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Violence

The Disappearance of Annie O'Connor

by mellifera


FADE IN:

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

Noah?

NOAH

Yeah?

Annie gazes out at the forest.

ANNIE

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?

NOAH

I used to. Before I met you.

Noah pauses.

NOAH (CONT'D)

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.

ANNIE

Are you going to be okay to walk home by yourself?

NOAH

Yeah. It's good exercise, right?

They both laugh.

NOAH (CONT'D)

What about you? Are you okay?

ANNIE

I'll be a lot warmer once I'm home, but I can manage until then.

They linger together.

NOAH

Okay. I'll see you at the library tomorrow?

Annie nods.

NOAH (CONT'D)

(light-hearted)

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.

ANNIE

The library. Tomorrow. I'll be there.



CUT TO:

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.

ANNIE

Noah! Noah!

THE STRANGER

Shut up!

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.

ANNIE

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.

ANNIE

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.

THE STRANGER

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.

VOICE

(over radio)

On my way.

(pause)

VOICE (CONT'D)

How’d the sedative work?

THE STRANGER

Fast as hell. What’d the boys in the lab cook up this time?

VOICE

(over radio)

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.

THE STRANGER

Hypothetically. I don’t care if it turns her skin blue if this pays off.

VOICE

(over radio)

It will. I’m pulling into the west parking lot near the sledding hill.

THE STRANGER

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.



CROSSFADE

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.

DUNCAN

All right, all right, relax. I'm coming.

(muttering)

Damn kids.

Duncan goes to his front door and opens it. Outside, ELENA, 39, has her fist raised to knock again.

DUNCAN

(wary)

Can I help you?

ELENA

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-

DUNCAN

-slow down, Miss...?

ELENA

Oh! My name is Elena O'Connor. And you're Duncan, right? Duncan Sheppard. You're a private investigator.

DUNCAN

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.

ELENA

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.

(Beat)

Duncan sighs.

DUNCAN

Say what you came for, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

ELENA

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.

DUNCAN

Just how long ago did your daughter go missing?

Elena pauses.

DUNCAN

How long has your daughter been gone?

ELENA

Almost a year in December.

DUNCAN

Missus O'Connor, the chances of finding your daughter-

ELENA

-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.

DUNCAN

(muttering)

I can't believe I'm doing this.

ELENA

Thank you. I promise I will pay you back, whatever you want.

DUNCAN

I didn't say I was going to find her.

ELENA

I know.

Elena steps inside, Duncan shuts the door behind her.

DUNCAN

Come with me and catch me up on what happened.

Duncan walks away towards the kitchen. Elena follows right behind him.

ELENA

What are you going to do?

DUNCAN

You woke me up. I'm going to make coffee and regret the decision to get up in the first place.

ELENA

I'm sorry I woke you up.

DUNCAN

Don't be. Just start talking.


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54 Reviews


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Reviews: 54

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Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:57 pm
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chhlovebooks wrote a review...



Hello, nice work you have here. I found this piece to be pretty interesting, especially since scripts aren't something I read a lot of. Overall, I found this work to be a smooth read with no errors for the most part, although I'm not an expert when it comes to this style of writing so I may have missed something.

First off, lets get into what I liked about this- which is a lot. I found the dialogue to be a smooth and well-connected, which is good as the dialogue makes up the majority of your piece. Each character's voice is distinct and you show a lot about each one through their word choice and actions, even though the characters themselves aren't described much beyond their initial introduction. The lack of description leave a lot up to the imagination which is nice, and it also is a style that works with this sort of piece. Long, exposition and description heavy intros would make reading this a clunky and jarring endeavor, but the way you have it now is practically perfect. I also appreciate the trouble you must have gone through to format this. YWS likes to mess with how you type things, so it must have taken a while to make sure that this came out in this fashion. The way you have the dialogue in the center and leave the action and pauses off to the side really help to clarify what is going on, which is nice.

Now on to the negatives, which are mostly just nitpicks with only one or two more problematic issues. First off, I believe that some of your sentence structures could be a little more polished such as when you wrote in the beginning "The kiss hadn’t been planned, it had been impulsive." While technically nothing is wrong here grammatically, the structure is a little redundant and uses "had/n't been ____" in really close proximity, making that little bit seem repetitive. Perhaps change it a little bit? Another case of this is when you use the same descriptors- "Annie's pale cheeks are flushed red" and "her cheeks flushed." While the phrases aren't in close proximity like last time, because they are both in an intro segment, it makes the repeat a little more noticeable. Perhaps use a different word other than flushed, such as burned or blushed? This occurs once more in the sentence "Behind, the only trace of a struggle behind him are the dents in the snow." where you use behind twice.

Another thing I noticed was how at the beginning of the time skip, I had to actually go back and do the math to see exactly how long had passed as, since you opened with Annie's mother asking for help and you didn't mention the time skip until much later, I had no idea why she was going to Duncan and not to the police. I agree with the review below in that it might be better to just shift the part about her explanation why she's there and how long it has been to the beginning of the segment and shift the rest down a bit. That way, it becomes a bit clearer as to just when this is taking place. Date stamps are fine, but using them comes with having to remember what the previous date was.

Other than those little nitpicks, I found this to be an interesting read and I can't wait to see what happens to Annie next. I assume that this is a part one of two, correct? because this just screams sequel bait and let me tell you, you have me hooked. ^v^
Have a nice day!




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Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:44 am
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hello! Now, I don't really know much about writing scripts, so I'll just be commenting on things like the dialogue and characters.

Firstly, I think the dialogue in your piece sounds really natural for the most part. You've hit a good balance between realism and making it concise, as well as easy to read. Secondly, I like how you gave little hints about the plot in the conversation between the Voice and the Stranger. I felt like I could get a grasp of the Stranger's character with the way he talked, yet I saw some ambiguity in his motivations, especially with the line "I don't care if her skin turns blue if this pays off." On the surface, he seems cold and uncaring of what happens to Annie, but at the same time it makes you wonder if it's all for some greater cause, if he has a good reason to want this to "pay off". This is all really great for a mystery. I also like that Annie got to fight back a little before the drugs knocked her out; in most shows, they'd usually just have the victim go quietly.

I have a couple of comments about the scene with Duncan and Elena. The way Elena delivers the exposition seems a tad bit rushed to me. It also feels a bit awkward that she's telling him all that at the door. I feel it would make more sense for her to tell him only that her daughter is missing before he takes pity on her and lets her in to explain further.

Overall, this was a fun read, and of course, it's great that you're trying something out of your comfort zone. I hope you find my comments helpful!





I don't care what the miserable excuse is for showing the death of books, live, on screen. Men, I could understand; but books! -
— Edwin Morgan, From the Video Box 2