Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Was A Teenage Leifenstein


(FADE IN, midday. High school campus, open on THE QUAD. Green, bright, almost dreamy. Students milling about, wearing sweater sets, pressed khakis, denim jeans, 50's fashions. CUT to LEIF walking across THE QUAD. Walking with head hunched, thick-rimmed black glasses, books clutched to his chest.)
MIKE: Hey, Leif! A famous Viking explorer returned home from a voyage and found his name missing from the town register. His wife insisted on complaining to the local civic official who apologized profusely saying, "I must have taken Leif of my census."
JOCK2: I bet he thought that was funny. He's such a dork.

(MIKE and friends laugh loudly, pointing at LEIF.)

(LEIF walks away and approaches SARAH, small, blonde, carrying flute case, pinkest sweater set in the frame. LEIF looks nervous.)

LEIF: Hey, Sarah, how's it going?
SARAH: Um, it's going okay. I'm really enjoying that research paper we're doing in Manner's class. I could just live in the library. (dazed smile on face)
LEIF: That's cool. (laughs nervously) I, uh, I was wondering if you might want to go out with me sometime? Maybe this afternoon? We could go by the diner.
SARAH: (smile fades off face, uncomfortable) That sounds nice, Leif.

(CUT to LEIF's hopeful face.)

SARAH: But, I don't really go out with, um, vikings, you know. Wouldn't want to get raped and plundered. (laughs nervously at bad joke)

(Smile drops off LEIF's face. LEIF nods hurriedly, rolls lips into mouth.)

LEIF: Yeah, oaky. (walks dejectedly away)


(LEIF is in class, taking notes. Bell rings. Students leave.)


(Hallways, students walking through frame.)


(LEIF stands in cafeteria, standing in line for lunch, hands in pockets, staring off into space, unfocused. Sarah approaches, taps LEIF's shoulder.)

SARAH: Hey Leif. I was thinking. I'm sorry about earlier. Maybe we could, um, go out after school?

LEIF: (face lights up, smiling) That would be great! Where do you want to go?

SARAH: How about you meet me by the pond in town? We can decide where to go from there.

LEIF: Sure, that's great! Do you want to get in line with me?

SARAH: Oh, no, Thanks. I'll see you later, Leif.

LEIF: Right, later. Bye Sarah.


(LEIF walking forward, down small hill to POND, carrying violin case. Lush grass, bushes flowering, lily pads in water. Ducks. SARAH is standing next to the pond, white wooden veranda at her back. SARAH is picking apart a flower, dropping pieces in water, singing softly to self.)

LEIF: Hey, Sarah. (LEIF smiles and waves)

SARAH: Hey, Leif. (turns to face him, lets flower fall from hand) Any ideas on what you want to do?

LEIF: We could go get a shake at Sam's? Or we could hang out in the library? (LEIF chuckles) Or we could get bread and--

(LEIF is cut off by SARAH kissing him.)

(SARAH stands on toes, hands clutching LEIF's shoulders. CLOSE-UP on LEIF's eyes, wide, surprised. SARAH pulls back.)

LEIF: Uh, that was, uh (flustered)

MIKE (O.S.): Well, what have we got here? Trying to pick up a girl, Viking?

(CUT to MIKE coming out from behind veranda. Two other jocks appear as well. All wearing letter jackets)

LEIF: What's going on? Sarah?

(SARAH flounces over to MIKE, wraps an arm around his waist.)
MIKE: What, you thought you were the first to discover this continent? (scoffs, motions to SARAH) Who do you think you are, Leif Erikson?
(JOCK2 knocks LEIF's violin case, books out of his arms. All laugh at LEIF.)

JOCK2: God, you're so pathetic. (picks up violin case, hands it to MIKE)

MIKE: Why don't we have a viking funeral for your little violin? (mocking)

(MIKE takes violin out of case, while JOCK2 throws LEIF's papers into the pond.)
LEIF: No! (LEIF scrambles to get papers, books out of pond. Turns back around after wading in to pond to grab them. MIKE is holding open lighter against violin.
LEIF tries to get the violin from MIKE, but JOCK2 pulls him back, punches him in the stomach.
LEIF falls to ground.
MIKE throws violin, now lit on fire, into bushes.
Laughing, MIKE kicks LEIF in the side, pulls him up by his shirtfront, and smacks him across the face.)

MIKE: Don't come near Sarah again, loser.

(MIKE, JOCK2, and JOCK3 leave, jostling each other and sneering at LEIF. SARAH folows, ignoring LEIF. LEIF lies on the ground, hands to face, blood seen around fingers. Gets up, crawls to violin, but it is a burnt shell. LEIF cradles violin to body, hunched shoulders. FADE OUT.)

(OPEN on LEIF OUTSIDE, walking up sidwalk, enters moderate sized brick house.)

(LEIF enters FOYER, dark woods and maroon rug in the walk way, walks through.)


(LEIF enters KITCHEN, avocado accents. FATHER is at table, reading newspaper. MOTHER is washing dishes by hand in the sink.)

FATHER: (sets down paper, sighs) What happened to you, son?

MOTHER:(turns, looks distressed) Leif! Are you okay? (grabs a rag, wets it, hands it to LEIF)

LEIF: (wipes at face with rag, snorts) I'm fine. I ran into those bullies again, down by Oleander Pond.

FATHER: Didn't you fight back? You can't just let them walk all over you.
LEIF: I didn't let them walk all over me, dad. There were three guys, and they were all bigger than me. Was I supposed to throw a punch and end up even bloodier?
(MOTHER looks upset at the argument, leaves room)
FATHER: If you fought back, they would know you aren't just some pansy. It might have made them respect you a little.
LEIF: Respect? They burnt my violin, dad. They're never going to respect me.
FATHER: Well, maybe you'll actually act like a man now that that damn instrument is gone.
(LEIF storms out of the house.)


(LEIF runs down the road, begins to cross the street, when FATHER opens the front door of the house and calls his name.
LEIF looks back. Horn blares, and a pickup truck runs into LEIF, knocking him out of the frame. Camera pans over scene from birds-eye POV, rising. Cue scream as scene fades to black.)


(FADE IN at CEMETARY, funeral. PRIEST is talking softly by head of grave. MOTHER and FATHER stand on the grass, MOTHER crying, leaning against FATHER. Four other black-clad figures are in the background. Two men approach grave, wheeling a two foot violin statue on a dolly. The end of the violin's neck is mounted with a large, ornate metal cross. It gleams despite the cloudy sky.)

MOTHER: (whispers, sad) He always loved that violin. It was his only friend in the world.

(End scene on over-the-shoulder shot of MOTHER and FATHER staring at the grave marker.)


(OPEN on a stormy night at the CEMETARY. Birds-eye POV.
Lightening bolt strikes LEIF's grave marker, briefly illuminating the ground. From birds-eye POV, the silhouette of the coffi
n is shown, jerking from the electricity. The ground goes dark, the storm rages on. Lightening strikes the grave marker again, illuminating the coffin jerking again. A crack is heard, and in the silhouette the side is seen breaking.
Lightening strikes a third time. The tip of the violin is glowing. An arm is seen falling out of the side of the coffin in the silhouette. The storm lets up, only leaving rain. CUT to ground and grave at eye level. Grass buckles, hand shoots up from the dirt. FADE OUT on hand.)


(OPEN scene in LEIF's KITCHEN. MOTHER is tidying up, humming idly to self. Daytime, but kitchen is dim. MOTHER walks to kitchen doorway, calls out.)

MOTHER: I'm going to run to the store. I need a few ingredients for dinner. Make sure you don't eat anything before I get back.

(FATHER grunts reply, off camera.)


(MOTHER puts on overcoat, grabs purse, walks out door.)


(FATHER in STUDY. Maroon walls, dark wood desk. Head bent over papers. There is a benign creak in the background.)

FATHER: Margaret, are you still here? Why don't we have pork roast for dinner?

FATHER: Margaret?

(Father goes back to papers.)


(Silhouetted figure shambling down HALLWAY towards study door.)


(STUDY, FATHER working at desk, unaware of surroundings. Shadow comes across papers from behind FATHER. Maggot drops onto papers, squirms. FATHER notices it, turns to look over right shoulder, sees LEIF. FATHER screams.)

(FATHER pushes out of chair, runs to fireplace, pulls out brass fireplace poker from tool set.
LEIF lumbers towards FATHER. LEIF's burial clothes are worn. His black pleated pants are stained with dirt across the knee, torn, wrinkled. His black jacket is unbuttoned, ripped across the left side. His white dress shirt is wrinkled, dirty stained, but unripped. LEIF's skin is pallid and sunken, lips cracked, hair in disarray. His fingers are bloody and torn from clawing his way from the coffin. There is a cut high up his right cheek, the bridge of his nose is bruised purple. LEIF's mouth is uselessly open, and his eyes are shining and focused on FATHER.)

FATHER: Get away. Get away, you beast! (swings fire poker. Eyes widen in surprise when it rips into LEIF's torso with a wet sound)

(LEIF looks down at poker sticking out of abdomen, where there is no blood. A maggot squirms out of the gash. While he is distracted, FATHER turns and runs out of the study.)


(FATHER runs down the HALL, looks behind him, trips, and falls into the doorway of the LIVING ROOM.)


(CUT to STUDY, LEIF pulls the fire poker out of his abdomen, tossing it carelessly to the side. Leaves STUDY)


(FATHER scrambles to get up, runs through LIVING ROOM. His face is cut, bleeding sluggishly.)

FATHER stands with his back against the wall next to the entrance to the kitchen. LEIF looms over him, his arms coming up to wrap around FATHER, backs FATHER into KITCHEN.
LEIF stands for a moment, as if hugging FATHER, while FATHER is clawing uselessly at LEIF's arms, muttering to himself.)

FATHER: Get- Get off. {panting, shrieks} Get off!

(LEIF begins to pull back.
Jerky movements cause his face to brush FATHER's.
LEIF notices the blood, stares at it.
LEIF seems transfixed, then slowly leans forward and sniffs the blood.
LEIF's eyes lose focus, his mouth opens.
LEIF tears into the skin of FATHER's face.
CUT on FATHER's scream.)


(MOTHER, OUTSIDE, walking up to the house with a grocery bag in her arms. She unlocks the door, enters the FOYER.)


(MOTHER walks through FOYER. MOTHER stops in entrance to KITCHEN, simultaneously dropping her bag, where something is heard breaking, and screaming. Beyond her figure, blood smears are visible. FADE OUT)


(FADE IN to the GYM, where MIKE, JOCK2 and JOCK3 are playing basketball. They are wearing white shorts that end just above the knee and school t-shirts, red with the words Holloway High School printed across the chest in white. The gym coach, pacing in the back of the shot, blows his whistle, and the students- all male- head towards the locker room. MIKE is delayed by the coach, who pulls him aside to talk with him, inaudible. JOCK2 and JOCK3 wait around for him by the locker room doors.)


(MIKE enters the LCOKER ROOM after everyone else, with JOCK2 and JOCK3 flanking him. He is joking with them over his shoulder as he walks to his locker. The other students have left or are out of the frame. Showers can be heard running in the background. As he is removing something from his locker, the outside door near MIKE shudders. JOCK2 and JOCK3 look over at the noise.)

JOCK2: What was that?

(MIKE looks back at them, brow furrowed, and holds up a hand. He walks to the door, which is shaken with another impact as his hand finds the handle. Slowly, he pulls the door open. LEIF is standing on the other side of the door. Blood is smeared across his face and the chest of his white button up shirt. He opens his mouth, and blood is seen staining his teeth.)

MIKE: Leif? Where the hell have you been? (suprised, incredulous)

JOCK2: Is that blood?

JOCK3: (in the background) Can you smell him? I think I'm going to be sick. (JOCK3 is heard running away from the door, then throwing up.)

MIKE: Hey. (pushes LEIF's chest.) What's wrong with you, man? Say something.

(MIKE goes to push LEIF again. MIKE's features are tense, showing his building panic. LEIF catches MIKE's arm, shoves him away. MIKE stumbles back, falls against a wall. JOCK2 moves to MIKE's side.)

JOCK2: You okay, man?

MIKE: Yeah, I'm fine. Back off.

JOCK2: Looks like Leif grew a pair.

MIKE: (laughs derisively) We'll have to teach him a lesson, then.

(MIKE is now standing, JOCK2 at his side, JOCK3 hovering in the background. LEIF has begun to enter the locker room, still moving in a jerky, stilted manner.)

MIKE: Where do you think you're going, Viking? Didn't you learn not to mess with us? Guess we'll have to burn something else this time.

(JOCK2 laughs.)

(MIKE is closing in on LEIF, getting in his face. He shoves LEIF, making LEIF fall back against the metal cage holding the sports equipment. Trying to right himself, LEIF knocks the cage backwards, where it falls on top of JOCK3.)

MIKE: (looks at fallen JOCK3, turns to yell at LEIF) Look what you did!

(MIKE is in LEIF's face again. LEIF groans, grabs MIKE's arm and bites into his forearm.
MIKE screams, jerks his arm frantically.
JOCK2 appears with a textbook, to the side of MIKE, and hits LEIF in the back of the head.
LEIF lets go of MIKE and turns to JOCK2.
LEIF grabs the arm holding the textbook and breaks it.
LEIF bites into JOCK2's neck, causing a spray of blood.
MIKE is holding his forearm to his abdomen, hunched over it. On the floor, JOCK3 is screaming.)

JOCK3: Help! God, someone! Help!


(THE QUAD, SARAH is laughing with group of girls. SARAH is holding her flute case, hair in a ponytail.)

SARAH: I'll meet you all at Sam's, okay? I've got to put my flute in the band room, and then I've got to find Mike. (laughs) He's always holding me up.

(The girls laugh, shooing SARAH and walking away. Camera pans across the girls as they leave.)


(SARAH hums happily to herself, walking down a deserted HALLWAY. SARAH is stopped in the hallway by another teen, TOM. He is dressed in the schools letter jacket, carrying papers under one arm.)

TOM: Hey, Sarah. Have you seen Mike?

SARAH: I was just looking for him, actually. We've got a date, and he's off making us late. {laughs} Why?

TOM: Could you give him these notes?

(TOM hands SARAH a sheaf of papers.)

SARAH: Sure thing. I'll see you at Sam's later?

TOM: You bet. Check in the locker room, too. I didn't see him come in after gym.

SARAH: Okay. See ya.

(SARAH smiles at TOM, then continues down the hall.)


(SARAH opens double doors, enters GYM. Still smiling happily to herself, she walks towards the boy's locker room. She knocks on the door.)

SARAH: Hello? Everyone decent?


(SARAH enters the LOCKER ROOM, obviously looking around for MIKE. She begins to walk past the second row of lockers when she hears a noise.)

JOCK3: (hoarse, tired) Is someone there? Help me!

(SARAH hurries around the lockers, but freezes. In front of her is JOCK3, still pinned under the metal cage. JOCK2 is slumped on the ground, his torso covered in blood, a gaping hole in his neck, dead.)

SARAH: Oh God!

(SARAH sees MIKE lying face down on the ground, the left, bitten arm pinned under him.)

SARAH: Mike! Are you okay?

(SARAH runs to MIKE's side, dropping flute case, and kneels next to him.} Mike? {SARAH reaches out to turn MIKE over, holding him up by the shoulders,and screams. There is a vivid bite mark on MIKE's right cheek. His eyes are glazed.)

SARAH: Mike!

(SARAH shakes MIKE, but gets no response. SARAH looks down at her knees, where a pool of blood is seeping through the gray skirt pulled over her knees. MIKE's stomach is gouged, the blood already forming a circle on his red gym shirt and the floor under him. SARAH's breathing is now audible and frantic.)

SARAH: Oh, God! Oh, God! (whispered)

(SARAH lets go of MIKE and runs out of the locker room, her flute case forgotten.)


(SARAH runs down the hallway, shouting.)

SARAH: Help!

(SARAH hears noises from the BAND ROOM, enters.)


(SARAH looks around cautiously, creeping towards the noise. LEIF is seen from behind, standing next to a large wooden shelf, where instruments are lined up in their cases.)

SARAH: Oh, help! I've been looking for someone. Please come help. My friend's are hurt.

(LEIF turns around to face SARAH. His shirt has the browning stain of dried blood across the chest. His right arm is bloody to the elbow. His mouth is smeared with blood. SARAH shrieks. CUT to LEIF turning back to the instruments, methodically opening cases on the shelf and looking inside them. Suddenly, he is hit from behind, falling into the instruments. Instrument cases fall to the floor. Some cases open, instruments visible. With a yell, he turns to look behind him. SARAH is holding a music stand out in front of her.)

SARAH: Stay away from me! Stay away! You killed my friends!

(LEIF reaches down to pick up the instruments that have fallen.
SARAH shrieks, smacks his hand with the end of the music stand, ripping skin but drawing no blood.
LEIF yells again, grabs the music stand, yanks it out of SARAH's hands and throws it away.
SARAH cowers back. LEIF again reaches for the instruments on the floor. A violin is visible.
LEIF picks up the violin, runs hand over strings, and stares at it adoringly. LEIF fishes the bow out from the case, then begins playing a fast-paced, happy song. As he is playing, shouts can be heard from outside, both students and arriving police.)

SARAH: Help! In here!

(LEIF is lost in his music, not paying attention to SARAH's yelling. The door of the band room flies open, and three cops enter.)

COP: Ma'am, I need you to get behind me.

(SARAH scrambles to get behind the police officer.)

COP: Son, I need you to put the violin down slowly. Son!

(LEIF is still unaware of what is going on around him.)

COP: (shaking head) I don't want to shoot this kid.

SARAH: But he killed my friends! Oh, God, he's a monster!

COP: (turns to look at SARAH) That boy killed those kids? (incredulous) That was the most gruesome murder I've ever laid eyes on. That changes everything. (turns back to face LEIF) Son, I need you to set that violin down, or I'll have to shoot!

(CLOSE UP on LEIF's face.
LEIF opens his eyes, slowly stops playing.
LEIF begins to set down the violin.
Suddenly, a shot is fired.
LEIF's head jerks back as the bullet enters his forehead.
The violin is seen hitting the floor.
Music swells as SARAH is rushed away by one police officer, and the other two slowly approach LEIF's body. The scene fades out as COP checks LEIF's pulse and speaks into radio.)


(OPEN on the words "There is no death until I declare it so." They are carved into the violin grave marker at LEIF's grave. The grave is filled in, grass beginning to grow over the dirt, and the sun is shining. MOTHER is sitting on a blanket in front of the headstone, and she is seen lovingly running her fingers over the words. The camera pulls back until the sun catches the camera, causing a blinding white light to fill the screen. END.)

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