Episode 13: Goodbye Tomorrow
Host Jon's notes on his Episode 13 Pitch:
Prologue – The Future
We open on an observatory. The place is in an excited state of panic. A lead scientist is looking through the telescope at a silver bullet shaped pod streaking across the sky; it has a tail of black smoke and dust. He excitedly turns to his colleagues and says that they have no idea what it is, but it does seem to be a vessel of some kind. Also that it is just on the upper edge of the atmosphere so the debris will dissipate harmlessly. He remarks that they are witnessing the start of a new chapter in humanities future. A champagne cork pops and we cut to black.
Act 1 – Black Clouds
Our main characters are brother and sister, they are called Alex (14) and Phoebe (12) and they live in London. We follow them as they get up in the morning, get ready for school and interact with their parents Lucy and Dan. Theirs is a close and happy family, preparing to deal with another weekday. We see them argue and generally act as usual teenagers as their school day unfolds. Midway through the day the previously bright sky darkens to almost night with a violent storm and driving rain. The rain rattles the classroom windows as we switch from Alex and Phoebe’s classes. It quickly becomes clear that the rain is black like oil as it streaks across the glass and gives the ground a mirrored appearance. Across the playground, outside of the school boundaries they can see some people running for cover under bus stops and trees. The children’s baffled excitement changes as those caught in the rain begin to double over and shake. The small handful of black streaked passerby’s they can see, fall to the floor, and although they are too far away to be heard, they are clearly screaming. Their skin is marbled with black as they squirm and wretch in agony. Many of the children are recording this on their phones with tears streaming down their faces.
A few hours pass with the black storm hammering the country, we learn that there is a huge storm front the length of the globe and it is moving, systematically spreading its poison over the world. The people outside are still writhing on the floor even though the rain has moved on. Alex and Phoebe are still mainly hanging out with their respective friends during the storm, but have been exchanging increasingly worried texts. Both children have spoken to their anxious father who has told them to stay at the school until either he or Lucy can get to them. The children keep asking about their mother but Dan does not know where she is, but assures them that she is fine, probably somewhere in shelter without signal. We see on Dan’s phone that he has both texted and called Lucy’s phone many times to no success. The black rain comes again.
Time moves forward as the sun comes up the next morning. Alex and Phoebe slept next to each other on the makeshift bedding arranged by the school staff. The rain finally stopped sometime in the night, although the ground is slick with the black water. Everybody is eating and drinking food from the kitchens and vending machines. The children and staff are all scared and strung out. Many have been able to contact their loved ones and parents…but not all. Everybody is trying to comfort each other as best as they can but the situation is taking its toll. The news sites and TV detail the Government’s advice which so far is to wait in whatever shelter you can find until more is understood about the situation. Those caught outside are still screaming on the black slick floor, also the obsidian rain water pools but does not evaporate in the bright sunlight. Some people are seen gingerly walk across the wet streets, but the school is still on lock down until more is known. It later that afternoon that large repurposed fire trucks roll down the roads, hosing the black water away to clear the streets. We focus on one of the people caught outside and they are too exhausted to move
or cry anymore, their eyes are sightless in their pain and now assumedly madness. A hazmat covered figure lifts them off of the ground and carefully takes them to the back of a white van, where many other figures lay writhing and softly crying. Alex, Phoebe and their father are eventually reunited late that night as coaches and buses ferry people across the city back to their homes. Thousands of emergency service officers hose the streets and collect the black stained victims of the storm. Vats of black water are removed from the sewers and drains, also people are told to not drink any of the main water supplies at this time so bottled water rations are handed to people as they are taken to their homes. By the next morning Lucy has still not returned, so Dan desperately tries to find out where she is but the country is still in a state of panic and very little support is available. Fears of a biological terrorist attack are quickly dismissed as the whole world has been hit by the black storms, many much worse than Britain. Some countries in the developing world are enveloped with the screams of those caught by the rain; many nations’ infrastructures are decimated by the calamity. Humanitarian aid is sparse to non-existent as the world reels from the mysterious tragedy.
Act 2 – Black Water
A few days pass, most people are still staying indoors. The country is on pause as everybody waits for clear answers. There have been some reports of connections between a strange UFO or comet sighting (prologue) and the black rain, either way the advice is to stay indoors before more is known. However, some have ventured outside to find missing loved ones; they go heavily wrapped in coats and scarves despite the warm early autumn sun just in case it rains again. Dan is one such person as he has gone out a couple of times to search for his wife. Sadly she had a late start to work that morning so would have gone to run some errands and do some shopping on the high-street. He wanders from store to store with a picture of her on his phone, desperate for someone to have seen her. Almost all of the shops are closed, so he never gets any useful information on what happened to her on any of his journeys.
We see one of many warehouses where the rain victims are being kept. There are individuals in hazmat suits walking amongst their straining shrivelled bodies. The sounds of their skeletal bodies writhing sounds like dried leaves blowing in the wind. A discussion between two officials reveals that the victims should be dead as none of them have eaten or drank since the disaster. They are seemingly blinded by their pain and cannot be reached. They are undead in any real sense except that their hearts are somehow still beating, keeping them trapped in agony.
Dan continues to wander the empty streets, he is not alone. Many other people are doing the same, asking in vain if anyone has seen a missing family member or friend. Huge vans go from door to door distributing rations and bottled water. There is a feeling of great and busy anxiety which is interrupted as the clear sky gets stained by black streaks as silver shapes pass silently overhead. Dan watches it as they cross the sky, and then it begins to darken. The UFOs are followed by a cloak of black clouds and rain. There is a pause before it begins to hammer down on the London streets and Dan. He, like everyone else rushes, to the closet shelter. A couple of delivery people in hazmat suits jump in to back of their food van. Others scrabbled and fight to hide under the eaves of the homes and shops. People watch from their windows as stranded people outside scream in panic…most of the onlookers too frightened to open their doors to help. A few do however and try to drag in people. Some of those get black water on their arms and immediately fall back, screaming. Dan crouches in a shop doorway, black water running down his covered arms as he carefully takes his
phone out of his pocket. He vainly tries to open the phone but the touchscreen is soaked with black water and his gloves will not allow him to operate it. Dan can only stare at the picture of his family on the lock screen as black water soaks through his thick gloves and clothes. The phone drops from his hands as the water takes him, his screams barely audible over the rain.
Act 3 – Black Smoke
The warehouses are full of newly howling victims alongside the now eerily silent older ones. Both groups locked in their own pain. There are talks amongst the experts there that they should consider what the long term goals of monitoring the victims are. They do not eat, they cannot communicate…they have been tested thoroughly and nothing has been learned from them. The black water, which defies all comprehension, is in their bodies keeping them in permanent pain but also unable to die. At this point they pose more of a risk to unaffected people than anything else, through contamination.
Alex and Phoebe do not go looking for their father; deep down they know what happened to him. For a couple of days Phoebe sits by the front window waiting for him, but eventually she gives up. Now in the sky there are many of the silver bullet ships hovering high overhead. They are spaced a few miles apart, but the news confirms that they are covering the whole globe. Any one of the ships that gets attacked immediately explodes, raining down black powder. Once that happens another one enters our atmosphere to replace it. We do not know from where as all contact has been lost to any satellites or stations. More time passes and the food deliveries have stopped as has the official news. All information the siblings get is from the internet. The sweeping black rains come every couple of days; most people do not spend more than a few minutes outside because of this.
We cut again to the warehouse where there is huge freshly dug fire pits filled with writhing figures. We see Lucy’s dried, shrunken and half alive body being lowered in to the fire; we only recognise her from her clothes. Then Dan’s screaming form is lifted and also cast to the flames. Like many others his screams stop immediately upon entering the fire. There are no more noises from the victims in the fire, just the sound of hissing fat and crackling flames. Black smoke billows over London from many such facilities, momentarily obscuring the hovering silver ships.
Act 4 – Goodbye Tomorrow
A couple of years have clearly passed given the state of decay across most of London. Alex walks alone in a worn looking hazmat suit that he barely fills. Black rain beats down from a sky of endless clouds. The silver ships still hover overhead, spilling out their poison and waiting patiently for us all to succumb. The streets are clear as cars has been piled against walls or pushed in to the now black Thames. He passes many landmarks before reaching the narrower back streets of Soho. Here there are makeshift covers over the main street. We see bustling groups of people trading goods and talking. He steps under the rattling covers and in to steaming hot shower which washes off the black from his suit. Then with assistance from a couple of people wearing welder’s gloves, he removes the hazmat suit which is then hung to be cleaned. Alex walks through the people until he sees Phoebe, who sees him and smiles broadly at the sight of her brother. We pan up, taking in the endless field of silver ships against the poisoned black clouds and settle on the top of the ramshackle roof which has a spray painted middle finger facing upwards towards the sky.