Quadrennial © (thriller feature script excerpt)


We HEAR the SOUND of the car interior signaling the door is

open. Angela walks briskly to keep up with Milton. We HEAR

clothing rip.

Angela GASPS and slowly collapses to the ground. She watches

the young boy run back to the waiting car. Snow turns crimson

around her body from the butcher knife stuck in her back.


RIVER STEENS, 31, gingerly descends the steps, her right foot

in a walking cast. She struggles simultaneously with the

sweater and the wispy dog in her arms. The woman is lean and

dressed in sporty attire. It would be hard to imagine her as

a desk jockey.


   At this rate, we’re not gonna get

   very far.

The dog, PEPPER, seems unconcerned and uncooperative, holding

her head away from the sweater opening. River nearly slips on

a step and catches herself before tumbling. She stares at

the dog and then quickly pulls the sweater off of the one leg

of the dog she managed to corral. She shoves the apparel

into the arm of her coat.

          RIVER (CONT'D)

   Fine. You can freeze.

River rounds the foyer stairs to see Milton staring at her

from the stoop outside the glass door entryway. Puzzled, she

opens the door and Milton scrambles inside trailing his

leash. River lifts her gaze into the night.

          RIVER (CONT'D)


It is quiet. No one is on the street.

          RIVER (CONT'D)


She places Pepper in the foyer with Milton and hobbles



Several people are gathered in the middle of the block. The

SOUND of SIREN’S approaching as River half runs/stumbles

toward the crowd on her bad leg.

Angela is semi-conscious but unmoving on the ground. MICHAEL,

40, in pajama bottoms and unlaced shoes, sees River and grabs

her before she can get close to Angela.


   They’re on their way. We didn’t

   want to move her.

River sees bloody snow around the blanket that keeps Angela

warm. She screams and breaks free of Michael’s grip.

From a darkened gangway, the young boy surveys the scene. He

watches River gently stroke Angela’s head, crying softly.


   You’re gonna be alright, babe. Help

   is coming.

Angela attempts to speak but blood escapes from her mouth.

She chokes. River hovers closer.

          RIVER (CONT'D)

   Angela don’t. Just be still.

Her mouth moves again and River leans in.

          RIVER (CONT'D)



    (softly slurring)

   --a boy.

We see the little boy watch River move in closer to meet

Angela’s eyes. He observes Angela’s labored attempt to


          ANGELA (CONT'D)

   ...a little...

   ... boy did it...

The ambulance pulls to the curb and the young figure is

pulled back out of the light of the revolving orb but

maintains his focus on River who seems stunned.


A chaotic environment as nurses and hospital staff move

quickly in and out of doors and through the hallway.

Announcements in the overhead speakers continually call for

doctors and care providers.

River waits in a chair against the wall. Her eyes dart around

the space unfocused on the motion swirling past. Two

uniformed officers escort an unwilling junkie covered in

vomit to a curtained triage area.

The swinging door props open and a nurse’s aid points Michael

in River’s direction. He stills sports pajamas and unlaced

shoes but wears a winter coat.



River looks up and tears immediately stream down her face as

she stands and embraces him.

          MICHAEL (CONT'D)

   No news?

She shakes her head and they sit down. He runs his hand

through his hair, pulls her into his chest and softly kisses

her forehead.

          MICHAEL (CONT'D)

   Janet’s got the dogs.


   Thank you.


   Ang’s parents are getting a flight.

She looks up at him.


   What did you tell them?

He looks at her and pauses.



   That she’s here.


The SOUND of a key turns in the lock and River pushes the

door open. She limps inside. It is quiet. She closes the

door. The space is bright and airy with many windows. Large

colorful paintings cover most walls in vibrant hues. Most of

the works are an abstract variety with play between colors

and shapes.

A half-eaten bowl of popcorn is on the coffee table next to

two empty beer bottles. The television set is on but muted.

River, pale and cried-out, pulls off her jacket and lets it

fall to the floor. She places the keys on the foyer table.

The radiator hisses into action.


The door opens and a young woman turns suddenly sorrowful.

Milton and Pepper gallop to the door.


   I’m so sorry.

River’s attention drifts down to the dogs trying to get

through the door and then back up to Janet.



Janet nods and scootches over to let the dogs out into the



It’s not a fancy set-up. A queen-size bed that looks

comfortable. A few candid photos in frames on either night

stand. Angela and River in a black and white dusty photo

booth-style shot. A framed holiday postcard of Milton and

Pepper dressed in elves costumes near a tiny Christmas tree.

There are a few articles of clothing strewn across the chair. 

Reading glasses and aprescription bottle near a half-full glass 

of water on the window sill.

River lies on her side and stares at the wall. Her right

casted foot is propped atop several pillows. Milton is asleep

against her stomach. Pepper lies behind her head on the

pillow, snoring.

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