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26 March 2011 @ 10:49 pm
Vampyr Draft Two - Day Fifteen  
INT. DUNGEON - NIGHT

Mira sits against the wall opposite the door, the candle burned down to almost nothing. She watches the door. Patient.

The door creaks OPEN. Blackness beyond. Mira waits, but her quickened breathing betrays her fear. Footsteps, echoing as though from far away. They come closer and closer.

Bathory enters, holding a cloth sack. He smiles at Mira.

MIRA
Why have I been brought here?
 
Bathory lets the silence draw out. Toying with her.

BATHORY
Such a stirring story, filled with such pathos. A woman
and child hovering on the brink of starvation. Yet
when I visit your little cottage - wanting to
see your deplorable conditions with my own
eyes - what do I find?
 
He takes objects out of the sack, dropping them on the floor as he lists them off.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
A bag of wheat. A bag of oats. Sausage.
Salted fish. And look at this.
 
He opens the small bag he holds, spills GOLD COINS on the floor. Mira works to keep her face impassive.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
Poor. No food. Clinging to a miserable existence.
Is this not the picture you painted?
 
Mira says nothing, but she jerks back when the Count takes sudden steps toward her. He crouches, face close to hers, eyes intent. Voice low.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
I can think of two reasons for this apparent discrepancy.
One, you lied to me. You have plenty to eat, plenty
of money. Your designs for lying then purely
mercenary - hoping I would give you a bag of coin
and send you happily back to the village?
 
Bathory is very close now, whispering in Mira’s ear.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
Or perhaps you were telling me the truth, and unbeknownst
to you someone - your husband, perhaps? - improved
your situation in the meantime. Maybe by crossing the
river? I certainly hope that wasn’t the case. Crossing
the river is strictly forbidden.
 
Bathory stands. Mira shivers, fighting hard to meet his eye.

BATHORY (CONT’D)
Anyone caught crossing the river will be punished...most severely.
 
Bathory lets that sink in, then turns to go. Mira still shakes, but no longer in fear. In anger.

MIRA
You think that is a lot to eat? That?
(stands)
We would be lucky to stretch a bag of grain and
a few sausages a week, maybe two. Should we be
satisfied knowing that at least we won’t starve for another
week? As for the coin, from whom would we buy anything?
Few have any more than we do, and those who do are
not inclined to share. We villagers have always been
threatened with severe punishment. Nothing can
be worse than starving to death.
 
Bathory is across the cell in a flash, almost moving too fast to see. His hand around Mira’s THROAT.

BATHORY
(snarls)
Trust me. There are far worse things than death.
 
Mira claws at his hand, but the world goes gray. She loses consciousness.

CUT TO:
 
INT. ILKA’S QUARTERS - NIGHT
Dominik sits on the floor, sobbing. Ilka paces around him, wringing her hands.

DOMINIK
Mama! Mama!

ILKA
Stop crying! Be quiet!
 
Dominik howls even louder.

ILKA (CONT’D)
You cannot do this!
 
Ana enters from an adjoining room, holding a clay cup.

ANA
I have water.
 
Ana puts the cup to Dominik’s mouth. Ilka is there to pour the water in. He spits it out, water everywhere.

ILKA
Stop it, stop it, stop it! Behave yourself!
 
Ilka tries to pick Dominik up - he goes limp, finally slithers out of her thin arms to flop back down on the floor.

He SHRIEKS, the terrifying cry of a child - you’re afraid he won’t be able to draw in another breath. His little face is bright red. Ana’s hands flutter, she gasps little sobs.

Ilka collapses beside him. Tired, frustrated.

ILKA (CONT’D)
Please stop crying. Please.
 
All three of them cry in unison.

CUT TO:
 
INT. DUNGEON - NIGHT

Mira slowly comes to. A moment of disorientation before she remembers where she is.

The candle still beside her. Tall, freshly lit. The flame a bit too high. The food and the gold are gone, as is the pool of blood. Mira goes to the door - it’s locked.

And then she hears it. Distant SOBS. A man’s voice, maybe making words, maybe not.

MIRA
Hello?
 
The voice grows louder. It definitely calls out HER NAME.

MIRA (CONT’D)
Who’s there?
(beat)
Samuel?
 
Back to sobs. Mira listens for a moment, then resumes her seat against the opposite wall.

CUT TO:
 
INT. ILKA’S QUARTERS - MORNING

Cold, dim light - an overcast day. Ilka wakes, bleary-eyed.

The first thing she sees is DOMINIK’S FACE, right over hers, staring curiously.

DOMINIK
Can we eat now?
 
Ilka sits up - a crick in her neck.

ILKA
We will fast until sundown.

DOMINIK
You’re not fast. You’re slow.
(beat)
I want a egg.

ILKA
There are no eggs in the castle.

DOMINIK
Why?

ILKA
We will have only bread and water.

DOMINIK
Why?

ILKA
To remain pure.

DOMINIK
Why?

ILKA
You shouldn’t ask so many questions!

DOMINIK
Why?
 
She GROANS, buries her face in her hands. Dominik touches her hair.

DOMINIK (CONT’D)
It’s pretty.

ILKA
(looks up)
What?
 
He puts his arms around her neck, rests his cheek against hers.

DOMINIK
I want Mama.
 
Ilka doesn’t quite know what to do. She puts a hand on his back. One quick sniff of his hair.

ILKA
Your mama isn’t here. Perhaps...I could
be your mama for today.

DOMINIK
Can we play a game?
 
Ilka smiles. It looks as though she hasn’t for a long time.

INT. DUNGEON - DAY

The candle is again almost burned out. Mira dozes. In the stillness, the CREAK of the door opening is very loud.

Mira jolts fully awake. Looks, but no one enters the cell. The candle burns out - now only dim, flickering torchlight from outside the cell.
Mira stands, stiff. She exits the cell. No one to be seen.

Very distantly, almost beyond the edge of hearing, SOBS. Mira follows the sound deeper into the dungeon. Each cell she passes has a closed and locked door.

The dungeon ends in an IRON GRATE. The sound of dripping water beyond and, a little louder now, the sobbing.

MIRA
Samuel? Samuel, is that you?
 
Mira tries to lift the grate, but she can’t budge it at all. Heavily rusted. As though it hasn’t been moved in decades.

A beat, listening to the sobs. Mira reluctantly starts out of the dungeon.

INT. CORRIDOR - DAY

Ilka and Dominik walk. He tugs at her hand.

DOMINIK
Let’s go!

ILKA
We should return to my rooms.

DOMINIK
Where does this go?

ILKA
I don’t know.

DOMINIK
I want to see!

ILKA
No. We will not see. We will return to my
quarters. The Count doesn’t like me to wander the castle.
 
Dominik frowns at her, sulky.

DOMINIK
Beta would show me.

ILKA
(beat, astonished)
Erzsebet? You’ve seen Erzsebet?

DOMINIK
She’s my friend.
 
Ilka drops to her knees, pulls back his collar. Checks his NECK.

ILKA
Did she hurt you?

DOMINIK
No. We just play.

ILKA
You will not play with her anymore
- she’s a very bad little girl!
 
Dominik cries, draws back. Ilka still doesn’t know what to do with him.

ILKA (CONT’D)
We can explore - you and me. Come. Let’s
see where this hallway takes us.
 
INT. KITCHEN - DAY

Ilka and Dominik descend a flight of stairs, enter. Immediately clap their hands over their noses - a horrible STENCH. They slowly walk in - empty, dim. The cooking stoves dark and cold.

Stacked all around, baskets of ROTTEN FOOD. Ilka stares, as though she doesn’t understand what she sees. Flies buzz.

Dominik looks at one basket - EGGS, the shells dark and mottled.

SOUNDS from outside the castle - clanging metal, muffled voices. Ilka stares at the little door in the wall, at the handle turning... She grabs Dominik, pulls him into an empty pantry.

PEEKING THROUGH THE CRACK BETWEEN DOORS

Ilka watches as two men enter, snow blowing in with them. The silent Village Elders. They deposit two new baskets on the floor, bearing fresh food. Their mouths are covered with handkerchiefs.

Nicolae, the last Village Elder, enters. Drags a large, bulky burlap sack. He opens the sack, pulls it away, revealing LEONE. She is bound and gagged, mostly unconscious.

Ilka GASPS, then clamps a hand over her mouth. Nicolae looks up, around, then returns to his work.

He pulls a loop of ROPE out of the burlap sack. Uses it to tie Léone’s bound hands to a large IRON RING set in the kitchen floor. He wipes his mouth, looks down with distaste.

NICOLAE
Let’s get back down the mountain before the horses freeze.
 
The Village Elders depart.

A beat, as Ilka blinks, but the image doesn’t change. She and Dominik leave the pantry and go to Léone.

ILKA
(slaps Léone’s face.)
Wake up. Why did they bring you here?
Are you a prisoner? Wake up!
 
Léone moans, her eyelids flutter, but that’s all. Bruises and dried blood on her face. Ilka tries and fails to undo the knots in the rope.

ILKA (CONT’D)
(to Dominik)
Help me find a knife.
 
MOMENTS LATER

Ilka and Dominik look through drawers, cabinets, along the walls. Wave away the buzzing flies. Dominik finds a KNIFE first - he runs to Ilka, holding it aloft.

Ilka takes it, starts SAWING at the rope tying Léone’s hands to the iron ring.

The far-away sound of a creaking door. Footsteps.

Ilka looks to the entrance, to the bottom of the stairs just visible. She saws faster.

Footsteps, growing louder. Closer. Descending.

ILKA
Please. Please, Lord.
 
She finishes - Léone is free. Using every last bit of her strength, Ilka drags the girl back into the pantry, Dominik trailing alongside.

Silence. Léone comes to all at once - jerks, draws in breath. Ilka grabs her, a hand over the girl’s mouth.

PEEKING THROUGH

A SHADOW walks across the floor from the stairs. Thin, elongated. It stops.

Dominik buries his face in Ilka’s skirts. The women stare, frozen.

The shadow moves forward. Joined by its maker, the blank-faced manservant. He stares down at the iron ring, the cut rope.

Then he looks RIGHT AT THE PANTRY. Stares for a beat, two. Then slowly looks around the rest of the kitchen. Then leaves.
Ilka still has her arms around Léone. Shakes.

CUT TO:
 
INT. GREAT HALL - DAY

Mira creeps down the hall. Still in her nightgown. Bare feet. She looks all around, nervous. Exposed.

Passing beneath the portrait of HADOS. Mira is trapped by his gaze for a beat. The face so much like Bathory’s. He stands astride a pile of corpses, his sword held high in the air. Mira finally moves on.

A few steps, and she pauses. Did she hear something? She looks behind - nothing. The hallway empty.

Unable to keep from glancing at the painting. Hados’s dark, smiling face. His sword thrust down into the head of one of the corpses.

Mira shakes her head, turns. Runs.
 
 
 
singer_shapersinger_shaper on March 27th, 2011 04:35 am (UTC)
I really like how Mira and Bathory's exchange at the top balances the socioeconomic setting with the underlying horror of this story. Things worse than death, indeed.

Leone is a new character, right? Is she going to replace Mira as Ilka's partner-in-crime, or will they all end up working together? (Or should I just wait for you to reveal it?)
nhpwnhpw on March 27th, 2011 12:32 pm (UTC)
The overall creepiness continues to be a lot more intense than the first draft - nice! Minor question: I know what the intention probably was with Leone because I read the first draft, and I remember the scene with Bathory, with the girl in his bed. Will there be a similar scene to clue in the reader in this draft?