K R O N O S
EXT. FARM - DAY
Big country beneath a leaden sky. Dust devils whip across
fallow fields and through broken fences.
Bleached bones of a horse skeleton lie in dry dirt.
Dilapidated out-buildings surround a neglected yard. An
old farmhouse looms grimly. The only residence for miles.
INT. BATHROOM - DAY
A gaunt man, DANIEL, 43, in just his underpants, stands
at the sink and mirror. Using a cut-throat razor, he
shaves gray stubble from his pale face, exposing an old
scar down his left cheek. He pauses, remembering.
INT. SINGLE BEDROOM
Almost unfurnished. On the bed's bare mattress lie jeans
and a t-shirt next to a small backpack. Daniel rummages
inside, pulls out a formal white shirt, and removes the
INT. MASTER BEDROOM
White-shirted, Daniel enters warily and surveys the room.
Minimal comforts. Like a time capsule of a bygone era.
The double bed has been slept in one side. On that
bedside's cabinet, a lamp, a wrist-watch, and spectacles
on top a bible.
On the other bedside cabinet, only a small glass ashtray,
that holds a slender gold ring.
On a chest of drawers, two framed black-and-white photos.
One of a happily just-married couple. The other of a
somber man and a melancholy young boy, both detached but
for a single parental hand on the boy's shoulder.
Daniel stares blankly at those two male faces. They both
resemble his own. He turns the picture face down flat.
Daniel opens a wardrobe. Women's clothes one side, men's
the other. The sight and smell gives him pause. He takes
out and holds up a hanger with a Sunday-best tweed
jacket, waistcoat and trousers.
EXT. CEMETERY - DAY
Graveside, a fat PASTOR closes his Book of Common Prayer,
and two FUNEREAL MEN lower the coffin. Daniel, in an ill-
fitting tweed suit and well-worn sneakers, drops a
fistful of dirt into the grave and walks away.
Daniel walks a lonely road back to the farm.
INT. FARMHOUSE PANTRY - DAY
Daniel scans the shelves of identical tinned foods.
On the stove, an opened can beside a steaming saucepan.
At the kitchen table, Daniel eats from a bowl.
At the sink, he washes up.
At the back door, he vomits.
EXT. FARMYARD - DAY
Still tweed-suited, Daniel peers into the half-light of a
disused cow shed.
A fifty-foot high metal grain silo. Daniel looks inside.
Daniel coughs harshly, and spits.
Daniel un-padlocks a barn's double doors and swings them
wide open. Stepping slowly inside, he looks around --
dusty farming equipment -- a broken loft ladder -- piles
of junk -- and a tractor partly under tarpaulin.
Daniel sits on the edge of a wooden trough, half full of
old shoes and boots. He rolls a joint, and smokes deeply.
Sunset breaks below the clouds and lights up the yard.
Silhouetted in the barn doorway stands a timeless figure
all in black -- trench-coat, leather boots and gloves,
broad-brim hat, and briefcase -- a DARK AGENT.
Daniel stands up startled and stumbles backward. The Dark
Agent raises an open hand to calm his prospective client.
Daniel squints, tries to focus on the long-shadowed
figure, who points to Daniel's dropped joint that has set
fire to some loose straw. Daniel stamps it out.
EXT. FARMYARD - DUSK
Bats flitter through the twilight.
EXT. KITCHEN WINDOW - NIGHT
Faintly backlit, Daniel and the Dark Agent sat either
side of the kitchen table, upon which the agent's
briefcase is open. The Dark Agent slides two parchments
across to Daniel, who briefly reads them.
The Dark Agent hands a guilded pen to Daniel, who signs
The Dark Agent takes the pen, countersigns both
parchments, puts one in his briefcase, and carefully
folds the other.
A flame melts red wax -- drips onto the parchment --
sealed using a signet ring -- and the Dark Agent hands
the document back to Daniel.
EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT
The Dark Agent walks a lonely road toward solitary hills,
and disappears back to where he came.
EXT. FARMYARD - NIGHT
Daniel crosses the yard to the barn.
INT. BARN - NIGHT
Daniel closes the barn doors. He clears a central area of
junk and loose straw, and sits cross-legged on the floor.
He takes out the parchment and, breaking the seal,
unfolds it. He reads every word of the dense paragraphs,
lips moving, but inaudible.
Using his Zippo, he lights one corner of the parchment,
and lays it on the ground before him.
Daniel stares into the steady flame that burns strangely
slow and bright. As the flame reaches the wording and
signatures, a dark haze of smoke fills the barn.
Daniel's eyes water, bloodshot, pupils dilated. His
eyelids flutter. Space-time dissolves into cosmic flux.
EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAWN
A small wood, isolated in endless acres of flat fields.
Closer and closer, the dark trees stand against dawn's
The raucous chatter of roosting birds becomes louder and
louder. Closer and louder, the commotion reverberates
into a monotone ringing.
Closer and closer, louder and louder, the now deafening
tinnitus suddenly stops dead as countless birds break
from the trees and flock into the sky, their infinite
wing beats soaring until silent.
EXT. FARMYARD - DAY
Peace. The farm appears different, much less rundown.
A cockerel crows.
The SOMBER MAN, from that photo in the master bedroom,
exits the farmhouse and strides across the yard to a
tractor in front of the barn doors. He climbs into the
cab and starts the engine.
INT. BARN - DAY
Daniel, sprawled on the ground. The engine noise wakes
him. Groggy, he stands and looks around. Far less junk
and disrepair. And no tractor, but for the sound of it
EXT. FARMYARD - DAY
Daniel peers cautiously around the barn door. He steps
EXT. FARM FIELDS
A majestic gray horse gallops at great speed around a
large paddock. Sat on a gate, Daniel watches in wonder.
Some way off, the engine noise of the tractor intrudes.
Daniel turns to see it drive back into the farmyard.
EXT. COW SHED
The Somber Man, Daniel's father, MATTHEW, 43, drags one
end of a thick flexible pipe from the shed and drops it
over the edge of a slurry pit. Liquid muck pours out.
He stands a few feet back, pulls out a hip-flask, and
takes a swig or six while waiting.
INT. COW SHED - DAY
Cattle in pens either side of the central aisle, with
large open doorways at both ends of the shed.
Daniel stands just inside one doorway. He sees Matthew,
with his back to him, standing out beyond the far
doorway, at the slurry pit.
As if wanting something in particular, Daniel scans the
shed -- sacks of feed -- coils of rope -- a bolt gun --
and a butchering knife.
Daniel heads toward the far doorway, the cattle clearly
spooked by his presence.
EXT. COW SHED - DAY
Daniel stands right behind Matthew, mere inches, close
enough to smell him.
The liquid muck almost run dry, Matthew drains his flask,
but is then suddenly aware of something.
He spins around to see forty head of cattle stampeding
from the shed, coming headlong toward him.
He's got nowhere to run, and steps back as the panicked
cows veer wildly left or right to avoid the pit. But
there are too many, and he's forced back, further and
Then one cow comes crashing down, slams sideways into
him, knocking him over backwards. His head smashes on the
concrete ground and, as the fallen cow scrambles to
recover, he's trampled and kicked over the edge and down
into the slurry pit.
Calmly, the cattle mill around the yard. Some make their
own way out into the fields.
EXT. SLURRY PIT
Daniel bends down and picks up the hip flask. He reads
the engraving: "To Matthew ~ From Hannah ~ All My Love"
Daniel looks up at a dark first-floor window at the back
of the farmhouse.
INT. FARMHOUSE - UPSTAIRS - DAY
Outside the door of the single bedroom, Daniel reaches up
and takes a key from the top of the frame. He unlocks the
door and opens it.
INT. SINGLE BEDROOM
A miserable room. Little more than a dirty chamber pot
beside a threadbare bed.
The melancholy BOY, 6 or 7, from that photo in the master
bedroom, is huddled on the floor in a far corner.
Daniel gazes at his young self, but the Boy looks right
past him at the doorway.
Daniel turns and departs, leaving the door wide open.
EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY
Daniel walks a lonely road toward solitary hills, and
disappears into a blinding sunset.
EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - NIGHT & DAY
The minute sounds of nature in motion, amplified for
TIMELAPSES passing in mere seconds --
-- constellations traverse the night into radiant dawn.
-- meadow flowers open and track the sun across the sky.
-- a spider spins a web in which flies get caught.
-- field mushrooms sprout and decay.
-- maggots consume a dead bird.
EXT. FARMYARD - DAY
Golden sundown. The farm appears different again. More
loved, less doomed.
A couple of cute CHILDREN play in the yard, laughing
INT. BARN - DAY
Under the tractor, a fit and healthy DANIEL, 43, in dirty
overalls, does vehicle maintenance. His face is clean
shaven and, this time, he has no scar.
Daniel sees a pair of black boots in the barn doorway. He
slides out from beneath the tractor and stands to find
the Dark Agent.
On Daniel's face, a remote look of recollection.
EXT. FARM AND BEYOND - DAY
Motion blur resolves into scarless ADOLESCENT DANIEL
riding a majestic gray horse, bareback and at terrific
speed, through endless open countryside --
-- as a guitar-thrashing lullaby* builds to an alarming
level and suddenly sound and vision --
CUT TO BLACK.
*Music such as:
"Only Shallow" by My Bloody Valentine
"Seagull" by Ride
"Leave Them All Behind" by Ride
"Dreams Burn Down" by Ride
"Black Metallic" by Catherine Wheel
(Check them out -- they're timeless.)