alright, this is actually a screenplay i had to write for class, and i've never done screenplay writing before. obviously. there's all sorts of things wrong with this, because i'm still stuck in a fiction frame of mind, but i figured i'd leave it as it is for you guys, becuase you're fiction-based as well. if i were serious about this, i'd streamline the narrative so it's not so heavy and ponderous, and less me telling actors what they should be doing and just giving them the set and dialogue and letting them go at it as they will.

the formatting isn't correct either, as fp won't hold it. just know that FADE IN, FADE OUT, DISSOLVE TO are all meant to be to the right. and dialogue is meant to be in a certain format as well, and i held it the best i could. i'll fiddle with the format for readability's sake.

not actually finished but i really don't think i'm going to go back and add more, so it's finished in that sense. enough for the reader to finally understand the why's. hope you guys enjoy reading this! i got a 91 as a grade, because again, i'm too fiction-based. :laughs: had a guy tell me to my face i almost made him cry, so that's another plus, yah.

tuesday, 4 november, 2008. 12:27 am.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

FADE IN:

EXT. LARGE BODY OF WATER -- DAY.

Nothing is seen but choppy gray waves and gray sky full of steady rain and oppressive clouds. There is little separation between the two.

A YOUNG BOY flounders in the water, waves overtaking his head and causing him to choke.

He goes under.

SOUND: RUSHING BUBBLES AND DULL ROAR OF WATER.

Out of the dull murk of underwater comes a human arm reaching, and the boy makes contact.

-- -- -- --

FADE OUT:

SUPER ON BLACK: SONGBIRD

FADE IN:

-- -- -- --

EXT. HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUS -- MORNING

Children go about their usual morning routines as a TIRED RED CAR pulls into a circular drive and idles.

The car door opens and SEAN BEECHAM emerges from the vehicle, giving a trite nod of acknowledgment to an unheard directive before he steps away from the car and shuts the door.

Sean is about fifteen, and slender in the way of a soccer player, with the same sort of physical cadence to his unobtrusive gait. His dark hair could use a trim.

The car drives away as he walks over the lawn and through the pocked crowd of students awaiting the morning bell, entering through a SET OF DOUBLE DOORS.

-- -- -- --

INT. CLASSROOM -- DAY

Sean sits in a right-handed desk in the middle of a full classroom. He is left-handed, and frowns with absent concentration at what appears to be laborious note-taking.

His attention is broken by MRS. MASON, a young literature instructor.

MRS. MASON (O.S.)
Sean!

Sean looks up, obviously startled.

Mrs. Mason is in her mid-twenties with a pleasant demeanor, even if she is a bit plain in appearance and dress. There is a hint of a Northeastern tone to her voice.

MRS. MASON
(laughingly)
Didn't your mother ever tell you your face will stick that way?
(a beat)
You get a face like that and I just might think you've got
something against Steinbeck, and my feelings are rather fragile.

His face clears as he offers an apologetic smile, receiving a charming smile in return before Mrs. Mason turns her attention back to the class as a whole.

Sean looks back at his paper.

INSERT: ALONG THE TOP MARGIN OF HIS SCRIBBLED NOTES IS A CARTOON DEPICTION OF A SONGBIRD HUDDLED AWAY FROM A GROUP OF OTHER BIRDS, DARKLY-PENCILED MUSIC NOTES SPILLING FROM THEIR OPEN BEAKS.

He looks out the window, the sound of Mrs. Mason's voice fading to a faint ebbing noise, not unlike the sound of being underwater.

-- -- -- --

INT. PSYCHIATRIST OFFICE -- AFTERNOON

The office is homey to the point of artificiality, chairs and desk positioned just so, and bookshelves full but overly tidy.

Sean sits in a black cushioned chair and stares at an invisible object on the work-cluttered desk, his backpack stacked beneath the chair.

Behind the desk sits DR. HARPJAW, a fifty-ish man with a quiet way of sitting and speaking gained through the years of his profession. He has an unobtrusive comb-over.

SOUND: MUTED TICKING OF A CLOCK.

Dr. Harpjaw's slight shift of position gives away his intention to speak moments before he does.

DR. HARPJAW
Last session, you mentioned birds, Sean. Something about birds singing. . . .Care to elaborate?

Sean's eyes flick to him, but he says nothing for a long while, chewing on a the side of his thumb.

SEAN
Well, it's me, 'ent it?

He fidgets, but Dr. Harpjaw waits him out.

SEAN (CONT'D)
(grudgingly)
I'm the one don't sing.

DR. HARPJAW
You call it singing, the ability--the will--to talk. Singing.
(a beat)
Singing is a voluntary action-- people choose whether or not to sing.
Funny that you should choose that term, a songbird, in reference to yourself.

Sean is obviously uncomfortable, fidgeting in his chair. His hair falls into his eyes with the movements and he allows it to do so.

There is a moment of loaded silence before it is broken by Dr. Harpjaw, voice brighter than before.

DR. HARPJAW
Well, you think on it. For next time.
(a beat)
. . .It's ok, Sean, you can run away if that's what
you really feel like you need to do.

There is no hesitation as Sean gives silent acknowledgment before getting from his chair and bolting towards the door, backpack in hand.

-- -- -- --

INT. HALLWAY

SERIES OF SHOTS:

1. Sean walks quickly down the hallway.
2. A man steps into an elevator and pushes a button.
3. Sean slings the bag straps around both arms, securing it upon his back. His steps quicken to the point of near-sprint, broken by restraint.

Sean's broken steps are at their height as he heads for a door marked with a black and white sign that read "Stairs."

Just before reaching that door, elevator doors open to his right and the man steps out and into his path, the two of them experiencing a dancing near-miss.

MAN
Hey, watch it, you jerk!

Sean is running outright now, but sends an open-palm over his shoulder in silent apology before hitting the stairway door.

-- -- -- --

INT. STAIRWELL

Sean's right hand skims beige walls as he rapidly descends the cement steps with tapping footfalls.

-- -- -- --

EXT. SUBURBAN BUSINESS STREET -- AFTERNOON

There is little foot traffic walking the sidewalks lining the street, but cars pass to-and-fro on a fairly regular basis.

Sean walks at a sedate pace, apparently lost in his own thoughts.

A quaint NEIGHBORHOOD PARK approaches on the right. Near the sidewalk but facing away from the street, there is A MAN sitting on a bench, watching BIRDS.

The man is unaware of Sean passing by, as is Sean unaware of the man.

SHOT: A MASS OF BIRDS SUDDENLY FLIES INTO THE AIR.

Sean passes on unaware in the background. The man watches not the rising birds, but the few dotting the ground, those that chose to remain.

-- -- -- --

INT. THE BEECHAM LIVING ROOM -- EVENING

More a den than living room, the space is square and filled with heavy furniture. The walls are covered by dark, fake wood paneling that creeps halfway up the wall before it's met by nondescript wallpaper.

Family portraits dot the walls, but they are few and rather old.

THE TELEVISION plays a war movie in black and white and low volume, and is the only source of light beyond the yellow glow of a dusty floor lamp hidden in one corner.

MRS. BEECHAM sits beneath the lamplight, intently reading from a cheap romance novel. Her hair is darkly blonde and falls over her shoulder in a straight river. She is clean and put-together, but seems somewhat tired.

MR. BEECHAM is absorbed in the movie, and slouched upon the sofa, seeming to take up most of its space. He is absurdly thin with lank, black hair and an angular face.

SOUND: A DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS. THE METAL LOCK RATTLES BRIEFLY BEFORE FOOTSTEPS ANNOUNCE SEAN'S ARRIVAL.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Beecham look up as Sean enters the doorway into the living room.

MR. BEECHAM
Back from that Dr. Harvensham's?

Sean gives a blank nod.

MRS. BEECHAM
(absently)
Dr. Harper, Adam. He sees a Dr. Harper once a week, you'd
think you'd remember the man's name.

MR. BEECHAM
Maybe I'll start to remember when Sean gives up this act of his.
(to Sean)
You hear me? . . .I know you do.

Sean nods.

As soon as Mr. Beecham's attention is back on the film, Sean enters a nearby HALLWAY.

He passes a scant row of school portraits that come to an abrupt end about halfway down the hall.

SOUND: THE FAINT NOISE OF THE TELEVISION FADES INTO A MUTED, DULL ROAR THAT STRENGTHENS RATHER SUDDENLY.

-- -- -- --

EXT. SHORELINE -- DAY (FLASHBACK)

A TEEN stands on a sandy shore, sweater rain-drenched from shoulders to waist, and his heavy jeans from knees down to where his feet disappear into the surf.

His features are indiscernible from the distance, but his hair appears dark despite being wet, and his hands are cupped around his mouth.

He yells against the rain and wind, but the noise of the storm and waves drown him out completely.

-- -- -- --

INT. HALLWAY

Sean passes through a door, closing it behind him.

Just across from his door is another, closed and obviously unused. A faded, childish plaque is set off-center on its surface, reading, "Dustin."

-- -- -- --

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. DR. HARPJAW'S OFFICE -- AFTERNOON

There has not much changed in the office, except that the desk is free of clutter, and some of the books on the shelves appear to have been recently riffled through or rearranged.

Dr. Harpjaw is wearing a pair of rimless glasses. They cause his head to bob slightly every time he changes his line of sight near or far. He writes on a yellow paralegal pad.

Sean is again seated in the black cushioned chair, but his bag is in his lap, his hands fiddling with zippers and straps as he allows his bored gaze to wander.

It is obvious they have been this way for some time.

Sean is unwilling to break the silence.

SEAN
I sing. . .in my head, sometimes.

He has Dr. Harpjaw's sudden, undivided attention.

DR. HARPJAW
I see. Any songs in particular?

SEAN
Just things. Sometimes. . .something called THE LIGHTHOUSE'S TALE.

His fidgeting has become more pronounced, his visual attention fully arrested by the restless movements.

Dr. Harpjaw awaits further explanation, but there isn't one.

DR. HARPJAW
And what would that one be about? Something nautical, perhaps?
I'm sorry to admit that I'm not quite familiar with it, myself.

SEAN
(low)
A lighthouse has a keeper, and the keeper's love dies against the
rocks in a storm. . . .So the keeper throws himself off the lighthouse.

There is a moment of quiet, Dr. Harpjaw's gaze discreetly intrusive, intense behind his glasses.

DR. HARPJAW
It's the Lighthouse's Tale. So, what happens to the lighthouse?

Sean's gaze is distant at a non-existing point the wall.

SEAN
It's left behind.

DR. HARPJAW
And that bothers you.

Sean is startled into looking at the psychologist. He is obviously confused and on the spot.

DR. HARPJAW (CONT'D)
No, hear me out on this one. You say this song, this one in particular, runs through
your head. You mentally sing this song, it pervades your thoughts.
(a beat)
You took the words to tell me this song--your words.
The most precious commodity you still possess, Sean, or so you feel.

SHOT: SEAN'S DISTRESSED THREE-QUARTER PROFILE.

DR. HARPJAW (CONT'D)
This song is about a lighthouse. An inanimate object. Objects are left behind
all the time, yet they don't feel.
(a beat)
You project this feeling of being left behind, abandonment, onto the lighthouse.
. . .You don't want to be abandoned, do you, Sean?

Sean hugs his bag to his chest and looks at the floor.

A long moment of silence is broken by a faint chime, and Sean is to his feet and out the door before he can be verbally dismissed.

Dr. Harpjaw stews over the day's developments.

INSERT: HIS PARTING NOTE READS:

"Subject of Dustin continues to fester. Further evidence of a correlation between Brother and Not-Talking."

-- -- -- --

EXT. SURBURBAN BUSINESS STREET -- AFTERNOON

Sean walks at a fast clip down the street, shoulders hunched as his hands hold fast to the shoulder straps of his bag. He sees nothing but the sidewalk before his feet.

-- -- -- --

INT. BEECHAM HOME -- AFTERNOON

The house is quiet as Sean lets himself through the front door, pocketing a metal key and dropping his bag by a closet door just inside.

He moves into the LIVING ROOM and then into the hall.

-- -- -- --

HALLWAY

Looking down the long, dark hall, there is a moment of vertigo.

SUPER IMAGE: BREAKING WAVES BRIEFLY APPEAR AT THE END OF THE HALL.

Sean uses his right hand to keep himself grounded as he walks down the hall, stopping outside his door. His hand rests upon the knob, but he is looking instead at the door opposite.

There is dust on the door, but the knob appears to have been recently handled, free of dust and shiny in the dim lighting.

Sean lets go of his door and steps across to the other, hesitating only slightly before reaching out and turning the doorknob.

He opens the door into DUSTIN'S ROOM and steps just inside.

-- -- -- --

DUSTIN'S ROOM

The floor is tidy, and the single bed made up, in a manner which seems false for what is obviously a teenager's room.

Slightly outdated rock band posters dot the walls, as well as personal photographs pinned in small clusters here and there. They feature various teenagers, but one in particular: he has dark hair and a full grin.

Sean's eyes take in the bookshelves full of Hardy Boys novels and rock band bios. A black suede leather jacket hangs from one corner of the bookcase.

He walks into the room and touches the jacket, an awed reverence to his actions.

His attentions finally turn to the desk, papers left out and covered in a fine layer of dust, as if cleaned just days prior. A book sits out on top of the papers, cover also thinly covered in dust. It is 10,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.

Sean reaches out and picks it up, thumb riffling careworn pages, mind far away.

-- -- -- --

EXT. SHORELINE -- LATE MORNING (FLASHBACK)

A grinning YOUNG BOY, ten, laboriously clambers barefooted over large, water-misted rocks. A light, red jacket is tied about his middle and flutters in a moderate breeze brought in over the water.

DUSTIN (O.S.)
(laughing)
Sean! . . .God damn it, I told you to wait for me!

SEAN
You take too long!

Dustin comes around a bend in the rock, following a slightly different path, but laboring just as hard as Sean. He does not appear to mind.

Dustin is in his late teens, but has not yet hit his last stage of full growth, his body lean and slightly ungraceful. His clothing seems somewhat inappropriate--long-sleeved sweater and dark, heavy denim pants. He is also barefoot.

DUSTIN
Oi, you! Hold up, Sean, I mean it! Mom and Dad put me in charge of you,
so don't you run off and get your fool self dashed on the damn rocks!

Sean dutifully waits, staring out at the water with one hand shielded over his eyes.

SEAN
(over the wind)
I ain't stupid, you know!

Dustin chuckles and finally catches up, ruffling Sean's hair.

DUSTIN
I know, little songbird. Even sharper than me when I was your age.
. . .'Course, I didn't have a great older brother to show me the ropes none, either!

Sean glows under the praise, despite the teasing jibe.

The brothers make their way from the rocks to the sandy shore, a lone pile of shoes and socks sitting beside a small backpack on the sand.

Dustin walks over and plops down on the sand, reaching for a book partially hidden inside the bag. It is 10,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.

He begins to read while Sean ambles over to the water, soaking the bottoms of his pants with childish abandon.

Sean steals glances back at Dustin from time to time, edging further out into the water as he amuses himself.

SOUND: WAVES BREAK UPON THE SAND, STEADILY GROWING STRONGER.

Dustin looks up from his book as it begins to rain. Sean is nowhere to be seen.

Frowning, he looks around while putting his book aside, getting to his feet as his frown intensifies.

SOUND: FROM OUT IN THE WATER COMES A DISTANT CRY.

Dustin spots a flash of red before it disappears in the rolling gate of the waves.

Moving quickly, he wades into the water, yelling Sean's name in hopes that he'll hear an answer, but his words are ripped away too quickly for him to hear Sean at all.

He discards his sweater and wades fully into the choppy water before diving below and resurfacing, fighting the waves as he moves out towards where Sean was spotted last.

There are continuous flashes of red and pale face below stark black hair, but by the time Dustin arrives, Sean is gone.

He dives.

Sean is sinking.

Dustin reaches out one arm into the growing darkness.

The boys connect, and Dustin hauls them both upward, breathing through the surface and gasping air.

Dustin has to yell into the boy's ear to make himself heard.

DUSTIN
Swim for shore, Sean! God damn it, swim!

Sean flounders, but manages to locate the shoreline and paddle in that direction, swimming attempts pathetic.

Dustin slips under the waves and comes up choking, but follows Sean's form. He is tiring.

DUSTIN
Keep swimming, songbird! You swim, and don't you look back!
I'll meet you on shore--you guide us there. You hear me? Swim!

Sean struggles, but makes his way to shore, flopping onto the sand. Waves wash up over him, but he appears oblivious, exhaustion set in.

It is some time before he thinks to look for Dustin, but he is alone, waves crashing and beating upon the shore and the rain still pouring down.

Sean waits for some time, but Dustin is gone.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

A/N: END. that song, Lighthouse's Tale, is real by the way. i got it from a friend just days before i wrote this and it turned out to have the perfect sentiment i was looking for, so i had to include it. if it were a real movie, i'd add it as the first song that plays during the end credits, or maybe during the beginning or something. who knows. hope you guys don't hate me for ending it where i did, but i had a page limit and i've tried to go back and write more, but i'm unsure where to go from there. if i do ever finish it, i'll post it, that i can promise.