EXT -- HOUSE -- DAY
WE see a house standing like a sentinal. It has a gloomy cast to it. We see a cab pull up to the house. WE see a young man (Brandon) step out. He looks at the house and frowns. WEs ee another young man (Adam) step out. The driver (Christopher, their uncle) steps out. They walk to the house. Christopher starts to unlock the door. He smiles to them and holds the keys out.
"I suppose you should open the door. It is after all your
Brandon hesitates. Adam takes the keys.
"Thank you uncle for letting us stay here."
"Think nothing of it. I have several other that I have rented
out already but for some reason this one is a bugger to
Adam and Brandon exchange glances.
"It does seem a bit gloomy, but once we move in I'm sure
it will liven up."
"Yes I'm sure. It has been empty for years. "
"Thank you again uncle for letting us stay here. I don't think
we should have been able to afford to stay so close to the
medical school if it weren't for you."
We see Brandon walk upto the front door. He looks nervous. Adam walks past him and unlocks the door. The door swings open.
INT -- FOYER -- LATER
WE see them step in. Brandon looks around. He stops when he sees Adam standing in the door way staring up at the bannister at the top of the stairs, frozen in his tracks. Their uncle walks past and Adams pulls his eyes away from the bannister. He looks embarrassed. Christopher starts up the stairs. Adam and Brandon follow him.
"There are 2 bedrooms upstairs. One is in the front above
the parlour and the other is in the back."
INT -- HALLWAY -- LATER
WE see Uncle walk into the back bedroom. Brandon follows him in
INT -- BACK BEDROOM -- LATER
Brandon walks into the bedroom after his uncle. He shivers suddenly. The room is bleak and dark with an alcove at the foot of the bed. We see Adam standing in the doorway.
"Do you mind taking this bedroom? Its too dark and gloomy
for me and that alcove will give me nightmares I suspect."
"You and your superstitions, cousin. Yes I will appeases
your delicate sensibilities and take the dreaded back room."
"I'll thank you not to mock me for my beleifs, They have
gotten me thus far haven't they?"
Brandon laughs. We hear a knock at the front door.
"That must be the house keeper. I asked her to meet us here."
He walks out leaving Adam and Brandon alone in the room. Adam turns as if to walk out and stops at the oodr. He turns back with a mischevious smile.
"Sweet dreams, cousin."
Brandon frowns as Adam walks out and then in a second realizes that he is alone on the room. He hurries out.
INT -- FOYER -- LATER
WE see Brandon hurrying down the stairs as Christopher and Adam greet the housekeeper (Greta).
INT -- KITCHEN -- LATER
We see Greta preparing vegatables in the kitchen. We hear the front door opens and seconds later Adam walks into the kitchen. Adam sits by
her and steals a peice of carrot.
"Greta? You might be able to help me on this .."
He reaches for a second peice of carrot and she swats his hand away.
"What is it master James?"
"Well - when we first walked in, I was somewhat overcome
by a feeling of dread when I looked upon the bannister in the
lobby. Now I have never been overly afraid of bannisters so
I was wondering if you knew anything of the history of the
house to justify that feeling or should I seek a doctor?"
"You have the sight upon you."
"You get impressions about things, that others don't ..."
(Adam blushes furiously.)
"I don't like speaking ill of the dead, but it's been an awful
long time since it happened."
"Well my mom told me stories. When she was a young girl
she heard tell that this house was once owned by a judge
known as a "hangin" judge. And not a very nice sort of person
he was. Well no one knows what lead up to it, but one day he
was found hanging from the bannister."
"He hanged himself?"
"With a girl's skipping rope he did."
The tea pot whistles. Adam jumps. Greta laughs.
"Teas almost ready. Supper will be ready in not 5 minutes."
Adam sits in stunned silence.
INT -- BEDROOM -- NIGHT
We see Adam lying in his bed. He tosses and turns. He awakes in a cold sweat. He looks about the room with a sense of dread. The room has an almost ethereal glow. We see that the glow is coming form the window. Adam forces himself to get up. He starts to walk to the window but stops. We see the figure of a man floating outside the window gazing in at Adam. Adam gasps and throws himself into his bed pullingg the covers over his head. He slowly pulls them from his face and looks at the window. The man is gone.
INT -- KITCHEN -- LATER
WE see Adam at the dinner table. He looks tired. Brandon peers at him from across the table.
"So how did you sleep last night? You look as if you were
tossing and turning all night long."
"I would have, if I hadn't been too scared to move. I had the
strangest thing happen to me last night. I was asleep and
then something woke me. I saw the room was quite bright
as if it were day but instead of a warm light it was cold and
etherial. When I looked out the window to see whatever it
was, I saw a man's face staring in at me. and then in an instant
he was gone.
"Perhaps tonight, a glass of warm milk will help you to
INT -- BEDROOM -- LATER
We see Adam sleeping in his bed. We hear footsteps outside of his door. He wakes and stares at the door, listening. It sounds as if someone is pacing outside of his door. We hear a sound that sounds as if soeone has thrown somethign over the edge of the bannister. Adam opulls the covers over his head. We hear the door handle rattling. Adam tries to stop from screaming. Suddenly the door bursts open. Adam screams. The cover is ripped away form Adam. We see Brandon standing over him.
"What the devil's the matter with you?"
"It's nothing, Nothing at all, I had a candle ... It was so dark
... I thought I saw something ...
"Yes, it is dark enough, But what's the matter?--what is it?
--have you lost your wits?--what did you see?
Brandon rubs his temples. He sits, slumping on the bed beside Adam.
"The matter? -- oh, it is all over. It must have been a dream
--nothing at all but a dream--don't you think so? It could
not be anything more than a dream."
"Of course, it was a dream."
"I thought, - There was a man in my room, and--and I jumped
out of bed; and--and--where's the candle?"
"In your room, most likely, shall I go and bring it?"
Adam rises. Brandon grabs his arm.
"No; Stay here--don't go; it's no matter--don't, I tell you; it
was all a dream. I'll stay here with you--I feel nervous. So,
like a good fellow, light your candle and open the window
--I am in a shocking state."
"Don't mind telling me anything about your nonsensical
dream, Let us talk about something else; but it is quite
plain that this dirty old house disagrees with us both, and
hang me if I stay here any longer, to be pestered with
indigestion and--and--bad nights, so we may as well
look out for lodgings--don't you think so?--at once."
"I have been thinking, That it is a long time since I saw my
father, and I have made up my mind to go down to-morrow
and return in a day and you can take rooms for us in the
Adam nods. Brandon looks releived.
INT -- BEDROOM -- LATER
We see Brandon sleeping. Adam sits in a chair sipping at a hot toddy. Adam stops when he hears footfalls on the stairs. Adam rises and wlaks to the door. He stands in front of the closed door listening. The footfalls go down the stairs and into the parlour. Adam looks back at Brandon sleeping on the bed. Adam picks up a fire poker from the fireplace and holds it like a baseball bat. He opens the door slowly and peers out.
INT -- HALLWAY -- LATER
We see Adam creep out into the hallway with the poker.
"Hello? Is anyone there?"
Eerie silence. We see Adam creep slowly down the stairs.
INT - FOYER -- LATER
We see Adam step off the stairs. There is a dark figure beside him. He starts to swings at it until he realises that it is the coat rack. Adam flushes. He walks slowly into the parlour.
INT -- PARLOUR -- LATER
We see Adam walk into the parlour. He stops when he hears footsteps coming down the stairs. Adam ducks around the corner and peers back into the foyer. Nothing. Adam lets the poker drop. He feels foolish. He walks out.
INT -- FOYER -- LATER
We see Adam start for the stairs. He goes up a few steps when we hear something behind him. He glances back. We see nothing. A sudden movement catches his eye and at the bottom of the stairs we see a large rat. Adam chokes back a scream as he charges up the stairs. he runs into the room, locking it behind him.
INT -- KITCHEN -- MORNING
Wes ee Brandon eating breakfast. He looks rested. Adam sits across from him looking very tired.
"I see that you had a night like I did the other night."
"Yes and you'll be glad to hear that I have found us lodging."
Brandon breathes a sigh of releif.
"Thank god! On your account I am delighted. As to myself,
I assure you that no earthly consideration could have in-
duced me ever again to pass a night in this disastrous old
"Confound the house! We have not had a pleasant hour since
we came to live here. Last night I heard footfalls on the steps.
When I went down to investigate ...
"You're braver than I would have been. All alone in this
beastly old house."
"Wait till I tell you the rest. You'll think me an absolute
coward. I went down in the dark and saw a huge lumbering
shape and attacked it with a poker."
"You did? What happened next?"
"Nothing. It was the coat rack."
(They both laugh.)
"And then, When I was going up the stairs I turned and saw
the biggest grey rat I have ever seen at the foot of the steps.
I nearly had a heart attack."
"Over a rat?"
"Did I mention it was huge? And I think I saw a sort of
blood lust in it's eyes."
"Well, if that were all, I don't think I should have minded
it very much."
"Ay, but its eye--its countenance, my dear Brandon if you
had seen that, you would have felt it might be anything but
what it seemed."
Adam had a look of horror in his eyes as he recalled the incident.
"I am inclined to think the best conjurer in such a case
would be an able-bodied cat,"
Greta walks in.
YOu never did tell me what happened to you that night.
"I was lying in that lumbering old bed and although restless,
my thoughts were running in a cheerful and agreeable channel.
I thought I heard a sound in that--that odious dark recess at
the far end of the bedroom. It was as if someone was drawing
a piece of cord slowly along the floor, lifting it up, and
dropping it softly down again in coils. I sate up but could see
nothing, so I concluded it must be mice in the wainscot.'
Suddenly I saw an old man, rather stout and square, moving
stiffly and slowly in a diagonal direction from the recess to
the door. He had something under his arm. Merciful God!
when I saw his face. He passed beside me, I felt that I had no
more power to speak or stir than if I had been myself a corpse.
I was too terrified and weak to move. He turned and look upon
me gazing at me with its stony and fiendish countenance, not
two yards from the bedside. For about three seconds only I
saw it plainly; then it grew indistinct; but, for a long time, there
was something like a column of dark vapour where it had been
standing between me and the wall; and I felt sure that he was
still there. A shadow has passed over me--a chill has crossed
my blood and marrow, and I will never be the same again--
"It's often I heard tell of it, but I never believed it rightly till
(The two men look at her in
"Indeed, why should not I? Does not my mother, down there
in the lane, know quare stories, God bless us, beyant telling
about it? But you ought not to have slept in the back bedroom.
She was loath to let me be going in and out of that room even
in the day time, let alone for any Christian to spend the night
in it; for sure she says it was his own bedroom."
"Whose own bedroom?"
"Why, his--the ould Judge's--Judge Horrock's, to be sure,
God rest his sowl"
Greta crosses herself.
"Amen! But did he die there?"
"Die there! No, not quite there, Shure, was not it over the
banisters he hung himself, the ould sinner, God be merciful
to us all? and was not it in the alcove they found the handles
of the skipping-rope cut off, and the knife where he was
settling the cord, God bless us, to hang himself with? It was
his house-keeper's daughter owned the rope, my mother
often told me, and the child never throve after, and used to
be starting up out of her sleep, and screeching in the night
time, wid dhrames and frights that cum an her; and they said
how it was the speerit of the ould Judge that was tormentin'
her; and she used to be roaring and yelling out to should back
the big ould fellow with the crooked neck; and then she'd
screech 'Oh, the master! the master! he's stampin' at me, and
beckoning to me! Mother, darling, don't let me go!' And so
the poor crathure died at last, and the docthers said it was
wather on the brain, for it was all they could say."
"How long ago was all this?"
"Oh, then, how would I know? But it must be a wondherful
long time ago, for the housekeeper was an ould woman,
with a pipe in her mouth, and not a tooth left, and better nor
eighty years ould when my mother was first married; and
they said she was a rale buxom, fine-dressed woman when
the ould Judge come to his end; an', indeed, my mother's
not far from 80 years ould herself this day; and what made
it worse for the unnatural old villain, God rest his soul, to
frighten the little girl out of the world the way he did, was
what was mostly thought and believed by everyone. My
mother says how the poor little crathure was his own child;
for he was by all accounts an ould villain every way, an' the
hangin'est judge that ever was known in Ireland's ground."
"From what you said about the danger of sleeping in that
bed-room, I suppose there were stories about the ghost
having appeared there to others."
"Well, there was things said--quare things, surely, And why
would not there? Sure was it not up in that same room he
slept for more than twenty years? and was it not in the alcove
he got the rope ready that done his own business at last, the
way he done many a betther man's in his lifetime?and was not
the body lying in the same bed after death, and put in the
coffin there, too, and carried out to his grave from it in
Pether's churchyard, after the coroner was done? But there
was quare stories--my mother has them all--about how one
Nicholas Spaight got into trouble on the head of it."
"And what did they say of this Nicholas Spaight?"
"Oh, for that matther, it's soon told. No one ever had luck
in it, There was always cross accidents, sudden deaths,
and short times in it. The first that tuck it was a family--
I forget their name--but at any rate there was two young
ladies and their papa. He was about sixty, and a stout
healthy gentleman as you'd wish to see at that age. Well,
he slept in that unlucky back bedroom; and, God between
us an' harm! sure enough he was found dead one morning,
half out of the bed, with his head as black as a sloe, and
swelled like a puddin', hanging down near the floor. It
was a fit, they said. He was as dead as a mackerel, and
so he could not say what it was; but the ould people was
all sure that it was nothing at all but the ould Judge, God
bless us! that frightened him out of his senses and his
life together. Some time after there was a rich old
maiden lady took the house. I don't know which room
she slept in, but she lived alone; and at any rate, one
morning, the servants going down early to their work,
found her sitting on the passage-stairs, shivering and
talkin' to herself, quite mad; and never a word more
could any of them or her friends get from her ever
afterwards but, 'Don't ask me to go, for I promised to
wait for him.' They never made out from her who it
was she meant by him, but of course those that knew
all about the ould house were at no loss for the
meaning of all that happened to her. Then after-
wards, when the house was let out in lodgings, there
was Micky Byrne that took the same room, with his
wife and three little children; and sure I heard Mrs.
Byrne myself telling how the children used to be
lifted up in the bed at night, she could not see by
what mains; and how they were starting and
screeching every hour, just all as one as the house-
keeper's little girl that died, till at last one night
poor Micky had a dhrop in him, the way he used
now and again; and what do you think in the middle
of the night he thought he heard a noise on the stairs,
and being in liquor, nothing less id do him but out he
must go himself to see what was wrong. Well, after
that, all she ever heard of him was himself sayin',
'Oh, God!' and a tumble that shook the very house;
and there, sure enough, he was lying on the lower
stairs, under the lobby, with his neck smashed
double undher him, where he was flung over the
banisters. Oh lord look at the time. I must be on my
way, I'll go down to the lane, and send up Joe Gavvey
to pack up the rest of the taythings, and bring all the
things across to your new lodgings."
EXT -- HOUSE -- LATER
WE see ADam and BRandon outside the house, looking up it. A car pulls up and they get in. The car drives away. Close up on the house.
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