Arson

A small group of high-schoolers are condemned to staying in an asylum until they reach full mental health, with seemingly no escape.

(Setting: A mental ward, December 10th, 1969.)

SCENE 1:

The movie opens to a white room, where four people sit. The room seems to be some type of office, only containing an empty desk and ten chairs. Each person sits in one of these chairs; they have spaced themselves so they're as far away from each other as possible.

Nurse Millie enters (the head nurse of the ward), completely dressed in white and holding a clipboard.

MILLIE, gesturing to the four patients: Come with me.

Each stranger looks around, trying to make silent eye contact with the others. Eventually, they all stand up and look at the woman, who nods and continues into a wide hallway, also mostly white.

They all continue down the hallway for a bit, each patient looking around them in confusion and curiosity.

MILLIE, firmly: I'll show you to your rooms where you'll unpack your things and get settled. Pause. You may be here for a while.

Millie continues walking down the hallway, all four patients trailing behind her in a nervous clump.

MILLIE, gesturing to a room: Joan and Rose, you'll stay here. She gestures to another across the hall. David and Howard, this is your room. She watches as they go in, then adds: Find me in the cafeteria in twenty minutes. Try not to get lost. She looks at Joan. Alright, Joan?

JOAN: Yes, ma'am. I know.

Joan and Rose walk into their room. They put their suitcases on the beds and start to put their things away, both avoiding eye contact. An awkward silence lingers between the two.

ROSE: What was that about? Why'd she ask you?

JOAN: I've heard that she's as crazy as the patients that are condemned to living in the ward. Pay no attention to her.

Joan awkwardly turns back to her suitcase. She finishes unpacking quickly and sits on the edge of the bed, avoiding any further eye contact with her roommate. She seems to be very uneasy at the asylum/ward.

JOAN, after a long pause: So why are you here?

ROSE, confused: What?

JOAN: What'd they "diagnose" you with? Then, sarcastically: What was their "scientific hypothesis?"

ROSE, suddenly frustrated: I don't know. As far as I'm concerned, I'm fine in my head.

JOAN, with a small smile: That's what they all say.

Rose looks like she's about to say something, but she's interrupted by a scream in another room.

The two girls quickly run out, entering the room across the hall (where David and Howard are staying).

The room they run into is already in shambles, with things thrown about the room. David is standing against the wall, shouting unintelligibly. The girls are both frightened by the sight and stand wide-eyed.

ROSE: What's going on?

HOWARD: I don't know...he just started to shout, and ran over there, and--He trails off, shaking his head and staring at David.

DAVID, still shouting and crazed: Why are you looking at me like that?

ROSE, ignoring his unreasonable question: Why are you shouting?

DAVID: They're coming! They're coming, they're going to take me away, and I'll...his scared expression fades into an emotionless one as he relaxes.

ROSE, after staring at David for a while: Are you okay?

DAVID: Of course. Pause. Why is everyone staring at me?

JOAN: You just had a massive panic attack.

DAVID: A-are you sure?

JOAN: Pretty sure. Pause. Would I lie to you?

DAVID, after a few seconds of staring back, not reacting to Joan's rhetorical question: Darn it. Not again...

ROSE, with a nervous look: Again?

DAVID, now frustrated: That's what I said.

HOWARD: We know what you said--

DAVID, interrupting him: Just leave me alone, alright? Pause. You're looking at me like I'm crazy.

JOAN, with a grimace: Why do you think we're here?

A long silence follows, the four new members of the asylum standing together in worry.

ROSE, after a long silence: Because the people who put us here are mistaken idiots.

JOAN: No kidding.

The End

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