Thomas Cassidy, a former military intelligence operative seeks answers from a mysterious Arabic notebook in this original screenplay.
VOW TO KILL is an adult thriller with character drama and exciting action sequences. The film is set in 2001, as Cassidy hunts down clues to solve a mystery involving the events of September 11th.
This second chapter further develops Cassidy’s family. He’s finally rebuilt his life after a tragedy and now he’s forced into this chase by a madman on the day of his wedding.
THIS TIME… Cassidy overcomes his first challenge. His training comes in handy during a fight. And we get a few more clues.
My screenplay is presented here in the experimental PICTUREplay format. Images represent characters from the script. These pictures may not always match up perfectly. This is intended to make the reading of a screenplay a little more entertaining. I hope you enjoy.
If you want t0 read the full screenplay email me for the PDF – thelastfountain (a t ) gmail -dot-com
Click, listen, scroll – to music from JOY DIVISION with “She’s Lost Control”
VOW TO KILL: CHAPTER II – pages 9 – 25
The final photo is timestamped: 08:36AM, 09/10/01 (September 10th, 2001).
EXT. STREET – YESTERDAY
Boots walk along an asphalt street.
Thomas strolls down the middle of the road.
No cars. Just him – smoking that joint.
Until Melody runs over.
MELODY Thomas. Wait up… Thomas?
Thomas can’t hear her over his headphones.
She catches up, and taps him on the shoulder. He startles and turns to Melody.
MELODY I could smell that from down the street.
Thomas, annoyed, removes his headphones.
MELODY (CONT.) (smirks) Pass the dutchie to the left hand side?
Thomas doesn’t seem impressed. He doesn’t answer.
They keep walking. Melody examines him.
He exhales a thick cloud, then passes her the joint.
MELODY Thanks, bro.
THOMAS Shouldn’t you be trying on dresses or some shit?
MELODY Been there. Done that.
MELODY So, you ready for the big day? Mom will be pissed. You still didn’t cut your hair.
THOMAS Fuck that.
MELODY Whatever. I’m excited.
THOMAS You would.
They walk for a bit, sharing an awkward silence.
MELODY So… where you headed?
MELODY Touché. Come on, Tommy, whatchu doin today?
THOMAS Same old.
MELODY Lemme come.
THOMAS Why do you wanna?
MELODY Are you okay, Thomas?
THOMAS Fuck off, Melody.
MELODY I’m just sayin’ if you wanna talk I–
MELODY You’re right. Whatever… So you goin to the arcade? Let’s go shoot some videogame bad guys.
MELODY What is this? Kush?
THOMAS Good, right?
Melody coughs. A lot. Thomas laughs.
MELODY Ya. Good.
click, listen, scroll to NINA SIMONE with “Blackbird”
INT. HOUSE – YESTERDAY
Cassidy stands in front of a mirror adjusting his tie.
Slender hands reach around his shoulders. It’s Janet. She peeks over and smiles.
CASSIDY Just one more appointment.
JANET Travel agency?
CASSIDY Won’t take long. I’ll be back for lunch.
He turns to face her. They smile large. A quiet moment. Then they kiss.
JANET I can’t believe it. Tomorrow. It’ll be official. Mrs. Janet Cassidy.
CASSIDY I like the sound of that.
JANET Me too.
Cassidy’s smile twitches. Thinking.
Janet notices. She raises an eyebrow.
JANET What? Tell me.
CASSIDY You think Alan would approve of me?
CASSIDY You know. Raising his daughter? Taking care of you?
JANET Yeah. I think so.
JANET No, no. Don’t be. And Marilyn? What of her? You think she’d approve of me?
Cassidy can’t answer. He’s conflicted. He forces a smile.
CASSIDY Of course.
They kiss. Their hands caress another. They separate and stare into one another’s gaze.
She runs a soft hand across his cheek.
EXT. GRAVEL ROAD – TODAY
Cassidy traces his hand across her cheek, like Janet did.
He walks towards the vacant vehicle: a white Sedan. His tux is slung over his shoulder in its protective sleeve.
He sips his bottled water and looks to the sun. He shields his eyes with one hand.
He checks his watch: 10:23AM.
INT. CAR – MOMENTS LATER
The car door opens – rusty and noisy.
Cassidy tosses the tux into the backseat.
He plops into the frontseat.
He looks around for some sort of clue. He flips the visor down to block the sun.
He notices his reflection. He’s got a day’s worth of stubble. He looks disheveled.
He cranks his neck. He examines his jawline in the mirror. A tiny dot of blood. An injection site.
He checks the car again. A key is in the ignition.
He lifts the armrest and peers inside. Nothing.
He reaches across and opens the glove compartment. A sheet of paper is inside. He retrieves it.
The page is typed with driving instructions.
Cassidy starts the car engine.
click, listen, scroll – JERRY GOLDSMITH score for WARLOCK
EXT. STREET – BIT LATER
The white Sedan drives down a city street. It’s covered in dust and dirt.
The car honks as it weaves through morning traffic.
The street signs are all in Arabic. Small English text accompanies each sign.
This is an ethnic region of downtown America. People from all races shop the streets.
INT. CAR – CONTINUOUS
Cassidy wipes some sweat off of his brow.
He peaks out through the windshield, peering up to the storefront signs.
He looks to the driving instructions in one hand, while he drives with another.
He swerves the vehicle, barely avoiding traffic, and skidding into a parking spot.
EXT. SIDEWALK – MOMENTS LATER
Cassidy stares up at a storefront with Arabic signage, his protected suit slung over his shoulder.
There are some hardcover books stacked in the window.
A teenage boy, TARIQ (17), walks down the sidewalk, handing out flyers to passerbys.
Cassidy looks down to the instructions, then folds it up and puts it in his pants pocket.
He checks his surroundings.
Tariq continues down the sidewalk, getting closer.
Street vendors haggle with customers.
Cassidy gathers his thoughts. He checks his watch.
Tariq approaches Cassidy.
TARIQ Do you have any experience with Allah? Our creator. Our protector.
CASSIDY Uh. So to speak.
TARIQ There’s daily seminars at the Bayview Mosque open to all faiths. Listen to our voices. Understand Islam.
TARIQ It means peace. Come learn more and see the world through new eyes.
CASSIDY Sorry, kid, I’m a little busy.
TARIQ We are never too busy for understanding.
CASSIDY Insha Allah.
TARIQ You speak Arabic, sir?
CASSIDY A little. I spent time over in– over there.
TARIQ Do you bare witness to our prophet?
CASSIDY Like I said, I’m bus– Here, kid. I’ll take a flyer.
TARIQ Wait. Do you actually want it?
CASSIDY I know you’re just doin your job. So. Lemme help. I’ll take the flyer.
TARIQ Do you bare witness–
CASSIDY Heh, you speak Arabic, right?
TARIQ Of course. My parents brought us over here when I was just–
CASSIDY Can you help me? I need something translated.
Cassidy pulls out the notebook from his pocket.
TARIQ My uncle, Shihab, will be mad if I don’t hand these out.
CASSIDY Where is he? Can I talk to him?
TARIQ He’s at home, I think.
CASSIDY I’ll pay you. If you help. It won’t take long.
TARIQ (interested) Pay?
CASSIDY Yeah. Please. Take a look.
Tariq takes the notebook. He opens it. And begins to read it to himself.
Cassidy awaits anxiously. He taps his foot. He watches the other passerbys.
A man in a green truck looks away once Cassidy notices him.
Tariq stops reading, and looks up from the notebook. Slowly.
TARIQ (worried) Who… are you?
Cassidy doesn’t answer. He furls his brow. He checks his surroundings, suspicious.
Tariq notices. He hesitates.
Cassidy grinds his teeth. He doesn’t want to answer.
TARIQ (cautious) Where’d you get this?
CASSIDY Why? What does it say?
TARIQ (anxious) I gotta go. Sir.
CASSIDY No wait. What is it?
TARIQ I’ll get in trouble.
CASSIDY Listen. Call me Cass. Someone gave me this. They told me it would help me find someone. I need–
TARIQ Are you from the wars?
CASSIDY (hesitant) What? I– Look, kid, a long time ago I fought in a pointless war. Yes. But– Why do you need to know?
TARIQ I better go.
CASSIDY Wait. Heh, what’s your name?
CASSIDY Tariq? Good. Like I said, I’m Cass. Well, Thomas Cassidy. My wife is in trouble. I need your help.
TARIQ You don’t have a wedding ring.
Tariq laughs. Cassidy smiles with him.
He swings his tuxedo around and opens the protective sleeve, revealing what’s inside.
CASSIDY See. Wedding tux.
TARIQ If you say so. But, how do I know it’s yours?
The two stare down one another. Tariq has his arms folded.
Cassidy retrieves his wallet. There’s only $20 inside. He exhales in frustration.
Tariq taps his foot.
Cassidy looks to his watch, takes it off and holds it out.
CASSIDY Here. Payment. Happy now?
Tariq remains hesitant.
CASSIDY (CONT.) Listen, Tariq, believe it or not, later today I’m getting married.
TARIQ Why are you here then?
CASSIDY Someone… Made me.
Tariq looks Cassidy up and down, suspiciously. He looks to his wrinkled and battered shirt and tie.
He examines the helpless expression on Cassidy’s face. He looks to the expensive looking watch.
Tariq takes the watch and flips it over and over in his hand. He smiles.
TARIQ This book. It’s from bad mens.
CASSIDY What does this have to do with Marilyn?
Tariq sifts through the pages of the notebook.
TARIQ I can read more later… The watch?
CASSIDY Keep it. I trust you… Insha Allah.
TARIQ Okay. I talk. Well. My uncle. He warns me. These bad people try and get us when we’re young. This book. It talks of them. These mens look for fighters.
Tariq keeps quiet as an elder Arabic wan walks by him. The teen scans the area, suspicious.
TARIQ Cass? Are you going to hurt someone?
CASSIDY I’m just supposed to meet someone.
TARIQ Don’t… Leave. Go home.
CASSIDY I can’t. They’ll all die.
TARIQ You die. You stay.
TARIQ They are serious mens.
CASSIDY So am I.
click, listen, scroll – JOY DIVISION with “Transmission”
INT. ARCADE – YESTERDAY
Videogame soldiers get blasted away.
Thomas and Melody stand at an arcade machine with fake guns in their hands. They shoot at the large screen, cheering and laughing as they play the game.
MELODY Fuck ya. We win.
THOMAS Uh, it doesn’t work like that. Wanna play again?
MELODY Let’s play somethin else.
THOMAS I thought you liked the gun games?
MELODY Not as much as you. It’s in your blood.
MELODY Duh. You’re a natural born killer.
THOMAS Like Woody Harrelson?
MELODY (laughs) No. Like your dad, dude. You’re a born soldier, man.
THOMAS (winces) Whatever.
MELODY Whatever? Yeah right. Didn’t you just apply for the–
THOMAS Not now, Mel. Drop it.
MELODY Geeze. That time of the month or what?
Thomas tries to keep a not impressed reaction. But it fails. He can’t help but laugh. Melody joins in.
MELODY Come on. Let’s get some munchies.
THOMAS I like the way you think, Melly.
EXT. STORE – BIT LATER
Melody and Thomas exit the convenience store with a bagfull of munchies.
THOMAS Dude needs to learn English.
MELODY Harsh. You need to find a slower way to say your brand of smokes. Shit. That was like in fast forward, bro.
THOMAS Whatever. “Bro”.
They walk down the street. Melody bites into a Twizzler.
MELODY So… You bringin Leah to the wedding tomorrow?
MELODY Yeah. Leah, as in don’t call me Leia, I ain’t no princess, Leah… I thought you two were back together again?
THOMAS We’re on and off. Right now. That switch is stuck to off.
THOMAS She says I’m slippin.
MELODY Tommy? Maybe she’s right.
THOMAS Not you too.
MELODY Why don’t you wanna talk about it?
THOMAS My mom’s dead. What else is there to say. She’s gone. Forever.
MELODY Talking helps. That’s how, ya know, I got over m-my Dad.
THOMAS I just wanna forget it ever happened.
MELODY I know… But it did.
THOMAS Mel, your mom is great. But. I’ll never call her “Mom”.
MELODY I’m not sayin you should. But. She’s there for you. In that same way she was.
THOMAS (cold) It’s not the same.
They walk down the street. Not saying any more on the subject. Melody watches Thomas with curiousity.
MELODY (clears throat) You wanna see Evanescence play? Courtney’s got an extra ticket. I can call once we get back–
MELODY (smiles) You heard me. Concert. Music. Loud. Fun. Want some?
THOMAS I dunno.
MELODY Come on. We’re family now. Let’s do something fun.
THOMAS Fuck it… That chick has a pretty heavy band. Shit. I’m down.
MELODY Cool beans.
Thomas can’t help but smile. Melody pinches his cheek like a grandmother. He shoves her away, playfully.
click, listen, scroll – JERRY GOLDSMITH score for RAMBO II
INT. BOOKSTORE – TODAY
A hardcover book: ARABIAN DISCOURSE ON METHOD – CLASSICAL SCIENCE. Cassidy lifts it up.
He flips the text over, reading the back. His tux is slung over his shoulder.
He sets it down next to another book resting on the store’s front counter: IRAQ – THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION.
CASSIDY Any luck?
He turns to a bearded man, MO (30s), sitting behind the counter. He reads Cassidy’s Arabic Notebook with intent.
CASSIDY (clears throat) Mo? Any luck with the translation?
Mo lowers his glasses. He strokes his beard a moment, examining Cassidy.
MO Who gave this to you?
CASSIDY What does it matter?
MO Is this a joke of some sorts? I do not take it lightly when–
CASSIDY This is serious… Is it that bad?
Mo tucks the notebook into his light jacket.
MO (CONT.) It very bad.
Cassidy watches him carefully.
Mohammed rises from the chair. He removes his glasses and sets them on the counter.
MO This book is not for your eyes. Who gave it to you?
CASSIDY I can’t tell you that.
MO Oh. I see. Who you take this from?
MO You CIA? FBI?
CASSIDY I told you already. Now tell me. What does it say?
Mo laughs as he walks around the counter. His hands glide across its surface.
Cassidy watches him.
CASSIDY (calm) Mohammed?
Mo smiles an odd smile, as his left hand reaches under the counter, grabbing an elegant letter opener.
Its sharp tip glints.
CASSIDY (soothing) Look, like I said before, I was told to come here.
MO (sneering) Whoever told you that, must not like you very much, Mr. Cassidy.
CASSIDY (stern) Mo?
Mo LUNGES at Cassidy with the piercing letter opener.
Cassidy KNOCKS Mo’s forearm away.
In that same motion, he drops the tux, and flat-palm SHOVES Mo in the chest.
Mo stumbles back a step.
Enough time for Cassidy to grab that thick text from the counter. He WHIPS it into the blade hand.
The bladed letter opener drops. Mo winces in pain.
Cassidy grabs a pen from the counter. He picks up another book to defend with.
Mo rises, the letter opener tight in his grasp.
MO How did you find that? What happened to him?
CASSIDY I don’t know. This was forced on me.
Mo charges Cassidy again.
He dodges a series of swipes. One careems off his book.
Cassidy swings the book up and STRIKES Mo’s jaw.
He SLAMS his elbow into the blade hand. The blade falls.
Cassidy has the pen pressed under Mo’s Adam’s Apple.
CASSIDY I don’t want to hurt you.
MO Liar. Do it.
CASSIDY I just want answers. What does it say about Marilyn Cassidy?
MO Americans. You are so selfish. You think this is about you–
Cassidy pushes the sharp tip of the pen into Mo’s neck. Applying a little more pressure.
CASSIDY (near whisper) This pen requires very little pressure to perforate your Adam’s Apple. I told you, I don’t wanna hurt you… But I will… Tell me. Where is my wife!
MO This book has nothing to do with your bitch wife.
Cassidy swishes at the air, twirling the pen around and jamming it into Mo’s arm.
It pierces the flesh.
Cassidy drags the weapon across the arm, trailing a long gash behind.
MO Fuck you.
CASSIDY (twists pen) What? Didn’t catch that.
MO His diary. Okay… That’s what it is.
CASSIDY A diary? Who’s?
MO I don’t know.
Cassidy raises the pen again. Ready to strike. Threatening.
MO Okay. Okay. They’re coming. Here.
Mo crumbles to the ground. Upset. He breathes heavy.
CASSIDY What? Tell me.
Mo bangs on the rug below him. Upset. Fighting tears.
MO (sad, lyrical) “Home of the brave”… They’re–
Mo notices the intricate pattern on the rug. His mood shifts. His culture stares back at him.
MO They’ll do it without me.
Mo grabs the letter opener, fallen on the ground.
Cassidy notices. He lunges for Mo.
It’s too late.
Mo savagely plunges the tip into his neck.
Cassidy rushes to his aid. It’s pointless. He stops.
Blood sprays out onto the tux’s protective sleeve.
Cassidy looks for something to help with Mo’s injury.
Mo coughs. Blood speckles his face. He smiles that odd smile. And dies.
Cassidy stares down at the dead man. A combination of perplexity and compassion.
He reaches inside the dead man’s jacket and retrieves the Arabic notebook.
He checks his watch: 11:44 AM.
EXT. BOOKSTORE – BIT LATER
///to be continued…
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