The Witch

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THE TALE OF MARGARET QUAINE BY NATHAN RUSSELL-RABY 28/10/2011 FADE IN Text on screen, CASTLE RUSHEN, ISLE OF MAN. 1617 1 INT. CASTLE RUSHEN DUNGEONS. DAY WIDE SHOT of the dungeon, dwarfing our protagonist MARGARET QUAINE in the vast space of the echoing cave like dungeons. We track in very slowly on Mrs Quaine. Margaret looks beaten, wearing rags and tattered clothing, is slouched against the wall, her hands cuffed to it, her ankles cuffed together and held down by a ball and chain. She’s clearly given up on life - she doesn’t even look upset anymore, the poor soul’s gone completely hollow. Down the steps of the dungeon walks the BISHOP OF SODOR AND MANN, and two male GUARDS of Castle Rushen dungeons before him. The Bishop is an arrogant man, clearly proud of his status, in the obvious belief that he is God’s personal gift to the world. They make their way over to Margaret, who looks up at the Bishop with a look of disgust. BISHOP (to Margaret) By choosing to hand your soul over to the devil you have committed a crime against man and a crime against God. Margaret looks at the Bishop with a face that can only really say "I’m beyond the point of caring." The guards come up closer to Margaret but hesitate a bit before going to unlock her from the chains. BISHOP Come on ladies what’re you scared of? She won’t turn you into a frog... you’d need to be a handsome Prince for that, neither of which are you. The guards move forward and pick her up. She seems to recognize the younger of them, he glances at her briefly then looks away in shame. She quickly slips a tattered note into his pocket. Once she is to her feet, they begin to march her through the dungeon. CUT TO: 2. 2 EXT. THE FARM. NIGHT FLASHBACK Margey and her husband stack bones on a large wooden fire and light it. The flames are seen from high above as if the spirit of the animals is being released back into the surroundings. CUT TO: 3 INT. THE QUAINE FAMILY HOME. EVENING FLASHBACK The Quaine’s are at home in their farmhouse. As a farm house of the 1600’s it’s quite respectable. For a relatively middle class family, the home isn’t the poorest looking house you could imagine. MR QUAINE is sitting down with his feet up, clearly resting up after a hard day’s work in the farm. Their baby boy, ROBERT is sat on the floor playing with a toy doll. Margaret Quaine is working at the kitchen/stove with the dinner when there is a knock at the door. Mr Quaine answers the door to see the CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD and a few other SOLDIERS stood there with orders for Margaret’s arrest. MR QUAINE Can I help you? CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD (barging into their home immediately) I’m dreadfully sorry Mr Quaine but I have here with me orders from the Lord of Mann for your wife’s arrest. MR QUAINE Get out, what in the hell for? CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD Your wife has been accused of practicing Witchcraft. MR QUAINE Is this a joke? CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD I’m afraid not sir. (CONTINUED) CONTINUED: (2) 3. MR QUAINE This is ridiculous! What are you doing? She’s no witch! On what grounds are you basing this on? CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD She was seen dancing naked in the field casting a spell over your crops for a good harvest... MR QUAINE What pervert was fantasizing over my wife in this way? CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD She was spotted by the Bishop of Sodor and Mann himself, Sir. MR QUAINE (stomach sinks) ... the Bishop? As the Captain of the Guard argues with Mr Quaine, the guards march her out of the door. CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD I’m afraid so Sir. MR QUAINE No don’t you see, the Bishop is... he, he wanted my land. He wanted my land on behalf of the church, I refused to give it to him and... and... She’s innocent I swear! CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD Save it for the Jury, Mr Quaine. MR QUAINE Look at her, she’s beautiful. That is not the face of a witch No! She’s innocent, I swear she’s innocent, please listen to me! CUT TO: 4 INT. CASTLE RUSHEN DUNGEONS. DAY The guards are slowly marching Margaret across the large dungeons to the staircase/exit. Brief Flashbacks of Margaret’s trial. CUT TO: 4. 5 INT. CHURCH HALL. DAY FLASHBACK In a dark, but beautifully decorated church, the members of the Ecclesiastical court are all seated round a table. The members of the court are the Vicar’s for each Parish. BALLAUGH, MICHAEL, JURBY and SOUTH OF THE MOUNTAIN RANGE. Sat at the end of the table is the Bishop. In the corner of the room, chained up and held by the guards is Margaret Quaine. On the other side of the room, held back by the guards is Mr Quaine. BISHOP I saw her. I saw her naked as the day God made her, prancing about in the field, speaking the tongue of the Devil! Singing and Chanting in Ancient Speak! The other members of the court look angry, disappointed. Maybe even laughing at the woman’s idiocy. BISHOP (cont’d) Then we are to make a decision Gentlemen... The Vicar’s, sat in their chairs, sipping their wine, muttering to each other. BALLAUGH For the Parish of Ballaugh... I believe this woman to be guilty of witch craft. The Bishop marks this town on his sheet of paper with his quill. He’s making a tally. BISHOP And Kirk Michael? MICHAEL For the Parish of Kirk Michael... I believe this woman to be guilty of witch craft. Margaret and Mr Quaine watch in pain as each Vicar delivers their verdict. JURBY For the Parish of Jurby... I believe this woman to be guilty of witch craft. The Bishop turns to face the Vicar for the SOUTH OF THE MOUNTAIN RANGE. (CONTINUED) CONTINUED: (2) 5. BISHOP Reverend... The Vicar contemplates his decision. SOUTH OF THE MOUNTAIN RANGE I don’t... I don’t know I mean... Look at her. Is that really the face of a witch? MICHAEL The Devil has been known to assume pleasing forms. BISHOP The Sun is setting, Reverend... The Vicar for South of the Mountain Range sighs. SOUTH OF THE MOUNTAIN RANGE For the Parish... of the South of the Mountain Range... I believe this woman to be guilty of witch craft. BISHOP And she must therefore be put to death? Mr Quaine screams at the bishop. MR QUAINE No! You Son of a Bitch! He struggles as the guards hold him back. His wife just watches him with a look of sorrow. The Bishop stands up and stands face to face with Mr Quaine. He looks down on him, knowing exactly where he stands. Sometimes, you don’t need words. The Vicar for Jurby stands up, holding the church records in his hands, reading them as he speaks and approaches the Bishop. JURBY Mr Quaine... the same Mr Quaine who refused to donate a mere percentage of his masses of acres of land to the Church in 1615? The Vicar for Michael, still sat relaxed in his chair, let’s out a gasp of laughter. MICHAEL Hah! Devil Worshipers if there ever were such a thing! (CONTINUED) CONTINUED: (3) MR QUAINE You unimaginable Bastard. That’s what all this is about isn’t it? 6. The Bishop smiles as he looks Mr Quaine straight in the eye, close enough to smell eachothers breath. BISHOP I’d sure hate to be stood in your shoes right now Quaine. The Bishop turns around and heads back to the table. CUT TO: 6 INT. CASTLE RUSHEN DUNGEONS. DAY Margaret is being marched through the dungeon to the site of her execution. CUT TO: 7 INT. CHURCH HALL. DAY FLASHBACK Juxtaposing between clips of her making the walk to the staircase and clips of her trial, constantly and quite quickly. BISHOP And what are we to do about her? JURBY Beheading? BISHOP And have her rise again as a Lycanthrope? MICHAEL What about the Slieu Whallian? SOUTH OF THE MOUNTAIN RANGE The what? BISHOP The barrels. Barrel’s made with knives on the inside... the witch is put inside the barrel and rolled down the Hill at Slieu Whallian. If she survives this provides indisputable evidence she’s a witch, and she’s drowned in the River Neb. (CONTINUED) CONTINUED: (2) 7. SOUTH OF THE MOUNTAIN RANGE That’s Barbaric. BISHOP It’s our duty to clean up God’s Earth of this Filth, Reverend, however Barbaric this may be. Mr Quaine, still being held back by the guards, screams with anger before he breaks down into tears. MR QUAINE Please don’t do this. BISHOP Quiet or you’ll be put in the barrel with her. MR QUAINE Take me. Please take me instead. BISHOP I’ve had enough of this man, guards take him away. Mr Quaine, struggling and in tears is pulled away by the guards as they exit the Church. MR QUAINE Please! She has a child! She has a child you can’t do this to her! No! Pleeeease I’m begging you! The doors of the church slam shut, silencing Mr Quaine. BISHOP Where were we? JURBY Burning. It eliminates all further possibility of Vampyrism or Lycanthropy. The Bishop announces Margaret’s sentence. BISHOP Margaret Ine Quaine. You shall be burned at the stake at noon tomorrow in the courtyards of Castle Rushen. Margaret’s reaction is cold, terribly deep in thought, no dialogue, no heavy overblown emotion from her - subtle and silent, all her thoughts kept in her own head. CUT TO: 8. 8 INT. CASTLE RUSHEN DUNGEONS. DAY Margaret is about to head up the stairs/exit. As Margaret gets closer to the exit the heckles of the angry peasants/audience awaiting the death of the witch is heard out of shot. Before Margaret makes her way up the stairs to the exit, she stands face to face with thew Bishop and shoots him a filthy look of disgust. The Bishop has a slight evil smile on him, before changing to sole anger for his dialogue. BISHOP Your destiny awaits you, Witch. Margaret sighs before she holds her head high and walks up the tall staircase to the exit. CUT TO: 9 EXT. CASTLE RUSHEN COURTYARD. DAY At the center of the typical looking Castle Courtyard is the stake; empty at present.The EXECUTIONER is stood, beside the stake in uniform. There are PEASANTS dressed in rags, screaming and heckling Margaret as the guards slowly escort her to the stake. The guards then tie and chain her to the stake, the whole time she’s silent, through either wanting to go out with dignity or out of sheer fear. Throughout the scene of her being tied up, peasants throwing rocks at her and screaming abuse at her. "Burn the Witch" they shout. The village drum begins to play the death march as the Bishop unravels a scroll to sentence Margaret to death. BISHOP (at the top of his voice, announcing it to the entire courtyard) Margaret Ine Quaine. You have been found guilty of witchcraft! The villagers scream with anger. BISHOP A crime against God! A crime for which there is no repent! You are therefore, here by sentenced to be burned at the stake until death! Margaret watches as her executioner lights the torch. Now, we can really see the fear in her eyes. (CONTINUED) CONTINUED: (2) 9. BISHOP (cont’d) (not reading, improvising this new death sentence) And... for good measure, Robert Quaine; the son of Margaret Ine Quaine, shall also be burned to death... for baring the blood of a Witch! One of the guards carries Robert in his arms, making his way through the crowd towards the stake. Now, after almost complete silence throughout the entire film, Margaret begins to react. The peasants all pipe down and are no longer as impressed to see the execution as they were before. MARGARET (screaming) No! please no! The guard holds the baby before the haystacks beneath the stake and watches as Margaret screams and throws herself about hysterically, although still tied tightly to the stake. GUARD (hesitating before placing the baby on the haystack) Bishop he’s BISHOP Burn the Witch! The Executioner, watching over. GUARD He’s just a child he’s not guilty of anything! I won’t do this! BISHOP He bares the blood of Satan he’ll be sent to ninth Circle of Hell to burn with him. Burn him! Margaret still screaming and crying in sheer agony. The Bishop grabs hold of the baby, snatching him off of the guard, putting him down on the stake. he turns around and looks at the Executioner who is stood hesitant with the torch in his hand. The Bishop rolls his eyes at yet another characters hesitance. BISHOP (cont’d) They’re evil! They are Witches! We must rid God’s Earth of their Evil and burn them! (CONTINUED) CONTINUED: (3) 10. The Executioner stands at the stake, contemplating whether to burn the child... unfortunately, he takes his time in deciding, and the Bishop snatches the burning torch off of him. The Bishop turns to the stake and looks at Margaret. Close up of Margaret in tears and agony, followed by a close up of the Bishop watching her and her baby. The Bishop’s face is hard to read. Is he angry, or is he feeling a touch of remorse... in any case, he refuses to listen to the good in him. Close up of The Bishop lighting the stake with the torch before taking a step back. The sounds of the screams can be heard as we watch the fire burn. In an almost seamless transition, the screams slowly begin to fade as we pull out of the roaring fire. CUT TO: 10 EXT. QUAINE FARM. FIELDS. EVENING As we pull out from the Fire, Mr Quaine is stacking animal bones onto the large, wooden bonfire. The flames are seen from high above as if the spirit of the animals is being released back into the surroundings. Mr Quaine looks destroyed as he piles on the last set of bones. He takes a step back and overlooks the Bonfire before heading back to his home. CUT TO: 11 EXT. THE QUAINE FAMILY HOME. EVENING Outside the house is a guard. Mr Quaine approaches his front door and as you’d imagine is not really pleased to see him. He slows down and looks at the guard, who approaches him. The guard, reaching into his pocket, pulls out the note and hands it to Mr Quaine. The Guard nods his head at Mr Quaine and walks away. Mr Quaine unfolds the tattered note and begins to read it. (CONTINUED) CONTINUED: (2) 11. MARGARET (voice over) Husband, when you awake and I am not where you look, you will find us in the sun’s reflection on the sea. We see the sun reflecting upon the Manx Ocean. MARGARET (cont’d) (voice over) You will find us in the winds play upon the fields of grain We see a shot of the waves moving along the fields. MARGARET (cont’d) (voice over) When you lie asleep, we will be in the string of stars above Shots of the night sky, shooting stars roaring above the land for movement. MARGARET (cont’d) (voice over) And in the early morning when awakened by the song of the birds, it is our voice you are hearing. Inter cut between shots of the Islands natural beauty. MARGARET (cont’d) (voice over) So do not weep We are not dead Mr Quaine folds the letter up as he admires the setting sun over the fields. FADE TO BLACK. CREDITS.

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