by The Egg Man
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.
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.
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.
Did I wake you?
CHESTER clears his throat and talks with his wife.
No. I've been up a while.
When I left you were sound asleep. I didn't want to wake
I got up around eight.
CHESTER sits on the bed.
You tossed and turned all night.
I just couldn't get to sleep.
You've been doing that a lot lately. Chester, maybe you
should see a doctor.
I don't think Dr. Rhodes is going to help me get some
I don't mean him. I meant...
I know what you meant. We've been through this before.
I'm not going to let some shrink...
Whatever. I'm not going to let some asshole head
doctor tell me how to stop missing our son.
I know it's hard, but, you haven't been sleeping, or
eating, or even getting out of the house. I just think...
Not today babe. Okay? I just can't hear it again. Not
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.
We could go to...
As Marie says this, a loud THUMP comes from somewhere OS. It is followed by another series of SCRATCHES.
Did you here what I said?
Sorry. I think we have some kind of animal in the
walls or something.
Calm down. I've just been hearing some strange noises
in the house this morning.
What kind of noises?
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.
Call an exterminator.
If it keeps happening I might. Maybe I'm just going
Don't say that. How do pork chops sound for dinner?
Try and do something today.
I don't know? Get some lunch, go to the movies.
Finish fixing up the stairway. Something.
I'll bet. I've got to go. See you tonight.
Alright, see you when you get home.
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.
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.
Katie... How are you?
I'm fine Mr. Kozak. And You?
I'm fine dear.
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?
No. I just... It's embarrassing really, but...
CHESTER walks out onto the porch and closes the door behind him.
I snapped my mom's rake in half. I was wondering
if I could...
CHESTER laughs a little at this.
Sure. Be my guest. Just let me get some shoes
on and I'll get it out of the garage for you.
Thank you Mr. Kozak. You're a life saver.
No problem, and you can call me Chester you
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.
Wow. I haven't seen that car in years.
Yeah. It's been a while since it's seen the road. I
might just have to get her fired up again.
I always liked it.
CHESTER grabs the rake and brings it out of the garage.
Here you go.
I was sorry to hear about your dad. I would
have gone to the service but...
Oh no. No, no. My mother and I completely
I should have gone Katie. I'm sorry. I've just
been having a hell of a time with this you
After a moment of awkward silence...
KATIE (Pointing at the car)
I remember riding in that with Peter back in
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.
He was always so responsible. So serious.
We had him young. I was just going into the
service then. It was scary.
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
He was great. Better than most of the
other kids we went to school with.
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?
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
KATIE starts to tear up.
KATIE (voice shaking)
I miss him. He was such a good guy.
Me too... something fierce.
KATIE steps forward and gives CHESTER a hug. He seems surprised by this, but soon hugs back. There are tears in both their eyes.
I tried to talk him out of it. He just had to
They come apart slowly.
KATIE wipes the tears from her face.
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.
I know you will dear. It was nice talking
to you. Say hi to your mother for me.
I will. 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...
CHESTER turns and sees KATIE at the end of the driveway.
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.
That would be great kiddo.
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.
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.
Come play with me. Come play with me
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)
CHESTER reaches out and grabs PETER in a fierce hug.
Oh Petey! Oh my God! Don't ever leave me
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
Come play with me. Come play with me
CHESTER is holding his own head in his hands and shaking, crying and screaming.
We'll play Army like we used to. We can
CHESTER looks down at his leg, as the hand of the lifeless body grabs it.
Cut TO BLACK.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 drops to the basement floor and helps CHESTER sit up. She hugs him fiercely.
I should have tried harder Peter. I should have
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.