this is a short screenplay script based on a few scenes from the book "the secret river".
|Scene 15. The cold winters mourn.
Int. Thornhills bedroom – dawn
The room is dark. A woman’s voice slowly fades in, getting louder
(Tenderly) Will. Wake up Will.
Come on Will, you cant sleep all day.
A lit candle reveals SAL’s face looking more beautiful then before.
SAL is sitting on the edge of the bed looking down at WILL. WILL is wrapped up in many layers of thick sheets.
WILL tosses a bit, pulling the sheets tighter around him.
(Grumbling) Can so. (pause)
Anyways it’s too cold, the rivers probably frozen over,
Just a few more hours.
SAL looks over at the thick curtains covering a window.
SAL sighs as she gets off the bed; she walks over to the window and opens the curtains, revealing falling snow outside with a build up of snow at the bottom of the window.
Sounds of carriages and general street sounds (people talking, drivers spurring their horses) can be heard once the curtains are open.
SAL’s breath leaves fog marks on the window as she looks out at the dazzling snow.
Looks like no work for you today.
I’m gonna stay in bed all day long.
SAL Smiles and walks back to the bed. She climbs on top of Will. SAL’s hair falls to one side allowing a close up of SAL lightly kissing WILL as she speaks.
only… if… I can… too.
Someone knocks loudly at the front door (sound off screen)
Unless there’s someone at the door.
SAL moves out off screen. WILL lies in bed looking keenly through the icy window.
SAL re-enters the room, She removes some clothing from the wooden drawers next to the bed.
I aint goin’ out on a day like this.
WILL wraps the sheets even tighter around him.
SAL smiles as she lays out the clothes on a chair in the corner of the room.
I’d prefer to get things ready now then to be hurried later. .
Arn’t you going to ask me who was at the door?
WILL lets out an uninterested sigh. Rolling his eyes at SAL.
Who was that at the door sweetheart? I’m just dying to know.
SAL smiles and shakes her head.
That (pause) my Will, was fathers apprentice.
Apparently mothers feeling a bit under the weather.
Winters barely ‘ere and shes already caught the sniffles.
SAL llooks back at will, she slowly walks over to the bed sits down on the edge.
SAL lies down at WILL’s side.
WILL turns his head to face SAL.
We’ll go straight after lunch.
SAL lightly kisses WILL.
Ext. The way to house Middleton – noon.
The Middleton’s house is relatively dull and dreary compared to the street in which it stands.
Noblemen wearing elaborate coats and top hats walk up and down the partially filled street, they are all accompanied be ladies wearing brightly coloured dresses with matching flamboyant hats and umbrellas.
Gleaming carriages carry people down and up the street.
The snow is clean, white, and sparkling in the noonday sun.
(Romantic classical music fills the street.).
WILL and SAL can be distinguished walking through the street from their difference of clothing, passer-by’s acknowledge them with a smile and a tip of the hat.
WILL opens the door to let SAL in.
The light from the outside pierces the gloomy atmosphere of the house, but fades as WILL closes the door.
The music stops abruptly when the door is shut, the last note of the music reverberates as if echoing through the house.
Inside, the house has many decorative pictures on the wall that look old and faded in the light. Any flat surface in the house has at least one jar of uneaten confectionery.
Distant coughs can be heard echoing through the house.
SAL rushes up the stairs while WILL hangs up his coat.
Sal finds light coming out of her parent’s bedroom, muffled voices can be heard on the other side.
SAL rushes through the door (shortly followed by WILL) to a room filed with ornaments that cast dancing shadows onto the walls.
A failing fire and some candles give light to the room.
SAL’s mother is lying in a bed close to the fire. SAL’s mother is of very pale and feeble appearance.
SAL rushes to her mother’s side and starts caring for her, whispering comforting words.
SAL’s Father is standing to the side talking to the surgeon.
Take two teaspoons of this once a day.
The Surgeon takes a vial out of his coat.
WILL gazes deeply at the money MR. Middleton gives the surgeon.
I’ll be back tomorrow to check up on her.
Until then. (Directed at Sal) Young miss.
(Directed at WILL) Lad.
The Surgeon walks out of the room. His footsteps can be heard as he walks out the door.
WILL, SAL, and MR. MIDDLETON stand silent in the Murky room for a few awkward seconds.
(Whispering under his breath)
SAL turns her head to see her father abruptly walking out of the room.
Where you headin’ sir?
WILL follows MR.MIDDLETON closely as he walks out of the house. WILL tries to persuade MR.MIDDLETON to send him instead.
Both WILL and MR.MIDDLETON progress outside.
The street is now decrepit and dreary, the snow is muddy, and the majority of the people outside are beggars and commoners.
MR.MIDDLETON bumps into the new apprentice.
Oi sir, I need another five pounds for the coal.
MR. MIDDLETON gives the apprentice the money and keeps walking, refusing to listen to anything WILL says.
WILL exerts vocal angst as he slips on a patch of ice.
MR.MIDDLETON turns around to find WILL lying on his back looking up at the sky.
MR.MIDDLETON towers over Will, he does not offer to help WILL up.
There are certain things one must do,
No matter how incapable or ill suited.
MR.MIDDLETON turns to keep walking down the street.
I’m not dead yet anyways.
WILL props himself up on his elbows, watching MR.MIDDLETON hurriedly walk down the street.
MR.MIDDLETON stops only a few times to hand small amounts of money to some beggars, until he turns a corner and vanishes from sight.
EXT. The graveyard behind the old church – late afternoon.
Caption: one week later.
The new gravestone reads: here lies Mr and Mrs Middleton. May their souls rest in peace.
An old priest is giving the sermon, his voice droning in the background, like some distant dream.
Six men are lowering the newly polished wooden coffin into the ground while SAL and WILL are standing nearby watching.
SAL is crying into her handkerchief.
WILL is looking intently in the direction of the coffin, though his face is blank, deep in thought.