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TITLE: The Pilgrim's Progress
By Hilary Mackelden
06/24/06
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This was adapted first as a stage play from the classic novel and successfully produced by amateur groups. I've put the first third up for critique. I'd like to know all thoughts. (I know format is wrong, it's the way it pasted.
FADE IN:
EXT. A CITY. NIGHT.
Houses are burning. The sky is dark, with ash and cloud as well as night. Thunder crashes, lightning strikes. Lava flows, consuming all in its path. Fireballs fly through the sky. People scream and run. Christian screams and runs. He is a young man, intense and tortured. On his back is a huge knapsack, which looks heavy.

INT. CHRISTIANíS BEDROOM. NIGHT.
Christian screams out and sits up in bed, suddenly awake and terrified. He still wears the knapsack. All is quiet. He gets out of bed, crosses to the window, looks out onto:

EXT. THE CITY. NIGHT.
All is quiet and peaceful. The moon shines, lighting rooftops in a soft glow. A cat prowls along the ridge of one of the roofs.

INT. CHRISTIANíS BEDROOM. NIGHT.
Christian sits at the window, staring out. Silent tears course down his face.

EXT. THE MARKET SQUARE. EARLY MORNING.
Traders are setting up their stalls. Other people mill about, looking at the wares, chatting, laughing.
Faithful, a young man, good looking, charming, wanders through the market. He steals an apple from a barrow. The trader waves a fist and Faithful grins, mischievously.
Mrs Pliable walks through the market with her daughter. Mrs Pliable stops to examine a stall. Faithful eyes Miss Pliable, appreciatively. She smiles back at him, silently flirting. Faithful moves nearer. Mrs Pliable sees him and pulls her daughter away.
On a stall, an argument breaks out between two brothers, Stubborn and Endurance.

ENDURANCE
Father left this stall to us both.

STUBBORN
You should have thought about that when you left me to run it.

ENDURANCE
Oh, come on. You know I had important business Ė

STUBBORN
Yeah? Well, go and stick to it. Because this is mine now.

ENDURANCE
Donít be so stupid!

STUBBORN
Donít you call me stupid!

They square up to one another. Other people, including Mr Pliable and his friend, Obstinate, step between them. Stubborn continues to try to start the fight. Endurance backs off. The others warn Stubborn as he tries to attack Endurance once more. He glares at them all and storms off.
Faithful saunters through the market. He has a tankard of beer. He meets a girl, whispers in her ear. She laughs, he puts his arm around her. Some of the women watch, disapproving.
Christian comes into the market, still wearing his knap sack. He carries a book. Wide eyed, frightened, he looks around, then climbs onto a box and addresses the crowd.

CHRISTIAN
Friends, neighbours, listen to me.

The crowd gathers around him.
At the back of the market there is a small flash of light, unnoticed by the crowd, and Beelzebub appears. She is dressed as a citizen. Anxiously, she watches the townsfolk watching Christian.

CHRISTIAN
This city Ė and everything in it Ė is in grave danger. Itís going to be destroyed.

The crowd murmurs.

BEELZEBUB
When?

CHRISTIAN
Iím not sure exactly when, but -

BEELZEBUB
How do you know itís going to happen, then?

CHRISTIAN
I saw it. In my dream.

BEELZEBUB
(sneering)
A dream? You had a dream? (To crowd) He had a dream.

The crowd groans and laughs. Faithfulís girl laughs. Faithful does not. He listens, thoughtfully.

CITIZEN #1
You come out here, frightening good decent folk?

CITIZEN #2
Should be a law against it. Dream!

CHRISTIAN
It was more than a dream. It was Ė a prophecy.

MRS PLIABLE
Have you been eating cheese before bedtime?

OBSTINATE
Course, itíd be better if you got a good nightís sleep in the first place. (to crowd) His lightís burning at all hours. He sits there, reading that book of his.

CHRISTIAN
Please, listen to me Ė

MR PLIABLE
When he does go to bed, he doesnít sleep. Tosses and turns all night.

MISS PLIABLE
And he screams Ė frightens the life out of us.

MR PLIABLE
Thatís right. Those walls are paper thin, you know.

CHRISTIAN
Youíd scream too, if you saw what Iíve seen.

BEELZEBUB
He needs help.

MRS PLIABLE
Just ignore him. Heís only looking for attention. If we take no notice, heíll soon get tired of it and shut up.

Some of the women nod agreement with her. Christian looks desperately around at the crowd.

CHRISTIAN
You donít understand Ė

MR PLIABLE
Why donít you explain it to us then?

Mrs Pliable cuffs him around the ear. He ducks, cowed.

MRS PLIABLE
I said, ignore him.

MR PLIABLE
Yes, dear. Sorry.

CHRISTIAN
We have to leave this place. Go where itís safe.

CITIZEN #1
Leave everything we know and own?

CITIZEN #2
Everything weíve worked for?

BEELZEBUB
Are we going to let him get away with this?

CITIZEN #1
Heís mad!

CITIZEN #2
Go on, you lunatic! Get out of it!

Encouraged by Beelzebub, the crowd chases him away. Faithful does not join in. He looks troubled. His girl joins in. He tries to stop her, she pouts and leaves him, follows everyone else. Having whipped up the crowd, Beelzebub disappears.

EXT. A SIDE ROAD NEAR THE MARKET. LATER THAT MORNING.
Christian sits on the kerb, fed up. He thumbs absently through his book, close to tears. Evan Gelist, an elderly man, walks towards him, silently.

EVAN
Whatís the matter, my boy?

Startled, Christian gets to his feet.

CHRISTIAN
Iím sorry. I didnít realise Ė I didnít know anyone was there.

EVAN
(kindly)
Why donít you tell me about it?

Evan sits down on the kerb, and invites Christian to join him. Christian sits beside him. Stubborn walks along the road. He sees them, hides and listens.

CHRISTIAN
Itís this book Iíve been reading. And my dreams. They tell me Iím going to die.

EVAN
And thatís bad?

CHRISTIAN
Well, uh, yes. I donít want to die. Least, not till I can get this off my back. Itís pulling me down so much.

EVAN
I see.

CHRISTIAN
And I canít get it off. Iíve tried and tried. It wonít budge.

EVAN
In that case, why are you here?

CHRISTIAN
(bemused)
Excuse me?

EVAN
Why donít you go where you can get it off?

CHRISTIAN
I donít know where that is.

Evan delves into his pocket, brings out a parchment and unrolls it. He then brings out a key and hands it to Christian, who takes it, confused.

EVAN
Keep it safe. You may need it one day.

Christian puts the key in his pocket and looks at Evanís parchment.

CHRISTIAN
(reading)
ďFlee from the wrath to come.Ē But Ė flee where?

EVAN
To the city of gold, of course. Didnít you read about it in your book?

CHRISTIAN
(sheepish)
I never got past the first chapter, about the destruction of this place.

EVAN
Oh, you must read it. You must. And go there. Itís so lovely. Youíll be glad you did.

CHRISTIAN
How do I get there?

Evan struggles to his feet, then points out of the city. Christian strains to see what he is indicating.

EVAN
Do you see that wicket gate in the distance?

CHRISTIAN
Er Ė no.

EVAN
In that case, do you see that lantern shining brightly?

Christian stares, hard.

CHRISTIAN
I think I do.

EVAN
Go towards the lantern and eventually you will come to the gate. The man there will tell you what to do and where to go.

CHRISTIAN
Thank you, sir.

EVAN
Go, now. You havenít a moment to lose.

Christian shakes his hand and walks away. Evan watches him go, puts the parchment in his pocket and goes towards the market. Stubborn comes out of hiding. He looks after Christian, thoughtfully.

INT. ENDURANCE AND STUBBORNíS SHOP. DAY.
Stubborn is packing. Endurance watches. He is upset.

ENDURANCE
But where are you going?

STUBBORN
Like you care.

ENDURANCE
Of course I care. Iím your brother.

STUBBORN
Thanks for noticing. If you must know, Iím going to the city of gold.

ENDURANCE
Why?

STUBBORN
Why not? Nothing for me here, is there?

ENDURANCE
I wish you wouldnít Ė

STUBBORN
Itís no use talking. My mindís made up. You know how I am when my mindís made up.

Endurance watches him, sadly.

EXT. THE STREET OUTSIDE CHRISTIANíS HOME. DAY.
Christian comes out of the house, looks at it sadly, then walks away.
A small flash of light, Beelzebub appears. She watches Christian, then stamps her foot, annoyed.

EXT. THE ROAD OUT OF THE CITY. DAY.
Christian runs along the road, struggling with his knap sack. Faithful sits on a grass bank, with his girl and a picnic. He looks bored. He watches Christian go by.

EXT. THE MARKET SQUARE. DAY.
Mrs Pliable is at a stall. Beelzebub sidles up to her.

BEELZEBUB
Christian just left town. Reckons heís going to the city of gold.

MRS PLIABLE
Good riddance.

BEELZEBUB
Iím worried for him. You saw what he was like. Heís a danger to himself.

MRS PLIABLE
Not our problem, is it?

BEELZEBUB
But what if something awful happened to him? How would we feel then? Weíre his neighbours. We should help him.

Mrs Pliable thinks for a moment.

MRS PLIABLE
(shrilly)
Pliable! Pliable! Come here. Now!

Beelzebub looks pleased, steps back and disappears. Pliable approaches, followed closely by Obstinate.

MRS PLIABLE
That fool Christianís run off.

PLIABLE
So?

OBSTINATE
Heíll come back when heís hungry...

His voice tails off as she glares at him.

MRS PLIABLE
You twoíll have to go and get him, wonít you? Bring him back.

OBSTINATE
Us? But Ė

PLIABLE
Itís really not our business Ė

Mrs Pliable folds her arms and fixes them with her stare. They gulp.

PLIABLE (CONTíD)
But then, we should try. Weíll go right now.

He drags Obstinate away. Mrs Pliable shakes her head.

MRS PLIABLE
Men!

EXT. HALFWAY ALONG THE PATH. DAY.
The path is rocky, uneven, puddles everywhere. Christian is tiring and out of breath, stumbling into pot holes. He sinks to his knees and tries to catch his breath.
Obstinate and Mr Pliable come running after him. They, too, are out of breath, but not so badly as Christian.

OBSTINATE
Did you Ė have Ė to run Ė so fast?

CHRISTIAN
What are you doing here?

OBSTINATE
(self important)
Come to take you back.

CHRISTIAN
Iím not going back. Iím never going back.

MR PLIABLE
Christian, donít be difficult.

CHRISTIAN
I canít go back. The city is going to be destroyed.

OBSTINATE
Oh, here we go again. You and your daft tales.

CHRISTIAN
Itís not daft. Itís true. I can prove it. Itís in my book. Look.

MR PLIABLE
Where?

He takes the book, reads, interested. Obstinate snorts his derision, snatches the book and hands it back to Christian.

OBSTINATE
Forget the book. Are you coming back, or what?

CHRISTIAN
No.

OBSTINATE
Suit yourself. Pliable, come on, mate.

MR PLIABLE
(unsure)
It does look pretty good Ė

OBSTINATE
Donít be daft. You canít go.

PLIABLE
Why not?

OBSTINATE
What about your friends? Theyíd miss you. And your business. You canít just leave that.

Mr Pliable shrugs, unbothered.

OBSTINATE (CONTíD)
And what about your wife?

MR PLIABLE
(decisively)
Iím going with Christian.

Obstinate looks ready to argue, then gives up, starts back along the path. Mr Pliable watches him walk away.

CHRISTIAN
Itíll be wonderful to have company.

MR PLIABLE
Yeah.

Christian pats his shoulder, reassuringly.
They continue along the path. Behind them, Beelzebub appears. She is furious.

EXT. FURTHER ALONG THE PATH. DAY.
Christian and Mr Pliable walk together. Christian, weighed down by his heavy knapsack, is slowing. Mr Pliable is light-footed and excited, jumping puddles like a child, pouncing from rock to rock, playfully.

MR PLIABLE
Whatís it like then, this city?

CHRISTIAN
Iím told itís wonderful. Everything you would wish for.

MR PLIABLE
I can hardly wait.

Christian smiles and they walk on.

EXT. THE EDGE OF THE SLOUGH OF DESPOND. LATE DAY.
A marshy bog. The air is heavy. An old wooden sign reads ďBeware, Slough of Despond. Use stepping stones provided.Ē
Beelzebub appears, looks around furtively, uproots the sign, throws it into the marsh. It sinks. She smiles, satisfied, then disappears.

EXT. THE MARKET SQUARE. EVENING.
Outside Stubborn and Enduranceís shop. Endurance is carrying a small bag. He locks the shop door and hands the key to Citizen #1.

CITIZEN#1
I still think youíre making a big mistake.

ENDURANCE
I donít have any choice.

He looks sadly at the shop.

ENDURANCE (CONTíD)
Look after it until I return.

CITIZEN #1
Thatís just it. People donít return. They go out on that journey, they never come back. Please. Think again. Donít go.

ENDURANCE.
I have to. Heís my brother.

Citizen #1 nods, accepts the key, watches Endurance walk away.

EXT. THE EDGE OF THE SLOUGH OF DESPOND. EVENING.
Christian and Mr Pliable walk into the marsh. Their feet sink in the sucking mud. A few steps and they are up to their knees. Mr Pliable panics.

MR PLIABLE
Whatís happening? What is this?

CHRISTIAN
I Ė I donít know.

MR PLIABLE
This isnít what you promised. You said nothing about this.

CHRISTIAN
I didnít know about this.

They struggle against the mud. Mr Pliable moves to a tree, grabs a branch and hauls himself up out of the bog.
Weighed down by his knapsack, Christian sinks to his waist. He tries to follow Mr Pliable, but cannot reach the branch.

CHRISTIAN
Help me! Please! Help me!

He reaches out to Mr Pliable, who shrinks back.

MR PLIABLE
No. Youíll pull me back in.

CHRISTIAN
Please! Iím sinking!

Wild eyed and frightened, Mr Pliable backs away.

MR PLIABLE
Iím going home.

Christian is up to his chest now. He screams, desperately.

CHRISTIAN
Please! Help me!

MR PLIABLE
You can keep your blasted city.

He runs off. Christian struggles through the mire, moving from tree to tree, clinging to branches. He is exhausted.

CHRISTIAN
Must Ė get Ė to Ė the Ė wicket Ė gate. Must Ė get Ė there.

Evan sits on a branch. He reaches down to Christian. With the last of his strength, Christian grabs him. Evan pulls him out of the marsh and into the tree. Christian clings tightly to the branch, breathing ragged.

CHRISTIAN
Thank you. Thank you.

EVAN
(perplexed)
Why didnít you use the stepping stones?

CHRISTIAN
What stepping stones?

Evan points to the stones which run beside their tree.

EVAN
Those stepping stones. Theyíre there to get you across safely.

CHRISTIAN
I didnít see them.(angry) This place is lethal. I could have been killed. Youíd think theyíd do something about it, wouldnít you? I mean, why donít they fill it in?

Evan shrugs, nonchalantly.

EVAN
They try. The king sends cartloads of hard core down here every day, trying it make it solid. But it does no good. This bog swallows it all. They did manage to put in the stepping stones, which is something.

Christian looks down at the bog and shudders. Evan smiles.

EVAN (CONTíD)
Still, youíre out now. Come on, Iíll show you the way.

Surprisingly nimble, he climbs out of the tree. More carefully, Christian follows.

EXT. THE MARKET SQUARE. MORNING.
People go about their business. Mr Pliable comes into the square, filthy, tired. People point at him, whisper, snigger. Ignoring them, he walks through the square. He is nearly out of it when Obstinate sees him.

OBSTINATE
Pliable! Wait!

Mr Pliable does not want to talk, but waits for Obstinate. People crowd them, curious.

OBSTINATE
Thought you were going with Christian.

MR PLIABLE
Changed my mind.

He turns to walk away. Obstinate grabs his arm. Faithful joins the crowd.

CITIZEN #1
Changed your mind? Again?

PLIABLE
What do you mean, again?

CITIZEN #1
Again. First you go after Christian to bring him back, then you decide youíll join him, then you decide you were right in the first place and come back without him.

CITIZEN #2
Doesnít make you look very reliable, does it?

CITIZEN #3
Old Go-with-the-flow. Thatís you.

The crowd taunts Pliable. Faithful pushes his way to the front, looks around.

FAITHFUL
Whereís Christian?

MR PLIABLE
Er Ė he fell in the bog.

Everyone except Faithful and Mr Pliable laugh.

MR PLIABLE (CONTíD)
Wasnít his fault. Not really.

FAITHFULíS GIRL
Bet he didnít see that in his dream.

Faithful looks at her, contemptuously.

FAITHFUL
He fell in a bog? And what? You just left him there?

The laughing stops. The crowd look at Mr Pliable accusingly. He becomes defensive.

MR PLIABLE
No. I tried to help him.

CITIZEN #2
So where is he?

MR PLIABLE
Obstinateíll tell you. Thereís no reasoning with him. Is there, Ob?

Obstinate shrugs, noncommittally. Citizen #1 looks Mr Pliable up and down, then grins, slyly.

CITIZEN #1
Looks like Christian wasnít the only one who fell in.

OBSTINATE
(laughing loudly)
You fell in?

MR PLIABLE
No! I didnít. I didnít.

The crowd torment Mr Pliable, chanting ďPliable fell in the bogĒ. Faithful is the only one not laughing.
Mrs Pliable comes into the square. As people see her, they fall silent, until all chants stop. She moves forwards, angry. Mr Pliable sees her, gulps, grins obsequiously.

MR PLIABLE
Hello, my petal.

She stares, stony faced. He gulps again. The crowd move in, eager, anticipating trouble.

MR PLIABLE (CONTíD)
I missed you.

MRS PLIABLE
Iím not sure I missed you.

People nudge each other, draw fingers across throats.

MR PLIABLE
But sweetheart Ė

MRS PLIABLE
Donít you sweetheart me! Going off like that, abandoning your poor, defenceless wife to goodness only knows what. I ought to Ė

She stops and looks at the crowd, listening intently. They back away, trying to seem uninterested.

MRS PLIABLE
Home.

MR PLIABLE
But darling Ė

MRS PLIABLE
NOW!

He runs off as fast as he can, with his wife in hot pursuit. The crowd cheer. Faithful looks thoughtful.

INT. A TAVERN. DAY.
The tavern is crowded. Faithful sits, nursing a beer and thinking. His girl comes and sits with him.

GIRL
Penny for Ďem?

FAITHFUL
Iíd be robbing you.

GIRL
Youíre a bundle of laughs today.

FAITHFUL
Sorry.

GIRL
Tell you what. Iíll pack a picnic, and weíll go off, just us two.

She winks suggestively. Faithful sighs.

FAITHFUL
Maybe another time?

GIRL
All right. No picnic. What, then?

FAITHFUL
Iím really not good company today. Iím sorry.

He leaves the tavern. She looks around, momentarily wounded, then drinks his beer.

EXT. THE FIELDS OUTSIDE THE CITY. DAY.
Faithful sits, playing with a long strand of grass and staring vacantly along the road. Evan approaches him.

EVAN
Why donít you go after him?

FAITHFUL
What?

EVAN
Christian. Why donít you go after him?

FAITHFUL
Who says/ I Ė

EVAN
Youíre wondering if he was right. Arenít you?

Faithful looks ready to deny it. Then he sighs and nods.

EVAN (CONTíD)
I can show you the way. Although I must warn you, the journey is long and hard, and fraught with danger. Many set out. Few actually arrive.

Faithful draws himself to his full height.

FAITHFUL
Iím not afraid.

EVAN
Come on then. Iíll show you the way.

He moves along the road. Faithful follows. In the field, Beelzebub appears. She looks unhappy.

EXT. OUTSIDE A CASTLE. DAY.
The castle is dark and forbidding. A man on horseback rides towards it, purposefully.

EXT. THE CASTLE COURTYARD. DAY.
The man on horseback, Sir Rotten-Heart, rides in. A groom grabs the bridle. Rotten-Heart dismounts.

INT. A ROOM IN THE CASTLE. DAY.
The room is spacious. On one wall is a long sideboard. A bowl of black apples sits on it. Beelzebub paces the room.
The door opens and Rotten-Heart comes in. He bows.

BEELZEBUB
We have a problem. My subjects are in danger. Grave danger.

ROTTEN-HEART
How so, my lady?

BEELZEBUB
The city of gold. Itís proving too much of a temptation for some.

She takes an apple and throws it to him. He bites into it, heartily. She watches him with distaste, takes another and bites it, daintily.

BEELZEBUB (CONTíD)
It is our job Ė our duty Ė to protect these poor unfortunates.

ROTTEN-HEART
Yes, my lady.

BEELZEBUB
In the last two days, four have set out. Four! In two days!

Rotten-Heart looks horrified.

BEELZEBUB (CONTíD)
We must stop the rot.

ROTTEN-HEART
But how?

BEELZEBUB
Thereís really only one way. Those who have already left must fail. More, they must be seen to fail. You must stop them reaching the city.

ROTTEN-HEART
I will try, my lady.

BEELZEBUB
Try? In fact, you should stop them going through the wicket gate. The job is so much easier this side of that wretched thing.

ROTTEN-HEART
Iíll go to the gate now.

He stands as if waiting for her to speak. She looks at him, contemptuous.

BEELZEBUB
You wonít stop them standing there, will you?

ROTTEN-HEART
No, my lady. Forgive me.

BEELZEBUB
Iím not in the forgiving business. And take Lord No-Hope with you.

He bows and turns to leave. She calls after him.

BEELZEBUB (CONTíD)
Send the Lady Soul Trapper to me.

Lady Soul Trapper comes into the room and bows to Beelzebub. She is an attractive redhead.

BEELZEBUB (CONTíD)
I have a job for you. One that requires your Ė special talents. Come.

She leaves the room. Soul Trapper follows.

EXT. THE ROAD TO THE WICKET GATE. DAY.
Christian trudges along the path. There are winding alleys running off it. In the distance is a mountain. From one of the side alleys comes a dapper gentleman, Worldly-Wise. He sees Christian, studies him hard, paying particular attention to the knapsack.

WORLDLY-WISE
Pardon me, but that looks heavy.

CHRISTIAN
It is.

WORLDLY-WISE
Well, take it off then, you daft haípíorth.

CHRISTIAN
I canít. Iíve tried. It wonít budge.

Worldly-Wise tugs at the knapsack.

WORLDLY-WISE
Mm. You should do something about that, my boy.

CHRISTIAN
I am doing. Iím going to the city of gold.

WORLDLY-WISE
Thatís a long way to go. And dangerous.

CHRISTIAN
So Iím told.

WORLDLY WISE
You know the way, of course?

CHRISTIAN
Er - no.

WORLDLY WISE
Look, it really isnít my way to interfere, but that sack looks so heavy and itís so far. Iím sure thereís an easier way.

CHRISTIAN
(with feeling)
I wish.

Worldly-Wise puts an arm around Christianís shoulders and hugs him close, seeming not to notice how this adds to the weight on his back.

WORLDLY WISE
Yes. I know. You can get help round the other side of that mountain.

CHRISTIAN
How?

WORLDLY WISE
See the mountain? Follow the path around it. Just past the bend thereís a village called Morality. A very important man lives there, a lawyer, name of Legality. He knows everything. Heíd get this off in an instant.

CHRISTIAN
You think so?

WORLDLY WISE
I know so. Course, youíd have to make an appointment with him Ė an important man like that, you canít just walk in off the street. But Ė

CHRISTIAN
But it would be easier than going all the way to the city of gold?

WORLDLY WISE
And safer.

Christian thinks for a moment.

CHRISTIAN
All right. Iíll go. Thank you.

WORLDLY WISE
Glad to be of help. Have a good day.

He watches, pleased, as Christian walks away towards the mountain.

EXT. THE ROAD UNDER THE MOUNTAIN. DAY.
The sky is overcast, landscape bleak, the path stony. The mountain is menacing, looks as if it is hanging over the path, precariously. Its top glows fiery red. As Christian approaches, it rumbles. He steps back, the glow fades.
He steps forward, the glow brightens and the rumble sounds, louder. He retreats and it fades.
He steps forward again and it rumbles thunderously. Smoke comes from it, and the ground shakes. Christian nearly falls. Terrified, he stands still.
Evan appears behind him. He looks at Christian, sternly.

EVAN
What are you doing here?

CHRISTIAN
I was told I could get this off in the next village, and I/ thought Ė

EVAN
You thought youíd go for the easiest way? Even if it wasnít the right way?

Christian looks shamed.

EVAN (CONTíD)
Honestly! I donít know why I bother. I hope youíve learned a lesson from this?

CHRISTIAN
Oh, I have.

EVAN
Go back, till you find the right road again. Head for the gate. And next time, donít try short cuts. And donít listen to anyone who tries to stop you.

Christian moves back the way he came. He turns to Evan.

CHRISTIAN
Iím sorry.

EVAN
Go on. Get on with you.

Christian goes back down the path.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE WICKET GATE. EARLY EVENING.
The gate is on top of a small hill. The path leading to it is steep and stony. Stubborn comes running to it, sweating and panting, but making good time.
He stops, turns round as if checking no-one has followed him. We see his POV.

EXT. NEAR THE GATE. EARLY EVENING.
The landscape between the gate and Destruction City. It is pretty, fields, rivers, hills, etc.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE WICKET GATE. EARLY EVENING.
Stubborn grins, satisfied, turns back to the gate. As he does so, Rotten-Heart wheels his horse into the path. Stubborn collides with the horse and is knocked over.
He scrambles to his feet as Rotten-Heart bears down on him.

STUBBORN
Sorry. I didnít see you.

ROTTEN-HEART
Never likely to, looking backwards. Whereíre you going?

STUBBORN
The city of gold.

ROTTEN-HEART
Then you have a problem, donít you?

STUBBORN
Why?

ROTTEN-HEART
Because Iím sworn not to let anyone through that gate. Go home, little man.

STUBBORN
Donít you call me Ė I can go through. Youíve no right to stop me.

ROTTEN-HEART
I wonít warn you again. Get back.

STUBBORN
Get out of my way.

He pushes past Rotten-Heart and moves to the gate. Rotten-Heart puts an arrow into his bow and aims it at Stubborn. Stubborn knocks on the gate.
Rotten-Heart fires. The arrow hits the gate, narrowly missing Stubborn, who cries out in alarm and cowers.

ROTTEN-HEART
Going back, are we? Little man.

Stubborn hesitates. Rotten-Heart fires again. Terrified, Stubborn runs back the way he came. Rotten-Heart smiles, satisfied.
No-Hope rides up to the gate and dismounts.

ROTTEN-HEART
No-Hope. Whereíve you been?

NO-HOPE
Got here as soon as I could. How are things?

ROTTEN-HEART
Great. Just sent one back.

NO-HOPE
First of many.

ROTTEN-HEART
We can only hope.

No-Hope dismounts, the two men shake hands. No-Hope looks up, alert.

NO-HOPE
Someoneís coming.

The men pull their horses into the shadow of the wall, so they cannot be seen easily.
Christian approaches the gate. An arrow whistles past his ear and beds into the gate. He turns startled.
Rotten-Heart and No-Hope advance, bows at the ready. Two more arrows are fired. Christian ducks and runs for the gate, bangs on it.
More arrows fly, land in the gate. Christian ducks, and bangs on the gate again. More arrows come. He knocks more urgently. More arrows come, narrowly missing him.
The gate opens, a hand shoots out, grabs his collar and pulls him through. The gate shuts, and arrows thud into it.

ROTTEN-HEART
Rats!

NO-HOPE
Weíll get another crack at him. Itís a long way to the city.

EXT. INSIDE THE GATE. EARLY EVENING.
Behind the gate is a narrow path, flanked by high walls. Christian leans against the gate, relieved. Beside him stands Good Will.

CHRISTIAN
Thank you.

GOOD WILL
My pleasure.

CHRISTIAN
Help me get this wretched knapsack off, will you?

GOOD WILL
I canít. This isnít the place for that.

CHRISTIAN
(dismayed)
What? Where is the ďplace for itĒ then?

GOOD WILL
Itís on the way to the city. If you stay on the right road, you canít miss it.

He points to the distance. Christian looks. We see his POV.

EXT. THE LANDSCAPE BEHIND THE GATE. EVENING.
The landscape is pretty, rural. The path runs through it, straight and narrow. The wall encloses it for a way, then stops. Several side roads lead off the straight path. They twist and wind. As we see this, we hear:

GOOD WILL (O.S)
See that narrow path? The straight one? Thatís the road you want. Stay on that, you canít go wrong.

CHRISTIAN (O.S.)
I see it.

GOOD WILL (O.S.)
Now, look closer. Do you see? There are lots of twisty side roads and winding alleys that lead off it.

CHRISTIAN (O.S.)
Yes?

GOOD WILL (O.S.)
Be sure not to go down any of those. If you do, youíll get well and truly lost.

CHRISTIAN (O.S.)
I wonít. I promise.

EXT. INSIDE THE GATE. EARLY EVENING.
We see Good Will and Christian standing together.

GOOD WILL
Good. But now, you must be tired. And hungry. Come. I have food, a bed, all you need for tonight.

He leads Christian away.

EXT. THE ROAD FROM DESTRUCTION CITY. NIGHT.
The road forks, but there is no signpost. Faithful stands at the fork, looking lost.
Soul Trapper appears behind him. She is now blonde, dressed provocatively. She sashays up to him. He eyes her, appreciating her beauty. Her voice is warm, seductive.

SOUL TRAPPER
Can I help you?

FAITHFUL
Iím looking for the wicket gate.

SOUL TRAPPER
Of course you are.

FAITHFUL
Could you direct me?

SOUL TRAPPER
I could. It wouldnít do you much good. Not at this time of night.

FAITHFUL
Is it locked at night?

SOUL TRAPPER
No. But itís difficult to find when youíre in the darkness. Tell you what, why donít you stay with me tonight?

FAITHFUL
(insincere)
I wouldnít want to impose.

SOUL TRAPPER
Whoís imposing?

She drapes herself over his shoulder. He smiles, broadly.

SOUL TRAPPER (CONTíD)
My homeís just up here. Iíve a big roaring fire, apple wine Ė

FAITHFUL
Sounds like heaven.

SOUL TRAPPER
(suggestively)
Believe me, itís nothing like heaven.

She takes his hand and leads him along one of the alleys. He goes, willingly.

INT. SOUL TRAPPERíS HOME. NIGHT.
A cosy log cabin. A roaring fire in the hearth, a thick rug in front of it, a low table on which is a bottle of wine, two glasses, a bowl of round, black apples. Faithful lies on the rug, next to Soul Trapper. She offers him a glass of wine, takes her own, sips it, then licks her lips, enticingly.
She reaches out and takes an apple, offers it to Faithful, who takes a bite. She bites the other side, tearing at the fruitís flesh. Faithful pulls her to him and they kiss, passionately.
She unbuttons his shirt and pushes it from his shoulders. Kissing, caressing, they lie back on the rug.
Faithful leans over, kisses her face, moves to her neck. A slight hissing sound makes him look at her. Her head has become a snakeís head. He blinks hard and looks again. She is a beautiful woman again.
Startled, he sits up and looks at her again. In the fire glow, he sees the top half of her body has changed into a snake. Her scales shimmer, her tongue darts out, tasting the air. Her voice is a rasp.

SOUL TRAPPER
Come to me.

Terrified, he scrambles to his feet, grabs his shirt. She becomes a beautiful woman again.

SOUL TRAPPER (CONTíD)
Whatís the matter, my love?

He makes to leave. She blocks the door, tries to embrace him. He recoils from her.

SOUL TRAPPER
Whatís your hurry?

FAITHFUL
(thinking quickly)
No hurry.

SOUL TRAPPER
Youíll stay?

FAITHFUL
Pour me some wine.

She grins, blows him a kiss, moves to the table. He takes his chance and bolts through the door. She turns, sees he is gone and stamps her foot, squealing her frustration.

EXT. THE NARROW PATH. MORNING.
O.S. we hear a man and a woman, puffing and panting from physical exertion beyond the wall that flanks the path.
Formalist appears at the top of the wall. He scrambles over, lowers himself onto the path, breathes out heavily and wipes himself down.
Hypocrisy appears. She struggles to get over. He helps her. She half jumps, half falls on him. She brushes herself down while he looks around, satisfied.

FORMALIST
Weíre in.

HYPOCRISY
Youíre sure this is the right road?

FORMALIST
Of course. Havenít I studied the maps? For goodness sakes, woman! Now come along. Itís this way.

Hypocrisy massages her foot.

HYPOCRISY
Thatís what you said before. (She mimics him) ĎI know a short cutí. Some short cut. You took us down three blind alleys before we even left our own home town.

FORMALIST
It wasnít my fault. They changed the roads. How am I supposed to work it out if they changed the roads?

HYPOCRISY
It would have been quicker to go all the way back to the wicket gate.

FORMALIST
Yes. Well. Iíve got my bearings now. So, are you coming, or not?

Looking fed up, she follows him along the road.

EXT. A HILLTOP. MORNING.
The narrow path goes over the hill. Christian climbs the path to the summit. He is exhausted. He sinks to his knees and bows his head.
There is a whooshing noise, followed by beautiful singing. Wary, he looks up.
In front of him is a huge cross, silhouetted against the sky. He is overawed. For the rest of the scene, Christian does not take his eyes from it.
The straps on his knap sack loosen and it falls from his back. It lies on the ground at the foot of the cross for a second, then disintegrates to dust. His tatty jacket falls from his back and disintegrates.
Two angels appear. They smile and come towards him, graceful.

ANGEL #1
Peace to you, pilgrim.

Angel #2 steps forward, carrying a shining white jacket. As he steps forward, the jacket flies from his hands and puts itself on Christian.

ANGEL #2
This is the livery of the king. Wear it with pride.

Angel #1 puts a scroll into Christianís hand.

ANGEL #1
This is for you. Keep it safe.

ANGEL #2
Donít lose it, or let anyone take it from you.

ANGEL #1
It is your passport into the city of gold. Without it, you will not be allowed to enter.

BOTH ANGELS
Good journey, pilgrim.

The light brightens and the angels melt into it. Christian covers his eyes against the light. When it fades again, the cross is gone. Happy and at peace, Christian puts the scroll into his pocket and starts down the hill.

EXT. THE BOTTOM OF THE HILL. DAY.
The path comes down the hill and along the valley floor. Roads lead off to either side. Christian comes down the hill. The road is stony and narrow and he has to be careful.
Hypocrisy and Formalist come onto the path from one of the alleys. She is hobbling and looks fed up. He looks angry. Christian greets them, warmly.

CHRISTIAN
Hello. Are you pilgrims?

HYPOCRISY
(startled)
What? Oh, yes.

FORMALIST
At your service, sir. Formalist. Bound for the city of gold. And this is my friend, Miss Hypocrisy.

CHRISTIAN
Iím Christian. Maybe we could travel together?

HYPOCRISY
Only if you know the way.

CHRISTIAN
Didnít Good Will give you directions?

HYPOCRISY
Whoís Good Will?

CHRISTIAN
He opened the gate.

HYPOCRISY
(sneering)
We didnít come in by the gate. Thatís miles out of our way.

FORMALIST
Weíre from Vainglory. Itís just the other side of the wall. If we went round to the gate, weíd have to go miles in the wrong direction, so we just climbed over.

CHRISTIAN
Is that allowed?

HYPOCRISY
I canít see the king will worry too much about such a trivial thing as that. Not when you consider how well we serve Ė

FORMALIST
Quite. If everybodyís ready? It would be nice to get started.

They move along the path. Christian looks uneasy, but he follows them.

EXT. FURTHER ALONG THE PATH. LATER DAY.
The road splits into three forks. One fork goes straight ahead, up a steep hill. The surface of the road is potted and rough, deep wheel ruts, puddles, stones, etc. To either side are smooth, flat paths. At the fork is a signpost with three arms. One points up the hill and reads ďHill of DifficultyĒ. The right arm reads ďDanger PathĒ and the left arm reads ďDestruction AlleyĒ. Christian looks at the signs and then moves towards the hill. Formalist grabs him and pulls him back.

FORMALIST
Just a minute. What makes you think itís that way?

CHRISTIAN
Because thatís straight ahead.

HYPOCRISY
Itís also very steep. And I have tired feet. Look at it. Itíd be awful to walk on, even if it was on the level. This way - (POINTS TO DANGER PATH) is grassy and smooth.

CHRISTIAN
(quietly, firmly)
Itís up the hill.

HYPOCRISY
I bet this path goes all the way round the hill. Itíd be so much easier.

FORMALIST
Actually, youíre both wrong. Itís this way.

He points to Destruction Alley. Hypocrisy puts her hands on her hips and glares at him.

HYPOCRISY
You got us lost last time.

CHRISTIAN
We have to keep straight.

Hypocrisy and Formalist ignore him.

FORMALIST
Anyone can make a mistake.

HYPOCRISY
And why should I think youíre right now? Come to that, why shouldnít I be right?

CHRISTIAN
Itís up the hill.

FORMALIST
Fine. Go your own way.

HYPOCRISY
I will. And I bet I get to the other side before you do.

FORMALIST
Youíre on.

They storm off down different paths. Christian watches them go, shakes his head, then climbs the hill.

EXT. DESTRUCTION ALLEY. LATE DAY.
The path goes round the base of the mountain, narrow and twisting. Formalist picks his way along it, muttering darkly to himself.

FORMALIST
You try to help some people, but no! They know better.

Evan comes from behind a huge boulder. He watches Formalist.

EVAN
I wouldnít recommend going this way. This is quite a tricky path.

FORMALIST
I can see that. Iím not a fool.

EVAN
It gets worse further along. There are landslides, crumbling rocks. Youíd be better off going over the mountain.

FORMALIST
Are you mad? Who in their right minds would climb all the way up there, when they can simply work their way round the base? Iím sure you mean well, but Iíll thank you to mind your own business.

Evan studies him for a moment, then nods.

EVAN
As you wish. Good day.

He disappears. Formalist looks amazed. He looks behind the boulder, but Evan is not there. Formalist moves on, muttering.

FORMALIST
Party tricks! Some people have nothing better to do.

EXT. DANGER PATH. LATE DAY.
The road is no longer grassy and smooth, but muddy and rutted. Hypocrisy picks her way across it. Worldly Wise sits on a log, watching her approach. She eyes him, suspiciously. He smiles, brightly.

WORLDLY WISE
Good morning, madam. What brings you this way?

HYPOCRISY
If you must know, Iím going to the city of gold, to be with the king.

WORLDLY WISE.
I see. You serve him, do you?

HYPOCRISY
Of course. Iím one of his best subjects. Always at the forefront of things. Iím on every committee. And my life has been absolutely blameless. He can always hold me up as an example to others.

WORLDLY WISE
You sound like just the kind of person we need. We so often get the wrong sort, you know.

HYPOCRISY
I know what you mean. I met one of those types earlier. Young lad. You could tell he was rough. He only thought I was going to climb the mountain. Can you imagine?

WORLDLY WISE
You poor woman. Look, come back to my home. You can rest there, and recover from it.

HYPOCRISY
I donít mind if I do. It will be so nice to spend time with the right sort of people for a change.

She takes his arm and he leads her away.

EXT. HALFWAY UP THE HILL. LATE DAY.
Christian pulls himself onto a wide ledge and stands up. It is grassy, and trees are shaped into a pretty arbour, over a white bench. At the side of the arbour is a sign, which reads ďThis arbour was placed for the rest and refreshment of pilgrims by the king of the golden city. Feel free to stop awhile.Ē
Christian goes into the arbour and collapses, exhausted, onto the bench. He mops his brow, stretches out along the bench, reaches into his jacket and pulls out his scroll. He unrolls it and reads it aloud.

CHRISTIAN
ďTo whom it may concern, this is to certify that the bearer will be permitted to enter the city of gold.Ē The Bearer. Thatís me!

Pleased and excited, he reads it several times.
Beelzebub appears at the side of the arbour. He does not see her. She watches for a moment, then waves her fingers, lazily. A small stream of light emanates from her hands and glides towards Christian. His head nods, and he falls asleep, dropping his scroll.
Beelzebub walks over to him, looks down at him, contemptuously. She picks up the scroll. As her fingers close around it, it hisses and steam rises from it. She throws it from hand to hand like a hot potato, moving away from Christian as she does so.
Finally, unable to stand the heat any more, she drops it into the long grass. Blowing on her burnt fingers, she disappears.

EXT. THE ARBOUR. EARLY EVENING.
Christian wakes, refreshed. He sits up, yawns, stretches, and begins to climb the next part of the hill. He does not miss his scroll.

EXT. THE HILL OF DIFFICULTY. MID EVENING.
Christian climbs the hill, struggling for footholds.

EXT. THE SUMMIT OF THE HILL OF DIFFICULTY. LATE EVENING.
Christian gets to the top. He looks around, proud of his achievement. The view is magnificent, stretching out into the sunset. The climb down the other side looks gentle and easy. Christian starts down the slope.
Suddenly, two people run at him. They are a man, Tim OíRuss and a woman, Miss Trust. Miss Trust collides with Christian and he catches her to stop her falling.

CHRISTIAN
Careful!

TIM OíRUSS
Run! Run for your life!

MISS TRUST
Lions! Lions!

CHRISTIAN
(confused)
Lions?

TIM OíRUSS
Lions. Two of Ďem. Big ones, with teeth the size of spears Ė

MISS TRUST
And claws! Such claws! Go back!

CHRISTIAN
Go where? I have nowhere to go.

TIM OíRUSS
Thatís your problem.

MISS TRUST
Quick! Run!

They run to the summit of the hill, and start to scramble down the steep side. Christian runs back and looks over. We see them from his POV:

EXT. THE STEEP SIDE OF THE HILL. EVENING.
They bump their way over crags, kicking up dust, crying out in pain as they hit jagged rocks.

EXT. THE SUMMIT OF THE HILL. EVENING.
Christian looks from the two people running, to the road ahead of him. He gulps, frightened, and his voice is tiny.

CHRISTIAN
Lions?

He makes an effort to calm himself.

CHRISTIAN (CONTíD)
Itís all right. No need to worry. Iíll be fine. It says so in my scroll.

He feels into his pocket but doesnít find his scroll. He checks all his pockets, panicking.

CHRISTIAN (CONTíD)
My scroll! Whereís my scroll? Think. Think. Where did you last have it? At the arbour, where you rested and Ė (groans) fell asleep. You stupid man!

He mimes his actions as he talks through them.

CHRISTIAN (CONTíD)
I got it out, read it, rolled it up, and Ė did I put it away?
(beat)
Iíll have to go back, and hope no-one else picked it up.

Carefully, he begins to climb down the steep side of the hill.

EXT. THE ARBOUR. NIGHT.
Tired, dirty, fingers sore and bleeding, Christian climbs the last foot into the arbour. He searches the ledge, finds the scroll, picks it up, hugs it, crying with relief. He puts it into his pocket and begins to climb again.

EXT. THE SUMMIT. NIGHT.
Christian clambers up the last few steps, exhausted. He groans, starts down the gentle slope.

EXT. ON THE ROAD. NIGHT.
Christian is having trouble seeing where he is going. He stumbles. He comes to a driveway, with wrought iron gates. On the gates is a sign: ďPilgrims Welcome. Rest Assured.Ē Relieved, he goes through the gates and along the driveway.

EXT. THE FRONT OF A MANOR HOUSE. NIGHT.
The house is beautiful. At the door stands a Porter. He has a black bird perched upon his shoulder. He looks along the driveway as if expecting someone. He checks his watch, impatient.

EXT. ON THE DRIVEWAY. NIGHT.
Christian comes along the drive. It narrows and goes up between two rows of yew trees. He stops at the narrowing, uncertain.

EXT. THE FRONT OF THE MANOR HOUSE. NIGHT.
The Porter looks out and sees Christian coming.

PORTER
At last! Pilgrim! Over here.

EXT. ON THE DRIVEWAY. NIGHT.
Christian starts towards the house. He is about a third of the way along the yew lined path when there is a loud roar. He stops, frightened.

PORTER (O.S.)
Come on. I want to lock up.

Timid, Christian moves forward. The roar sounds again and two lions, one either side, jump out. Terrified, he jumps back. The lions stop just short of him, then spring back, as if pulled.

PORTER (O.S.)
Tonightíd be nice.

CHRISTIAN
I canít. The lions.

PORTER (O.S.)
Stay in the middle of the path and they wonít get you. Theyíre chained. They canít reach the middle.

Not totally convinced, Christian moves forward. The lions jump. He freezes. They are pulled back. He grows bolder, and although they continue to jump, they donít roar so loudly. He reaches the end.

EXT. THE FRONT OF THE MANOR HOUSE. NIGHT.
Christian reaches the Porter. The bird flaps its wings.

PORTER
Well done, lad. You see? I knew you could do it. You must be exhausted.

He goes into the house. Christian follows, grateful.
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