GAVIN PAUL CARTER - PARALLEL (SHORT SCRIPT)
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by Gavin Paul Carter
GAVIN PAUL CARTER
INT. THE OFFICE CORRIDOR – NIGHT
A large blue container of bottled water bubbles. A
reflection of a FIVE YEAR OLD GIRL is seen briefly in the
plastic. A shaking hand fills a plastic cup at its base.
The top row of a pair of false teeth are dropped into the
water and the liquid splashes.
SAM the cleaner is old and gnarled by time. He shakes the
cup causing the water to swirl in circles.
KATE a young woman strides down the near empty
passageway, passing empty offices on either side of her.
She looks big business, immaculately dressed in a power
suit and beautiful made up, she oozes the confidence of a
JAMES VICKERS another man aged about thirty leans his
head around the corner, and he looks the young woman up
and down as she walks past. The woman does not even
notice him. He is dressed in a crumpled black suit, white
shirt and speckled silver tie. He opens his wallet and
looks down at the passport photographs fixed inside
amidst the collection of plastic cards. The first picture
is of SARAH CARIG a young blonde girl aged about thirty
The second picture is that of his dead brother WILLIAM,
aged five. James stares down the corridor. Kate has
reached the door of the lift and they start to slide
SARAH CRAIG is smartly dressed in a grey trouser suit and
a white blouse. She is standing in the lift’s corner, her
hands held across her stomach, her handbag held in front
Kate steps into the lift, but fails to notice Sarah. The
lift doors begin to slide shut. Sam who is seated on his
vacuum cleaner slips his teeth back into his mouth and
waves his hands frantically.
Kate panics, and slams her palm against the buttons, the
door shudders and opens.
James waiting outside, steps aside, as the young woman
rushes back into the corridor. She and Sam make eye
contact, but they both ignore the young man.
He steps forward into the lift, and the doors slide shut.
James scans the buttons, floor 100 down to the basement.
The man presses for the ground floor, and the button for
the 85th floor lights up as the lift begins to descend.
Sarah looks the young man up and down, and reaching into
her handbag she slides out her lipstick and looks into
the mirrored wall behind her and begins to apply her
makeup. She purses her lips together, and turns around
I wonder what that
The man does not turn around. His eyes are staring at the
buttons lighting up as they pass from floor to floor. The
lift has reached the 75th
(He looks back at the girl)
Oh you mean the seventeenth?
Now there’s a story…
Yeah? She looked scared.
Sarah reaches into her handbag and pulls out an asthma
inhaler and takes a puff.
My brother suffered from
Sorry to hear it.
She slides the inhaler back into her bag.
So, you going to explain?
Long journey down, an
entertaining tale wouldn’t
The lift continues to journey downwards. They have
reached the 67th floor and the hydraulics have started to
Sarah loses her eyes and bites her bottom lip.
God I hate these electronic
Why do you say that?
Sorry?… So tell me about the
(Pauses for thought)
If you really want to hear…
(Frowns and speaks
Yes… Why not?
Five years ago. June seventeen,
six o’clock at night.
James looks at his watch it is six minutes to six.
Around about this time in fact…
Two new office workers, a man and
a woman stepped into this lift.
He looks at the buttons the lift has descended to the 42nd
The lift stopped at the seventeenth
floor… The lights went out and the
rescue team couldn’t open the door…
Sarah looks nervous and watches the buttons as the lift
continues its slow descent. She looks back at James and
he too is watching the buttons.
Well? That’s it?
The lift hydraulics gave out
and it plummeted to the basement.
The lift has reached the 30th floor…
The strange thing is Sarah,
that the fall didn’t kill
them. They killed each other.
He turns around and points down at the carpeted floor, to
a dark patch on the material.
That patch is where they found
the girl’s body… The stain could
never be removed.
(Shakes her head and scowls)
That happens to be a coffee stain.
Mrs Perkins had an accident in here
(She narrows her eyes)
How do you know my name?
You called me Sarah…
I never told you my name…
You must have done…
No I didn’t…
Sarah reaches into her handbag and slides out her inhaler
again and takes another puff.
You’re making me nervous…
I’m sorry. I’m just waiting
for floor seventeen.
The lift has reached the 25th floor.
I know your name, because I
work for the company… I deliver
Right… But you can’t guess what
I look like… You obviously know
I do… Yes I do… I have a friend
in the building, who got me your
I’m not sure I like the sound of
The lights flicker, and the hydraulics begin to creak
loudly as a red substance trickles through a crack in the
The girl that died in the lift
was called Sarah Jameson.
So? So what? If it’s actually
And every year her ghost reappears
along with that of the man, and a
(He looks over at the girl)
How long have you been working here?
Five days. I’m new…
(She licks her drying lips)
Who was the little boy?
My six year old brother…
The lift has reached 19th floor, the red liquid is
dripping down to the carpet, and splashes upon the brown
stain on the carpet.
So close now…
(He closes his eyes and sighs)
My brother died on June seventeenth.
He had an asthma attack in this lift…
(Sniffs and sighs)
He was my twin brother, I was too
young to help him…
(Face turns ashen)
Your twin?… No…
(Shaking her head in disbelief)
You’re playing mind games with me…
My twin sister died aged five… She
drowned in a river…
(Tears in her eyes)
I stood and watched…
(Whispers to herself)
Cathy what could I do?…
Well I guess we’ve both been living
in Purgatory ever since…
This lift’s haunted, that’s why I’m
here. Every year they come back…
(Takes a deep breath)
I need to see him again, to know
that there is an afterlife…
Everything you’ve said is pure
coincidence. If it’s actually true
The lift blinks through floor eighteen, and descends.
James looks at his watch. The minute hand approaches six
It’s more than that… Sarah Jameson
married a week before her death.
The man she married was Peter Craig.
The light flickers and blinks on floor seventeen. The
hydraulics creaks the light flicks on and off.
The odd thing is that my mothers maiden
name was Craig, and the man that died in
the lift that day, had my name, James Vickers…
The lift shudders and comes to a halt and the liquid is
dripping steadily to the floor…
The lift stopped.
(She looks worried)
Press the alarm button.
Sarah sees the dripping liquid for the first time.
James looks fascinated. Sarah looks shocked.
I think its blood.
James steps forward and slowly reaches his fingers into
the red substance. He allows it to trickle between his
fingers. He rubs it beneath his nose.
(Looks down at the stain)
Not Mrs Perkins coffee spill.
It’s a rust stain…
(Looks up and smiles)
Hydraulics like last time… Just
before the fall…
Sarah puffs on her inhaler, her breathing is erratic.
Will you stop with your…
Prophesy… And press the alarm!
She rushes forward and slams her hand on the button for
Floor sixteen. She lowers her hand to press the alarm
button, but James grabs her by the wrist and yanks it
away. He spins her around to face him.
No alarm… We wait…
Sarah glares at James but he simple releases her wrist
and shoves her roughly into the opposite corner of the
The lights, begin to flicker and fade.
The lights go down, and James and Sarah are blanketed in
There is a flash of flame, from a lighter as it sparks
up. Sarah’s frightened eyes stare through the flame.
Press the alarm…
A MAN in a black suit is seated head bowed in the corner
of the lift. His body is shuddering oddly.
(She whispers nervously)
The bowed head of the figure begins to lift slowly…
Sarah moves her lighter and finds James standing up and
facing the dimly glowing panel of numbers. The young
woman flashes the light back to the corner but the seated
figure has gone…
Sarah drops the lighter as it burns her finger.
He’s in here… He’s in here!
James switches on a small torch, and shines it around the
lift, he gasps when he catches his own reflection in the
There’s nothing here.
He shines the torch at Sarah, she is rummaging through
her handbag. She pulls out a large knife.
For God’s sake what’re you going
to do with that? Threaten me?
He shines the torch in Sarah’s face, and she covers her
eyes beneath the blades.
The alarm button won’t get pressed
Until I chooses to press it…
Sarah starts to gasp, and breathe heavily. She pushes the
inhaler into her mouth and takes a puff.
Please press the alarm…
I just want to go home…
The lift begins to creak again. The walls shudder…
We’re going to fall…
You’re crazy, this is
James looks up at the ceiling light, it is beginning to
flicker on and off again. The lift shudders again and
Sarah grips the rails.
The lift begins to descend rapidly. The buttons on the
wall flash quickly as the lift passes from floor to floor
at an unnatural speed.
James grabs the railing and the light inside the lift
flickers madly. He looks across at Sarah, the woman’s
head is hanging forward and she is hiding her face.
James gazes at the buttons the sound of the hydraulics
screech and echo deafeningly inside the lift. The man
closes his eyes, as the lift crashes to the basement…
There is an almighty crash, and the lights go out…
INT. THE LIFT - LATER
The button for the ‘Basement’ is flashing…
Sarah wakes up her face twitching as the red liquid
bounces off her forehead. The light above her is
flickering, and the ceiling is cracked through, and more
rusty liquid is pouring through.
James is seated in the corner of the lift, his head
(Calls out weakly)
The man begins to look up. She glances to her left and
sees another man standing in silhouette gazing at the
Sarah gasps, and blinks when she opens her eyes the
silhouette has vanished. James raises his head, and
attempts to stand up.
Sarah stands up and holds the knife in front of her.
I think so…
James finally approaches the buttons and presses for the
alarm. Nothing happens…
Broken, I’m sorry…
Journey’s end, we reached
The basement, alive…
Sarah can hear a young woman crying, and the sounds of
children giggling. She waves her knife about madly, her
eyes scanning the four walls.
They were both alive when
they reached the basement…
I can hear voices…
(Lost in his own thoughts)
They just weren’t alive when
the rescue team finally
opened the doors…
The eerie voices continue, but seem more distant.
Can’t you hear them?…
No… I can’t hear anything…
It’s coming from behind me…
Sarah turns around and looks behind her. She sees her own
face in the dim light. Hair matted white like marble.
Eyes closed, head bowed forward, a strange sick grin upon
its face. The apparition raises her head and the eyes
flick open, they are as black as pitch.
Sarah screams and charges forward. James opens his arms,
but he is too slow to realise the blade of Sarah’s knife
is pointing towards him. It pierces his stomach.
Sarah steps back, still holding the blooded knife. James
looks the girl directly in the eyes.
The man slumps down in the corner and his head falls
forward. The man is dead…
Sarah screams and her legs give way, she crawls to the
opposite side of the lift and sits down hugging her knees
together she rocks back and forth, her wheezing becomes
uncontrollable, and she bows her head and stares at the
stain on the carpet just in front of her.
Help me… God help me please…
Sarah can hear whispering voices. She looks up, and she
can see James standing in front of her, He is holding
hands with two five year old children. A GIRL, and A BOY.
(Smiles at the girl)
Cathy? I’m sorry I couldn’t
The words ‘Join us’ echo around the lift, they become
louder and louder, and Sarah places her hands over her
ears and sobs, then she starts to laugh.
She raises the knife and plunges it downwards into her
chest. Blood spurts in a fountain and falls into the
stain upon the carpet adding to the redness.
The blade falls from Sarah’s grip, the lights stop
flickering and a steady beam shines down upon the two
slumped bodies leaning lifelessly against the walls of
FOUR HUMAN SHAPES in silhouette are reflected in the mirror.
TWO ADULTS and TWO CHILDREN, and they are walking away
from the scene and disappearing further into the
reflective glass. A light shines before them and the
whole scene fades into it.
© Gavin Paul Carter 2011