The Accident

University Assessment 2011

EXT. STREET. NIGHT.

An expensive black car pulls smoothly into a parking space in a North London suburb. ALISON (31) turns off the engine as her phone rings. She answers without looking at the screen.

ALISON

You just can’t get enough of me can you?

INT. OFFICE  PARTY. NIGHT.

MARK (29) sits in a quiet corner overlooking an office party while talking on his mobile. He rests his feet on the desk in front of him.

MARK

Where’d you go?

ALISON

I told you I had to leave soon.

EXT. STREET. NIGHT.

Alison gets out of her car, straightening her stylish skirt-suit. She is alone on the quiet street. The occasional car passes by, illuminating her briefly in their headlights as she walks.

MARK [cont’d]

Well I just figured that the blackmailing opportunities that present themselves at office parties would be enough to make you stay. Maybe get that raise…

ALISON

I got that raise. And the promotion. Jealous?

Mark turns his chair away from the party.

MARK

I’m sure you could find some way to help me through my disappointment.

ALISON

And just what have I been doing all night?

MARK

Well, the night’s not over yet.

ALISON

For you it is.

MARK

Seriously, why’d you leave?

There is a short silence.

ALISON

Julia’s at my mother’s. I said that I’d be back tonight.

MARK

Shouldn’t she be in bed by now? How old is she again?

ALISON

I have to drive her to a friend’s early tomorrow morning. I can’t be late.

MARK

Well I was going to ask if you wanted to come back to mine. You still could. I’ll set an alarm.

There is another pause.

ALISON

What happened to the no apartment rule?

MARK

I just figured that a bed would be more comfortable than a toilet cubical.

She stops at a set of crossroads. She looks past it into the next street of well-kept terraced houses. She looks at one house where there is a soft light coming from a room on the second floor.

ALISON

Listen Mark, I’m almost home.

MARK

So that’s a ‘no’ then.

Alison rolls her eyes. She steps into the street but immediately jumps back onto the pavement as a car drives past suddenly.

ALISON

Look, I’ll see you on Monday.

The car turns right without slowing. As it does so a woman trips and falls into the road. The car hits her with a sickening thud. Alison drops the phone. It clatters to the ground loudly.

EXT. SUPERMARKET CAR PARK – FLASHBACK. DAY.

A young girl is bumped by a car reversing out of a parking space. JULIA (5) falls. Alison looks up from where she is packing groceries into her own car. She runs over and bangs on the car which is still reversing.

ALISON

Stop!

The car stops and a driver looks out of his window irritably. Alison pulls Julia off the floor.

ALISON [CONT’D]

What are you doing? I told you not to mess about!

The driver (54) opens the door.

MAN

Is she alright? I didn’t see her.

ALISON

Yes she’s fine. Aren’t you?

Julia nods.

ALISON

I’m really sorry. I’ve told her not to mess about in car parks.

(to Julia) Go and sit in the car. Now.

She leaves. The driver gets out and walks to the back of the car, inspecting it. Alison sighs.

ALISON [CONT’D]

It’s fine.

She walks back to her own car. She puts the last of the bags in the boot and gets in the front. Julia sits looking at the floor.

ALISON

How many times do I have to tell you?

Julia sniffs, holding back tears. She has grazed her knee. Alison sighs again and reaches behind her for the First Aid kit.

ALISON [CONT’D]

You’ve ruined your new tights.

EXT. STREET. NIGHT.

Alison stands on the pavement looking at the car crash. It is silent. The car has skidded to a stop in the road. The woman lies on the ground, motionless. Alison breaths loudly.

A quiet voice drifts up from the ground and Alison’s eyes follow the sound. Her phone is still connected to Mark. She picks it up then slowly walks to where the woman lies. Her face is obscured by her hair. Alison tilts her head and looks at the blood on the tarmac.

ALISON

Hello?

MARK

Alison! Thank God! Are you okay? I heard you scream.

Alison lifts her head to look at the lit bedroom of the nearby house.

ALISON

I screamed?

MARK

Are you alright?! Alison what happened?

ALISON

I have to go now.

MARK

What? Alis-

Alison hangs up. She looks back down at the woman to look at the blood on the tarmac. Behind her a car door opens and she turns to watch the driver (19) stumble out of her car. She is pale and wears a baggy patchwork hoodie, patterned tights and a nose ring. Alison watches her warily as she stumbles to Alison’s side. She looks at the bloody woman on the ground.

DRIVER

Is… is she dead?

Alison kneels down to check her pulse.

ALISON

Not yet.

DRIVER

Oh God. I didn’t- I mean, I didn’t see her. Oh God, what have I done?

Alison punches 999 into her phone an holds it to her ear.

ALISON

Hello? Ambulance please… Thank you… Alison Mansfield. I’m on Brooksby Street, Islington. There’s been a car accident… Just one, a woman. She’s unconscious and has a head wound that’s bleeding a lot…

The driver begins to cry.

ALISON [CONT’D]

No, the driver’s fine. Okay, yes… Okay. Thank you.

Alison ends the call and takes off her jacket. She presses it to the woman’s head.

DRIVER

It- It was an accident.

Alison doesn’t respond.

DRIVER [CONT’D]

It was! She just like stepped out! It wasn’t me! Oh God. You have to tell them you saw her step out! Please! She wasn’t even looking!

Alison turns to her, angry.

ALISON

Were you!? How could you know what she did if you didn’t even see it!? Why can no one just look in front of them?

DRIVER

No! No, it was her fault.

ALISON

It was yours. Who cares if she was messing about, you’re driving a car! The least you could do is look!

There is a silence. The driver sits down shakily on the floor and grips the necklace she wears tightly. Alison looks across to where the woman’s handbag fell, spilling its contents onto the road. She walks over to it. Tattered receipts blow past Alison’s feet, carried by the wind.

Alison picks up a small child’s colouring-in book. She opens it. Some of the pictures have been completed, crayon spilling over the lines. Alison shuts the book abruptly. She sits back down by the woman and looks at the lit window once more. She breathes deeply. It is silent.

INT. ELAINE’S HOUSE – KITCHEN – FLASHBACK. DAY.

Alison leans against the counter typing on her Blackberry. Her mother, ELAINE, makes tea behind her pouring hot water into two mugs and a plastic beaker. Julia (3) sits on the floor playing.

ELAINE

I’m just saying that it would be much easier if you weren’t on your own.

ALISON

(sighing) Yes Mum.

ELAINE

I’m just trying to give you some helpful advice.

Elaine hands Alison a mug of tea. She doesn’t look up.

ALISON

I know exactly what you’re doing.

ELAINE

I just think that you should get in contact is all.

ALISON

Why? You never liked David.

Elaine looks at Julia playing peacefully on the floor. She drops her voice to a stage whisper.

ELAINE

He’s her father. I think he should at least make an effort.

Alison is amused. Elaine puts the lid on the beaker and bends down to give it to Julia.

ELAINE

Here you are sweety.

Elaine stands and starts to wipe down the surfaces around Alison. Alison takes out a diary from her bag and makes notes in it.

ELAINE [CONT’D]

It just isn’t done. When you have a child you have a commitment. If that means you have to make sacrifices then you do it.

ALISON

And be resentful all his life? Mum, we’re fine.

ELAINE

He should at least give you some money.

ALISON

I don’t need money. I earn more in a year than you have in your life.

ELAINE

That’s not the point! It’s the principle.

ALISON

If I needed money he’d give me some.

ELAINE

Yes but while your dad was working I was taking care of you. Who’s there to look after Julia?

Alison puts the Blackberry into her bag and looks at her mother.

ALISON

You. Come on, if I was a stay-at-home mum it’d break your heart.

Elaine is silent. Alison drains her cup and picks up her coat and bag. She smiles at Elaine.

ALISON [CONT’D]

I’ll probably be late tonight, we’ve got a meeting.

Elaine sighs.

ELAINE

Alright.

EXT. STREET. NIGHT.

Alison stares at the woman who is surrounded by paramedics. She is conscious, coughing violently as an oxygen mask is put over her face. A police officer stands by Alison, writing in her notebook. They are surrounded by emergency vehicles. The house with the light can only just be seen through the swarm of people around her.

POLICE OFFICER

Was there anything else?

Alison grips the colouring book to her chest.

POLICE OFFICER

Ma’am?

ALISON

Erm, no.

POLICE OFFICER

So the woman tripped and fell into the road?

ALISON

Yes.

Alison continues to watch the woman. Carefully, the paramedics move her onto a stretcher.

POLICE OFFICER

How fast was the car traveling?

ALISON

Hrm? Oh, quite fast.

POLICE OFFICER

Could you be more specific?

ALISON

No. It’s hard to tell.

POLICE OFFICER

I understand. Do you think it was travelling over the speed limit?

ALISON

Maybe. I can’t be sure.

POLICE OFFICER

Okay. Thank you Ms. Mansfield. Do you need to call anyone?

Alison shakes her head. On the stretcher tears run down the woman’s cheeks as paramedics swarm around her.

ALISON

My mum lives just down the street.

POLICE OFFICER

Okay. Thank you for your help. We’ll be in touch.

The officer turns away and Alison looks down at the object in her hands with surprise.

ALISON

Wait!

The police officer turns back. Alison holds the book out to her.

ALISON [CONT’D]

This is hers. She’ll want it back.

The officer takes the book sadly. Alison looks at the blood on the tarmac.

ALISON [CONT’D]

She can keep the jacket too.

Alison sits motionless as police officers and paramedics bustle around her. The blue light of the ambulance flashes over Alison’s face. She wrings her empty hands.

INT. SOFT PLAY AREA – FLASHBACK. DAY.

Alison picks up a piece of half eaten cake on a paper napkin and puts it in a bin. She brushes crumbs off a white plastic table and sits down with her laptop. She is surrounded by children’s coats, uneaten party food and ripped up wrapping paper. She sits overlooking a child’s play area. Children scream and laugh as they throw themselves into a ballpit.

Alison types on her laptop. Her concentration is broken by a child (7) walking towards her, tears streaming down her face. She stops in front of Alison, her face bunched up, red and snotty.

ALISON

Um, are you okay?

The girl continues to cry.

ALISON [CONT’D]

What’s wrong?

The girl holds her hand out to Alison.

ALISON [CONT’D]

Did you hurt yourself?

GIRL

I fell.

ALISON

Oh.

There is a pause as the girl continues to sob.

ALISON [CONT’D]

Well, where does it hurt?

The girl waves her outstretched hand in front of Alison’s face again and cries even louder. Alison spots Julia leave the play area and make her way over to them.

ALISON [CONT’D]

Look, Julia’s here now. You don’t want to cry in front of her do you?

The girl doesn’t stop. Julia leans in to her mother.

JULIA

(quietly) Give her a plaster.

Alison looks at the unmarked hand that still hangs in the air. Turning, she reaches into her bag and pulls out a packet of plasters.

ALISON

Here, would you like a plaster? It’s Winnie the Pooh, see?

Alison applies the plaster to the girl’s hand. She stops crying and opens her eyes. Sniffing she shuffles back to the play area. Julia scrambles onto the chair opposite her mother. She wears an “8 Today” badge.

JULIA

She’s such a crybaby.

ALISON

You’re telling me.

JULIA

She’s always crying. It’s so annoying.

Alison shakes her head and turns to her laptop once more.

JULIA [CONT’D]

And she’s always holding Mr. White’s hand every playtime. She made a list where we all get a breaktime to hold his hand.

ALISON

You’re kidding me?

Julia shakes her head and watches her mother.

ALISON [CONT’D]

Do you hold his hand?

JULIA

No. It’s boring. And his hands are all sweaty. And now all the boys want to hold hands too.

ALISON

What about you? Do you hold the boys’ hands?

Julia shrugs.

JULIA

Sometimes. If I do then they carry my book bag for me.

Alison laughs.

ALISON

God, you’re so like me.

Julia smiles.

INT. PUBLIC DISABLED TOILET – FLASHBACK. DAY.

There is a sudden cut to a toilet cubicle. Mark lifts Alison against the toilet wall aggressively. Alison turns her head into the white tiles as Mark kisses her neck, she runs her hands up behind his head to hold him there. He unbuttons her blouse and runs his hands up to her breasts. He stops abruptly.

ALISON

(annoyed) What?

MARK

You have something blue down your bra.

ALISON

Huh?

Mark holds it up to Alison’s face.

ALISON [CONT’D]

Oh.

There is a pause.

ALISON [CONT’D]

That’s plastercine.

MARK

Right… I’m sure that should make more sense than it does.

ALISON

Forget about it. I don’t know how it got there.

Mark stares at her. Alison pauses then continues reluctantly.

ALISON [CONT’D]

My daughter was messing about this morning.

MARK

I’m sorry, your what??

ALISON

My daughter. She was chucking the stuff around.

MARK

But- You have a daughter??

ALISON

Yes I have a daughter. Can we continue please? This isn’t the most comfortable position.

MARK

You have a daughter? You?

ALISON

This wall is cold.

MARK

But, you- What’s her name?

Alison sighs.

ALISON

Is this really important right now? I don’t have the longest lunch break.

MARK

You have a daughter.

Alison sighs again and bangs her head against the wall behind her. Mark puts her down.

MARK [CONT’D]

This is weird.

ALISON

You’re telling me.

Alison begins to rearrange her clothes. Mark sits down shakily on the toilet.

MARK

But, you’re not married?

ALISON

No.

MARK

Were you?

ALISON

Almost.

MARK

Well… How old is she?

Alison sighs and looks at her watch.

ALISON

I need to get back.

MARK

Oh no you don’t! You can’t just drop that on me.

ALISON

Why not? I know nothing about your life.

MARK

Sure you do! I tell you everything.

ALISON

You tell the whole world everything Mark, I just choose not to listen.

Mark smirks and shakes his head.

MARK

You can be such a bitch sometimes you know.

Alison walks to the mirror to touch up her lipstick.

ALISON

I know.

She glances at Mark and sighs again.

ALISON [CONT’D]

She’s seven. Her name is Julia.

MARK

Julia. That’s nice.

Alison puts the lipstick back in her bag and makes her way to the door.

ALISON

Tomorrow?

MARK

Hrm? Yeah, sure.

Alison unlocks the door and leaves, closing it behind her. She walks down the office corridor.

EXT. STREET. NIGHT.

Alison walks down the street. Far behind her there is a crowd of people gathered at the crossroads and the blue lights of the police cars. The ambulance has gone. Alison crosses her arms over her chests from the cold. She looks at the lit bedroom as she nears the house. Her footsetps echo loudly from the high heels she wears.

INT. ALISON’S APARTMENT – FLASHBACK. DAY.

Alison stands over a newborn baby. Julia is only one week old. Alison stares at her for some time. The apartment is spacious and stylish. The kitchen adjoins the living room where a kettle boils. Alison takes a shaky breath and walks over to it.

David walks out of the bedroom and places a suitcase by the front door. Alison watches him over the counter. He walks back into the bedroom. Alison pours the boiled water into a baby bottle along with a scoop of formula.

ALISON

Have you found an apartment yet?

DAVID

Huh?

ALISON

Have you found somewhere to live yet?

David walks through with another bag.

DAVID

Yeah, the company have sorted everything out. I’ve got this gorgeous place right in central Tokyo. Really modern.

He walks back into the bedroom.

ALISON

That’s great.

DAVID

What?

ALISON

(raising her voice)

I said that sounds great!

Alison tests the temperature of the formula on her wrist. It burns her.

ALISON [CONT’D]

Shit!

She puts the bottle down on the side quickly and runs a shaky hand through her hair. She looks over at Julia and closes her eyes.

DAVID

I think you’d love it there.

ALISON

What?

DAVID

Tokyo. It’s just your kind of place. I always said we should’ve gone on a break there didn’t I?

ALISON

Yeah. Yeah you did.

She turns the cold tap on and runs some water into the bottle. David comes out of the bedroom carrying a box. He closes the door.

DAVID

Well. I guess this is it then.

ALISON

Yeah.

There is a silence. David looks at Julia.

DAVID

Have you named her yet?

ALISON

No. No, not yet.

There is another pause.

DAVID

Well, I’d best be off then. Not long to go.

ALISON

Good luck.

DAVID

Yeah, you too. It’s been… It’s been good.

ALISON

It has.

DAVID

You guys don’t need-

ALISON

We’re fine.

DAVID

Great. Well, goodbye I guess.

David nods at her and walks to the door. He picks up his bags and struggles with the door.

ALISON

Oh sorry.

Alison runs to the door and opens it for him.

DAVID

Thanks.

(a pause) I wish you’d come with me.

ALISON

Just me?

David looks over at Julia again.

DAVID

We were good together weren’t we?

ALISON

Yeah, for a time.

David remains looking at Alison for a time, then he winks at her and leaves. Alison closes the door. The apartment is silent. She walks slowly back to the kitchen, her feet echo off the wooden floor.

She picks up the bottle of formula. The lid is not on properly and it drops on the floor, white liquid splashing everywhere. Alison brings her hand up to her mouth and sobs. She kneels on the floor with her back against the counter, the living room and Julia now out of view. She begins to cry.

EXT. STREET – OUTSIDE TERRACED HOUSE. NIGHT.

Alison struggles to put her key in the lock. She is shaking. Eventually she manages it and lets herself into the house.

INT. ELAINE’S HOUSE – KITCHEN. NIGHT.

There is a light in the kitchen and she makes her way over to it. Her mother is straining to look out of the window. She notices Alison but continues to look outside.

ELAINE

Oh there you are. Do you know what’s happening outside? I heard such a commotion.

ALISON

Someone got hit by a car.

ELAINE

No! Fancy that. Do you know who it was?

Alison doesn’t repsond. Elaine turns to look at her properly.

ELAINE

Ali? Are you okay?

Alison nods but looks vacant. Elaine makes her sit in a kitchen chair.

ELAINE [CONT’D]

Alison whats wrong?

ALISON

Nothing.

ELAINE

Erm, why don’t I put the kettle on.

Elaine potters about the kitchen, she keeps glancing at Alison. Alison watches her.

ALISON

Thank you.

Elaine smiles. Alison’s phone rings and she jumps. It is Mark. She rejects the call, putting her phone down on the table.

ALISON [CONT’D]

Where’s Julia?

ELAINE

In bed of course.

ALISON

I think I’ll go up.

Alison leaves the kitchen. Elaine holds the kettle in her hands, concerned.

INT. ELAINE’S HOUSE – HALLWAY/JULIA’S BEDROOM. NIGHT.

Alison walks up the stairs and goes to a door with warm light spilling into the hallway. Alison pushes the door open gently to a room illuminated softly by a bedside lamp. There is a shape curled up under the covers. Julia’s bed sits next to the wall, under the window. Blue lights can be seen through the net curtains. Alison walks over to the bed and pulls the curtains shut. She walks to the other side of the room and sits against the wall, watching her daughter sleep in silence.

One thought on “The Accident

  1. I liked this. The non chronological flashbacks make for interesting reading and I feel like I want to know more about the characters, which is great! 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s