Black Soul

 

 

EXT. ARKANSAS STATE POLICE HEADQUARTERS - DUSK

Detective ADRIAN FLYNN, 35, male, Native American descent, stands outside the police headquarters lighting a cigarette. He wears tan slacks, a matching long coat and an untucked pale blue button-up shirt. He is also wearing Caddo shaman beads around his neck

 

ADRIAN (V.O.)

My name is Adrian Flynn. I am a homicide detective and a damned good one. I have a knack for rooting out truly guilty suspects in just about any case. All I have to do was look at them-- no, through them. That sounds weird, I know, but the truth is even stranger.

 

I am what the Caddo Tribe calls a Soul-Reader. It's a type of shaman, so I’m told. It is a latent ability passed down through the shaman bloodline of this southern Arkansas Indian tribe. My dad was one, too, and it should have skipped me. However, his unforeseen death left him with unfinished business and left me carrying his mantle.

 

And let me tell you, keeping the secret isn’t easy, especially from my partner, Mali...

 

Adrian looks over his shoulder as the door opens. MALIKEH “MALI” RAMAR, 33, female, Persian ancestry, hangs halfway out the door with her hand to her cheek to amplify her voice. She wears blue jeans, a white tank top and a black leather jacket.

 

MALI

I believe you owe us dinner, Flynn. My guys won, 31-24.

 

Adrian smiles at her.

 

ADRIAN

Did I say I’d buy dinner if I lost? Pretty sure it was the other way around.

 

Mali walks out of the station and stands beside Adrian. She is holding a MANILA ENVELOPE.

 

MALI

Don’t try your Jedi mind tricks on me, partner. I know you too well. Also, Whitman wanted me to give you this.

 

Mali hands Adrian the envelope.

 

MALI (CONT’D)

He says it’s a case you might be interested in... not without me, I hope.

 

Adrian looks directly at Mali as he takes the envelope from her. He briefly sees a soft blue AURA outlining Mali’s person. It takes on Mali’s facial features except more angelic. Adrian smirks as he opens the envelope.

 

ADRIAN

You know I’d never do that. You’re too cute to leave behind.

 

MALI

Keep it professional, Casanova.

 

Adrian’s eyes go wide as he sifts through the files. There are various pictures of victims with similar leech-like bruises. A police report at the front reads “Graysonia, Arkansas 1994 Cold Case.”

 

ADRIAN

It can’t be!

 

MALI

You okay, Flynn? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.

 

ADRIAN

I might have...

 

He looks at Mali, shocked. The file is still open in his hands. Mali reads over Adrian’s shoulder.

 

ADRIAN (CONT’D)

My father was killed working on this case twenty years ago. I spent most of my life studying it, hoping to catch something he missed.

 

MALI

Hold on, now. I’ve read about Lucas Flynn, your father. Wasn’t he killed in a car accident in ‘94?

 

ADRIAN

Only according to official records, but Whitman and I are both certain that was a cover-up.

 

MALI

Sounds sketchy to me. What about Graysonia? I’ve never head of it... or this cold case.

 

ADRIAN

Very few have. After Dad died, the murders stopped, so Whitman wrapped it up, cold cased it. But I know he believes my dad was on to something. He must have been making a breakthrough right before he died. Come on.

 

Adrian heads back into the station. Mali shadows Adrian back inside. 

 

INT. POLICE STATION HALL- DUSK

Adrian is looking into several of the passing officers' faces. Some have an angelic blue aura, but most have red demonic auras.

 

ADRIAN

(Under his breath) I still can't believe there are so many crooked cops here... I wonder how Dad handled seeing this?

 

MALI

You shouldn’t mumble like that, Flynn. People will think your crazy.

 

They stop outside a door that reads GRANT WHITMAN, CHIEF OF POLICE.

 

MALI (CONT’D)

So, what do you think really happened?

 

Adrian holds the file folder up and taps it with the back of his hand.

 

ADRIAN

I don’t “think,” Mali. I know he was murdered... by the same person who killed all the others in this file.

 

Adrian opens the office door and walks in. Mali follows.

 

INT. POLICE STATION - WHITMAN’S OFFICE - DUSK

Police Chief GRANT WHITMAN, 60, hefty fills out paperwork at his desk. He looks up and sees Adrian and Mali walking in.

 

WHITMAN

Ah, Flynn. I knew I’d be seeing you before the day ended.

 

Adrian sets the file down in front of Whitman.

 

ADRIAN

I want the lead on this case, Chief. I know it better than anyone, and I know I can prove these deaths weren’t just accidents. 

 

WHITMAN

I know, and I want you on it. That’s why I had it brought to you, especially since we have a new victim. However, I need to know that you won’t let your feelings cloud your judgement.

 

ADRIAN

Detective Ramar can keep me in check.

 

MALI

Well, there’s the most challenging assignment I’ve ever had.

 

Grant hesitates momentarily. He sighs.

 

WHITMAN

All right, it’s yours. Fill Ramar in on the case then get some sleep. The investigation starts tomorrow.

 

Adrian nods and leaves quickly. Mali is close behind. 

 

INT. ADRIAN’S CAR - NIGHT

Adrian drives. Mali sits in the passenger seat reading over the cold case file.

 

MALI

These wounds are inconsistent with vehicular accidents. How could they-- ?

 

ADRIAN

-- miss it? Mali, if it were that easy, they wouldn’t be calling us. 

 

Mali smiles knowingly. She silently reads over case files.

 

Adrian parks the car in front of a small house. Mali gets out and follows Adrian. Adrian leads the way through a modest living room to a room on the far side of the house.

 

The room is immaculate, yet cluttered with thoughtfully placed items relating to the Graysonia cold case. Mali is both scared and curious.

On another wall, a photo of Adrian’s grandfather is surrounded by hand-drawn portraits of people with strange images superimposed on top of their faces.

 

MALI

I recognize some of these people... Flynn, I didn’t know you drew.

 

ADRIAN

Not recreationally.

 

MALI

What do the little spirits on their faces mean?

 

ADRIAN

(hesitantly) Ask me again sometime. Gove me a hand with this map.

 

Adrian and Mali spread a map of Central Arkansas on Adrian’s desk. He pulls out a red marker.

 

ADRIAN (CONT’D)

Alright, Graysonia is here in Caddo country. In ‘94, 4 victims from 4 different cities were discovered here, and it seems to be a magnet drawing them in.

 

Adrian circles Greysonia and marks X’s on the other cities.

 

ADRIAN (CONT’D)

As you can see, no two came from the same town. See? The first vic was from Texarkana, the second from Arkadelphia, Malvern, then Bryant. Then after 20 years, Little Rock.

 

MALI

What could possibly draw them to this dead town?

 

Adrian spreads the five photos out on the desk.

 

ADRIAN

That’s our job to find out. You thinking what I’m thinking?

 

MALI

Road trip.

 

EXT. DIRT ROAD - DAY

Adrian drives while Mali clings to the safety handle. Gravel kicks up all around the car. 

 

INT. ADRIAN’S CAR - DAY

The sound echoes in the car.

 

MALI

Terrible place to start a town!

 

ADRIAN

Perfect if you want to cover up a handful of murders!

 

Mali chuckles. She sees someone on the road waving their arms.

 

MALI

Flynn, stop the car! Look!

 

Adrian eases the car to a halt. A WIRY MAN, 30, sidles up to them.

 

WIRY MAN

Heya! My truck broke down. Can you give me a lift back to town?

 

MALI

Perhaps... how much further is town, exactly? The GPS doesn’t seem to work out here.

 

Adrian peers over Mali at the man. Both he and the man seem suddenly scared. The man chooses to address Mali only.

 

WIRY MAN

Oh... um... I didn’t know you was the law. I’m sure you is busy.

 

MALI

Uh, are you okay, sir?

 

WIRY MAN

Y- yes, boss. I’m good. Think I’ll just get a tow. Enjoy your stay!

 

The man walks away quickly. Mali looks at Adrian confused. He is sketching something in his notebook. It is a picture of the Wiry Man and something else.

 

MALI

Flynn? Flynn? Adrian!

 

ADRIAN

He... he saw me...

 

MALI

So? He saw me too. Nothing weird there. He left in a hurry, though. What is that?

 

ADRIAN

Not him... his soul. They’ve never looked back at me before.

 

MALI

I don’t understand...

 

ADRIAN

What? Nothing. Sorry. Let’s move.

 

Mali resists protesting as Adrian remains tense. They drive a ways, when Adrian notices movement out the corner of his eye. He slams the breaks hard enough to spin the car.

 

The windows shatter. Mali ducks for cover as a piece of the other vehicle is piercing through her door. Adrian tries to steady the car. They crash broadside into a tree.

 

EXT. GRAYSONIA, ARKANSAS - DAY

The accident attracts a small group of people, presumably from the town. One is a PREACHER. 

 

PREACHER

Don't just stand there, people! Help them! We are a community! Work together!

 

Adrian and Mali get out of the car and approach the preacher and the driver of the other vehicle. Adrian and Mali are showing their badges. The preacher is looking at Mali. So are the other driver and any spectators still lingering. They avoid Adrian, shuddering at the sight of his beads.

 

MALI

We ought to be issuing a citation for this.

 

PREACHER

Oh, she's just a child, detective! The town can more than handle the cost of repairing your vehicle. What has brought you to our humble town?

 

ADRIAN

We are investigating a murder linked to a 20-year-old cold case that took place here. Mind if we look around?

 

The Preacher remains focused on Mali. Adrian’s annoyance becomes noticeable yet the people act as though he is not there.

 

PREACHER

A murder? Nonsense! We're a close-nit community. By all means, look around! We'll be having your car fixed while you do. Oh! And I do hope we can convince you to stay for our Wednesday Night service up at the church.

 

Adrian and Mali walk through the streets towards the church at the center of town. The people passing by all have the same gray spirit on their faces, tired and wary, like the wiry man.

 

ADRIAN

Do you notice how they all avoid looking at me?

 

MALI

Sorry, Flynn. I was too busy noticing their odd stares at me. That was unnerving.

 

EXT. CHURCH - DAY

Adrian and Mali arrive at the church.

 

MALI

This place feels wrong. Like there’s no life here...

 

ADRIAN

You say that about every church...though in this case, you may be right.

 

Adrian takes four steps towards the church.

 

MALI

I don't suppose you want to tell me about what happened in the car, do you? You seemed kind of-- ahh!

 

ADRIAN

Mali?

 

Adrian turns around. Mali struggles with a HOODED FIGURE. Adrian can't see his eyes and thus is blind to the aura. He pulls his gun and aims at the figure.

 

ADRIAN (CONT’D)

Let her go, or I’ll shoot!

 

MALI

Adrian! Behind you!

 

Something hits Adrian in the back of the head. He tries to look up at the attacker, HOODED MAN #2.

 

HOODED MAN #2

Nighty-night, detective.

 

The Hooded Man brings his foot down on Adrian’s face. Adrian blacks out.

 

INT. CHURCH - UNKNOWN

Adrian wakes up. A hand smacks his cheeks a couple times. He opens his eyes and sees the preacher. His face is distorted by a red, monstrous image.

 

PREACHER

Soul-reader. I thought I had rid myself of your kind with your father. Do you know how hard it is to keep the demons that run this town happy when your kind show up?

 

ADRIAN

Where’s Mali, you sonovabitch?

 

Adrian follows the preacher’s gaze to see Mali bound to a crucifix and unconscious. A circle of robed people are at the base chanting.

 

PREACHER

She was chosen as our sacrifice, naturally. It's a slow, painful process, detective, but the little ones, they like it that way.

 

Mali wakes up. She struggles in the ropes then screams in pain as a piece of her soul is ripped from her body. Adrian sees the leech-like wound it leaves behind.

 

MALI

AHHH!!

 

ADRIAN

Let her go, please! We’ll let you be.

 

PREACHER

I can't do that, son. This town has gone too long without a recharge. Besides, nothing short of a soul-reader's sacrifice can stop it now... kind of like you're daddy did all those years ago. The fool. Forced the portal closed for 20 years. Not this time, detective. Speed up the ritual!

 

The chanting picks up. Mali shakes violently at each tear.

 

MALI

AHH! Please stop! AHH!

 

Frantic, Adrian rips free of his own bindings. The preacher turns to stop him, but Adrian throws his shoulder into him.

 

ADRIAN

Hold on, Mali!

 

PREACHER

No! Stop him! Stop him!

 

Adrian puts himself between Mali and the portal. Bits of his soul are tearing from his body and entering the portal. Adrian has his knife out and is reaching for Mali's bonds.

 

ADRIAN

AHH! Shit! Hold on, Mali! I’ve got you!

 

MALI

A... drian? If we make it... out of this... you owe me dinner... for real.

 

ADRIAN

It’s a date, partner. AHH! God!

 

The ground rumbles. A booming, angry voice pours through the portal.

 

DEMON

What is this? No! No! We don't want this!

 

ADRIAN

Ah, shut up!

 

Adrian hoists Mali into his arms. He looks over his shoulder as the Preacher runs up behind them. Spectral hands reach out from the Portal.

 

PREACHER

You will not take this from me again! You hear me, soul-reader?! Rah!!

 

The hands have caught the Preacher and are pulling him into the Portal. The red demon aura Is ripped from the preacher's body and enters the portal.

 

PREACHER (CONT’D)

No! No! Our agreement--!

 

DEMON

-- is terminated!

 

Adrian carries Mali out of the church, tumbling to the ground as the structure implodes on itself in a burst of eerie green light. Medical vehicles have already arrived on scene. Whitman runs towards them.

 

WHITMAN

Flynn! Ramar! Is that you? Speak to me, Adrian!

 

ADRIAN

We're... okay, Chief. Mali is hurt pretty bad, though.

 

WHITMAN

Medic! Over here!

 

Mali is placed inside an ambulance. Adrian and Whitman talk outside. Grant is wearing sunglasses, blocking Adrian's sight.

 

WHITMAN (CONT’D)

You make sure she’s all right, Flynn. I want your report on my desk in the morning, Flynn.

 

ADRIAN

Yes, sir, but you’ll never believe me.

 

He smiles as he hops into the ambulance with Mali. The doors shut. They drive off.

 

Whitman removes the sunglasses and smiles as they disappear.

 

WHITMAN

Oh, I bet I will, soul-reader.

 

His face distorts with a familiar red image.

 

The End.

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