With the sound of wind, of sand gritting against glass:
FADE UP ON:
A howling dust storm battering the doors and walls of a tiny
Inside, huddled together against the rage outside, are a
small group of people. All in black, mostly elderly, they
kneel in prayer.
Before them, on the cramped altar, lies a man. Dressed in
the uniform of a general, surrounded by the silk softness of
He's an old man, far from the crump of battles, consumed now
with stillness, listening to the prayers of old people. Of
desert wind, moaning through thin wood.
The candle beside his head flickers and wanes in the ceaseless
gusts, strains for life, then goes out.
EXT. DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - NIGHT
It's not the best part of town and probably never was. A
place of seedy, anonymous brick flophouses shackled by rusting
fire escapes, lying on an alley unique only for its bad
drainage. It's here, in the dim, flinty light, that a figure
Wearing a long coat and, despite the night, sunglasses, he
pauses on the slimy asphalt and gazes up the sides of the
flophouses, to their yellowish windows and competing Mexican
radio stations. One window, dark and quiet on the third floor,
catches his gaze.
There's a metal hand railing in the alley that the long-coated
figure effortlessly pops up onto. Sunglasses focused on the
window, he lowers himself into a motionless crouch, a perch,
on the railing with the ease of a crow. Or a gargoyle.
Dawn is a muddled, limp thing that does nothing to improve
the alley. The figure is still there, a motionless gargoyle
perched on the railing. Watching the window.
The shadows shorten, the air grows warmer, and now there's
movement behind the window.
The sunglassed gargoyle drops down off the railing, jumps up
to the first rung of the fire escape, and begins climbing.
BEHIND THE THIRD FLOOR WINDOW
Is a room as grim as we expect. Lumpy iron bed, sink that's
been pissed into one too many times, and SIMON; a man in a
tight sweater and dark sunglasses, busily emptying his pockets
on the ruined dresser: loose change, a town paper's obituary
Simon's sunglassed eyes look up suddenly, his body
stifffening. He whips around to face the window just as it
EXPLODES into fragments.
The gargoyle LEAPS into the room on the trail of glass. Simon
spins and THROWS himself against the intruder. The two
STRUGGLE savagely across the room, SMASHING chairs.
Simon manages a grip on the gargoyle's face and POUNDS the
back of his skull against the wall. The gargoyle gets his
locked fists up and SWINGS them like a war club, SMACKING
Simon's face and SPRAWLING him backwards onto the bed.
The two, across the room for each other, pause.
Where is it?
Simon's climbed to his feet, the two men in sunglasses now
walking slow circles around each other.
Leave me alone.
You've found it, haven't you?
The gargoyle drops his head and DRIVES himself into Simon,
who HAMMERS the gargoyle with his fists. Blood SMEARS.
The gargoyle's gotten free a knife that he JAMS into Simon's
leg. Pressing home his advantage, the gargoyle SLAMS Simon
up against the wall. He TEARS open Simon's shirt, digging
his fingers into the chest, RIPPING the skin aside, the first
plunging deep, CRACKING the sternum bone, pushing even
further, toward the blood gouged pumping beneath --
-- Simon PLOWS his knee up between the gargoyle's legs. Over
and over. Till the grip loosens and Simon SHOVES him to one
side, using the momentum and drives to SWING the body around
and at the shattered window. The gargoyle SMACKS the frame
and COLLAPSES, his head CRACKING on the sill and FORCING a
shard of glass through his neck.
Simon moves to the window and brushes aside the gargoyle's
sunglasses, revealing two totally empty eye sockets. Pushing
his thumbs into them, Simon uses the leverage to lift the
gargoyle off the sill and push his body out the window.
The gargoyle bounces once on the fire escape, then spread-
eagles thirty feet to the asphalt.
Somebody turns up their Mexican radio station.
The gargoyle's a wreck.
But he manages, slowly -- his shattered remains arguing every
inch -- to climb first to his knees, then miserably to his
feet. A bent, splattered, hopeless thing that manages to
stumble three or four feet before being HIT by a freeway-
speed firebird BOMBING down the alley.
The impact PINS the gargoyle to the grill and RAMS him into
a brick wall, CRUSHING a chest that BELCHES out a sickly,
bruised heart like a wet rag against the firebird's
THREE FLOORS ABOVE
Simon leans against his splintered window and looks down at
the pinned and very finished body of the gargoyle. His own
shirt and pants are a mess of torn blood and his breathing
is difficult. Pain flashes across his forehead as he checks
that his own sunglasses still sit snugly on the bridge of
At the sound of a distant siren Simon turns and quickly
finishes packing his duffle bag. Stiffly pulling on an
oversize surplus army jacket that partly conceals the damage
beneath, he picks up the bag and painfully shuffles out.
The gargoyle, still pinned to the wall by the firebird.
A FLASH bounces off his skin. Then another. He's being
photographed. Go wide and find him in the middle of a police
investigation. Bored blue uniforms, yellow barrier tape. The
A plain jane sedan pulls up and deposits THOMAS DAGGET,
thirties, tweed coat and steel notebook. He smiles at a couple
of cops, ducks under the yellow barrier, and nods a greeting
to an older uniform sergeant, BURROWS.
(looks up at sky)
Thought those clouds this morning
spelled rain for sure, but it's turned
into a beautiful day, wouldn't you
say, Sergeant Burrows?
Thomas takes a deep, healthy breath. Burrows just stares at
I warned you about that cheerful
Sorry. I'm working on it.
He eyes finally make their way to the gargoyle.
What's the word?
Friend here did a half-gainer with a
firebird tuck from the third floor.
Not unless he decided not to bother
opening the window first.
Well, he wasn't exactly in a condition
to walk a chalk line when we got
here. You're welcome to try and smell
his breath if you like, that is if
you can find the mouth.
Ghouls been by?
On their way. Willie promises a white
paper tomorrow. Or Wednesday,
depending on his golf game.
Burrows nods in the direction of a very shook up young man
sitting on the curb.
Mr. Jiminez. Was taking a short cut
to his job at a packing plant on San
Pedro. First thing he remembers about
the deceased is several vital organs
bouncing off his windshield.
Have you had him walk a chalk line?
He's straight. Shook up some.
(looking at gargoyle)
Anything on him?
No wallet, license, nothing. He is
missing one or two things, though.
(looking at tangled
Along with everything else.
We've found everything else -- and
what fun that was, let me tell you --
but the eyes are still AWOL. Might
just be stuck in the radiator grill.
Little weird though.
Both popping out together like that.
Worth a page in my scrapbook.
Burrows and Thomas coming up the stairs.
Who's the room registered under?
Anything interesting inside?
There are, what an intelligent,
experienced detective like yourself
could possibly construe as signs of
They enter the room, which is, of course, totally trashed.
Thomas steps over the splintered furniture.
Naturally nobody saw or heard
In such a fine establishment as this?
Thomas looks at the splashes of blood, overturned dressers,
a newspaper, the "Chimney Rock Republican"; one name in its
obit section circled.
Burrows sighs and checks his watch.
Ku San's on fourteenth is still open
for another hour. Whatd'ya say we
pull out the 'ol "SUICIDE" rubber
stamp and get some lunch. Rancid
chow mein and watered beer for under
(looking at floor)
There's glass in the carpet.
That usually happens when you break
It's on the inside.
Amongst the glass fragments at Thomas' feet is a pair of
dark sunglasses. He picks them up, taps them in his palm,
and looks out the window down to the man with no eyes, pinched
between brick and chrome.
Where's Chimney Rock?
Arizona desert, I think. Which is
exactly where I'm going to be in two
years, three months.
And give up all this?
You're breaking my heart.
DISSOLVE SLOWLY TO:
The sun sinking beneath the horizon of a vast and undulating
expanse of desert.
Travel through the landscape as the sky purples and darkens
and silhouettes tall, finger-like spires of volcanic rock.
Hear the coyotes, the wind making its constant, probing
search. Before the night swallows it all whole,
Come upon The Town.
It used to be something. But that's long gone. Now, wrapped
in the sucking blackness of a wilderness night, it's a shell
of a place.
Lights still burn in some of the windows but fool no one.
The ghosts are the majority here. Biding their time. Waiting
for The Town to surrender and slip beneath the waves of the
The wind slinks over the hills, creeps down past boarded-up
storefronts, skeletal ocitillo, and the rusting hulks of
abandoned mining equipment. The corpse of a summer's kite
twists slowly on a power line.
ON THE EDGE OF TOWN
From the inky oblivion of the road, comes a crunch of gravel.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN
Stands a large, nineteenth century brick schoolhouse. An
icon from a more prosperous past, its dark massiveness was
meant for scores of ruddy-faced miner's kids. Now it seems
to be imploding, eating itself with creeping decay. On this
night it is silent and dark but for a small glow in one corner
and the faint sound of children's voices in song.
It is a hymn. An ancient, Latin one. The melancholy beauty
of voices rising and falling in choir.
INSIDE THE BUILDING
Is a school auditorium. On the stage, dwarfed by it, are
twenty five students from first grade to high school, singing
together as a choir. A young woman, KATHERINE, directs their
acapella voices as the small group of parents, lonely in the
huge room, look on.
The voices drift on the night, down the road, and lap against
the peeling facade of a storefront. A mortuary.
The rooms are dark but for one. There, bathed in the
flickering light of a tall candle, lies the body of the old
general we saw at the opening.
THE FRONT DOOR
Of the mortuary has a locked handle that jiggles from outside.
A small panes of glass beside it is BROKEN by a hand.
IN THE SCHOOL AUDITORIUM
Young voices struggle with the complicated hymn and its pain
of centuries. Faces white, Mexican, Navaho. Katherine guides
them with soft hands. She smiles in pride. They smile back.
Proud. Of her. Of themselves and the beauty coming from their
One small, beautiful navaho girl, MARY, maybe eight, gets a
special smile of special friendship from Katherine.
Front door now stands ajar in the darkness. Small shards of
glass glisten in the carpet.
Is the dead General. Even in the bleached ravages of age and
death, his face still holds a shadow of vigor and pride.
It takes a moment in the weak flicker of the candle to realize
someone is there with him. Simon in his oversized surplus
jacket. His arms are folded tightly across his middle, as if
in deep cold. But his gaunt face is moist with sweat and his
breath is shallow and uneven. He stares at the old man behind
sunglasses and takes slow, cautious steps forward into the
Holding out two blood-stained fingers, Simon touches the
General's forehead. A new strain crosses his perspiring face.
Placing his right palm on the General's chin and the left on
his forehead, Simon CRACKS OPEN the dead man's mouth.
IN THE SCHOOL AUDITORIUM
The hymn is reaching its aching climax of medieval longing.
IN THE MORTUARY
Simon leans down to the open mouth, and in a voice soft and
Qui ex Patre Flioque procedit...
Then, with the school choir distant and faint in the night,
the living man places his mouth over that of the dead man...
IN THE SCHOOL AUDITORIUM
It's coffee and cake now as parents proudly hug their children
and congratulate their young teacher. Even in this gloomy,
crumbling building it's a warm, small town moment.
Simon has left the mortuary and now limps with difficulty
through the silent streets, leaning against shop walls for
AT THE SCHOOL BUILDING
Through the doors out steps the eight year old Navaho girl,
Mary. Alone, she stands on the stone stairs and looks out
into the night with sensitive eyes. She concentrates. Knows.
Katherine follows her out.
Hey bright eyes, what's the deal
being out here all alone without a
The girl's eyes seem too serious for a child's. Too
Katherine looks out into the night.
Mary stares a moment longer, then becomes a child again,
smiling and popping Katherine one on the arm.
Pig out on all the cake?
Oh, there might be one, tiny, skinny
piece left, but you're gonna have to
race me for it.
Mary suddenly points past Katherine's shoulder.
When Katherine turns Mary dashes back into the building.
You little sneak!
Katherine chases after her.
AT THAT MOMENT
Simon comes limping up from the road. His breathing's bad
now as he moves stiffly along the school's brick walls, coming
to an old, rusty back door he creaks open and slides through.
He climbs a littered and disused staircase, past broken beer
bottles and condom wrappers to a dark and creaky second floor.
It's part of the school building long abandoned. Doors to
classrooms lie half off their hinges, windows are broken,
rats squeak between ancient desks stacked like funeral pyres.
Simon, his breath echoing in the cold darkness, shuffles
along the broken linoleum till he comes to a rectangle cut
in the wall where a row of lockers used to be. He crawls
into the space and there, surrounded by rot, curls up on
himself and sucks his thumb.
Thomas Dagget's eyes opening slowly. He sits up in his bed,
runs a hand through his hair, and looks out with only medium
enthusiasm at the morning.
Thomas lights an offering candle and kneels for a brief,
silent prayer. He crosses himself, stands, and walks for the
door. Before leaving he glances back at the altar. A
questioning moment between two akward, estranged friends.
INT. POLICE CENTER
Thomas sits at his desk half-heartily trying to make sense
of the three dozen files piled there. Lt. Paul, his boss,
leans against a wall nearby.
How's it going?
I was just looking for my "SUICIDE"
Sorry about leaving you without a
partner. Everything's up in the air
till the commission settles their
(his phone rings)
Dagget... It's done already?
Must have rained over the golf course
this morning. I'll be right over.
INT. CORONER'S OFFICE
A set of golf clubs rest forelornly in the corner. An
irritable looking coroner fumes behind his desk as Thomas
Hey, Willie, sorry to hear about the
The coroner just stares at him.
Should I bother sitting?
Thomas obeys as the coroner spreads out a stack of white
Where would you like me to start?
I think we can skip the cause of
All right. To begin with, your man
has no eyes.
Weren't stuck in the radiator grill?
No, he never had any eyes. We checked
the sockets. There's no optic nerve,
muscle pores, loose viscus, nothing.
We also did a toxicology on his blood:
High sodium, elevated selenium, no
floating cholesterol platelets, trace
Something wrong with that?
No, it's actually pretty common --
for an aborted fetus.
I should have listened to Burrows...
We also did a bone section. Wasn't
that much trouble since most of them
were sticking out of his chest anyway.
When babies grow up their bones get
larger by adding calcium layers over
the interior haversham canals. Child
growth isn't uniform though, comes
in spurts that always leave growth
rings in the bone. Everybody has
them -- except your man. That would,
to a hasty observer, seem to indicate
he had never been a child.
I assume you, a cautious and learned
observer, of course have an
Not even remotely. Want to hear the
Not even remotely.
He's a hermaphrodite.
(Thomas stares at him)
-- Has both male and female sex
Think of the possibilities.
Yeah, you can be impotent and frigid
all at the same time -- they don't
Thomas sighs and climbs to his feet.
Well, I'd love to say thank you, but --
Oh, I also have a bonus prize for
The coroner opens his desk and pulls out a small, ancient
looking leather bound book.
Found this sealed in his coat lining.
Thomas turns it over in his hand.
It's a bible.
A pretty old one, I think.
Thomas runs his finger across the gold-leaf cover.
We checked it out inside. Thought
there might be a name or fingerprint
somewhere. All we found was a curled
page marking the fourteenth chapter
of St. John's Revelations.
There is no fourteenth chapter to
Maybe this is the teacher's edition.
Thomas opens the bible and there it is, in Latin, the
Can I keep this awhile?
Can you sit on all this a few days,
Willie? Not circulate the file? I
need some time before all the
Oooh, are we breaking the rules again?
So what else is new?
INT. POLICE OFFICE
Thomas at his desk, working under a lone gooseneck lamp.
He's translating the fourteenth chapter of St. John's
Revelations from Latin onto a slip of paper. Finished, he
sets the ancient bible down, turns off the gooseneck, and
leans back in his chair, alone in the dark.
EXT. DESERT - EARLY MORNING
Here, outside The Town, horizons are distant, faraway things.
The sky overhead is streaked red and blue with barely morning
as the screen door of a simple stucco house swings open.
It's Katherine, the teacher. Wearing levis and boots, she
carries a saddle swung over one denim shoulder out to a corral
behind the house where a horse shuffles and whinnies
In a minute, in a minute...
Katherine throws the saddle over the horse and cinches it
down as the sun, still tucked behind pink and grey cliffs,
begins to heat up the sky.
EXT. SANDSTONE CANYON - MORNING
Deep and narrow, an idyllic canyon of compressed sandstone
walls smoothed, rounded and etched by centuries of wind. A
tiny creek flows past weak banks of scrub pine and pocked
sycamore. A silent place a long way and a long time from
anything but the approach of galloping hooves.
Katherine and her horse run full-out through the canyon, the
clack and splash of hooves echoing off steep, shadowed walls.
Horse and rider drive each other harder and harder, their
hot breath brief clouds in the arch, thin desert air.
Boulders shattered by winter cold and summer heat, deep wind-
cut caves hiding scorpions, sidewinders, or a wary mountain
lion all pass as in a blur; arrogant hawks and patient
buzzards, ruins of thousand year old Anasazi villages high
on the cliffs, their weather-beaten skulls, seen and unseen,
staring out; everything is one smear of color and smell as
Katherine gallops past them and up the cliff trail, out of
the canyon, and onto the main plateau.
ON THE PLATEAU
Katherine strokes her horse and feeds it a bag of carrots.
She pulls a thermos from the pack, sits down against some
old man rocks, and with the coffee steaming in her hand,
greets the sun now cresting the Chuska Mountains.
There's a rutted, silty dirt road nearby. An ancient, battered
school bus rattles its way past and stops. The bus driver, a
Navaho, JOHN, climbs down and rubbing the side of his head
painfully walks up to Katherine.
You could save my life with some
He holds out an empty cup Katherine fills. Sipping painfully,
he lays down beside her and pulls the brim of his baseball
cap over his eyes.
You don't want to hear about it.
(peeks out hopefully)
Or maybe you do.
The bus is full of young school kids.
Shouldn't they be getting to school?
Impromptu field trip. I'm broadening
their minds. And sparing them the
sight of their beloved chauffeur
barfing his guts out.
Katherine's horse snorts.
I hate horses. How was the canyon?
Honey-suckle out yet?
Didn't see any.
I hate that canyon. I hate this this
whole plateau. Too many goddamn
ghosts. Leave it to them I say. San
Diego, that's where I'm going. Or
Oxnard. I like the sound of that. Ox-
I'm happy here.
Oh lord protect us, another romantic
pale face in love with the desert.
Just got to give it a chance.
Try growing up here.
(tries word out on
(sticks out coffee
Uno mas, see-boo-play.
Speaking of romantic pale faces, the
rumor mill is in high gear again.
Who this time?
That funny looking guy from Window
Rock. The BIA lawyer.
No! Say it isn't so!
It isn't so.
He finishes the coffee and climbs painfully to his feet.
Thanks for the joe.
You're a credit to the community.
He shuffles back to the bus.
All right children, looks sharp!
This is a school day! And no talking
The bus coughs alive and crawls forward. Katherine waves to
the faces behind glass, then settles back for a last moment
of peace as silence lays again over the land.
EXT. KATHERINE'S HOUSE - DAY
Showered and changed into her teaching clothes, Katherine
climbs into a rattling pickup.
EXT. THE TOWN
Katherine drives to work, passing on the outskirts the closed
copper mine, vast and abandoned. Down beyond the fading main
street lies the great crumbling brick pile that is the school.
Katherine parks her truck, grabs her leather bag, and walks
Katherine's lecturing her students. All twenty-five of them.
There's high school age sons of white ranchers, Navaho girls
on the edge of puberty, tiny Mexican children. All being
taught together in one room.
It's dinosaur day. Katherine has a large fossilized bone on
This is "Camposaurus". Camposaurus
was a herbavore, which meant he only
ate plants. Camposaur stayed mostly
to himself and never bothered anyone.
The little girls smile. They like Camposaurus. Katherine
holds up another bone fragment.
This is a leg fragment that belongs
to the killer of the plateau,
Alosaurus. Alosaurus was a vicious
carnivore, which meant he'd eat
anything that moved, especially nice,
The little boys grin. They like Alosaurus.
Both these guys lived together right
here on the White Rock plateau eighty
million years ago, when this area
used to be on the banks of a huge,
shallow sea. Remember how we talked
about how sedimentation fossilizes
bones? That's also what made the
hills out behind our town and put
the copper in the ground.
HIGH SCHOOL KID
Lot of good that did us.
Katherine lifts off the desk an ancient 1950s gieger counter
and switches it on. It ticks softly when she points it at
the dino bone.
It's radioactive! Like Godzilla!
Just a tiny bit, Alex. Do you know
why? Uranium, that's the rock they
use in nuclear power plants --
And bombs Alex, yes, is all through
these hills naturally. Millions of
years ago the dinosaurs here ate
plants and drank water which had
uranium in it that became concentrated
in their bones, which is exactly
how, with Mr. Geiger counter here,
we're going to find some.
The class CHEERS.
EXT. HILL - DAY
With the brick schoolhouse tiny in the background, Katherine's
class trudges its way up the barren, rocky hillside behind
the town. The teenage rancher's kids try to make time with
the Mexican girls One of the little boys has gotten into a
shoving match with a little girl.
(coming between them)
-- Hey. Come on. What's the deal,
The girl folds her arms defiantly. The boy is pissed,
...She, she called me a "Dick Head".
Well, he is.
All right, Brian. You get one free
insult. Make it good.
You... You're a... Cow Demon!
Uh... Okay. Everybody satisfied?
(looks at Brian)
UP ON THE HILL
Katherine's given the geiger counter to the little Navaho
girl, Mary. Focusing grimly on the rock in front of her,
Mary guides the detector over the stones till suddenly it
begins clicking softly.
I got one! I got one!
The high school kids come up and help dig.
Easy... Easy... Don't break it.
Almost immediately, an eye socket appears in the dust.
As the students carefully brush away the dust, Katherine
looks back across the crumbly path. A coyote has crept up
onto a near ledge. It just stands there. Watching her.
INT. BIG CITY CHURCH
It's mostly empty at this time of day and the young man
sitting in the pew, staring at the altar, is alone. His name
is GABRIEL and he wears jeans, a faded leather jacket, and
dark sunglasses, even inside. His thin hair is slicked back
and there's an almost feminine quality about him.
He sits there a moment longer, staring, then gets up and
EXT. DOWNTOWN ALLEY
The alley from the beginning. Gabriel pulls his old,
convertible rambler to a stop and walks into the flophouse.
He comes upstairs to the landing, where the door to the room
is covered with a strip of yellow tape: POLICE INVESTIGATION.
DO NOT ENTER.
Gabriel pulls the tape aside and KICKS the door open.
It's still the disaster we remember. Gabriel walks slowly
through the room. He scratches up some blood, tastes it.
There's spray-painted outlines where the police have removed
certain items. Gabriel takes note of this, tastes the blood
again, and leaves.
EXT. KATHERINE'S CLASSROOM BUILDING - DAY
It's lunch break. Most of the students sit in loose cliques
around the front of the building; eating, skipping rope,
The recently unearthed skull sits on Katherine's desk. Feet
up beside it, she leans back in her chair looking through a
dinosaur book. One of her students, a twelve year old boy,
finishes cleaning up the floor and stands beside her.
I'm all done with the cleaning, Miss
Thank you, Jason. I appreciate it.
(looking at book over
Find out what it is, yet?
Well, it's either a 44 million year
old Strychtosaurus or that cow Mr.
Sorenson lost last winter.
The boy, still standing beside her, begins to look nervous.
Slowly, he lets his weight rest against Katherine's shoulder.
She smiles good naturedly up at him.
Go eat your lunch, Jason.
The boy immediately stiffens and begins backing up, almost
Sure, Miss Henley. Thanks. See ya.
Katherine watches him leave, smiles again, and goes back to
AROUND THE BACK OF THE BUILDING
On the abandoned back stairs, a couple of Mexican boys sit
smoking cigarettes. They whistle and kid with the four young
girls that pass them going up the steps.
Is the abandoned, decayed part of the building. The four
girls know they're not supposed to be here and that's probably
half the fun. They run through the crumbling halls, giggling
and hiding from one another. Their cries, the smack of their
shoes, echo off off the peeling halls.
One of them is Mary, running down a hall, banging a stick
with another girl. At a corner Mary peels off from her friend,
runs down a new hall, turns a corner,
And comes on Simon. He's still curled where we last saw him,
in the wall niche where some lockers used to be. The two
stare at one another. Finally,
What's your name?
You don't look so good, Simon.
No, I don't.
Does Miss Henley know you're here?
No one does, Mary. Can we keep it
just our secret. For a little while?
You can hear her friends coming closer.
I have to go.
It was nice meeting you, Mary.
Mary goes to leave, stops, turns back.
Are you hungry? I could bring
That would be very nice.
She smiles and runs down the hall. Simon grits his teeth,
turns to the wall, and prepares himself for a long, long
EXT. APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY
An old fifties two-level, Polynesian lamps and glitter stucco,
now faded and browinish with water stains. Gabriel, the young
man with the sunglasses and leather jacket we last saw kicking
down the door at the flophouse, walks up the apartment's
stairs to the second level, knocks once, and opens the door.
THE APARTMENT INSIDE
Hasn't been very well looked after lately. Either has the
occupant. Sitting slumped in a kitchen chair, staring at the
floor, he peers through dully yellow eyes that barely seem
to register his visitor.
Gee Jerry, you look like shit.
The eyes lift to Gabriel, revealing a pale, bloodless face
eaten with dried sores.
Leave me alone, Gabriel.
Soon, pal. Soon.
Gabriel drops into the chair across from Jerry and pushes
aside with distaste the maggot-ridden plates of food piled
on the table. He reaches his hand out to Jerry.
(sing-song, like to a
Gabriel puts his hand under Jerry's chin and turns the face
side to side, examining the cracked, decaying skin and filmy
Hmmm. Still a little life left in
Gabriel releases Jerry's chin and slouches down in the chair.
There's something I want you to do
What a surprise.
Don't be that way.
I just want to... Why won't you let
I will, I will. Promise.
A dark, intestinal looking amber fluid begins to pool out of
Jerry's pant leg.
You need some new clothes, son.
A tear wells in Jerry's decomposing face.
Aw come on, don't start. You know
how I hate that...
I'm so tired. I'm so goddamn tired.
Watch the profanity. -- Just one
more favor. Honest.
I want you to get something for me.
A few personal effects the cops ripped
off from the lovely Allenwood Arms
on Seventh Street. It'll be sitting
in their property room down on San
I'm supposed to just go in there?
Give you a bath, put on some decent
Maybe a very large brim hat, you'll
be fine. Just go in between five and
five-ten, it's a shift change and
nobody'll notice you.
How do you know?
(cocks an eye)
(tosses yellow ID
card onto table)
This should be more or less up to
Got a name this stuff is under?
Why doesn't that surprise me.
Gabriel gets up, pats Jerry on the head, and walks to the
I'll see you tonight.
(flips him silver
Here's some bus fare.
The SLAM of a racquetball against the scarred white wall of
an indoor court. It ricochets off the ceiling, hits the back
glass partition, and is SLAMMED again. Four players, including
Thomas, grunt and sweat across the hardwood floor. It's
brutal. Shoulders and knees bang off one another.
One of the players falls back, yells to Thomas.
Cover me! Cover me!
Thomas dives into position to make the save, recovers, and
yells to the player as he dashes to the next corner.
Pop it up!
The player SLAMS it brutally at Thomas, who misses miserably.
Thanks a lot.
Another player picks up the dead ball and puts his arm around
You're missing the point of the game,
Thomas. You must absolutely trust no
one. Form alliances, but break them.
Lure another to trust you, then betray
him! You play with too much honor.
Sink to the gutter. Use people. Lie
and double-cross them.
Player #2 tosses the ball to Thomas, who serves, and the
scuffling is back on. Shouts to one another. Promises of
Come on Thomas, let's take out Sam
Thomas and Player #2 team up on a third player, pressing him
hard. Suddenly Thomas breaks back, intercepts the ball, and
drives against Player #2. The about-face is too abrupt for
him and Player #2 is eliminated in a double-cross. He smiles
proudly at Thomas.
INT. GYM LOCKER ROOM
Thomas and the three players congratulate each other on the
evil and treachery in each other's strategies as they shower
The important thing, Tom, is seeing
the game for what it is.
A sickening, hopeless, giant sucking
hole of depravity.
INT. LOCKER ROOM DRESSING AREA
As Thomas combs his hair and slips on his regimental
detective's suit 'n tie, the other three put on their black
pants, shirts, and stiff white Roman collars. They're priests.
Two of the priests hoist their gym bags and head for the
See ya guys next Tuesday, huh?
Thomas is left alone with Player (priest) #2, Bill.
So how's work?
Life on the dark side.
Can I ask you about something?
It has to stay between us. I need
your word on it.
As a racquetball player or a priest?
I'll take the priest for the moment.
What's on your mind?
It's a case. We found this guy. He
was... different. But he had on him
an old bible.
He pulls the bible out of a cloth sack and hands it to Bill.
It's a Vichini.
Worth a little?
More than a little. They're the best.
Sixth century. Hand illuminated.
Vichini only did twenty, each pocket
size for a king to carry into battle
beside his heart. Some consider them
the finest bibles ever made. I thought
they'd all be in museums. What are
you doing with it?
This one's a bit special.
It's has a bonus chapter to St, John's
Really? What does it say?
(reading from slip of
"And as in the first war, the angels
so fought over the nature of their
God, and there was much vanity and
destruction in heaven. For some angels
called their Lord the son of God,
and others called Him the begotten
father of Jesus Christ." What do you
I've never heard that quote before.
Theologically, The "first war"
obviously refers to the war in heaven
where Michael the archangel threw
out Satan and his gang. Old time
bible stuff. But this implies there
was a second war. That's news to me.
And the rest of it?
Oh, it's a fairly common theological
debate. Or was. The idea that if
Christ is God's son, does that make
him less than God or are they the
same being in different forms. That
very argument almost tore the early
Christian church apart in the 4th
Century. That was the good old days
when people actually worried about
theology. Anyway, it was settled
when the bishops of the world got to
together at the Council of Nicene in
325 and hashed out the various
interpretations of scripture into a
uniform dogma of belief. The result
was the Nicene Creed, which basically
said that Christ was in fact the
same as God and was owed the same
power and respect as the Father.
That they were the same.
But it's not exactly the sort of
thing angels would fight over.
Well, they could just ask God, right?
Do you think it's possible that John
might have written that extra chapter?
Who knows? Vichini was the greatest
biblical scholar of the age, some
claimed he made his own translations
from the original writings. Maybe he
did find some unknown writings by
John. It's possible I suppose. John
always was a little negative about
angels. All this actually has
something to do with an LAPD murder?
I don't know yet. Maybe. Probably
I hate to break it you, but that
particular family spat has been
settled for 1,600 years. Nobody loses
sleep over it anymore. Honest.
What did John have against angels?
Oh, he didn't trust them much. All
that running around smiting and
killing in the name of the Lord.
God's wild bunch. He thought it made
them fickle and vain. One click above
ghosts. Satan didn't help the image
Well, he did start as an angel.
Thomas walks Bill out to his car.
So when are you going to get a real
You mean with the Church?
You almost did it once. I never saw
a seminary student more called to
the collar than you. Why didn't you
ever become ordained?
It's a long story.
You'll have to tell it to me sometime.
EXT. DOWNTOWN - DAY
The building is squat and brick. A non-descrip warehouse
that subs as a police evidence storage area.
The sun is hard today as it beats down on Jerry's large-
brimmed felt hat. Daylight and Jerry don't get along very
well. His sunken, filmy eyes squint at its glare. The decayed
flesh cracking along his cheeks flames at its touch. He
shuffles down the sidewalk, the brackish, amber fluid that
gurgles down his leg filling his shoes and leaving behind
shiny wet footprints like a snail.
There's nobody around the back door and its unlocked. Jerry's
shrunken claws pull it open.
Is a crush of filing cabinets and erector-set shelves. All
of it crammed with low grade stuff. The heroin busts and
million dollar currency arrests don't end up here. Here it's
all shoe boxes and dusty files. Fragments of small lives
Jerry pulls the brim of his hat down even further as he works
his way past rack after rack. The single uniform he meets
looks only casually at Jerry's lapel ID badge. It's on the
third shelf he finds it. John Doe #78. Jerry lifts the box
and walks out.
INT. COUNTY BUILDING BASEMENT
Gabriel steps off the elevator and follows the signs for
MEDICAL EXAMINER. Along the way he passes a checkpoint guard.
Need a pass, friend.
I'll just be a second.
Gabriel walks back to the guard, smiles, and KNOCKS him clean
out of his chair with the back of his arm. The guard SMACKS
against the wall and crumples out of view.
Tiled floor and refrigerated corpses. Nobody's around when
Gabriel enters. He walks over to a file cabinet and removes
a thick folder. Then he walks to the big filing cabinets,
the ones that hold a body in each drawer. He strolls along,
tapping each label till he finds the one he's looking for,
slides it open, and looks down at the naked body of the
He's been sewed back together. Kind of. Gabriel grabs the
eyeless corpse under the armpits and drags him out onto the
floor where he pushes the legs together and outstretches the
arms, like a crucifix. From his coat Gabriel takes out a
small vial of oil and rubs it onto the gargoyle's feet and
hands. Anointing them. Then with the tip of his finger, he
draws a faint sign of the cross on the forehead, stands, and
walks for the door.
In the background, as Gabriel leaves, we see the body of the
gargoyle BURST into flame.
INT. KATHERINE'S SCHOOL
Katherine's students are shuffling back from lunch to their
seats, making small talk and paper airplanes. Katherine does
a head count, then stops a young boy coming through the door.
Brian, have you seen Mary?
I think she's out back somewhere.
We haven't seen her since lunch.
We're you guys up in the...
The girls, Mary's friends, shrug innocently. Katherine sighs.
Okay everybody, get started on today's
reading. Quietly. I'll be right back.
Katherine closes the door behind her. The class immediately
erupts into goofing off. The door opens again.
I mean quiet.
IN THE ABANDONED PART OF THE BUILDING
Katherine walks through decayed and rusting halls.
It's spooky up here. A part of the building Katherine clearly
Katherine calls out Mary's name a few more times, turns a
few more corners, and suddenly comes on her.
Mary's sitting beside Simon, the bleeding, ashen-faced man
with sunglasses. She's giving Simon a piece of sandwich and
a coke. Katherine is instantly wary.
Mary, come here.
But Simon and I were --
Mary reluctantly walks over to Katherine.
Go back to class.
Mary frowns, waves once to Simon, and leaves. There's a
heaviness to the air around Simon. A kind of buzzing.
Katherine blinks her eyes a few times. Focuses.
She wasn't doing any harm.
It's not her I'm worried about.
What are you doing here?
Small job. Mostly done now. Just
This is school property, you can't
It wasn't part of the plan. Honest.
(notices blood stains)
Are you all right?
No. Not really.
That buzz. Katherine rubs the side of her temple.
I'll have to call the police.
I wish you wouldn't, but I understand.
They'll help you.
Oh, I rather doubt that.
Katherine turns and leaves, her footsteps fading. Mary appears
Hello. I thought you'd left.
I hid. I'm very clever.
I'm sure you are.
You were nice to give me the food.
I haven't much time, Mary. And since
you've been so nice to me, there's
something I'd very much like to give
Just for a little while. Something
very special. Can you keep it a
secret? The biggest secret ever?
Yes. What is it?
Come here, Mary.
She takes a couple of shy steps toward him.
As she does --
Katherine, outside the building, rounding up some of the
kids who decided to take an impromptu recess. Hustling the
last one up the stairs, she pauses suddenly. She hears
something. Faint coughing.
Katherine walks back around the side of the building and
sees Mary bent over, vomiting. Katherine rushes up to her.
I don't feel good...
What's the matter, pumpkin? Did you
Did he give you something?
Mary coughs up the last of her lunch.
Can I go home now?
Katherine wipes off Mary's mouth with a hanky.
Sure, hon. Let's go.
EXT. TOWN - DAY
Katherine drives Mary home, a dusty, tired mobile home slumped
among the saguaro and tumbleweed on the edge of town.
INT. MOBILE HOME
Mary and Katherine pull open the door and enter. Mary's
elderly grandmother is sitting watching "All My Children".
She smiles at Katherine and looks at Mary with concern as
the little girl rubs her stomach and explains something in
IN THE BEDROOM
Katherine helps tuck Mary in bed as her grandmother brings a
glass of water.
I'll have the school send over a
The grandmother sits beside Mary, whispers gently in Navaho,
and softly stokes her brow.
IN THE LIVING ROOM
(on the phone)
...He's was just laying up there. I
thought, with the kids and
Most of my boys are up the highway
on a tanker spill at the moment.
They may be a while. These people
are rarely any problem. I'll have a
deputy come by tonight or tomorrow
and shoo him out.
He looked hurt.
They all do, ma'am. Inside or out,
they're all damaged goods.
IN THE BEDROOM
Alone and tucked into bed, Mary stares off at something very,
very far away.
INT. THOMAS'S APARTMENT
The sun orange and fading outside his window, Thomas drifts
off into a nap on his couch. The phone rings.
It's your friendly coroner.
Why is my friendly coroner, after a
long day at work, calling me at home?
I have something you'll want to see.
I doubt it.
No, you'll definitely want to see
On the floor is the smoldering, blackened outline of a body.
A thick, slimy goo gurgles and pops. The whole room is afoul
with acrid smoke.
They also took the autopsy file.
He, she, it. They took it. They also
lifted all the physical evidence
from the San Julian impound.
Where was everyone?
The cop at the desk is in the hospital
as we speak with a broken collarbone.
Everyone else was down the hall
watching the basketball playoffs.
Yeah. Foul on the buzzer.
Thomas jams his hands in his pockets and leans against an
autopsy table. Watches the smoke curl slowly up from the
impossibly melted goo in front of him.
Looks like the snow angels we used
to make as kids. Lie down in a clean
bank. Move your arms up and down...
You know what this means. Our friend's
cleaned out all the evidence on this
Did the cop get a look at who nailed
Tall. Smiled a lot.
He wore sunglasses.
Thomas pulls out out his notebook.
You gonna figure this one out, Tom?
I'm going to try.
When you do, give me a call. Tell me
I'm not crazy.
INT. JERRY'S APARTMENT
Gabriel crouches on the linoleum and pours everything out of
the evidence box onto the floor. He sifts through it, a smile
appearing when comes across the Chimney Rock Republican and
its circled obituary.
You like the desert, Jerry?
Jerry is looking worse by the day. A rotting, oozing fissure
has opened on his forehead. His right eye doesn't move
anymore. He sits on a kitchen chair glumly.
You promised. You promised that --
-- Soon. Honest. Don't be a pest
Never trust a fucking angel.
INT. POLICE STATION
Thomas sits hunched over his notes from the first day of the
investigation. Written in it is the Chimney Rock Republican
and the obituary name of General Arnold Hawthorn. Lt. Paul
sits down in the chair opposite.
Do you ever have one of those
afternoons where you feel no one's
giving you a straight answer about
Oh, maybe five or six times a week.
It says here somebody got into the
property warehouse and cleaned
everything out of your evidence box.
No, he did leave one thing. A
Mud on his shoes?
Thomas slowly closes his notebook.
I'm not going to get a straight answer
out of you either, am I?
The Lt. rubs his eyes tiredly.
I need to go to Arizona.
For your health?
So I can give you a straight answer.
Sure, why not? Take the kids. See
the Grand Canyon. Send me a fucking
I've got a headache, Tom, and I hate
my life. If you have to go, go.
EXT. DESERT - NIGHT
On an utterly lonely blacktop, Gabriel shoots by in his top-
down rambler, insignificant in the night's vastness. Jerry's
in the back, feet up on the seat.
Why do you need me? I can hardly
Some things are human work, son.
Live or dead, human work. Besides, I
Gabriel suddenly stands on the brakes, SCREECHING the rambler
to a dusty stop. He kills the engine and everything is
instantly whispering night and coyote howls. Gabriel climbs
out and walks to the edge of a cliff. Far below, nestled
among the finger-like spires of volcanic cones, lies The
Town. Twinkling lights in a cold, dark embrace.
Gabriel pushes his sunglasses up his nose and smiles.
I can always smell a graveyard.
Two coyotes begin fighting and snarling with each other in
the dust nearby.
EXT. GRAVEYARD - NIGHT
On a low hill at the edge of town. Cracked, sinking
headstones. The rambler's parked next to a new one, Slim
Pickens on the AM, as Jerry digs up the fresh grave marked
General Arnold Hawthorne. Gabriel sits perched on the
headstone over the grave like a winged creature.
I hope you're enjoying this.
I always enjoy watching you work,
How did I ever get you in my life?
Come on, you didn't really want to
But I did it, didn't I? I did kill
Well, yes. Technically.
And you're just keeping me alive.
Letting you die slower.
I'm so in your debt.
Thank you, Jerry. I'm touched. Really.
Jerry's shovel CLANKS onto something hard. He scrapes away
the dirt, revealing a coffin lid. With a socket wrench Jerry
removes the fastening bolts, then with the edge of his shovel,
pries open the lid.
It's the ancient, wasted general we saw at the beginning.
His medals flash in the moonlight.
Not much to look at.
Ah, but it's not what's on the outside
that matters --
Gabriel leaps off his perch down into the grave.
-- It's what's on the inside.
Gabriel reaches down, places one hand on the General's
forehead, one on his chin, and BREAKS the mouth open. He
gazes down into it. Then suddenly stiffens and straightens
It's not here.
Gabriel frantically look in the ears. Up the nose.
It's not here!
Oooh, bad news for the war effort.
(spins wildly on him)
Gabriel BANGS the coffin lid in frustration. Tries to think.
Now, if you were a soul, where would
The hell away from you.
INT. THOMAS'S APARTMENT
The numbers on the clock radio roll over five AM and the
news comes on. Thomas stirs in bed, rubs his eyes, and looks
out at a sky untouched by any sign of dawn.
In coat and tie, Thomas sits in his spartan kitchen stirring
a coffee when the phone rings.
Hey little brother.
Hey. How's the world?
The world's the usual. Except for a
guppy. the world's minus one guppy
And Jamie and Mac?
They keep asking for Uncle Tommy.
The only man that can make stuffed
My one true calling. What's up?
What do you mean?
It's five-thirty in the morning.
I just thought I should call.
You always were telepathic.
Thomas looks up at his overnight bag, sitting half-packed on
It's my job, Jan. I go places
I just had this terrible feeling
about it. What's happening, Tom?
I don't know.
I miss you. Even when you're here. I
miss you. I miss my brother. It's
been four years, Tom, since...
We're the only blood family we have
left, you and me. I worry about you.
I'll be okay.
Sorry about the dawn-attack call. I
I love you too, Jan.
He cradles the phone, stares at it, then picks up his
EXT. THE TOWN - NIGHT
Silent and dead at this hour. Gabriel's boots creak on the
floorboards of the 19th century plank sidewalks. He taps his
finger aimlessly along plate glass shop windows.
Boy, what a dump, huh?
Jerry, limping on a foot that's caving in on itself, wiping
the spinal fluid out of his dead eye, shuffles along behind.
Gabriel pops off the elevated sidewalk, grabs a parking meter
and swings himself playfully around.
Why can't this shit ever go down in
Miami? Or Bora Bora? I feel like
I've spent my whole damn stay in gin
swills like this.
Life's a bitch.
Gabriel suddenly freezes. He sticks his nose up, sniffs like
a coyote, then abruptly drops to the ground in a push-up and
smells the dirt. Tastes it with his tongue. Smiles.
INT. THE SCHOOL BUILDING - NIGHT
A fracture of broken moon tumbles through shattered windows
and falls dully across shapes old, shapes forgotten, and one
shape trying hopelessly to drag itself across the floor.
It's Simon; breath a rasp, blood-soaked pants leaving a long
smear behind him like a hemorrhaging snail. He coughs, drags
an arm across the lenses of his sunglasses,
And looks up at a pair of black, lizard-skin boots.
Simon rolls on his back and sighs.
Simon looks up at puss-faced Jerry, leaning quietly in a
Don't mind me. Just along for the
Gabriel sits down against the wall.
So, what shall we talk about?
I'm a little talked out on theology.
Gabriel turns his boot to the moon, watches the pale light
glint back off the lizard scales.
You know why I'm here.
Don't happen to have it on you by
That would have been too easy.
Simon suddenly JUMPS to his feet. Tries to escape. Jerry
trips him, SPRAWLING Simon back to the floor.
Please, Simon. Get serious.
Gabriel walks over to him. Puts his face close.
Now. Where's the soul?
You know. So high. Used to reside in
the recently departed General
Simon doesn't answer. Gabriel shrugs.
Have it your way, big guy.
I do have one question.
Do you even remember what this war's
Gabriel pauses, almost thoughtfully. Then he smiles.
That's hardly the point, is it?
I guess I never did get the point.
How do you do it, Gabriel? How do
you go on and on in this place?
I like it here, Simon. I always have.
I'm so tired...
Gabriel grasps Simon's hand.
Then join us, Simon. Reject the Nicene
Council. We were here first.
I can't do it, Gabriel. I don't even
know why anymore, but I can't.
You know the routine.
Gabriel's hand is suddenly on Simon's face, fingers spread,
claw-like. They press into the flesh. Hard. And harder. Until
Simon starts to bleed.
Then to burn.
INT. KATHERINE'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Katherine startles abruptly in her bed at the faraway sound
of Simon's screams. Screams carried either on the wind or
INT. MARY'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Asleep, sweaty, shivering, Mary suddenly opens her eyes.
INT. THE SCHOOL BUILDING - NIGHT
Gabriel releases his grip on Simon, letting him fall back
against the wall, afire. His clothes twist and blacken. His
skin creeps and pops. His sunglasses melt and fall away;
revealing two hollow pits beneath. Gabriel lifts Simon's
entire body up off the floor by just the disintegrating face,
and stares into the hollow pits.
And the fires go out. Gabriel drops the crackling, acrid
body onto the floor. Impossibly, through the sizzling mucus
and molten hair, it breathes. It gasps in pain. It won't
I can do this for five months,
EXT. THE TOWN
The skies above lighten and smear blue and red.
Finishes dressing for school, picks up her teaching bag, and
crunches out across the gravel to her pick-up.
INT. THE SCHOOL BUILDING
Gabriel's lizard boots pace back and forth past Simon's
writhing, burning body. Gabriel's more jittery now. Losing
his patience. He bends down and pulls Simon's face up to
This is getting boring, Simon.
Where is it? Where did you put it?
The seared skin around Simon's mouth comes off in Gabriel's
hand. But Simon is still, even now, silent.
Where is it!
He flings Simon with a horrible crunch against the wall.
I'm just about out of tricks here.
You're a tough one, friend. Old
He walks over and places a hand with something like friendship
on Simon's charred shoulder.
God loves you, Simon.
And with the other hand Gabriel JAMS his fist into Simon's
chest, PULLING OUT a lumpy, burned heart. Simon's mouth
springs open and hisses emptily. Gabriel slips the heart
into his pocket and lets go of Simon's shoulder. The body
instantly disintegrates and crashes to the floor.
EXT. THE TOWN - MORNING
Katherine squints at the morning glare as she drives through
town. Pulling into the school's drive she sees, parked at
the building's back door, a sheriff's patrol car.
INT. SCHOOL BUILDING
Katherine comes up the stairs of the building's abandoned
floor, passing the stacks of rotting desks toward where she
last saw Simon. There's a bad smell in the air.
At a turn stands a deputy that looks up as Katherine
You may want to skip this, ma'am.
Katherine looks past him to where a second deputy crouches
down beside... beside something. It's human shaped, but like
a shadow. A shadow twisted in agony and slicked with a tarry,
smoldering ooze. The smell is overpowering. The crouched
deputy has a handkerchief over his mouth.
Were any of your students up here?
EXT. MARY'S FAMILY TRAILER - DAY
Katherine pulls-up and parks.
Mary is still in bed, droopy-eyed and sweating. Her
grandmother is there, and so is an elderly Navaho. He stands
beside Mary's side, holding above her body a clenched pouch
that he passes slowly back and forth.
How is she?
Did the doctor come by?
He found nothing. But something is
in her. I know. Something the
Belagaana doctor can't see. The night
people have been around two days
now. It is a warning.
(nods to Navaho man)
So we have called the hand trembler.
To find if she must have an Enemy
The old man mumbles a soft chant as he moves the pouch back
and forth across Mary's body.
EXT. MARY'S FAMILY TRAILER - DAY
Katherine walks back out toward her pickup. She stops. Thirty
yards away, almost invisible in the sage say for the glare
of its evil, intelligent eyes, is a coyote. As she feels
it's gaze a shadow suddenly crosses her shoulder. Katherine
turns quickly but only barely catches, out of the corner of
her eye, a glimpse of something very large.
A huge semi ROARING deafeningly past on an empty desert
highway, KICKING UP a dusty cyclone that drifts over a one-
horse gas station and Thomas, sitting there in his car
checking a map.
EXT. COUNTY BUILDING - DAY
Small townish; old adobe and stucco walls, cannon on the
front lawn, every door loudly declaring itself a department:
SOCIAL SERVICES, COURTS, and, SHERIFF.
The Sheriff's personal office is turn of the century regal,
with high beam ceilings and rotating fans. Nothing seems
newer than 1940, including the coffee pot the Sheriff pours
a mugful from. Trim with glasses, bolo tie and boots, he
looks like Barry Goldwater.
And to what do I owe the thrill of a
visit from a So Cal homicide cop?
He hands the coffee to Thomas, sitting in a chair beside his
solid oak desk.
Run of of the mill psycho killer
body dismemberment on our end. The
Lovely place, Los Angeles.
Got a lead I wanted to run down
Chimney Rock way. Thought I'd do the
courtesy of telling you first.
Big of you.
You're welcome to put a babysitter
on me if you like.
The Sheriff smiles.
Son, this is the third biggest county
in the country, not even counting
the 25,000 square mile Indian
reservation right next door, and
I've got fewer men than just one of
your little palm tree precincts to
cover all of it. 'Fraid the only
help you're gonna get from me, short
of another shoot out at the OK Corral,
is that cup of coffee in your hand.
A middle-aged secretary enters with
a stack of paper.
Here's the last week's watch reports.
She hands them to the Sheriff, who passes them on to Thomas.
He flips through the stack, comes up with nothing. The
secretary hands another, single sheet to the Sheriff.
Bobby just called this in from Chimney
Thomas perks at The Town's name.
Sent a car up there this morning.
Teacher complained some vagrant was
sleeping in her schoolhouse.
The Sheriff's brow crinkles in consternation as he reads
Damn it, get Bobby on the phone,
Clarice. What the hell is this suppose
The Sheriff hands it to him. Glancing at it we pick up words
like BURNED, BLACK SLICK, BODY OUTLINE. Thomas copies the
name of the school down, gulps his coffee, and shakes the
Thanks for the coffee.
(as Thomas turns to
Small piece of advice, Lt. Dagget,
that I give free of charge to all
visiting big city policemen: It's
wild country up there. Always has
been, always will be. You come across
anything that snarls, you call me
I never turn down advice, Sheriff.
Especially when it's free.
Thomas's sedan passing through the vast, empty land.
FAR ON THE HORIZON
A small clump of buildings emerge clinging hopelessly to the
earth. The Town.
EXT. TOWN HOTEL - DAY
A former miner's hotel, stone walls and sagging wrought iron.
INT. HOTEL ROOM
Thomas tosses his bag onto the bed, opens the balcony door,
and looks out on the crumbly shale hills, the abandoned
prospecting shacks, and the Chuska Mountains, clouds brewing
darkly across its shattered back.
A close-up of the circled newspaper obituary for General
Hawthorne. The paper lowers and reveals behind it the
general's grave. The dirt around the tomb is loose, recently
filled. The grave keeper, a young, gangly, drifter type stands
nearby with his shovel.
How long ago was he buried?
What do you mean?
Somebody dug him up last night. I
just finished putting him back.
Did they take anything?
Nothin' on the outside.
INT. THE SCHOOLHOUSE
Thomas's breath escapes in warm clouds here in the unheated,
abandoned part of the building. Rats scurry away from feeding
on the dark, human-like stain on the floor as Thomas crouches
down beside it. He probes the dried, black, crusty flotsam
with his ball-point pen. Just like the burned body back at
Far away you can hear the sounds of children. Of a teacher's
It's only past the final door, into the smallest corner of
the building, that the walls become clean and brightly painted
by eager third graders. The creepy silence transforms itself
into the giggles of children as they bang open the classroom
door and whoop themselves outside for recess.
The last one out is Katherine. She's surprised to see Thomas.
Can I help you with something?
Tom Dagget. I'm with the police.
About the guy upstairs?
I'd like to ask you a few questions.
I've kinda got my hands full right
I'll just tag along.
Katherine unlocks a hall cabinet and pulls out a stack of
volleyballs. She tosses two to Thomas.
Here, make yourself useful.
Arms full, she pushes the building door open with her shoulder
and backs out into the sunshine. She tosses the balls out to
Okay, everbody stays on the courts
-- I mean it.
She sits down beside Thomas on the building's stone steps.
What grade is this?
All of 'em.
Town doesn't look that small.
Nearly all ghosts now. When the copper
mine closed it took most of the town
with it. We just teach out of this
one corner of the schoolhouse now.
Rest of it's been abandoned for years.
You're the only teacher.
Yup. Just me.
(to kid threatening
But he --
Do it again and I'll put your head
in the door and slam it.
Love and understanding are important
tools in education.
The children skitter back and forth playing.
The man upstairs, did you talk to
I wanted to know what the hell he
was doing there.
What did he say?
That it wasn't part of the plan. He
looked hurt. Bloody. Like someone
had cut him. That happens here.
Was that... stuff... on the floor
Did any of the children talk to him?
She's home sick from school today.
Can I speak with her parents?
They're dead. She lives with her
grandmother. I'll have to ask her.
(stands, hands her
slip of paper)
This is my number at the hotel.
Thomas starts away. Pauses.
Did you know Arnold Hawthorne?
The General? Saw him here and there.
It's a small town.
About a million years ago. His
interests lately were more like
gardening and herbal tea.
Did you go to the funeral?
Everyone did. He lived here.
No dark hidden secrets?
There are no secrets in small towns,
Mr. Dagget, dark or otherwise.
ACROSS THE STREET
Up the crumbly embankment, sitting perched on the roof of an
abandoned house, is Gabriel. He watches Thomas walk to his
car. He watches the children playing, lifting his nose to
snort the air, like a coyote.
INT. THE TOWN LIBRARY
Thomas sifts through some clippings on General Hawthrone.
Tactical genius. The man who saved Korea. Brutal. Almost
court marshalled a dozen times for his inspired savagery. A
truly ruthless man -- who spent the last twenty years quietly
tending his garden in a dying town.
INT. THE TOWN CHURCH
Small, simple, and woodplanked. The church we saw at the
beginning. Thomas sits there, staring at the candles, the
altar, the crucifix.
He's alone there. But for a creeping buzz. A feeling in the
It's unusual to see someone of your
age in church on a weekday.
Thomas turns in surprise. Gabriel is kneeling in the row
behind, inches from his ear.
Don't get me wrong. I think it's an
excellent sign of character.
There's something cold and creepy about Gabriel. Out of place
in here. There's another sound. Teeth chattering far in the
back. Thomas turns and sees Jerry, deep in the shadows of
the choir box. Jerry waves.
Never mind him. He shouldn't even be
in here. Least not standing.
Those sunglasses. Impenetrably dark. Like at the skid row
You're not from here.
Either are you.
I'm looking for something.
Have you found it?
I will. Have you found what you're
I don't doubt it.
You'll let me know? When you find
Where are you staying?
And he walks out, leaving Thomas alone in a place gone
INT. THOMAS'S HOTEL
There's a note waiting for him at the front desk: "Her name
is Mary Tsosie. You can talk to her at noon tomorrow. I'll
be at the VFW hall tonight -- Katherine."
INT. VFW HALL - NIGHT
Thomas sticks his head in through the door.
It's an Indian bingo game. Thomas' eyes drift down the table
packed with elderly faces and find Katherine and John the
Navaho bus driver. Katherine waves him over. Both her and
John are totally obsessed with the game, keeping track of
I got your note.
Have a seat. You need a card. Here,
play one of mine.
No, it's okay. Really --
You must learn to shed your high-
strung ways, pale face. You must
learn the spirit joy in patience,
peace, and making fifty or sixty
John, this is Mr. Dagget. Says he's
with the police, though judging by
his coat and basic command of the
english language, I don't think it's
from anywhere around here.
(shakes John's hand)
Tom. From Los Angeles.
That near Oxnard?
Long way from home, Tom-from-Los-
Thomas lazily glances at his card, his eyes opening suddenly
-- Hey, wait. I won. I won!
-- What? No way --
INT. TOWN HALL - NIGHT
A Navaho social in full swing -- square dancing. The Indian
band on stage plays deeply traditional, inspiring, -- Hank
Williams. John easily whirls Katherine around; a steely-eyed,
master square dancer. Thomas leans against the wall tugging
on a beer. When John releases her for another partner she
points at Thomas.
Oh, no thanks.
C'mon, don't be a drip.
She leads him out onto the floor.
I'm not very good at this...
(as they dance)
No, you're not, are you?
She smiles. Gets a smile out of him.
Let me lead.
EXT. DANCE HALL - NIGHT
Couples drift off the building's porch and into the street
to cool off, smoke, and take a few hits off paper bags. John
leans against the brick wall, tugs liberally from his paper
bag, and exchanges war hoops with some friends across the
street. He passes the bag to Katherine and Thomas.
So how's our star pupil feeling today?
Mary? The school doctor came by.
Declared it "Non-specific
Latin for "I don't have the slightest
Will she be able to talk with me?
That's up to her.
Mary's grandmother called a hand
Uh oh. Hocus pocus time.
Is that serious?
Depends what the hand trembler says.
People call them in when they think
a witch or a Yei is trying to sprinkle
corpse sickness in their hogan, or
if the Night People have been hanging
around too much. Night people screw
around a lot, but they're good at
warning of evil ghosts.
Who are the Night People?
They come as coyotes.
EXT. ROAD - NIGHT
Thomas sits in the truck's bed as they Katherine drives
through town. John, on the near side of royally toasted, has
his boot stuck out the passenger window. Thomas looks up at
the night sky. At its blaze of stars.
Beautiful stars out here.
John drinks again from his bottle, rests his head on the
open window and looks out.
Too much fucking sky in the desert.
It pushes on you.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone in heaven
even knows this place is here...
INT. JOHN'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Early American bachelor. John collapses onto the couch as
Katherine heads for the kitchen.
Where do you keep the coffee in this
Above the stove.
She messes with the grounds and filter. Thomas paces the
room, looks over the pictures and a few weavings.
What happens if the hand trembler
says a ghost has been...
-- Messing with Mary? If you're smart
you say thank you very much and forget
about it. But if you're heavy
traditional, and Mary's people are
serious traditional, you have an
Enemy Ghost Way.
Goddamn expensive. It's a Sing to
purify and drive off the corpse
sickness. Two days of dancing and
ceremony and feeding the whole damn
village. Not even to mention hiring
the yataallii, if you can even find
one these days. And you can bet they
don't come cheap. But every clan
does it a bit different. Especially
You know them?
The Bitter Sky Clan. Hard core
reservation. No lights, no running
water, no HBO. Their village is out
on the edge of Old Woman Butte.
Million miles from anything. Witch
country. Settled right there in the
Dead People Land where no one else
would, right on top of the old Anasazi
village. They're a dying clan. Just
the old ones now. All alone out there
in the middle of nothing.
They can keep it.
Do people really still believe in it
all? Ghosts, Sings, corpse sickness?
Depends, I guess. Sometimes you go
along because it's a village thing,
or you don't want to disappoint
grandma. But sometimes, when you're
alone out there, far from town, and
the wind kicks up and sneaks into
your hogan... I don't know.
John closes his eyes and drifts off. Thomas wanders into the
I think John's out for the evening.
Saturday night in Chimney Rock.
She hands him a mug of coffee.
So how does a person like you end up
When I was younger I used to believe
that no matter how much you mucked
around in your life, one day, if you
listened hard enough, a voice would
tell you what you were really cut
out to do. And when it didn't show
up on schedule I decided to go look
for it. And I looked in a lot of
places, believe me. I drove that
road out there so far that the end
became the beginning again. And it
was when I got here that I realized
there never was going to be a voice.
So I stopped looking and took the
first job they offered me. That make
any sense to you?
Oh, I know all about voices. Problem
is not all of them are very nice.
How did you end up a cop?
It was the evil of two lessers.
Are you always this cryptic?
No. When you get to know me I can be
down right evasive.
EXT. HOTEL - NIGHT
Katherine pulls up to drop Thomas off.
Thanks for the lift. Tomorrow at
noon? At the little girl's house?
First trailer on the highway past
Thomas climbs out.
I must say, Mr. Dagget, that you
don't seem very like a police officer
That's what my bosses keep saying.
I meant it as a compliment.
So taken. Goodnight, Miss Henley.
Thomas lying in his hotel bed, flinching through a dream-
There's glimpses of shattered images: War. Death. And a small,
dark-haired girl. Thomas's eyes open and fix on the ceiling.
Out his window, perched on the railing of his balcony, is
something dark and winged.
The honey warmth of dawn heats the bluish, quiet streets of
The Town. Across shale hills and abandoned 19th century
miner's shacks, there echoes the faint, clear notes of a
trumpet. The bluesy notes drift over narrow dead-end streets,
junked cars, and the abandoned copper mine out past the end
Deep in the tunneled rock, past the rusting conveyor belts,
Gabriel sits in a small cave blowing Miles Davis on his
trumpet. There's just the blanket he sits on and a single
candle. Jerry comes around the corner.
Get any sleep?
(Jerry only stares)
-- Just kidding.
EXT. THE SCHOOLHOUSE - MORNING
As Katherine climbs out of her pick-up she sees several of
her students standing in a circle. Crouched in the center,
talking to them, is a man. Gabriel. Jerry stands nearby.
Gabriel is showing a boy his trumpet. Demonstrating where to
put his fingers.
...There, and there. Now pucker your
lips... aim it that way, and just
blow a little bit, this is a special
The boy puffs lightly. The trumpet emits a piercing, clear
note that SHATTERS a window high up in the abandoned part of
the building. The youngsters whoop and applaud.
Very good, Timmy. Very good. Here,
have a Junior Mint on me. Open up.
As Timmy opens his mouth we clearly see Gabriel looking down
into it. Looking for something...
Katherine approaches the scene warily. The children all beg
for their turn. Gabriel selects Sandra, one of Mary's second
grade friends, and puts her on his knee.
And who are you?
She can barely get her fingers around the trumpet.
And did you see the man upstairs,
Did you talk to him?
And who did, Sandra. Who talked to
And where is Mary, Sandra?
She isn't here. She's sick.
You've got very pretty teeth, Sandra.
Here, let me see...
He gently pushes down her chin with his thumb, opens her
mouth, and gazes in.
Katherine enters the circle.
What the hell do you think you're
Gabriel looks up, unperturbed, and smiles.
Just talking to the kids, Ma'am.
Get off his knee, Sandra. Everyone
else, go inside. Now.
The kids reluctantly shuffle off.
See ya, kids. Be sure to study your
He has the same sunglasses as Simon. The same cold, creepy
air about him.
Who are you?
It's a long story.
Jerry suddenly snorts loudly, trying to retrieve a sticky
red glop that starts running out of his nose.
Everyone else does.
I don't know what the hell is going
on, but you both better get out of
here. Right now.
He climbs to his feet and stands close to her.
...You have no idea what's going on.
He stands there a beat. That terrible coldness that swirls
about him. The shriek of ghosts under his breath. Then he
climbs into the rambler with Jerry and pulls away. Katherine
watches the car drive off, then yells over to the school
Al! Keep an eye on the children for
me. I'll be right back. And call the
Sheriff? What the hell do I tell
Katherine gets into her pickup and starts the engine.
EXT. THE TOWN - DAY
Katherine drives through the main drag and out past the fringe
of town. As she passes the old copper mine she sees, parked
near the mine's tunnel entrance, Gabriel's rambler.
EXT MARY'S GRANDMOTHER'S TRAILER - DAY
As Katherine pulls up, she's surprised to see Thomas climbing
out of his own car.
You weren't suppose to be here till
You're a little early yourself.
I wanted to check on her.
That makes two of us.
On the sandy lot that extends back from the trailer is a
wizened cottonwood tree. Katherine, Thomas, and Mary are
seated beneath its shade. Katherine is protective of the
little girl, running a hand maternally through her hair.
How are you feeling, pumpkin?
This is Mr. Dagget, Mary. He'd like
to ask you some questions. You don't
have to answer if you don't want to.
There's a dreamy, far-away look in Mary's eyes. It worries
Mary, when you talked to man up in
the building --
Yes, Simon. What did Simon say?
That's funny. "Simon says".
Right. Like the game.
I'm good at it. I'm very clever.
We'll have to play together sometime.
Simon even said so. He also asked if
I could keep a secret.
And what was that?
Something he gave me.
Then it wouldn't be a secret.
You're a good friend not to tell,
Mary. But I'm a friend of Simon's
too. So if you ever want to tell,
you can to me. Okay?
It's a secret...
Mary lowers her head and shuts her eyes.
...But sometimes it hurts.
Thomas and Katherine exchange looks. Mary's pretty eyes rise
again as she calmly asks, in that cute little eight year old
Have you ever killed a chinaman?
No Mary, I haven't.
They don't bleed. Not the way you
and I do. Or maybe it was just the
Thomas looks to Katherine for an explanation, but she's as
confused as him.
I've killed them, you know. Lots.
You could always tell when they were
coming. There'd be the trumpets first.
Every note flat. Then those songs...
After that they'd charge. Right down
through the snow. The guns would
freeze and it would be just knives...
It was so cold and there were so
many of them. But I was smarter than
they were. Even at Chosin, I was
Mary's been explaining this in a girlish, show-'n-tell kind
of way. Suddenly her face cracks as her voice chokes with a
It scares me, Miss Henley. I hate
it. Please, make it stop!
She buries herself into Katherine's arms, sobbing.
Make it stop!
It's okay... It's okay...
Mary suddenly pushes away and runs back toward the trailer,
into the arms of her grandmother.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to --
It's all right, Miss Henley. We know
you love Mary...
What are we going to do?
She's going to have the Enemy Ghost
Way. We leave this afternoon.
The grandmother turns and walks back to the trailer.
Where will they do the ceremony?
In the home village. The Hand Trembler
must have found corpse sickness...
They're taking her away? Shouldn't
she see a doctor?
She's already seen a doctor.
(then, under her breath)
That son of a bitch...
Gabriel the children called him. The
little shit was hanging around my
kids this morning asking about Mary.
He and his buddy make a real pair.
Maybe it's time I checked out Mr.
Katherine turns from trailer and looks at him.
I know where he parks his car.
INT. THOMAS'S CAR - DAY
Katherine and Thomas drive back down the road leading to
Chinamen? Chosin? I've never heard
her talk like that before.
Chosin Reservoir was a Korean war
battle the Marines had against the
Chinese, supposedly the bloodiest
hand-to-hand fighting of the century.
Someone been teaching that to your
Sure, right next to Jack 'N Jill.
Where would she have heard it?
Nobody I can think of.
Did she know him?
He didn't like children.
You couldn't and tell a story like
that to one.
He pulls over to the side near the copper mine entrance. No
sign of the rambler.
It was there earlier.
Thomas drives up the dirt path to the mine's tunnel entrance.
They climb out and stand near its mouth. In the dust is the
rambler's tracks and several footprints leading into the
Thomas steps up to the edge of the tunnel. It's a black,
yawning thing that swallows the sunlight whole for breakfast.
If I was smart I'd call the Sheriff
or somebody in town who knows this
place. Then again, there is one thing
worse than getting killed.
Looking like an idiot if it's nothing.
He pops his trunk and takes out a flashlight.
I'll come along.
No, if someone has to fall a hundred
feet down a black pit, he should at
least be on official duty.
Thomas switches on the light and takes a tentative step
Then again, it is kind of spooky in
there. Here, you can hold the
INT. THE MINE
The sun very quickly becomes a memory. And after the first
bend it isn't even that anymore. There's only the glow of
the flashlight; glancing off the abrupt edges of tunneled
rock. Here and there are the flotsam of a bankrupt industry;
dented ore carts lying on their side, rusted drill bits,
piles of support timbers. And all around them the sucking
blackness of the earth.
They walk further down into the mine. The atmosphere becomes
close and creepy. Thomas has been following tracks left in
the dusty floor that abruptly disappear. He stops and sighs.
-- A BAT suddenly SHRIEKS out of the darkness, glancing off
Thomas's shoulder and TANGLING in Katherine's hair. She
screams and spins around, loosing her footing and half falling
into a yawning ore chute she hadn't seen beside her. Thomas
rushes over and pulls her out. She climbs shakily to her
Thomas takes a last pass at the mine shaft with his
Well, I've seen enough.
As he turns to leave the flashlight burns out.
He bangs it once against his thigh before he notices for the
first time a dim, amber light coming from a space between
What is that?
I don't know. Maybe a bum or
But his gun's out at his side. Just in case. They follow the
light to the gap in the rock, gingerly stepping into
-- That could easily belong to a bum. It's Gabriel and Jerry's
digs. Just the moldy blanket, single oil lamp, piles of
And something else.
From outside the cave it's the same whine, the same blurryness
that drips off Gabriel like sweat. But once they step into
the room, into the lair, it suddenly jumps in volume. This
is where Gabriel sleeps, and it's thicker here, like honey
on the walls. Thomas has difficulty focusing his eyes.
Do you feel it?
What is it?
But Thomas can't hear Katherine anymore, her voice has
disappeared beneath the whine. As it becomes too much he
leans his weight against the rock wall and shuts his eyes.
It's then they come. Flashes of images: Of screams and fire.
Of impossible vistas of emptiness and death. And shrieking
overhead, shrieking everywhere; grotesque, winged creatures
with no eyes. Some with faces we know; Gabriel, Simon, and
the gargoyle. All these images are being jammed into both
their minds by the cave.
Thomas forces his eyes open but the scenes playing all around
him won't go away. Tears are running down Katherine's face
as she stands there locked in the same images. Thomas stumbles
about the room as if drunk, the visions, incomprehendibly
black visions of war and destruction on an alien plateau,
eat his brain. He sinks to his knees and begins to cry.
Oh no... Oh God no...
Katherine's curled up on the floor like a child, weeping.
The images are driving them mad. Thomas, fighting the insanity
pounding at him, crawls pathetically across the floor to the
oil lamp. His fingers grasp it spasmotically as he rises to
his knees and leans back.
He HEAVES the lamp against the cave wall, where it EXPLODES,
the oil erupting into a swirling blaze that CONSUMES the
The images break a second in the heat and light and sucking
wind. Just long enough for Thomas to grab Katherine's arm
and pull her out of the room.
EXT. MINE - DAY
Katherine and Thomas lie in the dust outside the mine's tunnel
entrance. Catching their breath. Trying to organize and repair
the short circuits in their brains. Thomas rolls on his side,
squints at the sun. Katherine's voice is faint and raspy.
What... What was that? Hell?
...No. The voices. They were screaming
and fighting over... theology. They
don't sweat much about that in hell.
But they do in... heaven.
He squeezes a handful of dirt in his hands.
The son of a bitch. He carries it
around with him like a photo album.
A big, greasy cloud wherever he goes.
They all do.
How can that be heaven? Jesus Christ.
How? I don't even believe in heaven.
The tears start rolling down her face. She looks up and shouts
at the endless sky above them.
You dumb fucking assholes! How could
you have done that!
That extra chapter by St. John was
right. It's a war... Just like the
first one. Just like when the angel
Michael beat Lucifer and cast him
out. Only now they've turned on each
other... Turned on each other in a
civil war over theology.
He laughs hopelessly at the insanity of it all.
Oh sweet God, theology.
"God's wild bunch".
How do you know know so much about
I just know.
(shakes his head)
Yes folks, the good news is that
there's life after death in heaven.
The bad news is that it's as screwed
up as here.
They were like us.
They are us. Aborted children. And
they need us. They need our corrupt,
dark souls for their fight. They
Katherine climbs abruptly to her feet and walks for the car.
What are you doing?
I don't know what this is. I don't
know what I believe. I don't know if
my sanity is lying back in that cave
flopping around waiting for me. But
I know one thing. Those... Those
things aren't taking her!
INT. THOMAS'S CAR
Katherine and Thomas drive along in silence. Finally,
In those... visions... did you ever
INT. MARY'S GRANDMOTHER'S TRAILER
Katherine and Thomas open the trailer door and enter
Thomas looks out the window and notices for the first time,
parked behind the trailer, Gabriel's rambler. He immediately
pulls out his pistol, runs for the closed door at the end of
the hall and KICKS it in. The door FLIES open, revealing
Gabriel sitting on the bed beside Mary.
Get away from her.
His gun's leveled at Gabriel's head. The angel sits there
impassively, then smiles.
You know. Son of a bitch, the priest
wanna-be actually figured it out.
That's a rare club, son. At least
Back away from the kid, man. Now.
She won't feel anything, honest.
I'll have to tear her apart of course --
just the way it goes -- but it'll be
all right in the end. A good catholic
boy like you, Mr. Daggett, you should
be on my side.
Goddamn it --
You're gonna have to watch that
Jerry suddenly LEAPS out from behind the door and TACKLES
Thomas to the carpet. The gun skitters to one side as Jerry
SINKS his rotting teeth into Thomas's shoulder. Thomas cries
out and SLAMS his fist against Jerry's head, knocking off an
Gabriel turns back to Mary's frightened face and smiles as
he runs a hand through her hair.
It'll only be a moment...
Katherine suddenly HAMMERS Gabriel across the side of the
head with a chair, KNOCKING him to the floor. As he gets up
she HITS him again.
Thomas manages to bring his leg up and KICKS Jerry hard
against the chest, forcing him off.
Gabriel GRABS both of Katherine's legs and PULLS, CRASHING
her flat on her back.
Thomas scrambles for his gun, grabs it, and as Jerry comes
at him again spins and FIRES twice. The slugs RIP into Jerry's
chest and knock him to his knees. As the putrid, curdled
juices pump lumpily out of him, Jerry looks up at Thomas and
Thanks man, I appreciate it. You're
Thomas FIRES a slug into his forehead. Jerry's brain winks
out as he collapses to the floor, dead.
Thomas's gun is abruptly WRENCHED from his hand onto the bed
as Gabriel NAILS him with a thrown lamp, vaults the bed
between them, and grabs him by the collar, SLAMMING Thomas
up against the wall. He looks down at Jerry's finally lifeless
corpse, incensed at Thomas's handiwork.
You little pest, do you have any
idea how hard it is to get one of
He THROWS Thomas down onto a table, SPLINTERING it. Katherine
climbs shakily to her knees.
You son of a bitch, why? Why do this?
Because I'm an angel, you miserable
wretch! I kill first borns while
their mothers watch! I turn whole
cities into salt! I even, when I
feel like it, rip the souls from
little girls! And from now until
eternity, the only thing you'll be
able to count on in your pathetic
little existence is never knowing
I'm wasting my time here.
(turns to Mary)
C'mon petunia, let's get on with
Gabriel walks over to the bed. The moment he gets close,
Mary lifts Thomas's pistol up from the sheets and SHOOTS him
twice, the impact KNOCKING him on his ass.
Katherine rushes to Mary, scoops her up and runs for the
door. She pauses beside Thomas, still lying in the wreckage
of the table.
Katherine disappears through the bedroom doorway.
Gabriel spins around and stands. Thomas leaps from a ragged
crouch, HITTING Gabriel low with a body-block.
It's like butting concrete.
Gabriel picks up Thomas by the scruff of the neck and HEAVES
him THROUGH the flimsy room paneling. Thomas CRASHES with a
mass of splinters into the kitchen. He stumbles backward
hopelessly as Gabriel peruses him through the trailer. He
desperately throws pots, glasses, anything at Gabriel. Finally
trapped, he scrambles up onto the dinner table, SCATTERING
salt and sugar bowls, and DIVES through the levored window.
Thomas, in a hail of shattered glass, smacks the red earth,
pulls himself up to his knees and tries to stumble and crawl
away as Gabriel BANGS open the trailer door and stomps down
the stairs toward Katherine, her arms around Mary.
He eases his gait, measuring the distance to her.
There's just those sunglasses coming. Those endless pits of
Katherine lifts Thomas's pistol and FIRES. Again. Again. The
slugs BANG off the corregated metal, SMASH a window, KICK up
And PUNCTURE the propane tank beneath the trailer.
The entire trailer EXPLODES in a fiery cloud of TWISTING
Katherine huddles Mary close to the ground as flaming chunks
Gabriel is HAMMERED to the earth and disappears in the rolling
fire cloud. Thomas, further away, is KNOCKED head-over-heels
in the ruddy dust.
The fire cloud dissipates quickly into the sky, leaving behind
scorched brush, and little else, crackling softly. Gabriel's
body looks blackened and still. Katherine rushes to Thomas,
who's pulled himself up to his knees, a ragged slice above
his eye bleeding badly. She helps him to his feet and over
to the pickup, where he sits down against the tire as
Katherine pulls out her first aid kit. Mary's there, standing
with her shaken grandmother.
She was coming up the street.
Is Gabriel dead?
Mary's knelt down beside Thomas.
They're not like you and me. You've
got to cut their hearts out. The
only thing God gave them.
A sheriff car ROARS up, the two deputies exiting warily.
What the hell happened here?
Katherine's wiping the blood out of Thomas's eye. Gasping
from the shearing pain, he tosses an ID at the foot of the
(looks at it, hands
it to partner)
That's a start. How about the rest
From somewhere back in town there's the growl of a volunteer
That man over there. He's wanted.
Murder. I'm taking him in.
The pain's unbareable. Katherine dabs his cut with
I think you're going to the hospital
-- No, I have to --
Again, the pain.
The second deputy has walked over to Gabriel.
Is he alive?
Cuff him. We'll take him to the
hospital in our car.
-- No, you don't understand. You
have to let me have him --
The volunteer fire engine growls up through the weeds,
drowning out Thomas's words. Two firemen kneel down beside
him with medical kits.
The deputy has walked over to his partner and the two are
dragging back between them a cuffed, comatose Gabriel.
You'll never hold him.
Thomas tries to get up, but the pain and a hand from the
firemen keep him down. As the deputies pass, he manages to
desperately grab the one's pant cuff.
Take off his sunglasses... Jesus
Christ, just take off his
Gabriel's head lies low between the shoulders. The deputy
looks with concern at the firemen.
He'll be all right. Just a bad hit.
The deputy nods. As they carry on to the car with Gabriel,
the angel turns his head slightly and smiles a smile only
Let's get a splint.
The patrol car pulls away. As the firemen walk back to their
engine, Thomas looks frantically at Katherine.
We have to get out of here.
But your head...
If you want Mary to stay alive past
sundown we have to leave, and we
have to do it now.
They lock eyes. Then Katherine without a word helps Thomas
up into the passenger side of the pickup. Mary gathers her
grandmother into the pickup's bed and climbs up beside her
as Katherine starts the engine. The firemen turn in confusion
as the truck peels out of the lot and up onto the road.
EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY
Katherine's truck shoots by. Just before town, near the copper
mine, it slows down at a junction.
And there, lying on its side down the embankment, is the
sheriff's patrol car. A single, bent tire turns aimlessly.
Katherine hits the gas and takes the junction that leads
away from town, out onto the endless expanse of the plateau.
The bandage on Thomas's forehead covers most of one eye. He
closes the other tightly, riding a spasm of pain, before
letting his forehead rest against the door glass and gazing
out at the empty tracks of land.
Where are we going?
Katherine looks over her shoulder to Mary's grandmother
sitting in the truck bed. She nods in understanding.
Katherine's pickup passing alone through the wrinkled desert.
EXT. GAS STATION - DAY
A trading post with a few pumps, growing orange in the
weakening afternoon light. A scruffy dog barks constantly as
the teenage Indian sticks the nozzle in Katherine's pickup.
Still glassy-eyed with throbbing pain, Thomas takes another
handful of aspirin and climbs out of the cab.
There's a tiny, weatherbeaten church across the weedy lot
from the trading post with a pay phone bolted to it. Thomas
crunches across the lot, picks up the receiver, and punches
in some numbers.
County Coroner's office, Assistant
Coroner Raphael speaking.
You weren't crazy, man.
And Thomas hangs up. He backs away from the phone and for
the first time notices the church it's attached to.
Thomas steps inside. It's empty and there's some doubt whether
it's been used in a generation. The pews are dusty and
scraped, some broken down completely. Thomas sits in one and
looks across the space and dust and years to the crucifix
hanging behind the altar.
So what's the deal, huh?
The pew creaks and groans as he shifts his weight.
I mean, do you have any kind of plan
here? Cause I'm just about of ideas,
Jesus' pressed-metal eyes gaze only upward.
Do you even listen? Do you still
come to places like this? Old Man,
you have been calling me most of my
goddamn life, but every time I get
close, you just keep moving that far
away. What's it to be? You want me
to kill your henchmen? Can't you
even control your own killers anymore?
Thomas holds his face in his hands a silent moment. When it
raises we see the raw hurt in the eyes as he shouts,
What do you want from me!
The only reply is dust dancing in the light and the rumble
of semis on the highway.
Standing in the back, watching Thomas with tears welling in
her eyes, is Katherine.
The road's turned to dirt and the plateau into a maze of
ragged cliffs and brutally hacked canyons.
The light is shadowy and golden now as Katherine's pickup
turns off the small dirt road onto an even smaller one that
winds impossibly up the side of a volcanic butte.
Higher and higher the truck climbs on the rutted and
treacherous path, till at last it crests the ridge and comes
Perched frighteningly on the leading edge of Old Woman Butte,
this is the home of the Bitter Sky Clan. The village is a
small grouping of ancient adobe walled hogans first built a
thousand years ago by the Anasazi. There's no electricity
here, no TV antennas or frozen yogurt. Just the slow curl of
cooking fires drifting up through smoke holes and the stern,
deeply lined face of an old Navaho man approaching the pickup
as Katherine stops.
The old man wears jeans, a bright maroon silk shirt, and a
black felt reservation hat with a turkey feather. He holds
in his right hand a small leather case.
I am Bartholomew Grey Horse, born to
the Deer Spring Clan, born for the
Slow Talking People. Today I am the
yataalii for Mary Tsosie of the Bitter
The old man, Bartholomew Grey Horse, walks up to Mary and
her grandmother sitting in the bed.
Several villagers approach and greet Mary and her grandmother,
some nodding politely to Thomas and Katherine as they climb
out of the cab. Nearly all of them are elderly.
Thomas, one eye still half-shut by a bandage, walks over to
the village's edge where a short stone wall, and little else,
separates the adobe homes from the long, 2000 foot drop to
the desert floor. He leans against it and gazes out on a
view that must encompass half the world. In all directions,
for tens upon tens of miles, there are only volcanic spires
and crumbling buttes, all reduced from up here to short,
ominous playthings. A village truly alone in the world.
This is a good place.
She's appeared beside him. Thomas crouches down to her level
Mary's sight is on the view, eyeing it critically.
Separate water source. Stocked grain.
Only one possible approach. A man
could, with the proper defenses,
hold off an entire battalion for
Thomas's voice sighs sadly as he runs a hand softly through
Which one of you is that talking,
Mary? Or do you even know anymore?
Mary's eyes fill with tears as her grandmother appears and
leads her back to the adobe hogans.
Grey Horse, the yataalii, is there now.
We will start the Sing soon to remove
the Yei spirit and stop the ghost
This might not be the work of a Navaho
It's all the same.
Night creeps over the Chuska Mountains across the crusty
caliche flats and over the village, pushing back the dying
day to a thin, fading blue line etched across the horizon.
As the darkness settles on the hogans we see a glimmer of
light from within and the rising, guttural chants of the
INT. KIVA - NIGHT
Under the village, beneath the surface of the butte, is the
large communal kiva room. Accessible by a single ladder
through a single smoke hole, it is down here that the village
performs its Enemy Ghost Way for Mary.
The little girl is there, attended by her grandmother, sitting
stoically still on a blanket as Grey Horse, grasping his
painted prayer sticks, by the glow of a fire chants the Enemy
Ghost Way cure. Katherine's eyes sting in the smokey air as
she watches Grey Horse take from his case small handfulls of
colored sand that he pours in fine patterns onto the floor.
The whole Bitter Sky Clan surrounds them. Old, lined faces.
A small, dying people here to support its last granddaughter.
EXT. VILLAGE - NIGHT
Katherine stands there in the chilly darkness outside the
kiva. Mary's grandmother, passing with some other women,
pauses and squeezes Katherine's arm.
Now we sleep, Katherine. Tomorrow,
after dark, we begin again.
INSIDE THE KIVA
The fire has died to embers, casting its weak glow on a now
Katherine wanders along the edge of the village, turning up
her collar under a blinding mass of stars. There's nothing
beyond the village. Not a light, not a sound. Say the wind.
It is the icy brush of wind on her body that now whispers.
Like the wind, it is low and thin and hoarse. Like the wind
it seems to come from everywhere. And, like the wind, it is
utterly without pity or remorse.
Perched on the wall behind her in a low crouch is a figure
clad entirely in layers of black. Its head and hands are
hairless and waxy white. There are eyes in this winged head,
but blood chilling ones of putrid yellow. There are endless
scars and shapes and wrinkles, but mostly, only, there are
Katherine gulps down, with only partial success, the hysteria
rising in her throat.
Oh Lord, I can't do this. I can't do
We must talk, Katherine.
It's takes all her strength to look upon him.
(tries to form the
God is love, Katherine.
The eyes narrow. Rippling pools of unfathomable evil.
-- I don't love you.
There's a crouched silhouette beside the figure. Dimmer.
Skinny. A wheezing sycophant. An afterthought.
Katherine backs away from both of them.
I can't. I can't do this tonight. Go
I can kill you, Katherine. I can lay
you out and fill your mouth with
your mother's feces. Or I can talk
Katherine stops. Faces him.
I am here, before you, in a form to
put you at ease.
The sycophant shivers and ruffles something feathery under
I rarely do this in person. I am,
perhaps, somewhat out of touch.
Are you one of them?
You're not an angel?
Oh, I am an angel. A very special
one. The first. The oldest. The naive
eagle scout, he once loved me above
all others, and I him. It was the
only true love for either of us, but
like all true love, it couldn't
The figure cranes his neck around to the horizon beyond them.
The movement makes a liquid, snapping sound.
The winged party boys will come,
Katherine. They'll come to feed on
the guts of your little Mary.
What do you care?
I have my interests...
He turns back to her.
The naive eagle scout, he has his
interests too. He even has a place
for them, as I do for mine. Big,
shiny place. You'd like it. Only
it's been empty for a long time.
Can't open till after the
resurrection. The problem's with the
hired help. Always had problems with
the hired help. They're arrogant,
boastful little pricks. Not like me.
What I did I did for love. But they,
the winged party boys, even before
the park could open for its first
customer, they started fighting over
the popcorn stand.
The figure shifts his perch on the wall.
You see, Katherine, heaven can't
start accepting guests till this
fight is settled. And without people,
there is no heaven. All those good
and true souls left mouldering in
the ground clutching their H-tickets
and waiting and waiting and waiting...
Some, lying down there with the worms
century after century, they start to
get doubts about the whole program.
That's when, out of sheer boredom,
some of them come to me. Because I'm
always open for business. 24 hours a
day, seven days a week. Even on
The figure's face darkens.
Some of the angels cheat. They sneak
a few souls in to help with the fight.
The really dark ones. And now one of
them has found a special soul so
wonderfully sick that it might just
win it for them. And if one side
wins, even the wrong one, then there's
no fight. And if there's no fight,
there can be a heaven.
And if there's a heaven?
I'd be very unhappy.
I am here to help you and the little
bitch not because I love you, not
because I care about you, but because
I want this war to go on and on and
The figure straightens up, stretching its spine.
I bring you the chance to save your
Mary, Katherine. And along the way,
stop the resurrection.
Listen when I speak. Now go to bed,
Katherine. Tomorrow, I promise you,
is a big day.
Thomas's sitting on the hard-packed floor, leaning against
the adobe wall, maybe trying to sleep. Mostly trying to ignore
the thumping pain in his head. The oil lamp's flame shudders
in the gust of Katherine opening the door.
Is it over?
For now. They start again tomorrow.
And at the end of it?
The Enemy Way chant removes the
invading yei ghost.
Will it work on a general's soul?
How's the head?
Still attached. Barely.
She sits down on the floor beside him.
Here, I'll change the bandage.
She carefully unwraps the blood-soaked gauze.
Does that hurt?
Then I must be doing it wrong.
She peels back the compress and dabs the wound.
I saw the devil tonight.
How nice. Which one?
The main one. Satan. Lucifer. The
dark angel. You know.
What did he have to say?
That he did it all for love. That
and I have a choice. Mary's life or
a billion souls waiting in the
pipeline for heavenland to open.
You're not kidding, are you?
Satan? You're sure?
You had to be there.
Thomas suddenly slams his fist against the wall in anger.
Why wasn't I!
We can double date next time if it's
that important to you.
You don't understand, I've spent my
I don't suppose it would occur to
anyone in authority to fill me in on
what's going on every once in awhile,
The ache in his head's flared up. He leans it back against
the wall to ease the pain.
Did he say anything about the Nicene
Council? About the rank of Jesus
Christ in the holy Trinity?
It didn't seem important to him.
Katherine finishes taping the new bandage.
Are you a priest?
A near miss.
It's a long story.
This may be your last chance to tell
A wind outside rustles through the hogans.
The other night, you were talking
about waiting for a voice to call
you to something. Well, let me tell
you, the worst thing that can happen
to you is to be called to something.
Since I can remember a voice from
somewhere deep in the Church called
me. So loud and so often that by
thirteen I knew I was going to be a
priest. You know what that's like?
My parents, friends, all of them
thought I was crazy. But see, I had
this voice. The voice that kept
coaxing me along, telling me there
was a reason. So I entered the
seminary and was half way to my
starched white collar when my mother,
father, and my little brother were
wiped out in a car crash.
He pauses, the old emotions creeping back up on him.
I had never asked anything of the
voice. Not when the neighborhood
kids made fun of me, not when my
father looked down at me like some
knock-kneed faggot. I never questioned
a damn thing. But on the morning I
spent looking down at three parallel
graves, I asked it one question.
Why. Why were these people taken
from me? And the voice, that same
voice that would wrench me out of my
sleep some nights with its jabbering,
it was suddenly stone silent. It was
the only question I ever asked of it
and it just left me hanging in the
He blinks back the tears welling in his eye.
So after that I traded in priest
school for homicide school. Because
if God wouldn't talk to me the devil
sure as hell would, and his ways
were a lot easier to understand.
We've never seen God, have we? Not
in any of this.
Yeah, He's certainly a shy son of a
bitch, I'll give Him that.
Maybe we're not supposed to. Maybe
Do you still have faith in anything,
I have faith in Mary. And that I'm
going to save that little girl from
those creeping things out there.
From all of them.
Maybe you were called to something
Maybe we both were.
The oil lamp wanes and fades. Katherine lays her head on
Thomas's shoulder, and as darkness swallows them he holds
her. They hold each other.
John the bus driver lying fully dressed on his bed asleep.
The night breeze through the window, and maybe something
else, tickles his nose. His eyes open, blink, turn left,
right, then up,
-- And see Gabriel perched on the headboard, staring down at
Heavy sleeper, John.
John's eyes open wide in shock. Gabriel's skin is blackened
and blistered in parts. Whole shards of his shirt are missing.
John tries to sit up but Gabriel forces his head back down
with his palm. With the ease of a spider he slides down and
Don't -- Don't hurt me, man. My
wallet's in the dresser.
Don't be such a materialist, John.
(sees empty bourbon
bottle on dresser,
No end to your bad habits.
What do you want?
A moment of your time.
You ought to have that nose looked
Gabriel leans said nose in very close and whispers,
Where are they, John? Katherine and
Mary? Where would they go?
What? Mary? I don't know.
Sure you do. Think hard.
No, really. I don't know. The school
Now you're not even trying, John.
You're Katherine's best friend. She
tells you everything.
I'm just the driver, y'know?
Gabriel extends a blistered, open palm over John's face.
I can help you remember, John...
FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM
We see Gabriel leaning over John as a sickly yellow glow
begins to rise and reflect off the walls. Beneath it comes
John's worst and deepest screams...
Gabriel SPLASHING the soot off his face and arms in a small,
institutional bathroom. He looks at himself in the mirror,
runs a hand through his hair, and walks out the door into
A HOSPITAL CORRIDOR
At the end of it is the intensive care unit, that
institutional purgatory where a small handful of patients,
wired and tubed and oxygenated, lay inconclusively between
life and death. There's a nurse's station there, all health
status video screens and a single nurse that looks up from
her work at Gabriel.
Can I help you?
Someone's going to die here soon.
I'll just be a minute.
There's no visitors allowed in ICU.
The timing's important. I can smell
these things, you know.
The nurse reaches for the telephone. Gabriel takes it away
from her with one hand and with the other grasps her face
open-palmed and whispers,
Go to sleep.
The nurse slides out of her chair and collapses to the floor.
Gabriel pulls out the metal clipboards holding each patient's
chart and flips through them, tossing one after another aside
Recovering... Recovering... Stable...
(finally settles on
Satisfied, he steps over to one of the beds, pulls back the
curtain and sits down beside an unconscious, middle-aged
woman. He watches patiently, listening the beeping scrawl of
the EKG above her.
It was weak to begin with but now it's faltering badly,
becoming the unsynched etchings of a child. A beeping alarm
has begun to ring and her breathing is slowing to nothing.
At the last possible moment Gabriel places his fingers across
her face, whispering to her, coaxing her.
Whoa, not just yet. Come on back.
The EKG's still flat but the woman is breathing. She begins
to choke, to cough, then suddenly sits up and opens her eyes.
She looks in disbelief around her, finally settling on
A look of utter desolation and sadness sweeps over her as
she begins to cry.
Hey, c'mon, don't start...
(looks at chart)
-- Rachael. Here...
(hands her kleenex)
It's only for a short time.
The sun cresting the Lukachukais and warming with honey
colored reflection the interior of the hogan.
Katherine's head is still on Thomas's shoulder, the two of
them asleep sitting against the wall.
Katherine opens her eyes and rises stiffly. She looks out
the simple window to the glow of morning without expression,
turns, and walks out.
IN THE OTHER HOGAN
Mary's Grandmother and some of the other elderly villagers
are attending Mary as Katherine enters. Mary is sitting up
in her bed. She smiles at Katherine.
Hi, Miss Henley.
Hi, pumpkin. Good morning.
Grey Horse is kneeling near the bed preparing a bowl drink.
Into it he crushes charcoal, dodge weed, juniper and ghost
plant. This he stirs, heats over flame, and feeds to Mary.
She grimaces and leans back in the bed as Grey Horse says a
Katherine runs into Thomas outside the hogan.
How's the head?
She accepts a mug, blowing a cloud of steam off the top.
What are we going to do if he comes?
You mean when, right?
When he comes.
There's no phone here? Radio?
(she just looks at
If we were smart we'd leave. Get to
a town. A sheriff station.
Mary's ceremony isn't over yet. The
Enemy Ghost Way. The alien spirit
hasn't been driven out.
Do you really believe in the ceremony?
Would you have believed in any of
this three days ago?
So we stay and dump the General's
You have the gun?
With one shot left. The spares --
(sniffs his shirt)
-- And a change of clothing, are all
still at the hotel.
We're going to have to come up with
We could always ask him.
Thomas looks up. She's referring to Lucifer, who's appeared
perched on the edge of the low, eye-level hogan roof. The
sycophant is also nearby, chattering its teeth and staring
at Katherine with jealous, rabid eyes.
Lucifer shivers, a claw turning up the collar of his cloak.
I always forget how cold it gets in
The swimming, bottomless eyes fall on Thomas.
Mr. Daggett, I presume. How's the
Thomas can't bring himself to say anything. To form the words.
Come come, must you be so wishy-washy
about everything? With the absent-
minded eagle scout, I can see that.
But you're looking at the devil man,
Much better. Can I have some coffee?
Thomas gingerly hands him the cup. The angel Lucifer lifts
it, and with something unimaginably awful darting out of his
mouth, drinks. He offers the mug back to Thomas for a sip.
He finishes it. Cranes his neck.
I have come to remind you that the
winged party boys are just that:
spoiled boys. You are armed, however
pathetically, with the one thing
they never really understood:
theology. It's not much, but that's
Is this supposed to be our "win one
for The Ripper" speech?
Don't press your luck, Mr. Daggett.
And you know instantly, in the bottom of your stomach, that
those eyes mean it.
Go and get ready, Thomas.
Thomas hesitates, holds the gaze, then turns and leaves. In
an instant Lucifer sweeps down from the hogan roof to
Katherine's side. Face and eyes and maggot breath
uncomfortably close, he smiles.
Have you ever considered Katherine,
that the great absentee landlord,
the soft-eyed eagle scout your
childhood prayers are for, is just
using you? That you're only the
exterminator to get rid of his pests?
Lucifer places a cloaked arm around her shoulder and leads
her to the walled edge to look out across the endless plateau.
His mouth presses against her ear and whispers,
God's junkies are coming, Katherine.
And when they do, all hell is going
to break loose...
A tiny speck on the empty horizon. It grows, takes shape,
and finally becomes a red convertible rambler as it WOOSHES
past on a desolate throat of forgotten highway.
Gabriel's at the wheel. Beside him, grey-blonde hair streaming
out behind her, is Rachael, recently lifted from the file-
and-forget section of the hospital ICU. She tilts her head
up. Lets the sun warm her pallor. Just a sociopathic angel
and his somewhat deceased babe out for a top-down cruise
across a sixty million year old desert.
It could happen.
INT. ROADSIDE DINER - DAY
A reality bruised waitress, Madge, sets down a coffee and
milkshake before Gabriel. He downs the shake in one belt.
Say, Ma'am, any idea where I can
find Old Woman Butte?
It's on the reservation.
I don't suppose you could be just a
tad more specific. Madge.
The waitress' eyes move from the guy with sunglasses and
burn marks on his shirt to the woman sitting alone outside
in the rambler.
Isn't your friend hungry?
Not for a while, I'm afraid. Funniest
Madge has a lot of things she misses in her life, but one of
them she decides isn't Gabriel.
Take 522 to the Sonsela Wash cut-
off. First dirt road go left. Twenty,
twenty-five miles you'll see it.
Big, black and all alone.
Gabriel downs the coffee, stands, and tosses a bill on the
I doubt we'll meet again.
EXT. VILLAGE - DAY
Thomas drags a heavy chain from Katherine's truck and begins
fastening it to a post. Lucifer watches perched on a nearby
You could always lend a hand.
Lucifer just smiles or sneers or whatever he does with that
INSIDE THE KIVA
Grey Horse begins laying out his prayer instruments as Mary
is prepared with paint and oils.
Katherine leans against the doorway, nervously watching the
The sky thinning into uneasy pastels as the sun falls
unceremoniously toward the mountains. A few lanterns have
been lit, and from inside the kiva can be heard the chants
of the Navaho Enemy Ghost Way.
Katherine's eyes are still on a horizon dropping off into
shadow. She stiffens. There, at the end of the earth, appears
a silent plume of dust. It could be anybody's car, but it
can only be one car. Thomas steps up beside her.
Thomas sticks his head into the kiva, speaks softly to one
of the elderly villagers attending the ceremony.
Is there any way to speed this up?
A fire has been built on the kiva's floor. Through the choking
smoke can be seen Mary lying on a mat as Grey Horse chants
to the yei spirits and adds fine colored earth to the growing
sand painting beside her. His voice rises and falls in
guttural syntax. He's coaxing. Coaxing the alien spirit out
of the child.
Lock the door.
He pulls his head out and hands Katherine the pistol.
Stay inside. It's only one round, so
make it count.
There's a pause and for a moment their eyes lock. She touches
his arm, almost says something, then disappears into the
kiva. Thomas closes the door behind her. He turns and looks
out at the distant plume of dust. Growing closer.
EXT. GABRIEL'S RAMBLER - DAY
Radio turned up, sophomoric grin glued on his face, Gabriel
roars past and begins the snaking climb up the side of the
butte. The sun has almost completely slipped away now, leaving
the land a deathly bluish grey.
The road flattens out at the top of the butte and Gabriel
can see the village glowing at the far end. He punches the
rambler, winding it up for the last stretch, and pats the
blonde on the knee.
You'll like this, Rachael.
There's a sudden glint of metal in the headlights as Thomas
at the last moment PULLS UP the heavy chain and HOOKS it
over the far post. Gabriel does something pointless with the
brakes and SLAMS forward into it. The whole rear of the car
STANDS UP on impact, PITCHING Gabriel through the windshield
into the dust.
Thomas steps out from behind the post armed with an iron
bar. The rambler hisses and belches a death rattle as he
cautiously walks toward the spot of gloom where Gabriel lies.
Thomas's feet crunch softly closer.
You ought to come work for us.
Upstairs. We sneak the odd civilian
in now and then, you know. You'd
like it. Nobody tells you when to go
to bed, can eat all the ice cream
you want. And you get to kill. All
day and all night. Just like an angel.
Thomas doesn't answer. Gabriel's body looks ravaged as he
carefully steps closer and closer.
Save yourself, friend. Why go to the
wall with the bitch and her rug rat?
It'll all turn out the same anyway.
Here or in heaven, we're still gonna
tear the kid apart.
I'm not an angel, heaven or hell.
I'm a man you eyeless puke, which
means I have one thing you never
will. A soul. And though I may,
somewhere inside, believe in a God,
I will never, never, believe in you.
A little speechy today, aren't we?
Okay pal, have it your way.
Gabriel's legs suddenly SWING AROUND and SMACK Thomas,
sprawling him back into the dirt. The iron bar goes flying
as Gabriel in a flash is on top of him. Thomas thrashes but
Gabriel easily pins his shoulders and sits on his chest.
Without hurry he uncurls the fingers of his right hand.
This is going to really, really hurt.
Thomas's eyes are wild with fear.
...You -- your war...
Gabriel's spread fingers lower themselves toward his face.
C'mon, son, out with it. Make this
Your war's a lie!
Running around acting like this is
really about whether Christ is just
the son of God or if he is God.
Bullshit! That's not what this is
about at all, is it?
Then prove it to me, Gabriel. I
studied three fucking years of
theology before I picked up a gun.
C'mon, you're chief goddamn angel,
I'm just a little man. Prove to me
Christ is just a son and less than
God. Prove it!
I don't have to.
Because you can't! Because this war
isn't about some obscure medieval
hangup. You're just jealous.
Try me, Gabriel. Go on. Prove to me
the temporal nature of the Trinity.
Show me through logic how the Son of
the Word can be separated from the
Father. Fight me with philosophy,
Because you and your army are wrong!
And you know it. You knew it sixteen
We don't have to listen to him! He's
just a son!
That's it. You're jealous. Jealous
He could love something more than
Gabriel's becoming unglued.
If you wanted to know so badly,
Gabriel, why didn't you just ask
Him? Why didn't you just ask God?
A shudder passes through Gabriel. He straightens up and looks
down at Thomas as emotion racks his body.
Because He doesn't talk to us anymore!
The two stare at one another. Then Gabriel, lost in himself,
suddenly turns away from Thomas and walks into the darkness.
For the village.
Thomas climbs quickly to his feet, spins around --
-- And is HIT full-force by a rabid, SHRIEKING Rachael. Her
legs lock around his body vise-like as her teeth and nails
DIG into his skin. He cries out and stumbles to the ground.
The two grapple furiously in the dust, Rachel's crazed face
taking BITE after BITE out of his shoulder and neck.
Thomas manages a fistfull of her hair and YANKS the fangs
off his shoulder. With his other arm he CUFFS her hard,
BREAKING the grip and ROLLING her aside. He staggers to his
knees and begins to run. Shrieking, a mad porcelain banshee
out of the dusk, Rachael catches up and TACKLES him. On the
way down his head strikes a small stone wall and the pain is
white thunder. Gagging and weeping in blank shock, he crawls
on his hands and knees as Rachael OPENS UP his arm from
shoulder to elbow with her nails. As the blood tumbles like
ribbons, Rachael JUMPS onto his back, DIGGING her claws into
It's about all one human can take.
Mad with pain and anger and desperation, Thomas manages to
climb to a shaky crouch, Rachael still shrieking on his back.
Throwing all his weight backward, he JAMS her into the short
stone wall. The impact SNAPS her hold and PROPELS her over
the wall --
And two thousand feet down the side of the butte.
Thomas Daggett can only curl up into a ball, gulping shallow,
IN THE VILLAGE
Gabriel walks resolutely up to the first hogan and KICKS
down the plank wood door. No one home. He walks to the second
and KICKS its door down. Nothing.
IN THE KIVA
Mary's ceremony is nearing a crescendo. Grey Horse has donned
the colorful mask of the yei god Monster Slayer as the
relatives now join in the guttural chants of the Enemy Ghost
Way. Through the thick, choking smoke of the ceremonial fire
we see Katherine, nervously watching the door.
IN THE DARKNESS OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE
Thomas tries hopelessly to make his way back. Stumbling every
few steps, he's beyond pain and into driven numbness. It's
hopeless though. We know it.
IN THE VILLAGE
Gabriel KICKS down another door to another empty hogan.
There's only one left. As he approaches, from within can be
heard the muffled sound of chanting.
Takes a few more fumbling steps and falls again. He reaches
out to something metal for support. It's Katherine's pickup.
Steps up to the kiva door and KICKS it. The frame buckles
but holds. He steps back a few feet, puts all his weight
into a turn, and KICKS again. The door SHATTERS.
Wood splinters ROCKET through the smoke as Gabriel appears
in the doorway. Grey Horse, everyone, freezes.
Relax folks, it's just a soul.
From out of the smoke steps Katherine. She FIRES, one round,
into Gabriel's side. The archangel is pitched against the
kiva's wall, where he stays a moment before turning to
I'm getting real tired of you.
She stands her ground between him and the child.
Go to hell.
Heaven, darling. Heaven. At least
get the zip code right.
It's all the same, isn't it?
No. In heaven we believe in love.
And what do you love, Gabriel?
Once again, the shade of doubt holds him up. But it's quickly
pushed aside for a corrupted grin. He's given up all pretense.
-- Cracking your skull.
He advances on her.
That's all it is for you anymore,
Gabriel, isn't it? Just the killing
and the burning. You don't work for
God anymore. You don't fight for
And he's on her. With his left arm he brutally forces her to
her knees as his right hand, palm out and fingers splayed,
clamp themselves over her face. Katherine's mouth opens in a
silent scream as the pain, immediate and beyond endurance,
flows through her body.
From somewhere outside, there's a sound.
Katherine gulps chokes of agony as her very clothes begin to
smolder around her.
We hear the sound once more, closer, before --
The entire kiva wall EXPLODES INWARD as Katherine's pickup
CRASHES through it. The mangled grill and hood SLAM into
Gabriel from the side and SMASH him to the ground like a
broken puppet. Katherine falls backward to the floor, gets
up, and runs to the truck's cab. Inside sits a near catatonic
Thomas. Katherine takes only a second to share a look with
him before reaching back and pulling out the pickup's tire
Gabriel, a shattered, broken thing, pulls himself up to his
knees. The sunglasses are gone and two eyeless pits stare
out at Mary, huddled in the corner. Bleeding from every pore,
one arm bent back the wrong way, he crawls across the floor
toward her, his voice the milky slur of a stroke victim.
God loves you, Mary!
Katherine brings the tire iron down on his skull with all
her might, DRIVING him to the floor. She turns to Grey Horse,
her eyes wild.
He, everyone, just stare. Stunned to stone.
Grey Horse timidly picks up his prayer stick and with a voice
faltering and cracked, in the insane glare of the wrecked
pickup's headlights, resumes the Enemy Ghost Way chant.
Katherine turns back to Gabriel.
She HITS him again with the tire iron. Then lifts it high
once more above her head. She's going to crush him, to implode
When a hand stops her.
Sort of a hand. A claw. Lucifer's. He's standing behind her,
holding the raised bar still.
Katherine releases the bar and lets it clang to the floor.
Lucifer turns to the villagers, gazing fearfully at him as
they awkwardly try to finish the chant.
Please. Go on.
Lucifer's gaze falls on a deeply fucked-up Gabriel who groans
at the sight of him.
Oh man, this just isn't my day.
Lucifer kneels down beside him. Katherine instinctively starts
to reach for the tire iron but the sycophant hisses a liquid,
chattering warning at her.
The world's young, man.
And full of ambition.
This isn't your war.
But I remember the last one. Michael's
But lots of angels were with me.
every one followed their leader out
Yeah yeah, I was there, remember?
Except one. Oh, he was with me all
right. He hated the Eagle Scout.
Envied the power He gave to His Son.
But this angel never came out front
during the war. And when it ended he
thought maybe, maybe the Eagle Scout
didn't notice. So he laid low and
towed the company line till he could
start his own war. It was all just
But maybe He did notice. Maybe that's
why I'm here.
-- Stay away from me.
You've always been a part of me,
Gabriel. And now it's time to come
Lucifer slams Gabriel's head against the floor and pins it.
As the angel thrashes furiously, Lucifer FORCES his arm into
Gabriel's chest. Gabriel cries out as Lucifer PULLS his arm
half out and FORCES it deeper. Again. And again. Soon
Gabriel's screams become giggles, then a crazed, hysterical
The room goes insane. An impossible nightmare of chanting
Navahos, glaring headlights, and Gabriel's echoing laughter
as Lucifer pumps his chest. Laughter that rises to a kind of
orgasmic cry then instantly stops as Lucifer pulls out the
And eats it.
At that instant Grey Horse places his hand on Mary's forehead,
speaks a last line, and the chant is completed.
Sticky, smoky, awful silence. Gabriel is a non-thing. A
battered, hollow shell.
Bartholomew Grey Horse, his voice cracked and finished, turns
The enemy spirit is gone.
From outside the kiva suddenly comes the sound of a wounded,
savage GROWL. Katherine walks to the doorway. Just outside a
lone coyote is twisting in the dirt with furious agony.
Abruptly its thrashings cease. The animal stands and flashes
for an instant at Katherine cold yellow eyes more than animal.
Then it's gone into the blackness. Forever.
She turns and goes back to Thomas in the cab. Bleeding to
death is a real possibility for him. She pulls an old shirt
out of the back and tries to makeshift a wrap for his sliced
More will come... To look for the
And they won't find it. Not in Mary.
A few of the village elders appear at the cab.
Can you help him?
We have some bandages.
Katherine walks over to where Mary, sweaty and shaken, sits
huddled in a corner attended by Grey Horse.
Are you all right, pumpkin?
Mary's voice shakes as tears roll out her eyes.
Katherine gathers her up into her arms and holds her.
It's going to be okay... We're all
going to be okay...
The chattering, hissing sycophant grabs Gabriel's body by
the hair and shoulders and drags it out the door. Lucifer
has remained behind, crouched on his haunches, his liquid,
yellow eyes on Katherine.
I can't quite bring myself to say
Then this is done.
Not necessarily. Maybe I like you.
Maybe I want you to come with me.
He rises to his feet and steps slowly toward her.
You owe me, Katherine. And you're
going to ask me to take you home.
You will. You will because any other
way is going to be more awful than
you can imagine.
Are you threatening me?
Just a grinning, twisted stare.
Then you've picked the wrong person
this time. I've just about had it up
to here with ghosts. So you can put
away the horror movie sneer and the
K-Mart halloween eyes, because we
know you now. We know you all. And
if you want to force the issue then
go ahead because you're just another
angel to me. Take a look at your
buddy Gabriel. Then ask yourself, do
you really, really want to fuck with
The smallest hint of a pause.
Perhaps another time.
I'm holding my breath.
Goodbye, Katherine. For now.
And he's gone. Through the door and into the night.
Is he coming back?
I don't think so, honey... I don't
The fullness of day over Old Woman Butte, hot and bright.
Chasing the night and its fears away under the punishing
glare of noon.
The village is full of police vehicles now. Green broncos
from the Navaho Tribal Police. Blue and white sheriff
The Navaho cops are talking with Katherine and Mary. Thomas
is sitting on the trunk of a patrol car getting his wounds
properly bandaged as the Sheriff we met earlier leans beside
him chewing on a wild oat stalk.
(to deputy bandaging
Is he going to live?
With any luck.
I thought I told you to give me a
call if anything snarled.
There wasn't a phone.
He chews some more on his stalk. Looks off at the village.
This fella, Gabriel...
Pretty violent guy, Gabriel. Even
for out here.
Caught up with him at the village?
He caught up with me.
What were you doing way up here?
Enemy Ghost Way for Mary Tsosie.
Yeah. Indian stuff.
The Sheriff looks over at Katherine's pickup still jammed
into the side of the kiva.
Did you kill this Gabriel?
Maybe. I think so.
Don't have any idea where the body
is I suppose.
Well, if he's alive he won't get far
out there. Us or the coyotes, it'll
be the same.
I rang your office in LA. They don't
have a warrant out for a Gabriel. Or
anybody else in Arizona.
I hadn't gotten around to it.
Sort of an out of pocket thing.
The Sheriff takes his hat off. Runs his finger along the
That woman lying at the bottom of
the arroyo, the one still in her
hospital gown, know anything about
This Gabriel was sure one busy dude.
Yes, he was.
You'll be going back to Los Angeles
The Sheriff pushes off from the patrol car and tosses aside
the oak stalk.
Don't hurry back.
The deputy finishes his bandaging.
Don't do much but breathe the next
few days. And get to a hospital.
You're going to need some serious
Say hi to Hollywood for me.
He follows his boss. Katherine and Mary walk up.
You look bad.
Thank you. I feel worse.
(to Katherine re Navaho
They lean on you much?
Not really. I think they might have
even understood. One of them's related
to this clan. He'll give us a ride
back if we want.
Good. I think I've about run out of
hospitality with the sheriff's
The moment drifts into silence.
Do you think it's really over?
Till we die.
Her eyes settle on his.
When I die, I want you with me.
I want that too.
She touches his cheek, Mary cradled between them.
Thomas sitting in the back of the tribal police bronco,
looking out the window to the shimmering sands; red and yellow
and black. To clouds brewing over faraway forgotten mountains.
To the end of the earth.
As the bronco drifts away from us toward the empty, rocky
horizon, as it slowly blends and is consumed by the land,
FADE SLOWLY TO BLACK
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