EXT. HILL - NIGHT (December 30th, 2001)
On top of a snow-covered hill surrounded by forest, just before midnight, NOAH, 17, and ANNIE, 17, huddle together to fight off the wintry chill. Annie's pale cheeks are flushed red, a contrast to Noah's dark complexion.
(Annie squirms to get comfortable)
Annie gazes out at the forest.
Do you ever feel like there's something bigger going on, and that you should be a part of it? Or that you're about to be, but you're not, so the world doesn't see that you're there?
I used to. Before I met you.
I hope that maybe I can help make that feeling go away. You know I can see you.
Annie shifts to be closer to Noah, while Noah puts his arm around Annie.
EXT. FOREST - NIGHT
Annie and Noah are walking through a forest, Noah's arm is around Annie. The edge of the forest opens into a stretch of snowy land. There is a road on the other side of the land, and a suburb of houses with twinkling lights.
Are you going to be okay to walk home by yourself?
Yeah. It's good exercise, right?
They both laugh.
What about you? Are you okay?
I'll be a lot warmer once I'm home, but I can manage until then.
They linger together.
Okay. I'll see you at the library tomorrow?
Try not to freeze out there.
Noah starts to leave, but Annie grabs his wrist to stop him. She places a gentle kiss to the corner of his mouth.
The library. Tomorrow. I'll be there.
Annie walks alone through the snow-laden forest, her cheeks flushed. The kiss hadn’t been planned, it had been impulsive.
She pauses. Looks back in the direction where she’d left Noah. She lingers. Finally, she moves forward again, reluctant, with a sigh that sends breath clouding from her mouth.
THE STRANGER, 30s, dressed in dark winter clothes and ski goggles, follows behind her. The sound of boots crunching alerts Annie and she turns, but the Stranger lunges forward and grabs her.
Annie cries out as the Stranger’s arm loops around her neck. He pulls out a syringe filled with clear liquid.
She elbows him hard in the ribs. Startled, the Stranger’s grip slacks and Annie stomps onto his foot. She breaks free of his grasp and start running through the trees.
Boots thudding follows behind her. Annie sprints blindly through the trees.
The Stranger catches up to Annie and tackles her to the ground.
Annie turns onto her back beneath him, breathing hard. He holds out the syringe and she grabs his arm, fighting against him to push it away.
He pries one of her arms away and pins it to the ground. The syringe dips closer to Annie’s neck and she tries to kick him, misses.
The Stranger leans on the arm holding the syringe and Annie is unable to hold its weight. The needle slides into her neck and she cries out again.
No! No, get off- get off of me! Get the hell off!
The Stranger stands up, pocketing the syringe and watching as Annie scrambles backwards. Her hair and clothes are wet from the snow, and she visibly shivers.
Annie starts to get to her feet, never turning away from the Stranger, but stumbles and falls again. The Stranger follows her slowly, in no hurry to catch her.
Stay away- stay away… from me…
She tries to stand again but collapses into the snow.
Once she has gone limp, the Stranger pulls out a walkie talkie. He shakes it. Static hisses out.
Target is neutralised. I’m going to need the transportation ready to go. I’m in the Morriston Woods.
The radio crackles for a moment.
On my way.
How’d the sedative work?
Fast as hell. What’d the boys in the lab cook up this time?
No idea. Marron only said it’d be more potent than your average anaesthetic. Something about a stronger immune system in the Subjects. Hypothetically.
The Stranger scoffs, not pressing the button to talk into the walkie talkie.
Hypothetically. I don’t care if it turns her skin blue if this pays off.
It will. I’m pulling into the west parking lot near the sledding hill.
I’m on my way. Be there in fifteen minutes.
He puts away the walkie talkie and approaches Annie. He gathers her up into a bridal carry and grunts as he lifts her.
The Stranger carries Annie through the shadow-covered forest. Behind, the only trace of a struggle behind him are the dents in the snow.
The Stranger slowly disappears into the trees. The night falls silent again, as if nothing unusual had taken place. Not even the nocturnal creatures make any noise.
INT. DUNCAN'S HOUSE - AFTERNOON (October 8th, 2002)
Inside a dimly-lit house, DUNCAN, a washed up private investigator, 42, sleeps sitting up on a worn and faded brown sofa.
A loud knock startles Duncan awake and sitting upright. He sighs and scrubs at his face, slumping back against the sofa.
The knock comes again, this time quicker and louder. Duncan groans and stands up.
All right, all right, relax. I'm coming.
Duncan goes to his front door and opens it. Outside, ELENA, 39, has her fist raised to knock again.
Can I help you?
Yes! It's early, I know, I'm sorry. It's just- nobody will help me! Nobody will listen and I need help because I know I can still find her-
-slow down, Miss...?
Oh! My name is Elena O'Connor. And you're Duncan, right? Duncan Sheppard. You're a private investigator.
If you're here for that, you're five years late to the party. That's not my business anymore.
Duncan starts to close the door, but Elena catches it.
No, no! Wait, I...please, the cops won't give me the time of day. I heard you used to be at the top of your field. Please. I don't know where else to go.
Say what you came for, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
Thank you! Thank you. I-I have a daughter. Her name is Annie- Anastasia, but everyone calls her Annie. She went missing, and the cops said they couldn't find anything and that they were marking it as a cold case because there was no trace of her.
Just how long ago did your daughter go missing?
How long has your daughter been gone?
Almost a year in December.
Missus O'Connor, the chances of finding your daughter-
-I know, I know. But I need to find her. Please, I just...I need to know what happened to her.
Duncan sighs again, rubbing his face and opening the door to let Elena in.
I can't believe I'm doing this.
Thank you. I promise I will pay you back, whatever you want.
I didn't say I was going to find her.
Elena steps inside, Duncan shuts the door behind her.
Come with me and catch me up on what happened.
Duncan walks away towards the kitchen. Elena follows right behind him.
What are you going to do?
You woke me up. I'm going to make coffee and regret the decision to get up in the first place.
I'm sorry I woke you up.
Don't be. Just start talking.