Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.
EXT. FOREST - DAY
The thick of the bright green forest on a perfect summer day. The sunlight floods through the trees. The air is still.
YOUNG CARSON (12) darts through the brush, laughing and smiling as he does it. At his young age he already has the confidence of a leader. His eyes are wide with curiosity.
As he looks behind his shoulder, there’s more rustling of the brush coming from the distance.
YOUNG MYRA (O.S.)
As he continues forward, YOUNG MYRA (10) appears behind him, pushing her hair out of her face. She is normally meek, but you couldn’t tell it now.
They reach a clearing. Young Carson speeds to a stop when he reaches the precipe of a cliff, barely saved by a rope fence that separates them from the unknown. Flecks of dirt slide under his shoes and fly off into nothingness.
Young Myra follows close behind him, falling onto her butt. They both sit up, catching their breath.
We’re at the edge.
Young Myra looks, noticing the rope fence.
Have we gone that far?
Young Carson stands up and extends his hand to help Myra up. They both stand up, and look down at the cliff. Down at nothingness.
They both share an innocent look at each other. They sit. Catch their breath.
YOUNG MYRA (CONT’D)
I can’t believe you’re leaving. I can’t wait until I have a lodging of my own.
It won’t be the same without you.
We’ll see each other, won’t we?
Young Myra sighs. The sun has just begun to dim.
I don’t want to go back.
We don’t have to, not yet.
EXT. BEACH - NIGHT
MYRA, a day from eighteen, stares at the crackling flames of a small fire. There’s an intensity to her gaze. She wears the standard gray button down shirt and cotton pants, her hair cut flatly at her shoulders.
She watches the flames as they dance up and down, as sparks spit back into the wood. The sky is a perfect black, filled with millions of stars.
Around the fire are many other VILLAGERS, all in the same outfit. All of the women have the same haircut. The men do too; it’s closely cut at their ears. They all watch the flames, each in their own private trance.
Sitting on a chair in front of the flames is VIC (33). Her hair is tied back and she wears a special cap. Her clothes are white.
One villager, MARK, early thirties, raises his hand. The others all notice, and turn to him.
Today I feel disappointed.
After a pause, he continues. Myra listens as she continues to stare at the flames.
One of my students, Peter, received his third strike today. He is a smart student but has continued to be disruptive. I am disappointed that I could not allow him to reach his potential.
The rest of the Villagers nod. They all turn to Vic.
I understand why you feel disappointed, Mark. However, Peter has violated the rules of your classroom three times even though he ought to know better. You did all you could.
Thank you for sharing how you felt today.
They go back to their silent haze as they watch the flames. Another villager, LIV, late thirties, raises her hand.
Today I feel frightened.
Vic raises her eyebrows to show that she is listening.
Soon, it will be time for me to pass on. And I know I should have nothing to be frightened of, but still I am.
Liv, it is a normal thing to feel. But you have served the Village well in all of your years. Take comfort in that. When the time comes, there will be no pain. It will be peaceful. And you will be remembered by the example you led.
Thank you for sharing.
Myra takes a deep breath, and raises her hand. The villagers all turn too.
Today I feel nervous.
They wait for her to elaborate.
Tomorrow I turn eighteen, and I am to receive my assignment.
Along with several other of your classmates. Continue, Myra.
I hope it is a good assignment. But I feel as though I do not have the necessary skills for any of them.
I can assure you, Myra, we all felt that way before our eighteenth birthdays. But I can also assure you that the Council is confident in the assignment it has given you.
Do you not have faith in the Council’s decision?
No. I do.
She lingers, and Vic continues to make eye contact with her.
But there was the one selection that failed.
Which was an anomaly. Trust in the Council, Myra.
Thank you for sharing.
Back to the flames.
INT. WAITING ROOM - DAY
A nondescript room. Myra sits in one of many chairs staring at wall ahead.
There are others Myra’s age in the rows of chairs, all waiting. One girl, we’ll know her as STEPH, turns to her. Eighteen. Wistful.
This takes Myra moment to register. She breaks from her trance and turns to Steph.
Just saying hello.
Myra turns back without saying anything.
We know each other from class.
What do you think you’ll get?
Oh. I... I don’t know.
A FEMALE ASSISTANT and pull down the blinds on the windows, then starts up a projector from the back of the room.
It rolls, and they watch as words appear on the wall: “A Message from the Village Council”.
Blackness becomes New York City, Times Square on a busy summer day. Then Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Shopping malls. Smartphones. Reality TV. Video games. Massive protests in the streets.
Once, there was chaos.
And then, a nuclear mushroom cloud.
Then came the world’s imminent destruction.
We are all that is left.
Faded footage of seven smiling men in prototype versions of the uniforms they now wear. They shake hands.
Today, we have built a prosperous community.
Several smiling eighteen year olds stand outside of the Village Hall in their gray uniforms.
And it begins with you.
Brief shots of the different village industries; fishing, farming, hunting, food service, education, military, recreation and government.
Each of you have been carefully selected for a task within the structure of our village. Unlike our ancestors, who sought chaos and destruction-
Shots of war. Of hunger. Of poverty.
Your career will ensure peace and safety today, tomorrow, forever.
The lights come up. Steph smiles at Myra. A MALE ASSISTANT emerges from a plain wooden door.
At the sound of her own name, Myra stands up. He sees her, and smiles.
Myra takes her knapsack from her chair. Steph smiles at her.
Myra nods, and follows the page into the hallway.
INT. OFFICE - DAY
The assistant leads her into a plain office and closes the door behind her.
THE CHIEF COUNCILMAN (33) sits behind a desk. Handsome, confident. He gestures for her to sit down. Behind him are several cardboard boxes filled with small envelopes.
Against the wall is a shelf filled with books; from the titles, Myra recognizes volumes about the laws and history of their village.
How was move out?
It was well.
Glad to hear it. Myra, the Council has carefully studied the results of your test.
CHIEF COUNCILMAN (CONT’D)
We have decided to make you a fisherman.
Myra smiles. The Chief Councilman takes an envelope out of one of the boxes and hands it to her.
CHIEF COUNCILMAN (CONT’D)
Your keys for your new lodging and instructions for tomorrow are in here.
He stands up and shakes her hand.
CHIEF COUNCILMAN (CONT’D)
Do you have any questions?
The next three days will be your training period. Arrive at the docks tomorrow morning no later than seven. Introduce yourself to Jason. He will have further instructions.
Thank you, Myra.
He shakes her hand and leads her out.
INT. PAVILION - DAY
Myra waits in line for food inside of open pavilion. In the distance, waves crash on the beach.
Myra looks ahead at the counter, trying to see what is served; salmon, rice, and asparagus.
Myra feels a hand on her shoulder. She turns around. It takes a moment to place CARSON, now twenty, because of his striking good looks. He wears the same white outfit as Vic’s.
It’s been so long. You-
Carson gives an embarrassed smile.
How are you?
I’m well. I just received my assignment.
He pauses for a moment, and looks away.
How do you feel about it?
It doesn’t matter what I feel. The Council knows what’s best.
Carson nods. He continues to look at his old friend, unsure of what to say. By this time, they are being served their food. A FOOD SERVICE WORKER (20s) hands them their plates, and a small bag of tea leaves.
FOOD SERVICE WORKER
It’s mint this week.
Myra automatically puts her tea in her knapsack, Carson takes his with a grimace.
FOOD SERVICE WORKER (CONT’D)
Enjoy your lunch.
They stand at the edge of the counter, in front of the various tables. She has begun to scan for open ta bles.
Do you want to sit with me?
She nods. He makes a beeline for an open table. They sit. Both begin to pick at their food.
Are you excited, at least?
What do you mean?
To be starting work?
Myra stares blankly at him.
I- never mind.
They continue to eat. Myra looks around them, at all of the people eating, at the waves crashing in the distance.
I remember when I heard about your selection as a guard. I was so- I wish I could have congratulated you.
It’s good. It’s very good.
It’s such an important responsibility.
As he looks at her, his eyebrows are raised and his eyes are wide.
Do you think I will be a good fisherman?
Of course. Y
He smiles at her.
What are you going to do with the rest of your day?
I was going walk down to the recreation center and get my exercise hours in, then find my new lodging and make sure I get a good night’s sleep so I make a good impression tomorrow.
That sounds nice.
INT. PAVILION - LATER
They’re finishing up their food. They laugh and smile as they talk.
Myra, I need to get going.
He stands up, placing the slightest touch on her shoulder.
This was really nice.
He takes his plate and stands up, lingering.
Enjoy your day.
He waves to her. Myra returns it with a smile.
I’ll be seeing you.
INT. MYRA’S LODGING - DAY
Myra wakes up, sits up on her bed and rubs her eyes. From the tiny window, she can see that the sky is still pink.
She is in a simple, ten square foot room with a bed, desk, wardrobe, and toilet, along with a cupboard and small stove. She stands up and takes her day clothes out of her wardrobe.
She takes a deep breath as she looks out the window. Past the horizon, she can see the waves of the beach. She grabs her knapsack from the hook beside her desk and exits out the front door.
EXT. VILLAGE SQUARE - DAY
Myra walks through a paved dirt road in a small village square, of squat gray buildings. She passes a longer, taller building with wide windows. “VILLAGE HALL” is engraved above the double doors.
The faces of seven people are printed on the walls. We recognize the Chief Councilman in the center.
People walk through the streets in their identical haircuts and outfits, knapsacks slung across their shoulders, ready to start their days.
EXT. DOCKS - DAY
Myra approaches a row of wooden picnic tables where she sees several others in waterproof boots, hats, and life vests loading canoes with the necessary supplies. Others help them by unloading a small shed.
Knowing that she is in the right place, Myra does her best confident walk towards them. She notices JASON (30), in a specially marked hat, observing all of them.
She notices a young woman away from the rest of the fishermen as she puts on her life vest and hat. Soon, we’ll know her as EMILY. Twenty years old, the standard haircut fits her awkwardly.
As she approaches the picnic table, they have all begun to notice her. Jason turns around and sees her.
You must be Myra.
She nods. He extends his hand. They shake.
My name is Jason. I am the head fisherman. It is very good to meet you.
You as well.
How are you this morning?
I have been looking forward to your joining us. As you know, we do important work by providing our citizens with sustainable nutrition.
He turns towards the rest of the fishermen.
Everyone, come meet Myra.
The fishermen approach them. All in their twenties and thirties. They introduce themselves.
Lastly, Myra turns to the young woman who was getting ready away from the rest of the fisherman.
Emily manages and extends her hand. Myra takes it, and they shake.
Myra is our newest fisherman. She just received her assignment yesterday. Do your best to all welcome her.
They all nod.
You all an go about your business. Emily, stay here.
Emily nods. She and Myra watch Jason for further instructions.
As you were in her place not long ago, I’m sure you can speak to the importance of our profession.
Emily nods in agreement.
It’s nice to meet you, Myra. I’m looking forward to working together.
Can you get her supplies from the shed, please?
Emily nods and walks away in order to follow Jason’s instructions. Jason turns back to Myra.
As you were told by the Chief Councilman yesterday, the next two weeks will be your training period. Because of this, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You are here to learn.
I’ve never been on a boat before.
In response to this, Jason laughs, but it’s a forced, uncomfortable one.
You’ll soon get used to it.
Emily returns, carrying Myra’s belongings in her arms. She sets them down on the nearby picnic table.
In the afternoon, we will have our water safety training. It will be fairly simple.
He notices Myra’s seemingly concerned face.
Not to worry, Myra. No one has ever been lost at sea. It’s merely standard.
He smiles at the two of them.
I’m going to see how everyone else is doing. Emily, will you please take her out on boat three this morning and show her what to do?
Emily stares back at him. She knows she doesn’t have another option.
He nods, and again smiles to the two of them and goes off to check the other fishermen, who have already begun to head out in their boats.
Meanwhile, Myra has begun getting ready.
Where should I leave my shoes?
There ought to be a space for you in the shed. We’ll come back here for lunch and then go back out again until sundown. It’s easy. You’ll learn in no time.
Myra nods. Emily waits as Myra finishes getting ready for a day out on the boats. However, she has paused for a moment to stare out at the sun still rising in the horizon.
Emily turns to look too.
Beautiful, isn’t it?
Myra looks back at her. Genuine confusion in her eyes.
Beauti- never mind.
By this time, Myra is fully dressed and holds her day shoes.
Come on. I’ll show you where to put your shoes. Our rods and nets are already in the boat.
Myra nods, and follows her. As they walk towards the shed, Emily regards Myra with an interest, a curiosity.
EXT. THE OCEAN - DAY
Later in the morning. Myra and Emily sit out on a boat with several other fishing boats in the immediate vicinity.
Myra has laid out a fishing net and the two of them are quietly waiting as their boat sits on the ocean. As she holds onto the net, she watches the clouds.
Emily notices that she stares. Myra gestures up at the cloud.
That one almost looks like a fish.
Emily laughs. Myra continues to point up at the cloud.
See, that’s the head and the tail...
Yeah, I see it.
They both turn their attention back to the net. Myra watches it, submerged under the water, intently.
How long does it usually take for them to come?
It depends on how much they feel like cooperating with you. They’re not just going to walk right into their slaughter.
Emily stares at her blankly.
There’s a slight smirk in her face.
They’ll come. Just give them time.
They continue to sit on the boat in silence. Suddenly, the net begins to shake.
Emily notices, and her eyes widen. She leans closer to Myra and grabs one end of the fishing net.
Grab the other end!
Myra nods and hastily follows her instructions.
That’s good! Now pull!
She nods. They pull the net, now filled with fish, over onto the boat. They flop up and down, trying to grasp their last bits of air.
I did it.
Emily smiles vaguely. Myra looks over, and sees Jason with another fisherman. She tries to see if they were paying attention, but they intently focused on their own nets.
Myra shrugs it off and looks back to her own boat and their new pile of fish.
In the meanwhile, Emily has opened a rectangular chest filled with a clear liquid.
Help me put the fish in here, will you?
Emily nods. Myra gestures to the chest.
What does this do?
It kills and sterilizes them. Then we take them to the pavilion and they store them and put them into our meals.
Yes, I know.
Emily manages a smile. From further out, she sees Emily and Jason exchange a non verbal signal. Myra puts the last of the fish into the chest.
Emily takes her paddle and gestures to Myra back towards the docks.
What are we doing?
Breaking for lunch.
EXT. DOCKS - DAY
Myra and Emily both step off their boat, each carrying the chest.
It’s heavy, so be careful.
Jason notices the two of them. He takes the chest and places it alongside several others along the end picnic table.
How was your first morning out on the water?
It was wonderful.
I’m so glad to hear it.
Myra gestures over towards the row of chests.
What do we do with the fish once they’ve been caught?
We process them at the end of the day. Don’t you worry about that just yet.
All of the fishermen begin to gather around Jason.
Great work this morning, everyone. A few things to share. We have met our goal number for the eighth straight week in a row, and we believe our newest employee will help us uphold the high regard in which the rest of the village views us.
They all turn to Myra and smile at her.
Now, who’s hungry?
The fisherman all sit down and relax. One approaches the shed and returns with a large bottle of sunscreen so that they can all reapply.
Emily leans over to Myra.
One of the nice things about the job is that they bring us our food here, so we don’t have to walk all the way back to the pavilion.
Emily gestures over to the end picnic table.
Let’s sit together.
EXT. DOCKS - LATER
Emily and Myra each eat plates of food; this time rice, beef, and broccoli and paper cartons filled with milk.
Emily is staring at the food service girl who has begun to walk away. Myra recognizes her as Steph, from when she received her assignment.
Emily waves, and Steph manages a wave back as she joins the other food service workers. She shoots one toward Myra as well. Emily notices Myra staring at her and manages a smile.
What are your plans for after work today, Myra?
Myra raises his eyebrows, obviously taken aback by the question.
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe go to the recreation center. Or to the bonfire.
The recreation center sounds nice. Why don’t we go together after dinner?
We don’t have to if you don’t want to.
Myra looks back at Emily, trying to decide how to respond.
No, I need to stay caught up with my weekly hours. I was falling behind because of schoolwork, of course. But now that it’s done I don’t have much of an excuse.
Do you miss school?
Somewhat. This is certainly a change, but I’m sure I will be used to working very soon.
Emily nods, sensing Myra’s discomfort.
I hope I’m not being too forward with you.
No. You’re not.
Myra again looks out at the horizon. She looks at the other fishermen. At the other end of the picnic tables, Jason chats with another casually, and the rest mind their own business.
By this time, they have begun to finish up their food. The other fishermen have as well, and they have deposited their plates and silverware in a tub filled with soapy water.
Myra and Emily approach the tub and Myra gives Emily a look.
Food service will come to collect it.
Myra nods and they both put their plates and silverware into the other tub.
Myra nods. They move towards the boats.
INT. RECREATION CENTER - NIGHT
Emily and Myra both wear outfits of standard gray, but they wear tennis shoes, cotton shorts, shirts and their hair tied into ponytails.
They are separated by a glass wall, each in their own private room.
There are a few other rooms on either side of them, each separated by their own glass wall. The villagers hold racquets and round balls that they hit against the wall.
Emily is focused on hitting her ball. The ball hasn’t touched the floor in a while, and beads of sweat hang over her forehead.
Myra’s performance in her own court is less impressive, but she still managed to break a sweat.
Emily’s rally finally breaks and she manages to take a breath, making eye contact with Myra. They both nod at each other.
INT. LOCKER ROOM - NIGHT
A neat, sterile locker room that is still fairly busy. Myra and Emily both change back into their day clothes, discarding their sweaty athletic clothes into a laundry chute and taking their knapsacks from their lockers.
Shall we go to the bonfire now? They’re probably just about setting up.
Emily opens her mouth to speak, but says nothing. Her face is tight.
What is it?
Just come with me.