This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.
"APPALACHIA" by Jonathan Terry Based on events in the novel "One Foot In Eden" By: Ron Rash FADE IN: EXT. APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS - DAWN The orange rays of the sun erupts over the peak of dark, gray mountains as it rises into the sky. The green landscape below is painted in a golden haze. Beautiful farmland lies down below, spreading for what seems like an eternity. EXT. FARM - DAY The outskirts of a hundred acre farm. A quaint FARMHOUSE sits in one corner, overlooking the entire field. A PLOW, still dug deep into the soil from a previous day's work, gleams in the sun. Rust has already began to form on its metal surface. A herd of CATTLE silently graze nearby. Everything seems peaceful, tranquil, normal. EXT. FARMHOUSE - DAY SAM JENKINS(30) steps through the front door and onto the front porch. He finishes sliding the strap of his overalls onto a muscular shoulder. Sam steps off the porch. The brown, dead grass crunches under the weight of his boots. As the sunlight hits his face, Sam puts a hand to his brow and shades his eyes. A sudden chill runs up his body. His jaw stretches open in a huge YAWN, making his BREATH VISIBLE as he exhales. Then it hits him. A look of confusion crosses over Sam's face as his gaze moves towards the blue sky. IT IS FREEZING COLD. INT. FARMHOUSE Sam quickly steps back into the house, latching the old wooden door shut behind him. He leans against the door and blows warm air into his hands. ANNABELLE JENKINS is on her knees feeding fresh wood into a large black stove. She turns to see the bewildered look on Sam's face. ANNABELLE What's that look for? SAM It's freezing outside. Feels like the coldest its been all year, if my mind serves me right. Annabelle stands and picks a black kettle off the kitchen table. She places it on the warm stove top. ANNABELLE If its one thing I've learned over the years its that you can't control Mother Nature. SAM It's August but feels like February. ANNABELLE Mother Nature will do whatever she pleases and won't take mind to us simple farmers. Sam moves toward a window. He looks at the barren field looming outside. Annabelle watches him. ANNABELLE (cont'd) And you best not worry about why the day is the way it is. SAM When you depend on the land to provide and crops aren't growing, well, then worrying is about the only thing useful I can do right now. ANNABELLE You wake up to one cold morning and already expect the worse. The day's early. The sun will thaw things out in a few hours. Annabelle checks the kettle on the stove, seems pleased by it, and places it on the kitchen table. ANNABELLE (cont'd) Now just sit yourself down a minute. A cup of coffee will do you a lot of good right about now. Sam turns and walks towards the hallway. SAM I have to get back to the fields. I best get my coat. BEDROOM Sam steps through the doorway and makes his way towards a tiny closet located in one corner. He opens it, the worn hinges creek from the motion. He reaches in and pulls out a tattered brown coat. In doing so, exposing the black surface of a SHOTGUN. Sam eyes it a moment before closing the closet door. The hinges creek once more. EXT. FARM - DAY Sam stands on the back of his plow, trying to stir a horse who is pulling it. Sam's body shakes violently as the plow bounces on the frozen earth. He halts the horse and steps from the plow. He turns, examining the soil he has already plowed. The plow is barely breaking the surface. SAM (to horse) Doesn't look like the soil's getting any looser. Sam turns and looks over the entire field. They aren't even halfway done. He then looks to the sky. The sun is starting to set. SAM (cont'd) (to horse) I think that's enough for the day. INT. BARN Sam walks down a line of stalls placing hay in feeders located at each stall. As he does, the cows inside "MOO" in thanks. He reaches the last stall and stops. Sam then reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out TWO RED APPLES. SAM I brought something special for you today, Betsy. Sam peaks over the stall door. Betsy -- a cow -- lies in a back corner. SAM (cont'd) Betsy? He glances at her feeder. It is already filled with hay. SAM (cont'd) Have you not been eating? He opens the stall door. BETSY'S STALL Sam walks over and kneels beside Betsy. He gently rubs her forehead. SAM (cont'd) Your burning up. Seem to have yourself a cold. I don't doubt it with the weather we've been having. Betsy lefts her head, looking to be in a great deal of pain. Sam stands. SAM (cont'd) Your the best cow I got, Betsy. You deserve a break anyway. Get yourself some rest. He turns and exits the stall. INT. FARMHOUSE Sam and Annabelle sit across from each other at the kitchen table, plates full of steaming food in front of them. Sam hastily scoops bits of food into his mouth, chewing it furiously. The hunger of a hard day's work. Annabelle watches him quietly. She draws little circles in her food with her fork. Sam feels the burning from her gaze. He looks up. A moment of silence passes. SAM The food's good. Annabelle cracks a smile. ANNABELLE I can tell. That's when Sam realizes how fast he is eating. He takes another bite, slower this time, and lays his fork down beside his plate. SAM I'm sorry. I seem to be burning a lot of extra energy these days. ANNABELLE So the sun never showed up after all? SAM (shaking his head) I don't know what to do. With the drought and winter showing up early- ANNABELLE Now, I've already told you I don't want to hear about such nonsense. Annabelle rises, grabs both plates from the table, and begins washing them in the sink. SAM I thought we always decided to be honest with each other and talk when we had a problem. She glances out of the window, seeing the damage for herself. She turns the faucet off. ANNABELLE And if the cold doesn't leave? Will we have any crops? SAM No. ANNABELLE What about the land? We've only paid off half of it. SAM I don't know right now. Annabelle's emotions start to take the best of her. A sob rises into her throat, tears quickly following. Sam walks to her, hugging her from behind. He slowly rubs her hips. SAM (cont'd) I forbid you to think about this matter any more. You know that I would never let us lose this land. Sam gently kisses her on the back of the neck, then steps back. He moves towards the door. ANNABELLE Where are you going? SAM Betsy wasn't looking to good earlier. I better go check on her. ANNABELLE She's sick? SAM Looks that way. Hasn't touched her food all day. I'm thinking of calling Doctor Myers if nothing changes. Annabelle parts her lips as if she is going to say something, but stops herself. SAM (cont'd) I'll be back in a minute. Sam is half way out the door... ANNABELLE Wait. He looks back. ANNABELLE (cont'd) I'm sure she's fine. She just needs her rest. Won't you come to bed early tonight? With me I mean. Sam steps back into the house, closing the door. DISSOLVE TO: INT. BEDROOM, FARMHOUSE Soft lips glide over smooth skin... PULL BACK to see Sam on top of Annabelle. Both entwined under the warm sheets of their bed. Annabelle leans her head back, eyes closed tight. Sam leans in again, kisses her down her jaw line. The beauty of their love making. Rhythmic. Passionate. An action that can only be preformed by two truly in love. DISSOLVE TO: INT. BEDROOM, FARMHOUSE - DAY Sunlight seeps through the shudders producing jagged light against Sam's sleeping face. He stirs, eye blinking open. A grin tilts over his lips as he turns toward Annabelle...but her side of the bed is empty. Sam slides out from under the covers. He finds his pants on the floor and pulls them on. INT. JONATHAN'S ROOM, FARMHOUSE Sam quietly comes around the corner and peeks into the doorway of an adjacent bedroom. A small table and chair sit around as furniture. A large wooden chest sits open, overflowing with stuffed animals and other toys. Annabelle stands over a beautiful oak crib. She stares into the empty crib. In her arms is a small STUFFED BEAR. Annabelle softly sobs. ANNABELLE I miss you Jonathan. I miss you now as much as when you left us. But I'm sure your having fun up in heaven, playing with the angels and other little boys who have passed on. A Sam watches a single tear makes its way down his cheek. He wipes it away and moves out of the doorway, disappearing without disturbing Annabelle. Annabelle places the stuffed bear back in the crib. She glances around the rest of the room. ANNABELLE (cont'd) I don't know why I keep the room this way. Maybe I hope I'll wake up one morning and still find you sleeping, hoping your death was some horrible nightmare I'll wake up from. TILT AROUND the doorway to see Sam, leaning against the wall. He is crying profusely, his hands at his mouth to muffle the cries. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. FARMHOUSE - DAY Annabelle exits the house. A basket full of empty milk bottles hang from her arms. She looks up to the field where Sam is still trying to plow the frozen ground. He is getting about as much progress as the day before. INT. MILKING STALL, BARN TING! TING! TING! Small streams of milk hit the bottom of a tin bucket. PULL BACK to see Annabelle squeezing the utters of a cow. She finishes, takes the bucket up milk, and pours it into an empty milk bottle. She places the filled bottle back into the basket, where other freshly filled bottle are stacked neatly. Annabelle smacks the cow's rear end. ANNABELLE That's all. She picks up the basket of milk bottles and leaves the stall, making her way to the barn door. She is almost out when a low-gargled "MOO" startles her. Annabelle turns and follows the sound -- its coming from the last stall. ANNABELLE (cont'd) Betsy? You alright in there? After walking to the last stall, she slowly creeps over the stall door. Annabelle steps back with a GASP. The basket slipping from her grasp. Glass shatters and the white liquid leaks onto the barn's dirt floor. CLOSE-UP: BETSY The cow's face lies in a pile of its own vomit. Feces seeps from its rectum uncontrollably, already forming a puddle of its own at the opposite end. If not for the cow's heavy breathing it would appear dead. And for its sake, it probably should be. INT. BARN - LATER DOCTOR MYERS, a wrinkle faced man with a hint of silver throughout his slicked-back black hair, stands over Betsy. He turns towards Sam and Annabelle, who safely stand a few feet away. Dr. Myers gives them a worried look. Dr. Myers pulls a handkerchief from his jacket pocket and place it over his nose and mouth. He leans in towards Betsy's rear-end. His eyes start to water from the unbearable stench. He reaches in and pulls out a thermometer. Using the plastic glove, he whips the feces away and eyes the thermometer's reading. Sam and Annabelle watch intently, both trying to read Dr. Myers' expression. DR. MYERS It's temperature is extremely high. Ten degrees above normal to be exact. SAM What does that mean? DR. MYERS Well, in all honesty, this cow should be dead. SAM But its alive. Dr. Myers glances towards Betsy. Her body is still except for the rise of her stomach as she breathes. DR. MYERS Barely... Dr. Myers leans towards Betsy again, this time looking at her face and eyes. He grabs her mouth and uses both hands to pry her jaws open. He reaches to his jacket pocket and fumbles to get his pen light out. He finally succeeds, shining it into Betsy's mouth. The sight is unbearable: Maggots feed off her tongue and gums. Her teeth are in deep decay and look ready to fall out at any moment. Dr. Myers jerks his hands away from Betsy's mouth, losing his balance and falling to the ground in the process. ANNABELLE Doctor? Sam leaps forward. SAM Are you alright? Dr. Myers clenches his stomach. He turns and begins to VOMIT. INT. FARMHOUSE Dr. Myers sits at the kitchen table, his face ghastly pale. Sam stands behind him and watch Annabelle, who is doing something at the sink. Annabelle turns with a damp rag in her hand. She places it on Dr. Myers forehead. Annabelle swivels to grab the steaming kettle off the stove. She pours a cup of hot tea and slides it to Dr. Myers. DR. MYERS Thank you, miss Jenkins. He takes a quick sip from the cup. The warm, soothing liquid takes effect as the color in his cheeks returns. DR. MYERS (cont'd) I'm sorry for getting sick. It was very unprofessional of me. Sam nods to Annabelle. She promptly leaves the room. Sam waits until she is gone before stepping beside Dr. Myers. SAM Now don't you worry a thing about it. Just tell me how to make my cow better. DR. MYERS I must admit, I've never seen anything like that before. My best guess would be some type of virus. SAM A virus? DR. MYERS Yes, I'd say so. SAM What medicines will I need to get rid of this...virus? DR. MYERS I'm afraid that none of the medicine I have will help her out. Your going to have to take her into the city for that. SAM There's no way we can afford to do that. DR. MYERS This may be true, but you have to understand, I'm a people doctor SAM But you've helped my animals for years. DR. MYERS In the small town we live in, I've learned to doctor on just about ever kind of living being. Yet, somethings are better left to more qualified people. Dr. Myers gets up from the table. Sam leads him towards the door. DR. MYERS (cont'd) I read about a man in Georgia who caught a virus from one of his hogs. Nearly ate him alive. Somehow those filthy things are immune but sure as hell can pass it. Sam opens the door for Dr. Myers, who is sliding his coat on. SAM A virus is that dangerous? DR. MYERS I'm afraid so. These type of things eat everything in their path until they can't eat anymore. Dr. Myers walks out of the door. Sam follows him. EXT. FARMHOUSE Dr. Myers immediately bundles up as the cold air hits him. DR. MYERS How bout this weather we've been having? Billy Savanna swore to me the other night he saw a snow flake. Can you believe that? A damn snow flake in the middle of August. SAM (under his breath) Yeah. How about that? Dr. Myers steps off the porch, making his way towards his PARKED CAR. DR. MYERS Be sure to tell your wife how thankful I am for the tea. Sam watches as the car drives off, kicking a cloud of dust behind it. He turns to see Annabelle standing in the doorway. ANNABELLE Why the sad face? Sam looks out over the field. Something seems to be running through his mind. A moment passes. SAM We need to separate the cattle from Betsy. Nothing permanent, just for the time being. ANNABELLE Is she going to be alright? SAM Hard to tell. It's going to take a little longer to get the medicine. Sam moves towards the barn. Annabelle watches him leave. The look of concern washes over her face: She knows something is wrong. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. FARM - AFTERNOON The relocated cows stand around the fence in groups. Sam is atop a tractor which is pulling a trailer behind it. The trailer is stacked high with barrels of hay. He slows to a stop as he reaches a FEEDING TROUGH. He jumps down, grabs a barrel of hay, and begins dragging it. Sam stops dead in his tracks when he reaches the trough. The previous bundle of hay hasn't been touched. Sam raises his brow in confusion. He looks to the cows standing nearby. EXT. FARM - NIGHT PITCH BLACK. SCRATCHING...PANTING...A COW SCREAMS IN PROTEST... PULL BACK as the light from a LANTERN illuminates the weary face of Sam. A mixture of sweat and dirt drips off his face. He pauses to catch his breath for a moment. With a deep breath he clutches a ROPE in his hands and pulls with all his strength. The other end of the rope is tied around the mid-section of a cow. He is dragging it towards the trough. After another few feet of pulling he finally reaches his destination. SAM Eat. The cow turns its head away. SAM (cont'd) Eat! The cow takes a step back and lies down on the ground, right there in front of the feeding trough. Sam's legs give out and he falls to the ground. He wipes the sweat from his eyes and runs a hand through his wet hair. He slowly opens his eyes to survey the scene. The area around the trough is surrounded by cows. All of them are laying down. All of them refusing to eat. All of them sick. INT. BEDROOM, FARMHOUSE Sam slowly creeps into the doorway. He watches Annabelle as she sleeps in the darkness. She is simply beautiful and Sam can't help but smile just looking at her. He moves across the room to the small closet and opens it. He reaches in and pulls out the SHOTGUN. INT. BARN Sam walks through the dark, and empty, barn. He slows as he reaches Betsy's stall. He pulls the shotgun close to his face and checks the chamber. One bullet. But that's all he needs. He takes a quick breath and enters the stall. A beat. Sam bursts back out of the stall. A hand over his mouth. His eyes clenched tight, yet tears still stream from them. CLOSE-UP: Betsy She is already dead. Maggots and other insects now feeding on the flesh all over her body. Betsy's eyes already chewed out. EXT. FARM - NIGHT The tractor now cuts across the field, a much heavier load in its trailer. The farmhouse now merely a speck in the distance. EXT. WOODED AREA - LATER CRUNCH! Sam drives the metal shovel deep into the group and scoops the dirt away. He is digging a hole. CUT TO: Sam uses a rope to drag Betsy's dead corpse into the hole. The corpse falls in at an odd angle. Sam uses his foot to push her in properly. CUT TO: Sam dumps the last few piles of dirt onto the now filled hole. He uses the butt of his shovel to pack it down. He pauses a moment to look up at the sky. The sun is rising, making the heavens above a glowing orange. FADE TO: EXT. OLD TOWN ROAD - DAY An old pick-up truck trudges up the rough terrain. INT. TRUCK Sam is driving. Annabelle sits in the passenger's seat checking items off a list. ANNABELLE I know we need butter and soap. Oh, and I noticed you needed more razor blades... She scribbles a quick note down. ANNABELLE (cont'd) I think I have everything. Can you think of anything else? Sam shakes his head. His mind is obviously somewhere else. EXT. TOWN STORE The pick-up truck glides to a stop. A MOTHER, FATHER, and their SON are passing by. Each give a small wave to Sam and Annabelle. INT. TRUCK Sam and Annabelle both return a wave. ANNABELLE (through her teeth) Sarah Adkins has a lot of nerve coming here today after the way her son disrupted church last week. SAM Annabelle, please- ANNABELLE The good book says 'spare the rod and spoil the child,' plain as day. I think we know which is practiced in that house hold. Annabelle reaches over and opens the door. She looks to Sam. ANNABELLE (cont'd) Are you coming? SAM Do you mind doing the shopping alone today? I have something I need to take care of. ANNABELLE Well, I suppose so. Suit yourself. She steps from the truck and slams the door shut. Sam pulls off. EXT. DR. MYERS' OFFICE An old cottage style house that doubles as the doctor's practice. Sam gets out of the truck and marches to the front door. He knocks. A few moments later Dr. Myers cracks the door open. He is in a robe and slippers, his hair messed up. DR. MYERS We're closed. Dr. Myers goes to close the door. Sam puts out his hand and stops the door. SAM Excuse me, Dr. Myers. I'm sorry to bother you at such an early hour. Dr. Myers eases the door back open. DR. MYERS Mr. Jenkins? You just surprised me, that's all. Everyone knows that the office is closed on Fridays. SAM I know, sir. Its just that I have an emergency. DR. MYERS Wait...does this have to do with the heifer of yours? What's her name- SAM Betsy. DR. MYERS Yes, that's it. I take it she isn't doing any better? SAM I'm actually wanted to ask you about what you told me the other day. Is it true that if Betsy had a virus she could infect the entire herd. DR. MYERS Oh yes. That's very true. Is any other of your cows sick? SAM No. No sir. I just really wanted to know if you had received any medicines from the city that could slow down the virus. Ya know, if Betsy did have one. DR. MYERS No, I'm afraid not. What's it been since I came to your house? SAM A little over a week, sir. Dr. Myers puts a hand to his chin as he thinks. DR. MYERS Hum... Sam looks on with eager eyes. DR. MYERS (cont'd) If it has been this long and she isn't better then I doubt there's much you can do at this point. SAM What do you suggest I do? DR. MYERS If it were me I'd just put her out of her misery. I know it isn't what you wanted to hear, but she has lived a long and productive life. I mean, you've got to think about the rest of your farm as well. SAM Yes. I imagine so. Thank you, doctor. Sam turns and walks back to his truck. Dr. Myers stays at the door, watching, thinking. INT. TRUCK Sam and Annabelle are riding. ANNABELLE So then Jamie Freeman told me that she had found a dead rat in her stove. Do believe that? There's no telling what disease they've been cooking into their food. What a filthy house they must live in. You know, Jamie was always one to get into messes. I remember one summer when we were young she found the mud hole where the boys played and plum jumped into it with her dress on and all. Sam grips the steering wheel tight. He isn't paying to least bit of attention to Annabelle's gossip. EXT. FARMHOUSE The truck pull up and screeches to a halt. Sam and Annabelle jump from the truck, both staring out at the field... Where all the cows stand huddled together. ANNABELLE What's going on? Sam takes off running into the field. SAM Go into the house. Annabelle gathers her groceries and walks towards the house, making sure to keep a watchful eye on the FIELD Sam pushes through the group of cows. In the center, two cows lie dead on the ground. Maggots and other parasites feeding on their flesh and eyes. EXT. FARM - NIGHT The illuminating light of a fire dances off Sam's face. He holds a handkerchief tightly over his nose and mouth. PULL BACK to see the burning cow carcasses. Once flesh and blood, now a heap of fiery black ash. EXT. FARMHOUSE - LATER Sam is walking back to the farmhouse, using his sleeve to dab the beads of sweat off his forehead. He looks up to see Annabelle waiting for him on the front porch. SAM It's late. Why are you still up? ANNABELLE I think I'm the one who needs to be asking the questions? SAM I don't see the need for questions. I've told you everything you need to know. ANNABELLE Don't you start that tone with me. I know something is wrong. SAM I've told you already. I have everything under control. ANNABELLE You come to bed in the middle of the night, sometimes not even at all. Then, at dinner, you keep glancing out to this field as if you're scared death itself is gonna come knock on the door. Sam walks past her and up onto the porch. SAM You know how bad the crops are doing. I'm having to work twice as long to- ANNABELLE I don't think so. Sam shrugs it off and reaches for the door handle. SAM I'm very tired, Annabelle. Please let this fuss wait for another time. ANNABELLE When I agreed to marry you I agreed to a partnership. We both stated vows that made us equals. I don't care if this house is going to be swallowed up into the ground...I want to know what is going to happen no matter what. Sam stops and turns back. A beat passes. ANNABELLE (cont'd) Sam. I think I'm pregnant. He shoots her a quick look. Tears well up in Annabelle's eyes. ANNABELLE (cont'd) I know that isn't what we asked for but it's what the good Lord saw fit to give us. If we are going to have another mouth to feed then we best start working problems out together. Sam steps forward. SAM The cows are sick. ANNABELLE What can we do? SAM I thought we could separate the herds but the sickness is spreading. I'm sorry. Sam turns to enter the house. ANNABELLE Aren't you even going to ask about your child? SAM How long have you known? ANNABELLE I've suspected for a few weeks but I'm still not positive about it. Sam nods. ANNABELLE (cont'd) Are you happy? SAM Yes. Of course. Annabelle's face shows that she thinks otherwise. SAM (cont'd) Aren't you a little scared? With what happened to Jonathan and all. ANNABELLE We had no control over Jonathan's death and we can't be bitter about that. It was just his time to go. Sam steps forward, grabs Annabelle in a huge hug. He kisses her cheek. SAM I'm sorry. I love you so much. ANNABELLE I know. I know. EXT. FARM - CONTINUOUS CLOSE ON the virus infected ashes of the two burned cow carcasses. A gentle breeze begins to blow, picking up some of the ashes, sweeping them towards the distant farmhouse. EXT. CHURCH - DAY BONG! BONG! BONG! As the large church bell rings out. Families, dressed in their best attire, exit the church. Their words reflecting the minister's teaching for the day. Sam and Annabelle exit the church, smiles stretched across both their faces. They are holding hands. Within seconds three OLDER LADIES (MARY, ALICE, JOY) converge on the couple. MARY Look at her face, Alice. She is beaming. ALICE Then it is true? Are you with child, Annabelle? Annabelle and Sam lock eyes for a brief moment. ANNABELLE Yes. It's true. The ladies "Oh" to themselves. JOY Have you thought of name yet? ANNABELLE Actually, we are going to name him Joseph. JOY What a beautiful name. I know the boy will bring you both so much happiness. SUDDENLY, a cough rises into Annabelle's throat. She clears her throat into her WHITE GLOVED HAND. MARY That's a nasty cough you have there. ANNABELLE I've had it about a week. Must be the beginning of my morning sickness. SAM It's cold out here. Maybe we should move towards the truck. Annabelle coughs again. This time she can't stop and it turns into a horrible HACKING COUGH. Sam grabs a hold of her arm just as it goes limp. Annabelle passes out in Sam's arms. The three ladies begin to panic, all of them screaming for help. SAM (cont'd) Honey, are you alright?! Can you hear me?! Then he notices the trickle of blood on her lips. He pulls up the gloved hand she coughed into. It is covered in blood. INT. BEDROOM, FARMHOUSE Annabelle lays still in bed. Dr. Myers leans in, stabbing a needle into her arm and injecting some medicine. Sam stands in doorway watching. After finishing, Dr. Myers packs his bag and stands up. DR. MYERS She will sleep good tonight. SAM Is she going to be alright? DR. MYERS It's hard to tell until the tests come back. The only thing we can do know is worry about keeping her fever down. EXT. FARMHOUSE Sam is walking Dr. Myers to his car. DR. MYERS How is your cow doing? Any better? SAM No sir. She passed last week. DR. MYERS Oh. Sorry to hear that. Dr. Myers looks out into the field. Only two sickly cows are grazing. He furrows his brow. DR. MYERS (cont'd) Where are the rest of your cows? SAM Excuse me? DR. MYERS There is only two cows out there grazing. Where are the others? SAM They must be in the barn. DR. MYERS Is everything going good on the farm? I mean, are any other of your animals sick? SAM No sir. Just Betsy. Dr. Myers takes one last gander at the two sickly cows before lowering himself in his car. EXT. FARM - NIGHT Sam watches his plow horse burn. It has also died from the disease. SAM (to horse) I'm so sorry, girl. You were the best horse I ever owned. EXT. DIRT ROAD, FARM - NIGHT A car with its lights off slows to a stop beside the fence. The window is rolled down to expose Dr. Myers. He watches the burning carcass and Sam very suspiciously. He rolls the window back up and pulls off. EXT. WOODED AREA Sam is shoveling the ashes off of the trailer and adding it to the pile of other ashes. The pile is massive. INT. BEDROOM, FARMHOUSE Sam walks into the room with a tray of food(Grits, toast, orange juice). He strolls over to the bed and sets the tray on a nearby table. Sam leans over and brushes the hair out of Annabelle's face. She looks horrible. Her eyes are sunken, surrounded by dark bags. Her feeble frame shows how much weight she has lost. Annabelle's eyes blink a few times, then open. She looks over at Sam. He smiles at her. SAM It's good to see you up. She opens her mouth like she is going to talk. Sam puts gentle fingers over her mouth. SAM (cont'd) Don't talk (grabs the tray of food) You need to eat. He tries to give her a spoonful of grits. She turns her head away. SAM (cont'd) You haven't eaten in three days. Just one bite. (Annabelle turns away) Please... Sam gives up, puts the spoon away. He pulls a wet rag from the tray and lays it on Annabelle's forehead. Annabelle looks at Sam again. She begins to move her mouth again, gargling out the word: ANNABELLE Baby? Sam slowly pulls back the bed sheet to expose Annabelle's PLUMP BELLY. He rubs it softly. SAM Joseph is doing just perfect. He is going to make it. Both of you will. Annabelle seems content and closes her eyes to rest. Sam glances up to see a POLICE MAN snooping around in the field outside their window. With a look of concern, Sam rises and exits the room. EXT. FARMHOUSE The police man(SHERIFF JONES) is bent over examining something on the ground. A shadow falls over him. SAM (O.S.) May I help you? Jones looks up a Sam, stands. SHERIFF JONES Not meaning any harm, sir. I just received a tip that their might be some funny business going on, on your land. SAM I can assure you that nothing is going on. Jones looks out over the field. One sickly cow is grazing. SHERIFF JONES I see one cow. Where are the others? SAM I sold them. SHERIFF JONES Sold them? SAM Yes, sir. Is there a problem? SHERIFF JONES Does that not sound a little funny to you? A man selling all his cattle but one sick one? SAM You can search the entire farm if you want too. That there's the only heifer I have left. SHERIFF JONES Now, I'm not here to put on an investigation. May I just ask why you sold your cows. SAM You've felt how cold it has been. With no crops that leaves us with now money. We're doing everything we can to make ends meet. Jones tips his hat, letting the sun hit his face. SHERIFF JONES I suppose your right. Have a good day, Mister Jenkins. The police office takes one last gander around before strolling back towards his car. INT. POLICE CAR Jones slides in and shuts the door. SHERIFF JONES He says he sold the cows. Jones looks over at DOCTOR MYERS, who is in the passenger seat. DR. MYERS Sam Jenkins didn't sale his cows. If he did it would be clear across town by now. Dr. Myers watches out of the windshield as Sam disappears into the house. SHERIFF JONES Well, I don't have a warrant so I can search the place. What do you suggest we do? DR. MYERS If what I think is really going on...we do what is necessary. Jones reaches over and turns on the ignition. The engine of the police car roars in protest. They pull off. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. FARMHOUSE - NIGHT Sam sits on the front porch, an AFGHAN wrapped around his shoulders. He trembles from the cold. His breath showing each time he breaths. Annabelle's painful moans can be heard from inside. A tears slides down Sam's cheek. He wipes it away. INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY Sam steps through the door, dropping the afghan on the floor. He has been outside all night. He begins to shrug his coat off but his frozen arms don't seem to be cooperating. A COUGH builds up in his throat. He muffles it with his hand. Then he hears it. A "gargle" in the bedroom. He drops his coat on the floor and takes off running. INT. BEDROOM, FARMHOUSE Sam bursts into the room. Annabelle is convulsing under the sheets. Her face in a pile of her own vomit. Weary hands grasped on her stomach. SAM No! EXT. FARM - DAY A police car pulls into the drive way and slows to a stop. Jones and his DEPUTY step out. SHERIFF JONES (motioning) You check the barn and anything else. I'll look inside. DEPUTY Yes, sir. INT. BEDROOM, FARMHOUSE Sam jerks back the sheets. The entire bed is covered in BLOOD. ANNABELLE HAS LOST THE BABY. Sam gently moves Annabelle's face out of the vomit and pulls it close to his. He puts a finger under her nose. She is breathing, but barely. SAM Stay with me. Don't go. Annabelle forces her eyes open and meet his, then they roll back into her head, alive and dead within seconds. EXT. FARMHOUSE Jones steps onto the porch, knocks on the door. No answer. SHERIFF JONES Mr. Jenkins, I need to ask you a few more questions. He tries the door handle, its unlocked. He steps inside. SHERIFF JONES (cont'd) Mr. Jenkins? INT. BEDROOM, FARMHOUSE Sam's face twists into a weep. He collapses on to the floor, letting Annabelle's head fall limp against the bed. This is horrid sight to behold. Annabelle laying dead in her own blood and vomit. Sam weeping in a puddle of his own tears. SHERIFF JONES (O.S.) Oh my God... SWIVEL to see Jones standing in the door way. A look of disbelief over his face. Sam doesn't even look up. He just continues to cry. FADE TO: EXT. APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS The sky covered in thick, black clouds. Rain falls and lightening flashes from the sky. Thunder crashes overhead. EXT. CHURCH Annabelle's casket is lowered into the damp ground. MOURNERS, dressed black, file past. Sam stands in the rain. The rain soaking his face and clothes but he doesn't seem to notice. He looks up as a police car pulls up. Sheriff Jones and his deputy step out. The deputy opens the back door, helping THE MAYOR out of the back. Sam watches as they walk closer. THE MAYOR Sam Jenkins? Sam nods. THE MAYOR (cont'd) I'm very sorry about your wife and I'm sorry I have to do this today but it is out of my hands now. The mayor reaches into his overcoat pocket and pulls out a folded LETTER. THE MAYOR (cont'd) Upon further inspection of your property and by the testimony of James Myers, your land has been determined unsafe by city council. We have no choice but to reclaim it. Sam takes the letter from the mayor's hands. He opens it, seeing a petition signed by every council member. Sam CRUMBLES the letter in his hands. THE MAYOR (cont'd) You have forty-eight hours to pack your things and leave. SAM I'm not leaving my home. THE MAYOR If you don't then you will die like she did. SAM If that is what has to be done then I will die. THE MAYOR You are also putting the rest of the city in danger. There is no telling home much the virus has spread already. SAM Can't you see that I don't care about the goddamn virus?! The mayor is getting frustrated. He points a finger in Sam's face. THE MAYOR Forty-eight hours, Mr. Jenkins. If you're not out then we take you out by force. Without warning, Sam starts to cough. He doubles over, trying to subdue it. The mayor and the police officers take a step back. SHERIFF JONES You better get that cough looked about. The coughing fit finally subsides. Sam pulls his hand from his mouth. It is covered in blood. He gasps as he realizes... FLASH CUT TO: INTERCUT/FLASHBACK: -Betsy lays in a pile of her own vomit. -Annabelle lays in a pile of her own vomit. The bed covered in blood. -Sam watches a cow carcass burn. Its ashes are blown around in the wind. -Annabelle coughs up blood into her hand. END INTERCUT/FLASHBACK: FLASH CUT TO: Sam continues to stare at his hand. The mayor and the police officers begin to walk back to the car. THE MAYOR Two days, Mr. Jenkins. Sam turns his hand over. The blood drips from his palm to the ground, where it mixes with the rain water. SAM I killed her... INT. BANK The tiny bank is buzzing with activity. Sam patiently waits in line. His time comes and he steps forward. BANK CLERK How may I help you today? Sam drops a bag onto the counter. SAM I need to withdraw all of my funds. The bank clerk looks at him like he is crazy. EXT. TRUCK Sam is driving down a dirt road. Large barrels of GASOLINE sit in the bed of his truck. EXT. FARMHOUSE Sam pours gasoline around the exterior of the house and all over the grass. INT. FARMHOUSE Sam drags one of the barrels into the middle of the living room. He turns it over, letting the liquid spill over and cover the floor. INT. FARMHOUSE - LATER Sam enters the room carrying a WOODEN CHAIR in one hand and an unknown item in his other hand. He sets the chair in the middle of the living room and sits down in it. He pulls the unknown item close to his face. It is a picture: Sam, Annabelle, and Jonathan. SAM I'm sorry Annabelle. Don't worry, I'm coming to join you. He pulls out a match and lights it. He drops it onto the floor. Fire ERUPTS all around him. It quickly covers the floor, then begins spreading up the walls. Sam screams in agony as the fire licks up the wooden chair, soon consuming him. EXT. FARMHOUSE - NIGHT The fury of the fire illuminates the night. FADE TO: EXT. FARMHOUSE RUINS - DAY The house is nothing more than ashes lying on burnt grass. A few police men scrounge through the remains. A car pulls up and slows. Dr. Myers gets out. Jones, who is chatting with a uniform, sees him and walks over. SHERIFF JONES By the time the fire department got here early this morning, the place was already gone. DR. MYERS How did this happen? SHERIFF The thought of leaving his farm must of been too much. He burned himself alive. DR. MYERS Son of a bitch... The sheriff leads Dr. Myers through the ashes. They both look around. Something catches Dr. Myers' eye. He bends down, digging through the rubble. It is Jonathan's STUFFED BEAR. Remarkably, it is barely singed. DR. MYERS (cont'd) Sam Jenkins made a horrible mistake. He kept a secret that ended up killing his farm, his family, and himself. Dr. Myers stands up, hands the bear to the Jones. SHERIFF JONES What about the virus? DR. MYERS Hopefully it burned with the house. We shouldn't have to worry about it any more. The ash under their feet CRUNCH as they move off to inspect different parts of the farm. As they do a gentle breeze passes through, picking up some of the ashes and blowing them into the sky. FADE OUT:
Return to Simply Scripts