GAVIN PAUL CARTER - PARALLEL (SHORT SCRIPT)

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by Gavin Paul Carter

PARALLEL

 

BY

 

GAVIN PAUL CARTER

 

 

FADE IN

 

 

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

 

catwalk model.   

 

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

 

six.

 

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

 

open.      

 

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

 

of her.

 

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.

 

 

              SAM

          (He shouts)

          The seventeenth!

The seventeenth!

 

 

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

 

again.

 

 

                   SARAH

          I wonder what that

was about?

 

 

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

 

 

                                JAMES

          What?

              (He looks back at the girl)     

          Oh you mean the seventeenth?

          Now there’s a story…          

 

 

                   SARAH

          Yeah? She looked scared.

 

Sarah reaches into her handbag and pulls out an asthma

 

inhaler and takes a puff.

 

 

                   JAMES

          My brother suffered from

asthma…

         

 

                   SARAH

          Sorry to hear it.

 

 

She slides the inhaler back into her bag.

 

                   SARAH (cont’d)

          So, you going to explain?

          Long journey down, an

          entertaining tale wouldn’t

          hurt. 

             

 

The lift continues to journey downwards. They have

 

reached the 67th floor and the hydraulics have started to

 

creak.

 

 

Sarah loses her eyes and bites her bottom lip.

 

             

                   SARAH (cont’d)

          God I hate these electronic

coffin boxes…

    

 

                   JAMES

          Why do you say that?

 

 

                   SARAH

          Sorry?… So tell me about the

seventeenth?

 

 

                   JAMES

          Sure…

              (Pauses for thought)

If you really want to hear…

 

 

                   SARAH

              (Frowns and speaks

firmly)

          Yes… Why not?     

             

 

                   JAMES

          Five years ago. June seventeen,

six o’clock at night.

                  

 

James looks at his watch it is six minutes to six.

 

 

                   JAMES (cont’d)

          Around about this time in fact…

              (He chuckles)

          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

 

floor.    

 

         

                   JAMES (cont’d)

          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.

 

 

                   SARAH

          Well? That’s it?

 

 

                   JAMES

          The lift hydraulics gave out

          and it plummeted to the basement.

                        

 

The lift has reached the 30th floor…

 

 

                   JAMES (cont’d)

          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.

 

  

                   JAMES (cont’d)                  

          That patch is where they found

the girl’s body… The stain could

never be removed.

 

 

          SARAH

     (Shakes her head and scowls)

That happens to be a coffee stain.

Mrs Perkins had an accident in here

yesterday.   

 

    

                   JAMES

              (He smiles)

          Well, maybe…

 

 

                   SARAH

              (She narrows her eyes)

          How do you know my name?

 

 

                   JAMES

          Sorry?

 

 

                   SARAH

          You called me Sarah…

              (Nervous)

I never told you my name…

 

         

                   JAMES

          You must have done…

    

 

                   SARAH

          No I didn’t…

 

 

Sarah reaches into her handbag and slides out her inhaler

 

again and takes another puff.

 

 

                   SARAH (cont’d)

          You’re making me nervous…

 

 

 

                   JAMES

          I’m sorry. I’m just waiting

for floor seventeen.

 

 

The lift has reached the 25th floor.

         

 

                   JAMES (cont’d)

          I know your name, because I

work for the company… I deliver

packages here.

 

 

                   SARAH

          Right… But you can’t guess what

          I look like… You obviously know

my face…

 

 

                    JAMES

          I do… Yes I do… I have a friend

          in the building, who got me your

          photograph.  

 

                  

                   SARAH

          I’m not sure I like the sound of

          this…    

             

 

The lights flicker, and the hydraulics begin to creak

 

loudly as a red substance trickles through a crack in the

 

ceiling.

 

 

                   JAMES

          The girl that died in the lift

          was called Sarah Jameson.

 

 

                   SARAH

          So? So what? If it’s actually

true.

 

  

                   JAMES

          And every year her ghost reappears

          along with that of the man, and a

little boy…

     (He looks over at the girl)

How long have you been working here?

 

 

          SARAH

Five days. I’m new…

     (She licks her drying lips)

Who was the little boy?

 

 

          JAMES

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.

 

 

                   JAMES (cont’d)

          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…

 

 

          SARAH

     (Face turns ashen)

Your twin?… No…

     (Shaking her head in disbelief)  

You’re playing mind games with me…

     (She pauses)

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?…

 

     

          JAMES

Well I guess we’ve both been living

in Purgatory ever since…

     (Smiles)

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… 

 

 

          SARAH

Everything you’ve said is pure

coincidence. If it’s actually true

at all…

    

      

The lift blinks through floor eighteen, and descends.

 

James looks at his watch. The minute hand approaches six

 

O’clock.                    

 

 

                   JAMES

          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.

 

 

          JAMES (cont’d)

     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…

 

    

                   SARAH

          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.

 

 

                   SARAH (cont’d)

          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.

 

 

                   JAMES

              (Sounding disappointed)

          It’s rust…

              (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.

 

 

                   SARAH

          Will you stop with your…

              (Almost swearing)  

          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.

 

 

                   JAMES

              (Threateningly)

          No alarm… We wait…

 

 

 

                   SARAH

          Let go…                

 

 

Sarah glares at James but he simple releases her wrist

 

and shoves her roughly into the opposite corner of the

 

lift.

 

The lights, begin to flicker and fade.

 

 

              JAMES

     They’re coming…

 

 

The lights go down, and James and Sarah are blanketed in

 

darkness.

 

There is a flash of flame, from a lighter as it sparks

 

up. Sarah’s frightened eyes stare through the flame.

 

 

                   SARAH

              (Desperately)

          Press the alarm…

 

 

A MAN in a black suit is seated head bowed in the corner

 

of the lift. His body is shuddering oddly.

 

 

                   SARAH (cont’d)

          (She whispers nervously)

     James?…           

      

 

The bowed head of the figure begins to lift slowly…

 

 

                   JAMES

          What?

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

                   SARAH

              (Hysterical)

          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

 

wall mirror.

 

 

                   JAMES            

          There’s nothing here.

 

 

He shines the torch at Sarah, she is rummaging through

 

her handbag. She pulls out a large knife.

 

 

                   JAMES (cont’d)

          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. 

 

                   JAMES (cont’d)

          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.              

 

 

                   SARAH

              (Slowly)

          Please press the alarm…

              (Whines)

          I just want to go home…

 

 

The lift begins to creak again. The walls shudder…

 

 

                   SARAH (cont’d)

              (Whispers tearfully)

          We’re going to fall…                 

          You’re crazy, this is

your fault…

 

 

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.

 

 

                   SARAH (cont’d)

          Oh God…

         

 

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

 

bowed.

 

 

              SARAH

          (Calls out weakly)

          James?                 

         

 

The man begins to look up. She glances to her left and

 

sees another man standing in silhouette gazing at the

 

buttons.

 

Sarah gasps, and blinks when she opens her eyes the

 

silhouette has vanished. James raises his head, and

 

attempts to stand up.

 

 

                   JAMES

              (Weak)

          You Ok?

 

 

Sarah stands up and holds the knife in front of her.

 

 

                   SARAH

          I think so…

                  

 

James finally approaches the buttons and presses for the

 

alarm. Nothing happens…

 

 

                   JAMES

          Broken, I’m sorry…

          Journey’s end, we reached

          The basement, alive…

          Like before…

 

 

                   SARAH

          We’re entombed…

 

 

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.

 

 

                   JAMES

          They were both alive when

          they reached the basement…

 

 

                   SARAH

          I can hear voices…

 

 

                   JAMES

              (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.

 

 

                   SARAH

          Can’t you hear them?…                    

 

         

                   JAMES

          No… I can’t hear anything…

 

 

                   SARAH

          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.

 

 

                   JAMES

              (He gasps)

          Why?

 

 

Sarah steps back, still holding the blooded knife. James

 

looks the girl directly in the eyes.

 

 

                   JAMES

          Why?

 

 

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.

 

 

                   SARAH

              (Desperation)

          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.

 

 

                   SARAH (cont’d)

              (Smiles at the girl)

Cathy? I’m sorry I couldn’t

save you…

           

 

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

 

the lift.

 

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.

 

FADE OUT

 

End   

  

 

             

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Gavin Paul Carter 2011

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