EXT. CITY OF LONDON -- NIGHT
TITLE CARD: LONDON
The face of Big Ben gives off a dull, jaundiced glow through torrents of rain while bolts of lightning arc through the night sky.
INT. VICTORIAN TOWNHOUSE FRONT HALL
We follow the camera through an entry hallway decorated with antiquities from many cultures UPSTAIRS to
Where LATAVIA TRAD, late 30's, long, black hair, thrashes about in her sleep caught in the throes of a nightmare.
NIGHTMARE -- INT. MEDIEVAL COTTAGE -- NIGHT
Latavia's body sails into a wall and slumps to the floor. Magical energy SHIMMERS and CRACKLES about the cottage. From across the room, a handsome man SCREAMS her name while standing protectively in front of five small children. Suddenly an ominous shadow looms across his body.
REALITY -- LATAVIA'S ROOM
Lightning FLASHES through the window. Latavia flinches and moans, continuing to toss and turn.
Latavia, still out cold against the wall, is revived by a child's SCREAM. Human blood hovers in bead-like droplets all about the cottage. The man and the children are bound to a wall by strange metallic tendrils. Latavia attempts to free the man when a clawed humanoid hand grabs her shoulder viciously spinning her about.
Latavia awakes with a gasp covered in sweat. All is strangely still. Even the STORM outside seems to be MUTED. She turns on a lamp and puts her feet to the floor.
EXT. ROW OF SHOPS ON A QUIET STREET -- NEXT MORNING
Latavia walks down the street with weary steps, her lack of sleep apparent from the circles under her eyes. She stops before a store front. A sign sticks out over the door that reads: LOST PAGES BOOKSTORE.
She unlocks the door and enters. Turning a sign against the front window from "closed" to "open", she hangs her cloak on a wall peg. The beginning of another ordinary day.
INT. BOOK SHOP -- LATER SAME DAY
Sitting on a stool behind a small counter Latavia goes over some paperwork, steam rising from the tea by her hand. A shaky hand. She is alone, the only sounds are the RUSTLING of her paperwork and the soft SWOOSHING of a ceiling fan overhead.
A small bell on the door JINGLES announcing the entrance of OPAL, tall, graceful, face recessed in the hood of her white cloak.
Good day, miss.
Opal answers by way of a nod. She walks into an aisle and stops in front of a large old tome. The huge book slides off the shelf untouched. Opal holds out her hand and the book settles gently into it. She brings it to the counter.
Will this be all?
Latavia checks the book for a price then stops to stare at the cover.
Well they say the mind is the first thing to go. That will be seventeen pounds.
Opal hands the notes to Latavia.
I can wrap this for you if you like. There's no additional charge.
Latavia begins to wrap the book. The shaking of her hands exaggerated by the crinkling of the wrapping paper.
Latavia looks up as if noticing Opal for the first time, her luminescent blue eyes fixing Latavia in their gaze.
Is it so obvious?
The bell JINGLES again as an ELDERLY WOMAN, finely dressed, enters the store. Breaking free of Opal's stare, Latavia turns to greet the new customer. Opal feigns interest in a display of books nearby.
Welcome to Lost Pages. How may I help you?
Hello dear. Do you by chance carry any books on Faerie lore?
Ah, yes, several. They are down that last row on the left. Here let me show you.
Latavia leads the old woman into one of the aisles, locates a book for her, then leads her back to the counter. As Latavia rings up the old woman's purchase, Opal disappears amidst the shelves again.
Wrap that if you would child.
It's for my grandniece. She's still at that precious age when such stories seem possible. How I used to love such tales. Full of magic and heroes doing amazing things.
It's a shame belief in such things wanes with age.
Perhaps for some.
Still believe in wizards and witches do you?
Latavia merely smiles.
ELDERLY WOMAN (CONT'D)
Occupational hazard I guess.
Too true I'm afraid.
There. Well I am sure your niece will enjoy this. There is enough magic in it to keep her a believer forever.
She hands the book to the old woman.
We can only hope. Good day dear.
The woman exits the store JINGLING the bell once more. Latavia comes out from behind the counter in search of Opal.
Opal materializes next to her making her jump.
(gestures to books)
Witchcraft, Natural Magic, Gifted Ones, Myths & Legends. No classic or common literature of any kind.
I assure you there is nothing intriguing about this place. It's just another old book shop.
Then why open it?
I honestly couldn't tell you. I'm sure that sounds a bit strange.
I've heard stranger. Until we meet again.
Opal walks to the door where she stops and turns back to Latavia. She removes her hood to reveal a hairless, dark skinned head. She is exotically attractive, almost alien.
I hope you find your sleep more peaceful this evening Latavia.
How do you know my name?
(eyeing the counter)
Your business cards are by the register.
My business cards?
Latavia looks back at the counter. Opal's book is still there.
The book is for you Miss Trad. I believe you'll find it...intriguing. At the least, it may help you stop those dreadful nightmares.
How could you know I'm having nightmares?
Read the book Latavia.
She leaves the store.
Now just a moment?
Latavia runs out to the street but Opal has disappeared. Thoroughly "intrigued", Latavia steps back into her store. Taking the book from the counter, she tears the wrapping from it. The cover reads: "PAST LIVES".
Her eyes stray to the business cards on the counter top with the words "LOST PAGES, 6 OXFORD STREET, LONDON. TEL: 555-2277" typed across them.
INT. LATAVIA'S HOME, SITTING ROOM -- NIGHT
Latavia is reading the book by the light of a single lamp. She turns to an earmarked chapter titled: THE SUSPENDED SOUL and begins reading to herself.
(exerts fading in and out)
...Once a human soul is released from its corporeal host through death, it remains temporarily suspended upon an alternate plane. While in this temporary state of suspension, the soul is extremely vulnerable to supernatural influences and can be forced into any number of alternate states of existence...A suspended soul can only exist on a physical plane by inhabiting a living host...the natural soul of the host typically maintains dominance, suppressing the presence of the suspended soul...the mere essence of the entity responsible for the soul's imprisonment may cause a suspended soul to become volatile often inflicting pain upon its host...
Latavia flips ahead to the end of the chapter.
LATAVIA (V.O.) (CONT'D)
...only the destruction of the entity responsible for the soul's imprisonment will facilitate its final release.
Latavia closes the book and sets it down.
(under her breath)
INT. LATAVIA'S BEDROOM -- LATER SAME NIGHT
Latavia lies asleep in her bed. The nightmare returns.
Latavia stands before the strange tendrils that hold the man and the children. Blood seeps through the skin of their hands dripping impossibly upwards in tiny globules. A strange illuminated essence floats about the cottage mixed with THE WHISPERS OF DEMONIC VOICES. Again the clawed hand grabs her shoulder and turns her about. A beautiful young woman with red eyes stands before Latavia. She places a hand to Latavia's heart. There is a FLASH OF LIGHT.
END NIGHTMARE SEQUENCE
EXT. CITY OF LOS ANGELES -- NIGHT
TITLE CARD: LOS ANGELES
Lightning FLASHES across the sky over the City of Angels.
INT. LOFT APARTMENT -- SAME MOMENT
AJALA DAMINI, early twenties, wearing a tank top and boxer shorts, sleeps on a pillow covered couch. A THUNDERCLAP shakes her from her slumber. She sits up and blinks the sleep out of her eyes, absently rubbing an "s" shaped birthmark over her breast.
A group of GANG MEMBERS are gathered about a table in the center of the room. The table is covered with weapons. LOKI, 20s, slick, the leader and Ajala's boyfriend, turns to look at her.
INT. ABANDONED WAREHOUSE -- LATER
Loki and his gang stand waiting in the middle of a large, empty warehouse. Ajala stands to the back of the group. Water from the rain outside drips through a leaky skylight above. A black Mercedes S-Class dripping from the rain pulls in through a set of large sliding doors at the far end of the warehouse letting out a group of men in expensive suits.
IAN CHOW, a smooth and confident Yakuza boss, his long hair in a ponytail, steps forward, eyeing each member of the gang one by one. He smiles.
Loki this show of force was unnecessary I can assure you.
Well you're on some kind of high if you think I was going to meet you alone. I don't trust people with ponytails.
Fortunately, I am not here for your trust, just your money.
The two groups come together at a table that has been set in the middle of the warehouse. Loki lays down $50,000 in cash. Two of Ian's men bring forward a metal case and open it on the table. We see it is lined with what look like inhalers. A gang member next to Loki takes a pump and affixes it to a small device. A green LED lights up on the display. Loki picks up one of the pumps and rolls it between his fingers.
How soon can we get more?
As soon as you need.
Ian slides a cell phone across the table to Loki.
There is but one number in its memory. Use this to call me then destroy the phone. Clear?
Loki takes the phone and drops it into his jacket.
Ian nods and gestures to his escorts to leave, then pauses, sensing something. He takes one last sweeping gaze over Loki's gang. He spots Ajala standing to the back for the first time. He stares a moment, a strange interest in his eyes. Uncomfortable under his scrutiny, her hand unconsciously goes to her birthmark. Averting her eyes, she notices a foot sized ripple in a calm puddle on the floor.
A squad of G.A.D.A. (gay-da) SHOCK TROOPS, NATO's Global Anti-Drug Army, de-cloak and materialize out of thin air covered from head to toe in hi-tech body armor.
Weapons down, you're under arrest!
One of the gang members pulls a gun and shoots. A FIRE FIGHT breaks out between the three parties. A barrage of GUNFIRE and ENERGY BLASTS fills the skeletal structure of the warehouse. Running with Ajala in tow, Loki takes a shot to the stomach. Ajala catches him and drags him into an alley through a side exit. Ian spots the two leaving and follows them out.
EXT. SIDE ALLEY
Ajala and Loki stagger down a long alley way, Loki leans heavily on Ajala for support while holding a hand to his stomach. His legs give out bringing her down with him. Ian emerges from the warehouse and watches the scene from the shadows. Loki looks at his hand. It is covered in blood.
(smiling through pain)
You believe this shit? And just when things were starting to look so sunny.
A spasm of pain flashes across his face.
Take my keys and the phone. Go back to the loft and wait for the others...
A fit of coughing cuts him off. Ajala drags Loki behind a dumpster. She takes Loki's keys and Ian's cell phone and puts them in her pants pocket. She takes off her jacket and covers him with it.
I'm going to get your bike and then I'm going to get you out of here. The sun's not done shining yet.
She touches his face then heads out of the alley.
SOUND OF A SPLASH
The armored body of a G.A.D.A. SHOCK TROOPER materializes with an ELECTRIC SIZZLE in front of Ajala.
Hands behind your back, now!
She does as commanded. Without hesitation, the trooper fires a short cord at Ajala which instantly wraps around her waist binding her arms to her sides. She risks a glance at the dumpster. Loki's blood has spilled onto the asphalt and mixes with the rain that runs steadily into a nearby sewer.
(under her breath)
The Trooper follows her gaze and speaks into a communicator in his helmet.
Daniels here requesting back up in the west alleyway.
He fires a second cord at Ajala's legs causing her to fall to the ground. Moving cautiously, he approaches the dumpster. Ajala turns her head to watch, wriggling violently in an effort to free herself. The trooper rounds the dumpster. Made of a special material the cords around Ajala's body tighten as she struggles. She CRIES out.
The trooper turns back at the sound of her voice. The cords creak as they tighten once more. Ajala SCREAMS.
He leaves Loki and strides over to the struggling Ajala.
TROOPER DANIELS (CONT'D)
Hold still I have to reset the auto tension.
Dropping to his knees he tries to calm her but she appears to be having a seizure.
TROOPER DANIELS (CONT'D)
Ajala's body starts to VIBRATE like a jackhammer as if she were trying to shake the teeth out of her head. The cord around her arms snaps off. She knocks the Trooper back with incredible force, cracking the breast plate of his armor and sending his weapon sliding across the ground. Two more TROOPERS enter the alley way. Ajala gets to all fours her legs still bound.
NEW TROOPER 2
Too confused and frightened to listen, Ajala comes to her feet. One of the troopers fires a BLAST OF ENERGY in warning knocking her off balance. Ajala's hands go out reflexively to break her fall. Slapping the ground she creates a powerful SHOCKWAVE rippling through the asphalt. The two G.A.D.A. troopers are sent sailing into a wall. Ajala manages to remove the cord from around her legs. She scrambles over to Loki. He stares off with sightless eyes.
SOUND OF VOICES AND RUNNING, BOOTED FEET
Sorry Loki. Sundown.
She kisses his head, grabs her coat, and runs from the alley.
EXT. SIDE STREET -- SECONDS LATER
Ajala gets to Loki's motorcycle, starts it up, and takes off.
ON GROUND WEST ALLEY
A wallet lies open in the rain, a picture ID of Ajala clearly visible through a plastic sleeve. A hand picks it up. Ian Chow stands grinning, the cat who has found the canary.
INT. GANG'S LOFT -- LATE THAT NIGHT
Ajala enters the loft. She is the only one back. She locks the door and leaves the lights out. Pacing the floor she looks down at her right hand. It still vibrates sporadically. She rubs it with nervous energy.
THREE SOFT KNOCKS ON THE DOOR
She freezes and stares at the door, her RAPID BREATHING and the RAIN the only sounds.
THREE MORE KNOCKS
Ajala goes to the sofa and pulls a GLOC from under one of the cushions.
MUFFLED SOUND OF RINGING CELL PHONE
The cell phone taken from Loki's coat rings in her pocket.
Panicking she pulls it out and tries to shut it off. Still holding the pistol, she answers the call by mistake, fumbles, and drops the phone.
(over cell phone)
Ajala looks at the phone as if it were a venomous.
IAN (O.S.) (CONT'D)
(over cell phone)
Ajala, my name is Ian Chow. I am not G.A.D.A. I only wish to speak with you.
INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE -- AJALA/IAN INTERCUTTING
Chow stands just outside the door to the loft speaking into a flip phone.
I saw what happened in the alleyway. I believe I can help.
Ajala looks at the door and then back at the phone.
This would be much easier if you would allow me to come in. I assure you I am alone. See for yourself.
Ajala goes to a peephole in the door. A fisheye version of Ian stands in an empty hallway. Ajala unlocks the bolt but leaves the chain in place. She pokes the gun through the partially opened door. Chow closes his flip phone.
Thank you, I was wasting minutes.
How did you find me and how do you know my name?
He holds up her driver's license.
I found your wallet.
She continues to keep him at gunpoint.
If I had wanted to harm you, a locked door would not have stopped me. But that is not my intention I assure you.
Keeping the gun on Chow, Ajala relents and releases the chain backing into the loft. Ian steps in.
Who are you?
As I said, my name is Ian Chow.
He takes a look about the apartment, his expression disapproving, and then back at Ajala.
It appears you possess a rather unique 'gift' Ms. Damini.
You mean curse.
Are you sure?
What would you call your whole body shaking so hard that you destroy anything you touch?
Not if it was your problem.
Ajala the people I work for are very familiar with such "problems". I believe we could offer you a great deal of assistance--if you were to come with me now.
Just like that?
Just like that.
He steps closer and extends his hand. She holds the gun higher but once again her hands start to VIBRATE violently. Gripping the gun in a desperate effort to hold it, she shatters the metal sending fragments in all directions, breaking the glass of a picture frame containing a snapshot of herself. She drops to her knees in defeat, curling her fingers into fists in an effort to calm them. Ian kneels before her, his expression calm. Ajala looks up at him imploringly.
Let me help you Ajala.
Choking back tears, she simply nods.
INT. ART GALLERY -- DAY
Gallery staff move about a large room preparing for a sculpture exhibit. Large 8ft windows line the western wall. The artist in question, NALREN CROWE, 20s, very tall, dressed all in black, sits on a windowsill staring down at his feet. The snapshot of Ajala from the frame lies on the floor between his shoes.
CLARICE, the pretty gallery curator, 30s, short red hair, dressed in sexy but elegant attire, stands nearby contemplating where to position one of the sculptures. Dust filled beams of golden light flood the gallery through the large windows.
What do you think, Nalren?
He doesn't look up.
Or would closer to the window work better?
Still no response. She turns to face him, hands on her hips.
Well you're not going to see what I mean sitting way over there.
She beckons him over with an impatient wave of her hand. He gets up, hands in his pockets, and walks to where she stands.
I see no difference.
She looks up into the face of the sculpture, ignoring him. It is the image of Ajala. Clarice puts two fingers to her lips.
(as if to herself)
Even when I close my eyes the sadness in hers still touches me. This is the best work I've seen in months. You're a genius and I discovered you.
(giggles with pleasure)
Nalren walks to the window and stares up into the sky. Clarice tears herself away from the statue and joins him.
Oh I know I should be saying something like 'she probably had crabs' or some other line from a greeting card but I'm just not good at this comfort a broken heart shit. Not to mention, the customers will absolutely eat up the whole brooding artist persona you've got going on.