A Literary Crush

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INT. CLASSROOM - DAY


          SOPHIE


         (distantly)           


         Max! MAX!


MAX'S POV


As Max opens his eyes and his vision clears, we get a full view of Sophie's less than pleased face. She's no more than ten, one of the prettiest girls in her class, but not through any great effort of her own. Swiping her hair out of her eyes, she glances over the desk they currently hide behind, then ducks down again.


There's rumbles and crashes, incoherent shouts of others, but that's all over the desk. Max's eyes drop to the dirty linoleum floor under them, then lift to the desk in front of his face. The open mouth is filled with notebooks, pens, pencils... No answers to what's happening, though.


               SOPHIE


       We have to get out of this!


BACK TO SCENE


Max shifts until he's able to sit without the support of the wall behind him. He's Sophie's age, a nervous looking boy with glasses and an oversized sweatshirt.


                 MAX


                (hazy)


        Why do you say that...?


Staring at him in disbelief, Sophie makes a highly frustrated noise and whacks him on the shoulder.


               SOPHIE


            Look around!


Rubbing his shoulder, Max hesitates, then peeks up over top of the singed desk, to the classroom at large.


Or what's left of it, at least.


EXT. CLASSROOM/PLAYGROUND - DAY


Along the burnt walls to the right and left are the remains of what'd once been MRS. HOWELL'S CLASS, judging by the tattered banner that flaps against the cement brick, but a gaping hole has been blown in the front of the room. The rubble laid out in the wake of the blast leads to the playground, and this is what makes Max's jaw drop.


A DRAGON, wrapped in deep red with intricate swirls of gold, takes up the brunt of the other end of the field, tilting its head back and letting out a screeching roar into the afternoon sky.


STUDENTS run in terror for cover, or watch in sheer awe as KING ARTHUR'S KNIGHTS tear off on horses to do battle with the beast. ARTHUR is, naturally, in front. He's dressed in the full regalia of English royalty, his sword held high, his gold crown gleaming in the sun.


           ARTHUR


        FOR ENGLAND!


INT. CLASSROOM - DAY


Max, meanwhile, simply gapes at the scene. Sophie drops down behind the desk, putting her arms over her head.


              MAX


         (astonished)


   How'd this happen...?


           SOPHIE


     You don't remember?!


              MAX


               Uh...


FLASHBACK TO:


EXT. PLAYGROUND - DAY


Max sits against a tree in his own corner of the playground with a large leatherbound book in his lap, fidgeting as he waits. He looks up, relieved, to see Sophie coming his way.


She drops down in front of him, looking altogether uninterested with the broad grin he gives her.


              SOPHIE


         Alright, show me.


                MAX


   It's really cool, really. I got it from my Gramma. She's--


              SOPHIE


       That's still not showing me.


Max straightens up, opening the book to set about the task at hand. Getting the girl.


                MAX


    It's from her library, see. She says I'm not supposed to have any of it until my twenty first birthday, that I can only look, that I had to promise never to touch--


             SOPHIE


     I could be playing with my friends right now, Max.


               MAX


    Okay! Sorry, sorry. Look, the point is, you can do unbelievable things with the stuff in this book.


             SOPHIE


            Like what?


He motions for her to sit alongside him. She looks reluctant, then does so. Once she's settled, Max takes a moment to bask in the closeness with a lazy smile.


             SOPHIE


               Max!


               MAX


       (snapping out of it)


               Right!


Flipping quickly through the pages, he lands on one, the brings out another book from behind him. It's a small paperback, THE TALES OF KING ARTHUR, with a picture of Arthur and his knights on the front.


Opening the book, Max fumbles with his free hand until he reaches a full page illustration of the dragon.


             MAX


    I bet you I can make this picture come alive.         


           SOPHIE


       (disappointed)


   Oh no, you're crazy.


            MAX


   I am not! Look, see, I'll do it. Gramma does it for me whenever I sleep over, it's really easy.


         SOPHIE


 Max, I'm just... I'm going to go play with my friends now, okay? I'll see you later.


            MAX


    No no no, wait!


He grabs her arm as Sophie begins to rise, then draws back quickly at the withering look that earns him.


             MAX


   Sophie, please. Just... Give me a second, okay?


Sophie eyes him suspiciously, then after a long moment to consider her options, sinks down next to him again.


            MAX


       (brightens)


   Thanks. Thank you. Seriously. Okay.


Tracing his finger over the text in his grandmother's book, he slowly sounds out every syllable of the latin written there. Once he's through, there is simply silence, save for the background noise of the other kids playing.


Sophie and Max wait, watching the paperback expectantly. The dragon doesn't move.


          SOPHIE 


    Well, that was fun.


Max panics, reading off the spell once again, this time with feeling instead of care about how he's pronouncing the words.


Silence.


        SOPHIE


   Can I go now? 


         MAX


        Wait--


The paperback jumps out of his lap suddenly, flying until it comes to land a few feet ahead of them. Sophie and Max tip and nearly tumble as the ground starts to shake beneath their feet. The other children stop to take notice.


        MAX


  ... That didn't happen before...


As if on cue, A red bulging nose starts to rise from the pages. The dragon has begun to pull itself free, growling low into the newfound open air.


       MAX


   That-- It's supposed to be smaller! 


      SOPHIE


    (in shock)


   Oh my God.


       MAX


  I-I-I think we need to run--


The dragon, its head now free, looks to the playground with gleaming gold eyes... And roars.


Max and Sophie stumble to their feet on the still shaking ground. Sophie fights to keep her balance while Max grabs for the spellbook threatening to slip out of his hands.


In his fight not to drop the book, however, he sacrifices his balance. Max flails and goes backward, grabbing at air.


      SOPHIE 


   Max, you stupid idiot!


That's the last thing Max hears before hitting his head off the tree and losing consciousness.


CUT TO BLACK


INT. CLASSROOM - DAY


His memory having flooded back, Max sinks down next to Sophie again. He looks to the spellbook between them.


        MAX


     Did you...


Fear finally winning out against frustration, Sophie is still curled up next to him, hugging her head.


     SOPHIE


    (shortly)


  Yeah. I got us here. 


       MAX


       Oh...


     SOPHIE


  (growing tearful)


  We'll never get out.


Max cringes at her tone, and looks to the book again. Puffing himself up, he grabs it, flipping it open. He puts his finger on the desired page, glancing back to the fight outside.


      MAX


   That's what you think. Watch this!


Sophie, realizing what he means to do, grabs for his arm as Max rises above the desk.


    SOPHIE


     Don't!


With another shouted spell, Max sends forth a blue bolt from his outstretched hand. The bolt connects... But not with the dragon. It strikes a knight and his horse. Both fall to the side, twitching in the aftershocks.


Sophie peeks up over the desk to see if it's worked. Upon realizing it hasn't, she drops down again, moving her arms back over her head. Max slides down next to her, looking down at the hand that fired the bolt.


      SOPHIE


  Are you happy now?!


        MAX


  We need to call my Gramma...


He closes the book.


CUT TO BLACK

Created: Mar 27, 2014

Tags: fantasy, kids, magic, fiction, script, short

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