EXT. BEACH - DAY FADE IN on two distant figures who walk across a sunny BEACH parallel to the surf: a tall, thin, bare-chested black man and a shorter white woman in a nurse's uniform. BETSY (voice over) I walked with a zombie. (laughs a little, self-consciously) Does seem an odd thing to say. Had anyone said that to me a year ago, I'm not at all sure I would have known what a zombie was. I might have had some notion that they were strange and frightening, even a little funny. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. SUGAR COMPANY - DAY The sign above the door of a SUGAR COMPANY, obscured by falling snow. BETSY (voice over) It all began in such an ordinary way... DISSOLVE TO: INT. SUGAR COMPANY OFFICE - DAY A civilized office that keeps out the cold. WILKENS, a balding man with a British accent, seated at a desk in front of a window overlooking the snowfall, asks BETSY CONNELL a series of questions and carefully checks off her answers on a form. Betsy, a pretty twenty-something brunette, attempts an air of no-nonsense solidity that's meant to cover her insecurities, her naivete, and her incurable romanticism. WILKENS You're single? BETSY Yes. WILKENS Where were you trained? BETSY Memorial Hospital, here in Ottawa. WILKENS Now, this last question's a little irregular, Miss Connell. I really don't know quite how to begin. Do you believe in witchcraft? BETSY Well... (laughs) They didn't teach it at Memorial Hospital but I had my suspicions about the Directress of Training. WILKENS Now, as to salary. It's quite good. Two hundred dollars a month. BETSY (pleased) That is good. But I'd like to know a little bit more about the case. WILKENS I'm afraid I can't tell you much. Only that the patient is the wife of Paul Holland with whom we do considerable business. BETSY Oh, that'll mean another interview... WILKENS No. This is quite final. You see, Mr. Holland is a sugar planter. He lives in St. Sebastian in the West Indies. BETSY (surprised) The West Indies? WILKENS That's not so bad. Sit under a palm tree, go swimming, take sun baths. Betsy considers this for a moment, the heavy snowfall visible in the window behind her. She rather likes the idea. BETSY (to herself) Palm trees... FADE OUT EXT. CLIPPER SHIP - SUNSET FADE IN on a clipper SHIP at sea, silhouetted against the sunset. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE SHIP'S DECK - NIGHT The crew CHANTS "O Marie Congo" and prepares dinner. The mate stands at the wheel. And the imposing figure of PAUL HOLLAND stands, hands in pockets, his back to the crew, watching the sea. Paul is handsome, moustached, square- jawed, worldly, and entirely sure of himself. BETSY (voice over) It seemed only a few days before I met Mr. Holland in Antigua. Paul turns to see Betsy at the boat's railing, lost in thought, gazing at the star-filled sky. BETSY (voice over) We boarded the boat for St. Sebastian. It was all just as I'd imagined it. I looked at those great, glowing stars. I felt the warm wind on my cheek. I breathed deep and every bit of me inside myself said, "How beautiful!" As if in answer, a harsh British-accented voice intrudes. MAN'S VOICE It's not beautiful ... Betsy turns to see Paul Holland behind her. BETSY You read my thoughts, Mr. Holland. PAUL It's easy enough to read the thoughts of a newcomer. Everything seems beautiful because you don't understand. Those flying fish -- they're not leaping for joy. They're jumping in terror. Bigger fish want to eat them. That luminous water -- it takes its gleam from millions of tiny dead bodies. The glitter of putrescence. There's no beauty here. Only death and decay. BETSY You can't really believe that. Just then, they both see a falling star. PAUL Everything good dies here -- even the stars... Abruptly, he walks off and returns to where he stood when first seen, gazing at the sea, his back to the crew as they continue their chant and eat their dinner. Betsy leans against the ship's rail, no longer watching the sky. She stares at Paul who stands just behind the mate at the ship's wheel, his back to her. BETSY (voice over) It was strange to have him break in on my thoughts that way. There was cruelty and hardness in his voice. And yet something about him I liked. Something clean and honest. But hurt. Badly hurt. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE DOCK - VILLAGE OF ST. SEBASTIAN - DAY Early the next day, on the noisy, busy DOCK at St. Sebastian, a crewman secures the ship. Men carry cut sugar cane up the gangplank. As Betsy disembarks, she takes in the local culture. A sad, old black COACHMAN carries her luggage. She boards the coachman's horse-drawn carriage. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE - DAY Minutes later, the CARRIAGE on its way to Fort Holland. Betsy sits in back while the coachman -- a friendly man, not the least bit sinister -- holds the reins. COACHMAN Times gone, Fort Holland was a fort, and now, no longer. Holland's a most old family, miss. They brought the colored folks to the island. The colored folks and Ti-Misery. BETSY Ti-Misery? What's that? COACHMAN A man, miss. An old man who lives in the garden at Fort Holland. With arrows stuck in him and a sorrowful, weeping look on his black face. BETSY (alarmed) Alive? COACHMAN No, miss. He's just the same as he was in the beginning. On the front side of an enormous boat. BETSY (relieved) You mean a figurehead. COACHMAN If you say, miss. And the enormous boat brought the Long Ago Fathers and the Long Ago Mothers of us all, chained to the bottom of the boat. Betsy allows the scenery to distract her. BETSY They brought to you to a beautiful place, didn't they? COACHMAN If you say, miss. If you say. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. FORT HOLLAND - DAY The carriage pulls up at the iron gates of FORT HOLLAND, a converted military fort surrounded by high walls. The coachman helps Betsy out. While he collects her luggage, Betsy peers through the gate: at the great house, the garden, its stone pathway, and the small fountain in which is mounted the striking teakwood figurehead of Ti-Misery (or St. Sebastian, as the whites call him) -- a black man, its face contorted in pain, long iron arrow shafts emerging from its torso. BETSY (voice over) Fort Holland. From the gate, it seemed strangely dream-like. The garden had life of its own. I was to know all the nooks and crannies of that great house. To love them or hate them according to what happened there... DISSOLVE TO: INT. THE STUDY - DAY Fort Holland's STUDY, by daylight. No one in sight. BETSY (voice over) In that house, I was to hear a strange confession. A confession only madness could have wrung from the lips of a sane person. DISSOLVE TO: INT. THE STUDY - NIGHT Another view of the STUDY, at night. Warmer, almost romantic. But still no sign of life. BETSY (voice over) And yet it was in the same room with the candles lit that I made the discovery of my own love. Knew happiness deep through the heart. DISSOLVE TO: INT. BETSY'S BEDROOM - DAY Betsy's BEDROOM, on her first day at Fort Holland. As empty as the other rooms. BETSY (voice over) My room. I can still remember my delight. Unpacking, getting ready for dinner. DISSOLVE TO: INT. BETSY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Another view of Betsy's BEDROOM, that evening as she sits down to her dressing table, puts on a bracelet and brushes her hair. BETSY (voice over) And yet all the while, I wondered at the stillness of Fort Holland. The fact that I saw no one on the garden paths or in the rooms. She pauses when she sees a man's shadow cast on her wall from her doorway. The man KNOCKS. She turns to the jalousied door. It's CLEMENT, the head servant. BETSY Yes? CLEMENT Miss Connell? It's dinner. BETSY Oh, thank you. She rises and crosses to the door. DISSOLVE TO: INT. THE DINING ROOM - NIGHT A handsome man leans against the wall smoking a cigarette. This is WESLEY RAND, a rugged, ingratiating he-man with an American accent and a sense of humor that just manages to conceal his turbulent drives and emotions. He crosses to Betsy as she enters and shakes her hand. WESLEY Miss Connell? BETSY Yes? WESLEY I'm Wesley Rand. Paul wanted me to introduce myself. He leads her to the large, empty dinner table. WESLEY Seems we're dining by ourselves, Miss Connell. But I think I'll introduce you to everyone anyway. (off a chair at the head of the table) Here in the master's chair, sits the master, my half-brother Paul Holland. Oh, but you've met him already? BETSY Yes. On the boat. WESLEY (off an elegant chair against a wall) That chair in the corner is the particular property of Mrs. Rand, mother to both of us, and much too good for either of us. Too wise, in fact, to live under the same roof. She prefers the village dispensary. BETSY Oh, she's a doctor? WESLEY No. She just runs the place. She does everything else though. An amazing woman, mother. You'd like her. BETSY I like her already. WESLEY That's my chair. And this is Miss Connell, who is beautiful. He pulls her chair out for her. She sits. BETSY Thank you. Betsy notices one last chair at the far end of the table. BETSY Who sits there? WESLEY (darkly) My brother's wife. (quickly changes the subject) Here, here, this isn't cozy at all. Makes me seem aloof and I'm anything but that. Rather than his own seat, he pulls a spare chair over to the table and sits down right next to Betsy. DISSOLVE TO: INT. THE DINING ROOM - NIGHT After dinner, later that night. Clement brings out a tray and sets it on the table. Wesley pours himself a drink. Betsy sits, drinking coffee. They're in the middle of a conversation. BETSY But you're an American. WESLEY I went to school in Buffalo. Paul went to school in England. BETSY Well, I wondered about your different accents. I'm still wondering about your names -- Rand and Holland. WESLEY We're half-brothers. Paul is mother's first child. When his father died, she married my father. Doctor Rand, the missionary. At the sudden sound of voodoo DRUMS, Betsy looks apprehensive. WESLEY (mock ominous) The jungle drums. Mysterious. Eerie. (matter-of-fact) That's the work drum over at the sugar mill. St. Sebastian's version of the factory whistle. Betsy grins at this. WESLEY As a matter of fact, it means that the sugar syrup is about ready to be poured. The DRUMMING stops. WESLEY I'm afraid you'll have to excuse me. BETSY Of course. It was nice of you to spend this much time with me. WESLEY Don't worry. I wasn't missed. The only important man around here is the owner. BETSY Mr. Holland? WESLEY Yes, the redoubtable Paul. He has the plantation and I, as you must have noticed, have all the charm. BETSY Oh, I don't know. He spoke to me on the boat last night and I liked him very much. WESLEY Ah, yes. Our Paul. Strong and silent and very sad. Quite the Byronic character. Maybe I should cultivate it. The DRUMMING resumes. BETSY Maybe you ought to go to the mill. WESLEY It'll wait. Wesley starts to pour another drink, just as Paul enters. Wesley sees him and immediately stops pouring. WESLEY (to Paul) I was just going to the mill. (abruptly, to Betsy) Good night, Miss Connell. BETSY Good night. Wesley leaves. Paul watches him go, then turns to Betsy as Clement arrives carrying a dinner tray. PAUL (to Betsy) Have the servants made you comfortable? BETSY Yes, thank you. Paul inspects the tray. PAUL Looks very nice, Clement. I'll take it to Mrs. Holland. Paul takes the tray and Clement leaves. BETSY Oh, can't I take it for you? PAUL No, thank you. Tomorrow's soon enough for you to start work. Betsy watches Paul leave the house and carry the tray to a tower on the other side of the garden. DISSOLVE TO: INT. BETSY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Betsy's BEDROOM at bedtime, that night. She wears a robe, blows out a candle, crosses to her bed while winding an alarm clock, blows out another candle, and starts to arrange her pillows. But she stops and crosses to her door, looking out into the garden. From this distance, she sees a mysterious figure in a flowing white dress -- JESSICA HOLLAND, Paul's wife: thin, blonde, beautiful and blank-faced -- wandering the grounds as if she might be sleepwalking in a trance. A puzzled Betsy returns to her bed and removes her robe. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE GARDEN - NIGHT The eerie figure of Ti-Misery in the GARDEN. The night wind shakes the nearby plants. A hushed RUSTLING noise. DISSOLVE TO: INT. BETSY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Later that night. Betsy, lying in bed, awakens at the echoey sound of loud SOBBING. Betsy rises, puts on her robe and heads out into the GARDEN. EXT. THE GARDEN - NIGHT The sobbing seems to be coming from the fort's nearby tower. Betsy slowly crosses the garden to the tower's door. INT. THE TOWER - NIGHT Betsy opens the wooden door and enters the darkened tower. A long steep stone staircase leads upstairs, the apparent source of the sobs, though the echo of the tower makes it hard to be sure. Betsy slowly crosses to the staircase and climbs. Halfway up, the sobbing ceases. Betsy pauses. BETSY Mrs. Holland? Betsy continues and reaches the second floor. It's empty. BETSY Mrs. Holland? At the bottom of the stairs, a figure in white appears. It's Jessica Holland -- still a willowy blonde with a sad, blank expression that never changes. Jessica begins to climb the stairs to the second floor. She is slow and zombie-like in her movements, like a sleepwalker. On the second floor, Betsy, unaware of Jessica's presence, continues to peer into the darkness. BETSY Mrs. Holland? Betsy suddenly sees Jessica reach the second floor and walk toward her. Betsy approaches the oncoming Jessica. BETSY (apologetic) I didn't mean to get you up, Mrs. Holland. But Jessica does not respond. She keeps walking, threatening to plow into Betsy. Jessica's vacant stare begins to unnerve Betsy. BETSY (quietly) Mrs. Holland... Jessica keeps walking toward Betsy, forcing her to backtrack. Betsy backs up against the stone wall. Staring into Jessica's frozen face, Betsy panics and SCREAMS, rushing past Jessica and pressing herself up against the opposite wall. As if in a trance, Jessica turns and slowly pursues her. Meanwhile, on the first floor of the tower, two servants stand nervously in the doorway, while Paul, in a robe and carrying a flashlight begins to mount the stairs. Jessica closes in on Betsy just as Paul reaches the top. PAUL Jessica! Jessica suddenly pauses, inches away from a terrified Betsy. Paul joins them and guides Jessica away while turning to ALMA, the young black maid, who, along with Clement, has followed him up the stairs. PAUL Take Mrs. Holland to her room, Alma. ALMA Come, Miss Jessica. Come with Alma. Alma leads Jessica downstairs. A relieved Betsy still stands against the wall. BETSY I heard someone crying. A woman. PAUL A woman crying? There's been no crying here. CLEMENT Mr. Paul? Yes, there was crying tonight. It was Alma. Her sister was brought a-birthing. PAUL Thank you, Clement. Paul gives Betsy a disapproving look, then walks off. Paul, Betsy and Clement head back down the stairs, Clement leading the way with a lantern. At the bottom of the stairs, Paul and Betsy head for the tower door. Alma pokes her head out of Jessica's bedroom door, near the bottom of the stairs, and whispers to Clement. ALMA Clement? I'm gonna stay with Miss Jessica in case the nurse-lady takes to roamin' again. CLEMENT Don't you go crying no more. That's what frightened Miss Betsy. ALMA Well, she didn't sooth me any -- hollering around in the tower! CLEMENT Sssshhhhh! CUT TO: EXT. THE GARDEN - NIGHT Paul and Betsy walk back to the house. BETSY Why was the maid crying? PAUL I'm not sure I can make you understand. They pause in front of Ti-Misery. PAUL (off the figure) Do you know what this is? BETSY The figure of St. Sebastian. PAUL Yes. But it was once the figurehead of a slave ship. That's where our people came from. From the misery and pain of slavery. For generations they found life a burden. That's why they still weep when a child is born -- and make merry at a burial. Paul, reflecting on the sadness of slave people and slave ways, pauses to watch Clement returning to the house. PAUL I've told you, Miss Connell, this is a sad place. Paul walks to the house, leaving Betsy with the figure. FADE OUT INT. BETSY'S BEDROOM - DAY FADE IN on Betsy's BEDROOM, the next morning as Alma enters with a breakfast tray for Betsy who is still asleep in bed. Alma sets the tray on an end table and wakes Betsy by lifting the blanket off her foot and gently wiggling her big toe. Betsy opens her eyes. ALMA Good morning, miss. BETSY Thank you for waking me. ALMA I didn't want to frighten you out of your sleep, miss. That's why I touched you farthest from your heart. Betsy smiles at this and starts to get up. ALMA Oh, don't get up, miss. Alma crosses back to the tray and starts preparing breakfast for Betsy. ALMA I brought your breakfast. Just like I do for Miss Jessica. BETSY But I'm Miss Jessica's nurse, Alma. You don't have to do that for me. ALMA I know it, miss. But I like to do it. I like to tend for Miss Jessica and I want to tend for you. You settle right back, now, and I'll make sure you're comfy. Alma places a big pillow behind Betsy. BETSY Thank you. ALMA Miss Jessica used to say this is the only way for a lady to break her fast -- in bed, with a lacy cushion to bank her head up. If you'd only seen her, Miss Connell. She looked so pretty. Alma places the tray in Betsy's lap. BETSY She must have been beautiful. What happened to her, Alma? ALMA (matter-of-fact) She was very sick and then she went mindless, miss. BETSY Well, we'll see if we can't make her well, Alma. You and I. ALMA I do my best every day I dress her just as beautifully as if she was well. It's just like dressing a great big doll. Alma places a huge, puffed-up pastry (brioche) on the tray. BETSY What's this? ALMA A puff-up, I call it. But Miss Jessica always says "brioche." BETSY It looks like an awful lot of breakfast. I don't know if I'll be able to get away with it. Betsy touches the pastry with her fork and it instantly deflates much to her and Alma's amusement. DISSOLVE TO: INT. THE STUDY - DAY The STUDY, a little later that morning. Paul sits at his desk talking to Betsy who wears her nurse's uniform. PAUL I made it clear in my letter to the company. This is not a position for a frightened girl. BETSY (quietly, but on the defensive) I'm not a frightened girl. PAUL That's hard to believe after what happened last night. BETSY If I were as timid as you seem to think, Mr. Holland, I wouldn't have gone to the tower in the first place. PAUL And what's so alarming about the tower, Miss Connell? BETSY Nothing really, but... You must admit, it's an eerie sort of place. So dark. PAUL (faintly amused) Surely nurses aren't afraid of the dark? BETSY Of course not. Well, I used to be afraid of the dark when I was a child, but I'm not afraid any more. Paul rises to file some paperwork. BETSY Frankly, it was something of a shock to see my patient that way for the first time. Nobody had told me Mrs. Holland was... a mental case. Paul turns abruptly from the paperwork. PAUL A mental case? BETSY I'm sorry. PAUL (again the impersonal employer) Why should you be? My wife is a mental case. Please remember that, Miss Connell. Particularly when some of the foolish people on the island start regaling you with local legends. You'll find superstition a contagious thing. Some people let it get the better of them. I don't think you will. BETSY No. PAUL Come along. I'll introduce you to Dr. Maxwell and your patient. Betsy rises and they walk off. DISSOLVE TO: INT. JESSICA'S ROOM - DAY Later that day, Betsy and DR. MAXWELL enter. Maxwell is a small, neat man with a charming voice and a pleasant but somewhat professional personality. As distinct from the rest of the tower, the room is quite pleasant, kept up nicely by the servants. A harp and stool sit silently by the window. DR. MAXWELL I can't tell you how glad I am to have you here, Miss Connell. BETSY I know I'll enjoy working with you, Doctor. DR. MAXWELL I have an enormous amount of respect for nurses, but most of them scare me. I always feel them behind my back, looking at their training manuals, noting my mistakes. BETSY I'll keep tabs on you. They approach Jessica who lies in bed, staring into space. DR. MAXWELL She makes a beautiful zombie, doesn't she? Betsy looks shocked by the comment. DR. MAXWELL (explains) I knew Jessica. We were friends. Sometimes it's better for a doctor to laugh than pull a long face when things are hopeless. BETSY Yes, I know. But I don't know about zombies, Doctor. Just what is a zombie? DR. MAXWELL A ghost, the living dead. It's also a drink. BETSY Yes, I tried one once. But there wasn't anything dead about it. DR. MAXWELL We've a more serious problem to deal with, Miss Connell. You want to know about your patient, don't you? BETSY Please. DR. MAXWELL I'll try to put it simply. Mrs. Holland had a tropical fever. Very severe. We might say that portions of the spinal cord were burned out by this fever. The result is what you see. A woman without any will power. Unable to speak or even act by herself, though she will obey simple commands. BETSY Does she suffer? DR. MAXWELL I don't know. I'd rather think of her as a sleepwalker who can never be awakened. Feeling nothing, knowing nothing. There's very little we can do except keep her physically comfortable, light diet, some exercise. BETSY She can never be cured? DR. MAXWELL I've never heard of a cure. BETSY Could you give me some details of treatment and diet? DR. MAXWELL I prepared these for you last night. Dr. Maxwell hands Betsy some papers from his medical bag. He collects his hat and the bag. DR. MAXWELL I'll drop by in a day or so to see how you're getting on. They both head for the door. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE GARDEN - DAY Minutes later, Betsy reads the papers while walking to the house. Paul, reading a newspaper on the VERANDA, turns to her. PAUL You didn't find your patient so frightening in the daylight, did you? BETSY Mrs. Holland must have been very beautiful. PAUL Many people thought her beautiful. Betsy is about to enter the house. PAUL Tell me, Miss Connell. Do you consider yourself pretty? BETSY (taken aback) I don't know. I suppose so. PAUL And charming? BETSY I've never given it much thought. PAUL Don't. You'll save yourself a great deal of trouble and other people a great deal of unhappiness. Betsy thinks about this for a moment and then enters the house. FADE OUT EXT. THE TOWN - DAY FADE IN some days later, as Betsy (out of her uniform) walks through St. Sebastian's main town, or what passes for it. Wesley, in sugar planter's work clothes, rides up to her on horseback, pleasantly surprised to see her. WESLEY Betsy! Where are you going? BETSY It's my day off. WESLEY What in the world can you do with a day off in St. Sebastian? BETSY I was just beginning to wonder. Aren't there shops, restaurants and things here? WESLEY Well, "and things" is a better description of what you'll find. Wesley dismounts. WESLEY I'd better come along and show you the town. BETSY Don't you have to work? WESLEY (grinning) By a curious coincidence, it's my day off, too. He leads her, and the horse, away. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE CAFE - DAY An outdoor cafe by the seaside, a bit later. The townspeople crowd around a guitar-playing CALYPSO SINGER who does a rendition of "British Grenadiers": SINGER (sings) Some talk of Alexander And some of Hercules Of Hector and Lysander And [?] such [?] as these But of all the world's great heroes There's none that can compare.... TI-JOSEPH, the proprietor, clears a table. Betsy and Wesley share a table around the corner from the singer. The song plays under their conversation. WESLEY Say, Joseph. Bring me another. I have to keep the lady entertained. BETSY It must be hard work entertaining me if it requires six ounces of rum. WESLEY Six ounces? BETSY Higher mathematics. Two ounces to a drink, three drinks, six ounces. WESLEY Well, how did you know there were two ounces in a drink? BETSY I'm a nurse. I always watch people when they pour something. I watched Ti-Joseph and it was exactly two ounces. The singer begins a new song. Wesley grows immediately uncomfortable, but Betsy is curious. SINGER (sings) There was a family that lived on the isle Of St. Sebastian a long, long while The head of the fam'ly was a Holland man And the younger brother, his name was Rand Ah, woe! Ah, me! Shame and sorrow for the family... Wesley tries to divert Betsy's attention from the song. WESLEY Listen, did I ever tell you the story about the little mule on the plantation? The little mule... BETSY Wait a minute, I want to hear this. SINGER (sings) The Holland man, he kept in a tower A wife as pretty as a big white flower She saw the brother and she stole his heart... Ti-Joseph arrives with Wesley's drink and Wesley gives him a disapproving shake of the head. Ti-Joseph crosses to the singer and whispers something. SINGER (sings) And that's how the badness and the trouble start -- The singer stops and turns to a colleague, in annoyance. SINGER Ti-Malice, trip up my tongue. Why do you wish trouble on me for? You saw Mr. Rand go in there. Why don't you tell me? Apologize -- that's what I'll do. Creep in just like a little fox and warm myself in his heart. The singer hands his guitar to the colleague and heads over to Wesley's table. Betsy talks with Wesley who looks down, embarrassed. BETSY I wouldn't have listened, Wesley, if I'd realized. I -- The singer appears before them and bows deeply to Wesley. SINGER Mr. Rand? I've come to apologize. WESLEY (curtly) All right. SINGER Just an old song I picked up somewhere. Don't know who did make it up. WESLEY (growing exasperated) All right. All right. SINGER Some of these singers on this island, they tattle-tale on anybody. Believe me, Mr. Rand, I never would sing that song if I'd known you were with a lady. WESLEY (boils over) Get out of here! The singer takes two steps back, bows deeply to Wesley, and quickly departs. BETSY Don't let it bother you so, Wesley. WESLEY You heard what he said. Shocked? BETSY I just wish I hadn't heard. WESLEY Why? Everybody else knows it. Paul saw to that. Sometimes I think he planned the whole thing from the beginning just to watch me squirm. BETSY That doesn't sound like him. WESLEY That's right. He's playing the noble husband for you, isn't he? Well, that won't last long. Wesley starts another drink. BETSY I think we'd better go now. Will you take me home? WESLEY (ignoring her, speaking a little drunkenly) One of these days he'll start on you, just like he did on her. (imitating) "You think life's beautiful, don't you, Jessica? You think you're beautiful, don't you, Jessica?" (bitterly) What he could do to that word "beautiful." That's Paul's great weapon, words. He uses them like other men use their fists. A concerned Betsy looks at Wesley nervously. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE CAFE - NIGHT A lamp near the CAFE being lit, that night. All is quiet. In the cafe, everyone has gone home, except for Ti-Joseph, who is cleaning up; an unconscious Wesley who is face down on the table; and Betsy who stands over him trying to awaken him. BETSY Wesley? Wesley, it's time we started home. The calypso singer emerges from the darkness, this time with his guitar, and sings to Betsy the rest of the "Fort Holland Calypso Song." Unlike earlier, his manner is ominous and unapologetic. With a view of the turbulent ocean behind him, the singer slowly walks toward Betsy as he plays, unnerving her. SINGER (sings) The wife and the brother, they want to go But the Holland man, he tell them no. The wife fall down and the evil came And it burned her mind in the fever flame. Ah, woe! Ah, me! Shame and sorrow for the family! A scared Betsy shakes the unconscious Wesley. BETSY Wesley! Wesley, we must get back to Fort Holland. The singer draws nearer, staring at Betsy. SINGER (sings) Her eyes are empty and she cannot talk And a nurse has come to make her walk. The brothers are lonely and the nurse is young And now you must see that my song is sung. Ah, woe! Ah, me! Shame and sorrow for the family! Ah, woe! Ah, me! Shame and sorrow for the family! As the song concludes, an older woman appears and her commanding presence seems to cause the singer to stop and instantly depart. This is MRS. RAND, Paul and Wesley's mother, a self-assured woman who wears her authority lightly. She sees Wesley just as he's waking up. MRS. RAND (to Betsy) I think you need some help. BETSY I'm afraid so. MRS. RAND Ti-Joseph? Ti-Joseph crosses to Wesley. MRS. RAND Help Mr. Rand on to his horse and start him toward the fort. Joseph helps Wesley out of the cafe. BETSY Oh, but he's in no condition to ride. I-I don't think he could even sit in the saddle. MRS. RAND Don't worry about a sugar planter. Give him a horse and he'll ride to his own funeral. The sound of the horse's HOOFBEATS recede into the distance. MRS. RAND I really intended going out to the fort and meeting you long before this, Miss Connell. I am Mrs. Rand, Wesley's mother. They shake hands. BETSY Oh, Mrs. Rand. I -- MRS. RAND Now, don't tell me you're sorry that I should meet you this way. I'm even a little glad that Wesley's difficulties brought us together. Mrs. Rand picks up Wesley' bill from the table, studies it, takes some money from her purse and leaves it on the table with the bill. BETSY Believe me, he doesn't do this often. It's -- MRS. RAND Nonsense. I know Wesley's been drinking too much lately. I know a great deal more about what goes on at the fort than you'd think. And I know all about you. That you're a nice girl. Competent. And kind to Jessica. The fort needs a girl like you. Come, I must get you back there. I'll walk back with you and stay the night. The change will do me good. BETSY Thank you, Mrs. Rand. They start walking. EXT. THE TOWN - NIGHT The two women walk side by side down a deserted road. BETSY I think you're every bit as nice as Wesley says you are. MRS. RAND So, he says I'm nice? He's a nice boy, too, Miss Connell. A very nice boy. I'm worried about his drinking though. You could do me a great favor. BETSY I'd love to. MRS. RAND Use your influence with Paul. Ask him to take the whiskey decanter off the dinner table. BETSY I have no influence with Mr. Holland. MRS. RAND Try it. You may have more than you think. FADE OUT EXT. THE VERANDA - DAY FADE IN on Paul and BAYARD the planter, walking through the fort carrying some cane stalks, early the next morning. PAUL No, it's not a drought, Bayard. Rain's just a little late, that's all. BAYARD I've seen the drought before, Mr. Holland. Cane's too dry. It's dangerous that way. They meet Betsy coming in the opposite direction. She wears her nurse's uniform and carries a tray. PAUL Good morning. BETSY Good morning. PAUL I heard about your little misadventure yesterday. On your first day off, too. BETSY Oh, I had a good time, up to a point. PAUL (sincerely) Wesley can be very entertaining. BETSY (encouraged by his tone) Yes, he can. But I was wondering. You know, if you could leave the whisky decanter off the table -- PAUL It's always stood there, Miss Connell. I can remember it in my grandfather's time. And my father's. BETSY But it must be an added temptation to Wesley. And... though your brother's not an alcoholic yet, Mr. Holland, I can tell you as a nurse that it won't be long. PAUL (coldly) Miss Connell, I engaged you to take care of my wife, not my brother. I'm afraid the decanter will have to stay where it is. Paul abruptly turns and he and Bayard walk off. DISSOLVE TO: INT. THE DINING ROOM - NIGHT That night, Clement serves dinner to Paul, Wesley and Betsy. The ululating SOUND of a great sea conch being blown causes them to react. WESLEY There they go. PAUL Bayard told me they were going to ask Damballa for rain. Fields are dry as dust. BETSY But what is it, Mr. Holland? PAUL It's a big seashell. A conch. They make a sort of bugle out of it to call the faithful to the Houmfort. BETSY But I don't know what a Houmfort is. Or a Damballa. PAUL It's voodoo. The Houmfort is the temple. WESLEY And Damballa is one of the gods. The big Papa God. BETSY You don't seem very disturbed by it. I thought voodoo was something everyone was frightened of. PAUL I'm afraid it's not very frightening. They sing and dance and carry on. And then, as I understand it, one of the gods comes down and speaks through one of the people. WESLEY For some reason, they always pick a night like this. This hot wind even sets me on edge. Wesley reaches for the whisky decanter, but it's not there. WESLEY (to Clement) Clement. You've forgotten the decanter. PAUL I think from now on, Wesley, we'll try serving dinner without it. WESLEY That's odd. What are you trying to do? Impress Miss Connell? PAUL You'd make a better impression without whisky. WESLEY Thank you. You've always had such tender concern for me. And for Jessica. PAUL Let's drop it, Wesley. WESLEY Why? PAUL It isn't considered polite to quarrel before ladies. Betsy looks down, embarrassed. WESLEY Oh, I see. Let's be reserved and gentlemanly. You were so reserved and gentlemanly, so polite that night with Jessica. Wesley rises. WESLEY I remember -- PAUL Wesley! Paul rises and turns to Betsy. PAUL Miss Connell, I think it would be better if I had Clement bring the rest of your dinner to your room. An uncomfortable Betsy rises and walks off. Paul and Wesley stand in awkward silence at the table. FADE OUT INT. BETSY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Later that evening, Betsy sits on the arm of a chair listening to the MUSIC of Chopin's E Minor Etude. Paul plays it, not brilliantly, but not badly on a piano in the STUDY. After listening for a few moments, Betsy rises and walks to the study. INT. THE STUDY - NIGHT As Betsy enters and closes the door behind her, Paul stops and turns to her. BETSY I heard you playing. I -- PAUL I often do. BETSY I know what you went through tonight. I kept thinking of what you said. That-that all good things died here, violently. Paul rises from the piano and crosses to her. PAUL Why did you come in here? BETSY I don't know. I wanted to help you and now that I'm here, I don't know how. PAUL (with unexpected sincerity) You have helped me. I want you to know that I'm sorry I ever brought you here. When I thought of a nurse, I thought of someone hard and impersonal. BETSY I love Fort Holland. PAUL And what you saw tonight -- two brothers set against each other and a woman driven mad by her own husband -- do you love that? BETSY You didn't drive her mad. Betsy touches Paul's arm. He looks down at this gesture, surprised. PAUL Before Jessica was taken ill, there was a scene. An ugly scene. I told her she couldn't go. That I'd keep her here by force if necessary. You never knew Jessica as she was. The distant sound of the DRUMS begin again and all at once Paul is in no mood to talk. PAUL (chilly) I think it will be best for all of us not to discuss this again. Thank you. I know you meant to be kind. A stunned Betsy leaves. Paul closes the door behind her. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE BEACH - NIGHT That night, on the hills overlooking the BEACH, Betsy walks amid the rocks and sand, looking down at the crashing waves, deep in thought. BETSY (voice over) I don't know how their own love is revealed to other women. Maybe in their sweethearts' arms, I don't know. To me, it came that night after Paul Holland had almost thrust me from the room. Certainly from his life. I said, I loved him. Even as I said it, I-I knew he still loved his wife. And then because I loved him, I felt I had to restore her to him. To make her what she'd been before. To make him happy. FADE OUT INT. JESSICA'S ROOM - DAY FADE IN on Paul in Jessica's ROOM, the next day. Also in the room are Betsy, Doctor Maxwell and Jessica. PAUL All that you say comes to the same thing. You're asking me to pass a sentence of life or death on my wife. DR. MAXWELL Insulin shock treatment is an extreme measure, Paul, as Miss Connell pointed out when she suggested it to me, but -- PAUL You admit that this is terribly dangerous. So, why do you advise it? BETSY I've worked with it. I've seen cures. It's at least a hope. DR. MAXWELL It's the very danger itself, Paul, that makes the cure possible. Insulin produces a state of coma. Then the patient is revived by a violent shock to the nerves. That shock can kill, but it can also cure. PAUL I don't know. DR. MAXWELL It's a hard decision to make. But yours is only a technical responsibility. PAUL Technical responsibility, real responsibility. Question is, will she live or die? BETSY You're wrong, Mr. Holland. It isn't a question of life or death. Your wife isn't living. She's -- she's in a world that's empty of joy and meaning. We have a chance to give her life back to her. But Paul seems unsure. DISSOLVE TO: INT. JESSICA'S ROOM - NIGHT That night, Betsy and the doctor, at Jessica's bedside, monitor their patient. Paul leans against the doorway. The tension is thick. Betsy crosses to Paul. PAUL Well? BETSY She's alive. That's all. She starts to walk away, when Paul reaches out to her with both arms and clutches her shoulders. PAUL Don't take it so much to heart, Betsy. BETSY I imagined it so differently. PAUL I've been waiting for hours, trying to imagine Jessica well again. BETSY And I come bringing you nothing. PAUL Instead, you come bringing me sympathy, Betsy. And a generous heart. Don't forget that. Don't call that nothing. A downcast Betsy quickly walks back to Jessica, just as Wesley emerges from the shadows behind Paul to confront him. WESLEY Very sad. Very sweet. The noble husband and the noble nurse comforting each other 'cause the patient still lives. I've been imagining, too, Paul. Only I didn't have to wonder how I'd feel. I knew. I'm not in love with another woman. Wesley strides off. Paul watches him go. FADE OUT EXT. THE GARDEN - DAY FADE IN on the GARDEN, the next day, where the servants cluster around Alma's sister MELISSE and her newborn baby, laughing and commenting on how adorable the little child is. Betsy emerges from the tower carrying a tray. ALMA Oh, I'm sorry, Miss Betsy. (off the tray) I'll take it right away. BETSY Oh, that's all right, Alma. Betsy puts the tray down. BETSY Oh, is this your sister's baby? ALMA Yes, Miss Betsy. This is little Ti-Victor and my sister Melisse. BETSY Oh, I'm so glad I came out. I've been wanting to meet you, Melisse. MELISSE More so, miss. BETSY (off Ti-Victor) Oh, he's a wonderful baby. Beautiful. The baby smiles at Betsy. MELISSE He's chosen you, miss. ALMA That's what we say, Miss Betsy, when a baby first goes visiting. Those he smiles at will be his friends. BETSY That makes me very proud. Here, Ti-Victor. Betsy removes a silver pin from her lapel and pins it to the baby's swaddling clothes. The servants gasp at what, for them, is an extravagant gift. BETSY That's so you won't forget I'm your friend. ALMA Thanks, Miss Betsy! Betsy and Alma watch the other servants walk into the house, chattering and laughing. BETSY It's nice to see people so happy. ALMA They're not always happy, Miss Betsy. BETSY I suppose not. ALMA Things so bad, nobody can help. Not even Dr. Maxwell. BETSY Doctors and nurses can only do so much, Alma. They can't cure everything. Betsy and Alma start to walk through the garden. ALMA Doctors that are people can't cure everything. BETSY What do you mean -- "doctors that are people"? ALMA There are other doctors. Yes? Other doctors. Better doctors. BETSY Where? ALMA At the Houmfort. BETSY That's nonsense, Alma. ALMA They even cure nonsense, Miss Betsy. Mama Rose was mindless. I was at the Houmfort when the Houngan brought her mind back. They stop walking. BETSY Was Mama Rose like Mrs. Holland? ALMA No. She was mindless, but not like Miss Jessica. But the Houngan cured her. BETSY Are you trying to tell me that the voodoo priest could cure Mrs. Holland? ALMA Yes, Miss Betsy. I mean that. The Houngan will speak to the rada drums and the drums will speak to Legba and Damballa. Betsy remains unconvinced. ALMA (whispers) Better doctors. Betsy walks away. DISSOLVE TO: INT. THE DISPENSARY - DAY A small, plainly furnished room with a plain table, a few bentwood chairs and a medicine cabinet and a few washbasins and water pitchers on a shelf. Betsy, in street clothes, watches as Mrs. Rand helps a very young boy into his shirt after having rubbed ointment on a sore on his chest. He wears an obeah bag tied around his neck on a string. MRS. RAND (to the boy, off the charm) Ti-Peter, how do you ever expect to get to Heaven with one foot in the voodoo Houmfort and the other in the church. Ah, get along with ya. The boy walks off. Mrs. Rand washes up and straightens the room. MRS. RAND Some of this native nonsense. The Houngan has his prescription and Dr. Maxwell and I have ours. BETSY You never talked about voodoo before, Mrs. Rand. MRS. RAND Haven't I? I suppose I take it for granted. Just part of everyday life here. BETSY You don't believe in it? MRS. RAND A missionary's widow? Isn't very likely, is it? BETSY Well, I don't mean believe in it like believing in a religion. I mean, do you believe it has power? Do you think it could cure a sick person? MRS. RAND Frankly, my dear, I didn't expect anything like that from a nice level-headed girl like you. What are you driving at? BETSY I heard the servants talking about Mama Rose. She said she'd been "mindless"... MRS. RAND Her son drowned. It affected her mind. The Houngan cured her by giving her a little practical psychology. BETSY What if I took Jessica to see him? MRS. RAND You don't know what goes on at the Houmfort. It might be very dangerous to take her there. Dangerous for both of you. These people are primitive. Things that are natural to them might shock and horrify you. BETSY I'm not easily frightened. MRS. RAND That may be the pity of it. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. FORT HOLLAND - NIGHT That night, Paul works in the STUDY while Wesley sits on the VERANDA, drinking. All is quiet, except for a stiff breeze RUSTLING through the trees. Betsy, with a dark cape over her white nurse's uniform furtively leads Jessica through the GARDEN to the tower where Alma awaits them. BETSY I'm going to the Houmfort, Alma. Alma opens the wooden door to the tower and the three women enter. DISSOLVE TO: INT. THE TOWER - NIGHT The inside of the darkened TOWER, moments later. While Betsy stands over her with a flashlight, Alma pours corn meal from a bowl onto the floor. Using her finger, Alma draws a map in the meal while giving directions. ALMA (whispers) You go right from the mill to an [?] sign in the cane. Here, you turn and face a [?] tree on the hill. Walk toward it and keep walking. Keep walking, miss [and then?] you come to the crossroads. Alma pulls two voodoo patches from her dress and pins them to Betsy and Jessica's shoulders. Betsy's is white, in contrast to her dark cape. ALMA (whispers) There's a guard there, Carre-Four. He keeps the crossroads. But he won't do you no harm when he sees the voodoo patches. He'll let you pass. Jessica's patch is black, in contrast to her white dress. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE SUGAR CANE FIELD - NIGHT The seven foot tall figure of Carre-Four, the voodoo guard, stands immobile at the crossroads in the sugar cane FIELD, silhouetted against the moonlight, later that night. The stiff breeze shakes the cane stalks. Elsewhere in the field, Betsy leads Jessica through the cane. An odd MOANING sound causes Betsy to stop and turn toward it. She shines her flashlight on a cow's skull mounted on a stick -- the wind blowing through the hollow skull makes the noise. Betsy leads Jessica past it. The two women emerge into a clearing. Betsy is taken aback by the sight of a dead lamb's carcass hanging from a banyan tree. They press on, back into the cane. Another weird sound -- an ominous vibrating NOISE -- leads Betsy to stop and look around. She turns on her flashlight and approaches a hollow gourd suspended from a wooden scaffold -- the wind blows through holes in the gourd making the noise. The women cross under the scaffold and continue to walk through the cane. Betsy shines her light on a human skull lying on the ground in the middle of a circle of stones. The night seems to be getting darker and the cane seems to be getting thicker, more claustrophobic. The sound of a conch and the drums causes Betsy to stop once again and look around. After a moment, the two women press forward -- and Betsy fails to notice that her voodoo patch has caught on a cane stalk and been torn from her cape. Betsy points her light at the ground as they make their way forward. Suddenly, a man's foot appears in its beam. Betsy instantly points the flashlight at the man's face -- revealing the spooky, bug-eyed, blank stare of Carre-Four, the voodoo guard. Startled, Betsy gasps but quickly recovers, only to notice that her patch is gone. She claps her hand to her shoulder and looks up at the towering guard. Is Carre-Four smiling wickedly at her fear? Hard to tell. Betsy sees that Jessica still wears her patch. Clutching Jessica close to her, Betsy leads Jessica very slowly past Carre-Four, keeping her flashlight trained on him and watching him nervously. But he makes no move to stop them. Once they have passed, Carre-Four suddenly turns and walks off in another direction. The DRUMS grow louder and are now accompanied by intense CHANTING, a call-and-response chant -- "O Legba" -- with a male voice answered by a chorus of voices. Betsy and Jessica emerge from the cane field and enter the open-air HOUMFORT. EXT. THE HOUMFORT - NIGHT Betsy and Jessica mingle unnoticed with the large crowd of worshipers -- all black and wearing voodoo patches. Surrounding the center of the Houmfort, the worshipers CHANT and focus their attention on the handsome, young SABREUR who performs a sensuous sword dance. Betsy and Jessica stay at the edge of the crowd, watching as the Sabreur is joined by a woman who seems to be in a trance. A voodoo priest anoints her brow as the Sabreur dances around her. The priest withdraws and the dance continues until she collapses to the ground. The chanting stops, men come and lift her unconscious body away, and the DRUMMING intensifies. Women appear and circle the drummer with a vigorous voodoo dance. At the climax, two women stand forehead to forehead over the drummer. The DRUMMING stops. A charged moment of silence and then -- a muffled voice from a small HUT at the edge of the Houmfort -- the god speaks through a mortal: VOICE Where are my people? Let them bring the rice cakes. Let them dance and be happy. The CHANTING and DRUMMING resume. People begin to move to the hut, lining up to talk to the god through a closed door. Betsy leads Jessica to the line. The first man in line removes his hat, leans his head to the door, and speaks, his words drowned out by the music. After a few moments, he leaves. Betsy watches as the woman in front of her does the same. Then, it is her turn. She leads Jessica to the door of the hut. BETSY Damballa, this woman is ill. The door abruptly opens, a hand reaches out and pulls Betsy inside the darkened hut. The Houngan voodoo priest follows her in and shuts the door behind him. Jessica stands alone. CUT TO: INT. THE HUT - NIGHT A BLACK SCREEN. Suddenly, a match is struck, a lantern is lit, and Mrs. Rand is revealed to an amazed Betsy. BETSY Mrs. Rand? MRS. RAND I knew you'd come. I couldn't let you go back without a word. I came here to tell you again -- Jessica cannot be cured. BETSY What are you doing here? CUT TO: EXT. THE HUT - SAME TIME The CHANTING and DRUMMING continue. The voodoo worshipers stare at Jessica who stands patiently where Betsy had left her. One of the women gives the Sabreur a meaningful look and then hands him a new sword. CUT TO: INT. THE HUT - SAME TIME Mrs. Rand is in the middle of a conversation with Betsy. MRS. RAND And when my husband died, I was helpless. They disobeyed me. And, accidentally, I learned the secret of how to deal with them. There was a woman with a baby. Again and again I begged her to boil the drinking water. She wouldn't. Then I told her the god Shango would kill the evil spirits in the water if she boiled it. From then on, she boiled the water. BETSY But that still doesn't explain why you're here. MRS. RAND Perhaps not. But I am here. It seemed so simple to let the gods speak through me. I should have known there's no easy way to do good, Betsy. CUT TO: EXT. THE HUT - SAME TIME The Sabreur confronts Jessica with his sword. He abruptly raises his arm and, as if hypnotized, she raises hers in response. He takes her outstretched hand, turns her to face him, and violently plunges the sword directly into her arm. Jessica doesn't react. The DRUMMING stops. The voodoo worshipers GASP. CUT TO: INT. THE HUT - SAME TIME Mrs. Rand looks up, realizing something's wrong. CUT TO: EXT. THE HUT - SAME TIME The voodoo worshipers gather around Jessica, whispering in disbelief. MAN She doesn't bleed. WOMAN Zombie. MAN She doesn't bleed. CUT TO: INT. THE HUT - SAME TIME The voodoo priest quickly blows out the lantern, and Mrs. Rand and Betsy rush for the door, open it, and take in the scene just outside the hut. CUT TO: EXT. THE HUT - SAME TIME Jessica stands unhurt, the sword no longer in her arm, surrounded by gaping worshipers. MRS. RAND (quietly) Get her back to the fort, Betsy. Betsy hesitates. MRS. RAND Do as I say. They-they won't hurt you. Betsy crosses to Jessica and leads her away from the crowd. The worshipers begin to follow but the Houngan voodoo priest gestures to them and says in a calm deep voice: HOUNGAN Leave them alone. Let them go. The crowd obeys. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE SUGAR CANE FIELD - NIGHT Betsy leads Jessica back the way they came earlier. They rush past the dead lamb's carcass and plunge into the sugar cane. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. FORT HOLLAND - NIGHT Just outside the TOWER at Fort Holland, later that night. Betsy has just returned Jessica to her room and now carefully heads through the GARDEN to the house. As she approaches, Paul appears, wearing a robe, and confronts her. PAUL Where have you been, Miss Connell? BETSY I wanted to help you. PAUL Help me? How? BETSY I took Mrs. Holland to the Houmfort. I thought they might cure her. PAUL There's no telling what you may have started with this insanity. Because you wanted to give my wife back to me? Why should that mean so much to you? BETSY You know why. You saw it the other night, at the piano. PAUL What I saw the other night, I could hardly believe, Betsy. I thought I was looking at a woman who had compassion for me. Who loved me. And yet you made that trip to the Houmfort to bring Jessica back to me. You, the nurse who's afraid of the dark. BETSY Yes. PAUL You think I love Jessica. Want her back. It's like you to think that. Clean, decent thinking. I wish it were true. The voodoo DRUMS begin in the distance. PAUL Perhaps for your sake. Both hear the drums and look apprehensively in their direction. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. FORT HOLLAND'S GATE - DAY Just inside the GATE at Fort Holland, the next afternoon. Alma holds the reins of a horse that's eating some of the garden's plants. She tries to pull it away from the plants. ALMA Mind me now, horse. Come away from there. Alma gives up pulling on the reins and tries pushing the horse's head out of the plants. ALMA Are you ever stubborn, just like that old [stableman?] at the Houmfort. Sticking your nose in places where it isn't wanted. Making trouble for everybody. Betsy appears in her nurse's uniform. BETSY Alma. Try it this way. Betsy grabs the reins, turns her back to the horse and leads it away. BETSY Turn your back on him. See, that's the way it is with a horse. You can't look at him and lead him at the same time. ALMA (laughs) Sounds sort of man-like, doesn't it? BETSY Whose horse? ALMA The police horse. BETSY Police? I didn't know there was a policeman on the island. ALMA Oh, just this horse, Miss Betsy. When they asked the Commissioner if any policemen were wanted, he said, "My horse is all the police we need on St. Sebastian." BETSY Commissioner? ALMA Yes, Miss Betsy. I expect there's some trouble. Alma looks in the direction of the house where some men are talking. ALMA Not just little trouble like Mr. Rand gets into when he's been drinking more than a little, but real big trouble. BETSY You don't suppose it's because I took Mrs. Holland to the Houmfort, do you? ALMA They haven't been talking loud enough for me to hear, Miss Betsy, but I've been holding this horse for coming on close to an hour. And they been just talkin' and talkin'. I feel it's something very bad. Betsy hands the reins back to Alma and starts to leave. BETSY Well, you have a horse to hold, Alma, and Mrs. Rand has asked me to have a cup of tea with her. The moment Betsy leaves, the horse starts misbehaving again. ALMA Horse, you stand still. But the horse has other things in mind and drags her away. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE HOUMFORT - NIGHT That night, to the sound of DRUMMING, a blonde voodoo doll is being clothed in a white dress. The Sabreur waves his hand over it as a small crowd watches. DISSOLVE TO: INT. JESSICA'S ROOM - NIGHT Betsy finishes putting Jessica to bed when Paul enters. PAUL You're staying here with Jessica tonight, Betsy? BETSY Mrs. Rand thought it might be best. PAUL She's right. BETSY I've caused you so much trouble, Paul. PAUL Oh, no. It was bound to come. As a matter of fact, that's why I'm here. I want to talk to you. Perhaps when you're finished in here you'll come into the garden. BETSY Is it about this afternoon? I saw the Commissioner here. PAUL Jeffries? Yes, he was here. He and Maxwell. They're in a great stew about it. Seems those people at the Houmfort won't stop drumming and dancing until they've got Jessica back and finish their ritual tests. Something of that sort. For their own safety, Jeffries and Maxwell want Jessica sent away to St. Thomas. To the asylum. BETSY Might be best. PAUL Maybe. But Wesley insists she stay here. BETSY But he hasn't the right. PAUL Oh, he hasn't any legal right, if that's what you mean. But he says that I'm responsible for Jessica's illness. That I deliberately drove her insane. BETSY You couldn't have done that, Paul. PAUL I don't know. I've gone over it and over it and... I don't know. CUT TO: EXT. THE HOUMFORT - NIGHT The voodoo ceremony continues. The expressionless Carre-Four holds the blonde voodoo doll in his hand. As the crowd watches, the Sabreur removes the doll from Carre-Four's grasp, takes a few steps backward and then beckons Carre-Four to come forward and grasp the doll again. He does so. DISSOLVE TO: INT. THE GARDEN - NIGHT Paul talks with Betsy. PAUL I want you out of it. I want you to go back to Canada, Betsy. BETSY Why? PAUL Because of Jessica. Because of myself. Because I don't want you to be made miserable and unhappy. BETSY But I want to stay. PAUL I'm afraid it's not what you want. I want you back in Canada. BETSY Naturally, as my employer, you have the right to dismiss me. PAUL Don't, Betsy. You know that isn't what I mean. You remember the first night I saw you? You were looking at the sea. You were enchanted. And I felt I had to destroy that enchantment, make you see ugliness and cruelty. BETSY You were trying to warn me. PAUL No. I was trying to hurt you. It was the same way with Jessica. I had to hurt her. Everything she did or said made me lash out at her. That's why I want you to go. You see, Betsy... since you've been here, I've seen how fine and sweet things can be between a man and a woman. How love can be calm and good. I'd rather not have that sort of love than have it and destroy it. BETSY You want me to leave? PAUL That's why I want you to go. It's no good for you to stay so long as I have this fear of myself. Betsy buries her head in Paul's chest as they embrace. DISSOLVE TO: INT. JESSICA'S ROOM - NIGHT Later that night, all is quiet. The wind blows through the curtains. Betsy sleeps on the sofa. The long shadow of Carre-Four falls on the stone path of the GARDEN, then across the wall of Jessica's ROOM. The noise of his shuffling feet awakens Betsy. The footsteps stop. Betsy rises, crosses to Jessica's bed, and sees that she's still asleep. Betsy puts on one of Jessica's white robes and heads out to the GARDEN. EXT. THE GARDEN - NIGHT Betsy looks around, but sees and hears no one. A frog CROAKS and jumps into the Ti-Misery fountain. Betsy is startled by a shrill SCREECH and looks up to see an owl on a tree branch above her. She's momentarily relieved but suddenly sees a shadow moving near the tower. She ducks behind some plants and turns to see: the shadow of Carre-Four walking toward her, toward the woman in white. Betsy's eyes widen in fear. She runs to the house and calls for Paul. BETSY Paul! Paul! The shadow creeps closer. Paul emerges in a robe just as Carre-Four, now visible, slowly closes in. PAUL (to Carre-Four) What are you doing here? But Carre-Four does not stop. Paul confronts him. PAUL Get out of here. Carre-Four extends his arms. He's only a few feet away. But a woman's voice rings out sharply. A WOMAN'S VOICE Carre-Four! Carre-Four pauses. Mrs. Rand, in a robe, has emerged from the house. MRS. RAND (gently, as if to a child) Carre-Four, go back. Carre-Four obediently turns and slowly walks away. Paul tries to follow him. MRS. RAND Paul. Let him go. Don't touch him. Don't try to stop him. Paul and Betsy watch in silence as Carre-Four shuffles out the front GATE. FADE OUT INT. THE STUDY - DAY FADE IN on the STUDY, the next day. Betsy joins Mrs. Rand who addresses a package. MRS. RAND I can send this off by the next boat. If you have any letters, you'd better get them ready, Betsy, to go with this parcel. BETSY Any news I have can wait till I get home. MRS. RAND Be pretty stale by that time. Paul joins them. PAUL Perhaps not, mother. Betsy is leaving us. MRS. RAND Why, Betsy, we can't lose you. We've grown to depend on you. I have, and I know Paul has. PAUL Mother, Betsy has her reasons. BETSY (to Mrs. Rand) I hope you won't feel I'm deserting you or think badly of me. MRS. RAND Think badly of you, Betsy? All three turn at the SOUND of a door opening. It's Wesley and Dr. Maxwell. WESLEY (to the others) Dr. Maxwell has some unpleasant news for us. PAUL An accident at the mill? DR. MAXWELL No, it's about Jessica. A result of our discussion the other day I'm afraid. PAUL What about her? DR. MAXWELL Well, in view of all the circumstances, some of the things Wesley's been saying, and the fact that one of the voodoo people got into your house last night, the Commissioner's decided on a legal investigation. PAUL In other words, I'm on trial. DR. MAXWELL Oh, I wouldn't put it that way, Paul, but -- there's been a lot of talk. The whole thing's getting out of hand. WESLEY A pretty scene. Half the island crowding into the courtroom to watch your dirty linen get a public scrubbing. PAUL Wait [a bit], Wesley. Let's talk this over with the... WESLEY (explodes) Talk it over! Talk now, Paul, and tell them that you're not responsible. That every bit of this doesn't rest squarely on your shoulders. Paul turns to a subdued Mrs. Rand who crosses to Dr. Maxwell. MRS. RAND If you'll be good enough to take me to the Commissioner, Doctor, I think there'll be no need of an investigation. DR. MAXWELL But why, Mrs. Rand? What could you have to tell him? MRS. RAND Jessica is not insane. Please, take me to the Commissioner. I can explain the whole thing to him. PAUL Mother, what are you trying to say? MRS. RAND She is dead. DR. MAXWELL Now, Mrs. Rand... MRS. RAND She is dead. Living and dead. DR. MAXWELL Mrs. Rand, you're not seriously trying to tell me that my patient is a zombie? MRS. RAND I'm not mad. It's true. I did it. WESLEY Mother... MRS. RAND Wesley, let me explain. I wanted to so often. Now, I have to. (to Betsy) Betsy, tell them about the Houmfort. Tell them what you saw there. You must, Betsy. They'll have to believe you. BETSY (reluctant) Well, Mrs. Rand was at the Houmfort. But there's nothing wrong with that. She's gone there for years, trying to take care of those people. To help them. DR. MAXWELL I think I understand. I've often talked a little voodoo to get medicine down a patient's throat. MRS. RAND But it was more than that, Doctor. I entered into their ceremonies. I pretended I was possessed by their gods. But what I did to Jessica... was when she wanted to go away with Wesley. That night I went to the Houmfort. I kept seeing her face -- smiling because she was beautiful enough to take my family in her hands and tear it apart. Drums, the chanting, the lights. I heard a voice speaking in the sudden silence. My voice. I was speaking to the Houngan. I was possessed. I told him the woman at Fort Holland was evil and asked him to make her a zombie. DR. MAXWELL Then what happened? MRS. RAND I hated myself. On the way home, I said over and over again, there are no such people, no strange drugs, there's no such thing as a zombie. DR. MAXWELL You were right. MRS. RAND I said it, and I made myself believe it. But when I got here, Jessica was raging with fever. DR. MAXWELL She was raging with fever. A fever with a long Latin name. And a bad reputation for its after-effects. Usually some form of insanity. PAUL Dr. Maxwell is right, mother. DR. MAXWELL You were tricked by your own imagination, Mrs. Rand. MRS. RAND But I am not an imaginative or fanciful woman, Doctor. DR. MAXWELL As I understand it, in order to turn a person into a zombie, whether by poison or... hocus-pocus, you must first kill that person. Is that right? MRS. RAND Yes. DR. MAXWELL She was feverish. She was delirious. But I don't remember her dying. Or even being in a state resembling death. No coma. Nothing. I'm afraid you are an imaginative woman, Mrs. Rand. MRS. RAND (embarrassed) Of course. Of course. A shaken Mrs. Rand leaves the group and climbs the stairs in a daze, while Wesley puts what appears to be a sympathetic hand on Paul's shoulder. FADE OUT EXT. THE HOUMFORT - NIGHT FADE IN on the blonde voodoo doll on the floor of the HOUMFORT, that night. The DRUMS beat loudly. As the voodoo worshipers watch, the Sabreur gestures to the doll. It inches toward him. CUT TO: EXT. FORT HOLLAND - SAME TIME Simultaneously, Jessica emerges from the TOWER and heads for the gate. A concerned Betsy follows behind. BETSY Jessica? Jessica? Paul sees the two women from the HOUSE and quickly joins them. BETSY Jessica? (scared, to Paul) She won't obey me. PAUL Jessica! Betsy quickly closes and locks the wrought-iron GATE before Jessica can exit. CUT TO: EXT. THE HOUMFORT - SAME TIME The blonde voodoo doll moves across the floor of the Houmfort. Despite the DRUMS, the doll stops. The Sabreur continues to gesture to it. CUT TO: EXT. FORT HOLLAND'S GATE - NIGHT Wesley, apparently having just come back from a night of drinking, appears on the opposite side of the gate, joining Paul, Betsy, and Jessica. WESLEY It's the Houmfort. They're trying to get her back. BETSY But how can they? How could they make her understand? How would she know? WESLEY They know how. They have charms that can draw a man halfway around the world. Opiate tricks, magic. Everybody knows that. PAUL We may have believed all that when we were boys, Wesley, but we're grown men now. We know it's all nonsense. WESLEY Do we? PAUL Yes. WESLEY You've forgotten -- PAUL I've not forgotten. I could see what was in your mind when Maxwell was talking. Just because he didn't know about Jessica's coma, you thought everything he said was wrong. And that mother's story was right. But that's ridiculous. WESLEY It is true. (off Jessica) Why did she come out here? How can they make her move, do anything they want? (as much to himself as the others) They can make anybody do what they want. PAUL You're thinking just as they want you to think. That's what it's for. Conches, their cheap mummery. WESLEY Let me in. BETSY Come with me, Jessica. Betsy leads Jessica back to the tower as Wesley opens the gate and enters. WESLEY (off Jessica's escape attempt) You saw that. PAUL I saw nothing that would convince a sober man. You better get some sleep, Wesley. Paul heads for the house, but Wesley stays behind, lost in thought. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE GARDEN - NIGHT The statue of Ti-Misery, not long after. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE GARDEN - NIGHT A little later that night, Betsy -- having left Jessica in the tower -- heads for the house, but seeing Wesley sitting dejectedly nearby, crosses to him. BETSY Why don't you go to bed, Wesley? It's been a hard day for all of us. Wesley doesn't respond. BETSY I'm sorry, Wesley. I think I know how you must feel. And I am sorry. I only wish there was something I could do. WESLEY (as if to himself) She ought to be free. (to Betsy) You could free her, Betsy. You could do it. You're a nurse. You have the drugs. It'd be so quick. BETSY Her heart beats. She breathes. That's life, Wesley. I once took an oath to guard life. WESLEY I shouldn't've asked it of you. But it was only because I can't make you believe that she's already dead. Wait a minute. There's one other thing. You love Paul. Then, what good will ever do you if Jessica's still a -- BETSY Wesley. I'm afraid I love him too much for that. WESLEY I'm sorry. In a daze, Wesley wanders off. Betsy watches him go, then enters the house. WIPE TO: EXT. THE GARDEN - NIGHT Later that night, Wesley, on the VERANDA, looks up from his drink to see Jessica emerge from the TOWER and slowly cross to the GATE. He watches as she pauses there, unable to open it and leave. CUT TO: EXT. THE HOUMFORT - SAME TIME The blonde voodoo doll has once again stopped. The Sabreur, frustrated at the lack of progress, turns and whispers to a colleague. CUT TO: EXT. THE GARDEN - SAME TIME Wesley continues to watch Jessica as she stands at the gate. He rises and crosses to her. Without a pause, he opens the gate for her. She immediately leaves. Wesley watches her go, then turns and crosses to Ti-Misery and, with some effort, pulls out one of the iron arrows embedded in the figure. He turns and heads for the gate, following Jessica into the darkness. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE HOUMFORT - NIGHT The Sabreur squats over the blonde voodoo doll and knocks it over so that it lies on its back. He then slowly lowers a large needle to the doll. The rhythm of the DRUMMING accelerates. And as he plunges it into the doll's heart, the DRUMMING instantly stops. CUT TO: EXT. THE BEACH - SAME TIME On the silent, deserted BEACH, Wesley crouches over Jessica's dead body. He rises slowly, the arrow shaft in his hand, and looks right and left. As he does, he sees the figure of Carre-Four walking toward him. Wesley bends down and lifts the lifeless Jessica into his arms. He gives Carre-Four a worried glance and then begins to carry Jessica down to the ocean. Carre-Four extends his arms and pursues Wesley as he crosses the beach. Wesley twice turns to look at Carre-Four and finally backs into the ocean, walking until the surf overwhelms him. When both Wesley and Jessica have disappeared under the waves, Carre-Four lowers his arms and merely stands motionless at the edge of the water, silhouetted in the moonlight, looking out at the sea, as the waves wash up on the beach around him. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. WATER - NIGHT Some time later, Jessica's body floats face up in shallow WATER. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. WATER - NIGHT Torch-bearing native fishermen slowly make their way through the darkness and the knee-high WATER, spears in hand, CHANTING "Walee Nan Guinan." One of them stabs a fish and it wriggles in pain as he tries to stuff it into a pouch on his belt. They keep walking. Suddenly, one stumbles across Jessica's body. They hold a torch close to her face as a VOICE OVER begins -- what sounds like the deep voice of the Houngan voodoo priest performing a Christian burial service: HOUNGAN (voice over) O Lord God most holy, deliver them from the bitter pains of eternal death. One of the fishermen lifts Jessica's body from the water. HOUNGAN (voice over) The woman was a wicked woman... DISSOLVE TO: EXT. THE GARDEN - NIGHT A group of men bearing torches and the bodies of Wesley and Jessica enter through the gate. HOUNGAN (voice over) ...and she was dead in her own life. Yea Lord, dead in the selfishness of her spirit, and the man followed her... On the veranda, the servants, Paul, and Betsy stand with Mrs. Rand, who weeps, her hands covering her face. Paul looks at her sympathetically, then turns to the processional. HOUNGAN (voice over) ... Her steps led him down to evil, her feet took hold on death. ... Four men carry Wesley's body. Carre-Four trails behind the others, carrying Jessica. They pass by the statue of Ti-Misery. HOUNGAN (voice over) ... Forgive him, O Lord, who knowest the secrets of all hearts. Yea Lord, pity them who are dead ... Paul and Betsy comfort one another with an embrace. HOUNGAN (voice over) ... And give peace and happiness to the living. The final image is of the figure of Ti-Misery, its face twisted in pain. FADE OUTzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzBONUS ITEMzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Excerpt from the original shooting script describing the voodoo ceremony:
EXT. THE HOUMFORT - NIGHT LONG SHOT. The camera is behind Betsy and Jessica as they go toward the Houmfort through the sugar cane. We see this voodoo temple as they go toward it. It is a rickety structure of poles and laths, roofed over with a thin thatch of sugar cane and straw. It forms a sort of rude pergola. In the center of this structure is a small, cubicle hut, made of rough boards but neatly whitewashed. From the rafters of the main structure hang crude chandeliers of tin which give light to the ceremonies. (Please see pages 28 to 31, Life Magazine, December 13, 1937. All the details mentioned above are graphically illustrated, Near the little hut in the center of the Houmfort, stands an altar covered with a lace tablecloth and littered with a childish jumble of plates, candles, little colored stones and bottles. Before this altar stands the Houngan, the high priest of the voodoo ceremonies, a small, stoop-shouldered man in a worn, white coat and trousers with ragged cuffs. Several mild-looking negroes in white trousers and shirts sit in kitchen chairs on one side of the altar with rada drums between their knees. Grouped around this altar in a loose semicircle are the worshippers, a group of mild-mannered, poorly-but-neatly-dressed negroes. They seem to have made an effort to dress in their best and their best is very poor indeed. As Betsy approaches, she can see familiar faces. As she comes up they turn and look at her. They are not hostile nor greatly surprised; just mildly curious. Leading Jessica by the hand, Betsy takes her place at one end of the semicircle around the altar. Her arrival has in no way interrupted the ceremonies. The Houngan continues to chant before the altar, the rada drums beat and the crowd sings the chorus of the Shango song at the proper intervals. It is all very decorous and decidedly religious in tone. No sooner has Betsy taken her place with the others than the Shango ritual approaches its climax. The Sabreur, a colored man dressed in white shirt and trousers, with a neat dark tie knotted under his collar, comes in, bearing a sabre in his right hand, holding it in stately, almost processional manner. He advances to the altar, strikes it three times and at this signal two colored women dressed in white beguine dresses with square cut necks, an essential part of this religious costume, come forward. One holds a white leghorn chicken and the other carries a white rooster. They come together to the altar and for a moment, the figures of the Houngan, the Sabreur and the two Mam-Lois hide the actual blood sacrifice from us. Only the fact that the drumming and the singing reach a climactic pitch reveal that some Important portion of the ceremony has taken place. Instantly the drumming and the singing stops. A young colored girl jumps up from her seat among the worshippers and begins shivering and quaking, crying out wordlessly. There is a cry from the people. THE PEOPLE Put the god in her! Put the god in her! The Houngan prances forward, followed by the Sabreur. The Houngan holds a little saucer in his hand with some dark liquid at the bottom of it. He dips four fingers into this liquid while the girl quivers and writhes before him in religious ecstasy. He marks her forehead with four strange marks, one with each finger. The Sabreur, crying out the name of Shango, four times, points his sabre to the four directions of the compass. There is an immediate transformation in the girl. Her frenzy ceases. She seems to be filled with a jubilant calm and dances into the cleared space before the altar. Her words are no longer meaningless. They have taken shape and form and, when she speaks, she speaks with great resonance as if her voice came from somewhere other than her own throat. She is possessed by the god, Shango. One by one, people from among the group of devotees dance into the circle, go up to her and beg for favors. One woman leads a little boy up to her. We hear her words as she calls out to the possessed girl: WOMAN Make him rich, Shango! Make him rich! The girl lays her fingers on the boy's eyes, and then takes his shoulders and turns him around three times, Evidently this is absolute guarantee of an enormous income tax to be paid at St. Sebastian. The woman and her son retire happily, pleased and grinning. Finally, exhausted, the girl possessed of the god, Shango, sinks to her knees and then falls fainting to the floor. Two colored men come in, carry her away. A great cry rises from the voodoo worshippers. WORSHIPPERS Damballa! Damballa! Damballa! Damballa! The drums find a new rhythm. The Houngan retires to one corner of the altar; the Sabreur to the other. Two young girls, their beguine dresses slashed and torn, dance in from either side. This is a wild and an impassioned dance, a dance to Damballa. There is no singing, only an occasional call from the crowd, "Come to us, Damballa!" The dancers reach the climax of their dance and strike a plastic pose before the altar, each kneeling on one knee, their arms held to their breasts, their foreheads butted together. Although not a muscle moves, one can almost feel the tension of these two bodies. One of the rada drummers comes up and crouches down holding a small drum almost under the chins of the two girls. The other drummers stop playing and he begins to beat a quick staccato rhythm that grows faster and faster. In this playing, as in the pose of the girls, there is tremendous tension. By now all cries have ceased. Everyone is silent, waiting. Then suddenly, from behind the closed and curiously painted door of the inner Houmfort, a voice speaks. A voice that is light, pleasant and authoritative. VOICE (muffled by the door) Where are my people? Let them bring me the rice cakes -- let them dance and be happy -- There is a great ecstatic shout from the voodoo worshippers. VOODOO WORSHIPPERS (shouting) Damballa! Damballa! The Sabreur dances forward, sword in his left hand and a little plate with rice cakes, in his right. He kneels down and places the plate near the door jamb. A line forms at the door. Betsy leading Jessica by the hand takes her place with the rest. She is third in the line of suppliants. She can see the whole procedure. The suppliant places his forehead against the forehead of the god painted on the door, and speaks. The first suppliant is a weary-looking field hand who shuffles to the door and speaks in such a low tone that his words cannot be heard. The second suppliant is an old woman, thin and work-worn. She speaks sincerely and humbly and Betsy, directly behind her, hears her words. OLD WOMAN Damballa -- my son don't take care of me. VOICE OF DAMBALLA Tell him his own little son will grow big. He, himself, will grow old. The son learns from the father. One day your son may stand here to complain that his boy does not take care of him. The old woman turns away, comforted -- hopeful. Betsy looks at her. She can see tears in the old woman's eyes. With Jessica's hand in hers, Betsy takes her place at the door. She puts her forehead against the crudely painted forehead of the god. She talks to the door. BETSY Damballa! This woman is sick. The door swings open slowly. The feeble light of the outer Houmfort does not penetrate the darkness of the inner temple. A hand reaches out from the darkness and takes Betsy's hand and draws her in. The Houngan follows Betsy into the temple. The door shuts behind him. Jessica remains outside, standing before the door.