Footprints: An Online Soap -- Episode #25

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Episode #25
Immediately After #24

TIM rushes around a corner and runs right into ALAN, who stands with arms folded. CLAIRE comes bounding around the corner as well and runs into Tim’s back.
ALAN: Remember me?
TIM: I sure as hell do. Get out of my way!
He tries to push past, but Alan shoves him back.
ALAN: Stop right there.
He casts Tim and Claire a sinister look as he pulls out a handgun and aims it at them.
CLAIRE: Who is this, Tim?
TIM: It’s the guy who shot me - Alan.
CLAIRE: We’re in trouble.
ALAN: Uh-huh.
Alan nods in agreement as he continues to hold the gun to them.
SARAH and BRENT lie in their bed cuddling, both seemingly naked under the covers.
SARAH: Have I told you how much I love you?
BRENT: I dunno ... about 50 times today. But I’d love to hear it again.
She kisses him with a peck on the lips.
SARAH (CONT’D): Love -
She kisses him again, developing a rhythm.
She plants a final kiss on him, but he pulls her closer and the kiss grows deeper.
SARAH and BRENT lay together in bed, finishing a long kiss.
SARAH: Last night was absolutely perfect.
BRENT: Which part?
SARAH: All of it! (beat) But especially our night out on the town. I wasn’t expecting to go out … I can’t believe we’ve been married for three months already.
BRENT: I can hardly believe I’m married at all!
SARAH: It’s something I definitely won’t regret …
BRENT: Me neither.
They resume kissing. Sarah suddenly breaks away.
SARAH: I’ve got a great idea!
CRAIG is asleep on the couch. MOLLY comes out of the bedroom in her robe and looks around, making sure that Craig is still sleeping. She looks over him and pauses.
MOLLY (THINKING): What was wrong with Craig last night?
										FADE TO:
CRAIG and MOLLY stand in the middle of the room.
CRAIG: (angry) What the hell is going on here??
Molly, taken aback, doesn’t answer.
CRAIG: (shouting) Answer the question, Molly! What is going on?
MOLLY: (nervously) What do you mean, Craig?
CRAIG: What I mean is, why did you call Brent to come over instead of me?
MOLLY: Oh, that’s real mature, Craig. Get jealous at a time like this. (beat) He’s a cop. I needed protection. So I called him. I didn’t tell him to personally come over ... I just asked him to send people over.
CRAIG: Are you sure that’s all it was, Molly?
MOLLY: I’m positive.
										FADE TO:
MOLLY, in her robe, stands over CRAIG, sleeping on the sofa.
MOLLY (THINKING): Maybe it wasn’t just because Brent is a cop. Could I actually have used that as an excuse to see him? (beat) This has got to stop. He’s my sister’s husband. And whatever there could be, or there is, between us needs to stay hidden. Otherwise it could wreck the family …
She runs a hand through her hair, upset and confused. Then she proceeds to the front door and opens it. Reaching down for the newspaper, Molly screams.
ALAN has TIM and CLAIRE cornered and points a gun at them.
TIM: So what are you gonna do to us now?
ALAN: I’ve got half a good mind to shoot you again.
CLAIRE: Please … please … don’t shoot us. We’ve got a little boy who needs us. We have jobs … we have lives – if you just let us go we won’t breathe a word of this to anybody back home.
CLAIRE (THINKING): Except maybe the police.
ALAN: Do you think I’m a total idiot? I’m not gonna let you go! The boss would kill me! No, I think I know exactly what I’m gonna do to you!
He moves the gun just in front of their faces.
ALAN: Say your prayers …
Claire and Tim protest loudly.
ALAN: (angrily) Shut up! It’s over!
He prepares to squeeze the trigger.
JAMES (OS): Stop!
MOLLY bends down in the open doorway, screaming. She picks up a PINK PAPER HEART and stands.
CRAIG, sleeping on the couch, awakens suddenly as MOLLY screams. He jumps to his feet and rushes to the doorway, where she stands, holding the PAPER HEART. She has stopped screaming.
CRAIG: Molly, honey, what’s wrong?
MOLLY: Look what I found outside!
She shows him the heart, which reads: "Soon we’ll be together. Love, You-know-who."
CRAIG: I don’t believe it!
MOLLY: What?
CRAIG: No, just that this keeps happening. I mean, this guy has been after you for what, six months? You’d think he’d have done something by now.
MOLLY: (sobbing) I just wish it would end. I wish he’d just get over here and kill me already! I just want it to be over!
She collapses, weeping, in his arms.
CRAIG: Molly, I’d never – never let something like that happen.
SARAH and BRENT lie under the covers.
BRENT: What’s this great idea of yours?
SARAH: Remember when we got married, we said we’d have a reception for our families?
BRENT: (catching on) Yeah …
SARAH: Why don’t we do that? We’ll have a renewal of our vows, and then a huge reception. Your family can fly in for it and everything …
BRENT: I don’t know if that’ll be possible.
ALAN holds a gun in front of TIM and CLAIRE’S faces.
JAMES (OS): Stop!
JAMES steps into view and pulls the gun out of Alan’s hand.
JAMES: What the hell do you think you’re doing?
ALAN: I was gonna take care of them, boss – they were trying to escape, remember?
JAMES: Of course I remember.
ALAN: And if they get out, they’re gonna tell the feds that you’re down here – they’ll take the baby back and you’ll spend your life behind bars.
JAMES: I completely understand that, Alan.
ALAN: Then why won’t you let me off them?
JAMES: Oh, I just have something a little more (pause) fun in store for them.
He casts a maniacal look at a frightened Tim and Claire.
BRENT and SARAH lie underneath the covers talking.
SARAH: Why won’t it be possible, Brent? Do you not want to renew our vows?
BRENT: No, not that – I don’t know if my family’ll be able to come in.
SARAH: Oh – why?
BRENT: My sister has been trying forever to land a record deal, and she’s busy getting her demo tape ready. My dad and brother are busy running the newspaper. I don’t know if they could get the time off.
SARAH: For your wedding? Of course they could!
BRENT: Yeah, I guess … I’d love to have them here. They’d get along so well with your family.
SARAH: At least that takes care of the bickering in-laws problem. (beat) So this thing is a go?
BRENT: Definitely.
SARAH: Cool, because I couldn’t think of a better idea than pledging my undying love once again to my husband.
BRENT: Now that you mention it …
He pulls her into a passionate kiss and rolls on top of her.
On the floor of the enormous room is a large circular vat, the size of an above-ground backyard swimming pool. A system of walkways runs through the room, suspended above the vat. The steel platforms have waist-high railings on both sides and run across all walls and down the center of the room, over the middle of the vat.
A door opens along one wall, and JAMES enters, leading in TIM and CLAIRE. ALAN brings up the rear, holding a gun to the prisoners’ backs.
TIM: What the hell is this?
JAMES: It’s your new home, Tim.
TIM: And where exactly do you plan to stick us?
JAMES: Oh, I’ve got something in mind. Alan, the button, please.
Alan makes his way over to the door. On the wall next to it is a keypad of buttons. He selects a green one and pushes it.
Meanwhile, James leads Tim and Claire onto the middle walkway.
JAMES: Look over the edge, Claire, dear.
She peers over and shrieks.
CLAIRE: What is that?
JAMES: That, if you are asking what is in that vat, is acid.
CLAIRE: Oh my God!
Sure enough, an overhead shot of the tub reveals a bubbling green acid inside it.
In the meantime, mechanical noises can be heard overhead. All four look up to see a sliding door in the ceiling open up.
CLAIRE: What is going on here, Dad?
Out of the opening in the ceiling, a cage is lowered down. It finally stops its descent and remains dangling above the vat of acid, suspended only by a few wires.
TIM: This is crazy! Who the hell do you think you are, James?
JAMES: I, Tim, I am a man who was betrayed by his only family, the daughter he loved with all his heart. It’s only right that I get some revenge.
TIM: You have lost your mind!
JAMES: We’ll see who goes crazy, Tim ... now get in.
CLAIRE: (pointing to the cage) In there?
James nods to verify this.
TIM: How?
JAMES: It’s actually rather interesting. I can make this thing slide all around. It’s attached to a track in the ceiling.
TIM: Pretty clever, James. At least now I know what lunatics do for fun.
JAMES: Don’t you dare get smart with me, Tim! Now get in.
Alan again goes to the wall and presses a sideways arrow button on the keypad.
The cage moves over next to the walkway and James pulls the door open. He motions for them to step in. Tim does not move, but Alan tries to physically place Claire in. She resists, kicking and screaming.
CLAIRE: (frantic) Dad, you can’t do this to me!
JAMES: Oh, I can, honey. (beat) I’ve already won.
CRAIG and MOLLY sit together on the couch. The PAPER HEART is resting on the coffee table.
CRAIG: Look, Molly, I am not going to let anything happen to you.
MOLLY: I know. I appreciate that.
CRAIG: I love you.
He kisses her on the forehead. Molly is silent for a few moments afterward.
MOLLY: I love you too.
They cuddle together again.
MOLLY (CONT’D): Something is obviously weird about this. I’ve been getting these threats for like six months, but this guy hasn’t made a single move.
CRAIG: Isn’t that a good thing?
MOLLY: I just wish it would be over … I’d rather he was caught than have to deal with him for the rest of my life, as some sort of silent threat. (beat) It’s just this total burden – not immediate enough to ruin my entire life, but certainly freaky enough to keep me on my toes. I’m scared for my life, but at the same time it’s almost like there’s nothing to worry about.
CRAIG: Don’t look at it that way, Molly – this is still a very real threat.
MOLLY: I know … that’s the problem.
They sit in silence for a moment.
CRAIG: And look, I’m, uh, I’m really sorry about last night. I didn’t mean to blow up at you. I know Brent’s a cop – you were right to call him first.
MOLLY: I’m sorry – I should’ve called you.
CRAIG: Don’t apologize. It’s my fault. (beat) So just be careful; don’t let this thing occupy your mind all day long.
He points to the paper heart on the table.
Molly nods in agreement.
MOLLY (THINKING): Don’t worry, Craig – I’ve got other things – and people – to do that for me.
BRENT climbs out of bed, but SARAH remains lying down.
BRENT: I’m gonna go hop in the shower.
SARAH: Go ahead.
Brent leaves the room.
SARAH: (sotto voce) This is perfect! Brent and Molly are getting further apart every day! Once we renew our vows, it should signal to both of them that they were totally not meant to be … and besides, she’s marrying Craig. It looks like I may actually be able to have a successful marriage after all …
Offscreen, the doorbell rings. Sarah begins to climb out of bed.
SARAH enters the living room wearing a bathrobe. The doorbell rings again. She opens the door and BILL enters.
SARAH: Oh, hey, Dad! How’s it going?
BILL: Pretty well.
They hug.
SARAH: What brings you over here?
BILL: Your mother and I were wondering if you’d seen or spoken to Tim and Claire lately.
SARAH: No, not in over a week. We still don’t have any leads on where the baby or her father could be.
BILL: That’s a shame. I can’t believe they’re going through this. I just hope my grandson is alright.
They both stand in silent thought for a moment before looking at each other and gasping in unison.
SARAH: You don’t think–?
BILL: They wouldn’t have!
SARAH: I sure hope not. (beat) But wherever they are, I hope they’re safe.
TIM and CLAIRE sit in their cage, suspended over the vat of acid. Claire looks extremely frightened and Tim very angry.
TIM: How can we let him get away with this?!
CLAIRE: He’s crazy … crazy and very dangerous …
TIM: I just hope he doesn’t hurt Travis!
CLAIRE: I know. (beat) Or us either.
She looks down into the acid and shudders.
As they sit in silence, the door can be heard opening. Enter JAMES, carrying baby TRAVIS.
CLAIRE: Travis!
She leaps up and grips the cage’s bars.
JAMES: Look who’s come to pay you two a visit.
TIM: Don’t you hurt him, James!
JAMES: Oh, I don’t plan to hurt him. You, however …
CLAIRE: Let me see my son!
JAMES: Calm yourself, Claire. You lost that right when you betrayed me.
CLAIRE: I betrayed you?!? You shot my husband!
JAMES: No, my foolish employee shot your husband. I ordered Alan to give Tim a talking-to, for your own good.
TIM: Don’t try to cast the responsibility on anyone else …
JAMES: Look at these two, Travis. Look what they’ve become. I won’t let you grow up like that, no – they’re terrible role models for a child. Wouldn’t be able to tell me the meaning of the word "loyalty" if I read it to them first.
TIM: (furious) Shut the hell up!
CLAIRE: (screaming) Let me out of here! I want to hold my son!
JAMES: No, I don’t think there will be any of that today, Claire.
CLAIRE: (crying) Why are you doing this to me?
JAMES: I’ve said it a thousand times, Claire.
Claire continues crying.
TIM: You are completely and totally insane, James!
JAMES: (smug) Not to sound rude, Tim, but I’m not the one hanging in a cage over a tub of boiling acid.
Tim grunts in absolute frustration, unable to find the correct words to express his anger.
JAMES (CONT’D): Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put this young sir down for a nap.
He begins to walk towards the door, but suddenly stops and turns around to face the cage.
JAMES (CONT’D): And don’t even think of trying any funny business. One false move and I pull this.
He points to a lever on the wall.
JAMES (CONT’D): It unhooks the cage from the ceiling and lets it fall straight down.
Claire’s jaw drops in utter disbelief. James exits the room.
The steel door can be heard closing as he leaves.
CLAIRE: What are we gonna do, Tim? I don’t want to die here!
TIM: I don’t know, Claire … but we’ve got to figure out a way out of here.

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