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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1597842
Rated: 18+ · Script/Play · Dark · #1597842
This script deals with a father's grief over losing his son in the current Iraq war.
Out of the darkness comes the unmistakable sound of an alarm summoning those who hear it to wake.


Fade In:

INT. Chester Kozak's bedroom - Morning   


As the alarm blares, CHESTER KOZAK, a middle aged man lies on his bed smoking a cigarette and staring at the ceiling.

He takes a long drag and flicks into an ashtray stationed on his chest.

For a long moment he continues to stare before crushing out his smoke, setting the ashtray on his night stand, and finally turning off his alarm. 

After another moment of motionless pondering, we notice a single tear stream down his face.

Chester slowly sits up and swings his legs out to the side of the bed.

It takes him an eternity to slide his feet into his slippers and put his bathrobe on.

He rises and walks past us off screen.

FADE OUT.

Title card: Old Soldiers Never Die...

Ext. Chester's porch - Morning 

CHESTER bends down to pick up the newspaper that lays on the WELCOME MAT at his feet.

After removing it from the BRIGHT ORANGE BAG, he stares at the headline for a moment.

He walks back into his house and closes the door.

Int. Chester's dining room - Morning

CHESTER sits alone, cigarette perched between his lips, at a long table reading the news paper that is flanked by a CUP OF STEAMING COFFEE and a smoking ashtray.

The headline reads "29 SOLDIERS KILLED IN BAGHDAD."

A half-eaten BAGEL lays in front of him.

CHESTER sips at his coffee and crushes out his cigarette before folding the paper and getting up from the table.

As he moves out of frame, we see that behind him, dead center, on a hutch festooned with nick knacks is a FOLDED AMERICAN FLAG and an OFFICIAL PICTURE of a young man in a military uniform.

INT. Chester's kitchen - morning 

CHESTER is washing the dishes.

As he scrubs last nights pans...

A loud THUMP is heard OS.

Shutting off the water and listening intently, he looks out the window above the sink and see's nothing.

After a while, CHESTER continues to do the dishes.

INT. Chester's Living room - Morning 

CHESTER watches CNN and the coverage is all about the war in IRAQ.

He changes it to FOX, and it's the same story.

After watching for a moment, he starts to flip the channels.

As he passes station after station...

Another Loud THUMP is heard OS.

CHESTER turns the television off and cocks his head, listening for another THUMP.

After a moment or two he hears...

A series of SCRATCHES coming from above him.

CHESTER rises from his chair.

InT. stairway leading to the second floor - Morning 

CHESTER climbs the stairs slowly. Paint Cans and a FOLDED TARP lay on one of the steps.

INT. second floor hallway - mORNING

CHESTER walks down the hallway and peers into his bedroom.

From his POV, we see the same room that he awoke in. Nothing seems out of place.

He turns back down the hallway and comes to the bathroom.

Once again, he peers in, and once again we see that nothing seems to be out of place.

CHESTER turns and stares at a closed door at the far end of the hallway.

For a moment, he looks like a man who is debating on whether to do something or not.

After an agonizing space of time, he walks down the hall and places his hand on the doorknob.

CHESTER closes his eyes and turns the knob.

InT. Peter's room - Morning 

Light floods into a mostly dark room as CHESTER opens the door.

Posters of rock bands, sports teams, and scantily clad models fill most of the space on the walls.

CHESTER turns on the light and enters the room.

For a moment he stands in the middle of the room and stares at his surroundings.

He makes his way over to the closet and opens the door.

Seeing both civilian clothes and Army uniforms, CHESTER'S hand lightly brushes at the clothes.

He closes the door and walks over to the chest of drawers.

He picks up a FRAMED PHOTOGRAPH of a much younger version of himself in Army fatigues, holding a toddler version of PETER.

As CHESTER stares at that moment in time...

A telephone RINGS OS.

CHESTER puts the photo back on the chest of drawers and walks out of the room in a hurry, shutting off the light and closing the door behind him.

INT. CHESTER's BEDROOM - Morning 

CHESTER walks into the room from the hallway and picks up the phone.

                                        Chester
                                  Hello?

                                        Marie
                                  Did I wake you?

CHESTER clears his throat and talks with his wife.

                                        CHESTER
                                    No. I've been up a while.

                                          MARIE
                                  When I left you were sound asleep. I didn't want to wake
                                  you.

                                          CHESTER
                                    I got up around eight.

CHESTER sits on the bed.

                                          MARIE
                                    You tossed and turned all night.

                                          CHESTER
                                    I just couldn't get to sleep.

                                          MARIE (sharply)
                                    You've been doing that a lot lately. Chester, maybe you
                                    should see a doctor.

                                          CHESTER
                                      I don't think Dr. Rhodes is going to help me get some
                                      sleep.
                       
                                          MARIE
                                      I don't mean him. I meant...

                                          CHESTER
                                      I know what you meant. We've been through this before.
                                      I'm not going to let some shrink...

                                            MARIE
                                        Grief counsellor...

                                          CHESTER (angrily)
                                        Whatever. I'm not going to let some asshole head
                                        doctor tell me how to stop missing our son.

Beat

                                            MARIE
                                        I know it's hard, but, you haven't been sleeping, or
                                        eating, or even getting out of the house. I just think...

                                            CHESTER
                                        Not today babe. Okay? I just can't hear it again. Not
                                        today.

                                            MARIE
                                        Well, we'll talk about it later. I was talking to Betty
                                        today, and she said that she and Bill had a great time
                                        in Hawaii. Maybe we should go.

                                            CHESTER
                                          Maybe.

                                            MARIE
                                          We could go to...

As Marie says this, a loud THUMP comes from somewhere OS. It is followed by another series of SCRATCHES.

                                            MARIE (CONT'D)
                                        Did you here what I said?

                                            CHESTER
                                        Sorry. I think we have some kind of animal in the
                                        walls or something.
                                           
                                            MARIE
                                        What!

                                            CHESTER
                                        Calm down. I've just been hearing some strange noises
                                        in the house this morning.

                                            MARIE
                                        What kind of noises?
                 
                                            CHESTER
                                          I don't know. It sounds like a raccoon got into the walls
                                          and he's trying to find his way out.

CHESTER stands up and looks out at the hallway.

There is nothing out of the ordinary.

He walks back to the bed.

                                              MARIE
                                          Call an exterminator.

                                              CHESTER
                                          If it keeps happening I might. Maybe I'm just going
                                          crazy.
                 
                                              MARIE
                                          Don't say that. How do pork chops sound for dinner?

                                              CHESTER
                                          Sounds good.

                                              MARIE
                                          Try and do something today.

                                              CHESTER
                                            Like what?

                                                MARIE
                                            I don't know? Get some lunch, go to the movies.
                                            Finish fixing up the stairway. Something.

                                                CHESTER
                                            I'll try.

                                                MARIE
                                            I'll bet. I've got to go. See you tonight.

                                              CHESTER
                                            Alright, see you when you get home.
               
                                              MARIE
                                            Bye.

                                              CHESTER
                                            Bye.

CHESTER hangs up the phone and stands there in silence for a moment or two.

Int. Bathroom - MORNING

CHESTER walks into the bathroom and shuts the door behind him.

He turns on the shower and begins to undress when...

A CHILD'S LAUGHTER is distinctly heard OS. 

CHESTER immediately shuts off the water and puts his clothes back on.

Int. PETER'S ROOM - MORNING


Light floods into the room again, but this time CHESTER doesn't turn on the light.

He stands there a moment cocking his head to see if he can hear anything more.

He closes the door.
Int. CHESTER'S LIVING ROOM - MORNING

CHESTER comes into the living from the hallway carefully.

He is listening for sounds.

He goes over to a series of windows and looks outside. From his POV we see that the streets are clear.

Chester stands, pulls back from the window, and stares down at the floor.

INT. basement - Morning

CHESTER walks down the stairs and into a large basement. There are standard boxes of used junk all over the place.

At the base of the stairs there is a door to his right.

He opens it and peers inside. The room is empty except for a boiler and an oil tank.

Seeing that there is nothing there, CHESTER closes the door and walks around the stairs to the back of the basement.

Next to a clothes dryer, there is another door. CHESTER opens the door and looks into a room that has a washing machine, an old refrigerator, and an old stove.

There is nothing out of place here either.

He closes the door and turns to look at the rest of the basement.

On the far side of the room, among the piles of junk, there is a box of sports trophies.

CHESTER walks over to the box and gently touches a few of them.

He then sees another box of old toys and does the same.

While he's looking at the toys...

A CHILD'S LAUGHTER is heard OS.

CHESTER spins around, knocking the box of toys onto the floor and spilling the contents of it.

A LOUD CRASHING NOISE, coupled with LAUGHTER is heard.

                                                  CHESTER
                                            Who's there!

After a few moments, comes the sound of SCRATCHING.

CHESTER turns towards a door that he hasn't checked yet.

He stands there for a few moments, and gradually walks toward the door.

There is great trepidation on his part.

More LAUGHTER, and another series of SCRATCHES is heard.
CHESTER starts to reach for the door, but pulls back.

He is sweating profusely now.

After another couple of times of almost grabbing the door handle, CHESTER finally puts his hand on the door when...

A DOORBELL is heard OS.

CHESTER seems to snap out of whatever control he was under. He stands there for a moment shaking. The doorbell rings again.

He gains his composure and starts for the stairs.

Ext. Chester's porch - MORNING

A young, beautiful woman stands on the porch, and rings the doorbell again. After a moment or two. A disheveled and noticeably perturbed Chester opens the door.

                                                  CHESTER
                                            Katie... How are you?

                                                  KATIE
                                              I'm fine Mr. Kozak. And You?

                                                  CHESTER
                                              I'm fine dear.

Beat

                                                  KATIE
                                              Is this a bad time? I could come back.

                                                  CHESTER (after a beat)
                                              No. It's just... You caught me by surprise. Would
                                              you like to come in?

                                                  KATIE
                                                No. I just... It's embarrassing really, but...

CHESTER walks out onto the porch and closes the door behind him.

                                                  KATIE (cONT'D)
                                                I snapped my mom's rake in half. I was wondering
                                                if I could...

CHESTER laughs a little at this.

                                                    CHESTER
                                                Sure. Be my guest. Just let me get some shoes
                                                on and I'll get it out of the garage for you.

                                                    KATIE
                                                Thank you Mr. Kozak. You're a life saver.

                                                    CHESTER
                                                No problem, and you can call me Chester you
                                                know.

                                                    KATIE (giggling slightly)
                                                Okay. Thank you Chester.

CHESTER goes back into the house to get his shoes.

Int. Chester's garage - Morning

The door rolls up, and light floods the space.

CHESTER walks in and KATIE waits just outside.

An OLD RED MUSTANG sits parked inside.

                                                      KATIE
                                                  Wow. I haven't seen that car in years.

                                                      CHESTER
                                                  Yeah. It's been a while since it's seen the road. I
                                                  might just have to get her fired up again.

                                                      KATIE
                                                  I always liked it.

                                                      CHESTER
                                                  Me too.

CHESTER grabs the rake and brings it out of the garage.

                                                        CHESTER (CONT'D)
                                                    Here you go.

                                                        KATIE
                                                    Thank you.

                                                        CHESTER
                                                    No problem.

Beat

                                                        CHESTER (CONT'D)
                                                      I was sorry to hear about your dad. I would
                                                      have gone to the service but...

                                                          KATIE
                                                      Oh no. No, no. My mother and I completely
                                                      understood. We...

                                                          CHESTER
                                                      I should have gone Katie. I'm sorry. I've just
                                                      been having a hell of a time with this you
                                                      know.

After a moment of awkward silence...

                                                          KATIE (Pointing at the car)
                                                        I remember riding in that with Peter back in
                                                        high school.

Beat

                                                            CHESTER
                                                          I taught him how to drive in it. Marie was a
                                                          little nervous you know... a kid his age
                                                          having a car like that? But I never had to
                                                          worry with him.

                                                            KATIE
                                                          He was always so responsible. So serious.

                                                            CHESTER
                                                          We had him young. I was just going into the
                                                          service then. It was scary.

                                                            KATIE
                                                          I bet.

                                                            CHESTER
                                                          I figure it's scary at any age, but when I
                                                          found out, I knew I was going to have to get
                                                          my shit straight. Maybe I made him a little
                                                          too grounded.

Beat

                                                              KATIE
                                                            He was great. Better than most of the
                                                            other kids we went to school with.

                                                              CHESTER
                                                            He always had a crush on you. Even when
                                                            the two of you were kids, I could see it.
                                                            Did he ever tell you that?

                                                              KATIE
                                                            No.

                                                              CHESTER
                                                            He'd get all excited when he saw you. I
                                                            used to tease him about it. Of course he'd
                                                            swear up and down I was crazy... but I
                                                            knew.

KATIE starts to tear up.

                                                              KATIE (voice shaking)
                                                            I miss him. He was such a good guy.

                                                                CHESTER
                                                            Me too... something fierce. 

Beat


KATIE steps forward and gives CHESTER a hug. He seems surprised by this, but soon hugs back. There are tears in both their eyes.

                                                                CHESTER
                                                              I tried to talk him out of it. He just had to
                                                              go.
         
They come apart slowly.

KATIE wipes the tears from her face.

                                                                KATIE
                                                              Thank you Mr. ... I mean Chester. I'll
                                                              bring it back in one piece, I promise.

Chester laughs a little at this, so does Katie.

                                                                CHESTER
                                                              I know you will dear. It was nice talking
                                                              to you. Say hi to your mother for me.

                                                                  KATIE
                                                              I will. Bye.

                                                                CHESTER
                                                              Bye.

KATIE turns with the rake in hand and makes her way down the driveway.

CHESTER watches her as she walks away.

He then looks back at the house and takes a few steps toward it when...

                                                                KATIE (O.S.)
                                                              Chester?

CHESTER turns and sees KATIE at the end of the driveway.

                                                              KATIE (CONT'D)
                                                            Maybe you and your wife could come over
                                                            some night for dinner. It's just me and my
                                                            mom since my dad passed. We could
                                                            use the company.

Beat
                                         
                                                                CHESTER
                                                              That would be great kiddo.

                                                              KATIE (smiling)
                                                            Alright.

KATIE gives a tiny little wave and turns back down the driveway.

CHESTER watches her leave, then looks back at the house.

                                                              CHESTER (under his breath)
                                                            That would be great.

He starts toward the house.

INT. basement - Morning

CHESTER comes down the stairs slowly. When he reaches the bottom, he stops and stares at the door at the other end of the basement.

CHESTER walks slowly but surely towards the door.

The sound of a CHILD'S LAUGHTER is all around him. The SCRATCHING sounds are becoming more intense.

When he reaches the halfway point. He stops.

                                                                  CHESTER (screaming)
                                                              WHAT DO YOU WANT!

There is no answer, only LAUGHING, and SCRATCHING.

CHESTER begins a laborious walk towards the door.

He can no longer take it.

He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and flings the door open.

When he opens the door, there is a look of sheer terror on his face.

We see from his POV, a single pair of GLOWING YELLOW EYES peering out at him from the blackness of the room.

CHILDREN'S LAUGHTER is bellowing out at him as he shakes with fear.

                                                                CHILD'S VOICE
                                                            Come play with me. Come play with me
                                                            forever.

CHESTER lets out a weak yell.

For a moment, his foot seems poised to cross the threshold. Just as he is about to walk across, he slams the door and turns back towards the stairs quickly.

As he reaches the first step...

A LOUD CRASH (os), followed by a LOW HUM is heard.

CHESTER turns to look back at the door.

The door is framed by a BRILLIANT WHITE LIGHT coming from the other side.
CHESTER turns back towards the door. He is sobbing and shaking and shivering.

He begins his walk toward the light, resigned to whatever is on the other side.

The sounds of a CHILD'S LAUGHTER is all around him. With each step he takes, the HUM grows louder.

After an eternity, he reaches the door.

CHESTER opens the door. At first there is nothing but a BLINDING WHITE LIGHT. 

Int. White room - MORNING

CHESTER walks into the room, and the door behind him slams shut.

Slowly, a small figure comes into focus and steps forward. A pair of eyes hovering.

We see that the eyes belong to a little boy of about ten years old.

CHESTER falls to his knees; weeping.

                                                            PETER (age 10)
                                                        Daddy!

CHESTER reaches out and grabs PETER in a fierce hug.

                                                          CHESTER
                                                        Oh Petey! Oh my God! Don't ever leave me
                                                        again!

Darkness.

CHESTER is hugging air.

It takes a moment or two for him to realize this. When he does, he looks up and sees that PETER is walking away from him towards a BRIGHT WHITE LIGHT.

                                                          PETER (AGE 10)
                                                        Come with me daddy! Come play with me.

                                                          CHESTER
                                                        Peter no! Come back! Come back!

CHESTER starts to run towards the BRIGHT WHITE LIGHT chasing PETER.

PETER is giggling.

The LIGHT at the end of the darkness is getting closer and closer. CHESTER can no longer see PETER.

Suddenly CHESTER is surrounded by the LIGHT. He turns around and around but all around him is nothing but the LIGHT.

Slowly, BLURRY SHAPES OF MASKED MEN, and the room itself, start to come into focus.

CHESTER'S face shows the horror as he realizes what he is seeing.

A MASKED, ROBED man, standing in front of a BANNER with indiscernible Arabic words scrawled across them, is standing in the middle of the room holding a sheet of paper in his hand.

Kneeling in front of the men, is a young American GI

The MASKED MAN is reading from the paper in Arabic.

CHESTER, tears streaming down his face, face white with terror, screams.

                                                        CHESTER
                                                    No! Not this! Not my boy.

The MAN reads on.

CHESTER is paralyzed with sorrow. Great sobs rack him. He kneels so he is almost eye level with PETER.

                                                        CHESTER
                                                    Pete. Oh God Pete.

The MASKED MAN finishes reading and puts away the paper, and pulls out a LONG KNIFE. The other men all converge on PETER, knocking him to the ground.

They hold him while he struggles.

CHESTER screams but cannot move.

                                                        CHESTER
                                                    No! Don't do it... please!

The MASKED MAN plunges the knife into PETER'S throat. Great jets of blood spurt as the men scream...

                                                        ROBED MEN
                                                      Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!

The men continue to scream this.

PETER'S struggles and screams gradually die out as the MASKED MAN continues to hack away at his neck with the KNIFE.

CHESTER continues to scream. He is trying to shout, but all that comes out through the sobs and screams are choked, indiscernible sounds.

Finally, the MASKED MAN has removed PETER'S head and holds it up for CHESTER and the whole world to see.

The headless, lifeless body of PETER continues to twitch. The hands are shaking and clenching. Blood is still spurting weakly. There is a river of it everywhere.

                                                          ROBED MEN
                                                      Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar!

From CHESTER'S POV, we see PETER'S disembodied head still being displayed by the MASKED MAN.

Suddenly, the EYES on the DISEMBODIED HEAD open and stare straight at CHESTER.

The mouth opens to speak. The voice is that of a CHILD.

                                                              PETER
                                                        Come play with me. Come play with me
                                                        Daddy.

CHESTER is holding his own head in his hands and shaking, crying and screaming.

                                                              PETER (CONT'D)
                                                        We'll play Army like we used to. We can
                                                        play forever.

CHESTER looks down at his leg, as the hand of the lifeless body grabs it.

CHESTER screams.

Cut TO BLACK.

FADE IN:

EXT. Driveway - Late Afternoon

MARIE KOZAK pulls her car into the driveway.

After shutting off the engine, she gets out of her car and makes her way towards the house.

INT. dining room - LATE AFTERNOON

MARIE puts her purse down on the table.

                                                                MARIE
                                                            Chester?
INT. living room - LATE AFTERNOON

She doesn't see CHESTER.

INT. hallway at the top of the stairs - LATE AFTERNOON

MARIE starts down the hallway towards the bedroom she shares with her husband.

                                                                MARIE
                                                              Honey?
INT. bedroom - LATE AFTERNOON

MARIE comes into the room only to find it empty.

INT. PETER'S ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

MARIE opens the door and less light than before illuminates the room.

Having not seen CHESTER, she closes the door.

INT. HALLWAY AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS - LATER

MARIE starts toward the stairs when...

A loud THUMP is heard OS.

                                                                  MARIE
                                                                Chester?

She waits for a reply that never comes.

INT. kitchen - LATE AFTERNOON

MARIE enters the kitchen and stands there for a moment. She fills a kettle with water and puts it on the stove. As she turns on the burner...

A loud THUMP is heard OS.

MARIE looks towards the door that leads to the basement.

INT. BASEMENT - LATE AFTERNOON

MARIE comes to the bottom of the stairs and stops.

                                                                  MARIE
                                                                Chester?

No response. 

She checks the door to her right and finds nothing but the boiler and oil tank.

After closing the door, she makes her way to the other door behind the stairs.

Nothing is there but the washer, the old refrigerator, and the old oven. As she closes the door...

A MAN'S LAUGHTER, coupled with a CHILD'S LAUGHTER and a series of SCRATCHING sounds, are heard all around her.

MARIE is frozen in her tracks.

She peers over to the door at the opposite end of the basement.

Ever so slowly, she makes her way towards it.

With great reluctance, she reaches for the handle, and slowly opens the door.

From MARIE'S POV, we see two sets of GLOWING YELLOW EYES staring out at her from the darkness.

She screams and fumbles for the light switch.

There amidst the boxes and the junk, lies CHESTER, curled into a fetal position, shaking and crying.

                                                            MARIE (CONT'D)
                                                        Chester!

MARIE drops to the basement floor and helps CHESTER sit up. She hugs him fiercely.

                                                            MARIE (CONT'D)
                                                        Oh Chester!

                                                          CHESTER
                                                        I should have tried harder Peter. I should have
                                                        tried harder.

We move away from CHESTER and MARIE from above. A series of slow shots accompany Pachabel's Canon.

We dolly past the trophies and toys.

We crane up the basement stairs, and dissolve to...

INT. Dining Room-- Late afternoon

We see the hutch that holds the AMERICAN FLAG and the PICTURE of PETER.

We dissolve into the hallway and crane up the stairs to the...   

INT. Second Floor-- Late Afternoon

We dolly towards PETER'S door and dissolve to...

INT. Peter's Room-- Late Afternoon

We slowly dolly around the room seeing the picture of CHESTER and PETER. We move towards a window and dissolve to...

EXT.  Front yard-- Late afternoon

We move slowly away from the house as we dissolve to...

Ext. Horizon-- late afternoon

The last shot is of a setting sun. As PACHABEL'S CANON ends, we hear the sound of a CHILD'S LAUGHTER.

FADE OUT.

The end

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