Author’s Note: A vampire tour. An archaeological dig. A mysterious book. And the tomb of Dracula. Maybe. Here’s the next installment of my screenplay, Immortal.
Act II Scene I
(Alex riding on a dirt road in the Jeep. The sun is low over the mountains. She pulls up to the site. There’s a good deal of activity with an undercurrent of tension. Morgan is nowhere in sight. Alex, looking troubled, heads over to the main tent. David Thompson is bent over the computer, downloading something.)
Alex: Hey, David. What’s going on?
Thompson: Jesus, Alex! Don’t sneak up on me like that.
Alex: Jumpy much? What’s that on the computer?
Thompson: You seen Morgan lately?
Alex: Not since I left here. Why? You sound like something’s wrong.
Thompson: I was hoping they were in town. They’re missing.
Alex: What do you mean, missing?
Thompson: They went with Kyle and Anders over to that new room and we haven’t seen any of them since. Dr. Morgan had a call on the cellphone, and when Kristof went to get him, the room was empty.
Alex: You’re not making any sense, Thompson. How could they be missing? Where would they go?
Thompson: How would I know? (sighs) Let me start from the beginning. Dr. Morgan and Dr. Antonescu went to open a new room. You remember that, don’t you?
Alex: How could I forget? He sent me off on another dumb errand, remember?
Thompson: All right, well the room was bricked up or something, and from what we’ve seen, they knocked the wall in. It’s a crypt like with all these statues of saints and a big stone sarcophagus in the center.
Alex: You’re shitting me.
Thompson: Not one bit. Kristof went in there looking for Dr. Morgan. But there was no one in the room. Kris thought he saw blood on the floor and some on the sarcophagus.
Alex: This is a joke, right?
Thompson: Well he got some help and opened the sarcophagus lid. It was chipped on one side, and the damage looked fresh, so we figured they had opened it before.
Alex: If you even tell me one of them was dead inside of there, I swear I’ll kick your ass.
Thompson: No. What we found were these really old chains. And bits of what used to be a crucifix. And Anders’ camera. In pieces. That’s what I’m working on. I’m trying to retrieve the pictures off the memory card.
Alex: I so don’t believe any of this. I go away for like three hours and all hell breaks loose?
Thompson: We were really hoping they were in town with you. We sent someone off with one of the other Jeeps to check and see, but he hasn’t gotten back yet.
Alex: So what does all this mean?
Thompson: I have no effing clue. (computer beeps) Looks like it’s done loading. Let’s see what we can see.
(Thompson opens the first picture. We see the stone wall with the bricked in section. Thompson clicks quickly passed two more pictures of this. Then there’s a picture of Marica’s hand grabbing for the camera. They take a little time to figure out what they’re looking at, then scroll to the next one.)
Thompson: So far nothing freaky. Maybe I just watched too many horror flicks as a kid.
(he clicks to the next picture)
Alex: Oh my God.
(the picture is grainy and shadowed, it is a shot of Anders’ arm, clearly taken while the camera was still hanging around his neck. His shirt sleeve has been ripped open and there are three bloody gouges on his wrist.)
Thompson: What the fuck did that?
Alex: (holding her temples, shaking her head) This is some sick joke, this is not real.
(the next picture comes up. It’s almost completely black and impossible to see anything. There seems to be an image in one corner, so Thompson plays around with the computer, zooming in. A strange, ghostly face comes into resolution. Thompson and Alex are both on the edge of their seats.)
Alex: Oh shit, it’s just a statue.
Thompson: (relieved) One of the Saints. OK. Next picture.
(this one is blank, just a photo of darkness. The next one is the same. When they scroll to the one after that, they both jump back from the screen. This is a partial face-shot of Marica. You can only see the lower left half of her face. She’s screaming, and there’s a spatter of blood across her cheek.)
Alex: That’s Marica.
Thompson: Is that blood on her face?
Alex: What happened in there? A cave-in?
Thompson: I told you, the chamber was clean. Spotless even. Everything was packed into that sarcophagus.
(they scroll to the next and last photo. Alex looks like she’s going to faint.)
Alex: No. Oh no. This is a joke. That bastard Morgan is just fucking around with us – maybe he did it for that uppity Romanian bitch –
Thompson: I can’t tell what we’re looking at here.
Alex: Can’t you see it? That face?
Thompson: It’s just another Saint.
Alex: The fuck that’s a Saint.
Thompson: I’ll clean it up and prove it to you.
(He fiddles with the program. We see, deep in shadow, the face of Dracula, eyes glimmering with their own light, mouth crimson with blood. Alex and Thompson look in silence at the computer screen, then turn wide eyes to one another. Throughout all this, it has been growing darker and darker around the tent.)
Alex: This can’t be. It’s got to be a joke. Morgan’s a sick fuck and this is just something he’s rigged –
(The power goes out. It is completely dark.)
Alex: Jesus fucking Christ!
Thompson: Kristof! Garrett! What’s with the generator?
Alex: If someone tripped over it again, I swear to God –
(They hear screams come from the rest of the camp. Yelling, in American and Romanian. Someone fires a gun.)
Thompson: I hope you still have the keys to the Jeep because we are getting the hell out of here.
Alex: Grab the book.
Alex: I mean it. That thing’s a career-maker. We can’t leave it behind.
(Alex and Thompson dash out of the main tent, running toward the Jeep. The camp is in chaos. One of the Romanian workers crashes headlong into Thompson, nearly knocking him to the ground. Alex helps him up. Thompson notices blood on his hands – it’s not his. In the midst of all the chaos, they make it to the Jeep. Alex gets it to turn over. The headlights cut through the night. Just as she gets the Jeep in gear, the headlights illumine a lunging figure. It is Dr. Morgan. His eyes are wild and he is snarling like an animal. His eyeteeth have become fangs.)
Thompson: Dr. Morgan?
Alex: Fuck that.
(She floors it, driving straight at Dr. Morgan. He bares fangs, squinting, but does not move. Alex drives straight into him. He’s thrown onto the hood, rolling off to one side.)
Thompson: Shit, woman!
Alex: Just hold on!
(Tires screech as they careen along the dirt road, back toward town.)
Act II Scene II
(A richly appointed hotel room with a four poster bed. The furniture is large, heavy, and all wood. Livia walks in, quietly shutting the door. The lighting in the room is dim. Mara lays stretched on top of the comforter, apparently sleeping. Reverently, Livia goes to touch her arm. Mara’s eyes snap open before Livia makes actual contact.)
Mara: There’s another one here.
Mara: Another immortal. I can feel him, but something’s not right. It’s all jumbled.
Livia: Did you leave someone behind last time you were here?
(Mara sits up and stretches.)
Mara: No. I don’t remember. It all happened too fast. The council was right to send me here the minute images of the book turned up. This could get ugly fast.
(Mara falls silent, her eyes focused far away. Livia waits, fidgeting, then tries to be cheerful.)
Livia: I have news about the site.
Mara: Tell me.
Livia: It’s several miles away from the town. There’s a road, but it’s mostly dirt and rocks. The only vehicles that will handle it are the Jeeps. They’ve been excavating most of the summer. A few weeks ago they found a library.
Mara: Go on.
Livia: The book was there.
(Mara sighs. She doesn’t look happy.)
Livia: They haven’t deciphered any of it.
Mara: Who did you talk to?
Livia: A nice British rock band. And the head archaeologist’s assistant, Alexandra Richards.
Mara: A rock band?
Livia: You wanted me to talk to people. They were more than happy to talk – and buy me a couple of beers while they were at it. One of them has been up to the site. I think the Richards girl has a thing for him. She’s not in the mood to give guided tours, but I might be able to convince the guy to take me up there later tonight.
Mara: There’s no telling where they have the book.
Livia: So we leave the tour and stay behind. It should only take a couple days. And I’ve got a perfect excuse. The band’s filming a video. They’ve already asked me to be in it. Though to be honest I think the lead singer just wants in my pants.
Mara: We can make use of that.
Livia: Don’t we always?
(Mara gets up and starts pacing.)
Mara: Well, that’s a start, at least. I don’t know what I’m going to do about this other one, though. I’m having trouble focusing on him – it’s definitely a him. That much I can tell. But his presence here – it’s unexpected.
Livia: Could it be connected to the book?
Mara: There’s no avoiding it. The question is how is he connected? Does he go all the way back to when we lost it? That’s something I don’t want to consider just yet.
Livia: Come on. Let’s not worry about it for now. They’re having a banquet. Full formal attire. Let’s have a little fun while we’re here.
Mara: You enjoy all this commercialism? I feel like an Indian in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
Livia: They don’t know what they’re exploiting, Mara. Besides, if we don’t have fun, people might ask questions.
Mara: Fine. I’ll put my game face on. But I haven’t gotten used to wearing dresses yet.
Livia: I haven’t gotten used to a lot of things since you died. But I picked out an outfit you’ll look really good in. Let’s just relax for a few hours. We can worry about everything else afterwards.