The Road Movie Script
THE ROAD Written by Joe Penhall Based on THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy EXT. CORN FIELD - DAY The intense BUZZING of summer insects and the SONG of songbirds. A birds eye view of a bucolic mid west farming landscape, corn field, blue skies, sunshine, a FARMER PLOUGHING a nearby field with a TRACTOR, grain silos and a hay stack. A MAN with a horse. A clapboard house with a strawberry field, a woman's hand picks strawberries; a WOMAN lying in grass, lazing... OPENING CREDITS... INT. DINING ROOM/HOME - NIGHT Next to book shelves and an upright piano, with sheet music on the stand - CHOPIN. There is also a dining room table with leftovers from an abandoned meal - strawberries and cream. INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT MONTH LATER - a warm night, the MAN is asleep with the same WOMAN, now pregnant, no sheets on the bed. The MAN is restless and wakes. A distant RUMBLING, indistinct - the MAN swings his feet off of the bed and goes to the window, anxious. INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT The MAN is in his shorts, sweating, putting a plug in the bath and turning on the taps as far as they will go. The WOMAN appears in the doorway in a nightdress and leans against the door frame watching, blearily, cradling her pregnant belly. WOMAN. Why are you taking a bath? MAN. I'm not. The WOMAN takes off her nightdress and goes to the bath. WOMAN. You'll sleep better. He looks at her, surprised she's misunderstood. MAN. I'm not! Put your clothes back on. She sees he's looking out the window now - there's an eery rose-colored glow of distant fire through the glass - and distant shouts and screams... (CONTINUED) 2. CONTINUED: WOMAN. What is it? What's happening? END OF FLASHBACK: TITLE: THE ROAD. EXT. CAMPSITE - DAWN A MAN of about forty and a BOY of ten are asleep, camped on a tarp under a rock ledge, the blackened chasm of a burnt valley spread out below. It is the same man seen earlier - but ten years older, thinner, malnourished, with a thick beard. They are both emaciated and exhausted, their faces and hands coated in grime and soot from the burned, blackened landscape around them. Ash falls on the tarp, which is bright synthetic blue, the only color in sight. The MAN is woken by something, he instinctively reaches out to touch the BOY, his hand rests on his chest and rises and falls with each of the sleeping BOY's breaths. There is a low RUMBLE, the ground starts to TREMBLE and the BOY wakes. BOY. Papa? (NO REPLY.) Papa? MAN. Shh. It's okay. BOY. What is it, Papa? They listen as it grows NEARER and LOUDER, everything SHAKING, tree roots GROANING and SPLITTING, until it passes between them with a ROAR like a subway train right beneath them. The BOY is now clinging to the MAN and crying, his head buried against his chest in fear. MAN. Shh. It's all right. It's all right. It's gone. BOY. What was it, Papa? MAN. It was an earthquake. 3. EXT. ROAD - DAY In the burnt, barren landscape, through swirls of soft ash and smoggy air the MAN appears dressed in a filthy old PARKA with the hood up, a knapsack on his back, pushing a rusted shopping CART with a bicycle mirror clamped to the handle and the BLUE tarp now covering it's load. The little BOY, similarly dressed with a KNAPSACK on his back, shuffles through the ash at his side - like Depression-era Dust Bowl homeless. There is a flicker of lightning over head, then more, but no thunder. MAN. (V.0.) The clocks stopped at one seventeen one morning. There was a long shear of bright light, then a series of low concussions. EXT. MOUNTAINSIDE/ CRACKED ROAD - DAY Broken asphalt, the earthquake has caused a large FISSURE to open up ALONGSIDE the road, with a sheer drop. THE MAN and THE BOY edge past burnt trees and scrub. MAN. (V.0.) Within a year there were fires on the ridges and deranged chanting. The screams of the murdered. By day the dead impaled on spikes along the road. EXT. LAKE - DAY They trudge past a vast lake filled with dead trees... MAN. (V.0.) I think it's October but I can't be sure. I haven't kept a calender for 5 years. EXT. MOUNTAINSIDE - DAY They truck along with the trolley through the fog, the ghostly shapes of dead trees on either side and the shapes of barren mountains in the background... (CONTINUED) 4. CONTINUED: MAN. (V.0.) Each day is more gray than the one before. Each night is darker - beyond darkness. The world gets colder week by week as the planet slowly dies. No animals have survived. All the crops are long gone. EXT. EDGE WOODS - DAY A tree falls behind them with a WHUMP and they jump... MAN (V.0.) Someday all the trees in the world will have fallen. EXT. GAS STATION - DAY The MAN forages for petrol, checking the nozzle of the pumps, rummaging through empty oil cans, he upends a bin to get at the empty oil bottles. The BOY picks up a phone on a wall and listens to the dead earpiece. MAN. (V.0.) The roads are peopled by refugees towing carts and road gangs carrying weapons, looking for fuel and food. EXT. LONG ROAD - DAY They head down a long straight road towards a dark, forbidding looking tunnel - a turnpike. MAN. (V.0.) There has been cannibalism. Cannibalism is the great fear. EXT. CITY - DAY They emerge before a view of a deserted city-state... EXT. MALL - DAY They forage in a deserted mall... There are skeletons and human bones here and there. (CONTINUED) 5. CONTINUED: MAN. (V.0.) Mostly I worry about food. Always food. Food and our shoes. CU - the BOY examines the head of a moose mounted on a wall in a SEARS hunting store. MAN. (V.0.) (CONT'D) Sometimes I tell the boy old stories of courage and justice - difficult as they are to remember. All I know is the child is my warrant and if he is not the word of God, then God never spoke. END OF CREDITS/MUSIC. EXT. RIDGE/ CAMPSITE - (CAMP 2) - EVENING They are camped high up on the ridge of a mountainside. There is a camp fire with wet clothes hanging to dry on sticks beside it. The MAN is erecting the tarp over string tied between two sticks stuck in the ground. The BOY is sitting lighting a lantern using the scavenged oil inside the makeshift tent, his shadow stark against the illuminated tarp. BOY. Now you can read me a story. He gets out a BOOK and looks at the pictures in the lamplight. The MAN reads him a story... EXT. RIDGE/CAMPSITE - (CAMP 2) - NIGHT The MAN awakens bathed in firey light as if the sun has come out. There is pale gray snow all around him with a quivering orange glow. He gets up to investigate, looks to the line of trees up the ridge where a FOREST FIRE is burning, CRACKLING in the distance. He stands staring at the fire, the warmth and light moving him, enlivening him and not frightening him at all. The BOY has got up and appears at his side, yawning. He looks at the sky at a single gray SNOWFLAKE drifting down. BOY. It's snowing! (CONTINUED) 6. CONTINUED: MAN. It's like it used to be when the sun came out. The BOY catches the snowflake in his hand, surprised. EXT. ROAD/PLAIN - DAY They travel along the road through drifting wood smoke, smoke pouring off the ground like mist and thin black trees burning like candles on the snowy ridge. They reach a spot where fire has crossed the road melting the tarmac. Their feet stick in the molten tarmac, it sucks at their shoes and they stop. Just ahead they see a set of foot prints in the tar and study them. BOY. Who is it? MAN. I don't know. The MAN looks through a pair of BINOCULARS and sees: A stooped figure up ahead, a DYING MAN dragging one leg slightly, limping along. He stops and stands uncertainly, then continues. The BOY sees him too. BOY. What should we do Papa? MAN. We're all right. Let's just follow and watch. BOY. Take a look. MAN. Yeah. Take a look. EXT. ROAD/HILL - LATE AFTERNOON The DYING MAN is getting slower and slower as they climb a slope, following, until he finally stops and simply sits in the road. The BOY hangs onto the MAN's coat anxiously as they approach. POV BOY - the DYING MAN is burnt, his clothing scorched and skin black with soot. One eye is burnt shut and his hair is a nitty wig of ash. His shoes are bound with wire and coated with road tar. (CONTINUED) 7. CONTINUED: As they pass by the DYING MAN looks down, averting his eyes. The BOY keeps looking, unable to take his eyes off him. BOY. Papa, what's wrong with that man? MAN. He's been struck by lightning. BOY. Can't we help him? Papa? MAN. No. We can't help him. They keep walking away and the BOY tugs at the MAN's coat. BOY. Papa? MAN. Stop it. BOY. Can't we help him, Papa? MAN. No. We can't. There's nothing to be done for him. EXT. BRIDGE - (CAMP 3) - EVENING They are camped under the bridge, ash and slurry drift by on the river, a dull sulphur light from the fires glows against the sky. The BOY sits in silence with his back to the MAN. MAN. There's nothing we could have done. (NO REPLY.) He's going to die. We can't share what we have or we'll die too. BOY. I know. MAN. So when are you going to talk to me again? BOY. I'm talking now. (CONTINUED) 8. CONTINUED: MAN. Are you sure? BOY. Yes. EXT. BARN - DAY They come to a barn beside the road. They look at each other. MAN. Let's take a look. The man picks up the revolver and they go inside cautiously. INT. BARN - DAY Three pairs of FEET wearing different shoes - a man's shoes, a woman's shoes, and a CHILD's sneakers - hang above three carefully placed chairs. MAN. Don't look. The BOY looks at the ground. MAN. (CONT'D) You don't need to see this. The BOY takes a few steps, exploring, he eyes the empty hay loft but avoids looking at the hanged bodies. BOY. There could be something here. There could be corn or something. MAN. No, they ran out of food. BOY. Maybe we could find some hayseeds in the hayloft? Now the BOY goes over to the swinging CORPSES, oddly curious. MAN. It's not what-you think. They committed suicide. BOY. What does that mean? (CONTINUED) 9. CONTINUED: MAN. You know what that means. The MAN GOES outside while the BOY thinks about it a moment. EXT. FARM GATE - DAY They walk away from the eerily silent farm, stopping at an abandoned TRACTOR by a weathered, paint stripped letter box. MAN. Come here. The BOY goes over and the MAN takes out his revolver, opens the magazine and shows him: two bullets in the chamber. MAN. (CONT'D) You see that? Two left. One for you and one for me. He places the BOY's thumb on the hammer and cocks the pistol. He curls the BOY's index finger around the trigger. MAN. (CONT'D) You put it in your mouth and point it up. Like this. Just like I showed you. He puts the barrel of the pistol in his own mouth until the BOY nods, wide eyed. He takes the pistol out of his mouth and uncocks it. MAN. (CONT'D) You got it? BOY. I think. MAN. Is it okay? BOY. Okay. The MAN puts the gun away and cuddles the BOY close. They set off again. 10. INT. CLAPBOARD HOUSE - DAY FLASHBACK - the WOMAN is sitting by the window, staring out at the garden which is barren now, the sky gray but tinged with the same fireglow seen earlier, a film of gray ash covers dead lawn and shrubs and inside the paintwork is grimy and colorless now, a lot of the furniture gone. A pile of broken up furniture and pieces of the piano are-stacked up next to the fireplace. In the fireplace the scorched, ashen remains of piano keys. The WOMAN is now heavily pregnant. The MAN sets down chipped old plates and spoons, spoons beans from a pot and sits to eat. As the WOMAN starts to eat she winces and freezes with a look of horror, spoon halfway to her mouth. She looks down and SEES: POV WOMAN - water and blood running down her legs. WOMAN. Oh no. Oh no. MAN. It's okay, I'll help you. Just like we said. WOMAN. No no no... MAN. I'll heat water. We can do it. As he goes out she MOANS in despair. INT. KITCHEN/CLAPBOARD HOUSE - DAY The MAN rushes in and opens a drawer in the sideboard. Instead of cutlery it contains a pair of kitchen shears, a bottle of antiseptic, worn but clean towels and a pair of worn out yellow rubber dish gloves, all laid out in readiness. The WOMAN appears at the door, blood running down a leg. WOMAN. We don't have to. MAN. Well, I think we probably do. WOMAN. What kind of life is this? (CONTINUED) 11. CONTINUED: MAN. It's life. It's the only thing left. He takes the WOMAN back into the other room. INT. DINING ROOM / CLAPBOARD HOUSE - DAY TERRIBLE SCREAMING. The WOMAN lies on the dining room table SCREAMING as she has her first contractions. The MAN is wearing the rubber gloves, one gloved hand resting on the WOMAN's leg, about to deliver his own baby. He wipes his brow and leaves a smear of blood as the SCREAMING goes on. WOMAN. I can't. MAN. It's coming. END OF FLASHBACK. INT. TRAILER HOME - (CAMP 4)- EVENING Inside a badly damaged trailer home, one wall half fallen off, a pan of water boils on a small fire. The BOY sits shivering in a blankets as he eats beans from a tin, scraping around for the last one or two. The MAN opens his knapsack by the fire and produces a packet of COCOA. He fixes a cup of cocoa for the boy. He hands the BOY the cup of cocoa and as the BOY examines it and drinks, the MAN surreptitiously pours himself a mug of water and sits blowing on it. The BOY realises the MAN has left him all the cocoa. BOY. You promised not to do that. MAN. What? BOY. You know what, Papa. I have to watch you all the time. MAN. I know I'm sorry. BOY. If you break little promises you'll break big ones. That's what you said. (CONTINUED) 12. CONTINUED: The MAN relents, pouring the hot water back into the pan and taking some of the BOY's cocoa into his own cup. The BOY wipes his finger around the inside of the empty bean tin and licks his finger. MAN. Watch your finger. BOY. You always say that. MAN. That's because you always do it. The MAN spreads bits of a worn out road map on the boards and studies them. BOY. What are you doing? MAN. We have to keep moving. We have to go south to the coast. BOY. Why? MAN. It'll be better at the coast. BOY. Why? MAN. Because we're going to freeze here. He picks up the map pieces carefully. EXT. TURNPIKE - MORNING The MAN and the BOY truck along the blacktop. At the crest of a hill they come to FADED BILLBOARDS advertising MOTELS and stop. The BOY notices a sign in the distance, which has words painted over a faded advertisement: odd, nonsensical, Biblical ramblings about "bones" and "the dead." The MAN follows the BOY's gaze and reads: "BEHOLD THE VALLEY OF SLAUGHTER - JEREMIAH 19:6." MAN. Do you remember your alphabet? (CONTINUED) 13. CONTINUED: BOY. Yes. MAN. Can you read that? BOY (SCRUTINISING IT.) No. MAN. Good, let's go. The MAN takes out a large REVOLVER, cocks it in readiness and places it on the tarp as they move. The BOY eyes the MAN nervously, eyes the gun and they move off. EXT. TURNPIKE, TUNNEL APPROACH - DAY They trudge along the turnpike towards the opening of a deep, black tunnel and the BOY suddenly comes to a stop, increasingly upset, unable to face the yawning mouth of the tunnel. BOY. I can't, I just can't... MAN. There's no other way. BOY. We could go over. MAN. We can't take the cart over. BOY. We don't know what's in there. MAN. There's nothing in there. It's just the same as it is out here. Okay? BOY. (BEAT. VERY RELUCTANT.) Okay. The boy sticks close to the MAN's side. The man has the revolver in his belt now and his parka unzipped, ready as they nervously walk towards the mouth of the tunnel. 14. INT. TUNNEL - DAY The MAN has his arm around the boy as they push the cart cautiously ahead, acutely aware of all that's around them. They pass footprints in the dried sludge on the ground. Ash and litter blowing about and a handful of MUMMIFIED DEAD REFUGEES appear along the sides of the tunnel, sitting and lying on camp stretchers, their bags and supplies long since looted. They are shrivelled and drawn like latterday bogfolk, shoeless, a couple of men, a woman a small child and a DOG. The MAN stares at the group. The BOY stares at the small child and then at the mummified DOG, transfixed. The MAN puts out his hand for the BOY to take - the BOY takes his hand and the MAN moves him on. MAN. Just remember that the things you put into your head are forever. BOY. But you forget some things don't you? MAN. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget. EXT. TUNNEL EXIT AND TURNPIKE - (CAMP 5) - EARLY MORNING The MAN and the BOY are asleep inside an abandoned car amongst a line of other abandoned vehicles littering the turnpike. INT. ABANDONED CAR - (CAMP 5) - EARLY MORNING Now the BOY's hand rests on the MAN's chest as he sleeps. The MAN breathes stertorously, wheezing a little and the BOY'S small hand goes up and down on his chest. Suddenly the MAN wakes and rolls onto his side, listening, the revolver lying beside him. He slips his hand onto the revolver and raises his head slowly. He looks around - nothing but the sound of a distant DIESEL ENGINE. He looks at the BOY fast asleep. When he looks back at the tunnel he sees a nightmarish vision: (CONTINUED) 15. CONTINUED: POV MAN - Exiting the tunnel, shuffling through the ash, a group of HOODED MEN, some in gas masks and filthy biohazard suits, slouching along, coughing, casting their heads from side to side and swinging clubs and lengths of pipe - a ROAD GANG. The MAN listens to the sound of a DIESEL TRUCK behind the gang. MAN. Quickly. Quick... The BOY jolts awake as the MAN shoves his pistol in his belt, grabs the boy by the hand. They slide out of the car and crouch on the ground, the BOY is frozen with fear. MAN. (CONT'D) It's all right. It's all right but we have to run. Don't look back. Come on. Their backpacks are still left in the back of the car... MAN. (CONT'D) Run... run... The flat bed truck RUMBLES into view, MEN from the GANG standing on the flat bed looking around, some holding rifles. The BOY falls and the MAN pulls him to his feet with such force he lifts him clean off the ground and has to dangle him back down again. MAN. (CONT'D) You okay? It's all right... come on... They rush down the embankment into the trees alongside the turnpike. EXT. TURNPIKE UNDERPASS - DAY They run through the woods. The truck is heard in the background, the motor missing and SPUTTERING, coils of black diesel smoke coiling through the woods. The motor dies with a flapping RATTLE and there's SILENCE. The MAN and the BOY crouch in frozen silence, the Truck now on the overpass nearby, dangerously exposed to the view of the Gang. They listen to the GANG TALKING and raising the hood of the truck The MAN puts his arm around the BOY and draws his pistol as they see the truck begin to roll, the GANG pushing it... but it coughs and stalls again. (CONTINUED) 16. CONTINUED: The MAN sees one of the GANG MEMBERS coming down the embankment, unbuckling his belt. He is emaciated, in dirty blue overalls and a gas company cap, and has a long beard cut square at the bottom and a bad tattoo of a bird on his neck. He doesn't stop, just keeps coming, closer and closer until he's just feet away, almost on top of them. He unzips his pants and takes a piss. As he stands pissing his eyes roam around - at any moment he could look to the side and see them crouching there. The MAN is wide-eyed, gun ready, eyes darting from the GANG MEMBER to the BOY to the GUN. The GANG MEMBER rolls his shoulders and exercises his neck... he looks down and studies the steam coming off his piss. The MAN silently trains his pistol at the head of the GANG MEMBER who, as if by instinct, rolls his head around and looks right at him. MAN. Just keep it coming. The GANG MEMBER sees the gun and stops pissing, looks back at the truck, zips his fly. MAN. (CONT'D) Don't look at them. Look at me. If you call out you're dead. Where you from? GANG MEMBER. Does it matter? Where you from? MAN. What's the truck running on? GANG MEMBER. Diesel fuel. MAN. Where d'you get that? GANG MEMBER. I don't know. MAN. You don't know, huh? The GANG MEMBER just stares, not answering. (CONTINUED) 17. CONTINUED: (2) MAN. (CONT'D) You got ammunition for those rifles? The GANG MEMBER looks back towards the truck. MAN. (CONT'D) I told you not to look back there. Where d'you get all that stuff? GANG MEMBER. Found it. MAN. What are you eating? GANG MEMBER. Whatever we can find. MAN. Whatever you can find, huh? GANG MEMBER. Yeah... Now the GANG MEMBER looks at the BOY, causing the MAN To raise the revolver and cock it. POV GANG MEMBER - he looks down the barrel at the magazine and sees empty space. GANG MEMBER. (CONT'D) You won't shoot that thing. You ain't got but two shells. Maybe just one. And they'll hear the shot. On the over pass the ROAD GANG are looking around, MURMURING as they notice one of their number missing. MAN. Maybe. But you won't. It'll be through your skull and inside your brain before you can hear it. The MAN steps closer and aims the gun at the MAN's forehead, hammer back, ready. (CONTINUED) 18. CONTINUED: (3) MAN. (CONT'D) To hear it you'll need a frontal lobe and things with names like colliculus and temporal gyrus and you won't have them anymore because they'll just be soup. GANG MEMBER. Are you a doctor? MAN. I'm not anything anymore. GANG MEMBER. We got a hurt man. It'd be worth your while. The MAN glances in the direction of the ROAD GANG, then back at the GANG MEMBER, who is still eyeing the BOY. The BOY is sitting with his hands on top of his head, peeking out through his arms, terrified as the tension escalates. MAN. If you look at him again I'll shoot you in the head. GANG MEMBER. I'll bet that boy is hungry. Why don't you all just come onto the truck. Get something to eat. Ain't no need to be such a hard ass. MAN. You don't have anything to eat. Let's go. GANG MEMBER. I ain't going nowheres. MAN. You think I won't kill you but you're wrong. GANG MEMBER. You know what I think? I think you're chickenshit. You never killed a man in your life. He drops his belt on the ground with a CLATTER, a canteen and army pouch hanging from it. The MAN eyes the army pouch, eyes the GANG on the road - and notices for the first time some of them are wearing the same army pouches. (CONTINUED) 19. CONTINUED: (4) One is banging his stick on the side of the truck to call their lost member. The MAN is distracted by this and when he looks up the GANG MEMBER has taken two silent steps and is standing between him and the BOY, holding a knife. MAN. What do you think you're going to do with that? Without a word the GANG MEMBER dives and grabs the BOY, rolls and lands on his feet holding the BOY against his chest with his knife at his throat. Simultaneously the MAN drops to his knees, trains the pistol and fires from six feet away, shooting the GANG MEMBER in the forehead. He falls back and lies with blood bubbling from the wound, eyes open, the BOY lying in his lap in shock, deafened, expressionless, covered with gore and mute as a stone. The GANG hear the loud SHOT and freeze, they start looking around them more urgently now. The MAN grabs the dazed BOY by the hand and yells but in his deafness the BOY hears only a MUTED soup of words: MAN (MUTED.) Move! Let's go! The MAN shoves the pistol in his belt, hoists the BOY onto his shoulders and sets off down the road at a run. EXT. WOODS - DAY They crash through the woods, the MAN straining to keep the BOY aloft and find a path through the trees - the BOY clutching the MAN's head with both hands. There's a sickening THUD and the MAN falls, the BOY flying off with a cry. The MAN struggles to gather his wits, unsure whether he's been felled by another man. MAN (MUTED.) Come on. Get up, get up quickly! The MAN swings the BOY onto his shoulders and runs. EXT. WOODS/TURNPIKE - DAY The MAN and BOY stagger through trees and the man drops to his knees, letting the BOY down. They are back by the turnpike again. They listen and watch, utterly exhausted and out of breath, the MAN is wheezing, the BOY at his side, holding his hand, staring, in shock still. (CONTINUED) 20. CONTINUED: MAN. Shh. It's okay now. You're going to be OK. POV BOY - the BOY can still HEAR nothing, temporarily deaf. But he sees the MAN talking and looking around, through 360 degrees, trying to work out where it's safe to go. MAN. (CONT'D) Come on. He grabs the BOY's hand and they take off again. EXT. WOODS - EVENING The MAN pulls out blankets from his knapsack. The BOY sits staring, shocked as the MAN tries to wipe the blood and gore from his face but it's thick and congealed now. His hands tremble as he tries to pick it from the BOY's hair. MAN. It's okay... it's okay now... Frightened by the BOY's muteness, he wraps him in a blanket, unzips his parka and holds him close under the parka. The MAN picks up his revolver, checks the chamber, only one bullet left. He eyes the flickering shadows in the distance and then eyes the BOY, making minute calculations of distance, calibrating the space between the ROAD GANG and the BOY. He holds the revolver up and cocks it. MAN. (V.0.) (CONT'D) I try to look like any common traveling killer but my heart is hammering. When it comes to the boy I have only one question: Can you do it? When the time comes? There is no moon, but not far away, perhaps 30 yards, a firey TORCH makes its way through the woods. About 50 yards away from that another TORCH is being used to search... shadows flicker ominously. The sounds of TWIGS snapping underfoot and BRANCHES being broken as the ROAD GANG searches wordlessly, just BREATHING heavily through their masks and beards. The MAN clutches the BOY tighter, and stifles a cough. They remain frozen like this, unable to budge. FADE OUT. 21. EXT. EMBANKMENT - DAWN They are by a thin, toxic, rust-red stream, slushy ice at the edges and gray froth. The MAN leans down and pushes ice away and scoops up a hand full of gray water. He runs it through the boy's hair to wash it and the BOY flinches with cold. He rubs more icy water into the BOY's hair, roughly, quickly, with a sense of panic as he helplessly tries to-wash out lumps of flesh and blood. The BOY is weeping silently and shivering from the extreme cold as the MAN picks out the dried gore and washes the hair clean. MAN. It's no use crying. You have to talk to me. He takes the blanket and dries the BOY's hair as he talks. MAN. (CONT'D) I'm not going to let anything happen to you... I'm going to take care of you... I'm always going to try and be here for you... and I'm going to kill anybody who touches you. He smooths the BOY's hair down with shaking fingers, clumsily trying to brush it out of his eyes, a fatherly instinct to make the BOY neat. MAN. (CONT'D) Because that's my job. Do you understand? When he's through the MAN lifts the BOY's thin arms, puts a vest over his head, then a ragged sweater, then he folds the BOY into his parka, zips it up to the neck and kisses him on the top of the head. The MAN grabs his knapsack, tips it upside down, rummages inside - it's empty. MAN. (CONT'D) Come on, we need to get the cart back. EXT. EMBANKMENT BY TUNNEL EXIT - DAY Approaching the embankment, the MAN walks quickly and stealthily, wired, listening to the silence, straining to hear, sure he's being watched. (CONTINUED) 22. CONTINUED: The BOY stumbles along behind, slower, fatigued, makingthe MAN anxious. The MAN leaves the boy hiding: MAN (WHISPERS.) Wait here. He starts to climb the embankment and hears: little running FOOTSTEPS as the BOY comes after him, he turns to face the BOY urgently, exasperated. MAN (WHISPERS.) (CONT'D) No I need you to wait. I'll hear you if you call. I'll just be a little ways and I'll be able to hear you if you get scared and you call me and I'll come right away. He walks off but hears... the little BOY's FOOTSTEPS running after him again - he turns around. MAN. I said wait! The BOY's face crinkles up and a tear rolls down. MAN. (CONT'D) Stop it. I need you to do what I say. Take the gun. The BOY freezes, refusing to take the gun. MAN. (CONT'D) Just take it will you? The BOY shakes his head. MAN. (CONT'D) We don't have time for this. We need our food. What's left. The MAN shoves the gun into the BOY's hand. MAN. (CONT'D) Don't argue. He creeps up the embankment. The BOY just stares at the revolver. EXT. TURNPIKE ROAD - DAY The MAN searches for the cart. He comes to where they'd left it in between the abandoned cars. (CONTINUED) 23. CONTINUED: Their backpacks lie open on the ground, next to the cart on it's side, it's contents spilled out, mostly plundered, just a few children's BOOKS and TOYS, old pots and pans, shoes and ragged clothing remaining. Nearby are the remains of a large campfire in the middle of the turnpike. The man collects up the few remaining possessions and puts them into the backpacks. POV MAN - he sees charred billets of wood, ash and... the bones of the shot ROAD GANG MEMBER. Nearby is a pool of his blood and guts, still gently STEAMING, the head decapitated and rolled under a car. He nudges the bones with the toe of his shoe. EXT. EMBANKMENT BY THE TURNPIKE - DAY Below, down the embankment the BOY is waiting obediently with the gun. The MAN heads back to the BOY, trying to think what to say. The BOY hands the gun back and takes the MAN's hand and they walk away into the woods, the MAN tucking the gun back into his belt. MAN. Let's get out of here. The freeway's too dangerous. Find the back roads. BOY. Okay. INT. CLAPBOARD HOUSE - NIGHT FLASHBACK - Now the house is in considerable disrepair, no furniture, the skirting boards falling away, large cracks in the walls, cornices and lamp fittings pulling away from the ceilings, water marks from rain, the windows covered with corrugated iron sheets. The MAN and the WOMAN are sitting across from each other with a lamp illuminating the dark. Between them lies the revolver seen earlier. The WOMAN picks up the gun and swings open the magazine. There are two bullets in it, she takes them out and places them on the table, one after the other. WOMAN. That's all that's left. I should have done it when there were more bullets in the gun. The MAN shuts his eyes, unable to take it. In the corner, the BOY is standing in the background, drawing on the walls. (CONTINUED) 24. CONTINUED: WOMAN. (CONT'D) Sooner or later - no listen - they will catch up with us and they will kill us. They will rape me - MAN. NO - WOMAN. And they will rape him MAN. Please no - just - no WOMAN. They are going to rape us and kill us and eat us and you won't face it. You'd rather wait for it to happen. MAN. Please. WOMAN. Stop it. MAN. I'll do anything. WOMAN. Such as what? She picks up the revolver and puts the TWO BULLETS into the chamber. WOMAN. (CONT'D) I thought about not even telling you. Just doing it. I'd empty every godamn bullet into my brain and leave you with nothing. MAN. Don't say that. Don't talk this way. WOMAN. There's nothing left to talk about... my heart was ripped out of me the night he was born... (CONTINUED) 25. CONTINUED: (2) MAN. Please don't do this. I won't let anything happen. We'll survive. WOMAN. I don't want to survive! I'd take him with me if it weren't for you. You know I would. Why can't you face it? MAN. Will you listen? You're talking CRAZY - WOMAN. It's not crazy and you know it. It's the right thing to do. They glance at the BOY. WOMAN. (CONT'D) Other families do it. She goes to the BOY, strokes his hair, kisses him, makes a reassuring display of being motherly. WOMAN. (CONT'D) Time for bed, there's a good boy. She picks him up in her arms and carries him off to bed. END OF FLASHBACK. EXT. RAVINE/WATERFALL - DAY The THUNDER of a waterfall, the river disappears into space - the BOY and the MAN stand staring up at the waterfall, 80 feet above, shrouded in gray mist. A color spectrum is visible rising from the waterfall, like a rainbow - the boy is transfixed, clutching the MAN's arm for safety. BOY. What is it? The MAN looks at the BOY, surprised he's talking again. MAN. It's a waterfall. BOY. Look. Colors. (CONTINUED) 26. CONTINUED: MAN. There used to be color everywhere. You don't remember. It was before you were born. There used to be so many thnings... The BOY approaches the water's edge, shallow and clear with gravel and pebbles sparkling at the bottom. He scoops up some water, surprised that it seems clean. BOY. Look. It's clear. MAN. Do you want to go in? BOY. I don't know. MAN. Sure you do. BOY. Is it okay? MAN. Just don't swallow any. The MAN unzips his parka and slips it to the ground. The BOY eyes the MAN, surprised - then does the same. EXT. RIVER/WATERFALL - DAY Naked, pale, filthy dirty and shivering with cold, the BOY frolics in the spray of the waterfall. The MAN watches him enjoying himself by the waterfall, clutching his shoulders, hopping up and down, he joins him. EXT. RAVINE/ROCKFACE - (CAMP 6) - EVENING The MAN has strung the tarp against a rockface to make a shelter. He meticulously filters water through a rag into a pan. In the background, the waterfall can be heard RUMBLING. The BOY has painted his face with CRAYONS, drawing a bizarre set of FANGS and dripping blood around his mouth. The MAN studies the BOY's painted face a moment. MAN. Listen. That man back there... there's not many good guys left, that's all. We have to watch out for the bad guys. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 27. CONTINUED: MAN. (CONT'D) And we have to talk. Always. We have to just... you know... keep carrying the fire... BOY. What fire? MAN. The fire inside you. The BOY is thoughtful a minute, and then: BOY. Are we still the good guys? MAN. Yes. We're still the good guys. BOY. And we always will be no matter what happens? He eyes the BOY uncertainly, unsure if he can promise this. MAN. Always will be. Yeah. The MAN goes back to tying the tarp. EXT. THE RIVER/VALLEY - MORNING The MAN and the BOY are trudging along, away from the waterfall now. MAN. We have to keep moving. Other people might be attracted to the waterfall just like we were. We wouldn't hear them coming. They stop to look at a lake surrounded by fog down in the VALLEY BOY. Do you think there could be fish in the lake? MAN. No. There's nothing in the lake. They move on. 28. EXT. BACK ROAD - DAY They come around a bend in the road and immediately hear the ROAR of river rapids. Up ahead they see a bridge with a jack- knifed TRUCK on it. EXT. BRIDGE - DAY They walk out onto the bridge over GREY FROTHING WATER, and inspect the truck. The tyres are flat, the cab jammed against the railings. The trailer end has swung across the road, knocked out the railings and lies with it's last few feet hanging over the side of the bridge, blocking the bridge off completely. EXT. ABANDONED TRUCK - DAY The MAN climbs up onto the gas tanks, wipes the glass and peers into the cab. He swings the door open and climbs inside, pulling the door shut behind. INT. TRUCK/CAB - DAY He looks around at discarded detritus, old magazines and trash. He checks behind the seats where there is a mattress on a bunk and calls out. MAN. Come up here. INT. TRUCK/CAB - (CAMP 7) - NIGHT SNOW continues to fall on the dusty WINDSCREEN. Outside, all around snow falls, silently, covering the truck and the bridge, transforming it. They are both still awake, unable to sleep, staring at the transformed world, carpeted by snow. BOY. I'm hungry. MAN. I know. So am I. BOY. Can I ask you something? MAN. Of course. BOY. Are we going to die? (CONTINUED) 29. CONTINUED: MAN. No. Sometime. Not now. BOY. And we're still going south? MAN. Yes. BOY. So we'll be warm? MAN. Yes. BOY. And there might be food there? MAN. Everything depends on reaching the coast. BOY. Okay. The MAN draws a blanket around him and kisses him goodnight, it is now pitch black. MAN. Go to sleep. BOY. I wish I was with my mom. They are silent a moment, until: MAN. You mean you wish you were dead. BOY. Yeah. MAN. You mustn't say that. It's a bad thing to say. BOY. I can't help it. (CONTINUED) 30. CONTINUED: (2) MAN. I know but you have to. You have to stop thinking about her. We both do. BOY. How do I do that? The MAN is silent, lost in thought. EXT. TRUCK/CAB - (CAMP 7) EARLY HOURS The man gets down from the cab and walks a few feet in the dark and snow. He coughs a bit, takes a few breaths of air, and walks away from the truck, vanishing into the mist. EXT. CAMP/ROAD - (CAMP 7) - EARLY HOURS The MAN is alone now by the road. He takes out his WALLET and sifts through: money, ancient cards, driver's license and a picture of HIMSELF and the WOMAN on their WEDDING DAY, which he studies a moment sadly. MAN. (V.0.) She was gone, and the coldness of it was her final gift... she died somewhere in the dark... there is no other tale to tell. He lays everything out on the grey slushy ground, then flings the wallet into the river and walks back to camp, leaving the PHOTO and cards to blow away. EXT. CLAPBOARD HOUSE/YARD - NIGHT FLASHBACK - The WOMAN kisses the MAN. MAN. Will you tell him goodbye? WOMAN. No. I won't. I can't. MAN. Will you at least wait till morning? Stay with me through the night. WOMAN. No. I have to go now. They kiss again, she turns and walks away out of the yard. (CONTINUED) 31. CONTINUED: MAN. What am I going to tell him? What are we going to do without you? WOMAN. You should move south. You won't survive another winter here. The MAN follows a few steps and she stops and turns to him. MAN. Why won't you help me? WOMAN. I can't help you. Don't you understand? This is how I'm helping you. MAN. Where are you going to go? You can't even see. WOMAN. I don't need to see. MAN. I'm begging you. WOMAN. Please don't. Please. The MAN stares. She goes, vanishing into the darkness. END OF FLASHBACK. EXT. CITY LIMITS - DUSK The MAN stares. In the distance, a dead city. EXT. OVERPASS/CITY LIMITS - EVENING The MAN and the BOY approach the edge of the city. Up ahead a cluster of three tall buildings, a dozen or so floors of concrete and glass, the upper floors of one illuminated by the flickering fire glow of candle light inside. The MAN stops and stares and the BOY follows his gaze. In one of the illuminated windows a SILHOUETTE FIGURE stares back at them, somebody in the building. In another window another SILHOUETTE FIGURE is staring out, motionless, they could be refugees, cannibals or more mummified dead for all we know. (CONTINUED) 32. CONTINUED: BOY. Who are they, Papa? MAN. I don't know. BOY. What if it's more bad guys? MAN. It won't be more bad guys. Don't worry. Stay close. He takes hold of the gun and they walk in a different direction now, giving the high rises a wide berth. MAN. (CONT'D) Keep low. We'll be okay. When they get to the end of the block they stop and the MAN checks around the corner before they cross the street. In the distance three men appear, emaciated, slow-moving. They step forward, stop and watch the BOY and the MAN. EXT. OUTSKIRTS/CITY - DAY The MAN, now carrying the revolver, and the BOY head off down a railway track that leads away from the city. EXT. COUNTRY RAILWAY LINE - DAY In the country, along the railway, they see past a small road to a once grand house on a rise. It is tall and stately with white Doric columns across the front and a gravel drive that curves up from the road through a field of dead, foot long grass. They stand there staring at it, the BOY still holding the MAN's hand. The MAN listens - nothing but the WIND in the dead bracken, a CREAK of a door or shutter rattling. MAN. I think we should take a look. BOY. I'm scared. MAN. There's nothing to be scared of. EXT. DRIVEWAY/STATELY HOME The MAN sets off up the drive. He stops and faces the BOY who is rooted to the spot. (CONTINUED) 33. CONTINUED: MAN. You want to stay here? BOY. No. The BOY joins him and they set off slowly up the drive, through patches of melting snow. There is a tall dead privet fence with a deserted birdsnest in it. EXT. PORCH/STATELY HOME - DAY They climb the steps to the porch, the BOY clutching the MAN's hand. They notice a window is slightly open. The MAN goes to it, opens the window wide, looks inside. INT. FOYER/STATELY HOME - DAY They climb through the window onto black and white marble tiles and the MAN carefully shuts the window a little so it's the same as when he found it. They regard the room, binoculars set up on a tripod sit next to an arm chair. An elaborate staircase in front of them, William Morris wall paper, water stained and sagging, plaster moldings and cornices sagging from the ceiling. They cross back to the other side where there is a great hall of a drawing room, high ceilings, huge fire place with raw brick around it where the wood has been stripped, a pile of warm-weather clothing, boots and backpacks on the floor by the hearth. BOY. Papa? MAN. Shh. INT. KITCHEN/STATELY HOME - DAY They creep in and find blackened pots and pans, a cord with a bell for servants, trash piled on the floor and work tops, a rusted sink covered in mould, bare cupboards. In the floor is a hatch with a lock set in a steel plate. The man examines it while the BOY tugs at his arm, frightened. BOY. Papa, let's go. MAN. There's a reason this is locked. (CONTINUED) 34. CONTINUED: The BOY is now panicky, hopping about, close to tears. BOY. Don't open it - don't! MAN. I need something to pry it open. BOY. No! The MAN goes out abruptly and the BOY follows, wringing his hands in fear. EXT. BACK GARDEN/STATELY HOME - DAY The MAN comes out the back door with his revolver drawn, looks around and sees an old station wagon with flat tyres on the dead grass. Beside it is a 40 gallon cauldron on the blackened remnants of a fire. There is also a wooden SMOKE HOUSE with thin wisps of smoke coming off it. The MAN studies it nervously, sniffing the air, then goes to the tool shed and starts sorting through tools. He finds a long handled spade and hefts it in his hands. INT. KITCHEN/STATELY HOME - DAY The spade chops into the wood around the lock on the hatch. The MAN hacks away, then prizes up the hatch, lock and all, revealing a gap of darkness. BOY. Papa... MAN. Listen to me. Just stop it. We're starving. Do you understand? I have to do this. I don't have any choice. The MAN opens the hatch fully and lies it on the floor. MAN. (CONT'D) Just wait here. BOY. I'm going with you. MAN. Okay. Just stay close to me. Nothing's going to happen. (CONTINUED) 35. CONTINUED: They descend the rough wooden steps. INT. CELLAR/STATELY HOME - DAY There is a terrible stench and they have to cover their mouths and noses with their parkas. The MAN gets out his lighter, lights it and tries to light the way. POV MAN - BLACKNESS except the small area illuminated by the lighter as the MAN searches: part of a stone wall; then a clay floor; an old mattress with dark stains. The glow of the flame crawls across the floor to a corner as the MAN steps closer, then plays the lighter along from the corner to REVEAL: Huddled against the wall, all trying to hide, shielding their shining eyes from the light, NAKED MEN and WOMEN, thin as skeletons like inmates in a death camp. The BOY jumps, shocked and the MAN freezes, staring, dumb struck by: On a mattress on the floor lies a NAKED MAN with his legs gone to the hip, their stumps blackened and burned, cauterized. The BOY covers his eyes. MAN. Jesus... The MAN on the MATTRESS turns to them and WHISPERS, a low indistinct murmur at first. MAN ON MATTRESS. Help us... please help us... MAN. Christ... oh Christ... The others join in, an eerie chorus of WHISPERING, "Help us... please help us..." The MAN turns and grabs the BOY and rushes for the steps. MAN. (CONT'D) Hurry... go... move! The MAN drops the lighter as he tries to push the BOY up the steps. Out of nowhere a BEARDED FACE appears at the foot of the stairs, blinking. BEARDED FACE. Please... they're taking us to the smoke house. (CONTINUED) 36. CONTINUED: The BEARDED FACE reaches out and feebly tries to grab the MAN's arm but he breaks free and concentrates on getting the BOY up the steps, following in a blind panic, fumbling and missing his footing. MAN. Hurry - hurry! They scramble up the steps towards the light of the hatch as the BEARDED FACE reaches out and tries one last time to grab at the MAN's feet but he kicks free. INT. KITCHEN/STATELY HOME - DAY The MAN scrambles out, slams the door shut and drags a solid table over the door. He looks around for the BOY. MAN. Christ. Run! The BOY is near the window, dancing up and down in terror, pointing out the window to: EXT. FIELDS - DAY Coming up the path toward the house are four BEARDED MEN and two WOMEN, all suspiciously well fed and healthy-looking. One of the MEN holds hands with one of the WOMEN, as if they were returning from a stroll before dinner. INT. KITCHEN/STATELY HOME - DAY The MAN stares a moment, frozen with horror, then grabs the BOY by the hand and jerks him away. MAN. Run. Run! INT. FOYER/STATELY HOME - DAY They tear through to the front door, the MAN fumbles to get it open but it has a well-maintained deadlock on it. He stares out the window next to the door and sees: POV MAN - The WELL-FED PEOPLE are climbing the steps of the porch. The MAN Grabs the BOY and they rush through into kitchen. INT. KITCHEN/STATELY HOME - DAY In the kitchen the hatch is being lifted from underneath and the table elevating inches. They rush back out again. 37. INT. FOYER/STATELY HOME - DAY As they reach the stairs, a key turns in the lock and the MAN picks up the BOY in his arms and they sprint to a door under the stairs. As they get through the door the front door swings open and the WELL-FED PEOPLE drift inside. INT. REST ROOM - DAY They are in a small rest room under the stairs, just a toilet and a basin. The BOY's face is level with the basin and while the MAN is holding the door shut the BOY comes face to face with the contents of the basin: POV BOY - bloodstained clothing soaking in bloody water and tallow in the basin. Around the basin are bloody red hand prints on the white porcelain. POV MAN - through a thin crack he sees the WELL-FED PEOPLE on the far side of the foyer, chatting casually. He is not close enough to hear everything they say, but close enough to see that the MEN's beards are trimmed and they wear well-repaired clothes. WELL FED WOMAN. I'm going to freshen up. BEARDED MAN. I need a drink. WELL FED WOMAN 2. I'm going up to change. He hears one of the WOMEN STOMPING across the old floorboards and up the stairs to change while the other WOMAN takes a few steps towards the rest room, then turns back towards the window as the conversation lurches on. BEARDED MAN 2. Who left this window open? WELL FED WOMAN. I leave it open for the smell. BEARDED MAN 2. What smell? WELL FED WOMAN. You don't smell it anymore? BEARDED MAN. Who wants a drink? (CONTINUED) 38. CONTINUED: They hear the sound of the WINDOW BEING CLOSED and LATCHED. As all this goes on, the MAN is frozen, eyes wide with fear, he slips the pistol from his belt, cocks it and squats on his haunches so he's close to the BOY, desperate, unable to decide what to do, unable to think straight with fear. The BOY is staring from the door to the pistol to the bloodied basin as if hypnotised, in shock, babbling somewhat. BOY. (MUMBLING, TO SELF.) Bad guys... bad men... MAN. Shh, shh... There are FOOT STEPS outside the door as the WELL FED PEOPLE drift closer and then away again. The man starts to cough but he has the revolver in one hand and the BOY's hand in his other. The MAN tries to stifle his cough but can't. Then the BOY notices and holds his own small hand to the MAN's mouth, stifling his coughing as the talk goes on outside: WELL FED WOMAN. Will you help me with the dirty dishes? BEARDED MAN 2. I'm hungry. As the coughing subsides a little the MAN takes the BOY's hand from his mouth and pushes the revolver into it. MAN. Take it. The BOY tries to resist, shaking his head, terrified, mute. MAN. (WHISPERS.) (CONT'D) Take it. The MAN puts his left arm around the BOY's tiny, thin shoulders and holds him close. MAN. (WHISPERS.) (CONT'D) Don't be afraid. If they get hold of you, you're going to have to do it just like everybody else. Do you understand? Shh. No crying. Do you hear me? The WOMAN turns from the window and one of the BEARDED MEN pours whiskey and hands her one. (CONTINUED) 39. CONTINUED: (2) The BOY is weeping and shaking his head as the MAN shows him again what to do with the gun. MAN (WHISPERS.) Stop crying. You have to be a brave boy. You know how to do it. BOY (WHISPERS.) I think so. MAN (WHISPERS.) Say "Yes I do Papa." He stares down at the little BOY who just holds the gun feebly... he realises the BOY won't use it. After a moment of torturous contemplation, the MAN very gently takes the gun from the BOY's hand and the BOY sits forlornly, staring down at his hands, afraid to look at the MAN now. When the BOY looks up again he is staring down the barrel of the pistol, the MAN aiming the large revolver at the BOY's forehead. BOY. What are you doing? The MAN's hand shakes, his thumb trembles on the hammer as he cocks it... BOY. (CONT'D) Papa? MAN. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. BOY. Will I see you again? When will I see you? The MAN's finger trembles on the trigger as he slowly squeezes it... At that moment there's a loud THUMP from the kitchen and the WELL FED PEOPLE stop and listen, then rush through to the kitchen, and immediately there's a commotion as they see the state of the hatch with the table over it. BEARDED MAN 2(O.O.V.) What the fuck do you think you're doing? Huh? What the fuck do you think you're doing...? WELL FED WOMAN (O.O.V.) Don't look at me like that. What are you doing? (CONTINUED) 40. CONTINUED: ( 3) The MAN gathers his wits and opens the door a crack. MAN. Follow me, take my hand, don't let go. INT. FOYER/STATELY HOME - DAY The MAN bursts out of the rest room with the BOY and they make a dash for the open window. He sticks his gun in his belt and wrestles with the window, an old colonial style frame which sticks. From behind the closed kitchen door they hear muffled GRUNTS and SHOUTS until the MAN wrenches the window open, stuffs the BOY through and follows. EXT. PORCH/STATELY HOME - DAY The MAN picks the BOY up and they rush down the steps. EXT. DRIVEWAY/STATELY HOME - DAY They rush down the driveway and the MAN drags the BOY through a gap in the dead privet hedge onto the road. EXT. ROAD - DAY They hesitate a moment on the road, deciding. MAN. Come on, keep running! They rush across the road to the woods on the other side, the BOY ahead as the MAN checks behind them. The MAN looks back towards the house and two of the WELL-FED PEOPLE have come outside, looking around suspiciously. He hits the ground and takes the BOY with him, they lie flat at the edge of the woods and the road. They are wildly out of breath, chests heaving, the MAN coughing. MAN. (CONT'D) Keep your head down. POV MAN - the WELL-FED PEOPLE walk a few steps down the drive and a BEARDED MAN looks through BINOCULARS at the road and the woods, but not directly at the MAN and the BOY hiding. The WELL FED PEOPLE start looking around the side of the house, walking away. The MAN and the BOY get up, dash through the treeline and disappear into the woods. 41. EXT. WOODS - NIGHT .A dull moon hidden in the ashen sky and the outlines of trees as they set off through the woods, sleepy, stumbling like drunks now. They hear a hideous SHRIEK in the distance, coming from the house. They stop, hearing another SHRIEK and a MAN'S SCREAMING. The MAN holds the BOY close and tries to cover the BOY's ears as they stare and wait for-it to pass. MAN. We'll be safe soon. BOY. They're going to eat those people aren't they, Papa? The MAN does not answer. EXT. SEARS DEPARTMENT STORE/SHOPPING MALL - NIGHT They are back in the city, trudging through the parking lot of a huge shopping mall, just outside what used to be SEARS department store. A dull moon hidden in the ashen sky illuminates the ruined store front as the MAN looks up at the mall, thinking. The BOY is just staring into space, still in shock. INT. SEARS/MALL - (CAMP 8) - NIGHT The MAN and the BOY have set up camp in the mall, outside the SEARS entrance. The MAN is building a big fire. The BOY stares through the glass at the deserted department store. Nearby, strewn across the doorway are bunches and bundles of cash in notes and coins... the BOY looks closer and finds expensive items of jewelry still in their boxes, LOOTED from the store and discarded. The BOY sits, he looks like he's given up, and then: BOY. Papa? Papa, we wouldn't ever eat anybody would we? MAN. No. Of course not. BOY. No matter how hungry we were. Even if we were starving? (CONTINUED) 42. CONTINUED: MAN. We're starving now. BOY. Because, because we're the good guys? MAN. Yes. BOY. And we're carrying the fire. MAN. Yes. The MAN takes the BOY in his arms. In a moment the BOY starts blinking sleepily and drifts off to sleep and the MAN strokes the sleeping BOY's hair and kisses him on the forehead. EXT. SUPERMARKET/PARKING LOT - DAY They walk through the parking lot until the come to a supermarket around the other side. A few old cars in a trash strewn parking lot. The MAN heads through the defunct automatic doors. MAN. Come on. There's nobody here. INT. SUPERMARKET - DAY The MAN and the BOY trudge the empty aisles, only litter remaining, the once brightly-colored packaging strewn around, it's contents long since looted. In the empty gun section there is a deer's head mounted on the wall. The BOY stops and stares, mesmerised while the MAN searches the empty shelves for ammo, finding only empty boxes. The MAN glimpses a woman's face staring dolefully from an aisle - an emaciated, dead beat SCAVENGER watching them, vanishing as quickly as she appeared. On their way out they come to a pair of vending machines tipped over, the sodas looted, coins scattered around in the ash. The MAN sits beside one and feels inside the gutted machine, eventually producing a single unopened can of COCA COLA. (CONTINUED) 43. CONTINUED: BOY (EXCITED.) What is it, papa? MAN. It's a treat for you. Here. Sit down. He helps the little BOY off with his knapsack and sits him down and opens the can of COKE ceremoniously. The BOY looks startled and sniffs the fizzing can as if it's the strangest thing he's ever seen in his life. MAN. (CONT'D) Go ahead. The BOY takes the can. BOY. It's bubbly. MAN. Go ahead. Drink it. The BOY takes a sip and considers. BOY. It's really good. You have some, papa. MAN. No. I want you to drink it. BOY. But I want you to have some. The MAN reluctantly takes the can and has a tiny sip, hands it back to the wary BOY. BOY. (CONT'D) It's because I'll never get to drink another one, isn't it? The MAN doesn't know what to say. EXT. MALL/PARKING LOT - LATE AFTERNOON They head out of the mall now towards the road, lifeless traffic lights at the intersection, town houses and apartment blocks on the other side of the road. The BOY stops to listen, stares around, suddenly energised, bobbing on his toes. (CONTINUED) 44. CONTINUED: MAN. What's wrong with you? BOY. What was that? MAN. I didn't hear anything. BOY. Listen. MAN. I don't hear anything. They listen more until, very faintly we hear a DOG BARK in the distance. The BOY turns around 180 degrees to listen, alert with anticipation. MAN. (CONT'D) It's a dog. BOY. (EXCITED.) A dog! Where did it come from? MAN. I don't know. Come on. The MAN walks across the road, past the apartments and the BOY follows, bouncing up and down, over-excited now. BOY. We're not going to kill it are we Papa? MAN. What? No, we're not going to kill it. Why did you say that? BOY. You still got one bullet left. MAN. We're not going to hurt the dog, I promise. We're not going to kill it and we're not going to eat it either. BOY (OVER EXCITED, NOT FRIGHTENED.) Maybe it'll eat us! (CONTINUED) 45. CONTINUED: (2) MAN. I doubt it very much. BOY. Can we look for it? MAN. It's gone, okay? EXT. SUBURBS - DAY They trudge through the suburbs on the edge of the city, past what used to be the local ball park, now barren, dead, a vast flat expanse of ash and cracked, scorched earth, forlorn stands and bleachers blackened by ash and soot. BOY. What is it? MAN. I used to watch the ball games here with my father. EXT. SUBURBAN STREET - DAY They walk up a once tree-lined suburban street, barren now, ash and dust layer what used to be front lawns, post boxes, picket fences, porches, crazy paving. The MAN stops outside a typical, suburban clapboard house with a dead, cracked yard where the lawn used to be and a bare flag pole. The BOY eyes the MAN enquiringly. BOY. What is this place, Papa? MAN. It's the house where I grew up. They go up to the house - clapboards have been removed for firewood leaving studs and insulation exposed. The BOY stops, reluctant to go further, and the MAN takes a few more steps then turns around to check on him. MAN. (CONT'D) You coming? BOY. I don't want to. MAN. Don't you want to see where I grew up? (CONTINUED) 46. CONTINUED: BOY. There might be somebody in there. MAN. There's nobody there now. The MAN takes the BOY's hand and they approach a basketball hoop by the garage. The MAN is momentarily overcome with emotion as he recalls the details, but it doesn't mean much to the BOY. After a moment the MAN goes up the steps - frightened, but horribly compelled at the same time. The BOY follows nervously. BOY. I'm scared. MAN. We've got to find something to eat. BOY. I'm not hungry. I'm not! The MAN takes his revolver from his belt and approaches the front door, warily pushing it open. MAN. We'll be all right. Come on. He goes through the front door - the BOY stays where he is, rigid with fear. The BOY notices a stuffed toy dog in the window, staring out at the garden and his curiosity takes over. The BOY goes inside carefully. INT. DINING ROOM/HOME - EVENING The pine panelling is stripped from the walls, there is some broken furniture but much has been taken for firewood. They go over to the fireplace and the MAN examines it. He runs his fingers along the mantle where there is an old drawing pin still stuck in the wood, nostalgia overcoming his fear. MAN. This is where we used to have Christmas when I was a boy. We'd hang our stockings right here. The MAN examines the yellow tiled surround. The BOY watches the MAN as if he's gone mad. (CONTINUED) 47. CONTINUED: MAN. (CONT'D) My mother scrubbed these every day. It's still spotless. Much of the woodwork and the floorboards have been stripped and taken for firewood - there are gaping holes. By the fireplace is a small pile of bones - and--in the grid are more burnt bones and the skull from the family cat. The MAN takes it all in sadly but the BOY is unmoved. BOY. Papa? I don't think we should do this. MAN. You want to wait outside? The BOY nods vigorously. MAN. (CONT'D) All right. He takes the BOY's hand and leads him out. EXT. PORCH/HOME - DAY The come out onto the porch. MAN. Sit here on the stoop and don't go away. The BOY sits quietly and the MAN goes back inside. After a moment he starts going through his knapsack, less afraid now. INT. OLD HOUSE - DAY The floorboards CREAK horribly, swollen from rain or ripped up, as he creeps into the living room. The timber cladding is stripped from the walls, the ceiling plaster is collapsed, beams exposed. The MAN pads through to the kitchen. INT. KITCHEN/OLD HOUSE - DAY The kitchen is similarly dilapidated, the cupboards stripped bare. On a shelf by the window are dusty jars of fruit, preserved. He grabs a jar, prizes open the lid and finds a an oily slick of black mucus floating in the top, like rotted mushroom spores. He sniffs it suspiciously, holds it up to the light. (CONTINUED) 48. CONTINUED: In the light small black fish hook-shaped spores drift from the top of the jar to the bottom. He replaces the lid, appalled. EXT. PORCH/OLD HOUSE - DAY The BOY is sitting on the steps of the porch drawing with crayons on a pad taken from his knapsack. Across the road is another big old house, much of the clapboard missing, swathed in dead brambles - the BOY suddenly looks up and stares at it, distracted. EXT. BACK YARD - DAY The MAN comes outside and regards the deadened yard, old garden hoe and spade, gardening equipment and several dead apple trees. He goes over and examines the ashen ground and digs about to unearth several small, dark brown, shrivelled spheres spaced several feet apart - apples. He bends down and picks one up, examines, sniffs. He gathers up the strange apples and stuffs them in his pockets. EXT. PORCH/OLD HOUSE - DAY The BOY is still staring at the house across the road when he notices A GHOSTLY FACE, completely still, in a window. The BOY drops the pad and crayon and stands, surprised, not believing his eyes - it is the face of a SMALL BOY roughly his age, which disappears almost immediately, receding back into the gloom like a ghost. INT. PANTRY/CLAPBOARD HOUSE - DAY The MAN is in the looted pantry. He finds some shrivelled raisins that haves spilt and hidden in the back of the shelf. He puts them into a handkerchief, folds it and pockets it. He HEARS: BOY. (O.O.V.) Stop - stop! The MAN freezes, then charges out. EXT. PORCH/CLAPBOARD HOUSE - DAY The MAN rushes out and stares about frantically for the BOY - he's gone. EXT. HOUSE OPPOSITE - DAY The BOY has run across the road to another house. (CONTINUED) 49. CONTINUED: POV BOY - peeping around the side of the house is the other SMALL BOY, the same age, similarly grimy and thin, wearing an outsize woollen coat. The other SMALL BOY disappears down the side and the BOY runs after him. BOY. Wait! Come back! I won't hurt you! EXT. BACK YARD - DAY The BOY runs to the bottom of the yard where there is various suburban garden detritus, a dusty lawn mower, a clothes line, a shed, bikes with no tyres. BOY. Where are you?! The MAN comes sprinting up the side of the house and seizes him by the arm. MAN. What are you doing? What the hell are you doing? BOY. There's a little boy, Papa, I saw a little boy. MAN. There's no little boy. What's the matter with you? BOY. Yes there is! I saw him! A boy just like me. The MAN takes the BOY by the arm and drags him back through the yard, up the side of the house, the BOY resisting, crying and looking back all the way. BOY. (CONT'D) Why? Why can't I go and see him? EXT. HOUSE - DAY Out the front of the house the BOY digs his heels in and the MAN has to drag him, his feet slithering through the dirt. BOY. I need to see him! I need to! (CONTINUED) 50. CONTINUED: MAN. Why? BOY. I just do! The BOY has gone limp, weeping bitterly, resisting being moved. The MAN gives up and squats beside the sobbing BOY. MAN. Okay, I'm sorry. I understand. He holds him, wipes his tears from his cheeks. EXT. TOWN STREET/OVERPASS - EVENING In the failing light they come across a late model Chevy abandoned under an overpass. BOY. Papa? Will there be other boys like me at the coast? MAN. I hope so. The MAN goes to the car, wipes thick dust from the windscreen and peers in - it's empty. INT. CHEVY - (CAMP 9) - NIGHT They try to get comfortable in the leather seats, the MAN spreading the blankets over them and tucking the BOY in. They are quiet a moment as they watch darkness start to fall. THEN: MAN. I got you something The MAN produces from his pocket one of the tiny hard brown apples and holds it up to the remaining light. BOY. What is it? MAN. It's an apple. (CONTINUED) 51. CONTINUED: He hands it to the boy who examines it curiously. The MAN takes out a pocket knife, takes the apple back, cuts the apple in half to reveal a woody brown interior. They regard the mahogany apple uncertainly, the MAN is the first to take a bite, with some difficulty. The BOY bites his half and makes a face. MAN. (CONT'D) Suck it a while and it'll soften. They sit sucking and chewing the ancient apple. BOY. Did you ever have any friends? The MAN eyes the BOY - curious at the sudden question. MAN. Yes. I did. BOY. Lots of them? MAN. Yes... BOY. Do you remember them? MAN. Yes. I remember all of them... BOY. What happened to them? MAN. They died. BOY. All of them? MAN. Yes. All of them. EXT. URBAN ENVIRONS (MONTAGE) DAY The MAN and the BOY make their way out of the ruined city. (CONTINUED) 52. CONTINUED: MAN. (V.0.) He yearns for his own friends and imagines how things will be different at the coast - and that there will be other children there... .When I have nothing else, I try to dream the dreams of a child's imaginings... EXT. DESOLATE ROAD - DAY The MAN and BOY walk along a desolate road in what was once farmland, grain silos loom ominously, still standing. BOY. Do you know where we are Papa? MAN. I think we're about two hundred miles from the coast. As the crow flies. BOY. "As the crow flies?" MAN. It means, going in a straight line. POV MAN - In the background, something catches his eye and he FOCUSES ON: A frieze of HUMAN HEADS, dried with taut grins and shrunken eyes, perched on wooden poles. Some are tattooed with targets and runic slogans. Some are skinless, with signs and words inked onto them. One has suture marks etched on it, like a blue print for assembly. BOY. There aren't any crows are there? Just in books. MAN. Yeah, just in books... The MAN stares at the heads as the BOY continues his conversation, distracted and not seeing the heads. BOY. Do you think there might be crows somewhere? (CONTINUED) 53. CONTINUED: MAN. I don't know... BOY. But what do you think? MAN. I think it's unlikely... They keep walking and talking, the MAN grim-faced but the BOY intent on what's ahead. BOY. Could they fly to Mars or some place? MAN. No, they couldn't fly to Mars... BOY. Because it's too far? MAN. Yes. The MAN discretely hurries the BOY on with a guiding hand towards the woods and off the road. BOY. What if they tried and-and-and they just got halfway or something and then they were too tired? Would they fall back down...? EXT. EDGE OF WOODS - EVENING On the edge of the wood the MAN and the BOY stop to examine footprints in the snow. The MAN listens and hears: the low THUDDING of BULL DRUMS in the distance. He looks at the exhausted BOY a moment. MAN. We can't go back on the road. BOY. Why, Papa? MAN. I think someone's coming. (CONTINUED) 54. CONTINUED: The BOY stares at the tracks. The MAN stares in both directions, examining the road in the distance. He moves a few paces and notices tied to a dead sapling a thin red neckerchief. He takes a few steps and through a gap in the trees sees a clearing - snow and a mass of BLOOD RED FOOTPRINTS, the icy snow stained blood red like a sorbet. A killing floor. BOY. Will they see our tracks? MAN. We'll cover them. The MAN moves the BOY away and kicks snow over their tracks - then lays fresh ones going in several different directions. The BOY copies him, leaving his own maze of tracks. They run off keeping parallel with the road but staying off it. POV MAN - in the distance TWO FIGURES appear on the road. MAN. (CONT'D) Here they come. The MAN now looks over his shoulder for a good look, then grabs the BOY's hand and takes off. EXT. HIGH GROUND - EVENING TWO MEN come prowling on the ROAD, they are MILITANTS from some sort of ARMY, wearing the same red neckerchiefs and carrying weapons, searching, predatory. WIDER - we see that only 30 feet away, concealed amongst the trees, the MAN and BOY are crouched in blankets, watching. The two MILITANTS stop and look around, as if they sense the BOY and the MAN - who freeze, frightened to breathe. The MILITANTS sniff the air menacingly. One of them walks over to a stone by the side of the road, leans down and starts sharpening his lance, made from a the straightened coil spring of a car. The MAN and the BOY watch - wide-eyed. Eventually the MILITANTS walk off up the road. BOY. What are we going to do? No answer. 55. EXT. DEEP IN THE WOODS - (CAMP 10) - EVENING There is a thick carpet of gray snow. The man lays out a tarp on the ground and blankets on top. Out of the murky sky more gray snow is falling. The MAN is distracted by a sudden noise, the LOUD CRACK of sheering wood - this time very close. He looks around just as: Out of nowhere a tree branch sails down, barely missing them, landing with a heavy WHUMP just feet away. MAN. Move! Quickly! He tries to get the BOY to his feet but he is limp, staring around blearily, exhausted. They hear another loud WHUMP. Then the GROAN of timber and another WHUMP as trees start to keel over around them. The MAN grabs the BOY and runs as best he can through the snow and falling trees. They have abandoned their blankets, tarp and backpacks. BOY. What's happening? MAN. Just keep moving, run! They rush through the woods as more and more trees fall one after the other, WHUMP, WHUMP, WHUMP, great loads of snow falling from limbs to the ground with a BOOM, setting the woods shuddering. The BOY is getting bogged in the snow and the MAN stoops and scoops up the BOY and they cram themselves under a fat fallen tree to shield themselves. EXT. SEWER PIPE/EMBANKMENT, SNOWDRIFT - (CAMP 11) - NIGHT They are huddled inside a huge SEWER PIPE, sheltering. The BOY is wrapped up inside the man's coat, wet and shivering, wide awake, nerves shredded, too anxious to lie down and sleep now. The MAN boils water in a car hubcab. He takes from his pocket the handkerchief filled with raisins, offers them. BOY. That's all there is, isn't it? (CONTINUED) 56 CONTINUED: MAN. Yes. BOY. There's nothing left anywhere. MAN. No. They sit eating raisins, saying nothing until they're finished. BOY. Can I ask you something? MAN. Sure. BOY. Are we going to die now? The MAN just looks at the BOY, then looks away. MAN. What do you think is going to happen? We're just going to suddenly keel over and die? It takes a long time to die of starvation. The important thing is water to stop you dehydrating. We've got water. We'll be all right. EXT. OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN - MORNING Snowed in farmland, in the background a rowoffallen and crumpled high tension electrical towers. Atownin the far distance ahead of the BOY and the MAN. TheBOYis hunched over with a hunger cramp. They are both wetandshivering. The MAN eyes the BOY anxiously. EXT. PATIO/TOWN HOUSE - DAY The MAN stands on the back patio of a house on the edge of town, the BOY at his side, fields stretching out before them, the land flattened and dead, ravaged fences running the perimeter. In the yard are a few dead trees, a fence, a metal tool shed, an old barbecue on the patio made from a 44 gallon drum. The MAN slides the patio door open and peers inside gingerly. 57. INT. BEDROOM/TOWN HOUSE - DAY The MAN is in the bedroom looking around for useful things - it has been stripped, the wooden frame gone from the window, the bureau ransacked and chopped up - only a summer dress on a wire hanger on the back of the door remains. He glances at empty drawers on the floor and a cupboard before turning his attention to the bed. He blinks and sways a moment, trying to focus on: POV MAN - underneath the filthy, dusty blankets a thin, dried head pokes out, the blankets pulled up to the chin. On the pillow are long hunks of rotted hair. MAN. (V.0.) Every day is a lie. But I am slowly dying. That is not a lie .I am trying to prepare him for the day when I am gone. He takes hold of the lower hem of the blanket and tows it off the bed, revealing a desiccated corpse. He ignores it, shaking the blanket out and folding it under his arm. He notices the BOY at his side, watching wide-eyed. MAN. (CONT'D) Nothing you haven't seen before. They go out. INT. KITCHEN/TOWN HOUSE - DAY The MAN opens and shuts empty cupboards, slamming the doors, increasingly desperate, close to tears of frustration now. Eventually he feels dizzy and has to sit on the floor. He just sits there, alone on the kitchen floor, clenching and unclenching his fists, his head in his hands, when he hears: BOY. (O.O.V.) Papa! The MAN draws his pistol and goes out, alert again. INT. TOWN HOUSE - DAY The BOY is staring at himself in a dusty, flyblown full length mirror. As the MAN comes in he sees the BOY's reflection and his own and jumps. BOY. It's us. (CONTINUED) 58. CONTINUED: The BOY stares at his reflection - he looks like an alien, skinny with giant staring eyes on shaky legs. BOY. (CONT'D) We look skinny. MAN. We are skinny. The MAN puts the blanket around the BOY's shoulders. He notices an old upright piano, covered in ash and dust. The BOY stares as he goes to it, lifts the lid and plays a chord. The BOY's eyes light up and he is magnetized, instantly coming over and waiting for the next note. The MAN plays another chord. BOY. What is it? MAN. It's a piano. BOY. What's it for? MAN. For making music. This... (HE PLAYS.) is music. Your mother played very well. BOY. I don't remember. MAN. Before you were born. We had one just like it. It was beautiful. BOY. What happened to it? MAN. Chopped it up for firewood. He stares into space, slumps suddenly, overcome with emotion as he remembers: INT. CLAPBOARD HOUSE - DAY FLASHBACK - Just the MAN and the pregnant WOMAN alone in the house, just before the BOY was born. Some of the furniture has been broken up for firewood - there are broken pieces by the fire and a huge axe propped on the hearth. (CONTINUED) 59. CONTINUED: The WOMAN stands at the piano and tries to play. She plays for a moment and the MAN cracks a rare smile - the piano is out of tune and she stops. She plays a bit more but soon starts to bang the keys atonally in frustration. The MAN just lets her get on with it until she's spent. WOMAN. I used to worry what would happen if there was a fire. What would I save? What could I bear to lose? There used to be so many things, so many beautiful things. Things people made. Things nature made. Who knew we would lose it all? MAN. I'll strip the floorboards. WOMAN. You can't live without a floor. MAN. You can't live without a piano. She starts to dismantle the piano, opening the lid, taking it off it's hinges, it's heavy, she hands him the heavy lid and he reluctantly dumps it on the floor. WOMAN. It's my piano. MAN. I bought it for you. WOMAN. It needs tuning. Who's going to tune it? Can you tune it? They look at each other sadly. They take the front piece away and dump that. The WOMAN picks up the axe and hands it to the MAN. He swings it at the frame. END OF FLASHBACK. EXT. YARD - DAY The MAN walks toward a tin shed and crosses the dead grass. He stops suddenly. He stamps about a bit, listening. He continues on into the shed. Beside the shed sits an INDUSTRIAL GARDEN TROLLEY. The man reappears, spade in hand. He digs the spade into the dead grass and hear's it CHOMP into wood. He digs more urgently, increasingly exhausted, until a door is revealed in the dirt. (CONTINUED) 60. CONTINUED: He is so engrossed he hasn't noticed the BOY standing a few feet away, watching with saucer eyes, scared. BOY. Don't open it, Papa. MAN. It'll be okay. BOY. Please, Papa, please. MAN. It's okay. BOY. No it's not! What if there's people hiding down there? The MAN ignores him, focussed as he chops the plywood around the lock, gets the spade under a corner and levers the door open. The BOY has his fists bunched up to his chest, bobbing up and down with fear. The MAN starts to descend a hand made wooden stair case in the bunker. He takes another disposable lighter from his pocket, gives the child a kiss on the forehead and then disappears into the bunker, leaving the worried BOY staring after him. The BOY looks around at the deserted yard as the evening draws in, now even more frightened. MAN. (O.O.V.) Oh my God... oh my God! BOY. What is it, Papa? MAN (O.O.V.) Come down. Oh my God come down. The BOY is in the hole and down the steps like lightning. INT. BUNKER - (CAMP 12) - EVENING The little BOY CLATTERS down the steps. The MAN is busy lighting up candles. BOY. Papa? What did you find? MAN. Everything. I found everything. (CONTINUED) 61. CONTINUED: Stored in the bunker are crate upon crate of canned goods: tomatoes, peaches, beans, apricots, canned ham, corned beef, hundreds of gallons of water in ferry cans and in boxes paper towels, toilet paper and trash bags stuffed with blankets. The MAN takes the BOY's hand and helps him down, then goes back up the steps and draws the door shut and jams a pair of metal pliers through the heavy inside hasp to stop the door being opened. He goes back down the steps to the BOY and holds up a candle to illuminate the shelves. MAN. (CONT'D) Can you see? BOY. What is all this stuff? MAN. It's food! Can you read the labels? The BOY stares at the brightly colored packaging, he's never seen anything like it before. The MAN hands the BOY a tin. BOY. "Pears." It says "pears." MAN. Yes! It does! Oh yes it does! Pears! They inspect the shelves: chilli, corn, stew, soup, spaghetti sauce, the BOY's eyes are like saucers. BOY. Is it real? MAN. Oh yes, it's real all right. The MAN pulls a box of butane lighters from the shelf and tests one, it doesn't work. He tests another which works, it has a large flame - he uses it to read the labels. BOY. Why is it here? MAN. Because someone thought it might be needed. BOY. But they died. (CONTINUED) 62. CONTINUED: (2) MAN. Yes. What would you like for breakfast? BOY. (THINKS.) Pears. MAN. Pears it is. The MAN claws open a box and pulls out a tin of pears. He gets paper bowls from a stack, plastic forks and spoons, lays them out. He finds a camping lamp. He puts a butane cannister in and lights up the lamp. He finds a can opener and opens the pears while the BOY watches silently, wrapping a blanket around himself and sitting on the soft bunk bed. BOY. Is it okay for us to take it? MAN. They'd want us to. The MAN dishes up two bowls of pears and they sit side by side on the bunk with spoons and pears. MAN. (CONT'D) These will be the best pears you ever tasted. The best. You just wait. They eat in silence. They lick the spoons and drink the syrup from the bowls. The MAN feels inside his mouth with his fingers - the sugar irritating a sore tooth. MAN. (CONT'D) Too sweet. The BOY smiles, amused, and the MAN opens another tin. INT. BUNKER - (CAMP 12)- EVENING Ham and powdered eggs frying in a pan on the camping stove. The kettle is boiling on another ring of the gas stove. The BOY just stares at the bubbling food as the MAN cooks. Nearby a breakfast table is set out on a stack of boxes acting as a breakfast bar: biscuits, a plate of butter, condensed milk, salt and pepper plates and utensils. (CONTINUED) 63. CONTINUED: The MAN brings the pan over and forks over chunks of ham onto the pates, then spoonsfull of scrambled eggs from a second pan, then baked beans from a small pot. The BOY just stares, as if drugged, uncomprehending, the food alien to him. MAN. Go ahead. Don't let it get cold. BOY. What do I eat first? MAN. Whatever you like. The BOY eats a hunk of ham as the MAN pours coffee. BOY. Is this coffee? MAN. That's right. Careful it's hot. He hands him coffee. BOY. We did good, didn't we Papa? MAN. Yeah, we did good. INT. BUNKER - (CAMP 12)- NIGHT The MAN puts the BOY to bed in a bunk and smooths his filthy hair tenderly, smiling with relief, until the BOY shuts his eyes and nods off. He covers the BOY with a blanket and kisses him. He just sits watching the BOY sleep, suddenly on the verge of tears. INT. BUNKER - (CAMP 12) - NIGHT The MAN folds the BOY's tiny clothes, noticing the bulging pockets of his pants. He empties them, creating a small pile of collected artefacts: a smooth stone, a marble, an old house key, bottle tops, a smooth, hand made Indian arrow head, fashioned from stone, lastly a broken piece of a woman's mother of pearl hair comb. By the BOY's bunk he unfolds the crayon drawing he's been working on and examines it, deeply moved: (CONTINUED) 64. CONTINUED: POV MAN - an eccentric, childlike drawing of the WOMAN, skinny like a stick figure but, inexplicably, with a brightly smiling face and big laughing eyes, labelled simply "mom" in spidery scrawl. Stirring classical music fades up and into: INT. THEATRE - EVENING FLASHBACK - Close in on a pair of LEGS in stockings, a summer dress, a WOMAN's hands holding a MAN's hand in her lap. The MAN feels the tops of the stockings with his fingers. WIDER - the MAN is with the WOMAN in a concert theatre, at a recital. The WOMAN wears the mother of pearl hair comb. The seats are velvet, gold scrollwork adorns the boxes, an illustrious, fortunate world. END OF FLASHBACK. INT. BUNKER - (CAMP 12) - MORNING The BOY wakes blearily and immediately notices his collection of artefacts turfed out by the bed. Nearby the MAN is dressing as the BOY starts gathering up his collection crossly, especially protective of the arrow ahead - or just embarrassed. They look at each other. MAN. What? BOY. (TEASING BUT INDIGNANT.) Don't touch my stuff. EXT. LAWN - DAWN The hatch opens and the MAN's face appears, as he looks around. He opens the hatch more and clambers out with a couple of jerry cans of water, the yard is quiet. Next, the BOY's face pops up and peers around. He clambers out carrying a big pot with a camping stove in it. INT. BATHROOM, TOWN HOUSE - DAWN They empty the jerry cans into the huge pot, light the stove and put the pot on the stove to heat the water. 65. INT. BATHROOM, TOWN HOUSE - DAWN The BOY is in the bath, filthy and scrawny, as the MAN bathes him, rubbing him with soap, scrubbing an oily film of scum from his dirty neck to reveal clean pale skin underneath. MAN. What do you think? BOY. Nice and warm. He washes the BOY's hair, lathing water over him with the pot. He has a sudden thought: CUT TO: INT. BATHROOM/CLAPBOARD HOUSE - DAY FLASHBACK - the MAN watches unseen from the doorway as the WOMAN tenderly washes the BOY's hair - he is perhaps a year younger than at the start of the film - she appears lost in the task, enjoying it, chatting away to the BOY, momentarily unburdened. She sticks a finger in the BOY's ears, giving them a good soaping, which he likes. WOMAN. You could grow potatoes in these ears... INT. BATHROOM, TOWN HOUSE - DAY END FLASHBACK - now the MAN is in the tub, also scrawny and filthy, lost in thought as he soaps up - the BOY helps. INT. BATHROOM, TOWN HOUSE - DAY The MAN trims his beard off with scissors in a mirror. He lathers up with shaving cream and starts to shave with a plastic safety razor. When the MAN is done he turns to the BOY, wiping away the foam. MAN. How do I look? BOY. Weird. Won't you be cold? INT. BATHROOM, TOWN HOUSE - DAY Now the MAN is cutting the BOY's hair with kitchen scissors and a plastic comb. (CONTINUED) 66. CONTINUED: The BOY has a towel around his shoulders and long locks of hair decorate it. The MAN finishes, takes the towel off, wipes the BOY's neck and face with a flannel, holds up a mirror for the BOY to see. BOY. I look funny. INT. BUNKER - (CAMP 12) - MORNING They sit on the bunk bed with a checkerboard between them sipping thick hot chocolate made with condensed milk from plastic mugs and concentrating on the board, their worn out, wet blue jeans drying on a drying rack in the back ground. They are both wearing new sweaters too big for them, plundered from the stores. The MAN watches the BOY fondly, absorbed in checkers. EXT. LAWN - NIGHT Heavy rain slashes down on the lawn, already pools of water are flooding the lawn. INT. BUNKER - (CAMP 12) - NIGHT A shiny new quart of whiskey is slipped from its paper liquor store bag and opened with a soft CRACK. The whiskey is poured into a glass with a satisfying GLUG. WIDER - another feast is laid out, ham and powdered mash potato and biscuits and gravy. The BOY is eating while the MAN pours a whiskey. The BOY stops eating to watch the MAN drink the whiskey. The MAN's eyes glaze as he sips the strong liquor, dizzy already. BOY. Can I try some? MAN. No. You won't like it. Makes you feel funny. The BOY stares, curious, wanting it. MAN. (CONT'D) You think I come from another world, don't you? Filled with all these strange things you've never seen. BOY. Sort of. (CONTINUED) 67. CONTINUED: MAN. Well, I do I guess. EXT. LAWN - EVENING The MAN just stands in the middle of the lawn COUGHING his guts up in the dark rain - again the phlemy wet cough. He bends over, sweating, listening, knowing it's the sound of fluid on the lungs. As he listens he hears something above the rain - he keeps shifting position, as if hearing different sounds from different directions. Nevertheless he anxiously looks around, then goes to the porch and drags an old mattress over, across the dead grass to the hatch. He lays it half across the hatch, crawls through the remaining gap and hauls the mattress the rest of the way over the hatch, then pulls the hatch closed with the old mattress lying on top. It just looks like an old mattress lying on a lawn in the rain. INT. BUNKER - (CAMP 12) - DAWN The MAN listens to the PATTER of rain and hears another sound... something or someone RUSTLING around the mattress above. He hears the sound of the MATTRESS being DRAGGED off of the door. He hears SCRABBLING and SCRATCHING on the door and freezes, staring at the lock, waiting for the inevitable... He quietly picks up the revolver. He looks across and sees the BOY is now wide awake too, staring, wide- eyed. BOY. What is it? MAN. Shh. BOY (WHISPERS.) Maybe it's a dog. MAN (WHISPERS.) It's not a dog. BOY. (BARELY MANAGING TO WHISPER.) It is! It's a dog! A dog! The MAN listens anxiously as the pawing and scratching continues, the wood over the bunker amplifying the noise. He cocks the revolver and positions himself under the hatch, ready. (CONTINUED) 68. CONTINUED: MAN. If it's a dog it'll be with someone. BOY. Who? MAN. I don't know. After a torturous moment the sounds die away. MAN. (CONT'D) I'm not waiting to find out. Come on. Let's get out of here. BOY. I don't want to go. MAN. I know but it's not safe anymore. The MAN grabs his gun and cocks it, rushes about turning out all the lamps, and they sit anxiously in the darkness. EXT. LAWN - MORNING LATER - it's now lighter outside, the mattress lifts as the MAN opens the trap door and very carefully peeps out. He looks around, all angles, checking the coast is clear, then shuts the hatch again. INT. BUNKER - (CAMP 12) - MORNING The MAN starts loading cans and packets into a carton. He gathers a couple of large jerry cans of water. The BOY helps. BOY. What are we going to do with all this stuff? MAN. We'll just have to take what we can. BOY. I wish we could live here. And we could keep the dog and the dog could catch food for us. (CONTINUED) 69. CONTINUED: MAN. Look, there is no dog, okay? I'm sorry but there just isn't. BOY. Well what is it! MAN. I don't know what it is! BOY. Please Papa. MAN. No. BOY. Just say it's going to be all right, Papa. Say it. Just say it, please. The MAN doesn't know what to say, losing patience. MAN. Listen, trouble comes when you least expect it. So maybe the thing to do is to just always expect it. BOY. Do you always expect it? Papa? MAN. I do, yes. BOY. You always think bad things are going to happen but we found this place. Maybe we'll find another place like this at the coast. MAN. Maybe. The MAN dumps the carton of food on the floor and packs another, organising jerry cans of water. EXT. LAWN - MORNING The INDUSTRIAL TROLLEY is loaded up and tied with a grey tarp. (CONTINUED) 70. CONTINUED: BOY. What are you doing? MAN. We'll have to cover our tracks from now on. The MAN drags the old mattress back over the entrance to the bunker. He carefully covers the surrounding area with debris. EXT. RIVER - DAY The MAN pulls the new trolley across a bridge, stagnant black water underneath, the trolley is now laden with jerry cans of fresh water and cartons containing as many tins of food and supplies as they could manage. The BOY trails along behind. They are a strange sight, clean clothed, clean shaven, short haired, in their new jumpers - and now both wearing new surgical masks which they raise off their faces to speak. The MAN keeps checking behind him. POV MAN - he sees the glint of glass, perhaps a pair of BINOCULARS watching them. The BOY watches anxiously as the MAN gets out his own BINOCULARS and looks through them. POV MAN - a mysterious winking glint of light which quickly disappears. POV - through a different pair of binoculars, a completely different POV, we see the MAN looking through his binoculars at us. MAN. I think they're following us. BOY. Who? MAN. I don't know. BOY. You think it's bad guys? MAN. Probably. BOY. What if it's good guys? (CONTINUED) 71. CONTINUED: MAN. I don't think we're likely to meet any good guys for a while. We have to be careful now. We've got food. EXT. BEND/THE ROAD - DAY As they round a bend in the road they see a hunched figure walking ahead of them. The MAN stops abruptly, gets out the binoculars and watches: POV MAN - a distant, hunched figure hobbling away from them. EXT. ROAD - DAY They come up behind an OLD MAN, hunched over, withered, silent as he hobbles ahead. He wears layers of torn clothing and his feet are wrapped in rags and cardboard tied with green twine. They slowly approach and the man stops, turns and watches them suspiciously as they draw level. OLD MAN. I don't have anything for you. You can look if you want. I got nothing. MAN. We're not robbers. The OLD MAN leans an ear forward, deaf. OLD MAN. What? MAN. I said we're not robbers. OLD MAN. What are you? MAN. We're just like you. OLD MAN. What are you following me for? MAN. We're not following you. BOY. We've got food we could give him. (CONTINUED) 72. CONTINUED: MAN. He's not getting any food. The OLD MAN looks away, avoiding their eyes. BOY. He's scared, Papa. MAN. Everybody's scared. BOY. Please Papa. MAN. ALL RIGHT1 The MAN eyes the road to the left and right, then draws his revolver. MAN. (CONT'D) If this is an ambush, he goes first. He goes out to the trolley and rummages in it while the BOY and the OLD MAN stare at each other. The MAN comes back with a tin of fruit cocktail and a tin opener and opens it and hands it to the BOY. The BOY places the tin of fruit on the road in front of the OLD MAN. BOY. Take it. Here. The OLD MAN doesn't move. BOY. (CONT'D) What about a spoon? MAN. He's not getting a spoon. The BOY urges him on, miming with his hands, as if feeding a raccoon. BOY. Eat it. It's good. The OLD MAN picks up the tin and his filthy long nails CLATTER on the tin as he tips it to his mouth, the juice running down his chin, his head jerking as he swallows. (CONTINUED) 73. CONTINUED: (2) BOY. (CONT'D) Look, Papa. He's hungry. MAN. I see it. And I know what you're going to ask me. And the answer is No. BOY. What's the question? MAN. We can't keep him. They watch him eating painfully slowly. The OLD MAN finishes and sits down in the road holding the tin, staring at it, as if it might refill. MAN. (CONT'D) When did you last eat? The OLD MAN just stares. MAN. (CONT'D) Do you want to eat with us? OLD MAN. I don't know. What do I have to do? MAN. Tell us where the world went. OLD MAN. What? MAN. You don't have to do anything. Can you walk okay? They help the OLD MAN off the road and hand him his cane but he pushes it away. OLD MAN. I can walk. They walk off the road towards the dead, blackened woods. EXT. WOODS - DAY As they leave the road the OLD MAN studies the BOY. The BOY goes to take his hand: (CONTINUED) 74. CONTINUED: MAN. (TO BOY.) Don't hold his hand. BOY. He can't see. MAN. Don't. The trio walk into the woods. MAN. (CONT'D) How old are you? OLD MAN. I'm ninety. MAN. Ninety my ass! Is that what you tell people? So they don't hurt you? OLD MAN. Uh-huh. MAN. Does it work? OLD MAN. Nope. MAN. What's your name? OLD MAN. Ely. MAN. Just "Ely?" OLD MAN. What's wrong with "Ely?" EXT. CLEARING/WOODS - (CAMP 14) - EVENING There's a camp fire now. The OLD MAN sits wrapped in a quilt, eating with a spoon and-licking his plate clean. In the far distance, the faint glow of fires. The orange light bounces into the night sky eerily. (CONTINUED) 75. CONTINUED: MAN. How come you're still alive? What do you eat? OLD MAN. I don't know. People give you things. MAN. No they don't. OLD MAN. You did. MAN. I didn't. He did. The OLD MAN eyes the BOY, closely, half blind. OLD MAN. Are you a little boy? MAN. What does he look like? OLD MAN. I don't know. I can't see real good. MAN. Is that right? Can you see me? OLD MAN. No. But I can tell somebody's there. MAN (TO BOY.) Okay. You need to sleep. Come on. He gathers up the BOY and takes him a few feet away, settles him down in blankets while the OLD MAN stares into the fire. OLD MAN. I had a little boy once. Gone... all gone... MAN. What happened to him? (CONTINUED) 76. CONTINUED: (2) OLD MAN. I can't... I can't talk about that... leastways not with you I can't. When the MAN returns he has his gun which he surreptitiously places on the ground in full view of the OLD MAN. MAN. You can see that, right? Okay. Tell me now. You're not a shill for a pack of road agents? OLD MAN. I'm not anything. I'll go if you want me to. I can find the road. The MAN stares at the OLD MAN cynically but the OLD MAN just stares back blankly. OLD MAN. (CONT'D) I live like an animal. You don't want to know the things I've had to eat. When I saw that boy I thought I'd died and he was an angel. I never thought I'd see a child again. I never thought that would happen to me. MAN. He is an angel. To me he's a God. OLD MAN. Well I hope that's not true. To be on the road with the last surviving God would be a pretty frightening experience. MAN. Why do you say that? OLD MAN. Where men can't live, Gods can't either. The road gangs would tear you limb from limb, both of you. The low RUMBLE in the earth is heard again, an earthquake, this time in the distance. They listen a moment. OLD MAN. (CONT'D) I knew this was coming. This or something like it. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 77. CONTINUED: (3) OLD MAN. (CONT'D) There were warnings. People thought it was a con - I always believed in it. MAN. Did you try to get ready for it? OLD MAN. No. What would you do? Even if you knew what to do you wouldn't know what to do. Suppose you were the last man left alive? MAN. How would you know if you were the last man alive? OLD MAN. I don't guess you would know it. You'd just be it. MAN. Maybe God would know. OLD MAN. If there is a God up there he would have turned his back on us by now. Whoever made humanity will find no humanity here. The MAN pours hot water into mugs to make coffee, hands one to the OLD MAN. They drink. MAN. Do you ever wish you would die? OLD MAN. No. It's foolish to ask for luxuries in times like these. EXT. EDGE OF WOODS - (CAMP 14) - MORNING The BOY and the OLD MAN are standing by the trolley. The MAN is watching from further away. The OLD MAN is fitting another can of peaches the BOY has given him into his knapsack. M You should thank him you know. I wouldn't have given you anything. (CONTINUED) 78. CONTINUED: OLD MAN. Maybe I should and maybe I shouldn't. I wouldn't have given you anything. The OLD MAN looks around, orientating himself, and goes, tapping his cane, without a glance back at the BOY or the MAN. The MAN gives the BOY a reproachful look and the BOY looks defiant for the first time, a new distance between them. BOY. He's going to die and you don't care. MAN. I care enough. Maybe when we're out of food you'll have more time to think about it. BOY. You always say watch out for bad guys but that old man wasn't a bad guy and you can't even tell anymore. INT. CHURCH - (CAMP 13) - DAWN The MAN and the BOY are camped inside an old church, dusty, faded stained glass is the only colour, startling after all the monochrome. The MAN and BOY are wrapped up in blankets, a small fire going. The BOY is asleep but the MAN is awake, coughing. He sits up, still coughing. He gets up and walks outside, trying to stifle the coughing. INT. CHURCH - (CAMP 13) - DAWN He wanders into an antechamber, coughing uncontrollably, falls to his knees in a shroud of morning mist flooding the church - and coughs up a gob of something dark and nasty, spits it into the misty ground. POV MAN - the mist before him clears to reveal a spattering of dark blood on the pale ash. He stares, shocked, knowing what it signifies. INT. CHURCH - (CAMP 13) - DAWN The BOY opens his eyes, he hasn't been asleep, listening to the MAN cough, worried. The MAN returns and eyes the worried BOY. (CONTINUED) 79. CONTINUED: MAN. What's wrong? BOY. I had a bad dream. MAN. What about? BOY. I don't want to tell you. Just you. MAN. What happened to me? The BOY's face crinkles up, he starts to sob. The MAN coughs again and the BOY shoots out a hand, puts it over the MAN's mouth to staunch the coughing. MAN. (V.0.) (CONT'D) I tell him: When you dream about bad things happening it shows you're still fighting. You're still alive. It's when you start to dream about good things you should start to worry. EXT. ROAD/RAILWAY LINE, BLACKENED LANDSCAPE - DAY They are trudging along the blacktop adjacent to a railway line. There is a SHOTGUN blast in the distance and the MAN and the BOY stop and look around. The MAN checks behind him instinctively. POV MAN - a thin spike of smoke from a campfire rising up in the woods behind. The BOY notices and looks behind. BOY. Do you think they're still following us? MAN. I think they've been following us for a long time. BOY-. Maybe it's Ely - the old man? MAN. How? On a broom stick? (CONTINUED) 80. CONTINUED: The BOY thinks about this for a moment as they approach the railway line. EXT. RAILWAY BRIDGE, BLACKENED LANDSCAPE (CAMP 15) EVENING The MAN and the BOY are swaddled in blankets up amongst the rocks with a birds eye view of the road and a railway bridge they can see along the road and the dead trees for half a mile. The BOY is nodding off, his head lolling as the MAN keeps watch, increasingly paranoid. EXT. BLUFFS, BLACKENED LANDSCAPE (CAMP 16) MORNING As they come down from the bluffs, the MAN is staring into the dead woods where another thin stem of SMOKE is rising. BOY. What is it? MAN. More smoke. I think we should take a look. BOY. I don't want to. Let's just keep going. MAN. Whoever it is I don't want them behind us. BOY. What if they're bad guys? MAN. What if they're good guys? They look at each other, a stalemate. The MAN stands and starts to pack up the tarp. MAN. (CONT'D) Look. Whoever it is out there, it's better to know about it than to not know. BOY. Why? MAN. Because we don't like surprises. Surprises are scary. (MORE) (CONTINUED) 81. CONTINUED: MAN. (CONT'D) They could sneak up on us further down the road. You need to learn this. The MAN folds the tarp and sleeping blankets and starts heading down the slope to the trolley, the BOY following. EXT. CLEARING, BLACKENED LANDSCAPE - MORNING A deserted campsite, a campfire, recently abandoned. The MAN and the BOY look around, disappointed. EXT. DUNES/COAST ROAD, BLACKENED LANDSCAPE - DAY Open country now, completely blackened landscape under heavy ash. They are stopped. The BOY unfolds the threadbare map on the ground, a crayon in his hand. MAN. You know where we are? BOY. No. MAN. Where do you think? The BOY points to a place on the map. MAN. (CONT'D) More. BOY. Here? MAN. No. We're closer than you think. He takes the crayon and points on the map. MAN. (CONT'D) This is us. This is all sea. BOY. Is it blue? MAN-. The sea? I don't know. It used to be. (CONTINUED) 82. CONTINUED: The MAN picks up a desiccated pine cone from the ground, and stares at it, hollow-eyed, hungry. He squeezes it and it crumbles to dust. He takes a few steps, sniffing the air. MAN. (CONT'D) Can you smell that? BOY. It smells different. MAN. Everything is going to be different. EXT. DUNES - DAY The landscape has changed, dead salt bush and sand at the side of the road and finally, as they come around a bend in the road: dead sea grass sloping up to sand dunes up ahead. They look at each other and head for the dunes excitedly. The MAN hides the trolley discretely, so the BOY doesn't see his concern, he takes their bags, tarps and blankets with them as they head off for the dunes. EXT. TOP OF SAND DUNE - DAY POV BOY - Gray beach, lead gray sea and waves rolling in slowly with a distant ROAR. On the beach a tide mark of wet gray ashy sludge and a skirt of glistening bones, fish skeletons bleached white on the sand. They take their parka hoods down and just stand there staring at the beach, the wind HOWLING around them, dozens of bleached WHALE and FISH BONES and SKELETONS OF HUMANS who have made it this far only to die. The MAN looks at the BOY and sees the intense disappointment. MAN. I'm sorry it's not blue. EXT. DUNES/BEACH - DAY They sit on the beach wrapped in blankets staring at a surreal wall of impenetrable smog not far beyond where the waves are breaking. The MAN eyes the silent BOY, buffeted by wind, wrapped in a blanket, staring at the empty ocean... there is nothing and nobody there. They keep staring out to sea, filled with disappointment. The BOY impassively surveys the wall of smog which is like an iron curtain. BOY. What's on the other side? (CONTINUED) 83. CONTINUED: MAN. Nothing. BOY. There must be something. MAN. Maybe there's a father and his little boy and they're sitting on the beach too. BOY. And they could be carrying the fire too? MAN. They could be, yes. The MAN sees the BOY's hopefulness reappearing and strokes his head, his heart breaking for him. EXT. WATER'S EDGE - DAY The MAN and the BOY stand with their shoes off, the black sea washes up the sand at their filthy, blistered feet. BOY. What are our long term goals? MAN. "What are our long term goals?" Where did you hear that? BOY. I don't know. You said it. MAN. When? BOY. A long time ago. MAN. When your mother was here? BOY. I guess. MAN. And what was the answer? (CONTINUED) 84. CONTINUED: BOY. I don't know. MAN. Well, I don't either. They stare at the water - charred, quotidian household objects rolling back and forth in the surf. BOY. Can I go swimming? MAN. Swimming? You'll freeze your nuts off. BOY. I know. MAN. I don't want to have to come in after you. The BOY lets the blanket fall and strips out of his parka and clothes. He runs along the beach naked, skinny and white, leaping SCREAMING into the icy surf. The MAN watches until the BOY comes out of the water, gasping with cold, shuddering. He wraps the BOY in the blanket and dries him off. EXT. BEACH - (CAMP 16) - EVENING The BOY is wrapped in blankets by the fire as LIGHTNING flickers in the distance, illuminating the empty beach. The MAN drapes another blanket over them. He puts his arms around the BOY who is shivering and sweating, looking a little wild eyed, babbling a little. BOY. How many people do you think are still alive? MAN. In the world? I don't know. Not very many. BOY. There could be people alive someplace else. Besides on earth? (CONTINUED) 85. CONTINUED: MAN. I don't think so. They couldn't live any place else. BOY. Not even if they could get there? If they had a-a-a spaceship? MAN. No. It's unlikely. The BOY stares, shivering, thinking. MAN. (CONT'D) Are you all right? What is it? He cups his hand to the babbling BOY's forehead. BOY. I don't feel so good. The BOY bends away and vomits and the MAN helps, rubbing his back and wiping the BOY's mouth when he's done. BOY. (CONT'D) I'm sorry. MAN. That's okay, you didn't do anything wrong. The MAN is very worried now. EXT. SAND DUNES - (CAMP 16) - LATER The MAN covers the BOY in more blankets and constructs a makeshift tent with the tarp as the rain falls all around. MAN. It's okay. You're going to be okay. It'll pass. BOY. Don't leave me here, don't go away Papa. Not even for a minute. MAN. I won't go away. I'm right here. He sits holding the BOY tightly. He feels for the BOY's heart. (CONTINUED) 86. CONTINUED: He drops droplets of sugar water from a bowl into the BOY's mouth. As the BOY shuts his eyes and dozes he checks the pulse at his neck and wipes his mouth with the blanket. EXT. SAND DUNES - (CAMP 16) - NIGHT The BOY is sleeping fitfully across the MAN's lap - he is still awake, staring in horror as the BOY sweats and shakes in his sleep. He wipes the BOY's brow, looks up-to the HEAVENS: MAN. Oh no. No no. Not this. Jesus Christ what have you done to us? What have you done? EXT. SAND DUNES - (CAMP 16) - MORNING The BOY is fast asleep, motionless but for stertorous breathing through his mouth. The MAN lies beside him, just staring at him, watching him sleep. The BOY opens his eyes and focuses weakly. BOY. Hi Papa. MAN. I'm right here. BOY. I know. The BOY shuts his eyes and goes back to sleep. The MAN strokes the BOY's hair tenderly, takes the pistol from his belt and carefully hides the pistol under the blanket by the boy's side. He stands, takes one last look and walks away... EXT. SPIT/WATER - DAWN The MAN is alone now, staring at the hull of a wrecked boat keeled over in ten feet of gray water a few yards out from the spit - a sixty footer, twin masts. Closer to shore, in the shallows between the boat and the sand is a grey, lifeless form. The man steps closer and sees: POV MAN - bobbing about in the tide, the bloated, rotting cadaver of a giant squid, eyes like dinner plates, translucent grey skin like an old light bulb. The MAN eyes it uneasily, then starts stripping off his clothes. He stares anxiously into the darkly roiling water near the boat. (CONTINUED) 87. CONTINUED: He looks back along the beach to the distant figure of the BOY, sitting up wrapped in his blankets, looking around, confused and scared, enough to make the MAN wince. He collects himself and wades cautiously into the gray soupy water. He takes a breath and starts swimming to the boat. EXT. SAND DUNE - (CAMP 16) - DAY The BOY is confused as he watches: POV BOY - the MAN swimming away. FADE TO: EXT. SAND DUNES - (CAMP 16) - EVENING MYSTERY POV - over the shoulder of a mystery third person, camera pushes in slightly on the BOY sleeping. EXT. SAND DUNES - (CAMP 16) - EVENING A FIGURE's feet enters the scene behind the boy, carefully walks in close around the boy. The FIGURE's long KNIFE drops into the scene, held at the figure's side. The BOY senses the FIGURE and wakes up to see: POV BOY - a dark, hunched FIGURE standing over him. The BOY looks up at the FACE and, whatever it is, he's terrified. The BOY SHRIEKS, terrified, scrambling away, tripping over pots and pans by the fire, he gets to his feet and runs. EXT. SHORELINE - EVENING The MAN struggles from the water and scans the beach, no sign of the BOY. He dumps a medical kit and flare pistol he's found on the boat and heads for the sand dunes. EXT. SAND DUNES - (CAMP 16) - EVENING The MAN runs over the sand and reaches the spot where he left the BOY, the blue tarp blowing away across the beach, the campsite and campfire disturbed. He runs up the dunes. EXT. BEACH - EVENING POV BOY - as he looks back he glimpses ragged FEET rushing through the sand after him, a pair of hands reaching out... (CONTINUED) 88. CONTINUED: POV MAN - he catches up with the BOY, grabs his shoulder with one hand and the gun with the other. REVERSE ANGLE - the BOY sees it's the MAN and stops, stares, still frightened, feverish, wild-eyed, confused. MAN. It's okay - BOY. A man! There was a man! I saw a man. MAN. It's okay, he's gone now, it's just me. The BOY collapses, exhausted, into the MAN's arms. EXT. SAND DUNES - (CAMP 16) - NIGHT The MAN and the BOY return to examine the disturbed campsite. MAN. Oh Christ. You stupid ass! You stupid ass! BOY. What happened? MAN. He stole our shoes. He stole everything. The BOY goes quiet, forlorn, staring around at the desolation in despair. MAN. (CONT'D) What's wrong? BOY. I don't know what we're doing. MAN. Come here. BOY. I don't know why we're doing this. (CONTINUED) 89. CONTINUED: MAN. Look, there are... (HE TRAILS OFF, LOST FOR WORDS.) There are people... there are other people and we'll find them. You'll see. The BOY just shuts his eyes and slumps onto the sand in despair. The MAN eyes him anxiously. MAN. (CONT'D) Please. Listen to me. Don't lose heart. The MAN seizes the FLARE GUN, takes it from its case hurriedly, loads it with shells - the BOY now watches, wide- eyed. The MAN rushes a few paces up the DUNE and looks over to where the trolley was hidden - he fires a FLARE into the air. The FLARE arcs up into the murk with a long WHOOSH and breaks in a cloud of light, hanging there, hot tendrils of magnesium drifting down to the sand. The BOY watches, curious despite his despair. The MAN strains his eyes to see: the dunes bathed in pink light from the flare and the sand pock-marked with the footprints of the STRANGE MAN in a trail leading to the spot where the trolley. The trolley marks trail off into the distance. EXT. NEAR BEACH - NIGHT MYSTERY POV - from a distance, a third party is watching the MAN and BOY bathed in the light of the flare. CAMERA pushes in on the FACE watching them - bearded and scarred with a wandering eye and a crushed cheekbone, a veteran of many skirmishes. EXT. SAND DUNES - NIGHT The MAN and the BOY stand in their bare feet. MAN. Come on. We have to get our shoes back. BOY. (FRIGHTENED, RELUCTANT.) We don't need them! MAN. We won't get far without them. (CONTINUED) 90. CONTINUED: They set off hurriedly, in their bare feet. EXT. COAST ROAD, BLACKENED LANDSCAPE - NIGHT On the road in the middle of a desolate landscape, the light is dying, the strange lattice of lightning flickering across the sky, the MAN and the BOY are barefoot on the tarmac. POV MAN - way up ahead is the hunched FIGURE seen earlier - the THIEF, his back to us, trundling the loaded trolley along the road. MAN. Come on. They take off after the thief, bare feet thudding on the tarmac, the MAN in front, the BOY trailing, trying to catch up. The THIEF looks back at them and speeds up, head bent down over the handle running for his life. When he looks back again the MAN has drawn his pistol and is aiming it directly at him. The THIEF stops the trolley, pulls a carving knife from his belt, and turns to face them, standing behind the trolley. His face is emaciated and twitchy, a mouth like a bombed grave yard - not the FACE of the man watching them in the sand dunes. The MAN trains his gun on him, stock still, holding the BOY's hand. MAN. (CONT'D) Get away from the cart and put the knife down. The MAN spits and brandishes the knife desperately, he's scrawny, sullen, bearded and filthy. MAN. (CONT'D) If you don't put down the carving knife and get away from the godamn cart I'm going to blow your brains out. BOY. Papa? MAN. Be quiet. The MAN cocks the pistol and there's two loud CLICKS. MAN. (CONT'D) God damn you. (CONTINUED) 91. CONTINUED: BOY. Papa please don't kill the man. THIEF. Come on man, I done what you said, listen to the boy. The BOY starts crying - the THIEF looks at the BOY and then the angry MAN, this seems to be sobering. He puts the knife in the trolley and steps away, hands in the air, his thumbs are missing. MAN. How long have you been following us? THIEF. I wasn't following you. I saw the cart on the sand an' I just took it. BOY. Please Papa. MAN. Take your clothes off. Take them off, every godamn stitch. THIEF. Come on man, don't do this. MAN. I'll kill you where you stand. THIEF. Don't do this, man. MAN. I won't tell you again. THIEF. All right, all right, just take it easy. The THIEF looks at the BOY who is now covering his ears and the MAN takes an intimidating step closer with the gun. The THIEF starts stripping and piling his rags in the road. MAN. The shoes. (CONTINUED) 92 CONTINUED: (2) THIEF. Come on man. MAN. The shoes. He sits naked in the road and unlaces the rotting shoes. MAN. (CONT'D) Put them in the cart. The THIEF stands and drops the shoes in the trolley. MAN. (CONT'D) Put the clothes in. The MAN drops the clothes in and stands there covering himself, shivering. THIEF. Don't do me like this, man. You don't need to do me like this. MAN. You didn't mind doing it to us. THIEF. I'm begging you. BOY. Papa. THIEF. Come on, listen to the kid. MAN. You tried to kill us. THIEF. I'm starving man. You'd have done the same. MAN. You took everything. THIEF. I'll die out here. MAN. I'm going to leave you the way you left us. (CONTINUED) 93 CONTINUED: (3) The MAN grabs the trolley by the handle, pulls it around, puts the pistol on top and holds his hand out for the BOY. MAN. (CONT'D) Let's go. The BOY doesn't take his hand but they set off along the blacktop, the BOY snivelling and crying, leaving the THIEF shivering and whimpering. BOY. Oh papa. MAN. Stop it. BOY. I can't stop it. MAN. What do you think would have happened to him if we hadn't caught him? You've got to learn. BOY. I don't want to learn! MAN. I won't be here forever. Sooner or later you'll have to look after yourself. The BOY just looks at him - and keeps crying. EXT. ROAD/COAST, BLACKENED LANDSCAPE - EVENING Some distance away the BOY looks back at the THIEF, still crying. MAN. You have to stop crying. BOY. I can't. The BOY looks back one last time as the THIEF disappears from view - still just standing there, utterly lost. The MAN stops and puts his shoes on. He walks back up the road to the bend but the THIEF has gone. (CONTINUED) 94. CONTINUED: MAN. He's gone. Come on. BOY. He's not gone. He's not. The MAN looks helplessly at the tearful BOY as he fits his shoes on for him, the tears streaking the soot on his face. MAN. What do you want to do? BOY. Just help him, Papa. Just help him. The MAN looks back down the road, weighing it up. BOY. (CONT'D) He was just hungry Papa. He's going to die. MAN. He's going to die anyway. BOY. He's so scared. MAN. I'm scared. Do you understand? I'm scared. The MAN tries to look the BOY in the eye but he keeps his head bowed, sobbing. MAN. (CONT'D) You're not the one who has to worry about everything. The BOY mumbles, tearful and snotty. MAN. (CONT'D) What? What did you say? BOY. Yes I am. I am the one. The MAN stops and faces-the innocent BOY angrily, stares, then relenting, summons all his strength, turns the trolley around and they start wheeling it back the way they came. MAN. All right. Help me. (CONTINUED) 95. CONTINUED: (2) The MAN takes the BOY's hand and puts it on the trolley handle. EXT. ROAD/COAST, BLACKENED LANDSCAPE - NIGHT As the light fades to darkness they look for the THIEF to give him his clothes back and call out "Hallo!" Etc. After a moment they stop. BOY. He's afraid to answer. MAN. Is this where we stopped? BOY. I don't know. I think so. They keep walking, hands cupped to mouths, hallooing mindlessly. The MAN stops to rest and watches the BOY a moment, he has stopped crying as he calls out for the thief. Finally the MAN piles the THIEF's shoes and clothes in the road. He puts a rock on top of them. MAN. Come on. We have to go. The BOY eyes the clothes sadly, silent now. EXT. ROADSIDE DUNES, BLACKENED LANDSCAPE - NIGHT They find a spot to stop and sit, exhausted. The MAN opens the first aid kit he took from the boat, selects various pills, crushes them up, pours a cup of water from a ferry can in the trolley, and hands them to the BOY. BOY. I don't want it. MAN. I have to get your temperature down. The BOY swallows the pills and the water, shivering. BOY-. Can I ask you something? MAN. Of course you can. (CONTINUED) 96. CONTINUED: BOY. What would you do if I died? MAN. If you died I'd want to die too. BOY. So you could be with me? MAN. So I could be with you, yes. But that's not going to happen. They look at each other a moment, unsure, the BOY shivering and sick-looking. The BOY lies down and shuts his eyes. The MAN puts a blanket over him. The MAN walks away a few paces and coughs endlessly, a nagging cough that won't go. EXT. ORCHARD - DAY THE MAN'S DREAM - a dream and a memory of an early summer day, the MAN and the WOMAN are in an orchard, lying in the sun on a picnic blanket, an array of food, bread, fruit and wine beside them. The MAN lies back and the WOMAN cradles his head in her lap, stroking his brow. She brings her face down and gently plants a simple kiss on each of his eyelids, then on each of his lips. POV MAN - the WOMAN's face, smiling a dazzling, radiant smile, framed by sunlight and the indistinct shapes of leaves and blossom and petals against the sky - to him she is angelic. Then he kisses her on each eye and on the lips too - their ritual caress. END OF DREAM SEQUENCE. EXT. ROADSIDE DUNES, BLACKENED LANDSCAPE - DAWN The MAN awakes distressed, he wipes a tear, blinks in confusion. POV MAN - the BOY is kneeling beside him, watching him calmly, no longer sweating and shivering, recovered. BOY. Papa? The MAN rouses himself, sits up and just stares at the BOY, amazed, as if he has arisen from the grave MAN. How are you feeling? (CONTINUED) 97. CONTINUED: BOY. I feel kind of weird. MAN. Are you hungry? BOY. Just thirsty. The MAN gets up and fetches water from a ferry can in the trolley, pours a cup, hands it to the BOY who drinks thirstily. The MAN reaches out and strokes the BOY's hair as he drinks. EXT. RESORT TOWN, OUTSKIRTS - DAY The MAN and the BOY head towards a seaside town off in the distance. EXT. RESORT TOWN - DAY They enter a small beach resort with a faded "Welcome" sign across the road, the BOY holding the MAN's hand now. EXT. RESORT TOWN/WATER'S EDGE - DAY They are down by the water. Small pleasure boats are half sunken in the grey water. Faded colored bunting and painted signs advertise ICE CREAMS, FOOD and a FUN FAIR. The BOY helps the man push the trolley through the sand until they can go no further, they stop and drop onto the sand, exhausted. BOY. Can I tell you something? MAN. Yes. BOY. You tell me I shouldn't cry but I've heard you crying. I hear you coughing and crying to yourself in the night when you think I'm asleep. MAN. What of it? BOY. So if I shouldn't cry you shouldn't cry either. (CONTINUED) 98. CONTINUED: They look at each other. EXT. PORT - LATE AFTERNOON On the port side of town the MAN wheels the trolley through the deserted docks past rotten piers, a row of empty wooden warehouses and a rusty red tanker washed up. He is COUGHING and the sound echoes off the warehouse walls. The BOY is trailing a few paces behind, they're not speaking now. EXT. BACK STREET - EVENING As they pass the last of a row of deserted warehouses the MAN slows down to let the BOY catch up. But the BOY is now studying the ground intently. He bends down and picks up: POV BOY - an old cardboard match box, it's decals faded. He pushes the match box open to reveal a perfectly preserved Beetle. BOY. What is it? MAN. It's a Beetle. Suddenly the beetle twitches, then activates its wings and flies out of the box with a BUZZ and upwards into the sky... The BOY and the MAN stare up at the flying creature, amazed AND: Without warning something WHISTLES over their heads very close and hits the wall beside them with a loud CLATTER. The MAN lunges at the BOY, landing on top of him to cover him and tries to grab the trolley which tips over, spilling everything out. The MAN desperately tries to take cover while he looks over his shoulder and sees: POV MAN - in the upper window of a warehouse a man is drawing a bow and arrow aimed right at them. In desperation the MAN covers the BOY and tries to scrabble away but there's a DULL TWANG of bowstring and an arrow THUDS into his leg. MAN. (CONT'D) Oh you bastard! You bastard! (CONTINUED) 99. CONTINUED: The MAN claws the blankets from the upturned trolley aside and scrabbles around for the pistol but it has fallen from his belt onto the cobbles and scattered out of reach. He spots the flare gun and seizes it, resting it on the trolley and aiming carefully at the empty window. When the lone ARCHER appears again he squeezes off a shot and the flare goes rocketing up towards the window in a firey arc, ablaze with color, clean through the window. They can hear the ARCHER SCREAMING inside and see the colored light still flaring from the window. BOY. Oh Papa! MAN. Stay just like you are. He gets up and runs limping across the street, the arrow still embedded in his leg. INT. WOODEN STAIRS - EVENING He limps up the stairs of the old warehouse as quickly as he can, flare gun at the ready, arrow in his leg. INT. WAREHOUSE FLOOR - EVENING He bursts into the main room and trains the gun. At the far end a WOMAN is sitting with the prone form of the ARCHER. The floor is burnt in a huge patch left by the flare and is still in flames. ARCHER'S WOMAN. You son of a bitch! MAN. Who else is up here? ARCHER'S WOMAN. You fucking asshole! The MAN looks down, his leg is bleeding heavily now and the arrow is still sticking out. MAN. Where's the bow? ARCHER'S WOMAN. I don't have it. MAN. Why are you following us? (CONTINUED) 100. CONTINUED: ARCHER'S WOMAN. We're not following anybody. You were following us! The MAN stares at the WOMAN, looking her up and down, she looks sick and thin and desperate. He looks at the ARCHER, lying there dead, his chest and one arm and his face burnt, still smoking. The WOMAN covers his face with the blanket and the MAN doesn't know what to say, ashamed. He goes. EXT. CAFE - DAY POV - again from a distance, as if a third party is watching, we watch the BOY and the MAN hobble into a CAFE. INT. CAFE - DAY One wall of the CAFE is merely a pile of rubble, opening out to the sea. The opposite wall is a photographic mural of lush green woods. The MAN tries to pull the arrow out but just pulls the wooden stem out. He takes off his bloodied trousers and examines the gaping wound with a flap of flesh and the arrow head, made from a SPOON, buried inside. MAN. See if you can find the medical kit from the boat. Quickly. The BOY rummages in the trolley, finds the kit and hands it over. He stares as the MAN slowly extracts the spoon, wincing in agony. The MAN dowses the wound in antiseptic from the kit and searches through the kit for a needle. He finds a suture needle in a sterile envelope, rips it open with his teeth and, using the light coming in through the parlour windows he threads some silk thread into the needle. He starts to suture up the wound, grimacing in pain as the BOY watches in silence, until eventually offering: BOY Does it hurt? The MAN just looks at him in disbelief - beat. MAN. Yes! It hurts! BOY. What does it feel like? The MAN eyes the BOY, amazed at this inopportune chat. (CONTINUED) 101. CONTINUED: MAN. At least you're talking to me now. INT./EXT. CAFE - (CAMP 17) - NIGHT They have a campfire in the cafe by the jetty and sit overlooking the bay, through the missing wall, silent until: MAN. Do you want me to tell you a story? BOY. No. MAN. Why not? BOY. Your stories aren't true. MAN. They don't have to be true. They're stories. BOY. In the stories we're always helping people. But we don't help people. We just shoot people. And in the stories good things happen but we just get sick. The MAN thinks about it - stuck for an answer. MAN. We're still here aren't we? Doesn't that mean anything? EXT. BOAT LAUNCH - DAY The MAN pulls the trolley slowly, finding it a great effort. The BOY helps pull, eying the MAN with concern. The MAN stops and rests on the trolley and the BOY pulls on a few more feet then stops and looks back as the MAN COUGHS for a long painful moment. He takes the bloodstained surgical mask from his face, his breath foggy in the cold, he wrings out the blood and saliva, puts his head between his knees and coughs until he can cough no more, gasping for breathe, bloody drool unspooling from his lips into the sand like scarlet twine while the BOY watches, weeping silently. (CONTINUED) 102. CONTINUED: MAN. We have to leave the cart. I can't push it anymore. EXT. BOAT LAUNCH - DAY They are trudging along a concrete boat ramp by the beach road, the beach below, the BOY carrying a small-suitcase now, the MAN carrying sacks and bags. They stop and the MAN leans, impossibly breathless, his lungs packing up. They stop at the water edge, where the road reaches the sea. The BOY takes his hand gently. BOY. What are we going to do Papa? The MAN can't answer for breathlessness. BOY. (CONT'D) Well, what are we? The MAN sits heavily on the ground, totters as the BOY stands watching him, eyes welling with tears. BOY. (CONT'D) Oh no, Papa. EXT. BEACH/DUNES -(CAMP 18) - DAY The MAN is drifting in and out of consciousness in the sand. The BOY comes over with a cup of water and holds it to the MAN's lips, he drinks. The BOY has also lit a fire. He spreads out blankets. MAN. Don't get comfortable. You need to keep going. You don't know what might be down the road. BOY. No. MAN. We were always lucky. You'll be lucky again. You'll see. Just go. BOY. No. I can't. (CONTINUED) 103. CONTINUED: MAN. It's all right. This has been a long time coming. Just keep going south. Do everything the way we did it. BOY. No. You're going to be okay Papa. You have to. MAN. Keep the gun with you at all times. Don't let anyone take it from you. You need to find the good guys but you can't take any chances. Do you hear me? BOY. I want to be with you. MAN. I want to be with you too but I can't. BOY. Please. MAN. You have to go off on your own now. You have to carry the fire. BOY. I don't know how to. MAN. Yes you do. You know everything about it. BOY. Is it real? The fire? Papa? MAN. Yes it is. BOY. Where is it? I don't know where it is. MAN. Yes you do. (CONTINUED) 104. CONTINUED: (2) BOY. Where? MAN. It's inside you. It was always there. I can see it. The BOY stares at him, not sure what to believe. MAN. (CONT'D) You have to let me go. BOY. Just take me with you please. Please, Papa! What should I do? MAN. Just hold my hand. The BOY grips the MAN's hand, bouncing up and down, agitated. BOY. You said you wouldn't ever leave me. MAN. I know. I'm sorry. The BOY falls on the MAN, hugging him tight, face pressed to his chest, sobbing. MAN. (CONT'D) My boy. You have my whole heart. You always did. You're the best guy. You can talk to me and I'll talk to you. You'll see. BOY. How will I hear you? MAN. You just will. BOY. How do you know? MAN-. You just have to practice. Just don't give up okay? You'll be okay. You're going to be lucky. I know you are. (CONTINUED) 105. CONTINUED: (3) The MAN closes his eyes and takes deep, rattling breaths. BOY. It's okay Papa. You don't have to talk anymore. Camera pulls back and the BOY is sitting with the MAN saying nothing. It's starting to grow dark. The BOY crouches down on the MAN's chest and goes to sleep there, rising and falling with his father's breathing. EXT. BEACH/DUNES (CAMP 18) - NIGHT Darkness all around, the BOY is lying across the MAN, his hand rising and falling on the MAN's chest slowly, irregularly as the MAN's breath rattles in his lungs. EXT. CAR/BEACH - DAWN FLASHBACK - or the MAN'S last ever dream: The MAN and the WOMAN snooze in the car - an ordinary young couple nestled together in the early morning sun light. The MAN wakes and looks at his sleeping wife, smooths her hair tenderly, very much in love, as she sleeps. His hand on her wakes her, she looks at him surprised and pleased, smiles. WOMAN. Hello... She kisses him and they look at the blue ocean and the white sand and green sea grass and she puts an arm around him. MAN. (V.O.) If I were God I would have made the world just so and no different... And so I have you. .I have you. END OF FLASHBACK. EXT. BEACH/DUNES - (CAMP 18) MORNING The BOY is awake but doesn't move, his hand still on the MAN's chest, now motionless. He looks at the MAN who is cold and stiff now, long dead. The BOY gets up and holds the MAN's cold stiff hand. Tears course down his face silently. BOY. Oh Papa. Papa. Papa... 106. EXT. BEACH/DUNES - (CAMP 18) NIGHT The BOY is building a campfire. He lights it and sits there watching the MAN's motionless body. EXT. BEACH/DUNES -(CAMP 19) MORNING The BOY has slept beside the MAN, he wakes, blinks, bewildered. EXT. BEACH/DUNES - (CAMP 18) - DAY The BOY is zipping up the MAN's parka carefully and heaping blankets on top, talking all the while. BOY. Can I tell you something? I had a bad dream. I had this penguin that you wound up and it would waddle and flap its flippers. And we were in that house we used to live in and it came around the corner but nobody had wound it up and it was really scary because-because- because... He goes quiet as he finishes tending to the body and puts his own parka on, zips it up. BOY. (CONT'D) The winder wasn't turning. He takes the gun, checks the magazine, shuts it and stands, shoving the pistol in his belt. EXT. WATER'S EDGE, BOAT LAUNCH - DAY The BOY is standing at the water's edge looking out at the smog and the emptiness. Out of nowhere a man in a gray and red ski parka with the hood up appears carrying a shotgun over his shoulder and a belt of shells. He goes over to the BOY, he is the same bearded and scarred man seen earlier, watching them in the sand dunes. The BOY doesn't flinch, but his hand goes to the gun at his side. When the man speaks he has some sort of speech defect, possibly caused by missing teeth. VETERAN. Where's the man you were with? (NO REPLY.) Was he your father? (CONTINUED) 107. CONTINUED: BOY. Yes. He was my Papa. VETERAN. I'm sorry. BOY. I don't know what to do. VETERAN. Well, I think maybe you should come with me. The BOY's finger tightens on the trigger of the GUN. BOY. Are you one of the good guys? VETERAN. Yeah. I'm one of the good guys. Why don't you put that pistol away? BOY. I'm not supposed to let anybody take the pistol. No matter what. VETERAN. I don't want your pistol. I just didn't want you pointing it at me. The BOY lowers the gun to his side and the VETERAN comes a few steps closer, causing the BOY to back up a step. VETERAN. (CONT'D) Where's your stuff? BOY. I don't have much stuff. VETERAN. What have you got? Blankets? BOY. My Papa's wrapped in them. MAN. Show me. The BOY doesn't move. The MAN holds out his hand for the BOY to take, the BOY sees he has a THUMB MISSING and hesitates, wary. The MAN squats, leaning on his shotgun. (CONTINUED) 108. CONTINUED: (2) VETERAN. Look. You got two choices here. You can stay here with your papa or you can go with me. If you stay you need to keep off the road. BOY. How do I know you're one of the good guys? VETERAN. You don't. You'll have to take a shot. The BOY weighs it up, eyeing the VETERAN. BOY. Do you have any kids? VETERAN. Yes we do. BOY. Do you have a little boy? VETERAN. We have a little boy and a little girl. BOY. How old is he? VETERAN. He's about your age. Maybe a little older. BOY. And you didn't eat them? VETERAN. No. BOY. You don't eat people? VETERAN. No. We don't eat people. BOY. Are you carrying the fire? (CONTINUED) 109. CONTINUED: (3) VETERAN. Am I what? BOY. Carrying the fire. VETERAN. You're kind of weirded out, aren't you, kid? BOY. Well, are you? VETERAN. Yeah. I am. I'm carrying the fire. BOY. And I can go with you? VETERAN. Yes, you can. The BOY hesitates. EXT. BEACH/DUNES - DAY They go over to where the MAN lies dead and the VETERAN squats and lifts a blanket to take a look. VETERAN. Are these all the blankets you have? BOY. Yes. VETERAN. Is that your suitcase? BOY. Yes. The VETERAN stands and studies the BOY. VETERAN. Why don't you go up onto the road and wait for me. I'll bring the blankets. BOY. What about my Papa? (CONTINUED) 110. CONTINUED: VETERAN. What about him? BOY. We can't just leave him here. VETERAN. Yes we can. BOY. I don't want people to see him. VETERAN. There's nobody to see him. BOY. Can I cover him in leaves? VETERAN. The wind will blow them away. BOY. Could we cover him with one of the blankets? VETERAN. Okay. I'll do it. Go on now. EXT. BOAT LAUNCH, ROAD - DAY The BOY waits and in a moment the VETERAN emerges from the dunes carrying the suitcase with the blankets slung over his shoulder. He sorts through them and hands one to the BOY. VETERAN. Here. Wrap this around you. You're cold. The BOY eye the blanket uncertainly, holds out the pistol for the VETERAN to hold. VETERAN. (CONT'D) You hold onto that. BOY. Okay. VETERAN. Do you know how to shoot it? BOY. Yes. (CONTINUED) CONTINUED: VETERAN. Okay. BOY. What about my papa? VETERAN. There's nothing else to be done. BOY. I think I want to say goodbye to him. VETERAN. Will you be all right? BOY. Yes. VETERAN. Go ahead. I'll wait here for you. The BOY turns around and heads down to the beach. EXT. BEACH/DUNES - (CAMP 18) - DAY The BOY trudges through the sand over to the corpse of the MAN which is now neatly wrapped up in a blanket from head to toe. The BOY kneels beside him and starts to cry silently and whisper. BOY. I'll talk to you every day. And I won't forget. No matter what. No matter what, Papa. The BOY dries his eyes, takes a breath, gets up and walks back to the road... EXT. BOAT LAUNCH, ROAD- DAY As the BOY walks out of the dunes holding the gun, a MOTHERLY WOMAN who is standing with the VETERAN comes towards him. MOTHERLY WOMAN. Oh. I am so glad to see you. The BOY just stares at her, bemused - a short distance away stands the rest of the family - a BOY his age and a GIRL. The BOY stares at the OTHER BOY and recognizes him - it's the same BOY he chased earlier. (CONTINUED) 112. CONTINUED: Then the BOY notices a threadbare mongrel of a DOG, waiting with them. The MOTHERLY WOMAN goes over and puts her arms around him. MOTHERLY WOMAN. (CONT'D) We've been following you. Did you know that? We saw you with your Papa and we tried to catch up but you were too quick for us. VETERAN. There was some discussion about whether to even come after you at all. As she's chatting, the MOTHERLY WOMAN gently takes the gun from the BOY and hands it to the VETERAN. MOTHERLY WOMAN. We're so lucky. We were so worried about you. And now we don't have to worry about a thing. She kisses the BOY on the forehead and holds him at arm's length and looks at him. MOTHERLY WOMAN. (CONT'D) How does that sound? Is that okay? He stares but says nothing... CLOSING CREDITS.