INT. HAUNTED HOUSE – EVENING

SUPER: OCTOBER 31st – 5:00 PM

DREW, 20, slowly opens a heavy door to a large, spacious room. She’s wearing a backpack, and her eyes are bouncing around the walls observing the work being put into the haunted house.
Volunteers are walking left to right, and decorations are being thrown around.

Drew walks towards STEVE, 25, hanging up caution tape.

DREW
(shy)
Hi, I’m looking for Victoria?

STEVE
(nudging his head)
She’s over there, with the clipboard.

Drew nods at him, and walks towards VICTORIA, 28. She’s focused on the clipboard in her hands.

DREW
(unsure)
Hi, Victoria?

VICTORIA
(looking up)
Hi, yes! We talked on the phone, you’re . . .
(snapping fingers)
Drew!

DREW
Yeah!

VICTORIA
Okay, come with me.

Victoria walks over to a table with a pile of folded clothes. She starts to neatly search through the pile.

VICTORIA
Again, thanks for joining our team on such short notice. I really
appreciate your help, we definitely needed it . . .

Victoria takes a folded costume out from the pile and hands it to Drew.

VICTORIA
Here’s your costume, I hope you can do your own makeup, right?

Victoria looks at her clipboard and writes something down.

DREW
(hesitant)
Y-Yeah.

VICTORIA
Great. Black and white skeleton makeup would be perfect, and . . .

Victoria grabs a makeup bag off of the table, handing it to Drew.

VICTORIA
. . . here’s everything you’ll need for that.

Drew opens her mouth, But Victoria interrupts.

VICTORIA
(serious)
Your job is very simple. You’re going to stand in . . .
(showing Drew her clipboard)
this first corner of the pathway, and when people turn towards you, just scare em’!

DREW
Okay.

VICTORIA
Great! House opens in 30 minutes. There’s a bathroom over there for you to change.

Victoria walks away, now engulfed in her clipboard.

Drew walks away, and enters the bathroom, letting the door close behind her.

INT. DARK ROOM – NIGHT

SUPER: ONE DAY AGO.
OCTOBER 30th – 11:20 AM

Darkness.
Suddenly, a spotlight shines on Drew, who’s standing alone. Her long sleeves cover her fingertips as she looks around with a queasy expression. Drew trembles; she cannot see anything beyond the light that surrounds her.

She’s jerking her head from left to right, and left to right, beginning to bite her nails.

A tall silhouetted man approaches her spotlight. Drew backs up, but another man approaches her from behind. Then another appears.

The man in front of her holds up a sharp knife.

INT. PSYCHIATRIST OFFICE – DAY

DREW
(terrified)
Then a fourth, and a fifth one approached me, all closing in on my spotlight. It was like, I was suffocating.

Drew stops for a moment to catch her breath.

She’s sitting on the edge of an oversized couch in a plain, lifeless room. Framed degrees hang from the wall in mint condition next to other miscellaneous artwork.

DREW
They had these big knives, too, that you would see in one of those killer movies or something. And they started to get closer . . . and closer. And just as the knives grazed my skin I— I woke up.

Beat.

DREW
I wanted to fight back and make them feel scared for once. But I— I couldn’t even move.

Drew stops talking. Her trembling has taken over.

She takes a breath.

DREW
And this time I couldn’t fall back asleep.

DR. THOMAS, 41, is looking down while writing something in his notebook. He looks up and pushes his glasses closer to his face.

DR. THOMAS
(writing in notebook, sincere)
Okay, just breathe. Did you try last week’s exercise?

DREW
Yeah, but . . . I couldn’t do it.

DR. THOMAS
Well, meditation takes time. Maybe try again and really push yourself.

DREW
(biting nails)
I know, I’m just . . . not there yet.

DR. THOMAS
And have you noticed any difference with the new prescription?

DREW
A little I guess.

Thomas writes in his notebook, but then puts it to the side as he takes his glasses off.

DR. THOMAS
(worried)
Drew, can I be honest with you?

DREW
(biting nails)
Mhmm.

DR. THOMAS
You know we’re about to hit the six-month mark and . . .
(exhaling)
I feel like we haven’t made much progress.

Drew looks down, putting her hair behind her ears. Dr. Thomas leans in towards her.

DR. THOMAS
It’s okay, everyone goes at their own pace. Maybe let’s go back and look at this piece by piece.

Drew looks up at Dr. Thomas.

DR. THOMAS
So clearly the dark itself is not our enemy here, right, it’s the men with these knives?

Drew nods.

DR. THOMAS
Okay, and through observation we know that these men are just a reflection of your Nyctophobia. Lots of my patients have nightmares surrounding their struggles, it’s very normal.

Beat.

DR. THOMAS
But you felt like the only way to “fight them off” was to hurt them?

DREW
I—I don’t know. I just wanted it all to stop.

DR. THOMAS
Okay, well, maybe if we embrace this dream we can . . .
(hopeful)
Make some more progress.

Drew uneasily stares at Dr. Thomas.

DREW
(queasy)
What do you mean?

Dr. Thomas grabs his briefcase from beside him and pulls out a folded piece of paper.

He unfolds the paper and hands it to Drew. Her eyes bulge out of her head when she reads:

SEEKING WORKERS FOR HAUNTED HOUSE ON HALLOWEEN! CALL US NOW!

Drew neatly folds the piece of paper back up.

DREW
(defensive)
No, I’m not going to this.

Drew tries to hand the paper back to Dr. Thomas, but he gives her a stern glare.

DR. THOMAS
(slightly hesitant)
I’m not saying go to it, I’m saying . . . work there.

Drew tries to respond but is at a loss for words. She looks away, flustered.

DR. THOMAS
In this scenario there’s nothing to be scared of, because you’ll be doing the scaring! It’s honestly a great technique to try!

DREW
(shrugging her shoulders, defensive)
No! And it’s tomorrow, they would never hire me.

DR. THOMAS
Well, you never know.

Drew looks back at the flier.

DR. THOMAS
Look . . .
(looking at watch)
Our time today is about up, but just think about it, or at least give them a call.

Drew takes her jacket from the side of the seat and puts it on. She continues to gather the rest of her things.

DR. THOMAS
(sincerely)
Please seriously consider this.

DREW
I’ll see you next week.

Dr. Thomas nods towards Drew as she walks out.

He sits back in his chair looking defeated, rubbing his eyes. Dr. Thomas grabs his notebook and starts to write.

EXT. PSYCHIATRIST OFFICE – DAY

Drew leaves the room, and leans against the wall outside, sighing. She looks again at the flier, and takes her phone out of her pocket.

INT. HAUNTED HOUSE BATHROOM – NIGHT

SUPER: OCTOBER 31st – 5:25 PM

Drew stands in front of a grimy sink, applying Halloween makeup in front of the mirror. She’s surrounded by the sickly yellow tiles on the wall.

Her makeup’s almost complete. She grabs a dark red lipstick from the bag of makeup to finish off her look.

Drew takes a moment and stares at herself. She then grabs her backpack, which is overflowing with her normal clothes, up from the ground. She lifts it on to the sink, and searches through it.

Drew pulls out a small pocketknife, looking at it with purpose.
Drew’s stare is suddenly disrupted by Victoria’s voice.

VICTORIA (O.S.)
Alright everybody, house opens in five, get in your spots!

Drew begins to panic, and throws the knife in her pocket.

She throws the makeup that’s on the sink into her bag, zips it up, and exits the bathroom disheveled.

INT. HAUNTED HOUSE – NIGHT

Drew walks out of the bathroom, and runs into Victoria. Drew’s in full costume.

VICTORIA
Oh wow your makeup looks great!

Victoria walks away.

Drew takes a moment, and places her bag on a nearby hook. She walks towards the haunted house’s entrance.

She stands in her dark corner, surrounded by artificial spider webs and gaudy decor. She’s anxiously taking deep breaths, and closing her eyes.

With her hand shaking, Drew takes the pocketknife out and stares at it. A flash of the large knife from her dream appears, causing her to look away.

Drew breathes in and out, in and out, closing her eyes. She looks back down at the pocketknife, and decides to hold it by her side.

Drew’s breaths have become shorter as she stands in the eerie corner, alone. She stares at the pocketknife, and swings the blade open. Her hand is glued to her side, the blade practically taunting her.

Drew begins to calm down, but suddenly hears voices approaching her. A pack of young, obnoxious boys is getting louder, and louder, and louder.

MIKE (O.S.)
I bet I can scare the shit out of the first one.

Drew’s breathing becomes heavy again. She squeezes her eyes shut as the voices grow louder.

BOY 2 (O.S.)
You go first! They’re probably around this corner.

Drew swallows dramatically, with her head tilted up. She’s taking big, deep breaths. Fear is covering her face.

MIKE
BOO!

Drew raises her hands to her chest, a reflex to protect herself, but the boy who screamed was suddenly silent.

Drew slowly opens her eyes, and sees that he has walked right into her pocketknife. The four-inch blade is deep in his chest, and his eyes are wide, focused on Drew.

Her shaking hands pull the knife out. Drew watches him fall to his knees, and stares at the thick blood that is dripping off of the knife and onto her fingers.

The boy places his hands over his chest, and falls to the ground as the red glaze covers his shirt. The purest form of shock is covering Drew’s face as she stares at her hands, and the boy.

Drew stares at his body, and then drags him around the corner, hiding herself, and him, from the other boys.

The rest of his friends come out from around the corner, looking puzzled.

BOY 2
Where the hell did he go?

Boy 3 and Boy 2 walk past Drew as she’s holding her hand against the boy’s mouth. Drew’s eyes are wide, full of fear and shock.

BOY 3
Mike!

The Boy’s voices become lower and lower as they continue to walk through the path.

Drew moves her hand from his face, and the boy has become limp.

Drew’s shaking hands are slowly becoming steady again, and she begins to calm down. Drew looks at the bloody knife again, finally able catch her breath.

She then sees a tinted mirror nearby, and stares at her reflection.

BEAT.

She looks back down at the knife, and the body, no longer shaking. Drew leans the boy’s body against the wall, setting him up as a decoration.

She takes some fake spider webs from the ceiling, and places them onto his chest. Drew backs away and stares at him with a slight smirk on her face. Drew takes a breath and walks towards the entrance of the haunted house.

As Drew walks out, passing incoming guests, she wipes the blood off her fingers and on to her costume.

Drew leans against the wall, and pulls her phone out of her pocket. She dials a number

DR. THOMAS (V.O.)
(confusion)
Hello, Drew?

Drew begins to walk back and forth.

DREW
(calm)
Hi, Thomas. Sorry for calling you so late. I uh—
(uneasy)
something happened.

Drew’s playing with her hair.

DR. THOMAS (V.O.)
Okay, are you alright?

DREW
Yeah, I’m okay.
(swallowing)
I ended up taking that haunted house job, and this thing happened I—

DR. THOMAS (V.O.)
Okay, do you need to talk? Is everything alright?

DREW
Yeah, everything’s fine. But I do want your opinion on it.

DR. THOMAS (V.O.)
(sincere)
Okay . . .

DREW
Well, this little accident thing that happened felt . . .
(gathering thoughts)
Good. Like, I wasn’t scared of my surroundings or anything, I just felt more like myself.

DR. THOMAS (V.O.)
Well that sounds really great Drew!

DREW
(relieved)
I just feel such a sense of relief.
(thinking)
And if this thing is helping me do you think I should keep doing it?

DR. THOMAS (V.O.)
I mean if it’ll help you overcome this, then definitely, that’s fantastic!

Drew looks down, smiling as she holds the phone to her ear.

DR. THOMAS (V.O.)
We can talk more about—

Drew hangs up the phone, and lets her hand fall to her side. She smirks as she puts her phone back in her pocket.

THE END.

Annie Fleisch’s short script, “Piece by Piece,” won second prize in the Eighth Annual School of Visual Arts Writing Program Contest. Annie is a freshman in the Film department at SVA. She was born and raised in Monmouth County, New Jersey. As a high school student, her film “George Gray” was featured in the 2019 Monmouth Film Festival Student Showcase.