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File: A story.jpg (85KB, 1280x720px) Image search: [iqdb] [SauceNao] [Google]
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Gather children. Let me tell you a story.

It's late afternoon.

Upstate Washington.

Three girls (12 yrs old) in scarves and hats walk in a line through a wide meadow toward a large wood. As they walk, the girls sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" complete with hand motions.

[Itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out...]

REBECCA, tall and thin, confidently walks in the lead. Behind her is LILY, a head chorter than Rebecca. Marina shyly takes up the rear.

Lily: It's colder than I thought. You think the lake will have ice?

Rebecca: It's not that col, Lily.

Lily: Feels like it's freezing.

Marina looks up and sees four black birds gliding against the sky.
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The three continue to walk through the changing trees. The low sun highlights the gold and orange of the autumn leaves. They move casually, running hands along the trees.

Lily mindlessly knocks a stick against the trees - tap, tap, tap. She hums.

Lily: It's even colder here.

Rebecca: We're out of the sun, that's all.

They walk deeper into the woods-- Wading through a drift of fallen leaves, kicking leaves and laughing.-- Balancing on a downed tree.

Lily: All the trees are dead.

Rebecca: They just look that way.

Lily: This one's dead.

Lily and Rebecca peel the bark from a slender beech tree.
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The three girls come to a shallow brook babbling over stones. Lily and Rebecca ross rocks into the water.

Marina holds her palm to a tree, looking up its trunk at the branches silhouetted against the dusky sky.

Lily: Think all the animals are hibernating?

Rebecca: Sure. Most. Some are gone.

Lily: How do they know where to come back to?

Rebecca: They listen.

Rebecca picks up a fist-sized stone.

Lily: Yeah, but to what? I mean, wha--

Rebecca slams the stone against the side of Lily's head. Lily stumbles sideways, into the water. She awkwardly trips to her knees.

As Rebecca strides toward her, Lily tries to crawl through the stream. Rebecca easily catches up to her and hits her again with the rock. She grips Lily's scarf from behind and pulls it tight around her neck. She yanks Lily to her feet.

Both girls face Marina who stands unmoving some feet away. She holds a small black-handled paring knife in her hand.

Rebecca: Do it.
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Marina: You didn't say it was today.

Rebecca: Do it, now!

Marina: But...

Lily's hands pull at the scarf, then scratch at Rebecca's hair and face. Rebecca seems unaffected, though blood runs down her face.

Rebecca: Do it Marina. It's what he wants. Now.

Marina breathes. She grips the knife but has not moved.

Rebecca: NOW!

Above the trees four black birds fly against the sky. From somewhere a child screams.
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The sun has begun to set. The sky glows orange and red as Rebecca drags Lily to the water's edge of the large lake, her head bouncing along the path.

Marina follows, blank-faced.

Rebecca looks to Marina with fierce eyes.

Rebecca: Touch her.

Marina kneels by Lily and gently touches her palms to her blood-soaked chest. The chest moves.

Marina: She's still breathing...

Rebecca: It won't be long now.w
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Rebecca moves around the shore with businesslike proficiency. From her backpack she pulls a baseball, a small pair of antique wire-rimmed glasses, and an 1900's-era school book titled EVERY BOYS READER. She spreads the items on rocks about the shore.

Lily is breathing. Her lips move, nearly imperceptibly. Marina leans her ear close to Lily's mouth. Lily whispers something, but only Marina hears.

Rebecca: Wet your hands.

Rebecca kneels by Marina and pushes her hands firmly on Lily's chest. Lily releases a dry groan.

Rebecca: Give him blood and you're his forever.

Marina stands.

Rebecca: The lake. You go.

Rebecca pulls a pair of gardening hand clippers from her coat and leans over Lily. She turns to Marina who is staring in horror.

Rebecca: Marina, move!
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Obediently, Marina heads to the lake, wading into the water up to her waist. The quiet murmur of the forest echoes off the water.

From the shore, Lily makes a sick cry and falls quiet. Marina turns as Rebecca stands, holding something.

Rebecca opens her fist. She's holding a severed pinky finger. She lowers her open hand under the water. The finger floats from her palm, drifting away like a twig.

Rebecca: Give the blood to the lake.

The Girls put their palms flat down into the water. They stand in the waters for a quiet moment. Nothing seems to move.

Rebecca shatters the silence. Calling out to the void.

Rebecca: You found us. You chose us. We did this for you. WE DID THIS FOR YOU.

Her voice echoes against the water.

The sound of gravel shifting comes from the shore behind them. Marina turns and sees Lily pulling herself away from the lake and towards the trees.

Marina (whispering to herself): Lily.

Rebecca: THERE!

Rebecca points to the trees on the far side of the lake.
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Rebecca pulls Marina's hair back forcing Marina to look. In the shadows of the trees on the far shore of the lake stands a BOY - small, pale, dressed in an early 1900's school uniform.

Marina screams.
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A juvenile detention center.

Through a window Marina see girls in detention uniforms playing in the courtyard two stories below. She can just hear their muffled high-pitched screams.

Dr Ward: Marina?

Dr. Ward (30 years old), sits halfway across the room, an open folder on her lap. She's professional and focused, her black hair pulled into a bun. Her demeanor is no-nonsense, but her eyes softened with compassion. She wears a small cross necklace.

Her office is simple: a few chairs, some soft toys on a round rug, wall painted a calming light green. Her cluttered desk is pushed to a corner. Her Doctor of Psychology degree hangs framed on the wall.

Marina stays in her chair by the window, watching the girls play, her expression blank, her eyes dull. She is perhaps a year older. A worn teddy bear hangs from her hand.

Dr. Ward: Let's talk about the Boy again.
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Marina doesn't react.

Dr. Ward: You found him--

Marina: He found us.

Dr. Ward: You found his picture on the internet. Did Rebecca find it on her own or were you there?

Marina: He found us.

Dr. Ward rubs the bridge of her nose.

Dr. Ward: We've discussed this--

Marina (voice rising): He wrote us letters. Wrote us notes.

The open folder in Dr. Ward's lap has a black and white picture of a 1900's school boy. Dr. Ward thumbs through a few handwritten notes in pencil and crayon: I CHOOSE YOU; MEET ME IN THE WOODS; I'LL NEVER LIE TO YOU.

Dr. Ward: Now, Marina.

Marina: His mother didn't want him. He was gifted and his mother hated him. She murdered him. He told us. She wrapped him in bed sheets. She stuck him like a pig. She threw him in the lake.
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Dr. Ward: The place you left Lily. The same lake.

Marina: He told us to. He told us... he needed blood. He said... He told us to do it.

Dr Ward: You know that's not true Marina. You know there is no Boy.

Marina: He wrote--

Dr. Ward: Rebecca wrote the notes.

Marina frowns.

Dr. Ward: I think you wrote some too.

Marina: His mother--

Dr. Ward: I know. Threw him in Bowsman Lake. There's no record of any drowning or any murder. Nothing.

Marina turns back to the window.

Dr. Ward: You girls made it up. Just a story.

Dr. Ward sighs. This conversation has been repeated several times.

Dr Ward: You know this Marina. Rebecca confessed, under oath, that she wrote those letters. She lured you on. Sometimes the mind believes something, Marina. Believes it so much that--

Marina SCREAMS, a sustained yell of fury. She jumps to her feet, throwing down the teddy bear and slamming the chair to the floor, continuing her scream.
Dr. Ward sighs again, unfazed.

Marina runs up to Dr. Ward, putting her face inches away from her doctor's. Her voice thunders.

Marina: I SAW HIM!
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Two years later.

This same room.

Marina, now 14, pulls hard at her hair and squirms in her chair, as if the words Dr. Ward reads burns her skin.

Dr. Ward: Four entry wounds to the left shoulder. Two to the abdomen, puncturing the pancreas. Three more stabs--

Marina: No. No. No.

Dr. Ward reads over Marina's continuing protests.

Dr. Ward: Three more stab wounds were inflicted on the chest. While stabbing the chest the blade snapped inside the victim.

Marina: He told me to do it. The Boy. He claimed me! I'm his!

Marina slips from the chair and curls in on herself, covering her ears. Dr. Ward rushes to her, squats down and continues to read.

Dr. Ward: The victim's skull was fractured along the right side.

Marina twists her head, frantic like a trapped animal.

Marina: I did not do this! I did not do this! He made me! He will always find me!

Dr. Ward: Contusions and abrasions were present about the neck, eyes, and inner thighs.


Dr. Ward: Do you remember her finger?
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Marina is shaking her head, but the words are getting through.

Dr. Ward: The pinky finger of the victim's right hand was partially cut and eventually torn from the body.

Marina is listening now. Listening to every word. Breathing in hard.

Dr. Ward takes a glossy photo and shoves it in front of Marina's face. Marina can barely see the image of a mutilated hand with a ragged stump at the pinky.

Dr. Ward: Look. Look!

Marina looks away. Dr. Ward grips Marina's chin and turns her head to the picture.

Dr. Ward: Look!

Marina studies the photo. Dr. Ward drops it and reveals another. And another. Marina watches each one, her face growing looser, stranger as if only now realizing the scope of her actions.

Marina locks eyes with Dr. Ward, her eyes blazing.

Marina: I did this?

Dr. Ward nods.

Marina: I did this.
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Marina, now 18, walks alone in the crowded yard of the Juvenile Detention Center.

Other juvenile Prisoners gather in groups talking and laughing. But Marina keeps to herself. The other Prisoners hardly glances her way.

Guards stand watch.

Marina runs her hands along the fence. She looks up, watching the overcast sky.
Marina is once again in Dr. Ward's office.

She paces the room.

Dr. Ward: Self hallucination puts you in some company. William Blake, Hildegard of Bingen, hell, even Jim Morrison thought he had a dead shaman take over his soul. All of them believed in something enough to actually see it, feel it. Angels, spirits, demons.

Marina has wandered behind Dr. Ward and toward her desk. Dr. Ward continues to face forward.

Marina: Did any of them stab someone?

Dr. Ward: Joan of Arc did. Hundreds. And they made her a saint.

Marina: Was that before or after burning her at the stake?

Dr. Ward gives a wry smile.

Marina picks up a framed picture from Dr. Ward's desk. A photo of Dr. Ward and a MAN holding a smiling toddler. Marina runs a finger along the silver frame.

Dr. Ward: Do you still see him?
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Marina shakes her head.

Marina: But sometimes I wish I did. Is that crazy? I miss... believing in him.

Dr. Ward turns in her seat and faces her. She shakes her head.

Dr. Ward: Not crazy. People want to believe in something... or someone. Hell, I believed in Santa Claus till I was... I still believe in Santa Claus.

Marina laughs a little.

Dr. Ward: We all have faith in something. A religion, a person, a government, our own intellect. It's part of being human.

Marina catches sight of the silver cross around Dr. Ward's neck.

Marina: How do you know?
Dr. Ward: How do you know what?

Marina: How do you if what you believe is real?

Dr. Ward follows her gaze and touches her cross.

Dr. Ward: You don't.

Dr. Ward reaches behind her neck and unclasps her necklace.

Dr. Ward: You have to choose.

She places the necklace and silver cross in Marina's palm.

Marina looks from the cross to Dr. Ward. Dr. Ward smiles.
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Marina, now 28, lays in a prison top bunk in the near dark.

She dangles the silver cross above her, watching it spin.

A hard buzz echoes through the cell. Florescent lights flicker to life filling the small cell with a sickly glow.

Marina's CELL MATE stands, looking tired and mean. She smacks Marina's head, casual and cruel.

Cell Mate: Morning, freak.
Another visit to Dr. Ward.

An older Dr. Ward leans back against her desk.

Dr. Ward: Are you getting along okay with the other women?

Marina nods halfheartedly.

Dr. Ward: And the panic attacks?

Marina: All gone.

Dr. Ward: Good, good.

Marina: They're talking about releasing me. I don't think they should. I don't deserve to be out. I...

Marina breaks off and shakes her head.

Dr. Ward: You were a little girl, Marina. A confused little girl. Manipulated. Deceived. That' not who you are now.

Marina: I don't want to go, okay? I'm afraid to leave. How sick is that, Doc? I'd rather stay locked up.

Dr. Ward: Hell, that's not sick. It'd be alot easier just to stay here. But, Marina, you stay here and the only thing you'll have done with your life is stab Lily. That's all.

Marina turns to Dr. Ward.

Dr. Ward: You have to do more with your life, Marina, You are meant for more.

Marina: How do you know that?

Dr. Ward: I choose to believe it.
Alice smiles and bounces in excitement at the parking lot of the corrections center.

She's 25, has a carefree smile and the energy of an extrovert. Her smiles grow eer wider at the sight of Marina, now in civilian clothes, exiting the building.

Marina appears nervous, uncertain. She tries to smile but looks like she might cry.

Alice steps forward and embraces her sister in a long hug. Marina looks both afraid of the hug and in desperate need of someone to hold on to.

They get in the car.
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Marina watches the passing landscape as Alice's old pickup truck rolls through the Washington countryside. It's late autumn and the trees are quilt of red and orange. Alice chats away.

Alice: So Bryce is eight now. Eight and a quarter, he'll insist. He's a good kid, but hot damn, I started too early, you know? Never even hear from his dad, the asshole. But I'm dating again. Seeing this guy, Will. You'll like him. Do you like chicken? My God, your first meal out and I didn't even ask. Is roast chicken okay?

Alice's warmth is contagious and Marina smiles a little.

Marina: Sounds great.
The car rolls through the small town of Bowsman. The town looks a decade past its best years. The town square consists of a handful of struggling stores, a diner, and a two-screen movie theater all framing the hundred-year-old city hall building.

A spire of an old stone church looms just beyond the houses. Marina gazes from the truck's window.

Alice nods out the window at the passing store fronts. Marina blinks, taking it all in.

Alice: Not much has changed here. We had a blockbuster. But that closed. I work at the diner these days.

Marina: Why didn't you leave?

Alice: I did a semester at college. But then, Bryce came along... you know how it is. It's a good town.
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Alice's car pulls up to a large, old farm house on the outskirts of town. The house appears to be in the midst of refurbishing. The outside has some new, unpainted planks and the large front door still has tape covering its frosted glass window.

Alice: The place was abandoned for years. Got it cheap.

The car comes to a halt under one of the large oaks adorning the yard.

As Alice and Marina step from the car, a large golden retriever lopes around the corner, happily barking. He comes right up to Marina. Marina kneels and scratches his ears.

Marina: He's beautiful.

Alice: Followed Bryce home one day and that was that.

Marina reads the metal tag on his leather dog collar.

Marina: Rolph.

Alice: Like the Muppet.
Marina enters through the foyer.

The stillness of the house holds for a moment before the door swings open. Alice pushes in carrying groceries.

To her right is a partially furnished living room and to her left a dining room. The rooms are large and still in the midst of refurbishing.

Alice: Bryce! Are you here, honey? Aunt Marina's here.

Alice turns to Marina.

Alice: He walks home from school. He's usually back by now. BRYCE?

Marina eyes the long staircase stretching to the second floor landing. The banister is newly installed. Alice follows her gaze.

Alice: I've done most of the work myself. Lot of trial and error... Mainly error. I've hired a few craftsmen for the bigger jobs. That's how I met Will. Plumber extraordinaire. I'll show you your room.
Alice opens the door to Marina's room and holds it, presenting it to Marina.

Alice: Here it is.

It's a simple, cozy room with a full sized bed and a window looking out on a nearby meadow. Marina steps in and moves toward the window.

Alice: Plenty of closet space. I put some of my old stuff in there if you want. There's a mall out by the highway. You like it?

Marina turns from the window and nods.

Alice: Well, I'll let you settle in and I'll get the chicken going.

Alice starts to back out.

Marina: Alice, thanks. For all of this.
Alice smiles and pulls the door closed after her.

Marina turns back to the window. The meadow looks very similar to the one Marina walked across with Lily and Rebecca as children. Could be the exact meadow.

Behind Marina the bedroom door opens, slowly and silently.

Marina watches the meadow, lost in thought. In the reflection of the glass the hazy image of a child can be seen standing in the open door.

Marina catches sight of the image. She spins, gasping. Nothing but the open the door...

She turns back to the window. Nothing in the reflection. She looks to the side and sees Bryce standing by the wall, staring. She yelps.

Bryce is eight years old, a little on the thin side, with dark intelligent eyes. Marina catches her breath.
Marina: You startled me. You must be Bryce. I'm your mom's sister, Marina. Or, Aunt Marina, I guess.

Bryce: I like your room.

Marina: Me too.

Bryce: Mom says you were in a special school. An art school in England. And it was too expensive to ever visit before. Are you going to live with us?

Marina: Yes. For a little while. Is that all right with you?

Bryce thinks. Then nods.

Bryce: I think I can handle that.
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Alice dishes a last scoop of mash potatoes on to Bryce’s plate.

Alice: I’m relatively certain I broke zero health code violations. So, dig in.

Bryce chuckles. He and Alice take their first bites.

Marina: Thank you Father for this food and for the hands that prepared it.

Bryce and Marina freeze mid bite and share a look.

Marina: Amen.

Alice: Amen.

Bryce (with his mouthful): Amen.
Marina and Alice stand by the sink washing and drying the night’s dishes.

The lights flicker, but remain on. Alice shrugs.

Alice: I got a deal on the wiring. It’s on again, off-again, like my love life.

Alice chuckles. Marina smiles awkwardly.

A quite beat... Alice looks for a way to ease the tension.

Alice: So what’s on the to-do list?

Marina: Find a job, I suppose. Maybe school, eventually.

Alice: No, no. I mean, fun stuff. Stuff you missed.

Marina:Oh. I don’t know...

Alice: Roller coasters, tequila... A boy.

Marina blushes, smiling a little.

Alice:There’s got to be something you dreamed of doing.

Marina smiles.

Alice: Yeah?
Marina: A bath.

Alice: A bath?

Marina: A bath all alone. Not a shower. A bath. No one watching. No one telling you time is up.

Marina smiles and returns her eyes to the plate she’s drying.

Alice takes the plate from Marina’s hand.

Alice: We’ve got tank of hot water and claw foot tub.

Marina opens her mouth to protest.

Alice: I got this. Go crazy.
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--Rushing water from a tap.

--Marina dips her fingers to check the temperature of the steaming bath.

--Marina lowers herself into the water.

Marina lays in the water, her eyes closed. The drip of the faucet echoes through the small room. Marina runs her hands through her hair and drops her head back and under the water.

When she reemerges, the Boy is standing by the wall behind her. His eyes are focused on her.

Marina senses something in the room. She breathes steadily and closes her eyes.
She opens her eyes and slowly turns. Nothing is there.

She breathes a sigh of relief and turns back to see Lily, as bloody and beaten as she was when Marina last saw her, sitting in the bath with her. Lily smiles.

Marina opens her eyes, waking from the nightmare. She scans the room, bewildered.

There's a knock on the door.

Alice: See you in the morning. Sleep in as long as you want.

Marina: Yeah thanks.
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The next morning Marina sits on a couch flipping through a large photo album.

In the front are a few old pictures of young Marina with her sister and parents. But the rest of the album is filled with pictures of her parents and Alice. Vacations, graduations, anniversary parties - the life Marina missed.

She stops on a sweet picture of her parents and a teenage Alice on a forest path. She touches the picture.

Alice: I’m sorry Mom and Dad aren’t around to see this.

Marina looks up to see her sister leaning against the frame between the living room and foyer.

Alice: They always looked forward to you coming home.

Alice smiles warmly. And Marina nods.

Alice: I wish I’d visit more. Mom and Dad... they wanted things to be as normal as they could be for me...

Marina: I understand. They were looking out for you.

Bryce, chased by a barking Rolph, runs through the foyer behind Alice. He throws open the front door.
Alice: Zip your coat! It’s freezing out there.

Alice closes the door behind him.

Marina: Art school in England, huh?

Alice cringes, embarrassed. She glances toward the front door, as if to be sure Bryce is out of earshot.

Alice: I thought that would be... easier. On everyone. I just want to protect him. And you. So I made up a story. Is that okay?

Marina: Sure. Until he sees me draw.

Alice laughs and returns toward the kitchen.

Marina’s smile fades, she returns to the photo. In the background of the photo, standing in the trees, is the Boy.

Marina looks up to Alice, but she’s already left. She looks down again, and the Boy is no longer in the picture.
That evening.

Alice and Marina laugh, sitting around the dinner table in the low lit room just off the foyer. They sip wine as they listen to a story from WILL, mid 20’s, broad-shouldered, handsome, and charming.

With the food and wine Marina seems much more relaxed. With dinner finished Bryce runs off and Alice chases after him.

Will: Must feel pretty good to be out, huh?

Marina: Strange more than anything. I keep waiting for someone to tell me waht to do.

Will: So what's next for you?

Marina: Not sure. Apply for jobs, I suppose.

Will: Well, no one's going to call your resume boring.

Marina's smile disappears.

Will: Sorry that was rude. Just trying to ease the tension... you think about it much?

Marina: I don't really remember.

Will: Sure. It was a long time ago. But you remember some of it right? I mean it happened less than a mile from ehre. Just over--

Marina: I'd rather not--

Will: Of course. It's just... I'm kind of a true crime buff. Just wolf those books down, you know. So talking with you is like talking to a celebrity. I mean, I know they kept most of the details out of the press. There was that long piece in the Newspaper. Did you read that?

Marina: I haven't read anything.

Marina glances to the stairs looking for her sister.

Will: There was also this one book called Blood in the Woods. It was full of all kinds of rumors about you being abused and crap like that. Had a good chapter on the Boy.

Marina: Please...

Will: Lots of mumbo-jumbo about menstruation guilt. What was it you said about him in the trial? "Give him blood and you're his forever"

Will laughs.

Will: Was that it?

Marina grips the table. Will only now notices Marina's unease.
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Will: You okay?

Alice returns rushing to Marina's side.

Alice: What happened?

Will: We were just talking.

Alice glares at Will.

Alice: I told you not to bring it up.

Will: I didn't... it just came up.

Marina: I'm okay. I'm just going to bed.

Will: Hey, I'm sorry. I guess I had a little too much wine.

As Marina climbs the stairs she hears Alice berate Will.

Alice: Jesus, I can't believe you.

Will: What? She probably wants to talk about it.

Marina turns at the top of the stairs and sees Bryce in his pajamas standing, listening to the conversations below. He looks at her with frightened eyes. Marina opens her mouth to speak, but Bryce runs to his room and slams the door.
Holy shit Will. Keep your spaghetti in your pockets.
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Marina closes the door behind her, blocking out the bickering of Alice and Will. The room is still, quiet. Marina sits on the bed and breathes deeply. Her face trembles and she squeezes back tears.

She slides underneath the covers.


The room is dark. Marina lays asleep under the sheets. Her eyes pop open. She rolls over to face the door. It is now open. She breathes deeply, watching, watching. She turns away and sits up, placing her feet on the floor.

Behind her a small figure races passed the door. We hear the patter of feet.

Marina turns and looks at the open door.
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Marina tightens the robe around her as she walks down the shadowy 2nd floor hallway. The old floorboards creak with
every step.

Low growling.

Marina moves to the landing and looks down into the foyer. Rolph stands in the glow of the foyer’s one lamp. He points
his body into the shadows of the living room, a menacing growl emanating from his clenched jaw.

Marina (whispering): Rolph?

The dog looks up at her, whines, and trots off to the back of the house.

Marina watches the foyer.

Marina: Alice?


She continues down the stairs.
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>ross rocks

dropped. How do you ross rocks? Absolute retardation
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Marina enters the kitchen, doesn’t turn on the light. She quietly walks to the cabinet and retrieves a glass. Then walks to the fridge.

Marina opens the fridge shedding a slice of light over the dark room. Marina pulls a jug of water out and lets the fridge door swing closed.

She fills her glass and reopens the door. The same slice of light now reveals Bryce. He watches as she closes the door.

The room is dark.

Bryce: Marina?

Marina screams and throws the glass to the floor. It shatters.

Rolph runs into the room and positions himself between Marina and Bryce. He barks at Marina.

Alice rushes into the kitchen wearing a night shirt and sees Bryce crying, terrified.

Alice: Jesus!

She turns on the light and scoops the crying Bryce into her arms.

Alice: Rolph, down!

The dog calms down and trots to Alice’s side. Marina tries regain her composure.

Alice: What happened?

She looks at Marina with questioning eyes, a little accusatory.

Marina:I was startled. I’m didn’t mean to yell. I...

Marina reaches a hand to Bryce, but he pulls away.

Alice hushes Bryce as she carries him from the room.

Marina watches them go.

Marina takes a step and winces. She lifts her foot. A small chunk of glass is in the bottom of her foot.

She heads for the bathroom.

Marina stands before the mirrored medicine cabinet looking at her reflection. The bathroom is empty behind her.

She opens it and roots around, finally pulling out a box of band-aids. She closes the medicine cabinet. She sighs at her
reflection and turns.

She swings the door to shut and walks away.

At the last possible second a small hand stops the door from closing.
Marina steps inside her room and closes the door. She leans against the door for a moment breathing in deeply. She turns and walks to her bed.

On her pillow lays a folded piece of construction paper. Marina stops. She looks around the room. It’s empty.

She takes a step, slowly. Then quickly snatches up the paper.

She waits a moment before opening it.

There in childish scrawl are the words: I FOUND YOU.
In the morning Marina sits at the breakfast table sipping coffee while Alice sweeps up the last of the glass. The note lays on the table.

Alice: He must have put it there before he left. I’m sure he meant it as a joke.

Marina: It wasn’t there when I went to bed.

Alice: Maybe it was under your pillow or something. I don’t know. I’ll talk to him.

Alice dumps the dustpan into the trash. She glances at her sister, who is studying the note again.
Alices drives, glancing at Bryce sitting in the backseat.

Alice: I can bring home Apple pie for tonight, if you want.

Bryce: Sure... Mom, did Aunt Marina do something bad?

Alice: Why do you ask?

Bryce: What did she do?

Alice: Nothing.

Bryce: They wouldn't let her out.

Alice: I told you, she was in art school. A special school far away.

Bryce thinks.

Bryce: Who's the Boy?

Alice: I don't know what you're talking about.

Bryce frowns and looks out the window.
Marina runs an electric sander along the farm house banister. She pushes in long strokes, clearly pleased to be losing herself in work.

The sander unexpectedly clicks off. Marina glances down the stairs and sees the cord laying unplugged in the foyer next to the old fashioned wall heating grate. The cord has plenty of slack.

Marina walks down the steps. She looks to the living room and dining room, then kneels and plugs in the cord. The sander buzzes to life. Marina jumps up the stairs and picks it up.

Just as she gets started it stops again. The cord is once more laying free of the plug. Marina walks down, kneels and examines the plug. She looks back to the sander, confused. She looks back to the plug.

Two eyes stare from the wall heating grate - a small, shadowed face.

Marina jerks away falling.

Beside her the front door opens.
Will pops his head in. She looks up at him from the floor.

Will: Hey. Whoa.

She looks back to the vent. Nothing is there.

Will follows her gaze and glances at in the grate. He looks back to Marina.

Will: You okay?

Will notices Marina’s shaking hands. He goes to the kitchen and finds her a cup of hot tea.

Will: Sorry again about last night. I was, let’s see, how did Alice put it? Inappropriate.

Marina: Yes.

Will: I just get a little star struck.

Marina faces him, her arms crossed.

Will: Oh, I, ah, brought you something.

Will fishes something from his jacket.

Will: Thought you might be interested.

Marina turns to see Will drop a worn paperback title of Blood in the Woods on the table. An exploitative true-crime book. The cover shows a grainy picture of a young Marina and Rebecca.

Will: First edition.
WTF is this thread
pls post moar its good
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The small town library has a few clientele wandering the aisles. The librarian, Mrs. Bellows -- late-twenties, petite, prim, but kind-eyed replaces books on the shelves.

Against the wall at the end of the aisle, Bryce sits in a beanbag chair. He’s half-reading a book, clearly distracted.

Mrs. Bellows notices his lost gaze. She holds up a book with a torn cover.

Mrs. Bellows: It’s a tragedy how people treat library books.

Bryce: Mrs. Bellows?

Bryce motions her closer. She kneels beside him. He asks in a quiet voice.

Bryce: Do you know who the Boy is?

Mrs. Bellows: I know lots of boys.

Bryce: No. THE BOY.

Mrs. Bellows studies his face.

Bryce: I think he lives in my house.

Mrs. Bellows: Oh I see. Have the kids at school been talking about the Boy?

Bryce shrugs.

Mrs. Bellows: Pretty scary stuff, huh? I wouldn't want him living in my house, that's for sure. Come on. I want to show you something.
Bellows and Bryce are at the computers. She reaches over him and clicks through a few memes, articles, ads featuring the same image of the Boy in an oldfashioned school uniform: The Boy says ‘Eat your vegetables.'; The Boy: the podcast. The last is an article with the headline: The Boy and other Fictional Boogie Men.

Mrs. Bellows: See? The Boy is just a story. He's like Mickey Mouse or Superman. He can't live in your house. He lives--

She taps her head.

Mrs: Bellows: In here.

Bryce nods, staring at the picture of the Boy featured in the article.

Someone clears his throat loudly. Mrs. Bellows looks over to see an older man ready to check out a stack of books. She pats Bryce's back and heads to the desk.

Bryce is left alone with the computer. He slowly clicks through more images of the Boy.

--The Boy in the background of a group of children playing circa 1930.

--A pencil drawing of the Boy crying blood.

--A faded photo of a pregnant woman with a pale, ghostly hand resting on her shoulder.

--The Boy standing in a cemetery.

The images grow more sinister as Bryce speeds through them.

A few phrases pop out to Bryce:

He said I’d be rewarded. He promised.
I couldn’t wipe the blood away.
Even when I close my eyes, I see him.

The last image is a crayon drawing of the Boy with black holes for eyes. Scrawled beneath it: The Boy made me do it.

Bryce stares at the image. The Boy’s eyes are penetrating, cold, mesmerizing.

Bryce presses on a link to a video. A grainy color home video showing a child’s birthday party begins. The noise comes through the speakers, but Bryce quickly mutes the computer.
In the video...

--CHILDREN in bathing suits swim and play around a pool.

--Children gather on the porch. A MOTHER brings out a candlelit

Far in the background, unnoticed by the children, the mother, or the person filming, a CHILD splashes in the water,

The video slows. The picture crops closer, making the image more pixillated. Standing on the side of the pool, near the drowning child, is the Boy. He stares forward, into the camera.

We move closer and closer to the image until we see the nothing but pixels.
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Back at the house Marina stares at the book.

Will: They interviewed Rebecca. There's a chapter about Lily--

Marina: I don't want to know. I worked hard to not read anything about that time. I hardly remember. It's like it wasn't even me.

Will: But it was you. I mean, you paid your debt and all that. Now you deserve to profit a little. This is the perfect time for a new book. We could collaborate. I could--

Marina: I told you, I don't remember.

Will: I can help with that. Look, your sister, she's not making big money down at the diner. One bad month, she loses this place. But we knock out a couple chapters, we sell your story. Big money. Enough to send Bryce to college.

Marina: I need to get back to sanding.

Will follows as Marina walks from the kitchen to the foyer.

Will: Just listen, I'll write the book. You don't have to do a thing. Just put your name on it. That's it.

He touches her shoulder.

Marina: Get away from me!

She turns quickly. The sander scrapes against Will's knuckles. He yells and steps back. Marina is horrified at the blood.

The front door opens and Alice and Bryce walk in. Alice holds an apple pie.

Alice: What's going on?
Will rushes towards the door.

Will: Your goddamn sister just attacked me. That's what's going on.

Alice looks to Marina, who shakes her head. Alice glances quickly at Bryce. She turns and follows Will.

Alice: Wait, Will, hold up. Come inside and let's talk this out.

Will: To hell with that! I'm not going near that psycho bitch.

Alice: Calm down.

Will: I offered to write the whole goddamn book. She wouldn't have to do a goddamn thing.

Alice: Book?

Alice looks back to see Bryce and Marina standing at the front door, watching. She looks back to Will.

Will: There's some good money to be made.

Alice: You are such a dick.

Will: I'm a dick?! She... she's the one who went all--

Alice: Get off my property.

Will: What?

Alice: I'll take a blender to your face if you come near my family again.

Will: You're as crazy as she is.

Will drives away.
Alice drops the book on top of a nearly full trash can and replaces the lid. She shivers in the cold.

After dinner alice and Marina stand at the sink washing the night's dishes. Marina notices Alice's worn expression.

Marina: I'm sorry.

Alice: Don't be. He's an asshole.

Marina: Listen, maybe I should move out.

Alice stops and looks at her, surprised.

Alice: Are you kidding? You just got here.

Marina: I know but you and Will... Your son is scared of me.

Alice: He's not scared, he's--

Marina: Alice I've messed up a lot of lives. Mine included. I don't want to mess up yours.

Alice: You're not going. End of discussion.
Marina stands in the shower lathering her hair.


Alices closes the back door of the house and grabs the trash can handles. It's heavy, but she rolls it down the driveway toward the curb. She hears a noise - a scratching. She turns and looks back at the house.


Though the shower curtain is a frosty translucent, she doesn't see the door to the bathroom slowly open.


Leaving the trash can, Alice steps toward the back of the house. Just past the light above the side door, the yard is lost in black shadow.

Alice: Will?


Marina continues to wash her hair as a small, dark figure enters veiled by the wet shower curtain and the steam.
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Alice creeps past the side door toward the corner leading to the unlit back of the house. She grabs a rake leaning against the house.

Alice: Will, I'm going to rake your face if you're back there.

A strange whine comes from behind Alice. She turns and looks at the trash can. It moves. She hesitates, confused.

The can falls on its side, the lid opened and blocking her view of the inside.

She steps toward it.


Marina hears a CLICK of the door. She turns and looks through the curtain. Nothing. The door is closed.

She quickly turns off the water and opens the curtain. There on the edge of the sink lays the 1900's era school book, Every Boys Reader.

Marina steps from the shower and slowly picks it up. A piece of folded paper flutters out and lands open on the bathroom floor.

Ir reads: I CHOOSE YOU.

Alice SCREAMS from the outisde.


Alice has a hand covering her mouth as she stares into the fallen trash can. Marina, in a rob, and Bryce rush out the side door. Alice puts out a hand.

Alice: Stay back Bryce.
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Bryce looks to Marina. Marina gives him a reassuring nod. He stays by the door as Marina joins her sister.

As she reaches Alice she sees what's in the trash can. Rolph, a rolled newspaper shoved in his mouth, lies dead. His eyes are open.

Marina: Oh Jesus.

Alice: That freak.

Marina puts an arm around Alice.

Marina: Do you want to call the police?

Alice: Can you watch Bryce?

Marina: Where you going?

Alice: That dick killed my dog. I'll deal with it.

Alice runs to her truck and speeds out of the dirt drive. Marina puts an arm around Bryce as the truck's tail lights fade.

Bryce: What happened?

Marina: That for your Mom to explain.

Bryce: Did something happen to Rolph?

Bryce spots the paperback book on the ground. As his aunt turns, he reaches down and picks it up, hiding it under his pajama top.

Bryce hurries to hid room, reading Blood in the Woods under a single bedside lamp. His face is drawn and pale.

He hears a noise and moves to the window. Below he sees Marina, dressed, wrapping the dead dog in a tarp.
As the first flakes of snow fall, Marina finishes wrapping up the dog, then heaves the load to the side of the house.

She's a little out of breath as she heads back to the side door. She wipes her hands on her pants as she opens the door.

Something familiar about what she did.

Marina opens the door to see Bryce standing in the kitchen staring at her. He's eerily quiet.

Marina: Hi Bryce.

Bryce: Did the Boy do it?

The blood drains from Marina's face.

Marina: Bryce...

Bryce: Did the Boy kill my dog?

Marina touches her chest, struggling with how to respond.

Marina: You know about the Boy?

Bryce nods almost imperceptibly.

Marina frowns. It's clear she'd rather not revisit the past but this child needs an answer.

Marina: I could use some hot cocoa. How about you?
Marina and Bryce sit across from each other at the large table, each with a bowl of ice cream. For a few beats the only sound is the clank of spoons against the bowls.

Finally, Marina puts down her spoon and watches Bryce. He pauses, his spoon hovering above the bowl.

Bryce: You never went to art school, did you?

Marina smiles and shakes her head.

Marina: When I was a little girl, Bryce, I had a friend. Her name was Rebecca.

Bryce: Was she your best friend?

Marina: She was. She was very smart. She would tell me all kinds of stories. Made up stories.

Bryce: Like Superman.

Marina: Yes. Like that. She told me about this boy... a boy who had drowned.

Bryce: His mother stabbed him to death and washed his body in the lake. He--

Marina: But it wasn't true. It was a story Rebecca made up. She said the Boy, his spirit, wanted to be out friend. She wrote me notes pretending they were from him. I wrote notes back. I believed he was real. I wanted to believe.

Bryce: Why?

Marina: I don't know. I wanted to be chosen. I wanted to be needed. I think... I think I was a little sick.

Bryce: Like the flu?

Bryce: Like the flu but in my head. That's why I was away for so long. I was getting better.

Bryce: What happened to Rebecca?

Marina: She had to go away too.

Bryce: Did she get better?

Marina pauses.

Marina: I don't know. I don't know where she is.

Bryce: Don't you want to know?
Marina shakes her head.

Marina: No. No, I want all of that to stay in the past. I don't even want to remember it. Rebecca lied to me. And I believed that lie. I did things I wish I hadn't done.

Bryce: What did you do?

Marina: I hurt someone.

Bryce: For the Boy?

Marina: For a lie. Just a lie Bryce. That Boy... he is not real.

Bryce thinks for a quiet beat. He stands and walks over to his Aunt. He takes her hand and gently pulls her. Marina, a little confused, stands and follows.
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Bryce leads Marina to the couch. He sits and she sits beside him. He opens up the laptop sitting on the coffee table. He types in the search engine: THE BOY

Thousands of links and images appear on the screen. As Bryce clicks through them, we see Marina’s horror grow. The glow of the laptop illuminates her face as she realizes how much the legend of the Boy has grown.

Bryce touches her hand and she almost jumps.

Bryce: All these people talking about him. All these people frightened of him. How can he not be real?
Roadhouse bar. Will plays pool with his crew. Customers line the bar listening to rock and watching a game.

Alice busts in, slamming the door against the wall. The whole place turns to look.

Alice: You killed my kid's dog you freak.

Alice raises a pool cue to take a swing, but Will's friends grab her arm.

Will: What are you talking about? I've been here since six. Ask Earl.

Earl, behind the bar frowns.

Earl: I'm not your goddamn babysitter.

Will: Alice I didn't touch your dog. You're worried about me? Look who's living in your house.

Alice looks around the room. She glares at Will for a beat and lets go of her cue. Will's friends let her go.

Alice walks out of the bar seething.
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Will stumbles out to his truck. He fumbles his keys and it drops.

A child voice calls to him.

Child: William

Will: Who's there?

Will looks toward a ditch on the other side of the truck.

He hears a child's laugh.

Child: William.

Will: Hello?

Child: Help me, William. Please.

Will takes a step, looks to the drainage pipe. It's pitch black inside.

Will: Who's in there?

No answer.

Will: Screw this.

Will turns to go. A small hand holding a paring knife reaches from the blackness of the pipe and slices Will's Achilles tendon.

Will falls with a scream. he hits his head on a rock knocking him out.

Two thin arms reach from the pipe and begin pulling Will in. His face drags along the mud.

As his shoulders reach the pipe, Will begins to gain consciousness. he scrapes at the mud, but is pulled further into the pipe.

Will yells as he disappears into the darkness.
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Alice lays asleep on the couch under a small throw blanket. The television runs a late-night infomercial.


Marina kneels by her bed praying. She whispers her prayers fervently.

An old baseball rolls across the floor and gently stops at Marina’s knee. She opens her eyes and stares at it.

A child’s laugh fills the silence.

The laughter came from somewhere past her open door.

Marina steps out into the hallway. She hears the whispering, hushed laughter.

Marina: Bryce? Is that you?

Marina walks up to the landing railing and looks down to the

The front door is cracked open. Bryce stands by the door, whispering to someone just outside.

Marina: Who are you talking to?

Bryce doesn’t respond, just continues whispering and listening to whoever is outside.

Marina runs down the stairs.
She flings open the door. No one is there.

Marina turns to Bryce. She squats and checks him over.

Marina: You’re cold. Are you all right?

She looks into his face. He’s smiling, his eyes bright.

Bryce: I know what you did. And I know why.

Bryce races up the stairs leaving Marina alone.


Marina’s eyes open. She’s laying in bed in the quiet of morning.

Her brow furrows. She pulls down the blanket and finds the dog’s collar laying on her chest.

She yelps, pushing it away and retracting from it.

She steps out her bed. Keeping her eyes on the collar, she steps backward to the wall by the window.

Out the window Bryce and a group of CHILDREN play along the snow-covered SIDEWALK. Their laughter is audible in the room. The Boy stands among them, staring up at Marina’s window. Marina, sensing something, turns to the window.

She sees the Boy.

He smiles at her.

Marina: No! No!

Marina races from the room.
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