Darkridge: Pilot

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: House of Ghosts

Submitted: June 21, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 21, 2017



A teenage girl, breathing heavily, sprints down alleyways and dim streets. WHITNEY CARMICHAEL, 18, clutches her side. Blood from a stab wound oozes down her shirt. She turns a corner. Stops to catch her breath. It’s quiet. A quick look. No one. Frantic, she pulls a cellphone from her pocket with her free hand. Pain. Tears. She struggles to press the buttons. The call goes to voice mail.
WHITNEY I don’t...I don’t know where to start...Darkridge...it goes deeper than I thought...I found Lena. They’ve--
A hand wraps around Whitney’s mouth. The KILLER, behind her, wears a reflective mask. The Killer spins Whitney around and stabs her over and over, no hesitation. Whitney slumps to the ground. She manages to end the call, unseen. The phone hits the ground. The killer stares at the phone’s blank home screen. The killer smashes the phone and drags the body away.
Clips of the town and citizens living their lives.
RODNEY V.0 (VLOGGING) They say that you can understand a town. That you can love and hate it. You can blame it, resent it but nothing changes. In the end you’re an extension to its successes, failures, secrets and its lies. You can’t ever pull yourself away from it because, in doing so, you risk pulling a piece of yourself away.
And why would you ever risk pulling a piece from yourself? Regardless of how dark, or twisted it may seem each piece makes up....you. But I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t feel something in this town. Something dangerous, something that makes me feel like pulling away might not be so bad after all. And that scares me.
The interior of an alley. A perfunctory crime scene with a body covered in a sheet.
CHIEF FRED MCGRAW speaks to an officer. The officer walks away.
Mayor ELI FROST, 40s, arrives and walks up. Fred tenses.
ELI So what do we have here, Fred?
FRED Clearly, we have a murder. A local.
The two exchange a glance.
ELI A local? Let me see the body.
Fred walks Eli over and peels the sheet off. It’s Whitney.
ELI The Carmichael girl. What a shame.
A tense moment. Finally.
FRED It’s a little too early to be making that assumption, and we don’t want any rumors flying around.
Eli scoffs.
ELI Well, the sooner we have a story the better. We don’t want to give the town time to let their minds run wild.
FRED That’s funny, coming from you. You know it doesn’t help when the mayor can’t stay out of the spotlight long enough for me to do my job.
Eli and Fred glare at each other.
ELI I’m sure you’ll do what you do best, keeping this little town of ours safe.
FRED I’m taking care of it.
ELI Glad to hear it. Now, if you’ll excuse me. As entertaining as this little chat has been, I need to run. After all I have got a spotlight to fill.
Eli looks around, satisfied he has made his appearance known, and leaves the crime scene. Fred glares from the background.
An unkempt house. A husky ROBERT STEVENSON, 40s, in a wife-beater and boxers, drunk, in a hurry, looking for his work clothes. The TV plays in the background.
The TV sounds drift as a well-endowed ATHENA, 18, gets dressed. She chooses an outfit that unashamedly accentuates her features. Loud rock music. She fixes her hair. Lip-synching, she slips ungracefully into a sweater. One last look. She exits the room.
Rob stumbles about, making sure he has everything before he leaves for work. Seeing Athena, Rob smiles a slurred smile.
ROB Hey! Go check the wet bar for me and see if we have anymore Jack.
ATHENA How about no? It’s eight in the morning.
ROB You’re right. Bailey’s would be better.
ATHENA What the fuck do you have to drink about this early?
Rob gets in Athena’s face. She doesn’t back down, though his breath smells rancid. The size difference between them is staggering.
ROB What the hell did you just say to me?
ATHENA I’m sorry, did I hurt your feelings? Did I make you angry?
ROB Don’t mock me, Athena. I’m your father.
ATHENA Really? Well normally a ’father’ should be the one lecturing the kid about alcohol problems.
ATHENA You right Dad, you don’t have a problem. I do; I went from one shitty parent to another.
Rob’s face shows pure rage, and something else. He’s rendered speechless.
ATHENA Speechless, huh? Just like I was the first time I found you passed out on the floor, lying in your own vomit.
Rob slaps her hard. He is shocked, hurt. He stares at his hands. Athena scrambles to her feet and out the door. As she leaves, he calls after her,
ROB (O.S.)
I’m sorry.
Athena traces her fingers over her cheek. She shakes it off and walks away from the house and toward school. A new sports car drives past her with an attractive jock, BROCK, at the wheel.
BROCK, 18, pulls his car into a driveway and honks the horn.
Slender MARY, 18, gets ready for school. She hears the car horn and lights up. She grabs her backpack and notebooks and rushes downstairs. In her mirror, a picture of a heavyset Mary with her mother.
Mary hurries down the steps and rushes past the kitchen, where her MOM has breakfast ready.
MOM Mary, honey, come eat breakfast real quick before you go!
MARY Can’t Mom, I’m already late! Bye, love you!
Mary’s mother grabs her as she runs past. Her mother’s concerned look stops Mary in her tracks.
MOM Honey, I’m worried about you.
MARY What? Why? Mom I’m fine.
Mary beams at her mother. Mom surveys her daughter’s body.
MOM You look like you haven’t eaten in days Mary. I know...I know things have been pretty rough lately, but you do have to eat.
MARY Mom I’m fine. I promise! Don’t worry, I’ve just been eating breakfast with Brock every morning.
Mom gives Mary a hopeful, yet skeptical look. Mom opens her mouth, but is startled by another car honk. She seems resigned.
MARY (CONTINUED) Mom, Brock’s outside waiting for me. I have to go alright? But I (MORE)
MARY (CONTINUED) (cont’d) promise I will eat as soon as I get to school okay?
MOM Well, alright. Tell Brock I said hello.
MARY Roger that! Bye, I love you!
Mary kisses her mother on the cheek and runs out of the house. Waving to her mother but not looking back. The camera shows the worry on her mothers face is quickly replaced by a smile.
Mary comes out smiling and gets in the passenger seat.
BROCK Jeez. I went through this whole album before you got out here.
MARY Oh come on, I didn’t take that long.
Brock pulls Mary close and kisses her.
BROCK You look amazing by the way.
MARY Really? I think I’ve lost a couple more pounds since the summer.
BROCK Congratulations babe!
He ruffles her hair with his hand. Mary giggles and pulls away with a proud smile.
BROCK (CONTINUED) Did you wanna stop somewhere and grab some food?
MARY No, I just ate. My mom made sure I stuffed my face before I left.
BROCK Oh, so that’s why you took so long. Well, you shouldn’t have been so selfish. I’m starving!
Mary chuckles and kisses Brock before sitting back in her seat and staring out of the window. Brock grabs the gear shifter, backs out and drives off. Another car drives past.
Pictures clutter the wall. An investigation board on the wall connecting pictures with string. On the bed, a police uniform. A computer with Rodney sitting in front of it. In the bottom corner of his screen is a strip of photobooth pictures of him and Whitney.
Rodney clicks through the morning’s crime photos. He picks up his phone and scrolls through his contacts. Whitney Carmichael. He presses the call button and holds the phone up to his ear. Voicemail.
RODNEY Hey Whitney, it’s Rodney. I haven’t heard from you since you told me you had a lead our project... Anyways, I just wanted to check up on you. I could really use my best friend’s help on shuffling through these pictures you’re gonna freak when you see how close I got to a crime scene this morning. It was awesome. I went total James Bond. I used that fake costume you bought me for Halloween last year, do you remember? Uh, anyways, call me back when you get this message. Alright, Rodney out!
He hangs up and rubs his tired eyes. He stares at the clock on his bedside and curses before running out of the house.
In the passenger’s seat is a dolled-up KAYLA, 18. Her mother PRISCILLA, 40s, drives. Priscilla is bare-faced and exhausted.
PRISCILLA I just don’t understand why it takes you so long to get ready in the morning, Kayla.
KAYLA I have to make a good impression, mom. Looking like this is the only way to keep a man...right?
She puts the finish touches on her mascara and looks over in her mothers direction. Kayla gives her mother a shaming look before staring back out of the front window.
KAYLA(CONTINUED) I mean, it worked so well for you in the past; I figured why not give it a try?
PRISCILLA Come on, Kayla, that is not fair. You know that I’m not that person anymore.
Priscilla nudges her daughter in the arm. Kayla flinches away and refuses to stare at her mother again. Awkward silence. Tension.
PRISCILLA Kayla, I really am trying here. You can’t shut me out forever.
KAYLA I’m not shutting you out. I just don’t really feel like talking.
Priscilla goes quiet. She sighs.
PRISCILLA I don’t know how many times I can tell you that I’m sorry Kayla. I’m doing everything I can to make it up to you.
KAYLA You can’t. I mean, unless you can convince dad to come back?
There is a moment of silence as Priscilla tries to think of something to say. Kayla notices and continues her barrage.
KAYLA(CONTINUED) Yeah, I didn’t think so.
PRISCILLA You know what...
Priscilla pulls the car to the curb and slams on the brakes. They’ve arrived at Darkridge High School.
PRISCILLA (CONTINUED) How dare you! I loved your father very much. Him leaving was just as hard for me as it is for you.
KAYLA Was it? Oh Mom, I’m so sorry. It’s just I couldn’t ever tell with the amount of Botox that you filled yourself with.
PRISCILLA Kayla, please don’t cause a scene.
KAYLA Of course not, I wouldn’t do that to you. We have a reputation to uphold don’t we? Oh yeah by the way, don’t bother picking me up from school. I’ll walk home.
PRISCILLA But honey you’re wearing Manolo’s...
KAYLA No, Mom they’re shoes. God, you can’t even help yourself can you?
Kayla hops out and slams the door. Kayla walks, eyes watering, but blinks the tears away. She regains her composure and struts towards the school, the queen bee.
Energy is high. Students getting dropped-off, hanging out, pushing past each other in the quad. Rodney sits in the background pouring over the crime photos and notes.
Brock and Mary pull into the parking lot and head toward the school.
Athena rounds the corner and heads toward the front door. She notices her friend CAMERON, 18, near the edge of campus. His back is turned. Athena walks over to him
ATHENA Hey Cam, what’s going on?
He freaks out and jumps to look.
CAMERON Jesus! Don’t sneak up on me like that. Thought you were the cops or worse...Kayla.
ATHENA Yikes, watch out. If you say her name 3 times, I heard she appears.
CAMERON You’re hilarious, has anyone ever told you that?
ATHENA Does being called a whore count?
CAMERON No, no those are absolutely not the same things.
ATHENA Strange I find the life of a prostitute pretty hilarious.
CAMERON Of course you do.
ATHENA Anyways what’s up?
CAMERON Oh you know same old, same old. Pills to sell, lives to save.
ATHENA Walk with me to class?
CAMERON You know I have a job to do.
ATHENA Selling stolen drugs counts as a job?
CAMERON In this town? It’s the most important job. Just last week, I sold some Xanax to Mrs. Green. Apparently, her husband has been taking a few more ’business trips’ than usual.
ATHENA Yeah, I’ve heard about that. What’s that location, it’s on the tip of my tongue...Broke-back Mountain.
CAMERON Oh there’s that award winning sense of humor again. Anyways what can you do? This town is a mess, a beautiful mess that needs my services.
A buzzing is heard and Athena notices that Cameron’s pocket is vibrating.
ATHENA Wow and here I thought you understood our friendship was strictly platonic.
CAMERON What can I say? Apparently Cameron Jr. has a thing for stand up comedian prostitutes.
ATHENA Please tell me you didn’t name it. You know what I don’t wanna know. Have fun with your hand Cam.
Cameron salutes and answers a phone call. He heads in the opposite direction. Athena heads inside. A cop car pulls up. Chief Fred steps out and walks toward the school.
PRINCIPAL COOPER, 40s, scribbles at his desk. A knock on the door. Chief Fred enters.
COOPER Fred, what an... unusual surprise. To what do I owe the pleasure?
Chief Fred takes off his hat and stares at Cooper. Realization finally dawns on Cooper’s face. Cooper puts down his pen and removes his glasses. He motions for Fred to close the door.
Brock and Mary see Rodney sitting at a bench listening to music. Rodney notices them. They exchange waves. Brock gives Rodney an awkward smile and looks away.
MARY Hey Rodney!
RODNEY Hey Mary....Brock.
Brock and Rodney exchange a glance and then Rodney turns his attention back to Mary.
RODNEY So, did you have a good weekend?
MARY Yeah, it was pretty uneventful. Brock had football training, so I pretty much stayed in the house all day. What about you?
RODNEY Oh, you know, same old same old. Me and Whitney were supposed to do some sleuthing around town.
MARY Oh? Supposed to? What happened?
RODNEY Yeah, well, Whitney and I were looking into those murders from 10 years ago.
MARY But wasn’t that case closed. They caught the killer, didn’t they?
RODNEY That’s what I thought too, but you know Whitney. Once she’s interested in getting to the bottom of a story, she can’t be stopped. Said she’d found some proof that maybe they didn’t actually put him down.
BROCK Did she say what it was?
RODNEY Uh no, not exactly but she’d mentioned that she thinks the school might be involved in it in someway.
MARY The school? Well, that’s weird; you’d think we’d have noticed by now if the school was involved. I mean this town isn’t exactly known for keeping secrets.
BROCK Seriously, I remember when the town found out that you and I..
MARY Oh my God I know!
BROCK I’m pretty sure that picture of my ass went viral for like a week around campus.
Mary avoids eye contact. Brock notices. He nudges her questioningly. Rodney glances between the two, eyes wide in awe.
RODNEY Right. Well anyways, this was painfully awkward, so I’m gonna go to the library and do some digging. I’ll probably run into her in homeroom.
MARY Okay. Well, then, I guess we’ll just see you there?
RODNEY Yeah, for sure. I’ll be there.
MARY Okay. Bye Rodney.
Mary and Rodney hug. Mary leaves. Brock salutes an awkward goodbye to Rodney and follows Mary. Rodney heads in the opposite direction. With Brock’s back to him, Rodney turns to look at Brock for a second before continuing on his way.
Everyone is settling into their seats. There is an empty seat at the front of the room. Brock, Mary, Kayla, Athena, and Rodney are all in this class. MS. PRICE, 30s, is at the head of the classroom.
MS. PRICE Alright, please settle down, class has begun. Now I’m going to call roll
Cameron walks into class.
MS. PRICE (CONTINUED) Ah, Mr. Martin! Only five minutes late this time. You’re improving.
Cameron feigns being distraught.
CAMERON Five minutes, that’s it? But...I walked as slow as I could.
Giggles from the class. Cameron drags himself to the desk in the back next to Monica.
MS. PRICE Well, thank you for that lovely introduction, Mr. Martin. Now back to roll call.
She calls roll for most of the students. The scene is silent her mouth moving letting us know she’s still calling out names. When the sound resumes she’s about to call out the last name. The principal’s voice scratches in over the intercom.
COOPER (O.S.)(INTERCOM) Attention, students. It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that this morning Darkridge High has lost one of its own.
The students react. Shock. Fear. Confusion.
COOPER (O.S.)(CONTINUED)(INTERCOM) Whitney Carmichael was found this morning near Morrison Creek. Our hearts and our prayers are with her family.
For those of us lucky enough to get to know Whitney, we knew she was (MORE)
COOPER (O.S.)(CONTINUED)(INTERCOM) (cont’d) the light of this school. She was always the first to volunteer. Always planning our events and making sure that everyone got home safely from school. Whitney was everything each and everyone one of us strives every day to be: A beautiful soul.
The camera pans to the main cast reacting in different ways to the news of Whitney’s death.
COOPER (O.S.)(CONTINUED)(INTERCOM) Now, if you all will please join me in a moment of silence for the life lost today.... Whitney Carmichael.

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