Nicholas Rainbow

Synopsis: When Nicholas' father (Mark) consults with an African traditional healer to cleanse his ailing spirit, the sangoma (Makhosi) informs Mark that Nicholas' late mother Mary's vengeance is the cause of his illness. Stubborn Mark refuses to oblige to Makhosi's warnings, so she turns her divination to Nicholas and prophesies that Nicholas would become a Great Healer. In a supernatural shamanic calling, 19 year old Nicholas comes to perceive his true shifting self as an Impundulu (Lightning Bird Man) with the strength and courage of a Lion. He then is pulled through a portal into the realm of Maya by a Dark Spirit, from whom he manages to escape. In his quest to get back home, he must find The Last Seed of Life to grow a New Tree of Life, which holds healing properties for his ill father. But there are forces that will kill him, should they find him, to get hold of the Source of the Greatest Potion that he has discovered in the multiverse. In preparation for a great warfare, will Nicholas bec
Asking price: $10,000 - $100,000
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Supernatural
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FADE IN:

EXT. THE TREEHOUSE - DAWN

Free as a spirit, we soar above the wide ocean and across the vast land of this exotic South African east coast beach at the stormy break of dawn. The deep drone and rumbling sound of thunder contrasts sharply the tinkle of steel chimes on the porch, as we hover through the tickets toward a squatter's tree house. The rain beats hard against the streaming panes and the weathered roof the large lofty shack. A strong gushing wind knocks open a rickety window and we are drawn directly into the cosy room swirling around The Dreamcatcher with colourful beads, horse hair and black feathers, to NICHOLAS RAINBOW, who is asleep below.

EXT. PURGATORY - DAWN

For a brief moment, Nicholas frightfully experiences a nightmare of dancing with and transforming into a lightning bird.

TITLE SEQ:
NICHOLAS RAINBOW AND THE SOURCE OF HEALING

EXT. THE TREEHOUSE - DAWN

The Dreamcatcher breaks loose as Nicholas wakes up to the banging sound of his tree house door swing open. It is tossed outside the treehouse and lands onto drunken MARK RAINBOW below, who is lying outside his tent in the dry sea sand asleep under the tree house. Mark also frightfully awakens to the unsettling storm, which deeply disturbs his peace of mind finding The Dreamcatcher on his face. He smashes and destroys it.

Sheets of rain lash the shredded leaves on the trees.

Nicholas shuts the window and closes the door. Then he picks up his unfinished painting and places it back onto his art easel.

EXT. THE BEACH - DAWN

A crab tries to lift a beautiful anticlockwise spiral shell on the shoreline, but a breaking wave washes it back into the sea, separating the crab from the shell.

EXT. THICKET TRAIL - MORNING

Early morning drumming echoes in the distance from the traditional healing school. Nicholas walks on the trail through the thicket toward the gentlemen's public beach changeroom with a small bag. He comes across some roaming chicken: a rooster, a hen and some chicks. He tries to catch them, but the rooster challenges him back, while the hen protects her chicks.

INT. PUBLIC BEACH CHANGEROOM - MORNING

Hot water cascades over Nicholas's body as steam rises in the public shower. He rinses off the lather of shampoo from his hair. Two well-built white surfers enter the big change room. Drying himself down, Nicholas stands in front of the large mirror. The surfers begin to change into their bathing suits.

Nicholas spreads foam across his face, takes out his razor from his bag, and begins to shave his face. One of the surfers pads over to Nicholas and suddenly claps him on the head with his hand. Nicholas is surprised, but meekly ignores him. The surfer buffs his muscles in the mirror, while the other surfer giggles on the other side of the room.

Nicholas nervously finishes up shaving as quick as possible, trying to avoid any tension. As Nicholas bends over to wash his face, the other surfer also walks up to him. The two surfers then push and shove Nicholas back and forth between themselves as they bully him. Nicholas feels anxious as he is drawn subjectively to his heart beat internally. The encounter seems surreal, but Nicholas does not react.

Then they hear voices of others entering the change room. It is a father and a son. The surfers instantly leave Nicholas alone, fetch their things and leave. Nicholas peeks at the father who watches over his son, as Nicholas quickly washes up his dirty clothes and changes into a clean pair.

EXT. THE TREEHOUSE - LATER

Nicholas hangs up his wet clothes on a wash line under the tree house which drips onto his father who is still sobering up. He sees the smashed Dreamcatcher, picks it up and is sadden that it is destroyed. Then he has an idea. He plucks the main Dreamcatcher feather, and playfully leans over to tickle his father's ear, irritating him. Mark wakes up, grabs his arm, and stares at him with a moment of aggression, then closes his eyes and releases him.

NICHOLAS:

Wake up.

Mark breaks out with a serious fit of coughing.

INT. BUS - MORNING

Carefully trying to protect his latest painting from being damaged in the corridor, Nicholas rides in the half empty bus. Mark who is alongside him takes out his metal bottle of alcohol, takes a swig, and releases a deep breathe of tension.

NICHOLAS:

Dad, why did you destroy my dreamcatcher?

MARK:

That thing was on my face. I thought it was a spider or something. It must be bad luck, you know. It's a very bad omen.

NICHOLAS:

You're just being superstitious again.

MARK:

Oh, I'm superstitious now? You're the one who was hanging that thing over your bed.

NICHOLAS:

It's just a symbolic protection charm, nothing more.

MARK:

No, I'm telling you that something bad is going to happen.

Nicholas rolls his eyes and smirks. Just then, Mark struggles to contain a heavy cough.

MARK (CONT’D)

I'm dying Nicholas. I'm afraid that I am going to die.

Nicholas anxiously takes a sharp breathe, bites his finger nails, then cracks his finger knuckles.

MARK (CONT’D)

What?

NICHOLAS:

Don't say that, dad. I don't want you to die.

INT. ART GALLERY - MORNING

CLAIRE, the art gallery owner holds up Nicholas’ art piece that he has brought in, portraying the duality of life and death and incorporating raw materials such as tree roots leaves and bones, etc. within the oil painting.

CLAIRE:

This is absolutely stunning, Nicholas... I sold all of your other pieces very quickly. You're turning out to be such a success.

NICHOLAS:

Thank you.

Mark is in the background in the room.

MARK:

With such talent, surely the price should go up, Claire?

CLAIRE:

Of course, Mr. Rainbow, I will double the price on this piece.

Claire heads behind the counter, pulls out an envelope from a box with Nicholas Rainbow's name on it and hands it to Nicholas.

CLAIRE (CONT’D)

I look forward to seeing you again soon.

NICHOLAS:

Thank you so much.

EXT. SUPERMARKET - LATER

Nicholas and Mark shop at the grocery supermarket. Nicholas passes the butchery section gazing at the wide display of meat behind the glass. He picks up a tray of chicken.

Mark heads off and breaks out into a serious coughing fit, down the liquor isle.

Nicholas distances himself from Mark, to pick up a selection of fresh vegetables, watching Mark clench onto a Mampoer bottle, still coughing his lungs out and heading back to him. Nicholas gets his vegetables weighed and priced. Mark puts the Mampoer bottle into the trolley.

NICHOLAS:

I'm not going to pay for this.

MARK:

Come on, I need it. You know that I need it to take away the pain.

NICHOLAS:

It's my money... Am I not providing enough for you?

MARK:

Please Nicholas, I need it, I'm begging you. Do you want me to die?

NICHOLAS:

You need to see a doctor.

MARK:

No, I have given up on that.

Mark begins coughing again, and begs in agony.

MARK (CONT’D)

Please, Nicholas.

Trying to avoid attention, Nicholas accepts.

NICHOLAS:

Okay fine. Let's go.

Mark whispers as he tries to catch his breath and tag along.

MARK:

Thank you. Thank you.

INT. BUS - DAY

The low rumble of the bus engine drones as Nicholas and Mark ride back to their squatter shack with their groceries at their feet.

NICHOLAS:

How long are we going to keep living like this?

MARK:

Don't blame me for life being so harsh... I don't wish for us to be squatters. But what else can I do.

NICHOLAS:

You're my dad. You're supposed to be taking care of me. Not the other way around.

MARK:

Am I a burden to you?

NICHOLAS:

Yes, you are!

MARK:

So you would rather have me die? You want me to die so that you can be free?

NICHOLAS:

How many times have I told you that I don't want you to die, Dad? I just want you to be a better man!

EXT. BUS STOP - DAY

The bus pulls up alongside the bus stop and a padkos stall on the roadside in front of an African traditional healing school. The ancient pounding rhythm of drums echoes from the compound which comprises of several round Zulu mud walled huts with thatched roofs. Nicholas and Mark get off the bus with their groceries. Nicholas heads for the stall to get a quick bite for lunch.

NICHOLAS:

Two vetkoeks and two paper cups of cooldrink.

Nicholas pays for his purchase and receives his change. He then picks up a small roaming chick while he waits for his order. A mother hen worriedly calls for her chicks. Mark begins to hungrily gulp down the food and cooldrink.

Nicholas puts the chick down, and fetches the vetkoek and a paper cup of cool drink from the table where the stall attendant has left them for him. Mark begins to cough and wheeze. He speaks to no one in particular.

MARK:

My health is really deteriorating. I damn well need to work on cleansing my spirit.

Mark tries to take a few deep breaths, picks up the grocery packets and walks toward the huts as his coughing steadily worsens. Nicholas follows him, cool drink in one hand, and more groceries in his other hand. Mark turns to Nicholas and speaks to him between coughs.

MARK (CONT’D)

You know, I have never given a sangoma a try.

EXT. TRADITIONAL HEALING SCHOOL - DAY

Nearby some goats graze contentedly. Mark and Nicholas approach a group of ithwasas - traditional sangoma initiates who are preparing to become African shamans. From the huts more ithwasas drum into the gathering African day. From some nearby trees the shrill buzzing of cicadas promise that this day would be hot.

Nicholas follows Mark, quite concerned about his father's wheezing. He puts the grocery packets down, crumples the paper cup and shoves it into his trouser pocket. His attention is drawn to the Ithwasas, and especially YESH SINGH who is among them, and he curiously glances at the feathers, shells and various other items affixed onto their brightly coloured attire. They are all barefoot and their hair are closely cropped; even the women, who outnumber the men. Mark addresses the standing students.

MARK:

Excuse me.

From inside the huts the Ithwasas stop drumming. The shrill sound of the cicadas is suddenly silent.

MARK (CONT’D)

My name is Mark. I have been quite ill for a long time and I would like to find out if I can see a sangoma.

YESH:

You can see our father, Makhosi Mandla. Would you like me to call her?

Mark answers with a puzzled look on his face.

MARK:

Sure. Yes, please.

The itswasa, noticing Mark’s bewilderment breaks into a wide smile.

YESH:

We always call our teacher 'father'. Follow me.

Mark and Nicholas follow a short distance behind the ithwasa, past the washing line of hanging clothes to Makhosi's house.

YESH (CONT’D)

Mama Makhosi! Mama Makhosi! There is someone who would like to see you.

A voice answers from the courtyard.

MAKHOSI (V.O.)

Come.

MAKHOSI MANDLA is busy crushing some roots and herbs on a grinding stone. She speaks without looking up.

MAKHOSI:

Hello.

She then stops her work and looks up, staring first at Nicholas and then at Mark, peering deeply into his eyes.

MARK:

Hello. My name is Mark Rainbow. I have been ill for quite some time and I have tried so many doctors, but no one is able to help me. I would like to find out if you can. Help me, I mean.

MAKHOSI:

Absolutely. Where there is hope, there is a way!

She rinses her hands from a nearby bowl and dries them by shaking them fiercely. She speaks as she stands up.

MAKHOSI (CONT’D)

Come with me.

They walk into Makhosi's smoke filled rondawel hut. Suddenly the air is alive with the sound of cicadas, with the throb of African drums. From a nearby kraal the cows moo.

INT. HEALING HUT - DAY

Inside the hut is an eclectic display of items. Imphepho, a traditional dried herb, burns inside a clay bowl. Makhosi sits on the mat-covered floor and, at a gesture from her, Mark too sits on the ground across from Makhosi, facing her. Nicholas sits alongside his father.

Makhosi cries out and casts a collection of items drawn from a leather pouch tied around her waist - mostly small bones but some pebbles, sea shells and feathers too, onto a small square grass mat.

MAKHOSI:

Hachia! Speak to me ancestors! Hachia!

She prods on a copper ring on her finger.

MAKHOSI (CONT’D)

I can feel a very strong force that is present. It is a bad thing. It is your wife who is causing the illness.

MARK:

My wife?(hissing) What...

MAKHOSI:

It's the mother of this boy!

Makhosi points at a startled Nicholas.

MARK:

My ex-wife. Oh. She passed away 5 years ago... She's dead!

MAKHOSI:

Your ex-wife's spirit seeks a sacrifice from you. She is the cause of your illness.

MARK:

I'm not going to worship Mary's spirit... No bloody way!

MAKHOSI:

This is the calling from the boy's ancestor. But she is calling out to you.

This time Makhosi points a quivering finger at Mark. Nicholas becomes tense. The atmosphere inside the smoky hut is suddenly strained. The cows moo too loudly outside. Mark speaks so softly that Nicholas has to strain to hear.

MARK:

How is this even possible? We were not on speaking terms since we got divorced.

MAKHOSI:

How did she die?

MARK:

A car accident.

MAKHOSI:

Her spirit has not been put to rest. She walks and does not rest and she is calling out to you.

Suddenly Mark matches Makhosi, staring deeply into her eyes.

MARK:

No, I'm definitely not going to oblige to her! I refuse! (insisting)

Makhosi drops her eyes and prods a dried crab pincer lying on her mat.

MAKHOSI:

Hmm, this is a very strong calling. If you do not heed this, you will be tossed like a crab in the sea, between the living and the dead. (warning)

She then prods an iridescent feather.

MAKHOSI (CONT’D)

But there is a feather who can protect you.

She turns to Nicholas and speaks in a voice too deep for a Woman.

MAKHOSI (CONT’D)

It is You... You!

Nicholas responds weakly.

NICHOLAS:

Me?

MAKHOSI:

You possess a very strong energy. A powerful energy. A strong medicine. You are a healer... You are the feather that heals!

EXT. THE TREEHOUSE - AFTERNOON

Below the treehouse, seated Nicholas leisurely takes a look at his family album. He sees some pictures of his mother and his uncle Peter and stops flipping the pages. Mark starts the fire in the fireplace that he has prepared, and places the 3-legged potjie pot onto it.

NICHOLAS:

Dad, do you think that I look like Uncle Peter?

MARK:

You do! You sure came out looking like your mother's side of the family.

Nicholas saddens.

NICHOLAS:

I miss mom.

MARK:

Life is so unpredictable. Everything in our lives was going so well... Then she wanted the divorce... and death suddenly snatched her away from us. Just like that. Before we could even fix things... And here we are trying to make ends meet.

Nicholas pauses to ponder his father’s words.

NICHOLAS:

Dad, do you think that what the sangoma, Makhosi, said is true?

MARK:

What do you think?

Nicholas closes the family album and places it aside.

NICHOLAS:

I like the idea that she said that I am a healer.

Nicholas stretches. Mark looks up from the fire with earnestness.

MARK:

You know, your mother always was a force to reckon with. She always was so strong willed. Ag, I don't want to believe that she has become stronger than me in death. I don't know what to believe.

EXT. THICKET TRAIL - AFTERNOON

Nicholas leaves the camping site and takes a stroll through the beach thicket, absorbing the relaxing sound of the birds and the beaming late afternoon light filtering through the branches. Nature is beautiful.

He finds a brightly feathered dead bird on the ground. He prods the corpse around a few times with a stick, then stretches out his right hand toward the bird.

NICHOLAS:

I am a healer!

He picks up a long stick and again prods the dead bird with the stick.

NICHOLAS (CONT’D)

I am a healer!

He prods the bird a third time, then drops the stick, stretches out both his hands with more force toward the bird trying to radiate energy from his palms.

NICHOLAS (CONT’D)

Rise up. Fly!

Nothing happens. Nicholas sighs deeply, picks up the stick and proceeds to dig a hole with it and then buries the corpse. He picks up a coloured feather from the ground and puts it into his pocket. There is something there. A crumpled up paper cup. He sighs again.

EXT. ESTUARY - AFTERNOON

Nicholas spots Yesh carrying a bag of roots and other collections from nature.

Yesh comes to a fresh water of one of the luminous Kosi Bay estuaries. The wind is nearly calm. A haze rests on the low shores that runs out to the sea in vanishing flatness.

Immediately Yesh drops his sack, strips off his clothes, and plunges into the water, dipping himself deep into the clear transparent and pristine liquid.

A moment later, Yesh re-surfaces with the feeling of being refreshed and cleansed, while Nicholas watches him from behind the thicket.

Yesh wades through the clear warm water toward his fish trap.

Nicholas hides behind the bushes in the distance along the water front, and watches Yesh enter into the fish trap, a contraption that is grounded in the sand under the water comprising of a v-shaped funnel made of thin sticks woven closely together along the flow of the water, that leads fish into a circle of sticks where they get trapped and very seldom can get out of.

Numerous traps spread over the vast shallow water of the estuary creating a splendid sight to see. Some birds perch on the sticks.

Yesh uses a spear and a pierces a fish, bringing it up to the surface. It is a large, beautiful catch.

Nicholas smiles to himself.

Yesh strides back through the water, reaches a ticket close by and dresses back into his sangoma attire.

EXT. THE BEACH - AFTERNOON

Nicholas then heads down to the shoreline and picks up some shells, trying to find matching ones. He puts the shells into the now uncrumpled paper cup. A crab scurries across the shoreline, and is swallowed by the waves.

EXT. THICKET TRAIL - LATE AFTERNOON

Nature minds its own business. The birds and insects seem quite content. Nicholas has a cup full of shells and a feather in his pocket. He is strangely content too. On his way back, he stops at the place where he buried the dead bird and picks up the stick with which he prodded the bird.

EXT. THE TREEHOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON

Nicholas approaches the treehouse where Mark is asleep in the tent below. He rests the stick on the side of the tent, takes the feather out from his pocket and brushes it softly, gently, against his palms, then across his face, then tickles his ear. He has an idea again. He creeps up to his sleeping father and tickles his ear with the feather. Mark wakes up coughing and irritated. Nicholas pretends not to have done anything.

Mark paces about as he coughs, great lung wrenching spasms wracking his body. He checks the pot.

MARK:

Please chop up the herbs and put them into the potjiekos for me.

Nicholas takes out the fresh herbs and begins to chop them up.

MARK (CONT’D)

Don't stir. Let it stew without stirring.

Mark’s coughing and wheezing worsens and it troubles Nicholas. Nicholas throws the feather into the low fire and watches it burn. He rinses his hands from a 5 litre bottle of water. He drops the chopped herbs into the pot without stirring it. Then he takes out the sea shells from his pockets.

NICHOLAS:

You know what, we can use these shells like draft board pieces. I'm gonna fetch the board.

Nicholas climbs up into the treehouse.

INT. HEALING HUT - LATE AFTERNOON

At the same time, Makhosi enters her distant hut. The atmosphere is filled with that of a hovering spirit. A vengeful spirit. Makhosi shudders.

MAKHOSI:

Hachia! Oh my great ancestors, speak to me. Tell me what I must do. I feel the strong presence of a foreign spirit that is calling out. Hachia! Hachia! (intoning)

EXT. THE TREEHOUSE - SAME

Back at the camping spot, Mark's attack worsens. He flails from side to side hardly getting any air into his lungs at all.

INT. THE TREEHOUSE - SAME

Nicholas sits at a small table in the treehouse sorting his shells. He finds similar shells and places them as two sets of pieces on the draft board. He hears Mark's desperate coughing outside.

INT. HEALING HUT - SAME

Makhosi Mandla sits on the floor of her hut and frantically pours out bones, sea shells, feathers and other objects from her pouch onto the small square grass mat. She senses the dark energy around her move purposely and claps, hard. She lights up some more dried herbs, and watches them smolder, breathing in the thick smoke deeply.

MAKHOSI:

Hachia! Speak to me ancestors! Hachia! Hachia! Hachia! (pleading)

INT. THE TREEHOUSE - SAME

Nicholas puts the remaining shells back into the cup and picks up the board.

INT. HEALING HUT - SAME

Makhosi picks up her divination objects, holds them in her palms, and blows into them.

MAKHOSI:

Speak to me ancestors! Speak to me! Grrrr! Hachia! (commanding)

EXT. THE BEACH - MOMENTS LATER

Mark tumbles from side to side on the beach where his lurching has taken him before collapsing in the sand. He crabs sideways toward the shoreline. The first wave reaches him.

EXT. THE TREEHOUSE - SAME

Nicholas exits the treehouse, trying to balance the set draft board without disturbing the pieces. He sees his father crawling closer to the waves in the distance.

NICHOLAS:

Dad! Dad!! (screaming out)

INT. HEALING HUT - SAME

Deep in a trance in the smoky hut, Makhosi sways from side to side, holding her divination objects in her hands.

MAKHOSI:

I feel that this is a bad thing. A bad thing. A foreign ancestor is calling someone. Hachia! Speak to me my ancestors! Reveal to me what is happening. (pleading, commanding, insisting)

She casts the tightly clenched bones, feathers, sea shells and other objects onto the mat.

EXT. THE TREEHOUSE - SAME

Simultaneously, Nicholas runs desperately towards the beach. The pieces on the draft board are scattered on the ground as he drops the draft board blindly. One of the shells bounces off the potjie pot and cuts him on the side of his neck. He does not notice the cut, nor the blood.

EXT. THE BEACH - MOMENTS LATER

As Nicholas runs, he feels blood streaming down over his chest and feels the cut with his hand, leaving his fingers bloody. He stumbles and falls.

INT. HEALING HUT - SAME

Makhosi reads deep into the objects which she has cast. She prods on a brightly coloured feather.

MAKHOSI:

Hachia! It is the boy who is in need of help. Hachia! What must I do? Hachia! (praying)

EXT. THE BEACH - SAME

Stemming the flow of blood with his hand, Nicholas gets up and sees his father, still coughing, being drawn by the waves into deeper water. Realizing that his father is about to drown, he races as fast as he can.

NICHOLAS:

Dad! Dad! (calling out)

INT. HEALING HUT - SAME

Makhosi swishes her body with a horse tail.

MAKHOSI:

There is a strong force. A bad force. It is moving. Hachia! Hachia! Hachia!! I call on my ancestors to calm the foreign spirit that is walking without rest. Calm the foreign spirit. Calm the foreign spirit. Let her rest. Now!

EXT. THE BEACH - SAME

Nicholas crashes through the waves and grabs Mark, pulling him out of the water with all his might. Mark is not breathing. Nicholas rolls his father onto his side in the shallow waves and drags him onto the beach. Mark's body is limp. Nicholas pounds his father's chest, his neck wound totally forgotten. His neck stops bleeding.

INT. HEALING HUT - SAME

MAKHOSI:

I send energy to help the boy in need. I send strength to spare the life of the one that is being drawn to the other side. But not by my will, let the will of Great One be done. (praying)

Makhosi prays whilst the incense smoke raises high.

EXT. HEALING HUT - SAME

The smoke curves out the door and straight up into the African sky.

EXT. THE BEACH - SAME

Nicholas feels his father's wrists for a pulse and does not find anything.

NICHOLAS:

I don't know what to do! I don't know what to do! Dad, wake up! Wake up! Wake up, dad! (sobbing)

He pulls his father further out of the water and shakes him, then checks for a pulse on his neck and his wrists once again.

NICHOLAS (CONT’D)

Oh my goodness! I need help! Help! I gotta do this, I gotta do this now!

We pull upwards into the sky soaring away, when a bird flies overhead the father and son, and then we follow a feather spiralling downwards in the air towards the kneeling figure on the beach.

INT. HEALING HUT - SAME

In the distant hut Makhosi's body shudders and spasms, deep in trance.

EXT. THE BEACH - SAME

Nicholas tilts his father's head backwards and raises his chin up to open his air passage. He leans his cheek over his father's mouth to check if he is breathing. There isn't any sign of breathing. He pinches his father's nose, keeping his head tilted back and breathes five breaths into his father's water logged lungs. Using both of his hands, one of top of the other, he pushes down in the centre of his father chest firmly, with his arms straight, pushing down hard twice every second.

After five pushes, Mark begins to cough up water. Nicholas rolls him onto his side, as he vomits out more sea water and gasps for breath. Mark tries to get up, but is weak. He tries again and feels his son's arms lifting him up.

NICHOLAS:

Don't worry dad. I'm here for you.

A brightly coloured feather settles slowly onto the sand.

Mark goes limp and slowly sags to the sand unnoticed by Nicholas who is bent over, panting with the effort of pulling his father to safety. Just then a beautiful spiral sea shell washes up upon the shore almost to Nicholas' feet. Nicholas, in awe of his find, reaches down and grabs the shell before it washes away.

NICHOLAS (CONT’D)

Wow! - Look at this shell! - It's beautiful.

He sees with alarm that Mark is lying prone and sits down on the sand next to his father,

NICHOLAS (CONT’D)

Dad! (exclaiming loudly)

With great difficulty Mark slowly sits up. At the same time Nicholas hears the faint distant sound of a female voice calling out.

MARY (V.O.)

Nicholas!

Bewildered, he looks around but there is no one else on the beach. He hears the voice whisper again,

MARY (V.O.)

Nicholas!

He realises that the voice is coming from within the shell forgotten in his hand.

He places the shell to his right ear.

MARY (V.O.)

Nicholas, my child.

Overcome with surprise, Nicholas hastily stands up looking wildly around. He then gingerly places the shell to his other ear.

MARY (V.O.)

Do not be afraid my child. It is me, your mother, calling out to you.

NICHOLAS:

Mom. (whispering)

Nicholas is profoundly shaken in response to Mary while looking down unseeing at his father.

His father looks up at him in confusion and stutterers.

MARK:

Uh... Uh... Uh!

The voice within the shell continues as Nicholas listens more carefully.

MARY (V.O.)

Listen to me my child. You have within you the power to heal your father. (echoing)

Then Nicholas hears only waves, from the sea and from the shell. He puts the shell in his shirt pocket and drawing on his waning strength, helps Mark to his feet. Father and son are both silent, neither wanting to speak.

EXT. THE TREEHOUSE - LATE AFTERNOON

With great effort Nicholas manages to half carry his hefty father stumbling back to the treehouse. There, while a still coughing Mark wearily waits, Nicholas sets up his bed for him in his tent, helps Mark to it and gently places a blanket on top of his father, who falls into an exhausted sleep. They have not spoken.

INT. THE TREEHOUSE - MOMENTS LATER

When Nicholas enters into the treehouse and pulls out a set of clothes. He then searches for and finds a small mirror, takes it out and inspects the wound on the side of his neck. The cut is clean and deep, but has stopped bleeding. It is still stinging with the ocean’s salt water. Placing the mirror aside, he takes out a small towel, dabs it with water from a bottle, wipes his face and begins to undress. As he takes off his shirt the shell falls out onto the discarded towel.

He picks up the shell, holds it close to his heart, and very softly prays.

NICHOLAS:

Mom, how can I make dad better?

He lifts his treasured shell to his ear and listens once again to Mary's soft yet clear voice

MARY (V.O.)

Where there is a will, there is a way, my child. Such power rests in you!

EXT. THE TREEHOUSE - MOMENTS LATER

With mixed feelings of trepidation and hope he climbs down from the treehouse and crawls back into the tent to his sleeping father, stretching out his arms to radiate power from somewhere deep within him. Fervently wanting to believe in this laying of his hands, he moves closer to his father but nothing seems to happen. He continues to pray and channel his inner power with complete earnestness. Just then his father wakes and seeing Nicholas' hands hovering over his face, screams.

Nicholas backs out of the tent as his father coughs frantically and curses him.

MARK:

You-you-you are trying to k-k-kill me.

NICHOLAS:

No, Dad, I am not. (answering loudly)

MARK:

W-w-witchcraft! (accusing)

Mark’s anger is palpable, a burning in Nicholas's ears.

MARK (CONT’D)

I-I-I caught you d-d-doing w-w-witchcraft!

NICHOLAS:

I'm just going to ignore you, because you are obviously crazy, if you need something call me.

His father does not reply and Nicholas walks away clutching his shell.

EXT. THICKET TRAIL - LATE AFTERNOON

Nicholas' sense of sound is amplified by the shell he holds to his ear as he walks through a forest of tall trees heading away from the campsite towards the sea. He listens to the sound of the branches humming in the wind. The forest, the birds, the bees, small forest creatures and all of nature come startlingly alive. He is dumbfounded by the shell and moves it from ear to ear, being drawn into a trance.

EXT. RIVER - LATE AFTERNOON

The sweet sound of his mother's voice humming and laughing draws him like an epic distant song intertwined with orchestral strings. It leads him to a field of lush green grass bounded by a clear river pouring itself into the vast restless ocean. Feeling deeply drained and parched, he kneels down, placing the shell gently onto the grass and drinks from the river with cupped hands, almost like a prayer. Then, suddenly overcome by delayed tiredness, he lies down on the lush grass growing down almost to the river's edge, picks up the shell once more and continues to listen to his mother's beloved voice. Suddenly his arm goes limp and Nicholas's fingers involuntarily open, releasing the shell. Transfixed, he is unable to either move his body or stand up.

Mesmerized he watches as his left arm changes into a wing from which colourful feathers slowly emerge. The now painful hallucination persists, beginning to spread to his other arm but somehow he manages to grab the shell again and wakes up feeling completely disorientated.

The shell is still lying in the grass next to him. He gingerly pulls off his shirt and firmly probes his left arm with his right hand. He finds nothing wrong, yet the sensation of feathers linger.

EXT. RIVER MOUTH - LATE AFTERNOON

In the late afternoon sunlight Nicholas follows the river to the shoreline where he spots Makhosi in the distance. She is harvesting shells while Yesh bathes and splashes in the still-warm water. He watches from afar as she lightly sits on a spread out blanket and opens up a basket of food, calling out to Yesh. Yesh runs up the beach to her and sits down to eat.

EXT. THE BEACH - LATE AFTERNOON

When Nicholas approaches them he puts his shell back into his shirt pocket. Makhosi senses a growing yet unseen wave of energy as the distance between them lessens and turns to gaze at Nicholas intently. He halts, uncertain as to what he should do. She signals him to come closer.

MAKHOSI:

Would you like some food?

NICHOLAS:

Sure, yes please...

Nicholas walks up to them and sits on the blanket, gratefully accepting her offer.

Makhosi dishes him up a tin plate of samp and beans. At first Nicholas feels nervous as he takes a seat among them, but relaxes as he begins to savour the traditional meal. All is quiet except for the sound of the waves and the calling of distant gulls.

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Dhiren Lalkisson

TV Creative Director 

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