Possession (sample from the screenplay)

FADE IN:

DRUMS BEAT OVER--

IMAGES FROM GASPAR SCHOTT’S PHYSICA CURIOSA: 17th-Century sketches of surgeries and human monstrosities. Elegantly hideous.

The DRUMMING grows louder. Faster--

SILENCE / CUT TO BLACK.

INT. CRAWL-SPACE UNDER THE STAIRS - NIGHT

Blackness. A little girl’s BREATHING, quick and shallow.

A match strikes. The flare illuminates the face of a SLAVE GIRL, 10, braids tied with muslin ribbons.
Crouched on a pallet, she brings the match to a candle. She waits, eyes wide.

A heavy THUMP comes from somewhere in the house.

Her breath comes quicker as she presses her back to the wall.

A FAINT GHOSTLY WAIL, an anguish like no other.

Terrified, she hugs her knees to her chest.

The DOOR HANDLE TURNS... Her breath quickens--

-- and blows the candle out.

SILENCE / CUT TO BLACK.

INT. SURGERY TENT, U.S. ARMY CAMP - NIGHT

In the darkness, a SCREAM. Behind it, the MOANS OF WOUNDED MEN, the SHOUTING of orders. The HOWL and RATTLE of wind.

SUPERIMPOSE OVER BLACK: CROOKED CREEK, OKLAHOMA 1859

ARMY SURGEON  (O.S.)
We need light over here. Now.

A match lights an oil lamp swinging violently on a hook. It flares to illuminate a metal tourniquet clamped around a MAN’S BLOODY UPPER-THIGH below which are ribbons of gore. 

ARMY SURGEON (O.S.) (CONT’D)
That’s it. Right there, just over the artery.

A SECOND MAN’S HAND twists the foot-long bolt, cinching the vise. The leg trembles, held fast.

ARMY SURGEON (O.S.) (CONT’D)
(sotto)
Are you ready, James?

Medic JAMES FINCH, mid-20’s, grips a large hand-saw and wears a leather splash apron. He has seen more in his young years than most seasoned men. Nonetheless, a nervous nod. Below him, the owner of the leg, SARGE, writhes in an opiate haze on a blood-soaked cot.

The ARMY SURGEON, bearded and haggard, watches over his shoulder.

ARMY SURGEON (CONT’D)
Sergeant? Are you ready, man?

SARGE
(gritted teeth)
Jesus...yes. Yes.

A RED-HAIRED SOLDIER, forehead wrapped in gauze, slides a leather bit between Sarge’s teeth. TWO OTHERS help him pin down the man’s limbs.

RED-HEADED SOLDIER 
Don’t you worry, Sarge. We got ‘em for you.
Every last one. Ain’t nothin’ left but a heap a’ Injun ash.

The Army Surgeon turns back to a DOZEN WOUNDED SOLDIERS, as MEDICS move among them. They need every last hand.

ARMY SURGEON
(leaning in close)
Courage.

With that, the surgeon leaves him. Alone now, James notes the distrustful gazes from the men around him.

JAMES
(sotto)
Forgive me.

James places the saw just below the tourniquet...

To read more click here.