t h e s i x t h s e n s e
M. Night Shyamalan
INT. BASEMENT - EVENING
A NAKED LIGHTBULB SPARKS TO LIFE. It dangles from the ceiling of
LIGHT, QUICK FOOTSTEPS AS ANNA CROWE moves down the stairs.
Anna is the rare combination of beauty and innocence. She stands
in the chilly basement in an elegant summer dress that outlines
her slender body. Her gentle eyes move across the empty room and
come to rest on a rack of wine bottles covering one entire wall.
She walks to the bottles. Her fingertips slide over the labels.
She stops when she finds just the right one. A tiny smile as she
slides it out.
Anna turns to leave. Stops. She stares at the shadowy basement.
It's an unsettling place. She stands very still and watches her
breath form a TINY CLOUD IN THE COLD AIR. She's visibly
Anna Crowe moves for the staircase in a hurry. Each step faster
than the next. She climbs out of the basement in another burst
of LIGHT, QUICK FOOTSTEPS.
WE HEAR HER HIT THE LIGHT SWITCH.
THE LIGHTBULB DIES. DRIPPING BLACK DEVOURS THE ROOM.
INT. DINING ROOM - EVENING
Two place settings are arranged on the living room coffee table.
Take-out Chinese food sits half eaten on good china. An empty
bottle of red wine sits between boxes of Chinese food.
Anna arrives with the backup bottle and is now wearing a sweater.
She hands a collegiate rowing team sweatshirt to Malcolm.
It's getting cold.
MALCOLM CROWE sits on the floor at the coffee table, his vest and
tie on the sofa behind him. A jacket and an overcoat lay on a
brirfcase next to him.
Malcolm is in his thirties with thick, wavy hair and striking,
intelligent eyes that squint from years of intense study. His
charming, easy-going smile spreads across his face. He points.
That's one fine frame. A fine
frame it is.
Malcolm points to the HUGE FRAMED CERTIFICATE propped up on a
dining room chair. It's printed on aged parchment-type paper.
The frame is a polished mahogany.
He slips on the sweatshirt.
How much does a fine frame like
that cost, you think?
Anna hands the backup bottle over to Malcolm.
I've never told you... but you
sound a little like Dr. Seuss when
Malcolm uncorks the wine and starts pouring in the empty glass.
Anna, I'm serious. Serious I am,
Anna giggles. She's clearly buzzed herself. Malcolm doesn't get
it. Anna takes a few calming sips of her wine. Her attention
slowly moves to the framed certificate.
Mahogany. I'd say that cost at
least a couple hundred. Maybe
Three? We should hock it. Buy a
C.D. rack for the bedroom.
Do you know how important this is?
This is big time.
I'm going to read it for you,
Do I really sound like Dr. Seuss?
Anna ignores Malcolm and clears her throat. She leans forward
her seat and reads the certificate out loud as Malcolm tries to
In recognition for his outstanding
achievement in the field of child
psychology, his dedication to his
work, and his continuing efforts to
improve the quality of life for
countless children and their
families, the City of Philadelphia
proudly bestows upon its son Dr.
Malcolm Crowe... That's you...
the Mayor's Citation for
Beat. The power of the words sobers the two of them.
Wow. They called you their son.
We can keep it in the bathroom.
Anna turns to Malcolm. He smiles.
It's not real, Anna. Some
secretary wrote that up. Don't
tell me you thought it was real?
Anna's expression becomes serious.
She just keeps staring. Beat.
Don't do the quiet thing. You know
I hate it.
This is an important night for us.
Finally someone is recognizing the
sacrifices you made. That you have
put everything second, including me,
for those families they're talking
Malcolm plays softly with her face. Anna takes his hands and
holds them steady.
They're also saying that my husband
has a gift. Not an ordinary gift
that allows him to hit a ball over a
fence. Or a gift that lets him
produce beautiful images on a
canvas... Your gift teaches
children how to be strong in
situations where most adults would
piss on themselves.
Yes, I believe what they wrote
Anna lets go of his hands. Anna's eyes are emotional. Malcolm
Anna leans towards him. They hold each other tight. Beat.
What are we hugging about again?
Anna laughs as she wipes her eyes.
Nothing. There wasn't supposed to
be any crying at this celebration.
Just a lot of drinking and sex.
Malcolm's charming, easy-going smile returns.
I would like some red wine in a
Anna hands him his glass. He stares at it.
I would not like it in a mug. I
would not like it in a jug.
Malcolm looks at Anna surprised at what he said. They crack up
laughing. THEIR SWEET LAUGHTER FILLS THE HOUSE.
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
TWO GIGGLING SHADOWS APPEAR IN THE BEDROOM DOORWAY. They try to
turn on the light. It doesn't come on.
Anna giggles some more as Malcolm's shadow stumbles across the
MALCOLM TURNS ON THE BATHROOM LIGHT.
A SHAFT OF LIGHT falls on Anna as she stands in the corner of the
Anna smiles playfully and pulls off her sweater. She sways to a
pretend striptease song.
Malcolm can't hold back his grin. He joins in -- slowly peeling
off the sweat-shirt. He looks back to Anna. She's stopped her
playful dance. She's facing away from him.
He walks towards her. HIS GRIN QUIETLY DISAPPEARS. Malcolm's
face turns to rock as his attention is drawn to the SHATTERED
WINDOW in their bedroom. The wind moves through the room. A
lamp lays broken on the ground by the window.
Malcolm kneels down. Beat. Anna's eyes fill with a quiet
He's still in the house.
A SHADOW FROM THE BATHROOM FLATS OVER BOTH OF THEM.
Malcolm spins around. His heart stops.
Malcolm and Anna stare at the bathroom doorwary. They know
someone is inside. Beat.
Malcolm slowly starts towards the door. The first thing that
comes into view are the clothes on the bathroom floor. Then the
figure of a man comes into view. A STRANGER stands bare chested
in the back of the bathroom.
NO ONE MAKES A SOUND.
The STRANGER is about nineteen. Drugged out. Pitch black eyes
bulging. His body is covered in scars and bruises. His hands
are folded in front of him. He shakes ever so slightly. He has a
patch of white in his hair.
Malcolm speaks in a very calm voice. Never takes his eyes off
Anna, don't move. Don't say a word.
Anna barely nods her understanding.
(to the stranger)
This is forty-seven Locust Street.
You have broken a window and
entered a private residence. Do
you understand what I'm saying?
The stranger slowly looks up for the first time. His eyes lock
You don't know so many things.
There are no needles or
prescription drugs of any kind in
The stranger suddenly comes forward into the doorway. Malcolm
stumbles back onto the edge of the bed.
Anna sees the stranger for the first time. Her face drains of
The stranger looks at Malcolm. He half grins.
Are you drunk?
The stranger's stare slides to Anna.
Did you get him drunk?
The stranger gazes at Anna. Gazes directly into her eyes. A
penetrating, unwavering stare.
Do you know why you're scared when
Anna's expression instanly changes.
BEAT. THE ROOM GOES SILENT.
What do you want? I don't
understand what you want.
The stranger turns and glares at Malcolm.
What you promised.
Malcolm stops all movement.
--Do I know you?
Let's all celebrate, Dr. Malcolm
Crowe. Recipient of awards from the
Mayor on the news. Dr. Malcolm
Crowe, he's helped so many children...
And he doesn't even remember my
Malcolm can't speak. Beat. The stranger's face starts to
I was ten when you worked with me.
Beat. Malcolm's intelligent eyes race for answers.
Downtown clinic? Single parent
I had a possible mood disorder...
I had no friends... you said I was
I was afraid -- you called it acute
You were wrong.
Come on, clear your head... Male,
nine... Single parent... Mood
discorder... Acute anxiety.
Malcolm looks like someone hit him with a sledgehammer.
I'm nineteen. I have drugs in my
system twenty-four hours a day...
I still have no friends. I still
have no peace. I'm still afraid.
Tears jump into the stranger's eyes.
...I'm still afraid.
Please give me a second to think.
Malcolm's shaking hands touch his mouth as he stares at the
Some people call me freak.
...Ronald... Ronald Sumner?
Tears fall down the stranger's face.
I am a freak.
Malcolm looks up at the sound of those words. Something clicks
in his head.
THE ROOM GOES SILENT AGAIN.
VINCENT GRAY stares with surprise through his tears.
Malcolm lets out a deep breath like he just emerged from deep
I do remember you, Vincent. You
were a good kid. Very smart...
Vincent's eyes burn at Malcolm.
You forgot cursed.
VINCENT is fully crying now.
You failed me.
Vincent... I'm sorry I didn't help
you... I can try to help you now.
Vincent turns to the sink. His hand goes in. He turns arund and
raises a gun at Malcolm. He FIRES. A VIOLENT, EAR-SHATTERING
ECHO. Malcolm clutches his stomach and folds like a rag doll
onto the bed.
Vincent instantly moves the gun to his own head. ANOTHER
HORRIFIC BLAST SPIKES THE AIR. Vincent crumples onto the
ANNA'S CHILLING SCREAMS FILL THEIR HOME.
EXT. BENCH - AFTERNOON
The legend, "Two Years Later" appears.
A man flips open a worn file folder on his lap. Handwritten
notes fill every line. At the top of the first page reads,
"Vincent Gray, age 10, Referred January 19, 1989."
The man's hand touches the name almost reverently.
He glances through the page. Words and phrases are circled
throughout the file.
"...Possible mood disorder"
"...Parent status -- Divorced"
"...Communication difficulty between mother-child dyad"
The man's hands flip the page. At the top of this new page
reads, "Cole Sear, age 8, Referred September 1998."
As the man's fingers move through the notes we again see words
and phrases circled throughout this new case history.
"...Possible mood disorder"
"...Parent status -- Divorced"
"...Communication difficulty between mother-child dyad"
The hands close the notepad. The hands are slightly shaking now.
WE PULL BACK to reveal the shaking hands belong to Dr. Malcolm
Malcolm sits on a sidewalk bench facing a row of brownstone homes
across the street. He gazes blankly at the brownstones. Beat.
A door opens. Malcolm is brought out of his trance.
COLE SEAR steps out his front door. Cole is a munchkin of a boy
with large, black eyes that seem to take in everything around
His hair is dark, with a small patch of jet white on the side.
Cole carefully locks the door behind him.
He moves to the bottom of the stairs and looks around nervously.
The eight-year-old child reaches into his pocket and slips on a
pair of VERY LARGE GLASSES. They look comical on him.
Malcolm rises to his feet. He smooths out his shirt. Looks down
and buttons his jacket.
When he looks up, Cole is gone.
Malcolm barely catches a glimpse of the boy. Cole runs at full
speed down the street and turns the corner. TINY SNEAKERS
SCREECHING ON THE SIDEWALK.
For a second, Malcolm doesn't react. The second passes. He
stuffs the file in his bag and starts running too.
EXT. STREET - DAY
Malcolm hauls down the sidewalk. He comes to a hard stop at a
street intersection. Searches. Spots Cole running into a
COLE sprints across the empty lot and reaches the doors of a
building. He has to use all his strength to push open the highly
ornate doors. He slips inside.
Malcolm jogs into the parking area. His pace slows to a walk and
then to stillness as he gazes up at the building. Its old stone
and huge towers make it stand out from the modern buildings all
around it. Malcolm stares up at the historic Philadelphia church
A SHOOTING PAIN PIERCES HIS SIDE. Malcolm's hand goes to it
quickly. He waits for it to pass before starting for the ornate
INT. CHURCH - DAY
Only a few people sit and pray in the sea of oak pews.
Malcolm scans the majestic room and finds what he's looking for
in the last row of the church.
He moves down the center aisle towards the back.
Malcolm finds Cole playing in his pew with a set of green and
beige plastic soldiers. Cole makes the soldiers talk to each
Pro... Fun... Add...
The words are unintelligible.
Cole senses someone. He looks up and sees Malcolm staring at
him. The boy immediately goes white. Every cell of his body
still with fear.
It's okay, Cole. Don't be
Cole stays rigid. Hands clutching a handful of plastic riflemen.
My name is Dr. Malcolm Crowe. I
was supposed to meet you today.
Sorry I missed our appointment.
Malcolm waits for a response. None comes.
Do you mind if I sit down? I have
this injury from a couple of years
ago and it flares up every once in
a while just so I won't forget it.
Beat. Cole slowly slides down the pew, giving Malcolm most of
the seat. Malcolm sits.
Cole fidgets with his soldiers. Beat. Malcolm looks over and
stares at Cole's glasses. He leans forward to inspect them more
Your eye frames. They don't seem to
have any lenses in them.
They're my dad's. The lenses hurt
I knew there was a sound explanation.
Malcolm returns to staring at his lap. Beat.
What was that you were saying
before with your soldiers? Day pro
...De profundis clamo ad te domine.
Malcolm stares surprised.
It's called Latin. It's a
Malcolm nods at the information.
All your soldiers speak Latin?
No, just one.
Malcolm smiles at Cole. His eyes drift down to Cole's arms.
Malcolm's smile slowly disappears.
Cole's arms are covered in TINY CUTS AND BRUISES. Some almost
healed. Some fresh. Malcolm looks around to gather himself.
I like churches, too.
In olden times, in Europe, people
used to hide in churches. Claim
Cole looks up.
What were they hiding from?
Oh, lots of things, I suppose. Bad
people for one. People who wanted
to imprison them. Hurt them.
Nothing bad can happen in a church,
Malcolm studies Cole's anxious face.
Malcolm and Cole just stare at each other.
I forgot your name.
You're a doctor. What kind?
I work with young people who might
be sad or upset or just want to
talk. I try to help them figure
Are you a good doctor?
I got an award once. From the
Thank you. It was a long time ago.
I've kind of been retired for a
You're my very first client back.
You use needles?
Not even little ones that aren't
supposed to hurt?
Cole pockets his soldiers and rises from his pew.
I'm going to see you again, right?
If it's okay with you?
Cole thinks it over carefully.
It's okay with me.
Cole and Malcolm just stare at each other.
And Cole, next time I won't be late
Next time I won't be scared of you.
Cole turns and starts to the rear of the church. Malcolm loses
himself in his thoughts.
When Malcolm looks back, he sees Cole stop by the exit doors and
take a tiny STATUE OF JESUS off the back table. Cole pockets the
statue and quietly leaves the church.
Malcolm just sits and stares.
INT. MALCOLM'S HOME - EVENING
The house is dimly lit. Malcolm has to turn on the HALLWAY LIGHT.
He stops before a pile of mail collecting on a thin table. He
stares at it blankly. Almost every envelope has "Over Due" or
"Final Notice" stamped on it.
INT. DINING TABLE - EVENING
Malcolm stares down at the remains of a meal on the only place
setting on the table.
INT. BEDROOM - EVENING
Malcolm quietly walks into his bedroom. Only A READING LIGHT IS
ON. THE SOFT LIGHT FALLS ON ANNA AS SHE SLEEPS.
Malcolm moves to her side. The sight of her stops him.
He stares at his wife...
She huddles under a blanket, a wad of tissues in her hand. He
takes it in silently.
His eyes move to her face... One wisp of hair falls over her
soft lips. OUTLINED IN THE SOFT READING LIGHT, Anna Crowe truly
looks like an angel.
Malcolm forms a tiny smile.
INT. HALL - NIGHT
Malcolm turns and moves for a narrow door in the hallway.
THE DOOR KNOB. He tries to open it. IT'S LOCKED. Malcolm
reaches into his pockets. Searches for his keys.
INT. BASEMENT - NIGHT
The empty basement is no longer empty. It's piled with file
cabinets and boxes of psychology and medical books. A desk sits
in the corner next to the wine racks.
The room still feels unsettling.
Malcolm hunches over one of the books. Rifles through a stack of
dusty books. Pulls out a thick text.
The spine of the text reads, "The Meridian Latin Dictionary."
Malcolm sits back at his desk and opens Cole's file. Handwritten
on the first page are the words,
"De profundis calms ad te, domine"
Malcolm starts working through the Latin text. As he comes to
each word, he jots it down underneath the Latin.
Malcolm translates the last word.
He stares quietly at the paper. The new words reads...
"Out of the depths, I cry to you Lord."
...The mass for the dead.
The words seem to hang in the air forever.
EXT. PHILADELPHIA - DAWN
Old Philadelphia awakens... For a moment, it's like we're back
A golden sun dances on the waters of Penns Landing. Historical
old ships sit docked in its harbor... The dark bronze surface of
the Liberty Bell reflects the dawn... A majestic Independence
Hall stands watch as its city begins to stir... A thirty foot
statue of Ben Franklin makes a proud silhouette against the
AND THEN 1997 COMES CRASHING IN.
FLUORESCENT HOUSE LIGHTS COME ON IN WINDOWS... Jeeps and
hatchbacks start roaming the cobblestone streets... Neon
restaurants signs flicker to life... Traffic helicopters make
their rounds... CAR ALARMS PIERCE THE AIR.
INT. LAUNDRY ROOM - MORNING
A hand turns off a radio, shutting off the morning news.
A small dog with two different colored eyes sticks his head out
of the dryer, where he plays with the newly-dried clothes.
LYNN SEAR reaches in and pulls out a blouse.
She shakes it in the air and slips it on as she dresses hurriedly
Lynn is a woman in her late twenties. One hundred percent South
Philly. Hair teased. She chews on an early morning piece of
Trident. Under all of it, Lynn Sear is an attractive and
sweet-looking young woman.
Lynn enters THE KITCHEN through a swinging door.
A bowl of cereal and milk sit on a table in an empty kitchen.
Lynn stares at a handful of kitchen CABINETS and DRAWERS that are
Lynn shakes her head.
She closes them one at a time before moving to the coffee machine.
Lynn shivers a little. She leans over the thermostat and raises
the heat. She returns to her post at the coffee machine.
Lynn turns to see Cole standing in his private school uniform.
Your Cocoa Puffs are getting soggy.
Lynn walks over to Cole. Checks his tie.
You got a spot.
Lynn unclips the tie. Cole takes a seat at the kitchen table as
Lynn walks back into the laundry room.
The dog is gone now. Lynn reaches into the dryer, digging for a
new tie. She finds one, then turns and steps back into the
kitchen and SCREAMS AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS.
Every cabinet and every drawer is wide open.
Cole sits at the kitchen table. His hands are pressed flat on
He looks shaken.
Neither says anything for a beat.
Something you were looking for,
Lynn looks over to the open cabinet near the sink. The pop tarts
are clearly visible.
They're right here.
Cole gets up from the table. Takes his pop tarts. Doesn't make
What are you thinking, Momma?
Lots of things.
Anything bad about me?
Lynn leans down.
Look at my face.
I wasn't thinking anything bad
about you, got it?
He looks at her eyes. Beat.
THE DOOR BELL RINGS.
That's Tommy, Momma.
Cole quietly kisses his mother on the cheek and starts out.
Don't you want this?
Cole turns to see Lynn holding the pop tarts. He walks back and
takes them from her before leaving.
Beat. Lynn glances to the kitchen table. Her gaze stops on the
TWO TINY HAND PRINTS OF SWEAT formed on the table's surface.
Lynn stands motionless in the kitchen. She looks up and wraps
her arms around her shivering shoulders.
EXT. BROWNSTONE STREET - MORNING
TOMMY TAMMISIMO is a tough-looking, eight-year-old Italian kid
who waits at the bottom of Cole's brownstone stairs in his school
Cole emerges from the brownstone and moves down the steps.
Lynn's face appears in the kitchen window.
The two boys begin their walk down the street to school. Tommy
puts his arm around Cole. Lynn waves. Cole waves back.
When the two boys turn the corner and are out of Lynn's sight,
Tommy rips his arm away.
Hey freak, how'd you like the "arm
around your shoulder" bit. I just
made it up. Went with it. That's
what great actors do. It's called
Tommy starts to run ahead, he turns and back pedals.
Be careful... I hope no one jumps
out and gets you.
Tommy runs away.
Beat. Cole looks around nervously.
EXT. ST. ANTHONY'S ACADEMY - MORNING
The last uniformed boys and girls rush into the front doors of
St. Anthony's Academy as the FINAL BELL SOUNDS.
Cole is the last one to go in. He stands alone on the sidewalk.
He looks like he'd rather be anywhere but there.
He buries his hands in his pockets and begins a quiet walk by
himself into the school.
INT. COLE'S HOME - AFTERNOON
The front door CREAKS open as Cole walks in after school. He
looks around before closing the door. His eyes stop on Lynn
seated in the open doorway of the den. Malcolm is seated with
her. They both look up.
Lynn comes out. She reaches Cole -- kneels down in front of him.
How was school, baby?
You know, you can tell me things if
you need to.
Cole doesn't respond. Beat.
Well, you know what I did today?
Cole shakes his head "No."
I won the Pennsylvania Lottery in
the morning. I quit my jobs. Ate
a big picnic in the park with lots
of chocolate mouses pie and then
swam in the fountain all afternoon...
What did you do?
Cole starts to smile too. He thinks.
I was picked first for kickball
teams at recess. I hit a grand
slam to win the game and everyone
lifted me up on their shoulders and
carried me around cheering.
Cole and Lynn smile at each other. Beat.
Lynn tries to hide the utter sadness behind her smile.
I'll make triangle pancakes. You
got an hour.
Lynn takes Cole's school bag and jacket before moving to the
INT. DEN - AFTERNOON
The den doubles as a playroom. Boxes of old toys sit in the
corner. A small, plastic, multi-colored table sits on the rug.
Cole appears in the doorway. Malcolm sits up and smiles.
He points to the chair on the other side of the coffee table.
You want to sit?
Cole nods very softly, "No."
Don't feel like talking right now?
Cole nods again very softly, "No."
How about we play a game first?
Cole looks a little more interested.
It's a mind-reading game... Did I
mention I could read minds?
Cole nods, "No."
Here's the game. I'll read your
mind. If what I say is right, you
take a step forwards the chair. If
I'm wrong, you take a step
backwards the doorway. If you
reach the chair, you sit. If you
reach the door, you can go. Deal?
Cole tilts his head, then nods, "Yes."
Malcolm presses his fingers to his temples like a vaudeville
magician. He closes his eyes tight.
Just after your mom and dad were
divorced, your mom went to a doctor
like me and it didn't help her.
And so you think I'm not going to
Beat. Cole, surprised, takes a small step forward.
You're worried because she said she
told him things. Things she
couldn't tell anybody else.
Cole takes a step. Malcolm opens his eyes. He looks right at
You have a secret. But you don't
want to tell me.
Beat. Cole takes another step. The next step will put him at
the chair. Malcolm lowers his fingers from his temple.
You don't have to tell me your
secret if you don't want to.
Malcolm smiles. Returns his fingers to the mind-reading
position. Malcolm looks to Cole's arm. Cole is wearing A LARGE
SILVER WATCH. It swims on his thin wrist. It could probably
slide up to his shoulder. Malcolm closes his eyes.
Your father gave you that watch as
a present before he left.
Cole takes a step BACK. Beat. Malcolm lowers his hands
He forgot it in a drawer. It
Beat. Malcolm puts his fingers to his temple. This time a
little bit slower. He gazes at Cole's school uniform.
You don't like to say much at
school. You're an excellent
student however. You've never been
in any kind of serious trouble.
Beat. Cole takes a slow step back. Beat.
We were supposed to draw a picture.
Anything we wanted... I drew a man.
He got hurt in the neck by another
man with a screwdriver.
AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE OVERTAKES THE DEN.
You saw that on T.V., Cole?
Cole answers by taking a small step back. Beat.
Everybody got upset. They had a
meeting. Momma started crying.
I don't draw like that anymore.
How do you draw now?
I draw people with smiles, dogs
running, and rainbows.
They don't have meetings about
I guess they don't.
Malcolm looks down at Cole's feet. They're almost at the
doorway. One more step and he's there. Cole is very still. He
doesn't move at all.
What am I thinking now?
Malcolm takes his time before speaking. He just stares. No
fingers to the temple. No games. He just stares. Beat.
I don't know what you're thinking,
Cole quietly takes a step back into the doorway of the other room.
I was thinking... you're nice.
But you can't help me.
Cole's tiny figure steps away. Malcolm stares helplessly at the
empty doorway where his client used to stand.
THE DEN IS SUFFOCATED WITH SILENCE.
INT. RESTAURANT - EVENING
Malcolm hurriedly enters a spacious, dimly-lit Italian
restaurant. He stops in the dining room and searches the many
candle-lit tables. He finds Anna.
Anna sits alone at a corner table. The remains of her half-eaten
dinner lay on the only place setting on the table. A small PIECE
OF CAKE WITH A CANDLE in it sits untouched.
Anna stirs sugar in her coffee as Malcolm sits in the seat across
from her. She gently stops stirring, but doesn't look up. Beat.
I thought you meant the other
Italian restaurant I asked you to
marry me in.
Anna isn't laughing. Not even close.
I'm so sorry.
I can't seem to keep track of time.
Anna quietly takes a sip from her coffee.
It didn't go well today. Spent
some time after trying to get my
Anna looks around for the waiter.
They're so similar, Anna. They
have the same mannerisms. The same
expressions. The same thing
hanging over them.
It might be some kind of abuse.
That makes Anna turn back. She glances across the table, then
There are cuts on Cole's arms.
Fingernail marks, I think. Looks
like defensive cuts.
Malcolm demonstrates by holding up his arm to shield his face.
Possibly a teacher, neighbor.
I don't think it's the mother.
Just a gut thing. The way she
deals with him. It doesn't fit.
Hard to say this early. Could
just be a child climbing a lot of
Malcolm loses himself in his thoughts. The waiter drops off the
check on the table. Anna grabs it before Malcolm and quickly
I know I've been kind of out of it
for a long while and you resent it.
You do. I know you're mad. I know
it's put some distance between us.
But I'm getting a second chance
here. I can't let it slip away.
Anna waits till he's done and rises from the table. She pushes
her chair in hard and walks away without a word. Malcolm sits
alone and stares at the piece of cake with a candle on it.
EXT. FRONT STEPS - AFTERNOON
Cole is seated on the front stoop of his brownstone. On the
steps and on the landing are his plastic soldiers in the grips of
Malcolm sits with his bag and overcoat on the step next to him.
Malcolm just observes quietly. Beat.
Cole glances up as he plays. Sees Malcolm's expression.
You want to ask me a question?
See, this is why I lose at poker.
Yes, I do have a question.
On the step are two rows of soldiers facing each other. To one
side are a couple soldiers covered by a tissue. Malcolm points
What happened to those two? Being
under tissue paper can't be a good
Cole removes the tissue.
That's Private Jenkins and Private
Kinney. They got killed. Private
Jenkins has a baby girl that was
born seven pounds, six ounces.
He's never seen her. He wanted to
get back to Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
and hold her...
Cole points to the other soldier.
Private Kinney's wife is really
sick -- she has something called a
You mean aneurysm.
Yeah, Private Kinney needed to get
back safe to take care of her.
Beat. Cole's face becomes emotional. Tears fill his eyes.
It's sad they died, isn't it?
Malcolm falls into silence and stares at his client. Beat. Cole
wipes his eyes quickly.
Don't look at me.
I don't like people looking at me
Malcolm takes in Cole's gesture and expression.
Stop looking at me.
Malcolm looks down.
Where should I look then, Cole?
Look over there.
Cole points to the corner of the street. Malcolm slowly turns.
He sits in profile to Cole. Beat.
It's very unusual for someone your
age to understand the kind of
problems that Private Jenkins and
Private Kinney have or even to be
thinking about them at all...
Malcolm continues to stare at the street. Beat.
It is okay if I look back now?
Cole doesn't answer.
Tap the foot once for "No" and
twice for "Yes."
Cole taps his foot once.
Malcolm sits patiently. Beat. They don't say anything for a
You wouldn't want to take a walk,
Cole looks up from his soldiers. Malcolm stares at the far side
of the street.
Cole taps his foot twice.
EXT. STREET - AFTERNOON
The two of them walk down a row of brownstones across from a park
where children Cole's age are playing.
I walk this way to school with
He your best buddy?
Cole almost smiles.
He hates me.
You hate him?
Cole shakes his head, "No.!
Malcolm thinks for a bit.
Your mom set that up?
Cole nods "Yes."
You ever tell her about how it is
I don't tell her a thing.
Cause she doesn't look at me like
everybody and I don't want her to.
I don't want her to know.
That I'm a freak.
Malcolm stops walking. The words hit him hard. He stares at
Listen to me. You are not a freak.
Don't you believe anybody that
tells you that. It's bullshit and
you don't have to grow up believing
Beat. Cole is surprised.
You said the "s" word.
Malcolm's face is filled with emotion. Cole is suddenly hit by
Malcolm's passion. Beat. Cole nods slowly as he looks at
Malcolm with different eyes.
They start walking again in silence. They turn a corner and move
down another street. Cole spots an old man with a cane standing
at the gate of a brownstone.
Is it okay if I do something? I
have to do something.
Malcolm nods "yes" as they continue walking. Cole slows as they
approach the old man. As we get closer, we make out the man can
Hi, Mr. Marschal.
MR. MARSCHAL leans over his gate and stares at Cole for a few
Guten Tag, Cole.
Mr. Marschal has a thick German accent. The old man squints down
the block with a concerned expression.
Mrs. Marschal. She went food
shopping. She's running late.
Ich Habe Durst.
Malcolm's eyes dart to Cole.
Wunderbar! Where did you learn to
I just know a couple lines.
Yes, you may have a drink. What
would you like?
Mr. Marschal smiles at Cole before walking back inside his house.
Cole turns back to Malcolm.
Mr. Marschal gets real lonely.
What about Mrs. Marschal?
She died a long time ago.
INT. MR. MARSCHAL'S LIVING ROOM - MORNING
This brownstone has been home to the Marschal's for many, many
years. It's filled with a lifetime of memories. Memories shared
by two people.
Two rocking chairs sit side by side near the windows that
overlook the street... A corner table displays fancy wooden
chess set. The game half-finished, frozen in a layer of dust...
An easel stands before a piano. The incomplete water color
painting of a smiling elderly woman sitting on the piano bench
sits sadly on the faded yellow paper.
Malcolm takes in the living room silently. He stands near the
Cole walks through the room. Tiny eyes searching carefully. He
leans behind the sofa looking for something. Malcolm watches
Cole with a crinkled brow.
Cole peeks behind the old piano crammed against the wall.
Maybe Jill will play for us when
she gets back.
Cole turns to find Mr. Marschal standing with a glass of
lemonade. Cole takes it from his shaking hands.
Mr. Marschal shuffles over to the sofa. Takes a seat.
Cole begins surveying the room again. Beat. His eyes finally
come to rest on a plant seated in the corner. He stares at it...
THE LEAVES OF THE PLANT SHAKE SLIGHTLY FROM A BREEZE.
Cole puts down his glass on a table and walks over to the plant.
Cole kneels down and starts to push the potted plant aside. THE
POT SCREECHES ON THE WOODEN FLOOR.
Malcolm calls to Cole under his breath.
What's going on there?
Mr. Marschal strains to see across the room.
Cole doesn't answer either of them. Instead, he continues to
push the plant aside revealing AN AIR VENT. Cole gently reaches
over and takes off the metal face. It slips right off.
Cole's hands disappear into the darkness of the vent. They
reemerge holding a STACK OF NOTEBOOKS.
Malcolm becomes very still.
Cole rises to his feet and carries the notebooks over to Mr.
Marschal. Cole carefully places them on his lap.
Is this for me?
Mr. Marschal fingers the notebooks then reaches for his thick
glasses hanging from his neck. He places them on the tip of his
nose and inspects the notebooks six inches from his face.
What's this? Jill's keeping a
Malcolm takes an involuntary step forward.
Mr. Marschal starts flipping through the notebooks.
She's full of surprises...
He gets to the last book. His hands become still as he stares at
the final page of writing.
She hasn't written anything for
Beat. Mr. Marschal slowly looks up from the notebooks. Looks up
to Cole. Cole just stands quietly.
Mr. Marschal's eyes slowly fill with tears of realization. They
gently spill down his weathered face.
Cole takes a deep breath. Trying hard not to cry himself. The
sight of Mr. Marschal weeping shakes Cole.
Cole softly lays his hand on Mr. Marschal's silver hair. Mr.
Marschal reaches up and clutches his small hand.
They stay like that for a while. Beat. Mr. Marschal lets go and
brings the notebooks tighter to his body.
Cole quietly walks to Malcolm who stands motionless. He stares
down at Cole in a daze.
Cole turns his head, crying.
Stop looking at me.
INT. BASEMENT OFFICE - NIGHT
Malcolm sits still in his office chair. His eyes are fixed at a
point in space. He brings a slim, black tape recorder to his
April or March of Eighty-seven.
Two weeks into sessions with
Vincent Gray. I was treating a
couple, Donald and Robin Wagner,
who had lost their child to
Leukemia. They were waiting with
Vincent in the reception room of
the downtown clinic. They were
alone together maybe fifteen
minutes. When I entered the room,
all three were crying. The
Wagner's progress from that
afternoon was dramatic and sudden
.... As if some door had been
opened for them.
I'm not at all clear what happened
in those fifteen minutes. But I
now believe Vincent tried to tell
me something, show me something and
I didn't listen.
Cole Sear allowed me to witness
This time I'm going to listen.
A long silence. CLICK. The tape recorder turns off.
INT. BROWNSTONE - NIGHT
Lynn holds a laundry basket on her hip as she fiddles with the
thermostat in the hall. The house is cold. Lynn wears a winter
jacket in the house.
Lynn turns and moves into the shadowy hallway. No lights. The
house seems somewhat ominous. Beat.
Lynn's eyes dart to an open guest room like she just saw
something. She stares in the doorway until a SOUND TURNS HER IN
THE DIRECTION OF THE FAMILY ROOM.
She picks up balled-up boy's sweat socks and dirty T-shirts
laying on the carpet. When she reaches the end of the hall, she
HITS A LIGHT SWITCH. The hall LIGHTS UP REVEALING A WALL OF
PHOTOS. Lynn forms a tiny smile.
Snapshots of Cole and Lynn's life hang before her eyes.
Cole's birthday parties... Lynn and Cole at an amusement park...
Cole under the Christmas tree... Cole on Lynn's shoulders in a
pool... Cole with a group of neighbors at a barbecue...
Lynn takes a step forward. Lynn's face betrays the fact that she
notices something she never noticed before. She touches a photo
of three-year-old Cole.
WE MOVE INTO THE PHOTO -- COLE'S FACE SMILES AT US. LYNN'S
FINGER GENTLY BRUSHES A THIN STREAKS OF LIGHT THAT CURVES IN THE
BACKGROUND BEHIND COLE. THE STREAK OF LIGHT IS BLURRED, LIKE
SOMETHING CAUGHT IN MOTION.
Lynn looks to the adjacent photo -- the barbecue photo --
Everyone stands with hot dogs and sodas. Lynn searches the
picture. Her eyes suddenly stop at the TINIEST BLUR OF WHITE
LIGHT STREAKING AROUND COLE.
WE MOVE FROM FRAMED PHOTO TO FRAMED PHOTO -- EACH THE SAME --
SOMEWHERE HIDDEN IN THE FRAME, SOMEWHERE NOT EASILY SEEN, LYNN
FINDS A BLUR.
Lynn takes it all in curiously.
INT. COLE'S BEDROOM - AFTERNOON
Lynn moves into Cole's room with the laundry basket balanced on
her hip. The Walkman headphones on her head blares A MUFFLED
TECHNO DANCE BEAT. Lynn starts picking clothes up around Cole's
This bedroom is an eerie place. The shadows seem to make shapes
and figures. All the furniture is wood -- old fashioned. The
lamps, the paintings on the wall -- antiques as well.
The most striking feature of the room, however, is the homemade
tent created from bedsheets and blankets tied to chairs and
bureaus. It takes up a large corner of the room.
A sign hangs over the bedsheets.
"DO NOT ENTER"
Lynn grabs the spiderman P.J.s that drape over the tent.
A German Shepherd Puppy sleeps on the pillow. SEBASTIAN lifts
his head sleepily and peers at Lynn before returning to his
Lynn slowly reaches for a picture frame that peeks out from under
Cole's pillow. Slides it out... It's a VACATION PHOTO of a
couple. Lynn and Cole and a man. The man looks in every way a
larger version of Cole.
The picture has a visible effect on Lynn. She lets out a shaky
breath before returning the photo to its hiding place.
Lynn pulls a pair of school uniform pants off the wooden roll
cover desk next to the bed.
The desk is covered with loose leaf papers filled with writings.
Lynn's eyes are drawn to the papers.
Her curious gaze turns serious. Her mouth opens a tiny bit
THE PAPERS are strewn with lines of handwriting. Countless
lines. Thousands of words... Some horizontal, some vertical...
The writing moves in arcs and flows in various size -- written at
great speed -- every word connected by a single pen stroke --
everything written in one continuous motion.
Lynn slowly spins the papers, taking in some of the phrases...
...Christ break the freaking glass oh no God no what the hell is
going on Quiet the damn baby I'll cut you I swear it someone stop
the burning I'll kill you I'll kill all you bastard...
The words go on and on.
Lynn removes her hands from the paper. She pulls her headphones
THE MUFFLED TECHNO DANCE BEAT FILLS THE DEAD SILENCE OF THE EERIE
INT. DEN - AFTERNOON
Malcolm stares as the rain pelts the windows of the den.
...So your dad lives in Pittsburgh
with a lady who works in a toll
What if she has to pee when she's
working? You think she just holds
I don't know. I was just thinking
the same thing.
You ask a lot of questions about my
dad today. How come?
Cole is playing behind the couch. All we see is the top of his
Sometimes, we don't even know it,
but we do things to draw attention.
Do things so we can express how we
feel about issues... Divorce or
Every now and then we get glimpses of things Cole is playing with
peeking over the back of the couch, but we can't quite make out
what he's doing.
One night, as an example... leave
something on a desk for someone to
The top of Cole's head stops moving.
Cole, have you ever heard of
something called free-writing? Or
Cole shakes his head, "No."
It's when you put a pencil in your
hand and put the pencil to a paper
and you just start writing... You
don't think about what you're
writing... You don't read over
what you're writing... You just
keep your hand moving.
Cole has become very still. He looks right at Malcolm.
After awhile if you keep your hand
moving long enough, words and
thoughts start coming out you
didn't even know you had in you...
Sometimes they're things you heard
from somewhere... Sometimes
they're feelings deep inside...
Have you ever done any free-
association writing, Cole?
Beat. Cole nods, "Yes."
What'd you write?
What kind of words?
Did you ever write any upset words
before your father left?
I don't remember.
Malcolm watches him carefully. Beat. Malcolm waves the question
Can you do something for me?
Malcolm smiles. He rises and grabs his coat.
Think about what you want from our
time together. What our goal
Something I want?
If we could change something in
your life, anything at all, what
would you like that to be?
Cole's brow furrows as he thinks about it carefully.
You don't have to answer now.
Malcolm heads for the door, stops when Cole emerges from behind
the couch. Cole is wearing his father's jacket, it hangs to the
ground like a dress.
Instead of something I want, can I
have something I don't want?
Malcolm turns back to Cole. Malcolm nods "Yes." Beat.
I don't want to be scared anymore.
Cole's sad eyes stare up at Malcolm.
INT. BASEMENT OFFICE - NIGHT
The surface of Malcolm's desk is covered with open texts.
Malcolm pours over a thick reference book.
He circles a phrase...
"...resulting bruises and abrasions on arms and legs may, in
fact, be self-inflicted."
Malcolm appears disturbed by the thoughts running through his
ANNA'S MUFFLED VOICE CARRIES DOWN THE STAIRS.
His face turns up to the ceiling.
Are you calling me?
WE HEAR ANNA'S FOOTSTEPS MOVE ACROSS THE BASEMENT CEILING. WE
HEAR THE FRONT DOOR OPEN.
What? You don't see enough of me
at the store?
Malcolm gets up and moves closer to their voices as he stretches
MAN'S VOICE (o.s.)
On my way to the flea market in
Amish country. Thought maybe you
want to come. Show me how to buy
at these things.
I trust you... Besides, I don't
know if I'm up for the Amish today.
You can't curse or spit or anything
Malcolm smiles at Anna.
MAN'S VOICE (o.s.)
I thought you'd want to get out.
You've been kind of down.
Malcolm slowly stops smiling.
That's very sweet. I'm okay.
MAN'S VOICE (o.s.)
Do you think I should stop by on my
way back? Show you what I got?
It's not a problem.
Malcolm shakes his head in disbelief.
You know that's probably not the
best idea. I'll just wait to see
them in the store.
MAN'S VOICE (o.s.)
Okay. Fine. Understood.
I'm off then.
Don't step in the horse manure.
MAN'S VOICE (o.s.)
WE HEAR THE FRONT DOOR SHUT.
Malcolm moves to the narrow basement window.
INT./EXT. MALCOLM'S HOUSE - DAY
We see SEAN, an attractive young man in his late twenties.
He gets into his car across the street. He just sits there for a
moment before putting his forehead to the steering wheel.
(under his breath)
Give it up, kid.
Malcolm turns away from the window as Sean's car starts up and
pulls away from Malcolm's house.
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
STANLEY CUNNINGHAM is a teacher in his late forties. He writes a
question on the board.
Can anyone guess what city was the
capital of the United States of
America from 1790 to 1800?
Mr. Cunningham turns and stares at his class of eight and nine
year old private school students. They stare back at him blankly.
Cole rests his chin on his desk and watches the class with big
...I'll give you a hint, it's the
city you live in.
The class says the answer in unison.
Right... Philadelphia is one of
the oldest cities in the country.
A lot of generations have lived and
died in this city... Almost every
place you visit has a history and a
story behind it.
Even this school and the grounds
they sit on... Can anyone guess
what this building was used for a
hundred years ago, before you went
here, before I went to this school
Stanley Cunningham looks over the class of blank faces. He's
just about to answer his own question when he sees a hand go up.
Mr. Cunningham looks surprised to see who it is.
They used to hang people here.
Mr. Cunningham furrows his brow. Beat.
That's not correct. Where'd you
They'd pull the people in crying
and kissing their families bye...
People watching would spit at them.
Cole, this was a legal courthouse.
Laws were passed here. Some of the
first laws of this country. This
building was full of lawyers.
They were the ones who hanged
Mr. Cunningham chuckles. Cole's face turns cement grey.
I don't know which one of these
guys told you that, but they were
just trying to scare you, I think.
Tommy Tammisimo leads the class in a wave of snickering.
Cole glances up. Sees all the eyes on him. He glances at the
teacher who is still staring.
I don't like people looking at me
Mr. Cunningham sees the traumatized expression on Cole's face and
instantly stops smiling.
I don't know how else to look--
You're a stuttering Stanley!
Mr. Cunningham's face becomes still. So does the classroom.
You talked funny when you went to
school here. You talked funny all
the way to high school!
The class falls into stunned silence. Mr. Cunningham takes an
involuntary step towards Cole's desk.
You shouldn't laugh at people. It
makes them feel bad.
Mr. Cunningham moves closer to Cole.
How did you--?
Stop looking at me.
Cole covers his eyes with his hands.
Who have you been s-speaking to?
We see Cole's mouth under his covered eyes.
Stuttering Stanley! Stuttering
Mr. Cunningham is standing right over Cole's desk now.
Stuttering Stanley! Stuttering
--Shhhhhhut upppp you fffffffreak!
MR. CUNNINGHAM SLAMS HIS HAND ON COLE'S DESK. Cole's hands drop
from his eyes. The teacher's face is burning red.
The children in the room are frozen. Completely startled.
Cole's eyes are filled with tears.
Mr. Cunningham's expression drains of anger as Cole Sear begins
INT. ANTHONY'S LIBRARY - SAME AFTERNOON
Cole is seated in the school library by himself. He sits at a
long center table near the windows. His head is laying on his
folded arms on the table.
Malcolm peeks his head in the door -- unsure if he's in the right
place. He spots Cole and enters the room. He silently takes a
seat across from Cole. The eight-year-old looks up. Cole's eyes
are hard -- filled with anger.
Hey, big guy.
Cole stares for a second.
I don't want to talk about anything.
Cole lowers his head. Malcolm just sits and thinks.
THE SOUND OF BOYS PLAYING SPORTS ON THE FIELD OUTSIDE FILTER IN
THROUGH THE LIBRARY WINDOWS.
Cole turns his head and stares at the windows. Malcolm takes in
the sad vision of this boy. It affects him. Beat.
Do you like magic?
Cole's face softens a bit. He turns from the windows and looks
to Malcolm. Beat. Cole nods, "Yes."
Malcolm pulls out a penny from his pocket. He places it in his
Watch the penny closely.
Malcolm closes his hand around the penny.
I do the magic shake...
Malcolm shakes his hand in circles. Cole watches his hand
And suddenly the penny has
magically traveled to my left hand...
Cole looks to Malcolm's closed left hand. Malcolm doesn't open
But that's not the end of the trick.
With another magic shake, the penny
travels into my shirt pocket...
Cole's eyes lock on Malcolm's shirt. Malcolm taps the pocket but
doesn't open it.
But that's still not the end!... I
do a final magic shake... and
suddenly... The penny returns to
the hand where it started from.
Malcolm opens his right hand. The penny sits quietly in the
center of his palm.
Cole looks at the penny and then up to Malcolm's face. Beat.
Cole cracks a smile.
That isn't magic.
You just kept the penny in that
hand the whole time...
Malcolm smiles a mischievous smile. He places the penny on the
table. Cole stares at it and then looks to Malcolm.
I didn't know you were funny.
I forgot myself.
Malcolm and Cole share a warm look.
THE SOUNDS OF KIDS LAUGHING AND PLAYING OUT ON THE FIELD COME
POURING INTO THE ROOM AGAIN.
Cole's expression changes back to sadness as he looks to the
windows. Malcolm leans across the table and whispers.
Cole looks at Malcolm.
You're going to sound just like
Beat. Cole's chin starts to tremble. His voice cracks.
Malcolm and Cole sit in silence and listen to THE SOUND OF
INT. HALLWAY - EVENING
Malcolm sorts through the many bills on the mail table.
Malcolm, sit your cute butt down
and listen up.
Are you listening?
Malcolm turns AT THE SOUND OF THE WOMAN, and moves into the empty
living room where the T.V. is on. A blanket lays crumpled on the
THE WOMAN'S VOICE IS COMING FROM A VIDEO PLAYING ON THE VCR.
IT'S A WEDDING VIDEO. A LARGE WOMAN IN A BRIDESMAID DRESS STANDS
HOLDING THE MICROPHONE. IN THE BACKGROUND, WE CAN SEE THE DANCE
No doubt about it. Anna's like my
sister. You better make her happy...
And I'm not talking about -- mmm
this tastes like real butter --
kind of happy... I'm talking about
Julie Andrews twirling around like
a mental patient on a mountain top
-- kind of happy.
THE LARGE BRIDESMAID BECOMES VERY EMOTIONAL.
You're really lucky. She's got so
much love for you. Don't tell her
I told you, but she said she loved
you from the first time she met you
on the street. She'd do anything
I love you guys.
My nose is running. Why isn't
someone getting me a tissue?
THE WOMAN HANDS THE MICROPHONE TO SOMEONE OFF SCREEN. THE CAMERA
PANS AWAY FROM HER AND ZOOMS IN ON THE DANCE FLOOR. MALCOLM AND
ANNA ARE SLOW DANCING. THEY'RE WHISPERING AND LAUGHING WITH EACH
OTHER. THE HAPPINESS FROM THEM IS TANGIBLE.
Malcolm can't help smiling as he stares at the flickering images.
He turns and looks down the hall to their bedroom.
INT. BEDROOM - EVENING
Malcolm moves into their bedroom.
THE SOUND OF A SHOWER CAN BE HEARD FROM THE BATHROOM.
Malcolm moves to the bathroom door and opens it slowly.
INT. BATHROOM - EVENING
Malcolm steps into the bathroom quietly. He stares at the
silhouette of Anna's body through the smoked glass of the shower.
Anna stands still, her head tilted back.
Malcolm watches quietly. By his experience, it's clear he's
taken by his wife's beauty.
Malcolm starts towards the shower when his eyes glance to the
sink. Malcolm locks on a tiny bottle resting on the marble
He reaches out and picks it up. The label on the plastic bottle
"To be taken twice daily"
Malcolm gently puts down the plastic bottle. He gazes at the
still figure of his wife as the water covers her.
Malcolm leaves the bathroom. He makes sure not to make a noise
with the door as he closes it shut.
EXT. DARREN'S HOUSE - DAY
Colorful balloons flutter in the wind in front of an old grey
INT. DINING ROOM - DAY
Cole and an overweight boy named BOBBY are seated at a dining
table covered in colorful paper. A stack of birthday presents
are sitting on the table next to a cake.
The house is filled with the SOUND OF CHILDREN PLAYING AND
Cole and the overweight boy are the only ones in the dining room.
Bobby watches with a dull expression as Cole moves his hand in
circles in the air.
...Then you do the magic shake.
And now the penny moves from my
pocket all the way to the hand it
Cole smiles and holds out his hand. His fingers open to reveal
Cole loses his smile.
It's supposed to be funny.
Cole and the overweight boy stare at each other.
Give me my penny back.
Cole gives the boy his penny. Beat. Cole gazes at Bobby.
...Don't be sad.
Bobby looks up sharply.
What'd you say?
Bobby stares down at him before returning his attention to his
The two boys sit in silence.
INT. KITCHEN - AFTERNOON
Cole sits alone in the corner of the living room. The open
kitchen doorway is next to him. Inside the kitchen are Lynn and
DARREN'S MOM speaking. It's clear they're from different worlds.
Lynn is wearing tight clothes with hair teased to dramatic
heights. Darren's mom is in a designer suit.
...He doesn't get invited places.
It's our pleasure.
The last time was a Chuck E. Cheese
party a year ago. He hid in one of
those purple plastic tunnels and
didn't come out.
Chuck E. who?
Cheese. It's a kid's place.
Darren's mom smiles formally and turns to give the catering
people instructions on how to lay out the food on her sterling
He's my whole life.
Darren's mom turns back to Lynn, the forced smile on her face.
I work at an insurance place and at
Penny's, so Cole can go to that
J. C. Jenny's?
Lynn nods "Yes."
Good for you.
I wish I could be like my momma
though. She always knew what was
wrong. Knew just what to say.
Darren's mom glances at her expensive watch.
Cole's going through something bad.
He won't talk to me.
I'm his momma.
And I don't know what's wrong and
I don't know what to say.
Lynn drowns in her thoughts. Cole moves away from the kitchen
with sad eyes.
INT. HALL - AFTERNOON
Cole walks past two expensively-dressed mothers eating hors
d'oeuvres as they move down the hallway.
Did you have the Brie?
It tasted like cheese whiz.
They pass when Cole moves down the shiny mahogany wood hallway.
The women's conversation FADES AWAY behind him.
Cole turns a corner and comes to a dead stop. He turns white as
he stares at an open CRAWL SPACE CLOSET a few feet away. Cole's
eyes are riveted in the darkness of the closet. Beat.
THE HALLWAY ERUPTS WITH NOISE AS THE CHILDREN RUN IN FROM THE
Tommy Tammisimo is one of the children. He talks with the
birthday boy, DARREN, a skinny kid in a party hat.
I even got a trailer.
For what? You only had one line.
You're slow, you know that. The
star of the commercial always has
his own trailer. You need to think
about your character alone.
Tommy glances down the hall and sees Cole standing frozen staring
at the crawl space closet.
Tommy grabs Darren.
Darren, check it out.
DARREN looks down the hall to Cole.
My dad made me invite him.
Tommy nudges Darren to move down the hall. Cole breaks from his
trance as Tommy and Darren walk up.
Happy birthday, Darren.
Something you want to see in there?
Tommy points to the crawl space.
Beat. Tommy looks to Darren and then back to Cole.
We're going to put on a pretend
play. You want to be in it?
It's called, "Locked in the Dungeon."
Tommy stares at Darren. Darren finally gets it.
Yeah, Cole... you get to be the
one locked in the dungeon.
It happens too quick for Cole to react. Darren and Tommy shove
Cole backwards. He stumbles into the darkness of the crawl space.
Tommy slams the door closed. Darren turns the lock. They crack
smiles at each other as Cole bangs on the door.
The BANGING GOES ON FOR A FEW SECONDS AND THEN IT JUST STOPS.
Darren and Tommy look at each other and then back at the crawl
Then THE SCREAMING BEGINS.
Darren and Tommy back away from the door as COLE SCREAMS IN
TERROR at the top of his lungs. He CRASHES OVER AND OVER against
the door. HIS BODY SLAMMING AGAINST THE WOOD. The DOOR RATTLES
like it's going to break off its hinges.
The two boys are statues as Cole's BLOOD-CHILLING YELLS FILL THE
FOOTSTEPS SPIKE THE AIR AS children and mothers come running down
the hall. Lynn is one of them.
Darren's mother turns the corner.
Who's making that noise?
She looks to the closet. THE HIGH-PITCHED SCREAMS CUT THROUGH
Lynn and Darren's mom rush to the door and turn the knob... The
door flies open. Lynn reaches in and pulls out Cole. He's
Darren's mom looks into the crawl space -- there's nothing inside
except a couple packing boxes in the back. She looks to Lynn.
She turns around with Cole in her arms.
Help me get him in the car.
INT. HOSPITAL RECEPTION AREA - AFTERNOON
Colorful murals don the curved walls of the pediatric reception
A spattering of children accompanied by adults sit and wait.
Lynn and Malcolm are seated at a children's play table. A game
made of a maze of wires sit on the table in front of them.
A young resident DR. HILL takes a seat at the table with them.
He opens up his notes.
What's wrong with Cole?
The tests indicate he did not have
a seizure. In fact he's doing fine.
After some rest, he could go home
Lynn closes her eyes. Lets out a tense breath. Beat. Malcolm
eyes the doctor as he glances back to an academic-looking woman
standing at the reception room door.
There's something else going on,
Lynn opens her eyes and catches the doctor's expression.
What is it?
There are some scratches and
bruises on your son that concern me.
Those are from sports, from playing.
He's not the most coordinated kid,
but I don't want him to stop trying,
you know what I mean?
Doctor Hill gestures to the woman standing near the doorway.
Mrs. Sloan over there is our social
worker at the hospital. She's
going to ask you some procedural
You think I hurt my child?
You think I'm a bad mother?
At this point it's just procedure.
And you should probably calm down.
How do you expect her to react?
You want me to answer your
I'm sorry if I was being vague --
yes, I do.
Who's going to answer mine, you
Dr. Hill stares at her before closing up his files.
What happened to my child today?
Dr. Hill gets up.
Something was happening to him --
physically happening. Something
was very wrong.
Dr. Hill hands his files to MRS. SLOAN and exits the reception
room without looking back.
Everyone in the reception room stares at Lynn. Mrs. Sloan walks
up to the table and waits.
Lynn takes a second. Wipes her eyes. Gathers her considerable
How long will these questions take?
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT
Cole lays rigid in the hospital bed. Blankets bundled around him
as if to shield him. Cole's eyes fixed out the window.
Malcolm quietly enters through the half-opened door to the room.
Cole spots him. Visibly relaxes.
I've decided we shouldn't schedule
sessions anymore. I'll just follow
Cole smiles weakly as Malcolm takes a seat on a rolling metal
Malcolm notices Cole's legs emerging from under the hospital
gown. Cole is wearing A MAN'S DRESS SOCK. The baggy folds ride
up all the way to his knees.
Your father ever tell you bedtime
Malcolm looks at Cole. Malcolm makes a decision. He rolls in
the chair across the room as he thinks. Beat.
Once upon a time there was a prince,
who was being driven around... He
drove around for a long, long time...
Driving and driving... It was a
long trip... He fell asleep...
When he woke up, they were still
driving... The long drive went on--
You haven't told bedtime stories
You have to add some twists and
stuff. Maybe they run out of gas.
No gas... Hey, that's good.
They sit in silence. Malcolm works on a new plot in his head.
Tell me a story about why you're
Do you think I'm sad?
Cole nods, "Yes."
What makes you think that?
Your eyes told me.
Beat. Malcolm's affected by his client.
I'm not supposed to talk about
stuff like that.
Cole smiles softly.
Malcolm stares at the tired child sitting before him in the
Malcolm rolls his stool away from his client as he thinks.
Beat. He slowly moves the rolling chair closer to Cole's bed.
...Once upon a time there was this
person named Malcolm. He worked
with children. Loved it more than
Then one night, he finds out he
made a mistake with one of them.
Didn't help that one at all. He
thinks about that one a lot. Can't
Ever since then, things have been
different. He's become messed up.
Confused. Angry. Not the same
person he used to be.
His wife doesn't like the person
he's become. They don't speak
anymore. They're like strangers.
Malcolm breaks from his thoughts and looks at Cole who watches
him with unwavering attention. Malcolm smiles.
And then one day this person
Malcolm meets a wonderful boy who
reminds him of that one. Reminds
him a lot of that one. Malcolm
decides to try to help this new boy.
He thinks maybe if he can help this
boy, it would be like helping that
Malcolm leans forward, whispers with emotional eyes.
I don't know how the story ends.
I hope it's a happy ending.
Cole looks at Malcolm's caring eyes. Cole stares at Malcolm a
EVERYTHING THAT'S SAID FROM THIS POINT ON IS WHISPERED.
I want to tell you my secret now.
Malcolm blinks very slowly.
Cole takes an eternal pause. A silent tension engulfs them both.
...I see people.
Malcolm just gazes quietly.
I see dead people... Some of them
In your dreams?
Cole shakes his head, "No."
When you're awake?
Cole nods, "Yes."
Dead people, like in graves and
No, walking around, like regular
people... They can't see each
other. Some of them don't know
They don't know they're dead?
I see ghosts.
Malcolm becomes completely motionless. Works to hide his shock.
He and Cole stare at each other a long time.
They tell me stories... Things
that happened to them... Things
that happened to people they know.
Beat. Malcolm's words are extra-controlled. Revealing nothing.
How often do you see them?
All the time. They're everywhere.
You won't tell anyone my secret,
Will you stay here till I fall
Malcolm nods, "Yes." Cole pulls the covers up to his chin and
turns to the window in the room. Malcolm is very still and
stares at Cole.
MALCOLM'S EYES -- slowly turn and survey the room. They find
nothing. Malcolm returns to watching Cole.
COLE'S EYES LOOK AROUND THE ROOM WARILY... WE MOVE IN ON THEM --
TILL HIS EYES FILL THE FRAME.
And then we see what he's staring at. Through Cole's hospital
room window we see the adjacent wing of the hospital building.
Rows of hospital room windows are visible. In the windows are
patients... SOME OLD, SOME YOUNG... SOME ARE DRESSED IN MODERN
HOSPITAL GOWNS... SOME FROM DECADES PAST.
THEY STAND UNNATURALLY STILL IN THEIR WINDOWS... WATCHING,
EXT. STREET CORNER - NIGHT
Malcolm hails a cab. He steps off the sidewalk lost in his
thoughts. Steam rises from a street vent. HEADLIGHTS. A CAR
SUDDENLY EMERGES FROM THE STEAM, NARROWLY MISSING MALCOLM.
Malcolm jerks out of the way. His briefcase falls to the ground.
His tape recorder falls to the sidewalk. Beat. Malcolm reaches
down and picks it up.
His pathology is more severe than
He's suffering from visual
hallucinations, paranoia --
Symptoms of some kind of school age
Medication and hospitalization may
CLICK. Malcolm's hand with the tape recorder drops to his side.
I'm not helping him.
Malcolm stares into the night. He stands alone as thoughts crash
like thunder in his head.
INT. CAR - NIGHT
The STREETS TURN RED as Lynn drives home from the hospital in
silence. She glances down to her right.
Cole is curled up asleep on the passenger seat, back in his
regular clothes, a tiny party hat clutched in his hand. He looks
like a four-year-old.
The sight of him exhausted and still, hits Lynn hard.
Lynn's face drowns in deep concern. She lays a hand on Cole's
head as she drives.
INT. COLE'S HOUSE - NIGHT
The front door opens, Lynn carries Cole in. He's asleep on her
shoulder. She carries him down the hall to his BEDROOM.
Lynn lays Cole gently on his bed next to his German Shepherd
Puppy. Cole curls up with Sebastian.
Lynn watches the two youngsters sleep for a moment. Cole is
curled up asleep with a tiny party hat clutched in his hands. He
looks like a four-year-old. Lynn has been carrying Cole's
sweater from over her shoulder. She pulls it off and begins to
fold it. Her attention is drawn to the sweater. She fingers the
fabric of the back. IT'S RIPPED. Her eyes move to Cole. In the
middle of the back of his T-shirt are THREE SMALL TEARS. Lynn
pushes the fabric open with her fingers and sees DEEP FINGERNAIL
LIKE SCRATCHES on his skin.
Lynn looks around helplessly, fear creeping into her eyes.
INT. HALL - NIGHT
Lynn emerges from Cole's room. She turns OFF THE HALL LIGHTS as
she moves into her room and closes the door.
WE HEAR LYNN PICK UP A PHONE AND DIAL. Beat.
Hi, this is Lynn Sear, Cole's
mother. I wonder if we could
talk about your son and his
friends keeping their goddamn
hands off my boy?
The thermostat on the wall reads seventy-eight degrees.
INT. HALL - NIGHT
A few hours later. The house seems threateningly still. Too
INT. COLE'S HOUSE - NIGHT
An unnatural silence fills each room of the house.
The thermostat on the wall now reads, fifty-two degrees.
A LIGHT TURNS ON FROM UNDER COLE'S DOOR.
The door opens a crack. Cole's tiny face peeks out. Eyes scan
The door opens a little bit more. Cole's knees are pressed
together. His body dances a little. Cole has to pee. He moves
cautiously into the hall.
Cole moves briskly to a door halfway down the corridor. Opens
it. Cole turns on the LIGHT IN THE BATHROOM.
He checks behind the shower curtain, before he turns his back and
pees into the toilet.
A LARGE FIGURE MOVES PAST THE DOORWAY.
Cole instantly stops peeing. His body becomes very still. He
slowly reaches for the toilet handle and flushes. He closes his
pants and turns. He doesn't come out of the bathroom at first.
He just stands there and stares into the darkness of the hall.
HIS BREATH FORMS TINY CLOUDS IN THE COLD AIR.
Beat. Cole finally steps out into the hallway. His eyes catch a
SLANT OF LIGHT now coming from the kitchen.
Cole hesitates before being drawn to the kitchen. He moves down
the hall and turns the corner -- coming to a stop in the doorway
of the kitchen.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
Cole stares at the back of a person cooking food on the stove.
Cole's fear slowly fades away. Beat.
Dream about daddy again?
The person turns. It's not Lynn. It's a strange woman. The
woman's face is demented. A purple gash cuts across her
forehead. ALL THE CABINETS AND DRAWERS ARE OPEN BEHIND HER.
DINNER'S -- NOT -- READY!
Cole's face turns the color of ash.
What are you going to do?
Cole backs up to the doorway.
You can't hurt me anymore!
The woman smiles menacingly as she thrusts her wrists forward...
They've been savagely cut.
INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT
Cole turns and runs down the hall.
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
Cole runs across his room.
He heads right for the homemade tent seated in the corner with
the "DO NOT TOUCH" sign on it. He scurries in. His legs
disappear as the bedsheets flap closed behind him.
The crazed woman stands at the end of the hall. Doesn't come any
INT. TENT - NIGHT
Cole is curled up in the tent. He lays still for a moment
reaching over and FLICKING ON A FLASHLIGHT.
The red interior of the tent gets LIP UP.
It's a striking sight. The bedsheet walls of the tent are lined
with religious pictures taped to the walls. Tiny statues of
saints surround the interior perimeter. We see the statue Cole
stole from the church is in here... This tent is a sanctuary
made by an eight-year-old to hide in.
INT. AUDITORIUM STAGE - AFTERNOON
THE LIGHTS IN THE GYM GO DOWN. THE SPOT LIGHT OPENS ON THE STAGE
AS THE CURTAINS MOVE TO THE SIDES...
A sign to the side of the stage reads, "The third and fourth
grade presents -- Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book."
The parents APPLAUD AS TOMMY TAMMISIMO WALKS OUT ON STAGE in a
(Decent British accent)
There once was a boy, very
different than other boys. He
lived in the jungle, and he could
talk with the animals.
BACKSTAGE, Mr. Cunningham cues the rest of the children.
THE AUDIENCE APPLAUDS AS THE FULL CAST OF THE ACTORS COME OUT.
Some are villagers, others are dressed as trees and animals.
Cole comes on stage holding a painted cardboard monkey.
MALCOLM APPLAUDS FROM THE BACK OF THE AUDITORIUM.
INT. SCHOOL CORRIDOR - AFTERNOON
The arched halls of the private school are lined with posted
drawings and test papers.
Cole and Malcolm walk down an empty hall.
Did you think the play sucked big
Tommy Tammisimo acted in a cough
syrup commercial. He thought
everybody was self-conscious and
unrealistic. He said the play
sucked big time.
I know every child is special in
their own way, but Tommy sounds
like a punk.
I thought the play was excellent.
Better than Cats.
Beat. They continue down the hall in silence. Malcolm takes his
Cole, I was really interested in
what you told me in the hospital,
I'd like to hear more about it.
Malcolm stops at a set of doors at the end of the hall --
realizes Cole is no longer next to him. Malcolm turns to find
Cole frozen about ten feet back.
Malcolm walks to him. He notices Cole's expression as he gets
Cole points to the doors.
Is something in there?
Cole doesn't say anything. Beat.
INT. GYMNASIUM - AFTERNOON
It's a large shadowy GYM. Climbing ropes hang from the wood
Cole is trembling slightly as he stands next to Malcolm.
What is it?
Malcolm follows the child's gaze to the ceiling of the gym.
I don't see.
Be real still.
Malcolm looks to Cole and then turns back to the ceiling.
Malcolm's body becomes very still. Beat.
Sometimes you feel it inside.
Like you're falling down real fast,
but you're really just standing
Malcolm looks at the wood beams and climbing ropes.
You ever feel prickly things on the
back of your neck?
And the tiny hairs on your arm.
Are they all standing up?
Malcolm glances at Cole. Surprise on his face.
When they get mad, it gets cold.
Malcolm looks at the empty stairwell and then back to Cole.
Nothing is said for a few moments.
I don't see anything.
Are you sure they're there?
Malcolm turns back to Cole, he finds the child with tears in his
eyes. Cole looks at Malcolm desperately.
Please make them leave.
Malcolm stares helplessly.
I'm working on it.
Malcolm gently leads Cole away from the stairs.
COLE GLANCES BACK AS HE MOVES OUT OF THE STAIRWELL.
COLE'S P.O.V. -- The ropes and school banners dangling at the top
of the stairs sways a little... But so do THE THREE BODIES
HANGING BY THEIR NECKS FROM A WOODEN BEAM.
It's a truly horrific sight. A BLACK MAN in britches and no
shirt, face beaten to a pulp, hangs in the center. A WHITE WOMAN
in a torn white frilly dress -- tears soaking her face, hangs to
the right. A small MIXED RACE CHILD in half pants, hangs to
their left. The family stares at Cole. They follow Cole with
their tortured eyes as he exits the stairwell.
EXT. HISTORIC PHILADELPHIA - NIGHT
Malcolm walks from the bus stop over the cobblestone streets in
front of Head House Square. The streets are quiet and dark.
Night time has fallen over the city.
He slowly comes to a stop in front of an old building. He holds
his arm up. Uses his other hand to gently touch his hairs on his
Malcolm looks up slowly. Looks around. The dark shadows fill
the corners of the historic building...
Malcolm stares into the darkness... Beat.
...Is anyone there?
A long moment as he waits. The shadows seem to move, then
Malcolm shakes off the moment. He returns his hands to his
pockets as he moves through the dark streets of Philadelphia to
INT. HALL - NIGHT
The doorway to Malcolm and Anna's bedroom is open. STRAINED
VOICES SPILL OUT INTO THE HALLWAY.
Look, he's an eight-year-old child.
He's my only client. If he invites
me to his play, I'm not thinking
about how late I get back... I go.
I have to go. You know that.
That's the only way I know how to
Vincent said I failed him.
(raising his voice)
I WON'T GIVE COLE A CHANCE TO SAY
THOSE WORDS TO ME! I WON'T!
Beat. THE PORTABLE PHONE RINGS OUT IN THE HALL.
Please let it ring.
WE HEAR MOVEMENT. Anna emerges from the bedroom. Eyes raw. She
wipes her tears.
She picks up the phone and moves down the stairs.
Malcolm walks out into the hall. Stops at the top of the stairs.
ANNA'S VOICE CAN BE HEARD SPEAKING ON THE PHONE from downstairs.
I can't talk now.
Malcolm doesn't hear anything as Anna listens to the person on
the phone. She smiles as she wipes her tears. He starts for the
basement door again.
I thought about you too.
Malcolm turns. He stands frozen at the top of the stairs.
Anna's HUSHED WORDS RISING IN THE AIR LIKE A GUN BLAST.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
Lynn adjusts the thermostat as she tries to keep herself warm.
I don't care what they say, this
thing is definitely broken.
Lynn fiddles with the dials. Cole is standing before the beat-up
twelve inch kitchen T.V.
ON THE TELEVISION SCREEN is Tommy Tammisimo. He stands in his
pajamas in a doorway. He coughs.
Mommy, my throat hurts.
Cole watches as Tommy's T.V. mother and father give him a
spoonful of medicine.
Pediaease Cough Suppressant...
gentle, fast, effective.
Cole watches Tommy running around in his T.V. background, the
very next T.V. morning. He's not sick anymore. Tommy waves to
the camera smiling and healthy. The T.V. goes BLACK as Cole
throws his shoe at the power button.
He moves to the dinner table where Lynn is seated. Cole sits.
His hands go on the table. He's wearing a pair of his father's
extra large LEATHER GLOVES. Cole's small hands don't even fill
the palm area. Cole has difficulty trying to pick up his milk
glass with the gloves.
Take 'em off.
Cole removes the gloves from his hand and places them next to his
I don't want them on my table.
Cole moves them to the floor.
Lynn is irritated, this is a sore point between them.
Lynn and Cole eat quietly. Beat.
I saw what was in your bureau
drawer when I was cleaning.
Cole looks up. An anxious expression on his face. Beat.
You got something you want to
Cole just stares.
The bumble bee pendant. Why do you
keep taking it?
Cole looks down at his lap.
It was Grandma's. It's not for
What if it broke? You know how sad
You'd cry. Cause you miss grandma
That's right. So why do you take
Sometimes people think they lose
things and they didn't really lose
them. It just gets moved.
Did you move the bumble bee pendant?
Cole shakes his head, "No." Lynn just stares.
You didn't take it before. You
didn't take it the time after that.
And now, you didn't take it again?
Don't get mad.
So who moved it?
Cole doesn't answer.
There's only two of us.
Maybe someone came in our house --
took the bumble bee pendant out of
my closet, and then laid it nicely
in your drawer?
Is that what happened?
Lynn just stares at Cole.
I'm so tired, Cole. I'm tired in
my body. I'm tired in my mind.
I'm tired in my heart. I need a
little help here.
I don't know if you noticed -- but
our little family isn't doing so
Lynn folds her napkin quietly.
I'm praying for us, but I must not
be praying right.
It looks like we're just going to
have to answer each other's prayers.
If we can't talk to each other --
we're not going to make it.
Now baby, tell me... I won't be
mad, honey... Did you take the
bumble bee pendant?
Beat. Cole's eyes start to water up.
Lynn goes cold.
You've had enough roast beef. You
need to leave the table.
Cole just stares at his mother's expression.
Cole gets up -- never taking his eyes off his mother -- and
leaves the room.
INT. HALL - NIGHT
Cole enters the DARK HALLWAY. He gets startled by the SOUND OF
HIS PUPPY GROWLING.
Sebastian comes racing down the hall and scurries past Cole.
Cole watches his puppy dart into the living room and under a
Cole slowly turns back and looks down the hall.
THE DOOR TO COLE'S ROOM SITS AT THE END OF THE CORRIDOR. IT'S
ALMOST SHUT. COLE WATCHES AS THE DOOR BEGINS TO OPEN VERY
SLOWLY. IT OPENS WIDE. COLE DOESN'T MOVE AN INCH.
SUDDENLY IN THE STILLNESS AND THE DARKNESS, A SMALL FIGURE
SCURRIES FROM ANOTHER BEDROOM INTO THE BLACKNESS OF COLE'S ROOM.
IT HAPPENS LIKE A FLASH.
Cole stops breathing.
THE FIGURE SLOWLY STEPS OUT FROM COLE'S DOORWAY.
IT'S A BOY. A FEW YEARS OLDER THAN COLE.
THE BOY WHISPERS IN A LOW, HOARSE VOICE.
Come on... I'll show you where my
dad keeps his gun... Come on.
THE BOY TURNS. WE SEE THAT THE BACK OF HIS HEAD IS MISSING AS HE
DISAPPEARS INTO THE DARKNESS OF COLE'S ROOM.
Cole is too terrified to move.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
Lynn is kneeling on the kitchen floor trying to coax the puppy
out of the broom closet.
Lynn turns -- surprised to hear her son's voice. Lynn's eyes are
red from crying. She wipes them quickly with the back of her
Mother and son look at each other. Beat.
If you're not very mad... Can I
sleep in your room tonight?
Lynn fights back some tears.
Look at my face, Cole.
Cole does. Lynn smiles at her son.
I'm not very mad.
Lynn hugs him. Beat.
Baby... Why are you shaking?
Cole doesn't answer.
Cole, what's wrong?
Cole just closes his eyes and holds his mom tight.
...Please tell me.
Cole doesn't say a word.
INT. ANTIQUE STORE - DAY
We are in an antique store. Filled floor to ceiling with
furniture and knickknacks.
Anna stands with a YOUNG COUPLE. All three lean over and peer
into a glass cabinet.
An antique engagement ring sits on a velvet stand.
It's Edwardian. Beautifully worked.
Entirely platinum with a mine cut
diamond and an actual color Burmese
Sapphire... It's timeless.
You got anything a little plainer?
The young woman looks at her beau.
Plainer? You want a plain ring to
go with your plain fiance. Is that
how it is?
No, baby. Don't get in a tizzy.
It's just... you're so beautiful...
you're like a Burmese Sapphire all
by yourself. You don't need all
Anna smiles as she takes the ring out of the cabinet.
Why don't you two hold it?
She places it in their hands.
Do you feel longing?
When I touch this piece I feel a
longing. I imagine the woman who
owned this, loved a man deeply she
couldn't be with.
The young woman looks at Anna with great intrigue.
Did he have wavy hair and broad
The young man throws an odd glance at his fiance.
I don't know... But maybe...
A lot of the pieces in this store
give me feelings. I think maybe
when people own things and then
they pass away -- a part of
themselves gets printed on those
things -- like fingerprints.
Beat. The young man and the young woman gaze at Anna silently.
They look down at the ring. They place their hands on it
reverently, delicately -- like checking for a pulse.
Anna can't hold back her sweet smile.
INT. ANTIQUE STORE - DAY
Anna moves to the back desk where SEAN comes out. He's carrying
an antique bench in his arms. He places it down and takes a much
You don't need someone with a
masters. You need a wrestler guy
whose neck is larger than his head.
I need a wrestler with a masters.
Anna fills out the paperwork for the ring.
Anna looks over to find Sean standing at his desk where a
BIRTHDAY PRESENT sits on his tabletop. Sean looks at her.
Anna nods, "yes."
Is it wrestling tights?
Anna smiles as she moves to his desk. Sean begins to tear off
the wrapping paper like a kid at Christmas.
Anna laughs. Sean holds up a weathered hardback copy of "THE
GREAT GATSBY." Beat.
It's a first edition.
Wow, this is too much. It's
Sean puts down the book and hugs her. He pulls back a little,
still holding her. They smile at each other.
Beat. The moment goes on just that crucial fraction of a second
too long. Their smiles slowly melt away as they continue to hold
each other. Nothing happens for the longest time.
CRASH! A SHATTERING DOOR SLAM ECHOES THROUGH THE STORE. Anna
and Jeffery pull apart. They rush past the young man and the
young woman to the front of the store. They find the glass front
door cracked in a spider web pattern.
They carefully push open the door and step out onto the sidewalk.
Look around. No one in sight.
Anna stares down the empty street. A concerned expression on her
EXT. STREET - DAY
Malcolm walks angrily down the sidewalk. He stops as his hand
goes to his side. He winces with pain as he keeps walking.
EXT. SUPERMARKET - DAY
Lynn and Cole emerge from the supermarket.
Cole rides inside the shopping cart tucked between bags of food.
Mother and son are quiet as they move towards their car.
Lynn leans over, looks at the side of her son's pensive face.
She starts pushing the cart faster. Cole wakes from his thoughts
as his hair flutters in the wind. He looks back. Lynn is
smiling as she pushes. Cole turns and raises his hands in the
air like he's on a roller coaster.
They slow and come to a rest at the bumper of their car. Lynn
leans over -- sees the side of Cole's face smiling.
Lynn's face shows a little happiness for the first time. A
little hope enters her eyes as she starts to load the groceries
into the car.
INT. CAR - DAY
Cole and Lynn ride home with a back seat full of groceries.
Cole finishes off a cherry popsicle as he watches out the window.
Lynn looks over.
Let's rent a movie.
Cole bites off the last of the popsicle and glances at his mom.
Cole stares at his mom quietly.
It can even have Jean Claude Van
Damme in it if you want.
Cole smiles at that. He nods, "Yes" joyfully.
His smile fades away as he notices his mother fiddling with the
Cole gazes out the front windshield as the car moves towards home.
Suddenly a piece of paper sticks to the windshield. It's a page
from a Playbill. A 1941 Playbill. It flies away revealing a
woman in a flowing flowery dress from the 40's suddenly walks
into the middle of the street as the pages of her Playbill swirl
in the air.
Momma, look out!
The woman in the flowery dress turns. Her hand rests on her
stomach. WE SEE SHE IS PREGNANT.
Playbills stick to the windshield obstructing the view.
Lynn slams the brakes... Too late.
THE WOMAN SMASHES INTO THE FRONT GRILL OF THE CAR... HER TERROR-
STRICKEN FACE COMES OVER THE HOOD AND CRASHES RIGHT THROUGH THE
WINDSHIELD IN A SHOWER OF BLOOD AND GLASS...
COLE SCREAMS. LYNN SCREAMS... THE CAR SCREECHES TO A STOP IN
THE MIDDLE OF A CONGESTED INTERSECTION.
The line of cars behind them suddenly hit their brakes and swerve
to one side avoiding a mass collision. After a few seconds, the
entire intersection has come to a halt.
Cole who has shut his eyes... slowly opens them.
He looks around fearfully. His eyes move to the windshield. No
broken glass. No blood. And no woman. Cole looks out through
the pristine windshield onto the street where cars are stopped
and staring all around them.
Cole slowly looks over to his mother. He finds her staring at
him in complete and utter disbelief. Her hands clutch the wheel.
The whites of her knuckles showing her fear. She has no idea why
INT. DEN - AFTERNOON
The den is very quiet. Cole and Malcolm sit around the multi-
colored table. Malcolm leans back in his small plastic chair --
arms folded over his chest. Cole sits slumped over the table --
eyes peering out over his arms.
They both look like shit.
You don't wanna ask me questions
Malcolm nods, "No." Beat.
Can I ask you then?
What do you want more than anything?
I don't know.
I told you what I want.
I don't know, Cole.
Why don't you think about it for a
Malcolm doesn't respond. Cole watches him. Beat.
I know what I want.
My goal is to speak to my wife.
The way she and I used to speak.
Like there was no one in the world
How are you going to do that?
I can't be your doctor anymore.
I haven't given my family enough
attention. Bad things happen when
you do that. Do you understand?
The room falls into silence again. Cole speaks extra soft.
You want to go home?
Malcolm stares across at Cole.
I have to.
Soon. One week.
Malcolm looks down at his eyes full with emotion.
I'm going to transfer you. I know
two psychologists that are
Don't fail me.
Malcolm looks up sharply.
Don't give up. You're the only one
who can help me. I know it.
Beat. Malcolm tries to stay composed. It doesn't work.
You want to know a secret?... I
was a paper champion.
Do you know what that means?
Cole shake his head, "No." Tears fall down Malcolm's cheeks.
I means I wasn't what everyone
thought I was...
I was a fake.
You weren't a paper champion.
Someone else can help you. Someone
else can make you happy.
Cole is crying now.
Cole wipes his eyes with his sleeve. They sit quietly and stare
at each other. Beat.
You believe me, right?
A long pause.
Dr. Crowe, you believe my secret,
They both just stare.
I don't know how to answer that.
Cole searches for the answer in Malcolm's eyes... He finds it.
It's not the one he wanted. Malcolm looks down.
How can you help me if you don't
Cole reaches into his pocket. Pulls out a PENNY.
Cole pushes it across the table.
Malcolm gazes at it, then looks up at Cole's pained eyes.
Some magic's real.
INT. BASEMENT - AFTERNOON
Malcolm sits stoically at his desk in his basement. His eyes
gaze at the dusty FRAMED CERTIFICATE FROM THE CITY OF
PHILADELPHIA shoved between two packing boxes.
Malcolm leans his head back against the chair. Stares into the
shadows. Drowns in his thoughts.
Beat. THE CHAIR CREAKS as he slowly sits up again. Malcolm's
eyes scan the room and come to a stop on a box marked with the
"SESSION TAPES -- VINCENT GRAY"
INT. BASEMENT - AFTERNOON
A tape slides into the tape player seated on Malcolm's desk.
Malcolm hits play.
THE SOUND OF A DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING IS HEARD.
Sorry about that. Hope I didn't
leave you alone too long... Wow,
it's cold in here.
WE HEAR A CHAIR MOVE AS MALCOLM SITS DOWN. And then SILENCE.
Vincent... Why are you crying?
A TEN-YEAR-OLD'S VOICE ANSWERS.
(on tape crying)
Did something upset you?
Beat. VINCENT SNIFFLES.
You won't believe.
I won't believe what?
I don't want to talk anymore. I
want to go home, okay? I want to
Okay, Vincent, you can go home.
CLICK. THE TAPE GOES TO SILENCE.
Malcolm just sits in the shadowy basement. He doesn't move for a
Then he hits the rewind button. Stops it. Presses play.
--about that. Hope I didn't leave
you too long... Wow, it's cold in
Malcolm hits the rewind button again. Lets it rewind for a
while. Presses play.
--like needles either. When I was
a kid, I had this blood test down --
threw up chill cheese fries all
over this male nurse.
WE HEAR VINCENT CHUCKLE SOFTLY.
THE SOUND OF A DOOR OPENING IS HEARD.
Excuse me, Doctor Reed is on line
Vincent, I have to take this. Give
me a minute.
FOOTSTEPS AS MALCOLM AND THE SECRETARY LEAVE THE ROOM. THE DOOR
CLOSES. AND THE SILENCE.
Nothing happens for a long time. AND THEN WE HEAR A SUDDEN CHAIR
SCREECH ACROSS THE FLOOR. VINCENT'S BREATHING QUICKENS.
A SLIGHT STATIC STARTS TO FILTER IN ON THE TAPE.
Malcolm's eyes are locked on the spool of audio tape as it spins
in the player.
Malcolm's fingers move to the volume dial. He turns it way up.
THE STATIC NOISE FROM THE TAPE FILLS THE BASEMENT.
Malcolm leans closer to the tape player. Closes his eyes and
DEEP IN THE STATIC... ANOTHER SOUND EMERGES, WHISPERING.
A MAN'S VOICE IS HEARD IN THE ROOM WITH VINCENT
Familia... No dejen que esto me
pase... Mi familia... Yo no
quiero morir... Familia...
Malcolm's mouth opens in disbelief.
EXT. STREET - AFTERNOON
Malcolm stands on a familiar sidewalk. He stares into the bay
window of Mr. Marschal's brownstone.
Inside the window we see Mr. Marschal seated with a group of
older gentlemen his age. They sit around a table eating
sandwiches and talking. Malcolm watches as Mr. Marschal tells a
story to his friends. WE CAN'T HEAR WHAT HE'S SAYING, but when
he finishes everyone at the table laughs. Mr. Marschal smiles.
Malcolm can't help smiling as well. This is not the same man he
saw before. Life has returned to this house. Beat.
Malcolm turns and moves down the street. Each step faster than
INT. CHURCH - LATE AFTERNOON
Malcolm moves to the front of the church down the center aisle.
His eyes scan the empty seats. No one in sight in any direction.
Malcolm stands in the aisle a little out of breath. He holds his
hand to his side as he winces a bit.
Malcolm's eyes float up to the balcony where toy soldiers sit on
the bannister. Cole's head pops up.
He looks down and studies Malcolm.
You been running around?
Malcolm nods, "Yes."
It makes you feel better?
Malcolm nods, "Yes" again.
I like to run around. It's good
You want to ask me questions now?
Malcolm shakes his head, "No."
You want to be a lance corporal in
Company M, 3rd Battalion, 7th
Marines? We're being dispatched to
the Quang Nam province.
Cole holds up his plastic rifleman. Malcolm's eyes show he
Something happened, didn't it?
Yes, it did.
Are you wigging out?
Yes, I am.
We're not gonna start crying again,
No, we're not.
Malcolm glances around the empty church before looking back up to
These people... People that died
and are still hanging around.
Maybe they weren't ready to go.
Cole studies Malcolm's passionate face. A new face.
You really look better.
Maybe they wake up that morning
thinking they have a thousand
things to do and a thousand days
left to do them in... And then
all of a sudden, it's all taken
away. No one asked them. It's
You have nice red in your cheeks now.
Do you know what 'Yo no quiero
Cole shakes his head, "No."
It's Spanish. It means... 'I
don't want to die.'
Not all the ghosts are scary, are
they? Like Mrs. Marschal?
What do those ghosts want when they
talk to you? Think real careful
Cole stops moving. He looks over the balcony railing at Malcolm.
Yes! I think that's right!... I
think they all want that. Even the
You believe now?
Malcolm's stare is unwavering.
I believe both of you now.
And I think I might know how to
make them go away.
Malcolm nods "Yes."
I think they know you're one of
those guys rare people can see them.
You need to help them. Each one of
Everyone wants to be heard.
Cole takes a big sigh. Fiddles with his riflemen.
What if they don't want help? What
if they're just angry and they want
to hurt somebody?
I don't think that's the way it
Cole looks nervous.
How do you know for sure?
Malcolm's eyes are drawn to Cole's arm. Peeking out from under
his shirt sleeve are a set of cuts. Malcolm gazes at them.
Cole and Malcolm stand silently in the center aisle of the back
of the church.
EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT
Malcolm moves around the corner on his street. His mind surges
with thoughts. And then he glances up. His steps slow to a
Further down the sidewalk, coming out of the front door of his
house is SEAN.
Malcolm's face turns to stone. He watches as Sean comes down the
front stairs and starts across the street.
A sudden rage surges up. Malcolm moves towards Sean fast.
Sean reaches his car and enters it. He doesn't notice the figure
closing in on him.
THE ENGINE STARTS. Malcolm reaches the car a second late. Sean
pulls away into traffic almost hitting another car as he does.
Malcolm watches the car disappear down the next street. Beat.
Malcolm turns and looks up at his home with unchecked anger and
overwhelming pain erupting his eyes.
INT. HOUSE - NIGHT
Malcolm stands in his foyer.
Anna is sitting on the stairs, phone in her hand. She faces away
from the front.
Malcolm's a ball of tension as he listens to Anna talk into the
...You just walked out. You're
probably on your way home. I'm
leaving this message... I just
didn't get to say what I meant...
I know you're confused. It's just...
I'm not prepared to do this, Sean.
I don't want to be ashamed of that.
I don't want to have to make
excuses for that.
And I wanted to tell you... I
bought your present wholesale from
a friend. I didn't even pay tax on
it. You don't need someone cheap
By the way, it's a non-refundable
item, it's scratched on the bottom.
Are you smiling?... I hope you're
I'll see you at the store.
Beat. A long silence. Then WE HEAR ANNA GENTLY HANG UP.
Malcolm leans back against an old radiator. Beat.
His eyes close as the SOUND OF HIS WIFE'S FOOTSTEPS RISES UP THE
INT. BROWNSTONE - NIGHT
The house is silent. No movement.
Cole is in his pajamas asleep on the floor of the TENT.
Curled up next to him is Sebastian. They sleep surrounded by
statues and pictures.
Cole's eyes open as he hears HIS MOTHER'S DISTANT VOICE.
Cole, what's happening...
Cole quickly gets up and rushes out of the tent. His foot
catches one of the chairs the tent is fastened to. He stumbles
out. He doesn't realize one of the bedsheets comes loose. It
folds to the ground.
INT. HALL - NIGHT
He doesn't stop as he moves through the shadowy hall and pushes
open his mother's bedroom door.
INT. LYNN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Cole stands in the doorway to his mother's bedroom. He looks
over the room carefully. Everything is still.
Lynn's room is sparse. No paintings, no accessaries. A bed
without a frame sits in the corner. A table with a sewing
machine fills the other side of the room.
HIS MOTHER'S VOICE turns his attention back to the bed.
Cole, what's happening to you?
Cole looks down and finds his mother laying in her bed. Her face
contorted in deep sadness as she speaks in her sleep.
Is someone hurting you?... I'll
beat their asses.
Cole smiles at his mother as he moves to her side. Touches her
face with his tiny fingers.
Momma, you sleep now.
His touch seems to have an effect. Lynn becomes still in her
sleep. Cole watches her carefully.
INT. HALL - NIGHT
Cole closes the door to his mother's bedroom shut. He stands
still in the hallway. Lets out a heavy sigh...
HIS BREATH ROLLS IN A TINY CLOUD IN FRONT OF HIM.
Cole's brow furrows. He breathes again. This time
intentionally. Watches as his breath materializes in the
suddenly ice cold air.
Every muscle in Cole's eight-year-old body becomes rigid. He
takes a second before moving through the inky darkness of the
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
Cole hurries to fix his tent. He ties the collapsed bedsheet in
a knot on the edge of the chair. He checks it carefully before
entering the tent.
INT. TENT - NIGHT
When Cole turns around, he stops breathing.
AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD GIRL VOMITS ON HERSELF IN HIS TENT. She
finishes and looks up at Cole with drawn eyes.
I'm feeling much better now.
The girl reaches out with her withered and emaciated hands --
tiny tubes hang from her wrists. She scratches Cole as he
tumbles back terrified out of the tent. The whole tent collapses --
INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Cole runs hard out of his bedroom and down the hall to the living
room. He gets down to the ground and slides under the wooden-
Sebastian is already huddled in fear under the couch. Cole
presses as far back as he can and waits.
COLE'S P.O.V. -- is of the living room floor. Chair legs.
Coffee table base. Rugs... Everything is still.
Cole holds his breath. He waits. Beat. Nothing happens. He
takes his first short breaths and watches the room for any sign
INT. COLE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
A few minutes later. Cole is now standing in his doorway. He
stares at the hunched figure covered by the collapsed tent.
BEAT. Cole makes a decision. He looks like he is going to cry --
fights it back.
He walks towards it. Reaches down and slowly pulls the sheet off
the figure. The girl vomits one more time before looking up at
I'm feeling much better.
Cole and the little girl stare silently at each other. Cole
holds her stare with trembling eyes.
He opens his mouth -- it takes a while before the words come out.
Do you want to tell me something?
INT. PUBLIC BUS - DAY
A downtown Septa public bus. Malcolm and Cole are among the
spattering of passengers.
They're both wearing suits.
Cole leans his head against the glass of the scratched window.
Cole's large eyes drink in the passing scenery.
COLE'S P.O.V. -- A dark, abandoned building stretches for an
entire block on one side. A MAN IN A GREY, FULL-BODIED UNIFORM
WITH NUMBERS PRINTED ACROSS HIS CHEST... RISES OUT OF THE TALL
WEEDS IN FRONT OF THE BUILDING. HE HOBBLES HIS WAY DESPERATELY
TOWARDS THE BUS. HIS HANDS AND LEGS ARE SHACKLED... HE LUNGES
OUT FOR COLE IN THE PASSING WINDOW.
My name's not Sullivan!
A GUNSHOT ECHOES IN THE AIR. THE MAN'S CHEST EXPLODES IN RED AS
HE FALLS TO HIS KNEES SCREAMING.
Cole jerks back from the window.
The bus quietly drives past THE OLD PRISON BUILDING.
Cole stares down at his lap and tries not to look up anymore.
She came a long way to visit me,
I guess she did.
Cole falls into deep thoughts as he stares down at his dress
shoes. Malcolm slips back into silence.
The city bus slithers through the old Philadelphia streets
working its way downtown.
EXT. HOME - AFTERNOON
A modest home sits on a corner. Its small lawn, groomed
carefully. Rows of parked cars spill out from the driveway onto
People in suits and dark dresses move somberly in and out of the
front door of the home.
Cole and Malcolm join the visitors as they walk slowly towards
A frail, little girl about four years of age sits in a dark dress
on the swings in front of the house. Visitors say hello to her
as they pass. She doesn't say anything back.
Her little sister?
Cole nods, "Yes."
Malcolm and Cole watch her for a moment before following others
into the modest corner home.
INT. HOME - AFTERNOON
The home is packed with people. The gathering of mourners is
standing room only. The AIR IS FILLED WITH DOZENS OF HUSHED
...can you imagine being a child in
a bed for two years?
We move to.
...I think it was six.
We move to.
...Six separate doctors?
We move to.
...the little one's falling ill now...
We move to.
...God help them...
A FAMILY PORTRAIT HANGS NEAR THE FRONT DOOR. Two girls, one
bigger, one smaller sit on the ground in front of their mother
and father. Their smiling faces welcome the mourners.
Malcolm and Cole are standing at the bottom of a staircase.
The front door opens as another group arrives. Malcolm nods to
Cole as the foyer fills up. The two of them quietly disappear
INT. HALLWAY - AFTERNOON
The narrow hall is lined with boxes of medical supplies. I.V.
stands, sterile needles and pads are in the process of being
taken away. The boxes are piled outside a closed bedroom door.
Cole stares at the shut door like he doesn't want to go in. His
eyes move to the large, colorful map of the world that dons the
hallway wall. He gazes at the many countries and continents.
I wish I were somewhere else.
Where will you go, where no one has
Cole stares at the map and then turns to Malcolm.
Don't go home, okay?
I definitely won't.
Cole turns and stares quietly at the door. He waits a long time
before reaching for the doorknob.
INT. GIRL'S BEDROOM - AFTERNOON
Cole closes the door behind him. He turns and gazes at the
girl's bedroom. There's a hospital bed near the window. The
walls are covered with get-well cards and drawings from family,
friends, and school children.
Her shelves are filled with puppets. All shapes and sizes of
puppets. Next to the shelf is a puppet stage and a camcorder on
a mini tripod sitting next to it.
Cole walks to the shelf and picks up a FINGER PUPPET DANCER. He
places it in his pocket.
On the girl's desk, is a large collection of video cassettes.
The labels read, "Puppet Show Christmas 96," "Puppet Show
Birthday party," "Puppet Show class trip"...
Cole reads the labels carefully before moving towards the
closets. He passes the bed.
AN EMACIATED HAND REACHES OUT FROM BENEATH THE BED AND GRABS
Cole jerks back startled. He watches as the girl's hand slips
back under the bed. Cole stays very still. Waits. Nothing
He slowly bends down. His hands touch the floor. He tilts his
head and looks under the bed.
The emaciated little girl who came to his tent lays curled on the
floor. Her bulging eyes glare at Cole. She moves suddenly.
Thrusts a jewelry box forward. It slides across the wooden floor
and stops just before Cole. Cole and the sickly girl stare at
each other. Neither of them say a word.
INT. LIVING ROOM - AFTERNOON
The room is thick with mourners. Most are gathered around the
GIRL'S MOTHER, a young woman in her late twenties. As she moves
through the room to the kitchen, she receives the many cards,
hugs, and flowers that are offered as condolence. Mrs. Collins
leaves the living room.
Malcolm watches breathlessly from the doorway as Cole moves
through the many adults across the room.
The girl's father, MR. COLLINS, a thin man in his late twenties,
is seated on the reading chair next to a T.V. His face is
granite. No one in the room dares to talk to him. He stares
statue-like at an abstract point in the room.
The man doesn't react. Some of the guests look oddly at the
little boy standing before the man.
Excuse me, Mister.
Beat. The man slowly turns and looks down at the boy standing
next to him. Cole is very shaky.
Malcolm watches everything anxiously.
Cole stares at Mr. Collins.
Are you Kyra's daddy?
The man's face begins to crumble. Beat. He nods, "yes" softly.
Cole holds out the jewelry box. It trembles with his hands.
The father just stares at it. Beat.
It's for you...
She wanted to tell you something.
The father becomes very still. His eyes fill with a storm of
confusion and pain. After the longest time, the father reaches
and gently takes the box out of Cole's small hands.
Cole begins to back away...
The father gazes at Cole as he melts into the crowd. Cole
reaches Malcolm and the two then slip out of the house.
The father looks down in a daze. He goes to open the jewelry
box. His movements are slow and strained. He lifts the latch
and open the box.
Mr. Collins stares at an unlabeled video cassette.
INT. LIVING ROOM - AFTERNOON
People in the room start to turn as the T.V. comes on. Mr.
Collins is seated now.
THE STATIC SNOW ON THE SCREEN IS QUICKLY REPLACED BY AN IMAGE.
TWO PUPPETS DANCE ON STAGE. WE HEAR KYRA'S VOICE SING FOR THE
PUPPETS AS THEY DANCE AROUND.
Her father's face forms the most heartbreaking of smiles as he
watches the performance.
The entire room has stopped what they were doing.
WE HEAR FOOTSTEPS COMING UP THE STAIRS. The puppets go limp.
The entire stage gets lifted up. We see it carried away by Kyra.
We can view the whole bedroom now. The camera is seated on her
desk in the corner.
Kyra climbs in bed and pretends to be sleeping when the door
opens. It's Mrs. Collins. She carries in a tray of soup and a
The crowd watches in riveted silence. The father never takes his
eyes off of the screen.
The image of the mother prepares the meal. She uncovers the
fruit and the soup. Places a straw into the drink.
And then it happens.
The image of the mother walks to a closet. Opens it. An
assortment of household cleaners and sponges are kept inside.
She pulls out a bottle of floor cleaner. Reads the label for the
ingredients. Walks back to the food tray, where she unscrews the
cap on the floor cleaner. The mother pours some into the cap.
That's too much.
The mother pours some into the bottle. The remainder goes into
the child's soup. She replaces the cap and puts the bottle back
in the closet.
The image of the mother turns to the bed carrying the tray. She
places the food on a metallic rolling table and swings it over
Kyra, time for lunch.
Kyra pretends to wake from a deep sleep.
I'm feeling much better now.
The image of the mother smiles.
I'm glad, honey.
Time for your food.
Can I go outside, if I eat this?
We'll see. You know how you get
sick in the afternoon.
Kyra picks up the spoon and takes a sip. Her face crinkles at
the taste. She looks up at her mother.
Don't say it tastes funny. You
know I don't like to hear that.
Kyra slowly brings the spoon to her mouth and swallows another
The father SHUTS OFF THE TELEVISION with his trembling hands. He
presses his hands to his eyes like they're burning.
The ROOM IS UTTERLY SILENT.
INT. DINING ROOM - AFTERNOON
Mrs. Collins is seated at the dining room surrounded by friends
and family. She fixes one of the many bouquets of flowers on the
table. It takes her a beat before she feels the stare.
She looks up.
Standing in the doorway to the dining room is Mr. Collins. A
group of ashen faced guests stand in the distance behind him.
Husband and wife's eyes meet. Mrs. Collins smiles softly.
Mr. Collins' eyes tremble with tears.
You were keeping her sick...
The whole world stops.
The mother's face registers confusion at first. Then slow
realization. Her eyes glace at the many faces around her.
She looks back at her husband. His glare is painful. Rage
filling every cell of his body. Tears falling faster down his
Mrs. Collins turns her attention back to the flowers. She
concentrates with all her strength. Beat. Her hands begin to
(to no one)
I took care of her...
Her words are met with ice cold stares. The first tears stream
down her face. The pretty flowers of consolation in her hand
tumble to the floor.
EXT. HOUSE - AFTERNOON
Cole sits on the swings next to Kyra's four-year-old sister. She
doesn't look up.
Malcolm waits in the driveway. Watches them from a distance.
Cole reaches into his pocket and pulls out the little FINGER
PUPPET. He holds it out.
You liked it, she said.
The four-year-old stares at the finger puppet, then quietly takes
it in her small hands.
The two children don't say anything for a while. Malcolm glances
to the house, where all movements in and out of the home has
Cole turns to the four-year-old.
She watched out for you.
The little girl finally looks up. She has the saddest eyes.
FOUR YEAR OLD
Kyra's not coming back.
The little girl stares down at the finger puppet. Cole lightly
places a hand on her shoulder.
Nothing else is said. Nothing else is done.
Malcolm looks across the two children on the swings. One
mourning. One consoling.
Malcolm takes it in, overwhelmed.
INT. PROP ROOM - AFTERNOON
Stanley Cunningham moves between two curtains and comes to a prop
room door in the back. He puts an ear to the door, listens and
then knocks. After a second, he enters.
Mr. Cunningham finds Cole sitting in a poor villager costume as a
FEMALE TEACHER kneels next to him and makes final adjustments.
Cole and the woman glance at Mr. Cunningham.
They're calling for the stable boy.
Mr. Cunningham looks around the room and then directly at Cole.
Who were you talking to?
The Female Teacher looks to Cole and nods.
She stands up. The entire left side of her face has been burnt
horribly. Grotesquely disfigured.
My favorite student.
THE FIGURE OF THE WOMAN MOVES PAST MR. CUNNINGHAM IN THE DOORWAY.
SHE DISAPPEARS INTO THE DARKNESS.
Cole puts on his tattered hat.
Thanks for giving me this part, Mr.
Mr. Cunningham smiles.
You're welcome, Cole.
They share a look before walking out of the prop room and
entering the hall.
We see them walking away.
You know when I was in school,
there was a terrible fire in this
section of the theater. They
rebuilt the whole thing.
EXT. SCHOOL - AFTERNOON
It begins to rain. Malcolm pulls his jacket over his head as he
scurries up the stairs of the school.
INT. HALL - AFTERNOON
Malcolm stands and catches his breath in the corridor of St.
A teacher rushes in the hall with an armload of costumes.
Has the play started yet?
The teacher hurries past Malcolm and down the hall without saying
Is that a yes?
The teacher scurries around a corner. Malcolm watches her
INT. AUDITORIUM - AFTERNOON
Malcolm moves quickly to a set of double doors and opens them.
He steps into the DARKNESS OF THE AUDITORIUM.
The play is in full swing... Cole and a large group of costumed
children are on stage. Cole holds a broom and wears a worn-down
costume. He stands to the side -- hidden by others.
A boy in a shiny-armored costume walks to the center of the stage
where a large cardboard stone is seated. A sparkling HANDLE
sticks out of the top.
The armored boy tries to lift it. It won't budge.
Bobby, the chubby boy from the party, is dressed in a magician's
costume. He is Merlin. He steps forward.
Only he who is pure of heart can
take the sword from the stone.
Merlin looks to the group on stage. Looks right at Cole.
Let the boy try.
The group of villagers on the stage LAUGH AND MOCK THE SUGGESTION.
Tommy Tammisimo is dressed in a mismatched costume -- he hops
around, clearly embarrassed.
But he's the stable boy. He cleans
after the horses.
Silence village idiot! Let the boy
Tommy turns a deep shade of red and hobbles off the stage.
Merlin looks to Cole. He smiles a true friend's smile.
Cole hesitates. Not because he's acting. He really hesitates.
It takes him a moment before he steps forward.
Cole steps up to the stone. He places his hand around the
handle. Begins to pull. The sword starts to come out.
The villagers GASP.
Cole raises the shiny sword out of the stone and high above his
Merlin and everyone on stage bows. A SILENCE FILLS THE
Malcolm watches his client, standing unafraid in the spot light
for the first time.
The villagers rise and rush to Cole. They scoop him up and carry
him around the stage in celebration. Cole chuckles and then
starts laughing as the group of eight-year-olds try
unsuccessfully to keep him up. They slowly sag and then
collapse. All the students are laughing as they try to untangle
Malcolm watches with utter joy as Cole becomes indistinguishable
among of a group of twenty children giggling and enjoying
themselves on stage.
INT. SCHOOL LOBBY - LATE AFTERNOON
The rain comes down a little stronger now on the stained glass
Malcolm sits on the stairs in the lobby. Cole walks back and
forth in front of him. Cole still holds the sword from the play.
How come we're so quiet?
Malcolm shrugs his shoulders.
I think we said everything we
needed to say.
Maybe it's time to say things to
someone else? Someone close to you?
Cole keeps moving. Beat.
I'm not going to see you anymore,
Malcolm doesn't respond for a while. He shakes his head, "No."
You were great in the play, Cole.
And you know what else?
Tommy Tammisimo sucked big time.
Cole smiles huge. Beat. Cole's sword drags on the tile as he
continues to circle around the hall. We get the idea he doesn't
want to be still.
...Maybe we can pretend we're going
to see each other tomorrow?
Cole glances at Malcolm.
Just for pretend.
Beat. Malcolm exhales very slowly as he gets up.
Okay, Cole, I'm going to go now...
I'll see you tomorrow.
Cole watches as Malcolm walks down the stairs to the entrance.
Cole stops moving.
See you tomorrow.
Malcolm's face shows his losing battle against his emotions. He
doesn't turn to look back.
EXT. CAR - LATE AFTERNOON
A rain-soaked bridge. A two-lane road merges to one lane around
a severe car accident. A rear-ended car has jumped the sidewalk
and hit the guard rail of the bridge. The driver is helped out
by police. He's shaken but okay. Police flares guide the cars
as they crawl by.
Lynn and Cole are standing still in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Lynn leans her chin on the steering wheel. She tries to stare
through the layer of water on the glass. She hits the windshield
I hope nobody got hurt.
Beat. Lynn glances over to Cole who sits in his seat silently.
You're very quiet.
You're mad I missed the play,
Cole shakes his head, "No."
I have two jobs, baby. You know
how important they are for us.
I'd give anything to have been
I'm ready to communicate with you
Tell you my secrets.
The way he says the words gives Lynn a chill.
What is it?
Cole takes a long time.
You know that accident up there?
Someone got hurt.
A lady. She died.
Oh my God.
Lynn leans over the steering wheel. She wipes the windshield
with her palm to see better.
You can see her?
Lynn gazes out the windshield at the line of red tail lights.
Where is she?
Standing next to my window.
A WOMAN IN HER LATE FORTIES, HELMET CRACKED, HAIR MATTED WITH
RAIN AND BLOOD, STANDS STARING THROUGH COLE'S PASSENGER WINDOW.
Lynn looks over slowly. She doesn't see anything outside his
window. She eyes Cole.
Cole, you're scaring me.
They scare me too sometimes.
You see ghosts, Cole?
They want me to do things for them.
They talk to you?
Cole nods, "Yes."
They tell you to do things?
Cole nods "Yes" again. Lynn becomes upset. She nods with grave
understanding. Cole watches her.
What are you thinking, Momma?
...I don't know.
You think I'm a freak?
Lynn's eyes moves to Cole.
Look at my face.
Cole gazes at her intense expression.
I would never think that about you
... ever... Got it?
BEAT. Cole smiles a tiny smile. Lynn glances down.
Just let me think for a second.
She drowns in her thoughts. Beat.
Grandma says hi.
Lynn looks up sharply.
She says she's sorry for taking the
bumble bee pendant. She just likes
it a lot.
Grandma comes to visit me sometimes.
Lynn becomes still. Her face is unreadable. When she speaks,
her words are extremely controlled.
Cole, that's very wrong. Grandma's
gone. You know that.
She wanted me to tell you--
Cole, please stop.
She wanted me to tell you, she saw
Lynn's eyes lock on Cole's.
She said when you were little, you
and her had a fight right before
your dance recital. You thought
she didn't come to see you dance.
Lynn brings her hands to her mouth.
She hid in the back so you wouldn't
see... She said you were like an
Lynn begins to cry.
She said, you came to her where
they buried her. Asked her a
question... She said the answer is
Lynn covers her face with her hands. The tears roll out through
What did you ask?
Beat. Lynn looks at her son. She barely gets the words out.
Do I make her proud?
Cole moves closer to Lynn. She cradles him in her arms. Mother
and son hold each other tight.
WE PULL BACK FROM THE WINDSHIELD, BACK PAST THE FRONT BUMPER
WHERE THE FIGURE OF THE BLOODED WOMAN STANDS STARING AT COLE AND
WE SEE A MANGLED BIKE PULLED OUT FROM THE REAR-ENDED CAR ON THE
SIDEWALK. WE MOVE UP AND AWAY FROM THE RAIN-SOAKED BRIDGE.
EXT. MALCOLM'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Malcolm walks quietly down the sidewalk towards his home.
INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Malcolm enters the living room and smiles at what he sees.
Anna is asleep in a chair. She's curled up in a ball. In a way,
she looks like a little girl.
Their WEDDING VIDEO PLAYS SOFTLY ON THE TELEVISION.
Malcolm watches himself and Anna cutting their wedding cake. THE
CROWD APPLAUDS AS THEY FEED EACH OTHER PIECES.
Malcolm turns from the television and takes a seat next to Anna.
He gazes upon his wife softly.
Anna, I've been so lost.
I need my best friend.
Silence. Malcolm gazes for a beat before looking down.
I miss you.
Malcolm's eyes move back up. He looks at his sleeping wife.
ANNA'S TALKING IN HER SLEEP.
Malcolm can't believe it.
I miss you.
Beat. Her lips move again. Eyes never open.
What, Anna? What did I do? What's
made you so sad?
Why did you leave me?
I didn't leave you.
Beat. She becomes silent. Anna falls back into deep sleep, her
arm slides down. SOMETHING SHINY FALLS OUT AND ROLLS ON THE
Malcolm's eyes watch as it comes to a stop... Beat. He gazes
curiously at a GOLD WEDDING BAND laying on the wood floor.
Confusion washes over his face. He looks to Anna's hand... An
identical gold wedding ring sits on her finger.
Beat. Malcolm looks down at his own hand... HIS WEDDING RING IS
Malcolm is completely lost. He takes a couple steps back. Looks
around in confusion...
His eyes come to rest on the door to his basement office. He
looks in disbelief at the set of DEAD BOLT LOCKS on the door.
Malcolm doesn't know what the hell's going on... His eyes are
drawn to the dining table... Only ONE PLACE SETTING is out on
His eyes search again -- they finally lock on the WEDDING VIDEO
PLAYING. Malcolm watches images of himself on the screen... His
eyes fill with a storm of emotions...
Malcolm looks to Anna's face and becomes very still. Beat.
CLOSE ON ANNA... TILL HER SLEEPING FACE FILLS THE FRAME... IT'S
NOW WE NOTICE FOR THE FIRST TIME, THAT ANNA'S BREATHS ARE FORMING
TINY CLOUDS IN THE COLD AIR.
(like he's falling
down a deep hole)
FLASHBACK: INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
VIOLENT GUN SHOTS RING THROUGH THE BEDROOM.
Anna rushes across the room to a crumpled Malcolm laying on the
floor. Malcolm's hands are clutched at his side.
Anna pries his hands away to reveal the tiniest tear in his
shirt. Anna's eyes catch something dark -- moving... A POOL OF
BLOOD IS FORMING UNDER MALCOLM. She slowly turns him over on his
side... A horrific sight... An enormous exit wound on his lower
back pours out blood uncontrollably.
Malcolm's jaw is locked open. His breaths are long and strained.
ANNA IS SCREAMING, BUT HER VOICE SOUNDS FAR AWAY.
Malcolm's open jaw releases a long strained breath and then
becomes silent. Anna tries to cover the wound with her hands
PRESENT: INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
MALCOLM'S VOICE SHAKES THE ROOM.
Anna just sleeps.
Malcolm staggers back. His breathing erratic.
He takes a seat across from her. He looks at his wife and
suddenly becomes very still.
Anna's still curled up asleep, but tears are falling from her
Anna doesn't move, but her tears seem to fall a little faster.
I think I have to go.
Malcolm's mind is racing.
I just needed to do a couple of
And I needed to tell you something.
You were never second... Ever.
Malcolm gazes at his wife. Tears fall from both their eyes.
You sleep now, Anna. Everything
will be different in the morning.
Anna lays still.
The room falls into silence. Malcolm sits still across from his
wife. He drinks her in with his eyes.
Malcolm leans back in the chair. Slowly closes his eyes. They
WE ARE TIGHT ON ANNA... WE SEE HER SOFT BREATHS FORMING A TINY
CLOUD IN THE COLD AIR...
WITH EACH BREATH, THEY BECOME LESS AND LESS VISIBLE... THE ROOM
BECOMING LESS AND LESS COLD.
SOON HER BREATHS AREN'T VISIBLE AT ALL. SHE BREATHES GENTLY,
FALLING BACK INTO A PEACEFUL SLEEP.
WE PULL BACK to reveal Anna alone in the living room.
THE WEDDING VIDEO PLAYS ITS LAST SCENES... MALCOLM IS AT THE
MICROPHONE ON THE DANCE FLOOR IN FRONT OF ALL THE GUESTS. HE'S
HOLDING A GLASS OF WINE.
...I think I've had too much to
Malcolm smiles as he takes a sip. The guests chuckle as they
I just have to say, this day today
has been one very special day...
I wish we all could stay and play.
The crowd erupts in LAUGHTER.
Malcolm looks around at everyone's smiling faces.
Beat. Malcolm takes his time. He looks just past the camera.
Anna, I never thought I'd feel the
things I'm feeling. I never
thought I'd be able to stand up in
front of my friends and family and
tell them what's inside me...
Today I can...
Malcolm's eyes fill with water.
Anna Crowe... I am in love. In
love I am.
FADE TO BLACK: