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Swallow’s Rest

by Elise Van Lil

EXT. TRAIN STATION - DAY - 2019, 06:07

A foggy morning. Chapel’s Wood is a small village, the kind

where everyone knows one another. The station can hardly be

called one. It consists of a vandalized sign hanging loosely

from a rusty pole and two metal benches on either side of

the railroad tracks. Two flights of slippery stairs lead up

to the platforms. They’re a hazard in winter, which it is

now.

ANYA, a young woman with the world in her eyes, struggles up

the stairs. Her suitcase is heavy, much like her demeanor.

She takes off one of her gloves to get a better grip on the

suitcase. Once at the top, she lights a cigarette and looks

out at the tracks. She’s early, but impatient.

EXT. TRAIN STATION - DAY - 2000, 16:03

A train pulls in. ANYA, a 10-year old girl jumps off. She is

holding a tiny suitcase.

                    MOLLY

          Anya, wait!

MOLLY, a woman in her thirties, runs after ANYA. Her gait is

slower than what you’d expect of a woman her age. ANYA stops

in her tracks and points at a dead swallow on the platform.

MOLLY catches up with her daughter. She bends down to ANYA’s

level.

                    MOLLY

          Are you scared?

ANYA shakes her head.

                    MOLLY

          It’s okay if you are.

ANYA shakes her head again, trying to convince her mother.

                    MOLLY

          Would you like us to bury the bird,

          honey?

ANYA nods.

                    MOLLY

          We’ll bury the bird.

MOLLY grabs a plastic bag from her handbag. She carefully

lifts the bird into the bag and ties it up.


                    MOLLY

          Let’s go home.

The woman, the girl and the bird disappear down the stairs.

EXT. TRAIN STATION - DAY - 2019, 06:11

A woman in her sixties makes her way up the stairs. She is

wearing a thick, black coat. Her cheeks are round and red.

                    SAM

          Bum a smoke?

ANYA hands her a cigarette and a lighter.

                    SAM

          I shouldn’t really.

SAM lights up.

                    SAM

          Neither should you.

SAM hands the lighter back. ANYA attempts a smile.

                    SAM

          You from here?

                    ANYA

          Used to be.

EXT. GARDEN - DAY - 2000, 16:43

MOLLY and ANYA are standing in front of the bird’s grave.

It’s a humble mount of earth, decorated by a haphazard bunch

of wildflowers.

                    ANYA

          What happens now?

                    MOLLY

          Nothing, sweetheart.

                    ANYA

          What do you mean? What will happen

to it?

                    MOLLY

          I already answered that question.

MOLLY rubs ANYA’s hair and walks back inside. ANYA looks at

the grave. Then, the sky. It seems emptier now, somehow.


EXT. TRAIN STATION - DAY - 2019, 06:13

                    SAM

          You back to visit then?

                    ANYA

          Something like that.

                    SAM

          My parents live by the sea. I don’t

          visit them often enough. Should

          take advantage of it, really.

ANYA frowns.

                    SAM

          Of them still being with us, I

          mean. Not the beach. Although, I do

          like the seaside. Not as quiet as

          it is here, you know?

                    ANYA

          Yeah. I know.

EXT. BEACH - DAY - 2015, 12:04

ANYA is walking along the pier with her girlfriend MAE. She

suddenly stops walking. A familiar face is staring at her

through the crowds. She looks at her own hand, holding

MAE’s.

                    MAE

          What’s wrong?

                    ANYA

          Nothing. Just thought I recognised

someone.

MAE

Who?

                    ANYA

          Doesn’t matter.

She fakes a smile and kisses MAE’s hand.

                    ANYA

          Ice cream?


EXT. TRAIN STATION - DAY - 2019, 06:15

ANYA checks her phone. A message pops up.

MAE

How did it go?

ANYA

          At the station.

MAE

ANYA

          Nothing happened.

She puts her phone away.

EXT. BEACH - EVENING - 2015, 20:07

ANYA is smoking. Her phone goes off. She looks at the screen

and hesitates.

That bad?

Mum.

ANYA

MOLLY (VO)

          Anya.

It’s quiet on both sides. They know what’s coming next.

                    MOLLY (VO)

          Your cousin called.

                    ANYA

          Which one?

                    MOLLY (VO)

          Don’t play dumb.

                    ANYA

          What do you want, mum?

                    MOLLY (VO)

          Is it true?

                    ANYA

          Is what true?

                    MOLLY (VO)

          He says he saw you.

                    ANYA

          If you’re asking me if I’m happy,

          mum, then yes. It is true. I am.

It stays quiet for a long time. A seagull walks up to ANYA.

                    MOLLY (VO)

          I hope you feel at home there.

ANYA

I do.

                    MOLLY (VO)

          Well. That’s settled then.

The line goes dead.

                    ANYA

Mum?

The seagull walks past. It looks angry, as seagulls often

do.

EXT. TRAIN STATION - DAY - 2019, 06:17

                    SAM

          Sorry if that seemed a bit -

          morose. We had a funeral here

          yesterday. You might have seen?

          Lovely woman, school teacher.

          Barely my age. Really makes you

          think, you know.

ANYA stares at the tracks.

                    SAM

          Mind you, lovely service. The whole

          school turned up. Kids sang hymns.

          Principal gave a speech.

ANYA puts her glove back on.

                    SAM

          No family though. Lost her husband

          ages ago. Real tragedy. Daughter

          didn’t even show up. You’d think

          they’d be close. You know, without

          a father.

SAM finishes her cigarette. Throws the butt on the floor.

                    SAM

          I know I shouldn’t, really.

                    ANYA

          Neither should I.

ANYA squashes it with her foot, then picks both cigarette

butts up and puts them in a small plastic bag.

                    SAM

          You should visit again soon. Not

          many people come back here. Place

          is too small. We all start looking

          forwards to the next funeral. Gives

          us something to talk about, you

          know? Not that we’d wish anything

          bad on anyone. It’s just-

                    ANYA

          Nothing ever happens here.

                    SAM

          Right. You understand.

ANYA

I do.

A swallow lands on her suitcase. A wildflower in its beak.

ANYA looks at it in disbelief. The train screeches in. ANYA

looks back at her suitcase. The bird is gone, the wildflower

isn’t.

                    SAM

          Have a safe journey. Come back

          soon!

ANYA puts the flower in her jacket, close to her heart.

ANYA

I will.

ANYA looks at the sky. A swallow flies by. She boards the train. 



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