Bright Yellow Sundress

Bright Yellow Sundress

A Screenplay by Earthrise
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Published for FaeryQueen's screenplay contest

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Fade In:


EXT. PARK- DAY


A man paces anxiously in a crowded park, oblivious to the noise around him. He fumbles with his phone, awkwardly but with a purpose.


The man is ALEC, an everyman whose confidence barely makes up for his naivety. He’s the kind of guy who would have a hard time sticking out of a crowd, but he doesn’t seem to mind.


Alec pulls up his recent texts, opening a conversation with a woman named Sophie. He starts typing:


ALEC’S MESSAGE: “Hey, you close?”


ALEC’S MESSAGE: “I thought we said 5:30”


He almost erases the second message, but he decides to send it anyway.

After sending it, he scans the crowd for a sign of his date. Nothing, but a chime brings his attention back to his phone.


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “So sorry! My sister thought itd be funny to hide the outfit I put out. Almost there though!”


Alec types out a quick response, chuckling to himself as he does.


ALEC’S MESSAGE: “Must be some outfit! Cant wait to see it in person :)”


He stuffs the phone in his pocket and makes his way toward the park entrance. As he walks, he adjusts his hair and clothing. Eventually, as the adjustments get bigger and bigger, he gets distracted and finds himself pulled out of the world around him.


FEMALE VOICE

     Alec!


The voice brings him back into reality. He spins around to see a woman in a bright yellow sundress waving at him. It’s Sophie, although it’s strange. She didn’t come from the park entrance. It looks like she came from the woods.


Alec waves back, and Sophie runs up to him, hugging him. Her embrace is powerful: it almost knocks him off his feet. After the two separate, he takes a minute to catch his breath.


SOPHIE is the first person you’d pick out of a crowd. She’s enthusiastic and bubbly, with an aura more joyful than the color of her dress. She’s classic femininity cranked to eleven, but with a hint of wildfire somewhere in her eyes.


Alec notices that she’s wearing running shoes which don’t match her dress at all. He ignores this, however. He’s hardly a fashionista.


SOPHIE

     Wow, you look even better than your picture!


ALEC

     Thanks! Honestly, you look kind of different, too.


Sophie feigns being insulted.


SOPHIE

     Hey now, “different” doesn’t mean “better.”


ALEC

     Better! I meant better.


The two laugh, with Sophie continuing just a bit too long.  


ALEC

So, there’s a nice picnic area over there. I don’t know if you want to grab something and come ba-


SOPHIE

     Why don’t we explore one of the trails?


ALEC

     Oh. Sure. Yeah, that’s a good idea.


The two leave the main park area, with Sophie leading the way to one of the trails.


EXT. PARK TRAIL- DAY


Alec and Sophie walk along an open and breezy trail. They are occasionally passed by small groups of other people, but other than this, they’re alone.


ALEC

So, I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to ask you the boring questions.


SOPHIE

     Boring questions?


ALEC

     Yeah, like, where do you work?


SOPHIE

     Oh.


               ALEC                          SOPHIE

     Where do you go to school?         Please no.


ALEC

     What do you do for fun?


SOPHIE

     Please, spare me.


ALEC

I know, it sucks. But I feel like we have to get to know each other at some point.


SOPHIE

     Aren’t there other ways to get to know someone?


ALEC

     What do you mean?


SOPHIE

There’s more to people than what they do. Ask me what I think about something.

ALEC

     Okay, fine… Do you believe in fate?


Sophie laughs.


SOPHIE

     Wow, that is a question.


Alec throws his hands up like he’s defending himself.


ALEC

     Hey, you said no boring questions!


SOPHIE

     But you went straight to fate?


ALEC

     You know what? Fine. It’s stupid.


SOPHIE

No, I have an answer. But I’d kinda like to hear yours first.


Alec sighs deeply and looks up at the tree line contemplatively.


ALEC

I mean, I never really thought about it. I just thought it was an interesting question.

     (shrugs)

All I know is, sometimes I don’t feel in control of my life. But sometimes I do, and that has to count for something. So no, I guess I don’t believe in fate.


SOPHIE

(laughing)

     Great reasoning, Socrates.


ALEC

     I said I never thought about it! I’m on the spot here!

          (sighs)

     It doesn’t matter. What about you?


Sophie laughs: a light, shrilly, unbothered sound. She then stops walking, gracefully twirling to look at Alec head-on. He stops in his tracks, unsure of what to do.


SOPHIE

I believe in fate because I think we need it. People tend to make mistakes, even when they should know better. Fate fixes our mistakes, even uses them. It accounts for… human error.


ALEC

     Wow, you’ve really thought this through.


SOPHIE

I have. Besides, I think fate is romantic. I like to think of life as a storybook that’s complete even though we don’t know it yet. I can’t see why anyone would hate that idea.


ALEC

     I don’t know. I guess people like to feel in control.


Sophie smiles, and the wildfire in her eyes burns brighter for a second.


SOPHIE

     They’re not. Now follow me!


EXT. CLEARING- DAY


Sophie spins on a heel and leads Alec into a clearing on the other side of the trail.


As Alec follows, his phone buzzes. Reflexively, he pulls it out of his pocket to check it, but remembering himself, he puts it back before doing so.


ALEC

Okay, that was fun, but can we swim back to the shallow end    now? I actually do want to know what you do for fun.


She doesn’t respond, but just keeps walking.


ALEC

Hey, I’m serious. I compromised for you, now you can compromise for me.


SOPHIE

     I hate talking about what I do for fun. It’s so pointless.


ALEC

     Really? You can’t be serious.


He puts a hand on her shoulder, and she turns to face him, stopping him dead in his tracks.


Her expression is completely different- almost shockingly so. Gone is the bright beam of joy, replaced by the cold of a stone wall.


Alec is speechless, and Sophie turns back without a word. She continues walking without him, leaving him standing in place.


ALEC

I gotta be honest, Sophie, I don’t get it. That’s not even a personal question.


Sophie responds without looking back. She sounds exasperated.


SOPHIE

     I’m a collector.


ALEC

     Oh. Okay, that’s something. What do you collect?


He moves to catch up with her but stops when she turns around again. This time, she gives him a mischievous smile.


SOPHIE

     Whatever interests me.

ALEC

     What’s with that look? Do I interest you?


Sophie laughs.


SOPHIE

     We’re gonna take a detour. This way.


EXT. FOREST- DAY


Sophie leads Alec into a thin patch of woods and scans the area for… something. Alec follows, unable to match her pace because he keeps tripping on roots.


ALEC

So, if you won’t tell me what exactly you collect… what kind of thing “interests you”?


Sophie doesn’t respond. Not even a laugh. Not even a look in his direction.


Alec stops to stare at her, confused. His phone buzzes again. He looks in its direction but ignores it, continuing after her.


ALEC

     Look, if you’re embarrassed, just say so. I’ll drop it.


He catches up, turning to face Sophie. Even face to face, she doesn’t look at him, but at something far away and undefined.


ALEC

     Are… are you okay?


At this, Sophie allows another small smile to crack her face.


Alec’s phone goes off again. Frustrated with Sophie, he leaves her standing there to go check it. What he sees stops him in his tracks.

He’s received three new messages… from Sophie.


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “Omg im so sorry! Now my brother’s holding me up”


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “Okay now im really on my way. Here’s a pic of that outfit to hold you over :D”

The third message is a mirror picture of a woman who looks identical to Sophie. She’s wearing a dark blue sundress.


Alec stares at his phone for a moment, frozen. When we finds himself able to move again, he casts a suspicious look at the woman he’s with.

Sophie- or whoever it is- is still standing where she was, stock-still. One eye on her, he types.


ALEC’S MESSAGE: “If you haven’t left, who is this?”


He risks taking a picture of the woman and sends it to Sophie.

A bubble pops up, indicating she’s typing. The bubble vanishes and reappears multiple times, each pause just barely longer than the last.


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “Run.”


Alec hesitates.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     Who is that?


She turns to face him, cracking an uncanny smile.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     You’re not talking to another woman, are you?


ALEC

     I… I don’t think so.


The doppelganger strolls toward him, her movements now devoid of the feminine grace she once had. She moves jerkily, like an animatronic whose joints are rusted over.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     It’s her, isn’t it?


Alec tries to answer, but no sound comes out of his mouth. The doppelganger just stares at him, the wildfire in her eyes building to an inferno.


Without warning, the doppelganger sprints toward Alec, releasing an inhuman roar as she does. Alec screams and bolts in the other direction, but quickly finds himself disoriented.

SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

(singsong)

     Oh, Alec! You didn’t forget the way out, did you?


Alec looks in all directions for a path that looks familiar. Not finding anything, he bolts for the thickest patch of vegetation he can find and hides in it.


EXT. FOREST (BUSHES)- DAY


Alec dives under a bush and, taking a moment to catch his breath, dashes to the next bush nearest to him. As soon as he’s hidden, he hears the doppelganger searching the shrub he was just under.


As silently as he can muster, he tries to army crawl out of his new hiding place, but he almost collides with the doppelganger’s feet.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

Oh, Alec, can we skip the whole running-and-hiding routine? It’s so boring.


Alec waits until the doppelganger has passed him and runs to a nearby tree.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

I’ve known guys who’ve hid for days, Alec. Days. It didn’t matter in the end. You’re not accomplishing anything.


Alec pulls out his phone and, steadying his shaking fingers, texts Sophie.


ALEC’S MESSAGE: “What is going on???”


He hears the doppelganger on the other side of the tree, coming around. Trying to be silent, he starts inching his way around the trunk, staying out of sight.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

I wouldn’t even say you’re delaying the inevitable. You’re just prolonging the suffering. This is supposed to be quick! I don’t want you to spend your last hours afraid. Do you?

Alec dashes from the tree to a nearby growth that’s just barely big enough to hide him. He checks his phone.


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “It’s a curse”


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “I thought it was over. I really did”


The doppelganger steps out from behind the tree, looking wildly in all directions.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

Was that a buzz I heard? I hope you’re not talking to that hag, Sophie. You’re too good for her.


The doppelganger stops right next to the shrub. If she looked down, she would have seen Alec.


He holds his breath. Eyes locked on her, he reaches for a nearby seed pod to use as a distraction. The sound of his shuffling attracts her attention, so he frantically throws the seed pod away from him, creating a louder sound. She goes to investigate.


Safe for the moment, Alec crawls to a larger bush and types.


ALEC’S MESSAGE: “Who is she?”


He looks from behind a leaf to watch the doppelganger prowling. Discovering the seed pod, she starts making her way back to the shrub where Alec last hid.


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “Some sort of demon. I don’t know”


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “I swear I thought she was back in hell”


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “I’m so sorry”


The doppelganger steps over the shrub, creeping closer to Alec’s new hiding place. He types angrily.


ALEC’S MESSAGE: “Stop apologizing and tell me what’s going on”


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “I know. Sorry”


He covers his mouth to stop from screaming. Luckily, Sophie follows this with another message.


SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “I was cursed. Years ago, for something stupid”

 

SOPHIE’S MESSAGE: “She was sent to kill anyone who has a chance of falling in love with me”


The doppelganger strides up to the bush and starts creeping around it.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     You’re too good for that girl, Alec. She has skeletons.


Again, Alec holds his breath to keep from being heard. As the doppelganger circles the bush, however, he becomes emboldened by a thought brewing in his mind.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

Falling for her was a mistake, my friend. I don’t blame you for it, but now I have to do what I have to do. I hope you don’t take it the wrong way.


ALEC

     Wait!


He jumps out of hiding, the bush now between him and the doppelganger. She pauses, looking almost amused, to hear what he has to say.


ALEC

(stuttering)

     You… you kill anyone she falls in love with, right?


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

So, you have been talking to her. Well, that’s the general idea.


ALEC

     Okay, then hear me out. I’m not in love with her.


The doppelganger suppresses a laugh.


ALEC

I mean, come on. This was supposed to be a first date. I still haven’t met her yet! Technically.


The doppelganger starts to make her way around the bush, in Alec’s direction.


ALEC

I don’t know what kind of crazy demon world you come from, but humans don’t fall in love that fast. I barely know her! You have no reason to kill me.


The doppelganger laughs openly this time.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

A strong argument. There’s just one problem. It doesn’t matter how you feel, it matters how she does. And congratulations, Alec…


An evil smile distorts her face.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     …she likes ya.


She leaps at him, pinning him against a tree and wrapping her fingers around his throat. Alec flails wildly, but his struggle is in vain.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     Just go to sleep, hon. You’ll be fine.


His eyes starting to roll back in his head, Alec lands a few week hits on the doppelganger. She doesn’t seem to notice. Then, in a stroke of luck, he smacks her on the nose with his phone, causing her to stagger briefly.


The doppelganger grunts and puts a finger to her nose- revealing blood! Alec doesn’t have time to register his victory, however. He’s already sprinting away.


INT. PARK BATHROOMS- DAY


Alec runs into the bathroom and locks himself in the stall furthest from the door, crouching on the toilet lid to prevent his feet from being seen.


Not a second after he’s hidden, he hears the bathroom door being slammed open. Light footsteps fill the room, echoing off the tile.

SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     Oh, this is just embarrassing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Alec listens to her footsteps growing closer and closer until he sees her standing outside the other stall. She knocks softly on that stall door, then on his.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

(singsong)

     Eenie, meenie, miney, mo…


She paces between the two stalls. Slowly. Methodically.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

(singsong)

     Catch a tiger by its toe…


Absently, she runs her fingernails over the stall doors as she paces, creating a hideous, high-pitched squealing sound. Like nails on a chalkboard. Alec bites his lip to keep from screaming.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

(singsong)

     If it hollers, let it go…


She stops briefly outside Alec’s door, in just the right spot for him to see her through the crack. She doesn’t see him. At least, she doesn’t let on that she does.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

(singsong)

     Eenie, meenie, miney, mo.


Alec can’t see her now. Silence fills the bathroom.


SLAM!


One of the stall doors flies open. It’s the other one. Alec breathes a sigh of relief, but then he hears the footsteps drawing close.

 

SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     Oh well. Double or nothing.


The doppelganger approaches Alec’s stall. She doesn’t notice the other stall’s door close beside her. Allowing herself a malicious grin, she throws the door open.


No one’s inside! Confused, the doppelganger slinks back over to the other stall- where she gets a door to the face.


As she staggers, Alec dashes out of his new hiding place and sprints out of the bathroom. The creature howls behind him.


EXT. PARK- DAY


Alec sprints toward the park entrance. Behind him, the doppelganger emerges from the bathroom and chases after him with inhuman speed.


Before long, she catches up and knocks Alec to the ground. He tries to get back up, but with a wave of her hand, she pins him to the ground with some sort of otherworldly power.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

Sorry, Alec. You seem like a good guy. You just fell for the wrong girl. What happens next isn’t personal. Just fate.


She snaps her fingers. Alec blacks out.


INT. RITUAL ROOM- NIGHT


Alec comes to in a dark room. He’s kneeling, hands and feet tied, and is surrounded by strange objects.


These objects appear to be shrines of some sort. They’re small boxes, each with a candle and a random personal item sitting on top. Most strikingly, a picture also sits on each box: a picture of a person with Xs drawn over their eyes.


Alec notices that the box closest to him sports his picture, but it’s unmarked and there is no personal item on the box.


Sitting across from him, the doppelganger sharpens a long sword. She doesn’t acknowledge Alec’s presence, but stares at his phone, which is lying on the floor in front of her.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

Do you have anything more… sentimental than that? I need a talisman for the shrine.


Alec tries to speak, but no sound comes out.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     No? Ugh, shrines are so boring these days.


She puts the sword down and strolls over to Alec. She kneels in front of him, staring him down.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     I don’t suppose Sophie told you what she did to deserve me?


Alec composes himself enough to get a few words out, between a lot of stammering and blubbering.


ALEC

     Whatever it was, I had nothing to do with it.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

So, she didn’t tell you. Well, it was a whole mess. Trespassing on an occult holy site, awakening the wrath of the Six Bedrock Spirits, real nasty stuff. Unfortunately, we don’t have time for flashbacks.


She stands, grabbing Alec’s chin and making him look up at her.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     The dark ones hunger.


The doppelganger steps back, standing just inside the border of the circle. With a wave of her hand, she lights the candles on the shrines, casting herself in an eerie glow.


Her sarcastic demeanor disappears, and she begins speaking with a dark purpose.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

With your sacrifice, you will spare this world. For with your sacrifice, you will dull their thirst. But with your sacrifice, you will doom yet more. For though blood may quench, all thirst returns.

She steps forward. Eyes locked on Alec, emotion drained from her face.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

These are the Spirits’ terms, and these will be fulfilled. For those who crave one ton of flesh, let us now carve out your pound.


The doppelganger reaches for her sword, but… it’s missing! Noticing this seems to momentarily break her strange trance.


SOPHIE (DOPPELGANGER)

     Now that’s funny. I could’ve sworn-


SHLUCK!


The doppelganger is interrupted by a wet cutting sound. A drop of blood escapes from her mouth. Looking down, she sees her sword stuck through her, staining her bright yellow sundress red.


The doppelganger falls in a pile, revealing her attacker to Alec. It’s Sophie.


The REAL SOPHIE is a bit of a mess. She has a chaotic, hypervigilant edge about her, with a sad, tired, and deeply storied look in her eyes.


Sophie has evidently been searching in the woods for quite some time, and the twigs and small cuts she’s accumulated, accessorized with the doppelganger’s blood, add to her disheveled look.


SOPHIE

     Hey.


ALEC

     Sophie…


Collecting herself, Sophie uses the sword to cut Alec’s bonds, then throws it far away.


ALEC

     Sophie…

SOPHIE

     Shh. You’re still winded. Just sit down.


She helps Alec get into a comfortable sitting position, eyeing the doppelganger as she does.


ALEC

     Sophie.


SOPHIE

It’s okay. Just catch your breath and we’ll get you out of here.


ALEC

     No, listen to me!


Taken aback, Sophie lets Alec speak.


ALEC

You knew? You knew about this… stupid curse, and you didn’t tell me?


A look of deep pain crosses Sophie’s face.


SOPHIE

     Oh, Alec. I’m so sorry. I-


ALEC

     You lied. I almost just died. How…


SOPHIE

     No, please listen.


ALEC

How lonely can you be to risk someone else’s life for a date?


SOPHIE

     That’s not what this is. I-

 

ALEC

Yes, it is! I just almost had the most horrifying death of all time! Why wouldn’t you tell me about this stupid horror movie curse?


SOPHIE

     I thought the curse was broken!


Alec considers this point, but only briefly.


ALEC

     Why?


SOPHIE

Because when I first discovered this place, I burned it to the ground. With her inside.


Silence fills the room as Alec slowly processes this.


SOPHIE

I haven’t seen her in… a long time. If I had any idea she was still alive, I would never…


Alec remains silent.


SOPHIE

     I never, ever wanted to drag anyone else into this.

          (she whispers)

     I’m so sorry.


Instead of responding, Alec looks at the doppelganger. He thinks he can see her breathing, but the movement is too subtle to be sure.


ALEC

     You burned her?


SOPHIE

     Yes.


ALEC

     And if that didn’t kill her…

Sophie nods sadly.

SOPHIE

     A little paper cut won’t either.


She stands, offering Alec her hand.


SOPHIE

But the most important thing right now is getting you out of here. Do you trust me?


ALEC

     Not really. Do I have a choice?


Sophie smiles without joy.


SOPHIE

     Not really.


He looks at one Sophie, then at the other. This new one stands over him, her face pleading with him to take a leap of faith.


He takes her hand.

End.

 

© 2022 Earthrise


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Added on June 18, 2022
Last Updated on June 18, 2022
Tags: screenplay, short film, horror, romance, dark

Author

Earthrise
Earthrise

Middleburg, FL



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