Danger in Life and Death

by Tay Baks, age 13
Danger in Life and Death Tay Baks is a 7th grade 13-year-old writer. She's been writing since kindergarten when she went home and decided to write a story about a big friendly dinosaur. Since then, her dream was to become a world renowned author. She's also interested in going into finance, business, and entrepreneurship. But even so, she's always said that "No matter what profession I go into, I will always write. No matter where I am, I will always write. No matter my age, I will always write." She has tried to hold true to that statement and wants to get more of her pieces published.

“The camera focuses on a lady (Ivy), arms outstretched, holding onto a support beam. She’s high up in the air and on the outer edge of the bridge. She looks around 17 years old, and she’s crying. Looking down at the water that is at least 200 feet below her. The currents are strong. Car horns honk in alarm and warning behind her. All sound around her fades except for her heartbeat.”

D

SCENE ONE

EXT. LANERCOST BRIDGE – FUTURE- DAY

The camera focuses on a lady (Ivy), arms outstretched, holding onto a support beam. She’s high up in the air and on the outer edge of the bridge. She looks around 17 years old, and she’s crying. Looking down at the water that is at least 200 feet below her. The currents are strong. Car horns honk in alarm and warning behind her. All sound around her fades except for her heartbeat.

HADLEY (V.O.)

We can jump together Ivy. It’ll be so real. All the pain you’ve gone through, all of the suffering, it’ll disappear. It’ll subside. All you have to do is…

Ivy’s head snaps up from the water as a man in a black leather jacket and long hanging dark hair comes climbing towards her cautiously but fast. He’s yelling at her to stop, to not jump. Ivy looks back to the water, tears still streaming down her face.

HADLEY (V.O.)

You can do it, Ivy! We can do it. You just have to trust me.

Ivy slowly loosens her grip on the support beam.

HADLEY (V.O.)

Your family doesn’t love you. No one understands you like I do. We can be together in peace and harmony once you jump.

Ivy shakes her head

IVY

But, I’ll die.

HADLEY (V.O.)

But is death really punishment when life was hell on Earth?

Ivy finally looks up at the skyline stretched out on both ends of the bridge, closing in together on the horizon. The view is beautiful. She opens her arms and closes her eyes shut tight, releasing the beam, the man is still climbing towards her. She stands still for a moment, but then gravity gets the best of the situation. One last tear falls down Ivy’s cheek, and then she’s falling.

The wind whipping her face, the tears stinging her eyes. But Ivy… her face has no regret whatsoever. She’s ready for death. But then, suddenly, she’s suspended in air. She looks up at what has held her back, and the man is holding her up. He saved her. She looks up at him.

The Man

We can’t let you die. Not just yet, anyways.

SCENE TWO – One month earlier

Ivy pushes the door to her room open. Sleep is still lingering on her face. It’s late at night, but she must have woken up from one of those nightmares she keeps having. She shuffles down the long carpeted hallway and drags herself by a closed door, only stopping there for a second. Listening. There is a shuffling sound behind the door but Ivy walks on to go down the stairs.

On the other side of the door, a woman stands hunched over a desk. We can’t see her face, but she’s sad. You can tell from everything about her. From the way she holds herself to the way a tear drops onto the wooden desk. A picture frame shows the picture of a man, a women, and Ivy. It’s the family. She’s about to pick it up when the phone rings in the room. She walks over towards it and hesitates a second as she looks at the unknown caller id, but then picks it up. Cradling it next to her face.

“Hello? Who is this?”

Someone on the other end begins to speak

“Hi, I was a friend of David’s. I think you might need my help.”

“With what may I ask?”

A quizzical look crosses her face, and then understanding, and then disbelief. Before the man can speak, she cuts in.

“Wait, are you Walter?”

“Yes that’s me.”

“Oh, David talked about you quite a bit.”

“Yes, we were co-workers.”

She waits for a second before answering.

“Do you want to come over sometime, we can talk then.”

“Oh, so you know why I’m calling.”

“Yes, but I don’t want to have this conversation now. I can’t help but feel that this is not the right time or place.”

There’s a pause.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Is it too soon? I understand if you’d like to mourn for a bit longer before we have this conversation.”

She looks startled. But then shakes her head.

“No, I just don’t think that our conversation is only being heard between us two right now.”

“I see. Then, in that case, I feel no need to continue if I’ll see you sometime soon.”

“Yes, what about noon on saturday. I should be free then?”

“Okay. Goodbye. I have to go now. See you then.”

“Bye now.”

She hangs up and fumbles to put the phone back on its stand before rushing toward the door. She swings it open suddenly and looks both ways down the hallway. As if she’s searching for someone. She relaxes for a split second before a sound of something clattering comes from downstairs. She rushes down the stairs and into the kitchen only to see Ivy picking up a spoon from the floor. She’s standing on the other side of the island. The woman puts on a smile, and Ivy returns it.

“Hello Ivy. Why are you up at this time?”

Ivy tilts the milk carton in her hand over a mug on the counter and lets the milk pour into the cup.

“Nightmare, again.”

“Oh, I told you how to get rid of those.” The woman nods with disapproval.

“Yes, I know.” Ivy stops pouring the milk and closes the cap on the carton.

“Once your done, you’ll go back to sleep? The milk should help.”

“Probably.” Ivy thinks for a second while she turns to put the milk in the fridge. “What were you doing in dad’s room, mom? I thought you never go in there.”

The mom’s face is tense. She frowns slightly. But then looks at Ivy and smiles.

“Oh, nothing, just a business call.”

“This late?” Ivy questions, grabbing her mug in both of her hands as if she were cradling a cup of hot cocoa on a cold winter day.

“Yes, this late.” The mother states matter of factly. “Now, I’m going to bed. Make sure you get some rest.”

“Okay.”

The mom slowly climbs up the stairs.

“Goodnight, Ivy.”

And she disappears upstairs, Ivy sips from her cup just as an alert dings on her phone face down beside her on the counter. She puts down the milk and grabs her phone. As she reads whatever it is that she got, she smiles. Then, without even letting her mother know, she grabs her coat and shoves on her shoes and creeps out the front door with her phone in hand. The cold mid-night wind whips against Ivy’s face so she tries to keep her head down. Across the street, houses identical to hers are shown in a nice row. She takes a left off of her front lawn and hurries down the street. Upon arriving to the next corner, she takes another left to reveal a busy avenue. People bustle about and car horns honk. But she isn’t out there long because about two or three doors in, she turns and enters a diner. It’s quiet inside, music playing through old speakers in the ceiling. Only a few people are inside talking amongst themselves. She walks up to the bar and sits beside a boy who’s slumped over his phone. A hat over his head. She taps his shoulder.

“Hey,” Ivy says, almost in a whisper.

The boy looks up. He’s maybe 15-16 and some sort of mustache is already forming on his upper lip. When he smiles, wrinkles form around his eyes.

“Hey, Ivy!” he says.

She takes off her coat and puts it next to her.

“So, what’s the emergency?” she says casually.

“Oh, nothing really. I just couldn’t sleep,” he stutters. Ivy looks at him quizzically.

“Me neither, but I know that’s not it. What’s up?” she pushes.

The boy sighs, but looks around before starting to talk. For the first time, he looks really scared.

“Something happened last night, Ivy. And I really just don’t know what to do.”

“What?” Ivy asks. Her eyes lighting up in curiosity.

“This man, he showed up at my doorstep. He rang the bell but no one answered because we were all asleep. My sister was out at a party and my parents were away.”

“So, it was just you?”

He nods.

“So what happened?”

“I swear, I don’t know this guy. I never gave him a key or anything. But he got in my house and woke me up.”

“What?” Ivy screams.

“Keep it down, Ivy,” the boy hisses.

Ivy ducks her head and continues in a yell/whisper.

“But that’s breaking and entering. Do you know how scary that is? You’re lucky you’re still alive. Do you want me to call my mom, file a police report?” she hisses right back.

“Yes, yes. I know. But I think you’ll want to know what he said to me right after that.” He takes a big breath. Inhale, exhale. “He said I had to bring him to Ivy Dun. He said he’d kill my family and anyone I care about just to get to you. He said I’d better cooperate, it’s your life or my family’s. And he looked like he meant it. That’s what scares me.”

Ivy frowns, in deep thought.

“Do you remember what he looks like, Logan?”

Logan shakes his head no. But then he says something more.

“He said his name was José. Does that spark anything? Any memory, anything?”

“No, why?” Ivy asks.

“Well, he said that you once knew a José. You never paid much attention to him, but you knew him. And now he intends on getting back into your life because it’s life or death.”

“No, I don’t know a José.”

“You sure?”

Yes! I’m sure.” Ivy is back to whisper/yelling again. But calms down after taking a deep breath. “So, what are you going to do?”

Logan gives her a sad and knowing look.

“Ivy.” He’s trying to reason with her. Make her see his way. “You know I love you, but it’s family over anything. I need them. I can’t put them in any danger.”

“And you think that this whole situation is doing exactly that don’t you?” Ivy says, finally understanding with a sad look on her face. And even a hint of betrayal.

“I have to tell him everything I know about you,” he says. “There’s nothing else I can do.” He sighs.

“There’s always another way.”

He shakes his head vigorously. “Not one that won’t put anyone in danger.”

Just as Ivy is about to respond, her mom bursts through the diner door. A mad look on her face. She’s furious.

Ivy! You better give me a good explanation for why in the world you are up here at this time of night!” Everyone turns their heads towards the mom.

The owner who was previously behind the counter working with a waiter turns towards the mom.

“Oh! Mayor Dun! What a lovely surprise. No one expected to see you here at this time of night! Would you like something, on the house of course.” The owner says with fake delight.

Mayor Dun looks at the owner but doesn’t even acknowledge that he said something. She storms over to her daughter. Ivy looks at Logan with a worried expression.

“I’m sorry mom, it was urgent,” Ivy pleads.

“Urgent enough for you to not even let your mom know? You know what could’ve happened to you out here alone at this time of night?”

Ivy looks down in embarrassment. Everyone in the entire diner is watching the scene play out. It’s not every day that the mayor comes in and starts yelling at her daughter. Ivy’s mom focuses her attention at Logan who suddenly seems to have shrunk in his seat.

“And you, young man, you should know better than to even ask my daughter to come out at this time of night,” she says

“How’d you know he even asked me? How’d you know it wasn’t my idea?” Ivy intervenes.

“Well, was it?” Ivy’s mom huffs.

Ivy shakes her head no, slowly. And then her mom starts tugging her towards the door to leave.

“And shave that dirt off your lip too if you want to be seen in public with my daughter!” the mayor announces at Logan over her shoulder.

Logan absently rubs his little mustache just as Ivy and her mom leave.

The mayor drags her daughter down the street by her arm.

“Damn it, Ivy! I don’t even want to know what you were doing there. I just want an apology!”

“Sorry.” Lauren lets go of Ivy’s arm slowly and waits a second in silence.

“But it would be nice if you at least had one good reason.” The mom huffs. Ivy pauses.

“Well, I don’t, Lauren… I don’t.” She sighs.

“Either way, I never want to see you doing that again.” They’ve turned the corner now and are approaching their house again.

“I don’t know if you’ll have to,” Ivy whispers.

Lauren glances at her daughter but says nothing, she just digs in her pocket and retrieves her keys. Then she opens the door with the keys and steps into the house. The light is still on, the shoes next to the door are strewn around obviously because Lauren left in a rush. Hair rollers are in a little pile on the dining room table and a robe is hanging over a chair.

“The things I do for you Ivy, the things I do… ” Lauren says to herself and then slowly walks up the stairs. Leaving a tired-looking Ivy standing in front of the door. Ivy turns around to close the door but sees a dark figure rushing behind her house to the left when she does.

“What?” Ivy says, startled.

She rushes out the door and turns on her lawn to get a better look around to the back of her house. She sees nothing but the small downwards hill of a backyard behind her house. Yet, she still squints her eyes and cranes her neck to stare into the darkness. After a long moment, she gives up and walks back into the house. Shutting the door behind her and locking it. After slipping off her shoes, she walks upstairs and goes into her bedroom. Not even caring that she never even changed out of her now dirty pajamas, she hops into the bed and pulls the covers all the way up to her chin. She stares at the ceiling for a while. It’s then that she hears someone ring on her doorbell downstairs. She makes to get out of bed until she hears her mother opening and closing her bedroom door in the next room. She hears the sounds of footsteps shuffling down the stairs and her mother opening the door. The conversation is heard in muffled tones from downstairs.

“Hello. And just who are you?” Lauren says.

A man’s voice is heard.

“Greetings, my name is José and I have a few questions for you.”

Ivy’s eyes widen in her bed.

Scene Out

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