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                                    SLITHER
          
          
                                   written by
          
                                   James Gunn
          
          
          
          
                                                 September 10, 2004


          
          FADE IN:
          
          
          INT. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM - DAY
          
          CLOSEUP: A slender woman's hand writes on a chalkboard,
          in teacherly cursive.
          
          We PULL BACK to REVEAL STARLA GRANT, a stunningly beautiful
          Southern woman in her twenties, as she finishes writing
          out, "SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST"
          
          Starla glances at the classroom of high school students.
          She is a demure woman, somewhat awkward in her speaking,
          but she has the rapt attention of all the boys in the
          class.
          
                                   STARLA
                     When Darwin said 'fittest,' he
                     didn't necessarily mean the
                     strongest or the most intelligent,
                     or any one trait -- he merely meant
                     those organisms most well-suited
                     to their environment.
          
          The boys in the class look her up and down as she speaks.
          KYLIE STRUTEMYER, a pretty student, notices a BOY beside
          her drawing Starla, only without her clothes. She hits
          him. He CHUCKLES.
          
                                   STARLA
                     We humans think we're more fit,
                     more evolved, because we're smarter.
                     But we're neophytes. We've been
                     around two million years, give or
                     take. The cockroach has been here
                     for 350 million. You tell me who's
                     the more successful species.
          
          A BOY raises his hand.
          
                                     STARLA
                     Will.
          
                                   WILL
                     How's all this go with how the
                     Bible says there ain't no dinosaurs?
          
          Some of the kids LAUGH at the boy.   Starla pauses, about
          to answer, when the BELL RINGS.
          
                                   STARLA
                     We'll tackle that tomorrow...
                     Everyone bring your boxing gloves.
          
          The kids start to leave.
          
                                                                   2.
          
          EXT. MAIN STREET - DAY
          
          Celebratory banners are strung over this street, including
          one that reads: "DEER SEASON STARTS TODAY!" We're in the
          center of Wheelsy, South Carolina, a moderately depressed
          small town. Today's a big day, as HUNTERS from far and
          near crowd the streets in their massive pickups.
          
          MEN spill in and out of a gun store buying loads of
          ammunition. OLD HUNTERS with faces like prunes stand
          outside Angell's Tavern getting drunk. A MAN WITH FEW
          TEETH has a dead deer strung out across the back of his
          truck, skinning the carcass, its innards spilling loose.
          
          JACK, an older, uptight man in fancy clothes, is driving
          through town in his big old Cadillac. He comes upon a
          hunter's truck, double-parked, jamming up traffic. Jack
          jams on his HORN.
          
                                  JACK
                    Get the fuck out of the way,
                    cocksucker!
          
          Jack turns to see a MOTHER and her two CHILDREN on the
          sidewalk, listening and staring in shock.
          
                                  MOTHER
                    Mornin', Mayor.
          
          Jack smiles, a bit embarrassed. Jack notices a group of
          HUNTERS on the sidewalk, looking and pointing at something
          up in the sky.
          
          He looks up to see a small meteor plummeting toward earth.
          
          
          EXT. HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
          
          Students file out of the open door for the day. Kylie,
          Starla's pretty student, is among them. She and her FRIEND
          are looking up at the falling meteor.
          
                                  KYLIE
                    Prolly go find it later, sell it
                    on eBay.
          
          
          EXT. HORSE RANCH - DAY
          
          A RANCHER with a cleft palate turns his head to see the
          meteor, much closer to him. It's rushing down toward the
          treetops of a nearby forest.
          
                                                                  3.
          
          INT. GRANT'S OFFICE - DAY
          
          A framed wedding photograph of a very young Starla and a
          large man is sitting on a desk. The photo TREMBLES
          LIGHTLY, with the impact of the meteor hitting the earth.
          
          GRANT GRANT, a large, indelicate man in his mid forties,
          notices the photos on his desk moving. He looks up from
          his desk and out his door, where there's a GLASS WORKSHOP.
          Two WORKERS are carrying a large pane of glass, looking
          relieved they didn't drop it.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Just a tremor, boys.
          
          Grant goes back to filling out the tags of file folders
          with a Sharpie.
          
          
          EXT. POLICE STATION - DAY
          
          Four cops -- BILL PARDY, the town's young,   relaxed, and
          handsome Chief of Police, WALLY, an older,   toad-like cop,
          TREVOR, a younger, somewhat goofy cop, and   MARGARET, a
          mannish cop -- are standing stock-still in   the station
          parking lot. They CHUCKLE.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    Did ya' feel that?!
          
          They enter the station.
          
          
          INT. POLICE STATION - DAY
          
          The four cops start to remove their holsters and so forth,
          finished for the day.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    I always get afraid when that
                    happens, 'cause what if the ground
                    cracks open and you fall inside?
                    It's so hot in there you get all
                    burnt to nothin' like that --
                          (snaps)
                    Happened to my uncle Barry.
          
          Wally and Bill LAUGH at him.
          
                                  WALLY
                    Who told you that story, Trevor?
          
                                    TREVOR
                    My aunt.
          
                                                                   4.
          
                                  BILL
                    Your uncle Barry left her for a
                    stripper up in Winnsboro.
          
          Trevor looks shocked, sad.
          
          SHELBY, a slightly dim dispatcher, on his headset at the
          police operator's unit, swirls toward them, alarmed.
          
                                 SHELBY
                    Chief! We got a 'mergency over at
                    the diner!
          
          
          INT. DINER - LATER
          
          The four cops move in.   There's a COMMOTION.   Most of the
          patrons are standing.
          
                                  WAITRESS
                    Back there, Bill!
          
          The Waitress nods back through the service window, into
          the kitchen, where a large DOE is hopping around. A
          DISHWASHER stands on the counter, YELPING with fear.
          
          
          INT. DINER KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Bill, Wally, Trevor, Margaret, and the Waitress enter.
          The doe skips around.
          
                                  WAITRESS
                    She slipped in, was eating trash.
                    We seen it on TV, how they kill
                    ya'--
          
                                   BILL
                    Right.
          
                                  WAITRESS
                    So we thought we best call in.
          
          Bill spots the open rear door, and tries to herd the deer
          toward it.
          
                                  BILL
                    Come on now, honey, door's this
                    way.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    It's open season. Let's shoot
                    her.
          
                                  BILL
                    She's just scared, Margaret.
          
                                                                 5.
          
                                  WALLY
                    Also, Bill likes to take a female
                    through the back door any chance
                    he gets.
          
          Wally and Margaret LAUGH. Trevor snatches a dish-towel
          and rushes the doe, using it like a cape. The scared doe
          leaps away from him, jumping onto the kitchen counter.
          
                                  BILL
                    She ain't a bull, Trevor!
          
          The animal kicks off a pot, which hits Margaret.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    Goddamn bambi-rat!
          
          As the doe jumps to the floor, she gets her hoof wrapped
          in a telephone cord.
          
          The cord is plugged into the wall, trapping the doe in
          place. Wally, Margaret, and Trevor attempt to dive for
          the cord, but can't avoid the doe's crazy, flying hooves.
          
                                  BILL
                    Get back.
          
          The other cops step away.   Bill steps slowly toward the
          doe, speaking calmly.
          
                                  BILL
                    It's okay, sweetheart.   Nobody's
                    gonna hurt you.
          
          The doe looks at him, settling a bit.   His voice seems to
          be soothing her. Bill gets closer.
          
                                  BILL
                    That's right. Just gonna pull
                    this cord out. It's gonna be all
                    right.
          
          The cops and restaurant folk look on in awe as the doe,
          breathing heavily, becomes still. Bill scoops close past
          her, and yanks the telephone cord out of the wall.
          
          Bill smiles. Then the doe runs forward, almost knocking
          Bill over, and streaks out the back door.
          
          Bill, Wally, Margaret, and Trevor move up to the doorway
          and watch the deer skitter off into the woods beyond,
          dragging the telephone, tied to her leg.
          
                                  BILL
                    Hell, she took a phone. Now them
                    forest critters are gonna be calling
                    us all hours of the night.
          
                                                                     6.
          
          Everyone LAUGHS.   Wally pretends to be on the phone.
          
                                  WALLY
                    Chief of police there? This a
                    squirrel. Bring me a bag of
                    peanuts, motherfucker!
          
          Everyone LAUGHS some more.
          
          
          INT. GLASS WORKSHOP - EVENING
          
          Grant locks his office for the day.   His SECRETARY sees
          him going.
          
                                  SECRETARY
                    'Night, Mr. Grant.
          
                                  GRANT
                    See ya', Ashley.
          
          Grant walks across the workshop toward the door. He sees
          a crowd of WORKERS lounging around a glass-cutting table,
          LAUGHING at something.
          
          Some of them nod at Grant, and he nods back.   But he's
          completely outside their circle.
          
          
          EXT. GRANT HOUSE - NIGHT
          
          A sizable two-story suburban home.    All the lights are
          off but one.
          
                                  GRANT (O.S.)
                    So I get home today, phone's
                    ringing. It's Hank Wilcox.
          
          
          INT. GRANT DINING ROOM - NIGHT
          
          Starla and Grant eat dinner in this well-decorated room.
          As Grant chatters, Starla occasionally smiles politely at
          him.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Callin' for you. What the hell?
                    I said, 'Hank, that's a little bit
                    outta line don't'cha think, a single
                    man callin' someone's wife?' At
                    night, nonetheless.
          
          Starla is quiet, almost afraid:
          
                                                                     7.
          
                                  STARLA
                    He's teaching environmental science,
                    Grant. Probably wants to borrow
                    my lesson plans from last semester.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Oh yeah, that's what he wants to
                    borrow, this guy.
          
                                  STARLA
                    It's just a work thing.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Work thing hell, Starla. He just
                    wants to get in your pussy. Him
                    and most these other ones around
                    here. That's where their minds is
                    at, them sick fucks.
          
          Grant takes a big bite of food, stuffing his mouth.
          
                                  GRANT
                    I'll tell you, sugarplum, you're
                    lucky you got me. You're too damn
                    trusting. Without me to protect
                    you, you'd get kilt one of these
                    days.
          
          Starla nods.
          
          
          INT. GRANT MASTER BATHROOM - LATER
          
          Starla stares at herself in the mirror as she brushes her
          hair. She uses long, slow strokes, as if stalling.
          
                                  GRANT (O.S.)
                    Sugarplum, you coming into bed?
          
          Starla turns toward the door.       She doesn't say anything
          for a moment.
          
                                     STARLA
                    Just a second.
          
          Starla sets her brush down on the counter. She arranges
          it neatly beside the others. And walks into the bedroom.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Grant turns off the TV as Starla gets into bed with him.
          It's almost completely dark in here.
          
          Grant crawls on top of Starla. He kisses her and grabs
          her in a way not meant to be rough, but is utterly without
          grace.
          
                                                                  8.
          
          After doing this for a few moments, Starla starts to push
          him off her.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Grant, no -- I'm sorry, I'm just --
                    I'm not in the mood.
          
          Grant is on top of her, breathing a little too heavy.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Come on, baby, it's --
          
                                   STARLA
                    I'm sorry.   I don't just have some
                    switch.
          
                                   GRANT
                    Sure you do.
          
          Through Starla's nightgown, Grant pretends to flick one
          of her nipples.
          
                                   GRANT
                    Flip.
          
          Then the other.
          
                                   GRANT
                    Flip.
          
                                  STARLA
                    That's disrespectful.
          
          Grant, peeved, gets off of her. He sits on the edge of
          the bed for a moment, in silence. Starla looks afraid.
          
                                  GRANT
                    When are you in the mood, exactly?
                    Seems to me that mood's as rare as
                    winnin' the Goddamn lotto.
          
          Grant grabs his slacks off the valet and starts putting
          them on.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Where are you going?
          
                                  GRANT
                    I'm just some big clown to you,
                    ain't I?
          
                                  STARLA
                    That's not true -- Where are you-?
          
                                   GRANT
                    Out.
          
                                                                9.
          
          INT. HENENLOTTER'S SPORTS BAR - LATER
          
          Grant sits at the bar, knocking back a shot of tequila.
          He's getting drunk. He taps his glass.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Hit me again there, killer.
          
          The BARKEEP fills his drink.
          
                                  BARKEEP
                    Hey, Grant, how's it you come to
                    have the same last name as first?
          
                                  GRANT
                    Parents thought it sounded pleasant,
                    I s'pose. Joke on me, ain't it?
          
          Grant notices a woman with a lot of makeup -- BRENDA
          GUTIERREZ -- staring at him from across the bar, smoking
          a cigarette. Grant stares at her, trying to figure out
          who she is. She slides off her stool.
          
          She sashays toward him. She props herself on the stool
          beside him, leans drunkenly in toward him.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Megan Halesy' little sister.
          
                                   GRANT
                    Shit.   You're kidding me.
          
                                      BRENDA
                    Nope.   Brenda!
          
                                  GRANT
                    Hell, you were --
          
          Grant holds his hand only so high.
          
                                 BRENDA
                    I was! And I'll tell you somethin',
                    Grant Grant. I's in love with
                    you.
          
          Grant stares at her.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    My sister Megan, she's a big fat
                    cow. Was then, even more so now.
                    I'd be thinking, what'd you see in
                    her ain't in me?
          
                                  GRANT
                    Shit, girl, you couldn't'a been
                    eleven.
          
                                                                  10.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Hell, I was game!
          
          She LAUGHS. So does Grant. He stares at her,
          contemplating sinful things. He nods at her wedding ring.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Who's the lucky fella?
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Fuck lucky. Never marry a damn
                    half-Mexican.
          
                                     GRANT
                    Already ain't.     Married a gal named --
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Starla Covington. Don't be
                    ignorant. Everyone knows that.
                    Fucking prom queen.
          
          Grant thinks.
          
                                     GRANT
                    Yeah.
          
          Grant finishes his drink, and gets up to go.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Where you goin'?
          
          Grant speaks more loudly than need be:
          
                                  GRANT
                    Starla, she gets real worried 'bout
                    me I stay out too late. Loves me
                    too much, that one.
          
          He glances around to see if people have heard, and stumbles
          out.
          
          
          EXT. SHADED CREEK - LATER
          
          Grant sits on a boulder beside a creek, looking miserable,
          downing a six pack.
          
          He throws an empty can into the creek, when he glances
          down and sees particles flowing down the river.
          
          Grant slides off the boulder. He kneels and examines the
          particles. They shimmer in the moonbeams coming down
          between the trees.
          
          Grant peers up the creek from where the particles are
          coming.
          
                                                                  11.
          
          He sees a gap on the edge of the creek, where water
          splashes and is diverted in streamlets down the hill.
          
          He approaches the spot, and comes upon a small crater on
          the side of the creek. The meteorite is inside the crater,
          but it's cracked into pieces. The rock seems almost
          organic, like a shell. The shimmery specks are part of
          the shell itself, flecking off into the creek and rushing
          downstream.
          
          Grant crouches. He touches the meteorite, and feels some
          sort of goo inside it. It's sticky.
          
          He notices a strip of the same slime leading out of the
          crater itself and into the woods.
          
          Grant, curiously, slowly, follows the slimy trail.
          
          He comes to a flurry of colorful wild flowers. Something
          is rustling the flowers ever so slightly. He moves in
          closer.
          
          A gelatinous yellow organism slithers sluggishly between
          the flowers. The organism is a mound a few inches high,
          gross and veiny, yet as colorful as the flowers around
          it. A small cavity on the apex of the organism constricts
          and expands lightly. I guess it's not worth keeping secret
          that this thing looks a tad like a bright yellow vagina.
          
                                   GRANT
                    What the...?
          
          Grant is a little freaked-out by this thing, even
          frightened. He looks around for someone else.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Hey, anybody 'round here?   'Lo?
          
          No one answers. Grant looks down at the organism, unsure.
          He picks up a tree branch.
          
          Grant softly prods the organism with the pointy end of
          the branch.
          
          Nothing happens.
          
          He does it again.   The thing pulses a little, and surges
          toward Grant.
          
          Grand pokes it again.
          
          A small, thin quill -- a SPORE -- emerges from the cavity
          in the center of the organism. The spore is quivering
          and, as it trembles upward, little bulbed spurs pop up as
          well.
          
          Grant slowly bends down to look at it when --
          
                                                                12.
          
          The SPORE suddenly SHOOTS OUT.   It strikes Grant in the
          stomach.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Ow!   Fuck!
          
          Grant yanks up his shirt, looking at a wound on his
          abdomen. He watches as the spore quivers and disappears
          inside him.
          
          He clutches his stomach, SCREAMS in agony. He falls back
          into the colorful flowers. His body convulses.
          
                                                        MATCH CUT TO:
          
          
          CAT SCAN SHOT - INT. GRANT'S BODY
          
          We see the insides of Grant's body, as if sliced in half.
          We ZOOM IN on the little spore, which is jittering up
          through his body, and into his neck.
          
          The spore keys into the base of Grant's cerebellum, and
          his entire brain crackles with a WHITE ELECTRICAL ENERGY.
          
          
          BACK TO SCENE
          
          Grant freezes in place, his fingers contorted up in front
          of him, silent. He's utterly still, a wax corpse.
          
          A hippie CAMPING COUPLE run into the area, looking for
          the source of the screams. The man looks down at the
          frozen Grant.
          
                                  CAMPER
                    Over here!
          
          The Camper crouches down beside him.
          
                                 CAMPER
                    Hey, man. You all right?...
                    Dude?... Oh shit.
          
          The Camper turns from Grant to his girlfriend.
          
                                  CAMPER
                    I think he's d --
          
          Grant GASPS suddenly, sitting up and grabbing the man,
          like a drowning man popping up above water. The Camper
          YELPS and jumps back. Grant sweats and heaves, trying to
          speak, but hardly can --
          
                                  GRANT
                    It's taking... my... brain.
          
                                                                  13.
          
                                  CAMPER
                    Buddy?
          
          Grant's eyes glaze over, and he eases off. He heaves
          there, momentarily confused. His eyes dart around, as if
          seeing his surroundings for the first time. Grant stands.
          
                                  CAMPER
                    You all right, man?
          
          Grant looks down curiously at the camper. Then he turns
          and stumbles away from them, out of the forest.
          
                                  CAMPER
                    That might of been a stroke, buddy.
                    You better take it easy.
          
          
          INT. GRANT'S PICKUP - DAWN
          
          Grant drives down the road in his luxury pickup truck,
          sweating and blinking rapidly.
          
          
          EXT. GRANT HOUSE - MORNING
          
          Grant steps out of the truck in his driveway, when he
          hears --
          
                                  NEIGHBOR (O.S.)
                    Hey ya', Grant.
          
          Grant swings his head toward his NEIGHBOR, who is taking
          a happy BEAGLE for a morning walk.
          
                                  NEIGHBOR
                    What were ya', night-fishing again?
                    You catch anything?
          
                                  GRANT
                    I caught a little somethin', yeah.
          
          Grant walks inside his house.
          
          
          INT. GRANT FOYER - MORNING
          
          Grant looks around the foyer.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - MORNING
          
          Grant creeps into the bedroom, looking around.   We can
          hear the SHOWER RUNNING.
          
          Grant spots his face in a mirror above the dresser. He
          moves in close to the mirror, and stares at his own image.
          
                                                                  14.
          
          He pulls on his face a little, his eyes brimming with
          excitement. He smiles at himself.
          
          Grant looks toward the open bathroom door, where he hears
          the running shower. He creeps toward it.
          
          Grant peeks around the doorway. Starla is in the shower,
          soaping herself. She looks beautiful there. Grant tilts
          his head to the side like a dog. He watches her,
          mesmerized, even moved.
          
          
          INT.   GRANT BATHROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla is wearing a white towel and brushing her wet hair
          in the foggy bathroom mirror when she hears Air Supply's
          EVERY WOMAN IN THE WORLD coming from the bedroom. She's
          struck by it.
          
          She moves toward the door.   Opens it.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - MORNING
          
          The shades are drawn, darkening the room. A few candles
          have been lit. Grant is standing there, mostly in
          silhouette. He's silent, and he doesn't move.
          
                                   GRANT
                     Hey there, sugarplum.
          
          Starla looks at him, stirred.
          
                                   STARLA
                     Haven't heard this for a while.
          
          Grant walks toward her. He takes her hand in his own,
          lifting it beside him. He wraps his other arm around her
          waist. And he slow dances with her. Starla dances too,
          a bit hesitantly, a bit shy.
          
                                   STARLA
                     I never danced in a towel before.
          
                                   GRANT
                     Wearing white, just like on our...
                     wedding day. I remember it.
          
          Starla nods.
          
                                   GRANT
                     I'm sorry about last night. I get
                     a little insecure sometimes, want
                     to hold on too tight. It's just
                     'cause you're precious to me,
                     Starla.
                                   (MORE)
          
                                                                15.
          
                                  GRANT (CONT'D)
                    But I swear to God, baby, I'm
                    turning over a new Goddamn leaf.
                    Okay?
          
          Starla nods, touched.    Grant's eyes are teary.
          
                                  GRANT
                    I love you, sugarplum.
          
          Starla and Grant kiss, tenderly.
          
          Grant falls to his knees in front of her. He runs his
          hand over the curve of her hip, her thigh, her buttock,
          with as much fascination as lust. He pushes Starla back
          onto the bed.
          
          He lifts her leg, and kisses it, nibbles on it a little,
          scrapes his teeth on it. Starla is surprised by this,
          but enjoys it too: it's probably the most foreplay she's
          had in years.
          
          Grant crawls on top of her, runs his hands over her
          breasts, her face. Starla's hand moves over Grant's back,
          and to his stomach. When she stops, startled.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Grant, what's that?
          
          She gazes down at the wound between them, on Grant's bare
          abdomen, where the spore entered him. The wound is
          yellowish, and surrounded by veins.
          
          Grant, embarrassed, pulls his shirt down.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Just a little bug bite is all.
          
          Grant kisses and munches on Starla as she lies back on
          the bed, enjoying it.
          
          O.S. HUMMING.
          
                                                             FADE TO:
          
          
          INT. TEACHER'S LOUNGE - DAY
          
          Starla is HUMMING Every Woman in the World as she drops
          coins into a soda machine and chooses Tab. JANENE, a
          heavyset black teacher, notices this.
          
                                  JANENE
                    What are you so smiley about, girl?
          
                                    STARLA
                    Oh, nothin'.
          
                                                                  16.
          
          Starla grabs her soda and sits down with Janene.   Janene
          just stares.
          
                                   STARLA
                     Just, Grant and I had a nice
                     morning. It's been a while.
          
                                   JANENE
                     Oh! You got that fresh-fucked
                     glow, don't you?
          
                                    STARLA
                     Janene.
          
                                    JANENE
                     You slut.
          
                                    STARLA
                     Hush.
          
                                    JANENE
                     No shame.   You're a married woman.
          
                                   STARLA
                     He was... considerate. Maybe this
                     is the start of a real change in
                     Grant.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BATHROOM - DAY
          
          Grant is holding up his shirt, and looking at his torso.
          The wound on his side is blackened and gangrenous, and is
          starting to puff up into a veiny little spout. A fuzzy
          bluish moss is growing in the crevices around the spout.
          A pus oozes out.
          
          Grant looks concerned. He squirts some Neosporin onto
          his fingers. He massages it slowly into the wound.
          
          
          INT.   GRANT KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Grant opens the refrigerator door and rummages around
          inside. He pulls out some bread. Some cheese.
          
          He opens the meat drawer. It's replete with cold cuts.
          He pulls out some Oscar Mayer baloney. Turkey. Pastrami
          and salami. He grabs every type of meat there is.
          
          
          MOMENTS LATER
          
          Grant assembles a sandwich at the table. Two pieces of
          bread and some cheese. He starts putting the meat on.
          But he can't stop, piling more and more on until he has a
          little sandwich tower.
          
                                                                  17.
          
          He looks at it. Something seems off about it. He removes
          the cheese. Better. And then the bread. Even better.
          He stares at what is now simply a tower of cold cuts.
          
                                     GRANT
                    Meat.
          
          After contemplating it for a moment, Grant stands and
          carries off the pile of meat.
          
          
          INT. GRANT GARAGE - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Grant enters the garage through a door from the FOYER.
          He flips the lights on with his shoulder. He looks around.
          
          Grant spots an old file cabinet. He sets the tower of
          meat down on the oily floor and opens a drawer. It's
          filled with files. He closes that drawer, and opens
          another. It has manila file folders, but no files.
          
          Grant takes out the folders. He uses a Sharpie to write
          out "BALONEY" on a folder. Then he stuffs all the baloney
          into the folder and files it away.
          
          He starts writing out "PASTRAMI".
          
          
          LATER
          
          Grant flips through his alphabetically-filed meat: from
          "BALONEY" through "TURKEY." But he doesn't look satisfied.
          
          
          INT. SUPERMARKET - LATER
          
          Grant stands beside the butcher's counter with a shopping
          cart. He peers dreamily in through the glass at the rows
          of steaks, pork chops, and so on.
          
                                     GRANT
                    Meat.
          
                                  BUTCHER
                    Howdy, Mr. Grant. You goin' to
                    the Deer Cheer this weekend?
          
          Grant snaps out of his reverie.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Sure thing, killer.
          
                                  BUTCHER
                    What can I do you for?
          
                                                                18.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Thinkin' 'bout getting me a couple
                    of these big ol' rib eyes.
          
                                  BUTCHER
                    How many you need?
          
          Grant stares at the steaks.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Well... having us a little dinner
                    party... I'd say... eight. No,
                    no... fourteen...
          
          The Butcher nods, starts to grab steaks.   Grant CHUCKLES.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Hell, what am I holding back for?
                    Why don't you just give me
                    everything you got here?
          
                                  BUTCHER
                    All the rib eyes?
          
                                  GRANT
                    Yep. And while you're at it, get
                    me a few of them chicken wings...
                    some pork loins... and, ooo, what's
                    this here? Osso buco?...
          
          
          EXT. GRANT HOME - LATER
          
          Grant backs his pickup toward the garage. Meat is piled
          into the bed. Wrapped packages of meat fill the seats
          around him.
          
          
          INT. GRANT GARAGE - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Grant stands in the garage, tearing open the packing, and
          letting the loose meat slide into piles onto the floor,
          muttering:
          
                                    GRANT
                    Meat.
          
          
          MOMENTS LATER
          
          Grant rolls slabs of beef over the dirty floor and into a
          pile.
          
          SOMETHING skitters across the garage and around the pile.
          Grant peers around the pile and sees a RAT nibbling on
          some ribs. He realizes something.
          
                                                                  19.
          
                                     GRANT
                     You're meat.
          
          The rat moves away from Grant. But Grant snaps out his
          arm with alarming speed, snatching the rat. It SQUEAKS
          and wriggles in his grip, tearing and biting at him, trying
          to get free.
          
          Grant snaps its neck, and tosses the dead rat onto the
          pile of meat. Continues on.
          
          
          EXT. GRANT GARAGE - NIGHT
          
          Starla pulls into the driveway.     She presses the button
          on her garage door opener.
          
          The door SHUDDERS but stays closed.    Starla's confused.
          
          She gets out of the car and examines the door. She looks
          down and sees a new padlock, locking the door to the cement
          driveway with bolts on both sides.
          
          
          INT. GRANT FOYER - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla enters the house. She heads toward a door along
          the wall that leads to the garage. There's a shiny new
          lock on that door as well. She touches it, baffled.
          
          She turns to see Grant standing at the end of the foyer.
          He's in shadows, a little spooky in the darkness.
          
                                     GRANT
                     Welcome home.
          
                                   STARLA
                     Grant? Why are there -- did you
                     put locks on the garage?
          
          Pause.   No answer.
          
                                   STARLA
                     You drilled into the driveway.
          
          Grant walks into the light.
          
                                   GRANT
                     Yeahhhh. I'm sorry. I just got
                     so excited about... your present.
          
                                     STARLA
                     My present?
          
                                   GRANT
                     You're my princess, aren't you?
          
                                                                20.
          
                                   STARLA
                    Okay.
          
                                  GRANT
                    I got a super-special birthday
                    present for you this year. I
                    couldn't risk you finding it, so I
                    had to put them locks on the doors.
          
          Pause.
          
                                   STARLA
                    All right... I have to clean up
                    before dinner.
          
          Grant smiles at her. Starla confused, tries to smile
          back, then turns and heads up the stairs. Grant watches
          Starla's fine form from behind, somewhat lustily. But
          his leering gaze gradually turns into something darker,
          and he has a realization.
          
                                   GRANT
                    You're meat.
          
          Starla turns.
          
                                   STARLA
                    What?
          
          Grant snaps himself out of it.
          
                                   GRANT
                    Oh, nothin'.   Nothin'.   See you in
                    a sec.
          
          Starla smiles uneasily, and heads on upstairs.
          
          
          EXT. GRANT HOME - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Grant steps onto the front porch to get some air. He's
          blinking and seems a little dizzy. He gazes around the
          neighborhood:
          
          Down the way, a BOY in a little league uniform and his
          MOTHER get out of their car and walk toward the front
          door.
          
          Across the street, THROUGH A KITCHEN WINDOW, a PLUMP MAN
          and his WIFE are eating dinner.
          
          At another home, a SHORT MAN steps on a stepladder,
          changing the dome light on his porch.
          
          Grant stares at these individuals, looking like an animal
          ready to lunge at its prey, fighting the urge.
          
                                                               21.
          
                                      GRANT
                     Meat.
          
          He HEARS a BARKING. Grant turns to see the beagle next
          door, tied to the tree, YAPPING at him.
          
          Grant looks around to make sure no one's watching.
          
          
          EXT. GRANT HOME - MORNING
          
          Starla walks to get the paper in her robe, and she sees a
          BOY, aged thirteen or so, stapling a LOST: REWARD flyer
          to a telephone pole, with a picture of the beagle.
          
                                      STARLA
                     Roscoe's gone?
          
          The Boy's face is streaked from a long night of crying.
          
                                   BOY
                     You haven't seen him, have you?
          
          Starla shakes her head.
          
                                   STARLA
                     I'm sure he'll show up, Tim.
          
          The Boy nods, and walks to the next telephone pole to put
          up another flyer.
          
          
          EXT. SHADED FOREST - DAY
          
          Grant moves up a hill, between trees, looking around for
          something. He comes to a stop, trying to remember which
          way to go. He does, and moves on.
          
          
          EXT.   OLD BARN - LATER
          
          Grant comes upon an old wooden barn. The structure is
          maybe a hundred years old, and long abandoned. It's
          spattered with graffiti. Grant stares at it.
          
          
          MOMENTS LATER
          
          Grant gathers large fronds and other foliage in his arms.
          
          
          INT.   OLD BARN - LATER
          
          Grant spreads the plant life over the floor of the barn.
          He arranges it, fluffs it there. His actions are very
          animal-like when no one's around. He seems to be making
          a nest. He sits back, looks at it.
          
                                                                 22.
          
          He's happy.
          
                                                             FADE TO:
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Starla, dressed in her weekend finery, is looking in the
          mirror above her dresser, and putting on earrings.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Grant, are you almost ready?
          
          
          INT. GRANT MASTER BATHROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Grant looks ill. He is leaning over the sink, sweating,
          clutching his stomach.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Yeah, hon, I'll be right there!
          
          Grant turns and pushes open his door.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Grant sees Starla sitting on the edge of the bed, her
          back to him, as she puts on her nylons. She doesn't know
          he's there.
          
          Grant stares at her, demented, and moves slowly toward
          her, stalking her.
          
          Something starts to push Grant's shirt up at his stomach,
          like a bellybutton erection. The thing slips out of his
          shirt -- a writhing, pointy tubule, aiming toward Starla's
          back.
          
          Grant looks at the nape of Starla's neck.    Her delicate
          ear. He becomes confused; he softens.
          
          Starla turns to see Grant, his body now turned away from
          her. He's trying to push the tubule back down.
          
                                  STARLA
                    What are you doing?
          
                                     GRANT
                    You're pretty.
          
          Starla nods, confused by his behavior.
          
                                                               23.
          
          EXT. WHEELSY SADDLE LODGE - LATER
          
          A banner hangs across the front of the lodge, "DEER CHEER
          '05" -- the first Friday of deer season in Wheelsy.
          Inflatable deer totems decorate the front of the wooden
          lodge. RAMBUNCTIOUS MUSIC comes from inside. Partyers
          enter.
          
          Grant and Starla step out of his truck. As they do, one
          of Starla's students, Will, sees her and waves. Starla
          waves back.
          
          Grant notices this and grabs Starla's arm, a bit too hard,
          pulling her back.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Who's that?
          
                                  STARLA
                    It's just one of my students, Grant.
          
          Grant stares at the boy with distrust, and ushers Starla
          towards the lodge.
          
          Bill, Trevor and Margaret are hanging out on a large rock
          outside the entranceway, drinking beer. Bill watches
          Grant and Starla cross the lot. Trevor sees this.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    What's she see in that douchebag?
          
                                  BILL
                    That's the mystery of the ages
                    there, Trev. Starla was seventeen
                    when they got engaged. He was,
                    like, in his thirties. No one
                    even knew they were goin' out till
                    she had that ring on her finger.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    Ain't no mystery to it. She's
                    raised in them shanties off St.
                    Luc. Dirt-poor.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    Gold-digger, huh?
          
                                  BILL
                    Hell, you don't know that, Margaret.
          
          Margaret shrugs, BELCHES. Jack, the mayor, with his WIFE,
          stops beside them after she does, staring at her.
          
                                  JACK
                    Bill, you're Chief of police now.
                                  (MORE)
          
                                                                 24.
          
                                  JACK (CONT'D)
                    Comes with some Goddamn
                    responsibility, like keeping your
                    people in line.
          
                                  BILL
                    You're right, Jack.    Margaret,
                    you're fired.
          
          Margaret and Trevor LAUGH. Jack shakes his head with
          disdain, and enters the party.
          
          
          INT. WHEELSY SADDLE LODGE - NIGHT
          
          Wheelsy citizens celebrate.   A country-western band PLAYS.
          Couples two-step.
          
          Starla and Grant move through the party. Grant looks
          around at the dancing and laughing bodies. Starla sees
          her friend from school.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Janene!
          
          Janene LAUGHS heartily and the two embrace
          
                                  JANENE
                    Hey, Grant.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Why don't you two catch up? I'll
                    go see what the boys are doing.
          
          Starla nods. She and Janene watch as Grant moves off
          through the crowd.
          
                                  STARLA
                    He's been strange the past couple
                    days.
          
          
          EXT. WHEELSY SADDLE LODGE - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Grant steps outside, and looks around.
          
          Across the parking lot is a playground. Two YOUNG CHILDREN
          are spinning on a little carousel there.
          
          Grant starts toward them.
          
          
          EXT. SADDLE LODGE PLAYGROUND - NIGHT
          
          The Children GIGGLE, unaware of Grant inching up on them.
          Grant gets closer, excited, when he hears:
          
                                                                 25.
          
                                  BRENDA (O.S.)
                    Hey there, handsome.
          
          Grant turns and see Brenda Gutierrez standing there.
          Once again, she's very drunk.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Must be fate, us meeting again
                    like this.
          
          Grant smiles.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Well, you might be right...
          
          Grant sees if anyone's watching.   He circles around her.
          
                                  GRANT
                    You're lookin' awful pretty.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Shut up.
          
          Brenda SNICKERS.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Where's the old half-Mexican?
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Took the kids to his Mom's for the
                    weekend.
          
          Grant smiles.
          
          
          EXT. FOREST - NIGHT
          
          Grant holds Brenda's hand, and he pulls her between the
          trees. She GIGGLES.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Where you takin' me, you bad boy!
          
          Grant stops in a secluded place, beside the creek, looking
          around. No one's there. He turns toward her, smiles.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Take off your shirt, doll.
          
          Brenda looks at him, confused.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Guess it's hard to explain how
                    amazin' a human brain is to someone
                    who that's all they know.
          
                                                                   26.
          
                                    BRENDA
                    What?
          
                                  GRANT
                    Stuff you can never imagine.
                    Feelings. Big thoughts. And love.
                    Yeah. I'm inclined to parlay it
                    into somethin' more. So, go ahead
                    there, beautiful, and take off
                    your shirt.
          
          Brenda, though startled, leans back on a boulder and starts
          unbuttoning her blouse. After a moment, she looks at
          Grant, trying to be sexy while she does it. Grant looks
          at her in her bra.
          
                                    GRANT
                    Nice.
          
          Grant unbuttons his shirt as well.    As he removes it
          completely, he turns toward her.
          
          Brenda sees the wound on his stomach has blossomed into a
          veiny, blue-moss-encrusted yellow spout, huge and pulsing.
          
                                    BRENDA
                    Grant!?    What -- ?!
          
          Grant grabs her.    She tries to push his arms away.
          
                                    BRENDA
                    No, no, we --
          
          Brenda gets up, trying to run away. But Grant grabs her
          necklace, yanking her back. The necklace snaps and falls
          into the creek beside them.
          
          Grant pins Brenda's wrists against the rock.    She struggles
          to get free.
          
          Brenda's eyes widen as she looks down to see the writhing,
          tentacle-like tubule emerge from Grant's wound. She
          SCREAMS.
          
          Grant shoves his hand over her mouth, shutting her up.
          He's extremely strong. She watches as the tubule twitches,
          feeling its way like a blind snake.
          
          The tubule comes to rest on her abdomen. Tears stream
          down from Brenda's eyes. It pushes into her flesh.
          
          Brenda goes into convulsions. Something -- a fluid --
          pumps through the tubule and into Brenda.
          
          Grant watches Brenda without emotion as her body spasms
          there beside him.
          
                                                                27.
          
          Then she falls back, unconscious.   The tubule retracts
          into Grant's torso.
          
          
          EXT. WHEELSY SADDLE LODGE BACK PORCH - NIGHT
          
          Starla is leaning over a wooden rail, looking at the lights
          of the town below. She turns to see Bill lean on the
          rail beside her. She looks genuinely happy.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Hey, Bill!
          
          Starla catches herself, and looks around to see if Grant
          is watching.
          
                                 BILL
                    Don't worry. The lurker ain't
                    around. I checked.
          
                                  STARLA
                    That's not funny.
          
                                  BILL
                    Sorry.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Whatcha' doin'?
          
                                  BILL
                    Tryin' to get a buzz on. But I'm
                    too buff. Too much muscle mass.
          
          Starla LAUGHS.
          
                                  BILL
                    What you up to?
          
                                  STARLA
                    Just checking out the lights.
          
          Bill and Starla look out over the city together.
          
                                  BILL
                    Pretty, ain't they?
          
                                  STARLA
                    I don't know. I've seen them so
                    many times before. I guess any
                    spot gets boring after awhile.
          
                                  BILL
                    Well that's only if you're in the
                    wrong spot.
          
          Starla looks at him.
          
                                                                     28.
          
                                    BILL
                      There's a place over there on the
                      bluffs. When the fog is just right,
                      like tonight, the lights of Main
                      look like a kaleidoscope.
          
                                      STARLA
                      Oh, yeah?
          
                                    BILL
                      Mm hm. But only a few folks know
                      how to get there. Wally. Rollo
                      Linkski coulda taken you, but
                      'course he got hit by that train.
                      Me.
          
                                    STARLA
                      I'll get Wally to show me sometime
                      then.
          
            Starla LAUGHS out loud.   So does Bill.
          
                                    BILL
                      Oh, will you now?
          
                  STARLA                            GRANT (O.S.)
          Or Rollo's ghost.               Starla.
          
            They turn to see Grant approaching.     He's a mess.   His
            pants are streaked with mud.
          
                                    STARLA
                      Grant, where'd you go?
          
                                      BILL
                      Hey, Grant.
          
            Grant eyes Bill with suspicion.    He grabs Starla.
          
                                    GRANT
                      You ready, sugarplum?
          
            Starla nods.   She looks at Bill and mouths:
          
                                      STARLA
                      Bye.
          
            Bill watches Grant and Starla head off, as he downs the
            rest of his beer. Wally walks up beside him.
          
                                    WALLY
                      Surprised you're able to lift a
                      mug after carrying that torch for
                      so long.
          
                                                                 29.
          
                                  BILL
                    Hey, Wally. Glad you're here.
                    There was something I wanted to
                    tell you...
          
          Bill SNAPS his fingers, trying to remember.
          
                                     WALLY
                    What?
          
                                     BILL
                    Oh yeah.     Fuck you, fat ass.
          
          They both LAUGH.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - LATER
          
          Starla lies on her side, awake. She's staring at the
          dirt on Grant's pants, which are hung over a valet. Grant
          holds her from behind, sleeping peacefully.
          
                                                              FADE TO:
          
          
          INT. WHEELSY POLICE STATION - DAY
          
          The front door of the precinct opens, and a confused
          Mexican MAN walks inside. He is trying to keep from
          crying. Three half-naked children follow him, clutching
          onto his clothes. The man walks slowly through the office,
          looking around for help.
          
          Margaret sees him from her desk.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    Sir, may I help -- ?
          
                                  BRENDA'S HUSBAND
                    My wife, Brenda. I think something
                    has happened to her!
          
          
          EXT. STOP SIGN - DAY
          
          Starla, in her car with groceries, comes to a stop sign.
          She looks at the telephone pole beside it and sees that
          it's covered with flyers for missing pets.
          
          
          INT. GRANT FOYER - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla enters with a shopping bag.    The lights are off.
          CREEPY MUSIC plays.
          
                                     STARLA
                    Grant?
          
                                                                  30.
          
          No answer.    Starla tries to turn on the lights, but nothing
          happens.
          
                                     STARLA
                       Damn fuse.
          
          She passes the door to the garage, noticing the lock.
          
          
          INT. GRANT KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla sets down the bags on the counter, looks around.
          
                                     STARLA
                       Grant?
          
          Again, no one's here. She sees a potted flower on the
          counter. A green INCHWORM is crawling up the stem, little
          by little. She stares at it, as if it's a portent.
          
          She hears a MOAN, coming from upstairs.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla moves slowly into this dark room, looking for her
          husband. It seems no one is here.
          
                                     STARLA
                       Grant, where are y -- ?
          
          Starla turns, when Grant POPS INTO FRAME. Starla,
          startled, SCREAMS. Grant is sick and trembling. But,
          worse, he's been transforming. There are small pustules
          all over his face.
          
                                    STARLA
                       Grant. Oh my God. What happened
                       to your -- ?
          
                                     GRANT
                       Heh. It ain't as bad as it looks,
                       sugarplum. Dr. Carl was just here.
                       I had a reaction to a bee sting.
                       He gave me a prescription. Said I
                       should be fine, in a couple days.
          
          Starla stares at him, mute and horrified.
          
                                     GRANT
                       Don't look at me like that, baby.
                       Please? I'm gonna go get my...
                       prescription filled.
          
          Grant grabs his keys off the dresser, puts them in his
          pocket, trying to pretend he doesn't hurt.
          
                                                                      31.
          
                                  STARLA
                    I'll get if for you.
          
                                       GRANT
                    No!   No.   Heh.     I'll be right back.
          
          He moves outside the door, leaving Starla, shell-shocked.
          
          
          INT. GRANT GARAGE - DAY
          
          It's too dark to see much in here, but we do see Grant
          putting meat into a garbage bag.
          
          
          EXT. GRANT HOUSE - DAY
          
          Grant looks around to make sure no one's looking, as he
          places the garbage bag full of meat into his trunk, closes
          it.
          
          
          EXT. OLD BARN - EVENING
          
          Grant moves through the forest, in massive pain, dragging
          the garbage bag.
          
          Grant comes upon the old wooden barn.
          
          
          INT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          Grant enters. It is almost completely dark.          He hears
          WEEPING. CHAINS RATTLE.
          
          Grant peers over at Brenda, mostly in silhouette, sitting
          on the nest he has made. She's chained up and MOANS
          through a mouth gag. Grant walks to her. Her body is
          horribly pear-shaped and misshapen, like some tumorous
          pregnancy. Grant pulls her gag away.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Grant? Grant, I'm hungry. I'm so
                    fuckin' hungry I think I'm gonna
                    die.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Brought you munchies.
          
          Grant pours the garbage bagful of rotting meat and dead
          animals out in front of her.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Been saving for a rainy day.
          
          CLOSEUP: Brenda's face, still mostly in darkness. She
          stares at the meat, simultaneously excited and repulsed.
          
                                                                 32.
          
          She looks up at Grant.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Grant, I'm sorry if I did something
                    wrong! I think I gotta -- I think
                    I should go to a hospital!
          
          Grant doesn't respond.    Brenda's eyes trail back down to
          the meat.
          
          Brenda's hand reaches out, and grabs a maggot-infested
          pork chop, pulling it toward her.
          
          We HEAR, but can barely see, Brenda CHOWING DOWN on the
          raw pork in the nearly pitch black barn.
          
          
          INT. GRANT'S TRUCK - LATER
          
          Grant gets into his pickup; he trembles and YELPS as his
          body is wracked with pain and his body starts to transform
          even more.
          
          
          INT. GRANT FOYER - NIGHT
          
          There's a HARD KNOCKING on Starla's door. She swings it
          open to see Bill and Wally standing there, worried.
          
          Wally tries to see inside.
          
                                     WALLY
                    Grant around?
          
                                   STARLA
                    No.   He went to the pharmacy.
          
                                     WALLY
                    Pharmacy?
          
                                  STARLA
                    He's got a... rash.
          
          Bill and Wally exchange a glance -- maybe this means
          something. Starla can see Trevor and Margaret, across
          the street, talking to another neighbor.
          
                                  BILL
                    Starla, you know Brenda Gutierrez?
          
          Starla shakes her head.
          
                                  BILL
                    Maybe she's ever called the house,
                    or -- ?
          
                                                                  33.
          
                                     STARLA
                    No.   What...?
          
                                  BILL
                    She disappeared Friday night. We
                    got reason to believe foul play
                    might be involved.
          
                                  WALLY
                    Some kids found her necklace near
                    Tipper Creek, as well as what might
                    be her blood on a rock.
          
                                  BILL
                    The problem, Starla, is, the last
                    person anyone saw her talking to
                    was Grant.
          
          Starla looks at him, surprised.
          
                                  BILL
                    The Deer Cheer. And Wally and me,
                    we also saw him that night, with
                    mud all over his slacks.
          
          Bill hands her his card.
          
                                  BILL
                    Have him call me right away, okay?
          
          Starla nods, distraught. Bill tries to smile kindly before
          he and Wally move out and off to canvas other neighbors'
          homes.
          
          Starla closes the door behind her, distraught, panicked.
          
          She looks at the foyer door, leading into the garage.
          Her eyes fall down to the floor, where she sees what
          appears to be blood drop stains near the door.
          
          She gains courage, and moves off toward --
          
          
          INT. GRANT CLOSET - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla throws open this door. She looks at old, unused
          sports equipment. She grabs an aluminum baseball bat.
          
          
          INT. GRANT FOYER - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla holds the aluminum bat, standing in front of the
          door to the garage. She hesitates a moment. But then
          she swings the bat at the lock on the door.
          
          She swings it again, GRUNTING.
          
                                                                 34.
          
          And again.
          
          Finally, the lock is knocked off the wooden door.
          
          Starla pushes away the useless lock, letting it fall to
          the floor.
          
          Starla steels herself, and slowly pushes open the door
          into the dark garage. As she does, the horrendous stench
          hits her. Terrified, she covers her face with her hand,
          and enters.
          
          
          INT. GRANT GARAGE - NIGHT
          
          Starla sees what's there: not only a huge stockpile of
          rotten meat, but a dozen dead pets. They are neatly
          divided into various categories, and labeled: Pork, Ground
          Beef, Cats, Dogs. The walls and doorway have been heavily
          insulated so the smell doesn't sink into the home. She
          looks on the floor and sees poor, dead Roscoe the beagle,
          his tongue dangling out.
          
          Starla starts to CRY.
          
          She moves quickly back inside.
          
          
          INT. GRANT LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla runs to the front picture window, and looks out
          onto the street. She can't see any of the cops.
          
          She turns from the window and picks up a cordless phone.
          She looks at the card Bill gave her, and dials the number.
          The phone RINGS, and:
          
                                     SHERRY (O.S.)
                       You've reached Chief Pardy at the
                       Wheelsy Police Department. Please
                       leave a message and your call will
                       be returned as soon as possible.
          
          There's a BEEP.    Starla tries to speak through her SOBS,
          pacing:
          
                                     STARLA
                       Bill, it's Starla!
          
          As Starla passes the large picture window, she doesn't
          see Grant staring in at her, his face now that of some
          diseased cephalopod.
          
                                     STARLA
                       It's -- I think you better come
                       over right away -- I think Grant's
                       sick, he --
          
                                                                  35.
          
          Starla turns to see the monstrous Grant through the window.
          
          She just stops.   They stare at each other for a moment.
          
          And then Grant lets out a FURIOUS WAIL.
          
          Starla turns and dashes toward the back of the house.
          
          Grant disappears from the window.
          
          
          INT. GRANT FOYER - NIGHT
          
          As Starla runs through here, she looks behind her at the
          front door to make sure Grant isn't following.
          
          
          INT. GRANT HALL - NIGHT
          
          She runs past a wall of family photos.
          
          
          INT. GRANT FAMILY ROOM - NIGHT
          
          Starla sees the door on the rear of the house, leading to
          the backyard.
          
          She arrives at it, and flings it open --
          
          Grant is there.
          
          He lunges onto her. Starla SCREAMS and drops the cordless
          phone, just as it starts RINGING. Grant crawls on top of
          her body. Starla reaches for the ringing phone, but he
          pins her hands above her head. He looks into her eyes.
          He's CRYING. His voice and breath are sick and raspy.
          
                                  GRANT
                    Why'd you betray me, sugarplum?!
          
                                     STARLA
                    Grant, no!
          
                                     GRANT
                    I loved you.     I loved --
          
                                  STARLA
                    Grant, you're sick!
          
          Grant is about to cry.
          
                                  GRANT
                    I wanted you by my side, but you --
                    I can't trust you now!
          
          Starla's WEEPING, confused. Grant rips his shirt open.
          Starla looks down to see the tubule protruding from the
          
                                                                36.
          
          now enormous yellow spore on Grant's chest. The tubule
          feels over Starla's blouse, and then slips beneath it.
          It starts to poke into her skin.
          
                                   STARLA
                    Noooo!
          
          Starla grabs the leg of a coffee table beside her. She
          SLAMS the table into Grant's head. This hurts and
          surprises him sufficiently to let Starla get out from
          under him.
          
          Starla grabs the cordless phone, which is no longer
          ringing, and scurries behind the couch. She dials 9-1-1.
          
          Grant thrusts the couch aside.
          
          Starla crawls away again, when Grant attacks her from
          behind. He wraps his arm around her neck, pulling her
          back. He looks down at her with his sick, angry eyes, as
          his arm -- now apparently jointless -- curls around her
          like a snake.
          
          Starla gasps for air. Her face turns purple.   She hears
          a SLAMMING on the door.
          
                                   BILL (O.S.)
                    Starla?!!   Starla, are you in
                    there?!
          
          Starla tries to speak but she cannot.   Suddenly, we HEAR
          the FRONT DOOR OPEN.
          
                                   BILL (O.S.)
                    Starla?!
          
          Starla, with barely an ounce of life left in her, sees
          Bill, Wally, Trevor and Margaret burst into the living
          room.
          
          They are surprised, to say the least, to see this diseased
          humanoid strangling Starla from behind.
          
                                   TREVOR
                    Fuck!
          
          The cops, freaked out, pull their guns. Grant makes a
          SCREECHING SOUND at them. They SHOOT at Grant, nicking
          him.
          
          Grant jumps away from Starla, back into the shadows,
          SCREECHING in anger and pain. Starla falls to the floor.
          
          Grant slips out the back door and away.
          
          The cops stare, gape-jawed and frozen with shock; what
          the hell was THAT?!
          
                                                                       37.
          
            Starla rubs her neck, COUGHING.
          
            Bill Pardy runs toward the back door.
          
          
            EXT. GRANT HOME - NIGHT
          
            Bill runs out into the backyard. Wally runs up behind
            him. They look around at the trees surrounding the area.
            Grant is nowhere to be seen.
          
            We CRANE UP and AWAY from them as we...
          
                                                              FADE TO BLACK.
          
            O.S. SNIFFLING.
          
                                       PASTOR (O.S.)
                         Jesus, these past few days have
                         been a trying time for us.
          
          
            INT. CHURCH - DAY
          
            We PAN OVER an altar where family members have placed
            little items that remind them of Brenda -- photographs,
            mementos, "Come home, Mommy" cards, etc.
          
                                       PASTOR (O.S.)
                         We ask you now for the safe return
                         of our beloved Brenda.
          
            Everyone in this modest little church has their heads
            bowed as the PASTOR leads the prayer service.
          
                                      PASTOR
                         Our sister. Our daughter.    Our
                         mother. Our wife.
          
            Brenda's husband, in the front pew, loses it, CRYING.
            His little children, beside him, fiddle in their seats.
          
                                       PASTOR
                         And we ask that you keep your light
                         alive in her heart, wherever she
                         may be. We ask all this in your
                         name, Lord. Amen
          
            Bill Pardy is here, in full uniform, hat in hands.
          
                  BILL                               CONGREGATION
          Amen.                            Amen.
          
            Bill looks around the church. He spots Starla, in the
            very back of church, head down, distraught, guilty.
          
                                                                38.
          
          He also sees a group of OLD CRONES nearby, pointing at
          Starla, and whispering about her.
          
          
          EXT. CHURCH PARKING LOT - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla's high heels CLACK on the pavement as she moves
          quickly to her car.
          
                                     BILL (O.S.)
                    Starla.
          
          Starla turns to see Bill coming after her.   She stops.
          
                                  BILL
                    I talked to the CDC. They didn't
                    have nothin' on file consistent
                    with Grant's... symptoms.
          
          Starla nods.
          
                                  STARLA
                    How about Brenda?
          
                                  BILL
                    New? No. We're hoping we find
                    Grant, he'll lead us to her.
          
          Starla nods. The wind is strong. Her hair is flying
          over her face. Tears come to her eyes.
          
                                     BILL
                    You all right?
          
          Starla nods.
          
                                     STARLA
                    Yeah.
          
          She moves away from him.
          
          Bill watches her go.
          
          
          INT. POLICE STATION - DAY
          
          Bill enters. A few COPS and SECRETARIES are bustling,
          making phone calls, etc. They all look tired, as if they
          haven't slept. Jack, the mayor, sees Bill.
          
                                     JACK
                    Bill!
          
          Bill spots him, moving quickly toward him.
          
                                     BILL
                    Shit.
          
                                                                 39.
          
                                  JACK
                    Bill, we need to talk!
          
                                  BILL
                    'Mornin', Jack.
          
          Bill crosses the station.   Jack follows.
          
                                  JACK
                    Bill, this Brenda's Randy Flagg's
                    niece. We need to find Grant
                    yesterday! The town council has
                    lit a Roman candle and stuck it up
                    my ass!
          
                                  BILL
                    Hell, Jack, your leisure activities
                    ain't my business.
          
                                  JACK
                    Don't fuck with me, Bill. Your
                    post here as Chief is in dire
                    straits you don't work this shit
                    out.
          
          They come to a desk with Wally and Trevor working away.
          
                                  BILL
                    Don't worry, we'll find him.
                          (to Trevor)
                    Anything new?
          
          Trevor shakes his head.
          
                                  JACK
                    How are you going to find him?
          
                                  BILL
                    Dude's a half-squid. Ain't many
                    places he can hide. Sea World,
                    maybe.
          
          Jack sees a SECRETARY making copies nearby.    He speaks in
          hushed tones:
          
                                  JACK
                    That young lady heard you say
                    'squid.' She's gonna go out and
                    create a Goddamn hysteria!
          
                                  BILL
                    Sherry, you gonna create a hysteria?
          
                                  SHERRY
                    Not today, Bill.
          
                                                               40.
          
                                  JACK
                    Still, quit that talk! You yourself
                    said it was dark in there! You
                    don't know what you saw!
          
                                  TREVOR
                    We saw his arm was all bendy.
          
                                  JACK
                    Bastard obviously got lyme disease!
          
                                   BILL
                    What?
          
                                  JACK
                    Touch some deer feces out in the
                    forest. Eat a sandwich without
                    washing your hands. Then you got
                    lyme disease.
          
                                  BILL
                    And that makes you look like a
                    squid?
          
                                  JACK
                    I'll tell you what, no one with
                    lyme disease gonna win any damn
                    handsome contests!
          
          Bill, Wally, and Trevor can't help but SNICKER.
          
                                  JACK
                    Well, screw you all for laughin'.
          
                                   SHELBY (O.S.)
                    Bill!
          
          Bill looks over at Shelby, on his headset at the dispatch
          unit.
          
                                  SHELBY
                    Another ranch attack!   Up at the
                    Castavets'.
          
          Bill nods for Trevor and Margaret to get up from their
          desks. They do, and start to move out with Bill and Wally.
          
                                   JACK
                    'Ranch a -'?   What 'ranch attacks'?
          
          
          EXT. CATTLE RANCH - LATER
          
          POV: A dead rottweiler is lying on its back in the long
          grass, its gut split open and intestines spilling out,
          almost perfectly symmetrical.
          
                                                                  41.
          
                                     WALLY (O.S.)
                       It looks like one of them psyche
                       tests. What do they call it?
          
          Bill and Wally are staring at the dog from above.
          
                                     BILL
                       Rorschach.
          
                                     WALLY
                       What do you see? I see a butterfly.
          
          Bill moves on through the windswept weeds.
          
                                      BILL
                       I see we're fucked.   Three ranches
                       in three days.
          
          Margaret is taking measurements and writing in a note
          pad; she sees Bill.
          
                                     MARGARET
                       So, I think I got it part-way
                       figured. You want to hear it?
          
          Bill nods.
          
                                     MARGARET
                       So Grant -- I mean, we're saying
                       this is Grant, right?
          
          Bill nods.
          
                                     MARGARET
                       Grant kills a cow right about here.
                       See there's the blood, musta slit
                       its neck.
          
          Margaret walks backward, showing the trail of blood in
          the crushed grass.
          
                                     MARGARET
                       So he drags the cow backwards here.
                       Only he prolly didn't know 'bout
                       the Castavets had them dogs.
          
                                     TREVOR (O.S.)
                       Hey, look!
          
          Bill looks over at Trevor, standing up between the tall
          weeds, holding a dog's head in his hand.
          
                                     TREVOR
                       He knocked this'n's head clear
                       over here!
          
                                                                42.
          
                                  WALLY
                    Put that down, numbnuts!
          
          Bill peers at the various slaughtered dogs around them.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    So the dogs attacked, somehow he
                    slew 'em all, and he stole off
                    with the cow into the forest.
          
          Trevor heads toward them. Bill looks off into the dark
          forest on the edge of the ranch.
          
                                  BILL
                    He's gotta be in the forest. All
                    three ranches run alongside it.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    Think we should get up a search
                    party, head in there?
          
                                  WALLY
                    It's a hundred thousand acres. Be
                    finding a needle in a fuckstack.
          
          Bill has a realization.   He moves quickly for his car.
          
                                  BILL
                    Wally, come on. Trevor and
                    Margaret, get some folks together.
                    I think I know where he's gonna
                    hit next.
          
          
          INT. POLICE STATION - LATER
          
          CLOSEUP: A property map of Wheelsy is tacked to a bulletin
          board. Red Magic Marker circles are around various ranch
          properties on the edge of the city, next to an enormous
          forest. A finger points to one of the red circles.
          
                                  BILL
                    So the night after Grant ran off,
                    a calf went missing from here, the
                    Raglans' ranch.
          
          REVEAL Bill, standing beside the bulletin board. A posse
          has gathered, listening intently: Wally and the usual
          cops; Jack; an OLDER COP, probably pulled out of
          retirement; and a couple of recruits -- a REDNECK and a
          GOOD OL' BOY. Bill points to the next red circle.
          
                                  BILL
                    Two nights ago, a mare was stolen
                    from this property, run by
                    Fitzgibbon, that old rancher with
                    the cleft palate.
          
                                                              43.
          
          Wally whispers to Margaret, amused:
          
                                  WALLY
                    Looks like a chipmunk.
          
                                  BILL
                    Your momma wasn't too proud when
                    you came out neither, Wally.
          
          Bill points to the next circle.
          
                                  BILL
                    And then we get here, the
                    Castavets', where last night's
                    shit-storm took place.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    I see. It's like as if he's going
                    in a pattern. Is that what you're
                    saying, Bill?
          
          Bill nods and points to the next red circle.
          
                                  BILL
                    And if he sticks to that pattern
                    he'll be here next. Belongs to a
                    family, the Strutemyers'. Now I
                    know y'all are tired and you've
                    barely seen your families. But
                    we're gonna have to go there
                    tonight, lie low and wait.
          
          The posse nod, agreeing.
          
                                  REDNECK
                    Let's get that son-of-a-bitch,
                    Chief.
          
                                  BILL
                    Just remember, we don't know what
                    we're up against here. So let's
                    be careful.
          
          
          INT. POLICE STATION/ARMORY - DAY
          
          Beside a small armory, Trevor loads a Benelli M-1 super
          semiautomatic shotgun. Margaret checks the site on a
          Remington 700 PSS rifle. Bill takes a Springfield M-1A
          pump-action for himself, while Wally stuffs numerous
          pistols and ammo into a leather satchel. Trevor notices
          a dusty grenade on a shelf.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    Hey, Bill, we got that grenade we
                    confiscated from them jokers wanted
                    to use it fish for trout?
          
                                                                 44.
          
          Bill looks at Trevor, considering.
          
                                  BILL
                    Can't hurt.
          
          As Trevor puts the grenade into a side-pocket on the
          satchel, Bill sees Jack and the Older Cop, watching.
          
                                  JACK
                    I didn't know the Russkies were
                    invading there, folks.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    You seen this guy, you'd wished
                    they was.
          
          
          EXT. POLICE STATION - LATER
          
          The posse loads up their vehicles, and start taking off
          out of the parking lot.
          
          Bill and Wally walk out to their police car.   Bill tosses
          the leather satchel into the trunk.
          
          They get in the car, Bill starts the engine, when --
          
          Starla Grant pulls quickly into the parking lot. Bill
          rolls down the window as she gets out of her car and runs
          toward them.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Bill, I heard what you're doing.
                    I think I should go along.
          
                                 BILL
                    Why? Listen, it doesn't matter.
                    I gotta go.
          
          Bill starts to roll away, but Starla holds on to the car,
          following.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Wait! Dammit, Bill, if that girl's
                    still out there, how will you find
                    her? How, unless you bring Grant
                    in alive? Your best chance of
                    doing that is with me. I can talk
                    to him --
          
                                  BILL
                    He tried to kill you, Starla.
          
                                  STARLA
                    He did. I know. But I got him
                    angry 'cause I wasn't calm. This
                    time I could --
          
                                                                      45.
          
          Starla's on the verge of tears.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Please, Bill. What happened, it's
                    my fault, I know it.
          
                                  BILL
                    Starla, it ain't --
          
                                  STARLA
                    It is. He'd been acting strange.
                    And the physical changes. I should
                    have told someone right away...
                    But I was just blind. I wanted to
                    pretend it wasn't happening... If
                    I don't do what I can to help now,
                    I just couldn't live with it.
          
          Bill looks at her.   He looks at Wally.     Wally shrugs.
          
          Bill nods for Starla to get in.
          
          
          INT. STRUTEMYER KITCHEN - EVENING
          
          Kylie is blowing on a cup of coffee. Her MOM, DAD, and
          two younger SISTERS, aged 9 and 11, are relaxing after
          dinner. As Kylie's Mom picks up plates --
          
                                 KYLIE'S MOM
                    Kylie! What'd you do to your
                    fingers?
          
          Kylie's Mom grabs her hand, looking at her very long
          fingernails. They're painted sky blue and spotted with
          minute teddy bear and bumblebee decals.
          
                                  KYLIE
                    Kiri Goshima done 'em.    She's
                    Japanese.
          
                                  KYLIE'S DAD
                    Looks like Pokemons done 'em to
                    me!
          
          Kylie's sisters LAUGH out loud.
          
                                  KYLIE
                    Foreign stuff is classy if you
                    knew something.
          
          Kylie's family sees, OUT THE WINDOW, police cars pulling
          up by a gravel road.
          
                                  KYLIE'S DAD
                    Oh. There's Jack. I want y'all
                    to stay inside tonight. All right?
          
                                                                  46.
          
          Kylie's sisters nod.   Kylie too.
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYER FARMHOUSE - EVENING
          
          Kylie's Dad steps onto the front porch of this quaint
          family farmhouse. He sees Jack heading toward the ranch,
          and waves. Jack gives a little salute, while muttering
          to the Older Cop.
          
                                  JACK
                    This turns out to be a mountain
                    lion we're gonna look like a damn
                    bunch of idiots.
          
          The Redneck and Good Ol' Boy make their way to the ranch
          as well. They see Bill with Starla.
          
                                  REDNECK
                    Didn't know it was date night.
          
          The Good Ol' Boy LAUGHS.
          
                                  REDNECK
                    I'll be expecting you toss my salad
                    at the end of all this then,
                    Charlie.
          
                                     GOOD OL' BOY
                    Shut up.
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYER RANCH - MOMENTS LATER
          
          The posse fans out over this grassy land where the cattle
          graze, finding places to hide. The sun sets behind them.
          
                                                            FADE TO:
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYER RANCH - NIGHT
          
          Darkness has crept over the ranch, and the beautiful,
          pastoral scene has become distinctly more sinister.
          
          The wind blows hard, WHISTLING through the long weeds.
          
          A rusty rooster windmill atop the old barn twists and
          CLINKS on its half-bent perch.
          
          A piece of tarp hangs down from the barn roof, FLAPPING
          incessantly against the wooden wall.
          
          Trevor and Jack; the Redneck and the Good Ol' Boy; and
          Margaret and the Older Cop are hidden around the ranch,
          waiting, watching or dozing.
          
                                                               47.
          
          INT. STRUTEMYER BARN - NIGHT
          
          Inside the barn, the wind is only slightly quieter, and
          it's darker. Bill, Starla, and Wally are here. Bill
          peers out through the doorway at cattle drinking from the
          trough. He looks at Starla; her head tilts to the side
          as she nods off. When her head falls all the way, she
          snaps back up, and catches Bill gazing at her.
          
          Bill nods and smiles. She doesn't smile back; she's
          embarrassed and miserable and this is the last place she
          wants to be.
          
          They sit there for a moment in the dark.
          
                                  BILL
                    Hey, Starla, remember that time
                    when you were a kid and you came
                    knocking on my window in the middle
                    of the night?
          
          Wally looks at them.
          
                                  BILL
                    Starla here's twelve. Guess I was
                    fourteen. I said, 'Starla, what
                    the hell you doing out there?'
                    She tells me she's running away to
                    Hollywood to become a big star.
                    She said she knew I was in ROTC,
                    and she was gonna need a bodyguard.
                    Invited me along.
          
          Wally LAUGHS. Bill smiles. Starla is embarrassed, but
          grudgingly enjoys the story.
          
                                  BILL
                    I said, 'Starla, if there's anybody
                    can take care of herself, I think
                    it's you. I'm gonna have to
                    decline.'
          
                                  WALLY
                          (to Starla)
                    How far'd you get?
          
                                  STARLA
                    About the bus stop. Ranger Rick
                    here called my dad.
          
                                  WALLY
                    Ha! A cop from the get-go!   You
                    son-of-a-bitch!
          
                                  STARLA
                    You fucked up our fame and fortune,
                    Bill Pardy.
          
                                                               48.
          
                                  BILL
                    Yeah, maybe I did.
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYER RANCH - NIGHT
          
          Jack smokes a cigarette as he keeps an eye out for the
          cow killer. The burning ember of the cigarette is blown
          off by the wind. Jack searches for it in the dry grass,
          trying to catch it before it starts a fire. He crawls
          forward, slapping the ground, when he glances up and
          sees...
          
          A large, shadowy shape hulking through the trees on the
          edge of the forest.
          
          
          INT. STRUTEMYER BARN - NIGHT
          
          Bill, Starla, and Wally see Grant Grant emerging from the
          forest. He has transformed into something much more
          monstrous: a giant, gangrenous, slug-like beast, a clump
          of cells and tumor-like protuberances. He has various
          tentacle-like-arms growing out of him, like overgrown
          eyes on a potato. As opposed to just having the disease,
          he now seems to BE the disease itself.
          
                                    STARLA
                    Grant?
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYER RANCH - NIGHT
          
          Jack and Trevor watch in amazement as Grant slithers across
          the field, his large, dark, watery eyes searching out
          prey. Jack turns to Trevor, pissed, and whispers:
          
                                  JACK
                    You said 'squid'!
          
                                    TREVOR
                    It got worse.
          
          The Redneck and the Good Ol' Boy watch too, mouths dropped.
          
          The diseased Grant slithers through the grass just a few
          feet beside Margaret and the Older Cop. They duck below
          the grass, looking as if they're going to have heart
          attacks.
          
          Grant approaches a cow. The cow makes a little MOO of
          protest when he gets too close, and steps back.
          
          The Grant-creature stabs one of his tentacle growths into
          the cow's neck, piercing it. The cow stumbles, choking.
          Blood spurts from her neck. And she topples over.
          
                                                                49.
          
          INT. STRUTEMYER BARN - NIGHT
          
          Bill and Wally stare out the window, motionless.
          
                                  WALLY
                    What we gonna do now, Bill?   Cuffs
                    won't even fit on 'im.
          
          Starla musters courage.   She stands, and moves out of the
          barn.
          
                                  BILL
                    Starla, where you...?
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYER RANCH - NIGHT
          
          Grant wraps a feeler around the cow's horns, and starts
          dragging it back in the direction of the forest.
          
          
          INT. STRUTEMYER BARN - NIGHT
          
          Bill motions through the barn window to Margaret.
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYER RANCH - NIGHT
          
          Margaret motions to Trevor.
          
          Trevor motions to the recruits.
          
          And Starla moves slowly in toward Grant.
          
                                    STARLA
                    Grant?
          
          Grant turns and looks at her with his half-human eyes.
          His breathing is loud, raspy, and sick. He sees, in a
          wide circle around him, the nervous posse standing up,
          their guns at the ready.
          
          Starla moves even closer.   Bill and Wally are coming in
          close behind her.
          
                                   STARLA
                    Grant?   It's okay.
          
          As Starla and the posse get closer, Grant looks almost
          scared. His eyes dart around from cop to cop.
          
                                  STARLA
                    You're just sick is all. But we'll
                    take you to get help right now.
                    I'll stay by your side, Grant,
                    just like I swore I would. For
                    better or worse. Remember?
          
                                                                 50.
          
          Grant's huge milky eyes betray that he does.
          
                                     STARLA
                     Okay?
          
          The posse inch in closer, tightening the circle.
          
          Grant lets out a PIERCING SCREECH of protest.    All of the
          posse stop, terrified.
          
          Everything is quiet and still except for Grant's gross
          breathing. Deep: In, out.
          
                                     STARLA
                     Okay, Grant?    It's gonna be all
                     right.
          
          Grant SCREECHES again: a warning. He looks from Starla
          to Bill, with hurt, jealous eyes, and GROWLS.
          
          Then Grant's eyes close to half-mast, and he turns away.
          His tentacle tightens around the cow's horns, and he again
          drags it toward the forest.
          
          While Bill tries to decide what to do, the Good Ol' Boy
          nervously blocks Grant's path. He aims his pistol at
          him.
          
                                   GOOD OL' BOY
                     You stop right there, you son of a
                     bitch. I don't care what kinda
                     leprosy you got. We need to find
                     that girl. Now you can make this
                     peaceful, or you can make it hard.
          
          Pause.   Grant and the Good Ol' Boy stare at each other.
          
          And then Grant SNAPS out a tentacle-arm, whipping it up
          the front of the man's body, and back.
          
          The front of the Good Ol' Boy's whole body is split neatly
          in half. For a split second, he remains alive: the two
          different sides of his split head look down in disbelief
          as his organs spill out from inside him. And then he
          topples over.
          
                                     BILL
                     Fire!   Fire!
          
          The posse SHOOT at Grant.    Starla covers her head.
          
          Grant is struck; he SCREECHES in pain. He lets go of the
          cow. He slithers with incredible speed off toward the
          forest.
          
          Bill and the other posse members take off after him like
          hounds on the heel of their prey. They SHOOT madly.
          
                                                                 51.
          
          Starla watches as the posse follows Grant into the woods.
          
          Starla stands alone and worried a moment, and then she
          darts off after them.
          
          
          INT. KYLIE'S BATHROOM - NIGHT
          
          Kylie is running a bath.    She hears GUNSHOTS ECHO in the
          distance.
          
          She peers out a little window above the tub, trying to
          see where the shots are coming from.
          
          
          EXT. FOREST - NIGHT
          
          The posse run through this very dark forest after Grant,
          leaping over brush and rocks. They're nervous, but also
          excited, as the primordial hunting urge takes over. Their
          eyes are filled with anger and bloodlust.
          
          They're able to follow Grant only by catching glimpses --
          a flash of flesh between trees, a tentacle disappearing
          around brush.
          
                                     WALLY
                    There he is!     Over there!
          
          They FIRE at the creature, taking chunks out of trees,
          but missing. He's too fast.
          
          
          EXT. CREEK - NIGHT
          
          Grant slips around a boulder and splashes through a creek,
          and into the plentiful trees beyond. He rustles thick
          fronds as he moves up alongside the creek.
          
          The posse run up the creek itself, splashing, trying to
          peer through the leaves to get a shot at Grant.
          
          Jack, carrying his revolver, trips and falls in the creek.
          He cuts his knee on a sharp rock. He stands, and keeps
          going.
          
          They come to --
          
          
          EXT. FOREST CLEARING - NIGHT
          
          The posse come up out of the creek. They've completely
          lost track of the diseased man-beast.
          
          They stop, out-of-breath and looking around.   They whisper:
          
                                                                 52.
          
                                     TREVOR
                    Where'd he go?
          
                                  MARGARET
                    We ain't never gonna find that
                    girl now.
          
          The Redneck is WEEPING with rage.
          
                                  REDNECK
                    I'll kill that asshole what he did
                    to Charlie.
          
          Bill sees Starla run up behind them.    He waves her back.
          
                                  BILL
                    Starla, get the hell out of here!
          
          Starla takes a couple steps back, but doesn't leave. She
          watches there, half in shadows as the posse creep around,
          searching for some trail of Grant.
          
          Margaret looks down into the bubbling creek. She sees
          it's turning red. She looks up the trail of red, which
          is rippling downhill in the water. The red flow starts
          somewhere near a boulder.
          
          Bill and Wally are searching in front of the boulder.
          Margaret SEES, but they don't, Grant pulling himself up
          on a tree branch and RISING behind them. Blood from a
          shotgun wound is dripping into the creek. Grant, pissed,
          lifts a tentacle.
          
                                     MARGARET
                    Bill!!
          
          Bill turns as the tentacle swings down toward him. He
          falls back; the tentacle slashes inches from his face.
          
          Bill BLASTS his shotgun up at Grant, but Grant is already
          slithering swiftly back into the thick brush.
          
          The posse squeeze themselves though the brush, following.
          
          
          EXT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          The posse emerge on the other side of the brush, only to
          be confronted by a terrible odor. They cover their noses
          and mouths as their faces shrivel in disgust.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    What the hell's that smell?
          
                                  WALLY
                    It's something dead.
          
                                                                 53.
          
          The posse gaze up at the old ramshackle barn where Grant
          had brought Brenda.
          
                                  JACK
                    It's coming from in there, ain't
                    it?
          
          Margaret looks at Bill.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    Think he's inside?
          
          Bill takes the lead, carefully approaching the barn.
          
          The posse follows, their weapons drawn. The closer they
          get to the barn, the more unbearable the smell becomes.
          Only Bill, intent on the task in front of him, doesn't
          react to the stench at all.
          
          Bill leans his ear in close to the front door, and listens.
          Through the door he can HEAR a QUIET SOBBING. Bill and
          Wally exchange a look.
          
          Bill steps back. He and Wally aim their shotguns at the
          door. Bill nods to Margaret, and gestures for her to
          open it. Starla watches all this from the rear.
          
          Margaret swings open the door.
          
          
          INT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          Bill and Wally move cautiously but quickly inside.   But
          they stop suddenly, in disgust and horror.
          
                                    BILL
                    Oh...
          
          It's Brenda. And she doesn't look good. Her weepy little
          head is stuck to the front of a huge fleshy orb, which is
          what her body has become. This enormous ball of flesh is
          nine or ten feet tall. Vestigial fingers protrude from
          the sides. She is utterly immobile. Her flesh sloshes,
          slightly and constantly; a thousand snakes seem to be
          slithering beneath her thin, tight, bruised skin. The
          woman is in great pain. She SOBS. Her mouth and chin
          are stained with blood.
          
          The posse and Starla enter behind Bill and Wally and are
          equally astounded.
          
                                    OLDER COP
                    Oh, shit!
          
          They see the source of the awful stench:
          
                                                                 54.
          
          Brenda is encircled by the rotting carcasses of cows and
          horses and forest critters. They are mostly skeletal, as
          they have been largely devoured. They're swarming with
          flies. The stench is so bad the posse cover their faces
          with the bottom of their shirts.
          
          The SOBBING Brenda looks desperately at Bill and Wally.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Something's wrong with me.
          
                                    WALLY
                    Uh, yeah.
          
          Bill and Wally get in a little closer.
          
                                    BILL
                    Brenda, um...
          
                                  BRENDA
                    I didn't want no one to be seeing
                    me like this.
          
          As the posse inch closer, Brenda's whole body suddenly
          LURCHES FORWARD a bit -- like whatever's inside her is
          trying to get out and to the posse. Brenda SCREAMS in
          agony.
          
          The posse jump back.    They stare as she recomposes herself.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    How are my boys, Bill?    Are they
                    all right?
          
                                  BILL
                    Boys are fine, Brenda. Uh, what's --
                    what's happening here, exactly?
          
                                  BRENDA
                    I'm so fucking hungry, Bill. I'm
                    so hungry. I just never knew
                    anybody could be so hungry.
          
          Brenda tries to smile in a way she might charm her Daddy
          into giving her candy. This is creepy as hell.
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Would you mind handing me a piece
                    of that possum there at your feet?
                    Little bit?
          
          Trevor gags and runs out of the barn.
          
          
          EXT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          Trevor vomits into some bushes.
          
                                                                 55.
          
          INT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          Bill eyes poor Brenda.
          
                                  BILL
                    I think we best get you to a
                    hospital right quick.
          
                                  WALLY
                    What the fuck they gonna do with
                    her in a hospital, Bill?
          
          Again, Brenda SCREAMS.    Her body LURCHES FORWARD.
          
                                  OLDER COP
                    Why's she doing that?!
          
                                  REDNECK
                    Her tumors is moving.
          
                                  JACK
                    Bill, get her to stop that shit!
          
                                     BRENDA
                    It hurts!
          
          Her body lurches forward AGAIN.     She sobs.
          
                                     BRENDA
                    Help me!!     Help!!
          
          And then AGAIN. Starla notices that Brenda's skin is
          starting to SPLIT AND TEAR on her side.
          
                                     STARLA
                    Bill!
          
                                  BRENDA
                    Little fuckers are tearing me
                    aparrrr- !
          
          Brenda SCREAMS like a woman giving a thousand evil births
          at once and her body RIPS OPEN in one part; and then, in
          quick succession, ANOTHER, and ANOTHER. Bill looks out
          one of the windows. Grant is peering in at them, smiling.
          
                                  BILL
                    He led us here.
          
          And then Brenda's body BURSTS OPEN COMPLETELY, like a
          water balloon hitting cement, and thousands of little
          SLITHERING EYELESS PARASITES with slippery black-red skin
          like slugs spill forth. The horrid creatures, eight inches
          long and a few inches thick, swarm over the posse,
          completely covering them before they can react.
          
                                                               56.
          
          EXT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          Trevor sees the things flooding over the posse in the
          barn. The parasites are especially drawn to the posse's
          heads. Because there are so many, the weight of the beasts
          knocks most of them down.
          
          Trevor runs, but the things make it out the doorway,
          covering him like lava in One Million B.C., and he buckles.
          
          
          INT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          A parasite slithers quickly and fluidly into Wally's mouth.
          He gags on it. His eyes flip back up into his head, and
          his body starts to spasm.
          
          Jack tries to pull one away from his face, but it's too
          slippery and it disappears inside his mouth. His body,
          too, convulses, and he spits up blood.
          
          Bill notices the parasites slithering into the mouths of
          the Redneck and the Older Cop as well; whites of their
          eyes, bodies convulsing, spewing blood. Bill sees the
          things oozing up Margaret's neck.
          
                                  BILL
                    Margaret, cover your mouth!
          
          Bill sees Trevor outside the door in the dirt, trying to
          slap the parasites off. Bill yells to everyone:
          
                                  BILL
                    Don't let 'em in your mouths!
          
          One starts to get in Bill's mouth as he speaks, but he
          slaps it aside. Margaret pulls her shirt over her face.
          
          Starla SHRIEKS. She puts her hand over her mouth as the
          parasites rush up her. She's knocked over, and falls
          back onto the floor.
          
          A parasite slithers between Starla's lips -- when,
          suddenly, a KNIFE thrusts down, pinning the creature to
          the dirt, stopping it from oozing further into Starla.
          
          Bill is holding the knife in one hand, his other hand
          firmly over his mouth. Bill swats more incoming parasites
          away from Starla's mouth. He covers her mouth with his
          free hand. He lies on top of her, mushing their bodies
          and faces as closely together as possible so the things
          don't get into them. The parasites swarm all over them,
          flapping their slimy little tails as they try to fight
          their way inside their mouths. But Bill holds tight to
          himself and Starla.
          
                                                                 57.
          
          Eventually, the parasites give up on Bill and Starla, and
          begin to slither away. Bill watches as they crawl off
          the posse and filter out of the barn in a squirmy mound.
          
          Eventually, they're gone. Bill takes his hand from
          Starla's mouth. Starla looks around.
          
          She sees Margaret lift her face from the ground, shivering,
          holding her shirt over her mouth. They gaze out the front
          door of the barn.
          
          
          EXT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          Trevor pulls his face from the dirt and stands. He spits
          violently and wipes the dirt off his tongue with his wrist.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    They wanted us to eat 'em!   Why
                    would they want that!?
          
          
          INT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          Bill is trying to make sense of it all. He gazes down at
          Brenda's body, her bloody skin and misshapen skeleton
          spread out over the floor, split open like an enormous
          bloody tiger rug.
          
          He looks around at the posse lying on the floor in mangled
          positions, their mouths and lips covered in blood, still
          lightly convulsing.
          
          He gazes out INTO THE FOREST to see the parasites rushing
          away like an ugly wormy army, shaking the brush as they
          head off in different directions.
          
                                                               CUT TO:
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYERS' RANCH - NIGHT
          
          Parasites crawl over rocks and out of the forest and onto
          the ranch. The Strutemyer farmhouse looms nearby.
          
          
          INT. KYLIE'S BATHROOM - NIGHT
          
          Kylie is taking a steamy bubble bath. Her head is back,
          her eyes shut; she's enjoying the warm water. The tub
          faucet drips lightly in an uneven rhythm.
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYERS' FARMHOUSE - NIGHT
          
          The parasites squirm up the side of the house, sticking
          to the wood siding.
          
                                                                       58.
          
            INT. KYLIE'S BATHROOM - NIGHT
          
            Kylie glances out the window beside the tub, at the starry
            sky and crescent moon, beautiful and still.
          
            There's a KNOCK on the bathroom door. Kylie turns toward
            the door -- as she does, a parasite crawls across the
            window behind her, streaking a moist slimy trail.
          
                                     KYLIE'S MOM
                      Kylie! You're gonna turn into a
                      plum in there!
          
                                      KYLIE
                      Prune, Mom.    Plums turn into prunes.
          
          
            INT. STRUTEMYERS' HALLWAY - NIGHT
          
            Kylie's Mom is at the bathroom door.
          
                                    KYLIE'S MOM
                      I know what turns into what. You
                      got school tomorrow. Finish up in
                      there and get to bed.
          
            O.S. Kylie GRUNTS in vague agreement.
          
            Kylie's Mom trots down the hall, to another door.
          
            She KNOCKS once, then opens the door to --
          
          
            INT. STRUTEMYER GIRLS' BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
            Kylie's younger sisters lie in single beds, reading
            Goosebumps by bed-lamps clipped to the headboards.
          
                                    KYLIE'S MOM
                      Time to turn in, ladies.
          
                                    KYLIE'S SISTER 1
                      Just a couple more pages, Mom?
          
                                      KYLIE'S MOM
                      Come on now.
          
            The girls SIGH in lazy protest, but still turn off their
            reading lamps.
          
                                      KYLIE'S MOM
                      G'night.
          
                  KYLIE'S SISTER 1                  KYLIE'S SISTER 2
          Night, Mom.                     Night.
          
                                                                  59.
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYERS' FARMHOUSE - NIGHT
          
          THROUGH THE WINDOW we see Kylie's Mom start to close the
          door.
          
                                   KYLIE'S MOM
                    Sleep tight.   Don't let the bed
                    bugs bite.
          
          Numerous parasites slither INTO FRAME, up the side of the
          house, approaching the girls' bedroom window, which is
          open a few inches for air.
          
          
          INT. STRUTEMYER GIRLS' BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Kylie's Mom shuts their door completely. The girls turn
          on their sides and close their eyes to sleep.
          
          And the parasites pour in through the cracked window.
          They slither over the walls. Their slimy black-red bodies
          contrast sharply with the pretty flowered wallpaper.
          
          
          INT. KYLIE'S BATHROOM - NIGHT
          
          The door cracks open, and a parasite enters.   It slithers
          silently over the linoleum tiles.
          
          It arrives at the base of the tub, and crawls up the side.
          
          Kylie continues relaxing, her eyes closed. She doesn't
          see the parasite enter the soapy bath water at her feet.
          
          Kylie hears a SOFT SPLASHING and peers down. She spots
          the creature swimming toward her between her knees.
          
          Kylie SHRIEKS and scrambles up to get out of the tub.    As
          she clamors out, she slips and falls to the floor.
          
          The parasite squirms up Kylie's wet naked back. Kylie
          SHRIEKS again, jumping up as she tries to slap the thing
          off.
          
                                   KYLIE
                    Mom!!
          
          The parasite winds toward her lips. Kylie goes to grab
          it with both hands, but it slips through them. The thing
          slides into Kylie's mouth as she looks down at it.
          
          Kylie snatches the very end of the parasite's tail. Her
          long, teddy-bear-spotted fingernails pinch it there,
          digging into the parasite's flesh, barely stopping it
          from sliding completely into her mouth. It wildly flaps
          its tail like a docked trout, desperate to enter her.
          
                                                                  60.
          
          Kylie falls to her knees. Her eyes roll back in her head,
          and her body spasms while she holds tenuously onto the
          very tip of the parasite's tail.
          
          We TRACK IN to a CLOSEUP of Kylie's face: a slight white
          electrical-telepathic charge can be seen SPARKING inside
          her mouth.
          
                                                           FLASH TO:
          
          
          KYLIE'S VISION
          
          We are RUSHING through some amoebic landscape, PAST
          microbes and cytoplasm and cells, and to:
          
          
          KYLIE'S VISION - SERIES OF IMAGES - CREATURE'S POV
          
          Perhaps the memories of some creature not of earth. Its
          eyesight is not like our own; it's in grainy black and
          white and amber outlines. Various images FLASH in quick
          succession, including the following:
          
          -- We are on top of an alien ANIMAL, pinning it down.    It
          HOWLS beneath us as we tear into its flesh, feasting.
          
          -- All around us, diseased monstrous BEASTS feed on more
          alien animals. They lunge toward them and pin them down,
          ripping them apart, like some National Geographic
          documentary shot in Hell.
          
          -- In FAST MOTION, unfamiliar plant life around us grows
          sick and withers, dying out.
          
          -- A group of diseased monstrous beasts CRY OUT in uniform
          pain. They buckle to their knees; now they're dying.
          
          -- The diseased beasts feed on their own appendages.
          
          
          BACK TO SCENE
          
          Kylie tries to regain control of her mind. Her eyes fight
          against flipping back in her head. Tears pour down her
          face. She pulls the parasite out just a bit.
          
          But then it SLAMS back into her and there are more SPARKS
          inside her mouth --
          
          
          KYLIE'S VISION - SERIES OF IMAGES - MANGLED INSECT POV
          
          -- We are CLIMBING UP through a creamy, gelatinous yellow.
          An opening slit widens in front of us, and we see Grant
          slowly bending to look at us, the forest behind him.
          
                                                                61.
          
          KYLIE'S VISION - SERIES OF IMAGES - GRANT'S POV
          
          -- We watch Starla soaping herself in the shower.
          
          -- We make love to Starla, our hands on her face.
          
          -- We sit over a convulsing Brenda, impregnating her with
          our tubule.
          
          -- We see the posse members coming in toward us.
          
          
          BACK TO SCENE
          
          With a last, desperate effort, Kylie yanks at the exhausted
          worm, pulling it fully from her mouth. It flaps in her
          fingers. Kylie spits up blood.
          
          Kylie tosses the parasite away from her. Though slightly
          crippled, the little bastard writhes back toward her.
          
          Kylie spots her curling iron on the counter; it's plugged
          in, the red light is on. She grabs it, and swings it
          into the wormy thing.
          
          The parasite SQUEAKS and trembles with pain. Smoke rises
          from it as Kylie digs the curling iron in deeper, burning
          it, and, finally, killing it.
          
          Kylie lifts the iron in front of her and looks at it.
          The dead parasite is stuck to it, dangling from the metal.
          
                                      KYLIE
                    Mom!!!
          
          Kylie drops the iron. She quickly steps into her clothes
          lying on the floor. She runs out of the bathroom and
          into --
          
          
          INT. STRUTEMYERS' HALLWAY - NIGHT
          
          Kylie runs to the stairway.
          
                                      KYLIE
                    Mom!!    Mom!!!
          
          Kylie stops. Dozens of the things are slithering up the
          stairs and up the handrail towards her.
          
          O.S. Kylie hears her SISTERS' SCREAMS.   She looks in their
          direction, running toward their room.
          
                                    KYLIE
                    Emily!!    Jenna!!
          
          Kylie tosses open her sisters' door.
          
                                                                  62.
          
          INT. STRUTEMYER GIRLS' BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Kylie's youngest sister is on her knees on the bed, a
          parasite sticking out of her mouth. Her eyes are rolled
          back. Her arms flail spastically. The slithering beast
          wags its tail as it disappears down her throat.
          
          Kylie's other sister is backing into a corner, with
          parasites crawling up her body. She's SCREAMING bloody
          hell, trying to slap them off.
          
          Kylie runs toward her to help. Kylie slaps the parasites
          off her sister. But there's too many and they're too
          fast. They slide into her sister's mouth.
          
                                    KYLIE
                    No!!   Nooo!!
          
          Her sister's eyes flip back in her skull as the thing
          disappears completely, and she starts spitting up blood.
          
          Kylie sees the parasites around the room coming at her.
          There's a clear path toward a window. Kylie runs to the
          window, and shoves it open. As the things approach her,
          she crawls out --
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYERS' FARMHOUSE AWNING - NIGHT
          
          Kylie steps onto this shingled, angled canopy over the
          front porch. She turns to see the parasites slithering
          out towards her. She looks down. It's probably too far
          to jump, but she has no choice.
          
          So she jumps down onto --
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYERS' FRONT LAWN - NIGHT
          
          Kylie lands, hard, tumbling over.
          
          She glances back at the front of the house.
          
          THROUGH THE KITCHEN WINDOW she sees her Mom and Dad, eyes
          rolled back, convulsing, spitting up blood.
          
          More parasites are crawling towards Kylie through the
          grass.
          
          She spots her family's old Luv pickup truck on the driveway
          in front of her. She breaks for it.
          
          She throws open the front door, and jumps inside.
          
          The things approach, crawling in after her. Kylie tries
          to slam the door shut, but it won't; many things are stuck
          in the door jamb.
          
                                                                    63.
          
          They SQUEAK in a chorus of pain, trying to wriggle toward
          her.
          
          So she SLAMS the door AGAIN, and AGAIN, and she slices
          the little bastards in half.
          
          
          INT. PICKUP TRUCK - NIGHT
          
          Kylie makes sure none are inside.
          
          She feels for the keys in the ignition.    There aren't
          any.
          
          The creatures crawl up and over all the pickup's windows,
          trying to get in. Slithery shadows cover over Kylie,
          leaving her in almost complete darkness.
          
          Kylie crouches down in on herself, and WAILS.
          
          
          INT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          Starla, Trevor, and Margaret stand, wide-eyed and shaken.
          All three seem to be in some mild state of shock.
          
          Bill, suppressing his desperation, is trying to make
          contact on his police radio.
          
                                  BILL
                    11-41. We're gonna need paramedics
                    out here right away. We got four
                    men down.
          
          Bill listens for a response, but there's only STATIC.      He
          presses the button again.
          
                                  BILL
                    Shelby, you there?
          
          Still, only STATIC.    Bill tries another frequency.
          
                                  BILL
                    Shelby, this is Bill.     We got an
                    emergency here.
          
          STATIC.
          
                                    BILL
                    Goddammit.
          
          Bill steps outside the doorway, to see if he can get
          reception. Trailing off:
          
                                    BILL
                    Shelby?
          
                                                                 64.
          
          Starla sees Wally's body on the floor. His skin is white
          and corpse-like. His mouth is streaked with blood. Starla
          crouches beside him, and takes his pulse. Her hands are
          visibly shaking.
          
                                     MARGARET
                    Is he alive?
          
          Starla looks at Margaret, and nods.
          
                                     MARGARET
                    Praise Jesus.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    'Praise Jesus?' That's fucking
                    pushing it, Margaret.
          
          Trevor looks about to cry.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    What the hell were those things?!
                    You ever seen anything like that?
                    You ever heard of anything like
                    that?
          
          Margaret shakes her head.    Trevor looks at Starla, who
          also shakes her head.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    Me neither. And I watch 'Animal
                    Planet' all the fuckin' time!
          
          Bill re-enters.
          
                                  BILL
                    No reception out here.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Bill, I'll run out to your car,
                    call for paramedics from there.
          
                                   MARGARET
                    That's a long ways. Them worms
                    are out there.
          
                                  STARLA
                    I'll keep my mouth covered.
          
                                  BILL
                    No. I'll go. The three of you,
                    you wait here. Get these folks,
                    out of the barn. The stench and
                    rot can't be any good for 'em.
          
          Margaret and Trevor nod.    As Bill starts to leave, Starla
          grabs him.
          
                                                               65.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Be careful, Bill.
          
          Bill nods. Makes a feeble attempt at a smile.   He jogs
          off into the forest.
          
          
          EXT. FOREST CLEARING - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Bill runs into the small glade, and looks around, trying
          to remember which way he came from.
          
          He gazes between some greenery, some distance away, and
          spies a long-lashed deer munching on foliage. A couple
          more deer and a fawn are eating as well. Bill looks at
          them a moment, peaceful, perhaps a sign of some hope...
          
          And then a parasite crawls up the deer's neck and slithers
          into its mouth. Parasites crawl up the bodies and necks
          of the deer behind it. The deer buck and flounce and
          scratch trying to get the things off of them.
          
          Bill runs away as fast as he can.
          
          
          EXT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          Trevor and Margaret carry Jack out of the barn. He's
          bloated, corpse-like and covered in varicose veins.
          Margaret is wearing a gag-like swatch of clothing tied
          around her mouths, to protect themselves. Trevor's gag
          is down around his chin so he can chatter.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    It's got to be some Goddamn
                    biological weapons. Government's
                    testin' 'em out on us! 'Cause who
                    gives a shit if Wheelsy disappears,
                    right?!
          
          They set down Jack and head back toward the barn.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    I hope it ain't contagious. I'll
                    be pissed as hell I turn into a
                    big mollusk. I'll fuckin' sue, I
                    swear to God.
          
          Starla, also wearing a gag, is kneeling beside Wally, who
          is similarly sick and bloated. His lips are parched and
          cracking.
          
          Starla squeezes a wet cloth, dripping all the water onto
          Wally's lips. Then she stands, and heads toward the creek.
          
                                                                  66.
          
          She doesn't see Wally open his eyes behind her. He sits
          up, and stares over at Starla with milky eyes as she kneels
          down beside the water.
          
          Starla dips the swatch of clothing into the creek, re-
          wetting it.
          
          She stands, and turns, only to see Wally directly in front
          of her, standing between trees, almost completely covered
          in darkness.
          
                                   WALLY
                     Hey, sugarplum.
          
          Pause.   Starla pulls the gag from her mouth.
          
                                      STARLA
                     What?
          
          Wally speaks with Grant's cadence.
          
                                   WALLY
                     Marriage. It's a sacred bond.
                     Just like you said.
          
          Starla stares at him.   Wally almost looks weepy.
          
                                   WALLY
                     I'm sorry 'bout trying to strangle
                     you and all. I lost -- Lost my
                     head. I didn't want to do none of
                     the things I done. Not kill them
                     pets. Not make Brenda a womb.
                     But it's my nature, ain't it? How
                     can you blame a one for actin'
                     according to his nature?
          
          Starla, too freaked to speak, takes a step back from him.
          
                                   WALLY
                     I wanted to tell you what was going
                     on. But I didn't - didn't think
                     you'd love me no more. I never
                     knew... love, Starla, I --
          
          Trevor and Margaret are setting down the Older Cop.   They
          see Wally standing. Margaret pulls down her gag.
          
                                      MARGARET
                     Wally?
          
          Wally turns and stares at her like some angry animal.
          
                                      MARGARET
                     You all right?
          
          Wally doesn't answer.
          
                                                                  67.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    Maybe you better sit back down.
                    You don't look so good.
          
                                   TREVOR
                    Margaret.
          
          Trevor's staring at something. Margaret follows his eye
          line. Jack and the Older Cop are sitting up, staring at
          her, just like Wally.
          
          The Redneck stumbles into the barn doorway, also staring
          at them.
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYERS' FARMHOUSE/INT. PICKUP TRUCK - NIGHT
          
          Kylie is still alone in the Luv truck. The windows are
          clear; the parasites have abandoned their quest, just as
          they did with the posse in the barn. But Kylie stays in
          the car, trembling, afraid to leave.
          
          She HEARS a DOOR OPEN. She sees her parents and her
          sisters come stumbling out the front door of her home.
          They're also bloated and diseased. Their chins and shirts
          are stained with the blood they spit up.
          
                                  KYLIE'S DAD
                    Kylie, honey, you okay? Come on
                    out.
          
          Her family lumbers up to the truck. They peer in with
          their milky eyes. Her youngest sister pushes her face up
          close to the window.
          
                                   KYLIE'S SISTER 2
                    Hi, Kylie.   It's me.
          
          Her family tries the door handles, but they're locked.
          
                                  KYLIE'S MOM
                    Open the door, sweetie. I know we
                    don't look so good, but your mommy
                    and daddy love you.
          
                                   KYLIE
                    Get away!!
          
                                  KYLIE'S MOM
                    Now, Kylie, there's no excuse why
                    not to be with your family. This
                    is family fun day, isn't it?
          
          They continue RATTLING the door handles, over and over.
          They SLAP the windows.
          
          Kylie SOBS.   Her sister speaks in a singsongy voice:
          
                                                                    68.
          
                                  KYLIE'S SISTER 1
                    Kyyy-leee, this is your last cha-
                    ance.
          
          Her Dad leans over and picks up a large rock. He carries
          it toward the truck. He holds it up over the windshield.
          
          Kylie SCREAMS as he SMASHES it down. The windshield
          CRACKS, but doesn't shatter. He holds it up again.
          
          
          EXT. FOREST NEAR STRUTEMYER'S - NIGHT
          
          Bill, out of breath, runs out of the forest --
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYERS' RANCH - NIGHT
          
          Bill emerges on the edge of the ranch, stretching five or
          six acres out in front of him. On the other side of the
          field is the gravel road, where his police car is parked.
          Beside the field is the Strutemyer's farmhouse.
          
          Bill HEARS a CRASH. He turns to see the diseased
          Strutemyers in their driveway, all holding rocks now,
          smashing the pickup's windows.
          
                                  BILL
                    Hey!
          
          The Strutemyers stop, mid-swing.   They turn toward him.
          
          Kylie sees Bill through the rear windshield.    She unlocks
          the door, and jumps out of the car.
          
                                  BILL
                    What's -- ?
          
          Kylie runs past her family and up to Bill.    She grabs
          onto him, and hides behind him, WEEPING.
          
                                  BILL
                    What's going on here?
          
          Kylie's Dad's cadence is also like Grant's:
          
                                  KYLIE'S DAD
                    Well, hello there, Pardy.
          
                                  BILL
                    What happened to you, Dwight?
          
          Kylie's Dad looks down at his own bloated arm.
          
                                  KYLIE'S DAD
                    Poison ivy out back, maybe?
          
                                                                   69.
          
                                   KYLIE'S SISTERS
                    We're itchy!
          
          Kylie is obviously in shock.
          
                                  KYLIE
                    They're not my... They killed...
          
                                 BILL
                    Okay. Y'all just wait in this
                    spot. I'm gonna call the paramedics
                    for you. Kylie can come with --
          
                                  RANCHER (O.S.)
                    Hey there, killer.
          
          Bill turns to see the RANCHER with the cleft palate, now
          diseased, holding a shovel. He swings it into Bill,
          knocking him down.
          
          Kylie SCREAMS. Her family runs in toward them. She looks
          around to see a couple more DISEASED RANCHERS rushing
          toward them through the fields.
          
          The Cleft Palate Rancher stands over Bill and raises the
          shovel to bring it down again.
          
          Bill feels for his shotgun, which has fallen into the
          dirt beside him. He yanks the trigger.
          
          The BLAST hits the Rancher in the foot.    He buckles.
          
          Bill stands, pulling Kylie with him as the other diseased
          folks rush toward them through the fields.
          
                                   BILL
                    Come on.
          
          Bill and Kylie dash toward the cluster of cars as the
          diseased chase them.
          
          
          EXT. OLD BARN - NIGHT
          
          The infected posse -- Wally, Jack, the Older Cop, and the
          Redneck recruit -- are all coming in towards Trevor and
          Margaret.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    Now, what'd I say?! Y'all just
                    sit down! You need to get some
                    Goddamn rest! You're sick!
          
          Starla watches this, by herself, next to the creek.      She
          eyes a rifle in the dirt.
          
                                                               70.
          
          Jack grabs a fistful of Trevor's hair and restrains his
          arms. Wally pulls his pistols from their holsters and
          tosses them into the dirt.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    Let go!!
          
          Margaret goes to grab her pistol, when the Redneck opens
          his mouth wide and --
          
          GLEEKS; that is, he sends a yellowish globby-stream
          shooting out of the back of his throat. The glob SPLASHES
          on Margaret's hand. Margaret SCREAMS, drops the pistol.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    It burns!!
          
          Margaret looks at her hand as the gleek-liquid sinks into
          her skin. The hand is swelling monstrously. It's soft.
          Parts of it are nearly dripping off the bone.
          
                                  MARGARET
                    What'd you do to my fuckin' hand?!
          
          Jack opens his mouth and GLEEKS too -- shooting the stream-
          glob forward and onto her neck. Margaret SCREAMS again,
          grabbing onto her neck.
          
          Margaret tries to speak, but she struggles just to breathe,
          as her neck puffs up, impeding her thorax.
          
                                  OLDER COP
                    Meat.
          
          The Older Cop buries his fingers into her neck. The puffy
          flesh comes off easily; it's soft, almost creamy. He
          stuffs the flesh into his mouth, eating it.
          
          As Margaret topples over, dying, the other posse members
          turn to look at a very freaked-out Trevor. The Redneck
          opens his mouth at him, when --
          
                                  STARLA (O.S.)
                    Let him go!
          
          The posse turn and see Starla, who has made her way over
          to where the rifle was on the ground, and is now pointing
          the rifle at the posse, trembling.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Trevor, come on.
          
          Surprised, they release Trevor.
          
                                  STARLA
                    What'd you do to her?!
          
                                                                      71.
          
            Jack stares at Starla.    He too speaks with Grant's cadence.
          
                                    JACK
                      There you go, sugarplum! Why you
                      choosing camps 'fore you hear --
          
                  JACK                            REDNECK
          Both sides of the story!?       Both sides of the story!?
          
                                    STARLA
                      Why are you talking like Grant?!
          
            The posse moves toward her. Starla is CRYING. The posse
            makes a COLLECTIVE SCREECHING sound, then speaks again:
          
                                    WALLY
                      'Cause I am Grant!
          
                  WALLY                           REDNECK
          I'm you husband --              I'm you husband, Goddammit --
          
                                    JACK
                      You swore to honor and obey --
          
                  OLDER COP                       REDNECK
          Obey me --                      Obey me, so put that Goddamn
                                          gun down.
          
                                    STARLA
                      Don't come any closer.    I'll...
                      shoot.
          
                                    WALLY
                      You ain't gonna shoot me! You
                      always needed me to protect you!
                      You for damn sure ain't got the
                      balls to --
          
            Starla BLASTS Wally, blowing open a big crater into his
            face.
          
            Wally falls to his knees.    Starla and Trevor look on in
            shock, as they see...
          
            A slithering parasite squirming out of the crater on his
            face -- out of the Wally's brain.
          
            The little thing squirms down Wally's body and slithers
            off quickly into the woods. Wally falls over, dead.
          
            The sick posse look at Starla, surprised, infuriated.
          
            And then they leap at her.
          
            Starla tries to shoot them.   But she's out of ammo.
          
                                                                  72.
          
          She and Trevor turn and dash away as quickly as their
          legs can take them.
          
          
          EXT. TREE-THICK FOREST - NIGHT
          
          Trevor and Starla run in a zigzag pattern through trees
          rooted closely together, panicked, breathing heavy.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit!
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYERS' RANCH - NIGHT
          
          Bill and Kylie arrive at his police car. Bill throws the
          door open, and shoves Kylie inside. As he starts to get
          in, he turns to see the two little girls closing in.
          
          One opens her mouth and GLEEKS -- it shoots out and lands
          on the car right beside Bill's hand.
          
          The other little girl opens her mouth to GLEEK as Bill
          jumps into the driver's seat. He slams the door shut
          just as the oozy liquid splashes on the window beside
          him.
          
          Bill is grossed-out by this, but he doesn't have much
          time. He goes to reload his shotgun, when he remembers.
          
                                   BILL
                    Shit.   Ammo's in the trunk.
          
          He grabs the police radio.
          
                                   BILL
                    Trevor!   Margaret!
          
          
          EXT. TREE-THICK FOREST - NIGHT
          
          Trevor turns and sees Jack, the Redneck, and the Older
          Cop leap powerfully over the brush behind them, coming in
          fast. But he's able to grab onto his radio.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    They killed Margaret!
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYERS' RANCH - NIGHT
          
          Kylie's two sisters jump onto the hood, SCREECHING.   They
          SLAM rocks on the windshield. Kylie SCREAMS.
          
                                  BILL
                          (into radio)
                    Where are you?!
          
                                                               73.
          
                                  TREVOR (O.S.)
                    We're coming your way, man!
          
          Bill JAMS the car forward, knocking the sisters off the
          hood. Then he slams on the brakes.
          
          He looks back and sees the two little girls running toward
          the car again.
          
          And he sees the mass of diseased ranch families also
          running toward the car. Kylie is SCREAMING and CRYING.
          
                                    KYLIE
                    Go!   Go!   Please!
          
          But, instead, of pulling forward on the gravel road, Bill
          turns up and onto the ranch itself -- back towards the
          running diseased.
          
                                  BILL
                    My friends are still in the forest.
          
          Bill speeds the police car over the dirt field, trying to
          avoid approaching ranchers. Some leap at the car, holding
          on and getting tossed aside. Bill zooms back toward the
          trees.
          
          Just as Bill gets a little headway on the diseased, the
          car gets stuck in some mud. The wheels spin, spraying
          mud, as the infected approach.
          
          
          INT. TREE-THICK FOREST - NIGHT
          
          Starla looks back to see Jack right behind her.
          
          
          EXT. STRUTEMYERS' RANCH - NIGHT
          
          The infected arrive at the car. Bill just lets his foot
          off the gas, and sits there, letting the ranchers leap
          onto the car. Kylie looks at Bill, panicked by his choice
          to do nothing.
          
                                  BILL
                    We need their weight.
          
          Bill slams down the gas again, and the car zooms forward.
          The diseased get knocked off.
          
                                    BILL
                    Dumbshits.
          
          Bill rushes toward the trees of the forest.
          
                                                                74.
          
          INT. FOREST - NIGHT
          
          Starla keeps running, when she trips and falls. She looks
          down to see she stumbled over old barbed wire fencing,
          now long fallen and curling on the forest floor. Starla
          forces herself up, as Jack closes in.
          
          Jack grabs onto her blouse, SCREECHING furiously.   When
          he HEARS something and looks over to see:
          
          Bill's police car, cruising over the forest floor, directly
          toward him. Jack, frightened, lets go of Starla. He's
          about to get hit when --
          
          The police car suddenly stops, jammed between two trees,
          inches from Jack.
          
          Jack smiles, and moves toward Bill -- but Starla rises
          behind him, holding a sharp rusty stake from the barbed-
          wire fence.
          
          She thrusts it forward, hard; and it pops out the front
          of Jack's neck.
          
          Jack turns to look at Starla, and topples over into the
          leaves.
          
          Bill backs the car out from between the trees. He sees
          the Older Cop and Redneck coming in toward them.
          
                                  BILL
                    Come on!
          
          Trevor and Starla get into the car.   The Older Cop watches
          them back away and yells:
          
                                  OLDER COP
                    Starla!!
          
          
          EXT. ROAD AWAY FROM FOREST - MOMENTS LATER
          
          The police car pulls up and out of the forest. The car
          is in bad shape. Steam rises from the smashed grill.
          
          Bill looks to his side; he's down a bit from the
          Strutemyers' ranch. He pulls away, heading back toward
          town.
          
          The foursome sit in a stupefied daze. Starla's beside
          Bill. Trevor and Kylie are in the back. Bill grabs the
          police radio.
          
                                  BILL
                    Shelby?
          
                                                                 75.
          
          Nothing. STATIC.   Everyone notes this, worried.    Bill
          tries again:
          
                                  BILL
                    Shelby, you there?
          
          For a moment, there's nothing.    And then:
          
                                   SHELBY (O.S.)
                    Yo, Chief.   How y'all doin'?
          
          Bill and Starla look at each other, relieved.
          
          
          INT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT
          
          Shelby sits at the police operator's unit, peppy.
          
                                  SHELBY
                    You dig that rat out of the hole?
          
          
          INTERCUT POLICE CAR AND STATION
          
                                  BILL
                    Listen, you got any reports of...
                    I don't know what you call 'em.
                    They look like big slugs, only
                    fast.
          
                                  SHELBY
                    Slugs? No. 'Less you talkin'
                    about that new waitress down at
                    Sloan's! Ha ha!
          
                                   BILL
                    Shelby --
          
                                  SHELBY
                    Oh, shit! I hope she ain't a police
                    radio aficionado. If so, I apolog -
          
                                  BILL
                    Shelby, shut up. Keep an eye out
                    for these things. If you see 'em,
                    keep your mouth covered. Otherwise
                    they'll go straight down it. All
                    right?
          
          Shelby looks confused, and nods.
          
                                  BILL
                    Are you nodding?
          
                                   SHELBY
                    Yeah.
          
                                                                  76.
          
                                  BILL
                    I can't hear when you're nodding.
          
                                    SHELBY
                    Sorry.
          
                                  BILL
                    We'll be there in ten minutes.
          
          Bill hangs up. Kylie is clutching onto herself, hollow-
          eyed, in deep shock. She mutters, almost unintelligibly:
          
                                  KYLIE
                    The worms are in their brains.
          
          Starla, Bill, and Trevor look at her.
          
          
          INSERT - FOREST
          
          The CAMERA TRACKS QUICKLY FORWARD, through the forest,
          and to a CLOSEUP on the Redneck, who is hunched over
          Margaret's body, eating her flesh.
          
          MATCH CUT TO a CAT SCAN of the REDNECK'S HEAD: a parasite
          is imbedded into his brain; its tail hangs down his spine,
          wagging just a bit.
          
                                  KYLIE (O.S.)
                    Drivin' 'em around...
          
          
          BACK TO THE POLICE CAR
          
          Bill stares at Kylie like she's insane.
          
                                  STARLA
                    She's right. We saw one -- one
                    came out of Wally's head.
          
                                 TREVOR
                    Yeah. Sort of his eye, it came
                    out there --
          
                                  STARLA
                    Kylie, how do you --
          
          Kylie is rocking back and forth.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Kylie, how do you know that?
          
          Kylie shakes her head.    She doesn't want to answer.
          
                                    BILL
                    Kylie, honey.    Please.
                                    (MORE)
          
                                                         77.
          
                                  BILL (CONT'D)
                    A lot of bad things have happened
                    to you today, we know. But we
                    need your help to find out what's
                    going on.
          
          Kylie CRIES.
          
                                  KYLIE
                    I was in the bath. It tried to go
                    inside me and I -- for a minute I
                    became it.
          
                                     BILL
                    The worm?
          
                                     KYLIE
                    I got it out.
          
                                     TREVOR
                    What are they?
          
                                     KYLIE
                    Part of him.
          
                                     BILL
                    Who?
                           (pause)
                    Who?
          
                                  KYLIE
                    Mrs. Grant's husband.
          
          Starla stares at her.
          
                                  KYLIE
                    But not always. I was -- He was...
                    other stuff too.
          
                                  STARLA
                    What other stuff?
          
          Kylie kind of points at the sky.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    He's a fucking Martian?!
          
                                  BILL
                    A Martian is from Mars, Trevor.
          
          Kylie tries to think.
          
                                  KYLIE
                    For real it looks like a needle.
                    Its real face. But it always gots
                    another.
                                  (MORE)
          
                                                               78.
          
                                  KYLIE (CONT'D)
                    He goes from place to place,
                    worlds... planets... killing 'em.
                    He takes over half of what's alive
                    and eats the other half. Till
                    they're gone.
          
          They stare at her, freaked out.
          
                                     KYLIE
                    Now he's here.     He went in Mr.
                    Grant.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Through a wound on his stomach?
          
          Kylie nods.
          
                                  KYLIE
                    He took him over. His body. His --
                    his brain, everything what he knew.
                    He's only been dumb stuff before -
                    amoeba-things, and rhino-things.
                    He liked being human. Didn't want
                    to change.
          
                                  STARLA
                    And you said the worms are part of
                    him. They're all linked, like one
                    creature?
          
                                  KYLIE
                    When one sees you they all see
                    you.
          
                                  STARLA
                    An animal that doesn't procreate.
                    It spreads, grows. A living
                    disease.
          
                                   BILL
                          (to Kylie)
                    So the way to stop this thing is
                    to stop Grant?
          
          Kylie shrugs.   The police car starts CHUGGING.
          
                                     BILL
                    Shit.
          
          The car slows, and comes to a stop.
          
          
          EXT. ROAD TOWARD WHEELSY - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Bill, Starla, Kylie, and Trevor step slowly out of the
          car. They look around the deserted road.
          
                                                                79.
          
          The wide-open night is shrouded in darkness. Quiet.
          They can see the lights of Wheelsy down the road in front
          of them.
          
          Bill speaks into the radio again, as he gets his leather
          satchel of weaponry out of the trunk. Trevor grabs ammo
          from the satchel to reload his pistol.
          
                                     BILL
                       Shelby, we broke down on 22, a
                       mile outside town. Come pick us
                       up.
          
                                     SHELBY (O.S.)
                       I got to leave my post.
          
                                      BILL
                       Do it.
          
          
          MOMENTS LATER
          
          The foursome walks down the road, toward the city.   Starla
          and Bill are in the lead.
          
                                      BILL
                       Hey, Starla.
          
          She looks at him.
          
                                     BILL
                       Was always curious why you...
                       married Grant in the first place...
                       Just never seemed outta love.
          
                                     STARLA
                       I know what people say, Bill.
                       I... Remember, back in high school
                       I worked at my father's gas station?
          
          Bill nods.
          
                                     STARLA
                       Grant used to get filled up every
                       day. I knew it was just to see
                       me. He was too old -- But he was
                       handsome. And he had that big ol'
                       Lincoln then. I flirted with him.
          
                                     BILL
                       Well, big ol' Lincoln, sure. Guess
                       I would have flirted with him too.
          
          Starla smiles, thinks.
          
                                                             80.
          
                                     STARLA
                       My father, he was -- he was real
                       close to evil. People didn't know.
                       Still don't. From the time I was
                       a toddler he'd beat the hell out
                       of me. I don't mean just like a
                       smack for smart-mouthing... he
                       took a real enjoyment in it. And
                       when I turned eleven or twelve,
                       things... well, they got worse.
          
          Starla looks at Bill, who seems struck.
          
                                     BILL
                       When you wanted to run away, I
                       called your dad.
          
                                     STARLA
                       That wasn't a good night, no.
          
                                     BILL
                       I'm sorry.
          
          Starla shrugs it off.
          
                                     STARLA
                       Anyway, Grant rolls in one day. I
                       fill his tank with like an eighth-
                       a-gallon as usual. And he notices
                       my lip's all swollen up, and starts
                       asking me how it happened. I don't
                       know why I chose then, why Grant --
                       I guess I saw an opportunity. And
                       I told him everything, first time
                       I told anyone. Grant was furious.
                       He picked up a tire iron, walked
                       straightaway into the garage, and
                       beat my father half to death. You
                       say it's not about love, Bill.
                       But that was the closest thing to
                       it I ever knew.
          
          Pause.
          
                                     STARLA
                       Grant asked me to marry him a few
                       weeks later. I felt... safe with
                       him.
          
          Bill nods.    Starla looks at him, smiles.
          
                                     STARLA
                       After all this shit tonight, I
                       know for sure now you regret not
                       running off with me to Hollywood!
          
                                                                 81.
          
                                    BILL
                    Hell, Starla.    I always regretted
                    that.
          
          Starla looks at him, moved.
          
          Trevor looks at Kylie, shivering and terrified.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    Don't worry, kid. Pretty soon,
                    we'll be in town, everything'll be
                    fine.
          
          
          EXT. WHEELSY CITY LIMIT - NIGHT
          
          A slithering parasite squirms over a paint-chipped sign
          that reads "WELCOME TO WHEELSY, SOUTH CAROLINA, THE WHEELS
          OF THE FUTURE," featuring early-'sixties graphics of a
          utopian future.
          
          THE CAMERA MOVES DOWN to the road, where hundreds of
          slithering parasites squirm into the city. They divide
          off in thin lines heading toward the various homes.
          
          We MOVE UP TO a WINDOW on a SMALL HOUSE, through which we
          can see an OVERWEIGHT WOMAN in spasms with a slithering
          thing in her mouth.
          
          We PAN TO the WINDOW of the HOME NEXT DOOR, where we can
          see a FAMILY gathered around a CORPSE, feasting on his
          goopy flesh.
          
          
          EXT. ROAD TOWARD WHEELSY - NIGHT
          
                                    STARLA
                    What's that?
          
          Our foursome look up to see a Buick Century parked at a
          haphazard angle in the middle of the road. The driver's
          side door is open. The headlights are still on.
          
          They look at each other. Bill takes his flashlight off
          his belt and aims it in front of him. They all slowly
          approach the car, in the darkness.
          
          Bill aims his flashlight into the Buick.   The keys are
          still there, but no one's inside.
          
          Trevor looks at the grill of the car.   It's dented.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    They musta hit a deer. Probably
                    got out to see if it's okay.
          
          Bill and the others look around.
          
                                                                  82.
          
          Bill hears a LAPPING sound behind him.   He turns, aiming
          the flashlight downward.
          
          A DISEASED DEER is lapping a thick purple tongue on the
          wound of a dead man. The sick creature is mostly hairless
          and pink and covered in veins. Bulbous black eyes hang
          on the sides of its head like a goldfish's.
          
          The diseased deer glances up at Bill and GROWLS a low
          growl.
          
                                  BILL
                    Fuck me.
          
          The deer springs upward, bringing his hoofs into Bill's
          chest. Bill is knocked violently to the gravel, dropping
          his shotgun and satchel. The deer rears back and brings
          his hoofs down into Bill again. They CRACK Bill's head
          against the hard road.
          
          Kylie, Trevor, and Starla see diseased deer coming in at
          them from different directions. The deer SCREECH like
          dying rabbits.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    Bambi-rats!
          
          Trevor aims his pistol at a DEER jumping toward him. He
          SHOOTS, misses. The deer knocks him down. The deer stomps
          his feet, rearing up and down on Trevor's ribs, almost
          like a little dance. The deer tears at Trevor's sleeve
          with decidedly carnivorous teeth, forcing him into letting
          go of his gun.
          
          Kylie SCREAMS. She dives into a small space beneath a
          rock overhang on the side of the road. She watches what's
          going on from there.
          
          Starla sees the Buick a few yards away. She glances beside
          her to see the largest diseased deer of all, a HORNED
          BUCK, careening toward her.
          
          She dashes toward the Buick as fast as she can.
          
          A TUMOROUS DOE leaps onto Bill, biting into his shoulder
          and tearing at his flesh, so now he has two deer on him.
          Bill is bleeding, dizzy, and disoriented, but he's able
          to turn, just a bit, to see the barrel of his shotgun
          above him. He tries to scoot himself back as he's being
          battered. He reaches up for the shotgun; but the tips of
          his fingers barely graze the muzzle.
          
          Starla arrives at the Buick, and starts to crawl into the
          front seat.
          
          But the horned buck is upon her.   He bites into Starla's
          ankle. She SCREAMS.
          
                                                                 83.
          
          He yanks back on her, half pulling her onto the road.
          But Starla grabs onto the steering wheel with all her
          might, and pulls against the horned buck's massive power.
          
          The deer on Trevor starts pulling him off, dragging him
          down the road as he HOLLERS.
          
          Kylie, underneath the rock overhang, watches Bill try to
          scoot himself back and reach for the shotgun. It's just
          a little too far away. She works up her nerve and slowly
          starts to crawl out toward him.
          
          As Starla is stretched between the horned buck pulling on
          her ankle, and her hand on the steering wheel, she's able
          to flip on her side and turn the keys in the ignition;
          the ENGINE STARTS. She reaches one hand down to the
          floorboard, pressing on the gas.
          
          The Buick lurches forward, wrenching her away from the
          horned buck's mouth.
          
          Bill reaches again for the barrel of his rifle. It's too
          far away. But then he sees Kylie, at the butt of the
          rifle. She reaches out and pushes it just a little, into
          Bill's hand. Bill grips the muzzle like a baseball bat,
          and swings it into the face of the deer jumping on him,
          knocking the beast back.
          
          The deer tries to stumble forward again, but its whole
          head and neck have been knocked askew. It topples over,
          dead.
          
          Bill flips the shotgun forward into his hands. He stuffs
          the muzzle into the tumorous doe biting into his leg.
          The deer looks at him. Blood is running down Bill's face
          and he looks half-crazed. Bill glances down and sees the
          telephone wire wrapped around her ankle.
          
          Bill pulls the trigger, destroying her.
          
          He stands, looking around for the deer with Trevor. It
          has dragged him a fair distance down the street. Bill
          SHOOTS once, missing it, and again, hitting it straight
          on.
          
          Kylie looks around to see more diseased deer running
          through the fields toward them.
          
          Starla pulls herself into the driver's seat and backs up
          alongside her friends. Throws open the passenger door.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Get in!
          
                                                                84.
          
          INT. BUICK CENTURY - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Bill fumbles for the radio controls.
          
                                     BILL
                    Shelby!
          
          Trevor looks out the window, watching the deer fade away
          behind them.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    When I buy my zoo, I'm leaving
                    them things the hell out!
          
                                     BILL
                    Shelby!
          
                                  SHELBY (O.S.)
                    Hey there, Chief.
          
                                  BILL
                    Shelby! We need people out here
                    at Cosgrove and McCammon right
                    away!
          
                                  SHELBY (O.S.)
                    Don't worry, Chief.
          
          
          EXT. MAIN STREET - NIGHT
          
          Shelby, sick and bloated, speaks into his radio, as he
          moves down the street with a hoard of the infected.
          
                                  SHELBY
                    Already on our way.
          
          
          BACK TO BUICK
          
          Kylie turns her head, and glances out the window.   And
          SCREAMS. Starla, Bill, and Trevor turn to see --
          
          An SUV barreling straight towards them.
          
          It SLAMS hard into the side of the Buick.
          
          And SMASHES the car back, across a short lot, and through
          the glass storefront of a flower store.
          
          
          INT. FLOWER STORE - NIGHT
          
          The Buick and SUV are destroyed, amidst the ruins of this
          store. Shattered vases and flowers surround them. Glass
          fragments dangle from the window frame. Some fall and
          CLINK to the floor.
          
                                                                   85.
          
          Starla lifts her battered head from the wheel. She looks
          beside her to see Bill and Trevor, seemingly unconscious.
          
          She looks back at Kylie. The impact has killed her. Her
          neck is bent at an ungodly angle. Bone juts up out of
          her skin.
          
          Starla looks out her rear window and sees the SUV door
          open, and the DISEASED DRIVER stumble out. His body is
          battered and broken, but, still, he lumbers toward her.
          He tries to speak, but his jaw is broken, and only a MUMBLY
          MOAN comes out.
          
          Starla struggles to get out of the car. Eventually, she
          does, and she falls to the floor, amidst the broken glass
          from the shattered window, and the water all over the
          floor from the broken vases.
          
          She sees the moaning driver limping toward her.   He's
          still trying to speak, but he's unintelligible.
          
          The driver gets close, ready to grab her. Starla sees a
          metal bar. She grabs it. And SLAMS it into the diseased
          man's shin.
          
          He topples over.
          
          She crawls onto the fallen driver and brings the metal
          bar down into his head, again and again, SHOUTING and
          CRYING with fury.
          
          Starla looks down at the man, who is very dead.
          
          Starla looks up to see dozens of DISEASED TOWNSFOLK coming
          at her, from down the street, between buildings. They
          see Starla there.
          
                                  DISEASED TOWNSFOLK
                    Starrrrrlaaaaaa!!
          
          Bill and Trevor limp up behind Starla, pulling her toward
          a door on the back wall.
          
                                  BILL
                    Come on.
          
          
          INT. FLOWER STORE STORAGE AREA - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Bill closes and locks the door behind them.
          
          
          EXT. FLOWER STORE - NIGHT
          
          The diseased townsfolk surround the little store on all
          sides. They SCREECH.
          
                                                                 86.
          
          INT. FLOWER STORE STORAGE AREA - NIGHT
          
                                  TREVOR
                    What the hell are we going to do?!
          
                                  BILL
                    Just block the doors, any way you
                    can.
          
          Bill grabs hammers and nails off a hardware bench.
          
          Trevor knocks things off shelves and yanks up the metal
          shelving.
          
          Starla looks doubtful of this whole activity.   But still,
          she helps.
          
          The storeroom has two doors.    They start nailing anything
          over them they can.
          
          Trevor sees some slithering parasites coming in through a
          crack in the upper corner of the room.
          
                                  TREVOR
                    Goddamn snakes!!
          
          Trevor aims his pistol at the things and starts shooting
          wildly at them, BLASTING up the whole room.
          
          Bill and Starla see slithering parasites coming in from
          other cracks in the room as well. They also BLAST at
          them. Dust is all around; they can hardly see.
          
          Bill runs out of ammo. He grabs a hand-held Black and
          Decker electric circular saw and turns it on. He starts
          jamming it into the parasites, cutting them up, and putting
          big slices in the floor. They SQUEAK with pain.
          
          
          EXT. FLOWER STORE - NIGHT
          
          The diseased townsfolk WAIL and SLAP their hands on the
          walls, almost rhythmically, like some tribal ritual.
          Some push on the doors.
          
          
          INT. FLOWER STORE STORAGE AREA - NIGHT
          
          Bill hears something POP behind him. He turns to see a
          little hole in one of the doors. Three diseased fingers
          slip inside, trying to pull away more.
          
          Bill uses the circular saw to cut off the fingers.
          
          An arm pops through the door.    Bill slams the circular
          saw into that. Blood spurts.     Bone grinds.
          
                                                               87.
          
          A man's eye peeks through another crack. Bill jams the
          circular saw through the crack and into the man's face.
          
          
          EXT. FLOWER STORE - NIGHT
          
          The FACE-SAWED MAN backs away from the hole, clutching
          his bleeding eye.
          
          
          INT. FLOWER STORE STORAGE AREA - NIGHT
          
          Bill spots a wide piece of shelving falling off the door
          across from him. He runs over to the space, when the
          circular saw stops turning. Bill turns to see he's
          accidentally unplugged it.
          
          
          EXT. FLOWER STORE - NIGHT
          
          The diseased townsfolk have all gathered on one side of
          the building now, putting all their efforts into tearing
          down one door. Some have even climbed onto the roof above
          it, curling off the gutter and roofing overhead.
          
          
          INT. FLOWER STORE STORAGE AREA - NIGHT
          
          Bill grabs his leather satchel, and starts to reload his
          shotgun. Starla sees that the diseased townsfolk have
          almost torn down one of the doors.
          
                                  STARLA
                    This is stupid.
          
          Starla goes to the other door, and starts tearing away
          the planks they nailed there.
          
                                  BILL
                    What are you doing?!
          
                                  STARLA
                    We can't make it. Just get away,
                    when you get the chance.
          
                                   BILL
                    What?
          
                                  STARLA
                    He wants me, Bill! I'm going to
                    get him to take me to him! See if
                    you can follow me, and kill him!
          
                                   BILL
                    No, Starla!   No!
          
                                                                     88.
          
            Another full metal plate is pushed off the door. A
            DISEASED MAN'S face peeks through. Trevor swirls to see
            it. The Man GLEEKS, hitting Trevor on his chest. Trevor
            looks down, in shock.
          
            And the whole door and part of the wall bursts open. The
            Diseased pour inside and around Trevor, GLEEKING all over
            him, splattering his body with the burning liquid. Trevor
            starts to puff up, swelling, becoming soft. They grab
            him.
          
                                     BILL
                      Nooo!
          
            Bill grabs Trevor by the wrist, and tries to pull him
            away from them. But Trevor SCREAMS in agony; the liquid
            has made his flesh too soft. His entire body splits apart
            like wet tissue, his organs spilling out in front of them.
          
            Bill stares down in shock, still holding Trevor's arm.
          
            Starla has pulled away enough boards of the other door.
            She throws it open. None of the diseased are on this
            side of the building anymore. She moves outside.
          
          
            EXT. FLOWER STORE - NIGHT
          
            Bill follows her. Two DISEASED PEOPLE appear, SCREECHING
            and running toward them. Bill SHOOTS them both. And he
            makes a break for it, running as fast as he can across
            the street.
          
            He turns, expecting to see Starla right behind him. But
            she has stayed behind, staring quietly at the ground.
            Starla has tears in her eyes. She motions with her head
            for Bill to go. Bill is confused.
          
            The diseased townsfolk come up around Starla from the
            sides of the flower store, no one paying attention to
            Bill. They encircle her, slowly. Some SCREECH angrily
            at her. She's too disgusted or fearful to even look in
            their eyes. They BREATHE with SICK, RASPY breath.
          
                  DISEASED WOMAN                 DISEASED KID
          Starlaaaaaaa!                  Starlaaaa!
          
            And they WAIL, in a cacophony of simultaneous voices, all
            the deep angers, fears, frustrations, and jealousies they
            inherited from Grant Grant, such as:
          
                                    SMASHED-FACE MAN
                      You said for better or worse! You
                      lied!
          
                  NO LONGER PRETTY                BRENDA'S HUSBAND
          I gave you everything!         I.   Loved. You!
          
                                                                      89.
          
                  SHELBY                           FAT SICK GUY
          It's not just about lesson       I wanted you by my side,
          plans! Hank Wilcox wants         sugarplum. But I'm too
          your pussy!                      ugly now, huh!!?
          
                  MR. INAPPROPRIATE                WAITRESS
          Your daddy'd still be            You always thought I was a
          fucking your every hole          joke, ain't you?
          weren't it for me!!
          
                                    BRENDA'S HUSBAND
                      You like Pardy better'n me? That's
                      who you want to screw now?!
          
                                    STARLA
                      Grant... Please...
          
            They surround her. They touch her body, her ass, her
            breasts. Pull on her clothes. She trembles.
          
                                    STARLA
                      I'm sorry... I know I haven't
                      behaved how you -- how you want.
                      I know. Don't... hurt... me.
          
            Starla glances down to see a diseased dog licking her
            calf, tasting her.
          
                                    STARLA
                      We need... to... talk.
          
            A DISEASED MAN grabs the side of her neck and face.
          
                  DISEASED MAN                     BRENDA'S HUSBAND
          Then talk.                       Then talk.
          
                                    STARLA
                      Not here, though, okay? Not all
                      of you. I'm not used to -- I want
                      to talk to your face, Grant. Your
                      more real face. Your --
          
            The diseased townsfolk grab Starla, enveloping her, and
            start dragging her away.
          
            A few townsfolk remain behind.    They look around for Bill.
          
                                     SMASHED-FACE MAN
                      Pardy?!!   Where are you, Pardy!!
          
            But he's nowhere to be seen.    They SCREECH angrily.
          
          
            EXT. MAIN STREET - NIGHT
          
            Bill runs as fast as he can across the street here -- the
            same direction the hoard took Starla, but down a block.
          
                                                                 90.
          
            EXT. SIDE OF MOVIE THEATER - NIGHT
          
            Bill falls against the side of this building, hiding in a
            dark crevice. Down the way, he can see numerous dead
            bodies, and a WOMAN chased down and tackled by some
            infected townsfolk.
          
            Some diseased townsfolk wander by Bill, looking for him.
            Bill crouches down so he isn't seen.
          
                   DISEASED WOMAN               SHELBY
          Pardy.   Pardy. Pardy.        Come on out, Pardy.
          
                                     PASTOR
                       We've surrounded the town, you
                       prick! Ain't no way outta here!
          
            Bill waits for them to pass. When they're gone, Bill
            looks up toward the next street -- he can see the hoard
            moving Starla across that street.
          
            He makes sure no one's looking, and follows her.
          
          
            EXT. GRANT STREET - LATER
          
            One of the diseased pushes Starla too hard, and she falls
            to her hands and knees. They keep pushing her. She
            stumbles back to her feet and moves on. She's almost
            hyperventilating.
          
          
            EXT. GRANT HOME - MOMENTS LATER
          
            Here, the Diseased Townsfolk around Starla stop. She
            looks up to see that they've led her onto her own front
            yard. Starla gazes up at her home:
          
            The diseased have done a little remodeling. Part of the
            front wall has been torn away, replaced with some primitive
            thatched woodwork. The front doorway has also been
            partially destroyed. Because of the sloppy reconstruction,
            the roof is caved-in and sloping.
          
            Diseased people sit in meerkat-like poses on all sides of
            the Grants' home, watching out for trouble.
          
          
            EXT. HOUSE ACROSS FROM THE GRANT HOME - NIGHT
          
            Bill, out of breath, arrives across the street. He can
            see Starla standing with the diseased. He hides behind
            some shrubs.
          
                                                                   91.
          
          EXT. GRANT HOME - NIGHT
          
          The diseased push Starla up between them, violently, to
          the front door.
          
          Starla stops at the dark hole on the front of the house.
          It's pitch black inside. She looks back at the rotting
          faces behind her. And then slowly enters.
          
          
          INT. GRANT FOYER - NIGHT
          
          Starla balks at the smell. She looks beside her at the
          garage; the wall has been torn out, and this has become
          Grant's feeding area, with rotten meat, including some
          bodies, in a pile.
          
          Starla steps slowly forward, looking around.
          
                                     STARLA
                    Grant?
          
          Starla can see into the shambles of a kitchen from here.
          
          
          EXT. HOUSE ACROSS FROM THE GRANT HOME - NIGHT
          
          Bill looks at the diseased surrounding the Grant home.
          They seem impossible to get through.
          
          Bill eyes the house next door, maybe twenty-five feet
          from the Grants'. He makes sure no one's paying attention
          for a moment, and he darts across the street to a parked
          car. The diseased don't see him. Bill gazes down the
          street beside him.
          
          The sun is just barely beginning to rise.   They don't
          have much time to move in the darkness.
          
          Bill makes a break for the house next door.
          
          
          INT. GRANT KITCHEN - NIGHT
          
          Starla walks into the kitchen. Cooking supplies and
          condiments are scattered over the floor. She spots a
          meat thermometer on the floor amongst other utensils.
          
          She glances out the rear window. Diseased people are
          guarding the backyard, looking away from the home.
          
          She grabs the meat thermometer. She snaps the thermometer
          part off the top, discards it, and shoves the long metal
          spike into the seam of her skirt.
          
                                                                  92.
          
          Suddenly, Starla hears EVERY WOMAN IN THE WORLD, the song
          she and Grant danced to earlier, starting to play through
          tinny speakers.
          
          Starla looks up through a missing section of ceiling; she
          can see a tiny piece of Grant in the bedroom above her.
          
                                   STARLA
                    Grant?   We should talk.
          
          
          EXT. NEIGHBOR'S BACKYARD - NIGHT
          
          Bill has made his way into the backyard. He looks over
          at the Grant home. Some diseased townsfolk in the backyard
          could conceivably see or hear him. He tries the back
          door, but it's locked.
          
          Bill notices a window slightly open.    He starts to push
          it up. It SQUEAKS LOUDLY.
          
          He peers over at the diseased. They don't hear. He throws
          the window up further, and crawls inside the home.
          
          
          INT. GRANT FOYER - NIGHT
          
          Starla stands at the base of the stairwell.    The SONG is
          louder.
          
                                     STARLA
                    Grant?
          
          She starts to ascend the stairs.     They CREAK beneath her
          feet.
          
          
          INT. NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE - NIGHT
          
          Bill peeks out the window, careful not to be seen by the
          diseased humans around Grant's. Bill can see Starla in
          the home next door, walking up the stairs.
          
          Bill runs toward the stairwell here.
          
          
          INT. GRANT UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT
          
          Starla looks down the hall.    Most of the walls have been
          torn away.
          
          Between wooden beams, Starla can see Grant's cumbersome
          mass, his back to her, in what was once the bedroom.
          
          In front of him, the SONG ENDS on the CD player. It starts
          into the NEXT SONG on the album. Grant uses one of his
          crusty tentacles to push the back button.
          
                                                                  93.
          
          EVERY WOMAN IN THE WORLD starts over.
          
          Starla walks toward him.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Grant keeps his back to her. Starla takes in the room.
          Photographs from their scrapbooks are all over the walls:
          photos from their wedding, and vacations, and family
          parties.
          
                                     STARLA
                    Hey, Grant.
          
          Starla walks around Grant, giving him a decent berth.
          
                                  STARLA
                    You did some real interesting
                    decorating here.
          
          Grant watches her from the corner of his sad, purulent
          eye.
          
                                     STARLA
                    Hey.
          
          Starla walks by a window.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Look, the sun's starting to come
                    up.
          
          Starla starts to open the drapes.
          
          
          INT. NEIGHBOR'S UPSTAIRS HALL - NIGHT
          
          Bill happens to look through the neighbors' kid's bedroom
          and to the home across the way where Starla is pulling
          the drapes away from the window. She sees Bill there.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Grant SCREECHES angrily at Starla. She quickly closes
          the drapes, not letting on she saw Bill.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Sorry. I didn't -- I didn't know
                    you wanted it dark.
          
          
          INT. KID'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Bill walks into this young boy's bedroom, filled with
          airplanes and sports memorabilia.
          
                                                                   94.
          
          He peeks around the window frame at the Grant bedroom
          window, now closed to him. He makes sure his shotgun is
          loaded.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Starla tries to change the subject by walking to a wall
          with the photos.
          
                                  STARLA
                    You like these memories, huh, Grant?
          
          Grant looks away from her.   Starla moves toward him, almost
          seductively.
          
                                  STARLA
                    You like being called Grant, don't
                    you?
          
          Grant is silent.   She gets closer.
          
                                   STARLA
                    I think you do. You really do.
                    You like being Grant. Like when
                    we danced. And when you... made
                    love to me here on the bed.
                    Remember that?
          
          Grant looks embarrassed.   Starla becomes more brazen.
          
                                  STARLA
                    I know you've been alone, Grant.
                    Almost forever. From here to there
                    to there to here, there's never
                    been another one for you.
          
          Starla almost looks as if she's about to cry, out of
          compassion for him.
          
                                  STARLA
                    Grant. Grant, I could help you.
                    Be with you the way you want.
                    See, I want to live. I've never
                    had much use for this world, not
                    really. You and I, together, we --
          
          She touches his tentacle with her fingers.   He moves it
          back, and GROWLS a little.
          
          Starla moves her trembling fingers toward him again. She
          sets them on his tentacle once more. He glares at her
          distrustfully, breathing his deep, sick breath.
          
                                  STARLA
                    You don't trust me, I know. That's
                    why I brought you someone, Grant.
          
                                                                   95.
          
          Starla looks into his eyes.
          
                                 STARLA
                    It's Bill. He's in the house next
                    door. Just look.
          
          
          INT. KID'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Bill glances down to see a diseased man looking up at
          him. In fact, they're all looking up at him. Bill is
          confused.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Grant looks at Starla with sad eyes, perhaps touched.
          Starla smiles nervously, expectantly.
          
                                  STARLA
                    See? I brought him here for you!
                    As an offering! To prove I love
                    you more than him!
          
          Grant wraps his tentacle around Starla. Starla, though
          obviously disgusted, touches his face with her hand.
          
          
          INT. NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE - NIGHT
          
          The diseased townsfolk break down the door, moving into
          the downstairs below Bill.
          
          
          INT. KID'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Bill hears them approaching. He SHATTERS the window, and
          crawls onto a small mock-balcony outside.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Starla moves slowly in toward Grant, as if to kiss him.
          Grant looks, well, joyful.
          
          And then she yanks the metal spike from her skirt and
          JABS it into Grant's eye.
          
          Grant SCREECHES, blind and bucking.   Starla SLAMS the
          spike into his other eye.
          
          And she STABS him again, shoving the spike into his
          forehead, where it stays.
          
          Starla leaps to the window.   She throws open the drapes.
          
                                                               96.
          
                                   STARLA
                    Now, Bill!!   Kill the motherfucker!!
          
          
          EXT. NEIGHBOR'S MOCK BALCONY - NIGHT
          
          Bill raises his shotgun and BLASTS as Starla jumps away
          from the window.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          The WINDOW SHATTERS and the shot strikes Grant. He
          SCREECHES, swinging his tentacles aimlessly around the
          room in fury.
          
          One tentacle SLAMS Starla against the wall, probably
          breaking a rib or two. Another tentacle SMASHES the CD
          player, squelching the song.
          
          
          EXT. NEIGHBOR'S MOCK BALCONY - NIGHT
          
          The diseased townsfolk enter the kid's bedroom, rushing
          toward Bill on the balcony. But Bill won't stop. He
          BLASTS the shotgun again.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BEDROOM - NIGHT
          
          Grant is struck in the head. He starts slithering out of
          the bedroom, feeling his way out.
          
          
          EXT. NEIGHBOR'S MOCK BALCONY - NIGHT
          
          Bill is out of shells. He drops his shotgun. He grabs
          the grenade out of the pocket on the black leather bag.
          
          
          INT. GRANT BATHROOM - NIGHT
          
          Starla, clutching her ribs and barely able to move, pulls
          herself up on the window.
          
          Bill tosses her the grenade. She tries to catch it, but
          misses it. It lands on the carpet. She see Grant's
          tentacles slipping away. She tries to move but she's
          hurt bad, bleeding.
          
          
          EXT. NEIGHBOR'S MOCK BALCONY - NIGHT
          
          The diseased GLEEK at Bill, but Bill throws himself
          forward, letting himself fall through the flimsy balustrade --
          
                                                                  97.
          
          EXT. GRANT HOME - NIGHT
          
          Bill lands hard on the lawn between the two homes. He
          grabs a .38, and stands beside the window on Grant's house.
          
          Through the window he sees Grant barreling down the stairs.
          
          Bill SHOOTS Grant with the .38, SHATTERING the glass.
          
          He UNLOADS the clip into him.
          
          The diseased townsfolk surround Bill, grabbing him. Grant,
          using the others' eyes to see, snaps his tentacle forward,
          wrapping it around Bill's neck, raising him up. Grant
          SCREECHES.
          
          
          INT. GRANT FOYER - NIGHT
          
          Starla appears at the top of the stairs, clutching her
          bloody side. She has the pin in one hand and the grenade
          in the other.
          
          With all her remaining effort, she lobs the grenade behind
          Grant.
          
                                     GRANT
                    Er...?
          
          It EXPLODES.
          
          
          EXT. GRANT HOME - NIGHT
          
          Grant's exploding flesh sends Bill flying backwards.
          
          
          INT. GRANT HALLWAY - NIGHT
          
          Starla is thrown back.
          
          
          EXT. GRANT HOME - NIGHT
          
          Around the house, the diseased's eyes gaze lifelessly
          upward as they each plummet to the grass.
          
                                                            FADE TO:
          
          
          EXT. GRANT HOME - MORNING
          
          Bill unwraps what's left of the tentacle from his bruised
          neck, and looks around at the dead diseased. Grant's
          splattered flesh is around him.
          
                                                               98.
          
          Bill hears a quiet RATTLING sound. He looks around him.
          And then sees, down at his feet, what is actually a
          distorted piece of Grant's cerebellum. Sticking out of a
          new organic slit in the cerebellum is the quill-like spore.
          It quivers and trembles upward, its little bulbed spurs
          popping out.
          
          
          INT. GRANT HALLWAY - MORNING
          
          Starla crawls forward to look down through the smoke:
          most of the second floor has been blown away. Her mutated
          husband is just a mass of flesh and alien organs.
          
          
          EXT. GRANT HOME - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla comes around the side of the house, holding a paper
          towel roll to the slice on her ribs. She sees Bill
          standing there. She smiles.
          
                                   STARLA
                    Hey.
          
          Bill smiles too.
          
                                   BILL
                    Hey.
          
          
          EXT. MAIN STREET - DAY
          
          Bill and Starla hobble down the town center. The leather
          bag is slung over Bill's shoulder. Everything around
          them is dead: the victims who were being feasted on, as
          well as the various diseased. The torture is over, but
          no life remains.
          
          
          EXT. MAIN STREET - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Bill finds an abandoned Nissan Maxima in the middle of
          the street, with the keys still in it.
          
                                  BILL
                    Starla, over here.
          
          
          EXT. WHEELSY EXIT - LATER
          
          In the Maxima now, Bill and Starla pull around a toppled
          ambulance and through a spouting fire hydrant, and out
          onto --
          
                                                                  99.
          
          EXT. ROAD BEYOND WHEELSY - DAY
          
          The sun is bright and beautiful, glistening on the car.
          Bill and Starla breathe more easily and smile a little as
          they head up this long, barren road outside the city.
          
          
          EXT. CLUSTER OF STORES - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Bill and Starla pass through a small block of stores.
          
          Starla gazes out the window to see people -- real, actual,
          HEALTHY HUMAN BEINGS: men and women and children -- going
          about their daily chores. Tears come to her eyes.
          
          Bill grabs Starla's hand.   She clenches his tightly.
          
                                  STARLA
                    We can probably get some first aid
                    and food at this gas station up
                    here.
          
                                    BILL
                    Yeah.   Good.
          
          
          EXT. GAS STATION - MOMENTS LATER
          
          The Maxima pulls into the station, and stops.
          
          
          INT. GAS STATION MART - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Starla and Bill pile stuff up on the cashier's counter --
          Band-Aids, gauze, alcohol; Power Bars and Gatorade. The
          CASHIER rings it up, staring at them because of their
          wounds.
          
                                  CASHIER
                    Comes to 32.87.
          
          Bill pulls money out of his pants pocket. As he does,
          Starla glances down. His arm pulls up his shirt, and
          Starla can see the black and yellow wound there on his
          stomach. She turns away, looking around, confused.
          
          Bill pays, smiles at the cashier.
          
                                    BILL
                    There you go.
          
          
          EXT. GAS STATION - MOMENTS LATER
          
          A stunned Starla steps with Bill out of the station, moving
          toward the car.
          
                                                                100.
          
          Starla stops.
          
                                 STARLA
                    Shit. I- I forgot... I wanted to
                    get aspirin.
          
          She starts to move back inside.     Bill stops her.
          
                                  BILL
                    I'll get it for you.      Ibuprofen or
                    aspirin?
          
                                     STARLA
                    Aspirin.
          
          Bill smiles, and goes back inside. Starla moves quickly
          with the bag of stuff toward the car.
          
          
          INT. GAS STATION MART - MOMENTS LATER
          
          Bill pays for the aspirin, and walks out with it.
          
          
          EXT. GAS STATION - DAY
          
          Bill walks out; the Maxima is still there.
          
          
          INT. MAXIMA - DAY
          
          Bill gets in the driver's seat, puts his keys into the
          engine.
          
                                  BILL
                    We'll just head up here into
                    Bishopville, get checked up in the
                    hospital. Then maybe we'll head
                    off to Hollywood after all, huh?
          
                                     STARLA
                    Okay.
          
          Bill turns to smile at Starla. She's aiming the .38 at
          his face. Tears are streaming down her cheeks.
          
                                  BILL
                    Please, Starla. I'm gonna do my
                    best not to hurt anybody --
          
                                     STARLA
                    You took Bill.
          
                                  BILL
                    It's my nature.
          
                                                                101.
          
                                  STARLA
                    And this is mine.
          
          Starla pulls the trigger, the GUNSHOT CRACKS OUT.
          
          
          EXT. GAS STATION - DAY
          
          As the Maxima sits in the lot, ANOTHER GUNSHOT CRACKS
          OUT. Then we hear the HORN BLARING.
          
          
          INT. MAXIMA - DAY
          
          Bill's dead body is slumped over the steering wheel.
          Starla really can't bring herself to look at it, as she
          reaches across it and toward the door handle.
          
          
          EXT. GAS STATION - DAY
          
          The car door flips open.    The horn stops blaring.
          
          And Bill's body is kicked out of the car, sliding onto
          the pavement.
          
          
          INSERT TITLE, FULL SCREEN:
          
          SLiTHER
          
          
          INT. MAXIMA - DAY
          
          Starla WIPES the tears away from her face. She glances
          out the window to see the cashier peeking out of the
          cashier's station.
          
          Starla scoots over into the driver's seat.    She shoves
          the car into drive.
          
          And she takes off down the road, not looking back.
          
          Starla's blanched and numb but the tears still keep coming.
          
                                                       CUT TO BLACK.
          
          
          
          
                                    THE END



Slither



Writers :   James Gunn
Genres :   Comedy  Horror  Sci-Fi


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