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Baroque - Scene 6

INT. JASON’S APARTMENT - MORNING

Three movers are lugging a huge thin crate into Jason’s apartment. Jason walks across the room, kicking objects out of the way.

JASON
Right up against this wall.

MOVER
Never seen a painting this big
before. Want us to open the
crate?

JASON
No, thanks. I still need to make
room for it.

MOVER
Here, you gotta sign these papers.

JASON
Great. Thanks.

The Movers leave.

Jason begins clearing room for the crate.

The phone rings.

Jason continues to clear room as he talks.

JASON
Hello.
(pause)
Hey, Mom, how’s it goin?
(pause)

How’s Dad?
(pause)
That's good. Hey Mom, I just had a
painting delivered and I need to
take care of some stuff for it.
(pause)
Oh. It's some rich guy's. He's
paying me to restore it.
(pause)
Yeah, it should pay pretty good
too.
(pause)
Thanks Mom. I'll talk to you
later.
(pause)
Alright. Bye.

Jason takes a hammer and crowbar from his tools, and begins uncrating the painting. As he slides the cover of the crate away he gashes his hand on a nail.

JASON
Fuck!

Jason tries to shake the pain away from his hand, causing several droplets of blood to strike the painting. He walks into the kitchen to wrap it up in a towel.

Unseen by Jason, the grime begins to pulse where the blood hit. Slowly, as if veins were filling with blood and spreading out over a small area of the canvas, the blood is absorbed.

A few small bubbles begin to form on the painting surface.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. JASON'S APARTMENT - EVENING

Jason takes a tape recorder from among his tools, and speaks into it.

JASON
November twelfth, nine p.m..
Restoration for Mr. Adolphe
Starne...

He picks up a tape measure and measures the painting.

JASON
The painting is approximately 12
feet across, by 9 feet tall.

Jason continues to examine the surface of the painting.

JASON
The painting is covered by a
brownish grey grime. It looks
almost like wet ash, but with a
consistency of tar. The back of
the painting has a symbol in the
bottom right-hand corner. The
symbol is photograph one.

He turns off the recorder, picks up a camera, and takes a photograph of the symbol - the same symbol seen earlier on the dagger in Adolphe's mansion, though Jason does not yet make the connection.

Jason grabs a bottle of whiskey from the supply table and pours its contents into a glass.

He turns toward the painting, glass still in hand, and stares for a moment.

He walks up to the painting, reaches out, and touches it with the bandaged hand.

The grime begins to move underneath his finger.

Jason can feel the grime begin to pull on his finger. He
pulls back as quickly as possible. The grime stops moving and seems to clear up where he had his finger.

Jason steps back to the table, pours another drink, gulps it down, and walks back over to the painting.

He touches his finger to the painting again. The grime leaches onto his finger. Jason tries to pull back but the grime wont let go. It is as if the grime is feeding off his finger.

Jason grabs his arm and begins to scream in pain. His arm begins to turn white. His veins bulge out of his arm, and start traveling upwards to his neck. Veins begin to form on the painting surface around Jason's finger.

With each drink of Jason's blood the surface of the painting pulses, slowly at first, then growing more violent.

The grime starts moving up his arm. Jason's screaming is cut short as the grime engulfs his mouth. He convulses as the grime covers his ears and eyes.

The painting begins to clear and Jason's blood can now be seen running down the inside of the painting and onto the wood floors.

Jason remains locked in the grime's grip, his body becoming more and more pale, the painting becoming more and more clear.

The picture of the painting can now be seen. It is the same as it was in the room of the Countess' manor.

The paint on the painting comes to life.

With a loud sound, like a long overdue breath, the door in the painting creeks opens and a shadowed figure emerges.

Behind the shadowy figure are two large tentacles, both similar in appearance to the grime that once covered the painting.

The figure and the tentacles move across the room.

As the figure approaches the front of the painting, the grime moves away from Jason’s face and the painting seems to stop draining his blood.

The once shadowed figure, is now completely visible.

It is the Countess. The years have been very unkind to her.

She is now nothing more than a hunched over hag of a woman, with long grey hair pulled into a loose bun. Her face is badly wrinkled and her hands are riddled with bone bending arthritis. Hanging off of her body is an old tattered dress.

The Countess stares at Jason, at first with malice, then with disbelief - the resemblance between Jason and her son are overwhelming her.

She approaches the front of the picture.

THE COUNTESS
(realization dawning)
Oh, my boy. My darling, darling
precious boy.

The Countess reaches through the painting, as if stretching the painting out into Jason's world. Her hands mere steps away from his head.

Straining to reach him in an almost motherly way she closes her eyes and pushes her face into the painting's surface.

Slowly it stretches through into Jason’s world.

The tentacles begin to move out of the painting, wrap around Jason's body and bring him towards the Countess’ face.

Her form embraces Jason and kisses him.

THE COUNTESS
(whispering)
I have waited so long for you...

The Countess slowly lets go of Jason and recedes back into the painting, followed by the grime and tentacles.

Jason falls to his hands and knees, retches, then collapses and convulses.

The Countess moves back to the door and walks through.

The door closes.

Jason loses consciousness.

The painting is still.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. JASON’S APARTMENT - MORNING

Jason is passed out on the floor.

There is a loud knocking on the door.

VOICE
(muffled voice)
JASON! Wake up!
(louder)
JASON!

Jason comes to, looks around, and walks unsteadily to the door.

He opens the door to see STEVE.

JASON
(holding his head)
Hey. What's up?

STEVE
Marius wants to see you. Whoa.
You smell like shit.

JASON
Fuck you. Tell him I'll be down in
a minute.

STEVE
It smells like turpentine

JASON
Shit, I must've forgotten to cap
the bottles.

STEVE
That shit'll kill ya.

JASON
I know. I gotta get it.

STEVE
Marius said he wants to see you
now..

JASON
(mockingly)
Marius said now! Marius said now!
(angrily)
Are you fucking done?

Jason slams the door, then goes around opening all the windows in his apartment.

He goes to the painting table, picks up an open bottle of turpentine, smells it, and closes the container

JASON
Fuck.

Jason looks at the painting, and notices it is now free of grime.

JASON
Whoa?

Jason touches the painting, examining its entire surface in disbelief that the restoration is done.

JASON
(confused)
What the fuck happened last night?

CUT TO:

EXT. JASON'S APARTMENT

Jason walks to his car as MARIUS, the landlord and gallery owner, approaches from another doorway.

MARIUS
Jason! Were you going to try and
avoid me again?

JASON
What? No. I was just gettin
something from my car.

Jason walks back across the street and enters the gallery with Marius.

Many of Jason's paintings are hanging on the wall in preparation for tonight's show.

They walk into Marius' office where Seth, a contemporary artist, is seated.

Marius sits and opens Seth's portfolio, looking at the pictures as he talks.

MARIUS
So, Jason. Your show is closing
soon?

JASON
Closing? What're you talking
about?

MARIUS
Another artist is taking the spots.

JASON
(thinking he is joking)
Fuck you.

MARIUS
We need more room for selling
paintings.

JASON
Are you serious.

MARIUS
Completely. Listen Jason, I am in
this for the money. And your art
just doesn't move.

JASON
Whatever.

SETH
Times have changed.

JASON
(sharply)
Do I know you?

SETH
I doubt it.

MARIUS
This is Seth, my newest find. The
gallery's gonna be very strong with
Seth. He brings new vision.

JASON
Have I seen any of your work?

SETH
Possibly. Have you seen menstrual
rags on crucifix?

JASON
Are you fucking kidding?

SETH
I figured as much.

MARIUS
Anyways. Tonight has a lot riding
on it Jason. So you better hope
your pieces sell.

JASON
Whatever.

MARIUS
Hey. Whatever doesn't sell, I'm
gonna need your stuff out of here
the next day.

JASON
Fine.

MARIUS
Tomorrow.

JASON
Fine.

Seth reaches into his pocket, removes a dollar, and tosses it on the desk.

SETH
Jason. How about I just buy what
doesn't sell.

JASON
Fuck you!
Jason storms out of the office while Seth and Marius laugh.
As he's walking out of the gallery he sees a couple of the
employees roughly handling one of his paintings.

JASON
Hey! Take it easy with that.

STEVE
Sorry, dude.

Jason leaves. The employees snicker behind his back.

DISSOLVE TO: