Genre: Ghost story, paranormal, supernatural, thriller
A woman reporter haunted by a vengeful ghost must discover the horrifying truth about her own identity when she uncovers appalling secrets implicating herself in the ghost’s murder.
Theme: Vengeance knows no bounds.
INT. OFFICE TOWER – UTILITY CLOSET – PITCH BLACK – NIGHT
Shrill sound, like ringing in ears, slowly builds accompanied by a HEAVY HEART BEAT and STACCATO BREATHING: someone in fear, trying to be still and calm. A body moving slightly, bumping into things.
Dim light from a mobile phone clicks on, pushing back the darkness from MELANIE O’HARA’S attractive, but petrified face (late 20s).
Smeared make-up accents her fear. Knees are drawn to chin as she crouches, pressed into hanging mop handles. A handle falls against her cheek and she slaps it back in panicked reflex. It falls, the wet mop landing on her head.
She yelps, brushing it off as if it were a giant spider. She drops the phone and the LIGHT GOES OUT. Sounds of her searching in the dark… The light comes on again. She turns the glow on the wet mop and sighs relief.
She turns back to her original position and there, inches away, a WOMAN’S GROTESQUE PALLID FACE stares at her!
Melanie shrieks in terror as she lurches away, dropping the phone. PITCH BLACK again. Moments with frantic sounds of arms and legs thrashing about…
INT. OFFICE TOWER – HALLWAY – CONTINUOUS
A brilliant flash of white light as Melanie bursts through the utility room door into an ultra-modern office tower hallway. She scrambles to her feet, and runs off full tilt, her stylish business suit no hindrance to speed.
She turns the corner while glancing back at the empty hallway. When she she looks ahead again, a WOMAN (18) is approaching with a determined gait, a fierce face full of hate. Melanie staggers to a stop.
Stunningly Mulatto, she’s dressed in layers of colored silk that skim the floor, long hair gloriously corn-rowed like a Cajun princess.
Only every other overhead ceiling light is lit, and she can clearly be seen in the shadows between the lights, but as she passes beneath the lighted area, she becomes a horrid ROTTING WALKING CORPSE!
Melanie screams and takes off in the opposite direction. She runs down corridor after corridor, checking for unlocked doors. At an elevator, she frantically presses the buttons. It starts up from the 1st floor. She’s on the 30th.
It’s coming fast, only two more floors. Melanie looks both ways down the corridor, no sign of the specter. The elevator doors open and Melanie goes to step in–
Rotting Sondra is waiting for her! Sondra raises her arms and a powerful gust of wind hurls Melanie across the hall, slamming her against the wall. She falls to the floor, the wind knocked out of her.
Sondra comes out of the elevator into the shadows: a beautiful exotic Cajun woman.
You’ve made me wait a long time, Melanie. You know how I hate to wait.
Melanie tries to move away on hands and knees.
Y-you’re not here.
Oh, but I am. And ya know? I’d say there’s only a couple people in the whole world who know that for sure, wouldn’t you?
Melanie scampers up and runs again, afraid to look back.
You’re my ticket out of here, Cher. And I’m going to catch that train right now!
Melanie rounds a corner and picks up speed. Up ahead the hallway ends at a huge, ornate stained-glass window.
She glances over her shoulder and there’s Sondra only yards behind, not running, but flying at her in a horrid cloud of construction debris swirling around her, arms reaching out with distended fingers, and a tortured smile set in a face warped beyond human limits.
Melanie is forced to stop at the window, her scream lost in a rush of violent air as she turns to face the nauseating assemblage. Sondra collides with her and they both crash through the stained-glass window.
EXT. OFFICE TOWER – 30TH FLOOR – CONTINUOS – NIGHT
Melanie flies out in a shower of colored glass fragments– but no Sondra.
INT. OFFICE TOWER – 28TH FLOOR CONFERENCE HALL – CONTINUOS – NIGHT
Mayor’s Halloween party going full blast. PEOPLE munch at the food table by the floor-to-ceiling windows. Heads reflexively turn as Melanie hurtles past.
EXT. OFFICE TOWER – CONTINUOUS – NIGHT
Melanie plummets down. A converted greyhound bus with a band’s logo painted on the side, waits for her. She lands on her back like a princess falling into a cloud of pillows. The roof caves in and the side windows explode.
She lays unmoving.
Police and emergency vehicles slowly MATERIALIZE. TWO PARAMEDICS prop a ladder against the side of the bus.
This is going to be messy.
Got a fresh bag of Handi-wipes.
Nice, Ben. Very compassionate.
They climb onto the roof and crawl over to Melanie.
MEDIC SAM (CONT’D)
How long since the call-in?
About 6 minutes. Hell, she’s dead, sure, Sam. Thirty floors, what’dya think?
Sam puts his fingers on her throat for a pulse.
She’s dead, alright.
SUDDENLY, Melanie coughs, arches her back and draws in a huge, deep breath! Both men yelp, lurching back, almost falling off the roof.
Hey! Get a stretcher up here, stat! She’s alive!
INT. RIDLEY PARK PRESS – EDITOR’S OFFICE – DAY
SUPER: TWELVE HOURS EARLIER
Melanie paces in front of editor MALCOLM KENDRICK’s desk. Kendrick’s watches her like a Ping-Pong match, only his eyes moving back-and-forth.
What the hell’s wrong with you? You act like I’m asking you to cover a used car lot opening, for Christ’s sake!
All the Mayor’s campaign parties are at Ridley Lodge. Why the sudden change to the Tower?
Well, let me think on that– Maybe because it’s the nicest building this town has to offer… And, it’s the only haunted skyscraper in the city. Or in the country, as far as I know.
And this is a selling point?
Of course! It’s the weird stuff that draws people in, and the Mayor’s looking for out-of-town financing. It’s all about showmanship, you know that.
Sorry, got other plans.
What plans do you have more important than attending the Mayor’s Halloween fund-raising party?
Ya know, that opening for a classified copy editor is still available.
Can I keep my benefits?
Kendricks returns to writing. Melanie goes to speak, but Kendricks holds up a palm. She retreats to the door.
Monday morning, on my desk, right here: details, names, gossip.
And an interview with the ghost wouldn’t hurt, either.
EXT. MAIN STREET – DAY
Melanie walks down the sidewalk. Handsomely rugged ERIC (late 20s), jeans and work shirt, cuts across street and scurries up alongside. He grabs her around the waist while pushing his snarling mouth close to her ear.
Your money or your life!
She doesn’t break stride.
I haven’t got a life.
Eric lets go and stops.
Well, that’s a hell of a thing! Certainly says a lot about me, I suppose.
Melanie stops a few paces on, and turns back.
Eric, you were never in my life, even when I had a life.
Don’t reporters have some kind of code about telling the truth?
What are you doing here, Eric?
I’m renovating the bar across the street. And it’s lunchtime. What say we get a bite?
She turns and starts off again. Eric comes alongside.
Is that a yes?
Hostility can give you heartburn, you know?
The Mayors kiss-ass party I have to cover tonight is doing that job just fine.
What’s the big deal? You use to love to party.
I put away childish notions a long time ago.
Eric stops abruptly grabbing her arm.
Ever since Sondra left–
She shakes off his grip.
You can stop right there!
Well, how do you think I felt? You know what she was to me.
Melanie touches her fingers to his lips, turns, and walks away.
INT. OFFICE TOWER – 28TH FLOOR CONFERENCE HALL – NIGHT
The Mayor’s party is in full swing. A SOFT ROCK COVER BAND keeps PEOPLE on the dance floor, while individual GROUPS OF PEOPLE SPEAK POLITICS. Everyone is having a good time. Normal townies are costumed, while the business people sport masks that are mostly pushed up on there foreheads.
Although wearing no Halloween accouterments, but looking beautifully sophisticated and professional in her stylish business attire, Melanie seems uncomfortable. She interviews the MAYOR (50s) and some of his SPECIAL GUESTS.
You know, it wasn’t me that ballyhooed this place as a party venue all these years. I was all for it, being the kind of man that leans toward a modern progression, if you will.
Yes, Mr. Mayor. What does that mean, exactly?
Eric, dressed as the Walking Dead, watches the interview from across the room. He gives Melanie an okay sign. She scowls back.
Well, dear, after ten years, we only have one office tower in the whole city. It’s time for expansion. We need to bring this town up to the 21st Century.
And more office towers would accomplish that, I suppose?
Eric suddenly straightens with an ear-to-ear grin when a CUTE YOUNG THING approaches him.
I think so, yes. That’s why I invited these esteemed men and women here this evening. You see, there are more people who need more work space. More work space creates more jobs, which brings more people, which brings investors, which-
Is that what we want here in Ridley Park? A town to rival the sprawl and pollution of the state capital? What about the uniqueness of being a small town where neighbors know one another and aren’t afraid to walk the streets at night. Where you can still find a parking place when you come downtown to eat?
The cute young thing hands Eric a piece of paper.
And have the only office tower ghost in the country. I say you should promote what is promotable, Ted. You got a great tourist draw, here.
Come on, Irwin. Our ghost isn’t exactly on call, ya know. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never seen her. What about you, Melanie? You seen our ghost traipsing about?
No– No, of course not. It’s just an urban legend.
Legends are what dollars are made from.
Melanie grows faint.
Would you excuse me, please.
You don’t look so well, dear. Shall I walk you to the lady’s room?
Thank you, no. I’ll be okay. Just need a little air.
She heads for the door. Eric catches up with her.
What’s wrong, Mel? You sick?
I’m going to the bathroom. Nothing important enough to draw you away from Junior Miss.
One bathroom adventure with you is quite enough, thanks.
She leaves him at the hallway door.
INT. OFFICE TOWER – 28TH FLOOR HALLWAY – NIGHT
Melanie comes to the CROWD OF WOMEN clustered at the bathroom doorway. She leans against the wall, and takes a few deeps breaths. She looks directly at the elevator.
INT. OFFICE TOWER – ELEVATOR – NIGHT
Melanie presses floor 27. The doors close, but the elevator goes up.
She hits the stop button, but nothing happens. The door opens on the 30th floor.
INT. OFFICE TOWER – 30TH FLOOR HALLWAY – NIGHT
Melanie pokes her head out and looks up and down the empty hallway. Directly across is the empty bathroom.
INT. OFFICE TOWER – 30TH FLOOR BATHROOM – NIGHT
A TOILET FLUSHES, the stall door opens and out comes Melanie. She goes to the sink and studies herself in the mirror, then shakes her head, and begins tidying her make-up.
SUDDENLY, a toilet flushes, startling her. A lock clicks and in the mirror reflection, one of the bathroom stall doors slowly swings open.
Melanie freezes, then whips around– all the stall doors are still closed.
No answer. She bends down in a half-hearted attempt to look under the doors. Hesitantly, she pushes the door she saw opening: empty. Does the same with a couple more. Tentatively satisfied, she goes back to the mirror, staring at herself.
Get a grip, will ya.
She finishes her make-up, takes a deep breath, and turns to leave– an EMACIATED WOMAN, a half-rotted breathing corpse stands three feet in front of her!
Melanie’s scream is primeval as she leaps back from the vision, tripping over the trash can to land on her butt. Her purse skids across the floor. When she looks back, the creature is gone.
What the fuck, asshole? I could’ve broke my damn leg.
On inhale, the air suddenly makes her gag. Holding her breath, she reaches for her purse, but reflected in the water on the floor, is the spirit. Melanie whips her head to look up and there’s the ghoul floating above her in all her ravaged glory.
Melanie screams and skittles backwards across the floor toward the door. She pulls herself up by the handle as she swings the door open and falls out into the hallway.
INT. OFFICE TOWER – 30TH FLOOR HALLWAY – CONTINUOUS
She scurries to her feet and runs full out, turns a couple of corners and there’s another elevator. She hits all the buttons. The numbers slowly climb.
In horrid expectation, she keeps looking back at the corner she just came around. The elevator is slow. She looks back at the corner. No one. She looks the other way for the first time. The ghost is standing right next to her!
Melanie screams as she jumps several feet away and into a sprint. She turns corner after corner and stops, turning in a circle, indecision on which way to go. She sees the utility closet, tries the door, and steps inside.