He promised they would never be apart. Nothing can keep him from breaking that promise...
|AN: This screenplay for a short film is written in a kind of untraditional form to best describe the scenes taking place. Also, there are two endings to choose from simply because I cannot decide which one I prefer. Please let me know which ending you think best suits my script!
We’ll Never Be Apart
Scene One: The Promise
(On a beautiful green hillside, a young man and a young woman are sitting close to one another. They are dressed in period clothing, and obviously very much in love. The man, Edward, twirls a wildflower in his fingers, kisses it lightly, and then hands it to the woman at his side. The woman, Lily, takes it with a beautiful smile. She kisses him, he kisses her back, and after a moment, they fall back, laughing.)
EDWARD: I love you, Lily.
LILY: I know, Edward. I love you, too.
EDWARD: In just three days, we’ll be wed. It feels like an eternity away, I am so anxious for it.
(Lily smiles, but says nothing. A serious, troubled look crosses her face. Edward, noticing, turns to her with concern.)
What is wrong, Lily? You haven’t been yourself lately. You’re not…you’re not having any second thoughts, are you?
LILY: No, no, of course not! In all my life, I’ve never been as happy as when I am with you. And that I to be am your wife…words cannot describe my joy!
EDWARD: Then what is it? Confide in me. Let me help you if I can.
(Lily hesitates, sitting up and drawing her knees to her chest. After a moment’s reflection, she decides to tell him.)
LILY: I’ve been having…dreams. Terrible dreams. There is darkness and shadows. And in the shadows there are shapes. And the shapes…
EDWARD: Go on. Tell me.
LILY: The shapes in the shadows, they have you. You’re…you’re screaming and crying out, telling me to run! Run as fast as I can, get away!
LILY: But I can’t run! I can’t move, I can’t even speak. I want to reach out to you, but I’m pulled away. And then there is blood…
(Tears cling to her face. She is shaking, clearly disturbed by the terrible images that are haunting her. Edward is at a loss, unsure of how to comfort her but wanting to assuage her fears with every bone in his body. At length he speaks.)
EDWARD: Dreams are strange things, my Lily. I’m not an expert, as you well know, but I think that we can safely assume that these dreams are resulting simply from fear. Fear that something will happen before our wedding day, something to…well, keep us apart. I know how you feel. I have the same fears, too. But I believe and have faith that we will be together. This is too sweet a dream to be spoiled now, and I can’t believe that God would draw us together only to tear us apart. Rest easy, my love. Nothing is going to happen.
(Despite his words, Lily is still distressed. Frantically she turns to him, reaching out and laying her hand gently on the side of his face.)
LILY: You must promise me something, Edward.
EDWARD: Of course. Anything.
LILY: Promise me that we will never be apart. Promise me that whatever happens, we will always be together. I do not have the faith that you have. My heart and my mind are too easily plagued by fear and dread. Help me to fight them, to place my faith in a kind God, like you do.
(Solemnly, Edward reaches out to stroke her face. His hand drops slowly, and he grabs Lily’s free hand, bringing her fingers to his lips and kissing them.)
EDWARD: Lily, I swear on my heart, my soul, and my faith that we will never be apart. We will always be together.
(Lily smiles in relief through her tears, nodding. The camera pulls away from them slowly as Edward gathers Lily into his arms and they watch the sun set beyond the horizon together.)
Scene Two: The Dream
(Two days later, it is the eve of Edward and Lily’s wedding. Night has fallen; Lily sits alone in tall grass near her home. She is watching the stars, a dreamy look in her eyes. Her reverie is shortly interrupted by the arrival of Becky, her younger sister. Becky smiles at her happily, joining her and sitting beside her.)
BECKY: Here you are. Mama’s been worried about you. You disappeared after supper so suddenly; she wondered where you’d gone off to.
LILY: I just needed some time to myself, Becky. I have a lot on my mind.
BECKY: Of course you do. That’s what Papa said. But Mama couldn’t be convinced that you hadn’t been eaten by wolves or something terrible and absurd, so she sent me to find you.
(Lily smiles vaguely, her gaze never turning from the bright stars above them.)
Are you nervous, Lily? You must be. You and Edward have been engaged for over three years, and now the day is finally come.
LILY: It’s not here yet, Becky. I’ve still another night before it arrives. But yes, sister, I am nervous. But not for the reasons you think.
(Becky is apparently wise beyond her years and says nothing. Surely she’s aware of the nightmares that have been plaguing her sister.)
BECKY: The nightmares? Is that what is bothering you? But you said that Edward promised—
LILY: Yes, he promised. But I…I cannot drive this dread away from me. I feel almost certain that something terrible is going to happen…
(Becky knows that there is nothing she can say to comfort her sister. Smiling sadly, she moves as if to leave.)
BECKY: Lillian, there is scarcely twelve hours left before your wedding. I wish I could give you some assurances, but I know it will do little good. I’ll leave you alone to your thoughts, then. I wish I could help you, but I know that this is something you insist on facing alone. You probably want to be alone.
(This at last brings Lily around, and her gaze turns sharply to Becky as she places her hand on her sister’s arm to stay her departure.)
LILY: No—please, don’t go, Becky. I could use some company.
(Becky smiles at that, throwing her arms around her sister’s shoulders. In silence, the sisters watch the stars.
Meanwhile, across the village, Edward is leaving a rowdy group of young gentlemen. They are singing and dancing drunkenly, having just finished a bachelor party of sorts for the groom. Edward is clearly sober, and waves good bye to his friends, laughing at their drunkenness.)
EDWARD: Good night, friends! Do your best to sober up tomorrow, as I’ll be taking Miss Lily Aldridge as my wife!
(The group cheers, laughing at one another. They call out to him in farewell, saying things such as, “Get your rest tonight, you’ll need it!” and “Enjoy your last hours as a free man!” Shaking his head, Edward departs, walking through the gloomy night quite alone. He whistles, hands in pockets, and his feet crunch on the gravel beneath. Coming to the edge of the roughly paved walk, he is at a crossroads. Straight ahead are more green hills, pleasantly lit by moonlight. To his left, there is a kind of wooded copse. Darkness fills it.)
EDWARD: Shortcut, I think.
(Nodding in finality, he turns to his chosen path: It is into the woods for Edward. He continues whistling, oblivious to the darkness as he is enveloped in far happier thoughts. His whistle falters, however, when there is a rustle behind him. He turns for a moment, waits in silence, but hears nothing else. He continues on.
We return to Lily and Becky for a moment. Lily has suddenly tensed, her eyes wide in something akin to fear and panic. Becky looks at her questioningly.)
BECKY: Lily? What is it?
LILY: Edward. Something is…something is wrong!
(Back to Edward. Another rustle behind him, louder this time and even closer. Glancing behind him, we can see doubt and fear on his face. Without hesitation, he bursts into a run, painfully aware of the thrashing sounds of pursuit behind him.
Lily again. She has shot up by now, leaving a startled Becky on the ground.)
LILY: Edward! EDWARD! NO!
(Before Becky can react, Lily flees from her sister, crying her love’s name aloud again and again.)
BECKY: Lily! Stop! Lily, come back!
(Knowing that she is cannot match Lily’s speed, she turns in the opposite direction for home, calling for help.)
BECKY: Papa! Come quick! Papa, it is Lily! Come quickly!
(Lily has come to the crossroads that Edward was at some moments before. Up the path, his friends are still laughing and singing. Hardly hesitating, Lily screams Edward’s name again and bursts into the dense woods. Cut to a shot of Edward’s friends, confusion interrupting their merriment. The obvious fear and agitation of their friend’s intended bride have a sobering effect on them, and with muted curses and confused whispers, they begin to chase after as best as they are able.
Lily is running through the woods, still calling Edward’s name. Branches and leaves scratch at her face and claw at her hair, but she is heedless of such things. Nothing matters to her but finding her love.
Becky has reached the back door of her cottage. Her father, William, has come by now with lantern in hand, her worried mother, Margaret, not far behind him.)
WILLIAM: Becky! What is it? Where is Lily?
BECKY: She has run off, Papa, screaming for Edward! Something terrible disturbed her and she flew away like a mad thing!
WILLIAM: Margaret, stay here! Fetch my brother, if you can: I’m going after her!
BECKY: I will go with you!
WILLIAM: No, stay and comfort your mother!
BECKY: Addie can do that! I need to help Lily!
WILLIAM: Very well, child, but for God’s sake, if something is truly amiss, you shall return home immediately when I say. Do you understand?
BECKY: Yes, Papa, I understand!
WILLIAM: Let us make haste, then. Show me where she went.
(Wasting no time, Becky takes her father by the hand and they run in the direction she came from.
Edward is still in flight, hearing terrible and strange cries all around him. A chilling laugh can be heard softly from behind him.
Cut to a shot of Lily, pursuing him. Then to a shot of Edward’s friends, trying to follow her but falling behind due to their inebriated state. “Lily!” they cry out, unsure what to do. “Lily! Miss Aldridge! Come back! Edward is fine!”
William and his daughter have now come to the same place that the rest entered into the woods. Pausing for a moment, they hear the shouts from the darkness beyond, mingled with the terrified screams of Lily.)
WILLIAM: Becky, go back! Tell your uncle where I’ve gone!
(Becky nods, tears in her eyes, watching her father slip into the woods before turning to search for her uncle.
William, moving as fast as he is able through the woods, calls frantically for his daughter.)
WILLIAM: Lillian! Lily! Come back, Lily!
(Edward has stopped his flight, winded, exhausted and drenched in a cold sweat. Without a light, he can only vaguely make out the dark forms that are approaching him. The camera zooms in on his face, tense with fear, and his eyes widen, his breath is stopped, and he cries out in mortal terror.
His cry echoes through the woods, alerting all who have entered into them, but most especially Lily.)
LILY: NO! Edward, please! Edward! I am coming!
(With a final burst of speed, Lily at last arrives near Edward. She is too late. Before her, the very scenes from her nightmares play forth. Edward is on the ground, partly shrouded by the dark shapes that have overtaken him. One shape in particular is very clear: It appears to be some sort of a man, cloaked in darkness and seizing upon Edward’s neck with mouth agape. Lily screams, startling the shapes, who turn suddenly to face her. Only the man’s figure seems to possess a face, and it is one of sheer, horrifying paleness. His eyes shine black despite the darkness around them, and his mouth is oozing blood. Edward’s blood.
Lily is frozen, unable to move, and Edward feebly yells out to her.)
EDWARD: Run, Lily! Run as fast as you can! You must leave!
(Still she cannot move. The other shadows seize upon Edward once more, and soon his pleas are silenced. The pale-faced creature is moving towards her, his face devoid of emotion but his eyes glowing with a kind of electricity. He is nearer now, nearer, but Lily does nothing. She is held by his gaze, possessed in a kind of trance.)
(She is saved only by the sudden proximity of shouts and movement. The creature stirs, turns away from his prey, and calls to the shadows with a horrifying, raspy cry. Lily cannot understand his words for she is still frozen and seemingly unaware. Like inky shadows, the creature and his companions disperse with great speed. It is as if they were never there.
Lily is freed from her trance. She blinks her eyes convulsively for a moment, and in confusion, her gaze drops to her true love’s fallen form. She is aware now, terribly aware, and with a terrible heart wrenching cry, she goes to him.)
LILY: Edward! Edward, you cannot leave me!
(There is blood flowing freely from his neck. He is pale in death, his lips blue and cracked, and his body horribly twisted. Lily kisses his lips, pats his face, runs her hands through his dark hair, all the while crying in anguished loss. It is no use. Edward is gone, his promise broken.)
WILLIAM: Lily! LILY!
(Her father stumbles first on the scene, having beaten the other men by mere seconds in his fatherly fear and sobriety. The scene that greets him is devastating and frightening. His beautiful daughter has collapsed over the corpse of his once future son-in-law, her hands, lips and face covered in his red blood. Does he understand what has happened here? Is there a glimmer of painful knowledge in his eyes? He goes to his daughter, setting his lantern down in haste. Despite her protests, he easily pulls her away.)
WILLIAM: Come away, Lily. Come away, my darling. You cannot save him.
LILY: I can! I can save him! Let me go, Papa! Let me go!
WILLIAM: Edward is dead, Lillian. I am so very, very sorry, my child.
LILY: Edward! Wake up! You promised me, Edward! You promised me!
(William ushers away his struggling daughter as best he can. Edward’s friends are on the scene, too, gathering around their fallen friend in fear and confusion. William and his daughter are heedless of them, moving back through the woods. They are joined by a panting Becky and her uncle, Robert. They are greatly alarmed at the blood on Lily, but seem to realize that it is not from wounds she has sustained. Becky is sobbing, her hands covering her mouth. There again, is there a kind of understanding in Robert’s eyes? Does he, too, know what evil has fallen upon Edward? Moving to assist his brother, Robert holds on to one of Lily’s arms. She is still screaming, still struggling.)
You promised me! Edward! You promised!
(Lily’s cries echo into the night. The scene fades to black.)
Scene Three: The Funeral
(A day or more has passed. A solemn assembly has gathered together on the same green grasses that surround the village. The throng is dressed in black, the color of mourning, and is moving together in hushed silence for an old church on top of a nearby hill. A simple black coffin leads the procession, shouldered by several friends and relatives of the late Edward Charles Reed. His mother and father, Charles and Emma Reed, follow close behind. William and Margaret Aldridge, their daughters Becky and Adeline, and of course our own Lily, are there as well.
Lily’s face is void of emotion, her eyes filled with nothing less than defeat. Her sisters support her on either side, each one crying softly. Lily sheds no tears this day. She is unable.
Arriving at the church yard, the coffin is laid beside an already prepared grave. The headstone is simple and rounded, engraved as follows: EDWARD CHARLES REED. 1764-1786.
The vicar nods at the congregation that has circled the gravesite. He begins to speak, but his words are unintelligible. The camera pans around the clustered group, slowly passing by the faces of those that knew and loved Edward. It lingers at last on Lily, her eyes focused stoically on the coffin before her.
A sudden cut to the coffin being lowered into the ground. Shovelfuls of dirt are being tossed onto the dark coffin. The crowd begins to disperse, and above the churchyard the harsh call of a crow can be heard.
The Aldridge family is descending the hill back to their home. William and Margaret lead the way, Addie walking beside her mother. A few feet behind, Becky and Lily walk together. Becky peers with loving worry at Lily.)
BECKY: Lily? Do you…do you want to talk? You’ve not said a word since…
LILY: I’ve had nothing to say. What can be said?
(There is silence for a moment. Unexpectedly, Lily breaks the silence. Fresh tears are spilling from her eyes with her tragically determined words.)
I shall never love again, Rebecca. God has done a cruel thing indeed, and I shall die remembering His betrayal.
(Becky cries anew, laying her head on Lily’s stiff shoulders. There is a long shot of the Aldridge family descending the hill, the wind whipping at them. The scene fades out.)
Scene Four: Time Passes
(Over a year has passed since the unexplained tragedy of Edward Reed’s death. It is summer, and the village is alive. There are several shots of various activities, all of them centered around the preparations for an upcoming wedding. Pastries are being prepared for the wedding feast, young girls are preparing garlands of flowers, and a small market bustles with activity.
William Aldridge is walking with Robert through the market, returning the friendly calls of neighbors passing them by. It is soon revealed that the upcoming nuptials are for Lillian Aldridge herself, the very one who proclaimed she would never love again.)
NEIGHBOR: Good day, William! Good day, Robert! I wish you joy! Lily will make a beautiful bride!
WILLIAM: Thank you, Henry! We will see you at the wedding tomorrow!
ROBERT: Seems like everyone has forgotten that Lily was destined for another man not long ago.
WILLIAM: The Reeds have not forgotten. Have you seen the way Charles looks at me whenever I pass? It’s as if he blames us for finding joy.
ROBERT: The way I see it, it is well enough that Lily has found some happiness. She was in a bad state after…well, after Edward’s passing.
WILLIAM: Aye, Robert. I thought my daughter would never be the same. She very nearly lost her bloom. It was difficult for us to convince her just to rise in the morning. Becky told me that Lily had promised never to give her heart away again, and had even proclaimed a determination to turn away from the Good Lord.
ROBERT: Lily is a sensible girl. After enduring such tragedy at her young age, it is not so strange that she would mourn in such a way. I have seen aged men turn away from God over the loss of loved ones, and some of them never had the fortune of forgiving their Creator.
(William nods, waving to another well-wishing neighbor.)
That James is a fine young man. He’ll take good care of our Lily. Good God, the way he dotes on her. He’s almost worst than Edward was!
WILLIAM: James Halifax is as fine a young man as ever there was. Who would have known that when he came to live with his widowed aunt he’d charm Lily the way he did?
ROBERT: I always said that that mad woman would bring us no good, but now I am eating my words. Her nephew, at least, has brought us some joy.
(They have neared William’s cottage, and Margaret’s voice can be heard from within.)
WILLIAM: And this is where we part, Robby. My home has been reduced to a mad house. Stay away if you can, and I’ll be seeing you tomorrow.
ROBERT: I’ll see you at the Inn tonight for a drink, brother! We will toast your daughter’s overdue happiness!
WILLIAM: Aye, that we will!
(Margaret’s voice is more persistent this time, and is clearly calling her husband to come inside. Robert laughs at William’s plight, then leaves his brother to face his over stressed wife.
Inside the cottage, Margaret stands at the window, watching her husband’s slow progress towards the house.)
MARGARET: Well, my girls, your father was never a man possessed of great speed. Not when I call him, at least. I suppose I’ll just have to go to him if I’m to get anything done. Stay here and watch the stove. And wash your hands, Addie! They’re covered in flour and dirt. Shame on you, dirtying up our home after I’ve worked so hard to clean it.
(In a huff their mother leaves, and the three sisters share a laugh. The camera finds them sitting around a sturdy table, various flowers spread across it. Lily is carefully selecting the flowers for her bridal bouquet, a pleased glow on her face.)
BECKY: Addie! Don’t touch the flowers until after you’ve washed your hands!
(Addie sticks her tongue out at her sister but does as she told, leaving the cottage to do so.)
She’s hopeless, that one. Fifteen years old and without a reasonable thought in her head. She’ll single-handedly undo your wedding, mark my words. They’ll be flour and dirt everywhere, and she’ll trip over the church benches and dance in mud and all sorts of other foolish things.
LILY: You’re too hard on her, Becky. You were like that, too, when you were that age. So was I, if you’ll recall.
BECKY: Neither of us was as bad as she is. Even Mama says so.
LILY: Mama says many things, and you are so like her that you’re always eager to agree.
BECKY: And you’re so like Papa that you never agree with anything she says.
LILY: Oh, Becky, enough. Let’s not ruin this evening with hasty words, please. I’m struggling enough, you know. I cannot help but…
BECKY: Don’t even think such things, Lily. Edward would have wanted you to be happy. You cannot marry a dead man, I’m sorry to say.
(Becky’s words obviously disturb Lily, but she does her best to hide her distress.)
LILY: I know, Becky. I know.
BECKY: I’m bored with flowers. I know! It’s time for you to try on your dress!
LILY: No, no, I’m not doing that. It fit a year ago, it will fit still.
BECKY: It’s tradition, Lily. Go get your dress on, and I’ll fetch Mama and everyone else. Go!
(Lily rolls her eyes then goes to climb the rickety wooden staircase to the crowded room above. In the solitude of the sisters’ bedroom, she goes to the old trunk at the foot of her bed. Opening it solemnly, she reaches to the bottom and pulls out a beautiful and simple white gown. Laying it on the bed, she runs her hands over it delicately.)
LILY: This gown was meant for you, Edward. Now I wear it for another. I hope that you can forgive me, my love.
(Down below, the family is chatting while they wait for Lily. She descends the stairs to their cheerful applause, praising her and her obvious beauty in her bridal gown. Becky moves forward with a rose and violet entwined garland, placing it upon Lily’s golden curls. The family cheers again.)
WILLIAM: You’ll be a beautiful bride, Lily. You look as lovely as your mother did on her wedding day.
(Margaret is charmed, smiling up at her husband and pecking him on the cheek.)
MARGARET: You’ve a devil’s charming tongue, husband. Don’t think that I’ve forgiven you for your tardiness, though. We’ve still got much work to do.
(They are interrupted by a knock at the door.)
MARGARET: No, don’t answer that door, William! Who is it?
ROBERT: It’s me, Maggie! I’ve come to pick up my brother!
(Addie opens the door, and Robert steps in, grinning broadly at Lily.)
Lillian, you dear little thing! You look like an angel!
LILY: Thank you, Uncle Robby! Thank you, everyone!
ROBERT: I’d suggest you take it off in a hurry, though, niece. Who should I see on my way here but your future husband himself, apparently bringing a message of some sort.
MARGARET: Good Heavens, has he no shame? He’s not supposed to see his bride the night before the wedding!
ROBERT: The message isn’t for her, it’s for you and William. No doubt his aunt has some more changes for the wedding feast.
MARGARET: Out, Lily! Out! He can’t see you!
LILY: Then I’ll just go upstairs and change…
MARGARET: No, no, out you go! The two of you shouldn’t be anywhere near each other until you meet in the church tomorrow!
WILLIAM: Margaret, don’t you think…
MARGARET: I insist. Go, Lily, and we’ll fetch you when he goes.
WILLIAM: But don’t stray far, Lily. It’s beginning to get dark. We don’t want you to…well…
MARGARET: William. Hush. Lily, go. Becky, Addie, clean these flowers up. You can finish after James leaves.
(Helpless, everyone does as they’re told. Lily flees the house, still attired in her wedding gown. )
Scene Five: The Promise
( Unsure of where to go, Lily goes around the cottage to avoid being seen should James be approaching. The camera cuts to a shot of her returning to the same grassy spot she sat in a year before, the sun descending beyond the hills. This time she moves closer to the woods, watching them warily from a distance of several yards. Her arms are crossed, but she does not appear to be afraid. Rather than fearful, her eyes are simply troubled. Where once she felt fear for Edward, she now feels only doubt for James. She begins to question her motives aloud.)
LILY: What are you doing, Lillian Aldridge? There’s no going back now. Oh, Edward. If only you could have kept your promise. If only…
(Lily is remembering the events of a year before. This is troubling, for the events had been pushed far from her mind at the urging of her loved ones. Memories flood her mind, and we can see flashes of that dreadful night. Lily running after Edward, finding him helpless. A pale face…)
No. No! It is a dream, a nightmare. Edward was killed by bandits. There are no such things as monsters and creatures. Men are responsible for my Edward. There is nothing else.
(From far away and yet seemingly so close, there is a whisper on the wind. It seems to cry out, “Lily…”. Did she imagine it? She shakes her head, disappointed in herself, it would seem.)
You are a fool, Lillian Aldridge. How can you think of a man long gone, and on the eve of your wedding to another? And you must not call yourself Lillian Aldridge anymore, silly girl. You shall be Lillian Halifax tomorrow. There, that is something cheerful to think about.
(But that is not what she thinks of. Instead, we can see her memories of her last conversation with Edward. We see him holding out the flower to her, kissing her fingers, drawing her near. Lily tries to fight her thoughts.)
He is dead! He is dead! Edward is dead!
(Ready to flee back to the cottage, whatever her mother’s dire threats may be, Lily is stopped dead in her tracks as her name is called again, louder this time. Its source is unmistakable.)
(Lily turns in place, her eyes wide. There is no one around her, and the sun is nearly gone.)
LILY: Edward? No, it can’t be…
EDWARD: Lily. Lily.
(Lily is sure that she hears his voice, and now knows its source: the woods beyond. She does not hesitate. Going straight for the woods, she runs to the voice, her hair streaming behind her, the garland falling unheeded to the ground.)
LILY: Edward! I hear you! I’m coming!
(Back at the Aldridge cottage, James Halifax is leaving amid the family’s well-wishes. Robert slaps him on the back, and William embraces him as his future son.)
WILLIAM: I’ll see you tomorrow, James.
ROBERT: Are you sure you won’t be joining us for a drink? We’ll be toasting to your future!
JAMES: Thank you, Robert, no. The only thing I need now is rest. But drink one for me, and I’ll be seeing you tomorrow!
ROBERT: A fine man you are, James. I’ll drink several for you, you can be sure of that!
(They laugh, and Margaret and her daughters wave goodbye. The door is shut, and James remains on the doorstep. He is a very handsome man, as fair as Edward was dark, and tall and strong in build and personage. There is a playful gleam in his eye. )
JAMES: Now, where has Miss Lily gone to…
(He goes around the cottage, clearly in pursuit of his bride. Walking into the night, he goes onto the hills that he knows his future bride loves so dearly. He sees no sign of his erstwhile bride. Puzzled, he calls out to her in a playful tone of voice.)
Come out, come out, wherever you are! Come on, Lily! I know you don’t believe in superstitions any more than I do. I just want to wish you goodnight.
(There is no reply. A movement catches his eye, and in the distance, he can see the hasty flight of a woman in white: Lily. She has disappeared into the woods, and for a moment, James is not convinced that it really is Lily. Striding towards the woods, he pauses after coming upon a carefully crafted garland. Roses and violets; Lily’s favorites. James is clearly concerned now.)
Lily! Lily, I know you’re there! Where are you going? Lily!
(Inside the woods, Lily’s path is lit by the moon high above her. She is cautious in her step but still makes great progress into the dark depths.)
LILY: Edward? I know that I heard you!
(She pauses, running her hands through her curls. It is clear that she is doubting her own sanity.)
LILY: I’m going mad.
(There is movement to the side of her. Frightened, Lily turns to the direction it came from. What kind of evil has she stumbled upon? Perhaps the same bandits that stole Edward from her had somehow lured her to her doom, too. In her tortured and confused mind, it is an easy possibility. There is a rustle again, louder than before, and Lily now knows that she is not alone. She cries out in fear, and turns back in the direction she came, fleeing in mortal terror.
By now, James has reached the tall trees that compose the woods. The garland is still in his hands.)
JAMES: Lily! Where are you going, darling? It is too dark to walk the woods! It is dangerous! Lily!
(The camera cuts to William and Robert, jovially making their way to the inn along the familiar path. Their revelry is interrupted by James’ distant calls, and the brothers turn slowly. Fear and disbelief cross their features. It can’t be… Without a word to one another, they fly down the path and straight into the woods, searching not for James but for Lily.
Lily, meanwhile, is fleeing for her life. She stumbles once, tripping over an old root protruding from the ground, but leaps back to her feet and continues her flight. She glances behind her and immediately regrets her action. Swirling not far behind her are familiar shapes: the very dark objects that haunted her dreams. )
LILY: No! Stay away from me, please!
(A brief shot of James in pursuit, then a shot of William and Robert tearing through the forest. Back to Lily. She is not quick enough, and despite her best efforts, the shadows overcome her. Strong arms clad in black seize her, pulling her back against a hard, cold body.
She screams, a terrible, horrifying scream that reaches the ears of those that are searching for her.
The camera focuses on James, who freezes as the scream echoes around him.)
JAMES: Lily! LILY!
(We also see William and Robert, terrible pain contorting their features as their Lily’s screams dance around them.
Lily is caught, sure that her death is imminent. Just as she is ready to scream again, she is whirled about, forced to look at her captor.
Edward. He is before her, as welcome and confusing a sight as Lily has ever beheld. He looks just as he did a year ago; his dark hair curls around his face, his eyes glow with love and devotion, his lips turn up into a gentle smile. Lily shakes her head, trying to come to grips with the illusion before her. It is an illusion, isn’t it? Edward is dead…)
LILY: Edward? I…you’re dead! Do not haunt me, cruel demons! Free me from this terrible nightmare!
EDWARD: Lily, it is me. Don’t you remember, darling? I promised that we’d never be apart. I promised…
(Lily takes another moment to study him. Yes, it is Edward, but there is something different about him.)
LILY: Your hands are so cold, Edward. And your face; it is so pale.
EDWARD: Oh, Lily, Lily! We will never be apart, my darling!
(Heedless of her confusion, he kisses her passionately. She does not move to kiss him back at first, her eyes open as her true love holds her near. Realization is dawning; an understanding of the undead is perhaps forming in her mind.)
LILY: You’re not alive, Edward. You are…
EDWARD: Alive in my love for you, dearest. I have come for you, as promised. We will never be apart.
(James’ voice interrupts from afar, shouting Lily’s name. So, too, do they hear her father’s and uncle’s voice calling for her. They know their time is short.)
It will not hurt, darling. Only for a moment, and then eternity is ours. Is it not wonderful? Did I not promise you that God is so good and kind to us?
LILY: Yes, you did. But surely God has nothing to do with…
EDWARD: Oh, yes, dearest. God moves in mysterious ways. What some consider evil I see as an enormous blessing.
LILY: But you’re a, you’re—
EDWARD: Say it, Lily! Say it!
(Not only does she say it; she screams it.)
LILY: You’re a vampire, Edward! A vampire!
EDWARD: And so too, my darling, will you be. Eternity is ours.
(James has found them. He approaches them carefully, aware of how close this strange, pale man is holding the woman he loves. William and Robert burst onto the scene from the opposite side, Edward’s face clearly illuminated to their view. There is no doubt that they, too, are aware of what he is. Somehow, they always knew.)
JAMES: Lily! That is my bride you are holding! Let her go!
WILLIAM: Lily, listen carefully: You must pull away from him, child. You must leave him and come away with us.
JAMES: Lily, please…
(Lily does not hear their words. She has eyes only for Edward. With calm motions, she pulls her golden curls away from her long white neck, drawing them to one side. Lifting her chin, her eyes glow with love for the man before her.)
LILY: You kept your promise, Edward. I am so very, very happy…
(Edward smiles tenderly at her before sinking his sharpened teeth into her soft neck. James calls out in agony. William drops to his knees, and Robert watches dumbly.
Edward pulls away from Lily’s neck, her sweet blood fresh on his lips. She is unconscious, a content smile on her lips. Gathering her into his arms, Edward turns to face William. Lily lays limp in his arms, her hair streaming over Edward’s arm.)
EDWARD: I will always love her, William. And she will always love me. I hope you can see how happy we are, to find ourselves bound for all eternity. It is the way God intended it to be.
(William says nothing, shaking his head slowly as tears stream down his face. Edward nods solemnly, and simply disappears in a swirl of shadow. He has taken Lily forever, all of the remaining men know. And no matter how their minds and hearts rail against it, they know that it was by her choice.
The camera pans from the stunned James to the grieving Aldridge brothers. William’s sobs rend the quiet forest air as the camera fades out with his words.)
WILLIAM: Lily, my Lily…gone forever…
JAMES: Lily! That is my bride you are holding! Let her go!
WILLIAM: Lily, listen carefully: You must pull away from him, child. You must leave him and come away with us.
JAMES: Lily, please…
(Lily is confused, torn between the living and the dead. She glances at her father, sees the pleading and terror in his eyes. She cannot see James, but she knows that the same kind of terror is in his eyes, too.)
LILY: Edward, listen to me carefully. It is not God that granted you this…this condition that you think so divine. It is evil, Edward. It is; it must be.
EDWARD: No, Lily, no! I swore to you on my heart, my mind, and my faith that we would be together forever. Is it not clear that I have been rewarded for my devotion?
LILY: You have been cursed, Edward, not rewarded. Cursed not because of your devotion, but cursed by an evil that takes no prisoners, that considers no good or virtues worthy of salvation. You must let me go, dearest, darling Edward.
EDWARD: No! I have waited so patiently, so carefully to come for you! I have kept my promise, Lily!
LILY: But you are dead, Edward! You are dead! And I am alive!
EDWARD: Please, please, Lily, I beg of you! Come with me. We have eternity now!
(Tears shine in Lily’s eyes as she shakes her head sadly. She has always loved Edward, but must now accept that the living, breathing Edward that she loves is truly dead and gone. She must convince the man left behind that she can never, never be his.)
LILY: I free you from your promise, Edward.
EDWARD: Lily, don’t! Don’t say that!
LILY: Yes, Edward. You are free from your promise. I should have never made you make such a promise. If ever you loved me, and I know that you did, even as I loved you, you must let me go.
WILLIAM: Please, Edward! Free my daughter!
EDWARD: Silence, William! Do not interfere where you do not belong!
ROBERT: But we do belong, Edward. We know only too well what has happened to you. You see…
(Robert cannot go on. His voice is choked with emotion. William does his best to finish for his brother.)
WILLIAM: We had another brother, Edward. His name was Arthur, and he was older than the both of us. We…we were there when he was taken, transformed into what you are now. We could do nothing but watch, powerless, and wonder if we were to share his fate, too. We escaped, but have mourned our brother ever since. Do not, Edward, I beg you, take away another loved one. Do not curse Lily as you have been cursed.
(Edward groans, struggling internally. There is an old part of him still left, one that loves Lily enough to make the greatest sacrifice, even as his other side thirsts for her very blood. At length he releases his love from his arms, stepping away slowly. James goes to her immediately, gathering her in his arms. Lily’s strength is gone; she sobs in both anguish and relief.
It seems that Edward wants to say more, perhaps even say farewell, but he cannot. With another cry of anguish, he disappears in a swirl of shadow. William rushes to embrace his daughter, Robert not far behind him. They cry together in the darkness; William and Robert, for their lost brother and out of relief for their spared Lily; James, for having the woman he loved returned safely to his arms from a fate worse than death; and Lily, for having made a decision that no woman should be forced to make: eternal life with the man she loves most at a terrible price, or mortality and eventual death with those others that she loves.
The camera pulls away from the huddled loved ones, panning away to a spot several feet from them. Edward’s eyes peer from the darkness, watching carefully with great pain. A moment more and he disappears for good. The scene fades out.)