YOUNG GIRL (V.O.)
(reciting, sing-song voice)
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to...


A bass and drum TECHNO theme begins immediately. This is the music playing in the NIGHT CLUB, which we will soon visit.


FADE IN:

MONTAGE -- NADIR CITY NIGHT

-- Skyline at night.

-- Pedestrians filling the streets.

-- People entering a night club.

-- Club interior.

-- Sensual dancing and women in cages.

-- Bartender keeping busy.

-- DJ mixing in loft.

-- Couple making out in shadows, beginning to undress each other.

-- Three men in private loft preparing cocaine.

-- Woman in men's bathroom stall administering oral sex.

-- Dancers passing ecstasy around.

-- A FEMALE DANCER places two tabs on her tongue teasingly.

END MONTAGE

FADE TO WHITE



INT. NIGHT CLUB

A heavy bass and drum TECHNO THEME makes conversation in the club nearly impossble. SMITH, (30's, thin, already balding) sits alone in at booth. He is dressed conservatively, and makes no movement as he serenly takes in the scene around him. Flashes of yellow and pink light from the strobing lights overhead are seen as reflections in his eyes. He seems out of place in the chaotic atmosphere of the club, but no one seems to notice as he slides a pistol from inside his jacket. Nearby, a club security GUARD surveyes the dance floor from. Smith's hands move deflty under the table, as he discreetly attaches a silencer to his pistol. SMASH CUT TO:



MONTAGE -- NIGHT CLUB

-- Cage dancer slowly licking a bar of her cage.

-- Man in loft sniffing a line of cocaine.

-- DJ working the turntables with an intense concentration.

-- Female Dancer grinning and sweating profusely, her hair clinging in thin strands to the sides of her face.

END MONTAGE



INT. NIGHT CLUB - CONTINUOUS

SMITH stands and moves onto the dance floor, his pistol pressed close against his leg. SECURITY GUARD scans crowd. SMITH squeezes between people, moving steadily across the room. CUT TO:

VALLONE (20's, handsome, obviously wealthy) dancing with an attractive teenage GIRL. Vallone looks up, and Smith steps forward, moves between Vallone and the girl and, pressing the pistol into Vallone's stomach, fires twice. The girl screams (barely audible over music) as Vallone falls forward. Smith steps backward slowly, fading into the crowd as the security Guard moves in. Smith inconspicuously hands a wad of money to Guard. Everyone has gone back to dancing, leaving the girl standing still, frozen horror as she looks down at Vallone's body.

GUARD
First time here?

Girl nods weakly. Guard smiles slightly, amused.

GUARD (CONT'D.)
Welcome to Nadir City.

The music FADES quickly. CUT TO BLACK.



MONTAGE -- CHARACTER TRANSITION I

-- SAM's blue eyes. He blinks, and when his eyes open...

-- CAGE's cold grey eyes. A trace of blue shimmers in them for a split second.

END MONTAGE

SMASH CUT TO:



EXT. NADIR CITY - ALLEY NEAR CLUB - CONTINUOUS

The MUSIC from the night club is loud enough to be heard. We see Cage's eyes, then slowly move away from them, getting our first look at Cage. He is in his late 20's, and has unkempt black hair and multiple small facial scars. He has a five-o'clock shadow and wears a faded duster over his tall, thin frame. He is hidden in the shadows, leaning against a wall and smoking. He is so motionless that only the cigarrette smoke reveals his location. He looks around. The street is empty. He takes a deep drag, and we catch a glimpse of his yellowed teeth. A WOMAN exits the club and unwittingly walks in Cage's direction. He hesitates, then hurriedly throws down his cigarette, stomps it out, and withdraws further into the shadows. He flips open the POCKET KNIFE that he has kept in his palm. As the Woman passes, Cage steps out from behind and wraps his arm around her neck, bringing the knife to her throat. He quickly pulls her backwards into the alley, and pushes her up against an alley wall.

CAGE
Drop the purse.

Wioman does not react, so Cage pushes her face against the wall. Woman grits her teeth in pain.

CAGE (CONT'D.)
Look lady, don't make me -

Woman elbows/punches Cage in the groin and, ducking beneath his arms, runs toward the street. Before she can make it that far, Cage grabs her arm and pulls her back towards him, flinging her farther into the alley, where she collapses on her back. She is attempting to stand up when Cage's shadow falls over her.

CAGE
Now you've done it, bitch.

Cage bends down, reaching for her. Woman SPITS at him. Cage freezes. As he stares at her worlessly, we MOVE AWAY from the scene. Cage and Woman are seen only as silhouettes as Cage stabs her. She screams, but Cage is no where near done, stabbing her over and over again.

FADE OUT


FADE IN:

INT. NADIR CITY - CAGE'S HOUSE

The single disheveled room is completely dark. A door opens inward, letting light from the hallway into the room, allwoing us a view of the filthy interior. Cage stands in the doorway for a moment, then enters, dropping the purse onto the ground. He fumbles with something hanging at eye level from the ceiling. A FLASHLIGHT, suspended by a piece of ROPE, sheds errratic light on the surroundings as it pendulums back and forth slighly. Cage shuts the door, then sets his knife on a large paint can and, moving to his bed, sits down.

CAGE'S POV: His bloody reflection in the shattered mirror.

Cage stands and moves to the washbasin. Dipping his hands in the water, he rubs his face and rinses his hands. We focus on the BLOOD-LACED WATER. Cage falls back onto his bed, staring at the ceiling. The light flickers, then dies.

FADE OUT



FADE IN

EXT. LAKESIDE IN COUNTRY - EARLY MORNING

SAM, an eleven years old boy with brown hair, is leaning against a tree, asleep. SOUNDS of Nadir City build to mid-level. Sam jerks awake and looks around. It is silent, except for his HEAVY BREATHING. SOUNDS of nature/countryside build until at normal levels. Seeking a distraction, SAM notices the small piece of WOOD that is lying to his right. He picks it up, holding it in front of his eyes for examination. After a moment, he takes out his pocketknife and begins to whittle the wood.

SAM'S POV: His hands, seen from above, as he works the wood. We CLOSE on the knife. SMASH CUT TO:



EXT. NADIR CITY - ALLEY NEAR CLUB - CONTINUOUS

WOMAN on ground, eyes wide with fear as she looks up at Cage. Cage's knife penetrate her stomach. SMASH CUT TO:



EXT. LAKESIDE IN COUNTRY - EARLY MORNING - CONTINUOUS

Sam's knife slips and cuts into his index finger. Dropping the wood and knife, SAM stands. Clutching his finger, he scurries quickly to the edge of the lake and shoves his hand underwater.

POV: Looking up from underneath the water's surface. SAM's face is heavily blurred. Focus is on the tendrils of blood that are coming from SAM's finger.

Sam removes his hand. Sam picks up the knife and leaves. The wood, a half-formed MALE FIGURE, lies discarded on the grass.

FADE OUT



FADE IN

EXT. CAMPSITE - EARLY AFTERNOON

HELEN, CLAIRE, SUSAN, and other mothers sit around a wooden picnic table. Children are playing baseball in the BG.

SUSAN
...he's getting along so well that I hate to move him, but that teacher just isn't doing her job. It's amazing who they'll let be in charge of our children's education these days!

Several women murmur their agreement. Sam hurriedly walks by in BG.

HELEN
Sammy, are you okay?

SAM
I'm fine.

HELEN
Come here, honey. What - what happened?

SAM
Nothing, Mom; it's just a little scratch.

HELEN
Sammy, how did you get this?

SAM
I saw-
(catches himself)
I was just whittling, and the knife slipped. It's okay, really.

Helen is immediately embarrased and hastily begins to explain the situation to the other women.

HELEN
His father gave him a knife before we left. I tell you, I don't know what he's thinking sometimes. Claire, would you get me a Bandaid...and the antiseptic cream?

CLAIRE exits in BG.
HELEN (CONT'D.)
Sammy, listen to me, please don't play with that knife anymore. You're lucky this isn't a deep cut.

SAM
(mildly)
I told you I'm okay.

Claire returns with the requested items.

HELEN
Thank you.
(To Sam)
Why don't you go play with your friends?

Helen deftly applies the bandaid.

HELEN (CONT'D.)
It looks like they're having a lot of fun.

SAM
Okay.

The bandaid secured, Sam gets his glove and runs toward the field.

HELEN
Be careful!



EXT. BASEBALL FIELD - EARLY AFTERNOON - CONTINUOUS

Sam runs towards the children. KRISTIN (standing in right FG - profile) watches his approach.

BEN
All right! We got Sam!
(To Sam)
Where were you, man?



EXT. CAMPSITE - EARLY AFTERNOON

The mothers watch the game progress. Claire leans closer to Helen and pats her shoulder reassuringly.

CLAIRE
He's doing fine.

HELEN
I don't know. He just doesn't relate well to kids his age. His teacher told me that he sits alone at lunch. It's not good for him to be so alienated.

CLAIRE
Well, he's okay now.
(laughs)
Just wait till he's a teen. Then he'll feel really different!

UNDERWATER VIEW (as before) of blood in water. VO: HELEN and CLAIRE laugh.

FADE OUT



EXT. CAMPSITE - NIGHT

Sam, Kristin, BEN, JEFF, STEVIE, and others are sitting around the campfire roasting hot dogs and talking. The mothers sit at the picnic table nearby.

JEFF
I felt it comin' - I knew I was gonna blast it man!

Jeff swings an imaginary bat and makes an explosion sound.

BEN
Stevie almost had it...

STEVIE
The sun was in my eyes!

All the children except Sam, who is distracted, laugh. The children's continuing dialogue becomes background noise. The campfire seen as REFLECTION in Sam's eyes.

Sam's POV: Kristin, seen through the flames, holds a hot dog over the fire. She is Sam's age, her most notable attributes her bright blonde hair and a natural serenity unusual in some one of her age.

She catches Sam's stare, and he looks down, embarrassed. She smiles.

BEN
And then Sam hit that one way out in left field.
(beat)
Sam?

SAM
Huh?

Several of the children, including Chris, giggle.

CHRIS
You gonna eat that hot dog?

Sam pulls his neglected hot dog from the fire. It is charred black. The other children laugh again. Kristin looks embarrassed. Sam puts the hot dog in a bun and holds it up as if making a toast. This is the most social we have seen him, but the moments doesn't last long. Within seconds, Sam is again lost in thought.

STEVIE (O.C.)
Look, fireflies!

All of the children except Sam and Kristin (O.C.) hurriedly stand and run off to play. A few seconds later, KRISTIN sits down beside him.

KRISTIN
(re: burned hot dog)
Are you really gonna eat that?

Sam glances at the abandoned mess and laughs slightly.

SAM
Maybe.

KRISTIN
You know, you can get another one.

SAM
It's okay.

KRISTIN
What happened to your hand?

A pause as SAM decides how much to tell her. The only noise is the CRACKLING of the campfire. After a moment, he looks around to be sure no one else is listening.


SAM
(softly)
Have you ever...

He exhales in frustration. He seems to know what he wants to say, but the proper words are obviously eluding him.

SAM (CONT'D.)
....I don't know, I - I see things sometimes...in my head...when I'm awake.

Kristin leans forward, obviously interested.

KRISTIN
Like daydreams?

SAM
(adamantly)
No...real things.

KRISTIN
What kinds of things?

Sam shakes his head slowly and sadly. He is obviously not going to answer.

KRISTIN (CONT'D.)
Do you have bad dreams? I used to have nightmares a lot.

SAM
I don't know.

KRISTIN waits for more. Sam is visibly uncomfortable with this topic, but he's gone this far. There's really no point is stopping now.

SAM (CONT'D.)
I don't ever remember my dreams.

KRISTIN
Maybe you don't have any.

SAM
No, I do...I just don't know what they are.

CUT TO: Children chasing fireflies, the lake (in FG) reflecting the full moon.

FADE OUT