NO FEWER MONSTERS by Chris 'Stonebender' Henry
Chris Henry 616 915 5434 Stonebenderhenry@gmail.com
NO FEWER 1. EXT. DUSTY ROADSIDE. HIGH NOON A zombie woman, barely human, tears feebly at a rotting gobbet of flesh under a tree by the side of the road. Probably an old chipmunk: small, and not nearly enough. We hear limping footsteps in the dust. EXT. DUSTY ROAD. FARTHER WEST. A work-booted foot falls, dragging another behind it. Step, scrape, step, scrape. In perfect rhythm. A capable limp. The feet belong to a pair of legs, covered in denim and road-dust and...paint? blood? The legs belong to awkward twisting hips---an old injury--which in turn belong to a torso, the jeans are coveralls. A hand flops along with each step, streaked with blood and dirt. The whole picture: Bloody, unconscious fat man over the shoulder of hobbled mechanic who wears his baseball cap pulled low to hide his face. This is the MECHANIC. He moves with urgency. The burden over his shoulder moans. Mechanic keeps walking. The burden moans again. Ignored. Again, whimpering. Mechanic drops him to the ground like a sack of cats. Shh.
Kneeling, he fishes a pill bottle from a breast pocket and shakes it. Only one pill left. A diagram on the bottle shows it contains antibiotics and painkillers. The remaining pill looks nothing like either. Half dissolved. The burden draws air in sick arhythmic breaths. Tweezed between two ill fingers, the pill enters the Burden's mouth, far into his throat. He gags. Mechanic clamps his mouth shut, like you would a dog, until he swallows. On the road again. The burden vomits, splattering the ground as they walk. Mechanic glances back, his face a shadow beneath the grease-stained brim of his baseball cap. Logo reads "Hunger and Thirst" like a throwback metal band. A
NO FEWER 2. plume of dust in the far distance, trailing behind the tiny silhouette of a Jeep. The Mechanic quickens his pace. He speaks. A small-town drawl with a pestilent edge. MECHANIC (V.O.) Roads are dangerous, but... Bare flesh beneath his coveralls looks...off. No sores, but a sick tint. MECHANIC (V.O.) Gotta survive. Travel fast. You take 'em. Hunters are there. Picking off on the slow and weak. And sick. Old sweat streaked through dirt lends an even bloodier look to Burden's face. Mechanic adjusts his grip. The engine roar wafts in over the road. Did he hear it? Stop. The engine grows louder, louder, and the sound, still muffled by distance, consumes our senses. MECHANIC (V.O.) Pays to be one of the quicker ones. Someone is whooping and hollering like a meth-head one-man aboriginal wannabe as we... CUT TO: INT./EXT. DIRTY JEEP The engine sound clarifies, and we're on a bullet-straight beeline toward the shambling man and his burden. Blackbooted foot presses the gas pedal hard to the floor. It's attached to a brick-shithouse with short, equally shitbrick hair. Vulgar screaming threats belong to a dirty blonde wire-brush in tan boots with meth eyes. Black says nothing, clenches his jaw, keeps his eyes forward.
NO FEWER 3. EXT. DUSTY ROAD. The Burden drops to the road with a thud. Mechanic drags him off the side into... EXT. DRAINAGE DITCH. Working quickly, he peels off the man's shirt and lifts a finger to his shadowed face. Nearby, a careful stack of corpses rots beneath the rusty arch of a large corrugated drainpipe. One of the dead is a young woman. Might've been pretty if it weren't for the gaping, torn mouth and missing left arm. MECHANIC (V.O.) The sickness hit a while back. Like in movies, the people'd die then get up. Or get bit, then die, then get up. Her other arm, intact, holds the hand of another, previously younger woman. A little girl with a bullet hole in her face and a maggotty stuffed panda in the crook of her elbow. MECHANIC (V.O.) Zombies. No sense pretending different. That fuckin' word. Mechanic drags The Burden into the shadow of... INT. LARGE CORRUGATED DRAINPIPE. ...And deposits him in the dirt. Against one side, near the pile but in shadows, a corpse rests seated. A shotgun in his lap. His head is missing. MECHANIC (V.O.) Guess the rest of the story and you'd be wrong. Nursery rhyme changed. Got so that any infection became the infection. Facing the pipe opening, he removes his cap. Runs his fingers through a long-unwashed tangle of black hair, and sighs. It rattles. MECHANIC (V.O.) Unwashed scrape? Bad cold? Better if you don't sit around. Gentle, he separates the girls' hands. Pulls the younger from the pile and drags her into the dark.
NO FEWER 4. Tires skid to a stop in the dirt some distance away. MECHANIC (V.O.) At a point, people woke back up. I mean really. Those that made it through the first rush of Holy Shit. People got eyes again. Fewer infections. He returns from the darkness. Grabs hold of another corpse. EXT. DUSTY ROAD - PARKED JEEP Boots on the ground. Two pairs, one BLACK, one TAN. MECHANIC (V.O.) No fewer monsters. TAN BOOTS (O.C.) You ain't never let me drive. From underneath the Jeep we see Black descend into... EXT. DRAINAGE DITCH I know.
INT. LARGE CORRUGATED DRAINPIPE. Here is a new tangle of cadavers. The young woman with no arm tops the pile. A man's head, noseless and torn with a single cataracted eye, sticks out beside her. Black approaches. Sees the shotgun in the man's lap. Picks it up. TAN BOOTS (O.S.) I ain't goin'-I know.
Unseen, buried in corpses, the Burden's eyes are terrorwide. Mechanic's hand over his mouth makes him breath through his nose. He can't move. Weak. Blood from one of the agitated dead drips toward his eyes. BLACK Hey Terry-Cloth, you in there?
NO FEWER 5. The hand clamps tighter. Blood creeps closer. MECHANIC (V.O.) Been five years since. Give or take. Black takes a tentative step into the shadows. A low, animal growl emanates from the dark. You bit?
Levels the shotgun. Blood reaches the Burden's eyes. Can't blink it away, mewling like a stuck cat. It stings. Black pulls the shotgun's trigger. Nothing happens. Drops it. BLACK Terrance fuckin' Charles, if you're in there you speak and you speak now! The growling pitch rises. Burden tries to cry louder. Can't. Pistol ready, Black takes a step. Two. Three. He's at the pile. If he knew what he was looking for, he'd find it. The growl rises more. Maybe ten.
TAN BOOTS He ain't there, let's go! The Burden's eyes search desperately. He can't move. Stuck. MECHANIC (V.O.) People change. BLACK Terry-Cloth! He take another step. The growl becomes banshee screech sharp enough to shatter bone. Black backpedals, swearing and unleashing his weapon. Some shots miss as he scrambles away. MECHANIC (V.O.) Some of us fear what we find in the dark. The Burden's eyes are wide. Red. BLACK Start the car, start it!
NO FEWER 6. An engine revs, he flails over the top of the ditch. Jeep's suspension dips as Black shoves Tan into the passenger seat. Tires spit dirt into the air and the Jeep peels off. TAN BOOTS (O.C.) You cut? Are you cut!? The voices fade into the distance with wild acceleration. Mechanic steps out of the pipe, tugs his hat over his face and watches the jeep speed off. INT./EXT. DIRTY JEEP -- IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER Tan freaks out. Paws at his partner's shirt. Black fumbles in the glove box with one hand and keeps the Jeep pretty much on the road with the other. TAN BOOTS Show me. Show me! A bottle of water in the glove box. It rolls out and onto the floor. Black oversteers. TAN BOOTS (CONT'D) C'mon, man, you said. You said! I'm fine.
He grabs for the water. Can't reach. You sure?
He undoes his seatbelt. Still can't get it. TAN BOOTS (CONT'D) Are you sure?
Fingers scrape the edge of the bottle, he almost has it! SHIT!
NO FEWER 7. Black handles the wheel. Swerves to avoid a figure in the road--that zombie, barely human--who turns to watch the jeep overcorrect, careen off the road and smash dead against a tree; launching Black into the field ahead and Tan's head straight into the metal bar at the top of the windshield. Blood sprays. Steam hisses. Black lies face down in the bushes. Tan is probably going to be dead very soon. The zombie returns to focus. Grunting, it shamble-trots toward the wrecked Jeep. Tan is definitely going to be dead very soon. The gurgling crescendos along with the footsteps. Becomes a shrill growl and the crackling squish of rending flesh. BLACKOUT. FADE IN: EXT. DRAINPIPE -- SHORTLY AFTER. Mechanic steps out of the dark. Gives his hat a final pull over his face. IN THE CAVE the Burden paws weakly at the woman's corpse covering him. Whimpers. Struggles. Mechanic pulls it aside. Shh.
Hands descend upon The Burden's shoulders, Mechanic grunts lifting him. A crash in the distance. Mechanic pauses briefly. Considering. EXT. DUSTY RURAL ROAD - LATE AFTERNOON On the road again, the Jeep's wreckage visible in the distance. Mechanic stops. Sees the zombie. He lowers the burden down against a tree. Shh.
He approaches the jeep.
NO FEWER 8. MECHANIC (V.O.) Monsters in war. Then in peace... The zombie tears at the significantly reduced body of Tan Boots. Mechanic stalks up behind it, arms raised, hat lowered... CLOSE UP: ...And snaps its neck. MECHANIC (V.O.) (Chuckle) Some people lose their manners. Black's water bottle survived the crash. Mechanic snatches it and heads back. EXT. DUSTY ROAD - TREESIDE Burden tries to stand. Fails, injured. Mechanic hurries to him. Lowers him to the ground. Scans for injuries. Head? Torso? Arms? His pants leg is soaked in blood. Shot. How? FLASHBACK: INT. DRAINPIPE - A FEW MINUTES AGO Back at the corpsepile. Bullets fly everywhere. One catches Burden in the leg. He bleeds. Eyes go wide. We fall through them and... FLASHFORWARD: EXT. DUSTY ROAD - TREESIDE, BACK IN THE PRESENT. Burden's rolled-up pants leg reveals a tattered hole in his calf. Mechanic smells the wound. Unpleasant. Unscrews the water bottle with some difficulty and pours it over the wound. Sniffs again. UNPLEASANT! Infected. Pokes at the leg to check firmness of the flesh. The burden whimpers. Shh.
They exchange a look. Knowing.
NO FEWER 9. A burned-out farmhouse slumps in the distance. Maybe there's medicine. EXT. DUSTY ROAD - UNDERBRUSH - NIGHT Black awakens. Shit. Night-time? He's injured. Cut along his arm. Shit! Um. Okay, okay, let's see, okay here's the gun. One in the chamber. Tanboots? Not here. Damn. Back at the jeep, the dead zombie, the missing water bottle, the worthless contents of the glove box--FUCK!--he pounds the hood of the jeep. Examines his arm. Scans horizon: the burned-out farmhouse. On edge, he heads in that direction with his gun drawn. EXT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE. DUSK. ESTABLISHING SHOT. Front door hangs open. INTERMITTENT RATTLING, like an infant's toy. ...Here? INT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE - VESTIBULE. Early moonlight seeps through the open door. The house is ravaged, furniture covered in sheets. RATTLING grows louder. We notice it's followed by clattering of plastic on a hard surface. Rattles being tossed aside. Burden moans quietly. Shh.
INT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE - BATHROOM. In the dim light, we see The Burden slumped against a bathtub stained with dried ick. A pill bottle clatters to the floor. Mechanic roots through the medicine cabinet. Finds nothing of use. MECHANIC (V.O.) Undead folk smell Rot. Means the food's about to spoil. Attracts others. Gotta wash. Gotta clean. Another bottle rattles and falls.
NO FEWER 10. MECHANIC (CONT'D) Someone gets cut open, no matter what, you treat it. The burden whimpers, chokes out a couple words: Why me?
Mechanic stares a moment, silent, and returns to the search. Nothing. Slams the mirror closed. MECHANIC (V.O.) Have mercy. Avoid unpleasantness. Damn Monsters. EXT. FARMHOUSE DRIVEWAY Black approaches. Detects movement in the house. INT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE - PARLOR Mechanic searches. A wet-bar. Ransacks it. Empty. INT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE - KITCHEN Nothing under the sink. Nothing in the cupboards. Out the kitchen window, Black approaches, up the drive. Music gets tense. Fast. Freezer's got nothing. Fridge? Empty. Black is almost at the porch. Shit. Of all the stupid ways to--wait. Wait a second-INT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE - STUDY --A large desk. Lots of drawers. First one's empty. Second one, too. Third? No. Ah, fourth. Yes. Something SCRAPES WOOD as it's removed.
NO FEWER 11. INT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE - VESTIBULE Black surveys the room. Checks corners. Hears footsteps. Faint SCRAPING OF WOOD from the other room.INT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE - HALL Mechanic carries a half-empty bottle of bourbon from the desk. INT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE - STUDY Black sees the open drawer. Clean spots in the dust. Music builds. INT. BURNED OUT FARMHOUSE - HALL Mechanic comes down the hall fast, struggling. Bottle in hand. Enters bathroom as Black crosses the hall at the other end. The door shuts quietly. The music slows. The lock clicks. Black passes undisturbed. A SHARP, MUFFLED CRY from inside the bathroom. Black stops. Turns. Takes a slow step down the hall. The music begins again to build, taking on themes present at the drainpipe. INT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE - BATHROOM Mechanic immediately stops pouring. He slaps The Burden. A warning. Footsteps approach. The doorknob turns against the lock. Silence. MECHANIC (V.O.) Hunters. Picking off on the slow and the sick. His head turns toward the sound. Moving no other muscle, he removes his hat and stuffs it into The Burden's mouth. MECHANIC (V.O.) Gotta survive. Sets the bottle down. Creeps toward the door. We PAN ALONG, through the door and into the dark hallway. MECHANIC (V.O.) Can't be getting stupid.
NO FEWER 12. Walking his hands up his side of the door, he pulls himself up. As he rises, we see the pistol; we see heavily muscled, bleeding arms holding it. We see Black's face, jaw clenched. Breathing slowly. MECHANIC (V.O.) Sometimes, you do get stupid. The BOTTLE FALLS. Burden struggles. He kicked it over. TIME RATCHETS TO A BRIEF STOP... Like this.
...then EXPLODES FORWARD. Black's pistol rises, Mechanic rips open the door, grabbing the gun-hand. Black dodges, the gun whips 'round. Mechanic is behind, reaching for the throat. Black spins with an elbow--CRACK--to the head. They grapple. Scuffling. Mechanic's face is obscured by a head-butt that sends him stumbling backward into the dark. Black fires three times, center-mass, thwack-thwack-thwack! He doesn't miss. But for the whiskey slowly glug-glugging out of the bottle in the next room, the world has gone quiet. Dust falls. Color drains. It's almost calm. The MUSIC FROM THE DRAINPIPE returns, purely recognizable. A low growl emerges from the darkness, rising quickly to the same banshee scream from the drainage ditch. Mechanic rushes out of the shadows, and for the first time we see his face, noseless and memorably torn with his mouth opened wide in rage as he tackles Black to the ground, tearing him apart. INT. BATHROOM SCREAMING and WILD GUNSHOTS crease terror across the Burden's face. The noise dies with a retch. He lies frozen. MECHANIC (V.O.) Somehow you survive... ...Only voice I ever hear anymore is this'n, in my head. A special hell. FOOTSTEPS.
NO FEWER 13.
Mechanic APPEARS IN THE DOORWAY. Hat pulled down. Blood soaked coveralls. Carrying the pistol. Raises it. MECHANIC (V.O.) "Survived." Burden's SWEATY FACE shows fearful relief. MECHANIC (V.O.) Guess I lost my appetite. EXT. BURNED-OUT FARMHOUSE - WIDE Muzzle flash and a GUNSHOT. The CLATTERING of a pistol on the floor. There's nothing more to see here. CUT TO BLACK