by Drake Mills
The first act from my screenplay, "A Dissident in Erewhon"
|A dissident in erewhon-Act One
People are gathering around a large stage in front of a church. Workers with cleaning supplies are disposing of what appear to be bloody rags. Two lawmakers with rifles stand on the stage. Victoria Nordman steps onto the stage.
(Loud classical music)
The time has come to cast aside our old dreams and visions and look instead to our new future. A future that combines God and Mankind, the future that unifies us all, black or white, a future of prosperity and wealth.
More people are now at the base of the stage.
In the age before us forsaken men had launched their nuclear weapons into the air to smite their apparent enemies. Their ill-advised plans went astray when their bombs fell down to the earth. Millions died immediately after the first wave. But the true anguish came from the contamination of the water and the air. But out of chaos and despair came the righteous hand of God. He swept up the believers with his loving care and brought you to me. We built this community, safe from the evils of the world. We forged anew and built mighty walls and buildings, we are safe, we are godly and we are pure. The world has few constants since the attacks happened over a hundred years ago. However constants do exist; God loves you, every day when you wake up the sun will rise, and I love you.
Now many people are gathered around the stage
It is time to embrace one another not as adversaries but as friends and benefactors. This utopia we have created, will stand for eternity, if we can rally together and keep the dissenters out. Remember the dark ages, when the sky was seared and we lived scared and alone, subject to the whims of outlaws and thugs. Imagine where you would be without the mighty lawmakers who stand ready to enforce the law and protect the town. Respect them for they are your protectors. Thank you for your time, citizens of River City, and may God be with you.
Long live Victoria, River City as one...forever
after the assembly lawmaker #1 stands in the street with a parchment
Scene one: Rules
A crowd of commoners is brought in front of Lawmaker #1
People of River City, your endearing leader and friend has created 3 new edicts, that will ensure the safety of all, and expose dissenters.
One: No one is to be allowed in the streets after ten o' clock
Two: Anyone attempting to leave the confines of River City will be arrested on site, this includes crossing the lake to the south, or being in the woods to the east. Three: Dissenters are subject to public executions, there is a fifty-thousand Denarii prize for capturing a dissident. People guilty of aiding dissenters will suffer the same fate as their conspirators.
The Lawmaker #1 nervously paces up and down the sidewalk, he repeatedly checks his gun as if to reassure himself that it is still there
Thank you for your time citizens, that will be all for today. Any information regarding the locations of dissenters can be reported to any stationed lawmaker in River City or anonymously in the hot box outside the guard station.
The lawmaker turns and walks away quickly, most of the people listening look dazed and confused, but a few look angry and shout at the lawmaker. Then the work bell rings and they head back to work
That Night In the woods
Scene Two: The shot heard round the world
It is dark out, a man and a woman sneak out of the trees, they are holding hands. As they pass the patrol tower everything appears to be quiet. They are headed towards the fence that separates River City from the rest of the world Suddenly a lawmaker on patrol notices the man and woman and raises his rifle. He fires at the man who falls immediately the woman screams for a brief second, she is then silenced by the gunfire. As dawn starts to break, the lawmaker brings his communicator to his mouth and asks for a disposal crew. A woman views this incident from the window of her home. By sunrise, all that is left of the couple is an ugly red stain on the ground
That same day on main street
Scene Three: I predict a riot
Hector Demick is on the street on his way to work. As he passes the main street he notices a large group of people to his right. They are in the process of tearing down pro-Victoria propaganda. They are inflamed and yelling. Hector sees the crowd and heads over.
What is this? What's going on?
He attempts to stop a man from tearing down a poster but is pulled away by the crowd.
We are sick of Victoria and her goon squad, she can't just kill us whenever she feels like it!
Well I don't know about all this killing you're talking about, but I'm sure Victoria has a reasonable explanation if you'll just listen to her.
(Laughs harshly), I doubt it.
The rioter stomps off and joins the rest of the mob, Hector is pushed out of the way and stumbles away, the mob is marching down the street yelling loudly about tyranny and such.
A few moments later
Scene Four: The removal of the masses
Hector Demick follows the crowd to their destination in front of town hall. Victoria steps up to the podium in front of her. Lawmakers raise their rifles in the air, in preparation of violence. The crowd looks angry, their rage is barely contained.
I come before you now, my people, to apologize from the bottom of my heart. I have wronged you. Two brave souls were shot last night while taking a stroll around the border of this great city. For this I feel the utmost shame, but out of misery comes happiness. And to atone for my sins I will offer you good people this, anyone that wishes to leave River City may do so. Food, water, and supplies will be given to you, if you ask. Just remember before you go that I love each and everyone of you. And that I am sorry. You have until sundown to reach a decision.
The crowd at the bottom of the stage starts to talk energetically amongst themselves and disperse in different directions.
Hector leaves the scene heading back in the direction of his work.
Scene Five: A rash choice
Hector goes to work. He is greeted at the entrance by his wife CAROL. She embraces him and the head into the building. Hector works in propaganda and Carol works in logistics. They settle into their office spaces. Hector's office door says, "Hector Demick Public Relations" and hers says, "Carol Demick Logistics." Hector begins to work on a new series of half finished posters. They read VICTORIA NORDMAN! THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR, and the rest has not been made yet. Hector works for a while and then brings the finished poster over to Carol.
Hey, how does this look to you?
Carol briefly glances up from her papers and mumbles to the affirmative.
By the way, how are you dealing with all of those people leaving.
Carol looks up from her papers and stares at Hector.
What people leaving? No one leaves.
Didn't you hear Victoria's speech this morning, she said that anyone who wanted to leave would be provided with supplies and driven outside the city.
Carol checks her papers closely and then looks back up puzzled.
That doesn't sound right, I don't have anything in my records that would allow for that much food and water to be given away. I would have been told about this, food consumption is already at a maximum.
She checks her papers again.
Where are these supplies even supposed to come from? Hector we need to get follow those people tonight, I have a horrible feeling about all of this.
Hector places a hand on her shoulder.
This is probably just a case of miscommunication. Victoria just forgot to tell you about this, that's all that's going on here, I promise.
B.But the forms
It's hard being the leader, she forgot, that's all.
Hector turns to leave the room. He glances over his shoulder at Carol who is now digging through a filing cabinet frantically. Hector shakes his head and goes back to his desk.
Fade to black.
Scene Six: An Exodus
Victoria is at her podium again. X number of trucks are waiting in the road. She is waiting for stragglers to make their way to the crowd in front of her. She looks at the head Lawmaker, who is by her side, he nods knowingly.
I see that you have all have made your choice. I will respect your wishes, best of luck to all of you. And God bless.
The crowd disperses to the trucks that have been idling this entire time. They load their possessions into their truck and enter the vehicles. and drive off. The trucks roll away, no one in the crowd realizes that the last truck only contains lawmakers
At Hector's house.
Scene Seven: Trouble in paradise
Hector is asleep in his bed. He hears the trucks pass and he rolls over to hold his wife. He grabs the air. He wakes up and realizes that his wife isn't there. Hector stands up and puts on his robe. He sees a note on the dresser, is reads "Gone out, will be back by morning, love you" Hector folds the note up and tucks it into a pocket. He realizes where his wife is and then checks the time.
His watch reads 11:30, an hour and a half past curfew. Knowing that his wife could be killed. He races to his garage and grabs his bicycle. He rides off into the distance, the same way the trucks went.
Fade then transition
Hector rides up to the border, he can see the trucks in the distance. Before he can get closer, he hears a loud whistle. He looks around and sees his wife in a tree. She motions for him to be quiet and hisses.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE
Hector tries to climb up the tree in vain, he then sees a low laying branch which he uses to join his wife.
(huffing, out of breath)
I'm here to help you! You know that you're out past curfew, we need to go before anyone sees you.
Carol, silences Hector with a finger and points to the trucks. Hector sees nothing unusual and tries to get his wife to leave,unsuccessfully.
Just give me a moment, something weird is going on. The gate's not open and there aren't any supplies here. I need to watch this.
We need to go, this isn't our concern.
The doors of the trucks open and the people begin to exit the vehicles. The Lawmakers in the last car have not exited yet.
At the gate
Scene Eight: The Elimination of the dissenters
The people continue to exit the trucks, Lawmaker #2 directs them to a ditch next to the gate.
All right everyone line up for processing. We'll get this done as fast as possible.
The large group of people line up shoulder to shoulder by the ditch. Lawmaker #2 grabs a list and starts to read off names. As people hear their named called they raise their hands and say here. While this process is going on the Lawmakers that have been hidden in the last truck exit and and remove their rifles from the trunk. As the last names are read from the list, Lawmaker #2 steps back and the Lawmakers from the truck line up, military style, towards the crowd. They raise their weapons and fire into the crowd of people.
POV: As one of the people in the ditch.
People fall all around the person. He blearily sees people screaming and being silenced just as quickly. The exchange lasts a few moments. A lawmaker notices that this person is still alive, walks up to him and executes him point blank.
With Hector and Carol in the tree
Scene Nine: A sudden realization of truth
Carol covers her eyes and grabs Hector as the Lawmakers begin to mop up the remains of the people. She stifles a shriek and begins to cry. Hector is shocked, and tries to get Carol to leave the tree, she won't budge. Hector begins to descend and misjudges where the limb is, Hector falls to the ground. A lawmaker hears the noise and begins to head for the source. Hector tries to get up and realizes that he has twisted his ankle. He curses, loudly, and the sound of Hector talking breaks Carol out of her trance. She begins to head down the tree when the Lawmaker spots her and shoots her. The bullet enters her chest and exits her back. She falls to the ground. Blood is spilling out onto the ground
Hector begins to try and stop the bleeding. Carol's eye's flutter a bit and she tries to mouth a few words. Hector tries to make out what she is saying to no avail. CAROL DIES. Hector realizes that his wife is dead. Tries to perform CPR, stops. Holds his wife and kisses her, telling her that he is sorry. Hector hears the lawmakers approaching he kisses his wife and puts her on his back, he stands awkwardly and begins to run off. The lawmakers give chase. Lawmaker #2 shoots at Hector and the bullet passes through his shoulder he falls and hits his head on a rock. Hector is about to pass out. He hears more gunfire, from both sides, through bleary eyes he sees the lawmakers take fire. LAWMAKER #2 DIES. A man picks up Hector.
This one is still breathing, help me carry him.
Rebels approach from all directions. They are heavily armed. Two appear to be wounded. The REBEL CAPTAIN has a beret on. A different rebel checks on Carol's condition.
Captain, this one's gone.
Leave her then. Let's get back to base. Move out.
Hector tries to touch his wife. The Rebels carry him away. Carol lies dead next to a tree. The rebels load Hector into one of the Lawmakers truck. A nearby lawmaker (shot) begs for help. A rebel kills him. The rebels load up and leave. Hector passes out.
End of Act One