The Dry (2020) – Transcript

Aaron Falk returns to his drought-stricken hometown to attend a tragic funeral. But his return opens a decades-old wound - the unsolved death of a teenage girl.
The Dry (2020)

When Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns to his home town after an absence of over twenty years to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke, who allegedly killed his wife and child before taking his own life – a victim of the madness that has ravaged this community after more than a decade of drought. When Falk reluctantly agrees to stay and investigate the crime, he opens up an old wound – the death of 17- year-old Ellie Deacon. Falk begins to suspect these two crimes, separated by decades, are connected. As he struggles to prove not only Luke’s innocence but also his own, Falk finds himself pitted against the prejudice towards him and and pent-up rage of a terrified community.

* * *

(OVERLAPPING VOICES SPEAK FOREIGN LANGUAGES)

CHILD: Tell me a story.

(WIND HOWLS)

(METAL CLATTERING)

(WIND BLUSTERS)

(BABY CRIES)

(BABY CONTINUES CRYING)

(SPARSE SOMBRE MUSIC)

(BABY CONTINUES CRYING)

(WIND HOWLS)

(FLIES BUZZ)

(BABY CONTINUES CRYING)

(CRYING ECHOES AND FADES)

(SIGHS HEAVILY)

(MAN ON RECORDING) Aaron, Gerry Hadler.

It’s been a while.

You need to be here.

For the funeral.

Luke’s funeral.

We’re expecting you.

(LOW TENSE MUSIC)

WOMAN ON RADIO: ..weather forecast.

Once again, there is no rain in sight, with continuing drought conditions and ongoing fire danger across the state.

In related news… (VOICE FADES)

MAN ON RADIO: ..almost 70% is now drought-declared.

Regional areas are receiving drought assistance from the State Government, although with limited impact, as farming communities struggle with the worst…

WOMAN ON RADIO: ..communities across the country are bracing for another dangerous bushfire season this summer.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Research Centre says a hot winter and…

(TRAIN HORN BLARES)

(PEOPLE CHATTER LOWLY)

(BABY CRIES)

(WOMAN WEEPS)

(PEOPLE CRYING)

(SOLEMN ORGAN MUSIC PLAYS)

(LOWLY) You’re not one of them TV journalists, are you?

No, I’m an old mate of Luke’s, actually.

Bloody tragic.

We gather this morning in sadness in this time of trouble and devastating drought.

We come to honour the lives of Karen and Billy…

..and Luke.

(PEOPLE MURMUR)

This is yet another hardship through which our community must bond together.

We do so with sadness, but with a sense of promise.

As we pray together in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… (VOICE FADES)

(UNEASY MUSIC)

(BIRDSONG)

(GIRL SQUEALS, LAUGHS)

GIRL: Move!

BOY: Come on, come on!

Catch, Gretchen.

Oh, thanks.

BOY: This is bloody beautiful. Hurry up.

(GRETCHEN SQUEALS)

(SCREAMS, LAUGHS)

Jealous?

As if, Gretchen.

Ellie’s jealous!

Oh!

(SIGHS)

(PEOPLE CHATTER LOWLY)

(FLY BUZZES)

You look like shit.

How are you, Gretchen?

(CHUCKLES)

I still can’t believe it.

(GRETCHEN SIGHS)

I was wondering if you’d be here.

Yeah, well, where else would I be?

Come on. Barb and Gerry have booked the hall.

Everyone’s been making sandwiches.

(BOYS SHOUTING IN DISTANCE)

Hey, Lachie! Gentle!

AARON: Yeah, Luke said you had a kid.

Did he?

Poor little thing. He’s in the same class as Billy.

I don’t know how you’re meant to explain to a kid how…

(SIGHS)

Did Luke say anything to you?

No.

You know, I was meant to give him a call, but, you know, just never, you know…

You don’t need to make excuses. We all feel guilty.

(GLASS CLINKS)

(WOMAN WHISPERS) I’ll just put these over here.

BARB: We just wanted to thank you all for coming here today to… to pay your respects to Karen and to Billy.

What’s happened has been a terrible thing, but we hope that eventually you’ll be able to remember Luke the way he was before.

He was a friend to many of you and he loved that family of his.

MAN: Yeah, till he butchered ’em.

(PEOPLE MURMUR)

GRETCHEN: Oh, not today.

Hey, I came here to drink for the kid and Karen, alright?

Not celebrate a murderer.

BARB: Oh!

GRETCHEN: Shut up, Grant.

Not now, not fuckin’ never.

(QUIET SOMBRE MUSIC)

(GIRLS CHEER AND WHOOP)

(BOTH CHEER)

BOY: Oi!

GIRL: Call that running?!

Come on!

Aaron!

ELLIE: Whoo-hoo!

Whoo-hoo! Come on, Luke!

LUKE: Whoo! Hey, Gretchen.

GRETCHEN: What took you so long?

LUKE: Ellie.

(PANTS)

(ALL LAUGH)

(INSECTS CHIRP)

(MUSIC DARKENS)

(PANTS)

(GASPING)

POLICEMAN: Stay back, Mal.

Ellie?

(MAN SOBS IN DISTANCE)

(MAN WAILS)

(BABY CRIES)

BARB: This is Charlotte.

(CHARLOTTE CRIES)

Oh, she’s struggling with the formula.

And she’s so restless, aren’t you, darling?

There we are. Oh…

(CHARLOTTE BURBLES)

BARB: Gerry says I waste water on the roses. (CHUCKLES)

Oh, it’s just a bucket after a shower.

They’re still hanging on.

AARON: Hey, Gerry.

Aaron.

BARB: Sit down.

How are you both coping?

Well, thank you for asking.

Most people who come here can’t even look us in the eye, can they, Gerry?

Obviously, Luke didn’t do it.

He wouldn’t, and you know that.

He wouldn’t do it to himself and he certainly wouldn’t do it to that beautiful family.

And that’s why we’ve… we’ve been wondering if you would help us.

Barb’s got a theory.

BARB: When we let Luke have the farm, obviously, we thought we were helping him.

But over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking.

You know, with the drought so bad and everybody’s desperate, there’s the wheat crop failing and…

Now, if he had to borrow from someone and… and then he couldn’t pay them back, now, they might have come to the farm…

Barb, if you’re worried about how the investigation ran, um, I could possibly put you in touch with some people I know in Melbourne.

No, no. We… we saw you on the news.

The Pemberley case.

Right.

And we were all following that, and you got the money back.

And Luke was so proud that you were his friend.

You’ll look at the books before you head home?

Well, legally, I’m not actually allowed to interfere in an…

You look.

For Barb’s sake.

You lied back then, Aaron.

Luke lied as well. I’ve always known.

(GERRY SIGHS)

The day that… that poor girl drowned, I… I saw Luke coming back from the river, nowhere near the field you boys said you were in.

We were shooting rabbits.

Bullshit!

I loved my son.

But you tell me, if he did this now… could he have done it then?

To Ellie?

Maybe if… if either of us had told the truth back then, then maybe…

I’ll take a look at the books, OK?

But then I’m gone.

Ellie!

(BOTH LAUGH)

(GASPS) Luke…

(ELLIE COUGHS AND SPLUTTERS) Don’t!

(ELLIE GASPS)

GRETCHEN: Luke! Let go of her!

GRETCHEN: What are you doing? Luke, she can’t breathe!

Let go!

(ELLIE GASPS)

The fuck is wrong with you?!

LUKE: I’m sorry, Ellie!

(DOG BARKING ECHOES)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER ON TV)

We have a two-night minimum.

Right, I’m just staying the one night, so…

Right. (SIGHS)

Thank you.

Alright, I’ve got full-strength or mid.

AARON: Um…

I’m out of mid.

(LIQUID POURS)

(POKIES BELL RINGS)

(MAN SHOUTS) Oh, you beauty!

(COINS TUMBLE)

MAN: I’m on a roll!

How are you goin’?

You haven’t changed at all, have you? Hmm?

‘Cause I’ve been seeing your face in my dreams for… fuck knows how long.

Isn’t that right, Uncle Mal?

Look who’s here.

Why are you back, Falk?

I thought you got the message.

You bring the kid with ya?

That son of yours, that bloody son, is he back here as well with you?

GRANT: Sit down. He is the son. Just sit down.

It’s alright.

You’ve gone and upset him now.

You see, he thinks you’re your prick of a father. (CHUCKLES)

It’s OK, Mr Deacon.

OK, is it? Just like that, Falk?

All OK? Hmm?

I never got a chance to say back in the day, but I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for your loss.

I’m sorry about Ellie.

You fuck off right now.

What, do you want me to fuckin’ help you with that, do you?

Well, that’s the thing, Grant, about being a public bar.

Anyone can drink here and now that includes him and you.

MAL: Yeah, the problem’s not with him being in the bar.

It’s a problem with him being in Kiewarra at all.

Now, you understand this, and you tell your boy.

There’s nothing here for you at all other than a whole load of people who remember what your son… did to my daughter.

(FOOTSTEPS RECEDE)

(ENGINE REVS OUTSIDE)

(SIGHS)

(BIRDSONG)

LUKE: Oh, chill out, Gretch. I was just muckin’ around.

I wasn’t gonna bloody drown her.

GRETCHEN: You could have killed her.

LUKE: OK. Alright. I’m fuckin’ sorry!

Sorry, Ellie! Sorry!

Far out. Chill the fuck out.

Yeah, alright. Settle. Settle.

GRETCHEN: Funny?

LUKE: Alright.

You think it’s funny? Yeah?

LUKE: Yes.

Funny? Really funny.

LUKE: I’m sorry.

GRETCHEN: Idiot.

(LUKE SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY)

AARON: Ellie, let’s get away from this.

GRETCHEN: Stop it!

LUKE: Come on!

LUKE: It was pretty funny!

GRETCHEN: What’s wrong with you?

(ENGINE REVS OUTSIDE, BRAKES SQUEAK)

(VEHICLE DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS)

(VEHICLE DOOR SHUTS)

(MUFFLED THUMP NEARBY)

(AARON SIGHS)

(MUFFLED VOICES AND CLATTERING)

(MUFFLED VOICES CONTINUE)

(MUFFLED SHOUTING)

MAN: Where is the dirty fuckin’ pig, eh?!

You’re fucked! Where are ya?

Are you up there, copper?!

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

Wake up, copper!

Wake up, you stinkin’ pig!

(THUDDING ON DOOR) Oi!

What are you doin’ back in our town, boy?!

(CONTINUES THUDDING) Oi! Wake up!

You’re a fuckin’ killer!

Fuckin’ right!

You killed poor little…

(MUFFLED SHOUTING AND KNOCKING CONTINUES)

Fuckin’ liar! You’re a killer and a fuckin’ liar!

(AARON SIGHS)

Oh, g’day, it’s Aaron.

Look, um, I’m gonna need a little bit more time out here.

Uh, the funeral was pretty devastating, to be honest.

So I’m gonna stay behind and, um, help the family out with a couple of things.

I’m not sure how long it’ll take, but at least a day.

So I will take this as personal leave.

OK. Thank you.

(WIND BLUSTERS)

(METAL SQUEAKS AND CLATTERS)

AARON: G’day.

How are you goin’?

Can I help you?

I’m Aaron Falk. I’m a friend of the Hadlers.

Oh, right. Greg Raco.

Local sergeant.

Gerry said you’d swing by.

AFP, right?

(WHISTLES) Must be something.

No, I’m just here in a personal capacity.

Right.

Told ’em I’d have a look at the books.

Yep. Their house now.

I’ll show you.

Great.

(WIND WHISTLES OUTSIDE)

Did you find ’em?

The bodies?

Yeah.

Karen was there.

It seems she met Luke at the front door.

I don’t know. Does your missus meet you when you come home?

I’m not married, mate.

Yeah. It’s been bugging me a bit.

Where’d you find the boy?

Uh…

Just… in here.

(EXHALES)

Uh… I found Charlotte in through here, if you want to see.

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

Just, uh…

This one?

No, the other.

Screaming her little lungs out.

Dehydrated herself.

It’s, uh, eight steps.

He would have still had the adrenaline going, blood pumping.

Eight steps… to stop and change his mind and not shoot the baby.

Maybe babies don’t make great witnesses.

What do you think?

Don’t know.

You knew him, didn’t you?

What do you think?

Was this the first time you were a first responder?

Yeah.

Did you do the debrief sessions?

Yeah. Down in Ballarat. I saw the head doc.

Not terribly helpful. (CHUCKLES)

You’ve just got to keep going. You’ve got to keep going back.

Yeah, no, I know.

Well, thanks for showing me around, eh?

Yeah, no worries.

(MELANCHOLY MUSIC)

AARON: That was a nice service.

Oh, what we needed.

The tree hasn’t got a hope, of course.

God knows what we’re supposed to tell the kids when it dies.

There it is.

Where she worked.

She did the accounts?

Yeah. (CLEARS THROAT) Mainly.

Just two days a week.

Any problems that you were aware of?

Well, I mean, it’s not, you know…

It’s nothing I didn’t already tell the other detectives.

She made a couple of errors in the accounts.

Nothing serious.

But we did speak and she was… she was upset about her husband.

Did she tell you why she was upset?

Pretty vague. You know, money.

But everyone here’s worried about money.

Uh…

Did she seem at all scared of him to you? Luke?

I mean… I didn’t think so.

I suppose I wasn’t listening hard enough.

Clearly, I missed the signs.

Yeah, well…

Thanks.

Any time.

Listen, um… I don’t know.

If you… if you want to do a careers talk sometime, the kids would love it.

We could all use some inspiration.

(CHUCKLES)

Thanks for your time.

Yeah, no worries.

Cheers.

AARON: Gretchen.

Hi.

Hi.

Thought you were a ghost before.

You couldn’t wait to get out of here.

Nah, I just wanted to see where Karen worked.

Well, here it is. High glamour.

So what was she like?

Younger.

Nah, she was a good person, actually.

Yeah, the Hadlers have asked me to hang around.

Yeah, course they have.

Barb’s never gonna be able to accept that she, queen of the CWA with the award-winning lamingtons, raised a…

Hey, remember us in here?

Grade three? Miss Massey?

(CHUCKLES) Yeah. She took away my recorder.

Do you remember grade one, you pissed on my exercise book?

I did not!

You did so!

They wouldn’t let you go to the toilet, you couldn’t hold it in, and then Luke got up and joined in too.

Ohh!

Solidarity.

(LAUGHS)

Hey, if you’re hanging around, you’re gonna need to eat.

Tonight?

You got another date?

ELLIE: It’s just up here.

(BIRDSONG)

Hi there, rock tree.

Tell me your secrets.

It’s beautiful.

I come up here to get away from everything.

Can you help me with this?

Shit!

Oh, fuck.

Aaron!

(GRUNTS)

Would have been lost in here forever.

Here. Here.

It’s just that it was my mum’s.

Do you miss her?

Do you miss yours?

Whoa.

Oh, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry.

Stop saying that.

Ellie?

ELLIE: Yeah, we’re good.

(KNOCKS)

GREG: Hi.

G’day.

Oh… Did you find something?

No, not yet. But I was wondering…

Tell me, what is it you were looking for in the shed this morning when I pulled up?

Ah.

It’s just, um…

..the bullets don’t match.

Three shots were those. Remingtons.

They’re blue.

But the only ammunition I could find on the whole property is Winchester.

Those shells are bright red.

So I’m still looking, but…

(UNEASY MUSIC)

AARON: Luke and I used to come fishing out here.

GREG: Right.

Look at it now.

GREG: Detectives say Luke drove to his house at 4:30, killed his family… then headed here to kill himself.

Wouldn’t be my choice for a final resting place.

(GREG SIGHS)

AARON: There’s three properties side by side around this lake.

Luke’s family’s, Mal Deacon and Grant Dow’s.

Who’s running the Murray property these days?

GREG: Uh…

That’s, uh, Jamie Sullivan.

Lives with his nan.

Yeah, Jamie Sullivan was with Luke the afternoon he died.

Shooting rabbits.

Had him come in to the station a couple of times… What?

He said he was shooting rabbits?

Yeah. Why?

(UNEASY MUSIC CONTINUES)

(DOOR CLOSES)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER ON RADIO)

Who’s this, then?

GREG: G’day.

AARON: Hello.

Just calm down, Gran. They’re cops.

But they’re not staying.

I’ve just made some chocolate cake.

Would… would you like some?

Oh, no. My wife’s got me on a low-sugar diet.

We’d love some. Thank you.

WOMAN: Oh.

(RADIO SHUTS OFF)

Any chance we could get a look at your gun, mate?

Yeah, no problem.

Are you boys here about Luke Hadler?

Uh, just tying up some loose ends, yeah.

Oh.

Poor Barb and Gerry.

Send them my love, will you?

I wanted to go to the funeral, but… Jamie doesn’t like me driving.

Thanks, mate.

What do you use this for?

Rabbits. Roos.

WOMAN: I keep asking him to shoot me, but he’s a sensitive soul, my grandson.

Been having a bit of trouble with the rabbits getting into the canola, so I asked Luke to come around and give me a hand.

You supplied the ammo?

What sort?

Dunno. Um, Winchester, Remingtons. Whatever’s cheap.

Why?

Did Luke bring any of his own?

My bunnies, my bullets. That’s my way of thinking.

(GUN CLICKS)

How’d he seem to you that day?

Fine. Same.

How long was he here for?

Uh, maybe about two beers.

Left about 4:15.

And did you go out after that?

No, no, just, um… stayed here and had a cup of tea with Gran.

(CLATTERING)

GREG: Did he say anything about his family?

“Bloody women.”

“Bloody women”?

What did he mean?

I asked him how Karen was and he said, “Bloody women, always goin’ on about somethin’.”

And then he shot another rabbit and then he went home and he shot her and the kid.

AARON: See you.

WOMAN: Thanks, love.

ON RADIO: ..the United Nations Climate Emergency Summit, where we’ll see world leaders from across the globe…

(VOICE FADES)

MAN: Hey, mate.

AARON: G’day.

(TRAIN HORN BLARES IN DISTANCE)

(DOOR CREAKS, CLOSES)

(MAN CLEARS THROAT)

G’day.

G’day.

I saw you at the funeral. You’re sticking around?

Uh… yeah.

I was just closing up. Do you want something?

No, I’m OK. I just, um…

My dad used to work here when I was a kid, so I was just… reminiscing, you know?

Falk?

Yeah. Aaron.

Yeah, Dr Leigh. Chris Leigh.

Right.

So you knew the Hadlers?

Yeah, you know everyone in this job.

Yeah, sometimes too well, I bet.

(CHRIS CHUCKLES)

Hey, I was wondering, with, um… with Luke, any obvious signs of distress?

With Karen? Like, bruising or anything?

You know I can’t tell you that.

Welcome home.

Thanks.

Still here?

You’re OK if I stay another night, aren’t you, mate?

I know occupancy’s probably a huge…

Nah, mate, we’re overrun. Inundated. Swamped.

AARON: Thank you.

(CHUCKLES) Night.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER ON TV)

G’day.

GRETCHEN: Hi.

How are you?

Good.

That’s nice.

Yeah, well, I thought I should buy local.

It suits you.

I can see it really working in one of your alleyway bars, sipping espresso martinis.

I think you’ve got the wrong idea about my life.

Do I?

Mm-hm.

Well, good.

(SIGHS)

Thank you.

Thank you.

Cheers.

Good to see you.

Yeah.

So it won’t shock you to learn that it’s all over town that you’re reopening the investigation.

Most are sure that you, of all people, should be minding your own business.

Tell me, you… you’re convinced he did it?

No shadow of a doubt?

Common things occur commonly, right?

I mean, I didn’t go to detective school, but…

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

G’day.

What can I get you?

Oh, can we share the, uh, fisherman’s basket?

Yep. Good choice.

Ohh. We’re a long way from the ocean.

Oh, shut up. You’ll love it.

Go extra on the yabbies, eh?

Yeah, that’s too easy, mate.

Thanks, Kelly.

Was he ever violent with you?

Luke? No!

I mean, he was an arsehole regularly, but…

Mmm. You guys gave it a crack? On and off?

Yeah, I mean…

I guess it was a bit raw after Ellie and…

..when you left and…

We just clung to each other.

We were just four dumb kids.

What do you think happened to Ellie?

Oh, Aaron. Please, can we just sit and drink our body weight?

It’s just you never said back then.

You never told me what you thought.

Well, I think she killed herself, like I think Luke… snapped. I think…

God, I think she was a kid who needed support.

I mean… the stuff that was going on at home.

Like what?

Like how she hated her dad.

You know, after her mum left, people should have… stepped up.

But everyone looked away.

I mean, everyone still looks away. We’re very good at it.

So, yeah, I’m sure they felt guilty about that.

But people don’t like feeling guilty, so… they find a letter with your name on it and, great, job done.

They can blame you for the rest of their lives ’cause it’s easier.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Hello!

What’s going on here?

You going up for a… a quickie, are you?

You know, you want to be careful, Gretch.

Birds that hang around with this fella tend to end up dead.

Aww. Thanks, Grant. Glad you have my back.

I’ve got your back, your front…

I gotta say, you are looking real, real fancy tonight.

That dress is beautiful.

Is that for him?

Jeez, I hope you appreciate it, Falk.

Can I help you with something, mate?

Now that you asked, you can.

Why don’t you fuck off back to where you come from?

What happened here has got nothing to do with you.

Nothing.

See ya, Gretch. Have a good one.

MAN: Come on, Grant.

GRETCHEN: Fires around Karoonda.

We’ve been waiting so long for rain.

(GRETCHEN SIGHS SHAKILY)

I should go.

If you say so.

LUKE: I’m gonna jump one day.

Just… jump.

When I’m old as fuck, why not?

(THUNDER RUMBLES IN DISTANCE)

(DARK MUSIC)

(CHUCKLES)

(TRACTOR RUMBLES IN DISTANCE)

AARON: Hello?

Hello?

Barb?

Gerry?

Barb?

Oh, hello, love.

No secret is safe from a good clean-out, is it?

Billy was obviously as bad at spelling as his father! (SOBS)

Oh, Aaron.

I mean, what am I supposed to do with all their things?

Can’t you just… leave all this stuff for a little while maybe?

No. Gerry says it’s… it’s time we faced it now.

Oh!

Oh, my God. These are library books!

How overdue are these bloody things?!

I’ll take them back. I can return these.

Don’t worry. It’s OK.

Have you thought about what you’re gonna do with the farm?

Why? Have you found something?

Was the farm the motive?

No, probably not.

What about the finances?

There’s nothing amiss.

But you’re still here.

GERRY: Did you look at those books?

AARON: Yes.

(GERRY GRUNTS)

Yeah, there was nothing. I’m sorry.

Thought with Luke, we might have had a bit longer, but…

Oh, it’s all gonna be big machines from now on anyway.

Remote-controlled.

GPS. (CHUCKLES)

Farms with no people.

Imagine that.

No need for towns.

No need for any of us.

(SIGHS) Gonna give me a hand with that?

Yeah, sure.

(SOMBRE MUSIC)

(MUSIC RISES)

(ELLIE HUMMING SOFTLY)

ELLIE: ♪ Sometimes when this place feels kind of empty ♪

♪ And all of their breath fades with the light… ♪

(FIRE CRACKLES)

♪ I think about ♪

♪ The loveless fascination ♪

♪ Under the Milky Way tonight ♪

♪ Wish I knew what you were looking for ♪

♪ Might have known what you would find ♪

♪ And it’s something quite peculiar ♪

♪ Under the Milky Way tonight. ♪

(INSECTS CHIRP)

GRETCHEN: That was really beautiful.

My mum used to sing it to me, over and over and over.

LUKE: Bit sentimental to me.

I’m gonna go for a piss.

Cheers.

(LUKE SHOUTS) Oh, fuck!

(LOUD CRACK)

Luke?

Luke! Luke!

AARON: Luke?

GRETCHEN: Luke?! Luke?!

ELLIE: He’s faking it!

AARON: Gretch, just calm down.

LUKE: You guys took your time, didn’t you?

GRETCHEN: You’re an arsehole.

Fucking dickhead!

(LAUGHS)

(BOTH GRUNT)

(LUKE LAUGHS)

(BOTH GRUNT)

AARON: Fuck you, Luke!

(LAUGHS)

Really?

What?

You guys make me sick.

The way you two indulge him is nauseating.

Jesus, Ellie, what’s crawled up your arse?

Why don’t we just go back…

No, I’m asking as a friend.

And even Gretch is saying.

Luke…

You don’t drink. You don’t even fuckin’ laugh anymore.

Luke!

Fine. I’ll go.

Fuck… Ellie!

Ellie, I’m sorry. Come back.

Ellie! Ellie…

(DARK MUSIC)

MAN: Hey, Jamie!

(FIREMEN CHATTERING)

MAN: Come on, Jamie.

(HATCH CREAKS)

(HATCH SQUEAKS)

GREG: So, you never met Karen Hadler?

AARON: No.

GREG: Then why did she have a news article about you?

AARON: No idea.

(MAN IN DISTANCE) That’s it. Now bring it up higher.

A bit higher!

Yeah, that’ll do, mate. Leave it there.

(MACHINERY WHIRRS)

Look who’s here. It’s the pigs.

Looking for a job, are you, boys? Eh?

You’re out of luck here, right?

There’s a no-dickhead policy, see?

Grant, how would you describe your relationship with Karen Hadler?

Masturbatory. (CHUCKLES)

You found her attractive?

Yeah, she’s alright, I guess, for ’round here. Yeah.

When was the last time you spoke to her?

I honestly couldn’t tell you. I don’t fucking know.

What about a week before she died?

On February 19?

Do I have to stay for this? Huh?

How is this prick allowed to question me? What…

And you’re just gonna sit there?

Perhaps you could tell us… (CLEARS THROAT) why your name, Grant, was written by Karen Hadler the week she died.

You’re not pinning this fucking thing on me.

Pinning what on you, Grant?

Listen, if Luke Hadler wants to go ’round shooting his family, that’s his fuckin’ business.

Right? This has got nothing to do with me. Nothing.

Where were you that afternoon, Grant?

It’s in the police report. Read the fuckin’ police report.

Mmm. I’ve read it.

It says you were working out on Eastway, with a couple of the mates that you’ve listed there.

Do you stand by that?

Yeah, we were there all day. We were at the pub after.

Go and ask ’em. You asked ’em. Go and ask ’em.

You work hard, don’t you, on your uncle’s farm.

Planning on selling it after he dies?

That’s none of your fuckin’ business.

AARON: And what about Luke’s farm?

I hear it’ll come up for sale eventually.

You’re trying to buy Jamie Sullivan, aren’t you?

Three properties side by side.

Yeah, that sounds a lot more attractive to potential investors, Grant.

What do you reckon?

Well…

Fuck you and fuck you, Falk, alright?

Grant…

Don’t say my name like you know me!

You don’t fucking know me!

You didn’t ever fucking know me, Falk! You don’t know me!

Stop saying my name like that.

We’re gonna check your movements on that day.

We’re gonna check everything you’ve said.

And maybe you’ve got a couple of mates that’ll back you up, you know?

But alibis… you put them under enough pressure and they just crumble real fast.

Like yours. Yeah?

What was the alibi you and Luke come up with all the way back then, was it?

Shoot… shooting rabbits?

The CCTV cameras, I want to look at them.

Dow’s lying. I want to test that alibi.

Yeah, we took ’em all.

Jamie Sullivan too. He wasn’t with his nan.

He’s lying.

Yeah.

(SIGHS)

Yeah, there’s one beside the pub, uh, one over the pharmacy storeroom, two covering the service station and two over the school.

Start there. Start with the school.

Mm-hm.

School. End of the day.

There’s Karen Hadler.

(GREG EXHALES)

It’s just two hours before she was…

AARON: Does she look like she’s struggling?

GREG: I don’t know.

(SIGHS) And then nothing for a while.

One hour. Two hours.

Ah, there’s Principal Whitlam. He knows by now. We called him.

That’s it.

GREG: Thanks, mate. That’s Luke’s car.

We found it out at the dry lake.

(DOOR CREAKS AND SHUTS)

(SCHOOL BELL RINGS)

Ellie! Can we just talk about what happened last night?

There’s nothing to talk about.

LUKE: There is. I just want to help you.

I don’t need your help.

Fucking bullshit.

Hey, do… do you want to help me get this home?

I can’t.

No worries.

Bye.

Ellie!

GREG: You alright?

Yeah.

(PEOPLE CHATTERING)

Oh, Christ.

GREG: Uh, righto, guys, just give us a little room, please.

Did anyone see anything?

MAN: Nah, nothing.

GREG: No-one? Right.

Uh, Jim? Can you give me a hand…

(PEOPLE SPEAKING LOWLY)

MAN: Yeah, some prick put a calf…

(BREATHES HEAVILY)

WHITLAM: Basically all over town.

MAN: Pretty much every building and fence.

Here he comes now.

WHITLAM: Oh, this’ll be good.

Alright, guys, just hang out.

Mate, we’ll get them taken down, alright?

Where is he? Is he in here?

I don’t want you in there.

Let me talk to him.

Mate, mate, mate, listen.

Come and have a drink at my place, alright?

We’ll clean your car up.

OK?

(AARON SIGHS)

Hey, Wal, John, get these down, will you?

Get ’em down.

No worries.

(BIRDS SQUAWK)

(SPLASH!)

Ellie?

Ellie?

(MACHINERY CLUNKS IN DISTANCE)

Mate, nice place.

Oh, yeah. Suburbia in the country.

Worst of both worlds.

You good?

That’s it. Yep.

(MACHINERY CLUNKING)

WHITLAM: Here you go.

Oh, mate, thanks.

Cheers.

You too, mate. Thanks.

Hey, thanks for your help with all that too.

(WOMAN SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY)

No worries. Happy to help.

Don’t know what I would have done out here if you hadn’t have been saving your dirty water.

I, uh, thought you might like to hear her voice.

(ON RECORDING) Hi, Sandra. It’s Karen.

I’m so sorry to do this to you, but I’m afraid Billy can’t come over this afternoon.

He’s a bit under the weather.

I think it’s better if he just comes straight home.

Is that OK?

Sorry for the late notice, Sandra.

OK, bye.

Just so you know she was a real person.

Did you call her back?

Honestly… I was annoyed.

We had a plan and, uh…

Love, love.

How could you have known it was gonna turn out like that?

Alright? None of us knew.

I’m sorry. Um…

She was nice.

Welcoming, which… (CHUCKLES)

Can be a bit unusual around here, right?

(SANDRA CHUCKLES)

Everyone loved her, you know?

And what that animal did to Karen and her little boy…

Yeah.

Aaron was, uh, friends with Luke Hadler when they were kids, so…

Well, maybe he was different back then.

Can you…

Can you imagine what Karen and Billy’s last moments must have been like?

Can you?

Yeah, um…

I’m sorry.

Can I show you something?

Sure.

I found this.

AARON: Oh, wow.

School archives. You and your old man.

AARON: Oh, that’s amazing.

Huh.

(SANDRA AND GIRL CHATTER INDISTINCTLY)

Um, listen, I… I’m sorry about Sandy.

She’s the reason I took the job.

We got robbed… back in Melbourne and, um… the girls were out, thank God, but… I was held at knifepoint.

Jesus!

Yeah.

It was a couple of junkies.

Cleaned out the safe, you know?

All of Sandy’s jewellery.

What did the cops say? They find ’em or…

Never got ’em. Just never got ’em.

And, um… um… she’s been rattled ever since.

Of course.

Yeah.

I think the invasion of it.

I don’t know. It just feels like, uh… It feels like she’s drifting away from me, you know?

Anyway…

Another beer?

Yeah, sure.

(WIND BLUSTERS)

(SOMBRE MUSIC)

MAN: Hey, mate. Have you seen Aaron?

No?

Do you have any idea where he went after school?

No. He usually comes straight home.

(DOOR CLOSES)

AARON: Hey, Dad.

Mate, where have you been?

They’re saying they found a body in the river.

A teenager.

(BREATHES HEAVILY)

I thought it was you.

MAN: Aaron. Aaron!

(MUSIC DARKENS)

(PANTS)

POLICEMAN: Keep everyone up on the bank!

Stay back, Mal.

MAL: My girl!

Ellie?

(MAL SOBS) My girl!

(MAL WAILS)

(WAILING ECHOES)

(WIND BLOWS)

(LAUGHTER)

WOMAN: I slaved over this!

(ALL LAUGH)

Oh, what I wouldn’t give!

I keep saying she can have one.

Just one. I know.

How much longer?

Four weeks, fingers crossed.

Yeah, the baby’s lying the wrong way, but she’ll turn.

She might not. She could be stubborn like her dad.

Oh, right. (CHUCKLES)

Can you go and put the dessert in the oven, please?

I’ll get it.

Thank you.

No sugar for me, thanks, mate.

Have you been bitching and moaning about the diet?

No…

I hope not!

He’s been having a packet of Tim Tams every night of this pregnancy.

He’s the one that’s gonna get gestational diabetes.

(GREG KISSES)

You’ve been helpful.

I think he’s developed a bit of a man crush.

(CHUCKLES)

Yeah, look, he’s doing really well, you know?

He’s very dedicated, very thorough.

He’s also very trusting.

It’s odd for the job, but it’s what he’s wanted to do since he was a kid and so I’ve supported him.

Yeah, well, you moved all the way out here.

I did.

I think it would be hideous for someone to take advantage of him for their own benefit.

So you’ve heard some stories about me?

I’ve heard some.

Mmm.

Honestly, like your husband, I just want to know whether or not Luke Hadler killed his family.

Oh, no!

Is she grilling you? She does that.

Nah, nah, nah.

Yes!

Because I don’t want you and some stranger no offence – to go chasing after, what is it, a serial killer?

Well, that is actually my job, is to hunt down…

He hasn’t slept since he found them.

GREG: Hey!

Not OK.

Look, there’s nothing to worry about, honestly.

Promise?

I give you my word.

Good.

(WINDOW OPENS)

Aaron, mate, there’s trouble.

That note you gave Ellie, they found it on her.

They think it’s you.

You asked her to meet you at the river?

Yeah, but she never showed up.

Mate, there’s no fuckin’ way they’re gonna believe you.

Jesus…

Aaron, mate?

Aaron, mate, are you listening? I’ll help you.

If anyone asks, you waited for her, she didn’t show up, so you and me, we went shooting rabbits together out in the back paddocks near the Cooran Road.

We hit… we hit one or two. Alright?

No, two. Two. Say two. Alright?

Yeah, OK. Two.

Alright.

Don’t forget, we were together.

Go on, say it.

I was with Luke Hadler…

Yeah.

..shooting rabbits…

Mm-hm.

..out on the Cooran Road paddocks.

Right.

POLICEMAN: Are you sure you don’t know where he was after school hours?

No idea.

I was shooting rabbits.

POLICEMAN: Whereabouts?

AARON: The Cooran Road paddocks.

POLICEMAN: Just on your own or…

No, I was with Luke Hadler.

POLICEMAN: Just you and Luke, yeah?

AARON: Yes. Just me and Luke.

(TYPES)

(TENSE MUSIC)

(TYRES SCREECH, ENGINES REV)

MAN: Get off the road, you idiot!

MAN 2: Yeah!

(LAUGHTER)

MAN: Whoo!

(RAUCOUS SHOUTING)

(PEOPLE CHEER AND SHOUT)

Come here!

Oof!

(PEOPLE EXCLAIM)

(PEOPLE SHOUTING)

Get off him!

Calm down! Sit down!

Get your grandmother to say that…

AARON: Shut up.

..you fuckin’ big mouth!

Keep your mouth shut, OK?

Fuckin’ big mouth!

It’s in your interest to keep your mouth shut, Grant.

Just stay there.

AARON: Jesus.

(WHITLAM MUTTERS)

Hey, you right?

(SPITS)

Wrong place, wrong time.

What the hell happened here?

PUBLICAN: Our friend Dow seems to think the only reason he’s in the frame for the Hadlers is ’cause Jamie Sullivan’s been spreading word that he wants to buy the property.

If we’re bothering you, Grant, all you have to do is explain to me why Karen Hadler wrote your name on a piece of paper a week before she was murdered.

How the fuck should I know?

Give me your keys.

House is five kays away.

Be good for your cardio.

(MEN SCOFF)

Fuckwit.

You, come with me.

Why don’t you all go home?!

(ALL PROTEST)

PUBLICAN: Righto!

MAN: Piss off, ya dickhead!

Alright, enough! Oi!

(KNOCKS)

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

CHRIS: Jesus Christ.

Fun night?

Yep.

(CHRIS MURMURS)

(CHUCKLES)

All good.

Doc, can I talk to you out here for a second?

You stay right there.

We have Jamie on camera driving past here the day the Hadlers were murdered.

He lied to us. He told us he was at home.

So this is your one chance to tell us the truth.

(SIGHS)

Look, I wanted to say something straightaway.

(CHUCKLES) See, Jamie’s a bloody idiot.

I told him he had…

I guess he panicked.

He was here?

The day the Hadlers were murdered, I had open surgery till 4pm.

He sent me a message, I told him to come over…

The usual arrangement.

He arrived, we chatted, had a cold drink… and went to bed.

(DOOR OPENS)

Mate.

Interfering in an investigation? Lying to an officer?

Like I care who you sleep with, mate.

We needed the truth and you wasted our fucking time.

You… You think you’re gonna get the truth in a town like this?

I’m sorry?

When you’ve been lying about something for… for so long… it becomes second nature.

(ENGINE REVS)

(LAUGHTER OUTSIDE)

MAN: Falk, you killer!

(GASPS)

(TYRES SKID ON GRAVEL)

Stay there!

(LAUGHTER OUTSIDE)

(DOG BARKS)

(DOG BARKS)

(SOMBRE MUSIC)

Dad.

Look, let me just stay for the funeral.

You’re leaving?

We have to bury her.

I’ll come back.

You promise?

Tell Luke goodbye.

(ENGINE STARTS)

(UNEASY MUSIC)

(MUSIC SOFTENS)

Hey, don’t you touch, you mongrel!

I come here every week to keep that clean.

You keep your hands off her.

It’s alright, mate. I was leaving anyway.

Hey. Hey!

You’re…

You’re the kid, aren’t you?

The Falk kid. Not the dad.

Yeah, I’m the kid.

You know he begged me, your dad?

He wanted me to tell everybody in the town to back off until the police had finished.

As if I’d give him the steam off my piss!

Must be a dreadful thing, to have your old man think so little of ya.

He might have been a coward, your dad, but he wasn’t stupid.

He wouldn’t have fallen for that story you and the Hadler kid cooked up!

Why is it you’ve always been convinced that Luke and I weren’t together?

Hey? What do you know, Mal?

I know I loved my daughter.

(ENGINE REVS)

(HANDBRAKE CLICKS)

(ENGINE STOPS)

(CAR DOOR SLAMS)

Dad…

Stay in the car.

MAL: Why have you stopped?

Should have kept going!

You won.

We’re going!

Good! Good!

There’s no need for you to stop.

You just keep on the bloody road until you disappear.

Everything you’ve done to us…

MAL: Yeah?

My boy had nothing to do with it!

MAL: You don’t know that.

They were friends!

MAL: I don’t bloody care.

This was our home!

Don’t you dare come back!

Fuck you!

I’ll fuckin’ lay into ya!

(DOOR OPENS)

(SLAMS DOOR)

(MAL REVS ENGINE)

I’m going to ask one time… and never again.

So you tell me the truth.

Did you have anything to do with that girl’s death?

No.

No, Dad. Jesus!

I can’t believe you’re even asking me that.

Were you really with Luke?

Look at me.

Were you really with Luke?

Yes.

(SIGHS)

(STARTS ENGINE)

(GUNSHOTS)

(GUNSHOT)

Heya.

G’day.

What are you doing out here?

Oh, just felt like seeing a friendly face.

Very nice bit of land you got out here.

Very impressive.

Mmm. Thanks.

You should see it after it rains.

Just gonna have to get a few more of these before I call it a day, if that’s OK.

Do you need anything for your ears?

Nah, I’m right.

OK.

The warren’s over there. Point when you see one.

GRETCHEN: There’s one.

You want a go?

Yeah, sure.

Do you need a lesson, federal policeman?

Nah, I think I’m alright.

What’s wrong? It’s right there.

Fair enough.

You know I’m gonna have to shoot it anyway, don’t you?

Can’t have ’em on my land.

(FIRES)

(GRETCHEN CALLS OUT) Lachie?

(LACHIE CALLS OUT) Yeah, Mum! Nearly ready.

Try and ignore the mess.

Oh, you should see my place.

What’s all this?

GRETCHEN: They’re applications to get funding for the school.

It’s a nightmare.

Is that Karen’s handwriting?

Yeah.

I try to do my best, but it’s not really my thing.

It’s this Crossley Trust grant.

See if we can get further than last year’s shortlist.

AARON: You’ve taken it on?

Yeah.

The application’s doing my head in.

AARON: Hey, strange question… but did Karen ever mention me?

(CAR HORN TOOTS)

No. No, I don’t think so. Why?

Oh, I’m just wondering if my name ever came up. That’s all.

Is that why you came to see me? To ask me about Karen?

Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! Come back! Come back!

Hug!

Alright? (KISSES)

I want you to meet someone.

This is my oldest friend in the world. This is Aaron.

G’day.

Hello.

How are you?

Good.

Good stuff.

Alright. You be good, please.

I will!

Love you!

LACHIE: See ya!

GRETCHEN: Thanks, Andrea.

(CAR DOOR SHUTS, ENGINE REVS)

Sleepover.

Perfect timing, for once.

GRETCHEN: So will you stay on till it’s solved?

Why are you still here?

OK, then.

Professional habit.

Nah, you were always quiet.

But then you always saw everything.

Oh, my God. I’ve just remembered something.

Come. Come and have a look at this.

(GRETCHEN CHUCKLES)

Oh, no!

(CHUCKLES) Yes!

AARON: Oh, here we go.

GRETCHEN: Mmm.

What have we got in here?

AARON: Oh, wow.

Mmm.

Gymnastics award. Look out!

GRETCHEN: Oh. Look at Ellie.

(GRETCHEN CHUCKLES)

(GRETCHEN BREATHES SHAKILY)

(PHONE RINGS)

(AARON SIGHS) Leave it.

(MOANS) Oh, no, I can’t.

I can’t. It might be Lachie.

Oh, it is. Hang on.

Sorry. I’ll be back.

(SIGHS)

Hey, Andrea.

Is everything alright?

Alright.

Do you want to put him on?

Yeah.

Hey, mate! Are you alright?

Oh, OK.

Poor thing.

Alright. Well, why don’t you see how you feel after tea?

OK.

Alright. Love you.

Thanks, Andrea. Thank you.

Yeah, no worries. Alright.

Thanks for calling. Bye.

Aw! He’s feeling a bit homesick.

Do Gerry and Barb know?

Know… what? There’s nothing to know.

Did Karen?

What? No…

I told you, Lachie’s dad’s not around.

(STAMMERS) Luke is an old friend.

He came to visit and hang out with Lachie now and then.

Luke is not Lachie’s father.

OK.

What’s the birth certificate say?

What?

It’s blank.

Not that that’s any of your business.

What?

Have you got a… photo of Lachie’s dad?

Is there one… one photo you could show me?

God, it was a two-night stand. We didn’t get a fucking selfie.

Why would I lie?

‘Cause Luke asked you to.

What are you even asking me?

I have to ask.

Well, then ask.

Ask!

Three people were killed.

So I hope, for Lachie’s sake, that you lying about your relationship with Luke is the worst thing you’ve done to that family.

(GRETCHEN SCOFFS)

Uh…

Get out.

Get out of my house.

(OPENS DOOR)

(SOFTLY) Hey…

No, get the fuck out.

(SIGHS HEAVILY)

(POKIES JINGLE)

Sandra.

Are you OK?

Oh.

Just, uh, looking for Scott.

He said he might pop in for a drink.

It’s pretty late. He’s probably on his way home.

Yeah, he probably is.

I… I think it’s all getting a bit much for him.

Sandra?

Are you alright? Is everything OK?

Sometimes I, uh… I think I see people outside the house.

Watching us.

(CHUCKLES) My imagination. Um, I… I get nervous.

Why are they watching you?

Well, in Melbourne, there, um… there was a…

WHITLAM: There you are, love.

You almost gave me a heart attack.

You OK?

I just thought you were here. That’s all.

OK. Well, I’ve been looking everywhere for you.

WHITLAM: Come on. Let’s go home.

Night.

WHITLAM: Thanks, mate.

(DOOR SHUTS)

(SIGHS)

Is Whitlam here every night, mate?

Yeah.

It’s hard to figure out whether I should kick him out early for his own good or give him free drinks so he dumps more into the pokies.

I assume you’re staying another night?

Yes, I am.

(CHUCKLES)

Ah.

The black hole of Kiewarra.

(POKIES JINGLE)

Jesus, mate!

Mal Deacon’s been down at the station.

Claims you assaulted him.

(SCOFFS) Does he?

Old man grieving by his daughter’s grave.

He’s lying. I’ll sort it.

No, you won’t.

Word’s out up the tree there’s an off-duty detective looking into a case, that’s meant to be solved, by the way!

Hey, calm down.

A detective who also has personal history with the death of Ellie Deacon.

I never lied about that fact.

I haven’t wanted to ask.

So? What is this?

Is this a revenge trip?

‘Cause, mate, you’re obsessed with Mal Deacon, Grant Dow.

There’s more going on in this town than a girl who died in a river 20 years ago.

There’s a connection between the two deaths.

Well, I need a suspect.

I’m working on it.

I can’t do my job if the locals don’t trust me.

(SIGHS)

I just need a little bit more time.

No. We’re nowhere.

Allowing you a backstage pass was… stupid rookie shit.

You gotta go home now, alright?

I can handle this on my own.

(SIGHS)

(SIGHS)

(MOURNFUL PENSIVE MUSIC)

(SIGHS)

(PIPES SQUEAL AND RUMBLE)

ARRGGGGHH!

(INSECTS CHIRP)

(MUSIC CONTINUES)

(BIRDSONG)

(LAUGHTER ECHOES)

(GIRLS LAUGHING)

(YELPS)

(SIGHS)

(POKIES JINGLE IN DISTANCE)

(POKIES BELL RINGS IN DISTANCE)

(POKIES JINGLE CONTINUES)

(ENGINE STOPS, SEATBELT CLICKS)

(DOOR CREAKS)

(PAPERS RUSTLE)

(PENSIVE MUSIC)

(KNOCKS LOUDLY)

Hi, Rita. Is he here?

Did you find my…?

What are you doing here?

Karen’s note. Mate, it’s not a name.

It’s a grant. As in, funding.

Let’s go.

Yeah.

(SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY)

Karen was concerned about a grant for the school.

She wasn’t scared of Grant Dow.

Or her husband.

She found something, she told Luke, Luke showed her this article, and she was gonna call me and ask for help.

Yeah, but what did she find?

I’m pretty sure Scott Whitlam’s got a gambling problem, pokies.

She made a query on this one and only this one.

I think she probably confronted him about it.

But the CCTV footage…

He was there at the school while the murders took place.

When was the last time you saw him drive his car?

He’s always riding his bloody bike!

(WOMAN ON PHONE) Our records are very clear.

We approved the grant and transferred $70,000 into an account two months ago.

Jesus.

You’re absolutely sure that it was transferred?

WOMAN: We’re absolutely sure.

What are we doing about getting this money back?!

Thanks, Helen. Leave it with us. We’re on it at this end.

70 grand and three dead.

Jesus!

(KIDS SHOUTING AND PLAYING)

(PHONE RINGS)

(PHONE STOPS)

(DOOR OPENS)

Oh, you’re here.

That was Helen, from the Crossley Educational Trust.

Could you give her a call back? She said it’s urgent.

(DOOR BANGS SHUT)

(KIDS CHATTERING)

Left my laptop at home.

WOMAN: No worries.

(GRAVEL CRUNCHES, ENGINE REVS)

(TENSE MUSIC)

WOMAN: Alright. Well done.

(CAR APPROACHING)

(MUSIC BUILDS)

Scott. Where is he?

He had to pop out for a bit.

Is his daughter still in class?

Where is she?

WOMAN: There, in the third row.

GREG: Would he leave town without his child?

(DOOR THUDS IN DISTANCE)

Go, go, go, go!

Clear.

Shit. Remingtons.

Forest.

(DRAMATIC MUSIC)

I wouldn’t.

AARON: Hey, Scott.

What are you… what are you doing out here, mate?

You OK?

(LIGHTER CLICKS)

Best you stay back.

You do realise that if that hits the ground, this whole forest will catch fire?

Hey! Put your fucking gun away!

Cop!

Do it.

Whatever you’ve done… you don’t want to do this.

This whole place is dry as a tinder.

It’s just waiting to burn.

I’ll drop it, mate. I will.

AARON: The school is close by.

You’ve got kids in there, including your daughter, OK?

They’ll all burn to death.

GREG: Look, I know you love your family, hey?

I’ve seen you with them.

This whole thing was for my family.

I brought them up here to protect them!

They found me anyway, came for the money I owed.

They made me hold the nail gun they were gonna pin my daughter to the wall with!

The carving knife… they were gonna slit her throat with.

I had no choice!

You needed the money, huh? For your family.

Everyone will understand.

Tell my wife I never meant to hurt the boy.

(WHITLAM SOBS)

(WEEPS)

Go!

(FIRE WHOOSHES)

(SOMBRE MUSIC)

(BRAKES SQUEAK)

(GRUNTS)

(GUN CLICKS)

(GROANS)

(GUNSHOT)

(HEAVY KNOCK AT DOOR)

(CHARLOTTE CRIES)

(CRYING ECHOES)

(SPEAKS INAUDIBLY)

(CHARLOTTE CONTINUES CRYING)

(CHARLOTTE SCREAMS)

(CHARLOTTE WAILS)

(GHOSTLY MOAN)

(MUSIC ENDS)

(BREATHES HEAVILY)

(FAINT CHATTER)

(PHONE RINGS IN DISTANCE)

(FOOTSTEPS THUD)

(VENTILATOR PUFFS)

They say you saved the town.

Stopped the school from burning.

And you put him out with your bare hands.

He’ll be OK.

I know he will.

What about Scott Whitlam?

Unrecognisable.

They’ve transferred him to Melbourne.

He’ll live.

Aaron!

We’ve been waiting for you to wake up.

We’re not the only ones.

I think word’s got out in the town.

Oh, thank you. Thank you so much.

Your old man would be so bloody proud of you.

He always knew the man you were.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

Cheers, mate.

Will you go on the old TripAdvisor and leave me a good review?

(CHUCKLES) Five stars all the way, mate.

(CHUCKLES) Good man.

(DOOR OPENS)

Hey.

G’day.

I, uh… wanted to come to the hospital, but I was… too angry.

Well, I probably shouldn’t have accused you of murder.

Oh… (CHUCKLES)

Bit of a mood-kill.

I don’t know. I wanted to… kill him a bunch of times.

You know, he loved Karen.

I was never his first choice, which was…

Which was his loss.

Hey, there’s something I need to tell you before you go, that I’ve wanted to tell you for years, right?

‘Cause I saw her.

Heading to the river.

And if I’d gone to her, I could have stopped it, but… I didn’t.

I left, with Luke.

He was with me that day.

(GRETCHEN SIGHS AND SNIFFLES)

So I lied too.

See you in another 20 years, hey?

(MELANCHOLY MUSIC)

(INSECTS CHITTER)

(SIGHS)

Goodbye, El.

(GRUNTS)

(MAGPIES WARBLE)

(MUSIC DARKENS)

(BIRDSONG)

AARON: Ellie?

Ellie?

MAL: Ellie?

ELLIE: He called me by my mother’s name the first time.

“I’m Ellie,” I try to scream.

(TEARFULLY) “My name is Ellie.”

He takes it anyway, my name from me.

Oh, bloody hell!

Grant! Come!

ELLIE: A punch.

Hard.

I can’t feel it. (WEEPING)

Can’t taste the blood. Can’t move. Can’t cry.

Frozen in 40 degrees.

My mother hated him too.

She ran away, said she’d be back for me.

Hope disguised as a lie.

It’s my turn now… to leave.

“I’ll kill her if I find her,” he said.

Oh, El.

ELLIE: “I’ll kill you too if you try and run away.”

Just try, because I’ll be gone, long gone.

Another name.

Another home, far from here.

Goodbye, Ellie Deacon.

Time for a new life.

(MOURNFUL MUSIC RISES)

(CAR DOOR OPENS)

Stay there, Grant!

(MUSIC INTENSIFIES)

(SCUFFLING ECHOES)

(MAL GRUNTS)

(WATER SPLASHES)

ELLIE: No! Dad!

(WATER SPLASHES)

Stop! (COUGHS)

(WATER SLOSHES)

(MAL GRUNTS)

(ELLIE GAGS AND COUGHS)

(MAL PANTS)

(WATER SLOSHES)

(ELLIE GAGS)

(MAL PANTS HEAVILY)

(INHALES AND EXHALES DEEPLY)

(INSECTS CHIRP)

(WIND BLUSTERS)

ELLIE: ♪ Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty ♪

♪ The sound of their breath fades with the light ♪

♪ I think about ♪

♪ The loveless fascination ♪

♪ Under the Milky Way tonight ♪

♪ And it’s something quite peculiar ♪

♪ Something shimmering and white ♪

♪ It leads you here ♪

♪ Despite your destination ♪

♪ Under the Milky Way tonight ♪

♪ Wish I knew what you were looking for ♪

♪ Might have known what you would find ♪

♪ Wish I knew what you were looking for ♪

♪ Might have known what you would find ♪

♪ Under the Milky Way tonight ♪

♪ Under the Milky Way tonight ♪

♪ Under the Milky Way tonight ♪

♪ Under the Milky Way tonight. ♪

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