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A River Beyond, Below

Authorial Note: Normally, screenplays do not contain as many stage directions/camera directions as I have written in this version of A River Beyond, Below. If you are interested in developing this script for production, please contact me at theechocain@gmail.com for a version consistent with norms in screenwriting.

For a general audience, the stage/camera directions are intended to allow for a more engaged experience with the script. I encourage readers to consider how each scene might look, what the camera is doing, and how one might adapt my writing to a full production. 

Thank you for reading and enjoy the script!

A River Beyond, Below

 

Establish a Creek or Small River from three positions.

Open on a close of water and rocks, some moss and detritus are also in the shot. Linger here.

Secondly, cut to a disorienting wide of the Sun or clouds.

Vibrancy is key here.

Thirdly, cut to a wide of the Moon and stars.

Insects, fire, and warped laughter are heard.

A fire can be seen as a distant light at the edge of the frame.

 

Return to the close of water and rocks.

 

Urshanabi

I fell in.

I was IT.

And I never felt better than when my whole body was exploring the edges of its own bounds.

I swayed and smoothed my hair, tending to my stones and letting the boat drift…

I did fall in…

I’m not proud of it, but I fell.

 

Close of a mouth. As the next words are uttered, soil and rocks fall from the speaker’s mouth.

Linger.

The actor may choose to gag or clean their mouth methodically with their hands.

 

Inanna

They gagged me.

Restrained me with ropes, threw me into the boat, and left me to die.

I ripped at my own skin, tearing the bonds and my flesh as if they were the same.

Bloodied, torn; salt of my tears goading my wounds into spiritual fervor.

I laughed and cried for years.

 

Warped laughter/crying of a distinctly femme voice is heard.

It is joined slowly by other voices that are mostly indistinct.

A time-lapse of days/nights going by begins to play.

 

Chorus

From Kurnugi, land of no return,

Inanna, daughter of Anu, was destined to leave.

From the dark house, dwelling of her sister, Ereshkigal,

From the house which those who enter cannot leave,

On the road where travelling seems one-way only,

From the house where those who enter are deprived of light,

Where dust is their food, clay their bread.

They see only twilight, they dwell in half-darkness,

Some are cloth’ed like birds, with feathers.

Upon the door and the bolt, cracks are forming.

That which is sealed unjustly must be freed.

From Kurnugi, land of no return,

Inanna will be freed.

  

Approaching low angle medium of a car parked in a field.

Wind and a car alarm are heard as the trunk of the car pops open.

The car alarm continues for far too long.

Close of car interior from position of the “driver”.

Close of car exterior from below the car. Linger.

Return to low angle medium of car.

 

Inanna

(Breathing heavily)

You…

Cocksucker.

Fuck…

Inanna pulls herself out of the trunk with force.

This movement is effortful and asymmetrical.

She falls heavily into the field. Linger.

Inanna is dressed raggedly.

Duct tape and zip ties are present on her ankles and wrists.

She is dirt-covered and dusty. Her clothing is colorful but faded.

Close of wrists panning up and out to a medium of her face.

Her eyes directly meet the lens.

 

Inanna

I fucking hate you.

 

Spits.

Close of spit on ground.

Return to medium of Inanna.

 

Why now? Why bring me back now? What is this?

What do you want of me?

 

Inanna looks away briefly.

 

It’s the river. Isn’t it?!

You miss the ocean.

Brief close of the river.

Medium of Inanna expelling water slowly and painfully from her mouth.

Low angle close of Enki.

 

Enki

Let’s get you cleaned up. Inside.

We’ve got a lot of catching up to do…

Wide of Enki approaching Inanna slowly, taking her by the arm gingerly and leading her out of the frame.  

The sound of water rises and overtakes the sound of the car alarm.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Urshanabi

Mmmmmmmm…

 

Close of water rushing on stones.

 

Sometimes I remember them. The memories.

 

Medium of a figure with their back to the lens. The shadows lie heavy on one side while a sickly light illuminates the edges of the figure.

 

They are inescapable.

I can sit here and carve my marble hearts every day.

I can sing. I can play. Hell, I can live…

But I’ll never cast my oar into the stream again.

I feel the willow trees.

 

Close slow pan up of a willow tree.

 

Trembling fingers on my back.

 

Hands begin to twist around the willow.

 

I remember their touch when I drink.

 

The clinking of bottles is heard.

 

I remember the last one I took to the other side.

She didn’t want to go.

 

Flashes of the Mouth filled with Dirt.

 

She railed and screamed.

 

Return to close of the back of the figure’s head.

The angle is such that the lens can perceive only the edges of a face.

 

Honestly, it was just business as usual.

I filed the paperwork as usual.

Someone had signed for her, so I didn’t have to get her to sign the waiver.

Said that she couldn’t be taken while she was still alive.

She was wrong.

 

Wide of a creek.

In reverse, a figure rises from the water and steps forth to slowly exit onto land. The lens pans with the action from a ¾ perspective.

 

I made an oath.

I MADE an oath.

I made an oath a long time past.

I told her what my oath was…

I told her that I kill’em if I have to.

 

Screams are heard in both forwards and reverse.

Flashing between multiple different wide and close scenes (indistinct).

___________________________________________________________________________

Establishing wide of a cabin.

Close pan from left to right of a disheveled library.

Close of a steaming cup of coffee, glasses, and a corncob pipe.

 

Enki

You’re a cur, Inanna.

 

Medium low angle of a small man.

He sits anxious in a chair with a book in his lap.

 

You war and you fall.

You war and you fall.

*Pained laughter*

I told you to lay off of it. I told you to stop.

You didn’t.

You didn’t listen to my warning.

You didn’t give a shit about what my books said.

You didn’t give a shit what I said!

Fucking sad…

And the worst part?

I stood up for you.

I raised myself out of my seat and I told the lot of them that they couldn’t do it.

I TOLD them; I stood for you.

I laughed it off when you stole from me; I gave you a pass.

And for what?

They killed you, Inanna.

They killed you and I had to watch.

I had to watch them.

I had to watch them.

Beginning to break.

I had to watch them…

*Crying*

You…

You were so small.

You looked so helpless.

We had parades for you.

We tried to make your death a celebration, something that would bring us new life; we wanted to move on, but we couldn’t move on; we just kept doing the same fucking thing.

More people like you died and I didn’t do anything.

I couldn’t stand up for anyone anymore…

I heard a few of your most devout continued your worship in the shadows. You probably heard them too.

 

A beat. Close of the coffee, no longer steaming, tepid.

Enki’s hand picks up the pipe.

Return to medium low angle of Enki lighting the pipe with a match and taking a long drag.

Enki looks pointedly out towards who he has been speaking to.

Medium of Inanna. She is still disheveled and dirty, but has taken the time to put on jewelry.

 

Inanna

So why now, Enki?

 

Close of Enki starting to speak and finding it hard to articulate any cogent thought.

Return to medium of Inanna via interruption.

 

What, was Death so hard to piss off before now?

Fucking coward… You should have done this earlier.

You always were complacent.

Content to watch the world burn so long as you had your papers, your spirited discussions. I remember you talked for hours about creating a beautiful new world.

A UTOPIA.

You had all these new feeling ideas.

New ideas that you’d scrawl with such passion!

I loved that about you. You weren’t afraid of passion,

Until there were consequences.

The second that I was dead, you celebrated.

I could hear the lyres and flutes echoing through the cavern.

I could hear them over the wind, blowing dust into my face.

The wind down there, Enki, you don’t know.

You know a lot, but you do not know.

I don’t blame you.

The living tend not to listen when the dead talk.

So…

I’ll ask you again, and listen this time, Enki; why now?

 

Linger on Inanna questioning.

Low angle wide of both characters, facing each other.

Enki takes a long drag and puts the pipe down.

Medium of Enki.

 

Enki

You know about: the signature. Right?

 

Inanna

What signature?

 

Enki

On your papers, there was a signature; there had to be.

Urshanabi wouldn’t have done what he did without a signature.

I assumed, at the time, that one of the Elders had signed for you.

I mean, they didn’t exactly love you those last few weeks.

I hadn’t thought about it for years until a few days ago, but something surfaced…

 

Close of Inanna panning around her head to face Enki.

 

Inanna

What?!

What surfaced?

 

Enki

It wasn’t the Elders, Inanna.

They might’ve hated you; they might’ve voted to exile you, but the signature that was on your papers wasn’t one of theirs.

Your papers weren’t for exile.

Somebody else signed.

Somebody who could gain something.

 

Inanna

Under her breath.

I was a pawn.

 

Enki

Yeah…

A sacrifice for something.

The way things have been…

Well, they didn’t get better.

And, maybe I still want Utopia?

Perhaps I’m still passionate?

That’s why you’re here now.

You’re the only one who could retrace these steps.

You were closest to the whole affair and I think you’re the missing piece. There’s a reason this mysterious signer had you killed instead of exiled.

They must have had long term plans that your return would have endangered in some way.

 

Medium of Inanna.

 

Inanna

So why now Enki?

What was their plan? Why not put a stop to it earlier?

You’ve been alive this whole time!

What did my death do for them? How did they--

 

Close of Enki via interruption and then a wide of both characters.

 

Enki

I WASN’T SURE! I, I didn’t know. I don’t know. The plan was subtle.

Your lack of presence did something to people. Something blinding.

They’re hard to look at now, to study. My eyes are used to the soft light of reading lamps and inked pages, not the inner workings of people, especially when they’ve been filled with this...painful light.

Listen, the plan has already played out.

We’re in the end game now, and I’m gambling with a pawn.

If we are going to learn the Signer’s name, we need that document.

Moreso, we need to talk to Urshanabi, and I haven’t seen him in years.

He retired after he… uh, did the deed.

Crazy fucker was so distraught he jumped into the river!

I’m certain he remembers your papers all too well.

 

Medium slow pan towards Inanna.

 

Inanna

Then we’ll go.

I want to know who really killed me because that person is a cur.

Not me, Enki. Not me. I was a cur.

They put me down like a savage dog, without the consent of the Elders. Well, they made a damn bloodhound outta me…

So let’s hunt.

 __________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

Jarring close of water rushing on stones.

The sounds of bottles clinking is heard as well as a lone coyote.

Urshanabi

Muttering.

3/4 of a cup of whiskey.

 

Fade into close of a glass being filled.

Urshanabi steps out of focus in the frame and is seen swigging from a bottle with feeling.

 

1/4 cup of rum.

 

Close of ice cubes.

Urshanabi’s hand reaches gingerly for one, then retracts.

 

We’ll take it straight this morning.

 

Medium high angle of Urshanabi laying back in a chair and sipping their concoction.

Urshanabi

Maybe I’ll go fishing today.

Take the ol’ waders out.

Get some worms from the garden.

Yeah… Rain would’ve brought’em out last night.

 

Close of fishing rods being pulled away from a wall.

Close of a lunch pail being grabbed.

Close of a mustard, pickle, and beet sandwich being assembled.

A crack of black pepper is placed on top before the sandwich is sealed.

Close of some dirt with worms being pulled one by one.

Close of the lunch pail being filled with a box of worms, the sandwich wrapped in parchment paper, and a bottle of whiskey.

Close of Urshanabi putting on waders.

Medium of the outside door of Urshanabi’s cabin opening.

Urshanabi looks to slightly left of the lens, bewildered.

Close low angle of the lunch pail falling onto the ground.

Close of Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

Hello Urshanabi. So long since I last saw you.

 

Close of the fallen lunch pail, focusing on the whiskey.

 

Shame that I didn’t stay in touch.

 

Close of Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

You… You, you you youyou.

You?

 

The previous close pans out to show Ereshkigal and Urshanabi looking intently at each other.

 

Ereshkigal

Ah, Urshanabi. Always the charmer.

Are you going to invite me in?

Or perhaps we’ll go fishing?

 

Urshanabi

Uhhh…

Um, I.

Yeah, uhhh, let’s fish.

 

Close of Urshanabi picking up the lunch pail and whiskey, examining the bottle for cracks.

 

Ereshkigal

Still drinking, hmmm?

 

Zoom closer to Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

Can we just go?

 

Medium of Urshanabi and Ereshkigal turning to leave the stoop, walking towards the edge of the frame.

Fade to medium following of the two walking down a gravel path.

 

Ereshkigal

Sooo, are you enjoying your retirement?

 

Urshanabi

I don’t mind it.

Keeps my mind sane.

I like life when it’s simple, when there’s no drama, no responsibility.

 

Ereshkigal

Mmmmm…

Did you hear that the new hiree didn’t work out all that well?

It’s been a revolving door since you left.

Nobody ferries’em like you did—

 

Urshanabi

DON’T TALK ABOUT THEM LIKE THAT!

*Breathes out heavily*

Sorry, you’re just so...business-like.

 

Following close of Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

Well, you have to be. You know that. You did it for years.

How many people did you ferry across?

 

Following close of Urshanabi, looking away from Ereshkigal.

Return to Ereshkigal.

 

 

Ereshkigal

Doesn’t matter…

Listen, I didn’t come here to dig at your emotions.

I care about you, Urshanabi.

I know it didn’t always seem that way, especially with the last job I gave you.

 

Return to Urshanabi, still looking away.

Return to Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

Truth is, I didn’t know.

I feel bad to this day.

I mean, my own sister.

Yeah, she could be a handful, but she didn’t deserve that... 

You didn’t deserve to have to do that.

 

Medium of Urshanabi, turning swiftly to look pointedly, stopping forward motion.

 

Urshanabi

Yeah, I know.

But I still did it, didn’t I?

Fuck, Eresh, why bother me now?

This is obviously not a social visit; you have something that you need from me, don’t you?

 

Medium of both characters, now stopped on the trail.

 

Ereshkigal

Yeah, but let’s talk about it once we get to the river. I always liked watching you fish.

 

Both characters turn and continue walking down the trail.

The scene fades to black.

___________________________________________________________________________

The sound of crackling fire is heard as a wide of the Full Moon is seen over the popped trunk of the car.

The dirt-filled mouth is seen again in flashes. Different scenes and times and colors are seen while harsh, biting wind is heard.

Medium of Inanna, eyes pulling open in one smooth motion.

She is in a shower, fully clothed; the water is falling on her.

Inanna slumps against the shower wall and slowly slides down it.

Dirt is left where she slides.

She looks at her hands and begins talking to them.

 

Inanna

I thought I’d feel better.

Feeling real again...it’s…

 

Inanna’s hands move to her chest, holding themselves over her center.

 

Maybe when he’s dead.

Maybe when I never have to see Enki or anyone I knew again.

I don’t know…

 

Inanna begins to lean more heavily to one side.

 

I’m always a fuckin’ pawn.

Always some prick trying to move me around the board.

I can feel Enki doing it…

I just want to be off the board.

Maybe, maybe after I kill the signer.

Cocksucker didn’t even have the balls to look me in the eye when he killed me.

Just signed some shit.

 

Inanna raises her head and lets the water fall directly on her face.

 

I want him to see me when I kill him. I want him to look me in the eye and see. I want him to see me. I want him to feel everything. I want him to suffer… I’m going to tie him down, pull his intestines out of him. I’m going to make it slow. I’m going to take his balls and burn them. He will see me. I will stab him, penetrate him. He will know pain. Maybe I’ll give him a drug, something that will make him feel even more. I’ll cup his face as a lover, just for a moment while I sear his skin with hot irons. He’ll see me; he’ll see me! I’ll plunge my fist into his chest, spread him open, and lick his heart. He’ll bleed and scream as the pig he is...

 

Then, then I’ll have him sign. His hands trembling. Tears rolling down his face and onto his exposed lungs, I will have him sign his own papers. He will sign with all the dignity he deserves. He will sign as a wretched carcass, already feeling the bacteria feasting on his innards. Then, and only then, I will dominate him. I will own him. He will see me and know that he is nothing. He will feel so small. I’ll open his mouth, spit in it, shove his papers in, and slowly remove his heart. He’ll moan. He’ll moan and scream and gag on his fucking papers. He will feel each cord, each tendon holding his heart in place snap, one by one. His heart, I will let it hang by its last string until it breaks on its own time. He’ll wait and look at me, staring at him as he wallows in pain; hours will pass.

He will see me as his own heart falls onto the floor.

He’ll hear it; then he’ll die. He’ll die.

He’ll die and I’ll be free.

 

Inanna’s head falls and she is silent. The water continues to rain on her.

Linger.

___________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

The sound of water fades the previous scene into a close of a river.

Footsteps are heard approaching.

Wide of Ereshkigal and Urshanabi walking towards the river.

Medium of Urshanabi taking a flask out of their jacket pocket and swigging for two full seconds.

Close of Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

You’re an alcoholic, Urshanabi.

 

Return to Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

Yeah, you would be too if you’d seen her face. Y’know, she even tried to jump out of the boat. Gave me the idea during my breakdown on the way back…

 

Urshanabi crouches down, taking out the worms from the pail.

Medium of Ereshkigal looking out at the river pensively.

 

Ereshkigal

I didn’t know that she—

My sister was always a feisty one.

I remember one summer she visited me, in the old city of Kurnugi.

There was a sacred tree there; it had all this fruit.

The fruit was purple, with soft skin. No pit either, they weren’t plums. Someone she fancied told her that they would only love her if she brought them a whole basket.

Close of Urshanabi, listening and affixing their worm to a hook.

Return to Ereshkigal.

 

She ran to me, going on and on about how she would never be able to gather enough without the elders hearing about it.

I laid back and listened while she hatched schemes to keep the elders and guards away. I thought it was funny.

 

Medium of Urshanabi, listening and casting his line.

Return to Ereshkigal.

 

She decided to knock out a bridge leading towards the tree.

Smart but crazy. She pulled out the load-bearing stones and watched the bridge fall into the river below.

She probably danced for joy and sang a song about how clever she was.

Prematurely, as it were, but I’ll bet she danced.

She collected the fruit languidly and looked around…

She had trapped herself on the island that the tree was on!

 

Close of Urshanabi, chuckling briefly.

 

Urshanabi

Sounds like her…

 

Return to Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

The elders were livid.

They ordered the guards to build the bridge back up; by the time they finished construction, Inanna had filled herself with fruit.

The tree was picked clean and Inanna had fashioned a spear out of a branch. Thought she was going to fend off the whole of Kurnugi’s armies herself. Enki convinced the elders to be merciful, they only told her to stay away from the tree and to go back to sewing.

She never did…

 

I think the tree’s extinct now.

___________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

Close of the shower faucet being turned off.

The water ceases.

Close of Inanna’s eyes.

 

Inanna

An echo of before.

I want him to see me.

 

Medium overhead of a large table, covered in papers.

The table has a breakfast for two set out, coffee cups steaming, and many pens/pencils.

Medium of Enki sitting down at the table, picking at his food.

Close of Inanna, the back of her neck as she puts on a drabber, yet still colorful shirt.

Pan the close into a medium, following Inanna into the room. Enki is seen across the frame, coming into focus over Inanna’s left shoulder.

 

Enki

You’re ready. I hope you like coffee.

 

Medium of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Not the worst way to start a new life.

Inanna sits down at the table and takes a sip of the coffee.

Hmmm, tastes like apples…

Or something I had in a dream.

 

Close of Enki.

 

Enki

We’re setting off today.

I tried the car last night and it didn’t start. I think your arrival might have killed the batteries. We’ll have to walk to find Urshanabi.

 

Close of Inanna’s lips, drinking coffee.

 

Inanna

Wouldn’t have it any other way; it’ll be like old times…

I’m assuming all these papers are important?

 

Medium overhead of the table.

 

Enki

Only one of them…

 

Medium low angle of Enki scanning the table.

He picks up one paper.

 

A house address for one fisherman, Urshanabi.

He might have the papers.

He was the last one to see them and is the most likely to have kept them.

Considering his disposition after he took you, I wouldn’t be surprised if he kept them on his person.

Medium of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Then what are we waiting for? Let’s get the bastard.

 

Close of Enki.

 

Enki

Okay, but we have to set some ground rules first.

I’m going to give you a knife.

It’s just for your protection and to some extent mine.

I’ve made a lot of enemies while you’ve been gone.

Things have only gotten worse since your...departure.

People won’t remember you, not at first, not for awhile. I, on the other hand, have a face that many people know, and don’t particularly like.

You’ll have to cover my face as we walk.

I can’t take the chance that someone, something will see me.

 

Medium of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Alright. How will you see where to go?

Am I going to have to cart you along?

You got some oxen out on this farm?

 

Medium of Enki.

 

Enki

No. Heh, no oxen. I wish.

No, you are going to have to show me the way by rope.

I’m afraid that I’ll be of little use to you while traveling, even once we reach Urshanabi’s house. My joints aren’t what they used to be and we’ll have to be quick once we find Urshanabi; he’s likely to run.

He’s a recluse, a paranoid one.

 

Close low angle of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Alright old man, I’ll be quick for both of us.

It’ll give me a chance to break in these new bones.

 

Medium of Enki standing up and pulling a knife out of his jacket.

He proffers a hunting knife, handle first towards Inanna.

 

Enki

Take it.

 

Close overhead of the knife.

Inanna’s hand stretches out, stopping just before touching the handle.

Close of Inanna’s eyes.

 

Inanna

You’ll let me kill him, right?

When we know who he is? When his eyes meet mine?

 

Close of Enki’s eyes zooming out to view his entire face.

 

 

Enki

So sure they’re a man? Hmph, I bet they are.

 

Close overhead of the knife.

A beat.

Close of Enki.

 

Yeah, I’ll let you.

That’s half the reason I brought you back.

I want justice too.

 

Close overhead of the knife.

Inanna’s hand grasps the handle and pulls it out of frame.

Wide of Inanna, staring at the knife while turning it this way and that.

It glints in the morning light.

Medium of Enki, sitting back down.

 

Enki

Let’s eat and go.

No point in letting your new life go to waste.

 

Medium of Inanna, sheathing the knife and sitting back down.

 

Inanna

I’ll drink to that.

Raising her coffee cup and taking a swig.

 

Wide overhead of the table as both characters begin to eat. Fade.

Medium of Enki in the kitchen, readying a backpack.

He rifles through, checking a few pockets.

 

Enki

Inanna? Could you grab the coffee?

I forgot to pack it; I used it this morning.

You mind grabbing it from the library upstairs?

 

Medium of Inanna at the table, finishing the last dregs of her breakfast.

 

Inanna

Sure. Where is it up there?

 

Return to Enki.

 

Enki

Just on the table next to my chair. I like brewing it when I read at night. Keeps me up, but damn does it get my mind working.

 

Return to Inanna.

 

Inanna

Alright, I’ll grab it.

 

Inanna steps away from the table.

Medium of her walking up the steps and disappearing.

Return to Enki. He looks furtively up and stands.

Wide overhead of the table as Enki gingerly picks up one paper.

Close of Enki’s eyes scanning the page.

Medium of Enki replacing the paper on the table, covering it cautiously.

Medium of Inanna returning from the library.

 

Inanna

Found it. Where do you want it?

 

Medium of Enki by his backpack.

 

Enki

Oh, just hand it here.

Enki stuffs the coffee into his pack.

Now for the most important part.

Enki pulls out a black hood from his jacket and rope from his pack.

I need you to bind me and cover my face.

 

Medium of Inanna and Enki.

 

Inanna

Alright, say goodbye to sunshine.

 

Inanna places the hood on Enki.

 

Enki

Goodbye sunshine.

 

Inanna

I didn’t mean literally.

 

Both laugh.

A beat.

 

Inanna

Do you think I’ll be better, after this is over?

 

Enki

No. Revenge is never pretty.

It’s never something that we want to have done.

But I can smell it on you.

You need it, so maybe you’ll be able to start anew, after.

After all this shit is behind you.

 

Close of Inanna’s face.

 

Inanna

Yeah, I...I want to believe that, but it’s hard to know.

You’re so different, I’m so different.

I feel like I’m molting, changing.

Enki

Ecdysis.

 

Inanna

I guess. I guess I’ll just have to live with it.

 

Medium of both characters.

 

Enki

Yeah… Now tie me up already.

Proffering ropes.

A directorial note: Enki will retain the hood upon his head for the entirety of the rest of the film. Feel free to accessorize the hood with a symbol or a particular central color.

___________________________________________________________________________

Close of still water being disturbed by a fishing bob.

Medium of Ereshkigal and Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

You tell nice stories of long ago Eresh, but I want to know.

Why are you here now?

 

Close of Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

*Breathes in* *Breathes out*

I got a paper...from him.

 

Medium of Urshanabi slowly winding the fishing rod.

 

Urshanabi

Him. HE wants me to do his dirty work again, doesn’t he?

 

Medium of Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

It’s different this time. He’s reformed.

 

A beat.

Wide of both characters.

 

Urshanabi

Am I seriously supposed to believe that? He’s too proud.

 

Medium of Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

Not this time. You should at least look at the contract.

 

Close of Urshanabi.

Their face looks around, refusing to find Ereshkigal’s eyes.

 

Urshanabi

Why? Who or what could he possibly put in there?

You know how many times he’s sent me papers for serial killers with cute little notes. “We really gotta get rid of this one, Urshanabi! There’s too much evil in the world”.

He’s always playing his own game, the long con.

He’s the evil of this world, not the people in his contracts.

Though, I admit, it’s bold to send you.

He’s never done that before.

 

Medium of both characters.

 

Ereshkigal

Just read it. Just one time, for me.

Ereshkigal is proffering the paper.

Urshanabi’s head turns.

A beat.

Urshanabi

Okay, for you. Just once.

 

They take the paper and begin to read.

The lens pans closer as Urshanabi continues to read ending in a close as their head jolts up with a wild look in their eyes.

 

He…

He’s going to…

I didn’t… I didn’t think…

 

Medium of Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

Surprised me too.

Now do you see what I mean when I say he’s reformed?

 

Close of Urshanabi nodding.

Return to Ereshkigal.

 

Will you do it?

 

A beat.

 

You can think it over for a few days if you need to--

 

Return to Urshanabi via interruption.

 

Urshanabi

NO! I...I. I’ll do it. I’ll do one more journey.

Back and forth, like it says…

And don’t think that means I’m working for you again.

 

Return to Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

No, no. Of course not. I’ll put you down as freelance.

 

A beat.

 

It’s been nice talking to you, Urshanabi.

And thank you, you won’t regret this.

Oh, and I’ll need the contract back.

 

Medium of both characters.

 

Urshanabi

Right. I’ll, ummm, be at the boat at the appointed time.

 

They hand her the contract.

 

Ereshkigal

Love that about you. Always punctual.

And we don’t use boats anymore; we upgraded our fleet to be terrestrial. We use cars these days.

 

Close of Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

Wow… World’s really changin’, huh?

I’m assuming you need me for the timezone and not my driving skills?

 

Medium of Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

That’s right, nobody else can reach her…

A long drawn-out pause.

Well, I think it’s time I go.

Come to Kurnugi when you have a chance, after this whole ordeal.

I like your company and you wouldn’t have to work for me.

 

Close of Urshanabi turning away.

 

Urshanabi

I don’t know, Eresh. I like my quiet life, my fishing.

But I’ll think about it.

 

Turning back towards Ereshkigal.

 

Maybe someday.

 

Urshanabi casts their line.

Close of the water being disturbed by the fishing bob.

The sound of water becomes louder.

___________________________________________________________________________

Wide establishing of a pine forest.

Birds and other nature sounds are heard.

Perhaps play a song here.

Medium of Inanna and Enki.

They are traveling as a unit, Inanna leading the way and guiding Enki.

 

A series of images depicting travel in languid sequence.

Wide overhead of a streetlamp as the two make their way through the rain.

 

Medium of a clearing in the woods, depicting a brief moment of dialogue.

 

Inanna

 

How did you bring me back from that place?

 

Enki

 

I made a sacrifice in the old way.

I considered ethics while you ate of the dust; I don’t sacrifice anyone who doesn’t truly, fully deserve it.

These were quite a pair: the two of them that I chose for your resurrection.

 

A serial killer and a serial rapist.

An ancient ritual if you know where this is going and more difficult to track down than you’d think; these were the ones whom you loathed the most. The dead men were raving at me as I wrought your symbol onto their flesh.

 

The rapist said few words and only gibbered at me while I was preparing him for his end.

He will be surprised to find himself in a

WASTELAND

And not taking part in the fiery Hell that he would preach on Sunday mornings (and all proceeding mornings afterwards).

 

The killer was much more interesting.

To end somebody is to annihilate oneself.

The moment a person has killed, even if in self-defense, they have struck a trauma in their life that they must grapple with.

Their eyes betray their suffering.

 

But this man had nothing in his eyes.

He spoke in low tones and loud tones. We spoke as I hurt him.

He said he didn’t feel anything.

When I took his manhood he was screaming in pain.

 

He watched as I burned it.

In the old days people would scream in joy, did they not?

Of course, screaming was always how they expressed themselves, as they had taken what made me their knowledge.

 

This killer was cauterized and let down.

He clutched at his member, crackling on the fire, and burnt his hands.

His fingers were covered in embers and the soot blackened his face as he desperately tried to reattach his blisteringly hot flesh to a cauterized scar.

I said unto him, “You judge without oversight. You judge those that have not consented to be judged. Be ye damned unto eternity within the Forest of Broken Glass for all eternity.”

 

I admit, I can get pretty dramatic at times: two eternities was a bit much.

At this moment I stabbed the rapist in the heart, severing his aorta.

A swift and relatively painless death for a man that did far worse than the living one. The soldier looked at me and cocked a toothpick out of his mouth. Your voice spoke briefly through him and it was then that I knew your spirit was free and that your body would manifest in the car, of which I had placed dirt within the trunk of. Though I have heard some holy books doubt witchcraft, I find it to be of utmost use for moments like this. Ancient magic it was.

Didn’t even have to put it in writing.

 

Close of Inanna’s face reacting through the monologue.

 

Inanna

Yeah… Well, thanks I guess.

Better than what you’ve asked people to sacrifice in the past.

Let’s move on, I think I hear a creek up ahead.

  

Close of bark and then pan to a path that Inanna is leading Enki down.

 

Medium at foot-level of a creek with shoes moving through it.

 

Wide of a field with Inanna holding up a map, determining direction.

 

Close of a fire burning.

Pan up and back to a medium of Inanna and Enki sitting around a fire.

 

Enki

What did you do down there? For all those years?

 

Enki is sipping coffee and listening attentively.

 

Inanna

Oh, it was frightfully boring and unmemorable,

but that’s the point after all.

The worst was the dust and the wind.

We built little hovels and some people grew feathers and became what looked like chickens. Some ate of them and were condemned yet further down.

They just blinked out of existence, in an instant gone.

Our only reward in that far too simple life was to stay where we were.

There was no food or water, save dry clay.

We did not thirst or starve, but we felt the dust upon our skin and in our mouths constantly.

There was no clothing and everybody looked the same until they grew feathers.

 

I was bored senseless, but I knew that whatever happened to the chicken-eaters was far worse than what we had in the dust.

People were people. We knew we were dead, but we were still people.

Fewer and fewer came every day until it was just the same number of folks who knew not to eat the chickens; chickens are humans after all.

 

We wasted all of our time in that wasteland, throwing rocks at each other. We couldn’t be harmed physically and the feeling of stones was thrilling at the very least. I met a lot of people, but everyone was solemn.

I’m glad that humor still exists here on Earth, wherever we are.

 

Enki

Out of place mostly. I had to walk a good long way to find a house set-back enough to mask my presence.

We are in a strange place, the name of which is unknowable to us as we are.

 

Inanna

You’re good at speaking through your teeth; aren’t you, Enki?

___________________________________________________________________________

Fade to wide of the woods at night, a flashlight is moving through it.

 

Close of a tree with a path visible as the flashlight runner moves across the lens.

 

Close of Inanna awakening from a sleeping bag.

Close of Inanna’s boots as she grabs them off of a log and puts them on.

Medium following of Inanna stealthily exiting the camp and entering the darkness of the surrounding forest.

Linger.

Medium of The Courier stopping their run dead as soon as they see Inanna. The Courier is dressed strangely with various rags and colorful pieces of fabric festooning their every inch.

The lens stays with The Courier as Inanna takes her time approaching.

 

Close of Inanna, staring into the eyes of the lens.

Close of The Courier’s eyes which poke out behind fabric covering most of their face.

 

Close of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Who are you?

 

Close of The Courier.

Close of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Why are you here now?

 

Medium of Inanna and The Courier framed in a baroque-style with The Courier framed in the center. Unnatural light is used to light the scene now, breaking lighting norms in film.

 

Close of The Courier.

 

The Courier

I have appeared to give you two things.

There is one in my left hand and one in my right.

You may take one of them.

 

Medium of The Courier

They proffer grapes in their left hand and a lemon in their right.

 

Know that one is sweet and one is sour.

One will pull you and one will push you.

Both will harm you, but one will extinguish your light forever.

 

Close of Inanna’s eyes, considering each.

Pan out to see her whole face.

 

Medium of The Courier as a large fire bursts into flame behind them and bells begin playing.

 

Close of The Courier’s hands, there is now a human heart in the left hand and nothing in the other.

 

Close of Inanna’s face screaming in the unnatural light.

 

Close of The Courier’s eyes.

 

The Courier

Make your choice!

You must pick one or the other!

 

Medium of Inanna walking up to The Courier and pointing at neither hand.

 

Inanna

There are some choices that need not be made.

I’ll choose my own destiny, thank you very much.

We’re close now to Urshanabi.

They know who killed me, not a stranger found at night.

 

The Courier

I do not bring you harm.

You need only choose one.

Time isn’t moving and you’ll find it difficult to move from this space without some deletion of yourself. I suggest making a choice.

 

Inanna

No. In your left hand you give me a sweet thing. Grapes.

It is not grapes though; I see your hand and it holds a heart.

You give grapes and take hearts.

 

In your right hand, you give me a sour thing.

A lemon.

It is not a lemon; but nothing at all.

Your truest path is meritless.

 

Close of The Courier.

 

The Courier

It is not my place anymore then.

You have seen that which is unseen and understood me.

May it be that I speak my name and I am gone.

[Speech that cannot be understood]

 

Close of Inanna as lights flash and wind blows.

She screams and throws herself to the ground, hugging her body.

 

Medium of Enki waking up.

 

Enki

Inanna? Are you okay?

 

The lens follows Enki as he runs to Inanna.

He looks around briefly as he slows about a foot from her.

 

Inanna, what happened?

 

Close of Inanna’s face.

 

Inanna

Nothing. Just a bad dream. I guess I sleepwalk now.

 

Medium of Enki.

 

Enki

Would you like some coffee?

 

Close of Inanna.

 

Inanna

I’d love it.

 

Fade to medium of Enki and Inanna, sipping coffee and talking.

 

Enki

I expect that you came into the presence of something in your dream last night. What was it?

 

Inanna

Something old. Something that was waiting for my return. It asked me to choose between two things, but I chose neither.

 

Enki

Or maybe you chose both?

 

Inanna

Could be…

Though I hope not, the choices were rancid, both of them.

Anyways, it was just a dream, nothing too important.

 

Enki

Indeed, we should stay focused on Urshanabi.

I believe we’ll reach his house by mid-day tomorrow.

 

They both sip their coffee and stare at the sunrise.

 

The sound of waves is heard as this scene fades to a night sky.

___________________________________________________________________________

[This scene should be done in mostly one take]

Close of running water from a sink being filled.

Linger.

Pan slowly from the sink to Urshanabi pacing back and forth in their cabin.

 

Urshanabi

It’s tonight. Fuck, it’s tonight.

 

This is crazy.

This IS crazy.

Bringing someone back, underhand and all!

Fuck…

 

Medium, panning closer, of Urshanabi plummeting into a chair.

 

The papers will be meaningless after tonight.

 

Urshanabi touches their jacket pocket.

 

The paper said I should bury it…

Once and for all… Just like that?

I guess her papers are rescinded. Toast!

They ceased to mean anything once Eresh gave me the new papers.

Yeah, I’ll bury it.

 

Close of the paper being put into a box.

Close of boots being put on.

Close of a coat being grabbed.

Close of a shovel being snatched.

Medium of Urshanabi grabbing a torch and leaving the house.

Wide of Urshanabi arriving at a massive tree, lit by torchlight.

Medium of Urshanabi beginning to dig.

Then fade to partially through digging and fade to the last dregs.

Medium overhead of the box dropping into the hole with soil thrown on top.

Close of Urshanabi, sweat on their brow, wiping it off.

 

Urshanabi

It’s over Inanna!

I’m coming for you, finally!

After so long, I can finally fix my world.

I’ll bet she’ll kick and bite, I’ll have to bring restraints.

She won’t understand the change at first.

 

A sound of a car is heard.

Medium following of Urshanabi walking up the path for a ways. Linger.

Wide of a car.

Ereshkigal steps out of the driver’s seat.

Directorial note: This is still a continuous shot. The frame should be moving to meet each point within the conversation. If this is unmanageable, get creative with the composition to retain flow.

 

 

Ereshkigal

It’s time Urshanabi.

You’ll have to drive through the night and into the dust by sunrise.

You might be used to a more leisurely time of it, but we’ve found that it’s easier to travel across rivers by automobile as of late.

It seems strange at first, but you’ll see, it isn’t so bad.

Certainly more efficient than the canoes of old!

I will leave you with the car to get acquainted. When you have her, put her in the trunk, and drop her off at the predesignated address.

You will receive compensation per second in transit, so please try to make it snappy. Signal Anzu I:III:14:17 if you run into any issues.

Any questions?

 

Close of Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

Yeah, where’s the keys?

 

Medium of Ereshkigal.

 

Ereshkigal

In the glove compartment. Now, I’ll leave you to it.

 

Revolving close of Urshanabi.

 

 

Urshanabi

Right!

Thank you, Ereshkigal, for bringing me to the precipice of starting fresh with no baggage.

Thank you graciously and promise me something, will you?

 

Ereshkigal

What?

 

Wide of both characters. Break the continuous shot for this moment.

Silence.

Close of Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

Don’t ever visit again.

 

Ereshkigal is gone when the lens returns to the Wide.

Reestablish continuous shot with close of Urshanabi.

Urshanabi

Damn.

Takes a swig from a flask.

Looks like I’m burning bridges tonight.

 

Medium following Urshanabi walking to the trunk and opening it.

Close of an empty trunk.

 

Not even prepped properly…

Come on…

 

Medium of Urshanabi digging some Earth with a shovel and tossing it into the trunk of the car.

Close of “things of stone” being grabbed from the ground.

Medium of Urshanabi placing the “things of stone” in six places representing the six directions.

Close of Urshanabi.

 

Alright, now to take the right drugs…

 

Pan lens to follow Urshanabi’s hand as it reaches into their pocket to retrieve a small pill bottle.

Close of Urshanabi popping the drugs into their hand.

Close of two small capsules and a piece of blotter paper.

Flickering light plays on their hand.

Close of Urshanabi’s face as they prepare themselves.

 

One last time… For justice, for my peace.

 

Close side profile as Urshanabi kicks back the drugs.

Unnatural Wide of the forest at night with Urshanabi unnaturally lit.

The sounds of the night forest become exponentially louder as the color grading of the film becomes more malleable. Reds and oranges are more emphasized. The wide slowly meanders around Urshanabi, eventually spiraling into a medium, and finally a close that emphasizes the motion and uncomfortable return that Urshanabi is experiencing.

 

Definitely more potent than what we had back in the day.

 

Medium of Urshanabi swaying and beginning

a slight dance before falling onto their knees.

 

Oh, I pray first to the ground.

May the Earth give safe passage to me in my time of need, 

my time of return. The Earth shelters all under her sky.

Shelter me in my journey to the netherworld!

 

Panning close of Urshanabi gathering mud from the ground and placing it upon their face.

 

I pray second to the water.

May the flowing streams and ever-changing rivers carry my body and soul in one vessel. May it not be split in twain or into glittering shards…

 

Medium of Urshanabi picking up their flask and swigging from it for a few seconds.

 

I pray third to the wind.

May the air and chaos of the world be calm as I travel the river.

May my boat be rocked by waves from distant shores and not by the strong gusts of a typhoon or tempest.

 

Close of Urshanabi blowing into their hands and releasing it to the four directions.

 

I pray fourth to the fire.

May my fire be blue with a white flame and not a white flame by itself.

May my lantern remain burning through my whole journey, flickering only when I add more oil to its tank.

 

Close of Urshanabi lighting a pipe and taking a HEAVY drag.

 

I pray for safe passage, from forces older than my employers, from the Elders, from the Igigi, from the Anunnaki.

May my spirit be transformational to the world and its many branches.

May the thorns between lands be softened by emanations of light and darkness.

 

Close of Urshanabi looking to the heavens.

Linger.

 

The dust is settling. Time to drive off.

 

Medium of Urshanabi stepping into the car.

Close of Urshanabi’s perspective in the driver’s seat.

Close of Urshanabi.

 

Inanna…

I’m here.

It’s finally time to right my wrong, to save you, to fix my life.

I’m grateful.

Urshanabi looks down.

 

I am made of the dark and the light, the desire and the fear,

the man and the woman, the past and the future, the seen and the unseen,

the known and the unknown.

If I am all these things then let me pass unscathed!

 

Wide of the car starting and driving onto the road.

Stationary camera positions show moments of the car’s many motions through hill and valley, through forest and field as the sunrise begins in the last few positions.

Wide of the car disappearing into the dust.

The dust covers the lens and transitions into an overhead wide of an expansive place (preferably a mountain or a desert, but a field will do in a pinch).

Horrific sounds are heard everywhere and distortions/color grading are mutable.

Medium of Urshanabi’s car appearing out of nowhere.

Close of Urshanabi groaning and grimacing as the car slows.

Medium of Urshanabi pushing open the car door and vomiting on the ground.

 

Urshanabi

Every fuckin’ time.

Eresh should be paying me more for this.

 

Swigging from their flask heartily.

 

Gotta keep it down.

I’m not letting this fish get away.

All I have to do is snag one bite, then I can speak to the fish.

 

Close of a trio of swigs from the flask.

 

Gotta keep the light down, don’t want anyone to see what I’m doing.

 

Medium zoom/rack focus of Urshanabi looking up fearfully, then taking two breaths, and finally looking straight ahead determinedly.

 

Urshanabi

Inanna!

I call you forth, from the depths of where your unending spirit lies!

I call you forth!

From my blood will your body be formed!

 

Close of Urshanabi cutting their hand, letting the blood drip to the ground.

 

From my spit shall your water be restored!

 

Urshanabi spits on the ground.

Close of the blood and spit, it is beginning to froth in dazzling colors.

 

From my breath shall you rise!

Rise Inanna and walk again on mundane ground!

The sacred and supramundane must be cleansed by your fire,

by your spirit’s emanations!

 

Close of Urshanabi blowing onto the mass of color.

Follow Urshanabi as they slowly back away.

 

So mote it be.

 

Explosions are heard and the light frys the lens.

A few moments of just sound and whiteness (Tinnitus).

Fade back in as the sound of a ritual chant reaches its zenith.

A wide of the scene depicts Urshanabi awestruck by the splendor of Inanna. She is pointing one finger at Urshanabi and screaming indistinctly.

Low angle medium of Inanna.

 

Inanna

I’ll kill you!

You dare come here and speak!

You dare to threaten my people by releasing me from their prison!

I have eaten no chicken!

I shall raise up the dead and they shall eat the living!

The dead shall outnumber the living!

 

Close as she looks at Urshanabi.

 

You?!

Guilty for your sins, hmmm?

Come to terrorize your victim after all these years?

Bastard, I’ll terrorize you!

 

Medium of Inanna running at Urshanabi with hands outstretched.

Wide of both characters as Urshanabi holds out their hand.

Medium from the 180-degree opposite of the last shot (breaks film conventions to show a reversal).

Inanna stops dead as Urshanabi speaks.

 

Urshanabi

In a sing-song meter.

I am your merry ferryman, a ferryman indeed.

A faerie here a fairy there, just where could I so be?

Know this, dead one, your own free will; yes, belongs to me.

 

Close of Inanna standing frozen in the last position she was seen.

Depict this more visually with use of color or a layering of many takes of Inanna frozen and breaking over each other.

Inanna should not be contorted however.

 

Medium of Urshanabi approaching.

 

So, Inanna…

It’s been awhile. I want to take my time.

You must remember this; I’m going to tell you everything you need to know.

I’m guilty of my sins and I quit the whole business of ferrying people after I killed you.

I deserved penance.

 

I’ve been drinking a slew of alcohol and fishing since you left the world, and nothing could get me out of that funk...until Ereshkigal showed up.

She gave me some papers, new papers…

Papers like I’d never seen before.

They suggested a trade of equity between two people: one dead, one alive.

The alive one only gave up his worst pieces to bring you back; he sacrificed his judgement and his desire.

Your return is bettering the world in so many ways, some you will see much later I’m sure.

The one who signed for you, he’s really changed.

He told me not to tell you his name; he’s sneaky like that.

I always forget to read the fine print.

Guess he wants a mystery this time around.

Anyhow, it’s lovely to see you again.

I’d love a kiss, but I’m sure you’d kill me for it.

 

Close of Inanna glaring, even through the paralysis.

Medium of both characters.

 

Urshanabi

I’ll give you this one gift: alcohol.

 

Urshanabi moves to Inanna, opens her mouth, and pours from their flask into her mouth.

 

Alcohol starts fire in the belly, the fire to find the truth behind all of it, to make change, to better the whole world, to burn what should never have been.

Alcohol has kept my soul on ice, but to yours it will turn your flame blue with potency, potentiality!

I’ll bind you now, but meditate on the whiskey while I do.

 

Medium of Inanna being tied up against her will.

Her eyes are seen to be wild.

Close of Inanna’s eyes as she is lifted into the trunk full of dirt.

Darkness.

___________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

Fire is heard lighting and crackling in the darkness.

Fade to wide of the night sky. It is beautiful, a marvel of a sight.

It is just before dawn and a few birds are heard as well.

A chickadee comes to mind.

 

Blurry medium of Inanna waking up. She is staring out at the woods.

She moves from a lying down position to a sitting one, rises, and enters the sunrise with a patterned blanket draped over herself.

She stares for a few moments as the score begins to rise in volume and drama. Alternate to a wide of the sunrise.

Capture the sunrise on Inanna in a classic 3/4 position to the lens.

The lens zooms/pans in until a medium-close of Inanna is found, framed by the sunrise.

 

Inanna

Starting a whisper, perhaps narrated in the mind.

 

Enki’s scheming.

I don’t know what I’ll find in this house.

I know that Urshanabi is the one who resurrected me, not Enki…

So why did he lie?

Was Urshanabi supposed to clear my memory like the ferrymen usually do?

What is Enki’s game?

 

Continue to Zoom.

He’s using me…

I’m being used again…

Inanna’s eyes become vicious.

She starts talking or becomes louder.

That vision must have meant something.

Grapes and hearts!

Lemons and nothing!

What the hell does it all mean!

And how does Urshanabi fit into all of this!?

Inanna kicks a pebble or a stick and it shoots off.

 

Enki

A ferryman, you mentioned?

 

Side profile medium of Inanna with her back to Enki as he holds out a steaming cup of coffee.

 

Perhaps we could talk about it over some coffee?

 

Close from Inanna’s perspective, she turns her head towards Enki.

He is seen in a haze of out-of-focus.

 

Inanna

Hmmm… Just the same weird dream from my recollection.

But, if you’re offering it, I’ll take some coffee.

 

Enki

Enki is now the one in focus.

 

Come, we will speak of a few things.

We cannot hide things from each other; anything that is not truthful is detestable in my opinion.

 

Medium of both characters as Inanna walks towards Enki.

 

Inanna

Listen, I know you’re using me.

You were always a schemer, Enki.

You still haven’t answered me why you brought me back other than a very handy side-step of a phrase that went something to the tune of,

“You might know something”.

I’m not a detective, Enki.

 

Enki

Oh, but you ARE SUCH a detective!

Your asking of such a question proves it.

Really. I’m amazed at your progress intellectually!

Do they have books down in the dust?

 

Close of Inanna giving a glare.

 

Inanna

Sarcastically.

Yeah, we had books.

A bunch of stone tablets raining down from the heavens every three days.

It was translated so that all folk could understand it.

They keep you well-read in the netherworld.

 

Medium of Enki nodding enthusiastically.

 

Enki

You know then about the most recent research being done on quantum entanglement and—-

 

Close of Inanna.

Inanna

No, Enki.

The Elders moved on; they exist in other times now.

All we had was the few things that our people had written.

Occasionally a piece of paper got through, but it was always covered in complete gibberish!

Gibberish that I’m speaking and understanding now…

A long beat.

Something happens to people’s minds as time goes on.

It warps their being, their understandings.

When an idea dies completely, we lose it everywhere, even our history.

This didn’t happen in the netherworld; everything stayed exactly the same. Sometimes, I swear, sometimes I’d dig a massive hole in the dust, just for fun; and when I walked to where the hole had left my vision, it was filled again as if by magic.

I did it over and over.

Every time it was filled.

I’m glad I can have an effect here.

An energy wave made physical... or something.

 

Close of Enki.

Enki

Yes.

I’ve seen the HELL REALMS.

They are, at times, relentlessly stable--

Close of Inanna, finishing a sip of coffee.

Inanna

--You call the netherworld: the HELL REALMS?

That’s a bad name Enki. That’s such a bad name!

 

Medium of both characters.

 

Enki

Beginning to laugh.

--I suppose, huh, I guess people got a lot more serious all of a sudden!

 

Enki issues a hearty belly laugh as Inanna only chuckles.

Close of Inanna, more serious.

 

Inanna

I want to see the house today, Enki.

Let’s get a move on.

 

Claustrophobic wide-angle of Enki.

 

Enki

You’re going to tell me about the ferryman, Inanna.

You are.

You’re going to tell me everything you know about him.

Every little thing.

Otherwise, we’re not leaving.

 

Wide of both characters.

 

Inanna

You’re bound, I could just leave you.

 

Enki

You need me. Also, it would be horribly rude.

 

Inanna

You’re right.

I just don’t like being given ultimatums; you know that.

 

Medium of Inanna, standing and walking in a circle around Enki.

 

All I know is that I don’t want to see you again after this whole--

 

Interrupting close of Enki.

 

Enki

You won’t.

I swear upon the universal spirit that you won’t see me after this ordeal. I will go back to my place with my books forever.

I’m old, I’m tired.

I don’t want to travel this Earth any longer.

Y’never know, I may die someday.

 

Medium of Inanna as she picks up a backpack and checks her knife.

 

Inanna

Almost in a monotone.

The ferryman, Urshanabi, was in my dream.

They were wearing a dress and whispered in my ear.

The ferryman said, “Don’t pick one; don’t pick one…”.

That’s it, Enki, that’s it…

 

Medium of Enki standing up and finishing his coffee.

 

Enki

Alright, we can go.

___________________________________________________________________________

Medium of Enki standing close to Inanna in a pine forest.

Inanna proffers Enki a map that he points to, indicating he can see slightly through the hood.

Wide of them framed against the sky on a hill or the side of a lake.

Medium of them walking on a tree over a creek.

Medium of them walking through the woods as a deer starts from the bushes, momentarily stopping the two of them.

Wide of them approaching Urshanabi’s house, the porch and yard are distressingly messy.

Clattering sounds are heard from inside.

Medium of both Enki and Inanna looking at each other then looking back at the house.

 

 

Enki

Keeping his voice down.

Let’s be quiet and see if we can take the ferryman without force.

Maybe we can talk him into working with us.

 

Inanna

I’m going to slice the fucker’s ear off.

She is quite a bit louder.

 

Enki

NO!

Calm down.

We need to go in slowly.

I’ll bet that Urshanabi was on some kind of vicious drug bender last night. We don’t know what kind of state he’s in.

He could be frothing at the mouth, ready to eviscerate and munch upon the flesh of anyone who enters his den of blasphemous—

 

Medium, zooming tighter on Inanna via interruption.

 

Inanna

The more drugs they’re on, the easier it’ll be to get them to talk.

Let’s just filet their ear, barbeque it into strips, and feed it to them.

They’ll surely give away the signer’s name within the first minute of the intended torture, it’ll be over in seconds!

 

Wide of both characters, Enki stepping closer to Inanna.

 

Enki

It’s not that simple, Inanna!

We can’t coerce an answer, it could be completely falsified.

The bastard would probably say that the signer was me, just shift the blame onto the first man he sees other than himself.

 

Close of Inanna staring at the knife, then looking at Enki.

 

Inanna

Okay, we’ll ask nicely first, but if your way fails...

I’m going to try my way; understood?

 

Medium of Enki smiling.

 

Enki

A path of violence is unnecessary. 

Save all your righteous anger for the signer;

he is the one who wronged you, not Urshanabi.

 

Wide of the front of the cabin. Sounds are heard louder from inside. Crashes are heard and yelling. Perhaps an electric guitar occasionally.

Inanna and Enki step towards the door.

Medium as Enki puts his arm in front of Inanna and steps in front of her. Enki knocks on the door with a particular, though elusive rhythm.

Slowing zooming until the door fills the lens.

 

Urshanabi

Ahhhhh…

FUCK! Fuck, the fucking, goddamn…

Doors!

Doors going everywhere and nowhere at the same time-SOMEONE’S AT THE DOOR—FULL STOP – SOMEBODY’S AT THE DOOR!

Battle STATIONS! Msmmmsh…

Fire all cannons and tear gas from the porch to the root cellar!

Ready the hot oil! Ready the artillery!

Shit! Wait, oh no, oh nononoNO!

AHHHHHHH!

FUckAhhFuck!

Ereshhhhh…

NOOO!

Eresh, don’t tell me you came back, you don’t get to be here anymore, I wrote you out! I wrote you out of my life!

A long beat.

Eresh! Is that you? I’m not gonna open the FUCKING door unless you tell me exactly why you’re here, I did the job just like I was told to!

 

Enki

Urshanabi, it’s not Ereshkigal, it’s some old friends.

We wanted to check up on you.

 

Urshanabi

Hahehhah, OLD friends?!

You have got to be on another one if you think that I’m opening the door for that shit!

I haven’t had friends for a long, long time, and I’m happy this way! Unless, no-no.

 

Enki

Urshanabi, open the door.

 

 

Urshanabi

NOOOO! You can’t be here! It’s you, you dog, you dog!

Nono, oh fuck, oh shit, why are you here?

Why?! I did everything like the document said.

It was signed, notarized, the whole nine yards.

FUCK! Did Eresh trick me? Eresh, Eresh, Eresh! I can’t stand—

 

Enki

Eresh didn’t trick you, and I don’t know anything about your documents, we’re here for much more historical information.

 

Close of Inanna, bored.

 

Urshanabi

NOOOOO!

That’s even worse, you want my records and my memories?

Haven’t you taken enough from me?!

 

Inanna

Listen you sniveling barnacle, I’m going to give you thirty seconds before I knock down this door and mash your pitiful face into the floor.

You open up now, and we can still talk.

You wait, and we hurt you. You now have 25 seconds.

 

Urshanabi

Hold it… That’s not fair, and who are you?

I hadn’t heard your voice until just now!

 

 

Inanna

20… 19… 18…

 

Urshanabi

Wait! No, hold it, fuck…

 

Inanna

15… 14… 13…

 

Urshanabi

Wait, that voice…

You’re Inanna.

Oh my, fuck fuck fuck, oh shit…

 

Inanna

10… 9… 8… 7…

 

Urshanabi

OKAY, fine!

I’ll o-o-open the door.

 

The sound of a bolt unlatching is heard.

 

Okay! You-you can enter…

Medium of Inanna forcefully opening the door.

Side medium following of Urshanabi as they fall to the ground.

They are wearing a skirt.

Close of Urshanabi on the ground, groaning.

Inanna grabs them by the throat and points the knife at their eye.

 

Inanna

Listen, you waste of space, you are going to tell me one thing.

All I need is one thing: my papers.

You know the ones; I have to see who signed them!

If you don’t give them to me, I will filet your ear and make you eat it piece by piece—

Enki is moving around the action, unfocused.

Enki

NO! Inanna, let him speak.

We don’t have to resort to violence.

 

Inanna

Fuck off old man, let me have some fun with them.

We’re having FUN, aren’t we Urshanabi?!

 

Urshanabi

P-p-p-please, I-I-I can give you what you want!

Let me, hah, let me loose, and I’ll tell you!

 

Inanna

Hmmmm, so boring!

Nobody can handle a little pain these days, huh?

 

Inanna pulls Urshanabi by the neck up to a sitting posture.

Innana whispers menancingly to Urshanabi.

You took everything from me.

You were smiling while you did it, murderer.

I want revenge on the impetus, the person who gave you the intention of murder.

I will take your ear by long strips and we’ll fire up a pan to sear them—

 

Urshanabi

--I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t know, I just-*sigh*-I just, I thought it would all go away! I thought I could just fish and sing and fish and sit around eating sandwiches and lie in the grass! I want that-I want to retire, I’m sad, I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m tired.

Just leave me alone—

 

Inanna

SHUT UP, YOU BASTARD!

You worm! Worm WORM WORM!

 

Medium of Enki.

 

Enki

Maybe you should get off him.

 

Close of Inanna.

 

Inanna

NO, and fuck you Enki! Can you not sense the absence of him in Urshanabi? Urshanabi is no him, no man.

Inanna gets uncomfortably close to Urshanabi’s face,

almost smelling them.

It is apparent! I will slit their throat if I have to, to get this information; FUCK YOU ENKI!

 

Enki

Okay… Okay.

 

Inanna

Easy does-it, Urshanabi.

My knife is drifting towards your ear... 

Out with it!

Tell me where the papers are!

 

Close of Inanna and Urshanabi as the knife slowly caresses Urshanabi’s ear.

 

Low angle medium of Enki, looking furtively down at Inanna and Urshanabi. He clasps his hands together and appears to ready himself.

 

Enki

You can’t do this Inanna! Get off him!

 

Enki runs towards camera.

Medium of Inanna getting flung off Urshanabi.

Pan back to a medium-wide as Urshanabi gets up and darts out of the cabin.

 

Urshanabi

Thank God!

Inanna

Enki! What the fuck?!

They were right about to tell me!

FUCK!

 

Close of Inanna standing and stabbing the knife into the wall.

Medium of Enki.

 

Enki

I did the right thing. The just thing. I have read many books of philosophy, law, and ethics. I believe that my decision was objectively correct. He would have been harmed if you had kept on him.

 

Close of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Enki! I wasn’t going to hurt them!

Your “objectivity” just lost us our lead!!!

And stop calling Urshanabi “he”.

They aren’t, it’s obvious.

 

Medium of Enki.

 

Enki

Who cares? It doesn’t matter.

When the world was created there were only two!

Urshanabi looks like the side of divine power, the masculine side.

Ergo, I call him by what I know.

 

Close of Inanna panning out to a medium.

 

Inanna

“Side of divine power”…

You know how stupid you sound? Fucking whatever…

I’m chasing after Urshanabi.

I assume that you’ll stay here and leave your hood on, huh?

 

Wide of Enki, sitting down with his arms folded.

 

Enki

...

 

Medium of Inanna.

 

Inanna

I thought as much. All you men are lazy.

At least Urshanabi has the joie de vive to make things a little interesting!

Fuck all these men! Fuck you Enki!

 

Medium of Inanna standing in the doorway of the cabin.

 

When I bring Urshanabi back, DON’T INTERFERE; and call Urshanabi how they are meant to be called...understood?

 

Wide of Enki, seated.

He pulls out a pipe and begins to smoke it, pulling the hood up just enough to expose his mouth.

Enki

...

 

Close of Inanna following her as she leaves the cabin.

 

Inanna

AHHH!

Bastard!

 

Inanna appears visibly annoyed as she walks.

 

Urshanabi might talk with me more coherently when Enki’s not with me. Enki’s done something, something strange. What did he sacrifice really? Urshanabi told me it was a piece of a soul that allowed me to return, so could it have been?

I felt that Enki was lying, but…

I just can’t tell what’s going on.

___________________________________________________________________________

Following medium of Inanna walking on a dirt or gravel trail. 

Inanna begins walking faster and comes upon a piece of clothing on a tree. A close of the piece shows that it is from Urshanabi’s clothing.

Medium of Inanna, looking in various directions through the woods.

 

Inanna

Urshanabi!

Listen, I’m not here to harm you.

 

Wide of a wooded landscape.

Close of Inanna.

 

Urshanabi!!

Are you there?

All I want is one document! I’ll give it back to you!

 

Wide of the wooded landscape.

Close of Inanna looking worriedly around.

Biting wind is heard.

Wide of trees swaying.

Wide of the wooded landscape with Urshanabi present.

Linger.

 

Medium of Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

I know why you’re here.

It’s necessary.

I—I…

I don’t know how far the plan goes or what’s really going on.

I’m just the person who steers the boat.

You have to believe me Inanna.

 

Close of Inanna.

 

Inanna

I do. It’s okay.

I’m not interested in hurting you.

Just tell me where the papers are.

 

Medium of Urshanabi slowing backing away.

 

Urshanabi

I hid them, I thought I wouldn’t need them anymore after your resurrection. And how gorgeous you look, I must say.

 

Close of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Don’t you fucking run, you dog!

 

Close of Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

Woah! Calm down.

I’m just backing away because you tend to be...a little violent, is all.

I mean, the last time I saw you, you wanted to rip my intestines out... 

Or something.

 

Medium high angle of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Yeah, I guess I was a little intense. It’s just…

When I see you I think about dying…

And about you killing me.

 

Close low angle of Urshanabi crouching down to the ground,

perturbed by this statement.

 

Urshanabi

I…

I think about it a lot. Like...all the time.

It’s why I drink.

I was sworn to an oath, and not some little one that you can break if you really want to. This was a BIG oath.

I would have been cast into the Forest of Glass Shards for all eternity had I returned you to the world of the living without permission.

Every time I went fishing, I thought about taking the boat out with the right stuff to get across the divide and bring you back, the signer be damned…

 

Close of Inanna, her face seems softer.

Medium of Urshanabi.

 

I never did cross that weird haze that separates everything…

Did you see it? When you went across?

 

Close of Inanna.

 

Inanna

I saw it all.

The whole cycle laid before me.

I can’t recall much of my life before…

Dying is like a reset.

You remember what happened before in pieces, Luna moths in June.

That fog, that separation. It permeates.

It chilled me and made me dull, like something made of clay.

Somebody told a story about that.

It was beautiful...and terrible. At the same time.

 

Medium slow zoom of Urshanabi moving closer to Inanna.

 

Urshanabi

It sucks.

It just...sucks your life away…

 

Still walking towards Inanna.

 

Inanna, I…

I’m sorry.

I didn’t have a choice, but I have one now.

I can stop all this.

 

Urshanabi pulls out a fishing knife and holds it to their jugular.

Close of Inanna, obviously distraught.

 

Inanna

Don’t you FUCKING dare.

You know I’ll find those papers eventually!

You can’t possibly have—

 

Wide of Urshanabi and Inanna facing each other in the woods.

 

Urshanabi

I made sure to put that paper far down in the ground.

I’ll tell you where it is; I will.

But...you have to do something for the signer on the way.

 

Close of Inanna.

Inanna

What, Urshanabi?

What do I have to do for this Godforsaken paper and its author now?!

 

Medium of Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

I was a fool.

I didn’t read the fine print, Inanna.

Do you know about fine print? How it binds?

I didn’t choose this…

You must go beneath the Earth and find the piece of you that you forgot.    You’ll remember what you missed, what the signer took from you.

 

Close of Inanna, she is concerned.

Inanna

You mean I’ll remember everything? All the years that passed me by?

The dead bodies that piled above me will be seen by me?

You know you speak deep blasphemies, but if this is the signer’s plan…

You’re leading me right to where he wants me! The bastard…

What did HE do?

What?!

Why did I need to die? Why did I need to be made to stone covered in feathers, a museum piece, pulled into the archives and covered in dust?

 

They didn’t remember me. I just folded away when your knife—

 

Medium of Urshanabi, angry.

 

Urshanabi

You can’t put any of this on me! I had papers!

You can’t argue with the signature of a God--

 

Wide of the two from a 180 degree angle, once again reversing the energy.

 

Inanna

You know who it is…

You’re leading me on too—

All of you people, you’re all the same, trying to stop me and keep me from my one goal!

 

High angle medium panning to neutral of Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

It’s fine print!

I don’t get to choose, that’s for people like you Inanna.

You get to be covered in flowers when you die; I’ll be bloated and drowned with ropes in the bottom of my river one day!

Close of Inanna.

Inanna

You dare say that I got a choice?!

The Elders signed me away to exile and then you killed me!

I thought I was going past the bolt beyond the seas that Enki still yet holds, but instead you’re knife slipped out with a muffled “Sorry”, gouging my heart into pieces as we drifted to Kurnugi, dungeon city of the netherworld.

I assumed, at the least, that I would be seeing Ereshkigal; a little hospitality between family is a beautiful thing, but no. 

I was met by a tiny processing cell.

I was treated as all the others were.

I have seen the way that the judges judge.

I have seen them, wearing masks, placing white and black pearls on scales. I might have stood a chance had I lived in a time more recently, but in my time, the system was simple and honestly, quite offensive.

 

Medium of Urshanabi, uncomfortable that they yelled.

Return to close of Inanna.

 

You haven’t spent a lot of time down there, have you? You know how unpleasant it is for a few moments, imagine what a year feels like?

Imagine what a century feels like?

I remember the whole thing like a dream, completely filling my head with nothing but a consistent emotion of weariness and forgetting and dust.

I was NOTHING; a vestige of whatever I was when I was alive!

A whisp of a whisp! You don’t get to tell me that I got a choice, that somehow my life worked out any better than yours! 

I was killed for something, something you know about.

 

Close of Urshanabi, sighing.

Return to close of Inanna.

 

Inanna

But… you can’t tell me.

You can’t open your mouth and speak his name.

Your throat is closed by watchful eyes, so I won’t force you.

I’ll play along for now.

Where must I go, Urshanabi, to claim my vengeance?

I will put the signer down like a dog, then we’ll dance on his grave and talk for hours about what happened, but until then, where must I go?!

 

Close of Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

You’re smart to not force the issue, the signer’s a self-saboteur…

You’ll know soon enough…

The entrance to the place beneath the Earth is in the forest; the darkest of woods. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. The paper is in the woods…

By the largest tree I’ve ever seen lies a hollow. Some say that immortality lies in an orange-red fungus under the tree and the roots are as tall as the branches. It is a magnificent vision and it stands on a slight hill, amazing those who stumble upon it.

It was the only thing that I could bury my shame under; I buried it deep.

You will have to un-bury it.

There are pieces of words floating around in the ground if you know where to look for them. Perhaps if you dig deep enough, his name will appear in a depressed scrawl on the backs of your eyes.

I hope so; I’ll lead you there, follow me.

 

Wide of the two coming closer together as Urshanabi puts their knife in their pocket.

Close of Inanna reaching for her knife, then retracting her hand.

Close of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Alright…

I’ve come too far now to just walk away.

Are we going to a cave, or…?

 

Medium low angle of Urshanabi.

 

Urshanabi

It’s kind of like that…

I don’t know how it’ll appear to you; the hollow is a dark place.

When I first went in there I couldn’t see anything.

The only light came from the matches I brought.

I felt like my body was at the bottom of a river, y’know?

That hollow is like the opposite of death.

Everyone thinks the opposite of death is life; they don’t know.

Death is life, proof that there was life once.

That hollow made me feel, made me feel like, made me feel I never lived.

I didn’t go there to die; I didn’t drink to die…

I didn’t want to exist; ever.

I’m sorry, I didn’t want there to be that memory of...

 

Wide of both characters.

Medium of Inanna.

 

Inanna

Yeah…

I know.

Lead the way already.

 

Transition to a medium of the two walking down the now twilight trail.

 __________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

Medium following high angle of Urshanabi and Inanna.

Linger and allow tension and silence to build.

Close of Inanna watching Urshanabi as they lead her.

 

Inanna

I…

 

Close of Urshanabi looking back.

Return to Inanna.

 

Why’d you do it?

I mean, I know you said something about fine print, but why?

Why not just…

Why?

 

Close of Urshanabi beginning to tear up and unable to look at Inanna.

Return to Inanna.

 

I don’t blame you; I know I should. You killed me!

Covered in my steaming blood you…

You just threw my body over the side like a doll…

 

Close of Urshanabi breaking down and walking faster.

 

I’m no saint, Urshanabi. I’m not…

I’ve stolen; I’ve had people killed.

I was the fucking queen of heaven!

And I was killed with a fishing knife by a lackey, an idiot ferryman…

 

Close of Urshanabi stopping a few meters in front of Inanna

and attempting to find breath and failing.

 

You have to tell me now.

You have to tell me who signed.

You already know, Urshanabi.

 

Innana comes into focus behind Urshanabi.

 

Stop being a puppet! Can’t you see that following the directions

of the signer has only led you to suffering?!

You have to break the cycle; you have to tell me now!

 

Urshanabi continues to break down and shake.

 

You’re pathetic…

I want to forgive you Urshanabi. I want to help you.

We both spent millennia...dealing with the consequences.

But I can’t help you until you’re willing to tell me why.

 

Following close of Urshanabi as they slowly move

to a squatting position and sit facing Inanna.