This is an excerpt from a completed screenplay.
"The Mystery At Castle MacCarragh" - screenplay by Derek Paterson. FADE IN: EXT. CROSSROADS - DAY Mist, thick as soup. Dirt tracks lead to this isolated spot. A faded sign reads: <- EDINBURGH 53 MILES STIRLING 17 MILES -> The sounds of CLATTERING HOOVES and JINGLING HARNESS grow louder. A horse-drawn coach materializes out of the mist, lanterns ablaze. It pulls up and stops by the sign. Moments later the DRIVER, wrapped in scarf and cloak, cracks his whip and the coach moves on, revealing a lone figure who has disembarked. KATE LYLE, 19, wears a plain bonnet and wool coat. She clutches a small leather travel case as if it's the only thing she owns. She watches the coach disappear into the mist. She looks around, lost and bewildered. A breath of wind causes the mist behind her to clear, revealing-- EXT. BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE TAVERN - DAY A rustic roadside inn in the middle of the Scottish moors. A pale likeness of the handsome "Young Pretender" sways above the door. Kate turns, and shows both surprise and relief. MACNAIR, a stout man in his 50s, stands in the doorway of the inn watching her. Kate approaches, doubtful, and asks in a soft Scottish accent-- KATE Good morning, sir. Or I should say, good afternoon. May I ask if there is a Mr. Maitland here? MacNair looks puzzled. Kate unfolds a letter and offers it to him. MacNair doesn't take it. KATE He sent me this. He says he is the owner of Castle MacCarragh. MacNair's accent is broader and rougher than Kate's, with a Highland twang. MACNAIR Ye will address his lordship as "Lord MacCarragh." Or, if ye are invited, "Sir Hillary." Only if ye are invited, mind. KATE I beg your pardon. Then may I ask where I may find Lord MacCarragh? MACNAIR Inside. He said ye might be coming. Where are your bags? KATE I only have this. MacNair stares at her until Kate shyly lowers her gaze. He goes inside. Kate looks up at the Young Pretender. She draws a breath, steels herself, and follows MacNair inside. INT. TAVERN - DAY MacNair is behind the bar whispering with the equally stout MRS. MACNAIR. They stop talking when Kate enters. At a table, SIR HILLARY MAITLAND, 30, handsome and charming in hunting tweed, sits with PROFESSOR HENRY CARRUTHERS, 50, and his wife ABIGAIL, 30, an aloof beauty. They have educated upper class English accents. MAITLAND I assure you I do not take the matter lightly, Mrs. Carruthers. A flagrant breach of contract, there's no denying that. And no doubt the law is on my side. But there is no reasoning with these people. When I insisted he stay and meet his obligation, the foreman actually threatened physical violence upon me. Carruthers leans forward, his weight on his walking-stick. CARRUTHERS Surely you informed the local constabulary, Sir Hillary? MAITLAND I'm trying to win them over, Professor, not imprison them. I've already offered a generous bonus if they resume work, but still they refuse. In this matter I am at my wit's end. CARRUTHERS Absolutely understandable. I admire your self-restraint, sir, indeed I do. Maitland notices Kate. He springs up and greets her. MAITLAND And you must be Miss Lyle! I'm so very pleased you could join us. He insists on shaking her hand. Kate smiles weakly. MAITLAND Have you eaten? KATE Might I trouble you for some water? Maitland leads her over to the table, calling to MacNair, MAITLAND A cup of water, MacNair, if you please. Maitland sits Kate down, she smiles thanks and sits stiffly, her travel case on her lap, tightly gripped. MAITLAND Miss Lyle, allow me to introduce Professor Carruthers and Mrs. Carruthers. Polite smiles and nods. They're not sure who she is. MAITLAND You're sure I can't offer you some refreshment after your journey? KATE Thank you sir... Lord MacCarragh... I am content. I apologize for my late arrival. The mist lies heavy upon the moor. The driver did not dare make haste for fear of leaving the road. MAITLAND I'm pleased to meet you at last. Though I must confess, I am somewhat surprised. Kate can't imagine how. MAITLAND You're far younger than I expected. Carruthers and Abigail are following the conversation but show signs of puzzlement. MAITLAND Oh, didn't I mention? Miss Lyle will be joining us on our little expedition. Mrs. MacNair brings a cup of water to Kate, who smiles thanks but gets no response. Mrs. MacNair removes empty dishes and cups from the table. Kate sips her water. ABIGAIL May I ask in what capacity, Sir Hillary? MAITLAND I looked up some old friends of mine in Edinburgh. Miss Lyle, they assure me, is one of the most respected mediums in the country. CARRUTHERS A medium! MAITLAND It's my understanding that Miss Lyle is consulted by the City of Edinburgh Constabulary whenever they are faced with a particularly baffling crime. Would I be correct in saying this, Miss Lyle? Kate looks at Abigail, Carruthers, Maitland. She's a little unsure of herself, given the lofty company. MAITLAND And in fact, wasn't there a recent case involving a missing child--? KATE I am bound not to discuss specifics, Lord MacCarragh. It is sub judice, a matter for the courts. MAITLAND Of course, I do beg your pardon. But there's no need for formality, Miss Lyle. That title of mine becomes a trifle wearing after a while, hmm? Call me Hillary, please. From outside, the sounds of HORSES, WHEELS, JINGLING HARNESS as a coach is brought to the entrance. ABIGAIL Do you know, Sir Hillary, a very good friend of mine once attended a seance. MAITLAND Did anything come of it? ABIGAIL She said it was a complete fraud. The dreadful woman had an accomplice hiding in the next room who pretended to speak for the dead. Everyone demanded their fee be returned forthwith. The barbed harpoon rips through Kate, who wishes the ground would open up and swallow her. ABERCROMBIE enters. 40s, a dour Scotsman with bristling sideboards. Maitland sees him and nods. MAITLAND We have quite a distance to travel, and the whims of Scottish weather are not to be trifled with. They rise from the table and collect coats and hats. EXT. BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE TAVERN - DAY The mist is just as thick. An enclosed carriage sits waiting. Maitland, Carruthers and Abigail exit the tavern. Maitland opens the carriage door and assists Abigail aboard. INT. TAVERN - DAY Kate's about to exit when MacNair grabs Abercrombie's arm. MACNAIR For God's sake, Abercrombie. Ye'll no' be taking them to the Beast's Lair? ABERCROMBIE His lordship is returned to his ancestral home. Who am I to deny him his birthright? MACNAIR If ye were a Christian man ye would deny him! Ye know what awaits them there. ABERCROMBIE Ach, save yer nonsense for those daft enough to believe it. Abercrombie exits past Kate. MacNair and his Wife exchange worried looks. Kate sees this before she follows Abercrombie outside. EXT. BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE TAVERN - DAY Maitland, Carruthers and Abigail are already aboard the carriage. Kate's about to climb aboard when MacNair exits the tavern and joins Abercrombie. MACNAIR Will ye no' heed any words o' wisdom, Abercrombie? ABERCROMBIE Ye'll get me my marching orders and for what? Some fish-wife's tale. Abercrombie climbs up into the driver's seat. MACNAIR I tell ye it's no tale! MacNair turns to Kate, and softens. MACNAIR And what of you, Miss? I advise ye to stay here with us. The coach will return tomorrow. Ye'll be back in Edinbra' afore sundown. Kate doesn't know what to say. Abercrombie stares at her, waiting. Maitland calls from inside the carriage-- MAITLAND Miss Lyle? Kate quickly climbs aboard. Maitland pulls the door shut. Abercrombie glares at MacNair, then cracks the whip. The carriage moves off. MACNAIR If ye hear the bell, for God's sake man, turn back! INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY The four sit huddled together, knee to knee, Kate and Abigail facing Maitland and Carruthers. CARRUTHERS I am beginning to understand the urgency of your need, Sir Hillary. MAITLAND I'm glad someone does. These last weeks have been very frustrating. At this rate we'll be lucky if we have somewhere to stay by this time next year! CARRUTHERS Aside from the noises, Sir Hillary, did your workers report any other irregular occurrences? Kate listens, fascinated. MAITLAND The foreman said things were moved. CARRUTHERS Such as? MAITLAND Tools. Ladders. Supplies. And, doors slammed shut without warning. Often the keys would go missing, and would turn up later, in another room. CARRUTHERS (to Abigail) Evidence of poltergeist activity. Abigail opens a leather-bound notebook and writes. MAITLAND I'm unfamiliar with the name. CARRUTHERS A poltergeist, Sir Hillary, is a particular kind of spirit that has the ability to move, or conceal, physical objects. The word is Germanic in origin. There is usually an element of mischievousness in its actions. MAITLAND You've encountered such things before? CARRUTHERS Oh, many times, many times. Why, only recently I was called upon to investigate some queer goings-on in a mill house on the Norfolk Broads. Isn't that so, my dear? ABIGAIL Yes indeed, it was near-- CARRUTHERS The new owner and his family were plagued by inexplicable happenings. Doors kept slamming, crockery was thrown and smashed by unseen hands. It was not difficult to deduce what was responsible. MAITLAND A... poltergeist, I presume? CARRUTHERS Precisely so. I have developed a theory, Sir Hillary, that there is always good reason why spirits remain upon this earth instead of ascending to Heaven. MAITLAND Of course I'm interested, Professor. CARRUTHERS They are unfulfilled. They passed on from this mortal coil before they could attain what they most desired when they were among the living. MAITLAND How very interesting. CARRUTHERS In the case of the mill house, I was obliged to seek out local information to confirm my suspicions. Abigail opens her mouth to speak but Carruthers goes on-- CARRUTHERS It turned out that the poltergeist who so rudely awakened the family each morning with a chorus of broken cups and plates, was the manifestation of the gentleman who had owned the mill fifty years previously. MAITLAND Indeed? CARRUTHERS His name was, ah, let me see now, Trubshaw, Elias Trubshaw. He was greatly upset because the woman he loved married someone else... can't recall the name... Abigail opens her mouth to speak again-- CARRUTHERS Garrick, that's it, Garrick Trubshaw. MAITLAND They were related? CARRUTHERS They were brothers. Apparently they competed for the same woman. Elias Trubshaw lost the battle, and the woman he desired. That was the source of his disquiet. The root of the problem, you might say. MAITLAND Very clever, very clever indeed. But was there a solution? CARRUTHERS A rather ingenious solution, if I may say so myself. Indeed, yes. At last Abigail gets a word in-- ABIGAIL The local churchyard. CARRUTHERS Quite so. Garrick Trubshaw and his wife were buried side by side. ABIGAIL In her family's private burial plot. CARRUTHERS Elias Trubshaw was buried in the same churchyard, but in another section entirely. The other side of the church, as a matter of fact. ABIGAIL We brought them together. CARRUTHERS Fortunately the local vicar was most understanding. He'd had a rather unfortunate experience with the poltergeist when he tried to exorcise the manifestation from the mill house, you see. Well, that swayed him, indeed it did. ABIGAIL He agreed to exhume the body-- CARRUTHERS It threw him out, simply took hold of him and threw him out. The fellow was only too happy to cooperate. He arranged to have a new grave dug for Elias Trubshaw. They moved his remains closer to her, alongside her family's burial plot. MAITLAND And it worked? They moved his grave and it actually worked? CARRUTHERS Never had broken plate since. Gave him what he desired most, you see. ABIGAIL They laid him to rest beside his one true love. Finally Elias Trubshaw found peace. Kate looks out the window, affected by the story. Gnarled trees loom out of the fog, their twisted branches reach toward Kate like claws, she jerks back in fright. MAITLAND Miss Lyle? KATE Forgive me, I felt a little chilled, that's all. MAITLAND Would you like to swap seats? KATE I am content, thank you. MAITLAND As you wish, but do tell me if you experience discomfort, please. KATE Thank you, I will. CARRUTHERS Of course, discerning what troubles an older spirit may be not be so easy. The older they are, the more unpredictable they become. But not to worry, I'm confident I'll get to the bottom of it soon enough. MAITLAND Using your... what did you call it? Abigail giggles. ABIGAIL Henry's "secret weapon." He calls it the Ghost Sniffer. Maitland laughs. MAITLAND I can't wait to see it in action. You put all your faith in science, Professor? CARRUTHERS Indeed I do. Science, Sir Hillary, has made astounding strides in the past decade. Mr. Edison's experiments with electrical current have opened up new fields of understanding that were hitherto undreamed of. Using science, we shall conquer the mysteries of the supernatural. Maitland nods approval. Exactly what he wants to hear. EXT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Abercrombie cracks his whip. Ahead, winding country road. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY KATE How far is it to the castle, Sir Hillary? MAITLAND Once we reach the estate boundary, less than an hour, if the weather holds up. EXT. SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS - DAY The green splendor of Scotland's hills and glens is laid out against an epic background of ancient mountains on a bright, clear day. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY ABIGAIL Has your family always owned the castle, Sir Hillary? MAITLAND My revered ancestor, the first Earl of MacCarragh, was granted full title of the castle and its surrounding lands by none other than King Robert the Bruce. The documents are remarkably well preserved. The castle has been with my family ever since, despite wars, revolution, and sundry other catastrophes. The carriage jerks wildly, negotiating an ancient pot-hole. MAITLAND Mind you, we almost lost it when Mary Queen of Scots came to the throne. I'm not quite sure whether the seventh earl, Sir Hector, was for or against Mary. I rather fancy he just didn't like being told what to do. A bit of a devil, old Hector. One of the black sheep of the family, you know. Speaking of which... Maitland takes out a silver flask and unscrews its top, which is a little cup. MAITLAND Care to join me in a drink, Professor? Just the thing to keep the chill at bay. Medicinal purposes, you might say. CARRUTHERS In that case, don't mind if I do. MAITLAND And your good wife? ABIGAIL I shall abstain, thank you, Sir Hillary. MAITLAND Miss Lyle? KATE Thank you, no. Maitland pours a full cup and passes it to Carruthers. They salute and drink. CARRUTHERS As fine a malt as I've ever tasted. MAITLAND Can't get the stuff in London, you know. The Scots refuse to let it out of the country. They're a canny bunch. They guard their secrets jealously. ABIGAIL But aren't you Scottish, Sir Hillary? MAITLAND Indeed I am. Don't let the English public school accent fool you, Mrs. Carruthers, I'm as Scottish as the malt whisky in this flask. They tried to beat it out of me at Eton but I'm afraid they didn't quite succeed. They laugh. Kate smiles. ABIGAIL My husband tells me you're due to be married soon? MAITLAND Indeed I am. We're going to live at the castle. The old family home has lain empty for too long. I'm going to revitalize the estate. Introduce hunting and fishing. Of course, there is the problem of where my guests are going to stay. Which is precisely the point of this expedition of ours, hmm? Carruthers chuckles and sips his drink, Abigail smiles. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Kate looks up as a shadow darkens the carriage. Dark clouds roll across the sky, obliterating the sun. The bright, clear day turns bleak. EXT. BRIDGE - DAY The road leads to a hump-backed bridge that fords a deep stream. On the other side of the bridge, the road continues toward a stone gateway guarded by a matching pair of snarling stone lions mounted on pillars. EXT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Abercrombie guides the carriage toward the bridge. But as they draw near the horses rear up, refusing to cross. EXT. CARRIAGE - DAY The sudden stop makes everyone lurch. Carruthers spills a precious drop of his malt. CARRUTHERS What a tragedy! Maitland thrusts his head out the window and shouts-- MAITLAND What the devil's going on, Abercrombie? EXT. CARRIAGE - DAY Abercrombie lashes the horses with his whip until they haul the carriage over the bridge, unwillingly. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY After some shaking, the carriage regains its equilibrium. CARRUTHERS Horses have a natural fear of water. Nothing to worry about. But Maitland isn't so sure. He turns to the window to hide his uncertainty, then realizes Kate is watching him. He forces an uneasy smile. EXT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Abercrombie steers toward the lion-guarded gateway. The horses are skittish and nervous, but they keep going. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY As the carriage approaches the gateway Kate stares at the snarling lion statue on her side. EXT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY The carriage passes through the gateway. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Kate cranes her neck and looks back at the receding lion statue. MAITLAND Those charming fellows appear on the family crest. Very dramatic. The addition of a lion to one's coat of arms is an honor that can only be granted by the monarch. ABIGAIL How fascinating, Sir Hillary. I had no idea. KATE Are they the "beasts" that people speak of? Maitland stares at her. Abigail laughs, a mocking sound. ABIGAIL How witty you are, Miss Lyle. Kate is thoroughly confused. MAITLAND I assume you're referring to "the Beast's Lair"? Unfortunately the name is uncomplimentary, and has very little to do with lions. ABIGAIL Or any other four-legged creatures. KATE I'm afraid I don't understand. MAITLAND The name refers to one of my ancestors, Miss Lyle, though I'm not entirely sure which one. There are so many MacCarragh beasts to choose from... Kate realizes she's made a social faux pas. KATE If I have said anything amiss, your lordship, I do apologize. MAITLAND Think nothing of it. Sir Hillary, please. Call me Sir Hillary. Abigail's smug smile is anything but friendly. EXT. WOODS / CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY The road enters thick WOODS. Birds sing, insects click and buzz. The sounds of Nature. Shadows play over the carriage and its passengers. Daylight dims further as high tree branches stretch across the road. The clatter of hoofbeats and creaking wheels fades. The sounds of Nature are silenced. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Maitland and Abigail converse with each other but Kate doesn't hear what they're saying, she moves in an utterly silent world. She looks around in wonder. Abigail laughs but without sound. EXT. WOODS / CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Kate leans out the window. Seen through overhead branches, dark clouds scud across the sky, moving too quickly. The carriage kicks up a cloud of leaves. Wind whips through the tunnel of trees, stirring the leaves into a blizzard. The horses panic. Abercrombie is half-blinded as he pulls on the reins to control the frightened horses. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY The wind howls through the carriage. Abigail's bonnet tips over her face. Kate leans out the window and squints into the storm. EXT. WOODS / CARRIAGE - DAY The carriage stops. The wind wheezes like an old man with chest problems, sucking and blowing wetly. The carriage is caught in a miniature hurricane. Abercrombie throws up his arm to cover his face. INT. CARRIAGE - DAY The wind whips Kate's hair, she's frightened but fascinated at the same time. EXT. WOODS / CARRIAGE - DAY The wind dies as suddenly as it came. The last leaves fall to the ground. The sounds of Nature return. Suddenly everything's normal again. INT. CARRIAGE - DAY Abigail straightens her bonnet, brushes leaves off her coat. MAITLAND You must remember we're at a much higher clime, Mrs. Carruthers. Unfortunately this means we are subject to the capricious whims of Nature. ABIGAIL So it would seem! Carruthers pats her hand and chuckles, but Abigail is far from amused. EXT. WOODS / CARRIAGE - DAY Abercrombie jiggles the reins, the carriage moves off. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY MAITLAND Ah, we're off again. He checks his fob watch, snaps the lid shut. MAITLAND We're making good time. EXT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY The carriage leaves the woods behind. The road passes through moorland, empty and lonely. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY MAITLAND I think the rain's going to hold off for a while. What do you think, Miss Lyle? KATE I think we should turn back. Maitland stares at her. ABIGAIL Why ever would you say such a thing? Kate lowers her gaze, apologetic. KATE Forgive me, I have again spoken out of turn. MAITLAND I asked you what you thought. You told me. There is no need for apology. KATE Nonetheless... ABIGAIL You still have not explained yourself, Miss Lyle. Why should you wish to turn back? Abigail's suspicion grows. ABIGAIL Are we to assume you are playing the medium, foreseeing dark visions that lie ahead? Abigail chuckles, mocking her -- Kate flinches and turns away, unable to look at them. The carriage shudders to a stop. Abercrombie's whip CRACKS, again and again. The carriage doesn't move. MAITLAND What's wrong now? Maitland opens the door and climbs out. CARRUTHERS Might as well stretch the old legs, what? Carruthers opens his door and climbs out his side. EXT. CARRIAGE - DAY Maitland and Carruthers join Abercrombie who has climbed down and is inspecting the wheels. Both wheels on this side are sunk into mud. MAITLAND What's the problem, Abercrombie? ABERCROMBIE Stuck fast in the mud, your lordship. Thick as tar. She won't budge. INT. CARRIAGE - DAY Kate looks out her window, up at the sky. EXT. CARRIAGE - DAY Shadows pass quickly over the carriage. Maitland, Carruthers and Abercrombie don't notice as they inspect the wheels. INT. CARRIAGE - DAY Kate stares at the clouds. They're moving too fast across the sky. A faint SKIRL OF BAGPIPES in the far distance. Kate tilts her head and looks around, trying to guess its origin. Abigail looks at her, puzzled. EXT. CARRIAGE - DAY MAITLAND Only one thing for it, really. Would you mind taking the reins, Professor? CARRUTHERS Right-ho. Carruthers climbs up into the driver's seat, lifts the reins and readies the whip. INT. CARRIAGE - DAY Kate opens the door and climbs out. ABIGAIL You'd best remain here, Miss Lyle. Stay out of the way-- But Kate's gone. Abigail tuts in frustration. EXT. CARRIAGE - DAY Maitland and Abercrombie get their shoulders under the carriage frame. MAITLAND I shall count to three... Kate squeezes between them, ready to push along with them. Maitland grins at her. She grins back. INT. CARRIAGE - DAY Abigail leans out the window and is shocked by Kate's wanton behavior. She fans herself. EXT. CARRIAGE - DAY MAITLAND Do be careful, Miss Lyle. Let's not take a bath in this mud. Ready? One... two... HEAVE! They push for all they're worth. Carruthers CRACKS the whip and the horses drag the wagon forward, out of the mud. Maitland slips and almost falls headlong. Kate catches his arm and steadies him. MAITLAND Thank you for your assistance, Miss Lyle. Kate's pleased and shy at the same time. Maitland claps Abercrombie's shoulder. MAITLAND Well done Abercrombie, good man! Kate looks across the moor, as if she's seen or heard something. MAITLAND Miss Lyle? Wisps of mist float across the moor but nothing else can be seen. That SKIRL OF BAGPIPES reaches her again. So faint as to be almost imaginary, on the edge of perception. KATE Is it not curious, Sir Hillary? MAITLAND Curious? KATE A piper, playing in the middle of nowhere. The bagpipes cut off abruptly. Maitland looks blank. KATE Did you not hear him? The piper? ABERCROMBIE What's that? KATE I heard a piper. Maitland looks at Abercrombie, who scowls at this madness. KATE At least I thought I did... MAITLAND The wind can play tricks, Miss Lyle. Think nothing of it. When I was in Egypt, a dreadful drumbeat kept us awake all night. We didn't know what to make of it. In the morning our native guides told us it was just the wind, moving the sand dunes. At first we didn't believe them. But they were right. Kate realizes her shoes are caked with mud. She scrapes them against the carriage wheel. Carruthers climbs down and passes the whip to Abercrombie. CARRUTHERS Served in India myself. Had the most marvellous time. Jewel of the Crown, and well named. INT. CARRIAGE - DAY Kate climbs aboard and sits beside Abigail. ABIGAIL That was a fine exhibition you made of yourself. KATE I only wanted to help... ABIGAIL Like as not you hindered. A lady would not draw attention to herself in such an unseemly manner. KATE Sir Hillary thanked me. ABIGAIL He was being polite. Do you wish to be regarded as a lowly servant girl fit only for pushing carriages out of the mud? KATE My mother was a servant. ABIGAIL Let's speak no more of it. Maitland and Carruthers climb aboard. Again Maitland checks his fob watch, and snaps the lid shut. MAITLAND Could have been worse! Only a few minutes lost. Maitland smiles at Kate but she avoids his gaze. EXT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Abercrombie cracks his whip and the carriage moves off. Ahead, the road runs through sparsely wooded countryside. Abercrombie looks up at the darkening skies overhead. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Kate gazes out the window, lost in thought. MAITLAND Would you consent to such a thing, Miss Lyle? Kate starts in surprise. They're looking at her, waiting for an answer. KATE I beg your pardon? MAITLAND I asked whether you might consent to holding a seance once we reach the castle. This is the last thing Kate wants. But she says-- KATE I shall make the attempt, if that is your wish. ABIGAIL You seem uncertain, Miss Lyle. KATE There can be no guarantees, Mrs. Carruthers. ABIGAIL I thought it was simple enough. You close your eyes and say, "Is there anybody there?" and a ghost steps forward to say "Hello." Isn't that how it's supposed to work? Kate stares at Abigail with such intensity that Abigail becomes unnerved for a moment. ABIGAIL Oh come now Miss Lyle, there's no need to pretend you've been insulted. Or do you truly expect us to believe you can speak with the dead? Kate loses her anger and shrinks from the confrontation, unable to meet their curious gazes. Abigail smiles at Carruthers. The girl is obviously a fake! Carruthers nods in sage agreement. Maitland frowns and looks away, lost in his own thoughts. EXT. SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS - DAY Dark clouds race across the sky. Daylight begins to fail. Shadows gather and spread over the land. EXT. ROAD - CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Abercrombie looks ahead. Mist lies across the road. The horses grow nervous. Abercrombie urges them on. The carriage wheels roll through a carpet of mist. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Kate looks out the window. Maitland leans out and looks ahead. EXT. MISTY ROAD - CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY In slow motion the carriage enters a swirling sea of mist. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Abigail looks around in surprise at the enveloping mist. MAITLAND There is no cause for alarm, Mrs. Carruthers. ABIGAIL I am surprised, Sir Hillary, not alarmed. I was raised on the coast. I've seen fog rolling in from the sea to swallow ships and sometimes entire villages. I did not expect to find the same thing here. CARRUTHERS Are we close to the sea? MAITLAND We're some miles inland, Professor. It's a feature of the moors. As soon as the temperature begins to fall... EXT. MISTY ROAD - CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Abercrombie peers ahead. The mist smothers everything. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY The sounds of hoofbeats and wheels fade to silence. Kate looks at Maitland and Abigail. Maitland says something, Abigail replies. Their lips move but Kate can't hear them. Metal CLINKS against metal, Kate jerks round. There's nothing out there but mist. But she can hear HORSES and MARCHING MEN and the CREAK of cannon wheels over a background of muted BAGPIPES AND DRUMS. The sounds of a Highland army on the march across the moor. The shadowy figure of a RIDER ON HORSEBACK appears alongside the carriage, cloaked by the mist. The Rider wears a long coat and a cloth bonnet with three eagle feathers. His shadowed face cannot be seen. Kate can hardly breathe. She looks around, panicked. No one else is aware, just her. The Rider disappears into the mist leaving an echo of dull HOOFBEATS. The sound of the MARCHING ARMY passes by and fades, taking its BAGPIPES AND DRUMS with it. Normal sound returns, the carriage's CREAKING wheels, conversation-- MAITLAND --Trapped on the moors. That's not as awful as it sounds. As long as one finds shelter, somewhere dry to spend the night-- Kate turns away from them, breathless and stunned. They don't know. They didn't hear a thing. The coach shudders to a stop. CARRUTHERS Surely we're not stopping again? MAITLAND We could leave the road and lose a wheel before we know it. The problem is, you see, the mist might not clear tonight. There's a lantern under your seat, Professor, if you'd be so kind? Carruthers looks under his seat, finds an unlit lantern, passes it over. MAITLAND I rather fancy I'll have to walk on ahead. Light the way, so to speak. Make sure we don't take a tumble off the road. ABIGAIL Do be careful, Sir Hillary. Maitland climbs out, pausing to look at Kate. Her attention is on the mist, and the moor beyond. MAITLAND Never fear, Miss Lyle. We shall be there soon enough. EXT. MISTY ROAD - CARRIAGE - DAY Maitland strikes a Lucifer and fires his lantern. Abercrombie already has a lantern lit, and hangs this from a hook on the seat. ABERCROMBIE Would you rather take the reins, your lordship? MAITLAND You're a far better driver, Abercrombie. Slowly, now. Maitland walks on ahead, holding his lantern high. The mist closes around him. Abercrombie jerks the reins and the carriage moves after him. EXT. MISTY ROAD - DAY Maitland walks at a measured pace, holding the lantern high. He looks back. The carriage lantern is just visible. The HOOFBEATS and HARNESS JINGLE are muted. Around him, the mist is a solid curtain. EXT. MISTY ROAD - CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Abercrombie can't see Maitland any more. Only his lantern light is visible, a firefly in the mist. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Kate looks out the window. Abigail studies her. ABIGAIL You seem distracted, Miss Lyle. No response, Abigail frowns. ABIGAIL Are we to continue our journey in silence? Kate realizes Abigail is speaking to her. KATE I beg your pardon, I-- ABIGAIL Sir Hillary is no longer with us. You need not continue with your pretense. Carruthers looks from Abigail to Kate, mildly amused. Kate jerks with surprise as a bell CLANGS. It seems to come from every direction. The ECHO hangs in the air, reluctant to die. Abigail and Carruthers don't react! ABIGAIL Is something ailing, you, Miss Lyle? KATE Where is it coming from? ABIGAIL I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. The bell CLANGS again, louder and closer than before. The Highland army MARCHES through the mist, unseen but very definitely heard -- but only by Kate who looks round in a panic. Abigail watches Kate without emotion. The bell CLANGS a third time, deafeningly loud. Kate claps her hands over her ears and screws her eyes shut. Abigail speaks but her words are lost in the din of the bell. With agonizing slowness the noise fades, leaving Kate drained and gasping and slumped in her seat. Carruthers looks at Abigail, who shrugs. Kate hears approaching footsteps, turns to look out -- and SCREAMS as an OLD SCOTSMAN leans into the carriage, his scowl and his unkempt beard making him ferocious. Carruthers lifts his walking-stick. CARRUTHERS Step back, sir, or you'll feel my stick, I promise you! OLD SCOTSMAN Do ye no' hear the bell? Kate stares at him, wide-eyed. He heard it too! OLD SCOTSMAN This road leads to one place and one place only. The lair of the Beast! Carruthers lurches for the door but the Old Scotsman steps down and away from the carriage. OLD SCOTSMAN Heed the bell. Heed the bell and turn back afore it's too late! He retreats back into the mist and disappears. Carruthers peers into the mist. Nothing. CARRUTHERS The scoundrel's shown his heels. Just as well for him. ABIGAIL That was very brave of you, Henry. CARRUTHERS Nonsense, had to be done, old girl. Maitland emerges from the mist a little disoriented, going the wrong way, not even noticing the carriage. ABIGAIL Sir Hillary! Maitland sees them and adjusts his course. He looks in the window. ABIGAIL Thank goodness you're here Sir Hillary! MAITLAND Is something wrong? CARRUTHERS A vagabond just accosted Miss Lyle. MAITLAND Good heavens. Maitland looks around, puzzled. CARRUTHERS He ran off before I could lay my stick across his back. I'll wager we won't see him again. MAITLAND Are you all right, Miss Lyle? KATE I am well. MAITLAND What on earth did he want? KATE He spoke of a bell. MAITLAND A bell? Maitland looks at Abigail who gives a little shrug. KATE He said we should turn back. Before it is too late. Maitland looks at Abigail for verification. ABIGAIL I could barely understand the man, his accent was incomprehensible. MAITLAND A poacher, no doubt. That's something I'll soon put a stop to. I won't have anyone bothering my guests. I apologize for this incident, Miss Lyle. I'm sure he meant you no harm. Kate nods, visibly shaken. Maitland moves away from the window and speaks with Abercrombie, their voices MUTED by the mist. Maitland returns and climbs into the carriage. MAITLAND The mist is thinning up ahead. Abercrombie can see the road. We'll make better time now. EXT. SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS - SUNSET The sun dips behind the mountains, casting blackest shadows across the land. EXT. MISTY ROAD - CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY The mist is indeed thinning as Abercrombie urges the horses on. Night creeps up behind them. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Kate slumps in her seat, staring out the window as if in a trance. Disconnected from her companions. Maitland watches her, concerned. KATE'S POV - the darkening countryside changes. Flowers vanish, trees become twisted and skeletal. Living green turns to dead grey as life is sucked from the land. EXT. HILL ROAD - CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY The road inclines upward. The horses lean into their task, pulling the carriage uphill. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY MAITLAND You'll be pleased to know we're very nearly there. Pleased smiles from Abigail and Carruthers, no reaction from Kate. EXT. HILLY ROAD - CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY The horses shy from the road ahead, wanting to turn back. Abercrombie furiously whips them, urging them on. There's only minutes of daylight left. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Maitland grows tense and impatient. EXT. HILLY ROAD - CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Abercrombie lashes his horses mercilessly. They reluctantly go on. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Kate stirs from her lethargy and looks out the window. EXT. CASTLE MACCARRAGH - DAY Rearing out of the mist, a square keep with towers on either side, surrounded by crumbling walls. An ancient, brooding monument. Upper windows reflect the last blood-red rays of the dying sunset -- become malevolent eyes that look down at the approaching intruders. INT. CARRIAGE (MOVING) - DAY Kate stares at the castle with rising trepidation. Swirling mist blots the castle out, taking with it the last hint of daylight. Kate slumps in her seat, gasping for breath. EXT. GATEWAY - CARRIAGE (MOVING) - NIGHT The mist parts to reveal a doorless gap in the broken wall, once a fortified gateway. The horses shy away, screaming. Abercrombie lashes them with his whip, forcing them on. EXT. CASTLE COURTYARD - NIGHT The carriage rolls in through the gateway. EXT. CASTLE ENTRANCE - NIGHT Stone lions sit on either side of the pointed arch doorway. A stone heraldic shield is set above the door, weathered and unreadable. The lions watch impassively as the carriage rolls up and stops. 06/06
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Registrant Derek Paterson Title of registration The Mystery At Castle MacCarragh Type of work Screenplay ProtectRite Registration #: R692-9806 Date of registration: 9/21/04 Time of registration: 2:57:23 AM ET Expiration date: 9/21/14