INT. DINING ROOM – NIGHT
A GROUP OF MEN are seated around a table. Large red curtains are drawn across from the wall with a fireplace. The fireplace is ornate with images of cherubs flying along its edge. The fire is burning low, glowing, red embers pulsating with life.
GERALD BLADELY is a bearded man in his late thirties. He has a large frame and sits with his elbows on the table, arms crossed. He stares into the fireplace.
HUBERT FINES is a round man in his early sixties. He has a pipe in his mouth and a sailor’s hat on his head. He lifts the pipe from his teeth and releases a puff of smoke.
HENRY STETSON is thin, his wiry frame stretched upright. The smoke crosses his face and crinkles his nose. He waves it away with his left hand. He has a scar across the back of it and is missing the tip of his index finger.
HUBERT: In my day we knew what ta do with a woman like that. There weren’t no sittin’ around.
He returns his pipe to his mouth.
HUBERT (CONT’D): No, sir. We didn’t have inhibitions about what needed ta be done.
Gerald stands and walks over to the fire. He prods it with a poker.
GERALD: What if the authorities were to find out? What then? Least I need is jail time.
HENRY: Wouldn’t be jail time if we do it right.
Hubert grabs a log from a stand near the fireplace. He tosses it onto the coals, and the bark goes up in flames.
HUBERT: Jus’ like that. Poof! Gone.
Gerald shakes his head. He walks over to the door and listens for a beat then turns.
GERALD: It just wouldn’t be right. She loves me, and I… I…
HENRY: Love her?
Henry smirks and leans back in his chair, gloating in his observation. Gerald huffs and goes red.
GERALD: I just wouldn’t want to betray that. She’s so young. Innocent.
Hubert snorts. He limps over to the curtains and peeks outside.
HUBERT: An innocent woman. Fancy that.
He turns to Gerald.
HUBERT (CONT’D): Love is playing tricks on you. Making you soft. Blind.
Gerald rushes over to the table and slams his fist on it. Henry almost falls but catches himself. He glares at Gerald.
GERALD: I don’t love her, damn it.
HENRY: You say that every time.
The door swings open, and CATHARINE MEABERRY enters. She is a woman in her late twenties. She is wearing a long, dark dress and removes her hat to reveal blond hair.
CATHARINE: You all look cheery tonight.
Henry watches Gerald.
HENRY: We were having a rather stimulating conversation.
CATHARINE: I could hear.
She removes her coat and takes a seat beside where Gerald is standing.
CATHARINE: It sounds as though a woman loves you that you do not return a love for.
HENRY: It is my hypothesis that the opposite may be true.
Catharine smiles at Henry then turns to Gerald.
CATHARINE: Oh? How simply fascinating this all must be. Do I know the girl?
Hubert walks over to the door and locks it. He drops the key into his pocket. Everyone looks to him.
HUBERT: She ain’t a girl. She be a woman and then some.
He steps towards her, but Gerald blocks his path.
GERALD: They speak of you, darling. They mean to harm you.
Catharine turns to Henry.
CATHARINE: Is this true?
Henry shrugs, drawing a match from his coat pocket. He lights it and tosses it at her. Catharine pulls back, but the match goes out before it reaches her. Henry smirks.
HENRY: True enough for my satisfaction.
Catharine glares at him.
CATHARINE: Incanto. Incanto. Ishlark flemtar.
HUBERT: You hear that, boy.
Gerald glances over his shoulder as Catharine rises from her chair. The windows fly open and a gust of wind blasts through the room.
CATHARINE: Heeth cryte, Breela.
Henry glances around himself. He looks back to Catharine and pulls a knife from his jacket.
Gerald releases Hubert, but before he can reach her, Catharine is back in her seat. She crosses her arms and laughs.
CATHARINE (CONT’D): You think I’m a witch.
The wind dies down. The men glance around the room. The fire begins to blaze. Hubert steps closer to Catharine.
HUBERT: We don’t think. We know it.
CATHARINE: Didn’t have to tell me you don’t think.
He grabs her shoulder. Her eyes glow red, and flames shoot up Hubert’s arm. He cries out and releases her.
Henry begins to move around the table, but his knife whips into the air. He dodges back in time to save his eye. The knife comes back and stabs through his left hand, pinning it to the table.
HENRY: Again? Blast it all.
Hubert throws his jacket off and drops to his knees, clutching his burned hand. Catharine stands and the jacket flies into her hand. She frees the key and steps towards the door.
Gerald rushes to the exit, cutting her off.
GERALD: I can’t let you go.
Catharine leans in close.
CATHARINE: You don’t have a choice.
She kisses him on the lips. Gerald’s body relaxes. Catharine laughs and pushes him back. He stumbles as she exits the room.
Hubert shuffles over to the door and looks outside. When he returns, he shakes his head.
He looks at Gerald and slaps him. He winces as he’s reminded of his burns.
HUBERT (CONT’D): Yer head is soft as well as yer heart.
Henry pulls the knife from his hand.
HENRY: He’ll be smarter next time.
He looks at Gerald.
GERALD: Right. Next time.