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  • Writer's pictureAnshuman Arya

EXPECT SCREENPLAY ACTS I + II


 


EXPECT 

BY ANSHUMAN ARYA [2016]



 


LOGLINE


“Expect” is a captivating tale of intertwined destinies and hidden truths, where a teenager, his teacher, and a rookie cop grapple with their past and present in a small town.


SYNOPSIS


“Expect” unfolds in a small town, focusing on the lives of TJ, a troubled teenager, Ms. Keene, his empathetic school teacher, and Rookie, a fresh police officer. The narrative explores their personal journeys and how their paths cross in unexpected ways.


TJ, grappling with his past, finds an unlikely ally in Ms. Keene, who goes beyond her role as a teacher to understand and help him. Their bond deepens as they navigate through personal and societal challenges.


Parallelly, Rookie, the new cop in town, is thrown into the deep end as he encounters mysteries that shake up the quiet town. His character arc from a naive newcomer to a determined officer forms a crucial part of the narrative.

The story also introduces ‘O’, a mysterious entity whose presence adds a layer of intrigue to the plot. As the characters’ lives intertwine, they uncover truths that have been long buried.


“Expect” is a compelling narrative that explores themes of resilience, redemption, and the power of unexpected relationships. It’s a story that reminds us that everyone has a past, and sometimes, the most unexpected people help us face it.





 


ACT I



 


 

EXT. CLEARING IN THE WOODS - NIGHT


A dying fire casts flickering shadows in the circular clearing,

80 feet across, under a dark sky full of stars.

CHIEF (43), sinewy and rugged,

pokes at the embers,

gazing up at the stars.


CHIEF

Say, ROOKIE?

Ever seen this kind of thing before?


CLOSE-UP: 

ROOKIE (21), tired and bulky,

adjusts his glasses and yawns.


ROOKIE

Nah, CHIEF. Only heard about.


CHIEF

They'll be out soon.


CHIEF gets up, stretches,

and walks away from the fire.


CHIEF (CONT'D)

Wake her up.


ROOKIE

Hey, O! It's almost time.

Look sharp.


O (age unknown), in all black,

with pale skin and purple eyes,

smirks as she works a switchblade.


O

Sharper than the blade in my back.


O gets up and joins CHIEF at the edge of the clearing,

looking up in silent observation.


CHIEF

You have the cube primed?


O

Affirmative.


ROOKIE fiddles with the fire,

then joins the others, grumbling.



ROOKIE

Are we safe with her, CHIEF? T

his ain't looking like anything my mind can understand.

I thought you said...

What does she know, this weird doll in black?

Tell me! I didn't sign up for this!


He looks up, panicked, then turns to CHIEF and O,

who share a concerned look.


CHIEF

Come with me. Both of you. It's time.


O

I can feel it coming.


They walk to the center and kneel.

O holds up a black cube, mesmerizing them,

then places it in the embers.


O (CHANTING)

I expect nothing of this life,

except to expect you do the same.


She repeats this two more times as the cube begins to glow.


FADE TO BLACK WITH AUDIO:


 


FADE IN.



INT. PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE, AARONDALE SCHOOL - DAY


MAN (V.O./O.S.)

I expect you to do something with your life.

What's this mess you are getting into?


We are introduced to TJ (17), with a bleeding nose,

sitting in front of PRINCIPAL TANNER (60),

staring at his shoes.

He is tall and lanky,

with a mop of brown long hair on his head,

dressed in old tattered jeans and

a jumper that's a size too big.


Principal Tanner thoughtfully scratches

his oversized nose as he exhales a puff

of smoke out the side of his puckered old mouth,

crossing out words on a paper.


He sits uncomfortably in his chair.


The room stinks of burnt tobacco and cheap air freshener.

The radio is softly playing a classical Symphony.

The walls are lined with leather-bound volumes.


PRINCIPAL TANNER

(Without looking up)

You hear me, boy!?


TJ shifts in his chair.

There's a knock on the door, and MS. KEENE (37) enters

hurriedly with a pile of files.

She wears her skirt right above the dimples of her knee,

her smart wide neck jacket blouse buttoned just right,

and has a friendly way about herself.


TJ turns around manages a sheepish smile.

She places her files with the others on a table,

and smiles back at TJ,

whose eyes are slipping slowly down her body.


She notices this and stops.


He notices her noticing that.


TJ looks red faced and turns back.


PRINCIPAL TANNER

(Without looking up, impatiently)

What can I do you for now, Ms. Keene?


Ms. Keene moves around behind TJ,

and looks sullenly and disapprovingly at the principal.

She walks around to the side of the table,

right in between the two, inhales,

over crossed arms.


TJ looks up sideways at her hooped copper earrings

dangling suggestively from her lobes.

He can smell her enticing dragon fruit fragrance.

His mouth opens a little, very slowly,

as her soft, pink lips move to form words.


MS. KEENE

Principal Tanner, I was there.


She exhales and puts a foot down

sending a shockwave up her body.

The curls of hair over her shoulder bounce playfully.

She pulls in the bangs in front of her eyes

over her ear and bends forward

with her hands on the table.


 

MS. KEENE (CONT'D)

It happens every time.

Look, I have known this boy,

and his mother was like an elder sister to me.

He isn't a bad kid.


TJ is hallucinating.


MS. KEENE (CONT'D)

I had no one.

I cannot let the same happen to TJ.


Her gaze turns to TJ.

His eyes say nothing.

He turns his gaze to the principal,

who looks up for the first time.


PRINCIPAL TANNER

Slow down there.

This boy is up to no good.

It's the tenth time in a week.

I never expected this but what can I do,

the parents will be all over me.


MS. KEENE

(Adamantly)

This is not right.

He is being provoked!

I shall move the board to look into it at the next meeting.

This is not how we deal with his situation.


PRINCIPAL TANNER

(Sternly)

Ms. Keene, you will do no such thing.

His expulsion is final.


MS. KEENE

He has nowhere to go,

they'll drop him in some phony factory foster care program

and his future is ruined.

Can't you see?

How can you be so ok about these things?


PRINCIPAL TANNER

Are you forgetting the consequences

we've had to face over

the past week because of this one boy!?

One boy!

We don't want this spreading in our halls!

These halls are sacred!

If you care so much why don't

you take him with you.



MS. KEENE

You know what?

In fact, I will.

I will put my papers in right now.

This has been in my folder for a long time now.

Now is better than ever.


Ms. Keene walks back towards the files,

opens a folder,

takes out a sheet of paper and

walks over to Principal Tanner's desk,

and slides her resignation letter towards him.


She smiles at him and mouths 'you dick',

and turns to TJ.


MS. KEENE

(Her best smile back on)

TJ, maybe you can help me

carry the boxes to my car?

Are we done here, Tanner?

I'll see you in court.




CUT TO:


EXT. SCHOOL PARKING LOT - DAY


Car trunk shuts close.

We see a Parking lot full of cars

but not a single person around,

as school is still in session.


Ms. Keene walks around her mini hatchback,

carrying a small box and

gets into the driver's seat.

The midday sun is a little too hot

and bright for the season,

and the breeze is mild.


TJ stands next to her window,

head above the roof level so

he can get one last look down her blouse.


He can't help himself.


He notices her every movement as

she sets up in her car,

as she pulls her skirt higher to drive comfortably,

as she clips off her high heels bending

under the steering wheel,

her mane of sun kissed hair falling

across one shoulder covering her face;


when she comes up and turns,

and TJ looks away right in time.


MS. KEENE

That's the last of it. Thanks. TJ.


TJ

Anytime, Ms. Keene.


MS. KEENE

Please, call me April now.


TJ

Uhhh...


MS. KEENE

Oh come on, I'm not your teacher anymore

and we're both out of this school and

it'll make me feel so awkward. And listen...


(suddenly looks serious, even somewhat guilty.)


...What I said in there about taking you with me...

you know I can't right?


TJ

Oh oh..no no..

(looks towards the school building.)

It's perfectly fine Ms. Keene...


MS. KEENE

(Interjecting)

April

(smiles)


TJ

Alright, April. It's perfectly fine.

I already have someone coming in

to take me tomorrow morning.

I'll get my stuff packed tonight and leave.


APRIL

You know I will come visit you, right?

We'll apply as soon as we can.

I just don't want this to stop.

But we have to be careful.


Are you going to be careful for me, TJ?

For CJ? We can't slip up.


TJ

I understand. But, I still feel you

shouldn't have just quit your job...

I feel guilty.


April parts her lips into her dazzling

white smile and fixes her hair in the side mirror.

She puts her shades above her brow

and throws her arm over the window.


TJ bends a little lower.


APRIL

(Exhales deeply, faces TJ)

I saw you looking earlier.

Maybe we should talk about that tonight.


TJ looks straight into her eyes,

almost about to burst out crying,

but she places her hand in his hand

and pulls him closer.


He swims in her fragrance;

when she grabs his arm,

pulls herself halfway up out of her window,

close to his face and leans into his ear.


TJ feels a shiver run down his spine.


APRIL

I expect nothing of this life,

except to expect you do the same.


 



 

ACT II


 

FADE FROM BLACK:



INT. BOOKSTORE - DAY


We see a long aisle in a very old,

prosperous bookstore.

Early morning sunlight coming through ventilators

fills up the high ceilings,

and ambient lighting up the whole interior.

We see all the fine woodwork and masonry.


The shelves in the aisles themselves are

stocked from floor to ceiling,

the sloping roof above supported by rafters,

making the whole place appear bigger and airy.

The floor is carpeted in rich red all through.


There are several lamp lit reading tables

at the far narrow end of the rectangular bookstore.

The semi circular tables covered in dark green felt cloth,

are accompanied by three cushioned wooden chairs each.


The sound of someone typing away

at a typewriter can be heard from the

tiny office behind the counter, which is

attended to by the owner,

MR. BISHOP CALDWELL (aging, old).


He sits on his rich leather reclining chair

behind the counter, idly looking up at the dust particles

dancing in a shaft of light coming through the rafters,

his long, lean face, lined by grizzly white hair,

showing no emotion;


when suddenly the bell clinks,

and into the bookstore enters

ELLA GRINSWALD (13) with her little brother

WILL GRINSWALD (11).


Both the children are dressed elegantly,

with their jet black hair combed and set,

and shoes buckled and polished.


They walk up to the counter.


MR. CALDWELL

(elated, standing up)

Well, hullo and good morning, kids!

Have you got me something?


ELLA AND WILL

(in unison)

Good Morning, Mr. Caldwell.


ELLA

(cont'd)

Mother sent this and told not to

take anything from you in return.


Ella brings out a neatly wrapped brown paper bundle

with "ACCEPTED" stamped across it in red ink,

and places it on the counter.

MR. CALDWELL examines the package and

takes it into the office.


The sound of the typing stops, and we hear a short,

mumbled conversation, then MR. CALDWELL comes out.

The typing resumes.


MR. CALDWELL

Well, I shall call your mother with my thanks...

and thank you! Now! What shall it be today?

(he smiles at them, and walks around the counter)


Mr. Caldwell comes up to the door and

flips the "OPEN" sign to "CLOSED".

He picks up three Styrofoam cups and

a flask of steaming hot chocolate and beckons the children.


Ella helps Will take off his winter coat and

gloves and hangs it next to hers on the coat rack.

Ella smiles at Will who looks really excited and happy.


They follow MR. CALDWELL to the end of the room

where the reading tables are.


As if a ritual, they all sit around the table in the corner.

The light of the lamp, hanging from the rafters overhead,

catches the big gold ring on Mr. Caldwell's

left hand as he opens a black, leather-bound diary.


WILL

(excitedly)

I'll begin! I'll begin!


MR. CALDWELL

(chuckling)

Oh alright young sir! Let's see it.


Will reaches into his trouser pockets and

brings out a deck of plain white cards.

He takes one out and places it at the center

of the round table, under the lamplight, for effect.


He places the rest carefully and deliberately aside.


ELLA

Flip it.



WILL

Wait.


Will pretends to stretch and exercise

his fingers to build anticipation,

as he is the center of attention;

when ELLA impatiently just flips the card.


WILL

(heartbroken)

Why? Why would you do that?


ELLA

"PROVIDENCE". Ooh big word Will.

(She mocks)


Will pulls his sister's hair and she smacks his hand away.


MR. CALDWELL

Now behave children!

Remember that we have very little time. (winks)

Will, you have something to say?


WILL

(unsure)

I was hoping to tell you, but I have forgotten now.

When I read it, I felt something, like I saw some memory,

like I was in it, flying, above a forest.

There was a girl, with something really dark.

It was all really dark. I... can't...


Mr. Caldwell opens the flask and fills

three cups full of creamy hot chocolate and

the kids pick up their glasses with both hands

to keep them warm.


MR. CALDWELL

Did you meditate on it? Later?


Will stays silent.

Ella takes his hand in hers to comfort him.


ELLA

He says he has never been this scared

by a dream before, but it was nothing like a nightmare.

He has had trouble sleeping since.

But we were hoping you could shed some light on him.


Suddenly there is a high pitched beeping sound

coming from an aisle.

Mr. Caldwell gets up swiftly from the table and

walks down towards a shelf of books.



Ella, still holding her cup of hot chocolate,

gets up and follows him, leaving Will sitting there,

slightly confused.

He continues to sip his hot chocolate,

never letting Ella out of sight.


He sees them go around an aisle,

out of his field of view and he hears hushed murmurs.


MR. CALDWELL

(holding up a book)

This is it. This one right here.


ELLA

We can still save him! He needs to know!


MR. CALDWELL

(shocked)

Wait a minute.

How do you know his passage is not clear?

Or any of this?


ELLA

We've been coming here for a long time,

but today, I just know.


MR. CALDWELL

And how do I help you?

You see how time is a fallacy?


ELLA

I see now. I can't be helped. I have left.


MR. CALDWELL

(smiles reassuringly)

I know. We don't have much time.

(winks)


ELLA

Are you...?


WILL (O.S.)

What are you talking about?


We see Will creeping from behind a shelf,

coming closer to Ella.

Ella holds out one hand, warm from holding the cup,

and he grabs it.


Mr. Caldwell turns towards him and takes a knee.


MR. CALDWELL

Will, page 56. About Providence.

(he smiles and gives him the book)





Ella leads Will back to the reading table

while Mr. Caldwell walks towards his office.

Ella hurriedly helps open the book to page 56

that is titled "Life is but a weaving"


Will begins to read.


As he reads,

we hear it fade into choral music

based off the words of the poem.


FADE OUT



 



MONTAGE - VARIOUS


FADE IN (music cont'd)


INT./EXT. Grinswald Residence - We see Ella and Will,

younger, and growing up in a wealthy

upstate mansion with their parents and farm animals.

These shots intertwine with the whole montage till the end.


V.O.

"My life is but a weaving. 

Between my God and me. 

I cannot choose the colors. 

He weaveth steadily."


(music cont'd)


Police crisscross yellow taping up the premises

of the residence and media teams clicking pictures outside.


V.O.

"Oft' times He weaveth sorrow; 

And I in foolish pride. 

Forget He sees the upper. 

And I the underside."


(music cont'd)


We see newspaper clippings


"Lady and Lord Grinswald Dead! Children Missing!"

With a family picture. "Elitist Cult behind Grinswald Murders".

 We see detectives/police speaking to all

the mansion staff and vacating the building.


House for Sale sign.


V.O.

"Not 'til the loom is silent. 

And the shuttles cease to fly. 

Will God unroll the canvas?

And reveal the reason why."


FADE OUT



BACK TO SCENE


FADE IN (music cont'd)


Mr. Caldwell comes back to the reading table

with a package in his hand and

places it in front of Will.


It says "REJECTED" in red ink.

Mr. Caldwell and Ella share a smile,

he walks up to her and

hands her a piece of folded paper.


MR. CALDWELL

Don't read it till you get back. Now off you go.

(he smiles)


Ella collects all the white cards and gives them to Will.


ELLA

These will come in good use.


We see Ella and Will grab their coats and

head out the door,

look back at Mr. Caldwell one last time,

he waves,

the bell ringing, the typist typing.


The door shuts.


FADE TO BLACK


BACK TO MONTAGE - VARIOUS


FADE FROM BLACK (music cont'd)


INT./EXT. Grinswald Residence

Sounds of shouting and breaking wood.

We see firemen coming out of the cellar,

with shock on their faces.(ad lib)


We see a team of paramedics rushing

into the broken down door.


Inside we see two children in ragged clothes,

emaciated, in the dark, their wrists and ankles

tied up to the floor with chains.

The room is filthy and stinks,

with dirt marks on the damp white walls.


V.O.

"The dark threads are as needful. 

In the weaver's skillful hand. 

As the threads of gold and silver. 

In the pattern He has planned."


(music cont'd)


INT. CELLAR

We see a close up of a piece of paper

in Ella's cold dead hand,

that drops down to the floor as paramedics

put her on a stretcher,

which reads in handwritten cursive...


"I expect nothing of this life,

except to expect you do the same."


We see Will, move his head up and groan and

paramedics treating him.

He's alive.

They put him on a stretcher and

rush him outdoors.


He breathes shallow, covered in

warmers and white sheets, still shivering,

the police trying to contain the public and

the media,

the paramedics, his condition.


V.O.

"He knows, He loves, He cares; 

Nothing this truth can dim. 

He gives the very best to those 

Who leave the choice to Him."


(music cont'd)


We see Will, under a spotlight,

opening the package Mr. Caldwell gave him.

It holds a keychain shaped like a black cube,

with a long brass key attached to it.


He opens a locker with it,

which has a tape inside.

He pulls it out and puts it in the player.

It's Ella's voice, in a loop, saying...


CLOSE UP ON WILL. ON STRETCHER. ZOOM INTO EYE.


WILL

(opens his eyes wide and gasps through the oxygen mask)


Find O! Find O!

(faints)


END MUSIC. FADE TO BLACK



 




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