Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
NOTE: Sister Brookes is a horror/drama television series I am writing. I have uploaded here the cold open and first scene of the pilot episode, "Angels". Sister Brookes is a complex mystery set in various time periods (1944, 1953 and 2017) dealing with the a group of Catholic nuns that help run a cathedral in England in the 1940s during WW2. Little did they know that when Sister Christine Brookes is hired on to fill a vacancy, their worst nightmares will come to life in this thrilling television series.
This pilot episode will be rated MA for mature language and violence.
LOCATION: ST. AVERY’S ASSISTED LIVING CENTER, LOBBY
MERRILL (OFF CAMERA):
Mr. Barker? Mr. Barker, can you hear me?
Camera opens on an uncomfortable close-up of PAUL BARKER’S (91) eye. Throughout the next few moments, the camera will zoom back to reveal PAUL, an elderly, frail man in a wheelchair with an oxygen tube looped around his ears and under his nose. His gaze is distant and glossed over. He is dressed in an open-collared shirt with food stains near the top. The camera, though mounted on a tripod, will be obviously a homemade quality footage. PAUL has staggered breathing, as if every breath might be his last. There is a MALE NURSE standing to the side of him, his hand resting upon the handle of PAUL’s wheelchair.
MERRILL (CONT’D, OFF CAMERA)
Mr. Barker, my name is Merrill Jones. We spoke on the phone a few days ago. It’s our pleasure to finally meet you.
By this point, the camera has zoomed out enough to include MERRILL JONES (34) in the shot. MERRILL is a handsome man, wearing jeans and a white shirt and tie. He has a distinctive New England accent and a friendly voice. He is trying to gauge how much PAUL is understanding.
As I told you over the phone, I am a film maker. In specific, I direct documentaries. I’ve arranged this interview to see if I can get some more insight on someone from your past, Mr. Barker, someone you worked with at St. Magnus Cathedral in England for just over a year and a half in the 40s.
PAUL’s eyes widen at the mention of St. Magnus and he instantly seems more awake and cognitive.
I am looking for anything you might be able to tell me about a woman named Christine Brookes.
PAUL’s voice is gruff and curt for someone as frail as he is. MERRILL seems momentarily stunned at the utterance and looks at his CREW off-camera. MERRILL turns back to PAUL.
No? You mean you don’t want to continue with the interview?
I mean I don’t want to talk about that woman.
And why is that?
PAUL is silent for a few moments and plays with a piece of fabric from his shirt in his hands while he mulls this question over.
I have not heard that woman’s name in half a century. And the world is all the more better for it.
Sir, I know that you worked with Christine Brookes at the cathedral from 1953 to 1954. I know that in that time—
You don’t know anything her.
MERRILL seems taken aback.
The devil himself could not even kill that woman. The more you think about her, the faster she comes. The more you speak about her, she will hear you.
MERRILL looks back at his crew, holding a hint of a smile back.
Mr. Barker, Christine Brookes has been dead for over sixty years.
That’s exactly what she wanted you to think.
The camera now cuts to show the entirety of MERRILL’S CREW, which consists of MERRILL, CHAD, WILEY and SHAUN. Each of them are focused on Paul unflinchingly. We now see the scene through Paul’s point of view.
In the back of the lobby, one of the overheard lights flicker once, twice and then burns out. None of the CREW take any notice, neither any of the STAFF. But PAUL notices and he grips onto his armrest tighter.
Who was Ms. Brookes to you? A friend? A co-worker? A lover?
No. No. No!
PAUL begins to sweat and he shakes his head to either side, avoiding looking past the CREW. More lights begin to flicker and turn out. The STAFF and CREW are still oblivious.
That woman was not human. She was not a living soul. She had none. She was the devil in every way possible. She—
PAUL makes the mistake of looking up and SISTER CHRISTINE BROOKES is standing at the back of the room. She is terrifying. Her face is pale, she is clothed in black robes from the Church and her eyes are bloodshot. Her hands are caked in dried blood. She slowly, one step at a time, approaches PAUL and the CREW, her eyes locked with PAUL’s. Her presence is horrifying.
PAUL (CON’D, DIRECTED TO CHRISTINE)
You get AWAY FROM ME!
PAUL’s sudden exclamation frightens the CREW and all of them swivel around in their seats to see at whom PAUL is yelling. The MALE NURSE attempts to calm the old man, but Paul is inconsolable.
That bitch, that murdering bitch! I know what you’ve done! I know EXACTLY what you are!
SISTER BROOKES continues to approach the group, who still cannot see her. She seems to exist only in PAUL’s mind. A sudden smile crosses her lips and she stops right behind MERRILL. PAUL goes berserk and begins to exhibit signs of a seizure, his muscles spasming and veins in his head and neck enlarged. The MALE NURSE tries to calm him down, but there is no controlling him now.
I—Mr. Barker, are you alright? What… what’s going on? Is it—
MERILL looks behind him, right at Sister Brookes, but he still cannot see her. He has no idea what has triggered this seizure. PAUL continues to mumble incoherent words and the MALE NURSE turns to the CREW.
This interview is over. I need you all to leave. Now!
PAUL is rushed out of the lobby and down the hall, out of sight. When the doors close once again, the camera turns to the CREW and the lights which had been previously burnt out were now on, and SISTER BROOKES has vanished. The CREW, MERRILL included, looks completely dumbfounded at each other. After a moment,
LOCATION: Saint Peter’s Sanctuary of Sisters
CHRISTINE BROOKES is introduced as a young, very pretty nun of the Catholic Church. She has pale skin and smoky gray eyes. She is young, no more than 20 or 21, but no one really knows how old she is exactly. It is an overcast day, uncomfortably cold. She walks down a cobblestone path, gripping a very used Bible in her hands. She walks with a purpose, directly towards a dark grove of trees right outside of the convent. When she finds herself alone, away from the other sisters, she sits down on a rock bench and stares into the forest. There is a very unsettling air about the forest and the way Sister Brookes is sitting makes it seem like there is something extremely troubling on her mind. She opens the Bible and begins to read aloud to herself.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
She stops for a moment and places her hand on the page in the Bible. She hears some movement in the woods and instantly tenses up. The camera pans over the forest, which is dark and dense, impossible to see through. Sister Brookes slowly reaches for the cross necklace hanging around her neck and grips it in a white knuckle grip. A beat and then SISTER MARCY, a young and impulsive nun just like SISTER BROOKES, scares SISTER BROOKES by placing her hand on her shoulder and shaking her. SISTER MARCY is 19 and has long blonde hair, pointed-rim glasses and a toothy smile.
Boo! Did I scare you?
Oh my--Sister, are you serious? Don't do that! Why did you follow me out here?
SISTER BROOKES has dropped her Bible out of fright. She picks it up off the ground and brushes off the pages.
I saw you come out here all by yourself. I thought, I'd better make sure you aren't planning on running away before leaving tomorrow!
I'm not running away. I was trying to read. Now if you don't mind…
What? Are you scared to leave all this?
Now, why would I be scared?
Oh, I don't know. (jokingly) The war? Nazis trying to invade. (a beat, she sees that Sister Brookes doesn't find it very funny) Oh, come on! A new environment, new people, a new job. There's always plenty to be afraid of.
What about ghosts? Everyone says it's haunted.
You're a liar, Sister Marcy. I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid of anything. Now please can I finish my readings in peace? Alone?
Look, I was only trying to see if you were okay. The other sisters have been talking about you. They're worried. I'm worried. I mean, we all know what happened last time you tried to leave and how well that went. You don't have to be so standoffish, you know. We want to help. That's all any of us ever want to do us help you.
A beat of silence as SISTER BROOKES stares at SISTER MARCY. She slams her Bible closed.
Excuse me? Standoffish?You know that I came out here to be alone, right, yet you followed me. You saw me trying to read, yet you interrupted me. I'm not the one that's being rude here, Sister. I don't need your help. I don't need anyone's goddamn help.
Sister! Watch your language! Fine. Whatever. Enjoy your last afternoon here alone. Don't bother coming to find me later when you realize you are too afraid to leave.
I won't plan on it.
SISTER BROOKES watches SISTER MARCY storm off back to the east wing of the convent. She closes her Bible and hunches over, covering her eyes with her fingers. There is silence for a moment and then she begins to weep. She takes off her cross necklace and looks at it, rubbing it between her fingers. She glances back up at the forest and closes her eyes.
(whispers a prayer, crossing her forehead)
In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost, please Lord God above, protect me