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                         WHILE SHE WAS OUT

                            Written by

                          Susan Montford

                     Based on a short story by

                          Edward Bryant

                                                       5th draft
                                               December 20, 2006


    From the pages of a Thomas guide converge, overlap and re-
    configure across the screen. The endlessly ironic names of
    American suburbs parade before us, their violet territories
    marching forward like a bruise into dark green patches of
    forest and wilderness.

    Closer in on one last map grid which fades into a
    transparency of itself overlaid across the actual location of
    the suburb. The name of this housing development is "Pleasant
    Valley". The transparency fades out to reveal:

1                                                                 1

    From a sign reading "Pleasant Valley Dream Homes", a picture
    postcard boulevard of mini mansions curves into infinity.

    Each home is brand new. Each has the same size lawn, the same
    shrubs, the same satellite dish. Each has an
    indistinguishable car parked in the driveway.

    All the homes have Christmas decorations, Christmas trees
    with baubles, lights and Christmas stars sitting proudly at
    the top. The doors have Christmas wreaths.

    The sheen of a recent rainfall makes all the surfaces glimmer
    in the lights.

    We halt outside one house.

2                                                                 2

    This home too seems perfect until we notice the Christmas
    star has fallen from the top of the tree and lies reflecting
    itself in a puddle on the wet lawn.

    Suddenly we hear the sound of wings fluttering and see an owl
    among the branches of the Christmas tree. It rises from the
    tree then swoops down to the lawn where it sweeps a mouse
    from the grass. The owl then soars off, casting a magnified
    shadow of her wings across the house, and disappears with
    it's prey into the woods behind.

    Curtains part at a downstairs window. The silhouette of a man
    appears bathed in the blue glow of a computer screen. He
    draws the curtains once again and disappears.

3                                                                 3

    We sneak between curtain and window ledge into a home office
    fitted out with a flat screen TV and a computer.

                                                Scene 3 Page 2

        KENNETH, a forty something ex-jock with a once handsome face,
        pours a beer into a crystal brandy glass. Kenneth's eyes are
        glued to the computer screen where stock numbers scroll
        endlessly down. He highlights a set of numbers and stands up
        abruptly from his chair elated.


        Steps back onto a A CHILD'S DOLL, crushing it underfoot. His
        ebullient mood changes quickly.

                            KENNETH (CONT'D)
                  Damn! DELLA!

        The sound of footsteps are followed by the door opening.
        DELLA peers into the room. She's a diminutive blonde in her
        thirties with fine features and a fading Southern accent.
        She's pulling a coat on over a white shirt and jeans.

        She sees the broken doll.

                  SHOOT, KENNETH! That's Tammi's
                  favorite doll.

        She walks in, picks up the doll and tries to fix its squashed
        face. He turns back to the computer guiltily, takes a sip of

                  You should just swear properly and
                  get it over with. Do you think the
                  kids don't know what you mean?

        Close up, his face is ruddy - the face of someone who drinks
        too much. He turns back towards her. She ignores him,
        continues to try fix the doll. His eyes linger on her coat.

                            KENNETH (CONT'D)
                  Going out again? What is it
                  tonight? Auto Mechanics for
                  Dummies? The bored housewives'
                  reading group?

        He averts his eyes back to the screen then turns back to look
        at her once more.

                            KENNETH (CONT'D)
                  I got a new one for you.

        He smiles sardonically.

                                                Scene 3 Page 3

                            KENNETH (CONT'D)
                  Group therapy for women who always
                  have the curse. There's a Tuesday
                  night class at the Pleasant Valley

        Kenneth clearly thinks he's funny. Della glares a warning at
        him and bites her lip to stop a vitriolic response escaping
        from her mouth.

                  I'm going to the mall for wrapping

        A trail of kids mess in the hallway behind Della catches
        Kenneth's eye.

                  What do you do all day, Della
                  honey? Cause it sure isn't keeping
                  house. This place is an eyesore.
                  I'm mortgaged up to the eyeballs
                  for this?

        His sad eyes meet hers in confrontation. Della, determined
        not to engage, averts hers. Kenneth, unable to contain
        himself, faces her.

                            KENNETH (CONT'D)
                  I mean it's not like you're at some
                  salon fancying up your hair or
                  nails like the other men's wives.

        He lifts a strand of her limp fair hair and lets it drop,
        looks right in her tired face.

                            KENNETH (CONT'D)
                  The last time I saw you wearing
                  something sexy was our engagement
                  party. God, Della, you used to be

        She bites her lip again, but this time to try stop the tears.
        He turns away, in an attempt to conceal his own sadness.

        She walks away clutching the doll.

                  Put the twins to bed by eight. Give
                  them a chocolate cookie with their

                                                Scene 3 Page 4

                  Jesus, Della. Della honey, I'm

        But she's already left the room. He watches her pick up a set
        of car keys from a dresser in the dimly lit hallway. Her
        knuckles are white as she clenches her fingers around them.

        Kenneth turns back to his computer.

4                                                                     4

        Della climbs the stairs. Framed photographs on the wall tell
        the public story of her life. The engagement to Kenneth,
        their wedding, the birth of the twins, Kenneth's graduation,
        Kenneth as a sixth grade football star, Della on the farm in
        Ohio with her horse, a really young Della playing baseball
        with her father. We linger on a photo of a very pretty twenty
        something Della in a little black dress.

5                                                                     5

        TERRI and TAMMI are seven year old twins with the delicate
        blue eyed blonde looks of their Mother.

        Della stands in the doorway and watches them.

        Tammi is lying on her girlish bed drawing with crayons.
        Terri's toy dinosaurs are destroying Tammi's heirloom dolls
        house, starting with the furniture.

        She steps into the room.

                  Mommy can I get an American Girl
                  for Christmas?

                  I want a raptor dinosaur, Mommy.

                  You better leave Santa a note. It's
                  only three days until Christmas.

        She gives them each a kiss, breathing in their scent she
        loves so much.

                  Where are you going, Mommy?

                                        Scene 5 Page 5

                   The Mall. One chocolate cookie each
                   and then Daddy will read you a
                   bedtime story.

                   Daddy's stories are lame. I want
                   you to read us a story.

                   Yeah Mommy, the one about the

                   No, the cowgirls. Diamond Lil and
                   Slingshot Kitty.

                   Tomorrow night I'll read you the
                   best bedtime story in the whole
                   world. I promise.

        Della gives them a little wave and turns to leave.

                              DELLA (CONT'D)
                   I'll check in on you both when I
                   get back.
                   To make sure you're sleeping.

        She smiles. Terri's already turned back to his dinosaurs.
        Tammi runs toward her and gives her the drawing she's been
        working on. It's a drawing of a stick figure family holding
        hands. The words "Mommy, we love you" are written across a
        cloudy night sky like big stars.

                             DELLA (CONT'D)
                   Thank you, Tammi, it's wonderful.

        Della doesn't have time to look at it properly so she folds
        the drawing up and puts it in her pocket. She kisses Tammi
        again and turns to leave. Tammi's eyes follow her mother as
        she walks away.

6                                                                     6

        Della checks her watch and hurries down the stairs.

7                                                                     7

        She sits on the bottom stair to pull on a pair of boots. The
        boots are well worn but polished to a gleam.

                                                  Scene 7 Page 6

        Behind her, an antique grandfather clock strikes seven p.m.
        The sound of gun shots fades in from the TV in Kenneth's

8                                                                     8

        Della collects a packet of cookies from a cabinet. She looks
        at the pile of dirty dinner dishes in the sink then looks

9                                                                     9

        Della leaves the cookies at the bottom of the stairs and
        opens the front door. The TV blares out some action flick
        from Kenneth's ajar door.

        TITLE     ---   "WHILE SHE WAS OUT"

10                                                                   10

        Della is met by a blast of cold evening air and the eerie
        silence of the suburbs. She closes the door softly behind her
        and rushes along the path to the driveway where the family's
        black Ford Explorer is parked.

        She CHIRPS the remote and quickly climbs in.

11                                                                   11

        Della inserts the key and turns it in the lock.    The car
        sputters in defiance against the cold night.


        The car sputters again.

                               DELLA (CONT'D)

        With a massive exertion, the car engine turns over and the
        vehicle starts. She sighs with relief.

        She turns the heat up high and warms her hands at the vent,
        pauses to look at her home through the car window. For a
        second, in an upstairs window, she sees a reflection of

        She smiles, then looks at the house and lawn and the
        Christmas tree. She notices the fallen star, is about to get
        out of the car to retrieve it, but decides it's too cold.

                                                Scene 11Page 7

      A shadow creeps across her face as she pulls the stick into
      reverse and backs up.

12                                                                 12

      We follow her as she backs up, pushes into drive and heads
      slowly down the boulevard.

      The road is empty. All the cars are neatly tucked away in
      their driveways and it looks like no one's out tonight. She
      makes a right turn onto.

13                                                                 13

      She follows the road as it curves around a long row of
      endlessly monotonous houses. In the distance, we can see the
      gates of Pleasant valley gated community.

14                                                                 14

      She slows down, rolls down her window and swipes a chub card
      against the security panel. The gates slowly open. She drives
      through. The gates close behind her. She rolls the window up
      and makes a left turn onto.

15                                                                 15

      The road is wider and framed on either side by the high walls
      of gated communities. A Ford Explorer just like hers passes
      in the opposite direction.

16                                                                 16

      Della smiles mysteriously, reaches into the glove compartment
      with her free hand. She pushes aside a bunch of car papers, a
      flare, pulls out a check wallet hidden underneath - her
      secret hiding place for:

      A nice pack of Marlboros. She smiles again - the smile of the
      secret smoker. She presses the cigarette lighter into the

      The lighter pops out. She tips out a cigarette, sees a
      sticky note attached to the interior foil. Scrawled in messy
      handwriting are the words - YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE QUITTING

                I'll get right on that Kenneth
                honey. AFTER you stop drinking.

                                         Scene 16Page 8

      She rips the note off, stuffs it in her purse, lights the

      She inhales deeply.     We see the pleasure written across her

17                                                                 17

      A few cars pass Della in the night. Their lights are like
      torches in the suburban wilderness.

18                                                                 18

      There is the familiar ring of a cellular phone. Della has
      programmed one of those "oh so cute" recognizable tunes into
      it, like the "William Tell overture".

      Della holds the wheel with one hand and fumbles through her
      purse with the other. She eventually locates the phone.


                            MARY (V.O.)
                  Della, it's Mary Messina.

      Della rolls her eyes.     This is not a welcome call.

                  Oh, hey.

                            MARY (V.O.)
                  You okay sweetie?

                  Sure. How are you?

                              MARY (V.O.)
                  I'm well.

                  How'd you get my cell number?

      Della balances the phone while she drags on her cigarette.

                            MARY (V.O.)
                  I called Kenneth at the house.

      Oh great.   She exhales sharply.

                                         Scene 18Page 9

               And how'd that go? Did he give you
               an earful for disturbing his ninety
               ninth viewing of Lethal Weapon

     Mary giggles.

                         MARY (V.O.)
               Oh Della. Kenneth is always
               charming. At least to me.

     The car flashes past the decorated sign for a local school.
     Before Della can stop herself, the words are out.

               Well, with the way you flaunt your
               double D boob job at the free fun
               PTA events that's hardly a

     Fortunately for her the phone happens to make a deep metallic
     distortion at that moment.

                         MARY (V.O.)
               What was that?

               Oh nothing, Mary.

                         MARY (V.O.)
               You got lucky with that one.
               Patricia Ellis says he's the best
               looking guy in Pleasant Valley.

               Well that wouldn't be hard.
               Mary, do you need something? Cause
               I gotta go.

                         MARY (V.O.)
               Yes, are you going to Tool School

     Mary giggles at her own joke.

     Della sighs.    THIS is why she is having her serenity

                                      Scene 18Page 10

                TOOL SCHOOL?, Ouch, Mary. Do It
                Yourself Mechanics is without a
                doubt the most interesting thing in
                my life right now.
                I carry my beloved toolbox in the
                trunk at all times.

      The desolate road disappears behind Della.    She passes a
      roadside memorial.

                          MARY (V.O.)
                I'm just joking, Della. You know
                me. I pre-paid ten classes and only
                made it to two. If you are going I
                could use a ride. I'd hate to miss
                another class.

      If Della was going before, she's not now.

                Sorry, Mary, I'm skipping this
                week. Kenneth's parents are coming
                to stay for Christmas. You know how
                it is.

      A red light looms ahead. Della slows.

                          MARY (V.O.)
                Oh that's too bad. Maybe Patricia
                Ellis will be going.

                You check with her, Mary.

                          MARY (V.O.)
                Merry Christmas. God bless you and
                your family.

      Christmas lights outline a few distant houses.

                You too.
                    (Under her breath)
                Bah Humbug.

                             MARY (V.O.)

                Bye, Mary.

                                                Scene 18Page 11

      Della stops at the red light. She clicks off the phone and
      lets it lay on her lap.

      She rakes about among a bunch of kids stuff in the back seat,
      casts aside, an anorak, mittens, a sock.

      She finds what she's looking for, a bottle of water, caught
      on the bar under the passenger seat. It's only a third full
      but she takes a sip, recoils from its coldness.

      The light changes.   She throws the bottle into the back seat.

19                                                                 19

      Christmas lights: reindeer, stars, even the American flag dot
      the black night.

20                                                                 20

      Della picks up the phone and pushes a few keys. She has not
      dialed enough to make a full phone call when we hear the
      phone RING on the other side.

                           OPERATOR (V.O.)
                 Cellular 411 connect. How may I
                 direct your call?

                 The Learning Academy. Spring

                           OPERATOR (V.O.)
                 Please hold for that number.

      Della slows down for another red light.

      She's at a wide crossroads where the housing development
      abruptly ends and a wasteland of deforestation begins.

      A billboard for another new housing development announces:
      "GREEN STREET DREAM HOMES - Investment Opportunities".

      Waiting for the light at the opposite side of the road from
      Della is a car with an animal cadaver strapped to the roof.

      Della tries not to look at it.

      A recording breaks into the moment just as the light ahead
      changes to green.

                                      Scene 20Page 12

                          OPERATOR (V.O.) (CONT'D)
                Press your pound key now to connect
                with your request.

      Della presses the pound key and drives straight ahead.

                          MEGHAN (V.O.)
                Learning Academy, this is Meghan.

                Hi Meghan.     It's Della Myers.

                          MEGHAN (V.O.)
                Oh hey. You calling about Spanish
                for Beginners? You know that Tom
                cancelled 'cause of New Year's.

                Yes I knew.

                          MEGHAN (V.O.)
                Can you hold, I have another call?


      Frustrated, Della turns on the radio.    It is some innocuous
      local ad.

                          LOCAL AD
                Pleasant Valley Dream Homes. The
                lowest crime rate in the US. Call 1-

      Della switches stations trying to find something she likes.
      She gives up and waits for Meghan to return. The car flashes
      past construction road signs.

                          MEGHAN (V.O.)
                Sorry Della ...

                Can you leave word for Mike. I'm
                going to miss tomorrow's Mechanic's
                class. It's just the one time.

                          MEGHAN (V.O.)
                Everyone misses that class at least

                                      Scene 20Page 13

                I guess some people find it boring.

                          MEGHAN (V.O.)
                We'll see you the first week in
                January then?

                Yes you will...unless I run off and
                become an outlaw or something.

      Meghan giggles. We hear the familiar beep of another call
      coming in.

                          DELLA (CONT'D)
                I have to go.

                Merry Christmas

                You too.

      Della clicks the phone over to the incoming call.

                           DELLA (CONT'D)

                          CASSIE (V.O.)
                Hi Della... it's Cassie.

      Cassie's voice is almost lost in the din of her surroundings.

                Where are you? Grand Central

                Hold on, I'll take the phone

      A loud noise appears out of nowhere.

21                                                                21

      The car SCREECHES to a halt. Della almost didn't see it. She
      is at a railroad crossing, the third car in line, and she
      almost rear-ended the car in front of her.


                                                Scene 21Page 14

                          CASSIE (V.O.)
                Just a minute, Della.

                I almost rear-ended a car. Cassie?

      The phone cuts out. The train starts to go laboriously past.
      Carriage after carriage of brand name building materials for
      new housing developments.

      Della lights another cigarette.

      She turns on the radio again, finds a station playing "The
      Sound of Silence".

      The crossing gates go up.   The cars ahead of her start.
      Della shifts into drive.

      The phone rings its special tune again.   Della turns the
      volume of the radio down.

                          DELLA (CONT'D)
                What's up, Cassie?

                          CASSIE (V.O.)
                I'm over at Southeast Plaza. What
                was it we need to get for Pilates?

                Huh? One of those rubber balls, I
                think. I'm headed over there now.
                Ran out of Christmas wrapping
                paper. Would you believe it?

                          CASSIE (V.O.)
                It's hell here tonight. Everyone
                and their uncle is at the mall.

      Della's phone makes a loud, distorted noise.

                Aw shoot. My cell battery's dying.

      She rifles about in the passenger seat, leans over to the
      back, and rifles about there among the kids toys, gives up.

                          DELLA (CONT'D)
                Damn, I must have left the charger
                in the other car.

                                      Scene 21Page 15

                          CASSIE (V.O.)
                You want me to pick up something
                for you while I'm here?

      Cassie's kind offer almost reduces Della to tears.

                No....I'm just. I mean I'm. Oh

      The phone beeps again.

                           CASSIE (V.O.)
                Your phone's breaking up Della. I'm
                not joking when I say it's packed
                over here.

                It can't be that bad?

      The light up ahead turns amber then red.    Della stops.

                          DELLA (CONT'D)
                Why don't we meet somewhere for a

                          CASSIE (V.O.)
                Sure, but a latte's about the best
                they can do in this mall.

                A latte's fine. Let's meet at the
                fountain opposite Victoria's

      The light changes and Della drives up and over a hill.

                          CASSIE (V.O.)
                Sounds good.

      The phone beeps again.

                My battery's going. I'm a block
                away. See you in five minutes.

                          CASSIE (V.O.)
                Okay but I won't be able to wait
                very ....

      The phone beeps again.   It's over.

                                                Scene 21Page 16

      Della lets it drop onto her lap. She opens the window and
      flicks out the remains of her cigarette. She waves her hands
      to fan away the smoke. She closes the window again.

      She's about to hide her cigarettes again when she changes her
      mind and stuffs them directly into her purse.

      As the car approaches the cusp of the hill she slows down to
      stare ahead.

22                                                                 22

      Southeast Plaza.   The day before Christmas Eve. Hell on

      A large, sprawling parking lot full of cars.   Nothing but
      cars. A sea of cars.

23                                                                 23

      For a second, Della contemplates turning around and leaving.

      The guy in the SUV behind her beeps. She steps on the gas.

                Okay, okay!

      Her car careens slowly down hill to the lot.

24                                                                 24

      The road spits her out in front of the Mall entrance where
      revellers and shoppers are entering and exiting.

      Della follows several cars down the first long row of parked

      The asphalt is wet from the recent rainfall. Puddles gather
      in its dents and hollows.

      She passes car after densely parked car. There isn't a space
      in sight. She reaches the end of the row and indicates left,
      turns down the next row, ploughs through a rain puddle which
      splashes up onto a MOTHER who's walking her little GIRL and
      BOY back to their car. The woman shouts at Della.

                Watch where you're going!

      Della rolls down her window.

                                      Scene 24Page 17


      The Mother's weighed down with shopping bags. She glares at
      Della and drags her kids across the aisle in front of her.

      Della sighs, drives down the second aisle.

      An Escape midway down the row blocks traffic. It's waiting
      for a Subaru to pull out so it can take the spot.

25                                                                 25

                Lucky son of a .....

      The Subaru exits the spot slowly. Della taps her impatient
      fingers against the steering wheel.

26                                                                 26

      The Subaru pulls away and the Escape snaps into the empty

      Della continues her journey down to the end of the row. There
      are no spaces.

27                                                                 27

      It dawns on her that parking up close to the entrance just
      isn't going to happen. She takes the last puff from the
      cigarette burning out in the ashtray.

28                                                                 28

      Using the side aisle she scoots past row three and four as
      they all flow one way.

      At the end of this row a confrontation is brewing. Several
      cars block each other. Horns blast. An angry DRIVER screams
      at another.

                          ANGRY DRIVER
                If you think you're gonna steal my
                spot, think again, asshole!

29                                                                 29

      Della looks on for a moment at the confrontation. She grinds
      out the stub of her cigarette into the ashtray, slams it

                                                Scene 29Page 18

      Della shakes her head and turns left into row five. Jesus!
      Are there really this many cars in Pleasant Valley? It's a
      brand new Mall and the only one around for miles but this is

      Della reaches the end of row five quickly. She guessed there
      wouldn't be a spot so she's driving faster.

      She notices a portly middle aged RENT-A-COP directing traffic
      ahead. She lowers her window.


      The Rent-a-Cop stops directing and approaches the car.

                Can I help you?

                Do you know where I can definitely
                find parking?

                There's nothing close by. Even the
                valet's backed up. You might want
                to try further out.

      He points off into the distance through the sea of cars.

                          RENT-A-COP (CONT'D)
                But be willing to walk.

      A car waiting behind Della honks its horn loudly and the Rent-
      A-Cop saunters away. Della guns the Ford down row eight.

30                                                               30

      At the end of this row, Della decides to take the Rent-A-
      Cop's advice. She makes another left at the aisle and skips
      several more rows. She heads down to the third from last row.

31                                                               31

      Cars... cars... If she never sees another car it will be too

      Della spies a spot, halfway down the row.


                                               Scene 31Page 19

      She guns the engine, gets ready to pull in and is DENIED.

      Somebody has parked an enormous old gold Plymouth so badly
      it's taking up TWO spaces.

                          DELLA (CONT'D)

      She brakes in the nick of time and sighs deeply. She's
      starting to lose her patience now.

32                                                                 32

      With no options left, Della heads down to the very last row.
      More cars fill the spaces. And then - two spots. The last
      two spots in the car park. They overlook undeveloped land
      just beyond the mall. Small concrete bumps signify the end of
      each space.

33                                                                 33

      Della whips the car into the first one. She sighs with
      relief as she straightens the car up into the spot. She sits
      for a second trying to calm herself down but it isn't
      working. She reaches for another cigarette, then, talks
      herself out of it.

      She fastens her coat, grabs her purse and opens the door.

34                                                                 34

      Steps down from the Ford right into a puddle. The dirty water
      splashes up onto her pants.


      She shakes the boot off and looks over at the mall. It's at
      least a half mile away, glimmering in the distance.

      She sets off marching across the lot, taking what seems to be
      the most direct route. Maybe she can shake off this mood by
      the time she gets inside.

      She passes the Plymouth, turns, stares back at it. The car is
      dirty gold and riddled with rust holes with a vinyl roof
      that's almost peeled away. She walks up close, tries to
      decipher the plate, but it's caked with mud.

      Annoyance rises like bile in her throat.

                                               Scene 34Page 20

      She finds herself reaching into her purse, rummaging for a
      small notebook, then a sharpie. She leans on the car as she


      She scans her words.    Pretty good!

      Della rips the piece of paper from the notebook, folds the
      note several times and slides it under the Plymouth's
      windshield wipers. The driver can't miss it.

      She smiles. That felt good!

      Head held high she marches on towards the Mall.

      The CAMERA pulls up so we can see the mall, see Della
      marching across the lot, see the crowds of shoppers entering
      and exiting the mall, and get the feeling that maybe somebody
      just saw her.

35                                                                 35

      Shoppers are buying freshly felled Christmas trees from a
      vendor. Della squeezes past and pushes through the mall

36                                                                 36

      A wave of heat and Christmas lights hits Della. A wave of
      nausea follows as she is swallowed by the crowd of last
      minute shoppers. Distorted muzak versions of Christmas songs
      seep from invisible speakers.

      Della gets caught up in a line of children waiting to see
      Santa in his grotto. She squeezes through and makes her way
      towards the fountain outside of Victoria's Secret.

      En route she is stopped by a perfume sales lady who sprays
      her wrist with perfume before she has time to protest.

                           PERFUME SALES LADY
                 It's a classic revival of Chanel
                 No.5. We have a wonderful Christmas
                 Special on offer at Macy's.

      She hands Della a sample and flyer.

                                               Scene 36Page 21


      Della arrives at the fountain. A piddling jet of dirty water
      gurgles from the mouth of a bored mermaid and streams down
      into the shallow pool full of nickels and dimes. She scans
      the crowd but there's no sign of Cassie.

      Della sits at the edge of the fountain. She checks her watch
      then checks out the people milling around in front of
      Victoria's Secret, where mannequins in skimpy festive
      underwear are propped seductively in the window displays.

      Still no sign of Cassie. She's about to make a wish and throw
      a quarter into the fountain when a Red Cross worker shakes
      her "Save the Children" tin at her. Della sticks the quarter
      into the tin instead.

37                                                                 37

      Della wanders the aisles of festive colored undies watching
      men pick out slinky lingerie for their partners and women
      examine slim fit underpants and padded bras.

      She notices a pure silk black teddy, very classic, no frills.
      She lifts it from the rail and holds it against herself in
      front of the mirror, tries to imagine herself in it.

      A young SALES ASSISTANT approaches.

                           VS SALES ASSISTANT
                 It's pure silk, the last one in our
                 classic black label collection.
                 Would you like me to fix you a
                 changing room?

      Della checks the size tag. It reads 36C, two sizes too big.
      And the price tag next to it. Ouch! It's expensive for
      Victoria's Secret.

                 No thanks. Not my size.

      She gestures to her small boobs, smiles and hands the teddy
      to the sales assistant. She quickly leaves the shop.

38                                                                 38

      Della checks one last time at the fountain for Cassie. She
      tries to dodge the crowd as she makes her way toward a
      generic coffee shop. Maybe Cassie will be there.

                                               Scene 39Page 22

39                                                                 39

      Harried women and a few men, clutching bags full of gifts and
      impatient children, stand on line for their favorite drug.

      Della squeezes past them to look for Cassie. Every seat at
      every booth is full but there's no sign of her friend.

      Della joins the line. She finds herself biting at her nails,
      a bad habit since childhood.

      A woman in front of her places an order then moves on to the
      pick up area. Della moves up to the counter to where an

                A latte please?

      She notices some chocolate covered biscotti on the counter.

                          DELLA (CONT'D)
                And a chocolate biscotti.

      She catches sight of herself in the mirror behind the
      counter. Kenneth's right about one thing, she looks awful.

                          OVERWEIGHT SALES ASSISTANT
                Bitter or Milk chocolate?

      Seeing herself in the mirror changes her mind about the

                Forget it, just the coffee.

                          OVERWEIGHT SALES ASSISTANT

                Della, two L's.

                          OVERWEIGHT SALES ASSISTANT
                Four dollars and seventy nine

      Della pushes the money towards her and waits for her coffee.
      When it finally shows up her name is spelled DELA. She sighs
      and checks the line for Cassie as she leaves the shop.

                                               Scene 40Page 23

40                                                                 40

      She passes a hair salon and presses her face to the steamy
      windows. Inside, women are getting their hair styled and
      their nails manicured at the same time.

      Della looks down at her bitten nails but just can't bring
      herself to go inside.

                          LYNN (O.S.)
                Della, is that you?

      She turns around to see LYNN MONROE, a pretty, well groomed
      redhead about her age.

                Lynn Monroe!

                I knew it was you, Della. I haven't
                seen you since college. You left to
                marry some handsome jock and we
                never heard from you again.

                Something like that. Do you live
                around here now?

                David and I just bought this divine
                house in Pleasant Valley. Do you
                know it? Great for the kids.

      Della nods but Lynn keeps speaking. Della sips on her latte.

                          LYNN (CONT'D)
                It's the first time I've left the
                doors unlocked since I was a child
                growing up in the Midwest. David's
                been promoted to VP of United
                Motors so it's all happening for
                us. But enough of me. How are you?

                Oh, we have two kids. Twins, Tammi
                and Terri.

      Lynn becomes distracted, focusing on her perfect reflection
      in the steamy glass.

                                               Scene 40Page 24

                 Why that's fantastic. Listen Della,
                 it's been great talking to you but
                 I have to go get my hair done!
                 David and I are going out tomorrow
                 night for a romantic dinner. I just
                 bought this gorgeous teddy from
                 Victoria's Secret.

      She opens the bag and Della sees it's the black teddy she
      eyed earlier. Della smiles.

                           LYNN (CONT'D)
                 Hope we bump into each other again
                 soon, sweetie. Merry Christmas

      She gives Della a fake kiss and rushes into the salon.

      Della chucks her half finished coffee into a nearby trash can
      and walks on through the Mall.

41                                                                41

      Della enters a pharmacy. She locates the wrapping paper
      aisle. She sweeps up a bunch of rolls at three for ninety
      nine cents. She feels the texture of the paper, it's thin and
      looks gaudy so she puts them all back. Instead she selects
      some expensive gold paper with silver embossed stars and
      matching silver ribbon. She then finds some jolly children's
      wrapping with Christmas tree designs and a great big red bow.

      She browses through the aisles of cards. She sees some cute
      cards for the twins and then arrives at the "To my Darling
      Husband at Christmas" section. She opens some of the cards
      and recoils from the sentiments contained inside.

      She catches a groomed BLONDE HOUSEWIFE staring at her and
      corrects her facial expression from one of revulsion to a
      complicit Stepford smile.

                 It's a pity they don't have any "To
                 a bastard at Christmas" cards.

      The woman looks at Della like she's a lunatic. Della chuckles
      to herself.

      She finds the feminine hygiene aisle and picks up a pack of
      regular tampax.

      She gathers her stuff and carries it to the checkout where a
      TIRED MAN and his TWO KIDS wait before her on the line.

                                                  Scene 41Page 25

      The man tries to remove a snow globe, with a tiny house and
      Christmas tree inside, from the clutches of his young son.
      The child starts bawling. The man ends up buying the snow
      globe to placate the child.

      It's Della's turn.


                             PH SALES ASSISTANT
                   Perfect timing!

                   God planned it for Christmas Day
                   just to tick me off.

                             PH SALES ASSISTANT
                   Thirty dollars and sixty nine cents

      She packs Della's stuff into paper bags. Della hands her visa
      card over.


                             PH SALES ASSISTANT
                   Merry Christmas.

42                                                                 42

      It's a lot less crowded now. The melancholy "Home for
      Christmas" plays. She follows the ladies sign to the entrance
      to the bathroom, only to find an "Out of Order" sign on the
      door. She sees a cleaning lady in the corridor.

                   How come the ladies' bathroom is
                   out of order on a night like this?

                             CLEANING LADY
                   The one at the other side of the
                   mall is open, Ma'am.

      The    cleaning lady disappears through the bathroom door with
      her    cart of cleaning utensils. Della looks down the length of
      the    huge mall and decides she's not even going to try to find
      the    other bathroom. She can wait until she gets home.

      She makes her way towards the exit, pulls her coat in tight
      and braces herself for the cold front outside.

                                       Scene 43Page 26

43                                                                 43

      A group of CAROL SINGERS sing "Silent Night".

                          CAROL SINGERS
                Silent Night. Holy Night. All is
                calm. All is bright.

      Della listens for a moment. Their voices are clear and

      Behind them she can see the Christmas tree vendor bag up the
      left over trees.

      Della's hands start to pinch with the cold.

      She gathers her bags of wrapping paper and sets off across
      the emptying lot. The last of the shoppers rush across the
      car park to find their cars. It's pretty dark between the dim
      pole lamps and the car lights.

      She slows down at the second aisle for a car to pass, then
      another. Marches on.

      A man and his little girl walk past. He nods. Della's eyes
      linger on the little girl. She really wants to get home to
      the kids.

      The singers' voices echo faintly through the night.

                          CAROL SINGERS (O.S.) (CONT'D)
                Holy infant so tender and mild.

      She walks faster, almost at a dash.

      Where is her car? Even further out than she remembered,
      that's for sure.

      A car alarm goes off in the distance.

      The alarm stops at last as Della approaches the outer section
      of the parking lot.

                          CAROL SINGERS (O.S.) (CONT'D)
                Shepherds quake at the sight.
                Glories beam from heaven afar.

      She cuts between some of the cars in row eight. Zigzags
      across aisle nine. Notices the Plymouth still parked ahead.

      She stops for a split second. Then approaches. Glances at the
      windshield. The note is gone.

                                                 Scene 43Page 27

      Maybe it fell off. She checks the ground around the car. No
      sign of it. She shrugs, who cares anyway?

      She cuts across the next aisle. It's almost empty. And the
      one after that. Her Explorer is sandwiched between two cars
      in this otherwise empty row.

                           CAROL SINGERS (O.S.) (CONT'D)
                 Silent Night. Holy Night

      She chirps the remote twice and pops the trunk, places the
      bags inside. She slams the trunk closed and hurries to the
      drivers' side, climbs in, pulling the door closed behind her.

44                                                                 44

      Della turns the key in the ignition and presses in the
      lighter. She lights a cigarette and inhales as she lets the
      car warm up for 30 seconds.

      She rests the cigarette in the ashtray while she releases the
      hand brake and slips the gear into reverse. The interior of
      her car is suddenly flooded with light from another car's
      headlights. She glances in the rear view mirror. A car is
      blocking her.

                 Good Lord! What now?

      She steps on the brake and waits for the car to move.

      But it doesn't. Its headlights flick to full beam blinding
      her view in her car mirrors. She honks her horn. The car
      still doesn't move.

      Della's really angry now. She slips the gearshift into park
      and steps out of her car.

45                                                                 45

      Della squints in the blinding headlights. The front of the
      car looks familiar. It's the gold Plymouth!

      Two unseen car doors click open and clunk shut again.

      The lights abruptly go out. Della blinks, her eyes try to
      adjust to the dim mercury illumination from a pole lamp a few
      car lengths away.

      She uneasily turns back to her car.

                                       Scene 45Page 28

                          CHUCKIE (O.S.)
                I got a gun.

      It's a young male voice. The statement stops Della dead in
      her tracks.

                          CHUCKIE (O.S.) (CONT'D)
                How's about I aim it at your pussy

      The words are emphasized by another boy's shrill giggling.
      Della freezes. This can't be happening!

      Her eyes are adjusting. The glare phantoms drift out to the
      limit of her peripheral vision and vanish.

      She sees three boys in front of her, then a fourth, but she
      doesn't see any gun.

                What the hell are you playing at?

                Trust the nigga, we not playin'.

      HUEY is a sweet-faced African-American decked out in a hip
      hop style. He's small and skinny and can't be more than
      eighteen. He's playing to CHUCKIE who's twenty-one and looks
      like a marine gone AWOL. Bracketing them is VINH, a nineteen
      year old Asian punk and TOMAS, twenty, a Latino runaway in an
      American Idol T-shirt.

      Della's eyes drift across the group. She suppresses a
      hysterical giggle but can't resist smarting off.

                What are you? The world's first
                homeless United Nations Boy Band?

                Hell, yeah. We just wanna do shows
                and bone hoes.

      Huey messes with his zipper.

                          HUEY (CONT'D)
                We got a song fo' yo. It's called
                "shut up bitch and eat a dick".

      Huey and Tomas snigger. Vinh stares at the asphalt.

                                       Scene 45Page 29

                And when yo done eating we gonna
                staple that bitch mouth closed.

      Chuckie nudges Huey and Tomas, steps towards Della.

                Now, now, my little brothers.

      The boys fall silent.   Vinh lights a cigarette. Huey shivers.

                It gitting cold, Chuckie. Game's
                not worth the dime.

                Chuckie? At least your parents have
                a sense of humor.

                Parents? I ain't got no parents. I
                named myself.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                    (to Huey)
                Grab my parka from the back seat.

      He pinches Huey's cheeks.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                And smile, playa. The dopes game
                and the game's dope.

      Chuckie leads Huey a few steps to the Plymouth. Huey ducks
      into the back seat. Chuckie keeps his eyes fixed on Della.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                You got a beef with us, Mrs.

      Della looks defiantly back without answering. Chuckie runs
      his fingers along the hood of the rusty gold Plymouth.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                First you put yo hands on my ride!
                Now, I don't know how you was
                raised but, in my world, laying
                your hands on someone else's shit
                is crossing their line!
                Then, you go slipping an incendiary
                note up under my windscreen wipers.

                                                Scene 45Page 30

                Well, that'd UCKIE(CONT'D)
                          CH be an invitation to
                war to me and my ghetto soldiers.

                What? If you hadn't parked like an
                asshole, we wouldn't be arguing
                about it right now.

      Vinh inhales sharply from his cigarette.

                Whoah Lady!

                Keep right on talking that gang a
                shit, chinga. Yo crimes against the
                click are digging yo grave deep.

      Della's eyes quickly scan the group for sign of the gun. She
      can't see one so she gambles they're just mouthing off and
      makes her move.

                Go to hell!

      Della turns towards her car. Huey steps out of the shadows
      wearing Chuckie's parka hood up covering his face, startles

                We already in hell.

      Della sidesteps him, reaches the back of her car.

                          RENT-A-COP (O.S.)
                Any trouble here, ma'am?

      Everyone turns to see a Rent-a-Cop, puffed up like a pigeon
      in his fur trimmed jacket and Russian style cap. It's the
      same guy Della approached earlier when she was looking for
      spaces except this time his hand is laying casually across
      the unsnapped holster flap at his hip.

                Not if these delinquents move their
                barge so I can back up.

                How about it, boys?

      Chuckie smiles and nudges Tomas who starts dancing in a real
      mocking manner imitating the Rent-a-Cop.

                                               Scene 45Page 31

      Chuckie pulls a gun from deep in his army jacket pocket and
      points it straight at the Rent-a-Cop's face.

                Nah. We not in the mood.

      Chuckie looks at his friends for approval. Huey laughs again,
      shrill. Tomas grins. Vinh hunches and looks around.

      The Rent-a-Cop backs away.

                For Jesus' sake.

      Tomas takes off a small crucifix from around his neck and
      dangles it in front of the Rent-a-Cop.

                Say yo prayers old man.

      Chuckie grins at Della while keeping the gun pointed straight
      at the Rent-a-Cop.

                These Rent-a-Pig companies are too
                lame to give their foot soldiers
                any ammo. Liability laws and all
                that. Tough shit!

      The Rent-a-Cop goes for his pistol anyway.

      Chuckie shoots him in the face.


      We thought Della was in trouble but now we know she is.

      The bullet hits the Rent-A-Cop in the forehead. Blood spurts
      from the exit wound. He slumps to the asphalt like a
      marionette whose strings have just been cut. Bullet smoke
      hangs in the air where he once stood. Smoke too blackens the
      bullets entry wound. Blood puddles out from the back of his

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)

      It's clear that Chuckie's been acting harder than he is. The
      hand that holds the gun is trembling. The color drains from
      his face.

      All stand riveted in shock.

                                               Scene 45Page 32

      A deathly silence follows. The carol singers can be heard in
      the distance faintly finishing up Silent Night.

                          CAROL SINGERS (O.S.)
                Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in
                heavenly peace.

      Chuckie looks to his friends for support but none is

      The Rent-A-Cop's body twitches.

      Chuckie hesitates then raises the gun. He aims and fires. The
      shot shatters the top of the Rent-A-Cop's head. Chuckie
      flinches, closes his own eyes in reflex.

      Della swallows. If she started screaming now, she may never
      stop. She spins instead and makes for her car door. She's
      dead if she doesn't get out of here and she knows it.

                She's busting a move!

      Chuckie opens his eyes. Vinh points to Della.

      Chuckie looks over and sees Della disappear through the door
      of her Explorer. Agitation overwhelms him.

                She ain't going nowhere. We got her
                Ford blocked in, right?

      He looks at Vinh who nods then at Huey.

                I don't know nothing.

      Chuckie looks back at Vinh then over at Tomas.

                Dar candela por el culo!

                I can just put one through her
                windshield, right?

      No one answers. Chuckie turns once more to the Rent-a-Cop
      whose body still twitches in some final death throe.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                Will you just DIE ?!

                                                 Scene 45Page 33

      He raises the gun.

      Another shot explodes into the night.

46                                                                 46

      Della flinches but no   bullet tears through the back of her
      skull. She slams into   the driver's seat and punches the door
      lock switch. She hits   the four wheel drive button and presses
      the accelerator pedal   to the metal.

      The Explorer barely protests as its front tires claw and
      bounce over the six inch concrete row barrier. The barrier
      screeches along the underside of the frame. There is a loud
      SCRAAAAAPE noise as the car heaves over the barrier. Then,
      the rear wheels bounce and claw over. The car fishtails

                 Please God. Don't overcorrect.

      She releases the pressure on the accelerator. The Explorer

47                                                                 47

      Tomas screams at Chuckie.

                 Chinga tu madre. She making her

      All except Chuckie turn to look as Della accelerates across
      the unfinished outskirts of the car park behind them.

      Vinh tugs at Chuckie's sleeve.


      But Chuckie's staring at the bloody mess he made, with a
      faraway look in his eyes, like he's disassociating.

      Vinh throws down the stub of his cigarette, follows Tomas
      into the Plymouth. Tomas guns the engine.

                 She on her cell right now calling
                 the pigs.

      Huey's almost hysterical.

                                               Scene 47Page 34

                           HUEY (CONT'D)
                 We going down for this!

      Chuckie turns on him.

                 You gone buck wild, nigga? We ain't
                 going down for shit.

                 You ain't earned the right to call
                 me a nigga. And that goes for all
                 you haters.

      Behind him Della's car turns onto the mall's outer perimeter
      service road in the distance.

                 Easy my G. Easy.

      Chuckie cajoles Huey.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 The world is our bitch, right?

      Huey calms down.

      Chuckie gently pushes him into the Plymouth back seat beside

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Get in my fallen soldier.

      Chuckie opens the driver door.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Shove over Tomas. You know I front
                 the ride.

      Tomas shuffles over to the passenger seat. Chuckie climbs
      into driver side. Doors slam. The Plymouth screeches across
      the parking lot and exits onto the service road.

48                                                              48

      Della speeds down the long dark empty service road which
      skims the deserted warehouses at the back of the Mall.
      Between the warehouses are dark patches of undeveloped land -
      No Mans land.

      Not a car nor a person in sight.

                                               Scene 48Page 35

      It starts to rain.

49                                                                 49

      She shakes the cell phone trying to revive its dead battery.
      Types 911 in anyway. No connection. No response. She shakes
      it some more. Gives up.

      She relentlessly checks the rearview and side mirrors as she
      races into the rainy night.

      The driving conditions are not good, poor visibility ahead.
      Too bad. She speeds anyway.

      The road has to connect to a main road soon!

      Another glance in the rearview. Nothing. Side mirror. Still
      clear. Once more in the rearview. Headlights!


      Side mirror. It's the Plymouth.

      She presses the accelerator down harder. The engine revs.

      In the rearview there's a sudden flash above her rear left
      headlight. And another.

                           DELLA (CONT'D)

      They're shooting at her!

      Della steps the accelerator to the floor praying the Explorer
      won't skid out. The engine struggles, catches up.

      The sudden speed causes a small silver love heart, hanging on
      a silver chain necklace from the rearview mirror, to crash
      against the window. The catch bursts open to reveal two tiny
      photos of the twins inside. The necklace flies back and forth
      against the window as the Explorer races onwards.

50                                                                 50

      The Plymouth accelerates behind blasting rap. Its thick tires
      plow along the wet asphalt, gripping to the road below in
      steady pursuit. Its windows are all steamed up. The front
      passenger window is open, a hand and a gun muzzle stick

                                       Scene 51Page 36

51                                                                  51

      Another flash and Della's left side mirror shatters.

      She swerves in panic. Her car almost hits the ditch.

      This can't be happening. Not to her.

      She reclaims the steering wheel.   Straightens up. Hits the
      accelerator again.

52                                                                  52

      The Plymouth swerves behind on the skid that Della created,
      corrects itself just before the ditch.

      Della gains speed. The Plymouth lags.

      A stop sign appears ahead. The road's ending.

53                                                                  53

      Right or left, Della? Make a choice.

54                                                                  54

      There is no choice. A barrier blocks the left hand turn. A
      big sign reads "LOT FULL".

55                                                                  55

      Della swings right instead.

      The streetlights recede behind her.

56                                                                  56

      Nothing but the darkness of a housing complex under
      construction ahead.

      But she seems to have shaken off her pursuers.

      She speeds down the road, looking intently for any sign of
      life. But there's nothing but half-built houses, empty
      houses, houses just like hers.

57                                                                  57

      A Seven Eleven sign appears. She slows down. But it may as
      well be a mirage, it's an unfinished building with only the
      sign, in an unfinished mini-mall.

                                      Scene 58Page 37

58                                                                 58

      Close to screaming now she speeds up.

59                                                                 59

      More empty houses in varying stages of construction. No sign
      of life.

60                                                                 60

      Then, what looks like a filling station, one light on in the

61                                                                 61

      Hope. She pulls in and dims her lights, drives right up to
      the kiosk door.

      Hope dashed.

62                                                                 62

      It's in its final stages of installation but definitely not
      functioning. And there's no one there.

63                                                                 63

      Back onto the road and she sees far behind her, car
      headlights that can only belong to the Plymouth, following
      her through the darkness.

      She dims her lights to just the side lights. Hurtles along
      the dark road which is getting rougher and rougher. Potholes
      filled with mud and rain water splash against the car.

64                                                                 64

      Her wipers struggle to cope. She can hardly see through the
      front window.

65                                                                 65

      The potholes yawn deeper. The asphalt ends. Gravel
      deteriorates to dirt.

66                                                                 66

      She steers the Ford blindly.

                                               Scene 67Page 38

67                                                                67

      A wooden barrier with reflective stripes looms suddenly

68                                                                68

      She guns the engine and ducks sideways as her car PLOWS into
      the barrier.

      There's a sickening crack as shattered windshield sprays
      around her.

69                                                                69

      The Explorer SLAMS through and VEERS towards a clump of

70                                                                70

      Della tries to sit upright but the auto's spinning too fast.

71                                                                71

      The car swings, then CRASHES right into a Pine tree.

72                                                                72

      The Car stalls out. SILENCE. A prolonged moment.

      Then Della crawls out from under the dashboard, sweeping pine
      needles and glass from her hair. She reaches up and hits the
      light switch.

      Pine branches protrude through the broken windshield.

      Using the sleeve of her coat she sweeps broken glass from the
      driver's seat and sits down.

      She slides the gear into park, turns the key. The engine
      groans like a dying animal, then gives up.

      She takes a deep breath.

      She tries again. The engine groans again, another death
      rattle. It just won't catch.

      She switches off the interior light and pushes the driver
      door open. She steps out of the car.

                                               Scene 73Page 39

73                                                                 73

      She closes the door behind her so's not to trigger the light
      switch. Finds her legs are giddy. Holds onto the door frame
      for a moment to steady herself.

      It looks like she's crashed at the very end of the housing
      development - where it cuts like a knife edge into an old

      The dirt road stretches ahead beyond the barrier, into the
      midst of the forest. Behind her, shrouded in darkness, houses
      in different stages of development dot the deforested
      landscape. Land moving trucks sit on recently flattened
      land, waiting to tear into the next layer of forest.

      Patches of leftover snow and puddles of rain catch the light
      from the moon which hides in an overcast sky.

      Jesus! She's driven all the way from the Mall only to find
      herself in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of psychopaths
      on her tail.

      This must be some sick joke.

      Speaking of which, where are these little bastards? Her eyes
      scan the darkness for a sign. Nothing. That doesn't mean
      they're not close by.

      She checks out the damage to the car by feel. The driver's
      side is scratched and dented. The front is wedged into the

      The only way out is for her to back up the car.

      She climbs back in for another try.

74                                                                 74

      Della turns the key. It barely even groans this time. Just a
      faint gurgle. Then gone.

      She rifles in the glove compartment and pulls out the flare,
      sticks it in her pocket.

      She leans under the dash and manually pops the trunk.

75                                                                 75

      Della runs outside to the back of the car and feels about in
      the trunk.

                                               Scene 75Page 40

      She throws carrier bags full of wrapping paper to the side as
      she searches. Pulls out a lug wrench from underneath and then
      a small tool box.

      She hears the screech of a car's wheels spinning in mud.

76                                                                76

      Della turns to see headlights in the distance on the road
      behind, pointing upwards.


      The Plymouth must have skidded and got stuck in the mud.

77                                                                77

      She closes the trunk softly then runs to the front of the
      car, clutching the toolbox and the wrench. She reaches back
      into the car and unlatches the hood from underneath the dash.
      Pop. She softly closes the door again. Punches her way
      through the branches. Slides her fingers under the hood,
      pries up the lever. It pops up only a few inches.


      She tries to manually lift it. But it's heavy with the weight
      of pine branches.

      Voices drift towards her.

                          TOMAS (O.S.)
                Keep hitting on the gas and you
                gonna dig them wheels into a dirt

                          CHUCKIE (O.S.)
                Save yo talk and get out and push.

      The sound of car doors opening, feet squishing into the mud
      and cussing. The boys materialize in the light from the

                Hell, no.


                                               Scene 77Page 41

                          CHUCKIE (O.S.)
                What's aggravating you now?

                Our new sneakers are stuck up in
                the dirt like they was last years.

      Doors slam and two sets of footsteps join the others.

                Soon as we taken care o' Mrs.
                Podunk you and the Spanish dancer
                can hit the next mall. But first
                you fakers best haul this rider out
                of the filth.

                Stupid ass car got nowhere else to
                go. There's nothing but trees up

                Screw the car, Chuckie. Case you
                forgot we got a witness on the
                loose! I ain't want to end up in
                the clink as some chimp's prison

                Trust me dog, hoe's going down
                execution style before we see the
                other side o' them bars.

      Della drops the hood. It makes a faint squeak but doesn't
      slam down, seems it's stuck open these last few inches.

                Yo talk a real mob threat, Chuckie.
                But what if she gone already?

      Chuckie's eyes scan the housing estate.

                She ain't gone.

      Della frantically sweeps pine branches and cones from the
      hood. But some larger branches are jammed, wedged by the
      broken tree.

      When she looks back over for the boys she sees the car
      headlights are off and there's no sign of them.

                                                Scene 77Page 42

      She stands stock still, listening, scanning the landscape for
      a sign of them.

      The sound of glass shattering breaks the silence.

      Della jumps out of her skin, spins around. Her eyes settle on
      a light in the distance.

78                                                              78

      The light illuminates the small cabin of an earth moving
      truck. The cabin glows like a box in the darkness. There's a
      figure inside: it's Chuckie. He's inspecting a powerful
      construction flashlight. He switches settings from broad
      light to concentrated beam. He points the beam through the
      broken glass window onto Tomas, who's standing on a truck
      tyre knocking out the rest of the glass with his elbow.
      Chuckie leaps down through the broken window, pleased with
      his find.

      He switches it to broad beam, whistles.

                Won't be long before we find her
                now. This baby could spot a needle
                in a haystack!

      The light dances around illuminating each of their faces for
      seconds at a time. Eerie distorted glimpses. They're
      traipsing along the rough road, through the mud, towards
      Della. Their voices grow louder.

                We caught up in this bitch's life
                like a soap opera. We could just
                bail, blast out of town like we was
                never here.

                This boy loves weed so much he
                tried to marry Juana.

                Ain't no one cares about the Rent-a-
                Pig. He just collateral damage to
                the peeps at the mall.

      Chuckie pushes Huey half playfully, half annoyed.

                Listen up skippy: SHE THE ONLY

                                               Scene 78Page 43

                But if we hit the road now we'll be
                five hundred miles away before they
                find him....we could be drinking
                cold beer and swimmin' in the
                Atlantic....just like you promised.

      Huey stares off into space like he's having a vision.

                We gotta take care of her. When she
                gone. The problem gone. Right?
                We'll head off then, Huey, just
                like I said.

      Huey shakes his head in disbelief.

                We ain't   gonna make it, are we
                Chuckie?   I ain't never gonna see
                it. It's   over for that, isn't it
                Chuckie?   Just say it.

      Chuckie is taken aback by what Huey is saying. He walks away,
      turns his concentration back to the flashlight. Huey calls
      after him.

                          HUEY (CONT'D)
                She was just some stupid housewife
                mouthin' off.

                GET REAL Huey! And shut the fuck up
                about the stupid ocean.

      Chuckie gets right up in Huey's face.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                I ever break a promise to you? I
                ever let you down?

      Huey takes his time to answer.

                No Chuckie, you ain't.

      Chuckie puts his hand on Hueys shoulder and gently pushes him
      along the road.

79                                                              79

      Della tries once more to lift the hood. It still won't budge.

                                               Scene 79Page 44

      When she looks up the flashlight is dancing towards her.

      Vinh sees the car.

                          VINH (O.S.)
                There's her Ford.

      Della grabs the lug wrench and toolbox and ducks behind the

      Della sees them approach her car.

                          VINH (CONT'D)
                There's broken glass everywhere.

      Huey, now resigned to their mission, comments sadly.

                Someone call her mama tell her to
                lay out her black dress.

      Della creeps softly along the edge of the trees. She holds
      her breath. If she makes a sound, she's dead.

                Is she dead already?

      The boys kick around the Explorer.

                Musta gone been thrown through the

      Della skims the trees, constantly checking behind her, to
      where her antagonists check out the Ford wreck.

      Chuckie points to some footprints.

                She ain't dead. Look! Her
                footprints are all around.

      When there's enough distance between them and her, she darts
      from the forest's edge into the development and hides behind
      a half finished house.

80                                                                 80

      She leans against a recently bricked wall, finally takes a
      breath. The smell of fresh cement and putty fills her

                                               Scene 80Page 45

      Rain gathers and drips from a nearby ledge

      She peers around the side of the house.

81                                                                81

      Beyond the rows of plots of land with their sold signs, she
      sees the boys still pacing and debating beside her Ford,
      illuminated by the sweeping light rays of their flashlight.

      Her eyes drift across the landscape of house foundations and
      structures to the distant neon lights of the shopping mall.

      When she looks back over for the boys, she sees that the
      flashlight and the boys are gone.

      She strains her eyes. Guesses that must mean they're off
      looking for her in another direction.

      She clutches the tool box and silently creeps between the

      If she could just track along the edge of the development she
      could maybe make it back to the Shopping Mall, to the twins.

      An owl hoots from the trees behind. She freezes, eyes
      sweeping the immediate area for danger.

      She waits a moment, silence, then makes her way once more
      between the edge of the development and the edge of the

      She's trying desperately not to make a sound, praying to be
      invisible, eyes darting around, evaluating every shape and

      On one side the dense wood of trees, predominantly pine, with
      thick ancient trunks and tangled branches. On the other,
      plots and structures of homes to be.

      She keeps trudging on, skirting the edge of the trees,
      following the lights in the distance.

      She hears a loud thudding noise. Stops. Stops breathing.

82                                                                82

      Ahead, piles of planks wrapped in black tarp block her view.

      She braces herself, peers cautiously around, sees nothing.
      She clutches the lug wrench and toolbox and steps forwards.

                                                Scene 82Page 46

      Rain water from the branches of a nearby tree is dripping
      down and collecting in a puddle in the middle of the tarp
      causing the sound.

      She breathes a sigh of relief.

83                                                                 83

      Heaps of damp shingle and cement cause her to back up and
      around past them and a cement mixer. She loses sight of the
      neon mall lights. She panics.

84                                                                 84

      She runs between the foundations of two houses.

      She stops suddenly when she sees a giant shadow looming
      across her path.

      She ducks down the side of a half finished house.

      Sees that it is the shadow of an earth moving truck.

      She keeps going, between the houses, looking for a sign of
      the mall lights.

      She stops.

      Just ahead, a flurry of footprints.

      They're her footprints!

85                                                                 85

      She finds herself back where she started, at the same house.

      The mall lights flicker in the distance as far away as they
      always were. The Ford's still there ahead.

      And then she sees the flashlight sweeping towards her.

                       (under her breath)
                   NO! OH NO.

      She bites back a sob.

86                                                                 86

      Della shrinks backwards between the houses. She ducks into
      an unfinished doorway and watches the boys pass ahead.

                                                Scene 86Page 47

      She runs into the house and out through the far side. Skirts
      a row of plots of land. Then, she hears Chuckie's mocking
      voice, echoing through the building site.

                            CHUCKIE (O.S.)

      Della recoils. Did she just hallucinate?

      How the hell do they know her name?

      Can they see her? Or is he just shouting her name randomly
      into the night?

      Her eyes dart right then left then back again.   Nothing.

      She runs down a row of house foundations.

                            CHUCKIE (CONT'D)

87                                                                 87

      Della dives into an unfinished house, hides behind a space
      where a window will eventually be, looks out across the
      building site. All is dark outside. And then she sees the
      light several rows down, weaving between the houses.

      She makes for another window at the opposite end of the
      house. She sees the mall lights and decides to head once more
      towards them.

88                                                                 88

      She creeps out of the house and crosses several rows of
      houses, then several more, heading towards the neon lights in
      the distance.

89                                                                 89

      She stops dead in her tracks. Straight ahead, a truly
      chilling sight - her kids stuff from the car : Terri's little
      anorak, Tammi's socks, mittens, strung along a short stretch
      of wire fence.

      Her feet start to sink into wet mud. She covers her mouth to
      stop herself crying out.

90                                                                 90

      Suddenly the development is illuminated by a huge
      construction light.

                                               Scene 91Page 48

91                                                                 91

      Della ducks down, tries to run. The mud cloys at her feet.

92                                                                 92

      She steps up onto a plank that stretches between the first
      floors of two houses. She starts to cross when she sees their

93                                                                 93

      They're searching the house next door.

                Where'd little red riding hood git

                She ain't leaving any bread crumbs
                that's for sure.

                When a nigga hungry, Imma wolf.

94                                                                 94

      She backs up, slips, slides off the plank, falls into the
      mud, catches herself on some barbed wire.

                          CHUCKIE (O.S.)
                What was that?

      The wire drives through her coat and into her right shoulder.

      She jerks away but the length of loose barbed wire follows.
      She bites her lip to prevent a pained response.

      She's caught in its spiral like a trapped animal. She spins
      around and physically pulls the wire from her back, tearing
      her coat.

      She casts the wire away from her. Winces.

95                                                                 95

      She crawls into the foundations of a nearby house, underneath
      the floorboards which are lain roughly across to form a first
      floor. She huddles in a dark corner. It's very quiet and
      cramped. She tries not to move, not to breathe. The smell of
      the wet earth underneath makes her feel nauseous. A moment
      passes. It feels like an infinity.

                                               Scene 95Page 49

      She starts to creep along towards a gap in the planks to see
      if she can see anything above. Just as she approaches the gap
      she hears.

      The sound of footsteps above her.

      She freezes.

      The footsteps make erratic rhythms across the planks.

      She silently undoes the catch of the toolbox. Her hands are
      shaking. She lifts the lid. She rakes around inside for
      tools, comes across several kids toys instead! In shock, she
      rakes around some more, trying to find something else,
      something more dangerous, anything. To her surprise the only
      tools inside are a pathetic little screwdriver and a small
      crescent wrench. The kids must have borrowed the other tools
      replacing them with the toys. She gives up, closes over the

      Then suddenly:


96                                                               96

      The whole house is illuminated. She looks up to see four
      faces looking down at her. Chuckie points the gaze of a
      powerful flashlight directly into her eyes.

      The beam almost blinds her. She tries to look away but
      Chuckie focuses it right in her eyes.

                Peek a boo!

      She shrinks back towards the wall. Her mouth feels dry, so
      dry. Tomas lifts several planks up and casts them away so
      they can see her. She's cornered.

      Chuckie then lowers the flashlights direction and sweeps it
      voyeuristically down across her body.

      The light lingers on her breasts. Huey whistles
      appreciatively, picks the game back up from the parking lot.

                Yo left without yo goodbye kiss.

      The light sweeps past Huey's hips. The sound of a zipper. The
      light sweeps back up onto Della.

                                               Scene 96Page 50

                You a window shopper little
                brother. You ain't never even done
                the old in and out before.

      Waves of pain spasm through Della's shoulder.

      The boys snigger.

                Imma just a young playa tryin' to
                put my bid in.

      Tomas leans down towards Della. Chuckie moves the flashlight
      to illuminate them both. Tomas drains the last dregs from a
      bottle of Bud, tosses the empty bottle down into the
      foundations. It rolls into the darkness.

      Della shudders. She clutches the lug wrench against her coat
      behind the tool box and tries to disappear into the wall.

                Don't worry, when we done wit you
                we send yo back in yo trunk to Mr.

      Tomas reaches down and pulls Della up to standing by the coat
      collar. He then yanks the coat down over her shoulder. The
      white shirt she wears underneath is damp with sweat making
      the form of her breasts very clear.

      Chuckie keeps the light focused right on her.

      Tomas slides his index finger down across Della's neck
      towards her breasts.

      Della claws at Tomas' face with the nails of her free hand.
      He staggers to the side holding his cheek and cursing. Her
      chewed nails haven't left any dents, but she stunned him.

      The others laugh.

      She shrugs the coat back over her shoulders and pulls it
      tight across herself, once again clasping the toolbox close
      to her side.

                          TOMAS (CONT'D)
                Don't want to play nice? Puta!

      He moves towards her, face twisted with hate, arm raised.

                                               Scene 96Page 51

                Back off five minutes, my Ghetto

      Tomas glares at Della, then lowers his arm. Spits on the
      ground instead. Turns back to the boys. Chuckie moves
      forwards and focuses on Della's box?

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                What's with the man size crast?

      Della doesn't answer.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                You running with the family jewels?

      Della still doesn't answer.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                You rob a bank this morning, Della?

      Della remains determinedly mute.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                Least yo learned something tonight
                Della honey?

                Yeah, like how to quit mouthing if
                you wanna avoid drama.

                You must be wondering how we come
                to know your name.

      Chuckie giggles. Della shivers.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                You screwed up Della Myers. Left
                your purse in the Ford.

      Chuckie holds up her driving licence and examines it.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                What a shitty photo!

      Chuckie nods to Vinh. Vinh passes his lighter to Chuckie.
      Chuckie lights the licence on fire. The plastic burns black
      and toxic. The flame annihilates Della's name, her date of
      birth, her face. Pieces of plastic unfurl and drift up
      through the empty windows and doors of the unfinished house.

                                                Scene 96Page 52

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                Guess you won't be needing it no

      Della stares defiantly, fighting back the internal nausea
      caused by this symbolically brutal act.

      Chuckie maneuvers the light back in her eyes then right back
      on his own menacing face. Then, back again on her face. She
      becomes disoriented.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                So what's in the box?

      Della remains mute, looks away from the beam.

                Yo think she carrying the big
                notes, maybe some ice?

                Nah, it ain't about to rain
                diamonds, Huey. But maybe she
                cashed in her life savings. Planned
                to take off, start a new life.

      Della tries to swallow but her throat is too dry.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                That right Della?

                You got enough scratch in there to
                grease us up with?

      She knows there is nothing that would buy them off and the
      knowledge sinks like a stone deep into her gut.

      Chuckie follows her face with the beam. She tries to dodge
      its glare in her eyes. But he maneuvers it like a
      surveillance camera.

      His voice takes on a meanness that makes the back of her neck

                Open it.

      They crowd closer toward her.

      Dark forms with eyes glinting. Their voices echoing.

                                               Scene 96Page 53

                Open the box else we put you in

                OPEN IT!

      Della all but screams.

                I'll open it.

      Della's brain races.

      Her hands move slowly.

      She rests the lug wrench in her left palm under the base of
      the tool box and with her right hand unsnaps the catch.

      She holds the far end of the lid up to shield her right hand
      from the beam as she slips it inside the box.

      A prayer plays silently across her lips as her fingers feel
      the cool steel and shape of the small crescent wrench.

      She curls them around its handle and grips tight. A surge of
      nervous energy courses through her veins.

                She ain't got nuthin'. Let's just
                take that pussy and git going.

      He moves towards her.

      In a flash, she withdraws the crescent wrench. She cocks her
      wrist back and hurls the tool, snaps it just like her daddy
      taught her to play baseball.

      The wrench flies up and across the house.

      With a CRUNCH, it catches Chuckie right in the collar bone,
      right side.

      He screams. Drops the flashlight. Drops to his knees holding
      his throat.

      Della snaps the tool box shut and makes a run for it. She
      throws herself up onto the first floor and darts between
      Tomas and Huey.

                                               Scene 96Page 54

      Huey lunges for her but trips over a loose plank, lands with
      his face down, biting on the plank's edge.

      Della catches a peripheral glimpse of Tomas leaping towards
      her, but his leading foot slams down instead onto the back of
      Huey's neck. Grinds Huey's face into the plank with a hideous
      THUD. Huey's neck SNAPS back smiley style. Huey's scream
      gurgles into the night. Huey's body falls through the space
      in the floorboards landing with a thud in the foundations

      Tomas falls away, cursing in horror.

                            TOMAS (CONT'D)

      Della makes a run for the doorway. She jumps down onto the
      muddy lot and heads off across the development. The darkness
      quickly swallows her.

      Behind her, Vinh slumps through the house.

                What the fuck, niggaz?

                Shut up.

                You hurt?

                SHUT THE FUCK UP.

      Chuckie slides down to be beside Huey in the foundations.

                          CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                And don't be using the N word. You
                ain't representing. GOT IT. That
                right Huey? HUEY. Get up Huey. HUEY
                GET UP!

      Tomas staggers up to standing.

                Jesus hijo de maria el virgene.


      Vinh moves towards Chuckie who is crouched over Huey.

                                               Scene 96Page 55

                 My little brother.

      Tomas approaches.

      He pushes Chuckie gently out of the way so he can see.

      He stares down at Huey's bloody meshed face. Tomas staggers
      backwards and crosses himself.

                 Mamacita! Madre de Dios!

      Chuckie punches Tomas' leg.

                 You tread on my boy's face. YOU
                 KILLED HIM.

                 I didn't kill him. I didn't kill no

      Tomas pushes Chuckie backwards.

                           TOMAS (CONT'D)
                 She did it. She killed him.

      Chuckie and Tomas stare at each other.

                           TOMAS (CONT'D)
                 I'm gonna cross that bitch out.

97                                                              97

      Della runs for her life. She makes straight for the cover of
      the trees. She hesitates for just a moment after the first
      layer of Pines. It's pitch black beyond. Then she steps in.

      She follows her breath into the icy blackness.

      Branches and foliage scratch against her face.

      She grapples about, looking for hiding places between the
      dark shapes and forms. Steps between tree roots and shrubs.

      Her eyes begin to adjust. She can now make out the
      difference between the clumps of darkness and tell, looking
      back, where the edge of the woods begins. A construction
      light shines behind like a distant moon.

                                      Scene 97Page 56

      She pushes between the branches of indistinguishable trees,
      some thick and knotted, others slight and brittle. Only the
      evergreens still have their foliage.

      Looking back constantly to the edge of the trees for a sign
      of the boys.

      Fear drives her further into the woods towards where the
      trees grow even more densely together. Where there just may
      be the right place to hide.

      She stops for a second to catch her breath.

      The handle of the toolbox has chaffed her right palm. She
      changes hands.

      God, that boy Huey! He really died back there. She heard the
      sound of it. The horrific sound of him dying a stupid
      pointless death.

      It could have been her.

      There has to be some way out of this nightmare.

      Ahead, a dead tree with spectral branches blocks her path.
      She steps around its huge trunk and tangle of roots.


      Chuckie's voice drifts towards her.   She ducks down among the

      Her eyes scan the darkness.

      No moving shapes nor forms. No sound. No flashlight. Just
      shadowy clumps of trees.

      Should she stay put or should she run?

      Then she sees it. The flashlight weaving through the pines

      She pushes further in among the roots, tries to make herself

      The flashlight beam sweeps across the forest floor towards
      her. One set of footsteps crunches through the foilage.

      She holds still, terrified.

      The flashlight pauses on the dead tree, the roots.

                                       Scene 97Page 57

      Della stops breathing.

      Then, the light sweeps past and on into the woods.

      She waits until it disappears before stepping out of her
      hiding place.

      She creeps back in the opposite direction, figuring if
      they're in the woods now she should get out.

      Her eyes search for the construction light, which indicates
      the edge of the wood.

      She heads in the direction of the light, painfully aware that
      one noisy footfall could alert her pursuers. She steps
      between leaves and roots as delicately as a ballet dancer.

      The construction light grows closer.

      The light abruptly goes out.

      She stops, eyes desperately searching the trees.

      She resumes in the direction she was headed. Tries to keep

      But the woods are impenetrable. Layers of trees and shrubs,
      and then more trees. Deep in the cold dark places there are
      patches of left over snow. She's losing her bearings.

98                                                                 98

      Ahead, the chilling sight of four luminous Xs glowing in the
      dark forest almost makes her heart stop. She realizes the
      crosses are painted on the trunks of several trees, marking
      them for death. She shivers.

99                                                                 99

      She backs up, starts off in the opposite direction.

      And there it is again. The flashlight sweeping through the
      trees in the distance.

      She stops, close to screaming, then when the flashlight
      disappears, runs off in yet another direction.

      She slows to take a breath, notices the butts of several
      cigarettes still smoking in the dirt close to her feet.

                                       Scene 99Page 58

                   (muttering to herself)
                   Shit! Oh Shit!

      She trudges on, pushing between the branches, no clue where
      she is headed.

      The further she treads, the quieter it becomes. So quiet she
      can hear her own footfalls and the sound of the trees

      Then, she spots the light again, in the distance, shining out
      over the forest.

      Thank God!

      She trudges up a slope ahead, clinging onto branches and
      shrubs to help pull herself up.

100                                                              100

      The light grows closer. She climbs up onto a ledge.

      A loud noise startles her. It's music. Rap music. Blasting.

      Della pushes her way through to the edge of the trees.

101                                                              101

      The woodland ahead slopes down into a clearing, where a huge
      ghetto blaster sits on a pile of felled trees. Young pines
      about to become Christmas trees. It's blasting out a hip hop
      anthem for a dead homie. A construction light illuminates the

      A ghostly Vinh, head hung low, moves to the music, bottle of
      beer in hand.

      Propped up against a tree stump sits the body of Huey, arms
      crossed over his torso, hood pulled up to cover his face.

      The scene is so surreal that Della is drawn closer. She
      creeps along the edge of the trees.

      As she moves, she kicks back on some dirt. It tumbles
      downhill into the gulch. She freezes.

      But nobody notices.

      She slips invisibly between the trees and watches as Tomas
      enters the clearing.

                                               Scene 101Page 59

       Tomas stops and watches Vinh.

       Vinh continues to get into the music in his solemn Japanese
       punk style. The juxtaposition between the hard core rap music
       and the serious vibe that Vinh is sending out shows us that
       this is really important music to him.

       It's a theatrical tableau -

       Della overhead, looking down on the clearing.

       Vinh transfixed by the music.

       Tomas stone silent, watching Vinh.

       It plays out for a poignant moment. Like they're all part of
       some spiritual rite about to be consummated.

       Vinh pours some beer onto the ground at Huey's feet. A small
       tear runs down his stoic face.

       Then CLICK. The blaster is abruptly turned off by Chuckie who
       appears out of the shadows behind it.

       He stares a beat at Vinh like he can't believe what he's been

       Vinh keeps on moving like he's in a trance.

                 What the fuck you doing?

       Vinh doesn't reply. Stares down at the ground, keeps on with
       his weird dance. Chuckie moves towards him. Tomas grabs
       Chuckie, tries to stop him from going for Vinh, but Chuckie
       shrugs him off.

       Chuckie reaches out and shakes Vinh. No response. He shakes
       him again.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 I asked you what your deal is, sand

       The second shake sort of breaks Vinh out of his trance. He

                 It's a tribute. A gesture.

                 A what?

                                               Scene 101Page 60

       Vinh stares down at the dirt at his feet.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Your brain even smaller than 'em
                 slits for eyes?

       Vinh slouches defiantly over to the blaster and presses track
       8 replay.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Keep on banging out that ghetto ass
                 shit and you'll alert every cop in
                 Podunk county.

                 It's for Huey. Our dead homie.

       The song starts again. Chuckie looks at him incredulously,
       shouts above the music.

                 You checked out, right?

                 He loved that track.

       Vinh snorts back a sob. He hugs himself into a hunch and
       starts dancing again.

       Chuckie loses it. He slaps Vinh.

                 Get a grip, skippy.

       Vinh rubs his face. He's getting a grip all right. Chuckie
       slams off the blaster.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Huey's DEAD. And ain't no requiem
                 gonna resurrect his ass. He down
                 under the ground now with the real
                 men of respect.

       The three boys stand somberly in silence, each paying
       internal homage to their dead friend. Chuckie hardens his
       heart against the tears that threaten to flow. Tomas
       trembles, mumbles.

                 I didn't mean it. I didn't do it. I
                 didn't mean to kill him.

                                               Scene 101Page 61

       This breaks the moment. Chuckie snaps back.

                 Well he dead. That's it for him.
                 OVER. But we still here. Hell,
                 yeah. Payback's gonna be a real
                 bitch for a real bitch.

       Vinh wipes away his tears.

                 She probably gone by now.

                 You best hope not, genius. She
                 gone, we gone.

       Chuckie paces around the circumference of the clearing.

                              CHUCKIE (CONT'D)

102                                                              102

       Della's been watching the scene unfold, a captive audience,
       attentive and terrified.

       Slowly she tears her eyes away from the boys. She backs away
       from the edge and right into the sharp branch of a big old
       tree. The branch digs into that point in her shoulder she
       hurt earlier on the barbed wire.

       She reaches up to feel it and pulls her hand away bloody. She
       reaches into her coat pockets for a tissue. Nothing. Feels
       something in her pants pocket.

       She pulls out not a tissue but a sheet of folded paper.

       She unfolds it. It's Tammi's drawing. The one from the

       The stick figure family holding hands and "Mommy - We love
       you" written in stars.

       Della's lost in the drawing. Her eyes drink in every mark and
       color and word. She sees that the male figure is slightly
       separate. That the children stick figures have frightened
       eyes and cling to the female. That the sky is turbulent. The
       stars clear and bright. The words...

       A tear escapes from underneath her eyelid. Then another. A

                                               Scene 102Page 62

       She might never see her kids again.

       Another sob. She heaves with the release of emotion.

       More tears escape. Another sob. She tries to bite it back.
       Wills herself to stop.

       Finds that rage takes sorrow's place. Rage and self

       Goddamit! She's gonna be raped and killed because of some
       stupid note! And God knows what will become of the kids.

       Kenneth always told her she had a temper. That she reacts
       without thinking of the consequences. This time the bastard
       was right.

       She looks again at the picture.

       Chuckie's voice booms out into the night.

                           CHUCKIE (O.S.)
                 D-E-L-L-A, H-O-N-E-Y.

       She folds the picture up carefully and puts it back in her

       Della edges further into the trees and disappears into the

       There's rustling in the darkness. Tomas pushes through the
       edge of the trees, making animal calls with his right hand
       curled around his mouth. The flashlight illuminates him from

       Chuckie follows him operating the light in a mockery of
       classic noir style. Vinh slouches behind them.

       Tomas heads along the ledge, straight past the spot where
       Della stood only moments before. Tomas doubles back.

       Thomas stops, sniffs.

                 I can smell her Bulgari.

       Chuckie's behind him surveying the area with the flashlight.
       He finds several footprints by the tree.

                 She was right here. Must a saw your
                 dumb ass tribute and everything.

                                               Scene 102Page 63

       Vinh glares at Chuckie. Chuckie grins at Tomas.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Bulgari? She looks more like she
                 rocks that number five shit.

                 It Bulgari, dude. My Dad's bitch
                 bathes in it.

       Chuckie points the flashlight towards where the ledge ends
       and a steep incline begins.

103                                                               103

       The flashlight illuminates a set of prints descending down
       the incline.

                 There more of her footprints.

       Tomas and Vinh just stand like zombies.

       Chuckie pushes Vinh.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 What you waiting on? Jackie Chan?

       Vinh plods clumsily down the incline, followed by Tomas.

       Chuckie sweeps the flashlight across the gulch looking for a
       sign of Della.

       Chuckie shifts his focus to climb down the steep slope. As
       the light sweeps back across the gulch we catch a glimpse of
       Della between some rocks at the far side. But the boys' eyes
       are elsewhere, focused on the steep incline ahead of them.

       Della quickly ducks, draws her toolbox in tight and crouches
       low between the rocks. She watches the boys carefully as they
       climb down the gulch.

       There's the sound of a stumble followed by a splash.

                              VINH (O.S.)

                           TOMAS (O.S.)
                 What now, cabron?

                           VINH (O.S.)
                 Fell in a frozen ass stream.

                                               Scene 103Page 64

       Chuckie sweeps the flashlight towards them. Della sees Vinh
       trudging out of the stream, Tomas descending the last few
       feet of the other side of the gulch and Chuckie midway up.

       Vinh jumps up and down trying to kick the water out of his


                 Kon'aro Kusotare.

                 You know we don't speak the Chinky.

                 What's your game, Chuckie? We left
                 stumbling around in the dark while
                 you hog the flashlight.

                 I stole it. I get to use it. That's
                 how it works. That right Tomas?

                 Right on, dog.

       Chuckie jumps down from the last rock and joins Vinh and
       Tomas at the edge of the stream.

                 What if I steal it from you?

                 There you go, bro.

       He hands the flashlight over to Vinh. Vinh reaches for it.
       Chuckie pulls it away.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 April Fool. Naw, wait a minute, it
                 ain't April. Must be Christmas

       Tomas smirks. Vinh hangs his head down. They search for more
       prints, can't find any in the immediate area. Chuckie shines
       the flashlight at the foot of a big rock.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Her footprints disappear at the big

                                               Scene 103Page 65

       A beat. Della clutches the lug wrench in her right hand.

       Vinh shivers violently.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Head on up and search the slope.
                 I'll guide your way with the

       Chuckie sweeps the flashlight across the gulch. Della ducks.

       Della needs to get out of there and fast.

       They begin to ascend the rocks. Chuckie keeps the flashlight
       slightly ahead of them.

       Della crawls stealthily between and behind the rocks, keeping
       as low as she can. Dodging the approaching light.

       The boys crawl across and up and between the rocks with the
       dexterity of animals. Della's so low she's scraping her knees
       and hands to shreds.

       She can see ahead where the rocks end and the trees begin.
       What was she thinking hiding here? It was too exposed.

                 We gonna put yo ass on ice, bitch!

       God please help her make it back into the cover of the trees.

       Della almost vomits.

       Her hand grasps the last rock at the top of the gulch. She
       pushes the toolbox up on the ledge. Her strength is ebbing
       but she tries to hoist herself up. The flashlight sweeps by.
       She lets go of the ledge and ducks. The flashlight sweeps by

       She huddles in behind a rock. Waits a beat.

                           TOMAS (CONT'D)
                 You going home in a casket tonight.

       Oh shit, they're approaching fast. She tries again to hoist
       herself up. She's almost up when the flashlight sweeps by

       This time, it catches her.

                 THERE SHE IS, TOP OF THE GULCH!

                                               Scene 103Page 66

       She practically throws herself over the ledge. Tomas scurries
       to the top faster than lightening, catches her leg as she
       crawls from the edge.

       THUD. She kicks him in the face.

       Della grabs the toolbox. Makes a run for it.


       Tomas falls back from the gulch-side, loosening several
       rocks. The rocks tumble downhill, hit Vinh.


       Chuckie scales the gulch behind them. Vinh rubs his head.
       Sees something between the trees. Thinks it's Huey.

                              VINH (CONT'D)

       He starts towards the brush.

                           VINH (CONT'D)
                 Is that you, homie?

       Chuckie catches up with Vinh, breathless from climbing fast.
       Vinh points into the brush.

                           VINH (CONT'D)
                 I saw Huey, there in the brush.


       Chuckie looks around, hoping against hope that Vinh may be
       right, that Huey may just be alive. Vinh becomes perplexed.

                 I saw him.

                 Sure you did, bro.

       Chuckie puts his arm around Vinh and helps him up the rock
       side. Vinh is shivering so hard he's almost sobbing.

       Just ahead Tomas pulls himself up and over the ledge.

                                                 Scene 104Page 67

104                                                              104

       Tomas catches up with Della, chases her into the trees.
       Behind him Vinh hoists himself up over the ledge, then

       Della runs. Faster than she's ever run before. Practically
       flies through the trees.

       Her breath comes hard. His too, just behind her. Their
       footfalls crash into the foliage.

       It's dark, so dark. She's running blindly.

       And they're right behind her. Tomas swipes at her. He just
       misses. He swipes again.

       A twisted shape looms ahead, almost blocks her path.

       She runs right up to it then darts left at the last moment,
       setting up Thomas who's right behind her.

       Tomas runs into the stump of a big old tree trunk, hits
       himself at groin level. He doubles over in pain.

                  CONEJO! AIN'T NUTHIN' CAN SAVE YO
                  ASS NOW.

       Della races on.

       Thomas gathers himself together, picks up the chase.

       But that moment's delay has bought her some time.

       Her adrenaline pumps hard. Eyes darting for a hiding place
       among the dark shapes and planes of the woods.

105                                                              105

       There it is, a deadwood pile.

       She throws herself down into its midst. The dried branches
       jag and tear at her hands and face. She burrows down low, so
       low she's right in the dirt. She peers between the branches.

       Tomas's feet run by and disappear. She hears him circle the
       area then turn back towards her.

       A moment passes. She picks the next. Rises slowly and softly
       from between the jagged branches clutching the lug wrench.

                                       Scene 105Page 68

       And then there he is. Diving out of the trees towards her.

       Della raises the lug wrench.

       In the clouded moonlight it's an almost biblical image: a
       woman rising from the brush wielding an iron black cross.

       Tomas crashes towards her.

       Della swings the lug wrench, hard, intensely, directly at
       Tomas's face.

       There is a THUD as the sharp arm of the lug wrench catches
       him up under the chin. It sends him reeling.

       He goes down face first.

       Della gasps in horror, watches as:

       Tomas pulls himself up onto his feet, comes towards her once

       Della swings the lug wrench back and strikes him across the

       He spins, clutches at his head, then reaches towards her

       She loses it. She swings the lug wrench towards him.    All the
       years of pent up rage finally find their release.

       The wrench catches up under his nose with a sickening CRUNCH.
       It drives the cartilage up and into his face.

       Blood spurts from the wound. He staggers backwards.

       A shocked scream escapes from Della's mouth.


       As she staggers backwards in the opposite direction.

       Tomas tries to cry out but can only utter in pain.

                 Unnh! Unnh! Unnh!

       He tries to pull the lug wrench out of his face. Spins.

       The flashlight beam travels past them.

                                               Scene 105Page 69

                           TOMAS (CONT'D)

       Tomas crashes back into a tree. He loses consciousness. His
       body slumps slowly down the tree trunk to the dirt. Blood
       gushes from where the wrench meets his face. He looks like
       he's dressed for Halloween.

       Della just stares. Stares at Tomas, at what she did, what she
       had to do.

       Tomas' eyes are wide open, staring too, at nothing, dead.

       The horror of having killed someone overwhelms Della. She
       starts shaking with shock.

       Vinh cries out for Tomas

                           VINH (O.S.)

       The sound of footfalls crashing through the brush follows.

                           CHUCKIE (O.S.)
                 Curb the squealing. You a gangsta
                 or a boy scout?

       Vinhs voice is breathless and jittery.

                           VINH (O.S.)
                 Tomas's gone, Chuckie. I can feel

       Della tears herself away from Tomas's body and staggers into
       the deadwood to collect the toolbox. It glints, even in the

       She grabs it and runs for cover behind a tree.

       Behind her in the near distance the chaotic sweeps of the
       flashlight illuminates Vinh and Chuckie as they march through
       the woods searching for Tomas.

                 Tomas is one hard son of a bitch.
                 He got her strung up from a tree by
                 now and you know it.

       But Chuckie doesn't look so sure. Vinh charges ahead into the

                                               Scene 105Page 70

       Della flashes briefly into shot, running between the trees.
       The flashlight sweeps by.

                 There's something over here.

       Chuckie walks towards Vinh. Vinh takes the flashlight from
       Chuckie and shines it towards a thick shape between three

                           VINH (CONT'D)
                 It looks like a body.

       They close in on a muddle of shapes, bush and spidery tree
       trunks. The flashlight illuminates a tree trunk long and
       thick as a body.

                 It's a big old tree trunk, you
                 paranoid gook.

       Chuckie tries to take the flashlight back from Vinh but Vinh
       won't give it. Chuckie doesn't persist. Vinh keeps going,
       shivering and blustering.

       Vinh senses something. He shines the flashlight behind the
       tree trunk. Still nothing. Sweeps back.

       Della darts between the evergreens behind them. She conceals
       herself in between the trunks and branches. Braces herself,
       waits for the right moments, the ones when they're not
       looking, to run between the trees. Cognizant enough to know
       they just want to find Tomas right now. She seems to be on
       autopilot, becoming numb as the minutes stretch on.

       She watches Vinh plod forward and through the brush. He hits
       every inch of it with the flashlight. Sighs. Doubles back to
       follow Chuckie.

       Then, the flashlight catches a glimpse of something. Sweeps
       back, illuminates Tomas's dead body, splayed out on the mud
       at the foot of the tree, eyes staring wide, bloody, ghastly.

       Tomas's Catholic cross pendant glimmers in the flashlight.

       Silence until Vinh falls to his knees in front of Tomas,
       tries to speak but only a whisper comes out.


                                               Scene 105Page 71

       Chuckie realizes from Vinh's demeanor that something really
       is wrong. He hesitates a moment, then rushes over to Vinh,
       stares too at Tomas's body, gulps back the desire to scream.

       He punches his fist hard into the tree behind Tomas' body
       instead. A shower of pine needles rains down on them.

       Chuckie grabs the flashlight and sweeps it away from the
       body, grabs Vinh's arm, grounding him.

       Vinh sobs and shakes.

                           VINH (CONT'D)
                 She gonna kill you and me next.
                 We're all gonna die here. God knows
                 what other tools she got in that

                 It was a stupid ass accident killed
                 Huey. You know that. And Tomas....

       Chuckie chokes up despite himself.

       He stands up, brushes the pine needles off his tee shirt.

       He paces back and forth.

       He pulls the gun out from deep in his jeans.

       Della creeps between the trees behind them. She appears for a
       second or two, like a ghost, behind the next tree.

       Chuckie defiantly fights back tears.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 I promise you this.

       He kisses the gun.

                            CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 This baby's gonna cancel her

       Della darts between the trees, faster now. Their voices
       follow her.

                           VINH (O.S.)
                 Ain't no gun can kill a ghost gone

                                                 Scene 105Page 72

       She staggers deeper and deeper into the forest, into the

                            CHUCKIE (O.S.)
                  You in America now, dude, where the
                  ghosts bleed.

       She hears a faint gurgle.

       She slows, listens. It's the burble of a stream..

       She listens hard. Traces the sound. Treads towards it.

       There it is. Glistening, even in the dark.

106                                                               106

       She steps between rocks, walks straight into the stream

       She stands ankle deep in the icy water with her eyes closed
       clutching the toolbox.

       The water gurgles faintly below her, so cold it almost sounds
       like glass breaking.

       The ghastly images of what just happened play out behind her
       eyes like an inerasable movie of the psyche to be remembered
       for all time.

         She's talking to herself in a whisper.

                  I'm sorry.

       All she knows is that she just killed a boy. It may have been
       in self defense but she killed him.

                            DELLA (CONT'D)
                  I'm so sorry!

       The grief overcomes her silently. Her face crumples. Her
       stomach muscles spasm and wrack through her body. A grief so
       deep tears would be a relief.

                            DELLA (CONT'D)
                  Where are you, God?

       She falls to her knees in the stream. Holding herself and
       rocking. The freezing water seeps up into her clothes, her

                                       Scene 106Page 73

                           DELLA (CONT'D)
                 Please, I just want to see my
                 babies again.

       Her rocking slows until it stops. There's a loud crunch close
       by. She rises reflexively from the stream. Raises the
       toolbox. She looks around. A branch has broken from a tree
       and drags down into the stream behind her.

       This seems to bring her back to herself. She realizes it's
       only a matter of time before they come looking for her. She
       needs to get moving.

       She sets off downstream. She trudges through the shallow
       water. Her wet coat drags heavily.

       The stream must end somewhere, likely at the other edge of
       the woods.

       She trudges onwards, sweeping aside the branches of stooping
       trees, stepping around rocky obstacles in the stream.

       Forging ahead.

       She now needs to pee. GREAT. Her temper surges up.

       She looks for the right place to do it, realizes it's
       probably best to pee in the stream, so all trace of it will
       be dispersed.

       A leafless willow trails its dried up branches into the
       stream. She makes her way toward it.

       She lays the toolbox down and disappears between the
       branches. We see glimpses of her lifting her coat, pulling
       down her pants, pushing the crotch of her underpants to the
       side. We hear her shiver and the faint tinkle of water
       meeting the stream.

       More glimpses of her pulling up her underpants and pants,
       smoothing down her coat.

       She hoists her coat up again around her waist and picks up
       the toolbox.

       She plows down stream once more. Longing to see the light
       that will tell her she's at the edge of the woods, closer to
       the mall lights, closer to home.

       She swallows another wave of grief.

                                               Scene 106Page 74

       The stream loops around ahead then splits into two. She
       follows it, picks the left fork.

       And then she hears it, the terrible sound of feet thundering
       down into the stream behind her.

       She doesn't even turn to see them. Just runs. Runs for her

       The glare of the flashlight blasts against her back. Freezing
       water splashes up her legs, soaking through her pants. Her
       feet slip and slide over wet rocks. But she keeps running.

       Vinh's behind her. She can feel his breath, the swipe of his
       hands as he grabs for her and misses. She runs even faster.

       She leaps over tree trunks that cross the stream. They leap
       behind her.

       She pushes through the hanging branches of several trees.
       Pushes them forward hard then lets them go as she passes,
       right into Vinh's face.

       He tries to duck but they hit him right in the eyes. He cries
       out, covers his eyes.


       This buys her a moment or two to get ahead. The stream bends
       right ahead. She opts to stay in it. Chuckie leaps out, runs
       along the banks, hoping to outrun and trap her.

       But the stream then bends left, giving her an advantage. He
       leaps back across the stream to the other side. But she's
       outrunning him. He charges back into the stream behind her.

       Della keeps on running through the stream, somehow trusting
       its direction.

       Vinh catches up with Chuckie. The boys are maybe twenty-five
       feet behind her.

       A SHOT rings out. Then a bullet races past her ear. Lodges in
       a tree just ahead of her. She almost loses her footing. She'd
       forgotten for just a moment, that they had a gun.

       Another shot blasts off into the night, skims her shoulder,
       hits the muddy bank of the stream. She flinches, braces
       herself, keeps going, adrenalin pumping harder than ever.

                                               Scene 106Page 75

       The stream winds around a bunch of rocks ahead. For just a
       moment she's invisible to them. She uses it. When she reaches
       the rocks, she dives out, ducking below the glare of
       Chuckie's flashlight, down behind the rocks.

107                                                               107

       She creeps up the muddy embankment hiding deep in the shadows
       of some wiry shrubs, as close to the mud as her back will

       The boys stop by the rocks. Chuckie sweeps the flashlight up
       the muddy embankment, looking for a footprint, a sign of her.

       She tries to creep through the midst of the brush to avoid
       leaving prints. Tries to stay quiet as a mouse. Stops when
       she sees the flashlight sweep by.

       If she can get to the top, she can make another run for it.

       All of a sudden, it grows dark. The boys must have switched
       the flashlight off or maybe the battery's dead. She listens
       hard for their footfalls. Nothing.

108                                                               108

       She sees that she is in the shadows of a big old Pine tree.

       She creeps behind its massive gnarled trunk and silently
       slides open the toolbox, fumbles around for the screwdriver.
       She removes it from the box and grasps it tight.

       Della rises slowly, remaining concealed behind the tree. She
       reaches up and softly places the toolbox deep in the junction
       of the first sturdy branch and the tree trunk. She pulls
       herself up onto the branch and edges in close to the trunk.
       She peeks between the branches.

       No sign of the boys. She pulls herself further up into the
       tree, branch by branch.

       The thin stiff outer branches, fringed with sharp little
       needles, fall like a jagged veil around her.

       She waits.

       She's high enough up to have a clear view of the landscape
       below despite the darkness.

       She makes out the faint echo of voices, strains to hear.

                                      Scene 109Page 76

109                                                                109

       Vinh and Chuckie are arguing in whispers. Vinh's pale and
       shivering hard.

                 I don't feel good, Chuckie. You
                 think I got the hypothermia?

                 Nah, yo got the yellow fever.

       Vinh sulks.

                 I'm telling you, it ain't natural
                 how she gets away every time.

       Chuckie clicks the flashlight back on. Sweeps it up, across
       and back down the embankment to the stream, illuminating the

                 She got to be hiding up on the
                 slope? You head up first and I'll
                 follow with the flashlight.

       The light sweeps past her. Della shrinks further into the
       branches of the tree. She crunches her foot against a branch.

       The boys freeze, then resume talking in whispers.

                 I ain't going up there without the
                 gun. End of story.

                 Never would've pegged you as a
                 pussy, Vinh. Even when Huey and
                 Tomas called it, I always defended
                 your ass.

                 Ain't no one never said I was a

                 She a skinny ass bitch, too. Can't
                 be weighing in at more than one

                                       Scene 109Page 77

                 Tomas an Huey never called me a

                 I ain't speaking ill o' the dead.

                 You already did.

       Vinh's shivering so hard his teeth are knocking.

                 Anyways, when you ever shot a gun?
                 Probably miss and shoot yourself in
                 the foot.

       Vinh paces, braces himself to head up after Della.

110                                                               110

       Vinh starts to ascend the embankment.

                 That's the spirit gangsta. Holler
                 if you see her and I'll shoot.

       Vinh glares back at Chuckie.


       Della watches Vinh plough through the brush.

       The flashlight sweeps and darts with his movements, up ahead
       of him, up the embankment.

       Vinh pushes through several trees, slips, regains his
       footing. He plods past the tree. She slips the screwdriver up
       her sleeve. Prays he won't stop.

       She pulls herself further up the tree.

       A sudden commotion of swaying branches startles her, followed
       by a shower of pine needles.

       Her heart stops.

       A moment later the sound of fluttering wings is followed by
       the squawking of angry birds.

       She's disturbed a bird's nest.

                                      Scene 110Page 78

       She sees the silhouette of four large crows as they burst
       through the branches above and up into the patch of sky

       The crows circle the patch of sky above, like a Greek chorus.

       She looks back down for a sign of Vingh. Sees nothing. Inches
       along a branch to see better.

       The light sweeps back and up through the trees into her eye
       line, disorienting her.

       She hears footfalls so close by they must be under the tree.

       Her eyes have barely readjusted when she sees him: Vinh
       standing under the tree scanning the area for a sign of her.
       She stares down at him, frozen, holding her breath.

       The flashlight illuminates the whole tree, then sweeps away
       up the embankment.

       But Vinh's seen something. He makes out her footprints under
       the tree. He leans down to check, then rises, looks up
       through the branches.

       Their eyes meet. He opens his mouth to shout for Chuckie.

       She LEAPS down through the branches. Lands THUD on his back.

                           VINH (CONT'D)

       She silences his yell with a choke hold. Wraps her legs
       around his torso. He bites her arm but she holds tight.

                           CHUCKIE (O.S.)

       Panic has crept into Chuckie's voice.

                           CHUCKIE (O.S.) (CONT'D)

       Vinh topples to the mud, dragging Della with him.

       They roll as he desperately tries to disengage her.

       The flashlight frantically searches the area for them.

       Della frees the screwdriver she'd stuffed up her sleeve.

       She DRIVES the screw driver up into the base of Vinh's skull.

                                                Scene 110Page 79

       Vinh screams.

       She thrusts and twists the tool.

       All the while she's tightly wound around him, intertwined,
       intimate as a lover.

       She drives the screw driver deeper in until she feels her
       knuckles dig into his stiff hair.

       Vinh's scream becomes a high keening wail.

       The screwdriver pierces the base of Vinh's skull. It
       protrudes through his mouth, knocking several teeth out in a
       stream of blood.

       His scream cracks into a death rattle as hers begins.

       They roll downstream.

       His arms are wrapped in a death grip around her.

       They roll until they crash full into a tree about two thirds
       of the way down.

       She feels his grip loosen and his body slump over hers. He
       becomes so heavy he almost crushes her underneath as he dies
       right there on top of her.

       She's trapped, suffocating underneath him, until she finds
       the strength to push him off.

       She crawls out from under his body.

       Pushing him away, sets him off rolling again.

         She tries to stand up but her legs are unsteady. Her head
       hurts so bad it's about to burst.

       The world around her shifts into a migraine zone. Trails
       follow trees, rocks, brush. The desire to close her eyes, to
       close it all out almost overwhelms her.

       Her shoulder aches too and there's a new pain in her arm
       where Vinh bit her. She sees blood has matted her sleeve, and
       rolls it up to find a nasty bite mark.

       There's a loud crash. Della freezes and moves only her eyes,
       looks around.

       It's Vinh's body hitting the stream below.

                                                Scene 110Page 80

       Where was the light at the edge of the woods? Nowhere to be
       seen now that's for sure.

       She staggers along the slope, clutching onto tree trunks and
       roots as she goes.

       Della grabs for a shrub to help her cross a patch of muddy
       slope. Pulls it clean out by the roots. Loses her footing,
       reaches for the roots of an old tree. She pulls herself up.

       Plods once more along the slope, heading upwards in a
       diagonal through the darkness.

       She arrives at the top of the slope only to be met by more
       darkness. But there's a strange calm about her now. Like
       she's reached the eye of a terrible storm.

                              CHUCKIE (O.S.) (CONT'D)

       When she hears his voice drifting faintly towards her, she
       almost smiles.

       She knows he's coming for her and there's nothing she can do
       about it.

       Della shivers as she sees a surreal tableau ahead: four huge
       felled trees wrapped in white plastic. Their sad stumps are
       only feet away. It's the funeral parlour of the forest.

                              CHUCKIE (CONT'D)

111                                                             111

       Della sinks down behind the large trunk of a plastic wrapped
       tree. She listens hard, tries to fathom which direction he's
       coming from.

       His voice drifts in and out of proximity like he's pacing
       around in circles. His voice has changed - he's dropped the
       gangster schtick.

                  There's only you and me, now.

       Maybe, if he wanders into the right position, she can sneak
       up on him from behind. She rakes about in the dirt looking
       for a rock or a stick. Then she remembers something, sticks
       her hand in her pocket, half smiles.

                                               Scene 111Page 81

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 I saw a little trail of your blood
                 back there. You must be hurt.

       Della checks out the bite mark on her arm to find it's still

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 I'm hurting too. I think you busted
                 up my collarbone.

       His black silhouette appears ahead between the gray trees.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 I know you can hear me, Della.

       Chuckie sniffs.

                 I can smell your blood, your sweat.
                 I know you're close.

       Chuckie's eyes glint in the darkness.

                 After what went down tonight, we
                 got a special bond.

       Della listens, transfixed.

       His dark shape beckons to her.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 May as well come out now, Della.

       She doesn't move.

       She watches him pace around trying to work out where she is.

       He pulls out a pack of cigarettes, taps one out, lights it.
       Inhales. Exhales.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 I'll save one for you, for when you
                 decide to come out.

       He inhales again, exhales.

       He laughs admiringly.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 You're one tough bitch.

                                               Scene 111Page 82

       The tone of his voice begins to change.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 And that's hot, hell yeah.

       Frustration breaks through his voice. She can see his shadowy
       form moving through the darkness towards her. He stops.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 And they're really cute.

       Chuckie clicks on the flashlight, shines it straight ahead -
       right in between the plastic wrapped trees.

       Della freezes.   They?

       Chuckie's eyes penetrate the darkness.

                              CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Twins huh?     Terri and Tammi.

       Della doesn't move. Terrified.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 I bet you could use that cigarette
                 now Della honey?
                     (he chuckles)
                 A woman's purse can tell her whole
                 life story!

       Della stares petrified as he unfolds her purse from deep in
       his jacket. He empties the contents out onto the dirt.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Now I know where they are living,
                 I'm thinking I may stop by after
                 and say hello.

       Della wants to run at him so bad she almost hyperventilates.
       But she also knows that's what he wants and she refuses to
       give him the satisfaction.

       We move in closer on Chuckie. He's looking right at where
       she's hiding, pure malevolence hardening his face to a mask.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 They wouldn't know a damn thing
                 about what happened to Mommy while
                 she was out, would they, Della?

                                                Scene 111Page 83

       We move in on Della. Her knuckles are blue white and her eyes
       are blazing. Rage explodes in her. She doesn't even realize
       that she is shouting till she's done.

                 I'M GOING TO KILL YOU.

       Chuckie waltzes towards her hiding place.

                 I figured that would help you find
                 your voice!

       Della crouches further in behind the felled trees. Why the
       hell did she shout? She could have been hiding anywhere. Now
       he must know for sure where she is.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Don't worry. I would never touch
                 them. It's wrong to hurt kids!
                 Right, Della?

       She clamps her mouth closed. Chuckie continues waltzing
       toward her, stops about twelve feet away. He stares in
       between the felled trees like he has x-ray vision.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 The game's over.

       Chuckie laughs.

                            CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 You won!

       Sadness creeps into his voice.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 You took him from me...He was only
                 seventeen years old. And all he
                 ever wanted to do was see the
                 ocean. And he never saw it. No, he
                 never got to go.

       Chuckie's grief sits like a stone in his throat.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 They're all gone now.

       Chuckie coughs, a dry laboured cough. He hocks long and
       deeply in his throat. But whatever it is he can't spit it
       out. He rubs his throat and collarbone gingerly.

                                               Scene 111Page 84

                             CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                   You know the movie "Clockwork

       Della looks puzzled.   Yeah, and?

                             CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                   Well, they were my droogies, Della.

       Chuckie sighs.

                             CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                   Chances are they would of turned on
                   me anyway, just like in the movie.

       Chuckie paces around, deep in thought.

                             CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                   None of them was real ass outlaw.
                   No, not in the way you are.
                   You're the real deal, lady.

       He stops.

                             CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                   I was already thinking about
                   cutting some of em loose, getting a
                   new style posse together.

       Della's head is spinning.

                             CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                   How's about it, you and me?

       This can't be real. Has he lost his mind? She utters under
       her breath.

                   Give me a break.

       Chuckie reaches down, retrieves her diary from the dirt. She

                   Monday night mechanics. Tuesday
                   Pilates. Wednesday Spanish.
                   Thursday, I wish....

       He closes the diary.

                                               Scene 111Page 85

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Face it, Della. You ain't no
                 suburban housewife.

       Chuckie's eyes dart around in the darkness.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 So you bought into the big lie,
                 even tried to live it. Who could
                 blame you? Husband, kids, security,
                 every woman's dream, but not yours,
                 Della. You know there ain't no such
                 thing as security.

       He coughs some more.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 But I'm betting you didn't really
                 know who you were until tonight. I
                 reckon I know what you've been
                 dreaming about though, what you've
                 been aching for, through all these
                 lonely, wasted years. Blasting out
                 of Podunk without never looking
                 back. Feeling the wind in your hair
                 and the dirt of life between your
                 fingers. Doing all the things they
                 told you you ain't supposed to do.
                 Taking what YOU want from life. And
                 wasting anyone who stands in your
                 way. Right, Della?

       She closes her eyes like she's seeing it all behind them.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Don't say you ain't thought about
                 it. If it's in your blood, it's in
                 your blood for all time.

       A longing sigh sneaks out.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 You had yourself fooled, Della.

       A single tear runs down her cheek.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Shit, lady, you took my whole crew
                 out with nothing but a bunch of
                 them tools.

       She opens her eyes.

                                         Scene 111Page 86

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 You can't go back to your old life.
                 No way. It's all over for that.

       She doesn't know what to say.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 Hooking up with me's about the best
                 chance you got.

       He sounds deadly serious, seductive even. She's lost in some
       kind of trance, looking like she just might believe him.

       Can she possibly be believing this?

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 I bet you're on the outs with your
                 old man.

       She inhales sharply.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 When we pick up your kids, we can
                 waste him if you like.

       She holds the breath in.

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 I can do it. Or you can if you're

       Della exhales, responds.       She seems lost to us.

                 I want...

       But she doesn't finish the sentence. She rises slowly from
       between the plastic wrapped trees.

       A momentary grimace of pain crosses her face. Then, their
       eyes meet, like for the first time. It catches them both by
       surprise. He smiles.

                 Leave the tools.

                 I already did.

       He shines the flashlight on her path so that she can see
       where she is walking.

                                      Scene 111Page 87

       Della steps around the plastic wrapped trees and between the
       stumps. She heads towards him, slowly, deliberately.

       Chuckie's hands are by his sides. She stops a few feet away
       from him.

       She can see him up close. The clearest view of him yet. They
       both look like they've been to hell.

                 Hell of a night, huh?

       He lays the flashlight on the ground and turns the lens to
       point up through the trees and into the sky between them.

                 I was only going to the mall for
                 some Christmas wrapping paper.

       Chuckie smiles.

                 Shit happens.

       They stare at one another, all alone in the night. A knowing
       moment stretches between them.

       She notices the gash of matted blood and bruising on his

                 What now?

       Chuckie smiles, brings his teeth back into a scary, feral

                 I wanted to look you in the eye
                 before I kill you.

       Della doesn't react.    He brings up his hand, gun clutched,
       pointed and ready.

       Della surprises him and us.

                 That's what I figured.

       She nods her head, points her chin over his shoulder.

                           DELLA (CONT'D)
                 Huey there, going to help?

                                      Scene 111Page 88

       Chuckie is puzzled.

                 Huey?   Huey's ....

       He glances to the side for a split second, turns the gun as
       he turns his head. It's enough. Della slips the flare out of
       her pocket and opens it in his face.

       Before he even has time to react she LEAPS at him with all
       the spring left in her legs. Her fingers close around the
       wrist with the gun.

       The flare falls aside casting its fiery glow across them.

       She crashes her good shoulder into the spongy place where his
       collar bone is broken. It makes the ugly noise of sinew

                             CHUCKIE (CONT'D)

       She tumbles him down to the December ground and wraps her
       legs tight around him. Tight like a lover.

       She grinds her chin deep and forcefully into the area of his
       broken collarbone, exacerbating the wound.

       He cries out, thrashes about. She keeps her body melded to
       his, grinding her chin even deeper.

       He wraps his arms tightly around her and pulls her even
       closer, wrenches her chin up and away from his collarbone.

       They roll across the dirt.   He whispers, low and close to

                           CHUCKIE (CONT'D)
                 You're even better than I thought.

       He pushes his mouth hard up against hers to stop her chin
       returning to the wound. She tries to pull away but he only
       presses harder.

       Neither can break away.

       It's unclear who's got the gun.

       They roll until she suddenly pulls away, sits up.

       But he has her and she has him in a fatal leg lock.

                                      Scene 111Page 89

       And she has the gun.

       They look at each other. He smiles.

       He makes for the gun.

       She fires into his chest, just once, it's enough.

       His legs release. He slumps back.   Blood darkens his shirt.

       Gun smoke coils from the dark bullet wound. Blood seeps
       below him from the exit wound, spreading out in a dark

       His body surrenders to death.

       She stares down at him. A queasy silent moment passes. She
       stares at the gun in her hands. It feels so heavy, so unreal.

       His dead eyes stare. She reaches over and closes them gently.

       And she's light-headed, so light-headed she could just float
       away. Somehow she stands up.

       She looks back down at the body, not quite believing he could
       be dead. She sees her silver locket lying beside him in the
       pool of blood.

       She retrieves it. Uses her sleeve to wipe the blood away from
       its exterior. Inside the photos of her kids are still there;
       tiny photos of Tammis little thoughtful face and Terri's
       mischievous one look back at her. She snaps the locket

       She searches the area for the rest of her belongings, finds
       her wallet, her purse, her diary, her lighter, her tampax
       box, a lipstick in the dirt. She sticks everything in her
       purse. She almost misses her pack of cigarettes. We see them
       half buried under the dirt. She scans the area once more
       finds them. The pack is empty but she takes it anyway.

       It's time to go home.

112                                                              112

       Without really thinking about it, Della slips the gun into
       her pocket and starts running.

       Tree after tree disappears behind her until she sees the
       light ahead. That place where the rest of the world meets the

                                               Scene 112Page 90

       She peers through the last layer of trees like she would a
       curtain to her other reality, the one she almost left behind.

       The housing development is still there and not more than a
       hundred feet away is her car.

       She hears the sound of distant sirens.

113                                                              113

       She hurries across the clearing towards her car. Sees the
       trunk is open. Sees sheets of wrapping paper blowing about.
       Sees the big red bow tangled around a pine.

       She quickly gathers them, stuffs them in her purse.

       A moment of trepidation as she reaches her car. What if it's
       locked? What if the keys are gone?

       She presses the Ford's driver door handle and much to her
       relief, it opens. She sees the keys still dangling from the

114                                                              114

       She climbs into the driver's seat and turns the key. No
       connection. No surprises there!

115                                                              115

       She steps back out of the car and looks nervously around like
       nothing good could ever possibly happen to her again.

       The hood is still ajar by a few inches, the weight of pine
       branches still pressing upon it. She uses the last of her
       strength to try push them away. A few smaller branches give
       way but the bigger one won't budge.

       She reaches under the hood for the bar and pulls hard. It
       scrapes along the inner surface of the hood as she forces it
       to prop the hood open to its maximum, about fifteen inches.
       The hood buckles but there's enough room for her to reach in.

       She fumbles about and finds the positive wire has come loose
       from its attachment to the battery. She re-attaches the wire
       and, Presto, the car lights up and the keys start to ping.

       She almost smiles as she forces the bar back down. The hood
       slams down after it.

                                               Scene 116Page 91

116                                                               116

       She quickly climbs back into the car and turns the keys. The
       engine sputters but doesn't fully catch. She turns the keys
       again - another wimpy sputter. Again, this time the sputter
       gathers momentum, catches for a second, gives up. She tries
       again, the sputter gathers momentum and catches for real.

       Della looks over her shoulder and backs up, pulls out of the
       tree, up and past the broken barrier and onto the road. She
       makes a tight U-Turn, sticks the car into four wheel drive
       and plows down the rough gravely road.

117                                                               117

       She passes the Plymouth on her way. Sees its wheels lodged
       deep in the mud. Keeps going.

118                                                               118

       She drives right on through the ghostly housing estate,
       slowing only to change back into drive as the road improves.
       Empty houses flash past like a movie in rewind.

       The lights of the mall grow closer.

119                                                               119

       She passes that stop sign, sighs. The barrier is open and the
       road up to the mall stretches freely ahead. She slowly inches
       out on to the road and commits to her return to

120                                                               120

       The road's empty.

121                                                               121

       She punches the accelerator, drives just over the speed

122                                                               122

       The concrete blocks of the mall rise from the wastelands
       ahead on her left.

       She slows, ahead there's a small traffic jam at the entrance
       to the Mall road.

                                      Scene 123Page 92

123                                                                123

       She hears the siren before she sees the police car.

       God, she hopes they don't notice her smashed up windscreen,
       the fucked up side of the Ford.

124                                                                124

       She edges slowly up to meet the line of cars. Watches as the
       police car circumvents the traffic and pulls into the Mall
       road, to join a police car that already has the Mall entrance
       road blocked off.

125                                                                125

       Of course.    How long has it been? That poor security guard.

       She checks the car clock. It's only 85 minutes since she left
       the house! Hard to believe. Feels like another lifetime.

       Another cop car whizzes past the line. How long before they
       come for her? She's got to get back to the kids.

       Della adjusts the rearview mirror. Her gaunt bloody face
       looks back.

                    Oh my.

       She looks at her hands, they're ingrained with mud and blood.
       And her clothes!

       While waiting for the traffic to start moving again she
       fumbles on the passenger seat, finds some kleenex.

       She wipes her hands, her face, using the rearview mirror,
       some Kleenex and the rest of the water. She looks only
       slightly better.

       The line starts moving. Della follows. She passes the police
       cars, steals a cursory glance.

       She keeps checking her face in the mirror. The cars soon
       start to disperse in different directions. The Mall
       disappears behind her. She turns left onto an almost empty

       She can't wait to see her babies, make sure they're okay. How
       could anyone expect her to go the speed limit at a time like

                                               Scene 125Page 93

       She hits forty, forty-five, fifty. Takes it all the way up to
       sixty. Runs a light.

126                                                                126

       As long as the roads empty she's gonna own it.

127                                                                127

       At sixty-five she races across the railway track. She slows
       down to just above speed limit when she sees a car ahead on
       the adjoining road.

       With one hand guiding the wheel she grabs the lipstick from
       her purse.

       She carefully applies it in the rearview but her mouth is so
       parched it just cakes into her chapped lips. She wipes it

128                                                                128

       She drives through the crossroads.

129                                                                129

       She applies some lipstick to her cheeks to give her some
       color. But she just looks odd. She ends up wiping it away
       with the back of her hand.

       Gosh, this car in front is really taking its sweet time. She
       decides to overtake. She accelerates to sixty. As she passes
       the driver stares at her car.

       She slows down so as not to arouse any more suspicion. She
       passes the familiar sign for "Pleasant Valley Drive". The
       road's empty ahead so she guns it to sixty-five.

       The closer she gets to home, the faster she wants to go. She
       tries to resist but can't. The speedometer hits seventy.

       The car hurtles into the night. Oh No, a red light ahead. And
       a car waiting to go in the opposite direction. She decides to
       slow for this one. Barely makes it - screeches to a halt. The
       driver in the forward facing car checks her out. She attempts
       to smile and look like a normal housewife.

130                                                                130

       She waits for the car to pass, then hits the accelerator
       again. She signals right, turns abruptly into meet the gates
       of Pleasant valley Dream Homes.

                                               Scene 130Page 94

       She rakes about in her purse for her chub card, can't find
       it. She presses the intercom. No one answers. She presses
       again. Still no answer. She backs out hard onto Pleasant
       Valley Drive. Luckily for her, the car she overtook a few
       minutes earlier pulls in. She tails the car tightly through
       the gates which scrape shut against her back bumpers. But
       she's in.

       She guns it along Pleasant Valley Crescent and slows as she
       approaches the sign for Pleasant Valley Boulevard. Checks
       herself in the mirror. Pulls into the boulevard.

       When she sees her house ahead a huge sob engulfs her. She
       snorts it back. Not yet. Her face hurts so bad with repressed
       emotion that it feels like it's made of stone.

       She pulls into the driveway. Smooths her coat.

       She glances at the gun, which lies on the passenger seat.

       She turns off the ignition.

       She looks back at the gun. She removes the car keys from the

       She glances at the gun.

       She looks at the house; it all looks normal.

       She takes a deep breath.

       She moves to get out of the car.

       She leans over, grabs the gun and sticks it in her purse. She
       finds her chub card inside. She sighs.

131                                                                131

       She remembers her shoulder hurts when she climbs out of the
       car. That her arm hurts when she pushes the car door closed
       behind her. That her heart hurts when she sees the star of
       the tree still lying there in the snow.

       The whole side of the car is scratched to hell and the
       windshield is shattered. She makes her way down the path to
       the front door. She kicks off her wrecked muddy boots on the
       front step. Turns the adjoining key, on the car key chain, in
       the front door lock. Pushes open the door.

132                                                                132

                  Where the hell have you been?

                                       Scene 132Page 95

       Kenneth's voice meets her as she steps into the house. Nice

       She doesn't respond. Closes the door behind her. Walks into
       the house.

       There he is ahead, leaning against the office door. Beer in
       one hand, remote in the other. The TV blaring behind him.

                              KENNETH (CONT'D)
                 I said....

       He's about to begin shouting again when he notices
       something's not right about her.

                              KENNETH (CONT'D)

       He switches the TV volume down using the remote.

                           KENNETH (CONT'D)
                 Della honey are you all right?

       She stares back at him coldly.

                 Please don't call me that. Don't
                 ever call me that again.


       She steps slowly towards him. Sees a violent adventure flick
       wrapping up behind him on TV. The end credits scroll down the

                 I just wanted to get home to my

       Kenneth cannot understand her garbled words. He sees the
       dried blood on her chin, matted mud on her coat.

                 What happened to you?

       She just stares.

                           KENNETH (CONT'D)
                 Was there an accident?

                                      Scene 132Page 96

       She keeps staring, looks at him with a cold odd expression.
       She needs to be held like a child but he doesn't even move
       towards her. Just stands there like a jerk, unsure of what
       to do, so he takes a swig of beer.

                           KENNETH (CONT'D)
                 Are you hurt?

       That swig of beer turns what was left of her love for him to

       A beat.

                 Are they okay?

       Without waiting for an answer.

133                                                                133

       She turns and races up the stairs.

134                                                                134

       She opens the door softly. The night light casts a pale glow
       out low across the carpet. There they are, all tucked up in
       their quilts, breathing gently, little faces flushed with

       She sighs, closes her eyes with relief, softly closes the
       door behind her.

135                                                                135

       Walks back downstairs.

136                                                                136

       Kenneth is pacing about the kitchen, opening another beer.

                 Sound asleep, huh?

       Kenneth, unsure what to do, tries to make a joke.

                           KENNETH (CONT'D)
                 So. What'd you bring me from the

       Della sighs, calmly pulls out the gun from her pocket, looks
       him right in the eye, points the barrel at his face.

                                      Scene 136Page 97

       He shrinks back, silent for once, blind panic playing across
       his face.

       But not hers. She's cold, cold as the icy night.

       She pulls the trigger at point blank range. CLICK

       He recoils.

       But no bullet disengages from the barrel. Nothing. She knew
       there were no bullets left.

       But the click echoes throughout the silent house.


                              THE END

While She Was Out

Writers :   Susan Montford  Edward Bryant
Genres :   Crime  Drama  Thriller

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