Short Treatment 33 - The Honeymoon Phase

HEIDI (23) and JARED (35) have just gotten married and returned from their honeymoon. Jared reluctantly returns to his middle management job, while Heidi deals with the boredom of having quit her (admittedly terrible) job to be a housewife.

She watches some TV, plays some video games, eats some snacks, and eventually stumbles across a Youtube video talking about cleaning the whole house. She gets inspired, decides to go on a crazy cleanliness bender.

She heads up to the attic and starts sorting through boxes of old junk - most of it Jared’s. She laughs at some of the old pictures, rolls her eyes at a stack of dirty magazines, but then, underneath the magazines, finds several truly disturbing pictures. Dead animals, half-dissected. A severed arm. And a picture of a woman tied up and chained to a pole in an unfinished basement.

She takes the picture down to their basement, which is also unfinished. Looking around, she finds a spot that exactly matches the picture. She’s straight-up freaked out now. There’s a stain near it; could it be blood? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just water or oil or something.

She hears someone upstairs; Jared’s home. She hides the picture and goes upstairs.

She doesn’t mention anything, doesn’t even mention having cleaned. They go out to dinner, but he can tell she’s not feeling well. She doesn’t know what to do, fakes a headache and goes to bed early. She can’t sleep, especially once he goes to bed and sleeps next to her.

She gets up, goes downstairs. Googles local missing persons cases. Nothing comes up. Googles statewide missing persons cases. Too much information to sift through.

She tries to convince herself she’s freaking out over nothing, but she can’t do it. This isn’t nothing. But what does she do? Call the police? What if she’s wrong?

She can’t take it. She has to call the police. As she’s getting ready to, though, Jared comes downstairs. He asks her if she’s feeling better or worse; then he sees the picture she’s been looking at.

She comes clean. Tells him what she found, tells him she’s been freaking out about it. He just laughs, and laughs, and laughs. He tells her it was all part of a student film he did back in college. He totally gets her being freaked out, but he’s still friends with the girl. He can call her, if she wants. Or at least bring up her Facebook page.

Heidi relaxes immediately, laughs at herself for freaking out so much. Jared warns her that tomorrow he’ll probably be annoyed she jumped to such devastating conclusions so quickly, but right now he finds it too funny to be mad.

They both go to bed.

Heidi wakes up to Jared strangling her. She can’t fight back, loses consciousness.

She wakes up zip-tied to the same pole in the basement as the picture, with severe bruising on her throat that makes it painful to talk, much less scream. Jared is nowhere to be found. There’s a stereo playing some LOUD music on the floor a bit out of reach.

She freaks out at first, but gets control of herself once she’s had a couple minutes to cry.

She checks her zip ties - too tight to squeeze out of. Tugs on the pole - there’s a little bit of give, but not likely enough for her to break it.

She tries to scream again, but nothing comes out.

She’s just wearing her pajamas - shorts and a boyfriend tee. No shoes, no belt. No objects within reach. She manages to shimmy up the pole she’s chained to, but there’s nothing at the top that can help her, either.

She tries to reach the stereo. If she lies flat on the floor and sticks her toes all the way out, she can barely tap it. She kicks a couple times, manages to hit the pause button, stopping the music.

As she’s trying her hardest to find some way to drag it over to her, she hears footsteps coming down the stairs.

Jared’s emotionless, ignores her terror. He just walks over, pulls the stereo a little further away from her, but before he can restart the music, Heidi gasps out a “Wait.”

He smirks at her lost voice. Comes closer so he can hear what she’s saying. She whispers more, and he leans in.

She bites his ear off. He screams at her, kicks her, hard, repeatedly. Goes back upstairs.

But he dropped the stereo, just a little closer than before.

As soon as he’s gone, Heidi grabs the stereo with her feet, drags it closer to herself. It’s an old piece of junk from the attic, probably from the 90s. It’s got a big crack down one side, and she manages to peel the plastic shell off of it without making too much noise.

The stereo’s heatsink might just be sharp enough for her to cut her zip ties. It’s a pain to get into that position, but she manages to run the zip tie up and down the sharpest part until it breaks.

The basement only has one window, and it’s too small to climb out of. She sneaks up the stairs, gingerly tries the door; locked. She listens, hears Jared pacing around. She freaks out and scurries back down the stairs.

The basement is almost completely empty, just concrete floors, insulation, and support beams (and a broken stereo). She doesn’t have a lot of options.

She goes to an outlet on the wall. Rips the electrical wiring out from it, yanks it free from the wall, and pulls it out far enough to reach underneath the open-backed stairs.

She starts pounding on the steps until Jared comes, then rams the wiring into the back of his feet, electrocuting him. And also starting a fire.

She runs upstairs (jumping over his unconscious/dead body), grabs a fire extinguisher, and goes to blow out the fire. When she gets there, Jared is gone.

She freaks out, turns behind her, sees him. He charges her, but she blows the extinguisher in his face and he stumbles.

She runs to the front door, tries to leave, but the deadbolt is locked and it’s one of those you need the key to unlock, even inside. So she runs to a window, but it’s painted shut. She grabs a chair to smash through it, but then Jared tackles her and it’s all she can do to get away and run upstairs.

She opens a window upstairs, crawls out onto the roof. Jared follows her until they’re both standing on the roof in a faceoff. Some neighbors see.

Jared’s furious. Heidi’s terrified. Jared steps towards her, almost stumbles, has to go slowly. But Heidi can’t run away very quickly either, so Jared slowly edges her back to the ledge. When she gets there, she looks down and sees fire coming out of a window. Shit.

Heidi tries to talk Jared down, but he wouldn’t listen if she could speak loud enough.

Jared reaches for her, but she jerks back, loses her balance, and falls.

She comes to in an ambulance with Jared riding with her, feigning concern. Jared’s ear is bandaged.

She’s strapped to a papoose board, can’t move, and still can’t speak. She tries to struggle, but the paramedics tell her to calm down. She tries to whisper, but Jared leans in like he’s listening to her and just tells the paramedics she wants water.

Jared fiddles with some of the medical equipment every time the paramedics aren’t looking. Heidi doesn’t know what he’s doing, but she knows what he’s trying to accomplish.

She starts tapping SOS on the board she’s strapped to. One of the paramedics notices. Takes another look at Jared; “Remind me what happened to your ear again?”

Jared sees the writing on the wall. He grabs the heaviest thing he can find, tries to bash Heidi’s head in, but the paramedics wrestle it away from him. Heidi can’t see what’s happening, struggles to escape her straps.

She gets her hands out and manages to sit up just in time to see Jared killing one of the paramedics, with the other one unconscious. Heidi, still strapped to the board, throws herself towards the door, grabs Jared, and swings the ambulance door open.

Jared sees what she’s going for, and turns it around on her, shoves her out of the ambulance, but she grabs him and pulls her with him. The papoose board protects her, but Jared has nothing. He hits the ground, hard.

The ambulance screeches to a stop. Heidi gets herself completely unstrapped from the board.

As the driver comes out and other drivers stop to help, Heidi smashes Jared’s head into the ground, killing him.

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