Black and Blue, Matthew Worboys

FADE IN
1. INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT (OUTER ORBIT, 2028)
A double bed bisects the otherwise bare room. The body of a woman occupies one half of the bed. The covers are drawn high over the other half, concealing another body. On the woman’s side, a digital alarm clock emits a soft green onto the girls face. The screen goes from 2:33 to 2:34. As if in response, the girl stirs from her sleep.
She opens an eye. Her pupil grows large in response to the light.

She looks over at the clock. Being careful not to disrupt the body next to her, she slowly swivels her body up, until she sits with her legs over the side of the bed.

The girl, SHARI, is only 24, and she looks it. She has straight brown hair, mid-length, and a face that would be beautiful a few more moments separated from the trauma of waking.

She stands up and undresses. She puts on jeans, a shirt and a jacket, quietly. On the right hand side, she presses a small button. As she does this, the door of the room makes a gentle hiss as it slides open.
Shari exits.

MAN (O.S.)
Wake up. Wake up.

2. INT. WHITE HOUSE BEDROOM – NIGHT (WASHINGTON, 2023)
Black.
MAN
Come on, Shari. Wake up.
Shari opens her eyes. A man stands above the bed. He has his arms on her shoulders. He gently rocks her into waking. The man shaking Shari, CRAIG, looks as young as her. His tight curls hang down over Shari as he bends over her bed.
CRAIG
It’s time to get up.
“5 years earlier” appears on screen.

SHARI
Craig?
CRAIG
Where are your clothes?
SHARI
What are you doing here?
Craig ignores the question. He steps back and turns around. He spots a nearby cupboard, opens it hastily, and looks at its contents.
Shari barely notices. She wipes her eyes.
SHARI (CONT’D)
God, what time is it?
CRAIG
5:30.
Shari squints.
SHARI
You can’t be here, Craig. If my dad finds out…
Craig leans into the cupboard and draws together a handful of clothes. He drops the pile into a large suitcase laying open on the floor.
SHARI (CONT’D)
Craig.
Craig loses his concentration, and looks over at Shari. His face softens.
CRAIG
I’ll explain everything soon, I promise. Get dressed.
Shari looks at him, not convinced, but after a moment, she gets up and runs into the ensuite bathroom, closing the door behind her. Craig continues to search the room. Every now and again he’ll find something, socks, a dress, a photo frame, and throw it into the bag.
SHARI (O.S.)
This surprise better be good. I didn’t get in ‘til three last night.
Craig doesn’t respond.
SHARI (CONT’D)
How dressy should I go?
Beat.
SHARI (O.S.) (CONT’D)
You do remember we have my Dad’s event tomorrow night, right?
Craig puts the finishing touches to the bag, throwing in as much underwear as he can reach. He clicks the bag closed as the door to the bathroom opens.
Shari’s changed into comfortable jeans and a blue top, with a hooded jacket over it.
SHARI (CONT’D)
President’s daughter wags inauguration to sex up boyfriend on weekend away? Imagine the scandal.
CRAIG
He knows I’ve got you.
SHARI
I thought he’d been acting odd the last few days!
CRAIG
We have to go.
SHARI
I haven’t done my makeup y–
Shari turns to go back into the bathroom, but Craig grabs her arm.
CRAIG
Shari. We have to go.
Shari’s brow furrows, but she nods.

3. INT. GYM – NIGHT (OUTER ORBIT, 2028)
Shari sits on a bench, pumping weights. She is breathing heavily and exhales with every rep she does.
Despite the time, she isn’t the only person in the gym. Two other women, KAREN and DEBRA stand on parallel walking machines, chatting. Shari tries not to listen, but they speak loudly and obnoxiously.

KAREN
I’m not saying it won’t be a shock.
The other woman nods, her face red and blotchy.

KAREN (CONT’D)
But an opportunity like this… We can’t just go back to the way things were.
Shari pulls the weights up, once. Twice.
KAREN (CONT’D)
We finally have a level playing field. Ready to build whatever we want.
The other woman takes a drink from her water bottle.
KAREN (CONT’D)
I mean, the circumstances are horrible, I’m not saying they aren’t, but we have a collection of the smartest people ever, right here, and a much smaller pool of competition in any field.
DEBRA
I’m a teacher, Karen.
The first woman scoffs at this reply.
KAREN
A great teacher. You earned your place. That’s more than some on board. At least you didn’t steal a seat.
Debra looks over at Shari, who pretends not to be listening.
DEBRA
Karen…
Karen looks to Shari. She turns up the speed on her treadmill.

 

4. INT. CAR – MORNING (WASHINGTON, 2023)
Craig sits in the driver’s seat, while Shari occupies the passenger side.

SHARI
My God, It’s hot.
Shari goes to put down the window, but Craig locks them from the drivers side. Instead, he turns the air conditioning on. Shari is put off for a second, but doesn’t think twice about it.
SHARI (CONT’D)
You know, I’ve always wanted a Summer wedding.
Craig smiles, another defeated smile.
CRAIG
I remember.
Shari nudges him, playfully.
SHARI
I’d say yes, you know.
Craig doesn’t look away from the road. The car begins to drive up a very large hill.
CRAIG
I know.
Shari smiles, and looks over to Craig. She ponders his face for a second.
SHARI
I need to tell you something.
The car is getting to the apex of the hill now. Craig looks at Shari closely.
CRAIG
What’s up?
Shari looks at him for a second before looking away. The car goes over the top of the hill and starts it’s descent. Shari gasps.
SHARI
LOOK OUT!
Craig slams on his break, hard. The car grinds to a stop. In front of the car is a huge mass of people, seemingly on the verge of rioting. The car has stopped just before impact.
CRAIG
It’s worse than I thought.
Shari is distracted. She’s looking into the sky.
SHARI
What the hell is that?
A giant, pulsating fireball is suspended in the sky, as if a second sun.
Craig puts the car in reverse, backs up about 20 metres, and then stops the car.
CRAIG
Time to go.
SHARI
What the hell is that in the sky.
CRAIG
We’re walking.

5. INT. CAFETERIA – NIGHT (OUTER ORBIT, 2028)
Shari sits at one end of a long table. She holds a grey bowl, filled with what looks to be mushy oatmeal. She places it onto the table, and begins eating.
From behind her, the door to the cafeteria opens. A man, FRANK, enters the room and picks up a bowl. As he places it under a nozzle connected to the wall, the hidden machine begins to whir, and out of the dispenser, the same grey mush pours.
FRANK
Can’t wait to get back to solids.
Shari doesn’t respond. She takes a spoonful of the porridge and eats it. Frank pulls out the chair next to Shari and sits down.
He is tall, well-built, with dark skin. He wears a suit, perfectly fitted to show off his arms and chest. He has a kind smile, which he shows to Shari.
FRANK (CONT’D)
Can’t sleep?
Shari returns his smile halfheartedly.
SHARI
How long now?
Frank looks at his wrist. A golden watch hangs loosely from it.
FRANK
Nine hours off. Maybe ten.
Shari nods.
FRANK (CONT’D)
How’s–
He motions with his head to the door.
SHARI
Fine. Can’t wait to get off the ship, I think.
FRANK
That makes two of us.
Shari smiles, and goes back to eating her porridge. Frank takes a few more mouthfuls. The silence builds up between them. Frank breaks it.
FRANK (CONT’D)
You look frazzled.
Shari looks over at him, her eyebrows raised.
SHARI
It’s nothing. Just something Karen said.
FRANK
Don’t listen to her. The amount of shit that comes out of her mouth sometimes. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ate out of her ass.
Shari laughs, but distantly.
FRANK (CONT’D)
What did she say?
SHARI
Nothing.
Beat.
FRANK
Well for what it’s worth, I think you were put on this ship for a reason. Like the rest of us. You both were.
SHARI
Says the Nobel Prize winning doctor.
Frank laughs sweetly.
FRANK
When all of this settles down, we should get something to eat.
SHARI
We are eating.
Frank dips his spoon into the bowl, raises the contents and turns over the spoon, causing the grew mush to slop back into the bowl. Frank doesn’t respond, but rather looks deeply into her eyes, waiting for a real response.
His face goes from hopeful, to slightly let down.
SHARI (CONT’D)
I should go and get some–
Frank nods, sadly.
FRANK
–Yeah yeah. No. Tomorrow’s gonna be one hell of a day.
He stands up, and without taking his bowl, he leaves the room silently, leaving Shari sitting at the table alone.

6. INT. STREET – MORNING (WASHINGTON, 2023)
The mass of people surrounds Craig and Shari, but Craig fights through them. His hand is wrapped strongly around Shari’s, as he pulls her through the crowd. In Shari’s other hand, she carries her overstuffed suitcase. In Craig’s other hand, a mobile phone, which he holds up to his ear.
CRAIG
(into phone)
We’re 5 away.
Shari struggles to keep up with Craig.
CRAIG (CONT’D)
(into phone)
We’ll meet you there.
Craig hangs up the phone.

SHARI
Craig.
Craig doesn’t stop walking.
SHARI (CONT’D)
Craig. Stop.
He still doesn’t. He pushes past another lot of people.
CRAIG
Keep your head down.

SHARI
STOP!
She pulls her hand away from Craig’s. Craig spins around to look at her, almost angrily.
SHARI (CONT’D)
Tell me what’s happening this instant, or I’m not going any further. This isn’t funny.
Craig’s glare softens almost immediately.
CRAIG
I can’t. You can’t know yet.
SHARI
Please.
Craig sighs, giving in.
CRAIG
Fine, but we have to keep walking. Put your hoodie up.
Shari does as she’s told. She lifts the hoodie of her jacket over her face.
CRAIG (CONT’D)
Come on.
Shari looks over at all of the people around her, pushing at her, pushing at each other. They all seem frightened and anxious. Many are parents, with children either on their shoulders, or following behind them.

CRAIG (CONT’D)
That thing in the sky. It’s coming and It’s going to hit in… soon.
Shari listens intently, with eyes wide. They never stop moving.
CRAIG (CONT’D)
There isn’t much hope.
SHARI
That’s impossible. We… I. I would have heard.
CRAIG
NASA told the Government, and the Government told no-one.
SHARI
Why wouldn’t they–?
CRAIG
–Because they weren’t sure. Not One hundred percent. They didn’t know whether it would hit us, or not.
SHARI
But they didn’t tell anyone?
Craig sighs.
CRAIG
They didn’t want to end the world before… you know…
SHARI
I don’t.. I can’t believe y–
CRAIG
–So instead, they built a ship. A ship big enough for a hundred, two hundred people.
SHARI
A spaceship?
CRAIG
The ship would sail out on the brink of space for as long as it could. As long as it could last. And then it would come back, after the dust had settled.
SHARI
What does that have to do with me.
CRAIG
Because the ship is here.
SHARI
Did dad tell you this?
Craig nods. Shari looks around at the large crowds of yelling people.
SHARI (CONT’D)
Are all of these people–?
Craig nods again.
SHARI (CONT’D)
And will they–?
Craig shakes his head.
CRAIG
There’s just no room. Two hundred of the worlds best and brightest were chosen in secret and told to be here on this day.
SHARI
And us?
Craig smiles at her, sadly.
CRAIG
Being the president’s daughter has its perks, I think.

 

7. EXT. DOCK ENTRANCE – MORNING
They reach the police block. At first, they are denied entry by a uniformed officer, but a man in a black suit approaches them. He flashes his badge at the officer.
MAN IN BLACK
Don’t worry, officer. I’ll take it from here.
The officer stands aside.

MAN IN BLACK (CONT’D)
If you’d be so kind as to step this way.
Shari steps forward over the police barricade. The man in black helps her over. Shari pulls at Craig’s hand, to help him over as well, but he doesn’t budge.
SHARI
Come on. We have to find my father.
Shari pulls again, but Craig stands strong.
CRAIGS
Shari.
SHARI
What?
CRAIG
Your father decided to stay. He’s off being president somewhere.
Shari’s eyes begin to well up.
SHARI
I don’t understand. Why didn’t you bring any luggage?
CRAIG
There was only one place. A place for your father.
Small tears begins to fall on Shari’s cheeks now.
SHARI
No. I won’t.
CRAIG
He gave it to you.
SHARI
I won’t. I don’t want to.
CRAIG
You don’t have a choice.
The man in black places his hand on Shari’s back.
MAN IN BLACK
It’s time to go, miss.
Thick, mascara-laden tears now stream down Shari’s face.
SHARI
No. Please. You have to come.
CRAIG
There’s no room for me.
SHARI
(screaming)
Take it. Take my seat. I don’t want it.
Craig looks at Shari for an extended second. He looks into her eyes. He then looks at the building behind her, and straight back to her.
CRAIG
Bye.
MAN IN BLACK
I’m sorry. It’s time to go.
Shari attempts to climb back over the police barricade, but the suited man stops her by placing both his hands on her shoulders.

MAN IN BLACK (CONT’D)
I’m sorry.
SHARI
(screaming)
No. No. I won’t go. NO!
Her cries are loud and heavy now. She’s fighting with the man holding her, but he’s just too strong. He lifts her up and begins to walk into the building.
SHARI (CONT’D)
(screaming)
No!!! Please don’t make me. I can’t do this without you. Please! We need you!
Craig looks on as the distraught girl begins to cry louder and louder, screaming for him. His eyes begin to well up. The man walks up the stairs, undisturbed by the writhing girl in his arms. The door to the skyscraper slides open, and the man walks through it, with Shari still in his arms, fighting to get back to the man she loves. She never makes it. The door closes behind them.
CUT TO:
BLACK.

 

8. INT. SHIP LOOKOUT – NIGHT (OUTER ORBIT, 2028)
The interior of the lookout is metal and more metal. Shari stands on a grated surface looking out of a large thick glass window. Outside is nothing but space and stars. In the centre of the view though, is a large blue planet, with specks of green and brown. It looks like a floating jewel suspended in nothing, sparkling in the sun’s rays.
Shari looks out at it coldly, with no emotion. She’s lost in thought.
The sound of a sliding door echoes off the walls behind her. She doesn’t turn around at first.
Two pairs of walking feet clink on the metal grating. One pair hard, the other soft. A young girls voice sounds.
YOUNG GIRL
Mummy!
Shari turns around.
KAREN
There you are.
Karen stands at the door next to a small child, who appears to be about four, with long dark brown hair. The girl wears a night gown far too big for her. Shari wipes a her wet eyes and sniffs. She clears her throat.
SHARI
Yeah, honey?
KAREN
I found your little stowaway wandering the corridors.
YOUNG GIRL
I couldn’t sleep, mummy.
Shari holds out her arms, and the girl runs into them. Karen walks up behind Shari. Shari looks at Karen sternly.
SHARI
Thank you.
Through pursed lips, Karen makes a noise of disapproval. She puts her hand on Shari’s shoulder and pushes down softly.
KAREN
Keep a closer eye on your daughter, Shari. The fates brought her here. They could take her away.
Karen begins walking out the room.
SHARI
Stay here, baby.
She puts her daughter down, and spins on her heels, walking after Karen.
SHARI (CONT’D)
Karen.

 

9. INT. HALLWAY – NIGHT (OUTER ORBIT, 2026)
Karen turns around.
KAREN
Yes?
With all of her might, Shari SLAPS Karen across the cheek. Karen looks back at her, horrified. Her cheek stains red.
SHARI
I’m done with people telling me what to do.
Karen whimpers, and turns around. She limps away, holding the cheek with her hand.
Shari watches her go.
10. INT. SHIP HULL – NIGHT
Shari enters the room again, and walks over to the girl. She picks her up as before. The girl’s eyes are transfixed on the giant blue-green gem in the sky. Shari is as well.
YOUNG GIRL
Is that where we are going?
Shari nods slowly.

YOUNG GIRL (CONT’D)
Have you been there before?
SHARI
(quietly)
Once. A very long time ago.
YOUNG GIRL
Is it nice there?
Shari looks through the glass at the blue planet. She wonders.
FADE TO:
BLACK.
FADE OUT

THE END

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Matthew Worboys

Mat Groom is a student of written communication, both non-fiction and creative, who has studied at the University of Western Sydney, Meadowbank TAFE and Macquarie University. He has taken his first steps into professional writing at the Gosford Express Advocate newspaper and geek/pop-culture website Silver Bullet Comics, and looks forward to building a diverse body of work, in many genres and mediums.

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