"The Selkie"

A Captain Jack Tale


STORY

John Barrowman
Carole E. Barrowman

WRITER

Carole E. Barrowman

ARTISTS

Tommy Lee Edwards
Trevor Goring

LETTERING

John Workman


Page 1

1.    C/U of OLD MAN walking his dog on the beach. Weather is overcast. Sea is rough.

CAP:    ‘When angels fell, some fell on land, some on the sea . . .


2.    Dog splashing in sea, old man in middle ground. Jagged cliffs in background– ruins of ancient Pictish fort.

CAP:    Seal Island– northern coast of Scotland. Present Day

OLD MAN: Ach, what’s got intae you?

3.    Low angle on OLD MAN and barking dog, standing on jagged rocks and driftwood.

OLD MAN: What is it, lass?

4.    A flayed human carcass is spread face down on the rocks.

Cap:  . . . The former were fairies, the latter were seals.’

TITLE: THE SELKIE

Page 2 and 3

1.    Torchwood (logo visible) helicopter flying to Seal Island. Weather stormy. Sea rough.

Cap: For a long time I’ve been keeping my eye on Seal Island. I must have blinked. I didn’t see this horror coming.

2.    Ruins of Pictish fort visible in helicopter lights.

3.    C/U of JACK and PILOT. High-tech harpoon is visible behind JACK.

PILOT:  BIT ROUGH FOR FISHIN’, MATE.
JACK:   JUST CALL ME ISHMAEL.

4.    Low angle on ruins as helicopter flies away from us.

Page 4

1.    Dead man’s wife crying in f/g (olive skinned and dark hair; all women should look subtly similar as if they might be distantly related). Uniformed police SERGEANT (young and good-looking) in mid/g. JACK in b/g.

CAP: Torchwood Glasgow contacted me after the local press published details of the death. After I land, the local police sergeant takes me to a temporary morgue he’s set up at The Seal Island Inn. Surprisingly, the dead man’s wife is already waiting to identify her husband’s body.

SGT:  NAME WAS ROSS DUNCAN, A LOCAL FISHERMAN.

JACK: ANYONE FIND . . . HIS SKIN?

2.    Face of dead fisherman–his wife’s hand touches his brow despite its raw fleshiness.

3.    O/S JACK to SGT. Fisherman’s wife in b/g

SGT: STORM’S MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO TRANSPORT THE–

CUT to

4.    High angle on four bodies and JACK talking to SGT. Fisherman’s wife stands next to her dead husband.

SGT.: – BODIES
 
JACK:   WHO ARE THEY?

SGT.:    LOCAL FISHERMEN. EXCEPT FOR FIRST ONE, EADEN SHAW. HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW, AILSA,

            OWNS THIS PLACE.

JACK:     EACH ONE KILLED THE SAME WAY?

SGT:      AYE. NOT A HIDE NOR HAIR TO BE FOUND.

Page 5

1.    JACK and the SGT. enter pub from the cellar/morgue. We see older woman embracing fisherman’s wife. A younger woman is behind bar.

2.    Daughter in f/g pouring a pint.

CAP: Returning upstairs, I meet Ailsa and her daughter.

JACK:  I’M SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS.

MOTHER:  TCH! HE KNEW THE RISKS,

DAUGHTER:  CAN I GET YOU SOMETHIN’ TAE DRINK?

SECOND CAP: Death affects everyone differently. Believe me, I’ve seen my share and more, but these women seem strangely unaffected…. and what risks? This is hardly the pit of this universe.

3.    Jack accepts a pint. C/U on daughter’s arm. We see raw welts like cigarette burns.

JACK:  WHAT HAPPENED?

4.    O/S daughter to Jack and SGT.

DAUGHTER:  FRYING FISH…THE SPLATTER.

5.    JACK talks to wives of murdered men.

FIRST CAP: Later, I gather the women to interview them.

SECOND CAP: Whatever’s happening on Seal Island, the consequences may be laying on benches beneath me, but someone sitting at this table knows the reasons why.  

JACK:  WERE YOUR HUSBANDS CLOSE?

DAUGHTER:  NOT SO IT MATTERS.

6.    C/U of JACK turning the door toward. One of the widows in b/g.

7.    A woman rushes screaming into pub. She’s holding a torn windbreaker (looks a bit like a flayed skin).

CAP:  Before I can ask another question, the door bursts
     open.

WOMAN:     OH, MY GOD. MY GOD! SOMETHING’S HAPPENED TO MY COLL!
    
Page 6

1.    C/U on light

Cut to

1a.  A lighthouse on promontory of cliff. Still stormy.

2.    Angle down on SGT and Jack. Cliffs on left of panel. Rough sea on right.

CAP: Mrs Garrow found her husband’s wind-breaker on the cliff’s edge. The sergeant and I trawl the rocky beach below.

3.    C/U Jack in foreground. Sgt. In mid ground  moving away from Jack. Lighthouse in b/g
    
CAP: We split up. Both knowing, we’re likely searching for another skinned body.

4.    Jack’s POV of body being tossed on rocks.

CAP: What the hell !!??

5.    Jack in C/U

JACK: STOP!

6.    Jack’s POV. He’s shrouded by the storm in a nearly black frame but recognizes something in the darkness.

JACK: NO. NO. IT CAN’T BE.

Page 7

1.    JACK and SGT return to Seal Island Inn.

Cap: I’m hoping the blinding storm distorted my vision. I rush back to the Inn with the body of Coll Garrow wrapped in a tarp in the sergeant’s trunk. Like the other men, Garrow’s been skinned alive.

2.    C/U of Jack and Sgt.

SGT:    WHAT DO YOU THINK’S HAPPENING HERE?

JACK:  NOTHING GOOD . . . AND IT MAY BE MY FAULT.

3.    JACK’S POV of pub. Same women and a couple of old men (one can be man with dog from opening panel). Women still at same table from earlier. Coll’s widow is sitting with them.

CAP: Scanning the room, I realize many of the island’s younger men are dead and in the cellar morgue.
My eyes didn’t deceive me on the beach. I’m responsible for these horrible deaths.

Page 8:

1.    Jack in f/g. Sgt. In b/g.

JACK: HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THE TALE OF THE SELKIE?

SGT:  YOU’RE KIDDING? FOLKS HERE ARE WEANED ON THAT MYTH. PLUS THERE’S CARVINGS ABOUT THEM ALL OVER THE RUINS.

2.    C/U of SGT. He relates the tale.

SGT.: AGES AGO, THE STORY SAYS, SEAL ISLAND WAS HOME TO A SPECIES OF ENCHANTED SEALS. THEY PROTECTED THE ISLAND FROM PIRATES, VIKING MARAUDERS AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT HARMED THE ISLAND.

3.    Wide angle of selkie gliding through the waves.

DIALOGUE BOX: “ITS SIREN CALL WAS HYPNOTIC AND IT KEPT SHIPS FROM RUNNING AGROUND ON THE ROCKS.”

4.    Wide on an androgynous being shape shifting to selkie as he/she dives into rough sea.

DIALOGUE BOX: “STORY ALSO SAYS THE SELKIE HAS THE POWER TO CONTROL THE WEATHER, SHED ITS SEAL SKIN AND TAKE HUMAN FORM WHENEVER THE ISLAND IS IN DANGER, AND WHEN IT KILLS IT SKINS ITS VICTIMS ALIVE … YOU DON’T THINK? ACH, MAN, THE SELKIE’S JUST A FAIRY TALE.”

5.    JACK (in same position as SGT in panel 2). Behind JACK we see a dying planet (this should be in warm colors to contrast with the rest of story and link to NORTHERN LIGHTS).

JACK:     IT’S NOT A STORY, SERGEANT. FAR FROM IT.  I BROUGHT THE SELKIE HERE– TO EARTH.

Page 9

1.    JACK carries alien with great tenderness. Planet dying in b/g.

DIALOGUE BOX:    “ITS GALAXY WAS DYING, ITS PLANET ABOUT TO IMPLODE. SHE… IT NEEDED A NEW PURPOSE.”

2.    JACK’S Chula ship flees imploding planet––

3.    –– through earth’s atmosphere toward the sea. The Northern Lights explode in b/g. We see the Pictish ruins from earlier panels as thriving village.

Page 10 (panels continue from page 9)

4.    Angle on JACK releasing alien into the sea. Northern Lights in b/g.

DIALGUE BOX:    “I KNOW NOW IT WAS THE WRONG THING TO DO– SELFISH OF ME– BECAUSE IT’S EVOLVED . . . BUT I COULDN’T LET HER DIE.”

5.    Profile of JACK on hand-held device.

6 thru 9 are images and text framed from Jack’s computer device.

6.  Excerpt from newspaper: The Orcadian.  

TEXT:    The Kirkwall police have released, Eaden Shaw, 23, resident of Seal Island, after his wife refused to press charges–   

7. Excerpt from police database with mug shot.

TEXT:     NAME: Tom Nesbit     AGE: 38
        OCCUPATION: North Shore Fisheries
        PRIOR ARRESTS: DUI  7/7/2007
                                 DUI   22/9/2008
        License revoked          7/10/2008
        Assault (DV)               8/11/2008    

8. Excerpt from police database with mug shot.

TEXT:    NAME: Ross Duncan     AGE: 36
            OCCUPATION: North Shore Fisheries
            PRIOR ARRESTS:  Assault (DV)   5/7/2005
                                      Served six months
                                      Assualt (DV)    19/10/2008    

8.    C/U on Jack as he realizes the pattern.

CAP: It’s found a new purpose.

Page 11

1.    Jack sits at table talking with the wives again.

CAP: Four women sit round this table and at least three of them have something other than their widowhood in common.

JACK:  THOSE BURNS ON YOUR WRIST ARE FROM YOUR HUSBAND’S CIGARETTES,
          AREN’T THEY?

DAUGHTER: SO WHAT IF THEY ARE? HE’S NOT GOING TO DO IT AGAIN NOW IS HE?

CAP:  Where’s her mother?

JACK: WHAT ABOUT YOU, MRS. GARROW? THERE’S NO RECORD OF COLL HURTING YOU, AND, YET, HE’S JUST AS DEAD AS THE OTHER MEN WHO ABUSED THEIR WIVES.

2.    C/U on Mrs. Garrow fumbling with necklace (same necklace must be on her when she burst into pub in earlier panel).

DIALOGUE BOX: “COLL NEVER LIFTED A FINGER TAE ME. HE WAS A GOOD MAN. ALWAYS GIVING ME WEE PRESENTS.”

3.    C/U on Jack

4.    E/CU of necklace

DIALOGUE BOX:     “THAT’S AN UNUSUAL NECKLACE. ARE THOSE ANCIENT GLYPHS?”

5.    O/S Jack to pub

Cap: And where’s Sergeant Allison?

6.    Angle down on JACK exiting pub– running to car.

Pages 12 & 13

1.    Jack runs from car to the Pictish ruins. High-tech harpoon is visible in his hand.

2.    Angle down on JACK as he enters ruins (harpoon visible).

JACK: SERGEANT? CORMAC?

3.    JACK running down slate stone stairs into burrow.

CAP: Unsure of what–or who–I’m about to face, I climb deeper inside the ancient settlement.

4.    Angle on JACK with tracking device in his hand.

JACK: “GOT YA!”

5.    Jack, harpoon in hand, confronts AILSA at sea entrance to cave. She’s embracing a lifeless human skin.

JACK:  WHAT’VE YOU DONE TO HIM.
         
AILSA: WHAT I’VE DONE IS FULFIL MY DESTINY, ONE
            THE WOMEN IN MY FAMILY HAVE HAPPILY MET
            FOR CENTURIES.

6.    Angle on JACK exposing the face of the lifeless human skin. It’s the SERGEANT. Visible nearby are artifacts (broches etc.)

DIALOGUE BOX: I’M PROTECTING ITS SKIN
SO IT MAY RETURN TO ITS HUMAN FORM AFTER IT HUNTS.

JACK:  AND IT’S HUNTING THE MEN WHO’VE DAMAGED THE ISLAND’S WOMEN … AND ROBBED THIS PLACE OF ITS ANCIENT TREASURES.

CAP: I’ve got to destroy the selkie’s skin. It
must never take human form again.

7.    The selkie rises up from the water’s edge.

8.     Jack faces it, harpoon in one hand, its lifeless skin in other.

JACK:  ‘TO THE LAST I GRAPPLE WITH THEE.’

9.    Selkie attacks.

Page 14

1. JACK harpoons selkie.

Page 15

1. Angle on selkie as it dies.

2. JACK looks up at selkie as it appears to morph to its alien form before it becomes the waves.

3. Looking up at JACK on cliffs. Sea and seals at bottom of frame.

4. Profile of JACK (reverse of OLD MAN on panel 1). Northern Lights in background.

Cap: ‘then the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.’

END