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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1777429
Rated: 18+ · Other · Dark · #1777429
Young man at the bottom of the food-chain searches for power through sexual gratification.
NOTE: Throughout the feature, no character other than JOE’S face will ever be shown in full and/or clear focus, if at all.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

An upturned mouth opens, exhaling the first breath of a new day.  A young man lies on his back, in bed, looking up at the ceiling.

INT. BATHROOM – DAY

He urinates.  After finishing, he continues, for a long moment, to stare down at his penis.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY
A cool afternoon light filters through a dirty, second-story apartment window, glancing off of the airborne dust particles floating about the inner room.  The world outside is moving quickly with the ever-moving, never-ending forces of life and livelihood.  The world inside is cavernous, dark and deep.  Piles of hoarded refuse, decaying furniture, and one or two sleeping cats line the outer walls of the room, while, from a shadowed doorway, a figure enters into the center, standing just out of reach of the suns rays.

EXT. BUS STOP – DAY
A city bus wheezes to a halt just outside the apartment, which sits above and abandoned storefront.  It’s doors hold open for a moment, as the recorded route announcement plays, before pushing away down the street.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

The figure, JOE, moves forward, into the light, causing the cats to stand, fearfully, and leap from the room.  After pausing a moment, basking in the light, allowing his eyes to adjust, he moves to the window.

Looking down on the street below, his breathing deepens as a young GIRL, no more than fifteen years old, arrives at the bus stop, a backpack slung over her shoulder. She leans forward over the curb, peering down the avenue, searching for an approaching bus.

EXT. BUS STOP – DAY

The young girl moves back onto the sidewalk, tossing her hair from her eyes and pulling a cell phone from her jeans pocket.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

The man stares down at the girl.  He reaches for a handful of tissues piled beneath the windowsill.

EXT. BUS STOP – DAY

Down below, the girl slides a cigarette between her lips and lights it, taking one or two noticeably shallow drags.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

Joe’s body shudders as the girl tosses the cigarette and boards her bus.  Beneath the bed, just behind him, a sleeping cat lifts it’s head, peering out into the sunlight.

         JOHN [V.O.]
Who’s that?

We hear the faint sound of a woman giggling.

INT. SITTING ROOM – NIGHT

The room is well lit and noticeably untidy, but not disgusting.  Joe sits with his laptop before him, the screen hidden from us as well as his companions.  JOHN and ROBERT lounge about the room.  EDWARD stands in the hallway, the woman’s laughter coming from behind him.

         EDWARD
Just some girl I know.

Joe isn’t listening.

         EDWARD [CONT’D]
Hey, man, she’s probably going to stay over, so try to keep it down in here.  But try not to listen in, either, okay?

Joe is scrolling through an online image search, browsing through photos of maimed, disfigured, and deceased women.  He moves on to the next page, scrolling further.  The laptop screen is shaking.  Joe’s leg bobs up and down.  Edward exits, closing the door behind him.


         JOHN
What an asshole.

         ROBERT
In twenty minutes we should just start screaming at the top of our lungs.

Joe’s fingers stop, and his leg sits still, as he reaches the bottom of the page. He selects a photo and enlarges it, his eyes slowly moving up and down over the image, glancing around, taking in every detail, committing every pixel to memory.

The image is a high-resolution crime scene photo of a young girl whose head has been bashed in.  Her hair is matted with blood and adorned with bits and pieces of skull.  Her teeth are stained red and dried blood spider-webs across her face, intersecting at nose and mouth and ears.  Her head is tilted back somewhat, and her eyes are open, slightly rolled back, as though she is casually looking up.  Joe drags to image to his desktop.

         JOHN
Agreed.

Joe exits the window, revealing another web page behind it.  The article, which we see for only a moment, is an exploration into the psychology of child molestation.

         JOHN [CONT’D]
Hey, do you –

Joe closes his laptop, unplugs the power adapter from the wall and leaves, closing the door behind him.  John and Robert sit in silence, listening as doors elsewhere in the apartment open and close.

INT. BATHROOM – NIGHT

Steam fills the room as Joe showers in the dark, silhouetted by the orange light of the nearby streetlamp.  He watches his hand as it caresses the damp window, his fingers forming sensual abstracts in the condensation.

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

Joe, his hair still damp, stands looking down at a satchel, which lies in the center of his bed.  He is quiet as he slowly removes the contents of the bag and places them in his jeans pockets.  A lighter, a pocketknife, a pen, a Sharpie, a folded up piece of paper. 

INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT

The room is nearly dark, the only light coming from beneath bedroom doors.  Despite this, Joe moves confidently to the kitchen table.  He pauses for a moment, listening.  Heavy breathing can be heard from the bedroom behind him, followed by moaning, and a gentle, feminine giggle.  He snatches his keys from the edge of the table and exits, slamming the door behind him.

INT. STAIRWELL – NIGHT

Joe bounces down the steps and to the back door of the building, exiting out into an alley.

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

Stepping down into the alley, Joe moves steadily into the darkness.  He quickly and quietly navigates across the neighborhood, weaving through alleys and cutting through crumbling parking lots.

Soon he arrives at an old factory.  A chain-link fence surrounds the perimeter and the building seems to be falling in on itself.  Joe circles the building, looking for a hole in the fence.  He reaches a loose gate and begins squeezing himself through the opening, but stops, suddenly, at the sight of his shadow, cast long by a pair of approaching headlights.

Joe pulls himself out and angles back towards the road, acting as nonchalant as possible – the result being abhorrently conspicuous.  He avoids looking directly at the car and moves along down the street, turning sharply down the first alley he falls upon.  Unfortunately, he runs into an exceptionally short dead-end.

         MITCH [O.S.]
Hey!

Joe stops, turning his head just slightly to see the car behind him.  The vehicle idles, stopped perpendicular to the opening of the alley.  Joe tightens his jaw and, with no options ahead of him, turns to face MITCH, who watches from his car.

         MITCH
You need a ride?

         JOE
No.  Thanks.

Joe moves toward the car, aiming for the edge of the building, trying hard to remain as far from the edge of the street, and Mitch, as possible.

         MITCH
Where’re you headed?

Joe reaches the sidewalk and walks briskly down the street, away from the factory.

         JOE
Home.

         MITCH
Where’s that?

Mitch follows Joe in his car, rolling slowly down the empty street, his arm hanging out the open window, gesturing to Joe, beckoning him.  His tone of voice remains friendly yet frightening.

         JOE
Not far.

         MITCH
What street?  What street do you live on?

Joe forces a dry gulp, walking faster.  He plunges his hands into his pockets, disarming himself and launching himself into the role of a victim.  He mumbles something.

         MITCH [CONT’D]
Where?  Hey, what’s your name?  Hey!

A man appears on the sidewalk, walking towards Joe.  His sudden existence startles Joe, who slows his pace considerably.  He begins to palm his knife.

         MITCH [CONT’D]
My name’s Mitch.  Hey.  Hey.  Get in the car.  You don’t have to wear a condom.

As he says this, Mitch notices the man on the sidewalk, who is just coming into the light.  It is a middle-aged man walking his dog, listening to a Walkman.  The man makes eye contact with Joe, smiling and nodding.  Joe stares at the man and glances to Mitch as he drives away in his car.  As soon as the taillights are out of sight, Joe begins running.

EXT. BAR – NIGHT

Joe crosses a street and turns a corner, finding himself in a crowd of drunken smokers.  He tries to slow from a run to a walk, but unavoidably collides with a slouching body.  Then another and another, tossing ashes into the wind, onto his clothing, into his face.  He tumbles through the bodies, bouncing further and further into a suffocating crowd of faceless street-smokers, until, finally, he is jettisoned into the fresh air on the other side.

Struggling to catch his breath, he turns down another alley, holding his arms out on either side, using the walls of the alley for support.  A bottle rolls under his foot, dropping him, hard, onto the pavement.  He leans himself against a brick wall, his breathing becoming gradually softer and less laboured.

He reaches out and lifts the bottle by the neck, spilling a mouthful of alcohol down his sleeve.  He holds the bottle up, eying it through the streetlight.  He smashes the bottle against the wall across from him.

CUT

Joe smashes bottles against the back of the bar and grill.

EXT. OVERPASS – MORNING

The sun rises over the freeway as Joe leans over the railing of an intersecting overpass, digging into the back of his hand with a broken piece of glass.  He begins drooling.

EXT. BUS STOP – MORNING

Joe stands within the glass enclosure of the bus stop, leaning against one of the transparent walls, his sleeve pulled down over his injured hand, covering all but the tips of his fingers, which drip blood onto the sidewalk.  The bus stop is well populated, a group of six to ten individuals standing in and around the enclosure.  Two of the public transport patrons sit gossiping.

         SITTER #1
You know, did you hear I almost didn’t make it out of my building this morning.  I thought I might miss my first bus, do you know why?

         SITTER #2
No, I hadn’t heard that.  Why?

         SITTER #1
There’s been a murder up on 33rd. 

Joe begins listening, though he makes sure his eyes say otherwise.

         SITTER #2
Really?

         SITTER #1
A terrible thing, the police cars have backed everything up, and they’re frisking anyone who passes through, oh it was terrible.

         SITTER #2
A hit and run?  This early?

         SITTER #1
No, a stabbing, I heard.

Joe becomes openly interested in the conversation.

         SITTER #2
This early?

         SITTER #1
Right in the middle of the street, is what they say.  I’m not sure if it’s gang related or some sort of domestic thing, but some guy was stabbed right in the middle of 35th, right in front of my building.  He didn’t even make it to the sidewalk before collapsing.  I know I didn’t hear a scream, or a cry for help.  He died right there, the poor man.

         SITTER #2
Where on 33rd?

Joe spies the bus approaching, as does everyone else.  As the group gathers at the curb, Joe makes sure to remain close by the two conversing bus riders, listening intently.

         SITTER #1
Oh, near Ashland.  Those big old warehouses, and factories, and such.  Oh, it was terrible, my neighbors have children, you know.  How are they supposed to feel safe going to school with some deranged killer on the loose?

         SITTER #2
They’re still looking for the guy?

         SITTER #1
Well, they haven’t caught a soul.  I suppose whoever did it is a long ways away by now.

INT. BUS – DAY

Joe stands near the back of the bus, though many seats are open.  His eyes squint as he looks out the windows into the morning sun, and his body sways with the jostling of the bus.  He begins humming.

As the vehicle slows, approaching a stop, Joe sees something on he sidewalk. A young woman, slightly older than him.  She is beautiful, dark, and mysterious as she smokes, taking long, deep, sensual drags on her cigarette.  Joe holds his breath as the bus screeches to a halt, his fingers tightening around the pole he holds for support.

The woman tosses her smoke, adjusting the gym-bag on her shoulder as she steps onto the bus.  Joe has nearly stopped breathing, taking only shallow, stuttered breaths.  His body goes rigid as the girl sits in the first open seat she finds, very near to the front of the bus.  Very far from Joe.

He watches her closely with absolute tunnel vision, his mouth opening and closing, as though he is praying.  She bobs her knee, adjusting her earphones.

Eventually, the bus reaches her stop.  She stands, raising her bag from her lap, and heads towards the front door.  Joe follows, reading the name Sharpied on the backside of her gym-bag.  “E. Krehmer”.

EXT. BUS STOP – DAY

Feet slap against the pavement as passengers disembark, divide, and move their separate ways.  All except Joe and “E”.  She goes one way, and he follows.

EXT. STREET – DAY

Oblivious, she marches along, a defiant spring in her step, with Joe thirty paces behind, trying hard not to actually look at her.  His paranoid eyes move side to side, searching vigilantly for dangerous pursuers, which don’t happen to exist.

INT. TAE KWON DO DOJANG – DAY

Each of the students’ limbs and torsos move in unison, sweeping and striking with amateur precision, while the instructor monitors, pacing across the front of the room.  Following him, we move towards the display windows that open at the entrance of the dojang, where, hands in pockets, trying to hide his euphoria, stands Joe, watching her closely, mentally cataloguing her every move.

Her gym bag sits in the corner.

EXT. BUS STOP – DAY

Joe inspects a bus stop sign, following the route with a closed eye and a raised forefinger, determining his location.  He is far from home.

EXT. CITY – DAY

Deciding to walk home, Joe marches through the alley, the sun shining down on him.  Although he is shortcutting through alleys, the route is rather scenic.  He stops periodically to explore oddities along the way, accruing various interesting pieces of refuse, including a loose hubcap, a lone mitten, and a discarded, rewriteable VHS tape.

EXT. BUS STOP – DAY

Outside Joe’s apartment we see a familiar, fifteen year old bust-stop girl, trying to smoke a cigarette, holding it clumsily between her fingers.  Joe appears, approaching from behind, as the bus pulls up to the curb.  She drops her cigarette, only half smoked, and boards the bus.  Joe arrives as the bus departs, watching it as it wheezes away.  He bends down and retrieves the discarded cigarette.  Licking his thumb and forefinger, he extinguishes the tip, wincing only slightly at the pain.

INT. APARTMENT – DAY

Joe enters quietly, sliding his key from the handle lock.  He creeps into the darkened kitchen, which holds no natural light.  Nearly to his bedroom, another door opens and John steps out, shirtless.

         JOHN
Hey, man, did you just get home?

Joe forces a slight smile and nod, which all too closely resembles embarrassment.

         JOHN [CONT’D]
You party animal.  Hey, can you give me a ride to class?

Looking to the floor, Joe attempts to avoid eye contact.

INT. CAR – DAY

Joe’s head rests against the passenger side window of the vehicle, his face locked in a look of disgust and disapproval as the cities downtown passes across the glass.

EXT. DOWNTOWN – DAY

People are everywhere, socializing comfortably, enjoying themselves and the company of those around them.  The fashion is thick around John’s campus, and as the vehicle moves deeper, the hatred rises in Joe.

INT. CAR – DAY

The vehicle comes to a stop near the sidewalk, nothing but the door and window separating Joe from the filth of the city.  John unbuckles his seat belt, opening his door and grabbing his backpack.

         JOHN
Thanks, cowboy.  See you at home.

Joe does not react, his mind entangled in overwhelming confusion and abhorrence.

CUT

Sitting in the drivers seat now, Joe’s hands uncomfortably gripping the steering wheel, his eyes fixed forward.  He moves at a consistent speed, just barely above the limit, and pays close attention to traffic lights.  Inside him is a bubbling, boiling, ever-fermenting pool of rage and refusal.

INT. CAR/EXT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – DAY

He reaches a stoplight, just in front of an elementary school, as the light turns red.  The classes have just been let out, and the surrounding area is teaming with overactive children, all of them eager to enjoy the afternoon.  Joe stares at the swarm, his palms rolling around the steer wheel, gripping tightly and releasing as the contempt surges through his veins.

We focus on one little girl in particular.  She can’t be older than nine, but her tight t-shirt and short mini-skirt barely cover her body.  She laughs and chats and bounces across the street.  A bead of sweat falls from his forehead and rolls down his cheek.

         JOE [V.O.]
I want to punish them.

EXT. RESTAURANT – DAY

The seating outside is comfortable but barely occupied, the sun shining brightly overhead.  Joe sits alone, hunched over a glass of water, waiting for his order.  Behind him a small group of middle-aged women sit chewing loudly and talking louder.  Their dialogue slowly fades into clarity as Joe becomes interested in the content.

         DINER #1
Have you heard this, Di?  This poor girl, she’s Patricia Fredrick’s own daughter, you know.

         DINER #2
Patty’s a bitch, and you know it.

DINER #2 is noticeably inebriated.

         DINER #1
Her daughter’s nice enough.  But she got into that big school down there.  When she got accepted, I knew bad things were going to happen.  Nothing good can come from such a place.  Too many of those, those –

         DINER #3
So she got raped?  Seriously?  Like, in a back alley somewhere?

         DINER #1
No, no.

         DINER #2
She got drunk at rave –

         DINER #1
She passed out, and when she woke up there were three –

         DINER #2
She was gangbanged by a couple of gangbangers, that’s all.

         DINER #1
They smashed in her nose with a broken bottle when she woke up, then they raped her with the bottle.

         DINER #3
That’s awful.

         DINER #2
I heard they kicked in her front teeth, too.  Just to make things more accessible.

         DINER #1
She has to have six different reconstructive surgeries.  But it serves her right, associating with boys like that in the first place.

         DINER #3
Did they film it?

         DINER #2
Absolutely.

INT. BEDROOM – EVENING

Leaning close to the computer screen, breathing heavily, Joe scours the Internet, searching for the most violent rape porn he can find.  He squirms on the edge of the mattress, his right hand sliding beneath the blankets.  A tumult of torn flesh, glistening with sweat and blood, washes across the screen in an abstract, less than romantic scene of pornographic violence.  Screams and moans fill his ears, pumped in through a pair of headphones.  A mans laughter begins to rise up.

He lifts the cigarette to his face, touching the butt just below his eye.  He runs it down his face and below the blankets, holding his breath.

He imagines the young girl, standing on the sidewalk, looking up at him.  His mind quickly drifts to “E”, her body strong and sure, her confidence intoxicating.  Then the dead girl, her eyes up turned, her face a mess.  Finally, he imagines his hands, held before his eyes, dripping with their blood.

His eyes close tightly.

INT. SITTING ROOM – NIGHT

The room is illuminated by the light of the streets and nothing more as Joe goes through the tedious process of untangling the mess of wires and plugs beneath the television set.  After threading and unthreading the various cords, he eventually manages to connect the VCR to the set.  He slides an old rewriteable VHS into the slot.

After a moment of static squelch and snowy picture, the film begins to take shape.  First the video, which seems to be a random collection of nature scenes fading together, creating an unstructured montage of cheap stock footage.  The audio begins to fade in, creeping around the speakers crackle.  It is an old, Chinese karaoke tape. 

Joe sits and watches closely, letting his eyes loosely follow the Chinese characters as they move along the bottom of the screen, watching the unfocused shapes, though his mind is clearly elsewhere.

INT. LAUNDRY ROOM – NIGHT

Joe sits alone in the laundry room, which stands silent and empty.  His eyes pan across the floor.

EXT. STREET – NIGHT

Joe stands at the entrance of the 33rd Street apartments, the yellow crime scene tape standing out in the darkness.  He approaches the sectioned off square cautiously, minding the shadows.

CUT

On his back, Joe lays in the center of the crime scene, facing the overcast sky, the moon providing a gentle glow on the clouds.  Lightning flashes, followed by thunder, as rain drops begin to fall sporadically, splashing gently onto Joe’s face.  At first he squints, flinching as the cold water strikes his face.  He soon relaxes, widening his eyes, letting the rain fall in.

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

Joe, dripping wet, stands in a puddle, poking at the carcass of a dead bird.  He impales it with a small stick, prodding and probing, dissecting it with his pocketknife, before dropping a large brick on the remains.  He stomps the brick, splashing the water that rests on the surface of the pavement.  He leans, putting all his weight onto the bird, crushing it.

EXT. APARTMENT – DAY

The sun is shining, cool and white, on Joe, who stands at the front door of his building, watching the street.  His posture is cavalier, and remains so, as the young girl from the bus stop appears down the street.  As she passes him, distracted by her portable mp3 player, Joe tries to hide a smile.

Stepping to the curb, just across the street from the bus stop, he watches as she places a cigarette mouth and attempts to light it.  Her lighter sparks but doesn’t light.  Joe crosses the street casually, hands in his pockets, eyes locked on the bust stop girl.  He is overcome with an intense surge of confidence, a feeling he’s never felt before.

EXT. BUS STOP – DAY

The girl self-consciously hides her cigarette as Joe walks up behind her.  Her eyes shift away as she attempts to not even acknowledge his presence.  She tries to hide the mysterious fear she suddenly feels beneath an all too transparent air of situational detachment.  She jerks her head to the side, tossing her hair from her face as Joe’s body collides with hers.  She is knocked to the side, her backpack falling from her shoulder, as Joe pushes onward down the street.

         GIRL
Hey!

The girl bends down, placing her unlit cigarette back between her lips, and begins collecting her spilled things.  Among the papers and books she finds a small, folded piece of white paper, wrinkled and worn at the edges.  Joe is turning the corner down the street by the time she opens it, a gooey, half-smoked cigarette falling from within the sticky folds.  The girl lets out a small, stuttered yelp of terror as the bus squeals to a halt at the curb.

EXT. CITY – DAY

Joe smiles to himself as he makes his way across the city.  As he negotiates his way through alleys, across bridges, under highways, he maintains a positive, assertive appearance.  Slowly, the sound of the world fades to silence, only to be replaced by the ringing sound of an outgoing telephone call.  The ringing stops as Joe lifts the receiver.

         JOE [V.O.]
Hello?

         GRANDMOTHER [V.O.]
Hello?

         JOE [V.O.]
Hello?  Grandma?

         GRANDMOTHER [V.O.]
Who is this?

         JOE [V.O.]
Grandma, you called me.  We’ve been over this before.

         GRANDMOTHER [V.O.]
Oh, I’m sorry boy.  I haven’t…

         JOE [V.O.]
Grandma, it’s me.  You called me.  I know you don’t remember calling me, and I know you won’t remember me explaining this, but –

The elderly woman on the other end begins to cry.

         GRANDMOTHER [V.O.]
You can’t keep calling me like this, boy.  Please, stop.  I’ve told you to stop.  Please.  You’ve had your way.  You’ve done things to me…  I told you to stop, but…  I’ll tell my mother, I’ll tell…  My father knows the sheriff –

         JOE [V.O.]
I’m sorry grandma.  I’m sorry.

         GRANDMOTHER [V.O.]
Boy…  I don’t forgive you.

EXT. ALLEY – DAY

Squatting down beside a wooden fence, Joe lifts a piece of chalk from the ground.  He raises his hand, laying it upon the wood planks, and traces it slowly.  He pays careful attention to the fingers, dragging out the tips, making them unrealistically long and emaciated.

         JOE [V.O.]
I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature.

EXT. STREET – DAY

Joe stands at a crosswalk, watching the red, flashing hand in the signal box.  He seems somewhat confused, but not in a nervous way.  To his right the silhouette of a stopped driver seems to be staring at him.  He stares back for a moment before turning back down the street.  He slows to a stop at the entrance of an alleyway and looks to the trash bins.  Resting on top of the nearest bin is a large, white trash bag.  Beneath the plastic, a face seems to scream out at us.

         JOE [V.O.]
Did I kill anyone?

EXT. CITY – DAY

Joe continues to walk, marching endlessly towards some unknown destination.  At times he seems determined, aggressive in his navigation of the streets.  At others he seems listless and wayward, unable to define a proper course.

EXT. BRIDGE – DAY

Beneath the old, rusty iron webbing of a crumbling bridge, Joe moves quickly in the darkness.  At the other end, coming towards him, a figure appears.  It’s difficult to determine the gender in the poor lighting, and at such range, but Joe is momentarily put off by the sight, before returning to his confidence.  He walks briskly, taking extra care to show good posture, and watches the figure closely, fully prepared to make eye contact.

Condensation drips from the metalwork overhead, landing on his shoulder.  A train moves across the tracks above them, cutting through what little light shines down into the musky cavern.  As the train rushes on, a ribbon of sunlight flashes across the oncoming figures eyes, reminding Joe suddenly and violently of the young, dead girl.  Her eyes, once upturned, now look up at him.

         JOE [V.O.]
What is, is.  Anything that might have been could never have existed.

Joe emerges on the other side of the bridge, looking behind him as the figure walks on.

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

A small, naked light bulb illuminates the cluttered room.  Joe sits on the floor, leaning against the edge of his bed rotating his hand, a band-aid hugging it’s back.  He suddenly stops and reaches beneath his bed, retrieving a pile of papers, and a bundle of pens and markers, which he places on the floor beside him.

Bringing a book up to his lap, he places a piece of paper on top.  Taking up nearly the entire sheet is a printout of the dead girl, her eyes rolled back.  He uncaps a large marker and, after a moment of hesitation, he begins scribbling violently.  When he finishes he lifts the image up, inspecting it.

He places a bit of tape on the upper edge of the page and sticks it against his open closet door, which faces him.  His breathing becomes deeper as he stares at the image, which now consists only of the eyes.  His eyes become sharper and his body begins to tremble as his mind is drawn into the eyes.

The eyes stare back.

CUT

Joe sits on the floor, leaning against the edge of his bed rotating his hand on his wrist.  His gaze is dull and unwavering.  He drops his hand to his lap and looks down at the frail appendage.

EXT. TAE KWON DO DOJANG – EVENING

Joe waits across the street, leaning casually against a telephone pole.  Although his attitude is relaxed, his eyes are intense and piercing, their gaze directed at the woman in the window of the dojang.  E. Krehmer.  She is packing her things into her gym bag and letting her hair down.  His eyes soften for a moment as she steps out into the twilight, before hardening once more as he steps from the curb, crossing the street to follow her.

EXT. BUS STOP – EVENING

The sky grows dark at an alarming rate; the streetlights are flicking on.  E stands at the bus stop waiting, trying hard not to look over at Joe, who stands behind her, staring at the back of her head.  She fidgets awkwardly, trying to find something to do with her hands.

INT. BUS – NIGHT

Both Joe and the girl stand in the aisle of the bus, her at the front, and him at the back.  Joe looks into the driver’s mirror, watching as she digs through her gym bag, retrieving a watch, which she places on her wrist.

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

E moves quickly down the alley, not anxiously, but with clear direction.  She stops as she reaches the sidewalk, looking both ways.  Joe, who can be seen moving at the end of the alley, stops simultaneously.  He is breathing heavily as he moves towards the edge of the alley, pushing his shoulder against the bricks.  E lifts her wrist, checking her watch, before moving onwards.

Joe follows.

EXT. CONVENIENCE STORE – NIGHT

Joe waits for a moment, just around the corner as E moves into a local convenience store.  He peeks around, slowly, leaning back as a couple moves past him.  After a moment, he moves down the street and follows E inside.

INT. CONVENIENCE STORE – NIGHT

Harsh fluorescence buzzes through the aisles, the only other sound emanating from an old stereo on the clerks counter.  E moves through the store, her eyes shifting from the mirrors on the wall, to the cameras, to the store clerk.  Joe follows her every movement, trying not to be noticed, pretending to browse.

He watches closely as she slides a candy bar into her gym bag.  She smiles at the clerk on her way out.

EXT. STREET – NIGHT

Joe stands between two buildings watching E, who sits on the curb, unwrapping and quickly consume the candy bar.  As she stands to move on, Joe follows quickly, excited by the girls unforeseen moral flexibility. 

She stops, turning to look at him, not necessarily with suspicion, but with enough curiosity to frighten Joe.  He instinctually averts his eyes, walking past her and around the corner.  She watches him go before moving on down the street.

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

Hiding in the shadows at the end of the alley, Joe watches E cross the street.  He continues to follow her as she moves down the sidewalk, watching between the buildings and at the crosswalks.

EXT. CROSSWALK – NIGHT

E pauses at the edge of the curb, taking notice of he red flashing hand.  She peaks each way down the street and crosses as the hand becomes solid.

EXT. STREET – NIGHT

His eyes fixed on E, Joe cuts through the street just as she moves around the corner of a building.  Two bright headlights glare at him as a vehicle screams to a halt, honking and cursing, and causing a ruckus.

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

Joe nearly screams himself, and sprints to the safety of the alley on the other side, hiding in a dark corner between a trash bin and a grimy, brick wall.  He winces, catching his breath, before hurrying to regain sight of his prey.

He jogs along the pavement, keeping his eyes lifted above fences, always aimed at the street.

Moving swiftly down the alley, Joe reaches a vacant lot, moves past it, and waits for E.  She comes soon enough, walking down the sidewalk.  A car pulls up beside her, it’s front tire rolling up onto the sidewalk.  Joe stops breathing.  His face goes numb and his eyes lose focus.

EXT. STREET – NIGHT

E smiles at the vehicle on the street as the passenger-side window rolls down, and she laughs as she enters the car.

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

Joe rushes to the street, pushing past trash bins and refuse, stumbling and falling as he reaches the street.  The vehicle speeds away, leaving him lying on the sidewalk, out of breath, bruised and humiliated.  Tilting his head back he looks up the street, finding contact with a well-dressed businessman, waiting outside a steak house.  He lies there for a moment, silent, before his focus is drawn away.

A young BOY sits on a cement stoop, just outside a bakery, humming and singing to himself, quietly and out of tune.  He is the perfect portrait of archetypal innocence, set against a backdrop of a cancerous city.  Joe watches from the ground, his eyes meticulously exploring the boys features and mannerisms.

The boy stands, finally, and moves away from Joe, marching of down the street and turning the corner.

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

Joe stalks the boy, hunting him like an animal, like a hungry beast.  His mouth remains closed, his eyes tight on their prey, but there is a wild and uncouth nature about him, just beneath the surface.  His fingers itch and fidget, possessed with an uncontrollable passion, heightened by stunted sexual desire.

EXT. PARKING LOT – NIGHT

Twisting and turning through the ever-expanding maze of alleyways, Joe and the boy reach an opening, an exit onto the cracked surface of a secluded parking lot, just behind the downtown fa├žade.  Joe hesitates, remaining just out of reach of the lights overhead.

As the boy moves forward, accelerating, he glances about the empty expanse, before approaching and entering a walled off dumpster area.

With the boy out of site Joe moves forward, similarly scanning his surroundings.  Unlike the boy, Joe remains in the shadows.  His eyes move like that of a rabbit, reacting to every sound, every minute motion.  His nerves twitch, tightly wound, his skin glistening with a thick, sticky sweat.

EXT. DUMPSTER – NIGHT

Joe reaches the edge of the wall which surrounds the dumpster, his fingers scraping along the jagged brick.  He peeks in, his eyes catching just a glimpse of boys hand, small and virginal, moving along the rim of the rusty dumpster.  Joe’s eyes follow the movement, his body shaking with excitement.

Turning back, away from the scene, his eyes roll back and close tightly, his simple thoughts melding into his warped imagination.  The boy breaks him from this spell with the return of his gentle, inarticulate singing.

The soft singing rises slowly, conquering Joe’s senses, drawing him, with increasing power, to the source.
         
BOY #2
How do you think it died?

As Joe enters the enclosure, his first sight is that of a dead cats empty eye sockets.  He is stopped, taken aback by the scene.  The singing boy grows silent for a moment before responding.

         BOY #1
I don’t know.  Pneumonia?

         BOY #2
Who are you?

Joe pulls his gaze from the dead cat, recognizing the existence of the second boy and realizing his overwhelming apprehension at the state of his present situation.  He backs away toward the door.

         BOY #2 [CONT’D]
Mister –

         COOK
Hey!

Turning to leave, Joe collides with the greasy apron of an unhygienic restaurant cook, his hands laden with bagged kitchen refuse.  The cook speaks through a crooked mouth, a cigarette hanging from the corner.

         COOK
What are you –

The young boys push between Joe and the splintered, wooden doorway, running across the parking lot.  Joe stands for a moment, watching them over the cooks shoulder as the cook attempts to confront him.

         JOE [V.O.]
This is pain caused by torture, a torture brought of my own volition.  A self-administered Hell.  I seek death, but cannot find it.  I want to die, but death flees from me.

EXT. PARKING LOT – NIGHT

Joe runs.  He runs fast and hard, moving through the darkness to the alley and out into the city.

EXT. CITY – NIGHT

Joe walks until morning.  He wanders alleyways, creeps under bridges, and ambles across expansive parking lots.  He maintains no set direction, though it could be ascertained that he is looking for something, though it is unknown what it is or if it exists within the natural realm.

INT. BATHROOM – MORNING

Joe stands Christ-like, arms outstretched, reaching over the chrome frame of the shower door, his face pressed to the plastic.  The shower head is turned, aimed directly at the back of his head, pouring water across his face.

CUT

Joe stands naked before the bathroom mirror, dripping water onto the cold tile of the bathroom floor.

CUT

Joe casually vomits into the toilet, letting his body empty it’s filth into the empty basin.  He wipes the bile from his lips with the back of his arm.

INT. BEDROOM – MORNING

A warm morning light filters through the dirty, second-story apartment window, glancing off of the airborne dust particles floating about the inner room.  The world outside is moving quickly with the ever-moving, never-ending forces of life and livelihood. 

Joe sits on the floor, his hair damp, his back resting against the edge of his mattress, a pair of pants draped across his bare legs.  A needle in his hand, he mends a small tear in his jeans.  Wiping a bit of snot from his upper lip, he leaves a streak of dirt.  He rubs his hand on the shoulder of his shirt and cracks his neck.

         JOE [V.O.]
I can explain everything, you may rest assured.

A black cat walks through the frame.

EXT. ALLEY – NIGHT

Wandering through wide, desolate alleyway, a warehouse to his right, the gentle, grassy slope of the highway to his left, Joe stumbles upon an old, rusted out station wagon, it’s tires flat to the earth.  He peers into the windows, cupping his hands around his eyes, and circles the vehicle, admiring the torn upholstery.

Satisfied, he lays in the grass beside the relic, the sound of the highway drowning out his thoughts.  His arms bent beneath his head, he closes his eyes and drifts off to sleep.

THE END
© Copyright 2011 Elbo Carbert (caleb42 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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