The Darkness Before Return to

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               And he suddenly gasps!

               RUSSELL LASSARD'S eyes snap open and he sucks in air, his
               body leaping forward, awake.

               INT. SUV - DAY

               Russ is in the passenger seat.  His wife Clara is behind the

               She turns to him.

                         Are you okay?  Do you need your

               Russ wipes his eyes. 

                         No.  I'm fine.  Where are we?

                         Just left St. Louis.  We're not

               Long moment.  Russ seems confused.  Heavy eyes.  

               EXT. ROAD - DAY

               The SUV blows past us.  We stay.  Look up at the sign they've
               just passed.

                                       Little Rock

                                        220 miles

               FADE TO BLACK. 


               Russ pumps gas as Clara approaches from the station.  She
               speaks with a slight southern accent.

                         I got you a Coke.


               He finishes off.  Clara climbs in the drivers side.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         I need to use the restroom.


               He wanders away.


               God vomited here.  It's disgusting, not in the way most
               sketchy gas station bathrooms are disgusting.  It reeks. 
               Pours grey and filth across the screen.

               Russ flips a switch and a florescent light flashes.  He
               stands before the sink and stares at his reflection in the
               mirror.  Pale.  Blue eyes read grey like the walls.  Frowns. 
               Tosses water on his face.

               He stares in the mirror again.  The lights snap off, then on
               again.  A low buzz, faint, in the background.

               Russ closes his eyes.  Rubs them with his hands.

               The frightening figure of a TEENAGE GIRL, bloodied and
               bruised, is seen standing right behind him. 

               Russ opens his eyes.  Sees the girl in the mirror.  Stares.

               She... smiles.  Blood drips from her lips...

               Russ is motionless.  Just stares.

               And a moment later... she is gone.

               Russ rubs his eyes again.

               No sound but water dripping... leaking and moving in the

               INT. SUV - AFTERNOON

               Russ blankly stares ahead.

               A MINIVAN passes them; in the back seat a SIX YEAR OLD GIRL
               presses her face out of the back window.  Pulls back. 
               Smiles.  Waves.  Blows a kiss.

               Russ catches it.  Brings his hand to his lips.

               The Minivan speeds ahead.  The car and the child disappear in
               the horizon.

                         A cute thing.

               Russ sighs.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         It will get better.

               Russ nods.  Russ turns away.  Gazes out the passenger window.

               EXT. HIGHWAY - AFTERNOON

               An oil paint vanilla sky above shadowy rolling hills.  Below,
               an explosion of color from dense dogwoods that swallow their

               EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD - DUSK

               Gliding down from above... to GRAND BLUFFS towering above the
               Arkansas river... past a clearing at the top... Then a thick
               forest... past it... to a pretty, serene neighborhood of
               white homes topped by dark grey shingles.

               The Legend Appears:

                                   Mayflower, Arkansas

               EXT. HOME - DUSK

               The SUV slows to a stop before a small but beautiful century
               old home.  But this place has been kept up.  Nurtured by
               loving owners.  

               Clara and Russ step from the car.  They stand side by side as
               they stare at the house.

                         All right, Professor... who was it
                         said you can't go home again?

                         Thomas Wolfe.

                         Well... he was wrong.

               Clara smiles.  

               INT. HOME - DUSK

               Russ and Clara scan their new surroundings.  BOXES fill empty
               spaces... but for the most part the furniture is arranged,
               and surprisingly clean.

               Russ moves slowly through the house.

                         Everything is here.


                         All of our things... the movers set
                         everything up.

                         I was very specific.

                         But everything.  It's as--

                         --As it should be, Russ.

               She crosses to him and touches his arm.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         Don't fret.  We're home.

               Russ nods.  She releases and heads to the kitchen.

               Russ' eyes sweep the room once again.  Hands glide to a box
               that... is not sealed... but closed by folding the four sides
               over each other.  

               FADE TO BLACK. 

               EXT. HOME - DAY

               A Saturday.  Russ slides a rake against the lawn, gathering
               the amber and cherry maple leaves into a pile.  

               The neighborhood is teaming with PEOPLE doing the same. 
               Chatter is white noise.  Lawn mowers mow.  Children laugh. 
               People shout "how-yal" at each other.  It is a beautiful day.

               Russ actually smiles as he takes it all in.  Not a bad place
               for a place you never imagined you'd live.  

               He takes a step forward toward the driveway.

               DOWN THE STREET-- a YOUNG WOMAN on a bike glides by.  Her
               head turns to Russ.

               Russ smiles to her.  

               The young woman smiles back.  

               Russ loses the smile... when he spots...


               a FIGURE, in black, peering out.  Eyes white.  No pupils. 
               Those eyes follow the Young Woman on the bike as she pedals
               out of frame.

               Russ feels dizzy.  Loses his balance.   Suddenly falls
               forward, SLAMMING his head onto the driveway.  Blood seeps.

               He continues to stare at the strange figure across the
               street.  The figure... that in a moment... disappears.

               Russ continues to bleed.  The world starts to blur, as now
               another FIGURE rushes forward from the distance.  Eyelids
               flutter as he tries to keep his eyes open; a battle he
               quickly loses.

               FADE TO BLACK.

               INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY

               Blackness.  The SOUND of rapid gunfire.

               Russ opens his eyes and sees the plump, full face of DR. JIM
               PRATHER hovers above him.  Russ wonders for a moment where...
               no, he's home.  On his couch.  

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         He's awake.

               Russ's eyes drift over to the--

               TELEVISION-- soldiers in the desert.  A news report from
               Iraq.  Bodies in the street.

               Prather follows Russ's glance to the TV.  Then back to Russ.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         Awful, now, isn't it?

               Russ says nothing.  Drags his eyes over Dr. Prather-- a stout
               frame.  Older.  Sixties maybe.  Soft features.  Looks like a
               grandfather.  Except for the blood, Russ's blood, soaking,
               still wet, on his white button down shirt.  

               Clara crosses into the room with a bag of ice and a towel. 
               She pushes out a heavy sigh.

                         Oh, thank goodness, Russ!  You
                         scared the wits out of me.  Jim, do
                         we need to take him to the

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         I don't think so.  His eyes are
                         fine.  No concussion, I think.  I
                         hope you don't mind, I took the
                         liberty of stitching you up myself
                         while you were sleeping.  Took
                         quite a nasty fall, Russ.

                         I... I must have tripped on

                         Russ, you are so lucky that Jim
                         here saw you fall.  You might have
                         bled to death!

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         I don't think that was really a
                         concern.  The ice, you should rest
                         that on his noggin.

                         I'm sorry, who are you?

               Clara sets the icepack on his head and tisks:

                         Now, Russ.  That's not polite.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Quite okay, Clara.  I'm Doctor Jim
                         Prather, Russ.  Your neighbor...
                         and an old friend of Clara's

                         My daddy and Jim had a practice
                         together for years.  Thick as
                         thieves the two of them were.

               Russ tries to sit up.  Head pounds.  He groans and Dr.
               Prather helps settle him back.

                                   DR. PRATHER 
                         I'd stay still for a little longer. 
                         Some aspirin.  Take two and call me
                         in the morning.

               Russ is bewildered.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         That's a joke, Russ.  Give it a few
                         more hours before you get up.  I'm
                         serious about the aspirin, though. 
                         Might need more than two.

               Russ stares at Prather's blood soaked shirt.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         Don't worry.  Looks worse than it

               Prather stands.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         Fact, I best go home and change. 
                         Watch your step next time, Russ. 
                         There's roots stickin' out all over
                         the yard.  Clara, nice to have you

                         Thank you so much, Jim.

               She plants a kiss on his cheek.

                                   DR. PRATHER

                         Thank you.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         I'll come back and check on you
                         when you're in a less... prostrate

               Clara sees him out.

               Russ reaches up and feels the bandage wrapped around his
               head.  Is stuck with the image of Dr. Prather, bloodied
               shirt, hovering above.

               He closes his eyes.

               FADE TO BLACK.

               INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Russ's eyes slowly open.  He is unsure for a moment where he
               is.  Slowly turns and sees Clara fast asleep beside him.  He
               takes in the silence.  Then... starts to hear a faint, soft
               voice from somewhere in the house.  He draws the covers down
               and glides out of bed.  Heads for the bedroom door.

               The sweet voice of a young child is louder now.  He makes out
               the words.  A hundred year old child's folk song:

                                   CHILD'S VOICE (O.C.)
                         The man around the corner swore
                         he'd kill the cat on sight...
                         He loaded up his shotgun with nails
                         and dynamite...

               Russ moves into the hallway

               INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY 

               Russ inches through the dark hallway. The voice... is louder

                                   CHILD'S VOICE (O.C.)
                         He waited and he waited for the cat
                         to come around... Ninety seven
                         pieces of the man is all they
                         found... But the cat came back the
                         very next day.  The cat came back,
                         we thought he was a goner...

               He approaches a bedroom.  The light is on... 


               His 16 year old daughter Samantha stands in the center of her
               room.  She is the figure from the bathroom, soaked in blood. 

               Samantha strokes a stuffed animal painting red into the fur. 
               She sings the song, apparently unaware of Russ's presence.

                             (still singing)
                         They tied a rope around its neck,
                         it must have weighed a pound.  Now
                         they drag the river for a little
                         boy that's drowned.  But the cat
                         came back the very next day... 


               Samantha stops petting the stuffed animal.  Slowly turns. 
               She smiles.

                         Hi, daddy.

               She stands and takes a step toward him.

                                   SAMANTHA (cont'd)
                         I've missed you.

                         I've missed you too.

               Samantha sets the stuffed animal down.  

               She stands, slowly.  Almost floats across the room to Russ. 
               Stares at him a moment.

                         You have to follow me.

                         Follow you where?

               Frowns.  She points beyond him.  He slowly turns.

               Light blinds his eyes.  He flinches.  The SOUND of SHRIEKING
               TIRES.  A car horn BLARES!

               SMASH TO BLACK.

               INT. BEDROOM - MORNING

               Russ's eyes snap open.  He is back in bed.  As if nothing had
               happened.  Sweat pours down his face.  He wipes it away and
               lifts himself out of bed.  The sun blares through an open

               INT. SHOWER - MORNING

               Russ closes his eyes and lets the water crash against his
               face.  He sighs.  Rubs the water out of his eyes.  

               He stands straight and grabs the soap.  Draws it across his
               body.  Fingers a SCAR ON HIS CHEST.  He remembers the crash. 
               The last memory he really has...

               Russell Lassard closes his eyes.

               FADE TO BLACK. 

               EXT. THE BLUFFS - MORNING

               High above the river.  A beautiful view.  This morning... a
               crime scene.  

               POLICE and DETECTIVES mill about the truck.  A WHITE SHEET is
               covering a body.  

               INT. CAR - MORNING

               DETECTIVE WILLIAM REECE is feeling his age this morning as
               the car he pilots drives up to the bluffs.  He is in his
               middle fifties.  He lets out a sigh.

               Stops the car and surveys the scene before him with tired

                                   DET. REECE

               He sighs again and then leans over and cracks open the glove

               INSIDE: a notebook, and a half drunk pint bottle of Jack

               He grabs the notebook and slips through the pages.  Scanning

                         "August, 2004, rail yard, dead
                         girl, one shot.  October, 2005,
                         riverbank, dead girl, one shot. 
                         August, 2006, cotton field, dead
                         girl, one shot."

               Reece plucks a pen from his shirt pocket and writes in the

                         "September, 2007, bluffs, dead
                         girl, one shot."

               He places the notebook back in the glove box and we now see
               what the shot is that he has referred to.  

               He grabs the pint bottle.  Reaches under the passenger seat
               and produces a shot glass.  Carefully pours himself a shot. 
               Downs it.  Feels the burn.  Coughs.  Puts all away and steps
               out of the car.

               EXT. THE BLUFFS - MORNING

               Det. Reece walks up next to a fellow DETECTIVE STEVE CARLIN,
               already taking notes.  

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Small town ain't supposed to get
                         used to this.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Ain't no such thing anymore, Steve. 
                         And it don't matter much.  Anyone
                         gets used to this got dealings in a
                         darker place.

               Carlin nods.  Bends down and lifts the sheet:

               A beautiful young woman turning blue.  Red marks across her
               neck. Red blotches on her blue eyes. 

                                   DET. CARLIN

                                   DET. REECE
                         --Paige Hopkins.  Anybody tell her
                         family yet?

               Carlin shakes his head.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Her bike's over there.  Must-a been
                         up on the trail when it happened.

               Reece stares down at the girl.  His face is blank.

                                   DET. REECE
                         I tell you I had a dream we caught
                         this som-bitch, Steve?  

                                   DET. CARLIN

                                   DET. REECE
                         Shot the bastard dead.  

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         That so? 

                                   DET. REECE

               Reece covers the body and stands.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         Won the lottery too.  

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         How much?

                                   DET. REECE
                         Ah, just a little scratcher ticket. 
                         25 bucks.
                         Fuckin' dreams.

               EXT. CHURCH - LATE MORNING

               Christ Army Southern Baptist.  White steeple straight out of
               the past.  People funnel into the archway below the keystone
               "Est. 1897".

               Russ and Clara approach.  He looks uncomfortable in a suit
               and tie.  She, relaxed in a pretty white cotton dress and
               flowered hat.

                         I can't believe you're making me do

               She swats his arm.

                         Hush!  I hope no one heard that. 
                         Look, you don't go to services on
                         Sunday, might as well not talk to
                         anyone all week.  It's required.

               Russ smiles.  Eyes sweep over the other Parishioners as they
               enter.  Notices EYES on him.  Random.  An OLDER WOMAN, a
               YOUNGER MAN... glances... momentary stares.  

               Makes him itch.

               INT. CHURCH - MORNING (LATER)

               Air conditioning, a sin; lining the pews, a packed crowd. 
               Men sweat, ladies glisten and a balding, older PASTOR smiles
               from the alter.  

               He speaks in a loud, booming voice that requires no audio
               enhancement; they can hear him in the next county.

                         Good morning, brothers and sisters.  

               Mutters of "good morning" back.

               The Pastor begins to pace. His tone is condescending.  His
               eyes, condemning, narrowed, sweeping the seats; sinners, all
               of them.

                                   PASTOR (cont'd)
                         Glad you could all make it.  For
                         our message this morning... is
                         wickedness.  And I do know how you
                         all like... wickedness.

               Instantly shamed, the Flock nod.  

               Russ shifts uncomfortably.  Beside him, Clara is nodding.

               The flamboyant Pastor continues.  The sermon punctuated by
               "Amen!" from the Flock.

                                   PASTOR (cont'd)
                         I know.  Your eyes betray you.  But
                         you're thinking it.  Everywhere you
                         go.  Joe Bean's Market.  The 76 gas
                         station.  The lie-brary. 
                             (dramatic pause)
                         I see... the magazines they sell. 
                         The books they burnish.  The booze
                         they ballyhoo-- 
                             (dramatic pause)
                         Out there in the world... there is
                         sin and fornication.  Blood... and
                         fear.  And we must do everything we
                         can to protect this town from the
                         sins of the outside world! 
                         For he hath judged the great whore,
                         which did corrupt the earth with
                         her fornication!  And hath avenged
                         the blood of his servants at her

               Russ is sweating hard.  Looks across the aisle and two rows
               up... he spots Dr. Prather.  

               Feeling the eyes on him... Dr. Prather... slowly turns his
               head.  And smiles back.

               Russ averts his eyes.

               INT. SUV - MORNING (DRIVING)

               Russ and Clara drive together in silence.  After a few

                         It was a powerful sermon, don't ya

                         Well, I was frightened.  So it
                         appears to have achieved its goal.

                         Did you take anything from it?

                         You know I don't buy into that
                         stuff, Clara.

               More silence.

                         Well, I think it had great meaning. 
                         Peace and gentleness.  Love and
                         forgiveness.  Those are the ways to

                         I suppose.

               Another beat of silence.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         Your friend Dr. Prather.  He was
                         there today alone.

                         Of course.

                         Is he married?  

                         He was.  His wife Haley passed on,
                         what, five years ago.  Cancer. 
                         Very sad.  She was a nice woman.

               Russ furrows his brow.  Yet another beat of silence.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         How are you feeling?  Maybe you
                         should think about taking one more
                         semester off.

                         I need to get back to work.  It'll
                         do me good.

               Clara's eyes are unsure.

               EXT. HOUSE - AFTERNOON

               A car glides into frame, coming to a stop outside a pretty A
               frame house.

               Detectives Reece and Carlin emerge and head to the front


               Reece presses the doorbell.  A few moments later, a middle
               aged man, JIM HOPKINS appears.  His face, resigned to bad

                                   DET. REECE
                         Jim.  Sorry to trouble you this
                         evening.  But we have some bad

                                   JIM HOPKINS
                         It's Paige, isn't it?

                                   DET. REECE
                         I'm afraid so.

               Jim Hopkins nods.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         We'll need you to come with us down
                         to Little Rock to identify the

                                   JIM HOPKINS
                         Okay.  Can I... may I meet you
                         there.  I'll have to tell the wife.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Tell her what?

                                   JIM HOPKINS
                         That Paige's been murdered.

                                   DET. REECE
                         But I didn't say that.

                                   JIM HOPKINS
                         But that's why you're here, right? 
                         I mean, what else are you here for,
                         Bill?  Jesus Christ.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Settle down, Jim.

                                   JIM HOPKINS
                         No!  I won't settle down! 
                         Goddamnit, Steve, this ain't
                         supposed to happen!  

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         We'll see you downtown in a bit,
                         Jim.  Bill, lets go.

               Reece stares at Jim Hopkins a moment.  Turns away and follows
               Carlin to the car.

                                   DET. REECE
                         That ain't right, Steve.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         He's in shock.  Let it be.

               They get back in the car.


               Carlin is behind the wheel.  Reece shotgun.  Reece sighs. 
               Rubs his eyes.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         You okay, Bill?

                                   DET. REECE
                         Yeah, I suppose.
                         Mama's not doin' too good.  


                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Not good, huh?

                                   DET. REECE
                         Nah.  Could be just a matter of
                         days.  She just sleeps most of the
                         time.  I get home and sit at her
                         bed and talk to her.  She just
                         listens.  Can't muster the strength
                         to talk, I suppose.


                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Sorry about that, Bill.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Shoot.  That's life, I guess.  We
                         all gotta go sometime.


                                   DET. CARLIN
                         I suppose.

               EXT. REECE'S HOME - NIGHT

               The Detective's car slows to a stop outside a small house on
               another tree lined street.

               INT. DETECTIVE'S CAR - NIGHT

                                   DET. REECE
                         Thanks for the ride, Steve.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         I'll see you tomorrow.

               Detective Reece gets out of the car.  Carlin watches as he
               heads to the front door.  Cracks open a cell phone and dials.

                                   DET. CARLIN (cont'd)
                             (into phone)
                         Hey... its Steve Carlin.  We need
                         to talk.
                         Because I can't do this again.

               FADE TO BLACK.


               The SUV slows to the front of the school.  Only one or two
               other cars parked.  Fog settles low.  Russ gets out of the
               passenger side.  Clara rolls down the window.

                         When do you want me to pick you up?

                         I'll take a taxi.

                         I don't mind.

                         I know.

               He leans over and plants a quick kiss on her cheek.  Pulls
               away and heads to the front door of the school.  Clara
               watches him.


               A crowd of students flush forward.  Chatting and yelling. 
               They break like a wave, split apart to leave one young woman,
               long, blond-haired 17 year old CAMERYN BECK standing,
               clutching her books to her chest.  

               She looks up at the banner:

                                   Welcome Class of '11

               She uneasily steps forward.  A look of sadness on her face.

               INT. CLASSROOM - MORNING

               Russ stands at the front of an empty classroom.  His right
               hand is shaking.  He settles it with his left.  Makes a fist. 
               Then slowly releases.  He settles his breathing.  Nerve ends
               on fire.

               The bell rings.

               Moments later STUDENTS stream into the room.  Most casting
               unfamiliar eyes over their new teacher.  Russ tries his best
               to smile and nod to each of them.  Keeps his hands in his

               The students settle into the desks.  Russ scans the room. 
               The young faces stare back at him.   

               Russ glances down at an attendance list:

                         Amy Anderson...

               Each student responds "Here" as he continues down the list. 

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         Paige Hopkins.

               Silence.  An empty desk.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         Paige Hopkins?

               A young woman by the name of SALLY raises her hand.



                         Paige is... not here.  Anymore.

               Russ's eyes narrow.

               INT. LIBRARY - LATER

               FINGERS glide across a row of yearbooks.  Stop.  Pluck one
               from the shelf.

               AT A DESK--

               The yearbook slaps to the wood and the same set of hands
               crack it open, flipping through the pages until it settles on
               a bank of photos, color.  Fingers drift... to one.  

               "Paige Hopkins"

               Russ stares at the photo.

               FLASH TO--

               The Young Woman riding the bike down the street before his
               yard.  Moments before he collapsed on the driveway.

               He watches her glide along.

               So do the white eyes tucked away behind the window across the

               FLASH BACK TO

               Russ closes the yearbook.  Face pales.

               INT. SCHOOL BATHROOM 

               Russ unloads his breakfast into a toilet.  He chokes.  

               After a moment he steadies himself, leaves the stall and
               makes it to the sink.  Splashes cold water on his face. 
               Begins to relax again.  Flops to the floor.  

                                   VOICE (O.S.)
                         You okay, pal?

               Russ wipes his face.  Looks up to see STEVE SHULLER, a man
               about his age, paunchy, beard, tweed jacket. 

                         I'm fine.

               Shuller helps him to his feet.  Russ is anything but steady.

                         You're the new guy, eh?  From
                         Chicago?  19th Century Lit?

                         Russ Lassard. 

                         Steven Shuller.  History.  A
                         Classes been cancelled.  We got the
                         day off, Russ.  Wanna get some
                         Seeing as you've lost yours.

               Russ nods.


               FADE TO BLACK. 

               A WEDDING RING SPINS on oak.  After a few moments... a hand
               slaps it flat.  Fingers raise it to its side again and twist,
               sending the thing spinning again.  And again, thwaps it flat.

               INT. "THE FADED ROSE" - DAY

               Small little Cajun place.  Dark.  Russ sits alone at a table. 
               Shuller is over at the bar, ordering a couple scotches.

               Russ stares at the wedding ring a moment.  And the engraving
               inside: "TO RUSS, MY FOREVER. LOVE, CLARA" 

               He sets it back on his finger.

               Shuller returns, walks with a very noticeable limp.  Steve
               places the drink in front of Russ.  Takes a seat.

                         Liquid lunch, then.

               Russ doesn't protest.  Takes a sip.

                         The student who was killed--

                         --Paige Hopkins.

                         She was in my class.

                         Mine too.  Cute girl.  Developed
                         early so she was a hit with the
                         boys.  Very popular.

               Russ cringes a little.  Quickly shakes it off.

                         I saw her.  The first weekend after
                         I moved here.  She was riding her
                         bike past my house.
                         Do you know what happened?

               Shuller nods.  Drinks.

                         No one's told you yet, huh?

                         Apparently not.

               Shuller sighs.  The room is eerily quiet.

                         The Monster.  That's what they call

               Eyes in the room dart over, barely noticeable.  Someone has
               uttered unmentionable words.  Shuller, it seems, could care

                         The Monster...

                         More like serial killer.  Course,
                         we ain't used to such things in a
                         small town like this.  Least... not
                         when it started.

                         This has happened before?

                         Five years ago.  Found the body of
                         a girl down by the railyards. 
                         Strangled.  That was the first one. 
                         It has since become a very extended
                         encore performance.  Always the
                         same way--   

               FLASH TO--

               A YOUNG WOMAN lies partially covered under a sheet in a
               field.  RED MARKS on her neck.

               FLASH BACK TO SCENE--

                                   SHULLER (cont'd)
                         ...always the same targets.  Young

               Shuller stops and scans the room.  Eyes that had been
               watching him quickly find other focus.

               Shuller smiles.

                         Has anyone contacted the FBI?  A
                         serial killer?  Why have I never
                         heard of--

                         --Things don't work like that in
                         Mayflower, Russ.  We are not your
                         average community.  Just you wait. 
                         You'll see.
                         This town has secrets, Russ.

                         Yeah?  And what are those?

               Shuller gulps down the last of his drink and leans back. 
               Scans the room one more time and says, maybe a little too

                         Damned if I know.  Won't nobody
                         tell me.  No matter how many times
                         I ask.

               Shuller: a Cheshire smile stretches his face.

               INT. "THE FADED ROSE" - LATER 

               Now five or six empty glasses before each man. 

                         I think I may be drunk.

               Shuller nods.

                         Russ, that is a distinct

               THE FRONT DOOR-- of the Faded Rose opens and Clara appears.


               Russ turns back to see his wife.

                         Clara!  Come join us!

                         Shame on you!  I've been worried

                         Clara, this is Steven Shuller.  He
                         teaches history and scotch.  On the

                             (tipping an invisible hat)

                             (to Russ)
                         You're drunk.

                         That is a distinct possibility.

                         Come home with me right now.

                         Clara, sit.  Have a drink with us. 
                         We're just--


               Silence.  Russ stares at her.  Then slowly nods.

                         Steve... thanks for the company.

                         See you tomorrow.

               Clara leads a slightly stumbling Russ outside.


               Clara continues to lead Russ toward their SUV.

                         I heard what happened, the girl,
                         and I was worried for you and I was
                         waiting and--

                         I'm sorry.

                         You can't carry on this way.  It's
                         not right for a teacher.  You have
                         to be a good example.  This isn't

                         What does that mean?

                         Exactly what I said!  

               She stops.  Turns to him.  Kisses his cheek and settles her
               hand on his shoulder.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         I worry.  I'm sorry.  I can't live
                         without you.  Now more than ever. 
                         You understand that, don't you?

               Russ nods.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         Lets go home.

               INT. HOME - KITCHEN - NIGHT

               Russ stands at the sink drinking a large glass of water. 
               Clara stuffs some garbage into a pail.



                         Will you take out this garbage

               He sets down the glass.  Waits a moment.  Squints his eyes.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)

                         Yes, Clara.  I will.

               EXT. HOME - NIGHT

               Along side the house, Russ carries the trash to the plastic
               containers tucked back in the shadows.

               Rustling.  He stops.  Waits.

               More sound... coming from the dark.  From behind one of the

               He inches forward.  Crunch... the sound of biting.  Russ
               glances over his shoulder.  Then back.  Another step.  

               A hiss...

               Russ takes a step back as... a RACCOON scampers from behind
               the container.

               Russ relaxes.  Of course.  

                         Shoo.  Get out of here.

               The raccoon ignores him.  Stares at him.  Russ suddenly feels

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         Get lost!

               The raccoon hisses again.... AND IS SUDDENLY SNAPPED UP by a
               hand that darts out from behind the trash containers.  A
               squeal and SNAP!  The animal is silent.

               Russ drops the trash bag and STUMBLES backward tripping over

               WHOOSH!!!-- Something flashes past him.

               Russ catches his breath and slowly stands.  Moves to the
               front of the house and stares... at the home across the

               Dr. Prather's home.  A light is on in a downstairs window.

               Russ squints his eyes.  Catches flashes of a shadow through
               the window.  Hears the CLANKING of metal.

               Then, just as suddenly, the light shuts off.

               Russ is washed in moonlight.  It is eerily still.

               INT. HOME - NIGHT

               Russ closes the front door behind him.  Clara is standing at
               the top of the stairs.

                         Is everything all right?

                         Losing my fuckin' mind, Clara. 
                         Other than that, its peaches.

               Russ moves out of frame as Clara stares down.  Eyes track his
               every movement.

               INT. CLASSROOM - DAY

               Russ reads "Porphyria's Lover" to his class.  Paces the room,
               a text in his hands. 

                         The rain set early in tonight...
                         the sullen wind was soon awake...
                         It tore the elm tops down for
                         spite... And did it's worst to vex
                         the lake...

               Russ pauses and stares at the CLASS.  They look back at him. 
               Every eye on him.  The attention, rapt, is a little

               All eyes but one set; set at the center of the room... young
               Cameryn Beck is staring at her desk.  A notepad.  Scribbling. 
               Of what, we yet cannot see.

               Russ continues.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         Which done, she rose, and from her
                         form... withdrew the dripping cloak
                         and shawl...  And laid her soiled
                         gloves by, untied her hat and let
                         the damp hair fall...

               Russ pauses again.  At a once empty desk in the back, now a
               blood soaked Samantha sits.  She smiles.

               Russ blinks.  Begins to pace the room.  Continues.

               AS HE IS SPEAKING: we begin to see what Cameryn is scribbling
               in her notebook.  A picture of a woman in a pretty floral
               dress.  Behind her, taking shape with each stroke of
               Cameryn's pencil, a man... reaching out to the lady before

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         She put my arm about her waist...
                         And made her smooth white shoulder
                         bare... And all her yellow hair
                         displaced... And, stooping, made my
                         cheek lie there.   And spread, o'er
                         all, her yellow hair...

               AS HE IS SPEAKING: The bloodied figure of Samantha slowly
               stands from her desk. 

               Russ glances up as she continues to smile and move unnoticed
               down the aisle, approaching the center of the classroom.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         ...Porphyria worshiped me: surprise
                         made my heart swell, and still it
                         grew... while I debated what to do.
                         That moment she was mine, mine,
                         fair... Perfectly pure and good... 

               Samantha, a trail of blood left from her seat, now stands
               behind young Cameryn Beck.

               The picture in her notebook is almost complete.  We see the
               man now in the drawing is not reaching out for the woman. 
               But strangling her.

               AS HE IS SPEAKING: Samantha draws together Cameryn's long
               blonde hair in her hands.  Twists slowly into a thick rope. 
               Cameryn continues to scribble.  The specter unnoticed still.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         ...I found a thing to do... and all
                         her hair... in one long yellow
                         string I wound... Three times her
                         little throat around... And
                         strangled her... No pain felt she--
                         I am quite sure she felt no pain...  

               He looks up...  

               Samantha... smiles.  Blood runs from her mouth... staining
               Cameryn's hair.

               Russ drops the book.  It SLAMS onto the floor with a
               thunderous boom.

               The class is silent.  Cameryn Beck looks up from her drawing. 
               She is clean.

               Samantha is gone.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         I'm sorry.

               A moment of silence.  Then, Russ flinches as the BELL
               suddenly SCREAMS OUT and the Students rise.  Filter out. 
               All... but one.

               A YOUNG MAN lingers behind.  He drags his feet toward Russ,
               eyeing the room suspiciously.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         Can I help you, Peter?

               Peter slowly reaches into his pocket... and pulls out...  A
               folded PIECE OF PAPER.  Without saying a word, he rushes out
               of the room.

               Russ watches him go.  Looks down at the piece of paper. 
               Unfolds it.  Stares at the words, scribbled hastily:

                                         Get out

               Russ folds the paper up.  Puts it in the waste basket. 
               Muscles in his face tighten.


               A flood of STUDENTS fill the front, strangely quiet.  Moving
               silently in various directions.  The end of the school day
               though you'd hardly know it.

               RUSS exits the front doors and waits at the curb.  His eyes
               scan the Students; register the lack of chatter.  His eyes
               then lock on one car, about a hundred yards across the lot.

               CAMERYN BECK is crying and arguing with SOMEONE in a car. 
               Russ cannot see who.

               After a moment... the person in the car gets out.  It is Dr.

               Cameryn shakes her head.  Dr. Prather shouts something to her
               and points at the car.

               She protests.  He insists.  She relents.  Gets in the car.

               Russ watches it all.  

               INT. LIVING ROOM - EVENING

               The house is dark.  Russ moves slowly through the silence,
               the creak of the wood paneled floor squeak faint as he
               searches out the lone light coming from the kitchen. 

               INT. KITCHEN - EVENING

               Clara sits at the kitchen table nursing a cup of tea and
               flipping through an old scrapbook.  

               Russ approaches and Clara looks up to him.

                         Well hello.  Was today a better

               He says nothing.

               Clara twirls a lock of her hair and looks down at the

                         What's this?

                         I found it on the shelf.

               She turns the page and points to a picture: Clara as a child
               with her parents on a white sand beach.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         This one here... it's a trip we
                         took down to Gulf Shores.  They
                         call that the "Redneck Riviera".  I
                         was about four years old, I'm

               He glances at the picture: Clara the child running on the
               beach, in motion, the left leg kicked back.  A smile frozen
               on her face.  Russ matches the smile.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         They look so young, don't they?

                         They do.

                         You never think about your parents
                         not being there when you're that
                         little.  Later I worried about it
                         all the time.  Did I ever tell you
                         what I used to do?


                         From about the age of fifteen... I
                         used to do the math in my head.  I
                         would say to myself, I am 15 and my
                         daddy is 37.  So, if he lives to be
                         97, that's 60 years and... I'll
                         be... 75.  75 before I lose them. 
                         Before I have to say goodbye. 
                         That's what I used to do.  For
                         Later, I would read the obituary
                         page and minus the age of the dead
                         person against my parents. 

               A moment.  Her smile fades away.

                         Why would you do that?

                         To know how much time I had left
                         with them.

               Russ stands close.  Rests a hand on her shoulder.  

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         I wonder... if Samantha did that
                         about us.

               A long, silent moment.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         Look at me, now.  This is so
                         foolish, of course.

               She closes the picture album and stands.  Smiles again.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         I'll make you dinner.  I bet you're

               She stands and crosses to the refrigerator.

               Russ opens the scrapbook and flips through a few pages.  Back
               to the photograph of Clara as a child.  Raises a finger to
               her face and caresses the paper.  Sees his daughter's eyes.

               INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT 

               A rumble of distant thunder rattles Russ from sleep.

               He waits a moment under covers as light begins to flash from

               Russ slowly climbs out of bed.  He crosses to the BATHROOM
               and pours himself a glass of water.  Thunder CRASHES outside. 
               He crosses back into the bedroom.  To a window.  He looks

               A FLASH OF LIGHTNING reveals... something.  A shadow, maybe. 
               Russ is not afraid for some reason.  He is drawn to it.

               INT. STAIRWAY - NIGHT

               Russ slowly descends as the storm picks up intensity beyond
               the walls.  He is at once frightened and yet thrilled by the
               noise and darkness.  

               He reaches the bottom of the stairs.  Turns toward the front

               EXT. HOME - NIGHT

               Waves of rain wash over Russ as he leaves the house-- drawn,
               it feels, by the amazing storm.  He moves to the street, now
               drenched.  Looks up at the sky.

               This is God's version of shock and awe: lightning pops behind
               clouds like bombs blasting, each one booming and crackling. 
               A stunning light show.

               He lowers his eyes from the sky... to the street.

               Freezes.  Thirty yards before him-- a scary silhouette.  A
               figure washed in darkness, stands with arms at its side.  The
               entire figure remains in shadow.  Only the white glow of eyes
               are visible.  Then... teeth.  And under the thunder... a

               Russ is paralyzed by fear.  His eyes remain locked on the

               Suddenly the Creature darts left-- moves with lightning
               speed.  A flash; it's gone.

               Russ stands there, still frozen.  After a moment the feeling
               returns to his body.  He slowly backs up.  Turns.

               In a flash, the Creature appears again.  Across the street. 
               It growls.  Slowly backs up.  Russ squints, tries, but can't
               make out any of its features.

               Again, the figure whips away.  Disappears into storm doors at
               the house directly across the street.  Prather's house.  He
               hears the thing knock through things in the basement.

               Russ breathes.  One that makes it seem like he's been holding
               it forever.  Now the breaths come sharp and deep.  He stares
               at the house.  All is now silent.

               Russ begins to panic.  Turns and races back inside his home. 
               Forgets to close the front door.

               INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

               Russ rifles through a drawer.  Finds a bottle of pills. 
               Downs six of them.  Grabs a half empty bottle of vodka and
               chases them down.  Breathing slowly becomes shallow again. 

               Thunder crashes.  Sounds of a heartbeat.  

               The power snaps off.  Dead.  Darkness shaded only by
               moonlight and the occasional flash of lightning.

               Russ sucks in sharp breaths every few seconds.  We see him
               only in flashes as he moves slowly through the kitchen.

               Thunder crashes.  Sounds of a heartbeat.

               Lightning flash.  Something is in here with him...

                         Please... let this be... a

               Mostly blind, Russ moves forward, heeling out with his hands. 
               Anticipating with every second... something else before him.

               Sharper breaths.

               Thunder crashes.  Sounds of a heartbeat.

               He feels around the counters for something.  A weapon.  A
               knife.  He finds... a spatula.

               Lightning flash.  For a moment the Creature is before him.

               Every muscle in his body tightens.  He falls back, slamming
               against the vodka bottle and sending it CRASHING to the

               The power returns.  Light returns.

               The kitchen is empty.  Russ is on the ground beside the
               broken bottle.  Spatula in hand.  He exhales.  Closes his


               Russ shoots awake.  Wonders for a moment where he is. 
               Wonders if it was another dream.  Another hallucination.  

               He slowly climbs out of bed.  Crosses to the bathroom.

               INT. STAIRWAY - MORNING

               Russ moves slowly down the stairs.  Catches the scent of
               something in the air.


               Notices the source of the smell.  A fire in the fireplace.


                                   CLARA (O.S.)
                         I'm in the kitchen!

               INT. KITCHEN - MORNING

               Russ takes a seat at the table as Clara cooks breakfast.

                         Why are you running a fire?

                         It's cold this morning.  I could
                         barely sleep last night.  That's
                         the climate here.  Hot in the day,
                         freezing at night.
                         How'd you sleep?

               Russ rubs his eyes.


               EXT. HOME - MORNING

               Dressed for work, Russ closes the front door, briefcase in
               hand.  A taxi is waiting out front.  

               He hurries to it... but keeps his eyes locked on... the house
               across the street.

               EXT. WOODS - MORNING

               An OLD MAN walks his dog along a path through the woods.  His
               dog begins to bark at something just past the lane.  Pulls
               its owner toward it.

               The Old Man tugs at the leash but relents when he spots...
               the hand... of a young woman.

               As he steps closer... we see her face.  It is Cameryn Beck. 
               Lifeless.  Eyes open.  Red marks on her neck.

                                   OLD MAN
                         Christ.  Why me?

               He tugs his dog away from the body and continues down the


               Detectives Reece and Carlin stand to the side of the
               Principal's desk as Russ enters the room.

                         Hey, Russ.  Have a seat.  This is
                         Detective Bill Reece and Detective
                         Steve Carlin.  Old hunting buddies
                         of mine.  They're just askin'
                         everybody a few questions.


                                   DET. REECE
                         Did you ever meet Paige Hopkins?

                         She was supposed to be in my class.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Before that at all?

               Russ shakes his head.

                         Russ is new here.  Just started
                         this week.

                                   DET. REECE
                         I figured.  Welcome.  Where'd you
                         come to us from?


                                   DET. REECE
                         Chicago?  Big City Man.  Must be
                         quite a change of pace.  We don't
                         even got one professional sports
                         What's that on your head, Russ?

               Russ reaches up and feels the stitches.

                         I fell.  On my driveway.

               Detective Reece raises an eyebrow.  A silent moment.

                                   DET. REECE 
                         Well, since you're a recent arrival
                         we won't trouble you too much. 
                         Paige was a good girl, of course. 
                         But she did like to consort with

                         Well, she's a teenager.

                                   DET. REECE
                         And they talk.  And teachers hear
                         things.  You ever hear anything?

                         About what?

                                   DET. REECE
                             (to Carlin)
                         They speak a different language up
                         there in Chicago?

                         Look, I don't know what to tell
                         you.  I never met the girl.  But if
                         I hear anything... I'll let you

               Reece's eyes narrow.  Sweep across Russ.  He picks up a file
               in his hand and scans it.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Says here you were recently in the

                         I'm sorry.  I thought this was
                         about Paige Hopkins.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Easy now, son.  

                         Are we done?

                                   DET. REECE
                         Sure, Russ.

               Russ turns and leaves.  His hand... suddenly trembling.

               Reece looks to Carlin.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         Not by a longshot, I reckon.

               Carlin rubs his eyes.  Shakes his head.

               INT. HIGH SCHOOL - HALLWAY

               Russ heads from the front office into the main artery of the
               building where STUDENTS are gathered in groups.  Some

               In fact, it appears EVERYONE in the school is packed into the
               hallway, murmuring.  Crying.

               Detectives Reece and Carlin suddenly brush past Russ,
               hurriedly making toward the exit.

               Russ is confused.  GRABS a passing STUDENT by the arm.

                         What's happened?

               The Student looks at Russ with terror in her eyes.  Too
               frightened to say anything.

               Russ releases her.  She races away.

               He spots Steven Shuller near the entrance to the auditorium. 
               He is consoling a FEMALE STUDENT.  She is crying. 
               He gives her a hug.  Holds her tight.  His hand patting her
               lower back... sweeping a little too far down.

               They break and exchange a few more words... then she waves
               and wanders away.  

               Russ furrows his brow.  Crosses to Shuller.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         What the hell is going on?

                         Struck again.  Another student.


                         Cameryn Beck.  Think she's in your
                         class.  Least... she was.

               The name hits Russ like a tornado.  He sees her face.  He
               sees her being strangled in his classroom.

                                   Shuller (cont'd)
                         Wanna go get a drink?

                         It's nine o'clock in the morning.

                         Noon somewhere, pal.

               Shaken.  Confused... Russ walks away.

                                   Shuller (cont'd)
                             (calling out)
                         You wanna talk... you know where to
                         find me.

               EXT. HOME - NIGHT

               Russ stands at his front door, turned away, gazing across the
               street.  A single light from the ground level window into the

               Every muscle in his body begins to tighten.  He is

               Suddenly, the light is extinguished.

               INT. HOME - NIGHT

               Russ keys his way into the house and hears the television on. 
               He follows the sound into the--

               LIVING ROOM

               Clara is sitting on the couch, sobbing softly, watching a TV
               News report on the latest murder.

               Russ stands in the entrance and watches too.

                         Awful, isn't it?

               Clara is startled.  She grabs the remote and shuts off the

                         You're home.

               Russ nods.  Clara wipes the tears from her eyes and tries to

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         Well, I'll start making you dinner

               She stands and crosses into the kitchen.

               After a moment, Russ follows her.

               KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

               Clara starts opening cabinets.  Russ stands in the entrance

                         You're crying.

                         Don't be silly.

               Russ steps toward her.

                         It's okay.

               Clara stops.  Puts her hands down.  The tears start to well
               in her eyes.  She keeps her back to him.

                         Those parents.  They must be so
                         sad.  Their babies were taken from

               Russ moves closer.  Lays his hand on her shoulder.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         I just can't help it.

               He turns her around and holds her close.  He closes his eyes
               and holds her, matching his breathing to her heartbeat.

                         How well do you really know Doctor

               Her face... suddenly changes.  Clara stays pressed against


                         There's something wrong.  Something
                         at his house that might--

                         --might what?

               Russ exhales.  Wrong time.  

                         Never mind.

               He closes his eyes.  She... does not.

               INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Russ is asleep.  So too, it appears, is Clara.  Her head
               slowly turns to Russ.  After a moment, she quietly slides out
               of bed.

               The room is bathed in moonlight.  Clara crosses to the
               window.  At Dr. Prather's house.  

               She nods.  Crosses to a dresser, each step silent.

               She gently opens the top drawer, sliding away some
               clothing... to reveal: a KNIFE.  Long.  Sharp.  She takes it
               by the handle.

               A beam of light strikes the blade and flashes her face; it is
               much different than we have been used to.  It is without
               emotion.  Almost like she is in a trance.

               Clara crosses to Russ's side of the bed.  He is deep in
               sleep.  Totally unaware as she slowly brings the blade to his

               Clara's knuckles whiten as she grips the knife handle

               The blade touches Russ's neck.  He startles and she quickly
               withdraws the knife, scurrying back to the dresser.

                             (barely awake)

               She shuts the dresser drawer, trading the knife for...

                         Socks.  My feet were cold.  Go back
                         to sleep.

               He grumbles and shuts his eyes again.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                             (almost a whisper)
                         I can't live without you.

               INT. HOME - MORNING

               Russ grabs his briefcase and heads to the door.  Clara calls

                                   CLARA (O.S.)
                         Have a good day.

               Russ says nothing.  Moves quickly outside where the TAXI is
               waiting, as usual, for his ride to work.

               INT. TAXI - MORNING (DRIVING)

               Russ looks more unsettled than usual.  At a stoplight, he
               glances over and sees DR. PRATHER in his own car, one length
               ahead on the right.

               Nerve endings start to fire.  Make a decision quickly, Russ.

                         Do me a favor.  See that blue Honda
                         up there?

                                   TAXI DIVER

                         I want to go where its going.

               The taxi driver shrugs.  The light changes.  

               EXT. DRUG STORE - MORNING

               Dr. Prather's blue Honda stops at a small Mom and Pop drug
               store.  He climbs out and heads inside.

               Slowing to a stop and still tailing, Russ's taxi slows into a
               space a couple hundred feet away.

               INT. TAXI - MORNING

               The Taxi Driver leans back.

                                   TAXI DIVER
                         What now?

                         Just wait.

                                   TAXI DIVER
                         I reckon this is gonna cost you a
                         fortune we keep this up.

               Russ reaches into his wallet and pulls out a hundred dollar

                         Here's your tip.  I'll pay the fare
                         on top, okay?

                                   TAXI DIVER
                             (snatching the money, his
                              lucky day)
                         Yes, sir.


               Dr. Jim Prather emerges from the Drug Store and climbs back
               in his car.

               The Taxi Driver fires his engines and the slow stalk

               EXT. INTERSTATE 40 - LATE MORNING

               Dr. Prather's blue Honda streaks along I-80 heading to the
               Little Rock skyline.

               The taxi follows, not far behind.


               Dr. Prather's car pulls down a dirt frontage road heading
               toward what appears to be a semi-industrial cluster of
               buildings off the Arkansas River.

               Seconds later, the taxi slows to a stop at the entrance of
               the frontage road.

               INT. TAXI - LATE MORNING

               Russ dishes out a few more bills to the driver.


               Russ climbs out.


               Russ stands as the taxi takes off.  He peers down the road...
               and after a moment, starts walking.


               A fairly nondescript white building a hundred yards from the
               river.  Two stories, few windows.  A metal front door with
               key-card security lock on the front.

               And it looks abandoned.

               Dr. Prather's car is parked just by the entrance.  Russ moves
               slowly toward the building... his nerve endings firing again. 
               Sweat collects on his brow and he brushes it away with his


               A contrast to the outside, the office is oak paneled, with
               pictures of loved ones, articles and diplomas framed on the

               Along one side, a bank of labeled and marked file cabinets.

               Dr. Prather takes a seat behind a cherrywood desk. 


               Detective Carlin looks troubled.  Scans his surroundings to
               make sure no one is close enough to hear him.  He picks up
               the receiver on his phone.  Dials.  


               Back outside, Russ edges along the side of the building, his
               legs almost moving involuntarily now.  

               He peers down the side, to the river beyond.  Stays close to
               the building as he moves forward.


               Dr. Prather's phone blares out.  He calmly picks it up.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Doctor James Prather.


                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Jim... it's Steve.  Jim... we can't
                         keep doin' this.

               Dr. Prather's eyes narrow.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Yes.  We can.  And that's the last
                         I want to hear about it.  

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Well, I can't--

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         You can and you will, Steve.
                         It is... unfortunate, I agree.  But
                         there are always means to an end. 
                         And we are not yet at the end, as
                         much as I wish we were.  


               Russ bends the corner and begins to make out a voice.  It is
               Dr. Prather's.  He slides along the back... to a window.
               Bridling his breath he bends slowly forward and peers inside.

               RUSS SEES-- Dr. Prather sitting at a desk.  Six FILE CABINETS
               four rows high line the opposite wall.  A large MIRROR on the
               eastern wall.  

               He spots Dr. Prather on a phone.  Hears...  

                                   DR. PRATHER 
                         It is very important that you
                         continue to act as if you know
                         nothing.  Do you understand?

               Russ takes another step forward and SLIPS on a patch of wet
               grass.  He CATCHES himself but makes just enough noise to... 

               Dr. Prather's voice fades.  He holds the phone down and...

               Russ whips back away from the window just as Prather turns to
               look out!

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                             (into phone)
                         I have to go.

               Dr. Prather hangs up and stands... crossing to the window...

               Russ squeezes himself flat against the building...

               Dr. Prather is just inches away from him... looking out...

               Russ stops breathing and closes his eyes...

               Dr. Prather unlatches the window and slides it aside...

               Russ inches to his side...

               Dr. Prather sticks his head out the window... turns right...

               ...left.  There is no one there.

               Dr. Prather closes the window.


               Russ kneels on the ground... having slid slowly away... just
               in time.

               After a moment, Russ makes it back to his feet.  He HEARS
               rustling... clanging from inside the building.  A door
               shutting.  Locking.  He slides again toward the front of the


               Russ peers around the front... enough to see Dr. Prather
               emerge from the front door.  Get into his car.  Drive away.

               Russ exhales hard.  Wipes his eyes.  Considers... the window.


               Russ stands before the window that Prather opened.  Notices
               the good doctor never returned the lock to its position. 

               He steels himself... and opens it.


               Russ moves slowly, tentatively through the office.  Almost
               afraid to touch anything.  It lasts a second because quickly
               he moves to the desk... unsure of anything.  He pushes aside
               BILLS and other MEANINGLESS SCRAPS... looking for any clue
               to.... well, to what he isn't quite sure.  

               But there must be something here.

               He keeps digging.  Then... HE SEES: notes... scribbles. 
               Names.  Memos.  


               Russ turns his attention to the bank of FILE CABINETS.  Scans
               the TYPED CARDS marking each drawer.  His eyes LOCK ON ONE,
               that reads:

                                  "The Promethean Order"

               Russ's lips mouth the words.

               Just then... CLICK...  the SOUND OF A LOCK TURNING.

               Russ quickly stuffs the folder back in the drawer.  HEARS...

               Russ moves to the window... not wanting to wait to see who
               might appear...


               A taxi deposits Russ in front of the school.


               Russ approaches the YOUNG LIBRARIAN at the front desk.

                         Good morning, young lady.  I was
                         wondering where you keep the

                                   YOUNG LIBRARIAN
                         Excuse me?  You want a book on
                         small fish?

               Just then an OLDER LIBRARIAN appears.

                                   OLDER LIBRARIAN
                         It's like Google, dear.  For older
                             (shakes her head)
                         Kids.  Right this way, Mister


               A single projector against a back wall.  BANKS of file
               cabinets take up the rest of the room, each marked by month
               and year.

                         How recent are they? 

                                   OLDER LIBRARIAN
                         I think they stopped processing in
                         2006.  All went electronic at that

                         Thank you.

                                   OLDER LIBRARIAN
                         Hope it still works.  Ain't nobody
                         used it in a long time.

               The Older Librarian leaves, shutting the office door behind


               The light is out.  Only the glow from the projector,
               splashing light and black lines across Russ's face.

               Russ is scanning through old copies of the "Arkansas Democrat
               Gazette" - Dated September, 2002.  Suddenly, he stops.  Finds
               what he's looking for.  A small article with a picture. 
               Police... in a field standing over a covered body.

               He reads out loud part of the article.

                         Found at 8:02 this morning by the
                         land's owner, a Mister Ray Carlin. 
                         The body was positively identified
                         as a young woman in her teens.  An
                         autopsy later confirmed the cause
                         of death as strangulation...

               Russ thinks a moment.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         Positively identified?

               MONTAGE: Russ digging through files, finding the tape,
               scanning through.  Finding another article, from the
               following year.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         ...positively identified as a young
                         woman in her teens...
                             (beat, to himself)
                         Positively identified as who?

                                   SAMANTHA (O.S.)
                         They won't tell you their names.

               Russ slowly turns back.  Sees the image of his bloodied dead
               daughter Samantha standing in the center of the room.

                         Why not?

                         The Promethean Order.

               And then suddenly, once again... Russ blinks... and she is


               Russ sits at a computer and begins to type.

               ON THE SCREEN--

               Russ types in: "THE PROMETHEAN ORDER"

               "Search Finds No Matches".

                             (softly, to himself)

               Quietly, the Older Librarian has moved up behind him.

                                   OLDER LIBRARIAN

               Russ flinches and spins back.

                         You scared me.

                                   OLDER LIBRARIAN
                         Sorry.  I didn't mean to frighten
                         you.  Or snoop into what you were
                         doing.  You looked frustrated so I
                         thought maybe I could help. 
                         I majored in mythology in college.

                         Mine is a little rusty.  The
                         Promeathean Order.  Do you know
                         what that is?

               The Librarian shakes her head.

                                   OLDER LIBRARIAN
                         Not exactly.  Prometheus was a
                         Titan who they say created man from
                         clay.  He mocked the gods...
                         Especially Zeus... by introducing
                         fire to mankind.  He saved them
                         from the cold, dark world.

               Russ's eyes narrow.  

               The Librarian crosses to a shelf.  Her fingers dance across
               the bindings until she finds the one she wants.  Slides it
               out.  Brings it to Russ.

                                   OLDER LIBRARIAN (cont'd)
                         Read this.  It explains everything.

                         Thank you.

               Russ takes the book.  Gathers his things and nods at the
               Older Librarian.  

                                   OLDER LIBRARIAN
                         He paid for it, you know.


                                   OLDER LIBRARIAN
                         Prometheus.  He was too confident. 
                         Too proud of what he had done. 
                         Zeus made him pay.  He made mankind
                         pay too.

               Russ nods.  

               The Older Librarian wanders away.  Russ heads to the exit.

               Suddenly... the Younger Librarian slides in front of him,
               blocking his way.

                         Excuse me, I--

                                   YOUNG LIBRARIAN
                         Don't go down this road.

               The Young Librarian wears fear.  She looks all directions to
               see if anyone can see her speaking to Russ.

                         What are you talking about?

                                   YOUNG LIBRARIAN

               SOMEONE ELSE enters the library.

                                   YOUNG LIBRARIAN (cont'd)
                         ...leave it be.

               The Young Librarian moves away.  Back to her post.  Russ
               watches as she makes it seem this conversation... never

               INT. "THE FADED ROSE" - AFTERNOON

               Russ approaches Steven Shuller... parked at his favorite
               table, surrounded by empty vodka tonics.

                         Hey, pal.  Grab a seat.  We're
                         watering away our misery.

                         Did you find out what happened?

               Shuller NODS GRAVELY.

                         Cameryn was walkin' back home from
                         the movie theater the other night. 
                         Alone.  They say the killer grabbed
                         her about a block from home. 

                         The killer... they think its the
                         same one from the bluffs?  The

                         Yeah, right.  The monster... I
                         would say so.  Perhaps psycho
                         killers are a common occurrence in
                         Chicago, pal.  But down here...
                         well... lets just say if they find
                         this sonofabitch he's more likely
                         to be hangin' from a tree with a
                         pitchfork up his ass then standing
                         in a suit and tie before the judge.

               Shuller slowly stands and limps over to the bar to collect
               two more drinks.  Limps back.  Takes a seat.

                                   SHULLER (cont'd)
                         You okay, pal?  You don't look so

                         I never do.

               Russ downs his drink.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         You say this town has secrets,


                         I think I've found one.  Maybe.
                         Have you ever heard of something
                         called "The Promethean Order"?

               Shuller racks his brain.

                         Nope.  Can't say I have.

                         I don't know how yet but I think it
                         has ties to the murders that happen
                         here every year.  And there's
                         something else.  Something strange. 
                         On each report...
                         I can't find any record of the
                         murdered girls names.
                         Do you remember any of them?

                         Well... uhhh...
                         Shoot... that was awhile ago.  I...
                         Sorry.  I can't think of 'em.

               Russ stares out at the door.  Scans the room.  Eyes
               occasionally dart his way.  Then away.

                                   SHULLER (cont'd)
                         Can I ask you a question?

               Russ nods.

                                   SHULLER (cont'd)
                         What's with the taxi?  You own a
                         car, right?


                         So how come you take a taxi

               Russ takes a drink.  Speaks softly.  

                         My daughter Samantha was killed in
                         a car crash.  Last year.

                         Jesus... I'm sorry, Russ.

                         I really wanted a boy, you know. 
                         When we first found out.  But we
                         got a girl.  And that first moment
                         I held her in my arms... she had me
                         wrapped around her finger.  All
                         she'd have to do is look at me...
                         and my heart would melt.
                         You know, you spend the first few
                         years of their lives keeping them
                         close, protecting them from every
                         evil in the world.  And then they
                         grow up...
                         hit the teenage years and want to
                         push away from you so quickly.

               Shuller nods.  Takes a drink.  So does Russ.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         We were driving back from a dance. 
                         I picked her up at school.  She
                         was... wearing this... little
                         bubblegum dress.  She begged me to
                         drive, you know, she had just got
                         her license.  I said no... but she
                         looked at me...  You know, just
                         like when she was a little kid. 
                         But this time... this time I
                         wouldn't give in.
                             (beat, remembering)
                         We came to this intersection and
                         this guy in another car... drunk...
                         blew right through the light.  Hit
                         right on the passenger side.  Right
                         where Samantha was sitting.  Our
                         car was destroyed... except for the
                         driver's seat.
                         You see, if I had just given in...
                         Samantha would have lived.

                         And you would have died.

                         It's the choice I would make every
                         time.  But life doesn't let you
                         have the chance to make the same
                         mistake again.  So you live with
                         it.  You never get behind the
                         wheel... ever again.

               His voice fades.


               Detective Carlin is scanning some papers when Detective Reece
               appears, a big smile on his face.

                                   DET. REECE
                         You ain't gonna believe this.  

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Do tell.

                                   DET. REECE
                         I did some checkin' on the new guy,
                         our Mister Russell Lassard.  Turns
                         out after he checked out of the
                         hospital for his injuries... he
                         checked in to a place called

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         The mental hospital.  

                                   DET. REECE
                         Right, the one outside
                         Fayetteville.  He was there six
                         months!  How 'bout them tomatoes 
                         And guess who his new best friend
                         is in town.  Seen hangin' out at
                         the Faded Rose?  One Steven

               Carlin nods.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         I'll be damned, then.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Think its time to pay Mister
                         Chicago a visit.

               Carlin nods.

                                   DET. CARLIN

                                   DET. REECE

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Maybe... there are some other
                         directions we should be lookin'.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Steve?  What in the hell are you
                         talkin' about?

                                   DET. CARLIN

               Carlin's voice fades.

                                   DET. REECE 
                         Maybe what?

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         How's ya Mama doin'?

                                   DET. REECE
                         Not good.  Won't be long, I'm

               Carlin nods.  His face dark.

               INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

               The television is on.  Clara is watching the end of some
               reality show.  Russ sits in a chair engrossed in the story of

               After a moment, Clara stands.  Shuts off the TV and crosses
               to Russ, leaning in and kissing his cheek.

                         I'm going to bed.  You followin'?

                             (not taking his eyes off
                              the page)
                         In a minute.

               Clara cocks her head and stares at Russ.

                         Whatcha reading?

               Russ looks up at Clara.

                         A book I got at the library today. 
                         Greek Mythology.  The story of

               It's fleeting... but we catch a flash of concern on Clara's

                         Since when do you care about...
                         myth-- mythology?

               Russ furrows his brow.

                         Is everything okay, Clara?

               Clara quickly loses the frown she's wearing and turns it to a

                         You can stay up if you want. 

               She turns and swings her hips.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
               're missin' out.

               Russ watches her go.  His eyes squint.  Wonders if he's
               missing something.

               The thought is fleeting; his attention soon returns to the

               WE TAKE A PEEK-- at what Russ is reading.  Text on the left. 
               A picture on the right.  A box adorned with jewels.  It is
               open and demons are rushing from it.  The caption below

                                     "Pandora's Box"

               Russ closes the book.  Stands.  Crosses to the front hallway. 
               To the window.  Brushes aside the drapes.  Stares at Dr.
               Prather's house.  Dark save...

               ...a light in the basement...

                                   RUSS (V.O.)
                         I need your help.

               INT. CLASSROOM - DAY

               History classroom.  Maps of great wars line the walls. 
               Shuller is behind his desk.  Feet up.  Russ paces.

                         Shoot, pal.

                         If you believed... something.  But
                         you were pretty sure no one else
                         would believe.  How would you go
                         about... making them believe?

                         I'm a history teacher, Russ. 
                         Theology is down the hall on the
                         right.  I believe Miss Ganor
                         teaches that class.

                         I'm serious.

                         I have no doubt you are.  But its a
                         bit abstract, don'tcha think?  
                         What is it you believe?

                         I can't tell you that.

                         That's not the best way to start
                         getting people to believe you.

                         I've... seen something very
                         strange.  And it might be... it
                         might involve... what's been going

                         The murders?

               Russ nods.

               Shuller sighs.  Sucks out something from between his teeth. 

                                   SHULLER (cont'd)
                         Well... like I said... I'm a
                         history teacher.  I believe in
                         facts.  Toil in them daily.  It's
                         where Miss Ganor and I part ways. 
                         There is faith... which is blind
                         belief.  And fact.  Which, unlike
                         faith has one clear distinguishing

               Russ looks up.  Nods.


               Shuller makes his hand a gun.  Shoots it and, with a click of
               his tongue, winks.

               EXT. CHURCH - MORNING

               Mid-sermon.  The Pastor paces.  Sweat drips from his brow. 
               He SCRATCHES at his face as he speaks.

                         We are afraid.  A being holds
                         hostage us all.  It is sad.  For
                         that which brings us great terror
                         is itself... lost.  

               The Pastor SCRATCHES at his face again and his neck; an
               insatiable itch.  

                                   PASTOR (cont'd)
                         To be human is a blissfully sorry
                         existence.  To be human is to be
                         trapped between poles of prophecy
                         and peril.  
                             (dramatic pause)
                         And those forces of Heaven and Hell
                         fight for us long after our Earthly
                         demise.  Tearing at us.  Our
                         memories belong only to the victor. 
                         Our souls the hard fought spoils...
                         of evil... or everlasting glory.  
                         When all we seek is peace.

               The Pastor closes his eyes.

               Blood begins to drip from his ear.

               He COLLAPSES to the GASPS of the Flock, several of which rush
               to help him.

               FADE TO BLACK.

               INT. HOME - DAY

               A KNOCK at the door.  Russ opens it.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Afternoon, Russ.  How's Mayflower
                         treating you?

               Russ nods.

                         Just fine, thank you.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Hope you remember us, I'm Detective
                         Reece, this is Detective Carlin. 
                         Mind if we come in?  Or do we need
                         to show you our warrant?

               Russ swallows hard.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         I'm just kidding, Russ.  We don't
                         have a warrant.
                         Should we?

                         Come in.

               Russ leads the Detectives to the--

               LIVING ROOM

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         How can I help you guys?

               Det. Carlin takes a seat on the couch.  Reece stays standing,
               peeking around corners.  

                                   DET. REECE
                         You and I have something in common,

                         What's that?

                                   DET. REECE
                         Neither of us was born here in
                         Mayflower.  I was reared down in
                         Polk county in the town of Cove
                         'bout a spit from the Louisiana
                         border.  Moved here about five
                         years ago when my Mama got sick...
                         see she had family here.  
                         Anyhow, I remember how tough it was
                         to be the new fella in town.

                         I haven't had too many problems.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Point is, I sympathize with you.

               A silent moment.

                         Excuse me, but is there a reason
                         you're here today?

               Reece smiles.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Son, I don't ever go nowhere
                         without a reason.

               Russ feels the Detectives eyes burning into him.  His heart
               beats fast.  He tries to bridal his nerves and locks his jaw.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         I'm sorry, Russ.  I don't mean to
                         cause you any alarm.  I just want
                         to ask you some questions about
                         where you were last Friday night.

               Russ's eyes narrow.

                         I was here.  I was home.

                                   DET. REECE
                         As any good husband would be, I had
                         no doubt.  And you can--

               Clara enters the room with a tray of iced tea and interrupts.

                         --of course he can, Detective.  I
                         was  here with him.  

               Carlin stands as the lady enters.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         Iced tea, fellas?  It has been so
                         unseasonably hot. Unless you'd like
                         something a bit more stiff.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Thank you, ma'am.  I don't drink
                         but on rare occasions.
                             (beat, to Russ)
                         Frankly, not rare enough.

               They each take a glass.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         You are friends with Mister
                         Shuller, is that so?  You know his
                         whereabouts that night?

                         No.  I don't know how I--

                                   DET. REECE
                         How well do you know Mister

                         We're casual friends.  It's a new
                         job.  He's a fellow teacher.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         We're quite aware of his

                                   DET. REECE
                         What Detective Carlin here means to
                         say is that Mister Shuller is well
                         known to the community.  He came to
                         us from Conway High.  

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Got kicked out for tryin' to make
                         it with a student.  Only reason he
                         found employment here in town
                         'cause his late Uncle was quite the
                         contributor to the Mayflower
                         football team.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Go Eagles.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Go Eagles.

                                   DET. REECE 
                         Were you aware of that, Russ?  I'm
                         told you and he often spend time
                         together down at the Faded Rose. 
                         He likes 'em young, Russ.  How do
                         you figure on something like that?  

               Words jam in his mouth.  Finally--

                         I think you should both leave now.

               Reece frowns.  Then... slowly smiles.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Of course.

               Reece and Carlin start for the door.  Clara opens it.  Just
               before he steps out, Reece turns back to Russ.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         One last question, Russ.  

               Russ is silent.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         Do you believe in monsters?

                         I wouldn't know what you mean by

               Reece nods.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Yeah.  Me neither.  When I was
                         growin' up in Cove I met this gypsy
                         lady tol' me "True evil never shows
                         its face.  It just hides in the
                         You have a nice day.

               The door closes.  Russ turns to Clara.


               Russ and Shuller walk together along a campus sidewalk near
               the athletic field where the future Arkansas Razorbacks
               football players slam into each other.  A whistle blows.

                         What did they want?

                         They wanted to know where I was the
                         night Cameryn Beck was murdered.

               Shuller sighs.

                         Goddamn local bumpkins.  Just like
                         them to single out the new guy in
                         What else they ask you?  They ask
                         about me?

               Russ's eyes narrow.

                         Matter of fact they did.

               Shuller's eyes widen.  He plays it off.

                         That so?  Figures.  Us hanging
                         around each other all the time.
                         Suppose they told you about the
                         Conway incident.

               Russ nods.

                                   SHULLER (cont'd)
                         Wasn't what you think, Russ.  I
                         gave the girl a ride home.  Name
                         was Cindy Miller.  She had a crush
                         on me, I know what yer thinkin',
                         right, a crush.  But it's true. 
                         She was all pushin' up on me and
                         when I stopped the car an' tol' her
                         to walk out she got upset.  Told
                         her parents I touched her in her
                         privates.  It wasn't true.

               Shuller stops.

                                   SHULLER (cont'd)
                         It wasn't true, Russ. 


               They continue walking.

                         Far as the girls that were
                         killed... I ain't got the strength
                         nor the sobriety to touch myself
                         anymore... let alone some young
                         There is one problem, however.

               Russ stops suddenly.  Pivots to Shuller who also stops and
               wears a look of concern.

                                   SHULLER (cont'd)
                         I saw her that night.


                         Cameryn Beck.  I was at the
                         theater.  I was just going to see a
                         movie by myself.  I saw her there
                         and she said hello to me.  That was
                         it.  I never saw her again that

               Shuller stares off into the sky for a moment.

                                   SHULLER (cont'd)
                         I suppose you think I should tell
                         them about it.

                         I'm not sure why you wouldn't.  If
                         it would help them.

               Shuller keeps staring off.  Starts to look a little nervous.

                         You think they're gonna come talk
                         to me?  

                         I think they want to know what
                         really happened.

               Shuller sticks his hands in his pockets.

                         They ain't interested in the truth. 
                         Never have been.

               Russ stares at Shuller.

                         What is the truth?

               Shuller keeps his gaze in the sky.  Slowly looks down at

                         Thought that was what you were
                         gonna figure out.


               Clara is soaking dishes in the sink and humming a hymnal
               softly to herself.

                         What is that?

               Clara smiles.

                         "All Things Bright and Beautiful".

                         I like it.

               She dries a dish.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         I was thinking... you should invite
                         Doctor Prather over for dinner

                         Jim?  Why?

                         I never did get to thank him for
                         taking care of me the other day.

               Clara sets down the dish and dries her hands.

                         That's sweet of you.  You sure?

               Russ nods slowly.

                         I am.
                             (looks her in the eyes)
                         I can cook steaks out on the grill.

                         You don't need to cook, Russ.  I
                         always take care of you.

               He smiles to her.  Nods.

               INT. HOME - NIGHT

               Russ swings the front door open.  Dr. Prather is there,
               dressed in a nice white linen shirt, khaki slacks.  He
               carries a bottle of wine.  

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Evening, Russ.  Good to see you
                         again.  And... I mean that.

                         Well, Jim... I believe you.

               Dr. Prather... smiles.

               INT. DINING ROOM - NIGHT

               They are all seated at the dining room table.  Clara carries
               in the steaks, setting the plates before the men.

               She takes her seat.  There is a moment of silence as they all
               cut into their food.

               Russ eyes the clock: 9:42

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         How's your new job treating you,

                         Well, Jim.  Two of my students have
                         been murdered since I started. 
                         So... not as well as I'd hoped.

                         Such terrible dinner talk, then.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Yes, I agree.  Terrible, just

               He takes a bite.

                         You don't seem all that bothered.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         On the contrary, Russ.  I am very
                         bothered.  But I trust these
                         horrible crimes will be over soon. 
                         And things will return to normal. 
                         That's the way it should be in this
                         You see, I was born here in
                         Mayflower.  Raised here. 
                         Nothin' changed here, Russ.  Been
                         here sixty-three years and besides
                         the cars... this is still the same
                         town I first arrived in naked and
                         Until the last few years, that is.

                         Can we please change the

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         It's a special place.  Like nowhere
                         else in the world.  And we like it
                         that way.

               Russ just stares at Dr. Prather.  He smiles back.

               There is a moment of uncomfortable silence.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         How have you been feelin', Russ? 
                         After your fall?  I'd like you to
                         come down to my office for a check

                         No need.  I feel fine.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Well, of course, its your choice. 
                         However I'd like to make sure its
                         not a sign of something... more

               A moment.

                         I'll keep that in mind.

               Silence.  Prather smiles again.  Takes another bite.

               Just then... Russ's cell phone blares out.  In his pocket; he
               snaps it up.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                             (into phone)
                         Russell Lassard.

               Russ muffles the RECORDED MESSAGE that says: "This is your
               automated wake up call for, nine forty-five... p-m."

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                             (into phone)
                         Yes, Wilbur.  Uh-huh.  Just hold

               Russ sets the phone down.

                         Who's callin' you so late?

                         Principal Winston.

                         School business at this time of

                         Apparently someone is sick and I
                         might have to pick up a few classes
                         tomorrow.  Let me find out, excuse
                         me, just keep eating, I'll be just
                         a minute.

               He stands...

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Of course, Russ.  Take your time. 
                         We'll be... right here.

               ...and leaves the room.


               Russ looks back.  Makes sure he's out of sight.  Reaches into
               his pocket.  Pulls out... a disposable camera.  

               Creeps slowly for the front door.  Gently opens it.  Gently
               shuts it.

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               Russ stops.  Stares at the house across the street.

               The house... smiles back.

               Russ raises his disposable camera and takes a picture... then
               moves forward.  Slowly at first.  Then... faster to


               Russ knocks.  Waits.  No answer.

               Russ wraps his hand around the doorknob.  Twists.  

               It opens.


               Russ moves quickly, snapping off shots of anything he sees. 
               Documenting.  He moves from room to room.  Knowing... where
               he will find the proof he is looking for.  He searches around
               for the entrance... finding it in--

               INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

               Heart pounds.  Sweats.  Russ touches the knob on the door
               that leads to the basement.  Slowly turns it.  Steels
               himself... and heads down.

               It's dark.  More than dark; foreboding.  Russ steps
               carefully... feeling the wall... hoping for a light.

               He comes upon one.  Flips it.  Descends.


               More sterile you would expect.  A medical type table at one
               end.  Rows of white boxes at the other.  In the center... A

               And behind that cage... the Creature... crumpled on the
               ground.  Silent.

               Russ slowly approaches the cage.  He is shaking with fear. 
               Digs the camera out of his pocket.  Takes sight and levels it
               at the Creature.

               In a flash it springs forward, crashing against the cage. 
               Teeth showing.  It lashes out with it's arm.

               Russ steps backward.  Breathing quick.  Terror scratching at
               his brain.  It's all he can do to raise the camera and... 


               The flash stuns the Creature.  It falls back.  Russ takes the
               opportunity to race back up the stairs.

               It's haunting white EYES follow his every movement. 

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               Russ tucks the camera away and heads back to his house.

               INT. HOME - NIGHT

               He, again, gently opens, enters and shuts the front door. 
               Straightens himself out.  Heads casually back into-


               Russ smiles.

                         Sorry about that.

               He stops.  Dr. Prather is gone.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         Where did he go?

                         Some emergency.  Said he had to run

               Blood drains from Russ's face.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         Are you okay?


                         What's wrong?

               Russ takes out the camera.

                         We have to talk.

               INT. KITCHEN - LATER

               Both are sitting at the kitchen table.  Clara looks stunned--
               he's clearly spilled his guts.

                         Say something.

                         I don't know what to say.  

                         It's true.  Every word of it.  You
                         have to believe me.  I have a

                         This... this is not fixing us,
                         Russ!  After the other night... I
                         thought... we were finally
                         beginning to heal.  Then... you
                         start in with this?  Monsters
                         across the street?  Breaking into
                         people's homes?

                         Jim Prather is behind these
                         murders.  He's hiding something.  

               Clara stands.  Explodes.

                         Jim Prather is a great man!  He has
                         done more for us, more for this
                         community than anyone!

                         And what exactly would that be?

               Clara stands.  Shakes her head as she crosses to the sink,
               filling a teapot with water and carrying it over to the

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         What are you doing?

                             (coldly detached, like we
                              saw in the bedroom scenes
                         Making some tea.

               She FIRES up the stove-- blue flame licking the bottom of the

                         You have to believe me.  This isn't
                         in my head, Clara.  This is all...
                         very... real.

               Clara glances over at Russ.  Her eyes narrowed.  She slides
               open a drawer.  A bottle of PILLS.  Removes two.  Drops them
               in a teacup.

               The teapot starts to hiss...

               Clara keeps her back to him...

                                   RUSS (cont'd)

               The teapot hisses louder...

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                             (louder now)

                         A moment.

               Clara removes the teapot from the burner.  Pours his cup; the
               pills dissolve before our eyes.

               She pours her own.  Clean.  Picks up the cups and crosses to
               the table, taking a seat beside him.

               Russ takes a sip.

                         I need you.  I need you to believe

                         I know you do.

               Clara is frighteningly cool right now.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         I need you too.  I always have.

               Russ takes another sip.  Starts to feel dizzy again.  Eyes
               roll back in his head as he falls to the ground.  Head,
               SLAMMING against the ground.


               FLASHES OF LIGHT--

               A car horn continues to blare.  Twisted metal tosses plumes
               of smoke against the cold night.  

                         Wake up, princess.  Please...

               Russ reaches out.  Blurry bodies move behind him.

                                   FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
                         Oh, God.  Is anyone alive?

                                   ANOTHER FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
                         Call 9-1-1.

                                   MALE VOICE (O.S.)
                         I can't get the girl.  The door's
                         all smashed in!

                                   ANOTHER MALE VOICE (O.S.) 
                         Pull him out!  Get him back!  The
                         things gonna go!

               Hands grab him.  Pull him away.

               FADE TO BLACK. 

               EVERYTHING IS BLURRY--

               Bright but unrecognizable.  Slowly the picture comes into
               focus and we realize we are in--

               INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT

               Russ blinks.  His head is bandaged.  

               Dr. Prather sits in a chair across the room.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Hello, Russ.

               Russ stares at Prather.  Eyes shoot around the room.

                         Where's my wife?

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Clara went to get some food.  She's
                         been a mess.  

                         What happened?

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Apparently you blacked out at home. 
                         Not good, these blackouts you've
                         been having.  This is precisely why
                         I wanted you to come down here for
                         a check up.

               Russ tries to lift his hand-- and discovers both arms are
               tied down to his bed.

                         What the hell is this?!

               Prather stands.  Crosses to the bed.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         For your protection, Russ.  

                         Untie me.

               Prather frowns.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         I'm afraid not.  Not just yet.  I
                         need to tell me something.  I need
                         you tell me about the
                         hallucinations you've been having.

                         I haven't--

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         --It's okay, Russ.  I understand.

               Russ jerks his leg, knocking Prather's hand away.  

               Dr. Prather nods and stands again.

                         I know you have a... thing... some
                         sort of monster living in a cage in
                         your basement.  It's killing people
                         and you're covering it up.  Who is
                         it, Jim...
                         What is it?

                                   DR. PRATHER 
                         Stop this, Russ.  This is in your

                         I know what I saw.  

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         What else have you seen, Russ? 
                         Have you seen your daughter, too?

               Russ says nothing.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         I am just trying to help you.

                             (louder now)
                         What is "The Promethean Order"?  

                                   DR. PRATHER
                             (even louder)
                         You have already lost your
                         daughter.  Now you are destroying
                         yourself and you are destroying
                         your marriage.

                         That's none of your goddamn

               Dr. Prather slowly nods.  

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Yes.  I suppose.

               Silence.  Dr. Prather shakes his head.  Crosses to a counter
               and draws a liquid into a syringe.  

                         He suffered.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Who suffered, Russ?

                         Prometheus.  Zeus punished him by
                         imprisoning him on a mountain top. 
                         And every day an eagle would fly to
                         the mountain and feast on
                         Prometheus' liver.  But every night
                         the liver would grow back.  The
                         whole thing would start again.
                         I know who you really are.

               Dr. Prather taps out the air and turns.  Smiles.  Crosses to
               the bed.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         Are you going to kill me?

               Dr. Prather locks eyes with Russ.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Two things, Russ.  First, that is
                         not a question one gets to ask if
                         one is really about to be killed. 
                         Second, if you say you know who I
                         really am... then you would know...
                         that would be quite impossible.

               He waits a moment... then JAMS the syringe into Russ's arm.

               Russ starts to fade.  Eyelids drop, then rise... he can see
               Dr. Prather walk away... then... see his wife standing just
               outside the door...  

               He struggles to stay conscious and makes out in flashes:
               Clara talking to Prather.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         The new medication should work. 
                         Calm him.  But if he becomes
                         irrational...  if he sees it
                         again... let me know.

                         I will.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         For now... let him sleep.  You did
                         the right thing.

               Prather turns back.  Looks to Russ.  Shuts off the light and
               closes the door.

               Russ fights to stay awake.  Looks in the corner.  SEES:

               Samantha.  Bloodied.  Sitting in a chair in the corner. 
               Smiling at him.  


               Samantha stands.  Leaves a trail of blood across the floor as
               she approaches her father.  Leans over.  Bloody lips kiss his

               Russ cannot fight anymore.  He closes his eyes.

               FADE TO BLACK. 

               EXT. HOME - NIGHT

               Clara gently guides a dazed Russ to the front door.

               INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT

               She helps him into bed.  He stares up at her.

                         Everything will be better, soon.

               Russ gives an involuntary nod.  She kisses his cheek.

               INT. KITCHEN - MORNING

               Russ and Clara sit across from each other at the table. 
               Clara watches her husband.  Purses her lips; Russ looks
               lobotomized.  His actions are slow.  His mouth hangs open.  A
               bowl of cereal before him.

                         Do you like your cereal, Russ?

               Russ just nods.  Keeps eating his cereal.  Milk drools from
               the corner of his mouth.


               Russ and Clara watch television.  Russ suddenly stands. 
               Speaks in a slower, slurred voice.

                         It's two pee em.  I need to go...
                         take m-my pills.

               Clara betrays her sadness.  Fights it.

                         Okay, baby.

               Russ wanders from the room.  Heads up the stairs.  

               Clara starts to cry.  She picks up the phone.  Dials.

               INT. STAIRWAY - AFTERNOON

               Russ slowly steps down the stairs.  

               He can HEAR Clara, from the kitchen, on the phone to someone. 

                                   CLARA (O.S.)
                         ...not what I wanted!  He's not the
                         same.  I'm not being irrational...

               Russ finishes the stairs and heads for the kitchen.

               INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

               Russ shuffles into the kitchen.

                             (into phone)
                         Look!  I want you to--

               She suddenly notices Russ.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                             (into phone)
                         I'll have to call you back.

               She hangs up.  Russ looks at her blankly.  Speaks monotone.

                         Who were you talking to?

               Clara shrugs.  Cornered.

                         I was... 
                         Wrong number.

               Russ stares at her.

                         I'm thinking... maybe I'll go for a
                         walk.  If that's okay.

                         That's... fine, Russ.  

                         I can't find my coat.

               Clara lets out a nervous laugh.  Or is that a sob?

                         I'll get it for you.

               She leaves the room.  

               Russ drops the zombie act.  Quickly crosses to the phone and
               hits "Redial".  Checks the display on the phone: 

                                    "Dr. Jim Prather"

               Russ sets the phone down as Clara walks back in carrying his

               EXT. STREET - LATER

               Russ shuffles and does the whole act until he's sure he's far
               enough from his home.  Digs out a cell phone and dials.

               INT. TAXI - LATER

               Russ climbs in the back.

                         Downtown.  One hour photo.

               INT. SAVON DRUGS - DAY

               At the "One Hour Photo" counter.  The CLERK hands over the
               ENVELOPE OF PHOTOS.

               EXT. STREET - LATER

               Russ exits the store, pictures in hand.  He shuffles through
               them.  To the last.  The one he wants.  Stares at it.

               THE PICTURE-- a perfect shot of The Creature.  Behind the
               cage.  Russ smiles.

               It is the proof he needs.

               EXT. STREET - AFTERNOON

               Russ charges down the street now.  Determined.  Turns a
               corner and makes a direct line for the...


               Russ heads inside.


               Russ approaches the front desk.  A FEMALE OFFICER greets him. 
               Bright.  Cheery.  Way too cheery for a cop.

                                   FEMALE OFFICER
                         Good afternoon, sir.  Welcome to
                         the Mayflower Police Department. 
                         How may I service you today?

                         I need to talk to Detective Reece.

                                   FEMALE OFFICER
                         And what is this regarding?

                         I know who murdered all those kids.

               Her face changes.  She grabs a phone.


               DETECTIVE REECE scratches off a lottery ticket.

               The numbers match up... he has won.


                                   DET. REECE
                         Suminabitch.  Whoo-hoo.

               He tucks the ticket away as an OFFICER leads Russ to the
               Detective's desk.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         Mister Lassard.  

                         I have something to show you.

               The Detective's eyes narrow.


               Detective Reece holds a picture.  One that Russ has given
               him.  The one with "The Monster".  He stares at it and
               sees... nothing.

               THE PICTURE-- shows nothing...  An empty basement.

               Reece holds the picture up to Russ.

                                   DET. REECE 
                         What are you seein' in this that I


               Russ grabs the picture.  Looks at it.  Reece is right.  The
               photo is a mess of color that shows nothing.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         Wait a minute... this has to be the
                         wrong one.  Hold on.

               Russ pulls out the envelope of developed photos quickly--
               other SHOTS OF DOCTOR PRATHER'S HOME.  They suddenly SPILL to
               the floor.  

               Russ drops to his knees and sweeps them up... looking for the
               photo of the Creature.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         I know it's here!

                                   DET. REECE
                         What's there, Russ?

                         The picture of the monster.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Seriously, Russ.  Lets drop all
                         this pretense.

                         Are you listening to me?!

                                   DET. REECE 

                         I saw this thing with my own eyes!

                                   DET. REECE
                         And I am assuming you had the good
                         Doctor's full permission to examine
                         his basement.  Russ, I know you're
                         smarter than that. 

                         We don't have much time!  

                                   DET. REECE
                         We know Steven Shuller was at the
                         theater that night, Russ.

               Russ draws in a sharp breath.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         From your reaction I'm guessin' you
                         knew that too.  We got witnesses
                         that saw him there.  But I still
                         got no one, other than your wife,
                         that can tell me where you were
                         that night.
                         Where were you, Russ?

                         I'm trying to help you!.

               Russ stands and stares straight at the Detective.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Troubles at home?


                                   DET. REECE
                         Your wedding ring.  Ain't on your

               Russ looks at his left hand... sees he's right: the ring is

                         I... must have taken it off.  I do
                         that sometimes.

                                   DET. REECE
                         God lives in the corners, Russ.

               Russ nods.

                         Thanks for your time.

               Russ turns and blows out the door.  

               EXT. LASSARD HOME - EVENING

               A taxi deposits a defeated Russ back before his home.  He
               steps slowly up to the front door clutching the photos.

               He spots the SUV parked in the driveway; Clara no doubt
               waiting frantically inside.


               Through the front door, Russ notices the home is eerily
               quiet.  It is dark.  All the lights are out.


               No answer.  Russ crosses into--

               KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

               He scans the room.  Nothing.  Turns on the light.

               Russ rubs his eyes.  Accidentally drops the photos to the

               He sits ground, placing his back against a cabinet, feet out,
               looking exhausted.  He picks up the photos one by one,
               flipping through them again.  Confused.  Anxious.

               Russ... begins to sob.  It starts out slowly.  Then harder. 
               He covers his face and the tears flow.


               Suddenly Samantha is sitting beside him.  Bloodied.  Torn. 
               Hands in her lap.

                         Please don't cry, daddy.

               Russ slows down.  Catches his breath.  Turns to her.

                         I miss you.

                         I miss you too.

               Tears gather in his eyes once more.  He slows his breathing.

                         It should have been me.

               Samantha slowly... nods.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         I wish it had been me.


                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                             (through the tears)
                         Do you remember when I taught you
                         how to ride your bike.  We were
                         living on Skyler Street.  In Lake
                         Forest.  Do you remember that?


                         And you fell off your bike.  And
                         you scraped up your knee.  And you
                         were crying and crying.  And I just
                         kept thinking... I want to ride
                         that bike for you. 

                         But you couldn't.

                         No.  I couldn't.  But I wanted too. 
                         That's the hard thing.  I wanted to
                         be the one that felt your pain for
                         you.  I have always.  There are so
                         many things I want.  
                         I want that moment back.  I want
                         our moments back.  There is nothing
                         I wouldn't do.  To have you back.
                             (beat, looks at her)

               Samantha smiles.  Russ smiles back.

                                   RUSS (cont'd)
                         But there's nothing I can do.

               Long moment.

                         They don't believe you.

                         No, princess.  They don't believe

               They sit in silence a moment.  Both staring straight ahead.

                         I believe you.  I know there's a
                         monster.  I've seen it.

               Russ smiles.

                         I appreciate that, baby.  But
                         you're a figment of my imagination. 
                         I still love you though.

                         The monster isn't in the basement.

                         Where is the monster, baby?

               She smiles.  Blood stains her teeth.

                         You know where it is, daddy.  And
                         you know what you have to do.  

               Russ stares at Samantha.  Slowly nods.

                         I miss you.

               But she is gone.  He is speaking to no one.  

               Russ stands.  Doesn't move for a moment.  Then, reaches into
               a drawer... and withdraws... a large, BUTCHER KNIFE.


               Detective Reece slides on his coat and looks ready for the
               end of the day when his phone RINGS.

               He snaps it up.

                                   DET. REECE

               His shoulders slump.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         That's like two blocks away!  I'll
                         be right there.

               EXT. LASSARD HOME - NIGHT

               Russ stands in the driveway.  Stares at the SUV.  He slowly
               reaches for the door.

               INT. SUV - CONTINUOUS

               Russ sets the knife on the passenger seat.  Slides the key
               into the ignition.

               A FLASH OF MEMORY: the moment of impact as he starts the car. 
               His eyes close.  Open again.

               Russ takes hold of the wheel.

               EXT. CRIME SCENE - NIGHT

               Crime tape ropes off the scene at the edge of some woods. 
               This time the body is uncovered.  A hand protrudes from some

               Det. Reece rolls up in an unmarked car.  Gets out.  Crosses
               to Detective Carlin who has arrived just minutes before.

                                   DET. REECE
                         Another one?

               Carlin looks grave.  Shakes his head.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         What then?

               Carlin leans down.  His gloved hand takes hold of something. 
               A wallet.  He opens it with one hand and shows it to Reece.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)

               Reece's eyes scan the scene.  He spots something.  Kneels
               down and removes a pen from his coat.  Picks up the unseen
               object with it.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         You find something, Bill?

                                   DET. REECE

               A UNIFORMED OFFICER holding a cell phone calls out.

                                   UNIFORMED OFFICER
                         Hey, Detective Carlin.  You got a

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Who is it?

                                   UNIFORMED OFFICER
                         Jim Prather.

               Carlin crosses to the officer.


               The SUV slides to a stop fifty yards from the darkened
               waterfront building.  Russ kills the engine.  Steps outside.

               There are no other cars in sight.

               Russ slowly approaches the front door.  Sees... it has been
               propped open.  Russ steps inside.


               Russ moves forward, each step cautious.  Fear flickers in his
               eyes as he moves into a new set of light and shadow; beams
               from the moon cutting frames of window across walls.  An
               eerie stillness.

               HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

               Russ steps forward down a long hallway.  Closed doors line
               the right side wall.  He stares at each as he passes.  Keeps
               moving until he hears... scratching...

               Russ turns to the door.  Reaches out to the knob opens it. 
               Blackness.  Feels along the wall for the switch.  Snaps it

               ROOM - CONTINUOUS

               A chill races up his back.  The room is medically sterile. 
               White upon white.  A table in the center.  And a body. 

               Russ steps forward...  Glances down at the face.

               It is one he recognizes... the face of PAIGE HOPKINS.

               Russ shudders as he examines her body, sewn together, wiped
               clean, back to near perfection....

               Russ hears the scratching again.  Eyes sweep down Paige's
               body... to a hand... and fingernails that are clawing at the

               He can barely let out a gasp when PAIGE'S EYES OPEN AND HER
               HEAD TURNS TO RUSS!

               Russ falls back... legs kicking.  He quickly makes it to his
               feet and bolts out of the room.

               HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

               Russ races down one hall.  Then another.  His heart beating
               so hard we can hear it.  Down another... when he suddenly

               Sees a light.  In an office.

               Dr. Prather's office...

               Russ slowly steps toward the light.


               It appears empty.  At first.  He moves farther in and notices
               a stack of files on the center of Dr. Prather's desk.  Russ
               takes a step forward then stops.  Turns left and sees...

               CLARA... sitting in a chair in the corner.  Tears moving down
               her cheek.  

               Shock registers on Russ's face.

                         Clara?  What are you doing here? 
                         What's going on?

               She says nothing.  Looks to the desk.

               Russ moves slowly to it.  To the file folder.  He looks to
               Clara.  Then down to the folder.  Opens it.

               AN AUTOPSY PHOTO

               The face, by now, is quite familiar.  At the bottom it reads:
               "Paige Hopkins, 2002"

               Russ flips another page.  This time, the same face, in a
               different pose.  At the bottom it reads: "Paige Hopkins,

               He turns another page.  Doesn't even seem to flinch when he
               hears the voice...

                                   DR. PRATHER (O.S.)
                         I hate suffering, Russ.  Can't
                         stand it.  It's why I became a

               Russ looks up.  Dr. Prather stands in the doorway.  

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         I watched my wife suffer.  Cancer
                         got so bad, she decided the only
                         way out was at the end of a .32
                         gauge shotgun in my basement. 
                         There was nothing I could do back
                         then... but suffer myself.  And I
                         hate it.

               Russ flips another page.  A new photo.  Another familiar
               face, frozen in death.  At the bottom it reads: "Cameryn
               Beck, 2003"

               Dr. Prather steps forward.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         But after the Prometheus Order...
                         the expirements that showed us how
                         to conquer death... I promised I
                         would never let anyone suffer.  If
                         I could help it.
                         There is no monster in my basement,
                         Russell.  And your daughter is
                         dead.  You have imagined them both.

               Russ flips to another folder.  Another page.  This time his
               face tightens and tears fill his eyes.  It is the body of

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         The night of the crash... Samantha
                         had no chance.  The damage too
                         great.  There was nothing I could

               FLASH TO--

               A car horn continues to blare.  Twisted metal tosses plumes
               of smoke against the cold night.  

                         Wake up, princess.  Please...

               Russ reaches out.  Blurry bodies move behind him.

               FLASH BACK TO--

               Russ, flips another page.  This one startles him even more. 
               Another autopsy photo.  This one... is him.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         The doctors did their best... but
                         your injuries were too great.  You
                         also died that night, Russ.

               FLASH TO--

               Doctors work frantically over Russ... who flatlines on a
               hospital gurney.

               FLASH BACK TO SCENE--

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         I brought you back.  I have known
                         Clara since she was a child.  And
                         her loss... was mine.

               Clara sobs harder, covering her face.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         I brought you back and I brought
                         you here.  I meant it when I said
                         to you that Mayflower was a very
                         special place.  It is the town of
                         my childhood.  A place I want to
                         never feel pain.  That is our
                         And there are those that know...

               FLASH TO--

               Suspicious eyes at "The Faded Rose" glance over Russ.

               FLASH TO--

               Suspicious eyes glance over Russ outside of the church.

               FLASH BACK TO--

               Russ.  Still turning pages in the file.  Tears dropping to
               the desk.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         ...and those who can never

               FLASH TO--

               An autopsy photo of The Pastor, dated 2004...

               FLASH TO--

               An autopsy photo of the Older Librarian, dated 2002...

               FLASH TO--

               An autopsy photo of... Steven Shuller.  Dated 2003.

               FLASH BACK TO SCENE--

               Russ closes the folders.  Slowly looks up to Dr. Prather.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         I have made it so this town could
                         not suffer death... until we
                         brought you here.

               Russ suddenly understands.

                         The monster...

               Dr. Prather nods.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Your beasts... a creation of that
                         very mysterious mind...

               FLASH TO--

               Samantha dripping in blood.

               FLASH TO--

               The Creature standing before Russ.

               FLASH TO--

               Russ... skin pale, eyes white, murdering Paige Hopkins.

               FLASH BACK TO SCENE--

               Dr. Prather nods.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Something went wrong.  Something I
                         cannot repair.  But something I can
                         fix.  I'm sure of it.  

               Russ looks to Clara.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         Yes.  She knew.  She did her best
                         to protect you.

               FLASH TO--

               Clara caries bloody clothing from the floor.  Shoves it into
               a fireplace and lights a match.

               FLASH BACK TO SCENE--

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         You refuse to be at peace with
                         life.  You are so angry and I don't
                         know why.  Tell me, Russ.  Why?

               Russ says nothing.  Grips the handle of the knife.

                                   DR. PRATHER (cont'd)
                         We have been here before.  Let me
                         finally help you.
                         Because I don't know how much
                         longer I can try.

               Dr. Prather reaches out.


               He slashes out with the knife, catching Dr. Prather's arm. 
               Prather falls back and Russ races out of the office.  Clara
               chases after him.


               Russ explodes out the front door and onto the dirt yard,
               tripping and landing hard on the ground.  He makes it to his
               knees and holds his head.  Fighting the truth...

               Clara is quickly beside him.

                         Russ!  Please!  

               He looks up at her.

                         You did this to me.

               Clara slowly nods.

                         You have to understand.

                         Understand what?!

                         I was not prepared!  You're not
                         supposed to go through life
                         worrying every moment that the
                         people you love... will go away.  

               Clara reaches out.  Touches Russ's face.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         Most people don't ever have to feel
                         that kind of pain.  It wrecks your
                         body.  Pulls at your soul.  I was
                         not prepared for this. I lost
                         everything.  Samantha.  I lost you. 
                         And it wasn't supposed to happen
                         that way, you see?  
                         You were not supposed to go before--

                         --Before what?!

                         Before me.

               A moment of silence.

                                   CLARA (cont'd)
                         I've always told you, Russ.  I
                         can't live without you.  Samantha
                         was gone.  I couldn't lose you
                         both.  It was too soon.

               Sirens are heard closing in fast.

                         You don't know what you've done.

               Russ makes it to his feet.  Clara stands beside him as a car
               skids to a stop 20 yards away.  DETECTIVES REECE and CARLIN
               quickly step out, both holding revolvers at the ready.

               Russ stares into Clara's eyes.  Clara stares back.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         Step away from her, Russ!  Get on
                         the ground!

                                   DET. REECE
                         You heard him, Russ!  Drop the

               Russ keeps staring at Clara.  Grips the handle of the knife
               even tighter.

                         I'm not a monster.

                                   DET. REECE
                         I found your wedding ring, Russ. 
                         Your friend Shuller.  I found your
                         ring at the scene.  Your name is
                         engraved on it.

               Russ keeps looking at Clara.  Then down at his hand... where
               the ring used to be.

                         I'm not a monster.

                                   DET. CARLIN
                         There's plenty of time for that,
                         Russ.  Just put down the knife.

               Russ nods.  Touches Clara's face.  Smiles.

               Her eyes go wide.

                             (pleading softly)
                         No, Russ.  We can fix it.  We don't
                         have to keep starting over.

                         You have to let me go.

                             (louder now)

                                   DET. REECE
                         Get on the ground, Russ!

               Russ nods again.  Breathes.  Turns to Reece and...


               Detective Reece FIRES!

               The slug SLAMS into Russ's chest, right above the heart.  

               He spins and spills back to the ground, blood pumping from
               the wound.  

               And Clara cries out:


               On the ground: Russ gasps.  Things... get hazy.  

               Russ stares blankly up.  Closes his eyes.

               EXT. ROAD - NIGHT

               Samantha stands on the edge of the road.  Not a scratch on
               her.  The burning wreckage of the crash in the distance.

               She looks troubled.  Scans the horizon.

                         Daddy?  Daddy, where are you?

               FLASH BACK TO--


               Dr. Prather appears at the front door.

               Clara is crumpled on the ground.

               Detective Reece slowly approaches Russ, lying in a pool of
               blood.  He looks shocked at what he's done.

                                   DET. REECE
                         He came at me...  

               Reece looks over to Clara.  Then to Dr. Prather.

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         I didn't have a choice.

               Dr. Prather nods.  Glances over at Detective Carlin.

               Detective Carlin sighs.  Nods.  RAISES HIS GUN AND FIRES,
               BLOWING Detective Reece off his feet and to the ground.  The
               cop bleeds...

               Clara SCREAMS.

                                   DR. PRATHER
                         Stop, Clara.  We'll try again.


               His eyes flutter.  He smiles.  Exhales and lets go.

               FADE TO BLACK.

               EXT. ROAD - NIGHT

               Samantha stands in her bubblegum pink dress, as before, not a
               scratch, looking worried.  

                         Daddy, where are you?!

               Russ appears, feet before her.  He is also clean, now. 
               Untouched.  He crosses to her.  Rests his hand on her head.

                         I'm right here, princess.

                         Daddy?  I want to go home.

                         Okay, princess.  We'll go home.

               He leads her away, hand in hers.  The darkness gives way to
               light.  The night, it seems, has become day.  

               FADE TO BLACK.

               Silence.  Then, OVER BLACK, the SOUND of a heartbeat.

               EXT. STREET - DAY

               A Young Woman rides her bike down a street.   As she
               passes... we recognize her... as Paige Hopkins.

               She smiles... and keeps pedaling along.

               FADE TO BLACK. 

               A heartbeat...


               A crowd of students flush forward.  Chatting and yelling. 
               They break like a wave, split apart to leave one young woman,
               Cameryn Beck standing, clutching her books to her chest.  

               She looks up at the banner:

                                   Welcome Class of '12

               She uneasily steps forward.  A look of sadness on her face.

               FADE TO BLACK. 

               A heartbeat...

               INT. "THE FADED ROSE" - MORNING

               In mostly darkness, the front door opens and pours light
               across the screen.  

               A figure stands in the doorway, silhouetted.  He pauses a
               moment and steps forward.

               INT. BAR

               The figure introduces himself to light.  Steven Shuller

                         Scotch, on the rocks.

               FADE TO BLACK. 

               A heartbeat.

               INT. REECE'S HOME - NIGHT

               The home is dark.  The inside bathed in blue moonlight.

               We PUSH IN to an open bedroom door.  And a dark room.  We
               hear the voice of Detective Reece.

                                   DET. REECE (O.S.)
                         How are you feelin', Mama.  Do you
                         need anything?  Can I get you some

               As we PUSH IN CLOSER, we see Detective Reece sitting in a
               chair by a bed.  

                                   DET. REECE (cont'd)
                         Well... you let me know if there's
                         anythin' you need.

               WE NOW SEE THAT THE BED... IS EMPTY.

               Detective Reece continues to speak... to a memory.

               FADE TO BLACK. 

               A heartbeat.

               FLASH TO--

               And he suddenly gasps!

               RUSSELL LASSARD'S eyes snap open and he sucks in air, his
               body leaping forward, awake.

               INT. SUV - DAY

               Russ is in the passenger seat.  His wife Clara is behind the

               She turns to him.

                         Are you okay?  Do you need your

               Russ wipes his eyes. 

                         No.  I'm fine.  Where are we?

                         Just left St. Louis.  Not far.

               Long moment.  Russ seems confused.  Heavy eyes.  

               Clara... smiles.

               EXT. ROAD - DAY

               The SUV blows past us.  We stay.  Look up at the sign they've
               just passed.

                                       Little Rock

                                        220 miles

               FADE TO BLACK. 

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