*Magnify*
SPONSORED LINKS
Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1779326
Rated: 13+ · Script/Play · Dark · #1779326
A man imprisoned, and unable to remember why, attempts to survive the apocalypse.
DARKNESS

We hear, very softly at first, but with growing intensity, the voices of men.  Men afraid, men in peril, aggressive men, men shouting orders, refusing, obeying to the end – each voice trying to be heard.  The clamorous symphony rises and rises, becoming closer, but not clearer.  Various languages soon become distinct from one another, each of them shouting with the same intensity, though all of the words and emotions may be different.

Soon the voices are right beside us.

INT. CELL – NIGHT

Through a small window high in the corner of the subterranean, cement room, the light of the burning forest cast shadows of running feet on a cast-iron door.  The shouting is coming from outside, along with gunshots and sound of grinding bones grinding into steal.  Thunder, or maybe canon fire, rips through the sky – even though the sky is visible to neither us, nor the single inhabitant of the room – ALAN.

A relatively young man, near 30, or maybe past, his dark, greasy hair is short, and his face is clean-shaven.  He wears what look like pajamas, white with length-wise blue stripes, and a tag sewn to the breast pocket.  The tag reads only a number – 090415.

He stares out the window, a na├»ve, childlike fear in his eyes, wringing his hands, nearly sobbing.  A crash in the distance drops him to the floor.  He crawls to the corner, near the base of the door, cowering beneath his arms.  Lying his head flat to the cold, cement floor, he opens his arms and peeks beneath the door.

There, looking back at him, we see the frightened eyes of another man in striped pajamas, likewise peeking beneath his door, just across the hall.  Feet wrapped in thick, rubber boots begin stomping through the corridor, the sound echoing against Alan’s cell door. 

He lifts himself from the floor and presses his ear to the door, reaching his fingers beneath, and begins shouting.

         ALAN
Help!  Help!  Help, please!  Help!

EXT. HALL – NIGHT

We see nothing but Alan’s fingers wriggling against the damp, gray floor, the shadows of marching men moving quickly across the door.  A heavy boot falls on the fingers.  Then another, and another.  Inside his cell, Alan screams.

INT. CELL – NIGHT

His face still pressed against the door, sweat and tears dripping from his nose and chin, Alan continues to scream for help as his fingers break.

The world begins to shake, leaving deep cracks in the down the walls.  Dust falls from the ceiling as Alan continues to scream.

INT. CELL – DAY

Water drips down onto his face, washing away the dirt.  His eyes, slowly opening, adjust to the gentle sunlight.  A half-dollar sized hole, punching inward through the iron door, leaves a circle of jagged edges beside his head.  He reaches with his left hand and tugs at his right wrist, removing his bloodied, broken fingers from beneath the door.  He stands, first looking around the room, then moving to the small window, which lies up near the ceiling.

Lying in one corner of the room, covering about a fifth of the floor space, and crushing the toilet, is a cement boulder, fallen from the ceiling.  Looking up, Alan sees that the cement is still thick beyond where the boulder once lay.  The toilet, a collection of scattered, porcelain shards, has left a hole in the floor, and a deep puddle of muddy water.

Outside, the world is calm.  The bunker in which Alan dwells is in the middle of a sparse, coniferous forest composed of tall, leaning pines.  A pale light from the overcast sky shines down through the trees and reflects of a smoky fog that drifts between the tree trunks.  Although Alan can see very little of the outside world, he stares at it with great wonderment and curiosity, holding his throbbing hand to his chest.

INT. CELL – DAY

Alan tears a bit of cloth from the cuff of his left pants leg and wraps it around his hand, wincing as he tightens it, tying it off in the palm.

Gathering the shards of porcelain, he piles them in the corner farthest from the door, between the toilet and the window.  They sit like bones, picked dry by the buzzards.

He struggles in an attempt to move the boulder, but manages to only roll it slightly backward, then gives up.

Reaching his left hand beneath the door, he resumes his shouting.  He looks through the hole and sees the hallway in shambles.  Large cement blocks obstruct the way to his right, while the hallway to his left extends into darkness.  He peeks across the floor once more and sees no eyes looking back.

He drags a good sized piece of cement over to the window and stands upon it, reaching out with his good hand and feeling among the grass and dirt.  He scrunches his face, reaching further until he finds the neck of a broken bottle and brings it back into his cell.

He takes a small piece of cement and pushes it against the wall perpendicular to the window, so that the scratched tally can be easily seen in the light of the day.

INT. CELL – DAY

Sitting in the corner of the room, his hands and feet filthy with dirt, and a short, tough beard clinging to his face, Alan looks much different than we remember him.  His hair is longer, and with long, thin strands shooting out at random angles, with the grease of his scalp matting down the area around his center part.  His eyes are sunken and his lips are cracked, with his teeth holding a thick, yellow sheen.

         ALAN [VO]
The food is still automated…  Though I’m not sure how long the stores will last.

CUT

Alan crouches beneath a nozzle, one of two, which come down beside the door.  Holding a dirty piece of porcelain, he catches the runny, oatmeal-like muck that falls from the pipe, which runs up to within inches of the ceiling, then into the wall.

Looking down at the slop, he sees ants – some moving, some not – speckling its off-white consistency.  He eats ravenously.

CUT

Beside the food pipe is the water pipe, which drips with maddening inconsistency.  Beneath this nozzle lies another piece of porcelain; collecting what water it can within its shallow basin.

         ALAN [VO]
The water pressure failed some time ago…  I’ve been…  Making do.

Alan stares down at the water as it drips.

CUT

Alan holds in his left hand another piece of porcelain, this one full of a thick, muddy paste.  A dips the twisted fingers of is still bandaged right hand into the paste and presses them against the wall beside the pipes, among a blizzard of carved tallies, which now stretch along the wall from the window to the door.  He drags the brown muck slowly across the surface, with purpose and passion, his eyes squinting and his mouth open wide.

         ALAN [VO]
I’ve been trying to draw her for nearly year…  My memory isn’t quite what it used to be.

He stands back from the piece, looking into the eyes of his mud goddess.

INT. CELL – NIGHT

Alan huddles in the corner beneath the window, barely visible in the moonlight.  His legs are tucked up into his chest, his arm wrapped around them.  He wears his shirt like a blanket, using it to cover as much of his body as it can.

         ALAN [VO]
Although the seasons have disappeared, it’s been getting colder…

INT. CELL – DAY

Perched on his toes, up upon the block beneath his window, Alan stretches his hand out to feel the first few raindrops of the coming storm.

         ALAN [VO]
I haven’t seen an animal of any kind for months, though the vegetation is growing thicker.

INT. CELL – EVENING

In the dim light we barely see Alan, now squatting on the large boulder, wears his shirt upon his head, tied beneath the chin.  Water drips from the cracked ceiling down onto his head as it storms in the outside world.  From the solid cement floor, water slowly rises.

INT. CELL – DAY

Alan let’s his feet hang from the rock, dipping his toes in the murky water below.  For the first time we see moss growing in the upper corners of the room.  Alan reaches down with his bad hand and dips his crooked fingers into the water, bringing them up to wash a layer of dirt from his leg.  He looks across the room at his drawing.  It glistens with absorbed moisture.

         ALAN [VO]
Did she love me?

CUT

Alan uses a large shard of porcelain to begin dumping water out of the room and onto the grassy slopes outside his window.  As the water level lowers, he notices the excrement left on his floor forced up from his toilet hole.

INT. CELL – DAY

Alan, his hair having grown longer, uses the broken bottle he once found to trim his beard and sheer his scalp.

CUT

Alan crouches beside the food nozzle once again, waiting.  Finally, the food pours out, splattering against the porcelain.  He begins to eat, pressing his tongue and lips to the white shard, and sucking down the slop.  But gags, dropping his bowl to the floor, shattering it.  Stepping back, he reaches up to his lips and pulls out a wet piece of cloth.

Unfolding it, he reads the scribbled words, possible written in blood:

‘I loved you Anna’

CUT

Alan begins crying, softly at first, sitting on the boulder, his body shaking, his shoulders bouncing.  But the quiet, passive weeping soon turns to angry, frustrated tears and screams.  He throws his body from one side of the room to the other, cutting his feet on the broken bowl, and smashing more porcelain against the walls.  He pounds his fist against the door, punching its rivets, and smears the face on his wall.

Finally, he lifts his cement stool from beneath the window, and smashes it against the water pipe, bending it slightly at eye-level. He then falls to the ground, lying it what sunlight the cloud sky produces, letting his feet pour blood onto he dirty, mossy cement floor.  His body shutters as he lifts his head, reading the message once more.

He throws the cloth violently into the farthest corner of the room.

CUT

Looking up from the floor, Alan stares at the bent pipe, wondering if it will still work – or at least work as well as it had in the past.  Then he notices something sticking out from the bend.  He stands, slowly, and walks towards the pipe.

Stroking the metal, he finds a sharp point at the backside.  He inspects it closely, and sees the a portion of the pipe, has rusted through, leaving a week spot.  Alan smiles at the discovery and begins laughing, pacing around the room.

CUT

Alan lifts a piece of cement, wedging it between the pipe and the wall, just beneath the crack.  He then lifts another brick of cement and begins bashing the pipe, just at the week point, smashing the metal slowly, bending it to his will.

         ALAN [VO]
Anna?  Was that your name?

CUT

Alan rests, sweat rolling down his cheeks.  He sits upon the boulder, his shirt wrapped around his good hand to protect it from the sharp cement.  He sits shirtless and stares at his smudged goddess.

         ALAN [VO]
What was the name?  That name that shouted, that I wrote and whispered so endlessly?  Can there be a name for true love?  Can there be a word that holds as much beauty as your face, drawn in mud, upon my prison cell wall?

CUT

Alan drives the cement block against the pipe once again, with renewed vigor and intensity.

         ALAN [VO]
What led me here?  Why did I choose this place over you?  Was it duty?  Was it greed?  Am I a criminal, or a martyr?

CUT

Gripping the pipe as best he can, Alan wrenches at the loose end, prying it bit by bit from the longer, secure piece.

         ALAN [VO]
What treasure, what conviction, could draw me away from you’re embrace?

CUT

Alan stands before the wall, looking across at the face, the pipe in his hand.  He breathes heavily, sweat falling down his fragile, emaciated frame.

         ALAN [VO]
Did you love me?  Or did I love you?  I have a thousand memories of your face…  Of your eyes…  But not one of the touch of your lips.

CUT

With his shirt back on, Alan stands at the window, looking out at the swaying trees.

         ALAN [VO]
Would you wait for me?  Would you find me?  Would you have me find you?

Alan looks back at the pipe, leaning in the corner beside the door.

         ALAN [VO]
Are you on the other side of that wall?

He turns back to the window.

         ALAN [VO]
Or on the other side of those clouds?

CUT

Alan sits on a cement block in the corner of the room, his sleeve rolled up, holding the sharp, rusted end of the pipe.  He aims the point at his wrist and stabs in.  Barely a drop of blood falls from the wound – the pipe too long to get any leverage on.

CUT

Sitting up on the boulder now, Alan holds the pipe beneath his chin, the point digging gently into his jugular.  He leans forward to let the nozzle end of the pipe touch the floor.  He squeezes his eyes tight.

         ALAN [VO]
Here I am.  Right where you left me.

Alan opens his eyes and looks at the face.

INT. CELL – NIGHT

The night is clear and the moonlight streaming in shows a clear silhouette of Alan, still perched upon the boulder.  Exhausted, he drops the pipe to the floor.

         ALAN [VO]
You bitch.

INT. CELL – DAY

Lying on the floor, shirtless, Alan stabs the sharp end of the pipe into a shallow crack in the wall perpendicular to the window.  He pushes and wiggles, prying the cement away from itself, eventually dislodging a small chunk of the rock.  He smiles brightly, pleased with his labors.

He continues to stab and work away at the rock.

INT. CELL – NIGHT

Sitting in the corner, beneath the window, Alan rubs his arms, massaging the muscles, sighing at the aching pain.

         ALAN [VO]
In this world, I had begun to think I was all there was…

INT. CELL – DAY

The whole Alan has been digging is not much wider, but is much deeper, coming to a point near the center, where he stabs repeatedly, and with great force.

         ALAN [VO]
Loneliness changes a man…

Finally, Alan feels a release.  The point of the pipe no long strikes stone, though the edges still scrap against it.  He pulls the pipe away, laying it down beside him, smiling.  He crouches into the small cavern, reaching his face up next to the small hole.

Just next to the hole, on the other side, Allan sees a pair of feet, old and worn, pointing upward, with legs lying against the floor.  He watches them closely, studying the foreign flesh.  They move.  Retract.

         ALAN [VO]
Companionship can sometimes be all a man needs.

A withered old mean pokes his head into Alan’s line of sight, a smile shining through his long, gray beard.  They both begin to laugh, rejoicing in their newfound camaraderie.  Alan sits back up and begins jabbing at the rock once more, cracking away dust and pebbles.

INT. CELL – NIGHT

Alan rests with his back against wall, shirt on, sitting beside the hole.  He smiles in the moonlight.

         ALAN
How long has it been?

         OLD MAN [OS]
Why, haven’t you been counting?

Alan looks around the room at the myriad of tallies thrown about his walls and door.

         ALAN
I stopped marking off the days a long time ago.

         OLD MAN [OS]
Well, I must say it has been hard with at least a good winter to give you bearing, but…

The old man pauses, thinking for a moment.  Alan holds his breath in the silence.

         OLD MAN [OS CONT’D]
I dare say it’s been nearly twelve years…  By my estimations.

         ALAN
Twelve years…

         OLD MAN [OS]
Did you have children?

         ALAN
I…  I don’t know…

         OLD MAN [OS]
I had a daughter.

Alan tries to remember what children look like, smiling at the thought.

         OLD MAN [OS CONT’D]
I say, why’d you decide to dig into my room?

         ALAN
I was hoping there’d be a way out.  The ceilings are too thick, and the hallway’s blocked.  The outer walls have…  Rebar…

         OLD MAN [OS]
Well I’m certainly glad of it, boy.  A man in times like these needs another mind to filter his thoughts through, to pour over his soul with.  After all this time, I was beginning to think my thoughts were the only thoughts being thought around here, hey, boy?

The old man laughs softly to himself.  Alan stares up at the moon, smiling.

INT. CELL – DAY

Slumped down beside to hole, Alan sleeps deeply, his head resting in his hands.  Opening his eyes, he looks up out the window, watching the tips of the trees sway in the wind.  A breeze comes in, moving what remains of his hair.

Rolling over, he rises to his knees, facing the face on the wall.

         ALAN [VO]
Would you ever let me forget you?  To be happy as I am – without you?

CUT

Alan stabs at the cement wall with clear determination, but no aggression.  He is, for the moment, at peace.  As soon as the hole is large enough to fit a hand through, he stops, breathing heavily.  The old man passes him a porcelain dish of water, which he drinks quickly.

CUT

Drinking his slop slowly, Alan shares a meal with the old man.

         OLD MAN [OS]
I saw this coming.  Me and mine knew this was coming, we did.  The signs were there, all there.  I just wish I had been out there to see it.

         ALAN
How far would you say it is between here and the next city?

         OLD MAN [OS]
City?  There’re no cities left, boy.  Look out your window, boy, and that’s all there is.

         ALAN
When we get out, we’re going to find food somewhere.

         OLD MAN [OS]
Do you know where are?

Alan begins licking his plate.

         ALAN
No.

         OLD MAN [OS]
We’re in limbo, boy.  The space in between.  Lost halfway to the next world.  Food, freedom, it won’t make no difference.  We’re here to look for redemption.  Enlightenment.  No, no, escaping won’t help none.

         ALAN
Maybe that’s all we have to do…  To prove ourselves.

         OLD MAN [OS]
Listen to me, boy, you’ve got to forget about it.  Submit.  Submit.  Let your soul be free.  Out there?  Out there, there ain’t nothing worth seeing.  Just…  Death…

CUT

Alan drives the pipe into the cement hole, breaking deeper as the man yells.

         OLD MAN [OS]
Let it be!  Let it be!  Let it lie, boy!  This isn’t the end!  Let me be!

INT. CELL – NIGHT

Slumped over the rusted pipe, Alan dozes, his face pushed against the damp cement of his cell wall.  Through the hole we see the frail figure of the old man sleeping at the far end of the room.  The distant sound of movement, brought in by the forests uncharacteristically pleasant breeze, Alan from his slumber.  He drifts in and out at first, but forces himself to wake when he notices the faint glow of torches flickering against the cell wall.

Raising his head into the incoming light, he pushes himself back against the wall, just below the window.  Voices begin to take shape in the orange glow of the outside world.  Alan inches towards the hole in the wall, keeping his eyes on the window.  As he gets close, the sound of skin sliding against cement resonates through from the next room.  A soft, raspy whisper.

         OLD MAN [OS]
Men.  Alan, there are men outside.  Where could they have come from?  What are they doing here?  Could they be –

A sudden rise in the voices, and the new sound of dogs barking, puts a lump in both men’s throats.  The clatter of snapping twigs and shifting earth begins and grows louder as some unknown force moves towards them.  The dull thud of flesh against rotting wood comes in from just outside the window as a small, metallic object flies in through the window, startling Alan, who peeks up from the corner of the room.

         BOY [OS]
Shit –

A hand, feeble and soft, reaches in vane between the bars of the cell window.  Alan wonders at the hand, curiosity slowly replacing his fear.  He leans back from the safety of his shadowy corner, revealing to him the dirt-smeared face of a young BOY blindly waving his hand about the wide, empty room.  Retracting his hand, the boy looks down into the darkness, frightened by the scraggly man who looks back at him.  The boy hurriedly whispers down at him.

         BOY
Holy shit!  Who are you?  Where are you?

         ALAN
I don’t know.

         OLD MAN [OS]
Is that a boy, Alan?

         BOY
Hand me the knife, quick.  Come on.

The boy reaches in again as Alan crawls over the muddy floor, looking for the marred, improvised shiv.  He hands the blade up to the boy, who scrapes dirt from the blade off on the rock ledge of the window.  The boy glances about the darkness of the forest behind him,  trying to find the source of the barking dogs.

         ALAN
Who’s out there?

         BOY
My father.  Is there a way into this thing?  Is it safe?

         ALAN
I - - I don’t know.

         OLD MAN [OS]
Boy, over here!  Come this way, I want to see you.

         BOY
Who’s that?

         OLD MAN [OS]
Over here, boy, I know a way in.

The boy pulls back from Alan’s window, causing a unique pain in Alan’s chest.  He reaches up at the window, for a moment before moving to the whole in the wall and peeking in.

The old man stands at the window, looking up at the boys soft, young face, lifting his hands to it as if he were his own child, long lost.  The barking of the dogs, and he shouting of men grows closer, nearly there.

         BOY
Where is it, old man?  Where’s the door?  Let me in!

         OLD MAN
Please, boy…  Please…

         MAN #3 [OS]
Ther’ee is!

The sound onrushing boots stomping across the forest floor erupts nearby.  The dogs bark louder and louder before being hushed into a whimper by the brunt of their owner’s fists.  Alan watches as the boy is pulled from the old man’s window, the old man reaching after him.  A chaotic shouting rises steadily before being silenced by a powerful, booming voice.

         IRVIN [OS]
Don’t be afraid, son.  You’ve come a long way, but you won’t have to go any further.
         
Alan moves to the window, lifting as little of his head as possible up above the sill, trying to see throw the underbrush.

         MAN # 2
What was he doing there, Irvin?

A group of nine rustic, bearded men stand around the boy, who is held on his knees by MAN #3.  Three of the men hold homemade leashes, at the end of each sits an abused, aggravated mongrel, waiting to eat.  Each of the men, other than IRVIN, carries with them a crude, fiery torch, which gives the forest a horrifying, orange tinge.

         IRVIN
Check it out.

Alan watches in fright as MAN #2 moves towards the old man’s cell window.

         IRVIN [CONT’D]
You stole from me, boy.  And then you ran.  Way I raised you, you should know what’s about to happen –

         BOY
Fuck all!  It was only a bite of –

Irvin brings the back of his hand down on the boys tender face.  Alan moves to the hole in the wall, watching as Man #2 looks into the old man’s cell.  Even to Alan, the room looks empty.

         MAN #2
It looks like an old basement.  There’s nobody down there.

         MAN #3 [OS]
Anything we could –

         MAN #2
No.  Just another empty shithole.

The man moves away from the window, and Alan moves back to his, watching the scene play out.

         IRVIN
Right.  Let’s get this over with.

The boy struggles, spitting at Irvin, as he brings a pistol out and puts it to the boys head.  Alan stares helplessly from his cell.

         OLD MAN [OS]
Leave the boy alone!

Every member of the group draws some sort of weapon at the sound of the old man’s plea for help, aiming at the pair of frail, outstretched arms.  Man #2 rushes to the window as Alan rushes to the hole.

The old man backs away into the corner, shielding himself from the light of the torch Man #2 has thrust between the bars of the window.

         MAN #2
An old man, Irvin!

         MAN #3 [OS]
How old?

Looking between the folds of his arms and fingers, the old man pleads with the face behind the torch.  Alan hears another pair of footsteps marching towards the window.

         OLD MAN
Please.  Leave the boy.  Leave him with me.  I can’t hurt no one.  No life…  No life is worth…

         MAN #2
He’s crazy, Irvin.  Just a crazy old man.

Man #2 is pulled from the window by a thick, meaty hand, taking the orange light of the torch with him.  Alan watches as a pistol slips in through the bars, aimed at the old man’s chest.  The old man opens his limbs, trying to see what shiny metal is now coming in from the outside world.  Irvin fires.

The old man’s chest pops with a sharp crunch as his sternum shatters and his ribs collapse.  His body falls limp.  Alan tears himself from the sight, moving back to his hiding place beneath his window just as Man #2 lowers his torch through the bars and scans the room.  After a long moment, he finds nothing and moves on.

Alan immediately stands, looking out at the men as Irvin returns to the group.  He lifts the pistol casually as he passes the boy, firing a round into his brain.

INT. CELL – MORNING

Standing on his small, cement stool, Alan looks out at the shoddy, abandoned campsite just outside his cell.  A pile of blackened wood still smolders in the loose dirt of the forest.  He moves to the hole, looking in on the old man, whole still lies in the corner, his eyes open, upturned.

CUT

Alan digs, thrusting the metal pipe into the wall with robotic tempo.

CUT

Licking a slash of slop from his porcelain bowl, Alan looks down at the growing hole – which is now nearly large enough to crawl through.

CUT

Alan digs, once again, with no emotion.

CUT

INT. – OLD MAN’S CELL – DAY

Sliding along the floor, on his back, Alan inches his way through the narrow hole and into the old man’s room.  Rising to his feet and dusting his filth pants off with his hands, Alan begins to feel uncomfortably claustrophobic having another man in the room with him.  He desires privacy nearly as much as he dreams of freedom.

INT. CELL – DAY

Squatting in front of the now slightly larger hole, Alan reaches through and tugs.  He struggles somewhat, trying to drag the old man through the hole in the wall, but manages to get him into the far corner of his cell.

He looks down on him for a moment, the old man’s eyes still open, with a mix of pity and resentment.

INT. OLD MAN’S CELL – DAY

Alan, now working on the old man’s wall, furthest away from his original cell, digs into the cement with his primitive tool.  His beard is noticeably longer, signifying some time lapse.  He grimaces, working with considerably more emotion, and a steadily increasing pace.  As he works, he begins angrily muttering to himself.

         ALAN
Stupid…  Stupid…  Stupid old man…  Stupid fucking old man…  Leave me here, alone, to die.  I’m going to die.  I’m going to die alone.  This world’s going to kill me, I know it…  I’m doomed…  I’m so fucking doomed…  Stupid…

CUT

Taking a bit of porcelain from beneath the old man’s water nozzle, Alan stands shirtless in the center of the room.  He swallows what little water sits in the bottom of the dish and looks at the angrily at the dent he’s made in the far wall.

INT. CELL – DAY

Alan sits upon the old boulder in the center of his cell.  Looking down on the old man’s body, his eyes sinking into his head, his skin gray and tight to the bones, Alan eats his slop.  His lips form a bitter smile as he shakes his head disappointedly at the corpse.

         ALAN
Why’d you have to live so long?  Twelve years?  You lived in that little box twelve years, me on the other side of the wall, each of us alone, just so you could throw it all away on some stupid boy.

Alan licks his bowl clean and places it on the boulder.

         ALAN [CONT’D]
It’s not like you’d be of any use to me anyways, but you could’ve at least avoided being such a goddamn obstacle.

INT. OLD MAN’S CELL – DAY

Alan swings wildly at the wall, scratching and scoring the cement, filling the room with dusty, drifting flakes of stone.

CUT

Marching around the room, Alan curses his life, the old man’s death, and the boy’s existence.

CUT

The wide, pointed crater, which sinks into the far wall at chest height, has nearly broken into the next room.  Alan swings steadily into the center of the depression, tightening his jaw and narrowing his eyes with fiery determination.  Around his hands he wears a pair of torn, bloodied rags, which were once the sleeves of his shirt.

Finally, the pipe slides through.  Alan wrenches it free and drops it to the floor, letting it bounce and roll away.  Placing his hands beside the hole, he pushes his right eye to the opening.  In the far corner, nearest to the adjoining room’s cell door, he spies movement.  Carrying itself like a frightened animal, a shaking, whimpering figure, whispering quietly to itself in Spanish, moves along the shadows to the corner beside the hole. 

Alan, no longer able to see the figure, retrieves the pipe and begins bashing away the rock surrounding the small hole.

INT. SPANIARD’S CELL – DAY

Part of the window in this cell is obscured by the wild plant growth of the outside world, resulting in a significant loss of the already dim lighting of the usual cell.  Besides that fact, the rest of the cell is somewhat cleaner than Alan’s or the old man’s, and has considerably less cracks in the walls and ceiling – with the exception of the growing hole in the wall, of course.

In the darkest corner of the room, opposite the window, beside the hole, a short, tan figure kneels down, clutching his loose fitting blouse in his sweaty palms.  He whispers overused prayers of protection to himself in his native Spanish.

INT. OLD MAN’S CELL – DAY

Alan lunges at the crumbling walls a few more times before dropping the pipe beside him once more.  Looking through the hole, he is still unable to see anything, but, listening closely, he hears the prayers.

He thrusts his arm through the opening and aggressively gropes the inside wall.

INT. SPANIARD’S CELL – DAY

The SPANIARD, crossing himself, begins inching along the wall towards the flailing arm.  He squints his eyelids, releasing two salty puddles down his cheeks, steps into the grasp of the wild hand.

Alan, having found the familiar cloth of a prisoner’s uniform, retracts his arm pulling the body close to the wall.

INT. OLD MAN’S CELL – DAY

Crouched beside the jagged porthole, Alan stares down at the striped material stretched around his clenched fist.  Suddenly he becomes frightened by the sight, and releases the body, dropping him to the floor of the adjoining room.  He presses his face to the hole, looking down on the sobbing man, and finds himself angered by the man’s weak, pointless prayers.

         ALAN
What?  What are you doing?  You idiot, you fool.  Are you praying?  Praying to whom?  Stop it!  Stop it!  Get up!  Help me!  Help me, you idiot!

Alan reaches his arm back into the hole, beckoning the man to stand, cursing his inaction.

         ALAN [CONT’D]
Come on, I need your help here!  We’ve got to get out!  Damn it!  Damn it al!

Bending to lift the pole, Alan continues to curse the Spaniard.  Striking the wall, shattering the concrete, he continues to curse the Spaniard.  After every dozen or so crashes of the pole, he looks into the next room, and continues to curse the Spaniard.

INT. SPANIARD’S CELL

The Spaniard prays, removing his sweat-stained blouse.  Tears break away the congealed dirt from his brown cheeks.

INT. OLD MAN’S CELL – NIGHT

Sitting beneath the window, resting his arms on his raised knees, Alan stares down at the pebbles scattered across the floor.  Beside him, the hole in the wall has grown nearly wide enough to slide a body through.

         ALAN [VO]
Who built this place?  Who put us here and took away all our memories? All our thoughts?

Alan lets his body slide back against the wall and to the floor.  He looks through the hole across from him, back into his old room, at the old man’s body, now shrouded in shadows, save for his long, pale feet.

         ALAN
You knew this would happen.  You saw this coming.  You stupid old fool.

INT. OLD MAN’S CELL – DAY

Standing before the hole, looking into the Spaniard’s room, Alan holds the rusted pipe at his side.  From the bars of the window on the other side, held tight by his dampened blouse, the Spaniard hangs, his feet just inches away from a loosened block of cement.

         ALAN [VO]
You stupid, goddamn fool.

CUT

Alan chops away at the wall, digging until it is large enough to easily climb through.  He is back to his robotic ways.

INT. SPANIARD’S CELL – DAY

Sliding through the hole, Alan approaches the Spaniard, focusing involuntarily at the man’s bulging eyes and swollen tongue.  He reaches forward and wipes a bit of dirt from the man’s chest hair.

CUT

Alan stands on a bit of cement, using his broken glass to cut the man down from the window.  As the body falls, a loose bit of the windowsill shifts where it lies.  Curious, Alan lifts the slab, placing it further down the sill.  Beneath the lumpy, gray brick is a tiny, well-weathered Bible.

Alan opens the dusty, dirty volume, wiping a bit of mud from the title page.  Skimming through, he sees that it is written entirely in Spanish, and places it in the waistband of his trousers.  He bends down to drag the Spaniard.

INT. OLD MAN’S CELL – DAY

Pulling him through the chest-height hole, Alan drags the body to the now slightly larger floor-level hole on the other side of the room.

INT. CELL – DAY

Crawling headfirst on his stomach through the hole, tries to keep his chest from touching the small pool of questionable condensation, which has collected in the center of his cell.  Once through, he stands and turns, reaching into the hole and dragging the Spaniard out.  He pulls him across the small room and lays him behind the boulder.  Looking down on the body, he decides to cross the arms on the chest.

Turning to leave the room, his eyes are caught by the smudged face on his old wall.  He wipes a bit of snot from his upper lip with his forearm before lifting some porcelain from the floor.

         ALAN [VO]
Would your love have been enough? 

INT. SPANIARD’S CELL – DAY

Alan places the porcelain beneath the Spaniards water and slop nozzles and moves to the corner beneath the window.  Cracking open the old book, Alan begins to page through, trying to understand the words.  He holds the book close to his eyes in the fading light of the ending day.

         ALAN [VO]
I feel the hunger.  Every waking moment, I feel it.  It’s the hunger that steals my memories, makes me blind.  What a waste of a life, to be so cheated.  Would your love have fed me?  Would your love have brought me home?

A blister beneath Alan’s hand bandages breaks, dripping blood onto the ancient pages.  He tries in vane to wipe the thick, red liquid from the browning paper.

A rock falls beside him, followed by a trail of floating dust and dirt.  Then another, and another.  Bits of the cement surrounding the hole begin to fall away as Alan watches the walls around him shake and begin to crumble.  A grumbling roar begins to rise up from the earth, shaking all three cells.

Standing, Alan rushes into the old man’s room, grabbing the rusted pipe.

INT. OLD MAN’S CELL – DAY

Standing on a block, his fingers wrapped around the windows bars, Alan stares into the forest as the earth shakes, sending trees into long, sweeping arcs, ending with the ground.

         ALAN [VO]
The world keeps dying, over and over again.

Alan watches as a tree falls towards him, coming down hard on the old man’s window.

CUT

Lying on his back, his face covered with a thick layer of gray dust and dirt, Alan breathes in deep, raspy breaths through his thickening beard.  Slowly, the light in the cold cement room begins to change, warming to a gentle glow.  Alan opens his eyes, blinking at the light shining down on his face.

INT. SPANIARD’S CELL – DAY

Alan steps through expanded hole in the wall, now large enough to easily walk through, and looks up at the ceiling.  The sun shines down on him through a deep, wide opening in the roof, straining through stringy grassroots and floating dust.  He squints, holding his hand above his face, taking in the sight, a faint smile appearing on his lips.

INT. OLD MAN’S CELL – DAY

Stepping back through the hole, Alan lifts the rusted pip and leans it against the wall before climbing into his old cell.

INT. CELL – DAY

Another piece of the ceiling has fallen, crushing the Spaniard’s head and pinning the old man’s torso to the wall.  Alan climbs in and maneuvers over the boulder to stand over the Spaniard, bending to loosen his trousers.  He pulls and tugs, removing them forcefully before moving on to the old man.  He places his fingers in a hole in the man’s left pant leg in the center of the thigh and rips the cloth from the body.

INT. OLD MAN’S CELL – DAY

Alan lifts the pipe from the corner, the pants draped over his shoulder, and lifts a shard of porcelain from beneath the old man’s food spigot before moving on into the Spaniard’s cell.

INT. SPANIARD’S CELL – DAY

Kneeling in the already fading sunlight, Alan rips the old man’s pant leg in half and places a slop-filled porcelain plate in the center of each strip.  He then wraps each piece tightly before placing them in the crotch of the Spaniards pants, along with the small book and what remains of the glass bottle.  Carefully, he winds the right leg around the bundle, tying it tightly around the objects.

He places the bundle and the rusted pipe on a large rock in the center of the room and looks up at the sky, which is now darkening with storm clouds.

INT. CELL – DAY

Thunder rumbles gently in the distance as Alan sits on the edge of the boulder, looking down on the muddy face on his wall.

         ALAN [VO]
Lost in a crowd, I’d be lonely without you.

CUT

Alan caresses the face, overwhelmed with emotion.

CUT

Kneeling before the old man, Alan removes his other pant leg and, after ripping it in half, he ties each half around his feet.  Standing, he looks down on the two bodies.

EXT. FOREST – DAY

Lightning cuts through the darkened, overcast sky as thunder groans through the forest, vibrating the trees.  Alan marches, bundle slung over his shoulder, rusted pipe in his hand, moving casually beneath the canopy.  He focuses on the earth he walks on, being careful as to where he places his feet.

CUT

It rains.  Alan marches on.

EXT. FOREST – NIGHT

Alan struggles to drag the slick, wet trunk of a small, fallen tree up to a moss-covered boulder.  He rests the trunk against the boulder and begins placing smaller, leaved branches against the log, creating a crude fort.

INT. FORT – NIGHT

Climbing inside, Alan lays the pipe beside him and rests his head on the forest floor.  He slides the bundle gently beneath him, protecting it from the large drips of rain dropping from the wooden roof.

EXT. FOREST – DAY

The ground is still damp as Alan stumbles down a steep incline, trying to maintain his balance.  He reaches out the trees for support, but his feet are too fragile for the rocky earth.

EXT. RIVERBED – DAY

Leaning against a large rock, on the shore of a dry riverbed, Alan lifts his feet to pick at the bloody bandages.  A bird flies overhead, catching his eye.  He begins walking in the direction of the animal’s flight.

EXT. CAMPSITE – DAY

Alan stands looking down on the trampled campsite of two young girls, whose bodies are spread across the dirt.  Their organs have been spilled and eaten, and their faces are gone.  Their belongings have clearly already been pillaged, and shreds of what remains are scattered all about the campsite.

Alan lifts the folds of their collapsed tent and removes a tattered backpack.  Inside he finds a jar of honey and two cans of vegetables.  He places them back in the bag and begins searching the surrounding campsite for remaining food and supplies.  Among the wreckage he finds a small pocketknife and a bag of toiletries.

Finally, he kneels before one of the girls.  He clears away loose bits of her body and tosses them into the woods before removing her clothes.

EXT. FOREST – DAY

Hiking through the forest, Alan wears a shredded bloodstained sweater over his blouse and a new pair of jeans.  On his feet he wears a pair of well-worn work boots, the toes cut open to accommodate his large feet.

EXT. TREE – NIGHT

Snaking his way through the tight branches of a large pine, Alan climbs into the dark heights, safe from the dangers of the earth below.  After finding a somewhat comfortable grouping of sturdy limbs, he rests, removing his bundle, and taking from it a porcelain tray of slop.  He unwraps it slowly and drinks what little remains of the contents.

CUT

He sleeps.

EXT. TREE – DAY

Alan’s bundle falls from the backpack, it’s zipper broken, and smashes through the trees, startling him from a deep slumber.  He grabs onto surrounding branches as he enters consciousness, barely preventing himself from falling as well, and snatches the backpack.  He looks down at the bundled trousers, it’s contents spilled over the forest floor.

EXT. FOREST – DAY

Collecting the bottle and the second porcelain bundle, Alan places them in the backpack.  He then uses the pants to tie the bag closed and picks up the book.  Slinging the backpack over his shoulder, he stands, scanning the forest, before retrieving his hidden pipe and moving on.

Alan pages through the book once more, the pipe in the crook of his arm, inspecting the unreadable words.  He winces, suddenly, as his finger slips along the edge of a page, cutting deep into the skin.  He presses on the wound, letting blood fall along the contours of his hand.

CUT

Resting with his back against a fallen tree, Alan presses his finger against the blank back page of the book.  Carefully, he spreads and massages the smears of blood into a familiar face.

         ALAN [VO]
You live on through me, and I through you.  As long as I have breath, our love will never be without a voice.  A whisper.  That’s all I need.

EXT. LAKE – DAY

Emerging from the forest, Alan stands before a dark, still body of water.  He lets his backpack slide from his shoulder.

CUT

Alan wades into the waters, naked and filthy, cringing at the cold, cleansing textures.  He lets himself become completely submerged.

CUT

Sitting, half-clothed, on the cold, damp sand of the shore, Alan removes the bag of toiletries from his backpack. From it, he pulls a pair of rusted office scissors and a small hand mirror.  Opening the mirror slowly, he, for the first time in a long time, gets a good look at who he is.

Alan shears the stringy mop of hair from his head and scratches the beard from his face.

EXT. FOREST – DAY

Gripping onto exposed roots and jutting tree trunks, Alan climbs the steep incline of a rising hill.  With his face shaved and hair shortened, he looks much younger, and moves with a renewed sense of youthful determination.  As he climbs, however, this determination is replaced with a sort of hostile aggression, as he sweats harder, struggling to conquer the increasing incline of the forest.

EXT. CHURCH – DAY

As Alan reaches the height of the hill, and climbs from the edge of the forest, he finds himself standing before the front doors of a deteriorating mission.  His eyes rise from the high, wooden doorway to the classic bell tower, which looms over the valley.

Holding the rusted pipe in both hands, he circles the crumbling structure, staying just within the edge of the forest, scanning the surrounding area.  Along the edge of the church, he spies a shovel leaning against a doorframe.  In the yard before the doorway, lies a dozen wooden crosses, built from kindling and tied with reeds.

Alan continues on until he reaches the backside of the church, outside of which lies a fledgling garden.  He ducks, running for cover as movement appears in the back doorway.  A woman, nearly his age, dressed in a ragged habit, glides out into the yard to tend to the plants.  From the forest, Alan watches with painful curiosity.

Once the she has finished, the woman rises from the garden, wiping the dirt from her knees, and turns to reenter the church.  As she ascends the stairway and steps through the door, Alan moves from the forest to follow, weaving his way through the growing plant life.

INT. CHURCH HALLWAY – DAY

Attempting to maintain his suspicion, but a slave to the beauty of the nun, Alan enters the church, rusted pipe at the ready.  He steps quietly through the back door and into a short hallway.  Moving down the corridor, he passes a heavy door slightly ajar, a key in the lock.  Nudging it open he finds a collection of personal items piled in the center of the windowless room, with the walls lined with shelved canned goods and non-perishables.

INT. SANCTUARY – DAY

He moves on into the sanctuary, past the pulpit and into the congregational pews.

         NUN [OS]
May I help you?

The NUN speaks with a slight Eastern European accent, causing Alan to spin, aiming his pipe at her from the hip as if it were a Winchester.  She steps down from behind the pulpit, a long, lit match in her hand, a row of prayer candles behind her.

         NUN [CONT’D]
If you’re seeking a confession or…  Last Rites, I’m afraid I’m all there is…

She moves elegantly towards him, blowing out the match.  As she approaches, he notices her sunken eyes and narrowed face.  Standing before him, she touches his arm and guides him to a pew.

         NUN [CONT’D]
Come, sit.

Alan sits, but maintains his grasp on the pipe.  The nun attempts to disarm him with a smile.  He follows the lines where her cheeks and mouth meet, watching them rise, swell, and disappear.  She looks deep into his drifting eyes, trying to determine his motives.  She takes hold of his forearm, lowering the pipe, and places a hand on his back.  Alan’s eyes soften.  She moves closer to him.

         NUN [CONT’D]
You’re not afraid are you?  Most of the men who come here…  They bring fear and regret and…  Tears.  You don’t seem that way.  You seem…  Brave.

Alan stares at her, his eyes returning to their scrutinous gaze.

         NUN [CONT’D]
What brought you here?

         ALAN
Where are the other men?

         NUN
Sorry?

         ALAN
The other men who come here, where are they?

The nun turns her head, looking to the ground, then up at the back door, then up at a portrait of Christ.

         NUN
Most of the men who come here, they have pain and sadness in their hearts.  They’ve lost their homes, their wives and children, their… Everything.  They need to know there’s something better.  In another world.

         ALAN
What do you tell them?

         NUN
They hold such anguish in their eyes.  They weren’t meant to survive in this world.  And, when I tell them there’s a better place, they…  They beg me to send them on.

         ALAN
What?

         NUN
The Father was the first to ask me, and since then I’ve offered it to every man or woman who passes through.

Alan’s eyes grow furious, then look away.  He lowers the pipe and lets his bag slide from his shoulder.

         NUN [CONT’D]
Suicide is a sin, but…  Please don’t judge me.  I’m not for you to judge.

         ALAN
You’re a liar.

         NUN
No, I prayed with each and every one of them, and I still pray for their souls.  They died peacefully, and I made sure their bodies weren’t touched by those – those –

         ALAN
You lied to them.  You’re charlatan, a liar.

         NUN
No, I –

Alan grabs the woman’s hands, holding them tightly before her.  She tries to back away, but his hands are strong.

         ALAN
You lied to them, and you took their food, and you killed them, you bitch.  You killed them.

         NUN
I sent them to Heaven; I can send you too –

Alan stands, forcing her to her feet, pushing her back down the center aisle, back the way they came.

         ALAN
No!  When I die, shall only be dead.  My body will lie out there, waiting to be eaten, and what memories I have left will rot with it.  You bitch, there is no other world, no there side, no place but this hell!  And we’re here to suffer it.  There’s no escape.  No escape!

INT. CHURCH HALLWAY – DAY

The nun struggles, but Alan is far too strong.  He pushes here further back down the corridor to the darkened room, filled with food and supplies.  Shoving her back into the room, she falls, her legs lifting into the air.

         ALAN [VO]
Full circle.

Scrambling to her feet, the nun lunges for the door, but Alan closes it swiftly, locking it.  He turns, walking quietly back down the corridor as the nun pounds on the door, screaming for mercy, repenting for her sins.

INT. SANCTUARY – DAY

Alan moves back into the sanctuary, straightening out his clothes.  He gathers his things, the bag and the pipe, and heads for the front of the church.  Opening one of the large, wooden doors, he looks back at the pulpit, and the cross hanging overhead.  He exits, leaving the door open behind him.

EXT. FOREST – DAY

Marching once again through the forest, Alan remains confident in what he has done, though he wishes he had taken some of the food.

EXT. HILLSIDE – SUNSET

Sitting atop a treeless hillside, Alan looks down over the valley as the sun falls behind the slopes on the other side.  In his hand he holds the jar of honey, scooping out globs of it with his knife.

EXT. FOREST CLEARING – NIGHT

The wide, open clearing is carpeted by a thick layer of flattened, browning grass and scattered twigs.  Alan lies in the center, on his back, staring up at the stars and glowing clouds that drift beneath them.  He let’s his eyes slowly droop.

         ALAN [VO]
Full circle.

EXT. CLIFFSIDE – DAY

The sweet, sad voice of a lonesome singer rises up to the edge of the cliff from the road below.  A gentle breeze lifts and drops the blades of grass that fall from the top of the cliff as Alan looks over.

Down below, a man and a horse walk along the dirt path that follows the base of the cliff and moves off into the forest.  Alan watches the man, who sings in deep, resonant tones, which carry up into the atmosphere.  Drawn in by the voice, Alan begins to climb over the edge of the cliff, sliding the pipe into the shoulder strap of his backpack.

He swings his legs down, placing them carefully on the jutting rocks below and begins his descent, moving steadily, turning often to look down on the singing man.

EXT. ROAD – DAY

An older man, in his late fifties, lazily saunters down the rocky dirt road, leading a blind, emaciated horse beside him.  Strapped over the back of the horse is a small bundle of food and supplies, and a rolled blanket.  Around the man’s neck he carries a bent, rusted harmonica on a string.  In his hand he grips a long walking stick, onto which he has cared various shapes and phrases.

The man’s shoes are worn through and supplemented with leaves and paper.

Behind him, Alan falls to his death, landing quietly on the rocky dirt road.

         ALAN [VO]
Full circle.

The END
© Copyright 2011 Elbo Carbert (caleb42 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Log in to Leave Feedback
Username:
Password:
Not a Member?
Signup right now, for free!
All accounts include:
*Bullet* FREE Email @Writing.Com!
*Bullet* FREE Portfolio Services!
Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1779326