Beautiful Souls, Incomplete
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- Beautiful Souls - (Short, Thriller)
- Synoposis: An aging man, terrorised by a mysterious shadow, has his daughter over for tea.
- A scene at midday fades in. The skies overhead are clogged with rain-heavy stormclouds. Thunder rumbles in the distance as leaves scatter across a quiet lane way, leading up to a front garden of a small, quaint little cottage. Strong winds sends them whirling into the air, rattling the front gates until the break open with an abrupt bang.
- A turn of the shot reveals a worn down shed hugging against the side of the house, its single door remaining firmly shut. It lingers in sight a moment before another transition of shots.
- Within a dusty hallway, an old man, Peter, wearing a cardigan and slacks, slightly stooped from old age, talks quietly on the phone with his back to the camera.
- "Yes, that sounds great dear," he murmurs into the receiver of a derelict wall-mounted phone and brushes back what little amount of grey hair he has left on his head.
- A woman's nasally high-pitched drone is faintly heard as he slumps into the side of a wall, pinching the bridge of his nose and closing his eyes as he's forced to listen.
- "No, it'll be great to see you." He insists, barely getting a word in. "I know, I know... Go on. I'll see you in a bit. Bye." He hangs up and stares off into space for a second.
- The camera follows behind as the old man starts toward the front door, peering past aged lace curtains of a window beside it briefly vefore turning into the living room.
- The static-laced voice of a male newscaster somberly filters through an old radio sat upon a coffee table at the center of the room: "--- That makes it the third suspected murder in under three months. An official statement from a representative of the police department is expected later today."
- Peter scoffs and in disgust, immediately walking toward the radio to switch it off. "Oh, shut up," he grumbles.
- Sagging down onto an armchair, he slumps himself forward and stares balefully at he radio as though it betrayed him.
- Cutting to the interior of an old bedroom, later that same night, Peter sits at the end of his bed. Wrinkled, sun-weathered features are twisted with building anxiety as he stares at the ground.
- A dark apparition floats into shot, circling around the room to surround him. He sees it from the corner of his eye, quickly burying his face in trembling hands.
- "No, please!" he shouts into the room in plaintive begging. "I-I... I can't do this!"
- A deep, whispering voice speaks, "Paige."
- Peter's head shoots up, stunned, mouth slightly agape. "No. No, really, I can't! N-Not Paige." He shakes his head emphatically, twisting around on the bed to frantically look after the shifting silhouette of the shadow to find it looming in a distant corner.
- It remains unmoved by the old man's simpering, uttering a short, "Tonight." before it moves away and disappears out of shot.
- Peter is left staring blankly off camera in despair, the color drained from his face. "Please... Anybody else..." he whispers into the dark of the room before falling back onto the bed in tears of frustration.
- Early the next day, the front entryway of the cottage pans into sight. The doorbell rings. A few seconds later, it rings again before Peter walks into shot, unlocks the door, and opens it a little to peer out the crack.
- He opens the door fully, revealing a young woman with blonde hair dressed neatly in black outwear standing at the front step. "Ah, Paige," he greets his daughter awkwardly, barely managing a smile.
- Paige gives a short laugh, arching a finely arched brow. "Expecting someone else, Dad?"
- Peter shakes his head quickly with a nervous chuckle, stepping aside to allow her inside. "Not at all, no. Come in."
- She steps in and shakes herself off, tugging a few leaves out of her blonde locks with a grimace. "Crazy weather out there," she observes in small talk.
- Peter spares the barest of glances out the window by the door. "Awful," he mutters. "Tea?"
- Paige flashes him a quick grin, "Please." Falling into step behind him, they move into the kitchen.
- Moments later, father and daughter sit nestled at a round dining table with cups of tea in front of them. The atmosphere is visibly strained, their conversation polite and dry.
- "You sure you don't want a biscuit?" Peter asks, reaching aside to nudge a tray of thinly-baked biscuits closer to the younger blonde.
- Paige shakes her head, barely smothering in a laugh as she brings her tea cup up for a light sip. "Yeah, dad, I'm fine."
- There is a long pause between them before she speaks again suddenly. "Awful news about those murders..."
- His face remains neutral, giving a solemn nod as he looks down at his tea. "Yeah. Animals," he mutters.
- Paige leans back in her seat, running a hand through her ponytailed hair with a long sigh. "Three young girls. I went to school with one of them. Sarah Whelan," she reminisces suddenly, looking across to her father. "Do you remember her?"
- Peter, eyes still fixed on his tea, shakes his head.
- "She wasn't all there," Paige goes on, absently fidgeting with the string attached to a tea bag still floating in her cup. "A bit simple-minded, like... Imagine doing that to a girl like her."
- Her green eyes glaze over, looking out the window to her right. "She was found right up the road..." she motions out in the yard, where a narrow road winds up through a grove of trees in the distance. "--In the trees. Blood everywhere..."
- Peter slams his hand down on the table, his eyes still not shifted from his cup, startling Paige out of her prattling.
- "Dad," she exclaims with alarm, looking over at him with uncertainty as a tear rolls down Peter's cheek.
- With a softer voice, she urges: "Dad, what's wrong?"
- Her father can only give a slow shake of his head, croaking out a hoarse, "I miss her."
- She sits quietly for a moment, then asks, "Mam?"
- Peter, still overwhelmed with emotion, nods. She reaches over and grabs his hand comfortingly.
- "I know," she whispers, "We all do."
- "Would it not help if you got out of here for a bit... Come spend a few days with us. As long as you like," she quickly suggests, squeezing his hand tighter with a reassuring smile.
- Peter squeezes his eyes shut, letting out a tremulous breath, "I-I can't..."
- Paige is quick to cut him off, frustration and concern leaking into her expression. "You can't just hide away, Dad. We all miss her. We all need each other now," she lectures, only to pause and soften her voice, eyes wet with unshed tears. "... You're shutting us all out."
- The observation hangs heavy in the air until Peter finally raises his head to stare into his daughter's eyes.
- Dejectedly, he whispers, "You don't want to be around me."
- Paige emphatically shakes her head, leaning over the table to gather up his wrinkled hands tighter in her grasp. "Dad! Of course we do. We're here to help."
- He snatches his hands free of Paige's grasp and abruptly rises, knocking his chair back. Wood scrapes against old tile, painfully loud in the heavy silence.
- The two stare at each other a moment before Peter rambles out an apology. "S-Sorry. I have to use the bathroom." Without waiting a response, he walks out of the kitchen. His daughter is left staring after him in uncertainty, hands fisted at the table's edge, before the shot pans away.
- A claustrophobic bathroom comes into sight, dimly lit with cracked porcelain features. Water flows continuously from the tap as Peter stands at the sink, staring at himself through the mirror.
- Disgusted, he wipes away his tears with shaking hands. "Pathetic," he whispers harshly at the sight of himself.
- The lights overhead flicker. A dark shadow drifts through the wall, settling in a loom just behind the old man.
- The color slowly drains from his face when he sees it in the mirror before his shoulders hunch themselves inward, making himself small. Fearful.
- "I-I'm trying," he blurts out, flinching hard.
- The shot tips downward, fixating upon his weathered hands gripping hard against the edge of the sink. Knuckles slowly turn white, the tremble of his arms intensifying.
- "NOW," it demands, its voice distorted, barely above a harsh whisper.
- Peter's body sags forward against the side of this sink, hanging his head low as tears of anguish and turmoil roll down his cheeks.
- "This is my daughter," he wails, his voice rising sharply in a sudden flare of anger. "Do you have any idea what you're asking me to do!?"
- "I need her..." The shadow slowly moves away from Peter before disappearing.
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