The Girl in the Ivy Gate – Episode 1 – Death at Seareach

Below we present the complete text of “Death at Seareach”, episode 1 of our new Fantasy Noir; The Girl in the Ivy Gate. This is a brand new (unpublished) series (introducing the characters Jess Allport and Cassie Torrens). If you would like to see these new stories advance from being drafts into polished publications then please consider supporting us by purchasing one or more of our previously published titles (they’re only $6.00 (AUD), less than it costs to buy a good coffee). Every sale directly funds the production of new stories.

Fantasy Noir - FN005 - The Girl in the Ivy Gate

Fantasy Noir – FN005 – The Girl in the Ivy Gate

Act 1

SCENE 1:     EXT – GROUNDS OF SEAREACH BOARDING SCHOOL
(JULIE BELMONT, JESS ALLPORT, CASSIE TORRENS)

  1. MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
  2. SOUND: LIGHT BREEZE, DISTANT CHILDREN PLAYING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  3. JESS: Julie, we haven’t got time. When Miss Grovener told us to do a still life in the grounds, I don’t think she quite had this in mind. And art class will be over in a few minutes.
  4. JULIE: All I need is a few minutes. I just want to get one sketch of the Ivy gate.
  5. JESS: You must have drawn it a thousand times already.
  6. JULIE: I don’t care. It’s beautiful, Jess.
  7. JESS: It gives me the creeps. Sally was saying it’s older even than the Seareach boarding school. She says it was here long before the school was built. And who makes a gate out of bronze anyway?
  8. JULIE: Ancient Britons, apparently. And don’t pay Sally any mind. She’s just having a lend of the scholarship girl.
  9. JESS: Why’d you have to go and bring that up again? I keep trying to forget that fact.
  10. JULIE: Sorry Jess. It’s easy to forget how sensitive you’ve become.
  11. JESS: We’re the only girls in this school whose families don’t come from money.
  12. JULIE: (GENTLY) Yeah, I know. They should never have printed that stuff about your mum raising you on her own in the school paper. It was cruel.
  13. JESS: They turned my mum into a laughing stock.
  14. JULIE: They’re a bunch of stupid cows.
  15. CASSIE: (CHEERFUL) Not talking about anyone I know are you?
  16. JESS: Cassie, you gave us a fright. What are you doing out here?
  17. CASSIE: Sorry, I thought you and Julie looked like you needed some company.
  18. JULIE: You mean you just got nosy, don’t you?
  19. CASSIE: (CHEERFULLY AND WITHOUT A TRACE OF EMBARASSMENT) Well yes, that too. So, what are you doing?
  20. JESS: Julie wants to do a sketch of the gate.
  21. CASSIE: I don’t think you’ll have the time.
  22. JESS: I just got through saying that.
  23. SOUND: DISTANT SCHOOL BELL – LET IT FINISH.
  24. JESS: Come on we’ve got to get to our next class.
  25. JULIE: Oh, well. There’s always tomorrow.
  26. JESS: I wish you didn’t have to leave at the end of term. I’d give you my scholarship if it meant you could stay and finish the year.
  27. JULIE: It’s alright, Jess. I think I’ve found a way to stay after all.
  28. JESS: Really? Did your dad find the money in the end?
  29. JULIE: No, but… well, I don’t want to jinx it. I’ll tell you soon though.
  30. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 2:     INT – MORNING IN THE DORMITORY
(SALLY WATTS, ANNA WOODS, JEN FISHER, JESS ALLPORT, MISS CLAPHAM)

  1. SOUND: DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES – LET IT FINISH
  2. SALLY WATTS (HEAD GIRL) : Rise and shine everyone. Get yourselves up and about. The beaks are in an uproar and ol’ Claptrap will be here shortly.
  3. ANNA LEA: Ugh. Leave off, Sally. It’s barely light.
  4. JEN FISHER : You always say that, Anna.
  5. ANNA : That’s only because it’s always true.
  6. JESS ALLPORT: I need some breakfast. I’ve been awake half the night. Did you hear the howls? We must have had every dog in a ten mile radius barking.
  7. SALLY: You get used to it Jess. That’s just life in Seareach when the moon is up. I don’t even hear them any more.
  8. JESS: Good for you. I’m going to have shadows under my eyes all day. (BEAT) Out of the way, Jen – I want to look at the fog before it’s burned off.
  9. JEN: You and your fog. Makes me cold just looking at it.
  10. JESS: Oh, don’t be like that. It’s beautiful. I love seeing it at the start of the day.
  11. JEN: I guess everyone has their little rituals. Anna moans about how dark it is… You stare into the fog…
  12. SALLY: And you moan about them both.
  13. JESS: Hey, look out the window. I think something’s up.
  14. JEN: Are those police lights?
  15. ANNA: Did someone try to break into the pantry again? Or the groundskeeper’s cottage?
  16. JESS: I don’t know. (BEAT) Hey look, can you see? I think someone’s standing in the shadow of the Ivy gate.
  17. JEN: Don’t be silly. Who’d be hanging around down there? That gate’s been rusted shut for more than a century.
  18. JESS: It’s open now. Who do you think she is? A new student?
  19. SALLY: Tizzy was telling the Carthorse…
  20. JEN: Do you have to call them that? They’re teachers. It’s so disrespectful.
  21. SALLY: Ugh, alright. But only to protect your sensitive ears. (BEAT) (ARCHLY) Miss Tizdale, our dear principal, was boasting to Miss Cartwright at the high table that the school is full – no places.
  22. JEN: And how did you hear that?
  23. SALLY: I was on table serving duty.
  24. ANNA: One of the perks of being head girl?
  25. SALLY: Along with the privilege of waking you lot up each morning so you’re ready for inspection. Here… where’s Julie? And Cassie?
  26. MILLIE: Cassie got hungry and went down early. I said I’d cover for her.
  27. JESS: It’s strange that Julie’s not here.
  28. SALLY: Doesn’t look like her bed’s been slept in. Do you know where she is, Jess?
  29. JESS: Why are you asking me?
  30. SALLY: Because you’re her best friend.
  31. JESS: I’ve no idea. She was working in the library when I came to bed. Could she have fallen asleep in there?
  32. SALLY: If the place wasn’t in such an uproar I’d send you to find out. As it is she’ll just have to take her chances. There’ll be hell to pay if she doesn’t get back here before ol’ Claptrap arrives to…
  33. SOUND: KNOCKING AND DOOR OPENS – LET IT FINISH.
  34. SALLY: Girls be upstanding for Miss Clapham.
  35. CLAPHAM: Thankyou Miss Woods. We will be forgoing the visual inspection of your dormitory this morning. Miss Allport, you will come with me please?
  36. GIRLS: (UPROAR) But? What? Has something happened? etc.
  37. CLAPHAM: (FIRMLY) Enough! You are confined to your dormitory along with all other members of the school community until further notice. Breakfast will be brought to you.
  38. SALLY: Miss Clapham, we need to report that Julie was not here when we rose this morning.
  39. CLAPHAM: (SOFTENING AND WITH A CATCH IN HER THROAT) Yes, we are aware of her… absence. We will need to speak with each of you regarding where and when you last saw her. (TO JESS) Are you ready Jess? This is… important.
  40. JESS: Yes Miss. Can I ask…?
  41. CLAPHAM: When we are downstairs.
  42. SOUND: DOOR OPENS – FEET WALK OUT – LET IT FINISH.
  43. MUSIC: URGENT SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 3:     INT – SEAREACH SCHOOL FOYER
(CONSTABLE SMITH, JESS ALLPORT, MISS TIZDALE, MISS CLAPHAM, THE PORTER)

  1. SOUND: (WALLA) BACKGROUND MURMUR – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
  2. SOUND: FOOTSTEPS ON TILE ENTER – LET IT FINISH.
  3. CONSTABLE SMITH: Miss Allport, I presume. I’m Constable Smith. I’m afraid I have some bad news.
  4. JESS: What? What’s going on?
  5. SMITH: .. Well…
  6. MISS TIZDALE: We’ve received some very bad news this morning.
  7. CLAPHAM: Miss Tizdale? I didn’t see you there.
  8. TIZDALE: It’s quite alright Miss Clapham. I’ll take it from here.
  9. CLAPHAM: Yes Ma’am.
  10. SMITH: There was another dog attack in the night. It seems that one of your classmates was outside the grounds.
  11. JESS: (DAWNING COMPREHENSION) No…
  12. SMITH: It’s very important you tell us anything you know.
  13. JESS: . Julie! Has she been hurt?
  14. TIZDALE: I’m sorry, Jess, Julie… she didn’t survive the attack.
  15. JESS: What? No! This can’t be happening. This… oh.
  16. TIZDALE: Catch her, constable.
  17. SMITH: Hang on. I’ve got you lass. Come and sit here. That’s the way.
  18. TIZDALE: Here, drink this,
  19. JESS: (SWALLOW) Thank you.
  20. SMITH: I know this is hard. But I have to ask you some questions.
  21. TIZDALE: Please, Jess, anything you can tell us would be a big help.
  22. JESS: Yes, of course.
  23. SMITH: When did you last see Julie?
  24. JESS: (DISTRACTED) Er… last night. I left her in the library around nine o’clock. She was working on her literature essay. It was Romeo and Juliet. She was so excited. Books did that to her. She loved the tragedy of… (LAMELY) it.
  25. SMITH: It’s alright. Do you have any idea why she would have left the school?
  26. PORTER: Excuse me Miss Tizdale, I have a young woman here with her father. They have an appointment to speak with you about a place in the school.
  27. TIZDALE: (IMPATIENT) I’ll be with them in just a moment. Go on Jess, answer the question.
  28. SOUND: FAINT RINGING TONE – CONTINUE UNDER.
  29. JESS: .. uh… who is that girl? I…
  30. SMITH: Miss Allport. I need you to focus.
  31. JESS: .. of course… Julie, well she’d take walks… alone… whenever she had anything to think over… but…
  32. SMITH: I see. And you think she may have gone for a walk last night.
  33. JESS: Maybe, but…
  34. TIZDALE: You can see that the girl is distraught. Perhaps we could…
  35. SOUND: RINGING INCREASES IN VOLUME – CONTINUE UNDER.
  36. SMITH: Yes, it’s alright. I believe we have enough to be going on with. I’ll let you rest now miss. (FADING OUT AS HE MOVES AWAY) Excuse me, Parker. Yes, I wanted to ask you…
  37. JESS: Thank you… I think… but…
  38. TIZDALE: It’s alright, Jess. You’ve had quite a shock.
  39. JESS: That girl… she keeps staring at me.
  40. SOUND : FADE OUT RINGING.
  41. TIZDALE: (SNIFFS AND SEEMS HOSTILE). Ah, yes. A prospective new student. Don’t let it bother you. She’s arrived in the middle of great sadness and is probably struggling to keep her curiosity within proper bounds.
  42. JESS: Ah, my head’s clearing. It was such a shock.
  43. TIZDALE: Of course, dear…
  44. JESS: Miss Tizdale! (SHOCKED) I told the policeman that Julie went walking alone.
  45. TIZDALE: Yes, dear.
  46. JESS: But she doesn’t! I mean she didn’t. Not ever. I don’t know why I…
  47. SOUND: RINGING BEGINS AGAIN – CONTINUE UNDER
  48. JESS: She’s looking at me again… she’s…
  49. TIZDALE: Easy Jess. I think you should visit the Nurse. It’s not so strange is it? Lots of girls like to take a walk alone to think things through. Are you sure she didn’t as well?
  50. SOUND: RINGING INCREASES IN VOLUME – CONTINUE UNDER
  51. JESS: No, you’re right. I just… I feel so strange.
  52. TIZDALE: It’s alright, Jess. Now I have to go. But if you need to talk to someone I’ll be there for you.
  53. JESS: .. thanks Miss Tizdale. I think I’ll… just go and lie down now. She’s still staring you know.
  54. SOUND: RINGING FADES.
  55. TIZDALE: Is she?
  56. JESS: (CONFUSED) No, not anymore.
  57. TIZDALE: Then I’ll leave you alone.
  58. SMITH: (BEAT) (RETURNING) Miss Allport? What will you do now, Miss?
  59. JESS: I don’t feel like breakfast anymore. I don’t feel like I’ll ever be hungry again. Julie’s mum needs to be contacted…
  60. SMITH: That’s all in hand. You needn’t worry.
  61. JESS: It kind of feels wrong to go on with things, attend classes etc.
  62. SMITH: You needn’t worry. They’ve been cancelled while we conduct our enquiry.
  63. JESS: Then I guess I’ll take Miss Tizdale’s advice and visit the nurse.
  64. SMITH: You do that Miss. It’s a terrible tragedy. We’ll track the dogs down and see that they’re destroyed. We’ll make sure it never happens again.
  65. JESS: Thank you. I’ll be okay now.
  66. SOUND: FOOTSTEPS DEPART – LET IT FINISH.
  67. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 4:     INT – THE HALLWAY
(JESS, LIZ, MISS TIZDALE, NORRIS, CASSIE TORRENS)

  1. SOUND: LOW MURMUR – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  2. SOUND: ECHOING FOOTSTEPS – LET IT FINISH
  3. CASSIE TORRENS: Psssst. Hey, Jess.
  4. JESS: Cassie? What are you doing here?
  5. CASSIE: I was raiding the kitchen when the police arrived. Can you help me get back to the dorm?
  6. JESS: I’m surprised they’re not turning the place upside down looking for you… If you missed inspection…
  7. CASSIE: Nah, it’s fine. Milly will have covered for me. She’ll have told miss Spotts I’ve got duty or something. I just need to get back.
  8. JESS: So how am I supposed to help?
  9. CASSIE: Well, you’ve got permission to be let out here, right?
  10. JESS: Yes?
  11. CASSIE: So, you can go ahead and tell me if it’s all clear.
  12. JESS: Seriously? Do you even know what’s going on?
  13. CASSIE: Not a thing. Why, do you?
  14. JESS: As a matter of fact. Julie is dead.
  15. CASSIE: What? Oh, Jess, I’m so sorry… When? How?
  16. JESS: Some kind of animal attack, apparently. Last night.
  17. CASSIE: (INCREDULOUS) In the school?
  18. JESS: No, outside. She must have gone for a walk.
  19. CASSIE: That doesn’t seem like her. Why would she do something like that?
  20. JESS: I don’t know. It’s strange isn’t it?
  21. CASSIE: You should know. She was your friend.
  22. JESS: What are you saying?
  23. CASSIE: Just that you knew her best.
  24. JESS: Yeah, well… (AWKWARD PAUSE)
  25. CASSIE: Look, are you going to help me or not.
  26. JESS: Yeah, I guess. Stay behind me and I’ll let you know if the way is clear.
  27. SOUND: GIRLS’ FOOTSTEPS – LET IT FINISH.
  28. TIZDALE: (FADE IN) I do not know how you wrangled this, but I will not have it in my school.
  29. SOUND: FOOTSTEPS – OVER AND STOP.
  30. JESS: Wait Cassie, I think the Principal is in the next room… and the strange girl.
  31. CASSIE: What strange…
  32. JESS: Shhhh!
  33. NORRIS: A possible vacancy has opened up. We’re ready to pay. What is the problem?
  34. TIZDALE: Is that even a question? That you would bring this… this… girl here, today of all days.
  35. NORRIS: What are you suggesting? The paper work is all in order.
  36. TIZDALE: Mr Norris, I don’t know where to begin. This is very unorthodox, not to mention suspicious.
  37. NORRIS: If there is a problem I would be happy to take it up with the board.
  38. TIZDALE: That won’t be necessary, Mr Norris… but I’m warning you, Miss Transome, if you give me one excuse I’ll have you out of this school so fast, you’ll think you’ve been fired from a cannon.
  39. HANNAH: (INSOLENTLY) We’ll see. And it’s Hannah… not Miss Transome.
  40. TIZDALE: (SHARPLY) What was that?
  41. NORRIS: (QUICKLY INTERRUPTING) Then if everything is in order, I’ll depart.
  42. JESS: Lean back or they’ll see us when they come out.
  43. SOUND: WOBBLE OF VASE – LET IT FINISH.
  44. JESS: Oh no! The Vase!
  45. SOUND: VASE SMASHES – LET IT FINISH.
  46. JESS: Run!
  47. SOUND: GIRLS’ FOOTSTEPS RUNNING – UNDER.
  48. TIZDALE: What was that?
  49. MUSIC: TIME PASSING – SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.

SCENE 5:     INT – CLASSROOM (CLOSE OF LESSON)
(CASSIE, JESS, MRS JARVIS)

  1. SOUND: CLASSROOM MURMUR – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
  2. SOUND: SCHOOL BELL – LET IT FINISH.
  3. SOUND: CHAIRS AND PACKUP – UNDER AND FADE
  4. MRS JARVIS: (LOUDLY) Girls, be sure to read pages 76 to 104 of the Great Gatsby for our next lesson…
  5. GIRLS: (GROANS)
  6. JARVIS: …and don’t forget your essay will be due in two weeks. All of you need to have made a start on the first draft by now.
  7. GIRLS: (MORE GROANS)
  8. CASSIE: (TO JESS) Have you noticed how strange that Hannah is? She’s been here a week but she hardly talks to anyone.
  9. JESS: Could you be any more of a gossip? We’ve got lunch now, then maths.
  10. CASSIE: No really. She’s got no friends…
  11. JESS: She’s new.
  12. CASSIE: And she’s always carrying that book with her.
  13. JESS: So, she likes to read.
  14. CASSIE: Have you seen it?
  15. JESS: Not my business.
  16. CASSIE: It’s as big as an old family Bible, covered in some kind of blue leather, and there’s a stamp on the cover.
  17. JESS: Cassie, let it go, will you?
  18. CASSIE: I’m just saying. It’s weird is all.
  19. JESS: And I’m just saying “I don’t care” is all.
  20. CASSIE: Alright, but (CONSPIRATORIALLY) do you know where she goes at night?
  21. JESS: (DISTRACTED) What?
  22. CASSIE: I’ve seen her, after dark, sneaking across the grounds. She’s up to something I tell you. (BEAT) Look, where’s she going now?
  23. JESS: (EXASPERATED) Cassie! Perhaps she wants to go for a walk during lunch. Leave her alone.
  24. CASSIE: Oh, come on. Let’s go see.
  25. JESS:
  26. CASSIE: Please! Don’t you want to know what she’s doing?
  27. JESS: Alright, but only to show you there’s nothing going on.
  28. CASSIE: Great! Let’s go.
  29. MUSIC: SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
  30. MUSIC: CLOSING THEME – LET IT FINISH.

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