Author's Note: Vampires slaughter unsuspecting tourists on a Dracula-themed vacation. The survivors hole up in an abandoned factory, searching for some way to survive the coming night. Among them is Mara, who has been a great help in combating the attacking vampires. However, she has been harboring a dangerous secret ...  

Act V Scene IV:

(Mara and Livia’s part of the factory. Their hallway is marked with a number of doors, several of which sag upon their hinges. They walk in silence for a bit, Mara casting the occasional glance backwards.)

Livia: They’re not going to follow us. They’ve got their own hallway to explore.

Mara: I just want to make sure. Are you certain you’re feeling up to this?

Livia: Mara, pardon my bluntness, but you look like hell. I know you, I know your needs. We should have taken care of this the other night.

Mara: We were going to. And then we had guests. And vampires.

Livia: Well, right now there’s no one else around.

Mara: I’m still nervous. Exposure at this point could be fatal for both of us.

Livia: You know, for someone who doesn’t have to worry about dying, you sure talk a lot about it.

Mara: It’s the strange thing about being immortal. You get a little over-cautious.

Livia: Of all the people to suffer from fatalism –

Mara: Yeah, I know. I might not die, Liv, but the body does, and that’s never any fun. Besides, if I’m caught off guard, we end up with situations exactly like the one surrounding the book. I go to move from one body to the next and someone interrupts the process. I get disoriented. Why do you think I wandered around for a couple of centuries all confused and bodiless?

Livia: Mara, I told them we’d meet back in half an hour. If we keep talking, you’re not even going to get this chance. And I know you need it.

(Livia reaches up and touches Mara gently on the cheek. Mara smiles and presses her hand against Livia’s hand.)

Mara: Livia, have I told you recently how much I appreciate you?

Livia: Ssh. Just go ahead. Take what you need from me.

(Livia takes a small step back, sets the flashlight down, then stands, straight and relaxed. She closes her eyes and tips her head back a bit, a serene expression on her face. Mara approaches her, placing her hands lightly on either side of Livia’s face. Mara closes her eyes as well, and when she opens them again, they are glowing with that same misty light we saw in the hotel. Faint swirls of the same misty glow are visible around Mara’s fingers and hands. Mara leans forward and places her lips very gently on Livia’s forehead, barely making physical contact. Then Mara breathes deeply in, and we see wisps of that misty light being pulled from Livia to her. Mara pulls her hands back toward herself as she breathes in some more, pulling even more of the ghostly light from Livia, breathing it in. Livia looses a sigh that suggests that this is anything but a painful experience. Mara continues to drink Livia’s life force. As she does so, the glow in her eyes gets brighter, and we see that faint outline of another face under her skin. It is a man’s face, not dissimilar from her own. As Mara feeds, the shallow cut on her face heals completely, leaving no visible trace. Any other cuts or bruises she has sustained up to this point heal as well. Mara and Livia are so engrossed in this exchange that neither of them notice the erratic beam of a flashlight bouncing down from the other end of the hall.)

Johnny: Livia! Mara! Livia? (he rounds the corner) Oh, my.

(Johnny draws up short as he gets within sight of Mara and Livia. Livia has her back to him.  Mara has pulled away very quickly, turning her back to Johnny as well. As she grimaces, we see fangs, though her feeding has been bloodless. She hides her face in the shadows. We see that the glow is lingering, as is the unearthly light in her eyes. Her lips are slightly parted. A tremulous breath escapes, misting on the air. She covers her mouth with one hand, seeking to hide her fangs.)

Livia: Uh, Johnny, um …

Johnny: Am I interrupting something?

Livia: Well, we were, uh --

Mara: (her face still averted) Nothing at all.

(Mara’s voice comes out strangely. The sound is huskier, and a second voice, a distinctly male voice, underscores her natural tone.)

Johnny: Right then.

Livia: It’s not what you’re thinking, Johnny. Mara and I aren’t … (sighs) It’s hard to explain.

Johnny: You don’t have to explain anything, luv. I’m an open-minded chap. I’ve been around. Whatever works for you ladies, you know? And if you happen to like a boy here and there, I don’t mind if we share.

(Rather distinctly, we hear Mara growl. Johnny, eyes wide, starts looking around, unable to credit his ears.)

Livia: Um, Johnny? Where’s Briggs?

Johnny: Oh, bloody hell. I almost forgot. He fell down through the floor.

Mara: He what?

(She turns around and stares at Johnny. The second face has faded away, but her eyes still faintly glow.)

Johnny: My God, your eyes –

(Mara locks eyes with Johnny. Johnny blinks several times, looking suddenly disoriented.)

Mara: Tell me about Briggs, Johnny. That’s what you came for.

Johnny: Uh, right. We uh, we were exploring our hallway and um, the floor turned to this uh, this grating stuff. I guess it wasn’t stable, because we got to this um, one part, and Briggs feel through the floor.

Livia: God, Johnny! Is he all right?

Johnny: He’s hurt and he’s bleeding. He … uh … sent me for help?

Mara: Then don’t just stand there with your mouth open. Take us to him.

Johnny: Uh. Right. This way, then.

(They run down the hall.)

Act V Scene V

(Cut to Johnny, Mara and Livia running up to the spot where Briggs fell through.)

Briggs: Johnny? Johnny! That had better be you, man. There’s bloody rats down in this hole.

Johnny: It’s me, Malcolm. I’ve brought Mara and Livia. They’ve got a rope.

Briggs: Well, at least somebody comes prepared.

Mara: I’m tying a loop in it, Briggs, and I’m throwing it down. Get it under your arms and I’ll try pulling you up. It’s not the thickest rope in the world, so I’m not sure this will work. If it doesn’t, we’ll try something else.

Briggs: Anything that gets me out of this bloody hole.

(Livia crawls up near Johnny and shines her light down into the hole.)

Livia: Can you see all right down there?

Briggs: I can now. Point the light a little more over here.

Mara: All right. Here comes the rope, Briggs. When you have it in place, give it a tug.

Briggs: Damn, look at my poor arm! That’s gonna leave a mark.

Mara: We’ll patch you up in a minute. For now, let’s just get you out.

Briggs: Well … I guess I’m ready.

(Mara steps back from the edge and starts pulling Briggs up. Livia tries to help, but mostly for show. The rope is being dragged along the edge of the grate and we can see that it’s getting frayed.)

Livia: Mara, the metal’s going to cut the rope before we get him up.

Mara: You’re right. Dammit. Johnny, get over here.

Johnny: What can I do to help?

Mara: I need you and Livia to hold this. Don’t pull on it unless I tell you to.

(Mara and Johnny switch places. Johnny leaves his flashlight balanced on the edge, trained on Briggs.)

Briggs: Something wrong?

Mara: Hang on, Briggs. We’re having a little trouble.

Briggs: Try to hurry, hunh? This is cutting into me like a wire!

(Mara moves the light Johnny left trained on Briggs so the hole is dark. Then she lays on her stomach, leaning over the edge. She takes the rope in both hands, then pulls Briggs up, hand over hand, hardly straining.)

Mara: Ok. Livia? Johnny? Start pulling him up.

Johnny: Sure thing. (begins to tug on the rope. He smiles) Hey, this is easier than I thought.

(Mara continues to pull the rope up hand over hand. When Briggs gets close enough to the edge, she holds the rope in one hand and reaches out to him with the other.)

Mara: Give me your good arm, Briggs. I’ll pull you the rest the way up.

Briggs: Lady, you’re going to hurt yourself. I weigh 15 stone.

Mara: Just give me your hand.

Briggs: It’s your hernia.

(Mara locks her fingers around his wrist and lifts him out of the hole. Briggs crawls out, then tries to stand. He immediately winces in pain and collapses.)

Briggs: Oh damn, ankle’s worse than I thought.

Johnny: Shit, Briggs. You’re really banged up.

Livia: Can you walk on it?

Briggs: I’m thinking, “no.”

Mara: Well this is a mess, and it didn’t even take any vampires.

Johnny: You weren’t kidding about that arm.

Briggs: No shit, Johnny.

Mara: All right. We need to get you back to the others. I’ll carry you.

Briggs: I beg your pardon?

Mara: Unless you think you can walk?

Livia: Mara, do you think that’s a good idea?

Mara: Our other option is to drag him and I think he’s lost a lot of blood.

Briggs: It’s just been steady. It hasn’t been pumping. I know if it was pumping I’d be fucked.

Mara: If it was pumping, you’d be dead. So come on. I’m carrying you.

(Mara bends down and gets Briggs in a fireman’s carry. She tries to make it look like this is difficult for her.)

Johnny: Well look at Missus Tough Guy.

Mara: (deadly serious but softly spoken) I swear, Johnny, one more crack from you and I will introduce you to a suffering like nothing you have ever known.

(Johnny goes to open his mouth to respond, but Livia puts her finger over his lips.)

Livia: If you’re smart Johnny, you’ll swallow those words.

Briggs: The only type of smart Johnny’s ever been is a smart-ass.

Johnny: (petulant) Well fuck you, too, Briggs. See if I save your ass next time.

Mara: (gritting her teeth) Briggs, you’re heavy. We’re going now.

(Mara turns and starts heading down the hallway. Notably, she does this without grabbing a flashlight. Livia recovers for her, grabbing Johnny’s and slipping it to her. Mara looks down at it in confusion for a moment, then takes it with her free hand.)

Livia: Do you want us to come with you?

Mara: Keep looking for the water hook-up. But be more careful this time. I don’t want any more accidents.

(Mara heads down the hall with Briggs.)

Johnny: (puts his arm around Livia) I’ll take good care of her.

(Mara has nearly disappeared down the hall. The camera remains on Johnny and Livia.)

Mara: (calling back) Johnny?

Johnny: Yeah, Mara?

Mara: Fuck you.

Act V Scene VI:

(The front room of the factory. Jack is supervising all the activity, which includes having a small group of men cleaning up a cache of rather old M16s. As he is barking orders, some of the fluorescent lights overhead come on. A couple pop and go out immediately, but a number of them stay lit, even though they’re flickering like strobes. There are cheers throughout the room.)

Jack: Hey! Looks likeGriffin got the generator going. And it’s only six-thirty. Not bad.

(One of the light fixtures begins sparking and finally the two tubes of light explode, raining glass down into the room.)

Jack: Shit! Look out over there! Looks like we’ve got some bugs to work out. How are those guns coming along? Anyone find any more ammo?

Villager: Guns are old. Might not work good.

Jack: Hell man, guns are guns. Even if they only fire once before locking, we’re doing better than we did before.

(Griffin enters with Victor close behind)

Griffin: Boiler’s shot. But as you can see, we have light.

Jack: And we have a little daylight left out there.

Victor: How are things coming otherwise?

Jack: Well, first off, I was talking with one of the locals, and he gave me some good news.

Victor: Finally.

Jack: Seems a couple of the survivors packed up supplies and started walking to the closest city.Brasov or something?

Griffin: So we’ll have reinforcements?

Jack: It’s a good walk for them, so it’s going to be a couple days. But yeah, I imagine once they get there, someone’s going to send help.

Victor: Assuming they believe any of this.

Jack: Don’t get negative on me, soldier. I got all kinds of good news for you. We found a cache of guns, too. Don’t know if they were left here by the Communists or maybe guerillas, but they’re gonna come in handy.

Griffin: Are they even going to work after all these years?

Jack: Well, they’re a little gummed up, but I got a detail cleaning them. I took one apart, showed them how. There’s a little ammo. Truth be told, it won’t last long, but every little bit helps.

Griffin: All right, then. I’m going to start working on my light show.

Jack: What was that, son?

Griffin: It’s what we grabbed the van for. Remember I said I wanted my gear?

Jack: I thought you were talking about your tools, boy.

Griffin: I’ve got some other stuff, too. Strobes, black light, lasers. Now that I got the generator running, there’s something I want to do.

Jack: And what exactly might that be?

Griffin: This room here. It’s the most logical place for the vampires to come in, right?

Jack: It’s the main entrance. The most accessible. But I don’t know if we can count on them being that direct.

Griffin: I’ll chance it. This is a good idea. I swear to you.

Jack: I’m going to trust that you’re not wasting our time,Griffin. I –

(Mara walks in. Briggs has passed out. She’s still carrying him.)

Mara: Hey. I could use some help over here.

Victor: Oh shit. What happened to him?

Mara: Floor gave way. This place isn’t structurally sound. Though I see you got the generator running. That’s nothing short of a miracle.

Griffin: Just call me MacGuyver.

Mara: Sure. Does anyone have a first-aid kit? Alcohol and some strips of cloth, if nothing else. He’s lost a lot of blood.

Jack: Damn, that went right through.

Victor: Where’s Johnny and Livia?

Mara: Possibly against my better judgment, I left them further back in the factory so they could continue looking for signs of water.

Victor: Briggs? Malcolm? Can you hear me?

Jack: Splash some vodka on that arm. It’ll wake him right up.

Mara: If none of you mind, I’m going to go somewhere where I can lay down. Carrying him wore me out.

Victor: Sure. I understand. I’ve carried him around when he’s piss-drunk. It’s not an easy task.

Mara: You have it under control then?

Jack: Go catch a cat-nap, Mara. We’ll need you alert when the sun goes down.

Mara: Well. I’ll see you then.

 

--M. Belanger

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