A Sister in Need by Michael Field | Script Revolution

A Sister in Need

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97pp

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Logline: 
Her sister is found dead, but Megan Collins believes she was murdered as she leaves her socialite New York City life to uncover the secrets of a small New England town.
Synopsis/Details: 

Death in Northbury

It began one night in Northbury, Connecticut. A woman, Laura Bellmore, races down the streets of Downtown Northbury (vacant because of the late hour). She’s being hunted by an unseen person. She races to her car. Gets on the road and drives away. Right behind her is another car. Hot in pursuit.

Her car is bumped several times, until she loses control and pulls off the side of the road. She exits and races into the woods. Screaming for help. No help is coming. She runs and takes cover behind a rock. Looking for her assailant. Waiting. She holds a large branch to use for defense. The shadow appears behind her. He grabs her. She screams again. The shadow turns her around; shoves her against the rock. She swings the branch. The shadow raises its arm and the branch shatters. She delivers a kick to the midsection and that does the trick. The shadow drops to its knees.

Laura runs. She doesn’t look back. It’s dark. The moon barely pokes through the trees above. She runs and runs until…she drops. Laura doesn’t see the cliff ahead of her. She falls to the riverbed below. Dead.

New York City

Megan Collins is out with her friends one afternoon. They are shopping and gossiping about all the latest happenings in NYC. Megan seems somewhat disinterested. She wishes one of her closest friends, Ellen Reynolds, were there to ease the tension of the afternoon with Janet and Susie. At lunch, the conversation turns to other subjects:

Megan: “Do any of you ladies want more?”
Janet: “More shoes? More clothes? Yes and yes.”
Megan: “More out of life. Adventure. Excitement.”
Susie: “We travel constantly, Megan. You know that. Our life is one big adventure.”
Megan: “You don’t feel like we’re just tagging along when Bill and Marty travel.”
Janet: “Not when I have the checkbook.”

As they leave the restaurant an elderly woman has her purse snatched. The thief races down the sidewalk, right at Megan. She has a chance to stop him; to trip him. To do anything, but she freezes and lets the man get away. Upset with herself, she watches the thief about to turn the corner until he runs into another woman. It’s Ellen. She gets off the ground. Megan goes to call out, but realizes the man helping her off the ground is her husband, William. And he suddenly kisses and hugs Ellen. Betrayal.

That night, Megan sits alone in her kitchen. Bottle of wine nearly drained. Surrounded by filled-out crossword puzzles and empty wine bottles. She’s sobs.

The phone rings with awful news. Laura has been found dead. Suicide is the suspect. Megan leaves the city for Northbury.

Sister’s Life in Northbury

As Megan drives, even though it’s for a somber purpose, she does take in a few of the sights on her way; appreciating the countryside. She stops at a coffee shop. Signs all over read: Save the Shop. She asks the owner, who happens to be the counter person, about the signs. This is Tanner Hinton.

Megan: Save the shop? What’s wrong with it?
Tanner: Nothing. I’m fond of it.
Megan: Then why’s it need saving?
Tanner: We all need saving from one thing or another. Sorry. That was really lame.
Megan: Lame and true unfortunately.

Clearly, there’s chemistry between the two of them. But Megan has more pressing matters. She makes her way to the Sheriff Station and meets the Interim Sheriff. Melody Crane has been Interim Sheriff since the elected Sheriff died in the office. Literally. Sheriff Wyatt Tuttle was beloved by the town.

Melody Crane was the highest-ranking deputy. She grew up in Northbury and tried desperately to leave the town, but always had a reason to remain. She hated the town from the moment she was old enough to know how to hate and the town wasn’t too fond of her right back. Her reign as Interim Sheriff has been tenuous and rumors swirl about the election next year and who the new Sheriff could be. No one expects Melody to win any kind of election.

Megan meets Melody at the local doctor’s office. The morgue is located in the basement below the doctor’s office. The morgue in a small town of Northbury consists of one table and two freezers. Not much in the way of body storage. Megan IDs the body. A very tough task.

Melody takes her to the local diner to help her with the grief, and she’s hungry. Here we meet Harris Phillips and his wife, Gloria. They knew Laura well. They’re also the founders of the welcoming committee. Megan notices the flowers, lilacs, in the small jars on the tables. Laura’s favorite.

Megan: Lilacs were Laura’s favorite.
Harris: We know. It was her idea. The flowers on the table.
Gloria: So sad.
Harris: Awful torn up inside about what happened.
Harris couldn’t believe that she would jump, but he thought she might be depressed. Gloria was sad but wasn’t as hurt by Laura’s death as most. And she didn’t mind getting a jab in at Melody and comparing her to the old Sheriff. A taste of what many in the town believe. Megan mentions meeting the lawyer in the morning, so she needed to get some rest. Melody will drop her off at the inn.

The Inn is Laura’s and the staff is unsure what to do when Megan gets there. They give her a room. She also has to go to Laura’s house to take stock of what’s there. We also meet Susan Bishop, the manager and full-time operator of the Inn. Susan was close to Laura and has taken the death hard. Megan tries to comfort her.

Throughout the day, Megan’s phone keeps ringing. No doubt her husband.

Another Murder

That night. Laura’s lawyer, Robert Barnes is in his office. Working late. He hears a noise. Goes to investigate and finds his demise.

The next morning, Megan discovers the body of Barnes while she enters the office for her meeting. Instantly, the office is covered in deputies from the Sheriff’s department, including Acting-Sheriff Melody Crane. She questions Megan about the meeting and her whereabouts.

Something doesn’t sit right with Megan.

Melody: I’m not jumping to any conclusions.
Megan: Well, I am. First, Laura and now her attorney. The night before I was to see him. Whatever is on that computer has to do with Laura.
Melody: These are two separate cases. There’s a chance it could be related, but there’s the same chance it’s a coincidence.
Megan: Just because you’re not willing to see this for what it is, doesn’t mean I’m supposed to fall in line. Something is going on here.
Melody: You’re not police. You can’t simply investigate on your own.
Megan: Watch me.

Megan leaves the lawyer’s office, but not before Crane tells her to hang around. She can’t leave town quite yet. Megan had no intention in leaving. She runs into Tanner in front of the office, with the crowd that has gathered. Tanner boasts in some way about knowing all about the town secrets and Megan takes him up on that offer.

Megan Has Questions

Tanner and Megan take a break at his coffee shop and she learns about the town from him.

Tanner: Right. Anyway. What do you want to know about Laura?
Megan: Who would’ve wanted her dead?
Tanner: I don’t know.
Megan: This isn’t my idea of helping.
Tanner: I mean, everyone liked Laura. She was always smiling. Always helping people who needed it. I opened this shop about eight months ago and Laura helped me with all the paperwork.

Megan presses about Laura and Tanner’s relationship.

Tanner: Maybe you should apply for a job with the sheriff’s office? You sound like police.
Megan: I’m sorry. It’s an old habit. My mother was a cop. Kind of inherited some of those traits.
Tanner: Laura never talked about your mother. Just stuff about your dad and all the hunts you would go on.
Megan: Dad wanted boys. So we hunted, fished, played sports. Anything outdoors. I figured that’s why Laura moved out here. She missed all of that stuff.

Tanner takes her to the place where they found Laura’s car and then her body. Megan immediately notices broken pieces of tail-light and a fresh oil stain. They travel into the woods and find themselves at the last place Laura was alive. Megan cries.

She doesn’t believe it’s a suicide.

She returns to the Inn to find Gloria giving a tour of the downtown area as part of her job on the Welcoming Committee. She reveals gossip that’s flying around the town about Megan and Tanner, which is inconsequential. But the revelation that the network of gossipers is active sticks in the back of Megan’s mind.

Building a Case

That morning, Megan goes to the police station and confronts Crane with what she’s heard from Tanner and learned at the scene of Laura’s death. Crane confides in her that she does think something is amiss, but without evidence they must tread lightly. They take ride back to the woods and we learn of Melody’s rocky road to interim sheriff. The beloved sheriff dying has created a cloud of anger towards Melody simply because she’s replacing a great man and her mentor. Megan reveals her reason for leaving New York City was also a way to extradite her from her failing marriage. She was lost in New York and finding out the truth about Laura is the only thing that’s keeping her focused.

Melody and Megan connect. They empathize with each other’s pain. Talk turns to the case and the two murders. Secrets and rumors are not laid out on a silver platter unless you know someone tapped into the gossip around the town.

They visit Gloria Phillips at the diner and she reveals that Laura was seeing someone on the sly. Not many people in town knew about it, but someone saw Laura hugging and kissing some guy by the lake one night. Not much to go on, but it’s a new lead. They bump into Tim Simpson, local real estate agent, and Harris outside the diner. Harris is still broken up about Laura, but that reminds Tim that he had business with Laura about the Inn before her untimely death.

Tim: I was hoping we could talk more about the Inn. Megan: Right. You mentioned Laura wanted to sell it. Tim: She brought it up to me a few weeks ago. We’d been back and forth ever since, but nothing signed. Nothing concrete. Melody: Did she say why? Tim: Not really sure. Not really my business, either.
Tim sets up a meeting with Megan for that night around 7pm at his office. Upon returning to the Inn after an afternoon of investigating, Megan is greeted by her husband, William, who has driven up from New York City.

Megan: Can we skip whatever it is you rehearsed on your way up here? William: I’m sorry about Laura. I truly am. And... I don’t know what to say about... It just happened- Megan: Don’t. Please. I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to hear your excuses. Nothing about you being unloved. Or stuck. Or in some kind of rut. William: It’s stupid. I know. Megan: It’s a betrayal!

Megan soon reveals her desire to find out what happened to Laura. William, being an attorney and still in love with his wife, wants to help. He believes there’s a chance a copy of the will that Laura’s attorney was to read to Megan may still be available at the state capital’s court. He vows to make some calls and hope they can find the document.

Attempted Murders

Megan is set to meet Tim Simpson at this office. She walks through the downtown area when Tanner stops her, and their conversation becomes adversarial as Megan accuses Tanner of sleeping with Laura. Tanner rebukes her claim but reveals he did know she was seeing someone.

Tanner: The truth wasn’t what you needed to hear. Megan: That’s not your decision to make! (Pauses) Tell me. Please. Tanner: I find her in tears one day in the café. About a month ago. And I ask what’s wrong. She tells me about the rumors that people were spreading about her. Megan: What kind of rumors? Tanner: Stupid stuff that anyone who knew her, knew it wasn’t true. She heard people say she was “with a different guy every weekend.” “That’s how they must do it in the big city.” I told you. Stupid stuff. Megan: But she was with someone? Tanner: Yes. How’d you know?

But even Tanner didn’t know who the secret man in Laura’s life really was. After that, they both head towards Simpson’s Realty right before it ignites in a fireball. They’re thrown back into the street.

At the Inn, William is on the phone with his friend at the state office. He doesn’t realize there’s a masked killer in his room. Luckily, William turns around in time to find the killer lunging after him with a knife. He manages to escape the room and pull the fire alarm. The killer escapes into the Inn’s stairwell, but not before slicing up William’s arm.

They meet at the walk-in and each describe their attempted murders. Unfortunately, Tim Simpson was inside the agency at the time of the explosion. He was dead. The bodies are piling up and someone is out to stop Megan from finding out the truth.

Working the Case

Melody now believes Laura didn’t kill herself. There’s a killer or killers in her town and their gunning for Megan, so Melody places a protective detail on her.

Melody: You’re a target now. I can’t protect you if you’re running around town like Nancy Drew. Megan: I can’t stop now. Melody: Yes. You can. And you will. Megan: But I’m making progress. Melody: Have you seen Elm Street? The entire block looks like a war zone. Megan: This isn’t my fault. Melody: Isn’t it? You’re pushing to find your sister’s killer and all we keep getting are dead bodies. Barnes and Simpson are dead because they were going to meet with you. That’s not progress. That’s stirring the hornet’s nest. You need to let me do my job. Play time is over.

Megan leaves and charges to the Inn, where she finds Tanner. They go over the facts of the case.

Megan: Follow along. Laura is murdered. Maybe has something to do with the Inn. Could be she was selling it and someone didn’t like that. Tanner: Which is why the attorney was killed. To stop people from finding out. Megan: Right. His computer is taken, which means the killers know about the will. William shows up. He tells me he’s going to see if Barnes submitted the will to the probate court. It’s a long shot, but a good enough one to warrant an attack on his life. Tanner: But how did they know? Megan: Exactly. Tanner: And why kill Simpson? Megan: Because I was meeting with him.

After finding Susan in tears over the recent spate of murders. They calm her down and assure her that everything will be okay. Tanner and Megan head over to what’s left of Simpson Realty.

Megan discovers another oil spill. The kind a car leaks and the kind she found on the side of the road where they found Laura’s car. She also discovers a pile of menthol cigarettes, but Tanner is dismissive of that.

Megan: Someone was hanging out in this alley smoking menthols while they waited for something. Tanner: Could be the cops checking out the scene. Could be kids. Could be any one of the people who work in these buildings. Megan: You know this town better than me. Who are the smokers? Tanner: You’re missing my point. Megan: I’m ignoring it.
Melody finds them in the alley behind the real estate office. Not ideal since Megan was to be under police supervision, Melody has other motives for finding them. They take a ride.

Laura’s Secret

Megan rides in the front of the police cruiser as Melody drives. Tanner is in the back, behind the metal grate. They hash out the case on their way to a mysterious destination.

Megan: I think this whole thing revolves around the Inn. Simpson said Laura was selling it. Why? With her being killed, the Inn’s sale is in jeopardy. So who benefits from the sale not going through? Melody: I’d say Tim Simpson if this was yesterday. Megan: Someone was in that alley. Waiting. I found the same oil leak from the side of the road where you found Laura’s car. Cigarette butts. Three or four of them meaning someone was watching Tim. Melody: Or some of the firefighters and deputies were taking a smoke break. Tanner: That’s what I said. Megan: Do they all smoke the same kind of cigarette? Menthols. Melody: Probably none of them do. But, it’s still a stretch. Plus, we’ve already determined that the stove was left on in the back room. Tim was known to smoke in the office late at night. One plus one- Tanner: Equals boom.

Megan believes the Inn is at the center of it all. Laura wanted to sell it. Why? Who gained from the sale? Who gained from it not being sold? Melody has a theory, but first shows Megan a list of people who were seen at the walk-in the night of the explosion. One name jumps out at her. Then they arrive at Phillips Diner.

Once inside, they sit with Gloria and ask her about the comings and goings of her husband, Harris. Seems Harris was treated by the doctor for a bad back on the night of the explosion. Melody presses on the whereabouts of Harris that night, but Megan is conflicted. She still can’t figure out why Laura would sell the Inn. She looks around the seating area. All the tables have lilacs sitting in mason jars. Laura’s favorite. She sees Harris adjusting one of the flowers. He has a sadness to him.

Megan realizes that Laura’s mystery man is Harris. She approaches Harris and touches his hand. They exchange a deep, longing look and he can’t hide it anymore. “I miss her so much.” They cry.

The Arrest

Harris professes his innocence. He admits to the affair and nothing else. Megan is still baffled as to the outcome of the case. William finally returns from the court in Hartford and has the will, only it’s not what they think. Laura’s will states Megan as the sole beneficiary of everything. There was never a change. This was the one and only will filed two weeks ago.
Harris wants to talk with Megan. She obliges. He, again, claims his innocent. She confronts him about the will.

Harris: I loved your sister. Megan: She was selling the Inn so you could run away together. Harris: It was Laura’s idea. Megan: But then she broke it off. And you got angry. Harris: Not angry. Heartbroken.
Megan leaves. She’s somewhat happy with the case being over.

Case Solved

Harris is in jail waiting to be sent to county jail to await trial. His back is aching him and he’s looking for pain medication. While he pleads with the officer working the holding cells, Megan is at her sister’s wake. Most of the town is there to offer support. Even a group huddled around Gloria in the corner is there to console the wife of a murderer.

Dr. Jennings pays his respects to Megan. They comment on Susan Bishop standing alone in the corner. Melancholy. Jennings reveals she’s the grand-daughter of an eccentric billionaire. Susan is rich beyond her means, but she loves the simplicity of small town living.

At the sheriff station, Harris’s back worsens. He pleads with Melody for his medication.

Harris: C’mon, Melody. I know you’ve got a job to do, but I really need those pills. Just call Gloria. She got my last ‘script from the walk-in the other night. Melody: Say again? Harris: Gloria probably has my pills. Just call her. Melody: She was with you at the walk-in? Harris: Yeah. She came home and found me on the floor in pain. Melody: Came home?
It clicked. Gloria was out the night of the explosion. She seized the opportunity of Harris’s back pain to go to the walk-in and get treated for a burn on her arm. A burn she told Harris came from the grill, but Melody believed it be from the explosion.

Meanwhile, at the wake. Megan continues to talk with Dr. Jennings about Susan’s wealth. Megan watches her. Something creeps into Megan’s mind. The money. The crying. There was motivated seller for the Inn before Laura changed her mind.
She glides across the room to confront Susan when Melody races in. They meet in the middle and each believe they’ve found the real killer.

Melody: Both of them? Megan: Susan was buying the Inn. She was dating Tim. Melody: Her family money. Damn. Gloria was treated for burns at the walk-in the night of the explosion. Megan: She said she wasn’t with Harris. Melody: She lied. Makes me think she found out about Harris. Megan: Laura was selling the Inn... Melody: ...To run away with Harris. Megan: But she changes her mind. Breaks it off. Melody: Gloria finds out about the affair after the fact. Kills her. Megan: Kills the attorney after she hears I’m going to meet him. Melody: She can’t risk you finding out about Laura wanting to sell. Even though the affair is over. But she doesn’t know that. Megan: How does Susan get involved? Melody: Laura changes her mind. She creates the will, giving the Inn to you. Megan: But Susan still wants the Inn. Melody: Desperation makes interesting bedfellows. Megan: Susan overhears Bill and I talking about his meeting with the attorney general. Melody: And while Gloria is tying up the loose end of Tim Simpson, Susan tries to take care of your husband. Megan: Makes sense. Melody: Then Gloria runs. Megan: What? Melody: She’s running!

Gloria was running. Melody gives chase. Megan grabs Susan before she could escape, but she’s tired of hiding. William stays to watch Susan as Megan and Tanner help Melody chase down Gloria.

A high-speed chase through downtown Northbury as Melody speeds after Gloria. Megan and Tanner are not far behind. They wind up on the same country road where Laura was forced off. Gloria does the same. She runs into the woods. Melody is right behind her.

Megan and Tanner enter the woods soon after. They reach the cliff to discover Gloria holding the sheriff’s gun to her head. She got the drop on Melody. Tanner is first out. He distracts Gloria enough for Megan to jump her. She knocks the gun from her hand. Megan has the gun. She stands with her back to the cliff, aiming the gun at Gloria.

Gloria: Is this where I confess? Where I ask you all to forgive me? How could I let it get out of hand. All those people. Dead. How could I? Tanner: No, I think we all catch the sarcasm. Gloria: She made a fool of me! I saw them on that dock. I knew Harris was up to something, so I followed him to their love cabin at the lake. I wouldn’t allow her to turn us into the laughing stock of Northbury. Megan: You killed her because of the shame? Gloria: She lured my Harris away from me. Megan: They broke up. She left him. Gloria: I already knew that! It didn’t matter. I wasn’t going to live in the same town as that adulterer. I knew what needed to be done. I hatched a plan. I knew Laura was selling the Inn to Susan. I made Harris tell me everything they talked about. Once Laura changed her mind, I knew I could rope Susan into my plan. As long as she didn’t know I planned on killing Laura. Once I did that, I could make her do anything to keep her name clean.

Gloria suddenly spins around and tackles Megan, taking her over the cliff. Tanner dives and grabs Megan’s arm before she can plummet to the ground. Gloria is already on her way to the same fate as Laura. Tanner, with the help of Melody, pull Megan from the cliff and back onto solid ground.

Days later

The events from a few days ago are still running through the town’s gossip tree. Megan gets looks and hushed conversations about her, but she doesn’t mind it this time. She has closure. She finds Tanner at the coffee shop.

Megan: How’s the shoulder? Tanner: No longer separated. But in a whole mess of pain. Being a hero hurts. So, what’s next? Megan: Back to the city. William already left last night. I should get back to my life, I guess. Tanner: I guess. Megan: We went over the will last night. Turns out Laura owned that cabin by the lake. And, of course, the Inn. Tanner: She definitely planted roots here. Megan: Aside from the multiple homicides and attempted murder, I can see why. Tanner: We’ll have to keep those parts out of the tourist brochure.
Tanner hopes to see Megan around, but she’s conflicted in this moment about much in her life. She parts on good terms with Tanner. As she reaches her car, Melody pulls up to say goodbye. She reveals Susan’s story. She was in love with Tim. She was going to buy the Inn, but then got caught up in Gloria’s plan. Melody also brought Laura’s personal effects that were in the car at the time of Laura’s death. There’s a photo of Megan and Laura when they were kids. Megan smiles. Melody reveals a new truth.

Melody: When Laura first moved here, I was the first one to greet her. I wrote her a ticket for speeding. Megan: Really? Melody: I asked her why she was in such a hurry. She said she was looking for an adventure. Looking for something more.
Those words. “Looking for something more”. The same words Megan uttered to her friends back in New York, before the event in Northbury occurred. Melody leaves.

Megan takes a moment to look around the town. Bellmore Inn. Coffee Country. Local townsfolk walking around. Tourists. She looks at the faded picture of her and Laura. She smiles. She shuts the car door. Megan stays in Northbury.

The End.
(until the next adventure)

Submitted: May 25, 2020
Last Updated: May 25, 2020

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Michael Field's picture

The Writer: Michael Field

My Why I grew up loving the cinema. I still do. That love spurned me towards storytelling. At first, I started out as an actor and soon realized, while I enjoy it, I prefer creating the story and not just being part of it and I've been telling stories for over 20 years. When we all start watching movies and television shows and we find the ones we love, we really don't know why. But my desire to become a storyteller forced me to realize that without story, without great writing, all those movies wouldn't last. It's the story that keeps the great ones with us for our lives. My Work I started out creating skit shows on VHS-C which, as you can guess, was cutting edge back in the day. Way back... Go to bio

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