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EXT. PLAINS - THE NEXT DAY
The fog has lifted. The forest and hill are visible. The ground sloth nowhere to be seen.
The Wolf still lies by Clara's side, watching her through sorrowful eyes.
She twitches, the Wolf stands and whines.
Clara takes a deep breath, opening her eyes. The Wolf nudges her to get up.
She tries to sit up but calls out in pain:
The Wolf continues to nudge her, but Clara just brushes him away, pushing her face into the grass, red faced, teary eyed.
Lightly wining, the Wolf lies by her again. Clara rolls to her side, wrought with agony, locking eyes with the Wolf. As the pain subsides,
To break it:
It must have been about a few days ago that I was in my lab.
The Wolf inches closer, allowing Clara to brush her fingers through his fur.
The world we have under us here, completely different. You wouldn't recognise it. It was made of stone, full of people, creatures like me. There were wolves, but small ones, just like there were cats, gorillas and birds.
(exhales a laugh)
Believe it or not, I used to own a dog, people used to own cats. I loved my dog... People, us humans, used to rule this planet. There was no fighting and running for survival. I guess we had done enough of that. Maybe we lost track, hadn't done enough. I guess that explains this.
She gestures at herself.
Shit... you know, it's just hit me: how little I've been thinking about the future. Is there survival here? What about the other people? When do their containers open? Thousands of years? Millennia?
... no, I can't. I don't want to...
They lie in silence a moment...
I was a doctor.
She sniffs, wipes her nose. Groaning with pain, she lifts her legs to her chest, her back popping.
She sighs with relief, lying back, dilapidated.
I had this patient, Julie Porters. She was ninety-six years old. Funny word, patient, I guess it describes what a doctor wants people to be... she came to me a week into the job, it seemed she was going to die of old age. Almost eight months she lasted, she died a few months shy of becoming not just ninety-seven, but also a great grandmother. Not that that means much at all, no one ever visited her, only promised to. She died of what must have ended up to be cancer.
She laughs weakly before trying to sit up again. Despite the pain she manages it.
I told myself I could cure cancer over again, never let it fight its way back into our bodies. Maybe this time it wouldn't be an accident... but, a pebble dropped in an ocean. Something went wrong, everything went dark, I remember opening my eyes once to yellow suits, but that was only brief. Then all of a sudden I could breath again, properly, I could dream, not just flicker in and out of darkness. I must have been in a coma of sorts. That brought me here... and I guess you know all about that... not that you were asking...
Clara leans forward and tries to stand, almost getting her feet under her, but falling.
She lies helpless with the Wolf stood above her.
I suppose you want to know me now, huh? Won't growl at me when I talk...
... I don't know why I want to yammer anyway...
The Wolf stares, vacant.
Why you didn't you just eat me?
He slumps down again, still watching her make the strange noises.
Was I not enough? Did I smell bad? Is this just fun for you?
She watches the Wolf a moment, looking over his wounded side.
You had a younger one when I first saw you.
Clara studies the Wolf's eyes: dark blue, almost translucent.
My sister sucked. My parents would always say that I may hate her now but will appreciate her when I'm older. My Dad said that until I was twenty-five.
Clara palms the back of her head, looks at her hand expecting blood, but there's nothing there. She scratches her scalp and then inspects her fingers again to find a few specks of dried blood.
She lies back, then stretches her legs toward the Wolf. Her foot just touches his side - he takes no notice.
All I want to ask right now is, what's next? I lived by routine to escape... I don't know, calamity--but now... it's all up in the air. There's no chance of knowing.
She pokes the Wolf again. He looks down at her foot and then moves away. Clara laughs.
What's really funny is that I can actually laugh. I'm surprised I haven't had some kind of break down. You've adapted to fight and feed yourself and so on whilst I've adapted to cope - emotionally nonetheless. In truth, I didn't think I'd wake up this morning, or any other. Last night I was sure that if I wasn't eaten or crushed, the food would do me in. But, this world seems to be forgiving. Here I sit, yet not long ago, I was in a coma, then...
(clicks her fingers)
... I'm awake. I'm breathing and the world is perfect. The only thing that seems to be wrong with it all is that everything within has the capacity to kill me. It makes me think that there is some reasoning behind all this. Maybe the world finally found a way to get rid of us. Humans that is.
Clara tries to get to her feet, this time she just about manages it. The Wolf stands with her. Clara leans against him and they start trudging.
Of course that sounds fanciful, maybe it was of our own doing or some inner workings or something? Again, fanciful, but it's easy to criticise what you're not sure of.
Clara looks off into the distance. They are headed around the forest and mountain, back the way they came.
I bet you know what your purpose is. I always thought that all animals had everything figured out. That's why you never talked, schemed or did anything particularly human. Us humans must have been the least evolved of all, developing consciousness and perception to deal with life. I bet rocks have everything down to a tee. They know if there's a God, when the universe was created, what the meaning of life is, all the who, what, when, wheres and hows. People strive to figure it all out, put our labels on everything.
(pointing them out)
That's the sky, but there's also clouds, there's sun too, but it's also a star, then again the sun's just hot air, it's all just atoms... it goes on.
She looks at the sun for a second but then closes her eyes and looks down.
But... paint a picture, you've got a thousand words. That's what people liked to say, and... I suppose that's because life is ambiguous. Humans can perceive, but only what we're told - and so understand what's made obvious. Rocks. They know it all, look at them.
Groaning as she bends dow, she picks up a stone.
He's got all the information in the world. He's got no futile struggle, this guy knows what's up, what's down... all the others. That means he can just live by the laws of this mess and not try and figure them out.
(drops the stone)
We needed Newton to understand that one. But, you? You just watched the stone fall. You have no question to ask, maybe it's because you've got the answer. People like--liked to talk about intelligence like it's a tangible thing, like it's quantifiable, observable, like it has substance. To be intelligent, you need to have the specifically right information. Little more. But, how can information be set up in hierarchy? The only way it could, would be to use emotion, judge the world by how it makes us feel.
(shakes her hand out in front of her)
Lucid dreaming, that's what this all is. There's no waking up though, no death. There's knowing you exist and then there's having your eyes closed.
Out of steam, Clara looks up at the sun again...
... but soon closes her eyes.
The Wolf copies.
Weakly, Clara pushes his shoulder and laughs. They continue through the plains, Clara yammering on at the Wolf.
EXT. PLAINS - DAY
The Wolf climbs up a tree just on the edge of the forest. Clara hangs back.
Down drops a few water filled orbs attached to a branch.
EXT. PLAINS - LATER
The forest and hill are far back in the distance. Clara's on the Wolf's back again, carrying a branch over her shoulder and an orb on her lap.
The Wolf sniffs the air, slowing to a stop. As he circles, Clara drops the branch and orb.
She slides down after them, cautiously.
The ground begins to shift under her feet. She steps away from the subtle movement.
The Wolf puts his nose to the grass to sense it vibrating.
A deep rumbling below climbs upward.
Fog starts seeping through the ground. Clara looks down then all around...
... fog rises across the breadth of the plains.
The rumbling below intensifies.
The ground beneath Clara's receding footsteps starts to crumble--
--a tail slicing through, slashing up into the air, Clara falling away in shock. She lands on her back, calling out in pain.
Hauling herself away from the rupture, she composes herself then looks back over her shoulder.
A light fog wisps over the plains, a field of jet black tails floating up from the shrouded ground like dead flowers.
Clara gapes in fear, the Wolf now stood over her, equally dumbstruck.
The tails draw down in a wave that billows away from the two into the haze ahead - the creatures apparently moving on.
As Clara stands the Wolf starts circling her, not knowing where to turn. He approaches a hole.
Sudden movement below scrapes toward the cavity, the Wolf jumps back and--
--thick fog swells.
The Wolf clambers toward Clara, lets her on his back. Scrambling aboard, she scans the fog around seeing no other signs of movement, the field of tails having withdrawn completely into the fog ahead.
The Wolf sprints through the thickening haze as it continues to seep through the ruptures around him, stalking him along the trembling ground.
A roar bursts just ahead.
The Wolf stops in his tracks. There's no obvious route to take, no obvious direction not to go, they're lost.
The Wolf isn't stopped for long though, the ground ahead gives as claws tear at the dirt.
He flees, but the ground sloth below is making its way up fast.
In a matter of seconds it's through:
Not a fully grown sloth, it's about the same size as the Wolf. At first glance it could be mistaken for a bear, its head absolutely massive and eyes so small they seem to be missing.
Overground, the sloth spots the Wolf through the fog and roars - its teeth serrated, razor sharp.
The Wolf looks back, seeing an outline disappear into the densening fog.
Before the outline is lost, it judders, pronouncing itself, the sloth giving chase. Clara spots the incoming silhouette, horrified.
On approach, the sloth runs like a cheetah, close to the ground, athletic, lightning quick - the huge mass shuddering with each stride as its paws dig into the dirt and propel it forward.
The Wolf pushes on faster but the sloth gains, charging with phenomenal momentum, so huge yet so quick--and not even light on its feet.
With the sloth no more than a few breaths away, the Wolf skids to a stop bucking Clara off his back to the side.
The sloth pounces, claws prised.
The Wolf rises, but is immediately locked into the grip of the sloth, its arms clamped around him as they roll into a twisted scramble.
The Wolf instantly bites down on the sloth's arm, but the sloth's teeth sink into the his neck. The Wolf jaws clamp down harder as he rips his head side to side. Yelping, the young sloth pulls away, letting the Wolf slip from its grip.
Clara staggers to her feet to see the Wolf struggling against the sloth, terrified again, stuck watching, waiting, hoping for him to win.
The sloth, now standing, grabs hold of the Wolf's head. It lifts him up off the ground, stands on its hind legs and...
... pounds him back down to the ground.
The Wolf yelps on impact, completely helpless, trying to kick out of the sloth's grip.
The sloth picks the Wolf up by the head again, stands on its hind legs and...
... slams him into the dirt.
Clara's rattled with intensifying dread as the sloth continues to bounce the Wolf's head off the floor...
Suspended, held snout-to-snout with the sloth by his throat, the Wolf keeps kicking, trying to claw free.
The sloth's tail wraps around his body, battling to constrict, to immobilise, but the Wolf refuses to give in, snapping, kicking, writhing.
Roaring, the sloth raises the Wolf higher, stumbling forward...
... hammering his body against the ground with blood-curdling, bone-shattering brute force.
Fatigued, losing a lot of blood from its arm, the sloth has to stop to take a breath.
Clara looks on at the Wolf's opening, his chance to escape, to attack.
He just lies limp...
The sloth stands on its hind legs, towering above him...
The Wolf snarls, propelling itself forward, catching the swung paw, immediately trying to tear it from its socket.
The sloth's pulled to the ground and pounced on, swinging its arms wildly, roaring, showering the Wolf in fog.
The Wolf and sloth are soon completely shrouded, Clara unable to see anything.
The malicious cacophony dies away.
The Wolf yelps.
Muffled struggle rasps.
Clara looks on, fear pounding in her chest.
A roar breaks through the silence.
It's cut short.
A body hits the ground.
Despair dawns upon Clara's stature. She waits in the stifled vacuum, unmoving...
A silhouette unfolds, pushing through obscurity.
Struck with a dreaded quiver, Clara wheezes trepidation, but she doesn't run.
She steps forward.
The grass ahead withers, curling into dark mulch.
Clara squelches toward the pronouncing shadow, her dejection giving way to vacancy.
Without hope, without care, she lurches toward peril.
The silhouette judders, edging closer...
... through the fog stumbles the Wolf.
Nearly collapsed of relief, Clara runs to him.
EXT. WATERHOLE - NIGHT
The Wolf and Clara emerge from the cloud of fog. The Wolf is only just standing, blood gushing from a crimson splinter running the length of his snout, Clara close to his side.
Still in light fog, she stumbles into the shallows of the waterhole.
The Wolf walks past her, submerging himself in the waters completely.
What are you doing?
A few bubbles surface soon after the Wolf dips below.
She wades in after him, panicked--
The Wolf resurfaces.
He clears his nose, again sending scarlet mist into the air, the surrounding waters dyed red, quickly clearing.
Waist deep in the clearing waters Clara watches, astounded as the Wolf swims in small circles, bobbing his head under the surface.
After a few laps, the Wolf trudges out, shakes himself dry and collapses to the floor.
Clara wades out and over to him. The Wolf's face is clean, blood has stopped gushing from it.
She sits by his side, stroking the Wolf's sopping and matted fur as he drifts off to sleep.
Resting her hand on his chest, she feels a normal heart rate, relief quashing disbelief.
EXT. SKY - SAME
The massive body of fog grows across the land.
EXT. SKY - MORNING
The fog has come to a rest. Clara and the Wolf lie right on its borders.
The Wolf and Clara sleep in the shadow of the immense wall of fog.
Clara wakes and puts her hand on the Wolf's chest again. He opes his eyes.
After a smile of reassurance, she sits up and gazes up at the wall of fog.
The Wolf stands and starts walking. Clara follows him onto the plains and away from the fog.
Catching up, she looks over him, checking the healing wounds, speechless.
EXT. PLAINS - DAY
The two walk toward the container field - the forest to the left of the hill and the grasslands to the right.
The Wolf starts to lag behind Clara a little, she stops, turning to him. The Wolf pants, his breathing hoarse.
Clara gestures for him to follow.
EXT. CONTAINER FIELD - LATER
Clara sits on a container, exhausted. The Wolf slumps nearby with a light whine.
You must have known something. Where were we going?
The Wolf just stares through her exasperation.
Where were you taking me!? There must have been some kind of direction, you couldn't have just been wandering.
He rolls away.
She covers her face, mumbling profanities through a lumped throat.
She breaks, let's go, sobbing to herself.
A herd of the bunnies lie decimated, not too distant from the contain field's hill.
EXT. CONTAINER FIELD - LATER
Clara sits, crying into her chest--
She stands, passing through the containers, unable to stop weeping.
The Wolf watches her go.
... come on.
He lazily gets to his feet to follow.
Stood before the grasslands, the Wolf at her back, Clara waits, cheeks blushed red.
Why isn't it working...
She looks up to the sun, then out onto the plains, toward the looming wall of approaching fog.
We should go back to the water. We shouldn't have left. We'll go around the--
The Wolf wanders past her and into the grass.
Abandoned, Clara doesn't move, just watches him leave.
She stares, adrift, back to the container field, hands clenched, knuckles cracking.
She pushes into the grass after the Wolf.
The Wolf's POV:
Grass gives way as he presses on.
The sky above is shrouded and dismal, the lush greenery drenched in an overcast murk, the ground soft--
The Wolf stops.
A strand of white cord slithers across his path, lost quickly to the dense undergrowth.
He pursues, meandering after the receding cord, onto a path, toward a shallowed circle of grass marking a tangled burrow where the white cord disappears.
The Wolf approaches--
The Wolf snarls, no fear, daring.
The Wolf and his pup writhe, entangled in white cord.
The cord snakes its way over a suited shoulder.
Down a young girl's arm.
Around a man's neck riddled with cuts.
Around the neck of a girl, bruised, marked red.
A straight-razor glissades across his neck, shaving away hairs.
A red ribbon glides across her skin, tied into a bow.
The straight razor slashes, blood spilling.
The ribbon constricts, suffocating.
The cord snakes maliciously.
The Wolf's POV:
His guttural growl approaches the nest.
Clara clambers into the clearing, the Wolf snapping his attention to her.
They stare at each other, unmoving.
The ground starts to shake, fog rises through the grass in the distance.
Stuck on a beat of dumbfoundedness, they remain motionless...
Snapping to, Clara runs. The Wolf bolts after her.
The two dart through thick blades, leaving a cacophony of cries and yelps calling from the distance as they break toward the plains.
Giant sloths rise from below the grass, all bellowing, spraying the area with their fog.
The nest. It's burrowed into a high-rising wall of grass, a twisted mesh of dead plant material, small bones, fur and feathers.
The grass above starts trembling. A violent struggle staggers forth, a clamour of roars and hisses. They burst through the wall:
A giant sloth the size of a three storey building lurching haphazardly, wrapped in a tubular coil.
It bites down on the fleshy rope around its arm, but over its shoulder snaps a head.
A snake. It bites into the sloth's face, a tooth piercing its small eyeball - it pops, oozing vitreous goop.
The sloth lets loose an excruciated roar with a burst of fog, hitting the ground.
The sloth rolls through the grass, trying to pry the snake off its face, ripping part of it off its chest.
The snake constricts, strapping the sloth's arm to its chest. With desperation and its last free arm, the sloth takes the snake by the head and starts yanking.
In a bloody struggle, the sloth gradually wrenches the snake's fangs from his flesh, blood spurting out of the socket, the sloth stumbling out of the grasslands and onto the plains.
The vice-like grip on the snake's neck keeps it from lunging--
--but not from spitting into the sloth's face.
It bellows as the acidic venom sizzles in its eye socket.
Still with a clasp on the snake, the sloth squeezes, the snake's grip on its body loosening, allowing him to free his arm, catch the snapping jaws.
The sloth roars...
... tearing the snake's head from its body and casting it away.
The snake falls from the sloth leaving it swaying, the venom killing it as it stands...
... the sloth hits the floor, dead.
The snake's head rolls to a stop, eyes still darting, imbued with vindictive villainy...
The jaws hyper-extend, snapping toward us with a sudden and final spring.
EXT. SKY - SAME
Fog swells across the grasslands.
Everything lays dormant, engulfed in haze.
EXT. CONTAINER FIELD - LATER
The field is quiet, empty.
It stays so as the wall of fog consumes it.
EXT. FOREST - DAY
Clara and the Wolf weave their way through inordinately tall trees, trudging through the gloom cast by the smothering canopy.
Above, apes can be heard but not seen, they tear through the lower branches, screaming frantically.
Looking out into the forest, Clara would be able to see for miles if it weren't so dark. The area almost lies desolate, no shrubbery or lower lying plants, the forest more like a hall of columns that stretch endlessly and in all directions.
The two walk with caution, peering up to the glowing virescence.
From the darkness ahead emerges three gorillas - each gargantuan. They're spread out, scouting their territory. One spots the Wolf and Clara, calling the the others.
Ears pricked, hair stood on end, the Wolf turns side-on to the gorillas as to protect Clara.
The gorillas come together as they approach, growling, teeth bared, beating their chests.
The Wolf stands his ground, snarling.
From the darkness behind the approaching gorillas surges plumes of knee high fog. It covers the forest floor instantly.
The gorillas slow to a stop.
The ground starts to tremble.
The Wolf still hasn't backed down and the gorillas haven't lowered their defences.
Clara spots a nearby tree with low-lying branches, wrought with quivering trepidation.
The gorillas look to each other then to the Wolf.
It's settled. The gorillas roar, barreling forward. The Wolf bares his teeth ready for a fight when...
... a tail smashes through the ground and sends one of the gorillas flying into a tree...
... left in a paralysed heap.
The two others are stopped their tracks, dumbfounded.
The Wolf backs toward a tree, shielding Clara between it and himself.
The ground near the gorillas gives way to a hole, fog billowing out of it, thickening the surrounding smog.
A roar rumbles from under ground.
Stood up straight, arms poised, muscles bulging, the gorillas bellow deep hoots, approaching the hole.
Smoke stops seeping.
The ground shifts and, quick as lightning, a sloth claws its way through.
The gorillas are on it before they even know what it is. They charge toward the sloth as it stands on its back legs, only just taller than them, throwing themselves against it.
One hits low, ramming its shoulder onto the sloth's stomach. Before its breath is snatched away, the second gorilla has his arms around it's head...
... the sloth slams into the ground with terrible force, instantly hammered in the face with a furious flurry of fists.
The sloth's legs kick out, but the second gorilla catches a leg. It lies back on the sloth's stomach, grips the ankle and with both feet kicks the knee of the sloth...
... bone cutting through skin, the sloth roaring in searing agony.
The gorilla hammer-fisting the sloth's face doesn't stop pounding, not when hit with plumes of smoke, not when the blood starts to splutter.
The second gorilla grabs a handful of skin from the sloth's side, pulling with the utmost ferocity...
... the sloth's underside stripped of flesh, revealing guts galore.
The Wolf turns away, taken aback by the mutilation.
The sloth's dead, but the gorillas aren't done.
The splintered skull is struck time and time again until it oozes brains - of which one gorilla grabs a handful of and throws against a tree - all whist its exposed organs are emptied from its the stomach.
The Wolf has stayed around too long, he retreats.
The ground starts to quake again....
... a tree falls in the distance.
All too aware of what's to come, the Wolf lifts Clara onto his back. He sprints through trees, away from the gorillas, only to meet a wall of fog - one that stretches above the screeching tree tops.
The Wolf turns, starting back toward the gorillas, following the stampede of apes above.
Approaching the gorillas again, a figure can be seen in the distance. The gorillas are first to realise. They begin bellowing out calls.
Another sloth, at least three times taller than the gorillas.
It unfurls a roar, blotting out the canopy with fog.
The gorillas stand to the challenge, hearing responses from approaching gorillas in the distant gloom.
Apes above begin tearing down the tree tops. They flock toward the gorillas, stood in wait before the sloth.
Dozens more gorillas hurtle toward the pack from all around.
Clara peeps over the Wolf's head at the mob of hundreds stood before the sloth, confident, brash and hollering.
A ground shaking roar silences everyone.
From behind the apes four more sloths emerge through the looming fog.
Clara and the Wolf retreat further away, sticking close to the mammoth tree trunks for cover.
Before the apes and gorillas know where to turn, three more roars cut through the moistened air.
Three more sloths come up behind the first.
All eight are many times bigger than even the largest gorilla. They close in on both sides of the primates, roaring in communication.
Simultaneously, all the sloths come down from their hind legs...
... and charge.
The apes scream, the gorillas roar, they split and sprint head on with the sloths.
The first to meet a sloth are a few of the bigger apes - about five of them pour at its head. Two get caught in its jaws and snapped in two, the rest tear at its eyes and rip at its nostrils.
Before the nearest sloth can react a dozen more attack, branching off to the ones either side, all with teeth bared and thirsty for blood.
The apes ferociously tear up flesh like it's not even attached to bone, gnaw, bite, annihilate.
But, the sloths, with one swipe, can kill three apes - pummeling their skulls in hordes against tress or off the ground.
On the other side, apes pry a sloth's jaws open, ripping its tongue out, killing their first.
The slower gorillas catch up to the fight, using their raw power to shatter bone, dislocate joints and rupture organs.
The sloths meanwhile use their tails to keep the waves of apes from flanking.
A single tail snakes through rabbles of apes, curling around the necks of three gorillas, tensing...
... popping three heads off of their shoulders, one landing on an ape's head, knocking him clean out before he's stomped on.
Another sloth has its tongue torn from its throat, spluttering blood everywhere - one gorilla nearly blinded by the stream.
He jumps for the sloth's neck, starts ripping hunks of flesh away, finds an artery, pulls it and showers in the blood.
The sloth goes down in a pool of crimson gore, an ape beating the corpse with its severed tongue.
Fighting off its hind legs, a sloth picks up apes, eviscerating them, ripping them apart with its claws.
With three sloths dead, ripped to pieces, the apes and gorillas are losing numbers rapidly.
The apes make calls up to the canopy.
Screams rain down from the fog, apes landing on sloths, instantly going to work.
Three apes work together to rip the skin off a sloth's back revealing the bones of its spine. A gorilla then clambers up the collapsing corpse, up its exposed rib cage, pulling discs away, hurling them at sloths across the way.
The sloth lies paralyzed on the floor, but its body doesn't go to waste. A larger sloth batters the gorilla off, takes the carcass by the tail and...
... pounds herds of apes with it, soon the only sloth left standing.
Four gorillas close in on it, but are drawn away by more approaching roars.
Five monstrous sloths charge to the fight, trampling apes to death--
--one slips on brains, going down, taking a few apes with it, but torn to tattered pieces in moments.
A sloth barrels into a gorilla stood in defiance before it, tearing its arm off, going for its leg, at the same time a second sloth gets the other leg with its tail...
... the gorilla's ripped into two like a piece of paper.
Primate numbers dwindle - and that's when another roar bursts from the fog.
Three sloths stampede from the hazed wall and towards the fight.
Before one of them reach, two gorillas grab its front legs...
... the sloth face-planting into the dirt, both of its legs pulled from its body instantly, one used to beat its brains out, the other thrown across the forest.
Yet another roar follows the emergence of another sloth.
This sloth isn't alone, but fleeing from a stampeding herd of Diplodocid.
Stumbling upon the savage fight some Diplodocid turn and run, but for many it's too late, they're already involved, pounced on by gorillas and sloth alike.
The torrent of escaping Diplodocid barrel toward Clara and the Wolf. They bolt, swerving around trees, dodging the thunderous footsteps that storm around them.
Cut off by a careening beast, the Wolf is driven towards stomping pistons and so scrambles to readjust, clipping a tree, skidding, losing Clara.
Unable to turn back, the Wolf scrambles through the storm.
Clara throws herself to the nearest tree, pressing herself against the trunk as the herd crash past.
The roar of the stampede thins into the cacophony of battle, the patter of the Wolf returning to Clara, as the Diplodocid pass into the walls of the encircling cloud of fog.
Unknowingly, the mob of primates fighting the sloth amongst the uncoordinated bumble, stomp and barge of the Diplodocid, are enclosed by a dome of fog.
The thunder of the escaped Diplodocid erupts with grievous bellows of torment as they're torn apart in the surrounding thick haze.
Everything is trapped.
The realisation hits Clara with the sounds of a new roar. From the whizz of fog, flees a lion followed by two leopards and six cats.
They are all backing away from a group of seven more gigantic sloth.
Clara scans for the tree with low branches and runs for it.
The Wolf barks after her, but soon has to focus on the sloth that approach.
With the lion, leopards and cats the Wolf backs away from the beasts.
Not one to back down, the Wolf is the first to charge. It pounces at the closest sloth easily two and a half times its size and rips away at its leg.
The lion follows, bounding onto the sloth as it rears onto its back legs, clawing its way up its body, sinking its fangs into neck.
Blood pours and the sloth falls...
The six other sloth are instantly attacked by the leopard and cats, all dispersing towards the battling primates whilst the Wolf and lion tear the fallen sloth apart.
A retreating sloth stomps down on a cat's skull, but getting down on all fours was a mistake - instantly, another cat latches on to the jugular.
The leopards work together, scaling trees to pounce onto a sloth and rip at its back, pound on its head, sending blood flying.
The Wolf tries to attack a sloth's undercarriage when--
--he's knocked down by another sloth's tail. It towers on its hind legs, but--
--a severed sloth head is hurled at it by a gorilla, the rabble of apes surging towards the new foes.
The Wolf lunges for the sloth's throat, crunching down before it hits the ground, the sloth drowning in its own blood seconds later.
Up the tree Clara looks down at the mess. Six sloths are still standing, there's a handful of gorillas, a few apes, a couple of cats, the leopard, lion and Wolf.
The ground below starts to tremor, the tree even more so.
Clara holds onto the tree trunk, the ground beneath it starting to give.
Seeing this, she begins to climbs down toward a non-lethal height to drop from--
--the tree falls straight through the ground, Clara lost to the mushroom of dirt, dust and paraphernalia.
Trees start collapsing all around as the animals fight, the ground giving to more sloths that begin to overwhelm.
INT. SLOTH TUNNELS
The tree comes crashing through the ground, sinking into a vast tunnel, Clara thrown off on impact.
The tree doesn't fall into the hole completely - it's too tall.
Clara comes to her senses, seeing this.
She staggers to her feet, stood in the thick mesh of tree roots, with little more than a limp.
A wall of cloud is sent hurtling toward Clara, the powerful gust contained and embellished by the closed walls, knocking her off her feet, to then blaze down the tunnel which twists and turns for miles, home to numerous burrowing sloth.
They all seem to live in these humid tunnels, entrenched in gloom, thick with smog, privy to light through few openings.
The plains, forest and grassland are nothing more than a vast ocean of billowing cloud.
INT. SLOTH TUNNELS - DAY
Clara, drenched, wipes her face, thrown from the tree, clear of its roots. She gets up, leaning against a wall, but...
... slips, slamming her face against the wall, hitting the ground with a wet squelch.
She looks down at herself, completely caked in black mud. Clara smells her blackened hand, reeling away with disgust.
Shaking off all the mud she can, Clara gets her feet under herself, carefully this time, and looks out at the sludgy mire.
Bewildered, she scrambles for the tree, the viscous mud sucking at her shoes, almost riveting her to the spot.
... another torrent of hot air and smog surges from behind, sending Clara off her feet and into the roots of the tree.
With no breath of pause, Clara clambers through the mesh, over the high-rising roots, up to the trunk.
Reaching the lower branches quickly, Clara begins to climb, placing her foot on the first branch, immediately slipping off.
She kicks her shoes off and starts pulling herself up.
Reaching higher branches, Clara's met by a disarray of snapped, twisted and broken branches, but also the roar, screech and whimper of violence above.
Rasped breaths pounding from her chest, Clara stays put, clearing the mud from her eyes, straining the sludge from her hair, choking on its stench.
She looks around herself, lost.
Darkness. Water trickles.
Flames spit and crackle.
Darkness. Steam sizzles.
Gaping blue stretches deep into the distance...
Fog clouds, obscuring.
Fire rages, spitting torrents of black smoke.
A mirror masked in water vapour clears...
A single grain of sand falls...
... hitting an ocean of silt.
Clara's hand clenches into a fist, quivering...
... knuckles cracking.
A stick furiously scrapes along a blackened groove in a branch.
Clara drives the twig relentlessly, sat on a lower branch, dangled legs tense.
Embers start to build. Clara's face is lit with determination.
A dry bellow careens down the tunnel.
Stopped in her tracks, Clara listens to the approaching pound of footsteps.
A sliver of a shadow glides around the bend of the tunnel.
Without hesitation, Clara throws herself off the branch, down onto the mesh of roots and scrambles in the opposite direction of the advancing beast.
Its shadow continues to slide into the light of the ruptured tunnel, soon giving to a face, to piercing pebble-like eyes.
The sloth spots Clara crawling through the mire with every ounce of her desperation. It bellows again.
Tears streaming, Clara throws a glance backward, continuously propelling herself into greater depths of the black sludge.
The rattled branch Clara threw herself from stops quivering, the embers collected shaken away.
The sloth charges.
Clara screams, pushing into a viscous drowning pool, sinking into the sludge without control.
Sliding to a stop before the collapsed tree, the sloth still has its gazed locked on her, roaring in warning.
Fighting to stay afloat, Clara turns to the beast.
It sniffs the air, suddenly backing away.
Simultaneously, the ground around Clara gives.
Roaring, the sloth turns back down the tunnel and bolts.
INT. SLIP TUNNELS
Clara hits ground, drenched in mud, instantly fighting her way from oozing asphyxiation.
As she digs her way free, the muffled screams of a small creature are stifled then stopped.
Free from the heap, Clara tries to get her bearings, but the ground beneath her gives again.
She slips with the slurry, skidding through a network of soft tunnels--
--the light of the hole above is quickly lost, Clara plunged into unknowing horror.
An immense burrow, flooded by light that stretches from pores above. Below these holes lies scraps of meat, hunks of flesh and bone around which dozens of curled up balls of mud-soaked fur lie.
The enormous room drips with humidity, the walls sweating away, the floor drenched, littered with small footsteps, inhabited by hundreds more balls of curled fur - baby sloth, all newborn.
Some are active, they bumble about, a few of the older ones burrowing into the soft walls, disappearing into the myriad of pre-cut tunnels that perforate the walls from floor to roof.
Something stirs around one of the lower tunnels. Newborn sloth scuttle away...
... just avoiding the surge of filthy slurry and Clara's tangled, beaten frame.
Sinking in the muddy pulp again, Clara clambers, quickly realising the den of newborn sloth - all the size of a large dogs.
Silence solidifies the inertia...
The woken sloth daren't move...
Clara looks around herself, coming across the drowned corpse in the pool of mud she came down with.
Her eyes gape, horrified.
Billows of thick fog gush into the cavern through the main entrance, the baby sloth screaming, all dashing for the smaller tunnels and the corners of the room.
Clara blindly crawls for an escape, finding a wall, feeling her way across it as she trudges for an opening.
The giant sloth comes barreling down the tunnel into the cavern, thundering into the haze.
It roars viciously, sniffing the air, quickly raining down on an empty corner, coming across nothing but the stiffened body of the dead baby.
It nuzzles its lifeless frame, whimpering--before catching a scent.
It bellows, pounding toward the closest outlet, hammering its paws into the wall, clawing away huge chunks of mud.
The walls above begin to crumble, giving, raining down on the petrified newborns.
The sloth ceases, roaring plumes of smog into the tunnel before hurtling out of the cavern.
INT. SLIP TUNNELS
Blinded by the fog Clara clambers, shook with overwhelming adrenaline, tearing through the tight tunnels, met by inclines, turns, shoots to climb.
The screech of scurrying newborns keeps her running, haphazard, fraught with bewilderment.
INT. SLOTH TUNNELS
Thin wisps of grey smoke curl from the mesh of roots. The embers from the branch above have ignited tiny flames that crawl down the wire.
Frail, they precariously squirm towards a glob of inky mud. It hits...
... only for a second. The glob bursts into flames.
INT. SLIP TUNNELS
Clara sees light through the haze ahead, pushing forward with all she has left, slipping--
INT. SLIP TUNNELS
--flailing out of the cavity, sliding down the inky wall, slumped in the thick mire.
She stands, shaking the drenching mud off herself--
--clobbered by the sight of the tree. In disbelief she clambers for her escape.
The cacophonous storm of footsteps blare their approach.
Socks and shoes long gone, Clara trudges forward, feet squelching down, hands pushing, knees propelling, fighting against the relentless cling, the crippling resistance, of the sable swamp.
Heartbeats away from the tree, Clara's stopped in her tracks.
The monolithic sloth rounds the corner, ploughing toward the intruder.
Clara spins, coming off her feet, backing towards the growing blaze in the roots.
The smoke swells down the tunnel, reaching toward the sloth.
Struck by the dry heat, the sloth coughs, stumbles, skids, upheaving gallons of inky sludge, trying to roar, tumbling forward, barreling into the fire, screeching instantaneously.
Liquid conflagration explodes.
It soaks the walls, floor, roof, all of it catching ablaze, the thin veneer of brown mud baked by the inky fuel below.
The blaze twists down the tunnel in both directions, swirling into a torrential inferno.
Paralyzed, devastated by the sloth's fall, pounded into the sludge, Clara is consumed by fire.
>CUT TO BLACK
A face pushes into focus.
A woman, Clara's MOTHER, stares ahead uncomfortably.
She stands on a stage, clad in a tight leopard print dress.
Next to her, Clara's Father, his ginger hair exploding away from his head, reducing his black tuxedo to a joke.
With his hand outstretched towards Clara's Mother's, his young features are wrought with embarrassment.
Clara's Sister, enveloped in a tight black dress, stands nearby, gaze drifted off to the side with disgust.
Her eyeline shoots spite toward a new face.
A man in his early thirties, DR. BEMMERS. His hand grips a shoulder, his face marked with serious concern, his other hand clutched by the cuff by a small girl - his DAUGHTER.
Terrified, hiding behind her dad for protection, the searing lights above wash her translucent.
Bemmers grips Clara's shoulder.
Stifled by a white dress, the snaking necklace that twists around her neck, she looks down with shame, holding a box.
She has just received a Nobel Prize.
An old man, a doctor of sorts, who just presented the prize, looks over his shoulder with reluctance, a hint of fear.
Standing with his back to the stage is a HUGE SECURITY GUARD. Arms folded across his chest, his calm presence looms.
Three SKINNY SECURITY GUARDS meanwhile run for an exit.
A crowd of hundreds fights to get onto the stage, a line of AGGRESSIVE SECURITY GUARDS struggling to keep them back.
The mob is made up of faces contorted with anger, mid-way through cursing and screaming.
Leading the crowd are a line of PHOTOGRAPHERS all with their cameras at the ready.
White light starts pouring from their flashers.
As the light crawls toward the stage, Clara stands, still frozen in place, eyes fixed on the floor.
Silence smothers the chaotic inertia...
Black hairs burst through Clara's skin.
A furious gust of wind bellows...
Blinding light consumes all...
The land below still drowns in fog.
Red spots sprout from the haze, thinning the smog...
The fog slowly lifts. The fires die down.
INT. SLOTH TUNNELS
Everything sizzles, barren, crystallised and pitch.
EXT. FOREST - DAY
Hundreds of bodies lie dead: sloth, lion, ape, gorilla, cat, Diplodocid and leopard.
A bloody massacre abandoned by any survivors.
Sifting through the multitude of corpses, we find the Wolf, his neck broken and twisted backwards.
The forest canopy, a sea of green, leaves dancing in the breeze.
EXT. CONTAINER FIELD - DAY
Behind the worn window of an untouched container, rests a young face: Natalie.
>FADE TO BLACK
The container gives, the lid swinging open.