Short Script Written by Eric Christopher Jackson
EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN – DAY
The sun is coming up on a beautiful day in Washington, D.C. Gardeners are working on the lawn. The Secret Service is allowing a cleaning company, carpenters, and electricians onto the premises.
After several years in service, the White House needs some renovations, according to the First Lady. Starting with the Oval Office, the project begins.
INT. THE OVAL OFFICE
The PRESIDENT is putting the final stacks of folders into boxes with plans on relocating them to another office.
Secret Service agents are standing by as workers file into the space, amazed at how desperately changes are needed.
Mr. President, I can help you with that.
No, no! I got it. I don’t want the Misses to think I’m lazy.
He shoves the last folders into a box and carries it out of the room. The Agents follow.
The place is buzzing more than usual. The FIRST LADY gives a wave as the President heads for her through a maze of people.
I wish we could get this much enthusiasm
around here during sessions.
The First Lady gives a smile and they head for the next room.
The President’s children, MALIA (14) and SASHA (11), are looking through boxes trying to find their own possessions.
The President sits his boxes on the desk and has a look around his new area for the time being.
Maybe this should be the new Oval Office. More ambient light.
Ambient light? Nice. Thank you for trying.
I like this idea!
My headphones! Yes!
Their mother walks over.
Uh, I marked the boxes wrong. I was in a rush.
It’s okay, but make sure you switch ‘em up.
Yes, I am.
Their father walks over.
When do I get a tablet? I’m the President,
I should have a tablet before any of you.
I can show you how to work it, Daddy.
He steps back. They laugh.
Okay, funny. Laugh now! I’ll ground you for good.
Make it the law of the land!
Is that legal?
It is now!
They all laugh.
We really need to put this stuff away.
Come on, girls, your Dad has to work.
Isn’t he at work now?
The President puts his hand on her shoulder.
I’ll be back later to check on you.
He kisses his wife on the cheek. The girls give a short MOAN in disgust.
I heard that.
He kisses the girls on the forehead and heads out the door.
The carpenters have been hard at work prying the carpet off the floor. At last, two WORKERS stand together and pull it up. A SWEEPER brushes away the debris as they go.
Suddenly, something catches his attention.
Hey. Hey, what is this?
The two guys look at the area of bare floor revealed. Words and phrases are scribbled down.
What the heck?
Grab that end! I think it keeps going!
The workers continue pulling up the carpet and the sweeper follows closely behind.
More words and phrases are revealed. They read aloud what they find as a wind seems to rush through the room.
They three workers back up towards the wall.
Two Secret Service Agents enter the room. As they take in the writings, their jaws drop.
(to SS Agent #2)
Get them outta here!
SS AGENT #2
Sorry, gentlemen! I have to see you out –
– Is this true?
Get them out!
More Agents rush in and escort the men out of the Oval Office.
SS AGENT #2
(to SS Agent)
Have you ever seen anything like this?
A brief silence hangs in the air.
The Agent paces the floor, then halts. Everyone else is gone.
SS AGENT (CONT’D)
Close off the area immediately. I don’t want anybody
coming through here. Lock it down!
SS AGENT #2
What about the President? What am I supposed to say?
I’ll brief him myself. Lock this place down.
The two Agents walk out, closing the door behind them.
EXT. THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN – NIGHT
The moon is full and bright over the horizon. The air is brisk and the wind brings in an occasional chill.
A limousine pulls up to the lawn and the President exits. He gives a short wave to the driver as he pulls off.
Secret Services agents meet him at the door.
Wow, you guys look on edge tonight.
SS AGENT #3
Just doing our job, sir.
He opens up the door for the President.
INT. WHITE HOUSE FOYER
The President’s mind is full of events from the day and what he still has left to do before bed. He heads for the office.
He sits at his desk, shuffling through papers. Then, he continues to read on proposed legislation.
His wife is standing at the door. She startles him.
Honey, what are you still doing up?
I almost thought you were home already.
I meant to come back earlier, but, if we can’t get
this legislation passed, my goodness.
His wife doesn’t give her usual quip. She seems hesitant to say anything.
Michelle, wh — ?
– No, I just thought… I’m gonna lay down.
They kiss briefly and she walks out of the room.
ONE HOUR LATER.
Malia and Sasha watch their dad working. He does a doubletake as he recognizes them at the door.
Girls, it’s three o’clock in the morning.
What are you doing up?
He looks at them with more concern.
How long have you been here?
He put his glasses on the desk and drops his papers.
We thought we heard you upstairs.
He gets up and sits on the front of his desk.
I haven’t been upstairs, yet. I got home
a couple of hours ago.
There are more Secret Service
people around today.
The thought rolled over in his mind.
Yeah, but, everything’s fine.
The girls run up and hug him. Now he’s worried.
I’ll tuck you into bed.
They grab his hands, almost pulling him out of the office.
The President takes in his surroundings. More security near the Oval Office. A weird chill in the air, like wind passing his face with no windows open. Up the stairs.
The hallway lights seem dimmer than usual, a flicker or two. They walk down the hall to the girls’ room.
A cooler chill in the air. Sasha wraps her arms around her dad’s leg as Malia clutches his hand even tighter.
Let’s check on your mom. Okay?
Their pace speeds up a tad until they reach the other room.
The three walk in to see the First Lady sitting at the edge of the bed. She looks up, surprised to see them.
I haven’t been able to sleep.
The girls rush to the bed, sit, and lean on their mom.
FIRST LADY (CONT’D)
What are you girls doing up?
I don’t know!
Malia buries her head in her mom’s arm. The First Lady looks at her husband with concern. He nods and begins to look around the room.
Sleep with your mom tonight.
Where are you going?!
I just need to look around. You need to
go to sleep. All of you do.
They have a group hug. Malia and Sasha climb into bed. Their mom covers them up. Then, she grips the President around the neck as they hug for a moment. He rubs her sides to calm her down.
I have to wrap up downstairs.
She lets him go. They kiss. He exits. She climbs into bed as the girls huddle around her.
The President looks in various rooms as he goes down the hallway. Everything seems quiet.
He opens the door to see a large portrait of George Washington on the floor. Broken glass is spread across the carpet. He looks around to see another portrait, fallen, broken glass, John F. Kennedy.
A Secret Service Agent stands in the doorway.
Mr. President, we have a problem.
What happened in here?
The Agent looks around, the same question etched in his face.
Another agent approaches.
SS AGENT #2
Excuse me, Mr. President, we need you downstairs!
The President heads for the door.
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM
The television is turned on as various news reports come in.
INT. NEWS STATION – WASHINGTON, D.C.
An ANCHOR is on “Live” with a REPORTER on the scene.
Maggie, photos are showing up on social media now! I know you’ve
just arrived. But what can you tell us?!
Ryan, to be honest, when the photos first began showing up online,
I thought it was someone with a cruel sense of humor and PhotoShop.
The camera view pulls back to reveal the scene.
But, as you can see, the Washington Monument is nearly broken in half. The ground around the base is jagged while the rest of the area looks fine from what I can see.
The lights are still on! Any word of an earthquake?
No! That’s the crazy part! With all the locations, I’m hearing
that the damage is concentrated –
– Like someone just –
Wow. Maggie, you stay put for a little while
longer. Information is still coming in.
I’m sorry! For you just tuning in, I think
it’s safe for us to show what we’re
seeing from people’s camera phones,
etc. Take a look.
Images and short videos come on screen revealing the damage to popular monuments including Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM
The President surveys to damage. The giant statue of Abraham Lincoln, severed from the left torso to the hip. The arm is fractured. The MLK, Jr. Memorial, nearly split in half from top to bottom. The steps of the Capitol Building, trails of deep fractures embedded. More video is shown from a short time ago as people send news stations what they see.
He contemplates the situation. It doesn’t look like a terrorist attack. No security breaches. No bombs set. Yet, damage is evident just the same.
He turns off the television.
Mr. President, I, I should have told you earlier.
What’s wrong with that room?
We need to use caution.
Let me see it.
The Agent nods. They exit the room. More agents follow.
THE OVAL OFFICE
The door opens. The light is dim as it pours through the windows. Dusty, a haze in the air. The Agents use flashlights to reveal the writings on the floor. The President is wide-eyed.
How far does this go?
There’s still carpet there, but, it looks like it’s everywhere.
Silence. The President continues to read in disbelief.
He doesn’t realize he speaks out loud.
I didn’t know how to prioritize this, sir. It’s…
Who else has seen this?
Dan, myself, three of the workers for sure.
We’re keeping tabs on all of them.
The President rubs his hands over his head.
SS AGENT (CONT’D)
We tried to clean it off.
I’m sure! And?
Nothing. It didn’t take a coat off.
The President nods. The Agent follows him out.
The President stands at the closed door, too many thoughts racing through his mind at once.
Did you make a report?
The Agent snaps his fingers. Another Agent hands him a folder. He gives it to the President, who eyes over it quickly. He pauses at one page, a slight look of shock.
I’m taking my family out of here. Get ready to move.
The President stands in the doorway. His wife is still awake, keeping a close eye on their daughters.
She gets out of bed, approaches him. They whisper.
You said you thought I was here already. Why?
The Agents don’t talk. I heard, I heard, men. Men talking, garbled mostly.
But about the law, rights, things like that.
What’s the matter?
The President looks around, a bit confused.
FIRST LADY (CONT’D)
The carpet in the Oval Office. There’s, there’s
writing all over the floor.
Writing? Of what?
Everything. Top-Secret, highly classified information. Government secrets,
agency foul-ups, everything, in brief detail.
The puzzled look on her face says everything.
When was the carpet put in?
From what’s on record, several years ago. But, from the little I’ve read,
references to 9/11 on are written on the floor.
She rubs her forehead, then looks at her daughters sleeping.
She pulls him into the hallway.
She grabs his jacket.
Who would do something like this?!
Honey, listen. They tested whatever the substance is
that was used to write these messages.
It’s like someone was writing them on the very day they
happened. From yesterday to over a century ago.
She leans back against the door frame, then looks back at her daughters.
We have to go.
Her phone is buzzing. She rushes into the room, grabs her phone, then comes back. As she scrolls through the messages, her fear increases. She turns the phone to her husband to show him a picture.
He nods, “yes.”
She nearly drops her phone on the floor.
FIRST LADY (CONT’D)
We have to go right now!
The First Lady rushes into the bedroom, grabbing clothes from the dresser. Her husband peeks down the hallway, noticing the Agents are not around.
He walks further down the hall towards the stairs. The lights have gone out, but enough light is coming through the windows to illuminate the entire area.
His eyes adjust. The Secret Service Agents, from the stairway to the foyer, are all face down on the floor.
A chill rushes by in a split second. He backs away from the stairway and speeds up back towards the master bedroom.
The girls are huddled at the edge of the bed as their mom puts clothes into suitcases.
Her husband pulls her away and leads her to the girls.
She grabs the girls, they back up against the dresser, and kneel to the floor.
The President takes a case out from under his bed. Unlocks it, then assembles a gun. The First Lady grabs another case and does the same. The girls try to keep their emotions in check to not cry out.
They both put on a bullet-proof vest. The First Lady backs into the corner, her girls close behind her.
The President embraces them all, a long barrel in his hand, a 9mm in his holster, additional ammo in the vest sleeves. He motions for everyone to stay calm and quiet. He exits the room.
Gun extended, he slips from room to room, looking for any signs of someone lurking.
He opens the door. More portraits are damaged, glass shattered, CRACKLING beneath his feet.
He looks ahead into a circular mirror on the wall to see a dark reflection of a man standing behind him at the other end of the room.
He spins around and opens fire. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, three shots to the figure’s chest. The figure doesn’t move.
Then, it steps forward, glass CRACKLING beneath his feet, eyes glaring red, clothes dusty.
He wears the fashion of a man in the mid-1700s. White hair, large bow tie, traditional shoes of the time. Skin sunken in, fingers cracked.
The President realizes, this man can’t be killed. He’s already dead.
He hears SHOTS fired down the hall, coming from the master bedroom. He whirls passed the figure in a blur.
The President enters the room to see his wife reloading her weapon and firing again. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!
She lets out a short CRY as the dark figure stands near the bathroom. Full suit, tie, old shoes, the side of his face blown out by a gunshot from long ago.
More voices of men. Now, less garbled.
The President rushes towards his family as they huddle on the floor. They all realize there is no answer to this phenomenon. No way to defend themselves.
What do you want?!
Blood begins to run down the side of the man’s face to his jacket, shirt, and onto the floor. The DEAD man speaks.
The sound of his voice is defining. The White House SHUDDERS, the structure CRACKS in various areas on the exterior from the ground to the second floor.
More voices. The family is pinned against the wall, not willing to move unless something terrible happens.
The voices are no longer garbled. More dark figures move throughout the room, entering and exiting the walls. Crackling, raspy voices echo and run over the other.
I pledge of allegiance –
– Four-score and seven years ago –
– I have a dream that one day –
– It’s not what your country can do for you –
All at once, famous speeches, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Pledge of Allegiance, recited together, mixing into a sea of voices by those who authored them.
Give us a chance to make it right!
Suddenly, the voices stop all at once. A RUMBLING, the ground BREAKING apart beneath the White House. Pictures fall to the ground throughout, dishes SHATTER.
The family looks at Malia in surprise, then they notice the sunlight coming through the windows. It’s morning.
The dark figures begin to fade in the sunlight, save one. A tall, dark figure, shirt drenched in blood, walks up to the group huddled on the floor.
No one moves.
He takes off his black, tall hat, leans down, and holds it out to Malia.
She freezes. Scared. But musters up the strength to take it.
He glares at her, then, at the President, who nods an “I will.”
Then, the figure stands up straight, turns, and walks away. Slowly, he descends, as if walking down a flight of stairs.
The Secret Service Agents pour into the room, guns pointed. The President quickly motions for them to leave. He looks at his family. Somehow, they all know it is over, and that was too close.
They stand, falling into a group hug. The President looks forward with renewed determination.
We’ve got work to do.