The Enemies Within

10 Feb

http://www.amazon.com/Accoutrements-12307-Inflatable-Cthulhu-Arm/dp/B008BGXIJA

My third entry into the NYC Midnight Shorts competition. Entries one and two are here. No word yet on whether this one advanced me to the next round, but we’ll see. The criteria I had to write this one around were:

Location: Airport

Object: Spray paint

Genre: Horror

That last bit hung me up a little. I’ve never really written straight horror before, and I felt like something I’d be more comfortable with (like meta-horror or horror-comedy) might risk disqualification. But I like plenty of horror movies and horror short stories, so I thought I’d start by trying to figure out what I responded to in those.

I realized pretty quick that my favourite horror stories did one of two things. They either used the “horror” genre as a way to piggyback in some kind of cool sci-fi or fantasy mythology, or they took advantage of the genre’s disreputability to piggyback in some anti-establishment social commentary. I decided I’d try to make my short do both and… well…

Let’s say I feel like I learned something.

If you’re feeling up to it, let me know what you think in the comments.


INT. FBI NEW YORK FIELD OFFICE – CONFERENCE ROOM – NIGHT

SUPER TEXT: FBI NEW YORK FIELD OFFICE, 2300 HOURS

SPECIAL AGENT COX (30s), rail-thin and handsomely disheveled, sits across from SPECIAL AGENT MOULTON (30s), whose hair is wound up in a tight bun. Emphasis on “up” and “tight.”

There’s a mess of folders, paper and photos between them.

LIEUTENANT JANUS (50s), an avuncular man in a bowtie and
suspenders, stands between them with his hands folded.

JANUS
This is a strange one.

MOULTON
Is it? Guy shoots up LaGuardia
yelling “Allahu Ackbar…” It’s a
tragedy, but not exactly ourside
the realm of possi–

COX
Actually, that is bizarre.

INT. AIRPORT TERMINAL – FLASHBACK – DAY

DOCTOR SINGH (30s), whose goatee is as carefully trimmed as his tweed suit, stands in the middle of a panicking crowd with a gun in his hand and tears in his eyes. He hates himself for what he’s about to do.

SUPER TEXT: LAGUARDIA INTERNATIONAL, 1500 HOURS

COX (V.O.)
It says here this guy — this
Doctor Singh — is Sikh. Why yell
an Islamic prayer?

Another funny thing — Singh is already hurt. There’s a HUGE, RAGGED HOLE in his hand. A  GIRL in a hijab approaches him, eyes moist with sympathy and concern.

GIRL
God does not want you to
do this. Please. Violence is not —

SINGH
I’m so, so sorry… But you’re
already dead…

JANUS (V.O.)
Why indeed? That is, unless you
were specifically trying to get the
attention of the FBI…

SINGH
Allahu Akbar!

He blows her brains out.

INT. FBI NEW YORK FIELD OFFICE – CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY

Janus taps one of the PHOTOS on the table. It shows someone’s face. Someone dead. There’s a symbol burnt into their forehead like a brand. A HORRID FACE with a mouth made of tentacles and eyes like clusters of fish eggs…

JANUS
…because you somehow knew about
the supranormal division. You
see… This symbol was found burnt
into the forehead of every single
body in the airport. Not sure what
did it, but it seems to be
contagious. Thank the gods we
locked the place down so quickly.

COX
How many bodies are we talking?

JANUS
(pause)
All of them, dear boy.
(beat)
All of them.

INT. AIRPORT TERMINAL – SCREENING ROM – FLASHBACK – DAY

SUPER TEXT: 1100 HOURS

Singh — unharmed at this point — waits impatiently. No wonder: he’s missing his shoes and belt.

TSA AGENT HARKEN walks through the door. His blue uniform strains against his chub and, like any bully, he’s flanked by a LACKEY who’s dressed just like him. Harken sits across from Singh, while the Lackey positions himself behind.

SINGH
Finally! I’ve missed my connection –
– this “random selection” shit
is… shit! I’m filing a complaint!

HARKEN
That’s your right, sir. Now if you
don’t mind, I just need to ask you
some questions and we’ll get you on
your way.
(beat)
Now… You’re just coming back from
Jordan, where you were teaching…

SINGH
Archeology and dead languages, yes.

HARKEN
Interesting. And how long have you
been an active member of the
Illuminati?

Uh oh. Singh tries to stand, but Lackey SHOVES him back into his chair. Singh looks at Harken imploringly.

SINGH
Please. The artefact —

HARKEN
Is being removed from your luggage
right now. Took our seers a while
to find it. The lead carrying case
was a nice touch. Futile, but nice.

Singh looks around for something — anything — that can help. His eyes settle on the security camera in the corner of the room.

SINGH
Please, if you’re watching, help
me. These men are evil, they worship
madness, they —

WHAM! Harken rams an ORNATE OBSIDIAN BLADE through Singh’s hand, pinning it to the table. He screams. Harken stands and rolls up his sleeves, revealing an intricate TATOO of the HORRID FACE from the brands on his forearm.

HARKEN
Don’t you get it, Doctor? They are
watching. They are always watching.
Who else could have got you into this
room with me so easily? Who but the
gloriously insane could watch this
and do nothing?

INT. AIRPORT TERMINAL – NIGHT

SUPER TEXT: 2400 HOURS

Agents Cox and Moulton, now in hazmat suits, step through the plastic airlock… into hell.

The airport terminal is a bloodbath. Hundreds dead. Murdered with mop handles, crushed with vending machines, crucified on directional signage — it’s as though they all spontaneously decided to murder each other in the most brutal way they could imagine.

And — even worse — they all died smiling.

MOULTON
Dear God…

COX
This… kinda’ looks more like the
other guy’s work.

INT. HANGER – NIGHT

Cox is picking through luggage that’s been frantically offloaded from a small plane. He has to move the body of an AIRPLANE MECHANINC with a mag light shoved down his throat.

COX (INTO COMM)
Alright, Moulton. We’ve seen some
weird stuff over the years, but
this is… casket-strength weird.
You’re the PhD. Any theories?
He talks to Moulton on the comm while she…

INT. SCREENING ROOM – NIGHT

…is examining the mutilated bodies of Harken and Lackey.

MOULTON
I can only speculate, but… There
are ancient people who believed
that mad gods came from the stars
and left behind artefacts —
fragments of their power when they
died. Cults sprang up around the
artefacts and there are rumors —
conspiracy theories, really — that
some of these cults are still
around today.
(beat)
That’s funny.

COX (THROUGH COMM)
I seriously doubt anything you
could be seeing is funny.

MOULTON
Not like that. Our so-called terrorist
should be around here, but…

Moulton examines the bodies, tries to piece it together…

INT. SCREENING ROOM – FLASHBACK – DAY

Doctor Singh, has his hand stuck to the table with Harken’s knife. With a mighty effort, he YANKS it out, and SLAMS the the blade protruding from his palm through Harken’s neck.

Lackey struggles to get a GUN out of his ankle holster, but Singh rushes him, pulling the blade from his hand…

INT. SCREENING ROOM – NIGHT

Back with Moulton.

COX (THROUGH COMM)
Moulton? I think I found him.

INT. HANGER – NIGHT

Moulton and Cox look down at the body of Doctor Singh. His face is locked in a rictus grin and he’s clutching an OLD STONE STATUE to his chest. A statue carved in the same shape as the HORRID FACE burnt into his forehead.

MOULTON
Okay. We need to contain this. He
would have had some kind of
carrying case, can you —

COX
Already looked.

MOULTON
Alright. Some of the ancient texts
emphasized the importance of lead
as an insulator, look for —

COX
Got it!

Moulton looks over. Cox yanks a can of AERONAUTICAL SPRAYPAINT off the dead mechanic’s belt and tosses it to Moulton. The label reads: “CONDUCTIVE PAINT. WARNING: LEADBASED.”

But then…

BLAM! Cox’s face explodes, splattering the inside of his hazmat suit with gore. He drops, revealing a shirtless Janus. His gun is drawn — and smoking. His chest is taken up with a GIANT TATTOO of the HORRID FACE.

MOULTON
Lieutenant Janus! Wait! You —

JANUS
Sorry, dear girl…

INT. AIRPORT TERMINAL – FLASHBACK – DAY
Back with Singh, seconds before he shoots the Girl.

JANUS (V.O.)
…you’re already dead.

FADE OUT.

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