Black Magic

Author’s Note: The following is what I plan to submit with my application to the National Film and Television School (insert scream as my stomach disappears over a cliff). I’ve kept it to the page limit (unless they meant 20 pages not including my info-spiel at the start, in which case I’ll write a short paragraph and hit ‘enter’ twice and (like the magic I’m writing about) it will be long enough! I’ve had the presence of mind to edit this twice, fiddling around to improve and dissect it, but 20 pages is not very much to make an impression on people – particularly if the people you’re trying to impress are probably tired, overworked and have to choose 10 applicants out of up to 200 (fuck me, I must love a challenge). Anyway, I’m trying to push some buttons with this one, please don’t lynch me! If you have some sort of reaction, any sort of reaction to it, then I guess I can say that I haven’t done badly and (when deadline day arrives like that awkward uncle at the latest family wedding; drunk as a skunk and all up in your personal space) I can submit the bastard with a little peace of mind. Of course, if it doesn’t move you to righteous anger, sadness (probably most at the bird’s suffering, let’s be honest), or laughter then… well… I’m going to submit anyway! Bon voyage!

 

 

 

 

 

“BLACK MAGIC”

By

G.P. Bishop

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

Enter a world of shadows and magic.
Mystical energies, present for millennia, have forced the growth and improvement of humanity since their inception, when angels fells from heaven. However, the greed and desires of humanity and all other beings have corrupted the wellspring of magic, turning it into a seductive, pernicious force which is becoming less and less available to humans as the well runs dry. Opportunistic peddlers pollute magic with solutions to increase their supplies and sell it to powerless humans desperate to feel their mystical strength return.
LIVIA, a Peeler (enforcer), seeks out and tries to recover a close friend, ERNIE, who has been seduced by an addiction for magic. Her mentor was meant to keep an eye on the addict but has disregarded his duties to attend a CONCLAVE – a gathering of mythological and religious beings. The CONCLAVE intends to use the physical and emotional turmoil produced by such energy coming together to generate vast quantities of magical energy. This will power charms and enchantments for decades to come.
LIVIA, a stiffly moral individual, burns with a self-loathing for the power she bears as she sees it destroy the lives of good people around her. She travels to the CONCLAVE and detonates the energy of the spirit of LUCIFER’s daughter, LUCIELLE which has been bound to her use and powers her magic. She does this in the hopes that it will forever stall attempts to refill the magical wellspring and the corruptive power will be ended forever.

CHARACTERS

LIVIA RASPUTIN – Protagonist/Peeler
ERNIE STEFFAN – Supporting Character/Foil
MONTY WARTON –  Mentor
LUCIELLE – Spirit, bound into LIVIA’S tattoo sleeve
LUCIFER – The Devil
ZIMINIAR – Duke of Hell
UROBACH – Minor Demon

MUSIC

DARK AND BROODING, contemporary tracks/covers/remixes.
Similar themes to ‘Constantine’ or ‘Altered Carbon.

NOTES

Loosely based on two short stories of my own creation, ‘Sympathies for the Devil’ and ‘Remorseless.’
Requires: SUPPORTING ARTISTS, ACTION VEHICLES, STUNTS, SFX, VFX.

 

 

INT. CRACKHOUSE FLOOR– NIGHT

Open on the cracked and warped FLOORBOARDS of a dingy LONDON drug-den. WOODLICE crawl from a KNOTHOLE and CAMERA PANS UP to follow them as they climb onto the wall and scuttle up to a window, through which the audience can make out a torrential DOWNPOUR and the subdued lights of CENTRAL LONDON at NIGHT.

CAMERA RETREATS from the window, widening perspective, so that we can see that the CRACKHOUSE is populated by dazed-looking TWEAKERS who sit in a fugue or scratch at sores (half-conscious), their eyes still lit by a dirty-blue glow of the substance they have been ingesting.

Reclining on a broken SETTEE, a lethargic ADDICT chews a mouthful of weird LEAVES, staring unseeingly into the distance. Another pulls his knees close as they tie off a tourniquet and start trying to find a vein for the SYRINGE of glowing muddy-blue liquid they hold.

SMOKE curls into the shapes of animals as it puffs from the mouth of a half-conscious woman leaning unsteadily on the counter in what used to be a kitchen.

Balanced unsteadily on a TRIPOD from a chemistry set, a leprotic man [COOK] weakly stirs a bubbling CAULDRON of black iron. ERNIE sits behind them, in the kitchen against a broken cupboard, with an empty syringe beside and his eyes closed. His skin looks grey, his lips are chapped and a faint line of smoke/steam emerges from his hairline to give the impression his scalp is steaming.

Hanging in a filthy CAGE in the corner, a PHOENIX gnaws anxiously at the bars, cawing in displeasure. A cross-eyed TWEAKER throws some birdseed towards the bird but misses every time.

There is a KNOCK at the DOOR.

CUT TO: CRACKHOUSE DOOR – NIGHT

INT. CRACKHOUSE DOOR – NIGHT

FRAME WIDENS from the CRACKHOUSE door, covered in flaking green paint, as the knocking persists. Light flickers behind the tarnished brass peephole in the centre of the door, which is flanked by miniature Elder trees, a motif commonly associated with death and the Underworld.

CUT TO: CRACKHOUSE LOUNGE

INT. CRACKHOUSE LOUNGE – NIGHT

One of the TWEAKERS rises slowly from a moth-eaten sofa and regards the DOOR with a dazed expression. Other faces peer in from the sides of FRAME, one by one, each with a similar stoned expression on. None of them move to open the DOOR. The knocking continues, more forcefully now.

One of the TWEAKERS approaches the door, moving as if through treacle, and unsteadily goes to look through the keyhole. FRAME has PULLED BACK and PANNED AROUND to look at the TWEAKER in PROFILE as he draws close to the peephole.

The TWEAKER recoils in shock, making a sound of shock.

The door EXPLODES INWARDS, TOWARDS CAMERA, off its hinges, knocking the TWEAKER down beneath it.

FRAME PANS AROUND to look through the doorway, where LIVIA is revealed, sparks of crackling magic disappearing into her left sleeve. She looks furious.

LIVIA enters.

LIVIA
(Demanding)
Where is he?

The TWEAKERS that are able to move scatter for the exits. One tries to TELEPORT to safety and screams as they are only able to send part of their body away.

One tries to dash for the open doorway, only to be grabbed round the throat by LIVIA. She looks at the TWEAKER closely, before releasing the TWEAKER, searching for ERNIE.

LIVIA
ERN? ERNIE?

She comes into the kitchen where the COOK bars the way, trying to protect the product in the CAULDRON.

COOK
(Speech impediment)
N-n-now please, I have an agreement with the M-Magistrates. You P-p-peelers aren’t supposed to call-

LIVIA
(Spitting)
Shut it, you waste of skin. Else I’ll give you something to whine about.
(Spying ERNIE)
Get out of my way.

LIVIA strides forward and shoves the COOK out of the way, he strikes one of the cupboards and slides to the floor, wheezing. LIVIA goes to ERNIE, holding his shoulders in concern.

LIVIA
(More softly)
ERNIE? Wake up. Come on, wake up.

She presses a palm to ERNIE’S forehead and it remains there for a few beats. ERNIE’S breathing has been so shallow as to be imperceptible, but suddenly he draws a deep breath, eyes snapping open to show a slight blue glow, indicating he is still under the influence of the narcotic magic.

LIVIA
(Relief)
Thank God, ERN. You’re going to be okay.

ERNIE
(Groggy)
I… LIV… What-

LIVIA
It’s okay, ERN. It’s gonna be okay. We’ve just gotta get you up out of here.

ERNIE
LIV… I just wanted a taste…

LIVIA
(Sympathetic)
I know, I know, it’s okay, ERN.

ERNIE
I just wanted to feel…

ERNIE’S eyes close again.

LIVIA
(Anxious)
ERNIE? Come on, wake up, you dumb shit… Come on you arse. ERN!

She slaps him on the final exclamation. ERNIE’s eyes open halfway in response.

LIVIA
We’ve got to get you out of here. Come on. Get up. Let’s get some fresh air in you. Sober you up. Come on. Get moving.

LIVIA tries to pull ERNIE to his feet, but it is futile, he can scarcely coordinate enough to open his eyes.

LIVIA
Come on, you idiot, on your feet.

The COOK stumbles close behind her.

COOK
I w-w-wouldn’t-

LIVIA
(Furious)
Any closer and I will reach up through your piss-hole and turn you fucking inside out.

COOK
(Backing off)
Okay, okay, I w-w-was g…going to say… he’s had for a heavy d-d-dose. He’s having a g-g-great time.

LIVIA lashes out with her left hand. There is a flash and the COOK is thrown clean through the wall, which EXPLODES in brick and plaster-dust.

ERNIE
Mmm… MONTY…

LIVIA
(Turning her attention back to ERNIE)
Where is he? Where’s MONTY? I told him to watch you.

ERNIE
(Delirious)
MONTY, MONTY, why’re… you going?

LIVIA tries to hook an arm under ERNIE’S body to move it, but at that instance he unconsciously uses magic. Sparks fly from ERNIE’S eyes and LIVIA is thrown across the room by a bolt of lightning.

LIVIA
(In mid-air, rapidly, air expelled from lungs)
Holyfuck.

ERNIE starts seizing on the floor, his body moving in startling, jerking spasms. LIVIA picks herself up and rushes to ERNIE, she tries to protect his head. Her left sleeve glows to indicate that she was protected from worse injury by her own magic.

LIVIA
Ssh, ssh now, it’ll be okay, ERN.

ERNIE’S face contorts in pain, clutching his chest as the blue glow disappears from his eyes and they are covered by an inky blackness. He coughs and seems to be choking. LIVIA seems shocked and concerned.

LIVIA
(Whispering)
Stay with me!

ERNIE foams at the mouth, gurgling and gasping, but has stopped seizing. His chest heaves up and down, it is clear that he is struggling to breathe.

LIVIA
(Panicking)
Sssh, ssh.

She wrestles him up onto a chair and tears through his shirt to reveal the webbed branches of a magical disease beneath the skin on his chest, emanating from his heart.

The PHOENIX caws loudly, struggling inside its cage which rattles.

LIVIA places both her hands on ERNIE’S chest, interlocking her fingers and focusing. A little light can be seen leaking out from beneath her fingers. After a few beats of this, she pulls back looking drained, ERNIE now seems more lucid.

LIVIA
(Dismayed, she takes a breath, recharging)
ERN… How could you let it get this bad?

ERNIE
Wha… LIV? I thought… I just needed a taste… I just needed to feel some control again.

LIVIA
You know this is temporary. I can’t stop it spreading forever if you keep doing this. What happened to MONTY? MONTY was supposed to watch you.

ERNIE
(Looks away, not enough strength to move his head)
MONTY had somewhere to be.

LIVIA
Where is more important than stopping you from poisoning yourself?! Tell me, ERN.

ERNIE
The CONCLAVE.

LIVIA is silent for a beat, staring disbelievingly at ERNIE. FRAME zooms in on LIVIA’S aghast expression.

LIVIA
(Shocked)
He wouldn’t…

ERNIE
He has to.

LIVIA
He couldn’t…

ERNIE
They lifted his exclusion after Tarkov’s immolation.

LIVIA
(Seething with confusion and anger)
I don’t believe it…

ERNIE
You know he’s right to go.

LIVIA
(Disappointed/Angry)
For fuck’s sake, ERN, you’re both so bloody short-sighted. Mixing with the HIGHER BEINGS like that… it never brings us nothing but misery. The Power as we know it… It was never meant for us.

ERNIE
Don’t start on your soapbox.

LIVIA
(Snapping)
Don’t you give me that tone.

ERNIE
Just because you think it’s a sickness, doesn’t make it so.

LIVIA
(Standing up in anger)
LOOK AT YOURSELF, ERNIE! Look around you. All these people who had lives and loves and limits before they found a little spark. Now they spend what remains of their wasted lives chasing after the faintest shadow of the power that’s out there.

ERNIE
We have to preserve the-

LIVIA
Bullshit, we need to drop it off a cliff, bury or drown it. Let the HIGHER BEINGS have their circle-jerking fun with it until it’s all dead and dried up. I won’t have it suck any more life from people I care about.

ERNIE
(Under his breath)
You hypocrite…

LIVIA
(Enraged, pretending not to hear)
I’m sorry? Dickhead says what?

ERNIE
(Bitter)
You hypocrite. You still have it. I don’t see you throwing it away.

LIVIA
Do you know why I still have it? Do you know, ERN?

ERN is sulkily silent. LIVIA rolls up her left sleeve to show her TATTOO-sleeve which undulates and writhes with stored magical power beneath her skin. The pattern is tribal, laced with silver stars.

LIVIA
I use it sparingly when the moment demands it, and I don’t plan on coming back for more when the time’s up.

ERNIE
(Sulky)
Of course you’d flash the warder.

LIVIA
I earned this.

ERNIE
You’re full of shit.

LIVIA’S eyes flash dangerously, she turns on ERNIE.

LIVIA
Tell me where MONTY is.

ERNIE
LIV…

LIVIA
I’m deadly serious, ERN, you know I can make you…

ERNIE
(Back-tracking)
You can’t be serious. Look… Take me home.

LIVIA
(Focused)
We’ll get there. Where’s MONTY?

ERNIE
I don’t-

LIVIA grabs his forehead with her left hand, her TATTOO glows, ERNIE tries to struggle against her grip, but his eyes roll upwards and he gives in to her control. After a few beats, they separate. LIVIA is breathing hard but steadily – as much angry as drained by the effort. ERN reels in the chair, nursing his head.

ERNIE
(Moan of pain)
Ow, LIV…

LIVIA
Find your own way home, cunt.

LIVIA turns to storm out, before realising she has forgotten something. Turning back, she kicks over the CAULDRON, spilling its contents onto the filthy kitchen floor. ERNIE moans in dismay, TWEAKERS scrabble around to try and scoop up or rescue as much of the liquid as they can.

LIVIA
I’m not your God-damn nurse.

LIVIA exits the CRACKHOUSE, leaving ERNIE in silent, sullen reflection behind her. The CAULDRON rolls madly around the floor, slopping blue liquid everywhere, until it knocks over the PHOENIX CAGE. The bird squawks in panic as it topples over. The cage begins melting in contact with the CAULDRON’S contents and the trapped bird screams as it is scalded by the liquid, thrashing around in agony.

CUT TO: TRAFALGAR SQUARE

EXT. TRAFALGAR SQUARE – NIGHT

LIVIA walks with purpose up a wide street towards TRAFALGAR SQUARE. She turns up the collar on her coat against the wind and begins striding down the street. Around her, pedestrians are struggling with umbrellas against the rain but a glow above LIVIA indicates a charm cast to keep her dry. CAMERA PANS around to admire TRAFALGAR SQUARE at night.

PERSPECTIVE switches to ABOVE her as she walks across the SQUARE and it becomes apparent that the CROWDS of pedestrians are unconsciously parting ahead of her to let her through.

STEADICAM follows LIVIA down the street as she crosses to the other side, silhouetted against the glare of headlights from a LONDON BUS which blows its horn as she delays it.

LIVIA becomes aware of a voice whispering to her.

LUCIELLE
LIVIA…

LIVIA turns her head away from the nearest reflective surface, ignoring the pleading voice and carries on walking.

CUT TO: LONDON SUBWAY

INT. LONDON SUBWAY – NIGHT

LIVIA trots down the stairs to a corridor passing beneath the street. The voice has followed her and she seems to be making active efforts to ignore it. A ghostly face appears in the reflective surfaces that she passes, trying to grab her attention.

LUCIELLE
You can’t do this, LIVIA! / Please, stop and think! / Wait!

LIVIA huffs, pulling headphones from her pocket and putting them on. Members of the public pass heedlessly. LIVIA finds a song on her phone, before steadfastly continuing walking.

LUCIELLE
Stop walking and listen to me.

LIVIA is forced to pause by a group of giggling women on a Hen-Do. Frustrated, she tries to pass to one side, then another, before forcing her way through the centre.

LUCIELLE
You can’t just ignore me. You made me part of you.

LIVIA
(Bitter)
You’re not part of shit, you’re just along for the ride.

LIVIA stops still by a POSTER-BOARD, in which (through the reflection of the glass) she can see the face of the spirit bonded to her TATTOO. The poster-board advertises an escape artist who peers out from the bars of a cage.

LUCIELLE
I’m bound to the mark-

LIVIA
Your power is bound, this hallucinatory fuckery is just some sick by-product. I don’t even know why I’m talking to a delusion.

LUCIELLE
Just because I’m in your head, doesn’t make me any less real.

LIVIA
(Scornful)
I think I know a shrink who would fucking disagree with you.

LUCIELLE
They’ll brand you if you do it. You’ll be running for the rest of your life, if you can.

LIVIA
You don’t know what I’m going to do.

LUCIELLE
Maybe not, but you do.

LIVIA
I’m still figuring that out.

LUCIELLE
You know that’s not true.

LIVIA
For all intents and purposes-

LUCIELLE
Semantics will change nothing.

LIVIA
(With relish)
Semantics will make me feel better.

LUCIELLE
(Sarcastic)
Because feeling better about it is really going to help the situation.

LIVIA
I don’t have to listen to this.

She begins walking off, but LUCIELLE follows by jumping between the reflections of glass objects and mirrors that she passes.

LUCIELLE
Just think about it! All those HIGHER BEINGS, they’ll just reconstitute and begin the CONCLAVE over again.

LIVIA ignores her invisible companion and continues to the end of the SUBWAY. LUCIELLE jumps from reflection to reflection.

LUCIELLE
Nature abhors a vacuum! Something worse will fill the void where our power used to be. Something sinister.

LIVIA
What’s more sinister than HIGHER BEINGS? All the poxy games you play, maybe.

LUCIELLE
Do you really want to be the one to find out?

CUT TO: LONDON STREET

EXT. LONDON STREET – NIGHT

LIVIA trots up the stairs from the SUBWAY, raising her collar once more against the RAIN. Irritated, to soothe her temper, she lights a CIGARETTE which seems (magically) to stay dry & lit. She stands amongst a group waiting to cross the road, speaking as if into her HEADPHONES’ microphone, even as we see LUCIELLE’S presence as told by the reflection in an advert on a BUS-STOP.

LUCIELLE
The balance has existed forever.

LIVIA
The balance is a system of control so that your kind can keep humanity coming back for more..

LUCIELLE
How original of you to blame your misery on us.

LIVIA
Power corrupts.

LUCIELLE
Power corrupts the corruptible.

LIVIA
Everyone is corruptible.

LUCIELLE
You’re not.

LIVIA
So, maybe I can use that.

LUCIELLE
It won’t work.

LIVIA
What won’t work?

The lights turn GREEN and the group is able to cross. LIVIA passes a group busking on the street, singing ‘SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL by THE ROLLING STONES.’ One of the BUSKERS wears a HALO no-one else can see.

LUCIELLE
Detonating my power won’t be enough to break-

LIVIA
Of course it will work.

LUCIELLE
Even if you cut the wards at once, you’d never destroy the Eternals.

LIVIA
I don’t have to destroy them, I just have to crash the party.

CUT TO: RAC

EXT. ROYAL AUTOMOBILE CLUB – NIGHT

BIG BEN [CLOCK] chimes 13 times. LIVIA walks down the street, finishing her CIGARETTE, opposite the gleaming façade of the ROYAL AUTOMOBILE GLUB. She stops and takes a final drag before grinding the butt into the pavement.

LUCIELLE
I beg you, LIVIA, rethink this decision.

LIVIA
Enough of the bloody nagging.

LIVIA makes a sign with her hands, muting LUCIELLE, and purposefully crosses the road. She approaches a DOOR-MAN dressed in a 3-piece suit, who bars the way.

DOOR-MAN
My apologies, madam, the club is closed tonight for a private function.

LIVIA
I believe you’ll find I’m on the guest-list.

DOOR-MAN
It’s a ticketed event, madam.

LIVIA
(Snapping)
A ticket? I’ll show you a ticket…

She digs around in her pocket before bringing out her left hand with the middle finger up. The DOOR-MAN seems to accept this, however. CAMERA PANS around the two, until the hand passes out of view; as it comes back into view we see what the DOOR-MAN sees: a hand holding an engraved ticket for the event.

DOOR-MAN
Very well ma’am, welcome to the ROYAL AUTOMOBILE CLUB.

CUT TO: RAC

INT. THE ROYAL AUTOMOBILE CLUB – NIGHT

The DOUBLE DOORS open wide and display the atrium of the RAC. The pillars reach up high to an extravagantly decorated ceiling and well-dressed staff stand poised to attend to LIVIA’S needs. CAMERA PANS UP to view the grand ceiling, ROTATES to take it in, then PANS DOWN to LIVIA again.

STAFF-MEMBER #1
Madam, may I take your coat?

Silently taking in the atmosphere, LIVIA hands the attendant her coat. She sniffs the air and looks over to a door off from the atrium. CAMERA PANS behind her head and as the scene re-emerges, we see things from LIVIA’S perspective: low-level DEMONS [gargoyle-like creatures] clambering around the doorframe and chittering in high-pitched voices.

LIVIA starts towards the doorway, only for the door to swing open and MONTY to come through it from the FUNCTION ROOM. LIVIA’S mentor seems drunk, spilling some of his cocktail as he puts his phone back in the inside pocket of his jacket. He looks up and seems to have been expecting her.

MONTY
LIV, listen-

LIVIA
I don’t want to hear it, MONTY.

LIVIA makes to step past him, MONTY wraps an arm around her and steers her to one side. They duck around behind some large, decorative railings. CAMERA observes them from behind the bars, giving the illusion of a cage. LIV winces as MONTY fails to use magic to change her mind.

MONTY
Let’s talk this over, you’re not thinking clearly.

LIVIA
(Concentrating, shrugging off his mental probe)
I told you last time you tried that, that’s the last time you have a say what I’m thinking.

MONTY
(Not really listening)
I know, I know, letting ERN out of sight was dumb, but I think we can all agree that this is for the greater good.

LIVIA
(Incensed)
What’s for the greater good, MONTY? You simpering off to circle-jerk with these filthy elitists, drinking their spirits and breathing their ether, you may as well be one of em.

MONTY
(Drunk, putting an arm around her)
They’re actually all very clean… Come on, what’s got you so riled up.

LIVIA
Get your- Get your arm off me.

MONTY
We’re doing a great thing here. The reserves produced here, at this CONCLAVE, will power things for decades.

LIVIA
At what cost?

MONTY
You’ve got to break a few eggs…

LIVIA
Balls to that.

MONTY
You kiss your mother with that mouth?

LIVIA
(Rage)
I’ll show them. I’ll show them we’re not just pieces on the board.

MONTY
Listen, kid, all our years together, how often have I steered you wrong?

LIVIA
Get out of my way, MONTY, I’m not a kid no more.

MONTY
(Insistent)
How often?

LIVIA
That nightmare in Skegness. The coven in Oslo. You right fucked up that day with the dragon and the midget-

MONTY
Kevin prefers ‘vertically challenged.’

LIVIA
I prefer to call you a cunt until you get out of the way.

MONTY
Well, that’s just unimaginative. Listen, kid-

LIVIA
LIVIA!

MONTY
LIV, this is a good thing! We let the HIGHER BEINGS have their fun for a bit let them pour a bit more gas in the tank! Let all that energy bear some fruit and we get to savour the juices!

LIVIA
(Disgusted, pulling away)
Listen to yourself. You’re an addict.

MONTY
(Grips her wrist to stop her going)
And you’re loopy to try to stop this-

LIVIA
When was the last time you heard of a witch feeding the hungry? Or housing the homeless? Or making peace in Ghaza?

MONTY goes to answer but is overridden by LIVIA.

LIVIA
Never! You know why? Because having the Power turns people into self-serving egotists who think only of our own satisfaction.

MONTY
Occasionally I satisfy others too, for 15 minutes a time.

LIVIA looks at MONTY searchingly for a moment, before shaking her head in disappointment and going to leave. MONTY grabs her hand but before he can react, she spins around and slams her left palm into his chest. There is a flash and MONTY stops moving.

LIVIA
I’m sorry, MONTY. But sometimes you’ve got to call last orders at the bar and lock the doors.

She walks away from MONTY who stands immobile, frozen in place. His eyes widen and a rattling noise comes from his lips as he tries to move.

CUT TO: FUNCTION ROOM

INT. RAC FUNCTION ROOM – NIGHT

LIVIA pushes through the elegant doors and is confronted by a BACCHANAL. Incense hangs heavy in the air, LIVIA seems assaulted by its smell. She seems scarcely able to hold in her disgust and anger.

Scenes of depravity surround her: dancers writhe in CAGES, an ORGY is in full swing atop some PERSIAN CARPETS, an AMPUTEE turns a HOG on a SPIT over a flame blown from the nostrils of a small DRAGON, two DWARVES spit-roast a WOMAN on some large cushions; it seems consensual but she looks to be in no control of her actions. A MAN HANGS by his wrists from a HOOK on the wall as an admiring DEMON (in the form of a man) traces a red line down his side with a razor-sharp KNIFE, catching the blood in a crystal GOBLET. A shackled LION swipes at a ball-gagged WOMAN who is forced closer to it by heckling DEMONS with sharp objects (spear/pool cue/sword/knife/etc.). A group of higher ANGELS recline as they eat SUSHI from the naked body of a WOMAN who whimpers as she is suspended over some HOT COALS. Lower ANGELS clap and laugh as one of their number (blindfolded) throws knives at a MAN who is manacled to the wall. Several lower DEMONS pass JOINTS around a circle. LOWER (gargoyle) DEMONS chitter and swing from the CHANDELIERS.

Silhouetted against a silk curtain so that no detail can be seen a tall, bearded MAN sits on a throne with a WOMAN’S figure kneeling before him. She appears to be praying at first, until her head begins bobbing up and down on his lap.

All the attendees present (barring a chosen few) are ANGELS/DEMONS/some sort of magical being. The HUMANS largely make up the serving staff/entertainment. The wallpaper drips like molten gold.

LIVIA begins walking down a pathway through the FUNCTION ROOM, her hands curling into fists. From her PERSPECTIVE, she can almost SEE the magical energy produced by the emotional and physical turmoil experienced by the HUMANS around the room. The HIGHER BEINGS drink it in like shisha smoke.

STEADICAM follows LIVIA as she walks between the cushions and activities, following her GAZE as she looks around to each hedonistic scene.

Some ELVES (tall and graceful) laugh elegantly as they pick out mushrooms from a central dish and eat them.

A SATYR stumbles into LIVIA and spills his stein of [a liquid that looks like urine] over a batch of IMPS, an argument erupts but LIVIA carries on walking. Behind her, the IMPS climb over each other to fight the SATYR.

The INCENSE seems to be affecting LIVIA. COLOURS are more PRONOUNCED now and effects on PICTURE make it blur ever so slightly at the edges. LIVIA wipes strands of hair from her eyes and finds that she is sweating.

The gold on the walls seems to be melting as she looks at it and LIVIA pauses at a WINE FOUNTAIN to gather herself. An elegant HIGHER DEMON [ZIMINIAR] looks her up and down hungrily as she stops, filling his CHALICE to the brim. Heady, thick music pumps through the scene and overtakes LIVIA’S senses. CAMERA see the DEMON saying something but no sound can be heard over the music. LIVIA goes to drunkenly wave him away, but without much struggle the DEMON moves fluidly close and presses his CHALICE to her lips.

HARD CUT TO: FUNCTION ROOM

INT. RAC FUNCTION ROOM – NIGHT

Suddenly, LIVIA is sat on a luxurious beanbag with the DEMON, who has his arm around her and is sipping from his goblet, a satisfied smirk on his face as he begins to unbutton her shirt with one hand.

LIVIA shoves him away and climbs up. Her shirt is poorly buttoned and her hair askew. Breathing heavily, disgusted at the notion, she shudders. Her TATTOO pulses beneath her sleeve, having snapped her out of the fugue, suggestible state.

LIVIA
(Spitting words, reeling a little)
Get off me, you greasy cum-stain.

ZIMINIAR
(Surprised by her recovery)
What the…

LIVIA
Get the fuck off me!

She staggers a bit, pulling awkwardly at her sleeve to get at the TATTOO. ZIMINIAR rises languidly drinking from his goblet and smirks.

ZIMINIAR
Come on, sit back down and let’s make a little magic.

LIVIA
You- Get away.

Frustrated, she grabs at her linen shirt-sleeve and tears it off, revealing the swirling, glowing patterns of her TATTOO and the pulsing of its’ stored energy. ZIMINIAR recoils at the sight of it.

ZIMINIAR
(Aghast)
That mark…

LIVIA
I am NOT on the menu.

LIVIA begins tracing her fingers around the TATTOO, completing complicated hand gestures which are implied to be the beginning of a detonation sequence.

More HIGHER BEINGS start taking note, but they are so intoxicated that they are slow to react.

ZIMINIAR
(Calling for aid)
UROBACH!

A impish, pygmy DEMON with a tufted tail descends from a CHANDELIER, brandishing a hot poker. LIVIA turns and, with a single blast from her left hand, VAPORISES UROBACH. She then turns on HIGHER DEMON #1 and immolates him from the inside out. ZIMINIAR dies screaming.

The others are more roused now, gathering round, as LIVIA manoeuvres herself out of the corner, keeping her guard raised. A cacophony of voices in hysteria replace the moody music playing before, the Bacchanal brought to a screeching halt by the outburst of violence.

GNOME #1
The Peelers are here!

DEMON #1
UNCOLLARED HUMANS IN THE CONCLAVE!

IMP #1
Give her Damocles Stricture!

IMPS
(In agreement)
The Wracking Coals!

ANGEL #1
Lower your hand, witch.

DEMON #3
Call the Master!

DEMON #4
Send her for Aramanti’s Scourge!

ANGEL #2
Take her hands!

For all their bluster, not one of them is willing to step forwards to deal with LIVIA, recognising the design of the TATTOO that she bears. LIVIA laughs (a little maniacally).

LIVIA
That’s right, you limp-dicked predators! It’s not so easy when we fight back. You see this?! You see it? You know where I got this mark? Back the fuck down or I’ll put it to use.

The voices become quieter. LIVIA catches sight of LUCIELLE in the reflective surface of a candleholder but ignores the spirit’s imploring expression. LUCIELLE mutely pleads for LIVIA to stop.

LIVIA
You are all the fetid leavings of a darker age. You think because you hold the power it makes you untouchable. You think we can’t do anything about it, so you mount this Bacchic shit so that you can power your voodoo and line your pockets and eek out more from your bloody lifespans, and you think you’ve got us fooled.

She gestures wildly at the few humans amongst the crowd who quickly (shamefully) try to hide themselves in the crowd. The orgies have stopped, the drinking has stopped, almost everyone in the room is giving LIVIA their full attention, apart from the MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN, who continues receiving a blowjob.

LIVIA
The wellspring is all poured out, so you use it as an excuse to take advantage of those who don’t know when to say ENOUGH.

LIVIA is backing towards the door to the INNER SANCTUM with her guard raised. DEMONS climbing on the chandeliers block out some of the light, creating looming shadows which make it seem like each of the HIGHER BEINGS around her is making a move. LIVIA keeps her cool, but her TATTOO glows dangerously. She puts her back to the door of the INNER SANCTUM and starts groping for the handle even as she threatens the crowds of HIGHER BEINGS ahead of her.

Unbeknownst to her, the door opens behind her.

CUT TO: INNER SANCTUM

INT. INNER SANCTUM – NIGHT

The door to the INNER SANCTUM opens to reveal LUCIFER, the DEVIL. He is an imposing RUSSIAN MAN, immaculately dressed in a waistcoat suit complete with pocket-watch and kerchief, well accessorised. In his fingers, he deftly twirls a crown made of ram’s horn set with rubies.

CAMERA is CENTRED on LIVIA, so that the audience can only see LUCIFER’S chest, but slowly PANS UP as she realises that she is definitely not touching the door.

LIVIA recoils.

LUCIFER
(Mildly entertained)
What have we here?

As FRAME WIDENS, the audience can make out more tall, attractive, HIGHER BEINGS behind LUCIFER, but they hang back and there can be no doubt that LUCIFER is their leader. They also seem entertained (while unable to see her tattoo).

LIVIA backs away towards the centre of the FUNCTION ROOM and the crowds of HIGHER BEINGS part around her, anticipating violence. LUCIFER follows in an unhurried manner, like a cat stalking a flightless bird. The HIGHER BEINGS can now see the TATTOO and seem a little concerned.

LUCIFER
Tonight’s repast was not open to intrusion, know that you walk upon the precipice of doom.

LUCIELLE’S image can be seen in a reflection from a dropped silver tray, holding her mouth in what appears to be shame or shock. When LIVIA doesn’t answer him, LUCIFER sniffs the air.

LUCIFER
How interesting.

PERSPECTIVE cuts to face LIVIA as she retreats from OUT-OF-SHOT LUCIFER, only to have him step in from FRAME-LEFT and draw her into what seems like a very gentle hug, studying her TATTOO. LIVIA appears unable to resist his strength.

LUCIFER
(to one of the HIGHER BEINGS still in the INNER SANCTUM)
I had no idea the ingenuity of humans, you know? To persuade a daughter of mine into captivity and have the gall to render her essence to ink… Impressive, don’t you think?

LUCIFER releases LIVIA (who lurches away) but makes no immediate move to pursue her. CAMERA staggers as it follows LIVIA, dipping to allow the audience a glimpse of LUCIELLE’S image in the tray once more. LUCIELLE has her head in her hands in shame.

LUCIFER
(Seductive/sibilant)
Come, krasivaya, let us take a moment. May I order you a quaffer of absinthe? Perhaps some vodka?

LIVIA
I-

LUCIFER
Surely it can’t hurt your scheme to take five minutes with me. Perhaps we can come to some kind of arrangement.

LIVIA
I know better than to deal with the Devil.

Pause for a beat, HIGHER BEINGS in the room snicker, LIVIA is surrounded.

LUCIFER
(Smirking; italics = stage whisper)
Clever girl. You may not believe but I assure you, I’m much more trustworthy than the other guy.

LUCIFER makes an almost imperceptible gesture towards the MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN, who now makes muffled noises of satisfaction. More laughter.

LUCIFER
Truth be told, this wouldn’t be the first time one of you people have tried to alter the way we do things.LIVIA

This isn’t about you.

LUCIFER
(Patronising)
My dear, it started with me.

LIVIA
It all started with bacteria. Single-celled fucking plankton before your spotty, white arse got kicked through the celestial gate.

LUCIFER
How do you think the plankton first started, without that spark to light the way?

LIVIA
And ever since, you’ve warped it, twisted it, made a mockery-

LUCIFER
You call all this a mockery?

LIVIA
(Ignoring him, speaking to the few humans in the crowd)
We could outgrow it. Humanity could outgrow it. We don’t need it. We can sow crops as we used to and build machines and make peace and love and never give a second thought to the power which has spread like a vine to throttle us.

LUCIFER
Our Power brought you this far.

LIVIA
And now we’re here, so why are you?

LUCIFER’S self-satisfied smirk remains but his eyes betray a waver of doubt.

LIVIA
(With venom)
You are a relic. Get with the program, you infernal turd-fly, we don’t need you anymore.

FRAME focuses on some of the ‘entertainment’ HUMANS, most of whom look drug-addled or unstable, LIVIA rounds on them.

LIVIA
And all of you, desperate for your last gasp of power, have settled for less and less over the years without realising that your time is done. Every time you tell us you’re going to change the world? Well, fuck your lies. If you want something done proper, you’ve gotta do it yourself.

LUCIFER
That’s all very well, my dear revolutionary, but what do you think your friends would say if they could hear you?

CUT TO: FUNCTION ROOM

INT. FUNCTION ROOM – NIGHT

SOMEONE grabs LIVIA’s left wrist.

CAMERA PANS UP with her gaze to see that ERNIE has a hold of her tattoo. His skin starts smoking.

ERNIE
LIVIA, please listen to us, think what the wellspring has done for both us. The good stuff, not the shit it’s become.

Another hand claps down on her shoulder, MONTY.

MONTY
Think what you’re doing, kid, we could do such amazing work together.

Two hands, glittery and ethereal, gently clasp her face, LUCIELLE. For the first time, she appears in spirit rather than conjured by LIVIA’S mind in a reflection. LUCIELLE takes the form of a beautiful woman in flowing robes.

LUCIELLE
I need it to survive.

LIVIA stares for a moment into LUCIELLE’S eyes, there is a moment of connection between the two of them which could be confused with romantic/intimate. Then, several things happen at once.

LIVIA aggressively shrugs off their grip.

LUCIFER makes to leap out of the way/retreat quickly to cover.

The HIGHER BEINGS around her panic and scatter. The MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN appears to climax.

LIVIA’S fingers are weaving signs around her TATTOO which pulses with brighter and brighter light.

IMP #2
SHE’S GUNNA BLOW!

DWARF #1
SCATTER!

WIND whips around LIVIA, making her clothing flap and her hair thrash wildly above her head. CAMERA zooms on her eyes, implacable and raging with inner fire.

LIVIA
I hope you all burn.

With a raking motion, LIVIA scratches livid lines through the TATTOO on her arm. The lines start bleeding twofold: blood and molten drips of energy. The action triggers an explosion which engulfs the room and everyone within it, igniting the clouds of energy which have been curling around the roof like smoke and obliterating the RAC.

HARD CUT TO: WHITE

ROLL CREDITS