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abe
by dennis dockum (darkhousedockum69@gmail.com)

Rated: R   Genre: Drama   User Review:
NOT YET
RATED

A young man's life hangs in the balance...will the horrors of his past be enough to save him?


This screenplay is copyrighted to it's author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used in whole, in part, or reproduced without the expressed written permission of the author.



ABE

FADE IN:

EXT. RURAL STATE HIGHWAY (PRESENT DAY) - NIGHT
                                                            
Gusting wind and rain pummel a LIGHT BLUE, '59 BUICK ELECTRA
as it speeds below Spanish moss laden tree limbs. The car's
RADIO turns on, adjusts through stations, and stops on the
news.
                                                            
SUPER - LOUISIANA'S, WEST FELICIANA PARISH - SEPT. 9TH,1965
                                                            
                       RADIO (VO)
      (muted)
As hurricane Betsy barrels down on
the Louisiana coast this evening,
President Johnson expresses words
of hope to residents of south
Florida who were left reeling from
yesterday's, record high, winds.
Survivors search among...
                                                            
The station is changed, passes through STATIC, and settles
on Louis Armstrong's, "THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET", which
grows louder as the vehicle nears.
                                                            
In a LIGHTNING FLASH, the raised chrome emblem ELECTRA
glistens along with a small dealership sticker - "LAFAYETTE
AUTOMOTIVE - Pierre Part".
                                                            
 
INT. '59 BUICK - NIGHT
                                                            
The WINDSHIELD WIPERS keep time with the MUSIC.
                                                            
An unidentifiable male driver, dressed in a black overcoat
and fedora, removes a LARGE MANILA ENVELOPE bearing the
LOUISIANA STATE EMBLEM from the dash and places it in his
lap.
                                                            
The man guickly WIPES condensation from the windshield with
a handkerchief, removes a cigarette pack from his coat
pocket, and DEPRESSES the vehicle's lighter. FISHING for a
cigarette, he finds the pack empty, and throws it to the
floor in frustration as the lighter POPS out.
                                                            
A LEATHER DUFFEL BAG props up an opened LOUISIANA STATE road
map in the passenger seat, and the man runs his finger along
a HIGHWAY LINE and pauses as a distant LIGHTNING FLASH
produces temporary radio STATIC.
                                                            

2.

The man glances at his WRISTWATCH which shows 9:35 and
snatches up the map. PRESSING it against the steering wheel,
he scans it briefly, and ACCELERATES into the storm.
                                                            
                       DRIVER (40's)
A n g o l a - highway sixty
six...the road should be right
here!
                                                            
Rain intensifies.
                                                            
                       DRIVER (cont.)
      (paniced)
G O D...there's no time for this!
Please, where are the signs...?
                                                            
The windshield suddenly SHATTERS as a large tree limb SLAMS
into it and slides off the side of the vehicle with a loud
REEEEK.
                                                            
A HIGHWAY INTERSECTION SIGN flashes past in the headlights
showing a barely visible 66 marking. The man BRAKES hard and
the vehicle HYDROPLANES onto the shoulder.
                                                            
A LIGHTNING STRIKE illuminates a DARK FIGURE standing at
roadside; it's arm extended for a ride. Shocked, the driver
attempts to swerve.
                                                            
Swatting the map away, the driver fights to regain control
as the vehicle SAILS across the ditch, CRASHES through thick
underbrush, and IMPACTS a large tree with a LOUD METALLIC
CRUNCH.
                                                            
BEAT
                                                            
The interior lights FLICKER due to a flung open passenger
door. As the rain POURS in, the man, now slumped in the
seat, watches through closing eyes as the tossed LEATHER
DUFFEL BAG'S content of SMALL LEATHER BOOKS spill to the
floor board.
                                                            
The FADING MUSIC plays on as the engine struggles for life.
A DROP OF BLOOD forms at the corner of the man's mouth and
slowly drips, splattering directly on the map's SYMBOL for
the Angola State Prison.
                                                            
 
EXT. '59 MANGLED BUICK ELECTRA - NIGHT
                                                            
ROADSIDE FIGURE'S POV
                                                            
Steam rises from under the buckled hood as the engine
COUGHS, BACKFIRES, and dies.
                                                            

3.

The MUSIC plays softly as the distinctive sound of RAINDROPS
fall on the vehicles metal panels.
                                                            
The Figure peers through the driver's side window. A RAGGED
SLEEVE wipes the rain from the glass and a DARK HAND tugs
the door open with a GRINDING METALLIC SCREEEK. The MANILA
ENVELOPE FALLS to the ground unnoticed beside DARK SANDLED
FEET.
                                                            
The MUSIC slowly dies as the vehicle's interior lights grow
dimmer and go out.
                                                            
The man is slumped over the map which is turning crimson
red, his now still FINGER'S reach for the scattered BOOKS.
The Figure removes a SMALL LEATHER BAG from beneath it's
shawl, digs MOSS from it, and a NEGRO HAND tucks it into the
driver's mouth.
                                                            
PAGES of the books FLUTTER in the WIND showing them to be
HANDWRITTEN DIARIES.
                                                            
The Figure rushes to the opposite side of the vehicle and
frantically begins placing the diaries back into the LEATHER
DUFFEL BAG.
                                                            
The storm intensifies with increased LIGHTNING and THUNDER .
                                                            
Some 30 yards away, a vehicle SLIDES to a stop on the
highway's shoulder. A man jumps out, SLAMS the vehicles
door, and starts toward the wreck as he holds his hat on
from the DRIVING RAIN.
                                                            
                       CONCERNED MOTORIST
      (yells)
Hey! Is anyone hurt out there?
                                                            
Startled, the Figure straightens, tucks the DUFFEL beneath
it's shawl, and backs into the underbrush.
                                                            
                       CONCERNED MOTORIST (cont)
      (Hollering back
       toward his car)
Go for help doll...I'll stay to
help!
                                                            
The man's wife, who sits behind a partially opened side
window, hesitantly shifts across the seat and SPEEDS away.
                                                            
 

4.

EXT. ANGOLA STATE PRISON - NIGHT
                                                            
Beneath a DOWNPOUR the whitewashed walls of the prison glow
sporadically as the multitude of security lights flicker.
MEDIA persons huddle beneath poncho's and umbrellas.
                                                            
SUPER - ANGOLA STATE PRISON
                                                            
 
INT. ABE'S DEATH ROW PRISON CELL - NIGHT
                                                            
In the dark prison, the sound of RAPID HEAVY BREATHING can
be heard over the STORM, muffled now by thick prison walls.
                                                            
A lone overhead light FLICKERS on to illuminate the starkly
furnished prison cell. To one side sits a steel bed frame
with a thin, bare, down matress, and next to it, a stainless
steel sink and toilet; its rim supporting the bald and
sweaty head of a restless sleeping prisoner.
                                                            
With knees drawn to his chest, and backed against the wall,
Abe(23), sits among his bed linen.
                                                            
 
INT. ADJACENT DEATH ROW CELL - NIGHT
                                                            
A shirtless and heavily tattoed prisoner, SKINNER (30's),
lies on his bed, emotionless, staring at the ceiling.
                                                            
RAPID HEAVY BREATHING from Abe (OS) shakes Skinner from his
trance, and rolling to his feet; he saunders to the cell
bars, as close as he can get to Abe.
                                                            
                       PRISONER SKINNER
Lis'n - you gonna be alright?
                                                            
BEAT
                                                            
Not receiving a response Skinner grabs two bars, forces his
face between them, and continues...
                                                            
                       PRISONER SKINNER (cont.)
      (louder)
Come on Abe...we've been through
this before - take a few deep
breaths before you pass out - now
talk to me!
                                                            
A guard walks up to Abe's cell and Skinner returns to his
bunk.
                                                            
 

5.

INT. ABE'S PRISON CELL - NIGHT
                                                            
THOMPSON (40's), the Sargent of the Guard, stands, burly and
smirking, just outside the cell. Removing his billy-club he
drags it CLATTERING along the cell bars.
                                                            
Abe stirs GRUNTING, adjusts himself, and moves his head to
place it between his drawn-up knees. Again the CLATTER
sounds and demands his attention.
                                                            
ABE'S POV
                                                            
The SHARP CRACK of a direct lightning strike resonates
through the prison and Abe jumps.
                                                            
                       THOMPSON
      (Smugly)
On your feet 1200!
                                                            
As Abe straightens his gaunt frame stiffly, a SMALL BOOK
falls from his breast pocket and lands among the bed linens.
Squatting, he fingers sleep residue from his eyes as he
retrieves the book, and with trembling hands, returns it to
his breast pocket next to a serial number of 1200.
                                                            
                       THOMPSON (cont.)
What'ave you got against bed's
twelve hundred?
                                                            
END ABE'S POV
                                                            
Abe stares at Thompson coldly.
                                                            
                       THOMPSON (cont.)
You act like your scared of'um or
sumpthin.
                                                            
Thompson spits CHEW into the bed linens and Abe drops his
head, noticing where the CHEW landed.
                                                            
                       THOMPSON (cont.)
How you been sleep'in on these
concrete floors I'll never
understand.
                                                            
                       PRISONER SKINNER (OS)
He won't talk 'bout it, and hell -
he don't sleep!
                                                            
                       THOMPSON
      (without turning)
Shut your suck hole Skinner!
                                                            

6.

                       THOMPSON (cont.)
      (to Abe)
In exactly 3 hours killer, you'll
never have to worry 'bout sleep'n
again anyways...my suggestion to
you is - spend your time wisely
and be makin plans with your
maker.
                                                            
Thompson glances at his WRISTWATCH which shows 7:00.
                                                            
                       THOMPSON (cont.)
Let's say two hours and forty five
minutes, since HE (motioning
above) was so kind as to send you
to me with no hair.
                                                            
Thompson turns to walk away but pauses.
                                                            
                       THOMPSON (cont.)
Ya know, I've actually always
enjoyed shav'in that little spot
on top of ya'll's heads. There's
just somethin' bout tak'in the
last remain'in dignity away from
scum like you! It helps make my
job worth while...so for that, I
recon' I'll just have to have 'em
roast you a little hotter!
                                                            
With a cruel LAUGH, Thompson walks away, leaving Abe in deep
thought.
                                                            
                       PRISONER SKINNER (OS)
      (quietly)
Where your go'in sure's as hell's
better'n this God forsaken place.
                                                            
                       ABE
Won't be soon enough niether.
                                                            
Abe retreats to his corner, kicks the soiled bed linens to
the side, and resumes his previous position. Straining weary
eyes toward a over-sized CLOCK, prominently hung above the
entry door at the end of the hall, he drops his face between
his knees.
                                                            
MONTAGE
                                                            
... the CLOCK becomes a SUN setting at the end of the long
HALL as it transforms into a DIRT ROAD which stretches
toward the horizon.
                                                            

7.

END MONTAGE
                                                            
 
EXT. BRUSSARD SUGAR PLANTATION (DREAM SEQUENCE) - NIGHT
                                                            
Flanking the road, sugar cane fields sprawl into the
distance where a large Antebellum home glows white in the
failing light.
                                                            
The home and it's wide columned porches is set high atop
large brick arches that line the front of an above ground
basement.
                                                            
Aside from the scattering of birds in the azaleas all is
eerily quiet.
                                                            
SUPER - ASSUMPTION PARISH, LOUISIANA 1948
                                                            
Where a long driveway meets a dirt road, a hand painted SIGN
reads: "BRUSSARD PLANTATION the Sweeter Side of Life."
                                                            
Dying rays of sunlight trigger a kaleidoscope of colors in
the western sky, and for a brief moment, silhouette the
house and the massive oaks that surround it. Darkness
prevails, as the SINGING of tree-frogs and katydids grows
louder until the landscape turns completely black.
                                                            
 
INT. ABE'S BOYHOOD BEDROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Muffled NIGHT SOUNDS are heard outside a window through
which the glow of a harvest moon bathes the tanned FACE of a
young, dark haired, cajun boy.
                                                            
Nearby a screech owl CALLS.
                                                            
Abe (6) lies stiff in his bed, arms stretched at each side.
As his small fists clutch the blankets, his troubled face
twitches in R.E.M. sleep as his BREATHING intensifies.
                                                            
 
INT. ABE'S DREAM - NIGHT
                                                            
In darkness a woman GROANS in travail.
                                                            
A white ceramic single bulb ceiling fixture is switched on
by a pull string.
                                                            
A small smiling DOLL, tied at the neck, dangles from the
pull string.
                                                            

8.

In a dimly lit dirt cellar a woman with the face of a deer
struggles to give birth and SCREEMS OUT in pain as the child
slides onto the dirt floor covered in afterbirth.
                                                            
CHILD'S POV
                                                            
In a whirl of out-of-focus activity the FACE of a negro
woman appears and begins chanting an unintelligable HAITIAN
prayer.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (OS)
Abe - ABE - ABE !
                                                            
 
INT. ABE'S BEDROOM - DAY
                                                            
Abe, shaken awake, looks up to see Clara leaning over him.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (60's)
      (overbearing)
Your going to be late for school;
now get up!
                                                            
Drowsy, Abe sits up, as Clara peels away his blankets.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (cont)
Get up from that bed and dress!
                                                            
                       ABE
Yes ma'am.
                                                            
Dogs BARK (OS).
                                                            
Abe, in underwear, pulls on clothes as he watches, through
the window, his step-dad, FRANK (30's),in the yard below.
                                                            
Frank leads two hyperactive BARKING doberman's in a tight
circle, teasing them with a tassle at the end of a stick.
                                                            
                       ABE (cont)
May I see momma before school?
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
She's waiting for you at the
table.
                                                            
Abe quickly dresses and grabs his school books. Starting for
the door, Clara stops him by motioning toward the unmade
bed. Reluctant, Abe drops his books and straightens the
blankets.
                                                            

9.

                       AUNT CLARA (cont)
And don't forget to brush your
teeth!
                                                            
 
INT. DINING ROOM. - DAY
                                                            
Abe runs into the room where IDA (20's) an attractive, dark
complected, but sickly young woman sits at the family table.
She clutches a small brown bag in both hands and stares
blankly through a nearby window.
                                                            
                       ABE
Momma - momma!
                                                            
Ida sweeps dark hair from her face and turns with a smile.
                                                            
                       IDA (20's)
      (weakly)
Hi baby!
                                                            
Ida slowly stands, as Abe, with wet, slicked down hair jumps
into her arms. GROANING from the impact, she gives him a
hug, fine tunes his hair, and sits as she pulls him to her.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont)
How's my little prince this
morning?
                                                            
                       ABE
      (shrugging)
O.k., I guess. There's no
breakfast?
                                                            
                       IDA
You guess? - Bad dreams again huh?
                                                            
Abe nods against his mother's bosom as Clara appears with
his books.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
You left your books in the
bathroom.
                                                            
Ida looks up at Clara with indifference.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (cont)
Frank'll be in here in a minute
because he's just put the dogs up.
He'd (motions at Abe) best be
getting to school. SAMUEL fixed
the bike and left it leaning at
the bottom of the front steps.
                                                            

10.

                       ABE
      (thoughtful)
"Books hold the promise of
knowledge...and are a...a nail in
the coffin of the unlearned!"
                                                            
                       IDA
Now, where'd you hear that?
                                                            
                       ABE
Frank.
                                                            
Clara disappears into the wash-room and reappears with a mop
and bucket and heads to the kitchen.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (OS)
He's coming up the back steps
right now.
                                                            
Ida quickly hugs Abe goodbye and stands slowly.
                                                            
                       IDA
There was no breakfast fixed this
morning, but here's your lunch,
and something for this morning.
Now hurry along - you've got time
if you ride fast!
                                                            
Abe glances toward the back door, picks up his books and
runs for the front. Pausing, he runs back to his mother,
gives her a kiss on the cheek, and runs back to the front
door, exiting just as Frank enters. Ida looks relieved and
turns toward the kitchen.
                                                            
 
EXT. BRUSSARD PLANTATION HOME - DAY
                                                            
Abe quietly shuts the large stained glass door and crosses
the wide board porch quickly before jumping every other step
on the way to the bottom.
                                                            
                       ABE
2, 4, 6, 8, 10 ...
                                                            
Abe puts his books into the wire basket on the front of his
mothers large red bike, climbs on, and strains the bike into
motion.
                                                            
 
EXT. ROAD TO SCHOOL - DAY
                                                            
The plantation buzzes with activity. Large wooden trailers,
some pulled by horses and some by tractors carry BLACK

11.

workers and their loads of sugar cane around the large
fields. Several WHITE sharecroppers adamantly discuss issues
but turn and wave as Abe rides past.
                                                            
Abe approaches a horse drawn wagon which carries a young
black friend, a boy no older than himself who smiles a huge
smile and waves.
                                                            
                       TYRONE (6)
      (excitedly)
Mo'nin Abe!
                                                            
Abe smiling, waves back and in passing notices that the
wagon is driven by his longtime BLACK friend, SAMUEL (30's).
                                                            
                       ABE
      (to Tyrone)
See ya after school!
                                                            
                       TYRONE
      (to Abe)
If'n I don't gotta work I will!
                                                            
Next to Tyrone sits his dad along with six other black
passengers who carry hoes and sickles. Tyrones's dad shakes
his head and a look of disappointment crosses Tyrone's face.
                                                            
Samuel turns as Abe cycles up next to the wagon and smiles.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Morn'n runt!
                                                            
                       ABE
Good morn'in!
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Yo runn'in a mite behind aint'cha.
                                                            
Samuel takes out a POCKET WATCH, and glances at it.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
You'd best be paddl'in faster if
your gonna make it by the bell!
                                                            
                       ABE
Ya take me fish'in if I make it?
                                                            
Samuel smiles a TOOTHY smile, and nods in agreement.
                                                            
                       ABE (cont.)
Deal - See ya after school!
                                                            

12.

Abe gives a thumbs up and speeds ahead of the wagon as
Samuel pulls it into a cane field.
                                                            
 
EXT. BAYOU BANK - DAY
                                                            
Under Samuel's guidance Abe baits a hook and casts into the
dark water. Samuel pulls up a string of catfish, checks it
and lowers it back. Sitting down, he pulls a jerky piece
from his shirt pocket, snaps it in half, and hands part to
Abe.
                                                            
                       ABE
Thanks!
                                                            
Abe sticks the bit of jerky in his pocket.
                                                            
As the two watch the BOBBER a dragon-fly lands on it causing
a small ripple. Suddenly a large fish grabs the bug in a
SILVERY FLASH and disappears with a SPLASH.
                                                            
                       ABE
Man!
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
My! Now dat was somethin'!
                                                            
                       ABE
Yes it was!
                                                            
Suddenly the BOBBER drops from sight and Abe forcefully sets
the hook.
                                                            
                       ABE
Hey - Hey, I got another!
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Yep, an' it looks like a biggy!
                                                            
Samuel gets up smiling and stands behind Abe, instructing as
Abe yanks on the pole.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Lordy - stop dat! You done set the
hook, now jus' reel him in nice an
slow...let 'im tire out!
                                                            
Abe struggles to hold the pole.
                                                            
                       ABE
      (game-faced)
He's tired me out...I can't hold
him no longer!
                                                            

13.

A tug from the fish yanks the pole into the water and Abe
and Samuel both land on top of it.
                                                            
The two WRESTLE for the pole in the knee deep water. Abe
goes under and Samuel instantly reaches for him, lifting him
clear of the water by the back of his trousers. SPITTING
water, Abe reels as fast as he can.
                                                            
MOMENTS LATER
                                                            
Over a large pail, Samuel removes four catfish from a
stringer and places them in. The two look at each other's
MUDDY CLOTHES and bust out LAUGHING.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (smiling)
Well...was it was worth it?
                                                            
BIG EYED, Abe nods as Samuel squats and lifts the last
remaining fish, a very LARGE BASS, and lowers it into the
pail.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Yeah it was...he's gonna make for
some good eat'in!
                                                            
                       ABE
Now that's the way to finish off a
fishing trip! I can't wait to show
momma!
                                                            
Samuel strips off his boots, and in ONE sock, empties the
water from them.
                                                            
                       ABE
Where's your sock?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Right here on my foot!
                                                            
Samuel pulls his boots back on.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
She'll sure be proud a you!
                                                            
Samuel, with pail in hand, and Abe, with the pole, head into
the woods toward home.
                                                            
 
EXT. WOODS - DAY
                                                            
Abe, using the pole's handle as a gun, SHOOTS at imaginary
targets in the trees, and pauses.
                                                            

14.

                       ABE
Was my real pa a bonifide war
hero?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Sho' was...captu'ed 22 Germans
single-handed 'fore he was...
                                                            
Samuel turns to look at Abe but he is gone.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
...captured.
                                                            
Setting the pail down, Samuel scans the surrounding
undergrowth.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Abe!
                                                            
Suddenly Abe leaps from behind a large stump brandishing his
pole gun.
                                                            
                       ABE
Pow Pow Pow! Your dead!
                                                            
Samuel GASPS, and GROANS in mock pain, holding his chest.
                                                            
                       ABE
I shot you in the leg!
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (grabbing his leg)
Oh! Dat's even worse...now I hav'
to be yo' pris'ner!
                                                            
                       ABE
Is that how pa did it?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Somethin' like dat runt. Lord...I
thought a gator done got ya!
                                                            
Satisfied, Abe smiles as the two walk on. Passing an old
BRUSSARD family cemetery, Abe switches sides away from it.
Samuel smiles and puts his arm around Abe's shoulder. Dark
clouds move across the evening sun and Samuel looks up,
studying the sky.
                                                            
                       ABE
Since pa was a war hero, why
wasn't he allowed to come home?
                                                            

15.

A light rain begins to fall as the two exit the tree-line
into the edge of the fields.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Sometimes heros don't come home...
Now hurry on or yo' books is gonna
be soaked!
                                                            
 
EXT. EDGE OF CANE FIELD - DAY
                                                            
With the rain falling harder, Samuel heaves the pail of fish
into the back of a wagon. Climbing into the seat, he pulls
his hat low over his eyes.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Give me them books and get on to
the house! The bottoms fix'in to
drop out!
                                                            
Thunder RUMBLES and wind gusts FLUTTER the cane leaves as
Abe stops the bike and passes his books off to Samuel.
Samuel places them under a tarp while the DING DING DING of
a dinner bell sounds in the distance.
                                                            
 
INT. BRUSSARD PLANTATION HOME (FOYER) - DAY
                                                            
Abe steps into the foyer, quietly shuts the door behind
himself, and listens.
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
Ida, it's your place to know the
whereabouts of that boy! We're
eating without him!
                                                            
                       IDA (OS)
Frank...the rain would not have
slowed him down that much - he
should've been home long ago.
Please, just let me go and look
for him!
                                                            
Abe eases toward the dining room.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (OS)
I've not seen Samuel this
afternoon either - I'd say they're
both together.
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
If that boy has gone fishing again
without asking, he's had it.
                                                            

16.

Abe backs into a hall tree loaded with overcoats and
umbrellas and sends it CRASHING to the floor.
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
Boy - is that you in there?
                                                            
 
INT. DINING ROOM - DAY
                                                            
Abe, soaked and muddy, slips into the dining room to face
the dark and brooding Frank(30's), who throws down his
napkin and stands.
                                                            
Ida, seeing Abe, also stands.
                                                            
                       IDA
Abraham Massey Pearson - where
have you be...
                                                            
Without taking his eyes off of Abe, Frank explodes.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Sit down!
                                                            
Ida and Abe both drop immediately, and Clara, who jumps,
spills water on herself.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Not you boy - get on your feet!
                                                            
Clara dabs at her blouse with a napkin and attempts to break
the tension.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
Let's get you cleaned up! You
can't eat look'in like that!
                                                            
Clara, gets up and escorts Abe by the sleeve toward the
washroom. In passing, Frank grabs Abe's arm forcefully.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Clara...I'm not done - I want to
know where he's been!
                                                            
                       ABE
      (stammering)
I...I was run late by the storm -
sir.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Three hours late!
                                                            
Abe stares at the floor.
                                                            

17.

                       FRANK (cont.)
You were fish'in again, were you
not?
                                                            
Abe, grimacing from pain, remains unresponsive.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Well, I see you don't want to talk
and that's fine! I've got ways to
fix that.
                                                            
Ida, visibly disturbed, places her hand on Frank's shoulder
to stay him.
                                                            
                       IDA
Frank - your hurting his arm!
                                                            
Frank, flush faced from anger, shoves Abe away forcefully.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Get out of my sight! I've told you
before about being late.
                                                            
Clara continues with Abe to the washroom as Ida pushes her
bowl away, and shoves back from the table in disgust.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Clara!
                                                            
Frank glances at Ida and scoffs...
                                                            
                       FRANK
The bouillabaisse not setting
well, dear?
                                                            
Ida stares away with her jaws clenched.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
      (reappearing)
Sir?
                                                            
                       FRANK
Bath, chores, homework - nothing
else.
                                                            
Ida stands.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
Yes sir.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Sit!
                                                            

18.

                       IDA
Frank, please...he needs to eat.
                                                            
                       FRANK
I - said - sit down!
                                                            
Reluctantly, Ida sits as Frank takes a huge bite.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (over a full mouth)
The next time he sits at my table
he'll be on time...and bathed!
                                                            
 
INT. SCREENED PORCH - NIGHT
                                                            
Blues music plays (OS) as a ceiling fan SPINS lazily
overhead.
                                                            
A gas wall lantern illuminates a corner where Frank sits
holding a smoldering pipe. Beside him, a small table holds a
bottle of rum, a half empty shot glass, a pack of St. James
Perique tobacco, and a box of matches.
                                                            
(OS) A door SLAMS shut and Frank stirs.
                                                            
Abe, bear-hugging a large metal trash can, waddles across
the porch to an adjacent screened door, struggles through
it, and falls down the outside steps with a LOUD CLATTER
followed by SILENCE.
                                                            
Frank takes a long drag on his pipe, slowly exhales, and
UNSTEADILY gets to his feet.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Useless kid.
                                                            
 
EXT. BACK YARD - NIGHT
                                                            
Abe gets up slowly and wipes garbage from his pajamas. The
can lies at the end of a long trail of garbage that begins
halfway up the steps.
                                                            
Abe hears a SCREECH and notices Frank's silhouette in the
screened door above.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (slurred)
That was very graceful! Since
you're still alive, feed the dogs
while your down there!
                                                            

19.

                       ABE
      (in obvious pain)
Yes, sir.
                                                            
 
EXT. GARDEN SHED/DOG PEN - NIGHT
                                                            
Abe, distancing himself from the pen, jumps when Frank's two
former police service dobermans BONNIE and SKUNK attack
their fence in a barrage of BARKING and teeth baring.
                                                            
 
INT. GARDEN SHED - NIGHT
                                                            
Abe enters the dark shed, waving both hands overhead for the
light string until he pulls it. The single light bulb comes
on for only a split second and then BLOWS. A bled-out,
bulge-eyed deer hangs from the rafters only feet away.
                                                            
Abe, GASPS and runs from the shed directly into the arms of
Samuel.
                                                            
BREATHING HEAVILY, Abe YELLS as he fights to get away.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Hey - It's me - Sam. It's alright,
It's alright!
                                                            
(OS) a drunk Frank can be heard SINGING loudly and
unintelligibly along with the faint MUSIC.
                                                            
Abe stops CRYING to listen.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
...drunk again...what a fine
example.
                                                            
                       ABE
      (sniffling)
He scares me...and you stink!
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
I clean'd dem fish - an you ain't
smell'in too good yourself!
                                                            
SAMUEL pauses and SNIFFS the air.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Sump'n like lavender and chik'in
gizza'ds.
                                                            

20.

                       ABE
I got stink'in garbage on me when
I fell down the steps.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
You hurt? That what you be carry'n
on about?
                                                            
                       ABE
I got spooked get'in dog food.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
List'n - You get on back to da
house. I'll feed dem dogs and get
yo' books to ya, just soon as he (
motions toward Frank )settles on
in.
                                                            
Samuel pats Abe on the back.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
See ya in a bit...and lis'n - go
in 'round front.
                                                            
 
EXT. FRONT PORCH - NIGHT
                                                            
On the dark porch, Abe peers through the stained glass door
as he shakes the knob. Finding the door locked and seeing
neither Clara or his mother, he turns and leaves.
                                                            
 
EXT. SIDE OF HOUSE - NIGHT
                                                            
As Frank SINGS upstairs, Abe searches for an alternate
entrance on the home's lower level. Finding the back doors
secured, he starts to leave but pauses at a small,
boarded-over window.
                                                            
Quickly removing the boards, Abe peers into the dark
interior, hesitantly slips through the opening, and drops
from sight.
                                                            
 
INT. BASEMENT ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Abe pauses in the darkness. As his eyes adjust, he slowly
proceeds across the room, bumping his head on a SMALL
SMILING DOLL which now swings at the end of a light's pull
string behind him.
                                                            
Abe's BREATHING is heavy and nervous.
                                                            

21.

Spooked, Abe backs against an OLD IRON BED. Feeling his way
around it, he quickly proceeds toward a barely visible door
at the opposite end of the room and PULLS the door inward.
                                                            
Filtered light cast through cracks in the boards of the
house's main floor above, reveal a floor to ceiling wall of
boxes that conceal the door from the other side.
                                                            
 
INT. BASEMENT CORRIDOR - NIGHT
                                                            
In the filtered light, a stack of boxes slowly begin to
move. Several scoot to the side as a small arm appears from
behind them. Abe squeezes into view and quickly makes his
way to a door at the top of a staircase.
                                                            
After listening intently for a moment, he brushes cobwebs
from his face and pushes the door slightly open.
                                                            
                       IDA (OS)
Abe - if your still out there you
need to come on in the house!
                                                            
Abe, seeing nobody, steps into the foyer.
                                                            
 
INT. ABE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Abe, unaware that he is being watched,sits cross legged
under his bed covers with a flashlight. A bit of jerky hangs
from his mouth as he looks at a crayola drawing of a room
with a bed, cobwebs, and small window in it. Picking up a
broken pencil he writes,"THE SECRET ROOM IN THE BASEMENT".
                                                            
INSERT- (POV) OF PERSON IN ROOM
                                                            
The person eases toward Abe's silhouette and reaches out.
                                                            
BACK TO SCENE
                                                            
Suddenly Abe's tent shakes as someone grabs his shoulder.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (voice quivering)
Abe, honey - I was worried about
you! I didn't see you come up. May
I come in?
                                                            
Abe lifts the covers allowing Ida to poke her head under.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
Are you o.k.?
                                                            

22.

Abe nods "yes" without looking up as he chews.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
Frank just blurted out something
about you falling down the back
steps. Are you alright?
                                                            
Abe nods yes.
                                                            
                       IDA
Sure?
                                                            
(OS) Frank yells from downstairs.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (drunk)
Ida Faye - where are you?
                                                            
Ida kisses Abe quickly.
                                                            
                       IDA
Love you babe - I...I gotta go!
                                                            
Disturbed by Abe's quiet demeanor, Ida slowly disappears
from below the blankets and rushes from the room.
                                                            
                       IDA (OS)
I'm here, what is it?
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
Get down here and find me the crop
report that came in yesterday!
                                                            
Sound of STEPS descending the staircase.
                                                            
Abe slips from his blankets, quickly tacks his latest
picture to the wall among others, and runs back to bed.
Pulling the covers up around himself he closes his eyes.
                                                            
                       IDA (OS)
I'll find it...I'm sure it's
lying...
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
      (yelling)
I've told you before to put those
on top of my desk you damn whore!
                                                            
 
INT. FRANKS'S OFFICE - NIGHT
                                                            
Frank's radio plays softly.
                                                            

23.

By the light of a desk lamp Frank, with glasses propped at
the end of his nose, mulls over the latest crop report dated
1947. Shaking his head, he sets the report down and REMOVES
the entire file from the drawer and accidently SPILLS them
at his feet.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Damn!
                                                            
Bending over he begins to GATHER the reports when he fixates
on one in particular. Picking it up he reads silently.
                                                            
INSERT - CROP REPORT
                                                            
Year 1940: LOYAL and IDA FAYE PEARSON - YIELD 52 TONS...
                                                            
Thoughtfully, Frank leans back in his chair. After a moment,
he wads up the report and throws it in a wire waste basket.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Good ridence, old friend!
                                                            
Frank picks up his rum bottle, pours himself a shot and
toasts an invisible Loyal in the trash can as he CHUCKLES.
                                                            
                       FRANK
To the victor goes the spoils!
                                                            
Frank downs the shot, slams the glass on the desk, and
smiles up at the LARGE PORTRAIT OF IDA hung between his
taxidermy's.
                                                            
 
INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Ida lies in the fetal position deep in thought as a breeze
stirs the sheer white curtains next to the bed. Closing her
eyes, her mind wanders to happier times...
                                                            
BEGIN DREAM SEQUENCE
                                                            
 
INT. IDA AND LOYAL HOMEPLACE - BEDROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Ida lies in the fetal position, but feeling the bed move,
rolls over as a smile crosses her face. Loyal (20's), clad
in pajama bottoms, climbs onto the bed on all fours and
straddles her. Touching noses, they smile at each other as
Ida begins unbuttoning her nightgown.
                                                            
The moonlight reflects from a simple silver WEDDING BAND on
Ida's finger.
                                                            

24.

                       IDA
      (playfully)
Get those things off!
                                                            
                       LOYAL
You first!
                                                            
Loyal flips the covers over them and the two roll, kissing
passionately...
                                                            
LATER
                                                            
Ida, looking worried, lies with her head on Loyal's chest.
                                                            
                       IDA
What are you thinking, darling?
                                                            
                       LOYAL
'bout the war...and you after I'm
gone - I mean...there's Sam,
but...
                                                            
                       IDA
      (sitting up)
Why can't you just tell'm your
married...and...and that your
sharecropping a farm! Besides
that...we're struggling Loyal - I
can't make it here without
you...and...and...I love you!
                                                            
Loyal runs his fingers through Ida's hair and pulls her to
him.
                                                            
                       LOYAL
And I love you too babe; but, I've
already told them all of
that...and more, but it's all just
a bunch of excuses to them.
They're sayin a big push will be
made into central Europe soon, and
they're going to need every able
body they can get.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (inspired)
Then that means me too...I'm able-
bodied - I could go with you!
                                                            
Loyal shifts onto his side and looks down into Ida's eyes
and smiles boyishly as he runs his fingers from her navel to
her breasts.
                                                            

25.

                       LOYAL
That you are; but, I don't think
so!
                                                            
                       IDA
      (enlightened)
Or maybe we could just run from
this place and start ove...
                                                            
                       LOYAL
The truck's broke down, we're
surrounded by millions of acres of
cane fields, surrounded by even
more acres of swamps...we'd fare
better 'gainst the Germans than
what lies out there!
                                                            
Ida rolls to her side, unable to look at Loyal as tears form
in her eyes.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (tearfully)
Loyal, if something happens to you
- why...I'll go mad!
                                                            
                       LOYAL
If somethin happens to me take
whatever Frank'll give you for the
crop followin' harvest lest the
rent, an get the hell out'ta this
place!
                                                            
END OF DREAM SEQUENCE
                                                            
Suddenly the bed moves. Ida turns and Loyal is gone.
                                                            
A hand is placed over Ida's mouth tearing her from the
memories. Frank stands over her and in a panic she pulls the
blankets up and around herself.
                                                            
The moonlight reflects from a large carat diamond RING on
Ida's finger.
                                                            
                       FRANK
You were talking in your sleep
again!
                                                            
Ida stares up at Frank in wide-eyed fear.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Loyal, Loyal, Loyal...you just
can't let him go can you? Well -
maybe this'll help!
                                                            

26.

Frank rips the covers from Ida and begins unfastening his
belt as Ida struggles in vain to free herself.
                                                            
                       FRANK
If I hadn't of took you in you'd
have nothing you ungrateful...
                                                            
Ida squirms and bites the hand over her mouth and Frank
draws back and slaps her.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (defiant)
You may be able to take my body,
but, you'll never have my heart!
You coaxed me into marrage, took
my crops, and gave me
nothing...and knowing I was
pregnant!
                                                            
Frank drops a forearm over Ida's throat, choking her as his
pants fall to the floor.
                                                            
                       FRANK
You were the prettiest thing
around...
                                                            
 
INT. ABE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Abe is awakened by a scream and sits straight up. Quickly he
crawls to the edge of his bed, raises his window, and looks
down. He realizes that the screams are coming from his
mother's bedroom window below.
                                                            
Frantic, Abe runs to his door. Opening it, he finds Samuel
with his school books in-hand. Samuel grabs Abe who is
intent on going to his mother's aid, and shuffles him back
into the bedroom.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Calm down! Yo' stayin' right here
wit' me!
                                                            
                       ABE
He's hurting her! He's hurting
her!
                                                            
ABE breaks down in tears.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
List'n...you go runnin' off down
there right now, things'll only
get worse!
                                                            

27.

                       ABE
      (pleading)
Then do something!
                                                            
Samuel picks Abe up, shuts the window, and tucks him back
into bed before retrieving his books from the floor.
                                                            
Samuel sits on the bed beside Abe.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Where's your flashlight?
                                                            
Abe reaches below his pillow and pulls out the light along
with several crayons which he tucks back.
                                                            
                       ABE
Where we goin?
                                                            
Samuel takes the flashlight and turns it on.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
We goin' to...
                                                            
Abe is wide-eyed in anticipation.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
      (grinning)
...get yo' homework done; now
which subject first?
                                                            
Abe, disappointed picks up his Grammar and Spelling book as
Samuel sharpens a pencil with his pocket knife so that the
shavings fall into breast pocket of his coveralls.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
I knew it...I think someday yo'
gonna be some kind'a famous
write'a...an get rich, maybe...
                                                            
Smiling, Samuel hands Abe the pencil.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
If'n you do...don't fo'get who
use'a sharp'n yo' pencils!
                                                            
                       ABE
O.k.
                                                            
There is TAPPING at the window as several large moths dance
in the beam of the flashlight. Abe, broken pencil in hand,
leans back against Samuel and opens a notebook.
                                                            
 

28.

INT. ABE'S BEDROOM - DAY
                                                            
All is still and Abe lies sleeping, sprawled across his
books. The door to his room opens and Clara enters singing
Frances R. Havergal's, "Welcome, Happy Morning", casualy as
Abe stirs.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
Frank's dropping you off at school
this morning, so don't dilly dally
around and make him late. Your
clothes are layed out on the
bureau.
                                                            
ABE rubs his eyes, sits up and asks instinctively...
                                                            
                       ABE
Where's mo...
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
She's not feeling well this
morning and will be left alone. Be
at the table in ten minutes!
                                                            
Clara walks out as Abe slides out of bed dazed.
                                                            
 
INT. KITCHEN - DAY
                                                            
Abe sits alone at the table eating so quickly that he
CHOKES. As he GASPS for air Clara walks in from the kitchen
and raises his arm above his head.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
Breathe between bites...now slow
down!
                                                            
A horn HONKS several times outside.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (cont.)
That'll be Frank, you mustn't keep
him waiting!
                                                            
                       ABE
      (garbled)
Where's momma?
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
Don't talk over your food...now
get up!
                                                            
As Abe tries to finish his last bite, Clara pulls his chair
back from the table.
                                                            

29.

                       AUNT CLARA (cont.)
      (scolding)
That's it I said!
                                                            
 
INT. FOYER - DAY
                                                            
Abe, books in hand, hurries toward the front door but pauses
outside the master bedroom, chewing. He starts to knock and
Clara stops him.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
I told you not to bother her;
you'll see her later on.
                                                            
(OS) a HORN HONKS.
                                                            
 
EXT. FRONT PORCH - DAY
                                                            
Abe, disappointed, exits the house as Frank appears from
below the wide steps carrying a folded canvas tarp. He turns
to Clara who now stands at the porch rail.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Clara - I need to see you. Abe get
in the truck!
                                                            
 
INT. FRANKS TRUCK - DAY
                                                            
ABE'S POV
                                                            
Abe climbs into the truck seat noticing the RIFLE in the
rear window and several WOODEN CRATES in the bed of the
truck.
                                                            
Frank's intense conversation with Clara has her head bobbing
in agreement. Motioning toward his and Ida's bedroom window,
Frank shakes his head no and Clara nods her head again.
                                                            
END ABE'S POV
                                                            
Frank turns and walks to the truck, throws the tarp over the
truck bed, and after tying it securely, opens the driver's
door and hops in.
                                                            
Frank SLAMS the door shut and Abe jumps in his seat.
                                                            
 

30.

INT. FRANKS TRUCK (TRAVELING) - DAY
                                                            
As the truck bounces along, Frank thoughtfully watches Abe
who stares ahead emotionless, holding his school books in
his lap. Frank grinds his cigar into the ashtray and shakes
his head in discust.
                                                            
                       FRANK
That's a lot of knowledge you've
got there!
                                                            
ABE'S POV
                                                            
ABE glances at FRANK then looks down at the stack of books
in his lap.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Don't let it slip through your
fingers - grasp on to it.
                                                            
Frank makes a grasping motion with his fist that startles
Abe.
                                                            
Abe thoughtfully studies Frank's face, digests his words,
and then begins studying the truck's DASH. Organized in one
long row are volume after volume of small leather-bound
notebooks covered by a jumble of St. James Perique Tobacco
packs.
                                                            
Outside a large group of BLACK fieldworkers already covered
in sweat and dust clear away with scythes the overgrown ends
of the cane rows and pile the wagons high with the debris.
Abe notices Tyrone working among them.
                                                            
The truck enters woods which soon give way to marsh, swamp,
and a low concrete bridge with a weathered name plate which
reads,"BAYOU BLACKWOOD".
                                                            
The sides of the bridge are nothing more than a concrete
curbing which offers an unobstructed view of the algae
blanketed bayou beyond.
                                                            
As Abe watches, a hawk perched in a nearby cypress tree
devours it's small prey.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
A quiet mouth is a sign of a busy
mind. So...what's going on in
there?
                                                            
Frank reaches across the seat and nudges Abe's shoulder. Abe
recoils, slowly turns, and looks at Frank coldly.
                                                            

31.

                       ABE
      (feeling awkward)
What are all those little books
for?
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (proudly)
In those books I record everything
that happens around here - go
ahead and take a gander.
                                                            
Abe scoots forward in the seat, pulls a volume from it's
place, and flips thru the pages. Fascinated by the
HANDWRITTEN SCRIPT he leans back and studies the pages.
                                                            
Frank puts on his glasses, leans toward Abe and reads...
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
MAY '38 thru AUGUST '38... there
it all is - Every pertinent detail
I needed to remember for that
period...worker's times, crop
health...you name it, it's there!
                                                            
Abe, enlightened, replaces the volume just as the truck
pulls to the front of the school and before it stops, opens
the door, leaps out, and is headed for the school yard.
                                                            
Frank GRINDS the truck into reverse causing the passenger
door to swing wide open with a SQREEK and BACKS up.
                                                            
 
EXT. SCHOOL - DAY
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (fuming)
Boy, I should flog you for
that...I wasn't done with you yet!
                                                            
The school bell RINGS and Frank eyes the school yard and
REVS the motor.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Get over here and shut the door!
                                                            
ABE, now in front of the truck, proceeds toward the open
door; but Frank, using the open door as a battering ram,
RUNS into Abe sending him and his books sprawling in the
dust.
                                                            
LAUGHING loudly, Frank SPEEDS away; leaving Abe to gather
his books in the settling dust.
                                                            

32.

Abe gathers his books and slowly stands, PATTING the dust
from his trousers, and turns toward school.
                                                            
 
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY
                                                            
Abe's substitute teacher,MISS LA FAUCHE (30's), is passing
back tests.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
      (proudly)
Class, Abraham is our new class
leader in grammer and dictation!
                                                            
Several of the children chide,"A B R A H A M", as Miss La
Fouche hands Abe his test.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE (cont.)
Quiet class!
                                                            
As the chiding slowly stops Miss La Fouche returns to her
desk, and after sitting, studies Abe closely.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE (cont.)
      (concerned)
Abe - could I see you at my desk
please.
                                                            
Abe reluctantly rises and walks forward as two boys stare
and SNICKER until Miss La Fouche notices.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE (cont.)
Pick a corner boys...I may be your
substitute teacher; but, you'll
not be unruly in my class!
                                                            
Abe, embarrassed, stops beside the teacher's desk and
fidgets with the desktop as the two unruly boys locate
corners.
                                                            
Miss La Fouche leans toward Abe, noticing now his dusty
clothes and hair.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
      (softly)
Abe would you look at me please?
                                                            
Abe slowly raises TEARY EYES to meet his teachers.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
Are you o.k?
                                                            
Abe looks away at the floor and hesitantly nods.
                                                            
 

33.

EXT. SCHOOLYARD - DAY
                                                            
Abe sits at the edge of the road working on homework. In the
background Miss La Fouche speaks quietly with another
teacher and gestures discreetly in his direction.
                                                            
LATER
                                                            
Abe lays besides his books staring at the late afternoon sky
when he hears the CLIP - CLOP of horses hooves and sits up.
                                                            
Slowly a wagon comes into view; and recognizing Samuel, Abe
jumps to his feet smiling as Samuel pulls the two horses to
a stop.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
      (smiling)
Whoooah - ya think I wa'nt com'in
runt?
                                                            
                       ABE
I didn't know if anyone was
come'in or not - I was 'bout ready
to walk!
                                                            
Samuel extends a hand, pulling Abe into the seat beside him
and hands him the horse's reins.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Wanna drive?
                                                            
                       ABE
      (surprised)
Sure!
                                                            
ABE, serious, sits up straight in the seat and slaps the
reins against the horses necks.
                                                            
 
EXT. WAGON (TRAVELING) - DAY
                                                            
                       ABE
Haw!
                                                            
With a jolt the wagon moves forward and a big smile crosses
Abe's face as Samuel helps turn the wagon towards home.
                                                            
LATER
                                                            
As the wagon moves slowly through darkening woods, Abe gazes
ahead in deep thought and looks up at Samuel.
                                                            

34.

                       ABE
Is Aunt Clara really my aunt?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
No...she's just always been called
that.
                                                            
                       ABE
I sure wish momma could be more
like her sometimes...
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Now, why you go'n say somth'in
like dat? Yo momma's a good woman!
                                                            
                       ABE
'Cause I hardly get to see momma
anymore...
                                                            
The wagon starts across the bridge as the hollow CLOP CLOP
CLOP of the horses hooves resonate below.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
You saw yo' momma dis morn'n
did'nt ya?
                                                            
                       ABE
Naw, just Aunt Clara, an' she said
I couldn't see momma cause'a her
not feel'n well...(beat)... I know
Frank's the reason!
                                                            
Abe looks desperately at Samuel.
                                                            
                       ABE (cont.)
Can't we just leave this place
Sam...you, momma, an me?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Abe! (beat) A woman don't jus' run
off an leave her husband! Such
would be down-right shameful and
your momma - she's an honorable
and God fear'in woman!
                                                            
Samuel pulls the reigns back and stops the wagon.
                                                            
                       ABE
...'sides, Frank would pro'bly
try'n kill all three of us!
                                                            

35.

                       SAMUEL
I's gonna tell you somth'in, never
to repeat - you undastand?
                                                            
Abe nods in anticipation.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Fo' years good folk 'rnd here've
suffered Franks abuse; and fo'
years dose dat spoked of it have
disappeared, never saw or heard
from again...(beat)...now, less'n
you got a damn good plan, dem
kind'a thoughts best be stay'n
behin' yo' lips!
                                                            
                       ABE
They dead...them people?
                                                            
The two horses WHINNY, SNORT, and shift side to side
nervously and Samuel SNAPS the reigns to distract them.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Nobody know - 'cep maybe one, but
I don't put much stock in voodoo.
                                                            
The horses, wild eyed, begin to back up, pushing the wagon
rearward and Samuel SLAPS the reigns against their backs.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Whooa - Whoooa!
                                                            
BUMPING hard against the bridge's curbing, the wagon jolts
and SCOOTS along it before catching traction and rolls over
it. Pieces of concrete are knocked free and are sent
SPLASHING to the dark water below.
                                                            
                       ABE
      (frantic)
SAAAM!
                                                            
 
EXT. BRIDGE - DAY
                                                            
Samuel steadies himself; grabs Abe, and leaps from the
wagon, simultaneously SLAPPING the nearest horse on the
haunches. Spooked, the horses jump forward, CLAMBERING for
traction and slowly pull the wagon back to the road surface.
Samuel steps in quickly and grabs their bridles.
                                                            
                       ABE (cont.)
What's wrong Sam?
                                                            

36.

                       SAMUEL
      (distracted)
CLAUDE - MAXWELL, settle down -
whoa, whoa, whooooa. I recon de
seen somethin'.
                                                            
Samuel calms the horses softly...
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Shuuuuu,shu,shu,shu - what's wrong
wit you two...huh? Ya see'n
boogers?
                                                            
Samuel, feeling patting on his arm, looks down to see Abe
staring wide eyed at the road ahead. Slowly he turns and
catches a glimpse of a ghostlike figure in the fog. Frozen
the two watch as the pale figure slowly draws closer
revealing it's long dark hair.
                                                            
                       ABE
Momma?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (hushed)
Abe, dat's not yo' momma!
                                                            
                       IDA (VO)
      (faint call)
A - b - e...
                                                            
Samuel reaches for Abe, misses, and Abe runs into the fog
toward the figure as it suddenly drops from view.
                                                            
                       ABE (cont.)
      (disappearing in
       fog)
Mommaaaa...!
                                                            
Fighting to locate his mother, Abe futilely slashes at the
fog until he falls exhausted to all fours.
                                                            
Suddenly Abe is swept up by a dark figure.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
I found her, she's over here!
                                                            
Samuel sets Abe down as he drops to his knees next to Ida's
limp body.
                                                            
Dressed only in her night gown which is dark red at the
groin area, Ida mumbles incoherently.
                                                            

37.

                       IDA
Loyal...I...I'm here...I've come
for you...
                                                            
                       ABE
Momma, I'm right here...I'm here!
What's wrong with you momma!
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
She ain't right an she be bleed'n!
We gotta get her to RIGHTEOUS!
                                                            
Samuel lifts Ida's limp body.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
She be burn'in up wit' fever - now
come on an stay close!
                                                            
 
EXT. WAGON (TRAVELING) - NIGHT
                                                            
Sound of RUNNING HORSES BREATHING HEAVILY.
                                                            
The fog clears as Samuel pushes the horses toward the dim
lights of a small dwelling. In the rear of the wagon Abe,
holding his mothers head in his lap, sits among brush
clippings and struggles to steady himself.
                                                            
The wagon pulls to a stop at a cabin, Samuel leaps down, and
lifts Ida from the back with Abe's help.
                                                            
 
EXT. MADAM RIGHTEOUS HOME - NIGHT
                                                            
Crossing the rough board porch, Samuel notices a large
BRUISE on the right side of Ida's face. Suddenly, as though
expecting the visit, the BLACK, MADAM RIGHTEOUS (40's), in a
white flowery dress and headdress, swings the door wide and
ushers them in.
                                                            
The interior of the rustic dwelling is decorated with all
manner of Haitian voodoo paraphernalia.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
      (calmly in Haitian
       Creole)
Yes - lay her in da floor dar'.
                                                            
Righteous points to a candle-lit back room. A beaded curtain
hangs over the door. Turning to Abe, she extends her hand as
Samuel passes with Ida's limp body.
                                                            
Abe notices blood droppings follow his mother.
                                                            

38.

                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
'Ello Abe...won't you come wit'
me.
                                                            
Abe looks up and accepts Righteous's hand.
                                                            
 
INT. ALTER ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Samuel holds Ida and studies a large diameter, and intricate
design, fashioned from what appears to be flour, on the dirt
floor in front of a small, candle lit, shrine of the Virgin
Mary.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
Veve...
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (dusting his hands)
What's dat?
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
      (pointing at
       design)
Dat be a veve to da Loa Ogou
Balanjo who been rile'n me in
visions to dis occasion...now help
me wit' da placin' of Mrs.
Brussard.
                                                            
Righteous grabs Ida's feet, and Samuel helps place her
directly on top of the veve. Righteous steps to the alter,
removes several daisy buds from a small vase, and places
them on Ida's mid-section.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS (cont.)
If de bloom..., she be betta soon.
                                                            
Righteous removes a tiny clay bowl from the alter and begins
outlining Ida's eyes, nose, and mouth with a white paste.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (growing impatient)
I don't be mean'n to interrupt,
but...
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
Den don't... and yes it's
necessary - now off wit' you two -
go on an leave us be!
                                                            
As Righteous pulls Ida's gown up to her waist, Samuel looks
down at Abe, grabs his hand, and leads him from the room.
                                                            
 

39.

INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT
                                                            
Wide-eyed, Abe and Samuel sit at a small table as
unintelligible CHANTING (OS) reaches a fever pitch and then
stops. Suddenly a RUSH of air CLATTERS the beaded curtain.
The candle light glow from the alter room brightens, a
RATTLE is heard,fades, and all is silent.
                                                            
Two dogs begin to BARK in the distance as Abe slides out of
his chair and climbs onto Samuel's lap. A LOW MOAN is heard
from Ida (OS).
                                                            
Abe slides from Samuel's lap and slowly proceeds to the
curtain and peers through.
                                                            
 
INT. ALTER ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Ida, dazed and alone, sits, propped up by one arm, in the
center of the smeared veve. The white circles still cover
her face. Abe enters with Samuel and hurries to his mother's
side. Ida, managing a weak smile, holds the BUDS which are
now full bloom.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (weakly)
What's going on?
                                                            
                       ABE
We...we're at Madam Righteous's
momma. You were real sick so me
and Sam...we brought you here.
                                                            
                       IDA
Help me up, would you boys.
                                                            
Ida notices the fresh flowers she holds as Abe and Samuel
help her to her feet.
                                                            
                       IDA
Where is Righteous?
                                                            
                       ABE
Oh...momma, there was this wind
and a flash of light - and...she
just disappeared!
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS (OS)
Oh mumbo jumbo...I been here.
                                                            
Abe, Samuel, and Ida turn to see Righteous entering through
a previously unseen side door with new candles.
                                                            

40.

                       IDA
      (softly)
Thank you...for whatever you did.
                                                            
Righteous places the fresh candles around the alter.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
I see dat da DAISIES bloom...so
dat is very good!
                                                            
Ida looking puzzled by the comment acknowledges by nodding.
                                                            
                       IDA
Yes...thank you.
                                                            
Samuel steps up to Ida, checks her over with a critical eye
and then looks at Righteous for an answer to the healing.
Righteous shrugs her shoulders at Sam, and as he turns away
winks at Abe.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (to Ida and Abe)
Well I bes' be get'n you two on
home...I'm pray'n Frank ain't back
from New Orleans.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
      (to Abe)
You caught up on yo'r chores son?
                                                            
                       ABE
Yes mamm.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
      (arm around Ida)
Good - now Sam, you take and hide
dis precious soul in de back of
dat wagon.
                                                            
Righteous senses his hesitation.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
Git on now be'fo dat man finds you
here - I'm gonna git you a fish'in
pole.
                                                            
 
EXT. MADAM RIGHTEOUS HOME - WAGON - NIGHT
                                                            
Samuel covers Ida with trimmings from the morning's work and
climbs aboard the wagon.
                                                            

41.

                       SAMUEL
Abe - up front, you're ride'n with
me.
                                                            
Abe climbs onto the wagons bench seat as Righteous hands
Samuel the fishing pole.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
Use yo lantern Sam when ya get to
da main road...jus' like you two
been fish'n.
                                                            
Samuel picks up the reigns, takes one last look at
Righteous, and nods respectfully.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Thank you.
                                                            
Samuel slaps the reigns against the horses' necks and the
wagon lurches forward.
                                                            
 
EXT. WAGON (TRAVELING) - NIGHT
                                                            
The wagon reaches the intersection of the main road and
Samuel quietly pulls the horses to a stop.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Whoooa....
                                                            
Samuel removes a kerosene lantern from below the seat,lights
and hangs it, from a formed hook at the upper end of a
vertically mounted iron rod beside the seat.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Runt lis'n, if Frank stops us...
we been fish'in...got dat? And
Ida...
                                                            
                       IDA
      (muted)
Yes?
                                                            
                       LOYAL
You been out lookin' for us.
                                                            
                       ABE
We didn't do too good.
                                                            
Samuel smiles and once again puts the wagon into motion. The
kerosene lantern sways as shadows dance in the trees.
                                                            

42.

LATER
                                                            
Blinding headlights from the edge of the field flip on and a
vehicle's engine CRANKS.
                                                            
Startled, the horses bolt forward causing the lantern to
crash to the ground in a BURST of flame. Two of the spoked
wooden wheels, now doused in fuel, burn wildly as the
mystery vehicle REVS into pursuit.
                                                            
Samuel holds back forcefully on the reigns attempting to
slow the horses. The force breaks one reign nearly causing
Samuel to fall from the wagon as the horses, now on their
own, race into the darkness.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Get yo'self in the back and hang
on!
                                                            
Abe clambers over the seat and hangs on as Samuel pulls the
wagon's hand brake to no avail. The wagon, SLIDING on the
one wheel, careens into a narrow farm road which dissects
the cane fields, as the vehicle behind them, closes the gap
quickly.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Hol' on tight, were on the old
bayou road - dere'll be stand'in
water!
                                                            
The horses make a sharp turn at full gallop and the wagon
rises onto two wheels. Abe, clutches the back of the seat
with one hand as he desperately reaches for his mother with
the other. Suddenly Samuel is launched forward as the wagon
plows into standing water and stops.
                                                            
As steam rises from the wheels, headlamps turn the corner
behind the wagon. Samuel stands to his feet in knee deep
water.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (talking low)
The water's fine...now ya'll keep
quiet and let me handle this, and
Abe...make sure yo ma's covered!
                                                            
The vehicle, invisable but the headlights, approaches slowly
and stops short of the water. The engine cuts off, idles up,
backfires and is quiet. A door OPENS, SHUTS, and the driver
steps silhouetted in front of the headlamps brandishing a
rifle.
                                                            

43.

The driver walks slowly forward and stops behind the wagon
as Samuel steps up to meet him.
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES (30's)
I'm SGT. YATES with the Assumption
Parish Sheriff's Department -
ya'll some of that rum runnin'
bunch?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (hesitantly)
Why, no sir! We was just on our
way home when yo' lights spooked
da horses.
                                                            
Yates wades to the wagon and removes a flashlight.
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES (cont.)
What's your name sir?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Samuel.
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES
Mind if I take a look Samuel?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
No sir...go right ahead.
                                                            
Yates pushes brambles to the side and shines the flashlight
beam directly into Ida's face.
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES
Oh - I'm sorry ma'am - are...you
here of your own accord?
                                                            
                       IDA
      (shielding her
       eyes)
Yes sir.
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES
      (bewildered)
Well...alright then. There ain't
no law says one can't ride in the
back of a wagon under bushes
dressed in their night clothes if
they so choose.
                                                            
(BEAT)
                                                            

44.

                       SGT. YATES
I arrested a runner this mornin' -
said he lived out this way. The
guys caught him red-handed just as
he got on HWY 1 to New
Orleans...course in a sworn
statement, it was'nt his.
                                                            
Satisfied, Yates replaces his flashlight in his belt.
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES (cont.)
I saw them horses spook the moment
I flipped the headlamps on; that's
why I didn't use the
siren...figured they'd only run
harder! (beat) Boy...now that was
a scene - the fire and all...are
all you folks o.k?
                                                            
Samuel makes adjustments to the rigging and ties the two
broken ends of the reigns together.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
We're fine sir...I just gotta get
us back outta here!
                                                            
                       DISPATCH (VO)
Yates, this is Dispatch, come
in...
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES
Well I sure apologize for the
scare...how bout' I give you a
hand get'n outa there and I'll
follow you home with the
headlamps?
                                                            
                       DISPATCH (VO)
Sargent Yates - come in...
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Naw sir...that won't be
necessary...
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES
Hey, I insist. Least I can do is
shine you some light...just let me
check in with Dispatch - they'll
be thinking I been shot or
something.
                                                            
Yates returns to the squad car as Samuel SIGHS.
                                                            

45.

                       SAMUEL
Well, if dis don't be da gravy on
da biscuit - mo' attention!
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES
      (muffled)
Dispatch...this is Yates...they're
clean.
                                                            
                       IDA
Sam, don't worry about it, just be
sure and stop him short of the
house.
                                                            
The horses act edgy, SNORTING and STOPPING at the water. Abe
turns, and catches a glimpse of movement at the edge of the
cane field.
                                                            
INSERT - PRESENCE IN CANE FIELD'S (POV) OF WAGON
                                                            
The horses SNORT again as Abe, in the wagon seat, eyes the
movement.
                                                            
                       ABE
      (quietly)
Sam - there's something out there!
I saw movement!
                                                            
Samuel swings into the seat and eyes the field as he pulls
the reigns rearward.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Back...back...back
                                                            
The horses slowly begin to push the wagon backward.
                                                            
 
EXT. MAIN ROAD NEAR BRUSSARD PLANTATION DRIVE - NIGHT
                                                            
Samuel stops the wagon and Yates stops behind him, gets out,
and walks up as SAMUEL turns to him.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Sargent - I sho' 'preciate da
escort; we be alright now.
                                                            
Ida sits up, remembers the DAISIES and tucks them into her
hair.
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES
Glad to help...I'd best be going,
my shifts over anyway. Good night
all!
                                                            

46.

                       SAMUEL & ABE
      (in unison)
Good night.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Bye-da-way, sir, dat man you
picked up dis morn'n...
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES
Mr. Brussard?
                                                            
(BEAT)
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (shocked)
Yes sir - ya'll did locked him up,
I hope...
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES
Naw...he posted and walked -
wasn't there maybe two hours!
                                                            
Yates turns and walks toward his car, pauses, and turns.
                                                            
                       SGT. YATES (cont.)
      (shouts back)
The man was damn pissed off 'bout
loosin' his truckload of rum!
                                                            
(BEAT)
                                                            
Samuel, Abe, and Ida sit in the dark, stunned over what
they've just heard, as the squad car TURNS and DRIVES away.
                                                            
                       IDA
He...he's been lying to me - he
said he stop brewing that vile
filth if I'd marry him!
                                                            
 
EXT. BRUSSARD PLANTATION - MAIN DRIVE - NIGHT
                                                            
Ida and Abe, with school books in hand, hurry down the long
drive toward the house. Yate's departing HEADLAMPS
ILLUMINATE the night across the cane fields and suddenly the
muffled CRACK of a distant gunshot is heard.
                                                            
Abe and Ida stop, scan the dark fields where the sound
originated, and notice the light of Yate's headlamps is
gone.
                                                            
                       IDA
Something's happened...come on!
                                                            

47.

The two turn and run as the DAISIES slip from Ida's hair and
drop to the grass at the side of the driveway.
                                                            
 
INT. ABE'S BEDROOM - DAY
                                                            
Abe, already dressed, sits at the edge of his bed writing in
a SMALL BOOK. Exausted, he pushes a small rug to the side
with his foot, lifts a loose floor board, and stashes the
BOOK in the void.
                                                            
(OS) a car door SHUTS and Abe curiously proceeds towards his
bedroom door and opens it as Frank's dogs bark fiercely
behind the house.
                                                            
 
INT. FOYER - DAY
                                                            
Sound of SNORING (OS)
                                                            
Abe stands on the bottom step of the staircase eyeing Clara,
who still wears yesterday's clothes. Sitting straight up,
she sleeps on the davenport. A shadow crosses a front porch
window and is followed by loud KNOCKING on the front door.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (OS)
H e l l o...hello in the house!
                                                            
Clara awakens dazed and disoriented as loud KNOCKING again
permeates the large house.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
A...just, just o n e moment...be
right there!
                                                            
Clara stands, adjusts her skirt, and proceeds to the door.
Opening it she stares, awe-struck, at Lieutenant RALF HUEY
(40's), A consummate southern gentleman, complete in a BLACK
TAILORED SUIT and BLACK FEDORA.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (40's)
      (tips his fedora)
Mornin' Ma'am...I'm Lieutenant
Ralf Huey...a detective with the
Assumption Parish Sheriff's
Office. Are you the woman of the
house?
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
Why yes - well no...I mean no, I'm
not...but can I help you?
                                                            

48.

Abe, curious, eases behind the hall tree next to the
staircase and conceals himself among the overcoats and
umbrellas.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Well...I was really just needing
to ask a few questions.
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
Please detective - come in!
                                                            
Clara, surprised by Frank's presence, politely steps to the
side.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
      (with coffee cup)
Well...what brings you out this
fine morning detective?
                                                            
Huey enters, respectfully removing his fedora, and places it
on the hall tree. Clara shuts the door behind him, and
quickly spruces herself in a foyer mirror.
                                                            
Huey eyes the room.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Oh...just police work sir, and
your name - I don't believe we've
met?
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (extending a hand)
Frank...Frank Brussard.
                                                            
Huey nods thoughtfully as he accepts Frank's RIGHT HAND.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Oh - yes...pleasure to meet
you...I'm detective Ralf Huey with
the Assumption Pari...!
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (feigns concern)
Yes, I heard and I also overheard
you say that you had some
questions, and...that usually
means something's happened.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Well...yes, we lost a deputy
during the night - just up the
road a piece. I thought, given the
vicinity and all that someone here
            (MORE)

49.

                       LT. HUEY (cont'd)
could possibly have...
                                                            
                       FRANK
No...I sure don't recall anything
out of the ordinary - you Clara?
                                                            
Clara shrugs her shoulders and shakes her head.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
And how exactly was it, he was
lost?
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Gunshot to the temple.
                                                            
(BEAT)
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
      (shaking his head)
Well, I just thought I'd
check...(beat)...well listen, if
you all hear of anything, give a
yell would you?
                                                            
Huey nods politely and hands Frank a BUSINESS CARD.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
I appreciate your time...I'd best
be getting along.
                                                            
Huey turns and notices a SHADOW move below the master
bedroom door.
                                                            
Thoughtful he proceeds toward the front door, pauses, and
turns.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
Would you mind if I maybe had a
quick look around?
                                                            
Frank, standing where the Lt. left him, motions to the house
with a sweep of his hand.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (forcing a smile)
Be my guest!
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
I'm sure it won't take long - I've
just got to satisfy the voices in
my head.
                                                            

50.

                       FRANK
I understand completely!
                                                            
Huey walks slowly around the room scrutinizing everything as
he goes.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
You have a very beautiful place
here Mr. Brussard...the mouldings
are absolutely exquisite; and I
really love the...
                                                            
Lt. Huey points at the ornate circular moulding above the
chandelier as Frank fidgets with his empty cup.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Just call me Frank...and
medallion.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
      (confused)
What was that...?
                                                            
(OS) the dogs bark loudly out back.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (motions overhead)
It's called a medallion.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
      (embarrassed)
Oh!...there for a
second...(mutters) Frank
Medalion...
                                                            
Huey inspects an old framed photo of the New Orleans Police
Department and notices FRANK, 10 years younger, with TWO K-9
DOBERMAN PUPS.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (growing impatient)
Listen Lieutenant, if it's a tour
of the house your wanting, maybe I
could schedule you in at a more
convenient time.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
I'm sorry...I'm being rude - I'd
better get on with it, had'nt I?
                                                            
Huey walks slowly past Clara and smiles.
                                                            

51.

                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
How many folks do you have living
here?
                                                            
Huey pauses to admire the ornate staircase handrail and
discreetly winks at Abe who still hides behind the hall
tree.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Myself, my wife, son, and
housekeeper...Clara there.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
      (browsing again)
Your wife and son...are they home?
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (annoyed)
Yes they are, but my wife is sick
in bed, and my son...
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Then may I speak to them...that
killing was within earshot of your
home - it is possible they could
have heard...or even witnessed
something were they here at the
time.
                                                            
Huey glances at Frank who stands frozen in place.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
They were here were they not?
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (controlled)
Yes, they were here...they were.
                                                            
Frank glances at Clara who looks disturbed.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
And specifically what time were
they here?
                                                            
Huey leans into the dark laundry room, turns on the light,
and pauses studying a pail of PINK BUBBLES.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (agitated)
Now that, Lieutenant, I cannot
tell you - and by "that" I
mean...I don't check my family out
in the morning and in at evening!
                                                            

52.

Huey disappears into the laundry.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (OS)
      (muted)
If you were to make an educated
guess, Mr. Brussard...during what
hours would you say your family,
with or without you, were home?
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (thoughtful)
I'd guess them to have been home
after midnight.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (OS)
      (filtered)
Were you not with them when they
came in from wherever they were
after 12 a.m?
                                                            
Frank doesn't answer, but, instead, eyes Ida's dripping wet
and blood stained GOWN held at the end of a broom handle by
Huey.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
Your wife's I presume?
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (shocked)
Yes...I mean, I suppose!
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Midnight...boy,that's an awful
hour for your family to be coming
in from...where was it you said?
                                                            
                       FRANK
I didn't...
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
That's right...you didn't.
Well...I can't help but wonder
their late hour had something to
do with this gown here. I
mean...that's a lot of blood!
Surely they had gone somewhere for
medical attention! I mean, it is a
possibility, don't you think?
                                                            
Frank, looking a little overwhelmed, doesn't answer so Huey
starts to repeat the question...
                                                            

53.

                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
Mr. Brussard...don't you think
it's possi...
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (looses composure)
Yes...yes it's possible - now if
you don't mind, I have a
plantation to run!
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
      (interjecting)
And a sick wife to tend to!
                                                            
Huey replaces the gown.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
Well, I guess I really should be
going - I've held you folks up
quite long enough. And again: if
there's anything...anything you
can think of that might be of use
- please call me.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (swallows a lump)
We'll do.
                                                            
 
EXT. FRONT PORCH - DAY
                                                            
Huey walks down the steps as Frank and Clara follow onto the
porch leaving the door open behind them. On the fifth step
Huey pauses, fishing something from his pocket.
                                                            
                       FRANK
You know Lieutenant, you can't
rule out suicide...
                                                            
Huey bounds back to the top of the stairs and shows Frank
and Clara a POCKET WATCH.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Sgt. Yates was left handed.(beat)
Do either of you recognize this?
It was discovered at the scene.
                                                            
Thoughtfully, Clara shakes her head as Frank scrutinizes the
watch.
                                                            
                       FRANK
That's Samuel's!
                                                            

54.

                       LT. HUEY
Samuel?
                                                            
                       FRANK
Yes - my nigger field
foreman...lives in the barn loft
behind the house here.
                                                            
(OS) the GRANDFATHER CLOCK DONGS 6 am.
                                                            
Huey places the watch back in his pocket and nods
respectfully.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Then I need to see that he gets it
back. Thanks again for your time
folks.
                                                            
 
EXT. CRIME SCENE - ROAD - DAY
                                                            
Several squad cars are parked at road's edge.
                                                            
Abe, on his bicycle, approaches a crime scene roped off from
onlookers. Off the side of the road rests Sgt. Yates
vehicle. Two investigators comb the wreck for clues as Abe
eases along-side the rear squad car, and slides to a stop
when he sees Samuel in the back seat.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (smile's awkwardly)
Howdy runt!
                                                            
                       ABE
Wha...what're you doin' in there,
Sam?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Aw...dis detective here say he
got's a few questions fo' me - I
tol' him I don't got da time ...
                                                            
                       ABE
You don't have the time cause he's
got your watch! I saw him with it
at the house this mornin'.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
He does? Well that explains...
                                                            
                       INVESTIGATOR PETER (OS)
Hey kid, get away from that car!
                                                            

55.

Abe jerks his head up to see the investigator making his way
up from the ditch.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Go on runt - don't worry 'bout me
none.
                                                            
Samuel waves with his hands in handcuffs.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (OS)
Hey, son...
                                                            
Abe turns as the detective approaches.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
...don't I know you?
                                                            
                       ABE
No, sir. I live yonder (pointing).
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
I thought so...and your name would
be...
                                                            
Lt. Huey opens the squad car door allowing Samuel out and
motions for his hands.
                                                            
Samuel raises his cuffs to Lt. Huey who removes them and
tosses them into the car seat.
                                                            
                       ABE
I'll tell you my name when you
give my friend his watch back.
                                                            
Lt. Huey smiles and ruffles Abe's hair as Peter (30's) waits
impatiently for Huey's attention.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
What is it Peter?
                                                            
The investigator holds up a disfigured lead slug.
                                                            
                       INVESTIGATOR PETER (cont.)
Came from above driver's side
visor, right in the corner of the
roof and door frame - looks to be
a .38 caliber.
                                                            
Lt. Huey takes the slug, and bounces it in his palm.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
      (looks at Samuel)
Samuel, do you own a pistol?
                                                            

56.

                       SAMUEL
      (massaging wrists)
No sir officer, I can expla...
                                                            
                       ABE
He doesn't even know how to shoot
one!
                                                            
                       INVESTIGATOR PETER
Shouldn't you be in school or
something, kid?
                                                            
                       ABE
Today's Saturday.
                                                            
Peter looks slapped and glances at Huey who smiles amused.
                                                            
Lt. Huey and the investigator study Abe for a moment and
then the Lt.tosses the slug back.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Get it into evidence, Peter, and
get this mess wrapped up.
                                                            
Peter turns away as Lt. Huey turns to Samuel.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
Did you have anything at all to do
with this?
                                                            
(OS) an engine REVS and pulls under load.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
No sir, I sho' did not!
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Any idea who did?
                                                            
Samuel glances at Abe and lowers his face.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
All's I know is las' night I was
on da other side a dat field
yonder, when, of a sudden, I heard
a gunshot ring out, an look'in
over here I seen headlights
disappear, so spect'in somethin'
was wrong; I run up here fas' as a
jackrabbit an foun' the officer
slumped over da steering wheel.
I...I was so scared all I done was
turn an run like hell!
                                                            

57.

Huey listens intently as Samuel explains and glances at the
approaching vehicle.
                                                            
(OS) the STRAINING ENGINE grows closer.
                                                            
A truck grinds into a higher gear and REVS past towing the
wrecked squad car ; it's bloody windshield shattered where
Sgt. Yate's head slammed against it.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Oh, my Lord!
                                                            
Samuel starts to throw-up.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Boys, get on home - I'll be in
touch...and oh, by the way, I
believe this is yours Samuel!
                                                            
Lt. Huey tosses Samuel's pocket watch to him and he
instinctively catches it in his LEFT hand.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
      (smiles)
South-paw.
                                                            
Samuel, puzzles for a second over the comment and looks at
Abe.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Come on runt - I got work to do!
                                                            
                       ABE
      (to Lt. Huey)
My name's Abe.
                                                            
Lt. Huey watches as the two walk away.
                                                            
 
EXT. THE ROAD HOME - DAY
                                                            
Abe rides his bike along-side Samuel.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
You come to my rescue today, an
fo' that I's grateful - but I'm
fearin' thing's is fixin' to turn
real ugly 'round here!
                                                            
Suddenly, the two stop. Frank leans against a dead tree at
roadside dicing up a cane stalk with his pocket-knife.
Slowly, he looks up, his cold stare piercing them, and a
smirks crosses his face.
                                                            

58.

                       FRANK
You two been out makin' new
friends I see.
                                                            
Abe and Samuel stand frozen in fear as Frank saunters toward
them and stops eye to eye with Samuel.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
You'd do best keep'n your mind on
your work Sam; after all you ain't
nothin' but a damn nigger and best
remember that!
                                                            
                       ABE
      (glaring at Frank)
He isn't a damn nigger, and you'd
do best to keep your hands off my
momma!
                                                            
Frank smacks Abe's face, knocking him from the bicycle, and
instantly Samuel draws back to hit him, but pauses due to
Frank's applying of pressure to the knife blade held against
his neck. As the neckband of Samuel's undershirt grows red
from blood, he rises onto his toes to relieve the pressure.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Get to the house boy.
                                                            
Lifting the bike from atop himself, Abe stands, but doesn't
move.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
I said, get to the house!
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (teeth clinched)
Go on, runt!
                                                            
                       FRANK
Shut up - I give the orders around
here! You would'nt want to die in
front of my boy now would you?
                                                            
Abe backs slowly away from the two then turns and quickly
rides quickly for home.
                                                            
 
INT. PLANTATION HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY
                                                            
Whistling nervously Abe steps into the kitchen and Ida pokes
her head out of the laundry.
                                                            

59.

                       IDA
Hi honey, where've you been?
                                                            
                       ABE
Out there with Sam.
                                                            
Abe runs to his mother, grabbing her around the waist as his
eyes tear up.
                                                            
                       IDA
Well - you'd best be getting your
chores done, you've not done
cobwebs in a while...
                                                            
                       ABE
The dust'in pole's broke still and
stand'in in the barn hall.
                                                            
Ida lays down the wet gown she's been working with, kneels,
and puts her arms around Abe who is now trembling.
                                                            
                       IDA
What is it...did something happen?
                                                            
                       ABE
He's hurting Sam!
                                                            
Ida stands instantly.
                                                            
                       IDA
Frank?
                                                            
Ida rushes to the window and sweeps the curtains aside.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
Where are they!
                                                            
(OS) Abe CRIES SOFTLY as Ida scans the fields.
                                                            
                       ABE
He was cutt'n Sam's neck...and he
was bleed'n, and he just stood
there taking it.
                                                            
Ida turns from the window and lifts Abe from his knees.
                                                            
                       IDA
I asked you where they're at!
                                                            
                       ABE
I don't know momma- Can we just
leave?
                                                            

60.

                       IDA
What was Frank doing to Sam?
                                                            
                       ABE
He put a knife to his throat!
                                                            
Ida collapses into a chair in bewilderment and pulls Abe to
her.
                                                            
                       ABE (cont.)
Can we?
                                                            
Ida, speechless, pats Abe's back.
                                                            
                       ABE (cont.)
Me and Sam, momma - we...we know
what he's been doing to you...
                                                            
                       IDA
Now settle down...Frank, he...he's
human like the rest of us - has
his faults, sure...sure he does,
but...
                                                            
Ida pulls herself together and stands.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
...everything will be alri...
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (OS)
No Ida - it's not gonna be
alright!
                                                            
Startled, Abe and Ida turn to see Samuel; his shirt stained
red below his cut neck. In his hand he holds the dusting
pole, now fixed.
                                                            
Samuel glances at Abe.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Figured you'd be need'in this.
                                                            
Ida, GASPS as she runs to Samuel and examines his throat.
                                                            
                       IDA
Samuel what's happened...
                                                            
Samuel hands the pole to Abe and holds Ida away at arms
length as she tries to examine the wound.
                                                            

61.

                       SAMUEL
Look at me Ida - let's face
it...we all in danger here...I
mean dat...dat man...he's mad!
                                                            
                       IDA
It's my fault...all of this...I
should just give him what he
wants!
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (steps towards Ida)
Yo' heart belongs to
Loyal...an...an' no 'mount of
force is ever gonna change dat!
Now you listen. Frank killed dat
deputy, all cause he thought we
told him 'bout how he's hurt you.
And Righteous - what if he knows
we seen her...he gonna kill her
too?
                                                            
Looking away, Ida puts her hand to her mouth and gasps...
                                                            
                       IDA
God...what have I done?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
You know him, he won't stand for
nobody needling about in his
affairs!
                                                            
                       IDA
      (turning to Abe)
Hon, take that pole and get
started on the cobwebs - and Sam,
you'd best be going too...he could
come in any time.
                                                            
With pole in hand, Abe backs as Samuel steps up to Ida and
pulls her to him. She begins to cry softly as he comforts
her by cradling her head against his chest.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
I gotta get us out'a here...
                                                            
(OS) a CLANK is heard, startling the two. Turning, they see
Clara staring at them in shock. Beside her sits a pail of
ripe tomatoes. Feeling the awkwardness of the moment, she
looks away as she wipes her hands on her apron.
                                                            
Ida steps back quickly and brushes the hair from her face as
Samuel turns, nods, and exits.
                                                            
 

62.

INT. HALL OUTSIDE FRANKS OFFICE / LIBRARY - DAY
                                                            
Abe stands in the office doorway with pole in hand staring
into the room.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (OS)
That the only room you've got
left?
                                                            
                       ABE
      (without turning)
Yes, ma'am.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
Well - then quit standing there,
it's not going to clean itself!
                                                            
 
INT. FRANK'S OFFICE / LIBRARY - DAY
                                                            
A large painted portrait of Ida hangs among the other
trophies of Frank's many hunting excursions: a dear,
leopard, lion, hyena, a large snarling bear head, and others
line the walls above the tall ornate bookcases.
                                                            
Convinced that none are moving Abe sets about removing
cobwebs from the upper reaches of the room. Starting between
the antlers of a large buck, he moves on to those strung
along the wide crown moulding and quickly circles the room.
                                                            
Above Frank's desk Abe bumps a mounted jackrabbit that
appears to be fleeing the snarling bear above it and knocks
it over. Placing the library ladder into place he cautiously
scales it until with a stretch he is able to reach above the
shelves.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (OS)
Fix the rabbit and come on down -
supper's about ready.
                                                            
Abe turns and looks at her.
                                                            
                       ABE
Yes ma'am.
                                                            
Feeling for the rabbit Abe pauses and curiously lifts a .38
caliber pistol into view. Quickly, he replaces it,
inadvertently sliding the weapon into a void between two
bookcase sections where it lands at the bottom with a CLUNK.
                                                            
Abe locates the rabbit, rights it, and quickly descends.
                                                            
 

63.

INT. DINING ROOM - EVENING - DAY
                                                            
Outside a brisk wind WHISTLES around the house as a CLAP of
thunder rolls into the distance.
                                                            
Abe, Ida, and Clara sit at the table eating quietly when
nearby the phone RINGS and Clara JUMPS up to answer it. Ida,
who was also getting up, slides back into her chair and
listens to the one-sided conversation as Abe continues to
eat.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
BRUSSARD place...
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
Clara, I'm running behind...the
weather's getting rough so have
Abe go out and help Samuel get
everything under cover.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
Oh - alright...yes that's what I
was just thinking, too...
                                                            
 
EXT. RUM RUNNING CABIN - NIGHT
                                                            
RAIN falls on a tin roof.
                                                            
Visible from the nearby woods, a LARGE CASH ROLL sits in the
seat of a parked flat-bed truck.
                                                            
Lantern light emanates from the interior of a rustic cabin
who's front door stands open. The cabin's interior is
stacked full of empty wooden crates marked, "THE SOUTH'S
FINEST" - PURE SORGUM SYRUP, and stacked burlap sacks of
sugar.
                                                            
Frank chews the end of a large cigar as he holds a telephone
to his ear and watches two rough-looking men, the older of
which carries a PISTOL tucked under his belt, as they finish
unloading the last remaining heavy crate, marked as the
rest, from the truck to the porch.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (muted)
He ain't out galivantin' is he?
                                                            
One of the men discreetly removes a bottle from one of the
crates and starts to tuck it under his coat.
                                                            

64.

                       CARL (40's)
      (hushed)
SOOT, you damn fool - put that
back or you'll get us both kil't!
                                                            
Soot (20's) twists the cork free, takes a long swig, plugs
the bottle, and returns it to the crate.
                                                            
                       CARL
      (hushed)
Get his money, and make sure it's
right this time!
                                                            
 
INT. DINING ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Clara is on the phone.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
No, he's here - I'll send him out
as soon as he's finished.
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
I'll be there directly.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
Alright...and you be careful for
the storm...I'll see you in a bit
then...
                                                            
Clara stares at the phone puzzled.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (cont.)
Well, I wasn't even able to tell
him good-bye...I guess the weather
cut the connection; but anyhow,
Abe, go out and help Samuel get
everything in the dry. There's a
storm moving in.
                                                            
Abe reluctantly pushes back from the table and gets up.
                                                            
 
EXT. RURAL RUM RUNNING CABIN - NIGHT
                                                            
Soot leans into the truck to shield himself from the rain as
lightning STRIKES in the distance and THUNDER rolls across
the sky.
                                                            
Soot, with hands shaking, rolls the bills back up, bands
them, and slowly SHUTS the truck door.
                                                            

65.

                       FRANK (OS)
You boys ain't supposed to be
bring'in this stuff back - how'm I
gonna make profits like that?
                                                            
                       CARL (OS)
That bastard sheriff said they'
was'nt no more liquer comin' thru
Jeanerette till his cut was
increased - said he done told ya.
                                                            
Carl steps onto the porch and slings the water from his hat
as Frank, upset, flicks his cigar to the ground. Soot
saunders toward the porch looking perplexed.
                                                            
                       CARL
Stop drag ass'in an give the man
his money!
                                                            
                       SOOT
It...It's all there - g...g...go
ahead'n coun...count it!
                                                            
Soot, still shaking, places the roll of bills into Frank's
waiting palm.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Settle down, your damn stutter'in
makes me jittery.
                                                            
Frank smiles at Soot as he places the roll in his back
pocket, pulls a pistol from Carl's waistband, and BLOWS Soot
off the porch into the mud. As a BLOODY PUDDLE grows around
Soots's body, Frank hands the pistol back to a shocked Carl.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Never could lie without stutter'n.
(BEAT) It's me and you from here
on out, Carl...so you'd best be
learn'in numbers. It'd be real
healthy for you.
                                                            
Carl acknowledges with a nod of his head as Frank slaps him
on the back and walks toward his pickup truck.
                                                            
 
INT. BRUSSARD PLANTATION DINING ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
LATER
                                                            
Abe, wet-headed, sits at the cleared table finishing his
plate of food. Outside the RAIN POURS.
                                                            

66.

                       IDA
      (confrontational)
So what do you make of that visit
we had this morning?
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
      (curtly)
It's nothing Frank can't tend to.
                                                            
                       IDA
I'd say that it's his tending-to
of things that got him questioned
in the first place!
                                                            
The two women stare coldly at each other for a long moment.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
And it would oblige me if you'd
let me speak to my husband when he
calls, especially if I'm in the
room!
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
      (to Abe)
Frank said to get with Samuel and
make sure that everythings in the
dry; there's a storm moving this
way.
                                                            
Abe gets up, wipes his face on his sleeve, and carries his
plate toward the kitchen.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (cont.)
That's some statement coming from
a woman who seeks the affections
of a nigg'a - and in her husband's
house, at that!
                                                            
Ida, upset at the words, SCOOTS her chair back and stands to
leave when the lights go out.
                                                            
A flash of LIGHTNING illuminates the room and Clara is gone,
replaced by Madam Righteous.
                                                            
Ida SCREAMS in shock and Abe runs back into the room.
                                                            
                       ABE
Momma...
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
Da time of da trials is come; send
me Samuel.
                                                            

67.

The room is illuminated again and Righteous has been
replaced by Clara who holds a burning candle and places it
in the middle of the table.
                                                            
Abe huddles against Ida who sits in shock.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
You're not afraid of the dark now,
are you, Abe?
                                                            
The candle's flame flutters and Abe and Ida notice a dark
figure loom behind Clara and another flash of lightning
reveals Frank.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Good evening, all!
                                                            
Clara glances over her shoulder and smiles.
                                                            
Frank walks around the table, grabs Ida's face and kisses
her passionately as he stares spitefully at Abe.
                                                            
Ida recoils in disgust as Frank takes his place at the head
of the table.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
I'll get your plate.
                                                            
Frank glares at Abe.
                                                            
                       FRANK
You do your chores boy?
                                                            
                       ABE
Yes, sir.
                                                            
Clara delivers Frank's plate to the table and he tucks his
WHITE CLOTH NAPKIN below his chin and to the horror of all
it turns blood red. Frank, curious over the stares, yanks
the napkin from his shirt, and looks at it shocked.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (looks at Clara)
What is this...some kind'a prank?
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
I...I don't know...I'm so
sorry...I...
                                                            
Clara quickly takes the napkin.
                                                            

68.

                       FRANK
      (dismissing the
       incident)
Clara - remind me to buy fuses
tomorrow. This power outage
reminds me we're running low.
                                                            
                       IDA
Tomorrow's the Lord's day - we
should'nt be buying...
                                                            
A KNOCK on the kitchen door frame alerts everyone to
Samuel's presence and he steps into the room soaking wet.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
You won't have to Sir - I was up
at the barn when the lights went
out and thought you might could
use these.
                                                            
Samuel rolls a handful of fuses onto the table and steps
back taking a cold stare from Frank. Samuel nods politely to
Frank as it suddenly begins to POUR down rain.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Well I best be gettin back unless
you need me to check the fuse
box...
                                                            
                       FRANK
I'll tend to it! Clara get me a
candle.
                                                            
Samuel turns to leave, but pauses due to a long look from
Ida which is noticed by Clara.
                                                            
Frank picks up the fuses and gets up as Abe walks past.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Where you going boy - I didn't
hear you ask to be excused!
                                                            
                       ABE
I need to tell Sam something.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Well, if it's that important let's
hear it!
                                                            
(BEAT)
                                                            

69.

                       ABE
Madam Righteous...she needs to see
Sam.
                                                            
Outside the wind HOWLS and THUNDER ROLLS with flashes of
lightning. Several window shutter's BEAT against the side of
the house.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Where did you see her?
                                                            
                       ABE
      (pointing at seat)
Right there.
                                                            
Frank looks disturbed.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (looking at Samuel)
You got your message, now go
on...and you too boy, and get
those damn shutters secured!
                                                            
 
EXT. BRUSSARD HOUSE - NIGHT
                                                            
In the HOWLING wind and rain a window shutter blows outward
and violently SLAMS back against the house. Abe, on Samuel's
shoulders struggles to catch it.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (hollering)
Come on runt! Dat's the last one,
now grab dat thing so I can get
you back inside!
                                                            
Samuel, carrying Abe, runs for the steps. At the corner of
the basement he notices a sliver of light emanating from a
small window. Sliding to a stop, Samuel curiously approaches
and peers in. Frank positions an old iron bed frame against
the far wall then kneels next to it working.
                                                            
In SHOCK, Samuel staggers back shaking his head.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
No...no...no...no...
                                                            
Sam sees Abe mouthing words.
                                                            
                       ABE
I've got to go in!
                                                            
Samuel can only watch as Abe disappears up the back steps.
                                                            
 

70.

INT. BRUSSARD PLANTATION HOUSE - NIGHT
                                                            
TRAVELING
                                                            
The house is silent and dark aside from occasional flashes
of lightning. Thru the eyes of an unknown character the
home's interior moves past. We approach the grandfather
clock which shows 2 a.m and hear it's TIC-TOCK - TIC-TOCK
come and go.
                                                            
SHOES ascend the staircase as the stairs SQUEEK beneath and
then pass silently down the upstairs hall and stop outside
Abe's bedroom.
                                                            
The door swings open and the figure of Frank walks to the
bed and pulls back the blankets and stares down at the empty
bed.
                                                            
                       FRANK
What...
                                                            
Frank's eyes search the room, and he steps to the side onto
the exposed foot of Abe who MOANS as he lies face down under
the bed.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
...the hell!
                                                            
Frank drags Abe out on his belly and forcefully sets him on
the edge of the bed. Shaking him Frank causes him to drop a
SMALL NOTEBOOK which goes unseen.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Wake up, boy!
                                                            
Abe stirs and stares at Frank dazed.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Are you awake?
                                                            
Abe nods.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Did you find a pistol on the top
of the bookcases when you cleaned
yesterday?
                                                            
Abe's eyes slowly close and Frank shakes him again.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Did you?
                                                            

71.

                       ABE
Huh?
                                                            
                       FRANK
Did you find a pistol...
                                                            
Abe nods.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
You did - and what'd you do with
it!
                                                            
                       ABE
I put it back.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Well then, I guess it's just
evaporated into then air. By
tomorrow evening it had better of
magically reappeared back where
you found it or you'll face the
consequences! Got that?
                                                            
                       ABE
      (rubbing his ankle)
Yes, sir.
                                                            
Frank STORMS from the room.
                                                            
Abe slides off the bed, picks up a SMALL BOOK, and after
moving his rug, places it in the void.
                                                            
 
INT. MADAM RIGHTEOUS HOME - NIGHT
                                                            
Wind HOWLS around the home and the door blows open as
Samuel, with hand raised, prepares to knock.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
Come on in, Samuel.
                                                            
Samuel steps in and closes the door as a news broadcast
already in session plays from a small radio.
                                                            
                       RADIO
...in other news - the funeral for
the late Corey Yates will commence
tomorrow at 1 PM at the Grace
Chapel in Napoleanville. Mr.Yates,
a devoted husband and father was a
long respected peace officer of
the Assumption Parish Sheriff's
Department. It is believed he was
killed in the line of duty late
            (MORE)

72.

                       RADIO (cont'd)
friday night. Anyone with
information leading to the arrest
of a responsible party can...
                                                            
Righteous, back to the door is seated in an old rocker with
a quilt around her shoulders. She reaches over and turns off
the radio as she finishes the broadcast.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
...turn up dead!
                                                            
A tea kettle WHISTLES on the stove.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
Fetch dat, Sam - an pour us a cup
- den come sit.
                                                            
MOMENTS LATER
                                                            
Sam eyes Righteous as she sips her tea.
                                                            
Wind HOWLS.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
You needed to see me...?
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
I know you don't undastand my
ways, Sam, but you mus undastand
something. I feel da wind an da
feeling I get leaves me tremblen.
Da last time I feel dis way da
"room" was opened and I was
called, being the only mid-wife in
dis area...(beat)...it was da mos
terrible thing I ever seen!
                                                            
Righteous looks away in painful memory.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS (cont.)
...how a person could do such to
another...
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
I've heard the story from Ida -
she barely survived...
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
Sam, da unborn child was not
supposed to live - she was seven
months pregnant...
                                                            

73.

                       SAMUEL
Abe wasn't supposed to live?
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
I overhear heated talk in da
fields - she was grev'in Loyal and
he was demand'in of her...that she
could not fulfill - her
pregnancy...it was a constant
reminder of another man - an
embarrasment.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
He...he sho' should'a thought of
that 'for coaxin' her into
marrage. She'd never married again
under normal circumstances, widow
or not...
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
He raised da rent Sam...and
required more work of her - she
didn't have da choice in her
condition...
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Da marriage was for convenience
das right - his...he been watch'in
her fo' years wait'n to pounce -
this voodoo what tellin' you dese
things in the wind?
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
Sam - da "room" it's been
reopened...;some things, - da
unseen things, cannot be
explained,...an if de could, mos
wouldn't undastand the language.
                                                            
Wind HOWLS.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
An' yo' in touch wit all dis...
                                                            
Samuel motions at the air around him.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
Yes, I am...(beat)...be
careful...you're a good soul Sam.
                                                            
Samuel smiles and gets up shaking his head.
                                                            

74.

                       SAMUEL
      (smiling)
I gotta be leav'n - you givin' me
goosebumps!
                                                            
 
EXT. GRACE FUNERAL HOME - DAY
                                                            
The Brussard family sedan sets in the parking lot as Frank,
Ida, and Abe climb out.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (puzzled)
Frank...why are we here?
                                                            
                       FRANK
To pay our respects.
                                                            
                       IDA
Do you even know these people?
                                                            
 
INT. FUNERAL PARLOR - DAY
                                                            
Frank, with his arm around Ida, walks through the doors as
Abe, with his sore ankle, struggles to keep up.
                                                            
Frank and Ida stand at the casket looking down at the body
of Corey Yates. Abe, uneasy, eye's the crowd and spots Lt.
Huey speaking with the family. Huey gives Abe a wink before
excusing himself and walks over. Following him is COREY
YATES JR. (3).
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Hi Abe.
                                                            
                       ABE
Hello Sir.
                                                            
                       COREY YATES JR.
      (to Abe)
That's my daddy - he died.
                                                            
Abe feels awkward and nods.
                                                            
Huey who watches the boys, pats Abe's head and steps next to
Frank.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
You'll be home this afternoon
won't you Mr. Brussard?
                                                            

75.

                       FRANK
It depends.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Entertain me Frank - I've a little
something to discuss with you.
                                                            
Huey steps back, nods respectfully to Ida, and walks away
patting Abe again.
                                                            
Frank and Ida turn to leave and receive icy stares from many
in attendance. Ida pulls Abe to her, looks down embarrassed,
and the three walk out.
                                                            
 
EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY
                                                            
As Frank unlocks the car's door, Ida and Abe stand on the
opposite side of the car waiting to be let in.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (staring at Frank)
That was awkward!
                                                            
Frank ignores the comment as he unlocks the car door.
                                                            
 
INT. FRANKS CAR ( PLANTATION DRIVE ) - DAY
                                                            
Abe sleeps leaning against the door when the car SQUEEKS to
a stop in front of the house and he sits up sleepy eyed.
                                                            
                       IDA
Abe - are you awake, hon?
                                                            
                       ABE
Yes ma'am.
                                                            
Ida climbs out of the car and shuts her door as Frank
hesitates.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (quietly without
       turning)
You gave my pistol to that
detective did'nt you?
                                                            
                       IDA (OS)
How do deer steaks sound for
lunch?
                                                            
Ida, smiling, bends down and looks through the passenger
door window at Frank.
                                                            

76.

                       FRANK
      (forces a smile)
Sounds fine.
                                                            
Frank gives Abe a quick glance.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
If you didn't it better reappear
by supper or your in deep troub...
                                                            
Ida opens Abe's door.
                                                            
                       IDA
Come on - get up stairs and wash
up.
                                                            
Abe continues to sit as Ida looks across the top of the car
at Frank who has now stood.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
What was that all about?
                                                            
Frank ignores the question and stalks off.
                                                            
 
EXT. FRONT PORCH - DAY
                                                            
A MASON JAR LID sets on a porch railing.
                                                            
Frank paces the front porch nervously as he finishes a drag
off a cigarette and crushes the butt into the MASON JAR LID
that already contains several others.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (yells)
Iiidaaa!
                                                            
                       IDA (OS)
      (from inside)
Yes?
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (loudly)
Where's Abe?
                                                            
Hearing the sound of an APPROACHING VEHICLE, Frank turns
inadvertantly knocking the mason lid ashtray down the steps.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (at door)
He was out back earlier. Who's
that man pulling up?
                                                            

77.

                       FRANK
That damn nosey detective - now
stay inside!
                                                            
A sedan stops up out front containing Lt. Huey and his wife.
                                                            
 
INT. LT. HUEY'S SEDAN - DAY
                                                            
Lt. Huey looks at his wife (40's) and smiles.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
I'll be right back.
                                                            
The wife smiles and pats his hand.
                                                            
 
EXT. DRIVEWAY - DAY
                                                            
Frank and Lt. Huey stand beside the drive.
                                                            
                       FRANK
I'm telling you - Samuel had
planned on taking the truck into
town that morning...I made a last
minute decision and took it to New
Orleans...just jumped in and
went...gave absolutly no mind to
what was in the back...or even to
check for that matter (beat) I've
almost run him off before for
brew'in that vile stuff.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Brewing it or running it?
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (hesitates)
Well...he was only brew'in.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Where?
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (thoughtful)
Tell you what...why don't we just
ease back in the woods here and
just see for ourselves!
                                                            
Lt. Huey discreetly brushes his hand across his sidearm,
checking it's availability.
                                                            
 

78.

EXT. STILL IN WOODS BEHIND BARN - DAY
                                                            
A STILL is set-up in a small clearing among thick brush.
                                                            
Frank leads Lt.Huey down a narrow trail toward the still. A
TRIP-WIRE leads to a concealed 12 ga. SHOTGUN. Frank
gingerly steps over the wire and continues on. He points at
the STILL as a distraction. Lt. Huey STEPS on the WIRE, a
CLICK is heard, he pauses at the sound, a TRIGGER is pulled
to the rear, and instantly a BLAST throws him into the
brush.
                                                            
 
EXT. DRIVEWAY - DAY
                                                            
Lt. Huey's wife and Ida are hysterical as Frank assists a
pale Huey to the sedan and into the rear seat. Blood pours
from a GAPING WOUND in his left shoulder.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (feigning concern)
There was a booby trap! Get him to
the hospital quick! He's lost a
lot of blood!
                                                            
Lt. Huey's wife, grabs her face in shock and runs to the
driver's door.
                                                            
 
INT. KITCHEN - DAY
                                                            
STEAM rises from steaks sitting on the countertop.
                                                            
Ida stands at the kitchen sink washing dishes. Frank walks
up behind her, hugs her, and begins kissing her neck. Ida
leans forward to avoid him and he stops, noticing then that
she is staring out of the window.
                                                            
                       FRANK
What is it?
                                                            
                       IDA
Abe - he's out there at the edge
of the field.
                                                            
Frank leans over the sink to get a better look.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
He's very bothered - about
everything.
                                                            
                       FRANK
I'll be right back.
                                                            
 

79.

INT. FRANK'S LIBRARY - DAY
                                                            
Frank puts the wooden library ladder into place and climbs
three steps when the rung SPLINTERS sending him to the
floor. CURSING, he SLIDES his chair into place, and between
it and the ladder, stretches his hand to feel around the TOP
of the bookcase.
                                                            
                       IDA (OS)
      (loudly)
Abe - you need to be coming on in
- it's time to eat!
                                                            
 
INT. SCREENED PORCH - DAY
                                                            
Frank walks onto the porch as Ida hollers again.
                                                            
                       IDA
Abe!
                                                            
                       FRANK
Is he not coming?
                                                            
 
EXT. EDGE OF CANE FIELD - NIGHT
                                                            
Abe mills about at the edge of the field as Ida yells for
him from the screened porch.
                                                            
                       IDA
Abe!
                                                            
Frank steps out and stands at the top of the stairs.
                                                            
                       FRANK
You'd better get up here boy!
                                                            
Abe eases into the dark field ignoring the calls.
                                                            
 
INT. SCREENED PORCH - NIGHT
                                                            
                       FRANK
He just disappeared into the
field!
                                                            
                       IDA
What's wrong with him!
                                                            
Ida rushes past Frank and heads down the steps.
                                                            

80.

                       FRANK
I've had it with him. There's
fixin' to be hell to pay!
                                                            
 
EXT. EDGE OF CANE FIELD - NIGHT
                                                            
Samuel, with a lantern in hand, runs up to Ida who is
frantic over Abe's disappearance.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
What is it Ida...everything o.k?
                                                            
                       IDA
Abe...he just disappeared...right
into the cane! I was hollering and
he just kept going.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Where'd he go in at?
                                                            
                       IDA
Right here... (beat)...give me the
lantern Sam, I'm going after him!
                                                            
Samuel grabs Ida's arm.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
I'll lead - come on!
                                                            
Samuel leads Ida into the cane holding the lantern high and
pauses noticing Abe's BARE FOOTPRINTS in the damp earth.
                                                            
 
EXT. CANE FIELD - NIGHT
                                                            
                       IDA
      (screaming)
ABRAHAM MASSEY PEARSON!
                                                            
SILENCE
                                                            
In the glow of the lantern light, Samuel and Ida stand
drenched in sweat and breathless, surrounded by the thick
cane rows.
                                                            
                       IDA
I don't understand why he would be
doing this!
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Runt know somethin' we don't an'
he's upset.
                                                            

81.

Samuel holds the lantern over Abe's tracks.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Look at dat...the distance 'tween
da impressions...he runnin' flat
out!
                                                            
                       IDA
or scared...
                                                            
SILENCE
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Ida - I been wantin' to give you
dis but I jus' ain't had no
chance...
                                                            
Samuel grasps Ida's hand and places something in it. Curious
Ida looks at a WAD OF CASH.
                                                            
                       IDA
What's thi...
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Dats da money Frank owes to ya,
don't give me no augument - a man
done give his life fo' it.
                                                            
Ida studies Samuel's face as the WILD YELPING of Frank's
dogs begins back at the house and Samuel turns wide eyed.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
He done turned the dogs out - come
on!
                                                            
Samuel and Ida take off again down the cane rows as Ida
screams.
                                                            
                       IDA
Aaaabe!
                                                            
As Abe runs his heavy breathing can be heard in the darkness
and far behind him his mother screams again.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
Aaaaaabe!
                                                            
The dark racing figures of the two dogs part the cane rows.
In the distance is the silloette of Ida and Loyal's
homeplace.
                                                            

82.

MOMENTS LATER
                                                            
The YELPING of dogs grows closer as Samuel and Ida, covered
with scratches, press on. Suddenly Samuel stops.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
      (breathless)
We gotta get to him fo' them dogs
do!
                                                            
                       IDA
      (breathless)
What're we gonna do?
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
Take dat lantern and find him -
I...I gotta stop dese dogs - now
go! Runt be headed fo' da ol'
homeplace!
                                                            
The YELPING is closer.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Go!
                                                            
Ida turns and disappears with the glow of the lantern.
                                                            
 
EXT. IDA AND LOYAL'S HOME-PLACE ( ESTABLISHING ) - NIGHT
                                                            
Ida stumbles into a clearing where her old home stands
silhouetted against the dark sky.
                                                            
INSERT - In the darkness the two YELPING DOGS leap into
Samuel's outstretched arms.
                                                            
BACK TO SCENE
                                                            
Ida makes her way across the overgrown rear porch where the
screened door stands open with vines growing through it. The
YELPING of dogs cease. Ida gives the back door a RUSTY push.
                                                            
 
INT. IDA AND LOYAL'S HOME-PLACE - NIGHT
                                                            
In the lantern's glow, Abe's tracks are visible in the dust
which has filtered in around the door.
                                                            
                       IDA
Abe...honey?
                                                            

83.

Ida proceeds into the house. White sheets still cover the
furniture. She BUMPS into an end table and a FRAMED PHOTO of
SHE AND LOYAL falls, SHATTERING on the floor.
                                                            
Hearing SHUFFLING in the front of the house, Ida continues
toward the noise.
                                                            
Ida approaches a bedroom door and hears the SHUFFLING noise
again and pushes the door inward.
                                                            
                       IDA
Abe?
                                                            
 
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
In the lantern light a look of horror crosses Ida's face and
she GASPS in shock.
                                                            
Abe's bare MUDDY feet dangle above the floor and Ida raises
the lantern to find that he is held tightly around the waist
by Frank who holds Abe's mouth closed with his other hand.
                                                            
                       IDA
Fra...Fra..nk...what are you
doing!
                                                            
Suddenly Samuel steps up behind Ida, bloody from the dog
attack.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Nigga, you best get!
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
I's afraid I can't do that sir -
now...now please jus put the boy
down.
                                                            
MOANING, Abe kicks to free himself and Frank squeezes
tighter as Samuel moves in front of Ida, takes the lantern
and sets it down. Ida backs into the darkness.
                                                            
                       SAMUEL (cont.)
Now I asked polite fo' you to put
him down - what's da matta with
you Frank?
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (hollers over Sam)
The boy's stood between me and you
for too long Ida - it's time I put
an end to it!
                                                            

84.

                       IDA (OS)
Not like this Frank.
                                                            
Ida slides a HAMMER into the waistband at the small of
Samuel's back as Abe STRUGGLES to free himself.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (whisper)
Hammer
                                                            
                       SAMUEL
You leav'n me no choice sir but to
taken matta's into my own hand.
                                                            
                       FRANK
To hell with yo...
                                                            
In one fluid movement Samuel reaches for Abe as he swings
the hammer for Franks head. Reaching to block the blow,
Frank drops Abe to the floor and knees Samuel in the
stomach.
                                                            
As Samuel drops to his knees in pain he grabs Abe and shoves
him to Ida, giving Frank the opportunity to twist the hammer
from his grip. Suddenly the HAMMER STRIKES Samuel in the
back driving him to the floor and sending the LANTERN
ROLLING.
                                                            
Ida SCREAMS as she DRAGS Abe away.
                                                            
Suddenly flames engulf the room in a loud WHOOSH.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (hysterical)
S a m u e l!
                                                            
 
EXT. IDA AND LOYAL'S HOME-PLACE ( FRONT YARD ) - NIGHT
                                                            
As the house BURNS, Ida stands in tears holding Abe. In the
drive is Frank's truck.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (screaming)
SAAAAM!
                                                            
Suddenly a flaming figure crawls from a shattered window and
falls to the ground. The man YELLS IN PAIN and begins to
roll, extinguishing his burning clothing.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
Oh my God!
                                                            

85.

Ida sets Abe down and runs toward the man that claws his way
toward the truck until she hovers over him.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
Sa...Sam? Is that you?
                                                            
The singed person in charred clothes rolls over, reaches up
and grasps Ida's arm.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (rough dry voice)
Now Ida- do I look like Sam?
                                                            
Ida SCREAMS in terror.
                                                            
 
INT. PLANTATION BASEMENT ( HALLWAY ) - NIGHT
                                                            
                       IDA (OS)
      (sobbing)
No - no - no - no...
                                                            
In dim light, Ida is collapsed among crushed boxes on the
hall floor. She beats weakly on a heavy wooden door .
                                                            
                       IDA (OS)
Frank - please...take...me...
                                                            
The lights dim and flicker as Abe screams (OS).
                                                            
 
INT. THE ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
Abe CONVULSES in pain where he is bound spread eagle to an
old iron bed with leather straps. Frank, badly burnt leans
over Abe, glaring down at him like a madman.
                                                            
                       FRANK
It's Judgement Day! Embrace the
pain!
                                                            
Frank walks to a large fuse panel on the wall and THROWS a
switch, stopping the electrical current.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
      (laughing
       diabolically)
That'll give you something to run
on!
                                                            
ABE'S (POV)
                                                            
The lights flicker.
                                                            

86.

Abe's pulse pounds in his ears as a SMILING PLASTIC DOLL
swings at the end of a pull cord over his head and he lets
out a MOAN as Frank begins unbinding him.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
One word of this to anyone and
momma dies!
                                                            
 
INT. SCHOOL CLASSROOM - DAY
                                                            
Miss La Fauche studies Abe who looks haggard and worn.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
Class - let's take out our math
lessons and get them finished up.
If your work's done and ready to
be checked just raise your hand.
                                                            
Abe slowly raises his hand slowly.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE (cont.)
Good Abe - bring it on up.
                                                            
Abe walks slowly to the front and hands in his lesson to
Miss La Fouche. Startled, she grabs Abe's exposed wrist and
studies the red swollen abrasion rings that bracelet it.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE (cont.)
Abe...what happened to your wrist?
                                                            
                       ABE
I...I just hurt it.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
Can I see your other wrist?
                                                            
Abe shakes his head NO.
                                                            
Miss La Fouche stands shaking her head and puts her hand on
Abe's shoulder.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
Abe - come with me.
                                                            
 
INT. SCHOOL OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
Miss La Fouche points at a chair and continues to an
adjacent room.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
Have a seat right there Abe.
                                                            

87.

BEAT
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE (OS)
      (whispering)
If it's not abuse I don't know
what is!
                                                            
 
INT. SCHOOL INFIRMARY - DAY
                                                            
                       SCHOOL NURSE (30's)
      (whispering)
What's he said about it?
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
      (whispering)
Nothing - you know how he
is...just very quiet.
                                                            
Sullen, Abe sits in the other room staring at the floor.
                                                            
                       SCHOOL NURSE
      (whispering)
I've heard that's typical in these
cases.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
Are we both thinking abuse?
                                                            
 
INT. SCHOOL OFFICE - DAY
                                                            
The two women walk into the room and Miss La Fouche stops.
She's notices that Abe's ankles, bare, and exposed due to
his being seated, show the same type markings.
                                                            
                       SCHOOL NURSE
      (smiling)
Hello Abraham - how are you?
                                                            
Abe, deeply bothered, looks up.
                                                            
                       ABE
O.k.
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
It's his ankles too!
                                                            
As Miss La Fouche looks on, the nurse kneels in front of Abe
and examine the visible red wire abrasions, rotating each in
her hands.
                                                            

88.

                       MISS LA FAUCHE (cont.)
Someone needs to know about this!
                                                            
                       SCHOOL NURSE
Abe - can you tell me how this
happened?
                                                            
Abe shakes his head no as the front entrance of the school
opens. Lt. Huey walks in wearing a three piece suit and a
smile; his injured arm is bound close to his side below the
coat sleeve. As he removes his fedora, he notices Abe and
waves.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Hi Abe!
                                                            
Abe unresponsive, only looks on.
                                                            
Huey studies Abe as he continues to a desk where a plaque
reads - SECRETARY- and sets down a bundle of campaign pens
inscribed - RALF HUEY for DA. Behind the desk sits heavyset
MAY CARTER.
                                                            
                       MAY
Lieutenant - what are you doing
out and about...I thought you were
hospitalized?
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
I'm not running on all cylinders
May, but I'm a busy man...and I
told 'em to keep me on my feet.
                                                            
May shakes her head amazed as she picks up a pen and reads
it.
                                                            
                       MAY
Your doing your best to get out of
here aren't you?
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY
Naw - Just moving up state a bit.
                                                            
The school bell RINGS as Miss La Fouche and the nurse stand
talking in hushed conversation. Abe quietly slips out.
                                                            
                       LT. HUEY (cont.)
Well...just remember me on voting
day...
                                                            
                       MISS LA FAUCHE
Mr. Huey - could I see you...for
just a moment?
                                                            

89.

                       LT. HUEY
Yes ma'am!
                                                            
 
EXT. BRIDGE HOME - DAY
                                                            
ABE'S (POV)
                                                            
Abe bicycles toward the bridge; his wrists showing RED
RINGED WELTS.
                                                            
MONTAGE
                                                            
Abe's hands age four years and Madam Righteous appears on
the road ahead four years older as the bike and landscape
age and change accordingly. Abe's wrist marking are worse
and he has begun BALDING from shock.
                                                            
SUPER - FOUR YEARS LATER - ABE AGE 10
                                                            
END OF MONTAGE
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS
      (waves and hollers)
I know I's a run'n late!
                                                            
                       ABE
Yeah - well, watch this!
                                                            
Abe races his bike toward the low bridge curbing and rides
along the top of it as the earth drops away below him.
                                                            
                       MADAM RIGHTEOUS (OS)
Abraham - Lawd'a mercy, git down
off'a there!
                                                            
A truck APPROACHES, and Abe glances up just as Righteous is
sideswiped with a WHUMP and thrown in the murky bayou below.
Abe looses his concentration, his balance, and tumbles into
the marsh at the edge of the water.
                                                            
Abe awakens to the sound of Frank's (OS)LAUGHTER. Blinking
he finds himself staring up at the bottom of the bridge. He
struggles for breath as a gunshot CRACKS loudly above him.
                                                            
Rolling over Abe sees Righteous's still form floating face
down in bayou. Another SHOT rings out and water SPITS up
next to her body.
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
Boy - two for the price of
one...now that's a bargan!
                                                            

90.

A badly scarred and bearded Frank, raises a rifle to his
shoulder and sways drunkenly as he FIRES again. Lowering the
weapon he pulls a liquor flask from his breast pocket and
takes a swig.
                                                            
                       ABE
N...n...no - n o o !
                                                            
Panicing, Abe scrambles over his bike, buried to the front
forks in the muck, and crawls quickly toward the cover of
the bridge.
                                                            
Frank DROPS the flask and quickly aims at Abe. Again the
rifle CRACKS as mud SPLATTERS Abe's face.
                                                            
Abe reaches the cover of the bridge, and stands scanning the
waters surface then spies Righteous's body just as it sinks
from sight. Abe starts into the murky water after her.
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
Y o u - w h o!
                                                            
Abe turns and sees Frank taking aim at him.
                                                            
Frank PULLS the trigger and nothing happens. He looks at the
gun disgusted and slings it at Abe.
                                                            
Abe scans the water again for Righteous, does'nt see her,
and quickly heads downstream along the bayou searching for
her.
                                                            
                       FRANK (OS)
You know where runnin' from me
will get you, boy!
                                                            
 
EXT. BAYOU CROSSING - NIGHT
                                                            
Abe nervously eyes the bayou as he peels away his clothes
down to his drawers. Holding them in a bundle, he wades in.
                                                            
Several GATORS watch from the bank as Abe, at mid-crossing,
struggles in the chest deep water. A gator SLIDES into the
water and as it snakes toward him, is followed by another.
                                                            
Under the dark surface, Abe's BARE FEET search for traction
on the soft bottom as plumes of muck swirl.
                                                            
Near the opposite bank, Abe reaches for a BRANCH to steady
himself. The branch BREAKS and he falls SPLASHING backward.
Hearing a CHOMP he turns to see his bundle of clothes in the
mouth of a gator.
                                                            

91.

The gator sinks from sight as it TWISTS, pulling the bundle
from Abe's grip.
                                                            
                       ABE
A h h h h!
                                                            
Abe frantically paws his way, HUFFING and SPLASHING, from
the bayou.
                                                            
 
INT. BARN LOFT - ( SAM'S PLACE ) - NIGHT
                                                            
A lantern is lit and then glows brighter.
                                                            
Abe, opens a canvas bag, removes some clothes, and slips on
a pair of loose trousers. Digging deeper he finds an
undershirt and pulls it over his head.
                                                            
Abe ties the laces on a pair of WELL-WORN BOOTS.
                                                            
                       ABE
      (quietly)
Thanks Sam...you knew I'd be
need'n these some day.
                                                            
Abe reaches down to pick up the lantern and spots SOMETHING
WHITE protruding from between two straw bales. Pulling it
free he finds it to be a large partially mice eaten
envelope.
                                                            
                       IDA (OS)
Abe!
                                                            
Abe jumps at the sound of his mother's voice and turns to
see her head above the loft floor.
                                                            
                       ABE
Mom - you spooked me!
                                                            
Ida, though still attractive, looks haggard and worn.
                                                            
                       IDA
I was worried - I heard gunshots
earlier...
                                                            
Abe goes to his mother, takes her hand, and helps her to the
loft.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
Thank you. (BEAT) Did Righteous
walk you home today?
                                                            

92.

(BEAT)
                                                            
                       IDA
You know, she's enjoyed that so
much since Sam ...
                                                            
                       ABE
Righteous is gone...
                                                            
Abe's LOWER LIP QUIVERS and JAW MUSCLES CLINCH as he
struggles not to cry.
                                                            
                       IDA
Gone? Gone where?
                                                            
                       ABE
Dead.
                                                            
Ida falls to her knees next to the lantern shaking her head
in shock.
                                                            
                       ABE
      (teary eyed)
That's what ran me late...I
searched for her body 'til dark.
                                                            
                       IDA
What happen...!
                                                            
                       ABE
He's mad momma...just like he's
always been...ran her right off
the bridge!
                                                            
(BEAT)
                                                            
                       IDA
The alcohol Abe...it makes him
mad. He...he's been passed out on
the porch all evening. (notices
the envelope) What have you got
there?
                                                            
                       ABE
I don't know, I guess somethin' of
Sam's.
                                                            
                       IDA
      (sniffs-wipes nose)
Let's see that.
                                                            

93.

MOMENTS LATER
                                                            
Abe and Ida hover over an old partially eaten photo of
Samuel, Loyal, and Ida. The three are youthful and smiling.
Ida flips the photo over.
                                                            
                       IDA
Aug. 38'
                                                            
Abe unfolds a letter dated Aug. 15, 1948.
                                                            
                       ABE
Dear Ida...
                                                            
Abe hands the letter to Ida.
                                                            
                       ABE (cont.)
It's to you - you better read it.
                                                            
                       IDA
That's the day he died.
                                                            
Ida moves closer to the lantern and begins to read.
                                                            
                       IDA (cont.)
Dear Ida, I'm writen this letter
cause I fear my time is at hand. I
can't no longer set and watch the
terible things he does to you and
runt. My hart is greeved. The next
time I will do all in my power to
stop it or die tryin - Your
Eternal Frend, Samuel P.S. - If
God wills I'll see you on the
other side. - Be Strong -
                                                            
Ida tearfully folds the letter and returns it with the photo
to the envelope.
                                                            
                       IDA
I'm going on honey 'for he finds
me gone; and, you'd best too; it's
getting late...we can't do nothing
about Righteous right now...
                                                            
                       ABE
That's the first time I was
electrocuted.
                                                            
Ida pauses and turns.
                                                            
                       IDA
What honey?
                                                            

94.

                       ABE
      (thoughtfully)
August the fifteenth, nineteen
forty eight, it was the first
time.
                                                            
Ida begins to tear-up at the memory.
                                                            
                       IDA
One of these days...we'll be
strong enough to run from this
place. And I won't care anymore
if...if anyone believes me or not!
                                                            
HOURS LATER
                                                            
Abe sleeps among the straw bales as the lantern burns low.
                                                            
Slowly the NOOSE at the end of a 6 foot long canine control
pole eases closer to Abe's head and he rouses up and turns
over. Carefully the noose is lowered until a SNATCH tightens
it snugly around Abe's neck.
                                                            
Abe GASPS for air and STRUGGLES to his knees as he clutches
at his throat.
                                                            
ABE'S POV
                                                            
                       FRANK
Old K-9 trick - what do you think!
                                                            
Abe STRUGGLES to free himself as Frank drags him toward the
edge of the loft.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
Simmer down a bit son and I'll let
you have some air!
                                                            
Reaching the loft ladder Frank starts down, and pulls Abe
forcefully to the edge GASPING. Abe GRABS at several boards,
but lets go when the noose TIGHTENS around his neck.
                                                            
END ABE'S (POV)
                                                            
 
INT. BARN HALL - NIGHT
                                                            
Frank JERKS Abe from the loft, and he lands with a THUD in
the dirt at the bottom of the ladder.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Get up!
                                                            

95.

Frank kicks Abe in the ribs.
                                                            
Abe GROANS and slowly gets to his feet as Frank shoves him
toward the house.
                                                            
 
INT. PLANTATION HOUSE - ( OUTSIDE CLARA'S BEDROOM ) - NIGHT
                                                            
Abe, led helplessly at the end of the pole, passes a bedroom
door and is yanked to a stop. Clutching at his throat, Abe
GASPS for air as Frank KNOCKS LIGHTLY on the door.
                                                            
                       FRANK
      (softly)
Clara - you're needed below.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
      (muffled)
Oh...ok, I'll be right down.
                                                            
 
INT. THE ROOM - NIGHT
                                                            
ABE'S (POV)
                                                            
Frank removes the noose from Abe's neck as he pins him
against the iron bed frame. Clara buckles the final leather
restraint and looks into Abe's eyes.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
      (shaky voice)
It's for your own good, Abe. It'll
drive out the demons.
                                                            
                       FRANK
Feel free to scream as loud as you
wish.
                                                            
Frank uses the canine pole to poke at the newly installed
overhead insulation.
                                                            
                       FRANK (cont.)
I've done a little remodeling
since our last session.
                                                            
Abe says nothing but CLINCHES HIS FISTS, and focuses on the
SMILING DOLL.
                                                            
Frank throws a switch and Abe's body instantly LEAPS against
the restraints.
                                                            
                       ABE
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
                                                            

96.

                       FRANK (cont.)
      (yelling over Abe)
What do you think of the new
system - I've done some re-wiring!
                                                            
Abe sputters blood and saliva.
                                                            
Beside the iron bed sits Clara in the rocker reading the
Bible aloud:
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA
...and though I give my body...
                                                            
The leather restraints begin to smoke, and one by one, burst
into flame and separate. Clara notices and is distracted
from her reading.
                                                            
                       AUNT CLARA (cont.)
...to be burned...
                                                            
INSERT
                                                            
Outside the sharpened edge of an AXE HEAD reflects lantern
light. Ida brings the axe down, forcefully severing the main
service wiring in a shower of sparks. Ida falls to the
ground unconcious.
                                                            
BACK TO SCENE
                                                            
Suddenly the power goes out and Frank rushes from the room
cursing under his breath; Abe rolls slowly from the bed,
breaking the remaining restraint.
                                                            
 
EXT. ELECTRICAL SERVICE ENTRANCE AREA - NIGHT
                                                            
Badly shaken and in shock, Abe stumbles from the lower level
of the house, picks up the lantern of his mother, and
struggles toward the cover of the cane field.
                                                            
INSERT
                                                            
A RIFLE in Franks hands is COCKED as the distant GLOW of a
lantern weaves it's way toward the fields.
                                                            
BACK TO SCENE
                                                            
Abe hears the CRACK of a rifle and the shell HISSES past,
narrowly missing him. Abe SHUFFLES faster and enters the
field, too shaken to run.
                                                            

97.

INSERT
                                                            
The RIFLE is COCKED again and Frank takes aim as the GLOW
fades into the cane.
                                                            
BACK TO SCENE
                             &n