An Excerpt from the Shooting Script
SCENE 1: INT. ADONGO’S HOME
Extreme close up of a hand turning a key, locking a door. The hand then throws the key into a toilet, and flashes.
SCENE 2: INT. ADONGO’S OFFICE
Adongo sits at a desk, typing. She is of nondescript age, her hair nappy, uncombed in many years, recently, badly, self-cut, an attempt at plaiting abandoned mid-way. She is nearly naked, has no make up, her fingernails untrimmed.
Candles light the room, dimly, the laptop screen lights up her face. It’s not possible to say whether it’s day or night.
Beside the desk there is a bookshelf, full of books, and memorabilia. Two that stands out are; a framed photo of two children, but one child has been cut out; a Gourd with three LED lights, blinking, ticking like a clock.
She has lived alone for many years, maybe ten, maybe fifteen, she can’t remember when she shut herself away from the world.
Adongo pauses her typing. She yawns, maybe sleep, maybe hunger. She leaves the office and walks to
SCENE 3: INT. ADONGO’S KITCHEN
A narrow room with green light. At one end of a long concrete table is the Particle Generator, and at the other end is a gas stove and gas tank. Between these is the sink. In a cupboard under the sink is an array of batteries.
She uses solar batteries to power her laptop and Particle Generator. For lighting, she relies on candles to conserve battery power.
She puts a kettle on the stove, strikes a match. No gas.
She detaches the tube from the stove, attaches it to an outlet on the Particle Generator marked ‘Gassi’, beside it is a water tap. A touchscreen sits on top of the PG.
She taps, icons of various objects – they pop out. Finally, she taps on a gas tank.
A question box pops up. ‘KILO NGAPI?’ She taps 12, then GO. At once a LED light blinks on the gas outlet, and a progress bar on the screen shows how many minutes to complete the job, and percentage done. 30%, 40%, 50%.
The particle generator stores on it’s hard drive the DNA of millions of living organisms and non-living things, which it uses to clone anything she wants. Whether it’s food, or water, or clothes, or candles, or a new laptop, the particle generator provides.
The progress bar hits 100%. A PING erupts. The gas outlet LED light blinks off. She detaches the tube, and puts it back onto the stove, then lights it, and puts on her kettle.
As she waits for the kettle to boil, she returns to the PG, opens up a folder marked ‘CHAKULA’. In it are icons of foods. She scrolls through different foods, then touches on EGGS, types 2 on the Question Box, BREAD, 2 slices, bananas, 1, mango, 1, and then she presses ‘GO’.
The PG starts to hum. Lights come on it. A lower chamber has red, the mid-chamber has green, the upper chamber yellow.
An animation on the screen shows progress, til the little ping. The two lights on the upper and middle chamber go out.
She opens a lid. Inside is a box lined with mirrors on all sides, and 2 eggs, 2 slices of bread, a banana and a mango.
If she can get whatever she wants from this machine, why then would she ever go out? Many years have passed. She has lost sense of time and of the world.
SCENE 4: INT. ADONGO’S OFFICE
Adongo eats, as she watches a movie on her laptop. She laughs out loud at whatever is on the screen.
SCENE 5: INT. ADONGO’S KITCHEN
Adongo washes the dishes. She has attached a tube to the water outlet of the PG. The tube runs to the sink, coils around the tap, and drips water for her to wash her dishes.
SCENE 6: INT. ADONGO’S BATHROOM
Adongo relaxes in a large basin-bathtub, candles all around, soapy bubbles, a glass of wine in one hand, soft music plays.
The, she picks up a dildo, and plays with herself, at first gently, then faster, faster, until she orgasms.
SCENE 7: INT. ADONGO’S OFFICE
Adongo stares at a computer generated photo showing a woman, who looks like her twin sister, but in futuristic costume. Helmet on the head, bark cloth costume, in an office, a cyrit beside her. Beat.
Adongo works fervently, typing, gripped in the story.
She lives alone in an off planet suburb called New Kololo, a reserve of the very wealthy.
SCENE 8: EXT. SPACE
Hut-shaped structures are scattered in front of three planet. Spaceships zoom in the distance. Lights burn in the huts. We zoom in on one, to see it’s an apartment window (next seen).
She is famous all over the universe, but sells are dropping, so she bought a mind reader called a cyrit, part spirit part cyrit. It picks the story straight out of her sub conscious.
SCENE 9: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
The walls are circular, made of palm fronds. A beaded curtain is draped on the entrance to the room. APIO sits on a chair that looks like the fingers of a comb.
APIO has an eerie resemblance to Adongo. Her costume and office are very much like what we saw on the photo. Her costume is of backcloth, her helmet like an art piece. Her lips are a deep shade of black, otherwise no other visible make-up. She sits on the chair, seemingly asleep.
The cyrit beside her is JACHUMA, only a head with arms attached. Two holes with green light for eyes, and a mouth like speakers. One arm is fixed into the helmet, the other turns into a table lamp, shining a green light on a sheet of paper on the table.
The cyrit’s eyes are wide open, shining green.
When in this state it’s as if she’s in hibernation, as the cyrit, the only friend she has in the universe, digs into her mind, searching for details of the story.
Then Apio opens her eyes, instantly, Jachuma’s green eyes go out, turning to a dull red.
Apio picks the paper from the table. At first it is blank, but the words start to appear, one by one, and she reads.
SCENE 10: INT. ADONGO’S OFFICE
Addong pauses her writing. She reads what she has done, and is not impressed. She pulls her hair in frustration, selects all text, and deletes with anger.
SCENE 11: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
Apio reads the paper, not impressed.
What a pile of spacepoo!
She crumples it into a ball, and throws it away. Midair, the paper frizzles into vapor.
(to the Cyrit)
Did you get that from my head?
The cyrit’s eyes pulse when she speaks, her mouth being immovable (LED lights on a speaker matching the beats)
I wasn’t in anyone else’s head.
But I can’t write that kind of dung. No way. It’s all flat. No conflict. No story. So what? This woman lives all alone in isolation, she has a machine that gives her everything she needs, and then what? It’s like a utopia for the lonely. Who wants to read that kind of asteriod dung?
Some people prefer utopia to dystopia.
I need conflict! I need thrill. I need a character who is struggling with something.
She is struggling with loneliness.
No, no. She isn’t. She is at peace with loneliness, she relishes it, that’s why she has stayed all this time alone. She can’t be struggling with it. I need to give her a motivation, something she can fight to get… and then I need to put obstacles to stop her from getting it. But what is this something?
You are asking the right questions.
I want answers!
Maybe since she lives alone, this conflict could be internal. Maybe she keeps a diary where she empties her soul and her struggles.
Perfect! She’s a writer struggling to find her muse. She wants to write a best seller, but she can’t… Why? What’s stopping her? … Perfect! Let’s try it again.
Apio goes to sleep.
The cyrit’s eyes change from red to green, and the lamp flashes its green light onto a fresh sheet of paper.
SCENE 12: INT. ADONGO’S BEDROOM
There’s only a bed in sight, and a wardrobe with mirrors. Candles are all over the place, providing the light. Adongo sits on the bed, scribbling in her diary with a pen.
I can’t write anymore. I’ve lost it. Once I thrilled millions. My blog got ten thousand hits a day. I had the hottest pen in African scifi. But now I can’t write anything. Okay, there is this woman who lives in an off-planet suburb. She writes with the aid of a mind-reading machine. It’s cyrit, hmm fancy, but so what? Where’s the conflict? Where’s the story?
The problem is that this woman is a loner, stuck in a tiny room in outer space, nothing much happens to her. Who would want to read that kind of BS?
She pauses, chews her pen, thinking, thinking –
Oh wow. Maybe, an asteriod crashes into her suburb, and that should put her into trouble. Maybe that should force her to go to land on the planet. And there she meets the man of her dreams….
A smile breaks onto Adongo’s face. She suddenly scrambles out of the bed, and runs out.
SCENE 13: INT. ADONGO’S OFFICE
Adongo runs in, jumps into her chair, powers on her laptop, and begins to pound on the keyboard with great urgency.
SCENE 14: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
Apio jerks awake, and, excited, snatches the paper from under the green light before it properly forms. The words form on the paper as she’s holding it.
She reads. A beat.
Then she rolls it up hurls it into the invisible basket.
Are you really working?
I don’t detect any system problems.
So what problems do you have?
Nothing. I’m working perfectly.
Then why can’t you read my mind!
You didn’t! I was thinking that the bloody writer is having problems with her story but you put out that she finds a nice plot device in the asteriod and now she has a full romantic novel in her effing head.
The questions you were asking were; one, what she wants to achieve and, two, the obstacles to that goal.
Yes! Effing yes! Why didn’t it come out?
Maybe you don’t know enough about this character.
I know everything about her!
Why is she lonely?
Apio starts to answer, but the words get stuck in her throat.
I hadn’t thought about that.
The information from her time indicates that human beings were very social. They had this phenomenon called social media that connected people from all corners of their planet. She did not have to leave her room to socialize.
As she speaks, a holograph screen projects this data, icons of today’s social media sites, and faces of happy people in photos shared on social media, selfies, etc.
She could do it right from her computer. She has a blog, and that was one form of this social media. She became famous because of this blog. Now, why would someone who lives in such a world be lonely?
You tell me.
I only have the data. I can’t interpret it. I’m a mind-reader, after all, not a data analyst. You should research into her world.
Brilliant idea! Get me a book!
In flies a book, titled ‘East Africa in Pre-Space Age.’
SCENE 15: INT. ADONGO’S LIVING ROOM
Adongo is doing press-ups, her body covered in sweat.
SCENE 16: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
Apio frowns at the book, and begins to read. But now, there is a big pile of books on the table.
I have to read all that?
You need extensive research to understand the world of your character better.
Apio is not amused. She reads for a beat, and then.
Isn’t there a faster way?
Shortcuts won’t give you a better story. Research is –
Apio sweeps her hand through the air. The books vanish.
Wait a minute. There is a feature of your program that allows me to physically talk with my characters –
Oh no. That’s a dangerous feature.
It would solve my problem.
It’s very, very dangerous.
But I could go straight to her world and talk to her. Then I’d understand things about her that I can’t get in books.
But she’s in your head and she can only know what you know.
Unless you put the data in my subconscious before sending me in there. Right?
Yes, but it’s very –
The subconscious is not a place to visit in the physical form.
Whatever, do it!
Beat, the cyrit is thinking, lights blink.
You’ll have to pay an extra charge of seven gold bars per visit.
Do I look like I’m broke?
You’ll have to sign the Liability Agreement, absolving NeuTec from any harm that my came to you while you are inside your own mind.
And a holograph agreement appears. Apio gives a cynic laugh.
Your masters tied up all the lose ends, eh?
Do you agree? I must remind you that you’ll be putting your own life in danger.
I’m trying to write a masterpiece, the greatest story ever told in human history, so stop asking me silly questions.
Do you agree?
Apio lets out a sigh of frustration.
Let me read the agreement.
SCENE 17: INT. ADONGO’S KITCHEN
Adongo, panting, covered in a sweat, picks oranges from the Particle Generator.
She cuts them up, squeezes them into a glass, makes juice, and gulps it down.
SCENE 18: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
The cyrit passes data into Apio’s head. A green light flows from the helmet, engulfing Apio’s head.
SCENE 19: INT. ADONGO’S OFFICE
Adongo paints in her laptop, world building. New Kololo space suburb floats in the sky, a belt of three planets in the distance, labeled New Earth, New Nyasaland, and Ping’Lieth.
She pastes an asteroid, then moves it across the screen until it slams into the suburb. As it moves, she uses her lips to generate sound effects, of the rock moving, and the crash. Her body jerks at the impact of the crash, for in her head, it is a real event.
She stares at the image for a beat, and then she minimizes it, and begins to type, pausing frequently to glance at it.
SCENE 20: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
The transfer is complete. The green light goes off.
I don’t feel different.
The data is in your subconscious.
But I don’t feel like I know anything new about her world.
It’s your subconscious. You can’t access it, that’s why you need me.
Apio gives the cyrit a smile.
Send me in, you thief. And if I don’t get anything in there, I’ll return you to your greedy masters and demand a full repayment.
Please, keep your helmet on at all times otherwise you won’t return.
Apio lies back, closes her eyes. Jachuma’s eyes turn yellow. There’s a hum, and Apio vanishes in a puff of yellow light.
SCENE 21: INT. ADONGO’S OFFICE
Adongo works fervently on her computer, for a beat.
She does not notice when a shape materializes in the darkness, in the corner between the book shelf and the wall.
Apio steps forward, hesitantly, right in front of Adongo, and now Adongo sees her.
Adongo jumps back with a startled yelp, and then the scream freezes on her face. She tries to let it out, but she can only gasp, sheer terror.
Adongo is frozen. She pees in her pants. She still can’t scream. Apio wrinkles her nose in disgust.
Why are you afraid? It’s only me. Don’t you know who I am?
She takes a step forward, but then Adongo manages to move. She scrambles out of the chair and flees from the room, slamming the door tight behind her.
Apio stares befuddled at the door.
SCENE 22: INT. ADONGO’S BEDROOM
Adongo flees into the bedroom, locking the door behind her. And then she doesn’t know where to hide. She stands there staring at the door in total horror.
When the door does not open, she begins to cry.
SCENE 23: INT. ADONGO’S BEDROOM
Apio examines the room, leafing through the books, checking out the memorabilia.
She lingers long at the photo of the two girls with one girl cut out. She examines the box with blinking lights.
Adongo lets out an anguished cry. Apio pauses to listen.
SCENE 24: INT. ADONGO’S BEDROOM
Adongo flings herself onto the bed, weeping, screaming, trying to rip her hair out.
She hears something – the ghost trying the door. She freezes.
Then springs into action, rummages through her drawers, finds two wooden combs, breaks them up to fashion a cross.
Hail Mary! Hail Mary! Hail Mary!
SCENE 25: INT. ADONGO’S HOME, CORRIDOR
Apio tries the bedroom door, but it’s locked from inside.
Hey, don’t be afraid of me.
But the door doesn’t open.
Apio waits a beat, shrugs, walks back into the office.
SCENE 26: INT. ADONGO’S OFFICE
Apio again examines the room.
Then she takes the photograph out of the frame, then she goes to the corner between the shelf and the wall.
Hey bug-eye. Get me out of here.
A beat. There’s static, and she vanishes.
SCENE 27: INT. ADONGO’S BEDROOM
Adongo cowers against the wall, her eyes closed, chanting prayers, ad lib, even though they are not correct.
SMASH CUT: A KNIFE SLASHES. BLOOD SPLASHES ON A WALL.
Adongo screams, dropping the make-shift rosary, and cringes as if the blood has splashed on her.
SCENE 28: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
Apio returns in her chair, with a flash of yellow. Jachuma’s eyes turn to the dull red.
She ran away from me.
She thought you were a ghost.
Why? Doesn’t she know me? Why is she terrified of me?
She had a twin sister.
Apio waves the photograph in her hand.
Yes. Her twin was called Apio.
But that’s my name!
At that time in East Africa they named twin sisters Adongo and Apio.
Adongo? That’s her name!
As a writer a part of you goes into the character you create, so she being your twin sister makes sense. You are writing about yourself.
Then why is she afraid of me?
She thought you are a ghost.
This doesn’t make sense. I created her. I didn’t give her a twin.
SCENE 29: INT. ADONGO’S BEDROOM
Adongo is looking at her hands. They are dripping blood. She is half screaming, half weeping.
SCENE 30: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
Apio is looking at the photograph, deep in thought.
You’ll be charged for that.
(waving the photo)
Ten gold bars.
Ten gold bars for this paper?
It costs a kilojoule of epsonium to pluck it out of your mind.
You thieving idiots.
I shall instruct your bank to make the deduction.
Apio gets an idea. She lights up.
Can I bring her here?
You’ll need a cloning certificate.
That costs ten thousand gold bars!
Plus another twenty thousand for the actual cloning.
But that’s outright robbery! I simply will be –
You’ll be replicating yourself.
SCENE 31: INT. ADONGO’S BATHROOM
Adongo washes her hands in the basin, it’s full of blood. Her hands can’t get clean.
SCENE 32: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
Apio gets an idea. She is excited.
This is the break through in the story. She has a dead twin sister who haunts her. That’s conflict!
Shall I read your mind now?
Yes, yes, yes! I can grasp it, but not clearly. The twin sister, how did she die? Why is she haunting our heroine?
Did you have a twin sister?
No! I had a happy childhood.
I didn’t ask if you had a sad one.
Shut up! Stop making me lose focus!
I’m trying to help you understand your character better.
Just read my mind you dump piece of poop! Don’t ask silly questions!
And she closes her eyes, lies back in the chair. The cyrit’s eyes turn green.
SCENE 33: INT. ADONGO’S BEDROOM
Adongo writes in the diary. Her hands are still blood stained, leaving bloody smudges on the page.
She’s back. After all this time she has come to haunt me. I’ve never seen her ghost before, and now she comes. Is it for revenge? I killed her. I put a knife in her back and splashed her blood.
SMASH CUT: A CHILD FALLS, A KNIFE IN HER BACK.
Is she back for revenge? Does she want to kill me too?
SMASH CUT: ANOTHER CHILD’S HAND PULLS OUT THE KNIFE, AND STABS, AND STABS, AND KEEPS STABBING THE CHILD ON THE FLOOR.
She’s back for me. I can’t run out because there are worse demons out there that waiting for me. They want to punish me. I must stay hidden inside but now I’m no longer safe inside. What shall I do?
SCENE 34: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
Apio is reading the paper, with a frown, her eyes excited.
She killed her own twin sister?
Hmmm. Stabbed her thirty times in the back.
Apio is aghast. She struggles for a reply for several moments, but it has taken away her breath. Then –
Thirty times, that’s a lot of hate. Will readers buy it?
If you give them an appropriate reason for the stabbing.
SMASH CUT: A CHILD STABBING HER SISTER REPEATEDLY.
What can make a little child stab her own sister thirty times?
The answers are in your head….
Apio gives a slight nod, as she prepares to go to sleep.
Or maybe its in your past.
Apio’s eyes flick open at the accusation, she scowls.
I’m just giving a suggestion.
Apio goes to sleep, and the cyrit begins to read her mind.
SCENE 35: INT. ADONGO’S CHILDHOOD HOME, LIVING ROOM – FLASHBACK
LITTLE Adongo, twelve years, stands over the corpse of her sister. She is drenched in blood, her hair, her face, her clothes, all covered up in blood. She kicks the corpse.
Oh poor Apio, who would have thought you had so much blood in your little body? Not all the water in the world can wash away my sin.
SCENE 36: INT. ADONGO’S BATHROOM
Adongo is again washing her hand, which can’t get clean.
Now she’s back for revenge. After all these years, she comes back. It has to be for revenge.
SCENE 37: INT. ADONGO’S KITCHEN
Adongo, her hands and face still stained in blood, pulls out a bottle of red wine from the Particle Generator. She swigs, and swigs, in a desperate attempt to forget everything. The wine runs down her chin, onto her dress, making it bloodier.
SCENE 38: INT. APIO’S OFFICE
Apio comes awake. The green light goes out of the cyrit. Apio snatches up the paper from under the lamp.
There’s nothing here about why she stabbed her own sister.
That’s because there was nothing in your subconscious.
But I’m creating this character. She’s not a real person. She’s my creation. There must be a reason somewhere in my subconscious.
I didn’t find anything.
Then what am I paying you for?
You had a memory implant.
I’ve looked up your medical files. You paid for a memory surgery.
No. No. No. I’ve never done that.
Can I show you the files?
What’s that got to do with the story? You are just a metallic mind reader, not my effing shrink!
She punches a button, and all the lights go out of the cyrit. She rips the helmet off her head. She has a bald head. Implants on her head show where the cyrit’s fingers reach into her subconscious.
She kicks the cyrit to vent her anger, then storms out.
END OF EXCERPT