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Scent (A Short)
by David Chase (davidchase@rogers.com)

Rated: R   Genre: Horror   User Review: ***1/2
Survivors of an earthquake find themselves trapped in an elevator together, unaware that someone isn't who they appear to be.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


A dim light illuminates the morgue holding area. One wall is
taken up by rows of drawers.
The CORONER, a middle aged man, speaks to a DETECTIVE.
They're from the quake site?
Mm hmmm.
A pair of bodies, male and female, lie on the steel table.
They're awfully pale. How long
have they been dead?
Eighteen hours, at most.
Doesn't make sense.
The darkness is broken by the flickering of a dim overhead
light that struggles before coming on. It is a sick,
yellowish light, barely illuminating the inside of the
There's the emergency lights.
DOCTOR BARNES is dressed in typical on duty fashion. His
once dark hair is salted with streaks of white, but there is
still a youthfulness about him.
What happened?
SAUL WEITZ attempts to sit up on the floor. Elderly and
wearing dark glasses, he speaks with a Jewish accent.
It was an earthquake.


YURI could be somewhere in his mid-20's, with shoulder
length dark hair and piercing good looks. He speaks with an
almost forgotten European accent.
You okay, Sandy?
SANDY is a female nurse in her late 30's. She is also
dressed in the standard operating room attire.
I think so.
She struggles for a moment before getting off the floor.
How is he, Doctor Barnes?
Barnes is examining a man lying on a gurney, which has
collapsed to the floor, the legs broken. The man lies
unconscious, covered by a sheet, an IV in his arm.
He'll hold, but not for long.
Barnes turns toward Saul.
How about you, Mr...?
Everyone waits silently for Saul to reply.
I believe he's talking to you.
Saul turns his head, as if surprised.
Oh, forgive me. It's Weitz. Saul
Weitz. I'm afraid I don't see too
He removes his glasses, revealing his blind eyes.
My apologies, sir. Sandy, can you
check on Mr. Weitz?
Please, don't make a fuss. I'm
fine. Your patient needs you more
than I do.


Fair enough. And how about you?
Yuri stands and stretches.
I'm Yuri, and no, I'm fine too.
Thank you.
Barnes nods and turns his attention back to his patient.
Yuri begins examining the confines of the elevator. The
grating covering the overhead lights lies on the floor, and
there is small amounts of debris scattered about.
Is there a contingency, doctor?
For what?
For getting us out of here.
I don't know. I suppose it would
be up to the emergency responders.
Yuri takes out a cell phone and attempts to dial.
I can't get a signal.
No, you won't. We probably fell
clear to the basement. I think
we'll have to be patient.
Yuri looks around for a moment. Standing in front of the
doors, he attempts to open them, but they don't budge. He
looks up, but the ceiling exit is too high to reach.
I think we're stuck here for a
bit. You should sit tight.
Yes, come sit with an old man.
We'll talk, it'll be fine.
Yuri looks around once more before taking a seat.


Have you always been blind?
Not always, but long enough that
it seems like forever.
Yuri looks at the doctor still tending to his patient.
Would you like to hear about it?
Why not? We're not going anywhere.
A light rain falls as prisoners are herded off trains and
into a Nazi concentration camp.
                       SAUL (V-O)
It was late 1943, and the final
solution was in progress.
A young boy, terrified, walks behind his parents toward the
main gate of the camp.
                       SAUL (V-O)
I still had my sight then.
Ironically, I saw things that no
one should ever have to witness.
A group of prisoners is marched into a room housing showers.
                       SAUL (V-O)
People were taken places and then
never seen again.
Outside, smoke billows from several stacks.
                       SAUL (V-O)
The only constant was the smoke
stacks. They never stopped.
Yuri takes his phone out again. The time reads 12:47.
Damn. It's been over an hour.


You have somewhere else you need
to be?
I will. Soon.
As they speak, Barnes and Sandy begin working feverishly on
the patient.
He's going into arrest.
Barnes begins performing CPR.
Yuri sits calmly watching.
What's going on?
The man's having a heart attack.
Saul strains to hear what is happening. He pauses and sniffs
at the air.
He's dead already.
I know.
Yuri stops himself before saying any more. He looks
suspiciously at Saul.
How did you know?
Saul doesn't answer.
Barnes and Sandy finally stop working on the man.
Cover him up.
Sandy complies, covering the man with the sheet.
As I was saying, the Nazi plan was
going full steam ahead.


Dozens of bodies are piled up on the floor of the shower
room, draped one on top of another. Small amounts of vapor
still escape from the shower heads.
                       SAUL (V-O)
The dead thought they were being
taken there to be cleaned. The gas
was only the first step.
A small boy (8) enters the room wearing a gas mask.
                       SAUL (V-O)
The bodies had to be loaded onto
carts before being taken to the
furnaces. The Nazis felt this task
was beneath them.
The boy begins to drag a body toward a cart. He pauses,
looking around at the death surrounding him. He trembles,
shuts his eyes, and continues dragging the body.
Every night, that's where you'd
find me. I don't know for how
long, I lost track of time.
Yuri discreetly sniffs the air. Slowly, he gets up,
approaching Sandy. She turns as she senses him.
You're bleeding.
She touches her head near her temple. A small amount of
blood trickles out from a scratch there.
Oh, that. It's nothing.
Sandy notices him looking closely at the wound.
The boy is in the shower room, loading bodies as usual, only
now he is wearing a heavier jacket and gloves.


                       SAUL (V-O)
It was a cold winter, but at least
the seasons changing gave me some
sense of the passage of time.
The boy leans over the body of a dead woman and prepares to
move her. A movement out of the corner of his eye catches
his attention.
The boy looks around. Nothing.
As he prepares to go back to work, there is another
movement. He looks around again.
                       SAUL (V-O)
At first, I thought it was my
imagination. But then I saw it.
Across the room, from the pile of bodies, something slowly
moves. Creeping, slithering, it manages to stand.
Terrified, the boy slowly lowers himself to a prone position
beside the dead woman.
What was possibly a man at one time now half stands, half
hunches on top of a pile of bodies, surveying the room.
Dressed in tattered rags, it breathes heavily, drool
dripping from it's snarled lips.
                       SAUL (V-O)
I knew I was already in hell, so
the devil coming for me...it just
made sense.
The boy lies, quivering, just out of the creature's view.
                       SAUL (V-O)
But I don't think it saw me,
because if it knew I was there...
Yuri sits back down next to Saul.
You must have been terrified.
I was.
Saul cocks his head, as if listening for something.


They're quiet.
Yuri looks to the other side of the elevator. There is a
large spray of blood on the wall. Barnes and Sandy both lie
on the floor, face down, not moving.
Not much for words, I guess.
Saul hesitates a moment before continuing.
Anyway, I was sure it couldn't get
any worse. I was wrong.
The boy lies on the floor, huddled next to the dead woman.
The man/creature slowly crouches down over a corpse and
begins to sniff it. Suddenly, it plunges it's teeth into the
throat of the corpse, and begins making a sickening slurping
                       SAUL (V-O)
It was...feeding. The only thing I
could do was lie there as quietly
as I could. And pray.
The boy's eyes are shut tight as he silently mouths the
words to a prayer. He opens his eyes for a split second.
The eyes of the dead woman beside him also open.
                       SAUL (V-O)
It felt like time had stood still,
as if we looked into each others
eyes for an eternity. Of course,
it was only a second or two.
The woman suddenly grabs for the boy, breaking him out of
the spell. He recoils with a scream, struggling as she tries
to get hold of him.
The other creature turns toward the commotion. Seeing what
is happening, he closes in quickly.


The woman is up, hissing at his approach. They lock up,
struggling, before falling to the ground.
The boy cowers against the wall, watching as they tear into
each other, rolling over the pile of corpses. Tearing and
scratching sounds fill the air.
                       SAUL (V-O)
I watched them literally trying to
devour one another, and I was sure
I had gone mad. And I would have,
if not for everything going dark.
As the boy watches, everything suddenly goes black. The
sounds of the struggle are joined by the sounds of men
yelling, followed by gunshots.
The allies liberated the camp not
long after. I never saw any of
their faces.
Yuri looks at his phone again. It reads 2:55.
Damn. What's going on out there?
You need out, don't you?
Yuri gets up and begins to pace. After a moment, he begins
banging on the walls.
Hello! Can anyone hear me!
Save your breath. They'll come
when they come.
Yuri sighs and sits down across from Saul.
They died quietly.
You mean in the gas chambers?
No, I mean them.


He points to the bodies on the floor.
Yuri is unsure how to react. He watches Saul closely.
It's the other senses, isn't it?
Yes. Mostly smell.
Once more, he sniffs the air.
I was in those showers for so
long, I got...a nose for certain
smells. I know the scent of death.
That's impressive.
Here's the strange part. I should
only smell 3 deceased. I smell 4.
Yuri's eyes narrow.
Why are you here, old man?
My friends spend their lives
trying to understand the
holocaust. I've spent mine trying
to understand what happened in
that room.
And what have you learned?
I know what you are. I've spent
years researching, travelling all
over the world, just to learn what
little bit I could.
He takes his glasses off, looks at Yuri with unseeing eyes.
Imagine my surprise when I smelled
you getting on this elevator. My
whole life I've tried to find your
kind, and I find you by chance.


Well, you've got me. What now?
Now, unfortunately, we wait.
Yuri smirks, before banging his hand against the wall.
Get us out!
Realizing it is futile, he sits quietly again.
Do you think it was the gas?
Excuse me?
That creature. It was clearly
deranged. My guess is it was
feeding on gas chamber victims
before they were dead.
Some animals will eat anything.
Why were you at the hospital?
I was seeing a friend.
So late? But then, I suppose
coming during regular visiting
hours is out of the question.
I see you've also retained your
sense of humor.
I'm curious what type of friend
someone...like you would have.
You have no idea, do you. You've
spent your whole life searching
for us, never realizing that so
many of us are so close. I might
ask why you were here so late?


I'm an old man. This is
practically my second home.
They sit silently for another moment.
So why kill them? Why not turn
them like you?
He motions to Barnes and Sandy.
Population control. Less
competition makes for easier
I see. Am I next?
I'm full.
Saul begins to laugh. After a moment, Yuri joins in.
Saul becomes serious once more.
Do you really want out of here?
Why, can you get us out?
Yuri slowly gets up.
Don't play with me, old man.
A beautiful girl (early 20's) sits at a private table in a
nightclub. As couples dance to the throbbing beat on the
floor, she enjoys the company of a good looking young man.


I think that's a line.
When he speaks, there is a hint of Saul's Jewish accent. He
wears dark glasses, even though they are indoors.
No, I mean it. I love that scent.
She smiles coyly, stirring her drink.
What if I told you I had a way of
letting them know our location?
Go on.
Given my condition, I have a medic
alert device on my person. Medical
responders can hone in on its
frequency in an emergency.
Yuri's eyes narrow.
And no, you won't find it. Or know
how to operate it.
So why haven't you used it?
I had to be sure of something.
That you would return the favor.
You scratch my back?
I'll scratch yours. I can wait til
they find us. You can't.


Yuri becomes incensed, banging on the walls again. As he
does so, his molars become elongated, getting sharper as
they grow.
Let me out!
That's it, keep yelling! Maybe
they'll hear you!
Yuri stops and looks at Saul.
Or maybe they won't.
Yuri begins to calm down.
First, tell me we have a deal.
Yuri stands quietly, considering the offer.
I hope you're prepared for this.
I've never seen anything like it.
The detective, a 40 something man, nods.
Go ahead, open it.
The coroner pulls one of the drawers open. It slides out,
revealing a black body bag.
He pauses before unzipping the bag. The body lying there is
already in advanced decomposure, but the shoulder length
black hair is still visible.
What the hell's that?
Sticking into the corpse's chest is a piece of wood.
Is that a...?
Yes, it's a stake.


The detective scratches his head. As he looks at the body,
he hears the coroner sliding another drawer open.
What the hell...?
The detective looks over, and sees an empty drawer.
It was here this morning. It was
placed in a bag and taken directly
here from the quake site.
And you saw them place it in here?
With my own eyes.
The coroner looks around, amazed.
So where'd he go?
You can feel free to give me all
the compliments you want.
It'll be easy with someone so
beautiful. You Know what?
He takes off the glasses, revealing fully seeing eyes.
It's as if I'm seeing the world
for the first time tonight.
The girl blushes and turns away, missing it as Saul's smile
reveals a pair of sharp, elongated fangs.


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From Thomas Simmons Date 9/4/2008 ***1/2
I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I agree that it was too short. I see this as a feature. There is so much potential here. I found the dialogue brisk and true to life. Really solid.

From Will Date 8/10/2008 ***1/2
I had no idea that it was going to turn into a completely different genre by the end of the story. YOu built up the atmosphere very well and I like the idea of characters stuck in a lift together. The only problem I have is that I would have liked to see what you could have come up with had you'd not gone into sci fi. Great stuff though and despite that point still a good twist ending.

From Zachary Conan Bednar Date 7/30/2008 ****
I truly enjoyed this one immensely. Very ambitious work. Puts all of mine to shame. But hey, we work two separate ball games. Very entertaining, and very well done.

From Mike Quinn Date 7/30/2008 ***
I always enjoy a quick read so this one fit the bill. I think you have the beginning of a great Hitchcock/Twilight zone/Saw 1 twister ending here. You set it up nicely. The characters are spot on and the way you intertwine with saul's past is very well done. The camps themselves were a horror, having a creature or ghost or any monster that is born and thrives of that is instantly creepy in and of its own. My issue is that I think you tip your hand just a bit too soon. In continuing on with that analogy, you cause the reader to fold pre-maturely. Think of your favourite twist endings. The best ones you never see coming. They blindside you and make your upside down and your downside up. Sure there will always be those who claim they new Vader was Luke's pop, that jigsaw was lying on the floor the whole time, or that Brad Pitt's wife's head was in the box, but that is just bullshit. They were justa s surprised as the rest of us. So! Find a way to keep the ending from us until we get the payoff of seeing Yuri caught in his own trap. Then the story will really sink its teeth into the reader. Or viewer as it were.

From Kevin Mitchell Date 7/28/2008 ***1/2
I like these types of stories that take place in small places and don't necessarily jump around to different places because it forces the author to really exercise dynamic dialogue and it's evident here. Really entertaining short piece. You could easily make it into a 90 minute film.

From Tri Xuan Date 7/26/2008 ***1/2
This was much better the second time around, then when I first read it. I think it was a unique way to tell a quick horror piece. Different yet entertaining. I thought the characters were good only it kind of was almost too short. It gets in and gets out real quick. My only complain is it was too short. I thought you were going to take it to the next level as it really had that kind of feeling like this could be a two hour movie easily. Oh well that's the ball game! Look forward to your next piece of work. Hope it's as good as your story The Pilgramage. I have enjoyed that!

From Jeff Helton Date 7/26/2008 ***1/2
Very Interesting.... Quite a stretch from your last one. Great work! And it reads very well.

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