presiding, High Inquisitor Miller.
The man (MILLER) steps forward, and looks down at the children. Daniel WHIMPERS pathetically.
Shut up, boy.
He does so.
Hmm. I knew you’d lead me to the harlot. Good work, boy.
Sasha turns to Daniel, hurt. Daniel avoids her gaze.
Take the two to the square. We’ll deal with them there.
Crusader 1 salutes.
The Crusader roughly grabs Sasha by the shoulder and drags her up. One of the others grabs Daniel likewise and drags them off.
INT. SMALL HOUSE - MAIN ROOM - NIGHT
The Crusader drags Sasha down the stairs by her hair. She clutches at it crying, but spots her parents standing at the top of the stairs, holding each other.
Her Father sighs, and turns away, leading the two parents into their room.
YOUNG SASHA (CONT'D)
Please! Mother! Help me!
The two step out of sight, and Sasha is dragged out.
EXT. BASTION CITY - SQUARE - NIGHT
An explosion of steam erupts from a huge furnace, flames escaping from the grate and reaching for the sky.
Sasha is thrown onto the dirt road, landing on all fours. Daniel lands next to her, crumpling into a heap.
Around them stands an amassed crowd. All of them JEER and YELL at the children, throwing stones and small bits of garbage.
In front of them, on a large platform, sits Miller, in his hands the book. Two Crusaders stand behind him, their rifles held at the ready.
Sasha looks from one guard to the other, and then to the large furnace. A huge set of bellows pump air into the machine, tended to by three Crusaders. A huge jet of smoke escapes the furnace, flames rippling outwards.
Sasha stands and bolts towards the crowd. She runs into a wall of arms, all of them grab at her and throw her back to where she was.
YOUNG SASHA (CONT'D)
Let me go!
A CLICK directly behind Sasha’s head. She freezes as the barrel of a rifle is pressed into the back of her skull. She closes her eyes and freezes.
Miller clears his throat.
Sasha Newcomb and Daniel Miller have been charged with wanton behavior, scorning the teachings of our lord. The court has decided that Sasha Newcomb shall be punished--
Miller points a gloved hand at Sasha.
With permanent exile. Ready the branding.
The crowd ROARS. One of the Crusaders working on the furnace pulls out a branding iron in a design made up of three sixes. The Guard behind Sasha grabs her by the shoulders and hauls her up.
In the case of Daniel Miller, he has, in exchange for his life, agreed to turn in this harlot.
Sasha struggles. The burning heat of the branding iron wavers in the air as the Crusader slowly approaches her.
Therefore; we offer a choice in our clemency. He may either join the whore in the Outlands, or accept his sin and redeem himself in the eyes of our lord.
Daniel turns to face Sasha, his eyes filled with tears.
What do you choose?
Daniel closes his eyes.
Please... father... let me redeem myself... please...
Miller smiles humorlessly.
Fine. Take the boy to the re-education camp. Soldier?
The Crusader with he branding iron nods. He stands now directly in front of Sasha.
Sasha struggled in the Crusaders grip, writhing, trying to escape. The other soldier reaches forward and grabs Sasha’s face, holding her still. He raises the iron and--
ROARS in delight, stamping their feet and CHEERING. as her flesh SIZZLES.
The brand is pulled away, leaving a circular design of three six’s.
Cries, tears rolling down her face as her flesh rises and bubbles up where the brand was pressed into her.
Sasha falls to the ground, clutching at her head SCREAMING in agony.
We hereby banish you to the Outlands. Any who protect the carrier of the mark shall be sent into the fires of hell. Take her away.
The crowd cheers as a Crusader grabs Sasha and hauls her up.
EXT. BASTION CITY - GATES - NIGHT
The huge gates of Bastion. Twenty storeys of concrete loom over a small gate, guarded by four GUARDS in black uniforms.
The gates trundle open and a truck rockets through.
EXT. OUTLANDS - NIGHT
Deep in the brushland. Small plants and weeds grow everywhere, covering the silty earth.
The truck roars to a stop. Sasha lays in the back, bound by ropes, moaning and weeping softly.
One of the guards in the back lifts Sasha up, draws a knife and cuts her binds. He then opens the back of the truck and throws her out onto the dirt. She lands and rolls to a stop.
And here you die, whore.
The truck roars off, spewing a cloud of dust into the air.
Sasha lays face down on the ground for a moment. Slowly, she starts to drag herself up. Her face is a mess of scar tissue and tears, but she manages to drag herself a few feet.
A blurred view of Bastion in the distance. Sasha’s arm reaches out for it, and wobbles, then falls, as everything blurs into obscurity.
END SASHA’S POV
Eyes closed, Sasha shudders once, then passes out.
A shadow falls over Sasha’s body. A TALL MAN in brown robes stands over her. He reaches down and pats her head gently.
INT. REFUGE - HOUSE - DAY
Sasha starts awake. She sits up and takes a a brief look around.
She’s in a small bed in an equally small wooden room. The bed takes up most of the space aside from a small table.
FOOTSTEPS approach the wooden door. Sasha recoils under the bedspread, her eyes filled with terror.
Slowly, the door swings open and a tall man walks in. He walks over to Sasha and reaches for her.
Sasha kicks with all her might, hitting the man squarely in the abdomen. He grunts, but reaches for her anyway. He grabs a hold of Sasha’ shoulder as she thrashes with all her might.
YOUNG SASHA (CONT'D)
Get away from me!
Shh... shh, it’s all right...
The man hauls Sasha upright and holds her tenderly. She continues to thrash, but slows down, her rage replaces by a torrent of tears. The Man pats her back tenderly.
It’s okay... it’s okay...
Sasha shudders, her body wracked with tears.
Who are you?
The man pulls back slightly, revealing him to be MR. CROSS, a burly middle aged man. Built strong, but obviously past his prime. He smiles at Sasha, warmth in his eyes.
My name is Mr. Cross.
What’s going on?
I found you in the desert, and I brought you here.
Sasha reaches up and touches her forehead. She touches her scar tissue, and screams. She starts thrashing around, writhing in agony.
Mr. Cross Lifts her and holds her close to him.
Shh... shh... it’s okay... you’re safe here... you’re safe now... I'll protect you...
Sasha calms down, and cries raking sobs as Mr. Cross holds her.