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The Burning Babe
by Alexander Ramirez (Alram1988@aol.com)

Rated: R   Genre: Drama   User Review: **
A short film adapted from the sixteenth century religious poem of the same title by Robert Southwell.


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.



EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT
                                                            
A dense blanket of snowfall coats the surrounding stone
bursts of Gothic architecture. A plain crucifix,
foregrounded and mounted atop a Protestant house of worship,
overlooks the city center. In the distance, a lone black
speck zigzags across the immaculate white canvas.
                                                            
The speck is an English NOBLEMAN, stumbling drunk through
the silent night, his cape flitting in the air behind him on
gusts of swirling ice chips. He imbibes the remnants of his
flask and reaches into his doublet, pulling free the
Catholic rosary that hangs from his neck.
                                                            
The nobleman unsheathes a dagger from his waistband and
drops to his knees before the church. He poises the tip of
the blade against his chest and shivers equally from the
cold and his nerves.
                                                            
                       NOBLEMAN
Forgive me. I may be a writer, but
words escape me now.
                                                            
An orange glow grows against the nobleman's back.
                                                            
                       NOBLEMAN
Where words fail, action more than
suffices. This injustice before us
all...
                                                            
Scattered embers blast against the nobleman, prompting a
peaceful smile to creep across his conflicted face. He turns
to their source, and his jaw and dagger drop in unison.
                                                            
A flaming BABE hovers in the air above him: a majestic
infant, thoroughly engulfed in ravenous tongues of fire.
                                                            
                       THE BABE
Alas...
                                                            
The nobleman shudders. Beads of liquid escape his tear
ducts, matching those of the babe's.
                                                            
                       THE BABE
But newly born in fiery heats I
fry, yet none approach to warm
their hearts or feel my fire but
I!
                                                            
 

2.

EXT. VIA DOLOROSA - DAY
                                                            
Calloused hands press a crown of thorns onto the head of
CHRIST, sinking the pricks into His brow.
                                                            
                       THE BABE (O.S.)
My faultless breast the furnace
is, the fuel wounding thorns.
                                                            
 
EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT
                                                            
The eyes of the babe stare into the nobleman, wide and
ever-weeping, glossed with flame and tears.
                                                            
                       THE BABE
Love is the fire, and sighs the
smoke, the ashes shame and scorns.
                                                            
 
INT. THE GARDEN OF EDEN - DAY
                                                            
A humanoid SERPENT strokes EVE's head as she obligingly
bites through the red rind of the apple.
                                                            
                       THE BABE (O.S.)
The fuel justice layeth on, and
mercy blows the coals.
                                                            
 
EXT. ANCIENT FIELD - DAY
                                                            
ABEL pets his sheep; CAIN rushes him from behind. Stone
strikes brain stem as the brothers tumble in the dirt. The
stone rises and falls a definitive time, and skull fragments
leap up and hang in Cain's wild orange beard.
                                                            
                       THE BABE (O.S.)
The metal in this furnace wrought
are men's defiled souls.
                                                            
 
EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT
                                                            
The burning babe's flaming eyes fill the screen.
                                                            
                       THE BABE
For which, as now on fire I am to
work them to their good...
                                                            
 

3.

EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT
                                                            
The nobleman is alone, as before, on his knees in front of
the Protestant church, with the dagger-tip pointed toward
his heart.
                                                            
                       THE BABE (O.S.)
So will I melt into a bath to wash
them with my blood.
                                                            
The nobleman drives the dagger into his chest and
death-rattles forward, staining the snow.
                                                            
 
EXT. TOWN SQUARE - NIGHT
                                                            
The nobleman and the burning babe face-off in silence. The
nobleman finds his dagger in a bed of snow and holds it
slack before the apparition in shame.
                                                            
The flames in the air consume themselves, and the infant
disappears with them. The nobleman considers the instrument
of death in his hand and weeps.
                                                            
                       CHILD (O.S.)
Sir? Sir?
                                                            
 
EXT. TOWN SQUARE - DAY
                                                            
The nobleman awakens with a start. The town square is alive
with the majority of the populace buzzing around the church
at this early hour. A curious CHILD studies the nobleman
sleeping in the street.
                                                            
                       PARENT (O.C.)
Son! Away from the drunk at once!
Inside!
                                                            
                       CHILD
      (to the nobleman)
Merry Christmas, sir.
                                                            
The child scampers away. The nobleman looks up at the church
as citizens file through the entry doors. The plain crucifix
on top has been heavily adorned with Christmas decorations.
                                                            
The nobleman looks into his palm where he formerly held his
dagger and finds it replaced with a writer's fountain pen.
His eyes swell with tears. He bravely clutches his rosary.
                                                            

4.

Singing voices rise in harmony. They do not emanate from the
Protestant church, nor anywhere else in this earthbound
scene.
                                                            
                       NOBLEMAN
Merry Christmas, Lord.
                                                            
The ornate crucifix, foregrounded and mounted atop the
Protestant house of worship, overlooks the city center. In
the distance, a lone black speck rises from the snowfall and
marches homeward.
                                                            


THE END


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From Daniel Siegel Date 4/21/2013 0 stars
Strange an short.

From Roman Monroe Date 11/23/2012 ****
Excellent imagery and nice ending.


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