Fear the Void

Written by Miles Hanmore

Here we have Miles Hanmore's enticing horror screenplay, inspired by the H.P. Lovecraft quote; "We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far."

FADE IN: 

 

EXT. FOREST - DAY 

 

An army of trees, lofty with age. Through their ring of yellowing leaves, clouds drift across the sky. 

 

Below, a one-man TENT, fixed to the ground; sturdy against a quickening wind. 

 

A set of KEYS, gold, hooked to a CAMPING LANTERN guard the zipped entrance. 

 

INT. TENT - DAY 

 

Inside, OWEN AGNOR, mid-thirties, still laying in his sleeping bag. 

 

His raised arms hold a pocket-sized NOTEBOOK, wearing at all corners, over his eyes. 

 

Amidst a collage of scribbled notes, the following can be made out - 

 

'Our collective achievements...far from trivial...' 

 

'Pursuit of knowledge about place in universe rightfully earned...' 

 

'Questionable aspects...Lovecraftian philosophy...' 

 

'...duty to violently reject ideology and not fear the void...' 

 

Owen snatches out a pen. Begins to lower his thumb to the cartridge. Stops. 

 

Those final four words stare back at him. 

 

TITLE: '...FEAR THE VOID...' 

 

He hesitates. 

 

Clicks the cartridge. 

 

Circles the words in scarlet ink. 

 

He scribbles 'CONCLUSION - IRRATIONAL' next to them, and retracts the cartridge once more. 

 

Outside, the WIND morphs to a GALE. Sharp, abrupt.

 

Owen jolts up. Digs out his iPhone from the warmth of his sleeping bag. Tries to switch it on. Nothing. 

 

Stares at his digital watch. Frozen at 15:13. 

 

Still on his knees, he edges his way to the tent entrance, and lifts the zip. 

 

EXT. FOREST - NIGHT 

 

Black as midnight. 

 

Owen crawls out and stares at the sky overhead. 

 

Constellations of stars twinkle. 

 

He fumbles around for the lantern. Finds it. Flicks the switch. 

 

Blinding light. 

 

He holds it up to his notebook. Flips to the back. 

 

On the final page, there's a map, scrawled in pencil, displaying the route home. The destination is marked only by a simple drawing of a house presented in grey crayon. 

 

Owen illuminates the inside of the tent. Gazes at his now desolate sleeping bag. Looks back to his notebook. At the crayon drawing. 

 

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - NIGHT 

 

A bicycle lock, lit up with the blueness of the lantern. 

 

Owen unlocks it with his key and removes the BICYCLE from a rack. 

 

Perching lantern and notebook in its basket, he begins a ride straight ahead. 

 

Then, a sudden GUST. 

 

A solitary page tears itself from the notebook and soars backward through the darkness. 

 

The top-left of the paper, reading 'CONCLUSION - IRRATIONAL' is punctured by a branch. 

 

The rest of it - 'FEAR THE VOID' - remains intact.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - MOMENTS LATER 

 

Owen cruises along, hair whipping through the wind. 

 

The BICYCLE TIRES create a steady line as they move through the dirt. 

 

Then, the blue light of his lantern DIPS OUT. 

 

Through the thick blackness, the dramatic trail-off of the line as Owen's tires SKID TO A HALT can just about be seen. 

 

The bicycle comes to a complete stop, and the BLUE LIGHT returns. 

 

Owen starts off again, only to come to an immediate halt as the light is CUT OFF yet again. 

 

He sits, helpless. Nothing but himself and the night.

 

CUT TO: 

 

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - MOMENTS LATER 

 

The lantern. Still lifeless. 

 

The light flickers back on. Owen shoots a glance down. The quickened pace of his breathing mirrors the rising speed of the wind. 

 

He hesitates. 

 

Puts one foot down on the pedal. Starts off. 

 

Then... 

The bulb in the lantern EXPLODES. 

 

The tires CRUSH TO A HALT as Owen's thrown off his seat, landing in a heap on the dirt in front. His bicycle is catapulted into a nearby lake. 

 

Picking himself up, Owen feels his cheek. There's a sticky something oozing out...blood? It's too gloomy to tell. 

 

He edges over to the lake. Looks down. His lantern, buried at the bottom, miraculously remains a giver of light. 

 

He dips his finger in the substance on his cheek. Holds it up to the brightness. 

 

Slime. Sickly green.

 

He flicks it away. Just an instinct. 

 

At the bottom of the lake's shallow end, the lantern's blue light fades entirely. 

 

Then, it SEEPS OUT of the top, into the open air. Illuminating something else. 

 

Owen's face - bathed in BLUE. 

 

The phantom-like apparition glides directly over him. Pulsating - but gently. 

 

It hovers above Owen, then twirls around and drifts across the lake. 

 

Owen turns to his original route. Pitch-black. 

 

He takes a deep breath. Pulls his coat zipper up all the way. Creeps forward. 

 

OWEN'S P.O.V. - the infinite black. Cold and unrelenting. 

His stroll breaks to a run, as he's pulled in deeper...deeper... 

 

His foot crosses a STUMP. He falls face-first to the ground, and rolls on his side. 

 

Then peers up, slime dripping from the stroke on his cheek. 

 

The APPARITION - distant, and yet still so near. Just hovering. 

 

Owen bites his lip. 

 

EXT. LAKE - CONTINUOUS 

 

Owen lowers himself into the murky shallowness of the spot his bike dove into. 

 

His left foot steps over his KEYS, still hooked to the LANTERN. 

 

Using the apparition's light, floating at the other end, he's able to tread straight over the buried bicycle with his right foot. 

 

The apparition glistens against Owen's pupils, turning their brown a pure blue. They appear to dilate almost in rhythm with its pulse.

He ventures through the water, sinking deeper, deeper, with each step. 

 

Tantalisingly far, the apparition nonetheless continues to float farther away. 

 

Soon, the water's up to Owen's shoulders. The apparition a mere pinpoint. 

 

Shivering, Owen takes several more paces forward, the water up to his chin. 

 

And the apparition a tiny speck among the distant trees. Owen just stands. Exposed to the elements. 

 

At the bottom of the lake's shallow end, a clump of mud washes over his keys, engulfing them. 

 

Everything behind Owen's submerged head is now invisible against the dark. The apparition, while distinct, trails a faint path of light between him and the farthest end of the lake. 

 

Then, we're looking STRAIGHT DOWN at Owen. He's at the dead centre of the star constellations reflected on the lake's surface. 

 

It's just like gazing up at the sky, except we're STARING STRAIGHT DOWN...trying to comprehend how deep the abyss may fall. 

 

The stars seem to close in around Owen; like they were pushing him. The water's done nothing to wash away the slime oozing from his cheek. 

 

He takes a LEAP FORWARD through the depths, and attempts to swim his way to the light. 

 

But he can't swim, and in an instant he's RIGHT UNDER. 

 

As the ripple effect from his submersion smooths over, the distant apparition FADES OUT, leaving nothing but the dark. 

 

EXT. LAKE - UNDERWATER - CONTINUOUS 

 

Owen, just falling into the depths. Their vastness is much greater than would be expected from a modest-sized lake. 

 

He opens his eyes, and breaths out a string of bubbles. A moment of brutal realisation.

His arms flail out. Mustering every ounce of his strength, he attempts to bob to the surface. 

 

But the only outcome is his FURTHER DESCEND. 

 

His eyes broad, Owen gradually closes them. Admitting defeat. Then, greater descent still. Down, down, down... 

 

His face is lit up with BLUE once again. The apparition hovers parallel to him. 

 

Owen's eyes flitter open. There's a certain drowsiness to them - he's almost beyond the point of no return. 

 

The apparition stares at him. Unmoving. 

 

Owen gazes back, eyes half-shut. 

 

The apparition's stillness lingers. Then it doesn't. The blue light turns from left-to-right. Once, twice. Once, twice. Almost like it's a HEAD SHAKING FOR NO. 

 

Just as Owen's eyes seem to have reached a definite close, the light expands, growing mightier, until it ENGULFS him. 

 

It HISSES as this happens. 

 

INT./EXT. - THE VOID 

 

Suddenly, the dark depths have been transformed to an eternity of shimmering BLUE. The light is everywhere! 

 

As Owen's body travels through the abyss, the HISSING grows sharper and sharper. 

 

His eyes - indeed his entire being - now inoperable. 

 

As the HISSING grows still, Owen drifts farther and farther from view. First a splodge, then a speck, and finally, an almost invisible pin of black. 

 

He disappears. 

 

The infinite BLUE LIGHT is lingered on for some time. All encompassing. All-consuming. All-powerful. DIP TO: 

 

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - DAY 

 

A gentle sunlight. BIRDS SING.

Peeping out of a nearby LITTER BIN is a crumpled page from Owen's notebook - 'Pursuit of knowledge about place in the universe rightfully earned...' 

 

Reveal the rest of the road. Still and peaceful. Ducks swim across the lake, its surface glittering with mid morning sun. 

 

At the shallow end, Owen's LANTERN - now smashed - has surfaced against a wall of stone. The KEYS aren't there; only their hook remains. 

 

With everything left of Owen now accounted for...

 

CUT TO BLACK 

 

OVER BLACK: 

 

'We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.' - H.P. Lovecraft. 

 

FADE OUT 

 

THE END

Photograph used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.