1 INT. CHURCH. DAY`
A match is lit in a dimly lit church vestibule.
A girl's hand, holding the burning match, lights a votive candle, illuminating 9 year old JASPER.
In a high wide shot JASPER carries the candle across the vestibule, places it alongside other burning candles.
A small congregation watches a PRIEST swinging a smoking incense-filled silver thurible on either side of a coffin at the other end of the church.
JASPER, her blonde hair short-cropped, moves her hand back and forth through the candle flames - caressing them, being caressed by them.
JASPER looks in the direction of the coffin.
JASPER (VOICE OVER)
'I just want to be normal', Honey used to say...
DISSOLVE THROUGH TO:
2 INT. CAR. OUTSIDE PUB. LATE AFTERNOON
HONEY, late teens, seen through a dirty windscreen. Her face, bathed in late afternoon sun, glistens with a sheen of sweat.
JASPER (VOICE OVER)
HONEY’S attention is focused on:
A family in an outdoors beer garden. The MOTHER sits alongside the FATHER as their DAUGHTER, 16, tells them an animated story, her words barely audible above pub chatter.
CLOSE ON HONEY, watching.
The MOTHER and FATHER laugh at their DAUGHTER'S story. The MOTHER laughs, looks at the FATHER lovingly. He smiles, wraps his arm around her shoulder, pulls her close, kisses her cheek.
The DAUGHTER glows with happiness as she registers her parents’ love of each other; of her. A happy family.
HONEY watches intently.
The DAUGHTER finishes her story, takes a theatrical bow. Her MOTHER and FATHER laugh.
THE DAUGHTER walks up. The FATHER holds out his free arm, embraces his DAUGHTER, pulls her close, kisses her cheek.
HONEY lifts her smart phone into frame, takes a photo. The wrist of her hand is bound with a dirty bandage.
3 EXT. PUB. DAY
HONEY sits in a battered old blue Holden sedan, outside a pub in a small arid outback Australian town.
4 INT. CAR. DAY
HONEY, wearing jeans and an open neck shirt, bundles her hair and ties it in a knot, her eyes on the family. One arm is bandaged from wrist to elbow.
On the seat beside her is a tattered blue teddy bear with one eye and one arm missing. Her journal rests in her lap, the open double page filled with:
Colourful drawings, inspirational hand-written quotes, snippets of poems, a photo of an octopus cut from a magazine, an artist's impression of Joan of Arc burning at the stake, a photo of herself with short blonde hair, a leaf etc.
HONEY turns to two blank pages. She writes:
How much blood…
She continues writing for a moment, then looks up to see:
The MOTHER, FATHER and DAUGHTER, walk out of the beer garden, laughing, past a table at which THREE MEN sit drinking beer.
HONEY'S face darkens as focuses on one of the three men:
JOHN, late 40's, his hair thinning, missing a few front teeth, his flushed red face sporting a three day beard. He is very drunk as he regales his companions with a tall story they clearly take with a grain of salt.
HONEY watches JOHN for a long moment before flicking back through a few pages of her journal (each one filled to the brim with words, images, photos, press clippings) to:
A photo of Honey, aged seven, sitting alongside her mother whilst on a roller coaster ride. Young Honey, her face broken with an exhilarated happy smile, looks up at her ‘terrified’ mother.
HONEY looks at the photo for a long moment.
5 INT. YOUNG HONEY'S BEDROOM. NIGHT
YOUNG HONEY, aged 7, lies awake in her bed; fear in her eyes. She is cuddling her blue teddy bear - both arms and eyes intact. She hears footsteps outside, turns to face away from the door to her room, closes her eyes.
HONEY'S MOTHER, wearing a white night dress, opens the door, walks in, makes her way to Honey’s bed; kneels. She looks at her daughter, madness in her eyes. HONEY facing away from her MOTHER, opens her eyes, terrified. Tears fill HONEY’S MOTHER’S eyes, as she reaches out, as if to touch HONEY.
JOHN (VOICE OFF)
6 INT. CAR OUTSIDE PUB. LATE AFTERNOON
HONEY, asleep in the passenger seat, wakens in shock. JOHN, sitting in the driver's seat, drunk, reads her journal.
Fucken bitch cunt...
HONEY reaches out to grab her journal. JOHN throws it out the window, starts the car.
7 EXT. CAR OUTSIDE PUB. LATE AFTERNOON
HONEY leaps out of the car in a panic as JOHN starts to drive off. As she starts to pick up her broken journal and the photos, newspaper clippings, pressed flowers etc, JOHN stops a little down the road.
HONEY inspects her damaged journal. JOHN backs up, pulls alongside HONEY crouched at the side of the road.
HONEY shakes her head. JOHN staggers out of the car, grabs HONEY, pushes her into the passenger's seat.
8 INT. CAR OUTSIDE PUB. LATE AFTERNOON
HONEY flips through her journal as JOHN staggers around the back of the car and falls into the driver's seat. HONEY looks for something in her journal but can't find it. She panics as JOHN starts the car, pulls out onto the road.
9 EXT. CAR OUTSIDE PUB. LATE AFTERNOON
HONEY leaps from the moving car, runs back, looks for something in a panic but can't find it. And then she sees it, picks it up. It is:
The photo of herself and her mother on the roller coaster
10 INT. MOTEL ROOM. NIGHT
JOHN, in underpants only, sits on a single bed watching TV as he drinks from a longneck bottle of beer. He is very drunk.
HONEY, in jeans and shirt, sits on another bed, repairing her journal with sticky tape. She prepares to secures the photo of herself and her mother on the roller coaster alongside:
A photo of an octopus clinging to a rock underwater.
HONEY becomes aware that JOHN is standing beside her. She closes her journal, clutches it to her protectively.
HONEY looks at him, scared. She shakes her head.
Get into the fucken bed.
HONEY shakes her head. JOHN reaches out to grab her journal. HONEY clutches it to her chest. JOHN grabs her. HONEY breaks away from him, runs into the adjacent bathroom, stands under the shower recess, clutching her journal to her, terrified.
JOHN staggers to the door, a large hunting knife in his hand.
Get into the fucken bed.
HONEY shakes her head.
I don't care if you kill me.
JOHN holds the knife to his own throat.
It's me I'll fucken kill!
HONEY watches, transfixed, as JOHN runs the knife across his scrawny chest, draws blood. He reaches past HONEY, turns the shower tap on. Water showers down on HONEY. She clutches her journal close to protect it from the water for a moment, then walks from the shower, past JOHN, into the bedroom; calmly wipes water from her journal.
She places it on the table, moves to JOHN'S bed, lies on her back, stares at the ceiling. JOHN, knife at his side, watches her, drops the knife, staggers to the bed, flops alongside HONEY.
You’re a fucken mad bitch, Katie!
HONEY turns to him, grabs him, wraps her arms around him, holds him tight.
JOHN pats her reassuringly: “It's OK”.
11 INT. YOUNG HONEY'S BEDROOM. NIGHT
YOUNG HONEY, eyes open, listens. She can hear her mother’s breathing as she stands closeby staring at HONEY for along moment before walking to the door in the background, opening it quietly, walking out and closing it quietly behind her.
YOUNG HONEY turns quickly, stares at the door, puzzled. She sits up; thinking.
12 EXT. YOUNG HONEY'S BEDROOM. NIGHT
From outside, framed by a window, YOUNG HONEY, clutching her blue teddy bear is seen walking from her bed to the window. She looks out of it, puzzled.
When the significance of what she is looking at dawns on her, YOUNG HONEY'S puzzlement turns into fear.
13 INT. MOTEL ROOM. NIGHT
HONEY wakes in a a panic, her face wet with sweat. She stares at the ceiling for a long moment, a 'mad' look in her eyes. JOHN is asleep beside her, snoring.
HONEY swings her legs off the bed, stands, sees the hunting knife lying on the floor. She stares at it.
HONEY walks up to the bed, stares at JOHN. Her breathing is heavy and fast.
HONEY raises the knife slowly to shoulder level with her right bandaged arm, her whole body shaking.
Sweat from her forehead rolls into her eyes. HONEY lifts her left hand, wipes the sweat from her brow with the back of her wrist. We see that her left arm, between elbow and wrist, is covered in scar tissue.
As HONEY lowers hand from her forehead, her attention shifts from JOHN to her scarred arm. She stares at it for a long moment. All sound drains away other than the sound of her laboured breathing and the distant thump of her heartbeat.
14 INT. CHURCH. DAY
CLOSE ON JASPER as she walks down the aisle of the church, a bunch of flowers in her hands. The congregation is small.
JASPER (VOICE OVER)
When Honey asked me what I wanted most in my life I said, 'Well, I know one thing for sure. The last thing I want is to be normal.'
Loud heavy metal rock and roll.
15 INT. JASPER’S BEDROOM. DAY
Loud heavy metal rock and roll continues over JASPER, earphones in her ears, hair tied in a tight pony tail, pencil moustache glued to her upper lip, bopping along to the music.
JASPER is skinny, flat-chested and has a silver crucifix hanging from her neck. She stands in front of a mirror playing air-guitar, imagining herself an androgynous rock star. She tries out different stock rock-star facial expressions. When she has found the one she likes most (macho ‘don’t fuck with me’) she takes a photo of her reflected image with her smart phone.
16 INT. DINING ROOM. DAY
Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor, Opus 64 is heard over: HELEN, mid 30's, pretty, her blonde streaked hair stylishly groomed, holding a framed photo. She looks at it for a long moment, sadness in her eyes as she remembers.
A white leather lounge suite and large aquarium filled with exotic tropical fish dominate and neat, tidy and spotlessly clean room. The walls are adorned with framed black and white professionally shot photos.
HELEN’S eyes moisten as she looks at the photo of:
A 9 year old girl who looks a little like Jasper, a violin and bow in one hand, looking with a happy smile up at the woman by her side. The woman, in her mid 30s, bears a striking resemblance to Helen.
17 INT. JASPER'S BEDROOM. DAY
JASPER, wearing a dress, her lips bright red, stuffs socks into her training bra, appraises her reflected image, reaches behind her neck, unties her pony tail and lets her long blonde hair fall around her shoulders. She shakes her head, flicks her hair with her fingers until she has achieved the desired ‘ruffled’ look, takes a photo with her smart phone.
18 INT. DINING ROOM. DAY
HELEN finishes hammering a stud into the wall, pauses for a moment to pay full attention to a much-loved part of the Mendelssohn's violin concerto in E minor.
She moves across the room, past the dining table set for three, turns up the volume on state-of-the art music deck; lingers for a moment, eyes closed, savouring the music.
19 INT. JASPER'S BEDROOM. DAY
JASPER stares at her smart phone; at a photo of herself:
A beautiful young woman with breasts, her face framed by a mane of golden blonde hair.
20 INT. DINING ROOM. DAY
HELEN lifts the photo of the girl with the violin and her mother and hangs it from the stud in the wall. The stud gives way, the photo falls, disappears from frame. The sound of shattering glass.
21 INT. JASPER'S BEDROOM. DAY
JASPER stares at herself in the mirror for a long moment, looks down at:
A pair of scissors on the dressing table.
22 INT. BATHROOM. DAY
HELEN stands in front of a three mirrored bathroom cabinet looking at the small cut on her finger.
As she lifts her bloody finger to put it in her mouth her attention becomes focused for a long moment on the wedding ring on her left hand. She touches it with her right hand, thinking, looks back at her reflection in the mirror. Dissatisfied with what she sees, HELEN opens one of the mirror doors so that she can see a reflection of her profile. She then reaches out to move the third mirror so that she can see her other profile and catches, in reflection:
JASPER, her hair cut crudely short. HELEN reacts with shock.
23 EXT. DESERT LANDSCAPE. DAY
John’s Blue Holden drives on a deserted highway through a vast desert landscape.
NEWS READER (RADIO)
…Another scorcher predicted for today…
24 INT. CAR. DAY
CLOSE ON Honey’s journal:
A collage - a pressed flower, a caricature of a smiling octopus, a post card of a green fern seedling curling up from barren bushfire-burnt soil, a photo of Honey with red hair.
HONEY, in the passenger seat, positions the photo of herself and her mother on the roller coaster but seems to be in two minds about sticking it back into her journal. Her left arm is bandaged from wrist to elbow with a fresh white bandage. The bandage on her right arm is dirty and tattered. Her battered blue teddy bear, one arm missing, sits on the dash.
NEWS READER (RADIO)
…with no relief in sight for the heat that…
HONEY reaches out to change the station. JOHN, driving, sips beer from a bottle, reaches out to stop her.
NEWS READER (RADIO)
…saw temperatures in the high 30s yesterday…
HONEY withdraws her hand for a moment. When JOHN withdraws his, she reaches out quickly and changes to a music channel:
“One day a near Selina Lord, I let him slip away…”
JOHN smiles, hands the bottle of beer to HONEY.
“He's lookin' for that home, and I hope he finds it…”
As HONEY takes a swig of beer, JOHN turns the music down.
“But I'd trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday to be…”
HONEY reaches out and turns the music up again. JOHN holds his hands up: “OK, you win.”
HONEY smiles, returns to her journal.
“…holdin' Bobby's body next to mine…”
25 EXT. OUTBACK ROAD. DAY
John's beat up old blue Holden passes a sign: THANK YOU FOR VISITING SOUTH AUSTRALIA. Singing over from the radio.
“Freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose…”
26 EXT. ROADSIDE CAFÉ. DAY
HONEY stands by the driver’s door, rolling the sleeves of her shirt over her bandaged arms. She is not happy.
JOHN, in the drivers seat, hands her a cheque book through the window. She glares at him, turns petulantly and walks towards the café. JOHN watches her, takes out a cigarette.
27 INT. ROADSIDE CAFE. DAY
HONEY carries meat pies, a loaf of sliced white bread and assorted junk food to the counter.
HONEY places a cheque on the counter. The PROPRIETRESS behind the counter notices the bandages protruding from her sleeves, points to a sign: SORRY NO CHEQUES
Dad's wallet got stolen.
The PROPRIETRESS glances to where JOHN, in the background, fills the car with petrol. She raises her eyebrows questioningly. HONEY flashes an innocent young girl's smile.
Cross my heart and hope to die.
Well I hope you don't die, dear. Not for a long time yet.
A LITTLE LATER
HONEY standing in the doorway of the café, clutching her arm full of food. The PROPRIETRESS looks at bandages protruding from HONEY'S short sleeves.
Does your mother know where you are?
In the background JOHN can be seen leaning against the car, smoking a cigarette, watching HONEY like a hawk.
My mother's dead.
Oh, I'm sorry dear. So it's just you and your dad?
HONEY looks back towards JOHN, nods.
28 INT. CAR. OUTBACK ROAD. DAY
JOHN drives on a deserted outback road. HONEY sweats profusely, her face pale, looking fearfully at her shoulder, as if there was something frightening resting there.
JOHN looks at HONEY with concern.
HONEY covers her ears, closes her eyes, opens them, tries to flick away whatever it is she sees on her shoulder.
JOHN takes a vial of pills from his pocket, hands them to HONEY. With shaking hands, her eyes on her shoulder, HONEY tips out 10 or so pills. JOHN knocks them from her hand.
HONEY nods, picks up three tablets, throws them in her mouth. JOHN hands her his can of beer. HONEY washes the pills down with a swig, looks at her shoulder again - terrified.
HONEY, calm now (the pills have worked) is flicking through photos stored on her smart phone:
‘Selfies’ of Honey taken over the past couple of years, with a variety of different hair styles and colours, and eccentric modes of dress.
HONEY looks at JOHN, at her bandaged arms, at the road ahead; thinking. She looks back at JOHN again. He turns and smiles at her. HONEY ignores him. HONEY looks back down at her smart phone, finds the photo she is looking for:
A wide shot of the beer garden that includes John and his two companions and the happy family. Using her thumb and fore-finger, Honey zooms in on the family: mum, dad and daughter laughing together.
29 EXT. DANIEL'S HOUSE. LATE AFTERNOON
DANIEL, late 30s, pulls up on his Harley Davison, alongside a large SUV in the driveway in front of a large timber home of modern design.
JASPER runs through the front door and down the path.
As DANIEL gets off his motor-bike he registers JASPER'S short hair with shock. HELEN appears in the front doorway.
Tell me you like it?
Before DANIEL has a chance to respond HELEN indicates with a shrug and upheld hands that she had nothing to do with this.
We had an agreement.
You and mum had an agreement!
DANIEL shakes his head. JASPER smiles seductively, holds out her arms. DANIEL holds up his hands (’No’), walks past her, towards HELEN - who makes an ‘I don’t know what to say’ gesture. JASPER pouts for a moment, runs after her father.
30 EXT. OUTBACK AUSTRALIA. CLOSE TO SUNSET
HONEY crouches close to the edge of a bluff overlooking a vast outback landscape, a box of matches in her hands. In front of her is a pile of leaves and twigs.
HONEY strikes a match, places it under the leaves and twigs, watches as the fire bursts into life.
HONEY, mesmerized by the flames for a long moment, extracts credit cards with a variety of names, and throws them into the fire. She extracts a driver's license with a photo of herself with short hair and throws it in the fire. Then a Medicare card.
Deep in the background JOHN paces impatiently up and down beside the blue Holden.
HONEY takes the photo of herself and her mother in the roller coaster from her pocket, throws it into the fire. She watches as the edges turn brown and begin to burn.
In a sudden movement she reaches down and plucks the photo from the fire.
...to be continued