“BOSCUTTI’S M” (SCREENPLAY)

What hope do you have against a psychopath?

When Judge Beckert is forced to retire he takes the law into his own hands and begins killing innocent children.

He successfully eludes detectives but is ultimately hunted down by the very people he once imprisoned. There is a smell to it, you know. To death.

“Boscutti’s M” is a remarkable crime screenplay. It goes beyond law and order. 

Can we ever know what compels a man to murder?

“Boscutti’s M” is based on Fritz Lang’s classic German thriller “M.” Which was written by Lang, Thea von Harbou, Adolf Jansen and Karl Vash, based on a newspaper article by Egon Jacobson on the Düsseldorf child murder Peter Kürten.

Rated R / ISBN 9780987446534 / 21,000 words / 84 minutes of sinister reading pleasure

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‘Which road, which road did you take that brought you here at last?’ Franz Werfel

STEFANO BOSCUTTI

M


BASED ON THE FILM M WRITTEN BY FRITZ LANG AND THEA VON HARBOUR

Copyright 2008 Stefano Boscutti
All Rights Reserved

INT. MELBOURNE - CENTRAL TRAIN STATION - PLATFORM - EVENING

Underground sounds of metal slicing against metal, crying.

Dark, indiscriminate shapes blur before us. Sounds of man whistling in the distance. Narrator’s calm voice talks just to us.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He always whistled to calm his nerves. Even as a boy. He remembers that.

Sounds of little girl crying fade away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But other memories are shifting within his mind, fading in and out of darkness. He has begun to wonder where the memories go after he discards them ...

Sounds of heart beating fade away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert had always prided himself on his memory. It was a gift, and a skill he carried through life.

Sounds of metal scraping fade away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
In his court, he was famous for never writing notes during a trial. He had the ability to recall any detail of any judgement at will, while just as easily dismiss any unnecessary or unwelcome thoughts. This way, he was never disturbed by anything he did not wish to consider. Doubt and indecision did not exist in his mind.

Sounds of heart beating fade away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It was this ability to control his thinking, his reasoning, his memory that allowed Judge Beckert to rise within the courts.

Beat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It also allowed him to get away with murder.

Sounds of metal sharpening fade away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
By removing any recollection of his actions, he was able to keep his conscious clear, completely clear.

Sounds of heart beating fade away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Without memory there could be no guilt, without guilt there could be no judgement, and without judgement there could be no crime.

Beat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He was able to commit perfect murder without knowing it.

Sounds of child gasping fade in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But in the past few months unwanted thoughts have begun to creep into his mind, unconscious suspicions, unsettling shadows.

Sounds of child whimpering fade in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert knows the only way to quell his anxiety is to stop once and for all. He knows if he stops now, so will the memories he does not want to face.

Sounds of child snivelling fade in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He also knows if he stops now, he can never be caught. It is simply a question of willpower. If he can will himself to take a life, what difficulty is there in sparing one? What harm in showing mercy?

Sounds of child crying fade in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert does not consider himself a bad man, an evil man. What he does is beyond good, beyond evil. He is the natural order of things. His younger sister died when he was still a child. So too his father. In a way, he had also died when he stumbled down the stairs of the family home.

Sounds of child sobbing fade in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He had spent a month unconscious in a cold hospital bed. What did he remember in all that time, in all that darkness? 

Beat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Not a thing, except his mother’s soft voice, and the smell of her English perfume. (sniffs) The smell of white lilies. (sniffs) Sweet, soft, like damp sugar.

Sounds of commuters gathering on a railway platform fade in

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A lifetime judging humanity had left him wanting. Now in his retirement, he walks the city streets, hour after hour, collecting his thoughts, and carefully filing his memories.

Sounds of train arriving fade in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And waiting for the moment, the right moment. When the darkness comes, and the memories fall away.

Move back to reveal backs of COMMUTERS rushing towards the doors of a train carriage arriving at the underground station. They reveal ELSIE BECKMANN, 9, standing alone in her school uniform and yellow raincoat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Perhaps you have rushed past him without a second thought, too busy to see him. Just another old man, just another forgotten man.

Sounds of man whistling fade in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Too distracted to notice he wears tight, black leather gloves? Too preoccupied to realise he clutches a razor-sharp knife? Too lost in your own world to see what is really going on? He never hunts the girls down, never seeks them out. They come to him, one after the other.

Elsie stands waiting with her back to us. It looks like she is holding a thin balloon twisted in the shape of a sausage dog in her hand until KARL, 6, steps out in front of her towards the carriage, taking the balloon with him. He holds his FATHER’S hand. Other commuters rush past.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He is no monster. A monster cannot get close to children. It requires a certain kindness, and innocence. Children can sense who you truly are. So you cannot have murder on your mind. Instead, Judge Beckert thinks of ice cream, vanilla ice cream.

Commuters rush to the train.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He imagines the soft colour, the smooth texture, the dull sweetness as it cools his tongue on a warm summer’s day.

Karl steps onto the carriage, turns and looks at Elsie.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Analytical, impartial, and completely devoid of empathy or remorse. The most salient characteristics of a psychopath make for the ideal judge.

Warning alarm sounds. Carriage doors begin to close shut.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He is not a reckless man. He does not need to take unnecessary risks. He does not need to take this girl. After all, where is her mother ...

INT. CITY - MELBOURNE CENTRAL TRAIN STATION - TICKETS - EVENING

MRS. BECKMANN, 36, steps up to the ticket machine with her purse open and heavy schoolbag in hand. She hurriedly selects two tickets and slips two coins into the machine.

She searches her purse for more coins. There aren’t any.

MRS. BECKMANN
(under her breath)
Damn!

She takes out a five dollar note and looks over the ticket machine, anxious. COMMUTERS hurry through the turnstiles with prepaid tickets.

Mrs. Beckman turns to a PREOCCUPIED WOMAN, 42, waiting to buy a ticket.

MRS. BECKMANN
It doesn’t take – it doesn’t take any notes. Have you got change?

Preoccupied Woman opens her purse and checks.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Time murders everything. Even you. Memories are the only things that outlive us. They have a life of their own.

INT. MELBOURNE - CENTRAL TRAIN STATION - PLATFORM - EVENING

Warning alarm sounds. Doors heave shut.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
How many young girls has he killed? He has no idea, no way of knowing. He does not hate them. They are only children, after all.

Karl looks through the carriage window at Elsie and pokes his tongue out as the train begins to leave.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Immature, eternally hopeful, frequently stupid. In love with themselves. [smile] Misguided, curious, impulsive ... [smile more]

Commuters pass by. Elsie pokes her tongue out at Karl as the train shuttles away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A drowning, a strangulation, a knife across the throat, a pair of scissors to the chest, a hammer to the head, an axe to the face.

Reveal MRS. KURTEN, 39, standing behind Elsie, looking down at her.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He never repeats himself. He never gives himself away. Never keeps the memories, never lets them betray him.

INT. MELBOURNE - CENTRAL TRAIN STATION - TICKETS - EVENING

Preoccupied Woman places a coin in Mrs Beckman’s hand.

MRS. BECKMANN
My daughter’s run off downstairs.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Does it make it any easier to forget them? To no longer see their faces?

Mrs. Beckman slips in the coin and the machine spits out two tickets.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But it is no longer just the bad memories he has forgotten. Other memories have vanished too. Private memories, cherished memories, even his first childhood memories.

She hands the five dollar note to the Preoccupied Woman and grabs both tickets.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He knows it is the happiest day of his life. He knows he is catching a train with his mother, and his little sister before she fell ill.

Then quickly steps into a turnstile right behind an IDLE COMMUTER.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He even knows he keeps a photograph of that day in a silver frame on his desk in his apartment.

She validates her ticket, pushes herself through and hurries along the concourse towards the distant stairs leading to the platform below.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He knows all this yet he can longer picture the moment, he can no longer see the memory ...

INT. MELBOURNE - CENTRAL TRAIN STATION - PLATFORM - EVENING

Mrs. Kurten steps up to Elsie as the train leaves. Elsie steps away, worried.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
All he can see is the young girl in front of him.

Sounds of older man faintly whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme a little off key to himself. It’s from Edvard Greig’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King”.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And the concerned stranger, asking her where her mother is?

Mrs. Kurten steps closer. Elsie shrugs her shoulders and steps further away, backing into JUDGE BECKERT, 70s. She looks up to see he is wearing a bespoke suit and dark, expensive overcoat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They smell like candy, you know. Those little girls.

Judge Beckert looks down at Elsie with a smile as he slips on a pair of fine black leather gloves. We cannot see his face.

BECKERT
Hello. What a pretty uniform.

Elsie looks up again and smiles.

BECKERT
What’s your name?

ELSIE
Elsie, Elsie Beckmann.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He wonders whether she likes vanilla ice cream. Or strawberry? One scoop? Two? Perhaps it will spoil her appetite?

Beckert’s hands tremble ever so slightly as he places them on Elsie’s shoulders. He says something we cannot hear.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Why not ask her mother? Why not help her find her mother?

Beckert takes her hand and leads her towards an escalator.

We see the back of Beckert holding Elsie’s hand as they glide up the escalator. Sounds of Beckert whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme a little off key to himself. Move to one side to reveal Mrs. Beckmann rushing down the platform as they pass unseen.

Sounds of electronic chimes over public address system.

Mrs. Beckman hurries down the platform looking for her daughter, distressed.

EXT. MELBOURNE - SWANSTON STREET - CENTRAL TRAIN STATION EXIT - BALLOON STAND - EVENING

Approaching sounds of Beckert whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme a little off key to himself. Sounds of GUIDE DOG growling. BLIND MAN, 30, is draped in balloons twisted into the shapes of animals. He holds a balloon twisted in the shape of a sausage dog aloft. He pats his Guide Dog gently.

BLIND MAN
Sit.

BLIND MAN’S GIRLFRIEND sits behind him. Beckert and Elsie step in. She points to the balloon twisted into the shape of a sausage dog and grins.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Little girls will follow you anywhere on the promise of a toy, and a treat.

Beckert takes the balloon from the Blind Man.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And no one sees anything.

Beckert hands the balloon to Elsie

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Not the tired commuters, not the passersby.

Beckert takes out a five dollar note and pays the Blind Man.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Certainly not the blind balloon seller, or his girlfriend.

Sounds of police car siren wails past. Blind Man’s Girlfriend looks at Elsie. Beckert takes Elsie’s hand and walks off into the night.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And as he leads the little girl away into the darkness, he sees that everyone sees what they want to see.

Sounds of Beckert whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme to himself. Faint sounds of slicing steel.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But no one sees the truth.

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL - EVENING

Faint sounds of slicing steel fade away. Black.

Freeze frame on Elsie’s outstretched body between the pews, lifeless. The motionless balloon dog just beyond her dead fingers in the centre aisle.

Move up past the pews.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
When he sliced her throat in the cathedral, it was as if he had done it before. It was as if he had sliced through a memory.

Sounds of blister pack of 20mg Prozac tablets. Sounds of footsteps leaving. Sounds of transept door opening and closing.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
How could that be true, his mind asked?

Move up past the altar, past the sanctuary, past the pulpit, past the apostles, past the crucifix, past the stained glass and into the vaulted ceiling overhead.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But his hands betrayed him.

Sounds of church bells pealing.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
His hands felt the memory from the past echo into the present.

EXT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL CORNER - EVENING

Sounds of police siren.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It was only for the briefest moment, and then it was gone.

Move down from spire to DETECTIVE MORRISON, 40, who stands in front of the side gate and shakes his head as he refuses entry to two approaching middle-aged tourists, a GERMAN HUSBAND and GERMAN WIFE.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But it left him feeling uneasy, and troubled. He feared returning to his apartment, to his hidden memories.

German Husband turns to German Wife.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He could not risk walking through the streets tonight.

German Wife holds up a tourist map of Melbourne. German Husband holds up his camcorder and takes off the lens cap.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
There will be more detectives, but still not enough.

Detective Morrison tries to reason with the German Husband.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Why frighten off the tourists?

Detective Morrison shakes his head. German Husband turns to his wife.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Why scare away the office workers?

He leaves. She follows. Sounds of tram turning corner.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The last thing anyone in the city wants to face is the prospect of a serial murderer.

DETECTIVE BUZZARD, 30, bounds up with a roll of police tape in hand. Detective Morrison spots him.

DETECTIVE MORRISON
We don’t need the tape. And turn the fucking siren off. We’re trying to avoid a crowd, not attract one.

Detective Buzzard steps away. Sounds of police siren switched off. Move over to reveal city office blocks as traffic streams past.

Sounds of Beckert whistling Peer Gynt theme a little off key to himself.

INT. MELBOURNE - DOMAIN ROAD - APARTMENT BUILDING - BECKERT’S APARTMENT - STUDY - NIGHT

Beckert stands with a postcard pressed against the floor to ceiling window, his back to us. City lights glisten through the glass.

Sounds of clock tick tocking.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He feels something fading inside him.

Close on back of the postcard as he writes with a small red crayon in a purposely childish scribble: “WHY NO STORY?” City lights gleam behind the postcard.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He stays inside his apartment, alone with his drifting memories. Away from the streets, away from temptation.

Beckert whistles “Peer Gynt” theme a little off key to himself.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He sends a postcard to the newspaper as a warning to himself.

Beckert flips the postcard to reveal a standard cityscape of Melbourne during the day. He scrawls the crayon all over the picture.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Part of him thinks that if he sees the postcard printed in the newspaper, sees the last murder reported, then that will be the end of it.

INT. MELBOURNE - SPENCER STREET - NEWSPAPER OFFICES - EDITOR’S OFFICE - NIGHT

BOB RONIN, 45, Editor, sits agitated at his desk. PATRICK MORELAND, 55, Publisher, stands calmly with a takeaway coffee in his hand. Behind them empty desks line up like a city grid.

City lights glimmer out the windows.

Bob Ronin has an almost empty 375ml plastic bottle of Evian in his hand, anxiously twisting and untwisting the cap.

BOB RONIN
Forty-eight hours?

PATRICK MORELAND
Yes, the Police Minister says the murderer will be locked up behind bars in forty-eight hours.

Ronin doesn’t believe him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Many of Judge Beckert’s trials had been covered by the newspapers in the past, especially his drug trials.

Ronin argues with Moreland.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A courtroom is where truth is murdered. It is where justice is sold to the richest client, where whoever can afford to purchase the most time wins.

Bob Ronin points out the windows to make a point.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The guilty buy their innocence every day.

Patrick Moreland is not swayed.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
His mother had clipped the stories, and kept them in a special book.

Bob Ronin twists the cap off the small Evian bottle and takes a swig. Patrick Moreland motions the offices.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He is not a vain man, but to see his name in print gave him a certain validation, a certain honour.

Bob Ronin twists the cap back onto the small Evian bottle.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It has been a long time since he has seen that book.

Patrick Moreland looks out the window to avoid Bob Ronin’s eyes.

PATRICK MORELAND
You run this stuff, you’ll kill the city. People will stay away in droves.

Patrick Moreland looks back at Bob Ronin.

PATRICK MORELAND
The only people who’ll be left will be junkies. And junkies, mate, don’t buy newspapers.

INT. MELBOURNE - SWANSTON STREET CORNER - NEWSTAND - NIGHT

SAM, 35, a long term heroin user, bails up his dealer brother, SAL, 40. Sal is reading a newspaper.

SAM (O.S.)
I want my fucking money back.

Sam holds a needle in one hand and an open foil in the other.

SAL
Calm down, dickhead.

SAM
Are you kidding? Just give me my fucking money back.

Sam holds up the foil, accusingly

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert never had time for drug addicts and drug dealers. Selfish, petty, stupid.

Sam tosses the foil at Sal and storms off. White powder dusts the air.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They’re like children who refuse to grow up ...

INT. MELBOURNE - SPENCER STREET - NEWSPAPER OFFICES - EDITOR’S OFFICE - NIGHT

Patrick Moreland continues to make his point while Bob Ronin leans back towards the bookshelf.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
All they ever do is complain. They have no will power, they have no sense of purpose.

Bob Ronin reaches into the bookshelf retrieves a bottle of Stolichnaya vodka, opens it and fills up the empty Evian bottle.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They wasted his life with one drug trial after the other, until he was forced to retire. On the day of his sixty-fifth birthday.

Bob Ronin twists the cap off the bottle of vodka.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
An anonymous form letter and his life in the law was terminated. His services no longer required, his judgment no longer called.

Bob Ronin pours the vodka into his empty Evian bottle.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He gave his life, his mind, his soul to the law.

Bob Ronin puts the open vodka bottle on his desk.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But they cast him aside, discarded him, ignored his pleas.

BOB RONIN
Junkie? You seriously think it’s some junkie who’s murdering these girls?

PATRICK MORELAND
Junkie. Drug dependent. They’ll catch him.

Bob Ronin isn’t so sure. He gulps down a mouthful of vodka from his Evian bottle.

EXT. MELBOURNE - COLLINS STREET - TRAM - DAY

DETECTIVE EDMONDSON pushes a drug user and street dealer, CAFE ADDICT, 25, down the tram by the back of his neck. STARTLED COMMUTERS look away.

DETECTIVE EDMONDSON
Come on, dickhead.

Cafe Addict is simultaneously trying to keep from being strangled and free himself. Tram shudders down the street.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The detectives keep arresting the same pathetic drug addicts and drug dealers, over and over.

Detective Edmondson pushes Cafe Addict to the rear door as the tram brakes to stop. Sounds of metal scraping.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And to what end ...

Detective Edmondson pushes Cafe Addict out of the tram and across the traffic.

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - POLICE HEADQUARTERS - MEETING ROOM - DAY 

DETECTIVE ALBRECHT marks a murder site on a large city map with a red pen.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They get closer to the crimes, but no closer to the truth.

INT. MELBOURNE - HIDDEN LANE - POLICE MINISTER’S LIMOUSINE - DAY

Frustrated POLICE MINISTER, 50, sits in the back seat and hisses on the phone to the Police Commissioner.

POLICE MINISTER
Murdering children, for Christ sake!

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They keep making arrests to appease a Police Minister in an election year. Public virtue?

Police Minister fumes.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It is nothing but flattery, vanity and self-interest.

INT. MELBOURNE - DOMAIN ROAD - APARTMENT BUILDING - BECKERT’S APARTMENT - BATHROOM - DAY

Beckert stands reflected on one side of a half open mirrored bathroom cabinet.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Too many people are too scared to face the truth. But Judge Beckert faced his demons long ago.

We see his lips and chin but not his eyes.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He was able to overcome his resistance, his doubts. He was able to overcome himself. But now he feels his confidence sliding. He begins to fear the memories he has kept hidden all these years. He feels them coming towards him. His thoughts echo.

On the open side of the cabinet the shelves are neatly stacked with nothing but neuroleptic medication.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Time is no longer constant, no longer to be trusted. It seems to shift, and bend. His emotions become more and more difficult to control. Frustration boils beneath his skin. It reminds him of what waits in the darkness. In his subconscious, among the hidden memories, the repressed memories, among the impulses once suppressed.

Anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and more than a few foiled blister packs of 10 Cipramil 20mg tablets.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Perhaps all his medication is getting the better of him? At times he has trouble breathing, and he hears sounds that he knows are not there. Sounds of sorrow, sounds of sadness.

Sounds of clock tick tocking.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He feels he is losing his balance. But as long as he can silence the memories of the murders, he can keep the guilt away.

Beckert whistles “Peer Gynt” theme a little off key as he slides the mirror shut.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
How many tablets has he had this morning? He cannot be sure? His thoughts turn more and more to death. Life takes life.

Sounds of helicopter passing overhead.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You have never wished someone dead? Never had a murderous thought? You recoil at killing yet sit down to eat the flesh of slaughtered animals every day? You dine on the dead.

Beckert smiles at his reflection and nonchalantly straightens the knot of his tie even though it’s perfect.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
When you pick a flower, you take a life. You murder life every day without a second thought. There is nothing strange in taking a life. It is the natural order of things.

EXT. MELBOURNE - SPRING STREET - TREASURY GARDENS - DAY

Police search helicopter flies off over the tree tops.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
We kill our hopes. We kill our dreams. We kill one another.

INT. MELBOURNE - HIDDEN LANE - POLICE MINISTER’S LIMOUSINE - DAY

Police Minister shakes his head as he hisses into the phone.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do you know how many children go missing every year?

INT. MELBOURNE - DOMAIN ROAD - APARTMENT BUILDING - BECKERT’S APARTMENT - BATHROOM - DAY

Beckert continues to look at his own reflection.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Children grabbed in the night, children raped and discarded. Children die all the time.

He adjust his tie and straightens his overcoat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He never plays with any of them, he never toys with them.

Sounds of clock tick tocking.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But how can he be sure if he remembers nothing? He is outside his own life looking in. Disconnected. Detached. Apart.

Beckert buttons his overcoat, whistles “Peer Gynt” theme and straightens his glasses.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Prozac, Zoloft, Cipramil, Paxil, and more. His doctors keep increasing his dosage. Perhaps this has led to the blackouts? 

Then slowly turns and leaves.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You do know the side effects of using such antidepressants? Rashes, tremors, dizziness, insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, agitation.

Sounds of thunder rolling overhead.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Antisocial behaviour, violent conduct, suicidal ideation. Judge Beckert remembers all these and more ...

EXT. MELBOURNE - SPRING STREET - TREASURY GARDENS - DAY

Move down from the thick grey skies to reveal the tops of office towers, then the tops of trees and gardens below.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He remembers his mind racing ahead of itself, scattering thoughts and trembling out of control. The hot surges running through his body. The constant thirst, the heavy sweating.

DETECTIVE MCLEAN and Detective Buzzard search around a fountain.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Hearing noises that are not there. Electronic humming and buzzing, doorbells and whispers. Tears falling into the night.

DETECTIVE DYCE and DETECTIVE WATT join them and start wearily searching under bushes.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Seeing things. Traces of light, fleeting shadows. Echoes of past memories. Forgotten memories recalled for no reason.

They find nothing but frustration.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The detectives search for evidence when there is none.

Sounds of passing sirens.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They have no pattern, no motive, no cause. What hope do they have of catching him?

INT. MELBOURNE - HIDDEN LANE - POLICE MINISTER’S LIMOUSINE - DAY

Police Minister answers the obvious question.

POLICE MINISTER
I cannot hold the media any longer. I told them forty-eight hours.

Half a beat as he half listens to reply and shouts down the phone.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The detectives follow the usual procedure as they stumble around the city, blindly looking for witnesses ...

INT. MELBOURNE - SWANSTON STREET - PHOTOGRAPHIC STORE - DAY

Sounds of tram passing. Detective Dyce and Detective Watt walk up to the store entrance. Detective Watt walks in to ask some questions. Detective Dyce looks at the binoculars on display in the front window.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And when witnesses finally come forward, they give nothing but contradictory evidence.

Detective MacLean and Detective Buzzard walk past.

INT. MELBOURNE - HIDDEN LANE - POLICE MINISTER’S LIMOUSINE - DAY

Minister raises his voice.

POLICE MINISTER
I’m only the voice of the people. If you don’t catch this murderer, it won’t be me calling for your blood.

INT. MELBOURNE - SWANSTON STREET - VIDEO GAME ARCADE - DAY

Sounds of interstellar video games blasting.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Witnesses argue with each other, and the detectives grow more confused, and lost by the hour.

Detective McLean descends the escalator. CLEANER spots him and turns away. Detective Watt descends the escalator.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The detectives have been working round the clock, but the Police Minister does not care.

Detective Dyce and Detective Buzzard walk out from behind the escalator. They all exit.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He has no time to negotiate with the Police Commissioner.

INT. MELBOURNE - HIDDEN LANE - POLICE MINISTER’S LIMOUSINE - DAY

Police Minister glances out the window.

POLICE MINISTER
The press release is already written.

He doesn’t have to read it to know the contents.

POLICE MINISTER
Of course I regrettably accept your resignation after a lifetime of dedication to law and order. Oh, and I wish you well for the future.

INT. MELBOURNE - SWANSTON STREET - CONFECTIONERY STORE - DAY

Sounds of passing traffic.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Your government cannot save you.

Detective McLean walks ahead. Detective Watt and Detective Buzzard follow him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It serves the mob, not the individual.

Detective Dyce steps into the store and holds up a small photograph to the BLONDE ASSISTANT behind the counter. She shakes her head.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Elected representatives prey on the weak and simple-minded.

Sounds of car horn blaring.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They follow the mob. They follow the numbers.

INT. MELBOURNE - HIDDEN LANE - POLICE MINISTER’S LIMOUSINE - DAY

Police Minister shakes his head as he looks out the window.

POLICE MINISTER
Look, just capture this foul murderer within forty-eight hours and this press release won’t be going anywhere. Fail to capture him, and you can kiss your life goodbye.

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - POLICE HEADQUARTERS - MEETING ROOM - DAY 

Detective Albrecht marks another murder site on a large city map with a red pen.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Slicing the carotid artery in her neck halts the flow of blood to her brain, which causes immediate unconsciousness.

EXT. MELBOURNE - BOURKE STREET MALL - SHOPPING MALL - DAY 

Detective Dyce, Detective Watt, Detective McClean and Detective Buzzard walk past a billboard emblazoned with noughts and crosses under a large question mark.

Pigeons flap up into the air.

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - POLICE HEADQUARTERS - MEETING ROOM - DAY 

Detective Albrecht marks yet another murder site on a large city map with a red pen.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
She feels no pain. She falls to sleep, and bleeds softly to death.

EXT. MELBOURNE - BOURKE STREET MALL - SHOPPING MALL - DAY 

Detective Dyce, Detective Watt, Detective McClean and Detective Buzzard walk past another billboard emblazoned with noughts and crosses under a large question mark.

Sounds of someone whistling to themselves in the distance.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
As long as you cut deep. Skin is surprisingly thick, and resilient.

Approaching tram blurs past to reveal solitary billboard.

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - POLICE HEADQUARTERS - MEETING ROOM - DAY 

Detective Albrecht marks still another murder site on a large city map with a red pen.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The very first time, Judge Beckert did not go nearly deep enough. He had to cut twice to get through.

EXT. MELBOURNE - BOURKE STREET MALL - SHOPPING MALL - DAY 

Tram stops, doors open and COMMUTERS step off. Detective Dyce, Detective McClean and Detective Buzzard stand in front of a row of billboards that line the mall emblazoned with noughts and crosses under a large question mark.

Detective Watt approaches a TRAM COMMUTER gripping a rolled up newspaper. Detective Watt holds up a small photograph for him to see. Tram Commuter shrugs his shoulders and shakes his head.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
To transcend common doubts, and fears requires the utmost intelligence.

EXT. MELBOURNE - BOURKE STREET - TRAM - DAY 

Sounds of tram door opening. BEARDED COMMUTER steps on. Detective Dyce leads Detective Watt, Detective McClean and Detective Buzzard through the tram, looking over COMMUTERS.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Murder is certainly not foolhardy work.

Sounds of tram rolling forward.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Why do you act so shocked?

Sounds of train hissing.

EXT. MELBOURNE - SPENCER STREET TRAIN STATION - PLATFORM - EVENING

Passing train reveals Detective Buzzard and Detective McLean questioning a CONTEMPORARY ARTIST.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He cannot trust his mind. His mind plays tricks on him. His memories play tricks on him. That is why he puts his will in its place.

Next to her COMMUTERS read newspapers while waiting for their train.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
To avoid capture, all he has to do is to apply his will. It is not a question of instincts, or intuition. It is a question of willpower. His willpower is greater than the police, greater than the detectives.

NEWSPAPER COMMUTER strides past.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
So he knows that whatever happens, he will not put himself in harms way. He knows he will remain free.

EXT. MELBOURNE - ROYAL PLACE - GIN PALACE - NIGHT

The front door is discreetly lit. THIN PROSTITUTE, 19, hangs against the wall along with PROSTITUTE’S MOTHER, 49 and RAVEN PROSTITUTE, 29.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
With willpower and determination you can make your mind believe anything, do anything.

Thin Prostitute has an unlit cigarette between her thin fingers.

Detective Buzzard steps in. Thin Prostitute steps towards him with a smile and unlit cigarette poised. He shakes his head. She looks around and steps back.

DETECTIVE SMITH steps in. DETECTIVE JACKSON steps in crunching his fist. MORE DETECTIVES step in.

Sounds of metal bar dropping on concrete as Detectives march towards the front door. Detective’s Car heads down the lane.

Thin Prostitute and Prostitute’s Mother scatter. Raven Prostitute runs inside the basement bar.

Detectives rush in behind her.

INT. MELBOURNE - ROYAL LANE - GIN PALACE - NIGHT

Raven Prostitute hurries down the stairs.

RAVEN PROSTITUTE
It’s those detectives again

ARTISTS and ADDICTS, WHEELERS and DEALERS, PROSTITUTES and PROCURERS are on their feet and frantically looking for an escape from the basement bar as Detectives scramble in.

Sounds of glass breaking as Detectives block the front door and line up against the bar.

All the patrons are reaching into their pockets and tossing any illicit drug they may have onto the floor. More than a few condoms litter the refuse.

Behind the bar MOTHER, 35, gulps her martini. Sounds of cash register totalling the night’s takings.

DETECTIVE WATT
Shut up.

Sounds of Blind Man’s Dog whimpering.

DETECTIVE WATT
Don’t move. Don’t breathe. Get out your ID.

INSPECTOR LOHMNANN steps onto the landing and down the stairs. Patrons start to jeer.

LOHMANN
Now, now children. Play nice.

BLIND MAN
It’s Lohmann.

Patrons start chanting out his name, louder and louder.

PATRONS
Loh-mann, Loh-mann, Loh-mann, Loh-mann, Loh-mann, Loh-mann, Loh-mann, Loh-ma---

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Inspectors Lohmann always knows where to find the addicts, and dealers.

Lohmann motions them to shut up.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Their supply has been cut because of all the extra police activity.

Lohmann steps up to the Blind Man.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do you pity them? Do their stories of broken homes, and childhood abuse bring a tear to your eye? 

Patrons shift. Blind Man looks up. Blind Man’s Girlfriend steps protectively behind him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They have no idea what abuse is. Home is where the heart is? What a dreary illusion.

Lohmann picks up a small plastic ziplock bag with some scraps of marijuana inside. He opens it and smells the contents. Then holds the open bag under the Blind Man’s nose. Blind Man sniffs and recoils.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Home is where we commit suicide, and homicide. Where we shake a crying child to death.

Lohmann grabs his hand and slaps the ziplock bag into his open palm.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert’s family had many secrets. When he was growing up, you did not talk about such things.

Detective Albrecht steps in, swiftly confiscate the marijuana and binds the Blind Man’s wrists. Blind Man’s Dog growls.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
His mother saw no need to mingle with the neighbours. They kept completely to themselves.

Lohmann smiles as he glances down to the floor.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
His mother dedicated herself to his welfare. It was his mother who protected him. Yet he cannot see a memory of her now. He cannot even see her face.

Lohmann takes in the room.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
As he became older, she protected him from the wrong influences, the wrong women. She always reminded him that he deserved better.

Lohmann paces slowly, trying to meet their eyes. Every Patron glares at him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
One woman she helped choose for him was his housekeeper. A sound choice as she is still with him after all these years.

Lohmann steps up to DEFIANT ADDICT, 23.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
When his mother entered the nursing home, he would visit her every day.

Defiant Addict stares back hard at Lohmann who looks down at a small plastic ziplock bag on a low bench.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Whenever she refused her medication she would hear phantoms, see apparitions.

Defiant Addict blinks. Lohmann rubs his temple. (Damn headache.)

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He came to hear them, and see them too.

Sounds of car horn blaring outside.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He came to realise they are nothing but memories brought to life, pale and sad.

Defiant Addict blinks again, considers the options and slowly pick ups the small ziplock bag with seven small white tablets inside. He hands it to Lohmann takes the bag off him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Or do you not believe in ghosts?

Lohmann inspects the contents.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do you only believe in reality?

Lohmann cracks the bag open and looks at Defiant Addict as if he’s a test subject, then glances over to the Detectives lined up against the bar. Motions for a glass of water.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And what exactly is reality?

Defiant Addict suddenly isn’t looking so defiant anymore.

INSPECTOR LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT steps in with a glass of water. Lohmann takes it and smiles at Defiant Addict. But he doesn’t force anything onto him. Instead Lohmann opens his mouth, pops in a tablet and swallows a mouthful of water.

LOHMANN
Arrest them.

Lohmann walks away as the Detectives step in. Arrest them all.

Detectives begin arresting Patron after Patron.

Move to the bar where Mother tries to light her cigarette with a lighter that won’t flame. She tosses it behind the cash register.

Sounds of cough.

INT. MELBOURNE - COLLINS STREET - OFFICE TOWER - BOARDROOM - NIGHT

We’re on a high floor. City lights glimmer.

BAZIN, 40, stands at the floor to the ceiling glass, staring down into the streets and lanes below. He’s of French-Italian descent.

BAZIN
They’ve hit the Gin Palace again.

Bazin is head of a heroin syndicate. As are his other associates around the boardroom table - DE SICA, ROSSELLINI and VISCONTI. They are all 40, of Italian descent.

All are dressed in well cut understated suits. All have opened the top button of their shirts, ties askew. Rossellini is toying with an unlit cigarette.

ROSSELLINI
Yeah, the bastards.

DE SICA
What’s keeping Schraenker?

Bazin sits down at the mahogany boardroom table.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Reality? Reality is a delusion.

They complain about the murder investigation fucking up their business.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Or perhaps you believe in god?

De Sica shakes his head.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A kind god? 

Rossellini understands.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A loving god?

Visconti laughs.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Cambodia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Iraq.

Visconti makes a point as the others listen.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Millions upon millions, the dead upon the dead.

Visconti asks a question.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
There is no god.

Bazin nods.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert challenged god to show him his power, to stop him. [Smile, shake head]

Bazin gets up and steps to look out the window.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
We live in godless times.

Everyone looks up as Schraenker walks in, holding a police file. He is of German-Italian descent.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
We live in a society where greed, hypocrisy, and corruption have become the ruling order.

Schraenker tosses the police file on the boardroom table and unbuttons his overcoat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Everything is now for sale, every virtue has a price, every sin a price tag.

Schraenker slips off his overcoat. He is wearing a suit that makes him look more like a merchant banker than a major drug distributor.

He looks straight at Rossellini.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Look at these men. All leaders of the city’s drug syndicates, all led by Schraenker.

He drapes his overcoat over the back of his chair at the head of the boardroom table.   He looks at Bazin.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Merchants of death with an army of lawyers.

Bazin steps away from the window and sits down. Schraenker sits down. He is all business.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Listen to them complain about their loss of trade because of the murder investigations.

Schraenker looks down at the open police file on the murdered girls in front of him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Above the law?

De Sica moves to protest. Schraenker silences him with a look.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
To them the law is their profit margin.

Schraenker is serious as he explains their predicament. Rossellini smiles.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They take the law into their own hands every day.

Rossellini draws a gun out of his suit.

ROSSELLINI
At last we ca --

SCHRAENKER
What the fuck is that?

De Sica looks away. Bazin looks at the floor. Visconti looks away.

SCHRAENKER
Since when do you come to a meeting with a gun?

Rossellini looks at his associates who look somewhere between unimpressed and disappointed.

Rossellini lowers his gun.

SCHRAENKER
Jesus, why don’t we all just shoot each other? Give me the fucking --

Rossellini swallows.

ROSSELLINI
What --

SCHRAENKER
The fucking gun.

Rossellini hands his gun to Schraenker.

SCHRAENKER
Jesus.

Schraenker slams the gun down on a copy of The Economist magazine.

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - POLICE HEADQUARTERS - MEETING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Lohmann weighs up his gun in his hand.

This meeting room looks like a lower rent version of the drug distributors’ boardroom. There’s no floor to ceiling windows framing the glistening city below. Instead there’s a large map of the city with the murder scenes marked in red pen.

There’s no hand crafted mahogany boardroom table. Instead there’s four plain office tables pushed together.

The lighting is flat, dull fluorescent. Sounds of CLEANER vacuuming outside.

Lohmann, Lohmann’s Assistant DETECTIVE HOLT, 59, DETECTIVE WHITELEY, 29, sit alongside one side of the makeshift boardroom table. The seat at the head is empty.

Detective Whiteley checks his laptop, Detective Holt checks his watch, Lohmann’s Assistant checks his report.

LOHMANN
We’re not going to wait for the commissioner any longer. And we’re not going to be doing any shooting either.

Lohmann slips his gun back into his shoulder holster and looks at the Detectives.

LOHMANN
So, tell us. What have we got?

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
Come one, Lohmann. You can’t be serious. You know -- you and I both know that we need more raids. We’ve got to flush this fucking bastard out.

Lohmann’s Assistant looks up at the murder scenes marked on the map of the city behind him.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
Enough’s enough. Look at the killings for god’s sake. We all know that he’s in the city.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The detectives argue one strategy over another ...

INT. MELBOURNE - COLLINS STREET - OFFICE TOWER - BOARDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Visconti thinks out loud.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
While the drug syndicates discuss their own plans.

Bazin isn’t sure.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Look at Schraenker. Judge Beckert once sentenced him to fifteen years for drug importation, only to have his judgment dismissed on appeal.

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - POLICE HEADQUARTERS - MEETING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Detective Whiteley looks up from his laptop, makes a suggestion.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Laws are nothing but words on paper.

Lohmann’s Assistant looks over to him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They are the long arm of politics.

Lohmann’s Assistant can see the logic. Lohmann catches his thoughts.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Any fool can make a law, and any fool will mind it.

INT. MELBOURNE - COLLINS STREET - OFFICE TOWER - BOARDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Schraenker flips through the police file on the murdered girls.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The mere fact you can abide by a man-made law, does not make you morally superior.

De Sica makes a suggestion.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It takes an exceptional individual to go beyond the law of the day.

Rossellini dismisses the suggestion.

BAZIN
So what do you suggest?

Beat.

SCHRAENKER
We have to catch him ourselves. We have to. We have no choice.

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - POLICE HEADQUARTERS - MEETING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

LOHMANN
We have to use chance, and we have to search wider.

Lohmann’s Assistant winces.

DETECTIVE WHITELEY
We haven’t got time to search wider.

Lohmann appeals to the Detectives.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert is not psychotic.

Lohmann’s Assistant throws down his pen.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He is not a cruel man. He does not tape their eyes, and mouths shut. He does not cut off their hands.

Lohmann’s Assistant groans.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
In his court he had seen the results of many a homicide. He has heard the testimony of one clinical psychiatrist after another.

Lohmann’s Assistant throws his hands up in the air.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
So you’re basically saying -- every single case file.

Lohmann stands to leave.

LOHMANN
No, start with unmarried men.

Lohmann walks out.

INT. MELBOURNE - COLLINS STREET - OFFICE TOWER - BOARDROOM - CONTINUOUS

Schraenker maps out his plan.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The drug syndicates decide to hunt down the murderer on their own. They decide that no child takes a step without them knowing.

Rossellini questions him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And how can they do that without the murderer suspecting, without anyone suspecting?

Schraenker smiles.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Who knows the city like no one else? Knows it inside out? Sees everything?

Everyone sees where he’s coming from.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Their loyal customers. Their devoted users.

He reaches into the breast pocket of his jacket.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And Schraenker has just the motivation.

He retrieves 500 grams of the purest powder you’ve ever seen. (Vacuum packed in thin plastic. “FREE TIBET” in Sanskrit is stamped in silver foil on the surface.)

He places it on the boardroom table next to the gun on top of The Economist magazine.

INT. MELBOURNE - BLIGH PLACE - ROBOT SUSHI - DAY 

The vacuum pack of pure powder lies on the counter. Behind it is a box full of mobile phones. ANDRE, 29, stands behind the counter. ANDRE’S ASSOCIATE, 29, stands in front of the counter.

EAGER ARTIST steps up to the counter and looks at the pure powder.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Look at these wretched

Andre nods.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Ordered to phone in should they see any man with any child.

Andre’s Associate grabs a phone from the box, flips it open, turns it on and hands it to the Eager Artist.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Spurred on by nothing but their useless habits. A bag of poison as their prize.

Eager Artist looks back at the pure powder.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They can never catch Judge Beckert. They do not understand they are dealing with a superior being.

Eager Artist steps away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They are nothing but vermin. They are neurotics.

NEXT ARTIST steps up. Andre’s Associate plucks a phone from the box, flips it open, turns it on and hands it to the Next Artist.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What hope do they have against a psychopath?

Next Artist takes it and moves to step away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A psychopathic personality is nothing to be ashamed of.

Next Artist steps away.

Line of ADDICTS and ARTISTS snakes back through the small restaurant.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It is what makes great men truly great.

ROMEO ARTIST checks his watch.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It is what drives a chief executive to eliminate a thousand staff to better the share price.

Move back along the line to reveal HAIR ARTIST and JAPANESE ADDICT discussing their hair.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It is what drives him to obliterate his competitors.

Move back along the line to reveal Defiant Addict standing in the doorway.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Inside the heart of every successful man lies a psychopath.

EXT. MELBOURNE - BLIGH PLACE - SUSHI BAR - DAY

Move back along the line to reveal JAPANESE ARTIST and FASHION ARTIST outside the front door.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It is the psychotic who is deranged, not the psychopath.

Move back along the line trailing outside to reveal FOLLOW ARTIST and SUBURBAN ARTIST.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It is the psychotic who is insane, not the psychopath.

Suburban Artist tries to look away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The psychopathic serial murderer is largely misunderstood.

Move back along the line as TWIN ADDICT #1 half smiles.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Consider the irony of what society does with them when apprehended?

Move back along the line to reveal some of the Patrons from the Gin Palace. Sounds of drummer beating small drum.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Sentence them to life imprisonment, or death.

Blind Man nods in time to the beat of the drum. Blind Man’s Dog whimpers. ANGRY ADDICT steps out of the restaurant with mobile phone in hand and up the lane.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The state does not blink

Everyone moves forward a step to reveal DRUMMER ADDICT tapping out a low, constant rhythm.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Nor do you. You believe murder to be abhorrent, yet have no qualms at murdering a murderer

ACTOR ADDICT steps out with mobile phone in hand and line moves forward.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You are confused fool. A hypocrite.

Move back past FEMALE ARTIST and CINEMA ADDICT.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Violence is the lifeblood of culture, history is written in blood.

BLONDE ADDICT steps out with mobile phone in hand and line moves forward.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
How many millions have kings and presidents killed on the battlefields of history?

Juliet Addict steps out with mobile phone in hand and line moves forward.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Countless millions.

Romeo Artist steps out with mobile phone in hand and line moves forward.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
No other animal on earth is so inclined to slaughter its own.

EXT. MELBOURNE - BOURKE STREET MALL - DEPARTMENT STORE - DAY

Drummer Addict doesn’t skip a beat as he plays. He looks left and right as a police car rolls past.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Look at this pathetic addict trying to protect the children.

He has an upturned tambourine in front of him for donations. It’s empty of any charity. Just his mobile phone. PASSING SHOPPERS and PASSING COMMUTERS pay him no mind.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Have you ever seen a more pitiful sight? A useless addict who is better off dead.

CHILD IN STROLLER is pushed past.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
We should give him dirty needles, and let him die in some gutter.

Sounds of police sirens. Sounds of passing crowd.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Why keep him alive? 

EXT. MELBOURNE - BOURKE STREET - SPORTS STORE - DAY

Sounds of crowd. Blind Man’s Girlfriend looks out at the PASSING CROWD as she sketches a handle in white chalk off the edge of a cap. It’s empty.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Why keep any of them alive? 

She has also meticulously drawn a large holy sacred heart in chalk. In the scroll are scripted the words SERVO VOS.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Many a day in his court Judge Beckert talked his tongue sore, and his throat hoarse, thinking he could convince them of their ruinous life

PASSING SHOPPERS and PASSING COMMUTERS step over it without a second thought.

CHILD walks past holding a doll.

Blind Man’s Girlfriend taps a piece of white chalk against the mobile phone in her hand.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What he accomplished was the exact opposite.

EXT. MELBOURNE - COLLINS STREET - CHOCOLATE STORE - DAY

Sounds of tram passing. TWIN GIRL #1 and TWIN GIRL #2, 9, race ahead of TWIN GIRL’S MOTHER, hand in hand to the front window of the chocolate store laden with treats. Twin Girl’s Mother strides ahead talking on her mobile phone.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Whenever they reappeared before him, they had not the slightest recollection of the day before.

Female Artist standing nearby notices them they’re unaccompanied and starts to make a call on her mobile phone. Twin Girl’s Mother ends her own call and notices her children aren’t with her.

She looks back and spots them gawking at the treats on display. She turns and heads back.

She grabs them by the hand and continues up the street. Female Artist snaps her mobile phone shut as Twin Girl #1 look back at her.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They rattled off the same old nonsense as though he had said nothing.

EXT. MELBOURNE - BOURKE STREET - CINEMA - DAY

Sounds of crowd. Cinema Addict looks up and down the street and notices PROUD MAN hurriedly leading a YOUNG GIRL by the hand.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
When challenged, they affected amazement, and said they could not remember him.

Cinema Addict opens his phone and anxiously starts to make a call. Proud Man and Young Girl quicken their pace.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Gradually he began to hate them. They made him ill to his stomach.

Cinema Addict furiously dials. Proud Man and Young Girl hurry to meet the YOUNG GIRL’S MOTHER outside the cinema. Young Girl’s Mother kisses Proud Man. They’re all happy. They’re going to the pictures.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What hope do these hopeless addicts and dealers have of finding Judge Beckert?

Young Girl turns back and sees Cinema Addict closing his mobile phone and looking away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What hope do the detectives have? 

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - POLICE HEADQUARTERS - INSPECTOR LOHMAN’S OFFICE - DAY

Sounds of ambulance siren.

Close on turning pages of a faxed forensic report as we glimpse snatches of sentences like “insufficient sample size” “physical evidence recovery kits”, “results found”.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They order one lab report after the other. But to what end?

Turn report page to read “CHEMICAL ANALYSIS #037 RED CRAYON AS USED ON POSTCARD” and snatches of paragraphs like ‘”typically contains bonding agents, preservative, dye #607 and #412, stable color pigments, industrial paraffin wax, perfume. Contains ionic and nonionic surfacants. Contains no phosphorous. Trace levels fixative. Extremely low levels of anthophyllite asbestos and tremolite fragments.”

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What do they hope to find? What evidence are they looking for?

Page turns as Lohmann takes off his glasses, coughs into the back of his hand as he looks over the report. Slips his glasses back on.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert is not a stupid man.

He slides open the top drawer of his desk, looks around sheepishly, fishes out a cigarette and slips it between his lips. He takes out a cigarette lighter from the drawer and tries to strike a flame.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The red crayon he chose to use on the postcard was the most common available, the kind every child has. Handwriting is no longer admissible in court.

There’s a knock on the door frame. Lohmann looks up a little embarrassed.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
So what is Inspector Lohmann looking for? The chemical analysis of paraffin wax used to make crayons?

He puts the unlit cigarette and lighter back in the drawer as Lohmann’s Assistant walks in, clearing his throat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The breakdown of the colored pigment? The scent?

Lohmann’s Assistant is holding a stack of psychiatric reports, anxious.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What does he hope to find?

Lohmann reads from the forensic report.

LOHMANN
... “ionic and nonionic surfacants”?

Lohmann’s Assistant thinks.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
Ionic and nonionic surfacants?

Beat.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
Aren’t they in -- they’re in cleaning products. They’re ingredients in cleaning products.

LOHMANN
Any particular kind of cleaning product?

Lohmann puts down his report.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
No. Pretty much all of them, I think.

LOHMANN
Yes?

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
Why?

LOHMANN
Don’t worry. What have you got for us?

Lohmann’s Assistant looks at the psychiatric reports he’s holding.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
A Robert Beckert. Former Judge. Retired.

He opens the first psychiatric report and drops it on the desk.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT (O.C.)
Doctor Goll Institute.

A second psychiatric report lands.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What do they think they can learn from Judge Beckert’s psychiatric reports?

And more and more.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The detectives should not be looking for clues in life.

Lohmann picks up the stack of psychiatric reports, flips through them.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They should be looking for clues in death.

EXT. MELBOURNE - DOMAIN ROAD - APARTMENT BUILDING - FOYER - DAY

Beckert slowly walks across the landing.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
We all seek death the moment we are born. We are not born into life, we are born into death.

We cannot see his face.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Your time on earth is a cosmic aberration. Your life is insignificant.

He wears a bespoke suit and dark, expensive overcoat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert thinks about death more and more. He knows what is on the other side. Peace, perfect peace.

He wears tight, black leather gloves.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A world where time ends and eternity begins, a world where history disappears. A perfect world.

He holds a postcard in one hand.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Your death is your saving grace. Death will set you free, death will end your suffering. There is nothing to be afraid of. There is nothing here. There is no sound, there is no touch, there is only pure reality.

He steps down the stairs.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You cannot smell it, you cannot hear it. It is around you and within you.

He makes his way to the first glass security door.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Most people dismiss what they cannot understand. They avoid thinking too deeply. They are too self-absorbed, too immersed in their own appetites, and mundane problems to exercise a spark of originality.

He presses the button and the first glass security door slides open. He steps through.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They are content to regurgitate second-hand opinion. They seek comfort in stale cliches. When Judge Beckert looks into the mirror, he sees himself for who he truly is. Truth is in the eye of the beholder.

Then presses the next button and the second glass security door slides open.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Look beyond your reflection. Your reflection is everything you think you know, everything you have been taught.

Then steps out into the street, past the builder’s electrical fusebox.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
See what is behind your reflection, see what is really going on.

Beat.

Lohmann’s Assistant casually walks in, and looks out the glass doors to make sure Beckert has left.

Beat.

He steps up the stairs towards the elevator.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Close your eyes. Can you feel your heart beating? Can you see the red blood coursing through your veins? Look deeper into the cells? Into the molecules inside?

Sound of tram turning a corner. Sounds of buzzer buzzing.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What is spinning inside each molecule ...

EXT. MELBOURNE - DOMAIN ROAD - APARTMENT BUILDING - BECKERT’S APARTMENT - ENTRANCE - DAY 

Darkness except for a single, faint point of light.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A single atom of iron.

It looks like a solitary star in a night sky until MRS. WINKLER, 59, opens the door to reveal it’s comes from the peephole.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
From a blazing star at the edge of existence.

Sunlight fills the dark entrance, buried in shadows.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The atom which was born within a star an eternity ago is the same atom which now flows inside you. You and the stars are one.

Sounds of clock tick tocking.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You are the universe, the universe is you.

Mrs. Winkler is the part-time housekeeper. She is German-Australian. Lohmann’s Assistant tries to get himself invited in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You are the housekeeper his mother chose for him all those years ago.

She looks worried. Lohmann’s Assistant lies.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You are Inspector Lohmann’s assistant at the door of his apartment, wishing you had brought a search warrant.

She cocks her ear.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
I really quite urgently need to see Judge Beckert.

He’s not sure if she’s heard him.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
Can -- can I wait or --

MRS. WINKLER
Yes, well you could wait in his office.

Mrs. Winkler gestures him inside the dark apartment.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
Okay, thank you, thank you.

Mrs. Winkler leads the way. Lohmann’s Assistant steps inside, shaking his head.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What is it that you want? What is it that you are looking for?

INT. MELBOURNE - APARTMENT BUILDING - BECKERT’S APARTMENT - STUDY - CONTINUOUS

A wall light dimly lights the dark study and silhouettes Mrs. Winkler and Lohmann’s Assistant. A portrait of a BECKERT’S MOTHER hangs on the wall.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You imagine yourself on the trail of a murderer?

Sounds of clock tick tocking. Lohmann’s Assistant steps to the telephone on a sideboard, asks if he can make a call. A large framed mirror hangs above the sideboard.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
How little you know. How little you suspect.

Mrs. Winkler strains to hear him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You were not even born when Judge Beckert did his first. It was a long time ago.

Lohmann’s Assistant picks up the portable handset.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert strangled her, and she lost consciousness almost immediately. He felt the air being sucked out of her lungs. It happened too quickly.

Mrs. Winkler sees he wants some privacy and walks out of the study.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He was forced to give her mouth to mouth. He breathed life back into her.

Lohmann’s Assistant dials one-three, two-eight, six-one as Mrs. Winkler steps out.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He had a sharp knife with him. He held the child’s head as she caught her breath, and sliced her throat wide open.

Mrs. Winkler closes the door behind her.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He heard the blood gush. It spurted in an arc, right over his hand.

Telephone rings as Lohmann’s Assistant studies the study.   Sounds of phone ringing. Call is answered by computerised RECORDED MESSAGE.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It took no more than a minute, and then he went home.

Lohmann’s Assistant replaces the portable handset onto the cradle, hits the speakerphone switch on and taps up the volume.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
That was forty years ago. He swore it would be the one and only. Over time he forced his mind to forget the memory. He overcame his limitations, he overcame himself.

Lohmann’s Assistant looks around the study.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Social control dictates your past, your present and your future. You have no say in it unless you are prepared to outdo yourself. Man is something to overcome.

Lohmann’s Assistant walks over to the heavy curtains, opens them. Sunlight slips in through the builder’s scaffolding outside the floor to ceiling glass window. Sounds of traffic outside seeps in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You lack your own identity. Overcome resistance, and become someone. Become yourself in your own eyes.

Lohmann’s Assistant looks out.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
From wish to will, that is what makes it so. That is what separates men from gods.

Lohmann’s Assistant glances back into the study, looks over the spotless desk.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
When the last bit of breath leaves their bodies, when you look into their eyes. At that moment you are no longer a man, you are a god.

Lohmann’s Assistant flicks through a law book.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do you not want to be a god? If you can will it, you can.

Lohmann’s Assistant looks over another law book.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What you seek above all is power, and the will to power. That is what all great men seek. To rise to power.

Lohmann’s Assistant flips through a judgement he finds inside.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
To rise above life.

Lohmann’s Assistant flips through the rest of the book.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You can shed your old self. Close your eyes, and breathe in deep. Now hold your breath, hold it tight. Feel the oxygen convert into carbon dioxide. Feel the acid rising in your blood. Feel the fullness, then light-headedness as your thoughts tumble. Your body cries to breathe out.

Lohmann’s Assistant puts both law books back where he found them. Checks an empty antique crystal ink well.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Defy it. Rise above it. Do not breathe in.

Lohmann’s Assistant moves to the sideboard and checks an antique Victorian rose lamp.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do not give in. Do not turn away.

Lohmann’s Assistant checks an antique hole punch and paper spikes.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
In the darkness, you can see him. When you least expect it, he is there, waiting.

Lohmann’s Assistant looks over the study, lost.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You have already taken your first steps. What? You have never harmed a fly? 

Lohmann’s Assistant picks up an antique lead cut crystal decanter, lifts the topper and sniffs the contents. Cognac.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Never swatted a mosquito? Never crushed a spider? Then how can you claim you have never taken a life?

Lohmann’s Assistant replaces the stopper.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
There is no difference between you and he. You are one.

Lohmann’s Assistant doesn’t know which way to turn.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
To kill is not a crime. What if your mother is terminally ill? Would you prolong her suffering?

Lohmann’s Assistant spots something behind the sideboard. He squats to retrieve it.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What if your sister is being ravaged by cancer? Would you not kill it?

Lohmann’s Assistant tries to push the sideboard to one side for better access.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Would you not kill Judge Beckert given half the chance?

Lohmann’s Assistant stands and retrieves an antique paper spike from the stop of the sideboard

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Killing a young girl is morally reprehensible, but killing an old man is what? Justice?

Lohmann’s Assistant checks to make sure Mrs. Winkler hasn’t returned.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Or would you prefer he killed himself?

Lohmann’s Assistant squats and reaches deeper behind the sideboard with the antique spike. Sounds of metal foil scraping.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do not let the morals of the past limit your potential. Discard them.

Lohmann’s Assistant carefully retrieves a foiled blister pack of 10 Cipramil 20mg tablets.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Throw away your old life. You no longer need it.

Lohmann’s Assistant carefully inspects the foiled blister pack of antidepressants.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He who loses his life shall find it. You can have the keys to the next world, an endless world. Do you have what it takes?

Lohmann’s Assistant stands and replaces the antique paper spike.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do you have the instincts? Do you have the will? It is not easy work. Are you ruthless in purpose, astute in deceit, clear in strategy?

Lohmann’s Assistant reaches into the inside pocket of his jacket, pulls out a small ziplock bag, opens it and drops in the blister pack.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Can you temper self-confidence with wariness? 

He seals the ziplock bag and slips it back into his inside pocket.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Deny, affirm, and divert as tactics dictate? 

Lohmann’s Assistant looks over the study again. He moves to the desk.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Exude trust while trusting no one?

Lohmann’s Assistant picks up the silver frame laying face down on the desk. It contains a black and white 1952 photo of YOUNG BECKERT as a seven year old boy.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Serial murder is not easy work. Particularly when it ceases to be a novelty.

Lohmann’s Assistant double-checks the back of the frame.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You must remain hyper-vigilant at all times. Routine is the greatest danger to your security.

Lohmann’s Assistant replaces the photo face down on the desk.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Decreasing your alertness, your innovation, and your caution will be the end of you.

Lohmann’s Assistant walks over to the phone, replaces the portable handset onto the cradle, hits the speakerphone switch off and taps down the volume.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You must do one thing differently each time. Keep no memories. Blend in.

Lohmann’s Assistant ends the call. Lifts the handset to check the line is dead.

He looks over the study one last time before knocking on the door Mrs. Winkler closed and announces his departure.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You must look out for yourself. No one else will.

Sounds of phone bleeping as he leaves.

EXT. MELBOURNE - ELIZABETH STREET - FRUIT STAND - DAY

Sounds of city as COMMUTERS pass by.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Doubt and anxiety are your biggest enemies. Judge Beckert has always been a shy man. He always disliked feeling nervous.

BUSINESSMAN stops and selects a fruit tray wrapped in cellophane and hands it to the FRUIT VENDOR.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
His medication helps him overcome any uneasiness. Apprehension and foreboding give way to an easy calm. He feels assured.

She takes it and slips it in a plastic bag along with some paper napkins.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But lately Judge Beckert’s memory has begun to fail him. He is not always sure he has taken the right tablets, the right dosage.

Businessman pays her.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Every night he has trouble sleeping, and the pills no longer help. He feels his concentration slipping between his thoughts.

SHOPPER picks a mandarin and pays the Fruit Vendor.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He feels his memories waiting for him. The longer he stays in his apartment, the more vulnerable he feels.

Sounds of Beckert faintly whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme a little off key to himself. Sounds of scraping metal.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Perhaps you have rushed past him without a second thought, too busy to see him. Just another old man, just another forgotten man

Beckert approaches the Fruit Vendor and points to a box of ripe apples. Fruit Vendor places two in a brown paper bag and hands them to Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Too distracted to notice he wears tight, black leather gloves? Too preoccupied to realise he clutches a razor-sharp knife?

Beckert pays her and leaves.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Too lost in your own world to see what is really going on?

EXT. MELBOURNE - ELIZABETH STREET - KITCHEN STORE - DAY

Sounds of Beckert whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme to himself.

He glances over a shining collection of knifes on display in the store window, captivated. Other highly polished metal equipment glints and gleams on the glass shelves.

Beckert sees the street reflected on the various surfaces.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He never hunts the girls down, never seeks them out. They come to him, one after the other.

He looks closer and sees CROWD part to reveal LOLA FIEBEL, 8, leaning by herself against the tram stop railings in the centre of the street.

Beckert stands and turns, transfixed. His whistling quickens.

Lola leans nonchalantly on the railings, looking back at Beckert as a tram slides past behind her.

Beckert moves towards her as the tram slides to a stop. He doesn’t hear someone call out to the young girl.

Beckert sees Lola turn and skip to her mother, MRS. FIEBEL, waiting near an open tram door. She grabs her hand.

Beckert whistling dies out as he stops and turns away.

EXT. MELBOURNE - ELIZABETH STREET - CAFE - DAY

Sounds of water being pour from water pitcher.

Beckert anxiously enters and takes a seat at a window table away from other patrons. He places his bag of apples on the round table. On the street below behind him, COMMUTERS step onto the escalator leading down to the Central Train Station.

Beckert picks up the menu.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A coffee? No, Judge Beckert needs something to calm his nerves.

Beckert looks over the menu.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A wine? No, no. A brandy, a neat brandy.

He changes his mind again.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
How difficult can it be for this waitress? Is she feeble minded?

COMMUTERS continue to step down the escalator.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The first time in his life he orders a brandy in public, and he gets served by an imbecile. A half-wit ...

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - POLICE HEADQUARTERS - INSPECTOR LOHMAN’S OFFICE - DAY

Lohmann sits in his chair, looking over a medium ziplock bag containing the postcard Beckert sent. Lohmann’s Assistant leans against the desk, dejected.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A fool. Look at Inspector Lohmann scrutinising the postcard sent to the newspaper. Why does he bother? Did his assistant find any crayons in Judge Beckert’s apartment? Of course not.

Lohmann’s Assistant pulls out the small ziplock bag containing the foiled blister pack of 10 Cipramil 20mg tablets from Beckert’s apartment and hands it to Lohmann.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
All he found was a foil of Cipramil tablets that had fallen 

Lohmann inspect the blister pack of antidepressants.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
If antidepressants are illegal, half the city would be in jail. There to join the teeming innocents.

Lohmann looks at him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
There are far more innocent people in jail than you think.

Lohmann places the ziplocked Cipramil on top of the ziplocked postcard on his desk. Lohmann’s Assistant smiles to himself.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Not every killer behind bars is necessarily guilty. We sentence ordinary individuals to jail for manslaughter.

Lohmann gets up.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A car accident where someone dies, and we hold the driver culpable.

Lohmann steps out of his office, shaking his head.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
An accident, mind you. No premeditation, no ulterior motive.

Lohmann’s Assistant follows him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But whenever there is a dead body, we seek revenge in the courts. Forget high minded justice. The family of the dead wants bloody revenge.

Lohmann slips on his overcoat as he walks down the hallway.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert had seen them in his court. Seething with anger, and calling for blood.

Faint sounds of Beckert whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme to himself.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You cannot deny it, the urge to kill is buried inside you.

EXT. MELBOURNE - SWANSTON STREET - CENTRAL RAILWAY STATION EXIT - BALLOON STAND - EVENING

Sounds of tram passing.

Blind Man sells a balloons twisted in the shape of a sausage dog to LIMPING LADY, 50. Blind Man’s Girlfriend sits next to him. Blind Man’s Dog whimpers.

Limping Lady limps off with a cane as COMMUTERS pass by. Nearby sounds of Beckert whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme to himself.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert did not see the blind balloon seller turning his head to one side.

Blind Man cocks his head. He’s heard this whistling before.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He did not see him listening to his whistling. Did not see him remembering when he had heard it before.

Beckert’s whistling fades away into the sounds of passing Commuters. Blind Man turns to his girlfriend.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
All he had to do was turn around, and he would see him telling his girlfriend to follow him, to not let him out of her sight.

Sounds of passing COMMUTERS become louder. Blind Man’s Girlfriend tries to see where the whistling is coming from.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
To not let any harm come to the little girl.

Beckert leads a little girl EMMA, 5, into the Crowd. She’s wearing a yellow raincoat. Sounds of Beckert whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme to himself fade into the Crowd.

Blind Man’s Girlfriend follows them into the Crowd.

EXT. MELBOURNE - DREWERY LANE - REAR STORES - DAY

Close on Blind Man’s Girlfriend palm as she scrawls an “M” in white chalk.

She looks around the empty corner and spots Beckert alone with Emma. Sounds of Beckert softly whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme to himself.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert feels the darkness coming closer, and imagines what it must be like to die.

Sounds of car horn catches Emma by surprise. Beckert moves closer to her.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Will your life still be there after you die? All your memories and more?

Encircle them to see Beckert peeling an apple for Emma with his polished steel Laguiole knife. He passes the apple peel to Emma with the blade.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Consciousness is always there, it never dies.

She takes it and puts it on the ground. He continues peeling.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Thoughts waiting to be willed into existence. Thoughts ready to be made real.

She moves around him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
His thoughts circle him.

She moves in front of him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do not let other thoughts get in the way. Do not let them trouble you.

He flicks the apple peel onto the ground in front of Emma. As she leans forward to pick it up, he moves behind her and brings the blade down towards her neck.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Focus on the task at hand. There is a smell to it, you know. To death. It clings at the back of the throat. Swallow hard, and it will go away.

She steps back, he moves forward.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
There is no need to pause. There is no need to reflect. Let your willpower drive you, urge you forward. Let nothing stop you.

She steps back again, he drops the half-peeled apple out of his hand. It rolls on the ground and as Emma turns to grab it, he moves in for the kill.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Follow your instinct. Become who you are.

Sounds of Beckert whistling the “Peer Gynt” theme to himself.

Turn to Blind Man’s Girlfriend chalking the “M” in her palm one last time, stepping out from around the corner and striding towards Beckert.

She deliberately steps on the apple peel, slips and steadies herself by grabbing Beckert’s shoulder with her chalked hand (and unbeknownst to him imprinting the “M” on his overcoat).

Sounds of Beckert groaning.

Sounds of Beckert’s knife clattering to the ground as Blind Man’s Girlfriend strides off.

INT. MELBOURNE - DOMAIN ROAD - APARTMENT BUILDING - BECKERT’S APARTMENT - STUDY - DAY

Lohmann crouches at the desk. He taps the surface with an outstretched finger. Lohmann’s Assistant rubs his eyes, tired.

LOHMANN
Nothing.

Lohmann turns over the silver frame with the photo of Beckert as a boy and looks at it, thinking.

LOHMANN
Maybe he didn’t write it at the desk.

LOHMANN’S ASSISTANT
Probably not.

Lohmann scans the room.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions. They are metaphors which have become worn out over time.

He looks at the middle of the floor to ceiling window, angling his head slightly.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
There are no facts, there are only interpretations. There are only points of view.

He sees red crayon smudged on the glass.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Gaze upon a flower and what do you see? No two people ever see the same thing.

Lohmann’s Assistant follows his gaze as realization hits.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
We do not perceive completely. We cannot see ultraviolet rays, radio waves.

Lohmann stands, walks to the window and points out the smudge.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
We cannot see subatomic particles with our naked eye.

Lohmann’s Assistant stands and takes a closer look.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
In time we shall. We shall see, and understand all there is to know.

Lohmann’s Assistant angles his head against the sunlight.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
We shall move beyond our memories, beyond knowing ...

Close on glass as we focus to reveal red crayon smudged on the glass, broken words in reverse from the back of the postcard.

INT. MELBOURNE - COLLINS STREET - OFFICE TOWER - BOARDROOM - LATER 

Schraenker snaps his mobile phone shut as he turns to his associates.

SCHRAENKER
We’ve found the murderer. He’s tagged.

VISCONTI (O.C.)
We’re following him?

Schraenker nods.

SCHRAENKER
Every move.

Schraenker smiles.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
We shall move beyond the memories, beyond the fear.

Beat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Sometimes the panic is so intense, Judge Beckert wants to scream, but he never does.

Sounds of police siren passing.

EXT. MELBOURNE - BOURKE STREET MALL - STORES - TWILIGHT

Police car drives slowly down the centre of the mall.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He drops to his knees. He places his hands across his head and locks his fingers together.

Beckert walks through SHOPPERS and COMMUTERS wanting to lose himself in the crowd, whistling softly to himself.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He squeezes as hard as he can to crush his skull. He rolls onto the floor, banging his head, silently groaning.

“M” is imprinted in chalk on the right shoulder of his overcoat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He beats his left temple with his fist. Over and over.

He doesn’t realise CANNY ADDICT is following him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Eventually the pain drains away. He can feel it passing through his temple and behind his ear.

Canny Addict lean against a billboard emblazoned with noughts and crosses under a large question mark.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It runs out of his skull like water.

He whistles softly. TELEPHONE ARTIST slips out the other side and continues shadowing Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And he can breathe again.

Row of billboards line the mall emblazoned with noughts and crosses under a large question mark. Beckert crosses over the mall, checking over his shoulder.

Telephone Artist walks past a billboard emblazoned with noughts and crosses under a large question.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Guilt? What guilt?

She whistles softly. Hollow Artist slips out from behind the billboard and joins her in shadowing Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He let that last girl go. He had to.

Pigeons flap up into the air.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
She was the first one he ever picked out. The first one he ever chose. Surely he would remember murdering her? Surely he would see her body?

Beckert whistles the “Peer Gynt” theme anxiously to himself as he heads down a side lane.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But have you seen him murder even one girl? Are you sure? Are you positive? Or are you jumping to conclusions?

EXT. MELBOURNE - CAUSEWAY LANE - CAFES - CONTINUOUS 

Beckert heads down the lane.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Not even Judge Beckert can control the memories any more. Memories of the other girls start to come back, glimpses, shadows. They seem to follow him.

He strides past CAFE PATRONS and SHOPPERS.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But he cannot grasp the memories, he cannot see the moment life leaves them. The moment his will triumphs.

He doesn’t turn around.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Now why is that? You imagine they would be Judge Beckert’s sweetest memories? Why would he deny them to himself.

He still doesn’t realise he’s being followed by Telephone Artist and Hollow Artist.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Why would he deny himself his first childhood memory? He knows it is the happiest day of my life.

Beckert turns into a side street.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He knows he is catching a train with his mother, and his little sister before she fell ill.

EXT. MELBOURNE - LITTLE COLLINS STREET - STORES - CONTINUOUS 

Beckert heads along the sidewalk.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He knows they are going on holidays by the sea. He know he has a faded black and white photograph, standing on the station platform, a young boy holding his mother’s hand, giddy with anticipation.

Telephone Artist and Hollow Artist continue to follow.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He knows the photograph sits in a silver frame on his desk in his apartment

Delivery van drives past.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He knows all this but he cannot picture the moment, he cannot see the memory.

EXT. MELBOURNE - LITTLE COLLINS STREET - DEPARTMENT STORE - CONTINUOUS

Beckert walks past department store entrance, nervously whistling to himself. LAME SHOPPER hobbles past.

Beckert catches his reflection on a mirrored columned inside the window display. He stops and straightens his overcoat. He almost gasps when he spots the “M” imprinted in white chalk on the right shoulder.

Close as he tries to brush off the white chalk “M” without drawing attention to himself. No luck.

Close as he looks around anxiously to see if anyone is following him. He pushes himself up against the glass window to cover up the white chalk “M”. He gathers his thoughts as SHOPPERS and COMMUTERS pass.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Where are they? Judge Beckert can sense them. He can smell them. He can smell their desperation.

Sounds of thoughts roaring.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They ruined his life in his court. They are not going to ruin it now.

Sounds of GIRL crying for her mother.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He never had time for useless drug addicts and dealers. Being deaf in one ear had its advantages. When he no longer wanted to hear one of them bleating in his court, all he had to do was turn his head to one side to silence them.

Sounds of thoughts slipping.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He could make them all but disappear. And now they are coming for him.

Wide as Beckert steps away from the glass window and crosses the street.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Where are they? Do these worthless addicts think they are dealing with a fool? Why are they hiding? Are they too sacred to confront him?

Hollow Artist and Telephone Artist walk past without looking at him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They think they can apprehend him? They shall not even find him.

Beckert disappears into the mouth of Howey Lane.

Hollow Artist and Telephone Artist continue walking away.

Beat.

Then turn and head down to Howey Lane too.

EXT. MELBOURNE - HOWEY LANE - ARCADE - CONTINUOUS

Hollow Artist and Telephone Artist head down the open arcade, looking for Beckert in all the stores. SHOPPERS amble by.

They can’t see him anywhere.

EXT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - REAR CAPITOL CINEMA - CONTINUOUS

Beckert hides at the rear of a cafe, behind empty Steinlager beer boxes.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
His memories start rushing back.

He watches the mouth of the darkened lane that runs into the open arcade.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Thoughts of despair that had plagued him as a young man. All the times he had suicided in his mind.

He ducks behind the empty cardboard boxes as Hollow Artist and Telephone Artist hurry up the arcade, glancing left and right searching for him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
All the ways he had meticulously researched, and prepared.

Beckert wonders what to do next.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Far more men commit suicide than you think. George Eastman, who created Kodak and film, and the mechanisation of memory, took his own life.

Beckert peaks around the boxes.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Is it not the most basic of human rights to choose a quick and easy death?

Beckert recoils, worried.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert was one of the youngest judges to be appointed to the Supreme Court, to hold the fate of one life after another in his hands.

Shoppers stroll up and down arcade.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He had decided to take his own life in a darkened city lane.

Hollow Artist and Telephone Artist stride back down the arcade. This time they don’t look down the lane.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
To slash his wrist deep, and bleed to death in the forgotten shadows.

Beckert looks out from behind boxes as they pass

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert would finally taste the death he had savoured all his life.

Beckert shrinks back, worries what to do next?

NARRATOR’S VOICE
His hands had shivered as he opened the flick knife, and drew the blade closer. He was about to cut when he felt someone looking at him.

Security door near the mouth of the lane opens and SECURITY GUARD steps out.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It was a young girl, alone at the end of the lane. She came up to him, and in that moment he knew he had been saved.

Security Guard has an unlit cigarette between his teeth.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
She did not see the blade flash across her throat. She fainted into his arms, and died.

Security door half closes, slowly.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It was either his life, or hers. She was his salvation.

Security Guard checks his pockets for a cigarette lighter. Finds none and turns to go back inside.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
His old life had ended in that lane all those years ago, and his new life was born.

Hollow Artist and Telephone Artist walk back up lane, notice Security Guard.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Within weeks he had found himself the presiding judge in the subsequent murder trial of that young girl.

Sounds of ambulance screaming down Little Collins Street reverberate down the arcade, into the lane.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It was his first murder trial.

Security Guard hurries to the mouth of the lane to check the commotion.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The detectives had immediately arrested the young vagrant of limited intelligence who had found the body.

Hollow Artist and Telephone Artist turn to see where the sounds are coming from.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The prosecution had presented an outstanding case. They had gathered all the evidence, and lined up one credible witness after the other.

Security Guard waits for sounds to pass.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Towards the end of the trial, even the accused believed himself to be guilty.

He turns and walks back to the half open security door.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What was Judge Beckert to do? If he had not found the young man guilty, there would have been an official inquiry. So he sentenced him to life imprisonment?

He steps inside and closes it behind him. It locks shut.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
As irony would have it, the young man was killed behind bars before his lawyers could arrange an appeal. Slashed to death by razors.

Telephone Artist and Hollow Artist head down Presgrave Lane looking for Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Child murderers never fair well in prison.

It’s a dead end. There’s no one in the gloom.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He does not know why he should think of it now. He has not thought of it for forty years.

Hollow Artist shakes his head.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
At the time he put it down to fate. Either you made fate, or fate made you.

They turn around and head back out.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He thought he was free from these memories. But when he slips unseen into the derelict cinema, they follow him in.

Telephone Artists motions Hollow Artist to wait by the security door.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
His thoughts rush ahead of him as he tries to find a place to hide. He feels uneasy, something is wrong.

Hollow Artist hurries to the security door, tries to open it.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Can you feel it? Can you sense it? It is like a shadow coming closer?

Telephone Artist dashes out into Howey Lane.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He can hear voices crying softly in the dark.

Hollow Artist glances down the lane, anxious.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Young girls crying for their mothers.

EXT. MELBOURNE - HOWEY LANE - ARCADE - CONTINUOUS

Telephone Artist flips open her mobile phone and dials. The battery is flat. She shakes it. No luck.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
All he has to do is find a place to hide inside, but the voices grow louder.

BUSINESSWOMAN strides past. Her mobile phone rings. She plucks it out of her open shoulder bag, checks who’s calling and then cancels the call. She puts the mobile back in her bag.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He hurries through the abandoned cinema, looking behind the seats, behind the balcony, behind the screen.

Businesswoman stops outside a jewellery store and leans in to looks at the range on display in the window. Telephone Artist reaches into her bag and grabs her mobile phone as she walks away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He holds his breath on the stairs as he hears the security guard checking the locks on the doors.

Telephone Artist runs back toward Presgrave Lane, flipping the mobile phone open and making a call.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He tells himself to be calm.

Sounds of razor blade scraping glass.

INT. MELBOURNE - DOMAIN ROAD - APARTMENT BUILDING - BECKERT’S APARTMENT - STUDY - CONTINUOUS

Sounds of clock tick tocking.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He tells himself he will soon be safely back in his apartment.

Close on Detective Smith scraping the smudged red crayon residue off the window into a small plastic ziplock bag.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But he has no idea the detectives have already returned, busily taking samples of the crayon residue left on the window.

We can read the smudged words reversed from the back of the postcard - YROTS ON YHW

NARRATOR’S VOICE
If only he hadn’t scrawled across the front of the postcard.

Wider as Detective Smith scrapes some more crayon off.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
If only his housekeeper had cleaned the window that morning.

Lohmann’s Assistant checks his watch.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
If only he had taken his life all those years ago.

Detective Smith seals the ziplock bag and slips it into the inside pocket of his jacket.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
More thoughts rush past him, more memories.

He walks out.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He staggers up the stairs in a panic, down the dusty hallway, and into the deserted projection booth.

Lohmann and Lohmann’s Assistant follow him out into the gloomy entrance.

LOHMANN
(more to himself)
Where the hell is our Judge Beckert?

Detective Smith, Lohmann and Lohmann’s Assistant walk out of the apartment.

Mrs. Winkler is in the hallway with Detective Buzzard, looking over a search warrant.

EXT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - REAR CAPITOL CINEMA - CONTINUOUS

Telephone Artist talks on the stolen mobile phone.

TELEPHONE ARTIST
He’s in the Capitol Cinema. Yes -- yes. The cinema. The one with all the building works.

Hollow Artist tries to force open the security door.

TELEPHONE ARTIST (CONT’D)
I don’t know -- he could be anywhere inside.

Telephone Artist listens, then snaps the mobile phone shut.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert hears the security guard step up to the projection booth. He hears him close the heavy metal door ...

Sounds of heavy metal door being securely shut and locked.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And lock him in.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Sounds of plastic sheet rustling

Move from original 70mm film projector to reveal someone pressed up into the corner of the disused projection room, hiding behind a black plastic sheet.

Plastic sheet slides down to reveal Beckert as he realises he’s been locked in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He is trapped inside with only his memories, and his knife.

INT. MELBOURNE - COLLINS STREET - OFFICE TOWER - BOARDROOM - CONTINUOUS

It’s now night outside. Schraenker sits at the head of the table, listening on his mobile phone.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Schraenker knows Judge Beckert is hiding somewhere inside the cinema.

He snaps his phone shut and turns to his associates.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And he is determined to catch him. Other members of the drug syndicates want to call the police, and get it over with.

Bazin smiles and takes his mobile phone from the inside pocket of his jacket.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But Schraenker wants his own justice.

Schraenker motions him to stop.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And while he may have murder on his mind, he has no way of knowing Judge Beckert may beat him to it.

Rossellini and De Sica stand in support of Schraenker. Visconti and Bazin see they’re outnumbered.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Alone in the projection room, in the darkness, Judge Beckert sees suicide as his only escape.

Beat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What better way to silence the memories that are drawing near?

They stand in support too.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He rests the razor-sharp blade high under his chin, ready to sweep it across his neck.

Schraenker grabs his overcoat and slips it on.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Slicing the carotid artery will halt the flow of blood to his brain, which will cause immediate unconsciousness. He will feel no pain.

Others slip on their overcoats and leave.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He will fall to sleep, and bleed gently to death.

Schraenker picks up the handgun off The Economist magazine.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
(sigh)
As long he cut deep enough. Skin is surprisingly thick and resilient.

He picks up the vacuum pack of pure powder and the police file on the murdered girls and leaves.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He may not get the chance to cut twice to get through.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - REAR CAPITOL CINEMA - NIGHT

Schraenker strides up to the security door, shaking a bottle of chloroform into a white handkerchief. He bangs on the door three times.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Schraenker’s chloroform is so strong it burns the skin on his hand.

Security Guard opens door and before he can say a word, Schraenker smiles and shoves the drenched handkerchief into his face.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And renders the security guard unconscious in a heartbeat.

Security Guard stumbles back and collapses. Visconti whistles into the night.

Bazin, Rossellini, De Sica and Visconti stride around the corner.

Bazin, Rossellini and De Sica stride straight into the cinema. Visconti holds point at the mouth of the lane.

De Sica checks overhead then nods back to Visconti.

Beat.

Visconti whistles and motions a hundred ADDICTS and ARTISTS to follow him into the cinema.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - AUDITORIUM - CONTINUOUS

Move down from the original crystalline ceiling as Artists and Addicts rush in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Alone with his memories, Judge Beckert wonders if he will scream when he draws the knife across his neck? Will he slice his neck slowly? Quickly?

Most are staring at the luminescent ceiling or into the cavernous space of the old landmark cinema.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Will the blood drown his dying scream? Will the blood drown his memories?

Sounds of footsteps climbing up to the stage.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Can you hear that? His heartbeat? Listen to his heart beat faster, and faster.

Move to Schraenker keenly pacing the stage, worn velvet curtains drape down behind him.

SCHRAENKER
The murderer is amongst us. He is here.

Schraenker reaches into his jacket and pulls out the vacuum pack of pure powder.

SCHRAENKER
Find him and this is all yours.

He holds the powder up high like a prize for all to see.

SCHRAENKER
And for the loser --

Schraenker smiles as he pulls out the answer from inside his jacket. It’s a fresh 2ml syringe sealed in plastic.

Move to Addicts and Artists.

SCHRAENKER (O.C.)
Find him.

Addicts and Artists scramble over the worn chairs looking for Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound ...

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - LANDING - CONTINUOUS

Addicts and Artists scramble over the barren landing looking for Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It cannot. A sound can only be made inside the mind.

More Addicts and Artist rush past.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The air molecules that strike your ear drum carry no pitch. It is your mind that interprets their frequency into sounds.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Addicts and Artists scramble down a crumbling hallway looking for Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It is your mind that creates everything. It is this realisation that turns Judge Beckert’s thoughts from suicide to murder.

INT. MELBOURNE- PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Beckert is trying to force the lock with his knife. He whistles the “Peer Gynt” theme softly to himself.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
If he can escape and murder one last time, he can save himself.

Beckert catches his breath.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He imagines he hears footsteps running, but he knows it is just his mind playing tricks.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Artists and Addicts scramble down the crumbling hallway looking for Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Just his memories coming closer. He can feel them waiting for him in the shadows, in the darkness.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - FLY TOWER - CONTINUOUS

Addicts and Artists scramble under the decayed fly tower behind the screen looking for Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert knows the security guard will not be making any more rounds tonight. All he has to do is force the lock open.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS

Artists and Addicts kick in the doors and rush past the broken down cubicles and urinals looking for Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He has no idea he is a hunted man ...

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - SPIRAL STAIRCASE - CONTINUOUS

Rossellini and Visconti race up the battered stairs with a schematic plan of the alarm system in hand, arguing.

Visconti points at the alarm plan.

Rossellini points at the alarm plan.

Visconti is taken aback.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS

Addicts and Artists rush out of the bathroom looking for Beckert.

INT. MELBOURNE- PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Beckert is trying to force the lock with his knife. He whistles the “Peer Gynt” theme softly to himself.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - STALLS HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Addicts and Artist scramble to a closed door, trying to force it open. It’s locked.

More Artists and Addicts join in, trying to kick the heavy metal door open.

Sounds of keys jangling. Addicts and Artists part and Schraenker makes his way to the door, holding the Security Guard’s key aloft.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The keys were the first thing Schraenker grabbed off the unconscious security guard. He did not need his gun.

He opens the door and Artists and Addicts scramble in.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He left one of the drug syndicate members to stand guard over the slumped body.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - DRESS CIRCLE - CONTINUOUS

Addicts and Artists scramble in to the dress circle that’s under major reconstruction. They look high and low for Beckert.

They scramble everywhere.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Rossellini and Visconti walk in with the alarm plan in hand, following the wiring along the cornice. The hallway is in disrepair, the window smashed. Industrial fluorescent light overhead.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Others keep searching for the electrical circuit breakers so the alarm cannot be set off.

Visconti looks at the alarm plan as Rossellini cocks his head to listen. Rossellini puts his finger to his lips to quieten Visconti and then carefully leans into the locked metal door to the projection room.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Can you hear something scraping, scratching? The sound of metal on metal?

Faint sounds of metal scraping into metal.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Listen? Listen carefully?

Faint sounds of a man whistling.

INT. MELBOURNE - PREGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Beckert is frantically forcing his knife into the lock, whistling to himself.

He freezes, listens in disbelief.

Beat.

He pulls the knife out.

Beat.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Rossellini motions Visconti back down the hallway. Then leans back and retraces his footsteps as quietly as possible.

INT. MELBOURNE - PREGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Beckert senses something is wrong.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Empty. Only the overhead fluorescent light hums.

INT. MELBOURNE - PREGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Beckert turns and retreats back down into the projection room, back down towards the darkness.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert steps back into his own darkness.

Beckert steps into the shadows.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He sees the blade is open, ready to take his own life.

Beat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He can hear footsteps rushing below, swirling closer.

Beat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He has nowhere to hide.

INT. MELBOURNE - PREGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - DRESS CIRCLE - CONTINUOUS

Rossellini rushes down the stairs past bewildered Artists and Addicts.

ROSSELLINI
Where’s Schraenker? Schraenker?

Rossellini spots Schraenker in the crowd. He quickly grabs him and leads him up the stairs.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The panic builds. Judge Beckert wants to scream.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Schraenker races down the hallway. Addicts and Artists race after him, past the building works and dust.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He places his hands across his head, and locks his fingers together.

Schraenker and others arrive at the metal door to the projection room. Schraenker motions everyone to be quiet.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He squeezes as hard as he can to crush his skull. But the pain does not drain away.

Schraenker pushes down on the handle. But the metal door doesn’t budge.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Instead the voices come closer, and closer.

INT. MELBOURNE - PREGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Beckert frantically tries to cover himself under the plastic sheet.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He hears them gathering at the door.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Artists and Addicts lean in as Schraenker tries to open the padlock on the metal door with one of Security Guard’s keys.

SCHRAENKER
(low)
-- Fuck --

No luck.

SCHRAENKER
Fucking hell --

INT. MELBOURNE - PREGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Beckert pulls the plastic sheet up tight.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

Schraenker pulls out Rossellini’s handgun and tries to slide the chamber. It jams.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Schraenker’s gun jams ...

He aims it at the padlock and presses the trigger. Nothing. It’s definitely jammed. Sounds of Security Guard’s handgun firing downstairs three times.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And it’s the shots fired downstairs that startle everyone ...

Everyone looks to the noise. Schraenker nods to Visconti who races off towards the noise.

Schraenker flips the handgun in his hand and hammers the padlock hard.

He hammers it again and the padlock splits open.

Sounds of another shot fired downstairs. Sounds of alarm ringing throughout the building.

Addicts and Artists flee.

Schraenker rips out the padlock and flips the latch.

ROSSELLINI
Schraenker, come on. We’ve got to go --

Schraenker swings open the metal door to the projection room and leaps in.

Rossellini follows him.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - BALCONY - CONTINUOUS

Bazin is slumped against the rundown balcony wall, pressing his tie against a bleeding gunshot wound in his thigh.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The security guard had regained consciousness, and shot one of the drug syndicate members in the leg.

Security Guard lies unconscious to one side. Visconti runs in. Bazin struggles to his feet.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
So he wrestled him to the ground, and almost drowned him in chloroform.

Visconti flees. Bazin collapses to the floor.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
No one can switch off the alarm.

Artists and Addicts rush down the passageway as they escape into the night.

INT. MELBOURNE - PREGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - PROJECTION ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Schraenker rushes into the projection room, scoops something up from the floor.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Schraenker picks up Beckert’s sharp knife.

Schraenker looks between the 70mm film projector.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Nothing would make him happier than slashing the murderer’s throat from ear to ear.

Schraenker looks past the 35mm film projectors.

SCHRAENKER
He’s here --

Schraenker rushes to Beckert huddled under the black plastic sheet in the corner. He punches and kicks him hard as he drags him away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But instead he drags him out onto the roof, and escapes into the night.

INT. MELBOURNE - PRESGRAVE LANE - CAPITOL CINEMA - BALCONY - CONTINUOUS

Detective Trumble, Detective Smith, Detective Buzzard, Detective Dyce and Detective McLean run through the faded passageway into the balcony, handguns drawn.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
By the time the detectives get there, there’s only one man left to arrest.

They surround Bazin slumped and bleeding against the balcony wall.

INT. MELBOURNE - NICHOLSON STREET - POLICE HEADQUARTERS - INTERVIEW ROOM - LATER

Door is unlocked and opened as Lohmann walks in followed by DETECTIVE HILL. City office blocks glisten outside the window.

Lohmann nods at Detective Hill who exits. Lohmann closes the door behind him and locks it.

He picks up a thick phone book and flexes the pages as he turns back in to the room.

LOHMANN
Do you know how there’s always a good cop, and bad cop?

He slaps the phone book into his hand as he approaches Bazin sitting uncomfortably in a chair, clutching his bleeding thigh.

LOHMANN (CONT’D)
Hmmmmm?

Lohmann slaps the phone into his hand again, harder. Right next to Bazin’s head. Then lifts the phone book up high.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Inspector Lohmann knows he is running out of time.

And drops it on Bazin’s wounded thigh. Bazin shudders in pain.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He tells Bazin to find a good lawyer.

Lohmann takes off his glasses and checks the lenses.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Bazin tells him he’s a businessman.

Lohmann laughs.

Beat.

Lohmann puts his glasses back on and circles Bazin.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Inspector Lohmann tells him the guard that shot him, the guard he smothered with chloroform, the guard slumped by his side, is now dead.

Bazin protests his innocence. Lohmann starts laughing. He points to the telephone book on the floor.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It is a lie.

Bazin starts to look worried.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But enough of a lie to prompt the truth of why he was there ...

Lohmann turns away.

BAZIN
There were others. We went there to find --

Beat.

BAZIN
(low)
-- the murderer, the child murderer.

Lohmann can’t believe his ears. He doesn’t turn around. We can see Bazin behind him, worried.

BAZIN
(lower)
We caught him, Inspector.

Lohmann turns around and meets Bazin eye to eye.

BAZIN
(lowest)
-- we caught him.

Bazin looks down.

EXT. MELBOURNE - UNNAMED LANE - RAILWAY YARDS - GOODS SHED - LATER

Sounds of plastic sheet rustling.

Sounds of shuffling, feet dragging. Sounds of muffled protests. Sounds of Beckert panting as the black plastic sheet is pulled off his face.

Drummer Addict stands in front of Beckert, plastic sheet in hand. Angry Addict stands next to him. Both are breathing hard.

Beckert recoils from them, unsteady on his feet. He sees he’s been dragged into a disused goods shed. He hears hissing behind him.

Drummer Addict looks over Beckert’s head.

Beckert turns around slowly and stops dead in his tracks as he scans the looming crowd of Addicts and Artists and Dealers. They are all hissing.

Beckert sees the Blind Man with his dog.

Beckert sees Karl’s Father with a freshly tied noose.

Behind a large table to one side sits Schraenker flanked by Rossellini, Visconti and De Sica. They form an impatient tribunal.

In front of them on the table is the police file on the murdered girls. And the vacuum pack of pure powder.

All eyes are on Beckert.

Beat.

Beckert turns and makes a break for the far door. Drummer Addict and Angry Addict leap on him, pushing him back to face his accusers.

Beckert struggles, trying to claw free.

BECKERT
I can -- I can -- I can pay you --

Angry Addict and Drummer Addict push his back towards the crowd.

BECKERT
Do you know who I am --

SCHRAENKER (O.C.)
Judge Beckert.

Beckert whips around to see Schraenker, sitting at he table flanked by associates with his hands clasped. He looks straight at Beckert.

Beckert hesitantly approaches the table.

BECKERT
Why -- there must be some mistake --

BLIND MAN (O.C.)
There’s no mistake.

Schraenker looks to the Blind Man. Beckert whips around to see the crowd staring at him. Sounds of thick rope stretching.

BECKERT
No -- no -- there must be -- no -- what do you people want -- there must be some mistake --

BLIND MAN (O.C.)
There’s no mistake.

Beckert whips around to see the Blind Man. Sounds of train passing underground.

BECKERT
What -- what are you talking about --

Blind Man holds up a thin yellow balloon twisted in the shape of a sausage dog just like the one Beckert bought from him for Elsie Beckmann.

BLIND MAN
Do you recognise this? Do you?

Beat.

BLIND MAN
It’s what you bought for little Elsie Beckmann on the day you killed her.

Beckert stumbles back towards the table.

SCHRAENKER
Why did you kill her?

Beckert backs away.

BECKERT
I -- I didn’t even know her --

SCHRAENKER
(sarcastically)
Sure you didn’t fucking know her?

Schraenker tears open the police file on the murdered girls and rips out the first report on Elsie Beckmann and holds it up for Beckert to see.

SCHRAENKER
Did you sentence her to death when you killed her?

Sounds of little girl crying for her mother. Schraenker rips out the report on Maya Norden report and holds it up to Beckert.

SCHRAENKER
And this one?

Schraenker rips out the report on Hanna Meron.

SCHRAENKER
And this one?

Schraenker rips out the report on Ella Furstenberg.

SCHRAENKER
And this one?

Schraenker slaps the file shut. Beckert backs away, scans the crowd.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Is Judge Beckert beyond redemption?

Sounds of train passing underground.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Who can possibly redeem him now? There is no god here. God is dead, and buried.

Beckert looks for an escape.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He is all alone, with a half remembered life. His fondest childhood memory forgotten.

He spots a side door and makes a run for it.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Facing a crowd of angry addicts and dealers intent on his destruction.

Angry Addict and Drummer Addict leap on him again, wrestling him to the ground as the crowd yells accusingly.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And who would judge him? Who would throw the first stone?

BECKERT
You have no right -- what -- you can’t hold me here -- 

BITTER ADDICT
Right?

BECKERT
You people have no rights --

BITTER ADDICT
Someone like you doesn’t have any rights. Kill him.

Beckert scans the crowd.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Imagine how many girls would still be alive if he had killed himself before the first.

Crowd calls for his blood.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
But you do not believe in killing? Or do you?

More join in, chanting for his destruction.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He can kill himself yet he cannot kill you? You can kill him yet he cannot kill you? Where is the justice in that?

Schraenker slams his fist onto the table as he turns impatiently to the crowd.

SCHRAENKER
Quiet.

Crowd quietens. Sounds of thick rope stretching.

Schraenker turns to Beckert on the ground.

SCHRAENKER
You speak of rights? You’ll get your rights. You’ll even get a lawyer.

Beckert turns to the crowd, points accusingly into the faces.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What do you want? His testimony? His admission? His confession?

BECKERT’S LAWYER stands and takes a step towards Beckert. He holds a copy of court transcripts in his hand.

BECKERT’S LAWYER
Stand, Sir. You must stand in the court.

BECKERT
What -- what -- what court?

Beckert’s Lawyer makes a legal point.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It is a terrible thing to live in fear.

Beckert scrambles to his feet to get away from him.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He can feel the darkness creeping closer. Doubt and indecision begin to give way to guilt.

Sounds of thick rope stretching. Beckert scans the crowd.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He knows his life is at stake. He knows the crowd of addicts and dealers want to hang him, want to kill him.

SCHRAENKER (O.C.)
It’s already cost us a lot of money.

Beckert spins around to see Schraenker.

SCHRAENKER
We just want to get it over with.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Judge Beckert does not plead for mercy.

Beckert scans the crowd.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Instead he demands the full protection of the law, he demands his inalienable right.

Crowd laughs out loud. Actor Addict claps pitifully.

ACTOR ADDICT
Quite a performance ...

Sounds of train passing underground.

SCHRAENKER
That would suit you, wouldn’t it?

DE SICA
Anything else you’d like?

SCHRAENKER
More medication? Psychiatric assessment? Then you’d be out on the street again chasing more girls? I don’t think so.

Sounds of train passing underground.

SCHRAENKER
We have to put an end to it. We have to put an end to you.

Crowd yells and chants in agreement.

CROWD
Yes -- yes -- yes -- yes -- yes -- yes -- yes -- 

Beckert raises his hand in the air to silence the Crowd.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
What can he tell you? That he thought he would never start again?

Crowd looks cold.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
That he felt in complete shock? That he could not believe it could happen again after all those years?

Crowd looks grim.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He does not know what was going through his mind. He has no memory of it. He cannot see it.

Crowd looks bitter.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Until now.

Crowd looks vexed.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Until he sees the memory of her small, broken body.

Beckert slumps.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Where did the memory come from?

Beat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A shadow? A sound? A scent?

Beat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Is it the fear he feels?

SCHRAENKER (O.C.)
Well you’ve all heard him admit to murder.

CROWD
Yes -- yes -- yes -- yes -- yes -- yes -- yes -- 

Beckert’s Lawyer raises his hands to quieten the crowd.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And now more memories come.

Crowd quiets down. Beckert’s Lawyer steps forward.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It took two months for the dismay of what he had done to leave him. And then it started all over again.

Schraenker doesn’t looks away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It became a craving, a yearning, a compulsion. He does not know how to describe it. There are no words.

Sounds of thick rope stretching.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He simply kept doing it, and doing it. He was completely swept along.

Sounds of train passing underground.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Morality gave way to will, and will deferred to madness.

Crowd is silent.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It was something inside him. It was not him.

Beckert’s Lawyers reasons with the crowd.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He could not help himself. He could not help anyone.

Crowd listens.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He remembers the shadows coming closer, like phantoms.

Asthma Addict calls out angrily.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The pain tightening across his skull, crushing his thoughts.

Beckert looks down to the ground.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
A girl dead at his feet.

Blind Man scoffs.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Then another girl.

Furious Addict cries out.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And another.

Beckert looks up.

BECKERT’S LAWYER
This man is sick. And a sick man should be handed to a doctor, not an executioner.

DOCTOR ADDICT
A doctor?

BECKERT’S LAWYER
He needs help, not a death sentence.

SCHRAENKER
And if he gets help, who guarantees that he won’t murder again? 

Beat.

BECKERT’S LAWYER
No one has the right to kill a man not responsible for his actions.

Crowd sneers.

BECKERT’S LAWYER
Not the state, and certainly not you.

Crowd starts shouting and wailing. Beckert cringes.

BECKERT’S LAWYER
In fact the state must take care of this man. It must ensure that he is rendered harmless.

Beat.

BECKERT’S LAWYER
It is what determines a civilized societ --

Crowd shouts him down.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He remembers more.

Cinema Addict shakes his head.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He remembers how he felt.

Beckert turns away and sees Schraenker hold his polished steel Laguiole knife half open.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He remembers how empty the experience was.

Sounds of metal screeching.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
How it never satisfied him completely.

He snaps it shut.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Which is why he reasoned another would.

Beckert looks away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Then another, and another.

Beckert turns back and sees Schraenker snap open the knife, and grip it in his right hand like a gavel.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The number started growing, and growing.

Beckert looks away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He did not rush out, and look for opportunities.

Sounds of train passing underground.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
They came to him. They all came to him.

Beckert looks at the ground.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The intervals between each got shorter, and shorter.

Beckert sees the shadow of his lawyer approach.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
It was not for blood. The blood got in the way.

Blind Man’s Dog looks at Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He wanted to see the triumph, the exultation.

Sound of Blind Man’s Dog growling, snarling.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The longer he procrastinated, the greater the pressure to resolve matters.

Beckert sees the noose tied from thick rope swing loose.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He could never abide doubt, and indecision.

Sounds of train passing underground.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You may be content to confine such forbidden journeys to your imagination.

Beckert sees the sheets torn from the murder reports of the girls he killed on the table in front of Schraenker. Behind the reports is the vacuum pack of pure powder.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
There is more pleasure, and satisfaction there than in committing the deed.

Beckert swirls. Sounds of train passing underground.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Because each murder leaves a diminishing, and disappointing impression.

Beckert turns back to the table.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
The extraordinary becomes increasingly ordinary.

Beckert turns and looks into the shadows.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
You seem surprised. Did you imagine he revelled in slaughter?

Beckert reels back.

RUSSIAN ARTIST
Kill him --

CROWD
Kill him -- kill the monster --

Beckert stumbles back.

MANIC ADDICT
Crush the bastard --

ASTHMA ADDICT
Crush the bastard --

CROWD
Crush the bastard --

Crowd surges forward, a sea of threats.

MANIC ADDICT
Kill him --

CINEMA ADDICT
Kill him -- bleed him --

Beckert staggers back. Sounds of thick rope stretching.

DRUMMER ADDICT (O.C.)
Hang him -- hang him -- fucking hang him --

Karl’s Father tosses the noose tied from thick rope at Beckert’s feet.

Beckert recoils as Karl’s Father drags back the noose along the ground.

FURIOUS ARTIST
Hang him -- hang him --

CROWD
Beat him -- hang him -- kill him -- kill him -- kill him --

Beckert’s Lawyer raises an open palm to calm the crowd.

BECKERT’S LAWYER
I cannot allow a crime to be committed in my presence.

Crowd seethes with anger.

BECKERT’S LAWYER
I demand he be granted the full protection of the law --

CROWD
-- kill him -- bleed him -- kill him --

Crowd hovers and shouts.

BECKERT’S LAWYER
I demand this man be handed over to the police immediately.

Crowd is in an uproar as they surge on Beckert. Furious Addicts breaks out of the crowd and punches Beckert’s Lawyer out of the way.

FURIOUS ADDICT
Fuck the police --

Furious Addict kicks Beckert in the side of the head, hard.

Beckert sways to one side and sees Schraenker snap open his polished steel Laguiole knife.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He wanted to transcend his limitations.

Schraenker stabs the vacuum pack of pure powder, slitting it open.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He wanted to transcend his weaknesses.

Crowd shouts and whistles and screams as they kick and lash out at the fallen Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He wanted to transcend himself.

Schraenker pulls the plunger out of a syringe and scoops the barrel into the fine white powder.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
That is all he ever wanted.

Crowd leaps onto Beckert, flaying wildly.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He strove for absolute freedom but found its opposite.

Schraenker pops the cap off a small plastic bottle of Evian water. He pours the water into the barrel of the syringe, slip in the plunger and shakes the syringe. Then steps onto the desk and plunges into the fray, reaching for Beckert.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
He is a prisoner of his memories.

Sounds of door bursting open. Move to see Detectives pours in, handguns drawn. Detective Albrecht is the first into the fray, handgun outstretched.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Memories he can no longer control.

Crowd unravels to reveal Schraenker holding the beaten Beckert by the back of his overcoat.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Memories he can no longer escape.

Lohmann pushes Detective Albrecht’s handgun down.

LOHMANN
Now -- now -- we don’t want anybody getting shot.

Schraenker shoves Beckert into Lohmann and Lohmann’s Assistant. Beckert collapses into their arms as they turn to carry him away.

LOHMANN  - I hope you don’t expect a reward for this.

Schraenker lashes out and stabs the loaded syringe deep into Beckert’s shoulder.

Sounds of pain.

Beckert stumbles forward as Schraenker thumbs down the plunger.

Sounds of little girl laughing.

Beckert slumps forward with the syringe jutting out of the “M” imprinted in white chalk.

Sounds of Beckert’s last breath.

Beat.

Lohmann and Lohmann’s Assistant drag Beckert away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do you hear the train?

Sounds of STATION MASTER whistling on a rail platform 50 years ago.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do you see the sunlight?

Move to coiled noose discarded on the ground.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do you see his sister and his mother, waiting for him at the end of the station platform? They are there.

Sounds of BECKERT’S MOTHER walking away.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do you smell the lilies? Do you feel his mother take his hand?

Move to sheets torn from the murder reports.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
Do you see the child still there, deep inside. Never to leave until you leave the moment. Until you leave your last memory.

Sounds of RAIL PASSENGERS leaving.

NARRATOR’S VOICE
And there into the light.

Fade to white.

DISSOLVE TO

INT. MELBOURNE - CENTRAL TRAIN STATION - CARRIAGE - MORNING

Sounds of train arriving.

Close on a newspaper being read by a COMMUTER. Artist sketch of Beckert dressed in legal robes at the bench of the Supreme Court dominates the front page.

Move down to the headline that reads MURDER SUSPECT DIES IN POLICE CUSTODY. Article tells the full story.

Sounds of page turning. Move back to reveal OTHER COMMUTERS reading the same newspaper.

Carriage doors sweep open.

Continue move back as COMMUTERS step out of the carriage onto the platform.

A carriage arrives on the opposite platform. MORE COMMUTERS step onto the platform and leave for work.

Carriage doors sweep shut. Carriage moves forward and gathers speed as it rushes into a new day.

Move up to newspaper with Beckert on the cover. Freeze frame.

Music of “Aase’s Death” from “Peer Gynt” rises up.

Fade to white.


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Copyright 2008 Stefano Boscutti

All Rights Reserved


No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing.

Stefano Boscutti acknowledges the trademark owners of various products referenced in this work. The publication or use of these trademarks is not authorised or sponsored by the trademark owner.

This is a work of fiction. While many of the characters portrayed here have counterparts in the life and times of Peter Kürten and others, the characterisations and incidents presented are totally the products of the author’s menacing imagination. This work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It should not be resold or given away. Thank you for your support. (Couldn’t do it without you.)

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