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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


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.


          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



          Are you scared?

ANYA shakes her head.


          It’s okay if you are.

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


          Would you like us to bury the bird,


ANYA nods.


          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.


          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.


          Bum a smoke?

ANYA hands her a cigarette and a lighter.


          I shouldn’t really.

SAM lights up.


          Neither should you.

SAM hands the lighter back. ANYA attempts a smile.


          You from here?


          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.


          What happens now?


          Nothing, sweetheart.


          What do you mean? What will happen

to it?


          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


          You back to visit then?


          Something like that.


          My parents live by the sea. I don’t

          visit them often enough. Should

          take advantage of it, really.

ANYA frowns.


          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?


          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



          What’s wrong?


          Nothing. Just thought I recognised





          Doesn’t matter.

She fakes a smile and kisses MAE’s hand.


          Ice cream?

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

ANYA checks her phone. A message pops up.


How did it go?


          At the station.



          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?





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

                    MOLLY (VO)

          Your cousin called.


          Which one?

                    MOLLY (VO)

          Don’t play dumb.


          What do you want, mum?

                    MOLLY (VO)

          Is it true?


          Is what true?

                    MOLLY (VO)

          He says he saw you.


          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.


I do.

                    MOLLY (VO)

          Well. That’s settled then.

The line goes dead.



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


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


          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.


          Mind you, lovely service. The whole

          school turned up. Kids sang hymns.

          Principal gave a speech.

ANYA puts her glove back on.


          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.


          I know I shouldn’t, really.


          Neither should I.

ANYA squashes it with her foot, then picks both cigarette

butts up and puts them in a small plastic bag.


          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-


          Nothing ever happens here.


          Right. You understand.


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



          Have a safe journey. Come back


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


I will.

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

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