CLOSE ON A MONITOR SCREEN: Images of stunning violence. Looped. Soldiers in a foreign war shoot an unarmed civilian at point-blank range; a man is set on by a frenzied crowd wielding clubs and machetes; a woman is necklaced while her killers cheer and howl. Pull back to reveal that we are seeing one of many screens in a bank of monitors, all showing similar images...Then revealing that the monitors are in a...
INT. SURGICAL CHAMBER - NIGHT: ...surgical chamber. And watching the screens is a......chimp, strapped to an operating table, with its skull dissected open, webbed in wires and monitoring devices, muzzled with a transparent guard. Alive. Behind the surgical chamber, through the wide doorframe, we can see a larger laboratory beyond.
INT. BRIGHT CORRIDOR - NIGHT: A group of black-clad ALF Activists, all wearing balaclavas, move down a corridor. They carry various gear - bag, bolt cutters. As they move, one Activist reaches up to a security camera and sprays it black with an aerosol paint can.
INT. LABORATORY - NIGHT: The Activists enter the laboratory.
CHIEF ACTIVIST: Fucking hell...
The Chief Activist takes his camera off his shoulder and starts taking photos. The room is huge and long, and darkened except for specific pools of light. Partially illuminated are rows of cages with clear perspex doors. They run down either side of the room. In the cages are chimpanzees. Most are in a state of rabid agitation, banging and clawing against the perspex, baring teeth through foam-flecked mouths. They reach the far end of the lab, where on a huge steel operating table they see the dissected chimp.
FEMALE ACTIVIST: Oh God...
The dissected chimp's eyes flick to the Activists. Blood wells from around the exposed brain tissue. Tears starts to roll down the Female Activist's cheeks.
CHIEF ACTIVIST: (to Female Activist) Keep your shit together. If we're going to get them out of here...
The Finnish Activist is checking the perspex cages.
FINNISH ACTIVIST: I can pop these, no problem.
CHIEF ACTIVIST: So get to it.
The Finnish Activist raises his crowbar and sticks it around the edge of one of the doors - about to prise it open. At the moment, the doors to the laboratory bang open. The Activists all turn. Standing at the entrance is the Scientist. A pause. The Scientist jumps to a telephone handset on the wall and shouts into the receiver.
SCIENTIST: Security! We have a break-in! Get to sector...
A hand slams down the disconnect button.
The Chief Activist plucks the receiver from the Scientist's hands, and then rips the telephone from the wall. A beat.
SCIENTIST: I know who you are, I know what you think you're doing, but you have to listen to me. You can't release these animals.
CHIEF ACTIVIST: If you don't want to get hurt, shut your mouth, and don't move a fucking muscle.
SCIENTIST: (blurts) The chimps are infected!
The Activists hesitate, exchanging a glance.
SCIENTIST: (continuing; stumbling, flustered) These animals are highly contagious. They've been given an inhibitor.
CHIEF ACTIVIST: Infected with what?
SCIENTIST: Chemically restricted, locked down to a... a single impulse that...
CHIEF ACTIVIST: Infected with what?
The Scientist hesitates before answering.
Behind the Activists, the bank of monitors show the faces of the machete-wielding crowd.
SCIENTIST: (desperately trying to explain) In order to cure, you must first understand. Just imagine: to have power over all the things we feel we can't control. Anger, violence...
FINNISH ACTIVIST: What the fuck is he talking about?
CHIEF ACTIVIST: We don't have time for this shit! Get the cages open!
CHIEF ACTIVIST: We're going, you sick bastard, and we're taking your torture victims with us.
SCIENTIST: NO! You must listen! The animals are contagious! The infection is in their blood and saliva! One bite and...
FEMALE ACTIVIST: They won't bite me.
The Female Activist crouches down to face the wild eyes of the infected chimp behind the perspex.
SCIENTIST: STOP! You have no idea!
The Scientist makes a desperate lunge towards her, but the Chief Activist grabs him.
FEMALE ACTIVIST: Good boy. You don't want to bite me, do you?
The Female Activist gives a final benign smile, then the Finnish Activist pops open the door.
Like a bullet from a gun, the infected chimp leaps out at the Female Activist - and sinks its teeth into her neck. She reels back as the chimp claws and bites with extraordinary viciousness. At the same moment, a deafening alarm begins to sound.
FEMALE ACTIVIST: (shrieking) Get it off! Get if off!
The Finnish Activist rips the ape off and throws it on to the floor. The infected chimp immediately bites into the man's leg. He yells with pain, and tries to kick it off. Behind him, the Female Activist has started to scream. She doubles up, clutching the side of her head.
FEMALE ACTIVIST: I'm burning! Jesus! Help me!
SCIENTIST: We have to kill her!
FEMALE ACTIVIST: I'm burning! I'm burning!
CHIEF ACTIVIST: What's...
SCIENTIST: We have to kill her NOW!
Meanwhile, the Female Activist's cries have become an unwavering howl of pain - and she is joined by the Finnish Activist, whose hands have also flown to the side of his head, gripping his temples as if trying to keep his skull from exploding.
CHIEF ACTIVIST: What's wrong with them?
The Scientist grabs a desk-lamp base and starts running towards the screaming Female Activist......who has ripped off her balaclava - revealing her face - the face of an Infected. She turns to the Scientist.
SCIENTIST: Oh God.
She leaps at him. He screams as they go tumbling to the ground. The Chief Activist watches in immobile horror as she attacks the Scientist with amazing ferocity.
INT. CORRIDOR - NIGHT: Another ACTIVIST makes his way down the corridor towards the lab.
ACTIVIST: (hisses) Terry? Jemma?
ACTIVIST: Mika? Where are you?
He reaches the door to the lab, which is closed - and......as he opens it, we realize the door is also soundproofed. A wall of screaming hits him. He stands in the doorway - stunned by the noise, and then the sight. Blood, death, and his colleagues, all Infected.
ACTIVIST: Bloody hell.
The Infected rush him.
FADE TO BLACK.TITLE:28 DAYS LATER
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON: Close up of Jim, a young man in his twenties, wearing pale green hospital pyjamas. He has a month's beard, is dishevelled, and asleep. We pull back to see that Jim is lying on a hospital bed, in a private room. Connected to his arms are multiple drips, a full row of four or five on each side of his bed.
Most of the bags are empty. Jim's eyes open. He looks around with an expression of confusion. Then he sits up. He is weak, but he swings his legs off the bed and stands. The attached drips are pulled with him and clatter to the floor. Jim winces, and pulls the taped needles from his arm.
His voice is hoarse, his mouth dry. Massaging his throat, he walks to the door.
INT. COMA WARD - LATE AFTERNOON: The door to Jim's hospital room is locked. The key is on the floor. He picks it up and opens the door. Jim exits into a corridor. At the far end, a sign read: COMA WARD. There is no sign of life or movement. Jim walks down the corridor. One of the doors is half-open. From inside, there is the sound of buzzing flies.
INT. HOSPITAL WARDS - LATE AFTERNOON: Jim moves as quickly as he can through the hospital, still weak, but now driven by adrenaline. All the wards and corridors are deserted. Medical notes and equipment lie strewn over the floors, trolleys are upended, glass partition doors are smashed. In a couple of places, splashes of dried blood arc up the walls.
He reaches A&E. On one wall is a row of public pay phones. He lifts a receiver, and the line is dead. He goes down the line, trying them all. In the corner of the A&E reception is a smashed soft-drinks machine, with a few cans collected at the base. Jim grabs one, rips off the ring-pull and downs it in one go. Then he grabs another, and heads for the main doors.
EXT. HOSPITAL - LATE AFTERNOON: Jim exits and walks out into the bright daylight of the forecourt. The camera begins to pull away from him.
Aside from a quiet rush of wind, there is silence. No traffic, no engines, no movement. Not even birdsong.
EXT. LONDON - SUNDOWN: Jim walks through the empty city, from St. Thomas's Hospital, over Westminster Bridge, past the Houses of Parliament, down Whitehall, to Trafalgar Square.
A bright overhead sun bleaches the streets. A light drifts litter and refuse. Cars lie abandoned, shops looted. Jim is still wearing his hospital pyjamas, and carries a plastic bag full of soft-drink cans.
EXT. CENTRAL LONDON ROAD/CHURCH - NIGHT: Jim walks. Night has fallen. He needs to find a place to rest...He pauses. Down a narrow side street is a church. He walks towards it. The front doors are open.
INT. CHURCH - NIGHT: Jim walks inside, moving with the respectful quietness that people adopt when entering a church. The doors ahead to the main chamber are closed. Pushing them, gently trying the handle, it is obvious they are locked. But another open door is to his left. He goes through it.
INT. CHURCH - STAIRWELL - NIGHT: Jim moves up a stairwell. Written large on the wall is a single line of graffiti: REPENT. THE END IS EXTREMELY FUCKING NIGH
INT. CHURCH - GALLERY LEVEL - NIGHT: Jim moves into the gallery level, and sees, through the dust and rot, ornate but faded splendor. At the far end, a stained-glass window is illuminated by the moonlight. Jim pads in, stands at the gallery, facing the stained-glass window for a moment before looking down...Beneath are hundreds of dead bodies.
Layered over the floor, jammed into the pews, spilling over the altar. The scene of an unimaginable massacre. Jim stands, stunned. Then sees, standing motionless at different positions facing away from him, four people. Their postures and stillness make their status unclear. Jim hesitates before speaking.
Immediately, the four heads flick around. Infected. And the next moment, there is the powerful thump of a door at the far end of the gallery. Jim whirls to the source as the Infected below start to move. The door thumps again - another stunningly powerful blow, the noise echoing around the chamber. Confused, fist closing around his bag of soft drinks, Jim steps onto the gallery, facing the door......and it smashes open.
Revealing an Infected Priest - who locks sight on Jim, and starts to sprint.
The Priest is half way across the gallery
JIM: Father, what are you...
And now the moonlight catches the Priest's face. Showing clearly: the eyes. The blood smeared and collected around his nose, ears, and mouth. Darkened and crusted, accumulated over days and weeks. Fresh blood glistening.
In a movement of pure instinct, Jim swings the bag just as the Priest is about to reach him - and connects squarely with the man's head.
JIM: Oh, that, was bad, that was bad... I shouldn't have done that...
He breaks into a run...
INT. CHURCH - STAIRWELL - NIGHT: Down the stairwell....
INT. CHURCH - NIGHT: ...into the front entrance, where the locked door now strains under the blows of the Infected inside.
EXT. CHURCH - NIGHT: Jim sprints down the stone steps. As he reaches the bottom the doors are broken open, and the Infected give chase.
EXT. CENTRAL LONDON ROAD - NIGHT: Jim runs - the Infected have almost reached him. A hand fires up a Zippo lighter, and lights the rag of a Molotov cocktail. As Jim runs, something flies past his head, and the Infected closest to him explodes in a ball of flame. Jim turns, and sees as another Molotov cocktail explodes, engulfing two in the fireball. He whirls, now completely bewildered.
WOMAN's VOICE: HERE!
Another Molotov cocktail explodes. The Infected stagger from the blaze, on fire.
WOMAN's VOICE: OVER HERE!
Jim whirls again, and sees, further down the road......Selena, a black woman, also in her twenties. She wears a small backpack, a machete is stuck into her belt - and she holds a lit Molotov cocktail in her hand....Mark, a tall, good-looking man - throwing another bottle.
It smashes on the head of the last Infected, bathing it in flame...The burning Infected bumps blindly into a car. Falls. Gets up again. Blindly, it staggers off the road, into a petrol station - where an abandoned car has run over on the pumps. The ground beneath it suddenly ignites, and the petrol station explodes.
EXT. SIDE STREET - NIGHT: Selena and Mark lead Jim into a side street.
JIM: (dazed) Those people! Who were... who...
MARK: This way! Move it!
Jim allows himself to be hurried along.
EXT. SHOP - NIGHT: Selena stops outside a newsagent's shop. The shop's door and windows are covered with a metal security grill, but the grill over the door lock has been prised away enough for Selena to slip her hand through to the latch.
INT. SHOP - NIGHT: Inside, most of the shelves have been emptied of confectionery. Newspapers and magazines litter the floor. The magazine covers of beautiful girls and sports cars have become instant anachronisms .At the back of the shop, a makeshift bed of sheets and sleeping bag is nestled. This has obviously been Selena and Mark's home for the last few days.
INT. NEWSAGENT - NIGHT: Jim, Mark and Selena enter the newsagent's and pull down the grill.
MARK: A man walks into a bar with a giraffe. They each get pissed. The giraffe falls over. The man goes to leave and the barman says, you can't leave that lying there. The man says, it's not a lion. It's a giraffe..
Silence. Mark pulls off his mask and turns to Selena.
MARK: He's completely humorless. You two will get along like a house on fire.
Selena, who has already taken off her mask, ignores Mark.
SELENA: Who are you? You've come from a hospital.
MARK: Are you a doctor?
SELENA: He's not a doctor. He's a patient.
JIM: I'm a bicycle courier. I was riding a package from Farringdon to Shaftesbury Avenue. A car cut across me... and then I wake up in hospital, today... I wake up and I'm hallucinating, or...
MARK: What's your name?
MARK: I'm Mark. This is Selena. (beat) Okay, Jim. We've got some bad news.
Selena starts to tell her story, and as the story unfolds we see the images she describes.
SELENA: It began as rioting. And right from the beginning, you knew something bad was going on because the rioters were killing people. And then it wasn't on the TV anymore. It was in the street outside. It was coming through your windows. We all guessed it was a virus. An infection. You didn't need a doctor to tell you that. It was the blood.
Something in the blood. By the time they tried to evacuate the cities, it was already too late. The infection was everywhere. The army blockades were overrun. And that was when the exodus started. The day before the radio and TV stopped broadcasting there were reports of infection in Paris and New York. We didn't hear anything more after that.
JIM: Where are your families?
MARK: They're dead.
SELENA: Yours will be dead too.
JIM: No... No! I'm going to find them. They live in Greenwich. I can walk. (heading for the exit) I'm going to... to go and...
SELENA: You'll go and come back.
JIM: (pulling at the grill)Yes! I'll go and come back.
MARK: Rules of survival. Lesson one - you never go anywhere alone, unless you've got no choice. Lesson two - you only move during daylight, unless you've got no choice. We'll take you tomorrow. Then we'll all go and find your dead parents. Okay?
EXT. TRAIN TRACKS - DAY: Jim, Selena and Mark walk along the Docklands Light Railway in single file. Ahead is a train. Behind the train, as if spilled in its wake, are abandoned bags, suitcases, backpacks. Mark drops pace to let Jim catch up.
MARK: How's your head? Fucked?
MARK: (gesturing at the city) I know where your head is. You're looking at these windows, these millions of windows, and you're thinking - there's no way this many people are dead. It's just too many windows. Mark picks up a handbag from the tracks.
MARK: The person who owned this bag. Can't be dead.
Mark reaches in and starts to pull things out as they walk, discarding the personal possessions.
MARK: A woman - (car keys) - who drove a Nissan Micra - (teddy) - and had a little teddy bear - (condoms) - and carried protection, just in case.
Marks tosses the condoms behind him.
MARK: (dry) Believe me, we won't need them anymore than she will.
He hands the bag to Jim and walks ahead. Jim pulls out a mobile phone. He switches it on. It reads: SEARCHING FOR NETWORK. The message blinks a couple of times. Then the screen goes blank. Jim looks left. He is now alongside the train. The inside of the windows are smeared with dried blood. Pressed against the glass is the face of a dead man. Jim drops the phone and breaks into a run - running past Mark and Selena.
MARK: (hissing) Hey!
EXT. GREENWICH COMMON - DAY: Jim, Selena and Mark jog across Greenwich Common. Jim gestures towards one of the streets on the far side of the green.
JIM: (low voice) Down there. Westlink Street. Second on the left.
EXT. WESTLINK STREET - DAY: The street is modest red-brick semi-detached houses. They stand outside Number 43. Jim waits while Selena scans the dark facade.
SELENA: If there's anyone in there who isn't human...
JIM: I understand.
JIM: I understand.
Selena shoots a glance at Jim. Jim is gazing at the house.
EXT. BACK GARDEN - DAY: Jim uses the key under the flowerpot to open the back door.
INT. HOUSE - DAY: Jim, Selena and Mark move quietly through the kitchen and the downstairs of the house. Surprisingly, everything is neat and tidy. Washed plates are stacked by the sink, newspapers on the table are neatly piled. The headline on the top paper reads simply: CONTAINMENT FAILS. They reach the bottom of the stairs. Selena gestures upwards, and Jim nods. They start to ascend.At the top of the stairs, Selena sniffs the air, and recoils. Jim has noticed it too. His eyes widen in alarm.
MARK: (whispers) Wait.
But Jim pushes past and advances along the top landing, until he reaches a door. By now the smell is so bad that he is having to cover his nose and mouth with the sleeve of one arm. Jim pushes open the door. Inside, two decomposed bodies lie side by side on the bed, intertwined. On the bedside table are an empty bottle of sleeping pills and a bottle of red wine. Mark appears behind him. Jim stares at his parents for a couple of moments, then Mark closes the door.
INT. BATHROOM - DAY: Jim sits on the toilet, alone. He is crying. In his hand is a piece of paper: "Jim - with endless love, we left you sleeping. Now we're sleeping with you. Don't wake up." The paper crumples in his fist.
INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY: Jim, Selena and Mark sit in the living room, on the two sofas. Jim looks dazed, uncomprehending. Selena watches Jim, her expression neutral.
SELENA: They died peacefully. You should be grateful.
JIM: I'm not grateful.
Jim's words hang a moment. Then Mark talks, simply, unemotionally, matter-of-fact throughout.
MARK: The roads out were all jammed. So we went to Paddington Station. Hoping: maybe we could get to Heathrow, maybe buy our way on a plane. My dad had all this cash, even though cash was already useless, and Mum had her jewellery. But twenty thousand other people had the same idea. (a moment) The crowd was surging, and I lost my grip on my sister's hand. I remember realizing the ground was soft. I looked down, and I was standing on people.
Like a carpet, people who had fallen, and... somewhere in the crowd there were infected. It spread fast, no one could run, all you could do was climb. Over more people. So I did that. I got up, somehow, on top of a kiosk. (a moment) Looking down, you couldn't tell which faces were infected and which were'nt. With the blood, the screaming, they all looked the same. And I saw my dad. Not my mum or my sister. But I saw my dad. His face.
A short silence.
MARK: Selena's right. You should be grateful.
SELENA: We don't have time to get back to the shop before dark. We should stay here tonight.
Jim nods. He isn't sure what he wants to say.
JIM: My old room was at the end of the landing. You two take it. I'll sleep down here.
SELENA: We'll sleep in the same room. It's safer.
EXT. LONDON - DAY TO NIGHT: The red orb of the sun goes down; the light fades. As night falls, London vanishes into blackness, with no electric light to be seen. Then the moon appears from behind the cloud layer, and the dark city is revealed.
INT. HOUSE - NIGHT: Jim is on the sofa. In the moonlight, we can see that his eyes are open, wide awake. Selena is curled on the other sofa, and Mark is on the floor - both asleep. The house is silent.Jim watches Selena sleeping for a couple of moments. Then, quietly, he gets off the sofa and pads out of the living room, down the hall to the kitchen.
INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT: Jim enters, standing just inside the doorway. He looks around the room. On one wall, a faded kid's drawing of a car is framed. Above the counter, on a shelf of cookery books, an album has a handwritten label on the spine: "Mum's Favorite Recipes." Jim walks to the fridge. Stuck to the door is a photo of Jim with his parents, arm in arm, smiling at the camera. Jim is on his mountain bike, wearing his courier bag.
FLASH CUT TO: Jim, sitting at the kitchen table as his Mum enters, carrying bags of shopping. Jim walks over to the bags and pulls out a carton of orange juice, which he pulls straight to his mouth and begins to gulp down. His Dad walks in from the garden.
JIM's DAD: Give me a glass of that, would you?
JIM: (draining the carton, and giving it a shake) It's empty.
CUT BACK TO: Jim touches the photo, their faces, lightly. Jim is facing away from the back door, which has a large frosted-glass panel. Through the glass panel, unseen by Jim a dark silhouette looms against the diffused glow from the moonlight. Through the kitchen window, a second silhouette appears. Then there is a scratching noise from the back door. Jim freezes. Slowly, he turns his head, and sees the dark shapes behind the door and window. A beat - then the door is abruptly and powerfully smashed in.
It flies open, and hangs loosely held by the bottom hinge. Standing in the doorframe is an Infected Man. Jim shouts with alarm as the Man lunges at him - and they both go tumbling to the floor. At the same moment, the figure behind the kitchen window smashes the glass, and an Infected Teenage Girl starts to clamber through the jagged frame. The Man gets on top of Jim, while Jim uses his arms to hold back the ferocious assault. A single strand of saliva flies from the Man's lips, and contacts Jim's cheek.
JIM: (screams) Help!
Suddenly, Selena is there, holding her machete. The blade flashes down to the back of the Man's neck. Blood gushes. Jim rolls the Infected Man off, just in time to see......Mark dispatch the Girl half way through the kitchen window. The Girl is holding Mark, but her legs are caught on the broken glass. Mark jabs upwards into the Girl's torso - she stiffens, then slumps, and as Mark steps back we see he is holding a knife. Jim hyperventilates, staring at the corpse on the kitchen floor.
JIM: It's Mr. Bridges...
Selena turns to Jim. She is hyperventilating too, but there is control and steel in her voice.
SELENA: Were you bitten?
JIM: He lives four doors down...
Jim turns to the Girl sprawled half way through the window.
JIM: That's his daughter...
SELENA: Were you bitten?
Jim looks at her. Selena is still holding her machete at the ready.
JIM: No... No! I wasn't!
SELENA: Did any of the blood get in your mouth?
Jim turns to Mark. He is standing in the middle of the room. Stepped away from the window. The Girl's blood is on his arm - and he is wiping it away... ...off the skin... where a long scratch cut wells up fresh blood. A moment. Then Mark looks at Selena, as if slightly startled.
But Selena is swiping with her machete. Mark lifts his arm instinctively, defensively, and the blade sinks in. Selena immediately yanks it back.
Selena swipes again - and the blade catches Mark hard in the side of the head. Mark falls. Jim watches, scrabbling backwards on the floor away from them, as Selena brutally finishes Mark off. Selena looks at Mark's body for a couple of beats, then lowers the blade. She picks up a dishcloth from the sink counter and tosses it to Jim.
SELENA: Get that cleaned off.
Jim picks up the rag and hurriedly starts to wipe the Infected's blood from around his neck.
SELENA: Do you have any clothes here?
JIM: (fazed, frightened of her) I... I don't know. I think so.
SELENA: Then get them. And get dressed. We have to leave, now.
With practiced speed, Selena starts to open the kitchen cupboards, selecting packets of biscuits and cans from the shelves, and stuffing them into her backpack.
SELENA: More infected will be coming. They always do.
EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT: Jim and Selena exit the front door. Jim has changed out of his hospital gear into jeans and a sweatshirt. He also has a small backpack, and is carrying a baseball bat.
EXT. LONDON ROAD - NIGHT: Jim and Selena walk: fast, alert. But something is not being said between them... until Jim breaks the silence.
JIM: (quiet) How did you know?
Selena says nothing. Continues walking.
JIM: (insistent) How did you know he was infected?
SELENA: The blood.
JIM: The blood was everywhere. On me, on you, and...
SELENA: (cutting in) I didn't know he was infected. Okay? I didn't know. He knew. I could see it in his face. (a moment) You need to understand, if someone gets infected, you've got somewhere between ten and twenty seconds to kill them. They might be your brother or your sister or your oldest friend. It makes no difference. Just so as you know, if it happens to you, I'll do it in a heartbeat. A moment.
JIM: How long had you known him?
SELENA: Five days. Or six. Does it matter?
Jim says nothing.
SELENA: He was full of plans. Long-distance weapons, so they don't get close. A newsagent's with a metal grill, so you can sleep. Petrol bombs, so the blood doesn't splash.
Selena looks at Jim dispassionately.
SELENA: Got a plan yet, Jim? You want us to find a cure and save the world? Or fall in love and fuck?
Selena looks away again.
SELENA: Plans are pointless. Staying alive is as good as it gets.
Silence. They walk. Jim following a few steps behind Selena. A few moments later, Jim lifts a hand, opens his mouth, about to say something - but Selena cuts him off without even looking round.
She has seen something...A line of tower blocks some distance away, standing against the night sky. In one of them, hanging in the window of one of the highest stories, colored fairy lights are lit up, blinking gently.
INT. TOWER BLOCK - NIGHT: Jim and Selena walk through the smashed glass doors of the tower block. It is extremely dark inside. Selena switches on a flashlight and illuminates the entrance hall. It is a mess. The floor is covered in broken glass and dried blood. The lift doors are jammed open, and inside is a dense bundle of rags - perhaps an old corpse, but impossible to tell, because the interior of the lift has been torched.
It is black with carbon, and smoke-scarring runs up the outside wall. Selena moves the flashlight to the stairwell. There is a huge tangle of shopping trolleys running up the stairs. Selena gives one of the trolleys an exploratory tug. It shifts, but holds fast, meshed in with its neighbor. Then she puts a foot into one of the grates, and lifts herself up. Shining her light over the top of the tangle, she can see a gap along the top.
JIM: Let's hope we don't have to get out of here in a hurry.
She begins to climb through.
INT. TOWER BLOCK - NIGHT: Jim and Selena move steadily and quietly up the stairwell, into the building. Reaching a next landing, they check around the corner before proceeding. Through a broken window, we can see that they are already high above most London buildings, and on the wall a sign reads: LEVEL 5.
SELENA: Need a break?
JIM: (completely out of breath) No. You?
They continue a few steps.
JIM: I do need a break, by the way.
Selena nods. They stop on the stairs. Jim slips off his backpack and sits, pulling a face as he does so...
SELENA: What's up?
She gives him a cut-the-crap expression.
JIM: I've got a headache.
JIM: Pretty bad.
SELENA: Why didn't you say something before?
JIM: Because I didn't think you'd give a shit.
A moment, where it's unclear how Selena will react to this. Then she slips off her own backpack.
SELENA: (going through the bag) You've got no fat on you, and all you've had to eat is sugar. So you're crashing. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot we can do about that...
Selena starts to produce a wide selection of pills, looted from a chemist.
SELENA: ...except pump you full painkillers, and give you more sugar to eat.
She holds up a bottle of codeine tablets, and passes it to Jim.
SELENA: As for the sugar: Lilt or Tango?
JIM: (chewing codeine)...Do you have Sprite?
SELENA: Actually, I did have a can of Sprite, but...
Suddenly there is a loud scream, coming from somewhere lower down the building. Jim and Selena both make a grab for their weapons.
The scream comes again. The noise is chilling, echoing up the empty stairwell. But there is something strange about it. The noise is human, but oddly autistic. It is held for slightly too long, and stops abruptly.
SELENA: That's an infected.
Then, the sound of metal scraping, clattering the blockade.
SELENA: They're in.
INT. SHOPPING TROLLEY BLOCKADE - NIGHT: Two Infected, a Young Asian Guy and a Young White Guy, moving with amazing speed over the blockade.
INT. STAIRS - NIGHT: Jim and Selena sprint up the stairs. Behind them, we can hear the Infected, giving chase, howling. They pass level eight, nine, ten...Jim is exhausted.
SELENA: Come on!
JIM: (out of breath, barely able to speak) I can't.
Selena continues, and Jim looks over the edge of the stairwell, to the landing below......where the two Infected appear, tearing around the corner.
INT. STAIRWELL - NIGHT: Selena sprints up the stairs... and Jim sprints past her, in an amazing burst of energy and speed. They round another bend in the stairwell......then both Jim and Selena scream. Standing directly in front of them is a Man In Riot Cop Gear - helmet with full visor, gloves, a riot shield in one hand, and a length of lead pipe in the other.
The Man lunges past both of them, barging past, where the Infected White Man has appeared at the stairwell. The Riot Gear Man swings his lead pipe and connects viciously with the White Man's head. The White Man falls backwards against the Asian Man. Both fall back down the stairs. The Riot Gear Man turns back to Jim and Selena.
MAN: Down the corridor! Flat 157!
Jim and Selena are stunned, but start to run down the corridor.The Asian Man is coming back up the stairs. Jim looks back over his shoulder in time to see the Riot Gear Man deliver a massive blow to the Asian Man's head.
INT. CORRIDOR - NIGHT: Jim and Selena run towards Flat. The door is open, but as they approach, it suddenly slams shut.
JIM AND SELENA: (hammering on the door) Let us in!
GIRL: (O.S.)Who is it?
SELENA: Let us in!
The door opens a fraction, on the chain. The face of a girl appears. She is fourteen, pale, solemn-faced.
GIRL: Where's Dad?
Jim looks back down the corridor. At the far end, the Man appears. He is holding the limp body of one of the Infected - and he tips it over the balcony, where it drops down the middle of the stairwell.
MAN: (calls back) It's okay, Hannah. Let them inside.The door closes, we hear the chain being slipped off, then it opens again.
INT. FLAT - NIGHT: Jim and Selena enter past the pale-faced girl. The flat is council, three-bed, sixteenth floor of the block. It has patterned wallpaper, and nice but boring furnishings. It is lit by candles. The entrance hall leads straight to the living room, which has French windows and a small balcony outside.
On one wall, a framed photograph hangs, which shows the Man standing beside a black taxi cab. Next to him is a middle aged woman - presumably the Man's wife. Hannah sits at the cab's steering wheel, beaming.Another photo, beside, show Hannah sat in the seat of a go-kart. The Man follows Jim and Selena inside.
MAN: Come in, come in.
They follow the Man through to the living room, and Hannah recloses the front door, which has an impressive arrangement of locks and dead-bolts.
INT. FLAT - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT: In the living room, the fairy lights hang in the window, powered by a car battery. Lit by their glow, the Man goes through a careful ritual of shedding his gear, helped by Hannah. First, he lays down the riot shield. Then he puts the bloodsmeared lead pipe on a small white towel.
Next, he removes his gloves - and places them beside the bar on the towel. Then he folds the towel over the weapon and gloves, and puts it beside the riot shield. Finally he removes the visored helmet. Jim and Selena watch him. They look pretty rattled, not really knowing what to expect. After the Man has finished shedding his gear, he turns.
FRANK: So... I'm Frank, anyway.
He extends his hand to Jim and Selena. Jim hesitates very briefly, then shakes it.
JIM: I'm Jim.
Frank beams, and suddenly he seems much less frightening and imposing. If anything, he is just as nervous as Jim and Selena.
FRANK: Jim and Selena. Good to meet you. And this is my daughter, Hannah. (turning to Hannah) ...Come on, sweetheart. Say hello.
Hannah takes a step into the room, but says nothing.
FRANK: So... so this is great. Just great. It calls for a celebration. I'd say. Why don't you all sit down, and... Hannah, what have we got to offer?
HANNAH: (quietly) We've got Mum's creme de menthe.
An awkward beat.
FRANK: Yes, her creme de menthe. Great. Look, sit, please. Get comfortable. Sit tight while I get it.
Frank exits. Selena, Jim and Hannah all stand, until Selena gestures at the sofa.
SELENA: Shall we?
Jim and Selena take the sofa. Hannah stays standing.
FRANK: (O.S.) Where are the bloody glasses?
HANNAH: Middle cupboard.
FRANK: (O.S.) No! The good ones! This is a celebration!
HANNAH: Top cupboard.
Another short, uncomfortable pause. Hannah looks at Jim and Selena from her position near the doorway. Her expression is blank and unreadable.
JIM: This is your place, then.
JIM: It's nice.
Hannah nods again. Frank re-enters. Frank is beaming, holding the creme de menthe, and four wine glasses.
FRANK: There! I know it isn't much but... well, cheers!
EXT. TOWER BLOCK - NIGHT: The moon shines above the tower block.
INT. FLAT - NIGHT: Jim, Selena and Hannah all sit in the living room, sipping creme de menthe. Frank is disconnecting the fairy lights as he talks, and pulling the curtains closed, rather systematically checking for cracks along the edges.
FRANK: Normally we keep the windows covered at night, because the light attracts them. But when we saw your petrol station fire, we knew it had to be survivors... So we hooked up the Christmas tree lights. Like a beacon.
Finished with the sofa, he sits on the armchair.
SELENA: We're grateful.
FRANK: Well, we're grateful you came. I was starting to really worry. Like I say, we haven't seen any sign of anyone normal for a while now.
JIM: There aren't any others in the building?
Frank shakes his head.
SELENA: And you haven't seen any people outside?
Frank's eyes flick to Hannah.
FRANK: We haven't left the block for more than two weeks. Stayed right here. Only sensible thing to do. Everyone who went out...
SELENA: Didn't come back.
FRANK: And there's two hundred flats here. Most of them have a few cans of food, or cereal, or something.
SELENA: It's a good set-up.
FRANK: It isn't bad.
He puts a hand on Hannah's shoulder, and gives it a squeeze.
FRANK: We've got by, have'nt we?
INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT: Jim is in the bathroom, inspecting himself in the mirror. He is just finishing shaving his beard off, and has had to use the razor dry. He has cut himself several times. Jim does a couple of last dry strokes with the razor, and winces as he cuts himself again. He uses spit to wipe away the blood. Then, from outside, Frank speaks.
FRANK: (O.S.)You okay in there, Jim?
JIM: Yes. Fine.
FRANK: (O.S.)Sorry we couldn't spare the water but... it's the same with the toilet. The, er, flush doesn't work. I'm afraid you have to use the bucket.
Jim opens the door.
FRANK: Have to empty it each morning. We just chuck it over the balcony... No mod cons here.
JIM: It's fine.
FRANK: ...Well, look, it's pretty late. I'm going to turn in. We've got a spare room. Are you and Selena...?
JIM: I'll take the living room.
FRANK: Oh, right. I mean, yes... So, good night then, anyway.
JIM: Good night, Frank.
Frank smiles, and heads to his bedroom.
INT. FLAT - NIGHT: Jim feels his way down the dark corridor back to the candlelit living room. Selena is standing by the window. She looks around when Jim enters.
SELENA: Very spruce.
JIM: Very shredded.
Jim sits on the armchair, and Selena moves to look at a picture on the wall - the photo of Frank's family and the black cab.
JIM: So what do you make of them?
SELENA: They're desperate. Probably need us more than we need them.
JIM: ...I think they're good people.
SELENA: Good people?
SELENA: Well, that's nice. But you should be more concerned about whether they're going to slow you down.
JIM: Right. Because if they slowed you down...
SELENA: I'd leave them behind.
JIM: In a heartbeat.
JIM: I wouldn't.
SELENA: Then you're going to wind up getting yourself killed.
A moment. Then Selena stands.
SELENA: I'm going to get some sleep.
JIM: Selena - you think I don't get it. But I do get it. And I know I'd be dead already if I hadn't met you.
Selena hesitates at the door - then turns.
JIM: No, look - I mean thank you.
SELENA: And I mean sure. Good night, Jim.
She exits, leaving Jim alone.
JIM: Good night.
Jim walks around the room, blowing out the candles. He leaves one burning beside the sofa. Then he slides open the French doors and exits out onto the balcony.
EXT. BALCONY - NIGHT: The city is spread out in front Jim. In the distance, to the north, the petrol station still burns, sending billowing clouds of sparks high into the night sky.
INT. FLAT - EARLY MORNING: Jim sits on the armchair, facing the window, nursing a can of Lilt. Outside, the sky has just started to brighten with first light.Frank enters.
FRANK: Morning, Jim.
FRANK: Listen, have you got a minute?
EXT. TOWER BLOCK ROOF - EARLY MORNING: Frank and Jim appear from a service door. The view over London is spectacular - low clouds catching the sunrise, and a plume of smoke still drifting up from the petrol station blaze. But more noticeable is that the entire roof area is covered in buckets, pans, bowls, plates...
FRANK: We lost water pressure three weeks ago. For a while, I thought we'd be okay with the water in the other flats. The cistern and tanks. But it vanishes so quick you wouldn't believe. You drink it, it evaporates, turns stagnant...
JIM: (looking at the pans) They're all empty...
FRANK: It hasn't rained in over a week.
Frank sits, watching Jim.
FRANK: You can set up a plastic sheet to catch dew and condensation. Trap it somehow. I saw it on TV once and I've been experimenting, but I can't get it to work, and... you don't happen to...
Jim shakes his head.
FRANK: You'd never think it. Needing rain so badly... Not in fucking England... (he breaks off) Jim, we don't have enough water for you and Selena.
FRANK: No. It's not what you think.
INT. FLAT - DAY: Jim, Selena, Frank and Hannah all sit in the living room. Frank is on the armchair. On the coffee table in front of him is a small radio. He turns it on - producing a fuzz of radio static.
SELENA: There haven't been any broadcasts for weeks.
FRANK: (interrupting) Just listen.
They listen. Through the static, the sound of a voice begins to sift through.
MALE VOICE: (V.O.)The answer to infection is here... if you can hear this, you're not alone... there are others like you... other survivors... we are soldiers, we are armed and we can protect you...
The Male Voice fades into the static.
SELENA: (amazed) Soldiers.
FRANK: There's more. Listen.
MALE VOICE (V.O.) Our location is the forty-second blockade, M602, twenty-seven miles north-east of Manchester... you must find us...
FRANK: Then it just repeats.
JIM: It's a recording?
Frank switches the radio off, and produces a map of Britain, which he opens on the table.
FRANK: It's a recording. But this is where it's telling us to go.
Frank points to the location described.
JIM: The North...
FRANK: The way things are, we might need two or three days to get up there.
A moment. Then Frank gives a short, embarrassed laugh.
FRANK: Sound carries in this flat. Jerry-built, I suppose, and... me and Hannah do need you more than you need us.
SELENA: I wasn't -
FRANK: It's okay. Look, it's the truth. I can't leave the block if it's just the two of us. If something happened to me, Hannah would be alone. But if we're with other people...
He lets the sentence hang, gazing at Jim and Selena with undisguised hope.
SELENA: If it's a recording, for all we know the soldiers who made it are dead.
FRANK: Yes. It's possible.
SELENA: And that stuff about the answer to infection. There is no answer to infection. It's already done pretty much all the damage it can.
JIM: Maybe they've got a cure.
SELENA: Maybe they've got nothing at all.
FRANK: The only way to find out is to reach them.
SELENA: We could die trying.
HANNAH: Or die here.
Hannah speaks so rarely that her interjection seems to take everyone by surprise. Including her. For a moment she looks flustered, but then she continues.
HANNAH: And anyway, it isn't true what Dad said. You need us just the same as we need you. We need each other. And we'll never be safe in the cities, and soldiers could keep us safe.
She pauses for a breath.
HANNAH: So we have to try and get there.
JIM: Get there how?
CUT TO:EXT. TOWER BLOCK - DAY: A black London cab drives fast out of the tower block's underground garage, bursting into the daylight.
INT. CAB - DAY: Hannah and Selena sit on the back seat, and Jim sits on the fold-down. Frank smiles, starts the meter running, and leans around to his passengers.
FRANK: Just so as you know. I don't take cheques or credit cards.
EXT. CAB - DAY: Frank drives through the destroyed streets of the capital. They pass a stray Infected, through the smashed window of a shop. It's head flicks around at the noise of the cab's engine, and starts to move, but the cab is moving too fast to catch.
EXT. CAB/TUNNEL ENTRANCE - SOUTH - DAY: The cab pulls up at the entrance of a tunnel that leads under the river Thames.
FRANK: What do you think?
SELENA: It's the most direct route to the other side of the river.
JIM: Then we should go the indirect route. The one in broad daylight. That isn't underground.
FRANK: Let's just get it done.
Frank floors the accelerator and they head into the tunnel.
INT. CAB - DAY: Frank drives through the tunnel. Wrecked cars and debris are illuminated in the headlights, and Frank weaves expertly between them. His passengers roll with the movement of the cab.
JIM: I knew this was a shit idea. You know why? Because it was really obviously a shit idea. Driving into a dark tunnel, full of smashed cars and broken glass is really fucking obviously a shit idea.
As Jim speaks, out of the gloom, caught in the headlights, a huge pile of cars appears, stretching across the full width of the tunnel. Frank slams his foot down on the accelerator.
JIM: Oh no.
EXT. CAB - DAY: The cab bumps up onto the barricade and drives over.
INT. CAB - DAY: The cab bumps down the other side of the barricade, with a cheer from the passengers - but the jubilation only lasts a moment, because the cab hits the road hard, on to a carpet of broken glass, and the front left tire blows.
FRANK: HOLD ON!
Frank saws the wheel, but loses control. The cab scrapes along the side of an abandoned car, then slews to a halt. Frank tries accelerating again, but the cab immediately pulls left, back into the car.
Frank jumps out of the cab, and shines his flashlight around the tunnel.
JIM: The world's worst place to get a flat.
FRANK: Agreed. I think we'd better do this quick.
INT. TUNNEL - DAY: Frank opens the boot and puts the jack into Hannah's hand.
FRANK: You know what to do.
Hannah immediately runs to the front of the cab and hunches down. Meanwhile, Frank unclips the spare and hauls it out. Jim and Selena stand at the back of the cab, weapons ready, shining their flashlights into the darkness. At the front of the cab, Hannah pumps the jack, but it is moving with aching slowness. At the back of the cab, Jim and Selena wait nervously. There is a noise from further down the tunnel, in the direction which they came. A scrabbling rush of movement - but too quiet to be humans. Jim and Selena exchange a glance.
JIM: ...You heard that?
FRANK: (from the front of the cab) Heard what?
Jim is about to answer. Then his eyes widen. He looks down...
JIM: Holy shit.
A tide of rats is rushing under their feet.
FRANK: (as the rats rush around them) What the fuck?
SELENA: They're running from the infected.
As if in answer, the howls of the Infected echo down the tunnel. Hannah desperately positions the jack underneath the cab, as the rates run over her face.
FRANK: Hannah, get out, get out! (to Jim and Selena) Just lift it! LIFT IT!
Jim, Selena, and Frank get their hands under the side of the cab, and pull upwards. The cab rises. Hannah, with great skill and speed, fits the new tire, like a pit-stop mechanic at a grand prix.
SELENA: (straining with the weight) Come on!
HANNAH: Almost there!
As Hannah puts an expert twist on the last wheel nut, the cab's back lights pick up the faces of the Infected spilling over the barricade.
FRANK: (shouting) Go! Go!
They lunge back into the cab, just as the nearest Infected slams against the back window. As the cab races off, Jim leans out the window.
JIM: (at the Infected) Fuck you!
Frank slams his foot down, and they tear off.
EXT. TUNNEL EXIT - NORTH - DAY: The cab races out.
FRANK: Honey, you're a cab driver's daughter.
EXT. CAB - DAY: The cab drives through London, the meter steadily clocking upwards. Driving, Frank's eyes flick down to the fuel gauge. It is under a quarter full. Green shoots are pushing through the cracks in the pavements and road, as nature begins to reclaim the city.
INT. CAB - DAY: A high street. Suddenly Selena cranes around, seeing something.
SELENA: Whoa! Stop the cab! Stop the cab!
EXT. CAB - DAY: They have stopped outside of a supermarket. The windows are dark, but unbroken, and it looks as if there is still food on the shelves.
SELENA: Un. Believable.
She opens the door to the cab, holding her machete.
JIM: You're getting out?
SELENA: This place hasn't been looted. It's a gold mine.
HANNAH: But we don't know what's in there.
SELENA: Food and drink is what's in there. And we need it.
Selena gets out.
SELENA: I've been living off Mars Bars and Coke for two weeks. I need some tinned fruit.
EXT. STREET - DAY: Selena tries the door of the supermarket. It swings open.
INT. SUPERMARKET - DAY: They enter silently. All carry their weapons at the ready.They peer down the aisles. The supermarket is empty.
SELENA: Let's shop.
INT. SUPERMARKET - DAY: Jim, Selena, Frank, and Hannah all split off with shopping trolleys. They look like kids in a toy store.
CUT TO: Selena taking cans off the shelves, three at a time, going down the aisle.
SELENA: I'll have you, you, you, you...
CUT TO: Jim taking more stuff off shelves. Selena appears at the top of the aisle.
SELENA: Don't take anything we need to cook.
Jim looks at the item in his hand. It is caviar.
JIM: It's okay. I think you can eat this stuff raw.
CUT TO: Frank, standing by the fruit and vegetable section, in front of a bank of rotting apples - marked ORGANIC. Beside is a pile of apples that look fine.
FRANK: Mmm. Irradiated.
CUT TO: Selena finding Hannah by a huge array of chocolate.
SELENA: Ugh. If I never see chocolate again, it'll be too soon.
A beat, as something catches her eye. She whips it off the shelf.
SELENA: Not counting Terry's Chocolate Orange, of course.
HANNAH: (taking a handful of Yorkie bars)Or Yorkies.
SELENA: Or Yorkies, obviously.
CUT TO:Jim by the drinks counter, examining the label on a bottle of whisky, as Frank appears behind him.
FRANK: Put that back. We can't just take any crap.
JIM: It isn't any crap. It's whisky. It might be good to have.
FRANK: Who's arguing about whisky? I'm saying, don't get a cheap blend.
Frank takes a bottle of Lagavulin.
FRANK: Single malt. Eighteen-year-old. Dark, full flavor.
Jim starts to back his trolley away.
FRANK: Warm, but not aggressive. Peaty after taste.
CUT TO: Jim, Selena, Frank, and Hannah shopping, pushing their full trolleys past the empty checkout desks. As Frank passes the till, he slaps down a credit card, and they walk off.
EXT. STREET - DAY: The fully loaded cab drives away from the supermarket, riding low on the suspension.
INT. CAB - DAY: The cab reaches the on-ramp to the Westway, and stops.
SELENA: We could have a problem here.
EXT. WESTWAY - DAY: The cab sits at the back of an apparent traffic jam leading onto the Westway. Both sides of the dual carriageway are jam-packed with abandoned cars, a deserted gridlock. All cars point in the same direction - out of town. Some of the cars are crashed, riding up on each other, rolled over, burned out. As the camera rises upwards, we can see that the gridlock snakes along the entire distance of the flyover. Like the destroyed vehicles on the road to Basra, it stretches for miles...
INT. CAB - DAY:
JIM: Jesus Christ. We're never going to be able to get out of London.
FRANK: Don't you worry about that. I've sat twenty years in this seat. I've got my routes.
CUT TO - EXT. CAB - DAY: Montage of the cab sweeping through suburban London, cutting down side streets, ducking down alleys, sometimes passing under the Westway flyover. During the montage, we see scenes of devastation. Jim gazes out of the window as the cab passes a huge cluster of rotting corpses, collected under and in the scoop of an abandoned bulldozer. The dead operator of the bulldozer lies a few feet away from his cabin. The montage ends on: the cab bumping down a steep grass verge onto the motorway.
JIM: (O.S.)Nice cut-through.
EXT. MOTORWAY - DAY: The cab drives down the motorway. There are still vehicles scattered crashed, but fewer and fewer as distance is gained on the city.
INT. CAB - DAY: ON THE DASHBOARD, the needle on the fuel gauge drifts down to the red.
INT. CAB - DAY: A truck lay-by approaches, with a shabby shack-style cafe.A sign outside the cafe reads: CHEESEBURGERS-R-US. And beneath: LAST CHEESEBURGERS FOR SIXTY MILES. In the forecourt are a couple of vehicles. A people-carrier family car, and a truck, slewed off the road. Frank slows the cab to a halt, some hundred meters away.
FRANK: Okay. We either do this now, or we're walking.
EXT. CAB - DAY: Everyone exits the cab. Selena takes a jerry can and a length of plastic tube from the boot, and Frank gives the ignition keys to Hannah.
FRANK: If anything goes wrong, you just drive. You put your foot down. And go as far as you can.
No response from Hannah.
FRANK: You hear me, Hannah?
HANNAH: Yes, Dad.
Frank, Jim, and Selena begin to walk towards the service station, holding their weapons at the ready.
EXT. LAY-BY - DAY: Cautiously, Frank, Jim and Selena approach the truck. There is no sign of life around.
SELENA: Stay close, Jim.
SELENA: You heard.
EXT. TRUCK - DAY: While Jim and Selena stand guard, Frank works quickly. He prises the fuel cap off, inserts the tube, sucks into the tube, and spits as the diesel begins to flow into the jerry can.
INT. CAB - DAY: Hannah watches from the driver's seat. She has her hands on the wheel, and is sliding her hands over the plastic, making a series of imaginary turns, shifting gears....
EXT. TRUCK - DAY: As they wait for the can to fill, Jim tosses his bat into the air, giving it a single flip, catching it as the handle comes back around...being a bit flash.Selena notices, and does not look impressed.Almost in response to her nonplussed gaze, Jim begins to walk towards the cafe.
SELENA: Where are you going?