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eastern european setting short script

by Jyva



I was born on June 2nd, 1922.

PURE WHITE. FADE IN: revealing the whiteness as snowflakes, gently falling down...

To the city. A cold place, with gray buildings and few people out on the streets. The snow coats the roofs and cobbles and pavement.



In 1950, I was... twenty-eight

years old - no, twenty-seven at

this time.

STEFAN, younger than he sounds as he's speaking. He is bundled in dilapidated-looking yet warm clothing; most notably a long coat that seems just slightly too large for him, almost as battered as its wearer looks.


At this time, the war between us

and Vserov had not happened yet,

but it was inevitable. Everybody in

the country could feel it coming,

you know... a lot of mistrust.

MISTRUST, reflected in the eyes of everyone the young Stefan passes as he makes his way down the road. People keep to themselves, huddled and bent over in the cold. Mouths are curled into thin, bitter lines. Hardship and resentment.


People did not want to talk you if

they did not know you, because

anyone could be a Vserov spy. Even

your neighbour that you know for

many years could have defected to

keep himself safe. I saw people I

knew that had been good friends,

and then once the kidnappings

happen, everyone keeps to

themselves. And then, if you found

someone that you knew was a spy,

you could not report them to the

government. Because the phones were

all tapped, you know? And the

Mislovy government was weak. They

were falling apart. We had

politcija, but they were too thin

and many were corrupt so you could

not trust them.

A GUNSHOT punctuates the air.


So... people dealt with the spies


There is distant shouting; sounds of someone being SHOVED, furniture being knocked over, wooden walls taking an impact.

On the street, some people raise their heads or walk faster, but none come over to help or investigate. THIS IS AN EVERYDAY OCCURRENCE NOW.

Stefan, too, DOES NOT INTERFERE. HE ONLY WATCHES as three men in civilian clothing haul another out of a doorway. The discovered traitor sports a bloodied lip, a broken nose, and a black eye. Stefan walks on.


And it was hard. You know? It was

hard. Especially since I was not

born in Mislovy. So people were

more suspicious of me. Some days, I

remember thinking that I just

wanted it to happen, I wanted the

war to hurry up. The whole country

simply waiting to be annexed. I

wanted it to hurry up so we go into

Vserov and then maybe things can go

back to normal. I knew it would

still be violent, and many people

would be hurt, you know, as it

happened. But it would be better.

So we can have more food again and

I can find a job. But that was

dangerous to think.


 Stefan arrives at the city centre: a plaza far too large for the sparse amount of stalls that still weather the cold in it. There is a sizeable amount of people here, however, and to Stefan that means more danger. He enters the marketplace.


Because I knew of some people that

thought the same way as me, but

they act on these thoughts. They

did not defect and help Vserov -

well, some did, but - these ones,

they go to the government, the city

council, they plead for us to

accept Vserov influence and let

Mislovy be absorbed into their

territory without a fight. So that

we have the food and the water is

not poisoned and we can live again.

But they were treated the same as

the spies and defectors that got

caught, so everyone tries to behave

the right way. Try not to stand

out, show that you support our

country, that you do not want

Vserov to take over even if that

means going hungry. You had to be a

patriot. And anyone who was not a

patriot was, ah... ostracised.

Until somebody decides they are

less than this, that - that they

were a bad guy and then, you

know... dealed with them.

Stefan makes his way through the marketplace. Some people recognize him, and this is seen through them briefly making eye contact, but only briefly. Everyone KEEPS TO THEMSELVES. 

Stefan stops at a stall, and again, the stall owner, POLINA, meets his gaze, but she quickly lowers her eyes, as does Stefan.

Unready to speak just yet, Stefan stops and makes a pretense of checking his coat for holes. Polina does something similar, rearranging her wares. But once she is sure Stefan is not looking at her, she takes another quick glance at his face. She is concerned about how he is doing. THEY KNEW EACH OTHER, ONCE.






Zdravo, Polina.


How are you doing?


Good, good.


Valerija giving you much trouble?

Stefan has to take a second to remember.


Oh, no, we're doing okay.


Still having trouble with water?



What? No-

--He LAUGHS NERVOUSLY, pointing upwards at the snowflakes still drifting down.


We have-


- No, I meant-


- Snow, we can just-


- Warm water.


- Melt - oh.

Stefan scratches the back of his head, and then an itchy spot on his scruffy facial hair. He STRUGGLES to get his thoughts in order.


No, we don't.

Polina opens her mouth to speak. Stefan quickly stops her.


No, no, no - it is fine. Keep your

water. We'll live.

A LONG PAUSE. They both take the moment to breathe.


So, you want...

She gestures towards her wares. FOOD. It's all wrapped up in brown, slightly dirty paper bags to protect it from the bitter cold, but there are words carved into the wood beneath it. BREAD. FISH. POTATOES. CHICKEN AND BEEF. Stefan's gaze lingers on the last two.


Bread. Please.

Polina LOOKS UP AT HIM QUESTIONINGLY. Stefan silently holds up two fingers, she brings up two loaves of bread in a bag, and money is exchanged without a word. Stefan produces an OLD, ROUGH-SEWN BURLAP SACK from inside his coat. He HIDES the bread inside his sack, and, JUST AS QUICKLY AS IT APPEARED, the sack is hidden again, out of sight from opportunistic thieves.


(Already making his leave)



(Calling after him)

Stay safe, Stefan.

Stefan walks away.



Stefan leaves the way he came, out of the marketplace, back over the ice-coated cobbles.



Mislovy. 1950. Very cold, very

hungry place. Vserov is about to

invade and everyone is scared.

He arrives at his home, a cold grey apartment. Stefan trudges up two flights of stairs and stops at the second door on the second floor.



Everything is... dangerous. Not

safe. You can not trust your

neighbours and there is fighting

every day.

From a distance, we see Stefan fumbling with his keys on one hand, the other still protectively holding onto his sack of food under his coat, shooting furtive glances to the side. He finally finds the right key, gets it in the keyhole, opens the door, and--



A SUDDEN BLAST of WARMTH and FRIENDSHIP on this freezing day. For a fraction of a second, we see people inside the apartment, jumping out from sofas, raising their hands, throwing confetti, one running at him with a cake, before--

Stefan reflexively SLAMS the door shut and the sound is cut off.

He stares at the wood for a few seconds, processing and collecting himself. He's too far away to read his face, but we see him take a deep breath and heavily exhale it, shoulders rising and falling. Sudden fear gives way to the dawning of a happy realisation. He tilts his head up to the snow-white sky for a moment, as if giving thanks to a higher power. Then he realises he's dropped his food sack in his shock and picks it up. He reaches for the door handle -- but it OPENS BEFORE HIS FINGERS TOUCH IT. There is laughter and a woman comes out. Her name is VALERIJA.


Stefan, come on!

Valerija embraces him and grabs him by the hands. Stefan allows himself to be pulled in and the door closes behind him.



...It was the best time of my life.

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User avatar
153 Reviews

Points: 2501
Reviews: 153

Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:57 pm
4revgreen wrote a review...

Hey, Che here for a quick review!

This has been floating around in the green room for a while so Ii figured it deserved another review! I must warn you though, I'm not used to reading scripts so I can't give you a thorough and detailed review but I can try my best!

your neighbour that you know for many years

I'm not sure if this is just the way your characters speak, but it should be "that you had known" ignore me if they intentionally speak that way!

I saw people I

knew that had been good friends,

and then once the kidnappings

happen, everyone keeps to


This sentence doesn't really make sense. I don't know how to explain it or what to suggest but it just doesn't.

dealed with them.

It should be "dealt"

I get the impression that this is the beginning of something longer, as like Kostia said below it doesn't seem finished yet. The script formatting seemed perfect to me.

I am intrigued though. I hope you write more of this one day and complete it. I could really picture it as a film as I read through it!

Keep writing!

Regards, Che :-)

User avatar
92 Reviews

Points: 3541
Reviews: 92

Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:19 pm
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kostia wrote a review...

Hello there Jyva

I am here to give you a review on your script.

This captured my attention since I don't often see scripts around so I thought let's give it a read!

My general impression of this was that it is not completed yet and it is just the beggining of a script. It doesn't say much alone but if you continue it and make it into a whole script I think it has some potential. I like the atmosphere you present and the feeling of it. You have some pretty good ideas that need some further work.

First of all if I was you I would back off in the monologue a bit and try to present most of what you mentioned in it with dialogue and character interaction throughout the script. Moreover the monologue tends to be very repitetive. I feel like some parts of it need to be entirely deleted from the script, like for instance:

"Everything is... dangerous. Not

safe. You can not trust your

neighbours and there is fighting

every day."

I think this is not needed since you mentioned all that a couple times before.

Moreover I would suggest to make the wording style more artistic and philosophical in the monologue and remember that in this case less is more! You can say what needs to be said in one or two sentences rather than a whole paragraph.

Other than that I would like more of the dialogue element in this. The brief parts where you made an actual dialogue between polina and your protagonist was very well structured and it came off natural and smooth. I suggest you use more dialogue when editing this since it was almost the only part I scincerely enjoyed and you seem to have a natural talent for it.

I liked the ending and the contradiction between the emotionally closed and suspicious people vs the warmth of a friendly enviroment and the element of surprise. Lovely ending.

I really hope you ll work on this a bit since I would love to meet the characters better and get familiarised with them. It is a great topic and I love war related themes. Actually writing one myself!

I would like to read the edited version as well as the rest of it if you decide to write more on this subject.

Good luck and happy writing!

Best regards


I communicate much better on paper than I do when I open my mouth.
— Aaron Sorkin