School con be likened to a prison. Particularly so when Jodie's wicked stepmother decides to send her off to a boarding school, of all places. Perhaps they're correct in assuming she will get a proper education there. But what kind of a school has chains on the doors, and armed guards in the classrooms?
RISK INSTITUTE - NIGHT - EXT
A huge grey building hulks against the darkness and a moon blurred by cloud. Dim lights glow from one window and a shadowed figure moves behind the curtain.
On to the roof of this building, a boy, Sam, in his teens walks to the edge. He looks down. It’s a very long way to the bottom and there would nothing to soften a fall. He is wearing plain white pyjamas and nothing else. Toes curl into the gravel at his feet. Eyes closed, he raises his hand and salutes. Inching forward, leaning, until he is so close a breath might topple him.
I am ready for the end.
A bat whines close to his head, rippling his buzzed hair. The boy jolts his eyes open and throws himself away from the edge but still too close for comfort. He tries to shuffle backwards, moves and crawls, but when he looks, the boy is no further away. In fact, the edge seems to be getting closer to him. A hand slides over gravel, some falls away and the boy scrambles for purchase again. He throws his sliding arm over his body, fear bright in his face.
PAYNE LOUNGE - MORNING - INT
In a cluttered room a young girl of 12 or so is sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons and shovelling drippy cereal into her mouth. A baby sits in a corner playpen beginning to whimper. The girl ignores him and carries on eating. She, Jodie, throws a stuffed toy to the floor and curls on top of it, cereal quickly forgotten. A shower of letters drop through the front door. The letterbox bangs back into place and that shocks the baby into an all out wail.
Gaynor! Your son’s crying.
Heavy feet thump down the stairs and a middle-aged man appears. He scoops a dummy out of an open drawer and walks over to the baby, playing aeroplanes with it until he takes the dummy. Jodie watches all this, rolls her eyes and suddenly finds the TV very interesting.
He’s her kid, Dad. Make her take care of it.
Would it kill you to be civil, Jodie?
Maybe. And wouldn’t she be happy then. No step-daughter to get in her way.
Stop being silly. Gaynor likes having you here just fine.
Another set of feet, these one in high heels, click downstairs. Gaynor, dyed blonde and too much makeup, passes Jodie by as though she wasn’t there and starts fussing over her son though not actually picking him up.
I’m sitting here. Hello.
So you are honey.
Oh, yes, dear.
This is me being civil Dad. But she doesn’t even know my name.
They’re terms of affection. It’s a good thing.