INT. CLOTHING STORE - AFTERNOON
Women's casual wear department. J.C. Penny.
An African-American man carrying two J.C. Penny shopping bags is ushered past the
department store managers and security guards on walkies that have gathered at
the entrance to the woman's dressing rooms.
INT. DRESSING ROOM - AFTERNOON
A bed has been formed by a chair and three benches.
A STRIKING AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMAN in her twenties lays across it. Her face and
clothes are covered in sweat. Her skirt is stained.
She holds something wrapped in a soft sweatshirt on her chest. We can't see it,
but WE HEAR THE BABY CRYING.
She's just given birth.
There are three frazzled saleswomen in the dressing room with her. They watch her
with quiet smiles.
A fourth SALESWOMAN arrives ushering in the man with the shopping bags.
This is Mr. Mathison. He's
DR. MATHISON looks over the scene and then directly at the striking woman.
The woman nods, "Yes." Sweat trickles down her face. THE BABY'S PIERCING CRIES
ECHO IN THE SMALL ROOM.
An ambulance is on the way.
Dr. Mathison puts down his shopping bags and moves to her. He kneels down and
gestures for the bundle of sweatshirts in her arms.
Is there a name yet?
Beat. The woman smiles for the first time.
She hands him the wrapped child. We can't see the baby, but THE PIERCING CRIES
SEEM TO GET LOUDER.
Is he supposed to be crying
The doctor lowers the baby to his lap and unwraps him.
The woman can't see her baby anymore. She watches Dr. Mathison as he looks down
and examines her child. Beat. Dr. Mathison doesn't look up for the longest time.
Can I have him back?
THE BABY'S CRYING IS RELENTLESS. UNNERVING. Beat.
The doctor finally glances up. He looks shaken. He makes eye contact with the
woman for only a second. It's enough. A chill goes through her body.
He looks to the three saleswomen who were in the room.
What happened during the
His hard stare unsettles the women. The OLDER SALESWOMAN speaks up.
Nothing. It was very quick.
The baby just wanted to come
right out. There was no
Did you drop him?
Everyone becomes very still. The mother looks like she stopped breathing. THE
BABY'S SCREAMING ENGULFS THE ROOM.
Did you drop this baby?
Jesus Christ, no.
The BABY SCREAMS.
The doctor whispers something to himself, we can't hear. He looks up to the
saleswoman who brought him in.
Please inform the ambulance
we have a situation...
Dr. Mathison turns back to the mother. Beat.
I've never seen this... It
appears your infant
sustained some fractures
while in your uterus.
His arms and legs are
FADE TO BLACK:
EXT. TRAIN STATION NEW JERSEY - DAY
LEGEND "PRESENT DAY"
A fountain of humanity bubbles up from the escalators to the train platform.
Businessmen take their last desperate drags of their cigarettes... Women
traveling with children herd their luggage and offspring into tight shapes as
they move... College students with backpacks look around dazed at the various
Last call track three,
Amtrak Clocker making it's
final stop at Philadelphia's
thirtieth street station.
First two passenger cars
only. First two cars only.
A face inside the train watches the stream of passengers emerging from the
escalators. DAVID DUNNE, a man in his early forties, rest his temple against the
glass and quietly observes the movement outside.
The train starts to pull out.
INT. PASSENGER CAR - DAY
David sits with his coat on his lap. He's wearing a tie. He doesn't look very
comfortable in it.
He feels a stare. He looks up to find a girl, six or seven years old, peering at
him from over the seat in front of him. She just gazes at him blankly.
He gives her a small forced smile. She doesn't react. David returns his head to
His eyes begin to shut with the lulling movement of the train.
David looks in the direction of THE VOICE. A WOMAN with dark hair and light blue
eyes stands in the aisle with two bags over her shoulder. She's wearing a tight
white t-shirt and jeans. She's beautiful.
David nods "yes."
The woman starts putting her bags on the shelf above the seats. She stretches to
get them up. Her toned stomach is exposed. She has a silver ring pierced through
David has a gold ring on his hand. He fiddles with it. Beat. He gently slips off
his wedding band. It goes into his coat pocket.
The woman takes the seat next to him.
Beat. A LOUD VIOLENT BURST OF SOUND. The passenger car shakes as a passing
train barrels by two feet from David's window. It passes in a few seconds. The
car returns to a QUIET HUM.
David pulls a magazine out from the seat pocket in front of him.
He holds the woman's fashion magazine out.
Someone left these. You want
The woman looks over the one being offered and then points to the Sports
Illustrated peeking out of the seat pocket.
David pulls the magazine out and gives it to her.
You like sports?
It's my field. I represent
athletes. I'm an agent.
What a coincidence? I'm a
male synchronized swimmer
and I'm looking for
Is that right?
But I'm afraid of water, so
that's been holding my
career back a little bit.
The woman laughs.
You represent someone in
I'm meeting a player from
Temple University. He's a
cornerback. You like
This kid is six foot two,
two hundred and forty
pounds. He runs the fifty in
under six seconds. He's
going to be a God.
Beat. David studies the excitement in her eyes.
ANOTHER LOUD VIOLENT BURST OF SOUND. David waits till the opposing train passes.
The woman goes back to her magazine. Beat.
I'm David Dunne.
The woman looks up.
She goes back to the magazine.
How long are you staying in
KELLY looks up from her Sports Illustrated. Her striking blue eyes gaze at David.
She holds up her hand. Taps the diamond ring on her finger.
What are you talking about?
An awkward silence.
I think you got the wrong
The woman stares at David. She looks down. Beat. Closes the magazine.
I'm going to find another
Kelly gets up. She balances herself against a headrest as the train rumbles. She
starts to the back of the car.
David sits alone. He looks like he's drowning, but there's no water.
He feels a stare. He glances up. The little girl spies on him from between the
David leans towards the window to avoid eye contact. His hand reaches into his
coat and slides out his wedding band. He puts it back on.
His temple touches the glass. The vibration of the train begins to lull his eyes
David's head bounces lightly against the window.
The shaking of the glass never allows David's eyes to completely close.
He sits up when he realizes the shaking is getting stronger.
He looks out the window. The scenery blurs as it flies by. Beat.
David turns. Some of the other passengers start to react as they realize the
train is picking up speed.
The normal bumps of the tracks become amplified.
The WORRIED VOICES OF THE TRAVELERS START FILL THE CABIN.
The train goes faster.
AND THEN THE HIGH PITCHED METAL ON METAL SCREECHING STARTS AS THE TRAIN BEGINS TO
TAKE A CURVE.
David's eyes move to the seat in front of him. The little girl is no longer
DAVID LOOKS TO THE PASSENGERS ACROSS FROM HIM. He sees the ground slowly drop
away in the windows behind them as THEIR SIDE OF THE TRAIN STARTS TO RISE...
THE PASSENGERS SCREAM AS THE AMTRAK PASSENGER TRAIN BEGINS TO TILT OFF THE
INT. FAMILY ROOM - AFTERNOON
A boy, age ten, sits on his head on the family couch and watches television
upside down. His floppy brown hair spreads out in a circle in front of his red
face. He changes channels with a remote control.
He moves past the upside down cartoons and the upside down talk shows. He stops
on an upside down picture of a crashed train. Beat.
His knees come forward as he flips over. He tumbles slowly off the couch and onto
the carpet. JEREMY DUNNE gazes at the television screen... A LIVE AERIAL VIEW OF
A TRAIN WRECK SMOULDERING BELOW IS SEEN. Two trains are tangled like snakes.
Jeremy gets up and moves to a small table with a phone. Next to the phone is a
notepad. On it is written...
"Dad - Amtrak 177 - 3:40pm."
Jeremy looks at the television. At the bottom of the screen in red block letters
that move from right to left are words and numbers..."The 3:40 Amtrak 177 has
derailed... Amtrak Emergency number is 1-800-777-4322... The 3:40 Amtrak 177 has
Jeremy doesn't take his eyes off the screen. He makes a small desperate noise
that no one hears.
INT. PHYSICAL THERAPY CENTER - LATE AFTERNOON
An elderly woman can't hold back any longer and SCREAMS. An embarrassed, tortured
MEGAN DUNNE continues applying pressure to her arm which is being pushed back as
far as it will go.
She counts to three and eases off. She lays her arm back in her lap.
WE ARE IN A PHYSICAL THERAPY CENTER. About a dozen people are on specialized
The elderly woman is seated on an exercise table and breathes slowly.
You okay, Virginia?
Beat. VIRGINIA shakes her head, "No."
I'll put something on the
t.v. Maybe we'll find some
almost naked guys to inspire
Megan reaches up to the t.v. monitor mounted on the wall. She turns it on and
starts flipping channels. She stops on ESPN where a swimming meet is underway.
Men in bikini swimsuits line the edges of the pool.
Virginia starts watching with great interest.
Megan's eyes move to the tiny print moving across the bottom of the screen. Her
face goes still as she reads the train number... 177.
INT. EMERGENCY ROOM - AFTERNOON
DAVID DUNNE'S EYES SLOWLY OPEN. THE DULL WHITE OF THE OVERHEAD TUBE LIGHTING
BLINDS HIM AT FIRST.
He blinks his vision back. He realizes he's in a bed.
WE HEAR AGITATED VOICES, MOVEMENT.
David looks around. He's in an emergency room. There are a half dozen prep areas
and beds next to him. They're all empty.
DAVID FOLLOWS THE URGENT SOUNDS OF ACTIVITY TO A PREP AREA DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM
He can only see glimpses of activity through the drawn curtain. A group of
emergency room personnel are treating a man whose body is twitching violently on
One of the group is a man who glances through the opening in the curtain. He
notices David sitting up from across the room.
THE MAN IN SCRUBS leaves the group and walks over.
MAN IN SCRUBS
How are you feeling?
He FLASHES A LIGHT in David's eyes.
MAN IN SCRUBS
You are in the emergency
room of the University of
Pennsylvania Hospital. You
were in a serious accident.
How's your vision?
David stares across as the scene with the other patients becomes more frantic and
MAN IN SCRUBS
Where were you sitting on
Against a window.
MAN IN SCRUBS
In the passenger car?
Yes. Where are the rest of
MAN IN SCRUBS
Was your family traveling
MAN IN SCRUBS
Did you get up from your
David watches the other patient.
MAN IN SCRUBS
You're certain you were in
the passenger car?
David turns to the man.
Yes... Why are you looking
at me like that?
MAN IN SCRUBS
Your train derailed... Some
kind of malfunction... It
took a curve way to fast. A
second train collided with
yours after it derailed. The
debris is spread over one
mile. It's unbelievable they
They only found two people
alive so far... You and him.
David looks to the other passenger now laying unnaturally still in the desperate
whirlwind of activity around him.
MAN IN SCRUBS
The man's skull was cracked
open and most of his left
side was crushed.
MAN IN SCRUBS
And to answer your question,
there are two reasons why
I'm looking at you like
David turns and stares at the man.
MAN IN SCRUBS
One, because it seems, in a
few minutes, you will
officially be the only
survivor of this train
And two, because you don't
have a scratch on you. You
didn't break one bone.
INT. EMERGENCY RECEPTION AREA - EVENING
David moves through the depressing milky corridors of the hospital. He opens a
set of double doors.
A room crammed with cameras and photographers explodes with movement.
A CHILD'S VOICE BREAKS THEIR NOISE.
I told you!
Jeremy Dunne pushes forward through the mob of people and cameras. He bursts out
and runs to David. He wraps his arms around David's waist. David just stands
there, aware that the cameras are catching it all. He's overwhelmed.
Hospital staff and a couple police officers push the media back.
Jeremy tugs David to lean down. He does.
They thought everybody on
the train died.
David looks at his son's face. Wipes the tears on his cheek.
I told them they were wrong.
A woman moves to them. David stands up and faces Megan Dunne.
Mom even cried.
David looks at Megan's eyes.
Megan looks away.
Not a lot.
They stand there for a moment. David looks shaken. Jeremy takes hold of his hand.
Let's go home.
Megan nods. They move to the exit. The pack of cameras and reporters burst to
life as they leave the building. They jockey for position to get a last glimpse
of David Dunne.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
David eats a bowl of pasta alone in a modest kitchen. He stares at his hand.
Opens and closes it slowly. Beat.
He rises and puts the bowl away in the sink.
INT. FRONT HALL - NIGHT
David stops just before rising the stairs. He glances into a bedroom at the
bottom of the stairs. The doorway is half open. He makes eye contact with his
I don't think I got the job
in New York.
What does that mean?
I'm still going to New York.
Just not this second.
I don't want to drag this
out too long for Jeremy.
How about in the meantime,
you don't sleep in the
You sleep in our room. I'll
sleep down here.
It stopped being our room a
long time ago.
You should go up and get
Beat. Megan slowly closes the door to the guest bedroom.
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
David looks at his son asleep in his bed.
Jeremy, why don't you go
sleep with your mom?
I want to sleep here
I think it's be better if I
I won't make any noise.
How about your room then? If
you get scared like before,
you can come back in here?
Beat. Jeremy doesn't answer because he's asleep. David rubs his forehead and gets
up. He turns on the t.v., low volume, as he moves into the bathroom.
INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT
Hot water rushes over David's face as he stands in the shower. His attention is
drawn to the t.v. which is seen through the slightly open bathroom door.
He turns off the water to HEAR.
seven and half miles outside
Philadelphia. It came to
rest on its side on the
northbound tracks. It is
train officials belief that
some if not most of the
passengers were still alive
at this time.
The momentary peace lasted
only a few seconds. A Boston
bound freight train on the
northbound tracks was
seconds away from passing
train 177 when it derailed.
The impact happened at about
three-fifteen p.m. The first
of the two occupied
passenger cars was severed
in half and sent careening
in two directions. The
second of the passenger cars
was crushed and dragged for
four hundred feet. Six crew
members were on the freight.
One hundred and eighteen
passengers and seven crew
members were on the
passenger train... There is
one reported survivor.
Rescue teams will be working
for the next forty-eight
hours removing bodies and
David steps out of the shower. He sees a glimpse of Jeremy asleep in bed. David
shuts the door. Locks it.
He gets back into the shower and turns the water back on.
He closes his eyes. His face tightens up. He slowly hunches down and takes a seat
on the tiled floor of the shower. Water pours over him. Beat.
His muscular body begins to shake. Then we realize he's crying.
FADE TO BLACK:
EXT. FAIR - DAY
A hazy afternoon. A fair has come into town. They have set up in the vast parking
lot of the local high school.
A line of women has formed in front of the portable bathrooms.
The striking African American woman we saw giving birth is now standing in line.
She is older and somehow more beautiful.
She stands with a skinny, almost ethereal looking African American boy. The boy
wears a metal brace on his leg. THE EIGHT YEAR OLD ELIJAH holds two oversized
stuffed animals in his arms. He looks back over his shoulder as THE SOUND OF
VOICES YELLING IN EXCITEMENT FILL THE AIR. His eyes dance over the many colorful
rides in the parking lot.
The door opens to one of the portable bathrooms. A woman steps out.
Elijah's mother touches his head and enters the three foot square plastic
bathroom. She turns back and gives him a look.
We'll play the water pistol
Elijah nods, "Yes" happily.
The mother closes the cubicle door. Elijah is left alone amongst the line of
women. They stare at him blankly. Their eyes moves over his leg brace. Elijah
doesn't like it. He moves away from the line.
A CRESCENDO OF CHEERS RISES IN THE AIR FROM SOMEWHERE IN THE FAIR. Elijah follows
the voices. He carries the stuffed animals through the crowds of people. CLICK.
CLICK. CLICK. His metal brace sounds as he walks.
For a moment, he sees nothing but bodies all around him.
He emerges amongst a huddle of teenagers who wait at a turnstile.
A man in a red and white striped coat takes their tickets and waves them in.
Elijah looks up and sees the sign above the turnstile... "The Hurricane."
He watches the teenagers giggle as they each into a grey cup-like seat. They pull
the metal bars down in front of them.
The man in the red and white stripes leaves the turnstile.
Elijah stares up at the multi-colored sign. Beat. He moves quickly. Ducks under
the turnstile and climbs onto the platform.
Elijah finds and empty circular seat. He slips inside the gray metal compartment
and sits. He pulls down the rusted metal bar in front of him.
He looks around at all the excited faces. His eyes fill with excitement too.
His small hands feel the cold metal of the interior of the compartment. His
Elijah looks to the stuffed animals in his arms. He presses them to check their
softness. He places the stuffed animals on either side of him on the seat. He's
wedged in between them. Feels good.
He reaches out and touches the hard rusted metal bar in front of him. Elijah
looks a little anxious. Beat.
He pulls off his sweater and wraps it around the bar. It goes around twice before
he ties the arms together. He checks its softness.
Elijah looks around the customized cup-like compartment he sits in. He smiles an
eight year old smile of pride.
AND THEN HE HEARS HIS MOTHER'S VOICE.
He searches around and finds her walking in the waves of people. He hears her
She moves in his direction by chance. She finds herself at the entrance to The
Hurricane ride. She looks up at the sign above the turnstile. Her worried eyes
immediately start searching the young faces in the gray circular compartments.
Her eyes meet Elijah's. He waves. Her face goes very still.
A HUGE ROAR OF MACHINERY as the ride starts up.
Elijah yells to his mother as the platform starts running.
I won't get hurt momma! I'm
HIS WORDS GET EATEN UP BY THE CHEERS OF THE TEENAGERS AND THE GRIND OF MACHINERY.
The platform spins. He sees a glimpse of his mother and the red and white striped
man. She's pointing at Elijah.
The platform turns... Elijah sees a flash of the red and white striped man's
angered face as he yells at the frantic woman next to him.
And then the ride speeds up.
The gray circular seats start to spin on their own. The teenagers CHEER.
Elijah's eyes fill with joy as the wind plays against his face.
Suddenly the ride changes directions. The cup-like seats get jerked. Everyone
grabs the metal bars to hold on.
Elijah laughs as he smashes into the stuffed animal on his right. It cushions him
and then falls to the floor of the compartment along with the other stuffed
Elijah's expression becomes tense as his compartment spins. His hands slide over
the rusted metal bar as the sweater unravels.
Elijah looks around... a sudden panic enters his eyes.
THE BLURRING IMAGE OF HIS MOTHER NOW IN A GROUP OF RED AND WHITE STRIPED MEN.
THE SOUND OF MACHINERY GRINDING IS HEARD as the ride changes directions
Elijah's hands rip away from the bar as he gets thrown to the side of the
compartment. His shoulder and arm takes the brunt of the impact. WE HEAR
TEENAGERS SCREAM IN EXCITEMENT. ELIJAH JOINS THEM WITH SCREAMS OF HIS OWN.
The ride spins its passengers. Elijah's small face looks up at the swirling
clouds in a mixture of agony and terror.
The ride changes directions.
Elijah is thrust forward. He hits the rusted metal bar square against his chest.
WE HEAR MORE CRACKS.
The world spins. Giggles and yells fill the air. Elijah slumps down onto the
floor of the compartment.
And then finally, the grind of the machinery slows and then comes to a gradual
THE TEENAGERS MOAN.
Elijah is facing directly up at the sky. The clouds now move slowly over him.
WE HEAR COMMOTION. AGITATED VOICES. HIS MOTHER'S DESPERATE VOICE.
His bones... He's not
HER VOICE GETS LOUDER AS SHE MOVES CLOSER TO THE PLATFORM.
Then her face appears as she finds the cup-like seat Elijah is in. She begins to
Elijah lays on the bottom of the compartment. One arm is clutching his chest. The
other is curved horrifically like an "s". His mouth is open. His eyes are
bulging. The last thing we HERE ARE THE SHORT DESPERATE BREATHS of an eight year
old child about to black out from the pain.
FADE TO BLACK:
PRESENT: EXT. CHURCH - AFTERNOON
WE EMERGE FROM BLACK to find news vans and reporters lining the street across
from a church. They have been cordoned off by a handful of police. Mourners are
recorded as they emerge from their cars and enter the church.
David is among the arriving crowd.
At hearing his name, David turns back as he walks. He can't tell which reporter
called his name because all of them seem to react. A storm of camera movement as
the group jockeys for the best angle of his troubled face.
David passes a magnetic board as he enters the church. It reads, "Services for
the families and friends of train 177."
INT. CHURCH - AFTERNOON
A PRIEST stands before a podium.
Sarah Elaston, social worker
at Broad and Locust
Community Center. We pray
for your soul.
Kevin Elliott, business man,
father of six. We pray for
Glen Stevens, researcher in
the area of Leukemia at
Drexel University. We pray
for your soul.
David sits amongst the mourners in the standing room only church. His eyes drift
to a woman two rows ahead of him. She's turned around, looking at him. Her eyes
are red from crying.
David looks away. His eyes stop on an old man far to his left just a few seats
away. Father, mother and daughter stare silently.
David surveys the entire church... Desperate inconsolable eyes question his
existence from every direction.
David has to look down.
...Jennifer Pennyman, third
grade teacher at Jefferson
We pray for your soul.
INT. BACK OF CHURCH - AFTERNOON
David and the priest who conducted the mass are alone in the mass preparation
room. The priest looks in his fifties, eyes tired, blood shot.
I used to play football in
college. In my first year as
quarterback, we went on this
winning streak. It just went
on and on. It didn't matter
who we played... I'd always
You get superstitious when
something like that happens.
You give things meaning.
Like you wear the same color
socks each game or you
listen to the same B.B. King
song before you leave the
apartment. I wouldn't even
untie the shoelaces on my
cleats. I'd just slip them
on and off so nothing would
change... I gave things
meaning that had no meaning.
I'm here to make sure I'm
not making shoelaces into
something they're not again.
I was the only person to
survive that accident. The
only one... It feels like it
Are you a religious man,
David nods, "No."
The priest removes the sacred stoll from his around his neck and kisses it before
folding it carefully.
Good. Because I'm going to
talk to you as a man. Not as
a man of the cloth.
Beat. The priest turns to David.
It was luck.
What do you mean?
Luck... Random... Without
David just sits awkwardly.
Three years ago, my cousin
died on a plane that crashed
on take off at Philadelphia
International airport. Do
you remember that crash?
David nods, "Yes."
I prayed and prayed and
finally found some meaning
in the event. It gave me
peace... And then not quite
a year later, an entire
family from my parish burned
to death in a hotel fire
Again I prayed. Again I
Just two days ago, my nephew
rode with you on that train
back from New York. He was
traveling alone for the
I'm sorry if I can't react
to your survival with the
appropriate 'It was the hand
of God. It was a miracle.'
kind of answer... I'm fresh
out of those right now.
David is shaken. Beat.
The metal of the watch I was
wearing was crushed like a
sledge hammer hit it.
Beat. The priest's eyes fill with emotion.
My twelve year old nephew's
neck was broken in four
places... What's your point?
You were chosen?
I don't think so.
The priest turns and continues putting away artifacts from the mass. Silence
fills the back room.
INT. CHURCH PARKING LOT - LATE AFTERNOON
No cameras greet his exit. No people anywhere.
David walks across the now empty parking lot. His car is the only one left.
He walks to the driver's side. Pulls out his keys. That's as far as he gets.
His eyes catch sight of the GRAY ENVELOPE tucked under the windshield wiper of
David moves forward and gently pulls it out. His name is typed on the front. He
turns it over. Two embossed words on the back.
He opens the envelope. One line, handwritten, gazes at him from the gray index
The line reads...
"How many days of your life have you been sick?"
Nothing else is written.
David Dunne looks around the empty parking lot quietly.
INT. EMPLOYEE LOCKER ROOM - MORNING
A poorly lit changing room. A row of metallic lockers sits against one wall. A
bench splits the room. A brown folding table with Dunkin Donuts boxes and bagels
on it is crammed in the corner. A puke colored concrete floor sets the tone.
David and three other large men are changing out of their street clothes. They
all put on the same yellow short sleeve shirts. The same two words are written on
all their backs...
This ritual goes on without a word.
INT. MAIN STADIUM CORRIDOR - MORNING
David walks along the massive curved wall around the outer rim of the stadium. As
he passes the different walkways we get glimpses of the enormous and empty
sixty-thousand seat football stadium on the inside.
David stops at a door marked "PERSONNEL".
INT. PERSONNEL OFFICE - MORNING
David knocks on the door as he steps into the cramped reception room to the
The SECRETARY, an ancient woman with thick flabby arms never stops typing and
never looks up as she talks.
Is Noel in?
No sir he is not.
I read about you in the
I was in an accident once
too. A horse almost trampled
me to death.
I had to put him down.
That's a sad story.
Do you think you could ask
Noel something for me?
The ancient secretary's right hand immediately picks up a pen and positions it
over a blank pad. Her left hand keeps typing. She never looks up.
Ask if he can check how many
sick days I've taken since
I've worked here?
Is that the entire message?
EXT. STADIUM FIELD - AFTERNOON
Rain falls in sheets in the stadium.
David stands at the entrance to a tunnel that empties out onto the field. He
stands in an imposing dark green rain poncho and hood. The poncho almost touches
the ground. The word 'security' on the back has almost faded away. We can barely
see David's face under the hood.
There is a football game in progress on the enormous field. The players seem
unusually small. There is no one in the stands. About four hundred people are on
the sidelines of the field watching the players. A soggy limping banner stretched
behind them declares, "The Pennslvania Elementary School Championships."
David's eyes scan the tiny figures on the field. His eyes come rest on a surge of
activity on the sidelines. Beat.
David steps out into the rain.
EXT. SIDELINES - AFTERNOON
A handful of red faced fathers are yelling at each other. They're in each other's
rain soaked faces. The scene feels on the verge of physical violence.
David and another security guard jog over. David steps in the middle of the tight
circle. The men stop yelling in the presence of stadium security. Everyone just
stands in the rain glaring at each other. Beat.
You know what I think about
to calm down? I think about
those big fat, hundred and
twenty pound turtles that
live in the islands. Those
suckers never get angry,
never get in fights and live
longer than all of us and
all they do all is sit on
the beach and hump other
Why don't we take a second
and think about the turtles?
Nobody moves. Rain washes over the agitated faces. A father breaks the moment.
Yeah Jerry why don't you
think about the fat ass
turtles... Like your fat ass
son on the field
jeopardizing the rest of our
chances at a fucking
David tenses. Everyone looks to JERRY. A bald man who stands just a foot away.
Jerry nods to himself. Looks like he's going to say something. Instead he lunges
forward and smashes a HEADBUTT to the man who spoke to him.
David tackles Jerry hard and fast. He drives him into the ground.
Blood starts rushing out of the nose of the dazed father who took the headbutt.
The other fathers start yelling and pushing each other. The remaining security
guard calls on his walkie for assistance.
David keeps Jerry immobilized in a powerful arm and head lock that holds the
man's enraged face hard into the wet surface of the field.
David's eyes are not on Jerry. They gaze out onto the field where twenty two
elementary school boys have stopped playing and are standing frozen, helmets off,
rain washing over their faces. They watch in horror as their parents attack each
other on the sidelines.
INT. EMPLOYEE LOCKER ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON
David is the last one left. He's showered and back in his street clothes. He sits
in the dimly lit room on the bench, lost in his thoughts when the door opens.
He turns to find a somewhat pregnant looking man with a tie step in. This is
Beat. He just stares.
David turns on the bench.
You're getting a forty
dollar raise per week...
I checked. You were right.
You've never taken a sick
Five years, no sick days. I
get it. You want a raise.
You made your point.
The room is still. Beat.
All right fifty dollars and
that's the god damn limit.
Are we done here?
Beat. David nods, "Yes."
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
David is wide awake in his bed. He glances over. Jeremy is in deep sleep next to
INT. GUEST ROOM - NIGHT
David knocks again quietly. The guest bedroom door opens.
Megan looks up at David. She's just woken up.
Is Jeremy okay?
Beat. They both stand awkwardly for a moment.
I wanted to ask you a
question. It'll sound
strange, but just think
about it for a second.
Megan nods, "Yes."
When's the last time I was
sick? You remember?
Megan tries to mask her reaction to the oddness of the question. Beat.
I don't know. It's been a
I haven't been sick this
year. I know that.
Do you remember me getting
Not a specific day. What's
DAVID (low voice)
Megan, do you ever remember
me getting sick?
In the three years we've
been in this house?... In
the old apartment?... Before
Jeremy was born?... Before
we were married?
...I can't remember.
That's strange isn't it? Not
remembering one fever... Or
a cold... Or a sore throat.
What do you think that
It means we're probably to
tired to remember.
David becomes quiet as he thinks. Beat.
Is that what you wanted to
Is there anything else you
wanted to ask me while I'm
...When was the last time
you wore pink? When was the
last time you drank soup
standing up? Final call for
strange questions at two in
No that's it.
David seems lost in his thoughts.
Maybe you should go up.
Jeremy might see you're gone
and get frightened.
The train thing, really
shook him up. He's scared
something's going to happen
to you. He doesn't want to
let you out of his sight.
David stares at Megan. Beat.
Yeah. I know.
There's silence for a bit.
When was the last time I
The Mitchell barbecue three
Matching shirt and shorts.
It was brutal.
David half-smiles as Megan turns and starts back into the guest room.
Megan looks back at her husband. Just for a moment. Then she looks down.
Megan closes the door slowly shut.
FADE TO BLACK:
INT. BEDROOM - AFTERNOON
WE EMERGE in a cramped sparse bedroom.
A thirteen year old Elijah sits in a chair with his arm in a sling. He watches a
small black and white television in the corner of the room.
WE HEAR FOOTSTEPS. Elijah's mother walks into the room. She looks around for a
moment, and then moves to the television. Turns it off.
The room GOES SILENT.
No more sitting in this
room. I've let it go on long
I'm not going out anymore.
I'm not getting hurt again.
This was the last time. I
You can't do anything about
that. You might fall between
that chair and this
television. If that's what
God has planned for you,
that's what's going to
happen. You can't hide from
it in your room.
Elijah just sits staring at the dark television screen.
They call me Mr. Glass at
school. Cause I break like
Elijah's face is tense. Unyielding. Beat.
Elijah's mother says the next words in almost a whisper.
...You make this decision
now to be afraid...
And you'll never turn back
your whole life. You'll
always be afraid.
Elijah's eyes move from the television to his mother. He sees the emotion in her
face. Neither says anything for a while. Beat.
...I got a present for you.
Forget why. Do you want it
Elijah thinks it over. He nods, "Yes."
Well, go get it then.
Where is it?
On a bench, across the
Elijah looks at his mother with disbelief.
You calling me a liar?
She points to the window. Beat. Elijah gets up and moves to the only window in
The view from his room looks out over a narrow street. On the other side of the
street is a public playground. A handful of children are playing on it.
There are three benches to one side of the swings. On one of them is a THIN
PACKAGE wrapped in brown paper with a bow on it.
Elijah looks to his mom who has joined him at the window.
Someone's gonna take it.
Then you better get out
EXT. PLAYGROUND - AFTERNOON
Elijah walks across the playground. He's very wary of the other children running
He walks towards the bench with the present on it. Takes a seat. Puts the package
on his lap. It's flat. The edges of the bend down over his thin legs.
He undoes the white bow. He peels off the clear tape holding the brown paper
together. He unfolds the paper. Beat.
Elijah stares down at the single comic book in his lap.
He feels the shadow of his mother. She takes a seat next to him.
I bought a whole bunch.
They'll be one of these
waiting for you, every time
you want to come out here.
They said this one has a
Elijah looks to his mother. His intelligent piercing eyes take her in for a
He looks back down at his lap. He opens the first page...
INT. STORE - DAY
The same intelligent piercing eyes, twenty-five years older. Elijah has grown
into a handsome, regal looking man. He leans on a walking stick.
He's looking at an impressively framed charcoal sketch on a wall. Two figures are
depicted on the top of a building locked in fierce battle. One figure is
extremely muscular with a mask. The other is half human, half animal.
This is from Fritz
Champion's own library. This
is before the first issue of
the comic book hit the
stands in 1968.
Elijah glances at the BUSINESS MAN standing next to him and then back to the
It's a classic depiction of
good versus evil. Notice the
square jaw of Slayer -
common in most comic book
heroes. And the slightly
disproportionate size of
Jaguaro's body to his head.
This again is common, but
only in villains... The
thing to notice about this
piece... The thing that
makes it very, very
special... is its realistic
depiction of its figures.
When the characters
eventually made it into the
magazine they were
exaggerated... as always
This is vintage.
The business man rubs his face. Gazes at the sketch. Beat.
Wrap it up.
You've made a considerably
Elijah starts to the back of the store which we now see is some type of art
gallery where all the framed pictures are images and sketches from comic books.
My kid's gonna go berserk.
Elijah jams his walking stick into the extra thick carpet and stops. He turns.
Once again please?
My son Jeb. It's a gift for
How old is Jeb?
Elijah starts back to the businessman shaking his head strongly.
No, no, no, no no... You
need to go now.
What did I say?
Do you see any Telletubbies
around here?... Do you see
a slender plastic tag
clipped to my shirt with my
name printed on it?... Do
you see a little Asian child
with a blank expression
sitting outside in a
mechanical helicopter that
shakes when you put a
quarter in it?... No?...
Well that's what you see at
a toy store? Any you must
think this is a toy store,
cause you're in here
shopping for an infant named
Jeb. One of us has made a
gross error and wasted the
other person's valuable
Elijah's eyes pierce through the shaken man.
This is an art gallery my
friend. This is piece of
Elijah points at the sketch.
This is one of seventeen
original drawings by Fritz
Champion remaining in the
world. It's value will
triple every year... This
piece is to be treasured. To
be cherished... To be
coveted by every single one
of your banker friends that
think they're better than
The business man stares at the sketch with large eyes. Beat.
What if I kept it?
I'll keep it in my office
What about Jeb?
I have a lock on the door.
Elijah just stares.
Will it be near a window?
No direct sunlight will fall
Elijah eyes the man for many seconds. Beat.
Come back in three days.
I'll think about it.
Elijah starts to the back. He passes the front door as two customers walk in.
Elijah talks over his shoulder to them.
We're by appointment only.
I received a card from your
Congratulations, you have a
mailbox... The sale isn't
for two weeks.
This one was under the
windshield of my car.
Elijah turns and faces the customers for the first time. David Dunne stands with
Elijah just stands staring for the longest time. Beat. He walks closer to them.
When Elijah speaks, his voice has a whispery quality to it.
You've never been sick?
I don't know for sure.
...I don't think so.
David and Elijah quietly look at each other. Beat.
Well if this ain't a riddle
worthy of the Riddler?
EXT. LIMITED EDITION - LATE AFTERNOON
Three chairs have been placed on the walkway in front of the bay window of the
store. The words, "Limited Edition" are etched in the window.
David, Jeremy and Elijah are seated watching the people stroll by. Elijah's cane
is on his lap.
Jeremy sips a drink in a paper cup.
So let's get some of the
usual questions out of the
way. Why am I using a cane?
Raise your hand if you were
Jeremy raises his hand.
I fractured my leg. It's the
fifth time I've done that
particular bone. It didn't
really heal well this time.
Raise your hand is you're
wondering who the hell
breaks the same bone five
Jeremy and David raise their hands.
I have something called
It's a genetic disorder. I
don't make this particular
type of protein very well
and it makes my bones very
low in density, very easy to
break. I've had fifty-four
breaks in my life. I have
the tamest version of the
disorder... Type one.
There are type two, type
three, and type four. Type
four's don't make it very
That ends our lecture on the
medical anomaly known as
Elijah stares at his two rapt listeners.
How certain are you that you
haven't been sick in your
Seventy-five percent? That's
not nearly good enough for
me. I'm extremely skeptical.
Skeptical about what?
Your answer to my question.
It's one thing to have never
been injured in your life,
but to state that you've
never taken ill, well that's
a whole new level.
Dad's been injured.
What's he talking about?
In college. A car accident.
Was it serious?
He couldn't play football
Beat. Elijah looks shaken.
I assumed because of the
You assumed wrong.
Elijah closes his eyes. When his eyes open, the life force in them has
You can go now.
Elijah uses his cane to get up and walk back through the doors of the store.
INT. LIMITED EDITION - LATE AFTERNOON
David and Jeremy enter the store. Elijah leans on a walking stick before one of
the framed sketches. He gazes at it quietly.
I think you skipped a couple
You forgot the "Now I'm
going to tell you what the
hell is going on" step. See
usually that comes before
the, "It's over" Step. And
it always, always comes
before the "You can go"
What is over?
The life of an idea that has
lived too long in my head.
David stares at Elijah impatiently.
There are probably only four
or five individuals in the
world who can claim more
knowledge of comics than
myself. I've spent a third
of my life in a hospital bed
with nothing else to do but
read. I have studied the
form intimately. I have seen
the patterns in them... The
references to social and
cultural events and the
atmosphere that surrounded
them. I've come to believe
that comics are our last
link to the ancient way of
passing on history.
The Egyptians drew pictures
on walls about battles, and
events. Countries all around
the world still pass on
knowledge through pictorial
I believe that comics, just
at their core now... have a
truth. They are depicting
what someone, somewhere felt
or experienced. Then of
course that core got chewed
up in the commercial machine
and gets jazzed up, made
titillating - cartooned for
the sale rack.
Elijah gazes at David.
This city has had its share
of disasters. Well
publicized ones. It was
around the time of that
plane crash, when it first
entered my head. And there
it stayed, as I waited and
watched the news over the
And then one day I see a
news report on a train
accident and its sole
survivor who was
And just like that, an idea
blossoms into the flower of
What was your idea Elijah?
If there is someone like me
in the world, and I'm at one
end of the spectrum...
Couldn't there be someone
the opposite of me, at the
A person who can't be hurt
like the rest of us. A kind
of person they were talking
about in those stories.
Elijah points at the framed comic sketches.
A person they believed was
put here to protect the rest
of us. Guard us.
You thought my dad was a
Jeremy don't take another
sip of that drink.
Jeremy looks down at the paper cup in his hands.
Throw it in the trashcan
near the door and wait for
me outside. Do it now
David waits for Jeremy to exit the store. Beat.
At the church... You were
following me weren't you?
Technically no. I gambled
that you would attend the
church service. I just
waited for you.
David glares at Elijah.
What's this about? This is
obviously some scam. Is this
where you tell me one of
those pictures is like an
I see guys like you all the
time in my work. You find
someone you think is
emotionally vulnerable and
you tell them a fantastic
story, utterly convincing...
and somewhere in there, you
slip it in... 'I just need
your credit card number','I
just need a small down
David shakes his head. He smiles out of frustration. Beat.
Did you know that this
morning was the first
morning I can remember, that
I didn't open my eyes and
feel that sadness... Do you
know what I'm talking about?
That little bit of sadness?
I thought the person that
wrote that note had an
answer for me. For why I
survived that train. For why
my life feels so out of
But I guess that's what you
were counting on.
Elijah stares carefully at David. Beat. David glances over to the entrance.
Jeremy watched through the window concerned.
I'm going to leave now.
Good luck with your sale.
Elijah watches David walk towards the front door.
What type of job do you have
David opens the door. He looks back at Elijah.
You mentioned you've met
'guys like me' in your work.
What type of job would that
I work at the stadium as a
Beat. David closes the door behind him. Elijah watches through the window as
Jeremy takes David's hand as they cross the street.
Elijah gazes out the window in a bit of a daze.
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
ALL LIGHTS ARE OUT EXCEPT THE SMALL BEDSIDE LAMP ON DAVID'S SIDE.
David sits up in bed staring at a torn section of newspaper in his hands.
Jeremy is asleep horizontally with his legs over David's legs.
David doesn't blink as he gazes at the headline silently...
"TRAIN CRASH DEATH TOLL CONFIRMED AT 131 DEAD. 1 SURVIVOR"
Beat. David slides out from under his son's legs. Jeremy stirs but doesn't wake
David moves to the darkness of the corner of the room. He opens a closet door.
A NAKED HANGING BULB GOES ON as David yanks a chain. David steps inside the
narrow closet and closes the door slightly so the LIGHT FROM THE BULB DOESN'T
FALL ON JEREMY.
There's just enough room to stand and look around. David reaches up and pulls a
small travel bag out of the way. David stretches as he feels on the top shelf.
His hand comes down with something wrapped in a t-shirt. He unwraps it. It's a
He stares at it for a beat before wrapping it back up and replacing it to the
He stretches even more. Reaches farther back. WE HEAR SOMETHING SLIDE ON THE
SHELF AS HE PULLS IT FORWARD.
He pulls down a folder jammed with clippings. He opens the folder to reveal a
young David in football uniform holding his helmet in the air victoriously. The
word "Champion" is written over his head. David flips through the top clippings
- all are images and stories of David and football.
He turns the pile over. Goes to the last clipping. This piece of paper is folded
over three times, unlike the others. He opens it.
It's a newspaper headline. It reads...
"CAR ACCIDENT LEAVES TWO INJURED"
David puts the new headline next to the old one... They look like a set. Even the
font is similar.
David stares at the old headline. Stares hard at the photo of the bent and
heavily damaged car laying upside down in the middle of the highway... The bulb
seems to flicker. David is utterly still.
SOMEONE KNOCKS AT THE BEDROOM DOOR. David gets startled.
He puts back the clippings. Stuffing the new one inside with them. He replaces it
back to the top shelf and leaves the closet.
ANOTHER SOFT SET OF KNOCKS as David moves across the bedroom. He opens the door.
Megan stands in the darkened hall. Beat.
Megan nods. Beat.
I've come to a decision.
Let me just ask you
something okay? And you can
be totally honest. I'm
prepared for any answer. It
won't affect me...
David nods, "yes."
Have you been with anyone?
Since we started having
problems? The answer won't
Beat. David stares at his wife.
It won't affect me either
Beat. David doesn't say anything. He just nods, "No."
Megan's face starts to tremble. She starts crying. Tears roll over her very
affected face. She tries to wipe them away, but there's too many. Beat.
...My decision is... I'd
like to start again. Pretend
we're at the beginning.
It's a big deal you walked
away from that train. It's
a second chance.
If you want to ask me out
sometime, that would be
Megan nods and walks down the stairs as she wipes her face. David watches her
disappear into the shadows.
EXT. VETERAN'S STADIUM - AFTERNOON
Sunday afternoon. The cavernous stadium opens up into a picture perfect blue sky.
The Philadelphia Eagles pro football players are in uniform and doing stretches
on the field. The opposing team warms up on the other end of the field.
The sixty thousand seats are already half filled as fans stream in on every level
of the stadium.
EXT. ENTRANCE GATE 27B - AFTERNOON
A line of ticket holders snakes towards two turnstiles where stadium crew are
David Dunne stands to one side with two other security guards.
The fans moving through the turnstiles are clad in all types of Eagles
paraphernalia. A group of girls carries a homemade banner that David reads as he
tilts his head sideways. "We sleep with quarterbacks," is written in block
David stares at a woman carrying a newborn infant in her arms. The baby is
wearing an eagles uniform.
The WALKIE TALKIE on David's hip bursts to life. He pulls it off his hip an
Dunne, it's Jenkins, we got
a guy at gate 17C with a
bogus ticket. Says he knows
you. He won't tell me his
What's he look like?
He's got the most beautiful
eyes... The hell kind of
question is that? He's a
Send him packing. I'm not
walking all the way over
Consider him packed. I
didn't like his attitude...
Struttin around with a cane
Hold up Jenkins...
EXT. ENTRANCE GATE 17C - AFTERNOON
David finds Elijah waiting to the side as the crowds funnel through the gate.
Elijah offers his hand as he walks up. David doesn't take it.
They said I couldn't get in
with my ticket.
Elijah offers him the ticket. David inspects it.
It's for last week's game.
I've come to understand
An ill advised purchase in
the parking lot.
David hands Elijah back the ticket.
What do you want?
But I appreciate your
healthy cynicism in the
manner. It will be wise for
both of us to proceed with
We're not proceeding
We've already begun.
David looks around.
One more time. What is it
Why is it, do you think,
that of all the professions
in the world... you chose
Are you for real?
You could have poured coffee
in Starbucks, you could have
learned to install track
lighting in office
buildings, you could have
told people their horoscopes
on the internet... You could
have been one of ten
thousand things... but in
the end, you chose to
protect people. You made
that decision... and I find
that very, very interesting.
Now all I need is your
credit card number.
Beat. Elijah smiles.
That last part was a joke.
David fights it. But he smiles anyway. Beat.
I got this job because my
college coach called the guy
who manages the stadium.
There's no hidden meaning to
David's walkie makes NOIES on his hip.
They need me at the gate.
David stares at Elijah leaning on his walking stick.
Did you really want to see
the game? I can get you in.
EXT. ENTRANCE GATE 27B - AFTERNOON
The line of fans outside the gate has tripled in size and intensity.
David and Elijah move along the line towards the turnstiles.
It gets heaviest ten minutes
David bumps a guy in line wearing an army jacket. David looks backs at him and
David moves to a security guard near the turnstiles.
Why don't we pat down?
David walks to his post near the gate and faces the crowd. Elijah moves next to
Just give me a minute.
Is there a problem?
That guy in green. Sometimes
people carry weapons in
here. Then they drink too
much. They're team isn't
doing so well, bad things
happen... We do random pat
downs of the crowd to
discourage people from
If he's carrying, he'll step
out of line.
Elijah observes as a security team pats down random males as they move through
The GREEN ARMY JACKETED MAN moves forward in the line. His face is blank as he
watches the pat down ahead of him. He's twenty people from the turnsstile.
David eyes him. Fifteen people away... Ten...
The man coughs and steps out of the line. Elijah watches the green army jacket
melt into the thick part of the crowd and disappear as it moves away from the
INT. STADIUM TUNNEL - AFTERNOON
AN UNLIT arched concrete passageway. The SUNLIGHT from the stadium streams in
causing long shadows.
Elijah stands waiting in the ground tunnel by himself.
THE THUNDEROUS CHEERS OF THE SIXTY THOUSAND FANS IN THE STADIUM ECHOES FROM THE
FIELD INTO THE TUNNEL.
David enters the tunnel and joins Elijah. He hands him a ticket.
I got you a seat in the
seven hundred level.
(points straight up)
It's nose-bleed territory,
but at least you won't get
How did you know that man
you bumped was carrying a
Probably the army jacket.
Those guys carry hunting
knives and stuff for show.
You thought he was carrying
I thought he was carrying
But not a knife?
I got this picture of a
silver handled gun tucked in
Like on t.v.
Elijah stares at David. THE STADIUM CHEERS BOUNCE OFF THE GRAY WALLS.
You have good instincts when
it comes to things like
Telling when people have
done something wrong?
Have you ever tried to
I don't know what you're
Listen. I got to be on the
sidelines during the game...
You can get to your seat by
taking the stairwell at-
Characters in comic books
are often attributed special
powers. X-ray vision, things
of that sort.
David exhales slowly as he stares at Elijah.
Okay, I don't want to play
this game anymore.
It's an exaggeration of the
truth. Maybe it's based on
something as simple as
instinct. Like being able to
touch someone and tell
whether they've done
something wrong... Or the
level of what they've done
The guy might not have been
Or he might have been
carrying a silver handled
gun tucked in his pants.
David's WALKIE ERUPTS WITH NOISE.
I have to go now.
One last question.
The car accident you were
in... Was there anyone else
The two men stand very still in the tunnel.
Yes. My wife Megan. She was
in the car with me.
David turns and starts down the hall. David talks back over his shoulder.
Have a good life Elijah and
try to buy your tickets at
an authorized sales
Elijah watches as the silhouetted figure of David Dunne jogs down the darkness of
INT. CAR - LATE AFTERNOON
We are inside a customized car. The dashboard is covered in some sort of thin
foam padding. The steering wheel and gear shift have the same padding. Every
corner and hard surface has been safe guarded. Elijah sits behind the wheel of
his car in the parking lot of the stadium. He sits as thoughts crash at his head.
He finally reaches for the keys and starts up the car. He looks into the rearview
mirror and sees the man in the GREEN ARMY JACKET pass behind his car.
Elijah quickly turns and sees the man moving through the parked cars heading out
of the parking lot.
Elijah takes a deep breath and turns off the engine.
EXT. PARKING LOT - LATE AFTERNOON
Elijah's walking stick makes RHYTHMIC CLICKS on the concrete parking lot.
The figure in the army jacket seems to move farther away with every step.
Elijah starts breathing harder. He pushes himself to move faster. He avoids the
hard chrome bumpers and tailpipes that jut out from the cars as he quickens his
pace through the lot.
He gains on the army jacket.
Hold up for a second!
The man in the army jacket turns as he reaches a subway entrance that marks the
end of the parking lot. He looks back at Elijah for a beat. Doesn't like what he
sees. He disappears into the subway entrance.
Elijah quickens into a jog now. He hasn't done this in a while and it's painful.
He makes it with great strain to the subway.
He looks into the entrance...
A steep flight of stairs leads to the subway floor. The tail of the army jacket
is glimpsed before it disappears.
Elijah breathes hard as he takes hold of the railing.
I just want to ask you
Elijah's VOICE ECHOES down the stairs. No response.
Elijah starts his descent.
THE SOUND OF A SUBWAY PULLING IN ROARS UP THE STAIRS.
Elijah has to move fast. He takes the steps with less and less hesitation. He's
moving with great agility... and then his foot catches on a step.
His hand slips away from the railing...
He falls down the remaining part of the stairs. The FIRST SICKENING CRACK is
heard when his hand reaches out to stop his fall.
The SECOND CRACK IS MORE LIKE A CRUNCH AS HIS LEG LANDS AWKWARDLY ON THE METAL
He comes to a stop in a pile on the dirty gum stained floor of the subway
landing. His jaw is locked in a HORRIFIC SCREAM THAT GETS EATEN BY THE ROAR OF
THE SUBWAY TRAIN PULLING IN.
His contorted anguished face sees the turnstiles of the subway upside down. The
green army jacketed man looks back at Elijah with a blank expression pushing
through the turnstile.
The last thing Elijah sees before he blacks out, is the tail of the man's coat
riding up as he move through the turnstile. The SILVER HANDLE OF A GUN peeks out
from the belt of his pants.
EXT. BUS STOP - DUSK
David's neighborhood turns crimson as the day comes to an end. The Septa bus
pulls to a stop in front of a public high school. David steps off, still in his
security clothes. The bus pulls away as he hears his SON'S VOICE.
David turns to the high school football field behind him. A group of children are
having a touch football game. Jeremy runs out from the huddle across the field to
Was it sold out?
David nods, "No."
You know how mad your mom
would be if she knew you
were playing football?
Are you going to tell?
David nods, "No."
You want yo play the last
downs? We got a big guy like
you. You can play on
David looks to the fields to see a very muscular college age man in sweats who
stands with the other children.
He's Potter's cousin. He's
the starting corner back for
David stares at his son.
He going pro in the draft.
They say he can run the
In under six seconds.
David watches the cornerback being surrounded by kids. He's letting a couple of
the kids feel his flexed bicep.
I'm going to go in.
Just play one set of downs.
I told them you were great.
Why'd you do that?
I'm going in. I have to do
I'm going to work out.
I'll help you.
There's nothing to do.
Jeremy turns back to the children and waves.
I can't play! I'm working
out with my dad!
Jeremy turns back to his father and takes his hand. David looks down at his son
who waits patiently.
INT. BASEMENT - EARLY EVENING
The basement is dominated by storage boxes and Christmas decorations. An old
bench press and weights are in a cluttered corner.
David sits and turns at the end of the bench as Jeremy laboriously carries and
places fifteen a pound weight on the bar. David talks over his shoulder.
Why don't you rest now? I'll
take it from here. You've
been a big help.
Jeremy goes to the opposite side of the bar and starts to put on another weight.
You think you could beat up
Mike Tyson? I mean before he
started wiggin out and
eating people's ears?
What if you worked out
everyday for six months? You
think you could beat him
What if you only ate foods
that were good for you and
you worked out everyday for
Jeremy is breathing hard as he puts the safety collars on the barbell and comes
around to David's end of the bench. David lays back.
David takes hold of the barbell. Beat. He takes a deep breath.
The weight comes off the armrests of the bench. David lowers it to his chest and
pushes it back up. He does just one more rep with serious strain. He puts the
weight back on the armrest and sits up.
How much did you put on
David twists around and looks back at the barbell. He counts up the black metal
circles. He turns back to Jeremy.
You put too much. That's two
hundred and fifty pounds.
How much can you lift?
David looks back at the weights.
That's the most I've ever
That could have been
dangerous Jeremy. Why don't
you go upstairs and let me
Jeremy starts back to the barbell.
I'll take it off. I'll help
He slips off the safety collar.
You think you could have
beaten up Bruce Lee?
David hears the SOUND OF THE WEIGHTS SLIDING OFF THE BAR BEHIND HIM.
I mean if you knew karate?
What if he wasn't aloud to
kick and you were really mad
Jeremy is breathing hard again as he finishes with the weights and comes around
David lays back.
David takes hold of the bar. Lifts it off the armrest. Brings it down. His arms
are straining hard again. He raises it and lowers it two time; it takes a sizable
effort. The weights bang down onto the armrest.
David sits up.
How much did you take off?
Jeremy nods, "Yes" slowly.
David turns completely around and looks at the barbell. He counts the black discs
on the steel bar. Beat.
Nobody says anything for a long time.
How much is it?
Two hundred and seventy.
David just stares at the black steel circles on the metal bar. Jeremy comes and
sits on the bench next to his father. They both stare at the weight. Beat.
Let's put more.
INT. BASEMENT - EARLY EVENING
David's fingers wrap around the cold metal of the bar. He leans his head forward
and looks to Jeremy.
Why don't you move back a
bit? Just to be safe.
Jeremy moves back to the bottom of the stairs leading up to the house. He waits.
Another deep breath as David heaves. The weight CLINKS as it comes off the arm
rest. David is full out straining now as he lowers and raises it. His arms begin
to tremble as he lifts it for the second time. BANG the weight lands back safely
onto the rest.
David sits up. He looks at his son whose eyes are wide. Beat.
Beat. David nods, "Yes."
INT. BASEMENT - EARLY EVENING
An enormous amount of black discs sits on the bar. David's hands are gripping the
He talks to Jeremy who stands in his position at the bottom of the stairs without
looking at him.
You should never try
anything like this. You know
Jeremy nods, "Yes."
What do you do if something
David nods, "yes" before starting his deep breathing. He takes one last breath.
CLINK the weights comes off the rest. His arms are trembling immediately now. His
face is locked in a grimace as he brings the bar down to his chest and back up
again two times before dropping it onto the armrest.
He slowly sits up.
How many did you put on that
All of it.
There's no more left?
Jeremy nods, "no" in a slight daze. Beat. David looks around his basement.
What else can we use?
INT. BASEMENT - EARLY EVENING
A set of two unopened MAB satin finish paint cans are dangling by their metal
handles on the outside of each side of the weights.
The fours cans sway a little as the bar is heaved off of David's chest. His arms
are shaking hard. He raises the weight to it's apex and brings it down again. It
touches his chest and rises up again. David's red strained face exhales
powerfully as he straightens his arms.
The bar lands on the armrest with A CRASH. The paint cans make METAL SQUEAKS as
they swing to stillness, one at a time. Beat.
David sits up and turns back to the weights. His mouth moves as he calculates the
discs and the cans.
His lips stop moving. Beat.
How much is it?
David doesn't react.
How much is it dad?
It takes a second for David to register the question. He looks to his son. Beat.
About three hundred and
David turns and looks at his son. Jeremy's mouth is slightly open. He gazes at
his dad. Awe in his tiny eyes.
INT. BATHROOM - EVENING
David sits on the edge of the bathroom tub. He's just showered and wearing jeans
and a t-shirt. He sits still with his elbows resting on his knees, staring at the
white tiles of the floor.
THE PHONE RINGS.
David gets up and walks out of the bathroom. He picks up the phone and stands in
the bathroom doorway.
Is David Dunne there?
Yes. Is this David?
Yeah? Megan where are you
My name is Megan Inverso. We
went to college together.
David looks at the phone. The lights for line ONE and line TWO are glowing RED.
David squints his eyes as he pieces together the situation. Beat.
He moves back into the bathroom. The cord stretches as he takes his seat on the
edge of the bathtub.
I remember you.
I was hoping you would call
me, but... Anyway I decided
not to wait.
I was thinking, it might be
nice to go to dinner
Yeah it might be nice.
We hear A SOUND ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE. A SOUND MUCH LIKE AN EXHALE.
INT. CHINESE RESTAURANT - LATE EVENING
The local Chinese restaurant. Red and gold plastic dragons hang from the ceiling.
A couple late-nighters are at the bar. Megan and David are two of a handful of
people left dining in the restaurant. They're a little dressed up. Megan looks
kind of stunning.
...When you work with
clients on machines, do they
sometimes just jump up a
level or two? Do something
they didn't know they were
Not often, but it is
possible. Most people get
scared when they see the
shadow of their limits. They
don't know how long the
shadow really is. They don't
know how far away the real
limits are standing... They
stop out of fear.
David nods as he takes it in. Beat. He looks down at his plate and twirls his lo
mein onto a fork. Megan watches him.
This is kind of strange
David nods, "yes" before taking the bite.
We're not even acting like
David touches his mouth with his napkin.
Like that. Your mouth's
dirty. You tapped your
napkin to your lips. You
only do that when you're
with someone you don't know.
David looks down at his napkin.
What do I do when I'm around
someone I know?
You use your sleeve.
They both smile at each other. Beat.
David and Megan look over to the only other table of late night diners as they
get up from their table. A woman about Megan's age walks over to her.
I thought it was you.
This is Claire. Her son is
in Jeremy's class. Claire
and I worked on the school
food drive together.
CLAIRE smiles as she stares at David. She turns to Megan.
Claire turns back to David.
I'm very happy about this.
Megan mentioned to me she
was considering dating
Megan becomes still.
I'm sorry, what's your name?
Beat. David doesn't look up.
This is my husband.
Beat. All three people become frozen in silence.
Claire looks to Megan.
I am so sorry.
Claire quietly walks away form the table and joins her group as they leave the
Megan and David are the last one's left. They sit silently in their booth. Megan
looks at David's face. He's shaken.
He slowly takes a sip of water and then taps his mouth with napkin.
INT. FRONT DOOR - NIGHT
It's late. NO LIGHTS ARE ON EXCEPT THE ONE IN THE HALL. The babysitter has black
dyes hair and Buddy Holly glasses. David waits as she puts on her jacket.
DYED HAIR GIRL
He ate about six of those
chocolate covered doughnut
holes with his milk. He said
he only had three, but I
know he had six.
David is not paying attention to the girl. He watches as his wife takes off her
coat and heads to the guest room. She turns before entering the room. David and
his wife make eye contact.
David nods. Megan goes into her room. The guest door closes softly.
David finds the babysitter looking at him with an odd expression.
DYED HAIR GIRL
My parents sleep in separate
David reaches into his wallet and hands the girl money.
David opens the front door for her.
DYED HAIR GIRL
By the way, Jeremy went to
sleep in his room tonight.
The baby sitter nods with a smile as she walks out the front door.
INT. JEREMY'S BEDROOM
David walks into the darkened child's bedroom. The lump on the bed turns when he
hears movement. He smiles when he sees David.
I'm sleeping in my room.
I'm not scared.
Do you know why?
David nods, "No."
I know now.
You're secret identity.
That man was right.
Beat. David just stares at his son. Jeremy's eyes start to close.
Jeremy opens his eyes.
There are big guys in almost
every gym who can lift that
Beat. Jeremy's eyes start to shut.
You could have lifted more.
(his eyes close)
...Don't worry, I won't tell
Jeremy Dunne falls asleep. David Dunne stands in the darkness of his son's room.
Posters of comic book heroes don the walls around him.
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT
Elijah's cheek rests against two pristine white pillows. He looks exhausted. His
eyes are fixed on some abstract point in the room. WE HEAR SOUNDS OF A HOSPITAL.
The torso of a PHYSICIAN can be seen on the other side of the bed. We hear him
speak but never see his face.
...fracture of the proximal
phalanx of the little finger
as well as multiple
fractures of the sixth,
seventh, and eighth ribs.
The worst of the injury,
however, was sustained to
the left leg in the form of
a spiral fracture. There
were fourteen breaks. It
They call me Mr. Glass.
Elijah just keeps staring.
Shall I continue?
Beat. Elijah's head nods the slightest bit up and down.
Pins were placed throughout
the length of the leg. The
use of a wheelchair will be
needed for a two month
period. The use of crutches
will follow for twelve to
fourteen months. Hospital
stay will range from five to
eight days followed by nine
to twelve months of physical
medication for pain
management will take the
usual forms of...
The PHYSICIAN'S WORDS FADE AWAY as Elijah continues to gaze at an abstract point
in the room.
FADE TO BLACK:
INT. PHYSICAL THERAPY CENTER - LATE MORNING
WE EMERGE FROM DARKNESS TO FIND OURSELVES IN THE PHYSICAL THERAPY CENTER.
A CO-WORKER finds Megan working with an elderly gentleman who's laboring on a
Your ten o'clock is here.
The hospital discharged him
The co-worker takes Megan's position by the elderly man.
Megan crosses the physical therapy center. A man in a wheel chair waits by her
office. She walks up to him with a smile.
Elijah's leg is immobilized by a metal brace and held straight. Under his shirt
we see the wrappings around his ribs. His left pinky is in a splint. He smiles
and nods, "yes" to Megan.
INT. STADIUM LOCKER ROOM - LATE MORNING
David Dunne stands in security uniform by a set of double doors that leads into
the players locker room.
Three walls of the locker room are lined with shiny lockers. One side of the room
has benches and massage tables. The far end of the room has work out equipment.
About twenty players and trainers are scattered throughout the spacious room lost
in their own pre-game rituals.
David watches as a massive muscular player takes a seat on the massage table and
removes his dress shirt. His body is covered in old bruises. He lays down,
wincing a bit from the pain. A trainer begins to massage him.
David just stares at the battered athlete. His gaze moves across the room. Beat.
David stares at something in the crowded room then he starts towards it.
He moves through the room of players and trainers. He moves to the one area of
the large room not occupied by anyone.
David comes to a step at the foot of an Olympic bench press. Racks and racks of
free weights sit behind the press.
David looks down at the thick silver bar. Three large black plates are on either
side. Six in all.
David looks back and glances at the double doors where he should be standing.
Beat. He looks to the twenty or so players and trainers in the room. Some of the
players have headphones on. Some are staring into space. A couple are on cell
No one notices David Dunne as he reaches for a forty-five pound black plate off
the weight rack.
The huge disc slides onto the bar with almost NO SOUND...
A matching forty-five pound disc goes on the other side...
And then David adds another. He matches it on the other side...
THE BENCH CREAKS just the slightest bit as David takes a seat.
No one notices the security guard lay back on the bench.
David's hands take hold of the shiny bar.
He closes his eyes...
David's arms become tense. He pushes against the weight. It doesn't move.
His face turns deep red. He opens his eyes and stares at the bar as he keeps
training. His face and arms are shaking... He keeps staring... focusing.
And then, without any fanfare, the bar lifts off the arm rest.
The weight hovers over David. He lowers it to his chest for a second time. His
arms aren't shaking anymore. He pushes the weights back up.
He carefully brings the bar back to the arm rest. It touches down with the
smallest of CLINKS.
David's fingers uncurl from the bar.
David lets out two slow soft breaths as he counts the thick black discs.
Four ten... four
Beat. David sits up in a daze.
He finds the entire room of athletes and trainers staring at him. Some of the
players have stood up. Everyone stares as David Dunne with the same quiet
disbelief in their eyes.
INT. PHYSICAL THERAPY CENTER - AFTERNOON
Megan and Elijah are in the far corner of the room. They're separated from the
other clients. Megan is seated on an exercise machine. Elijah is in his wheel
chair facing her.
We're going to prevent any
substantial atrophy of your
good leg with this.
(She taps the machine)
It works the quadriceps.
How long have you been
Megan is taken off guard by the question. She stares at Elijah. Beat.
How did you get together?
Elijah smiles warmly. Megan smiles softly back.
A car accident.
Elijah smiles even bigger.
Now you're going to have to
tell me more.
...See my husband was a big
football star in college and
we were in an accident
together. Our car flipped on
an icy road. We were both
injured. He couldn't play
If that hadn't happened, we
wouldn't have been together.
Football wasn't the kind of
life I wanted... For ten
years I'd be by the phone
waiting for a call telling
me he broke his neck in a
practice game. And if it
wasn't that call, it would
be a call telling me he blew
out his knee or suffered his
third concussion. I've seen
way too much of it in my
job... I can barely take it
when my clients are in pain.
I don't hate the game. I
admire the amount of skill
it involved and, like
everyone else, I was in awe
of how he could play it, but
I couldn't give him my heart
and then have something
happen to him. And it always
does with that game.
It's not a thing many people
You and my mother would have
a special connection.
Any way, fate stepped in and
took football out of the
...And everyone lived
happily ever after.
What part of David's body
Beat. Megan's eyes become utterly still.
Who said my husband's name
INT. STADIUM - AFTERNOON
Eleven football players in white and green battle eleven football players in blue
and gray on the field. A sold out stadium watches the event.
David stands at the lip of a tunnel that opens out onto the upper section of the
second level. Waves of people move from their seats through the tunnel to the
bathrooms and concession stands and back again.
David stares to the side away from the movement, his shoulder leaned up against
the wall. He looks over at the constant movement of spectators through the
Beat. His shoulder leaves the wall. He STEPS OUT into the stream of people.
Shoulders and arms bump into him and brush by him as they move.
David's eyes are looking down - his expression still - like he's listening.
He continues into the dead center of the tunnel. He's in the heaviest part of the
movement now. Fans continue to brush against him as they pass.
And then it happens... A stocky woman bumps into him.
FLASH CUT: AN IMAGE OF THE STOCKY WOMAN IN A BATHROBE STANDING IN A KITCHEN.
SHE'S HOLDING THE SHOULDER OF A FIVE YEAR OLD BOY STANDING NEXT TO HER. HE'S
THEY BOTH ARE LOOKING DOWN AT THE KITCHEN TABLE WHERE THREE THINGS ARE LAID
OUT... A BELT, A HANGER, AND AN EXTENSION CORD.
SLAM CUT BACK TO PRESENT:
We're back with David in the crowd. He turns and watches the stocky woman walk
down the tunnel. She's holding the wrist of her five year old son. She yanks it
quickly and violently to keep the boy close at her side. She and the boy dissolve
into the crowd.
INT. PHYSICAL THERAPY CENTER - AFTERNOON
Elijah and Megan sit very still.
There have been three major
disasters in this city over
the last four years. I've
followed each one of them...
A Seven-three-seven crashes
on take off. One hundred and
seventy-two die. No
survivors... A hotel fire
downtown. Two hundred and
eleven die. No survivors...
And am Amtrak train derails
seven and half miles outside
of the city. One hundred and
thirty one die. One
survivor. He is unharmed.
I've spoken with your
husband about his survival.
I suggested a rather
Since then, I've come to
believe, that my
unbelievable, is in fact,
And what was that
It's a mediocre time Mrs.
Dunne. People are starting
to lose hope. It's hard for
many to believe that
extraordinary things live
inside themselves as well as
others... I hope you can
keep an open mind?
Is this a religious thing?
I own a comic book museum.
It's called the Limited
For a second there I thought
you were a fanatic.
I believe comic books are
based loosely on reality -
I believe there are real
life equivalents of the
heroes in those books that
walk the earth - I believe
your husband is one of those
Beat. Megan becomes utterly still.
I'm glad you brought up fate
Mrs. Dunne. I'm becoming a
strong believer in it...
See, David refuses to speak
with me any longer... And
when I saw your name on my
insurance list of approved
physical therapists... It
was like fate had
We were meant to speak to
INT. STADIUM - AFTERNOON
David lets the waves of people move by him in the tunnel.
A MAN WITH GRAY EYES and wearing a dark blue sweat shirt carries a cardboard tray
of nachos and drinks. He brushes David's arm as he passes.
FLASH CUT: THE IMAGE OF THE GREY EYED MAN WEARING A BLOOD SPLATTERED T-SHIRT IN
A MEN'S BATHROOM. HE'S VIOLENTLY KICKING ANOTHER MAN CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR OF A
HE STOPS KICKING. HE GLARES DOWN WITH POWERFUL GRAY EYES.
SWEAT SHIRT MAN(whispers)
This is my house, bitch.
These are my customers.
SLAM CUT BACK TO PRESENT:
The gray eyes man in the blue sweat shirt pauses with nachos in hand at the top
of the stairs to locate his seats. Beat.
David walks the five feet between them and taps him on the shoulder. People
continue to stream by as the man turns to face David. The man's GRAY EYES go from
David's face to the security emblem on his shirt. The man's face becomes still.
GRAY EYED MAN
David stares hard at the man in front of him.
We've had some problems with
drug selling in this
Would you mind if I checked
the pockets of your
The gray eyed man stands eerily still with his nachos and drinks. The two men
just stare at each other, evaluating the situation. People move in both
directions around them, unaware.
The gray eyes man holds his tray of food to the side and raises his arms slowly.
David steps forward and reaches into his pockets. Beat. David pulls his hands out
from the pockets. They're empty.
The gray eyes man brings his arms down. Beat.
The walkie on David's hip COMES TO LIFE. David reaches down and pulls it off his
belt without removing his eyes from the man in front of him. David brings the
walkie to his mouth.
There's a message for you at
the office. Your kid was
David's face changes.
Just now. They want you to
come down to his school.
David lowers the walkie from his face. The gray eyed man has a slight smile on.
GRAY EYED MAN
Why don't you go take care
of your business?
The gray eyed man takes a bite of a nacho as he stares at David.
GRAY EYED MAN
And dude, no one carries
their merchandise on them
any more. They got
messengers for that shit
That's what they tell me.
The gray eyed man in the blue sweat shirt turns and starts down the stairs to his
seat. He raises his fist in the air as someone scores a touchdown on the field.
INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NURSE'S RECEPTION AREA - AFTERNOON
Jeremy is seated in a chair with abrasions and cuts on his face. He sits next to
a smaller boy with a thermometer in his mouth.
They're both looking at the glass window of the nurse's private office. There are
tow people inside talking. David and A WHITE HAIRED NURSE.
The THERMOMETER BOY pulls the thermometer out of his mouth.
Is that your dad?
Jeremy nods "Yes."
I bet my dad can beat up you
Jeremy turns to the thermometer boy.
I don't think so.
INT. NURSE'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON
...No, he insisted we only
Though it took us a while to
track down your number. It's
not on file here.
Megan handles that type of
What stuff is that?
David feels uncomfortable as the nurse just stares at him. Beat. David rises from
So do I need to put any
smelly ointments on him or
The white haired nurse nods, "no."
It's more emotional damage.
It wasn't very serious
Nothing like when I sent you
to the hospital.
David stares at the white haired nurse.
What was that?
My office was on the other
side of the building back
You don't remember me do
David nods, "no."
I had red hair.
David stares at the woman. He doesn't recognize her.
I think you were a little
younger than Jeremy when it
Did you know we changed the
conduct rules of the pool
because of you?
David nods, "no" slowly.
The kids still talk about it
like some ghost story..."Did
you know there was a kid
that almost drowned in the
pool? He got pneumonia and
The nurse shakes her head.
We let them tell it... It
helps keep them safe.
Are you still phobic of
David seems lost in his thoughts. He looks up at the nurse.
Yes I am.
EXT. BUS STOP - AFTERNOON
David and Jeremy are seated on a bench at a Septa bus stop. No one else is
waiting with them.
Jeremy talks without making eye contact with his dad.
It was Potter and another
guy I play football with.
They were messing with this
Chinese girl. She's kind of
fat. She doesn't talk to
I tried to make them stop.
They kept pushing me down
and wouldn't let me get up.
Beat. Jeremy's VOICE STARTS TO TREMBLE SOFTLY.
I thought maybe cause you
were my dad, I thought I
might be like you.
Jeremy finally looks up. Tears in his eyes.
I'm not like you.
David moves closer to Jeremy on the bench.
You are like me. We both can
get hurt. I'm just an
I'm not what you think I am.
Jeremy just stares at his father. Beat.
Why do you keep saying that?
INT. KITCHEN - EVENING
David stares at his bowl of pasta. He sits alone in the kitchen. Beat.
He gets up, slides the pasta in the trash and moves to the sink.
David is rinsing out the bowl when Megan walks in. David turns off the water.
He's just laying in bed.
He's pretty upset. He won't
He's dealing with a lot of
I think he needs to find
It's weird to hear you tell
me about Jeremy.
A good weird.
David looks at Megan. They stand silently in an awkward pause. Beat.
Would you like to try going-
Beat. David smiles.
But if we see another mother
from Jeremy's school, me
name is Juan. I always
wanted to be a Juan.
Megan smiles softly back. Beat.
Oh. Elijah Price came to
visit me at the center
Megan sees David's shocked expression.
He didn't do anything. He
just told me his theory...
It's sad when patients get
like that. They loose
Jeremy what the hell are you
Megan suddenly realizes David is looking over her shoulder.
Megan turns around. She SCREAMS.
Jeremy is standing in the doorway to the kitchen. He's crying hard. In his
outstretched hands is the HAND GUN FROM DAVID'S CLOSET. It's pointed directly at
You don't believe. I'll show
you... You can't get hurt.
-Oh my God.
-Jeremy did you load that
Jeremy nods, "Yes." Crying harder now.
-You won't get hurt...
-Elijah was wrong.
-Sometimes when people are
sick or hurt for a long
time, like Elijah, they're
mind gets hurt too.
David shoots a tense glance at Megan.
-They start to think things
that aren't true. He hold me
what he thought about your
father. It isn't true.
-I'll show you.
David starts moving a little to his right. Jeremy follows him with the barrel of
the handgun. David stops moving.
-You know the story about
the kid who almost drowned
in the pool?
Jeremy stops moving.
-That was me they were
talking about. I almost
died. That was me.
-I'm not. I just didn't
-Jeremy, your father was
injured in college - you
know that. You know all
Jeremy's small face tenses. Confusion mixes with the desperation on his face.
-Don't do it. He'll die
Beat. Jeremy looks up, tears streaming down his cheeks.
-I'll just shoot him once.
-Jeremy listen to what-
Jeremy starts pressing the trigger. The hammer clicks back.
-Don't be scared.
-Jeremy if you pull that
trigger I'm going to leave!
I'm going to go to New York.
Jeremy freezes. David flashes a desperate glance at Megan then back to Jeremy.
You're right... If you shoot
me, that bullet is going to
bounce off me and I won't
get hurt... but then I'm
going to go upstairs and
pack. And then leave to New
Jeremy's hands are trembling. He starts to close his eyes as he raises the gun
level with David's chest.
Jeremy's eyes open.
You're about to get into big
trouble! I'm your father and
I'm telling you to put that
gun down right now God damn
Jeremy puts the gun down on the floor in front of him and stands up.
Megan leans against the refrigerator and slides down to a sitting position on the
David walks over and picks up the gun. He unloads the bullets in his hand. David
bends down very slowly and takes a seat on the kitchen floor.
Jeremy is the last to sit down. He takes a seat in the doorway of the kitchen.
Beat. He wipes his eyes with the back of his hand. Beat.
...You didn't have to yell.
The Dunne family sits in silence on the floor of their kitchen.
EXT. LIMITED EDITION - AFTERNOON
People move up and down the streets outside the storefronts. David is one of
them. He waits to cross the street. He sees movement inside the Limited Edition
INT. LIMITED EDITION - AFTERNOON
Elijah opens the door. It takes him a bit, because of the wheelchair.
David stares at Elijah's damaged condition. Beat.
Joined a rugby league.
Turned out to be a bad idea.
Come here I want to show you
Elijah wheels over to one of the framed sketches on the wall. It's a charcoal
drawing of a muscular figure shielding himself from a blow about to be delivered.
A huge ominous shadow is covering him, as if something unspeakable and evil is
just out of frame.
Look at this. I just noticed
David steps in close and studies the drawing.
This is from the Sentryman
series. A color version of
this was actually used in
the second issue.
Elijah points up to the drawing's face.
Look at this eyes. What do
David looks right at the intense eyes of the drawing.
He was scared. They were
being honest in the
beginning you see. They let
him be human.
They turned him into a
garden variety hero later...
Then he was brave all the
Elijah turns to David.
I followed the guy in the
David becomes still as his words register.
He had a silver handled gun
tucked in the back of his
Were you really injured in
that car accident in
David looks unsteady all of the sudden.
Because I think you faked
it. I think you took the
opportunity to end your
career - no questions asked.
And I think you did it, of
all things, for a women...
Not only do you have the
physical traits of a hero,
down somewhere in there, you
have the moral code of one
too. You were ready to
sacrifice everything for
what's right. Where can you
find that these days?
Only thing you didn't realize
is that you were giving up
a part of yourself when you
gave up football. The
physical part. And you need
that part desperately to
feel balance again...
You can have it back now.
This was all just make
believe before. What if
there was someone the
opposite of me? What if?...
I now believe you are the
genuine article Mr. David
Dunne. The kind of person we
knew existed, from our
Elijah points to the room full of pictures.
It's time for someone like
Bad is winning. I can feel
Elijah looks at David with deep admiration. His voice cracked a little at the end
of his words. Beat.
David doesn't take his hands out of his pockets.
I must have felt some lump
in his back when I bumped
him. Most guns have a black
or silver handle. I had a
fifty-fifty shot at the
That's not what I witnessed
Stop messing with my life
Elijah. My son almost shot
me last night. He wanted to
prove you were right.
I never said you couldn't be
killed. I never said that.
You have a problem, Elijah.
My wife is right. Somewhere
along the line one of your
bones broke and your mind
just broke with it.
Are you finished?
No. And I have been sick. I
spent a week in a hospital
when I was a boy recovering
from pneumonia and almost
Two skinny eight year old
kids were playing around the
pool. They were dunking me.
I swallowed water. They
didn't know it and they
almost killed me.
Heroes don't get killed like
that. Normal people do.
Beat. Elijah seems shaken for the first time. David stares at him coldly.
I don't want to see you
Now I'm finished.
David turns and starts for the entrance. The BELL OF THE DOOR CLANGS as David
Dunne leaves the store.
EXT. STREET - AFTERNOON
David exits the Limited Edition and moves down the street lost in this thoughts.
He bumps a man in a jacket and tie walking in the opposite direction.
FLASH CUT: THE SAME MAN STANDS IN A BAGGY SWEATER. AGAINST A PARKED CAR HE'S
HOLDING SOMETHING SHINY AND METALLIC IN HIS HANDS. HE INSERTS IT IN THE HALF INCH
GAP BETWEEN THE GLASS OF THE DRIVER'S WINDOW AND THE DOOR. THE DOOR UNLOCKS.
THE MAN LOOKS AROUND QUIETLY BEFORE ENTERING THE CAR.
SLAM CUT BACK TO THE PRESENT:
David looks over his shoulder at the conservative looking man in a shirt and tie
walking down the street.
David Dunne is shaken. He turns and keeps walking.
INT. JEREMY'S ROOM - NIGHT
A superhero action figure and a plastic villain do battle on Jeremy's desk.
David sits dressed up in a white shirt and dress pants. He holds the villain.
Jeremy holds the superhero.
Megan enters the room in a beautiful brown dress.
The sitter's here.
David nods, "yes." Megan studies his tense expression.
We can do this another time
if you want? I'm fine with
David looks from the action figures, to his son's face to the face of his wife.
They both have the same quiet anxious expression. Beat.
But I put cologne on.
Is that what that smell is?
INT. DOWNTOWN COMIC BOOK STORE - NIGHT
An overweight man in sweats and a ponytail counts the cash in the register. We
are in a low-end comic book store. The walls are lined with shelves of comic
books. The more expensive issues are kept in a glass case.
THE PONYTAIL MAN looks at his watch and then to far back of the store where one
head is visible behind a low rack.
Hey man it's twenty after.
It's time to close. I gotta
The top of the man's head doesn't move. Beat.
You better not be jacking
off to the Japanese comics.
I swear to God.
No response. Ponytail man closes his register and walks towards the back.
As he gets closer to the customer, he realizes that the man is in a wheelchair.
The Ponytail man walks ups to Elijah.
Listen man, I didn't know
you were in-
Just choose something all
Elijah doesn't react. He sits in his chair in a quiet daze. Ponytail man leans
Hello. You understand
Ponytail man makes fake sign language gestures in front of Elijah's face.
Look man, I'm just gonna
wheel you out. You can think
about things outside on the
sidewalk. I gotta get some
chicken in me, you know what
Beat. The Ponytail man shakes his head moves behind Elijah. He starts wheeling
him towards the front of the store. They move down a narrow aisle of comics.
Elijah suddenly grabs the left wheel and turns the chair. His immobilized left
leg hits a rack of comic books. A handful of comics tumbles to the ground.
The ponytail man straightens the wheelchair and starts down the aisle again.
After a couple of feet, Elijah jerks and grabs the other wheel sending the
wheelchair ramming violently into the opposite wall. Comics are knocked free and
fall onto the wheel chair and the nearby ground.
Dude, I don't care if you
are in a wheelchair. If you
do that again, I'm calling
Beat. The Ponytail man takes Elijah's silence as a, "Yes." He straightens the
They move down the aisle. All is quiet... and then Elijah jerks the wheelchair to
the left again. His metal brace and the wheelchair crash into two racks. Elijah
gets covered in comics.
That's it crackerjack!
You're going to sit your ass
in jail now.
The Ponytail man moves to the front counter.
Elijah sits in a trance - slightly hunched over. His eyes stare at a comic book
in his lap. His expression changes for the first time.
The Ponytail man finishes dialing. He looks over to Elijah as he waits for a
voice on the other end. Elijah raises a single comic book in his hand.
How much is this one?
INT. RESTAURANT BAR - NIGHT
LATE EVENING. A trendy restaurant. Not enough light to read the menus.
David and Megan are on stools at one end of the bat. They sip their drinks as
they appear in deep thought.
...I think rust.
As a color, not as rust. You
know, a rust colored paint
Megan leans slightly closer.
I didn't know that. Mine's
My turn. What's your
Soft and Wet, by the Artist
Formerly Known as Prince.
What was that?
We're supposed to be honest.
Beat. David brings his stool closer.
Soft and Wet. That's very
When was the first time the
thought popped into your
head that we might not make
David's grin slowly fades.
That's not the game.
Megan moves her stool closer. They're only a foot or so apart.
It's a second date. There
aren't any rules.
Beat. David sips his drink slowly.
I'm not sure.
What about the game?
It's finished. I won.
Beat. David glances at Megan. She waits for his answer.
Maybe it wasn't a specific
moment, maybe it-
I had a nightmare one night
and I didn't wake you up so
you could tell me it was
I think that was the first
Does that count?
Beat. Megan takes her glass up to her lips. Doesn't take a sip. Brings it back
Do you knowingly keep Jeremy
and me at a distance?
Megan's face tenses. She's on the verge of getting upset.
I don't know Megan.
It's like you resent us
David. Resent the life you
Beat. David doesn't answer.
You know even if it meant we
couldn't be together, I
would never have wished that
injury on you? What you
could so physically was a
gift. I would never have
wished it to go away.
Megan's eyes glaze with water. Beat.
You know that right?
David takes a sip with a trembling hand. David's eyes look up and make eye
contact with Megan's. He stares at her for the longest time.
Husband and wife sit close together in the corner of the bar on their second
INT. FRONT DOOR - NIGHT
Megan stands next to David as he pulls out his wallet. The babysitter with the
black dyed hair and Buddy Holly glasses stands ready to leave in the doorway.
DYED HAIR GIRL
You got two calls. One came
through while I was on the
line - I wasn't talking too
long. There was an emergency
with my sister. She tried to
do her own perm and now she
Who called through?
Megan tries to hide her smile.
DYED HAIR GIRL
Someone from New York.
The smile instantly fades.
DYED HAIR GIRL
About a security job at a
museum. They want to hire
I didn't know you guys were
moving to New York. Thanks
for telling me.
We're not moving.
DYED HAIR GIRL
I let the answering machine
pick up the other call.
The babysitter fixes her Buddy Holly glasses as she looks at the two suddenly
David hands her the money. She opens the door. It's started to rain.
DYED HAIR GIRL
The babysitter covers her head with her jacket and runs down the walkway. David
closes the door. Beat.
Look let's be honest here.
We're just at the beginning.
I don't expect you or I to
change the course of where
our lives were headed
because of two dates.
If you do go to New York, we
can still develop this.
We'll just be forced to take
it slow. And in the end,
that's definitely better.
This is our second time
around David. I don't expect
us to get carried away.
I guess congratulations is
the right thing to say.
Megan takes off her coat as she moves to the guest bedroom. She disappears
inside. The door closely behind her.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
Only the COUNTER LIGHT is on in the kitchen. David stands by the phone.
ELIJAH'S VOICE IS HEARD ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE.
...David. It's Elijah. It
was so obvious. It's
referred to over and over.
That's the key you see. The
repetition across time. That
means at some point it was
all based on common thought,
a common event - a fact.
It was this one issue that
brought it back for me...
One-Seventeen. That's where
this group, the Coalition of
Evil, tried to ascertain the
weakness of every superhero.
...Because they all have
Just like you.
The cells that make up your
muscles and your bones react
to forces that act upon it,
slightly different from than
mine. That's clear... Your
cells react to bacteria and
viruses slightly differently
than mine... That's also
clear...But for some reason,
you and I react the exact
same way to water. We
swallow it, we choke. We
swallow too much of it, we
drown. However unreal it may
seem, we are connected, you
and I, we are on the same
curve... just on opposite
The point of all this is, we
now know something we
didn't... You have a
weakness... Water. It's your
You hearing me David? Call
me back... I got rugby
practice in an hour.
THE SOUND OF ELIJAH HANGING UP IS HEARD. THE ANSWERING MACHINE BEEPS AS IT TURNS
David hits a button on the answering machine. It makes a WHIRRING SOUND before
INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT
The master bedroom is very narrow. A bathtub and toilet are at one end. Two
identical sinks sit opposite each other.
David sits on the edge of the tub. His shirt is unbuttoned. He sits in a daze
staring at the tiled floor.
His eyes slowly move to a small white and red box laying on its side under one of
David rises and picks it up.
It's a BOX OF BAND AIDS. David looks up to Megan's sink. Perfume and lotions sit
on its edge.
David opens her mirrored cabinet. He starts to put the band aid box back, he
His eyes begin to roam the cabinet shelves. They stop on certain items... A
CONTAINER OF TYLENOL... A LOTION FOR DRY SKIN... A BOTTLE OF ALLERGY DROPS...
COUGH SYRUP... A TUBE OF MUSCLE PAIN OINTMENT...
David just stands quietly for a beat before turning and looking across to his own
identical mirrored medicine cabinet.
There are three things on the shelf... DISPOSABLE RAZORS. SHAVING CREAM. AND
David's mouth opens just a little bit as he stares.
INT. FRONT HALL - NIGHT
ALL THE LIGHTS ARE OUT.
David moves through the darkness down the stares in jeans and a sweatshirt.
He moves to the coat closet. Pulls out the dark green rain poncho. The word
"security" is almost faded away.
He opens and closes the front door with virtually NO SOUND.
EXT. THIRTIETH STREET STATION - NIGHT
Rain falls like gunfire from the sky.
David's car pulls into the massive rain station parking lot.
David steps out and pulls the hood of the poncho over his head.
EXT. METAL STAIRS - NIGHT
A steel fence leads to a set of stairs that travel down to the dozens of
interconnected tracks below. David walks down about forty feet. A fenced gate
with a lock stops his progress.
David looks through the fence down to the tracks. Just to the side is a
construction site. Cranes and lifts and various equipment stand idle in the area
next to the section of train wreckage that has been brought to the station
grounds for dismantling and salvaging. The bent shapes of the train pieces can
only be glimpsed in outlines as they sit in the darkness, hundreds of feet away
from the immaculately lit train station.
Beat. A HUGE METALLIC CRACK ECHOES THROUGH THE TRAIN YARD as David kicks open the
fence door that holds him back from going down.
EXT. TRAIN WRECKAGE - NIGHT
Frightening twisted pieces of metal glisten in the rain. David walks along the
body of the caved-in passenger car.
The passenger car is split in two. Just before the tear, along the window line,
the windows have been crushed in. A huge hole has been ripped below the windows
exposing the ravaged interior.
David stands before this heavily damaged area of the car. He just stares at the
wreckage. Water falls off the rim of his hood in front of his face.
His eyes drift over the ominous pieces of deformed metal. He takes a couple slow
breaths as THE SOUNDS OF HARSH RAIN FADE AWAY TO SILENCE.
FLASHBACK: EXT. STREET - NIGHT
SILENCE. BLACK. OUR VISION CLEARS TO REVEAL the glazed icy top of a street.
THE SOUND OF DISTANT FIRE COMES INTO THE SILENCE.
A TWENTY YEAR OLD DAVID DUNNE rises to his feet from the ground where he was
laying amongst the fragmented pieces of windshield. He looks down at himself. His
football jacket is torn. So are his jeans... He's trembling slightly, but not
HE LOOKS UP TOWARDS THE NOISES.
About thirty feet away is a Honda, upside down, wrapped around a telephone pole.
It's front is on fire.
Through one of the crushed door windows, WE SEE A WOMAN'S HAND.
Young David heads toward his car. He slips a couple of times on the slick iced
surface of the road.
He kneels down next to the inverted car. He looks in the crushed window frame.
THE FACE OF A TWENTY YEAR OLD MEGAN IS UPSIDE DOWN. She is unconscious.
She doesn't answer. Her body is twitching as it sits pinned behind the wheel.
David pulls at the handle of the mangled door. It's wedged tight. It won't move.
The heat from the fire is tremendous.
David's powerful arms keep pulling with all their strength.
WE HEAR THE CREAK OF METAL... THE DOOR BENDS UNNATURALLY AND THEN PRACTICALLY
David leans into the car and unbuckles Megan. He works her out underneath the
steering column. He slides out. Her leg is bleeding.
David picks her up and carries her to the grass next to the road. He lays her
He just stares at her. She doesn't respond.
A LIGHT WASHES OVER THEM. David turns to see a truck approaching up the road.
David waves frantically. The truck slows.
David turns back to Megan. Her eyes are open.
Tears fall from David's face as he moves the hair out of her eyes. She looks at
I thought I was dead.
The driver of the truck slips and slides his way over to David.
Is she all right?
I think her leg is
Are you injured?
Beat. David looks at Megan who lays shivering in the grass. He looks back at the
My shoulder's hurt.
The driver nods.
Hold on. I got a C.B. in the
The driver moves back to his truck.
David takes Megan's hand in his and waits in the grass by the sight of their car
PRESENT: EXT. TRAIN WRECKAGE - NIGHT
David stands utterly still in the graveyard of train 177.
INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT
The wheels of Elijah's wheelchair move down the hall as he follows the SOUND OF
THE PHONE RINGING.
He follows THE SOUND to a PHONE RINGING in the storage room of the store. There
are shelves and shelves of comic books. Thousands of them filed away in neat
Elijah picks up the phone a little out of breath.
Nothing is said on the other line for a couple of beats. WE HEAR THE ECHOED DIN
OF A LARGE ROOM FILLED WITH PEOPLE AND MOVEMENT IN THE BACKGROUND.
What am I supposed to do?
Elijah closes his eyes. His face fills with strength.
INT. THIRTIETH STREET STATION PHILADELPHIA - NIGHT
The interior of the station is a mystical sight. One huge cavernous room, a
football field in size, lined on both sides with giant pillars that rise into a
misty hand painted ceiling.
David, it's okay to be
afraid. Because this part
won't be like a comic
book... Real life doesn't
fit into little boxes that
were drawn for it.
David stands in a quiet corner and watches the faces of passengers arriving and
departing late night trains. Even at the late hour, there is heavy traffic
throughout the station.
Go to where people are...
You won't have to look very
David stares out at the midnight travelers. Beat. He starts towards them.
He passed the towering black statue standing at the far end of the station. It
watches over the whole building. It's in the form of an angel lifting a soldier
David moves through the first group of people - a crisscross of arriving
passengers from tracks one and two. They brush by him and lightly bump him as
FLASH CUT: WE ARE NO LONGER IN THE TRAIN STATION. A BLOND WOMAN IN HER TWENTIES
STANDS AT A COUNTER IN A CROWDED STORE.
SHE SLIDES THE SILVER BRACELET AND EARRINGS SHE WAS LOOKING AT OFF THE GLASS
COUNTER AND INTO HER PURSE. NO ONE SEES.
SLAM CUT BACK TO PRESENT:
David turns and glances at the blonde woman as she walks away from him towards
the exit of the train station. He doesn't stop moving.
David heads towards the densest part of the floor. The area near the information
board. Sleepy friends and tired family members stand and wait. A steady
spider-like web of movement flows as six tracks let out on either side.
David moves to the center. His rain poncho almost touches the marble floor. Lines
of passengers emerging from trains below the main level move steadily on either
side of him.
David looks down and gently turns the palms of his hands out as they at his side.
His finger tops graze the jackets and clothes of the passengers walking by.
Dozens and dozens of people pass. Nothing happens. Then a man in a crumpled shirt
and slicked back hair brushes by...
FLASH CUT: THE SLICKED BLACKED HAIRED MAN LEANS OUT THE WINDOW OF A TRUCK. HE'S
HOLDING A BOTTLE OF BEER.
SLICKED HAIR MAN
Go back to Africa!
THE SLICKED HAIR MAN THROWS THE BOTTLE WITH FORCE AS HE PASSES A CLACK FAMILY
WALKING ON THE SIDEWALK. THE BOTTLE SHATTERS AS IT HITS A WOMAN IN THE GROUP.
SLAM CUT BACK TO PRESENT:
David's eyes dart up as the slicked haired man turns the corner at the
information booth. He watches him for a beat.
FLASH CUT: WE ARE IN A BEDROOM. A YOUNG MAN IN HIS LATE TEENS LOOKS DOWN AT A
GIRL LAYING IN A PILE OF OVERCOATS ON A BED. THERE IS LOUD MUSIC AND LAUGHTER
COMING FROM SOMEWHERE DOWNSTAIRS.
What's your name? I think
you drank too much.
THE GIRL MOANS SOMETHING INAUDIBLE AS SHE ROLLS ON HER SIDE. HER SKIRT RIDES UP
THE YOUNG MAN STARES AT HER AND THEN GETS UP. HE MAKES SURE NO ONE IS LOOKING
BEFORE CLOSING THE DOOR. HE LOCKS IT FROM THE INSIDE.
SLAM CUT BACK TO PRESENT:
David watches the teenager with baggy jeans hanging off his hip. He walks and
greets a group of identically dressed friends.
Beat. David turns his hands back in. He seems shaken. He takes a couple of deep
breaths as he gathers himself.
Then David steps back to look around. HE BUMPS the shoulder of a man standing
David takes a sudden breath like someone punched him in the solar plexus.
FLASH CUT: AN ENORMOUS MAN WITH GLASSY EYES STANDS BEFORE A SCREEN SIDE DOOR.
HE'S BALDING. THE HAIR HE DOES HAVE IS SHOULDER LENGTH. HIS ECLIPSING SHADOW
FALLS ON THE CONSERVATIVE LOOKING MAN WHO STANDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SCREEN
DOOR INSIDE THE HOUSE.
GLASSY EYED MAN
Can I come in?
MAN IN HOUSE
Who are you?
GLASSY EYED MAN
I like your house. Can I
MAN IN HOUSE
What is this?
No you can't come in.
GLASSY EYED MAN
Are you sure?
The enormous glassy eyed man takes hold of the screen door handle. He turns it.
The man inside the house grabs the door handle on the inside to stop him.
MAN IN HOUSE
What are you doing?
The man inside the house uses all his strength to keep the door from opening...
It opens slowly anyway.
SLAM CUT BACK TO PRESENT:
David stands frozen in the train station. His face is almost unreadable.
David is standing less than a foot away from the man he bumped. They're standing
shoulder to shoulder. David's eyes slowly move from the ground over his right and
then finally onto the man.
He's huge. At least three inches taller than David. His shoulders are massive.
He's wearing a one piece ORANGE UNIFORM.
The man in the orange uniform leans over a trashcan next to him and removes the
full trash bag within it. He replaces it with a fresh one. He throws the full
trash bag into a gray plastic bin with wheels and starts pushing it.
David watches the man head across the floor towards a double door marked "Station
Maintenance Staff Only".
Four identical gray bins sit outside the door. The huge man disappears with his
David waits. He just stares hard at the double doors. Nothing happens for the
longest time... No one comes out. David makes a decision. He starts towards the
And then they open.
The huge glassy eyed man in orange emerges carrying a bag over his shoulder. He's
wearing a baseball hat with his uniform now. He heads toward a back exit.
David lets him get about twenty feet away before deciding to follow him.
EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - NIGHT
The man in the orange uniform walks in the driving rain down a residential city
block. Almost all the lights in the middle class homes he's passing are off at
this late hour. No one is out walking except him and David Dunne fifty feet
The orange figure turns the corner onto a block of modest stand alone homes. The
uniformed man walks slower in this block. He looks around carefully as he moves.
He turns into a driveway of one of the homes. He stops and pulls a wad of mail
out of the mailbox.
David stands with the hood of his security coat covering his head and face. He
stands in the shadows and watches silently as the man in the orange uniform looks
over his massive shoulder before turning a knob and entering the white paneled
house through a familiar side door with a screen on it.
INT. LAUNDRY ROOM - NIGHT
The side door opens with almost no sound. The hooded figure of David Dunne steps
into a narrow laundry room. THE SOUND OF A TELEVISION IS HEARD FROM ANOTHER ROOM.
A very large pile of unopened mail sits in a mound on the clothes dryer. Two or
three days worth.
David shuts the door very slowly.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
THE SOUNDS OF CHEERING FROM THE TELEVISION IN THE NEXT ROOM SPILL INTO THE
David stares out from under his hood at the mess.
Cabinets are left open. Empty cans of food sit on the counter with a handful of
unwashed dishes. The breakfast table is the eeriest thing in the room. It sits
frozen with a plate of half-eaten, now moldy eggs at one setting and two bowls of
colorful cereal in another. The cereal has dissolved in the old milk. Two
cockroaches are crawling in the bowl.
David moves slowly to a door in the kitchen. It's slightly open. As David gets
closer, he shields his face from the strong smell. He pulls the door open
A SHAFT OF KITCHEN LIGHTS FALLS DOWN THE STAIRS INTO THE BASEMENT. At the bottom
of the stairs is a MAN'S BODY. The same man who answered the door in the
flashback lays partly in the shadow, partly in the light. His crumpled tie lies
folded over itself on his still chest.
INT. FAMILY ROOM - NIGHT
A BOXING MATCH BLARES ON THE TELEVISION. Empty beer bottles and coke cans sit in
a pyramid on the coffee table.
David steps into the unoccupied room. His movements are slow and tense.
THUDS OF HEAVY FOOTSTEPS COME FROM THE CEILING OF THE ROOM. David looks up and
follows the SOUND AS IT MOVES AROUND ABOVE HIM.
David moves to the stairs as SOMEONE GETS KNOCKED OUT ON THE TELEVISION.
INT. GIRL'S ROOM - NIGHT
Three closed doors converge on a landing. David opens the closest one.
It's a young girl's room. Posters of boy bands are on her wall. Clothes are
everywhere. The room is empty.
A NOISE COMES FROM THE HALF OPEN BATHROOM DOOR ATTACHED TO THE BEDROOM.
INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT
A slightly overweight girl, probably fourteen years old is tied by her wrists
with a phone cord to the metal towel rack in her bathroom. She sits with her arms
pointed upward over her head. He knees tucked up to her chest.
Next to her is her younger brother. A skinny boy, maybe twelve. He's tied and
seated in the same way.
Their heads are leaned back against their arms. They're completely listless. Eyes
half mast. They watch as the door to the bathroom opens and the dark hooded
figure of David Dunne steps in. His long dark slowing rain poncho still dripping
water. He stands in the doorway for a moment before moving towards them.
They don't react in anyway as David reaches for the phone cord and unties them.
They're arms flop to their laps as they gaze up at the figure leaning over them.
They boy blinks once slowly.
David takes a step back and stares at them from under his hood.
You need to leave now.
INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT
An exercise bike in the corner of the bedroom has been turned into a clothes
hanger long ago. The t.v. across the bed has framed family photos displayed on
top of it.
David's shadow passes over them as he moves towards the open bathroom on the
other side of the bedroom.
A woman is tied to the bathroom door handle. She sits on the tiled floor slumped
against the door. Her eyes stare blankly at the ground. She has considerable
bruises on her face and arms.
David stands before her.
Where is he?
The woman doesn't answer, but a SOUND COMES FROM THE SCREEN DOOR nearby. The
curtains draping the screen door move with the wind from outside.
David crosses the room and pushes aside the curtain. It leads to a small balcony.
An empty lawn chair is the only thing on it.
David steps onto the balcony and looks down.
The rain still pours down unmercifully. It comes down on a black tarp that covers
a pool in the backyard.
David turns to go back inside.
A BLURR OF ORANGE ATTACKS HIM.
The collision is sudden and explosive. The huge man drives his shoulder into
David's chest and takes him off his feet. David's body flips over the railing.
The dark green rain poncho flaps in the wind as he falls two stories directly
towards the black tarp.
EXT. POOL - NIGHT
David lands on his stomach with a TREMENDOUS SLAP onto the nylon black tarp.
There's a thin layer of rain water on the tarp's surface. David is laying on his
cheek. Half his face is covered in water.
Beat. David's exposed eye looks around in a daze. The surface of the tarp gets
pounded by the rain.
David uses his hands to push his body off the tarp. His hands sink into the water
as his pressure pushes the tarp down.
THE FIRST SOUNDS OF NYLON SLIDING AGAINST CONCRETE START.
David stops pushing. His vision catches the corner of the swimming pool as the
tarp slides out from under the sand bags that hold it in place.
The tarp sags. David becomes utterly still. THE SOUND CONTINUES ANYWAY.
One by one the tarp starts sliding out from under the sand bags all around the
edge of the pool.
And then without warning, the tarp caves in. It folds around David as he and the
tarp get pulled UNDER THE COLD DARK WATER.
EXT. UNDER WATER - NIGHT
David's body is tangled in the pool cover. His legs and arms thrash against the
constricting black tarp. He's drowning.
GLIMPSES OF LIGHT FROM THE HOUSE PIERCE THE DARKNESS UNDER WATER. THE BLURRED
IMAGE OF A DISTANT FIGURE HIGH ABOVE ON A BALCONY FLICKERS AND DISAPPEARS.
The last of the tarp slides out from under the sandbags that old it in place
around the edge of the pool.
The rain keeps falling.
The tarp moves like it's alive underwater. It shifts and wraps David tighter with
GLIMPSES OF LIGHT AGAIN. TWO SMALL FIGURES NOW STAND IN A BLURRED SILHOUETTE NEAR
THE EDGE OF THE POOL. FLASHES OF SOMETHING SHINY THEY'RE HOLDING... A ROD OR
POLE... IT'S SHAKY NEBULOUS IMAGE WAIVERS IN THE AIR ABOVE THE SURFACE.
David's only free hand reaches for the light. It catches the silver pole.
The tangled mass of David and the tarp are pulled slowly towards the edge of the
pool. David's head and shoulders emerge from the darkness. He takes hold of the
Huge desperate breaths as he pulls his body out from the water and the grasp of
the tarp. He hauls himself onto the ground.
He sits hunched over in a dark mass, his head down under his hood. The rain
poncho covering him like a blanket. Beat.
He rises to his feet. The water rushes off of him. His breathing is slowing,
He stands in a silhouette from the light of the house. He turns and looks to the
two small figures standing near the edge of the pool.
The children from the bathroom stand still in the rain. They're holding an
aluminum pole with a brush head for cleaning the pool. They stare up at the
No one says anything.
INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT
The man in the orange one-piece uniform stands over the woman tied to the door
handle of the bathroom. His back is to us. He's drinking from a beer bottle as he
looks down at her.
He doesn't notice the third presence come into the room. He doesn't hear him move
closer. Right behind him.
The man in orange takes another sip of his beer, not realizing an arm is reaching
over him... He doesn't get to swallow the sip in his mouth.
David Dunne's powerful arm wraps around the man's thick neck. David's hands clamp
together like and iron vise. He squeezes.
The man's beer bottle crashes to the ground as his neck begins to get crushed.
David yanks back hard, pulls the man off balance. The man's legs push back
violently, sending both of them backwards across the room. They come to a hard
stop as David's back gets RAMMED INTO THE BEDROOM WALL.
The huge man in orange pulls away and then SLAMS DAVID harder against the wall.
David's arm remains locked around his throat.
The man becomes frantic. His face turning dark red. He clutches at David's arm.
He spins, taking David with him into another wall. The IMPACT IS TREMENDOUS. The
room shakes. David holds on. His face bent low and hidden under his hood.
And then the man in orange throws a powerful elbow back. It lands hard right in
David's side. David groans. The huge man delivers another one. Savage, desperate
blows. WE HEAR THE IMPACT OF EACH ONE WITH DAVID'S BODY. And David never lets go.
The elbows slow and then stop. The legs of the man in orange start to buckle.
David pulls him back onto his heels. He turns him in a half circle. All of his
tremendous weight is hanging from David's arm now. David LETS OUT A YELL AS HE
APPLIES ALL HIS STRENGTH. The man's legs stop kicking.
David keeps turning him. The man's body goes completely limp. David's just
dragging two hundred and seventy-five pounds of weight in a circle over the
David slowly comes to a stop. He stands there with his arm wrapped around the
man's neck....The man's limbs dangle down to the ground. Beat.
David's hands let go of each other. His arm slips out from under the man's jaw.
The man in orange crumples to the ground like a rag doll. The only SOUND IN THE
ROOM IS DAVID'S HEAVY BREATHING. Beat.
He moves to the woman slumped against the door. He starts to untie the phone
cords that bind her wrists to the handle. He whispers to her.
It's over now.
Your children are fine.
They're getting help.
He unties her wrists. Her arms stay above her head where they were.
I'm going to go now.
He stares at the woman whose eyes stare blankly at him. She sits unnaturally
still against the door with her arms above her head. The mascara that has run
down her face and dried, has tracks where countless tears have rolled down.
David moves his hand near her mouth and nose. He checks for the feeling of breath
against his hand. Beat.
He rises up. Removes his hood. David Dunne stands silently in the master bedroom
of someone's house and gazes at the dead woman frozen in a slumped position
against her bathroom door.
INT. FRONT HALL - NIGHT
The front door opens to SILENCE. The silhouetted figure of David steps into the
darkness of his home.
INT. CLOSET - NIGHT
The dark green faded security poncho gets hung back on its hook in the closet
next to the family winter coats.
INT. JEREMY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
David enters the quiet of Jeremy's room. Jeremy lays sound asleep. David stares
down at the shadowy figure of his son.
He pulls the blanket over the boy's small shoulder.
INT. DAVID'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
David sits on the edge of the empty bed in the darkness of his room.
He doesn't makes a sound. He doesn't move an inch. He is so still, he seems to
disappear into the shadows of the room.
INT. GUEST BEDROOM - NIGHT
Megan stirs in her sleep. She shifts her head on the pillow.
Then her body RISES INTO THE AIR.
She starts to wake as she floats across the room. She opens her eyes and sees
David close by. He's carrying her in her arms. He moves up the stairs with her.
No words are spoken.
INT. THEIR BEDROOM - NIGHT
They enter their bedroom. David lays her down gently on her side of the bed.
She watches as he walks out of sight. He lays down right behind her.
He covers her with his arm... His hand is shaking. Beat. He speaks softly.
I had a bad dream.
David tucks his head in close to hers and closes his eyes.
Megan lays stunned in her husband's arms. Beat.
It's over now.
She closes her eyes too as the tears start coming.
EXT. STREET - DAY
People move up and down the sidewalks in front of the storefronts. David Dunne is
He crosses the street in front of The Limited Edition. The front doors of the
store are open.
A banner over the door reads, "Annual Sale."
INT. LIMITED EDITION - DAY
The compact store is crowded with customers.
David spots Elijah with a group of people before a framed painting of a comic
David moves to a less crowded area of the store and waits. He turns and looks at
a framed sketch.
Beat. An older woman walks over from a near by picture and joins David.
...See the villain's eyes.
They're larger than the
other characters'. They
insinuate a slightly skewed
perspective of how they see
the world. Just off normal.
David stares at the drawing.
He doesn't look very
That's what I said to my
son. He said, there's always
two kinds. The soldier
villain who fights the hero
with his hands, and then
there's the real threat. The
brilliant and evil arch
enemy who fights the hero
with his mind.
David turns and looks at the striking and beautiful African American woman in her
sixties who stands next to him.
Are you Elijah's mother?
The woman turns and looks at David for the first time.
I am. I'm helping him with
It's a pleasure to meet you.
I'm David Dunne.
He's spoken of you. He says
you're becoming friends.
David looks across the store at Elijah talking with the customers.
He's doing well today.
I'm very proud of him.
He's been through a lot in
his life. A lot of ups and
downs, a lot of bad spells.
A couple I'd thought had
broken him... I mean
They were bad... But he made
it. Yes he did.
He's kind of a miracle.
Yes he is.
They both watch Elijah from across the room.
I'll tell him you're here.
David watches as Elijah's mother walks across the store and waits for Elijah to
David turns back to the framed sketch. He looks at it with his hands in his
David's stare turns into a gaze. His gaze turns into stillness.
THE SKETCH is of a withered man with large tense eyes. He sits in the shadows.
He's seated in some type of machine. There are lots of buttons and levers on the
machine. The machine has wheels.
David turns from the sketch. He looks across the room to Elijah seated in his
wheelchair. Elijah's large eyes stay focused on the customer's as he finishes
David turns back to the sketch. He looks at it with growing confusion. The more
you look at drawing, the more the machine the man is seated in looks like a
David looks back across the store. Elijah and his mother are talking. Elijah has
Beat. Elijah starts across the crowded store towards David. He wheels up to him.
Did you see this?
Elijah has a newspaper on his lap. He holds it up.
There's a drawing on the front page. It's a hooded figure shielding two huddled
children behind him.
It has begun.
David stares quietly at the sketch of himself.
When I saw it this morning.
I felt a part of the world
Elijah looks down at the newspaper.
David hesitates and then reaches forward.
He reaches past the paper... And TOUCHES ELIJAH'S ARM.
FLASHCUT: AN AIRPORT GATE. ELIJAH IS STANDING AT THE WINDOW LOOKING OUT ONTO THE
AIRFIELD. HE'S CRYING.
SIRENS START SOUNDING THROUGHOUT THE AIRPORT.
WAITING PASSENGERS START GETTING UP AND MOVING TO THE WINDOWS.
What's going on?
Elijah speaks to no one in particular as he stares out the window with tortured
A plane just crashed.
FLASH CUT: ELIJAH AND AN ELDERLY MAN IN A UNIFORM ARE SEATED IN A HOTEL BAR.
I've worked here twenty-five
years. I know all its
Like if there was ever a
fire on floors one, two, or
three... Everyone in this
hotel would be burned alive.
ELIJAH LOOKS UP FROM HIS DRINK.
FLASHCUT: ELIJAH LEAVES THE ENGINEERING ROOM OF AN AMTRAK TRAIN. HE PASSES THE
ENGINEER WHO HAS JUST ARRIVED WITH COFFEE.
Passengers aren't allowed in
Elijah doesn't answer and doesn't turn around as he exits train 177.
SLAM CUT BACK TO PRESENT:
David takes two unsteady steps back. Elijah has tears in his eyes as he gazes
down at the newspaper. He looks up to David.
I almost gave up hope. There
were so many times I
questioned myself. I've made
so many sacrifices but it's
all been worth it.
There are millions and
millions or mediocre people
in the world David. Isn't it
great that we aren't one of
David looks like he stopped breathing as he backs up in the store.
Customers step between him and Elijah. Elijah becomes obscured and then blocked
EXT. STREET - DAY
David emerges from the store slowly. He braces himself against a parked car and
then keeps on walking in a nightmarish daze.
WE PULL BACK as David Dunne blends in with dozens and dozens of ordinary people,
walking on an ordinary street, in an ordinary city.
FADE TO BLACK: