FADE IN ON:
SOUND OS -- a CHOKED BACK BREATH, GASPING, lungs looking for
air, the struggle for life and we --
INT. LIMBO/WATER - ANOTHER TIME
GASPING for BREATH continues, more relentless, harder,
heavier and into the FRAME we SEE fragments, slowed into
special motion, dreamlike, surreal:
Dirty blonde hair lifts and tumbles;
Bubbles POP through the murky water;
A hand and then its attached arm swims, in trouble, trying to
And then floats as if disembodied, momentary;
The SWIMMER drifts, then a brief effort twisting, signs of
A leg pushes off the nothingness, threatened, an impossible
And the claustrophobic GASP, a last chocked back BREATH as
other sounds begin to bleed in: the CRACKLE of a RADIO, a few
VOICES MURMURING and then more clearly --
WOMAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
Jesus, please... Jesus...
The water blurs opaque, into a murky veil of illusion and we
INT. FORD FIESTA - MORNING
The cracked windshield of a blue Ford Fiesta. The clouded
form of the drowning SWIMMER is replaced by a small plastic
day-glo cross that sways as the Fiesta is lifted up on a tow
truck hoist. A PARAMEDIC jogs over to the car as
Hold it, hold on...
The Fiesta stops its ascent. The passenger side door opens
and the Paramedic reaches in and snares the bopping cross.
EXT. CITY STREET - MORNING
The Paramedic carries the plastic symbol over to a middle
aged woman who's sitting on a stretcher, wearing a foam neck
brace and looking totally relaxed. This minor fender-bender
is an ignored sideshow on a quiet commercial street.
As the woman reclaims her crucifix, a lanky MAN strides by,
over-coated against the fall weather. We FOLLOW the MAN as
he rounds the corner.
EXT. ANOTHER CITY STREET - MORNING
And as he walks on, he gazes out at a small Catholic Church
St. Ursula's is a modest seminary sitting adjacent to the
Church. And just in front, behind a chain link fence, is:
An asphalt playground used by the Church's pre-school
program. A group of CHILDREN play there in happy confusion,
watched by TWO FEMALE DAY-CARE WORKERS.
EXT. PLAYGROUND - MORNING
One of the day-care workers alternately pushes TWO KIDS on
the swings, using one hand. In her other hand, she holds a
cigarette. Her clothes are worn, her sneakers frayed. A
simple gold cross hangs loosely from her neck. She's got
ancient holes in her ear lobes from another, earlier time,
but no longer any earrings. This is MAYA LARKIN. The kids
she's pushing are singing "Frere Jacques" as they soar up and
down on the swings.
The second day-care worker, more nicely dressed, shoots Maya
disapproving glances as she gives her swinging child modest
A Latino BOY walks up to Maya, both his shoes are untied and
his jacket's unzipped. He points to his feet.
(with mock severity)
Look at you.
She moves away from the swings, puts out the cigarette and
stoops down, tying his shoes. After she finishes, Maya
watches him run back into the throng. He dashes past the
LANKY MAN, standing just ten feet away. A powerful figure,
CLAUDE LAREAUX is in his sixties. A stern, heavy expression
glances his face.
Maya stands back up slowly, looking at him, a more serious
expression on her face now. She tosses her cigarette as we:
SMASH CUT TO:
EXT. RURAL ROAD - MORNING
A non-descript Chrysler New Yorker as it winds its way down a
INT. CHRYSLER MOVING - MORNING
The car's driver is a fleshy man in his forties named JOHN
TOWNSEND. He's anxious, a nail-biter, with the worn hands of
a worker. Townsend's slightly nerve-wracked, but trying to
settle it all inside.