THIRTEEN MATCHES by AC Maki | Script Revolution




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After being swallowed by a sinkhole only miles from suburbia, one woman uses her remaining thirteen matches to burn her material items, in order of importance, to escape her sealed, dark death in a cave.

by AC Maki


Thirteen Matches is loosely woven around the Myth of Persephone; who must remain one-fourth of the year with her pleasure-seeking husband, Hades, god of the underworld.

Safe-T pesticide office assistant, Aideen Ray (30s), is a capable woman, but nothing could have prepared her for the trauma ahead—not even the rock-climbing lessons with her non-committal boyfriend, ETHAN (35). To keep up her perfect image, Aideen hides that she cares for her ailing, feisty mother who reminds her to be cautious, but not fearful in life.

The night before a much-anticipated climbing trip, Ethan reveals his college friend, SENNA (25) will join them. During the trip, Senna and Ethan get close. Aideen is angry, but stuck. That night, Ethan never comes to bed and the next morning, she finds them in the same tent. Crushed, she storms out and walks the wrong way.

Hours later, Aideen can't find her way back and there is no cell service. In the torrential rain, she sloshes across a bog and the ground gives way - she is SWALLOWED by a sinkhole and lands on a cave floor. She tries to get out the same way but fails and goes into the cave instead. After a series of raw survival experiences with only a phone flashlight— she ends up back to where she started. When her cell phone dies, she lights the first match of 13, burning her personal items in order of importance to see. She begins with her boyfriend’s photo.

In her journey to survive, she figures out how to navigate claustrophobic, spider-filled spaces, escape mudslides and discover amazing hidden beauty all with very little light—knowing each choice could prove to be deadly. After enduring extreme trauma, she is left with only her clothes to burn and a dihedral wall in front of her—an expert climb. She climbs up naked but DROPS the matchbook and must climb back down. With only two matches left, she burns her mother’s photo that gives her only seconds of light to say goodbye. She holds the last match, then blows it out, making the choice to stay. In total darkness, she hears cicadas BUZZING above her. She follows the sound and scrapes at the rocks. A sliver of light streams in and reveals the cicadas around her hands. She pulls herself out and collapses onto the ground. A child with a bug catcher finds her in the weeds.

The news takes off with the story as Aideen is in the intensive care unit. When she recovers, she finds out her mother has died. After weeks of recovery, Aideen visits her mother’s house and is amazed to find the garden is in full bloom.

Theresa has a party for Aideen and it is clear Ethan has fallen in love with Aideen—but she’s not sure where she fits in. Trying to get back to normal, Aideen drives to work, but instead heads toward the airport. Ethan follows. He pulls her over and tells her he wants to start a life with her. Aideen tells him she was not really trapped in the cave but here in Polk co.

When they say goodbye, Aideen turns and tosses him a book of matches. Aideen walks through the airport, backpack swung on her shoulders- scars on her face, a rawness that can only be earned.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

*9/10 Coverage from Coverfly.

Submitted: April 25, 2019
Last Updated: June 30, 2019

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The Writer: AC Maki

Mäki’s time working on the racetrack provided inspiration for her feature script and American Zoetrope quarterfinalist, IN YOUR BLOOD. Maki got her start in San Francisco, working in the deadline-heavy world of TV News. The Nebraska native holds an MFA in screenwriting from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Go to bio
Lawyer: Brian J. Murphy - Attorney & Counselor at Law

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