"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"JACOB'S LADDER"

by

Bruce Joel Rubin



EXT. VIETNAM - DUSK

A swarm of helicopters swoops out of a yellow sky and deposits
an army of men over a Vietnamese hillside.

The SOLDIERS scramble over the terraced rice paddies for the
protection of the jungle. Falling into coulmns, like strands
of soldier ants, seventy-five men, at combat readiness,
assemble on the edge of a sweltering wilderness.

It is dusk. The mood is lazy, soporific. Members of one
platoon huddle close to the ground smoking a joint.

JERRY
Strong stuff.

ROD
(to JACOB, a soldier
squatting several
yards away)
Hey, Professor, how many times can
you shit in an hour?

GEORGE
Don't bug 'im.

DOUG
Where are those gooks already?

FRANK
Some offensive. I don't even think
they're out there.

PAUL
Jesus, this grass is something else.

JACOB SINGER returns to the group, pulling up his pants.

ROD
Why even bother to pull 'em up?

FRANK
You jackin' off out there again, huh
Jake?

PAUL
Hey, get off his back.

ROD
It's called philosophizing, right
Professor?

JACOB gives them the finger.

JACOB
Up yours, you adolescent scum.

Laughter.

SERGEANT (V.O.)
Mount your bayonets.

FRANK
(frightened)
Oh shit!

PAUL
Goddam!

ROD
Gimme that joint!

JERRY
Hey, something's wrong.

GEORGE
What is it?

JERRY
My head.

GEORGE
It's nerves. Take another toke.

GEORGE reaches out, extending a joint. Suddenly he gasps and
falls to the ground, his body convulsing uncontrollably. The
others stand back, startled. JACOB grabs him and shoves a
rifle barrel between his chattering teeth.

ROD
What's going on?

Before anyone can answer JERRY grabs his head, screaming. He
turns frantically in all directions.

JERRY
Help me! Help me!

PAUL
What the hell... ?

In seconds JERRY is spinning wildly out of control, his head
shaking into a terrific blur. He crashes into FRANK with the
force of a truck. FRANK slams into the ground as all the air
rushes from his lungs. He begins gasping and hyperventilating.
His eyes grow wide and frenzied as he gulps for air. Fear
and confusion sweep across his face. The MEN watch, horrified,
as FRANK's terror escalates beyond reason into all-out panic.

Suddenly FRANK begins howling. He lunges for his bayonet
and, without warning, attacks the MEN around him.

PAUL
God Almighty!

PAUL spins out of the way as FRANK's bayonet impales the
ground. JACOB jumps on top of FRANK and wrestles him into
the tall grass. PAUL rushes to his assistance.

JACOB stares at FRANK's face as FRANK struggles beneath him.
It is the face of a madman.

PAUL
Good God! What's happening?

The sudden chaos is intensified by the sound of fighting
erupting behind them. Guns crackle and bursts of light
penetrate the darkening sky.

ROD
Behind you! Look out! This is it!

The MEN spin around. PAUL panics and jumps to his feet,
leaving JACOB alone with FRANK. FRANK's eyes burn with demonic
force as he gathers his strength.

JACOB
Don't leave me.

Dark figures, silhouetted by the setting sun, are storming
at them. SOLDIERS squint to see. It is a horrifying vision.

PAUL
They're coming!

Gunfire explodes on all sides. Suddenly PAUL flips out. He
begins screaming uncontrollably, ripping at his clothes and
skin. FRANK is struggling like four men and JACOB is weakening
in his effort to restrain him. Bayonets glimmer in the
exchange of fire. Bodies fall. More bodies keep coming. The
first wave is upon them.

ROD shoots into the air. Shadowy forms hurl forward screaming
like banshees. ROD, squinting, jabs with his bayonet, piercing
the belly of his attacker. Agonizing cries accompany his
fall. ROD yanks the bayonet out and stabs again.

In the midst of this madness FRANK shoots to his feet and
slams the butt of his rifle into JACOB's back. There is a
cracking sound. JACOB's eyes freeze with pain. His hands
rush for his spine. As he spins around one of the ATTACKERS
jams all eight inches of his bayonet blade into JACOB's
stomach. JACOB screams. It is a loud and piercing wail.

CUT ON THE SOUND OF THE SCREAM to a sudden rush through a
long dark tunnel. There is a sense of enormous speed
accelerating toward a brilliant light. The rush suggests a
passage between life and death, but as the light bursts upon
us we realize that we are passing through a SUBWAY STATION
far below the city of NEW YORK.

INT. SUBWAY - NIGHT

THE WHEELS OF AN EXPRESS TRAIN screech through the station.
JACOB SINGER, sitting alone in the last car, wakes up. The
sounds of the scream and the grating wheels merge. He is
dazed and confused, not certain where he is.

JACOB glances around the empty car. His eyes gravitate to
overhead advertisements for hemorrhoid preparations and
savings banks. Gradually his confusion subsides. Shifting
uncomfortably he pulls a thick book out of his back pocket,
"The Stranger" by Albert Camus. He begins reading. Another
station blurs by.

JACOB is a good-looking man, of obvious intelligence. He is
in his mid-thirties. It is surprising that he is wearing a
mailman's uniform. He doesn't look like one.

The subway ride seems to go on interminably. JACOB is restless
and concerned. He glances at his watch. It is 3:30 A.M.
Putting his book in his back pocket, JACOB stands up and
makes his way through the deserted car.

INT. SUBWAY TRACKS - NIGHT

JACOB enters the rumbling passageway between the cars. The
wheels spark against the rails. The dark tunnel walls flash
by. He pulls the handle on the door to the next car. It is
stuck. He struggles with it. A LADY sitting alone inside
turns to look at him. She seems threatened by his effort. He
motions for her to help. She turns away.

A look of disgust crosses JACOB's face. He kicks the door.
It slides open. The WOMAN seems frightened as he approaches
her.

JACOB
Excuse me, do you know if we've passed
Nostrand Avenue yet?
(she doesn't answer)
Excuse me.
(she does not
acknowledge his
existence)
Look, I'm asking a simple question.
Have we hit Nostrand Avenue? I fell
asleep.

WOMAN
(speaking with a Puerto
Rican accent)
I no from around here.

JACOB
(glad for a response)
Yeah, you and everyone else.

JACOB walks to the other end of the car and sits down. The
only other passenger is an OLD MAN lying asleep on the
fiberglass bench. Occasionally his body shudders. It is the
only sign of life in him.

The train begins to slow down. JACOB peers out of the window.
Nostrand Avenue signs appear. He is relieved. He gets up and
grabs hold of the overhead bar.

The OLD MAN shudders and stretches out on the seat. As he
adjusts his position, tugging at his coat, JACOB catches a
brief glimpse of something protruding from beneath the coat's
hem. His eyes fixate on the spot, waiting for another look.
There is a slight movement and it appears -- a long, red,
fleshy protuberance. The sight of it sends shivers up JACOB's
spine. It looks strangely like a tail. Only the stopping of
the train breaks JACOB's stare.

INT. SUBWAY STATION - NIGHT

JACOB is the only passenger getting off. The doors close
quickly behind him. He glances at the LADY sitting by the
window. There is a fearful expression on her face as the
train carries her back into the dark tunnel, out of his sight.

JACOB reaches the exit, a huge metal revolving door surrounded
by floor to ceiling gates. He is about to push when he notices
a chain locking it shut. He stares at it in disbelief.

JACOB
Goddam it.

He turns in a huff and hikes to the other end of the platform.
As he approaches the far exit, his eyes widen. The gate there
is also locked. His hands reach for his hips as he studies
an impossible situation.

CUT TO JACOB stepping cautiously onto the ladder going down
to the tracks. A rat scampers by and he gasps.

JACOB
No way!

He starts to climb back up the ladder but sees that there is
nowhere else to go. He juts out his jaw and steps back down.

JACOB is not comfortable on the tracks. He cannot see where
he is stepping. His shoes splash in unseen liquid which makes
him grimace. The steel girders are coated in subway grime.
The oily substance coats his hands as he reaches for support.

JACOB
Goddam fucking city!

He wipes the grime on his postal uniform as he steps toward
the center track. He reaches for another girder when it begins
to vibrate. Two pinpoints of light hurl toward him. Then the
noise arrives confirming his fear. A train is bearing down
on him. JACOB looks frightened, not sure which way to go. He
steps forward, up to his ankle in slime. He cannot tell which
track the train is on. It is moving at phenomenal speed. The
station is spinning. The train's lights merge into one
brilliant intensity.

In near panic JACOB jumps across the track as the train spins
by. Its velocity blows his hair straight up as though it is
standing on end. He clings to a pillar for support, gasping
in short breaths.

A few PEOPLE are staring at JACOB from the train. Their faces,
pressed up against the glass, seem deformed. A lone figure
waves at him from the rear window. The train bears them all
away. Then it is quiet again. For a moment JACOB is afraid
to move but slowly regains his composure. He continues to
the other side of the tracks and stumbles up the ladder to
the UPTOWN PLATFORM.

CUT TO:

JACOB smiling. The smile, however, is one of irony, not
amusement. This exit too is locked. A heavy chain is wrapped
through the bars. JACOB stares at it with an expression of
total bewilderment.

A sudden muffled scream alerts JACOB that he is not alone.
His head turns but sees no one. He hears the scream again.
He senses its direction and walks toward the MEN'S ROOM. A
crack of light appears under the door. He can hear someone
moaning inside. JACOB knocks softly and the moaning stops.
The lights click off.

JACOB
Hey, is someone in there?

There is no answer. JACOB stands silently for a moment, not
sure what to do. He can hear whispering. He chews his lower
lip nervously and then reaches for the door. It pushes open.

The light from the station penetrates the darkness. He gasps.
He sees a MAN tied naked to the stall with ANOTHER NAKED MAN
grabbing quickly for his clothes. The BOUND MAN screams.

BOUND MAN
Fuck off! Mind your own business!

A THIRD MAN spins out of the shadows, pointing a knife at
JACOB's throat.

MAN
You cocksucker! Get outta here.

The MAN's face is barely human. Before JACOB can even react
the door slams shut. The lock engages. The crack of light
reappears. JACOB can hear laughter coming from inside,
followed by a scream. He backs away from the door. His face
is white.

JACOB turns with full fury and storms the gate. The chain
gives way to his anger. It flies apart and the gate flings
open. He stands in amazement, observing the chain as it slides
from between the bars and drops to the concrete below. The
gate squeaks loudly as JACOB pushes it aside and clangs with
an almost painful burst as he slams it shut.

EXT. WILMINGTON TOWERS - DAWN

JACOB walks toward the towering shadows of a massive PUBLIC
HOUSING PROJECT. It is dark and the moonlight silhouettes
the huge monolithic structures. JACOB passes through a vast
COURTYARD dominated by the imposing shapes. Aside from his
moving body everything is still.

INT. HALLWAY - DAWN

JACOB steps off a graffiti-festooned ELEVATOR into a long
impersonal hallway. He uses three keys to unlock the door to
his APARTMENT.

INT. JACOB'S APT. - DAWN

JACOB enters the darkness without turning on the light. He
tries to navigate his way to the BATHROOM, illuminated by a
tiny nightlight in the distance. His effort is unsuccessful.
He bangs loudly into a table. A WOMAN's voice calls out.

JEZZIE (V.O.)
Jake, is that you?

JACOB
What the hell did you do, move all
the furniture?

JEZZIE (V.O.)
Why didn't you turn on the light?

JACOB
I didn't want to wake you.

JEZZIE (V.O.)
(sleepy but pleasant)
Gee, thanks a lot.

JACOB
Where is the lamp?

JEZZIE (V.O.)
Where are you?

JACOB
If I knew I wouldn't have to ask.
What did you do? I was happy the way
it was.

JEZZIE (V.O.)
I moved the couch. That's all.

JACOB
Where to?

JACOB crashes into it. A light suddenly goes on. JEZEBEL
"JEZZIE" PIPKIN, 33, is standing in the BEDROOM door tying a
man's terrycloth bathrobe around her waist. Although sleepy,
disheveled, and not looking her best, it is obvious that
JEZZIE is a beefy woman, juicy and sensual.

JEZZIE
That help?

JACOB
(nearly sprawled over
the couch)
Thanks.

He pushes himself up.

JEZZIE
What do you think?

JACOB
What do you mean?

JEZZIE
The room!

JACOB
Oh God, Jezzie, ask me tomorrow.

JEZZIE
It is tomorrow. Four A.M. How come
you're so late?

JACOB
Roberts didn't show up. What could I
say? Besides, it's double time.

JEZZIE
(seeing the grease on
his uniform)
What happened to you?

JACOB
(unbuttoning his shirt
as he walks to the
bathroom)
Don't ask.

JACOB steps into the BATHROOM and pulls at his clothes,
leaving them in a pile on the floor. He reaches for the faucet
and sends a stream of water pounding against the porcelain
tub. JEZZIE enjoys JACOB's nakedness. She reaches out to his
chest and squeezes one of his nipples. His body tenses
slightly. JEZZIE drops her robe. They enter the shower
together.

EXT. VIETNAM - NIGHT

A DENSE RAIN falls on a dark night filling puddles of water.
JACOB is crawling through the underbrush in the Vietnamese
JUNGLE. His shirt is bloodsoaked. He moves slowly, creeping
on his right forearm. His left arm is holding his intestines
from spilling onto the grass.

JACOB
Help me. Someone.

Suddenly a flashlight beam can be seen in the distance. It
dances around the bamboo trees and draws closer to JACOB. It
is impossible to see who is carrying it. The light darts
near the ground where JACOB is lying and then bursts directly
into his eyes.

INT. JACOB'S APT. - DAY

SUNLIGHT pours through the BEDROOM window. JACOB is sleeping
fitfully as a bar of light saturates his face. His hand rushes
up to cover and protect his eyes but the damage is done. He
is awake.

JACOB lies in bed for a few moments, dazed. Slowly his hand
gropes along the shelf at the head of the bed, searching for
his glasses. He has trouble finding them. As his hand sweeps
blindly across the headboard it hits the telephone and sends
it crashing to the floor. He sits up with a disgusted look
on his face and searches the out-of-focus shelf behind him.
Suddenly JEZZIE enters.

JEZZIE
You up?

JACOB
No. Have you seen my glasses?

JEZZIE
(shaking her head)
Where'd you leave 'em?

JACOB
I don't know.

JEZZIE
Did you look around the headboard?

JACOB
(wearily)
Jezzie, I can't see.

JEZZIE
(she scans the shelf)
Maybe you left 'em in the bathroom.

She leaves and returns moments later with his glasses and a
large paper bag. She tosses them both onto the bed.

JACOB
Thanks.
(he puts on his glasses
and notices the bag)
What's that?

JEZZIE
Your kid dropped it off.

JACOB
Who? Jed?

JEZZIE
(stooping to pick up
the phone)
No. The little one.

JACOB
Eli. Why can't you remember their
names?

JEZZIE
They're weird names.

JACOB
They're Biblical. They were prophets.

JEZZIE
Well, personally, I never went for
church names.

JACOB
And where do you think Jezebel comes
from?

JEZZIE
I don't let anybody call me that.

JACOB
(shaking his head)
You're a real heathen, you know that,
Jezzie? Jesus, how did I ever get
involved with such a ninny?

JEZZIE
You sold your soul, remember? That's
what you told me.

JACOB
Yeah, but for what?

JEZZIE
A good lay.

JACOB
And look what I got.

JEZZIE
The best.

JACOB
I must have been out of my head.

JEZZIE
Jake, you are never out of your head!

JACOB
(ignoring the criticism
and reaching for the
paper bag)
What's in here?

JEZZIE
Pictures. Your wife was gonna toss
'em so "what's his name" brought 'em
over on his way to school.

JACOB lifts the bag and pours the photographs onto the bed.
There are hundreds of them. He examines them with growing
delight.

JACOB
Look at these, will ya? I don't
believe it. Jesus, these are
fantastic. Look, here's my Dad...
And here's my brother, when we were
down in Florida.

JEZZIE
Lemme see.

JACOB
(rummaging excitedly
through the pile)
Here. Look. This is me and Sarah
when I was still at City College.

JEZZIE
(looking closely)
That's Sarah?
(she studies the photo)
I can see what you mean.

JACOB
What?

JEZZIE
Why you left.

JACOB
What do you mean you can see?

JEZZIE
Look at her face. A real bitch.

JACOB
She looked good then.

JEZZIE
Not to me.

JACOB
Well, you didn't marry her.

He digs through more photos. Suddenly he stops.

JEZZIE
What's wrong?

To JEZZIE's surprise and his own, tears well up in his eyes.
For a moment JACOB is unable to speak. He just stares at one
of the photos. JEZZIE looks at the picture. It is an image
of JACOB carrying a small child on his shoulders.

JEZZIE
Is that the one who died?

JACOB
(nodding)
Gabe.

JEZZIE is silent. JACOB grabs a Kleenex and blows his nose.

JACOB
(continuing)
Sorry. it just took me by surprise.
I didn't expect to see him this
morning... God, what I wouldn't...
He was the cutest little guy. Like
an angel, you know. He had this
smile...
(choking up again)
Fuck, I don't even remember this
picture.

Hiding his emotions, JACOB scrambles over the bed and reaches
for a pair of pants. He pulls out his wallet and then
carefully puts the photo of GABE inside. It joins photos of
his two other boys. JEZZIE begins shoving the remaining
pictures back into the paper bag.

JACOB
Wait. Don't.

JEZZIE
I don't like things that make you
cry.

JACOB
I just want to look...

He reaches into the pile for other snapshots. We see an array
of frozen moments, happy, unfocused, obscure. Suddenly he
stops and stares at a yellowing snapshot.

JACOB
God, this is me!
(he holds up a baby
photo)
Look. It's dated right after I was
born.
(he stares at it
intently)
What a kid. Cute, huh? So much
promise.

JEZZIE surveys the scene.

JEZZIE
It's amazing, huh Jake? Your whole
life... right in front of you.
(she pauses before
making her final
pronouncement)
What a mess!

INT. HALLWAY - DAY

JEZZIE carries the garbage to an INCINERATOR ROOM down the
hall. She is carrying several bags. Two of them are tossed
instantly down the chute. She hesitates with the third. After
a moment she reaches into it and pulls out a handful of
photos. They are pictures of JACOB and SARAH. With cool
deliberation she drops them down the chute. An apartment
door slams shut. Quickly she disposes of the pictures
remaining in her hand. JACOB opens the door to the tiny room
as the bag filled with the memories of his life falls to the
fire below.

JACOB
Ready?

JEZZIE
Just gettin' rid of the garbage.

JACOB and JEZZIE, both wearing postal uniforms, head for the
ELEVATOR. They are surprised that it has arrived promptly.
JEZZIE reaches out and playfully sticks her tongue into
JACOB's ear. He pulls her into the ELEVATOR. They disappear,
laughing, behind its closing doors.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY - DAY

JACOB is driving a mail truck through the crowded streets of
midtown Manhattan. As he drives he is humming to himself a
rendition of Al Jolson's "Sonny Boy."

JACOB stops his truck in front of a LAUNDRY on West 46th
Street. He opens the back door and pulls a stack of boxes
toward him. He lifts them with effort and slams the door
with his foot. It doesn't close. He considers giving it
another whack but the boxes are heavy. He turns instead and
waddles toward the store.

INT. LAUNDRY - DAY

A heavyset WOMAN with a dark tan is standing behind a counter
cluttered with laundry. A picture of Richard Nixon is still
stapled to the wall. She looks at JACOB.

WOMAN
Where do you expect me to put those?
I don't have any room.

She tries clearing the counter, but it doesn't help.

WOMAN
(continuing)
How 'bout over there?
(she points to a table)
No wait. Do me a favor. Bring 'em to
the back room.

JACOB
They're awfully heavy.

WOMAN
I know. That's why I'm asking.

JACOB waddles reluctantly toward the back of the store.
CHINESE LAUNDERERS are hovering over piles of clothes. Steam
from the pressing machines shoots into the air.

JACOB
(huffing and puffing)
Where's Wong?

WOMAN
That's what I'd like to know. If you
see him on the street somewhere,
tell him he's fired.

JACOB stoops to put the boxes on the shelf. There is a
snapping sound and he winces in pain. Massaging his back,
JACOB unfolds some papers for the WOMAN's signature.

JACOB
How was Palm Springs?

WOMAN
Hot. Where do I sign?

JACOB
(pointing to the line)
You got a nice tan, though.

WOMAN
Tan? What tan? It faded on the
airplane. I'd try to get my money
back, but who do you ask?
(she looks heavenward)
Two hundred dollars a night, for
what?

She hands JACOB the wrong sheet.

JACOB
No. I'll take the other one.
(he takes it)
Right. Well it's good to have you
back. See you tomorrow, probably.

WOMAN
If you're lucky.

JACOB smiles to himself as he leaves the store. He walks
carefully. His back is out.

INT. MAIL TRUCK - DAY

ANGLE ON THE MAIL TRUCK stuck in traffic. Nothing is moving.
Horns are blaring and drivers are agitated. JACOB reaches
for a newspaper lying on top of his mail bags. To his shock
one of the bags appears to move. Curious, JACOB pokes at it.
Instantly a terrifying figure pops out from beneath it and
stares at him with a frightening glare. JACOB jumps back,
stunned. It is a moment before he realizes that he is looking
at an old WINO who has been sleeping in the truck. The man's
face is covered in strange bumps.

JACOB
Goddamn it! What the hell... ?

WINO
(pleading)
I didn't take nothin'. I was just
napping. Don't hit me. I was cold.

JACOB
(lifting the man up)
What the hell do you think you're
doing? You can't do this. This is
government property.

He begins opening the door. The WINO begs.

WINO
Don't throw me out. They're gonna
get me. They'll tear me to pieces.

He holds on to JACOB's leg. JACOB tries to pull away.

JACOB
Come on. You can't stay here.

WINO
Please! I never hurt anybody when I
was alive. Believe me. I don't belong
here.

JACOB gives the WINO a strange look and then escorts him
from the truck. A hundred eyes peer out of motionless cars
and follow him as he leads the WINO to the sidewalk. JACOB
pulls a dollar bill from his pocket and places it in the
WINO's hand. The OLD MAN crumples it into a ball and turns
away. He has a frightened look on his face. JACOB returns to
the truck shaking his head.

JACOB
New York!

He climbs into his seat and glances into his rear view mirror.
He notices the WINO edging fearfully along the side of a
building. A horn honks and traffic begins moving. When JACOB
looks back the WINO is no longer there.

INT. GARAGE - DAY

JACOB drives his mail truck into the huge POST OFFICE PARKING
GARAGE on 34th Street. His mind seems distracted. He has
difficulty parking.

INT. POST OFFICE - DAY

We see a vast room filled with hundreds of PEOPLE sorting
and moving mail.

JACOB, carrying a bag of McDonald's hamburgers, walks stiffly
through the aisles, his left hand rubbing his back. Several
workers greet him and grab for his french fries. He offers
them around.

ANGLE ON a conveyor belt sorting mail. A hand reaches in,
correcting mistakes. Suddenly a hamburger passes by. JEZZIE
looks up and smiles.

JEZZIE
Jake!

JACOB
How's it going?

She takes the hamburger and shrugs.

JACOB
(continuing)
I'm going home.

JEZZIE
What's wrong?

JACOB
I don't know. One of these days, I'm
gonna see Louis. My back's killing
me.

JEZZIE
Now? What about the boss? He's not
gonna like it.

JACOB shrugs.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
Well, I'll miss riding home with
you. I was looking forward to it.

JACOB
I'll be glad to avoid the crush.

JEZZIE
I enjoy crushing into you.

She grabs him and hugs him tightly.

JACOB
Gently. My back.

JEZZIE ignores him and squeezes again.

INT. CHIROPRACTIC OFFICE - DAY

CUT ON A SCREAM to JACOB in a CHIROPRACTOR'S OFFICE. He is
lying on a long leather padded device that looks like an
instrument of torture. LOUIS, the Chiropractor, is a giant
of a man, 280 pounds. He is adjusting JACOB's spine.

LOUIS
Come on, Jake. That didn't hurt.

JACOB
How do you know?

LOUIS
I know you. How come you're so tense
today?

JACOB
What can I tell you?

LOUIS
I saw Sarah the other day.

JACOB
Her knee acting up?

LOUIS
A bit.

JACOB
What did she have to say?

LOUIS
Turn on your right side.
(he turns on his left)
How about the other "right?"
(JACOB turns back)
I don't understand you philosophers.
You've got the whole world figured
out but you can't remember the
difference between right and left.

JACOB
I was absent the day they taught
that in school. What did she say?

LOUIS
Who?

JACOB
Sarah.

LOUIS
Not much. She's like you that way.
Two clams. No wonder your marriage
didn't last. Put your hand under
your head. Take a breath and then
let it out.

He makes a rapid adjustment pushing down on JACOB's thigh.
JACOB groans.

LOUIS
(continuing)
Ah, good. Now turn to your left.

JACOB
She talk about the boys?

LOUIS
She says she can't get them new coats
because you haven't sent the alimony
for three months.

JACOB
She told you that?
(he shakes his head)
Did she tell you about the $2,000
I'm still paying for the orthodontist?
I'll bet she didn't mention that.

LOUIS
She said you were a son of a bitch
and she regrets the day she set eyes
on you.

JACOB
I thought you said she didn't say
much.

LOUIS
She didn't. That's about all she
said. Put your hand up. Good. I think
she still loves you. Take a breath
and let it out.

He makes an adjustment. JACOB screams.

JACOB
Loves me!? She hasn't said a kind
word about me in years!

LOUIS
Right. She doesn't stop talking about
you. You're always on her mind. That's
love, Jake.

JACOB
She hates me, Louis.

LOUIS
You should go back to her.

JACOB
What? She threw me out, remember.
She wanted some professor to carry
her far away from Brooklyn. Only we
didn't make it. She can't forgive me
that she still lives in the same
house she grew up in.

LOUIS
Her problem is that you spent eight
years getting a PhD and then went to
work for the post office.

JACOB
What can I tell you, Louis? After
Nam I didn't want to think anymore.
I decided my brain was too small an
organ to comprehend this chaos.

LOUIS
(looking at JACOB
with affection)
If it was any other brain but yours,
I might agree. Relax, this is going
to be strong.

JACOB
I can't relax.

LOUIS
Wiggle your toes.

JACOB wiggles his toes. At that instant, LOUIS twists JACOB's
neck rapidly. There is a loud cracking sound.

EXT. VIETNAM - NIGHT

THERE IS A FLASH OF LIGHT. A MAN rushes at the camera yelling.

MAN
I found one. He's alive.

He shines a flashlight into the lens creating rings and halos.

CHIROPRACTIC OFFICE - DAY

Suddenly LOUIS reappears, a halo effect still visible behind
his head.

JACOB
God almighty. What did you do to me?

LOUIS
I had to get in there. A deep
adjustment. Rest a moment and let it
set a bit.

JACOB
I had this weird flash just then.

LOUIS
What?

JACOB
I don't know. I've been having them
recently.
(he thinks a moment,
then changes the
subject)
You know, you look like an angel,
Louis, an overgrown cherub. Anyone
ever tell you that?

LOUIS
Yeah. You. Every time I see you. No
more Errol Flynn, okay? Your back
won't take it. You tell your girl
friend to calm down if she knows
what's good for you.

JACOB
Louis, you're a life saver.

LOUIS
I know.

EXT. BROOKLYN STREETS - EVENING

JACOB is walking down Nostrand Avenue. He is singing to
himself and imitating Al Jolson.

JACOB
When there are gray skies, I don't
mind the gray skies, as long as
there's you ...

He hums. It is near dusk and lights are just coming on. The
shop windows have a particularly garish look about them. The
mannequins are dressed in inexpensive, almost tawdry, clothes
and have a pathetic appearance. A few shops have set up their
Christmas decorations.

The ornamentation seems strangely out of place; almost
blasphemous.

JACOB passes a street gang standing in the doorway of a local
drug store. They chortle and make taunting sounds.

GIRL
(shaking her tits,
singing)
"Hey, Mr. Postman... "

JACOB stops and stares at them. To their surprise, he begins
to sing with them. He knows the words. They like that. It is
a sweet moment.

JACOB continues walking. He comes to a cross street. The
light is green. He is still singing to himself and does not
notice a BLACK CAR charging around the corner. The car is
moving at full speed, heading straight toward him. A YOUNG
MAN walking a few steps behind yells out.

YOUNG MAN
Look out!

JACOB turns and sees the car. He scoots out of the way but
it swerves in his direction. The YOUNG MAN calls out again.

YOUNG MAN
Jump!

With a huge thrust, JACOB hurls himself onto the curb as the
car shoots by. Two MEN are peering at him from the back seat.
They are laughing like madmen and shaking their heads. They
do not look human. JACOB yells and waves his fist, to no
effect. After a moment he turns to thank the YOUNG MAN whose
scream had saved him, but he is gone.

INT. JACOB'S APT. - DUSK

JACOB and JEZZIE are lying in bed. They are a sensual couple
and even in quiet, reflective moments such as this, their
positioning is erotic and stimulating. Both of them are nude.
JACOB's hands are clasped behind his neck and he is staring
mournfully at the ceiling. JEZZIE is lying on her side, her
left leg draped across JACOB's pelvis. Her head is propped
up on her right arm while her left hand strokes the bayonet
scar on JACOB's stomach. Neither are talking. Suddenly, out
of the blue, JEZZIE speaks.

JEZZIE
Maybe it's all the pressure, Jake.
The money. Things like that. Or your
wife.

JACOB
Why do you bring her up?

JEZZIE
'Cause she's always on your mind.

JACOB
When was the last time I said a word?

JEZZIE
It has nothin' to do with talkin'.

She pauses for a while, long enough to suppose that the
conversation is over. Then she continues.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
Or maybe it's the war.

JACOB closes his eyes.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
It's still there, Jake.
(she points to his
brain)
Even if you never say a word about
it. You can't spend two years in
Vietnam...

JACOB
(annoyed)
What does that have to do with
anything? Does it explain the
barricaded subway stations? Does it
explain those Godforsaken creatures?

JEZZIE
New York is filled with creatures.
Everywhere. And lots of stations are
closed.

JACOB
They're like demons, Jez.

JEZZIE
Demons, Jake? Come on. They're winos
and bag ladies. Low life. That's all
they are. The streets are crawling
with 'em. Don't make em into somethin'
they're not.
(she rubs his forehead)
It's the pressure, honey. That's all
it is.

JACOB
Those guys tried to kill me tonight.
They were aiming right at me.

JEZZIE
Kids on a joy ride. Happens all the
time.

JACOB
They weren't human!

JEZZIE
Come on. What were they, Jake?

JACOB doesn't answer. He turns over on his stomach. JEZZIE
stares at his naked back and drags her fingernails down to
his buttocks. Scratch marks follow in their wake.

JEZZIE
You still love me?

He does not respond.

INT. JACOB'S KITCHEN - DAY

JACOB and JEZZIE are sitting at the breakfast table. JEZZIE
is reading the National Enquirer and chewing at her lip.
Suddenly a drop of blood forms and falls onto the formica
table top. Staring at it for a moment, she wipes it with her
finger and then licks it with her tongue.

JACOB is nursing a cup of coffee and staring out the window
at the housing project across the way. The toaster pops.
JEZZIE jumps. She gets up, butters her toast, and returns to
her paper.

JEZZIE
Says here the world's comin' to an
end. The battle of heaven and hell
they call it. Should be quite a show;
fireworks, H-bombs, and everything.
You believe them, Jake?

JACOB doesn't answer.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
Me neither... God, look at this. Two
heads. Only lived two days. A day
for each head. Could you imagine me
with two heads? We'd probably keep
each other up all night -- arguing
and whatnot. You wanna see the
picture?

He does not respond. JEZZIE gets up and walks over to JACOB.
Standing in front of him she slowly unties her robe and lets
it fall apart. She is naked underneath it. Sensuously she
leans forward, unbuttons his shirt, and strokes his chest.
She waits for a response from him, but there is none. He
sits silently, disinterested.

Furious, JEZZIE turns away. Grabbing the vacuum cleaner from
the broom closet she angrily unravels the cord and switches
it on. Breasts flash from beneath her gown as the vacuum
roars back and forth across the floor.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
Goddamn you son-of-a-bitch! My uncle's
dogs used to treat me better than
you do. At least they'd lick my toes
once in a while. At least they showed
some fucking interest.

A NEIGHBOR bangs on the wall, shouting.

JEZZIE
All right! All right! All right!

JACOB peers at the courtyard eighteen stories below and
watches the patterns of early morning movement. Tiny figures
drift purposefully over the concrete.

Suddenly the vacuum cleaner goes off. In the silence, JACOB
realizes that JEZZIE is crying and turns to see her curled
over the kitchen table. He walks to her side and strokes her
hair. JEZZIE begins to sob. After a moment she looks at him
with puffy eyes.

JEZZIE
You love me?

He nods his head "yes." She smiles coyly and rubs her hair
like a kitten against his crotch. After a few moments she
speaks.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
Della's party's tonight. Why don't
we go? It'll take your minf offa
things. And I won't make you dance.
I promise. Huh?
(he nods his head in
consent. JEZZIE hugs
him)
You still love me, Jake?

He nods his head again, only heavily, as though the question
exhausts him.

INT. BELLVUE HOSPITAL - DAY

JACOB is in the "Mental Health Clinic" at BELLVUE HOSPITAL
walking through the PSYCHIATRIC EMERGENCY ROOM. It is
overflowing with people. Some are handcuffed to their chairs.
POLICEMEN are with them. JACOB approaches the main RECEPTION
DESK. He speaks nervously.

JACOB
I'd like to speak to Dr. Carlson,
please.

RECEPTIONIST
Carlson? Is he new here?

JACOB
New? He's been here for years.

She shrugs and looks at a log book.

RECEPTIONIST
Not according to my charts. Do you
have an appointment?

JACOB
(shaking his head)
Look, I need to see him. I know where
his room is. Just give me a pass. I
won't be long. Ten minutes.

RECEPTIONIST
Our doctors are seen by appointment
only.

JACOB
Damn it. I was in the veteran's out-
patient program. He knows me.

RECEPTIONIST
(not happy)
What's your name?

JACOB
Jacob Singer.

She walks over to a file drawer and goes through it several
times before coming back over to JACOB.

RECEPTIONIST
I'm sorry but there's no record of a
Jacob Singer in our files.

JACOB
Whataya mean, no record?

RECEPTIONIST
You want me to spell it out? There's
nothing here.

JACOB
That's ridiculous. I've been coming
here for years. Listen to me. I'm
going out of my fucking mind here. I
need to see him.

RECEPTIONIST
If this is an emergency we have a
staff of psychiatric social workers.
There's about an hour's wait. I'll
be glad to take your name. Why don't
you just fill out this form?

JACOB
Goddamn it! I don't want a social
worker. Carlson knows me.

JACOB pounds the desk, rattling a tiny African violet and
knocking the RECEPTIONIST's forms to the floor. She grunts
angrily and stoops to retrieve them. Standing up her cap
hits a drawer handle and slips off. TWO KNUCKLE-LIKE HORNS
protrude from her skull where the cap had been. JACOB's eyes
lock on them like radar. He backs away. She immediately
replaces her cap and breaks the spell, but her eyes glare at
him with demonic intensity. JACOB, freaked, angry, turns and
runs toward the "In Patient" door.

RECEPTIONIST
Hey! You can't go in there!

JACOB doesn't stop. A POLICEMAN, guarding the entrance, runs
after him.

JACOB charges through the interior corridors of the aging
institution. A LINE OF MENTAL PATIENTS, all holding hands,
is moving down the hall. They break ranks as he charges by
and begin to scream. Their ATTENDANT tries to calm them down
but the sight of the POLICEMAN increases their hysteria.
They grab hold of him as he tries to get by.

POLICEMAN
LET GO! GET AWAY!

INT. GROUP ROOM - DAY

JACOB dashes out of view. He runs down another corridor,
wildly searching for a specific room. He finds it and rushes
inside. He is surprised to find A GROUP OF MEN AND WOMEN
seated in a circle. They all look up at him.

LEADER
Can I help you?

JACOB
I'm looking for Dr. Carlson. Isn't
this his office?

The LEADER stares at him uncomfortably. After a moment he
gets up and takes JACOB into a corner of the room. Everyone
is watching them. The LEADER speaks quietly.

LEADER
I'm so sorry. Obviously you haven't...
Dr. Carlson died.

JACOB
(stunned)
Died?

LEADER
A car accident.

JACOB
Jesus, Jesus!... When?

LEADER
Last month, before Thanksgiving.

JACOB
How did it happen?

LEADER
No one knows. They say it blew up.

JACOB
(growing pale)
Blew up? What do you mean it blew
up?

The LEADER shrugs and tries to put his arm around JACOB, but
he pulls away.

LEADER
Do you want me to get someone?

JACOB
No. No. It's okay. I'm okay.

He backs quickly to the door. As he turns to leave he realizes
that all of the PEOPLE in the group are watching him intently.

Unsettled, JACOB hurries back into the hallway. He is
frightened and confused. Suddenly a voice calls out.

POLICEMAN
HEY YOU! MAILMAN!

JACOB turns and sees the POLICEMAN waiting for him. His gun
is drawn.

POLICEMAN
Hold it. Just hold it. Where the
hell do you think you are? This is
Bellevue, for God's sake. People
running around here get shot.

The GROUP LEADER pokes his head out of the door and motions
to the POLICEMAN.

LEADER
It's alright. He's okay.

POLICEMAN
(nodding, re-holstering
his gun)
Come on, get out of here. I wouldn't
want to interfere with the U.S. Mail.

He leads JACOB toward the lobby. JACOB does not look back.

INT. DELLA'S APT. - NIGHT

WE HEAR LOUD DANCE MUSIC. SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE. JACOB is
with some POST OFFICE EMPLOYEES at a crowded party in a small
apartment. A DRUNK is telling a bad joke and trying to hold
a glass of wine at the same time. It is constantly on the
verge of spilling. JACOB is fixated on it. In the background,
we see JEZZIE dancing and motioning for JACOB to join her.
He nods no. The DRUNK, who keeps asking people if they "get
it," takes JACOB's head nodding as a sign of confusion and
keeps trying to re-explain the joke.

JACOB hears a strange noise and looks around. It seems to be
coming from a covered bird cage. He goes over to it and lifts
the cover. The BIRD is flapping its wings wildly as if trying
to get out. The sound, loud and insistent, startles him. He
lowers the cover.

In the DINING ROOM, several people are gathered around ELSA,
an attractive black woman who is reading palms. She sees
JACOB and calls over the music.

ELSA
Hey, you! Let me look at your hand!

JACOB shrugs. DELLA, dancing nearby, calls out.

DELLA
Go on Jake. She reads 'em like a
book.

JACOB
No, thanks.

DELLA
It's fun.

CUT TO A CLOSE UP OF JACOB'S HAND. ELSA is squeezing the
mounds and examining the lines. What begins as a playful
expression on her face turns suddenly serious. She reaches
for his other hand and compares the two of them. JEZZIE looks
over from her dancing and eyes the scene jealously.

ELSA
You have an unusual hand.

JACOB
I could have told you that.

ELSA
You see this line here? It's your
life line. Here's where you were
born. And this is where you got
married. You're a married man, huh?
Oh oh. Nope. Divorce. See this split.

She studies his life line with growing concern. JEZZIE tries
to get JACOB's attention. He ignores her.

ELSA
(continuing)
You know, you got a strange line
here.

JACOB
(examining it)
It's short, huh?

ELSA
Short? It's ended.

JACOB
(laughing)
Oh, terrific.

ELSA
It's not funny. According to this...
you're already dead.

JACOB
(smiling)
Just my luck.

CUT TO:

THE DANCERS. Their movements are loose and getting looser.
The music is strong and insistent. The smokey atmosphere
disfigures the dancers and gives them a strange, distorted
appearance. Suddenly JEZZIE breaks from the crowd and reaches
for JACOB. He pulls away. Some of the MALE DANCERS call out
to him.

DANCERS
Come on man, show your stuff.

JACOB is easily intimidated. Relenting, he glares at JEZZIE
and nods apologetically to ELSA. It is obvious that he is
embarrassed at his inadequacy on the dance floor.

MAN
Come on professor. You got feet,
too.

JACOB tries to smile but it is pained and unconvincing. JEZZIE
is playing with him, mimicking his movement. A number of
DANCERS notice and laugh, which only increases his discomfort.
JEZZIE's taunting has a strange effect on JACOB. He grows
distant and withdrawn, even though his body is still going
through the motions of the dance.

A MAN taps JEZZIE on the shoulder. She spins around, smiling,
and begins dancing with him. JACOB is left alone, dancing by
himself. He looks away, uncomfortable.

In the shadows a WOMAN kneels close to the floor. She seems
to be urinating on the carpet. JACOB is shocked. Several
DANCERS obscure his view. He turns around.

A PREGNANT WOMAN stands half naked in the kitchen. JACOB
cannot believe what he sees.

In the next room, past JEZZIE, JACOB glimpses a terrifying
image, a MAN whose head seems to be vibrating at such enormous
speed that it has lost all definition. Something about the
image compels and frightens JACOB. Slowly he approaches it.
As he draws nearer to it the tortured image lets out a scream
of such pain and unearthly terror that JACOB backs away.

A WOMAN, laughing, grabs JACOB, spins him around, and begins
dancing with him. He is totally disoriented.

WOMAN
Hold me, baby!

She takes JACOB's arm and guides it to her back. THE CAMERA
follows his hand as it reaches the smooth skin beneath her
sexy, loose fitting dress. He runs his fingers up to her
shoulder blades. Then, suddenly, he recoils. Her back is a
mass of shoulder blades, hundreds of strange, bony
protrusions. JACOB gasps. Out of the blue, JEZZIE leans into
him and wiggles her tongue in his ear. JACOB, startled, jerks
his head and his glasses go flying to the floor.

JACOB
Shit!

He stoops down blindly to pick them up. Shoes just miss his
fingers as he digs between dancing legs trying to recover
them. Miraculously, he grabs the spectacles just before they
are crushed and slips them back on. Instantly his world comes
back into focus.

As he stands, JACOB is surprised to find JEZZIE facing him,
gyrating in wild abandon. There is a huge, satisfied smile
on her face. She grabs his hand as if encouraging him to
dance but it is obvious that she is dancing to her own rhythm.
JACOB stares at her, confused. It takes him a moment to
realize that her smile is not for him.

Standing behind JEZZIE is another DANCER, his hands around
her waist. They are moving together, locked in erotic embrace.
It appears that he is mounting her from behind. Looking down
we see that the DANCER's feet are deformed. They have a
bizarre clubbed appearance and look very much like hooves.
They skid and careen amidst the dancing feet.

Something horrible and winglike flaps behind JEZZIE's back.
We cannot make out what it is, but it elicits a primal terror.
Before JACOB can react, JEZZIE opens her mouth. With a roaring
sound, a spiked horn erupts from her throat. It juts
menacingly from between her teeth and thrusts into the air.
A CIRCLE OF DANCERS scream out in excited approval.

CUT TO JACOB's face as it registers terror and disbelief. He
stares at the DANCERS who are crowding around him. They have
become perverse, corrupt aspects of their normal selves.

JACOB grabs his eyes as though trying to pull the vision
from his head but it won't go away. The music throbs. His
actions become spastic, almost delirious.

JACOB is out of control. His frenzy becomes a kind of
exorcism, a desperate attempt to free himself from his body
and his mind. WE MOVE IN ON HIM as his eyes pass beyond pain.
The dark walls of the APARTMENT fade away.

EXT. VIETNAM - NIGHT

Strange faces in infantry helmets appear in the darkness,
outlined by a bright moon that is emerging from behind a
cloud. The faces are looking down and voices are speaking.

VOICE
He's burning up.

VOICE
Total delirium.

VOICE
That's some gash. His guts keep
spilling out.

VOICE
Push 'em back.

JACOB (V.O.)
Help me!

His eyes focus on the moon. Rings of light emanate from it
filling the sky with their sparkling brilliance. The rings
draw us forward with a quickening intensity that grows into
exhilarating speed. The rush causes them to flash
stroboscopically and produces a dazzling, almost sensual,
surge of color. The display is spectacular and compelling.

Music can be heard in the distance, growing hard and
insistent, like a heart beat. Heavy breathing accompanies
the sound. The stroboscopic flashes are replaced by intense
flashes of red and blue light. The music grows louder and
reaches a thundering crescendo. Then silence.

INT. DELLA'S APT. - NIGHT

The APARTMENT reappears in all its normalcy. The neon sign
is still flashing outside the window. DANCERS are smiling
and sweating.

Cheers and applause ring out for JACOB and JEZZIE but JACOB
barely hears them. JEZZIE hugs him tightly. PEOPLE smack him
on the back.

ADMIRER
You are out of your mind, man. Out
of your fuckin' mind.

WOMAN
Jake, you little devil. You never
told me you could dance like that.

MAN
Jezzie, what did you put in his drink?

JEZZIE smiles while pulling JACOB to a corner chair. He plops
down. His chest is heaving and he is grabbing hold of his
stomach. Hie face is frightened and distorted.

JEZZIE
You okay?

JACOB
I wanna leave. Get me out of here.

JEZZIE
Oh, come on. It's early.

JACOB
(pulling JEZZIE close
to him, his voice
filled with paranoia)
Where are we?

JEZZIE
(surprised by the
question)
We're at Della's.

JACOB
Where?

JEZZIE
What do you mean? Where do you think?

JACOB
Where's Della? Bring her here?

JEZZIE
Why? What for?

JACOB
Show me Della!

JEZZIE
(confused)
Hey, I'm here.

JACOB eyes her with a pleading look. Annoyed, JEZZIE leaves
JACOB and crosses the room. He watches her as she goes. JACOB
is holding his stomach and rocking painfully. Moments later
JEZZIE returns with DELLA.

DELLA
Hiya Jake. That was some dance.

JACOB
(staring at her closely)
Della?

DELLA
(feeling the
strangeness)
You want to see me? Well, here I am.

JACOB
I see.

DELLA
What do you want?

JACOB
Just to see you. That's all.

DELLA
(a bit uncomfortable)
Well, how do I look?

JACOB
Like Della.

Suddenly JACOB breaks out in a dense sweat and begins shaking.
His entire body is convulsive.

JEZZIE
Are you feeling all right? Shit,
you're burning up. Feel his forehead.

DELLA
(checking his forehead
and cheeks)
Damn, that's hot. Maybe from dancing.

JEZZIE
I think you should lie down.

JACOB is shaking uncontrollably. People are gathering around.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
Can't you stop it?

JACOB
If I could stop it, I'd stop it.

WOMAN
Is he sick?

DELLA
He's on fire.

ELSA
Let me help you.

She reaches out to JACOB. Unexpectedly he recoils, jumping
to his feet like a wild man. He begins to scream.

JACOB
Stay away from me! Don't you come
near me! All of you. Go to hell! Go
to hell, goddamn you! Stay away!

JEZZIE stares at JACOB with a confused and embarrassed look.
A MAN whispers to her.

MAN
I'll call a cab.

INT. JACOB'S APT. - NIGHT

JACOB is lying in bed in his own BEDROOM with a thermometer
in his mouth. JEZZIE is pacing the floor with great agitation.

JEZZIE
I've never been so mortified in my
whole life. Never! Screaming like
that. I don't understand what's gotten
into you, Jake, to make you do a
thing like that. You're not acting
normal. I've lived with too many
crazies in my life. I don't want it
anymore. I can't handle it. I'm tired
of men flipping out on me. Shit,
you'd think it was my fault. Well
you picked me, remember that. I don't
need this.

The NEIGHBOR pounds on the wall.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
All right! All right!

JEZZIE jabs her finger at the wall.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
If you go crazy on me you're goin'
crazy by yourself. You understand?

JEZZIE reaches for his mouth and pulls out the thermometer.
She looks at it closely and then squints to see it better.

JACOB
What's it say? A hundred and two?

JEZZIE
I don't believe this. I'm calling
the doctor.

She runs out of the room. JACOB calls after her.

JACOB
What does it say?

JEZZIE (V.O.)
It's gone to the top.

JACOB
How high is that?

JEZZIE (V.O.)
The numbers stop at 107.

JEZZIE is on the phone to the doctor in the next room.

JACOB begins shaking again and reaches for the extra blanket
at the foot of the bed. He pulls it up around his shoulders.
The whole bed vibrates with his shivering. Suddenly JEZZIE
rushes through the BEDROOM and into the BATHROOM. SHe turns
on the bath water.

JACOB
What the hell are you doin'?

JEZZIE
Get your clothes off.

JACOB
What are you talking about? I'm
freezing.

JEZZIE
Get your clothes off!

JACOB gives her a confused look as she rushes back to the
KITCHEN.

JACOB
What'd the doctor say?

JEZZIE (V.O.)
That you'd die on the way to the
hospital. Now get into that tub.

JACOB stares at her as she bursts back into the BEDROOM
carrying four trays of ice cubes. She hurries into the
BATHROOM and dumps them in the tub.

JEZZIE (V.O.)
He's coming right over.

JACOB
Coming here?

JEZZIE (V.O.)
Goddamn it. Get in here. I can't
stand around waiting.

She rushes out of the BATHROOM and pulls JACOB out of bed.
He is shaking violently and she has difficulty navigating
across the room and undressing him at the same time. She
maneuvers him into the BATHROOM next to the tub. He looks
down at the ice cubes floating in the water.

JACOB
You're out of your mind. I'm not
getting in there. I'd rather die.

JEZZIE
That's your decision.

JACOB
Look at me. I'm ice cold.

JEZZIE
You're red hot, damn it. Get in there.
I've got to get more ice.

She runs out of the room. The door to the apartment slams
shut. JACOB sticks his toe into the water and pulls it out
again instantly.

JACOB
Oh Jesus!

He sticks his whole foot in and grits his teeth as the ice
cold water turns his foot bright red. He keeps it in as long
as he can and then yanks it out, quickly wrapping it in a
towel. JACOB rubs his foot vigorously to get rid of the sting
and stares at the water, afraid of its pain.

INT. CORRIDOR - NIGHT

JEZZIE is running up and down the CORRIDOR knocking on doors
and collecting ice cubes from those who will answer. She
hurries back to the BATHROOM with several PEOPLE behind her
carrying additional ice trays. One of the MEN is shifting
the trays in his hands to avoid the burning cold.

INT. JACOB'S BATHROOM

As JEZZIE enters the BATHROOM, JACOB is sitting on the rim
of the tub with the water up to his calves, shivering
vigorously.

JACOB
I can't do it.

JEZZIE
What kind of man are you?

She unloads two trays into the water.

JACOB
Don't gimme that.

JEZZIE
Lie down!

JACOB
(pleading)
Jezzie! My feet are throbbing!

JEZZIE
(calling out)
Sam, Tony, come in here.

JACOB
Hey, I'm not dressed.

SAM
You got nothin' we ain't seen before.

SAM and TONY grab hold of JACOB who wrestles to get away.

JACOB
Get the hell off me.

TONY
He's like a hot coal.

SAM
It's for your own good, Jake.

JACOB
Let go of me, you sons of bitches.

The TWO MEN struggle with JACOB and force him into the water.
TONY winces when the water hits his arm. JACOB nearly flies
out of the tub. The TWO MEN fight to hold him down. JACOB
screams and cries for the MEN to let him go but they keep
him flat on his back.

JACOB
(continuing)
I'm freezing! I'm freezing! Goddamn
you!

TONY
(his hand turning red)
Sam, I can't take it.

SAM
Don't you let go.

TONY
Jez, get help. My hands are killing
me.

JACOB
Help me! Help me!

JEZZIE
(to TONY)
Here. I'll do it.

TONY
Take his legs.

SAM
Run your hands under hot water.

MRS. CARMICHAEL comes in.

MRS. CARMICHAEL
I have some ice from the machine.

JEZZIE
Bring it in.

MRS. CARMICHAEL
Is he all right?

JEZZIE
He doesn't like it.

MRS. CARMICHAEL
I don't blame him. What should I do
with the ice?

JEZZIE
Pour it in.

MRS. CARMICHAEL
On top of him?

JEZZIE
He's melting it as fast as we dump
it in.

MRS. CARMICHAEL
Okay. My husband's got two more bags.
He's coming. They're heavy.

TONY helps her pour the ice into the water. JACOB yells.

JACOB
Oh God! You're killing me! Stop!

INT. A BEDROOM - NIGHT

CUT TO JACOB lying in a BEDROOM we have not seen before. He
is tossing and turning in his bed as though struggling to
get out. Suddenly he sits up and looks over at the window.
It is open and the shade is flapping. Cold air is blowing in
and he is shivering.

JACOB
Damn! You and your fresh air.

He jumps out of bed and goes over to the window. He pushes
at the frame and it comes flying down with a loud bang. A
woman in the bed sits up. It is SARAH.

SARAH
What was that?

JACOB
It's freezing.

SARAH
I'm not cold.

JACOB
Of course not. You have all the
blankets. It must be ten degrees in
here. I'm telling you, Sarah, if you
want to sleep with fresh air, you
sleep on the fire escape. From now
on that window is closed.

SARAH
It's not healthy with it closed.

JACOB
This is healthy? I'll probably die
of pneumonia tomorrow and this is
healthy.

He settles back into bed and pulls the covers back over to
his side. He lies quietly for a moment, thinking.

JACOB
(continuing)
What a dream I was having. I was
living with another woman... You
know who it was?

SARAH
I don't want to know.

JACOB
Jezebel, from the post office. You
remember, you met her that time at
the Christmas party. I was living
with her. God, it was a nightmare.
There were all these demons and I
was on fire. Only I was burning from
ice.

SARAH
Guilty thoughts. See what happens
when you cheat on me, even in your
mind?

JACOB
She was good in bed, though.

SARAH
Go to sleep.

JACOB
She had these real beefy thighs.
Delicious.

SARAH
I thought you said it was a nightmare?

Suddenly, out of nowhere, we hear the tinkling sound of a
music box. A YOUNG BOY enters the room, carrying a musical
LUNCH BOX in his arms. He is wearing a long T-shirt nearly
down to his ankles. We recognize him from his photograph. It
is GABE.

GABE
Daddy, what was that noise?

JACOB
(surprised to see him)
Gabe?
(he stares curiously
at his son)
What are you doing... ?

GABE
There was a bang.

JACOB
It was the window.

GABE
It's cold.

JACOB
Tell your mother.

GABE
Mom, it's...

SARAH
I heard you. Go back to sleep.

GABE
Will you tuck me in?

SARAH
(not happily)
Oh... all right.

She starts to rise. JACOB stops her and gets up instead. He
whisks GABE upside down and carries him into his

GABE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

BEDROOM, licking his belly and tickling him all the way.
GABE laughs and snuggles into his pillow as soon as he hits
the bed. JED, 9, and ELI, 7, are both in bunk beds across
the room. JED looks up.

JED
Dad?

JACOB
Jed. It's the middle of the night.
(he kisses GABE and
goes over to JED in
the lower bunk)
What's up?

JED
You forgot my allowance.

JACOB
Your allowance? It's five A.M. We'll
talk at breakfast.

JED
Okay, but don't forget.

Suddenly another voice pipes in from the top bunk.

ELI
I love you, Dad.

JACOB smiles.

JACOB
What is this, a convention? I love
you, too, Pickles. Now go back to
sleep.

He turns to leave.

GABE
Wait... Daddy.

JACOB
Now what?

GABE
Don't go.

JACOB
Don't go?
(he smiles)
I'm not going anywhere. I'm right
here, Gabe.
(he looks at his son
tenderly)
Come on, go back to sleep. You can
still get a couple of hours.

He hugs him warmly and then walks to the door.

GABE
...I love you.

There is deep emotion and seriousness in GABE's words. JACOB
is struck by them.

GABE
(continuing)
Don't shut the door.

JACOB nods and leaves it a tiny bit ajar.

GABE
(continuing)
A bit more... a bit more.

JACOB adjusts the opening enough to please GABE and make him
secure. GABE smiles and cuddles in his bed.

INT. SARAH'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

JACOB settles back into bed. SARAH turns over and gets
comfortable. JACOB lies on his back facing the ceiling. He
pulls the blankets up to his neck. He is overcome with
feelings of sadness and longing.

JACOB
I love you, Sarah.

She smiles warmly. His eyes close and in a matter of seconds
he is back asleep.

EXT. VIETNAM - PRE DAWN

WE HEAR SUMMER MORNING SOUNDS, CRICKETS and BIRDS. The image
of trees materializes overhead and a beautiful pink sky,
just before sunrise, can be seen through the branches. It is
an idyllic setting.

Suddenly a strange sound can be heard in the distance, a
metallic humming, growing louder. There is a scramble of
feet and a sound of heavy boots moving through the tall grass.
Voices can be heard. Men's voices.

VOICE
They're here.

VOICE
Thank God. Move 'em out!

VOICES
Bust your balls!

VOICE
Move it! Move it!

There is an instant swell of activity. Trees and branches
blur and speed by overhead. The idyllic image of moments
before reveals itself as a P.O.V. SHOT. The CAMERA races out
of a JUNGLE covering and into a huge CLEARING.

High overhead a helicopter appears. Its blades whirl with a
deafening whine. Long lines drop from its belly and dangle
in mid-air. SOLDIERS leap up into the air reaching for them.
The air is filled with turbulence. Tarps fly off dead bodies.
SOLDIERS hold them down. Voices yell but the words are not
clear. They are filled with urgency.

The CAMERA leaves the ground. The edges of the sky disappear
as the helicopter's gray mass fills the frame. It grows larger
and darker as the CAMERA approaches. Rivets and insignias
dotting the underbelly come into view. Suddenly the stretcher
begins spinning, out of control. Hands emerge from inside,
reaching out to grab it.

Watery, womb-like sounds rise out of nowhere, the rippling
of water, a heart beating. Gradually voices can be heard
mumbling; distant sounds, warm and familiar.

INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT

JACOB's DOCTOR reaches down to help him out of the tub.
Surprisingly JEZZIE and MRS. CARMICHAEL are standing there
too. JACOB stares at them in total confusion.

DOCTOR
You are a lucky man, my friend. A
lucky man. You must have friends in
high places, that's all I can say.

SAM and TONY appear next to the DOCTOR. They are extending
their hands to the P.O.V. CAMERA. JACOB'S arms, nearly blue,
reach out to them.

Slowly they lift him from the icy water. JACOB takes one
step onto the tile and collapses to the floor.

CUT TO BLACK:

INT. JACOB'S BEDROOM - DAY

FADE IN sounds of feet shuffling across the carpet. A glass
rattles on a tray. A television is on low in the background.
Slowly the CAMERA LENS opens from JACOB's P.O.V. and we see
JEZZIE puttering around the BEDROOM. Suddenly she is aware
that JACOB is watching her. She smiles.

JEZZIE
Jake.
(she places her hand
on his head and
strokes his hair)
You're gonna be all right, Jake.
You're gonna be fine.

JACOB
Am I home?

JEZZIE
You're here. Home. The doctor said
you're lucky your brains didn't boil.
(she smiles)
What a night, Jake. It was crazy.
You kept sayin' "Sarah, close the
window," over and over. And talkin'
to your kids. Even the dead one.
Weird. You know you melted 200 pounds
of ice in 8 hours. Amazing, huh?

JACOB
Are we in Brooklyn?

JEZZIE
You're right here, Jake. You just
rest.
(she puffs up his
pillow)
The doctor said you had a virus.
That's what they say when they don't
know what it is. You can't do anything
for a week. He says you gotta
recuperate.
(she strokes his
forehead, and gets
up)
Now you just lie here. Mrs. Sandelman
made you some chicken soup. It'll
warm you up.

JEZZIE leaves the room. JACOB watches her as she goes. He
seems lost and confused.

INT. JACOB'S KITCHEN - DAY

JACOB, unshaven, wearing his bathrobe, is sitting at the
KITCHEN TABLE. PILES OF BOOKS on demonology are spread out
before him. He studies them to distraction. JEZZIE is standing
by the counter making sandwiches. She wraps them in plastic
Baggies and puts one in a lunch box, another in the
refrigerator. She is dressed in her postal uniform.

JEZZIE
You know, you really ought to get
out today. You can't just sit around
like this all the time. It's not
healthy. It's not good for your mind.
Go take a walk, or somethin'. Go to
a movie. Christ, who's gonna know?
You think I care? I don't give a
shit. Go. Enjoy yourself. One of us
should be having a good time.
(JEZZIE knocks on
JACOB's head)
Hello! Anybody home?
(she looks in his ear)
Anybody in there?

JACOB
What?

JEZZIE just stares at him. She does not respond. JACOB returns
to his books.

CUT TO CLOSE UP IMAGES OF WINGED DEMONS, real demons, with
spindly horns and long tails. JACOB's huge finger, magnified,
scans page after page of ancient images and archaic text.
JEZZIE, enraged at his lack of attention, returns to packing
her lunch box. Suddenly she spins around.

JEZZIE
Goddamn it! I can't stand it anymore.
I've had it up to here. Go ahead and
rot if you want... You son-of-a-bitch,
I'm talking to you.

CUT BACK to the DEMONS. Suddenly a crashing sound catches
JACOB's attention as a KITCHEN POT flies by his head. He
looks up to see JEZZIE knocking pots and pans off the kitchen
counter and kicking them wildly across the room. The noise
is terrible. The intensity of her rage is shocking. The pots
crash into every surface, knocking all his books onto the
floor. And then, suddenly, she stops.

JEZZIE stoops down to the floor and picks up her sandwich,
stuffs it back in its plastic Baggie, and puts it back in
her lunch box. She is about to leave when she stops and looks
at JACOB.

JEZZIE
(continuing, her anger
in check)
I made you a tuna fish sandwich.
It's in the fridge. Eat a carrot
with it. The aspirin's on the bottom
shelf. We're out of soap so, if for
some reason you decide to wash
yourself again, use the dishwashing
stuff.
(she walks out of the
room and returns
with her coat)
I'm sorry I yelled, but you get on
my nerves.
(she bends down and
makes eye contact
with Jacob)
Hello? Listen, I gotta go.

JEZZIE sits on his lap, gives him a big kiss, and then,
unexpectedly, raises two fingers, like horns, over her head.
The gesture catches JACOB's full attention.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
Look, I'm horny. Keep it in mind.
(she kisses his cheek)
Love me a little?

JACOB
(speaking with
affection)
You are the most unbelievable woman
I have ever met. One second you're a
screaming banshee and the next you're
Florence Nightingale. Who are you?
That's what I want to know. Will the
real Jezzie Pipkin please stand up.

Suddenly the telephone rings. It startles them.

JEZZIE
Oh shit. Tell 'em I've left.

JEZZIE grabs her jacket and shoves her arm in it upside down.
A pocketful of change falls on the floor. JACOB smiles. JEZZIE
curses as she struggles to pick it up and get the jacket on
right. JACOB gets the phone.

JACOB
Hello.

PAUL (V.O.)
Jacob Singer?

JACOB
Speaking.

PAUL (V.O.)
Paul Gruneger!

JACOB
Paul Gruneger! Well I'll be goddamned!

JACOB indicates it's for him. JEZZIE throws him a kiss goodbye
and hurries out the door.

JACOB
(continuing)
Paul! You son-of-a-bitch, how the
hell are you? I haven't seen you in
what, five, six, years?

PAUL (V.O.)
A long time.

JACOB
Jesus Christ. How've you been? What's
happening in your life?

PAUL (V.O.)
Nothin' much.

JACOB
Me neither. Nothing too exciting. So
tell me, to what do I owe the honor?

PAUL (V.O.)
I need to see you, Jake.

JACOB
Shit, Paul. I'd love to see you. But
I'm kind of laid up here. I've been
sick.

PAUL (V.O.)
I need to see you.

INT. PAUL'S CAR - DAY

JACOB and PAUL are driving through EAST NEW YORK heading
toward WILLIAMSBURG. The elevated trains rumble above them.
JACOB pats PAUL on the back.

JACOB
Jesus, man, you look terrific. You
must have put on twenty pounds.

PAUL
I work in a bakery.

JACOB
You're lucky. How many vets you know
are even employed?

PAUL
Count 'em on one hand.

JACOB
It's almost like a conspiracy, huh?

PAUL
No joke. Fuckin' army! That goddamn
war. I'm still fightin' it.

JACOB
It's not worth it. You'll never win.

PAUL
You tellin' me? How many times can
you die, huh?

PAUL looks in his rear view mirror before changing lanes. He
sees a black car tagging close behind him. He pulls out. So
does the car.

PAUL
(continuing)
Still married, Jake?

JACOB
Nope.

PAUL
You and everybody else. God I hate
this area. Makes me nervous.

JACOB
Why the hell we drivin' here?

PAUL
I just need to talk.

JACOB
You can't talk in Brownsville?

PAUL
I'm not sure where I can talk anymore.

JACOB
What's wrong?

PAUL
Let's get a couple drinks, okay?
(he looks at his rear
view mirror)
Hey, take a look behind us. Do you
think that car is followin' us?

JACOB
(turning to look)
That black car?

PAUL
Pull the mirror down on the sun visor.
(JACOB does)
Just watch 'em.

JACOB
What's goin' on Paul?

PAUL
I don't know.

JACOB
You in trouble?

PAUL
Yeah.

JACOB notices PAUL's left arm. It is shaking. The black car
passes on the left. Both PAUL and JACOB stare at it as it
speeds by.

INT. BAR - DAY

JACOB and PAUL are sitting in a dark booth in an obscure
WILLIAMSBURG BAR. It is nearly empty. PAUL is leaning across
the table in a very intimate fashion.

PAUL
Somethin's wrong, Jake. I don't know
what it is but I can't talk to anybody
about it. I figured I could with
you. You always used to listen, you
know?

JACOB nods. PAUL takes a sip of his drink and stares
deliberately into JACOB's eyes.

PAUL
(continuing)
I'm going to Hell!

JACOB's face grows suddenly tense.

PAUL
(continuing)
That's as straight as I can put it.
And don't tell me that I'm crazy
'cause I know I'm not. I'm goin' to
Hell. They're comin' after me.

JACOB
(frightened, but
holding back)
Who is?

PAUL
They've been followin' me. They're
comin' outta the walls. I don't trust
anyone. I'm not even sure I trust
you. But I gotta talk to someone.
I'm gonna fly outta my fuckin' mind.

PAUL cannot contain his fear. He jumps up suddenly and walks
away from the booth. JACOB follows him with his eyes but
does not go after him. A YOUNG MAN in the next booth observes
the scene with interest. He looks vaguely familiar, like we
have seen him before.

PAUL stares out the window for a moment and then walks over
to the juke box. He pulls a quarter out of his pocket and
drops it in the slot. His finger pushes a selection at random.
Some '60's rock hit blares out. JACOB's mind is reeling by
the time PAUL sits back down.

PAUL
(continuing)
Sorry. Sometimes I think I'm just
gonna jump outta my skin. They're
just drivin' me wild.

JACOB
Who, Paul? What exactly... ?

PAUL
I don't know who they are, or what
they are. But they're gonna get me
and I'm scared, Jake. I'm so scared
I can't do anything. I can't go to
my sisters. I can't even go home.

JACOB
Why not?

PAUL
They're waitin' for me, that's why.

PAUL's hand starts to shake. The tremor spreads rapidly to
his whole body. The booth begins to rattle.

PAUL
(continuing)
I can't stop it. I try. Oh God! Help
me Jake.

JACOB slides quickly out of his side of the booth and moves
in toward PAUL. He puts his arm around him and holds him
tightly, offering comfort as best he can.

PAUL is obviously terrified and grateful for JACOB's gesture.
A few PEOPLE at the bar look over in their direction.

JACOB
It's okay, Paul. It's okay.

PAUL
(crying)
I don't know what to do.

JACOB
Don't do anything.
(PAUL begins to relax
a bit and the shaking
subsides)
Paul, I know what you're talking
about.

PAUL
What do you mean?

JACOB
I've seen them too... the demons!

PAUL
(staring at JACOB)
You've seen them?

JACOB
Everywhere, like a plague.

PAUL
God almighty. I thought I was the
only one.

JACOB
Me, too. I had no idea. It's like I
was coming apart at the seams.

PAUL
Oh God. I know. I know.

JACOB
What is it Paul? What's happening to
me?

PAUL
They keep telling me I'm already
dead, that they're gonna tear me
apart, piece by piece, and throw me
into the fire.
(he fumbles in his
coat pocket and pulls
out a small Bible
and silver cross)
I carry these everywhere but they
don't help. Nothing helps. Everyone
thinks I'm crazy. My mother filed a
report with the army.

JACOB
(stunned)
The army?

PAUL
She said I haven't been the same
since then. Since that night. There's
still this big hole in my brain.
It's so dark in there, Jake. And
these creatures. It's like they're
crawling out of my brain. What
happened that night? Why won't they
tell us?

JACOB
I don't know. I don't know.

PAUL
They're monsters, Jake. We're both
seein' 'em. There's gotta be a
connection. Something.

JACOB leans back in the booth, his mind racing. The YOUNG
MAN in the next booth is watching them with rapt attention.

INT. MEN'S ROOM - DAY

PAUL and JACOB are in the MEN'S ROOM. PAUL flushes the urinal.

PAUL
I'm afraid to go by myself anymore.
I keep thinkin' one of 'em's gonna
come up behind me. Somethin's wrong
when a guy can't even take a leak by
himself. I've seen 'em take people
right off the street. I used to go
home a different way every night.
Now I can't even go home.

JACOB
You come home with me.

PAUL
What about your girlfriend? You don't
think she'll mind?

JACOB
Are you kidding? We've put up more
of her cousins. You wouldn't believe
how they breed down there.

PAUL smiles.

EXT. BAR - DAY

The TWO MEN leave the bar on a dingy side street. It is cold
outside. Christmas lights seem ludicrous dangling in the
bar's front window. PAUL looks at them and smiles.

PAUL
Merry Christmas.

PAUL steps into the street and walks to the driver's side of
his car. He pulls out his keys and opens the door. JACOB
looks down on the sidewalk and notices a dime.

JACOB
Goddamn, this is my lucky day.

He bends down to pick it up. PAUL inserts the key into the
ignition and steps on the gas. He turns the key.

THE CAR EXPLODES. Pieces of metal and flesh fly into the
air. JACOB sprawls out flat on the ground as the debris hurls
above him. He covers his head.

EXT. VIETNAM

CUT TO A HELICOPTER suffering an air bombardment. Flack is
exploding all around it and the shock waves are rocking the
craft violently. JACOB's eyes peer to the left.

INFANTRY GUNNERS are firing rockets into the JUNGLE below. A
pair of MEDICS are huddled over him. A sudden gush of arterial
bleeding sends a stream of blood splattering over the inside
of the windshield. The PILOT, unable to see, clears it away
with his hands.

JACOB screams over the roar of the chopper. One of the MEDICS
presses his ear close to JACOB to hear.

JACOB
Help me!

MEDIC
We're doing the best we can.

JACOB
Get me out of here!

EXT. BAR - DAY

THE YOUNG MAN from the bar grabs JACOB under the arms and
drags him down the sidewalk.

YOUNG MAN
Just hold on.

JACOB
Where am I? Who are you?

The YOUNG MAN yanks JACOB around the corner just as another
explosion consumes the car. The air is filled with flames
and flying debris. The YOUNG MAN pulls JACOB into the bar.

YOUNG MAN
Just lie still. You're okay. You're
not hurt.

The CUSTOMERS are in a state of bedlam. Part of the wall has
blown apart and bricks and glass are everywhere. The cross
from around PAUL's neck is buried in the debris. Sirens are
heard in the distance. A BLACK CAR speeds off down the street.
JACOB looks for the YOUNG MAN who had helped him. He is gone.

EXT. FUNERAL PROCESSION - DAY

A FUNERAL PROCESSION heads down Ocean Parkway.

INT. JACOB'S CAR - DAY

JACOB and JEZZIE are driving in an old Chevy Nova. They are
dressed up. JACOB's face is bruised and he has a gauze pad
over his ear. They drive in silence. JACOB appears very sad.
Slowly his right hand reaches across the seat, seeking
JEZZIE's. Their fingers embrace.

EXT. CEMETERY - DAY

The FUNERAL PROCESSION enters the CEMETERY. Cars park along
the length of the narrow road. MEN IN DARK SUITS emerge from
their cars along with WIVES and GIRLFRIENDS.

They are the SOLDIERS we have seen at the opening of the
film, only they are older now. A small group of FAMILY MEMBERS
are helped to the graveside.

JACOB joins the other VETERANS as pallbearers. They carry
the casket in semi-military formation to the grave.

INT. PAUL'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

JACOB'S OLD ARMY BUDDIES are sitting together in Paul's living
room, talking. PAUL'S WIFE can be seen in the BEDROOM. Several
WOMEN are comforting her.

JEZZIE is talking to a small group of LADIES in the DINING
ROOM and nibbling off a tray of cold cuts. PAUL'S SISTER is
with her and they seem to be having a lively, almost intimate,
conversation.

JACOB and his BUDDIES are drinking beer. They all have a
tired, defeated look about them.

FRANK
Did anyone see the police report? It
sounds like a detonation job to me.

JERRY
The paper said it was electrical; a
freak accident.

ROD
Bullshit. Someone's covering
somethin'. That was no accident.

GEORGE
Why do you say that?

ROD
Cars don't explode that way. Any
simpleton knows that.

GEORGE
But the paper...

ROD
That was set. I'm tellin' you.

DOUG
By who? Why? Paul didn't have an
enemy in the world.

JERRY
How do you know?

DOUG
Hey, you're talkin' about Paul. Who'd
want to hurt him?

FRANK
What did he talk about when you guys
went out? Did he say anything?

JACOB
He was upset. He thought people were
following him.

JERRY
You're kidding. Who?

JACOB
He didn't know... Demons.

GEORGE
(obviously struck by
the word)
What do you mean, demons?

JACOB
He told me he was going to Hell.

The statement has a surprising impact on the group. There is
immediate silence and eyes averted from one another.

ROD
What'd he say that for? What made
him say that? Strange, huh? Strange.

GEORGE
What else did he say, Jake?

JACOB
He was scared. He saw these creatures
coming out of the woodwork. They
were tryin' to get him, he said.

GEORGE
(his arm shaking)
How long had that been going on?

JACOB
A couple of weeks, I think.

He notices GEORGE's beer can rattling.

GEORGE
He say what they looked like?

JACOB
No. Not really...

GEORGE
Excuse me a minute. I'll be right
back.

ROD
In one end, out the other, huh George?

GEORGE tries to smile as he hurries to the bathroom. His arm
is nearly out of control and beer is spilling on the carpet
as he walks.

ROD
(continuing)
Still a spastic, huh? I hope you can
hold your dick better than you hold
that can.

No one laughs. There is an uncomfortable silence.

EXT. A BACK ALLEY - DAY

The SIX MEN are walking quietly through an unpaved alley. It
is already gray and getting darker.

DOUG
I know what Paul was talking about.
I don't know how to say this... but
in a way it's a relief knowing that
someone else saw them, too.

ROD
You're seeing... ?

DOUG
They're not human, I'll tell you
that. A car tried to run over me the
other day. It was aiming straight
for me. I saw their faces. They
weren't from Brooklyn.

ROD
What are you tellin' me? They're
from the Bronx?

DOUG
It was no joke, Rod.

JERRY
Something weird is going on here.

What is it about us? Even in Nam it was always weird. Are we
all crazy or something?

DOUG
Yeah, ever since that...

He hesitates. They all understand.

ROD
What's that have to do with anything?

FRANK
It was bad grass. That's all it was.

JERRY
Grass never did that to me.

DOUG
You know, I've been to three shrinks
and a hypnotist. Nothing penetrates
that night. Nothing.

ROD
It's not worth goin' over again and
again. Whatever happened, happened.
It's over.

JACOB
...I've seen them, too.

ROD
Shit!

JERRY
So have I.

JACOB
Look, there's something fucking
strange going on here. You know Paul's
not the only one who's died. You
remember Dr. Carlson over at Bellevue?
His car blew up, too.

ROD
Dr. Carlson's dead?

JACOB
An explosion, just like Paul's.

JERRY
No!

FRANK
Jesus!

GEORGE
You think they're connected?

JACOB
(he nods)
I think something's fucking connected.
I mean, a car tried to run me over
the other day. Doug too, right?

We've got six guys here going fucking crazy.

ROD
Not me, buddy.

JACOB
Okay, not you Rod. But the rest of
us are flipping out for some goddamn
reason. They're tryin' to kill us.
Fuck it man, we need to find out
what's going on.

DOUG
Do you think it has something to do
with... the offensive?

JACOB
It's got something to do with
something. I think we've got to
confront the army. If they're hiding
shit from us, we better find out
what it is.

ROD
Come on, Professor. The army's not
gonna give you any answers. You'll
be buttin' your head against a stone
wall.

JACOB
Maybe that's the only way to get
through. Besides, six heads'll be
better than one.

ROD
Not my head, buddy. Not me. I'm
gettin' a headache just listenin' to
you.

JACOB
We should get ourselves a lawyer.

ROD
I say you should get a shrink.

DOUG
Too late. I've tried. I think you're
right, Jake. I'm game.

JERRY
Me, too.

ROD
You guys are fucking paranoid. It
was bad grass. That's all it was.
There's no such thing as demons.

INT. LAW OFFICE - DAY

JACOB, FRANK, JERRY, GEORGE, DOUG, and ROD are sitting on
plush chairs in the LAW OFFICE of DONALD GEARY. GEARY, a red-
faced man with three chins, is sucking on an ice cube. He
looks at each of the men, and then spits the ice cube into
an empty glass. It clinks.

GEARY
I'm sorry, Mr. Singer, but do you
have any idea how many people come
to me with the injustices of the
world? It'd break your heart.

JACOB
This isn't injustice, Mr. Geary. The
army did something to us and we've
got to find out what.

GEARY
The army. The army. What is it with
you guys? We're not talking about a
trip to the library here. This is
the United States Government for
God's sake. This is red tape coming
out of your ass. You know what I
mean?

JACOB
Exactly. And we need someone to cut
through it. We hear you're the man.

GEARY
Oh yeah? What am I -- Perry Mason
here?

GEARY stands up and grabs a bag of Cheetos from a file drawer.
He chomps down a few and offers the bag to the others. There
are no takers. Thirsty, he downs the ice cube and cracks it
between his teeth.

GEARY
(continuing)
Okay. I'll look into it.

The MEN are surprised and excited.

PAUL
Wow! Do you think we have a chance?

GEARY
What do you want, a fortune teller
or a lawyer?... I'll need sworn
depositions from each of you and a
list of the other members of the
platoon, or their survivors.

DOUG
Hey, this is great.

GEARY
I'll tell you, if we find the military
is implicated in any way, you could
stand to recover quite a lot of money.
Not that I can predict anything, but
some class action suits of this kind
have been awarded fairly generous
judgements. That wouldn't be so bad,
would it Mr. Singer?

JACOB
Doctor.
(GEARY looks at him
oddly)
Ph.D.

GEARY
Ah! I thought you were a mailman.

JACOB
I am.

GEARY
(confused)
Then why aren't you teaching? Why
aren't you in a university?

JACOB
I'm too messed up to teach.

GEARY
(smiling)
Ah! Well then, they're going to have
to pay for that, aren't they?

The MEN all nod in agreement.

EXT. OFFICE BUILDING - DAY

JACOB and the others exit the OFFICE BUILDING. They are
jubilant, clasping hands and smacking each other on the back.
We watch as they break up. JACOB heads for the subway. FRANK
and another group hop a cab. As the cab pulls away we notice
that a black car pulls out behind it. It follows them out of
sight.

INT. JACOB'S KITCHEN - NIGHT

JACOB and JEZZIE are making wild and unadulterated love on
the kitchen floor. The wastebasket flips over. JACOB's hand
splashes into the dog's bowl. Nothing impedes their passion.
JEZZIE laughs, hollers, and swoons. Hands grab hold of table
legs. Chairs topple. Feet bang wildly against the stove. It
is all mayhem and ecstasy. And then it ends.

JACOB's face is ecstatic. He can barely talk and simply basks
in JEZZIE's glow. She looks especially lovely and radiant.
They lie exhausted and exhilarated on the linoleum floor.

JEZZIE
So tell me... am I still an angel?

JACOB
(smiling broadly)
With wings. You transport me, you
know that? You carry me away.

JEZZIE kisses him softly around his face and gently probes
his ear with her pinky. JACOB loves it.

JEZZIE
We're all angels, you know...
(she bites his earlobe.
He winces)
...and devils. It's just what you
choose to see.

JACOB
I love you, Jez.

JEZZIE
I know.

JACOB
Underneath all the bullshit, just
love.

JEZZIE
Remember that.

JACOB
You know what? I feel... exorcised...
like the demons are gone.

JEZZIE
How come? The army?

JACOB
In a way. At least now I have some
idea of what was happening. If we
can only get them to admit... to
explain what they did... I don't
know. Maybe it'd clear things up in
my head. I'll tell you something,
Jez, honestly... I thought they were
real.

Silence. Suddenly JEZZIE roars like a monster and scares
JACOB half to death. They laugh and tumble back to the floor.

INT. JACOB'S APT. - EVENING

JACOB emerges from the bathroom shower and pulls on a robe.
JEZZIE is moving rapidly around the KITCHEN.

JEZZIE
I put a frozen dinner in the oven, a
Manhandler. It'll be ready at a
quarter of. I threw a little salad
together. It's in the fridge. I also
bought some apple juice, Red Cheek.
Don't drink it all. Oh, and Jake,
your lawyer called.

JACOB
He did? When?

JEZZIE
(grabbing her coat)
While you were in the shower.

JACOB
Why didn't you call me?

JEZZIE
He didn't give me a chance.
(she pauses nervously)
Look, honey, don't get upset, but
he's not taking your case.

JACOB
(stunned)
What? What do you mean?

JEZZIE
He said you didn't have one.

JACOB
What's he talking about?

JEZZIE
I don't know. That's all he said. He
wasn't very friendly. Oh, yeah. He
said your buddies backed down. They
chickened out, he said.

JACOB
I don't believe this.

JEZZIE
Baby, I'm sorry. I feel terrible.
I'd stay and talk but I'm so late.
Look, don't be upset. We'll talk
when I get home. See you around
midnight.
(she kisses him on
the cheek)
Bye. And don't brood. Watch T.V. or
something.

JACOB'S APT./FRANK'S APT. - INTERCUT

The door slams securely. The locks set. JACOB begins instantly
rifling through a desk drawer. He comes up with a frayed
address book and looks up a number. He dials.

FRANK (V.O.)
Hello.

JACOB
Frank. It's Jake. Jacob Singer.

We see FRANK standing at a window fingering the Venetian
blinds. He does not reply. The scene intercuts between the
two men.

JACOB
(continuing)
Listen, I just got a strange call
from Geary. He said the guys backed
down. What's he talking about?

FRANK
(fingering the Venetian
blinds)
That's right. We did.

JACOB
What does that mean, Frank? I don't
get it. Why?

FRANK
It's hard to explain.

JACOB
(angry)
Well, try, huh.

FRANK
I don't know if I can. It's just
that war is war. Things happen.

JACOB
Things happen? What the fuck are you
talking about? They did something to
us, Frank. We have to expose this.

FRANK
There's nothing to expose.

JACOB
Jesus Christ! Who's been talking to
you?
(silence)
What's going on? How can you just
turn away?
(no response)
What about the others?

FRANK
They're not interested, Jake.

JACOB
Shit! You know it's not half the
case if I go it alone. We're all
suffering the same symptoms, Frank.
The army is to blame. They've done
something to us. How can you not
want to know?

FRANK
(pausing)
Maybe it's not the army, Jake.

JACOB
What do you mean?

FRANK
Maybe there's a larger truth.

JACOB
What are you talking about?

FRANK
Maybe the demons are real.

JACOB
Goddamn it. What kind of bullshit is
that?

FRANK
Listen, Jake. I gotta go.

JACOB
What the hell? What kind of mumbo
jumbo... ?

FRANK
I'm hanging up.

JACOB
Hey, wait!

FRANK
Don't bother to call again, okay?

FRANK hangs up. JACOB stands holding the phone for a long
time, until the high pitched whine from the receiver reminds
him it's off the hook. The sound frightens him and he slams
the receiver down. QUickly JACOB tears through his address
book looking for other phone numbers. They aren't there.

JACOB
Shit!

INT. JACOB'S APT.

JACOB hurries into the BEDROOM and pulls an old shoe box
from the closet. The box is filled with yellowing army papers,
dog tags, and photos of old comrades. Beneath his discharge
papers he finds a sheet scribbled with the names and addresses
of platoon buddies. JACOB grabs it. Then his eyes fall on
the frayed remains of an old letter. He picks it up and
unfolds it with great care. The letter is written in a child's
handwriting. "DEAR DADDY, I LOVE YOU. PLEASE COME HOME. JED
GOT A FROG. ELI LOST MY KEY. MOM WANTS YOU TO SEND HER MONEY.
LOVE, GABE."

CUT TO:

EXT. BROOKLYN SIDEWALK - DAY

GABE, on a BICYCLE, is rushing down the sidewalk. JACOB is
running alongside him, holding onto the seat. Plastic
streamers trail from the handlebars. GABE is a bit wobbly,
but determined. After a couple of false starts, JACOB lets
go and GABE is riding by himself. For an instant, GABE looks
back at his father with a huge grin on his face. JACOB is
grinning, too. THE CAMERA HOLDS ON GABE as he pulls away
from us and heads into the distance.

CUT BACK TO:

INT. JACOB'S APT. - NIGHT

JACOB swallows hard as he stands there, holding the letter.
Suddenly his eyes lift off the page and glance at a full
length mirror mounted on the bedroom door. Something in the
mirror, like the image of a child, seems to move. He looks
over. There is nothing there. Curious, JACOB walks toward
the mirror. As his image appears, he gasps and stops moving.
To his horror and ours, it is his own back that is reflected
in the mirror. The impossibility of the moment startles him.
He lifts his hand. The reflection moves with him. Frightened
but defiant, JACOB moves toward the mirror. The image in the
mirror spins around. It is the FRIGHTENING VIBRATING FACE
he saw at the party with JEZZIE. An unearthly scream comes
from both their mouths.

JACOB
NO!!!

INT. BROOKLYN COURT HOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON

A huge wooden door slams open. JACOB charges through it.

He is chasing his lawyer, DONALD GEARY, through a crowded
court house corridor. GEARY, sweaty and unshaven, is cradling
a Coke in one hand, a sandwich and a briefcase in the other.
His stomach bounces wildly as he walks.

JACOB
Geary! Mr. Geary! Listen, goddamn
it! You can't just walk away from
this.

GEARY keeps walking. JACOB catches up to him.

JACOB
(continuing)
Who's been talking to you? The army?
Have they been talking to you, huh?

GEARY
Nobody's been talking to nobody. You
don't have a case, you hear me? It's
pure and simple. Now leave me alone.
Okay?

JACOB grabs the back of GEARY's jacket and pulls him up short.

GEARY
(continuing)
Take your hands off me!

JACOB lets go. He stares into GEARY's eyes.

JACOB
Listen, will you listen? They're
trying to get me. They're comin' out
of the walls. The army's done
something to me. I need you.

GEARY
You need... a doctor.

JACOB
A doctor? And what's he gonna do,
tell me I'm crazy? They've fucked
with my head. I've got to prove it.
You've got to do something.

GEARY gives JACOB a pitiful look.

GEARY
There's nothing I can do.

He turns and walks away. JACOB stands there a moment, and
then rushes after him. GEARY is biting into his sandwich.

Mayonnaise spills onto his hand. He licks it with his tongue.
JACOB catches up to him.

GEARY
You mind? I'm eating, huh?

JACOB
Something's going on here. You're
not telling me something. What the
hell's gotten into you?

GEARY
I'll tell you what's gotten into me.
I don't know you from Adam, right?
You come to my office with this
bizarro story and demand I look into
it. Okay. I said I'd check it out
and I did. Now I don't know what
kind of fool you take me for, but
you have used and abused me, and I
don't like it.

JACOB
Used you?

GEARY
I talked to the Army's Bureau of
Records. You've never even been to
Vietnam.

JACOB
What the hell is that supposed to
mean?

GEARY
It means that you and your buddies
are whacko, that you were discharged
on psychological grounds after some
war games in Thailand.

JACOB
(stunned)
War games? Thailand? That's not true!
How can you believe that? Can't you
see what they're doing? It's all a
lie. We were in Da Nang, for God's
sake. You've got to believe me.

GEARY
I don't have to do any such thing.
I'm eating my lunch, okay?

GEARY takes a swig of his COKE and begins walking away. JACOB,
enraged, charges after him. With a wild swipe he sends the
COKE CAN shooting out of GEARY's hand. It reverberates down
the corridor. GEARY is stunned.

JACOB
You slimy bastard! You goddamn piece
of shit!

With a powerful thrust, JACOB rips the sandwich from GEARY's
other hand. Tossing it on the floor, he grinds his heel in
it. Tomato and mayonnaise squirt onto GEARY's shoe. JACOB
turns away.

CUT TO JACOB walking down the COURT HOUSE CORRIDOR to the
elevators. There is a look of satisfaction on his face.

CUT BACK TO GEARY. He picks up a telephone and dials. Someone
comes on the line. GEARY speaks quietly.

GEARY
He's on his way.

CUT TO JACOB stepping onto the elevator. The doors close.
The Muzak is playing "Sonny Boy" with Al Jolson singing.
JACOB is surprised to hear it. He presses the down button
for the main floor.

The elevator stops at the LOBBY. The doors open swiftly.
SEVERAL SOLDIERS are standing there. They approach JACOB.

SOLDIER 1
Let's go, Singer.

JACOB is shocked to see them. He tries to get away but two
of the SOLDIERS yank him toward the LOBBY doors.

SOLDIER 2
You're coming with us.

INT. CAR - LATE AFTERNOON

JACOB is hustled to a waiting car and shoved inside, in
between two officious looking MEN. The doors lock from the
DRIVER's command.

ARMY OFFICIAL #1
Mr. Singer. What an appropriate name
for a man who can't keep his mouth
shut.

The car drives off.

JACOB
Who are you? What do you want?

ARMY OFFICIAL #2
We've been watching you for a long
time. You and your friends. You've
been exhibiting some very odd
behavior. Frightening people with
foolish talk about demons -- and
experiments.

JACOB tries to speak but the other MAN grabs his mouth.

ARMY OFFICIAL #1
You're in over your head, Mr. Singer.
Men drown that way. The army was
another part of your life. Forget
it. It is dead and buried. Let it
lie.

ARMY OFFICIAL #2
I hope we have made our point, Mr.
Singer.

JACOB stares at the men for a moment and then goes totally
berserk. Letting out a howl, he begins pounding and thrashing
like a madman. He is totally out of control.

With a wild leap, he grabs for the door handle. The door
flies open. It flaps back and forth, slamming into parked
cars. JACOB tries to jump out, but the men yank him back in.
One of them pulls out a gun. JACOB sees it and goes crazy.
His feet kick in all directions, slamming the DRIVER's nose
into the steering wheel and shattering the side window.

The car careens around a corner sending the gun flying to
the floor. The men dive for it. It lodges beneath the seat.
In the mayhem, JACOB throws himself out of the flapping door
and sprawls onto the pavement. People look down at him as
the car speeds away.

EXT. BROOKLYN - LATE AFTERNOON

JACOB grabs his back. He is in excruciating pain. He tries
to get up, but can't move. He reaches out to people passing
by, but they ignore him and hurry past.

A SALVATION ARMY SANTA has been watching the entire scene.
After a moment's consideration he leaves his post and ambles
over to JACOB. He leans down and steals his wallet.

SANTA
Merry Christmas.

EXT. BROOKLYN STREETS - EVENING

CUT TO THE SOUND OF A SIREN as an AMBULANCE races through
the streets.

INT. HOSPITAL - EVENING

AN AMBULANCE CREW rushes JACOB to a HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM.

BEARER
He's been screaming like a madman.
You better get something in him.

RESIDENT
(approaching JACOB)
Hi. I'm Doctor Stewart. Can you tell
me what happened?

JACOB
My back. I can't move. I need my
chiropractor.

RESIDENT
Your back? Did you fall?

BEARER
They said he slipped on the ice. May
have hit his head.

ATTENDANT
Does he have any identification?

BEARER
No wallet. Nothing.

JACOB
They stole it.

RESIDENT
Who did?

JACOB
I don't know. Santa Claus. I had my
son's picture in it. Gabe's picture.
It's the only one I had.

RESIDENT
We better get an orthopedic man in
here. Is Dr. Davis on call?

NURSE
I'll page him.

JACOB
Call my chiropractor.

NURSE
We're doing everything we can.

JACOB
Louis Schwartz. Nostrand Avenue.

RESIDENT
I'm going to have to move you a bit,
just to check for injuries. This may
hurt a little.

JACOB
No. Don't move me.

The RESIDENT ignores him. JACOB screams.

RESIDENT
I don't have to ask if you can feel
that.

JACOB
Goddamn it. I want Louis.

NURSE
Who's Louis?

RESIDENT
He's out of it. I'm taking him down
to X-ray.

An ORDERLY pushes the gurney through a pair of sliding doors.
JACOB tries to get up but the pain keeps him immobilized.

INT. CORRIDORS - NIGHT

JACOB begins a journey down what appears to be an endless
series of corridors. The wheels of the gurney turn with a
hypnotic regularity. The smooth tile floor gives way to rough
cement. The ORDERLY's feet plod through pools of blood that
coagulate in cracks and crevices along the way. The surface
grows rougher, the wheels more insistent. Body parts and
human bile splash against the walls as the gurney moves
faster.

JACOB
Where are you taking me? Where am I?

ORDERLY
You know where you are.

JACOB, panicked, tries again to get up but to no effect. He
glances to the side and sees mournful CREATURES being led
into dark rooms. No one fights or struggles. We hear muffled
screams from behind closed doors. Occasionally he glances
inside the rooms and sees mangled bodies in strange
contraptions, people in rusty iron lungs, and hanging from
metal cages. Dark eyes peer out in horror. In one room a
baseboard heater bursts into flame. No one seems concerned.
A door opens. A bicycle with plastic streamers on the
handlebars lies crushed and mangled. One of its wheels is
still spinning. JACOB cries out but it is not his voice we
hear. Rather it is a familiar unearthly roar. His whole body
stiffens. As he rounds the corner he sees a figure, its head
vibrating in endless terror. It is the same image he has
seen before. JACOB screams.

INT. ROOM - NIGHT

JACOB is wheeled into a tiny ROOM. A number of "DOCTORS" are
waiting. As they draw closer JACOB notices that something
about them is not right. They bear a subtle resemblance to
Bosch-like DEMONS, creatures of another world. JACOB tries
to sit up but winces in pain. He cannot move. He tries to
scream but no sound comes out.

Chains and pulleys hang from the ceiling. They are lowered
and attached with speed and efficiency to JACOB's arms and
legs. He screams.

JACOB
Oh God!

The "DOCTORS" laugh. There is the sound of a huge door
closing. JACOB is left in semi-darkness. Suddenly a new group
of "DOCTORS" emerges from the shadows. They are carrying
sharp surgical instruments. They surround JACOB, their eyes
glistening as bright as their blades. JACOB is panting and
sweating in fear. One of the "DOCTORS" leans over JACOB. He
gasps with horror. It is JEZZIE.

JACOB
JEZZIE!

She pays no attention to him. He stares at her, THE CAMERA
TILTING DOWN HER BODY. As it gets to her foot we see it is a
decaying mass, swarming with maggots. The "DOCTORS" laugh.
They take great pleasure in his suffering. Their voices are
strange and not human. Each utterance contains a multitude
of contradictory tones, sincere and compassionate, taunting
and mocking at the same time. The confusion of meanings is a
torment of its own.

JACOB
(continuing)
Get me out of here.

"DOCTOR"
Where do you want to go?

JACOB
Take me home.

"DOCTOR"
Home?
(they all laugh)
This is your home. You're dead.

JACOB
Dead? No. I just hurt my back. I'm
not dead.

"DOCTOR"
What are you then?

JACOB
I'm alive.

"DOCTOR"
Then what are you doing here?

JACOB
I don't know. I don't know.
(he struggles like an
animal)
This isn't happening.

"DOCTOR"
What isn't happening?

JACOB
Let me out of here!

"DOCTOR"
There is no out of here. You've been
killed. Don't you remember?

A "DOCTOR" approaches JACOB. As he turns, we notice with
horror that he has no eyes or eye sockets. He extracts a
long needle from his belt and positions it over JACOB's head.
Like a divining rod it locates a particular point near the
crown of his head. With a powerful thrust the "DOCTOR" shoves
the needle into JACOB's skull and pushes it slowly into his
brain. JACOB howls.

EXT. VIETNAM - NIGHT

CUT RAPIDLY TO VIETNAM and a replay of flashes of the opening
sequence of the film. SOLDIERS with bayonets are charging
over rice paddies in the dark of the night. ONE OF THE
SOLDIERS charges at JACOB with a long bayonet blade and jams
it into his intestines. JACOB cries out.

INT. ROOM - NIGHT

CUT BACK TO THE "DOCTORS".

"DOCTOR"
Remember?

JACOB
No! That was years ago! I've lived
years since then.

"DOCTOR"
It's all been a dream.

JACOB
No! The army did this to me! They've
done something to my brain.
(he raves like a madman)
Jezzie! I want my boys! Sarah! I'm
not dead! I want my family!

The "DOCTORS" laugh and back away, disappearing into the
darkness.

INT. HOSPITAL - NIGHT

Suddenly a fluorescent light flashes overhead. NORMAL HOSPITAL
WALLS materialize instantaneously around him. A NURSE enters
the room followed by SARAH, ELI, and JED. They approach JACOB
who is lying in traction, suspended over a hospital bed.

NURSE
He's still pretty doped up. I don't
think he'll be able to talk yet and
I doubt that he'll recognize you.

SARAH
I just want to see him.

JED
(eating a Snickers
bar)
Dad. Hi. It's us. We just found out.

ELI
You look terrible. Does that hurt?

NURSE
I'll be outside if you need me.

SARAH
Jake. It's me. We heard what happened.

JACOB
(his voice hoarse,
nearly whispering)
I'm not dead. I am not dead.

SARAH
No. Of course you're not. You've
just hurt your back. That's all.
You're going to be fine. It'll just
take some time.

JED
A month, they said.

ELI
(trying to joke)
You just hang in there, Dad.

SARAH
(smacking him)
That's not funny.
(she reaches over and
rubs JACOB's brow)
What a mess, huh? God I wish there
was something I could do. I love
you, Jacob. For whatever that's worth.
I do.

There is a sudden sound of "DOCTORS" laughing. JACOB jerks
his head painfully, but does not see them.

"DOCTOR" (O.S.)
Dream on!

JACOB
(yelling at the unseen
voice)
No! Oh God.

SARAH
Jacob, what can I do?

JACOB
Save me!

JACOB's plea confuses SARAH. She responds with a kiss.

INT. HOSPITAL - DAY

DAYLIGHT streams through the window in JACOB's ROOM. He is
still in traction and looks very uncomfortable. A new NURSE
enters holding a plastic container with a straw poking out.

NURSE
Well, don't we look better this
morning? That was a hard night, wasn't
it?

JACOB
Where am I?

NURSE
Lennox Hospital.

JACOB
I'm awake?

NURSE
You look awake to me. Here.
(she holds the straw
to his lips)
Drink some of this.

JACOB
(staring at her
intently)
Where's Sarah? Where did she go?
(the NURSE gives him
a strange look)
She was here ...

NURSE
No. No. You haven't had any visitors.

JACOB
That's a lie. My family was here.

NURSE
I'm sorry.

JACOB
Last night! They were as real as you
are!

The NURSE smiles and nods in appeasement.

JACOB
This is not a dream! This is my life.

NURSE
Of course it is. What else could it
be?

She giggles nervously. There is a funny glint in her eyes.
JACOB looks away. He doesn't want to see it.

OMIT

INT. HOSPITAL CORRIDOR - EVENING

There is a loud commotion in the HALL. We see LOUIS SCHWARTZ,
JACOB's chiropractor, screaming JACOB's name.

LOUIS
Jacob! Jacob Singer!

JACOB yells.

JACOB
Louis! I'm here! In here!

INT. JACOB'S ROOM - DAY

LOUIS storms through JACOB's door followed by several NURSES
and ORDERLIES.

JACOB
LOUIS!

NURSE 1
You can't go in there!

ORDERLY
You're going to have to leave.

LOUIS stares furiously at JACOB stretched out on the traction
apparatus. He begins to yell.

LOUIS
Good God, Jake. What have they done?
(he examines JACOB
and screams at the
NURSES)
What is this, the Middle Ages? And
they call this modern medicine. This
is barbaric! Barbaric!
(turning to JACOB)
It's okay, Jake. It's not serious.
I'll get you out of here.
(yelling at the ORDERLY)
What is this, the Inquisition? Why
don't you just burn him at the stake
and put him out of his misery?

LOUIS charges over to the traction equipment and begins
working the pulleys that suspend JACOB over the bed. The
NURSES and ORDERLIES become instantly hysterical and start
screaming.

ORDERLY
What the hell do you think... ?

LOUIS
Don't you come near me.

NURSE 2
You can't do that!

LOUIS
What is this, a prison? Stay back.

NURSE 1
You can't. Call the police.

One of the ORDERLIES lunges at LOUIS who swings back at him
with one of the pulley chains. It just misses.

LOUIS
(to the ORDERLIES)
You take one step and I'll wrap this
around your neck.

LOUIS lowers JACOB into a wheelchair while holding the others
at bay.

LOUIS
(continuing)
Hold on, Jake, we're getting out of
here.

NURSES and ORDERLIES part as he pushes him quickly from the
room.

OMIT

INT. CHIROPRACTIC OFFICE - EVENING

LOUIS helps JACOB over to an adjusting table in a room that,
compared with the hospital, is comfortable and serene. He
pushes a lever and the table rises to a vertical position.
JACOB leans against it and rides it down to a horizontal
position. Every moment is agony for him.

LOUIS
Half an hour from now and you'll be
walking out of here all by yourself.
Mark my words.
(JACOB barely hears
them)
Well, you've done it to yourself
this time, haven't you?

JACOB
(nearly whispering)
Am I dead, Louis?
(LOUIS leans over to
hear)
Am I dead?

LOUIS
(smiling)
From a slipped disc? That'd be a
first.

JACOB
I was in Hell. I've been there. It's
horrible. I don't want to die, Louis.

LOUIS
Well, I'll see what I can do about
it.

JACOB
I've seen it. It's all pain.

LOUIS
(working on JACOB's
spine like a master
mechanic)
You ever read Meister Eckart?
(JACOB shakes his
head "no")
How did you ever get your Doctorate
without reading Eckart?
(LOUIS takes hold of
JACOB's legs and
yanks them swiftly)
Good. Okay, let's turn over gently.
Right side.

JACOB turns to his left. LOUIS shakes his head in dismay.

LOUIS
The other "right," okay?
(he helps JACOB turn
over)
You're a regular basket case, you
know that?
(he moves JACOB's arm
over his head)
Eckart saw Hell, too.

LOUIS positions JACOB's other arm, bends his legs, and then
pushes down on his thigh. His spine moves with a cracking
sound. JACOB groans.

LOUIS
(continuing)
You know what he said? The only thing
that burns in Hell is the part of
you that won't let go of your life;
your memories, your attachments.
They burn 'em all away. But they're
not punishing you, he said. They're
freeing your soul. Okay, other side.

He helps JACOB and repositions him. Again he pushes and the
spine cracks.

LOUIS
(continuing)
Wonderful. So the way he sees it, if
you're frightened of dying and holding
on, you'll see devils tearing your
life away. But if you've made your
peace then the devils are really
angels freeing you from the earth.
It's just a matter of how you look
at it, that's all. So don't worry,
okay? Relax. Wiggle your toes.

JACOB's toes dance as LOUIS gives him a quick, unexpected
jab to the lower vertebrae in his back.

LOUIS
(continuing)
Perfect. We got it.
(LOUIS pushes a lever
and the table rises
back up)
Okay. Let's just give it a little
try. See if you can stand.

JACOB
What? By myself?

LOUIS
You can do it. Come on. Easy. Just
give it a try.

JACOB steps cautiously away from the table. He moves
hesitantly, with deliberate restraint. LOUIS encourages him
like a faith healer coaxing the lame. His first steps have
an aura of the miraculous about them. JACOB walks slowly,
without help. LOUIS smiles impishly. He looks like a giant
cherub.

LOUIS
Hallelujah.

LOUIS puts his arm around him. Then JACOB tries again,
gradually rediscovering his balance and strength. With each
step his confidence returns. LOUIS is pleased. Then, suddenly,
without warning, JACOB turns and heads toward the door.

LOUIS
What are you doing?

JACOB
There's something I've gotta take
care of, Louis.

LOUIS
What are you talking about? You can
barely stand.

JACOB
I'm walking, aren't I?

LOUIS
Jake, you need to rest.

JACOB
Not tonight, Louis. No more rest.

He walks slowly out the door. LOUIS starts to go after him.
JACOB turns around and shakes his head "no." The look on his
face is firm and defiant. LOUIS stands back and lets him go.

JACOB
I love you, Louis.

EXT. U.S. ARMY RECRUITING HEADQUARTERS - NIGHT

CUT TO A SIREN BLARING and a fire engine racing through the
streets of lower MANHATTAN. A CROWD is forming. Banks of
lights and television cameras amass in the cold night air.
Police cars and mobile units rush to the scene.

CUT TO JACOB. In one hand he is holding a brightly lit torch.
In the other he is holding a container of gasoline and pouring
it on the steps of the U.S. ARMY RECRUITING HEADQUARTERS.
The volatile liquid splashes against his pants and shoes and
runs down the pavement. A five gallon container lies emptying
nearby. Gasoline belches from it insistently and pours onto
the street. Bystanders back away as the gasoline snakes toward
them.

Television cameras and microphones are pointing in JACOB's
direction, but at a safe distance. He is yelling at them,
his teeth chattering from the cold.

JACOB
Listen to me. There were four
companies in our battalion. Five
hundred men. Seven of us were left
when it was over. Seven! Four
companies engaged in an enemy
offensive that not one of us who
survived can remember fighting.

BYSTANDERS
Use the torch!

ONLOOKER
Shut up! Let him talk!

POLICE AMBULANCES are arriving at the scene. FIREMEN ready
hoses at nearby hydrants. T.V. CAMERAS are rolling.

JACOB
(shouting)
You don't forget a battle where 500
men were killed. They did something
to us. I want to know the truth, the
goddamn truth. We have a right to
know.
(he yells toward the
cameras)
Are you getting all this? I want
this on national T.V. I want the
whole country, the whole world to
know.

He holds up the torch. A loudspeaker blares through the crowd.

VOICE
Throw that torch away, young man.
Give yourself up. You're under arrest.

JACOB
For what? For seeking the truth?

VOICE
Please come quietly.

JACOB
You come near me and I'll blow us
all up.

VOICE
We're not going to hurt you.

ONLOOKER
Give him a chance to talk!

JACOB
The army will deny it. They've
falsified my records. They've lied
to my lawyer, threatened my buddies.
But they can't threaten me.

BYSTANDER
You tell 'em!

BYSTANDER
Use the torch!

VOICE
Okay, let's clear the area. Everyone
out.

Suddenly a lighted match flies in JACOB's direction. JACOB
is enraged. He brandishes the torch at the crowd.

JACOB
What the fuck do you think you're
doing?

Another match hurls toward him and dies in mid-air. PEOPLE
on the fringe of the crowd begin to run. JACOB does not move.

VOICE
Clear the area. This is an order!

JACOB
What is wrong with you?

We hear laughter from PEOPLE in the crowd. As JACOB looks
out into some of their eyes he sees demons looking back. One
of them throws another match. Crazed, JACOB runs toward them.
PEOPLE jump back.

Suddenly JACOB freezes. Standing on the sidelines, he sees
one of the ARMY OFFICIALS who trapped him in the car. He is
reaching for a gun. JACOB, stunned, yells at the top of his
lungs.

JACOB
NO!

With a defiant roar, he hurls the torch straight up into the
air. We see it from high above the crowd spinning higher and
higher. All eyes stare upward watching it in a kind of wonder.
Then, reaching its apex, just below the camera, it begins
its descent. The eyes of the crowd turn to fear. SOMEONE
yells.

ONLOOKER
He'll burn us all!

Screams fill the air as PEOPLE scramble to escape the
potential conflagration. Only JACOB remains motionless,
standing silently, almost heroically, in the middle of it
all.

Suddenly the torch hits the ground and a pool of gasoline
ignites with a blinding flare that sends flames shooting in
all directions. PEOPLE panic. T.V. REPORTERS and CAMERAMEN
run for their lives. The ARMY OFFICIALS run, too. The flames
travel toward the Army Headquarters and rush along the curb.
Water hoses are trying to douse them as they spread. JACOB,
surprisingly untouched by the fire, walks slowly through the
frightened crowds, as if in a daze. Viewed through the flames
the scene momentarily resembles a vision of Hell.

INT. JACOB'S APT. - NIGHT

JACOB, stark naked and covered with goose bumps, runs his
hands under a shower spray. The water is freezing and taking
forever to warm up. Anxious, he dashes past his gasoline
drenched clothes, grabs a suitcase from the BEDROOM closet,
and stuffs it with clothes. Then he hurries back to the
shower, tests it, and jumps in.

Lather covers JACOB's hair and hangs over his tightly closed
eyes. His entire body is covered in suds. He is washing as
quickly as he can. Suddenly he hears a noise as someone enters
the BATHROOM. He tenses.

JACOB
Who's there? Who is it?

JACOB struggles to rinse the soap from his eyes. They are
burning. There is a shadow behind the curtain.

JACOB
(continuing)
Goddamn it! Who's there?

JACOB rubs his eyes, fighting to see. Suddenly the shower
curtain is thrown back. JACOB backs against the wall. A hand
reaches in and pulls his nipple, pinching hard.

JEZZIE
It's just me.

JACOB
Jezzie?

JEZZIE
Who else were you expecting?

JACOB
Let go!

JEZZIE
Where were you, Jake? Where've you
been? Why haven't you called?

JACOB
Stay away from me, Jez.

JEZZIE
I want to know. You tell me!

JACOB
You wanna know? Turn on the T.V.
Watch the fucking news!

He pushes her away and jumps out of the shower.

CUT TO JACOB dressing and piling the last of his clothes
into his suitcase. JEZZIE, in a robe, is watching him.

JEZZIE
Why are you doing this to me? You
can't just go away like that.

JACOB
I can do anything I want.

She stares at him with confusion. THE PHONE RINGS.

JACOB
Don't!

JEZZIE
It might be for me.

JACOB
I'm not here. You haven't seen me.

JEZZIE
(picking up the
receiver)
Hello... No. He's not here. I haven't
seen him all night... I don't know
when... What? Tell him what?
(JACOB looks up)
Vietnam?... What experiments?

JACOB lunges for the phone.

JACOB
Hello. This is Jacob Singer.
(he listens with
growing fascination)
God almighty!... Yes. Yes. Right.
Where would you like to meet?
(he listens)
How will I know you.
(JACOB seems
uncomfortable)
Okay. I'll be there.

He hangs up the phone and stands silently for a moment.

JEZZIE
Who was that?

JACOB
A chemist. Part of a chemical warfare
unit out of Saigon. He said he knows
me and that I'll know him when I see
him.

JEZZIE
How?

JACOB
I have no idea.
(he thinks)
I was right. There were experiments.
I knew it. I knew it. My God.

JEZZIE
How do you know he's telling the
truth?

JACOB stares at JEZZIE for several moments but does not
respond. The 11:00 NEWS is coming on. JACOB's image can be
seen on the screen. We hear the NEWSCASTER speaking.

NEWSCASTER
Leading the news tonight, a bizarre
demonstration on the steps of the
U.S. Army Recruiting Headquarters,
in downtown Manhattan. Jacob Singer,
an alleged Vietnam vet...

JACOB
Alleged? Alleged?

NEWSCASTER
...challenged the United States Army
to admit conducting secret experiments
involving hundreds of American
soldiers during the Vietnam war.

JEZZIE stares at the T.V., dumbfounded. JACOB takes his
suitcase and hurries to the front door. He opens it a crack
and peers into the hallway. JEZZIE runs after him.

JEZZIE
(almost threatening)
Don't leave me, Jake.

INT. BUILDING CORRIDOR - NIGHT

JACOB gazes at JEZZIE for a moment and then hurries down the
HALL. He stops at the stairwell and looks back. JEZZIE is
still standing there. She is very angry. JACOB just stares
at her for a moment and then disappears down the stairwell.

EXT. WESTSIDE HIGHWAY - NIGHT

JACOB is standing near the WESTSIDE HIGHWAY. GROUPS OF MEN
in black leather jackets are cruising the area and look at
JACOB with curiosity. One MAN in particular cruises by several
times and then approaches him.

MICHAEL
Jacob? Hi. I'm Michael Newman. Friends
call me Mike.

JACOB is startled when he sees him. He is the same YOUNG MAN
who has appeared throughout the film, assisting JACOB in
moments of crisis.

MICHAEL
(continuing)
Surprised, huh? I told you you'd
know me. I've been tracking you for
a long time. I just wish I'd spoken
to you before tonight.

JACOB
I don't get it. Who are you? Why
have you been following me?

MICHAEL
Observation, mainly. Clinical study.
You were one of the survivors.

A POLICE CAR passes them on the street. MICHAEL grabs JACOB's
shoulder and turns him away nervously.

MICHAEL
(continuing)
Come on, we're not safe around here.

HUDSON RIVER PIER - NIGHT

JACOB and MICHAEL are sitting on a deserted WEST SIDE PIER
that juts into the Hudson River. JACOB is wide-eyed as he
listens to MICHAEL's story.

MICHAEL
So first I'm arrested, right? Best
LSD I ever made, right down the drain.
I figure this is it, twenty years in
the joint, if I'm lucky. That was
'68.

JACOB
Long time ago.

MICHAEL
(nodding his head)
Next thing I know I'm on Rikers
Island. Ever been there?
(JACOB shakes his
head)
Suddenly they take me from my cell
to the visitors room with those bank
teller windows, you know. Four army
colonels, medals up their asses, are
standing on the other side. They
tell me if I'll come to Vietnam for
two years, no action, mind you, just
work in a lab, they'll drop all the
charges and wipe the record clean.
Well, I'd only been in jail for
thirteen hours and I already knew
that Nam couldn't be any worse.

JACOB
Shows how much you knew.

MICHAEL
No shit. They had me by the balls.
Next thing I know I'm in Saigon...
in a secret lab synthesizing mind-
altering drugs. Not the street stuff
mind you. They had us isolating
special properties. The dark side,
you know? They wanted a drug that
increased aggressive tendencies.

JACOB
Yeah, sure. We were losing the war.

MICHAEL
Right. They were worried. They figured
you guys were too soft. They wanted
something to stir you up, tap into
your anger, you know? And we did it.
The most powerful thing I ever saw.
Even a bad trip, and I had my share,
never compared to the fury of the
Ladder.

JACOB
The Ladder?

MICHAEL
That's what they called it. A fast
trip right down the ladder.
(he makes a downward
dive with his hand)
Right to the primal fear, the base
anger. I'm tellin' you, it was
powerful stuff. But I don't need to
tell you. You know.

JACOB can barely catch his breath, the information he is
receiving is so powerful to his mind.

MICHAEL
(continuing)
We did experiments on jungle monkeys.
They bashed each other's heads in,
gouged out their eyes, chewed off
their tails. The brass loved it.
Then they made us try it on Charlie.
(he pauses)
They took these POW's, just kids
really, and put 'em in a courtyard.
We fed 'em huge doses of the stuff.
(he stops for a moment;
a tear rolls down
his cheek)
They were worse than the monkeys. I
never knew men could do such things.
The whole thing still blows me away.

MICHAEL stands up and begins walking in circles around the
PIER. JACOB, astounded, gets up and walks beside him.

MICHAEL
(continuing)
Anyway, this big offensive was coming
up. Everyone knew it; Time Magazine,
Huntley-Brinkley. And the brass was
scared 'cause they knew we couldn't
win. Morale was down. It was gettin'
ugly in the States. Hell, you
remember.

JACOB
Like it was yesterday.

MICHAEL
A couple days later they decided to
use the Ladder, on one test battalion.
Yours. Just in an infinitesimal dose
in the food supply, to prove its
effectiveness in the field. They
were sure your unit would have the
highest kill ratio in the whole
goddamn offensive. And you did, too.
But not the way they thought.

JACOB is beginning to shake. MICHAEL pulls a container of
pills out of his jacket pocket.

MICHAEL
(continuing)
Hey, want something to calm you down?
Made 'em myself.

JACOB shakes his head no.

JACOB
None of us can remember that night.
I get flashes of it but they don't
make sense. We saw shrinks for years.
But nothing they did could ever touch
it. What happened? Was there ever an
offensive?

MICHAEL
A couple of days later. It was fierce.
You guys never saw it.

JACOB
But there was an attack. I can still
see them coming. There was a fight,
wasn't there?

MICHAEL
Yeah. But not with the Cong.

JACOB
Who then?

He hesitates, obviously uncomfortable. His eyes grow puffy.
He looks at the river for a moment and then turns to JACOB.

MICHAEL
You killed each other.

JACOB's mouth drops open. The words hit him like a truck.

EXT. VIETNAM - NIGHT

Gunfire explodes in the darkening sky. We are in Vietnam.
JACOB is at the bottom of a trench fighting with FRANK. Chaos
surrounds them. Men are screaming. The ENEMY is storming at
them from the rear. ROD raises his bayonet and jams it into
the belly of his ATTACKER. It is only after a series of jabs
that he sees it's another American he's killed. ROD's eyes
go blank with confusion and terror.

ROD
Oh my God! WHAT'S HAPPENING?

JACOB looks up from the trench and sees a continuing wave of
AMERICAN SOLDIERS bearing down on them. FRANK jumps up,
knocking JACOB to the ground and slamming his rifle into
JACOB's back. As he spins around JACOB sees another SOLDIER
charging at him. His bayonet is aimed at JACOB's stomach.
For the first time JACOB remembers the face of his attacker.
He is a YOUNG MAN, about 19 years old, clean cut, wearing
glasses. The two men stare at each other in terrible
confusion. It seems like a moment out of time. And then the
SOLDIER lurches forward and rams his bayonet deep into JACOB's
abdomen.

CUT TO MICHAEL BACK ON THE PIER. JACOB is ashen-faced.

MICHAEL
It was brother against brother. No
discrimination. You tore each other
to pieces. I knew it would happen. I
warned them. I WARNED THEM. But I
was just a hippie chemist, right?
Jesus! And I helped 'em make the
stuff... I talked to the guys who
bagged the bodies. They're in worse
shape than you, believe me. They saw
what was left. It's a blessing you
don't remember. Of course the brass
covered the whole thing up right
away. Blamed it all on a surprise
attack.
(he pauses)
I needed to find you. The Ladder was
my baby.

Tears start flowing down MICHAEL's face. He wipes them with
his sleeve. It takes him a moment to regain his composure.
JACOB is shivering. MICHAEL takes off his jacket, drapes it
over JACOB, and leads him to the wooden planks overhanging
the water. They sit and gaze at the JERSEY SHORE.

CUT TO A WIDE SHOT OF MICHAEL AND JACOB in pre-dawn light.

MICHAEL
I always suspected the effects might
come back. That's why I had to follow
you. I had a hell of a time getting
hold of your records.

JACOB
If you knew, why didn't you say
anything?

MICHAEL
The truth can kill, my friend. Five
hundred men died out there. This
isn't a story they'd ever want out.
When Paul's car blew up I realized
the scope of the thing. I knew they
meant business.

JACOB
So why tell me now?

MICHAEL
Because I can get rid of the demons.
I can block the Ladder. I have an
antidote. We can kill them off,
chemically speaking. They'll all
disappear. It's chemistry, my friend.
I know. I created it. Come with me.
I can help.

INT. HOTEL - DAWM

JACOB and MICHAEL enter a sleazy HOTEL near the docks,
obviously frequented by a gay clientele. JACOB is
uncomfortable as they check in. MICHAEL, however, seems to
know the ropes. They go to a small room.

JACOB
You come here often?

MICHAEL
Sometimes. When it's convenient.

JACOB
How do I know this isn't just some
kind of, you know, seduction or
something?

MICHAEL
Hey, I'm not the problem. You've got
bigger problems than me.

MICHAEL reaches into his pocket and casually extracts a vial.

MICHAEL
(continuing)
I came up with the formula back in
Nam but I never got a chance to use
it.

JACOB
Never?

MICHAEL
I'd hoped I'd never have to. Just
open your mouth and stick out your
tongue.

JACOB
What is it?

MICHAEL
Don't worry. Take it. It'll free
your head. Come on.

JACOB
(fearful)
I don't know.

MICHAEL
"Yea though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death I shall fear
no evil," but no one ever said I
wouldn't be shittin' in my pants
every step of the way, huh?
(JACOB smiles, his
mouth open)
Stick out your tongue.
(JACOB obeys as an
eyedropper deposits
a drop of liquid on
the back of his tongue)
That'a boy. Now why don't you just
lie down and relax.

JACOB
One drop?

MICHAEL
It's strong stuff.

JACOB stretches out on the bed. He stares up at the ceiling
and examines its pock-marked lunar look. Long cracks and
shallow craters erode the surface. It is an alien terrain.

JACOB
I think I'm falling asleep.

MICHAEL
Pleasant dreams.

The words send a jolt through JACOB's body. He tries to get
up but can't. He's frightened.

JACOB
I can't move.

MICHAEL
Just relax.

JACOB
What's happening? Help me.

The ceiling begins to rumble. Cracks split wide open. Huge
crevasses tear through the plaster. JACOB's world is
crumbling. He stares in horror as DEMONIC FORMS attempt to
surge through the rupture above him. Piercing eyes and sharp
teeth glimmer in the darkness. Hooved feet and pointed claws
clamor to break through.

JACOB
(continuing)
HELP ME!

Instantly MICHAEL appears standing over him. He is holding
the vial with the antidote. He draws an eyedropper full of
the fluid and holds it over JACOB's mouth.

MICHAEL
Take it!

JACOB fights him, but MICHAEL forces the entire contents of
the eyedropper down his throat. JACOB gags. He tries to spit
it out, but can't.

Suddenly the ceiling erupts in violent clashes as whole chunks
break off and collide like continental plates. The collisions
wreak havoc on the DEMONS, chopping and dismembering them.
Body parts fall from the ceiling like a Devil's rain. Horrible
screams echo from the other side.

MICHAEL
(continuing)
Don't fight it. It's your own mind.
It's your own fears.

Flashes of light and dark storm over JACOB's head, thundering
like a war in the heavens. It is a scene of raw power and
growing catastrophe. It builds in fury and rage until suddenly
the ceiling explodes. JACOB's eyes stare into the formlessness
expanding around him. All space is becoming a dark liquid
void.

Gradually the liquid grows bluer, clearer. There is an
undulating sense to the imagery, a feeling of womb-like
comfort. Strange lights appear and sparkle before us like
sunlight on the ocean. JACOB is rushing upward, toward the
surface.

With the delirious sound of water giving way to air, JACOB
breaks through. To his amazement, he finds himself floating
out-stretched on shimmering sunlit water. Above him are clouds
of such wondrous beauty that they cannot possibly be of the
earth. Pillars of golden light reach down from the heavens
creating a cathedral of light. It is a vision of heaven, a
vast, almost mythic paradise. JACOB is awed.

A sudden movement catches his attention. He looks over and
sees MICHAEL standing before him. Only MICHAEL looks
different. His face seems to radiate an inner light, a
transcendental beauty. JACOB is nearly blinded by his presence
and must shield his eyes to look at him.

MICHAEL
So, how you doin'?

The casualness of the words catches JACOB by surprise. He
sits up. To his shock and amazement, he finds that he is
back in THE HOTEL ROOM. MICHAEL is standing at the foot of
the bed. JACOB is totally disoriented. His eyes move slowly
around the room, taking everything in. He doesn't speak.

MICHAEL
(continuing)
It was better than you expected,
huh?

JACOB just stares at him for a while and then suddenly begins
to laugh. It is a huge laugh, full of energy and life.

MICHAEL
(continuing)
And no more demons. I told you they'd
be gone.

JACOB
I don't believe this. It's a miracle,
Michael. A miracle.

MICHAEL
Better living through chemistry,
that's my motto.

EXT. GREENWICH VILLAGE - DAY

JACOB and MICHAEL are walking through the STREETS OF GREENWICH
VILLAGE. It is early MORNING and the sidewalks are bustling
with PEOPLE. JACOB stares into their faces and beams when
they smile back. MICHAEL enjoys JACOB's happiness.

EXT. WASHINGTON SQUARE - DAY

JACOB and MICHAEL walk through WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK.

JACOB
It was paradise, Michael. You showed
it to me. You were there.

MICHAEL
Well that's good to know.

JACOB
Mike, it was real. It was glorious.

MICHAEL
Glorious. I'm not surprised. I fed
you enough of that stuff to send a
horse to heaven. I'm just glad you
came back.

JACOB
I would have stayed there if I could.

MICHAEL
I'm sure. You've got nothing but
troubles waitin' for you here.

He points to two POLICEMEN on the far side of the SQUARE.

MICHAEL
(taking JACOB's arm)
Come on.

EXT. GRAMERCY PARK HOTEL - DAY

The TWO MEN head up to GRAMERCY PARK and stop in front of
the GRAMERCY PARK HOTEL. Reaching into his wallet, MICHAEL
pulls out a huge stack of credit cards and hands one to JACOB.

MICHAEL
Here. I've got every credit card
ever printed. Take this. Stay here
till you can arrange to get away.
It's on me.

JACOB
No. I couldn't.

MICHAEL
What? You want the Plaza? Don't be
foolish. Here. Take this, too.
(he pulls out a
business card)
This is my place on Prince Street.
It's got my phone, everything. Call
if you need me... but you won't.
Everything's gonna work out. You
just get outta town as fast as you
can. The New York police can be
effective when they want to be.

JACOB
I don't know what to say.

MICHAEL
Save the words... Just send back my
credit card.

MICHAEL laughs, hugs JACOB, and walks away.

INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY

JACOB is in a lovely MOTEL ROOM overlooking GRAMERCY SQUARE.
He is sprawled out happily on the bed when there is a knock
at the door. He jumps up and opens it. JEZZIE is standing
there. She looks at JACOB quizzically. He smiles and takes
her in his arms, swinging her into the room.

JEZZIE
What are you doing here? Are you all
right? How do you expect to pay for
this?
(JACOB smiles)
Everyone's looking for you, Jake. I
dodged people all over the place,
reporters, police. I don't know what
you're gonna do.

JACOB
I'm gonna make love to you. That's
what I'm gonna do.

JEZZIE
Are you out of your mind?

JACOB
Yep. Finally. I love you, Jez.

JEZZIE
God, I can't keep up with all your
changes.

JACOB
Me neither.

JEZZIE
What's gotten into you?

JACOB grins.

CUT TO JACOB and JEZZIE lying in bed gently caressing one
another. For all his ardor JACOB is exhausted from the events
of the preceding day. While stroking JEZZIE's hair he begins
to fall asleep. JEZZIE crawls on top of him and shoves her
hand down his pants. JACOB smiles.

DISSOLVE TO JACOB and JEZZIE making love.

TIME CUT:

DISSOLVE TO JACOB and JEZZIE lying in front of the T.V.
watching a romantic movie. JEZZIE snuggles up to JACOB.

JEZZIE
It's amazing, you know, that a drug
could change things like that, destroy
a life and then give it back. It's
hard to believe that the world could
be so hellish on day and like heaven
the next.

JACOB
I tell you, it was so wonderful. I
felt like a little boy. I saw
Paradise, Jezzie.

JEZZIE
It's so hard to believe.

There is a knock at the door. JACOB throws on a bathrobe.
JEZZIE jumps under the sheets.

JACOB
Who's there?

BELLBOY (V.O.)
It's your dinner, sir.

JEZZIE's eyes brighten. JACOB opens the door. A BELLBOY wheels
in a table set for dinner. He sets it in a corner of the
room. JEZZIE jumps out of bed, runs to the table, sniffs at
the food, and squeals excitedly.

JEZZIE
This is one of my dreams, Jake. Ever
since I was a little girl. I never
thought it would happen.

JACOB
Stick with me, kid.

JEZZIE smiles.

TIME CUT:

DISSOLVE to JACOB and JEZZIE sitting next to a large window
overlooking GRAMERCY PARK. They are sipping champagne.

JEZZIE
I want to go with you, Jake. Wherever
you go.

JACOB
It's not practical, Jez. It'll be
hard enough alone.

JEZZIE
I can waitress. I'm good.

JACOB
No. Things are too hot. Later. I'll
send for you.

JEZZIE
Bullshit!

JACOB
I promise.

JEZZIE
Please.

JACOB
No. I'm a marked man, Jez. I'm the
only one left. I don't want to expose
you to that. It's not right for you
or me. Be reasonable.

JEZZIE
Reasonable? Reasonable? Jake... You're
gettin' me angry.

JACOB
I love you when you're angry.

JEZZIE
Oh yeah?
(her eyes twinkle
suggestively)
Try leavin' without me.

JACOB laughs. JEZZIE doesn't. Unexpectedly she grabs JACOB
and pushes him onto the bed. In seconds they are all over
each other, their clothes flying in all directions. They
seem as happy as could be.

OMIT

INT. GRAND CENTRAL STATION - DAY

JACOB enters GRAND CENTRAL STATION. He checks out all the
PEOPLE around him. Not a DEMON in sight. Hurrying to the
TICKET WINDOW he gets in line. The TICKET SELLER looks up.

JACOB
Chicago. One way. For tomorrow.

SELLER
How many?

JACOB
One.

SELLER
That'll be $119.75.

JACOB pulls out MICHAEL's credit card. The SELLER rings it
up. While he is waiting JACOB notices a POLICEMAN looking at
him. The stare unsettles him. The SELLER hands JACOB his
ticket. He takes it and hurries into the CROWD. Looking back
he notices the POLICEMAN is following him.

INT. MEN'S ROOM - DAY

JACOB enters the MEN'S ROOM. He hurries into one of the
stalls, drops his pants, and sits. He eyes the graffiti on
the walls and then notices a wad of tissue stuffed into a
hole between him and the next stall. It is moving. Suddenly
the tissue falls to the floor. JACOB glances at the hole
curiously and leans forward to examine it. He is shocked to
see an eye staring back at him.

JACOB
Goddamn it!
(he covers it with
his hand. A pencil
jabs his palm. He
yells)
Fucking pervert.

Two lips form around the hole. A tongue wags obscenely.

VOICE
Dream on!

JACOB
(shocked)
What?!

The mouth is gone. JACOB hears the stall door fly open and
feet running from the room. He jumps up and grabs his pants.
He dashes out of the MEN'S ROOM. He hears footsteps and chases
after them.

INT. GRAND CENTRAL STATION - DAY

JACOB bursts into the MAIN TERMINAL. He sees someone rushing
toward the main doors and speeds after him. HOMELESS PEOPLE,
huddling along the corridors, watch as they run past. Escaping
to the street, the MAN disappears in the holiday throngs.
JACOB, crazed, stands gasping for breath. His fists dig into
his coat pocket. Suddenly he feels something and seems
surprised when MICHAEL's CARD emerges in his hands.

OMIT

INT. SOHO LOFT BUILDING - EVENING

JACOB runs up the stairs in a SOHO LOFT BUILDING. It is a
dingy, industrial staircase, poorly lit. He reaches a door
with MICHAEL's name painted on it in large black letters. He
knocks loudly. There is no answer. He pounds on it. Another
door opens on the floor above. A head sticks out.

MAN
You lookin' for Mike?

JACOB
(panting hard)
Where is he?

MAN
Don't know. Hasn't picked his mail
up in days. It's not like him.

JACOB has a frenzied look in his eyes. He searches around
the staircase and sees a pile of lumber stacked in a corner.
He grabs a two-by-four and lunges at the door.

MAN
What the hell are you doing?

JACOB doesn't answer. He smashes wildly at the door until
the lock flies open.

INT. MICHAEL'S LOFT - EVENING

JACOB charges into the dark space groping for a light. He
finds it. The LOFT is a disaster area. Nothing is standing.
JACOB runs from room to room. In the back he discovers a
large private chemistry lab. Glass vials and bottles are
shattered on the floor.

JACOB rifles through the cabinets. A few bottles are intact
but their labels mean nothing to him.

He reaches for one cabinet and notices a reddish liquid oozing
out from the bottom. He opens it. MICHAEL's severed head
stares him in the face. It is smiling.

A scream rings out as the MAN from upstairs sees what JACOB
has seen. JACOB jumps back, trips, and falls over MICHAEL's
headless body. It is lying sprawled across the floor.

MAN
Oh my God!

JACOB stumbles to pull himself up. He is in a state of
unrelieved panic. He runs past the MAN and spills out the
door. He takes two and three stairs at a time, nearly flying
to the street.

EXT. SOHO STREETS - NIGHT

JACOB rushes into the icy air and runs wildly down the
sidewalk as fast as his legs will move. With unexpected
violence he charges into the side of a building. Over and
over he hurls himself against it. He grabs for the bricks.
His fingers insert themselves into the crevices. It is as
though he is trying to merge with the wall.

Suddenly JACOB turns and dashes into the street. A taxi is
speeding toward him, its lights the only sign of life and
warmth in the dark night. JACOB steps into its path. It is
hard to tell if he is trying to stop the cab or waiting to
be hit. The taxi screeches to a halt. JACOB stares at it a
moment and then steps to get in. The DRIVER tries to pull
off but JACOB yanks at the door and drags himself inside.

INT. TAXI - NIGHT

Rain is beginning to fall. It streaks the windows.

JACOB
(barely audible)
I'm going to Brooklyn.

DRIVER
Sorry, Mac. Not with me you're not.
I get lost in Brooklyn.

JACOB
I know the way.

JACOB reaches into his pants pocket, pulls out a twenty dollar
bill, and hands it to the DRIVER. He takes it.

JACOB
(continuing)
Look, this is all the money I've got
in the world. Take me home and it's
yours.

DRIVER
...Where's your home?

CUT TO THE TAXI heading down WEST BROADWAY, approaching the
BROOKLYN BRIDGE, crossing the EAST RIVER, and driving through
dark BROOKLYN STREETS.

JACOB's face passes in and out of dense shadows. Every time
he is bathed in light his image seems to alter. Something in
him is falling away.

EXT. SARAH'S APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT

JACOB gets out of the TAXI and approaches the LOBBY of SARAH'S
APARTMENT BUILDING. JACOB is greeted by the DOORMAN.

DOORMAN
Dr. Singer. It's been a long time.

JACOB
(greeting him warmly)
Hello, Sam.

DOORMAN
(noticing JACOB's
battered condition)
Are you all right?

JACOB
I'm okay.

DOORMAN
Do you want some help? I can call
upstairs.

JACOB
No, don't. But thanks.

INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT

JACOB stops in front of the APARTMENT door and reaches his
hand underneath a section of the hallway carpet. It comes
back with a key. He inserts it into the lock and gently opens
the door. He calls out.

JACOB
Hello. It's me.

INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Some lights are on. The APARTMENT looks comfortable and cozy.

JACOB
Hello? Is anybody home? Jed? Eli?
Daddy's here.

There is still no answer. JACOB is surprised. He peers into
the dark LIVING ROOM and then walks to the KITCHEN. No one
is around. A photo of JACOB, SARAH, AND THEIR BOYS is sitting
on the counter. He picks it up and carries it with him through
the apartment. He walks into his old BEDROOM and then into
the BOYS' ROOM. The beds are still unmade. There is no one
home. He sees his image in the BATHROOM mirror and turns
away in disgust. He walks back to the LIVING ROOM. He is
about to switch the lights on when he hears footsteps coming
down the hall. He calls out.

JACOB
Sarah, is that you? I hope you don't
mind. I needed to come home.

JACOB is startled to see JEZZIE enter the room. She does not
seem he usual self. She appears larger, more imposing.

JEZZIE
Hello, Jake. I knew you'd come here
in the end.

JACOB is nervous.

JACOB
What're you... ? Where's Sarah? Where
are the boys?

JEZZIE
Sit down, Jake.

JACOB
Where are they?

JEZZIE
Sit down.

JACOB
No! What's going on? Where's my
family?

JEZZIE
It's over, Jake. It's all over.

JACOB
Where have they gone?

JEZZIE
Wake up. Stop playing with yourself.
It's finished.

JEZZIE stares at JACOB with a frightening, powerful glare.
The edge of her coat rustles and flutters as she moves toward
him. It is an innocent sound at first, but after a moment it
transforms into something else, an obsessive flapping noise,
the sound of a wing.

JACOB's body feels the first waves of an inner tremor. His
legs are shaking.

JACOB
What's going on?

JEZZIE
Your capacity for self-delusion is
remarkable, Dr. Singer.

JEZZIE begins walking around the dark living room as she
talks to him. Something about her walk is very unnatural.
JACOB eyes her fearfully.

In the darkness JEZZIE's movements become increasingly strange
and elusive. We see her pass before a shadow and disappear
within it, only to reappear, seconds later, in a doorway on
the other side of the room. JACOB spins around, confused.
Suddenly JEZZIE is inches from his face, although it seems
like there has been no time for her to get there. Her
movements are totally impossible, defying all logic, all
physical laws.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
What's wrong, Jake?
(she mocks him)
Forget to take your antidote?

JACOB
Who are you? What are you doing to
me?

JEZZIE
You have quite a mind, Jake. I loved
your friends. That chemist -- the
Ladder. What an imagination you have!

JACOB freezes.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
And your vision of paradise...
fantastic! You're a real dreamer,
you know that? Only it's time to
wake up.

JEZZIE has disappeared in the darkness of the room. Only the
sounds of flapping wings remain. They grow louder and more
menacing, whooshing past him with no visible source.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
Your mind is crumbling, Jake. No
more "army." No more conspiracies.
You're dying, Dr. Singer. It's over.

JACOB, frightened, turns toward the door as if to hurry out.
"JEZZIE" laughs.

JEZZIE
(continuing)
Where's to run, Jacob? Where's to
go?

JACOB pauses a moment and then turns to confront the terror
behind him.

JACOB
WHO ARE YOU?

JEZZIE
How many times have you asked me
that? How many times?

JACOB
TELL ME, DAMN YOU!

JEZZIE
(with consummate power)
YOU KNOW WHO I AM.

JEZZIE appears from the shadows. Her coat collar obscures
her and it seems for a moment that she has no face. Then, to
JACOB's horror, she turns around. He is staring at the
vibrating creature he has seen so often before. Glimpsed
almost in abstraction it is a living terror, dark and
undefinable. Its face is a black and impenetrable void in
constant vibration. Its voice is an unspeakable demonic cry,
the essence of fear and suffering. JACOB pulls away from it,
overwhelmed by confusion. He is rooted in fear.

A sudden wind howls through the room, great gales blowing
JACOB's hair straight up. It is like a hurricane pushing him
into the wall. He can barely stand. He struggles to pull
himself away. The flapping sound returns, charging at him
from all directions. It is as if the darkness itself is
swooping down, trying to envelop him.

JACOB
(whispering to himself)
This isn't happening.

New terrible sounds arise, chain saws slashing through the
air, knives, and sabers ripping through space with unrelenting
anger. Guns fire and explode past his head. It is as though
all the sounds of destruction are closing in on him. JACOB
yells but his own voice is lost in the melee. Terrified, he
looks heavenward, as if crying for help.

Suddenly, from the noise, a calm voice rises, speaking, as
if from a distance. It is LOUIS. JACOB is shocked to hear
him. He stands motionless.

LOUIS (V.O.)
If you're frightened of dying you'll
see devils tearing you apart. If
you've made your peace then they're
angels freeing you from the world.

The voice fades. JACOB just stands there, not sure what to
do. And then the sounds return. Only now they are more
terrifying than ever. Hideously loud, they become a cacophony
of sounds, voices of parents, friends, lovers, the sounds of
battle, fighting, and dying.

JACOB looks up and sees the creature in the center of the
room. All the sounds seem to emanate from it. The more JACOB
stares at it the louder they become. After a moment, JACOB
takes a huge breath. We sense a great resolve forming inside
him. Then, slowly, courageously, he begins moving toward it.

New and more terrifying noises assault JACOB, attempting to
drive him back, but he will not be stopped. He continues
walking toward the creature.

In the hallway a standing lamp slams sparking to the floor.
It rolls back and forth like a living thing, with a maddening
hypnotic regularity. Doors slam open and closed, unlatching,
snapping, shutting, with deafening force. The room itself
seems like an organic presence. It is alive, angry, and
threatening.

The CREATURE sits in the midst of the insanity like the source
of madness itself. It writhes, contorts and vibrates with
unstoppable fury. JACOB, terrified, but unrelenting, continues
to approach it.

AS THE CAMERA DRAWS CLOSER TO THE CREATURE'S HEAD the density
of its featureless form overwhelms the screen. It is like
staring into emptiness itself, the ultimate darkness.

With superhuman effort JACOB grabs hold of the creature. It
is like grabbing hold of a live wire. His body begins shaking
uncontrollably like a man being electrocuted. He is flying
in all directions but does not let go. His fingers claw at
the creature's head. JACOB struggles defiantly with the
monster.

Suddenly a terrible voice emerges from within it.

CREATURE
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU'RE FIGHTING!

JACOB does not respond. It cries out again.

CREATURE
WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE
FIGHTING?

Deep inside the darkness JACOB begins to make out the presence
of a form, something writhing and tortured lurking before
us. It looks briefly like an animal until we realize it is
the image of a human face. It is covered by a dark suffocating
film, like a mask.

JACOB digs into it with all his might and pulls it off.

CUT TO:

DEAD SILENCE as JACOB SEES HIS OWN FACE staring back at him
from beneath the mask. It is JACOB SINGER as we first saw
him on the battlefield in Vietnam. Only now his image is
pale and lifeless. It takes JACOB a moment to realize that
he is dead. The recognition is one of terrible confusion and
pain. JACOB stares at himself for a long time as a huge cry
wells up inside him. It bursts forth with devastating sadness.

As that instant the whole of space seems to explode in a
flash of cataclysmic power. Hundreds of images from JACOB's
life flash before us, his birth, his childhood, his adulthood.
The demons, the room, JEZZIE, LOUIS, MICHAEL, SARAH, all
seem to assail us in a rush of blinding intensity.

We are flying over a landscape of memories, zooming across a
constantly changing field of images. Some of the images move,
some of the people in them speak. They are not particularly
significant memories, in some ways they are quite banal, but
something about them is infused with life and joy. Even the
painful moments resonate with vital force. Some of the moments
we recognize from the time we've spent with JACOB. Some we
have not seen before. There is no order to them, no logic to
why they have been recalled.

A newborn baby takes its first breath and screams. SARAH
pulls clothes off a clothes line on a rainy day. JACOB's
FATHER stands in the Florida surf as sea foam laps gently at
his legs. PAUL, FRANK, and JACOB play cards on the edge of a
rice paddy. GABE rides his bike into the path of an oncoming
car. A child puts his ear next to a bowl of cereal, listening
to it talk. A young girl standing in a doorway lifts up her
blouse to show her new breasts. JACOB and SARAH slice a
wedding cake that topples to the floor. JEZZIE looks at JACOB
and asks "Love me a little?"

And then it is over. Total silence overwhelms the screen, a
wonderful soothing calm. JACOB's eyes open and he is shocked
to find himself sitting on the floor in SARAH's apartment.
He is all alone. The first rays of early morning sunlight
are filtering through the window. Something about the
apartment seems transfigured, magical. JACOB sits motionless,
stunned to be back there.

The faint sound of music can be heard coming from the hallway.
It is warm and familiar, the tinkling of a music box. JACOB
listens to it for a few moments and then something registers
inside him. Curious, he gets up and approaches the corridor.

JACOB
Hello?

There is no response. Suddenly the music stops. JACOB freezes
for a moment. He sees someone standing in the shadows at the
other end.

JACOB
(continuing)
Who is it? Who's there?

Tentatively JACOB moves forward. As he draws closer he begins
to see the outline of a child. Then, all of a sudden, he
realizes who it is. His eyes well up as he stands there, the
full impact of the moment registering inside him. It's his
son, GABE. He is carrying the same musical lunch box we have
seen before. The young boy smiles warmly at his father. It
is the smile of an angel. JACOB swallows hard.

JACOB
(continuing)
Gabe? Gabe!

JACOB runs to his son. Unable to hold back the tears, he
embraces him in a rush of love and emotion.

JACOB
(continuing)
Gabe. Oh God. I don't believe...

They hug one another over and over. JACOB, overcome, sits
down on the stairs. After a moment GABE puts his arm around
his father's shoulder in a gesture of surprising maturity
and compassion. We sense for an instant that their roles
have reversed. GABE reaches for JACOB's hand and gently
encourages him to stand up.

With a sweet tug GABE leads his father up the steps.

Sunlight streams down from the top of the stairs, hitting
the first landing. GABE is bathed in its warm glow. As JACOB
reaches the landing, he too is surrounded by the comforting
light.

GABE hurries up the last set of stairs. JACOB turns to follow
but is stunned by the brilliance of the light pouring in
from above. Squinting, he cannot see his son. Then suddenly
GABE steps back out of the light and takes his father's hand
once more. His eyes sparkle with excitement.

GABE
Come on Dad... You know what we've
got? A sandbox just like the
Williston's, only it's bigger and
the sand's all white. You won't
believe it.

JACOB smiles at his son. GABE smiles at him. It is a moment
of total euphoria. THE CAMERA HOLDS as they continue up the
stairs.

GABE
(continuing)
And my parakeet. Remember, the one
grandma let out of the cage? He's
okay. And he's talking now. He knows
my name.

GABE's voice slowly trails off as he and his father disappear
in the intenstity of the light. THE CAMERA HOLDS on the image.
For a brief but stunning moment there appears to be a huge
ethereal staircase shimmering before us. It rises up into
infinite dimensions. Then the brilliance of its blinding
light overwhelms the screen.

Suddenly the brightness condenses into a smaller light source.
It holds for a second and then flashes off. An overhead
surgical lamp remains stubbornly in view.

INT. VIETNAM FIELD HOSPITAL - DAY

A DOCTOR leans his head in front of the lamp and removes his
mask. His expression is somber. He shakes his head. His words
are simple and final.

DOCTOR
He's gone.

CUT TO JACOB SINGER lying on an operating table in a large
ARMY FIELD TENT in VIETNAM. The DOCTOR steps away. A NURSE
rudely pulls a green sheet over his head. The DOCTOR turns
to one of the aides and throws up his hands in defeat.

AN ORDERLY wheels JACOB's body past rows of other DOCTORS
and NURSES fighting to save lives. A YOUNG VIETNAMESE BOY
pulls back a screen door to let them out of the tent. It is
a bright, fresh morning. The sun is rising.

THE END

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