The time travelling library

This is the first chapter of Time, Space and novels written in screenplay form

FADE IN: EXT. COUNTRYSIDE IRELAND- 1986- DAWN- ESTABLISHING SHOT

 

A dark and spooky house is sat upon a large hill overlooking a small village. Stretching out from around the house is a cemetery, the headstones old and fractured. A tracking shot shows that the crypts are covered in moss and small patches of grass that grow from the cracks. Spiders and ants run free, and birds can be heard coming from the woodlands that surround it, each gargantuan tree covered with poison ivy. Beyond the woods is a large driveway, the concrete cracked from years of use, with bushes and foliage on either side. Halfway up the drive is a large iron gate, with ugly stone gargoyles on either side, their faces contorted into gruesome expressions that have been worn with time, only to make them all the more hideous. Beyond the rusting gates, the house stands, an ominous sight to anyone who passes it on a dark night. The bricks used are grey and worn, with moss and foliage creeping out from the cracks. The windows are boarded up, and the door has been kicked in. Huge ravens perched on the chimney and roof, their caws echoing into the night.

 

INT: THE HOUSE

 

Inside the house, bare floorboards and wooden panelled walls stretch out along the corridor, all the surfaces covered with a thick layer of dust. In each of the rooms, all the furniture is covered with old and dirty white sheets. Tiny beams of sunlight streak in through the windows, casting light over the ants and cockroaches running across the floor. There are old paintings hung on the walls, of strange looking, old fashioned people. Tall suits of armour lean into the corridor and small birds chirrup and fly from the rafters above. In the middle of the hallway there is a large staircase with a deep red carpet, and upstairs several bedrooms. The dust-sheets can be pulled back to reveal large four-poster beds and dressing tables, the décor of the room very old fashioned. The entire house is huge and decorated in a Tudor style.

 

CLOSE UP of a door at the end of one hallway, battered and kicked in, but a noticeably different shade of brown than the other doors, it seems to have a mysterious glow, and exudes strangeness.

 

AILÍS (V.O)

But that was before

 

BEGIN TITLES

As the scene DISSOLVES IN to INT: HOUSE- 2005

 

Now the house is empty with freshly painted walls. Bright sunlight shines in from the newly paned windows, and the old furniture is now replaced with new items, a television, a sofa and a hi-fi system. The once bare floorboards are now covered with wooden flooring that gleams in the light. The suits of armour are gone, the paintings replaced with photographs. The red carpet on the stairs is still there, but it has been washed and vacuumed. The bedroom has been decorated; the walls now painted a shocking pink, with lime green curtains. The sheets on the four-poster are replaced with a green duvet, and a heap of soft toys sits at the end. A computer sits in the corner, next to a large stereo and a full length mirror. There is a modern looking wardrobe and chest of drawers, with bottles of nail polish and makeup scattered on top. The camera tracks out of the bedroom to go down the strange hallway from before, the other doors along the hall have been painted and glossed, but the mysterious door has not been altered at all, as though no one has noticed it. It is still cracked and faded, and an orange glow is coming from beneath the doorframe. The camera zooms towards the keyhole, and it looks as though we are about to see what is inside the room, but as the camera moves through the keyhole the screen FADES TO black.

 

AILÍS (V.O) (CONT’D)

 

It had taken months to finish the house, and there it was. But I still felt a sense of foreboding as I walked inside, as though something bad had happened there many years ago. The house scared me slightly. I didn’t like it at all. Which was a shame, because it was my house.

 

EXT. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA- DAYTIME

 

Ailís, 19, and her father Stíofán, 39, are packing cardboard boxes into a moving truck. They walk between the moving truck, a generic white van that is dusty and needs a good wash, and a large attractive house with an outside pool and palm trees along the sidewalk. Ailís walks into the house for one last box, and we can see that it is full of photographs. We can see a few of the photos at the top of the box, one of an attractive 30-something year old woman, with red hair, smiling and hugging a younger version of Ailís, another photo showing the same woman but much younger, in a wedding dress with Stíofán standing by her side smiling.  Ailís picks up the box, looks around the room and walks back outside sadly. She glances back at the house forlornly before getting into the car with her father, placing the cardboard box on the back seat, and driving off.

 

STÍOFÁN:

 

Cheer up love; it’s a new start eh? It’ll be great; we haven’t lived in Ireland since you were 9. I know we’re not moving back to our old village, but it’s close enough, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

 

AILÍS:

 

Yeah I guess. But I miss Mam

 

AILÍS looks out of the window and closes her eyes

 

CUT TO: EXT- CALIFORNIA- BARE STRETCH OF ROAD- MIDDAY

 

Ráichéal, 39, is jogging along the road listening to an MP3 player. From the POV of the car driver, we see a car speeding towards her, swerving and knocking her down deliberately, then shooting away back up the road. The camera zooms into a CLOSE UP of Ráichéal lying still on the road. We can still hear the music coming from her MP3 player.

 

CUT BACK TO AILÍS as she opens her eyes

 

 

STÍOFÁN:

 

Well, that’s why we’re moving, to get away from it all. It’ll be fun, just you and me, and Feard when he gets home from the navy. Surely you can’t wait to see your brother again?

 

AILÍS:

(Sighing)

Yeah I suppose. After all, what can possibly go wrong?

 

INT. THE HOUSE—CORRIDOR- EVENING

 

The camera follows Ailís, a bored expression on her face, walking around the house trying to find a secret passageway of some sort. Her father has gone out, and there is nothing good on TV. She is walking along one of the corridors that is never used. We recognise it as the corridor with the mysterious door. She looks into some of the rooms. Most of them are empty, or full of boxes that haven’t been unpacked yet. When she gets to the end of the corridor, she notices the door that looks out of place. It doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the corridor. The other doors have been painted over, and made to look modern. This one looks like it has just been avoided by the painters and decorators. She tries to open it, but it is locked. She pulls a hair grip from her hair, and uses it to pick the lock. She opens the door and peers inside. It is a large library with thousands of books on the shelves. There are stacks of books on the floor and on the chairs and tables. There is a large window at one end, giving just enough light to read by. She walks over to the nearest pile of books and has a closer look. They are all classics; ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Sense and Sensibility’, ‘Wuthering Heights’. There are also a few newer ones, for example the ‘Narnia’ series and ‘Harry Potter’

 

AILÍS:

(surprised and confused)

Hang on a minute, no-one’s lived in this house since 1926. How could all these modern books get here? What on earth?

 

STÍOFÁN: (O.S)

(shouting from a distance)

Ailís? Have you realised what the time is? You’d better get to bed; you have a lot of unpacking to do tomorrow and you don’t want to waste half the day sleeping! I’ll see you in the morning; I’m going to bed myself now. Night darling, love you.

 

AILÍS:

(yelling back)

Sure thing Dad, see you in the morning! Night.

 

Ailís exits the library, making sure to place the book in her hand back onto the table on which she found it. CLOSE UP of a copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ on the small round table nearest the door.

 

INT. KITCHEN- MORNING

 

Ailís and Stíofán are eating breakfast silently. He kisses her goodbye and leaves the room. We hear the sound of the door slamming. She also leaves the room and returns to the library. She immediately goes to the small round table on which she left the copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ the night before. However, it is not there, nor are any of the other books from before. She looks around confusedly, shrugs her shoulders when she doesn’t see anything out of place, and glances around the room looking for more modern books. She discovers a Johnny Depp autobiography and a copy of ‘Treasure Island’ She settles down in a chair with the latter and opens it.

                      

 

 

AILÍS:

(reading from the book)

 

Squire Trelawney, Dr Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen, having asked me to write down the particulars about Treasure Island…

 

She is interrupted by a noise behind her. It sounds like footsteps, but instead of the rhythm of footfall, we hear an alternated step, thud. The noise gets louder as Ailís begins to notice it and glance up from her book.

 

STRANGER: (O.S)

 

Arr, and who may you be?

 

She spins around and is shocked to see a man with his left leg cut off at the hip, and carrying a crutch. He has a large red parrot on his shoulder, and is wearing a long blue coat, with gold detailing on it.

 

AILÍS:

(gasping)

Long John Silver!

 

LONG JOHN SILVER:

Yes, such is my name to be sure. And who may you be?

 

CLOSE UP of AILÍS’S shocked face as she faints

 

The End

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