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30 December 2010 @ 09:18 pm
NaScreeWriMo - Day Sixty  
INT. CASTLE - EVENING

Deserted and dark. The only light filters in through the narrow windows. Mira walks down the corridors - turning and twisting, leading nowhere.

She stops.

MIRA
My Lord!
 
Her voice echoes.

MIRA (CONT’D)
My Lord, will you not dine with me?
 
The echo of her voice dies. A sound is heard - CLICKING. Mira waits - the clicking gets louder.

A WOLF appears at the end of the corridor, its nails clicking on the floor. It approaches her, and licks her hand.

MIRA (CONT’D)
Take me to him.
 
The wolf leads Mira back the way it came.

INT. DINING HALL - NIGHT

Mira and the wolf enter. Bathory waits, sitting at the end of the table, his feet up on the tablecloth.

BATHORY
Darling! Did you get lost?

MIRA
I’m afraid it will take me some time to learn
where everything is. You have a very large castle.
 
She pets the wolf. It smiles up at her, its wagging tail thumping on the floor.

MIRA (CONT’D)
A very smart creature. I have not seen
him in the castle before.
 
She goes to the center of the table and lights the CANDLES there. The Count looks at her closely, but not without amusement.

BATHORY
Oh, he’s been here.
 
Mira sits at the opposite end, arranges a napkin in her lap. Glances over - the wolf is gone. The blank-faced manservant stands exactly where it had been sitting. He smiles at her.

No real surprise - Mira is beyond that now. She just smiles back, then lifts the silver cover from her dinner plate.

The food is ROTTEN. Mira pulls back slightly at the smell of it.

MIRA
What is this?

BATHORY
It’s the same as what you’ve always eaten here. Nothing’s
changed, Mira. Maybe at last you’re just seeing
things as they really are.
 
Mira looks around. She SEES. The tablecloth is full of holes, moldy. The paintings on the walls have been slashed - canvas strips hang sadly. Piles of bones in the corners. The wolf sits by the door, mangy, half-starved, smile gone.

Mira looks to the end of the table. In the Count’s place sits an ANCIENT CREATURE, something older than even the castle. Its skin is cracked rather than wrinkled, old dead blood dried and caked in the seams of its wretched face.

Its eyes are red, and a serpentine tongue flicks out over its lips. With long, yellowed fingernails, it lifts a bite of rotten food to its mouth. Mira can see the maggots crawling.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
Won’t you eat, Mira?
 
She draws in a shuddery breath. Takes up her knife and fork, cuts away a piece of meat. Eats it with a struggle.

Laughter from the end of the table. Mira BLINKS - the Count appears a handsome middle-aged man again, though everything else is still ruined, decrepit.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
Delicious, isn’t it?
 
Mira eats another bite, more easily.

MIRA
You mean to frighten me. It won’t work.

BATHORY
What are you talking about, you silly girl?

MIRA
How long did you wait before you showed all of this to
Ilka? How long did you wait before you drove her mad?

BATHORY
I waited until she allowed that priest to perform his magic on
her. I waited until she allowed my sons to die.

MIRA
I will never see my son again. My husband might as well be dead.
I have no desire to consecrate this union, and there is no longer
any reason to delay. I will go to your bed tonight.
And after I give you a son, you will let me go.
 
Bathory stops eating, looks at Mira without his usual haughty disdain for the first time.

BATHORY
And what is there for you now outside
the castle?

MIRA
Nothing. You’ve seen to that. But I never said I would
be leaving the castle - only that you would
release me. To let me belong only to myself.

BATHORY
Ah. Suppose I decide I want to keep you? Will
you try to slice open your veins, or maybe throw yourself
from the top of one of the towers?

MIRA
(shrugs)
You may keep me if you want, but you will have to enchant
me, or drive me mad. And that, I think, would make
me not at all the woman you wished to keep in the first place.
 
Bathory leans back, enjoying doing business.

BATHORY
After my son is born - a healthy son, mind you - you
wish to be given the run of the castle?

MIRA
No. Just the east tower. You will also give me Erzsebet.
 
Bathory laughs - first a chuckle, but it builds into almost maniacal glee. Mira withstands it patiently.

BATHORY
Oh, my dear, you nearly had me fooled. But you’re
just as silly and sentimental as Ilka,
aren’t you? Give me a healthy son, and you
may have your east tower and your mad little demon child.
 
Mira stands, walks to the center of the table, by the lit candelabra. The picture of sweet innocence.

MIRA
Thank you.
 
Bathory studies her, then stands, walks toward her. The wolf GROWLS. Bathory waves a distracted hand at it, joins Mira.

BATHORY
Do you mean it?

MIRA
Yes.
She strokes the side of his face gently. Bathory’s eyes turn predatory - a flash of red - he KISSES her. Rough, possessive. But Mira gives it right back. She RIPS open his shirt.

BATHORY
Oh, my Mira.
 
Mira’s fingers move down his bare chest - to the VIAL OF BLOOD that hangs around his neck.

MIRA
Will you make me feel good? Will you do that at least?

BATHORY
(moans)
Yes, yes.
 
His mouth moves to her neck. Mira winces, but he does not bite. Mira closes the fingers of one hand around the vial. With the other, she slips the perfume bottle from her waist.

Mira puts an arm around his neck, the perfume bottle in her hand. She carefully unscrews the lid as she whispers in his ear.

MIRA
I will tell you a secret, Bathory. Perhaps it’s been too long
since you were human, but you’re not the only one
who knows how to lie to get what you want.
 
In one smooth movement, Mira dumps the lamp oil over his head and rips the vial away as she leaps back.

The ancient creature is revealed again, FANGS bared - the only teeth in its mouth. It lunges at Mira - but she holds the candelabra out. It CATCHES ON FIRE.

A SCREAM, a sound no mortal voice could make. Mira claps her hands over her ears, ducks away. So she doesn’t see the wolf jump...

It KNOCKS her down and clamps its jaws shut on her arm. The vial of blood rolls away. Mira shrieks, bats at the wolf’s head. It SHAKES her arm.

Mira gropes for the dagger in her shoe.

Bathory is now a PILLAR of fire. His hands move blindly over the surface of the table. He finds a KNIFE.

Mira retrieves the dagger. She STABS the wolf in the side, over and over. It releases her arm and howls. She is able to scurry out from underneath it.

The Count hears her, turns. His eyes are gone - black holes in his face. His skin begins to darken, shrivel. He croaks out something that might be her name, lurches her way.

Mira kicks herself back, away from him, injured arm held to her chest. Then she sees the vial - under the table, just a few inches from Bathory’s feet. Beat. Mira rolls over, CRAWLS for it. She picks it up.

Not fast enough.

Bathory manages to grab her arm and YANK her up to her feet. The sleeve of her dress catches on fire. She doesn’t notice - she stares at him.

He is a black wraith, the bone beginning to peek through in places. Somehow, he still burns - flames dance merrily away in his empty eye sockets.

Bathory raises the knife...

MIRA (CONT’D)
I’ll break it!
 
Bathory hesitates.

MIRA (CONT’D)
Put the knife down, and I’ll leave the vial.
 
Bathory GRINS, the flesh cracking and falling away as his face tries to move. He tightens his grip on Mira’s injured arm - a SNAP as a bone breaks.

BATHORY
(voice low, demonic)
You pathetic child. I was old when the Crusaders
reclaimed the Holy Land. Mighty kings have fallen
over the centuries, yet I have always remained. And
you think you can harm me?
 
Even as he speaks, the flames DIE OUT. The flesh and skin on his face and chest begin to heal.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
You will never be free of me. You will
belong to me until the end of time.
 
Bathory jerks her close, and with the knife he CUTS the laces on the bodice of her dress. His FANGS descend. He pulls open the front of her dress and prepares to bite--

The AMULET she wears is revealed.

Bathory draws back with a hiss. Mira jumps on the opportunity - she grabs the candelabra from the table and BURIES it in the Count’s chest, like a pitchfork. The metal seems to find no resistance, and she keeps driving it in, screaming.

The walls and tabletop BURST into flame. Bathory makes one half-hearted grab at the candelabra, then stumbles back. Falls to the floor. A few spastic jerks of his body, and then he is STILL.

Beat. Mira stares, unaware of the fire all around her. Then the Count’s wineglass SHATTERS from the heat. She comes back to herself.
Mira realizes she still clutches the vial of blood. She turns and runs out.
 
 
 
nhpwnhpw on December 31st, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
Yaaaay! But... it can't be that easy, right? There must be a *dun dun dun* plot twist, or something, because... he can't just be dead and it's over just like that, right?

Or is the difficult stuff yet to come more internal - saving her husband and Beta and such?

I'm excited to see what happens next - this was an exciting part to read!
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on December 31st, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it was exciting! I've been working on it rather feverishly the last two days, once I worked out the mechanics - action stuff is hard to write, yo.

I don't want to spoil you! But no, it's not that easy. There's a couple (I hope) *dun dun dun*s still ahead.

And it's been awhile since I've mentioned this, but thank you for reading - besides all the amazing feedback, it's also such a motivating factor when it comes down to sitting down and writing, when it's tough or there's no time; it can be easier to say "I'll do it tomorrow" when there's no one reading.
nhpwnhpw on December 31st, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
Hey, no problem. I'll admit it started as a curiosity thing, but then I really got into the plot. You have made me care about what happens to these fictional people!

(I sort of view this as every writer's goal when they make people up. Maybe you feel differently, but like... in my mind that's when I knew it was good. When I realized I care what happens to the characters.)

BTW, I'm editing my first draft of my NaNo right now, making it slightly less horrible before I give it to anybody, but if you're interested when I'm done with that (in January or whatever) I'd love to know what you think, especially because you know stuff about Mars and could tell me where I'm being horribly inaccurate. ...If you're interested. No obligation! :)
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on December 31st, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
(I sort of view this as every writer's goal when they make people up. Maybe you feel differently, but like... in my mind that's when I knew it was good. When I realized I care what happens to the characters.)

My serial killer screenplay? I knew I'd made it work when writing a scene where someone died made me cry in Starbucks, LOL.

I would absolutely love to read it! Yay! And I can put it on my e-reader, ooo...
Holly: Minihollywobbles on January 4th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
Eee! I can see how writing action would be difficult, but you do it well. And yeah, I'm also waiting for that "dun dun dun" other shoe dropping moment. Can't be that easy.

I don't have much that's very constructive to say. :)
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on January 4th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
Sometimes the best feedback is when you don't get any feedback (when you know the reader is a smart reader and isn't just like "uh that was good") - it means that it's working. So yay!
Holly: The president approveshollywobbles on January 4th, 2011 05:21 am (UTC)
:D