Hey people, so here’s another instalment of FIRST PAGES; that thing I do where I put up the first pages of a screenplay I wrote, could be spec, could be stuff that’s actually been made, could be stuff I’m trying to make.
As usual, check this one out and let me know what exactly you think of it.
I’m still trying to sort out the kinks of making it appear on the web in the same formatting one would see it on screenwriting software or an exported pdf file so please bear with me if in the process there’s a couple typos or formatting inconsistencies, enjoy
EXT. DUSTY ROADSIDE. DAY
A child’s feet, fast and unsteady is seen as it scurries past.
The feet, devoid of footwear, continues running.
higher up we see the owner of the running feet, up to her
abdomen, in a dress. Her running slows, as if she’s reached
her destination. Her mother I.J’s voice rings out!
we see Chisom, not more than four, run the last five feet to
clutch at her mother who quickly holds the child at arm’s
Lekwa nwata nka, e choro e ma aja
(Look at this child, is she trying to stain me with sand?)
Chisom continues reaching for her mother who quickly sends
two slaps on Chisom’s sand stained hands.
Chisom begins to cry mildly
(REPEATEDLY PECKS CHISOM)
Hey, is it because of that small
thing you’re crying? Chi chi, nwa
Chisom keeps crying, ignoring her mother’s coos and displays
Oya sorry oh, ok what do you want?
Chisom raises up her hands indicating that she wants to be
I.J (FEIGNS SURPRISE)
Mu, kuru gi? Gi bu chisom? Si gini?
You will not stain me with that
your dirty clothes biko.
Chisom is on the verge of renewed tears.
Ngwa ne ihe anyi ga eme,(Okay here’s what we’ll do) first
person to reach the…
Chisom is off without waiting for the rest of her mother’s statement.
I.J takes chase after her daughter, not without readjusting
the scarf on her neck and feeling for the sunshades in her
newly coiffed hair, a healthy laughter escaping her throat
as she gives chase to her daughter.
EXT. URBAN LOW INCOME APARTMENT BUILDING. DAY
Within the wiry maze of tightly packed apartments and belongings spilling out into the hallways an eleven year old Chisom runs hastily,
her feet unclad, as a slipper turned projectile trails her by
not much as she takes yet another turn, upsetting a table
that holds polished shoes and some shoe polish.
Okwa e na gba oso, e ga gbagide
tata, (you’re running right, you’ll run a lot today) okro doesn’t grow taller than
the one who planted it you hear, I
know you will not understand that
one if I say it in igbo.
A panting Chisom runs smack into a female neighbour, rotund
and not very quick on her feet. As she falls, Chisom
clambers over her as if nothing happened and makes good on
her escape. I.J has no difficulty in mimicking her daughter
as she climbs over the barely recovering neighbour to go
after her daughter.
Chisom you better stop now, if I
should catch you with my own hands
you know as it will be for you
Mama chisom you and your daughter
want to kill me? People cannot have
peace in this house because of the
two of you again?
Chisom stands just behind the slightly ajar gate that leads
out of the compound as her mother heads towards her, trailed
by the fat neighbour they had both climbed over earlier.
FAT NEIGHBOUR (CONT’D)
(Rests hand on I.J’s shoulder)
Mama chisom ejoor, this is enough
the girl is scared already.
I.J shakes off the hand of her neighbour but ceases
advancing towards Chisom her daughter.
Chisom, come here, now!
The gate swings inwards as a neighbour walks in. Chisom is
inadvertently pushed forward and I.J lunges at her daughter
with surprising speed and assaults her back with a few
choice slaps before the Fat Neighbour, assisted by the the
neighbour who walks in, separate mother from daughter.
YOU GO KILL THIS PIKIN O MADAM! Abi
e get another one her age wey you
(turns on second
Wetin you talk Mama Adura?
Chisom makes like a whip and slips out of the compound.
Now on the other side of the gate, still whimpering and
with no intention of running any further, she watches her mother try to wrestle herself free from
her neighbours’ grasps.
Leave me make I kill am! She never
kill me finish? See all the things
wey she scatter, na who go pay for
am? No be her Papa them go hold
before them come meet me?
I.J collapses to the floor at the mention of Chisom’s father
and is instantaneously transformed from a raging bull into a
mess of tears and anxiety.
Chisom if you know wetin good for
you you better find where you go
sleep when your papa come back this
night you hear!
But Mama Chisom which one come be
this thing wey you dey do?
Leave me oh! Leave me oh! See as she
scatter house, see him boot wey he
polish as today be him off day as
she scatter am for back say she dey
run. Go inside my house make you
see wetin she do wey start the
matter. I swear before her Papa
kill me, me I go use my hand kill
am, wetin I do this girl? Why her
own na so so headache and pain?
even to born am na over two days I
use, heh, god why?
Chisom watches from the gate as her mother laments, the
tears flowling freely from both their faces.
I.J leaps forward towards the gate. Chisom closes the little
gap in the gate and runs off.
I.J falls to the ground as quickly as she started.
Chisom, unaware of this, keeps running, sparing no thoughts
for the home she left behind. Her feet kicks the sand with
EXT. STREETS. NIGHT
Car lights as they flash by allow us see that Chisom’s feet
are not only bare but slightly bloodied. Her gait is crooked
as she limps towards home. The din of various generators
mask the ususally noisy creak of the gate being opened and
under this cover Chisom creeps in.
EXT. URBAN LOW INCOME TENEMENT. NIGHT
Chisom goes through the back of the compound, picking her
way through the crowded maze by way of light from the
windows of apartments illuminated by flickering dull yellow bulbs powered by small petrol generators (I betta pass my neighbor) feeling her way
through the walls when the lights prove insufficient.
She finds the solitary window of the one room apartment her
parents and her call home and tries to peer in. The have no electricity like the rest of the compound and do not have the usual ‘I betta pass my neighbor’ either. The lamp is
in an awkward position and the shadows are askew but moving
in rapid motion around the house.
Chisom can make out the guttural voice of her father but his
words are incomprehensible. She presses her face against the window and then inclines her head to the side hoping to make out
The loud chorus of UP NEPA! Jolts Chisom. She scans around
to confirm and quickly hides her head as she makes her way
out of the backyard
With the din of the generators now all but gone, Chisom
recognizes the sounds from her parent’s place better now
than before. Her mother’s soft whimps comes through her overwhelmed by her
father’s loud drunken voice. She makes it to their front door and with
shaking hands yank the handle and throw the door open.
Chisom can barely see her mother as her father, clad in his
boots, boxer shorts and singlets is doubled over her,
beating her up.
Chisom’s mother crawls out of her father’s side to steal a
glance at her daughter.
Chisom nwa, okwa e gbugo nu mu
(You’ve killed me)
Shut up there! If I have killed you
will you be talking?
Chisom races to her father, pulling at his hand.
Daddy stop it, you’ll wound mommy!
CHISOM’S FATHER (TOSSES CHISOM ASIDE)
And so what? Is she your wife?
Chisom scrambles from the ground for a second go but her
mother calls out.
Chisom nwa, run, run!! Gba oso,
gbafuo ebe a before nna gi e gbuo
(Run away before he kills us both)
Chisom runs offscreen at first, returning to pick her slippers, screaming
wildly as she flees the compound
Mommy! Mommy!! Somebody help me!!
Exterior lights to the fronts of different apartments turn
on, some neighbours call out to chisom but she pays no
attention to them as she keeps running.
Chisom! Come where is your Mommy!
What happened to her?
Mommy Adura is trailing Chisom out the gate along with some
neighbours while some head in the direction of their
I.j’s blood curdling scream rings even louder than Chisom’s
EXT. STREET. NIGHT
Chisom, slippers in hand, is still running, her mother’s scream ringing in her ear