Draft 1 (Early March 2015)
I’ve never been good at keeping promises.
For all my twenty one years, I’ve lied, cheated, and manipulated more people than I can count.
But when they made me promise to take care of X, when they made me promise to never let anything happen to him, it was a promise I knew I had to keep.
Ava: Jade, it’s time to wake up.
Jade wakes up, groggy, and looks out the nearest window. they are set up in an abandoned building.
Jade: what are you doing? we can’t go outside yet, it’s still dark.
Ava: we’re not going out. I just wanted to talk to you.
she looks down at Jordan brother sleeping on floor. they lower their voices.
Jade: I’m all ears.
Ava: it’s been two days since we started our escape. If we continue only traveling by day, we’ll never make it out of here.
Jade: we can’t travel during the night, Ava. You know that.
Ava: what if I could change that? what if I could find a way that we could go out there at night?
Jade: Ava, I’m just trying to do what’s best for Jordan. I made them a promise, Ava, and I’m going to keep it. Right now, traveling only during the days is what’s best for him.
Ava: Why do you think I came back for you two, Jade? Don’t you think that I want what’s best for, not just him, but you as well? If we keep traveling at this pace, the CCC is going to find you us, and there will be nothing you can do to protect him then.
Jade: Isn’t that why you brought me along? To make sure we get out of this town alive? You don’t know a thing about this town. I’ve lived here for most of my life. If anyone is going to get us out of here, it’s going to be me.
Jordan: Jade? Ava? Is it time to go?
Jade: Soon, Jordan. Why don’t you pack up our bags?
Ava: he’s not dumb, you know. one of these days, he’s going to remember the code and –
Jade: he doesn’t know the code, Ava. we’ve been through this before. he wasn’t around for any of their planning.
Ava: and how do you know that? how do you know anything about what our parents did or didn’t do?
Jade: you’re one to talk. You’ve only been back for a few months. how do you know anything about them, or any of us for that matter?
Ava: we’ll hold on to most of this stuff until it starts to weigh us down. how much longer until we’re out of town?
Jade: it’s not just this town, Ava. we have to pass through the forest as well. You wanted me to bring you to the highway. that’s at least a hundred miles out. We can’t travel more than a few miles of day with Jordan…
Ava: how many days do you think you can hide from them, Jade? last I checked, they were combing this whole area for you.
Jade: You want to help us or not, Ava? You’re the one who claimed to have somewhere to go, you just needed to get onto the highway. Well, I’ll get us there, and it will take as long as it needs to.
Ava: whatever you say. Let’s get out of here, though. We’ll have to find a new place to stay by at least noon.
Jade bends down to help Jordan.
Jordan: I’m all packed up.
Jade: you’re doing a great job, Jordan.
Jade gives the boy a hug. they eventually break the embrace, and the grab their stuff.
Jade: okay, let’s go.
Ava: alright, Jade, make sure if you see anyone with a white jacket, you stay far away from them.
Jade: those are the people from CC Corporation, right?
Ava: right. you can’t let them see you or Jordan. they’ll capture you in a second, and who knows what they’ll do to you.
Jade: I’ve got it. we need to find a house with shutters. those are the only ones safe around here.
Ava: what? well, this is your town. I won’t ask why. let’s just get to finding one.
they have made it to a house without getting caught.
Jade: this looks like a good place to stop.
Ava: we’re stopping now? we haven’t even traveled very far.
Jordan: my feet are starting to hurt again.
Jade: we’ll take a break here. let Jordan rest his feet. then, we’ll keep moving on.
Ava: well, I’m going out. I’ll be back in a few hours. You should stay here, maybe do some exploring.
Jade: what are you going to be doing out there?
Ava: that’s really not your concern. you’ve got your secrets, I’ve got mine.
Ava leaves the house.
Jade: hey, Jordan, would you like to explore this house a bit with me?
Jordan: does anybody live here?
Jade: not anymore. the people who used to live here locked everything, closed the shutters, and abandoned town.
Jordan: do you think they were afraid of it?
Jade: i think so.
Jordan: are you afraid of it?
Jade: of course not. there’s no reason to fear it. we’ve taken all the necessary precautions. it shouldn’t come anywhere near us.
Jade: what do you say we spend some time looking around this house? maybe we’ll find something interesting.
Jordan: my feet are hurting too bad. I’ll stay here, but you can go exploring.
Jade gives him a hug and a kiss.
Jade: I’ll be back.
after you’ve gone exploring, Ava returns.
Jade: well that was unbelievably quick.
Ava: I found what I needed.
Ava pulls out a flashlight.
Ava: I found this in one of these houses. we can use it to travel during the night.
Jade takes the flashlight and turns it on. It starts to dim.
Ava: i know the batteries are dying, but if we can find some more, then that won’t be a problem.
Jade turns to Jordan. he shakes his head, knowing what she is going to say.
Ava: come on, Jade, we have to at least try it. Jordan can’t travel more than an hour before his feet start hurting. i want to get out of this town, and if we can travel a Jordan bit at night too, we’d be out of here in half the time.
Jade: he’s seven years old, Ava. how much do you think he can travel?
Ava: listen, Jade, this could work. we just need to keep an eye out for more batteries or flashlights.
Jade: I’m not comfortable setting out tonight without at least replacing all of these old batteries.
Ava: it’s going to take at least five batteries, for this flashlight. why don’t you go out, explore some houses? maybe you’ll find something that I missed.
Jade slowly nods.
Jade: I’ll do it.
Ava: remember, don’t let them see you.
it is nightfall.
Ava: did you get enough batteries?
Jade: all five of them.
Ava: great, let’s get going.
Jade: It’s going to be difficult, traveling out there in the dark. We won’t be able to tell where the CCC is. If it’s too difficult, we wait out the rest of the night indoors.
Ava: it sounds like a plan.
Jade sits with Jordan on the ground.
Jade: are you going to be okay, Jordan? I know how you feel about the dark.
Jordan: do you think the flashlights will give us enough light?
Jade: most definitely. but you have to stay close to me, so that we don’t get separated.
Jordan: Jade, I’m going to be afraid.
Jade: no you won’t. you’ll have the flashlight, and I’ll be right next to you.
Ava: are you almost ready? I’ll be waiting for you two outside.
Jade: there goes Ava again, always wanting to be on the move.
Jordan: is that why you don’t like her?
Jade: it’s not that I don’t like her…I guess I just don’t know her. She hasn’t been a part of our lives until the last few months. i don’t really know anything about her, except that our parents… never mind. let’s not get into that right now, okay?
Jade stands up and helps Jordan.
Jade: remember, you’re going to be able to see. and stay close to me at all times.
they end up in a random house with no shutters.
Jade: we can’t go in there, Ava. we don’t know what’s going to be inside!
Ava: well, we can’t stay out here. and we didn’t find anymore batteries for the flashlight.
Jordan: Jade, I’m getting scared.
Jade: let’s go inside. but we have to be careful. if any of them are in there…
Ava: then let’s be careful.
explore the house a bit.
Ava: why do you think mom and dad moved out here? they’ve always been city dwellers. why come out to the middle of nowhere?
Jade: i don’t know.
Ava: so are you gonna tell me what happened?
Jade: to what?
Ava: to this town. why are the houses with shutters safe, and the ones without it have you on edge?
Jade: because the people who put up shutters left the town before the disease settled in. the ones without them thought they could fight it off.
Ava: but they were wrong?
Jade: I don’t know what happened to them, Ava. I don’t know if it reached them or not. but i know that it’s a possibility, which is why we need to continue checking to make sure this place is safe.
Ava: alright, whatever you say.
Jade: it wasn’t their fault, you know.
Ava: excuse me?
Jade: our parents didn’t do this. Don’t forget that they were killed because of this.
Ava: I haven’t forgotten.
the two grow silent, then continue exploring the house.
when you find some more batteries and bring it back to the main area, you find Jordan and Ava sleeping.
Jade: I guess it’s about time for a nap.
they are getting ready to travel again. Ava grabs a large stick to bring with them.
Jade: what is that for?
Ava: who knows what is lurking out there? we need to protect ourselves, just in case.
Jade: do whatever you want.
Ava: what do you have against me, Jade? why are you always against everything that I want to do?
Jade: I don’t have anything against you. I just want to know why you left us, and why you came back.
Ava: … I left for my own reasons. Things happened. Then Mom and Dad brought me back.
Jade: that’s it?
Ava: what more do you want, Jade? what else do you want to know? do you want to hear about how they kidnapped me, how they tortured me? How if it wasn’t for mom and dad, i would probably be dead in a ditch somewhere? would that satisfy your curiosity?
Jade: I want to know that I can trust you.
Ava: well, I guess you can’t know that, can you?
Ava grabs her stick and points to the door.
Ava: I’m ready to get moving. Are you?
they have reached the edge of town.
Jade: we’ve made it to the edge of town. Now, it’s into the forest.
Jordan: Jade, do we have enough batteries?
Jade: yes, we do, Jordan. we’ll be alright in there. I promise.
Ava lets the boy walk ahead of them.
Ava: why are you telling him he’s going to be safe? we’re trying as hard as we can, but we don’t know for sure that they won’t find us and kill him.
Jade: before they died, mom and dad made me promise to take care of him. i held them in my arms, Ava, as they were dying, and that’s what they told me. “Keep him safe, Jade. Whatever you do, take good care of him.” I made them a promise, Ava. And even if I’ve never kept a single promise, I am going to keep that one.
Ava: you could just give them the code. then they would leave you alone, and you’d have kept your promise.
Jade: I already told you, Ava, he doesn’t remember the code. and I never knew it, either. so that isn’t an option. And, if I recall, you’re the one who told us that running away was our best bet. that you had somewhere we could stay where we could be safe.
Ava: and that’s true. I was just given you another choice.
Jade: stop asking about the code, Ava. he doesn’t remember it.
while traveling in the forest, they come across a large facility.
Ava: it’s getting dark.
Jade: what do you think this place is?
Jordan: Jade, I’m starting to get scared.
Jade: here, hold my hand.
Ava: let’s use this as our shelter for the night.
Jade: we don’t even know what it is. we can’t just go in there. what if it isn’t safe?
Ava: isn’t this your town? you claim to know everything about it, and you don’t know if this is safe or not? Well, I see shutters in those windows upstairs. Isn’t that the universal sign of a safe place to stay for the night?
Jade: I’ve never seen this place before, Ava. And I can’t just let us stay there if I don’t know what it is.
Jordan: Jade, it’s getting dark. I’m getting scared.
Jade: okay, Jordan. we’ll go inside. But we’ll have to be extremely careful. if any of them are inside…
Ava: it looks like it’ll be fine. Let’s give it a chance.
they are inside the place.
Jade: this place is huge.
Ava: why don’t you let me and Jordan rest here for a bit. you go exploring, see if you can find some batteries.
Jade: why does it seem like you’re always sending me on missions to collect the batteries that you talked us into using?
Ava: well, that’s because that’s exactly what’s happening. I’ll stay here with Jordan. you go on exploring this new place.
Jade: Jordan, I’ll be right back, okay?
Jade is exploring the place. she finds a whole bunch of information about a strange experiment, people turning into what appears to be zombies. there are lists of dead people, etc. then, she finds an office with weapons experiments. she finds a paper on the desk with information on it.
Jade: in 2005, two researchers dedicated their lives to finishing the NAME DEVICE, a weapon of unimaginable power. their goal was to finish it in fifteen years, and they would have, too. however, the NAME DEVICE was stolen by these very researchers a few months ago, and is no where to be found.
Jade: that’s strange. why would those people steal that device? and what kind of people create a device with unimaginable power?
Jade continues exploring the room, to find a door which leads to a hallway. there are two more rooms, with labels: Mr. Kelmor and Mrs. Kelmor offices.
revelation: her parents are the ones who stole the device.
Jade: what is this? why are my parents names on these doors? what’s going on here?
Jade enters the fathers room and finds information about the zombies, and a Jordan bit about why everyone left. there is an emergency exit at the back of his room. the door has been wedged open and the device above it smashed…it won’t make any noise when opened again.
Jade enters the mothers room and finds more information about the NAME DEVICE, and how it has the power isn’t harnessed, and it can cause a whole lot of problems. there is a note: we did it because we had no choice. how did they even know that we had it? and how could we have known she would be ungrateful? after all we’ve done for her, she still hates us. I will never understand Ava. I don’t think I was meant to.
Jade returns back to the camp with her siblings.
Ava jumps up immediately.
Ava: Jade, there’s no time! this place, it’s run by the CC Corporation!
suddenly, all of the lights in the facility turn on. you can hear footsteps…the people are coming!
Jade: we have to go, now! Jordan, take my hand.
they proceed to run from the area. Ava stops and turns back.
Ava: my flashlight!
Jade: there’s no time!
Ava dashes and grabs it anyway. she runs back to where they are.
Ava: we have to find a way out of this place.
Jade: I think I might know a way. stay close.
after you manage to break free from the facility without getting caught, and maybe even hurting some people along the way, you continue to run into the forest. by now, the sun is starting to rise, so you just keep running.
Jordan: please, Jade, can we stop? i can’t go much further.
Jade: yes, Jordan. come here.
she pulls him into a hug.
Jade: don’t worry, Jordan. I’m going to keep you safe.
Jade stands up and pushes Ava.
Jade: you brought us there, Ava. you told us to go inside, that it might be safe. it’s the CC Corporation’s headquarters! You made us walk right into there!
Ava: how on earth could I have known, Jade?
Jade: that room we walked through, it belonged to dad.
Ava: dad? what are you –
Jade: don’t play dumb with me, Ava! mom wrote a note on her desk, in her office right next to it, saying that they’d stolen the device for you. Ava, you knew they worked for the CC Corporation, and you knew that this was their facility. why did you bring us inside?
Ava: you’re right, I knew that they were researchers with the Corporation. and i knew that they stole some device because it was the ransom my kidnappers demanded. but i did not know that this was their headquarters.
Jade: Ava, why didn’t you tell me?
Ava: and why didn’t you tell me? Jordan told me about the code, Jade. you told me that he wasn’t involved with the planning of it, but that was a lie.
Jade: Jordan, what did you do? i told you never to tell anyone. they told you to trust me, to listen to me. why didn’t you listen to them?
Jordan: i’m sorry, Jade. I didn’t think that it was bad for Ava to know. i’m sorry.
Ava: what’s the matter, Jade? You don’t trust me?
Jade: how can I? I don’t know a thing about you.
Ava: isn’t that I’m your Jade, that I’m trying to help you get out of here…isn’t that enough?
Jade: i don’t know, Ava. all i know is that we have to get out of here. the corporation is going to know we fled this way. they’re going to come after us.
they stop running now that they are out of the forest, and rest at what appears to be some sort of river.
Ava: you didn’t say anything about a river.
Jade: I didn’t remember a river.
Ava: I can’t believe this.
Jade: give me moment. get some water for Jordan while I try to figure this out.
Jade sets her pack down and looks around. Ava and Jordan head to the water.
Jade: I don’t remember this place. why don’t I remember there being a river after the forest? i’ve never been this far out, but I’ve seen maps…why is everything so different?
suddenly, there’s screaming. Jade rushes to the river and sees Ava fighting off someone. she sees someone else creeping toward Jordan, who is by the river.
Jade: Jordan, run!
after you fight off the two attackers, you run across the shallow river.
Jade: what happened back there, Ava?
Ava: what do you mean? did you not see for yourself? they waited until you moved away, and they attacked us.
Jade: you left Jordan exposed back there. he was almost taken by one of them.
Ava: i did the best I could, Jade.
Jade: you almost let them take him.
Ava: I didn’t make any promises to our parents, Jade, but I am still doing whatever I can to make sure that both of you are safe.
Jade: it’s all your fault for leading us into their headquarters.
Ava: I didn’t know it was their headquarters, Jade. when are you going to believe me?
Jade gets up and grabs Jordan.
Jade: we have to keep moving. the highway is on its way.
Ava: there’s just one problem, Jade. night is about to fall. we’ll have just enough light to reach the highway, but after that…
Jade: well, that’s your responsibility, isn’t it? I bring us to the highway, you take care of the rest. we’re going to keep moving forward.
Jordan: are we going to be alright, Jade?
Jade: yes, we will, Jordan. we’re almost out of here, and then Ava is going to take us somewhere safe.
Jordan grabs her hand.
after some peril, they manage to make it to the highway. the batteries officially die, and night has only just started.
Jade: we’ve made it to the highway, Ava. now where are you taking us?
Ava: it’s just a Jordan ways away from here. i should have a car parked somewhere around here.
Jordan: Jade…I’m getting scared.
Jade reaches into pack.
Jade: i have something I’ve been saving for you, Jordan.
she pulls out a candle and lights it.
Jade: that should give you some light, okay, Jordan?
Jordan: thank you, Jade.
Ava: this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. as if that Jordan light is going to help.
Jade: what are you talking about?
Ava: you don’t get it, do you? night has just started, Jade. you won’t be able to make it through the night. Jordan is going to lose his mind from fear of the darkness.
Jade: what is wrong with you, Ava? what’s going on?
Ava: Jordan told me about the code, Jade. he told me that there isn’t any code at all.
Jade: what do you mean? Ava –
Ava: there is no code, because he is the code. how do you not know this?
Jade: Jordan –
Ava: actually, i’m not surprised. you don’t know anything. you don’t know about our parents, you don’t know about me… you don’t know about anything.
Ava stands up.
Ava: i’m turning you in to them. they are going to take Jordan, and use him to activate DEVICE NAME, and they’re going to kill you.
Jade: what…why would you….why would you do this to us? why are you helping the corporation?
Ava: the corporation? they’ve been nothing but trouble since I got here. I’m not helping them. I’m helping the people who saved my life.
Jade: your life?
Ava: it was a great scheme, pretending to have been kidnapped, getting them to give DEVICE NAME to us as a ransom. all we need now is the code, which Jordan has so recklessly given away.
Jade: we’re not going to let you do this, Ava. we’re going to run away from you, we’re never going to let you take him. I’m never going to let you take him.
Ava: and what are you going to do? you can’t go anywhere! Jordan can’t be in the dark for more than ten seconds before he loses his mind. where are you going to go once that Jordan candle runs out?
Jade: how could you do this to me?
Ava: this isn’t about you, Jade. i needed you to get me to the highway. and you did that well. but for now, I need you and Jordan to stay here while i get the car. I hope our parents are proud of how well you’ve kept him alive. just in case you didn’t know, that part was my idea. I didn’t think you’d do such a good job at it.
Jade: your idea? did you do this to them? did you kill them?
Ava: I have nothing more to say to you. Wait here until I get back for you.
Ava leaves them.
Jordan: I’m sorry for telling Ava. I didn’t know…
Jade: I didn’t know either. But how did you know that you were the code? when did they tell you? I thought they said they would keep you out of it?
Jordan I don’t understand any of this, Jade. all I know is that they told me that i was the code. I don’t know what that means. do you know what that means?
Jade: we have to leave from here. we can’t stay here. Ava is coming back, and she’s going to take us to whoever it is that she’s working for.
Jordan: but I can’t go, Jade. It’s dark, and the candle is about to die.
Jade grabs Jordan by the shoulders.
Jade: Jordan, I know this is hard. but sometimes we have to do things that are hard. our parents asked me to do this, they asked me to take care of you, and I said that I would. but I was so afraid, Jordan. I was so afraid that i would lose you, that I would fail them. and I’m afraid right now, Jordan. I’m afraid because Ava turned on us, and I should have noticed something. I shouldn’t have trusted her. but I did, and now I’m scared.
Jade: Jordan, I’m scared, but we have to go. you’re scared, but we have to do this. mom and dad told you something, they told you to trust me. and i’m telling you that I will keep you safe. we will make it out of this. but we have to go out there.
Jordan: Jade, I can’t do it. I can’t go out there in the dark. If I go out in the dark, it will happen to me. I can’t let it happen to me!
Jade: nothing is going to happen to you, Jordan. I won’t let it happen to you. but we have to go out now. we have to leave before Ava gets back.
Jordan: Jade, the light’s going out! Jade, I’m so scared!
Jade pulls Jordan close to her.
Jade: I’m going to keep you safe, Jordan. I promised that I would. And I will.
Jordan hesitates and slowly hands her the candle.
Jordan: okay, Jade.
Jade stands up and grabs his hand. they walk together from that spot until the candle starts to flicker, then fades away.
the screen goes black.
Jordan: Jade. I’m scared.
Jade: so am I, Jordan. but it’s going to be okay.