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Movie Chat



ALL SCRIPTS





                                     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.
                          


Case 39



Writers :   Ray Wright
Genres :   Horror  Mystery  Thriller


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