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Lotus

“The Night She Left” Documentary Transcript

EXT. SUBURBAN HOME – DAY

OLIVER, the host, stands in front of the clean, well-manicured lawn and middle-class dream house. He looks directly into the camera.

OLIVER: I am currently standing in front of the Farway household, which people may recognize. About two months ago, twenty-year-old Emily Farway disappeared. Despite the search efforts, news alerts, and national coverage, not a trace of evidence was found. To this day, there has been no body recovered, or any sign of Emily. Only one clue has baffled both family and authorities alike. A single flower left on the pillow of Emily’s bed.

Taking a step told the camera, Oliver holds out a LOTUS flower in the palm of his hand.

OLIVER: Today, we are sharing her story. Today, we are searching for answers. What is the meaning of the flower? Who was involved with the disappearance?

Camera ZOOMS tight on Oliver’s face.

OLIVER: And most important, what really happened to Emily Farway?

Something magical caused Emily’s eyes to open at exactly three-thirty in the morning, she was sure of it. This wasn’t the kind of awakening brought upon by a serious urge to rush into the bathroom, nor the kind that she could just twist over to the other side and ignore, falling back to a comfortable sleep.

No, this was the kind of lurch in the stomach she’d receive when her eyes fluttered closed and she for some reason thought she was about to fall off the bed when, in reality, she was safely placed in the middle.

This was something different. A beckoning.

Soft sheets shifted and crinkled as Emily sat up, pressing her right hand into the mattress to support her weight. The skin on her arms prickled with goosebumps. She turned toward the out-of-place crisp air, streaming in from the open window.

She was almost positive she had locked it before bed. She always did.

Emily brushed the sheets aside and stepped one foot onto the cool, wooden floor. It creaked against her, cutting through the silence of night. Carefully pacing one foot in front of the next, Emily approached the window, moonlight shrouding her in a shimmering blue.

It was so large in that moment. Impossibly large, as if the Earth grew tired of the distance and pulled her nighttime lover closer. It was impossibly large and impossibly full. The kind of wide-eyed moon that might inspire someone to do something

Crazy.

Emily looked out at the night around her. Everything in her family’s perfectly trimmed backyard looked a lot more beautiful than she remembered. Enchanting.

She blamed it on the moonlight.

As she pressed both palms into the windowsill and leaned forward, the sweet night air hugged her head. She let out a smile she hadn’t felt in a long time. One that came easily, without effort.

In the distance, pink petals began to fall like rain. They twirled and danced, suspended in the air, showering down from the heavens before disappearing onto the dirt. Emily watched them, eyes lit up like a child in the subdued tones of the world.

She longed to feel the petals on her skin.

The air shimmered, and Emily was struck with the need to go to them. To take a chance. A sudden thought popped into her mind.

What would happen if she jumped?

The wind seemed to whisper that it would all be okay.

Eyes filled with flower petals that shined like the stars, Emily kept leaning forward until she toppled out the window, and the thought that made her her disappeared into the shimmering air.

And she blamed it on the moonlight.

INT. COLLEGE LECTURE HALL – DAY

In front of the camera sits AMBERLY, a preppy and put-together girl if not for the mascara stained around her wet eyes. She wipes at her eyes with light pink nails.

OVERLAY: Amberly, Friend of Emily

AMBERLY: None of us could believe what happened. Or what didn’t happen. Mostly that there didn’t seem to be a reason for any of it. All I can say is that Emily was always the girl to show up early for class. With all her homework done. You couldn’t even get her to grab a coffee without her needing to consult her schedule and pencil in a time. She was so nice, is so nice. I’m sorry. I…I mean, we all love her. But I swear, she is not the type of person to just run away.

Amberly wipes at her eyes, then looks hard into the camera.

AMBERLY: Something happened to her. Someone took her.

Emily opened her eyes to lights that shined a brilliant orange. The kind of orange just before the sun dips into the sea. It filled her vision. A moment later, the lights faded into the kind of red she’d paint her lips when she really wanted attention. That bled into a calming purple, the center of the lights blazing with a white glow.

She blinked and the brilliance remained.

Music throbbed in her chest, the bass thumping in her bones like a second heart. Despite the overwhelming volume, it played like a relief. It caressed her, filled all the hollow crevices that she had left empty.

Lifting her head, which was indeed still attached to her apparently alive body, Emily took in her surroundings. No longer was she suspended in air, but still, she was floating. Even with her weight pressed into the smooth, black floor, she had never felt lighter.

She blamed it on the music.

The club around her bustled with activity. Smoke lazily swept through the air, catching the lights and fading back into the shadows, although she couldn’t see anyone with a cigarette. The room seemed to go on forever, people smiling and dancing and drinking and living. It smelled like champagne and looked like starlight.

Her chest sang along with the melody of the sounds swimming around her. Without a speaker in sight, the beat seemed to come from every direction. She wanted the song to last forever.

“It can,” a voice said in response.

A beautiful man stood in front of her, reaching down with an outstretched hand. He wore a deep blue suit that would make anyone unbearably attractive should they have the absurd amount of confidence required to wear it.

Emily didn’t think she had said the thought aloud, but perhaps she had.

The man in front of her gave a smile that could end a war. He was as bright as the changing lights, his eyes sparkling with them.

“Can I get you a drink?” he asked.

Without so much as a second thought, she reached out and grabbed his hand. Their touch was electric.

And she blamed it on the music.

INT. LOCKER ROOM – DAY

In front of the camera, DAMON looks highly uncomfortable. He plays with the hem of his jersey.

OVERLAY: Damon, Emily’s Ex-Boyfriend

OLIVER (O.S): So you were dating Emily at the time of the disappearance.

DAMON: That didn’t sound like a question.

He pauses, looks at the ground.

DAMON: Yeah, I was dating her. We were…we were happy.

OLIVER (O.S): There has been speculation that Emily could have ran off, possibly even with another man. What do you—

DAMON: –Fuck off, man.

Damon starts to walk in the other direction, waving off the camera. Oliver rushes to stop him. Finally, Damon turns to him.

DAMON: She loved me, okay? She loved me. I know that much. Whatever happened to her, it wasn’t her fault, and there definitely wasn’t anyone else. She wasn’t like that. She was perfect.

He hides his face.

DAMON: So go fuck yourself, man.

They didn’t even reach the drinks before Emily stopped walking, forcing the man to a stop. The music filled her and she could keep still no longer. All she could focus on were the bodies around her. Swaying hips, fingers running down arms, hair spilling onto backs, eyelids falling in pleasure.

It was sensation after sensation and she wanted all of it.

Her hand tingled where it connected to the fingers of the man. She flexed her own fingers against his, and took pleasure in the difference in size.

Curiosity brimming, his eyes locked onto hers.

Desire cascaded down her body, the kind of need she felt in her toes. That was all the sign she needed. So to the movement of the music and the bodies surrounding them, Emily wrapped her fingers around the back of the man’s neck, and pulled his lips to hers.

She blamed it on his touch.

The kiss between them deepened and Emily couldn’t tell if the music swelled or if it was just her own chest. All of her senses seemed to burst, as if before this moment, she hadn’t known how to use them at all.

Her hands explored, taking note of every square inch of the man, as he did the same to her. Nobody around them noticed, or cared. Everyone laughed, everyone drank, everyone lost themselves in the music

as she and the man lost themselves in each other.

And she blamed it on his touch.

EXT. SUBURBAN HOME – BACKYARD

MRS. FARWAY and MR. FARWAY hold onto each other in front of the garden. Something about them seems broken.

MR. FARWAY: We will never give up hope on Emily. Not until there is some concrete evidence, not until they find a…

A long pause.

MRS. FARWAY: Whatever happened to her, I pray for her daily, and I have to believe that she’s okay. That she’ll come home.

The two of them look uncomfortable.

MR. FARWAY: At times, Emily was a troubled girl. She would trust easily, always long for escape. Books, movies. But she would always come home, always text us updates.

MRS. FARWAY: Whoever took her needs to me brought to justice. I just…baby, I want you to come home.

Emily wasn’t sure how much time had passed by the time they made it to the bar. It felt like seconds in the guise of weeks. Days wrapped inside minutes. But none of it matters. She was shining like the lights.

The bar counter stretched on for what could have been miles or meters. She didn’t focus on the length of it so much as the selection of alcohol positioned behind. Various bottles a rainbow of color, things she recognized and did not. Scents of fruit and booze hugged her nose and tickled her throat.

With the man’s hand still in hers, she leaned against the counter. Her skin was buzzing at the scent alone.

She was the stars and the sky and the ocean beneath.

She blamed it on the alcohol.

The bartender slid a bright pink drink across the counter, ice cubes bobbing at the top of it. A delicate pink flower perched at the top of the glass as garnish. Never had Emily wanted anything more.

“How are you feeling?” The man asked.

For a moment, his face looked like someone familiar, someone more boyish with a quiet love in his eyes, but it was only a moment, and moments pass.

“Perfect,” Emily said.

“You can always feel that way,” the man replied. “No pain, no sadness, no worries. All you have to do is sip that drink.”

Emily reached out for the drink, already anticipating how cool and refreshing it would taste against her throat. Her hand gave pause. Something wanted to make her hesitate. A memory she couldn’t quite grasp. Faces of people she could not quite connect.

Images flashed through her mind. Nails painted pink. A freshly cleaned jersey. Vegetables grown in a garden. They all smell like love. They all taste like loss.

“Stay with me,” the man says, voice husky and low, “and you’ll only ever feel happy.”

Pushing away the strange, sad images, Emily grasps onto the glass like a lifeline and brings it to her lips.

She drinks.

As for what it is to blame?

She couldn’t have cared less.

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