Dark Ascension (Act IV)

FADE IN:

INT. HOUSE – NIGHT

Echo reads by the light of the circle of candles in the den. Bijou approaches cautiously.

BIJOU
Have you seen Lupin?

ECHO
Why do you always ask me that?

BIJOU
I haven’t been able to find him all morning.

ECHO
I just got here. I haven’t seen him.

Bijou looks back over her shoulder.

BIJOU
It’s dangerous for him to be sneaking around all by himself.

ECHO
Sit down.

Bijou sits.

BIJOU
What are you reading?

ECHO
Old Yeller. Have you read it?

BIJOU
No.

ECHO
I can barely read it anymore. The pages always get wet and stick together.

BIJOU
Echo? What did you mean when you said that Lupin knew?

Echo freezes and puts her finger to her lips. Bijou reaches for her flashlight. Echo shakes her head and whispers.

ECHO
He’s here.

Bijou and Echo sit stock still, listening to the shallow breathing. Their eyes search the room, unable to locate the source of the sound. Echo raises her eyebrows at Bijou and nods minutely. Bijou turns slowly around. A black figure stands above her. She shrieks and falls backward, knocking over one of the candles. It catches fire to the book. The black figure steps forward as Bijou hits at it ineffectually. It stomps the fire out, then crouches down, produces a black rag, and wipes its face, revealing itself to be Lupin.

LUPIN
Bijou, it’s only me. It’s me.

BIJOU
You had no right to scare me like that.

LUPIN
I was just cleaning out the chimney. We can light a fire now. Won’t that make everything seem better?

BIJOU
You were cleaning the chimney?

LUPIN
That’s what I said.

BIJOU
What about the picture? What about the message?

LUPIN
What?

BIJOU
It’s dangerous.

LUPIN
I don’t believe in things I don’t know.

BIJOU
From now on we’re staying together. Okay? I don’t want you to get hurt.

ECHO
Last time I checked that chimney was full of spiders.

LUPIN
I took care of those. They’re in that jar next to the fireplace.

ECHO
What jar?

LUPIN
What?

Lupin looks. The area around the fireplace is empty.

LUPIN
I put it right there.

ECHO
Well, it isn’t there now.

BIJOU
Lupin, I’m terrified of spiders.

LUPIN
It should be okay. Wherever they are, they’re contained.

BIJOU
What if they aren’t? What if something took them? Who knows where they’ll end up?

Bijou shrinks into a fearful ball.

ECHO
Aren’t you glad we can light a fire now?

LUPIN
I didn’t know this was going to happen. I swear. I thought I was doing something good.

ECHO
Well, we don’t always know what we’re doing.

Echo picks up the charred book, opens it, and throws it over her shoulder.

CUT TO:

A fire blazes in the fireplace. Around it sit Lupin, Bijou, and Echo.

BIJOU
This is more light than I’ve seen in almost a week.

LUPIN
I thought we all deserved a chance to go home for a few hours.

ECHO
This is my home.

BIJOU
How long have you been here?

ECHO
I don’t know. Night and day here are what you make them.

BIJOU
What are you so afraid of out there?

Echo shakes her head and stares into the fire.

ECHO
I’m not afraid. If I was afraid, I would have given up before I got here. I’m just…sure. I’m sure of what is going to happen to me when I leave. I’m sure of my past. I’m sure of what I did, and what I would do again if I had to. I’m sure that the world out there isn’t one I’m meant to live in. What I did and what I know is my personal property, like my food and my book.

BIJOU
What else is your personal property?

ECHO
One thing. One tiny thing. It barely exists yet, but it is everything I treasure and everything I desire. It is all that is left of me that has any chance in this world.

Echo turns to Lupin.

ECHO
Thank you.

LUPIN
We’ve had this conversation before.

BIJOU
I’m lost.

LUPIN
All of this has been said before. Was it yesterday? Or was it the day before? None of the days exist. Was it a dream? Or is this a dream?

BIJOU
Lupin, what are you talking about?

LUPIN
Maybe this is reality and everything out there is a dream. You.

Lupin points shakily to Bijou.

LUPIN
You’re a dream.

BIJOU
What’s going on?

ECHO
The fever’s swallowed him again. You need to get him into bed.

Lupin looks at Echo.

LUPIN
Or are you the dream? Or am I the dream? Is this one?

Lupin closes his right eye.

LUPIN
Or is this one?

Lupin closes his left eye and opens his right. Bijou stands and takes Lupin’s arm.

BIJOU
You’ll feel better after you’ve slept.

Lupin pulls free from her hand and begins crawling backward into the darkness.

LUPIN
I’ve slept. I’ve slept the world. I’ve slipped into time like it was nothing.

Lupin pauses at the edge of the light and looks up at Bijou pleadingly.

LUPIN
I’m slipping, Bijou. Catch me.

Lupin dashes from a crouch into the darkness. Bijou reaches into her pocket and feels nothing. She pats her other pocket anxiously. Then, she notices a flashlight laying on the ground on the edge of the light and runs for it. As she leans down to pick it up, she hears shallow breathing from somewhere in the darkness. She snatches up the flashlight, flips it on, and shines it around the darkened room. It is empty. She runs forward. Echo walks nonchalantly in the direction opposite of Lupin and Bijou. Meanwhile, Bijou is dashing through doors. She enters a room and spins around, unsure if she has been moving forward or retracing her steps. She sees something move quickly across the circle of flashlight light and dashes toward it. It can’t be seen in the next room, but she continues in the direction that it was moving. Suddenly, her foot catches a white lump and she falls forward. The flashlight spins across the floor but does not go out. As it comes to a stop, it aims directly toward her. She looks back to see what she has tripped on and finds that she has uncovered the dead dog. Fighting back nausea, she scrambles forward and reaches for the light. Suddenly, a hand reaches down and snatches it. It shines the light directly in her eyes.

BIJOU
Lupin?

The flashlight bearer aims the beam upward, revealing herself to be Echo.

ECHO
He’s right there.

She shines the beam on the floor beside her. Lupin has collapsed on the ground, eyes closed and panting.

CUT TO:

Bijou lays Lupin gingerly onto the sleeping bag. His hair is matted and his face is heavy with perspiration. A candle burns on either side of his head. He opens his eyes.

LUPIN
Bijou?

Bijou pats Lupin’s face with the black rag, somewhat cleaned.

BIJOU
I’m here with you, Lupin.

LUPIN
Don’t.

BIJOU
Don’t what?

LUPIN
You don’t need to take care of me. Not with this…whatever it is running around.

BIJOU
No. I’m going to make sure you get through this.

LUPIN
You’re in danger.

BIJOU
So are you. You’re sick. You’re more sick than I’ve seen you. Now you need to rest.

Lupin closes his eyes.

LUPIN
Bijou?

BIJOU
I’m still right here.

LUPIN
I think I saw him.

Lupin opens his eyes again, but looks at a candle instead of at Bijou.

LUPIN
That’s why I ran. I saw him there in the fire. I think that’s what Echo was talking about. I’m the only one receptive to him. For some reason. Something must have happened in this house that I don’t remember. But I think I’m the only one who can stop him.

Bijou notices a spider crawling along the floor near Lupin’s head.

BIJOU
Lupin…you need to get up.

LUPIN
What is it?

BIJOU
Get up now.

Lupin tries to push himself up but falls on his elbow. Bijou grabs an arm and helps him to his feet. Then, she leans slowly forward and grabs a corner of the sleeping bag. She takes a deep breath and, as she exhales, pulls the unzipped bag open. It is swarming with spiders. Bijou shrieks, grabs Lupin, and helps him out the door. They hurry down the hallway and fling open a door. Echo sits inside under a white sheet, her candle still burning. She looks up at Lupin, supporting himself on Bijou’s shoulder and half-asleep.

BIJOU
May we sleep with you tonight?

CUT TO:

Bijou opens her eyes suddenly. She is immersed in darkness. She covers the end of her flashlight with her palm and turns it on, illuminating the space immediately surrounding her with a dim red. She is alone in the middle of the floor. She can hear shallow breathing from the direction of the crumpled blanket to her side. Rolling over to it, she tosses it aside. There is nothing underneath. Puzzled, she takes her palm off of the flashlight in time to see a hand rushing toward her own. It grabs her wrist and the flashlight falls to her side. The sounds of her struggling and her muffled cries for help mingle with the eerie breathing. Eventually, she can be heard gasping for air and screaming clearly. Footsteps can be heard slinking into the distance. Bijou grabs the flashlight and flips it on. She aims it toward the doorway, where it shines on Echo’s face. Echo squints in the light.

ECHO
I heard screams. Are you alright?

Bijou sits up on one elbow and catches her breath.

BIJOU
I think so. Where were you?

ECHO
I don’t sleep much. I’m what you might call a nocturne. A creature of darkness.

BIJOU
Is Lupin with you?

ECHO
He was. He ran ahead when he heard you calling him. He must really love you. I couldn’t hear a thing.

BIJOU
Where is he now?

Lupin runs through the door, out of breath.

LUPIN
I couldn’t catch him. I’m sorry.

BIJOU
Lupin, you shouldn’t be running around in your condition.

LUPIN
That animal tried to kill you, Bijou. If stopping him means putting myself in danger, it’s worth it.

Bijou runs over and embraces Lupin.

LUPIN
At least we’re both okay.

ECHO
For now. I hate to interrupt this charming pastoral scene, but the threat isn’t over. He’s hiding. We don’t know when he’ll emerge again.

Lupin releases Bijou.

LUPIN
I think I can take you to him. It’s like you said, I have some kind of special connection with this thing.

ECHO
Let’s at least go armed.

Lupin produces a flashlight.

LUPIN
I have this. I’ve used it before.

Echo walks to the corner of the room, pulls up a floorboard, and draws out a handgun.

ECHO
In case we get separated.

Lupin puts his arm around Bijou. She clings to him.

LUPIN
Let’s go.

FADE OUT

Advertisements


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s