Keta's Storybook!

CANYON, the screenplay

. . . CONTINUED FROM

INT. CAVE - NIGHT

She gets a warm RECEPTION when the others see fresh meat, then rests at the cave entrance to ponder over the dayís events.

FADE OUT

FADE IN:

INT. CAVE - DAYBREAK

Teone stirs in her bundle of pelts; even before she is properly awake she knows she canít get down to the canyon today. The burning odour of the acid river passing below them permeates the cave. Teone rolls over to sleep more, as it will be a couple of days before the acids fully evaporate from the canyon floor.

FADE OUT

FADE IN:

EXT. CAVE - DAY

Teone tumbles down the stalagmite wall, almost falling in her haste to get back to the meeting-place. She is running even before her feet hit the ground. In the opposite direction a group of surface beasts devour a prey they had dragged into the canyon. Teone sticks close to the opposite canyon wall, dodging rocks and obstacles, running full-tilt.

EXT. SHARP CURVE IN CANYON - DAY

Teone almost collides with Jared, who has been waiting a long time.

JARED

Easy there. He catches her arm as she stumbles.

JARED
(continuing)

Are you OK?

TEONE
(breathless)

Fine. Iím fine.

They stand a bit apart, again trying to size each other up. Jared is tall with dark hair and blazing dark eyes, lean, with an intelligent forehead. Teone is shorter but also lean, with curly light-brown long hair and blue eyes. Teone pauses, trying to think of something to say.

JARED

Where do you live again? You didnít tell me last time. Are you alone or are there people with you?

Teone pulls him to the other side of the canyon, pointing around the corner.

TEONE

There, a good distance this way is our dwelling. We have several families together in a cave just like yours here.

They both squint into the distance.

TEONE

Have you been living here long? I canít believe we never knew about each otherís communities before!

JARED

As long as anyone can remember, we have lived like this. The Elders tell stories of a time passed when things were different, but that is far before anyoneís personal recollection.

At the mention of the stories Teone makes a face. Jared looks at her with curiousity.

JARED

We should eat. Do you want to some to our dwelling for a meal?

TEONE

I canít go any farther than this, some of my people are stationed a ways up the canyon there. I was told to keep to this distance.

Jared knows she is lying.

JARED

Well, letís at least sit down here and have something to eat then.

Teone begins moving towards a crevice in the canyon wall.

JARED

What are you doing?

TEONE

Well, if weíre going to sit here then itís best to keep out of the open. Here, I think we can both fit into this space.

JARED

There is nothing to fear, our calculations show that the acid river wonít pass again for several days.

Teone is surprised by the unfamiliar word and the fact that these people can determine when the acid water will flood past, but tries to cover up.

TEONE

Oh I know that, but we must still be aware of the beasts that venture down into the canyon at times. There were some devouring a prey on the other side of our dwelling when I left this morning.

JARED
(surprised)

The beasts stay up on the ground surface. We have never seen them come down into the canyon.

TEONE

There is a path on our side that they sometimes take. They use it to chase down and kill prey. We must be careful when picking over the remains for our own meals, lest we become prey ourselves.

Jared grabs her arm excitedly.

JARED

You have a way to get to the ground surface??

Teone takes notice of the feel of his hand on her arm.

TEONE

But we donít go there! To walk outside the canyon means sure death.

Jared, lost in thought, absent-mindedly hands Teone some meat and roots to chew on. Teone, caught up in her own thoughts realizes that Jared has been sitting motionless, staring in front of him for quite some time. She nudges him gently.

TEONE

Are you OK? Whatís the matter?

Jared starts, and frowns at having been interrupted so. He seems perturbed so she turns away from him gazing in the direction of his dwelling. After a time she glances at him quickly to see if heís still deep in thought. This time he notices her attention.

TEONE

I wonder if . . .

JARED
(simultaneously)

I was thinking we might ..

They both laugh as things settle between them again.

TEONE

I wonder if there are other dwelling with even more people further down the canyon that we donít know about?

JARED

Not that way. There is a steep incline that creates a waterfall when the acid waters flow. Even when the canyon is dry it is impassable.

TEONE

Perhaps in the other direction from where we live. As far as I know no one has ever explored it.

Jared is again lost in thought and does not comment. Teone brushes his sleeve gently to get his attention.

TEONE

What were you going to say before?

JARED

Oh yes.
(pauses)

I was wondering how we could organize an expedition up to the ground surface using this path you say is there. My people are fed up with this paltry canyon existence and have been trying for a long time to find a way up to the surface.

TEONE
(slowly)

I am going to have to bring this all to the attention of my community. I havenít told anyone yet what I found here because I knew that it would go to committee for a decision, and once something goes to committee with us it never comes out again.

JARED
(respectful)

You came here all by yourself without telling anyone you were looking for us?

TEONE

Yeah, well, theyíd just hold me back and Iím best on my own in a fight anyway - if I had to fight you which I didnít think I would - but itís not like Iím not prepared!

JARED
(amused)

I think you must know now that you have nothing to fear from us.

TEONE

So how do you think I should bring this up to my people, so that they will view it as a good thing and not take forever deciding what to do?

JARED

Just tell them that only today you met me and the others. We should set a time tomorrow that delegations from both our groups can meet at some middle distance. Only then can a proper decision be made.

TEONE
(mumbling)

Iíll try.

JARED

You can do it! Tell them they are invited tomorrow morning to meet us . . . there, at that outcropping towards your dwelling. Bring five others besides yourself and I will do the same.

Teone nods. Realizes, reluctantly, that she has to leave now.

TEONE

Until tomorrow then!

EXT. CANYON BOTTOM - DAY

Teone runs home at full speed. Once there she continues to where the hulking beasts had fed that morning, gathering a few bones for soup and pelts for clothing. She climbs up the stalagmite home before dark.

CONTINUED . . .