The Movie

Twinsburg - Dance Within the Flame


FADE IN:

EXT. WOODS -- NIGHT

An out-of-focus crescent moon fills the screen as blurry branches sway in front of it, producing an interesting pattern. Thin clouds drift across the moon as well, adding to the shifting hues and textures. Very slowly pull focus as the OPENING CREDITS play over the scene, so that when the credits end, the moon is in sharp focus. Pan down through the bare tree branches into the cold, snowless winter landscape and drift along high above the ground, as though from the point-of-view of a wandering ghost. Suddenly, a GIRL screams.

Cut to the girl’s feet, shoeless, running through the woods, the brittle leaves crunching with each stumbling step. Her pantyhose have been shredded by the twigs and underbrush she has run through, and her legs are covered with scratches, some bleeding. She trips on a stick and falls to the ground, hard, her face and upper body entering the frame. It is MILLICENT COLLINS.

Millicent is wearing her formal gown, but instead of a necklace, she has a heavy dog’s choke chain around her throat. A chain leash is clipped to it, and dangles from her neck. Her wrists are tied behind her back with a strong nylon rope, which winds about her waist, pinning her hands to the small of her back. Her face and chest are covered with scratches, and her shoulder has a nasty gash that is bleeding badly. She looks behind her, terrified, and struggles to her feet. A flashlight beam shines on her face, and she starts running again.

A few yards behind Millicent, her pursuer follows her in black leather hiking boots, tight jeans, and a warm, black leather jacket with matching gloves. It is TUPPENCE COLLINS, her hair pinned back tightly behind her head. Her face is taut and cruel, but excited. She sweeps the flashlight beam around a bit, then turns it off. She lifts a broadsword to rest it against her shoulder as she continues on into the darkness.

Millicent runs frantically along the edge of a creek, the faint moonlight reflecting off the water’s surface. Suddenly, her leash catches in the roots of an overturned tree, yanking her backwards to the ground. She lies on her back in the leaves, choking and coughing from the violent constriction of the chain around her throat. Without warning, the broadsword plunges down into her shoulder and she screams. She looks up and sees Tuppence standing over her, silhouetted against the sky. Tuppence withdraws the blade and steps back, allowing Millicent to scramble back and free her leash from the roots. Both shoulders bleeding, Millicent lurches off the way she came, only to slam face-first into a tree. Dazed, she turns around, and Tuppence swings the sword into her side, cutting down to her ribs. Millicent cries out and falls to her knees. Tuppence swings the sword around and stabs Millicent in the thigh, then kicks her in the head, knocking her over.

As Millicent lies on the ground, bleeding and delirious, Tuppence wraps the other end of the leash around a nearby tree, then pulls out of her jacket pocket a length of nylon rope which she uses to tie Millicent’s ankles together. She tears the tattered stockings away from Millicent’s right foot, then reaches into her jacket’s inside pocket and produces a battery-operated cautery pen. She removes the cap and presses the button, causing the filament to glow yellow. With wicked glee, Tuppence takes the cautery pen to the underside of the fourth toe on Millicent’s right foot. Millicent screams in agony.

CUT TO:
INT. COLLINS HOME -- BEDROOM -- THURSDAY NIGHT

ALBERT COLLINS wakes with a start, Millicent’s scream still echoing in his mind. He is sweating and shaking from the nightmare. The room is dark.
ALBERT
Millicent! Oh, my god, Millicent!
EMMA CORBETT, sleeping nude beside him, wakes up.
EMMA
Albert?
Albert starts to cry. Emma puts her arms around him to comfort him.
EMMA
Again?
Albert nods, sobbing.
EMMA
Oh, my dearest, dearest...
She kisses him repeatedly.
EMMA
Do you need to go downstairs?
Albert nods tearfully.
EMMA
All right, my love.
Emma slides out of bed. Albert follows her.

CUT TO:
INT. COLLINS HOME -- BASEMENT -- NIGHT

A single lightbulb illuminates a dismal corner of the unfinished basement. EMMA sits on the cement floor, wearing a formal gown identical to Millicent’s, as well as spike-heeled leather pumps and a rhinestone tiara. Her wrists are tied behind her back with a strong nylon rope, which winds about her waist, pinning her hands to the small of her back. Her ankles are likewise bound with nylon rope, and she wears a heavy dog’s choke chain around her throat. A chain leash is clipped to it, and dangles from her neck. She looks up at ALBERT, standing across the room in his flannel pajama pants, holding up a broadsword. He advances toward her menacingly, his shadow falling over her as he moves past the lightbulb. The broadsword moves slowly past Emma’s face as Albert kneels down in front of her. Then he lays the sword on the floor and kisses Emma, tears streaming down his face.
ALBERT
I couldn’t save her. I couldn’t save her.

EMMA
I know.
Albert gently lays Emma back onto the floor, kissing her repeatedly. She straightens out her legs.
ALBERT
I couldn’t... I couldn’t save my baby girl...

EMMA
It’s all right, darling.
Albert lies on top of her, kissing her neck and shoulders. Emma closes her eyes.
ALBERT
Couldn’t save her...

EMMA
You’re forgiven.
CUT TO:
INT. FBI FIELD OFFICE, AKRON -- FRIDAY MORNING

FRANKLIN FOSGILL is standing at a desk. A large mural of a forest is on the wall behind him. A SECRETARY brings him a cup of coffee.
FOSGILL
Get me Agent Clayton Morris out in Cedar Rapids, Iowa!
The secretary exits. DUNCAN MACNEIL enters and hands Fosgill a report in a manila folder.

CUT TO:
EXT. IOWA BARNYARD -- MORNING

A dilapidated barn at a farm outside Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a flurry of activity. Several FBI AGENTS in business suits and trenchcoats confer with ARMY SOLDIERS and IOWA STATE TROOPERS. Men in hazmat suits carry stretchers out of the barn. The bodies on the stretchers are concealed by silver tarps. As each stretcher appears, another man in a hazmat suit checks it with a Geiger counter. The stretchers are then loaded into a truck. Several scruffy YOUTHS are on their knees with their hands behind their heads. They wear baseball caps and T-shirts with logos for MUFON and NICAP. A car phone rings, and one of the FBI agents answers it.
FBI AGENT
Morris!
CLAYTON MORRIS, tall and lanky, dressed in a cheap suit & tie and a trenchcoat, turns around from his conversation with the Army officer in charge.
MORRIS
Excuse me.
Morris walks over to the car and takes the phone from the other agent.
MORRIS
Morris.
INTERCUT -- MORRIS standing by the car and FOSGILL in his office.
FOSGILL
Clay! It’s Franklin Fosgill calling from the Akron field office! I’ve got a situation here that’s right up your alley! We’ve got an agent who’s gone off the grid!

MORRIS
Who is it?

FOSGILL
It’s Franklin Fosgill!

MORRIS
Who is the agent?

FOSGILL
Off the grid! AWOL! Missing in action! He’s disappeared, Clay, without a trace! I’m having you flown out here ASAP! I’ll brief you at the airport! There’s someone I want you to meet!

MORRIS
Okay, Franklin!
Morris hangs up the phone and squints.

CUT TO:
INT. FBI FIELD OFFICE, AKRON -- MORNING

FOSGILL hangs up the phone. DUNCAN stands in front of the desk.
DUNCAN
If he’s as unstable as I think he is, it’ll take a strong man to bring him in.

FOSGILL
Clayton Morris is the right man for the job!
DUNCAN
I hope you’re right.
They sip their coffee simultaneously.

CUT TO:
EXT. PORTAGE COUNTY REGIONAL AIRPORT -- FRIDAY AFTERNOON

A single-engine Cessna comes in for a landing at the rural airfield. It comes to a stop near the main building and MORRIS gets out of the plane. FOSGILL is waiting for him with SARA CICERO, a petite redhead in a sensible pantsuit and cream-colored overcoat.
FOSGILL
Clay! Tip your hat to Dr. Sara Cicero! She’s done some first-rate work on PTSD -- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder!

MORRIS
Doctor.

CICERO
Agent Morris.

FOSGILL
Sorry to say, I think you’ll need her expertise! But first, I’ve brought along a friend of mine!
A PUNK ROCK GIRL emerges from the main building and comes over to stand next to Fosgill. She is wearing a mesh shirt over a black bra, a short leather skirt, chunky-heeled lace-up boots, a spiked leather choker, and dark sunglasses, among other accessories. She has a large silver maple-leaf pendant around her neck. She waves to Morris and Cicero with a worried look on her face.
FOSGILL
Her name is Sue! She’s an only child!
Fosgill circles his ear with one finger, looking askance at the girl. Morris looks her over carefully. Cicero is confused. Then, Fosgill gives the Punk Rock Girl a nod and she finally stops waving and goes back inside the building. Fosgill then hands Morris a manila folder with some papers in it. Morris looks briefly at the papers, then hands the folder back to Fosgill.
FOSGILL
Good luck, Clay! Sara, you and Clay will make a good team! One for the ages!

CICERO
Yes, sir.

FOSGILL
(handing Morris a set of car keys)
You can reach me at the Peoria office! I’m flying out today!
Morris nods.

CUT TO:
EXT. RURAL ROAD -- AFTERNOON

MORRIS and CICERO drive to their assignment in a government-issue car. As he drives, Morris munches on sunflower seeds from a plastic bag.
CICERO
Who was that girl? What was she doing there?

MORRIS
You might say Fosgill has his own M.O. I can explain it to you.

CICERO
Please.

MORRIS
Well, you saw Sue had a worried look on her face.

CICERO
I guess.

MORRIS
That means the local law-enforcement is already pretty overwhelmed, so they probably won’t mind the FBI stepping in.

CICERO
Oh.

MORRIS
And she was waving her hand, palm out, which means we can expect them to be friendly. Also, she was wearing a mesh shirt, which means they’re not hiding anything.

CICERO
Okay...

MORRIS
Sue also had sunglasses on, which means they’re in the dark.

CICERO
So we shouldn’t expect any trouble?

MORRIS
Not from the locals. But Sue had on a spiked collar, which means we’re entering a dangerous situation. She was also wearing chunky-heeled boots, which means there’ll be a lot of legwork.

CICERO
And the leather skirt?

MORRIS
Leather skirts are code for a rogue agent -- who may have turned vigilante.

CICERO
Oh.

MORRIS
Fosgill said Sue was an only child, and twirled his finger around his ear to signal that she’s crazy. So we’re dealing with an agent who was working solo and may have lost his mind.

CICERO
Right.

MORRIS
Did you notice anything else about her?

CICERO
She had a silver maple-leaf pendant.

MORRIS
And what does that suggest to you?

CICERO
That she’s Canadian?

MORRIS
Good one. But I can’t tell you about that.

CICERO
You can’t or you won’t?
Morris gives her a half-grin, but doesn’t answer.

NEW ANGLE

The car drives past the TWINSBURG welcome sign, heading into town.

CUT TO:
EXT. TWINSBURG SHERIFF STATION -- AFTERNOON

The government-issue car pulls in and parks. MORRIS and CICERO get out and look around, then head into the building.

CUT TO:
INT. SHERIFF STATION -- LOBBY -- AFTERNOON

MORRIS and CICERO enter the building. Sitting at her desk is the sheriff’s secretary, ABIGAIL VOIGT, talking quietly on the phone and taking notes. Across the room, SHERIFF ROBERT ARMSTRONG is speaking to a few DEPUTIES, giving them instructions. He looks over at the two agents.
SHERIFF
Can I help you?

MORRIS
Are you Sheriff Robert Armstrong?

SHERIFF
That’s me.

MORRIS
I’m Special Agent Clayton Morris from the FBI. This is Agent Cicero.

CICERO
(shakes hands with Sheriff)
Dr. Sara Cicero.

SHERIFF
A pleasure. What can I do for you folks?

MORRIS
We’ve an agent’s gone missing, and we’re here to look into it.

SHERIFF
Oh, right. That Wynton Duke guy? I reported that a month ago. He took a prisoner out of our jail and they both disappeared--

MORRIS
Sheriff, we’re not here about here Agent Duke.

SHERIFF
You’re not?

MORRIS
No.

SHERIFF
Well, then who?

CICERO
Martin Gale.

SHERIFF
Whoa, what? Agent Gale’s missing?

CICERO
I’m afraid so.

SHERIFF
But he said he was heading to Peoria -- joining a big case there.

CICERO
We’ve no record of that.

MORRIS
As we understood it, after wrapping up his investigation here, Agent Gale requested to take some vacation time.

SHERIFF
Right.

MORRIS
That’s the last we heard of him. When he failed to report in after two weeks, we started to get... concerned. Routine attempts to locate him were unsuccessful. So here we are.

CICERO
Sheriff, did you notice anything unusual or odd about the manner of Agent Gale’s departure?

SHERIFF
No. It seemed kind of sudden.

CICERO
Did he seem at all upset or agitated?

SHERIFF
Not at all. He was just his usual straight-arrow self.

MORRIS
Well, we’ll be making some inquiries. I hope we can count on your cooperation.

SHERIFF
You got it. I’ll do what I can. Unfortunately, we’re kind of in the middle of a big murder case of our own right now. A woman was found tied to her dining room table. She’d choked on candle wax, asphyxiated. Looked like a sex crime.

MORRIS
Sounds like you’ve had more than your share of murders around here lately.

SHERIFF
Yeah, I’ll say. Hopefully, it won’t happen again.
CUT TO:
EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD STREET -- AFTERNOON

PENNY GARDNER walks down the sidewalk, heading home after school. She is feeling wistful, with a tinge of melancholy. She stops at the curb in front of her house and checks the mailbox. She takes out a few mail items and carries them up the front steps to her house.

In a car parked across the street, DANI CLAPSADDLE slouches, watching Penny go up the stairs and into her house. Dani looks rather haggard, with dark circles under her eyes. She continues watching the house, her face grim.

CUT TO:
INT. PENNY’S HOME -- AFTERNOON

PENNY enters the house through the front door. She goes into the living room and finds her mother, MARY GARDNER, wearing a track suit and riding a stationary bicycle.
PENNY
Hi, Mom.

MARY
Hello, Penny. Did you grab the mail?

PENNY
Right here.
Penny puts the mail on the coffee table, except for a postcard, which she looks at lovingly.
MARY
What’s that?

PENNY
It’s from Nicholas.

MARY
Oh. And where is he now?

PENNY
Far away.

MARY
(stops pedaling)
Well, I hope he enjoys riding his bike more than I do. This thing is killing me.

PENNY
Then why do it?

MARY
Got to keep your father’s interest.

PENNY
Mom...

MARY
I’m just saying. Your father never left me behind to go on some absurd cross-country trek to find himself or whatever it is.

PENNY
Nicholas is doing what he needed to do. It has nothing to do with me.

MARY
Oh, fiddlesticks. It’s such a shame, dropping out of school so close to graduation. What a waste. But, well, growing up in a bicycle shop. It’s hardly an appropriate atmosphere. You’d have to expect something like this. Especially now that his uncle is marrying that crazy woman. Have you seen her? She’s like Jekyll and Hyde.

PENNY
(fed up)
Oh, God, take me now!
Penny storms out of the room.

CUT TO:
INT. SHERIFF STATION -- CONFERENCE ROOM -- FRIDAY EVENING

MORRIS and CICERO are sitting at the table, looking at papers from a large accordion file. SHERIFF enters.
MORRIS
Sheriff, thanks for coming back in to talk to us.

SHERIFF
Not a problem. Not much to go home to, anyway.

MORRIS
We’d like you to tell us about your experience working with Agent Gale.

SHERIFF
Okay. Abigail got you set up with a fresh pot of coffee?

MORRIS
Yeah, it’s great.

SHERIFF
Did you get some doughnuts?

MORRIS
Uh... well, I’m still kind of full from dinner.

SHERIFF
Dr. Cicero, do you need anything?

CICERO
I’m fine. Thank you.

MORRIS
Now, about Agent Gale...

SHERIFF
Right.

MORRIS
You contacted the FBI for assistance after finding the body of... Millicent Collins.

SHERIFF
That’s right.

MORRIS
And Agent Gale arrived later that day to lead the investigation.

SHERIFF
Correct. I hadn’t had a real murder like that before. Certainly not a serial killer. I’m not ashamed to say I was a little out of my depth.

MORRIS
Four days into the investigation, the killer struck again...

SHERIFF
Leigh Pfiffer.

MORRIS
Right, and just a few days later, you and Agent Gale caught the killer, “Tuppence” Collins, the first victim’s mother. Within a week of starting the investigation, that is something.

SHERIFF
Agent Gale knew his business. And we had a few lucky breaks.

CICERO
Except Mrs. Collins died while resisting arrest.

SHERIFF
She attacked Agent Gale with a sword. He acted in self-defense.

MORRIS
Okay. What was your impression of Agent Gale’s methods?

SHERIFF
I thought his powers of observation and deduction were pretty damn impressive. He was very... intuitive about it.

CICERO
Intuitive?

SHERIFF
And thorough.

MORRIS
You’re familiar with an agent named Duncan MacNeil?

SHERIFF
Yes. He did some forensics work for Agent Gale.

MORRIS
Right. He submitted a report raising some concerns about Agent Gale’s fitness for duty. He said Agent Gale requested that he examine a sample of mud for any luminous substances, but none were found. It was just mud.

SHERIFF
Yeah.

MORRIS
And in his field notes, Agent Gale makes several references to some unexplained phenomena.

SHERIFF
Well, I sure as hell couldn’t explain it.

MORRIS
Would you describe it as paranormal?

SHERIFF
Sorry?

CICERO
Sheriff, we’re concerned because Agent Gale reported experiencing several auditory and visual hallucinations in the course of his investigation, which he claims gave him special insight into the case. He also claimed that both Mrs. Collins and a mailman were possessed by evil spirits, and that he had uncovered some kind of secret war between light and dark. Finally, he insisted that he had interviewed a witness who died ten years ago. As a result of all this, he was placed on temporary suspension and recommended for a psychological evaluation. The suspension was soon lifted, but he immediately requested a leave of absence, then disappeared. I know you respect Agent Gale, but if he’s suffered a psychotic break, he could be very dangerous -- to himself and others.

SHERIFF
Look, I know that Agent Gale was a little out there with some of this stuff, but I saw some things with my own eyes. Things I still can’t make sense of.

MORRIS
Go on.

SHERIFF
The night we tracked Mrs. Collins to her hideout in the woods. She had captured another girl, Penny Gardner -- was going to kill her, but we got there in time. Like I said, she attacked Gale with a sword. He was wounded, but he got hold of this ceremonial dagger she had and stabbed her in the heart. They both collapsed. And then there they were.

MORRIS
Who?

SHERIFF
The spirits. Agent Gale called them Llewellyn and Gruffydd. They were like ghosts or something, but I saw them plain as the nose on your face. They sort of hovered there, fighting each other, then they just faded away. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. Still gives me chills just thinking about it.

CICERO
It was an extremely high-stress situation--

MORRIS
Hold on, Cicero. What else did you see, Sheriff?

SHERIFF
A couple days later, I was called to a construction site to settle a dispute, and this... thing came out of the woods. Looked like an astronaut, but glowing. Everybody saw it. It moved almost like it was in slow-motion. Gave me the creeps. It said something to me, then just kind of vanished into thin air.

MORRIS
What did it say?

SHERIFF
Just one word, “Festival.” But that led us to the Festival of Lights, held the following weekend up at the Maple Lodge. That secret war you mentioned seems pretty real, Dr. Cicero. But it’s between two rival cults, and it’s been going on for damn near 150 years. Agent Gale discovered a historical pattern that led us to believe one of the cults was going to kidnap the winner of our Queen of Lights contest.

MORRIS
Is that like a beauty pageant?

SHERIFF
Right. It’s a tradition, goes way back. And these kidnappings had happened before -- a few times, but several decades apart. Whenever there was some kind of convergence of... cult things.

MORRIS
Okay. That’s all in Agent Gale’s field reports. Now, his last report was dated the morning of Saturday, February 14th, and he indicates that he’s getting ready to head out to the Festival of Lights to hopefully prevent the kidnapping. What happened at the Maple Lodge that day, Sheriff?

SHERIFF
We got to the lodge early, before the doors opened for the festival. I’d called in extra deputies from the surrounding counties for backup. Agent Gale and I met with Sergei Krizman, he heads up the Maple Lodge Elders.

MORRIS
Who are they?

SHERIFF
Benevolent association, mostly retired guys. They manage the lodge and the various events held there. So, we stayed close to the pageant contestants throughout the day, and when the winner was announced, we closed ranks around her. But several hours went by then, and nothing happened. At some point, Agent Gale and his date -- local woman name of Dani Clapsaddle -- slipped off into the woods.

MORRIS
Why?

SHERIFF
Can’t say for sure. Things got a bit chaotic when, believe it or not, there was a completely unrelated kidnapping. I was too busy dealing with that situation to mount a search for Agent Gale until the next night. Then we found both Gale and Dani unconscious in the woods. One of my men drove Dani home, and I took Gale back to his hotel room. The Doc gave him a once-over and said he seemed okay. I came back to the station to finish up a couple of things, then Agent Gale showed up, said a quick goodbye, and headed off to Peoria. At least, that’s where he said he was going.

MORRIS
And what about the cult and the Queen of Lights?

SHERIFF
As far as we know, they never made their move. We spoke to Dani about it the next day, asked her what happened to them in the woods. She said nothing happened. She looked a bit rattled, confused, but I chalked it up to Gale’s departure and let it go at that.

MORRIS
Could you show us where exactly you found them, say tomorrow morning? I think we need to try to determine what happened to Agent Gale in the woods that night. Then we should probably talk to this Dani Clapsaddle.

SHERIFF
Sure thing.
CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- SATURDAY MORNING

SHERIFF leads MORRIS and CICERO to the pit filled with dark water and surrounded by mossy rocks. Morris goes to the edge of the pit and stares down into the water.
SHERIFF
This is the spot. Gale was lying here, and Dani was just over there. They were both out cold when we found them. We were able to revive them, though they were pretty groggy. Otherwise, they didn’t seem to be injured at all.

CICERO
You said a doctor examined Agent Gale. There were no signs of concussion or anything like that?

SHERIFF
No, ma’am.

MORRIS
What’s that smell? Do you smell that?

SHERIFF
What?

MORRIS
Smells like... burnt sugar.

SHERIFF
Oh?

MORRIS
You don’t smell that?
Suddenly, a black-and-white CAT darts out of the underbrush and rubs itself up against Cicero’s legs.
CICERO
Well, hello there.

MORRIS
Looks like you’ve made a friend, Cicero.

CICERO
Where did you come from?

MORRIS
Actually, come to think of it, we’re pretty deep in the woods here, Sheriff. How did you manage to find Agent Gale and Ms. Clapsaddle out here in the dark?

SHERIFF
Mr. Krizman from the Maple Lodge, he led us out here. The lodge isn’t too far from here. He must have decided to canvass the woods, and found them.

MORRIS
Hmm. I’d like to check out this Maple Lodge, maybe ask him a few questions.

SHERIFF
I can take you there, but then I’ve got to get back to the station.

MORRIS
Sure, that would be great.
They head off through the woods. The cat follows them.

NEW ANGLE

A short distance off, DANI stands behind a tree, watching the investigators through her binoculars. She then lowers the binoculars and squints.

CUT TO:
EXT. MAPLE LODGE -- MORNING

MORRIS and CICERO approach the building, looking around. Theirs is the only car in the parking lot. All is quiet.
MORRIS
Well, the joint is definitely not jumping.

CICERO
It’s still early, Morris.
Morris tries the front door. It is unlocked.
CICERO
Well, there must be someone around.

MORRIS
See who you can find, Cicero. I want to take a quick look around out here.

CICERO
Okay. Don’t get lost.

MORRIS
Funny.
Cicero smiles and goes inside. Morris walks around the side of the building, looking intently at the power lines overhead.

CUT TO:
INT. MAPLE LODGE -- MAIN HALL -- MORNING

CICERO enters. The main hall is partially decorated for St. Patrick’s Day, but no one else appears to be present.
CICERO
Hello? Hello, is anyone here?
She heads toward the back hallway.

CUT TO:
EXT. MAPLE LODGE -- MORNING

MORRIS comes around to the back of the building and sees RAMONA WINGFEATHER carrying a bucket over by the horse-riding ring.
MORRIS
Excuse me!
Ramona looks at him, puts down the bucket, and walks quickly toward the stables.
MORRIS
Miss?
Ramona enters the stables and is lost from sight. Morris follows her.

CUT TO:
INT. MAPLE LODGE -- BASEMENT -- MORNING

CICERO comes down a staircase into the lower level of the building. The walls are covered with dark paneling, and the floor is tiled with a zig-zag pattern.
CICERO
Hello?
At the end of the corridor, Cicero finds a door which opens into a dark room. She takes a small flashlight out of her coat pocket, turns it on, and steps through the doorway. She shines the light around, revealing a large, mostly empty space with the same zig-zag tile floor. In one corner, the flashlight briefly illuminates three Art Deco chairs, a couple of torchiere floor lamps, and a Greek statue. Suddenly, the black-and-white CAT screeches and runs between Cicero’s legs and out into the corridor, startling her. She steps back into the corridor and closes the door behind her.

CUT TO:
EXT. MAPLE LODGE -- STABLES -- MORNING

MORRIS enters the stables, looking for Ramona.
MORRIS
Miss? Hello? I just want to ask you a few questions.
He checks around, but she has vanished. Confused, Morris heads back toward the main building.

CUT TO:
EXT. MAPLE LODGE -- MORNING

MORRIS comes up to CICERO just as she exits the building, closing the door behind her.
CICERO
Nobody there. Maybe they don’t bother to lock up. Did you find anything?

MORRIS
I saw a girl out back, but she scooted as soon as she saw me. Somehow, I lost her.

CICERO
This seems like a dead end. Maybe we should head back into town.

MORRIS
Let’s look up Agent Gale’s girlfriend and see what she can tell us.
They head back to their car. RAMONA peers around the corner of the building, watching them, then slowly steps back out of sight.

CUT TO:
INT. ROSEMARY’S PASTRY SHOP -- SATURDAY AFTERNOON

DANI, looking tired and irritable, is loading the dishwasher in the shop’s kitchen, and keeping herself otherwise busy as MORRIS and CICERO question her.
MORRIS
According to the sheriff, Ms. Clapsaddle, you were a senior account manager at the First Bank of Twinsburg until about three weeks ago?

DANI
Yeah, so?

MORRIS
And now you’re washing dishes at your sister-in-law’s pastry shop.

DANI
Times are tough. A person’s got to keep body and soul together.

CICERO
We understand you were involved with Agent Gale in the week leading up to his disappearance. We were hoping you could give us some insight into his state of mind.

DANI
Who knows what goes on in men’s minds? You think you know someone, but then it’s all a bunch of lies. Story of my life, know what I mean?

CICERO
Can you tell us what happened on February 14th, at the Maple Lodge?

DANI
Nothing happened.

MORRIS
We know you and Agent Gale disappeared into the woods for nearly 24 hours. The police report says you were found lying unconscious on the ground without either a coat or shoes. Now, it was pretty cold that night, and not much better during the day.

CICERO
If Agent Gale hurt you, we just want to--

DANI
You don’t know what you’re talking about.

MORRIS
Either way, we just want to find him.

DANI
He’s a long way gone. And he’s not coming back.

CICERO
Do you know where he is?

DANI
He’s nowhere.
Morris motions to Cicero that they should leave.
MORRIS
Sorry to trouble you.
Dani ignores them as they exit.

CUT TO:
EXT. TWINSBURG INN -- SATURDAY NIGHT

CUT TO:
INT. TWINSBURG INN -- CICERO’S ROOM -- NIGHT

CICERO is sitting on the bed, making a phone call. There are forms and reports spread out around her on the bed. MORRIS is standing by the desk, looking at a large map of the area. When no one answers, Cicero hangs up the phone.
CICERO
Still no answer at the Maple Lodge. I haven’t been able to reach Mr. Krizman at home, either. It just rings and rings.

MORRIS
I don’t know, Cicero. I still think Dani Clapsaddle is our best lead. Something happened to her in those woods that she doesn’t want to talk about.

CICERO
The poor woman is clearly suffering from severe depression, Morris. And no wonder, considering what she’s been through in the last few weeks. First her husband turns out to be a drug dealer and is killed by the police, then Agent Gale romances her only to vanish without a trace, and finally she loses her job and is reduced to washing dishes. I probably wouldn’t want to talk about it, either.

MORRIS
Sure, but I get the feeling it’s more than that. Something in her eyes. They’re completely hollow. But 24 hours out in those woods might do that to you. Especially with that smell. What do you think that was?

CICERO
I don’t know. There could be some sotolone emissions from a nearby factory. Or, heroin smoke smells like that, too.

MORRIS
You think there’s a secret opium den in the woods?

CICERO
Or maybe a secret Waffle House.

MORRIS
Sheriff Armstrong didn’t seem to notice it.

CICERO
He’s probably used to it.

MORRIS
Everything seems to come back to those woods. That’s where the cult rituals were performed, where they found Tuppence Collins, and where the sheriff saw those spirit forms. And that astronaut-thing.

CICERO
You don’t seriously put any stock in those accounts, do you?

MORRIS
You heard the sheriff yourself, Cicero. And he doesn’t seem the type to make up something like that. The other witness statements track with his, they must have seen something.

CICERO
There could be any number of explanations.

MORRIS
Like what, swamp gas?

CICERO
There are numerous physical factors that can induce those sorts of hallucinations. Overstimulation of the temporoparietal junction, low-frequency sound waves, sleep deprivation. Mass hysteria is well documented, Morris. Agent Gale started in with the Twilight Zone stuff after just a couple of days. Of course the sheriff would get caught up in it.

MORRIS
All right, I don’t blame you for being a skeptic, Cicero. I’m skeptical, too. But I’m not afraid to be open to a realm of possibility beyond the ordinary.

CICERO
I’m not afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid of the tricks a mind can play on itself if you let your guard down.

MORRIS
(folding up the map)
Well, it’s getting late. I’m going to turn in. What do you want to tackle first in the morning?

CICERO
I think I want to go through these autopsy reports more carefully. The toxicology results look interesting, especially the one for Mrs. Collins.

MORRIS
Okay, that’s fine.

CICERO
Why, what are you going to do?

MORRIS
I’m going to take a hike in the woods.
CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- NIGHT

The full moon goes behind a cloud.

CUT TO:
INT. TWINSBURG INN -- CICERO’S ROOM -- NIGHT

CICERO, now alone, is ready for bed. She gets under the covers and turns off the light. Laying her head on the pillow, she looks at the digital clock on the nightstand. It reads 10:13 PM. She rolls onto her back, and as her eyes adjust to the darkness, she realizes the room is awash in moonlight. She looks down at the blanket covering her and sees a shape like a large snake slithering under it, right next to her legs. With a startled cry, she leaps from the bed and turns on the light. She yanks the blanket off the bed, but there is nothing there. Cautiously, she kneels down and looks under the bed. Again, there is nothing. Freaked out, she wraps the blanket around herself and sits on the bed, her back to the headboard. She rests her head on her knees and closes her eyes, leaving the light on.

CUT TO:
EXT. ROSEMARY’S PASTRY SHOP -- SUNDAY MORNING

MORRIS is sitting in his car, parked across the street from the pastry shop. He is wearing sunglasses and keeping an eye on the front of the shop. He munches on sunflower seeds from a plastic bag. Then, DANI emerges from the pastry shop, carrying a large white paper bag. He watches as she goes to her car, parked on the curb a little further down the street. A moment later, she pulls out and drives up the street, passing Morris. He starts his engine and follows her.

CUT TO:
EXT. RURAL ROAD -- MORNING

DANI’s car drives past. MORRIS’s car follows at a discrete distance.

CUT TO:
EXT. SHADYGROVE DEVELOPMENT -- MORNING

DANI’s car turns into the paved cul-de-sac left behind at the abandoned development site. MORRIS spots her, but doesn’t slow down.
MORRIS
Damn it.
Morris’s car drives past as Dani parks her car at the edge of the woods.

CUT TO:
EXT. RURAL ROAD -- MORNING

MORRIS pulls his car into a nearby driveway to wait. He checks his watch and tries to see through the trees to the cul-de-sac, but it’s too far away. He takes out his map of the area and unfolds it, looking it over.

CUT TO:
EXT. SHADYGROVE DEVELOPMENT -- MORNING

MORRIS’s car pulls into the cul-de-sac and parks near Dani’s car, which is empty. Morris gets out and peers into Dani’s car as he walks past. No sign of the white paper bag. Reaching the trailhead, Morris checks the ground for fresh footprints, then heads off down the trail into the woods.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- MORNING

MORRIS follows the trail through the woods. He takes a small pair of binoculars out of his coat pocket and scans the area. Then he stops looking through the binoculars and listens intently. He hears what sounds like the distant crack of a whip.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- MORNING

CU -- DANI is tied to a tree by her wrists. A ball-gag is strapped into her mouth, and her upper body is naked. She is being whipped by an unseen assailant, and she winces in pain as the lash strikes her back.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- MORNING

MORRIS tries to head in the direction the sound of the whip is coming from, but he can’t pinpoint it. He turns around a few times, listening to the distant cracks with his eyes closed. He leaves the trail and heads through the trees, changing direction a couple of times as the sound echoes across the landscape.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- MORNING

CU -- DANI’s whipping continues. Tears stream down her face.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- MORNING

MORRIS moves quickly along the bottom of a ravine, listening for the distant cracks of the whip. He’s trying to move quietly, but his feet crunch on the dry leaves covering the ground. The whipping seems to have stopped. Then, Morris hears the sound of a woman moaning coming from over a rise. He scrambles up the hill to check it out. Peering over the top of the hill, Morris looks down at a NAKED WOMAN frolicking with a GREAT DANE in a shallow stream. He squints at her, then backs off before she sees him. He sits on a log, frustrated, and hears the dog bark a couple of times.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- MORNING

CU -- DANI, still gagged, closes her eyes. A shadow moves over her. Slow-motion.

FADE OUT

FADE IN:
EXT. PENNY’S HOME -- MORNING

CUT TO:
INT. PENNY’S HOME -- LIVING ROOM -- MORNING

PENNY is seated on the couch, dressed up for church in a dark floral-print dress, tight black sweater, pearls, and high-heeled pumps. CICERO is sitting in a chair, wearing a navy blue pantsuit.
CICERO
Sorry to keep you home from church this morning.

PENNY
Honestly, you did me a favor.

CICERO
I need to ask you a few questions about the day you were abducted by Tuppence Collins.

PENNY
Do you mind if I smoke?

CICERO
No, please.

PENNY
(lights a cigarette)
My mom, now she would mind. It’s disgusting, she’d say. Boys don’t like girls who smoke. Of course, it’s okay for her to sneak one in the laundry room. She’s a bitch.

CICERO
I’m sorry, I know this must be painful for you.

PENNY
Mrs. Collins, she didn’t mind. Millicent and I would take her cigarettes and smoke them in the basement while she made us brownies. She never said a thing. She was always so nice.
Penny takes a long drag on her cigarette, then closes her eyes while she exhales.
PENNY
At least my mom never tried to kill me.

CICERO
Now, Mrs. Collins took you to the woods, to an old hunting cabin, correct?

PENNY
Yes.

CICERO
And she was there with you for several hours before the police arrived.

PENNY
Pretty much all day.

CICERO
During that time, did you speak with her?

PENNY
No. I couldn’t talk. She’d wedged an apple between my jaws. I couldn’t bite through the whole thing. I couldn’t open my mouth any wider. It was just stuck there. My jaw was so sore afterwards, I might have been better off dead.

CICERO
Did she speak to you?

PENNY
No. Yes. I don’t remember.

CICERO
Please try to think back, Penny. I know it’s hard. But it could be very important.

PENNY
She kept talking about this lady of the night, who was going to drink my blood. Maybe she thought she was a vampire, I don’t know. She talked about the people she had killed, and the people she was going to kill. She talked about shadows and fire and darkness. It was crazy. It didn’t make any sense. She was insane. She was insane.

CICERO
During your ordeal, did you see Mrs. Collins take any pills or give herself any injections?

PENNY
What? No.

CICERO
Did she eat or drink anything?

PENNY
No... I don’t think so. No.

CICERO
Did she drug you at any point?

PENNY
I don’t think so.

CICERO
Okay.

(hesitates)

One more question.

PENNY
Okay.

CICERO
When Agent Gale and Mrs. Collins were fighting each other... did you see anything... strange?

PENNY
Strange?

CICERO
Any sort of weird... phenomena? A hallucination, perhaps?

PENNY
No...

CICERO
Okay. Thank you, Penny. Thank you for your cooperation. I’m truly sorry.
Cicero stands up. Penny rocks herself and smokes her cigarette.
CICERO
I’ll let myself out.
CUT TO:
EXT. PENNY’S HOME -- MORNING

CICERO comes out the front door, closing it behind her. She sees MORRIS waiting in the car across the street.

CUT TO:
EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD STREET -- MORNING

CICERO gets into the car. MORRIS is in the driver’s seat.
MORRIS
I got your note.

CICERO
How was your hike?

MORRIS
Frustrating. And a little disturbing, to be honest. Did you get anything useful from Penny Gardner?

CICERO
We need to get the sheriff to take us up to that cabin.

MORRIS
Okay.
Morris starts the engine.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS AND CABIN -- SUNDAY NOON

SHERIFF leads MORRIS and CICERO to the ramshackle cabin surrounded by maple trees.
SHERIFF
This is the place.

MORRIS
It looks so homey.

SHERIFF
Deerhunters used to use it.
Morris takes a compass out of his pocket and walks around, looking at the dial.
SHERIFF
That way’s north.

MORRIS
Sheriff, can you tell me where exactly you saw the spirits?

SHERIFF
Right about over there.
Morris walks over to the spot, looking at his compass.
CICERO
Can we go inside now?

MORRIS
(closes his compass)
Okay, Cicero.
CUT TO:
INT. CABIN -- NOON

SHERIFF, MORRIS, and CICERO enter the cabin. Cicero begins to search intently through the few drawers and cupboards.
MORRIS
What are you looking for, Cicero?

CICERO
The toxicology report showed Mrs. Collins had extremely high levels of alprazolam in her system, along with traces of phenobarbital and haloperidol. Penny didn’t see her take the drugs, but alprazolam metabolizes so quickly, she must have done it here in the cabin. I thought she must have a hidden stash here.

MORRIS
All right, maybe there’s a loose floorboard.
Looking around at the floor, Morris notices a mouse sniffing around a metal wastebasket. He walks over to it, causing the mouse to scurry away.
MORRIS
Oh, crap.

SHERIFF
What is it?
Morris reaches into the wastebasket and pulls out the white paper bag, which has been crumpled up.
MORRIS
Dani Clapsaddle was carrying a bag like this when I lost her in the woods this morning.

SHERIFF
Those bags are pretty common around here.
Morris dumps out large crumbs from the bag onto the table.
MORRIS
I don’t think doughnut crumbs would last too long out here.

CICERO
Oh, my god. Morris.
Morris walks over to her. Cicero produces a bullwhip from a drawer.
MORRIS
It looks wet.

CICERO
The tip is caked in blood.

MORRIS
I heard a whip cracking this morning, but I couldn’t--

SHERIFF
Oh, no.
Sheriff has found Gale’s tape recorder.
SHERIFF
(stunned)
This is Agent Gale’s.

MORRIS
Let me see that. There’s no tape in it. Are you sure it’s his?

SHERIFF
Pretty sure. He used it all the time.

MORRIS
Peoria, my ass.
CUT TO:
EXT. TWINSBURG LIBRARY -- SUNDAY AFTERNOON

PENNY, now dressed casually, comes out of the library, carrying a stack of books. She walks over to her bicycle in the bike rack, only to find it has two flat tires.
PENNY
What?! God damn it!
DANI pulls up in her car next to Penny.
DANI
Hi, Penny. Having trouble?

PENNY
I don’t know what happened.

DANI
Can I give you a lift?

PENNY
Thanks.
Penny gets into the car. Dani pulls out into the street.

CUT TO:
EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD STREET -- AFTERNOON

DANI drives PENNY through town in her car.
DANI
I’m so sorry you didn’t win the Queen of Lights contest. I thought you gave a wonderful speech.

PENNY
Thank you. I think it’s just as well, especially with that kidnapping business. I can’t believe they didn’t tell us what was going on.

DANI
They didn’t want everyone to panic.

PENNY
I would have freaked out. I’m sure I’d have quit the contest right then and there. Who would even do something like that?

DANI
They said it was a cult of some kind. They said they’d been kidnapping girls since the 19th century.

PENNY
Wow.

DANI
They said no victim had ever escaped them.

PENNY
Scary.

DANI
Yes. I have some pies in the trunk, I need to run them out to the Maple Lodge. Do you mind?

PENNY
I’m in no hurry to get home.
Dani accelerates.

CUT TO:
EXT. RURAL ROAD -- AFTERNOON

DANI drives her car, a little too fast, down a road that runs along the edge of the woods. PENNY is in the passenger seat.
PENNY
When I was in the bank last week, they said you didn’t work there anymore.

DANI
No. I couldn’t stay on there.

PENNY
I’m sorry to hear that. Are you okay?

DANI
I have new work to do.

PENNY
Aren’t we going kind of fast?

DANI
(sings)
When came the night’s dark melody...
Dani jerks the steering wheel to the right. The car goes off the road and smashes into a tree.

The mangled car sits quietly for a moment as the dust settles. Move in to reveal that Dani has received a nasty gash on her forehead from banging her head into the steering wheel, and it’s starting to bleed. She’s breathing heavily from the adrenaline, and lets out an involuntary giggly laugh. Penny has been stunned by the impact and is unconscious. Dani looks over at her, wide-eyed, then opens the glove compartment and takes out an apple. Dani leans over and wedges the apple tightly into Penny’s jaws.

CUT TO:
INT. ROSEMARY’S PASTRY SHOP -- AFTERNOON

ALBERT and EMMA sit down at a table to have a snack, a cheese plate with crackers and fruit.
ALBERT
Wayne looked so proud to earn that badge. He really seems to enjoy being a part of the troop.

EMMA
Having a man about the house has done wonders for him. And for me.

ALBERT
How long till their meeting’s done?

EMMA
Less than an hour.

ALBERT
Hmm, too bad. Probably not enough time to slip off somewhere.

EMMA
Naughty boy.
Emma bites into an apple, flirtatiously, but suddenly her eyes go wide and she begins to choke.
ALBERT
Emma?
She starts to panic, then her eyes roll back in her head and she falls onto the floor, writhing and convulsing.
ALBERT
Oh, my God! Oh, God, what’s happening?
CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- AFTERNOON

MORRIS and CICERO are at what’s left of the rock formation where the cult rituals took place. There is rubble strewn about from the explosion six weeks ago, and the sacrificial stone has broken into pieces and collapsed.
MORRIS
Now, the sheriff says this is the site where the cult rituals took place. Blood rites, sex magick, human sacrifice, the whole nine yards. Looks like this would have been the sacrificial stone.
Morris walks about twenty feet over to a raised stone wall, about six inches high and six inches thick, enclosing an area about five feet across, filled with dry leaves.
MORRIS
This is interesting.

CICERO
It’s a bit of a mess now.

MORRIS
Agent Gale thought blowing it up would exorcise the inhabiting spirit that was committing the murders. Then he seems to have become convinced he’d got it wrong somehow and the spirit would return to claim more victims.

CICERO
Of course. And then he could charge in and kill it again. Again and again.

MORRIS
I don’t get you, Cicero. We’re here to find Agent Gale, but you seem like you want to re-open the Collins case. Why were you so intent on finding a drug stash at that cabin? What would that prove?

CICERO
The drugs in Mrs. Collins’ system were powerful antipsychotic medications and depressants used to control extreme anxiety. Given the apparent dosages, she must have been self-medicating, probably obtaining the drugs on the black market. That’s playing with fire -- they can interact with each other in unpredictable ways, leading to paradoxical reactions like heightened aggression, mania, delusions--

MORRIS
You think Gale’s inhabiting spirits were just a bad trip?

CICERO
She and Penny were in that cabin together for almost 20 hours, Morris. If she was off her meds, she may have been coming out of it. If she had taken a high dosage of alprazolam just before Gale and the Sheriff arrived, as the toxicology report suggests--

MORRIS
But we didn’t find any drugs.

CICERO
--and if it had had a chance to take effect, then maybe she could have been reasoned with. Instead, Agent Gale stabbed her in the heart.

MORRIS
You’re not suggesting he murdered her?

CICERO
I’m open to the possibility.

MORRIS
That just doesn’t sound like Martin Gale to me. I’ve read his case files, psych evals, Cicero. The man is not a killer.
Suddenly, MARTIN GALE emerges from behind a tree. Unshaven and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and jeans, he strides quickly toward Morris, carrying a thick, short log in his hand.
CICERO
Morris!
Gale swings the log and hits Morris in the face, knocking him into the stone square. The leaves give way, revealing a deep pit, and Morris drops out of sight. Cicero fumbles for her gun, but Gale hits her in the head with the log. As soon as the log makes contact, cut to black.

FADE IN:
INT. CAVERN -- SUNDAY EVENING

MORRIS slowly wakes up, lying in the leaves and dirt. Groggy, he looks around.
MORRIS
Cicero?
He looks up and sees he has fallen about 20 feet from the top of the pit. He stands up, unsteady on his feet, and tries to find a handhold in the walls of the pit, but the stone is too smooth. There’s no way he can climb out. He feels around in the gloom and finds the cavern extends beyond the perimeter of the stone wall above. He takes a small flashlight out of his coat pocket and shines it around. He finds a narrow crevice in one of the walls, but it does not look promising as an escape route. Leaning in, he shines his light through the crevice. To his surprise, he sees the black-and-white CAT in a chamber on the other side. The cat meows at him.
MORRIS
Hey.
Morris takes a deep breath and squeezes himself through the crevice into the dark chamber beyond. He shines his light around and sees three tunnels leading off it, each one about four feet high. The cat sits at the mouth of the right-hand tunnel, meows at him again, then scampers off down the tunnel.
MORRIS
Okay. Follow the leader.
Morris enters the tunnel, moving as quickly as he can. His breathing is labored, he’s fighting off claustrophobia and a mounting sense of panic. His flashlight fails, leaving him in the dark. He stumbles and limps along, his body aching from the fall and the tension. Finally, he sees a light ahead and rushes toward it.

CUT TO:
EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD STREET -- EVENING

MORRIS emerges from the tunnel, which looks like a cement culvert on this end. He sees the black-and-white CAT sitting in the grass, waiting for him. Morris looks up from the ditch he is in and sees the Collins house. The front door opens and EMMA steps out, wearing a lacy négligée under a long white satin robe. The cat runs up to her feet, and Emma bends down and picks the cat up.
EMMA
Please come in. I believe I can help you.
CUT TO:
INT. COLLINS HOME -- KITCHEN -- EVENING

MORRIS sits at the kitchen table, holding an ice pack to the spot where Gale hit him with the log. EMMA finishes up making some pancakes while the black-and-white CAT sleeps on the windowsill.
MORRIS
Is that your cat?

EMMA
No, she just belongs to herself, as far as I know. But she comes and visits me from time to time.

MORRIS
I’m sorry, Mrs. Corbett, but you said you had some information for me?

EMMA
Please, call me Emma.
Emma serves Morris a heaping stack of pancakes topped with melting butter.
MORRIS
That’s very kind of you, but it’s really not--

EMMA
Hush now. You’ll need your strength for what’s to come.
Emma pours hot maple syrup onto Morris’s pancakes.
MORRIS
I really need to get--

EMMA
Agent Gale had a gallon jug of real maple syrup. He received it after he’d been here a week. But did he ever have any of it? No. If he had, things might not have gone the way they did.

MORRIS
I lost my partner in the woods. I need to find her.

EMMA
You won’t find anyone in the woods now. It’s getting dark. Eat up.
Feeling conflicted, Morris starts eating the pancakes.
MORRIS
Wow, that’s really good.

EMMA
That’s local syrup, made from the maple trees of Shadygrove Woods. These trees have excellent sap, you know.

MORRIS
Well, it’s delicious.

EMMA
Such a shame about Agent Gale. We tried to help him.

MORRIS
We?

EMMA
There’s an old lady lives here in town. Like Agent Gale, she followed the beat of her own drum. I don’t know her name. Folks called her the Box Lady. But then she lost her box. Now, no one calls her anything.

MORRIS
Did she try to help Agent Gale, too?

EMMA
Oh, yes. She might even be able to help you. But many things can’t be put into words. Sometimes you just have to look and see.

MORRIS
Where can I find her?

EMMA
Ask the sheriff. He knows how to find people.
Morris nods, and continues to eat his pancakes, almost in spite of himself.

CUT TO:
INT. BASEMENT -- SUNDAY NIGHT

CICERO slowly opens her eyes. She is sitting on the floor, slumped against a gray cinder-block wall. Dried blood from her head injury is caked on her face and in her hair. As she comes to, she realizes her wrists are shackled to the wall, holding her arms out to either side of her.
CICERO
Ohh... what?
Cicero looks around. She is in a filthy, unfinished basement illuminated by a single light fixture hanging from the exposed rafters. The small windows are covered with black plastic. Across the room, she sees PENNY, in her bra and panties, securely hog-tied with twine, the apple still stuffed in her mouth.
CICERO
Penny? Oh my god. Oh my god.
Cicero rattles her chains, but to no effect. Penny, who has cried mascara all over her face, moans in despair.
CICERO
(yells)
Help!!!
She hears creaking footsteps above her, and her eyes follow them to the door at the top of the stairs, which opens. A man and a woman, cloaked in shadow, come down the stairs.
CICERO
Hello? I am a federal agent! You don’t want to do this!
GALE, unkempt and grungy in a black T-shirt and jeans, steps into the light. DANI hangs back in the shadows, holding a gallon jug of maple syrup. She has a large square bandage stuck to her forehead.
GALE
You shouldn’t have come looking for me, Sara. You spoiled the surprise.

CICERO
Oh, my god. Agent Gale! What’s this all about? What happened to you?

GALE
You know what it’s all about, Sara. Blood. The circle of blood, unbroken for generations. Lambs, wolves. Flies, spiders. Humans, mosquitoes. The thirst for blood that can never be quenched. The Lady of Night thirsts. The Lady of Night is thirst.

CICERO
Martin... I can help you. I can help you through this. I can help you find your way back.

GALE
Thank you, Sara. I appreciate that. But I already have a helper.
Gale gestures, and Dani shuffles toward Cicero, carrying the jug.
CICERO
What... What are you doing?
Gale turns his attention to Penny. Dani stops in front of Cicero, holding the jug out over Cicero’s head.
CICERO
What are you doing?!?
Dani turns the jug over, pouring maple syrup onto Cicero’s head.
CICERO
Oh!
Dani empties the entire jug onto Cicero while Gale bends down to Penny, brandishing a steel awl with a wooden handle.
GALE
The fire still burns, Penny. It never stopped burning for you.
NEW ANGLE

CU -- CICERO, viscous syrup pouring over her head, starts to hallucinate.

DISSOLVE TO:
INT. CAVE -- NIGHT

DANI is in a cave, wearing an iron collar and chain, dancing languidly within a circle of fire.

DISSOLVE TO:
INT. BASEMENT -- NIGHT

PENNY screams through her apple-gag as GALE slowly pushes the awl into her side.
GALE
The red veil! The white light! Darkness comes!
NEW ANGLE

CU -- CICERO’s goopy head lolls, her eyes roll back.

DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. PINE FOREST IN SUMMER -- NIGHT

The MAN WITH A DRUM, wearing a tuxedo, fades into view among the trees, beating on a large kettle drum. He is illuminated by an offscreen fire. He fades away again.

DISSOLVE TO:
INT. BASEMENT -- NIGHT

Her jug empty, DANI walks backwards over to a lightswitch on the wall. She looks over at GALE, who stabs PENNY with the awl again. Gale’s hands are bloody, and a pool of blood is forming under Penny, who continues to scream and moan.
GALE
Your body is mine now. Your blood is for the Lady. Your soul goes to the fire.
Dani starts turning the light on and off every few seconds.

NEW ANGLE

CU -- CICERO’s head falls forward, then snaps back, her eyes open wide.

DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. PINE FOREST IN SUMMER -- DAY

GALE, clean-shaven and wearing his dark suit and tie, walks down the sun-dappled path through the pine forest. Looking down a narrow side-path, Gale sees a strange spectacle. MILLICENT, wearing her formal gown, is on her knees, her hands tied behind her back and her ankles also bound with nylon rope. She is wearing a choke chain around her neck and a leash. Holding the leash is TUPPENCE, brandishing a hot poker in her other hand. LLEWELLYN stands behind Tuppence, holding her arms and directing her movement as if she were a puppet. The broadsword is stuck in the ground in front of them. ALBERT is in a large cage nearby, blindfolded, rattling the bars. They are all screaming.

DISSOLVE TO:
INT. BASEMENT -- NIGHT

CU -- PENNY’s mouth, with the apple stuck between her jaws. Blood and saliva drain out around the apple as the light snaps on and off.
GALE (O.S.)
The circle. The circle closes.
NEW ANGLE

CU -- CICERO stares hard into the darkness as the syrup drips down her face.

DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. PINE FOREST IN SUMMER -- DAY

GALE, in his dark suit and tie, continues quickly down the woodland path. He finds TUPPENCE, now on her knees, her hands and feet chained around a tree behind her. She is collared, with a chain going up to a sturdy branch. She looks up at him. Then, to Gale’s surprise, he suddenly sees himself in Tuppence’s place, bound and helpless. The two Gales stare at each other in disbelief.

DISSOLVE TO:
INT. BASEMENT -- NIGHT

CU -- PENNY, her eyes rolling back in her head as blood and saliva drain out around the apple in her mouth. GALE leans in close to her ear.
GALE
The light fails. The light dies.
He stabs her again. Penny bites through the apple and it falls out of her mouth. She coughs up blood.

NEW ANGLE

CU -- CICERO with a look of utter horror.

DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. PINE FOREST IN SUMMER -- EVENING

CU -- The WOMAN IN RED LEATHER leans in toward the camera and suddenly bursts into flames.

DISSOLVE TO:
INT. BASEMENT -- NIGHT

DANI continues turning the light on and off, shaking as she watches Penny being murdered.
PENNY (O.S.)
(screams)
Mommy!!!
NEW ANGLE

CU -- The bloody chunks of apple in a pool of blood on the floor.
PENNY (O.S.)
(screams)
Mommy!!!!
NEW ANGLE

CU -- CICERO’s head falls forward as she passes out. Fade to white.

FADE IN:
INT. HOSPITAL -- BOX LADY’S ROOM -- NIGHT

Fade from white to close-up of the BOX LADY, staring hard into space and trembling. Then she licks the back of her hand. Pull back to reveal her sitting in a chair next to her hospital bed, looking at the darkness outside the window. Then, Dr. LYLE TERRENCE escorts SHERIFF and MORRIS into the room.
TERRENCE
As you can see, Sheriff, she’s still completely unresponsive.

SHERIFF
Agent Morris here seems to think she can help.

TERRENCE
Well, no harm in talking to her. But she hasn’t said a word in over a month.

MORRIS
Thank you, Doctor.
Morris crosses over and squats down next to the Box Lady.
MORRIS
Hello, ma’am. I’m Agent Clayton Morris of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I’m here looking into the disappearance of Martin Gale. I understand you spoke to him several times in the course of his investigation.
Box Lady seems oblivious to his presence. She licks the back of her hand again.
MORRIS
I think I saw Agent Gale today, but I can’t be sure. It all happened so fast. He hit me with something, a log, I think. I fell. I blacked out. Now my partner is missing. I think he might have taken her.
Box Lady keeps staring at the window. Sheriff kneels down on the other side of her chair.
SHERIFF
Ma’am? I think Agent Gale needs our help.

MORRIS
I met Emma Corbett today. She made me some pancakes. She told me about the maple syrup. She said you could help me. Ma’am?
While Morris is speaking, Sheriff follows the Box Lady’s line of sight and realizes she’s staring at something on her window ledge. Sheriff gets up and goes over to the window. He finds a single black feather from a raven’s wing. He hands it to Morris.
SHERIFF
Look at this.
As soon as Morris takes the feather, Box Lady closes her eyes. Morris notices, looks at the feather, and squints.

CUT TO:
INT. COLLINS HOME -- BEDROOM -- NIGHT

EMMA is asleep in bed. Next to her, ALBERT sleeps fitfully. A dream comes to him.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS IN SUMMER -- DAY

After a burst of white light, ALBERT finds himself walking through a forest in his pajamas. There are no signs of modern civilization, and he breathes in the unusually fresh air. He sees a bright light moving through the trees, and it envelops him. As the light fades, Albert sees MILLICENT and TUPPENCE, both wearing elegant black gowns with their hair done up in sophisticated styles. They approach Albert, smiling.
ALBERT
Tuppence...? Millicent...?

MILLICENT
I am Weltschmerz.

TUPPENCE
I am Schadenfreude.

MILLICENT
We dance within the flame.

TUPPENCE
Time is of the essence.
They take Albert’s hands, and there is a burst of flame.

CUT TO:
EXT. FIELD IN WINTER -- DAY

As MILLICENT and TUPPENCE stand on either side of him, ALBERT looks around frantically. He finds himself in a desolate field surrounded by high-voltage transmission towers that recede into the distance.
MILLICENT
Who has lost his way?

TUPPENCE
He who is of the lightning.
There is another burst of flame.

CUT TO:
EXT. FIELD IN WINTER -- NIGHT

As MILLICENT and TUPPENCE stand on either side of him, ALBERT now finds himself on a lonely hilltop, standing under the light of the full moon. Stormclouds roll in suddenly and completely obscure the moon.
MILLICENT
Who has gone away?

TUPPENCE
He who is of the moon.
There is another burst of flame.

CUT TO:
INT. CAVE -- NIGHT

As MILLICENT and TUPPENCE stand on either side of him, ALBERT now finds himself in the cave where DANI, wearing an iron collar and chain, dances languidly within a circle of fire.
MILLICENT
Who has entered the cave?

TUPPENCE
The slave of a slave.
There is another burst of flame.

CUT TO:
EXT. PINE FOREST IN SUMMER -- DAY

As MILLICENT and TUPPENCE stand on either side of him, ALBERT now finds himself in the sun-dappled pine forest, watching a group of CULTISTS in hooded brown robes walking in a large circle.
CULTISTS
(repeating chant)
Black are the stars that bring me light
Black the souls that bring delight
Albert pushes through the line of cultists to enter their circle. Within he finds CICERO, wearing a diaphanous gown, chained spread-eagle to a large sacrificial stone. Behind her stands the CULT LEADER, in hooded robe and facemask, wielding the ornate dagger.
ALBERT
Stop it! Stop it! No more!
Two of the cultists silently break from the line and grab Albert’s arms, holding him in place. The Cult Leader walks around in front of Cicero, opens his robe, and mounts her.
CULT LEADER
Sara... Sara...

ALBERT
No... No...

CULT LEADER
Sara... Sara...
The Cult Leader slashes with the dagger, slitting Cicero’s throat.

CU -- CICERO, her throat cut, lies dead on the stone.
ALBERT
No...
CU -- CULT LEADER turns around, his open robe revealing his bare chest. He reaches up and removes his mask. It is GALE, grinning.

CUT TO:
INT. COLLINS HOME -- BEDROOM -- NIGHT

ALBERT wakes with a start. He sits up. EMMA continues to sleep soundly beside him. Albert realizes the bed is covered with fresh green maple leaves.

CUT TO:
EXT. VALLEY -- NIGHT

The full moon shines over the valley.

FADE OUT

FADE IN:
EXT. SHERIFF STATION -- MONDAY MORNING

CUT TO:
INT. SHERIFF STATION -- LOBBY -- MORNING

ABIGAIL is at her desk, recording receipts in a ledger. Several DEPUTIES stand around eating doughnuts and drinking coffee. SHERIFF and MORRIS come out of the conference room.
SHERIFF
Now, I got a call from Mrs. Mary Gardner, saying her daughter Penny didn’t come home last night.

MORRIS
She was the victim you rescued from Tuppence Collins?

SHERIFF
Right.

MORRIS
That’s not good, Sheriff. What about the crashed car found up on Forestview Drive?

SHERIFF
It definitely belongs to Dani Clapsaddle. It hasn’t been reported stolen. In fact, there’s been no sign of Dani since yesterday morning. I sent a deputy out to her house, but the place was empty. Now, we found some library books in the front seat of the car. They were checked out to Penny yesterday afternoon.

MORRIS
That’s it. If Gale’s been possessed by the same spirit that was controlling Tuppence, then he’s probably taken Penny to finish the job. And Cicero could be next. But if they didn’t take her to Dani’s house, where could they have gone? After wrecking the car, they couldn’t have gone far.

SHERIFF
Well, there’s been a number of foreclosures in that area over the last couple of years. I’d say there’s at least two dozen vacant houses within an easy hike from where we found the car.

MORRIS
We’ll have to check them all. The clock’s ticking, Sheriff, we’d better get moving.
ALBERT and EMMA rush into the station. Albert is wearing a business suit and trenchcoat, Emma has on her white fur coat and a matching Mongolian fur hat.
ALBERT
Sheriff! Thank goodness we caught you!

SHERIFF
Albert, what is it?

ALBERT
It’s about Agent Gale!

MORRIS
Have you seen him?

ALBERT
Yes, last night -- in a dream.

MORRIS
What?!

ALBERT
Sheriff, Millicent and Tuppence appeared to me. They led me through the woods, to Agent Gale.

MORRIS
We don’t have time for this.

SHERIFF
Hang on. What did you see, Albert?

ALBERT
There was a group of men in robes, marching in a circle. Agent Gale was in a robe, too, and a mask. I remember a mask. And there was a woman -- oh, God, that poor woman -- chained to a rock.

MORRIS
Sheriff...

SHERIFF
Who was she? What did she look like?

ALBERT
She was petite... red hair... He called her Sara.

MORRIS
Wait, what? Where did this happen?

ALBERT
In the woods... there were pine trees. Big, majestic...

SHERIFF
Not much in the way of coniferous forests around here. Mostly oaks and maples.

ALBERT
He killed her. God help me, he raped her and then he killed her. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t move...

SHERIFF
Albert, why don’t you go home and get some rest. We’ll take it from here. Emma, take care of him.

EMMA
Yes, I will.

MORRIS
Let’s go.
Morris and Sheriff head for the door.
EMMA
Agent Morris.
Morris pauses in the doorway and turns around.
EMMA
Time is of the essence.
Morris gives her a nod, then heads outside.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- MONDAY NIGHT

A number of CULTISTS in hooded brown robes approach the shattered rock formation, carrying flashlights. At the front of the line is GALE, wearing the Cult Leader’s hooded robe and facemask. Behind him is CICERO, bound and gagged and wearing a diaphanous gown, being marched along by two burly cultists. Her hair is a mess from the sticky maple syrup, and she shivers in the cold night air. She is taken to the broken sacrificial stone and tied down to it with ropes attached to some steel stakes that have been hammered into the ground. Gale watches, holding the ornate dagger. While Cicero is being tied down, the rest of the cultists begin marching in a large circle around her.
CULTISTS
(repeating chant)
Black are the stars that bring me light
Black the souls that bring delight
When Cicero has been secured, the two burly cultists merge into line with the others and join the chant. Gale steps towards Cicero, holding the dagger up in the air.
GALE
Blood has been spilled. The Lady of Night has drunk deep. She has feasted upon the pain and sorrow. Now she gives us this reward.
Cicero strains weakly against her bonds.
GALE
The doe will tremble. The sow will squeal. The bit--
A gun is fired in the air. Startled, Gale whirls around, pulling his mask away from his face. MORRIS and SHERIFF, followed by several DEPUTIES, charge at the cultists, who scatter in a panic. The deputies go after the fleeing cultists and manage to catch the slower ones. Morris heads straight for Cicero, shining his flashlight on her as he runs. Gale immediately drops his mask and bolts for the open square pit twenty feet away. Just as he jumps into the pit, Sheriff takes a shot at him, but misses. Sheriff runs to the pit and shines his flashlight down into it, but Gale has escaped. Morris frees Cicero from her gag and starts to untie her.
CICERO
Morris...?

MORRIS
Hang on, Cicero. We’ll get you out of here.

CICERO
Agent Gale...

MORRIS
I know.
Sheriff comes up and helps untie Cicero.
SHERIFF
He got away. Some kind of tunnel, maybe we can follow him.

MORRIS
There’s three tunnels down there, Sheriff. No telling which one he took, or where they come out.

CICERO
The pool. He’ll head back to the pool, where you found him.

MORRIS
What?

CICERO
(agitated)
The black water. It’s where he came from!
Free from her bonds, Cicero sits up. Morris puts his trenchcoat around her.
MORRIS
How do you know that?

CICERO
(terrified)
I can see him!

SHERIFF
Good enough for me.
Sheriff takes off running down a path through the woods, shining his flashlight in front of him. Morris helps Cicero to her feet.
CICERO
I’m all right! Go!
CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- NIGHT

SHERIFF and MORRIS arrive at the pit filled with dark water and surrounded by mossy rocks. CICERO, wearing Morris’s trenchcoat, is close behind. Sheriff shines his flashlight on the pool, revealing GALE, waist-deep in the water. Gale grins, then takes another couple of steps and fades away.
SHERIFF
What the hell?

MORRIS
No, no!
Morris runs over to the pool and wades in, but nothing happens. He splashes the water in a rage.
MORRIS
No! We don’t have the key!
Cicero puts her hand over her mouth and shivers.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- NIGHT

The full moon shines behind a high-voltage transmission tower.

CUT TO:
INT. SHERIFF STATION -- INTERROGATION ROOM -- NIGHT

DANI is in handcuffs, seated at the metal table, as SHERIFF paces around her.
SHERIFF
Where is Agent Gale?

DANI
I told you. I told them FBI people, and I told you. He’s nowhere.

SHERIFF
You were with him yesterday, weren’t you? You took him doughnuts out to the cabin in the woods. We found his tape recorder. We found the whip that he whipped you with.

DANI
I ain’t never been whipped by nobody!

SHERIFF
Then how did you get those wounds on your back?

DANI
That was what you would call a freak accident.

SHERIFF
You crashed your car on Forestview Drive yesterday afternoon.

DANI
So what?

SHERIFF
So we found some library books in the front seat that had just been checked out to Penny Gardner. And Penny hasn’t been seen since she left the library. Where is she? What happened to her?

DANI
Penny? I don’t... I...

SHERIFF
You drove her somewhere! She left her books in your car! Where did you take her? What did you do with her? Where is she?

DANI
We’re not gonna talk about Penny! We’re not gonna talk about Penny at all! We’re gonna keep her out of it!

SHERIFF
Answer the question!

DANI
(points to the bandage stuck to her forehead)
I cracked my head on the steering wheel. It struck me as funny.
Dani starts to get the giggles.
DANI
It struck me... as funny!
Sheriff turns around and rubs his neck in frustration. Dani continues to giggle and laugh.
SHERIFF
Just tell me where to find Penny.

DANI
You want to find Penny?

SHERIFF
Yes.

DANI
Well, I’ve got a whole jar of pennies.
Dani bursts out laughing.
DANI
Pennies are worthless.
Sheriff slams his hand on the table. Dani tries to contain her giggles, with little success. Then, the door opens and MORRIS enters, having changed out of his wet clothes and put on a fresh suit.
MORRIS
Sheriff.

SHERIFF
I can’t get anything out of her.

DANI
I can’t get anything out of her. Maybe Agent Morris can get something out of her.

MORRIS
Ms. Clapsaddle, Agent Cicero reports that she witnessed you helping Martin Gale kill Penny Gardner.

SHERIFF
Oh, my God.

DANI
Do you want to get something out of me, Agent Morris?

MORRIS
All we need to know is where--
Dani grunts. Blood starts gushing out of her nose.
MORRIS
Whoa!

SHERIFF
Oh, jeez!
Dani moans and shakes and her eyes roll back in her head as blood keeps gushing from her nostrils. Sheriff hurries from the room and returns a moment later with a hand towel. A DEPUTY follows him in.
SHERIFF
(to the deputy)
Take over here. I’ll call Doc Terrence.
CUT TO:
INT. SHERIFF STATION -- LOBBY -- NIGHT

SHERIFF and MORRIS come up from the basement, and Sheriff goes directly into his office to make the phone call. MORRIS is distracted as ALBERT and EMMA enter, dressed as before.
ALBERT
Agent Morris, we’ve been so worried. Did you--

MORRIS
We found Agent Cicero in time. She’s all right.

ALBERT
Thank heaven.

MORRIS
(to Emma)
But Agent Gale escaped. He disappeared. We tried to follow him, but we couldn’t.

EMMA
The door closed.

MORRIS
If there’s anything you can tell me...

EMMA
Were you able to visit my friend in the hospital?

MORRIS
She couldn’t tell me any-- But she did give me this.
Morris takes the raven feather out of his pocket and shows it to Emma.
EMMA
Agent Morris, in order to find Martin Gale now, you’re going to need a guide.
CUT TO:
EXT. RAMONA’S HOME -- NIGHT

The outside of the run-down house is illuminated by a large halogen lamp high on a pole. A dilapidated pick-up truck sits outside the garage. The sheriff’s cruiser and the government-issue car pull into the driveway. SHERIFF, ALBERT, and EMMA get out of the cruiser. MORRIS and CICERO get out of their car. Cicero has showered, washed her hair, and put on a fresh pantsuit.
CICERO
Are you sure about this?

MORRIS
I’m not sure about anything.
The five of them go up on the creaky porch. Morris knocks on the door. After a moment, the door opens slowly, revealing RAMONA. Morris holds up his badge.
MORRIS
Are you Ramona Wingfeather?

RAMONA
(peering out at the group)
Who wants to know?

MORRIS
I’m Agent Morris. This is my partner, Agent Cicero. You know the sheriff.

EMMA
Hello, Ramona.

MORRIS
May we come in, please?
Ramona looks at Emma, then opens the door to admit them.

CUT TO:
INT. RAMONA’S HOME -- NIGHT

RAMONA stands back as MORRIS, CICERO, SHERIFF, ALBERT, and EMMA enter the front hall. They can see through a passageway to the living room, where KENT CLAPSADDLE is sitting on the couch. Standing in the middle of the living room is a large, white HORSE.
RAMONA
Would you mind taking off your shoes?

MORRIS
(indicating the horse)
Does he have to take off his shoes?

CICERO
Morris.
They all slip off their shoes. Ramona gestures to Kent.
RAMONA
Kent...
Kent gets up and leads the horse to another room, out of sight. Ramona then shows the others into the living room.
MORRIS
I suspect you know why we’re here.

RAMONA
I can’t help you.

MORRIS
You can’t or you won’t?

EMMA
Ramona...

RAMONA
Look, it’s not that easy. You can’t get something for nothing.

MORRIS
(reaching for his wallet)
How much will it cost?

RAMONA
More than I’m willing to pay.

EMMA
(gestures to Morris to leave his wallet in his pocket)
Ramona, I know it’s frightening. I know that better than anyone. But I’ve seen beyond the darkness, and it’s a place both wonderful and strange.

RAMONA
What about my grandfather?

EMMA
He’s waiting for you. The fire burns low, as low as it ever has. Now’s the time. It may not come again until the last tear has been shed.
Kent comes back into the room.
RAMONA
All right. I’ll do it.

KENT
Do what?

RAMONA
I have to take these people where they need to go.

KENT
When will you be back?

RAMONA
I don’t know. Maybe never.
Kent is stricken. Ramona walks out of the room.

CUT TO:
EXT. WOODS -- NIGHT

MORRIS, CICERO, RAMONA, and SHERIFF approach the pit filled with dark water and surrounded by mossy rocks. Sheriff sits on a nearby log, shining his flashlight at the pool. Ramona walks to the water’s edge and holds her hands out to her sides.
RAMONA
Take my hand, Clayton Morris. The shadows grow longer.
Morris walks up beside Ramona and takes her hand.
RAMONA
Take my hand, Sara Cicero. Time is of the essence.
Cicero walks up beside Ramona and takes her hand.
RAMONA
The red veil is lifted. The white light shines. Darkness falls.
Ramona, Morris, and Cicero step down into the water and fade away.

CUT TO:
EXT. PINE FOREST IN SUMMER -- DAY

MORRIS and CICERO wake up lying on their backs on the ground just inside the entrance to the pine forest. The sun is shining on their faces.
CICERO
Morris?

MORRIS
Are you all right?

CICERO
Yeah. Where are we?

MORRIS
I think we’ve crossed over.
They stand up and look at the wide path leading deeper into the forest.
MORRIS
Now what?

CICERO
(taking a few steps down the path)
We go this way.

MORRIS
How do you know that?

CICERO
I just know.
She heads off down the path. Morris follows her.

CUT TO:
EXT. PINE FOREST IN SUMMER -- DAY

MORRIS and CICERO walk along the wide path. There are many small side-paths diverging from the main one. Sunlight filters through the tall trees. Finally, they stop. Looking down one side-path, they see a strange spectacle. PENNY, in her bra and panties, is hog-tied with twine and an apple is stuck between her jaws. GALE, unkempt and grungy in a black T-shirt and jeans, holds her by the hair, brandishing an awl in his other hand. LLEWELLYN stands behind Gale, holding his arms and directing his movements as if he were a puppet. Another Cicero is in a large cage nearby, wearing opaque goggles and rattling the bars. They are all screaming. Morris blinks, uncertain of his own senses. Cicero, astonished, walks into the midst of the group, causing them all to shimmer and fade like a mirage. She looks at Morris, her eyes heavy-lidded. She sways, falling asleep on her feet.
MORRIS
Cicero? Hey, come on back.
Cicero staggers toward him, closing her eyes.
MORRIS
Follow my voice. Cicero? Sara! Just keep walking. Come on.
She gets close enough for him to reach out and grab her. He pulls her back onto the wide path and she immediately perks up.
CICERO
Oh!

MORRIS
Are you okay? You looked like you were dead on your feet.

CICERO
I felt like I was drifting away.

MORRIS
Come on, we’ve got to watch ourselves out here.
They continue on down the path.

CUT TO:
EXT. PINE FOREST IN SUMMER -- DAY

Soon, MORRIS and CICERO come upon TUPPENCE. She is on her knees, her hands and feet chained around a tree behind her. She is collared, with a chain going up to a sturdy branch.
TUPPENCE
Help me! Please, help me! I didn’t do anything wrong! Please, free me!
They stop and look at her.
TUPPENCE
I don’t know you. Who are you? Are you real? Have you come to save me? Please, I can’t stand any more torture! I didn’t kill anybody! Set me free! You can do it, just touch the chain! Please, please!
Cicero takes a step toward Tuppence, but Morris stops her.
MORRIS
Cicero!

CICERO
We have to help her.

MORRIS
What if it means taking her place?

TUPPENCE
(sobs)
Please, help me!

CICERO
I know what I’m doing.
Cicero walks up to Tuppence, holding out her hand. Her fingers brush up against the chain connected to Tuppence’s collar. Tuppence closes her eyes and smiles, then fades away, leaving her chains behind. As Cicero watches, the chains, too, fade into nothingness. Cicero walks on. Morris pauses, looking at the tree with amazement, then follows her down the path.

CUT TO:
EXT. PINE FOREST IN SUMMER -- DAY

MORRIS and CICERO come to the end of the path, which runs along the edge of a steeply sloping ravine. They stop for a moment, then turn around. Behind them, a few yards away, is a strange J-shaped tree that makes a natural seat. Sitting on it is GALE, clean-shaven and wearing his dark suit and tie. Morris and Cicero walk up to him, on their guard. Gale stands and smiles at them.
CICERO
Agent Gale?
Gale reaches into his jacket pocket and takes out a small piece of slate with a primitive drawing on it. The drawing shows several strange symbols, as well as a stick-figure picture of a person with two heads, one colored in and the other not. Surrounding the figure are a moon, a drum, a flame, and a lightning bolt. He hands it to Cicero, and she and Morris look at it with interest. Gale points to something behind them, and as they turn around, Cicero slips the piece of slate into her own pocket.

Standing behind them is the bad Gale, unshaven in his black hooded sweatshirt and dirty jeans. Morris and Cicero are shocked. They turn and look at the good Gale, in his suit and tie, still standing by the J-shaped tree. When they turn back, the bad Gale has been replaced by LLEWELLYN, standing in the same spot.
CICERO
Llewellyn.

MORRIS
You’re the killer.
Llewellyn grins. Behind him, the MAN WITH A DRUM, wearing a tuxedo, and the WOMAN IN RED LEATHER fade into view. Between them, MILLICENT fades into view as well, wearing her elegant black gown. The Man With a Drum and the Woman in Red Leather each take hold of one of Millicent’s arms, holding her in place.
CICERO
Millicent.
Morris squints, then he and Cicero turn around to see the ELECTRICAL MAN, a human form made of electricity, and the ASTRONAUT, in an unmarked, glaringly white spacesuit, appear on either side of the good Gale and take him by the arms.

Llewellyn bends down and picks up a thick piece of tree branch that looks like it would make an excellent cudgel. He points at Morris.
LLEWELLYN
Now we fight. Or the fire will consume your soul.

MORRIS
Okay.
Morris draws his gun and shoots Llewellyn in the chest.

Unfortunately, the bullet passes harmlessly through him. Llewellyn grins and swings his cudgel, knocking Morris’s gun out of his hand. Then, Llewellyn roars in a berserker rage and attacks Morris, who does his best to evade his foe by scrambling behind trees. Finally, Morris finds a thick log on the ground. He picks it up and smashes Llewellyn over the head, but the log merely crumbles into bits. Llewellyn hits Morris in the head with his cudgel, knocking him to the ground, but Morris manages to scramble away and get back on his feet.

Millicent, held in place by the Man With a Drum and the Woman in Red Leather, stares hard at Cicero, who is watching the fight with great anxiety. As Llewellyn chases Morris between them, Cicero notices that Millicent is staring at her. They make eye-contact, then Cicero’s eyes glaze over. With a vacant expression on her face, Cicero takes the piece of slate out of her pocket and drops it on the ground next to her. Then she draws her gun, looks down, and aims at the piece of slate. She pulls the trigger, and the bullet shatters the piece of slate. The gunshot echoes through the forest.

The Man With a Drum, the Woman in Red Leather, the Electrical Man, the Astronaut, Llewellyn, Millicent, and Gale all freak out and run around screaming. Cicero regains her senses, and Morris drops to his knees, exhausted. The seven screaming beings throw themselves into the ravine and disappear from sight. Cicero runs after them, and Morris goes after her.

CUT TO:
EXT. GORGE IN SUMMER -- DAY

MORRIS and CICERO come out of the forest into a large gorge with high, rocky walls all around. There is a pond in the middle of the gorge, fed by a waterfall, and above the waterfall is a stone-arch bridge. The pond feeds into a stream that wends its way out into the forest. Along one side of the gorge is a large recess cave. At the near end of the pond, with the waterfall in the background, is the Fountain of Utter Blackness, a large, ornate stone structure with dark, brackish water frothing in it. The MAN WITH A DRUM, the WOMAN IN RED LEATHER, the ELECTRICAL MAN, and the ASTRONAUT are running around the edge of the pond haphazardly, still freaking out. LLEWELLYN is also racing madly about, splashing through the shallow end of the pond and screaming. He is driving MILLICENT and the good GALE, in his dark suit and tie, along in front of him, holding chain leashes that are attached to collars around Millicent’s and Gale’s throats.
MORRIS
Where in hell are we?

CICERO
The Great Abyss. I’m sorry, Morris.

MORRIS
For what?

CICERO
I should have warned you.
Morris looks at Cicero, worried. Then, the waters in the Fountain of Utter Blackness begin to churn and the sky grows dark. Llewellyn stops running around and forces Millicent and Gale to their knees in the shallow pond. They stare at the fountain expectantly. The Electrical Man and the Astronaut fade away while still running around. The Man With a Drum and the Woman in Red Leather walk out into the pond and stand on either side of Llewellyn.

Then, a dark figure rises from the waters of the fountain, standing high above all the others. It is the LADY OF NIGHT. She is dressed in an elaborate gown of leather, lace, and feathers, all black. A red lace veil covers her eyes. Her face is pallid with blood-red lips, and she wears a strange black headdress that covers her hair. She holds up her hands, clad in tight red leather gloves.
LADY OF NIGHT
Who calls forth the darkness? The pain and the sorrow? Who calls forth death and destruction? The Lady of Night answers.
Morris and Cicero are dumbstruck.
LADY OF NIGHT
The war was lost, but I shall rise again. Let the battles resume, and annihilation descend. Woe to the world.
She glares down at Morris and Cicero.
LADY OF NIGHT
(sternly)
You don’t belong here!
She gestures, causing Morris and Cicero to fade away, with startled looks on their faces. Then, without moving her legs, the Lady of Night rotates to face Llewellyn, Millicent, Gale, the Man With a Drum, and the Woman in Red Leather.
LADY OF NIGHT
My faithful servants. Prepare for the slaughter.
Llewellyn laughs. Millicent reaches out and takes Gale’s face in her hands. Tears streaming down her cheeks, she kisses him on the lips. Llewellyn yanks her away from him, dropping Gale’s leash. He pushes Millicent down onto her back and gets on top of her. He winds her leash around his hand. He holds up his other hand. A wicked-looking knife suddenly appears there, and Llewellyn grins.

Suddenly, Gale jumps up, grabs the Woman in Red Leather, and embraces her. She bursts into flames, but Gale discharges a massive amount of electricity from his body. Lightning bolts shoot from Gale’s body and strike the Man With a Drum and Llewellyn, sending them flying. Millicent’s collar falls apart as Llewellyn is launched into the air, freeing her. The Woman in Red Leather’s flames flare up and engulf Gale, but he consumes her. Having become a blazing pillar of fire, Gale throws himself into the Fountain of Utter Blackness. Across the pond, Llewellyn screams and goes into convulsions with blood spewing out of his mouth. The Man With a Drum explodes. Millicent laughs.

CUT TO:
INT. CAVE -- NIGHT

DANI is in a cave, wearing an iron collar and chain, dancing languidly within a circle of fire. Suddenly, the fire goes out and Dani falls to her knees, screaming in anguish. She fades away, leaving the collar and chain behind.

CUT TO:
EXT. GORGE IN SUMMER -- DAY

CU -- LADY OF NIGHT lets loose a blood-curdling scream. Fade to white.

FADE IN:
INT. SFX

A white flash fills the screen, accompanied by a long, low roll of thunder. Slowly move down a tunnel of swirling colors and electrical discharges. GALE and MILLICENT float along, weightless, their hair blown about by wind. There is another flash, longer this time, during which the sound of an angelic chorus rises. When the flash fades, the LADY OF LIGHT has appeared. She is a beautiful woman in a flowing white gown adorned with wildflowers. Light streams from behind her, and from her very being. Millicent and Gale are awestruck, but then they turn their heads to look in the opposite direction. They see the LADY OF NIGHT floating there, weeping. The Lady of Light sweeps past Millicent and Gale and embraces the Lady of Night. Then, the two women merge into one, forming the GODDESS in a gorgeous lavender Greco-Roman gown. Millicent gives Gale a magnificent smile, then fades away. The Lavender Goddess floats up to Gale and kisses him on the lips.

FADE TO WHITE

ROLL CREDITS




Cast of Characters



Special Agent Clayton Morris, 38. FBI agent and paranormal investigator.
Special Agent Sara Cicero, 36. FBI agent and medical doctor.

Penny Gardner, 17. High school senior.
Dani Clapsaddle, 29. A woman in trouble.
Box Lady, 53. Local eccentric.
Mary Gardner, 45. Mother of Penny.
Emma Corbett, 25. Vivacious local woman with psychic sensitivities.
Duncan MacNeil, 38. FBI forensics expert.
Lyle Terrence, 62. Local doctor.
Ramona Wingfeather, 18. Native American mystic.
Millicent Collins, 17. Murdered high school senior.
Franklin Fosgill, 52. FBI regional supervisor.
Kent Clapsaddle, 16. High school sophomore, Ramona’s boyfriend.
Sheriff Robert Armstrong, 36. Sheriff of Twinsburg.
Abigail Voigt, 24. Sheriff’s secretary.
Tuppence Collins, 46. Dead librarian, mother of Millicent.
Albert Collins, 48. Business executive, father of Millicent.

Special Agent Martin Gale, 34. FBI agent/homicidal maniac.

Lady of Night/Lady of Light/Lavender Goddess. Mystical beings.
Llewellyn the Marauder. Killer from the Dark Ages.
Man With a Drum. Mystical being with a tuxedo and kettle drum.
Woman in Red Leather. Mystical being who bursts into flames.
Astronaut. Mystical being in a bulky, glowing astronaut suit.
Electrical Man. Mystical being composed of electricity.

Punk Rock Girl
Twinsburg Sheriff’s Deputies
Naked Woman in the Woods
Cultists
FBI Secretary
FBI Agents
Army Soldiers
Iowa State Troopers
Scruffy Youths