10/05/2016

Apologetic? Part IV


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That said, let's finish...



INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN - CLARA'S ROOM - MORNING

Alone, Clara dresses, the bed made, windows open.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN

Clara comes down the stairs, hands running over her hair, making sure she's neat, knees bent, head craning to see if anyone's sat at the bar.

She comes down.

No one.

C-CLUNK

CLARA

(sighs)

You finally decide to stop hiding from me?

She goes for the kitchen, taking her hair down, her brightened features dimming.

She makes her way around the bar and into:

INT. KITCHEN

She stops with a gasp.

Tom makes coffee.

CLARA

I though you were...

Tom turns, picking up another cup.

TOM

Some?

Clara starts doing up her hair again, coming to his side to help finish the coffee.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN - LATER

Tom and Clara sit next to each other in one of the booths in a corner of the inn, comfortably silent, Tom staring into his empty cup, Clara watching the clock.

CLARA

What, uh... what's next for you?

TOM

Mm... I don't look like I plan, do I?

Footsteps start coming down the stairs. Tom sits up.

CLARA

It's just B. My cousin, remember.

A grimy slob comes down the stairs. He stops awkwardly at the bottom.

B

(pointing toward the kitchen)

Uh...

CLARA

(dismissing him)

I'll see you tomorrow.

B shuffles out of the bar, through the kitchen, out the back door.

CLARA

He doesn't like to meet anyone much. You be my chef today?

Tom just smiles.

CLARA

I'm gonna go let some breeze in.

She goes for the door, Tom watching her go, unable to drop the smile completely.

EXT. CHEWTON RANGE

Clara unlocks the door and leans out. Seeing she forgot to put out the lamp, she sighs, stepping out.

The Scrawny Man wanders the street, this time with a pair of ragged shorts on. He stops to watch Clara put out the lamp.

SCRAWNY MAN

Hey.

Clara turns, not wanting to put up with him, pulling a coin from her pocket. She throws it to him.

CLARA

Go on.

She goes back toward the door, the Scrawny Man following.

CLARA

Uh-uh. I give you the coin, go spend it elsewhere. Can't give it back.

He stands before her trying to see in, Clara more or less blocking the doorway.

CLARA

Go on.

She shoos him away.

He turns his back. Clara goes inside, closing the door behind her.

Suspicious, the Scrawny Man turns back and tries to peer in a window. Seeing little he then looks off to the livery stable.

He starts toward it.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN - LATER

Tom hauls a crate of beers across the store room into a corner with a stack of others.

CLARA (O.S)

Thanks.

Reigns are snapped, a horse starts off. Clara comes in the back doors with the last of the beer crates.

TOM

Don't it come in barrels?

CLARA

Yeah, but this is new stuff.

The two move the pile of newly delivered crates from the back door into place.

CLARA

You're starting to fit in around here, you know.

TOM

My first job.

CLARA

(snorts)

You ain't expecting me to pay you? Consider this your trial.

They continue a moment.

TOM

So that's you thinking of keeping me around?

Clara says nothing, just hands him the last of the crates and watches him set it down.

TOM

What's next?

Clara thinks, biting her lip, straightening her dress up again.

CLARA

Um... I think we got to do some math.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN - LATER

Clara sits at the bar with a scrap of paper and a pencil. Tom sits opposite.

CLARA

It's point zero five.

TOM

No, it isn't. Why you acting so dumb? It's not cute.

CLARA

I'm gonna smack you, you say that again. How long have I been doing this?

TOM

(laughs)

It's not zero point five.

CLARA

What do you know? And I said point zero five, look.

She shows him the scrap of paper and her workings again. Tom reads over it, shrugs with a sigh then dismisses her.

She hits him with the scrap.

B-BANG

BANG

MAN (O.S)

No!

Outside horses rear, stomp and scatter with a flustered crowd of people in uproar.

Clara runs for the door.

EXT. CHEWTON RANGE

B-B-BANG

A gang blasts shots into the sky, forcing their way into the livery stables, the workers and a few customers trying to control the situation and save the horses from escaping.

The gang all wear similar ragged clothes, look equally ugly and are all clad with pistols, rifles and excess ammo. They're mostly men, but there are one or two women.

Surveying it all is an old woman holding the Scrawny Man's hand. The gang, his family.

CLARA

Shit.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN

She closes the door, staring at Tom sat the bar (unphased), not knowing what to do.

CLARA

You fucked up.

Tom scrunches his eyebrows, getting up off the stool and going for the door.

Clara leans against it so he can't get out.

CLARA

It's the family from out of town. That asshole you punched in the face the other day. You need to...

Tom waits for her to finish, but she doesn't want to.

Hand on his gun he reaches for the handle. Clara moves away.

CLARA

Just go out back. You can return when everything settles.

TOM

That doesn't make sense for either of us.

CLARA

I'll be fine. They'll lose interest quick.

Tom considers it, hand still on the handle.

He twists.

EXT. CHEWTON RANGE

Tom opens the door, seeing Bell being dragged out of the livery stables, the man violently yanking her reigns, gun pointed at her head.

B-BANG

Tom shoots him dead, everyone dropping for cover, Bell, all the other horses, running, the street ablaze with frantic men and women, crazed horses, all of them trying to escape.

B-B-BANG

Shots blast through the open door, ripping through the wood and past Tom's head, more of the family on guard down the opposite end of the street.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN

Tom slams the door, sprinting for the stairs.

TOM

Out!

No question, Clara runs for the back door.

Footsteps outside the bar.

B-B-B-BANG

Tom blast at the door as he runs up the stairs, Clara clear, through the bar, going out the back.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN - UPSTAIRS

Tom goes straight for the window facing the main road.

BLAM

People rush in the bar down stairs.

TOM

Shit...

He puts his head down, holsters his gun and powers toward the window...

... jumps...

EXT. CHEWTON RANGE

CRASH

With two feet he blasts through the window, catching the frame, glass slicing his hand open, but he holds on nonetheless...

B-B-B-B-BANG

The family of nuts start shooting from below, inaccurate, fumbling, off guard.

In a flash Tom hauls himself up onto the roof, rolls away from the gun fire, pulling his gun, and...

B-B-B-B-B-B-B-BANG

No one below can escape the rain of fire.

Tom shoots down, massacring all but five or six which manage to peel away, inside, in cover before being killed.

Tom scrambles over the roof, over to the back of the bar seeing Clara run down the back street into a friend's open door.

BANG

Shots from below, from the main road.

As if it's his second nature, Tom traverses the roof, gun out, shooting, more family coming down the street, out the bar.

He dives off the inn, onto an adjoining roof below...

BANG

... shooting a hole clean through a guy's brain mid-air, landing, rolling, sliding, coming off the roof, griping on to the ledge then dropping down onto the main road.

Firefight level, all his enemies in front of him, Tom charges forward...

B-B-B-B-B-B-B-BANG

At the far end of the street, half a dozen on horses scatter, firing blindly, only one escaping Tom's deadly accuracy.

Flying down the street...

B-B-BANG

... enemies throwing themself out of cover...

B-BANG

... Tom tags each and every one with a bullet...

B-B-B-B-BANG

... windows smash, wood splinters, blood, bones, explode, staining, drenching, bodies drop, bullets fly, silence falls...

Nothing but dead bodies.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN

MAN

(whispering)

One... two... three..

BOOM

EXT. CHEWTON RANGE

Four men blow out of the pub, mere feet from Tom...

B-B-B-B-BANG

... two fall, Tom dives, two burly pairs of dungarees hauling down on him fast...

Tom spins on his knees...

BANG

... shooting a gun out of a hand...

BLAM

... taking a knee to the face...

THUD

... knocked backwards, gun stretched toward a looming figure...

BANG

... blind fire gives him a second to recover, roll backwards, on to his feet, steeping forward, right toward a gun being pulled...

BAM

... the outstretched arm of the stuck pair of dungarees on his shoulder, Tom plunges his knife deeper...

BANG

... shooting the second, and completely bewildered, man in the head.

MAN

Ugh...

THUNK

The man drops his gun. Tom withdraws his knife and...

THUMP

... lets the man drop.

Silence...

Tom's eyes dart, pivoting on the spot, searching for any more trouble.

The floored man reaches a trembling hand toward his dropped gun.

Tom kicks it away, not seeing the...

BANG

... rifle lean around a corner at the end of the street.

THWAK

Tom's spun off his feet...

B-B-BANG

... shooting toward the rifle...

BAM

... tagging its barrel, destroying the gun...

THUD

... hitting the ground with blood squirting out of his left side, ribcage blasted open, shattered bits of bone gleaming white on the sand as the blood drains away.

Tom grips his side, two hands, eyes running across the bone, sand and blood inches away, his face smeared against the dirt road, eyes running further, past his gun--out of reach--seeing a black stallion thunder toward him.

TOM

Fuck...

Tom reaches for his gun, blood cascading off his trembling finger tips.

The stallion stops feet before him.

THUD

Boots hit the ground, drop the useless rifle and step towards Tom's gun.

Tom's hand falls flat, short of the weapon. He closes his eyes...

>FADE OUT

Darkness...

BOOTS (O.S)

Ma!?

Silence...

BOOTS (O.S)

Ma! I got him!

Footsteps.

Sand shifts.

OLD WOMAN (O.S)

Don't let him get away.

More sand shifts as Tom groans.

BOOTS (O.S)

He ain't going anywhere.

The footsteps stop.

FADE IN:

Tom opens his eyes to see the Scrawny Man's face, upside down and too close.

>FADE OUT

BOOTS (O.S)

We gonna kill him here?

FADE IN:

The Scrawny Man pulls away.

A hand picks up Tom's gun.

>FADE OUT

BOOTS (O.S)

Ma?

The Old Woman sniffs, then sighs.

FADE IN:

Tom, off his hands and knees, sees the Old Woman crying, holding the Scrawny Man in a tight embrace.

BOOTS (O.S)

Ma?

The barrel of his own gun is pressed against Tom's head.

Tom raises his gaze, up, past the boots, up the length of a leg, coming level with the Boot's...

BOOTS (O.S)

Ma?

KABOOOM

... crotch.

BOOTS (O.S)

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

Gripping his nuts, wailing, the man doubles over, Tom's gun coming down...

With all he has left, Tom grabs the wrists, forcing the hand down, the barrel of the gun into the sand, pushing off his knees as hard as he can...

C-CRACK

... knocking skulls with the man.

Tom falls forward, flat on his front. The Boots fall backward. The Scrawny Man steps in.

Tom turns, swinging a leg toward him, hitting nothing but air, aggravating his wound, screaming, but putting him in a better position to reach for his gun and...

B-BANG

... miss the Scrawny Man, but tag his mother on the shoulder.

She falls, the Scrawny Man flees, the Boots still writhe, kicking up sand.

Tom throws himself at the woman, gripping onto her dress, dragging himself over her body...

BANG

... smashing her in the face to keep her still, then...

BANG

... stops the Boots from writhing, before turning the gun to the cleft atop the ridge of the old woman's nose, between her eyes, where it nestles in nicely.

SCRAWNY MAN

NO!

The Scrawny Man stops halfway down the road.

He starts running.

OLD MAN

NO!

Deaf, dumb, blind, just wanting to come to his mother's aid the Scrawny Man scrambles for her...

BANG

... he skids across the sand, face first, dead.

OLD MAN

NOOOOOO--

BANG

Tom rolls away from the dead bodies, eyes searching for the inn, fighting to stay open.

Hands refusing to come to his wounds, his grip tightens on his gun, held with two hands, sandwiched between the sand and his chest.

>FADE OUT

INT. UNDER THE SAND

More or less darkness...

FADE IN:

Strange movement, bodies moving, shifting particulates, breathing.

Light trickles in.

Ben's face. Unconscious. Not even breathing.

He's being hauled through the sand, up, out to:

EXT. DESERT - NIGHT

Still attached to his horse by the reigns, his leg completely soaked in blood, half his torso drenched by now, he's slowly pulled across the sand.

Jarodd Pleasant sits in the distance. A silhouetted figure makes its way toward Ben and his horse.

The horse stops. Ben lies motionless.

Footsteps come closer...

Ben's chest starts to rise and fall, now breathing to the beat of the incoming footsteps.

A female figure, trapped in silhouette, never to be fully recognised, comes to Ben's side.

Hands wipe his face clean.

WOMAN (O.S)

Ben... Ben...

His eyes open, instantly imbued with sorrowful longing.

The figure gets Ben to his feet, his arm around her shoulders, and leads him toward Jarodd Pleasant.

Ben limps by her side, trying to find words to say.

EXT. JARODD PLEASANT - LATER

Ben is helped into an old shack and the door closed.

His horse wanders in the centre of the abandoned town, now nothing more than a few weathered houses, most dilapidated beyond repair.

INT. JAY'S HOUSE

Ben struggles up the stairs.

WOMAN (O.S)

Come on, just a little further.

INT. JAY'S HOUSE - UPSTAIRS

Stairs creek, laboured breathing fills the room. It's empty save a bed and the layers upon layers of dust.

WOMAN (O.S)

Hold on.

Ben leans against the wall, lost at the sight of the room.

Sheets rumple, waft, snap. Dust flies.

The woman takes Ben on her shoulder again and lays him in the bed.

WOMAN (O.S)

You just go to sleep. I'll look after you.

A hand wipes Ben's face again. He takes a hold.

Looking up, Ben's eyes glaze over, refusing to close. His gaze follows the sound of a dress ruffling, the figure kneeling by his side.

WOMAN (O.S)

Why did you leave me?

Ben can do nothing but blink tears away, squeezing the fingers in his grip.

Silence...

WOMAN (O.S)

You know... I once knew this mousey girl. She used to expect you to stay. But, when you left she said nothing. She never said that she wanted you. She never said anything. You knew she'd always be there for you, that she would never run, and so you thought leaving was... What? A way of saying that you didn't need to remember her voice? That you would always love her eyes? You're pathetic. You thought that this silence was what mattered. Well, distance only helped me forget. Silence only helped the memory fade. Tell me why you thought you could do that to me?

Silence...

WOMAN (O.S)

Tell me why. You knew I would stay, you knew I would always be there for you, but you pretended that I didn't matter. Why?

Silence...

WOMAN (O.S)

You don't know? Is that it?

BEN

I don't know.

WOMAN (O.S)

Well, here I am...

She tries to take her hands back, but Ben keeps a hold.

WOMAN (O.S)

... but you can't say more than three words. You still don't care. Not enough.

BEN

Please...

She sighs, clearly crying.

She takes her hands back. The dress ruffles again, toward the stairs and then down them.

Ben's left on the bed, alone.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN - NIGHT

Clara has Tom on the bar, his shirt ripped open, attending to his wounds.

His eyes open. They find Clara's, but she's concentrating on his wounded side. He looks around.

There's bullet holes in the back wall and the front door is blasted to bits. A trail of blood and a few red footprints make their way from the door to the bar.

CLARA (O.S)

It's on the table.

His gun and belt sit on the nearby table.

Clara's hand comes to his forehead.

CLARA

Are you in pain?

TOM

No.

CLARA

(dabbing his side)

Tell me if it hurts--

TOM

It's fine.

He tries to sit up.

CLARA

(pushing him down)

It doesn't hurt for good reason. That doesn't mean it won't. Just stay still.

Tom lies back, listening to the morbid silence.

TOM

Where is everyone?

CLARA

What do you mean?

TOM

Why is it so quiet?

CLARA

You've been out for nearly three hours. The mess out there was cleaned an hour ago. It's too late to do much more.

TOM

I need to go.

CLARA

Why?

TOM

I'm sorry.

She turns away from him to pick a bloodied needle and thread.

CLARA

The doctor wasn't willing to stitch you up. He's an asshole. But, the Sheriff isn't going to lock you away. You don't need to run. Yes, you've made a mess, but you saved the town.

TOM

I--

CLARA

Shh. Here...

She puts her hand on his stomach.

CLARA

... breathe from here.

Ben's chest stops rising and falling, allowing Clara to stitch the last and smallest of his wounds a little easier.

CLARA

The first two aren't perfect, but they're good.

She works in silence a moment.

CLARA

I got some shirts upstairs for you as well.

Silence...

CLARA

You'll be on your feet in no time. I don't think you'll be hauling barrels so soon though.

Silence again...

TOM

Listen.

She cuts the thread, then turns to him.

TOM

Are you ok?

CLARA

(with a smile)

Yeah. Come on.

She stands, hands on his shoulders, about to lift him up. Ben stops her by putting his hands on her face.

CLARA

I'm fine.

TOM

I'm...

She leans her forehead against his.

CLARA

It's ok.

She kisses him and then straightens his hair out.

CLARA

Come on. I've got to wrap you up.

She sits him up, then picks up the roll of bandages on the table.

CLARA

Arms up.

She starts wrapping the bandage around his chest.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN - LATER

Clara sits Tom down in one of the booths, then brings a glass of whiskey over. He wears a new shirt that's a little too big.

TOM

No, I don't want it.

CLARA

You'll need it in a bit. I haven't got much more of the stuff the doctor gave me.

TOM

Fine. Come here.

Clara sits with him.

INT. CHEWTON RANGE INN - LATER STILL

Clara talks to Tom, her head resting on his shoulder, an empty bottle of whiskey on the table and one glass in front of Tom.

CLARA

... aren't you tired?

TOM

You go to bed--

CLARA

No, I--

TOM

Go on, your head's about to fall off your shoulders.

Clara groans.

TOM

Go on.

Another groan and she's on her feet. She holds her hands out to help him to his.

TOM

No, I'm not tired.

Hands still outstretched, she yawns.

Tom yawns too.

They laugh.

CLARA

Come on.

TOM

Doesn't mean I'm tired. Go on.

She kisses him on the top of the head and then goes for the stairs.

CLARA

Night.

CUT TO:

Clara's upstairs. Tom makes his way around the bar. On the floor he finds the scrap of paper Clara was making notes on. Under the bar he finds a pencil.

He sits down to write.

INT. CLARA'S ROOM

Clara sleeps. Tom stands by her side. He holds the note in his hand, unable to set it down on the bedside table.

He pockets it.

He then leans over Clara and kisses her temple.

EXT. CHEWTON RANGE - LATER

Tom steps out, saddle bag in hand, hat on, gun and belt strapped in place.

He heads for the livery stables.

INT. LIVERY STABLES

Tom comes in, the back of his hand under his nose. There's half a dozen dead horses in the stables.

Two young men and an older one are pulling a dead horse onto a sheet attached to a live horse, ready to pull it out.

One of the young men spots Tom and taps his boss.

BOSS

You.

Tom stops.

BOSS

Your horse is dead.

Tom's face hardens.

BOSS

A couple of them got clipped, but yours was ran off the road and damaged her leg. She was running against the rest of the horses and... never seen it before.

The man stands there awkwardly a moment before gesturing toward one of the stables. Tom approaches. The man goes back to work.

Bell's snout is drenched in blood that pours from a hole between her eyes, soaking into the hay that's been packed around her head.

Her huge eyes, pure black orbs, reflect Tom's abhorrent dismay.

EXT. CHEWTON RANGE

Tom leads the black stallion out of the stables, down the road, out of town.

EXT. DESERT - NIGHT

Tom has set up a fire, he sits cross legged in front of it.

He looks at his new horse with a crumpled face. He walks over.

The horse flinches a little as Tom reaches into his saddle bag. He brings out an apple and holds it to his nose.

Tom takes a bite. As he chews he notices a blood stain on the light brown saddle bag.

He stops chewing and throws the apple away into the darkness. The horse flinches.

He stands and waits for it to hit the ground. Tom hears nothing.

He reaches back into the saddle bag produces four apples and drops them in front of the horse.

Sighing he slumps down in front of the fire.

TOM

Well, what the fuck is your name?

The horse chews.

TOM

Lucky... Daisy... Bob, Clippy, Dash, Ed... Tina, Gertha, Polly? No... well... let's see. You're a male right?

Tom leans back and looks at it's undercarriage.

TOM

Uh-huh...

(sighs)

... fuck it. You don't need a name.

He lies down.

EXT. DESERT - LATER

Tom sleeps. The fire slowly dies. All is silent.

THUMP

An apple with a chunk bitten out of it rolls toward Tom, stopping a foot or two away.

The blood stain on the horse's saddle bag shifts, turning wet, dripping.

Blood starts to pour from the smear and onto the sand, soaking between the grains.

The sand a few inches away from the blood splattering shifts.

Up comes the head of a crimson snake.

It slithers through the sand, until the blood stain on the bag disappears, the blood it leaks drains completely from the sand, and the snake is free, fully formed.

It winds toward Tom, toward the apple, it's jaws opening, dislocating, latching onto the apple easily two time bigger than its head, but consuming it nonetheless.

Tom shifts in his sleep, hand coming off his chest and resting in the sand.

The snake slithers over his arm, the large orb halfway down the length of its body protruding.

The snake slithers toward the dwindling embers, straight into the dying flames, disappearing once again.

EXT. DESERT - MORNING

A boot lightly kicks Tom's side.

He doesn't move.

The boot hits him again.

Tom opens his eyes, livened with pain and anger. He throws his water canister at whatever owns the boot, reaching for the gun at his side.

BOOT

(wiping water from his face)

Prick. Get the fuck up. I ain't gonna shoot you.

Still annoyed, Tom reaches around him for something to throw, but finds nothing. He grabs a handful of sand and tosses it.

BOOT

Stop being an asshole. Josh sent me.

TOM

What?

BOOT

You fucked up, you shot Ben's wife. He wants to talk.

TOM

He wants to talk? Where's my gun? Where's Ben?

BOOT

Your gun is under your leg and Ben is where you'll find him.

The man gets back on his horse and rides off.

Tom sits up, suppressing all the sound he can, but letting lose an agonised groan.

Sat up, he pulls the gun out from under his leg, looks at it, then drops it in the sand.

TOM

Fuck.

He takes his hat off and throws it.

It skids across the dead fire sending ash into the air.

EXT. DESERT - DAY

Tom and Ben, both in their late teens, trudge through the sand, fatigued, thirsty and sunburnt.

Ben stops, trying to breath.

BEN

I can't.

Tom continues forward, squinting.

TOM

I see something.

He stops, Ben joins him.

On the horizon, among the haze of heat, the swirling mirage, is a pulsating orange mass, thickening the blur. Grey smoke seeps upward from it.

TOM

It can't be more than two and a half miles. A few hours.

BEN

I can't.

TOM

Come on. A few hours. It's getting cooler already.

The two start forward, miniscule figures in the endless desert.

EXT. DESERT - NIGHT

The miniscule figures still lurch forward.

The haze of heat has revealed itself to be a huge fire, encompassed in thickening black cloud.

The boys walk for it, skin cracking, mouths too dry to speak, simply walking.

EXT. POLOMAL GRAVE - LATER

Beyond the feeble figures, beyond a tiny shack encased in a layer of soot, roars the immense fire, deafening, belittling, almost a hundred feet tall, enveloped in a torrent of black smog that billows into the sky, falling onto the town.

The two boys crawl the last few feet toward the tiny shack, past it, toward a well.

They pant, entirely spent, crying, just trying to reach the water.

Lifting the cover with weak, trembling fingers forces cries of anger, but off it comes and down goes the bucket.

Utterly dwarfed by the monolithic fire, the two drink, slowly sipping, sat against the shack.

Finding strength, Ben extends a hand toward the fire, about 15 feet away.

Tom tips the bucket over his head, drenching himself, seeing Ben approaching the fire. He stumbles after him.

Ben's hand comes mere feet from the flames, the menacing roar stopping him from coming any closer.

Tom stands next to him, drenched hand also extended outwards.

Wind blows into town...

WHOOOOSH

Silence...

The boys watch the black smoke twist up the body of fire and away, revealing a star studded night sky.

The dripping finger tips come toward the silent fire again, coming inches away from the flaming appendages.

Water drip...

Drip...

Drips...

... splashing down in the sand, millimeters from the fire, not evaporating, seeping slowly into the ground.

Despite this, the outstretched fingers daren't touch the flames.

INT. SHACK

A small coffee table and two arm chairs sit in the very centre of the single room. The walls are lined, floor to ceiling, with shelves, each and every one stocked with cutlery:

Cups, saucers, tea pots, china, hundreds of pieces, all with their place.

The shack door opens.

As Ben and Tom walk in, watery footsteps soaking into the dust, the room tinkles. The two stop by the coffee table where a small tin sits.

Tom drops the bucket of water. Ben opens the tin. Biscuits.

The two sit, Ben tipping the tin over and splitting the small pile in two. The two tuck in, no crunching, just soft chewing. They aren't complaining though.

After having his fill...

TOM

We shouldn't be here.

Ben stops stuffing his face.

TOM

We should have died out there. We're not running anymore.

BEN

I stopped running ages ago. He's forgotten us.

Tom disagrees. He just shakes his head.

The two sit in silence a moment. Ben takes a drink from the bucket. Tom stands and goes for the window.

TOM

(looking out)

We got a clear line out into the dessert. He should be a day behind us. He turns up? We shoot him before he's near. We've got cover, there's--

The fire outside starts roaring, crackling, the whole room rumbling, tingling.

The two move for the door.

EXT. POLOMAL GRAVE

Hell materialised looms over the tiny town. The fire reaches over the houses, limbs of black smoke pounding down, erupting up, wind roaring, ripping at the smog, teasing the fire.

EXT. DESERT

The immense beast of a fire bares down over the town.

A silhouette approaches.

EXT. POLOMAL GRAVE

The boys stand in awe, a dome of fire trapping them, their feet lost in a foot of writhing smog that comes to life, encircling the boys...

C-C-C-CRACK

... destroying the foundations of the small sacks around them, taking control, forcing them to move.

The eight tiny homes creek and splinter, spiraling inwards, trapping the boys, stopping in a tight circle about them.

C-C-C-CRACK

The slats of the wooden homes rip apart, bursting upwards, coming together, melding in an organic pulp.

EXT. DESERT

B-BOOOOOM

The fire collapses in.

EXT. POLOMAL GRAVE

The fire descends, the wooden matter folds in...

BOOOOOOOOOOOOM

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

The boys, cowering, knelt down, arms around each other, guns at their hips--useless--scream, drowned out.

The wood has formed a dome casing about them, nine feet in radius, fire screaming outside, seeping through.

Orange plasma drips around the boys forming, legs, five foot tall, over the boys. Then a torso, lean stature, spindly arms, tensed and sharp fingers, all of it impending upon them.

A wrought, disfigured face, skull pressed up against the roof of the dome, looks down on them.

The boys, off their backs, can't even tremble - petrified corpses, hands near guns, not daring to touch them.

BOOM

BOOM

Two fists slam down on the ground, smoke billowing away, dancing across the sand and about the boys.

The face descends, half a nose, twisted out of place, coming toward plastered terror.

White orbs something like eyes blare down on Tom's face, turned away, eyes squeezed shut.

BOOM

A fists hits pounds down again.

The head moves, snake like, craning to catch the boy's eye.

Tom stays turned away.

FLAME

(rising, louder, louder)

BWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

Tom grips the back of Ben's jacket tighter, tighter...

BOOM

... he jumps out of his skin, sobbing, unable to make a noise, when a fist comes down by his head again.

The creature still searches for Tom's attention.

His eyes open.

His head turns.

The flame backs off a little, white eyes still blaring.

They lock onto Tom's squint.

The head comes down again.

Tom, frozen, stares up.

Their noses comes millimetres from one another.

Tom's hand is on his hip, balled into a fist. He brings it up to his chest.

The flame exhales.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSHHH

The sand falls away.

Smoke consumes all.

The two boys drop, screaming, clawing, falling with a huge mass off sand...

CUT TO:

Desert. Night. Huge open sky. No town. Two tiny figures, arms outstretched.

A trudging figure approaches, under 100 feet out.

B-B-B-B-BANG

Silence...

INT. JAY'S HOUSE - UPSTAIRS

Ben lies in the bed, cleaned up, leg wrapped up tight in sheets, sleeping.

EXT. JARODD PLEASANT - DAY

Ben walks over to the well and draws up the bucket.

Looking into the crystal blue water Ben smirks. He takes a handful to drink.

He turns his gaze out of town.

A tiny figure approaches.

INT. JAY'S HOUSE - UPSTAIRS - EARLIER

Sat on the bed, Ben takes the box onto his lap.

He opens it and letters spill. Ben starts picking them up. One catches his eye.

As it sits it reads:

TO MY JAY,

EXT. DESERT - DAY

The black stallion trots next to Tom.

Tom produces a piece of paper from his pocket...

CLARA,

He stops the horse, hand on the saddle bag. He opens a pouch, about to put the letter in.

TOM

(sighs)

Get.

SMACK

The horse blots.

The letter's pocketed.

EXT. JARODD PLEASANT - DAY

Still on the bed, Jay's box on his lap, the letters put away, Ben holds his, now open, the only words visible...

TO MY BEN,

Ben closes his eyes and squeezes the letter in his fist.

He's about to drop the ball in the open box...

SNAP

The lid's shut.

The letter's pocketed.

EXT. JARODD PLEASANT - DAY

Boots step...

Thunk...

Thunk...

Thunk...

Ben moves away from the well...

Thunk...

Thunk...

Thunk...

Tom enters town...

Thunk...

Thunk...

Thunk...

The shadow of a hat's brim eases the piercing stares locked onto one another.

Hands hover by guns.

Thunk...

Thunk...

Thunk...

Thirty feet apart, no words, no recognition, just ground to cover.

Thunk...

Thunk...

Thunk...

Limps are hidden well, chins are high, hands do not quiver.

Ten feet.

Thunk...

Thunk...

Thunk...

The boots stop.

Silence...

Ben takes his hat off and casts it away.

He pulls his gun, slowly, hand held out to the side, barrel to the ground.

Tom lifts his head, shadows peeling back, eyes unsure, wrinkled corners quivering, lips hard, jaw clenched.

Ben waits...

Tom simply shakes his head.

Thunk...

Thunk...

Thunk...

They circle one another...

Thunk...

Thunk...

Thunk...

... Tom pulling his gun, wiping the hat off his head.

Thunk...

Thunk...

Thunk...

They stop, in each others places, guns pointed to the sand, arms slack, shoulders lose.

Silence...

Breeze displaces the sand ever so slightly, but everything remains untroubled...

Just...

Silence...

>FADE OUT

B-BANG

END



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