EXT. CONSTRUCTION SITE – OUTSIDE LIMA, OHIO – MORNING

A BULLDOZER ROARS BY, clearing away dirt and debris.

A CONTRACTOR steps out of a TRAILER with a coffee mug. He sits on a pile of wooden planks, ambient CONSTRUCTION NOISE echoes behind him.

The Contractor looks around, sets down his coffee mug, and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. He sticks one in his mouth, sorts through his numerous pockets, and finally pulls out a match book. He strikes a match but before lighting up, the Contractor turns his head to the side, listening.

SILENCE.

The Contractor blows out the match and walks over to the side of the trailer.

A SMALL GROUP OF CONSTRUCTION WORKERS surround a FRESHLY DUG HOLE several yards away. They’re all peering down but from far away they also seem to be hanging their heads solemnly.

The Contractor sticks his cigarette over his ear and jogs toward them.

The Contractor slips through the group to the edge of the hole and stops short. Some of the Construction Workers start talking amongst themselves. The Contractor ignores them.

At the bottom of the hole, OLD, DUSTY BONES jut out of the earth next to a TORN, FADED BLANKET. A breeze flaps the blanket wildly, revealing the top of a HUMAN SKULL AND RIBCAGE.

EXT. FIELD OUTSIDE SREBRENICA, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA – 1995 – DAY

THE FRESH CORPSE OF AN OLD MAN lies alone in a lush, green field.

A FRESHLY DUG TRENCH runs parallel with a narrow, broken ROAD where a BOSNIAN SERB ARMY UNIT is stationed.

SOLDIERS stand around, talking and/or smoking. A BULLDOZER sits idle in the background next to a LARGE MOUND OF DIRT.

ZELJKO KOZIĆ, 24, eyes the trench suspiciously.

He walks around until he spots his brother ALEKSANDAR, 26, laughing with three other soldiers behind the bulldozer.

Alek breaks away from the group and playfully puts an arm around Zel’s neck. He leads him away, still laughing and speaking in Serbo-Croatian.

ALEK
What’s wrong, little brother?
You miss mom? You wanna go home?

ZEL
I just wanna know what we’re
doing here.

Zel and Alek don’t notice their CAPTAIN walk up from behind. He doesn’t glance at them or change his stride.

CAPTAIN
Buses are arriving with Muslims
from Srebrenica. We’re going to
shoot them.

Zel and Alek barely get a chance to salute the Captain before he’s gone.

LATER

A FIRING SQUAD stand shoulder to shoulder, rifles at the ready.

Directly across from them, forming ANOTHER SINGLE LINE in front of the trench, are PRISONERS OF WAR, all MALE, YOUNG AND OLD. Some are hollow-eyed and silent, some are openly weeping, all of them are trembling.

The Captain gives the order and, instead of the entire squad shooting as one, the first Soldier (Alek) FIRES ON THE PRISONER DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM HIM. The Prisoner falls back into the ditch, dead.

The Captain gives the order again, and so on, down the line.

Zel, positioned farther down the line, stares at the ground and listens to each execution get closer to him.

Zel looks up and focuses on the Prisoner in front of him: a balding, broad-shouldered man in his 50s. Although clearly terrified, there’s also a tired resignation in his face.

The GUNSHOT that cracks next to Zel snaps him back into the present. The Captain shouts OFFSCREEN. Zel hesitates.

CAPTAIN (O.S)
Soldier! Is your rifle jammed?

ZEL
Sir, no, sir!

CAPTAIN (O.S.)
Fire!

Again, Zel hesitates.

CAPTAIN (CONT’D)
Soldier! Are you deaf?

ZEL
Sir, no, sir!

CAPTAIN (O.S.)
Stop answering me and pull the
fucking trigger!

Zel’s eyes flicker in all directions.

CAPTAIN (CONT’D)
Am I talking to myself?

ZEL
Sir, he’s unarmed, sir!

The Captain seems to let Zel’s gross insubordination waft in the air for a moment.

CAPTAIN (O.S.)
Do you think that makes him any
less dangerous?

Zel spots Alek down the line, who gives him the slightest shake of his head.

ZEL
Sir, no, sir!

CAPTAIN (O.S.)
Did the Ustaše show us mercy? Or
the Nazis?

ZEL
Sir, no, sir!

The Captain suddenly appears behind Zel and leans in close.

CAPTAIN
(softly)
You don’t really want to surrender
your weapon and join the other line,
do you?

Sweat trickles down Zel’s face.

ZEL
Sir, no, sir.

CAPTAIN
We’re fighting for our survival. I
need good soldiers. I need good men.
(beat)
Don’t you want to survive?

ZEL
Sir, yes, sir.

CAPTAIN
Then you know what you have to do.
Let us survive together.
(whispering)
Fire.

Zel breathes in, breathes out.

The Prisoner shuts his eyes.

Zel FIRES.

The Captain sees what Zel sees for a moment before his face darkens.

CAPTAIN (CONT’D)
Do not fuck with me again, is that
understood?

ZEL
Sir, yes, sir.

The Captain turns to Zel, smiling, and slaps him on the back.

CAPTAIN
Welcome to the war, son.

The single shot executions proceed while Zel stares at the empty space where his Prisoner had stood.

When the line of prisoners has disappeared, the Soldiers break formation.

Zel stands motionless until the Bulldozer ROARS TO LIFE.

Alek grabs Zel by the arm and leads him away as the Bulldozer rolls toward the mound of dirt.

INT. ZELJKO’S APARTMENT – BROOKLYN, NY – 2013 – MORNING

A CELL PHONE VIBRATES on the nightstand.

Zel, sporting a thick goatee, opens his eyes.

Already dressed, Zel sits on the foot of his neatly made bed in a small, modest room. He ignores his phone.

CUT TO BLACK

A scene from Luis Cordoba’s feature-length script Gabriel’s Revelation was published in the Fall 2016 issue of The Match Factory. Luis has written three feature-length screenplays and several short screenplays, two of which were published in SVA’s Words 84 & 85. He’s an administrative assistant at the Writing Resource Center. When he’s not writing, he’s usually fretting over the online tutor reservation system.