Contesting - Part 3
The following is the third part of an original series I’m writing and releasing exclusively as a serial to my audience on Substack.
It’s the pre-story to a thriller set in the not-too distant future.
A WOMAN and a MAN wake up in a room, wearing only their underclothes. They have no memory of who they are or how they got there. As they dialogue, faint memories of a common past materialize, as do strange objects that become clues to the tragic story of their arrival in the room. when start to piece together their history and the tragic events of the outside world, their quest for understanding becomes a fight for survival.
A WOMAN in her later 40s
A MAN of the same age who, like the woman, cannot remember his name
Paid subscribers can access behind the scenes audio notes from Andrew on the making of Contesting.
Contesting Part 3 - Separation
They both look back at each other. Slowly they walk to the centre of the space to the new objects. They each stand over one of them, pick them up. He holds an envelope. She holds a leather bound picture frame that opens like a book.
MAN Ladies first.
She slowly opens the book and when she sees the photo she drops it immediately in shock.
Frantic, she takes a few steps back.
What's come over you?
He picks up the case.
When she sees him reaching over to pick it up she quickly grabs it and takes it to the edge of the light.
MAN What's gotten over you?
WOMAN Leave me alone!
MAN Easy. What was in that?
WOMAN None of our business!
MAN Is it now.
WOMAN Leave me alone. Can't you see it's disturbed me? That it's pained me? Just leave it alone!
He steps to the other side of the space, away from her.
MAN I can't see what would disturb you so much. But I see that it's triggered you. Some sort of bad memory?
He steps toward her excitedly. She defensively clutches the object and hides it from her.
It's a good sign, though, isn’t it? Even if it's painful. Yes, don't you see. Your memory is coming back. No pain, no gain...
He looks at the envelope in his hand. Opening it, he takes out a photograph, when he sees it he drops to his knees.
It's the boy.
He has brown hair and brown eyes, just like you said.
He touches the photograph tenderly.
He looks over to the woman and holds the photograph to her, a gesture that transforms her countenance. She is pulled to him and to the photograph as if by a tractor beam.
WOMAN Your son?
WOMAN How do you know?
MAN I just do.
WOMAN Where is he?
MAN I don't know.
WOMAN What do you know?
MAN That I love him. Nothing more. What about you?
WOMAN I don't know anything either.
MAN This isn't the look of a woman who doesn't know anything. You know something!
WOMAN I don't.
MAN What is it?
WOMAN [Screaming] I want out of here! Let me out of here!
He walks over to her and hauls her by the arm.
MAN Do you know something about my David?
WOMAN [To the darkness] Why are you keeping us here?
MAN What do you know?
WOMAN [To the darkness] Let us out!
She shields herself from him, afraid. He lets her go.
MAN [Shouting beyond the room] I need to see my son! I need to know he's alright!
He clutches his head in pain.
Something terrible has happened. [To her] Hasn't it?
WOMAN I think so.
MAN [Shouting to the darkness] What happened to David?
I have a son. And his name is David.
MAN Yes. Is. Why would you ask such a thing?
WOMAN Think about where we are. If a bomb went off out there -
MAN Shut up!
WOMAN If a bomb went off out there and we're in here, alone -
MAN No, shut up! We don't know what happened.
She shrugs her shoulders.
I sure don't. What are you hiding from me - there - what are you hiding there that makes you so sure?
WOMAN A bitter memory. That's all. Trust me, okay?
MAN How do I know if I can? If I should?
WOMAN Trust me.