"THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS"
FADE IN ON:
A TINY FIGURE OF A MAN hurrying toward camera. The figure
gets larger as he approaches. But as yet we cannot tell who
he is or where we are.
MALE VOICE (V.O.)
This is the most famous true story
of Africa. It happened a hundred
years ago, but even now, when children
ask about it, you do not tell them
(The FIGURE continues
It began with the race to build a
railroad across Africa.
But this is not about building a
railroad--it is about Patterson.
And now we can tell that the FIGURE is a YOUNG MAN, A
LIEUTENANT COLONEL. This is PATTERSON. He is gifted and bright
and serious, serious about his life, serious about his career.
He has been successful in everything he's attempted, in part
because of his talents, in part because he is willing to
And this is where we are: ENGLAND.
More specifically, in a high-ceilinged corridor of an elegant
building--lovely woodwork all around. Everything is neat,
everything is clean and in order.
Patterson was thirty. A brilliant
engineer. A fine man, but do not
become attached to him--there are
many fine men in this story but do
not become attached to any of them.
So many of them die.
Patterson stops at a large ornate door, knocks. Waits.
And remember this: only the impossible
parts of what follows really
(Now the door opens
Just a wonderfully handsome man standing in the doorway.
This is ROBERT BEAUMONT--40, with an irresistible smile.
We're in his office and the place reflects the man--clean,
cold. There are maps and charts on the walls. He ushers
(The great smile
John Henry Patterson, come in. I'm
(They shake hands)
Firm--I like that, tells me a lot
now why don't you tell me about me?
To get you started, many people find
me handsome, with a wonderful smile.
I'm sure you agree.
Winning personality, heaps of charm?
My wife is the game player in the
(staring dead at
Look at me closely, Patterson: I am
a monster. My only pleasure is
tormenting people who work for me,
such as yourself.
(again the smile--
only now it's chilling)
One mistake and I promise you this:
I'll make you hate me.
PATTERSON, as he realizes Beaumont is serious. Beaumont turns
sharply and moves to a large map.
THE MAP. It covers a great deal of East Africa with a very
clear line that ends at Lake Victoria, a distance of some
(pointing along the
We are building this railroad across
Africa for the glorious purpose of
saving Africa from the Africans.
And, of course, to end slavery. The
Germans and French are our
competition. We are ahead, and we
will stay ahead providing you do
what I hired you to do--
A MORE DETAILED MAP. This one ends at "Tsavo," 130 miles in.
--build the bridge over the Tsavo
river. And be finished in four months
time. Can you do that?
I'm sure you've examined my record.
So you know I've never yet been late
on a bridge.
You've never built in Africa.
But I have in India--every country
You'll need your confidence, I promise
I've got a reason far beyond
confidence: my wife is having our
firstborn in five months and I
promised I'd be with her when the
Very moving, Patterson; I'm touched
you confided in me.
But I don't really give a shit about
your upcoming litter. I've made you
with this assignment--
--don't make me break you.
(smiling right back)
You won't have the chance.
(glancing at his watch)
Any further words of encouragement?
Then I've a train to catch.
They look at each other a moment in silence--and it's very
clear they do not like each other. Patterson turns, leaves
A RAILWAY STATION, IMMEDIATELY AFTER
A train is loading up. A lot of activity, a lot of noise.
Patterson stands in the midst of it, anxiously looking around.
HELENA PATTERSON, hurrying through the crowd. Early 20s,
with the kind of serene beauty of Jean Simmons. She is still
slim, has not begun to show. She spots him, puts a smile on,
goes straight into his arms.
I tried to be late, John--it would
have been easier if you'd gone.
(They are nutty about
each other--he nods)
We're not much good at goodbyes,
Tell me about Beaumont--does he
understand how brilliant you are,
how lucky he is to have you?
It was embarrassing--the man showered
me with compliments.
They start to walk hand in hand along the platform toward a
quieter place. Patterson is suddenly very serious--
--you're geting that downtrodden
--well, it's just...
...other men don't abandon their
wives at such a time--
--oh please--if I'd been against
your taking this, you would have
abandoned me. You've been desperate
to see Africa your whole life.
What if there are complications?--
--not "what if"--there will be, there
always are. Which only means that
our "son" and I--note my confidence--
will have an excuse to come visit.
THE TRAIN WHISTLE sounds.
(He kisses her hand)
Such a gentleman.
(Now he holds her)
I am desperate to see Africa--but I
hate the leaving.
HELENA. She hates it, too.
You build bridges, John--
--you've got to go where the rivers
They hold each other a moment more, then break, then back
into each other's arms a final time, then--
THE TRAIN, and thick clouds of steam--
--Patterson runs into the clouds and disappears.
HOLD FOR A MOMENT.
Patterson runs out of the steam and we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
A DIFFERENT TRAIN, A DIFFERENT COUNTRY, A DIFFERENT WORLD.
This is the train to TSAVO and Patterson is alone on the
engine seat--a wooden bench in front of the engine used by
railroad inspectors and visiting VIPs. Behind it is a white
circular piece of wood used to keep the engine heat from the
NIGEL STARLING, running as best as he can alongside the train,
trying to pull himself up onto the engine seat.
STARLING is a terribly appealing young man. Clothes do not
fit him well, and he is constantly tugging at this sleeve or
that shirttail, trying to get things right. He wears glasses,
tends nonetheless to squint at the world. He is, above all,
a good man, morally impeccable and very much a product of
these Victorian times.
(as Patterson helps
You're Patterson, yes?
Nigel Starling--I'll be assisting
you at Tsavo--but surely Beaumont
must have told you that.
He just gave me his "monster" speech.
That. I know Robert seems dreadful,
but when you truly get to know the
man, well, he's much worse.
And I'm one of his defenders.
Forget him for now--it's your first
ride to Tsavo--I think you'll find
(And on that word--)
STARLING coughing like crazy, hands over his face which is
caked with dust--he and Patterson stare out at an absolutely
"Breathtaking" doesn't begin to do
(As Starling starts
to laugh, his mouth
opens and sand flies
in, and his coughing
fit returns and)
THE DESERT. ENDLESS. LATER IN THE DAY.
THE TWO OF THEM, bent over, arms covering their faces as the
dust gets worse--a wind has kicked up.
THE TRAIN, TRYING TO MAKE IT UP A STEEP GRADE. STILL LATER.
Patterson and Starling are walking beside the train now,
helping to push it, trudging through the dust. All the other
passengers spread out behind them, also pushing--the train
obviously needs all the assistance it can get.
INSIDE A RAILROAD CAR, EARLY EVENING.
Patterson and Starling, filthy, sit together. Starling has
nodded off. Patterson has a book open in his lap--
--we can tell there are drawings of African animals--not all
Now Patterson's eyes close and he sleeps.
THE TRAIN POUNDING THROUGH THE NIGHT.
Stokers shovel coal. They are exhausted but they keep at it.
PATTERSON. WAKING IN THE CAR, RUBBING HIS EYES. IT'S DAWN.
He stares out--and from his face it's clear something special
has happened. And now, at last--
SOMETHING SPECIAL--and what it is, of course, is Patterson's
first view of the Africa of his imagination.
Because the desert has ended, and now there are grasses and
trees and one more thing--
--bursts of animals. On both sides of the train.
A flock of birds materializes here, a cluster of gazelles
doing there amazing leap there.
Patterson is like a kid in a candy store.
PATTERSON AND STARLING, back outside in the engine seat again.
Aren't they amazing?
WHAT HE'S POINTING AT: Some giraffes running along, their
absurd shape suddenly graceful as they eat up the ground in
incredibly long strides.
PATTERSON AND STARLING, staring out.
You know the most amazing thing about
them?--they only sleep five minutes
(Starling glances at
didn't know that)
A FAMILY OF HYENAS. Close by, loping in their scary way.
Don't much like them.
The females are bigger--only animal
here like that--have to be or they
wouldn't survive because the males
eat the young.
STARLING studying Patterson. Clearly, he didn't know that,
SOME HIPPOS moving along. Starling turns to Patterson.
Anything special about them?
Just that they fart through their
Must make kissing something of a
I've lived in Africa a year and I
don't know what you know. How long
have you been here?
(looks at his watch)
Almost three hours.
But I've been getting ready all my
(Now, from them--)
A BUNCH OF IMPOVERISHED-LOOKING NATIVE WOMEN. They hold
children who wave at the passing train. The children are
more impoverished looking than their mothers.
Every time I see something like that,
I know we're right to be here--to
bring Christianity into their lives,
enrich their souls.
Beaumont says it's to end slavery.
We all have our reasons. Mine is
simply to make them understand
happiness, accept salvation, know
the serenity that comes--
--best I stop. One of the by-products
of my belief is that I can become
amazingly boring. But I know God
smiles on me.
(They really like
Have you got that in writing?
good natured, laughs.
A WHITE CLAW
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
Hundreds of white claws.
KEEP PULLING BACK TO REVEAL
They aren't claws at all, they're thorns as sharp as claws
and they're on a twenty-foot high thorn tree.
And there are dozens of those trees, packed together. All
mixed in with other trees, low and stunted, and thick
underbrush and baked red rocks--
--now the train begins to slow.
Smoke drifts across.
A bunch of wildebeest scatter off the tracks.
Welcome to Tsavo.
(on the word)
We have arrived at the train station area and what we see is
a place that is still being built. There are tin shacks; a
water tower is under construction--
--men are working everywhere, for that's what Tsavo is: a
place for work.
THE TRAIN goes slower still.
No one stands idly around here.
But no one looks happy either.
ONE MAN is apart from the rest: this is SAMUEL.
An ageless Masai, tall and slender, he has a smile that can
light the world.
PATTERSON AND STARLING as they step off the train.
who is approaching)
Samuel is camp liaison--absolutely
indispensable--the only man here
Does he speak English?
(not softly enough)
And very poor French.
(as they shake)
The bridge builder--
(gesturing to the
--we have been getting ready for
Excellent. Could I see the bridge
I've got medical supplies to deliver.
Come along to the hospital when you're
I will bring him, Nigel.
We should realize by now that Samuel's was the voice we heard
at the very beginning of the picture.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL, starting to walk. They pass the water
Standing on top of it in a precarious position is an extremely
powerful INDIAN. He waves to Samuel who waves back. This is
WORKERS study Patterson as he moves by. Not smiling. Up ahead,
some SIKHS are erecting tents. Not smiling.
Why do the workers look unhappy?
Because they are here.
Because Tsavo is the worst place in
(He points ahead)
Come, John--to the bridge.
(And on that--)
THE RAILROAD TRACKS as the camera pans along.
THE RIVER in the distance as they walk toward it.
And here is as good a place as any to explain just what the
spot where the movie takes place was like.
There were five hundred men working for Patterson. And they
lived in a spread out area. A bunch of Indian coolies who
might have come from the same town back in their country
might choose to live in one cluster of tents. A group of
natives might be in another cluster.
What we have then, as far as living places are concerned,
are dozens of clusters of tents. (Eventually, as the terror
began, these areas all got surrounded, each with its own
The places we'll come to know best are, among others,
Patterson's living area, the hospital tent area, the area by
the river where the bridge is to be built, etc., etc.
As they move, Samuel points out various camps.
A SECT OF INDIANS is getting ready for prayer.
ANOTHER SECT OF INDIANS is eating.
A GROUP OF AFRICANS are cleaning their tent area.
Anyway, you get the idea. Just remember that the place covered
a wide expanse, maybe a mile square, maybe more.
Okay, back to the story.
(as they pass the
INDIAN tent area
where prayer is
It's all wonderfully under control,
Samuel--you've done a splendid job.
Thank you. The truth is this: you
have to work at it constantly.
The workers don't get on?
Get on? They detest each other.
Obviously the Africans hate the
Indians. But the Indians also hate
the other Indians. Some of them
worship cows, while others eat them.
(As they move on)
PAN ALONG TO
MORE RAILROAD TRACK
And suddenly the track just stops in mid-air as we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL standing high above the Tsavo River.
The track has come to the edge of the area above the riverbank-
where it just stops--
--and picks up on the far side. All that's missing, in other
words, is the hundred-yard-long bridge that will connect the
pieces of track.
(to the far side)
Railhead is across there.
THE DISTANCE. Nothing can be made out clearly but there are
great clouds of dust.
Three thousand men laying track-
when the bridge is done, it all joins
Patterson nods, says nothing, but goes to his haunches,
staring at the space where the bridge is to be.
Did it look like this in your mind?
(shakes his head)
This is more difficult--
PATTERSON. CLOSE UP. Excited.
--but how wonderful that it's
difficult, it should be difficult--
what better job in all the world
than build a bridge?--make things
connect--bring worlds together--and
get it right!
(Now from Patterson--)
THE HOSPITAL TENT
as Patterson and Samuel walk in. Patterson glances around--
--it's not bad at all. Of course there are some patients,
injured or with fever. But like the rest of the camp we've
just seen, everything is working well, everything is under
control. Starling approaches.
Finish your tour?
And anxious to get started.
What is this, mostly malaria?
Yes--but their suffering is only
transitory--once they except God
into their hearts, He will vanquish
MAN'S VOICE (V.O.)
That's just vomitous talk, Nigel--
the poor bastards will relapse if
you keep on that way.
(As they turn--)
DOCTOR DAVID HAWTHORNE. A tough, middle-aged cockney. And a
heavy drinker. A man who hasn't been tactful in twenty years.
I'm David Hawthorne, this is my
hospital. And my advice to you is,
"don't get sick in front of it."
That was meant to be charming, sorry.
I seem to have lost the knack.
You never had it.
Nigel and I don't like each other
(breaking the tension)
I am also liaison between these two.
Clearly you don't agree about building
This sham? Ridiculous. Who needs it?
It's only being built to control the
ivory trade, make men richer.
Then why do you stay?
Who else would hire me?
Beat you to it, didn't I?
Oh yes, almost forgot--brought you a
little welcoming gift.
(Now he gestures and
A NERVOUS ORDERLY who approaches them. He has been freshly
bandaged across one shoulder.
This is Karim, one of my orderlies--
attacked by a man-eater earlier today--
first incident of that kind here.
Patterson says not a word, just studies the wounded man.
A man-eater attacks and you're such
a buffoon you almost forget to mention
Well, he got away, didn't he?
Riding a donkey not far from here
when the lion sprang on them--donkey
took the brunt of it--then suddenly
the lion ran off.
PATTERSON. Listening. No emotion on his face.
HAWTHORNE. He's kind of enjoying this. Bearing down.
I know it's your first day and of
course you must be tired from the
--but what are you going to do about
(a long pause, then
Karim will have to show me where it
happened. And of course, I'll need
With any luck, I'll sort it out
(And he walks out,
leaving an astonished
PATTERSON'S TENT AREA
Starling has a tent there, too, as do Samuel and Hawthorne.
And there are half a dozen ORDERLIES.
Right now, Patterson is unpacking, moving in and out of his
tent. Starling, sipping tea, sits and watches.
I couldn't believe it when you said
"sort it out." As if it were the
most normal thing in the world. "Ho-
hum, what lovely tea, I think I'll
bag a killer beast this evening,
nothing much else going on anyway."
Well, he put me in a spot, didn't
he? But that's all right--after all,
I'm responsible for everything that
happens here. And it certainly won't
do much for morale if a man-eater's
on the prowl.
He goes into his tent with some books now and we go with
him. There is a photo of Helena on a small table. A photo of
an ELDERLY COUPLE, clearly his parents. His clothes are
stacked with precision. He arranges his books precisely too.
Clearly, John Patterson is a man who believes in order.
You said "of course" you'd need the
donkey. Why "of course"?
(taking a rifle, moving
We know three things about man-eaters.
First, they always return to where
they've attacked before. Second,
they're always old--they can't catch
other animals so they turn to us.
And third, they're always alone--
they've been cast out by their pride
because they can't keep up.
STARLING, sipping his tea and there's no hiding it, he's
excited. But also a bit reluctant.
I don't suppose I could watch.
Might be exciting for you.
I've never been all that adventurous.
I wouldn't be in the way?
I'd love the company. And I've hunted
all my life.
Well, why not? You seem so calm and
(standing, teacup in
Why not, indeed!
(Now from that--)
SLIGHTLY WOUNDED DONKEY
It's roped loosely to a tree, bells around its neck. When it
moves, they make a sound. Middle of the night. A night wind.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
We're in a clearing with thick trees all around.
KEEP PULLING BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON AND STARLING, seated uncomfortably in a tree on
the edge of the clearing, twelve feet up in the air. Patterson
has his rifle ready. This next is all whispered.
I hate to be a bother, John, but the
cramp's getting worse.
(Pulls up his trousers--
his leg is knotted)
The pain is actually quite unbearable
I'm sure you mean that to be
--you'll have to deal with it, Nigel.
That is precisely my plan--but back
in my tent.
(And he begins to
PATTERSON, grabbing him.
They own the night--nobody moves
when there's a man-eater out there.
Starling glumly obeys. Then--
John? I know this isn't the time to
Since you'd only been here three
hours when we met, are you sure this
is how you hunt lions?
Not to terrify you, Nigel, but it's
worse than you think--I've never
even seen one.
STARLING, not pleased with this news. He massages his calf,
tries to get comfortable, which is impossible. Patterson
just stares at the night.
JUST BEFORE DAWN
The donkey dozes. So does Starling. Patterson has not so
much as moved.
Now the bushes behind the donkey shake just a little.
And the donkey is suddenly awake and scared--
and then it all goes crazy--the donkey screams and a lion
appears from the bushes and Patterson fires one shot and the
and Starling topples from the tree to the ground, landing
shocked but unhurt--
--he has landed close to the dead lion--he stares at it.
(even more amazed)
So that's what a lion looks like.
(Now from the tree--)
THE HOSPITAL TENT AREA - JUST AFTER DAWN
HOLD for a moment.
Now Samuel comes walking into the shot, really excited--
--it's the first time we've seen his wonderful smile.
Patterson has made the nights safe
KEEP HOLDING FOR JUST A MOMENT MORE.
As he walks on, behind him come THREE COOLIES carrying the
body of the lion. As dozens of men come running in from all
over to see the dead man-eater--
(Now as the crowd
continues to grow--)
A ROUGH ENGINEER'S DRAWING OF WHAT WILL BE THE BRIDGE
It has two embankments on either side of the river. These
embankments are big-forty feet wide, fifty feet high.
PATTERSON AND STARLING standing on the high ground where the
embankment will start. From here, there is a slope down to
the river itself.
Also present is UNGAN SIGNH, who we saw earlier standing
precariously atop the water tower. Singh, enormously powerful,
is another assistant. Bright, a great worker, another main
character in what is to follow.
Now Patterson starts to walk down the slope towards the river--
it's not that easy to do without falling, but that doesn't
bother him. He talks and gestures as he explains to the other
two who move down with him.
Singh, for all his massive size, moves like a cat. Starling
does not, slipping and sliding.
All right, I'd like to start the
--sufficient supplies on hand?
With much more on the way--
(loses balance, falls)
--John--we could have had this chat
on flatter ground--
--true enough--but without the comedy
good natured, smiles,
gets back up)
THE RIVER as they scramble down to it.
THE SLOPE they've come down--it's a long way back to the
THE THREE MEN. It's a glorious morning.
How lucky we are.
Aren't we full of ourselves today?
I think it's because of the lion.
You know, I too have killed a lion.
How many shots did you need?
SINGH. Almost embarrassed.
I used my hands.
He holds his big hands up, palms out. Starling looks at Singh
to see if he means it--
he means it all right. Now, from Starling's perpetually
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON sighting through it--we are on the far side of the
river now. Singh is there, Starling, too.
Behind them: a field of tall grass.
All right--the second embankment
will go there.
(He gestures toward
You do plan to mark it a bit more
precisely than just--
In your honor, Nigel. And you and
Singh will be in charge of building
them--and you'll also build the
roadbeds and the three foundation
pillars--and you'll be finished in
eight thrilling weeks.
John, it will not be easy.
Nigel, you'll just have to use your
(And he smiles,
gesture, both palms
SINGH. He smiles back, starts to reply. But his words stop,
his smile dies. He just stares and we--
WHAT HE'S STARING AT--the surrounding field of tall grass.
Nothing unusual about it.
PATTERSON. He stares, too.
THE FIELD OF TALL GRASS--suddenly it begins to bend and sway
in a fresh wind.
PATTERSON. Silent. As before. Starling follows his glance.
THE FIELD. And now the field is making odd patterns--as if
something unseen were moving through.
PATTERSON. Quiet. Just the wind.
THE FIELD. Nothing visible. But the odd pattern seems to be
making its way across the field.
SINGH AND STARLING. Quiet. Just the wind.
THE FIELD. The odd pattern seems to stop. Around it, the
wind makes different shapes of the grass.
PATTERSON, as the wind continues to blow. He continues to
stare at the spot where the pattern stopped.
SINGH. As before. Except for one thing: suddenly, he begins
to shiver, as if from cold.
THE BUILDING SEQUENCE
And what we see are a lot of cuts of a lot of activity.
Huge wooden logs are carried in and hammered to each other
and driven deep into the ground--the framework for the
And Singh carries the heaviest loads and leads the workers--
and as the structure rises, he is the one darting along the
top, high in the air, pulling more logs up, helping here,
And alongside him is his assistant, ABDULLAH, a little man
with glasses and very bright eyes.
Meanwhile, Starling is leading construction on the embankment
that is on the far side of the river. And he does his best,
tries to help on the top part as it rises--but alas, he is a
bit on the clumsy side and balance is a problem for him. But
he stays with it, does well.
And Patterson, in tremendous spirits, helps when needed, but
mostly he is dealing with other aspects of the bridge--such
as the placements of the three stone foundation pillars--
he wades into the water, climbs the structures, takes it all
in--and at the start he is still in the uniform he has worn
since the start of the story--but it's clumsy for labor--
so he changes halfway through to civilian clothes--
--which is all he wears from now on.
And the workers tire in the heat--but Singh keeps them going,
working with the power of three--
and there are accidents and explosions, injuries and falls--
and Hawthorne appears when needed to help with the wounded--
it's hard, brutal work--
but gradually, the wooden structure part is finished--two
huge skeletons facing each other across the Tsavo River--and
now work on the roadbed is going full blast and in the river,
the three foundation pillars are taking shape--
TONS OF RED ROCK--being shoved into the wooden skeleton to
complete the embankments. As this goes on--
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL in the river--the foundation pillar
work is going very quickly.
Patterson stops working, looks across the river--
--movement in the grassy area on the far side.
SEVERAL NANDI TRIBESMEN as they rise out of the grass, gesture
to Samuel who gestures back. The Nandi are a tribe of powerful
little men, primitive, with teeth that have been sharpened
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL watching them.
What are they looking at?
You--they cannot believe you're still
You don't know what Tsavo means, do
It means "slaughter"...
THE NANDI TRIBESMEN, staring at Patterson, shaking their
THE TWO EMBANKMENTS, as more and more red rock is shoved and
pushed into shape.
THE THREE FOUNDATION PILLARS--almost finished.
THE ROADBED. The same.
THE NEAR EMBANKMENT as still more rock is forced in and
THE FAR EMBANKMENT done at last--
--and Singh stands on the top of the near one while across
the river, Patterson pulls Starling to the top of the other.
And they all look at each other--the embankments are both
finished--HE THREE OF THEM are flying--
--and what they do is this: hold their hands out toward each
other, in Singh's gesture. It's kind of become their password.
HOLD. A big moment for them all!
SINGH'S TENT AREA
He sits around a fire and the man is exhausted. His dinner
plate is beside him, untouched. He's too tired to eat.
PATTERSON'S TENT AREA
Starling is there, getting ready for bed. He's wiped out,
SINGH, going into his tent, lying down, breathing deep.
STARLING is in his tent, turning out his lamp, half asleep
PATTERSON in his tent, closing his eyes.
SINGH, deep asleep in his tent--
--he shares it with a dozen others and they're all deep
asleep. They lie on the floor of the tent, heads together
toward the center pole, feet toward the edges of the tent.
HOLD ON SINGH. It's very dark. HE AND HIS MEN just lie
motionless, breathing deeply.
Now the CAMERA moves up, high into the center of the tent,
looking down at the circle of men.
They don't move, not even an inch. The steady breathing is
the only sound.
YES, KEEP HOLDING.
Nothing is going on down there. Nothing at all.
Not a goddamn thing.
KEEP ON HOLDING. KEEP ON HOLDING.
And now two things happen at the same time--Singh's eyes go
and he starts to slide out of the tent, as if being pulled
by some giant invisible wire--
SINGH. CLOSE UP. Screaming.
THE OTHER MEN IN THE TENT, waking, staring around and
SINGH as he slides out of the tent into the night and his
screams grow even louder as we
THE OTHER MEN IN THE TENT and it's like a bomb just went
off, they rise, spin, cry out, stare--
THE NIGHT OUTSIDE AND SINGH'S BODY sliding along the ground.
It's pitch black, and he's going head first now, face upwards
and he's going at tremendous speed and whatever the hell it
is that's making this happen is something we can't make out--
because it's so dark and because it's on the far side of the
man, and his body is in our way and
UP AHEAD, some bushes and
SINGH, his body going faster than before and his cries are
THE NIGHT and his body and there is no sound at all coming
from him now and there is no sound from whatever it is that
is making this happen--all we see, barely, is the limp body
of the big man as it skims along and--
UP AHEAD NOW, a low clump of bushes.
SINGH'S BODY, coming closer and
THE BUSHES and as we get in on them we can tell they are
thorn bushes and now--
SINGH, suddenly rising magically in the night, his body flying
over the bushes and gone!
PATTERSON AND STARLING, early morning, their rifles held in
front of them, racing along, suddenly stopping, staring down
THE GROUND. At first we can't make out much. Then we can--a
spot of red.
PATTERSON AND STARLING, hurrying on again.
THORN TREES, and as they force their way through them--
LARGE VULTURE, wings spread wide as it floats slowly to earth--
as it lands we can see A DOZEN OTHER VULTURES are already
there, surrounding something--
but we can't make it out. We are in an area of grass and
--and specks of blood.
PATTERSON, cries out in shock and fury, fires his rifle,
THE VULTURES screeching and screaming, taking off, and as we
watch them soar into the morning sky--
HAWTHORNE'S VOICE (V.O.)
What the lion must have done, once
he'd killed Singh, was lick his skin
off so he could drink his blood--
Hawthorne is examining Singh's body, trying to be
professional, but he's clearly upset--it's awful.
--then he feasted on him, starting
with his feet--
(even more upset)
please--you needn't be so graphic--
You intend "sorting this out" tonight?
I'll try--but this feels so different--
that old lion I killed could never
carry off a man Singh's size.
(maybe a little alarmed)
But you said they were always old.
That's what the books say...
(Now from that--)
FLAMES RISING IN THE DARKENING SKY. NOW--
ABDULLAH in tears. Where are we?
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
This is Singh's funeral pyre.
Singh's body is being burned.
A LOT OF INDIANS are there. We've caught sight of some of
them before--they worked with Singh on the embankment or
lived with him in his tent.
There is a terrible sense of shock.
Patterson stands at the rear. He is terribly moved. Now,
unseen by the others, he holds his hands out in Singh's
gesture one final time.
THE FLAMES; they continue to rise...
Night. The flaps that were open when Singh was alive are now
shut and tied.
PATTERSON, the middle of the night. He is alone, fifteen
feet up in a tree near Singh's tent. He holds his rifle,
ready for anything. He cannot get comfortable.
THE AREA--nothing, no movement.
SINGH'S TENT. As before.
THE AREA. No sign of movement of any kind. Dead.
THE MOON. Lower in the sky. The night is growing to a lose
but there is still darkness.
PATTERSON. Battling fatigue--but now, for a moment, losing--
his eyes, against his will, start to close, and as they do--
TWO HUGE YELLOW EYES. That's all we see, just the eyes and
they are near Patterson's tree and they are staring up at
PATTERSON, startled, grabbing his rifle more tightly, staring
THE HUGE YELLOW EYES--only they're gone.
PATTERSON, blowing on his hands, looking toward the sky.
THE SUN, RISING, THE NIGHT DONE.
PATTERSON, wrinkled and weary, frustrated and sore, walking
back toward his tent area. Now he stops.
ABDULLAH and a large group of workers--only they're not
working. They smoke, play cards, sit around.
PATTERSON, steaming, going up to Abdullah.
You were contracted to work--
--malaria epidemic; very sudden.
Let me see the sick.
(not backing off)
Oh, you're a doctor now, too?
There is no reason for fear.
On that I choose to remain dubious.
Two are dead now in two nights.
(And on that news--)
PATTERSON. Rocked. He didn't know. Behind him now, Starling
hurries up, Samuel alongside.
Second death? Where?--
--far end of camp--man wandering
alone at night. Hawthorne's examining
the body now.
There's even less of him than of
(just shakes his head)
But it's crazy--the lion shouldn't
be that hungry this soon.
looks to Samuel)
We should construct thorn fences
around every tent area. Fires burning
Fine. Get started. And a strict curfew--
no one allowed out at night.
Send half your men to the bridge,
the rest with these two.
And I'm sorry for my tone earlier.
But I repeat--there is no reason for
fear. I will kill the lion and I
will build the bridge.
Of course you will, you are white,
you can do anything...
(They look at each
other. They are not
THE THORN BUSHES WE SAW ON OUR ARRIVAL TO TSAVO
ENDLESS NUMBERS OF THEM. There is a machete-like sound as we
BUNCH OF WORKMEN, led by Samuel, chopping down branches.
They do it with care--these are claws--
--STARLING, in charge of another area, and he's not hanging
back, he's taking less care than the others, hacking away
with his machete, moving in between bushes and
ONE OF THE BUSHES, SNAPPING BACK into Starling, and Starling
taking the blow with his arms--the claws cut his clothing--
his arms are starting to bleed--
--he is unmindful, continues to wade into the bushes, chopping
at them, cutting them down. He is a good man doing a good
thing and right now, he is possessed.
PATTERSON, leaving his tent area, lost in thought, going
toward the bridge. Up ahead is a grassy area.
THE GRASSY AREA
For a moment, nothing. Then there is the same kind of movement
we saw with Singh. Something is making the grass move--
--only now there is no wind... HOLD.
PATTERSON. Did he see it? We'll never know.
STARLING, in charge of a thorn fence that is halfway finished.
His clothes are shredded. A WORKER has finished with a section
and satisfied, moves on--
--but Starling is far from finished. He grabs the thorns
with his bare hands and squeezes them together.
Not good enough--look, it's got to
be tighter. Tighter.
THE AREA IN WHICH HE'S BEEN WORKING. FENCES ARE WELL ALONG
TOWARD COMPLETION. IT'S LATE AFTERNOON.
We see more fences around more camp areas.
KEEP PULLING UP
The entire place is filled with fences now, all the individual
The skies are starting to darken--dusk is coming fast.
Fires start up. Dozens of them.
Now workers come racing home to their camps, anxious for
safety before darkness takes over. They zig-zag this way,
that way, dodging past each other sometimes they slam into
each other, fall, get up, run on--
THE SUN. Falling out of the sky.
THE CAMP. The fires rise higher. No one moves... HOLD.
STARLING in the main tent area. He is bathing his bloody
hands. Samuel is with him. Both are exhausted.
Patterson brings them each drinks. They nod thanks, drain
them. They stand there together, lit by the flames of their
fire. You get the sense these three will be friends forever.
What a good week.
You mean nobody died?
(shakes his head)
We all worked together. Worthy deeds
were accomplished. I liked the labor.
My mother insisted on piano lessons--
broke the dear woman's heart when I
turned out to be tone deaf--but she
still was always at me about being
careful with my hands.
(looks at them)
I like the blood, is that strange?
Oh yes, I think so.
starts to speak)
Look out, Samuel, here it comes.
Even you two must admit that it is a
glorious thing, what Man can
accomplish. When there is a common
splendid goal, there are no limits.
Think what we will accomplish when
we all have God's warmth in our
(Samuel's eyes have
closed; he begins to
can't help laughing)
STARLING. As good natured as ever.
I am immune to your disdain.
(He looks at them now)
When I came here, I had but one small
goal: to convert the entire continent
(shakes his head)
Now I've decided to move on to
something really difficult: I will
not rest until both of you are safely
in the fold.
I've had four wives, good luck.
The struggle is the glory...
(HOLD ON the three
PATTERSON, the next morning, working with Abdullah and some
others at the bridge.
STARLING completing work on the fence from the day before.
It's high and taut and he's done a terrific job.
A BUNCH OF OTHER MEN are working near a large grassy field.
One of the men starts a chant. The others pick it up. It's
PATTERSON wading into the river--he stops as the sound of
the chant comes distantly to him on the wind.
THE WORKMEN CHANTING LOUDER. It's turning into a stunner of
a day--glorious blue sky broken up by pale clouds.
STARLING. Pauses briefly, listening to the sound of the men.
THE MEN WORKING AND SINGING. As before.
THE GRASSY FIELD. As before--
--except it isn't. Because if you looked carefully, something
flicked in a 180 degree arc. No telling what it was, it was
gone too quickly.
THE MEN WORKING, SINGING ON.
PATTERSON waist deep in the river, listening to the sound of
the men, of the birds. The sun is higher in the sky.
THE GRASSY FIELD--
and here it comes again, only the other way this time,
flicking back in another 180 degree arc--
still hard to tell for sure what it was but maybe it was
this: a tail. Now quickly--
PATTERSON wading out of the river as Samuel comes into view.
He holds an envelope.
Thank you, Samuel.
(watching as Patterson
(glancing at the letter)
I expect so--it's from my wife.
Do you love her?
I do, actually; very much.
(his wonderful smile)
You give me hope, John.
(As he walks away--)
STARLING, probing at the thorn fence, searching out any last
Behind him now, in the tall grass, something moves.
Starling, intent on his work, notices nothing.
THE SINGING MEN, getting more and more into it.
PATTERSON, by the river, reading the letter.
There is a large tree up the riverbank. It casts a large
In the shadow now, something moves.
Patterson, intent on his reading, notices nothing.
Darling one--the big excitement
yesterday was when some school--
children spotted a whale--
they were looking at me, John--
HELENA, in their bedroom, moving across to the window, staring
out. She now has a considerable stomach.
That was an attempt at humor but I
don't feel very funny these days. I
miss you terribly and after our son--
I still have total confidence--well,
after he's born I think travel might
be broadening. As he kicks me at
night I'm quite sure he's telling me
he definitely wants to come to Africa.
Thought you might need reminding.
PATTERSON by the river. He smiles, folds the letter. Now--
THE SINGING WORKMEN at Tsavo station--and they sense how
good they sound, and they really concentrate on it, on making
that sound even better--
there must be twenty of them, working and singing--
PATTERSON, turning his head sharply and
STARLING, doing the same and
THE SCREAMING WORKMEN and they're running now, running and
shrieking and that's all we see, the workmen--
some of them run left--
some run right--
--and now a few of them are starting to cry.
A FAT COOLIE running and running, glancing back, screaming
louder, running on and on and
--a shadow in the grass--no telling what--but it's big and
it's moving and
THE FAT COOLIE and this next goes so fast it could be a dream--
or, more accurately, a nightmare--
SHOCK CUT TO:
A GIGANTIC WHITE MANED LION as it leaps onto the Fat Coolie,
brings him to earth, bites his neck in two, kills him, just-
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL, as they race away from the river and
STARLING, running from the fenced area--he holds a rifle in
ANOTHER PART OF THE CAMP AND A DIFFERENT BUNCH OF WORKMEN--
they freeze as the screams reach them and
PATTERSON, on the way to his tent area and
DIFFERENT WORKMEN listening in fear and
PATTERSON, racing to his tent, grabbing his rifle and
STARLING, running toward the screaming and
PATTERSON, as he charges ahead, loading his rifle on the fly
SAMUEL, carrying more ammunition, running behind Patterson,
keeping up and
TSAVO STATION and nothing is visible now--the men are gone
and from this angle, it looks deserted and
PATTERSON, catching Starling, leading him into the TSAVO
STATION area, Samuel just behind them.
RECTANGULAR SHED, ahead of them. They move to it, slow--
then they stop--
--a sound is heard- from around the corner--the sound
continues--Patterson glances at Starling--the sound could be
this: the crunching of bones.
PATTERSON, checking his rifle.
STARLING, doing the same. Samuel, holding the extra
ammunition, moves close to Patterson. Now--
PATTERSON as he suddenly steps away from the shed, rounding
the corner and as he does--
THE WHITE LION, with the Fat Coolie--the lion is crunching
at his feet--
--then the lion stares toward the shed as we
PATTERSON, moving out into clearer view, Starling and Samuel
right with him. THE LION is a good distance away.
THE WHITE LION, a low growl coming from him as he takes the
coolie's body by the shoulder, begins backing away with it.
PATTERSON, dropping to his knees for the shot and
STARLING, doing the same and
THE WHITE LION, growling louder and
PATTERSON, taking aim and
SAMUEL, crying out and pointing and suddenly we're into super
Samuel has pointed back toward the roof of the shed and--
and this thing is suddenly there--
--this huge dark thing and it seems to suddenly appear from
the flat roof of the shed and
THE SUN, blocked out as this dark thing moves across it,
fully stretched, it seems to go on forever and
PATTERSON, turning around to see and
STARLING, turning too, and we're coming back into regular
motion now as we
This enormous BLACK-MANED LION diving into the three, sending
them all sprawling and
THE WHITE MANED LION roaring and
THE BLACK MANED LION roaring, running to the other and
THE TWO LIONS IN CLOSE UP
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS, for that is how they will be
and The Ghost has blood and bits of flesh on its mouth--
The Darkness has eyes that are crazed--
they are destruction bringers, these two, they can kill the
old and the young and the fat and the strong--
PATTERSON, lying in pain, dazed, shoulder bleeding, trying
to reach for his rifle and
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS, the white and the black, as they
move toward the field of tall grass, roaring and
SAMUEL, lying in pain, his leg is bleeding and
PATTERSON'S RIFLE AND
PATTERSON, as he reaches it, manages to lift it and the
roaring sounds are deafening now and
THE TWO GIGANTIC MALES, backing into the tall grass--
they roar one final time--
PATTERSON, gun ready to fire but it's futile and he knows it
THE TALL GRASS and they're gone, the grass is full of moving
patterns from the wind- that's all we see--just the grass
blowing this way, that way--
PATTERSON, staggering to his feet, staring at the grassy
Jesus, two of them...
SAMUEL. Dazed too. He points. Patterson registers, turns and
STARLING, LYING DEAD, his throat ripped open. HOLD briefly
on the young man, then--
THE STATION AREA
train from Mombassa is slowly pulling in. And things are
fairly chaotic--there is the usual activity of what is
ordinarily one of the busier parts in camp--
--but now, something new has been added: Abdullah is there
with several dozen coolies who work under his command. They
are waiting for the train.
Patterson and Samuel are there too--and at the moment,
Abdullah and Patterson are in the middle of a screamer--first
one of them walking away, then coming back, then the other
doing the same.
(shouting over the
noise of the
Oh, sing a different song, Abdullah--
(gesturing toward the
men who stand by the
--there's nothing wrong with your
men so stop telling me there is--
(advancing on Patterson
--you do not call me a liar--you
know nothing of their health--consider
yourself fortunate I persuaded so
many to stay--consider yourself
fortunate I have decided to stay--
You think you matter?
(gesturing toward the
train which is close
to stopping now)
--Beaumont is on that train--he
PATTERSON, moving in on Abdullah now--
He sees this chaos, he'll replace
He'll replace you, too--that's all
you really care about.
You think so? Fine.
It's best you get out. Go. Tell all
your people to go, run home where
they'll be safe under the covers and
when the bridge is built and the
railroad is done, they can tell their
women that out of all the thousands
who worked here, they were the only
ones to flee--
(And he wheels around,
starts to walk away
ABDULLAH. Quiet, staring after Patterson.
SAMUEL. Patterson has won. As the two of them exchange a
BEAUMONT standing in the door of a passenger car, handsome
as ever. Somehow his clothes are still pressed.
Patterson moves up. In a splendid mood. Samuel is happy too.
(stepping off the
How could it be? I hate Africa.
Now there is the sudden sound of men singing--Patterson looks
around and we
ABDULLAH and his workmen, moving away from the train- they
are singing the same song that the workmen sang just before
The Ghost and The Darkness attacked--it's pretty--but it's
also a little unnerving.
BEAUMONT. Listening a moment.
Lovely sound--they seem happy.
Don't they, though?
So work must be going well?
PATTERSON. He and Samuel share another glance.
There has been the occasional odd
hiccup--but then, as you so wisely
told me, I'd never built in Africa.
But overall, you're pleased?
I have never experienced anything
BEAUMONT; almost longingly looks back at the train.
I almost feel like getting right
(glances at his watch)
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL. They do not breathe.
BEAUMONT. He really wants to leave and for a moment it looks
like he just might.
I suppose it would be a dereliction
of duty not to at least look around.
Now Abdullah wanders happily by.
Morning, friend, glorious day.
As are they all.
BEAUMONT. He takes a step inside the passenger car.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL. Hoping.
BEAUMONT. Reluctantly returning. He has a large box.
I do need to see Starling.
Awhile back he ordered some bibles--
(INDICATING THE BOX)
--I've brought them.
Is he here?
Yes he is.
Well, I need to speak to him.
Let me deliver the bibles.
BEAUMONT. His eyes flick from one man to the other. It's
Where is Starling?
PATTERSON. The jig is up. He gestures--
Here he comes now.
(And on that--)
HALF A DOZEN NATIVES CARRYING STARLING'S COFFIN. They start
to put it on the train and as they do--
BEAUMONT. Stunned. And furious! He storms off the train and
as Beaumont sees it. Patterson and Samuel are with him.
Little more work has been done than the last time we saw it.
A few men are working slowly.
And now there are guards with rifles patrolling it.
BEAUMONT. A deadly look at them. He storms off.
as Beaumont sees it--Patterson, Samuel, and Hawthorne stand
It's much more crowded than the last time. Still under
control, but barely.
Beaumont is icy now. He gestures sharply toward Hawthrone to
OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL
THE FOUR MEN speak low and fast--
What in hell is going on?
The Ghost and The Darkness have come.
It's what the natives are calling
two lions have been causing trouble--
--what's the surprise in that, this
It hasn't been that simple so far.
What have they done besides kill
How many have they killed?
(Patterson nods for
Hawthorne to answer)
HAWTHORNE. Doing his best.
Well, of course, I can't supply a
totally accurate answer because there
are those that are actually
authenticated and there are those
that we once thought were workers
killing each other or deserting from
camp so any number I give is subject
Thirty, I should think.
(whirling on Patterson)
What are you doing about it?
(Now from there--)
SOMETHING VERY ODD:
We are looking at a small railroad car in a deserted area.
This is not near the track but off by itself, in an area
surrounded by thorn trees.
Several workers are erecting a cloth tent to cover it, trying
to disguise the fact that the small railroad car is, indeed,
nothing but a small railroad car.
It is difficult work and they are perspiring heavily.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON AND BEAUMONT looking at it.
This is supposed to be salvation?
(staring at Patterson)
What kind of idiocy are we dealing
I'm calling it my "contraption"--
we're going to surround it with a
boma--a fence, to you--and we're
going to leave a small opening
opposite that door.
THE RAILROAD CAR. There is, in fact, an open front door.
Patterson gestures for Beaumont to follow him inside.
INSIDE THE CAR AS THEY ENTER. It has been divided in half by
thick metal bars from floor to ceiling. The bars are close
together, only a few inches between them.
In that half will be bait--human
bait--I'll start things off--
(points to the open
--a sliding door will fit above that
and a trip wire will run across the
(The smile is back)
Genius--the beast will enter, tripping
the wire, the door will slide down,
trapping him, you, safe behind the
bars, will have him at your mercy
and will shoot him.
Patterson nods. Beaumont explodes.
Are you running a high fever, man?
How could you expect something as
lunatic as this to succeed? How could
you even conceive of it?
I didn't conceive of it for the lions--
I built one in India when there was
trouble with a tiger.
And it worked?
(He hates to say this)
In point of fact, it didn't.
But I'm convinced the theory is sound.
THE TWO OF THEM. They move outside. The tension between them
is considerable. Beaumont looks at Patterson for too long a
I made a mistake hiring you--you're
simply not up to the job.
PATTERSON. CLOSE UP.
You genuinely enjoy trying to terrify
people, don't you? Well, fine--
--except there isn't a higher rated
engineer and we both know that. And
since time is so important to you,
how long do you think it would take
to find someone else qualified and
bring him here?
Let me explain about time--you've
been here three months and already
two months behind. And the Germans
and the French are gearing up. And I
don't care about you and I don't
care about the thirty dead--I care
about my knighthood and if this
railroad finishes on schedule, I'll
get my knighthood and I want it.
(glancing around as
Samuel appears, goes
to the workers)
Professional hunters may be the
All they'll bring is more chaos and
we've plenty of that already--and if
they come in, word will get out--and
what happens to your knighthood then?
I'm going to try and locate Redbeard--
I assume you've heard of him.
Every man who's ever fired a rifle
has heard of him--by the time you
find him, the lions will be dead.
Very well, the job's still yours,
I'll go. But if I have to return,
you're finished. And I will then do
everything I can to destroy your
reputation. Am I not fair?
(The great smile
Told you you'd hate me.
(And he turns, walks
SAMUEL. Moving up to Patterson. Samuel has a bag.
(staring after Beaumont)
I do hate him.
(takes the bag from
Samuel, pulls out
I want you to distribute one bag of
flares to every tent area--
(takes out a flare)
tell the men to light them if there's
--make it two bags.
(HOLD briefly, then--)
PATTERSON. ALONE. THAT NIGHT. IN HIS CONTRAPTION.
A lamp burns alongside him. Across the bars, the door of the
railroad car is open. Flickering shadows. Above the doorway
is a thick wooden slab the size of the door. On the ground,
barely visible, the trip wire.
THE DOORWAY. Outside, something is moving.
PATTERSON, rifle ready, holding his breath.
THE DOORWAY. SIlence. Nothing moves now.
PATTERSON. He rubs his eyes with his hands...
FLICKERING SHADOWS on the wall. It's later that night.
PATTERSON. The man is bleary with fatigue. He sits in a corner
of the car, writing a letter.
PATTERSON'S VOICE (V.O.)
"Dearest... ...peace and tranquility
continue to abound here--the workers
report each day with a smile--except
for your absence, this whole
adventunre is providing me nothing
THE FLICKERING WALLS OF THE RAILWAY CAR. It's later still.
Patterson, finished writing, stares out at the night.
A FLARE, rising brightly toward the sky.
PATTERSON, seeing the flare. The man is miserable.
A TREE BRANCH. MANY FLOWERS AS WELL AS THE CLAW THORNS.
The branch is destroyed, the flowers blown away.
PATTERSON AND THREE INDIAN COOLIES. NOT FAR FROM HIS
THE COOLIES hold rifles. They look like brothers, which they
are. They also look tough. And they are that, too. THREE
Very good indeed.
(he wears glasses)
We have hunted since childhood.
All right--you'll spend your nights
(He indicates the
railroad car. The
You'll have plenty of ammunition.
You're totally protected, you have
really nothing to fear.
That is correct.
Patterson looks at the three men. Obviously, he could not
have chosen better. From them--
THE BRIDGE. DAY.
A lot of men working under Patterson. Progress is slow.
THE BRIDGE. NIGHT.
Some men sit on the part that's been built. Spending the
night there for protection. Now, they all turn and we
ANOTHER FLARE going off in another part of camp.
PATTERSON, in a tree alone, in despair.
THE THREE COOLIES IN THE RAILROAD CAR
Tough as ever. Ready for anything. But nothing is happening.
THE BRIDGE AGAIN AS NIGHT FALLS--MORE CROWDED THAN BEFORE.
STILL MORE MEN are moving into the river. They wade til the
water is up to their necks. Then they reach out, hold hands,
start to sing.
PATTERSON moving high into a tree. He listens to the sound.
MOONLIGHT ON THE WATER. The men stand as before, singing
softly. The river here is calm, no current to speak of. The
men are safe--
-or rather they should be.
THE DARKNESS swimming softly, his great jaws silently
encircling the neck of the last man in line, pulling him
silently away and as the others start to scream--
PATTERSON, watching another flare rise, helplessly listening.
CATTLE PEN. The cattle are nervous--
--one of them kicks wildly at the wind.
They should be nervous--
--The Ghost walks among them, chooses which one to kill,
leaps on it, brings it to earth as the dust rises.
ANOTHER FLARE IN THE NIGHT
THE HOSPITAL. DAY. PACKED.
HAWTHORNE seems overwhelmed.
And for a moment we don't know what it is. There is a faint
light and now we see what it is we're looking at: a wire.
HOLD ON THE WIRE
And now a paw walks across it--
and the instant that happens--
THE DOOR OF THE RAILROAD CAR slamming loudly down and
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
THE DARKNESS, standing alone in one half of the railroad car--
it's incredible, just incredible but Patterson's idea actually
KEEP PULLING BACK TO REVEAL
The entire of the car--the thick bars separating the two
halves. In one half, the huge lion. In the other, the three
armed, tough coolies.
For a moment, it could be a frozen tableau--both sides are
too startled and surprised to do anything but stare--
--and then all hell just explodes as we
THE DARKNESS, and this incredible roar comes from his throat,
the kind of roar that can be heard five miles away in the
night but this one in the enclosed room sounds even louder
and more terrifying and
THE DARKNESS, throwing his huge body at the bars and
THE BARS and both his front claws are slashing through and
THE THREE TOUGH COOLIES and they retreat against the rear
wall of the car.
THE DARKNESS, rage building, throwing its body at the bars
THE COOLIES, pressed in fear against the far wall, unable to
do anything but stare and
THE CLAWS, ripping at the air and
THE DARKNESS, leaping forward, smashing into the bars and
THE CEILING WHERE THE BARS are connected and the sheer power
of his leap has made them jiggle just the least bit and
THE COOLIES, staring up at the ceiling and
THE DARKNESS, AND HERE HE COMES AGAIN, roaring and his body
hits the bars and
THE CEILING--and the bars shake--
--but they're not giving way.
THE TOUGH COOLIES, as they begin to realize this and
THE DARKNESS, clawing for them and
THE DARKNESS, raging and roaring on his side of the bars and
THE FIRST COOLIE, raising his gun and
THE SECOND COOLIE, his gun raised too and
THE THIRD COOLIE and he's ready and
All three as they fire--
and fire again, and reload, and--
THE RAILROAD CAR--and suddenly the lamp is knocked over--
and a fire starts, flames grow and it's starting to look
like hell in there--
only it gets worse as we--
THE DARKNESS at the bars--
and suddenly it stands up--it seems to fill the car, towering
over everything, it's like a nightmare come to kill you--
THE COOLIES staring up at this giant thing, and of course
they're more terrified now than they've ever been in their
lives--but these are tough men and they ignore the flames,
ignore the deafening roars of the beast and
THE DARKNESS, standing there, going crazy on his side of the
bars, trying to knock them down but they're holding and
THE TOUGH COOLIES, reloading and
THE DARKNESS, racing around the enclosed area now and he's
trapped and the flames make him seem like something unalive
and his eyes have never been so bright, his roars as deafening
THE THREE COOLIES, firing again and
THE DARKNESS, leaping at the bars again, and they shake,
sure they shake, but they keep on holding and
THE COOLIES, firing, reloading, firing, reloading and as
they do, something's starting to come clear--
--amazing as it may seem, impossible as it may be to conceive,
THE DARKNESS, whirling on his side, roaring and leaping and
THE COOLIES and sure they fire, but they're still so goddamn
THE DOOR THAT SLID DOWN--it's held in place by some thick
--and now the Coolies start to hit something--the wooden
bars because they begin to splinter and
THE DARKNESS, whirling, leaping at the bars and
THE COOLIES firing and then--
THE DOOR as it flops open and just like that--
THE DARKNESS. Out the door and gone. HOLD.
PATTERSON JUST AFTER DAWN IN THE DAMAGED RAILROAD CAR.
Patterson stands where The Darkness was. The three Coolies
are where they spent the night, on the other side of the
This was the lowest point yet for Patterson. Not only had
his notion come so close to working, he could never fully
comprehend how the coolies missed. It never seemed possible--
but of course, it really happened.
Not once?--you didn't hit it once?--
--I would never make excuses--but a
fire broke out--the light was bad--
he kept moving--
--well, of course he kept moving--
but he couldn't have been more than
ten feet away from the three of you--
surely you must have wounded the
I assure you we came close many times--
Abdullah is in the doorway near Patterson now--with several
dozen men. And from Abdullah's face, this is clearly going
to be a confrontation.
--the next time we will do better.
(Patterson makes no
ABDULLAH, simmering, moving straight to Patterson as soon as
The next time will be as this time--
The Devil has come to Tsavo--
(not in a mood for
--that's ridiculous talk and you
can't seriously believe it--
rising as others
crowd behind him)
--now you're telling me my beliefs?--
I don't think so--
THE BUSH just beyond--something is moving--an animal?--
Impossible to say.
I wasn't and you know it and don't
push it--just listen--we have a
problem in Tsavo-
--at last you're right--we do--you
are the problem in Tsavo--
Patterson and Abdullah and suddenly it's dangerous.
You do not tell me "careful"--you do
not tell me anything--you listen
while I talk--
(Now suddenly a shadow
seems to cross--)
ABDULLAH. CLOSE UP. His eyes widen.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
AN ENORMOUS PISTOL. Pressed hard against Abdullah's temple.
--change in plan--you listen while I
talk--because you have a question
that needs answering.
Will I pull the trigger?
PULL BACK FURTHER TO REVEAL
We are looking at one of those legends--ageless and powerful,
with a tanned face and a thick grey beard. He has seen
everything and is capable of anything.
Just now he seems more than capable of killing Abdullah.
Very calmly, he cocks the pistol.
It's Redbeard, Abdullah--he'll kill
(not looking around)
No hints, Samuel.
(The name has
You don't know all that has happened
here--the Devil has come to Tsavo.
You're right. The Devil has come.
Look at me. I am the Devil.
ABDULLAH, staring at Redbeard. Right now Redbeard just could
I am a man of peace.
Am I to take it you want to live?
Most certainly. Absolutely. Yes.
(Now he suddenly
reaches out, shakes
Your name is Abdullah? I'm sure we'll
meet again. Go and enjoy the splendid
I think it's been a pleasure.
REDBEARD, and now he does another surprising thing: embraces
You got old.
(Now he releases
Samuel, turns to
I'm sure you're John Patterson.
(before Patterson can
Stay out of my way.
(And without another
word, he's gone)
as Redbeard moves through, taking it all in. It's even worse
than when we last saw it--bodies crammed everywhere and always
the sound of pain and sickness.
Patterson stands in the doorway, watching, waiting.
(as Redbeard approaches)
I didn't have a chance to thank you.
What did I do?
Got me out of trouble.
(matter of fact)
Nonsense--Samuel would have done
(starts to move on)
We need to talk.
Let me save time--(1) you are the
engineer; (2) you are in charge; (3)
you're sorry I'm here. Right so far?
Good--because (1) I am not an
engineer, (2) I don't want to be in
charge, and (3) I'm sorrier than you
are that I'm here--I hate Tsavo. So
I will help you by killing the lions
and leaving, and you will help me by
doing what I tell you so I can leave.
See any problems?
All right--let's go into battle.
(as they shake)
Somehow I guessed.
(As they move outside--)
THE FRONT OF THE HOSPITAL
A BUNCH OF MEN WAIT. Hawthorne, Samuel, Abdullah, and perhaps
a dozen other worker leaders. Redbeard and Patterson move to
Starting now, we attack them.
How; we don't know where they are?
We'll have to make them come to us,
won't we? And since there are two of
them, we're going to set two plans
First: we must move the entire
hospital by tomorrow night.
That's a terrible idea--
--is it, I'm sorry, but then, of
course, you're the doctor, you should
Silliest thing I ever heard of--why
in the world should we go through
I suppose I could answer you. I
suppose I could explain that the
place is so inviting, what with the
smell of blood and flesh, that they
have to strike. It's even possible
that I tell you I found some fresh
paw marks around back which means
they're already contemplating feasting
(Turning on Hawthorne
But I don't want to answer you because
when you question me you are really
saying that I don't have the least
idea what I am doing, that I am
nothing but an incompetent, that I
am a fool.
Anyone who finds me a fool, please
say so now.
(The words burst out)
I have been desperate for Patterson
to let me move the hospital since
the day he arrived.
Then we agree.
(And on that--)
BEGIN THE BUILDING SEQUENCE.
It was a huge effort and they got half of it done that day--
but there was always the sense of impending bloodshed.
What we see first are Patterson and a bunch of shots of a
lot of workers--laying out the dimensions of the new boma
that would surround the place. This was to be by far the
biggest wall fence they had in Tsavo.
And now here comes Abdullah leading a crowd of men, wading
into a huge patch of thorn trees, cutting the thick branches
down, starting to load them for carrying--
and it's high noon now, and Patterson drenched with sweat,
leads the start of the actual building--taking the thorn
branches, bunching them together, forcing them so there is
no room between them--
and we can just begin to get the sense of what the fence
will be--except at the moment it's barely a foot high--
--and now Redbeard appears, beckons to Patterson, and
A LONG SHOT OF A FLAT GRASSY PLAIN. AFTERNOON NOW.
Patterson, Redbeard, and Samuel walk quickly.
SAMUEL turning to Redbeard and Patterson.
I have to ask--why do you need me?
I don't really. But understand
something--even though it may take
me two or three days to sort this
(Patterson has to
smile at the phrase)
--when I'm gone, you'll still have
to build the bridge. And I don't
want the men to have lost respect
(kind of surprised)
That's very considerate.
I'm always considerate--my mother
taught me that.
SAMUEL, who just breaks out laughing.
Why do you laugh?--you don't believe
she taught me?
I don't believe you had a mother.
(And as Redbeard laughs
A MASAI VILLAGE as they approach. Redbeard walks ahead.
You like him, don't you?
Oh yes. But it takes time.
You've known him long?
Since his beard was red.
INSIDE THE VILLAGE. AN AGED CHIEF RUNS THINGS.
Redbeard, Patterson and Samuel stand near him. WOMEN and
CHILDREN are there. Some of the children look at Redbeard,
mime shooting, fall down dead. Samuel translates as necessary.
How many cattle?
Four should do it.
They will want a lot of money.
Have you got it?
No, but you do--
--see, you were needed after all.
And fifty warriors at the camp before
(Samuel explains. The
Masai Chief replies.
Why so many?
Because I have two plans to kill the
lions--one involving the cattle, the
other the men.
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON watching as Samuel tells the Chief.
THE MASAI CHIEF. He moves toward Redbeard and Patterson. As
he speaks, Samuel translates quietly. There is a sadness in
the Chief's tone.
The Ghost and the Darkness have
come... and we can do nothing... but
if you anger them... they will stay
in Tsavo... and life will become
more unbearable, that I know...
PATTERSON, watching as Redbeard replies.
Two lions are all that have come...
they're only lions, that I know.
And I will kill them both tomorrow.
(HOLD BRIEFLY, then--)
SHADOWS AND FIRELIGHT. IT'S NIGHT NOW.
We're not sure for a moment where we are but we can hear
Now we hear voices.
REDBEARD VOICE (V.O.)
I'll need you by me in the morning.
SAMUEL VOICE (V.O.)
Whatever you wish.
WHERE WE ARE--IT'S PATTERSON'S TENT AREA. Patterson, Redbeard,
Hawthorne, and Samuel sit around a fire.
They are cleaning their guns, getting ready.
A WORD ABOUT THEIR WEAPONS. Patterson's is a good rifle and
he cleans it expertly.
Redbeard's surprisingly, is the oldest. And the way his hands
move as he assembles it, he might be bathing a child.
Hawthorne is the least skilled of the three. But his rifle
is clearly the finest. Bigger than the others, with great
There is a tremendous tension--Patterson, Hawthorne, and
Samuel show it. Redbeard is as before.
You're certain about tomorrow?
But you don't seem excited.
You don't enjoy killing, do you?
Then why do it?
REDBEARD. CLOSE UP. He stares at the fire. Then--
I have a gift.
THE CAMPFIRE. Silence for a moment except for the sound of
the weapons being reassembled. Redbeard's hands fly. His
rifle is back together. He stands, nods, goes.
HAWTHORNE, watching him.
Has he always been this way?
Much gentler now.
(shakes his head on
(He holds out his
Change guns with me--mine's much
more powerful. I'll be finishing the
hospital tomorrow so I won't be with
you--but if you'll use this...
...then I will.
Patterson, touched, changes weapons.
(He turns to Samuel)
Why does he need you by him?
He doesn't. He needs nobody. But we
have hunted many times...
...he knows I am afraid of lions...
HOLD ON THE FIRELIGHT UNTIL WE SHARPLY--
THE BRIDGE. BEFORE DAWN.
Misty--hard to see much.
Then GHOSTS appear--
they're not ghosts, they're MASAI WARRIORS emerging from the
mists. They are powerful and painted and they carry
noisemaking equipment--tin cans and tom toms and as more and
more of them materialize--
A HUGE THICKET
Redbeard, Patterson, and Samuel wait as the Warriors approach.
I spotted one of them--
(gesturing toward the
THE THICKET again--alive with thorn trees. Dark, filled with
long dark shadows.
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON AND SAMUEL. A lot of tension.
The best way to ensure the kill when
you're using trackers is for one to
shoot while the other uses the
trackers to force the lion toward
the shooter. Have you ever led
I can try.
Samuel says you killed a lion.
It was probably luck--I'd rather you
did the shooting.
You'd never force the lion to me--
and nobody ever got a lion with one
shot by luck.
Around there's a clearing--you'll
know it from the anthills-- get there
and hide and listen to the sounds--
I'll make the lion come directly to
(He gestures for
Patterson to take
off and as he does--)
THE WARRIORS as Redbeard goes to them--
(as Samuel translates)
--all of you--spread the width of
the clearing--no gaps--go--
(claps his hands once)
THE WARRIORS, spreading apart.
THE SUN. Starting to appear more strongly on the horizon.
PATTERSON, running like hell.
THE WARRIORS, moving quickly, silently.
A THICK CLUSTER OF THORN TREES
PATTERSON, ducking his head, blasting through.
THE WARRIORS, starting to cover the entire width of the
PATTERSON, quick stepping over rocky terrain.
SAMUEL staying close to Redbeard. The fear is there.
REDBEARD, studying the position of the Warriors, who are
PATTERSON, circling now, racing toward a clearing, picking
THE WARRIORS, spread out. They look to Redbeard.
REDBEARD. Not yet.
PATTERSON, racing into the clearing, glances around--lots of
AN ANTHILL, eight feet high. It casts a long shadow.
PATTERSON. Holding Hawthorne's marvelous rifle, he slips
silently into the shadow.
HOLD ON PATTERSON--it's almost as if he weren't there.
CUT SHARPLY TO:
REDBEARD. CLOSE UP. Suddenly screaming and
SAMUEL, screaming too and
THE WHOLE LINE OF WARRIORS, suddenly moving forward, all of
them shouting and screaming and pounding on their drums and
it is loud.
PATTERSON in the shadow. The noise is faint--but he can hear
A DOZEN DRUMMERS, moving forward, banging away.
A DOZEN MORE DRUMMERS, even louder.
REDBEARD, moving forward, his eyes flicking ahead--
THE THICKET AHEAD. Nothing. No movement. No lion.
PATTERSON. Just the least bit louder now.
THE WHOLE LINE OF WARRIORS, screaming and pounding and
SAMUEL--the fear worse, dogging Redbeard's steps.
REDBEARD. His eyes flicking ahead.
THE THICKET AHEAD. Nothing. No movement. No lion.
PATTERSON. It's a lot louder now. He's totally still. And
THE DENSEST PART OF THE THICKET we've seen yet.
THE WARRIORS, slashing their way through, drumming and
REDBEARD, at their head, eyes, as always, flicking.
THE THICKET AHEAD. Nothing. No movement. No lion.
REDBEARD--starting to suddenly get louder and point--
because something is there--
CUT BACK TO:
THE THICKET AHEAD, and we didn't see it before, only Redbeard
saw it before--
--but now something begins to move and
REDBEARD AND THE WARRIORS and it's all going crazy now, and
they're starting to move faster and
PATTERSON IN THE SHADOW
The noise has kicked up and all the time it's coming closer
REDBEARD AND THE WARRIORS and the movement up ahead is more
distinct and the Warriors are almost in a frenzy as we
FLASH OF THE GHOST IN THE THICKET--eyes bright--it starts to
move away from the sound--
--and toward where Patterson is waiting.
REDBEARD. Faster, screaming louder and
SAMUEL and the fear starting to leave and he screams louder
PATTERSON--he fingers the weapon.
THE GHOST, angrily retreating faster from the sound--and now
instead of going straight back it begins to veer left and
REDBEARD, immediately spotting the shift, gesturing to the
Warriors to get left and
THE WARRIORS, shifting over as Redbeard directed, blocking
The Ghost's intended path and
THE GHOST, shifting, trying to go the other way this time
REDBEARD; he spots that too, gestures for the Warriors to
shift the other way and
THE WARRIORS, racing to their new positions, blocking the
animal's path again and
THE GHOST, rattled, upset, and now it starts retreating back
in the original direction--toward Patterson and
REDBEARD AND THE WHOLE LONG LINE OF MEN, and it's as if mass
hysteria has gripped them, because their sound keeps building
and sure, their throats must ache and yes, their arms must
tire, but you couldn't tell that from what they're doing--
PATTERSON. Waiting by the anthill. Waiting. Then, at last--
THE GHOST, backing into view, staring back at the sound,
unaware of Patterson's existence behind him.
PATTERSON. Noiselessly he steps away from the anthill into
the sunlight. He raises Hawthorne's gun.
THE GHOST, backing toward Patterson.
PATTERSON, sighting along the glistening barrel.
THE GHOST, starting to turn.
PATTERSON, ready to fire.
THE GHOST IN CLOSE UP, CAUGHT IN THE CROSSHAIRS OF THE RIFLE.
And now its lips go back as it sees Patterson.
PATTERSON, CLOSE UP, and this is it, this is the moment and
as he squeezes the trigger--
PATTERSON AND THE GHOST, and a totally unexpected sound--a
dull snap--Hawthorne's rifle has misfired.
THE GHOST, unharmed and
PATTERSON desperately working the rifle, trying to make it
THE GHOST. It stares at Patterson.
PATTERSON, and the goddamn gun won't work and he's a dead
PATTERSON AND THE GHOST--
and for a moment, they might be frozen in some horrible
Then THE GHOST roars--
REDBEARD as he hears it, breaking into a wild run--
Shoot for chrissakes!--
PATTERSON standing his ground as now THE GHOST takes a step
REDBEARD, firing, reloading on the move, and up ahead is the
clearing and as he reaches it--
THE GHOST. Its great head turns in the direction of Redbeard
REDBEARD's position--anthills block him from getting a clear
shot at the animal--he curses, races for a better position
THE GHOST. One final stare at Patterson--
then it makes an effortless leap into the thicket--
--and it's safe and free and gone.
PATTERSON. CLOSE UP. Rocked.
The low point of his life.
SAMUEL, catching up to Redbeard.
Did you ever see a lion that size?
Not even close.
(Now he moves to
...misfire... it jammed...
Has it ever done that before?
REDBEARD. Trying for control.
You exchanged weapons?
You went into battle with an untried
REDBEARD. CLOSE UP. For a moment it's impossible to tell
what he's going to do. It seems that a Homeric burst of fury
is about to happen.
PATTERSON. Drained, he expects it. It's very quiet.
REDBEARD, studying the younger man. And when he finally
speaks, his voice is surprisingly quiet.
They have an expression in
prizefighting: "everyone has a plan
until they're hit."
You've just been hit...
...the getting up is up to you...
(And he turns, moves
THE NEW HOSPITAL
Nearly finished. The fence is eight feet high and Hawthorne
is supervising men and material that are being transferred.
REDBEARD, checking security in the New Hospital which is
close to the center of camp. (The Old Hospital was situated
on the outskirts, because they wanted to keep the workers
away from the sick and the wounded.) Late afternoon, now.
Patterson, Samuel and Hawthorne are moving with him. As are
TWO EXPERIENCED ORDERLIES, both armed with powerful rifles.
Patterson is silent here, the effects of the misfire still
evident on his face.
(to the Orderlies)
Gentlemen, there's no sickness smell
at all here, and little blood. When
we leave, close the gate securely,
don't open it 'til morning and keep
your fires high. Any questions, ask
to Samuel and
You two will sleep beautifully in
And stay there.
And where will you sleep beautifully?
Patterson and I will be in the old
hospital--where the enticing smell
of sickness still lingers--
--and by the time we're done, I
promise you, the odor of blood will
(And on that--)
THE OLD HOSPITAL. STARTING TO GET DARK.
Redbeard and Patterson have buckets which they empty around
the inside perimeter--
--buckets of blood.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. Darker. They empty still more full
buckets of blood. Redbeard seems pleased.
SAMUEL AND HAWTHORNE, hurrying toward their camp.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, leading Masai cattle into the grounds
of the Old Hospital.
THE ORDERLIES IN THE NEW HOSPITAL, firmly closing and locking
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, just outside the fence of the Old
Hospital--they carry many large chunks of raw meat, drop
them as they move.
THE SUN. Dying... dying...
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. They slip inside the deserted Old
Hospital, pull the gate securely shut.
THE CATTLE. They stand in the center of the Old Hospital,
calling to each other.
THE NEW HOSPITAL. Full. Clean. The men are exhausted. Most
are already asleep. The Orderlies sit by a fire, alert for
THE OLD HOSPITAL. Patterson and Redbeard stand across from
their fire, waiting. The cows are quiet.
HAWTHORNE by his fire near his tent with Samuel. Nervously,
they drink tea.
THE MOON. Higher. An hour has passed. Perhaps more.
REDBEARD. Walking the fence perimeter.
PATTERSON. The cows are edgy. He calms the cows.
OUTSIDE THE OLD HOSPITAL. The large chunks of meat are visible
in the moonlight.
THE NEW HOSPITAL. The orderlies are calm.
REDBEARD, still walking the perimeter.
PATTERSON sitting by the fire, staring at the night. Redbeard
moves to him, speaks in a whisper.
Think about something else.
Have you ever failed?
Only in life...
(He walks away.
THE NEW HOSPITAL. The Orderlies tend the sick. Quietly.
THE NIGHT AND THE MOON. Lovely.
REDBEARD. Stalking the perimeter. No sound. The night is
PATTERSON. He stalks the perimeter now too, on the far side
from Redbeard--and suddenly a different and frightening sound--
the ripping of flesh--
CAMERA MOVES UP
Now we can see both Patterson inside and also outside where,
in shadow, The Ghost and The Darkness are devouring a hunk
Redbeard moves quickly across the perimeter, gestures for
Patterson to switch positions with him.
As he reaches where Patterson was, the eating sound stops.
Patterson reaches the far side of the fence.
Now the eating sound comes again, and again, BOTH LIONS are
outside, directly across from Patterson.
REDBEARD looks across the perimeter at Patterson. Whatever's
going on, it's sure as hell odd.
THE CATTLE--they are very upset suddenly--one of them kicks
out violently against the night--The same gesture the cattle
did just before The Ghost walked through their pen and killed
now a different sound is heard: scratching--
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD tracking the sound--
--the main gate is starting to be pushed in. Inside the gate
the ground is covered with blood stains from where they
emptied their buckets.
THE GATE. More pressure against it--it could give way any
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON and from the look on Redbeard's face,
this is it! Patterson sees this, readies his rifle and we--
THE CATTLE, going nuts and then--
THE GATE. All pressure gone.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. Patterson is furious.
It's all right. Stay ready.
(indicates the blood)
They know it's there.
Patterson takes a few steps away, stares at the moon.
REDBEARD; he studies Patterson who so clearly craves
(going to him)
Meant to ask you--the railroad car
trap. Your idea?
Excellent notion--I used the same
device myself once.
But of course yours worked.
In point of fact it didn't--but I'm
convinced the idea is sound.
He goes back to walking the perimeter. Patterson watches him--
and for the first time since the misfire, Patterson's mood
begins to lift.
THE NEW HOSPITAL
and an ORDERLY, blood pouring from his throat as he lies by
the fire and
THE SECOND ORDERLY rounding a corner, seeing the violence;
before he can scream--
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS suddenly beside him, and their
giant paws slap out so fast we can't follow and
THE SECOND ORDERLY, dropping to the ground, and now we're
starting to spin into madness and these next cuts go like
A TENT FULL OF SICK MEN with malaria and
PAW flashing and
THE DARKNESS, lips pulling back and
A SICK MAN, falling from his bed, blood pouring from his
slashed face and
TWO MORE SICK MEN, trying to rise and
THE GHOST, leaping on them and
THE DARKNESS, eyes narrow and brilliant and
SICK COOLIE, and he's terrified and he tries to scream--
--the sound barely escapes him, but even so, it's the first
cry we've heard and
THE ENTIRE CAMP, NIGHT, WITH ALL THE FIRES BURNING--AND
PATTERSON'S TENT AREA IS CLOSE BY--
--but the New Hospital is on the other end, a good distance
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, rifles ready--but no sound reaches
HAWTHORNE, out of his tent, because he's close by and he
heard it and he lights a torch, starts for the gate of the
camp as Samuel does his best to stop him--
--but Hawthorne rips free and we
A SECOND TENT, as it starts to collapse and
THE MEDICINE TENT, as The Ghost and The Darkness enter and
MEDICINE, flying across the tent and
GLASS, shattering and more medicine is destroyed and
A BLIZZARD OF CUTS, of lions' claws and lions' teeth and
those terrible bright blazing eyes and
A TENT POLE, being pulled out of the ground and
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS and what they are doing is this:
destroying the New Hospital and
MORE TENTS collapsing and
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS. CLOSE UP. Eyes crazed.
HAWTHORNE ALONE IN THE NIGHT, scared shitless as he runs.
SHADOWS, moving, as Hawthorne's torch lights the surroundings
HAWTHORNE, heart pounding, looking around and then he gasps
THE AREA NEARBY--TWO LARGE EYES are staring at him.
HAWTHORNE, panicked, stumbling, falling, getting up, staring
THE AREA AROUND HIM--the eyes are gone--
--and now there are loud shrieks in the night coming from
the New Hospital and the instant they are heard
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON, grabbing torches, throwing the gate
open and they're off as we
HAWTHORNE, running toward the New Hospital just up ahead
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, tearing through the night.
THE NEW HOSPITAL. (We see all this next through Hawthorne's
eyes.) The tents are all down. The place is devastated.
INSIDE THE FIRST TENT. Filled with the dead and the dying.
HAWTHORNE. Ashen. Moving on.
PAN ALONG THE TENT
Dead. Blood. Pain.
PAN TO THE SECOND TENT
It's a slaughterhouse.
HAWTHORNE. He's crushed. His body sags. He takes a breath,
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS are on him, roaring.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD as the roar reverberates--they glance
at each other--
--then they slow.
Because the New Hospital has come into view.
REDBEARD, CLOSE UP, staring at the disaster.
And this terrible crosses his face. For a moment, you think
he's going to fall. His body seems drained of all its power.
He stands there. Just stands there. Unable to move.
PATTERSON. And he does move. Slowly. Carefully. Into the
He stares around--the dead and the dying are everywhere.
Hawthorne, his face clawed almost unrecognizably, lies alone.
All that's left now is this: the sound of pain.
Dust rises. It covers everything. Only the sound remains.
Now different sounds take over--
--an incredible babble of human voices.
AND A RAILROAD TRAIN
Patterson walks through the dust. Samuel, a worried look on
his face, is a few steps behind.
We are at the STATION AREA and it is jammed. A train has
pulled into the station--
only you almost can't tell it's a train: all you can see are
workers climbing up, and the inside is full so the workers
clamber up onto the roofs of the cars--
covering the cars--
everyone is leaving--
--Patterson can only watch.
Abdullah stands on one of the cars--
--the train begins to pull out of the station.
More and more workers chase after it, get pulled on.
Now the station area is empty, the flat car roofs full.
Patterson still watches, eyes vacant.
Abdullah sees him, looks away.
The train gathers speed.
Rounds a corner...
Patterson turns from the scene, begins to walk. Samuel stays
close behind him, the worried look still there.
THE OLD HOSPITAL
A FEW AFRICAN ORDERLIES do the best they can. Patterson
watches only a moment, walks on. Samuel still behind him.
THE CAMP as Patterson walks through. A ghost town now. Only
THE CONTRAPTION where the coolies missed The Darkness.
Patterson looks at it a moment, walks on.
THE ANTHILL IN THE CLEARING where Patterson misfired.
Patterson looks at it a moment, walks on. And now, at last--
PATTERSON'S TENT AREA. One or two Africans. Samuel darts
into his tent, emerges with something, holds it out to
IT'S A NECKLACE OF LION CLAWS
Patterson makes an almost courtly bow of thanks, puts it on--
he never takes it off again. He walks on alone now until at
It stops abruptly, halfway done; the foundations are in place,
a lot of the scaffolding, but it's useless. Late afternoon.
Redbeard sits alone, high on one of the foundations. He looks
as he did the night before.
Patterson walks to the top of the near embankment. He is
unshaven, wrinkled, he fingers the lion claw necklace.
For a moment, neither says a word. Then--
(out of the blue)
It would have been a beautiful bridge,
John. I never noticed before, occupied
with other business, I suppose...
...never really pay much attention
to that kind of thing but I've had
the time today, nothing else on, and
this... it's graceful and the
placement couldn't be prettier...
(He goes silent now,
You just got hit.
The getting up is up to you--but
they're only lions--
--and I'm going after them crack of
(And on that--)
LONG SHOT OF A HIGH ROCKY CLIFF--
--we haven't seen anything like it before--it's hundreds of
feet tall--gorgeous early morning light.
As we watch, we realize there are two dots on the side of
As we watch a moment more, we realize the dots are moving.
CAMERA MOVES CLOSER
THE DOTS are Patterson and Redbeard, working their way along
the rock face. Patterson is much more nimble. It's dangerous,
of course, but neither of them seems to have that uppermost
in mind. They travel lightly--small knapsacks and their
THE TWO OF THEM as they make it over the cliff face. They
stand, stare out.
WHAT THEY SEE: the world. They move on.
A RAVINE. They are moving along the edge. It's tricky going--
if you fell you wouldn't much like it. They are both
concentrating on their movements, paying no attention to
each other as Redbeard starts to speak. They don't stop
In my town, when I was little, there
was a brute, a bully who terrorized
But he was not the problem. He had a
brother who was worse than he. But
the brother was not the problem.
One or the other of them was usually
in jail. The problem came when they
were both free together. The two
became different from either alone.
Alone they were only brutes. Together
they became lethal, together they
What happened to them?
I got big.
(They move on)
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD working their way up a steep ravine.
It's hard going. They help each other.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, moving along the edge of the ravine
now. Slow. Silent. Redbeard stops, points--
A TANGLE IN THE BUSHES AND THORNS with one odd thing about
it: there is a clearly defined archway, as if a buffalo or
rhino used it as a regular passage.
THE TWO OF THEM at the archway. They look at each other,
without a word move through it.
THE OTHER SIDE. A small clearing. And at the end of the
clearing: a cave.
THE CAVE MOUTH. Dark.
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON. They each check their guns, move
THE CAVE MOUTH. Closer. Suddenly it's getting eerie.
REDBEARD, moving slowly, Patterson right with him.
THE CAVE MOUTH. They're by it--Redbeard squints inside.
WHAT HE SEES: it's dark and dangerous and there is a long
low tunnel you have to half-crawl through.
Without a word, they start inside.
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON, crouched low, moving through the
tunnel. Ahead there is light. They move on.
THE END OF THE TUNNEL--they can see the cave beyond.
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON. They glance down. Nothing much there--
just a copper bracelet, the kind a native might wear.
Now they move past it and as the tunnel ends, they stand up.
INSIDE THE CAVE--IT'S BIG
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, moving deeper into the cave. It's
scary--dark with shafts of light coming from cracks in the
rock. It's dank. It all feels as at any moment, the world
REDBEARD. CLOSE UP. Thunderstruck--
(And on those words--)
THE FLOOR OF THE CAVE. More copper bracelets. And still more--
and now bones--
the floor of the place is littered with human bones--
--eyeless skulls peer up at them from all around.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
The rest of the cave. We are looking at a carpet of bones.
Have you ever seen anything like
Nobody's seen anything like this.
Lions don't have caves like this--
--they're doing it for pleasure.
SEVERAL TUNNELS, dark and ominous, leading from the cave--
and now there is a sound from one of the tunnels--
--something is coming close and coming fast and
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON as Redbeard fires into the tunnel and
the sound explodes--
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON. What the hell is it?
THE TUNNEL--and here they come, screeching and angry--
swarms of them--hundreds of them--
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, diving to the ground, lying there
amidst the bangles and the bones and the skulls--
THE BATS. Circling above them. Screeching louder.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, lying very still, eyeless skulls all
THE BATS. For a moment, it seems as if they might attack.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. Waiting, waiting. Then--
THE BATS back into the tunnel and
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, scrambling to their feet.
One of my chief attributes is that
I'm always calm.
And then without warning, from behind them, a roar--
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD spin around, start back toward the
entrance of the cave--
THE LOW ENTRANCE TUNNEL as they scramble half-crawling through
OUTSIDE as they make it, stand straight, look around--
THICK BUSH beyond--another roar and sudden movement and
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, entering the thick bush--but
carefully, because they are vulnerable now and an attack
could come from anywhere- there is the sound of water--
slashes of light hit their eyes, making it hard to see--and
they're totally vulnerable now but it doesn't stop them--the
water sound gets stronger--and as they burst clear--
AN AMAZING PLACE--AN AREA OF FLAT ROCK SPLIT UP AHEAD BY A
WIDE FAST-RUNNING WATERFALL.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. They look around. Nothing is there.
But the spot is wide open, exposed.
(The words pour out)
Where could it have gone? How could
it get across the water?
(looks at Redbeard)
They're only lions, yes?
(shakes his head; he
Don't they have to be?...
They look around a moment more. Nothing to see--
they turn, leave, re-enter the thick bush. And now--
THE DARKNESS--who knows where it is but it's there--
HOLD BRIEFLY on The Darkness, then--
PATTERSON'S TENT AREA. JUST BEFORE DAWN--
--outside the fence a dreadful sound--the crunching of bones.
Patterson, Redbeard, and Samuel emerge from tents, listen.
Patterson is on one side of the area, Redbeard and Samuel on
Both of them over there.
He is pointing to Patterson's area. Patterson goes to
Ever have to use a machan?
I did once. In India. We will tonight.
(Now from that--)
A CLEARING. LATER IN THE DAY.
Patterson leads the few remaining men in constructing an odd
looking structure: four slender poles lashed together,
slanting inward with a plank tied on top, a dozen feet up in
the air. Redbeard and Samuel approach.
They're used to people in trees, not
in a clearing.
(indicating the plank)
It may be tight.
Not for me--I'm too bulky and it's
your idea, you go up there.
Take the others to the water tower
for the night.
I'll be bait alone?
Yes. And I'll be in some distant
tree where I can provide no assistance
Can you control your fear?
I'll have to.
I can't control mine--I'd be lost
without the shame factor driving me.
Was that supposed to make me feel
A DONKEY BEING LED IN. LATER.
THE MEN start to tie it down, across the clearing from the
Patterson takes a long look at the machan. He tests the
support poles--they're rickety.
DUSK. The sun quickly beginning its quick fall.
THE WATER TOWER IN THE STATION AREA. Samuel is with the
remaining men who clamber up to the platform on top.
THE DONKEY IN THE CLEARING. Quiet.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
Redbeard, holding a wooden ladder that is propped against
the plank. Patterson climbs his slow way up. It's dangerous.
THE PLANK as Patterson makes it, clambers off the ladder,
manages to sit.
THE VIEW. Nothing is around the machan. He is totally
REDBEARD, taking the ladder down. Patterson tries to get
comfortable. He can't.
It's certainly the best chance they've
had to kill you.
You think they'll come then?
Because I think they're after you.
PATTERSON. This registers. Finally, he nods. Redbeard starts
How many do you think they've killed?
The most of any lions... a hundred...?
(Now Redbeard looks
up at the younger
They study each other in the gathering darkness. They've
been through a lot together, these two. They're not what
they were when they first met. An emotional moment clearly
is at hand.
Don't fuck up.
(And he turns, never
looks back, just
PATTERSON. He is alone now.
SHADOWS. Growing longer.
SAMUEL. On top of the water tower. The remaining men are
THE DONKEY. It peers around.
PATTERSON. His fingers move slowly along his rifle barrel--
--there is no noise--but you have the sense that, at any
second, the world could explode.
THE EDGE OF THE CLEARING, a good distance away. A bunch of
trees. Nothing unusual.
MOVE IN CLOSER:
Redbeard, motionless, rifle in hand, is high in the branches.
THE SUN. About to die.
PATTERSON, trying to get comfortable. It's not possible.
THE DONKEY, tethered, but able to move.
PATTERSON, testing the machan--not a good idea--it trembles.
He stops, stares out at the setting sun, the light hitting
his skin, giving it color.
THE SUN and here's the thing about Africa--the sun doesn't
just set, it literally drops out of the sky. Suddenly it's
bright and in a blink it isn't. As it drops--
PATTERSON. CLOSE UP. It's madness that he's up here. And he
knows it. And that shows.
THE SKY. No moon. Just thick cloud.
THE DONKEY. Quiet.
PATTERSON. On his precarious perch. He scans constantly ahead
of him past the donkey.
THE THICK BUSH BEYOND THE DONKEY. Nothing moves--
PATTERSON. He swallows, moistening his throat. He stares
down at the donkey.
THE DONKEY. LATER. MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. DARK.
And now, just the beginning of a mist.
THE SKY. THICKER AND THICKER CLOUDS. LATER STILL. GETTING
PATTERSON sitting there twelve feet up as the silence extends,
listening for something, anything--
--but all there is is silence.
THE DONKEY. It lies still and quiet.
PATTERSON, looking around--you get the feeling he'd like to
THE BUSHES AROUND HIM. The mist is getting stronger.
REDBEARD in his tree, cursing, trying to see through the
PATTERSON, listening, listening--
and then there is a sound and it's so quiet you can barely
hear it but to Patterson it might as well be thunder--
--from behind the donkey there has come this: the snapping
of a twig.
THE DONKEY, and it's eyes widen--
HOLD ON THE DONKEY
Because now something happens that hasn't happened before:
suddenly there are no colors, only tones--
because lions can't see colors, only tones, and that's what's
happening--we are looking at the donkey from the point of
view of the lion--
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
THE EYES OF THE GHOST. Watching the donkey.
And from now on, when we are using PATTERSON'S POINT OF VIEW,
everything is clouded and thick with mist, and sounds are
When we are using THE GHOST'S POINT OF VIEW, everything is
totally clear--and sounds are thunderous.
WHAT PATTERSON SEES: just mist and vaguely, bushes.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: The donkey. And CAMERA begins to move
closer as The Ghost moves, just the barest few steps closer.
PATTERSON. Still no sound--but beyond the donkey there seems
to be some movement in the bushes.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: The donkey, very, very close--
PATTERSON. Squinting desperately at the area beyond the donkey
but the mist is so thick, he can't make certain of anything.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: THE DONKEY
Now there is something else visible, something behind the
donkey: the four legs of the platform.
Now we travel up the platform--the four legs grow closer
HOLD AS THE GHOST AT LAST SEES PATTERSON.
THE EYES OF THE GHOST. NARROWING.
PATTERSON. Involuntarily, a shiver.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON, but the angle shifts--
--what's happening of course is this: The Ghost is circling
around the platform in the safety of the bushes and the mist.
PATTERSON, following the whispered sound of the bushes moving.
He half turns the other way quickly, making sure that nothing
is behind him.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON shifting as the angle continues
PATTERSON as the realization hits: the beast doesn't care
about the donkey anymore, it's stalking him.
REDBEARD. In the tree. The mist obscures everything.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON. Still circling, still closer.
PATTERSON, and it's scary now, this thing circling and
circling, always closer, never visible and his throat is dry
and you know he's just dying to blast it with his weapon or
scream for it to do anything but this constantly circling
movement. (In truth, the lion circled him for two hours,
always coming closer, never quite seen.)
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON, always the circling around.
PATTERSON, trying to turn on his shaky plank, trying to never
to let the animal's position out of his sight.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON. Closer...
PATTERSON, staring, staring at the goddamn mist, about to
come apart now with the tension as it builds and builds and
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON. Closer.
PATTERSON, gripping his weapon tightly as his head keeps on
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON. Closer.
PATTERSON, suddenly yelling out loud as an owl lands on him--
that's right, a goddamn owl landed on him, thinking he was a
tree, almost knocking him off the plank and
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON, starting to slip off the
PATTERSON, fighting the owl away, but his balance is going
and he's trying not to fall and
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON, beginning to topple off and
PATTERSON, helpless, balance going, going--
THE GHOST, starting to charge forward and Christ he can move
and as he starts his leap--
REDBEARD, racing from the tree to the edge of the clearing,
firing his rifle, firing again and
THE GHOST, as this incredible roar comes from him, and he
spins, lands, and sure, he's been hit but he's gone, back
into the bushes and the night has him and
SUDDEN DAWN AND PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, running, stopping,
staring at the ground--
THE GROUND. Blood.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, moving quickly forward again--
THE GROUND. More blood and...
THE TWO OF THEM, starting to slow--
STRANGE TERRAIN--huge anthills all over, the tallest we've
seen, some of them fifteen feet high, some even higher.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. They separate, take different paths
through the anthills.
REDBEARD. Alert. One step at a time.
PATTERSON. The same. One step at at time.
THE GHOST. Crouched high up behind one of the biggest
anthills, staring down at them both.
REDBEARD. He gestures for them to stop. They do. For a moment
they might be statues.
THE ROCKY GROUND. Spots of blood. Redbeard kneels to examine
them and as he does--
THE GHOST, launched in mid-air and
PATTERSON, whirling, falling, firing and as the sound
THE GHOST, in mid-air, body twisted and--
Freeze on The Ghost silhouetted against the morning sky.
SAMUEL, WALKING INTO THE SHOT--
we're by the river and this is a repeat of the earlier moment
when the three men brought the old man-eater into camp--
only now eight men appear, carrying The Ghost--eight is the
actual number of men that it took, and as they lower the
dead animal to the ground--
THE GHOST--and now there's a flash of light as we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
BEAUMONT, kneeling by the dead animal. He is smiling
beautifully, and there is no questioning the look of triumph
on his face.
A PHOTOGRAPHER; loads of bulky equipment. Patterson and
Redbeard stand behind him, watching him. We're in a lovely
spot by the river. Patterson and Redbeard have definitely
I think another for posterity--this
is an important moment in my life.
He strikes another pose--the Photographer goes to work.
Understand, I had help--
Not a time for modesty, Bob-
--undeniably your triumph.
Oh surely there's enough credit for
us all--let's not forget, you did
the actual shooting. Of course, I
hired you, I was the general who put
the team together. And generals are
the ones who tend to be remembered.
Perhaps you might put your head in
its mouth, sir--could be a corker.
Clever idea, I like it.
THE MOUTH OF THE GHOST--it is huge--
--Beaumont manages to get it open--puts his head between the
enormous set of teeth--he's nervous, tries to hide it when
REDBEARD suddenly giving a loud imitation of a lion roaring
BEAUMONT, surprised and frightened--
he jerks his head away--
there is the sound of laughter, Patterson's and Redbeard's--
Beaumont tries for his smile, can't bring it off, looks
around, humiliated, and as the laughter builds--
THE TENT AREA. NIGHT.
Patterson and Redbeard flank a fire. It's a sweet moment for
them, their first, no fear in the vicinity.
It should be noted that they both are drinking from bottles
It should also be noted that the Patterson we see is a world
away from the young man who went to meet Beaumont. He's
unshaven, his eyes have seen terrible things, he is weary,
he has known failure--he is more at ease with the world.
I never thought I'd say this, but
I'm glad you came.
Understood--you realize now you could
never have done it without me.
Actually, I could have done it much
more easily without you, but for
whatever reason, I'm glad you came.
(They toast each other)
Samuel, with his own bottle of champagne has wandered over,
Where do you go next?
Some Russian princes want to hunt
the Himalayas. You?
Help finish the railroad.
I want to meet my son--he must be
what, two months old?
They look at the fire a moment. Then--
Three years I've worked for the
railroad. Now I don't know why. It
seemed a good idea once.
I feel the same about the bridge.
This country certainly didn't ask
for it, doesn't need it.
Too soon to tell.
They look at him.
My life was shaped because someone
invented gunpowder. Our lives have
crossed because two lions went mad.
But what if in the future the three
of us do something grand for humanity?
Was that worth all the lives? Too
soon to tell.
Some mysteries should not have
(finishes his bottle,
rises, looks at
Hold your son high.
(And he turns, goes
to his tent)
He has children?
(HOLD on the two in
the firelight. Then--)
THE STATION MASTER AT TSAVO STATION, WORKING IN HIS OFFICE.
THE NEXT DAY.
FEMALE VOICE (V.O.)
I'd like to see John Patterson,
(As he looks up--)
HELENA standing there in Tsavo; she looks weary from travel,
but still lovely. She holds their son in her arms. The kid
Could you tell him that his wife--
--that his family has come to see
PATTERSON AT THE BRIDGE--Samuel hurries to him with the news--
Patterson takes off running and
TSAVO STATION and Helena; she holds the sleeping child, walks
back and forth along the shaded front of the building, no
sound at all but her heels.
PATTERSON, running like crazy and up ahead now is the station
HELENA--and now, in the distance, she sees him and she leaves
the building, walks out into the open, smiling and waving
PATTERSON, excitedly waving back and
THE DARKNESS, moving out of the grassy area behind Helena
PATTERSON, suddenly screaming "Get back--back--"
HELENA, and she's too far away--his words are lost on the
wind--she smiles again, waves again and
PATTERSON, screaming now, all he has, "GET BACK" and
HELENA, and she still can't make out what he's saying but
just the same, she stops and
THE DARKNESS, stalking silently, closing on the mother and
HELENA, and the baby wakes, smiles and
THE DARKNESS, starting to run and
PATTERSON and now it shows on his face--he's not going to
get there, he's never going to get there--
HELENA, and at last she knows something is terribly wrong
and she turns--
but too late, too late as we
THE DARKNESS, flying toward her now and
PATTERSON, in agony.
THE DARKNESS, leaping on them, taking them to the ground and
as Helena cries out helplessly--
PATTERSON, crying out helplessly and
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON IN HIS TENT, continuing to cry out until he realized
the nightmare he just had is over--
--he staggers to his tent opening, goes outside.
OUTSIDE. It's dawn. Patterson, shaken, tries to rid himself
of the dream. He looks around.
Redbeard's tent is ripped--Patterson runs to it--
INSIDE THE TENT. It's empty. Patterson stares around--
there is blood on the tent floor and quickly--
THE SUN. RISING.
PATTERSON running wildly, rifle in hand and
SAMUEL, carrying a weapon, hurrying to keep up and
PATTERSON, flying across rough terrain and as he and Samuel
splash across a small river, he gestures for them to split
and they do, widening the area of search and
SAMUEL, veering off and
THORN TREES, as Patterson rips through them, unmindful of
the damage to his clothes or his skin and
MORE THORNS--he plunges wildly ahead and
LARGE ANTHILL--it seems to be casting an unusual shadow--
Patterson slows, rifle ready, takes a breath, moves around
nothing at all--just his imagination which has been working
overtime and is only getting worse--
Patterson stands there a moment, unsure where to go, what to
and then SAMUEL'S VOICE on the wind--calling to him--
PATTERSON, tracking the sound--Samuel's voice cries out again,
Patterson starts to run and run, and as he rounds a bend--
A FIELD OF WHITE GRASS. So lovely.
With one patch in the middle that is blood red.
Something is moving in the blood red area.
Patterson has his rifle ready--
--and then Samuel rises from the blood red patch.
SAMUEL. In shock, in despair, call it what you want--he has
seen something beyond imagination.
PATTERSON, rushing across the field of white grass, rushing
to where Samuel stands in the patch of blood red grass--he
looks down into the grass--
clearly, Redbeard is there and clearly he is dead. Patterson
and Samuel stare mute at one another--
--and now, from frighteningly near them, comes the triumphant
roar of The Darkness. They don't even react.
FLAMES RISING IN THE LATE AFTERNOON
We should already have a sense of where we are; we've done
START PULLING BACK
Samuel stands there, trying to hold it together.
KEEP PULLING BACK
Patterson stands there too, trying to hold it together.
KEEP PULLING BACK TO REVEAL
REDBEARD'S FUNERAL PYRE. Flames consume the body.
Just Patterson and Samuel. No one else is there.
The flames lick at the sky...
A LARGE BABOON. ONE LEG IS TIED TO THE END OF THE BRIDGE.
GETTING DARK NOW.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL, both armed, climbing the crane tower
in use at the bridge, not far from the baboon.
You're positive lions hate baboons?
(Samuel holds up a
Let's get it over with.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL as they reach the crane tower platform,
fifteen feet from the baboon.
They help each other into position. Almost night.
THE LARGE BABOON, baring its enormous teeth, shrieking out
into the darkness.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL on the platform. Samuel tosses a pebble
toward the baboon and the baboon cries out again, not in
pain but irritation--
THE PLATFORM. PATTERSON AND SAMUEL ARE FLOODED BY MOONLIGHT.
IT'S THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.
They're both tired. Samuel throws another pebble. The baboon
PATTERSON, TENSE, ON THE PLATFORM. MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.
He's tossing pebbles now as Samuel dozes. Patterson looks
wild; only nervous energy is keeping him going now.
THE SKY. The moon. Peaceful--then it turns bright yellow and
frightening black clouds gather and
PATTERSON, blinking, coming hard back to reality because the
sky is not yellow nor were there black clouds--he's starting
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL ON THE PLATFORM
Samuel is awake now. Patterson stares at the river which is
THE RIVER, raging and black and lethal.
PATTERSON, hallucinating again.
JUST BEFORE DAWN
and The Darkness suddenly is there, creeping across the bridge
toward the shrieking baboon and the instant it appears--
THE DARKNESS, and it's hit and it roars and goes down and--
PATTERSON, turning, reaching for Samuel's rifle, grabbing
it, turning back, ready to fire again--
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL, blinking, looking around.
Where is it?
WHERE HE'S POINTING. The superstructure for the bridge--it
goes several levels beneath the level where the railroad
They look at each other--not good news and we find out why
EARLY MORNING LIGHT
Patterson and Samuel climb carefully down from their platform
to the railroad level. They reach the railroad level.
Patterson releases the baboon which races away.
WHERE THEY ARE. At the end of the bridge where they began
construction. The bridge, two thirds finished, stretches
away before them.
They begin to walk the incomplete bridge... carefully...
...as they go the look down through the crevices of their
level, making sure they miss nothing.
SAMUEL. Terrified. Holding his rifle extremely tightly.
PATTERSON. Ready for anything.
THE BRIDGE up ahead of them. There are some holes.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL slowing.
THE HOLES. The nearest one is the largest.
PATTERSON. He goes on tiptoe, trying to see what's in the
THE HOLE. It seems empty.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL. One step forward. Another. They hold
THE HOLE. It seems empty.
A SHOT FROM BELOW BRIDGE LEVEL--The Darkness is there.
THE DARKNESS, going down through another level of scaffolding.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL, trying to track it.
THE SCAFFOLDING. Nothing is visible.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL--Frozen. They listen--
--nothing but their breathing.
PATTERSON, looking around everywhere.
THE HOLE. Nothing.
THE FIRST LEVEL of scaffolding. Nothing.
THE SECOND LEVEL of scaffolding. Nothing.
SAMUEL, looking this way, that way.
SHOCK CUT TO:
THE HOLE AS THE DARKNESS JUST FUCKING FLIES OUT OF IT--
Patterson falls back and fires and The Darkness is hit and
goes down but it gets up and
PATTERSON, turning for Samuel's rifle--
only Samuel isn't there--
-he's taken off for the trees at the end of the bridge and
THE DARKNESS ROARING AND
PATTERSON and he turns, starts running too, running across
the narrow half-completed bridge and it's a bitch to do it
without slipping or falling and
THE DARKNESS, wounded, sure, but the mother can still run
and it takes off after Patterson and
SAMUEL, making it to the end of the bridge and jumping for
the nearest tree and
PATTERSON running for his life across the bridge and
THE DARKNESS, closing the gap and ordinarily Patterson would
be a dead man but even though The Darkness hasn't got its
ordinary speed, it's still faster than Patterson and
PATTERSON, and he's never gone this fast in his life and
THE TREE HE'S HEADED FOR, a different one from Samuel's and
it's just up ahead and
THE DARKNESS, closing and
THE TREE, and
THE DARKNESS, springing into the air now and
PATTERSON, diving for the lowest branch, grabbing hold with
both hands, swinging his body up as we
THE DARKNESS, barely missing as Patterson gets his body onto
the branch and now comes this insane roar and
SAMUEL with his rifle, as he climbs higher into his tree.
PATTERSON in the next tree, climbing higher, until he's
fifteen feet up.
THE DARKNESS, on the ground, circling the trunk of Patterson's
tree, raging with frustration.
PATTERSON, exhausted but it's okay now, he's safe, and as he
looks across at the next tree not far away where Samuel is--
Afraid of lions.
It's all right, Samuel--we all get
(Now he shuts up fast
THE DARKNESS, as it does this incredible thing--it starts to
climb the tree after Patterson. Lions are cats and when they
want to climb, up they go and that's what The Darkness is
doing now, going up and
PATTERSON, and it's terrifying--he reaches for the branch
above, climbing higher and
THE DARKNESS, climbing higher too and the tree is sturdy but
there is a four hundred pound thing rocking it now and
PATTERSON, going still higher but the branches are getting
thinner and the tree is shaking, and he could fall--
THE DARKNESS, climbing on, nothing can stop it--
PATTERSON AND THE DARKNESS, together in the tree, and there's
no further Patterson can go and it's harder for The Darkness
too, but slowly it moves in and
PATTERSON, calling out--
(And he gestures for
the rifle and the
instant he does--)
SAMUEL, and he takes the rifle between his two hands and
THE DARKNESS, steadily moving in and
SAMUEL, tossing the rifle with great care and Patterson's
less than fifteen feet away and
PATTERSON, hands out to catch it and
THE RIFLE in mid-air and
PATTERSON, both hands ready and
THE RIFLE as it strikes a tree branch, spins away to the
THE DARKNESS, almost on Patterson now and
PATTERSON, suddenly leaping out of the tree, and yes it's a
long way and sure it's going to damage him but sometimes
there aren't a lot of choices in this world and
SAMUEL, staring as Patterson falls and
PATTERSON, crashing hard to earth, stunned, hurt, ribs broken,
leg broken and
THE DARKNESS, and it's so big it's hard for it to get room
to turn but it does and
PATTERSON crawling for the rifle, and he's in terrible pain
but he reaches the weapon, grabs for it and
THE DARKNESS, skittering down the tree and as it reaches the
PATTERSON, forcing himself to his feet and
THE DARKNESS, a dozen feet away as with a roar it starts its
PATTERSON, aims, fires and
THE DARKNESS, hit again and down it goes again but up it
comes again and
PATTERSON, firing the final shot and
THE DARKNESS, hit again and it has to stop, it just has to--
--but it doesn't.
It roars and roars and moves slowly toward Patterson.
PATTERSON; all bullets gone, no place to hide.
THE DARKNESS. Still moving forward.
PATTERSON. He takes a step backward, falls backwards over a
branch, lands hard and
THE DARKNESS, framed between Patterson's legs. Six feet away,
now four, now--
PATTERSON, helpless on the ground.
THE DARKNESS, and the eyes glow--
a branch is on the ground in front of it--it buries its huge
teeth into the branch--
--now a long dying sigh... and it goes to the ground.
PATTERSON. Can't breathe.
THE DARKNESS, dead, its teeth still buried in the tree branch.
PATTERSON. CLOSE UP. And suddenly he just empties and tears
pour down his face and he begins to cry out loud, his body
wracked with sobs. He manages to get to his knees, moves
next to the animal--
PATTERSON AND THE DARKNESS. Just the sound of Patterson's
CAMERA BEGINS TO RISE--
--WE ARE LOOKING AT THE BRIDGE NOW--AND IT'S FINISHED!
hundreds of people are watching as the first train goes over
Samuel is there--lighting up the world with his smile--
--and Patterson's there, too. He stands with Helena, his
young son in his arms.
Everybody smiles, everybody waves, the train goes triumphantly
PATTERSON. He looks wonderful again, vibrant and young.
Watching him, you might think he hadn't been through the
nightmare as he stands there, holding the boy tightly.
But with his other hand, he fingers the lion claw necklace...
HOLD ON PATTERSON
Now slowly dissolve to an African evening. Animals stretch
from one horizon to the other.
Here we still wonder about them. How
did they escape for nine months? And
kill 135 men? And stop the railroad?
And were they only lions?
If you want to decide for yourself,
you must go to America. They are at
the Field Museum in Chicago, and
even now, after they have been dead
a century, if you dare to lock eyes
...you will be afraid.
In the distance, the animals continue to move.
HOLD ON THE ANIMALS. They seem to go on forever...
FINAL FADE OUT:
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