“Stand Down” Week 5 – The Kids Aren’t Alright

Open on a shot of the night sky. Few stars are visible, and the moon is partially obscured by clouds. Slow pan down to a treeline; it is that of sixteen-mile creek. Cut to a low shot of a man silhouetted in the moonlight, standing on the trail with trees on either side. His brown hide jacket does little to hide his lean yet developed physique, and his neck length black-grey hair little to hide the face of a man past his prime. His light brown complexion is made paler still as he looks upwards, towards the moon, the clouds now having shifted away from it.

BROWN-JACKETED MAN: Now, I know for sure, Yethisoha Ahsonthenhnekha Karahkwa. I have seen enough to know that the Mississaugas are doomed. They have had their connection to nature taken from them.

The man speaks with an accent (though his english is perfect), one reminiscent of North Americans. He turns to and looks down at a waist-height plaque. The headline at its top reads “Oakville Heritage Trails: The Moccasin Trail”. It displays and contextualizes images of a sun and a crescent moon, both with elegantly drawn faces. Panning down, the POV focuses on the bottom of the plaque; written there is “for more information on the Moccasin trail and other Oakville heritage trails, visit oakville.ca”.

Turning away from the plaque, the man now hangs his head, looking at the ground as he speaks.

BROWN-JACKETED MAN: Ashkaakamigokwe, forgive me for how I may scorch you, and drown you in your children as I return them to you. Know that this was the only way.

The man now faces his head back up, looking up past the treeline towards a row of houses, separated from the trail by a fence, their windows lit.

BROWN-JACKETED MAN: The time for reconciliation–for repatriation–is over. The artifacts and lands of our people and past, however much of them we reclaim, will not matter if there is none of our culture left in our hearts. The men of this cruel new world have separated themselves from nature, and now they have brought my people to do the same. Had they not, I would not be so alone in my belief. Had they not, our culture would not be laid out like a zoo exhibit for them to gawk at. 

The man gestures to the plaque with an open hand. His other hand is by his side, clenched tightly into a fist.

BROWN-JACKETED MAN: The time is now for retribution.

There is a loud metallic creaking, followed by a snap and the sound of something heavy falling onto a bed of leaves. Focus switches back to the plaque as it now lays on the ground, its pedestal bent backwards, apparently to the point of breaking. Near the plaque, imprinted in the dirt, is what is unmistakably a bear’s paw print. Nearby, but out of view, the breath of a large animal can be heard.

The man opens his clenched hand, which is bleeding from a cut in the center of his palm. The apparent source of this wound is doused in moonlight as the hand is unclenched, revealing a bloodied shard of some reflective, gold-colored material. It is tied into his palm with a piece of twine.

With the shot ending with focus on the shard, cut to a close-up shot on Zain’s side, where the shaft of the arrow is clenched tightly in his hand.

 At the shot’s center is a part of the arrow’s head, where a sliver of the golden material is missing. In Zain’s pocket is a white handkerchief, stained with blood. 

Switch to a further-out view of the garage. Ian lays on the ground, unconscious and dirty. The crystal mound, as well as the girl’s corpse, are both nowhere to be seen. 

Under Zain’s other arm is a lidless porcelain vase. Shoving the arrow in his pocket, he takes the vas in both hands and tips it over. Right by Ian’s head, the downpour of gray powder forms a fist-sized mound. Its appearance is heavily reminiscent of ash.

 Zain makes to leave the garage, and just as he does he presses a palm-sized button affixed to the wall just to the door’s left. As Zain exits, the door slamming shut behind him, the garage’s gate begins to rise. 

Dousing Ian’s prone form, sunlight pours through the growing opening. A close up shot of Ian’s face as he winks into consciousness reveals his bloodshot eyes. 

A shot from behind him in relation to the opening gate sees his entire form silhouetted as he rises, unsteadily, to his hands, knees, then finally feet. 

Wobbling backwards, there is a sound of crunching sand as he catches himself. He looks down to see that his foot has been planted squarely in a pile of ash, so dark a gray that it is easily distinguished from the dust on the stone floor. 

Cut to Jordan’s house, far off in Stoney Creek.

Jordan is in his room, a cold, colorless sunlight streaming in through the window from the cloud-whitened sky. He’s talking through a headset and sitting at his desk, whereupon a large computer monitor sits.

JORDAN: Okay, can we just agree that that whole thing was some collective fever dream? I’d feel much more comfortable with that.

A moment after he says this, the scene shifts to Scott, in his house. Seated at his desk, in his room, he’s doing much of the same as Jordan is. As Scott and Jordan converse, Scott’s tone and demeanor are enthusiastic and jovial, while Jordan’s is frustrated.

SCOTT: No, Jordan, this isn’t the kind of thing we should willingly block out. This is, like, life-changing stuff. Did you see his face, at all, yesterday? The Mark One’s flash works! If nothing else, he’s got some permanent scarring!

JORDAN: Yeah, that’s fucking great, Scott, but I couldn’t sleep yesterday! 

SCOTT: Dude, you can-not be traumatized from that, especially not when you’re the one who saved our asses.

JORDAN: Saved from what, though? I get the feeling that he didn’t even really want to hurt us.

SCOTT: What the hell? Did you forget the part where he stabbed you with that arrow thing? Or how he tore the police car’s door off when we drove away?!

JORDAN: Well, didn’t Zain explain all that over the phone?

SCOTT: He might’ve just been lying, Jordan! Did that little factoid slip your mind, or are you that fucking sleep-deprived?

Jordan laughs, his mood visibly improved.

JORDAN: Okay, Mister War’, I can’t argue with ya there.

There is a moment’s silence.

SCOTT: Okay, but just tell me one thing: did you see that big pink deer-thing, too?


SCOTT: And what was that weird fucking orange stuff I saw everywhere? Like, Zain got sprayed with it.

JORDAN: Literally more than one thing, but okay.

SCOTT: Well, listen, I want to know what happened! Zain lives in the same town as me, and I doubt he’s been arrested. You can try all you want to forget this shit, but I’m still in it! Like, you remember that we didn’t tell the police anything, ‘cause we knew they wouldn’t believe us, right? Apparently neither my mom or dad saw his face, too!

JORDAN: Y’know, I thought you’d be a little angier about this, considering that that day was supposed to be like, GoB’s send off day, or something.

SCOTT: No, I’m not even mad, we can do that whenever, but you know what fucking shocked, me, Jordan?

JORDAN: Uh, Zain stabbing me with an arrow while covered in weird fucking crystal armor?

SCOTT: No, I’m being serious here; he gave my mom and dad both guns.

JORDAN: Wh– huh?

SCOTT: He left one arm free each, and gave them pistols. Like, glocks from the police. They said that he talked to them through paper notes, and told them to use the guns only, and I’m quoting them here; “if the police try groping you, or something”.

Jordan is again sent into hysterics.

JORDAN: Okay, one thing we know for sure– Zain is confirmed retarded.

Scene change to a bird’s-eye shot of a disorganized-looking townscape, cream colored houses dotting it with little space between each other. 

Text appears, reading “Athens, Greece”.

In direct contrast to the gray sky of Oakville, the sky here is a vibrant blue. 

Zooming down to the clean city streets, their tiled surfaces reflective in the sun, plantlife can be seen to flourish in a controlled sort of manner; each house has a potted fern or Areca hanging near their door, and tree line the walkways in a consistent sparseness. 

The POV moves to a shadowed walkway, between two rows of buildings. The walkway seems to curve up, and straight ahead one can see that a neighborhood has been built into the lower part of a large hill. Turning to its left, however, the POV comes to focus on a particularly large building, whose roof seems to overlap the others. 

With a bell positioned near a window just beneath its top, and a large cross tipping said top, the building is simple yet demands respect, as any church might.

A wood-carved, yet glossy looking tile is affixed to the left of the tall building’s entrance. It reads “The Brotherhood of Saint Anna”.

Cutting to the building’s interior, we see two rugged-looking fishermen standing awkwardly in a  narrow, sparse hallway, near to a closed white door. Much of the interior is crafted of wood and drywall, looking like a quant but cheery place as sunlight streams in through multiple large windows.

A moment passes, and the door is opened as a woman wearing a habit steps out to greet the men.

FISHERMAN ONE: ‘Owdy, mis’.

The other fisherman nods his head in greeting, with the nun doing the same.

NUN: I suppose you’ve come to check on him?

FISHERMAN ONE: Yeah, I’d just like to see how he’s doing.

At this point the face of the first fisherman is revealed: it’s the very same that spoke to the lost child on the fishing boat just after they’d rescued him.

The nun opens the door back up, revealing a sunlit room packed with short tables. Sitting at them are many small children, some drawing and some talking to other nuns. Near all of these  children look to be of ages six to ten. Notable among them, however, is one particularly sallow-faced boy, who would have to be closer to fifteen.

As the fishermen look over at him, the nun whispers to them:

NUN: He’s been rather quiet ever since you dropped him off. He didn’t even speak to the police, as I’ve heard.

The second fisherman clears his throat, and begins to speak, though uncertainly:

FISHERMAN TWO: Do they know who he is? Where his parents might be?

NUN: I’m afraid his parents were on the boat.

The first fisherman utters a curse in Greek under his breath.

The second fisherman casts his eyes floorward, clasping his hand to his mouth.

FISHERMAN ONE: Well, what’s his family name?

NUN: Calimeris. His name is Angosin. It’s ancient Greek. It’s no wonder, as apparently she was a philosopher. The reason they’d gone out to sea, see, was for a cultural re-enactment activity.

FISHERMAN TWO: Sounds romantic. How’d–that–happen to their ship, though?

The nun closes the door. Her expression is grim.

NUN: That’s something they have yet to discern. Our lord sends these tribulations our way in order to make us stronger. We can only hope the child can–handle it.

Cut to the boy inside the room, sunshine on his back as he faces away from the window, instead watching with tired eyes a younger girl at the opposite end of the room who’d just begun coughing.

The girl, sitting at a short-legged table, is drawing intently. Her coughing gets worse, as she is hanging her head to hide herself as she wipes her mouth. Quickly, another nun makes her way to the room, putting a tissue to the girl’s mouth as she carries her out of it.

Cutting back to Jordan and Scott; one can see on either boy’s screen that they are playing Minecraft.

The POV’s focus is on Jordan when a notification sounds from his computer.

Minimizing his game, Jordan opens Discord.

Jordan’s eyes widen a bit as he sees that he and Scott were receiving multiple messages from Zain.