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/ War of the Worlds. .

: / War of the Worlds.

/ War of the Worlds

FADE IN:

EXT. MARS SURFACE--DAY

The landscape is a deep, sandy red as we move across the near-barren landscape. There is no sign of life, but a few rocks and ridges line the desert surface. Then, at a brilliant speed, we move up through the clouds, then, as a rocket ship would do, we burst through the Martian atmosphere and into the void of space.

In the distance, a tiny blue sphere grows to a tremendous size, and majestically reveals itself to be none other than planet Earth in all its glory. Within a few moments, the planet goes from being a glowing celestial body, to...

INT. CLASS ROOM--DAY

...a poster. It is hung in an ordinary high school science class room. Students sit bored, some asleep, as CLAYTON FORRESTER, early 30s, writes complicated equations on the chalkboard. There also seem to be two poorly-drawn diagrams of two planets.

Several students snicker and joke silently as Clayton speaks.

CLAYTON
So, by that we can assume that the probability, while not exact, is that this phenomenon, if that is what youd call it, will not occur for another...

His voice tapers off as he sees SANCHEZ and PHILLIP, sporting hip jackets and beanies, whisper to each other near the back of the class.

CLAYTON (CONT)
...few thousand years.

Beat.

Raises his voice.

CLAYTON
Excuse me, Mr. Sanchez?

Sanchez and Phillip both look up, surprised. Acts innocently.

SANCHEZ
Uh, yes, Mr. F?

CLAYTON
Do me a favor and reiterate what I just said to the class.

All eyes turn to Sanchez as he looks around, thinking of something to say. Stuttering, he speaks, smiles innocently.

SANCHEZ
Something bout planets, right?

CLAYTON
We are in an astronomy class.

SANCHEZ (CONT)
Yeah, well...

Clayton leans against the chalk board.

SANCHEZ
...Mars, right?

Students break out in befuddled laughter as SANCHEZ sits silently, not sure what to do. Clayton sighs.

INT. OFFICE--DAY

Clayton sits at a desk in what appears to be a teachers lounge. He is alone, grading papers.

FOCUS ON the papers. Many are below average grades, many others are marked with FAIL stamps. A radio plays a news broadcasts in the b.g.

BROADCASTER (V.O.)
...barred by serious electrical disturbances that appear to have manifested from nowhere, thousands are without power in various cities...

Clayton clicks the radio off.

CUT TO:

EXT. SALTSBURG--DUSK

WIDE SHOT, establishing.

It is a picturesque little town, the kind of town where everybody knows everybody. A large church sits in the middle of the shop district, a sort of landmark, while a few rows of little houses lie on the outskirts. There is a single bridge leading out of the town, which is surrounded with forestry.

SUPER: SALTSBURG, PENNSLYVANIA

EXT. CLAYTONS HOUSE--NIGHT

His house is one of several on a street that appears to be sloping downwards into the center of town. It is two stories, at least thirty years old, and nearly identical (in structure) to all the others on his street.

Clayton moves around the side of the house carrying several garbage bags. He dumps them into cans.

INT. KITCHEN, CLAYTONS HOUSE--NIGHT

Clayton walks into the kitchen and starts for the refrigerator. SARAH, only 7-years old stands on a stool over the sink, washing dishes.

Clayton stands up from digging through the fridge and pops open a beer, after a sip, looks at his watch, then to SARAH.

CLAYTON
Sarah, bed time.

She protests.

SARAH
Im not done.

CLAYTON
Ill finish. Upstairs.

With a slight moan, she marches out of the kitchen.

EXT. BACK YARD, CLAYTONS HOUSE--NIGHT

Clayton sits upon a picnic table, his beer at his side and a pair of binoculars in his hands. All is silent but the sounds of crickets and distant birds. The sky is full of stars. He occasionally swaps his beer with the binoculars.

SARAH surprises him.

SARAH (O.S.)
Why do always look at stars?

Clayton, surprised, watches her jump up onto the table and sit down next to him.

CLAYTON
Why arent you in bed?

SARAH
Its Friday.

A beat.

CLAYTON
I didnt know that.

SARAH
I know, thats how I got you into finishing the dishes.

Clayton hands her the binoculars and grabs his beer. Whispers under his breath.

CLAYTON
Smart-ass.

SARAH continues to peer up through the binoculars, pointing towards an unusually bright star.

SARAH
Whats that one?

Clayton looks up.

CLAYTON
That, is Polaris. At the end of the big dipper.

He makes the constellation with his finger, then, pointing to a deep reddish celestial object.

CLAYTON
And that-
(beat)
-is Mars. Its closer to us right now than itll be for a thousand years.

There is a long silence; the words hang in the air. SARAH puts down the binoculars, her voice quiet and serene. Clayton stares into space.

SARAH
You never answered my question.

CLAYTON
What question?

SARAH
Why do you look at stars so much?

Clayton obviously doesnt know how to respond. He takes a sip of beer, tips his baseball cap, and looks into the distance.

CLAYTON
Because stars never go anywhere.

SARAH looks at him quizzically.

CLAYTON
Unlike good times, or people, like your mother-
(beat)
-no matter what happens, they always just keep shining down, never going away, never changing place.

SARAH, looking to the sky.

SARAH
That ones moving.

Feeling stupid and flashing a questionable look, he grabs the binoculars from SARAH.

CLAYTON
Let me see that.

He looks to the heavens.

P.O.V. CLAYTON:

THROUGH BINOCULARS. A lone star, brighter than all the rest, moves slowly through the atmosphere, with a trail of majestic blue flame, like a comet.

CLAYTON
Huh, I dont know.

He takes the binoculars down. The object is clearly visible without telescopic lenses. Clayton, SARAH keep their eyes up.

SARAH
Is it a meteor?

Clayton stands up, uses the binoculars.

CLAYTON
I dont think so.

As quickly as it appeared, it is gone blending in with the other stars. Clayton puts down the binoculars, but keeps his view to the sky. He glances curiously, a distilled look upon his face, at SARAH, who shrugs.

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. CLAYTONS BEDROOM--MORNING

An alarm clock is blaring. Clayton reaches over, awakened from his sleep, and shuts it off. Sleepily, he stares at the ceiling, and then looks around, puzzled, for some reason.

INT. KITCHEN--CLAYTONS HOUSE--MORNING

Clayton enters groggily, Sarah sits at the table eating eggs and bacon, a mess if left by the stove. Clayton, first to stove, then Sarah.

CLAYTON
Wheres mine?

He sits down next to her.

SARAH
You werent up in time.

Groggily, looking around.

CLAYTON
Well what time is it?

SLYVIA
8:30.

He tries to grab a piece of Sarahs bacon but she pokes him with the fork. He gets up, towards the stove.

CLAYTON
Alright, Ill get my own.

He turns on the electric burner and sits. Then, noticing the absence of...anything, messes with the dials, all in vein. Curiously, he goes over to a light switch and flicks it on. Nothing. Violently flicks it, still nothing.

SARAH
Whats wrong?

CLAYTON
(distant)
Powers out.

SARAH
It wasnt five minutes ago.

There is a pause, Clayton stands still, frozen, listening. Beat.

CLAYTON
You hear that?

EXT. HOUSE FRONT--MORNING

Clayton opens the front door to his house and peers outside.

WIDE SHOT: Townspeople have flooded the streets, marching towards the forest in the b.g. like a parade. Chatter is going on everywhere, barely any coherent.

Clayton runs down the stairs to his house and grabs Sanchez, who has joined the crowd. We see SARAH stick her head out the door in the b.g.

CLAYTON
(to Sanchez)
Hey!

SANCHEZ
(surprised)
Hey, Mr. F.

CLAYTON
Whats going on? Wheres everybody going?

Sanchez answers.

SANCHEZ
Man, I dont know. Powers out everywhere, aint nothing working, cars, phones. Im just following everybody to the woods, something about a meteor.

CLAYTON
A meteor?

Sanchez hesitates and smiles, not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

SANCHEZ
Yeah, I knew youd like that, we in astrogaphy class, right?

Sanchez gets caught in the crowd, leaving Clayton behind, staring into the distance, puzzled. He looks down at his watch.

FOCUS ON:

His watch has stopped ticking.

INT. LIVING ROOM--CLAYTONS HOUSE--MORNING

SARAH sits reading in the sunlight. Clayton enters, grabs a pullover sweater and a baseball cap.

SARAH
(concerned)
Where are you going?

Clayton looks through cluttered drawers in a nearby desk, looking for something.

CLAYTON
(preoccupied)
I dont know. But I need you to stay here for a little while.

She protests.

SARAH
Whats going on?

Clayton pulls a small disposable camera from the drawer and slams it shut, standing erect.

CLAYTON
Im going to find out.

EXT. TOWN STREETS--MORNING

Clayton pockets his camera and plunges into the crowd. Unlike most people who are casually walking along and chatting, he is rushing, in an almost rude fashion, through the parade, pushing people aside like a football player. He attempts futilely to cover his rudeness with near-indistinct sorrys and excuse mes.

EXT. JENKINS FARM--DAY

Finally, Clayton reaches the end of the parade. On the edge of the town is a farm, and in the field, not more than a football fields distance from the silo and barn, is en enormous METEOR. It is stuck in the ground, half-buried; the part sticking up is about thirty-feet tall. Strangely, it doesnt appear to be solid rock, but a strange, silvery-rock covered in dust and debris, creating the illusion of a meteorite.

There is police tape all around the perimeter of the meteor, and several POLICEMEN, but no police cars.

CLAYTON rushes to the front of the crowd, along the police tape, about a hundred feet from the enormous object. He takes out his disposable camera and aims for a picture.

Suddenly, he looks into the distance, and sees someone he recognizes.

FOCUS ON:

SHERIFF OGILVY, taller, older than Clayton, talks indistinctly in the distance with a deputy.

Clayton shouts.

CLAYTON
Ogilvy!

Sheriff Ogilvy looks around, then, spotting Clayton walks over to him. They shake hands.

SHERIFF OGILVY
Speak of the devil, I was just wondering when the best scientist in town was going to show up.

He waves Clayton on. Clayton ducks under the police tape and follows Ogilvy towards the meteor.

CLAYTON
You could of called someone.

SHERIFF OGILVY
Couldnt, all the phones are down, weve got no communication with any other division or military installment.

Ogilvys tone turns dim as both men stop, just a few feet from the meteor, staring up at its mysteriousness and majesty.

SHERIFF OGILVY (CONT)
Its like being trapped.

The words linger. Clayton reaches up and tries to snap a picture with the camera, but to no avail. He examines it.

SHERIFF OGILVY
Thats fired too, huh? Tell me, Clayton, what in the world could fry up every gizmo in this here town?

Long beat. Clayton himself isnt sure. After he doesnt answer, Ogilvy realizes.

SHERIFF OGILVY
You dont know, either, huh?

They walk around to the other side of the meteor, there appears to be a large pit surrounding it, like a crater. Clayton and Ogilvy watch as two DEPUTIES, shirts off and sweating profusely, stand inside the pit, digging at the surface of the meteor.

They stop and watch.

SHERIFF OGILVY
Yeah, weve had people down there all day, wed be alot faster if we had some damn caterpillars, but the damn things are fried, too.

One of the diggers looks up, looking miserable.

DIGGER
Sure is hot down here.

Ogilvy shows little sympathy.

SHERIFF OGILVY
Another hour and Ill get you an aquafina-

Ogilvy waves Clayton over a post sticking out of the ground from a fence that has long been removed. Both men lean down near it, examining it.

SHERIFF OGILVY
Youve got to take a look at this.

There appears to be a RED WEED, like an ivy vine of a deep, blood red, wrapped around the post, coming from underground. Claytons eyes show of deep thought, now, as he stares at the red vine.

SHERIFF OGILVY
Found it this morning, after Mr. Jenkins told us about a meteor on his farm.

Clayton reaches out and touches the vine. Both jump back as the vine suddenly pulsates violently, apparently in response to Claytons touch.

SHERIFF OGILVY
Is it alive?

CLAYTON
Well, it looks like a plant, and plants are alive.

He then grabs a piece of the vine and rips it off from the rest. Pulling it to his face, it instantly turns a dark purple and shrivels like a slug.

SHERIFF OGILVY
You killed it.

They look back to the damaged vine wrapped around the fence post. In an instant, the vine grows right before their eyes, snaking its way towards to part Clayton ripped off and fixes itself. Then stops, remains still.

SHERIFF OGILVY
(quietly)
Yup, thats sure as hell alive.

The men look to each other.

In the b.g. we hear a loud CLUNK. Chatter erupts from the crowd as Ogilvy and Clayton rush over to the pit, where the two diggers look up at them, a guilty look upon their faces.

DIGGER
I mustve hit it by mistake.

SHERIFF OGILVY
Well do it again!

Puzzled, the digger hesitates, then slams the end of his shovel into the wall of the meteor, creating once again a loud, metallic clunk.

Police and others look on curiously as something strange starts to happen. A mechanical humming can be heard coming from inside the meteor. Claytons eyes widen. Looks to Ogilvy.

CLAYTON
This isnt a meteor.

SHERIFF OGILVY
Say what?

More certain.

CLAYTON
This size, wouldve made a crater, and the sound, it sounds hollow.

The mechanical humming continues as Ogilvy, convinced it is a meteor, looks at Clayton like hes a nut. Clayton doesnt pay attention to this and slips over the lip of the small pit and falls into place near the diggers. He then rushes over to the edge of the meteor, and slowly, ever slowly touches it.

He pulls it away in an instant.

DIGGER
Should of warned you it was hot.

Clayton isnt listening too intently; he grabs on the diggers shirts (which are lying about, diggers had taken them off due to the heat) and wraps it around his hand. Then, more quickly than before, rips away pieces of dust and mud from the meteor to eventually reveal a slick metal surface.

Taking a step back, everyone gasps.

Clayton climbs out of the pit and stands next to Ogilvy. The humming suddenly stops.

WIDE SHOT: Clayton and Ogilvy in the shadow of the meteor. This is the first time we can truly appreciate its immensity.

CLAYTON
Thats not a meteor.

INT. KITCHEN--CLAYTONS HOUSE--NIGHT

Clayton sets down a plate of spaghettios in front of Sarah. It is dark, and the only light comes from a small candle in the middle of the table. Clayton sits down, too.

SARAH looks concerned, doesnt touch her plate. Clayton, on the other hand scarfs down his hastily.

SARAH
Whats in it?

Referring to the object/meteor.

CLAYTON
I dont know.

SARAH
Are they people?

CLAYTON
I dont know.

Beat.

SARAH
Are they aliens?

There is a long beat. Clayton stops chewing and thinks. He doesnt answer and finally goes back to his food. SARAH, at long last, takes a bite of hers.

SARAH
Its cold.

CLAYTON
(preoccupied)
We cant cook with no power.

SARAH
Im scared of the dark.

CLAYTON
(preoc)
Thats why we have candles.

SARAH
When are the lights coming back on?

Clayton erupts, slams his fists on the tabletop.

CLAYTON
Thats enough!

On queue, the lights flicker back on, illuminating the kitchen. The clock on the wall starts moving again and the television set can be heard blaring in the living room.

Clayton stares at SARAH.

CLAYTON
(quietly)
Its bed time.

SARAH feels her head.

SARAH
My heads hot.

CLAYTON
Well, well get you some medicine.

He gets up.

CLAYTON
Bed time.

Exits. SARAH looks a bit more pale than usual.

EXT. JENKINS FARM--NIGHT

The meteor sits still, deserted now. A flashlight beam pierces the area; it is Sanchez and Phillip. They sneak behind a bush near the meteor and stare at its majesty.

PHILLIP
Whats inside, yo.

SANCHEZ
I dont know, come on.

Sanchez lurches up and starts towards the pit surrounding the meteor. Phillip, hesitantly, follows. Near the meteor, Sanchez shines the light upon it to reveal that much of the dust and debris has fallen off, revealing the shiny metallic surface underneath.

PHILLIP
Whoa.

Sanchez smiles and picks up a rock, then hurls it at the meteor. It hits with a clank, surprising Phillip.

PHILLIP
Hey, man, watch out!

SANCHEZ
Dont worry about it.

Suddenly, the strange mechanical humming heard before re-enters our ears. Both Phillip and Sanchez look around nervously.

SANCHEZ
Whats that?

Then, atop the meteor, something happens. A snake-like flexible mechanical tentacle emerges from the top, a camera lens-like large head mounted to the top. It shakes off some dust and appears to look around the perimeter.

Phillip, nervous.

PHILLIP
(quietly)
What the hell is that thing?

Sanchez shakes his head. The snake-like tentacle then stops, spotting the two men, and extends downward. Phillip and Sanchez back off, but only to be greeted by this snake-like tentacle face-to-face. It examines them, like a doctor examines a patient.

PHILLIP
(quiet, scared)
What is it doing?

Sanchez, visibly shaken, shakes his head. After a few beats, the tentacle shrinks back near the top and stands completely stiff, aimed at the two men.

There is a long, awkward silence accompanied only by the chirping of nearby crickets.

PHILLIP
Whats it doing?

ZAP!

In less than a second, a beam of white light emits from the tentacles head, turning Phillip into a mere cloud of dust, his clothes floating to Earth.

Sanchez looks horrified, and starts to run.

As he runs, he isnt zapped, but the tentacle extends and wraps around him like a boa constrictor and pulls him quickly into the ship. We are left with the loud sound of intense, terrified screaming.

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. CLAYTONS BEDROOM--NIGHT

The scream still ushers in the distance, faint. Clayton awakens abruptly as if from a bad dream, his heart beating on rapid fire, his breaths short and panicky.

CUT TO:

Moments later, he is rummaging around his bedroom, getting dressed.

EXT. CLAYTONS HOUSE FRONT--NIGHT

Clayton exits and runs down the stairs, only to be approached by Ogilvys police car, his windows down.

OGILVY
(through windows)
You heard it, too, huh?

Clayton stares. Ogilvy opens the passenger door.

OGILVY
Come on, Jenkins place.

EXT. JENKINS FARM--NIGHT

The scene is familiar.

Ogilvys car pulls up to the meteor and stops. Both men get out.

CLAYTON
Keep the lights on.

Ogilvy does so, and walks over to join Clayton. He steps on something unusual and looks down.

OGILVY
What the hell?

Clayton looks down, too.

All over the ground surrounding about 20 feet around the meteor is the mysterious red weed, growing like ivy.

CLAYTON
It mustve come from the meteor.

Ogilvy is awkwardly trying to step around the pulsating plants..

OGILVY
Yeah, no shit.

Clayton then spots something and rushes over to it, the red weed crunching beneath him. Ogilvy follows more carefully.

Leaning down a few feet away, we see Clayton examining on the ground what appear to be articles of clothing. They seem to be in good condition, but covered in a strange white dust, like ash. Ogilvy looks down over his shoulder.

OGILVY
Clothes?

CLAYTON
(distant)
Yeah.

OGILVY
Huh...damn kids mustve thought it be a funny joke.

Ogilvy walks around examining the are in the b.g., while Clayton remains frozen in fear, holding the clothes of a dead man in his hand. He then drops the shirt and looks at his hands, covered in white dust, curiosity dominates his face.

And then comes the mysterious mechanical humming.

Both men look at the object from which it has arisen with curious eyes. Suddenly, the snake-like tentacle rises once again from its hiding place inside the meteor.

OGILVY
What in the world?

Clayton is frozen. Ogilvy is more enthusiastic.

The tentacle dips down and examines Ogilvy, ignoring Clayton, for the most part, and gently nudges him. Ogilvy taps the camera-like head, chuckling.

OGILVY
Weird looking critter, aint you.

Clayton looks back down at his hands, covered in the white dust. His breathing becomes much, much heavier as he realizes whats going on and clenches his fist, small tears running down his face.

He looks up at Ogilvy, who seems to be enjoying his visit with the tentacle. He speaks, under his breath, gritting his teeth, in as cautious a tone as one can imagine.

CLAYTON
Ogilvy...run...

Ogilvy looks over at Clayton, the tentacle retracts off-screen.

CLAYTON
I said...run.

Ogilvy casts a look of confusion.

OGILVY
Say what?

ZAP!

From off screen, a flash of laser-light strikes Ogilvy as he explodes in a cloud of ashes, just as Phillip before him. Clayton doesnt waste any time; he darts for the car.

As he runs, a burst of laser narrowly misses him and the Earth behind him erupts in cloud of dirt and dust. He rolls, and amidst the chaos manages to jump into the car. He starts it and floors the gas pedal. The car narrowly escapes another blast from the heat ray and strikes a cow instead, shattering it into ash, much to the dismay of other cows.

The car speeds off down the road, and the object starts to move out of the pit/

EXT. CLAYTONS HOUSE FRONT--DAWN

Ogilvys car pulls up and stops in the driveway.

INT. LIVING ROOM--CLAYTONS HOUSE--DAWN

SARAH lays on the couch, covered with a blanket, a half-empty bowl of chicken soup sits on the coffee table. A cartoon show plays on the television.

Clayton enters, looking petrified.

SARAH
Where were you?

He doesnt answer, he walks to a chair and sits down, his face sweaty and pale with fear. SARAH picks up a nearby thermometer.

SYVLIA
My temperatures up.

Something is noticeably troubling Clayton, SARAH picks up on this.

SARAH
Whats wrong?

Beat.

Clayton dismally looks down at his hand, covered in the white ash that was once a human being. He quickly stands up and brushes it off hastily. He points at SARAH.

CLAYTON
Get up, were going.

He walks about, grabs a backpack, and starts stuffing random things inside.

SYVLIA
Why?

CLAYTON
Ask questions later.

His voice is shaky and hurried.

SARAH
Where are we going?

EXT. STREETS--FRONT OF CLAYTONS HOUSE--DAWN

Clayton, with SARAH by his side, bursts from his house and power-walks towards Ogilvys car. His face is petrified, determined. The streets, besides the normal morning-goers, are relatively quiet and calm.

SARAH notices Ogilvys car.

SARAH
Thats not our car.

CLAYTON
Its faster.

SARAH looks at Claytons SUV in the driveway.

SARAH
Thats a police car.

CLAYTON
Its Uncle Ogilvys car.

Beat, SARAH looks around.

SARAH
Where is he?

Beat.

Clayton opens the passenger door and throws the bag inside.

CLAYTON
Get it.

SARAH
But-

Clayton slams his fist on the car roof and stares at her. SARAH doesnt protest any longer, she jumps in the car. Clayton takes a look around, then hops in.

CUT TO:

EXT. GROCERY STORE--DAY

Ogilvys car pulls up to a small convenience store and pulls hastily into a handicap space.

SARAH (O.S.)
You cant park here.

Clayton ignores her and gets out.

CLAYTON
Stay put.

INT. GROCERY STORE--DAY

It is peaceful. Citizens are lined up with their orders as an ELDERLY CASHIER moves slowly through scanning items. Clayton looks around and rudely grabs several bags of chips and sodas from the shelves, and gets in line. His head shifts nervously as the elderly cashier seems to be moving even slower.

CLAYTON
(nervously)
Can we hurry it up-
(lower)
-please?

Everyone gives him an awkward glance, then turn back to their waiting.

INT. OGILVYS CAR--DAWN

Syvlia buckles in. Clayton starts the car and throws his bag of groceries in the back seat, when we hear BECKS VOICE outside.

BECK (O.S.)
Hey, Forrester!

Beck, an older neighbor, approaches the drivers side window, grasping a newspaper. Clayton stares at him, rolls the window down.

BECK
Hey Forrester, where the hells your brother, Ive been trying to call him all morning to report a scream last night. You hear it, it was as loud as...

Clayton interrupts.

CLAYTON
Beck!

BECK
Whats going on, Clayton?

They see something. Clayton looks over Becks shoulder as he continues to talk near-indistinctly.

BECK
You know I know youre close with your brother but Ive been having some complaints about the police force around here, theyre late...

He keeps on.

In the b.g., Clayton stares, as we see a beautiful shot of something moving up over the trees. It is enormous, and goes unnoticed by Beck. The main bulk rises above the canopy line, and we see that it is a titanic tripod machine, shaking back and forth, ridding itself of the dust.

FOCUS ON:

Claytons eyes widen.

SARAH seems to be falling asleep in the seat.

Beck continues to talk sporadically as the window suddenly rolls up. Beck, looking appalled, taps on the window.

BECK
Hey, thats awfully rude of you Forrester.

SARAH
Dad, what are you doing?

EXT. STREETS--FRONT OF CLAYTONS HOUSE--DAWN

The car speeds off down the street, leaving Beck standing stupidly on the street, his arms open, appalled. Suddenly, he is vaporized from a laser beam. The giant Martian-tripod steps into the street and immediately takes to zapping every house in sight.

INT. OGILVYS CAR--DAWN

As the car races down the street, SARAH looks back at the giant Martian-tripod setting fire to every building sight. She screams.

Clayton careens the car through the streets.

CLAYTON
SARAH, Im gonna need you to stay calm for me baby.

SARAH
Oh my, God, oh my, God!

She breathes heavily and sits deep in the seat, panting, holding her heart.

CLAYTON
SARAH, stay brave, sweetheart.

EXT. TOWN SQUARE--DAY

Moments later, Ogilvys car pulls into an intersection near the large church. People walk about their business as usual, not suspecting a giant Martian-tripod is only blocks away.

The car stops at a traffic light, unable to get around the traffic.

SARAH looks around, panicky.

SARAH
Whyd we stop? Whyd we stop?!

Suddenly, people look to the sky as the huge Martian-tripod machine rises above the buildings, the snake-like tentacle above the main part acting as its eye, scanning the fleeing people above.

Some people stop and stare, others flee. The tripod starts to lift one of its legs and steps over a row of buildings, onto an SUV that a couple had recently fled to.

The giant machine stands over the streets, looking down at the people below. At its gull height, it stands at least 75-feet tall, not counting the snake-like appendage above.

The church, several people are fleeing into it, many are looking out from the windows, standing at the doorway looking up at the metal behemoth. It becomes quiet, very quiet, as unsuspecting people stare up to the sky in wonder.

INT. OGILVYS CAR--DAY

Clayton looks up at the metal monster as the people in front of him exit their cars to join the crowd staring up, blocking his way across the intersection. He rolls down the window to address the exiting people.

CLAYTON
(yelling)
Hey, hey, get back in your cars, move!

They dont listen, they cant when a loud, droning roar ushering from the tripod seems to overshadow every other sound in the world.

It is then Clayton notices a path along the sidewalk, leading around the traffic. He looks to SARAH, who is shaking and biting her nails.

CLAYTON
Hold on.

EXT. TOWN SQUARE--DAY

Just then, a super-charged laser shoots from the snake-like appendage of the tripod, torching the church, transforming it from a beautiful structure into a mere cloud of smoke and ash.

Ogilvys car takes off around the sidewalk, amidst the fleeing people and takes off down the streets.

INT. OGILVYS CAR--DAY

The car speeds at full speed. Sarah crouches in the seat terrified. Clayton looks in the rearview mirror.

P.O.V. THROUGH MIRROR:

In the b.g., on the streets, people are vaporized left and right. The Martians show no mercy, women, children, anybody and everybody are zapped into nothingness.

EXT. TOWN SQUARE--DAY

It is chaos. People explode in mid-stride. A car is smashed under one of the three-toed feet of the tripod. Fire chases along the roof of the buildings. Not everybody is zapped, some are picked up with series of other snake-like tentacles and sucked into the main part (head) of the tripod.

EXT. TOWN BRIDGE--DAY

REVERSE ANGLE, CHASING. Ogilvys car speeds out of the town, a gas station stands next to the bridge. In the b.g., the Martian-tripod fires a laser beam at the gas station, it explodes in a cloud of flame, destroying the cars and incinerating customers.

We see SARAH scream from inside the car.

PAN UP.

The car speeds across the bridge and onto a windy road.

A sign on the road reads:

GREENSBORO 12

In the b.g., the Martian tripod continues its destruction.

EXT. MOUNTAIN ROAD--DAY

Ogilvys car speeds along a windy, mountain road, obviously in a hurry. Another, less hurried car passes by and is almost run off the road, much to the dismay of the driver, as evidenced by the honking and yelling.

INT. OGILVYS CAR--DAY

Clayton looks back at the other car.

CLAYTON
Hey youre going the wrong way! Youre going the wrong-

He turns back to the wheel, giving up.

SARAH sits hunched in the seat, crying uncontrollably. As he drives.

CLAYTON
SARAH, I need to stop crying sweetheart. SARAH, SARAH, listen.

She tries to stop, sniffles.

CLAYTON
Were going to go to get help. You understand? Were going to be fine.

SARAH stops crying, stares into the distance.

CLAYTON
Hey, you going to be okay?

Clayton looks.

EXT. GREENSBORO--DAY

WIDE SHOT:

Greensboro sits as Saltsburg did once before, but more industrialized, with a mall in the b.g. Only unlike Saltsburg, which was quaint and peaceful, Greensboro is bustling with life, most of it-military.

Dark green hummers and military vans are everywhere, as are soldiers running about and directing the flow of hundreds of people, apparently refugees. It is a jumbled mess of bodies, all wanting to go places, but being ordered to go to others. There are tents and satellites everywhere.

FOCUS ON:

On tourist walks around spotting a video camera. An MP spots him.

MP
Im gonna need you to put that away, sir!

FOCUS ON:

COLLINS, an MP (military police), sees Ogilvys police car pull up to the edge of the make-shift military base. He reads the number on the side of the police car and starts looking through a sheet of what appear to be records.

The car stops.

INT. OGILVYS CAR--DAY

Clayton looks around.

Collins comes up to the window as Clayton rolls it down.

COLLINS
Sheriff Ogilvy Forrester?

Hesitant.

CLAYTON
No, no my names Clayton, Im his brother.

Collins gives him a curious look.

COLLINS
Then-

He realizes, glances at SARAH.

COLLINS
Im very sorry.

Another MP comes over to Collins and talks to him indistinctly, off camera. SARAH speaks, her voice full of what were once tears.

SARAH
Wheres Uncle Ogilvy?

Clayton grasps her head and kisses it, she cries. Collins comes back to the window.

COLLINS
Were not allowing any vehicles through. Ive been asked to escort you down to a safe house.

Clayton looks at him, a beat.

COLLINS
We have to leave now, sir.

EXT. GREENSBORO--DAY

Clayton, SARAH exit. They follow Collins through the thinning crowd of people, navigating a street. As they wade through people.

COLLINS
(preoc)
Damn things started popping up everywhere. New York, Jersey, LA. Power went out everywhere, and fried the computers in most of our choppers, thats why weve been limited to old hummers and tanks.

They reach a town hall-like building. They stop at the entrance.

CLAYTON
Hey!

Collins turns.

CLAYTON
Has anyone else come from Saltsburg?

Beat.

COLLINS
Youre the first.

He opens the door.

INT. TOWN HALL-DAY

Clayton, SARAH, Collins enter.

It is packed. People line the walls, military police try to explain the situation to impatient citizens, many futilely. A SPOILED WOMAN argues next to an MP.

SPOILED WOMAN
There isnt even any heat in this building I was much happier back at my house.

MP
Mam, we have order-

It tapers off.

COLLINS
Were keeping everybody here for a while, prepping some ferries up north to take everyone up to Pittsburgh.

Beat. Clayton looks around.

COLLINS
Any questions, just ask an MP.

Collins exits. Clayton looks around nervously, his hand grasped firmly to Sarah's. They walk over to a stand serving various snack foods. He grabs and handful of chips, holds them to SARAH.

CLAYTON
Eat.

SARAH
Im not hungry.

Sighing, almost angrily.

CLAYTON
Sarah, Im not going to argue.

She takes a bite, they move down along a makeshift buffet table, Clayton hastily grabs at different selections. They reach the end of the table and come face-to-face with a heavy set woman, putting on make-up. Clayton tosses her an awkward look, and moves on.

By a corner, Clayton finds a near-empty corner table, with one man sitting at it. Clayton, Sarah, stop before him. A reverend sits solemnly at the table. Looks up at Clayton and Sarah.

REVEREND
Its okay, really.

They sit down near him, Clayton lets the food fall to the tabletop.

CLAYTON
Eat.

Sarah remains frozen.

CLAYTON
(whisper)
Now.

Hesitantly, she picks up potato chips and cookies and nibbles. The reverend laughs slightly, he looks drunken, beat up, exhausted.

REVEREND
Youve seen them.

Clayton looks.

REVEREND
The machines, youve seen them?

Nods.

REVEREND
Ive heard them talking-

He signals towards a few military police chatting amongst themselves.

REVEREND
Machines, killing most people, taking some.

Claytons eyes widen. The reverend takes another sip of whatever it is hes drinking.

REVEREND
I bet it was terrible.

Beat.

CLAYTON
(slowly)
You have no idea.

Another beat.

REVEREND
Some people are scared, others in denial. They dont know what this is, but I know what this is.

Clayton focuses tighter, intrigued. Another, long beat, as the reverend chuckles a little. He looks at Clayton, meets his eyes.

REVEREND
No one would have believed in these first few years of the 21st century, that this world has been watched by intelligences greater than our own.

He breaks his gaze and stares into the distance.

REVEREND
As man, busied themselves among their various concerns, we were being watched, scrutinized, studied, just as we study organisms under a microscope. In these troubling times, we have to ask ourselves one very, very important question...

Long beat. He looks back to Clayton, who is now deeply focused.

REVEREND
Are we, or they, the lords of the world?

The mood has become quieter, the lights suddenly go out.

Chatter erupts in the darkness, as only small streams of dusks daylight fall in through the windows. After a few moments, it calms down. Military Police yell over the chattering crowd.

MP
Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, we are having minor technical problems, we ask that you remain calm...

The reverends voice overshadows the voice of the MP.

REVEREND
I know what this is, this isnt an invasion, this, my friend, is the rapture. These machines werent sent from another planet, not from Mars, or space, they were sent from hell.

Clayton looks at him. The reverend stands up, brushes off.

REVEREND
And when my time comes, Ill be ready to depart.

He walks away.

Clayton watches as the reverend walks off screen. He looks down to see that Sarah has fallen asleep by his side. He embraces her, his eyes close.

FADE TO: BLACK.

EXT. GREENSBORO--NIGHT

Establishing.

Calm, military police fall sleep on patrol. The town hall rests silently.

INT. TOWN HALL--NIGHT

We creep along the floor, it is like someone took an Uzi to the building, with people lying asleep everywhere in various positions and places.

In the corner, Clayton lays on the corner booth cushion, Sarah by his side.

FOCUS ON:

His face twitches, his eyes open slowly.

Something, he notices something on his leg. He moves his head around, trying not to wake Sarah, and reaches down. His breath deepens as he realizes that some of the red weed, or vine, from before on JENKINS FARM has wrapped itself around his shoe. Quietly panicking, he sits up, producing a sleepy moan from Sarah. He rips the red weed off his shoe and hurtles it to the ground, where it writhes around like a worm.

He sits up, and looks around.

P.O.V. CLAYTON:

People are sleeping everywhere, like a big target for the aliens.

He realizes this, holds Sarah in front of him and whispers hurriedly.

CLAYTON
Sarah, Sarah, were leaving.

Sarahs voice is louder, groggy.

SARAH
Why?

Clayton holds his finger to his lips as people wiggle about, twitching sleepily.

CLAYTON
Shh!
(looks around)
Quietly, follow me.

They head towards the exit, stepping over sleeping bodies.

FOCUS ON:

In the corner of the room, the red weed grows from a crack in the wall like ivy.

EXT. TOWN HALL--GREENSBORO--DAWN

The dawn is not orange, but a faint, dim blue.

Military Police scramble about, as in a panic. Clayton and Sarah exit the town hall at the end of the street, it is like a main street, from the top of the stairs they have a clear view of the end of the street where the military has set up the barrier.

SARAH
Whats going on?

CLAYTON
I dont know.

A soldier runs by and grabs Claytons arm.

SOLDIER
(panicked)
I need you to go back inside, sir.

Clayton stands still.

SOLDIER
Sir?!

He stares, the soldier gives up and runs to join the others. The town hall door opens and people from inside file out to stare.

RANDOM PERSON
Whats happening out here?

EXT. BARRIER--GREENSBORO--DAWN

Soldiers line up, many kneel down with rifles in hand, aiming at the trees on the hill in the b.g. One lieutenant stands up, shouting.

LIEUTENANT
Come on, lets move!

Several soldiers come running over to the barrier of hummers wielding a large rocket launcher. They place it down and aim it towards the trees.

LIEUTENANT
Fire, fire!

In an instant, a shell rockets from the launcher and explodes into the trees beyond, setting them ablaze. Smoke billows from the damaged forestry as soldiers brace themselves and the sound from the rocket tapers off into the sound of burning leaves.

LIEUTENANT
Hold it! Hold your fire!

There is a long silence as everyone watches methodically the tree line. Then, something...

Slowly, the burnt trees start to slowly oscillate and sway as suddenly, slowly, a huge Martian tripod emerges from the foliage, apparently undamaged.

Everyone stares.

EXT. TOWN HALL--GREENSBORO--DAWN

Sarah clutches Claytons arm.

SARAH
(scared)
Daddy...

EXT. BARRIER--GREENSBORO--DAWN

Soldiers stare, many are in awe, one in particular is shaking with fear.

The Martian tripods head rotates on the three metal legs as it looks down upon the people below. Then, it lets out a loud, mechanical low-toned roar.

For the most part, it is a stalemate; the tripod isnt firing, and neither are the soldiers.

FOCUS ON:

The shaking soldier starts hyperventilating and accidentally pulls the trigger.

The bullet sparks upon the metal of the Martian tripod. All eyes turn towards the soldier, as suddenly, a mechanical droning echoes from the tripod, when suddenly the snake-like tentacle emerges from the head and seems to look down at the soldiers.

There is a long quiet beat, when suddenly...

ZAP!

From behind the barrier, a laser fires into the crowd of soldiers, exploding a hummer, causing people to scatter like roaches.

EXT. GREENSBORO--ALL-DAWN

WIDE SHOT.

Another Martian tripod is standing behind the town hall. It, along with the other in front of the barrier, are firing lasers at the crowd and sucking up others with random mechanical appendages.

EXT. TOWN HALL-GREENSBORO--DAWN

Clayton grabs Sarah and takes off down the stairs, just in time to avoid a laser fire. He takes off into the crowd of soldiers and randomly vaporizing citizens.

The SPOILED WOMAN from inside looks up at the tripod just nearly above her head.

SPOILED WOMAN
Holy-

Before she can finish she is vaporized into oblivion.

EXT. GREENSBORO--ALL--DAWN

It is total chaos.

Clayton grasps Sarah as she screams. Gun fire and laser fire is reigns all around. In the b.g., a soldier, firing a weapon, is picked up by on of the gripping tentacles of the tripod, it throws him into the air, producing a scream, while the other tripod zaps him in mid flight. His body explodes, but his uniform flaps downward.

Clayton runs past a fallen soldier and jumps over him, not paying attention, but Sarah is.

SARAH
Daddy!

He looks up and jumps back as the foot of one of the giant tripods slams down in front of him. He and Sarah, along with a few other people, are directly below the tripod, looking up at its bottom.

Suddenly, several mechanical tentacles fire downward and wrap around several people, pulling them up into the machine. And, to our horror, one of the tentacles wraps around Claytons leg. He trips over it, dropping a screaming Sarah. On the ground, he immediately grabs the rifle of a fallen soldier before him.

SARAH
Daddy!

The tentacle starts to pull Clayton up as he takes the rifle and shoots at it, causing it to snap and drop him.

CLAYTON
Come on!

He grabs Sarah and runs for a nearby alley.

A FEW HUNDRED YARDS AWAY, the Reverend is simply walking among the screaming, panicking, burning people. He is walking slowly towards a tripod, which almost appears to be taking pleasure in torching the people around it. He has one hand up, his palm facing out, and the other gripped around a bible on his side.

He stops before on the of the tripods, which looks down at him.

A beat, the chaos seems to cease for a moment.

REVEREND
I shall fear no evil, as I-

A mechanical droning ushers from the tripod as the snake-like appendage focuses in on the reverend. He gulps, and is blasted into nothingness. His clothes flutter to the ground, as does the bible, the pages charred.

EXT. ALLEY--GREENSBORO--DAWN

Clayton runs down the alley carrying Sarah. In the b.g., we see a Martian tripod walk by, carelessly zapping people into dust. They run to a dumpster, Clayton puts down Sarah and opens the top.

SARAH
Im not getting in there!

Just then, a group of people come running down the street, the Martian tripod looks their way.

Clayton quickly picks up Sarah and jumps into the dumpster with her.

INT. DUMPSTER--DAWN

Clayton covers Sarah with his body and slams the door shut. Through the cracks in the side, we can see blasts of light as the people outside are incinerated and zapped.

FOCUS ON:

The laser zapping outside keeps Claytons face alit as he breathes frantically, before finally, it ceases, and we see but pitch black.

EXT. GREENSBORO--MAIN STREET--DAY

The smoke clears slowly, revealing a grisly scene: buildings are cracked and demolished, tanks, jeeps crushed, charred roadways and walls. The trees all around the town are burnt, many still on fire.

>>>

/ War of the Worlds.
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