Rude Awakening: The Final Chapter

INT. BARN – NIGHT

Faith stands precariously on a wooden chair with a rope around her neck. The rope extends over a wooden support beam and ties off at a pillar across the room. Her hands are bound behind her back.

 

EXT. BARN

The figure in the hooded parka approaches with a gasoline can.

 

INT. BARN

Snow shoes crunch on the frozen ground. Clouds of condensation billow from the parka hood.

 

FAITH

Who’s there?

 

Faith stiffens when she feels the rope tighten around her neck.

 

FAITH

Andy?

 

The hooded figure pours gasoline in a circular pattern around Faith’s chair. Faith sniffs the air.

 

FAITH

You don’t have to do this…

 

The hooded figure stops pouring and removes the hood and mask to reveal Mira’s hideously disfigured face, partially covered by heavy makeup and a wig.

MIRA

There’s something you should know.

 

FAITH

(in disbelief)

Mira?

 

MIRA

There’s something you should know. Those were the first words I heard when I awoke. Before I saw my face for the first time in ten years. Before I learned the price of my coma recovery.

 

FAITH

What are you doing?

 

MIRA

Mild imperfections from an otherwise flawless treatment. That’s what my doctor told me.

 

Mira lights a match.

 

MIRA

If you could see me, Faith, you’d understand my desire to see you suffer.

 

FAITH

Why?

 

MIRA

It’s not about you anymore, Faith. As much as you like to think that everything revolves around you, it doesn’t. You were suppose to die the night of that car accident because I planned it that way. Because as much as I hated to admit it, the world did revolve around you. You had mother’s attention. You made the grades, the friends…the opportunities I never had. A life I could only dream of.

 

FAITH

You need help, Mira. I can help you if you let me.

 

Faith wobbles to maintain her balance.

 

FAITH

Please!

 

MIRA

How does it feel to be on the edge? To stare death in the face? To know the last man you loved I stole? To know the last man you fucked, I killed. To know I strangled your precious Margaret with my bare hands.

 

INT. BRANIGAN’s FORD EXCURSION

Submerged to his neck in freezing lake water, Branigan desperately kicks at the rear window. He gasps for his last breath as the water rises above his head. He searches through the murky cabin and finds a flashlight on the floorboard. He hammers at the rear window until the GLASS BREAKS.

 

EXT. LAKE SURFACE

Branigan breaks the surface, shivering, barely able to move his arms as he swims for the snow-covered embankment. He claws at the ground, pulling himself onto land. In the distance, smoke rises from the farmhouse chimney.

 

INT. FARMHOUSE

 

Branigan bursts through the front door, collapsing on the floor, his teeth chattering uncontrollably as he crawls his way toward a roaring fire.

HE HEARS A WOMAN’s DISTANT SCREAM AND PULLS HIMSELF TO HIS FEET. STRIPPING OFF HIS WET CLOTHES, HE GRABS A TOWEL FROM THE LINEN CLOSET.

 

HE TAKES A PHONE FROM THE WALL AND PUNCHES HIS GNARLED FINGERS AT THE BLURRY BUTTONS. CONFUSED, DISORIENTED.

 

BRANIGAN

Offfcerrrr neeedsss hppppp.

 

Through the window he sees the glow from the fire inside the barn.

 

INT. BARN

Flames fan out across the barn, climbing the walls and ceiling. A ring of fire encircles Faith.

 

MIRA

Terror, Faith, isn’t something you see, it’s something you feel. It’s something you taste. Something animals can smell. An emotion more powerful than love or hate.

 

FAITH

I’m sorry…

 

EXT. BARN

 

Branigan trudges toward the barn in a jacket and wool mittens.

INT. BARN

Faith slips off the stool and hangs precariously with the rope around her neck.

BRANIGAN

Hold on!

Branigan hammers the tied off rope with the edge of a shovel blade. The rope breaks.

 

Faith falls toward the fire. Branigan squints, coughing through the smoke as he pounces on Faith to extinguish the flames. He lifts her off the dirt floor and carries her away from the fire as Mira appears THROUGH THE SMOKE LIKE AN EVIL APPARITION and slams the shovel against Branigan’s legs, KNOCKING HIM TO THE GROUND.

Mira hoists the shovel above her head. About to strike her final blow, she hesitates when Andy Neyman JUMPS FROM the LOFT and tackles her into the fire.

Branigan carries Faith from the barn that’s now engulfed by the raging inferno.

Sirens wail with the glow of flashing lights as a caravan of police SUVs approaches in the distance.

 

EXT. CAPE COD HOME – DAY

SUPER: “Six months later.”

A hundred acres of wooded property form the backdrop of Faith’s new home. In the foreground, two burly men in overalls and baseball caps carry a sofa from the truck to the house.

A cloud of dust swirls along a stretch of gravel road leading to the property. A black Crown Victoria with tinted windows moves swiftly toward the house and stops behind the van. Branigan gets out wearing khakis and a sport coat. His mirrored glasses reflect Faith’s image as he approaches.

 

FAITH

You’re late.

 

They embrace and kiss. Branigan’s hug is hesitant and awkward. Faith touches her hand to his face. She can read his thoughts.

 

FAITH

Why?

 

BRANIGAN

Faith…

 

FAITH

You can’t spend your life chasing shadows.

 

BRANIGAN

It’s what I do.

(long beat)

 

FAITH

He saved our lives.

(beat)

Mira killed those people. Andy was only trying to protect me.

 

BRANIGAN

You don’t know that.

 

FAITH

Does it matter?

 

Two movers return from the house and hustle single-file up the truck’s loading ramp.

 

BRANIGAN

You think that saving us makes him innocent?

 

FAITH

It makes him human.

 

Faith crosses her arms. Branigan walks back to his car.

 

FAITH

Why’d you come here?

 

Branigan opens the rear driver-side door and Zeus leaps out, barking as he sprints across the lawn toward Faith.

 

Branigan slides behind the wheel and starts the engine. He powers down the window before he backs the car away.

 

BRANIGAN

(shouting)

He likes the wet food better.

 

INT. FAITH’s KITCHEN – NIGHT

Faith rests a bowl of water on the floor beside a bowl of wet dog food. Beyond the kitchen, moving boxes fill the gap between a sofa and love seat.

 

INT. BEDROOM

Faith feels the locked latches on the windows and draws the blinds.

 

INT. BATHROOM

Standing in a bath towel with her hair pinned back, Faith draws a bath and pours a cup of purple beads in the tub.  The water foams. The air is steamy. Above the roar of running water, FAITH HEARS A CAR DOOR SLAM. SHE TURNS OFF THE WATER.

FAITH

Zeus come.

 

Zeus trots into the bathroom.

Faith stands up in the tub and wraps her body with a towel. Suds cling to her neck and arms. Zeus follows her to–

 

THE BEDROOM

Faith opens her nightstand drawer and removes her .357 revolver. She cocks the hammer and moves slowly toward–

 

THE LIVING ROOM

Zeus barks at the front door, pawing at the mail slot. A figure’s silhouette moves behind the vertical window panes.

 

A LOUD KNOCK AGAINST THE GLASS. FAITH JUMPS.

 

BRANIGAN (O/S)

It’s me. Don’t shoot.

 

FAITH

Branigan?

 

Faith sets the gun on the sofa and unlocks the door. Branigan enters and wraps his arms around her. Zeus slinks through the basement door, which Faith inadvertently bumps into, shutting the dog downstairs.

 

FAITH

You couldn’t stay away…

 

Branigan kisses her forehead.

 

BRANIGAN

I’ll get my bags.

 

EXT. FAITH’s HOUSE

Branigan pops the trunk and reaches for his suitcase. He pauses at the sound of a cracking branch.

 

INT. FAITH’s HOUSE

Faith opens a bottle of wine.  She sighs when a hand touches her shoulder.

 

FAITH

That was fast.

Dressed in a brown wig and glasses, Mira strangles Faith with both hands, throwing Faith against the wall with enough force to crack the drywall. Faith’s wine glass shatters on the stone floor.

Zeus barks fervently, clawing at the basement door.

Dishes smash against the floor as Faith STRUGGLES TO PRY MIRA’S HANDS AWAY.

 

GUNSHOTS RING OUT. Mira collapses on the kitchen floor amidst the fallen dishware and A BUTCHER KNIFE.

Branigan enters the kitchen with his gun trained on Mira. He checks her carotid pulse and carries Faith to the–

LIVING ROOM SOFA

With his back to the kitchen, Branigan rests Faith on the floor.

Mira screams as she attacks Branigan from behind, wielding the butcher knife with her eyes glazed over. Her shirt is soaked in blood.

Branigan turns and FIRES A PANIC SHOT THAT MISSES.

He falls backward with Mira on top of him, wrestling for control of the ten-inch blade.

Faith fumbles for her gun on the sofa, searching, clawing…until her hands come across the cold steel.

Faith jams the muzzle in Mira’s ear and pulls the trigger. BANG! MIRA’s HEAD EXPLODES.

 

EXT. FAITH’s HOUSE – NIGHT

A ’76 Ford station wagon with fake wood paneling drives away with the windows down. An expressionless Andy Neyman sits grinning behind the wheel.

 

THE END

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.