Dark Ascension (Act II)

FADE IN:

INT. HOUSE – NIGHT

Lupin, Bijou, and Echo sit in a den, surrounded by candles.

ECHO
You have to put them out when you leave the room. It’s too dangerous otherwise.

BIJOU
Who are you? What are you doing here?

ECHO
My name’s Echo. Why am I here?

Echo glances at Lupin, then back to Bijou.

ECHO
The same reason you’re here. There are certain people I don’t really feel like explaining myself to.

BIJOU
How did you get in?

Echo glances at Lupin again.

ECHO
Wouldn’t you like to know.

LUPIN
We have sandwiches.

ECHO
No thanks, I ate already.

BIJOU
What do you do for food?

ECHO
I have my food, you have yours.

Echo glances again at Lupin, this time at length.

ECHO
Let’s not get the two confused.

LUPIN
I remember there used to be hidden passages and panels all over this place.

ECHO
There still are. They’re still hidden.

LUPIN
We should explore the rest of the house.

ECHO
Half of this place is buried within itself.

BIJOU
Do you think we’ll be able to find a comfortable bed?

LUPIN
It shouldn’t be a problem. There were a couple of bedrooms, and I brought some sleeping things.

ECHO
Tired already?

BIJOU
It’s been a long day.

ECHO
It will be a longer night.

Lupin stands.

LUPIN
I think Bijou and I are going to relax for a little while.

ECHO
Suit yourself. Personally, I can last as long as I want to last.

Something watches Lupin, Bijou, and Echo from the shadows. Bijou stands, and Lupin and Bijou walk off hand in hand. Echo stands and puts out the candles, one by one.

CUT TO:

Lupin and Bijou share a sleeping bag in the bedroom. A candle burns by their head.

LUPIN
Isn’t this place incredible?

BIJOU
I don’t know.

LUPIN
What’s wrong?

BIJOU
Nothing. Everything. Nothing’s wrong, but it’s spread out all over. And everything’s wrong nowhere.

LUPIN
What is it, Bijou?

BIJOU
I get a funny feeling from this house. It seems…dangerous. Like an accident waiting to happen. Except it wouldn’t be an accident.

LUPIN
I think you’re just letting the darkness get to you.

BIJOU
I didn’t ask you what you thought.

LUPIN
If there’s anything dangerous in here, I’ll be there to protect you.

BIJOU
What if you’re not there?

LUPIN
Then you’ll just have to be with me.

BIJOU
That isn’t the only thing.

Lupin simultaneously strokes Bijou’s hair and the wooden floor.

BIJOU
I’m not sure about that girl. Echo.

LUPIN
What aren’t you sure about?

BIJOU
Just…her.

LUPIN
We touched her. She isn’t a ghost.

BIJOU
I know that. But what is she doing here?

LUPIN
She told us. The same thing as us.

BIJOU
I’m here because of you. We have no idea what she did to get here.

LUPIN
And it isn’t any of our business.

BIJOU
I just don’t trust…

Lupin puts his finger on Bijou’s lips and shuts her eyes with his other hand

LUPIN
The only one you have to trust here is me. I’ll do the rest of the trusting for you. Now it’s time to trust the sleeping bag to keep you warm, and trust the light to go out, and trust your dreams to put you to sleep. Alright?

BIJOU
You say the sweetest things sometimes, Lupin.

LUPIN
I don’t mean to.

BIJOU
That’s what makes them so sweet.

Lupin puts out the candle.

LUPIN
Sweet dreams.

CUT TO:

Lupin, Bijou, and Echo sit inside a circle of candles in the den, playing Egyptian War.

LUPIN
Why don’t we light the fire?

ECHO
That chimney hasn’t been cleaned in lifetimes. We would end up blacker than we are now.

BIJOU
Couldn’t we clean it?

ECHO
If you didn’t mind whatever’s in there.

LUPIN
You can slap in, you know.

BIJOU
I’m okay just watching. I don’t really like violent games.

ECHO
This isn’t violent. You don’t want to see us get violent.

BIJOU
You’re right. I don’t.

LUPIN
Was that a challenge?

ECHO
I think it was.

Echo puts her fists up in a boxing stance.

ECHO
You’d better watch out. I have fists of iron.

Lupin assumes a karate position and speaks in a faux-Japanese accent.

LUPIN
The Crimson Dragon is a master of seven martial arts. Kung-Fu, Ju-Jitsu, Karate, Kangaroo Boxing, and three others that he’s inventing as he speaks.

ECHO
Well, I used to be a huge black guy. I like to tear my opponents’ kidneys out with my teeth and eat them raw.

LUPIN
The Crimson Dragon has kidneys of fire.

BIJOU
Okay, okay. Continue your game.

Echo lowers her fists.

LUPIN
We shall meet again, brave warrior.

Echo smiles as Lupin lowers his hands. They continue playing.

BIJOU
Isn’t he hilarious? I don’t know how he does it.

LUPIN
Pure skill. And I’m completely insane.

Lupin and Echo slap the cards. Lupin traps Echo’s hand under his and holds it there.

LUPIN
Don’t move.

There is a loud thump from another area of the house.

LUPIN
Did you hear it?

BIJOU
What was it?

ECHO
Probably a rat.

LUPIN
I’m going to find out.

BIJOU
No. It could be dangerous.

LUPIN
That’s why I should find it before it finds us.

BIJOU
It’s probably nothing.

LUPIN
Then what’s the danger in checking? It will give you two a chance to get to know each other.

BIJOU
At least take something to protect yourself.

Lupin waves his flashlight.

LUPIN
I’ll be right back.

Lupin turns on his flashlight.

LUPIN
Play for me.

Lupin exits in the direction of the noise.

BIJOU
I don’t really feel like playing.

ECHO
That’s okay. I like a challenge.

Bijou picks up a card and looks at it. It is a one-eyed Jack.

ECHO
You two must be very happy.

BIJOU
We will be.

ECHO
I’ll bet he’s great in bed.

BIJOU
I wouldn’t know. We’re saving ourselves.

ECHO
What for?

BIJOU
For each other. For the future.

ECHO
You must have a lot of confidence.

BIJOU
What do you mean?

ECHO
You must think it’s going to last forever.

BIJOU
It will last until we die. If he didn’t believe that too, he wouldn’t have brought me here.

ECHO
What if you died tomorrow?

BIJOU
Then I wouldn’t be lonely on my dying day.

ECHO
Do you really want to die a virgin?

BIJOU
What makes you think I’m going to die tomorrow?

ECHO
It isn’t impossible. That’s the way I think. You should never have any regrets. That way, you’ll always die happy. Take everything you want while you have the opportunity.

BIJOU
I have everything I want the way things are.

ECHO
Are you lying to yourself, or just to me?

There is another, louder noise elsewhere in the house.

BIJOU
That doesn’t sound like a rat.

ECHO
We don’t get rats here.

BIJOU
Lupin! Lupin!

Bijou listens in silence.

BIJOU
I don’t hear him.

Bijou grabs a flashlight and stands.

ECHO
Think about it.

Bijou walks out into another room. She shines her flashlight around, seeing two doorways. She shines the light on the floor, illuminating footsteps in every direction. She stands stock still for a moment, then walks through one door. The light scrolls around three blank walls. There is another thud. She runs back through the doorway. She hears another noise. She runs through the other doorway, and a dizzying series of identical doors and rooms, lit by the small circle of flashlight light, as the noises become more frequent. Finally, a huge blow rattles the doorway in front of her. As she opens it, something falls forward. She screams and drops the flashlight, which goes out. Shallow breathing seems to emanate from every direction. She drops to her knees and searches frantically for the light. Her hand closes on hair, matted with a sticky liquid. She draws it away quickly and finds the flashlight. She flips it on and gasps sickly. It shines directly into the dull eye of a dead dog, making the pupil seem to glow red. Still hearing the breathing, she steps over it and into the room beyond. Lupin is crouched on the ground, his flashlight beside him, the batteries spilled out into the room.

LUPIN
It just came out of nowhere. It came and attacked and…

BIJOU
Lupin, are you okay?

LUPIN
What? Yeah…I’m just a little shaken, I guess. Is it okay?

BIJOU
It’s dead.

LUPIN
I didn’t know what to do. It was out of my control.

BIJOU
I know. It’s okay. Are you alright?

LUPIN
I think so. My flashlight went out.

BIJOU
You must have hit it pretty hard.

LUPIN
I don’t really remember. It didn’t feel like anything.

BIJOU
Did it bite you anywhere?

Lupin looks down at himself.

LUPIN
I don’t see anything.

BIJOU
What are we supposed to do about the body?

LUPIN
There’s nothing we can do. We’ll just keep the door closed.

BIJOU
Let’s go get something inside of you.

Bijou leans down and fixes Lupin’s flashlight, then grabs his arm.

LUPIN
I’m fine. I just need a second to find myself.

Bijou leaves. Lupin flips on his flashlight and begins to stand. He winces, and removes his hand from his leg. It covers a large red stain. He grabs a water bottle from his pocket and rinses off his hand and leg, then stands and steps over the blood-matted body of the dog.

FADE OUT

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