A screenplay of Chapter 2 of Hidden Agenda
|INT: VIEW GEMMA's bedroom. We see GEMMA lying on her bed. EXT: SOUND: Several neighbours are outside talking about the events of the night before. They can be heard in the background, as GEMMA's window is open. They sound concerned and tension is evident in their conversations.
INT: GEMMA pushes the noises from outside her window into the background; she's more intent on replaying the images she'd seen that morning in her mind.
INT: GEMMA's MIND: We see a mix of a blending of oranges and reds floating into a swirling mist of charcoal grey and then separating, trying to form a picture. The picture comes to fruition on the paper but we don't see it until later on.
The COLOURS had fascinated her, a blending of oranges and reds floating into a swirling mist of charcoal grey. She grabbed her pencils and sketchbook, took them to her desk, sat and began to draw what was in her head. Once finished, she studied it, feeling the dimension of colour used and sensing the power they held. Yes! She was pleased with the result; she closed the book and went down for breakfast.
INT: We don't see the picture at this point.
INT: DINING ROOM: We are looking from the back with FRENCH DOORS behind us. The DINING ROOM looks somewhat old-fashioned with a dark wood dresser along the left wall containing decorative plates. They belonged to JACKIE's Grandmother so had been kept for their sentimental value. The DRESSER came with the plates and cost a small fortune to have shipped across to the island. An old Rayburn type cooker takes up the whole of the opposite wall. However, it's a large, airy room with FRENCH DOORS to the back of the room. They open out onto a small garden area. EXT: Beyond the small garden a thick forest can be seen, this leads inland.
INT: The WALLS are painted cream, which increases the light entering the room. A large but modern, dark wood table stands in the middle of the room with six chairs to match, all standing on a light coloured, beautiful Bamboo wood flooring. Even with the dark coloured furniture and the old Rayburn the room still looks fresh and bright. Breakfast is already laid out on the table, fresh juices along with any number of fruits plus porridge and toast. Gradually everyone arrives and takes their seat. A coffee pot is percolating in the corner.
INT: There isn't much evidence of the unexpected earthquake, there had been some broken crockery and ornaments but JACKIE had been quick to clear it all away. The morning now appears like any other, however, the mood isn't.
INT: The FAMILY are sitting at the TABLE and making small talk. Breakfast conversation would normally be natural but today the air was thick with apprehension and a little sadness. Conversation felt difficult, nobody wanted to talk about the fact that GEMMA, after all, was still leaving. They were also trying to avoid the subject of the EARTHQUAKE; it had freaked them all out too much.
Nobody, it seemed could quite look GEMMA in the eye; this didn't bother her she'd been through this before and felt the awkwardness; she concealed her own feelings, locked them away, she'd let them feel it. Today, GEMMA had decided to go with the routine and so she just settled down to eat her breakfast. GEMMA was also more distracted by the colours in her mind than what was going on around her, they were taking all of her focus; they had begun to grow stronger as breakfast progressed and sounds began pounding through her ears like a heart pumping blood. After a while, she began to feel uncomfortable with the strength of the sights and sounds she was experiencing but didn't know why. She felt that urge to hide as she had in the early hours when the EARTHQUAKE came.
JACKIE was talking to TIANA and PENNY, explaining the ITINERARY for the day.
DIALOGUE: JACKIE: 'You have a couple of hours of free time girls before we all have to get ready to leave.
Then she turned to GEMMA, 'Have you put all your last bits together so that I can pack them, I don't want you to leave anything behind that you want?'
INT: GEMMA jumped up from the TABLE, ran through the hall into the LIVING ROOM and hid under the COFFEE TABLE. There wasn't much room under there but GEMMA was small and could just get under it. JACKIE ran after her, she thought GEMMA was running because she didn't want to leave; this of course was true, GEMMA didn't want to go but this wasn't the reason, the colours and throbbing noises had overwhelmed her with a sense of terror, she knew she had to hide. JACKIE found her under the TABLE and saw how terrified she looked.
DIALOGUE: JACKIE: 'JOHN, she's frightened, what if the ORPHANAGE isn't what it appears to be, what if she doesn't want to go back there because something awful has happened?'
No sooner had the words left her than a huge explosion like nothing they'd ever heard before shocked them all to a standstill. It shook the HOUSE more violently than the EARTHQUAKE. For several seconds nobody knew what to do. JACKIE gradually realised TIANA and PENNY were screaming, she could hear JOHN's voice trying to calm them down. He sounded uncertain, his voice shaking as he spoke, but their screams lessened and were replaced by sobs. By this time, GEMMA had emerged from under the TABLE and stood silently in front of her. The look of terror was now absent from her face, instead a perfectly calm demeanour was evident all through her body. This had a strange effect on JACKIE; she drifted into another place.
EXT: She found herself standing by a stream on a summer's day, the SUN was shining, its warmth was pulsing through her. It lasted just a few seconds but she felt an unusual peace flow over her.
INT: JACKIE looked into GEMMA's eyes and GEMMA just smiled at her and took her hand.
From then it was chaos, they all headed for the nearest windows, looking in the direction of the SOUND.
EXT: Outside they could see a huge plume of smoke coming from the VOLCANO and they realised that an unprecedented eruption had begun without any warning except for one unexpected earthquake.
INT/EXT: They quickly grabbed essential belongings as well as GEMMA's cases and paperwork, and they all piled into the CAR.
EXT: The CAR is a light grey KAWONDA, made in JAPAN; most cars were now, certainly none were made in the UK anymore. It is an upgrade hybrid, a distant relative of a Kawasaki and a Honda. It has all the mod cons including a TV set on the back of each of the front seats for passengers and the latest Sat Nav. along with a dashboard that lit up at the front with a multitude of different computerised gadgets.
INT: TIANA, slightly dark skinned and a little tall for her age at ten turned on her TV immediately and popped in her earphone, her jet-black hair resting on the seat behind her as she started to watch her favourite programme. It was her way of tuning out any drama or stress.
INT: GEMMA is sitting in the middle between TIANA and PENNY. She has her eyes closed and looks calm and unbothered by what's going on around her. INT: PENNY isn't as tech savvy as most girls her age. She blows away a blonde hair lying across her face. It is interfering with her ability to see what she is doing. Her blue/green eyes are transfixed on the BUTTONS she needs to press and eventually she too gets her TV working. She taps GEMMA gently; GEMMA opens her eyes to see PENNY offering her an earphone so she can share PENNY's programme with her. GEMMA smiles, shakes her head and closes her eyes again. PENNY puts her hand on GEMMA's just for a second then pops in her earphone and relaxes back into her seat.
INT: After a short time, GEMMA opened her eyes, leaned forward and reached into her backpack; it was sitting on the floor between her legs. She took out her sketchbook and pencils. PENNY glanced at her from time to time to see what she was drawing; she loved to watch GEMMA draw, secretly wishing she could do the same. She couldn't quite make out what it was at this point but that was normal for GEMMA's drawings, she drew them differently, it felt as if she did them backwards; drawing parts first that most artists would draw later. She didn't use plain pencils, always colour so she built a picture by colours rather than by drawing it as you would in an art class.
DIALOGUE: JACKIE: 'Where are we going JOHN?' JACKIE's voice quivered as she spoke but she tried hard to hide it so as not to scare the GIRLS.
DIALOGUE: JOHN: 'SOUTH to VICTORIA POINT, at least we'll head that way, trouble is so will everyone else, hopefully, we've got on the ROAD fast enough. We can drop GEMMA at the HOME on the way.'
'Should we still leave her JOHN? At this point, it might be safer to keep her with us'
'It's ok the HOME is far enough SOUTH, she will be fine and if they need to evacuate they can evacuate together. If we keep her with us there could be legal issues because we'll no longer be her GUARDIANS.'
'I hadn't thought of that, ok we'll drop her off '
EXT: By this time, an orange light was trying to outshine the sun and a grey snow had begun to fall lightly around the CAR. JOHN was right, the ROADS were full of people trying to head SOUTH but the TRAFFIC was moving well. However, they had been driving for about twenty minutes when they came to a ROADBLOCK.
EXT: VIEW: The ROADBLOCK is by a small hotel. The HOTEL is just outside of INLET BAY. It is a white building set in several acres of ground encompassing a small grove of trees, a large field to the rear of the HOTEL and a car park at the front. The HOTEL itself has fifteen rooms and a five star rating. It has turrets on each corner, giving it an air of a castle, a little hint to the ISLAND's ownership.
EXT: JOHN was guided by the ISLAND POLICE to the large field behind the HOTEL. They were told that all vehicles were to be left there and that shelters were being set up in VICTORIA POINT; ARMY TRUCKS would come into the CAR PARK area to take them all to the shelters. They were to queue up in designated areas and wait their turn. Plans, it seemed had been in place in case of this scenario, it was well organised.
EXT: They pulled in and followed directions given by various soldiers until they were able to park the CAR. They saw people either milling around or wandering into queues; some seemed calm, others agitated, a few were angry, asking why they hadn't been warned this could happen. The FAMILY exited the CAR and tried to get their bearings. TIANA and PENNY, of course wanted to continue to watch their programmes and both were complaining and asking why they couldn't just wait in the car. GEMMA stood taking everything in, her backpack with her, ignoring, it appeared, the chaos around her.
INT: THOUGHTS: GEMMA: Since the fear passed, she had felt this unnatural calm. It wasn't something she'd felt before. Then the incident with JACKIE happened and GEMMA could still see it; that beautiful scene, the SUMMER's day by the river. She'd begun to draw it in the CAR but hadn't finished it yet.
JACKIE and JOHN grabbed the hands of all three girls and JOHN spoke firmly to them.
DIALOGUE: JOHN; 'Whatever happens we all stay together ok'.
EXT: They all agreed. JOHN held onto both TIANA and PENNY, JACKIE took GEMMA. Trucks came and picked up as many people at a time as they could but people were arriving faster than the trucks were taking them. The queues started to merge, the soldiers did their best to keep them organised but people were becoming anxious as the grey flakes grew thicker and the orange glow became brighter.
Word began gradually going around that there were limited spaces on the TRUCKS and in the SHELTERS. People did what they often do at times like this they became restless, from restless came pushing, then shoving, arguing and fighting and before anyone knew it there was total panic.
EXT: The scene rapidly became chaotic and dangerous. GEMMA tried to keep hold of JACKIE's hand but it became increasingly harder as the CROWD pulsated and moved in different directions, eventually her hand was ripped from JACKIE's and the FAMILY were swept away in the SEA of people. GEMMA, being small managed to squeeze through to the edge of the crowd and she headed for the hotel.
EXT: GEMMA found a corner at the edge of the HOTEL and she hid; the sky had darkened now and the GREY SNOW was falling heavier around her. She watched as people fought for space on the TRUCKS; children and adults alike fell into what in some places had just become MUD, never to get up again. Gemma didn't know death but she understood this was wrong, that danger was surrounding her, so she cowered out of sight. Gradually the CROWDS thinned, soldiers came and took away those who hadn't made it. Still too afraid to move, she wondered what she was going to do, all she had was her backpack with a few sandwiches, prepared for her the night before, her sketchbook, a small notebook, a set of cards and her pencils. The cards had her personal details written on them, including her name, date of birth, address and a some useful phrases. The notebook was to write any answers to questions she was asked that the phrases didn't cover.
INT: FLASHBACK: Her sketchbook and pens were always with her, nobody had been able to separate her from them since she first began to draw. Some of the STAFF at the HOME noticed how well she drew and it was JANE, a favourite of GEMMA's, who had bought her first sketchbook one Christmas, she'd had several since then.
EXT: There had been no more trucks for a while and the sky lay heavy above; the glow of oranges and reds now a reality as the swirling grey snow continued to fall; Gemma recognised this from her picture.
FLASHBACK: GEMMA's ROOM: We now see the picture she drew earlier. It is an accurate picture of the volcano erupting, with the ash falling and the lava flowing in thick viscous globules down the small mountain. The sky is dark so the colours stand out and the falling ash appears white rather than grey.
EXT: She took out her sandwiches and ate them slowly, she hadn't come out when the other trucks arrived, she didn't know why, it just didn't feel right. However, a sound had been rolling into her mind for some time now.
INTERNAL SOUND: A deep rumbling sound is growing in GEMMA's mind, not like the SOUND she had before the ERUPTION. This is a quieter rumbling even as it becomes louder it doesn't become overwhelming.
EXT: A feeling of hope had grown within her. She thought at first it may be the volcano but this was different from what she'd felt earlier, then lights broke through the haze, she saw another truck. Gemma knew the time was right to leave her hiding place; gradually she dragged her aching limbs from their stationery position and quietly slid out into the ash-covered field. She heard a voice ahead of her.
EXT: THE TRUCK: A combat army truck with a cab that holds three men drives into the field near to where GEMMA is hiding. The back of the TRUCK is made up of a flat bed with bars around the outside and covered with a canvas tent.
INT: INSIDE THE TRUCK: THE CAB: Three soldiers are chatting with each other, their orders, to go back to look for stragglers.
DIALOGUE: SOLDIER IN THE TRUCK: 'Hey, I can see someone, it's a child.'
EXT: He jumped down, scooped Gemma up, wrapped her in a blanket and carried her to the back of the TRUCK.
INT: He opened up the fabric doors and GEMMA was passed up to another soldier who sat her alongside a woman. Two girls were sitting opposite GEMMA, they confused her; they were the same, as in the same as each other, yet they weren't, she couldn't explain it. She had never seen twins before, they both smiled at her, she smiled back and for the rest of the journey she tried not to stare. Thankfully, it wasn't too long a journey to get to the nearest shelter and Gemma was taken off the truck.
EXT: GEMMA stood holding tightly to the blanket wrapped around her; her backpack was on her back as she looked at the SCHOOL BUILDING ahead of her.
INT: She followed the others into the building and her name is taken. It is soon obvious to the staff that she isn't deaf, just unable to speak, as she understands what they're asking her but she uses her cards to answer them and writes down the information about being returned to the GROUP HOME. From here, she is settled into her temporary home. She watched as the twins were also settled into their own places, she took her sketchbook out and drew their faces, both the same, yet distinctly different.