ケース39(2009年)

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[amazonjs asin=”B004BJ13X4″ locale=”JP” title=”ケース39 スペシャル・コレクターズ・エディション DVD”]CASE 39

Written by

Ray Wright

02/06/06

INSPIRED BY REAL EVENTS
1.

Pitch black. We hear FOOTSTEPS sneaking up an old wooden
staircase. Two people moving as one.

Topping the stairs, they creep down the hall to the closed
door that protects us. We can hear them behind it,
whispering, bickering insanely, one shushing the other.

The squeak of a door knob slowly turning. The faint click of
the latch. And the door inches open, throwing a razor-thin
shaft of light into the darkness where it illuminates a

FRIGHTENED EYE

As a ten-year-old GIRL sits up in bed. Dead tired. Staring
at the two dark faces peering in at her.

GIRL
I can see you…

And the door closes, leaving us once more in total darkness.
We can hear them bickering again as they shuffle away, their
footsteps descending the stairs, fading into the uneasy
silence of this old house…

INT. FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM, LOS ANGELES – DAY

A young teacher (DARLA) chalks a lesson on a blackboard in a
sun-drenched Los Angeles classroom.

DARLA
— and we know from yesterday that the
base of a triangle times half the height
equals the area.

A girl in the back row raises her hand.

DARLA
Yes, Mia?

GIRL
Lucy’s asleep again.

Darla puts down the chalk and comes up the aisle to where a
slight, fair-skinned girl in a thrift shop dress sleeps head
down on her desk. The girl from the opening scene. LUCY
SHERIDAN. Darla stands over her with obvious concern. Puts
a finger to her lips to quiet the giggles.

DARLA
Let her sleep.

She draws the shade. It drops a shadowbox on the sleeping
girl.
2.

INT. COUNSELING ROOM, DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES, LOS
ANGELES – DAY

A former gang member sitting with his wife and troubled eight-
year-old son. The MARTINEZ FAMILY. A family in crisis.
Sitting opposite is an LA County social worker. Twenties.
Attractive but overworked. EMILY.

GANG MEMBER
He would just go off, you know, start
tearin’ the place down. You didn’t even
know why he was doin’ it half the time,
you just got out of his way…

EMILY
And what you learned from your father now
Diego’s learning from you…?

It’s painful for him to hear that. He loves his son, quit
the streets for him. Overcome by emotion, he nods yes.

EMILY
That really upsets you, doesn’t it?

He wipes his eyes on his tattooed arm.

GANG MEMBER
Yeah. Cuz I mean I don’t want him to be
like me.

The boy looks at his father, has never seen him cry before.

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

Outside the conference room, Emily musses the boy’s hair.

EMILY
A whole week without skipping school? Is
that true?

He smiles, nods. A glimpse of the boy he might have been.

EMILY
That’s the last time I make a bet with
you.
(to his parents)
See you guys next week.

The Martinez family heads down the hall, Diego lagging
behind. Emily watches with guarded optimism, knowing their
chances. Then turns to the NEXT FAMILY, welcoming the
BELEAGUERED MOTHER:
3.

EMILY
You cut your hair. It looks great.

INT. EMILY’S CUBICLE – DAY

The hurried opening and closing of files reveals PHOTOS of
abused children. Bruises. Cuts. Broken bones. Emily
trying to locate a single case amid the stacks and clutter on
her desk. An angry mother SCREAMING at her on the phone:

EMILY
No one is trying to steal your child,
they found bruises and cigarette burns —
Mrs Lynch, I read the medical report —
well, if you feel you need legal
representation that’s perfectly within
your rights…

A flurry of obscenities followed by a dial tone. Emily puts
the phone down. Sighs wearily.

WAYNE (O.S.)
One less Christmas card for Emily.

Her supervisor WAYNE, forties, gay, leaning in the doorway.

WAYNE
How many active cases you have?

EMILY
Thirty-eight.

He drops another file on her desk.

EMILY
No, absolutely not, look at this, Wayne,
look, I’m buried —

WAYNE
Sorry, Em, we all are.

He walks off. Emily shoves the new file onto the shelf above
her desk. Looks at it guiltily. Takes it down again.
Handwritten on the front: SHERIDAN, LUCY.

She opens it. A school portrait of ten-year-old Lucy clipped
to the preliminary report. The sad face draws Emily in.

EXT. WILSHIRE BLVD – DAY

An old VOLVO WAGON skirts rush hour traffic on Wilshire.
Faded red paint. Ski rack on the roof. An ancient
bumpersticker says Educate.
4.

INT. VOLVO WAGON – DAY

IPod jacked into the car stereo playing hip alternative
MUSIC, Emily leans on an elbow as she drives, not crazy about
L.A. but at ease with herself.

EXT. EMILY’S HOUSE – DAY

Emily’s red Volvo wagon turns in the drive of a single-person
home she rents in a working-class neighborhood.

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – DAY

Cozy. Her haven. Light colors offset dark hardwood floors.
Emily comes in, stack of files under her arm. Tired. Long
day. Drops the files in a chair. Sprinkles some food in a
fish tank. Referees through the glass.

EMILY
Don’t fight. Hey, that’s his.

Turns on the tv. World news. Violence. People suffering.
Turns it off. Puts on some quiet music. Hits play on her
answering machine as she flops down barefoot on the sofa with
a magazine, peeling an orange, decompressing.

YOUNG WOMAN’S VOICE
Hey, it’s Suze, missed you at yoga the
other day, give me a call.

BEEP.

YOUNG WOMAN’S VOICE #2
Hi, Em, Jackie, just checking in, hope
you’re good.

BEEP. A charming male voice:

DOUG’S VOICE
Exhausted, her career path questionable,
her faith in mankind shaken, she resisted
her tendency toward introspection and
went to have a drink with her friend
Doug.

BEEP. Emily gives a tired sigh. Faint smile under it.

INT. BAR – NIGHT

Noisy, trendy downtown bar. Professional type on a bar
stool. Thirties. Handsome. DOUG. He laughs when he sees
Emily.
5.

DOUG
I am so in your head.

She gives him a kiss. Sits down beside him.

EMILY
Be honest. The whole psychology thing,
it’s just about scoring chicks, isn’t it?

DOUG
Regrettably, yes.

They share a laugh. He gestures to the bartender for another
beer.

EMILY
You know what freaks me out?

DOUG
That you have a four-year degree and make
seventeen grand a year after taxes?

EMILY
I sit there talking to these families,
you know, like I’m some expert. My
family’s a train wreck. I mean, I had
this moment today where I realized I
might be totally full of it.

DOUG
Everybody’s full of it. In the end
you’re a number to call for people who
don’t have anyone else. There’s no way
that’s bad.

Emily nods, appreciates that. Recognizes a girl going by in
the crowd. A friend from school. Well-dressed. Career-
oriented. The track Emily might be on if she weren’t a
social worker.

EMILY
Hey Becca…

FRIEND
(HUGGING HER)
Hey. So one of us is a major screwup, I
can’t remember if I was supposed to call
you or the other way around…?

EMILY
No, it’s me, it’s just been a crazy
couple weeks. You remember Doug.
6.

FRIEND
(HANDSHAKE)
Hi.
(then to Emily)
Listen, my ride’s leaving, let’s catch up
soon, okay?

Emily nods okay. The girl departs. Emily’s beer arrives.
Doug hands it to her.

DOUG
So anyway, I’ve done some soul searching
and I just want to say that if a full-on
relationship feels like too much right
now, I’d be willing to consider a purely
physical one.

Emily, sipping her beer, smiles.

DOUG
Hey, you might actually enjoy yourself.

EMILY
I’m sure I would, I just…

Hard to explain. Doug saves her the trouble.

DOUG
I know, I know, the job, you get home you
don’t have anything left.

Emily nods yeah, leans in closer, the friendly banter giving
way to a moment of real sincerity.

EMILY
If it were anyone, it’d be you.

They exchange a look then Doug clinks his glass against hers.
And as they drink together after a long day, more than
friends, less than lovers…

INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Emily in glasses, reading the Sheridan file on her bed. The
preliminary report concerns her: “Socially withdrawn. Lack
of appetite. Sleeping at school…”

Her gaze returns to Lucy’s photo. Sadly, under her breath:

EMILY
What are they doing to you?
7.

EXT. SHERIDAN HOUSE – DAY

A dark, rundown family home on a once-prosperous cul de sac.
Emily pulls up. Gets out. Checks that she has the right
address. Halfway up the walk something stops her dead in her
TRACKS –

A WOMAN’S FACE

staring at her through one of the lacy white curtains
upstairs. Ghostly pale. Gone as soon as she sees it. Emily
stands frozen for a moment. Walks on.

She reaches to knock on the door and it opens abruptly, the
security chain snapping taut. A woman’s voice growls at her
from the darkness inside:

WOMAN’S VOICE
What?

EMILY
Emily Jennings. Child Services? We
spoke on the phone…?

Peering through the crack is the pallid, bony face from the
upstairs window. Lucy’s mother. MARGARET SHERIDAN.

MARGARET
You said the seventeenth.

EMILY
Today is the seventeenth.

MARGARET
Is not.

EMILY
I’m sorry, but it is.

MARGARET
Friday was the thirteenth.

Emily, rather amazed at the conversation she’s having, takes
a newspaper from her bag. Indicates the date.

EMILY
Friday was the fourteenth, that makes
today the seventeenth. Monday the
seventeenth. The date of our
appointment.

The door closes in Emily’s face. What the hell? Then we
hear the chain unlock. It opens again.
8.

And we get our first good look at Lucy’s mother. Gaunt.
Pale. Dark rings under her eyes. She steps aside, not
welcoming Emily in, merely allowing her to enter.

INT. SHERIDAN HOUSE – DAY

It’s dark, the curtains drawn. Margaret twitches one open in
begrudging courtesy. The house is tidy but sad, steeped in a
kind of puritanical gloom. Lucy peers down through the
upstairs banister, anxious, unsure what’s going on. Emily
sees her, smiles.

EMILY
Come down, I’d like to meet you.

Lucy hesitates, sensing her mother’s disapproval. Comes
slowly down the stairs. Emily shakes her hand.

EMILY
My name’s Emily. What’s yours?

LUCY
Lucy.

EMILY
Pretty name. Pretty girl.

Lucy turns shyly away.

EMILY
(TO MARGARET)
Is there somewhere we can talk?

Margaret sighs and heads down the hall.

INT. LIVING ROOM, SHERIDAN HOUSE – DAY

Emily, file in hand, trying to project professionalism in an
arm chair that tilts to one side. Margaret and Lucy sitting
opposite on the sofa.

EMILY
When do you expect your husband back?

Margaret shrugs.

EMILY
Because we’ve found it’s more beneficial
if the whole family participates.

MARGARET
Well he’s not home so…

Shrugs again.
9.

EMILY
Do you have any way of contacting him?

MARGARET
Not if I don’t know where he is.

Just then we hear a POWER TOOL go on in the basement. Emily,
sensing the lie, indicates the floor.

EMILY
Is that…?

Margaret averts her eyes.

EMILY
Would you ask him to join us?

MARGARET
He doesn’t have anything to say.

EMILY
Would you ask him?

Margaret weighs Emily’s resolve, gives Lucy a cautionary
glance then exits. We hear her open a door and holler into
the basement over the noise of the power tool.

MARGARET (O.S.)
Edward! EDWARD!

The power tool stops.

MARGARET (O.S.)
That lady’s here. From the state. She
wants to talk to you.

We hear an angry unintelligible reply.

MARGARET (O.S.)
I already told her, she wants to anyway.

We hear the power tool get thrown aside. FOOTSTEPS pounding
up the cellar stairs. Emily’s and Lucy’s faces reflect the
same simple fear. Their eyes meet.

EMILY
It’ll be okay.

Lucy not so sure. The FOOTSTEPS are upon them. EDWARD
SHERIDAN makes his entrance. A menacing man with a gaunt
face and dark deep-set eyes. Emily holds out her hand.
10.

EMILY
Hi, I’m Emily —

Edward forgoes the handshake, his contempt obvious. Sits
beside Lucy on the sofa. Margaret sits on the other side.
Lucy tenses, trapped between them. Emily speaks with
kindness and composure. Hostile encounters part of the job.

EMILY
I’m here today because Lucy’s school is
concerned about changes they’re seeing in
her academic performance. The kinds of
changes they’re seeing are often
associated with family problems.

Edward leans over and whispers something caustic in
Margaret’s ear.

MARGARET
Eddie says we don’t have family problems.

EMILY
That’s just it, many times a family won’t
even know they’re having problems until
it’s too late. That’s where we come in.
We help families communicate and learn
healthier ways of resolving conflict.

Edward whispers again in Margaret’s ear.

MARGARET
Eddie says we don’t need your help.

EMILY
Mr Sheridan, is there some reason you
won’t speak to me directly?

Edward just stares at her.

EMILY
(TO MARGARET)
Is there some reason why your husband
won’t speak to me directly?

Margaret nods, gives Edward a look as though for permission.

MARGARET
Eddie doesn’t like speakin’ out of anger.

Emily does well to hide her fear. Refusing to be
intimidated, she engages Edward’s stare. A battle of wills.
But his gaze has a murderous intensity she can’t match. She
looks down, shuffling papers. Battle lost.
11.

INT. CHILD SERVICES – NIGHT

Emily follows Wayne along a row of cubicles after hours.
He’s dropping files on desks. The new cases never stop.

WAYNE
No laws against being weird, Em. Send it
over to CMC, we’ll do a follow-up in a
month.

EMILY
I didn’t say weird, I said scary. The
guy sat there the entire time staring at
me, the mother is like his emotional
slave.

Wayne pauses in mock bewilderment.

WAYNE
Wait, did you just fly to New York and
meet my parents?

EMILY
Wayne, this girl’s in trouble. I can
feel it.

Beneath Wayne’s humor, a sober, hard-learned practicality.

WAYNE
Wanna know what I can feel? The lawsuit
we’re gonna get hit with if we violate
her parents’ rights without any evidence
they’ve done something wrong.

EMILY
Every time I talk to you you sound more
like a lawyer, you know that?

WAYNE
Yeah, well, maybe because every time I
make an emotional decision I get called
by one. I’m sorry, you’re gonna have to
let this one go.

EMILY
You put these files in front of me and
you ask me to tell you what’s going on.
Well, I’m telling you, there’s something
going on and it’s not something good.
I’ve done my job, I’ve told you, what you
do with it is yours.

She walks off. Wayne alone after hours with his conscience.
12.

INT. CORRIDOR, CHILD SERVICES – DAY

The elevator doors open with a DING and Edward and Margaret
Sheridan step out in their Sunday best. Benevolent faces.
Lucy between them, ribbon in her hair, brand new dress,
appearing coached as she eats an ice cream cone.

Emily, disgusted by the charade, trades looks with the
parents as they go past.

INT. PRIVATE CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY

Gazing fondly at Lucy, Edward directs his comments at Wayne,
who sits opposite the family with Emily.

EDWARD
They really are God’s miracles. Day she
was born was the happiest day of our
lives. We’re not perfect parents, we
know that, but we figure if you let `em
know how much you love `em a lot of the
other stuff takes care of itself.

Wayne nods his agreement. Edward puts his arm around Lucy
for effect. Her eyes go to Emily. A silent plea for help.

EMILY
(HOSTILE)
Tell me, Mr Sheridan, since you’ve
suddenly acquired the power of speech,
doesn’t it concern you a little that
Lucy’s grades have gone from A’s to D’s
in three months?

EDWARD
Course it does, she’s our daughter.

With a glance Wayne cautions Emily about her tone of voice.

EMILY
So you have no idea why she’s falling
asleep at school every day? Why she’s
not able to sleep at home?

Edward looks at Margaret, then Emily, affects bewilderment.

EDWARD
Bad dreams?

INT. BREAK ROOM – DAY

Emily and Wayne in private conversation. She’s pissed off.
The Sheridan family in the other room, preparing to leave.
13.

EMILY
He’s gonna be having bad dreams when he
gets hit with child endangerment.
(off Wayne’s reluctance)
Don’t tell me you’re buying this daddy’s
little girl routine?

WAYNE
So they’re overcompensating a little.

EMILY
A little? Let me talk to her. Alone.
She wants to talk.

WAYNE
EM —

EMILY
Five minutes. Talk to them about how
much they love kids.

She goes out the door.

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

Emily walks with Lucy, looking for a way in.

EMILY
I knew someone at school named Lucy, she
was a writer. Do you ever write? I do
sometimes, it helps me sort out how I’m
feeling.

Lucy doesn’t take the bait. She stops for a drink at a water
fountain. Emily bends for a sip after. Misfires. As she
wipes her face, embarrassed:

EMILY
Okay, I just shot like a gallon of water
up my nose. So much for establishing
trust.

Lucy smiles, for the first time. It’s the opening Emily was
looking for. Maintaining that precious eye contact,
DEEPENING IT:

EMILY
What’s happening to you? I can help.
Let me help.

Lucy looks away, eyes brimming with tears.
14.

EMILY
What is it, sweetheart?

LUCY
They hate me.

She lowers her head in shame, tears rolling down.

EMILY
I’m sure they don’t hate you.

LUCY
They do. I hear them. They go in the
cellar and talk.

EMILY
What do they talk about?

LUCY
Sending me to hell.

Emily’s mouth falls open.

EMILY
You’ve heard them say that?

Lucy nods. As Emily registers this in quiet horror…

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY

A tape recorder is running. Emily and Wayne alone with Lucy.
She’s hesitant to speak, naturally distrustful.

EMILY
It’s okay. You can tell him. He’s on
our side.

WAYNE
Did you hear your parents say they were
going to hurt you?

Nobody sees what Lucy sees at this moment. Edward glaring in
at her through the window. Lucy looks at Wayne, shakes her
head. Wayne looks at Emily, case closed.

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

Emily watches in agony as the Sheridan family steps into the
elevator. Parent on each side, Lucy gives her one last
pleading look then the elevator doors close and she’s gone.
15.

INT. WAYNE’S OFFICE – DAY

Emily and Wayne in the heat of an argument.

EMILY
She doesn’t trust anybody. You think I
made it up?

WAYNE
I think you’d do just about anything you
had to do to help a child you thought was
at risk. Here are the facts, Emily.
They haven’t laid a finger on her that we
can tell. And we have no proof they
intend to. Meanwhile on your desk right
now are thirty-plus cases of actionable
abuse. What about those?

EMILY
I’m not giving up on her, Wayne.

WAYNE
Yes, you are, you’re leaving this alone.

A look that says he means it.

EMILY
I hope you can live with a dead child on
your conscience.

WAYNE
(HURT)
That’s a little unfair, don’t you think?
I care about these kids as much as you
do, but we can’t go around yanking them
out of their homes on a hunch. Parents,
even bad ones, have rights, that’s how
the laws of this great land are written.

Emily gives a resigned nod, backing away from him, from the
job, all of it.

EMILY
So that’s it? We let kids get killed
until they rewrite the goddamn laws?

She exits before he can answer, doesn’t want to hear it.

INT. DETECTIVE BARRON’S OFFICE, POLICE STATION – NIGHT

Detective MIKE BARRON. Veteran of the force. Man of quiet
faith.
16.

A well-built silver-haired family man who played fullback at
Brigham Young. He’s doing paperwork. Smiles warmly as Emily
enters.

BARRON
Was just thinking about you, got a nice
letter from Sandy Hutchinson…

She drops Lucy’s file on his desk. Whatever Barron was going
to say is no longer relevant. Soberly, after a pause:

BARRON
Well, it’s sitting in front of me which
means our good friend Wayne thinks it
fails to meet the criteria for child
endangerment and has told you in no
uncertain terms to leave it alone…?

EMILY
Surprise, surprise.

She starts to open the file. Barron stops her.

BARRON
I can’t, Emily. I’m sorry.

EMILY
Mike, I’m desperate here.

Tense beat. The need for privacy now apparent, Barron gets
up and closes his door. Sits down at his desk again.

BARRON
You know how dear to my heart the work
you do is, but the department doesn’t pay
me to stakeout potential child abusers.
Last time almost cost me my job.

EMILY
This girl heard her parents say they’re
going to send her to hell.

BARRON
Sickening as that is, you’re a part of
the system that handles those situations,
I’m not.

EMILY
The system is broken.

BARRON
Maybe you just need to let it work.
17.

EMILY
What? Jesus, I feel like I’m talking to
Wayne. You don’t want to get involved,
fine, but don’t bullshit me, I’m running
out of people I respect.

BARRON
Okay. No bullshit. Give me evidence of
a crime, I’ll be all over it. Till then
there’s nothing I can do.

CUT TO:

The blade of a circular saw SCREAMS through a pinewood board,
spitting sawdust…

A ten-pound hammer CRUSHES the head of a nail, sinking it,
CRUSHES another, CRUSHES another, the speed of the handiwork
conveying its urgency…

INT. SHERIDAN HOUSE – NIGHT

Lucy peering into the basement through an air vent in the
floor, vertical bands of light on her face. Edward hammering
down below. He steps aside and we see what he’s making…

A HOMEMADE COFFIN

Sensing Lucy’s stare, he glances up over his shoulder. And
Lucy ducks out of sight, breath held.

EXT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – DAY

Children waiting for the bus after school. Talking,
laughing. Lucy stands apart, tired and solemn. The bus
pulls up to the curb. As she goes to get on:

EMILY (O.S.)
Lucy.

She turns. Emily behind her.

EMILY
I just wanted you to know I haven’t
forgotten about you. I’m doing
everything I can.

Lucy hugs her, clinging for a moment.

LUCY
If I disappear will you come look for me?
18.

EMILY
You’re not going to disappear.

LUCY
If I do?

Emily holds her gaze, seeing the fear. Backing away, Lucy
indicates the bus.

LUCY
I have to go. They get mad when I miss
the bus.

Lucy turns to go. Emily watches. Helpless.

EMILY
Lucy, wait…

Takes her cell phone from her bag. Puts her number on speed
dial.

EMILY
If anything happens, call me, okay? Just
press this. Don’t let your parents know
you have it.

Tucks the cell phone in Lucy’s coat pocket.

EMILY
I’m gonna get you out of there, I
promise.

Lucy boards the bus. Waves to Emily from a back window as it
drives away. Emily waves back, heart in her throat. Might
be the last time she sees her alive.

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – NIGHT

A sleepless night finds Emily slouched on her sofa, leaving a
MESSAGE:

ANSWERING MACHINE
Hey, this is Doug, here it comes –

BEEP.

EMILY
It’s me, thought you might be up, um,
anyway, call if you get this.

Hangs up. Clicks on the tv remote. Channel-surfs. World
news. Cooking show. Home shopping network.
19.

Hip-hop music video. Watches it for a moment. Gangster with
a mic. Scantily-clad girls shaking their asses.

The phone RINGS. Emily mutes the tv, picks up.

EMILY
Too late, I met someone else…

A child’s whisper.

LUCY (V.O.)
Emily…?

EMILY
(concerned but calm)
Lucy? Are you okay?

LUCY (V.O.)
I’m scared…

EMILY
Why? Why are you scared, honey?

LUCY (V.O.)
They’re waiting to get me, I can hear
them… I’m sorry…

EMILY
Why are you sorry?

LUCY (V.O.)
I’m falling asleep…

EMILY
Okay, listen, I want you to go over and
open the window. Can you do that?
Lucy…?

LUCY (V.O.)
(softly; drifting off)
I’m sooorry…

EMILY
Lucy, no, wake up!

INT. LUCY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

The cell phone lying on the bed at Lucy’s fingertips.

EMILY
(FROM PHONE)
Lucy…?!
20.

The illuminated screen casts an eerie glow on her SLEEPING
FACE.

INT. EMILY’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Emily drops the phone. Moment of panic. Then a decision.
Throws a coat on over her bed clothes. Grabs the phone
again, dials a number in desperation.

EMILY
Mike, it’s Emily, listen, that girl I
told you about, I think she’s in trouble –
– yeah, I know what you said, but —
Mike, you’re not listening —
(LOSES IT)
HELP ME!

EXT. EMILY’S CAR – NIGHT

Emily fumbles with her keys. Gets the right one in the door.
Opens it. Jumps in. Starts the engine. Peels off down the
road.

INT. LUCY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

The cell phone turns itself off, plunging the room into total
darkness.

In BLACK, we hear FOOTSTEPS coming up the stairs. Down the
hall. Stopping at the door. The knob turning. The click of
the latch. The door opening. A shaft of light. Edward and
Margaret peering in with frenzied anticipation:

Lucy is asleep. The time has come.

INT. EMILY’S CAR – NIGHT

Emily red-lines the tachometer, doing ninety down the
freeway.

INT. STAIRWAY – NIGHT

Slowly, quietly, Edward descends the stairs with Lucy asleep
in his arms. Margaret in front of him, moving in tandem,
holding a roll of duct tape.

They reach the bottom. Margaret rushes ahead into the
kitchen.

INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT

Edward carries Lucy toward the OLD GAS OVEN where Margaret
waits, holding open the door.
21.

Delicately, cradling her head, Edward puts Lucy into the oven
without waking her. But as he lifts the door, one of the
metal hinges CREAKS.

Lucy jolts awake with a SCREAM. Kicks open the door before
Edward can shut it. With animal terror she thrashes her way
out onto the linoleum floor. Margaret throws a piece of duct
tape over her mouth, silencing her screams as Edward wrestles
her back into the oven. But she kicks open the door again
and the frantic struggle continues as…

EXT. SHERIDAN HOUSE – NIGHT

Emily’s car lurches to a stop out front. As she jumps out,
Barron’s pickup arrives. He joins her, a reluctant
accomplice.

BARRON
What are we doing here?

EMILY
Saving her life!

She goes up the walkway. Barron lagging a few steps behind,
eyeing the darkened house.

BARRON
They’re asleep.

EMILY
They’re not asleep.

Emily hears something inside the house.

EMILY
Did you hear that?

BARRON
I didn’t hear anything.

Emily, trusting her gut, starts pounding on the door.

EMILY
Leave her alone!

INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT

Hearing Emily, Edward and Margaret intensify their efforts,
jamming Lucy’s legs inside the oven. The duct tape peels off
her mouth in the struggle and before the oven door slams shut
she belts out one last desperate SCREAM.
22.

EXT. SHERIDAN HOUSE – NIGHT

Clearly audible outside, it makes Barron jump.

EMILY
Did you hear that?!

Barron pounds his big fist on the door.

BARRON
Police, open up!

EMILY
Break it down!

Barron rams his shoulder against the door, but it holds
solid.

INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT

We see Lucy’s screaming face through the oven window as
Margaret cranks the temperature dial as high as it will go.

INT. GAS OVEN – NIGHT

From inside we see Edward and Margaret peering in as Lucy
claws at the glass with her fingernails. Coughing as the gas
fills the oven with a low hiss. We hear it ignite beneath
her with a faint poof. The first shimmering waves of heat
rising up, singeing her hair.

EXT. SHERIDAN HOUSE – NIGHT

Emily, hysterical, knowing they’re too late:

EMILY
BREAK IT DOWN!

INT. DOWNSTAIRS HALLWAY – NIGHT

The front door comes crashing down, kicked off its hinges by
Barron. Emily and he race in.

EMILY
LUCY?!

They take off toward the kitchen at the end of the hall.

INT. KITCHEN – NIGHT

Emily and Barron rush in. Emily sees Lucy trapped inside the
oven. The sleeve of her pajamas catching fire.
23.

EMILY
Oh my God…

Edward tries to fend Barron off. It’s a mistake. Barron
unleashes a devastating blow that sends him recoiling into
the fridge so hard the back of his head leaves a visible dent
in the door.

Emily shoves Margaret aside and throws open the oven. Pulls
Lucy out onto the kitchen floor, swatting out her burning
pajamas with a dish towel.

Margaret grabs a steak knife and rushes at Emily, but Barron
has her covered. Backhands Margaret so hard it spins her
around fully before dropping her to the floor.

BARRON
The hell’s the matter with you people?!

Pajamas scorched, wild with terror, Lucy cries in great
heaving sobs in Emily’s arms. Reduced to tears herself,
Emily keeps saying the same thing over and over.

EMILY
I gotcha… I gotcha… I gotcha…

Shielding her from the sight of her parents: Margaret
sprawled on the linoleum weeping. Edward slouched against
the fridge, blood pouring down his shirt, his broken jaw
hanging open like a man thinking wow.

INT. COUNTY COURTROOM – DAY

Edward and Margaret holding hands at the defendant’s table,
remorseless and defiant in their Sunday best. Among the many
spectators we find Emily and Mike Barron. The STATE
PROSECUTOR and PUBLIC DEFENDER addressing the JUDGE.

STATE PROSECUTOR
Prosecution asks that you disallow an
insanity defense. This was an act
committed with premeditation, malice
AFORETHOUGHT –

PUBLIC DEFENDER
Your honor, the egregiousness of the
crime makes the competency question all
the more relevant.

JUDGE
Yes. I hereby order the defendants
undergo psychiatric evaluation to
determine their mental fitness for trial.
24.

Emily rolls her eyes at Barron, some justice system.

EXT. COURTHOUSE PARKING LOT – DAY

Barron walks Emily to her car. She’s outraged.

EMILY
Steal a pizza, San Quentin, try killing
your kid, Freudian dream analysis.

BARRON
Well, you’re gonna hate me for saying
this, but my money’s on crazy.

EMILY
Did they or did they not know what they
were doing? That’s the legal standard.
They knew, they knew damn well!

BARRON
It’s not that simple sometimes.

EMILY
(stops on a dime)
Meaning what exactly?

Barron hesitates. He’s crossing the line by telling her
this.

BARRON
When we brought them in that night they
told Captain Lister… They think she’s
evil, some kind of demon spirit, minion
of the devil or something.

EMILY
(LAUGHS)
Oh, that’s great – what is this, late-
night cable?

BARRON
No, but that might be the world they’re
living in.

INT. CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL – DAY

Lucy in a hospital bed, dressings on her hand. Emily’s
friend Doug sitting bedside. Child psychologist.

DOUG
— and what’s the most important thing we
talked about that you have to remember?
25.

LUCY
It’s not my fault what happened.

DOUG
That’s right and you know what? It’s
not.

Lucy nods, not entirely convinced. Doug gives her a pat,
crosses to the exit. At the door he runs into Emily. Shakes
his head, awed at what she did.

DOUG
That is some seriously proactive social
work happenin’ there. You all right?

EMILY
Yeah, I’m okay. How’s she doing?

DOUG
Typical reaction, blames herself. We’ll
get there. I’m gonna put her in a group
setting, see if I can get her to open up.

EMILY
Group therapy for kids, what’s that say
about the world?

He nods – no kidding, heads off. Emily comes over and sits
on Lucy’s bed. Strokes her hair.

EMILY
Good news. You get to leave here
tomorrow.

LUCY
Doug said I might have to go to a state
home.

EMILY
Only for a few days, till we find a
better place.

LUCY
Why can’t I live with you?

EMILY
Oh, sweetheart. That would never be
allowed.

LUCY
Why?
26.

EMILY
It’s complicated, there’s a whole
process, I’m not even a foster parent…

Lucy gives a sad nod. Emily touches her arm.

EMILY
I’m sorry.

EXT. STATE CHILDREN’S HOME – DAY

No frills, purely functional housing. Emily comes up the
steps with Lucy and knocks. The COORDINATOR answers. A kind
but beleagured-looking woman of fifty, who is surprised to
see them.

COORDINATOR
They were supposed to call you. We don’t
have any rooms.

EMILY
Nothing?

COORDINATOR
There was a mixup with the dates. Sorry.

Emily rolls her eyes. Lucy standing there holding a
suitcase.

INT. EMILY’S CAR – DAY

Through the windshield Lucy watches Emily on a pay phone
outside a convenience store. Her back is to us but you can
see she’s arguing with someone, scratching addresses off a
typed list with a ballpoint.

TIME CUT TO:

Emily gets in and starts the car, putting on a smile.

EMILY
Hey, are you hungry? Let’s get some
lunch. What kind of food do you like?

LUCY
There’s nowhere for me to go is there?

Heartbreaking. Emily can’t lie. She turns off the engine
and leans back with a sigh. Lucy’s silence is a plea for
rescue.
27.

EMILY
I can’t, Lucy, it wouldn’t work, I live
in this tiny house, I… I’m sorry, I’m
not mom material…

LUCY
You don’t have to be my mom. Just my
friend.

A ten-year-old girl stranded at a convenience store, suitcase
in her lap. Emily stares out the windshield, wrestling with
her conscience.

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY

At a round table, Emily addresses the CHILD WELFARE PANEL,
six grave-faced administrators. Wayne is here, offering
support.

EMILY
I know what it feels like to be that age
and be unwanted. It’s terrifying. She
needs to be with someone she trusts; she
trusts me. So much of our time is spent
negotiating red tape, I think if we just
look at the situation – this one
situation, this one child – it’s clear
what’s best for her.

The head of the panel is a bloated bureaucrat in a polka dot
blouse (NANCY).

NANCY
This is highly irregular and I’ll tell
you right now it makes me very
uncomfortable. But since, Wayne, you’ve
spoken so persuasively on Miss Jennings’s
behalf…

INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY

Emily comes out and nods yes to Lucy who waits with a
guardian. As they hug:

NANCY (V.O.)
…I’m going to go against my better
judgement and approve this petition for
temporary custody.

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – DAY

Emily walks Lucy through the house, showing her around,
tidying things self-consciously.
28.

EMILY
I like to think of it as a glass-half-
full situation. Kitchen. Bathroom.
Fish. And here, is your room…

INT. LUCY’S BEDROOM – DAY

They stop in the doorway. A small office in which Emily has
made space for a bureau and a bed. Professional books and
backup case files pushed aside on a shelf.

EMILY
Be okay?

Lucy nods yes.

LUCY
Where’s your family?

EMILY
My family… well, I’ve met my dad twice
and my mom’s not a part of my life
anymore.

LUCY
Why?

EMILY
(choosing her words)
Sometimes people have kids and then
decide they don’t want to be parents.

Beneath the measured tone Emily’s pain is revealed, raw and
untouchable, her entire life a rebellion against it. She
opens Lucy’s suitcase on the bed. Pauses, remembering
something.

EMILY
I’m glad you’re here.

Lucy comes over to help unpack the clothes.

TIME CUT TO:

Lucy in bed, sipping a cup of tea as Emily brushes her hair.

LUCY
What’s this?

EMILY
Chamomile, when I get stressed out it
helps me sleep.
29.

Lucy nods that it’s good. Emily brushes her hair. A natural
bond between them.

EMILY
None of this ever should have happened,
if I could make it go away I would.

LUCY
You did.

Nice moment for Emily. A rare triumph. She tucks Lucy in.
Turns off the bedside light.

EMILY
I’m right down the hall if you need me.

Lucy settles. Emily pauses at the door, looks back at the
lost child she’s taken in, then closes the door halfway.

EXT. SHERIDAN HOUSE – DAY

Dark, abandoned. Emily’s Volvo pulls up.

INT. EMILY’S CAR – DAY

She eyes the house. It haunts her, the memory of what
happened.

A SUDDEN KNOCK on the window makes her jump out of her seat.
The guy there gestures a friendly sorry, didn’t mean to scare
you. White shirt and tie. A COURT CLERK.

EXT. SHERIDAN HOUSE – DAY

Emily signs a form as he unlocks the door, letting her in.

EMILY
I have to grab some of her things, might
take me a minute.

COURT CLERK
I trust ya, Em, make sure you lock it on
the way out.

INT. SHERIDAN HOUSE – DAY

Emily closes the door, glances around the dark interior.
Through a window she sees the Court Clerk drive off. She’s
alone. It’s quiet, eerily still.

She goes up the stairway. Slows, noticing something on the
WALL –
30.

A FAINT SQUARE where a picture once was hung, the wallpaper a
half tone darker underneath. More SQUARES farther up. A few
nails still sticking out.

INT. LUCY’S BEDROOM, SHERIDAN HOUSE – DAY

Tattered lace curtains sway in a draft beside a bed with a
moth-eaten coverlet. Emily packs Lucy’s spare clothes into a
dufflebag. Zips it and walks out.

INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY – DAY

Exiting Lucy’s room, she notes the door to Edward and
Margaret’s bedroom, at the far end of the hall, is slightly
AJAR. Succumbs to a natural curiosity.

INT. EDWARD AND MARGARET’S BEDROOM – DAY

The door pushes open, Emily peering in. A sad little master
bedroom with old floral printed wallpaper and water stains on
the ceiling.

She explores the room, inspecting various personal items –
aftershave, glasses, hair brush – looking for clues to their
madness.

An ALARM CLOCK with a cracked crystal face. She picks it up
and it GOES OFF in her hand. Gives her a scare. She puts it
down. Sees something out the bedroom window. Steps closer.
Parts the curtains.

In the backyard, by the garden shed, a long rectangular hole
has been dug. A SHALLOW GRAVE filling with leaves. Edward’s
handiwork. Emily’s seen enough, heads for the door.

But slows, noticing something odd as she comes back around
the bed –

A LONG DEEP SCRATCH

in the wooden floor, hidden under a long runner rug. Emily
peels back the rug and finds –

HUNDREDS OF LONG DEEP SCRATCHES

in the floorboards leading toward the door. Something – the
old oak bureau perhaps? – has been dragged repeatedly across
the room.

Emily comes over and looks behind the door and sees, on the
back of it, something even more bizarre –

TWO MASSIVE DEADBOLTS
31.

screwed hastily, crookedly, into the wood. She closes the
door. Slides-to the big heavy bolts –

CLUNK.

CLUNK.

Pauses. Looks again at the bureau. Slides it in front of
the door, a wheelless caster bracket leaving another long
scratch in the hardwood. And it’s clear at this point what
the deadbolts and bureau add up to –

A BARRICADE

Emily stares at it. Looks over at Edward and Margaret’s bed,
imagining them here behind this door. Slides the bureau
aside. Opens the deadbolts. And as the door swings open she
is looking straight down the hall at

LUCY’S BEDROOM

Emily stares, bewildered.

INT. GROUP THERAPY ROOM – DAY

ABUSED CHILDREN aged eight to thirteen sit in a circle of
folding chairs. Lucy among them. Diego. Doug facilitating.

DOUG
Sometimes when our parents aren’t getting
along it’s better if they don’t see each
other for a while, that’s what a
`restraining order’ does…

INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE GROUP THERAPY – DAY

Emily looks in, waiting with other parents. Lucy sees her in
the window and sneaks her a little wave. Emily smiles and
holds up a hand that says, hi, hon. It’s clear from these
gestures how close they’ve gotten.

TIME CUT TO:

Emily and Doug walk together after session. Lucy talking to
other kids her age by the elevator.

DOUG
She’s starting to come out of her shell.
It’s good, I just wish I thought it was
me making the difference.

Emily accepts the compliment.
32.

EMILY
I went by the house. I think her mom and
dad were barricading themselves in their
room at night. How sick is that?

DOUG
Hatred and fear are part of the same
pathology – oh, but I forgot, you don’t
think they’re crazy.

EMILY
I’m coming around.

As they part ways…

INT. EMILY’S CAR – DAY

Emily pulls up in front of Lucy’s school. Big moment for
Lucy. New clothes. New haircut. New life.

EMILY
Okay?

Lucy nods, apprehensive, but she’s ready to face it. Emily
hugs her.

EMILY
This is your new beginning.

Lucy gets out. Pauses on the sidewalk.

LUCY
I love you, Emily.

Emily, touched, smiles.

EMILY
I love you, too.

Lucy goes up the walk. Emily watches her safely into the
building.

INT. CHILD SERVICES DEPARTMENT – DAY

Emily draws grim looks as she crosses the common area. A
pall hanging over the entire department. The first person
she walks past says:

COWORKER
Wayne’s looking for you.

The second person:
33.

COWORKER #2
Wayne wants to —

EMILY
Got it.

She comes past Wayne’s office. Empty. A coworker points
over toward Emily’s cubicle – he’s there. She goes over.
Wayne’s inside, grave-faced, looking for a file. He finds it
on the shelf. A photo of eight-year-old DIEGO clipped inside
the cover. The boy we met earlier.

EMILY
What’s up with Diego?

Wayne hesitates, wanting to spare her the bad news.

WAYNE
Why don’t we talk in my office.

EMILY
Tell me what’s going on.

WAYNE
We don’t know why yet, but… he killed
his mother and father last night.

Emily stands there, jaw on the floor.

EXT. MARTINEZ HOUSE – DAY

A police perimeter around a small house in a tough low-income
neighborhood. Cops and crime scene investigators on the
scene. Local news media broadcasting live. A couple of news
choppers hovering overhead.

Emily pulls up, jumps out of her car. Mike Barron waves off
the uniformed officer who moves to intercept her as she comes
up the walkway to the house.

EMILY
What happened?

BARRON
Sure you want to see this?

With an uncertain nod she follows him inside.

INT. MARTINEZ HOUSE – DAY

Emily and Mike Barron come along the uncarpeted hallway.
34.

BARRON
Gets a tire iron from the garage, comes
back inside, locks all the doors and
windows, kills them in their sleep…

The master bedroom. A bloodbath.

BARRON
Had to use dental records to identify the
bodies.

Emily looks around, aghast.

EMILY
An eight-year-old did this? There’s no
way.

BARRON
I was there when they brought him in.
Took three guys my size to subdue him.
Kid was climbing the walls.

Barron turns to the window and – WHAM! – AN ATTACK DOG HITS
THE GLASS RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS FACE. Barron recoils with a
yelp. Then, embarrassed, eyes the TRIO OF BATTLE-SCARRED PIT
BULLS prowling the chainlink-fenced backyard.

BARRON
Just your average American family.

EXT. MARTINEZ HOUSE – DAY

Emily and Barron come down the steps.

EMILY
Where is he now?

BARRON
Juvie lockup. And, no, I’m not taking
you to see him.

EMILY
You want to know what happened?

BARRON
I know what happened.

EMILY
I don’t. I need to talk to him. Mike,
please, I care about this kid.
35.

INT. JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER – DAY

Diego Martinez sitting alone in a holding cell. Confused.
Scared. He sees Emily approaching and immediately breaks
down.

EMILY
Diego…

Emily tells the cop at the cell door:

EMILY
Let me in. He won’t hurt me.

The cop looks at Mike Barron who nods it’s okay. The cop
opens the cell. Emily enters. Diego looks up at her,
shuddering with emotion:

DIEGO
Are they dead?

Emily, gutted, nods yes. Diego buries his face in Emily’s
stomach and sobs.

EMILY
What happened? Tell me what happened.

DIEGO
(SOBBING)
I killed my mum and dad…

Emily, devastated, trades looks with Barron through the bars.

EXT. VENICE PIER – DAY

Doug tenderly consoles Emily. Has his arms around her.
They’re leaning against the railing, wind on their faces.

DOUG
Every family you sit down with every day
of every week is a family in crisis.
Those are your odds. That’s the job you
do. Trying to beat them.

Wipes away her tears. The hair from her face.

DOUG
You’re one person, Em. You can’t save
the world.
(THEN)
I know somebody you did save.
36.

Lucy on the beach below, walking barefoot at water’s edge,
hem of her dress in her hands. Emily watches her and,
finding solace in it, leans into Doug’s embrace and closes
her eyes.

EXT. BEACH – DAY

The plaintive cries of seagulls overhead as Emily and Lucy
walk along the surf at sundown, Emily barefoot now as well.

LUCY
You okay?

Emily nods, putting on a brave face to spare Lucy.

EMILY
It’s just work. Don’t worry.

Lucy nods okay. They walk on in silence for a moment.

LUCY
Why do you do it if it makes you sad?

EMILY
My job? I don’t know, I guess… I guess
maybe I want to believe families can
work, so I can have my own someday, I
don’t know – does that make sense?

Lucy nods, takes her hand. They walk off up the beach
together.

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – DAY

Emily, days later, dressed for work, halves an omelet with a
spatula and slides the halves onto two plates.

EMILY
(calls to other room)
Breakfast.

There’s no answer. Emily goes to get her.

INT. LUCY’S ROOM – DAY

Stops in the doorway.

EMILY
Honey, breakfa–

Sees Lucy hide something under her pillow. Emily comes over,
brow arched, playful.
37.

EMILY
Come on, let me see…

Lucy guiltily eyes the floor. Emily lifts the pillow.
Underneath it is a photograph.

EMILY, AS A YOUNG GIRL, WITH HER MOTHER.

She looks at Lucy, then at the filing cabinet from which it
was taken. More surprised than upset.

EMILY
You went through my things?

LUCY
I’m sorry… I wanted to know what
happened to you.

Disarming sincerity. Emily’s gaze falls to the photo. Quiet
moment. She sits down on the bed with it.

LUCY
Is that your mom?

Emily nods, lost in the image. It’s a photo that captures
her entire childhood. Emily and her mother sitting on the
steps of a house, together but apart, like a lost child that
sat down next to a pretty stranger who hasn’t yet noticed
her. Emily’s ten-year-old face shows the quiet sadness of
the disconnect. Reminds you of a child from her caseload.

EMILY
She used to just leave, she’d just…
(GESTURES `ADIOS’)
…and I never knew when she was coming
back, or if she was… I used to think it
was my fault and I would try so hard when
she got home to be good, do everything I
could think of, so she’d think I was
`special’ and stay next time or take me
with her, but… it didn’t matter, she’d
always go away again, that’s how it was.

Emily fights her emotions and, practiced at the task, wins.
Lucy sits beside her on the bed. Understands her deeply.
Linked by their pasts.

LUCY
Where was your dad?

EMILY
Gone, he left before I was born. First
time I met him I was like thirteen.
38.

LUCY
What’d you say to him?

EMILY
Oh, I had all these things I was gonna
say. Angry things I’d thought of and
kind of memorized. And um…. And then I
met him and I wasn’t angry, I was just
sad and I told him…
(pauses, raw emotion)
I said, I love you, even if you don’t
love me.

Emily smiles a pained smile and then buries the memory.
Lucy, a portrait of contrition:

LUCY
Are you mad at me?

EMILY
No… No, I’m not mad at you.
(puts her arm around her)
But I need you not to do that again,
okay? Go through my private things
without asking?

Lucy nods okay. Emily moves on, with a loving touch:

EMILY
Omelet’s getting cold. Better hurry.

Lucy exits. Emily eyes the photo a moment longer then stands
and puts it away in the filing cabinet. She pauses, feeling
exposed, and turns the little key to lock the drawers.

INT. EMILY’S CUBICLE – DAY

Emily stops at her cubicle, registering a surprise. Wayne
handing her case files to three COWORKERS. Awkward moment
for everyone.

WAYNE
(SYMPATHETIC)
I need another set of eyes to go over
them, make sure we haven’t missed
anything else.

EMILY
You mean, to make sure I haven’t missed
anything else?
39.

WAYNE
It’s just a legal thing. You’ll have
them back tomorrow.

They exit. She goes in and stares at the BARE SHELF above
her desk. Her caseload gone. More than an insult.
Everything she cares about.

A pink phone message on her keyboard. She picks it up: Mike
Barron called. Important.

INT. COFFEE HOUSE – DAY

Newspaper headline: “INSANITY DEFENSE FOR GLENDALE COUPLE”.
MUGSHOTS of Edward and Margaret below. The morning edition
folded on a table between Barron and Emily. They’re drinking
coffee.

BARRON
You watch, six months, their lawyer will
hire some expert to say they’re rehabbed
and they’ll sue for custody when they get
out.

EMILY
She’s not going back there, I’ll take her
out of state before I let them near her
again.

BARRON
I didn’t hear you say that.

Emily knows she’s misspoken, but lets it stand.

EMILY
You wanted to talk about something?

Barron nods, sips his coffee, a bit uncomfortable.

BARRON
We pulled the Martinezes’ phone records.
They got a call that night before the
murders.

EMILY
From who?

BARRON
(SOBER PAUSE)
Emily, the call came from your house.

EMILY
What…?
40.

BARRON
Look, I’m not accusing you of anything, I
just need to know what was said.

EMILY
That’s impossible. I might have called
the week before…?

BARRON
I’m talking to you as a friend here, you
know that, right?

EMILY
Did you not hear me? I’m telling you,
Mike, as a friend, I did not call that
family.

BARRON
Then who did? Go find the guy who broke
in and just happened to dial the number
of a kid whose case you handle.

Emily starts to say something, but stops as a confounding
realization comes to her. And then to Barron.

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – DAY

Lucy sits on the sofa studying a photo of Diego. Emily sits
beside her, her advocate. Barron opposite.

LUCY
He’s in my group…
(puts down photo)
…why, did something happen?

Emily nods yes. Barron, gently, mindful of Lucy’s age:

BARRON
We’re trying to figure out why. He got a
call Thursday night from this number.
I’m just wondering if he might have said
anything…

LUCY
It wasn’t me.

BARRON
You didn’t call him?

Lucy shakes her head. Barron nods okay, then, speaking to
her as a father might his own daughter:
41.

BARRON
Lucy, it’s hard sometimes to tell the
truth, but I know you will because you’re
a good little girl.

LUCY
I am telling the truth.

EMILY
My backup files are in your room.
Diego’s is in there. Maybe you got
curious and went through some, dialed a
number?

LUCY
It wasn’t me, I swear.

Complete innocence. Emily nods okay, wanting to believe, but
remembering the stolen photograph.

BARRON
The call was at 2 am, are you ever up
that late?

LUCY
I didn’t call him.

BARRON
Are you ever up that late?

EMILY
Mike, she said no. Maybe someone made a
mistake.

Barron reads Emily’s posture and disengages, stands to go.

BARRON
Yeah, maybe so. Night, Lucy.

INT. FRONT DOOR, EMILY’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Exiting, Barron tells Emily as gently as possible:

BARRON
She’s lying.

And goes down the steps. Emily closes the door. Turns
around and there’s Lucy. Uncomfortably close.

LUCY
Do you believe me?
42.

EMILY
I believe you.

Lucy hugs her and Emily hugs her back, but she’s still
thinking about what Barron said.

INT. EMILY’S CUBICLE – DAY

A PHOTO of Emily and Diego tacked to the corkboard panel
beside her desk. Emily sits contemplating it. Her gaze goes
from the photo to the BARE SHELF above her desk. Her
caseload is still missing. This is bullshit.

INT. WAYNE’S OFFICE – DAY

Emily walks in, power pose.

EMILY
Give me back my cases or fire me. Right
now.

Wayne, caught unprepared, eating a doughnut.

INT. EMILY’S OFFICE – DAY

Caseload restored, Emily is multi-tasking, opening mail,
sorting backlogged paperwork, talking on the phone:

EMILY
I don’t care if it’s a hairline fracture,
he broke her arm, I don’t want him back
in that house. He what? He found
Christ? When? That recently? Uh huh.
Well he should have found Him sooner.

Hangs up. Doug leans in the doorway, drops a manila envelope
in her in-box. And a computer printout.

EMILY
What’s up?

DOUG
Copy of the Sheridans’ psych evals for
the file. And the cognitive profile Lucy
did for me the other day.

EMILY
(re: Lucy’s profile)
How’s it look?

DOUG WINTERS
Normal.
43.

But his tone suggests otherwise.

EMILY
Do I have to beg or are you gonna tell me
what’s going on?

DOUG
You have to beg.
(SAME BREATH)
Coming from an environment like that,
testing this normal is a bit abnormal, if
that makes any sense.

EMILY
She’s `abnormally normal’?

DOUG
I think she faked it, gave the answers
she thought she should.

EMILY
Why would she do that?

DOUG
(SHRUGS)
She’s ashamed of who she is. Ashamed of
how she feels. Afraid nobody would want
her if they saw the real her.
(off Emily’s reaction)
It’s no big deal, it just means I might
have to push her a little.

EMILY
No, I know, I just… The Martinezes’ got
a call Thursday night. From my house.

DOUG
Did you ask her about it?

EMILY
She said she didn’t. Mike thinks she’s
lying.

DOUG
What do you think?

EMILY
I don’t know what to think.

DOUG
Hmm. Bring her in after work, I’ll do a
one-on-one. I wanted to talk to her
about this anyway.
44.

He departs. Emily, alone in her cubicle, scans the test
results with growing concern.

INT. JUVENILE DETENTION CELL – DAY

Diego eating macaroni and cheese from a jailhouse tray.
Emily sets a folded blanket on the bed as she sits down to
talk to him.

EMILY
Got you an extra in case it gets cold.

Diego nods without looking up.

EMILY
I need to ask you something… about the
night it happened… did you get a call,
really late?

Diego stops eating. Stares at his food. Shakes his head no –
warily, like someone might be listening.

EMILY
You didn’t?

He shakes his head no. Still staring at his food.

EMILY
Diego, I know you did, they called from
my house.

Diego puts down his fork, his fear obvious now, his breathing
quick and shallow.

EMILY
What’s the matter? What’s scaring you?

He looks at Emily, terrified, starts HYPERVENTILATING.

EMILY
Oh God…

Emily tries to calm the panicked boy as he gasps for air, a
horrible WHEEZING sound in his throat.

EMILY
It’s okay… slow breaths… you’ll be
okay…
(yelling down hall)
Can somebody help us down here?!
45.

INT. INFIRMARY, JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER – DAY

A little two-bed infirmary with unpainted cinder block walls.
Diego in bed on an IV drip. Emily talking to a NURSE by the
check-in desk.

NURSE
He asked to see you before you left.

Emily comes over to Diego’s bed. He holds her gaze in
silence, a secret he’s afraid to tell. Emily speaks at a
whisper, as if to make the truth less frightening:

EMILY
Who called you? Was it Lucy?

Diego’s PULSE ACCELERATES on the EKG monitor. He gives a
trembling nod.

EMILY
Did she say something to you? Something
that scared you?

Diego replies in Spanish, barely discernible, his throat raw:

DIEGO
El dijo…

EMILY
`El’ dijo? What do you mean, `He said’?

Diego looks at her, confused, terrified. His RACING PULSE a
jagged green line above the bed.

DIEGO
Era un hombre.

A chill goes through Emily.

EMILY
It was a man?

Diego gives another trembling nod. Emily beside him, baffled
and a bit scared.

INT. CHILD SERVICES – NIGHT

After hours, the office is empty, half lit and eerily still.
Emily is photocopying at a work station, haunted by what
Diego said, the harsh upward light accentuating her tense
features.
46.

The CYCLICAL SQUEAKING NOISE we hear is Lucy, in Emily’s
cubicle in the b.g., turning herself in circles on the office
chair. Something very creepy about the disappearance and
reappearance of that pale watchful face.

Finished, Emily walks back to her cubicle, thrown by the
sight of Lucy spinning in the chair, walking head-on into
that eerie intermittent gaze.

LUCY
Do…
(TURNS)
you…
(TURNS)
like…
(TURNS)
working…
(TURNS)
here?

Emily, unnerved, enters the cubicle.

EMILY
Well, photocopying isn’t much fun.

Lucy stops turning, stares at her, sensing something.

EMILY
What…?

Lucy just stares. Doug appears in the doorway.

DOUG
Knock, knock. Sorry I’m late, guys.
(TO LUCY)
Ready, kiddo?

Lucy nods and gets up from the chair.

DOUG
Go ahead down, I’ll be right there.

Lucy heads down the hall to the conference room.

DOUG
(TO EMILY)
You all right?

EMILY
This is weird. Diego said it was Lucy
that called, but he called her a he, he
said it was a man.
47.

His face – what? Emily nods yes. Doug’s brow arches then
furrows. He turns and heads down the hall.

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – NIGHT

Doug sits opposite Lucy at the table, keeps it easygoing
despite what he’s just been told.

DOUG
So how’s school?

LUCY
Fine.

DOUG
Any of your classmates giving you a hard
time?

LUCY
No, they’ve been nice.

DOUG
Sleeping okay?

LUCY
That’s not really what you want to talk
about, is it, Doug?

Awkward pause. Awkward smile.

DOUG
You got me.

Opens his file. Takes out her cognitive assessment profile.
Lays it flat on the table.

DOUG
Question 16a, are you afraid of the dark?
You answered `no’. Question 16b, are you
afraid of being alone? `No’. 16c, are
afraid of your parents? `No’. You
answered `no’ to everything in that
section. I think some of those should
have been yesses. Everybody is afraid of
something. Working through our fears,
conquering them, is how we get better.
So I want you to tell me… What scares
you?

Lucy steeples her fingers and rests her chin on top, regards
Doug with a look of frank appraisal. It is the face of a
child, but behind those eyes there is a keen intelligence.
48.

LUCY
I’ll tell you what scares me if you tell
me what scares you.

Doug did not see this coming.

DOUG
Fair enough. When I was twelve I was
climbing a tree and I accidentally put my
hand through a giant hornets’ nest. They
didn’t like it. I got stung over a
hundred times. They had to rush me to
the hospital. I’ve been afraid of
hornets ever since. Don’t climb many
trees either.
(SMILES)
Everybody has fears. Now, what scares
you?

LUCY
Me.

Pause.

DOUG
You scare yourself?

LUCY
Sometimes.

DOUG
Why, what about yourself scares you?

LUCY
I have bad thoughts.

DOUG
About what?

LUCY
People.

DOUG
People in general or certain people?

LUCY
Certain people.

DOUG
Like who?

LUCY
You.
49.

Silence.

DOUG
You have bad thoughts about me?
(SHE NODS)
Why?

LUCY
(SHRUGS)
I just do.

DOUG
Was there something I said or did that
upset you?

LUCY
(shakes her head)
It’s just the way you are…

DOUG
How am I?

LUCY
Facile.

DOUG
Facile?
(she nods yes)
Do you even know what that means?

LUCY
Easily comprehended. Often lacking
sincerity or depth. You’re smug, too.
Want me to tell you what that means?

Dead silence. Doug skewered by a ten-year-old. A boyish
shyness emerges, a relic from his own youth.

DOUG
Well, if, um, if I seemed `smug’ or
`facile’ I want to –

LUCY
(GIRLISH LAUGH)
Don’t apologize.

DOUG
Why?

LUCY
You’re a grown up, it’s embarrassing.
(THEN; DEADPAN)
(MORE)
50.

LUCY(CONT’D)
Should we talk about school now? My
grades are getting a lot better.

Doug just stares at her.

INT. HALLWAY, CHILD SERVICES DEPARTMENT – NIGHT

Waiting until Lucy is out of earshot down the hall, Doug
confers with Emily by the water cooler. He’s sweating,
shaken by the encounter.

DOUG
Talked to a lot of ten-year-olds, I don’t
think I’ve ever felt like that before…

EMILY
Like what?

DOUG
Threatened.
(THEN; BAFFLED)
I know a specialist, I’ll call him in the
morning.

EMILY
What do I do with her in the meantime?

Doug pauses, no idea, smiles an eerie smile.

DOUG
Don’t let her get in your head.

Exits. His paranoia feeding Emily’s. In the hush she hears
that faint CYCLICAL SQUEAKING. Looks across the darkened
office to her cubicle where Lucy is turning circles in her
chair again.

That face. That face. That face.

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Tense dinner. Emily barely touching hers. Lucy, absently,
but with an almost surgical precision, is CUTTING PEAS IN
HALF ON HER PLATE AND EATING THEM ONE BY ONE OFF THE TIP OF
THE KNIFE. Weird. She stops, self-conscious, looks at Emily
across the table.

LUCY
Are you mad at me?

EMILY
No. Just tired.
51.

LUCY
Want me to brush your hair?

EMILY
That’s okay.

LUCY
Are you sure?

EMILY
Some other time.

LUCY
(STANDS UP)
It will make you feel better. I’ll get
the brush.

EMILY
I said no, thank you.

Lucy stares at Emily for a moment then sits again. And it’s
strange, her posture seems subtly different, stiffer, bonier,
as if all her muscles have drawn taut under her clothes. In
a voice at once innocent and menacing:

LUCY
Doug said something, didn’t he?

EMILY
No. Doug? He says you’re doing great.

Tense silence.

LUCY
What did he tell you?

EMILY
Nothing.

Lucy stares at her, seeing through the facade. Then, oddly
bright, taking a bite of food:

LUCY
You’re funny.

INT. LUCY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

EMILY SILHOUETTED in the doorway, keeping her distance as she
SAYS GOODNIGHT:

EMILY
Get some rest.
52.

She starts to close the door.

LUCY
You forgot to kiss me goodnight.

A tense pause then Emily walks over and kisses her on the
forehead.

EMILY
Goodnight.

Lucy clutches her wrist as she turns to go.

LUCY
I love you.

Emily, trapped, forces a tender smile.

EMILY
I love you, too.

Lucy’s EYES GLEAM in the darkness. She turns onto her side
for sleep, but those eyes don’t shut even after Emily has
walked out and closed the door behind her.

INT. DOUG’S CONDO – NIGHT

Football highlights on a liquid plasma tv. Doug flipping
through a DSM IV diagnostic manual. The phone RINGS. He
picks up, distracted, scanning the DSM index.

DOUG
Hello?

A strange INTERMITTENT STATIC BUZZ on the line.

DOUG
Hello…?

BZZZZT. BZZZZT. BZZZZT. A telecommunications glitch.

DOUG
Try again, sorry.

He hangs up. Finds the chapter he’s looking for. ANTI-
SOCIAL PERSONALITY TYPE. But he hears it again now –

BZZZZZZZZT BZZZZZZZZZT – louder, deeper – and realizes, in
quiet terror, that it’s coming from INSIDE HIS EAR.
53.

INT. DOUG’S BATHROOM – NIGHT

Doug opens the medicine cabinet and grabs a Q-tip. Wiggles
it around in his ear and when he takes it out there’s a

HORNET

sitting on the cottony tip, scissoring its wings.

Doug stares in disbelief. Mouth gaping.

He throws the Q-tip in the toilet. Hits the flush lever.
Watches the hornet spiral away. Gone.

Stares at the empty bowl. Did I just imagine that?

Shaken, he turns to the sink. Wedges his head under the tap
and runs water into his ear.

Straightens and looks at himself in the mirror, toweling his
face, trying to impose rational thought on the situation.
But as the water spills from his ear, down his neck, onto his
shirt, it brings with it –

TWO MORE LIVE HORNETS, half drowned.

With a yelp Doug swipes them from his shirt. Crushes them
underfoot. Terrified, but clinging to rational thought a
moment longer, he turns his head sideways to the mirror,
parts his hair, and sees –

ANOTHER HORNET crawl from the ear canal, followed by SIX OR
SEVEN MORE!

DOUG
FUCK!

Rationality goes out the window. He flails at them with the
towel. Swats them dead. Picks them up and drops them in the
toilet. Studies the last one for a moment. Its little legs
twitching. Drops it in. Flushes.

A false respite. And a brief one. Because as the FLUSHING
NOISE FADES he can hear an ominous DEEP BUZZING SOUND RISING.

It’s coming from behind him. He turns to have a look.
Nothing there. Bare wall.

But it’s strange: the BUZZING IS STILL BEHIND HIM.

With dawning horror Doug turns and checks his back in the
mirror, sees
54.

HIS ENTIRE SHIRT BACK IS CRAWLING WITH HORNETS!

Whimpering like a child, he undoes the buttons of his shirt,
taking it off as delicately as possible. Slipping his arms
gently from the sleeves.

Holding it by the collar, he takes two quick steps and tosses
it in the shower. Slams the glass door, seals the crack with
towels. And watches the hornets fly around in the glass
enclosure, BUZZING FURIOUSLY, bouncing off the glass.

But as he backpedals he realizes the FURIOUS BUZZING is too
close, too loud and too deep, to be coming from the shower
over there. A sharp pain in his head confirms it. He GROANS
and brings a hand to his ear as something awful happens
inside.

The BUZZING in his right ear spreads to his left – LOUDER,
ANGRIER, its sources multiplying. Disoriented, he stumbles
backwards with an AGONIZING SCREAM. Catches sight of himself
in the mirror, the terror of the moment on his face. This
can’t be happening.

And now the nightmare takes a devilish turn. Looking at
himself in the mirror, he sees –

HORNETS START CRAWLING FROM HIS NOSE. FROM BETWEEN HIS LIPS.
FROM UNDER HIS EYELIDS. THE BUZZING NOW UNBEARABLY LOUD. AN
ENTIRE SWARM RAGING INSIDE HIS SKULL, FIGHTING ITS WAY OUT!

Doug grabs his head in both hands and starts shaking it,
trying to shake away the madness inside. But the hornets
keep coming, COUGHED UP IN CLUMPS as he gasps for air.
They’re all over him, stinging his tongue, his eyes.

He goes berserk and starts SMASHING HIS HEAD against the
wall, the door, the edge of the sink, anything he can find,
opening a deep gash in his forehead, smashing it harder and
harder because the BUZZING WON’T STOP, cracking his skull,
SCREAMING HYSTERICALLY, pitching his head violently forwards
and backwards like some demon-possessed heavy metal fanatic.

It’s a grotesque display that ends on a sickening note when,
with one particularly violent head jerk, he snaps his own
neck – CRACK!!! He sinks to the floor, head askew,
astonished look on his face.

And there he sits, paralyzed, eyes locked on the tv in the
living room where football highlights play in silence. Fully
conscious as the hornets fight their way back into his ears,
nose, and mouth – a pilgrimage back to the mind that bore
them.
55.

INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE COUNSELING ROOM – DAY

Emily exits a counseling room. Says goodbye to a young
FAMILY –

EMILY
See you next week.

– and comes down the hall toward the common area. A coworker
stands from an adjacent cubicle. DENISE.

DENISE
Seen Doug? He had an appointment with
one of my kids this morning, never showed
up.

EMILY
Did you try calling him?

DENISE
All I get is voicemail.

Emily dials Doug on a fax/phone by the Xerox machine. On the
FIRST RING:

ANSWERING MACHINE
Hey, this is Doug, here it comes –

BEEP. She hangs up. A dark thought sends her toward the
exit, calling back to Denise –

EMILY
Cover my desk.

EXT. DOUG’S CONDO – DAY

Emily knocking on the door of his Marina Del Rey townhouse.

EMILY
Doug, it’s me, it’s Emily…

No answer.

She comes down the steps to his car, walks past it and then
stops, noticing the window is open a crack. Slipping her
hand inside, stretching, she extends one finger just far
enough to push the button on the garage door remote clipped
to the sunvisor.

Up the drive, the door starts to open.
56.

INT. DOUG’S CONDO – DAY

A door in the first-floor hallway opens. Emily steps in.

EMILY
Doug?

No answer. She comes up the stairs into the LIVING ROOM.
The tv is still on. Muted. Calls up the next flight of
stairs.

EMILY
Doug, you here?

No reply. She goes up the stairs and down the hall and
checks the BEDROOM. Empty. The bed unmade. It’s when she
turns from the room to go back downstairs that she sees him:

SLOUCHED DEAD AGAINST THE BATHROOM WALL, GUT BLOATED BY
DECOMPOSITION, FACE COVERED IN BLACKENED DAY-OLD BLOOD.

EMILY
NOOOOO!!!!!

INT. COUNTY CORONER – DAY

With stoic grief Emily walks down the cold, fluorescently-lit
corridor, intercepts a CORONER as he exits the exam room.

EMILY
Dr Johannsen?

He looks at her; pale, bespectacled, a bit standoffish.

EMILY
You did the autopsy on Doug Winters?

CORONER
(trying to remember)
Winters — oh, right, Douglas.

EMILY
How did he die?

CORONER
Family?

EMILY
Friend.
(preempting his reply)
I know the rules — please, he meant a
lot to me.
57.

Her face the proof. He indicates his adjoining office. They
go in.

INT. CORONER’S OFFICE – DAY

He takes the autopsy report from a filing cabinet. Reviews
his findings.

CORONER
Compression fracture of the third and
forth vertebrae. Severed his spinal
cord. Actual cause of death was…
suffocation.

EMILY
You’re saying he did that to himself?

CORONER
It appears all his injuries were self-
inflicted, yes.

EMILY
Oh come on. He looked like he’d been
beaten to death! Don’t tell me he was
some – some suicidal…
(BREAKING DOWN)
…I knew him! He was my best friend!

She turns away crying.

CORONER
Miss, I would never presume to know your
friend better than you. But the injuries
suggest he was trying to hurt himself.
Unfortunately, he succeeded. I am sorry.

Emily, composing herself, gives a quiet nod. She has no
quarrel with this man.

EMILY
Have you ever seen this before, somebody
dying like this?

The coroner files the report, world weary.

CORONER
Truly, I am shocked every day by the
violence people do to themselves.

INT. CEMETERY – DAY

DOUGLAS J. WINTERS etched in granite. A final prayer read
by a PRIEST as he is laid to rest.
58.

A breeze ruffles the clothes of the MOURNERS. Blows hair
across Emily’s haunted face.

Lucy, at her side, sees her grief and reaches for her hand.
Instinctively, Emily retracts it. Lucy registers the slight,
the wider implications.

Emily watches the coffin descend. She weeps openly.

INT. EMILY’S CAR – DAY

Emily, red-eyed, driving home, sees something in her
peripheral vision that sends a chill through her.

Lucy, gazing quietly out the passenger-side window, is
SWINGING HER LEGS in that contented way children do. A small
but telling detail. Immediately HER LEGS STOP SWINGING,
sensing Emily’s stare. And with her head still turned away:

LUCY
You think it’s my fault, don’t you?

She turns to face Emily, who measures her words.

EMILY
It was an accident. It was nobody’s
fault.

Lucy holds her gaze. Then, as if to test her, reaches again
for Emily’s hand. Trapped in the lie, Emily has to let her.
And as she drives on in that private hell, holding hands with
Lucy…

INT. MIKE BARRON’S OFFICE – DAY

Emily, an emotional wreck, confides in Barron.

EMILY
He was scared. He came out of that room
with her, Mike, and he was scared. He
said she threatened him.

BARRON
Listen. You’re still in shock. Let’s
NOT —

EMILY
Diego said it was a man on the phone.
You know who made that call. There was
no one else in the house.
(off his look)
You think I don’t know how crazy this
sounds?!
59.

BARRON
Look, I don’t know, all I’m saying is a
kid in his state of mind maybe isn’t the
most reliable witness.

EMILY
Why is he in that state of mind? Why was
Doug? Pull my phone records. See if she
called him.

BARRON
Emily. I already did. There were no
calls from your house.

Emily’s argument collapses. She sits there for a moment,
vexed, her intellect telling her one thing, her gut another.
She gets up to go. Pauses at the door.

EMILY
Her mother and father, their bedroom door
has these deadbolts on it, big ones, two
of `em… Something came through that
door and they didn’t want it ever coming
through there again.

INT. EMILY’S CUBICLE – DAY

Emily digs through her in-box, spilling things on the floor.
Finds the manila envelope Doug gave her. Rips it open.
Dumps the contents into her hand.

A VIDEO TAPE

Typed on the label: Sheridan, Marg. & Ed., Prelim. Psych
Interviews.

CUT TO:

ON A TELEVISION – Margaret Sheridan sits facing the camera,
responding to the questions of an unseen interviewer. Her
haunted face and frank tone make the interview chilling.

INTERVIEWER
And by forcing your daughter into the
oven, can you tell me, what did you think
the outcome would be?

MARGARET
You mean what were we doing it for?

INTERVIEWER
Yes.
60.

MARGARET
To kill her.

INTERVIEWER
Why?

MARGARET
God’s will.

INT. CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY

Pulling back, we see Emily alone in a dimmed conference room
watching the tape.

INTERVIEWER
And why was it God’s will that you should
kill your daughter?

An eerie smile comes to Margaret’s face.

INTERVIEWER
Why is that funny, Margaret?

MARGARET
`Cause she’s not my daughter.

INTERVIEWER
You’re her mother…?

MARGARET
I bore her, but she’s not mine.

INTERVIEWER
Help me understand. If you and Edward
are Lucy’s biological parents, how can
she not be yours?

MARGARET
`Cause she’s not Of us.

INTERVIEWER
Not Of you?

Margaret nods.

INTERVIEWER
Who is she Of?

MARGARET
Not who, what.

INTERVIEWER
What is she Of?
61.

MARGARET
Stop acting like you don’t know what I’m
talking about.

Stares at him. Her eyes black and unblinking.

INTERVIEWER
You think your daughter is the devil?

MARGARET
Not him himself, Of him, working in his
name, in his honor.

INTERVIEWER
Evil incarnate?

MARGARET
I don’t care what you call it.

INTERVIEWER
And why do you think that?

MARGARET
Not what I think it’s what I know.

INTERVIEWER
How do you know this? Could you give me
an example?

Margaret pauses. Seeming afraid for the first time. Some
secrets perhaps best left untold.

MARGARET
She can make you see things. Visions.

INTERVIEWER
Visions of what?

MARGARET
Hell. Damnation. Whatever you’re afraid
of.

INTERVIEWER
I see. Any other `special abilities’?

MARGARET
People die around her, is that a special
ability?

INTERVIEWER
She kills people?
62.

MARGARET
Not by her hand, they just die. I had
two brothers, Brent and Travis…

Margaret’s voice falters. Overcome by grief, she dissolves
into tears. It’s a side of her we’ve never seen. Human.

MARGARET
…and I mean they was healthy boys,
healthy as can be. Eddie, three sisters.
Soon as she was born they started dying.

INTERVIEWER
You blame Lucy for their deaths?

Margaret nods yes, wiping her eyes. Embarrassed.
Unaccustomed to crying in front of strangers.

INTERVIEWER
Why do you imagine you were spared?

MARGARET
I guess she couldn’t get rid of us till
she found somebody else. Now that she
has, I don’t imagine we’re long for this
world.

CLOSE UP ON MARGARET – face streaked with tears, her pain
deep and undeniable.

CUT TO:

VIDEO OF EDWARD SHERIDAN in a violent rage. Pushing his
chair back from the interview table, he stands, screaming
through clenched teeth, his broken jaw wired shut:

EDWARD
THE HELL DID I JUST SAY?!

INTERVIEWER
Edward, please calm —

EDWARD
YOU AND YOUR GODDAMN QUESTIONS! YOU
DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!

A pair of orderlies rush in to restrain him. The CAMERA gets
knocked ajar in the struggle. The tape ends as they take
Edward screaming to the floor.

EDWARD
IT’S NOT CHILD KILLING IF SHE’S NOT A
CHILD!
63.

And that’s the interview. Emily stares at the BLANK BLUE
SCREEN, transfixed, lowers her gaze to the table.

There’s a PHOTO tucked inside the psychiatric file. Edward
and Margaret in happier times – YOUNG BIBLE CAMP COUNSELORS
in T-shirts and hiking boots on a path through sunlit forest.
Sweet. Innocent. Emily’s age. The year they met perhaps.

She holds it up to the newspaper mugshots for a before-and-
after comparison. The transformation of their faces is
shocking. Emily sits frozen by the realization: Edward and
Margaret Sheridan. Not criminals. Victims.

INT. STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL – DAY

An old brick orphanage turned psychiatric hospital. Emily’s
Volvo goes up the winding tree-lined drive.

CHIEF PSYCHIATRIST (V.O.)
Unfortunately Mrs Sheridan suffered a
rather severe psychotic episode last
night…

INT. STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL – DAY

Emily and the CHIEF PSYCHIATRIST walk down a dark,
institutional corridor.

CHIEF PSYCHIATRIST
…Woke up screaming, absolutely
convinced she was on fire. She wasn’t,
of course, they managed to sedate her.
But it’s curious, she displays all the
symptoms of a burn patient. Except the
burns themselves…

Margaret’s door. Emily peers through a little square of
reinforced glass. A padded cell. Margaret strapped to a
bed. Writhing in pain. Laboring to breathe. Eyes swimming.

CHIEF PSYCHIATRIST
In no condition for visitors as you can
see. If you’d like, I could let you see
Mr Sheridan?

Emily hesitates, afraid of him.

EMILY
Okay.

She casts a departing glance through the window and shudders
to see that Margaret’s roaming eyes have locked on her in a
hollow stare.
64.

INT. VISITATION ROOM, PSYCH HOSPITAL – DAY

Restrained in a straitjacket, Edward is brought in by two
orderlies who seat him at a table opposite Emily and then
exit. Jaw wired, everything he says is spoken through
clenched teeth.

EMILY
I know I’m probably the last person you
want to see right now, but you’re…

His stare unnerves her. She stops and collects herself.

EMILY
You’re the only one I can talk to.
Lucy’s been staying with me –

EDWARD
Who died?

Emily falls silent. Her voice cracks with emotion.

EMILY
A friend.

Edward nods yup. Regards her in silence. Emily speaks, or
tries to, just to fill that awful void.

EMILY
I, ummm…

EDWARD
You’re scared.

Emily, skewered again, nods yes.

EDWARD
You oughta be.

Dead silence. She meets his gaze. And there is eye contact,
true understanding.

EDWARD
You judged us before you ever walked in
that house. Sat there in our living room
tellin’ us about our problems, how to be
better parents – certain of everything
and dead wrong about all of it.
(THEN)
Ask what you came to ask.

After a moment:
65.

EMILY
What is she?

It’s a question Edward has asked himself once or twice. He
leans back in his chair and folds his arms with an almost
casual air.

EDWARD
Can tell you what she’s not. She not a
daughter of mine. She’s not a ten-year-
old having trouble in school. She’s not
some innocent victim whose door you
busted down and life you saved. And
she’s not going no place, lady, till
she’s good and done with you.

EMILY
Done with me how?

EDWARD
However she wants. You think it’s an
accident her ending up with you? She saw
you coming a mile away.

EMILY
Why me? I don’t have anything.

EDWARD
You have that you’re good. Kindness.
Decency. That’s what she feeds on.
Bleeds ya dry, moves onto the next. We
were a big family, she went through us
like a wrecking ball. And you know,
every time something happened, every
time, we had an excuse for why it wasn’t
her fault. Cuz it’s easier to lie to
yourself than think bad things about your
baby girl. But finally we got to a point
where me and Maggy looked at each other –
(remembers so clearly)
– where we looked at each other and we
was out of lies, both of us. Most
terrifying moment of our lives. And
that’s where you are now.

Emily silently registering this truth.

EDWARD
I’ll tell you this. She sees everything.
And what she doesn’t see she just sort of
senses it, like when you call a friend
and they pick up before it rings?
(MORE)
66.

EDWARD(CONT’D)
Only time you got the upper hand is when
she’s sleepin’ but she almost never does.
We checked on her every night for three
months. Every twenty minutes, up and
down those stairs. First time she slept
was the night you kicked in my front
door.

After a moment:

EMILY
What does she want?

EDWARD
To know… what your idea of hell is…
and make you live there.

Emily sits in haunted silence. Edward’s features soften.

EDWARD
I’m not a hateful man. I look at you and
I wish I could tell you you’re through
the worst of it. That it’s gonna work
out for you in the end. I wish I could.

EMILY
What should I do?

A pitying smile reveals Edward’s wired teeth.

EDWARD
How strong’s your faith?

INT. CORRIDOR, CHILD WELFARE – DAY

NANCY, the bloated director from the custody panel, walking
briskly down a corridor. Emily calls to her from behind,
approaching.

EMILY
Nancy…?

NANCY
Emily, I heard about Doug. I’m so sorry.

EMILY
(NODS)
Do you have a minute?

Nancy glances at her watch, nods okay, a minute.

INT. CHILD WELFARE DIRECTOR’S OFFICE – DAY

Emily and Nancy enter the lavish office.
67.

NANCY
How’s it working out with the Sheridan
girl?

EMILY
Actually, that’s why I’m here. I
appreciate what you did for me, Nancy, I
really do, but I think it’d be best if
she was placed in foster care.

NANCY
She is. You’re it.

EMILY
I know, but it’s not working out.

NANCY
Playing mommy isn’t the laugh-a-minute
you were hoping, huh?

EMILY
I suppose not.

Nancy nods, not entirely surprised.

NANCY
Sorry, you petitioned for custody, you
got it. She’s your responsibility.

EMILY
Until when?

NANCY
Till we find a suitable foster home.

EMILY
How long is that going to take?

NANCY
You’re asking me questions you know the
answer to. Three to six weeks. Surely
you can manage that long.

EMILY
I don’t want her anymore. I’m done.
That’s it.

Nancy grimaces. Scary lady.

NANCY
Now you look. I put my reputation, quite
possibly my career, on the line for you.
Don’t embarrass me. You make this work.
68.

EMILY
How do I make it work if it’s not
working?

NANCY
However! Find a way!

INT. HARDWARE STORE – DAY

A CLERK stops in an aisle, hands Emily a DEADBOLT from a
shelf.

HARDWARE CLERK
That what you’re looking for?

EMILY
(NODS)
Thanks.

He walks off. Emily weighs the deadbolt in hand. Puts it
down and picks up the next larger size. Grabs a second one
just to be safe. A third for good measure.

INT. LUCY’S ROOM, EMILY’S HOUSE – DAY

With urgency Emily removes all her backup files from the
shelf in Lucy’s room. Dropping them in banker’s boxes.
Stops on Diego’s. Eyes his photo. Drops it in. Grabs the
office phone, boxes it with the files.

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – DAY

Emily unplugs the phone in the kitchen. Unplugs the one by
the sofa.

Opens the closet and tosses the phones inside with the
banker’s boxes she put there. Closes the door. Locks it.
Hides the key.

Just then, a FLASHING RED LIGHT draws her gaze to the window –

A SCHOOL BUS

stopping at the end of the block. Emily crosses to the
window, watching as

LUCY

gets off and comes up the sidewalk toward the house. Sensing
Emily’s stare, she stops and meets it. Waves, testing the
waters. Emily waves back but it’s a hollow gesture. Lucy’s
smile fades, knowing this as she continues toward the house.
69.

In a sudden panic Emily goes into the kitchen, grabs one of
the knives. Eyes the blade, forced to contemplate the
unthinkable – its use as a weapon, self-defense.

She comes into the living room, holding it. Catches sight of
herself in the mirror. A jarring image:

Sweet Emily Jennings with a butcher’s knife in her hand.

The sound of LUCY’S FOOTSTEPS on the front steps breaks the
spell.

Emily hides the knife behind the fish tank. No good, you can
see it through the glass.

We hear LUCY’S KEY IN THE LOCK.

Emily grabs the knife. It’s in her hand as the door CLICKS
open, until the last second when she tosses it under a sofa
pillow.

Lucy enters. Shy. Innocent. A ten-year-old home from
school.

LUCY
Hi.

Emily returns a plastic smile.

EMILY
Hi.

LUCY
You weren’t there so I took the bus.

EMILY
Sorry, work – lost track of time.

LUCY
It’s okay, I know how busy you are.

Emily watches unnerved as Lucy crosses to the sofa, to the
very pillow where she hid the butcher’s knife, and sits down
to untie her shoes. The point of the knife is almost
touching her leg. If she moves at all, it will cut the skin.

LUCY
Doesn’t matter anyway, the bus stops
right at the end of the street. So I can
always get home, whether you’re there or
not.
70.

EMILY
Lucky.

Lucy nods then pauses and looks at the pillow, or appears to,
but she is actually looking at the end table.

LUCY
Where’s the phone?

EMILY
Oh, it wasn’t working…

Lucy nods oh. Finishes untying her shoes then gets up and
walks into the kitchen, checks the wall, turns to Emily.

LUCY
Wow. That one, too.

Emily, caught in a lie, says nothing.

LUCY
Can I have a shower? We had gym today…

Emily nods. Lucy heads into the bathroom. Pauses at the
door, back turned.

LUCY
Are they being nice to her?

EMILY
Who?

LUCY
My mother.

She turns for Emily’s reaction.

EMILY
How – how would I know that?

LUCY
I thought you said you were going to see
her.

EMILY
I never said that.

Lucy frowns. A bewilderment that seems genuine.

LUCY
Hm. I must have dreamt it.

Goes into the bathroom. Closes the door.
71.

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – DAY

Ear pressed to the bathroom door, Emily listens to the
RUNNING WATER: Lucy taking a shower.

She goes to the closet, unlocks it. Grabs one of the phones.

INT. EMILY’S KITCHEN – DAY

It sounds like EMILY’S VOICE is coming from the fridge until
we sweep past it to see her crouching by a phone jack in the
corner. Whispering.

EMILY
I don’t care, Robin, anywhere. Just find
somewhere that will take her. Tonight.
I don’t want this girl in my house.

Emily unplugs the phone. And just then hears a SOFT BREATH
behind her. Oh shit. Slowly turns.

LUCY IN A BATH ROBE BEHIND HER.

Hair dripping wet. A chilling stare. How much did she hear?
Lucy walks out. We hear her bedroom door close.

Emily crouched in the corner, holding the phone, terrified at
the thought of what’s in store.

INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

THE HEAD OF A TURNING SCREW – Emily installing a DEADBOLT on
her door in the middle of the night.

It’s the third lock, the other two already in place. Hands
trembling, she lines up the last screw. It slips from her
fingers. ROLLS UNDER THE DOOR.

She cracks opens the door. Reaches to grab it and lets out a
SHRIEK, recoiling –

FEET

standing just outside her door.

LUCY, IN PAJAMAS, HOLDING THE SCREW

She hands it back to Emily, making no overt acknowledgement
of it.

LUCY
Good night.
72.

She walks down the hallway to her bedroom.

As soon as Lucy’s door closes, Emily closes hers and goes
back to work, doublespeed. Winds that last screw into the
wood and then slides-to the heavy bolts.

CLUNK. CLUNK. CLUNK.

Scooting backwards, she sits against the bed, wide-eyed with
terror, screwdriver clutched in her fist like a stabbing
weapon.

EXT. OLD STONE CHURCH – DAY

A bell TOLLS in a steeple.

Down below, Emily is going against the tide, walking up the
steps past CHURCHGOERS who are coming down after morning
mass. Halfway up, she runs into Mike Barron and his wife and
son. It’s awkward, more for her than him.

BARRON
Emily…?

EMILY
Mike.

EXT. CHURCH PARK – DAY

Sitting on a bench in a park that occupies the shadow of the
old stone church, Emily and Mike talk privately. His wife
pushing his young son on a playground swing.

EMILY
`No such thing as a bad kid, only bad
parents.’ I always believed that. It’s
a lie. Her parents aren’t crazy.

BARRON
You wanna end up where they did keep
talking like this.
(off her look)
I’m not judging you. You’re grieving for
Doug and you’re still confused about what
Diego did.

EMILY
Aren’t you?

BARRON
Diego grew up in a bad home, he saw
violence and he repeated it, that’s the
cycle, you know that better than anyone.
73.

EMILY
Why did she lie about calling him?

BARRON
`Cause she’s a liar, that doesn’t mean
she made him do it. Look, let me tell
you what Lucy is. Lucy is a damaged
child, a deceitful child, a manipulative
child. But a damaged, deceitful,
manipulative child is not a demon. Ask
my brother-in-law, he’s got a couple of
`em.

Barron stands from the bench.

EMILY
Mike, you know I’m not crazy. Don’t run
away from something just because it
scares you.

His concern edges toward sadness. He indicates the church.

BARRON
I stopped you on the steps. I think
maybe you oughta go all the way in.

Walks off to rejoin his wife and son. Emily alone on a bench
in the shadow of a church.

INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE GROUP THERAPY – DAY

The circle of abused children. Lucy among them, a happy
participant. Nancy filling in for Doug.

It’s EMILY’S POV – as she spies on Lucy through the window,
second-guessing herself for a moment.

Session over, Nancy dismisses the group with a smile and
theatrical applause.

Emily watches Lucy cross the room. At the coat rack, she
whispers something to another girl. The veil of Lucy’s hair
partially obscures her profile, but through that veil Emily
sees something chilling. For a moment, a moment so fleeting
it might just be a trick of the eyes –

LUCY’S LIPS APPEAR THICKER, MORE MASCULINE, SPEAKING CAUSTIC
WORDS THAT HOLD THE OTHER GIRL CAPTIVE.

Emily draws a sharp inward breath. Lucy, feeling Emily’s
stare now, turns to meet it. Her SWEET INNOCENT GIRL LIPS
widening into a smile.
74.

But Emily knows what she saw. She throws open the door and
rushes in.

INT. GROUP THERAPY ROOM – DAY

Grabs Lucy by the arm and yanks her bodily from the room.
This, to the amazement of Nancy, the other children –

INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE GROUP THERAPY – DAY

– and to the shock of the other PARENTS waiting outside.
Nancy comes after her in a fury. Runs her down. Erupts.

NANCY
Who do you think you are barging in there
like that?!

EMILY
I don’t want her in group anymore, I
don’t want her around the other kids.

NANCY
Well that’s not your decision, is it?!

Emily opens her mouth to reply, but Lucy beats her to the
punch.

LUCY
It’s okay, Nancy, Emily’s been under a
lot of stress lately, but she’s really
nice to me and I hope I can stay with her
a really long time.

Nancy, disarmed by the glowing praise, turns back to Emily.

NANCY
We’ll talk about this later.

Storms off.

LUCY
See you next week, Nancy.

Nancy doesn’t hear, busily reassuring parents, damage
control. Emily and Lucy arrive at the elevator. Emily hits
the button.

EMILY
You’re never going back there.

LUCY
Why, Emily?
75.

Emily says nothing. Lucy keeps asking the same question, in
the exact same intonation, as Emily ignores her:

LUCY
Why, Emily? Why, Emily? Why, Emily?

DING. The doors open.

INT. ELEVATOR – DAY

Emily and Lucy step in. The door closes. Lucy continuing
her verbal assault as they start to descend:

LUCY
Why, Emily? Why, Emily?

Suddenly the ELEVATOR LURCHES TO A VIOLENT STOP. It buckles
Emily’s knees. She is terrified, practically
hyperventilating.

EMILY
W-w-what’s happening – ?!

Lucy has gotten her attention.

LUCY
Can I go back to group next week?

EMILY
You’re never going back there!

Lucy looks at her as one regards a small dumb animal. Then
looks up at the ceiling.

LUCY
Are you sure?

Horror as Emily realizes what she’s thinking. We hear the
first CABLE SNAP above them. In the CREAKING HUSH that
FOLLOWS:

EMILY
No…

The second CABLE SNAPS. The elevator goes into a HELLISH
FREE FALL.

The acceleration is dizzying.

Emily clutches the rail with both hands, SCREAMING as the
elevator goes cannonballing down the shaft. Lucy indifferent
as they plummet toward certain death.
76.

The floor indicator light races toward L, the car shuddering
violently, the noise deafening. It’s a horrible way to die.

Emily closes her eyes in anticipation of impact. And in the
sudden BLACKNESS there’s no noise at all. Just a soft,
DISTINCT

DING.

A breathless pause then Emily opens her eyes. And sees the
elevator is no longer falling. Never was. The doors glide
open to the first floor lobby.

Lucy gives her a quiet look and strolls out. A businessman
steps into the elevator, watching bewildered as Emily
releases her white-knuckled grip on the railing and staggers
out, so badly shaken she can barely stand…

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Fish swim languidly in the tank. It’s after midnight. We’re
looking down the darkened hall at Emily’s closed bedroom
door.

INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Emily, in a coat and shoes, packing a suitcase. Snaps it
quietly shut. Looks over at the barricaded door. Draws a
tense breath.

INT. HALLWAY – NIGHT

From down the hall we hear the DEADBOLTS SLIDE QUIETLY OPEN.

The door opens a crack.

EMILY’S TERRIFIED FACE peers out. Making sure the hall is
empty.

She steps out, suitcase in hand.

Tiptoes down the hall. Quietly as possible as she comes past
Lucy’s door. It’s open a crack. The room pitch black
inside. Emily steps closer, breath held. Peers in through
the little crack. Sees –

LUCY ASLEEP IN BED.

But suddenly her EYES SNAP OPEN. Her face horizontal on the
pillow.

LUCY
I can see you.
77.

Emily backs away. Goes quickly to the front door.

INT. EMILY’S CAR – NIGHT

Emily throws the suitcase in the trunk. Slams it shut.
Comes around to the driver’s side door. Jumps in. Closes
the door. And gets the scare of her life.

LUCY IS SITTING IN THE PASSENGER SEAT!

Emily recoils with a SCREAM, throwing her body against the
window behind her. Lucy sits there, silent, betrayed.

It’s too much for Emily. She breaks down. Buries her face
in her hands and sobs.

Lucy, after a moment, takes a brush from Emily’s bag and
starts lovingly brushing her hair.

Emily slowly lifts her head, resigning herself to this latest
horror. She sits zombie-like behind the wheel, tears
streaming as Lucy tugs gently at the snarls, playing mommy.

LUCY
Don’t be sad. This is your new
beginning.

INT. EMILY’S CUBICLE – DAY

Unopened mail and new case files piling up. Emily looks
terrible, phone to ear, getting SCREAMED at, sworn at,
interrupted every time she tries to speak.

EMILY
Mrs Lynch, I told you – will you let –
that’s not what I said – no, I did not –
you never sent me the – Mrs Lynch – will
you let me respond? – will you let me –
Mrs Lynch – will you let –

Emily can’t take it anymore. She unloads.

EMILY
SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU MISERABLE MISERABLE
WOMAN BEFORE I GET IN MY CAR AND COME
OVER THERE AND BEAT YOUR ASS LIKE YOU
BEAT YOUR SON! I HAVE YOUR ADDRESS!
THINK ABOUT THAT NEXT TIME YOU CALL AND
SWEAR AT ME! I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!

Slams the phone down. Sits there looking rather dazed.
Wayne arrives, dazed in a different way, having overheard.
78.

WAYNE
Um, so, I notice you haven’t taken any
personal days. Come on, you look like
crap, go home.

Emily levels a withering stare.

EMILY
I don’t want to go home.

EXT. LOS ANGELES APARTMENT BUILDING – DAY

Emily knocking on a door in an outside hallway. It opens.
It’s the girl from the bar. BECCA. The friend. Not
expecting her.

BECCA
Emily…

INT. BECCA’S APARTMENT – DAY

Emily, disheveled, five days without sleep, doing her best to
appear rational.

EMILY
I know I haven’t been a great friend
lately, but… do you think maybe I could
crash here for a couple of nights?

BECCA
Sure, when?

EMILY
Tonight and tomorrow.

Becca draws air through her teeth, pained by her predicament.

BECCA
Em, any other weekend you know I’d say
yes, but I just met this guy and he’s
coming over tonight like for the night
and it might be, you know, kinda weird.

Emily nods. And there’s nothing more to be said.

INT. EMILY’S ROOM – NIGHT

Stormy night. Heavy rain. High winds. The trees, thrashing
outside the window, backlit by a streetlight, cast OMINOUS
SHADOWS on the walls of the bedroom.

Emily huddles in the corner, wrapped in a blanket, clutching
the screwdriver.
79.

There is a KNOCK on the bedroom door. Emily’s EYES JERK WIDE
OPEN. She looks at the door, but doesn’t answer.

After a moment, Lucy’s voice, innocent, afraid –

LUCY (O.S.)
Emily…? Can I come in? I’m scared…

Emily says nothing. Heart racing. There’s another KNOCK. A
little louder.

LUCY (O.S.)
Emily? Please? I know you’re in there,
please…?

Emily says nothing. Lucy starts pounding on the door.

LUCY (O.S.)
Please, Emily…

SILENCE.

Emily listening, barely breathing. Is that it? Is she gone?

And then suddenly – WHAM! – WHAM! – WHAM! – the pounding
turns VIOLENT, practically shaking the door off its hinges.
Far too violent for a little girl.

Emily wedges herself into the corner, absolutely petrified.
There is something very strong and very angry on the other
side of that door, SHRIEKING in the voice of a child –

LUCY (O.S.)
LET ME IN!

WHAM – WHAM – WHAM – WHAM – WHAM – WHAM!

LUCY (O.S.)
LET ME IN!

WHAM – WHAM – WHAM – WHAM – WHAM – WHAM! The door getting
absolutely pummeled, looking like it might splinter from the
force. And it’s so intense that it’s almost surreal what
Emily is seeing. Lucy’s voice eerily monotone, the words
coming inhumanly fast like some auctioneer from hell –

LUCY (O.S.)
Let me in, let me in, let me in, let me
in, let me in, let me in, let me in, let
me in, let me in, let me in…
80.

Relentless. Tormenting Emily. Until she can’t take it
anymore. And she SCREAMS as loud as she can, half cursing,
half begging, the veins standing out in her neck –

EMILY
LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

And the POUNDING STOPS DEAD. All we hear is the rain
drumming on the roof. And Emily’s QUICK TERRIFIED BREATHS as
she stares at the door wondering what’s next.

But there’s nothing. Just the shadows dancing on the walls.
It appears the nightmare is over for now.

But not quite.

A sudden CLUNK in the closet makes her jump. Her head snaps
around – what was that? She just stares, unable to breathe
because whatever she just heard is INSIDE HER ROOM!

White-knuckled grip on that screwdriver, Emily stands up and
comes slowly over to the CLOSET DOOR.

Raises the screwdriver. Ready to stab.

Takes hold of the door handle.

Slowly turns it.

Opens the door.

PITCH BLACK inside.

A tense pause as she stares into that blackness, then reaches
a hand into the closet, feeling around for the pull-string.
Finds it. Gives it a tug. And there, right in front of her,
is a vision of unspeakable horror:

MARGARET SHERIDAN

Twitching spasmodically in a hospital gown. HIDEOUSLY
BURNED.

She comes at Emily arms flailing, clumsy with rage and
dementia. Emily leaps aside and Margaret goes careening into
the furniture, howling and spinning like some crazed Whirling
Dervish.

Emily scrambles over the bed. Reaches the door. Fumbles at
the deadbolt. Here comes Margaret. At the last second Emily
gets the door open. Runs out.
81.

INT. HALLWAY – NIGHT

Tears a path down the dark hallway. Margaret right behind
her, hideous, reeling, hitting the walls with her flailing
arms.

Emily throws open the front door.

EXT. EMILY’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Dashes from the house into the abandoned street. Running in
the rain. Margaret comes crashing out of the house, chasing
her down the middle of the street.

Emily sees a city bus parked up ahead. Makes a run for it.

EXT. METRO BUS – NIGHT

A metro transit bus idling along the curb. The DRIVER with
his feet up between shifts, reading a porno mag. Emily comes
running up to the door. Pounds frantically on the glass.

EMILY
Help me! Please!

The driver meets eyes with her through the door. Keeps
reading. Unimpressed. More pounding from Emily.

EMILY
Let me on!

The driver points to the sign above the door: OUT OF SERVICE.
Keeps reading. Emily near hysterics at this point. Margaret
closing in fast.

EMILY
She’s coming! Please!

The driver sighs, weighing his obligations. Emily spins,
back to the door. Margaret nearly upon her, ten feet away,
five, four…

INT. METRO BUS – NIGHT

The driver opens the door. Emily dives backwards onto the
bus, the door snapping closed in front of her just as
Margaret lunges for her throat.

EMILY
Drive!

BUS DRIVER
There’s nobody out there.
82.

EMILY
DRIVE!

BUS DRIVER
There – is – nobody – out – there!

It sinks in the second time. Emily scans the sidewalk, the
darkened streets outside the bus. Margaret is gone. Was
never there. The driver opens the door, nods to her – out.

EXT. METRO BUS – NIGHT

With a hydraulic HISS the bus releases its brakes and diesels
off down the empty street. Emily stands alone. Rain-soaked.
Shivering. Staring at her house down the block.

The SILHOUETTE OF A CHILD in the window.

INT. CHILD SERVICES DEPARTMENT – NIGHT

Wayne and his BOYFRIEND shake rain off an umbrella as they
cross the darkened office.

BOYFRIEND
(re: the office space)
No, I like it. It’s like those things
they put baby cows in to make veal –

The boyfriend slows as they go past a cubicle. Saw something
weird.

WAYNE
What?

He points. Freaked. Wayne comes over, pokes his head in a
cubicle.

EMILY

head down on her desk, rain-soaked, sleeping in her chair.

WAYNE
Em…?

No reply. Wayne’s face darkens. Is she dead? He comes
over, puts his hand on her shoulder.

WAYNE
Emily…?

She awakens with a jolt. Expecting to see Margaret. She
looks terrible.
83.

WAYNE
Jesus – are you okay?

EMILY
(HOARSE WHISPER)
I… I had some things to catch up on…

She fumbles unconvincingly at some loose paperwork.

WAYNE
You look like shit, you need to see a
doctor.

EMILY
I saw a doctor.

WAYNE
What did they say?

EMILY
(LOSES IT)
They said mind your own fucking business!

Shocked by the outburst, by her general appearance, he walks
away, muttering to his boyfriend. Emily puts her head in her
hands, pressing down at her temples. Wayne steps into his
office in the b.g. and grabs something then they exit.

And the office is quiet again. Emily closes her eyes. Just
then, she hears –

A faint CYCLICAL SQUEAKING NOISE in the cubicle right next to
hers. Goes rigid. Recognizes the sound. Calls over the
partition without moving.

EMILY
Wayne…?

No reply, but the SQUEAKING CONTINUES. Rising slowly from
her seat, scared as hell, she leans over her desk and peers
over the partition into the adjacent cubicle.

It’s empty. But the OFFICE CHAIR IS TURNING as if someone
were just playing there.

Emily steps slowly back. And now hears the same CYCLICAL
SQUEAKING behind her. The opposite row. She spins.

EXT. CHILD SERVICES DEPARTMENT – NIGHT

Walks slowly from her cubicle. Comes along the row of
darkened cubicles, following the sound to its source. This
is the one. She looks in.
84.

Empty cubicle. TURNING CHAIR.

Emily backs away. Terrified. The chair winding slowly to a
stop.

Suddenly, behind her, at the far end of the office, a
different NOISE splits the silence. Emily turns and stares
toward the sound. The XEROX MACHINE. Someone is using it.

EMILY
Hello…?

No answer.

Emily comes slowly down the aisle to the partitioned
workstation. A torturous walk set to the RHYTHMIC CADENCE of
the photocopier, the HARSH GREEN LIGHT SWEEPING ACROSS THE
CEILING ABOVE IT, again and again and again…

And then it stops, ejecting one final page as Emily enters
the workstation. And sees there’s no one there.

She stares at the idle machine for a moment, then at the
STACK OF COPIES lying upsidedown in the tray. She comes
over, picks them up. Turns them over.

The first page is a photocopy of a PAIR OF HANDS PRESSED FLAT
AGAINST THE COPYING GLASS.

Emily stares, haunted. Tense breath. Continues through the
stack.

Successive pages show the same two hands, but leaning forward
into the inky blackness between them is a FACE, its features
resolving into murky focus as it approaches the glass. The
last page is a horrific image. A man screaming in such
terror that his face appears almost deformed.

It’s DOUG. The night of his death. Like a snapshot from his
bathroom mirror.

Emily shudders, the stack of pages tumbling to the floor.
Runs out. And we see the photocopies, lying on the floor,
are totally BLANK…

INT. CORRIDOR, CHILD SERVICES BUILDING – NIGHT

Emily, leaving, rushes down a corridor toward the lobby.
Tense. Head on a swivel. Hears MORE SQUEAKING behind her.
Spins.

A NIGHT JANITOR WHEELING A MOP BUCKET
85.

She walks on. Turns the corner and RUNS INTO SOMEONE
UNEXPECTED. Jumps back with a SHRIEK before she realizes who
it is.

EMILY
Robin…

A ponytailed woman in her mid-forties, the child placement
specialist Emily called from home.

ROBIN
What are you doing here so late? I tried
calling you. I found someone to take
Lucy.

EMILY
(STUNNED RELIEF)
You did?

ROBIN
Anaheim couple. They’ve helped us out
before.

She shows Emily a custody form with an attached photo:

A KIND HUSBAND AND WIFE WITH TWO YOUNG CHILDREN.

Emily’s face darkens.

EMILY
(under her breath)
Oh God…

ROBIN
What’s the matter?

Emily stares at the unsuspecting family. Lucy’s next
victims. She fends off a wave of emotion as the full horror
of her predicament hits her. Then, matter-of-factly, facing
that fear head-on:

EMILY
I can’t. I’m keeping her.

As Emily walks off, ripping the custody form to shreds, Robin
utterly confused…

INT. STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL – DAY

Emily sits opposite Edward Sheridan in the visiting room, an
odd sense of camaraderie between them.
86.

EMILY
If I get rid of her, if I put her into
the system…

EDWARD
(NODS YUP)
She starts all over again somewhere else.
Can’t let her stay, can’t let her go.
That leaves you with one option.

Eye contact. Emily looks away, shakes her head.

EMILY
I can’t, Edward, I —

EDWARD
You have to. You have to find the
strength. Don’t you understand? That’s
why she’s doing this. To test you. Test
your faith.

EMILY
I don’t have any faith.

EDWARD
How `bout anger. Got some of that?

Emily lowers her gaze to the table.

EMILY
How… how do I…?

EDWARD
Kill her? In her sleep, assuming you
can…
(THEN; THINKING)
Tell you what I’d do different. Count
myself dead at the outset. Accept that
going in and use it to my advantage.
That’s the one thing I don’t think she’d
see coming, someone giving up their own
life to take hers.

As Emily registers this…

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Middle of the night, the living room is lit by the eerie glow
of the fish tank. The filter humming. The fish swimming
languidly. Suddenly they DISPERSE, spooked by something
outside the tank.
87.

INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

The bureau has been pushed in front of the deadbolted door to
form a barricade. Emily lies in a fetal position on her bed,
exhausted but unable to sleep.

She tenses at the sound of a MUFFLED MALE VOICE in the other
room. Comes over to the door, trying to listen. Thinks she
recognizes it.

EMILY
(calls through door)
Mike…?

No reply.

A moment of indecision then Emily tightens her grip on the
screwdriver and quietly slides open the deadbolts.

INT. HALLWAY – NIGHT

She comes slowly down the hall, following the VOICE to its
source, stops in the living room doorway, haunted…

INT. LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

THE TELEVISION

Edward’s psych interview playing to the empty room. He’s
straightjacketed, sedated. Talking directly to the camera.

EDWARD
Where is she now? Some family somewhere?

INTERVIEWER
Why does that concern you, Edward?

EDWARD
`Cause you have to warn them.

Emily turns off the tv. IMMEDIATELY IT SWITCHES ITSELF BACK
ON. Emily freezes, realizing the room is not empty.
Turning, she sees Lucy sitting in the shadows holding the
remote. Lucy mutes the sound and returns Emily’s stare,
thoughtful, almost empathetic.

LUCY
I like it here. I like you. You want me
to like you, don’t you?

Emily nods. The room bathed in the tv’s flickering blue
light. Lucy is quiet for a moment. Then, in her innocently
menacing voice, explains the rules:
88.

LUCY
You have to do what I say. If I say I
want to go to group, you have to do it.
If I say I want a new dress, you have to
do it. If I say I want ice cream every
day after school, you have to do it.
Okay?

Emily gives a haunted nod, remembering:

A FLASHCUT of Lucy sitting between Edward and Margaret at the
Child Services meeting, new dress, ribbon in her hair,
licking her ice cream with a wicked little smile.

BACK TO SCENE

Lucy stares coldly at the television: Margaret speaking with
the sound off.

LUCY
They did what I said for a while and then
they stopped and started with the
secrets. But they weren’t really secrets
I guess…
(looks at Emily)
…because I always knew what they were
thinking.

She holds Emily’s gaze then looks back at the tv. Margaret’s
image reflected in the pupils of her eerie unblinking eyes.

INT. MARGARET’S PADDED ROOM, PSYCH HOSPITAL – NIGHT

Margaret, straps unbuckled, sits on the bed beside a YOUNG
NURSE who checks her temperature. Done, the Nurse heads out.

MARGARET
Don’t leave me.

Terror in Margaret’s voice.

YOUNG NURSE
It’s okay, Maggie. I’ll check on you
later.

The Nurse exits. Locks the door.

CLICK-KA-THUNK. The sound of doom to Margaret.

She stands up, looking around, trembling at what’s to come.
Her footsteps sound oddly HOLLOW, METALLIC on the floor.
89.

MARGARET’S POV – surveying the room, we see what Margaret’s
hell looks like. It’s not a room she’s living in…

AN OLD OVEN

With dark scorched metal walls. A bolted-down bed to one
side, perfectly white, like a practical joke.

We can hear the low HISS of it filling with gas. The faint
POOF as it ignites beneath her. The first SHIMMERING WAVES
OF HEAT rising up, singeing her hair.

Margaret runs screaming to the door, claws at the pane of
glass like a madwoman. But there is no escape from the hell
of her own mind. The YOUNG NURSE’S FACE APPEARS there in the
window, shocked by Margaret’s insane rantings.

INT. PSYCH HOSPITAL CAFETERIA – NIGHT

Edward, dinner tray in hand, going through the cafeteria line
with other INSTITUTIONAL PATIENTS.

He sits down at a table and starts eating, quiet, lost in his
thoughts. Takes another mouthful of food and suddenly stops
chewing, noticing something very strange:

A BALD, MORBIDLY OBESE INMATE SITTING DIRECTLY ACROSS THE
TABLE IS CUTTING PEAS IN HALF ON HIS PLATE, ABSENTLY, BUT
WITH AN ALMOST SURGICAL PRECISON, EATING THEM ONE BY ONE OFF
THE TIP OF HIS KNIFE!!

He lifts his gaze to Edward. Smiles a knowing, taunting
smile. Then his WIDE WET MOUTH speaks in a little girl’s
VOICE:

LUCY’S VOICE
I’m happy you’re getting the help you
need, daddy.

Edward goes berserk. Launches himself across the table at
the guy, stabbing him in the neck with his fork. Vicious
attack. Unprovoked as far as anyone else is concerned. A
guard rushes over. Edward turns on him, maniacal.

THE GUARD SHOOTS HIM DEAD.

As blood pools around Edward’s body, some LUNATIC who
witnessed the event starts to applaud. Others join in. It’s
the most excitement they’ve seen all year. And as the
applause spreads through the entire cafeteria…
90.

EXT. EMILY’S HOUSE – DAY

Emily comes down the steps, past the morning paper on the
walkway. Stops dead in her tracks. Stunned. Comes back and
picks it up.

A SMALL PHOTO OF EDWARD ON THE FRONT PAGE WITH A HEADLINE:
HOSPITAL PROBES DEATH.

At the bus stop at the end of the street, Lucy mingles
happily with other CHILDREN. She meets Emily’s gaze down the
length of the sidewalk. Smiles and waves goodbye as she gets
on the school bus.

INT. BARRON’S OFFICE, POLICE STATION – DAY

Emily drops the newspaper on Barron’s desk. The headline
about Edward speaks for itself.

BARRON
I know…

It’s a different Mike Barron than last we saw. Gone is the
quiet assurance. Whatever happened rocked him to the core.
He closes the door for privacy.

BARRON
There’s something I want you to hear.
Came in at two o’clock last night. You
might wanna sit.

Emily sits. Barron cues a voicemail message on his phone,
plays it over the speaker. After a BEEP we hear it. A
SINISTER MALE VOICE, guttural, taunting, the voice of a
DEMON:

SINISTER MALE VOICE
(mocking his earlier line)
`It’s hard sometimes to tell the truth,
but I know you will `cause you’re a good
little girl…’
(THEN; INTIMATE)
Twenty years in the trenches, can’t make
Lieutenant? Hurts, doesn’t it? Shakes
your faith sometimes. You know why they
keep passing you over? Do you, Michael?
`Cause you’re soft. Soft, soft, soft…

DELIRIOUS LAUGHTER followed by a CLICK and a DIAL TONE.
Emily’s mouth gapes. After a moment:
91.

BARRON
You’re right. She called Doug. Took me
an extra couple of days to get your cell
phone records. That’s what she’s been
using.

Grim pause. Emily digs through her bag. Reaches the bottom.
No cell phone. Staring into the bag, voice wavering with
EMOTION:

EMILY
She’s taking me apart, Mike.

She loses it for a second. Barron sits in front of her on
the edge of the desk.

BARRON
I’m gonna help you get to the bottom of
this.

EMILY
(re: Edward’s photo)
He told me I have to kill her.

Barron registers that in silence. Stuns her, and himself, by
what he says next.

BARRON
I’ll help you.

Emily looks at him. Disbelief.

BARRON
Whatever it takes.

She hugs him. A godsend.

BARRON
I’m gonna put Beth and Tim in a hotel.
Keep her at the house.

INT. DOCTOR’S OFFICE – DAY

Emily buttoning her shirt after an exam.

DOCTOR
Physically you’re fine. How’s the
stress?

EMILY
I’m not sleeping, I was hoping you could
give me something.
92.

The doctor writes on her prescription pad.

DOCTOR
Take one of these, you’ll sleep.

Emily watches the pen scribble.

INT. EMILY’S CAR – DAY

A prescription pill bottle on the passenger seat. Emily,
driving home, glances at it with apprehension.

EXT. HOTEL – NIGHT

A high-rise hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

Barron, saying goodbye to his WIFE and SON, sets down the
overnight bags they’ve packed.

BARRON’S WIFE
Why won’t you tell me what’s going on?

BARRON
Because I can’t.

Kisses her. Turns to his son.

BARRON
Take care of your mom.

Musses the boy’s hair and leaves.

INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR – NIGHT

Barron strides down the corridor, his face reflecting the
grim task ahead.

INT. HOTEL PARKING STRUCTURE – NIGHT

His footsteps echo in the parking structure as he walks along
a row of parked cars.

A faint JANGLING SOUND stops him dead in his tracks. He
turns and scans the garage behind him. It’s quiet, eerily
still.

He continues onward, but hears the faint JANGLING SOUND again
a moment later. Spins, trying to place it. There it is
again. Closer this time. Something moving, hiding, behind
the rows of cars over there.
93.

He bends, trying to get a look under the cars. Can’t see
anything. Unnerved, he moves on, clicks the button on his
keychain remote. The lights flash on his car fifty yards
away.

But as he continues toward it they reveal themselves,
trodding into view from between the cars, CHOKE-CHAIN COLLARS
JANGLING around their necks…

THREE PIT BULLS

Battle-scarred. Vicious. The dogs from Diego’s house. They
sit down right in front of Barron’s car. It’s a surreal
moment, a trio of attack dogs sitting at quiet attention,
square-jawwed, black-eyed, the kinetic calm before a predator
strikes.

Barron draws his gun. Fires a warning shot over their heads.

BANG!

Deafeningly loud, it echoes through the garage like a
thunderclap. But the dogs don’t move, just sit there
staring.

Barron lowers his gun. It’s time to get the hell out of
here. He backpedals, making no sudden movements, gun still
trained on the dogs.

They watch him, eyes livening with excitement, one of their
back legs twitching in anticipation.

Barron quickens his step and that’s their cue.

ALL AT ONCE, WITH EXPLOSIVE SPEED, THE DOGS SPRING INTO
MOTION, VICIOUS AND MUSCLED AND SMELLING BLOOD.

Barron fires an errant shot and takes off running. But he
can’t match their pace, the deadly trio race along the row of
police cruisers, closing the gap with ease.

At the last second Barron jumps the partition. The pit bulls
crash skull-first into the concrete, but continue their
pursuit unfazed as Barron takes off up the adjoining ramp.

He jumps up onto the row of cars and runs across the hoods,
denting the metal. The dogs jump up behind him, relentless
in their pursuit.

Jaws snapping at his heels, Barron takes to the car roofs,
the pitbulls leaping from car to car behind him.
94.

He looks back just in time to see the dogs launch themselves.
They hit him at chest height, sinking teeth in his flesh.

Stumbling forward, struggling to keep their jaws from his
throat, Barron doesn’t see what’s coming. The last car. The
edge of the parking garage.

He’s over the edge before he even understands, flailing his
arms for a handhold that doesn’t exist. The ground, far
below, flies up at him in a rush of acceleration.

We hear a sickening THUD and find Barron lying face down on
the pavement below, blood pooling around him. Clinging to
life, he opens his eyes and sees the TRIO OF PIT BULLS
SITTING OBEDIENTLY BESIDE HIM, unharmed, watching.

But from a distance we see there is only Barron. Dying alone
between the parked cars. No dogs anywhere in sight.

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Emily opens the front door, peers in, trying not to make a
sound.

EMILY
Lucy…?

No reply. She enters. Sees –

THE CLOSET DOOR IS OPEN.

She comes closer.

EMPTY BANKER BOXES strewn in the hall. SCATTERED PAGES.

At the far end, the light is on in Lucy’s bedroom. The door
open a crack. A shaft of light spilling out into the
darkened hallway.

Emily comes down the hallway past SCATTERED FILE PAGES.
Preliminary reports. Medical records. Personality
profiles…

She opens the door to Lucy’s room.

INT. LUCY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Freezes in the doorway, shocked by what lies before her.

EMILY
Oh my God…
95.

Black eyes. Bloody noses. Bruises. Cuts. Burns. PHOTOS
OF ABUSED CHILDREN COVER THE ENTIRE FLOOR. A collage of
misery.

Lucy is nowhere to be seen. Emily comes in and starts
quickly picking them up.

Tucked between the file cabinet and the wall is a CORKBOARD.
Emily pulls it out. It’s covered with PHOTOS FROM WORK.
COWORKERS. HER KIDS. Two of the photos are turned around.
She flips them over in rapid succession. Diego. Doug.

She rips all the photos from the board.

Photos bunched in her hands, she heads for the door, but
hears something that stops her in her tracks –

A strange INTERMITTENT BUZZING NOISE

It lasts two seconds and stops. She turns around, scans the
room. Puts down the stack of photos. There it is again:

BZZZZZZZZZZZT. BZZZZZZZZZZZZT.

Sounds like a housefly trapped against a window, but it’s
bigger, angrier, and appears to be coming from the

KNOTTED RUG

at the foot of Lucy’s bed. Emily crosses to it. The BUZZING
STOPS. She bends. Takes hold of a corner. Peels it slowly
back to reveal

BARE FLOOR

Weird. Nothing there.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZT! BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!

Emily straightens, turns. It’s coming from the

BED

As she approaches it the BUZZING INTENSIFIES, louder, more
agitated.

Pauses as she gets there, terrified of what she might find,
the bed BUZZING FURIOUSLY FROM WITHIN. Something is trapped
under those blankets, waiting for release.

Emily extends a trembling hand, takes hold of the blankets
and, slowly, rigid with fear, peels them back to reveal
96.

BARE MATTRESS

Impossible, because the BUZZING IS LOUDER THAN EVER.

With a tense swallow Emily realizes it’s coming from lower,
deeper within the bed, between the mattress and the box
spring.

She slips her fingers into the crack.

And slowly lifts the mattress, the BUZZING GROWING
FRIGHTENINGLY LOUD as its source is exposed, something
hellish waiting for her as she cranes her neck and look to
see what lies below –

HER CELL PHONE

Vibrating. BZZZZZZZZZT. BZZZZZZZZZZT. On the viewscreen:
“INCOMING CALL…”

She picks it up. Stares at it vibrating in her hand.
Presses the TALK button. Brings it to her ear.

The LOW STATIC of an open line. Then, a RASPY MALE VOICE:

MALE VOICE ON PHONE
Emily…

Emily flinches.

EMILY
Who is this…?

MALE VOICE ON PHONE
It’s Wayne, Emily, I just got a call,
Mike’s dead…

Emily, stunned, barely able to speak.

EMILY
No… he’s…

WAYNE (V.O.)
They don’t know if he fell or what
happened…

Emily’s phone hand drops to her side in shock. From down
there, we hear Wayne’s voice:

WAYNE (V.O.)
Emily? Emily, are you okay…?

After a moment, she lifts it.
97.

EMILY
I have to go.

Hangs up. On the brink of emotional collapse. Her only
confidante dead.

Just then she hears BREATHING from behind the open door.
Someone or something hiding in that dark corner over there.
She crosses to it. Pulls back the door and there sits

LUCY

quiet, innocent, chin on her knees.

EMILY
What did you do to him?

Lucy says nothing. Emily grabs her by the arm. Yanks her to
her feet.

EMILY
WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM?!

After a moment:

LUCY
He did it to himself.

WHACK! Emily slaps her. Hard across the face. Knocks her
to the floor. Lucy sits up, lip split. Tastes the blood
with her tongue. Hint of a smile. The taste of victory.

LUCY
Europa. Ganymede. Io. Callisto. The
moons of Jupiter. We got back our
astronomy tests today.

It’s there on the floor. A++ Well done, Lucy!

There’s a LOUD BEEP in the other room. Lucy gets up and
walks out. Emily watches as Lucy goes into the kitchen.
Takes a bag of popcorn from the microwave. Empties it into a
bowl. Sits down on the living room sofa and clicks on the tv
remote, watching it like nothing ever happened. Emily walks
over and pitches the tv onto the floor. The SCREEN SHATTERS.

EMILY
Get out of my house.

Lucy, unimpressed, expressionless, takes another handful of
popcorn. Chews it. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. Emily swats
the bowl from her hands.
98.

EMILY
GET OUT!

Flicking bits of popcorn off herself, Lucy stands up from the
sofa. Her face catches the light from the hallway. Emily
shudders at the sight.

Lucy’s features look altered somehow, sharpened. It’s
subtle, but the overall effect is chilling. THE FACE OF A
LITTLE GIRL LAID OVER THE MUSCULATURE OF SOMETHING MORE
DEVIOUS AND WICKED.

LUCY
Don’t yell at me. My mom and dad used to
yell at me.

Emily backs away, mortified, takes off down the hall.

INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Rushes in. Slams the door. Bolts the deadbolts. CLUNK.
CLUNK. CLUNK. Moment of panic. Will they hold?

Slides her bureau in front of the door. Shoves her bed in
front of the bureau just to be sure.

In the silence we hear LUCY’S FOOTSTEPS coming down the hall
toward the door.

Closer, closer…

There’s nothing else to block the door with. Emily backs
away, trembling as

LUCY’S FOOTSTEPS arrive at the door. A tense silence. Then:

LUCY (O.S.)
Emily… I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to…

Emily grabs the screwdriver, clutches it in both hands.

LUCY (O.S.)
Can I come in so we can talk and work it
out?

There’s a GENTLE KNOCK on the door. Emily flinches,
remembering last time.

LUCY (O.S.)
Emily…?

EMILY
Stay away from me!
99.

LUCY (O.S.)
Don’t be mad. I said I was sorry. I’ll
brush your hair for you.

EMILY
STAY AWAY FROM ME!!

Silence.

THEN:

WHAM! The door shudders from a MAMMOTH IMPACT. Last time,
it shook the door, this time it shakes the entire wall.
Emily recoils, dropping the screwdriver.

WHAM! CRACKS APPEAR in the door as it bows from the
tremendous force.

WHAM!! CRACKS FAN OUT into the plaster around the doorframe.

WHAM!! Half the SCREWS HOLDING THE HINGES fly from the wall.

WHAM!! The DEADBOLTS BENDING from the ungodly pummeling.

WHAM!! The DEADBOLT SCREWS getting yanked from the wood.

Emily frozen in terror, watching. Whatever’s out there is
coming in.

WHAM!! One of the DOOR HINGES rips clean from the wall.

WHAM!! The FIRST DEADBOLT comes flying off.

WHAM!! The SECOND DOOR HINGE gone.

WHAM!! ANOTHER DEADBOLT flies off.

WHAM!! The DOOR SPLITS down the center.

WHAM!! The THIRD DEADBOLT lands on the floor at Emily’s feet
with a METAL THUD.

A breathless silence.

Then the DOOR RATTLES and drops loose from the frame with a
DEAD WOODEN CLUNK.

Nothing holding it in place now except the bureau and the
bed. And now they both start to SLIDE BACKWARDS as whatever
is on the other side starts pushing its way in.
100.

Emily topples a high bookcase against the door and pushes
back with every ounce of strength she can muster, but it’s no
use. The bureau overturns, CRASHES to the floor. Emily’s
bare feet slide backwards along with the bed.

And then they stop. The barricade sufficiently breached.

Emily, in her panic, makes a hasty decision. She hides under
the bed.

We HOLD LOW on the open door as LUCY’S FEET step into the
room, the feet of a child, but the BREATHING we hear sounds
emphysemic and the VOICE is unquestionably male – harsh,
guttural, taunting Emily as it comes for her:

SINISTER MALE VOICE
Emily…

Wide-eyed with terror under the bed, she watches those feet
pick their way over the shattered remnants of the barricade.

SINISTER MALE VOICE
Emily… We need to learn healthier ways
of resolving conflict, Emily.

The feet step gingerly past the overturned bureau.

SINISTER MALE VOICE
…Most families don’t even know they
have a problem…

The feet stop at the SCREWDRIVER.

SINISTER MALE VOICE
…until it’s too late.

A HAND reaches down and picks it up, a girl’s hand, but the
fingers as they wrap tightly around the handle look strong
and sinewy.

The feet stand motionless for a moment then turn and come
toward the bed, stopping right in front of EMILY’S HORRIFIED
FACE.

A pause and then, still from Emily’s POV, we see Lucy lower
herself onto her knees.

WHAM!! – with shocking force that hand IMPALES THE
SCREWDRIVER IN THE WOODEN FLOOR!

Another pause then both hands come into view, palms flat on
the hardwood, as she leans her head down.
101.

Emily recoiling in anticipation as the face comes into view –

LUCY’S INNOCENT FACE

A little girl. With a little girl voice to match.

LUCY
(PLAYING MOMMY)
What are you doing, you silly
pumpkinhead?

Emily, hyperventilating, stares in shock. Lucy reaches her
hand in. Emily backs away, wedges herself in the corner.

LUCY
(PLAYING MOMMY)
You don’t want me to come under there and
get you, do you?

Emily, crying now, shakes her head. Lucy, almost
sympathetic, frowns.

LUCY
(PLAYING MOMMY)
I’m going to count to three. One…

EMILY
No…

LUCY
(PLAYING MOMMY)
Two… Two and a half…

EMILY
Please…

LUCY
(PLAYING MOMMY)
Two and three quarters… Three…

Lucy starts crawling under the bed.

LUCY
Here I come.

Emily tries to go backwards, but there’s nowhere for her to
go.

LUCY’S FACE SLIDING CLOSER LIKE THE HEAD OF A SNAKE.

Trapped, Emily screams.
102.

EMILY
WHAT DO YOU WANT?!!

Lucy stops crawling. Folds her arms, sets her chin on them.
Comfortable here under the bed. Delighting in the question.

LUCY
What you wanted from your mother. I want
you to love me.

EMILY
Okay… okay, I will, I will, I promise.

Lucy weighs Emily’s surrender for a moment. Then, oddly
BRIGHT:

LUCY
Come tuck me in.

EMILY
Okay… I’ll be right there.

LUCY
You better come.

Lucy slithers out and we see her feet scamper from the room.
Emily puts her head down on the floor and cries, covering her
mouth with her hands so she won’t make a sound.

INT. EMILY’S KITCHEN – NIGHT

A WHISTLING KETTLE on the stove.

Emily, still in tears, takes it from the burner. Dumps SIX
SLEEPING PILLS from the prescription bottle. Crushes them
with the blunt edge of a knife. Stirs them into a cup of
Chamomile tea.

She freezes at a NOISE behind her. Looks tensely over her
shoulder.

The fridge.

She adds sugar, continues stirring.

INT. HALLWAY – NIGHT

We follow the TEA CUP, in Emily’s hand, as she comes
nervously down the hall to Lucy’s room. We can see Lucy in
there, waiting for her in bed. Emily, playing the part,
dries her eyes and enters.
103.

INT. LUCY’S ROOM – NIGHT

Sits down on the bed, hands Lucy the tea.

LUCY
Chamomile.

Emily nods. The face of a loving mother. Lucy brings the
cup to her lips, pauses.

LUCY
Maybe you should have it, you look
stressed.

EMILY
I’ll have one later.

Lucy considers this, nods okay, takes a sip of tea. Emily
picks up a brush and brushes Lucy’s hair.

EMILY
Tomorrow’s our new beginning.

LUCY
I’ll be good.

EMILY
I know.

Lucy takes a few more sips and sets the tea cup on the
bedside table. Emily, tucking her in, gives the cup a
nervous glance. Did she drink enough?

EMILY
Get some rest.

LUCY
Say it.

EMILY
I love you.

LUCY
Forever and ever?

EMILY
Forever and ever.

Emily kisses her on the forehead. Lucy looks up at her and
for a moment she’s the little girl Emily met. Innocent,
angelic, closing her eyes for sleep. They flutter open one
last time.
104.

LUCY
Where are you if I need you?

EMILY
Right down the hall.

Lucy’s eyes shut. Emily, brushing her hair, staring at the
HALF-FULL TEA CUP.

INT. HALLWAY – NIGHT

Lucy asleep in bed. Emily watches from the door, wary,
expecting Lucy’s eyes to snap open any second.

EMILY
Sweetheart…?

She doesn’t move, dead to the world. Or is it a game? Emily
closes the door. Leans against the wall, shaking,
contemplating her next move.

Wedges a chair under the door handle. Time of the essence.

INT. EMILY’S GARAGE – NIGHT

Junk-filled. The door lifts to reveal Emily, silhouetted,
looking in. Amid the clutter is a lawnmower. Beside it, a
big can of GASOLINE.

INT. EMILY’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Emily stifling sobs as she douses the walls of the house.
The hallway, the bathroom, the kitchen, all of it.

TIP OF A MATCH strikes flint, ignites.

Emily stares at it for a long moment.

Lets it fall.

FLAMES SCURRY in a shimmering blue-gold sheet across the
floor. Climb the walls, the entire house ablaze in a matter
of seconds.

Emily sits and watches as the door to Lucy’s bedroom is
engulfed. It’s an image straight from hell: A YOUNG WOMAN
SITTING ON A SOFA IN A HOUSE OF FIRE.

The fish, frantic in their tank, catch Emily’s eye. She goes
over and grabs the tank.
105.

EXT. EMILY’S HOUSE – NIGHT

Smoke swirling past her, she exits the house, locking the
front door behind her. She backs away and watches it burn,
holding her fish tank, the only thing she saved.

TIME CUT TO:

Billowing black smoke. The house fully engulfed as fire
engines arriving on the scene, sirens wailing. Emily
watching with neighbors on the sidewalk as the FIREFIGHTERS
uncoil their hoses.

The window to Lucy’s bedroom is a bright red square, an
inferno. And as Emily stares at it, disbelieving what she’s
done, the figure of a CHILD appears.

LUCY

Her whole body ablaze. Horrific. She just stands there,
arms at her sides, burning.

Just now the FIRE MARSHALL crosses to the onlookers. Hollers
over the noise and commotion:

FIRE MARSHALL
Everybody get out okay?!

Emily wavers, not sure what to say. The Fire Marshall sees
her indecision.

FIRE MARSHALL
This your house?!
(she nods yes)
Anybody else inside?!
(off her hesitation)
Ma’am…?!

Emily opens her mouth to reply, but sees something behind her
that closes her throat.

LUCY

standing on the sidewalk in her pajamas. Unscathed.

FIRE MARSHALL
Anyone else inside?! Yes or no?!

Emily, in shock, shakes her head no. The Fire Marshall
rushes off, walkie-talkie squawking. Emily stands frozen as
Lucy comes through the crowd to her. More dismayed than
angry.
106.

LUCY
That was mean.

She takes Emily’s hand. Together they watch the house burn.
Firelight playing on their faces. The fish bouncing off the
glass in the tank at Emily’s feet.

INT. EMILY’S CAR – NIGHT

The blue halflight before dawn. Emily and Lucy sit in the
Volvo, eyeing the scorched remains of the house. The
firecrew stowing equipment. Emily puts the car in drive.

INT. EMILY’S CAR – DAWN

The FISH FLOATING DEAD at the top of the tank in the back
seat as Emily drives down the freeway at daybreak. Lucy
gazing out dreamily at the sunrise.

LUCY
Maybe we can find a hotel with a swimming
pool.

Emily says nothing. Lucy turns and looks at her, thoughtful,
almost empathetic. She draws up her knees and rests her chin
on top, levels an appraising stare at Emily like the one she
leveled at Doug.

LUCY
It’s sad, isn’t it? How it gets passed
on. How people do to their own kids what
their parents did to them. That’s why
you got the job…

Emily turns on the radio, full volume, trying to drown out
Lucy’s voice. Lucy reaches over and turns it off. CLICK.

LUCY
…To prove to yourself you’re not like
her, that you’re not like your mother.
Because that scares you. Scares you more
than anything.

Lucy, in mock sentiment, puts her hand on Emily’s.

LUCY
I love you… even if you don’t love me.

Emily looks at her, gutted. But defiant. Turning her gaze
forward, she tightens her grip on the wheel and calmly,
resolutely, JAMS THE GAS PEDAL TO THE FLOOR. The
acceleration pitches Lucy backwards into her seat. She sits
up, eyes wide, didn’t see this coming. A suicide run.
107.

LUCY
What are you doing? Slow down.

A tense smile from Lucy. The tables have turned.

LUCY
Did you hear me?

Emily stares dead ahead, red-lining the tachometer. Lucy
flits her eyes skyward. IMMEDIATELY IT DARKENS AND STARTS TO
RAIN. Emily turns on the wipers, speeds on, unfazed.

LUCY
I said slow down!

Emily ignores her, going eighty now, weaving through SLOWER
TRAFFIC THAT FLIES TOWARD THEM OUT OF THE GRAY HAZE. Lucy,
panicking, changes channels like a tv. Innocent child all of
a sudden.

LUCY
Please, stop, Emily, I’ll be good.

Emily ignores her, beyond apology. And Lucy’s face sharpens.
She points down the road.

LUCY
Look out!

Through the heavy rain we see –

A TRACTOR-TRAILER RIG CRASH THROUGH THE DIVIDING MEDIAN AND
JACKKNIFE, BARRELING AT THEM HEAD-ON!

Emily goes for the brake, but reconsiders, seeing the truck
for what it is: a test of faith. She welcomes it. Tightens
her grip on the wheel and goes full throttle again, right at
the truck. Lucy shrieks in terror.

LUCY
What are you doing?!

EMILY
It’s not real.

LUCY
Yes, it is!

EMILY
Are you scared?!
108.

Pedal to the floor. Inviting the head-on collision. You can
see the BIG RIG DRIVER in the cab, wrestling frantically with
the steering wheel. Lucy bracing herself, screams –

LUCY
STOP!

Emily clenches her teeth in anticipation of impact, of death.

THE CHROME GRILLWORK OF THE TRUCK RUSHES TOWARD THEM IN THAT
FINAL MOMENT, THE AIR HORN DEAFENINGLY LOUD!

But the impact never comes. In the blink of an eye the truck
is gone. Open road in front of them. It’s not raining.
Never was. The wipers SQUEAKING on a dry windshield.

Lucy sits in silence, her bag of tricks empty. Emily,
triumphant, turns to her with a vindictive smile, the
speedometer hitting a hundred.

EMILY
ARE YOU SCARED?!

She clutches Lucy’s wrist.

EMILY
I’M NOT!!

Emily jerks the car off the road, crashing through the
guardrail. Trees snapping in half across the hood as they go
careening through roadside woods and down a steep embankment
TOWARD –

EXT. LOS ANGELES RESERVOIR – DAY

The car tears through a chainlink fence and leaps off the
high embankment into the water.

INT. EMILY’S VOLVO – DAY

Impacts and sinks with frightening speed. Water rushing in
from all sides. Emily shackles Lucy with her arms as the
water rises to cover their mouths.

UNDERWATER

They stare wide-eyed at one another through the water. Hair
swirling around their faces as they sink to the bottom.

LUCY’S LIPS CURL INTO THAT CREEPY MANNISH SMILE.

As though she anticipated this. Or welcomes it. Or knows
something Emily does not. And now Emily sees what Lucy sees –
109.

A FIGURE SWIMMING DOWN TOWARD THEM THROUGH THE MURKY WATER.

A HAND pries open the door and wrestles Lucy from Emily’s
grasp. Pulls her from the car, swimming to the surface with
her. Emily is left empty-handed, stunned, alone in her
watery grave.

SHE DROWNS IN STAGES, EACH ONE DIFFICULT TO WATCH, THE
INITIAL FRANTIC FLAILINGS, THE HOPELESS PANIC, THE SLOW
DAWNING OF ACCEPTANCE, THE MUSCLES LOOSENING, ARMS FLOATING
LIMP, EYES FIXED IN A BLANK STARE.

And just when her death seems certain, a HAND grabs her by
the shoulder and yanks her out the driver’s side window…

EXT. BANK OF RESERVOIR – DAY

Ambulances. Patrol cars. Paramedics. Onshore, drying off
with a towel, talking to a uniformed officer is the PASSERBY
who saved Lucy’s life.

PASSERBY
Right through the guardrail, never
touched the brakes…

Emily goes by on a gurney, semi-conscious, oxygen mask over
her face. Paramedics checking her vitals.

Loaded into the ambulance, she meets the gaze of Lucy who is
being attended to by a female PARAMEDIC, who puts her arm
around Lucy in a maternal gesture, shielding her from the
sight of Emily as Emily did of the Sheridans.

PARAMEDIC
Don’t look at her, okay? Just don’t even
look.

Lucy nods, the innocent victim. Clinging to her protector as
she watches the ambulance take Emily Jennings away.

CUT TO:

A TELEVISION – NEWS FOOTAGE

of Lucy wrapped in a blanket sitting beside the female
paramedic in an ambulance. Shivering. Wet-hair clinging to
her face. Portrait of a child victim.

NEWS REPORTER
A remarkable story of survival this
morning as a young girl is pulled from
the Los Angeles reservoir in an accident
police are calling suspicious…
110.

INSTITUTIONAL PATIENTS watching tv in the psych hospital rec
room. Slouched on the vinyl sofa, watching without
comprehension, heavily sedated, Margaret Sheridan.

INT. WINDOWLESS ROOM – DAY

Emily talking agitatedly to a MAN IN A SUIT who is writing
something and not paying attention to her. We only see her
face at first.

EMILY
Where is she? Where’d they put her?
Foster care? Is she with a family? You
have to let me talk to them…

She snatches the pen from his hand.

EMILY
Do you hear me?!

He looks at her, quietly takes back his pen.

MAN IN SUIT
I hear you.

Continues writing. There’s a KNOCK on the door. A BAILIFF
pokes his head in.

BAILIFF
Set.

Emily stands up from the chair she’s been sitting in and we
see she’s wearing an ORANGE LA COUNTY JAIL JUMPSUIT. The
man, her public defender, instructs her as they exit:

MAN IN SUIT
Let me do the talking in here.

EXT. PRIVATE WOODED ROAD – DAY

Lucy walks a private road through sunlit forest with a kind
RETIRED COUPLE. Temporary guardians who’ve taken her in for
the weekend.

LUCY
Why can’t I live with you?

RETIRED WOMAN
Oh, darling, we’re not foster parents, we
just help out when the system’s full.
111.

RETIRED MAN
They’ll contact us, Lucy, when your
placement comes through.

The woman puts her arm around her as they walk on.

RETIRED WOMAN
Some nice family that always wanted a
little girl.

Lucy smiles, shy, innocent, quietly taking in the scenery.

INT. FOSTER PLACEMENT SERVICES – NIGHT

Two women cross the office after hours, a pudgy middle-aged
FOSTER CARE SUPERVISOR and a younger CASEWORKER who is
leaving for the day. The office reminds you of Child
Services, another tier of the child welfare system.

CASEWORKER
Going to the thing Saturday?

SUPERVISOR
I don’t know.

CASEWORKER
Oh, you should. It’ll be fun.

SUPERVISOR
Maybe I will, I don’t know. We’ll see.

CASEWORKER
Bye, Janey.

SUPERVISOR
See you tomorrow.

The Caseworker exits. The Supervisor comes down the row of
cubicles dropping files on desks. Alone. After hours. A
thankless profession.

It lands on some random desk, amid the usual backlog of mail
and paperwork. A case file like all the others. The name
typed on the label:

SHERIDAN, LUCY.

FADE OUT.[amazonjs asin=”B004BJ13X4″ locale=”JP” title=”ケース39 スペシャル・コレクターズ・エディション DVD”]




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