And its rider’s name was Death

Years back I read a book about writing screenplays.  It claimed that screenplays are usually 80-120 pages.  Google agrees that around 100 pages is standard for a screenplay.  When I had the idea to do the Grace in-universe wildly out of character screenplay that a fan wrote about her I figured 80 pages would be no problem. 

The end product was only 60 pages.  Obviously doesn’t matter since it’s just for fun, but it got me wondering about the actual process of writing a screenplay, specifically one with a lot of action.  What I read is that a screenplay with a lot of action can be shorter, but I think that’s where the 80 pages comes in. 

If we go by the loose rule that everyone agrees is not right, each page is about a minute.  So I got a sixty minute movie?  Even the Walking Tall remake was longer than that. 

Side story – I was at a movie theater to see something else when people were getting out of Walking Tall and they were PISSED.  Several people thought that there had to be a reel missing (movies used to be on reels you see).  And here’s the thing, I’ve seen Walking Tall, and for what’s there it’s TOO long.  It’s a 79 minute movie that somehow drags in the middle.  It’s uncanny. 

I think what happened there is that the Rock was sort of becoming a thing so they wanted to make this movie and then they were like “oh this dude can’t carry a movie yet” so they kept things short.  REAL short. 

Anyway, it got me to wondering how a real screenwriter figures out how much action there’s going to be.  How long is the screenplay for Die Hard?  How much time in an action movie is spent on action?  I’ve seen tons of action movies and I have no idea.  In a two hour movie is there an hour of punching and shooting and car chasing?  Half an hour?  Fifteen minutes?  In Mad Max Fury road I feel like the action in most of it, and there’s like 15 pages of dialog. 

And how do you know how much time action is going to take as you’re writing it? 

I glossed over all the action stuff because I don’t like writing action stuff and I don’t think people like reading it either, and also because I’m lazy, but what I’ve read is that in a real screenplay you would do the same thing. 

A REAL screenwriter told me that a big mistake people make with action screenplays is trying to detail out all the action.  His example was to think about Saving Private Ryan, if you tried to write out everything that was going on in just the first scene you’d have hundreds of pages just on that.  And it would be insane and unfilmable.  The actual script is very much just some bullet points about what the scene should be, leave the rest to the stunt coordinators and the director and whatnot. 

What I wonder is how does that look on the page?  Do you put in some details about action scene 1 and then put how long it’s supposed to be?  There has to be some guideline right?  I don’t think you just start filming and see what happens. 

The other thing I wonder is when you’re a real writer and your screenplay is too short what do you do?  Because if there’s one thing I think I know about writing is that when you’re adding stuff just to have more stuff it’s always bad.  I believe that whatever story you envision when you’re done that’s how long it is.  Trying to make it longer is never going to work well. 

Not exactly the same, but that’s a lesson I had to learn as a GM/DM/whatever with roleplaying games.  Sometimes when a campaign was going really great and everyone was having fun I didn’t want it to end so I’d add more stuff before the end.  And that’s always when the campaign started to suck.  Because the story got derailed by other crap and things got muddied. 

I listen to a Star Trek podcast hosted by two TV writers and I have learned (according to them) that 95% of the time when you see an episode where there’s a weird scene that makes no sense it’s because the episode was short X minutes so they had to write more stuff. 

I’m really curious what a real screenwriter would do if they were 30 pages short.  How can you approach that in a way that gives you a chance not to just bolt on something stupid? 

Joke or not, I think the structure of A Pale Horse is what it’s supposed to be.  Opening scene establishes who she is, magic lady who wails on people and saves the world.  Then we have the problem, her friend is dead, a woman is missing, someone is up to no good.  Then we have the end, where she finds out what’s up and wails on some chumps to save the world. 

If we pretend this is a serious thing what should be added?  I love interest?  That’s not always part of an action movie, and if it is she usually dies without having done much so the hero can freak out.  I will admit in the original draft, since the idea was that this was a screenplay written in-universe by one of Grace’s fans there was a sex scene.  I took that out for you fine people that might actually read it.  I suppose in a real movie you’d put that in.

The ending does seem a little abrupt maybe?  Maybe what you would do is put in some scenes of the bad guys to show what evil stuff they’re up to.  I wanted to keep it all focused on Grace, but maybe that’s what you’d do. 

I did try writing a “real” screenplay years ago and I had the same issue, ended up too short.  That’s why I never finished it, I thought the story was good and any time I tried to add anything I thought it made things worse. 

I suppose in the world of movies and TV you just add more stuff anyway because you have time to fill even if it’s not going to be good. 

Anyway, I enjoyed writing it.

Amazing Grace – A Pale Horse

CUT TO: 

INT. MAIN TEMPLE – DAY 

The main temple is much the same as Lust’s shrine only bigger and more elaborate with even more outrageous scenes of debauchery and torture on the walls featuring Sevensworth. The sexy lady goons are holding Grace on her knees before Universe/Sevensworthand his two accomplices PRIESTESS, think Danai Gurira, and TOWER, think Aya Cash.  There are some others in ceremonial garb as well.  

AMAZING GRACE 

So what’s the spell? Opening a portal to hell?  If you’re going to be killing millions of people it must be something big. 

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

Why would I want to open a portal to hell? 

AMAZING GRACE 

I honestly don’t know, but that’s what people like you are always trying to do. 

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

There are no people like me. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Groan. Did that come right out of the evil wizard playbook? This whole thing has been paint by numbers you basic bitch. Please for the love of God tell me that you’re going to kill everyone in LA for something good. Are you going to open up the portals to the Martian pyramids? That at least would be helpful to NASA. We could get some of those rovers back too, those things cost a fortune. Plus I hear they’re lonely up there.  Have you heard about that one that sings itself happy birthday?

 
UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

There are pyramids on Mars?

AMAZING GRACE 

Why don’t you just tell me what your evil plan is so I don’t have to guess. 

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

Gladly. I know you’ll appreciate this.  Once the preparations are complete and the bombs are triggered I will harness that energy of those deaths to enact the Conbulum Mectrotitium and expand my natural life span by 150 years. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(shocked)

That’s it? You’re not going to become a god or something? You don’t need to kill twelve million people for that! I took out a blood mage once that could do that with just six people! You are seriously wasting a lot of lives dude.

PRIESTESS 

You killed him? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Yeah, the spell doesn’t make you invincible, you can still be killed, it just keeps you from aging. 

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

(annoyed) 

Silence!  Don’t, don’t listen to her, she’s just trying to confuse you and lead you away from our preordained mission. The bombs aren’t going to blow up the entire city anyway, you’d need a nuclear weapon for that. 

TOWER

Or a lot more bombs. 

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

Or a lot more conventional bombs. We’re only going to kill a couple thousand people, and that’s for immortality for five people. That’s efficient.

AMAZING GRACE 

(stubborn)

The spell doesn’t make you immortal, all it does is  . . .  

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

(annoyed) 

Do you know anything blood sacrifice? Because I don’t think that you do! There’s never been a blood mage that could pull of what I’m about to do with just six sacrifices, you don’t know what you’re talking about! The number of people we’re about to kill is totally appropriate for the spell we’re going to be enacting! The priests of the Aztec Empire . . .  

AMAZING GRACE 

Oh my fucking god, enough with the Aztecs! Please don’t tell me you’re one of those dark wizards who claims that the Aztec empire spread across all of North America conquering everyone and their power was based entirely on a system of blood magic sacrifice.  

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

It was! Don’t act like I’m a flat earther or something, the archeological evidence is there! 

AMAZING GRACE 

I thought you were way into Crowley, not made up Aztec bullshit. What does an old British dude have to do with the Aztecs? Why not go full Hellboy and toss Rasputin in there too?  That guy got a bad rap, all he wanted to do was smash puss and somehow people decided that he was an evil wizard.  I guess he did smash a lot and he was a fuggo, maybe that warrants some questions.

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

Shut up about Rasputin!  I think you’re failing to see what I’ve accomplished here.  I’ve improved upon Master Crowley’s works. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(pan to show that her bullet wound has healed and her back is writhing with blue magical energy, Godzilla power-up style) 

With cultural appropriation? 

Before he can answer Grace uses magical super strength and hurls off the women holding her like Neo in the Matrix throwing the Agent Smith copies. Climactic magical fight scene. Grace summons several copies of herself to hold off the goons as she goes for Universe/Sevensworth. The other leader types intercede and she takes them out one by one, think Scarlet Witch against the Illuminati in Multiverse of Madness.  

Priestess transforms into a massive snake in an homage to Conan. Make sure that’s not racist somehow, I don’t think it is but if that’s a problem have her turn into tiger instead. Grace is narrowly able to avoid the attacks of the massive serpent as her copies fight with the sexy lady goons in the background. Finally Grace is able to transform her hand into a butcher’s blade just like the man that attacked her outside of the occult shop and uses it to decapitate the snake, which then turns back into Priestess, dead.  

Universe/Sevensworth working with Tower sends a column of water blasting into Grace’s face, drive itself into her mouth and nose like tentacles. She chokes for a moment and then expels the liquid like a water tower blowing up. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Your ninjas already tried to down me in your pool, use a new element already. 

(rolls out of the way of a blast of flame like the breath of a dragon from Tower) 

No one ever uses earth. 

Grace dodges more dragon’s fire and then is attacked by the lead goon that shot her and Tower in melee combat, all of her copies are been shattered. Little pieces of those copies lay on the ground still “alive” like Mantis in Infinity War.  

Grace struggles to contend with her two attackers as Universe/Sevensworth moves around on the edge of the fight trying to get an angle for a spell. The tide turns when Universe/Sevensworth unleashes his blast of flame but Tower shifts right into the path and is burned to death instantly.  

The head sexy lady goon redoubles her attacks with a battlecry, driving Grace back, but Universe/Sevensworth summons a cloud of small daggers and hurls them at Grace’s back with a gesture. Grace takes control of them and send them into the head sexy lady goon, pincushion her. She stands there for a moment impaled by extreme prejudice. 

LEAD GOON 

You idiot! 

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

How dare you speak to me that way! 

Lead sexy goon topples to the ground dead, Grace smashes Universe/Sevensworth with a blindside kick by shadow jumping. No magic now, she pummels him with strikes as he tries vainly to protect himself. He’s clearly not a fighter. 

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

(on the ground, bloody, throws hands up) 

Stop! Stop this! Join me . . .  

AMAZING GRACE 

And together we can rule the galaxy? Is this the part where you talk about how because we’re magic we’re better than everyone else and their lives don’t matter as much as ours and we can do whatever we want? That we should join together and do evil magic shit together? 

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

(desperate) 

Our lives are more important than theirs!  You have to know that!  The things we can do, the powers we wield . . .  

AMAZING GRACE 

No sale guy with no nose from Harry Potter. Tell me where the bombs are or how I turn them off or whatever I need to do. 

UNIVERSE/SEVENSWORTH 

And you’ll let me live? 

AMAZING GRACE 

No. 

Universe/Sevensworth licks his palm and starts chanting in Latin. Grace lightly touches him on the chest and it explodes outwards like in Alien, his heart flying into the air in an arc to slap down wetly on the floor. She spits on the corpse. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Look what you made me do! I hate that spell! 

(she looks around at the blood and carnage) 

I’m going to hate this even more 

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN IN SEVENWORTH’S MANTION – DAY

A pile of viscera sits on the counter.  Grace is rummaging through the sleek rich-person refrigerator.  She comes out with a couple bottles of fancy imported beer (product placement).  She pops the top of one, drains half of it, and sets the bottles down by the bloody mess.  Upon closer look there’s brain matter in the clump. 

Grace takes a deep breath and then shoves a gob of the bloody viscera into her mouth.  She fights for a moment not to gag, bracing herself against the counter.  After a moment she starts to mumble a spell around the disgusting lump in her mouth.  Blood spatters off her lips as she speaks with her mouth full.

Eventually the spits out the bloody gob with a coughing fit.  She drains the last of the first beer and most of the second before spitting some more and another coughing fit.  She turns on the water in the sink, sticks her mouth in the stream for a moment before pulling back and finishing the second beer and taking a big drink of the third.  She spits again angrily.

AMAZING GRACE

Fucking fuckers!

(she blows her nose on a towel expelling some brain, takes another drink of beer, slips out her phone and dials)

Yeah, you need to get in touch with the bomb squad, I have the locations of four bombs that have been placed around the city.  Yes, I have the exact locations, I can give them to you when you’re ready.  I don’t know, they can be triggered remotely but I don’t know if there’s a timer involved.  No, I’m not the one who put them there.  No, I don’t know what demands the people that did put them there had.  No, you can’t speak to them, they’re all dead.  I mean, I think so anyway, maybe some of them got away but most of them are dead for sure.  Yes, I can stay on the line.  Yes, I have the exact locations.  Yes.  Yes.  Uh huh.  Me?  I’m nobody, don’t worry about it.

(spits, looks around, softly to herself)

There must be a spare toothbrush in this place somewhere.  No, sorry, I wasn’t talking to you.  No, I don’t want to tell you where I am.  Terrorists?  I guess, what does it matter who they were now?  I just know okay.  Yes, I know this is very serious, I assure you this is not a prank of any kind.  If you don’t find any bombs where I tell you feel free to try and find and arrest me.  Yes.  Uh huh.  No.  I mean, yeah, kinda.

CUT TO: 

EXT. SUNNY BEACH – DAY 

Grace and MMA Dude are sitting at a picnic table drinking some White Claw (or other product placement) and digging into various containers of take-out.  Grace is wearing a classic lady jean-shorts and bikini top combo, showing that her legs and torso are covered with gnarly scars, livid bruises, and other blemishes – think Batman in Dark Knight.   

MMA GUY

So you actually know how to do the Dim Mak?

AMAZING GRACE

(around a mouthful of food)

Yeah, I hate it.

MMA GUY 

Huh.  I thought that was just a cool name.  Do you eat like this all the time?  You must work out a ton. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(laughs) 

Hell no, you know how many calories I burn casting spells all the time?  I basically ran a quadruple marathon and then climbed Mount Everest and then went fifteen rounds whoever is big in boxing right now the past few days.  I’ve almost died of exhaustion more than once, almost magicing myself to death.  Anyway, like I was saying I’m no phys-ad but my friend 42561 is one of the best and she will be there and she’ll be able to help you through it. 

MMA GUY 

Why is her name a bunch of numbers? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Long story.  Actually it’s not a long story at all, it’s just stupid.  This just a bug hunt so you’ll be fine. 

MMA GUY 

It’s not dangerous? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Oh no, it’s incredibly dangerous, there’s a very good chance that you will be killed.  I just mean that you’ll be fine, you know? 

MMA GUY 

I have absolutely no idea what you mean. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(answers her phone) 

Hey Ranni.  Yeah it’s all taken care of.  I saved the entire city and probably the world yet again, hooray for me!  Yeah.  I know.  I should have talked to that gold-digging widow about it.  I bet she sent the money to Dash’s account and now Ela is going to get it and put it up her nose or use it to hire mercs to try and kill me. 

(laugh)

Yeah.  Yeah, I know.   

(sigh) 

I’m sure.  I’m sorry Ranni, I don’t know how it works, if it’s genetic or what, no one knows really, but some people are magic and some aren’t.  I can’t teach you to do what I do.  I wish I would, I need all the help I can get, that’s just not how it works sadly.  Yeah.  Yeah.  I know.  It sucks.  Good to meet you, keep in touch, all that.  Yeah.  Yeah.  See you Ranni.  Stay tight. 

CUT TO: 

INT. RANNI’S APARTMENT – DAY 

Ranni is on her couch, a copy of the Necronomicon ex Mortis lays open before her.  The shadowy ghost of ALEISTER CROWEY, think Jonjo O’Neill, lurks nearby.

Aleister Crowley’s ghost

(otherworldly)

She’s lying.  With my method anyone can work magic.

RANNI

(thinks for a moment)

How do we begin?

FADE OUT:

“Season of the Witch” plays over end credits.

Amazing Grace – A Pale Horse

CUT TO: 

EXT. GRACE’S APARTMENT – DAY 

Grace is walking up the exterior stairs to her apartment door when a man in a dark hoodie and face covering like from the alley appears out of nowhere and lunges at her. With a quick move she sends him tumbling down but there several more are coming towards her by clinging to the walls like geckos. 

Grace magic-jumps to the next roof.  Sweet roof-top chase scene, think Fast Five or Quantum of Solace. During the process Grace smashes through the skylight of a heavy manufacturing plant and takes a bad spull. The goons magically float down after her and they engage a running battle through the dangerous and claustrophobic factory. Think Taken mixed with early Jackie Chan.  Grace makes use of the environment and improvised weapons along with brutal vital strikes to take down her foes. 

Magical flourishes – Grace climbs up a wall by stabbing her glowing fingers into it like climbing claws, one of the attackers leaps up at her and she drives her two fingers up through his chin and throws him like a bowling ball. Grace blinds a group of attackers with a flash of light and then knocks them off a high piece of machinery with a mighty gust of wind. Grace “catches” a magic blast of energy from one of her attackers and turns it into a massive super-jump into a double kick to the chest – super slow mo style.

Min-boss fight – Think Khabib Nurmagomedov or some other hot MMA star. Grace is headed for the exit when one last goon appears before her. He rips off his mask and hoodie, dude is scary looking. They’re both too exhausted to work any more magic, this is pure fisticuffs. Think John Wick vs Ms. Perkins in John Wick or Donnie Yen vs Collin Chou in Flash Point. 

Grace is victorious and stumbles out of the loud oppressive factory. 

CUT TO: 

EXT. CAMPING SITE – DAY 

Grace is sitting semi-nude on a picnic table healing herself with flashes of soft white life. Her bruises and nicks and cuts slowly disappear. It’s obviously an effort and she’s sweating buckets of bullets. Once she’s done with that she slips into the water, cursing at how cold it is, and immerses herself quickly, springing up and flinging her hair back. She holds her arms out with hands outstretched and chants softly. 

We see a magical red mark flare into life on her chest, then fly off and dissipate. And oily greyish light plays over her body for a moment. She trudges back out of the water and starts to dry off with some spare clothes. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(getting dressed) 

Try tracking me now you fuckers. 

CUT TO: 

EXT. SEVENSWORTH’S MANSION – DAY 

Sprawling rich person mansion in the sprawling hills.  Grace is approaching the complex through a wooded area adjacent to the compound finishing off a beer (product placement). She’s not sneaking, just walking normally, almost casually.  

As she nears the fence – WARNING ELECTRIC – she considers tossing the bottle away but then thinks better of littering and tucks it in her pocket. 

Grace rolls her shoulders and her neck for a moment and then takes a deep breath, reaching up and starting to rise into the air like she’s pulling herself up an invisible ladder with her hands and arms only. With a wave of her hand a camera on top of the fence shorts out and she swings her legs over and into the complex like a gymnast, stumbling and not quick sticking the landing. 

As she approaches the complex Grace defeats additional security measures. Two guard dogs come charging at her but she kneels down, slaps her hands on the ground and suddenly they both appear outside the fence whining and confused. A drone flies overhead but with a gesture it malfunctions as well. She bypasses two guards by pulling an Obi-Wan from A New Hope “what was that?” maneuver.  

Grace comes to a smaller building apart from the main building and slips in through an open window. The building is a shrine to the dark arts. Each wall covered with is arcane symbols and paintings like old Biblical manuscripts about the tortures of hell – people being devoured whole by weird beasts and demons in sadistic ways. Central on all these walls are depictions of great demons or dragons or other mythological creatures with the face of Sevensworth himself – think Mads Mikkelsen or Eddie Redmayne.  

Towards the front of this temple is a dark magic alter upon which a terrified woman in a sheer white dress, bound and gagged, struggles weakly.   At the same time Grace notices the sacrificial victim, a door opens and ELOISE MUNSON/LUST in cumbersome red and purple dark magic regalia comes out of a bathroom wiping her hands with a towel. Think Aubrey Plaza or Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  

LUST 

(tossing the towel behind her) 

Are you the exterminator?

AMAZING GRACE 

Yes. 

LUST 

Where’s all your gear? 

AMAZING GRACE 

We’re an all-natural outfit, environmentally friendly, I find the vermin and just crush them by hand. No chemicals.

LUST 

You could make some good side money on Onlyfans with that. Since you have violated the Sanctum of Lust you must however die. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Lust? I thought you were doing a four horsmen thing, not a seven deadly sins deal. Shouldn’t you be Famine or Death? 

LUST 

We’re based on the Tarot actually. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(eyes widen) 

Holy shit! Doesn’t that mean there’s like 80 of you?! 

LUST 

Just the major arcana cards, and we’re still trying to fill some spots.  There’s a hiring shortage right now you know. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(thinking) 

How many is that? I never paid much attention to tarot cards. Embarrassing for a magician I know. Your step-mother sent me here you get you.  She’s very worried about you.  Although I have to admit that you’re looking great.  You look 20 years younger than the pictures she showed me.

LUST

(runs hand over cheek)

The blood of the innocent does some amazing things.  It’s better than botox.

AMAZING GRACE

Getting right down to it huh?  On a scale of one to five what’s your level of interest in giving up your wicked new lifestyle and coming with me back to your stepmothers house?  Also, telling me what your boss mentor lover AC is up to would be great.  The full flip, like when James Bond fucks a lady and then she’s totally on his side because of his magic cock.

LUST

(dreamily)

He’s a great man.

AMAZING GRACE

Uh, James Bond or your Aleister Crowley loving master?

LUST

He is a prophet.  The world is sick but he’s going to heal it with our help.

AMAZING GRACE

Let me guess this world healing technique involves a bunch of people dying in horrible agony?

LUST

(smiles)

Sacrifices must be made.

Grace starts to move towards and Lust responds by aggressively licks her palm, chants some Latin and then holds her hands out like she’s pushing over a soda machine. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(looking down at herself)

Was something supposed to happen? 

Lust tries to make a run for it but is hampered by her robes and Grace catches her easily and knocks her out by smashing her brutally with the bottle from her pocket. Grace pulls a jeweled knife out of a sheath on the front of Lust ornate garb and uses it to cut the woman on the alter free. The woman has been drugged but Grace grips her by the waist and purges the drugs from her system with a crackling of canary yellow magic light. 

VICTIM 

(terrified) 

What’s going on? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(taking out her phone) 

I just saved your life. Venmo me whatever you think your life is worth later. For now you better get out of here. Head down the hill and I’ll have an Uber pick you up. Might take a while for them to get out here so hide in some bushes or something. 

VICTIM 

No, no you shouldn’t use Uber they treat their workers terribly, you should call Lyft. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(quizzically) 

I thought Lyft was the one were all the drivers were rapists. 

VICTIM 

Can you get a TaskRabbit to pick me up? 

AMAZING GRACE 

I am a TaskRabbit. 

(points to Lust)

Help me find something to bind her with, you’re going have to take her with you and keep her under wraps until I can get back in touch with you.

VICTIM

(aghast)

I don’t want to do that, she was going to kill me!

AMAZING GRACE

Yeah, but she feels really bad about it, she told me so just before.

CUT TO: 

EXT. SEVENSWORTH’S MANION – DAY 

As Grace is walking by the pool towards the main building yet another masked/hoodie minion tackles her into the water. More mystic assassins are splashing into the pool and they try to down her by pure weight of numbers. Think the scene in Unbreakable where Bruce Willis’s character almost dies.  

Grace manages to survive by flash-boiling the water into steam and horrifically burning her attackers. She slowly and painfully crawls out from under the pile of terribly burned men. Their flesh sticks to her like jelly as she hauls herself out of the pool and lies panting on the lawn for a moment. The toll of casting so many spells is starting to take its effect on her.  

She hauls herself up and soldiers on. 

CUT TO: 

INT. SEVENSWORTH’S MANION – DAY 

After passing through a kitchen and a hallway Grace is in a planning room where the evil plot is charted out like on a storyboard for a movie – they’ve planted 4 bombs across the city and they needed the computer system with the magic booster in the occult shop to be able to detonate them remotely with a spell and harvest the soul-energy.

AMAZING GRACE

(to herself)

I knew it was going to be a fucking bomb.  It’s always a bomb.  Fuckers.

She examines a progress chart reads –  

Universe – Complete 

Priestess – Complete 

Lust – In progress 

Tower – Complete 

Magus – In Progress  

While Grace is looking over the other documents strewn about she’s is shot in the back by a small caliber pistol. She turns and sees the lead sexy female goon with a gun in her hand. Grace tries to fight her way out of the room but more sexy lady goons in sexy outfits come in and between that and her injury and her exhaustion she’s overwhelmed by them and dragged away.

Amazing Grace – A Pale Horse

CUT TO: 

EXT. GRAVEYARD – DAY 

Funeral in the background. Grace walks through the rows of graves touching each headstone in turn. She moves to a tree and presses the backs of her hands to the trunk, followed by her forehead. Behind her slowly an indistinct form coalesces of mist and smoke. Dash’s face can almost be seen. Grace doesn’t turn to face the manifestation. 

DASH 

(voice hollow, far away)

In the movies it’s always raining during funerals, or overcast at the very least. There’s something wrong about a bright sunny day funeral. 

AMAZING GRACE 

This is LA, must happen all the time. 

DASH 

I suppose so. Dabbling in necromancy now are you Grace? I would have just lost a lot of money on a bet if I was still alive. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Good thing you’re dead then. 

DASH 

For sure, getting horribly murdered was really the best thing for me. You must be getting desperate if you’re resorting to this. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Well I have to avenge your death don’t I? The ax forgets the tree remembers, all that. 

DASH 

That’s cultural appropriation missy.  We’ve talked about that.  (beat) Are you okay? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(a few tears slide down her face) 

It’s been three years. I watched an episode of Star Trek that really spoke to me about trauma and how moving on isn’t a betrayal of the memory of the person we lost but in fact a way to hold on them. So I’m good now. 

DASH 

Which episode was that? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Uh, the one where everyone is on heroin I think. 

DASH 

Yeah, that’s a good one, not as good as the one where everyone turns into a lizard but still. Well, you didn’t summon me from the great beyond just to shoot the shit did you? What knowledge from the land of the dead can I impart upon you my old friend? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Who killed you? 

DASH 

I can’t tell you that. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Who are the four horsemen and what are they doing? 

DASH 

I can’t tell you that either. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(grinding her forehead into the tree in frustration) 

Why is necromancy so stupid?! 

DASH 

Stella would be very disappointed to hear you maligning her profession like that. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(voice cracking) 

Good thing I got her killed then so she doesn’t have to hear it then. 

DASH 

For sure, getting horribly murdered was really the best thing that ever happened to her. You should have told me when we met that your friends have a bad habit of being horribly murdered. A heads up about that would have been nice.

AMAZING GRACE 

I think I mentioned it, you might have been on your phone at the time and missed it.  You know how I don’t like to repeat myself  

DASH 

Ah, you’re probably right, my bad. So you’ve come here for advice from the grateful dead, well here it is, what I would do is stake out the occult shop. You should be there right now actually, whoever is behind all that is likely to show up on account of you killing their minion. Follow them and then work your way up the pyramid.  You know how these cultist types operate.  Very hierarchical.

AMAZING GRACE 

That sounds boring. 

DASH 

Oh yes, incredibly. But that’s what detective work is. Waiting, lots of waiting. 

AMAZING GRACE 

What if time is of the essence? What if their evil plan is already in motion? What if I need to take decisive action right now? 

DASH 

Then you probably shouldn’t be hanging around in a graveyard. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Have you . . . talked to Stella? 

DASH 

You know that’s not how it works. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Is it true? What they say about what happens to necromancers after they die? 

DASH 

Do you really want to know? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(after a pause) 

I wish I could see you one last time. 

DASH 

Go ahead and turn around. I won’t vanish right away, you’ll get a look. 

Grace straights and moves away from the tree, stepping backwards. After a moment she turns around, Dash’s ghost becomes distinct for a split second and then dissipates. Grace notices that a kid is standing there watching her. 

KID 

What are you doing? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Talking to ghosts. 

KID 

Cool. 

CUT TO: 

EXT. MYSTIC DOGS – DAY 

Grace is sitting outside the hot dog stand at a table eating fries and drinking an ice cold Coca-Cola. Discarded foil wrappers lay scattered before her. She has her phone on speaker talking to Ranni. 

RANNI 

I did some (sarcastic) hacking . . .  

AMAZING GRACE 

You don’t have to say it like that. 

RANNI 

. . . the soccult tore is owned by Henry Sevensworth. He likes people to call him AC. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Because he’s a big Lakers fan? 

RANNI 

No, because he’s a big Aleister Crowley fan. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(disgusted) 

Jesus, why does ever black magic fuck-O suck Aleister Crowley’s boney dead dick? That dude was the worst magician I ever saw. AC Green played in 1200 consecutive games! What did Aleister fucking Crowley ever do that was worth a shit? 

RANNI 

According to people on the dark web he summoned the worm of sixty winters one time. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Yeah, by accident!

(curious)

There’s magic stuff on the dark web? 

RANNI 

Looks like, where else would it be? 

AMAZING GRACE 

I don’t really understand the dark web. Is it the cloud? I watched that movie Unfriended but I still don’t get it. 

RANNI 

I’ll explain the internet to you later. The point is that Sevensworth is a big fan of Crowley and he’s probably the one that had me install the equipment at the occult shop.  And had the other person install the . . . uh, other stuff.

AMAZING GRACE 

You don’t know if he hired you? 

RANNI 

No, that’s the whole point of cryptocurrency, to anonymize transactions. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Like bitcoin? How does that even work? How is that money if it’s just pixels? 

RANNI 

Pixels? There’s no pixels, I’ll explain blockchain to you later too. Seventhworth loves Crowley so much that he lives in a mansion outside of town that was once owned by him. 

AMAZING GRACE 

That rancid pig molester had a mansion in California? 

RANNI 

Apparently. Sevensworth and his three disciples live there and have all kinds or orgies to power their magic, which also generates  a lot of noise complaints from their neighbors. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Oh, how original! Black magic assholes who love Crowley and have big fuckbeast parties all the damn time. They’re probably trying to open a portal to hell or some shit. It’s like these morons are all using the same tired old playbook from a century ago. Say what you want about esoterrorists but at least they’re trying new evil ways to ruin everything for everyone. 

RANNI 

I don’t know what that means. Are you saying this guy can really do magic? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Probably. The two women at the store were throwing around all kinds of magic and these dark magician types are very power oriented, being the assholes that they are, so the people further up the chain should be more power. Anyway, I’ll find out soon enough, send the directions to the god damn Crowley mansion to my phone. 

RANNI 

What? Like send you a link to google maps? Just look it up yourself. 

 AMAZING GRACE 

In the movies the support girl with a pony-tail and a Dr. Who bobblehead on her desk always sends the information to the field agent. 

RANNI 

I’m hanging up now. 

Amazing Grace – A Pale Horse

CUT TO: 

INT. RANNI’S APARTMENT – DAY 

Ranni is sitting in her living room on a laptop talking to Grace on speaker.  Grace is behind the counter in the occult shop poking around. 

AMAZING GRACE 

She said the four horsemen are going to ride, that’s some apocalypse shit.  What kind of computer network did you install for these people? 

RANNI 

A custom industrial control system.  The kind of thing you would find in a manufacturing plant. 

AMAZING GRACE 

So what, they’re going to open the dams the flood the city? 

RANNI 

There’s not enough water in the reservoir to drown a rat, we’ve been in a drought for ten years. 

AMAZING GRACE 

So what are they trying to do? 

RANNI 

How should I know? 

AMAZING GRACE 

You installed the damn thing didn’t you?! 

RANNI 

I just set up some hardware and ran some cables, I didn’t configure anything.  I have no idea what they wanted it for. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Can’t you hack in?   

RANNI 

Hack in to what?  What does that even mean? 

AMAZING GRACE 

I don’t know, can’t you connect to my phone and then I plug something into something here and then you find a big folder that says evil plans or something? 

RANNI 

Is that a serious suggestion? 

AMAZING GRACE 

You’re the expert, you tell me!  A woman just burned to death right in front of me rather than tell me anything but the store didn’t catch on fire which means it’s warded.  Which mean whatever’s here is pretty damn important to their plan. 

RANNI 

Warded with magic? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Yes Ranni, warded with magic. 

 RANNI

Well I don’t know!  Magic wasn’t real until yesterday for me! 

AMAZING GRACE 

Okay, so it’s a control system, can’t you scan for whatever they’re controlling?  Or signals coming from the store? 

RANNI 

Scan how?  Scan what?  Like in Star Trek?  What are you talking about? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Jesus Christ Ranni, give me something here. 

RANNI 

Maybe if . . .  

AMAZING GRACE

Hey, shut up for a minute will you?

RANNI

Rude.

Grace grabs a cable and follows it around the corner into a small cluttered office.  She opens a drawer in a desk covered with cables and wires.  Inside is a bizarre and nonsensical-looking array of carved bits of obsidian, human bones wrapped in copper wire, and a complete human skull held together with silver wire, connected to a wireless router with several vials of blood on it.

AMAZING GRACE

(clucking her tongue)

Right so when you were installing this network system computer thing how many skulls did you use?

RANNI

(alarmed)

What?

AMAZING GRACE

I’m going to assume that means zero.

RANNI

Maybe I should come down there

AMAZING GRACE 

Nah, don’t come here, the police will be here soon.  I’ll figure it out. 

Grace slips her phone away and repeats the sequence from Dash’s apartment.  She floats off the ground and her eyes turn blue.  This time though she smiles.

AMAZING GRACE

(otherworldly voice effect)

Gotcha fucker.

We hear police sirens as Grace floats back to the ground.  She closes her eyes, chants quietly for a moment and slowly turns translucent like the Predator.  She walks out the front of the store as the police sirens get louder.   

Police cars appear as Grace is walking down the sidewalk.  Eventually she realizes that there’s a policeman following her, not running or asking her to stop, just following.

AMAZING GRACE

(voice reverb like she’s talking through a fan)

Shit can you see me?

The policeman holds up his hand and it transforms into a blade like the T-1000 in Terminator 2.

AMAZING GRACE

(voice returns to normal as she appears fully again)

You’re not a real peace officer are you?

He lunges at her with the blade and she sways back Matrix style, falling on her ass in the process.  She trips him as he stabs at her and they have a brief ground-fight.  Grace eventually choking him out with a triangle.

AMAZING GRACE

(coughing and dusting off her shabby clothes)

Jesus, how many of you magic assassins are there in this deal?

CUT TO: 

INT. 3-2-1 ACTION! PRODUCTIONS – DAY 

Messy office with various movie posters on the walls, think Bowfinger or Harry’s office in Get Shorty.   Sitting at a cluttered desk is FRANCES SEWARD, think Anna Kendrick or Alison Brie.  Standing in front of her are two gratuitously topless women making out.  Hard.  Frances half-rises in surprise as Grace comes out of the bathroom. 

FRANCES 

This is a closed set! 

AMAZING GRACE 

This isn’t a set this is an office. 

FRANCES 

Well this is a closed office then. 

GRATITIOUSLY TOPLESS WOMAN 

(looking at a script) 

Are there new pages?  Where are we? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(slapping her on the back, jiggle physics) 

You got the part! 

OTHER GRATITITIOUSLY TOPLESS WOMAN 

What about me?

AMAZING GRACE 

You got the part too!  Now beat it. 

FRANCES 

(still halfway crouching awkwardly) 

Hey you can’t just barge in here and . . . 

AMAZING GRACE 

(pulls up chair across from Frances the woman get dressed and leave) 

Sure looks like I can because I’m doing it right now.  You should probably sit down, your calves have to be burning.

(looks around) 

I know that I’m not one to throw stones when it comes to conformity, but this is an odd sanctum for a magician. 

FRANCES 

I have no idea what you’re talking about. 

(Grace points a finger at her and zaps her with a little spark) 

Ow!  My nipple! 

AMAZING GRACE 

Yeah, I have good aim.  Look I’m magic, you’re magic, let’s skip over that part and get to the part where you tell me what the fuck you did at that Raven and whatever occult shop with your bailing wire and human bones and pieces of the true cross or whatever. 

FRANCES 

(goes pale) 

How did you . . .  

AMAZING GRACE  

(wiggles fingers, sparkling with magic energy) 

A little bit of this. 

FRANCES 

Look, I needed the money. 

AMAZING GRACE 

That’s a question about the human condition they’ve been debating for years isn’t it?  Do we really need money?  Society might be better without it eh?  But then how would gross poor people get what’s coming to them?  It’s tricky.  I don’t care about the why honey bunny, I want to know about the what. 

FRANCES 

You know how wi-fi works? 

AMAZING GRACE 

No 

FRANCES 

Well I did like that, only for magic. 

AMAZING GRACE 

That doesn’t make any sense. 

FRANCES 

(annoyed) 

You asked, I told you. 

AMAZING GRACE 

What would whatever you did be used for? 

FRANCES 

Working magic at a distance. 

AMAZING GRACE 

You don’t need a computer system for that. 

FRANCES 

(more annoyed) 

Look, what I did is installed a talisman for the wireless signals from the network system to help carry magical energy, most likely to remotely control a techno-magic device.  Several devices probably based on the power it was capable of handling.

AMAZING GRACE 

I’ve never heard of anything like that. 

FRANCES 

Well now you have.  Would you please leave, I have a lot of work to do today. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Yes, very important stuff going on here.  Who hired you? 

FRANCES 

I can’t tell you that. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(with a hard look) 

Oh, I bet you can. 

FRANCES 

I can’t actually, spell of silence, beat on me all you want and I can’t say anything. Since we’re both (air quotes) magic you know about that.

AMAZING GRACE 

You can cast a spell of silence? 

FRANCES 

No but the person that hired me can.  I can’t do shit.  I’m just trying to make movies here.  I want no part of your ugly magic world. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(looking around disdainfully) 

Sure, you just sit in your crappy office keeping to yourself and making bomb detonators for blood magic cults.  You’re not involved. 

FRANCES 

You don’t know what it’s for! 

AMAZING GRACE 

Neither do you do you?  I bet you didn’t ask.  You knew though, you knew.  So this is what you do with your gift huh?  The sacred gift of magic has been given to you and what?  You use it to mindfuck some thirsty blondes from Nebraska into working for scale?  To get some low rent wannabe bigshot moron to sink all their car dealership money into making Slime Planet Five? 

FRANCES 

(sneers) 

Oh what, with great power comes great responsibility?  Thanks Spider-Man.  Don’t waste my time with that tired shit, get the hell out of my office. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Magic is a sacred calling, it is our responsibility to . . .  

FRANCES 

Give me a fucking break.  Do you expect every person without magic to be a cop?  Or a firefighter?  Or join the military?  Everyone has the power to do something, but no one gives them shit for not giving all their money to charity or bringing a homeless person to live with them.  I don’t owe the world anything more than anyone else just because I have some very minor powers.  We’re not special because we can do a few tricks, were just people.  You do not have a sacred duty to protect the world.  Do you understand how arrogant that is?  How delusion you sound?  You are not the sword in the darkness, you are not a superhero, you’re just a sad lonely woman trying to make yourself feel important. 

AMAZING GRACE 

I’m a person who’s trying to help! 

FRANCES 

(waves arm) 

Go then, go help everyone and leave me alone. 

(cutting off Graces next remark) 

You want to call me a coward?  Fine, I’m a coward!  It’s easy for you to say that, look at you and look at me?  What I am going to do about anything?  How am I going to stop anyone from doing anything? 

AMAZING GRACE 

You don’t have to engage in a rooftop struggle to the death with anyone, you have magic! 

FRANCES 

Yeah, you definitely don’t look like you’re been in a bunch of fights.  I can’t anything.  My magic is weak.  Unless you think I can fight crime by making lightbulbs flicker or fucking up someone’s router. 

AMAZING GRACE 

I can teach you, I can . . .  

FRANCES 

I don’t want to learn from you!  I’m not like you.  I’m just trying to make my way in the world. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(stubborn) 

You have an obligation, you . . .  

FRANCES 

To what?  Get myself killed because you watch too many action movies? To run around like an idiot until they shoot me down like a dog?

AMAZING GRACE 

Yes.  That’s what we do.  We use our abilities to protect those that don’t until we die from it.  Yes. 

FRANCES 

(shake head) 

You are in insane

AMAZING GRACE 

And you made a bomb. 

FRANCES 

(disgusted) 

Well here we are then, I’m the evil supervillain and you’re the hero.  You’ve got me dead to rights.  What are you going to do?  Beat the shit out of me?  Banish me to the Phantom Zone?  What’s it going to be “hero”? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(thinks) 

Probably what I should do is break all the bones in your hands and feet.  I don’t know how to cut someone off from magic, I know that spell exists but I don’t think anyone has had the juice to pull it off for hundreds of years.   But the bone thing would probably stop you for a while at least. 

Amazing Grace – A Pale Horse

CUT TO: 

INT. RANNI’S KITCHEN– NIGHT 

Ranni’s kitchen is large but looks unused.  Grace is pawing through the fancy smart refrigerator while Ranni sits at the island looking confused and shaken. 

AMAZING GRACE 

(ducking back out out a Chinese food container in hand) 

Can I have this?  I’m starving. 

(Ranni nods and Grace starts eating cold noodles with her fingers) 

RANNI 

I have forks. And a microwave.

AMAZING GRACE 

My hands are clean. 

RANNI  

(incredulous) 

You were just wrestling with two men in a filthy alley. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Grappling.  I was grappling with them not wrestling.  Wrestling is something different entirely.  Trust me on that, I know.  Also striking, there was striking as well.  You want to tell me what’s going on now?  Since I saved your life and everything I feel like maybe you owe me that much.

RANNI 

Are you going to tell me what’s going on? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(shrugs) 

I told you, I’m magic. What else is there to say?  I’m like a superhero, I save the world all the time from magic shit.  One time an old worm god was going to turn everyone into zombies.  Another time a giant ape with two heads was going to do . . . something.  I never figured that one out exactly.  But I stopped them.  I’m like that guy in the movies.  Sherlock Holmes. 

RANNI 

Sherlock Holmes doesn’t do magic! 

AMAZING GRACE 

(waving with a fistful of floppy noodles) 

But you know, that guy in the superhero movies.  The pasty dork with the stupid accent all the women love.  Albert Cummerbund.  Ricky Bandersnatch. 

RANNI 

Benedict Cumberbatch? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(looking around) 

Sure, whatever, that guy with the hypnotic eyebrows.  I’m like him.  Or that dumb kid from the books.  Or that other guy.  Where’s your trashcan? 

RANNI 

You ate that whole thing already? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(annoyed) 

I told you I missed lunch.  It wasn’t even full.  

(tosses the container in the sink) 

Look are you going to tell me what you were meeting with Dash for or do I have to ask you eighteen billion more times? 

RANNI

Was Dash magic?

AMAZING GRACE

Nah, he was just a PI that I ran into once when we were both working on the same thing.  This woman thought that her husband was cheating on her, which technically he was I guess since he was humping a harpy, but it wasn’t his fault.  I’m not proud of it but I did laugh hard when I saw the look on his face.  I broke the mind control the harpy had going over him right in the middle you know?  Can you imagine the face a guy would make if he ‘wakes up’ and finds himself balls deep in a harpy?  The situation wasn’t funny but I had to laugh in that moment you know?  Anyway, that’s when I met Dash.  We’ve been friends ever since.  Until someone hacked him to bits anyway.

RANNI

You’re serious aren’t you?

AMAZING GRACE

(groaning)

Yes!  Look, you already saw me do a bunch of magic shit right?  I can do some more if you want more proof but seriously can we just get on with it?  I really hate this part.  Magic is real, just you know, accept it and crack on?

RANNI 

(after a pause)

I installed a computer system at an occult shop.  That’s what Dash was interested in.  I had no idea he was looking for a missing person, he got in touch with me to ask about the shop.  This was serious equipment I was installing, a ton more compute power than a little shop selling fake magic crap would ever need.  That’s why he was so interested.  He wanted all the details I had on that.

AMAZING GRACE

Did you tell him?

RANNI

Yeah, there’s no confidentiality in the stolen computer parts installation world.  So wait, if magic is real is the stuff they sell at those occult shops real? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Some of them sell real magic stuff, depends on the shop, probably not though.  What was the meeting tonight supposed to be about? 

RANNI 

I had already given him all the information about the system, there wasn’t much else to talk about.  This thing tonight was more of a social call. 

AMAZING GRACE 

I get that, Dash was a good-looking cat before someone ripped his face off. 

RANNI 

(sliding off her stool) 

I need to take a shower, I got all grimy in that alley. 

(sexily)

Care to join me? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Do you have any crackers or cake or anything?  I’m starving over here.  I missed lunch.

CUT TO: 

INT. RHYME AND RAVEN OCCULT BOOKSTORE – DAY 

The store is so crammed with “magic” trinkets and knick-knacks that there’s barely room for customers to move down the aisles.  Under the large glass counter are skulls and bizarre mummified creatures and old books.  Behind the counter stands SHARON JACKSON.  Think Emily Ratajkowski.  Grace walks up to the counter from deeper inside the store. 

SHARON 

(confused)

I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.  Where did you come from?

AMAZING GRACE

The spirit world.

SHARON

Really?

AMAZING GRACE

No.

SHARON

(sourly)

Is there something I can help you with? 

AMAZING GRACE 

People just never seem to see me coming, must have one of those faces you know?  Anyway, I’m looking for a love potion, do you have anything like that?  There’s this guy at the Subway by my house.  Sploosh, you know what I’m saying?  Anyway, I’ve been hanging around there getting soda refills and put the vibe out there but he’s not picking up what I’m putting down for it so I was hoping to get a little help from old lady magic.

SHARON

(smiles slightly)

Well love potions don’t exist exactly, it would be kind of creepy if they did wouldn’t it?  The implications with love potions being real are not very pleasant.  Nothing here is magic either, not in the way people think about such thing, what’s true is that that crystals promote the flow of good energy for physical and emotional benefits, they help rid your body and mind of negative energy.  Crystals are matter that holds energy, and since we as humans being are also made of energy, we can exchange that energy with the crystal.

AMAZING GRACE

That certainly sounds scientific and true.

SHARON

(nodding)

It’s been proven many times, Eastern cultures have known about the power of crystals for centuries.  I can’t give you a love potion but I can definitely help you with your Subway guy.  You can’t use crystals to affect the energy of other people but what you can do is use them to present the best version of yourself to this man, and well then if he doesn’t respond to that then you don’t need him right?

AMAZING GRACE

Amen sister, there’s a Quiznos just up the street, who knows where love and salted cured meats might be found!

SHARON

Eh, right, what I’m going to recommend for you is some ruby and rose quartz, when applied properly these crystals can help prompt feelings of inner strength and growth that support your own sense of sexuality and sensuality.  The key to relationships revolves around trust and harmony, and with these crystals you can bring self-awareness and recognition of that truth to yourself to encourage love, respect, trust, and self-worth, as well as restoring lost vitality and energy levels.

AMAZING GRACE

That all sounds great, I’m chronically low on vitality I find, but did you say ruby?  Isn’t that a jewel or a gem?  How much does something like that cost?

SHARON

Well it depends . . .

AMAZING GRACE

Can you print out a price sheet for me to look at?  I’d like to know just how much love and sexual energy I can afford you know?

SHARON

No, we don’t have a computer here but I can . . .

AMAZING GRACE

Really?  I happened to be riding my bike by here the other day I thought I saw a woman with a very flattering haircut here installing some routers or servers or something.  Wasn’t there a big van out front with a horse airbrushed on the side? 

SHARON 

(coldly)

What is this in regards to? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(takes a piece of paper out of her pocket with BADGE written on it)

It’s relating to an investigation ma’am. 

SHARON 

That’s the worse illusion I’ve ever seen.

AMAZING GRACE 

(raises an eyebrow)

It usually works fine, all your crystal energy must be interfering with my mojo.  I’m not a cop but I am a private investigator. Some of the equipment that was installed here may be stolen and I need to examine it, serial numbers and so forth.  Do you have an invoice from the installer?

SHARON 

I don’t believe you, and even if I thought you were a PI I wouldn’t have to tell you anything. 

AMAZING GRACE 

It’s just some wires and shit right?  What’s the harm in telling me?” 

SHARON 

Is that the best you can do? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Pretty much yeah, I’m trying to work on my social skills, I have an app on my phone to learn empathy and everything. 

Sharon grabs a .45 automatic out from under the counter.  Grace holds out her hand in a “stop” motion and makes a pinching gesture with the other and the gun falls apart in Sharon’s hand, the bullets rattle on the floor like hail on a tin roof.  Before Grace can make another move a second woman blindsides her and the two of them slam into the glass counter.  

AMAZING GRACE 

(she turns the tables on the woman and pins her against the counter) 

Jesus, where the fuck did you come from?! 

Grace has to let the second woman go as Sharon lunges at her with a bejeweled dagger across the glass counter.  Quick fight scene with magical flourishes.  Sharon is able to make the bullets fire themselves off the floor.  Grace dodges them and catches the last one in a glowing green hand, redirecting the energy of the bullet into a massive punch that knocks the second woman out.   

Sharon seems to have Grace on the ropes with knife-thrusts and flashes of magic fire until Grace slams into her with a shoulder throw and then captures her in a jointlock.  Sharon calls on her magic to sprout spines like a cactus and Grace lets go with a curse.   

As they come back to their feet Sharon hurls the dagger and guides it magically but Grace reflects it back at her with her own magic instinctively.  The dagger buries itself in Sharon’s belly and she staggers to the front of the store.  Grace catches her and pulls the dagger out. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Oh no, no you don’t. 

Grace starts to heal Sharon like she did in the alley with Ranni, but Sharon clenches her fists and starts muttering.  Grace smacks her in the face.  

AMAZING GRACE 

Hey!  Stop that!  No! 

Grace’s blue healing energy is disbursed and she jumps away from Sharon as her knife wound starts to leak not blood but fire.  Grace watches in horror as Sharon jams her hands into her wound and pulls her stomach open like a couch cushion.  The liquid leaking out catches on fire in the air. 

SHARON 

The four horsemen will ride!  You will die!  Nothing can stop it! 

Grace rubs her hands together like she’s trying to warm them up and then holds one palm-out, spraying fire extinguisher foam on Sharon as she self-immolates.  Check out that (fake) video of a flamethrower versus a super fire extinguisher – it’s like that.  The flames can’t be denied.  Sharon is quickly reduced to nothing more than some blackened bits of bone. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Well.  Shit. 

Amazing Grace – A Pale Horse

CUT TO: 

INT. DASH’S APARTMENT – DAY 

Dash’s LA apartment is all windows and light, small but modern.  It’s sparsely furnished and decorated, the kind of place that someone lives but isn’t a home.   After some fumbling sounds the door swings open, Amazing Grace enters. 

AMAZING GRACE 

You better be dead you goat fucker.  I waited for you for over an hour and there’s no reason . . .  

Grace comes to a stop as she sees Dash dead on the floor.  Think Brian Tyree Henry.  Dash is sprawled out face-down on the floor and the room it splattered with blood, far more than you would expect from a run of the mill crime scene.   

AMAZING GRACE 

(sighs) 

My Christ Dash, what did you get yourself mixed up in this time? 

Grace checks out the bedroom to make sure no one else is there.  Once back in the main room she peers around the room deliberately as if she’s looking for things unseen.  Once she finishes her scan she moves closer, careful not to disturb anything.  She squats for a moment and runs her eyes over the body. 

AMAZING GRACE

Fuckers got you good didn’t they?  Took some souvenirs off you looks like too.  Fuckers.

Grace stands and closes her eyes, murmuring indistinctly with her hand held out, fist clenched.  With a quick move she flips her hand over and opens it.   Dash’s phone floats smoothly off the floor where it fell by his outflung hand.  The phone stops and hovers above Grace’s palm.  Grace flicks a finger towards it like she’s getting rid of a bug and the phone suddenly comes to life with a full battery.  She waves her hand like swiping on Tinder and the phone unlocks.   

She scrolls through the phone with her fingers a few inches away, manipulating the phone remotely, not touching the screen.  She seehs a lot of calls and texts from someone listed as GOLD-DIGGER in regards to a case.  She sees a calendar appointment at Obsidian Bar with INFORMANT at 8 PM.  She taps her thumb and pinky together three times and the phone dials GOLD-DIGGER.  It goes directly to voicemail without announcing who it is. 

AMAZING GRACE

(in a deep masculine voice, VO from Dash)

This is Dashiel Flint ma’am, my sincerest apologies but I have being called out of town unexpectedly.  In order to keep your case moving forward I am going to refer to you a colleague that will be picking up the investigation with you permission.  I have the utmost confidence in her abilities but I understand that this is an unusual request and I assure you that that this is not how I like to do business.  Unfortunately in this instance it’s unavoidable.  If you’re not satisfied with your arrangement I can offer you a full refund of the retainer and any invoices already paid.  But, as I said, I give you my assurance that this colleague will deliver results and I vouch for her with complete confidence.  At your convenience please contact her at (number)

With another gesture the phone turns off and floats back to the exact spot it was on the floor next to Dash’s hand.  Grace takes some deep breaths, stretches her shoulders and then floats lightly a few inches off the ground like the kids down in the sewer in IT.  Her eyes slowly turn a bright shade of electric blue.  After a few seconds she floats back down to the ground and her eyes change back.

AMAZING GRACE

Not going to make it easy for me huh?

(she speaks to Dash’s body)

Well we know one thing for sure, this is some magic shit right here.  If this had something to do with me Dash I’m sorry.  I’ll find out.  I guess I’m sorry either way.  You were a good dude Dash.  Most of the time anyway.

Grace takes one final look around the room and then leaves.  

CUT TO: 

EXT. BEVERLY HILLS MANSION – DAY 

Outside the mansion gates Grace sits in the driver’s seat of a battered ‘64 Acadian Canso.  The car has such things as claw-marks, acid-burns, and bullet-holes across the body.  Grace is flipping through her phone learning about GIGI MUNSON, think Eli Jane or Jenae Altschwager.  We learn that Gigi married a much older wealthy man, inherited $120 million when he died 2 years ago, and that she was once an outspoken member of CAN – the cult awareness network – but has since renounced the organization. 

Grace tucks her phone away, exits the Canso and slips in through the gates while they swing open to hike a comically long distance to the front of the mansion.   

CUT TO: 

INT. BEVERLY HILLS MANSION – DAY 

Grace and Gigi are sitting in a finely appointed living room, Gigi poised on the couch like a queen and Grace perched awkwardly like a gargoyle on a funky modern art looking chair. 

GIGI 

Can I get you something to drink? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Maker’s Mark and Code Red Mountain Dew if you have it, toss in some Skittles. 

GIGI 

(polite but annoyed)

How about some ice tea? 

AMAZING GRACE 

(waving her off) 

I’m good actually.  I want to apologize again for Dash being called away so suddenly, he had an urgent family matter that he had to attend to, but I can assure you that I’ll be pursuing this case aggressively in his absence.  I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to Dash before he left town so I thought it best that we speak in person, Dash gave me access to everything he had but he’s not big into record keeping, client confidentiality and all that.  You never know who has access to your files right?

GIGI 

Do you know if Dash had any leads on the location of my step daughter? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Yes, I’m going to meet someone with some information later today, but could you start from the beginning please?  I want to make sure I’m not missing anything.  In these types of scenarios it’s not good to assume anything.

GIGI 

(takes a moment to compose herself) 

Ela and I were never close but we had as good a relationship as we could have given the circumstances.  I never tried to be her mother, that would be ridiculous since she’s three years older than me.  But I didn’t pretend that we were friends either, I think she respected that. All I could do was I try to be there for her as much as I could.  I knew the kind of problems that she was facing.  After Hal died Ela and I started spending more time together, getting closer than we had before.  Most people treat me like a gold-digging slut but Ela knew that I really loved her father. 

(she wipes away a tear) 

I was sick in love with Hal.  Ela knew that and it was something that brought us together after he passed.  A few months ago things between us were better than they had ever been but then her behavior became increasing erratic.  She . . . has issues with drugs, but this seemed different.  I struggled with the same thing for years, I know what that looks like, this was . . . something else. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Like what? 

GIGI 

(she takes a deep breath and then plunges in) 

I was a 17 when I came to LA.  I had already been using meth for two years.  Everyone I met out here, man or woman, was looking to abuse me or hurt me or turn me out.  LA is a city full of dreamers and that makes it a city full of predators as well.  But some of the things I saw, or think I saw, were beyond . . . any sort of human exploitation.  Some of it was play-acting, people making a show, wanting attention.  But I saw, or think I saw, some things I can’t explain.  I’ve worked with a dozen different therapists, specialists, memory recovery experts, all sorts of people.  I still don’t know for sure what was real and what was in my head from those days. 

I remember being at a party.  There was a stripper there, and a gigolo I suppose, I remember several women I knew from the tennis club having sex with him while wearing hideous masks.  I may have as a well.  I can see him clearly in my mind.  He’s lying on a low table made of white stone.  He’s looking very satisfied with himself until his eyes widen when one of them slits his throat.  The blood, I see the blood.  They all come at him with knives and they hack at his body, ripping pieces of this flesh off and shoving them I their mouths.  After he’s dead and they’re covered with blood and bits of muscle they were chanting and holding candles and things . . . happened.  Things that don’t make sense.  Other memories I question, other memories I have may or may not be true.  But that . . . that one I am convinced is real.   

(folds hands) 

That must sound insane to you. 

AMAZING GRACE 

Not at all.  Trust me, I know reality is a lot more flexible than people like to think.  I’ve seen shit that would make your pubes fall out.  You must be bringing this up because you think your step-daughter is involved with something like what you saw? 

GIGI 

I don’t know what she’s involved with.  When she started acting oddly she would talk about the Apocalypse and Revelations and Judgement Day.  At first I thought she was talking about the Bible, they really try to shove Jesus down your throat in some of those 12-step programs.  It can be helpful . . . sometimes.  She’s had a lot of sadness in her life.  It seemed natural that she might turn to religion in some way.

But this wasn’t anything to do with religion, not any legitimate religion anyway.  She would talk about aliens sometimes and a comet and some of that conspiracy crap about shapeshifters.  She talked about this old occultist named Aleister Crowley like he was a god or some kind of messiah.  She that she had made friends that were all about gaining power and how suffering was the natural human condition so it was okay to make othe people suffer for your own benefit.  They were going to help her gain power and then no one would ever be able to hurt her again.  She sent me all these links to bizarre subreddits and Youtube videos, some of which were advocating acts of violence. 

What really concerned me is when she moved out of her apartment, I don’t know where she went.  She’s not returning my texts or calls anymore and I don’t know how to get in touch with her.  I would have assumed that she was backsliding, going on a bender, I know some old friends of hers were in town which is a trigger for people like us, but I went to this occult shop where I saw she was spending a lot of money at to see if they might know where she was.  

(pause) 

I just got a bad feeling about that place.  The woman behind the counter.  Didn’t seem right to me.  I didn’t speak to her I just turned around and left.  I think I might have been followed by someone when I was coming home that day.  It could just be paranoia but since that day some odd things have been happening.  That’s when I contacted Mr. Flint. 

AMAZING GRACE 

What kind of odd things?

(Gigi holds up her phone and shows a video of crickets coming out of a water faucet when turned on)

Well, that certainly fits the bill.

GIGI

I’m worried that Ela is in danger.  I’m worried that anyone I send after her is in danger.  The things I’ve seen . . . I’m thinking I should call this all off.  I don’t want anyone else to be hurt.

AMAZING GRACE 

(making an awkward gesture of comfort)

Don’t worry about that at all.  I’m a professional.  I know how to take care of myself so don’t give that notion a second thought.  I’m going to do my level best to find out what’s happened to your step-daughter.

GIGI

(wiping away another tear)

Thank you

AMAZING GRACE

Thank you, you’ve been very helpful, and I apologize once again for you having to go over this all again.  One last thing, can you verify the spelling of your step-daughter’s name?  Dash probably ran her through all the usual databases but I have a few other sources I like to check out in situations like this. 

GIGI 

Have you worked many cases like this? 

AMAZING GRACE 

Sadly yes.  It’s amazing how blasé we are as a society about people disappearing.  People throw around this platitude that when someone disappears because it’s because they don’t want to be found.  To me that’s like coming across a dead body and assuming they killed themselves.  It’s the easy way out intellectually, gets you off the hook.  People like to pretend that when someone goes missing they just ditched and have a new life somewhere else, because the alternative, the truth maybe, is too ugly for them to think about. 

Ela Halloween Special #5

Tina shoves Ela away from her and Ela comes flying back at Tina with fists clenched ready to slug it out.  Only Martialla and Elvis jumping in between to restrain them and keep them from having it out right then and there.  Ela breaks away from their grasping hands waving her arms (and axe) about angrily.

“What the fuck is wrong with you people?!  Why does everything have to be a fight with you morons!  Why do you have to question everything I say?  I’m trying to save your lives, what don’t you get about that?!”

Ela goes off on them about everything under the sun and all five of them back away in fright.  Not because they’re scared of her, but instead because through the glass they can see a dark shape is getting larger and larger in the display behind her.  They all stare at the rapidly growing shape behind the glass as Ela stomps up and down and curses them out for ever being born.  As she’s reaching the crashing crescendo of her diatribe, Martialla and Elvis turn and run for it as Tina, Lucien, and Duke drop to the floor and take cover.

Ela frowns as they cower and run off respectively “What? What’s wrong with you now?  Are you that afraid of me? Look, I know I’m one scary bitch but show some fucking backbone, you cowards! Yes, I’m the queen badass of the world, but just because . . .”

Before she can finish, the zombie shark slams into the glass at full speed, shattering it and sending thousands of gallons of water crashing out over Ela like a smelly tidal wave.  Just like in Jaws 3D only not super dumb looking.  By all appearances, this adult male tiger shark should be floating upside down at the top of the tank, little bits of flesh hanging off him and his eyes rolled back in their sockets, but he most certainly is not.  He rides the wave of water out of the enclosure like a body surfer, his dead jaws snapping and his double dead eyes rolling wildly like a Magic 8 Ball.

The rush of water knocks everyone for a loop and bowls them over, carrying them every which way (but loose). The massive zombie beast whips its head from side to side biting blindly as Lucien and Duke scramble away as best they can in their injured condition – Martialla and Elvis look on in horror from a catwalk above. Tina, in a mad attempt to avoid the jaws, leaps onto the back of the writhing beast and grabs onto its fin like a cowboy riding a rodeo stallion.

The zombie shark goes absolutely berserk with her on its back, redoubling its thrashing and trying to throw Tina off.  Lucien reaches up with his crutch and Martialla manages to drag both him and Duke up to the safety of the catwalk with Elvis and herself.  With another mighty lunge-flop from the deadite Galeocerdo cuvier, Tina is thrown off its back violently, her hands and forearms ripped to shreds by the sandpaper zombie skin.  Hurled through the air like a discarded yogurt cup, she slams into another tank hard enough to crack the glass.  She lays stunned for a moment as the shark zombie flops towards her like some horrible carnivorous inch worm.  From up above, Martialla and Elvis are screaming for her to get up and run but Tina can only sit there in a daze.

As the awful undead creature is moving closer, the cracks in the tank Tina slammed into slowly spread outward and finally it gives way, Elvis shouting as a second torrent of water sends Tina slip’n’sliding right towards the toothy maw of the undead tiger shark.  But the water also seems to shock her back to her senses, snapping her out of her daze.  She manages to twist away from the gaping maw at the last moment – shooting along the side of the shark like she’s going down Mount Splashmore.  She’s dragged along the shark’s knotty hide but she’s able to scramble to the stairs that lead up to the catwalk as the deadly fish flops around trying to get facing the right direction. The five of them watch in astonishment from above as the shark zombie slowly inches its way towards the stairs and with a mighty lunge throws itself across the bottom steps.

With another lunge, it starts to come up the stairs like a drunken frat boy doing the worm, causing the metal structure to groan as it buckles and strains under its weight.  The beast lunges again and the entire catwalk starts to come free, bolts flying out of the ceiling as the supports break away.  The lurching action sends Elvis tumbling over the side, but Martialla catches him – her arm almost jerking out of the socket under the strain.  Martialla would have fallen over the side too but Tina, Duke, and Lucien grab her and haul them both back onto the dubious safety of the catwalk. The shark lurches up further like a reverse slinky and the catwalk tilts at a forty-five degrees angle towards the shark’s waiting jaws.

As the five of them cling to the catwalk desperately, Elvis’s legs flailing just a foot away from the shark’s deadly rows of teeth, a waterlogged Ela comes back into the picture, grabbing the shark’s tail and yanking it back down to the floor like an old man starting a gas powered lawn mower.  With shocking quickness the zombie shark snaps its tail, flinging her off and smashing her into the wall at high speed.  It flails wildly trying to turn around and take advantage of her stunned condition, finally flicking its tail against the wall and whipsawing it around like a Tokyo Drift.  

Ela is scurrying away like a crab as the zombie shark lunges at her.  She leaps out of the way, sliding across the wet floor and slamming into a wall, feeling a searing pain.  She bounces off the wall and squeaks to a stop on the wet floor, looking down and only seeing her right foot at the end of her shapely toned legs.  The left leg is footless, host only to a bloody stump.  Ela hears screaming, looks up assuming it’s Tina, and after a moment she realizes that it’s her own voice she’s hearing.

Ela nearly blacks out, her vision swimming like a Baywatch lifeguard, but at the edge of her awareness, she sees the zombie shark flopping across the floor headed her way.  Say one thing about zombies, they never stop trying to kill you.  She fights to stay conscious, forcing herself to focus and block out the pain.  Looking on from above, clinging to the catwalk, her companions are shocked to see Ela lurch to her foot and limp not away from, but rather towards the shark!  She mashes her bloody footless stump down onto the end of Martialla’s shovel and pops it up into her hands.  Ela starts hammering on the shark with the shovel and screaming like a mad woman.

“Give me back my foot! Give it to me! It’s mine! It’s my foot! Give it back!”

Her vicious blows mean nothing to the zombie shark as it tries vainly to get around and bite at her. Finally Ela drives the shovel into the shark’s head like she’s digging a hole for a fencepost and the head of the shovel breaks off – leaving Ela holding a jagged wooden stick.  She looks dumbly at the splintered end for a second and then rams it through the shark’s gill slits like she’s making the world’s worst caramel apple.   Which is saying something because they’re all pretty bad.  The zombie shark’s frantic motions slow down, drooping like a toy with a run-down battery. 

After a few seconds its jaws are merely opening and closing slowly on reflex as the smell of flesh fills its nostrils.  Ela limps away and grabs her fire axe – Tina turning her head in horror as Ela starts to hack into the dying (for the second time) creature.  Martialla is the only one who can watch the whole scene unfold as Ela dismembers the thing and then triumphantly pulls her severed foot out of its gullet.  Once she has her hands on the foot she falls to the floor, clutching it to her chest and once again covered with blood and disgusting black scum.

Ela tucks the foot down her clown shirt “Well, I suppose now we’re going to have to head to the hospital after all.” She shakes her head as she uses the axe to lever herself to her foot. “Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop smoking crystal meth.”

As they take to the streets once more, they’ve got big problems. Ela has a belt around her ankle as a tourniquet, trying to reduce the blood flow, she leans heavily on Martialla as she grits her teeth and gamely tries to keep up a good pace.  Between that and Lucien on a makeshift crutch and Duke feeling weak from loss of blood, they’re only a hair’s breadth faster than the zombies slowly chasing them.  Elvis leads the way and Tina is at the rear, walking backwards with the axe in her hand and striking down any zombie that proves to be faster than the rest and gets too close.

Elvis is rubbing his hands together obsessively “This is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening . . . “

Ela’s voice is not too pained to sound grim “Yes it is.”

Tina swings the axe and knocks down a zombie at the head of the pack “Shit on me, shit on me, shit on me . . . “

Ela tries to hike herself to stand up straight, choking Martialla in the process “Snap out of it, you morons! None of us are going to make it if two of the three people we have left in good shape wig out, so get a fucking grip! You don’t see anyone else losing it, do you?”

Elvis spins around so fast that he almost falls over “That’s because you’re already crazy!!!  You got your foot bitten off for CHRISTSAKE ! And . . .”

Lucien manages to shove Elvis forward as he hobbles “Keep moving [untranslatable Canadian gibberish]”

Tina hands are shaking violently as she knocks back another faster-than-average zombie “I don’t know how much more of this I can take . . . I don’t know . .  . I can’t . . . I can’t . . .” She backs into Duke and almost knocks him down “. . . THIS IS CRAZY!”

Ela sighs “Look people, all we have to do is get to the hospital, sew my foot back on, pump me and Duke and Lucien full of painkillers and adrenaline and we’ll be good to go. Piece of cake.”

Martialla looks at her “You do know how crazy that sounds right?”

Ela chuckles humorlessly “Crazy? Look around, we’re in a town infested with the walking dead, who are intent on killing us and devouring our flesh.  Given these facts I don’t think crazy has any meaning anymore.”

Martialla nods “Good point.”

Ela talks over whatever Tina and Elvis are trying to say “Okay we’re going to have to pick up the pace here folks, we need to get some distance between ourselves and our friends back there. On the double people, move it, move it, move it!”

They break into the saddest most ragged-ass run you have ever seen outside of a high school gym class, Elvis picking Ela up and Lucien making that crutch fly for all she’s worth. They widen the gap between the pack of zombies behind them and eventually lose them altogether.  But for how long?  Dodging down alleys and cutting through buildings to avoid other zombies, they get to the street that will take them to the Stirling Memorial Hospital.  After only a few blocks through, Martialla calls a halt.

Martialla holds her hand up “Wait a minute, wait a minute, I think I have an idea.” She looks around as if making sure she does have an idea “Yeah, here’s what I want you to do. Tina, you and Duke go over to that bar over there and bring me back as many empty bottles as you can, leave the axe here with Ela.” She waves at the other side of the street “Elvis, you come with me.”

Elvis frowns “What for?”

Martialla half drags him as she heads out “There’s no time to explain, just come on.”

Elvis looks at Tina, who shrugs and then hands the axe to Ela, sitting in the middle of the road with Lucien.  Tina and Duke head for the bar as Elvis hurries up after Martialla.  Lucien and Ela look at each other for a minute and then scoot around back to back, laying the axe to the side where they both keep a hand on it.

Lucien shrugs his shoulders trying to get comfortable, nearly knocking Ela over “What do you think she has in mind?”

Ela takes a deep breath “I don’t know, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this was just a ruse to leave us behind without making a big scene. That’s what I’d do and I taught her everything she knows.”

“Don’t you barely know her?”

Ela sighs “If I could reach, I’d slap you in the face right now.”

“Yeah, I’ve noticed you seem to do that a lot.  So we’re going to die huh?”

Ela sighs deeper “Looks like.”

“Huh . . . too bad right?

Ela lets out a long breath “Yep.”