Storyline for a Chabrolesque psychological thriller
by Mitch Wicking
Sometimes being alone with the truth is too much to bear…
A serial killer is at large, but the police have no leads.
The killer is MATTHEW GILES, 44, an unassuming shop assistant in a department store. A bit of a loner, he is friendly enough and has a subtly black sense of humour.
He lives on his own in a council block. He doesn’t have a girlfriend. His only companions are his gold fish.
He maintains that he lives alone because he was jilted in his early 20s and has never recovered. She was the only one for him. There will never be another.
One day a new neighbour moves in next door. She is mid-20s, pretty and friendly. She works in the florists opposite the store where Matthew works. Her name is KEELEY JONES.
She appears to fancy him and tries to befriend him. But Matthew is wary and tries to avoid her advances. However, the attention is also flattering and he also finds her attractive.
But can he afford such contact? What if he gets the urge suddenly in her company?
But she is persistent, hard to ignore. Gradually she infiltrates his life. He takes a chance and lets her in. They start a tentative relationship.
Then Keeley unexpectedly bumps into a woman on the street. Keeley becomes nervous. They talk about something that has happened in the past, something concerning a friend of Keeley’s.
The woman she is talking to is JENNIFER BAINES, early 30s. She is unnaturally inquisitive, but also concerned and wants Keeley to stay in touch. Keeley lies about where she is living. Jennifer becomes suspicious.
That’s because Jennifer is a WPC.
The encounter rattles Keeley and she seems to act with more purpose and urgency. She starts to keep surveillance on Matthew when she is not with him.
Jennifer persuades Keeley to go for a drink. Keeley does her best to appear casual and at ease – but then Jennifer asks why Keeley lied about her address. Keeley becomes edgy. She says she didn’t want the police knowing where she was living.
Why? Keeley struggles to answer. Jennifer wants to know what is going on? She wants to know why she is living next door to Matthew Giles?
Keeley reveals the truth – she is hoping to catch Matthew in the act. She is convinced Matthew killed her friend BETHANY HENDERSON. Bethany was found murdered two years ago. The killer was never caught. Matthew was a suspect, but quickly eliminated from the investigation.
But Keeley knows for a fact that Matthew’s alibi was false. The police didn’t believe her.
Jennifer is disturbed by Keeley’s determination.
“Why are you so obsessed with hunting Giles?”
“Because Beth wasn’t just my friend. We were in love.”
Jennifer is even more concerned now. Keeley is playing a dangerous game. Not only is Matthew beyond suspicion – but mentally, Keeley could be damaging herself with the obsession. Jennifer tells Keeley to back off.
Keeley storms out and finds a quiet place to think before going home. She bumps into Matthew on the stairs. He wants to know why she looks so upset. She says she had a row with a friend of hers in the pub.
Matthew seems different all of a sudden. Seems to be glowing with confidence and control. He seems to have a different smile. The smile of a man with a swagger.
He reaches forward and kisses Keeley. She is taken by surprise, but pretends to enjoy it. He breaks away and says he will be back in a while. Perhaps they can finish off what they have started.
Keeley says okay. But once inside her flat, she is repulsed by the kiss and goes to shower away the disgust and tries to hatch a plan to avoid meeting Matthew later.
But Matthew doesn’t turn up.
Keeley falls asleep on the sofa. She wakes to an early morning breaking news story – about the murder of a WPC the night before who was on her way home from a meeting with a friend in a pub. The WPC’s name is Jennifer Baines. She was married only last month and had an 18-month old daughter.
Keeley is mortified.
In a rage, Keeley goes next door and starts banging on the door. Matthew opens it sleepily.
Keeley stomps in. Matthew closes the door. And locks it.
The swagger of the night before has gone. He is back to his old, calm, calculating manner. As inoffensive as could be.
“What’s the matter?”
Keeley takes a deep breath, composes herself.
“I was expecting you last night. What happened to you?”
“I was tired. And it was late. I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Did you have a nice evening?”
“Yeah, it was okay. A mate’s birthday. We had a few drinks. I think I’m still drunk.”
Keeley has a sudden idea.
“Well why don’t you go and have a shower to wake yourself up and I’ll cook you some scrambled eggs to cure your scrambled brain.”
“Okay.” Matthew smiles and heads for the bathroom.
Satisfied he is in the shower, Keeley sneaks into Matthew’s bedroom and quickly looks for the clothes he was wearing the night before in the hope they might have traces of Jennifer’s murder on them.
Frantically searching, Keeley finds the dark jeans and top he was wearing. She scans the clothing quickly and then stops. Is that blood on the sleeve of the top?
Before she can look harder, she realises Matthew has come into the room. He is looking coldly at her – and then he breaks into that sly smile she saw the night before.
“You’re that girl’s friend, aren’t you?”
“The one who was murdered two years ago.”
“How do you know that?”
“The police woman told me before I killed her.”
Keeley is shattered.
“Why did you kill her? There was no need.”
“There was a need. I was thirsty.”
“But why her?”
“No reason. She was there. I followed. End of. Need satisfied. Thirst quenched.”
“Until next time.”
Matthew moves towards Keeley. Keeley braces herself for the attack. But Matthew doesn’t move in. Instead he holds his hand out.
“Give me my clothes please.”
Keeley is reluctant.
“My clothes please.”
Keeley hangs on to them. Matthew moves closes and takes a hold of the top. Keeley doesn’t let go. Matthew grabs her round the throat suddenly and forcefully. Instinctively, Keeley lets go of the top to try and free Matthew’s hand from around her neck.
Matthew lets go and collects the top from the floor.
“So, where are those eggs you promised?”
Matthew leaves the bedroom. Keeley is dumbstruck. She waits a few beats and then follows. Matthew is waiting for her in the corridor.
“Do you want beans with your eggs?”
Keeley is sickened and pushes past Matthew and leaves the flat hurriedly.
What does she do next?
Knowing Matthew is the killer drives Keeley insane. But she knows she can’t go to the police.
The police have her marked as an emotional wreck, obsessed with Matthew Giles but with no evidence whatsoever to pin the crimes on him.
She is alone with the truth.
Yet Keeley has to tell someone. But who?
She decides to call Beth’s sister. They were all friends together when Beth was alive.
Bella is pleased to hear Keeley’s voice. She’s been worried since Keeley suddenly vanished a few months back.
Keeley tells Bella what has happened. Bella can’t believe it. Keeley insists it’s true. Bella is worried for Keeley’s safety and mental state.
Bella urges Keeley to stop the pursuit and come home. But Keeley can’t bear knowing the truth and not being able to do anything about it. She says she can’t come home until Beth’s death is resolved.
Keeley has an idea. It may end in her death, but at least Matthew would be caught.
With careful planning Keeley lures Matthew into a trap which she hopes will be recorded on a camera she has hidden. He falls for it and follows her to a secluded area believing she is a stranger. He is just about to strike when he realises it is Keeley he is about to kill – so he stops.
He won’t kill her.
Instead he turns and walks away laughing. Keeley is distraught. She returns home in despair.
Haunted by events, Keeley, in a state of total demoralisation comes to the conclusion there is only one thing left to do.
She confronts Matthew in his flat and with ice cold severity stabs him in the neck with a kitchen knife.
Matthew is taken aback, he never expected Keeley to have the guts to do that.
Keeley watches him die with the remorselessness of the psychopath.
She returns home and takes an overdose.
She leaves a note explaining what she has done and why – but the police decide to cover it up. They don’t want the embarrassment of being found to be culpable for the deaths of these two people and indeed the death of Keeley’s lover Bethany.
The media run separate stories on the “unusual” case of both Keeley and Matthew meeting their end in the same building. As far as the public know, Keeley committed suicide because of the loss of her friend and Matthew was shot dead by an intruder.
The police say there is nothing to connect these two people.
Back in Keeley’s home town, Bella is crying as she watches the news…
A Weekend with Dracula
(or “Dracula Reformed”)
Dracula is alive and well and living in Whitby.
He’s a reformed character these days; he’s not into the biting necks. He doesn’t need to. That’s because he had himself hypnotised off blood. Nowadays he drinks tomato juice; it seems to work (ultimate evidence that there is such a thing as the placebo effect).
He’s also not so much into the ladies. His libido is virtually non-existent. In many ways he is the total opposite of the Dracula we all love.
He still sleeps by day, however; in a photographer’s dark room. At night he goes around taking photographs of Whitby dressed in his traditional costume; he likes to use an old Hasselblad. (And has given himself the nickname “Vlad with the Blad”).
He makes a modest living playing the accordion busking at night or if it’s too wet he can earn his supper playing the piano in his local pub.
He’s integrated well into the Whitby community. He enjoys frequenting the famous Magpie fish and chips restaurant with some of his friends from the local horror writers group and likes to participate in heated debates about the EU, paying particular attention to the current state of affairs in Romania.
Sometimes, when he’s in the mood, he’ll do a horror story walk for the tourists around Whitby and up the steps to the Abbey. Trouble is he’s not often in the mood. This is particularly annoying for local spiv Renfield who organises other ghost walks and themed events in the town. Dracula is his best “actor” and at his best anyone would think he is the real Dracula.
Well he is of course; it’s just that everyone thinks he’s just a failed thespian!
The Abbey is as we might expect a fascination for Dracula. In many ways it’s like his birthplace or when he “came of age” after turning from dog to vampire. He goes there every night with his Hasselblad and tripod trying to capture the perfect shot of the abbey with the moon in the background. Or he’ll simply walk among the ruins enjoying the peace and night time solitude.
His favourite time of year is the Whitby Goth Weekend. He likes to mingle with the crowd because he doesn’t stand out from the crowd. He even gets a little bit drunk.
He’s out one night at the abbey with his camera a little bit tipsy when he accidentally discovers the body of a woman lying in the ruins, her throat bearing all the hallmarks of a classic vampire attack – her neck punctured by two fangs.
Panicked, Dracula runs off – just as revellers also stumble upon the body and see him heading over the night time skyline, cape flapping.
On closer inspection, it turns out the woman is not dead. She has been put into a catatonic state but has also been sexually assaulted.
The next morning the police call round to speak to Dracula – but he’s asleep of course. Instead, the police call by at the pub that evening and take him away for questioning – they’re interviewing all the Dracula-look-a-likies.
The police ask to see Dracula’s teeth. He bears his fangs – but then takes them out. They’re rubber. Harmless.
“I had a problem with them, had to have them removed, damned annoying, these rubber ones make eating steaks nigh on impossible” he explains. He also says he has erectile dysfunction. He has a doctor’s note to prove it.
Naturally, this rules Dracula out of the police enquiry, he is free to go – yet his answers to their questions make Detective Dumfries a little suspicious. They decide to keep an eye on Dracula.
That night there’s another attack on a woman who is again put into a near-coma and sexually assaulted and has punctures to the neck. It happens again up near the abbey, Dracula is minding his own business when he sees two figures in the distance. When it looks like there is a struggle ensuing, he goes to investigate. Dumfries meanwhile is watching Dracula. When Dracula moves, Dumfries moves too. They both come across the prostate woman at the same time, but not in time to see who the culprit is.
They both agree something needs to be done to stop whoever is doing this. Dumfries and his superiors and the town’s councillors are worried about the damage to tourism; Dracula is worried about his reputation! They decide to combine forces to put an end to the attacks.
That night Dracula is out at a fancy dress party when he sees someone dressed as Cruella De Vil eyeing up the young women. With his highly tuned senses still intact, Dracula begins to have suspicions about this person. Cruella moves around seemingly trying to seduce the women and eventually leaves the party with one.
Having a hunch that something is up, Dracula follows discreetly. He tries to turn into a bat, but is unsuccessful.
“Dammit, why isn’t anything working?”
Following on foot, Dracula tracks Cruella and the young woman as they navigate the winding alleyways until finally they enter a small rented fisherman’s cottage down by the harbour. Dracula sneaks round the back and looks in at the window. He is shocked by what he sees and forces his way through the back door.
There on the floor by the fire is the young woman about to be sexually assaulted by Cruella who is wearing a strap-on dildo. The young woman has obviously been drugged and fallen victim of a date-rape concoction. Cruella is not surprised to find Dracula standing there.
“Well you took your time,” she says.
Dracula stares at the woman in her black and white streaked hair and fur coat.
“Hello son, it’s been a while hasn’t it?”
Dracula is gobsmacked; he hasn’t seen his mother for 1000 years (or more).
“I thought you were dead.”
“Ha ha, you fool…who do you think gave you your powers?”
Dracula shrugs. “Daddy?”
Cruella shakes her head, “You never were the sharpest stake in the box.”
“What are you doing here, in Whitby?”
“Vacation. I thought I’d come and visit the place where your grand myth was created, although I didn’t know you were here too. It’s quite a story I must admit. That Mister Stoker certainly hit upon something didn’t he?”
“I guess,” says Dracula still reeling from the shock discovery. “But why are you dressed as Cruella De Vil?”
“Ha, don’t talk to me about Cruella De Vil. Bloody Disney, I should sue their arses for identity theft.”
“And what’s all this?” He says gesturing at the naked young woman on the floor.
“What can I do? I like to keep my hand in. Catatonia is my middle name. In fact I invented it. Actually, that’s not true. I stole it from my grandmother. She used to use it on her husband. I simply borrowed the idea. I’m a wicked girl my Count-ish son.”
Dracula is stumped.
“Yeah, well. I’m reformed. I don’t do any of that vampire hoi-polloi now. I prefer the simple life, taking photographs and playing the accordion. I’ve made some friends too, real friends, not just vampish whores, I’m talking decent every day folk – newsagent, arcade owner – I do love playing the slots – pub landlords, the lady from English Heritage.”
“Ha ha, you pathetic moron. You’ll never change, you’re cursed. It’s in your blood…our blood. You’ll see.”
Dracula doesn’t see.
“You don’t get it do you, this is what we call our mid-life crisis. Lasts about two hundred years, then you’ll get your second wind and go right back to being what you really are till well into the year four thousand.”
“What! You’re kidding. I don’t believe you.”
Cruella looks at her son disapprovingly.
“You know that old saying, ‘Time waits for no man’? It doesn’t apply to us. There’s always time for us. Time is on our side. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”
Cruella advances towards the young woman on the floor.
“No mother. I can’t allow it. It’s not right.”
A scuffle ensues that leads to the kitchen and just when Dracula thinks he has subdued his ma, Cruella whacks him across the back of the head with a frying pan. He’s out cold. Cruella leaves through the front door…just as Dumfries comes in via the back. He sees Dracula on all fours next to the drugged young woman and comes to an obvious conclusion. The strap-on dildo doesn’t help matters.
At the police station Dracula is put behind bars. He protests his innocence.
“It was Cruella De Vil.”
“Yeah yeah and I’m Bob Monkhouse.”
Bewildered by all that has happened and the thought of his mother on the rampage in Whitby turning nubile young women into catatonic lifeless souls, Dracula has no alternative but to stop her on his own.
But first he needs to get out of the cell.
He tries turning himself into a bat again, but fails dismally. He tries hypnosis when the police officer brings him some food; that doesn’t work. He wonders about using his fangs but knows that will be hopeless.
Then it hits him.
“Excuse me, officer…can I have some garlic please?”
The officer smirks.
“’Ere Henry, Dracula wants some garlic.”
The officers fall about laughing.
“I thought you were allergic to garlic or something…?” says the officer.
“No, no that’s all a myth. I love garlic. I could live off it.”
The officers are amused.
“Henry, pop down to the Co-op, get Mr Dracula some garlic. One bulb or two?”
“Two, thanks…and it’s Count Dracula, if you don’t mind.”
“Of course, sorry your Countishness.”
Ten minutes later Dracula has the garlic in hands. He takes a deep breath and inhales all he can until he’s whiter than ever.
It works. He keels over, frothing at the mouth.
The police officers are dumbstruck as Dumfries appears.
“What the hell’s going on here?”
“He said he loved garlic.”
“Fools. Can’t you see what he’s doing?”
The officers look blankly.
“Don’t just stand there. Get the paramedics.”
Suicide, on the contrary is far from Dracula’s mind. Once he has been brought out of the cell and laid out in the first aid room, he comes to and makes his escape, hissing and looking scary as best he can.
It works, the officers backing off thinking he has become deranged.
Of course that action only makes him appear guiltier than ever as he runs off into the night unsure where to go or what to do next or where his mother may have run off to. Dumfries meanwhile is not so sure Dracula is as guilty as he appears and has come to suspect that he is actually the one and only genuine Count D.
Dracula is having a Bloody Mary on the west side of the town when Dumfries appears.
“I got your message.”
“The one you sent me…telepathically.”
“Oh. Really? Well I’ll be…at least something works after all. I was just practising. Your name came to mind randomly.”
“Maybe not that randomly. You said you wished you could tell someone the truth. Well if I’m right, I don’t think you need to. I think I know.”
The two men look at each other.
“Well that’s good then, save a bit of time.”
“You also said you know who the mystery attacker is.”
“That’s right. It’s my mother. Cruella De Vil.”
“Cruella De Vil? Isn’t that…?”
“Yes, the Disney character from 101 Dalmatians, only my mother was here first. Somehow Disney nicked her persona. She’s very upset about it and she’s here in Whitby running amok turning the town’s young virgins and not so virginal into catatonic good-for-nothings and trying to make it look like it’s my doing. I think she’s trying to force me to leave Whitby. Thing is I love it here. I don’t want to leave. She must be stopped, but I don’t know how. Anyway, why are you being so generous in your understanding?”
“I believe in rehabilitation. You’ve gone straight. You’ve not been in any trouble since you’ve been here, what is it, fifteen years now? You’ve integrated well into our community and have obviously overcome your demons and desires. That’s good enough for me. Besides, I like you in the writers group. Wouldn’t be the same without you.”
“Thank you detective, that’s mighty noble of you.”
They clink glasses.
“Now. My mother. What are we going to do about her? The evil interloper must be stopped; I really can’t bear to see our town’s young women subjected to any more of these ordeals.”
“Leave it to me Count. I think I have the perfect solution.”
The next night, at the Abbey.
The place is full of young Whitby women hastily “invited” to a Goth Pageant with the aim to lure Cruella out of hiding, police officers cleverly disguised as stewards.
Just as Dracula and Dumfries are beginning to think the plan has failed, Cruella makes her move and seduces a young girl and entices her to follow her out to the graveyard.
Dumfries and the stewards leap into action and force Cruella to flee, Dracula lagging behind. But Cruella is too agile and swift for any of them, showing remarkable speed for a woman 1,000 years-old.
With all about to be lost, Dracula tries one more time to conjure up his bat-transformation powers and is amazed to find this time it works. He flaps towards Cruella just as she heads across the dangerous cliff tops.
It appears she has made a successful getaway, only to find her son, as a bat, flapping in her face. It causes her to lose her balance and she topples over the cliff edge and plummets head first on to the rocks below.
Dracula reforms into a man just as Dumfries and the officers arrive. They look down but can’t see Cruella’s body, it’s too dark.
“Is she dead?” asks Dumfries.
“It’s about time she was, but I doubt it,” Dracula replies. “But at least I don’t think she’ll go showing her face round here again in a hurry.”
“Well,” says Dumfries, “I think that calls for a Bloody Mary.”
Later that night Dumfries and Dracula say their farewells outside the pub. Dumfries heads one way, Dracula the other. But then Dracula stops. He turns, he nips into a darkened doorway.
A woman walks by and stops to adjust her bag on her shoulder. Dracula, appearing from out of the shadow behind the woman, leans forward, his eyes red and bloodshot…his fangs on display…