WINNER TAKES ALL
Video game parlour. Dimly lit. Camera SWOOPS down on the scene. Young people engrossed looking at their screens.
Some look thrilled. Some, puzzled. And a couple of them have fierce looks of concentration tinged with disappointment. Clearly, they’re on the verge of losing.
And then the camera finds HIM. A solitary player. Sitting away from the crowd.
Camera approaches CLOSER AND CLOSER. The computer screen reflects in his eyes.
And then we get a view of his SCREEN. We see a JUNGLE.
The viewer enters the jungle.
PITCH BLACK. STILL. SLIVER OF A MOON CASTS A FAINT LIGHT.
The viewer gradually gets used to the stillness and darkness.
And then he hears it. A faint sound. A low hum.
We get a quick glimpse of the game player. His concentration is total. And a strange look, almost of fear, on his face.
THE VIEWER IS BACK IN THE JUNGLE.
The hum is approaching. Or perhaps, he’s heading towards the hum.
LOW SEDUCTIVE VOICE almost from nowhere –
Today’s the day
Back to the gamer. He’s startled.
Voice continues –
You know what you have to do
Still staring at the screen the gamer replies in a monotone. To no one in particular –
Camera PULLS BACK. We get a complete look again of the gaming place. The lights seem to be FLICKERING. Some of the gamers look up in surprise and irritation.
The gamer completely IN THE MOMENT.
Back to jungle in the game. A slight BREEZE is blowing the leaves. A CLEARING… and then SHE appears.
She is truly SPLENDID. Mahogany dark complexion. Tall. Statuesque.
She looks STRAIGHT into the camera and smiles. Her EYES stay cold and unsmiling.
The guy looking at the screen of his game is STARTLED. JUMPS back in shock.
She continues in a throaty whisper –
You thought I had forgotten?
No mistakes this time.
Remember what I said, it has to be done today….today…
The video game parlour is gradually getting EMPTY. ONE by ONE the lights are being switched off.
Owner/Manager calls out –
We’ll close in 30 minutes
GOKUL continues, unperturbed. He’s sitting STILL. WAITING.
Viewer is back in the jungle. Following HER.
Through dense foliage. The low hum continues. Clearly, it’s from HER.
And then a low growl from the undergrowth.
The humming stops. GOKUL’s head comes up with a SNAP. Looks TERRIFIED.
Just then, the lights are switched off. Owner/manager’s voice in the darkness –
Sorry buddy. We’re closed.
You’ll have to go somewhere else.
Gokul looks almost panic stricken. Shouts out –
No, no…wait. Just five minutes. Otherwise she’ll…
Owner/manager responds in the darkness.
We have rules. Can’t break them for you.
I’ll lose my licence.
Gokul’s computer screen flickers off. But before that we get a glimpse of her BLAZING EYES.
FOREST. There is foliage all around. Camera CIRCLES around. And then stops at a spot. Something is MOVING. SLOWLY it stands up.
It is a BIG CAT. It looks straight at the viewer.
And then starts moving forward. In slow deliberate steps. It’s tail swishing.
Scene cuts to –
GOKUL’s apartment. He enters and shuts the door behind him. The CAMERA is lurking around catching his movements.
He moves fast toward the windows and pulls the curtains. Switches on just one light.
MUTTERING under his breath –
She’s going to kill me
That stupid, fuckin’ guy
He’s opening his backpack and pulling out his computer all this while.
He switches on the computer and the screen flickers on.
Something comes on the screen.
Gokul’s face. STARTLED look.
What the fuck….
The camera focuses briefly on the screen. We see PAW PRINTS! As if a cat has walked across the screen.
And before he can say anything more we hear a LOW GROWL.
It’s coming from somewhere in the corner of the apartment.
Gokul spins around in fear. Stares FEARFULLY into the darkness.
His voice QUAVERS
Gokul waits for a few more seconds and then breathing a sigh of relief goes back to his computer.
The game is BACK ON!
Gokul’s eyes are glued to the SCREEN. Someone is running through the trees. He can hear the sound of FIERCE PANTING.
With his cursor he follows the sound. Through the foliage he can get brief glimpses of the HEAD. SHOULDER. LEGS.
And then the CLEARING. Where we had seen the BIG CAT.
The person who was running has come to a halt. It’s a man. We can see him but not his face.
The familiar husky VOICE.
Gokul whirls around on his chair and peers into the darkness in his apartment.
You shouldn’t have switched off like that.
Gokul, almost sobbing in fear –
I couldn’t help it. The place was shutting down.
Where are you? Where…where
SILKY VOICE –
Not my problem…you should not have…should not have…
Stop it! Stop saying that! STOP ITTTTT…
He’s almost CRYING now.
Camera is back on the COMPUTER SCREEN.
The guy in the clearing has now turned his head. He LOOKS STRAIGHT into the camera.
And before we can GASP in surprise the BIG CAT appears before him. And then MORPHS into him.
Gokul’s apartment. Looks the same. He’s hunched near the computer staring at the screen.
Camera moves closer to his FACE. He’s smiling. Just a little. And then we see his eyes.
GRAY-GREEN like a CAT’s!