A/N: Here is my first post on this site. I hope you enjoy it, and drop me a review if you think there could be any improvements.
FADE IN ON:
The motionless form of a WOMAN in bed. The camera begins far off enough to merely see her shape silhouetted against the early morning sun streaming through her window.
The camera begins to MOVE SOWLY TOWARDS HER. It tightens on her well-manicured toes, resting on sheets with a high thread count.
It continues, slow, as music begins to pick up—something with violins and tinkling piano—and as it continues along her calves and thighs it becomes apparent that this is not the ugliest young, wealthy woman in the world.
The camera continues past her torso and shoulders to her neck.
The camera STOPS. For her neck is ringed with fingerprints of strangulation—
This woman has been murdered.
CUT SHARPLY TO
Her frozen face, eyes still wide and glassy.
CUT EQUALLY SHARPLY TO
Her red, red fingernails, still clutching the sheets.
The back of her head, sunlight just beginning to pour over her curls.
Her mouth, still open from her last gasp, looking surprised in the grim way the dead often do.
Her wide, still eyes yet again, closer this time, as the music shrieks as loudly as it can get without getting painful—
--It becomes painful as it shrieks even more—
CUT TO BLACK
--And it's out.
Room for everyone to breathe.
(a deep, impersonal voice)
A suspicious string of murders plagued the city.
However, Nanette paid them little mind.
The music starts again, simply tinkling piano and a calmer violin.
NANETTE. One of the few smart and friendly and effervescent people in the world. Her looks are dark, but her smile is bright, and everything about her is in such order—
She walks along a red carpet, flashbulbs bright in the night, inky sky highlighting the sparkle of her jewelry.
Nanette Winters was not an irresponsible person. She always made sure to lock the door. She returned phone calls promptly. Her nails were always trimmed, and her shoes never failed to match whatever she was wearing. She was not overly concerned with beauty, and preferred to hone her mind by reading no fewer than four newspapers every Sunday and drank tea in preparation for Monday nights, when she gave her weekly speech to an auditorium filled with socialites, fascinated and not so.
Nanette's back, a shape in front of a large theater, the sound of applause nearing that of the continuing tinkle of piano and violin.
That made it ever the more odd when Nanette Winters stepped onto the stage to find that she was without words.
Nanette's face, that wonderfully made up face, with the most terrified blank look you ever saw in your life.
THE SOUND OF FLASHBLUBS BECOMES DEFENING
The dead woman, but there's something wrong—
Close, on her face again, now, her eyes bug, her breath RATTLES with effort—
CREDITS COME TO AN END
Nanette, shell-shocked and wearing a large pair of sunglasses, makes her way through a sea of reporters to a limo with it's door open for her.
Before climbing in, she pauses, takes off the sunglasses for a moment, and, mouth open, stares at the crowd.
Their shouts and calls of her name accompany the music and the flashbulbs, but tinkling piano is still at the forefront. Thick bodyguards have to hold some of the most ambitious ones back.
Nanette turns, replaces her glasses, enters the car.
INT. BEDROOM—WANING LIGHT
The dead woman's face, mouth still open, is now craggy with shadow, and yellow caution tape cuts across the view.
The limo door closes slowly on Nanette.
The reporters quiet a little, and the tinkling piano recaptures the sound.
A sun-drenched villa harboring WALTER REINS, early thirties but trying to look old. Dressed in a light suit that would suit a man with more of a tan, Walter is sweaty, unkempt, and absolutely comfortable. If anything, he looks a little jaded.
Nanette, sitting across from him at an artsy wire table, looks amazing, in her silk bathrobe, not a curl out of place and just the right shade of lipstick for ten in the morning.
So I hear you've not yet been murdered.
(confused for a moment)
You heard… correctly.
Correct, "you heard correct."
I don't think it's –
Walter interrupts by pulling out a cigarette and lighter and lighting up.
I also heard – hear – that you've given up on the high life.
Walter sharply exhales. He puts his feet up on the table.
So the rumors are true.
I believe the only prudent course is to abandon that which has failed me – my pathetic mind – and seek solace that in which I have not yet attempted.
(she pauses, doesn't want to say this)
I've heard… I've heard you're a criminal. And I… I have not yet… attempted being a criminal.
There is another pause, as Walter leans back in his chair, manages to look down at her.
So you're saying that Walter, Walter Reins, namely, me, should take time out of his life to help you kill people?
He leans in close again, chair SCREECHING AGAINST THE STONE.
I've got guys lining up down the block to work with me. And you think my pity vote should go with you?
I don't want to kill anyone.
There is a pause, indignant on Nanette's part and aghast on Walter's.
He is up and leaving the villa in an instant, not bothering to push in his chair.
Nanette scrambles to get up herself, stepping lightly in bare feet.
I can't leave the house—
(a receding back)
Don't you have servants or something?
Nanette pauses, a realization—she does.
INT. WALTER'S CAR—DAY
Walter's car is huge, an ancient thing strewn with papers and food wrappers.
Nanette shoves a pile of said shit off of the passenger seat onto the floor, clumsily crawling in, now dressed, whilst Walter treats the car like the junk bucket it is, slamming the door and jamming the key into the ignition.
(to her slowness)
Come on! I'm a busy guy, busy guy.
He guns the gas to urge her to hurry up.
She shoves her way in (it becomes noticeable that she's taller than he is) and holds her purse on her lap, as though she were on the subway.
Neither one bothers with a seatbelt.
Okay, class, today's lesson is on the seven deadly sins.
Walter takes off his sunglasses and holds up the CAUTION tape for Nanette to climb underneath.
They cross the room to the sun-dappled bed, curtain still half-open, the body gone.
Are we supposed to be here?
Walter merely gives her a look in response.
This is what we call a theme killer. Each victim symbolizes some part of an… a message that the killer wants to impart upon their audience.
It's like TV.
Except no one watches.
Nanette runs her hand down the silky curtain, face half in shadow.
What did she represent?
How do you know it's a woman?
(he thinks for a second)
No, it's probably a woman.
He begins fussing with different parts of the crime scene; leaving enough evidence and destroying even more.
Aren't you afraid they'll catch you?
Okay. A real criminal doesn't worry about those things, okay? And if the cops were good enough that I could get caught for rearranging a bit of furniture, then this clown would be in a prison cell right now. All right?
(more to himself)
Nanette turns back to the window, squinting into the sun.
He wouldn't have chosen her if he thought he'd get caught.
Maybe she's his former flame.
Walter, who has been peering under the bed, snaps back into view, sunglasses falling off of his face.
Okay. Okay. A real criminal does not choose victims because they fucked. Okay? A real criminal kills people because he fucking enjoys killing people.
He presses himself flat to the ground, looking under the bed again.
If you get off on violence, you are not a killer.
He climbs to his feet and smoothes his suit back into place, greasy hair unchanged.
That is a rapist with a pussy.
Nanette wrinkles her nose, but does not turn away from the window. She instead turns her head slightly to the side, getting the view from the vantage point in the bed.
In other words, she is reliving the murdered woman's last moments.
CUT SHARPLY TO
The woman's last breath, the frame suddenly gray and close on her red mouth.
CUT BACK TO
Nanette's head is frozen, half-bent, staring out of the window, tears almost in her eyes—
Walter stomps out his cigarette on the carpet, ash burning little bits of it.
She turns to him, rocks back and forth a little on her heels.
I'm not a real criminal.
Walter crosses the room, entering the pouring sunlight, and takes her left hand, gentle.
She has an ENOURMOUS ENGAGEMENT RING.
He pulls her by the hand, over to the bed.
He puppets her so she pats the blankets and sheets, runs her hand up and down them.
Finally, he forces her hand into a karate chop of the CAUTION tape.
He lets her go and half-runs for the door.
Nanette backs away, following him, breaking into a run herself.
Nanette watches openmouthed as Walter lights another cigarette.
Those kill you, you know.
Walter says nothing, only starts the car.
I did a speech on it once.
That was clearly lust.
The BODY we were just looking at!
There was no dead body…
Were you looking or conceptualizing?
He holds up a hand—don't answer that.
See this is what separates the real guys from those criminals who just occasionally happen upon a person that they want to kill—this was not personal.
So this guy… he-he just decided to kill her? Like that?
Just like that. See the sheets?
Nanette shakes her head, the look of a scared small child on her face.
Rich person sheets. Clean. She was in bed alone. But—
He leans in, to give this meaning—
She was still a slut.
EXT. FRONT WITH VIEW OF CAR—DAY
The crookedness of Walter's parking becomes apparent as he starts up the car and zooms off, the camera slowly turning to show the large house they've just exited, turrets and porch ominous in the morning light, pitiful CAUTION tape laced about the front, low enough to jump over.
The camera travels across the suburban landscape, following Walter's car through the maze of upper-class extravagance, the green trees stark against the plain sky, cloudless this early.
Nanette stares at her hands tight on her lap, convinced that if she sits absolutely still she'll somehow not be here right now.
Walter, sunglasses on and cigarette dangling from the side of his mouth, runs a grimy hand through his greasy hair and exhales gruffly.
Ah! Here we are.
EXT. VIEW OF THE HOUSE—DAY
They pull up to a house only marginally different than the one they've just left. Different color, slightly different design—
But the same forboding look and ribbons of police tape.
Nanette and Walter exit the car; he with glee, she with visible disgust. She is the one who pauses to squint up to the top of the house, where a BROKEN ATTIC WINDOW glares down at them.
(proud and a little bit scared she's noticed)
Walter turns to face her, whipping off the glasses.
That's part of it! Don't—don't ruin the fucking surprise, man!
INT. GRAND HALLWAY—DARK
Nanette and Walter tiptoe through a cavernous hall, filled with dusty photos framed on the wall, purposely antiquated lamps on the striped wallpaper.
The carpet muffles their footfalls and their very breathing becomes audible in the quiet dark, drapes over windows.
The woman's last breath, eardrum shattering in its raspiness—
INT. DINING ROOM—DARK
Only a small amount of light filters through the doorway at the far end of the room, away from where Nan and Walter enter.
A magestic dining room table sits at the center, marred only by more CAUTION tape and a smudged chalk outline of a decently hefty human frame.
He saunters over, arms behind his back, stringy hair falling into his face.
I'm sorry, but what is your name?
Right, right—Nan Winters, blah, blah speeches and stuff, right? That whole shit circus?
I wouldn't call it that—
But it is.
He looks up at her, eyes visible over his sunglasses.