EXT. DESERT – DAY
We move slowly across a stark, red desert. In the distance, there are the clay walls of a city. Outside the main gate, a mix of men and women: some in woolen tunics and cinctures, others in rich Roman robes: come and go about their business.
This is not the modern world.
We keep moving, slowly, finally settling on a small, solitary hill. Through the shimmering desert heat, the hill looks like the back of a skull cap, with two crosses sticking out the top of it like swords.
And in the distance, we hear the faint CLINK.
EXT. DESERT HILL – CONTINUOUS
A twitching hand fills the frame. Fingers are bent at unnatural angles, but where they split, we can see the signs of something dull, grey, and blurry.
There is a loud CLINK, and as the blurry grey thing is pushed down, a blurry crimson shoots up.
CRUCIFIED MAN (O.S.)
We look down on a pair of sunburnt feet, caked in dried mud and blood. A pair of strong, tanned hands forces one foot on top of the other. A grey spike is set on top of them.
They pierce the skin, and as a drop of blood runs down the top foot, we see the shadow of a large mallet being pulled up, revealing the silhouette of the man using it.
The shadow falls fast. CLINK.
CRUCIFIED MAN (O.S.)
We’re COSE ON the top of the CRUCIFIED MAN’S head. His skin is brown, his hair is raven black, and he wears a crown of thorns. Everything we can see of him is absolutely still, as if his body has given up.
Everything except his eyes. With frenetic urgency, his half open lids constantly blink away the blood and sweat that keep falling in.
Behind the Crucified Man’s face, we see the red of the desert landscape for one final moment, before we’re LIFTED.
We STAY ON the top half of the Crucified Man’s face as the scene behind him changes: from the red desert, to the grey horizon, until finally we fall into place with a THUNK.
And for a moment, the half-dead man is brought back to life with the longest, and most unearthly, scream he’s given yet.
EXT. FOOT OF THE CROSS – CONTINUOUS
On the ground, we watch as a familiar pair mourns this man that is dying before their eyes. Neither one of them are looking up at him.
An OLDER WOMAN, in her fifties, wears a black robe that does little to hide her stout figure. She’s half a foot shorter than the YOUNG WOMAN she’s consoling.
The Young Woman is in her late twenties, but with her face buried in the bosom of a woman so much shorter, she looks like an overgrown twelve year old. She too wears all black, with a black veil. And she’s sobbing so hard that her whole body’s shaking.
The Older Woman turns from the death scene in front of her, to look behind her, And when she does, we see what she sees.
A group of men standing far away, draped in shadow. All of them have their heads bowed, and not a one of them raises his eyes to meet hers.
She turns back and hesitates a moment. But finally, she looks up, and we see through her eyes again.
We finally get a full view of the Crucified Man, but with so little light, he’s nothing more than a silhouette.
We’re behind the cross now, slowly rising over the Crucified Man’s shoulder and descending onto the scene below. We see the two mourners, but this time there is a third figure at the foot of the cross.
SPERO is on his knees. He’s an angel, which we know by his giant outspread wings that rest, wilted, in the desert sand. He’s outfitted in pristine, silver armor that’s clean despite the dust all around, and gleams despite the sun being covered by clouds. And as we get closer, we notice he bears a striking similarity to our collective image of the man on the cross. Locks, beard, perpetually 30, it’s all there.
We get in tight on his face, and without a word we see the single, heartbroken thought running through his mind: What the fuck?
The Older Woman pats the back the of Younger. Time to go. Without acknowledging the otherworldly miracle next to them, they turn their backs on the cross and walk toward the city.
A CYLINDER OF LIGHT suddenly shines from above. From it, GODRIC descends, landing between Spero and the cross. This new angel wears the same armor as Spero, and sports a long spear. His face is hid behind a full helm, and as he slowly stands to his full height, easily over six feet, he engulfs Spero in his imposing shadow.
Spero! You foolish child.
(Not fucking now)
I am bound by the commandments of the Lord on high,
A lord you’ve never seen.
As dictated to me by our brethren. The eldest of us who are in his consort, and speak with his voice.
So they tell us.
He declares the name with a great BOOM, as if his mouth were a canon firing. The earth shakes under Spero.
Thou hast failed.
Spero looks from Godric to the man on the cross behind him.
Not him, you fool. Us. Me. Thine own family. Thou hast broken one of the Lord’s most sacred commandments.
Spero nods toward the crucified man.
For his message. Because I am his guardian.
Not for long. He is dying. And his memory will be bent and broken…
Godric points his spear in the opposite direction of the cross. Spero turns to see the city not far away.
In service of their ambition.
Spero turns back, his anger clear on his face. He stands defiantly.
Then why bother guarding any of them in the first place? If they are so deplorable?
Because we are commanded to.
That’s not good enough anymore!
Godric just exhales. This fuckin guy.
You stand on a dangerous line, little brother. The last of us to doubt the Lord was sent to his eternal torment. Him, and all those who followed him.
Godric, I do not seek to overthrow God. Only to see him for myself. To know him. I still believe.
But you have no faith.
Spero opens his mouth in retort.
No Spero. There is nothing left
to say. For it is the truth. And it is not in our nature to deny the truth.
Spero closes his mouth. He gives a stiff nod.
What now, Godric?
Godric grips his spear with both hands. The tip erupts in a red fire.