Suffice it to say, it's tough. I think I've got it figured out, but I realized a few days ago that Ilka was in some ways as much a protagonist as Mira, so I'm like having to do two separate character arcs, and interweave them, and I think I kind of fucked up in that the reversal of fortune - that great big X - should have its junction right at the midpoint, and I think they've already switched places. I'm not sure about the pacing of it.
Ah well - that's what the process is all about!
INT. KITCHENS - NIGHT
Dominik stands inside a small dark space - like a cave. A tiny candle at his feet barely provides any light. He looks at the craggy surface all around him, a flat metal spatula in his hand.
Make sure to scrape good and hard.
OUTSIDE, IN THE KITCHENS
Ana and Ilka stand next to one of the big cooking CAULDRONS, turned upside down. It sits on two boards - just enough to let some air in.
I hate cleaning the big ones - it’s such
a strain on the back. We haven’t had
anyone small enough since...
I’m sorry, my Lady. Ilka.
Erzsebet no longer works in the kitchens?
No. There was...an incident.
Mira shrinks back until she hits the vanity. The girl on the bed - ERZSEBET (10) - bares her teeth and HISSES. She is chalk white, skin and bones. Lank hair. Rags.
Mira’s hand gropes blindly over the surface of the vanity. Finds a BRUSH. She holds it up like a weapon.
Who are you?
You shouldn’t be here. You need to leave.
Erzsebet GRINS. She circles Mira like a lion playing with a mouse. Mira drops the brush, jerks the door handle back and forth.
Erzsebet LUNGES at Mira. Knocks her down. She straddles Mira, her TEETH snapping together over and over just inches from Mira’s throat.
Mira uses one hand to keep Erzsebet from biting her. The other hand searches for the hairbrush. She finds it. HITS Erzsebet over the head - once, twice.
Erzsebet howls, skitters away. Cowers at the foot of the bed, a hand pressed against where Mira hit her. She cries, baleful eyes turned Mira’s way.
I...I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt
you. But you were going to bite me.
Erzsebet curls up against Mira, lays her head on her breast. Now she just looks like a scared little girl. Mira slowly brings a hand up to stroke her hair.
CLICK. The door creaks open a few inches.
Erzsebet eats - ravenously. She uses her hands, stuffs food into her mouth. Not much time spent on chewing.
Mira and Janos stand against the opposite wall and watch.
When Erzsebet was born there was much
rejoicing. The Count and Lady Ilka had been married
less than a year. It was believed they would have
many children. But little Beta was sick, very sick.
It might have been better if she had not survived.
How can you say such a thing?
She is wild, barely human. Normally she is kept in the
west tower - I don’t know how she got out.
Ilka abandoned her own daughter?
No, quite the opposite. Ilka loved her, did everything
she could to care for the child. But Beta hated her. She
always did, even as a baby. She would not nurse, would
not let Ilka hold her.
When Erzsebet was four she climbed up into
Ilka’s bed while she was sleeping, bit her throat, and drank her blood.