Bedeviled

Excerpt from a Halloween special about an imp who sneaks out of Otherton, the place where ghosts and goblins live.

INT. NICK’S BEDROOM — NIGHT

Moonlight streams through a window in a typical 12-year-old’s bedroom: The floor is a minefield of dirty clothes and action figures. Books and comics are crammed to bursting on a bookshelf. A past-its-prime computer takes up most of a desktop. A beanbag chair squats next to a plastic storage bin packed with LEGO pieces. Pictures of sports figures and superheroes plaster the walls. Scat-tered trading cards cover the bottom bunk. NICK sleeps in the top bunk.

There’s a FLASH of greenish light behind the closet door, followed by a THUMP.

NICK
(groggy)

Huh?

A second THUMP stops Nick from going back to sleep.

NICK

Spartacus? Did you get out of your
crate again?

Nick clambers out of bed. Opening the closet door, he recoils from a CLOUD OF BRIMSTONE.

NICK

Eww, Spartacus! You’re farting up
the room!

Nick sees greenish light FLICKER from the top closet shelf.

NICK

Spartacus?

The shelf creaks, then the whole thing collapses. STUFFED ANIMALS and CARDBOARD BOXES spill down, knocking Nick to the floor.

NICK
(startled but unhurt)

Aaah!

Nick pushes aside toys and plushies. Sitting up, he sees his 18-inch tall stuffed TEDDY BEAR.

NICK

Huh; forgot you were in there—

The teddy bear’s head turns, its eyes GLOWING GREEN. Spooky!

NICK

Aaah!

TEDDY BEAR
(muffled—no actual mouth; its felt snout twitches as it talks)

Hey, keep it down.

(Bear with me on its name for the moment (no pun intended). For now, some mystery!)

Nick scrambles backward on his hands and knees.

NICK

Aaah!

The teddy bear flops over when it tries to walk. It’s having trouble coordinating its stuffed animal limbs.

TEDDY BEAR
(muffled, to itself)

What the—? I’m in a stuffed animal?!
That’s just great.

The teddy bear stumbles toward Nick.

TEDDY BEAR
(muffled, waving its teddy bear arms)

Stop with the yelling, kid!

NICK
(more confused than afraid)

Aaah?!

NICK’S MOM (O.S.)

Nick? Are you okay?

The BEDROOM DOOR opens, MOM silhouetted against the hallway light.

Nick blinks. Looks at the teddy bear. Regular glass eyes. No funky green light. No bizarre walking and talking. Just a normal stuffed animal.

NICK

I’m fine, Mom. Guess I just had
a nightmare.

MOM
(kneeling to check his head)

Did you fall out of bed?
Are you hurt?

NICK

I’m okay, really.

NICK’S DAD (O.S.)

Better not be another prank!

NICK
(loud)

It wasn’t a prank!

MOM

Well! Nothing wrong with your lungs.
Do you want to sleep with us for a bit?

NICK

Mom! I’m not a little kid.

MOM
(smiling)

No, sir! Okay, back in bed.

Nick climbs up the ladder to the upper bunk.

His Mom pauses in the doorway.

MOM

I’ll leave the hall light on. And Nick?

NICK

Yeah, Mom?

MOM

Clean your room tomorrow. If you
get buried under this mess, we’ll
never find you.

His mom leaves the door open a crack before walking back to her room.

DAD (O.S.)
(to Nick’s Mom)

Told you we shouldn’t’ve let him have
bunk beds.

MOM (O.S.)
(to Nick’s Dad)

Maybe put him in a cage, just to
be safe?

DAD (O.S.)
(to Nick’s Mom)

Now you’re thinking. He can share the
crate with the dog.

There’s a faint CLICK of the master bedroom door closing.

After a beat, Nick leans over to check the floor. The usual mess. He lies back down.

NICK
(to himself)

Just a nightmare. A weird,
not-really-scary-at-all nightmare.

TEDDY BEAR
(muffled, appearing at the top of the ladder)

That was close!

NICK

Aaah!

TEDDY BEAR
(muffled)

Seriously? Afraid of a talking teddy
bear? Thought you said you weren’t
a little kid.

That gets Nick where his pride lives.

DAD (O.S.)
(exasperated)

Nick?!

NICK
(to his Dad)

Just seeing if you're paying attention!

DAD (O.S.)

You’re hilarious. Go to sleep!

INT. NICK’S BEDROOM — LATER

It’s a couple minutes later. A desk lamp reveals Nick watching from the beanbag chair as whatever’s possessing the teddy bear gets used to the stuffed animal body. Now that he’s had a moment to process things, Nick’s surprise is replaced by curiosity.

NICK

What do you mean, “possessed”?

TEDDY BEAR
(muffled)

I don’t normally look like this. Well, the
size is right, but… doesn’t matter. The
short version: I’m an IMP.

NICK

A what?

TEDDY BEAR
(muffled)

Hang on; let me get more comfortable.

The stuffed animal body vibrates, GREEN FLAME SPARKING from it like a Tesla coil. In a series of POPS, a pair of stubby HORNS pokes from its head, and a long TAIL emerges from its rear. The GREEN FLAME flickers over the snout to reveal a MOUTH that actually moves—no more muffled talking! Yet, if anything, these changes make the teddy bear look CUTER than before.

NICK
(impressed–this is the coolest thing ever!)

Whoah!

TEDDY BEAR

I know, right? So, imps. The short
version: you know how something
spooks you out of the corner of your
eye? Or your stuff goes missing
sometimes? That’s us.

NICK

Pranks. You pull pranks!

TEDDY BEAR

Pretty much.

NICK

Me too! My Dad says I'm
a “troublemaker.”

The pair of troublemakers share a moment.

TEDDY BEAR

Anyway, there’s all these changes
lately. Rules for pranking you humans.
Very strict. It’s not fun anymore. So I left.

NICK

Holy cats! Wait till I show everyone—

TEDDY BEAR

Ehhh, not a good idea.

NICK

How come?

TEDDY BEAR

I’ll get caught sooner or later.
You'd get in trouble, too.

NICK

You kidding? I’ll help you hide out.
(mischievous grin)
Us imps gotta stick together.

They do a fist bump.

NICK

So, what do I call you?

The teddy bear looks embarrassed.

NICK

You do have a name, don’t you?

TEDDY BEAR

I’d rather not say.

NICK

Why not? Weird to call you “teddy.”

The teddy bear mumbles something inaudible.

NICK

What?

TEDDY BEAR
(pained expression)

I said “Buckminster.”

Nick snorts laughter.

TEDDY BEAR
(defensive)

Like your name is any better!

NICK

“Nick”? What’s wrong with that?

TEDDY BEAR
(deflated; it was worth a shot)

Nothing, I guess.

NICK

How about “Bucky”? That’s pretty good.

Before BUCKY can reply, they notice a GREEN FLICKERING LIGHT outside the window. A GHOSTLY ORB wafts up to the glass, bobbing like a dandelion in the wind.

BUCKY
(ducking behind the desk)

Oh no!

NICK

Whoah; is that another imp?

BUCKY

Worse. It’s a WILL-O-WISP.

Two more WILL-O-WISPS appear. They swirl around each other for a moment, then WILL-O-WISP #1 darts away into the night.

BUCKY

Shoot. I gotta get out of here.

NICK

Why? What are they?

CUT TO:

EXT. WOODED HILLSIDE — NIGHT

BUCKY (V.O.)
(nervous)

They’re like... ghostly bloodhounds. They track things.

Will-o-Wisp #1 darts through the trees, emerging in a moonlit clearing. In the shadows at the clearing’s edge, three other Will-o-Wisps flit around a FIGURE. (A carved jack-o-lantern is visible briefly under one arm.) Will-o-Wisp #1 alights on the figure’s extended hand.

NICK (V.O.)

Track things? For who?!

Will-o-Wisp #1 communicates in a series of flickering pulses.

At a gesture from the figure, the other Will-o-Wisps swirl together in a flash that resolves into the form of a GHOST STEED. The figure leaps astride the spectral horse.

BUCKY (V.O.)

The HEADLESS HUNTSMAN.

The silvery moonlight reveals that the figure has no head! Instead, a GREEN LIGHT flickers and pulses—not unlike a Will-o-Wisp—where a head would be.

The HEADLESS HUNTSMAN points at Will-o-Wisp #1. It takes off like a dog on a scent, the Ghost Steed leaping into motion behind it.

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