ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE CITY OF
“AIR DATE SEPTEMBER 25, 2012”
Loosely based on RON KOSLOW’S
original series pilot script
and the transcript of the pilot
which aired on September 25, 1987
WHAT IF THE CW RE-BOOT
WAS REALLY A RE-IMAGINING OF THE ORIGINAL SERIES?
Characters - in order of appearance
Crisis center volunteers (5)
Detective Greg Hughs
ONCE UPON A TIME
PANORAMIC VIEW MIDTOWN
The sun splashes against the skyscrapers. It’s one of those dazzling summer days...
"Once upon a time in the city of
A beautiful, chicly dressed young woman slides out of a cab
and hurries across the plaza. She is CATHERINE CHANDLER, late twenties, a
lawyer in a high-powered
INT. LAW OFFICES - RECEPTION AREA - DAY
The elevator doors open. Catherine Chandler steps out into
the offices of
(in background, on the phone)
No, he’s at lunch, sir.
(to receptionist, cheerfully)
As Catherine passes, the receptionist shakes her head in disbelief.
(in background, on telephone)
Yes, sir. Thank you.
FOLLOW as Catherine strides down a corridor blithely exchanging greetings.
Cathy, please don't forget the settlement conference at three.
I'll be there.
She pokes her head into her father’s outer office.
INT. CHARLES CHANDLER’S OFFICE - DAY
Charles Chandler, a handsome, white-haired country-club type, sits in his huge corner office, talking on the phone. He waves his daughter in as she enters through his private office door.
Hal, let me call you back.
(hangs up; to Catherine)
Hal Sherwood’s coming up from
Will you have dinner with us?
(shakes her head)
I can't. I lost a friendly wager on the Olympics to Sarabeth, and I promised to spend the evening manning the hotline at the crisis center.
That might be more entertaining than dinner with two old lawyers!
You never know! I might make a new friend.
Well, how about dinner on Saturday?
(pulls out her iPhone)
Let me check my calendar.
(keys in the appointment)
(noting she’s carrying a purse)
You just getting in?
Had a late night, had some errands to run today.
Well, it's a little late for that. I should’ve sued
you when you were five.
What’s up with you? You don't enjoy the work?
You don’t find it stimulating?
It’s fine, Dad.
I love working with you.
But the work itself?
I’ll admit it’s not very fulfilling.
I’ve been … thinking about making a change.
What kind of change?
I’m not sure yet.
But when I figure it out,
you’ll be the first to know!
Catherine smiles at her father as she heads off to her office.
A bank of battered old metal desks fills the screen, with volunteers engaged in serious conversations on phones at five of them. At the center desk sits CATHERINE, looking up at and nodding her head at JOE MAXWELL, the crisis center manager standing beside her.
Joe hands Catherine a piece of paper – we see a brief CLOSE-UP of the rules he has obviously just explained.
Catherine nods again and Joe moves off. Catherine glances at the rules then looks around uncertainly at the hubbub around her.
The phone at her desk rings and with some trepidation she picks it up. She hears a husky, half-whispering Male Voice.
(an intriguing blend of rough and smooth, very hesitant)
I … I’m not sure if this is the right place to call ….
Tell me. We’ll figure it out together.
I saw something.
Something … horrible.
I need to tell someone ….
(leaning into the phone)
Did you call the police?
Yes …. No….
I saw a crime being committed …
but I … I can’t call the police.
(after seconds of silence on the phone, with a determined face)
How can I help?
Let the police know. Someone should know ….
Give me whatever information you can.
I’ll contact the police.
Scene FADES OUT on Catherine keying information onto an iPad, nodding her head as she listens to the Male Voice.
ALLEYWAY – LATE EVENING
CATHERINE is standing beside DETECTIVE GREG HUGHS. Behind them a woman’s body lies on the ground as technicians comb the alley for clues.
You don’t know who the caller was?
The call was anonymous, and in any case,
he said he was calling from a burner phone.
Do you think the caller was involved in this?
He seemed … genuinely upset.
He told me he’d seen a man slit the woman’s throat
but by the time he got to the alley,
she was dead.
He followed the murderer.
The man got into a car and sped off.
I gave 9-1-1 the plate number.
That’ll help a lot, but ...
unless this witness comes forward to place the guy at the scene,
we may not have enough to charge him.
Can you convince the caller to come forward?
If he calls again, I mean.
I doubt it … but I’ll try.
OK, well, thank you, Ms. Chandler.
(he indicates a policeman standing nearby)
Jones here will take your statement.
Catherine turns to Jones, who hands her his cell phone. She enters her business number into it as he begins to ask her questions which we do not hear.
CRISIS CENTER – THE NEXT DAY
JOE leans against the wall, playing with a rubber band, while CATHERINE puts her purse in a drawer and sits at an empty desk.
(smiling uncertainly, a little confused)
Sarabeth told me you lost a bet,
which is why you volunteered last night.
Usually we don’t get people coming back again so soon –
particularly when they get dragged into
a police investigation their first time out.
Last night, I felt … useful.
For the first time in a long while,
what I did … mattered.
It was a good feeling.
(pushing away from the wall)
Well, whatever the reason,
we’re happy to have you.
For a big city, we never seem to have enough
volunteers for all the
troubled souls who need us.
FADE TO: MUCH LATER THAT EVENING
CATHERINE is still manning a phone at the crisis center. The lights are low. Most of the volunteers have gone home. JOE is murmuring into a phone several desks away. The phone rings and Catherine answers it.
Hello, crisis center.
How can I help?
I called last night …
(recognizing the voice)
You spoke to me.
About the … the crime you witnessed?
I wasn’t sure you would be there ….
I came back …
hoping you’d call.
(after an awkward silence, knowing she is breaking a rule)
(after a long hesitation)
My name … is Vincent.
the police are hoping you will come forward.
It may be the only way they can bring the murderer to justice.
I can’t. I’m sorry.
(sensing his deep regret; sympathetically)
The police now have leads they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
I know it’s not enough, but ….
You did more than many people would have.
Vincent … if this happens again …
(she turns over the list of rules; she’s going to break more of them)
I’m going to give you my cell number.
You can call or text me anytime.
You would do that?
I trust you.
(smiling to herself)
Believe me, it’s not something I do lightly.
I will keep your trust, Catherine.
OUTSIDE THE CRISIS CENTER – LATER THAT NIGHT
JOE turns as he is locking the door. CATHERINE obviously has just told him of her conversation with VINCENT.
You did WHAT?!
I know, I broke the rules.
But there’s something about Vincent …
You think you have a relationship with this guy?
Oh, jeez, Cathy … we aren’t the cops!
I’m aware of the dangers.
But there’s no way of knowing when he’ll call again
or if I’d be the one to answer.
And I strongly suspect he won’t confide in just anyone.
I think it’s a risk worth taking, especially if it helps solve a murder.
You are nuts, lady!
But … and it pains me to say this … I see your point.
(shakes his head, incredulous)
Let’s not make a habit of this, OK?
INT. FATHER’S CHAMBER BELOW – TWO DAYS LATER
VINCENT, his face shielded from view by the camera angle, enters a vault-like room two stories high. The walls are lined with books, floor to ceiling -- books of every description -- a vast library of the city’s cast-off books. The room is lit mostly by oil lamps, with one overhead electric fixture casting inadequate light. Sitting at an overflowing desk piled high with papers and books we find Vincent’s FATHER, hunched over an out-of-date computer screen, two wires winding their way out of the computer and up the short set of stairs behind him. Clearly someone with technical skills has brought his study into the 21st century.
Father’s face and features are finely chiseled, and somewhat in shadow. He has the appearance of a wise, sensitive man who has seen too many terrible things. He wears a cloak against the cool ambient air.
As Vincent comes in wearing a cloak with the hood up, masking his features, Father looks up, extremely upset.
You are the “anonymous witness”
the media says reported the murder of that prostitute!
(head down; reluctantly)
How could you expose yourself in that way?
To be a witness, you must have been Above.
Do you know what they’d do if they captured you up there?
So many buildings have closed circuit cameras,
it’s a miracle you haven’t been caught on film before now.
I know you believe society Above has gotten more open,
more welcoming … but there are limits, Vincent …
and you are well beyond those limits.
Even if they wouldn’t kill you, they’d study you,
hound you, make your life a misery.
Trust me, they’d make you wish you were dead.
I am aware of the dangers.
I take … precautions.
My cloak and hood keep me safe…
and I know where the cameras are.
The article said you called the information in to a crisis center.
It was the best way.
And the woman I gave the information to …
she will not reveal my name.
You told her your NAME?!
And I know hers.
You have taken leave of your senses, Vincent!
How could you risk yourself?
How could I not?
A woman was murdered while I watched.
What I saw could lead to the capture of the man who did it.
How could I keep silent?
What good will it do? You can never testify.
If you went Above, the police would incarcerate you, or worse.
Your differences are too great, even for the more tolerant society
that has developed since I left that world.
The police are not looking for me.
Catherine has told me they have found the murder weapon.
She is a lawyer.
She said they will be able to bring the man to justice
without eyewitness testimony, using
fingerprint and DNA evidence.
Well, thank heaven for that.
Vincent approaches Father and leans over his chair to kiss the top of his head. Vincent’s face is shadowed by the cowl of the cloak he is wearing. We get only a vague impression of unusual features.
Times have changed, Father.
When I was young, before all this …
(waves his hand dismissively at his computer)
it was easier to stay hidden.
The lines between Above and Below are so blurred now.
(removes his cloak and sits as he speaks, his back to the camera)
I’m thankful for that.
It allows me to feel like a part of the world Above …
even if I’m not.
And I fled it, even though I could have remained a part of it.
I understand your reasons.
You felt the world was in increasing turmoil in the early ‘70s.
War in the
The global oil crisis.
The stock market collapse.
You were wiped out financially and feared for the future.
Taking refuge here, in these tunnels,
was a radical move, but one I felt was necessary.
I realize now that was alarmist.
But the time is long past when I would willingly return.
And since you came into my life ….
CLOSE-UP of VINCENT’S face. We see him for the first time - leonine features upon a partially human face surrounded by a thick mass of red-gold hair which cascades to his shoulders. He is handsome, unusual and intimidating, all at the same time. He’s wearing an amalgam of patched cast-offs which make him look like he’d be at home at a renaissance fair. As he speaks, the camera shows him gesturing with his hands – furred, claw-tipped hands.
You felt you couldn’t.
I didn’t want to.
This is home … our home.
It needn’t be … for you.
Yes, well, I have no desire to return to that world.
For one thing, my skills, such as they are,
are hopelessly out of date.
(indicating the computer)
You could always upgrade them.
If I could get a doctorate online,
there’s no reason you couldn’t.
Education for its own sake is fine.
I use this blasted thing, of course.
But I’m too old to start over Above.
Nor do I desire to.
The discussion is closed.
And don’t think I haven’t noticed how you
got me off the topic of telling this
Catherine person your name!
CRISIS CENTER – EVENING
CATHERINE is settling at a desk as Joe approaches, a woman trailing in his wake. The woman is EDIE, a pert and perky woman about Catherine’s age whose eyes glint with mischief.
I want you to meet one of our regular volunteers.
Edie, this is Catherine Chandler.
(shaking hands with Catherine)
Sarabeth told me about you.
You should never bet against her.
That woman knows her volleyball!
Now you tell me!
But that’s one bet I’m glad I lost.
I really enjoy working here.
(rolling her eyes at Joe)
She drops in to do her time, pay her bet,
Then we’ll never see her again.
Actually … no.
That’s the reason I wanted to introduce you.
Cathy paid her bet off but she’s been coming back.
(whispering theatrically to Edie)
I think she’s a keeper.
(eying Catherine assessingly)
We’ll see, girlfriend.
It takes a lot out of you to listen to the problems
we listen to week after week.
(smiling, understanding Edie’s skepticism)
I’ll count on you to keep me on my toes then.
Oh, I will.
You can count on that!
CLOSER ANGLE – CATHERINE
She is sitting in the front row on an end seat. A grate lies just to her right.
We watch her as she listens, eyes closed, enraptured by the
music. It’s the 25th anniversary of the
INT. TUNNELS - BELOW THE BANDSHELL GRATE - NIGHT
VINCENT is standing below the grate, head turned up, eyes closed, letting the same concert music wash over him. As a boy 25 years earlier, Father had brought him to this spot to hear his first professional concert – Astor Piazzolla and his New Tango Quartet.
CATHERINE, still in her seat. But the concert is long over. The audience and musicians have dispersed. Reluctant to emerge from the spell of the music, Catherine has lingered, re-reading the program to find and download Piazzolla’s music to her phone. When she finishes and looks around, she is startled to realize she is alone. Now, as she quickly leans forward to gather her purse, the shadowy figure of a THUG looms up beside her. She lifts her head to see who it is. We see a flash of concern on her face.
(reaching for her purse)
Give it up, lady!
Reacting instinctively, Catherine stands and yanks her purse out of the thug’s reach.
They struggle. No one is around to help her.
VINCENT tensing from his vantage point Below. He can hear the shouts and scuffling very close above him. The indecision on his face lasts only a moment. He reaches up to dislodge the grate above his head.
CATHERINE and the THUG, still struggling. Catherine is obviously out of her element, unsure how to fight back, panic and hesitation making her counter-attack ineffectual. The THUG laughs at her feeble efforts, but he loses patience when Catherine finds a way to wrest her purse from him. As she turns to run away, he pulls out a thick club that had been tucked into his jeans under his shirt.
(swings the club at her head)
This is your fault, bitch!
END OF ACT ONE
The THUG’s arm is coming toward her, club close to her head. But the blow never connects. CATHERINE hears a strangled yelp and the sound of a body hitting the ground. She risks a look behind her and sees her attacker out cold, one arm lying at an odd angle. A cloaked figure stands over him. As she stops and stares in astonishment, the cloaked figure looks up at her.
Did he hurt you?
It’s the kindest, gentlest voice she’s ever heard, and one she immediately recognizes, although what she can see of his hooded face bears no resemblance to what she had imagined he looked like. Suddenly, his need for secrecy makes sense.
(gathering her wits)
N-no … I-I’m fine.
(shocked; recognizing her voice in turn)
I can’t believe it.
Where did you come from?
(waits a beat, trying to decide how much to reveal)
I heard your cries.
I came … Above.
With one hand he indicates the upended grate. Catherine’s eyes go from his face to the grate and back again. Surprise lights her eyes, but is quickly replaced by gratitude.
(shaking her head ruefully)
I know it was stupid of me to resist,
but in the moment ….
Your instincts took over.
As did mine.
They stare at each other for a long moment. Rousing himself, Vincent looks around quickly.
You cannot stay here.
It’s not safe.
If he awakens ….
(gazes up at her for another long moment)
I will be nearby.
Walk me to the edge of the park?
Catherine approaches him and slips her hand around his arm. This startles Vincent, who takes a deep breath to steady himself.
(leans her head to the right)
CATHERINE and VINCENT walk slowly together, the hood of his cloak pulled up to prevent passersby from getting a good look at him. Clearly they have been talking for some time, idling, deeply engrossed in each other. Catherine suddenly realizes they have come to the pathway that leads to the exit from the park, across the street from her apartment house. She turns to face him.
Can you … come with me?
(shakes his head)
I shouldn’t have come this far.
Your secret is safe with me.
I would never betray your trust.
I knew that from the beginning,
when you trusted me.
She reaches out to him, puts her hand on his chest and her head on his shoulder.
What can I say to you?
The tenderness of her embrace is a feeling he’s never felt before, never even dreamed of. It’s almost more than he can stand. He lays the palm of his hand on the small of her back and holds her close.
Suddenly we HEAR FOOTSTEPS AND VOICES approaching on the nearby sidewalk.
(she steps away, then turns to look at him; quickly)
Will we see each other again?
I … I don’t know ....
Tell me we will.
All right. We will.
(satisfied … for the moment)
Good! And until then …
(she pulls her iPhone out of her pocket as she backs towards the sidewalk)
I’m only a text away.
A montage of shots of CATHERINE in various locations – her law office, in a cab, at the crisis center, at her home working on a laptop. In each case she answers her iPhone. We see her say hello then smile as she hears a voice she recognizes. She pulls out her iPad and takes notes, nodding her head. Intercut these shots with shots of her one the phone with GREG HUGHS, or at a crime scene talking to a policeman, referring to her iPad notes.
We get the impression that Vincent has notified her of crimes he has witnessed – assaults, breaking and entering, armed robbery – which she either has reported to the police on his behalf or for which she has provided to the police information to help them catch the perpetrators.
From her clothing as the scenes unfold we see that the weather has changed, indicating months have passed. In the last shots, she is wearing a coat.
CRISIS CENTER –LATE EVENING
JOE is approaching the door with CATHERINE. They are the last ones to leave. His hand hovers near the light switch, but instead of turning off the light, he lowers his hand and turns to Catherine.
Got a minute?
Or do you need to get right home?
I’m all yours!
(clearly enamored of her, trying not to show it)
I should be so lucky!
Anyway, I have a proposition for you.
(at her raised eyebrow)
Hold on! It’s nothing like that!
Simpson is leaving.
It’s hard to keep good staff, since we pay next to nothing.
I know you make a heck of a lot at that law firm
and I know I’m crazy to even ask, but ….
Would you consider taking his job?
The coordinator’s job?
But I’ve only been volunteering for a few months.
You’ve got the skills. You know the routine.
You catch on quickly.
Edie tells me you’ve got the right stuff.
And except for that mystery guy who calls you
about crimes he’s seen, you do everything by the book.
So if you want it, the job’s yours.
I think I just might take it!
INT. CHARLES CHANDLER’S OFFICE - DAY
CHARLES CHANDLER is sitting at his desk, listening to CATHERINE give him what he considers bad news.
I know it seems sudden.
But I’ve been looking for a change for some time now.
When I went to the crisis center …
something just clicked.
It’s right, Dad.
I know it.
Well… if you’re sure ….
Mr. Maxwell said the coordinator job is mine if want it,
and I do.
The pay isn’t great,
but we both know that’s not an issue.
It’s work I want to do … I’m excited about doing.
(rising; coming around his desk to hug her)
Then all I can say is I wish you the best.
I know you don’t understand,
but I appreciate your support.
I love you, sweetheart.
I love you too, Daddy.
END OF ACT TWO
FAST-CUT SCENES AT THE CRISIS CENTER.
CATHERINE walking in the hall of the crisis center with JOE MAXWELL.
CATHERINE standing at a desk, handing the rules to a hotline volunteer sitting in front of a ringing phone.
CATHERINE talking on the hotline late at night.
CATHERINE still talking on the hotline early in the morning, drinking coffee as she nods, listening, and types into her iPad.
CATHERINE’S iPhone rings. She glances down at the screen and the camera sees that it’s a blocked number. She smiles and answers.
(anticipating, clearly happy)
A dark alley. VINCENT is standing in the shadow of a recessed doorway, burner phone in hand.
Catherine … it’s …
CLOSE-UP of CATHERINE on the phone.
I could tell you were calling, almost before the phone rang.
CLOSE-UP of VINCENT.
(takes a moment, considering her comment, before speaking)
I know something ...
something the police should be aware of.
CATHERINE on the phone, at her desk.
We don’t hear what Vincent is saying, but clearly he’s reporting on another crime. Catherine begins to nod, then gathers her things. As soon as she hangs up her phone, she speed-dials Hughs.
Greg? It’s Cathy.
I’ve got another one for you.
From Mystery Guy?
Come on, Greg.
You know he’s helping.
And a little mystery in life
is good for the soul!
There’s a woman who has been beaten lying in an alley.
She’s got a child with her, Greg.
We need to hurry.
CATHERINE is shutting down computers, turning off lights. She’s the last to leave. Just as she’s about to open the door to go out, she pulls her iPhone from her pocket, staring at it, obviously thinking about Vincent, wishing he would call … just to talk.
Her phone rings. She smiles.
I was hoping you’d call.
I … wasn’t sure I should.
The woman and child?
(he waits another beat before adding)
I have nothing to report.
I just ….
Wanted to talk?
(embarrassed to admit it)
And I’ve been hoping you would.
(as she’s locking the door)
Could we meet somewhere in the Park?
Near the bandshell?
(smiling; hailing a cab)
I can be there in 15 minutes!
CUT TO: BANDSHELL – NIGHT
CATHERINE approaches the bandshell. From out of the shadows, a figure in a hooded cloak joins her. She smiles and reaches for him, enveloping him in a warm hug. For a second he seems startled, but slowly raises his arms and hugs her back.
Have you been well?
Yes. And you?
There’s a quiet path ….
(indicates the direction with one arm)
As they walk, the camera follows them.
I’ve been wondering …
I knew you’d have questions eventually.
I have so many!
Maybe … if you just … told me…
something about your life?
There is much I cannot reveal.
I shouldn’t have asked.
They walk several paces together without speaking. Then, without prompting, Vincent begins. He’s made the decision to tell her about himself.
I was found one night in deep winter,
abandoned in the park, freezing, sick, hungry.
Someone brought me to the man who became my father.
I was wearing little – a diaper, a tee shirt.
There was an image of a Van Gogh painting on it.
Is that why you were named Vincent?
No one knew exactly how old I was, let alone my birthday.
So it was decided I was a year old.
The date I was found – January 12 –
is when I celebrate my birthday.
No one knows.
Nor how I was born and survived … this way.
You are … beautiful.
(astonished; stops in his tracks and stares at her)
I’ve … been called many things.
Never … that.
Well … yours is not a conventional beauty.
“The beauty that addresses itself to the eyes is only the spell of the moment;
The eye of the body is not always that of the soul.”
(realizing she’s embarrassing him; changing the subject)
Can you tell me where you live?
When I was in trouble after the concert,
you pointed to the grate when I asked where you’d come from.
(knowing he’d already revealed too much; sighing)
We call it … Below.
There are miles of tunnels beneath the city.
It’s a refuge, and we’ve made it our home.
For me … it’s the only home I will ever know.
(realizing what this confession means)
That secret must have cost you a lot to share.
Know that I’ll keep it safe.
EXT. ESTABLISHING SHOTS OF
As the sun rises and the city awakens.
INT. ISAAC STUBBS’
CATHERINE stands in a shabby loft in a rundown old building
Hello? Mr. Stubbs?
(softly, from behind)
We know you’re here.
She jumps, spins around and finds ISAAC STUBBS standing inches behind her. He is a man in his thirties, built like a fireplug with arms of coiled steel and a loveable smile.
You should always know what’s comin’ up behind you.
This time it’s good news.
(holds out his hand)
I’m Isaac, Isaac Stubbs.
So … you wanna learn to take care of yourself.
I … got into a stupid situation.
It almost turned out badly.
And you want to be prepared if anything like that
ever happens again.
Okay. Now I don’t teach none of that Asian stuff --
no Kung Fu, no egg fu yung.
so what I do teach is
mean and dirty.
Only philosophy that counts around here is
doing whatever it takes to come out alive.
You use what you got. Let me see your shoe.
He reaches down and Catherine gives him her shoe. He whips the shoe across the head of a dummy then drives the heel into its temple.
You can kill a man with a shoe.
Now, it ain’t fancy,
it ain’t pretty,
but it works –
if you got the stomach for it.
When do we start?
CATHERINE crosses the street and approaches a steam grate. She hesitates for a moment, looking at it. She smiles and walks over it.
INT. TUNNELS - VINCENT’S CHAMBER. It’s filled with cast-off items from Above and piles of books. There are massive pieces of mis-matched furniture, a brazier, a bed covered with pillows and quilts. Behind the bed is a huge arched stained glass window through which yellow light filters.
FATHER is in mid-argument with VINCENT.
You must stop this madness!
Each time you go Above,
each time you call her, you risk yourself.
Those are risks I must take!
Besides … there’s something growing between us.
It’s as if we’re connected.
Father shakes his head in exasperation.
I can feel what she’s feeling,
when she’s frightened,
when she’s happy or sad.
Vincent, your senses -- your empathic powers are quite
It’s your gift.
But don’t let your act of gallantry destroy you.
I promise, I’ll be careful.
But those moments with her …
they’re worth everything.
INT. ISAAC STUBB’S ACADEMY
This scene is a “free-for-all.” CAMERA MOVES with CATHERINE and ISAAC as they grapple with each other -- kicking and clawing their way over the mats, careening off the walls. Isaac wears heavy pads and headgear. His objective is to subdue Catherine. Catherine may use all available means to stop him from doing so. She kicks, punches, claws and uses an assortment of impromptu weapons to prevent Isaac from getting a death grip on her. Isaac keeps coming at her, taunting her, pushing her to the limit and then beyond -- to the point where it becomes pure animal survival.
INT. VINCENT’S CHAMBER
VINCENT is reading. Suddenly he looks up, startled, as he senses something beyond the tunnels. It’s Catherine.
INT. ISAAC STUBB’S ACADEMY
CATHERINE and ISAAC continue their mock battle, which is no less fierce for being a practice.
INT. VINCENT’S CHAMBER
VINCENT places one hand on his heart as he focuses on the connection he’s experiencing with Catherine. He realizes Catherine’s emotional intensity is not driven from fear but determination. He smiles and returns to his book.
INT. ISAAC STUBB’S ACADEMY
The mock battle continues. Then CATHERINE gains the upper hand.
(on the floor, raising his hand, as Catherine is about
to whack him with a bat)
She stops. She stands there, panting, with a startled look, shocked that she was capable of going that far over the edge, with such ferocity.
Was that you? Huh? Was that you!?
Catherine, gasping for breath, can only smile.
And then she starts to laugh in exhilaration.
VINCENT is washing up. We see him from behind, stripped to the waist, as he finishes rinsing his arms. His back is sculpted muscle, nearly devoid of hair. He reaches for a towel as he turns to face the camera, tossing his head to shake his hair off his neck and shoulders. As he rubs the towel over his forearms and across a well-muscled chest, we note the thick coat of hair (or is it fur?) on his forearms and pectorals, gradually thinning from elbow to shoulder and from beneath his pectorals to the waistband of his jeans.
A VOICE is heard calling out to him, and he turns to face the entrance to his chamber.
Come in, Mouse.
MOUSE enters. He is shorter than Vincent and over a decade younger, with tousled long blond hair and a sweet face. He is dressed in an old Army surplus jacket and patched jeans, wearing a thick turtleneck sweater under the jacket.
You’re going Up Top tonight.
Not to the Park.
You know about her?
(quite proud of himself)
Mouse knows lots of things.
(frowns as he mimics the older man)
When has that ever stopped…
(he claps a hand on Mouse’s shoulder)
…either of us?
They both smile, conspirators together.
EXT. CATHERINE’S APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT
INT. CATHERINE’S APARTMENT - NIGHT
CATHERINE comes into the bedroom in a nightgown and robe. She’s carrying her iPad. She sits on top of the bed. We watch as she calls up a document: a press release about the crisis center. She reads it and makes edits.
She HEARS a strange sound. She looks up and out at the balcony through the French doors, then, after a few beats, returns to her reading.
She HEARS the sound again -- a CREAKING just outside the French doors.
She slips off the bed and sets her iPad down, picking up her iPhone from the nightstand and queuing up the police emergency number. With her finger hovering above the “call” icon, she heads to the French doors. She opens one of the doors and steps out onto the balcony.
She looks down and spots a long-stemmed rose lying on the ground.
ANGLE - THE FIRE ESCAPE
Hidden in the shadows, standing in a corner of her balcony, we SEE a large form.
She shoves her phone in the pocket of her robe then rushes to him and embraces him.
I didn’t mean to frighten you. I’m sorry.
No, no, I’m so glad to see you.
Thank you for the rose.
It was foolish of me.
No! It was lovely!
Won’t you come inside?
I have to go now.
No, not yet, please.
Stay a while.
Come here, sit down.
Our phone conversations are always so short.
And those walks in the Park
have left me wishing for more time
I have something to tell you.
I’ve been taking self-defense classes.
Catherine, I felt it.
(at her confused look)
I’ve begun feeling the things
you’re feeling, when you do.
How do you mean?
(shakes his head, unable to find the words)
Just know that it’s true.
It’s as if we’re connected …
almost as if we are one.
She looks at him in wonder.
I’m … not sure I understand.
But I believe you.
And … it’s kind of wonderful.
I am connected to your world in many ways.
Facebook can be quite … interesting.
And through the Internet I’ve taken coursework
And seen sights I could never have hoped to otherwise.
But I can never truly be a part of this place.
Are you sure?
Yes … at least, for now.
I can’t think only of myself.
There are others who depend on my world for refuge, for safety.
There would be too many questions
if I suddenly appeared,
even if I could prove my right to be accepted
as a citizen … or even as human.
(a long beat; understanding)
So … for now …
I’d like to have your friendship…
beyond the crisis center … beyond what first brought us together.
I cannot promise much.
But what I can offer … I will.
I’d like that … very much.
(they gaze into each other’s eyes with something more than friendship)
My father calls me a fool, speaks of risks.
But he also taught me what Nehru said:
that being too cautious is the greatest risk of all.
EXT. CATHERINE’S BUILDING – ON THE BALCONY - EVENING LONG SHOT
We see them sitting on the balcony, the lights of the city night in the background, as we HEAR...
(reading to Vincent)
‘... And as the morning mists had risen long ago
when I first left the forge, so the evening mists were rising now,
and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me,
I saw no shadow of another parting from her.’
END OF ACT THREE
CATHERINE is saying goodbye to some volunteers, who smile, wave and laugh as they file out of the office. She will take the late night shift alone.
She has locked the door and returned to her desk, but we see a MAN standing outside the door, furtively working at the lock. He manages to unlock the door and slips inside, quickly looking around to ensure he hasn’t been observed. He pulls out a gun and advances on an unsuspecting Catherine as she finishes filling the coffee maker, preparing for a long night.
Hey! Turn around slow!
(a long beat; understanding she’s in trouble here; turning to face him, coffee pot in hand)
(nods; careful to speak calmly as sees his gun)
This is a crisis center.
Is there something I can help you with?
Yeah, you can.
(waves the weapon at her menacingly)
My wife …
I heard someone called this place for her.
Now she’s in hiding.
I need you to tell me where.
(trying not to panic, trying to recall Isaac’s training)
In hiding? Why?
She claims I beat her.
Bitch is always tryin’ to get me in trouble.
She’s in a special place now,
Some kinda shelter.
And I can’t see her or my kid.
But you’re gonna help me get them back.
Why don’t we sit down and talk about this?
(nods toward his weapon)
You don’t need the gun.
I’m not stupid.
I know you don’t wanna tell me where she is.
That’s why I need this “persuader.”
He advances toward her. Catherine stands her ground.
(trying to calm her terror)
I don’t know where she is exactly.
But I can get a message to her.
Not good enough.
You really don’t know where she is?
(shakes her head)
We don’t keep information like that.
We only refer callers to phone numbers,
to people who can provide help.
Then you’re no use to me.
And I ain’t leavin’ you alive to warn her I’m coming.
(raises his arm and fingers the trigger)
Catherine swings the arm holding the coffee pot and smashes it against his hand just as the gun goes off. The bullet goes wild and the gun drops from the man’s hand. He howls and lunges for her. Catherine shoves a rolling desk chair against his lower body, tripping him. As he struggles to get up, she flees toward the back of the building, leaving the lights off to hamper her pursuer. She knows the way to the door without lights.
Flinging the back door open, Catherine charges into the alley behind the building, turning left towards the relative safety of the street just a few yards away. But before she can gain much ground, the man grabs her by the collar of her sweater and yanks her around, smashing her against the brick wall of the building. Stunned, she slips down against the wall, but gets her arms in front of her and pushes off with force, shoving the man behind her off his feet.
A siren is heard in the distance. Someone has alerted the police to the gunshot. But they are too far away to help Catherine.
Suddenly an unearthly roar fills the alleyway, just as the man regains his feet. Catherine has picked up a battered trash can and is hefting it, preparing to defend herself with the only weapon she can find. They both turn toward the sound. A shadowy figure wrapped in a dark cloak looms close. An arm snakes out and back-hands the man into the side of a heavy metal dumpster. The man collapses, unconscious.
Catherine looks at the figure in the cloak, startled at its sudden appearance. Blue eyes peer from the folds of a hood.
Catherine whips off the leather belt of her jeans and kneels, tying the unconscious man’s hands behind his back.
Car tires screech at the entrance to the alley. In moments the police will see the tableau.
But … go! Quickly!
Vincent nods, turns, and disappears into the gloom of the dark alley.
A policeman rushes up, staring in disbelief at the trussed man on the ground and at the small woman with her knees on the man’s back.
You OK, lady?
CATHERINE’S BALCONY – LATER THAT NIGHT
Vincent and Catherine are standing close, facing each other. We see the glittering lights of the city at night behind them.
You took a great risk of being seen.
I felt your fear.
I had to come.
You really can feel what I’m feeling?
When I know it will be you on the phone ….
It’s the same thing.
It’s … remarkable.
(considers, then shrugs)
Whatever it is …
I’m grateful it does.
(she smiles up at him)
And I’m grateful … for you.
(tilts his head in acknowledgement of the compliment)
You’re safe now.
I should go.
(wraps him in an impulsive hug which he hesitates to return but finally does)
Don’t stay away too long.
(reluctantly steps out of her embrace)
Catherine watches as he disappears from her balcony, climbing to the rooftop and melting into the darkness.
END OF ACT FOUR
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