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

"THE WOODS"
(aka "The Village")

by

M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN



EXT. HILLTOP - NOON

One might describe the scene as beautiful, if one could get
by the child's coffin.

A wooden sign in the dirt reads.

"Here lies Daniel Nicholson.
Beloved by all.
Died October 3, 1897"

A wilting man in his late forties sits on the grass next to
the much too small box.

MAN
(smiling)
Who will plague me with questions
now?... Who will pinch me to wake me
up? Who will laugh at me when I fall?
(voice cracks)
Who's breath will I listen to so
that I may sleep? Who's hand will I
hold, so that I may walk?

The wilting man's face trembles.

Behind him, a respectful thirty feet away, stand a group of
about sixty people, equally still.

CUT TO:

EXT. SUPPER TABLE AFTERNOON

An enormous handmade wooden table sits in the center of a
small village of log cabins. All sixty members of the village
are seated for the meal.

The women wear bonnets. The men have their farmer's shirts
rolled up at the sleeves.

A man in his late forties stands. He has the eyes of a child;
innocent and pure. This is EDWARD WALKER.

WALKER
We came here to start anew --

Beat. Eyes look up one by one. Edward Walker stands silently,
appearing suddenly overwhelmed. A hand reaches up and squeezes
his arm. Edward Walker looks down to wilting man we saw
earlier. They look at each other quietly.

Walker turns back to the table.

WALKER
We came here to start anew. We are
grateful for the time we have been
given.

Walker sits. Movement begins across the table as hands begin
to pass bread and corn and meat.

AND THEN WE HEAR IT, THE SOUND CARRIES THROUGH THE AIR AND
BLEEDS INTO THE VILLAGE. IT COMES FROM THE WOODS.

SCREAMS. IT IS NOT HUMAN.

All movement at the table stops, except for a TALL BOY at
the end of the table. He is barely in his twenties. He is
mentally handicapped. He starts clapping wildly.

Everyone else sits uncomfortably still. No expressions on
their faces. They wait.

THEN THE SCREAMS SLOWLY START TO MOVE AWAY.

The boy's clapping slows and then stops as well. The happiness
trickles from his face.

The rest of the table waits till the last of the nonhuman
screams have moved away. And then quietly hands start reaching
across the table again.

CUT TO:

EXT. WATER PUMP LATE AFTERNOON

A group of women and girls are washing and drying the wooden
bowls and plates at a hand water pump that stands in the
ground.

A strong older woman pumps the handle. Bursts of water spurt
out from the pump's mouth. Two girls are holding bowls under
the water. One girl gets splashed by the other. They both
start laughing. The older woman makes a disapproving noise
with her mouth. The girls looks over, nod and return to
washing the bowls; little grins on their little faces.

CUT TO:

EXT. PORCH LATE AFTERNOON

Two young women sweep the porch of a cabin. One of the young
women starts mimicking the other's movements. They begin to
sweep in synch. They both begin to smile as they sweep. They
begin to move around the porch like dancers.

They're giggling stops as one spots something. They both
stop dancing. They look down at the base of the post that
holds the porch roof up. There are two RED WILDFLOWERS peeking
out from the fist full of weeds.

They bend down quickly and yank the red wildflowers out.
They move off the porch and kneel down in the dirt next to
the porch.

They use their hands to a dig a small hole in the dirt. They
put the crushed red wildflowers into the hole and methodically
bury it.

The two young women stand, look around, and wipe themselves
off before returning to the porch and picking up the brooms
again.

CUT TO:

EXT. COURTYARD BELL LATE AFTERNOON

A MEDIUM SIZED BRASS BELL hangs from a wooden t-post. A hand
reaches out and takes hold of the rope that dangles from its
side. The hand pulls once strong and hard.

CUT TO:

EXT. STORAGE CABIN LATE AFTERNOON

Men stow away farm equipment. Hoes and sickles are stacked
neatly in piles.

A LONG BELL TOLLS.

The men stop working. They put down their tool where they
stand. One man leans into the storage cabin to tell those
inside.

MAN
Drill bell.

CUT TO:

EXT. WATER PUMP LATE AFTERNOON

The older women usher the girls into an orderly line as they
leave the area of the water pump. Dirty dishes are left on
the ground.

CUT TO:

EXT. CLUSTER OF CABINS LATE AFTERNOON

We see the courtyard. There are clusters of cabins on every
side. We watch as one by one everyone in the courtyard and
everyone coming in from the fields, disappears into different
cabins like ants retreating into ant holes.

CUT TO:

INT. CABIN LATE AFTERNOON

We are in someone's home. A group of about eight women and
children walk in through the front door. They move to the
back of the small cabin where a woman reaches down and pulls
on a handle in the floor.

CUT TO:

INT. DIFFERENT CABIN LATE AFTERNOON

We are in another two-room cabin. A group of men wait their
turn as each man climbs into the trap door in the floor.

When the last is in. The final man reaches up and brings
down the trap door, closing them all in.

CUT TO:

INT. UNDERGROUND ROOM LATE AFTERNOON

A collection of two men, four women and three children are
huddled together in a four by eight space in the ground. The
adults have to sit down to fit in this space.

A THIN STRIP OF LIGHT FALLS ON THE FACES from the seam in
the trapdoor. All we hear is the nine of them breathing.
Their eyes all stare at the CRACK OF LIGHT.

A child coughs. A woman reaches over a couple bodies and
pats the coughing child on his back. The child settles. They
all return to staring at the light. Beat.

THE BRASS BELL SOUNDS AGAIN.

The two men reach up and open the door. LIGHT POURS IN.

One by one, they all climb out of the four by eight space in
the ground.

CUT TO:

INT. FAMILY CABIN LATE AFTERNOON

The men, women and three children walk out into the afternoon
light. One woman immediately grabs a broom and continues
cleaning the porch.

The community returns to doing their chores.

CUT TO:

EXT. CABIN NIGHT

We are in the darkness, looking into the LIGHT OF A CABIN
WINDOW. We see a child's bedroom -- A small bed -- A small
wooden desk. On the child's desk there is nothing.

The wilting man lays curled up on the little bed. He stares
out with red eyes.

CUT TO:

EXT. CABIN NIGHT

In another cabin we see a woman pouring water from a jug
into a large white bowl by the side of the bed. We see her
speak to her husband who sits reading in bed. She leans over
and begins washing her face with the water in the bowl.

CUT TO:

EXT. CABIN NIGHT

Three children kneel and pray by their bedside. Their parents
begin blowing out the oil lamps in their room.

CUT TO:

EXT. TOWER NIGHT

A young man blows his nose into a handkerchief. He wipes his
face and resumes standing. His eyes gaze down quietly. The
ORANGE LIGHT FROM THE TORCH LIT NEXT TO HIM, FLICKERS ON HIS
FACE.

He is standing on a platform, thirty feet in the air. It is
a tower on the edge of this community. He is keeping guard.

Arms folded, he stares at the darkened woods.

CUT TO:

EXT. SCHOOL HOUSE MORNING

A group of children carrying cloth bags with books in them,
crowd around something in the dirt.

Edward Walker moves through the tiny gathering.

WALKER
What manner of spectacle has caught
your attention so splendidly? I ought
to carry it in my pocket to help me
teach.

Edward Walker parts the final layer of titillated children.
He stares down at the thing on the ground. Beat. His
expression becomes grave.

WALKER
Who came upon this?

It takes a moment before a little boy steps forward. His
eyes never look up.

WALKER
Philip, did you move this?

PHILIP shakes his head, "No." Everyone watches Walker who
turns and looks down again quietly.

IT IS HARD FOR US TO SEE THROUGH ALL THE TINY LEGS AND FEET
OF THE CHILDREN. THERE IS SOMETHING DARK AND MOIST LYING IN
THE DIRT.

CUT TO:

INT. CLASSROOM MORNING

The classroom is overcome by whispering. Walker uses chalk
to write the date, "October 5, 1897" on a gray slate board
framed in wood.

He turns to the children who age from seven to twelve.

WALKER
Okay, lets have it. What delicious
conclusions have you come to?

THIN BOY
An animal God created was slain.

WALKER
Donald, please try to speak plainly.
It disturbs your mother when you
speak so darkly. Everything need not
be said with such drama.

Another hand shoots up.

WALKER
Marybeth.

MARYBETH
I inspected it carefully. Its head
was twisted back and much of its fur
removed.

WALKER
I see.

DONALD
It was murdered.

Now the children become quiet.

WALKER
So who is the culprit? Who has done
this heinous act?

Beat.

MARY
Those We Don't Speak Of, killed it.

WALKER
And there it is.
(beat)
Why would such a notion enter your
heads?

TWELVE-YEAR OLD BOY
Those We Don't Speak Of have claws.

WALKER
Children... Those We Don't Speak Of
have not breached our border for
many years. We do not go into their
woods and they do not come into our
valley. We do not threaten them. Why
would they do this?

DONALD
It is a warning of doom to come.

WALKER
(stern)
Donald.

Walker gazes out at the classroom of concerned children.

WALKER
Is it possible, in your haste, you
have missed the simplest explanation?
That this small animal was slain by
a slightly larger animal like a fox,
and that this said fox carried it
into our village to avoid other
scavengers from coming and eating
his prize. And when our village awoke
and started its morning business,
the fox was scared off and left its
prize for us to find.
(beat)
I can't say if that's what really
happened, but it's certainly more
reasonable to think that, than
something... unprecedented.

MARY
I did see two foxes on the hill
yesterday.

Walker watches the image of foxes scamper through the minds
of the children.

WALKER
Does anyone have further questions
pertaining to our immediate doom?

Walker winks at Donald. No one raises their hand.

WALKER
Then if it is agreeable, let us begin
our studies.

One by one, the children reach into their cloth bags and
retrieve their notebooks.

CUT TO:

INT. MEETING HALL AFTERNOON

We are in one of the largest cabins. Wooden chairs are
scattered throughout. This is some sort of gathering place.

Twelve of the chairs have been brought together in a circle.
Twelve of the oldest members of the village are seated in
the chairs.

The wilting man and Edward Walker are among them.

FIDGETY WOMAN
We ought not to overlook the Flight
of the Birds. We didn't have it last
year and I for one missed it
desperately. I know Tabitha missed
the children dressed in feathers and
such.

A small gentle women with her air tied back, looks up. TABITHA
sits to Edward Walker's side.

TABITHA
I am fond of it.

The two women slowly turn to Edward.

EDWARD
I do not have a say in this matter.
August Nicholson is Chair of today's
meeting.

All eyes turn to the wilting man, AUGUST NICHOLSON. He appears
exhausted. August nods as he shuffles the papers in his hand.

AUGUST
The Flight of the Birds will be
returned to this year's Fall Festival.

The group nods quietly.

FIDGETY WOMAN
Let us speak of food then.

THERE IS A KNOCK at the far end of the room. All attention
moves in that direction.

Another man in his mid forties steps in. He carries a tiny
smile, his eyebrows are raised.

MAN
There is a young man who has requested
a word with the elders.

The group looks to one another. This is unusual.

AUGUST
Do have him come forward.

The man with the raised eyebrows steps out. Beat. The door
stays still for a moment, and then it opens.

A sinewy young man in his twenties steps in. His deep-set
brow and dark green eyes never look up as he walks forward
to the group.

There are many glances to a pretty elder in her forties.
Edward looks to her as well. She stares back with the
identical dark green eyes as the boy. She shakes her head
slightly; She doesn't know why he's here.

The young man slows to a stop a few feet from them. His hands
brings a paper up. He begins to read carefully.

GREEN EYES
My mother is unaware of the reason
for my visit today. She did not give
her consent or consult me in any
form.

The woman with green eyes moves forward in her seat without
knowing it.

GREEN EYES
I have spent all but my first years
in this village. It is all that I
know. It is a blessed place, this
village. Our days are filled with
love and compassion and joy.

His green eyes flick up, just for a moment... He returns to
the paper.

GREEN EYES
But there is also some suffering and
fear. The passing of little Daniel
Nicholson from illness --

August Nicholson goes still.

GREEN EYES
-- and other events have weighted on
my thoughts. We have been taught of
the greed and corruption that exists
in the towns. And the countless wasted
lives centered on the exchange of
money there. But we have also been
taught about their fascination with
science and machines and medicine.
Could they have rescued Daniel from
his terrible illness?
(beat)
I ask permission to cross into the
forbidden woods and travel to the
nearest town. I will gather new
medicines and information of what
has happened in the world, and I
will return.

Beat.

GREEN EYES
With regards to Those we don't speak
of, I am but a single person, I am
not a threat to them, I am certain
they will let me pass.
(beat)
Creatures can sense emotion and fear.
They will see I am pure of intention
and not afraid. The end.

The young man with green eyes lowers his hands with the paper
and stares at the group.

No one move at first. Edward Walker begins to smile.

WALKER
(soft)
Lucius Hunt, that is the most I've
heard you speak in many years
combined.

The young man with green eyes stands quietly before the group.

CUT TO:

INT. CABIN NIGHT

The pretty woman with green eyes sits on the edge of her bed
in her night robe. She hear her son descend the ladder from
the loft space he lives in.

ALICE HUNT watches him through her bedroom doorway.

ALICE
What goes on in that head of yours?

LUCIUS turns to face her.

ALICE
Say something Lucius.

Beat. Lucius stares.

LUCIUS
(soft)
Finton Coin is in the Tower. I
promised to sit with him.

Alice lies back in her bed. She pulls the covers over herself.
She gazes at her son from the pillow.

ALICE
Why do you not tell me what you feel?
I do not know if you think about
love. I do not know what your dreams
are. When you stood today, you spoke
in such a gentlemanly manner. I
scarcely recognized you.

Her eyes close.

ALICE
How can a mother fail to recognize
her son? Tell me. Tell me that...

Lucius watches his mother become quiet. Her breathing becomes
steady and soft.

Lucius walks into her room and takes the quilt from the
rocking chair and gently places it over his mother's sleeping
shoulders. He whispers in her ear.

LUCIUS
I do think about love.

Lucius walks out of his mother's room and exits the cabin
quietly.

CUT TO:

EXT. TOWER NIGHT

FINTON COIN is a skinny boy with big curly hair. He is on
the platform tonight, thirty feet in the air.

The trap door opens as Lucius climbs up. Finton immediately
relaxes.

FINTON
Did anyone see your approach?

Lucius shakes his head. "No."

FINTON
I saw Christop Crane sniffing around.
He suspects something. He has
announced, more than once, in my
presence that only one man should
hold post in the tower each night.
Why would he say such a thing if he
didn't suspect? What a wretch he is?
Is it so bad to be a trifle timid?
Are you sure you were not detected?

Lucius shakes his head again, "No" as he takes his seat in
the corner. Beat.

FINTON
And I shared a portion of my chicken
with him not two days ago. A fine,
tender piece.

The two young men fall into silence; one sitting, one
standing. And then out of the silence --

LUCIUS
Do you ever think of towns Finton?

Finton turns to the sound of Lucius' voice.

FINTON
The towns? What for? They're wicked
places where wicked people live,
that's all.

Finton doesn't notice the expression on Lucius' face as he
sits in the shadows. Finton shrugs his shoulders and returns
to looking out. Beat.

FINTON
(soft)
I do hope no one saw you.

CUT TO:

EXT. APPLE ORCHARD DAY

Along the hilltop runs a group of twenty apple trees; their
branches bursting with deep red pickings.

On the ground near the trees are baskets filled with apples.
A few are toppled over.

Standing in a tight group a few feet from the abandoned
baskets are a group of women. The same quiet fearful
expressions on their faces.

They stare at something at the base of a tree. We can't see
what it is, but we can HEAR THE FLIES BUZZING around its
dead carcass.

ALICE (O.S.)
We understand the depth of your
worries, but you needn't be alarmed.

CUT TO:

INT. MEETING HALL AFTERNOON

Every member of the village is jammed into this little
building. The elders are standing towards the front of the
room.

Alice Hunt's green eyes look compassionately over the
gathering.

ALICE
What we seem to have amongst us, is
a scavenger of some type. Most likely
a coyote or wolf. It's manner of
killing and removing the fur, but
leaving the flesh torn may be a sign
that the animal may suffer from
madness.

An uncomfortable murmur flutters in the meeting room.

ALICE
For the next fortnight we should be
vigilant for sightings of this coyote.
Keep careful watch over the little
ones as they play on the hills.
(lowers voice)
As for the other notion... we do not
believe our boundary has been
breached. Those We Don't Speak Of
are much larger creatures than
coyotes. We would know if they had
been here.

CUT TO:

EXT. COURTYARD AFTERNOON

We pick up Edward Walker as he leaves the meeting hall with
the rest of the congregation. A young woman in her early
twenties catches up to him. She has a round attractive face.
She is the lively sort. She practically bounces to his side.

GIRL
It's frightful, this business with
the coyote, is it not Papa?

WALKER
Do not feel worried Kitty?

KITTY
You are not troubled?

WALKER
I am certain it will all end soon.

KITTY
Can we speak on other matters then?

WALKER
It would be a relief.

KITTY WALKER takes his arm and whispers in his ear as they
walk.

KITTY
I am in love.

He looks at his daughter as they turn the corner onto a path
where they are alone. Kitty beams at his side.

WALKER
I have great reverence for the word
'love' Kitty. It should not be thrown
about lightly. It is the greatest
force on this earth.

KITTY
These feelings are so strong, it can
be nothing else Papa.

WALKER
I see.

KITTY
You do not believe me.

WALKER
I have no judgment yet.

KITTY
It must have been bubbling inside me
for a long time, for it came bursting
forth not three days ago. I have
thought of nothing since.

Edward nods his head.

WALKER
'Bursting forth' is it?

KITTY
I realized since I'm the eldest of
your children and since you were
stricken with five girls and no boys,
I decided to act as if I were the
son and ask your permission.

WALKER
I must correct you on the word
'stricken'. I would not trade any
one of my five daughters for a hundred
of the finest boys. So now, what is
it you are asking permission for?

KITTY
I would like permission to marry,
Papa.

WALKER
There is a proper manner in which
these things are to happen. Such as
the boy would normally be standing
next to you at a moment such as this.
Where is the boy in all of this Kitty?

KITTY
I haven't spoken to him as of yet.

Now Edward stops walking.

WALKER
The young man is unaware of your
intentions?

KITTY
He has a quiet way. I was going to
talk with him, but I wanted your
blessings papa. I won't talk with
him without your blessings.

Edward starts walking again.

WALKER
Kitty --

KITTY
It's Lucius Hunt.

WALKER
-- Lucius?

Kitty sees the expression on her father's face.

KITTY
You think badly of him?

WALKER
No, no... I've just been thinking on
him recently.

Kitty's face returns to beaming.

KITTY
He's not like the other boys. He
doesn't joke and bounce about.

WALKER
He certainly doesn't.

KITTY
Do I have your blessings then?

He looks down at his eldest daughter. He nods, "yes."

She hugs him tight as they come to a stop in the far end of
the courtyard at the base of the medium sized town bell.

WALKER
Do me one favor first Kitty. Do not
tell anyone else of your 'burstings'
until you have spoken with the young
man.

Kitty nods earnestly. Beat. Edward Walker gets lost in his
thoughts again.

KITTY
(whispers)
Papa, something does trouble you?

Edward looks down and sees the concern in his daughter's
eyes.

Beat. He then reaches up and pulls long and hard on the rope
that tolls the brass bell.

We see in the background everyone stops what they're doing
and begins walking in lines towards the cabins.

We watch as people walk in from the stream and from the
orchards. They disappear quietly into the cabins.

CUT TO:

EXT. FIELD AFTERNOON

Lucius stands at the edge of a field of crops. He methodically
removes the clumps of dirt from the prongs of the tools he's
used on the soil that day.

KITTY
Good afternoon Lucius.

Lucius' hands stop their work. He turns and looks over his
shoulder at the young woman that stands before him. She rises
on her tip-toes and returns to earth again. Lucius never
lets go of his tools. He nods hello to her.

KITTY
I wanted to tell you something.

Lucius stares.

KITTY
My goodness, my heart is pounding so
fast, I think I may faint on this
spot... You'd probably catch me
course, before I fell.

Lucius continues to stare.

KITTY
Seeing as you're of age... and seeing
as I'm of age... and seeing as we
get along so well like this... A
thought entered my head that may
have entered your head as well.

Lucius blinks his green eyes. Kitty takes this as a positive
gesture and smiles sweetly.

KITTY
(soft)
I love you Lucius. I love you like
the day is long. I love you more
than the sun and moon together. And
if you feel the same way, we should
not hide it any longer. It's a gift,
love is. We should be thankful. We
should bellow it with all the breath
in our lungs, "Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you!'

Kitty finishes her flurry by rising up on the tips of her
toes and returning to earth again.

Lucius stares.

CUT TO:

INT. WALKER CABIN NIGHT

Kitty is wailing.

Edward carries his youngest daughter in his arms as his petite
wife holds their next two youngest on their laps. They watch
with concern as Kitty cries loudly from her bedroom Kitty is
being consoled by her closest sister. Kitty has her head in
her sister's lap.

IVY WALKER strokes the hair of her older sister gently. Ivy
is thin, almost too thin. Her long blond hair falls over her
sharp striking face.

She wipes the tears from her sister's cheeks. Beat. Ivy begins
to sing softly.

IVY
(sings)
Why are you sorrowful, why do you
weep? Why do you ask me to rock you
to sleep? Could you but see thro'
this world's vale of tears...

Edward and Tabitha Walker hold their three youngest girls
and listen quietly from the other room.

IVY
(sings)
Light would your sorrows be, harmless
your fears, all that seems darkness
to you would be light, all would be
sunshine where now is but night...

Ivy wipes the last tears from her sister's face. Ivy's voice
fills the cabin and wraps them all like a blanket.

CUT TO:

INT. AUGUST NICHOLSON'S CABIN NIGHT

Lucius knocks on the half open door with his elbow. He waits
a moment and pushes the door open. Lucius carries a large
pile of firewood in his arms as he steps into the cabin.

He sees the wilting man, August Nicholson, sleeping in a
chair.

Lucius moves to the hearth. Some of the kindling falls off
the pile onto the floor. August stirs awake. He sees Lucius
kneeling with the wood.

AUGUST
You are very kind.

Lucius nods.

AUGUST
You must pardon my manners. I haven't
slept in many nights.

Lucius nods again and starts making a pile next to the hearth.
Beat.

AUGUST (O.S.)
-- like a dog can smell you.

Lucius turns. August has his eyes closed. Beat.

LUCIUS
Did you say something Mr. Nicholson?

August doesn't reply. He is fast asleep in the chair.

Lucius returns to the pile. He transfers the last of the
firewood from his arms.

AUGUST (O.S.)
-- you may run from sorrow. As we
have. Sorrow will find you.

Lucius turns to see August, eyes open this time, staring
into the corner of the cabin.

AUGUST
It can smell you.

Lucius follows the elder's gaze to the corner of the room
where a WOODEN BLACK BOX, one foot by one foot, sits on a
table all by itself.

Lucius turns back to August.

AUGUST
(reverent)
There were pastries with cream in
them.

Lucius watches as August Nicholson's eyes slowly close again.
Beat.

Lucius rises to his feet. He walks across the cabin to the
door.

AUGUST (O.S.)
-- my wife and I, we used to throw
dinner parties.

Lucius looks back. August stares sleepily at him.

August's words are so soft, the crackle of the fire almost
covers them.

AUGUST
(quiet)
-- in town.
(beat)
We served pastries with cream in
them.

Lucius waits till August is asleep again. The young man's
green eyes stare quietly at the wilting man.

CUT TO:

EXT. BORDER NIGHT

We are at the edge of the village. Yellow cloth flags are
attached to the trees that create the natural border between
the grassy slopes and the woods. The yellow flags and torch
lit lamp curve into the distance as far as one can see.

A fifteen-year old boy in overalls stands on a stump right
at the edge of the grass. His back is to the woods. His arms
outstretched at his sides. His body makes the form of the
crucifix. He is trembling.

YOUNG MAN (O.S.)
He has tears in his eyes, Christop.

A group of young men are huddled behind a rock ten feet down
the slope and watch the fifteen-year old on the stump.

CHRISTOP CRANE is a thin, tall, very neatly combed young
man.

CHRISTOP
He's doing capitol. Just a few more
moments...

The young men fight each other for best view.

CHRISTOP
Do not jostle about so. You'll ruin
my shirt.

The fifteen-year old's eyes are filling with water. He's
straining to hold up his arms.

WE ARE IN THE DARKNESS OF THE WOODS, WE ARE BEHIND THE BOY,
WE SEE THE SILHOUETTE OF HIS SLIGHT FIGURE STANDING ON THE
TREE STUMP.

The boy makes a noise - a slight whimper. A NOISE IS HEARD
FROM THE WOODS.

The boy stiffens. He whispers out to the boys behind the
rock.

BOY ON STUMP
(loud whisper)
They made a sound when I made a sound.
They mimic before they attack.

Christop pops his head out.

CHRISTOP
(loud whisper)
That's a wives tale. It isn't true.
Do not falter... A few moments more.

A BRANCH SNAPS IN THE WOODS. The fifteen-year old's eyes
flick up. All the heads from behind the rock peek out.

The boy LISTENS desperately. He wants to look behind, but he
doesn't.

THERE ARE NOISES IN THE WOODS. THE SOUND OF LEAVES BEING
CRUNCHED.

The boy begins to shake.

A LARGE BRANCH SNAPS. The fifteen-year old lets out a SMALL
SQUEAL as he lowers his arms and jumps from the stump. He
starts running.

He runs past the young men in hiding behind the rock. As he
does, they start running too. Everyone evacuates in a hurry.
They all start racing down the slope back to the FIRE LIGHTS
FLICKERING in the distance from the village.

CUT TO:

INT. VILLAGE COURTYARD NIGHT

The gang of young men, are moving at a fast walk through the
courtyard, trying to catch their breath. The fifteen-year
old walks in the center receiving various pats on the back.
His face is still ashen.

The group walks by a contemplative Lucius.

He doesn't look up as they pass in a flurry of youthful
conversation.

Lucius moves silently in the opposite direction, the weight
on his shoulders, almost visible.

CUT TO:

EXT. SCHOOLYARD FIELD DAY

The mentally handicapped young man we saw clapping at the
supper table is wrestling in the dirt with two young men who
try to restrain him. He is strong and quick. The two young
men end up in the dirt over and over as the mentally
handicapped young man slips them and throws them down.

The children watch the dust and dirt kick up as the three
continue scuffling.

CUT TO:

EXT. SCHOOLHOUSE - DAY

A trail of dark blood runs down the forehead of a hysterical
child. Kitty gently escorts him off the playground.

They pass Ivy seated on a bench that overlooks the back of
the schoolyard.

Kitty speaks over her shoulder as she climbs the steps into
the school building.

KITTY
Noah ought to be punished. He wacked
little Joseph with a stick again.

Ivy nods. Kitty and JOSEPH disappear into the school building.

Ivy takes hold of the wooden cane lying next to her. She
rises from the bench. She moves towards the NOISE OF THE
PLAYGROUND. The wooden cane moves deftly back and forth in
front of her.

Her STRIKING BLIND EYES focus on nothing.

CUT TO:

EXT. SCHOOLYARD DAY

The wrestling has gotten fierce. NOAH PERCY is almost pinned
when he suddenly throws them and frees himself. The two young
men immediately go for his legs.

IVY
Noah Percy, stop your fussing right
this moment.

Noah stops and stares at Ivy.

The two young men on the ground stop. They realize they are
holding each other's leg.

Noah stands as the two young men lie on the ground. Noah
smiles sweetly at Ivy.

CUT TO:

EXT. QUIET ROOM DAY

A heavy lock is undone. The tall wooden door swings open. We
look into a small cabin. It has only one room. It has a wooden
chair in the center. A few potato sacks have been piled in
the corner. The room is dusty.

Ivy and Noah stand and look in. Noah holds her arm.

IVY
You're in trouble you know?

NOAH
No hitting.

IVY
I'm to place you in the quiet room.

NOAH
-- I'll cry quarts.

IVY
What if we strike a deal?

NOAH
Capitol! Capitol idea!

IVY
It would be prudent to keep our deal
a secret. Can you do that?

NOAH
Like a church mouse.

This makes Ivy laugh. Noah laughs too.

IVY
You needn't go to the quiet room if
you take an oath to never strike any
person again.

NOAH
No hitting.

Ivy puts out her hand to shake.

IVY
No hitting.

Noah shakes hands, up and down big, like the elders do.

Ivy taps her cheek. Noah leans down, for he stands a good
six inches taller than her, and kisses softly once.

IVY
The deal is struck.

Noah is beaming. Ivy closes the door to the quiet room.

IVY
We ought not return right away. What
shall we do with our stolen time?
(beat)
Shall we have a foot race? Up the
hill to the resting rock.

NOAH
No cheating.

IVY
What a deeply scandalous thing to
say. I insist you take that back...
Is that the school bell?

Noah looks back. Ivy takes off. She's a good ten feet down
the path before he turns to see her not there.

CUT TO:

EXT. RESTING ROCK DAY

Noah is bigger, stronger and faster, but he has a hard time
catching the blind young woman running ahead of him. She
moves effortlessly. She does not use her stick. She knows
every step of these hills. She taps a tree as she runs by.
She is laughing as she runs.

Noah passes her just as they finish. They both are out of
breath as they reach the rock formation.

One rock juts out at the base of an enormous wall of rock
buried into the side of the hill. There is shade here. This
is Resting Rock.

There is someone sitting there when they arrive. Noah goes
right over and sits with him. Ivy sits and catches her breath
before looking in their direction.

IVY
My sister cried a lot.

Lucius stops eating the biscuit he has wrapped in his
handkerchief for his lunch break. Beat.

IVY
Do you wonder how I recognized you.

Lucius stares at the striking girl with the sweaty face and
messed hair.

IVY
Some people, just a handful mind
you, give off the tiniest color.
It's faint, like a haze. It's the
only thing I ever see in the darkness.
Papa has it too.

Lucius gazes quietly at Ivy as if she was a sorcerer. Noah
just smiles. Beat.

IVY
Do you wonder what your color is?
Well that, I won't tell you. It's
not ladylike to speak of such things.
You shouldn't even have asked.

Lucius fights a smile. Noah runs off after some nearby birds.

Ivy smoothes her wrinkled, dusty frock. It is an
uncharacteristic nervous gesture.

IVY
(serious)
I know why you denied my sister.

Lucius' smile melts away.

IVY
When I was younger you used to hold
my arm when I walked. Then suddenly
you stopped.
(beat)
One day, I even tripped in your
presence and nearly fell. I was faking
of course, but still you did not
hold me. Sometimes we don't do things
we want to do, so that others won't
know we want to do them.

Lucius is about to say something when Noah comes back. Noah
sits down between them. Lucius turns his piercing eyes back
to his biscuit.

Noah reaches into his pocket. He clutches something in his
hand. He puts it into Ivy's lap.

IVY
What's this?

She feels it in her hands.

IVY
A flower, what a splendid present.

Lucius glances over. He goes still. Beat.

LUCIUS
(low)
Be cautious. You are holding the bad
color.

Ivy's face changes as she holds the RED FLOWER.

IVY
(even)
Noah it is not allowed. This color
attracts Those We Don't Speak Of.
You must bury it.

She holds it out to a saddened Noah. Her hand is trembling
slightly. He takes it back after a moment.

IVY
You ought not to pick that color
flower anymore.

Lucius gazes at the flower in Noah's hand.

LUCIUS
He did not pick that now.

Beat. Ivy's head turns a quarter turn towards Lucius.

IVY
What's wrong? You're breathing has
changed.

LUCIUS
I've never set eyes on such a flower.

Lucius and Noah look at each other. Beat.

LUCIUS
(quiet)
Noah... where did you find this?

CUT TO:

EXT. BORDER AFTERNOON

Ivy's fingers trace along Noah's arm. She finds his hand.
She moves over his finger that is pointing. She turns and
faces that direction.

Beat.

IVY
Are you sure?

Noah nods.

NOAH
No cheating.

Ivy, Noah, and Lucius stand at the top of the hill and stare.
Beat. Lucius turns and starts walking down the hill.

LUCIUS (V.O.)
My mother is unaware of the reason
for my visit today. She did not give
her consent --

CUT TO:

INT. MEETING HALL - AFTERNOON

WALKER
Lucius.

Lucius' green eyes look up from his paper.

WALKER
You do not need to address us so
formally. You may just speak.

Lucius stares at the group of elders seated on the wooden
chairs before him. Alice watches her son lower the paper at
his side. He just stands there. Beat.

LUCIUS
We mustn't --

Lucius eyes drift down. He tilts the paper slightly as he
tries to read the words at a steep angle at his side.

LUCIUS
We mustn't --

Edward smiles.

WALKER
Lucius, you may read from the paper
if you wish.

Lucius brings the paper back up.

LUCIUS
-- or consult me in any form.
(beat)
Today at Resting Rock. Noah Percy
handed Ivy Walker a flower of the
bad color.

Edward Walker sits up just a bit at the sound of his
daughter's name.

LUCIUS
When asked where he found this flower,
for it was not like others I have
seen, he took us there. He led us to
the peak of the hill, by the tree
stump. There he pointed to a bush
covered in flowers of the bad color.

Lucius looks up. He doesn't look down when he says the next
six words.

LUCIUS
He was pointing into Covington Woods.

Lucius returns his eyes to the paper.

LUCIUS
By my eye, the bush of the bad color
was, at the very least, seventy-five
paces past the forbidden line.

Beat.

LUCIUS
It is my belief that Noah Percy has
entered the woods, and has done so
on many occasions. It is also my
belief, that because of his innocence,
those creatures who reside in the
woods did not harm him.
(beat)
This strengthens my belief that
they will let me pass if they sense
I am not a threat. I ask for further
consideration in my request to travel
into the woods so that I may gather
medicines and informations from the
nearby town.

Lucius slowly lowers his paper. He exhales very slowly. The
elders just stare.

CUT TO:

EXT. SCHOOLYARD AFTERNOON

Noah makes monster sounds. He holds his hands up like claws
as he slowly chases the pack of laughing and screaming
children around the playground.

The group of elders have gathered at the edge of the
schoolyard. They watch Noah carefully as he runs around with
the other children.

Noah bares his teeth and growls as he catches one of the
laughing ten-year-old boys in the pack. Noah picks him up
and throws him to the ground hard. The child starts crying.

TEACHER
Noah Percy!

Noah stops acting like a monster. He runs and hides behind
the other children.

The elders watch as the teacher pull Noah off the schoolyard.
Noah is throwing a slight tantrum as he is led to his
punishment.

CUT TO:

INT. HUNT CABIN NIGHT

Alice Hunt sits at her small table. Hands folded on her lap.

ALICE
We shall speak of the town, just
this once, and we shall never speak
of it again.

Lucius sits across from her. His eyes flicker from the lamp
light on the shelf.

ALICE
When we lived there, the three of
us, you were but an infant. I would
be telling an untruth if I said there
was no joy. We were contented souls:
the three of us... But contentment
is an unwelcomed alien in the towns.
There is something in the very nature
of the cities and towns that rejects
it. Society survives on greed, and
desire. Its heart is fed by wants.
It has no place for something so
untradable and old fashioned as
contentment.
(beat)
Your father left for the market on a
Tuesday at quarter past nine in the
morning... He was found robbed and
naked in the river two days later.

Lucius is shaking.

LUCIUS
(barely audible)
Why do you tell me this blackness?

ALICE
So you will know the nature of what
you desire.

LUCIUS
I do not desire it!

Alice is sincerely unsettled by the sight of her son on the
verge of yelling.

LUCIUS
My intentions are true to my word. I
think of nothing but the people of
this village.

Alice lowers her eyes. Beat. She speaks in a softer voice.

ALICE
I know that. Forgive me. I am but
scared for my only son's life.

LUCIUS
I am not the one with secrets.

Alice's eyes lock on his.

ALICE
What is your meaning?
(beat)
Speak! Do not retreat to your silence
yet.

Lucius stands from the table. He moves across the small room.

LUCIUS
There are secrets in every corner of
this village. Do you not feel it? Do
you not see it?

Lucius points to the black box seated in the corner of the
room on a small table. It is identical to the one we saw in
August Nicholson's house.

ALICE
That is for our own well being. So
the things that scare us do not have
power over us.

LUCIUS
Then let us open it.

ALICE
No --

Alice looks ready to rise from her chair to stop him. Lucius
doesn't move. Beat.

Alice visibly composes herself. Her hands return to her lap.

ALICE
(soft)
Perhaps we should speak with Edward
Walker together. He may --

LUCIUS
He hides too.

Alice stares quietly at the stranger before her.

LUCIUS
(soft)
He hides his feelings for you.

Alice instantly rises from the table and moves into her room
with great dignity.

LUCIUS
(calls to her)
Sometimes we don't do things -- yet
others know we want to do things --
so we don't do them.

Lucius doesn't even understand what he said. Alice walks
back out of her room.

ALICE
What nonsense are you saying?

Lucius is flustered. He gathers his thoughts and looks to
his mother. Beat.

LUCIUS
You needn't worry. Nothing will happen
to me.

Alice gazes upon her son.

ALICE
(gentle)
You remind me of a colt sometimes.

Alice moves back to the chair she started in. Lucius takes
his seat across from her. Beat.

Alice cleans some dust off the table as she speaks.

ALICE
What makes you think he has feelings
for me?

Beat. Lucius thinks of other things as he says the words.

LUCIUS
He never touches you.

Alice shakes her head, "No" to herself. They both sit at the
table plowing through their own thoughts. CANDLELIGHT flickers
on this painting of a mother and son at a wooden table.

CUT TO:

EXT. BORDER DAY

We are at the edge, where the grass ends and the woods begin.
On every tree that touches the grass is a yellow slash of
paint. Every fourth tree holds a flag of the same color.

Two young men replace a broken flag. They both wear hooded
cloaks that touch the ground. The cloaks are a mustard-yellow.

The young man, who has been boosted up, loses his balance.
He quickly grabs a branch and steadiest himself. He looks
down to his partner. They share a tension filled look as
they glance into the forest. They work as if they are on a
tight wire.

A third young man in a mustard yellow cloak passes them.
Lucius carries a wooden bucket of yellow paint. He nods to
them as he passes.

Lucius walks along the perimeter of trees. He stops a handful
of trees down the line. The paint on this tree is fading.
Lucius dips the handmade brush into the bucket and puts
another coat on the tree.

He picks up his bucket and continues on. He glances over his
shoulder as the figures of the two young men get smaller and
smaller. Lucius keeps walking.

He passes the large tree stump.

Now he slows to a stop again. He looks to the woods... Seventy
five paces away from where he stands, nestled between two
thin trees, is A BUSH BLOOMING WITH RED FLOWERS.

He looks down the line of trees to the two young men; they
move along the perimeter and slowly move out of sight.

Lucius steps to the edge of the grass. His shoes are inches
away from the dirt of the forest floor. In the dirt, clearly
visible to the eye, are groups of LARGE CLAWED FOOTPRINTS.
The indentations from the claw points dig deep into the soil.

Lucius does not acknowledge any of this. He stares quietly
into the woods, lowers his bucket to the ground. Beat.

HE STEPS OVER THE FORBIDDEN LINE INTO COVINGTON WOODS.

Lucius takes the last few steps to the bush. He reaches into
it and snaps off a branch. He straightens up.

And then for the first time we sense him pausing.

He turns and looks slowly over his shoulder.

THERE IS SUDDEN MOVEMENT. LEAVES AND BRANCHES SNAP AS WE
SEE, FIFTY FEET AWAY, THE DARK FORM OF A HUMPED CREATURE,
STANDING UPRIGHT. IT SUDDENLY MOVES. WE SEE IT STRIDE AWAY
INTO THE DENSENESS OF THE WOODS.

Lucius turns and starts walking. Branch in hand, he moves at
a calm even pace as he heads back to the bucket with yellow
paint.

CUT TO:

EXT. WALKING PATH NIGHT

Lucius moves along a walking path. He passes by a LAMP LIGHT.

He gets pulled from the strong current of his thoughts by
the rattling of a bush. He sees someone crawling around in
the foliage.

GIRL'S VOICE FROM BUSH
There is no escape.

Lucius watches as Ivy Walker crawls out and stands. She looks
in Lucius' direction.

IVY
Oh, Hello.

Ivy runs her hands over her frock. Dirt and leaves fall off.

IVY
I was just playing a game with Noah.
The rascal must have gone to hide in
my house again. Houses are against
the rules. He knows that.

Lucius stares at Ivy who has dirt and leaves in her hair.
She bends down and picks up her cane.

IVY
Are you okay? Your quiet is a
different quiet than your usual quiet.

Lucius nods.

IVY
I assume you're nodding.

Ivy smiles.

IVY
Well I better get back home and
confront the scoundrel.
(beat)
You could walk with me if you like.

There is an awkward moment.

CUT TO:

EXT. WALKER BACK PORCH NIGHT

Ivy and Lucius arrive in silence to the back porch of the
Walker cabin. In the LAMP LIT windows we see Kitty and her
younger sister talking.

IVY
We were tending to the children
tonight, Kitty and I... I should be
with her.
(beat)
Be well.

Ivy climbs the stairs and stops.

IVY
I heard my parents speaking of you.
I know of your request to go to the
towns. I think it is noble, but I do
not think it is right.

Beat.

LUCIUS
There may be things we do not know
that may help us.

IVY
You speak as if we are plagued. There
is nothing to cure.

Beat.

LUCIUS
Are you not angry you have no sight?
Perhaps your eyes could have been
saved as a child by knowledge held
in the town's medicines.

IVY
I know it upset Papa very much when
it happened to me. He would not speak
for three days I was told. But it
does not bother me Lucius.

LUCIUS
What of Noah then? What if there was
medicines for Noah that could help
him be still? Help him learn?

Beat. This affects Ivy.

IVY
May we stop speaking of this? It is
putting knots in my stomach.

Lucius nods. Ivy climbs a few more steps and stops. She turns.

IVY
Kitty is to be married.

Lucius looks a little confused.

IVY
She has found love again. With
Christop Crane.

Lucius raises his eyebrows.

IVY
(soft)
You think it an odd choice right?
You know he won't sit back in his
chair for fear of setting wrinkles
his shirt.
(beat)
But he does have a gentlemanly way
about him and he does care for my
sister deeply. I think Kitty is
blessed. I am blessed as well... My
older sister is now spoken for. I am
now free to receive interest from
anyone... who might have interest.

Lucius stares at the striking blind girl who stands in the
shadows with a mischievous smile.

IVY
(soft)
Goodnight Lucius Hunt.

Ivy turns and walks into the house. We see through the open
back door as Noah leaps out from behind a water basin and
scares her. Ivy starts chasing the tall boy around the room
playfully.

CUT TO:

EXT. TOWER NIGHT

Finton Coin sits huddled in the corner of the tower perch.
His knees are tucked into his chest. There is an oil lamp on
the floor by his side.

The oil lamp moves as the tower creaks. Finton sits up. THE
LAMP LIGHT ON FINTON'S TENSE FACE FLICKERS AND THEN RETURNS.

FINTON
Lucius?

SILENCE. Finton crawls over to the trap door in the floor.
He listens a moment before reaching for the rope handle.

He pulls back the wooden door slowly.

Finton looks down the ladder that drops twenty feet away to
the ground. The thick legs of the tower can also be seen.

FINTON
Lucius?

SOMETHING PASSES UNDERNEATH. IT IS DARK IN FORM AND MOVES
DEVILISHLY QUICK INTO THE SHADOWS.

All the air leaves Finton Coin's lungs.

Finton shuts the trap door quietly. He moves the wooden bolt
into the lock position. All his movements are slow and
trancelike.

Finton places his hands on the railing and pulls himself up.
He steadies himself on his feet. And then peers over the
railing.

CUT TO:

EXT. COURTYARD NIGHT

People of the village move normally through the courtyard.

AND THEN THE WARNING BELL SOUNDS IN THE DISTANCE. IT IS VERY
DIFFERENT THAN THE PRACTICE BELL IN THE YARD. ITS SOUND IS
DEEPER MORE POWERFUL AND RESONANT. ITS SHORT REPEATED RINGING
ECHOES THROUGH THE AIR.

Everyone in the courtyard suddenly freezes and then starts
running.

Everyone except Lucius. He turns and looks over his shoulder
towards the direction of the tower.

CUT TO:

INT. WALKER CABIN NIGHT

Kitty and Ivy look up as they dress their little sisters for
bed.

THE DISTANT REPEATED SOUND OF THE WARNING BELL silences all
the chatter.

Beat.

Kitty turns to Ivy.

KITTY
(low)
Close all the doors.

Kitty scoops her little sisters off their bed and moves
directly towards the trapdoor in the back of the cabin.

CUT TO:

EXT. CABINS NIGHT

Lucius ushers a group of people into a cabin. He closes the
door and shuts them in. He moves quickly across the path to
a woman who tries desperately to close the shutters on her
cabin. The shutters stick on their rusty hinges. Lucius comes
over and closes it shut.

He turns as a SHADOW PASSES OVER HIM.

Lucius ducks into the darkness by the side of the cabin.
There is movement all around him.

HE WATCHES AS A CREATURE MOVES SLOWLY TOWARDS THE FRONT DOOR
OF THE CABIN.

Lucius steps back farther into the shadows. He presses his
back against the side of the cabin and loses sight of the
creature.

CUT TO:

INT. WALKER CABIN NIGHT

Noah jumps up and down, agitated and excited. Kitty tugs at
his arm as she pulls him towards the trap door. She looks
across the cabin and sees Ivy standing in the open front
door.

KITTY
(yells)
You must close the door!

Ivy looks out in the direction of the STRANGE SOUNDS.

IVY
Lucius is out walking.

Kitty leads Noah down into the crawl space where the two
younger sisters wait frightened and silent.

KITTY
(yells)
He's inside safe somewhere. Close
the door!

Ivy turns and looks back at her sister, strain and strength
on her face.

IVY
He'll come back to make sure we're
safe.

Kitty walks down into the underground room with Noah and the
children. Only her head can be seen as she watches her little
sister, across the cabin stand in the doorway to the outside.

Ivy puts out her hand through the open doorway. She holds it
out to the darkness.

THE WARNING BELL RINGS OVER AND OVER IN THE DISTANCE.

STRANGE SOUNDS CAN BE HEARD THROUGH THE WALLS IN THE BACK OF
THE CABIN.

Kitty listens to them, tears fill her eyes. Her head turns
back to Ivy and screams across the cabin floor.

KITTY
Ivy please!

OUTSIDE:

THERE ARE SHADOWS ALL AROUND THE WALKER CABIN.

A HUMPED CREATURE EMERGES FROM THE DARKNESS. IT STARTS RUSHING
TOWARDS THE PORCH.

Ivy holds her hand out as she stares blankly into the darkness
outside. Tears stream down her face. She is terrified.

IVY
(soft)
No.

KITTY
Don't let them in!

THE LARGE DARKENED FIGURE OF THE CREATURE CLIMBS ONTO THE
PORCH.

A HAND GRABS IVY'S HAND.

SLOW-MOTION: Ivy turns as Lucius moves with her through the
doorway. They close the door shut quickly and bolt it. Lucius
and Ivy run together across the cabin. Lucius never lets go
of her hand.

They reach the open trapdoor. Lucius helps Ivy in and then
follows her down. His arm spears out and grabs hold of the
rope handle. The door shuts over their heads.

CUT TO:

INT. UNDERGROUND ROOM NIGHT

REAL TIME:

Six individuals huddle together in the darkness. A TINY STREAM
OF LIGHT FALLS ON THEIR FACES.

SOUNDS OF SCRATCHING AND CLAWING CAN BE HEARD ON THE WALLS
OF THE CABIN. THE DISTANT SOUND OF THE WARNING BELL IS MUFFLED
IN THIS UNDERGROUND SPACE.

Kitty holds her little sister tight. Noah claps his hands
joyously in the small space he has to move.

Lucius and Ivy are crouched together close to the stairs.
Their faces are almost touching. They both stare up at the
crack in the door and listen. They both breathe hard; their
breath falling on each other.

Ivy's face tilts slowly to her lap. Lucius' hand is still
holding hers.

CUT TO:

INT. UNDER GROUND ROOM #2 NIGHT

A large number of men and women are crammed together in
another underground room.

THEY LISTEN AS NOISES AND GRUNTS MOVE AROUND THEM OVERHEAD.

CUT TO:

INT. UNDERGROUND ROOM #3 NIGHT

A group of children are huddled together in the darkness of
another underground room. The children's hands cover their
ears. They try to block out the SOUNDS STABBING AT THEM
THROUGH THE CRACKS IN THE TRAP DOOR.

We see their tiny bodies jerk with every sound.

Their scared faces dissolve into the darkness.

FADE TO BLACK:

CUT TO:

EXT. VILLAGE DAY

A gentle breeze pushes leaves around in circles. There is no
one in the courtyard. There is no one on the walking path.

The front doors of the cabins ate closed. On each door are
TWO RED SLASHES OF COLOR FORMING AN "X". The crimson markings
are seen throughout the empty village.

CUT TO:

INT. MEETING HALL DAY

All members of the village, young and old, are gathered
together. THE SOUND OF SOME CHILDREN WHIMPERING can be heard
in the tense silence.

Edward looks at the faces.

WALKER
We may question ourselves at times
such as these. Did we make the right
decision to settle here? We must
remember why we came here. It was
for goodness and a rare type of
innocence. That is worth a struggle
I think.
(beat)
Let it be known for all to comfort
in, that no person was injured lat
night. We have always had, from the
day we settled here, a gentle
understanding with those who visited
us.
(beat)
I have always pictured them, in some
ways, as our protectors. They have
allowed us to live here nestled
amongst them in this untouched place.
(beat)
By the markings we find this morning
on our homes, I feel they were warning
us. They acted as if threatened. We
will do our best to discover what it
is that has set them to action.

Beat. Edward suddenly looks older. His childlike eyes flicker
with emotion.

WALKER
(soft)
I myself wonder if this simple way
of life can go on... If it was meant
too...

August touches him on the shoulder in a brotherly way to
stop him from speaking. August looks out over the
congregation.

AUGUST
If any want to talk of their worries
or concerns, we would welcome them.

A note is passed from the gathering. Vivian Percy is the
closest of the elders and accepts it. She checks the front
and back for an inscription. She looks out over the room of
faces.

VIVIAN
Who has written this note?

The room of faces do not respond. Vivian opens it.

Vivian turns to the elders at her side.

VIVIAN
It is the wish of the writer for
this to be read aloud.

They all nod. Vivian throws a quick look to Alice before
turning back to the paper.

VIVIAN
(reading)
Please read so that all may hear.
(beat)
My mother is unaware that I wrote
this note. She did not give her
consent or consult me in any form.
(beat)
I have brought this burden upon us.
On the day before last, I crossed
the forbidden line into Covington
Woods and was witnessed there by
Those We Don't Speak Of.

Whispers fill the meeting hall. Alice closes her eyes. August
looks down.

VIVIAN
(reading)
I am deeply sorry. I have shamed
myself and my family. I pray that my
actions will cause no further pains.
(beat)
With deepest sorrow, Lucius Hunt.

Ivy sits in the crowd. She stares blankly at a point in space.

There are nothing but murmurs for a moment. Edward Walker
silently steps forward. The crowd moves aside as he walks
through them.

He moves to the back corner, where the crowd parts and reveals
Lucius sitting against the wall. His eyes are red. Tears
fall from his cheeks.

Edward Walker kneels down in front of him.

WALKER
Do not fret.

Walker's face trembles with emotion as he stares at the young
man. Edward Walker leans forward and whispers in the young
man's ear.

WALKER
(barely audible)
You are fearless in a way, I shall
never know.

Lucius looks up. The two men stare at each other. The crowd
goes quiet around them. The overwhelming pride and emotion
in Edward Walker's eyes slowly start to change Lucius. He
grows stronger with every second he gazes at his elder.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT.CLASSROOM DAY

Vivian Percy claps her hands.

MRS. PERCY
Ta. Tee-tee. Ta.

CLASS
Ta. Tee-tee. Ta

MRS. PERCY
Splendid. Shall we take it from the
first phrase of the song?

She stares at the quiet faces of the children.

MRS. PERCY
It has been difficult to concentrate,
I admit. The visit from Those We
Don't Speak Of three weeks past, are
still with us... I know some of you
are frightened still. This is why
our job is so vital. We must lift
everyone's spirits. Kitty Walker's
wedding will be a glorious time. We
will sing and dance and be merry
again. Now let us be strong little
souls and begin the song again from
the very beginning.

The children nod gently. They are ready.

CUT TO:

EXT. CLEARING DAY

A collection of fifteen men and women are constructing a
wooden canopy.

Noah Percy helps cut a rope that tethers one of the frames
of the canopy to a statue in the ground. An elder holds the
rope and points. Noah slices it. He laughs when the rope
splits. He waves the knife in the air joyously. The elder
quickly takes the knife away from him and smiles.

Edward and Tabitha Walker guide the others as the two sides
of the canopy-frame are brought up into their standing
positions.

They look up at the structure for their daughter's wedding
with wonder in their eyes. Beat.

They are gathered by the others and begin tying garlands of
flowers to the frame.

CUT TO:

EXT. RESTING ROCK DAY

Lucius unwraps his biscuit from his handkerchief.

IVY (O.S.)
I know you have been ignoring me.

Lucius looks up to find Ivy standing before him.

IVY
It is the day of my sister's wedding
and I am beginning to believe you
would let the day pass without saying
a word to me.

Lucius doesn't say a word.

IVY
Perhaps you sensed I was angry when
you revealed you crossed into the
woods. In fact I was. If you want to
act foolish, that is your choice.
But I do not find any reason to risk
such dangers in the woods for
anything. It was wrong.
(beat)
I say this as your friend, because
friends may say anything to each
other.

Ivy lets out a breath.

IVY
I'm glad we've had a chance to talk.
(beat)
Kitty needs help getting ready. Enjoy
your biscuit.

Ivy turns and walks away. Lucius' green eyes watch her as
her as he brings the biscuit to his mouth.

CUT TO:

EXT. SUPPERTABLE AFTERNOON

WALKER
We came here to start anew -- We are
grateful for the time we have been
given.

Edward Walker looks to Kitty at his side. Christop sits across
from her. They are both dressed in white. Edward smiles to
them as he takes a seat.

August stands. It is unexpected. Eyes watch him.

AUGUST
These are the experiences we came
here to have. This is good. This is
pure.

Beat. August takes a seat.

The table is covered in a feast of foods. Hands start reaching
across the table. The business of a festive dinner begins.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. BORDER AFTERNOON

The SOUND OF WOODEN FLUTES AND HAND MADE INSTRUMENTS CAN BE
HEARD IN THE AIR.

Two young girls in mustard yellow cloaks lead two young men
in hooded cloaks. The girls walk procession-like with flowers
in their hands, The two young men carry a wooden box with
rope handles.

The group stops ten feet from the border into the forest.
The girls turn ceremonially together and wait for the young
men to open the lid of the one-foot by one-foot square box.
The girls then toss their flowers in the box and step aside.

The young men raise the hoods of their cloaks over their
heads. The lid is closed and the box is picked up by it's
handles again. The girls stay where they are as the young
men carry the box right to the edge of the forest.

There the lid is reopened. The two young men reach down and
pull out the contents of the box. The flowers the girls threw
in the box, trickle off the blood red surface of the LARGE
SLAB OF MEAT.

The two hoods turn and look into the forest. About five feet
into the forest is a large flat rock. Its surface is stained
dark from dried animal blood.

The young men start swinging the meat to gain momentum. On
the third swing, they throw the large slab of meat into the
air and over the forbidden boundary. It makes a SOUND as it
lands on the rock.

The young men glance at the forest for a moment, and then
turn and walk back to the girls. They turn and start walking
in a procession back down the hill and towards the MUSIC.

CUT TO:

EXT. CANOPY AFTERNOON

A canopy of flowers and vines has been made on the grass
next to the stream. Candles hung by string are tied
throughout.

A quartet of young musicians play on stools. Vivian Percy
and the children sing next to them.

Kitty is dressed in a beautiful simple white frock. Christop
looks neat and handsome. They stand on either side of August
Nicholson who holds a weathered book in his hands. He quietly
quietly instructs the couple where to stand and what to do
The some of the guests are seated in wooden chairs, some are
seated in the grass.

Ivy is seated on the grass nearby with an older woman with
thick gray hair. We have seen this woman sitting with the
elders many times. This is MRS. CLACK.

MRS. CLACK
(whispers)
I had an elder sister.

Ivy turns to Mrs. Clack and smiles.

IVY
(whispers)
Mrs. Clack, you have been keeping
secrets.

MRS. CLACK
(whispers)
Kitty reminds me of her so.

IVY
(whispers)
What manner of person was she?

MRS. CLACK
(smiles)
Saucy. We fought endlessly.

IVY
(smiles)
May I ask her name?

Beat.

MRS. CLACK
Your father created a miracle here
in this place. Sheltered us from
darkness.

Ivy can hear the change in Mrs. Clack's voice.

IVY
Why did she not come to Covington
Woods?

MRS. CLACK
My sister did not live past her twenty-
third birthday. A group of men took
her life in an alley by our home.

Mrs. Clack fixes her frock with her puffy hands.

August Nicholson turns to the congregation. He calls out.

AUGUST
Please rise.

Everyone in chairs and on the grass stands for the ceremony.

CUT TO:

EXT. CANOPY - NIGHT

The MUSIC IS LIVELY. The musicians are up on their feet.
People are dancing.

Kitty and Christop stand side by side and greet each family
of the village. They are presented handmade gifts wrapped in
twine. Kitty is glowing as she accepts the wedding gifts.

Ivy steps up and hugs her sister tight. Kitty hugs her back
and lets go. Ivy keeps hugging. Kitty realizes Ivy is crying.
Ivy kisses Kitty on the cheek and finally lets go. Kitty
watch with confusion as her sister moves away.

CHRISTOP
She's not going to squeeze my shirt
like that is she?

Kitty forces a smile and accepts the next gift.

CUT TO:

EXT. CANOPY ENTRANCE NIGHT

Edward and Tabitha Walker greet the elders that swarm around
them and congratulate them.

Alice Hunt steps up and kisses Tabitha. She moves to Edward
who finishes shaking a man's hand.

ALICE
Many blessings on this most joyous
of days.

Alice puts out her hand.

EDWARD
It was a rare and lovely ceremony,
was it not?

ALICE
Glorious. I saw your hand move to
your eyes on more than one occasion.

EDWARD
Must have been dust of some matter.

Edward smiles at her. Alice smiles gently back.

She lowers her untouched hand back to her side. They both
nod at each other. Alice steps away.

She is flustered. She holds her hands nervously as she walks.
Alice turns and glances back over her shoulder.

Edward Walker is greeting Vivian Percy. HE SHAKES HER HAND
as she congratulates him.

Alice turns back and keeps walking. She looks around to see
if anyone is watching her. Her face is bright red with
embarrassment.

CUT TO:

EXT. CANOPY NIGHT

The swirl of dancing captures more and more people.

Ivy stands to the side. Kitty's hand reaches out from the
dancers. Kitty takes hold of her sister and pulls her in.
Ivy resists for a moment and then lets herself join the
celebration.

CUT TO:

EXT. BORDER DUSK

Long deep shadows fall in the woods.

The two young men in yellow hooded cloaks walk the final
steps to the edge of the forest. They look to the flat stained
rock in the woods. THE SLAB OF MEAT HAS BEEN REMOVED. A fresh
stain sits where the raw meat used to be.

The young men turn quietly and head back to the little girls.
They lower their hoods. They nod their heads to the girls
who then smile. The four start walking towards the music in
two lines of two.

CUT TO:

EXT. SLOPE TO CANOPY NIGHT

Lucius Hunt sits along the slope that leads to the wedding
canopy. THE MUSIC AND LAUGHTER FLOAT THROUGH THE AIR.

He looks down to the CANDLELIT GLOW of the flowered canopy.
Almost everyone is dancing.

SOMETHING MOVES IN THE DARKNESS BEHIND HIM.

Lucius looks back over his shoulder.

THERE IS A RUSTLE IN THE BUSHES ON THE SLOPE ABOVE HIM.

Beat.

LUCIUS
Who's come to visit me?

A LOW GRUNT. WE SUDDENLY HEAR SOUNDS OF SCURRYING.

Lucius rises to his feet immediately.

CUT TO:

EXT. CANOPY NIGHT

Ivy is in the thicket part of the dancing. Her hair has come
loose from its upturned position. She laughs as she turns in
circles with her sister and friends.

THE FIRST SCREAM MIXES WITH THE LAUGHTER AND DISAPPEARS.

The dancing goes on.

THE SECOND SCREAM CAN BE HEARD MUCH MORE CLEARLY.

Ivy is among the first few who stop dancing.

CUT TO:

EXT. SLOPE TO CANOPY NIGHT

Lucius leans down and picks up an oil lamp that has been
knocked to the ground. It is one of a few that have been
strung along a walking path.

Lucius looks to Covington Woods in the distance. THERE IS
THE DISTANT SOUND OF BRANCHES SNAPPING.

Lucius turns as the SOUND OF A SCREAM CUTS THROUGH THE MUSICAL
DIN FROM BELOW.

He stares down at the warm glow of the canopy. He can see
everyone has stopped dancing. There is commotion.

Lucius wheels in the direction of the tower. We see a young
man in a yellow cloak standing sentry. We see him standing
bored - elbows on the edge of the railing.

Lucius watches him for a moment, then turns back confused.

CUT TO:

EXT. CANOPY NIGHT

The dance floor is full of confusion.

A few YELLS SPIKE THE AIR.

Ivy is unintentionally bumped a few times as people start
panicking. She is separated from her sister.

Ivy puts her arms out. She tries to move out of the knot of
people.

PANICKED CONVERSATIONS GET LOUDER ALL AROUND HER.

She is bumped two more times. She struggles to keep moving
in the crowd.

A HAND TAKES HOLD OF HERS. She feels Lucius leading her out
of the congestion. She holds his hand tight as they move
towards the entrance of the canopy.

CUT TO:

EXT. CANOPY ENTRANCE NIGHT

Lucius and Ivy emerge amongst a group of elders that are
gathered around two young boys. The boys are around ten years
old. They are terrified. Everyone close at hand listens in
hushed silence.

Edward Walker is seated in a chair. The boys stand before
him at eye level.

BOY
They are in the village.

EDWARD
It cannot be.

BOY
It saw us. It ran off into the
darkness.

WALKER
You are certain?

The boys nod. They are both crying. Beat.

Ivy moves next to her father. Edward takes her hand. Edward
looks at the boys.

WALKER
You two boys stay close to Ivy here.
She'll tell you some funny stories
and have you laughing soon.

Ivy gathers the boys close as Edward stands. He turns to the
worried crowd around him.

WALKER
We will go together. All of us.

CUT TO:

EXT. WALKING PATH NIGHT

A SNAKE OF HANDHELD LIGHTS MOVE SLOWLY towards the village.

The members of the village move in a group led by elders.
Lucius walks towards the front holding one of the lanterns.

Kitty and Christop move in the middle and walk in tense
silence.

The procession moves towards the DIM LIGHTS OF THE CABINS.

CUT TO:

EXT. COURTYARD NIGHT

The elders have already moved into the courtyard. They walk
in stunned silence.

Lucius and the young men are next to follow.

When Kitty arrives her hands move to her mouth. Christop
stops in front of her.

THE COURTYARD BEFORE THEM IS LITTERED WITH DEAD ANIMALS.
CHICKENS, AND SQUIRRELS AND RACCOONS. THEY HAVE ALL BEEN
SLAUGHTERED AND SKINNED, THERE ARE A HANDFUL OF SKINNED
ANIMALS DANGLING FROM ROPES TIED TO THE POSTS OF THE HOUSES.

The villagers move like ghosts through their courtyard. Edward
Walker moves amongst them. He walks up to one of the hung
animals and with shaking hands, slowly unties the knot and
lowers the animal to the ground.

A young man walks up to Edward Walker, hesitates and then
taps him on the shoulder. GERALD speaks in a whisper when
Edward turns.

GERALD
They would like you at the shed,
sir.

Everyone is moving towards doorways. Christop is trying to
pull a stunned Kitty through the chaos.

Elders usher people towards the nearest porch.

Lucius picks up two children in his arms and moves them to a
doorway.

Ivy follows a group of people into a cabin.

Kitty stands in HER BEAUTIFUL WHITE WEDDING FROCK. Christop
tugs at her arm. She finally is pulled across the littered
courtyard and disappears into the darkness of a cabin.

CUT TO:

EXT. SHED NIGHT

Alice Hunt stands alone by the open entrance to the shed.

Edward Walker approaches her. She steps away so he may look
inside. Edward steps into the doorway of the shed. He stares
quietly into the shadows of the food shed. Empty cages hang
open throughout the structure.

Alice speaks softly from outside.

ALICE
All the livestock has been taken,
and skinned. The fur and feathers
are missing.
(beat)
There are marks on the door, where
it was opened.

Edward's eyes move to the doorjamb. He sees the fresh torn
wood at eye level.

ALICE
The marks are high. Coyotes cannot
reach that height.

Beat. Edward stares into the darkness of the shed.

WALKER
(soft)
Are you scared Alice?

ALICE
(whispered)
I am, sir.

WALKER
(soft)
So am I.

CUT TO:

EXT. CANOPY NIGHT

There is no one in the wedding canopy. THE CANDLES HAVE ALL
BUT FLICKERED OUT.

A handful of chairs lay on their sides.

CUT TO:

EXT. TOWER NIGHT

Two young men stand in the tower. One man eats leftover cake
from a wooden plate. He cuts a piece off and hands it to his
partner.

They eat wedding cake as they stare into the darkened woods.

CUT TO:

INT. IVY'S BEDROOM NIGHT

Ivy lies in bed. She is awake. THE MOONLIGHT STREAMS IN
THROUGH THE HALF CLOSED WOODEN SHUTTERS.

THERE IS THE SMALLEST OF NOISES OUTSIDE.

Ivy gets out of bed. She moves to the window slowly.

Her outstretched fingers reach the shutter first. She pushes
the shutter open.

She stares out into the darkness.

CUT TO:

EXT. WALKER PORCH NIGHT

Ivy walks out with a shawl over her night dress. She moves
to Lucius who sits on the stairs of the porch.

He turns as she sits down next to him. Beat.

IVY
The elders are going to have an
inquiry tomorrow. Each member of the
village is to be questioned in the
meeting hall.

LUCIUS
To see how the border was breached?

IVY
Yes.

Lucius nods silently. Beat.

LUCIUS
It is cold outside. You ought to go
in.

IVY
Why are you on this porch?

LUCIUS
It is not safe.

IVY
There are other porches.

Beat. There is an awkward moment. Ivy searches for something
to say.

IVY
Do you find me too much of a tomboy?

Lucius shakes his head lightly, "No."

IVY
I do long to do boy things.
(whispers)
Like that game the boys play at the
stump. They put their backs to the
woods and see how long they can wait
before getting scared. It's so
exciting.
(softer)
I understand you hold the record. It
will never be broken they say.

LUCIUS
It's just children's games.

IVY
How is it you are brave when all the
rest of us shake in our boots?

LUCIUS
I do not worry about what will happen.
Only what needs to be done.

Beat.

LUCIUS
How did you know I was here.

IVY
I saw you out the window.
(beat)
No, I won't tell you your color.
Stop asking.

Beat. The wind blows stronger. They see leaves move all around
them.

IVY
When we are married, will you dance
with me?

Lucius looks at her.

IVY
I find dancing very agreeable.

Beat.

IVY
Why can you not a say what is in
your head?

LUCIUS
Why can you not stop saying what is
in yours?

Ivy is surprised by the strength in Lucius' voice.

LUCIUS
Why must you lead, when I want to
lead? If I want to dance, I will ask
you to dance. If I want to speak, I
will open my mouth and speak. Everyone
is forever plaguing me to speak
further. Why? What good is it to
tell you, you are in my every thought
from the time I wake? What good can
come from my saying I sometimes cannot
think clearly or do my work properly?
What gain can rise from my telling
you the only time I feel fear as
others do is when I think of you in
harm? That is why I am on this porch
Ivy Walker. I fear for your safety
before all others.
(beat)
And yes I will dance with you on our
wedding night.

Ivy sits in the moonlight. Tears stream down her cheeks. A
hand reaches out and wipes a tear. This causes more tears to
fall.

Lucius Hunt leans forward and kisses Ivy Walker on the porch
of her father's home.

CUT TO:

INT. WALKER BEDROOM MORNING

Ivy and Kitty sit on their old bed together. Ivy squeezes
her sister's hand.

IVY
Kitty, I wanted to speak with you
first. I would not want you to feel
pain in any fashion. You are my
cherished one. If you were to feel
badly about Lucius, I would not have
it. One love to sacrifice another
love is not right.

The two sisters sit quietly. Kitty moves the stray hairs
from Ivy's face.

KITTY
(soft)
Do not fret, younger sister.

Ivy closes her eyes.

KITTY
There is nothing you can do that
would sacrifice my love for you. You
are my cherished one as well.
(Kisses Ivy on the
head)
God bless you and your life together.

The two sisters sit holding hands in the room they used to
share.

CUT TO:

INT. MEETING HALL MORNING

A woman in her twenties stands before a committee of five
elders.

WOMAN
...I had been to the storage shed
twice to fetch food prior to the
wedding ceremony.

ALICE
And the livestock was untouched at
that time?

WOMAN
Yes, Mrs. Hunt. All was as it should
be.

Beat. Alice nods.

WOMAN
Could this be a new creature?

ALICE
What do you mean?

WOMAN
If there are Those We Don't Speak Of
in the woods, could there not be yet
another creature, similar, but
different to our own creatures.

August Nicholson and the rest of the elders stare quietly at
the woman. Beat.

ALICE
I suppose it is possible.
(beat)
Thank you Beatrice.

BEATRICE nods and starts out.

BEATRICE
I beg your pardon...

The elders look up to find Beatrice still in the meeting
hall.

BEATRICE
Is it true, about Lucius and Ivy?

Alice is taken a little off guard.

BEATRICE
There are whispers all over the
village.

She glances to Edward and Tabitha who smile back. Alice turns
to the woman.

ALICE
We were informed early this morning
of their intentions.

BEATRICE
It is amazing to witness which two
people love chooses to unite. It
follows no rules.

ALICE
(soft)
No, it doesn't.

Alice gently looks down.

BEATRICE
God bless them both.

ALICE
Thank you dear.
(smiling)
Please ask the next person to enter.

CUT TO:

EXT. MEETING HALL MORNING

A line of villagers wait patiently outside the doors of the
meeting hall cabin.

Beatrice walks out and lets the next person in.

CUT TO:

INT. HUNT CABIN MORNING

Lucius Hunt opens the front door to his cabin.

LUCIUS
What's happened?

Noah Percy stands in the doorway sobbing. Beat.

Noah walks in. Lucius closes the door.

LUCIUS
Is this about Ivy and myself?

Noah doesn't answer. Beat.

Lucius heads back to his desk. Lucius folds the piece of
paper he was writing and places it in the drawer.

LUCIUS
I know you are very fond of her.

Noah shakes his head. He move to Lucius.

LUCIUS
I know she is fond of you.
(turns)
There are different types of love
Noah --

Lucius barely sees THE SHARP BLADE.

NOAH AND LUCIUS STAND EYE TO EYE. BEAT. NOAH PULLS OUT THE
BLADE FROM LUCIUS' STOMACH.

WE WATCH LUCIUS FOLD TO THE FLOOR OF HIS CABIN.

NOAH, STILL CRYING, CHANGES THE GRIP ON HIS KNIFE AND BENDS
DOWN OVER LUCIUS.

CUT TO:

INT. PERCY BEDROOM MORNING

Vivian Percy is helping Robert with his vest. She gently
straightens out his collar. They've done this routine many
times.

THERE IS A NOISE FROM THE CABIN'S ENTRANCE.

VIVIAN
Noah, you'll be late for the meeting
hall. Would you like your father to
walk you there?

Robert Percy places his eyeglasses on.

VIVIAN
Noah?

CUT TO:

INT. PERCY CABIN MORNING

WE ARE MOVING THROUGH THE PERCY CABIN. THE MAIN SITTING ROOM
IS EMPTY. WE SEE THE FRONT DOOR IS OPEN. WE MOVE TOWARDS IT.

THERE IS A NOISE, A CREAKING THAT GROWS IN STRENGTH. WE MOVE
TO THE FRONT DOOR AND THEN THROUGH IT.

WE ARE ON THE PORCH. THE CREAKING SOUND IS VERY LOUD. WE
TURN AND SEE NOAH SEATED IN A ROCKING CHAIR. HE ROCKS BACK
AND FORTH CREAKING ON THE NOISY WOOD OF THE PORCH.

HE TURNS AND LOOKS OVER WHEN HE FEELS HIS PARENTS PRESENCE.

VIVIAN AND ROBERT PERCY STAND FROZEN LIKE A BAD PAINTING.

NOAH POINTS AT HIS WET SHIRT.

NOAH
(whispers)
The bad color.

CUT TO:

INT. MEETING HALL MORNING

The elders look away from the man who stands before them,
They turn to the SOUNDS OF COMMOTION COMING FROM OUTSIDE THE
MEETING HALL CABIN.

The door opens, a short flustered man enters. THE NOISE AND
GROWING COMMOTION SPILLS INTO THE MEETING HALL.

A couple of the elders stand.

FLUSTERED MAN
I beg your pardon --

EDWARD
What is it?

Beat.

FLUSTERED MAN
There has been an accident.

CUT TO:

EXT. WALKING PATH MORNING

Ivy and Kitty step off their porch together. They make their
way down the walking path. There is a GROWING SOUND OF VOICES
ahead of them.

Two people come rushing past.

KITTY
Helen what is it?

One of the girls stops and comes back. She speaks in a frantic
whisper.

GIRL
Noah Percy was found with quarts of
blood upon his clothes and hands...
The blood was not his own and he
will not speak as to whose it is.

KITTY
Dear God in heaven.

HELEN runs off.

Ivy's face changes. Beat.

Ivy lets go of her sister's hand. She starts moving away.

KITTY
Ivy, where are you going?

Ivy does not respond. Her walk becomes quicker and quicker.
Kitty stares after her as her sister breaks into a run.

CUT TO:

EXT. COURTYARD - MORNING

WE HEAR IVY COUNTING UNDER HER BREATH AS SHE RUNS.

IVY
Eighteen -- nineteen -- twenty --

On the twentieth step she reaches the end of the path and
makes the turn around a cabin into the courtyard.

THERE IS A COMMOTION ALL AROUND HER. SHE HEARS KNOCKS AND
DOORS OPENING AND CLOSING. ELDERS YELL OUT.

AUGUST (O.S.)
Are there any injured in here?

ALICE (O.S.)
Has anyone been hurt in this home?

Ivy runs past all the voices. She runs past all the frantic
people and movement.

THE SOUNDS OF COMMOTION ARE BEHIND HER.

She crosses the entire courtyard, brushing people as she
runs.

She reaches the quiet part of the village; the part not
searched yet.

Her feet hit the walking path stones similar to the ones
near her house.

She drops her walking stick and keeps going.

She reaches a turn in the path and goes in the wrong direction
before realizing and changing directions. She starts running
again. Her hair comes flying out from its bindings.

IVY
(exhales)
-- Twenty-two -- twenty-three.

She comes to a quick stop and puts her hands out. She feels
the wood of the front door of the Hunt cabin.

She pushes it open.

CUT TO:

INT. HUNT CABIN - MORNING

She steps into the silent cabin.

IVY
Lucius?

Ivy uses her hands to find the first piece of furniture.
It's a chair. She walks around it.

IVY
Lucius Hunt you answer me this moment!

Ivy moves slowly across the room, heading towards Lucius'
loft.

Her foot HITS SOMETHING. SHE STOPS.

She is now standing in the middle of the cabin. Ivy bends
down and gropes with her hand. Her hand comes back dripping.

Ivy kneels to the ground and searches with her hands for
Lucius' head. She finds his shoulders and pulls with all her
strength to get him onto her lap.

THERE ARE VOICES AND NOISE OUTSIDE. FOOTSTEPS ARE HEARD.

A young man steps into the doorway. He is instantly stopped
by what he sees. He quickly runs away.

WE HEAR MANY FOOTSTEPS NOW.

Edward Walker is the first one in the doorway. He begins
shaking his head violently. Tears instantly fall over his
anguished face.

WE HEAR MORE FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.

The area behind Walker gets filled with villagers.

Edward Walker gathers himself for a moment. He speaks to
those closest behind him.

WALKER
Do not let Alice Walker come here.

A handful of those in shock behind him, leave.

Ivy Walker sits on the floor of the cabin with a bloodied
lump of clothes and flesh in her arms. She looks in the
direction of her father's voice.

IVY
(desperate)
I cannot see his color.

CUT TO:

EXT. SICK CABIN DAY

The entire congregation of the village waits outside the
sick cabin. Everyone is silent. All watch the windows of the
narrow cabin.

A FLAG OF WHITE FLIES at half mast next to the cabin.

Ivy walker listens TO THE SNAP OF THE WHITE FLAG.

A door to the cabin opens. Mrs. Clack walks out and approaches
the group. She glances at Ivy and then looks to the group.

MRS. CLACK
It is best to be direct at moments
such as these. He has suffered a
great deal. He is very weak. He may
pass at any time.

Some women in the group begin to cry. Parents hold their
children a little tighter.

MRS. CLACK
Please give him all your prayers and
good thoughts. He will hear them.

Ivy concentrates on the SOUND OF THE FLAG. She listens to
the RHYTHMIC SNAPS. Then slowly, her face begins to tremble.
She finally begins to cry.

CUT TO:

INT. THE QUIET ROOM DAY

The heavy wooden door to the quiet room is being unlocked.
Robert Percy turns from the door. His face ashen. He steps
aside.

Ivy moves to the door. She opens it.

Next to the sacks of potatoes, in the corner of shades, Noah
Percy sits in the only chair in the room. He sits eerily
straight up. When he sees who it is, he smiles. The CHAIR
CREAKS AS HE STANDS.

Ivy walks straight to THE SOUND. She reaches for his face.
Finds it... and CRACKS HIS FACE WITH A VIOLENT SLAP. Noah
covers his face with his hands. She slaps him again and again.
Her hands hitting his ears, his hands. She stands there
hitting him. He stands there taking it.

Robert Percy takes hold of her and gently pulls her off him.
After a moment, she stops raising her hand. She lets herself
be quietly taken form the room.

The door is closed again. Locked again.

FROM INSIDE THERE IS A SUDDEN BURST OF SCREAMS. IT DIES DOWN
TO A WHIMPER.

CUT TO:

INT. SICK CABIN DAY

One of the oldest of the elders, VICTOR, stands near the
door to the sick cabin with Tabitha and Edward Walker.

In the background we can see Alice Hunt sitting next to the
only occupied cot. There are low sounds coming from the lump
that is Lucius.

The three elders in the doorway, speak in whispers.

TABITHA
(whispers)
I am very worried for Alice. She
will not speak.

EDWARD
(whispers)
Her son is to die. There is nothing
to say.

Beat. Edward turns to Victor.

EDWARD
(whisper)
There is nothing to say. Victor am I
correct in that statement?

Victor shakes his head.

VICTOR
(whisper)
There were six wounds inflicted.
Five of the wounds are not life
threatening. The sixth was made to
the chest. When I listen to his
breastplate, I cannot hear airflow
as I should. The sound is deadened.
He is having greater and greater
difficulty breathing.

EDWARD
(whisper)
What can be done to mend him?

VICTOR
(whisper)
We can only pray.

Beat.

EDWARD
(whisper)
If there were no limitations, what
could be done?

Tabitha's eyes move to her husband's. Victor looks directly
at Edward who stares back quietly. Beat.

VICTOR
(whisper)
What are you asking me?

EDWARD
(whisper)
Is there anything at all that can be
done to mend the boy?

Beat. Edward's eyes are tearing up.

EDWARD
(whisper)
Please Victor, would you be so kind
as to answer my question...

Tabitha and Victor stare in stunned silence. Beat.

VICTOR
There is one other option.

CUT TO:

EXT. WALKER PORCH DAY

Ivy Walker sits still in a rocker on the porch of her cabin.
She does not look over as her father comes onto the porch
and stands by her. Beat.

IVY
Has he passed?

WALKER
No.
(beat)
You know the moment I heard my child's
vision had finally failed her, and
that she would forever be blind, I
was sitting in that very chair.
(beat)
I was so ashamed.

IVY
(soft)
Why?

WALKER
(soft)
For not protecting you.
(beat)
Could we take a walk Ivy?

CUT TO:

EXT. WALKING PATH DAY

Edward and his daughter move along a walking path. Edward
leads her off the path onto the grass. They continue walking.

WALKER
What do you know about your
grandfather?

IVY
He was the wealthiest man in the
towns.

WALKER
That he was. He had a gift for that.
If he was given one dollar, in less
than a fortnight he would have turned
it into five. You do not know of
money. It is not a part of our life
here. Money can be a wicked thing.
It can turn men's hearts black...
Good men's hearts. My father could
not see this. For all his gifts, he
was a poor judge of a man's character.
Your grandfather was a good man Ivy.
He had a laugh that could be heard
three houses away. He used to hold
my hand as I hold yours.
(beat)
He taught me strength and showed me
love and told me to lead when others
would only follow.
(beat)
Your grandfather James Walker, died
in his sleep. A man put a gun to his
head and shot him while he dreamed.
I tell you this, so you will
understand some of the reasons for
my actions and the actions of others.
(beat)
You are a strong one Ivy. You lead
when others would follow. You see
light when there is only darkness. I
trust you among all others.

They stop walking.

IVY
Thank you father.

WALKER
Ivy do you know where you are?

IVY
At the old shed that is not to be
used.

They stand next to a worn shed hidden in tall grass.

Edward opens the lock on the small shed.

WALKER
Ivy...

IVY
Yes, father.

WALKER
Do your best not to scream.

IVY
What?

CUT TO:

INT. SHED DAY

WE ARE IN THE DARKNESS OF A SHED. LIGHT POURS IN AS EDWARD
OPENS THE DOOR. He steps in.

He puts out his hand and helps Ivy inside.

IVY
There is an odd smell.

WALKER
It is ahead of you.

IVY
What is it?

WALKER
I cannot explain in words.
(beat)
It is just a few steps.

Beat. Ivy steps forward. Her hands go out - searching. Her
fingers reach into the shadows of the shed.

She touches something. Her hand glides over the GLISTENING
FUR. Her fingers graze the TEETH. IT MOVES.

Ivy pulls back and stifles a scream with her own hands.

Edward catches her.

IVY
-- Those We Don't Speak Of.

Edward holds her gently.

WALKER
Do not be frightened. It is only
farce.

WE SEE IN THE DARKNESS NOW. HANGING FROM WOODEN RAFTERS ARE
NINE OR TEN SUITS OF FUR AND CLAWS. EACH ONE HAS A HUMP --
EACH HAS DARK AND LIFELESS EYES.

THE COSTUMES CREAK AS THEY SWING SLIGHTLY ON THEIR HOOKS.

CUT TO:

EXT. BEHIND OLD SHED DAY

Ivy is seated in the grass with her back to the shed. Edward
stands near her.

WALKER
There did exist rumors of creatures
in these woods. It is in one of the
history books I used to teach in the
towns.

Ivy nods as if she understands.

IVY
The ceremony of meat.

WALKER
We remove it ourselves. An elder is
always assigned.

IVY
The drills? They are farce too?

WALKER
We did not want anyone to go to the
towns Ivy.

IVY
What about the animals? The skinned
ones? Are the elders responsible for
that too?

WALKER
It was not us. We do not know what
did that.

Beat.

Ivy's face begins to tremble. Edward kneels down.

Edward Walker reaches out and takes Ivy's hand in his. He
places a TINY FOLDED PAPER in her hand and closes her fingers
over it.

WALKER
(whispers)
On this paper has been written a
tool of medicine. It is common in
the towns.

Ivy looks up. Edward holds his hands tight over his daughter's
closed fingers.

WALKER
(whispers)
Lucius Hunt will pass if he does not
receive this soon. He may pass
regardless.
(beat)
You are to go with two others and
follow the path near the stream. A
half day's journey will bring you to
a hidden road. There, the two others
will wait as you continue. You alone
will follow the hidden road to the
end of Covington Woods.
(beat)
You are to tell no one in the towns
where we are and return with haste.
(beat)
You gave your heart to this boy. His
mother is in need. Are you ready to
take on this burden, which, by right,
is yours and yours alone?

Father and daughter are crying. They are leaning towards
each other now. Their foreheads almost touching.

IVY
(whispers)
I do.

CUT TO:

INT. WALKER CABIN DAY

Edward Walker sits at the small table next to the stove. He
waits outside the open door to Ivy's bedroom.

Through the doorway we see her packing a cloth bag. Her yellow
cloak lies on the bed.

CUT TO:

EXT. COURTYARD DAY

Ivy moves through the courtyard. Her walking stick moves
steadily back and forth. Her cloth bag is stuffed and hangs
against her back.

CUT TO:

EXT. RESTING ROCK DAY

Ivy sits in her yellow cloak. Her hood is up over her head.
She sits on the enormous rock embedded in the base of the
hill.

Her hand moves under her hood. She looks like she's wiping
tears, but we cannot see her face.

Ivy just sits there... gathering strength.

THERE IS A NOISE. She looks up. Two cloaked figures emerge
from the path. They stand in silence across from her.

CUT TO:

INT. SICK CABIN DAY

Alice sits in a chair to the side of Lucius' bed. Lucius
lies under the sheets asleep. His hair is damp. His face is
white. His breathing is shallow and labored.

THE SOUND OF THE DOOR TO THE CABIN OPENING AND CLOSING CAN
BE HEARD.

Edward walks into the cabin. He moves towards Alice and
Lucius. They are the only three in the cabin. Beat.

EDWARD
(soft)
Alice, I have sent for help.

Alice looks up. Beat.

EDWARD
(soft)
I have sent Ivy to the towns.

Now Alice stands.

ALICE
(soft)
-- You cannot

Alice starts crying. Edward wants to touch her. He leans
towards her.

EDWARD
(soft)
It is all that I can give you.
(trembling)
...It is all that I can give you.

Alice looks at the man standing so close to her. She looks
in his childlike eyes.

ALICE
(soft)
I accept.

They stand together, almost touching. They both are trembling.
Beat.

Edward gently nods and steps away. Alice slowly takes a seat
next to her son. She holds her son's hand tight.

CUT TO:

EXT. BORDER NEAR CREEK DAY

Three cloaked figures move towards the line of trees at the
start of the woods. The two large figures flank the smaller
one. They all carry cloth bags on their back.

There is a creek to their right. It travels from the woods
into their valley.

The three stop at the border.

We see their faces under their hoods. Ivy Walker is in the
center. To her one side, is Christop Crane. To her other
side is Finton Coin.

Ivy's fingers run over the yellow slash of paint on the tree
bark. She listens and hears the SNAPPING OF THE YELLOW FLAG
ABOVE HER. YELLOW FLAGS SNAP IN THE DISTANCE ON THE EITHER
SIDE OF HER.

Finton glances to the soil and sees the claw marks in the
dirt just in front of them. He looks over to Christop who
has seen them too. Finton looks like he may faint on the
spot.

Ivy is the first to move. She holds out her stick and takes
a step. Her foot presses into the dirt amongst the large
clawed footprints. The others follow.

Ivy steps into the woods. She makes it to her sixth step
before Finton's trembling hand touches her shoulder. She
turns to him.

FINTON
Christop.

Ivy turns and faces back the way she came. Christop stands
on the other side of the border. He has not stepped into the
woods with them.

IVY
Christop make haste.

Christop stands crying at the forbidden line.

CHRISTOP
(crying)
I beg your pardon.

IVY
You needn't be scared. You were told.

CHRISTOP
(crying)
I will be unable to join you.

IVY
They had costumes Christop.

FINTON
Please Christop, do not leave us.

IVY
There is nothing to fear.

CHRISTOP
-- Then why do you wear the cloak of
the safe color?

Finton looks at Ivy wearing her yellow cloak. Her hood is
up. He realizes the truth in what Christop is saying.

IVY
We will light torches. It will be
safe.

Ivy stares in the direction of Christop's voice. Her eyes
are steeled.

IVY
Do not worry what will happen. Only
what needs to be done.

Christop wavers for a second. Beat. He is still crying as he
backs away.

CHRISTOP
(crying)
It is forbidden.

Finton watches as Christop backs away. He turns and moves
down the slope out of sight. Beat.

IVY
Come if you are coming.

Finton turns and finds Ivy walking into the woods. Her walking
stick taps trees as she moves.

Finton stands where he is. He lets her get ten feet away
before running and catching up to her.

CUT TO:

EXT. TREE TOPS DAY

We look down from the branches of the trees. Below us is a
bed of leaves and dirt. The leaves come to life and begin
swirling in agitation. The wind moves through the trees like
a presence.

Down below, two specters in yellow move through the woods.
Their hoods pulled tight over their scared faces.

CUT TO:

EXT. BACK OF SICK CABIN DAY

The elders have gathered behind the sick cabin.

They wait and watch as August Nicholson comes around the
corner. He hurries over.

AUGUST
(whispers)
I had a difficult time getting away.
(beat)
What is it?

Everyone turns to Edward. He gathers himself before he speaks.

EDWARD
(whispers)
I have sent Ivy to the towns to
retrieve medical supplies.

The elders are stunned. Mr. and Mrs. Percy stand like ghosts.

MRS. CLACK
What have you done?

EDWARD
Lucius has a chance --

MRS. CLACK
We have agreed, never to go back -
never.

EDWARD
What was the purpose of our leaving?
Let us not forget, it was out of
hope of something good and right.

MR. PERCY
You should not have made decisions
without us. You have gone too far.

EDWARD
I am guilty Robert. I made a decision
of the heart. I cannot look into
Alice's eyes and see the same look I
see in August's. It is too painful.

August stares at Edward.

EDWARD
I cannot bare it.

MRS. CLACK
You have jeopardized everything we
have made.

EDWARD
Yes I have. I hope I am always able
to risk everything for the right and
just cause. If we did not make this
decision - we could never again
call ourselves innocent. And that in
the end is what we have protected
here - innocence.
(beat)
That, I am not ready to give up.

Beat.

AUGUST
There is still hope.

Edward looks to August and smiles.

EDWARD
Yes there is my dear friend.

MRS. CLACK
How could you have sent her? She is
blind.

Edward stares at Mrs. Clack.

EDWARD
I sent her because I trust her. And
it is in her blindness that our town's
hope lives.

Beat. They all stand in silence.

CUT TO:

EXT. WOODS AFTERNOON

Two torches have been lit and fit atop two thick branches
stuck into the ground.

We hear the SIZZLE OF TINY RAIN DROPS AS THEY HIT THE FOREST
FLOOR. Ivy and Finton tie a heavy cloth trap by its corners
to nearby trees. They are racing the growing drizzle around
them.

CUT TO:

EXT. TENT LATE AFTERNOON

Finton and Ivy are seated with knees to their chests under
the cloth tarp.

THE OVERWHELMING SOUND OF A DOWN POUR ECHOES THROUGHOUT THE
FOREST.

Finton stares through the gray wall of pounding rain all
around him. Everything is a blur.

In the haziness of the world of trees around him, THERE IS A
THING OF DARKNESS. Finton leans forward a bit as he stare
more intently.

Rain continues to cloud and obscure his view. THE THING OF
DARKNESS FAR AWAY SEEMS TO FLICKER AND MOVE.

Finton's mouth opens a bit as he stares. THE THING OF DARKNESS
SEEMS TO GET SMALLER AND THEN GETS WASHED AWAY BY THE RAIN.

Finton waits and watches. There is nothing to be seen but
the constant downfall of rain. Beat. Finton turns to Ivy.
She remains huddled and quiet. Finton turns back to the rain
and looks around nervously.

CUT TO:

EXT. TENT SITE DUSK

The rain has stopped.

Finton stands with his bag over his shoulder. He peels away
layers of soggy cloth from the torches.

FINTON
They are useless.

Finton turns and walks slowly over to Ivy who stands by the
tent. Beat.

FINTON
Ivy.

IVY
You may go.

FINTON
Darkness will be here soon.

IVY
It is always here for me.

FINTON
It is not too late to return.
(beat)
There must be another way to help
Lucius.

Beat. Ivy continues to stand with her back to Finton.

FINTON
Do not pretend you do not feel it.
There is something in these woods.
It turns my stomach to rot. The elders
themselves admit there were stories
of creatures in these woods long
before they arrived.

Ivy does not turn to face him. Beat.

FINTON
(emotional)
You will be safe. They will not harm
you because you cannot see. They
will take pity on you as they took
pity on Noah when he ventured into
the woods.
(beat)
They will kill me Ivy. I cannot stay.

We see Ivy's face. She is frightened.

IVY
It is my burden, Finton. You may go.

When she hears THE SOUND OF FINTON'S FOOTSTEPS RUNNING AWAY,
all she can do is close her eyes.

CUT TO:

EXT. TENT NIGHT

The forest has turned to shadows and black. There is a small
figure huddled under the cloth tarp. She is huddled under
her yellow cloak. Her hood is pulled low over her face. She
lets only her tired eyes peek through.

THE SOUND OF THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF CICADAS FILL THE
AIR WITH THEIR HIGH PITCHED VIBRATO. THE SOUND SEEMS TO GET
LOUDER AND LOUDER. UNNATURALLY LOUD.

Ivy has to cover her ears. Her head bows and we lose sight
of her eyes.

CUT TO:

EXT. WOODS MORNING

A slender hand is held out in the air. It slowly pivots till
A PATCH OF SUN WASHES OVER ITS PALM. Ivy uses the heat from
the sun to guide her direction.

Ivy's silhouette moves against the harsh slant of the morning
sun.

Her cane moves back and forth in front of her.

Tap. She adjusts and moves around a tree. Her feet are
stepping in mud. She keeps moving.

Tap. She adjusts and continues forward. He left foot lands
in deeper mud. She pulls it out and keeps going.

Tap. She changes position and takes a step. THERE IS NO GROUND
WHERE SHE STEPS. HER HANDS GO OUT AS SHE FALLS. SHE GRABS
THE EARTH AS IT SLAMS INTO HER ARMS.

SHE IS HANGING ON AN EDGE. SHE TRIES TO PULL HERSELF UP. THE
GROUND IS ALL MUD - SHE BEGINS TO SLIDE. SHE FLAILS AS SHE
DISAPPEARS INTO THE HOLE IN THE FOREST.

WE WATCH FROM ABOVE as she comes to a stop ten feet down the
hole's wall.

CUT TO:

EXT. HOLD MORNING

Ivy is in a hole about fifteen feet deep. At the bottom there
are the SOUNDS OF WATER RUNNING OVER ROCKS.

Her walking stick has wedged into the roots of some trees
that are sticking out in this hole in the ground.

Some loose rocks and dirt come free as Ivy finds her footing
in the mud wall.

The debris falls to the rock floor.

Ivy catches her breath before pulling herself up.

CUT TO:

EXT. WOODS NEAR HOLE MORNING

We see her stick climb over the edge of the hole. Her hand
is the next in view as it takes hold of some roots to drag
herself out.

She finds the base of a tree and moves to standing.

Her fingers travel over an unusual CROOKED BRANCH of the
tree. She ducks under it and steps away from the hole.

She takes a couple heavy breaths... and begins to laugh. It
is a tired laugh as she whips her hands at her sides to get
the thick mud off her fingers.

She puts her hand to her cloak. It comes away full of mud...
She slowly stops smiling. Her other hand goes to the surface
of her cloak. It comes away with slick mud.

WE SEE IVY NOW, FULL FIGURE. HER CLOAK AND HOOD IS COATED IN
MUD. HARDLY ANY OF THE SAFE COLOR YELLOW CAN BE SEEN.

Ivy starts wiping the mud from her cloak. Her movements are
even at first and then become more desperate as her hands
just slide over the slick mud.

We watch her in SILHOUETTE frantically trying to wipe off
the mud.

CUT TO:

EXT. WOODS DAY

The mud caked figure of Ivy moves through the forest. Her
walking cane swings back and forth.

Tap. Crack.

Ivy stops walking. She runs her hand over the cane and finds
it fractured three-quarters of the way down.

Her fingers tremble over the crack. She takes hold of each
end and checks its strength. THE CANE SNAPS. THE SOUND ECHOES
THROUGH THE AIR.

A moment later, WE HEAR ANOTHER SNAP SOMEWHERE FAR AWAY.

Ivy turns. Beat. She remains still under her hood. We watch
as she slowly lowers to the ground. Her hand reaches out to
the ground. Her fingers search the leaves. After a moment,
her hand finds a rock.

She hesitates, and then throws the rock as far as she can.
It lands with a CRUNCH IN A BED OF LEAVES.

Ivy stays crouched and listens. THE WIND RUSTLES. Beat.

AND THEN WE HEAR IT -- THE IDENTICAL SOUND OF A ROCK LANDING
IN A BED OF LEAVES SOMEWHERE BEHIND HER.

Ivy rises in terror. Her hood slips off her head as she starts
to move. Her hands go out in front of her as she begins to
run.

Branches slap at her arms and face. Her hand slams into a
tree, she SCREAMS IN PAIN. She tries not to stop, she moves
around it and keeps running.

Another tree catches her shoulder. She spins and almost falls
to the ground. She clutches her shoulder as she gathers her
balance. She keeps running.

She holds her hand up as she runs through a collection of
small branches. They shatter against her forearm. She does
not stop.

Ivy's hands start waving in front of her like her walking
stick. She is running as fast as she can.

SHE PASSES INCHES FROM A LARGE TREE THAT WOULD HAVE CRUSHED
HER. She keeps running.

The branches stop striking her arms. She is racing through a
slight clearing. She is out of breath. She slows and stumbles
to an exhausted stop.

She breathes slowly and looks around, listening in all
directions. WE PULL BACK AND SEE SHE IS STANDING ALONG A
HILLSIDE COVERED IN RED FLOWERS. THE BAD COLOR BLANKETS THE
GROUND ALL AROUND HER.

Beat. AS HER BREATHING BECOMES SOFTER AND MORE NORMAL ANOTHER
SOUND CAN BE HEARD.

IT IS ALSO BREATHING, BUT IT IS MORE ANIMAL IN NATURE -
STRONG SNORTING SOUNDS - HORSE LIKE.

Ivy turns slowly in a circle till she finds the direction of
the SLOW ANIMAL SNORTING.

Beat. STANDING FORTY FEET AWAY FROM HER IS THE LARGE DARK
UPRIGHT FIGURE OF A HUMPED CREATURE. IT STANDS WITH ITS BACK
TO IVY.

THIS CREATURE IS LARGER AND HAIRIER THEN THE COSTUMES THE
ELDERS HAD.

THE CREATURE ROCKS A BIT SIDE TO SIDE LIKE ITS AGITATED.

Ivy moves ultra-slow. She begins backing up. She makes it a
few feet before bumping up against the thick trunk of a tree.

THE CREATURE REMAINS WHERE IT IS, WITH ITS BACK TO US, ROCKING
BACK AND FORTH.

Ivy edges around the trunk of the tree. She moves around it
till she is hidden. WE LOSE SIGHT OF THE CREATURE FORTY FEET
AWAY.

Ivy has her back to the bark. Her chest rises and falls with
her panicked breaths. She listens. WE CANNOT HEAR THE ANIMAL
BREATHING.

Beat. Ivy leans back around the tree slowly. WE SEE FORTY
FEET AWAY, THE CREATURE IS NO LONGER THERE.

WE SUDDENLY HEAR A VERY LOUD ANIMAL SNORT.

Ivy jerks back.

Ivy's face tilts down. WE SEE AT THE BASE OF THE TREE, AN
ENORMOUS MOUND OF FUR. THE MOUND SHAKES AS IT BREATHES OUT
LOUDLY. THE CREATURE LIES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TREE.

Ivy begins the longest walk of her life. Her striking face
remains quiet with exhaustion and fear as she keeps moving.
The tree in the background behind her gets smaller and
smaller.

She gets a hundred feet away before we HEAR THE ANIMAL GROWL
LOW AND MENACING. Ivy stops. She has to turn and face the
sound.

THE CREATURE IS NOW STANDING NEXT TO THE TREE. WE BARELY SEE
ITS DULL LIFELESS EYES UNDER ITS FUR.

There the two face each other across a hundred feet of woods.
There is a terrible stillness; the kind of stillness people
often feel before something awful is about to happen.

Suddenly the creature starts moving in long and fast strides
towards Ivy.

Ivy reacts too slow to the ON COMING SOUND. She turns and
begins running...

THE ANGRY ANIMAL SOUNDS GAIN ON HER... SHE SCREAMS...

THE FIRST BLOW IS FAST AND SUDDEN. ALL WE SEE IS FUR AND
CLAWS. IVY IS KNOCKED TO THE GROUND VIOLENTLY.

THE CREATURE CONTINUES PAST HER MOVING INTO THE WOODS. WE
SEE IT START TO TURN BACK ABOUT FIFTY FEET AWAY - LIKE A
BULL IN A BULL FIGHT.

Ivy get ups. She has a set of fresh cuts along the side of
her neck.

Ivy turns and runs into the thickest part of the forest.

CUT TO:

EXT. DENSE WOODS DAY

Her hands go out again as branches and trees close in around
her. She fights her way through.

HER OWN BREATHING, AND THE BREAKING OF BRANCHES AND THE CRUSH
OF LEAVES FILL HER EARS AS SHE RUNS.

A tangle of branches from a clump of trees slows her. She
slaps and strikes at the branches. They snap and break off.

She runs untill she can run no more. She slows out of pure
exhastion. She comes to a stop. Her hands hold onto a thick
branch in front of her as she rests.

THERE ARE NOISES BEHIND HER.

She is too tired to move. Her hands tremble on the branch.

THE NOISES GET LOUDER.

Her fingers slide over the CROOKED BRANCH. Her fingers stop
with recognition. They go back over the crooked bend in the
branch.

WE HEAR LOUD MOVEMENT -- GALLOPING IN THE DRY LEAVES. BRANCHES
SNAP QUICKLY BEHIND HER.

Ivy steps around the branch. Beat. Ivy closes her eyes...

THE CREATURE STRIDES TOWARDS HER...

Ivy raises her arms at her sides. Her body makes the form of
the crucifix. She stands steady as THE SOUNDS OF THE CREATURE
RUSH TOWARDS HER...

She holds.

THE CREATURE IS SUDDENLY UPON HER...

At the last possible second, she moves. It is fast and
unexpected. HER FEET SLIDE ON THE MUDDY EDGE AS SHE DIVES
QUICKLY TO THE SIDE...

THE CREATURE'S CLAWS JUST GRAZE HER MUDDIED ROBE AS IT DROPS
INTO THE HOLE IN THE WOODS.

CUT TO:

INT. QUIET ROOM DAY

The door to quiet room is unlocked. Robert and Vivian Percy
open the door. They hold food in a wooden plate in their
hands.

VIVIAN PERCY
Noah?

They step into the musty room. Their eyes go to the center
of the room's floor. A handful of floorboards have been pulled
up.

In the hole beneath the floor boards THERE ARE CHICKEN
FEATHERS AND BITS OF ANIMAL FUR. A PATCH WHERE TWO FUR PIECES
HAVE BEEN KNITTED TOGETHER LIES ON THE WOODEN FLOOR BY THE
OVERTURNED FLOOR BOARDS.

Vivian Percy drops the plate of food.

In the back of the quiet room, the potato sacks have been
pushed aside. Where they sat against the wall is an opening
three feet in width and height. HARSH SUNLIGHT POURS IN
THROUGH THE OPENING.

CUT TO:

EXT. HOLE IN WOODS DAY

The creature lies utterly still.

WE SEE THE CREATURE'S FUR IS RAGGED AND MADE UP OF DOZEN AND
DOZENS OF ANIMAL FURS PATCHED TOGETHER.

THE CHICKEN FEATHERS THAT HAVE FILLED IT'S HUMP HAVE SPILLED
OUT OVER THE VIOLENTLY SHAPED ROCKS THAT THE CREATURE IS
LAYING ON.

ITS HEAD LAY HALF ON AND HALF OFF.

Noah Percy is bloodied and crying. A surge of pain makes his
face a tight knot of strain. He gasps as his boyish eyes
dart around in panic. He wants to scream. He can't.

A wave of pain crushes his face again and then slowly relaxes.
He makes small whimpering sound. Tears fall down his cheeks.
He does not make another sound. His eyes stare forever frozen
in a moment of a young boy's shock.

WE SEE THE SILHOUETTED FIGURE OF IVY STANDING ON THE EDGE OF
HOLE LOOKING DOWN. SHE IS LIKE A GOTHIC HOODED FIGURE against
the bright sky.

CUT TO:

EXT. EDGE OF HOLE DAY

Ivy listens for noises below. None comes. She backs away
form the edge. She turns and shakily moves through the tangle
of branches.

Her hands find the crooked branch. She feels its strength
and then takes hold of it. She pulls and tugs at it until
she feels it crack. She pulls down with all her weight and
the thick branch snaps off.

CUT TO:

EXT. WOODS DAY

Ivy's new walking stick moves back and forth in front of
her. TAP. It hits a tree, she moves around it.

The wind starts to blow hard. Leaves start to swirl around
her.

THEN SHE HEARS THE FIRST WAIL FROM THE WOODS.

Her stick stops moving.

THE WAIL IS LIKE A SCREAM AND IT IS NOT HUMAN. THE FIRST
WAIL IS JOINED BY ANOTHER AND THEN ANOTHER.

THE SCREAMS AND WAILS COME FROM ALL DIRECTIONS. THE SOUND IS
OVERWHELMING.

Ivy drops her stick and covers her ears.

WE SEE WHAT SHE CANNOT... THE TREES IN THESE WOODS HAVE HOLES
THROUGH THE CENTERS OF THEM. WE WATCH AS WIND TRAVELS THROUGH
THESE HOLES AND CAUSES A SOUND... A SCREAM.

IVY
(yelling)
It is for love that I am here! I beg
you to let me pass!

Beat. THE SCREAMS CONTINUE FORM THE WOODS AS THE LEAVES KEEP
SWIRLING.

Ivy's hands lower from her ears.

WE HEAR NON-HUMAN SCREAMS FROM FAR OFF IN THE WOODS.

Ivy reaches down and finds the branch she was using as a
walking stick. She rises to her feet defiantly.

IVY
(crying)
It is for love --

THE SCREAMS AND WAILS SEEM TO MOVE AND SWARM AROUND HER.

She takes her first step. She is trembling but finds strength
to take a second. Her stick starts moving back and forth as
her steps turn into a walk and her walk turns into a run.

CUT TO:

INT. SICK CABIN AFTERNOON

Lucius Hunt struggles hard to breathe. Alice Walker keeps a
steady watch over her son.

Edward Walker steps next to her chair. He watches Lucius
fighting to live.

EDWARD
(soft)
His will to live is very strong.

Alice turns in Edward's direction.

ALICE
(soft)
Love of your daughter makes him
strong.

Edward nods. He moves towards the entrance to the sick cabin.
His wife Tabitha waits for him there. He opens the door and
he and Tabitha exit together.

CUT TO:

EXT. GRAVEL ROAD AFTERNOON

Ivy's stick moves back and forth through high weeds. She
holds her palm out and continues to check the location of
the sun.

Suddenly, the weeds are gone. The stick moves back and forth
unimpeded. THERE IS A CRUNCH UNDER HER FEET.

Ivy stops. She taps her stick to the ground and HEARS THE
SMALL TICKS OF STONES.

Ivy instantly becomes agitated and excited. She starts moving
forward, her STEPS CRUNCHING UNDERNEATH HER. She moves until
she feels her stick hitting weeds again.

She knows the width of the GRAVEL ROAD she is on.

She turns around and counts her steps back to the centre.
She holds her hand up and searches for a patch of sun. She
finds it. She turns and faces her body east.

Ivy is breathing heavy form excitement. She starts forward.
With each step there is a CRUNCH. THE CRUNCHES START TO GET
CLOSER TOGETHER AS IVY STARTS PICKING UP HER PACE.

Ivy removes the cloth bag from her shoulder. She lets it
drop to the gravel and dirt as she walks.

She starts walking faster.

Ivy starts tugging at her mud caked cloak. She juggles her
walking stick as she pulls the dirty cloth over her head.
She slips her arms out of the tangled cloth and drops the
crumpled cloak to the gravel and dirt floor.

Ivy starts running.

CUT TO:

INT. WALKER CABIN AFTERNOON

Edward Walker and Tabitha are standing in their cabin. They
are holding hands. The cabin is silent. There is no one else
there.

Edward gently lets go of his wife's hand and moves to the
corner of the cabin. Tabitha's eyes follow her husband. She
turns and walks to the front door and closes it.

We watch her put the wooden plank in place to lock it.

CUT TO:

EXT. WALL OF VINES AFTERNOON

Ivy runs on the hidden dirt and gravel road. Her stick waves
low and in front of her.

THERE IS A SUDDEN THUD AS THE STICK HITS A PACK OF FOLIAGE.

Ivy comes to a quick stop with her hands out. Both hands get
swallowed into greenery.

Ivy feels around with her hands. There is A WALL OF VINES
AND WEEDS IN FRONT OF HER.

Ivy moves to her side and finds the wall of foliage continues
into the woods.

Ivy stops and puts down her walking stick. She reaches up
and searches for something to hold. She wedges her foot into
a clump of knotted weeds and pulls herself up onto the wall
of green.

CUT TO:

INT. WALKER CABIN AFTERNOON

Edward Walker turns the key of the BLACK BOX. He lifts the
lid into its standing position.

Tabitha stands at his side.

Edward reaches into the darkness of the box. There is some
folding clothing. His hands push aside the first layers and
take hold of a heavy cloth. He pulls it out. We see its blue
unfold as he raises it. Dusts dances off of it and swirls in
the air.

Tabitha takes a slow breath. Edward Walker stares at it with
his sad childlike eyes.

WE LEAVE EDWARD AND TABITHA WALKER IN THEIR CABIN STARING AT
THE PAIR OF FADED BLUE JEANS EDWARD HOLDS IN HIS HANDS.

CUT TO:

EXT. HIGHWAY AFTERNOON

WE ARE LOOKING THROUGH A TRUCK'S WINDSHIELD. WE SEE A
DASHBOARD WITH A STYROFOAM CUP. WE SEE A HAND HOLDING A
STEERING WHEEL.

WE ARE MOVING ALONG A HIGHWAY lined on one side by forest. A
ten-foot mesh fence covered over with vines and weeds borders
the forest.

In the distance there is a SPOT OF WHITE climbing down the
weed-covered fence.

WE ARE MOVING FAST. THE SPOT GETS LARGER.

THE WHITE SPOT turns into a figure dressed in white, which
lands in the weeds at the side of the highway.

WE ARE MOVING ALONG SIDE IT.

THE FIGURE IN WHITE IS A GIRL. SHE STEPS OUT IN FRONT OF THE
TRUCK.

THE DELIVERY TRUCK SWERVES TO AVOID HER; IT SWERVES INTO THE
ONCOMING LANE AND LOSES CONTROL.

THE TRUCK ARCS IN THE ROAD; THE SCREAM OF BRAKES SHATTERS
THE AIR.

The truck comes to a stop in the middle of the highway.

We hear a SNAP as the truck door opens.

THE TRUCK DRIVER gets out.

He looks frustrated and walks to the girl who stands in the
middle of the highway.

TRUCK DRIVER
I didn't see you --

The striking looking girl stands with her hands at her ears.

TRUCK DRIVER
Are you hurt?

The girl slowly lowers her hands. She stares in his direction.

GIRL
What was that noise?

TRUCK DRIVER
What are you doing out here?

Beat.

GIRL
Are you from the towns?

The young truck driver looks at the white girl's old-fashioned
clothing for the first time.

TRUCK DRIVER
Where did you come from?

Beat.

GIRL
The woods. You ought not tell anyone.

TRUCK DRIVER
You need help or something?

GIRL
A doctor of medicine. I need to find
these things. We must hurry.

The girl holds out her hand. There is a dirty paper folded
in it. The driver steps forward and takes the paper. He
unfolds it. Beat.

TRUCK DRIVER
I have two or three syringes in my
first aid kit. You can have them if
you want.

GIRL
You have the things written on the
paper?

TRUCK DRIVER
I think so.
(beat)
Is someone sick?

The girl suddenly has tears in her eyes. Beat. She nods,
"yes."

CUT TO:

EXT. GAS STATION LATE AFTERNOON

The same large delivery truck sits at a small country gas
station by the side of the highway.

The truck driver finishes filling the tank and walks to the
tiny wood shingled building that serves as the gas station.

There is a bench outside the door to the shingled building.
AN OLD WOMAN AND AN OLD MAN are seated there. They are
weathered and fairly unpleasant to look at. They are wearing
multiple coats each. Their bodies have kind of melted into
the bench from years of sitting there.

The truck driver steps up.

OLD WOMAN
Twenty-five dollars please.

TRUCK DRIVER
Twenty-five?

OLD WOMAN
Pennsylvania Gas Tax.

TRUCK DRIVER
Oh.

He pulls the cash out of his wallet and hands it over.

TRUCK DRIVER
Pardon me, but what is that over
there?

The truck driver points across the highway to the ten-foot
fence covered in ivy and weeds that lines the road.

OLD WOMAN
Private property.

TRUCK DRIVER
Who lives there?

OLD WOMAN
No one. It's for animals. Seventy-
two thousand acres of woods. No one's
loud to step foot in there. They got
it fixed so planes ain't even allowed
over it.

TRUCK DRIVER
But who lives there now?

OLD WOMAN
No one. Ain't you listening?
(beat)
Walker family owns it. But they ain't
none of them left. The youngest son,
a history professor disappeared some
twenty-five years ago. They got some
estate watching over it now.

Beat. The young driver stands thinking.

OLD MAN
Why are you all curious?

The three of them stare at each other. The truck driver look
like he's going to say something. An eternal beat.

TRUCK DRIVER
Just curious.

The young truck driver nods and heads back to his delivery
truck.

The old man turns to his wife.

OLD MAN
Pennsylvania Gas Tax? - Good one
Paula.

The old woman laughs a phlegmy, hard laugh that shakes the
bench.

The truck driver gets into the cab of his truck. He sees
through his window the old couple laughing in the bench. He
shakes his head.

TRUCK DRIVER
Crazy-fucking-white people.

HE TURNS THE IGNITION ON and pulls away form the country gas
station.

WE SEE his truck on the highway as it rides along the ten-
foot fence that marks the preserve. The weed-covered wall
goes on for as long as the eye can see. It stretches out
till it disappears into the horizon, like some painting in a
children's book.

FADE TO BLACK:

THE END

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