Old Hickory Bridge
By Alexis Stella
FADE IN INT. CHEVY TRUCK - NIGHT Aaron, 35, mid-height, slim, wears faded denim jeans and a dark button up. He drives a used Chevy truck along a dark deserted country road. Frozen rain pelts down on a partially fogged windshield, the wiper blades struggle against the gust of wind. A street sign appears, MADISON, WISCONSIN 25 miles, he rubs his tired eyes. AARON Man, this weather sucks. The radio music is interrupted by a public service announcement. A news broadcast begins playing. AARON turns up the volume. RADIO (V.O) A severe winter storm is in place for Madison, Wisconsin. Wind gust of up to 70 miles per hour are expected. AARON Well, thatâ€™s fantastic. RADIO (V.O) (CONTâ€™D) It is recommended for all travelers to seek shelter within the next hour. The music resumes. Aaron turns the volume back down. AARON Great.
The wind and freezing rain comes down harder against the windshield. AARON makes a sharp turn and sees a pale faced teenager, KENDEL, stands in the middle of the road drenched from the rain. She is not dressed for the freezing weather. Her arms are exposed to the weather, her feet bare and her jeans ripped at the knees. AARON slams his breaks in order not to hit the girl. Her hands look to shake as she shields her eyes from the rain and the glaring lights of the car. AARON gets out of his truck and approaches the young woman. AARON Are you all right? What are you doing in the middle of the road? There’s a storm coming. KENDEL I think the storm is already here. My car slid off the road. AARON Where’s your coat? And shoes? KENDEL There at home. I was at my friends before the weather hit. I was on my way home to get my stuff. AARON Well, let’s get you in the car. You must be freezing. I’m heading into town, I can give you a ride. KENDEL Gee, thanks. That would be wonderful. KENDEL Where ya headin’? AARON My sister’s place is just over the bridge in Madison.
KENDEL You’re not from around here, are ya? AARON What makes you say that? KENDEL No one dares to cross Old Hickory Bridge. Especially durin’ a winter storm. AARON Weren’t you heading in the same direction? KENDEL Well, yeah but I’m from here. I have to cross the bridge to get home, it’s the only road that’s open. AARON I’ve never been to my sisters place. KENDEL Why not? AARON We had a fight when we were young and fell out of touch. KENDEL How many years has it been since y'all spoken? AARON About 17 years, KENDEL (whistles) Man, that’s a long time. AARON
Yeah. KENDEL Why are you going to see her? AARON Her daughter, my niece, is missing. She called me to come help in the search. KENDEL I’m sorry about your niece. AARON (nods in appreciation) Thanks. KENDEL What’s your niece’s name? AARON I actually don’t know. I never asked. KENDEL It’s cool that you came to help your sister. AARON She would have done the same if the roles were reversed. KENDEL nods in agreement. AARON (CONT’D) Geez, this weather sucks. KENDEL Tell me about it. I’ve lived here my entire life. I can’t wait to go off and travel to someplace warm. AARON Where were you thinking?
KENDEL No idea yet. I just want to go where the wind blows me. AARON I did that. Instead of going to college, I left home and traveled. Once I ended up somewhere I wanted to stay did I apply to schools. KENDEL Where did you end up? AARON Seattle. KENDEL That sounds like an amazing adventure. AARON It was. But I missed out on a lot. KENDEL Like what? AARON Watching my baby sister grow up for one. KENDEL You didn’t ever call her? AARON Like I said. We had a fight and after so long, I just didn’t know what to say. KENDEL At least you are here for her now. AARON
Yeah. I guess. (pause) AARON stops at a four way stop just in town. AARON (CONT’D) Where do you want me to drop you off at? KENDEL Just follow this road about a mile. My house is the last one on the right. AARON nods and continues down the road. They drive up to a small, one story house on the corner of the street. KENDEL This is me. Thanks for the ride. Good luck with your sister and niece. AARON Thank you. And you’re welcome. INT - CHEVY TRUCK - NIGHT KENDEL gets out of the ruck and heads up to the house. AAron looks down at his dash and sees the time, 10:32. He was late. AARON looks up to see that KENDEL was already inside the house. He backs out of the driveway and heads back the way he came. His sister, Julia’s house was only a couple streets from where he dropped KENDEL off. He drives up to Julia’s house. Police cars are lined down the street along with a few dozen cars. He walks up to the house and rings the doorbell. A middle-aged police officer opens the door. POLICE OFFICER Can I help you? JULIA
Pete, who is it? Julia walks over to the door and finds her brother AARON standing there. Tears well up in her eyes. JULIA AARON? I can’t believe you came. AARON drags his sister into a big hug. AARON Of course I came. We’re family. JULIA smiles tightly, looking defeated. AARON (CONT’D) How can I help, Jules? JULIA walks AARON from the door to the living room where police officers, neighbors, friends and family are gathers going over the search plan. JULIA hands AARON a picture. JULIA This is your niece, Kendel. She never came home last night. She was at her friend, Brittany’s house. He looks down at the picture Julia handed him to see a picture of Kendel, the girl he just dropped off. AARON Kendel? We hear the police radio in the background. POLICE RADIO (V.O) A body was discovered early this afternoon just past Old Hickory’s Bridge matching the victims description. DOA.