Dark Ascension (Act V)

FADE IN:

INT. HOUSE – DAY

Lupin, Bijou, and Echo stand again in the secret room, before the mural. The candles still burn at its base like an altar.

ECHO
What makes you think he’ll come back here?

LUPIN
This is where he wanted us to find him. Look at that. He wanted us to know he was here. He wanted us to know that none of this was an accident, that he was responsible for it all. He seems to be utterly without guilt. I know it’s sick, but in a way it’s alluring. Can you imagine what it would be like to be able to obey all your primal drives without a second thought? He’s found more freedom in this prison than any of us thought possible. Even the freedom to evaporate into the darkness. How could something like that be killed? Something that can attack brutally then leave us frightened and alone at a whim?

Lupin stares at the mural.

ECHO
Death comes for everyone eventually. It’s only a matter of outliving him.

BIJOU
Are you sure we should be looking for this thing?

ECHO
If we’re running away, he already has the advantage. The only way we’re going to survive this is if we turn the tables.

Echo looks at Lupin.

ECHO
We can still hope he doesn’t show up, though.

LUPIN
This looks so familiar.

BIJOU
It was there last time we were here.

LUPIN
No, more familiar than that. It’s like I’ve seen it in motion.

Lupin runs his hand along the mural. It flakes off where he touches it.

LUPIN
Bound him a thousand years.

Lupin grabs Bijou’s arm tightly.

BIJOU
Ouch.

Lupin silences her. Echo and Bijou look around, but hear nothing.

LUPIN
Bound him a thousand years. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.

BIJOU
That’s Revelation.

LUPIN
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

Lupin traces the grey tendrils on the mural with his finger.

LUPIN
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.

BIJOU
You memorised this?

Lupin stares directly into Echo’s eyes. His gaze is empty but alert.

LUPIN
And the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

Echo grabs Bijou’s wrist and they back away. Lupin turns around, back-lit by the candles with the mural behind him. The wings of the dragon seem to extend from his own shoulders.

LUPIN
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed.

BIJOU
Lupin, you’re scaring me.

Lupin smiles.

LUPIN
And all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast.

Lupin lunges forward and grabs Bijou by the wrists. He leans in until his face is inches from hers.

LUPIN
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand.

BIJOU
Lupin, what are you doing?

Echo slams into Lupin from the side, forcing him down. She aims her gun at his head. Bijou grabs Echo’s arm.

BIJOU
Don’t shoot him!

Lupin scurries into the darkness.

ECHO
You let him get away.

BIJOU
You were going to kill him!

ECHO
He was going to kill us.

BIJOU
What’s going on?

ECHO
Has he shown you his leg?

BIJOU
No. What’s happening?

ECHO
Ask him to show you his leg.

Echo walks away into the darkness. Bijou stands there a second, then hurries after her.

CUT TO:

Bijou and Echo creep through the house. Echo holds Bijou’s flashlight and her own right wrist with her left hand, and her gun in her right.

BIJOU
Why do you need to carry a gun? He wouldn’t hurt us.

ECHO
You don’t know what he would do. And it’s for his own protection.

Bijou and Echo come to a room with two exits.

BIJOU
Where do we go from here?

ECHO
We split up. Do you want left or right?

BIJOU
I don’t know.

ECHO
Choose carefully.

Bijou starts toward a doorway. Echo grabs her shoulder and hands over her flashlight.

ECHO
Do you want him to live through this?

BIJOU
Yes.

ECHO
Then you had better find him before I do.

Echo walks into the darkness, her gun held out in front of her. Bijou proceeds slowly and carefully. Her breathing grows quick and heavy. She spins around, but there is nothing behind her. She starts forward again, and makes it through the doorway. The three other walls are bare. She turns around and begins to walk through the doorway. She stops and listens, but can hear nothing but her own breath. She gulps her air in fear, holds her breath and listens again. The breathing continues. She begins to whimper, but does not move.

BIJOU
Lupin?

A voice rises from the darkness behind her.

LUPIN
Lupin is gone. He has bled into his own bowl. Now, all is darkness. But you carry the light.

Bijou turns around slowly and shines the light on Lupin, who is crouched in the middle of the floor. He lunges at her. She drops to the ground and begins to scrabble away. Finding herself unable to move, she shines the light behind her. Lupin is holding her firmly by the ankle.

BIJOU
Lupin, please let me go.

Lupin releases Bijou’s ankle, but she does not move. He crawls forward until he is on top of her.

LUPIN
It’s too late to let go. He’s got me and he’s squeezing so hard, like an orange. He wants to fill me with pulp. And you.

Lupin slams his fist on the ground next to Bijou’s head. She cringes and whimpers.

LUPIN
Why are you doing this? You don’t understand. I have to protect myself, no matter what I do. It’s you.

Lupin runs his fingernails slowly along Bijou’s cheek. She winces in pain.

LUPIN
It’s you, Bijou.

Lupin stops, and his eyes unfocus.

LUPIN
It’s you. Bijou. It’s you. Bijou. It’s you.

Lupin strikes Bijou hard in the head. She begins to bleed from her ear.

BIJOU
Lupin, what’s going on?

LUPIN
Tell me.

Bijou is silent.

LUPIN
Why won’t you help me?

Lupin grabs Bijou by the shoulders and shakes her violently.

BIJOU
Lupin…show me your leg.

Lupin jumps from Bijou and runs into the darkness. Bijou struggles to her feet and follows him. He is crouched in the corner. Bijou advances toward him carefully.

BIJOU
I might know how to help you after I’ve seen your leg.

Lupin rolls his pant leg up slowly. On his thigh is a severely infected bite mark.

LUPIN
What do I do?

BIJOU
Lupin, we need to get you outside. A doctor needs to see you.

LUPIN
Nobody can see me. My shame.

BIJOU
Lupin, you need a doctor. I want to save you. I love you, remember?

LUPIN
Nobody can save me. I’ve received the mark of the beast.

BIJOU
No. No. No, Lupin. No, you’re just sick. You’re very sick. That dog was sick, and now you’re sick. Do you understand?

LUPIN
Nobody understands. I just need to protect myself.

Bijou extends a hand and takes another step toward Lupin.

BIJOU
If Echo sees you, she’ll shoot you. You need to trust me.

LUPIN
Never corner a rattlesnake.

Lupin pounces forward, knocking Bijou to the ground. He scurries away as she struggles to stand. She rises on one arm, clutching at her head, then collapses to the ground. Finally she stands and begins moving forward. As she gets to the doorway, Echo steps in front of it, her gun pointed at Bijou.

ECHO
He went through here, didn’t he?

BIJOU
We have to get him help.

ECHO
There’s no help for him.

BIJOU
Let me through.

Bijou pushes past Echo.

ECHO
You do realise that you’re only leaving him for me to take care of.

Bijou turns around.

BIJOU
Give me the gun.

ECHO
Why would I do that?

BIJOU
I don’t want to hurt him unless we have to.

ECHO
It’s too late for that. You should have figured it out earlier.

BIJOU
You knew? Why didn’t you tell me?

ECHO
I got what I needed from him. It makes no difference to me what happens after that.

Bijou notices Lupin crawling toward Echo’s back.

BIJOU
Give me the gun.

ECHO
What do I have to gain from that?

BIJOU
I have some very pertinent information for you.

ECHO
I don’t think so.

BIJOU
It’s your choice.

Bijou takes a step backward. Lupin slams into Echo, knocking her to the ground and sending the gun flying from her hand. Bijou grabs it and runs as Echo struggles.

CUT TO:

Bijou searches frantically through Lupin’s backpack in Echo’s room. Although a candle burns near the bag, she still holds the flashlight. She finds a phone, grabs it, and dials 911. She holds it to her ear, looks puzzled, then dials again. She presses several buttons with no reaction. She hears a bleak laugh behind her. She turns and points her flashlight at the doorway. Echo stands in torn clothing, a deep scratch across her forehead.

ECHO
You took my gun. I took your batteries. It seems a fair trade, doesn’t it?

BIJOU
What did you do that for? That’s just endangering all of us.

ECHO
Nobody is entering this house. Is that clear?

BIJOU
There’s nothing on all sides. How am I supposed to get him to a doctor in time?

ECHO
That’s your problem. I have my own.

BIJOU
What is wrong with you?

ECHO
I told you. I just don’t like to explain myself.

Echo begins down the hall.

BIJOU
I have your gun. How are you going to protect yourself?

ECHO
I know all of the secrets in this house. He won’t find me.

BIJOU
What am I supposed to do?

ECHO
That’s another of your problems, isn’t it?

Echo walks away. Bijou sits in the middle of the floor, the dead phone in one hand and the flashlight in the other. She looks from one to the other in total panic. She hears breathing, and shines the light on the doorway again. Lupin stands, supporting himself with the doorframe, panting heavily.

BIJOU
Lupin?

Lupin rolls his head toward Bijou. He looks at her emptily.

BIJOU
Lupin, I can’t call anyone. I can’t get anyone here. You’re going to need to come outside with me and we can try to walk you to a payphone. Then we can get you some help.

LUPIN
No help.

BIJOU
Lupin, I can’t let you die after everything we’ve been through.

LUPIN
No help!

With a snarl, Lupin throws himself forward. He lands on the ground in front of Bijou, face down, but flips over and looks up at her. He grabs the flashlight from her startled hand. She reaches for it, and he snaps at her hand. She recoils.

LUPIN
If I bite you, you die. Right?

Lupin shoots to his feet and stands shakily.

LUPIN
My blood is venom. My blood is quicksilver.

Bijou backs away on her elbows.

LUPIN
Isn’t this the way of things? Isn’t this the flow of everything, in my veins?

BIJOU
We can get you help. You need to come with me.

LUPIN
I need to come with you. Okay.

Bijou stands and walks toward Lupin.

LUPIN
Or you could come with me. We could go together. That way, we wouldn’t need to leave the house.

Bijou puts her arm around Lupin’s waist.

BIJOU
No, Lupin, we need to leave. You need to trust me.

Lupin throws Bijou to the ground.

LUPIN
What if I don’t want to leave? There aren’t places like this outside of this place. This is where we need to be right now.

BIJOU
No, Lupin.

Lupin crouches over Bijou.

LUPIN
Be here with me, Bijou. Be here with me.

Lupin swings the flashlight erratically. Bijou dodges and crawls away.

BIJOU
I have a gun. The only one you’re hurting is yourself.

Bijou digs frantically through Lupin’s backpack.

LUPIN
Maybe I want to hurt myself.

Bijou pulls the gun from the backpack and points it shakily at Lupin.

BIJOU
I don’t want anything to happen to you, Lupin. I still have so many things to say to you that I haven’t been able to say yet.

Lupin staggers forward and grabs the gun from Bijou’s hand. He holds it from the barrel, like a small club. Then he looks down at himself.

LUPIN
You shot me?

BIJOU
No. I’m sorry. I couldn’t.

LUPIN
There’s blood coming through me.

BIJOU
Maybe you excited the wound. I’m not a doctor, Lupin. I don’t know anything about this. We need to get you a doctor.

LUPIN
Why do you keep talking?

Lupin throws the gun angrily at the wall.

LUPIN
You’re sawing at my skull.

BIJOU
I’m sorry. I didn’t know.

Lupin shakes his head.

LUPIN
It’s no good. We forgot all the time. I’m going now.

Lupin turns and walks toward the door. Bijou stands and hurries toward him. As she touches his back, he throws himself on her, knocking both of them to the ground.

LUPIN
Come with me.

Lupin struggles to his knees and holds the flashlight above his head.

BIJOU
No! Please. No. I can’t think of anything else to say, but please, Lupin. Don’t. Please.

Lupin turns away with a snarl and stands. Bijou begins to stand but freezes and Lupin turns once again toward her.

LUPIN
I can’t think either.

Lupin raises the flashlight above his head and swings it toward Bijou. It falls from his hand midway through the swing, hitting the ground about a foot from Bijou’s head. He collapses to the ground, then rises to one knee, struggling to breathe. He raises his head and looks at Bijou, smiling feebly. He speaks in a strangled whisper.

LUPIN
As soon as we get out of here…we’ll be off to a better life.

Lupin coughs hoarsely, then wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. Bijou does not move, but her eyes are uncertain. He coughs again, paws at his throat, then falls backward, still coughing. After struggling for several seconds, he is still.

BIJOU
Lupin? Where did you go?

Bijou hurries toward Lupin. His eyes are closed, and a thick line of drool runs down his cheek. She places her hand on his forehead, then strokes his hair. Suddenly, he explodes in a fit of epileptic tremors. He is still again. Bijou stares at him suspiciously.

CUT TO:

The sheet is flung back, revealing the corpse of the dog. Bijou lays Lupin down delicately next to it, then covers them both with the sheet. She grabs the candle that burns by her feet and uses it to light a circle of candles that surround the sheet. When she has finished, she places the candle at their feet, completing the circle. She then steps back and kneels by it, her lips moving silently. Finally, she looks up. Echo stands in the doorway.

BIJOU
I’m surprised to see you here.

ECHO
Do you want me to leave?

BIJOU
Do you have something to say?

Echo walks over and puts her arm around Bijou’s shoulder.

ECHO
I’m sorry.

BIJOU
That isn’t the most original thing to say.

ECHO
I know. But it isn’t something I say very often.

BIJOU
Are you apologising to me or to him?

ECHO
I don’t know. Do I have to choose?

BIJOU
I’ll never understand you.

ECHO
I don’t expect you to.

BIJOU
I can’t forgive you if I can’t understand you. You realise that?

ECHO
Yes. I’m still sorry.

Bijou and Echo look at the sheet.

ECHO
Do you know everything?

BIJOU
I have some ideas.

ECHO
It gets to your brain. He didn’t know what he was doing.

BIJOU
You did.

ECHO
I ruined my life a long time ago. There’s no way to fix it now. I did the only thing I could think of.

BIJOU
It still won’t be your life.

ECHO
I know. But it’s the only one that will let me in anymore.

Bijou turns to Echo angrily.

BIJOU
What are you going to do about food?

ECHO
We’ll get by.

BIJOU
I don’t think you realise what you have in there. Even if you could get food, any life needs some light.

ECHO
I have nowhere to go out there.

BIJOU
Turn yourself in.

ECHO
I can’t. They’ll take it away from me. Then I’ll be completely worthless.

BIJOU
Then come with me. Lupin and I still have a new life coming to us. I can’t live it alone.

ECHO
You said yourself you can’t forgive me.

BIJOU
I’ll figure it out. Trust me.

ECHO
I’ve never trusted anyone before.

BIJOU
There’s your first problem. Come on.

Bijou stands and extends a hand. Echo takes it and follows her into the darkness. The door opens, and sunlight cuts sharply into the room, silhouetting Bijou and Echo. They squint as the sunlight illuminates their faces and clothing brightly, and they close the door

FADE OUT

FIN

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