‘Beating Heart’ – Excerpt

CUT TO:
EXT. THE LAKE – CONTINUOUS

Finn arrives at the shore. He raises his arms, PUMPS his fists and CHEERS, staggering across the sand.

FINN

Yaassss!

Harry emerges from the trees. They meet in the middle, the bags and trophy between them. Peace. Harry looks over Finn’s shoulder. Fixated on the water. Confusion scrawled across his face. Finn’s arms slowly drop from above his head. Unsettled.

FINN (CONT’D)

I raced Ross for the trophy.

HARRY

Where’d he go?

He turns around. The water settles. Just the gentle KISS of the tide against the sand. Ross is absent.

FINN

He was behind me. I passed by him.

Wind WHIPS Harry’s towel against his leg.

HARRY

Are you sure?

FINN

Didn’t you see?

Trees HISS as the wind rustles through them. Finn and Harry stand at the shore looking out at the jetty. The water remains still.

EXT. THE LAKE – CONTINUOUS.

It’s windier now. Trees RUSTLE. The sun is smothered by cloud. They grow pale. Their nipples harden. Droplets of water on Finn. Everything colder.

HARRY (shouting)

Ross? Where are you man?

Finn looks down at his hands. Then out to the lake.

FINN

I- Did you see him swimming?

HARRY

I saw him dive in… then…

They fall silent again. Looking around the lake side from afar for any movement. Walking skittishly around the shoreline, always pulled back to the same spot.

FINN

Maybe you should swim out to the jetty. He might be hiding behind it or something.

Harry drops his towel back by his bag.

HARRY

I feel like you’re setting me up. Like you’re both gonna run off with my stuff as soon as I get out there.

Harry slips into the water and THRASHES his way out to the jetty. He swims around it. Ross is nowhere to be seen. Harry climbs onto the jetty.

HARRY (CONT’D) (Shouting)

Nothing! He’s not out here.

Harry watches the surface.

FINN

The water isn’t that deep – he must be at the treeline hiding. (shouting) Ross! Come on out man.

Finn edges away from the water. He retreats to Ross’ belongings. His clothes remain by his bag and towel.

HARRY (shouting)

Finn. Get in the lake. We need to look for him.

Harry dives in and races towards the shore. Finn steps into the lake. He halts, the water caressing his heels.

FINN (shouting)

He’ll be hiding in the trees.

Harry stops. Just past halfway between the jetty and the shore. It’s shallow enough. The rim of his orange swim shorts just above the water.

HARRY

What if he’s not?

FINN

He must be. It’s too shallow to- it’s too shallow in there.

HARRY

But what if he’s not, Finn?

Finn turns away. Harry hurries after him. The water BURSTS as he charges out of the lake and onto dry land.

HARRY (CONT’D)

Finn! Come here.

Harry reaches out to grab Finn’s arm. Finn pulls away.

FINN

No. He’s not in there.

Harry grabs him this time.

HARRY

Where the fuck else is he?

FINN

I don’t know! But he’s not in there. He can’t be.

Finn wrestles free of Harry. He starts running for the treeline.

HARRY

Finn!

FINN (to himself)

I’ll find him.

CUT TO:
EXT. THE TREES – CONTINUOUS

Finn wanders through the trees. The surroundings RUSTLE. His attention keeps turning to the lake. Harry swims in zigzags. Finn leans against a tree. His hands on his head. He looks to the lake then at his hands then down at his feet.

FINN

No. I need you to come out man!

He shakes his head, fighting back thoughts. There’s frantic SPLASHING in the background. We hear Harry struggle.

HARRY

FINN! Finn, quick! Help!

He watches as Harry clings to Ross. Struggling to keep him above the surface. He watches as Harry DRAGS the body through the water. Struggling to make his way to shore. Floundering.

HARRY (CONT’D)

FINN!!

Finn remains paralysed by fear. Watching as Harry struggles. Another shout triggers a response. Finn opens his phone. Dialing 999.

FINN

It’s my friend! It’s my friend Ross. He’s… I don’t know! Please, just send an ambulance to the lake. He’s in trouble!

CUT TO:
EXT. THE LAKE. CONTINUOUS.

Harry has dragged Ross onto the shore. Finn arrives as he starts CPR. Harry looks takes a brief look at him.

HARRY

Where were you?!

FINN

I…

HARRY

I needed your help.

FINN

I was calling an ambulance.

Harry slides his hands across Ross’ chest, adjusting. He’s unsure of where or how to place them. He tilts Ross’ mouth open and starts pumping his chest. Finn stands over him. He pumps four times, then breathes air into his mouth.

FINN (CONT’D)

I don’t think you’re supposed to do that anymore.

HARRY

How the fuck is blowing air into someone going to stop them from being resuscitated?

FINN

I don’t know!

HARRY

Neither do I! But we need to do something. Maybe you should have kept the emergency services on the phone.

Harry continues pumping on Ross’ chest. This time he hesitates breathing air into his mouth, stopping to look up at Finn.

FINN

Well should I phone them back?!

HARRY

Jesus Finn, I don’t know.

Finn sinks to the ground, his head bowed, folding his arms around his legs. Sirens BLARE in the background. The ambulance is nearing. Harry leans away from the body. He drags his hand through the sand, clenching his fist as the granules slip through.

His resolve strengthens and he attempts CPR with even more vigor. Finn raises his head to watch. He blinks with each press at Ross’ chest. His fingers sliding up and down his face, resting over his mouth. Tears well in his eyes as he watches.

Harry’s attempts to beat Ross’ chest fade. He breaks, tears seeping down his face as the intensity of his efforts consume him. He lies back, falling away from the body.

The ambulance arrives. Three paramedics sprint from the vehicle to the boys. One of them crouches next to them.

PARAMEDIC #1

Boys, we need some quick answers to do our best for your friend okay?

They’re in tears. Struggling to answer verbally. They nod.

PARAMEDIC #1 (CONT’D)

How long have you been applying CPR for?

HARRY

Two minutes maybe.

PARAMEDIC #1

Has there been any response?

They shake their heads.

PARAMEDIC #1 (CONT’D)

And how long was he in the water for?

Harry and Finn look at each other.

FINN

Ten?… M-maybe fifteen minutes…

The paramedic nods at her colleagues.

HARRY

…It feels like longer.

PARAMEDIC #1

Okay, I need you two to give them some space.

FINN

No, we’re staying with him.

PARAMEDIC #1

I need you to give them some room. Come back to the ambulance with me.

Reluctantly they follow her to the ambulance at the head of the beach. She jumps into the back of the vehicle. Finn and Harry wait. Watching as the other paramedics perform CPR.

Droplets of rain land on the blackened ambulance window. The reflection of Finn and Harry watching on. Paramedic #2 performing CPR looks up, shaking her head as she tries again. Paramedic #1 pops her head out from the ambulance.

PARAMEDIC #1 (CONT’D)

Come inside boys. We need to get you warm.

They don’t respond. They watch. Paramedic #2 stops. Shakes her head. Paramedic #3 checks his watch. Finn looks at Harry. His mouth slightly ajar. Disbelief. Paramedic #3 pulls a silver cover from her bag. They wrap it over the body.

Harry half shakes his head. Biting his lip. Holding back the wave of emotion. Paramedics #2 and #3 approach.

PARAMEDIC #3

I’m sorry. We weren’t able to resuscitate him.

Finn and Harry embrace. Both in tears.

PARAMEDIC #3 (CONT’D)

We’ll give you a bit of time, but it’s best to get you out of the cold and tend to you at the hospital.

Finn pulls away from Harry.

FINN

We don’t need tending to, there’s nothing wrong with us!

PARAMEDIC #1

We need to take you somewhere where your parents can collect you. The shock-

They run across the sand to the body. The silver cover whipped by the wind. Rain pitter-patters upon it. They sit by it.

FADE TO BLACK.

CUT TO:

INT. FUNERAL PARLOUR – SOMETIME LATER.

Finn and Harry sit in a reception area. Ross’ Dad, TERRY NICHOLSON (47), sits across from them next to one empty chair.

TERRY

Thanks again for coming boys. I want you to know, there’s no pressure on you to go in and see him.

FINN

I’ll be fine, Terry.

HARRY

Aye, it’s nae bother. Terry nods.

Silence falls between them as they wait. Terry’s attention turns to the chair next to him.

TERRY

Feels like they’re rubbing it in leaving this spare seat next to me.

Finn and Harry don’t know how to respond. Terry stands and lifts his chair. They recoil, unsure what he’s going to do. He slots it down on top of the spare chair and sits on them.

Terry wobbles. The chairs don’t stack properly. They CREEK as he struggles to maintain his balance. Finn and Harry watch on. Dumbfounded.

TERRY (CONT’D)

This is a bit uncomfortable.

The FUNERAL DIRECTOR approaches. Terry does his best to sit still, staring at Finn and Harry across from him.

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

We’re ready now if you’d like to follow me.

Everyone stands. As Terry does, the chair he was sitting on slides forward, CLATTERING onto the floor. He hurries to collect it, sitting it back in it’s original place and mouths a silent sorry.

They follow the Funeral Director through a narrow doorway into a tight corridor. There’s a window at the end where light seeps in through a set of curtains.

INT. FUNERAL PARLOUR – CONTINUOUS.

He leads them to a door and opens it.

FUNERAL DIRECTOR

I’ll leave you to it.

The Funeral Director leaves. Finn and Harry hesitate, waiting to see what Terry does. Terry lingers in the doorway, looking in at the body resting on a white, cloth covered table. Terry finally decides to enter and the two boys follow him in. Terry stands at Ross’ head. He brushes Ross’ fringe with his hand.

TERRY

I always wanted him to cut the hair.

FINN

He used to tell us that’s why he kept it long.

Terry laughs.

TERRY

The wee bastard! It even looks like he’s smirking just now.

Harry smiles.

TERRY (CONT’D)

It’s partly why I asked you to come along today.

Finn’s hand rests on Ross’ leg. The same leg he tugged at in the lake that day.

TERRY (CONT’D)

I didn’t want whatever you saw a few days ago to be your last memory of Ross.

This draws Finn’s attention away from Ross, JOLTING his hand away from his leg.

TERRY (CONT’D)

I’ll leave you two with him for a few minutes.

Terry leaves the room. Harry walks away from Finn, around to the other side of the table which Ross’ body lies on.

FINN

I keep… wishing, that we had been setting you up. Just to steal your clothes.

Harry lets out a short, breathy laugh.

HARRY

I’m still expecting him to walk in the door with my stuff.

They’re both amused.

HARRY (CONT’D)

I keep coming back to the same question.

HARRY (CONT’D)

How could he drown in shallow water?

Finn shakes his head.

HARRY (CONT’D)

He’s not fuckin’ dim, y’know? How could he drown? Harry stands.

FINN

Maybe… maybe he got tangled in something. Seaweed or-

HARRY

Not that I saw.

FINN

I don’t know.

HARRY

Didn’t you notice anything as you swam past him?

FINN

We were next to one another. Neck and neck. He gave me the finger. Then I swam past him. I looked back… just once…

Harry gets closer to Finn.

FINN (CONT’D)

…But I didn’t see anything. He was still swimming. And I focussed on the beach.

HARRY

You were right there. Right there! Yet I’m the one who had to carry him out.

They’re nearly in each others’ faces.

FINN

I had to search the woods. You know what he’s like-

HARRY

I was in the water, I had to-! Whilst you fucked about in the trees.

FINN

I was calling an ambulance!

HARRY

“Search the woods”

Harry pushes Finn.

HARRY (CONT’D)

Too scared to get in and help me.

Finn barges out of the room.
FADE OUT:

‘Guess Who?’

FADE IN:

INT. FAMILY HOME – AFTERNOON

Answer Phone BEEP.

CHRIS’ MOM (V.O.)

Valerie. We’re about to board the flight. Make sure everything is ready for our arrival tomorrow. Give our love to Chris. See you soon.

Val (21), African American woman, sits with her legs crossed on the floor, leaning back against a couch. Chris (10), white, sits on the opposite couch, his feet don’t touch the floor. They’re playing the board game ‘Guess Who’.

VAL

That’s cheating.

CHRIS

My house, my rules Val.

 

There’s a table between them, a filled fruit bowl and brass candles sit on top. Chris rocks back and forward.

VAL

It’s your parents rules. I’m the one who enforces them.

Pictures in gold frames hang above a marble fireplace. Chris in a shirt and tie. The family unit. The pictures are formal.

CHRIS

I’m still going first. Are they wearing a cap?

The sun casts a shadow from the blinds, bars stretching across the white carpet, creeping across a picture of Val and Chris.

VAL No. Is yours a boy?

There’s an empty bowl on the floor with ’Drippy’ written on it.

CHRIS (Groaning)

Yeaaah.

Does yours wear jewelry? There’s trophies on display, like a shrine.

VAL

Uh-huh. How about blonde hair?

CHRIS

No. Big nose?

A potted plant sits in front of a cupboard full of bourbon, vodka and gin, complimented by luxurious glasses and decanters. It’s all for show.

VAL

Damn it!

Chris’ board has six faces remaining. Five black, one white.

CHRIS

Better get the car started.

VAL

We ain’t done yet. Blue eyes?

Chris shakes his head. Val flips more faces down.

CHRIS

Are they black?

VAL

No.

Chris SLAMS all but one face down.

EXT. DRIVE WAY – MOMENTS LATER

The doors of a Toyata Corolla SLAM. We hear the car engine REV. The car takes off down the winding drive way to the giant iron gates at the entrance.

CUT TO:

INT. VAL’S CAR – CONTINUOUS

Chris sits in the back. Seat belt across his red jumper which reads ‘KICKER’ on it. Val turns on the radio.

RADIO HOST

Police are appealing for any witnesses to come forward regarding the disappearance of Georgie Sellars.

Rain spits at the windscreen. She turns the volume down.

CHRIS

Drippy ran away one time.

VAL

Oh? How long for?

Police car sirens WAIL as they drive past.

CHRIS

Over a week.

VAL

How’d you find him?

CHRIS

We put lots of fliers up around the neighbourhood.

The windscreen CREEKS as the wipers swipe.

CHRIS (CONT’D)

I came home after school and he was waiting with Mom and Dad.

Val’s facial expression is skeptical.

VAL

Well, that was lucky.

CHRIS

He was still a bit scared for a few weeks.

The wipers GROAN.

CHRIS (CONT’D)

I hope the same’ll happen with Georgie.

VAL

I’m sure they’ll find him.

INT. SHOPPING MALL – MOMENTS LATER

Chris darts into an open slot in the revolving door separating himself and Val as they enter. He pokes his tongue out as he waits for her to enter. The mall is bright, spacious and HEAVING.

Families and teens, there’s a general RABBLE of conversation, but above that there’s LAUGHTER and SHOUTING. Val SNATCHES Chris’ hand and leads him aside. Hanging on the wall are giant advertising tablets displaying perfume.

VAL

Don’t do that again, little man.

CHRIS

Can we get ice cream first?

The tablet ad changes to a movie poster titled “MISSING”.

VAL

On one condition: you hold my hand at all times.

Chris nods in agreement, trying to drag Val further into the mall. She obliges. They pass a clown making faces at a boy standing with his Mum, WAILING as he holds a balloon.

Chris starts to DRAG Val. Her bag SHAKES. His pace QUICKENS. He leads her FASTER. NIPPING between shoppers. Chris LAUGHS and WHOOPS as he narrowly avoids an elderly lady and her shopping bag. His fingers SLIP through hers.

VAL (CONT’D) (Shouting)

Chris! Get back here!

Chris is ABSORBED into the crowd. No longer visible, only his GIGGLES are audible.

VAL (CONT’D)

Chris!

A MAN dressed in purple steps out from a booth titled: “SECURI-HOME”.

MAN

Mam, can I interest you in-

Val BARGES him aside. She DARTS between people. The sign ‘NARDINI’S ICE CREAM’ is visible. She breaks through a crowd of people. Chris is standing waiting at the entrance with an OLDER MAN. His white beard is bushy and distinct. He’s wearing a blue anorak.

He’s kneeling. One hand rests on Chris’ shoulder, he holds a purple dragon plush toy in the other. He’s speaking to Chris but it’s inaudible.

VAL

Christopher!

The Older Man gets to his feet. They face Val. She notices the teddy.

VAL (CONT’D)

What did I tell you?!

OLDER MAN

Are you his mother?

VAL

His Nanny.

The Older Man’s hand grips Chris’ shoulder TIGHTER. OLDER MAN Keep a closer eye on him. Next time you might not be so… Chris groans and struggles slightly. The Older Man releases his grip.

OLDER MAN (CONT’D)

…Lucky.

VAL

..Right. Well… thanks, sir.

Val motions for Chris to come to her. He waddles over sheepishly. She clutches his hand and leads him away from ‘Nardini’s’. The Older Man watches, the plush toy dangles.

CHRIS

But Val! What about-

VAL

Nuh-uh. Not a chance. If your parents covered fuel we’d be going home right now.

Chris tries to strop but Val is in control, hauling him away.

VAL (CONT’D)

Any more of this and you ain’t getting to the arcade.

CHRIS

But-

VAL

No more buts! Or I’m sending you home with Captain Birdseye back there.

Chris looks up at her, his mouth agape. Val glares at him. He submits. His arm flimsy as she leads him onto the escalators.

PULL BACK to show the Older Man on the escalator. LURKING. Between him, Val and Chris are a family of four and two couples.

INT. ARCADE – CONTINUOUS

BELLS RING. ALARMS. BANGING. POPPING. Claws SNATCH at toys. Kids shoot at screens. Pucks FIRE across air hockey tables. Parents, kids and couples battle. Everyone is with someone. Chris and Val team up on the light gun game ‘Time Crisis II’.

On the console the villain drags his hostage off screen. Chris and Val take control and start shooting. Action shots of them shooting the screen, but from a distance. There’s a sense of voyeurism. Ducking and dodging, they CHEER, SNARL and GROWL at the screen.

Val YELPS. Her screen reads ‘Continue?’ She crouches down – revealing The Older Man, LINGERING behind them – she fumbles for money to continue. Chris tackles the rest of the game. ‘GAME OVER’. Val is too slow. Chris GROANS. The Older Man has VANISHED.

CHRIS

OH! OH! The ball pit play area.

Val CLAMPS her hand around his wrist. Chris tries to run deeper into the arcade towards the ball pit area.

VAL

Cool your jets little man.

Val reaches for her bag, clinging to him as he struggles.

CHRIS (whining)

I want to go to the ball pit.

They draw attention from passers by.

VAL

Stop it or we’re leaving.

CHRIS

You’re not my mom!

The attention grows. Eyes on them. Watching. Concern. Judging. A Mall Security Officer is speaking to the Older Man.

VAL (Hissing)

You’re making a scene.

CHRIS (Louder, repeating)

You’re not my mom! Let me go!

He WRIGGLES and STRIVES. Val is distracted by people stopping. She reaches again for her bag. Mall Security approach. Her grip is broken. Chris runs towards the ball pit.

VAL

Christopher!

She is met by an imposing Mall Security Officer. He’s young, bald and AGITATED. His stare INTENSE. His brow furrowed. His eyes pore over her. Fingers teasing handcuffs on his belt.

MALL SECURITY

There a problem here?

VAL

No, sorry.

She attempts to follow Chris. The Officer doesn’t move.

MALL SECURITY

That your kid?

VAL

No. I’m his Nanny. I need to- Val tries to push past him. His arm stretches and stops her.

MALL SECURITY

Right. His Nanny. I want to see some identification.

VAL

Sir, I need to-

MALL SECURITY

Ma’am, I watched you harassing a child who obviously-

He clears his throat, a smirk crosses his face.

MALL SECURITY (CONT’D)

-is not yours.

VAL

What’s that supposed to mean?

MALL SECURITY

It means that I want to see your ID. Please.

Val, fumbling, hurriedly producers her ID from her bag. He examines it meticulously.

MALL SECURITY (CONT’D)

Can you get in touch with his parents to confirm your position?

VAL

He’ll confirm it. Let’s go ask him.

She tries to push past again. He resists. They struggle.

VAL (CONT’D)

Let me- Chris!

MALL SECURITY

Alright, that’s enough!

The Officer sweeps her to the floor face first. Val screeches. A crowd gathers. The jovial atmosphere turns to hostile whispers.

VOICE IN THE CROWD 1

I saw her grabbing a kid.

VOICE IN THE CROWD 2

Maybe she’s the one.

VAL

Get off me!

He slaps the handcuffs around her wrists. He brushes the sides of his head with his hands. He kneels over her back.

VAL (CONT’D)

I haven’t done anything. He dips his head close to her ear.

MALL SECURITY

I wouldn’t recommend resisting arrest.

VAL

And what about Chris?!

The Officer activates the radio strapped to his shoulder. His brow has dampened.

MALL SECURITY

Requesting support in the arcade. Over. The response is immediate.

THOMSON

This is Thomson, I’ll be right there. Over.

MALL SECURITY

Thanks chief.

Val whimpers. The Officer reaffirms his grip.

INT. BALL PIT PLAY AREA – MOMENTS LATER

The Play Area is built on a ball pit foundation. Rope ladders, climbing frames, slides and polls. Kids dangle and dive, there’s pieces of clothing strewn around. A shoe dangles from a rope bridge, tied to it by it’s laces.

Parents wait around the outside, some chatter, some bark instructions at their kids and others look disinterested on their phones – relieved to have a break. We follow the Older Man’s plush toy as it dangles from his hand.

He walks down the corridor, entering the Play Area. He reaches the Ball Pit perimeter barrier.

OLDER MAN

Christopher?

We see his face now. Beardless. His anorak removed. His face appears friendlier, his demeanor calm, but his eyes glare.

MALE PARENT

Which one’s yours?

He surveys the ball pit. They fix on Chris, sitting up right.

OLDER MAN

That one.

He waves at Chris and jiggles the plush toy at him. Chris clambers out of the ball pit and across to the Older Man.

OLDER MAN (CONT’D)

Come along Christopher, Val’s waiting for you.

CHRIS

Where is she?

OLDER MAN

She’s back downstairs. They wouldn’t let her through here with the ice cream.

Chris looks at the Older Man. The Male Parent has returned to swiping on his phone. The Older Man offers the plush toy and Chris takes it. They leave the Play Area, the Older Man’s anorak left behind on the perimeter barrier.

INT. ARCADE – CONTINUOUS

Thomson pushes his way through the crowd. Answer Phone BEEP.

CHRIS’ MOM (V.O.)

Valerie. We’re about to board the flight.

He staggers through to see the Officer kneeling over Val.

CHRIS’ MOM (V.O.)

Make sure everything is ready for our arrival tomorrow.

The Officer lifts her to her feet. Thomson puts his hands on his hips, his head droops.

CHRIS’ MOM (V.O.)

Give our love to Chris. See you soon.

CUT TO:

INT. ARCADE – MOMENTS LATER

Thomson removes Val’s handcuffs. The Officer opens his mouth to speak. Thomson grits his teeth, purses his lips and holds his finger up to SHUSH him.

THOMSON

Where’d the boy go?

VAL

The ball pit. Through the back!

INT. BALL PIT PLAY AREA – CONTINUOUS

The three rush into the Play Area. Val looks around panicked. She leans on the perimeter barrier.

VAL (Shouting)

Christopher?!

Thomson and the Officer both reach the barrier. Val walks past it, into the play area.

VAL (CONT’D)

Chris?!

MALE PARENT

You just missed him.

Val notices a group of kids playing. One of them wears a blue anorak. The other wears a big white beard, smothering his face. The other kids pull at it playfully. GIGGLING.

THOMSON

Where is he?

VAL

The beard…

Val returns to Thomson and the Officer.

MALE PARENT

He just left with his Dad.

THOMSON

What did he look like?

MALE PARENT I dunno, clean shaven. He had some dragon teddy with him. There a problem?

Thomson turns to his radio.

THOMSON

There’s a missing boy. Suspected kidnapping. Mark all the exits. Keep an eye out for any dragon teddies, get across the cameras and find him.

The trio rush from the ball pit area. The Male Parent looks perplexed. In the background, the kids succeed in ripping the beard off their companion.

INT. ARCADE – CONTINUOUS

Val CHARGES through the arcade. In an almost trance-like state. BARGING past people. A coin cup is scattered, games interrupted, drinks spilled.

INT. SHOPPING MALL – CONTINUOUS

She splutters and pants as she THRUSTS them out of the way on the escalator and dodging in between them. She continues to SCREAM Chris’ name in vain. On the ground floor now. Still no sign of him. People are startled by her panicked screams.

Someone grabs her arm. She turns, coiled, ready to STRIKE. It’s Thomson.

THOMSON

Any sign?

VAL (Distraught)

Nothing!

THOMSON

We’ll find him. Keep looking.

They separate. She’s running. She CLATTERS into a mother and her son. Val and the son hit the floor with a THUD. The balloon he held escapes his grasp, floating away. Free. He erupts into tears.

As she lies on the ground sound is distorted for a moment before returning with the cries of the son. Val blinks. Her cheek sticks to the cold marble floor, her reflection visible. Her eyes catch sight of something, discarded on a metallic chair. People pass by the seats. It’s the plush toy. Sitting alone. Two empty seats alongside. Her eyes widen.

FADE TO BLACK.