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INT. DEATH ROOM - DAY FADE UP: On an extremely low angle to reveal a young man with copper hair and the hints of a beard. The camera dollies across a white tile floor, as it does we see that the young man, FLETCHER, is bleeding from the nose and mouth. His hands are hidden behind him, presumably tied to the stainless steel chair. CLOSE UP On the corner of a table which patiently holds a cheap plastic ashtray. In the tray is a long filtered cigarette. It's spiral of smoke seems to hide a bluish hue.

FLETCHER (V.O.) She always had the most beautiful handwriting. CLOSE UP On Fletcher's face. His left eye has been badly beaten. It opens only half way, and seems to lack the ability to focus. He is a trembling mess of sweat and blood. FLETCHER (V.O.) It's a strange thing to think, considering the circumstances. But every time I close my eyes I can see it in my mind, white on black, like an x-ray. Fletcher's thoughts are cut short as the voice of a man is heard from off screen. The break in Fletcher's concentration is jarring; unnerving. ESCOBAR Donde esta el Condor? CUT TO: The table seen earlier, only now it is a long tracking shot across the length of the table. Seated are three figures. One tall and slender, one short and fat, and one with curves and long hair, presumably a woman.


FLETCHER (V.O.) Gerardo Escobar. There's a voice easy to remember. He puts himself on the news three times a day. One of the perks of being Minister of Information. A whisper takes place between the woman and the fat man, ESCOBAR, seated in the middle. They are seen in silhouette as they are washed out by harsh work lights behind them. Fletcher's eyes roll sluggishly in his head. He does not respond. Escobar asks in english this time, his voice is thick with a spanish accent. ESCOBAR Mister Fletcher. It would suit you well to answer our questions. If you cooperate, I can promise you safe travel back to America. His tone falls flat, but his face remains animated. FLETCHER (V.O.) I'm sure they'll fly me first class. There'll be a limo-driver holding a cardboard sign with my name on it, waiting at the gate. Fletcher stares blankly at the figure seated at the center of the table. A beat. FLETCHER (V.O.) Or they'll get what they need, put a bullet through my bread basket, and bury me in a big pile with the others. A clicking noise is heard. Then a flame. Partially illuminating Escobar's chubby face. He lights the Marlboro and inhales deeply. The red ember grows bright. Then fades. ESCOBAR Perhaps you would like one of your American cigarrillos? Would that help ease your mind? With a quick gesture, Escobar spins the small carton around


so it's opening faces Fletcher. Fletcher opens his mouth, his speech sounds dry and painful. FLETCHER Quit- I quit. A few years ago. But hell. I am a Marlboro man. His eyes roll to the ceiling as he speaks, he seems near delusion. Fletcher raises his chin, opening his mouth slightly. ESCOBAR No no! That's no way for a man to have smoke. Ramon, free his hand. So that Mr. Fletcher may enjoy what may be his last smoke with honor. RAMON, a tall man with a close beard stands in all black, he crosses the room and frees Fletcher's right hand. Fletcher reaches toward the open cigarette carton. Trembling. FLETCHER (V.O.) Take a look boys. Poor Fletcher's just too weak. He drops his hand in a dramatic display. Panting, he mumbles something. ESCOBAR Perhaps when you have regained your strength we can enjoy one together. You and I, we are not so different. We are both men of honor. Patriots. We just fight for different sides. Wouldn't you agree? FLETCHER (V.O.) Oh sure, we're your everyday odd couple. Prick. FLETCHER Yes. I guess so. ESCOBAR I thought so. I like you Fletcher. We may disagree about the ways of the world, but you are a good man. This is why I let you live. Escobar's head cocks slightly in it's shadow, now in the


direction of Ramon. ESCOBAR Tu prepar贸 los arreglos para m谩s adelante? Ramon nods at this. ESCOBAR I ask him if he prepare your plane flight home. To Florida. It's not New York, but we trust you can find your way. Does this make sense? FLETCHER (V.O.) You asked him if he prepared for what comes next. You never said a damn thing about planes, or flights, or home. FLETCHER I understand. ESCOBAR So now maybe you will help us with our inquiriSuddenly the woman at the table slaps Escobar on the hand and he falls sheepishly silent. She begins to speak. Her voice has little trace of an accent. WOMAN Your passport will be returned, as will most of your belongings. But you will be considered a deportee, Mr. Fletcher. This is a kindness in your favor I can assure you. FLETCHER (V.O.) Looks like even Escobar has someone to take orders from. ESCOBAR You give us your understanding and cooperation. We give you a ride home. Yes? Fletcher sighs heavily. Defeat washes over him. FLETCHER (V.O.) You are going to die. They are going to talk smooth and smile, but they wouldn't use tile if they didn't have to mop very often.


Giving them what they want won't help you. WOMAN Mr. Fletcher? FLETCHER I'll tell you everything I know. INT. DEATH ROOM - MOMENTS LATER CLOSE UP On the shadowy figure that is Escobar, smoke from his cigarette spirals and breaks around his face. ESCOBAR Do you deny that for the last 14 months you have given certain information to man named Tomas Herrera? FLETCHER (V.O.) If they already know his name, what the hell do they need me for? FLETCHER I don't deny it. It was longer though. More like a year and a half. ESCOBAR Very good. How about that cigarrillo Senor? Fletcher, with his head pitched toward the ceiling shakes it back and forth. He murmurs something that sounds like, FLETCHER Not yet, Thank you. Suddenly, the woman is shouting. WOMAN Tells us what you know about Senor Herrera! Fletcher's head falls forward, his right arm dangles loosely at his side. FLETCHER He's a smart man. A good friend. Always one step ahead. A patriot. Just like us.


He smiles. CLOSE UP The ash tray again. Beyond it, Fletcher's limp body is out of focus. Suddenly the filter of Escobar's cigarette hammers down as he crushes it out. Fletcher smile continues as he recalls the memory of his friend. WIDE SHOT Of the long tribunal table. This last line of Fletcher's has made them fall silent. Anger seems to fester in the quiet. ESCOBAR Mr. Fletcher, this Herrera is no patriot. He is a commmunist. And a traitor. He may have told you stories for your little articulo. But I can assure that is all they are. Stories. Fletcher almost begins to laugh. His smirk begins to widen. A fist hammers down from off screen. Cracking into Fletcher's nose. His head rocks back as blood spurts like fireworks against the white wall. It is Ramon. He rubs his knuckles and returns to his seat in the corner. FLETCHER You can do what you want to me. It won't matter. I can tell you his last known location, but he'll be long gone before the words even come out of my mouth. You'll never find him. A beat. The same small flame from a solid gold Zippo liter perks up in the center of the table. MATCH CUT/CLOSE UP Of Escobar's face behind the flame. His eyes are still in shadow. But a long, greasy smile spreading slowly across his face can be seen in the fire-light. ESCOBAR


Mr. Fletcher. In my business, it is important to know the people. The criminals, the peasants, and the voters. The blood of South America, is my blood. And so when a lesion appears upon my skin. I simply find the source of the pain, and I carve it out with my own blade. Fletcher's face is contorted now. Confused. From the darkness something slides across the long black table. It comes to a stop at the corner closest to Fletcher. It's a manilla folder. ESCOBAR Eduque a nuestro amigo, Ram贸n Ramon picks up the folder and drops it into Fletcher's lap. It springs open. ClOSE UP Paper clipped to the right side of the folder is a 8x11 photo. Black and white. Across the top in white type it reads: "Herrera, Tomas J. Age 28. Status: Deceased" The photo is a close up of a man's face. His skin is soft and smooth. His eyes are open and the reflection of the camera's flash gives the illusion of life. On his right temple, a powder burn mark is visible. FLETCHER (V.O.) Tomy. The man who took me in. The man who helped me break one of the biggest stories of my life. Dead. On white tile. Hell it was probably where my feet are now. Fletcher looks up from the photo to Escobar, his eyes wide with horror and disbelief. In the shadow we see Escobar's shoulder and hands shrug. As if to say, "Such is life". Escobar then turns his head in Ramon's direction. He waves his hand at him distractedly. Ramon quietly reaches the steel door and opens it. As he closes it a set of tumblers fall loudly in place, locking it behind him.


FLETCHER You shot him? Why? The third person, HEINZ, sitting at the long table finally speaks up. His shadow is slender and tall. HEINZ On the contrary, Mr. Fletcher, you'll note in the photograph, there is no blood, no contortion of the skull. It was hardly my intent to kill the blubbering fool. I'm a man of science, not a murderer to say the least. Unless my research compels it. ESCOBAR It was simply that Senor Herrera forced our hand. He was not as cooperative as you Senor Fletcher, He had no honor. Dead men tell no stories, as they say. Is that right? FLETCHER Close enough. ESCOBAR We try to get him to tell us what he knows, but he is one stubborn burro. So Mister Heinz here, from your Chicago, try to get him to talk. So we don't have to bother you. Heinz, why don't you show Mr. Fletcher here how you try and get Tomas to talk. When he was sitting in that very chair? HEINZ I can do that. Heinz stands and begins to cross the room. FLETCHER (V.O.) This is where it gets ugly. They are going to torture you. If you don't die during, they're going to kill you after anyways. Keep your mouth shut. Heinz wheels over a small cart, which has a large object covered with a black sheet. He snaps the sheet away with unimaginable speed to reveal: A large electrical box. Similar to a transistor radio. Some


parts are exposed, others having wires braided through them. There are large dials and indicator needles across the front. Below it is a large car battery with wires tethered to the machine. HEINZ Here's my first born. Quite simple, really. A modification to the a device used by neurologists for unipolar shock therapy. Only this is more like a lifetime of therapy in one dose. Heinz runs his fingers across the top of the old machine, pressing switches as he does. The beast hums to life. HEINZ (CONT.) From what my test subjects tell me, the pain is secondary to other, more uncomfortable sensations. Yet to be named. But this here, is called the Atavism, I hope to write a paper on it one day. Fletcher looks on, though his mind appears miles away. He almost nods with understanding. FLETCHER Is that what you did to Tomas? Kill him with that...thing? HEINZ Not intentionally. A quick shot to the wrist and he was still tight lipped, so I gave him something a little stronger, not much mind you, to the temple, as you saw. He seized. I think it was epilepsy. Did your friend have epilepsy Mr. Fletcher? Fletcher stares down at the photo once more. We see his face from a low angle. Without taking his eyes from the photo he whispers, FLETCHER I don't know. ESCOBAR Enough. I'm sure our friend will be no trouble. He has dignity. He does not cry, or beg, and urinate the pants, not like his dog of a friend. He's a man of honor, isn't that


right? FLETCHER I've said I'd help you. WOMAN You best. If you couldn't tell by now, we are not fucking around. ESCOBAR We know that el condor and his band come soon to spread their communist poison. When? On what day? FLETCHER I don't know. FLETCHER (V.O.) Three days. Off screen we hear humming and cracking as the Atavism machine's power seems to grow stronger. ESCOBAR Where is the rally point? The garrison in the hills of Candido? St. Theresa? Or will he come to the heart of the city? FLETCHER The garrison. At Saint Theresa. FLETCHER (V.O.) The heart of the city. Strike hard. Strike first. ESCOBAR He has no need for the tv or radio stations? FLETCHER No. He says to let you babble. FLETCHER (V.O.) First the radio station on Civil hill. Then when the numbers start growing. The tv station. ESCOBAR Does he have the missing rockets? What you call copter-killers? Yes.

FLETCHER


FLETCHER (V.O.) Actually true. ESCOBAR In what numbers? FLETCHER Not many. As little to hide without any of us knowing where. FLETCHER (V.O.) That's a lie. He has more than 60 at last count. More than enough to take out the 14 assault copters owned by the government. Silence falls over the room once more, save for the humming of Heinz' torture toy. The woman and Escobar can be seen whipsering to one another. Finally Escobar speaks. ESCOBAR Amigo, you are lying. FLETCHER Why would I do that? ESCOBAR That's an excellent question. Why, would you? Perhaps, the severity of the situation isn't quite clear. Mr. Heinz, if you'd be so kind to educate Mr. Fletcher as to the urgency of this situation? HEINZ My pleasure. CLOSE UP On the row of dials on Heinz' atavism machine as he turns them one by one. The humming noise from the machine grows louder still. FLETCHER (V.O.) That's the game folks. Yanks blow it in the ninth. Fletcher, no longer pretending, begins to scream out. Jolting hard in his chair, attempting to break free. FLETCHER Please! NO! You can't do this! I'm


an American Journalist! People know where I am! ESCOBAR Quite the opposite I'm afraid. In these kind of rooms amigo, no one can see or hear you. With this Heinz grabs the metal prod attached to the machine by an old frayed wire and touches it to the side of Fletcher's chair. It arcs loudly, creating a bright violet spark. Fletcher jolts. In fright, if not pain. HEINZ Show me your hand. Fletcher does not move. HEINZ Very well, the temple then? Like your poor friend? Heinz moves the prod towards Fletcher's left temple. Fletcher's reels and attempts to block the prod with his free hand. With lightning speed Heinz smacks the back of Fletcher's hand. Once. Twice. Each time we see large violet-white sparks make contact with Fletcher's hand. Fletcher writhes in the chair. Screaming for mercy. HEINZ If you'd be so kind Mr. Fletcher, can you describe the sensation you're feeling? While the experience is fresh? He smirks. ESCOBAR You see Mr. Fletcher. We are not playing games. And we are not here to waste anyone's time. Perhaps now you would enjoy un cigarrillo? Without a word Fletcher nods groggily. He reaches his hand out. It trembles. FLETCHER (V.O.) If I get out of this alive. I'm buying a whole damn carton and I'm


smoking it in my car with the windows up. Escobar leans out over the table and gives Fletcher a cigarrette out of the pack. Fletcher purses it between his lips and Escobar lights it. Fletcher inhales deeply. His face is a sully dissaray of bliss and anguish. FLETCHER (V.O.) Goddamn that's amazing. Escobar returns his lighter to his chest pocket. ESCOBAR This is good yes? FLETCHER Read my mind. ESCOBAR Maravilioso. Now, tell us the truth about the rockets. FLETCHER (V.O.) Can't do that. Amigo. Fletcher laughs to himself. This laugh avalanches into a coughing fit. He thrashes wildly in the chair. Suddenly the coughing ceases. Yet Fletcher's body continues to convulse in the chair. Seizing. The burning cigarette falls into his lap. HEINZ Jesus! Not again. Heinz runs toward him. ESCOBAR Grab him. Make sure he doesn't choIn a flash, Fletcher has grabbed the glowing smoke with his free hand and drives it gruesomely into Heinz' left eye. A gelatonous mess gushes forth from the socket, the cigarette still erect, like a golf tee. Escobar claws his way over the table and is lunging for Fletcher.


As Heinz screams in agony, Fletcher reaches into his holster, removing his steel revolver. Escobar halts almost instantly as one bullet is lost in his skull, another in his throat. He claws at his jugular while gasping for air. He is dead before he hits the ground. CLOSE UP Heinz tears at his own socket, attempting to remove the smoldering cigarette. Blinded, he trips over Escobar's mammoth body and hits the floor. Still screaming. Fletcher unties his remaining hand and lunges out of the chair. He meets the woman at the large steel door. Where she is desperately trying to find the right key to the room. He whirls her around by the shoulder and pins her against the door. WOMAN Please don't kill me! I have anything you could ever want. Money. Land. Power! FLETCHER I want you to suffer. Like I've suffered. WOMAN You communist pigs deserve to suffer! FLETCHER No. The Ministry deserves to suffer. In 2007 you and you're fat friendFletcher motions to Escobar. FLETCHER Sent a military batallion to locate and execute a group of missionaries thought to have communist sympathies. WOMAN That is a liFletcher jams his left hand over her mouth. Hard. FLETCHER (CONT.) They assaulted and killed three


women. They put the women's heads on pikes by the side of the road. The woman's eyes now scream what her mouth cannot. FLETCHER (CONT.) The one in the middle was my sister. Under Fletcher's palm the woman screams. He, without ever losing eye contact, raises the gun to the woman's stomach. He fires once. Twice. A third time. Her body peels away from the door, slumping into the corner. Fletcher turns on a swivel, his eyes instantly on Heinz, who murmurs in agonizing delusion. He walks briskly to the Atavism machine. Fletcher grabs the prod and squats by Heinz. Heinz' good eye looks at Fletcher in horror. Fletcher appears to be smiling. The gun to Heinz' temple. FLETCHER Open wide. Hesitantly Heinz opens his mouth. Before it is even a quarter open, Fletcher has jammed the prod deep between Heinz' teeth. CLOSE UP Fletcher reaches the Atavism dials and turns them all as far to the right as they'll go. The machine roars. Arcing can be heard from within it. Sparks begin to fly from the machine, the prod, and Heinz' mouth. He doesn't make a sound, though his body shudders violently on the tile floor. Eventually the machine sparks a final time and Heinz' searing body falls still. FLETCHER If you'd be so kind Mr. Heinz, please describe the sensation you're feeling. While the experience is fresh. Fletcher squats by him for a moment longer then stands and reaches the door. He turns the key that the woman left in the door. It swings free.


INT. HALLWAY - MOMENTS LATER Fletcher steps cautiously into the hallway. He looks to his left. About three feet from the door lies a large brown German Shepard. It is fast asleep. FLETCHER (V.O.) Thank god for soundproof deathrooms. He jogs quietly, cautiously to the end of the hall, where two metal double doors await him. He pushes one open with all his strength. It opens, slowly, to reveal the harsh white daylight.

FADE TO WHITE

In The Death Room  

An adaptation of Stephen King's Chilling Tale.

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