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A Short Screenplay Called Sin

Script By: ZaneTheGreat
Horror


Agent Joseph Wallace battles against his past to arrest a serial killing menace.


Submitted:Sep 21, 2012    Reads: 135    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


"SIN"
FADE IN
INT. UNDERGROUND ROOM - 00 : 00 : 00
Close up of DAVID, a young lawyer who has several fresh wounds across his face. His eyes open suddenly and the camera pulls away to reveal a tarnished metal collar around his throat. A coil leads from the collar to offscreen somewhere. The background is bleak, cavernous, and wet. DAVID is wearing clothes soaked where they touched the ground and dirty from being dragged somewhere. As the camera backs up further, DAVID lets out a scream and claws at the device around his neck. We can now see that the coil leads to a mechanism on the wall. In addition, a second person is collared and attached to the machine. This is ADAM, another young businessman-type whose eyes are now opening groggily.
ADAM
Wh-what the heck is...
ADAM weakly attempts to claw the collar off, getting more alert by the second. DAVID feels the coil on the collar and gives it a hard yank. This causes ADAM to be pulled towards the mechanism on the wall.
ADAM
(panicking)
What is this!? What did you do to me!?
DAVID
(angry and scared)
What are you talking about!? I didn't do anything!! Get me out of here!!!
DAVID feels the collar and finds an archaic keyhole. He looks up and we notice, for the first time, a key suspended in the air by a thin wire. ADAM also sees this, but DAVID has already lunged for it. This sends ADAM careening into the wall. In response, ADAM moves forward and forces DAVID back, succeeding slowly and with some difficulty. Suddenly, a VOICE rings out.
VOICE
Hello, David. Hello, Adam. You're both here because you've been found guilty in the eyes of God. You share a common link. You each care only for yourself, and you will destroy anyone you must to reach the top.You've betrayed the trust of others, and even violated the sacred contracts of your marriages. Your greed and vanity will be put on trial today. If you can atone for your sins, you are free to escape, but, if you fail to repent, this place will be your grave. You have sixty seconds before the collars around you close and you suffocate. I urge you not to follow your first instinct, because that is the very reason you are here in the first place.
A timer lights up on the wall with sixty seconds displayed. Below it is a rustic steel door. The two men continue struggling against each other. ADAM is coming closer to the key, and DAVID is being pulled farther.
DAVID
(struggling)
I don't want to die!
ADAM
(exhausted, condescending)
Nobody does, idiot!
ADAM lunges forwards suddenly, yanking DAVID back and towards the other man's coil. DAVID latches onto ADAM'S rope and pulls his enemy back with him. Then, DAVID gets up and starts pulling himself to the key with all his might. ADAM is still on the ground, the force of David's movements preventing him from regaining his footing.
DAVID
(exhausted)
Game over.
DAVID reaches out and manages to snatch the key between his fingers. The clock is still ticking down. DAVID, exhausted, unlocks the collar and lets it fall to the side. Moments later, the timer reaches zero and ADAM claws at his neck. The collar tightens until there is a sickening SNAP. ADAM stops moving, save a few convulsive postmortem twitches.
DAVID
You lose.
DAVID slowly approaches the exit door. There are two buttons- one on either side of the door. The width of the door prevents DAVID from reaching either one while pressing the other.
DAVID
What- what the heck is this!?
DAVID presses the left button several times, trying the door handle with his free hand. He anxiously rushes over to the other button and tries it as well, to no avail. The VOICE begins again.
VOICE
I assume only one of you is left alive now. If that is so, you've failed. You are unable to escape this room without help. If you had selflessly rescued the other man, you'd both have walked out alive. Instead, you chose the route that led to your own survival with no compassion or empathy towards the other prisoner. You did not reach any type of atonement. A wise woman once told me that death cures all ills. That is why I am now filling the room with carbon monoxide gas. You have very little time left to live. If you have any confessions, make them now.
The VOICE is silent. DAVID is racing around the room desperately, feeling for any exit.
DAVID
No! No! No! I played your sick game!! Let me out you, psychopathic freak! This isn't right!! This isn't fair! This-
DAVID suddenly falls over into the wall and slides down onto the ground.
INT. VIEWING ROOM - 00 : 03 : 07
MICHELLE is in a room with a large window looking into the underground torture chamber. The two corpses lie below, now mere piles of decomposable matter. Behind MICHELLE is a chair with opened restraints. She is holding a tape recorder in her hand. She presses play.
VOICE
Hello, Michelle. The two men you see below both committed terrible sins, as I'm sure you're well aware. The burden you carry for allowing your friends to aid in the defiling of these men's marriages is, I am sure, a terrible one. However, envy and self-loathing are sins. You must learn to understand the distinction between crime and accident if you ever hope to face your judgment...
MICHELLE rubs her reddened wrists tenderly and looks out onto the chamber.
MICHELLE
(softly)
Did I drag them into this? Is it my fault they're- no... this is what he wants me to think, isn't it? I won't give him the pleasure...
MICHELLE turns and leaves through an opened steel door. The door closes behind her with a SLAM.
EXT. 15054 CAREY LN. - LATE NOON
Agent WALLACE, a young bespectacled man, strolls puposefully up to Detective HALEY, a golden-haired woman wearing a police uniform. Around the house are a few police cars and a van with an officer inside of it.
HALEY
What's the FBI doing here? This case belongs to Missing Persons.
WALLACE
Your guy's M.O. matches an open case of ours- some psychopath who kidnaps people and makes them play sick games. He's got victims all over the country.
HALEY
He sounds like the guy from those scary movies my son loves so much. I don't remember their names, but the main character had some sick obsession with murder.
WALLACE looks down at his notepad.
WALLACE
He's a close ringer, but this guy is some kind of religious nut or something- testing people like he's God on judgment day.
HALEY
And you think your guy kidnapped this girl?
WALLACE
Witnesses say they saw a hearse in the area just before the kidnapping allegedly occurred. Our guy likes to shove his victims in coffins and drive them away like they're about to face God.
HALEY
Hmph, how symbollic...
HALEY looks back at the house behind her.
HALEY(CONT'D)
All right, fine. I'll send you the case files, but you had better get this creep of the streets, Joe. You'll call if you need anything?
WALLACE nods.
WALLACE
She in there?
HALEY nods slightly towards the house in response.
HALEY
She's been through a lot. Take it easy on her, okay?
WALLACE shrugs and walks toward the house.
WALLACE
You always were the one who knew how to talk to the victims.
INT. 15054 CAREY LN. - LATE NOON
Detective COPAN, a young officer in uniform, is standing in the living room with MRS. GRAYSON, an aging and stressed woman with a cigarette in her hand. The phone near them is hooked up to several machines, and other officers are carefully observing them. A photograph of MICHELLE is clearly visible.
COPAN
If he calls, we'll be able to trace the phone to a general area. Then, we'll find where he's hiding and-
Agent WALLACE enters.
COPAN
Who are you?
Agent WALLACE flashes his ID badge.
WALLACE
Agent Wallace, FBI. This is our case, now.
COPAN
Not without my boss's say-so, it's not.
WALLACE
I already have that- go ask her yourself.
Detective COPAN sighs and shakes his head.
COPAN
Whatever. Just stay back and let me do my job. The victim's name is Michelle Grayson. She's a paramedic. Reports say she was walking home from work when she was abducted. The mother was the last person she talked to.
WALLACE
And you're monitoring the phones?
COPAN
Yeah, we think this is a ransom kidnap. Mrs. Grayson here inherited a lot of money from a deceased relative.
WALLACE
You're not going to get any phone call.
The phone suddenly RINGS. Detective COPAN glances at Agent WALLACE smugly.
OFFICER
Everything's in place!
COPAN
Pick it up, please.
MRS. GRAYSON reaches for the phone and picks it up.
MRS. GRAYSON
(hesitantly)
Hello?
VOICE
I'd like to speak to Agent Wallace.
MRS. GRAYSON turns and looks over at WALLACE.
MRS. GRAYSON
It's for you.
She shakily offers him the phone, which he accepts.
WALLACE
Wallace.
VOICE
Nice to hear from you again, Agent Wallace. I was worried I'd given you the slip in Boston.
WALLACE
Where's the girl?
VOICE
Michelle? She's a little preoccupied at the moment. It's me you're after, though, right? I'll give you a hint- if you're looking for me, you might want to start where we first met.
The line CLICKS and a DIAL TONE is heard.
OFFICER
Not long enough- sorry.
COPAN
Did that mean anything to you- what he just said?
WALLACE is still for a moment, but then he shrugs.
WALLACE
Absolutely nothing.
INT. Underground Room - 00 : 09 : 23
As the scene opens, MICHELLE approaches another steel door. There is a knife fitted into the handle. She carefully removes it and opens the door. The room she's in is large and bleak. There is a door on the opposite end of the room, and, in the center, ALEX is suspended over a pit with a rope around his neck, his feet planted loosely on a steadily retracting platform.
ALEX
Help me!! Help me!!
MICHELLE races over to the screaming man.
ALEX
What- who are you!? Get away from me!!
As MICHELLE attempts to slice the rope, ALEX resists. He shoves MICHELLE away the best he can and lashes out at her with his fists.
ALEX
Don't you dare touch me!!
MICHELLE
Are you crazy!? Do you want to die!?
ALEX tightly shuts his eyes and feels the rope around him. MICHELLE again tries to sever the ropes and succeeds. As she pulls him away from the pit, the platform fully retracts into the stony surface, leaving the rope dangling over a gaping chasm.
MICHELLE
Are- are you-
ALEX suddenly turns and attacks MICHELLE! He yanks her up and tries to shove her backwards off the pit. MICHELLE struggles to fight him off, but ultimately starts falling backwards. At the last second possible, she summons her strength and ducks down as the momentum carries ALEX into the waiting embrace of Death.
MICHELLE
(shocked)
I... I don't...
She rises and stumbles away from the no-longer-empty hole, dazed and shocked. Her breathing speeds up and she wipes her hands on her shirt, cleansing herself of unseen sin. The VOICE rings out through the cavern.
VOICE
Michelle, the man you see before you was a drug addict with a violent temper. Knowing you, that does not lessen the extreme guilt you feel at having killed him. This was his test, Michelle. Take a look at the recorder to your right.
Sure enough, MICHELLE turns and notices a tape recorder. She picks it up shakily and presses play.
VOICE
Hello, Alex. In a moment, the person responsible for your current... situation... will attempt to rescue you. If you make the wrong choice, this game will end with you at the bottom of that pit. That will be your true test. In order to survive, I implore you to repent and atone for the sins you have committed.
The tape ends. MICHELLE looks back at the abyss and then up at the ceiling.
VOICE
I intentionally lied- I set up a scenario to test his affinity for violence to see if he was capable of change. That is the key to my tests. All people are responsible for their actions and theirs alone. Do not hold yourself accountable for the sufferring of others.
There is silence. MICHELLE looks around before heading towards the door without another glance behind her. Tears involuntarily spill down her cheeks.
MICHELLE
(softly)
This guy... whoever he is... he's sick... and he's watching me.
EXT. WAREHOUSE - EARLY EVENING
Agent WALLACE looks up at the warehouse, an abandoned storage facility. The area appears deserted and the building is in the shady blanket of darkness due to the time of day. WALLACE steps towards the door and opens it. Inside, we see a similar yet distinctly younger version of Agent WALLACE beside Agent GARRETT, a young woman in an FBI uniform. In the background is a corpse covered with a decidedly rust-tinted sheet. Other agents move about dutifully. Sun shines through the windows, implying that this is an occurrence in the past.
GARRETT
You're going to want to hear this, Wallace.
Agent GARRETT produces a tape recorder identical to the ones from earlier. She pushes play.
VOICE
Megan, you've valued your body your whole life. This vanity has cast you into the den of Satan. In order to redeem yourself in the eyes of the Lord, you must make a choice. In five minutes, you'll feel the pointed nails underneath you pierce your skin. By ten, they will have impaled you. You'll notice your left arm is free. This is so you can take the cauldron of acid and burn the ropes that bind your arm, legs, and face. Can you sacrafice your image to save your existence? We'll find out...
The tape ends. The only noise is the hum of machines and the agents working. Agent GARRETT walks over to the body with Agent WALLACE close behind.
GARRETT
As you can see, she didn't make it in time. She's been dead a while- no one even knew about this place, so it was about a week before she was discovered.
WALLACE
Who does this guy think he is? God?
GARRETT
Probably. I've never seen someone murder so brutally. I thought it was personal--revenge, greed--but nobody could plan a murder this twisted and well-thought-out. We're dealing with a psychopath, and I think he'll strike again, Agent Wallace. We need to be ready.
Camera closes in on Agent WALLACE before shifting to the present. WALLACE walks into the warehouse and notices a tape recorder on the ground by the center of the area. He strides over and picks it up before playing it.
VOICE
Hello again, Agent Wallace. I've made this nice and easy for you. I want to meet the man so dedicated to justice that he's chased me across the country. I'm at the pier close by. You remember it, don't you? It's where you killed your first criminal. I thought it would be nice to meet somewhere with some sentimental value. Hurry up- there's a lot to discuss.
There is silence. WALLACE'S hand strays to the gun at his hip. He drops the tape recorder and smashes it.
EXT. WAREHOUSE - EARLY EVENING
As Agent WALLACE is leaving, we see Detective HALEY nearby in a civilian vehicle. She gets out of the car as soon as WALLACE is out of view.
INT. WAREHOUSE - EARLY EVENING
Detective HALEY steps towards the smashed recording on the ground. Then, she pulls her phone out of the pocket and enters a number.
HALEY
Hello? Yes, I need you to tell me everything you can about a storage warehouse near the pier...
INT. UNDERGROUND PASSAGE - 00 : 16 : 17
MICHELLE walks up to another steel door. There is a photo pasted to this one, dampened by a smear of blood. The face of a smiling woman is still visible. MICHELLE takes the photo and observes it carefully before placing it in her pocket.
MICHELLE
Great... what now?
MICHELLE takes it and enters the room. Inside is a large transient box filled with water. There's a closed tube on the side touching the granite wall which seems to serve no obvious purpose. At its far wall is another box, the potential grave of another victim, NIKKI, who is just now waking up to the aquamarine landscape. Her voice carries through an opening over her which seems to reverberate sound well. Near this device is a control panel with a single button. The word "judgment" is written on the button.
NIKKI
Who's there!? Let me out!! Let me out right now!!
VOICE
Do you remember the woman in that picture, Michelle? Her name was Debra. She was killed by the person before you, a thief seeking sustenance, a leech on society's vein. You feel guilt for letting Debra die before she could reach a hospital. I will give you both a chance to atone for your sins. The contraption before you is designed to pressure each of your wills in a different way. As soon as this message ends, water will begin to drain into the smaller box. The control lies with you, Michelle. Press the red button to activate the device's drain. Once the water is completely gone, the door will unlock and you will be free. Just know that an electrical current will run through the floor and the water as the outer box is being drained. Do you choose to let her life drain away to avoid your own self-startling confrontations, or do you overcome your aversion to causing pain and spread your hurt to another?
The voice is silent, but the WHIRRING of a machine is audiable. A vent between the boxes opens, allowing water to pour through. NIKKI, now awake, becomes increasingly more alarmed.
NIKKI
Michelle, if you press that button, I swear to God-
MICHELLE seems oblivious to or intentionally ignorant of NIKKI'S pleas as she has already stepped up to the control panel. NIKKI'S line is cut short by a sharp current of electricity. The drain on the wall opens, slowly but surely, and the water level begins to trickle downwards at a minuscule yet noticeable pace. NIKKI screams.
NIKKI
God!! Stop!!
MICHELLE continues to hold the button down. The water is up to NIKKI'S shins at this point and the outer water level is dropping more swiftly. It is now nearly half-gone.
NIKKI
Please! Please!!!
MICHELLE'S conscience catches up to her at last and she releases the button. NIKKI falls against the side, the water, now just over her kness, climbing her pant leg, unable to catch her breath.
MICHELLE
(yelling)
You'll die if I don't!
NIKKI
(exhausted)
Let me die, then. I don't care. Just.. don't.. not again...
MICHELLE
(musingly, to herself)
I don't... maybe you deserve to die, though. Is that what he wants? I guess, considering what you've done... I couldn't care less.
The drain fully closes. the water seems to sense the aura between the victims and torrents into the smaller shell at an unnaturally fast pace. In moments it is up to NIKKI'S waist and showing no signs of receding. NIKKI grows increasingly anxious and fearful as her mind digests the decision she's just made. Rather than calming her heart, she has inadvertantly quickened its metronomic beat. Sweat forms despite the chilly waters she swims in.
NIKKI
No... no, I want to live! Please! This isn't how I want to die! I've changed my mind! Michelle!
MICHELLE glances at the button hesitantly but makes no obvious moves toward it. NIKKI begins to weep as the water nears her chest.
NIKKI
God, please! I was screwed up back then! I deserve to be punished for it, but not like this! I'm sorry for what I did! I don't want to die! I just- I don't want to die! I... I really don't want to die!
A close shot of the button. The rushing water can still be heard off screen. MICHELLE'S hand suddenly slams itself into the awaiting device, again opening the vent. NIKKI screams and convulses, electricity coursing through her body. The water drains at a quickened pace, and, after only a few seconds, the inner box's water level begins decreasing as well, flowing out from a shallow opening in the bottom. NIKKI'S screams increase in volume as the level of water draws closer to zero until, finally, it falls below her waist and MICHELLE releases the button. MICHELLE then races over to NIKKI's side of the box, feeling around it for some form of latch or lever. NIKKI is panting, only halfway-conscious, slumped agint the side. Seeing MICHELLE, she places her hand on the glass.
NIKKI
Th- thanks...
MICHELLE
You're not free, yet.
MICHELLE pulls from her pocket the hunting knife she had obtained earlier. She smashes the hilt into the glass repeatedly until, finally, it cracks and splits apart under the uneven pressure. NIKKI topples over into MICHELLE'S arms. Supporting the less-than-conscious figure, MICHELLE pulls NIKKI through the door and into a dark hallway.
MICHELLE
Hang on. We've got to keep you alive.
EXT. PIER - EVENING
Agent WALLACE appears at the end of the pier. On the other side is a man in a wheelchair. This is the killer, as well as the VOICE we've been hearing. Agent WALLACE draws his gun and aims.
WALLACE
Hey!! Hands in the air!
MAN
Hello, Agent Wallace. It's nice to finally see your face.
The MAN spins around and we can see his features in the moonlight. He is aged, his figures gnarled, with a mustache under his nose. In his lap is a computer.
MAN
I've been monitoring my latest game on this laptop. Computers. They're so... convenient, I think. It's almost over, now--there's nothing interesting going on at the moment, but you should have been here before... I am Joseph Zane. It's a pleasure to meet you.
WALLACE
And you're him? You're the serial killer?
JOSEPH
In the flesh.
WALLACE
... I've been chasing you for nearly five years, since you first came onto my radar. I have no idea how many times you played your sick games before we found out about you. I'm betting it was quite a bit.
JOSEPH
It was, indeed. My activities had been going on unnoticed for about fifteen years, since my wife was killed by a mugger.
WALLACE
It's going to be a pleasure arresting you, then.
JOSEPH
Don't be so hasty, my friend. I'd like to talk to you, first. There are so many things I have to say... that I think you'd like to hear.
WALLACE
We can chat in the interrogation rooms.
JOSEPH
Really? With all your friends from the government listening in? Do you really want them to know about your... dirty little secret?
Agent WALLACE hesitates and his handgun falls to his side.
WALLACE
I don't know what you're talking about.
JOSEPH
I think you do. It was right here, exactly ten years ago, when you were still a rookie with the police department. You were after a rapist of a particularly nasty cloth. You caught up to him. He had nowhere to run. You fired. He fell into the water and never washed up. Our connection goes deeper than our first names. We are both murderers. I can't be sure it was the only time you killed, either.
WALLACE
That never happened. He attacked me. I thought he had a weapon.
JOSEPH
We both know it's not true. We both know you're lying. You saw that girl he attacked and you, like I, decided to judge him guilty yourself, rather than see what the courts did to him. Isn't that right?
Agent WALLACE is silent. He slips the gun back into the holster.
EXT. WAREHOUSE - EVENING
Detective HALEY is in her car outside the warehouse. Her cell RINGS.
HALEY
You find something?
Detective COPAN is on the other line.
COPAN
Yes. It seems the warehouse was purchased by a woman named Sara Zane. The FBI investigation into her revealed that she died fifteen years ago- some mugging gone wrong. Here's the interesting part- she purchased another building recently. It's an abandoned church nearby. I'll text the adress to you and send backup.
HALEY sighs to herself.
HALEY
I think I know it. Fallen Street, right?
COPAN
Yeah. How do you-
HALEY
That moonster's killing that girl in the church where my foster parents were murdered...
A brief and pensive silence.
HALEY(CONT'D)
... they're the whole reason I got into this field of work, you know.
She hangs up the phone, starts her car, and drives of into the moonlit night.
INT. UNDERGROUND PASSAGE - 00 : 34 : 07
MICHELLE and NIKKI approach another door. MICHELLE carefully supports NIKKI on her shoulder.
NIKKI
Michelle, right? Give me that knife.
MICHELLE
Why? What are you thinking-
NIKKI
That psycho... he abducted me. I remember it so clearly.
Screen fades into a flashback. A decidedly healthier-looking NIKKI is strolling down a dark street, a tattered jacket over her shoulders and her hands in her pockets. She exits the alley and passes JOSEPH, staring out into the night sky.
JOSEPH
The stars certainly are beautiful tonight, aren't they?
NIKKI
Whatever.
NIKKI turns and strolls past JOSEPH. Suddenly, the old man lunges forwards and jabs a needle with clear liquid into NIKKI'S side. She pushes him away, but quickly finds herself unable to walk.
JOSEPH
That was ketamine I just injected you with. If you hadn't struggled, you'd be dreaming by now.
JOSEPH approaches NIKKI and injects the rest of the syringe into her arm with doctor-like precision. The flashback fades away.
MICHELLE
You okay?
NIKKI clutches the knife in her free hand tightly.
NIKKI
I won't be okay until this nightmare is over. And even then I'll be the same as I always was- hungry and broke.
MICHELLE
If we survive.
MICHELLE glances at the note on the door. It says, "You're almost free." She looks beside the door and picks up the gun on the small table. After letting NIKKI down carefully, she checks the gun. It is loaded. Under the gun is a tape recorder. MICHELLE picks it up and plays it.
JOSEPH
Hello, Michelle. One way or another, this is the last time you'll hear my voice. Death cures all ills. Remember this as you move forwards. I hope you are ready to face the consequences of your actions. Let's find out how much you've truly learned about yourself.
The tape ends. MICHELLE cradles the gun against her chest.
MICHELLE
Ready?
NIKKI
As I'll ever be.
NIKKI staggers past the other girl and opens the door.
EXT. PIER - EVENING
Agent WALLACE and JOSEPH are standing on the pier facing one another.
WALLACE
So, why did you do it? Why did you kill them?
JOSEPH
Like I told you, my wife was murdered by a mugger looking for a fix. It started as revenge--I told the mugger I would kill the only person he had left, his mother, like he killed the only person I had left. All he had to do to save her was cut off his hands, the devices which committed his crime. He passed the test. My method was imperfect then, and, as I saw sin in the world, I punished, one after the other, until I attained a result I could be proud of. This is a perfect type of rehabilitation, Agent Wallace. "Death cures all ills"--that's a quote my wife loved. They say there is no known way to cure sinners, but they mean there is no ethical way. God punishes the sinful by damning them to eternity. I do the same, but I test them. I give them a chance before I send their souls to hell.
WALLACE
So... you believe in hell? You were raised Catholic?
JOSEPH grins.
JOSEPH
As a matter of fact, I was, but I am an Atheist. I do what I do because the world at large believes in a God who punishes the wicked. I needed to be able to affect society in a way that I could stop the evil in the world. What better than by becoming a vigilante claiming to work on behalf of their Savior? All the media coverage you gave me spread my ideals around rather quickly.
WALLACE
And that's why you let us find the body in that warehouse, right?
JOSEPH
Correct...
WALLACE
What about the Grayson girl? Michelle?
INT. UNDERGROUND PASSAGE - 00 : 39 : 33
As JOSEPH is talking, MICHELLE and NIKKI are walking down a hallway towards the exit. At the same time, Detective HALEY enters the church. She finds an open trap door into an underground passage. She descends the stairs.
JOSEPH (VO)
She was a sinner, like the others, but she was a special case. Her own guilt at the pain she caused was enormous. She would feel she deserved any physical harm she was forced to inflict. I gave her a test, but I had to change my methods slightly to communicate with her.
As NIKKI turns a corner, Detective HALEY appears at the foot of the stairs. NIKKI screams something with no audio and waves the knife. Detective HALEY pulls out a gun and fires. There is no sound, save for Joseph's speech.
JOSEPH (VO) (CONT'D)
She seems to connect with those she harms. She punishes herself more for the sufferring of others than she'd ever freely admit. I needed to show her how there is a severe difference between sin and sacrifice, between guilt and empathy.
As he is saying this, Michelle rushes out to see Detective HALEY. The Detective tries silently to get her to drop the gun she's raised, but Michelle shoots anyway. Detective HALEY is hit multiple times and falls to the ground. Terrified, MICHELLE flees up the stairs.VO continues throughout.
JOSEPH (VO) (CONT'D)
In short, she is her own test. If she can forgive herself for her sin, God can also accept her. But, if she fails to understand the difference between criminal act and accident, she will, in all likelihood, crumble under the weight of sin--her's and others'--and kill herself. As we speak, Detective Haley is probably wandering my cavernous maze looking for Michelle. There is a chance she will die. I'm sorry about that, Agent Wallace. I know you two used to be partners.
HALEY is shot as JOSEPH brings her up. As Michelle climbs the stairs,VO ends. At the top of the stairs, MICHELLE looks up. The moonlight beams in through a broken window, and a corpse is dressed in the robes of a priest, hanging from the rafters. Behind that, in blood, is written "Death Cures All Ills". MICHELLE'S eyes flood with emotion and she reaches for the figure above her. Unconsciously, the pistol slides up to the side of her head. The scene suddenly cuts to darkness and a GUNSHOT is heard.
PIER - EVENING
JOSEPH
Agent Wallace... I must ask you to do one more thing. I cannot be caught. I must vanish. The things that are involved with a trial could undermine everything I've worked towards.
WALLACE
I won't let you go. I couldn't just let you walk away, even if I wanted to.
JOSEPH
I'm not asking you to let me go. I'm asking you to pass judgment on me like I have on so many. It is the only way for me to find any atonement.
WALLACE
I won't.
JOSEPH
I'm not giving you any choice. The day you murdered that rapist here, there was a video camera, a security recording long since removed. I managed to obtain it, but, if you arrest me, I will show everyone. You career and your life will vanish. I've planned my end thoroughly in my mind. I've examined every possible move. There is no other path for me.
WALLACE
You've dedicated your life to stopping sin, and, ironically, because of it, you're a sinner yourself. You'll go to hell, you know that?
JOSEPH
I don't believe in hell, but I think they'll make such a place so I can reside there in the afterlife. I'm comfortable with that- I'm no hypocrite.
WALLACE is silent. After a restless eternity of noiselessness, he walks towards JOSEPH, unholsters his gun, and fires in one fluid movement. The GUNSHOT flies into the air like a final scream of agony from the silent victim's lips. Agent WALLACE shoves JOSEPH over the pier's edge and watches as his body and his wheelchair are swept under the currents, buried forever in soil and sea. Only his laptop remain, smashed after falling from the startling convulsion of the gunshot. Agent WALLACE raises the gun to his own head for a moment, shutting his eyes tightly, but then his hand falls to his side and his eyes open emotionlessly. He turns and walks back to the sillouhetted lights of the city.
FADE OUT




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