WHERE WE LEFT OFF:
Staci and her team reviewed the footage of Father Anderson’s death. Leon was able to clear it up enough so they could see someone in a dark suit and tie standing in their hotel room doorway when the Father died. Freaked out, they set up the camera to keep watch on their room overnight, allowing us to see another moment when the camera went awash with static.
WHERE WE PICK UP:
It’s morning. Leon sits in front of the camera, checking it. The shower is running in the background. Behind Leon, Ray is combing is sitting on the edge of the bed. He starts coughing, hard enough that he doubles over for a second.
Leon glances at him and asks, “Are you okay?”
Ray waves him off and recovers a second later.
The footage jumps to the four of them sitting on the beds facing each other.
“So did anything happen last night?” Staci asks.
Leon shrugs. “I think so. Looks like someone was outside our room and then the camera froze up again.”
Bethany whimpers and snuggles into Ray. “I don’t want to be here anymore.”
“We can’t leave now!” Staci says. “Something weird is going on here. We have to find out what it is.”
Ray nods. “So what’s our next move, boss?”
“Well, Lisa seemed to think that all of this is connected to the land outside of the city. Maybe we should go poke around there?”
“Won’t that get us into trouble?” Bethany asks.
“You mean more than we’re in already?” Leon responds.
Ray slaps his thighs and gets up. “Then let’s get going.”
The footage cuts to the car pulling up outside a wire fence. There’s a large “NO TRESPASSING” sign hanging from the top wire. Ray practically runs to the fence and then stops to look around. He then pulls apart the top and bottom wires to let the others slip through. Leon struggles a bit, carrying the camera.
Once they’re all through, Leon pans the camera around, revealing a large stretch of woods. “So now what?”
Staci looks around as well. “We start poking around. Let’s get going and see what we can find.”
What follows are a series of jump cuts of Staci, Ray, Bethany, and Leon walking through the woods. There’s a small creek that flows through part of the woods. At one point, Ray stops to catch his breath, wheezing as he leans against a tree. Staci gives Leon a significant look, like she’s trying to say, Not so tough, huh? with her eyes.
Another cut, and the camera catches sight of a rough-and-tumble cabin set back in the trees. “Hey, guys!” Leon shouts. “Check this out.”
He turns and the camera sweeps the woods. There’s no sign of anyone else. Leon turns back to the cabin and starts up a simple dirt path.
Up close, the cabin looks about ready to collapse under its own weight. The timber is dirty and rotten and all the windows are busted out. The front door is missing. Leon carefully steps through the door.
The interior is a mess. The furniture is wooden and looks at least sixty to seventy years old. Water stains dot the walls. The most prominent feature in the room is a large stone slab that fills the center of the room. Leon steps up closer to it and pans across the surface. It appears to be perfectly flat, but its flecked with what appears to be candle wax and stained deeply. Leon runs his finger over the top and whispers, “Is that blood?”
The wood creaks and Leon whips around. We catch a glimpse of someone looking in through one of the windows, just a flash. Leon shouts and rushes to the door and comes around to where the person would have been standing, only to find nothing. He pans the surrounding woods, looking for whoever it was. There’s no sign of who it might be, but the footage begins to snap and turn to static. Leon starts breathing heavily. We spot something off in the woods, something large but indistinct. Leon shouts and then runs, crashing back down the trail.
“Leon! What’s the matter?” Staci shouts.
Leon crashes to a halt. Staci, Ray, and Bethany are staring at him with concern.
“I saw a…I found…”
“Settle down, dude,” Ray says. “What did you find?”
“A house with some kind of…of…altar, back there.”
He whips around. The path is there, but the cabin has vanished. Leon sputters for a few moments. “But…but…”
A branch snaps off camera and Leon whips around. He starts breathing even harder.
Ray coughs a few times and clears his throat. “Are you okay, man?”
“There was a cabin back there with this big piece of stone and…”
“Then show us.” Ray starts up the path.
Leon starts to protest, but the girls follow Ray up the path. Leon starts after them. When he catches up, they’re standing in a small clearing in the woods. It’s big enough to have held the cabin, but the building itself is gone. There’s no hint that anything ever stood there.
“But it was here!” Leon insists.
Bethany rubs her hands on her arms. “Let’s get out of here.”
“No argument from me,” Leon says.
Staci nods. Ray looks like he wants to stay, but he follows the rest of them back through the woods. They almost make it to the fence when Staci hisses something and ducks behind a bush. She waves for the others to hide as well. They do so and Leon points the camera forward. They’re just a few feet from the fence and we can see the car parked near the fence. More problematic is the sheriff’s car parked next to it. Two deputies are looking through the windows while the sheriff himself is scanning the woods. Eventually, the sheriff nods and they get into their car and drive off.
“Now what?” Bethany whispers.
“Let’s give it a moment,” Staci says. “Then we’ll get going.”
The footage cuts to them back inside the car driving away from the woods. We catch sight of Leon, Bethany, and Staci (who’s driving).
“What are you doing?” Leon asks.
“Making sure we’re not followed. If we are, I want to make sure we have it on film,” Ray says. “Lets go somewhere so we can dump the film and see what Leon saw.”
Once again, the film cuts to the four sitting in a booth in a restaurant. Leon has his laptop out in front of him and the others are pressed in around him. Staci frowns at the screen.
“I don’t get it,” Staci says. “Are you sure we went to the right place?”
“Positive,” Leon says.
Bethany whimpers. “Let’s get out of here! Let’s just go back to the motel, get our stuff, and leave. I don’t like this.”
“We can’t go now!” Ray says. “We have to figure out what’s going on here!”
Staci doesn’t look too sure. Bethany starts crying.
Ray turns to Staci. “You said you wanted to make just a political documentary, right? Well, this is so much cooler! Can you imagine the kind of name you’ll make for yourself when this goes public? And Leon! This footage is incredible! Most people would have dropped their camera or something. You got the shot, man!”
Leon seems somewhat pleased by the compliment. “Well, I guess…”
“No guess about it, man. We gotta stay.”
Staci sighs. “All right. For a little while longer. But if something like this happens again, we have to leave.” She turns to Leon. “Can you try to zoom in on the face in the window?”
Leon nods. “I can try…”
Another jump cut. “Check this out!” Leon says.
Ray snags the camera and points it at the computer screen. Leon has indeed zoomed in on the window. A small face appears then vanishes. The image isn’t clear enough to make out specific details, but it’s pretty clear that it’s the face of a child.
“What would a kid be doing out in the woods?” Bethany asks.
“A better question is why the camera keeps fuzzing out on us,” Staci said.
“I have no idea,” Leon says. “I can doublecheck it again, but I’m sure it’s in good working order.”
“Do that, and—”
We cut back to the motel room. Leon has set up the camera to serve as an impromptu security system. The footage speeds up again, blinking past in a heartbeat. But it slows down toward two in the morning. Someone starts coughing heavily. Then we see Ray stumble into the frame. He seems out of it, maybe sleepwalking. He shuffles toward the door and starts to open it. The moment the door swings open, though, the footage goes awash with static. We can catch a glimpse of someone else in the room with Ray, someone dressed in a black suit and tie, with a featureless face and elongated arms. A few seconds later, the footage returns to normal. The door is shut and apparently Ray is back in bed.
So anyone want to take a guess as to what monster I’m using in my movie?