Hour Game

FADE IN:

INT. BASEMENT

The room is dark, dense, as if the air has a thickness to it. A single bed is visible in the corner and Jane is sitting alone. She hears something.

JANE

Katherine? Are you awake?

Jane hears the sound of steel shifting on concrete and she looks over to where the noise is coming from. A moment passes and another bed appears. Katherine is sitting on the second bed with her hand held out in front of her face, fingers splayed.

JANE

Katherine?

KATHERINE

I hate it when they turn the lights out. It’s like we stop existing, we just fade away. No fingers, no faces.

JANE

Wait. I’m coming over.

Jane crosses the room, using an outstretched arm to guide her through the dark.

JANE

Let me squish in. Shit, Katherine, you’re freezing. Why aren’t you under the covers?

KATHERINE

What’s the point… we’re already dead.

JANE

You take that back, right now. Do you hear me? We’re not dead and we are getting out of here.

KATHERINE

You almost sound convinced.

JANE

I’m not dying down here. I refuse to give them, or him, or whoever the fuck they are, the satisfaction.

There is a loud beep and the room fills with white light. Katherine and Jane cover their eyes.

JANE

It can’t be the morning already?

KATHERINE

Does it matter? Lights on. Lights off. Time’s whatever they want it to be.

JANE

Where’s my watch? It can’t have been eight hours.

A voice booms over the intercom. The familiar voice is neither male or female. It’s robotic and tinny.

INTERCOM

Apologies for the early wake-up call, ladies, but I have a surprise for you this morning.

Katherine and Jane trade glances. This is something new, there hasn’t been a wake-up call before, and the uncertainty shows on their faces.

INTERCOM

Today, dear guests, is the day that you get to choose if you live or die.

Katherine stares at the intercom, and Jane takes her hand.

INTERCOM

You see, unbeknown to you, there is another room, just like yours, at the opposite end of the basement. And in one hour, a lethal gas will be released into the ventilation system that supplies both rooms.

Pause.

INTERCOM

But, this need not be bad news. If anything, it should be cause for celebration. Because, if you flick the switch by the door, yes, that white one, then it will close the vent to your room, and only the other room will be infected. They will die, true and unfortunate, yes. But you, you will live long and fruitful lives. You choose, who lives and who dies? Two complete strangers or you?

A horrible silence.

INTERCOM

Oh, I almost forgot, how careless. The catch. Unfortunately, only one vent can close at a time, and if a switch is flipped early, then the gas will release automatically into the other room. No need to wait. Otherwise, you have one hour. Good luck.

Katherine looks at Jane, her eyes filled with fear.

KATHERINE

It can’t …

JANE

No. They’re just messing with us, scaring us. They want us to be afraid, that’s all, just another twist in their sick little game.

Katherine looks up with desperation, then she walks to the door.

JANE

 What are you doing?

KATHERINE

I’m flicking the switch.

JANE

Katherine, wait… we have to think about this.

KATHERINE

We can’t. I won’t die down here, that’s what you said. We have to get out.

Katherine raises a finger.

JANE (voice raised)

Katherine, stop.

Katherine looks back, scared.

KATHERINE

You said they’re just messing with us, scaring us, so why does it matter?

JANE

We… we just need to think for a minute.

KATHERINE

What if we don’t have a minute? What if there is another room, and right now they’re getting ready to close their vent…

JANE

So, what … we just kill them? 

Jane looks at Katherine and something passes between them.

JANE

Think about what you’re saying, Katherine.

KATHERINE

I’m scared. I don’t want to die.

JANE

Neither do I … but … we’re not murders.

Katherine sinks to the floor and holds her face in her hands.

KATHERINE

I’m sorry. (She sobs) I’m so sorry …you’re right, I mean, of course you’re right… it’s just…

Jane puts an arm around Katherine.

JANE

I know.

KATHERINE

What do we do?

JANE

We wait. And we pray. Come on.

Jane helps her up. Then they walk to the nearest bed and slip under the covers.

KATHERINE

Will you tell me a story? Distract me, please. I’m just … I’m just having a lot of thoughts.

Jane settles an arm around Katherine.

JANE (taking a breath.)

Once upon a time, there was a long and enchanted river …

Jane’s voice fades. A clock chimes, showing the passage of time.

JANE

But the river has no need of an ending, preferring to wind and loop forever.

Jane finishes. The light on the far side of the room sharpens and a slip of paper becomes visible under the door. Jane looks over, back at Katherine, and goes to pick it up.

JANE (reading)

 One minute left. Tick-tock.

Jane looks up at Katherine and then back at the white switch.

FADE TO BLACK

THE END