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MAN IN THE WELL

By Christopher Durenberger Based on Man in the well By Ira Sher

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INT. WELL- DAY A BUCKET hits the well’s bottom. No splash, just a shifting of mud. The bucket, soon covered by ROPE, yards of it, falling, CRASHING down, slapping the mud, ECHOING endlessly. A MAN falls. The mud SPLASHES. His body, motionless. Limbsas tangled as the rope. -StillThe Man’s eyes FIRE open. Air pours down his throat violently. The mud. Dark. INSERT TITLE: MAN IN THE WELL INT. WELL- LATER The Man grabs hold of the well’s jagged rocks. Hoists himself up. His legs buckle. He slaps them straight. Stands. INT. WELL- LATER A bucket and rope fly up toward freedom and plummet down; not reaching their mark. Not even close. The Man gives a second throw. A third. INT. WELL- LATER Clouds role across the well like smoke from a gun, then vanish. The sun covers the well’s top. A perfect fit. Sunlight hits the Man for the first time that day. Trimmed beard. Face, layered by mud wiped off, then wiped off and wiped off again. His shirt could be expensive. He’s strong. Three round shadows emanate from the well, surrounding him. The Man looks up. At the top of the well- three small silhouettes.


2.

Hello?

MAN

Nothing. MAN (CONT’D) Help! I need some help down here! Nothing. MAN (CONT’D) Can you hear me? Help! The Silhouettes go away. MAN (CONT’D) No- don’t! Help! I’m here! He throws the bucket up. It crashes on his feet. HE SCREAMS. GIRL (O.S.) What’s your name? MAN Oh thank God! I’ve been here for days! Thank Christ! A second silhouette rejoins the first. BOY What’s your name? MAN Go get a ladder; a rope; get help. The third silhouette returns. YOUNG BOY What’s your name? MAN Get your parents. The three shadows retract. INT. WELL- LATER The Man rests in the last sliver of the sun’s light. A browned BANANA explodes on the wells floor.


3. He looks up at a solitary silhouette with pigtails. MAN Where are your parents? GIRL They’re coming. The Man lifts up the Banana’s tattered shell, spooning it’s remnants in hungrily, sucking at his fingers. GIRL (CONT’D) Is there water down there? Mud.

MAN

GIRL Are you thirsty? How long?

MAN

GIRL I’ll get you some water. The Girl vanishes. INT. WELL- NIGHT Moonlight blankets the Man, sleeping on the coiled rope. Whispers stream down the well. They cause the man to fidget but never wake. LITTLE BOY (O.S.) You think he can see us? BOY (O.S.) Naugh, can’t see him can we? GIRL (O.S.) Aaron, I’m scared. The Boy, AARON, silences her. Shhh!

AARON (O.S.)

LITTLE BOY (O.S.) It’s okay, I heard him snoring I think.


4.

You ready?

AARON (O.S.)

GIRL (O.S.) Yeah. Help me with them won’t you. AARON (O.S.) Alright. One. Two. Three.

LITTLE BOY (O.S.) GIRL (O.S.)

A splash of water douses the Man. He HOLLERS. Another SPLASH. MAN What?! What are you doing? Splash. MAN (CONT’D) Why didn’t you bring help? The children are gone. INT. WELL- DAY The Man shivers. GIRL (O.S.) Do you want more water? Are you still thirsty? MAN Why are you doing this? LITTLE BOY (O.S.) You didn’t tell us your name. MAN (to himself) My name. (to children) You want to know my name? What do you think my name is... Aaron? What do you think my name is? GIRL Is your name.... Arthur?


5. The Little boy, ARTHUR yanks the Girl away from the well by her pigtails. ARTHUR Shut up Sarah! The Girl, SARAH, shoves Arthur, who tumbles toward the well nearly falling in. The Man runs underneath him. Ahhhh!

ARTHUR (CONT’D)

Aaron and Sarah pull him back up. MAN Aaron, Arthur, Sarah. Silence. MAN (CONT’D) That’s right isn’t it? Aaron, Arthur, Sarah? What do you think I look like Arthur? Silence. MAN (CONT’D) How old do you think I am Sarah? Do I have a beard? I got something here for you. I got something here for all of you. Three shiny coins if you get your parents. Silence. MAN (CONT’D) I promise not to tell them you’ve kept me here. You won’t get in trouble I swear. The children are gone. MAN (CONT’D) Aaron? Arthur? Sarah? Come back. Come back. Come back. The Man slides down. His face squinches up. He cries. MAN (CONT’D) Come back you little shits! Wait till I get you! Wait till I get you! Come back. Come back.


6. INT. WELL- NIGHT The Man is a pail heap of shivering bone. He shakes. Convulses. Cries. Mumbles. The whispers return. SARAH (O.S.) Aaron, they’re heavy. AARON (O.S.) Quit being such a girl. ARTHUR (O.S.) Why did we have to take so many? AARON (O.S.) Shh, we’re here. The Man arcs his head up. MAN (whispers) Help me. SARAH (O.S.) Help me Aaron. AARON (O.S.) Ready? One. Two. Three.

ARTHUR (O.S.) SARAH (O.S.)

A giant rock crashes down, inches from the Man’s face. The Man LAUGHS. One. Two. Three.

AARON SARAH ARTHUR

The children lift up and throw another rock into the darkness. Laughter pours from the well.


7. ARTHUR (CONT’D) He’s laughing at us. AARON Another. One. Two. Three.

ARTHUR SARAH

The rock falls. The laughter stops. The Man’s body lays motionless, half sunk in the muddy stew. A rock where his face should be. Another.

SARAH (CONT’D)

A rock envelops the well in darkness. CUT TO BLACK:


man-in-the-well