Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Hands of Goodna Cemetery

Based on True Accounts.


A battered P-plate car pulls up next to a large fenced-off cemetery. There are few street lights but the moon is full and high, bathing the cemetery with spooky shadows - it certainly doesn’t look like a nice place to be after dark.

There are large trees and neat gravesites but furthest from the road the trees become denser and the gravesites more tattered –paths less trodden.

DANNY (18) football superstar, and LOLA (17) wannabe cheerleader, climb out of the car, giggling.

Danny struts over to the passenger side and embraces Lola in a bear hug. Looking around, Lola is not impressed.

LOLA: I didn’t think you were for real, bringin’ me ‘ere.
DANNY: Are you kiddin’? It’s tradition.

He pokes her playfully but Lola pulls away, her arms wrapped around her own body. It’s not cold but something has chilled her.

DANNY (CONT’D): Come on bae it’ll be a laugh, an’ you’ll get to tell your squad about how I took ya “down to Goodna”.

LOLA (groaning): How romantic!

The headlights of a car round a bend and approach from a distance.

DANNY: Quick!
She gives in to him as he pulls her towards the fence where he lifts her over in one simple movement and with little effort he scales the fence himself.

He grabs her hand and together they flee deeper into the cemetery. Shadows seem to reach after them.


Lola’s giggles ring out through the night as Danny catches her in an embrace and backs her into a large tree. His hands are all over her.

DANNY: It’s said… (he begins nibbling her neck) …that this cemetery was used by the ol’ Woogaroo Asylum and there are hundreds of headstones identified only by numbers… The grave digger died before he could put up a plaque so all the names are lost.
She ducks out of his grasp.

DANNY (CONT’D): It’s them that haunt here at night, wandering ‘round, wonderin’ who they are.

LOLA: Haunted? For real?

She glances around, wondering… the trees becoming sinister and more claw like reaching long tendrils down towards the pair…

DANNY: Uh huh. Last weekend Jase covered his car in flour – like the ghost hunters said – and drove down Stuart Street, not even IN here. When he got home there were hundreds of fingerprints all over his car as if something had been clawing to get in… I swear, true story.

LOLA (laughing): He covered his car in flour?

DANNY: His mum was well pissed. Might be that ghosts don’t want no one to be here?
They hold hands, meandering down a twisting path. Danny’s other hand wanders over her body until…


He grabs her waist suddenly and she startles.

LOLA (laughing): Jerk…! Oh look.
Ahead, highlighted in the moonlight, they come across diminutive headstones, barely a foot tall, at least fifty in a neat semi-circle, and numbered – impersonal to the people they represented.

LOLA (CONT’D): That’s so sad…

She drops down onto her knees in the leaf litter. One of her hands runs over a headstone, her fingertips tracing the number.

LOLA (CONT’D): …to be forgotten… You won’t forget me like that? I’m not just another girl you bring down ‘ere?

DANNY: You bae, how could I forget you?

She smiles, content for now, as he leans down to kiss her. She allows it, his hands moving over her body – under her shirt, up the legs of her shorts. He crawls on top of her, resting her gently back on the ground and gyrating his groin against hers. She moans.

LOLA: Oh, Danny. Oh Danny! Ow Danny. Ow. DANNY!

As her moans turn to cries she scrambles away from him.

DANNY: What?!

He stands up, adjusting himself, miffed at the rejection.

LOLA: Something was pinching me.

She rubs her upper arm and he laughs at her.

LOLA (CONT’D): For real, it kills!

DANNY: Lemme look.

She moves over to him but the light is too poor to make anything out. He rubs her shoulders placating her instead. He kisses her ear.

DANNY: Don’t worry. (Whispering) I’ll protect you from the grabby ghosts.

LOLA: Maybe it’s them protecting me from you?

She sticks out her tongue and escapes down the path, deeper into the cemetery where the graves are more spaced out, more elegant and more run down.

DANNY (calls): You don’t need protecting from me bae. Well, maybe my… GRABBY HANDS!

He roars playfully and gives chase, following her hysterical giggles.


Danny and Lola are deep into each other, making out and rolling around in pine needles. Headstones loom over them throwing shadows across their bodies like disembodied clawed hands.

A headless weeping angel seems alive in the moonlight and Lola screams, spotting it in the gloom.

DANNY: Lola chill, don’t be weak.

He’s losing patience. He moves to grope her again but she swats him away.

LOLA: I’ve had enough Danny – I wanna leave.

DANNY: What’s that?

He motions to a patch of red raw scratches and fresh bruising down the side of her torso.

LOLA: I don’t know. I thought it was just the leaves and shit, but it’s creeping me out. We shouldn’t be here! I wanna go!

DANNY (sighing): Okay. Fine.


Lola is sitting in the passenger seat rubbing her legs and fingering faint scratches.

DANNY: Jeez bae… (He takes on a spooky tone) Maaaaybe it was the ghoooosts—

LOLA: Don’t. Let’s just get outta here.
An amused grin crosses his face before he starts the car.


He tries it again, this time revving the engine, but it’s as if the car is stuck. It rears to move forward but has stuck fast.

Lola glares at Danny.

LOLA: That’s not funny—

She pauses.

DANNY: I’m not—

LOLA: Shush!



Outside something is scratching against the metal work of the car, pawing against it, as if to get in.

DANNY: What is that?

LOLA: Please can we just go?

DANNY: Lola, I’m trying!

He tries the car again. Nothing. It’s revving. It’s trying to move – almost as if the handbrake is on and it wants to go – but something is holding it back.

He sighs and flings the door open.

DANNY (CONT’D): I’ll check the—

Lola’s face contorts into a soundless scream. A disembodied arm clings to the open door – claws latched deep into the paintwork. Danny sees and jerks the door back closed.

DANNY (CONT’D): Whaaa—?

Lola is climbing up onto her seat – as if the hands might come through the floor of the car to get her. She’s pressed against the door but doesn’t trust the window so she backs against Danny. She’s crying, bordering on hysterical.

DANNY (CONT’D): It’s okay.

He slams the locks down on both doors and his arms come around her, his hand stroking the back of her head.

The sun comes up on a car parked outside the cemetery. It could almost be a different place as the sun lifts away any sign of anything sinister within the graveyard and light fills the darkness.


The P-plate car pulls up in a driveway and Lola jumps out before it’s even come to a halt. She’d exhausted – a sleepless night evident on her tired face. She slams the door and motions to lean in the open window. Before she gets there she is backing away in horror.

From in the car Danny looks concerned.

He climbs out and comes around to her. He stares at the car, fumbling for Lola’s hand as they both back away silently.

Deep within the paintwork are huge scratch marks that had almost made it to the handle…