the Ghost and the Darkness - by William Goldman
"THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS"
FADE IN ON
A TINY FIGURE OF A MAN hurrying toward camera. The figure gets
larger as he approaches. But as yet we cannot tell who he is or
where we are.
MALE VOICE (over)
This is the most famous true story
of Africa. It happened a hundred
years ago, but even now, when
children ask about it, you do not
tell them at night.
(The FIGURE continues
It began with the race to build a
railroad across Africa.
But this is not about building a
railroad- it is about Patterson.
And now we can tell that the FIGURE is a YOUNG MAN, A LIEUTENANT
COLONEL. This is PATTERSON. He is gifted and bright and serious,
serious about his life, serious about his career. He has been
successful in everything he's attempted, in part because of his
talents, in part because he is willing to outwork anybody.
AND THIS IS WHERE WE ARE: ENGLAND.
More specifically, in a high-ceilinged corridor of an elegant
building - lovely woodwork all around. Everything is neat,
everything is clean and in order.
MALE VOICE (over)
Patterson was thirty. A brilliant
engineer. A fine man, but do not
become attached to him- there are
many fine men in this story but do
not become attached to any of them.
So many of them die.
Patterson stops at a large ornate door, knocks. Waits.
MALE VOICE (over)
And remember this: only the
impossible parts of what follows
(Now the door opens
Just a wonderfully handsome man standing in the doorway. This is
ROBERT BEAUMONT - 40, with an irresistable smile. We're in his
office and the place reflects the man - clean, cold. There are
maps and charts on the walls. He ushers Patterson inside.
(The great smile flashes)
John Henry Patterson, come in. I'm
(They shake hands)
Firm- I like that, tells me a lot
-now why don't you tell me about me?
To get you started, many people find
me handsome, with a wonderful smile.
I'm sure you agree.
Winning personality, heaps of charm?
My wife is the game player in the
(staring dead at Patterson)
Look at me closely, Patterson: I am
a monster. My only pleasure is
tormenting people who work for me,
such as yourself.
(again the smile - only
now it's chilling)
One mistake and I promise you this:
I'll make you hate me.
PATTERSON, as he realizes Beaumont is serious. Beaumont turns
sharply and moves to a large map.
THE MAP. It covers a great deal of East Africa with a very clear
line that ends at Lake Victoria, a distance of some 600 miles.
(pointing along the line)
We are building this railroad
across Africa for the glorious
purpose of saving Africa from the
Africans. And, of course, to end
slavery. The Germans and French
are our competition. We are ahead,
and we will stay ahead providing
you do what I hired you to do-
A MORE DETAILED MAP. This one ends at "Tsavo," 130 miles in.
-build the bridge over the Tsavo
river. And be finished in four
months time. Can you do that?
I'm sure you've examined my record.
So you know I've never yet been
late on a bridge.
You've never built in Africa.
But I have in India- every country
You'll need your confidence, I
I've got a reason far beyond
confidence: my wife is having our
firstborn in five months and I
promised I'd be with her when the
Very moving, Patterson; I'm touched
you confided in me.
But I don't really give a shit about
your upcoming litter. I've made you
with this assignment-
-don't make me break you.
(smiling right back)
You won't have the chance.
(glancing at his watch)
Any further words of encouragement?
Then I've a train to catch.
They look at each other a moment in silence - and it's very clear
they do not like each other. Patterson turns, leaves and we
A RAILWAY STATION, IMMEDIATELY AFTER
A train is loading up. A lot of activity, a lot of noise.
Patterson stands in the midst of it, anxiously looking around.
HELENA PATTERSON, hurrying through the crowd. Early 20s, with the
kind of serene beauty of Jean Simmons. She is still slim, has not
begun to show. She spots him, puts a smile on, goes straight into
I tried to be late, John- it would
have been easier if you'd gone.
(They are nutty about
each other - he nods)
We're not much good at goodbyes,
Tell me about Beaumont- does he
understand how brilliant you are,
how lucky he is to have you?
It was embarrassing- the man showered
me with compliments.
They start to walk hand in hand along the platform toward a
quieter place. Patterson is suddenly very serious-
-you're geting that downtrodden look
-well, it's just...
...other men don't abandon their wives
at such a time-
-oh please- if I'd been against your
taking this, you would have abandoned
me. You've been desperate to see Africa
your whole life.
What if there are complications?-
-not "what if"- there will be, there
always are. Which only means that our
"son" and I- note my confidence- will
have an excuse to come visit.
THE TRAIN WHISTLE sounds.
(He kisses her hand)
Such a gentleman.
(Now he holds her)
I am desperate to see Africa- but I
hate the leaving.
HELENA. She hates it, too.
You build bridges, John-
-you've got to go where the rivers are.
They hold each other a moment more, then break, then back into
each other's arms a final time, then-
THE TRAIN, and thick clouds of steam-
-Patterson runs into the clouds and disappears.
HOLD FOR A MOMENT.
Patterson runs out of the steam and we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
A DIFFERENT TRAIN, A DIFFERENT COUNTRY, A DIFFERENT WORLD.
This is the train to TSAVO and Patterson is alone on the engine
seat- a wooden bench in front of the engine used by railroad
inspectors and visiting VIPs. Behind it is a white circular piece
of wood used to keep the engine heat from the passengers.
NIGEL STARLING, running as best as he can alongside the train,
trying to pull himself up onto the engine seat.
STARLING is a terribly appealing young man. Clothes do not fit him
well, and he is constantly tugging at this sleeve or that
shirttail, trying to get things right. He wears glasses, tends
nonetheless to squint at the world. He is, above all, a good man,
morally impeccable and very much a product of these Victorian
(as Patterson helps
You're Patterson, yes?
Nigel Starling- I'll be assisting you
at Tsavo- but surely Beaumont must
have told you that.
He just gave me his "monster" speech.
That. I know Robert seems dreadful,
but when you truly get to know the man,
well, he's much worse.
And I'm one of his defenders.
Forget him for now- it's your first
ride to Tsavo- I think you'll find it
(And on that word-)
STARLING coughing like crazy, hands over his face which is caked
with dust- he and Patterson stare out at an absolutely dreary
(shouting toward Starling)
"Breathtaking" doesn't begin to do it
(As Starling starts to
laugh, his mouth opens
and sand flies in, and
his coughing fit returns
THE DESERT. ENDLESS. LATER IN THE DAY.
THE TWO OF THEM, bent over, arms covering their faces as the dust
gets worse- a wind has kicked up.
THE TRAIN, TRYING TO MAKE IT UP A STEEP GRADE. STILL LATER.
Patterson and Starling are walking beside the train now, helping
to push it, trudging through the dust. All the other passengers
spread out behind them, also pushing- the train obviously needs
all the assistance it can get.
INSIDE A RAILROAD CAR, EARLY EVENING.
Patterson and Starling, filthy, sit together. Starling has nodded
off. Patterson has a book open in his lap-
-we can tell there are drawings of African animals- not all that
Now Patterson's eyes close and he sleeps.
THE TRAIN POUNDING THROUGH THE NIGHT.
Stokers shovel coal. They are exhausted but they keep at it.
PATTERSON. WAKING IN THE CAR, RUBBING HIS EYES. IT'S DAWN.
He stares out-
-and from his face it's clear something special has happened. And
now, at last-
SOMETHING SPECIAL- and what it is, of course, is Patterson's first
view of the Africa of his imagination.
Because the desert has ended, and now there are grasses and trees
and one more thing-
-bursts of animals. On both sides of the train.
A flock of birds materializes here, a cluster of gazelles doing
there amazing leap there.
Patterson is like a kid in a candy store.
PATTERSON AND STARLING, back outside in the engine seat again.
Aren't they amazing?
WHAT HE'S POINTING AT: Some giraffes running along, their absurd
shape suddenly graceful as they eat up the ground in incredibly
PATTERSON AND STARLING, staring out.
You know the most amazing thing
about them?- they only sleep five
minutes a day.
(Starling glances at him-
clearly, he didn't know that)
A FAMILY OF HYENAS. Close by, loping in their scary way.
Don't much like them.
The females are bigger- only animal
here like that- have to be or they
wouldn't survive because the males
eat the young.
STARLING studying Patterson. Clearly, he didn't know that, either.
SOME HIPPOS moving along. Starling turns to Patterson.
Anything special about them?
Just that they fart through their
Must make kissing something of a
I've lived in Africa a year and I
don't know what you know. How long
have you been here?
(looks at his watch)
Almost three hours.
But I've been getting ready all my
(Now, from them-)
A BUNCH OF IMPOVERISHED-LOOKING NATIVE WOMEN. They hold children
who wave at the passing train. The children are more impoverished
looking than their mothers.
Every time I see something like that,
I know we're right to be here- to
bring Christianity into their lives,
enrich their souls.
Beaumont says it's to end slavery.
We all have our reasons. Mine is
simply to make them understand
happiness, accept salvation, know the
serenity that comes-
-best I stop. One of the by-products
of my belief is that I can become
amazingly boring. But I know God smiles
(They really like each other)
Have you got that in writing?
(Starling, amazingly good
natured, laughs. And now-)
A WHITE CLAW.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
Hundreds of white claws.
KEEP PULLING BACK TO REVEAL
They aren't claws at all, they're thorns as sharp as claws and
they're on a twenty-foot high thorn tree.
And there are dozens of those trees, packed together. All mixed in
with other trees, low and stunted, and thick underbrush and baked
-now the train begins to slow.
Smoke drifts across.
A bunch of wildebeest scatter off the tracks.
Welcome to Tsavo.
(on the word)
We have arrived at the train station area and what we see is a
place that is still being built. There are tin shacks; a water
tower is under construction-
-men are working everywhere, for that's what Tsavo is: a place for
THE TRAIN goes slower still.
No one stands idly around here.
But no one looks happy either.
ONE MAN is apart from the rest: this is SAMUEL.
An ageless Masai, tall and slender, he has a smile that can light
PATTERSON AND STARLING as they step off the train.
who is approaching)
Samuel is camp liaison- absolutely
indispensable- the only man here
Does he speak English?
(not softly enough)
And very poor French.
Samuel- John Patterson.
(as they shake)
(gesturing to the
-we have been getting ready for
Excellent. Could I see the bridge
I've got medical supplies to
deliver. Come along to the hospital
when you're done.
I will bring him, Nigel.
We should realize by now that Samuel's was the voice we heard at
the very beginning of the picture.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL, starting to walk. They pass the water tower.
Standing on top of it in a precarious position is an extremely
powerful INDIAN. He waves to Samuel who waves back. This is SINGH.
WORKERS study Patterson as he moves by. Not smiling. Up ahead,
some SIKHS are erecting tents. Not smiling.
Why do the workers look unhappy?
Because they are here.
Because Tsavo is the worst place in
(He points ahead)
Come, John- to the bridge.
(And on that-)
THE RAILROAD TRACKS as the camera pans along.
THE RIVER in the distance as they walk toward it.
And here is as good a place as any to explain just what the spot
where the movie takes place was like.
There were five hundred men working for Patterson. And they lived
in a spread out area. A bunch of Indian coolies who might have
come from the same town back in their country might choose to live
in one cluster of tents. A group of natives might be in another
What we have then, as far as living places are concerned, are
dozens of clusters of tents. (Eventually, as the terror began,
these areas all got surrounded, each with its own thorn fence.)
The places we'll come to know best are, among others, Patterson's
living area, the hospital tent area, the area by the river where
the bridge is to be built, etc., etc.
As they move, Samuel points out various camps.
A SECT OF INDIANS is getting ready for prayer.
ANOTHER SECT OF INDIANS is eating.
A GROUP OF AFRICANS are cleaning their tent area.
Anyway, you get the idea. Just remember that the place covered a
wide expanse, maybe a mile square, maybe more.
Okay, back to the story.
(as they pass the INDIAN
tent area where prayer is
It's all wonderfully under control,
Samuel- you've done a splendid job.
Thank you. The truth is this: you
have to work at it constantly.
The workers don't get on?
Get on? They detest each other.
Obviously the Africans hate the
Indians. But the Indians also hate
the other Indians. Some of them
worship cows, while others eat them.
(As they move on)
PAN ALONG TO
MORE RAILROAD TRACK.
And suddenly the track just stops in mid-air as we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL standing high above the Tsavo River. The
track has come to the edge of the area above the riverbank- where
it just stops-
-and picks up on the far side. All that's missing, in other words,
is the hundred-yard-long bridge that will connect the pieces of
(to the far side)
Railhead is across there.
THE DISTANCE. Nothing can be made out clearly but there are great
clouds of dust.
Three thousand men laying track- when
the bridge is done, it all joins up.
Patterson nods, says nothing, but goes to his haunches, staring at
the space where the bridge is to be.
Did it look like this in your mind?
(shakes his head)
This is more difficult-
PATTERSON. CLOSE UP. Excited.
-but how wonderful that it's
difficult, it should be difficult-
what better job in all the world
than build a bridge?- make things
connect- bring worlds together- and
get it right!
(Now from Patterson-)
THE HOSPITAL TENT
as Patterson and Samuel walk in. Patterson glances around-
-it's not bad at all. Of course there are some patients, injured
or with fever. But like the rest of the camp we've just seen,
everything is working well, everything is under control. Starling
Finish your tour?
And anxious to get started.
(indicating the hospital)
What is this, mostly malaria?
Yes- but their suffering is only
transitory- once they except God
into their hearts, He will vanquish
MAN'S VOICE (over)
That's just vomitous talk, Nigel- the
poor bastards will relapse if you keep
on that way.
(As they turn-)
DOCTOR DAVID HAWTHORNE. A tough, middle-aged cockney. And a heavy
drinker. A man who hasn't been tactful in twenty years.
I'm David Hawthorne, this is my
hospital. And my advice to you is,
"don't get sick in front of it."
That was meant to be charming,
sorry. I seem to have lost the knack.
You never had it.
Nigel and I don't like each other much.
(breaking the tension)
I am also liaison between these two.
Clearly you don't agree about building
This sham? Ridiculous. Who needs it?
It's only being built to control the
ivory trade, make men richer.
Then why do you stay?
Who else would hire me?
Beat you to it, didn't I?
Oh yes, almost forgot- brought you a
little welcoming gift.
(Now he gestures and we-)
A NERVOUS ORDERLY who approaches them. He has been freshly
bandaged across one shoulder.
This is Karim, one of my orderlies-
attacked by a man-eater earlier
today- first incident of that kind
Patterson says not a word, just studies the wounded man.
A man-eater attacks and you're such
a buffoon you almost forget to mention
Well, he got away, didn't he?
Riding a donkey not far from here
when the lion sprang on them- donkey
took the brunt of it- then suddenly
the lion ran off.
PATTERSON. Listening. No emotion on his face.
HAWTHORNE. He's kind of enjoying this. Bearing down.
I know it's your first day and of
course you must be tired from the
-but what are you going to do about
(a long pause, then evenly-)
Karim will have to show me where it
happened. And of course, I'll need
With any luck, I'll sort it out tonight.
(And he walks out, leaving
an astonished Starling
staring after him)
PATTERSON'S TENT AREA
Starling has a tent there, too, as do Samuel and Hawthorne. And
there are half a dozen ORDERLIES.
Right now, Patterson is unpacking, moving in and out of his tent.
Starling, sipping tea, sits and watches.
I couldn't believe it when you said
"sort it out." As if it were the most
normal thing in the world. "Ho-hum,
what lovely tea, I think I'll bag a
killer beast this evening, nothing
much else going on anyway."
Well, he put me in a spot, didn't he?
But that's all right- after all, I'm
responsible for everything that happens
here. And it certainly won't do much
for morale if a man-eater's on the prowl.
He goes into his tent with some books now and we go with him.
There is a photo of Helena on a small table. A photo of an ELDERLY
COUPLE, clearly his parents. His clothes are stacked with
precision. He arranges his books precisely too.
Clearly, John Patterson is a man who believes in order.
You said "of course" you'd need the
donkey. Why "of course"?
(taking a rifle,
We know three things about man-eaters.
First, they always return to where
they've attacked before. Second, they're
always old- they can't catch other
animals so they turn to us. And third,
they're always alone- they've been cast
out by their pride because they can't
STARLING, sipping his tea and there's no hiding it, he's excited.
But also a bit reluctant.
I don't suppose I could watch.
Might be exciting for you.
I've never been all that adventurous.
I wouldn't be in the way?
I'd love the company. And I've hunted
all my life.
Well, why not? You seem so calm and
(standing, teacup in hand)
Why not, indeed!
(Now from that-)
A SLIGHTLY WOUNDED DONKEY
It's roped loosely to a tree, bells around its neck. When it
moves, they make a sound. Middle of the night. A night wind.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
We're in a clearing with thick trees all around.
KEEP PULLING BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON AND STARLING, seated uncomfortably in a tree on the edge
of the clearing, twelve feet up in the air. Patterson has his
rifle ready. This next is all whispered.
I hate to be a bother, John, but the
cramp's getting worse.
(Pulls up his trousers-
his leg is knotted)
The pain is actually quite unbearable
I'm sure you mean that to be comforting,
-you'll have to deal with it, Nigel.
That is precisely my plan- but back in
(And he begins to climb down)
PATTERSON, grabbing him.
They own the night- nobody moves when
there's a man-eater out there.
Starling glumly obeys. Then-
John? I know this isn't the time to ask,
Since you'd only been here three hours
when we met, are you sure this is how
you hunt lions?
Not to terrify you, Nigel, but it's worse
than you think- I've never even seen one.
STARLING, not pleased with this news. He massages his calf, tries
to get comfortable, which is impossible. Patterson just stares at
JUST BEFORE DAWN
The donkey dozes. So does Starling. Patterson has not so much as
Now the bushes behind the donkey shake just a little.
And the donkey is suddenly awake and scared-
-and then it all goes crazy- the donkey screams and a lion appears
from the bushes and Patterson fires one shot and the sound
-and Starling topples from the tree to the ground, landing shocked
-he has landed close to the dead lion- he stares at it.
(even more amazed)
So that's what a lion looks like.
(Now from the tree-)
THE HOSPITAL TENT AREA - JUST AFTER DAWN
HOLD for a moment.
One shot- one-
Now Samuel comes walking into the shot, really excited-
-it's the first time we've seen his wonderful smile.
Patterson has made the nights safe
KEEP HOLDING FOR JUST A MOMENT MORE.
As he walks on, behind him come THREE COOLIES carrying the body of
the lion. As dozens of men come running in from all over to see
the dead man-eater-
(Now as the crowd
continues to grow-)
A ROUGH ENGINEER'S DRAWING OF WHAT WILL BE THE BRIDGE
It has two embankments on either side of the river.
These embankments are big- forty feet wide, fifty feet high.
PATTERSON AND STARLING standing on the high ground where the
embankment will start. From here, there is a slope down to the
Also present is UNGAN SIGNH, who we saw earlier standing
precariously atop the water tower. Singh, enormously powerful, is
another assistant. Bright, a great worker, another main character
in what is to follow.
Now Patterson starts to walk down the slope towards the river-
it's not that easy to do without falling, but that doesn't bother
him. He talks and gestures as he explains to the other two who
move down with him.
Singh, for all his massive size, moves like a cat. Starling does
not, slipping and sliding.
All right, I'd like to start the
-sufficient supplies on hand?
With much more on the way-
(loses balance, falls)
-John- we could have had this chat on
-true enough- but without the comedy
(Starling, amazingly good
natured, smiles, gets
THE RIVER as they scramble down to it.
THE SLOPE they've come down- it's a long way back to the top.
THE THREE MEN. It's a glorious morning.
How lucky we are.
Aren't we full of ourselves today?
I think it's because of the lion.
You know, I too have killed a lion.
How many shots did you need?
SINGH. Almost embarrassed.
I used my hands.
He holds his big hands up, palms out. Starling looks at Singh to
see if he means it-
-he means it all right. Now, from Starling's perpetually surprised
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON sighting through it- we are on the far side of the river
now. Singh is there, Starling, too.
Behind them: a field of tall grass.
All right- thee second embankment
will go there.
(He gestures toward
You do plan to mark it a bit more
precisely than just-
In your honor, Nigel. And you and
Singh will be in charge of building
them- and you'll also build the
roadbeds and the three foundation
pillars- and you'll be finished in
eight thrilling weeks.
John, it will not be easy.
Nigel, you'll just have to use your
(And he smiles, repeating
Singh's gesture, both
SINGH. He smiles back, starts to reply. But his words stop, his
smile dies. He just stares and we-
WHAT HE'S STARING AT- the surrounding field of tall grass. Nothing
unusual about it.
PATTERSON. He stares, too.
THE FIELD OF TALL GRASS- suddenly it begins to bend and sway in a
PATTERSON. Silent. As before. Starling follows his glance.
THE FIELD. And now the field is making odd patterns- as if
something unseen were moving through.
PATTERSON. Quiet. Just the wind.
THE FIELD. Nothing visible. But the odd pattern seems to be making
its way across the field.
SINGH AND STARLING. Quiet. Just the wind.
THE FIELD. The odd pattern seems to stop. Around it, the wind
makes different shapes of the grass.
PATTERSON, as the wind continues to blow. He continues to stare at
the spot where the pattern stopped.
SINGH. As before. Except for one thing: suddenly, he begins to
shiver, as if from cold.
THE BUILDING SEQUENCE
And what we see are a lot of cuts of a lot of activity.
Huge wooden logs are carried in and hammered to each other and
driven deep into the ground- the framework for the embankments.
And Singh carries the heaviest loads and leads the workers- and as
the structure rises, he is the one darting along the top, high in
the air, pulling more logs up, helping here, helping there.
And alongside him is his assistant, ABDULLAH, a little man with
glasses and very bright eyes.
Meanwhile, Starling is leading construction on the embankment that
is on the far side of the river. And he does his best, tries to
help on the top part as it rises- but alas, he is a bit on the
clumsy side and balance is a problem for him. But he stays with
it, does well.
And Patterson, in tremendous spirits, helps when needed, but
mostly he is dealing with other aspects of the bridge- such as the
placements of the three stone foundation pillars-
-he wades into the water, climbs the structures, takes it all in-
and at the start he is still in the uniform he has worn since the
start of the story- but it's clumsy for labor-
-so he changes halfway through to civilian clothes-
-which is all he wears from now on.
And the workers tire in the heat- but Singh keeps them going,
working with the power of three-
-and there are accidents and explosions, injuries and falls- and
Hawthorne appears when needed to help with the wounded-
-it's hard, brutal work-
-but gradually, the wooden structure part is finished- two huge
skeletons facing each other across the Tsavo River- and now work
on the roadbed is going full blast and in the river, the three
foundation pillars are taking shape-
TONS OF RED ROCK- being shoved into the wooden skeleton to
complete the embankments. As this goes on-
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL in the river- the foundation pillar work is
going very quickly.
Patterson stops working, looks across the river-
-movement in the grassy area on the far side.
SEVERAL NANDI TRIBESMEN as they rise out of the grass, gesture to
Samuel who gestures back. The Nandi are a tribe of powerful little
men, primitive, with teeth that have been sharpened to points.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL watching them.
What are they looking at?
You- they cannot believe you're
You don't know what Tsavo means, do
It means "slaughter"...
THE NANDI TRIBESMEN, staring at Patterson, shaking their heads.
THE TWO EMBANKMENTS, as more and more red rock is shoved and
pushed into shape.
THE THREE FOUNDATION PILLARS- almost finished.
THE ROADBED. The same.
THE NEAR EMBANKMENT as still more rock is forced in and
THE FAR EMBANKMENT done at last-
-and Singh stands on the top of the near one while across the
river, Patterson pulls Starling to the top of the other.
And they all look at each other- the embankments are both
finished- THE THREE OF THEM are flying-
-and what they do is this: hold their hands out toward each other,
in Singh's gesture. It's kind of become their password.
HOLD. A big moment for them all!
SINGH'S TENT AREA
He sits around a fire and the man is exhausted. His dinner plate
is beside him, untouched. He's too tired to eat.
PATTERSON'S TENT AREA
Starling is there, getting ready for bed. He's wiped out, too.
SINGH, going into his tent, lying down, breathing deep.
STARLING is in his tent, turning out his lamp, half asleep
PATTERSON in his tent, closing his eyes.
SINGH, deep asleep in his tent-
-he shares it with a dozen others and they're all deep asleep.
They lie on the floor of the tent, heads together toward the
center pole, feet toward the edges of the tent.
HOLD ON SINGH. It's very dark. HE AND HIS MEN just lie motionless,
Now the CAMERA moves up, high into the center of the tent, looking
down at the circle of men.
They don't move, not even an inch. The steady breathing is the
YES, KEEP HOLDING.
Nothing is going on down there. Nothing at all.
Not a goddamn thing.
KEEP ON HOLDING. KEEP ON HOLDING.
And now two things happen at the same time- Singh's eyes go wide-
-and he starts to slide out of the tent, as if being pulled by
some giant invisible wire-
SINGH. CLOSE UP. Screaming.
THE OTHER MEN IN THE TENT, waking, staring around and
SINGH as he slides out of the tent into the night and his screams
grow even louder as we
THE OTHER MEN IN THE TENT and it's like a bomb just went off, they
rise, spin, cry out, stare-
THE NIGHT OUTSIDE AND SINGH'S BODY sliding along the ground. It's
pitch black, and he's going head first now, face upwards and he's
going ast tremendous speed and whatever the hell it is that's
making this happen is something we can't make out- because it's so
dark and because it's on the far side of the man, and his body is
in our way and
UP AHEAD, some bushes and
SINGH, his body going faster than before and his cries are
THE NIGHT and his body and there is no sound at all coming from
him now and there is no sound from whatever it is that is making
this happen- all we see, barely, is the limp body of the big man
as it skims along and-
UP AHEAD NOW, a low clump of bushes.
SINGH'S BODY, coming closer and
THE BUSHES and as we get in on them we can tell they are thorn
bushes and now-
SINGH, suddenly rising magically in the night, his body flying
over the bushes and gone!
PATTERSON AND STARLING, early morning, their rifles held in front
of them, racing along, suddenly stopping, staring down and
THE GROUND. At first we can't make out much. Then we can- a spot
PATTERSON AND STARLING, hurrying on again.
THORN TREES, and as they force their way through them-
A LARGE VULTURE, wings spread wide as it floats slowly to earth-
-as it lands we can see A DOZEN OTHER VULTURES are already there,
-but we can't make it out. We are in an area of grass and shadow-
-and specks of blood.
PATTERSON, cries out in shock and fury, fires his rifle, races
THE VULTURES screeching and screaming, taking off, and as we watch
them soar into the morning sky-
HAWTHORNE'S VOICE (over)
What the lion must have done, once
he'd killed Singh, was lick his skin
off so he could drink his blood-
Hawthorne is examining Singh's body, trying to be professional,
but he's clearly upset- it's awful.
-then he feasted on him, starting
with his feet-
(evenb more upset)
-please- you needn't be so graphic-
You intend "sorting this out" tonight?
I'll try- but this feels so different-
that old lion I killed could never
carry off a man Singh's size.
(maybe a little alarmed)
But you said they were always old.
That's what the books say...
(Now from that-)
FLAMES RISING IN THE DARKENING SKY. NOW-
ABDULLAH in tears. Where are we?
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
This is Singh's funeral pyre.
Singh's body is being burned.
A LOT OF INDIANS are there. We've caught sight of some of them
before- they worked with Singh on the embankment or lived with him
in his tent.
There is a terrible sense of shock.
Patterson stands at the rear. He is terribly moved. Now, unseen by
the others, he holds his hands out in Singh's gesture one final
THE FLAMES; they continue to rise...
Night. The flaps that were open when Singh was alive are now shut
PATTERSON, the middle of the night. He is alone, fifteen feet up
in a tree near Singh's tent. He holds his rifle, ready for
anything. He cannot get comfortable.
THE AREA- nothing, no movement.
SINGH'S TENT. As before.
THE AREA. No sign of movement of any kind. Dead.
THE MOON. Lower in the sky. The night is growing to a lose but
there is still darkness.
PATTERSON. Battling fatigue- but now, for a moment, losing- his
eyes, against his will, start to close, and as they do-
TWO HUGE YELLOW EYES. That's all we see, just the eyes and they
are near Patterson's tree and they are staring up at him and-
PATTERSON, startled, grabbing his rifle more tightly, staring down
THE HUGE YELLOW EYES- only they're gone.
PATTERSON, blowing on his hands, looking toward the sky.
THE SUN, RISING, THE NIGHT DONE.
PATTERSON, wrinkled and weary, frustrated and sore, walking back
toward his tent area. Now he stops.
ABDULLAH and a large group of workers- only they're not working.
They smoke, play cards, sit around.
PATTERSON, steaming, going up to Abdullah.
You were contracted to work-
-malaria epidemic; very sudden.
Let me see the sick.
(not backing off)
Oh, you're a doctor now, too?
There is no reason for fear.
On that I choose to remain dubious.
Two are dead now in two nights.
(And on that news-)
PATTERSON. Rocked. He didn't know. Behind him now, Starling
hurries up, Samuel alongside.
Second death? Where?-
-far end of camp- man wandering alone
at night. Hawthorne's examining the
There's even less of him than of Singh.
(just shakes his head)
But it's crazy- the lion shouldn't be
that hungry this soon.
(getting control- he
looks to Samuel)
We should construct thorn fences
around every tent area. Fires burning
Fine. Get started. And a strict curfew-
no one allowed out at night.
Send half your men to the bridge, the
rest with these two.
And I'm sorry for my tone earlier. But
I repeat- there is no reason for fear.
I will kill the lion and I will build
Of course you will, you are white, you
can do anything...
(They look at each
other. They are not
THE THORN BUSHES WE SAW ON OUR ARRIVAL TO TSAVO
ENDLESS NUMBERS OF THEM. There is a machete-like sound as we
A BUNCH OF WORKMEN, led by Samuel, chopping down branches. They do
it with care- these are claws-
-STARLING, in charge of another area, and he's not hanging back,
he's taking less care than the others, hacking away with his
machete, moving in between bushes and
ONE OF THE BUSHES, SNAPPING BACK into Starling, and Starling
taking the blow with his arms- the claws cut his clothing-
-his arms are starting to bleed-
-he is unmindful, continues to wade into the bushes, chopping at
them, cutting them down. He is a good man doing a good thing and
right now, he is possessed.
PATTERSON, leaving his tent area, lost in thought, going toward
the bridge. Up ahead is a grassy area.
THE GRASSY AREA
For a moment, nothing. Then there is the same kind of movement we
saw with Singh. Something is making the grass move-
-only now there is no wind... HOLD.
PATTERSON. Did he see it? We'll never know.
STARLING, in charge of a thorn fence that is halfway finished. His
clothes are shredded. A WORKER has finished with a section and
satisfied, moves on-
-but Starling is far from finished. He grabs the thorns with his
bare hands and squeezes them together.
Not good enough- look, it's got to
be tighter. Tighter.
THE AREA IN WHICH HE'S BEEN WORKING. FENCES ARE WELL ALONG TOWARD
COMPLETION. IT'S LATE AFTERNOON.
We see more fences around more camp areas.
KEEP PULLING UP
The entire place is filled with fences now, all the individual
The skies are starting to darken- dusk is coming fast.
Fires start up. Dozens of them.
Now workers come racing home to their camps, anxious for safety
before darkness takes over. They zig-zag this way, that way,
dodging past each other sometimes they slam into each other, fall,
get up, run on-
THE SUN. Falling out of the sky.
THE CAMP. The fires rise higher. No one moves... HOLD.
STARLING in the main tent area. He is bathing his bloody hands.
Samuel is with him. Both are exhausted.
Patterson brings them each drinks. They nod thanks, drain them.
They stand there together, lit by the flames of their fire. You
get the sense these three will be friends forever.
What a good week.
You mean nobody died?
(shakes his head)
We all worked together. Worthy deeds
were accomplished. I liked the labor.
My mother insisted on piano lessons-
broke the dear woman's heart when I
turned out to be tone deaf- but she
still was always at me about being
careful with my hands.
(looks at them)
I like the blood, is that strange?
Oh yes, I think so.
(Starling smiles, starts
Look out, Samuel, here it comes.
Even you two must admit that it is a
glorious thing, what Man can
accomplish. When there is a common
splendid goal, there are no limits.
Think what we will accomplish when we
all have God's warmth in our hearts.
(Samuel's eyes have
closed; he begins to snore.
Patterson can't help
STARLING. As good natured as ever.
I am immune to your disdain.
(He looks at them now)
When I came here, I had but one small
goal: to convert the entire continent
(shakes his head)
Now I've decided to move on to
something really difficult: I will not
rest until both of you are safely in
I've had four wives, good luck.
The struggle is the glory...
(HOLD ON the three friends)
PATTERSON, the next morning, working with Abdullah and some others
at the bridge.
STARLING completing work on the fence from the day before. It's
high and taut and he's done a terrific job.
A BUNCH OF OTHER MEN are working near a large grassy field. One of
the men starts a chant. The others pick it up. It's really pretty.
PATTERSON wading into the river- he stops as the sound of the
chant comes distantly to him on the wind.
THE WORKMEN CHANTING LOUDER. It's turning into a stunner of a day-
glorious blue sky broken up by pale clouds.
STARLING. Pauses briefly, listening to the sound of the men.
THE MEN WORKING AND SINGING. As before.
THE GRASSY FIELD. As before-
-except it isn't. Because if you looked carefully, something
flicked in a 180 degree arc. No telling what it was, it was gone
THE MEN WORKING, SINGING ON.
PATTERSON waist deep in the river, listening to the sound of the
men, of the birds. The sun is higher in the sky.
THE GRASSY FIELD-
-and here it comes again, only the other way this time, flicking
back in another 180 degree arc-
-still hard to tell for sure what it was but maybe it was this: a
tail. Now quickly-
PATTERSON wading out of the river as Samuel comes into view. He
holds an envelope.
Thank you, Samuel.
(watching as Patterson
(glancing at the letter)
I expect so- it's from my wife.
Do you love her?
I do, actually; very much.
(his wonderful smile)
You give me hope, John.
(As he walks away-)
STARLING, probing at the thorn fence, searching out any last
Behind him now, in the tall grass, something moves.
Starling, intent on his work, notices nothing.
THE SINGING MEN, getting more and more into it.
PATTERSON, by the river, reading the letter.
There is a large tree up the riverbank. It casts a large shadow.
In the shadow now, something moves.
Patterson, intent on his reading, notices nothing.
Darling one- the big excitement
yesterday was when some school-
children spotted a whale-
-they were looking at me, John-
HELENA, in their bedroom, moving across to the window, staring
out. She now has a considerable stomach.
That was an attempt at humor but I
don't feel very funny these days. I
miss you terribly and after our son-
I still have total confidence- well,
after he's born I think travel might
be broadening. As he kicks me at
night I'm quite sure he's telling me
he definitely wants to come to Africa.
Thought you might need reminding.
PATTERSON by the river. He smiles, folds the letter. Now-
THE SINGING WORKMEN at Tsavo station- and they sense how good they
sound, and they really concentrate on it, on making that sound
-there must be twenty of them, working and singing-
PATTERSON, turning his head sharply and
STARLING, doing the same and
THE SCREAMING WORKMEN and they're running now, running and
shrieking and that's all we see, the workmen-
-some of them run left-
-some run right-
-and now a few of them are starting to cry.
A FAT COOLIE running and running, glancing back, screaming louder,
running on and on and
-a shadow in the grass- no telling what- but it's big and it's
THE FAT COOLIE and this next goes so fast it could be a dream- or,
more accurately, a nightmare-
SHOCK CUT TO
A GIGANTIC WHITE MANED LION as it leaps onto the Fat Coolie,
brings him to earth, bites his neck in two, kills him, just-like-
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL, as they race away from the river and
STARLING, running from the fenced area- he holds a rifle in his
ANOTER PART OF THE CAMP AND A DIFFERENT BUNCH OF WORKMEN- they
freeze as the screams reach them and
PATTERSON, on the way to his tent area and
DIFFERENT WORKMEN listening in fear and
PATTERSON, racing to his tent, grabbing his rifle and cartridges
STARLING, running toward the screaming and
PATTERSON, as he charges ahead, loading his rifle on the fly and
SAMUEL, carrying more ammunition, running behind Patterson,
keeping up and
TSAVO STATION and nothing is visible now- the men are gone and
from this angle, it looks deserted and
PATTERSON, catching Starling, leading him into the TSAVO STATION
area, Samuel just behind them.
A RECTANGULAR SHED, ahead of them. They move to it, slow-
-then they stop-
-a sound is heard- from around the corner- the sound continues-
Patterson glances at Starling- the sound could be this: the
crunching of bones.
PATTERSON, checking his rifle.
STARLING, doing the same. Samuel, holding the extra ammunition,
moves close to Patterson. Now-
PATTERSON as he suddenly steps away from the shed, rounding the
corner and as he does-
THE WHITE LION, with the Fat Coolie- the lion is crunching at his
-then the lion stares toward the shed as we
PATTERSON, moving out into clearer view, Starling and Samuel right
with him. THE LION is a good distance away.
THE WHITE LION, a low growl coming from him as he takes the
coolie's body by the shoulder, begins backing away with it.
PATTERSON, dropping to his knees for the shot and
STARLING, doing the same and
THE WHITE LION, growling louder and
PATTERSON, taking aim and
SAMUEL, crying out and pointing and suddenly we're into super slow
-Samuel has pointed back toward the roof of the shed and-
-and this thing is suddenly there-
-this huge dark thing and it seems to suddenly appear from the
flat roof of the shed and
THE SUN, blocked out as this dark thing moves across it, fully
stretched, it seems to go on forever and
PATTERSON, turning around to see and
STARLING, turning too, and we're coming back into regular motion
now as we
This enormous BLACK-MANED LION diving into the three, sending them
all sprawling and
THE WHITE MANED LION roaring and
THE BLACK MANED LION roaring, running to the other and
THE TWO LIONS IN CLOSE UP.
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS, for that is how they will be referred
-and The Ghost has blood and bits of flesh on its mouth-
-The Darkness has eyes that are crazed-
-they are destruction bringers, these two, they can kill the old
and the young and the fat and the strong-
PATTERSON, lying in pain, dazed, shoulder bleeding, trying to
reach for his rifle and
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS, the white and the black, as they move
toward the field of tall grass, roaring and
SAMUEL, lying in pain, his leg is bleeding and
PATTERSON'S RIFLE and
PATTERSON, as he reaches it, manages to lift it and the roaring
sounds are deafening now and
THE TWO GIGANTIC MALES, backing into the tall grass-
-they roar one final time-
PATTERSON, gun ready to fire but it's futile and he knows it as we
THE TALL GRASS and they're gone, the grass is full of moving
patterns from the wind- that's all we see- just the grass blowing
this way, that way-
PATTERSON, staggering to his feet, staring at the grassy field.
Jesus, two of them...
SAMUEL. Dazed too. He points. Patterson registers, turns and
STARLING, LYING DEAD, his throat ripped open. HOLD briefly on the
young man, then-
THE STATION AREA
A train from Mombassa is slowly pulling in. And things are fairly
chaotic- there is the usual activity of what is ordinarily one of
the busier parts in camp-
-but now, something new has been added: Abdullah is there with
several dozen coolies who work under his command. THey are waiting
for the train.
Patterson and Samuel are there too- and at the moment, Abdullah
and Patterson are in the middle of a screamer- first one of them
walking away, then coming back, then the other doing the same.
(shouting over the noise
of the approaching train)
-oh, sing a different song, Abdullah-
(gesturing toward the men
who stand by the train
-there's nothing wrong with your men
so stop telling me there is-
(advancing on Patterson now)
-you do not call me a liar- you know
nothing of their health- consider
yourself fortunate I persuaded so
many to stay- consider yourself
fortunate I have decided to stay-
You think you matter?
(gesturing toward the
train which is close to
-Beaumont is on that train- he
PATTERSON, moving in on Abdullah now-
He sees this chaos, he'll replace
He'll replace you, too- that's all
you really care about.
You think so? Fine.
It's best you get out. Go. Tell all
your people to go, run home where
they'll be safe under the covers and
when the bridge is built and the
railroad is done, they can tell their
women that out of all the thousands
who worked here, they were the only
ones to flee-
(And he wheels around,
starts to walk away as we-)
ABDULLAH. Quiet, staring after Patterson.
SAMUEL. Patterson has won. As the two of them exchange a quick
BEAUMONT standing in the door of a passenger car, handsome as
ever. Somehow his clothes are still pressed.
Patterson moves up. In a splendid mood. Samuel is happy too.
(stepping off the train)
How could it be? I hate Africa.
Now there is the sudden sound of men singing- Patterson looks
around and we
ABDULLAH and his workmen, moving away from the train- they are
singing the same song that the workmen sang just before The Ghost
and The Darkness attacked- it's pretty- but it's also a little
BEAUMONT. Listening a moment.
Lovely sound- they seem happy.
Don't they, though?
So work must be going well?
PATTERSON. He and Samuel share another glance.
There has been the occasional odd
hiccup- but then, as you so wisely
told me, I'd never built in Africa.
But overall, you're pleased?
I have never experienced anything
BEAUMONT; almost longingly looks back at the train.
I almost feel like getting right
(glances at his watch)
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL. They do not breathe.
BEAUMONT. He really wants to leave and for a moment it looks like
he just might.
I suppose it would be a dereliction
of duty not to at least look around.
Now Abdullah wanders happily by.
Morning, friend, glorious day.
As are they all.
BEAUMONT. He takes a step inside the passenger car.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL. Hoping.
BEAUMONT. Reluctantly returning. He has a large box.
I do need to see Starling.
Awhile back he ordered some bibles-
(indicating the box)
-I've brought them.
Is he here?
Yes he is.
Well, I need to speak to him.
Let me deliver the bibles.
BEAUMONT. His eyes flick from one man to the other. It's over.
Where is Starling?
PATTERSON. The jig is up. He gestures-
Here he comes now.
(And on that-)
HALF A DOZEN NATIVES CARRYING STARLING'S COFFIN. They start to put
it on the train and as they do-
BEAUMONT. Stunned. And furious! He storms off the train and we-
as Beaumont sees it. Patterson and Samuel are with him.
Little more work has been done than the last time we saw it. A few
men are working slowly.
And now there are guards with rifles patrolling it.
BEAUMONT. A deadly look at them. He storms off.
as Beaumont sees it- Patterson, Samuel, and Hawthorne stand
It's much more crowded than the last time. Still under control,
Beaumont is icy now. He gestures sharply toward Hawthrone to join
OUTSIDE THE HOSPITAL
THE FOUR MEN speak low and fast-
What in hell is going on?
The Ghost and The Darkness have come.
It's what the natives are calling
-two lions have been causing trouble-
-what's the surprise in that, this is
It hasn't been that simple so far.
What have they done besides kill
How many have they killed?
(Patterson nods for
Hawthorne to answer)
HAWTHORNE. Doing his best.
Well, of course, I can't supply a
totally accurate answer because
there are those that are actually
authenticated and there are those
that we once thought were workers
killing each other or deserting
from camp so any number I give is
subject to error-
Thirty, I should think.
(whirling on Patterson)
What are you doing about it?
(Now from there-)
SOMETHING VERY ODD:
We are looking at a small railroad car in a deserted area. This is
not near the track but off by itself, in an area surrounded by
Several workers are erecting a cloth tent to cover it, trying to
disguise the fact that the small railroad car is, indeed, nothing
but a small railroad car.
It is difficult work and they are perspiring heavily.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON AND BEAUMONT looking at it.
This is supposed to be salvation?
(staring at Patterson)
What kind of idiocy are we dealing
I'm calling it my "contraption"-
we're going to surround it with a
boma- a fence, to you- and we're
going to leave a small opening
opposite that door.
THE RAILROAD CAR. There is, in fact, an open front door. Patterson
gestures for Beaumont to follow him inside.
INSIDE THE CAR AS THEY ENTER. It has been divided in half by thick
metal bars from floor to ceiling. The bars are close together,
only a few inches between them.
In that half will be bait- human
bait- I'll start things off-
(points to the open
-a sliding door will fit above that
and a trip wire will run across
(The smile is back)
Genius- the beast will enter,
tripping the wire, the door will
slide down, trapping him, you, safe
behind the bars, will have him at
your mercy and will shoot him.
Patterson nods. Beaumont explodes.
Are you running a high fever, man?
How could you expect something as
lunatic as this to succeed? How
could you even conceive of it?
I didn't conceive of it for the
lions- I built one in India when
there was trouble with a tiger.
And it worked?
(He hates to say this)
In point of fact, it didn't.
But I'm convinced the theory is
THE TWO OF THEM. They move outside. The tension between them is
considerable. Beaumont looks at Patterson for too long a moment.
I made a mistake hiring you-
you're simply not up to the job.
PATTERSON. CLOSE UP.
You genuinely enjoy trying to
terrify people, don't you? Well,
-except there isn't a higher rated
engineer and we both know that. And
since time is so important to you,
how long do you think it would take
to find someone else qualified and
bring him here?
Let me explain about time- you've
been here three months and already
two months behind. And the Germans
and the French are gearing up. And
I don't care about you and I don't
care about the thirty dead- I care
about my knighthood and if this
railroad finishes on schedule, I'll
get my knighthood and I want it.
(glancing around as
Samuel appears, goes to
Professional hunters may be the answer.
All they'll bring is more chaos and
we've plenty of that already- and if
they come in, word will get out- and
what happens to your knighthood then?
I'm going to try and locate Redbeard-
I assume you've heard of him.
Every man who's ever fired a rifle has
heard of him- by the time you find him,
the lions will be dead.
Very well, the job's still yours, I'll
go. But if I have to return, you're
finished. And I will then do everything
I can to destroy your reputation. Am I
(The great smile flashes)
Told you you'd hate me.
(And he turns, walks off)
SAMUEL. Moving up to Patterson. Samuel has a bag.
(staring after Beaumont)
I do hate him.
(takes the bag from
Samuel, pulls out flares)
I want you to distribute one bag of
flares to every tent area-
(takes out a flare)
-tell the men to light them if
-make it two bags.
(HOLD briefly, then-)
PATTERSON. ALONE. THAT NIGHT. IN HIS CONTRAPTION.
A lamp burns alongside him. Across the bars, the door of the
railroad car is open. Flickering shadows. Above the doorway is a
thick wooden slab the size of the door. n the ground, barely
visible, the trip wire.
THE DOORWAY. Outside, something is moving.
PATTERSON, rifle ready, holding his breath.
THE DOORWAY. SIlence. Nothing moves now.
PATTERSON. He rubs his eyes with his hands...
FLICKERING SHADOWS on the wall. It's later that night.
PATTERSON. The man is bleary with fatigue. He sits in a corner of
the car, writing a letter.
PATTERSON'S VOICE (over)
...peace and tranquility continue to
abound here- the workers report each
day with a smile- except for your
absence, this whole adventunre is
providing me nothing but pleasure..."
THE FLICKERING WALLS OF THE RAILWAY CAR. It's later still.
Patterson, finished writing, stares out at the night.
A FLARE, rising brightly toward the sky.
PATTERSON, seeing the flare. The man is miserable.
A TREE BRANCH. MANY FLOWERS AS WELL AS THE CLAW THORNS.
PATTERSON'S VOICE (over)
The branch is destroyed, the flowers blown away.
PATTERSON AND THREE INDIAN COOLIES. NOT FAR FROM HIS CONTRAPTION.
THE COOLIES hold rifles. They look like brothers, which they are.
They also look tough. And they are that, too. THREE
Very good indeed.
(he wears glasses)
We have hunted since childhood.
All right- you'll spend your nights
(He indicates the railroad
car. The Coolies nod)
You'll have plenty of ammunition.
You're totally protected, you have
really nothing to fear.
That is correct.
Patterson looks at the three men. Obviously, he could not have
chosen better. From them-
THE BRIDGE. DAY.
A lot of men working under Patterson. Progress is slow.
THE BRIDGE. NIGHT.
Some men sit on the part that's been built. Spending the night
there for protection. Now, they all turn and we
ANOTHER FLARE going off in another part of camp.
PATTERSON, in a tree alone, in despair.
THE THREE COOLIES IN THE RAILROAD CAR.
Tough as ever. Ready for anything. But nothing is happening.
THE BRIDGE AGAIN AS NIGHT FALLS - MORE CROWDED THAN BEFORE.
STILL MORE MEN are moving into the river. They wade til the water
is up to their necks. Then they reach out, hold hands, start to
PATTERSON moving high into a tree. He listens to the sound.
MOONLIGHT ON THE WATER. The men stand as before, singing softly.
The river here is calm, no current to speak of. The men are safe-
-or rather they should be.
THE DARKNESS swimming softly, his great jaws silently encircling
the neck of the last man in line, pulling him silently away and as
the others start to scream-
PATTERSON, watching another flare rise, helplessly listening.
A CATTLE PEN. THE CATTLE ARE NERVOUS-
-one of them kicks wildly at the wind.
They should be nervous-
-The Ghost walks among them, chooses which one to kill, leaps on
it, brings it to earth as the dust rises.
ANOTHER FLARE IN THE NIGHT.
THE HOSPITAL. DAY. PACKED.
HAWTHORNE seems overwhelmed.
And for a moment we don't know what it is. There is a faint light
and now we see what it is we're looking at: a wire.
HOLD ON THE WIRE.
And now a paw walks across it-
-and the instant that happens-
THE THREE COOLIES, the brothers, in the contraption, two of them
asleep, a flickering lamp the only illumination in the railroad
THE DOOR OF THE RAILROAD CAR slamming loudly down and
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
THE DARKNESS, standing alone in one half of the railroad car- it's
incredible, just incredible but Patterson's idea actually worked
KEEP PULLING BACK TO REVEAL
The entire of the car- the thick bars separating the two halves.
In one half, the huge lion. In the other, the three armed, tough
For a moment, it could be a frozen tableau- both sides are too
startled and surprised to do anything but stare-
-and then all hell just explodes as we
THE DARKNESS, and this incredible roar comes from his throat, the
kind of roar that can be heard five miles away in the night but
this one in the enclosed room sounds even louder and more
THE DARKNESS, throwing his huge body at the bars and
THE BARS and both his front claws are slashing through and
THE THREE TOUGH COOLIES and they retreat against the rear wall of
THE DARKNESS, rage building, throwing its body at the bars again
THE COOLIES, pressed in fear against the far wall, unable to do
anything but stare and
THE CLAWS, ripping at the air and
THE DARKNESS, leaping forward, smashing into the bars and
THE CEILING WHERE THE BARS are connected and the sheer power of
his leap has made them jiggle just the least bit and
THE COOLIES, staring up at the ceiling and
THE DARKNESS, AND HERE HE COMES AGAIN, roaring and his body hits
the bars and
THE CEILING- and the bars shake-
-but they're not giving way.
THE TOUGH COOLIES, as they begin to realize this and
THE DARKNESS, clawing for them and
THE DARKNESS, raging and roaring on his side of the bars and
THE FIRST COOLIE, raising his gun and
THE SECOND COOLIE, his gun raised too and
THE THIRD COOLIE and he's ready and
ALL THREE AS THEY FIRE-
-and fire again, and reload, and-
THE RAILROAD CAR- and suddenly the lamp is knocked over-
-and a fire starts, flames grow and it's starting to look like
hell in there-
-only it gets worse as we-
THE DARKNESS at the bars-
-and suddenly it stands up- it seems to fill the car, towering
over everything, it's like a nightmare come to kill you-
THE COOLIES staring up at this giant thing, and of course they're
more terrified now than they've ever been in their lives- but
these are tough men and they ignore the flames, ignore the
deafening roars of the beast and
THE DARKNESS, standing there, going crazy on his side of the bars,
trying to knock them down but they're holding and
THE TOUGH COOLIES, reloading and
THE DARKNESS, racing around the enclosed area now and he's trapped
and the flames make him seem like something unalive and his eyes
have never been so bright, his roars as deafening and
THE THREE COOLIES, firing again and
THE DARKNESS, leaping at the bars again, and they shake, sure they
shake, but they keep on holding and
THE COOLIES, firing, reloading, firing, reloading and as they do,
something's starting to come clear-
-amazing as it may seem, impossible as it may be to conceive,
THE DARKNESS, whirling on his side, roaring and leaping and
THE COOLIES and sure they fire, but they're still so goddam scared
THE DOOR THAT SLID DOWN- it's held in place by some thick wooden
-and now the Coolies start to hit something- the wooden bars
because they begin to splinter and
THE DARKNESS, whirling, leaping at the bars and
THE COOLIES firing and then-
THE DOOR as it flops open and just like that-
THE DARKNESS. Out the door and gone. HOLD.
PATTERSON JUST AFTER DAWN IN THE DAMAGED RAILROAD CAR.
Patterson stands where The Darkness was. The three Coolies are
where they spent the night, on the other side of the bars.
This was the lowest point yet for Patterson. Not only had his
notion come so close to working, he could never fully comprehend
how the coolies missed. It never seemed possible- but of course,
it really happened.
Not once?- you didn't hit it once?-
-I would never make excuses- but a
fire broke out- the light was bad- he
-well, of course he kept moving- but
he couldn't have been more than ten
feet away from the three of you- surely
you must have wounded the thing-
I assure you we came close many times-
Abdullah is in the doorway near Patterson now- with several dozen
men. And from Abdullah's face, this is clearly going to be a
-the next time we will do better.
(Patterson makes no
reaction; moves outside)
ABDULLAH, simmering, moving straight to Patterson as soon as he's
The next time will be as this time-
The Devil has come to Tsavo-
(not in a mood for this)
-that's ridiculous talk and you can't
seriously believe it-
(moving in- tension rising
as others crowd behind him)
-now you're telling me my beliefs?- I
don't think so-
THE BUSH just beyond- something is moving- an animal?- Impossible
I wasn't and you know it and don't
push it- just listen- we have a
problem in Tsavo-
-at last you're right- we do- you are
the problem in Tsavo-
Patterson and Abdullah and suddenly it's dangerous.
You do not tell me "careful"- you do
not tell me anything- you listen
while I talk-
(Now suddenly a shadow
seems to cross-)
ABDULLAH. CLOSE UP. His eyes widen.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
AN ENORMOUS PISTOL. Pressed hard against Abdullah's temple.
MAN'S VOICE (over)
-change in plan- you listen while
I talk- because you have a question
that needs answering.
Will I pull the trigger?
PULL BACK FURTHER TO REVEAL
We are looking at one of those legends- ageless and powerful, with
a tanned face and a thick grey beard. He has seen everything and
is capable of anything.
Just now he seems more than capable of killing Abdullah. Very
calmly, he cocks the pistol.
It's Redbeard, Abdullah- he'll kill
(not looking around)
No hints, Samuel.
(The name has registered)
You don't know all that has happened
here- the Devil has come to Tsavo.
You're right. The Devil has come. Look
at me. I am the Devil.
ABDULLAH, staring at Redbeard. Right now Redbeard just could be.
I am a man of peace.
Am I to take it you want to live?
Most certainly. Absolutely. Yes.
(Now he suddenly reaches
out, shakes Abdullah's hand)
Your name is Abdullah? I'm sure we'll
meet again. Go and enjoy the splendid
I think it's been a pleasure.
REDBEARD, and now he does another surprising thing: embraces
You got old.
(Now he releases Samuel,
turns to Patterson)
I'm sure you're John Patterson.
(before Patterson can reply)
Stay out of my way.
(And without another word,
as Redbeard moves through, taking it all in. It's even worse than
when we last saw it- bodies crammed everywhere and always the
sound of pain and sickness.
Patterson stands in the doorway, watching, waiting.
(as Redbeard approaches)
I didn't have a chance to thank you.
What did I do?
Got me out of trouble.
(matter of fact)
Nonsense- Samuel would have done
(starts to move on)
We need to talk.
Let me save time- (1) you are the
engineer; (2) you are in charge;
(3) you're sorry I'm here. Right
Good- because (1) I am not an
engineer, (2) I don't want to be
in charge, and (3) I'm sorrier than
you are that I'm here- I hate Tsavo.
So I will help you by killing the
lions and leaving, and you will help
me by doing what I tell you so I
can leave. See any problems?
All right- let's go into battle.
(as they shake)
Somehow I guessed.
(As they move outside-)
THE FRONT OF THE HOSPITAL
A BUNCH OF MEN WAIT. Hwathorne, Samuel, Abdullah, and perhaps a
dozen other worker leaders. Redbeard and Patterson move to them.
Starting now, we attack them.
How; we don't know where they are?
We'll have to make them come to us,
won't we? And since there are two of
them, we're going to set two plans
First: we must move the entire
hospital by tomorrow night.
That's a terrible idea-
-is it, I'm sorry, but then, of
course, you're the doctor, you
Silliest thing I ever heard of- why
in the world should we go through
I suppose I could answer you. I
suppose I could explain that the
place is so inviting, what with the
smell of blood and flesh, that they
have to strike. It's even possible
that I tell you I found some fresh
paw marks around back which means
they're already contemplating
(Turning on Hawthorne
now- his voice building)
But I don't want to answer you
because when you question me you are
really saying that I don't have the
least idea what I am doing, that I am
nothing but an incompetent, that I am
Anyone who finds me a fool, please
say so now.
(The words burst out)
I have been desperate for Patterson
to let me move the hospital since the
day he arrived.
Then we agree.
(And on that-)
BEGIN THE BUILDING SEQUENCE.
It was a huge effort and they got half of it done that day- but
there was always the sense of impending bloodshed.
What we see first are Patterson and a bunch of shots of a lot of
workers- laying out the dimensions of the new boma that would
surround the place. This was to be by far the biggest wall fence
they had in Tsavo.
And now here comes Abdullah leading a crowd of men, wading into a
huge patch of thorn trees, cutting the thick branches down,
starting to load them for carrying-
-and it's high noon now, and Patterson drenched with sweat, leads
the start of the actual building- taking the thorn branches,
bunching them together, forcing them so there is no room between
-and we can just begin to get the sense of what the fence will be-
except at the moment it's barely a foot high-
-and now Redbeard appears, beckons to Patterson, and
A LONG SHOT OF A FLAT GRASSY PLAIN. AFTERNOON NOW.
Patterson, Redbeard, and Samuel walk quickly.
SAMUEL turning to Redbeard and Patterson.
I have to ask- why do you need me?
I don't really. But understand
something- even though it may take
me two or three days to sort this
(Patterson has to smile
at the phrase)
-when I'm gone, you'll still have
to build the bridge. And I don't
want the men to have lost respect
(kind of surprised)
That's very considerate.
I'm always considerate- my mother
taught me that.
SAMUEL, who just breaks out laughing.
Why do you laugh?- you don't
believe she taught me?
I don't believe you had a mother.
(And as Redbeard
A MASAI VILLAGE as they approach. Redbeard walks ahead.
You like him, don't you?
Oh yes. But it takes time.
You've known him long?
Since his beard was red.
INSIDE THE VILLAGE. AN AGED CHIEF RUNS THINGS.
Redbeard, Patterson and Samuel stand near him. WOMEN and CHILDREN
are there. Some of the children look at Redbeard, mime shooting,
fall down dead. Samuel translates as necessary.
How many cattle?
Four should do it.
They will want a lot of money.
Have you got it?
No, but you do-
-see, you were needed after all.
And fifty warriors at the camp
(Samuel explains. The
Masai Chief replies.
Why so many?
Because I have two plans to kill
the lions- one involving the cattle,
the other the men.
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON watching as Samuel tells the Chief.
THE MASAI CHIEF. He moves toward Redbeard and Patterson. As he
speaks, Samuel translates quietly. There is a sadness in the
The Ghost and the Darkness have
come... and we can do nothing...
but if you anger them... they will
stay in Tsavo... and life will
become more unberable, that I know...
PATTERSON, watching as Redbeard replies.
Two lions are all that have come...
they're only lions, that I know.
And I will kill them both tomorrow.
(HOLD BRIEFLY, then-)
SHADOWS AND FIRELIGHT. IT'S NIGHT NOW.
We're not sure for a moment where we are but we can hear metallic
Now we hear voices.
REDBEARD VOICE (over)
I'll need you by me in the morning.
SAMUEL VOICE (over)
Whatever you wish.
WHERE WE ARE- IT'S PATTERSON'S TENT AREA. Patterson, Redbeard,
Hawthorne, and Samuel sit around a fire.
THey are cleaning their guns, getting ready.
A WORD ABOUT THEIR WEAPONS. Patterson's is a good rifle and he
cleans it expertly.
Redbeard's surprisingly, is the oldest. And the way his hands move
as he assembles it, he might be bathing a child.
Hawthorne is the least skilled of the three. But his rifle is
clearly the finest. Bigger than the others, with great killing
There is a tremendous tension- Patterson, Hawthorne, and Samuel
show it. Redbeard is as before.
You're certain about tomorrow?
But you don't seem excited.
You don't enjoy killing, do you?
Then why do it?
REDBEARD. CLOSE UP. He stares at the fire. Then-
I have a gift.
THE CAMPFIRE. Silence for a moment except for the sound of the
weapons being reassembled. Redbeard's hands fly. His rifle is back
together. He stands, nods, goes.
HAWTHORNE, watching him.
Has he always been this way?
Much gentler now.
(shakes his head on that)
(He holds out his
Change guns with me- mine's much
more powerful. I'll be finishing
the hospital tomorrow so I won't
be with you- but if you'll use
...then I will.
Patterson, touched, changes weapons.
(He turns to Samuel)
Why does he need you by him?
He doesn't. He needs nobody. But
we have hunted many times...
...he knows I am afraid of lions...
HOLD ON THE FIRELIGHT UNTIL WE SHARPLY-
THE BRIDGE. BEFORE DAWN.
Misty- hard to see much.
Then GHOSTS appear-
-they're not ghosts, they're MASAI WARRIORS emerging from the
mists. They are powerful and painted and they carry noisemaking
equipment- tin cans and tom toms and as more and more of them
A HUGE THICKET.
Redbeard, Patterson, and Samuel wait as the Warriors approach.
I spotted one of them-
THE THICKET again- alive with thorn trees. Dark, filled with long
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON AND SAMUEL. A lot of tension.
The best way to ensure the kill
when you're using trackers is for
one to shoot while the other uses
the trackers to force the lion
toward the shooter. Have you ever
I can try.
Samuel says you killed a lion.
It was probably luck- I'd rather
you did the shooting.
You'd never force the lion to me-
and nobody ever got a lion with
one shot by luck.
(points- hand out
Around there's a clearing- you'll
know it from the anthills- get
there and hide and listen to the
sounds- I'll make the lion come
directly to you.
(He gestures for
Patterson to take
off and as he does-)
THE WARRIORS as Redbeard goes to them-
(as Samuel translates)
-all of you- spread the width of
the clearing- no gaps- go-
(claps his hands once)
THE WARRIORS, spreading apart.
THE SUN. Starting to appear more strongly on the horizon.
PATTERSON, running like hell.
THE WARRIORS, moving quickly, silently.
A THICK CLUSTER 0F THORN TREES.
PATTERSON, ducking his head, blasting through.
THE WARRIORS, starting to cover the entire width of the thicket.
PATTERSON, quickstepping over rocky terrain.
SAMUEL staying close to Redbeard. The fear is there.
REDBEARD, studying the position of the Warriors, who are almost
PATTERSON, circling now, racing toward a clearing, picking up
THE WARRIORS, spread out. They look to Redbeard.
REDBEARD. Not yet.
PATTERSON, racing into the clearing, glances around- lots of
AN ANTHILL, eight feet high. It casts a long shadow.
PATTERSON. Holding Hawthorne's marvelous rifle, he slips silently
into the shadow.
HOLD ON PATTERSON- it's almost as if he weren't there.
CUT SHARPLY TO
REDBEARD. CLOSE UP. Suddenly screaming and
SAMUEL, screaming too and
THE WHOLE LINE OF WARRIORS, suddenly moving forward, all of them
shouting and screaming and pounding on their drums and it is loud.
PATTERSON in the shadow. The noise is faint- but he can hear it.
A DOZEN DRUMMERS, moving forward, banging away.
A DOZEN MORE DRUMMERS, even louder.
REDBEARD, moving forward, his eyes flicking ahead-
THE THICKET AHEAD. Nothing. No movement. No lion.
PATTERSON. Just the least bit louder now.
THE WHOLE LINE OF WARRIORS, screaming and pounding and
SAMUEL- the fear worse, dogging Redbeard's steps.
REDBEARD. His eyes flicking ahead.
THE THICKET AHEAD. Nothing. No movement. No lion.
PATTERSON. It's a lot louder now. He's totally still. And he's
THE DENSEST PART OF THE THICKET we've seen yet.
THE WARRIORS, slashing their way through, drumming and shouting
REDBEARD, at their head, eyes, as always, flicking.
THE THICKET AHEAD. Nothing. No movement. No lion.
REDBEARD- starting to suddenly get louder and point-
-because something is there-
CUT BACK TO
THE THICKET AHEAD, and we didn't see it before, only Redbeard saw
-but now something begins to move and
REDBEARD AND THE WARRIORS and it's all going crazy now, and
they're starting to move faster and
PATTERSON IN THE SHADOW.
The noise has kicked up and all the time it's coming closer and
REDBEARD AND THE WARRIORS and the movement up ahead is more
distinct and the Warriors are almost in a frenzy as we
A FLASH OF THE GHOST IN THE THICKET- eyes bright- it starts to
move away from the sound-
-and toward where Patterson is waiting.
REDBEARD. Faster, screaming louder and
SAMUEL and the fear starting to leave and he screams louder too
PATTERSON- he fingers the weapon.
THE GHOST, angrily retreating faster from the sound- and now
instead of going straight back it begins to veer left and
REDBEARD, immediately spotting the shift, gesturingto the Warriors
to get left and
THE WARRIORS, shifting over as Redbeard directed, blocking The
Ghost's intended path and
THE GHOST, shifting, trying to go the other way this time and
REDBEARD; he spots that too, gestures for the Warriors to shift
the other way and
THE WARRIORS, racing to thier new positions, blocking the animal's
path again and
THE GHOST, rattled, upset, and now it starts retreating back in
the original direction- toward Patterson and
REDBEARD AND THE WHOLE LONG LINE OF MEN, and it's as if mass
hysteria has gripped them, because their sound keeps building and
sure, their throats must ache and yes, their arms must tire, but
you couldn't tell that from what they're doing-
PATTERSON. Waiting by the anthill. Waiting. Then, at last-
THE GHOST, backing into view, staring back at the sound, unaware
of Patterson's existence behind him.
PATTERSON. Noiselessly he steps away from the anthill into the
sunlight. He raises Hawthorne's gun.
THE GHOST, backing toward Patterson.
PATTERSON, sighting along the glistening barrel.
THE GHOST, starting to turn.
PATTERSON, ready to fire.
THE GHOST IN CLOSE UP, CAUGHT IN THE CROSSHAIRS OF THE RIFLE. And
now its lips go back as it sees Patterson.
PATTERSON, CLOSE UP, and this is it, this is the moment and as he
squeezes the trigger-
PATTERSON AND THE GHOST, and a totally unexpected sound- a dull
snap- Hawthorne's rifle has misfired.
THE GHOST, unharmed and
PATTERSON desperately workingthe rifle, trying to make it function
THE GHOST. It stares at Patterson.
PATTERSON, and the goddamn gun won't work and he's a dead man and
PATTERSON AND THE GHOST-
-and for a moment, they might be frozen in some horrible tableau-
-THEN THE GHOST ROARS-
REDBEARD as he hears it, breaking into a wild run-
Shoot for chrissakes!-
PATTERSON standing his ground as now THE GHOST takes a step toward
REDBEARD, firing, reloading on the move, and up ahead is the
clearing and as he reaches it-
THE GHOST. Its great head turns in the direction of Redbeard and
REDBEARD's position- anthills block him from getting a clear shot
at the animal- he curses, races for a better position and
THE GHOST. One final stare at Patterson-
-then it makes an effortless leap intothe thicket-
-and it's safe and free and gone.
PATTERSON. CLOSE UP. Rocked.
The low point of his life.
SAMUEL, catching up to Redbeard.
Did you ever see a lion that size?
Not even close.
(Now he moves to
...misfire... it jammed...
Has it ever done that before?
REDBEARD. Trying for control.
You exchanged weapons?
You went into battle with an
REDBEARD. CLOSE UP. For a moment it's impossible to tell what he's
going to do. It seems that a Homeric burst of fury is about to
PATTERSON. Drained, he epects it. It's very quiet.
REEDBEARD, studying the younger man. And when he finally speaks,
his voice is surprisingly quiet.
They have an expression in
prizefighting: "everyone has a plan
until they're hit."
You've just been hit...
...the getting up is up to you...
(And he turns, moves
THE NEW HOSPITAL.
Nearly finished. The fence is eight feet high and Hawthorne is
supervising men and material that are being transferred.
REDBEARD, checking security in the New Hospital which is close to
the center of camp. (The Old Hospital was situated on the
outskirts, because they wanted to keep the workers away from the
sick and the wounded.) Late afternoon, now.
Patterson, Samuel and Hawthorne are moving with him. As are TWO
EXPERIENCED ORDERLIES, both armed with powerful rifles. Patterson
is silent here, the effects of the misfire still evident on his
(to the Orderlies)
Gentlemen, there's no sickness smell
at all here, and little blood. When
we leave, close the gate securely,
don't open it til morning and keep
your fires high. Any questions, ask
(They understand- now
to Samuel and Hawthorne)
You two will sleep beautifully in
And stay there.
And where will you sleep beautifully?
Patterson and I will be in the old
hospital- where the enticing smell
of sickness still lingers-
-and by the time we're done, I
promise you, the odor of blood will
(And on that-)
THE OLD HOSPITAL. STARTING TO GET DARK.
Redbeard and Patterson have buckets which they empty around the
-buckets of blood.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. Darker. They empty still more full buckets
of blood. Redbeard seems pleased.
SAMUEL AND HAWTHORNE, hurrying toward their camp.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, leading Masai cattle into the grounds of
the Old Hospital.
THE ORDERLIES IN THE NEW HOSPITAL, firmly closing and locking the
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, just outside the fence of the Old
Hospital- they carry many large chunks of raw meat, drop them as
THE SUN. Dying... dying...
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. They slip inside the deserted Old
Hospital, pull the gate securely shut.
THE CATTLE. They stand in the center of the Old Hospital, calling
to each other.
THE NEW HOSPITAL. Full. Clean. The men are exhausted. Most are
already asleep. The Orderlies sit by a fire, alert for anything.
THE OLD HOSPITAL. Patterson and Redbeard stand across from their
fire, waiting. The cows are quiet.
HAWTHORNE by his fire near his tent with Samuel. Nervously, they
THE MOON. Higher. An hour has passed. Perhaps more.
REDBEARD. Walking the fence perimeter.
PATTERSON. The cows are edgy. He calms the cows.
OUTSIDE THE OLD HOSPITAL. The large chunks of meat are visible in
THE NEW HOSPITAL. The orderlies are calm.
REDBEARD, still walking the perimeter.
PATTERSON sitting by the fire, staring at the night. Redbeard
moves to him, speaks in a whisper.
Think about something else.
Have you ever failed?
Only in life...
(He walks away.
THE NEW HOSPITAL. The Orderlies tend the sick. Quietly.
THE NIGHT AND THE MOON. Lovely.
REDBEARD. Stalking the perimeter. No sound. The night is deadly
PATTERSON. He stalks the perimeter now too, on the far side from
Redbeard- and suddenly a different and frightening sound- the
ripping of flesh-
CAMERA MOVES UP
Now we can see both Patterson inside and also outside where, in
shadow, The Ghost and The Darkness are devouring a hunk of meat.
Redbeard moves quickly across the perimeter, gestures for
Patterson to switch positions with him.
As he reaches where Patterson was, the eating sound stops.
Patterson reaches the far side of the fence.
Now the eating sound comes again, and again, BOTH LIONS are
outside, directly across from Patterson.
REDBEARD looks across the perimeter at Patterson. Whatever's going
on, it's sure as hell odd.
THE CATTLE- they are very upset suddenly- one of them kicks out
violently against the night- the same gesture the cattle did just
before The Ghost walked through their pen and killed one-
-now a different sound is heard: scratching-
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD tracking the sound-
-the main gate is starting to be pushed in. Inside the gate the
ground is covered with blood stains from where they emptied their
THE GATE. More pressure against it- it could give way any moment.
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON and from the look on Redbeard's face, this
is it! Patterson seees this, readies his rifle and we-
THE CATTLE, going nuts and then-
THE GATE. All pressure gone.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. Patterson is furious.
It's all right. Stay ready.
(indicates the blood)
They know it's there.
Patterson takes a few steps away, stares at the moon.
REDBEARD; he studies Patterson who so clearly craves redemption.
(going to him)
Meant to ask you- the railroad car
trap. Your idea?
Excellent notion- I used the same
device myself once.
But of course yours worked.
In point of fact it didn't- but I'm
convinced the idea is sound.
He goes back to walking the perimeter. Patterson watches him- and
for the first time since the misfire, Patterson's mood begins to
THE NEW HOSPITAL
and an ORDERLY, blood pouring from his throat as he lies by the
THE SECOND ORDERLY rounding a corner, seeing the violence; before
he can scream-
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS suddenly beside him, and their giant
paws slap out so fast we can't follow and
THE SECOND ORDERLY, dropping to the ground, and now we're starting
to spin into madness and these next cuts go like lightning.
A TENT FULL OF SICK MEN with malaria and
A PAW flashing and
THE DARKNESS, lips pulling back and
A SICK MAN, falling from his bed, blood pouring from his slashed
TWO MORE SICK MEN, trying to rise and
THE GHOST, leaping on them and
THE DARKNESS, eyes narrow and brilliant and
A SICK COOLIE, and he's terrified and he tries to scream-
-the sound barely escapes him, but even so, it's the first cry
we've heard and
THE ENTIRE CAMP, NIGHT, WITH ALL THE FIRES BURNING- AND
PATTERSON'S TENT AREA IS CLOSE BY-
-but the New Hospital is on the other end, a good distance away.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, rifles ready- but no sound reaches them.
HAWTHORNE, out of his tent, because he's close by and he heard it
and he lights a torch, starts for the gate of the camp as Samuel
does his best to stop him-
-but Hawthorne rips free and we
A SECOND TENT, as it starts to collapse and
THE MEDICINE TENT, as The Ghost and The Darkness enter and
MEDICINE, flying across the tent and
GLASS, shattering and more medicine is destroyed and
A BLIZZARD OF CUTS, of lions' claws and lions' teeth and those
terrible bright blazing eyes and
A TENT POLE, being pulled out of the ground and
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS and what they are doing is this:
destroying the New Hospital and
MORE TENTS collapsing and
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS. CLOSE UP. Eyes crazed.
HAWTHORNE ALONE IN THE NIGHT, scared shitless as he runs.
SHADOWS, moving, as Hawthorne's torch lights the surroundings and
HAWTHORNE, heart pounding, looking around and then he gasps as we
THE AREA NEARBY- TWO LARGE EYES are staring at him.
HAWTHORNE, panicked, stumbling, falling, getting up, staring
THE AREA AROUND HIM- the eys are gone-
-and now there are loud shrieks in the night coming from the New
Hospital and the instant they are heard
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON, grabbing torches, throwing the gate open
and they're off as we
HAWTHORNE, running toward the New Hospital just up ahead now.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, tearing through the night.
THE NEW HOSPITAL. (We see all this next through Hawthorne's eyes.)
The tents are all down. The place is devastated.
INSIDE THE FIRST TENT. Filled with the dead and the dying.
HAWTHORNE. Ashen. Moving on.
PAN ALONG THE TENT
Dead. Blood. Pain.
PAN TO THE SECOND TENT
It's a slaughterhouse.
HAWTHORNE. He's crushed. His body sags. He takes a breath, his
THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS are on him, roaring.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD as the roar reverberates- they glance at
-then they slow.
Because the New Hospital has come into view.
REDBEARD, CLOSE UP, staring at the disaster.
And this terrible crosses his face. For a moment, you think he's
going to fall. His body seems drained of all its power. He stands
there. Just stands there. Unable to move.
PATTERSON. And he does move. Slowly. Carefully. Into the chaos.
He stares around- the dead and the dying are everywhere.
Hawthorne, his face clawed almost unrecognizably, lies alone.
All that's left now is this: the sound of pain.
Dust rises. It covers everything. Only the sound remains.
Now different sounds take over-
-an incredible babble of human voices.
AND A RAILROAD TRAIN.
Patterson walks through the dust. Samuel, a worried look on his
face, is a few steps behind.
We are at the STATION AREA and it is jammed. A train has pulled
into the station-
-only you almost can't tell it's a train: all you can see are
workers climbing up, and the inside is full so the workers clamber
up onto the roofs of the cars-
-covering the cars-
-everyone is leaving-
-Patterson can only watch.
Abdullah stands on one of the cars-
-the train begins to pull out of the station.
More and more workers chase after it, get pulled on.
Now the station area is empty, the flat car roofs full.
Patterson still watches, eyes vacant.
Abdullah sees him, looks away.
The train gathers speed.
Rounds a corner...
Patterson turns from the scene, begins to walk. Samuel stays close
behind him, the worried look still there.
THE OLD HOSPITAL.
A FEW AFRICAN ORDERLIES do the best they can. Patterson watches
only a moment, walks on. Samuel still behind him.
THE CAMP as Patterson walks through. A ghost town now. Only
THE CONTRAPTION where the coolies missed The Darkness. Patterson
looks at it a moment, walks on.
THE ANTHILL IN THE CLEARING where Patterson misfired. Patterson
looks at it a moment, walks on. And now, at last-
PATTERSON'S TENT AREA. One or two Africans. Samuel darts into his
tent, emerges with something, holds it out to Patterson.
IT'S A NECKLACE OF LION CLAWS.
Patterson makes an almost courtly bow of thanks, puts it on- he
never takes it off again. He walks on alone now until at last-
It stops abruptly, halfway done; the foundations are in place, a
lot of the scaffolding, but it's useless. Late afternoon.
Redbeard sits alone, high on one of the foundations. He looks as
he did the night before.
Patterson walks to the top of the near embankment. He is unshaven,
wrinkled, he fingers the lion claw necklace.
For a moment, neither says a word. Then-
(out of the blue)
It would have been a beautiful
bridge, John. I never noticed
before, occupied with other
business, I suppose...
...never really pay much attention
to that kind of thing but I've had
the time today, nothing else on,
and this... it's graceful and the
placement couldn't be prettier...
(He goes silent now,
You just got hit.
The getting up is up to you- but
they're only lions-
-and I'm going after them crack
(And on that-)
A LONG SHOT OF A HIGH ROCKY CLIFF-
-we haven't seen anything like it before- it's hundreds of feet
tall- gorgeous early morning light.
As we watch, we realize there are two dots on the side of the
As we watch a moment more, we realize the dots are moving.
CAMERA MOVES CLOSER.
THE DOTS are Patterson and Redbeard, working their way along the
rock face. Patterson is much more nimble. It's dangerous, of
course, but neither of them seems to have that uppermost in mind.
They travel lightly- small knapsacks and their weapons.
THE TWO OF THEM as they make it over the cliff face. They stand,
WHAT THEY SEE: the world. They move on.
A RAVINE. They are moving along the edge. It's tricky going- if
you fell you wouldn't much like it. They are both concentrating on
their movements, paying no attention to each other as Redbeard
starts to speak. They don't stop moving.
In my town, when I was little,
there was a brute, a bully who
terrorized the place.
But he was not the problem. He
had a brother who was worse than
he. But the brother was not the
One or the other of them was
usually in jail. The problem came
when they were both free togther.
The two became different from
Alone they were only brutes.
Together they became lethal,
together they killed.
What happened to them?
I got big.
(They move on)
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD working their way up a steep ravine. It's
hard going. They help each other.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, moving along the edge of the ravine now.
Slow. Silent. Redbeard stops, points-
A TANGLE IN THE BUSHES AND THORNS with one odd thing about it:
there is a clearly defined archway, as if a buffalo or rhino used
it as a regular passage.
THE TWO OF THEM at the archway. They look at each other, without a
word move through it.
THE OTHER SIDE. A small clearing. And at the end of the clearing:
THE CAVE MOUTH. Dark.
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON. They each check their guns, move toward
THE CAVE MOUTH. Closer. Suddenly it's getting eerie.
REDBEARD, moving slowly, Patterson right with him.
THE CAVE MOUTH. They're by it- Redbeard squints inside.
WHAT HE SEES: it's dark and dangerous and there is a long low
tunnel you have to half-crawl through.
Without a word, they start inside.
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON, crouched low, moving through the tunnel.
Ahead there is light. They move on.
THE END OF THE TUNNEL- they can see the cave beyond.
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON. They glance down. Nothing much there- just
a copper bracelet, the kind a native might wear.
Now they move past it and as the tunnel ends, they stand up.
INSIDE THE CAVE - IT'S BIG.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, moving deeper into the cave. It's scary-
dark with shafts of light coming from cracks in the rock. It's
dank. It all feels as at any moment, the world could end.
REDBEARD. CLOSE UP. Thunderstruck-
(And on those words-)
THE FLOOR OF THE CAVE. More copper bracelets. And still more-
-and now bones-
-the floor of the place is littered with human bones-
-eyeless skulls peer up at them from all around.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
The rest of the cave. We are looking at a carpet of bones.
Have you ever seen anything like
Nobody's seen anything like this.
Lions don't have caves like this-
-they're doing it for pleasure.
SEVERAL TUNNELS, dark and ominous, leading from the cave-
-and now there is a sound from one of the tunnels-
-something is coming close and coming fast and
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON as Redbeard fires into the tunnel and the
REDBEARD AND PATTERSON. What the hell is it?
THE TUNNEL- and here they come, screeching and angry-
-swarms of them- hundreds of them-
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, diving to the ground, lying there amidst
the bangles and the bones and the skulls-
THE BATS. Circling above them. Screeching louder.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, lying very still, eyeless skulls all
THE BATS. For a moment, it seems as if they might attack.
PATTRSON AND REDBEARD. Waiting, waiting. Then-
THE BATS back into the tunnel and
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, scrambling to their feet.
One of my chief attributes is that
I'm always calm.
And then without warning, from behind them, a roar-
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD spin around, start back toward the entrance
of the cave-
THE LOW ENTRANCE TUNNEL as they scramble half-crawling through it.
OUTSIDE as they make it, stand straight, look around-
THICK BUSH beyond- another roar and sudden movement and
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, entering the thick bush- but carefully,
because they are vulnerable now and an attack could come from
anywhere- there is the sound of water-
-slashes of light hit their eyes, making it hard to see- and
they're totally vulnerable now but it doesn't stop them- the water
sound gets stronger- and as they burst clear-
AN AMAZING PLACE- AN AREA OF FLAT ROCK SPLIT UP AHEAD BY A WIDE
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. They look around. Nothing is there. But
the spot is wide open, exposed.
(The words pour out)
Where could it have gone? How
could it get across the water?
(looks at Redbeard)
They're only lions, yes?
(shakes his head; he
Don't they have to be?...
They look around a moment more. Nothing to see-
-they turn, leave, re-enter the thick bush. And now-
THE DARKNESS- who knows where it is but it's there-
HOLD BRIEFLY on The Darkness, then-
PATTERSON'S TENT AREA. JUST BEFORE DAWN-
-outside the fence a dreadful sound- the crunching of bones.
Patterson, Redbeard, and Samuel emerge from tents, listen.
Patterson is on one side of the area, Redbeard and Samuel on the
Both of them over there.
He is pointing to Patterson's area. Patterson goes to Redbeard.
Ever have to use a machan?
I did once. In India. We will
(Now from that-)
A CLEARING. LATER IN THE DAY.
Patterson leads the few remaining men in constructing an odd
looking structure: four slender poles lashed together, slanting
inward with a plank tied on top, a dozen feet up in the air.
Redbeard and Samuel approach.
They're used to people in trees,
not in a clearing.
(indicating the plank)
It may be tight.
Not for me- I'm too bulky and it's
your idea, you go up there.
Take the others to the water tower
for the night.
I'll be bait alone?
Yes. And I'll be in some distant
tree where I can provide no
Can you control your fear?
I'll have to.
I can't control mine- I'd be lost
without the shame factor driving me.
Was that supposed to make me feel
A DONKEY BEING LED IN. LATER.
THE MEN start to tie it down, across the clearing from the machan.
Patterson takes a long look at the machan. He tests the support
poles- they're rickety.
DUSK. The sun quickly beginning its quick fall.
THE WATER TOWER IN THE STATION AREA. Samuel is with the remaining
men who clamber up to the platform on top.
THE DONKEY IN THE CLEARING. Quiet.
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
Redbeard, holding a wooden ladder that is propped against the
plank. Patterson climbs his slow way up. It's dangerous.
THE PLANK as Patterson makes it, clambers off the ladder, manages
THE VIEW. Nothing is around the machan. He is totally vulnerable.
REDBEARD, taking the ladder down. Patterson tries to get
comfortable. He can't.
It's certainly the best chance
they've had to kill you.
You think they'll come then?
Because I think they're after you.
PATTERSON. This registers. Finally, he nods. Redbeard starts to
How many do you think they've
The most of any lions... a
(Now Redbeard looks
up at the younger man)
They study each other in the gathering darkness. They've been
through a lot together, these two. They're not what they were when
they first met. An emotional moment clearly is at hand.
Don't fuck up.
(And he turns, never
looks back, just goes)
PATTERSON. He is alone now.
SHADOWS. Growing longer.
SAMUEL. On top of the water tower. The remaining men are with him.
THE DONKEY. It peers around.
PATTERSON. His fingers move slowly along his rifle barrel-
-there is no noise- but you have the sense that, at any second,
the world could explode.
THE EDGE OF THE CLEARING, a good distance away. A bunch of trees.
MOVE IN CLOSER:
Redbeard, motionless, rifle in hand, is high in the branches.
THE SUN. About to die.
PATTERSON, trying to get comfortable. It's not possible.
THE DONKEY, tethered, but able to move.
PATTERSON, testing the machan- not a good idea- it trembles. He
stops, stares out at the setting sun, the light hitting his skin,
giving it color.
THE SUN and here's the thing about Africa- the sun doesn't just
set, it literally drops out of the sky. Suddenly it's bright and
in a blink it isn't. As it drops-
PATTERSON. CLOSE UP. It's madness that he's up here. And he knows
it. And that shows.
THE SKY. No moon. Just thick cloud.
THE DONKEY. Quiet.
PATTERSON. On his precarious perch. He scans constantly ahead of
him past the donkey.
THE THICK BUSH BEYOND THE DONKEY. Nothing moves-
PATTERSON. He swallows, moistening his throat. He stares down at
THE DONKEY. LATER. MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. DARK.
And now, just the beginning of a mist.
THE SKY. THICKER AND THICKER CLOUDS. LATER STILL. GETTING TOWARD
PATTERSON sitting there twelve feet up as the silence extends,
listening for something, anything-
-but all there is is silence.
THE DONKEY. It lies still and quiet.
PATTERSON, looking around- you get the feeling he'd like to
THE BUSHES AROUND HIM. The mist is getting stronger.
REDBEARD in his tree, cursing, trying to see through the growing
PATTERSON, listening, listening-
-and then there is a sound and it's so quiet you can barely hear
it but to Patterson it might as well be thunder-
-from behind the donkey there has come this: the snapping of a
THE DONKEY, and it's eyes widen-
HOLD ON THE DONKEY.
Because now something happens that hasn't happened before:
suddenly there are no colors, only tones-
-because lions can't see colors, only tones, and that's what's
happening- we are looking at the donkey from the point of view of
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
THE EYES OF THE GHOST. Watching the donkey.
And from now on, when we are using PATTERSON'S POINT OF VIEW,
everything is clouded and thick with mist, and sounds are muted.
When we are using THE GHOST'S POINT OF VIEW, everything is totally
clear- and sounds are thunderous.
WHAT PATTERSON SEES: just mist and vaguely, bushes.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: The donkey. And CAMERA begins to move closer
as The Ghost moves, just the barest few steps closer.
PATTERSON. Still no sound- but beyond the donkey there seems to be
some movement in the bushes.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: The donkey, very, very close-
PATTERSON. Squinting desperately at the area beyond the donkey but
the mist is so thick, he can't make certain of anything.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: THE DONKEY.
Now there is something else visible, something behind the donkey:
the four legs of the platform.
Now we travel up the platform- the four legs grow closer together.
HOLD AS THE GHOST AT LAST SEES PATTERSON.
THE EYES OF THE GHOST. NARROWING.
PATTERSON. Involuntarily, a shiver.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON, but the angle shifts-
-what's happening of course is this: The Ghost is circling around
the platform in the safety of the bushes and the mist.
PATTERSON, following the whispered sound of the bushes moving. He
half turns the other way quickly, making sure that nothing is
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON shifting as the angle continues to
PATTERSON as the realization hits: the beast doesn't care about
the donkey anymore, it's stalking him.
REDBEARD. In the tree. The mist obscures everything.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON. Still circling, still closer.
PATTERSON, and it's scary now, this thing circling and circling,
always closer, never visible and his throat is dry and you know
he's just dying to blast it with his weapon or scream for it to do
anything but this constantly circling movement. (In truth, the
lion circled him for two hours, always coming closer, never quite
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON, always the circling around.
PATTERSON, trying to turn on his shaky plank, trying to never to
let the animal's position out of his sight.
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON. Closer...
PATTERSON, staring, staring at the goddamn mist, about to come
apart now with the tension as it builds and builds and builds and
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON. Closer.
PATTERSON, gripping his weapon tightly as his head keeps on
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON. Closer.
PATTERSON, suddenly yelling out loud as an owl lands on him-
that's right, a goddamn owl landed on him, thinking he was a tree,
almost knocking him off the plank and
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON, starting to slip off the platform
PATTERSON, fighting the owl away, but his balance is going and
he's trying not to fall and
WHAT THE GHOST SEES: PATTERSON, beginning to topple off and
PATTERSON, helpless, balance going, going-
THE GHOST, starting to charge forward and Christ he can move and
as he starts his leap-
REDBEARD, racing from the tree to the edge of the clearing, firing
his rifle, firing again and
THE GHOST, as this incredible roar comes from him, and he spins,
lands, and sure, he's been hit but he's gone, back into the bushes
and the night has him and
SUDDEN DAWN AND PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, running, stopping, staring
at the ground-
THE GROUND. Blood.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD, moving quickly forward again-
THE GROUND. More blood and...
THE TWO OF THEM, starting to slow-
STRANGE TERRAIN- huge anthills all over, the tallest we've seen,
some of them fifteen feet high, some even higher.
PATTERSON AND REDBEARD. They separate, take different paths
through the anthills.
REDBEARD. Alert. One step at a time.
PATTERSON. The same. One step at at time.
THE GHOST. Crouched high up behind one of the biggest anthills,
staring down at them both.
REDBEARD. He gestures for them to stop. They do. For a moment they
might be statues.
THE ROCKY GROUND. Spots of blood. Redbeard kneels to examine them
and as he does-
THE GHOST, launched in mid-air and
PATTERSON, whirling, falling, firing and as the sound detonates-
THE GHOST, in mid-air, body twisted and-
Freeze on The Ghost silhouetted against the morning sky.
SAMUEL, WALKING INTO THE SHOT-
-we're by the river and this is a repeat of the earlier moment
when the three men brought the old man-eater into camp-
-only now eight men appear, carrying The Ghost- eight is the
actual number of men that it took, and as they lower the dead
animal to the ground-
THE GHOST- and now there's a flash of light as we
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
BEAUMONT, kneeling by the dead animal. He is smiling beautifully,
and there is no questioning the look of triumph on his face.
A PHOTOGRAPHER; loads of bulky equipment. Patterson and Redbeard
stand behind him, watching him. We're in a lovely spot by the
river. Patterson and Redbeard have definitely been drinking.
I think another for posterity-
this is an important moment in
He strikes another pose- the Photographer goes to work.
Understand, I had help-
-not a time for modesty, Bob-
-undeniably your triumph.
Oh surely there's enough credit
for us all- let's not forget, you
did the actual shooting. Of course,
I hired you, I was the general who
put the team together. And generals
are the ones who tend to be
Perhaps you might put your head in
its mouth, sir- could be a corker.
Clever idea, I like it.
THE MOUTH OF THE GHOST- it is huge-
-Beaumont manages to get it open- puts his head between the
enormous set of teeth- he's nervous, tries to hide it when we
REDBEARD suddenly giving a loud imitation of a lion roaring and
BEAUMONT, surprised and frightened-
-he jerks his head away-
-there is the sound of laughter, Patterson's and Redbeard's-
-Beaumont tries for his smile, can't bring it off, looks around,
humiliated, and as the laughter builds-
THE TENT AREA. NIGHT.
Patterson and Redbeard flank a fire. It's a sweet moment for them,
their first, no fear in the vicinity.
It should be noted that they both are drinking from bottles of
It should also be noted that the Patterson we see is a world away
from the young man who went to meet Beaumont. He's unshaven, his
eyes have seen terrible things, he is weary, he has known failure-
he is more at ease with the world.
I never thought I'd say this, but
I'm glad you came.
Understood- you realize now you
could never have done it without
Actually, I could have done it
much more easily without you, but
for whatever reason, I'm glad you
(They toast each other)
Samuel, with his own bottle of champagne has wandered over, joins
Where do you go next?
Some Russian princes want to hunt
the Himalayas. You?
Help finish the railroad.
I want to meet my son- he must be
what, two months old?
They look at the fire a moment. Then-
Three years I've worked for the
railroad. Now I don't know why. It
seemed a good idea once.
I feel the same about the bridge.
This country certainly didn't ask
for it, doesn't need it.
Too soon to tell.
They look at him.
My life was shaped because someone
invented gunpowder. Our lives have
crossed because two lions went mad.
But what if in the future the three
of us do something grand for
humanity? Was that worth all the
lives? Too soon to tell.
Some mysteries should not have
(finishes his bottle,
rises, looks at Patterson)
Hold your son high.
(And he turns, goes
to his tent)
He has children?
(HOLD on the two
in the firelight. Then-)
THE STATION MASTER AT TSAVO STATION, WORKING IN HIS OFFICE. THE
FEMALE VOICE (over)
I'd like to see John Patterson,
(As he looks up-)
HELENA standing there in Tsavo; she looks weary from travel, but
still lovely. She holds their son in her arms. The kid is
Could you tell him that his wife-
(catches herself, smiles)
-that his family has come to see him.
PATTERSON AT THE BRIDGE- Samuel hurries to him with the news-
Patterson takes off running and
TSAVO STATION and Helena; she holds the sleeping child, walks back
and forth along the shaded front of the building, no sound at all
but her heels.
PATTERSON, running like crazy and up ahead now is the station
HELENA- and now, in the distance, she sees him and she leaves the
building, walks out into the open, smiling and waving excitedly
PATTERSON, excitedly waving back and
THE DARKNESS, moving out of the grassy area behind Helena and
PATTERSON, suddenly screaming "Get back- back-"
HELENA, and she's too far away- his words are lost on the wind-
she smiles again, waves again and
PATTERSON, screaming now, all he has, "GET BACK" and
HELENA, and she still can't make out what he's saying but just the
same, she stops and
THE DARKNESS, stalking silently, closing on the mother and child.
HELENA, and the baby wakes, smiles and
THE DARKNESS, starting to run and
PATTERSON and now it shows on his face- he's not going to get
there, he's never going to get there-
HELENA, and at last she knows something is terribly wrong and she
-but too late, too late as we
THE DARKNESS, flying toward her now and
PATTERSON, in agony.
THE DARKNESS, leaping on them, taking them to the ground and as
Helena cries out helplessly-
PATTERSON, crying out helplessly and
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON IN HIS TENT,
continuing to cry out until he realized the nightmare he just had
-he staggers to his tent opening, goes outside.
OUTSIDE. It's dawn. Patterson, shaken, tries to rid himself of the
dream. He looks around.
Redbeard's tent is ripped- Patterson runs to it-
INSIDE THE TENT. It's empty. Patterson stares around-
-there is blood on the tent floor and quickly-
THE SUN. RISING.
PATTERSON running wildly, rifle in hand and
SAMUEL, carrying a weapon, hurrying to keep up and
PATTERSON, flying across rough terrain and as he and Samuel splash
across a small river, he gestures for them to split and they do,
widening the area of search and
SAMUEL, veering off and
THORN TREES, as Patterson rips through them, unmindful of the
damage to his clothes or his skin and
MORE THORNS- he plunges wildly ahead and
A LARGE ANTHILL- it seems to be casting an unusual shadow-
Patterson slows, rifle ready, takes a breath, moves around it-
-nothing at all- just his imagination which has been working
overtime and is only getting worse-
Patterson stands there a moment, unsure where to go, what to do-
-and then SAMUEL'S VOICE on the wind- calling to him-
PATTERSON, tracking the sound- Samuel's voice cries out again,
-Patterson starts to run and run, and as he rounds a bend-
A FIELD OF WHITE GRASS. So lovely.
With one patch in the middle that is blood red.
Something is moving in the blood red area.
Patterson has his rifle ready-
-and then Samuel rises from the blood red patch.
SAMUEL. In shock, in despair, call it what you want- he has seen
something beyond imagination.
PATTERSON, rushing across the field of white grass, rushing to
where Samuel stands in the patch of blood red grass- he looks down
into the grass-
-clearly, Redbeard is there and clearly he is dead. Patterson and
Samuel stare mute at one another-
-and now, from frighteningly near them, comes the triumphant roar
of The Darkness. They don't even react.
FLAMES RISING IN THE LATE AFTERNOON.
We should already have a sense of where we are; we've done this
START PULLING BACK.
Samuel stands there, trying to hold it together.
KEEP PULLING BACK.
Patterson stands there too, trying to hold it together.
KEEP PULLING BACK TO REVEAL
REDBEARD'S FUNERAL PYRE. Flames consume the body.
Just Patterson and Samuel. No one else is there.
The flames lick at the sky...
A LARGE BABOON. ONE LEG IS TIED TO THE END OF THE BRIDGE. GETTING
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL, both armed, climbing the crane tower in use
at the bridge, not far from the baboon.
You're positive lions hate baboons?
(Samuel holds up a bag)
Let's get it over with.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL as they reach the crane tower platform,
fifteen feet from the baboon.
They help each other into position. Almost night.
THE LARGE BABOON, baring its enormous teeth, shrieking out into
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL on the platform. Samuel tosses a pebble
toward the baboon and the baboon cries out again, not in pain but
THE PLATFORM. PATTERSON AND SAMUEL ARE FLOODED BY MOONLIGHT. IT'S
THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.
They're both tired. Samuel throws another pebble. The baboon cries
PATTERSON, TENSE, ON THE PLATFORM. MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.
He's tossing pebbles now as Samuel dozes. Paterson looks wild;
only nervous energy is keeping him going now.
THE SKY. The moon. Peaceful- then it turns bright yellow and
frightening black clouds gather and
PATTERSON, blinking, coming hard back to reality because the sky
is not yellow nor were there black clouds- he's starting to
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL ON THE PLATFORM.
Samuel is awake now. Patterson stares at the river which is calm.
THE RIVER, raging and black and lethal.
PATTERSON, hallucinating again.
JUST BEFORE DAWN
and The Darkness suddenly is there, creeping across the bridge
toward the shrieking baboon and the instant it appears-
-THE DARKNESS, and it's hit and it roars and goes down and-
-PATTERSON, turning, reaching for Samuel's rifle, grabbing it,
turning back, ready to fire again-
THE DARKNESS- gone.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL, blinking, looking around.
Where is it?
WHERE HE'S POINTING. The superstructure for the bridge- it goes
several levels beneath the level where the railroad will run.
They look at each other- not good news and we find out why when we
EARLY MORNING LIGHT.
Patterson and Samuel climb carefully down from their platform to
the railroad level. They reach the railroad level. PAtterson
releases the baboon which races away.
WHERE THEY ARE. At the end of the bridge where they began
construction. The bridge, two thirds finished, stretches away
They begin to walk the incomplete bridge... carefully...
..as they go the look down through the crevices of their level,
making sure they miss nothing.
SAMUEL. Terrified. Holding his rifle extremely tightly.
PATTERSON. Ready for anything.
THE BRIDGE up ahead of them. There are some holes.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL slowing.
THE HOLES. The nearest one is the largest.
PATTERSON. He goes on tiptoe, trying to see what's in the hole.
THE HOLE. It seems empty.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL. One step forward. Another. They hold their
THE HOLE. It seems empty.
A SHOT FROM BELOW BRIDGE LEVEL- The Darkness is there.
THE DARKNESS, going down through another level of scaffolding.
PATTRSON AND SAMUEL, trying to track it.
THE SCAFFOLDING. Nothing is visible.
PATTERSON AND SAMUEL- Frozen. They listen-
-nothing but their breathing.
PATTERSON, looking around everywhere.
THE HOLE. Nothing.
THE FIRST LEVEL of scaffolding. Nothing.
THE SECOND LEVEL of scaffolding. Nothing.
SAMUEL, looking this way, that way.
SHOCK CUT TO
THE HOLE AS THE DARKNESS JUST FUCKING FLIES OUT OF IT- Patterson
falls back and fires and The Darkness is hit and goes down but it
gets up and
PATTERSON, turning for Samuel's rifle-
-only Samuel isn't there-
-he's taken off for the trees at the end of the bridge and
THE DARKNESS ROARING AND
PATTERSON and he turns, starts running too, running across the
narrow half-completed bridge and it's a bitch to do it without
slipping or falling and
THE DARKNESS, wounded, sure, but the mother can still run and it
takes off after Patterson and
SAMUEL, making it to the end of the bridge and jumping for the
nearest tree and
PATTERSON running for his life across the bridge and
THE DARKNESS, closing the gap and ordinarily Patterson would be a
dead man but even though The Darkness hasn't got its ordinary
speed, it's still faster than Patterson and
PATTERSON, and he's never gone this fast in his life and
THE TREE HE'S HEADED FOR, a different one from Samuel's and it's
just up ahead and
THE DARKNESS, closing and
THE TREE, and
THE DARKNESS, springing into the air now and
PATTERSON, diving for the lowest branch, grabbing hold with both
hands, swinging his body up as we
THE DARKNESS, barely missing as Patterson gets his body onto the
branch and now comes this insane roar and
SAMUEL with his rifle, as he climbs higher into his tree.
PATTERSON in the next tree, climbing higher, until he's fifteen
THE DARKNESS, on the ground, circling the trunk of Patterson's
tree, raging with frustration.
PATTERSON, exhausted but it's okay now, he's safe, and as he looks
across at the next tree not far away where Samuel is-
Afraid of lions.
It's all right, Samuel- we all
(Now he shuts up
THE DARKNESS, as it does this incredible thing- it starts to climb
the tree after Patterson. Lions are cats and when they want to
climb, up they go and that's what The Darkness is doing now, going
PATTERSON, and it's terrifying- he reaches for the branch above,
climbing higher and
THE DARKNESS, climbing higher too and the tree is sturdy but there
is a four hundred pound thing rocking it now and
PATTERSON, going still higher but the branches are getting thinner
and the tree is shaking, and he could fall-
THE DARKNESS, climbing on, nothing can stop it-
PATTERSON AND THE DARKNESS, together in the tree, and there's no
further Patterson can go and it's harder for The Darkness too, but
slowly it moves in and
PATTERSON, calling out-
(And he gestures for
the rifle and the
instant he does-)
SAMUEL, and he takes the rifle between his two hands and
THE DARKNESS, steadily moving in and
SAMUEL, tossing the rifle with great care and Patterson's less
than fifteen feet away and
PATTERSON, hands out to catch it and
THE RIFLE in mid-air and
PATTERSON, both hands ready and
THE RIFLE as it strikes a tree branch, spins away to the ground.
THE DARKNESS, almost on Patterson now and
PATTERSON, suddenly leaping out of the tree, and yes it's a long
way and sure it's going to damage him but sometimes there aren't a
lot of choices in this world and
SAMUEL, staring as Patterson falls and
PATTERSON, crashing hard to earth, stunned, hurt, ribs broken, leg
THE DARKNESS, and it's so big it's hard for it to get room to turn
but it does and
PATTERSON crawling for the rifle, and he's in terrible pain but he
reaches the weapon, grabs for it and
THE DARKNESS, skittering down the tree and as it reaches the
PATTERSON, forcing himself to his feet and
THE DARKNESS, a dozen feet away as with a roar it starts its
PATTERSON, aims, fires and
THE DARKNESS, hit again and down it goes again but up it comes
PATTERSON, firing the final shot and
THE DARKNESS, hit again and it has to stop, it just has to-
-but it doesn't.
It roars and roars and moves slowly toward Patterson.
PATTERSON; all bullets gone, no place to hide.
THE DARKNESS. Still moving forward.
PATTERSON. He takes a step backward, falls backwards over a
branch, lands hard and
THE DARKNESS, framed between Patterson's legs. Six feet away, now
PATTERSON, helpless on the ground.
THE DARKNESS, and the eyes glow-
-a branch is on the ground in front of it- it buries its huge
teeth into the branch-
-now a long dying sigh... and it goes to the ground.
PATTERSON. Can't breathe.
THE DARKNESS, dead, its teeth still buried in the tree branch.
PATTERSON. CLOSE UP. And suddenly he just empties and tears pour
down his face and he begins to cry out loud, his body wracked with
sobs. He manages to get to his knees, moves next to the animal-
PATTERSON AND THE DARKNESS. Just the sound of Patterson's tears...
CAMERA BEGINS TO RISE-
-WE ARE LOOKING AT THE BRIDGE NOW- AND IT'S FINISHED!
-hundreds of people are watching as the first train goes oer it-
-Samuel is there- lighting up the world with his smile-
-and Patterson's there, too. He stands with Helena, his young son
in his arms.
Everybody smiles, everybody waves, the train goes triumphantly by.
PATTERSON. He looks wonderful again, vibrant and young. Watching
him, you might think he hadn't been through the nightmare as he
stands there, holding the boy tightly.
But with his other hand, he fingers the lion claw necklace...
HOLD ON PATTERSON.
Now slowly dissolve to an African evening. Animals stretch from
one horizon to the other.
SAMUEL VOICE (over)
Here we still wonder about them.
How did they escape for nine months?
And kill 135 men? And stop the
And were they only lions?
If you want to decide for yourself,
you must go to America. They are at
the Field Museum in Chicago, and
even now, after they have been dead
a century, if you dare to lock eyes
...you will be afraid.
In the distance, the animals continue to move.
SAMUEL VOICE (over)
HOLD ON THE ANIMALS. They seem to go on forever...
FINAL FADE OUT.