“Speak No Evil”
© Joshua Gamon 2002
PAGE 1 (six panels)
We have a tight shot on two brown rats scurrying alongside the edge of a natural wall of stone in a wine cellar. We can see bloodied footprints of boots walking to the panel’s right.
We pull back a little to reveal more of the cellar, and we can see a fly caught in a large spider web. In a valiant effort to free itself, the fly tries to break its grip with whatever natural strength it has, but the large spider is slowly moving towards its capture. In the background on his panel, we can see a large iron door in the cellar opened inward. We can see too much, just little black and white tiles near the entrance. Bloodied footprints are seen walking out from the room.
SFX (FLY): BUZZZT…. BUZZZT
We now have a shot of the entire room. We are inside a white and black titled meat locker where five bodies of children are hanging from meat hooks attached to the ceiling. Their blue faces have been frozen in fear. A little wall thermometer should be visible enough to show the temperature to be in the negatives.
The room is dimly lit by the single light bulb on the ceiling. There are also several other strips of flypaper hanging from the ceiling as well. Little droplets of blood are still dripping to ground in quantities enough to create a small whirlpool at the drain located in the dead center of the floor.
We have a nigh-profile shot of a WILL’S, body from the back, an all American kid around thirteen years old. He is hanging limp like a puppet without a master at the strings. We have a clear shot of the massive hook piercing right through his back almost between his shoulder blades, and little screams of blood are dripping down his arms, off of his fingertips, and to the floor below.
We have a tight shot of his fingers twitching on his left hand interrupting the flow of blood.
His eyes open wide in fright, his face is pale with massive blood loss, and he is now grabbing the hook sticking through his chest with both hands. He is screaming out causing a little spittle of blood to collect on his chin, and both steam rises from his fresh wound and from his mouth as he screams. In the background, the bodies of the other children are still swaying back and forth in the shadows of the room.
WILL (SCREAMING): M-MOMMMMMMMMMMMY!
PAGE 2 (five panels)
We have a shot of DR. JAMES AVERY, a well-manicured and postured man sipping tea from a cup and saucer in his fifties, CHARLOTTE and WILLARD, a wealthy and handsome couple in their late thirties, and their son Will, a handsome and sorrowful boy in his early teens. Their fashion should suggest an early twentieth-century design.
All four of them are sitting on whickered chairs in a sunroom having a spot of tea from a very expensive-looking silver tea set resting on a glass tabletop. Next to it sits a platter of cucumber sandwiches. Beautiful garden plants are surrounding them, and smaller ones are hanging from hooks from the glass ceiling.
CAPTION: THREE DAYS AGO. 1921.
WILLARD: JAMES, I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR AGREEING TO LOOK AFTER OUR WILL WHILE CHARLOTTE AND I GO ON SAFARI IN NEPAL.
CHARLOTTE: YES, A SAFARI IS FAR TOO DANGEROUS FOR LITTLE BOYS THAT ARE MUTE. HE WILL BE IN FAR MORE CARE IN YOUR HANDS, GOOD DOCTOR.
We have a shot of Dr. Avery placing the cup back on the saucer raised to his chest.
JAMES: WILLARD. CHARLOTTE.
Identical shot as PANEL 2.
JAMES 1: HOW CAN I SAY NO TO MY TWO DEAREST FRIENDS? I’VE BEEN LIVING ALONE FOR FAR TOO LONG AFTER… APRIL’S DEATH.
JAMES 2: MY ESTATE CAN BE A VERY LONELY PLACE WITHOUT SOMEONE TO SHARE IT WITH. WILL’S COMPANY WILL BE JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED.
We now have Willard speaking to James. Will in the background is taking a bite from a cucumber sandwich.
WILLARD 1: YOU WILL NEVER MAKE IT BACK TO YOUR ESTATE BY DUSK, JAMES. SHALL I HAVE THE HELP PREPARE YOU A ROOM?
JAMES 1: THANK YOU, WILLARD. YOU ARE TOO KIND.
WILLARD 2: BRILLIANT THEN. I SHALL SEND THE HELP TO READY YOUR HORSES FOR MORNING.
JAMES 2: MEANWHILE WILL…
We have a horizontal panel of a four horse-drawn stagecoach being packed with luggage. The light from the morning sun rising behind the stagecoach is so radiant that we can only see silhouette of it, the help packing the luggage, a tall man in a top hat, and a small boy walking behind him.
JAMES (CONT): I HOPE YOU REST WELL TONIGHT. WE HAVE A VERY BUSY DAY AHEAD OF US TOMORROW.
PAGE 3 (six panels)
We have a beautiful serene shot of the stagecoach riding along the shore of a very still lake. It almost looks like a mirror perfectly reflecting the images of luscious white clouds floating in the sky above.
We are inside the very comfortable quarters of the stagecoach where James, in his top hat, is sitting next to Will who is turning his attention to view outside his little window.
JAMES: I KNOW HOW MUCH YOU YEARN TO JOIN YOUR PARENTS ON SAFARI, WILL, BUT YOU’RE WITH ME NOW—
We have a shot of James’ hand touching Will’s thigh almost near his crotch.
We have a shot of Will’s eyes widening in fear from outside the stagecoach looking in through the window. Behind Will, we see James slightly leaning forward to look our way.
JAMES: AND THERE ARE SOME SAFARIS THAT ONLY YOU AND I… CAN EXPLORE, TOGETHER.
We are now outside the stagecoach, and off in the distance we can see a huge mansion on the edge of a mountain surrounded by miles of forest.
DRIVER: MASTER JAMES, WE WILL BE ARRIVING HOME WITHIN THE HOUR.
We have a shot of the stagecoach has stopped in front of a huge marble fountain of naked cherubs playing gaily on a cloud. Several of James’ help are taking his coat and top hat, and tending to his horses. Will is standing right besides him. The sun is setting, casting long shadows over the courtyard.
BUTLER: WELCOME HOME, SIR.
MAID 1: WELCOME HOME, MASTER JAMES. I SEE YOU BROUGHT HOME ANOTHER GUEST. AND WHAT IS YOUR NAME, YOUNG MASTER?
JAMES: THIS CHILD CANNOT SPEAK, SO I WILL DEAL WITH HIM DIRECTLY. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR ON THAT?
MAID 2: YES, OF COURSE MASTER JAMES. AS YOU WISH.
PAGE 4 (seven panels)
Will and James are now sitting at the dining table that is so long it extends almost from wall to wall. There is a roaring fire burning in the fireplace, and above the mantle are several oil portraits of boys around the same age as Will. A family portrait of James, his former wife April, and their four boys hangs as the centerpiece. James is much younger in the portrait than he is now.
On the table are leftovers from their meal. The butler from PAGE 3, PANEL 6 is beginning to clear away their platters.
JAMES 1: YOU ATE LIKE A BOY POSSESSED, WILL!
JAMES 2: GOOD. YOU WILL NEED ALL OF THE ENERGY FOR TONIGHT.
Will looks up at the oil paintings above the mantle.
JAMES: AH, CURIOUS ABOUT MY FAMILY… IT’S RATHER A HARD THING FOR ME TO DISCUSS…
We have a tight shot of his family portrait.
JAMES (CONT) 1: WILL, PRAY YOU’LL NEVER HAVE THE GRAVE DISPLEASURE OF BURYING YOUR OWN FAMILY…
JAMES (CONT) 2: ESPECIALLY YOUR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD.
We have the butler bringing James the telephone of its earliest conception on a silver platter.
BUTLER 1: PLEASE FORGIVE MY INTRUSION, SIR, BUT YOU HAVE AN URGENT TELEPHONE CALL.
BUTLER 2: MADAME DeVRIES IS REQUESTING YOUR IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ASSISTANCE. IT’S HER HUSBAND.
We have a shot of James now making his way out of the dining room, grabbing his top hat from the butler on the way. He has his hand in his left coat pocket. Will is standing behind the butler.
JAMES 1: WILL, PLEASE FORGIVE MY ILL-MANORS AS HOST, BUT I’M AFRAID I HAVE MORE URGENT MATTERS TO ATTEND TO. I WILL BE GONE FOR SEVERAL DAYS.
JAMES 2: HOWEVER, WHILE I AM GONE… YOU ARE FREE TO EXPLORE THE ENTIRE ESTATE.
James hands Will a key ring with a hundred small little keys on it. All of them are gold except for a black one that should be visible enough for the reader to see.
JAMES 1: BUT YOU MUST PROMISE ME ONE THING; THAT YOU WILL NEVER USE THAT BLACK KEY TO UNLOCK THE IRON DOOR IN THE CELLAR.
JAMES 2: EVERY MAN MUST HIDE AWAY AT LEAST ONE SECRET FROM THE WORLD. NOW, DO I HAVE YOUR WORD?
Will nods yes.
JAMES: THEN I WILL SEE YOU SOON.
PAGE 5 (seven panels)
We have a shot of Will peeping out of a window from above to watch James enter his stagecoach.
The stagecoach vanishes into the night.
Morning arrives, and the sun rises behind the mammoth mansion cascading everything in a gentle glow.
We have a shot of Will in an extremely long hallway with ten doors on both sides. With the key ring in his hand, he begins to unlock the first door.
We have a shot of inside that room as Will stands in the open doorway. The room is completely empty.
We have almost an identical shot as PANEL 5, but this room has a different design. However, it is still empty.
Same as PANEL 6.
PAGE 6 (six panels)
We are now in a different hallway with the same number of doors. All of the doors have been opened except for the one Will is unlocking now on the right side. A bright orange light is seeping in through all of the open doors on the right side.
This room is also empty. However, we have a shot of Will’s back from outside the room looking into it. Through the window in the background, we can see the sun begin to set.
Will looks extremely bored with his exploring, and throws down the keys in anger.
The black key breaks off from key ring on impact.
We now have a shot of the black key in the close foreground at ground level, and we can see Will slightly out of focus in the background still standing in the open door frame.
This panel is the same as PANEL 5, but Will is now in focus instead of the key. We can he has a coy smile on his face.
PAGE 7 (five panels)
We have a shot of the butler sleeping in his bed.
We have another shot of the maid sleeping in hers.
Will is sneaking out of his quarters. He has only the black key in his hand, and a lit candle in the other.
We have a shot from outside the mansion where we can see James’ stagecoach stopped right in front of the fountain from PAGE 3, PANEL 6. His driver is helping James out of the cabin. We have a different butler waiting at the main entrance.
BUTLER 1: WELCOME HOME, SIR, BUT WE WERE NOT EXPECTING FOR YOU FOR SEVERAL MORE DAYS.
JAMES 1: UNFORTUNATELY MADAME DeVRIES MISTAKEN ME FOR A CONJUROR OF THE DEAD. HER HUSBAND HAD PAST AWAY LONG BEFORE I ARRIVED… THREE WEEKS TO BE EXACT.
JAMES 2: HOW FARES MY YOUNG WILL?
BUTLER 2: SLEEPING LIKE A BABY, SIR.
Will is sneaking downstairs the natural stairwell of stone leading down deep into the mansion’s cellar. We can tell is it cold down there for we can see his breath.
JAMES/CAP: GOOD. PERHAPS I SHOULD WAKE MY LITTLE ANGEL UP. I’VE BEEN FAR TOO PATIENT WITH HIM.
PAGE 8 (five panels)
We now have a shot of Will from the knees down as he reaches the filthy bottom level of the cellar. He is walking barefoot and to the panel’s left. We can see James vast collection of wines built into the natural wall. Brown rats are scurrying past his feet.
We have a shot of James from the knees down as he walks down a red-carpeted hallway. He is walking towards the panel’s right.
Will finally reaches a huge iron cast door that is so clean; it’s perfectly reflecting his own image like a milky mirror. It has a huge black pad lock sticking through its handle.
James reaches Will’s door that is slightly ajar. He has a look of grotesque excitement on his face as he begins to push the door open with his palm.
We have a shot of the black key unlocking the pad lock.
SFX (LOCK): KLICK.
James sees that Will is not in his bed, but his key ring is. The black key is missing.
PAGE 9 (five panels)
We have a shot from inside the room looking at Will standing in the open doorway of the iron door. The soft glow from the candle is barely illuminating the contents of the room. He is covering up his nose and flinching from some horrible smell from inside. We can see a small radius of light extending a foot into the room enough to reveal the black and white tiles of the floor and wall stained by something dark. We can see objects hanging from the ceiling, but they just look like large slabs of meat.
We can see a wall thermometer showing the temperature in the negatives. His breath can really be seen now.
He is walking inside the room, and he bumps into a large hanging object to his side causing him to drop his candle.
SFX (CHAINS): SWEEEK…
The candle hits the floor wick first, extinguishing the flame.
We see the silhouette of Will’s body in the dark along with several other bodies hanging from the ceiling.
SFX (SWINGING): SWEEEK… SWEEEK…
We see another silhouette of a figure now standing directly behind Will in the dark.
PAGE 10 (five panels)
James is seen turning a switch that now has turned on the light bulb hanging from the ceiling. The room is the one from PAGE 1, PANEL 3 but with four children hanging from hooks instead of five. The body Will bumped into earlier is slightly swinging back and forth. Will is absolutely terrified.
JAMES 1: YOU GAVE ME YOUR WORD, WILL. YOU PROMISED YOU WOULDN’T COME DOWN HERE. BUT YOU DID.
JAMES 2: NOW I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO PUNISH YOU.
We see Will begin to breakdown in tears of hysteria, and James is now leaning down to match his height with a strong grasp on Will’s shoulders.
JAMES 1: PLEASE DON’T CRY, MY POOR LITTLE WILL. ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS EXPLORE NEW THINGS WITH YOU.
JAMES 2: I WOULD HAVE BEEN GENTLE. I WAS GENTLE WITH ALL OF MY LITTLE BOYS, BUT THEY WANTED TO EXPLORE OTHER THINGS.
James is kissing his forehead.
Then James kisses his left cheek where his tears are falling.
JAMES (WHISPERING): DEAR BOY, WHAT WILL I EVER TELL YOUR PARENTS?
James lifts Will up off the ground from his shoulders.
And impales his little body on a massive meat hook hanging from the ceiling. Will’s eyes are bulging out as he coughs up blood.
SFX (IMPALE): PHOIT!