The Listener by R. J. Cardullo | Script Revolution

The Listener

A traveler knocks on the door of a country house at night and asks if anyone is inside—well, is there or isn’t there?

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Page Count: 
2pp

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Based On: 
“The Listeners” (1912), a poem by Walter de La Mare.
Synopsis/Details: 

English countryside, 1899. After dismounting, a unnamed figure, the Traveler, knocks on the door of a house in the moonlight and asks if anyone is inside. The Traveler’s horse grazes nearby in the quiet forest while his master waits for a response. A bird flies out of a small tower atop the house. The Traveler knocks a second time, more forcefully, and repeats his question. No one comes out to meet him, however. Nobody even leans out the window—the sill of which is covered in leaves—to look at the visitor. The Traveler stands in place, puzzled by the lack of an answer. He senses a strange presence in the silence that meets his query, but he sees no one when he looks into the house through the window.

The man’s horse, now slightly unsettled, paws at the turf with noisy hoofs, under a sky full of stars yet obscured by trees. The Traveler suddenly beats on the door once again, even more loudly than before. He then calls out, asking whoever is listening to pass on a message: that no one answered when he came to the house, despite the fact that he kept his promise. The Traveler's words reverberate through the dark, seemingly empty dwelling. From inside the house looking out, the Traveler is seen jumping onto his horse and riding away. The silence of the forest—and the home itself—quickly returns as the sound of horseshoes-on-stone fades away.

Submitted: March 5, 2021
Last Updated: March 5, 2021

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R. J. Cardullo's picture

The Writer: R. J. Cardullo

A former university film teacher, I turned to screenwriting several years ago. I have also written film criticism for many publications. A New Yorker by birth, I grew up in Miami and was educated at the University of Florida, Tulane, and Yale. My last U.S. address was in Milford, Connecticut; I am now an expatriate residing in Scandinavia. Many of my scripts (both long and short) are adaptations of lesser-known works by well-known authors. I am happy to re-write, collaborate, or write on demand. Thanks kindly for any attention you can give my work. Go to bio

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