Dark Ascension (Act III)

FADE IN:

INT. HOUSE – NIGHT

Lupin, Bijou, and Echo sit inside the circle of candles in the den. Bijou is making a peanut butter sandwich.

ECHO
What happened?

BIJOU
He was attacked by a dog. I don’t even know how it got in here.

ECHO
How about you?

BIJOU
What do you mean?

ECHO
You have blood on your hands.

Bijou looks down. Her right hand, which holds the knife, is covered with dried blood.

BIJOU
What?

ECHO
Did it come after you too?

BIJOU
No, it was dead. It fell out at me when I opened the door.

ECHO
Are you sure it fell?

LUPIN
You had better wash your hands. We don’t know what kinds of diseases you might be getting.

BIJOU
I’m sorry. I should make another sandwich.

LUPIN
You didn’t touch any of the food with it. We don’t have enough food to waste. There’s a bar of soap in my backpack. You can use a water bottle for the rest.

ECHO
It’s like I was saying. You never know what’s around the next corner.

Bijou washes her hands outside of the circle of lights. Behind her, Echo leans in close to Lupin.

ECHO
If you want something, don’t hesitate.

Echo puts her hand on Lupin’s thigh. He pushes it away quickly. She grins and backs away. Bijou turns around and finishes making the sandwich.

BIJOU
I still think some things are worth waiting for. If you live like that, what’s the point in living?

ECHO
That’s true. There are always things to look forward to.

Echo meets Lupin’s eye. He turns to Bijou.

LUPIN
Bijou and I know that.

BIJOU
I just can’t wait to get out of here.

LUPIN
If you can survive five more days, we’ll be off to a better life.

ECHO
I for one am glad that you’re here. It makes things much more stimulating.

Bijou hands the sandwich to Lupin.

BIJOU
I can’t believe that you actually enjoyed being here.

LUPIN
There’s something about it. Something in the wood. It’s like an asylum. The only laws here are the laws of nature.

ECHO
There’s freedom in the walls.

LUPIN
Exactly. It’s like all of the boundaries disappear in the dark.

ECHO
I know mine do.

BIJOU
Speaking of that, I think it’s about night.

ECHO
Don’t let the bed bugs bite.

CUT TO:

Bijou opens her eyes abruptly and gasps for air. Next to her, Lupin sits outside of the sleeping bag, shirtless, reading by candlelight. He hears her and turns around.

LUPIN
You’re awake.

BIJOU
What time is it?

LUPIN
I don’t know. My watch is downstairs.

BIJOU
What are you reading?

LUPIN
Your Bible. It’s actually very good. I’ve never read it before.

Bijou sits up.

BIJOU
You’ve never read the Bible?

LUPIN
I never saw the point. Either you believe in God, or you don’t. A book isn’t going to change your mind.

BIJOU
Why are you reading it now?

LUPIN
I couldn’t sleep. It was the only book we had.

BIJOU
What’s wrong?

LUPIN
Nothing.

Lupin moves the candle between them.

BIJOU
Why couldn’t you sleep?

LUPIN
I got hot. And you kept moving.

BIJOU
I had a nightmare.

LUPIN
Tell me about it.

Bijou stares into the flame of the candle.

BIJOU
Not this one.

Bijou grabs Lupin’s hand.

BIJOU
Do you think she might be right?

LUPIN
I don’t know.

BIJOU
What if we did die tomorrow? We would miss so much.

LUPIN
We would miss things no matter when we died.

BIJOU
I think I have to say something now, because I don’t know if I’ll get the chance to if I wait. Or I might change my mind, and I know I would regret that. Lupin, I really think you’re the one.

LUPIN
I know.

BIJOU
No. I think I’m the one, too. I think we have something special between us.

LUPIN
I know.

BIJOU
No. I can’t say it without saying things I’ve already said. But this is something new. This is something I haven’t said yet. I mean all those things a thousand times more. I mean that there’s something about us that will never happen again. I need to say something that nobody’s already said.

Bijou strokes Lupin’s arm. She stops, turns it over, pulls it over the flame, and examines it with concern.

BIJOU
How were you hot? You have goose- bumps.

LUPIN
It was you.

BIJOU
I’m sorry.

LUPIN
No. It’s the way it goes. Perfectly.

Bijou puts her hand on Lupin’s face and looks into his eyes.

CUT TO:

The dead dog stares blankly outward as Bijou covers it was a thin sheet. Lupin grabs her hand.

BIJOU
I almost feel bad for it. It didn’t know what it was doing. It was just doing what its brain told it to do, and it died because of it.

LUPIN
So was I. We were all just acting the way our brains told us to.

BIJOU
But it was just an animal. It didn’t know any better.

LUPIN
We aren’t any better than animals. We just don’t understand each other.

BIJOU
Was this the right choice?

LUPIN
I can’t say. It was our choice.

Bijou embraces Lupin and buries her face in his chest.

CUT TO:

Lupin, Bijou, and Echo sit amongst the candles in the den.

BIJOU
Alright. One time, I forgot to set my clock forward for daylight saving’s time. When my alarm went off, I only had five minutes to get ready for school. I don’t do very well under pressure. I didn’t know what to do first, or what not to do at all. So I just threw on the easiest outfit I could find and ran out the door. I missed the bus anyway, so I had to walk to school. When I got there, my hair was tangled, my clothes were wrinkled, and I was swimming in sweat. Then I remembered that it was picture day.

LUPIN
I was about five or six. I’ll just say five and a half. My mom took me to the park and bought me an ice cream cone. This wasn’t just any ice cream; it was the Thunderdome of ice cream cones. Anyway, I was eating it as any five and a half year old boy knows how to do. Then I saw this little five year old girl across the park. I don’t know what it was about her. She had long blonde hair and she looked like a tiny angel with mud all over her face. She saw me looking at her and I tried to look like I was eating my ice cream, but while I had been staring it had melting all down my hand.

BIJOU
Poor you.

LUPIN
That sort of thing can leave a mark.

BIJOU
What about you, Echo?

ECHO
I don’t get embarrassed.

LUPIN
Of course you do.

ECHO
If other people don’t like the way I act, that’s their problem. I’m only responsible for my own happiness.

BIJOU
Are you trying to prove something, or are you really this cold?

ECHO
I don’t have to prove anything.

Lupin unbuttons his shirt.

LUPIN
Am I the only hot one here?

ECHO
I would say so.

BIJOU
Lupin, if it weren’t for these candles, I would be freezing.

LUPIN
I don’t think I’m well.

Bijou puts her hand on Lupin’s forehead.

BIJOU
You’re burning up.

LUPIN
That’s what I feel like. I feel like all of my insides are on fire.

BIJOU
Maybe you should go to bed.

LUPIN
I’ll be fine out here.

BIJOU
No you won’t. You’re going to bed.

Bijou drags Lupin up. Echo stands.

ECHO
I’ll walk you there.

BIJOU
That’s okay, I can handle it.

ECHO
No, I insist.

Echo smiles.

CUT TO:

Bijou and Echo sit in the den.

BIJOU
What happens if he gets sick? What are we supposed to do?

ECHO
There’s nothing you can do.

BIJOU
I’m worried about him.

ECHO
He’ll be alright. Lupin has always been tough.

BIJOU
You know him?

ECHO
Didn’t you know?

BIJOU
He’s never mentioned you.

ECHO
That’s funny. He used to mention me all the time.

BIJOU
Maybe he forgot about you.

ECHO
I don’t think that’s very likely. It would take a lot to make him forget me.

BIJOU
Is that how you got in?

ECHO
He used to take me here all the time. You can do anything here.

BIJOU
Anything?

ECHO
We were young. Anything to us didn’t mean very much.

BIJOU
I wonder why he never talks about it.

ECHO
Maybe he didn’t want to be embarrassed.

Lupin approaches with two sandwiches.

BIJOU
Lupin, what are you doing up?

LUPIN
I feel so much better now. You were right. A nap was all I needed.

BIJOU
I’m not sure about that.

LUPIN
No, you were right. I made you some sandwiches.

ECHO
Aren’t you going to have anything?

LUPIN
I don’t think I can eat.

BIJOU
You should stay in bed.

LUPIN
I got lonely.

ECHO
That’s not good.

LUPIN
I’m completely okay now.

Lupin sits and hands the sandwiches to Bijou and Echo. Echo lifts up the bread and examines the contents of the sandwich.

LUPIN
After we eat I think I’m going to explore.

BIJOU
Are you sure that’s safe?

LUPIN
I’m getting restless. I know there’s more to this house than we can see.

BIJOU
At least let me come with you this time.

Echo hands her sandwich to Bijou.

ECHO
I don’t eat other people’s food.

BIJOU
I don’t want you to get hurt again.

LUPIN
I don’t want you to get hurt because of me.

Bijou takes a bite of her sandwich and releases a muffled scream. She spits out a ball of red-stained bread and peanut butter. Lupin grabs her head.

LUPIN
What happened?

BIJOU
I don’t know. It felt like something bit me.

LUPIN
Let me see.

Lupin shines his flashlight into Bijou’s mouth. Her tongue is a deep red.

LUPIN
You’re bleeding. Here, wash your mouth out.

Lupin hands Bijou a water bottle. She takes a swig, gurgles it, and spits it out. Lupin turns to Echo angrily.

LUPIN
What did you do to her?

ECHO
I didn’t make the sandwich.

Bijou lifts up the bread of the sandwich. She begins coughing.

LUPIN
Can you talk?

BIJOU
Look.

Lupin looks at the sandwich. The peanut butter is sprinkled with staples. He turns back to Echo.

LUPIN
Those weren’t there when I made it.

ECHO
They were there when I got it.

LUPIN
And you gave it to Bijou?

ECHO
I didn’t make it.

LUPIN
You delivered it.

ECHO
So did you. If I wanted to kill either of you, I have much better ways of doing it.

BIJOU
Lupin, did you put those in there?

LUPIN
Don’t you trust me?

BIJOU
I trust your word. Just tell me that you didn’t.

LUPIN
I would never do anything to hurt you, Bijou.

BIJOU
Echo is the only other person here.

ECHO
Believe whatever you want. It doesn’t really make any difference to me. I know the truth.

BIJOU
What is the truth?

ECHO
You aren’t considering all possibilities.

LUPIN
What else is there to consider?

ECHO
Somebody we don’t know may have put those there.

BIJOU
Are you saying there’s another person here with us?

ECHO
Maybe not another person. Just somebody we don’t know about yet.

Bijou grabs Lupin’s arm.

BIJOU
Lupin, I want to leave.

LUPIN
We can’t.

BIJOU
It isn’t safe here. I don’t feel right.

LUPIN
Neither do I. But there’s nothing out there.

BIJOU
Yes there is. Of course there is.

LUPIN
Not for us. Not yet.

ECHO
Have I been absolved?

LUPIN
I don’t know. What are we choosing to believe? That there’s some force working against us, some…intangible thing inside here that wants us dead?

BIJOU
I don’t see anything else to believe.

LUPIN
I wasn’t raised to believe in things that aren’t there.

BIJOU
That’s because you weren’t raised Christian. I owe my life to things that aren’t there.

LUPIN
I think there’s something to think about. But I can’t think right now. There’s too much. We can’t believe anything yet.

ECHO
I guess that means I’d better disappear.

Lupin takes Bijou’s hand and stands. She rises with him.

LUPIN
No, we’ll go to our room. When we’ve thought, we’ll let you know.

Lupin and Bijou walk into the darkness. Echo picks up the sandwich with the staples, looks at it, and sets it aside. She lifts the bread of the other sandwich. Sharp staples glint in the candlelight.

CUT TO:

Lupin and Bijou lie side by side in the sleeping bag. Lupin reads the Bible by candlelight.

BIJOU
Are you still enjoying it?

LUPIN
I don’t know. It’s hard to read.

BIJOU
That’s part of how you show your faith. I’m glad you’re taking an interest.

LUPIN
It’s hard to read. The words keep slipping under one another.

BIJOU
Let me see your eyes.

Lupin turns around and looks at Bijou.

BIJOU
They seem clearer than ever.

LUPIN
I think it’s just the candle.

BIJOU
What do you really think happened back there?

LUPIN
I don’t know.

BIJOU
Do you think Echo is a murderer? Maybe that’s why she’s here.

LUPIN
She doesn’t seem like a murderer.

BIJOU
She said you two had a history.

Lupin thinks.

LUPIN
I don’t remember that.

BIJOU
She seemed to.

LUPIN
I’m having a hard time making my thoughts go where I want them to.

BIJOU
If it wasn’t Echo, it must have been something else.

LUPIN
I don’t believe in things I don’t know. The solution will manifest itself.

BIJOU
It’s just so hard to sleep on.

LUPIN
I know.

CUT TO:

Bijou opens her eyes and feels for Lupin. The sleeping bag beside her is empty. She snatches the flashlight from her side and flips it on. It spurts across the walls, baring their emptiness. She sits up and creeps out the door. The long hallway seems to swallow up the light. She creeps down, her apprehension growing with every step. She jumps as a door is slammed behind her. She freezes, her breathing heavy, then turns around slowly. Her flashlight beam rests on a closed door. She walks toward it slowly then stops short when she hears a soft cry from within. She continues forward and puts her ear to the door. A voice inside can be heard moaning and breathing heavily. Bijou puts her hand on the doorknob, pauses a second, then swings the door open. The circle of flashlight light catches a rapidly moving figure at its edge, but she does not notice. In the centre of the circle of light Echo sits upright under a white sheet, panting and wide-eyed.

BIJOU
Have you seen Lupin?

ECHO
Why would Lupin be in here? That would be sleeping with the enemy.

BIJOU
I’m sorry. I heard noises.

ECHO
I was enjoying my privacy.

BIJOU
Oh. Do you want me to leave?

ECHO
Unless you want me in your room in the middle of the night.

Bijou closes the door gingerly, turns around, and gasps.

BIJOU
Where did you come from?

Lupin stands in her flashlight beam, out of breath.

LUPIN
I found a secret passage. Where’s Echo?

BIJOU
She’s in her room.

LUPIN
Get her.

BIJOU
I don’t think she wants to be disturbed.

LUPIN
I found something.

BIJOU
What?

LUPIN
You have to see it. I don’t know what it means.

BIJOU
What is it?

LUPIN
Get Echo.

CUT TO:

A candle burns near the base of the wall. It illuminates a crude yet elaborate mural painted directly onto the woodwork. A landscape appears to be aflame. Unidentifiable black shapes dance within the inferno. The fires gather to form a tangled coil that becomes a reptilian tale, which widens into a torso. A black eye marks the breast. Two huge red wings spread over the flaming land like the wings of a mother hen. Finally, the neck ends in a mat of curling grey tendrils. Above the mural, the words “Bound Him A Thousand Years” are painted childlike in dripping red. Bijou grabs Lupin tightly. Echo stands a little way behind, barely illuminated by the candlelight.

LUPIN
What does it mean?

BIJOU
I feel like I’m in the presence of some incomprehensible evil.

ECHO
You are.

Lupin and Bijou spin around.

LUPIN
Did you paint this?

ECHO
I’ve been in my room all night. Bijou can vouch for that. But I think I know who did paint it.

BIJOU
Who?

ECHO
I can’t say his name here.

LUPIN
What do you know?

ECHO
Nothing that you don’t.

BIJOU
Lupin, what is she talking about?

Lupin strokes Bijou’s head.

LUPIN
I don’t know. I feel like I should, but I don’t.

ECHO
You can remember what you want when you want to.

BIJOU
Lupin…why haven’t you been here since you were little? What happened the last time you were here?

LUPIN
I just outgrew it. Nothing happened. I just outgrew it.

ECHO
Lupin, tell her what happened.

LUPIN
I don’t know what happened. All I remember is nothing.

ECHO
Suit yourself. If you decide you don’t want to die in here, let me know.

Echo turns and walks back into the darkness, seeming to fade away.

LUPIN
Wait!

Echo’s voice drifts from the darkness.

ECHO
Do you have something to say?

LUPIN
How do we stop…him?

ECHO
I have no idea.

BIJOU
We have no hope?

ECHO
Ask Lupin. He knows.

Lupin and Bijou turn back to the mural. They read the words again and hold each other tightly.

FADE OUT

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