DOWN A DARK PATH
A Work in Progress. First Draft Released as Written Every Wednesday.
INT. THE TUNNEL – CONTINUOUS.
It takes a moment for Tommy’s eyes to adjust to the darkness.
Ahead he sees the behind of his friend disappearing down the tunnel.
Tommy crawls on and as he does so the sounds of the party fades away and are replaced by a strange electronic throbbing which we as the audience would assume is merely the soundtrack.
It’s also brighter ahead.
There’s a light.
Pale. Dim. Yellow.
Tiny Points of light mimicking glow-worms line the tunnel ahead.
Tommy looks closer and sees they’re tiny LED fairy lights interspersed with fake vines, the type you’ll find in family restaurant.
As Tommy proceeds the light ahead seems to get stronger as does the ambient electronica.
There’s no sign of Gillan.
Tommy looks behind him and sees someone looking into the hole then that person disappears.
Tommy turns to face forward pushing on and out into…
INT. THE GROTTO – CONTINUOUS.
It’s a lounge shaped room. How they managed to carve this out is anyone’s idea. Maybe it’s an old loading bay but whatever it’s origin this fades in significance to Tommy as he looks around him.
The Glow-worm LED theme is continued into the grotto which itself is lined with every kind of green vine and plant and bright garish flower you could imagine. Around the walls are dozens of signs with different phrases and slogans. A fortune-teller’s lamp shade is pulled low to an even lower table where directly opposite Gillan sits crossed legged.
Squeezed in around the table with Gillan are half a dozen revellers and a couple of people dressed people in animal masks.
They look for all the world like they’ve stepped out of the pages of a Lewis Carroll novel and indeed this is the intention.
Sitting at the head of the table is THE MAD HATTER making tea.
Tommy feels a hand on his shoulder and a girl in a WHITE RABBIT mask, points to Tommy’s shoes and then to a corner where half a dozen or so pairs of shoes lie. Tommy gets the hint and slips out of his shoes and hands them to the White Rabbit. She carefully places the shoes on the rack and gestures for him to sit around the table with the others including the still maniacal Gillan.
Tommy goes to say something but The White Rabbit shushes him and points to the sign on the wall that reads “No talking… for now”.
Tommy sits and looks around. In the centre of the table is a miniature tea set in with a piping hot tea pot of oddly normal size.
All but The Hatter and Gillan are sipping out of the tiny tea cups.
The Hatter smiles at the newcomers and pours tea into tiny cups and hands them to Gillan and Tommy.
Tommy pauses before sipping.
The White Rabbit places a cool hand on Tommy’s shoulder and points to one of the signs that has a cartoon character saying “It’s a lovely brew”.
Tommy takes a sip.
And then another.
Everyone is super chilled. The place is intoxicating.
And then the Mad Hatter does a card trick.
It is a simple “pick a card” trick but it is all done in silence. Total silence.
It is beautiful and elegant.
Somehow the audience knows to clap quietly like they are all French mimes.
The Hatter follows it up with another trick which again is performed in silence and again is greeted with silent applause.
The Hatter mimes “One more?”. Everyone demands more, to which he obliges.
Once finished The Hatter takes his chapeau off and places it on the table. Without a blink a HAND PUPPET FIELD MOUSE pops out with it’s own begging hat to which all the guests drop coins.
Except for Tommy who holds onto his money for a moment.
He looks at the field mouse and he swears that the mouse puppet is talking to him.
Tommy leans in and as he does he and we start to hear a faint cockney voice coming from the mouse.
At first we can’t hear it and it takes Tommy and the Mouse to be face to face, inches from each other for us to hear…
I said… If you’re not going to give me any money then maybe you can come and help with the washing up.
Tommy holds a pound coin up in between them.
Who are you?
The Mouse takes the coin and bites it to make sure it’s not real.
You know who I am.
And with that the mouse starts laughing.
Incensed Tommy pulls back as the mouse keeps laughing.
Who are you?
We hold on Tommy for a moment then violently zoom into him as the world zooms out.
We CUT TO Tommy’s view of the hat and we see Tommy’s vision zoom into the hat as the world zooms out and the Mouse disappears back into the Hatter’s hat.
Tommy reaches out into the Mad Hatter’s hat and he is sucked into the darkness down into the hat in Tommy’s own interpretation of the 2001 Star Gate scene.
EXT. TOMMY’S TRIP MONTAGE
Tommy travels down into the tunnel and we become Tommy’s eyes.
The occasional LED light speeds past followed by another then another until there’s a star field of lights streaking past him, streaking past us.
The star field becomes multifaceted, multicoloured fractured with polygonal shapes and neon daubs of vast nebulae. Tommy becoming a 16-bit part player in a low-res video game.
And with it the music intensified and mixes with a tune that Tommy recognises and loves and this becomes his theme tune.
Ahead an opening in the darkness. No a bright sun. Everything looks a little off like it’s all stop-frame animation, the staccato pulses at odds with Tommy being thrown about in the capsule of his own mind.
The sun gets bigger and we exit hyper space abruptly and we and Tommy hang there in space gazing upon the blazing star.
We start to slowly fall into the star, the enormous ball of fusion and as we get closer as we are almost upon it we start to see that it’s not a sun but a bright exit. The literal light at the end of the tunnel.
Tommy watches a far off sea of asteroids racing past, on them people and aliens are partying waving at him.
Tommy is loving the ride, this hallucinogenic rollercoaster.
As we enter the sun/exit we are blinded for a moment then we splash into the cold air with Tommy now floating in imperceptible slow motion. It’s like being underwater. Like he’s back in the womb.
Tommy lets a bubble out and it hangs itself in slow motion before it wanders off and disappears into the void.
Tommy “Swims” through the air and up into the sky pushing against the air using it to propel himself up higher and higher until he sees the party as a small gathering built upon a tiny asteroid, it’s partiers little prince and princesses from every corner of the universe.
Then he dives down into the party below and the weird creatures catch him and he crowd surfs over this ocean of people to the tall black towers vibrating in shimmering iridescence, wave upon wave of energy warming Tommy until can no longer hold the energy.
He flings his arms out and the same beautiful energy that entered him explodes out to illuminate the void and we see a pulse, a reveal of reality in the scan lines of the wave of light pulsating in time to the music.
Tommy is now back in the party back in reality but everyone is dancing backwards or something else. Something strange. Unreal.
He watches himself shimmy past waving his arms like a monkey.
As a monkey he catches himself in the crowd for instant but when he blinks he is gone. He looks up and simultaneously finds him self looking down and from this height he dives again into himself as wave upon wave of intense pleasure echoes around the party.
He looks across the party and see’s himself and Gillan dancing like mad men by the speaker stack.
On the other side of the party the girl in the White Rabbit mask stands alone and disappears into the darkness.
Tommy is now back with Gillan and see himself going after the White Rabbit. He reaches out but Gillan tells him to forget.
So he does.
Man, He’s having a really good time.
So is Gillan. The man is peaking big time. Eyes the size of saucers.
Better than an half innit?
As the music rises the boys do so again and the world simultaneously expands and contracts as with it the needle drops.
The cycle is repeated. They come up again each CUT getting more chaotic more choppy. unreality smoothing out on the comedown.
We see the boys enjoying themselves and partying hard and we go with them every step of the way, up and down.
But nothing last forever and the rises become lesser and the falls more permanent and the whole evening starts to blur into itself.
Time mangled and folded repeated imperfectly and manically like Gillan’s grin all the while interspersed with fleeting images of the White Rabbit, The Field mouse puppet and occasional…her.
Her touch, her cold hands upon his face. The white Rabbit stands alone in the doorway of the dark room naked to the waist. As she tries to lift his face to see hers, he looks away to the ground to his feet.
(in slow motion)
Where’s my shoes.
He pukes throwing himself to the floor. The entrails of his vomit writhes like long earthworms and slugs his fingers intertwined with the vile vomit.
Tommy freaks and tries to get up falling completely over and back upon himself.
He tries to crawl away clinging to the cold dark concrete the point of his reality, the only thing he is sure is real.
Ahead down the path he looks back at himself and with a blink he is there ahead now looking back at where he was.
He walks and stumbles and time glitches for him jumping him forward down the road.
He’s confused – how did he get here?
He looks around and sees that he’s far far away from the party now, alone in an alley. He struggles to get up like something is after him but we only see darkness where we imagine there would be a creature there is only an empty space.
He vomits again. This time worms and snakes fall from his mouth making him gag even more. He scrambles at his mouth to pull the vomit out of his mouth to be rid of the darkness and he grabs one long worm a mucus covered squid-like leach and pulls even as it fights against him fights to stay within.
He pulls it free as it wraps itself around his arms.
He throws it far down the alley, but not far enough. It crawls back towards him. Violent. Angry. Relentless.
Tommy’s legs aren’t working and every time he tries to get up the world spins and he falls back.
This thing that is chasing him has gone.
He looks around to the end of the alley to the phone box. A red phone box.
If he can make it to there, to the box…
He hears the creature. Somewhere in the dark.
…If he can only make it into the light…
The creature is close.
…He can make it.
Out of the darkness a tall dark humanoid shape slowly emerges. Deliberate. Purposeful. Considered.
It looks at Tommy with seething indifference.
Tommy scrambles up as the figure advances.
Now his legs start to work and either the world still spining he fights the motion.
Not very successfully.
He stumbles up and sees the figure has no face just glitches and flickers of something else. Something hideous.
He doesn’t take his eyes of the figure until the squid makes a sound in nearby bush.
He swears the damn thing is toying with him.
He flicks his vision back to where the figure was but now the figure has somehow closed the gap and is now raising an arm outstretched towards him.
Tommy backs into another figure one that grips him tight.
Tommy fights against it. Fights hard spins and nearly knocks the new attacker back to the ground, but she’s strong and he feels her lips near his ear whispering but her can’t hear. We can’t hear.
We see the White Rabbit holding on to him and both are now on the ground. She still holding him. Holding tight. Not letting go.
It’s ok. It’s ok.
Tommy frantically looks around and the dark figure has gone.
There’s no sign of the squid creature, all there is a trail of sick and slim. Tommy is held fast, clenched in tight hugged by the white Rabbit.
WHITE RABBIT (CONT’D)
It’s ok. I got you.
Tommy looks deep into the shadows where the figure came from and he sees something disappear.
And then it’s gone.
And all that remains is the dark.
Tommy takes another deep breath and gradually he stops fighting and gives into her embrace.
The White Rabbit pulls her mask up to her head revealing May eyes red from tears and kissing her love on his cheek and stroking his head, desperate to calm Tommy down.
WHITE RABBIT (CONT’D)
I got you Baby. I got you.