1.1 – Sisterhood

IMMUNITIES episode 1.1 – SISTERHOOD

SETTING – Roxanne’s room. It is very quiet. The only sounds are those that would be present throughout the night, such as crickets.

(ROXANNE SCHOLL, a serious woman in her early twenties.)

SOUND: Alarm going off, extremely quietly.

ROXANNE
*moans discontentedly, not wanting to wake up*

SOUND: Alarm being shut off, a little violently.

ROXANNE
(very low)
Ohhh, no, already?
*pause*
Okay, up.
*yawn*

ROXANNE rolls out of bed, pads across the room. The floorboards creak.

ROXANNE opens the door, the floorboards creak more..

(SHELLY SCHOLL, who speaks like a teenager: semi-jock, semi-popular.)

SHELLY
(normal voice, which seems distressingly loud, but sleepy)
Rox?

ROXANNE
*partially suppressed sound of startled terror*

SHELLY
Where are you going?

ROXANNE
(enforced normalcy and friendliness, tone slightly quieter than Shelly’s)
Shelly. What are you doing up?

SHELLY
(lowering her voice a little to match Roxanne, wondering what the big deal is)
I couldn’t sleep, then I heard you bumping around in your room.

ROXANNE
(puzzled, evaluating)
Huh.

SHELLY
Are you going out to meet somebody?

ROXANNE
(automatically)
No.

SHELLY
(joking)
Are you running away?

ROXANNE
(whisper shouting, very shaken by Shelly’s normality)
No!

SHELLY
Rox, what’s wrong?

ROXANNE
Sh! You’ll wake Mom and Dad.

SHELLY
(quieter)
Why are you acting so strange?

ROXANNE
Me?!?

Beat.

SOUND: Roxanne grabs Shelly by the wrist.

SHELLY
Ow! What are you-

SOUND: Roxanne pulls Shelly into Roxanne’s room and closes the door.

SHELLY
Let me go.

SOUND: Roxanne switches on a lamp and pulls it along with its cord.

ROXANNE
Okay, I’ve let you go. Now stand still.

SHELLY
You hurt me. And that light’s too bright.
*pause*
Is there something on my face?

ROXANNE
Shelly, you have to tell me the truth now: Do you really have no idea why I’m going out?

SHELLY
(resentful at being dragged around)
Well I assume it’s to meet one of your idiot boyfriends.

ROXANNE
(nervously hopeful)
Shelly, where do you work?

SHELLY
I don’t. I quit the ‘Freeze at the end of summer. You know that.

ROXANNE
Why did you quit working?

SHELLY
Because I had soccer, and AP English. And Dad said I could.

ROXANNE
So you’re still at Bennett?

SHELLY
(starting to return to normal volume)
No, I moved to Scotland and now I go to Hogwarts. What the hell are you talking about?

ROXANNE
Shh!

SHELLY
Why are you so scared?

ROXANNE
Shelly. You’re not going to Bennett. You haven’t been there in five months. And you don’t play soccer.

SHELLY
What?

ROXANNE
You work at the data exchange. You read books. The closest thing to sports you do is calisthenics with a bunch of…of people like you.

SHELLY
People like me?

ROXANNE
Shelly, is this a trick? Is this some kind of experiment? What could you possibly want from me? I don’t know anything. Mom and Dad keep talking about how you all still love me, why would you do this?

SHELLY
Okay, y’know what? I’m out. Whatever kind of joke you’re trying to play, it’s not funny. I’m going downstairs to watch a movie or something.

SOUND: Roxanne grabs Shelly by the wrist again.

SHELLY
Ow! You know, you don’t have to keep grabbing my wrist in the exact same place.

ROXANNE
Shhh! Shelly you have to stay here and stay quiet.

SHELLY
What the hell, lezbo? Get your hands off of me!
(physically struggling)
Why – are you always – such – a – freak?

SOUND: Roxanne puts her hand over Shelly’s mouth.

SHELLY
(muffled by Roxanne’s hand, barely intelligible)
Oh great, this now? Did you forget how it always ends?

SOUND: Shelly bites down hard on one of Roxanne’s fingers.

ROXANNE
*noise of pain, followed by longer noise of determination*

SOUND: Shelly opens her mouth, Roxanne removes her hand.

SHELLY
(low voice, stunned)
You’re bleeding.

ROXANNE
(solemn)
It’s all right.

SOUND: Roxanne pulls out a kleenex to wrap around her finger.

SHELLY
You didn’t scream.

ROXANNE
*sniffles*
No.

SHELLY
(matter-of-fact)
You’re usually such a baby about stuff like that.

ROXANNE
I guess I’ve grown up a little.

SHELLY
What, during those five months I don’t remember?

ROXANNE
Yes, exactly.

SHELLY
And you really are scared. What’s going on?

Beat.

SHELLY
(whisper shouting)
God damn it! Tell me.

ROXANNE
Be quiet.

SHELLY
No!

ROXANNE
Aliens.

Beat.

SHELLY
What?!

ROXANNE
Aliens have taken over the world.

SHELLY
*starts to laugh, quietly but persistently*

ROXANNE
Shelly…

SHELLY
Okay, okay, you got me. I knew you were trying something but somehow you made me forget who you really are for a second and you got me. Good job.

ROXANNE
It’s not a joke, Shelly.

SHELLY
What are you talking about, of course it’s a joke. Ha ha, there. But it’s over. I’m going downstairs.

ROXANNE
Please don’t, Shelly.

SHELLY
I’ll be quiet. I’ll quietly watch TV without waking anyone like I’ve done a million times. And even if Mom and Dad get up, I won’t mention that you’re gone. So go out and have a big laugh with your freak friends about how you tricked me.

ROXANNE
Shelly, there is no TV downstairs. And if Mom or Dad get up…I don’t know what will happen. But it’ll be bad.
*pause*
All right, I can see you don’t believe me. If I let you go downstairs, do you promise to come right back?

SHELLY
Let me?

ROXANNE
Please!

SHELLY
Okay, whatever.

SOUND: Feet pad on the floorboards. The door quietly opens. Feet go down the stairs, casually. Then they return, more quickly. The door quietly closes.

SHELLY

What happened to the TV?

ROXANNE

You don’t need it anymore.

SHELLY

I…have no idea what you’re saying right now.

ROXANNE

Aliens. Don’t need the TV.

SHELLY

Wh- What?!

ROXANNE

And you’re one of them. Or you were. They think you’re one of them. So you have to pretend.

SHELLY

Rox, this is crazy.

ROXANNE

Or maybe I should sneak you out while I can. Before they get you again.

SHELLY

Get me how?

ROXANNE

It’s the eyes. It happens when you look into their eyes. That’s why they call them Lookers.

SHELLY

(weirded out enough to drop her mistrust)

Lookers.

ROXANNE

Okay. I…don’t know all of it. I don’t know if anyone does. But…

*swallows*

Here we go…

SOUND: REVERIE 1

MAN 1

What a beautiful night.

WOMAN 1

Yes it is.

ROXANNE (V.O.)

About five months ago, there was something in the night sky. Just for an instant. We don’t know what it was, but more than a thousand people saw it. It was about eight o’clock our time, so the people who saw it were mostly on the east coast, and Brazil, western Europe and west Africa.

SOUND: REVERIE 2.

MAN 1

Did you see that?

WOMAN 1

See what?

MAN 1

A light. It’s gone now.

WOMAN 1

Are you okay?

MAN 1

I’m…feeling a little drowsy. I’d better sit down.

WOMAN 1

Here, let me help you.

ROXANNE (V.O.)

Something happened to the people who saw it. For a few minutes they were just listless, then they passed out. A few minutes after that, they started to wake up, and they were different. We still don’t know exactly how they’re different, but they were somehow aware of each other, they could share messages by looking up at the sky. And if someone looked them in the eyes, it would happen to them too.

SOUND: REVERIE 3

MAN 1

*yawns*

WOMAN 1

How are you feeling?

MAN 1

I am feeling much better. I thank you for asking. And you yourself, how are you feeling?

WOMAN 1

Oh I’m fine. Or, I was fine. I feel a little unsteady now.

MAN 1

I suggest having a rest. It did me a world of good. Here let me help you.

ROXANNE (V.O.)

And it made them want to do that; to change everyone. So they looked at their families, and then searched out friends, strangers, everybody.

SHELLY

I’m going to lie down.

SOUND: Both of them sit on the bed.

ROXANNE

Here, put your head in my lap. But look up at me so I know you’re not falling asleep. It’s important.

SHELLY

Heh. I’m not sure I’ll ever sleep again. Tell me what happened next.

ROXANNE (V.O.)

In an hour there were ten times as many. In another hour a hundred times. Some of them must have just gotten into cars and started driving. Others got on planes. Even though it was really late at night in a lot of places, within eight hours there were more than a million.

SOUND: REVERIE 4: a normal breakfast at the Scholl house.

ROXANNE

Hey Mom, have we got any pop tarts?!

SHELLY

Oh my God, Rox, why don’t you just inject poisonous fat in your butt?

ROXANNE

Maybe I’ll do that, Shel. Wouldn’t want it bony like yours.

SHELLY

Probably wouldn’t the worst thing you ever got inj-

SYLVIA

Can you girls leave each other alone for just one minute?! You’re practically adults for God’s sake.

ROXANNE

Hey I’m eighteen-

RONALD

SHUT THE HELL UP. EVERYBODY. JESUS!

SOUND: Doorbell.

SHELLY

I’ll get it.

SOUND: Door opens.

MAN 1

Is this the Smith residence?

SHELLY

No. I don’t know any Smiths around here.

MAN 1

Sorry for bothering you. I hope you have a fine day.

SOUND: Door closes.

RONALD

(from the next room)

WHO WAS THAT?

SHELLY

I…don’t know. I…I’m going to lie down.

ROXANNE (V.O.)

And they were spreading faster than anyone could figure out what was going on. They were winning, but something else was happening too. Some people didn’t change. We think maybe one person out of two thousand. And they tended to stick out.

SOUND: REVERIE 5

CARRIE KRAY

(hysterical)

You don’t understand: My husband is not my husband! Something happened to him while he was sleeping.

MAN 1

Ma’am, please remain calm. Just give me your name and address and remain exactly where you are.

ROXANNE (V.O.)

They hadn’t expected anyone to be immune. Well, I guess they knew it wouldn’t affect most blind people, they were ready for that, but they didn’t expect there to be sighted people who just didn’t change. Some of us got locked up. But most were watched over by their families.

SOUND: REVERIE 6 –

SOUND: Bodies wrestling on the floor.

ROXANNE

LET! ME! GO!

SYLVIA

Honey, calm down. Just go to sleep and everything will be fine when you wake up.

ROXANNE

I don’t want to sleep. I just want to get out of here. I hate you all!

RONALD

You do not mean that.

SYLVIA

Ronald, why is she like this? I do not understand.

ROXANNE (V.O.)

By the time a full day had gone by, there were something like a billion Lookers, all over the world. And they kept making more.

SHELLY

And what were you doing while all this went on?

ROXANNE

I was dealing with you guys.

SOUND: REVERIE 7

SYLVIA

Roxanne, I know that things are not the way you want them to be. They are not the way we would want them to be either. We are just going to have to learn to live with our differences until we find a way to correct them.

ROXANNE (V.O.)

I was surrounded, and they wouldn’t tell me anything, so for the next two days I just sat in the living room and watched tv. The news stations kept going off the air and back on again. There was some news at first about people getting sick from watching tv, and then they stopped mentioning it. But there was this one woman, Carrie Kray, who kept coming back. She said there was a terrorist attack, some kind of virus. She’d give instructions from the government, but they kept changing..

SOUND: REVERIE 8 –

CARRIE KRAY

Hello. This is Carrie Kray with a new public health announcement. Medical authorities say that the virus has had a very different impact in different areas. Viewers in the blue area, marked with a B, should wait in your homes until aid workers can reach you. They will have identification cards like the one appearing on your screen right now, and you should let them in so they can assure the safety of your household. Those in the green area, marked with a G, should leave your house as soon as possible and proceed to the nearest treatment center. You can find its location by calling our help line or visiting our website. Note that the virus makes some victims paranoid and dangerous, so you should be very careful of anyone who seems panicked or potentially violent.

ROXANNE (V.O.)

I heard later she was something called an Alpha. One of us, but on their side. And maybe people didn’t completely believe her, but they didn’t know what else to do. There was gunfire at random intervals all day long, but she didn’t say who was shooting who. And then, out of nowhere, she said there was a truce.

SOUND: REVERIE 9 –

CARRIE KRAY

Hello. This is Carrie Kray. I have very good news for everyone. The most important thing is that the crisis is over. There is no danger of viral contamination and therefore no need for government inspections of homes or of moving to treatment areas. However, in the wake of the crisis there are going to be some big changes in the structure of our society…

ROXANNE (V.O.)

Apparently some navy ships threatened to start nuking cities rather than let the Lookers get them. And there were immune people on the loose all over the place, smashing cars and shooting people, and the Lookers weren’t very good at coping with them. So the Lookers said that if we’d live in peace then they’d stay where they were and leave everybody else alone. They’d even take care of any blind people and immune people who chose to live with them.

SHELLY

And people agreed to that?

ROXANNE

Oh yeah.

SHELLY

How many people are there, that they didn’t take over?

ROXANNE

Last I heard, about ninety million.

SHELLY

Ninety million Americans?

ROXANNE

No, ninety million humans. Maybe three million in the U.S., scattered around in out-of-the-way places the Lookers didn’t get to.

SHELLY

Oh Jesus.

ROXANNE

And most of them aren’t immune. So they have to stay out of the Lookers’ way, in places called Overlooks, and we immune people have to behave or they’ll go after the others.

SHELLY

So there was a fight for like three days, and then for five months you’ve just been hanging out? They took over and that’s it?

ROXANNE

(keeping a secret)

Well…what else can I do?

SHELLY

You’re holding back again.

ROXANNE

Shelly, I don’t know what this is. I’ve never seen anyone just become normal again. I have to be careful. You might just change back into one of them. You might be one of them now.

SHELLY

You believe that?

ROXANNE

No. But I don’t trust myself. I want this to be true so much, and they would know that.

SHELLY

*sighs, running out of energy*

So now it’s you that doesn’t believe me. And I’m still half-expecting you to tell me it’s all just a story.

ROXANNE

(whispers shouting)

It isn’t!

SHELLY

(really running down)

Oh God…

*yawn*

…this is too complicated. I’m too tired to deal with it. Maybe this really is a joke, or maybe you’ve just gone off the deep end and threw the TV in the trash because you think it’s all real. I just know I have to close my eyes now.

ROXANNE

Wait. Shelly, no, Shelly Shelly Shelly.

SHELLY

Don’t worry. It’s just for a second.

SOUND: Sleep alarm again. At the same volume. Background noise changes from crickets to chirping birds.

ROXANNE

*groans, much like last time she woke up, but ending on a note of anxiety*

Oh Jesus.

SOUND: POV of Roxanne walking down the stairs, including creaking. Sound of family wordlessly eating breakfast gets steadily louder.

ROXANNE

(hoping everything will have changed)

Good morning all. Good morning Shelly.

(SYLVIA, RONALD and SHELLY all speak with a similar affect: slowly, deeply self-satisfied and tranquil, though an undercurrent of emotion also comes through. SYLVIA is generally a little judgmental of Roxanne, SHELLY dismissive, and RONALD sympathetic.)

SHELLY

(a little suspicious at being singled out)

Good…morning, Roxanne.

ROXANNE

(careful)

Thanks, Shelly. You’re looking well.

SHELLY

You are up unusually early.

ROXANNE

(disappointed)

Yeah.

SYLVIA

Good morning, Roxanne. You are still in your bed clothes.

ROXANNE

Yeah, Mom, I uh…I just felt like getting down here and eating before everybody starts to leave for work.

SYLVIA

*hum of appraisal, turning not entirely trusting; a little weird but not beyond what a human might do*

RONALD

*steadier hum, overlapping with the end of Sylvia’s and then merging with his line*

That is a very welcome development.

ROXANNE

Thanks Daddy.

SYLVIA

*hums again, as if putting a good spin on things*

Did you sleep well, dear?

ROXANNE

Pretty deeply I guess.

SYLVIA

Would you like me to cook you something?

ROXANNE

No thanks, some toast and fruit is fine. Anyway, I don’t want you to be late for work.

SYLVIA

Work is important. But you know that you are very important to us as well. If you ever need anything, please just ask us.

ROXANNE

Thanks Mom, I will.

SYLVIA

You know, I wish so much that you could be…

RONALD

*starts humming, as if in warning*

SYLVIA

*hums in harmony with him, and they stop*

I’m sorry. Here you came to have breakfast with us and I am making a scene. Have a seat.

ROXANNE

I’ve always liked eating standing up, remember Mom?

SYLVIA

I remember that I have always tried to get you to sit down.

SOUND: Roxanne slides out chair, sits.

ROXANNE

Shelly, you look surprised. Afraid you won’t be the only good daughter anymore?

SHELLY

Not afraid, no. But your behavior is contrary to what history has led me to expect.

SYLVIA & RONALD together

*corrective hum, directed at Shelly*

ROXANNE

No, guys, it’s all right. Some things never change. We’re all just who we are.

RONALD

Are you feeling completely well, Roxanne?

ROXANNE

Yeah, Dad, I’m all right. You know me, late starter. Shelly’s right, I’m not used to jumping out of bed and heading straight down. They’ll give me coffee at the shop, and I’ll be fine.

SYLVIA

Oh Roxanne, why do you conceal yourself?

ROXANNE

(trying to hide alarm)

What?

SYLVIA

You’re so intelligent, you should be doing something important.

ROXANNE

Are you saying that re-utilizing electrical parts isn’t important? Because I don’t think they’d have us sorting them out if it wasn’t.

SYLVIA

Yes, but, there are many people who could help with that. There are things you can help with which very few can do.

ROXANNE

I don’t agree with those things.

SYLVIA

(voice rising)

But they’re for your own-

RONALD

Sylvia.

SYLVIA

Well, there I go again. I guess we have some well worn pathways of behavior in our brains.

ROXANNE

Very well-worn.

RONALD

Please do not mistake us, Roxanne. We are so glad you chose to stay with us here. I know part of you must have wanted to go away. But I think it is better for everyone this way.

SYLVIA

Yes, it is.

Beat.

ROXANNE
Not going to join in, Shelly?

SHELLY

I am sorry, I was thinking about work. Your presence of course incurs my gratitude as well.

SYLVIA

You have always had so much potential. We have just always wanted to see you fulfill it.

RONALD

But whatever you do, you know that we love you.

ROXANNE

(very emotional)

I know.

SYLVIA and RONALD together

*contented hum*

Beat.

SYLVIA

Well, your father and I must get to work. Would either of you like a ride?

ROXANNE & SHELLY

Don’t worry.

ROXANNE

*chuckles*

RONALD

*contented hum*

Our daughters. So determined to be self-sufficient.

SYLVIA

Well, have a good day, girls.

SOUND: SYLVIA and RONALD exit, door opens and closes.

ROXANNE

Jinx.

SHELLY

Excuse me?

ROXANNE

Buy me a coke.

SHELLY

There are no carbonated beverages here. They are unhealthy and- oh, I see, the game. I do not think you followed the rules correctly.

ROXANNE

That’s me. Always the rules-breaker.

SOUND: Roxanne rinses her dish in the sink.

SHELLY

Hm.

ROXANNE

Well, I’ve got to get ready. Hope you have a good day at work.

SHELLY

(stretching it out, thoughtful or suspicious)

Thaaank yooou.

SOUND: Roxanne starts to ascend the stairs.

SHELLY

Roxanne?

ROXANNE

(hopeful)

What?

SHELLY

You came to breakfast earlier than usual. And when you first arrived, you looked at me with unusual intensity, and then continued to inspect me visually throughout the meal. Why?

ROXANNE

No reason.

SHELLY

You always have a reason.

ROXANNE

Mom and Dad didn’t seem to think there was anything suspicious.

SHELLY

They have not interacted with you on the level that I have. You and they have a different power dynamic. My struggles with you were important to me, back when such things mattered. So it was important for me to be able to discern when you had an agenda, and you had one this morning. Tell me what it was.

ROXANNE

It was just a joke.

SHELLY

A joke?

ROXANNE
I thought the way you were sitting was really funny, and I wanted to remember it right so I could make a joke about it to Dom later.

Beat.

SHELLY

I’m afraid I don’t get a lot of your jokes. Nor your interest in young men like Dominic.

ROXANNE

Yeah, you never did.

SHELLY

Hmmm. That’s true.

ROXANNE

(very emotional again)

I guess some things never do change.

Beat.

SHELLY

Hm.

SILENCE

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