A bird flies around one of the towers. Mira watches its flight. Th
en she looks to Bathory, who leans over the wall, looking down to the village.
From up here, it looks so peaceful.
Everyone happy, content.
From this height, you cannot see hunger or pain. You
cannot see age or death. The seasons change from
one to the next, but the villagers seem to
remain the same, walking up and down the little road, never leaving.
(turns to him)
Is that why you’ve locked yourself away up
here? You think that if you don’t see suffering then it doesn’t exist?
Don’t presume to know my reasons.
Once I cared very much what happened here. I felt a
great kinship with these lands. But my service to the
king went unrewarded. The people grew to mistrust me,
even fear me. And then my sons. All dead.
None lived longer than a week - the last never drew a single breath!
The pain in his voice is obvious.
Better to stay here. Better to be alone.
But you aren’t alone. You have a wife?
Oh, yes. The Countess. One of the king’s many nieces.
Famed far and wide as a great beauty, as intelligent and learned as any man.
You...do not love her?
I thought I was marrying a princess. Instead I married a
fool, a zealot. By the time she gave birth to her third
dead child, she was quite mad.
It is still no excuse.
You’re accustomed to speaking your mind, aren’t
you? Unusual for a woman.
The women of the village must do many things
that are unusual in order to survive.
I cannot thank you enough for your hospitality, my Lord.
If someone could bring my mule around...?
You wish to leave?
I should return to the village.
If the conditions there are as bad as you say, why would you wish to return?
Because it is Dominik’s home.
He is young! He will learn to love a new home. You’re right -
to lock oneself up is no way to live. This castle has been
near abandoned for far too long. Stay! The hills know I have the room.
The village is my home. It is also my husband’s home.
Of course. I shall have a carriage packed
and brought around for you.
She glances up - a WHITE FACE in one of the windows. Mira stops. She looks to Bathory and back - the face is gone.
The blank-faced manservant leads Mira and Dominik through the iron doors to an awaiting CARRIAGE. As beautiful and opulent as anything else in the castle.
Mira helps Dominik inside. Bathory hops down from the driver’s seat. All smiles again.
There is no excuse for not knowing how my people live, so I will
drive you sown to the village and see for myself.
Thank you, my Lord.
No, thank you.
And you are always welcome here.
INTO THE CARRIAGE
Beat. The carriage starts moving. Mira looks through the window as they pull away from the castle. The sun hangs just over the mountains, but even as she watches, clouds cover it.
What are you thinking?
I miss Papa.
Do you remember the snow, from last year? Come, look.
I don’t like it.
But isn’t it pretty?
The carriage jerks to a STOP. A moment, then Bathory opens the door. The wind roars - he must shout to be heard.
A blizzard! We can keep going, or we can turn back!
Mira, now in an actual nightgown, stands at the window, watches the snow come down. Behind her, a ROARING FIRE in the fireplace.
That’s a book. Come here.
Feel how soft the paper is. Aren’t the pictures pretty?
What does it say?
I was never very good at letters. But my mother did teach
me to read and write my own name, and the Lord’s Prayer.
Where is your mama?
It’s not a very nice story.
I want to know.
I was only a few years older than you. It was the
harvest, a year with plenty of rain but not too much.
We had all been cutting down the wheat and barley
all day, and everyone was exhausted. I suppose
that’s why no one heard anything until it was too late.
What is it?
There’s a rat.
I don’t see anything.
A big rat. It’s sniffing around.
There’s no rat, darling.
I want to go home.
There’s a blizzard outside. We should stay here
where it’s safe. You wouldn’t want to get stuck on the
side of the mountain, would you?
INT. GUEST ROOM - NIGHT
Mira wakes. The bed covers lie crumpled on the floor. The curtains pulled aside, the window open. The fireplace cold and dark.
Dominik is gone.
Mira pulls on a dressing gown, opens the door, ready to scold him. But the hallway is empty.
INTO THE HALLWAY
Mira steps out of the room, long looks up and down the hallway - nothing, no one.
She starts walking. Quiet, still. Dominik nowhere to be seen. She comes to a door several paces down from her own. Beat. Mira tries the handle - it is locked.
Down to the end of the corridor, around the corner. This hallway looks EXACTLY THE SAME as the one she just left. The tapestry on the wall opposite the two doors is the same - a black dragon on a white field, biting its own tail.
Mira hesitates, then walks down this corridor as well. Tries the doors - locked. Hurrying now, around the corner.
The same hallway.
Mira stops. Deep breaths.
Around the corner, the same hallway. Mira’s breath comes in GASPS. She doesn’t bother with the doors this time.
Around the corner - STAIRS. Mira almost falls down them - she grabs at the wall.
Mira hurries down the stairs, holding up her heavy skirts. Down to the foot of the stairs--
A NEW CORRIDOR
Empty walls. HEAVY DOUBLE DOORS at the end. Open, flickering candlelight inside.
Mira runs down the corridor. Enters--
Six pews in two rows. WHITE STATUES in niches, all staring piously into the distance. By the altar, a statue of the Virgin Mary, gazing lovingly down at the infant in her arms.
Candles lit in front of the altar. Dominik stands there, looking at the flames. His back to Mira. Slowly, she walks up the aisle. He turns to look at her as she crouches.
Hello. Why aren’t you in bed?
I was playing with the girl.
Her hair is white, her face is white. She asked me if I wanted to play a game.
Let’s go back to the room.
I like it here. It looks like it’s supposed to.
Come on. Take Mama’s hand.
You are the last person I expected to see here.
You hardly ever attend the church in your own village,
yet here you are, in the castle’s chapel!
Father Janos. How did you get here?
I arrived yesterday, just minutes before the snow began
to fall. Now we’re all stuck here - the mountain road is quite impassable.
I didn’t know you came to the castle.
Once a week, for Sunday mass.
And you generally arrive several days early?
Today is Sunday.
No. That’s not right.
My dear Mira, I know which day belongs to the Lord.
But we only arrived here a few days ago, and we left
on a Monday! It can’t be later than Wednesday.
(pats her hand)
It’s very common. Someone used to working all
day every day suddenly gets to rest, and the days just
run one into another. Come, sit. Let us pray.
I would rather put him back to bed. If I can find my way back to my room.
I will walk you there.
INT. CORRIDOR - NIGHT
Mira carries Dominik, walking beside Janos. They stop at a door opposite a dragon tapestry.
I was certain there were more twists and turns to get back here.
The castle is larger than it seems. It is easy to get lost.
Easy to get lost. Easy to lose track of time.
Be watchful, and vigilant. At all times. Things are not always as they seem.
INTO THE GUEST ROOM
And puts him in bed. Closes the window and pulls the curtains shut. She considers the rosary. A shake of her head - she closes the door and hangs the rosary from the doorknob.