Short Story The Sea Witch. An intro.,

This is as screenplay – Final Draft format.

INT or EXT = Interior/Exterior.

Named Caps = characters.

VO = Voice over

 

EXT. SEA. ON SCREEN: NEAR WESTERN AUSTRALIA, FEBRUARY 1751

 

A Spanish galleon chases a Dutch galleon, it’s overloaded low in the water. Each ship flies a sagging national flag.

There’s little wind. Suddenly, the wind grows, sails flap. The sky blackens. thunder rumbles.

The CHIEF DECKHAND on the Dutch galleon stares at the billowing sails, and smiles broadly and tugs his hat down.

CHIEF DECKHAND. C’mon me hearties look lively, if you want to see Rotterdam again before Davy Jones, get those sails spread.

CREWMEN scurry up the four-masts.

Masts tilt as the ship lurches, swinging men out over the strengthening white swell.

One man loses his grip and falls.

SAILOR. Man overboard, man overboard.

CHIEF DECKHAND leans over the side, the man sinks under a swell. The sailor crosses his chest. He’s with Davy now.

Loud thunder drowns any noise. Blazing intense lightning flashes strike the ship. Fat rain drops splatter the decks. The violent gusting wind howls. Driving rain lashes through rigging, drenching man atop the four masts. Men struggle to re-set uncontrollable billowing canvases.

Winds and white-capped waves become more furious.

Above the din, the galleon’s timbers creak. Giant waves wash over the listing ship.

CHIEF DECKHAND. Tiz a cyclone for sure matey. With our bounty, Davey’s the best bet.

He crosses his chest again. Heaven helps us, no-one else can.

Night falls and, still in the cyclone’s grip, the galleon is smashed to bits on a coral reef.

Sharks circle below. A wood plank bearing the lettering DEL GELDERMASLEM is tossed towards shore.

SINGAPORE 1752

A drunken European SAILOR is being robbed in a dark alley by two Asian THIEVES who pull a ripped up sea chart from the sailor’s jacket’s inside pocket.

CLOSE DEL GELDERMASLEM is written on the parchment.  The thieves run off leaving the sailor gasping for his life.

EXT. EUROPEAN HISTORIC BUILDING – DAY

DUTCH EAST INDIA COMPANY – ROTTERDAM – HOLLAND – PRESENT DAY

Two men stand on the top step of the impressive building. One FRANZ GRUBER taps his briefcase and smiles at REINK HOUTMAN. They descend and climb into a chauffeur-driven Mercedes. The car speeds away and is lost in the heavy traffic.

EXT. AIRPORT – DUSK

A giant Airbus 380 crunches the tarmac, with the engines in reverse thrust it hurtles down the runway, slows and taxis alongside the passenger boarding bridge.

INT. CUSTOMS DESK – NIGHT

Gruber and Houtman’s cases are checked. CUSTOMS official opens the bulging briefcase, tugs out a thick file. He unfolds the same ripped chart seen in the opening scene.

The customs man waves his superior over, who stares at the chart. Del Geldermaslem. He looks suspiciously at Gruber and Houtman.

CUSTOMS. This is the umpteenth I’ve seen in the last ten years. Do you have permission to search for her? …. I take it that’s why you’re here?

He opens their passports. For the first time.

GRUBER. My lawyer has taken care of any legal matters, rest assured officer.

The customs officer closes the passports, replaces the chart and closes the briefcase.

CUSTOMS. Good hunting and good luck. You’ll need it.

EXT. SWAN RIVER CREEK – AUSTRALIA – DAY

Three siblings, AMANDA, 12, CHRIS, 10 and SAM, 8 stand on a sandy ledge looking at a large beached boat.

AMANDA. Who’s can it do you think?  And how did it get here?

CHRIS. I dunno, funny looking boat.

SAM. Looks empty to me, look how dirty it is too, all covered in dust and dirt, yuck!

AMANDA. The question is, whose is it?

CHRIS. Dunno, how are we going to find out?  And are we gonna have a swim or what?

AMANDA. Oh Chris don’t be a twit, this is serious stuff.  I vote we go aboard and have a look.  There may be someone on it, injured…

CHRIS (Interrupting). P’raps there’s a reward.

AMANDA. For what?

CHRIS. I dunno.

SAM. So what are we gonna do?

AMANDA. I’m going to have a look in case someone needs our help.  You go first Chris.

Amanda eases Chris forward as she smiles.

CHRIS. Not me, you’re the eldest, you always take charge, so don’t pick on me!

Amanda leans over and jumps on the deck.   Suddenly a wind gust swirls up the creek sucking up leaves and dust.  All three cover their eyes.

AMANDA. Never had a ‘willy-willy’ here before!  See, I told you it was O.K.  Now come on, let’s have a look, it won’t take long, then we can have our swim, before it gets too hot.

SAM. I’ve got goose pimples all over my arms, look.

AMANDA. You’re always cold Sam, even when it’s a hundred degrees.

CHRIS. Well, I’ve got ‘em as well, and I’m not always cold.

AMANDA. Are you two coming?  Or do I collect all the reward myself?

All appear a little nervous.

AMANDA. Chris and Sam go that way, I’ll go the other way and we’ll meet up here O.K.?

CHRIS. You go that way, and we’ll go this one.

AMANDA. Chris, it doesn’t matter which way, your way is near the bank, I thought it would be better for you.  You can jump off quickly if you want to!

CHRIS. O.K. Then we’ll go that way.

AMANDA. You are in one of your ‘know-all’ moods again, so you take charge.

CHRIS. This is just like a war boat picture hanging on the wall in Nester’s den.

AMANDA. What war?

CHRIS. Dunno, but Nester will.

AMANDA. Come on you two breathe on this windscreen and rub so we can see inside.

Being the smallest, Sam cannot reach, so she looks for a door, finds one, and goes in.

CHRIS. How did you get in there?

Sam with her face against the Perspex looks out, points to the entrance.

AMANDA. Crumbs, no one’s been in here for a long, long time, that’s for sure.

CHRIS. It stinks, watch out for the Red-Backs you two, they’re all over the place, it feels ghostly to me.

SAM. How would you know?  Ever seen a ghost? (tugs on a drawer) Can one of you help me with this drawer!

AMANDA. Chris give us a tug, we can’t open it.

All three manage to finally open it.

SAM. Just look at these dusty old brown faded charts, I can hardly read the writing.

CHRIS. Oh come off it Sam, you can’t read properly anyway.

AMANDA. Pack it up you two.  I’ve already had enough.  (She rolls up a pile of charts)  Come on, let’s see if Nester’s home.  He’ll know what to do and he can read charts too.

INT. NESTER’S DEN – DAY

60-year old NESTER, typical old sailor, magnifying glass in hand, is poring over the charts scattered across his bench.

NESTER. You three sure this isn’t another one of your pranks?

SAM. I found them Nester, so if there’s a reward I bag it first so there.

CHRIS. But it was me who pulled the drawer open!

AMANDA. Oh come on Chris, you didn’t want to get your hands dirty.  Don’t take any notice of them Nester, it was all three of us, so there.

SAM. Are they any good, Nester?

NESTER. Look authentic to me Sam, why don’t we have a look at this ‘ere boat.  In your creek you say?  Come on, jump in the Ute and we’ll go and give it a couple of coats of looking at…

CHRIS. A couple of coats of what?

NESTER Come on Chris wake up, it’s eight o’clock already.  You staying Coop (his German Shepherd) or coming?  You can cool off in the river.

SAM. Come on Coop, you can sit on my lap.

 

EXT. SWAN RIVER CREEK – DAY

All stand alongside the boat, Nester looks dumbfounded.

AMANDA. Well, what do you think?

NESTER. Heavens to Murgatroyd.

SAM. Who’s he?

AMANDA. Oh, Sam shut up, can’t you see Nester’s thinking.

NESTER. This is unreal, a World War II M.T.B.

AMANDA. Oh, come on Nester, don’t get all technical, what’s an M.T.B..?

NESTER. Motor Torpedo Boat, it has to be fifty years old, but this one looks in good nick to me.

CHRIS. It’s filthy Nester.

NESTER. The hull looks sound and watertight.  I mean, if it wasn’t it would have sunk now, wouldn’t it?  But she’s floating, with no lists so it must be in ship shape.  At the end of the day, it must belong to someone.  In the meantime, we cannot do any harm so let’s have a decko.  I captained one of these back in World War II, patrolling the coasts around the top end.  (He scans the boat) Hold on a minute, there’s a newish brass plate down there.  Let’s see if I can make out the name.

Lying down on the bank Nester leans over and wipes the plate.

NESTER. ‘The Sea Witch’.  (he gets up) What a good name to give her. That brass plate’s less than ten years old.  Let’s see if we can find the owner’s name in the cabin somewhere.  Come on, follow me.

INT. CABIN – SAME TIME

SAM. What do you think Nester?

NESTER. Someone’s spent a lot of time and cash on the Witch, she’s in great order.  (All rummage through drawers).  Anyone find anything? … Chris be a pal, and get my mobile, I’ll ring my mate at Fremantle Harbor ‘cause that’s where she’ll be registered.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *