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03 January 2011 @ 10:29 pm
NaScreeWriMo - Day Sixty-Four  
INT. CASTLE - CORRIDORS - NIGHT

Drops of blood hit the floor in a steady rhythm. They fall from Mira’s arm - bitten, broken.

Her eyes dart from side to side as she wanders the maze of corridors, but the rooms she passes are empty, the doors hanging open or missing entirely. The castle now looks just like the east tower - abandoned and filthy.

Mira turns a corner, then stops. BREATHING from a room up ahead. She carefully and painfully reaches down to her shoe, but the dagger is gone. She forces herself to keep walking.

Mira looks through the open door. A FIGURE lies on the floor, breathing heavily and with difficulty. Mira freezes. The clouds move aside, allowing MOONLIGHT to stream in more strongly, illuminating the figure - Samuel.

Mira runs into--

THE ROOM

And drops to her knees beside him.

MIRA
Samuel. I’m here. It’s over, it’s all over.
 
His eyes roll up to look at her - HIS eyes, full of life again. But not for long. Mira sees the blood pooled beneath him, the GASHES in his throat.

SAMUEL
(labored)
Mira. I dreamed of you.
 
She cradles his head in her lap, pressing her skirt against his wounds.

MIRA
What happened? Who did this to you?

SAMUEL
He did. Long ago, before the dreams started.
Am I still dreaming?
 
He COUGHS, blood on his lips.

MIRA
No, darling. The dream is over. I’m going to take
you home.

SAMUEL
I’m sorry. I wasn’t...wasn’t a very good
husband to you.

MIRA
(shushes him)
You’re perfect. All I’ve ever wanted.

SAMUEL
...couldn’t...keep you safe...

MIRA
No, no.
(beat)
I’m the one who failed. I put you in danger,
you and Dominik both.
 
Samuel coughs again, and Mira wipes the blood off his mouth. His eyes are locked on her face. Then Mira senses something - she listens. SILENCE. Still...

Mira turns her head. Erzsebet stands behind her, looking down at Samuel. Bewilderment and sadness on her face. But she also sniffs the air, teeth slightly bared.

MIRA (CONT’D)
Help me. Please.

ERZSEBET
He is dead.

MIRA
No! You told me, you made that other one, you told me.
You can fix him. You can fix him! You have to, please!
 
Erzsebet seems to hear something. A moment looking back the way Mira came, as though she can see right through the walls. She leaves, quickly.

MIRA (CONT’D)
Don’t leave me! Beta! Beta!
 
Mira looks back at Samuel. His eyes still point her way, but they are still and unfocused. His labored breathing has stopped.

Mira sees that he is gone. A moment of shock, followed by one of disbelief, and then the grief takes her.

CUT TO:

INT. DINING HALL - NIGHT

Burnt and blackened. A few dying flames here and there. Bathory lies just where Mira left him. Empty eye sockets stare sightlessly at the ceiling.

A whimper. The WOLF lies on its side a few feet away, bleeding sluggishly from Mira’s stab wounds. It whimpers again as it moves its front paws, though it goes nowhere.

A determined growl, and the wolf rolls over onto its belly. Slowly, it struggles forward, dragging itself and leaving a broad red smear to mark its path. Louder whines and whimpers.

One final burst of energy as the wolf pulls itself up, standing. It staggers forward a few steps, and finally COLLAPSES on the Count’s chest. One long last exhalation, and the wolf’s eyes go dull.

Blood seeps from its wound. Soaks into the Count’s clothes. Puddles on his chest. Trickles down his face to his lips.

Skeletal fingers twitch.

CUT TO:
 
EXT. VILLAGE - NIGHT

The dark, quiet stillness is broken by the RINGING of the church bells. Lamps are lit, doors flung open. Families cluster outside, scared and curious.

INT. CHURCH - NIGHT

The MEN enter first, wincing at the loud, incessant bells. Women and children huddle in the doorway behind the men.

Everyone stares at DOMINIK, waiting patiently in the center of the aisle. He smiles at the men - they don’t appear any less worried.

The bells pause.

DOMINIK
They’re here!
 
Footsteps CLUMP down the stairs to the bell tower, just to the right of the men at the door. They back away, nervous - one crosses himself. But it is only ILKA, pleased.

LATER

Most everyone sits in the pews. Ilka and Todor, the butcher who wouldn’t take Mira’s eggs, face off, standing.

TODOR
What you propose is madness!

ILKA
Is this not madness? Living in constant fear, running from
every shadow - how can you say that is not madness?
Look at what he does to you!
 
Ilka points to the apse. Lying on a bier is the young woman the Count killed as Dominik watched. Ilka walks to her.

A crucifix has been placed in the corpse’s hands. Ragged wounds in her neck. Ilka pulls down the woman’s chin - a whole head of GARLIC has been stuffed into her mouth.

ILKA (CONT’D)
Tell me - why has this been done?

TODOR
You know why.

ILKA
You think this will stop him? Garlic and crosses? They mean
nothing to him. And he will continue to hunt you down,
murder you, drink your blood, change you into demons
too foul for even hell itself, and he will never stop!
 
Todor sits, no rebuttal. The women and children cry quietly or look stunned, in shock.

In the back, an OLD MAN stands. Frail, eyes cloudy and blind with cataracts, but his voice is still strong.

OLD MAN
When I was a child, my father and grandfather, and the
other men of the village, decided to overthrow the
Count. He would have been this Count’s grandfather, I suppose.
They prepared for weeks and weeks. I remember my Papa hiding
weapons in the barn. Everyone thought they were so clever. I remember
watching the men gather. At sunrise, of course.
The women and children and old men - but not all the old men,
some of them went, too - watched them head up the mountain.
I waited until Mama had stopped watching the road and
was talking with the other women, and then I ran up to
join the men. I brought a broom handle with me. I had
sharpened the end of it, hardened it in a fire. It was a
good weapon. I caught up with my father, and he was
proud to see my courage, but he sent me back to the
village. He told me to protect my mother and sisters. It
was good that he did. My father came home that night, but
he was not my father. He killed two of my sisters before
I drove my stake through his heart and cut off his head.
 
Beat. Murmurs, and then the villagers begin to shuffle out of the church.

ILKA
No. Please, you mustn’t go. You must help me.

TODOR
Girl, if you’re foolish enough to go back to that castle,
then there’s no help for you.
 
Ilka can only watch as the rest of them leave. She slumps down in the front pew, next to Dominik, who has dozed throughout the meeting.

ILKA
(whispers)
What should I do?
 
Dominik WAKES, terror on his face. He runs to the window - the castle silhouetted in front of the moon.

DOMINIK
(screams)
Mama! Mama!
 
 
 
 
Holly: A/R Joint leadershiphollywobbles on January 4th, 2011 05:50 am (UTC)
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, SAMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!

Seriously, I... I'm not going to talk to you for a while. >:(

*Cough*

Anyway.

It's hard to gauge, since I can't see how much is left, and I almost want to wait until the end to see if this is going to be a valid thought or not -- but I'm wondering a bit about pacing. The last several entries have been very high intensity/high action w/lots of scary, and have been jumping around a lot from person/location to person/location. This pace has been going on for a while, obviously the final climax is still coming... I think it's still working... but it might not for too much longer?

On another note of pacing, since rescuing Samuel and restoring normal life with is (besides keeping Dominik safe) Mira's primary motivation, I wonder if him dying shouldn't be one of the last things that happens in the climax sequence -- the very last thing before she kills Bathory, or right after she does -- to give it the most emotional weight? (*UNLESS*, of course, he's not really dead, and is going to come back...??? :):):) Maybe it was all a Bathory-magic-induced illusion?????????? *sigh*) Or it could provide her with that last burst of rage to send her after him, which would keep the weight of the moment and duly change the pacing, but then I'd think we'd want to stick with her and not shift to another location, to keep the emotional flow going, and that it would have to lead to the final confrontation with a pretty steady focus.

Meh, does any of this make sense?

One random little detail: the old man refers to "mama" -- I wonder if by his age he wouldn't just refer to her as "my mother" or "my mama" -- the perspective and distance that comes with age or whatever?

< /long-winded rambling >
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on January 4th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not awesome with Act Three pacing, so I have no doubt that things will get shuffled around once I'm done. Which is the drawback of presenting material while it's in the process of being written.

(*UNLESS*, of course, he's not really dead, and is going to come back...??? :):):)

You're adorable. :D

One random little detail: the old man refers to "mama" -- I wonder if by his age he wouldn't just refer to her as "my mother" or "my mama" -- the perspective and distance that comes with age or whatever?

Yeah... I actually had "my mama" written, and changed it when I typed it up. I went back and forth on it. The thing that swayed me was actually having dinner with my grandpa last night, and he was telling stories of all the produce he and his brothers stole as kids, and how their mom would cook them up, and he consistently would say, like, "And then we brought home our bushel of rhubarb and Mom made a bunch of pies."

So I don't know, heh. I think it may be one of those where I have to hear how it sounds when my writer's group reads it out loud. (They're up to Mira and Ilka rescuing Dominik from the dungeon.)
Holly: Bill sexybackhollywobbles on January 4th, 2011 07:35 pm (UTC)
"(*UNLESS*, of course, he's not really dead, and is going to come back...??? :):):)

You're adorable. :D


Shit.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on January 4th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)
I was mostly commenting on the profusion of smiley faces, LOL.

Seriously, your devotion to Samuel is making me think! Okay!
Holly: Laura face graphichollywobbles on January 4th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
Well, it's just-- part of it's that getting Samuel and Dominik safe and together and back to normal life has been key to her motivation for a large chunk of the film, so once that's a lost hope, there goes a lot of her motivation, and she just has pissiness left. But then I also know you're planning to go back and reexamine her original motivations a la hero rubric etc, so I'll just wait to see how it all shakes out.

And of course part of it's just me being a whiny romantic.

Whine.
nhpwnhpw on January 4th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
Samuel :(

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to convince me somewhere in what is left of the story that this needed to be done. Like - I don't see the point in killing him needlessly, just to make things EPIC SAD for Mira. I'd like to see it drive her, or for her to take something from it - for there to be a purpose in his death.

I know, I know, sometimes people just die and it sucks but that's the way it is. Like Wesley.

Hmmmph.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on January 4th, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
Hee! I suppose it doesn't make any difference that I'd always planned to kill Samuel? And that if it isn't him, it's Dominik?

I'm going to go back and make Mira go to the castle on her own, and like...there should be consequences from her act of hubris. And also that for the climax to play, I think there has to have been a Major Death - I don't know if it will resonate if everyone manages to escape.

Of course, if we get to the end and you say, "No, he didn't need to die, this was balls," I will evaluate it. I'm not married to it or anything.

(I am feeling like I did a good job, that you and Holly are both sad about it.)
nhpwnhpw on January 4th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
I suppose it doesn't make any difference that I'd always planned to kill Samuel? And that if it isn't him, it's Dominik?

Well... maybe since you put it that way...

still

:(

(I am feeling like I did a good job, that you and Holly are both sad about it.)

As well you should! I think I mentioned this previously (but am too lazy to go back and look for it) - you made me care about what happens to these characters. That's great.