Steven takes the joint back from Diane and pulls it down halfway in one breath--holding the hit.
(he talks like Dennis Hopper)
Ever go off a three meter board?
What’s three meters?
About ten feet.
Honey, why don’t we just build the pool closer to the house and
let the kids jump off the roof?
See, it’s like an air pocket. From three meters you’re freefalling. You can maybe squeeze in a half-gainer, jackknife into a swan, twist back, tuck, splash.
Honey, we can afford it.
We don’t really need it.
It’s great for business. We build the first house. We install the first pool. Look around us. By this summer (in bass baritone) “the hills are alive with the smell of chlorine”
Yeah and, our pool will be alive with a thousand guests.
I’m the wind and you’re the feather!
Steven flops Robbie onto his pillow just as a flash lights the room and the tree outside the window. Carol Anne lies awake, watching.
I don’t like the tree, Dad.
It’s an old tree. It was here for a long time. Long before my company built this neighborhood.
I don't like its arms. It knows I live here, doesn’t it?
(not aware this scares Robbie)
It knows everything about us. That’s why I built our home next to it. So it could protect you and Carol Anne, Dana, your Mom and me. It’s a wise old tree.
It looks at me. It knows I live here.
Robbie is visibly frightened now and Steven realizes he’s scared him. Just then a tremor of thunder rolls through the bedroom and Robbie snuggles up to his Dad.
Storm’s gonna miss us.
How do you know?
Because I can count.
Then more thunder. Robbie flinches, but tries to be brave.
After you see lightning, count until you hear the thunder. If you can count higher each time, that means the storm is moving away from you.
A flash of lightning is seen.
Now count with me.
One, two, three...
Thunder is HEARD.
Next time you’ll be able to count to four or more. You try it, okay?
Steven exits leaving the door open. Lightning occurs. Steven waits by the partially open door and listens as Robbie counts.
One.. .two.. .three...four...five...
Distant thunder is HEARD. Robbie is more relieved.
He feels real good about himself. He KNOCKS on Dana’s door. Music is HEARD. The door opens.
Uh, goodnight, Dad. A beat, then...
Get off the phone, Dana.
Robbie looks out the window. The tree just stands there in the wind. Another flash of lightning. Robbie controls his fear and concentrates.
CRACK! BOOM! An explosive jolt of thunder
rocks the house. The closet light goes out
as the tree outside the window suddenly bends
forward as if looking in. Robbie sits bolt
upright. Carol Anne wakes up SCREAMING.
Carol Anne and Robbie are asleep next to Diane and Steve. The TV been left on and the National Anthem starts to play...
CLOSE - FAMILY
Various positions, asleep.
The pre-recorded voice of the station manager signs off. A beat...Transmission ceases and the soft roar of dead air fills the room as the static white snow colors the walls, making shadows flicker and warp.
It is only now that we first hear it. A SOUND Intermingling with the TV hiss, like a bad connection from far, far away. A whisper. Not one, but hundreds of them. They say nothing. It’s a chorus, tonal and inviting.
She turns on her side. And her eyes open surreally. Ever so slowly, she turns her head until fully facing the TV. Carol Anne smiles. A smile much too sophisticated for a five year old child.
The snow mixes with new imagery. Forms. Vague but luminous. Always mingling. Impressionistic. Never hard-lined.
Come out...come out...
The picture tube starts to SNAP! Little flashes momentarily blind Carol Anne. She blinks and tries to see deeper. SNAP! CRACK! It's as if flashbulbs were being emitted. Steven and Diane turn fitfully but remain asleep. FLASH! POP! Robbie is close to waking.
Smiling, on her knees now...she reaches out toward the TV screen when... SOMETHING REACHES BACK. A Substance. A form, like a wispy, smoky tentacle twists forward, EXTENDING FROM THE PICTURE TUBE and snaking into the Freeling bedroom. Transparent and cold, it gives birth to itself, builds upon its own energy, growing brighter as it seems to hover above Carol Anne, then tower over the family asleep in the king-size bed.
She must bend her neck to look all the way up at the ceiling where this cyclonic shape waltzes.. .studying...a the room, then Carol Anne...
AN EXPLOSION from the TV set. The brightest flash yet experienced. A force that expells the intruder from the set and into the room. Catapulting it past the family and into the wall RIGHT OVER THE BED, where it leaves a dark pencil dot stain. The entire room shakes and the family is awake and panicked.
The window cracks, the curtain rod slips. Books and mementos fall from the open hutch. The medicine cabinet opens and prescription medicine splatters on the tiled floor. The room lights flare then die. Every picture topples from the walls.
Just as quickly as it began, the episode ceases. A HUSH descends. Everyone looks at Carol Anne. Carol Anne looks at everyone...then intones, almost matter-of-factly.
CLOSE STUDY - FOUR GEARSHIFTS
A work glove shifts.
CLOSE STUDY - CLUTCH
A steel-toed workboot slowly withdraws.
CLOSE STUDY - STEEL-BELTED TREADS
Lurch forward, dripping sod and wet grass.
The shovel of the bulldozer touches the earth and scrapes a deep swathe.
CAMERA MOVES CLOSER as the cigarbox coffin is cruelly exhumed in the ever-growing tidal wave of back yard turf.
Steve is on the phone, nervously smoking a cigarette as the bulldozer can be seen out the window, digging the new pool. Diane is serving waffles around the breakfast table. E. Buzz sits at Robbie's feet, watching the waffles hopefully. Only Carol Anne seems to have an appetite.
(on the phone)
I’m not kidding, Jeff. How could anyone sleep through a six-point-five. Yes, damage. Stuff’s in pieces all over our bedroom.
(quietly to Carol Anne)
Chew each bite ten times.
Carol Anne exaggerates her chewing; smiling with her mouth full.
I know that...we’ve had the radio on and there’s nothing about it. (after a beat) After the Sylmar quake it was two years before real estate was on the rise.
Diane is gently coaxing some information out of Carol Anne who mostly has her mouth full of waffles and blueberries.
When you said, “They’re here" last night.
Can I take my goldfish to school?
Maybe the fault line runs just under our house. Wouldn’t that be a scream?
The ceiling got crumbs all over my bed.
(to Carol Anne)
Sweetheart. Do you remember last night? Do you remember when you woke up and said, “They’re here?”
Who did you mean? Who’s here?
The TV people.
What do you know about it?
More’n you. Ask Dad.
Robbie picks up his milk to take a sip when the bottom of the glass drops out, the milk splashing back onto Robbie's cereal bowl, overflowing cereal all over the table and onto Dana’s blouse in a burst, perhaps slightly strong for the small amount of spilled milk.
(throwing up his hands)
It’s not my mess.
(jumps up from the table)
Thanks a lot, jerko-I’ve got class in twenty minutes.
Gimme that thing before you cut yourself.
Carol Anne has a big dripping splash of milk running down her forehead. Oblivious to this she just keeps eating, goes over to the kitchen TV...turns it on to the “Today Show”, then switches to an “in between” channel and watches the snow.
I’m outta here! See ya early.
I’m outta here!
(pushing him back)
You I can handle.
I got school!!
All right, I'll just f1unk.
Robbie shrugs, reaches for his spoon to resume eating and notices something unusual. The spoon is bent. He looks around the table. Every spoon is bent. Shrugging it off, Robbie lifts his cereal bowl and drinks right out of it, two tiny trails dripping off his chin, spotting his school shirt.
A big man, PUGSLEY, thirites, bald, steps
out of his pool install ation truck wearing
combat boots, a Teamster T-shirt, mirrored
sunglasses and a baseball cap turned around
backward on his head. He motions to the bulldozer
driver to “take a gander”. Dana grabs her
bike and rides off. The workmen pause to
stare at her. Pugsley and the dozer driver
share a salacious grin and the dozer driver
pops his clutch rapidly, the
dozer lurching suggestively several times.
Diane has witnessed this sloppy display through the open back door. Choosing to pass over it, she turns toward the kitchen table to clean up. E. BUZZ, the dog, is sitting on a pulled-out chair eating from everyone’s plates. Diane sighs and shoos E. Buzz away.
When you leave the table, Carol Anne...Robbie you push your chairs in.
Carol Anne is trying to fine-tune the snow on television.
Aw, honey you’re going to ruin your eyes. This is not good for you.
She turns the set to another channel where a WAR MOVIE is showing. Soldiers blowing up and screaming.
Diane is cleaning up. Broken glass surrounds her. She cups her left hand and picks narrow shards out of the shag when the GROWLING begins. Diane turns and sees...
E. BUZZ is growling at the wall. Looking up at something we don’t see. Diane sidesteps the broken vases to follow B. Buzz’s eyeline right up the wall and onto the stain.
CLOSE - DIANE
She cocks her head curiously.
MOVE IN - THE STAIN
It has grown since this morning. Like a Rorscharch pattern. Diane tries to rub it out with a pillowcase. She slips into the bathroom and wets one corner, then returns when...
Diane stops. Carefully she watches E. Buzz, who has ceased growling.
FULL SHOT - DIANE AND E. BUZZ
Never removing his spaniel eyes from the wall, E. Buzz’ tail starts wagging. He backs a scoot away from the wall and executes an obedient "roll-over.” Diane herself retreats.
C ‘mere, E. Buzz.
E.Buzz turns, but his mind is not on Diane. He runs out of the room between Diane’s legs immediately returning with his chew-ball. E. Buzz siddles up to the wall and sets his chew-ball down, “speaks” and executes a double roll-over.
Diane enters, sees Pugsley drinking a cup of coffee from one of her China cups.
(at doorway, to Pugsley)
Okay, Bluto! Gimme my cup.
Gee, Mrs. Freeling you make great coffee. Good for a second cup.
Pugsley breaks out laughing. Diane grabs the cup out of his hands and drops the blinds in his face.
Diane turns to find all the chairs are withdrawn from their intended places. She looks for Carol Anne then jumps halfway out of her skin.
Carol Anne is right behind her, tapping her on the side.
Jesus, don’t do that. You wanna see your mommy lying in a cigar box covered in licorice?
Carol Anne shakes her head.. .slowly.
(pointing to chairs)
Did you do that?
Carol Anne shakes her head slowly.
Diane replaces the chairs in their proper places and returns to the sink. She opens the cupboard under the sink, and brings out a bottle of 409. She stands and turns around...
The chairs are stacked one atop the other, reaching all the way up to the ceiling. Diane jams her fist into her mouth to press back the natura1 reaction. Carol Anne stands below her smiling up at the pyramid.
(a whisper to Carol Anne)
The TV people?
Do you see them?
WIDE ANGLE - IDENTICAL KITCHEN
In a disconcerting jump, all of the furniture, Carol Anne and Diane disappear. The basic structure of the kitchen remains exactly the same for this is a model home somewhere in Cuesta Verde Estates.
Steve Freeling walks into the empty setting
with a family of prospective buyers. Only
is different from the Freeling residence.
This, then, is our latest development. We call it phase four.
Where is your home, Mr. Freeling?
We were the first family to set up housekeeping in Cuesta Verde Estates.
That’s right. Actually you passed through my neighborhood to get here.
The area with that “lived in" look.
In a month you won’t be able to distinguish phase four from phase one from phase... well, around here grass grows greener on every side.
Yeah,, I can't tell one house from the other.
Our construction standards are very liberal. Matter of fact, a neighbor of mine put a jacuzzi in his bedroom, with a running aquaduct connecting it to the wading pool outside which he built half in, half out of his living room. That home was featured in last month’s issue of Town and Country.
DIALOGUE FADE WITH DISSOLVE
Sparse lightning over the mountains as the storm c1ouds begin to roll in. The neighborhood is quiet. Warm window light spill is out across the well manicured lawns. You can almost smell two hundred dinners in all of the ovens of Cuesta Verde.
Steve Freeling’s Oldsmobile station wagon turns down the block heading home.
ANGLE - FREELING DRIVEWAY
Three empty trashcans block the drive...Steve groans as he parks half on, half off the curb, climbs out, and starts removing obstacles when from nowhere is there, literally pulling toward the house.
Hey babe. Guess who just bought L-J 237...
Just c’mere! Hurry!
Wait a sec, I’m parked in the street.
Leave it. Quick, before it stops again.
We have never seen Diane focused and again so frazzled. Her words are coming in spurts. She must constantly catch her breath. The thrill in her voice is backed up against an oppressive fear.
Okay, okay...look. Okay. Listen. I’ve kept Dana and Robbie out of this, but Carol Anne was with me when it started so I cut her in, but Dana would blab and Robbie’d be up for three weeks sleeping on your side of the bed.
Diane, put the breaks on will ya. Just sit down a sec.
No, goddammit, you sit down! I mean ...stand right there. And just...just have an open mind. Reach back into our past when I used to know you with one and use it for the next coupla minutes.
Carol Anne suddenly appears from around the corner looking exhausted and cranky. In her hand is an San Diego Charger football helmet.
Mommy didn’t cook any dinner.
We’ll go to Pizza Hut, all right?
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