EXT. WARREN STREET — NIGHT, SEPT. 23
Leo follows Shelly out into the middle of a dark street. A block away to their right, on Main Street, Mitchell is lit by the neon fires pulsing through the carnival. Screaming kids on a giant rotating swing ride appear and disappear behind a building, and the Zipper spins people in metal cages above the old shop rooftops. The air must smell festive, it’s so clouded with smoke from carnival food stands.
But the sounds of the festival stage, which really isn’t that far away, are dimmed and subdued. And the city roads to the left of Warren Street are apocalyptically dark. Shelly and Leo stand in some sort of liminal zone that is massaged, but not embraced, by the festival’s general joviality.
Leo seems affected by something — maybe by the strangeness of looking in at the fun, or maybe by some other epiphany.
I think we need to check the city pool
or the school parking lot — they might be parked
somewhere in town.
What — you don’t want to hit
another food stand on the way?
(replying with equally
be nine again, right when I just got big
enough to ride the zipper. I don’t think
the festival will ever be better than that.
But that’s not happening. And we’ve got friends
who need us to be creepy stalkers right now.
(smiling in relief)
Then let’s get going —
Just then, Leo pulls Shelly aside. They hide together behind a tall shrub near the entrance to the church. Leo points towards the figures of two people who, like sparks from a campfire, are floating away from the lights burning on Main Street.
Of course it is.
Of course — as soon as you decide to try,
the Universe conspires to give you what
it is you want.
You think? It seems to me
like everything goes wrong.
Shelly glares, and Leo shakes the shrub.
We’re hiding in
They’re going to find us.
a bad thing?
If it’s not that bad, then why
did you drag me here?
I don’t really know.
Hannah and Dirk, who apparently have not seen Leo and Shelly, walk by so closely that, for a brief moment, you can hear them.
I’m not that smart.
I’m sure you’ll figure it out…
Shelly nudges Leo with her elbow when Dirk and Hannah move out of earshot.
Isn’t it funny how they’re walking? They’re not holding
hands or anything.
You might be reading
too much into it, or something.
barely keeping up.
It’s hard to walk
that fast when you’re eating cheesecake on a stick.
Leo and Shelly step out from behind the bush. They watch Hannah and Dirk walk down the road for a moment.
Should we follow them?
Just stay behind me.
Shelly starts down the road, followed by Leo. They take care to stay several steps behind Dirk and Hannah, who head for the City Cemetery, which rises above the town on a hill at the end of Warren Street.
EXT. CITY CEMETERY — SHELLY AND LEO POV
Shelly, with Leo trailing closely behind her, hides between two shrubs near the WW2 memorial on the top of the hill at the City Cemetery.
(catching his breath)
I thought that they were going to his car
Shelly shoots a bit of disbelief towards Leo with a brief but motlen stare.
…not the graveyard.
eyeing one very old
and ornate antique crypt)
Ghosts are real.
Shelly turns her attention to Dirk and Hannah, who meander between the graves below on the other side of the hill. You can just barely hear Hannah as she weaves stories about the dead.
…and this one died in a fire
his father started for insurance money…
…this girl…this one is still alive…
Dirk follows Hannah closely, step by step. His cheesecake is gone, and the chocolate-covered pointy stick he is holding makes him look ridiculous, like some ineffectual knight seeking praise for killing a burnt marshmallow. He says something to Hannah, which Shelly and Leo can’t hear, that makes Hannah change direction and turn up the hill. As they get closer and closer, the conversation Hannah and Dirk are having becomes more and more clear — perhaps dangerously so.
EXT — CITY CEMETERY — DIRK AND HANNAH POV
Dirk leaps after Hannah. If you gasp, maybe because you think he is going to stab her with his chocolate-covered pointy stick, it would be understandable. But you also get the impression that what Dirk really wants to stab is something deeper, something unfortunately submerged in Hannah that he doesn’t quite know how to tease out. It might even be the same thing that made Shelly feel so concerned for her before the funeral.
(more like trying to
explain a math equation
than making an excuse)
You have to understand. I literally can’t.
I don’t know how, and I never did.
did you tell me that you worked on it?
Were you just bragging? Did you think I’d care
what you were doing at school? A college guy
with all this big experience and all…
I told you about Hereafter because you told
me about —
About my dad, the crazy
Frankenstein they made in the app? He was
a doozy before he died, and somehow they
made him worse. I’m actually impressed.
My mom doesn’t even have to pretend now —
Hereafter does it for her.
I thought I could help.
I thought there was a way, but I was wrong.
There’s a reason I keep my phone shut off
most the time right now.
Hannah pulls her dark phone out of her pocket and steps closer to Dirk.
I can’t delete
him off the app because he’ll tell. I can’t
tell my mom about it now — she won’t
listen to me now that the preacher says
God is good with it. She never gave
a thought to what I had to say before
for the same reasons. He’s on my computers, he’s on
my mother’s phone. He’s everywhere I go.
I want to help, but I really can’t. I just can’t.
Dirk, he wants me there inside the app.
He wants me in there with him.
Dirk picks his teeth with the end of his stick, maybe to avoid replying.
The least you can do
is let me use your school computer. I’m sure
that your student licenses still work
for most the software that I need to use.
(slurred around his giant
That won’t work. I don’t know what to do.
EXT. CITY CEMETERY — SHELLY AND LEO POV
Hannah turns and starts up the rest of the hill, leaving Dirk to pick his teeth with the cheesecake stick. She pauses just below the WW2 memorial, somewhat close to Shelly and Leo.
I’ll steal the software then. It’ll be easy.
I don’t want to, but it’s the only way…
like us…people from around here can
do what we’ve got to do. Especially
when no one wants to help us get it done.
Hannah puts her phone in her pocket and walks down the other side of the hill. She quickly disappears into the shadows tucked between all the graves.
As if drawn to Hannah like a fish on a line, Dirk walks up the hill. He stands where Hannah stood a moment before and watches her disappear. His phone is buzzing. When he is sure that Hannah is gone, Dirk pulls it out of his pocket.
I want to help her.
Shelly and Leo can just make out the face of a woman floating in Dirk’s phone. The face is difficult to see from so far away, but Shelly’s eyes widen with recognition.
You know why we can’t.
What if you copied my image over to
a new computer?
I don’t have the money
But I bet that you could get it.
No — you’re lucky that I didn’t screw you up
when I put you in the first time. And I couldn’t
live with myself if I messed you up like that.
So we both agree that you’re incompetent…
But I still want to do what I can.
Dirk looks around at all the graves. The blue shades of light oozing from the lanterns surrounding the memorial make his face look haunted.
(becoming serious again)
You know what the people at Hereafter
would do to you if they found out. And now,
if we’re right about what happened to RJ —
which, I mean, it’s like Hannah seals the deal
on that one — they’ll find us out for sure
if we get risky. Including helping Hannah.
Dirk moves down the hill, surrounded by the hazy light of his cell phone. The deepness of his voice lingers, but you can’t hear Flori’s response from where Shelly and Leo are hiding.
Leo nudges Shelly after Dirk has walked a ways away.
I wanted to be wrong. I really did,
but that’s why you’ve been so worried lately — isn’t it?
Shelly, clearly shaken, watches Dirk intently.
You think that she wants Dirk to put her in
Hereafter — like he did with the girl he killed.
I’m sure that was the girl.
(looking out for ghosts)
So she wants in…how does that even work…?