The Strange Affair Of Master Thomas Wilkerson
Willie Travis Jr

 






EXT.WILKERSON PLANTATION-ANTEBELLUM SOUTH-DAY-1861

A white two story Plantation Home sets overlooking a large cotton field. It is a classic picture of the old antebellum south.


ANGLE ON: PLANTATION FRONT YARD


All the slaves are gathered,in the front yard,of the plantation house.A shirtless Slave black,early 20’s,is tied to a whipping post.
A white man holding a Bullwhip stands behind the bound,and shirtless slave.As a heavy set black woman,in her 50’s,is on her knees begging the “MASSA” not to whip!!


               WHITEMAN/MASTER
           (snapping the bullwhip)

I’m gonna teach this nigger some manners!Let this be an example,to all you niggers!You either work,or suffer the lash!


The Master begins to whip the slave unmercifully!He utters forth a curse,with each strike he lands!Each strike of the whip,tears and peels skin away from the slaves bareback!The other slaves watch in horror!

ANGLE ON:FRONT DOOR OF PLANTATION HOUSE

The House servant-Black-mid fortys-attired in black dress,and white apron,stands framed in the doorway. watching the whipping.

                 

                 HOUSE SERVANT
                (NARRATING)

Massa Thomas Wilkerson.Never have I seen a Massa,take such delight at inflicting torment,pain,and misery,on his slaves.Some say he be the devil himself.

Master Thomas steadily whips the slave’s bareback,which has now become just a gory mess of bright red flesh,and blood!Torn and ripped skin hangs from the slave’s back!With each strike of the lash,the slave cries out! Wrenching in agony!
 
                 HOUSE SERVANT
                  (NARRATING)

Yes indeed! Long as I can remember that Massa Tom,had a mean streak!It didn’t matter if you,were sick,tired,or pregnant-that Massa Tom had a remedy,for whatever ailed his slaves: the Lord ordained Rawhide!

PA-KOW!The whip continues to lash the bareback,of the bound slave! Massa Tom,strikes with all his might. Each strike rending flesh!

                  HOUSE SERVANT
                   (NARRATING)

The Massa takes great pride in doing the Lord’s work.I often hear him tell visiting slaveholders,of how he has invented new torments to cure the niggers,of their lazy streak.

Massa Tom,is delivering the last blows to the slave’s bare back.He is physically exhausted.His face red,and shirt wringing wet from sweat.After delivering the last blow, Thomas turns and addresses the gathered slaves:



                 
                    MASTER THOMAS
                     (SHOUTING)

Let that be a lesson to all you Niggers! I won’t suffer idle Niggers on this plantation! You Niggers are lazy! You won’t get any rest here! You slack up on your work,and I swear,I’ll strip the skin off your backs! You niggers understand?

All the slaves answer in one voice: yessa massa!
   
                     HOUSE SERVANT
                      (NARRATING)

The old slave woman,say a change comin,and comin soon.Say she can feel it in the wind.Say ol,mister Lincoln is comin with a mighty army.I don’t know about such,but what I do know,that one day “Massa Tom” gon’t get whats due.

                     MASTER THOMAS
                      (SHOUTING)

Now get your asses back,in that damn field!

He turns to the House servant,who is standing framed in the doorway,of the big house.

                      MASTER THOMAS
                      (SHOUTING)

Sylvia!What the hell are you lookin at?! Get your Ass back to work!

Sylvia returns to her duties.Two overseers approach Master Tom.

                      
                     MASTER THOMAS

Cut the nigger down.Get some Epsom salt for the wounds.Then get him outta my sight!

EXT.SLAVE QUARTERS-NIGHT

The Slave Quarters: A large area populated with tiny,ramshackle shacks.All is still and quiet,beneath the southern night skies.

INT.SLAVE HUT-NIGHT

The Slave who we saw being whipped earlier,is lying on the dirt floor of the slave hut asleep.His back lacerated from years of rawhide abuse.
Something appears in the gloom of the slave hut! It is a dark,human shape,with glowing yellow eyes! It stares down at the wretched,and beaten slave,at it’s feet.
The Shadow being,turns to a vapor of some sort,and exits the slave hut!

SHADOW’S P.O.V- It floats through the slave quarters swiftly!

EXT.WILKERSON PLANTATION HOME-NIGHT

The Shadow being,re-materializes in front of Masters Tom’s house! It’s yellow,feral eyes staring up at the bedroom window,of the second floor.


INT.BEDROOM-WILKERSON PLANTATION HOME-NIGHT.

Master Tom is busily going through his dresser draws,looking for something.All the while grumbling to himself.

                  MASTER THOMAS

Where in the hell did Sylvia,put my unions?


Tom slams the drawer,and pulls open another drawer.And begins looking in it.


                 MASTER THOMAS

Goddamn niggers,ain’t good for nothing!(shouting)Sylvia!Where you put my un-

Suddenly Master Tom’s words are cut short,when he looks up in the dresser mirror,and see’s a well dressed black man,setting in his rocking chair!Master Tom’s rocking chair!
The Black Man gives him a wide smile,and tips his hat! Master Tom turns to face him!

                  MASTER THOMAS

What you doing in my house Nigger?!!


Before Master Thomas can utter forth another word,the Black man fades away,before Master Tom’s very eye’s!! Master Tom turns “pale white” with fear! After a few seconds,he regains his composure.
Suddenly,the house servant:Sylvia,comes to his bedroom door.

                  SYLVIA

You called Massa?
           
                   MASTER THOMAS


Sylvia?! Did you let a nigger in this house tonight? Don’t lie to me Sylvia!

                  SYLVIA

No sir Massa Tom!

                 MASTER THOMAS

Then what was a nigger doing in my room,a few minutes ago?!

Master Thomas looks towards a small whip hanging on the wall.
Sylvia drops to her Knees.

                 SYLVIA

I-I swear Massa Tom,I don’t know nothing about a slave being in the big house Massa! Honest I don’t!

                MASTER THOMAS

Somebody knows!Somebody knows something!Some of them Niggers in the slave quarters know whats going on! Tomorrow I will get some answers.And Sylvia,if I find out you know something about this,im gonna stripe ya. Real bad.

EXT.SLAVE QUARTERS-MORNING

All the male slaves are lined up,outside of the slave quarters. Master Tom,along with his overseers,stand in front of the gathered slaves.
Master Tom is attired in a three piece suit,hat,and boots.He is the perfect image of a true southern gentleman.

                MASTER THOMAS
             (ADDRESSING THE SLAVES)

Last night, one of you niggers,was in my house.Was in my bedroom.Saw him with my very own eyes.Hell,he even had on some of my clothes.I just don’t understand it.How could you niggers commit such an act? After all the kindness,I have shown you,this is how you repay me? By breaking into my house?!


Master Tom walks forward. Staring at the gathered slaves.

                 MASTER THOMAS

Just what do you niggers want huh? Freedom? What in the hell you niggers gon’t do with freedom? We brought you out the jungles of Africa. We civilized you. Put clothes on your backs! Keep food in your belly! We gave your lives purpose!

               MASTER THOMAS

Who knows what goes on,in those lil,nigger brains of yours. Anyway we’re gonna find out,which one of you niggers,was in my house last night( to the overseers) Search for the nigger,with the full set of teeth. Get started.
 
                SYLVIA
               (NARRATING)
 
Massa Tom,had all the slaves teeth checked.Him and the overseers,spent hours lookin in the slaves faces and mouths.

SYLVIA’S P.O.V-she stands staring out a window,of the big house.Watching Massa Tom,and the overseers examine the slaves.One male slaves jerks his head back,as the overseers try to pry open his mouth.

                MASTER THOMAS
          (PRYING OPEN SLAVES MOUTH)

Open your mouth Nigger!

                  SYLVIA
                (NARRATING)

After all the searching,hollering,and cursing,Ol Massa Tom,and the overseers,still couldn’t find the fancy dressed Nigger,with the full mouth of teeth, that was in Massa’s bedroom,last night.

INT.KITCHEN-BIG HOUSE-DAY

Master Tom storms into the kitchen! Finds Sylvia still staring out the window, as if she is daydreaming.

                 MASTER THOMAS

What the hell,are you staring at?!Get your ass to work!

Master Thomas storms out of the kitchen.

                  MASTER THOMAS

Goddamn niggers!

Sylvia begins washing dishes.

FADE TO BLACK.
 
                    SYLVIA
                  (NARRATING)

Later that night,Massa Tom invited some fellow slaveholders over for dinner.

FADE IN:

INT.LAVISH DINING ROOM-BIG HOUSE-NIGHT

Master Thomas,and two other well dressed,middle aged,white men(slaveholders)set at the well set table.Laden with game, fruits,and all other sorts of southern delights.

                   1ST SLAVEHOLDER

So Thomas,I hear you been having nigger problems?

                   MASTER THOMAS

I swear Benjamin,there was a fancy dressed nigger,in my bedroom last night.He wasn’t one of mine.He had to be one of yours.

                   2nd SLAVEHOLDER

Not one of mine.I can’t speak for Benjamin over there, but I have the best overseers money can buy.We know how to control, our niggers.If mine are not in the Quarters, before 8:00,it’s twenty lashes.

                    BENJAMIN

Hell,I castrate the bulls, when they get saucy.I know how to keep my niggers in line.I know the nigger in your bedroom last night, wasn’t one of mine. Especially dressed in fancy clothes.

The two slaveholders share a laugh. Master Tom is silent.

                   MASTER THOMAS

Well,he came from somewhere.But after that,the damndest thing happened…

                    BENJAMIN

What happened next Tom?

                   MASTER THOMAS

He vanished in front of my very eyes.

The two other slave holders break out in howling laughter.


                    MASTER THOMAS

Damn you! I know what I saw! Doesn’t matter! I will get to the bottom of this.

                     2nd SLAVEHOLDER

Tom,you need to get out more.You haven’t been going out since your Missus died.What you need is too get out.Get away from things for a while.Take a roll on the mighty Mississippi.



INT.HALLWAY-BIG HOUSE-NIGHT

Sylvia,the house servant is peeking into the dining room,through the crack in the dining room doors. Spying in on everything transpiring in the room.

                  SYLVIA
                (NARRATING)

In all my years on Massa’s Plantation,and serving in the big house,this was the first time,I had ever seen Massa turn white with fear,from talk about a nigger.

SYLVIA’S P.O.V-she watches through the crack of the dining room door,as the two slaveholders,rise from the dinner table.they shake hands with Master Tom,and proceeds towards the dining room doors.


                   SYLVIA
                 (NARRATING)

The ol slavewoman say that sometime,when sin get too great,it come back to haunt you.I guess that whats Massa tom is getting.

SYLVIA’S P.O.V-Master Tom and the Slaveholders are nearing the dining room doors.

Sylvia scurries down the hallway,as fast as she can.Careful not to be seen,or heard by Master Thomas,and his fellow slave holders.

EXT.PORTICO-BIG HOUSE-NIGHT

Master Tom,and his two fellow Slaveholders,walk out onto the portico.It is pouring down rain.Thunder rumbles,and lightning flashes.

                    
                  MASTER THOMAS

Damn! This thunderstorm came outta nowhere! Y’all be careful, heading back home.

                  BENJAMIN

I wouldn’t talk about the nigger so much Tom. You may give the slaves an ideal for an uprising.All this talk,of freedom from that damn yankee Lincoln,may get the niggers excited enough as it is.

                  2nd SLAVEHOLDER

Yeah,what a Nigger gonna do with freedom? Damn Northerners wanna change our way of life,and our good Christian values.I tell you, if war ever starts,I’ll be the first one out on the battle field. Damn blue bellies.

                  MASTER THOMAS

Yeah,well y’all take care now.It’s bad out here.Goodnight.

The two Slaveholders get to their carriages. The Coachman snaps the reins of the horse. They start down the night covered road.Tom goes inside.

INT.BEDROOM-BIG HOUSE-NIGHT

Master Tom stands before his dresser mirror. Contemplating and sipping from his wine glass.Suddenly the fancy dressed black man appears in the rocking chair!
Master Tom beholds his appearance in the mirror! The black man gives him a wide smile,similar to that of the Chesire cat,of Alice in Wonderland. And tips his hat to Master Tom!
Tom is petrified with fear!

                     BLACK MAN

Good evening Master Thomas Wilkerson. Lovely night wouldn’t you agree?

                   MASTER THOMAS

How you get in my house boy? Answer me!

The well dressed Black man is silent.

                  MASTER THOMAS

Get up boy! Get up Nigger!!

The Black man remains seated. Rocking the Rocking Chair gently back and forth. Giving master Tom,that wide smile!

                  MASTER THOMAS

You must be one of them free Niggers.I have a way with dealing with you saucy Niggers!


Master Tom pulls open one of his dresser drawers,and brings out a pistol of the era! He aims Point Blank,at the Black man’s chest and fires!
The Bullet passes right through! The Black man is still seated in the rocking chair! Alive and completely unscathed! Master Tom is astounded!

                  MASTER THOMAS

That was a direct shot!I couldn’t have missed! Not at this range! What the hell are you boy?!

Lightning strikes,as the Black man utters forth a great laugh! His eyes glow,which causes Master Tom,to back away in fear!The pistol trembling in his hands!
Suddenly via Telekinesis,the Pistol is drawn out of Master Tom’s Hand,and into the Black man’s hand!

                   BLACK MAN

Actually before tonight I did not exist.But due to the outcry of an enslaved,and downtrodden people, I have been brought into existence.It seems that the outcry of the slaves,has reached unseen ears.I have been sent to judge you,for your crimes against humanity.

                   MASTER THOMAS

That’s the funniest thing I ever heard. Especially coming from a nigger and all. Lets cut this charade out boy!I have seen one or two parlor tricks in my day.That trick with the gun,and all was a nice trick…but I’m not sold!

The Black man sets smiling.

                    MASTER THOMAS

Now tell me Nigger…who’s your master? Did he put you up to this? Tell me,and I may go easy on you boy. Whaddaya say boy?

Suddenly,the Bedroom begins to shake violently! The floor splits in half! Master Tom loses his balance,and falls!He rolls back ward,towards a great black chasm below!
Master Thomas manages to grab onto the edge,of a cracked floorboard!He is holding on for dear life!He looks down into the chasm: all that can be seen,is dense darkness!He looks back up: The black man is setting in the rocking chair.Staring down at master Thomas!

                 MASTER THOMAS

Help me! Help me please!!


                  BLACK MAN

You want my help Master Tom?! Truly I am flattered! But you need not get excited. This could all be a parlor trick.
 
Master Tom is losing his grip on the cracked floor boards!His palms sweat! His knuckles whiten from the amount of strain, being placed on them!


                    BLACK MAN

Maybe it’s all smoke and mirrors.Then again it could be real.


Master Tom continues screaming to the top of his lungs for help! But no one comes!

                    MASTER THOMAS
                    (SCREAMING)

Sylvia! Sylvia!

But the house servant does not appear!

                     BLACK MAN

I have given her the night off.She will not disturb us. Maybe the overseers will come to your aid,during your time of distress.

Master Tom is struggling to hold on,to the floor boards!His brow covered in perspiration! His palms are sweaty.Causing his hands to lose their grip!

                     BLACK MAN

Or maybe the slaves who you have treated with such“Hospitality” and “kindness” will hear your cries.Oh but I forgot,the slaves are under curfew! The overseers will deal shrewdly with them,if they exit their quarters!

The Black man watches as Master Tom struggles to hold on.

                      BLACK MAN

I guess you are alone,Master Thomas.No one to hear your cries of distress.You have become as your slaves.Do they not cry out for relief,from their distress? Tell me Master Tom,how does it feel to be totally helpless?

Suddenly,Master Thomas loses his grip on the cracked floor boards, and falls into the dark, bottomless abyss!

MASTER’S TOM P.O.V-He falls screaming into a world of pitch blackness! Suddenly he hits bottom! Everything goes black!
Seconds later,he wakes up gasping for air! He finds himself laying on the floor,of his bedroom! The floor is not cracked apart!There is no gaping chasm! Master Thomas stands up.His hair and clothes are ruffled.


                 MASTER THOMAS

Must have been a bad dream.

                 BLACK MAN(O.S)

If it was a bad dream…how do you explain me?

Master Thomas turns to find the Black man,seated in the rocking chair behind him.

                   MASTER THOMAS

Am I dead? Is this hell? What have I done to deserve this? I’m a god fearing Christian! This shouldn’t be happening!

                   
                   BLACK MAN

What have you done to deserve this? You are a god fearing Christian?

The Black man laughs.In an instant,the Black man is out of the chair,and is standing directly in front of Master Tom!

                     BLACK MAN

I will show you your crimes,Master Thomas Wilkerson.

The Black man stretches forth his hand.Placing it on Master Tom’s forehead.

OUR P.O.V.- A whole series of images flash before our eyes:

IMAGES OF : Master Tom whipping the skin off the backs of numerous slaves! Men, women, and children! Each crack of the whip,tearing skin and rending flesh! Master Tom standing behind a stripped black girl,whipping as skin and blood splatters over his face! Master Tom and his overseers running an escape slave down,and letting the Blood hounds,rip him apart!Master Tom raping various slave women,fathering many children,and then selling them on the Auction block!
We are bombarded with Image after Image,of Master Tom,committing savage acts of slave brutalities!
Master Tom screams!

The Blackman relinquishes his grasp,on Tom’s forhead! Master Tom stumbles backward and falls!

                     BLACK MAN

Indeed…what have you done to deserve this?

                     MASTER THOMAS

When will this nightmare end?

                      BLACK MAN

This nightmare is just the beginning for you Master Tom.This is far from over.

The Black Man sets down in the rocking chair.

                      BLACK MAN

As of tonight your skin will appear different,to all those around you.You will know strife,fear,and hatred.You will feel the sting of the lash,and you shall be an outcast.You shall crave relief,but none shall you find.Tonight…you shall become as one of the enslaved.


Lightning strikes! The Blackman waves his hand,Master Tom collapses to the floor unconscious.

INT.SLAVE HUT-EARLY MORNING

Master Tom is lying on the dirt floor,of a slave hut!Suddenly he is awakened by a heavy set slave woman.Master Tom sets up.Rubs his eyes.

MASTER’S P.O.V.- His vision is blurry.The slave hut is dark due to it being early morning.Once his eyes adjust,he realizes he is surrounded by a number of slaves!

                   MASTER THOMAS

What the hell?!What in the hell did that nigger just do to me?

                   SLAVEWOMAN

Dey blowin de horns! Time to get up,and go to de fields.

                     MASTER THOMAS

Get your hands off of me,you filthy nigger! I don’t belong here! Im a white man!

The Slaves look at each other.

                     SLAVEWOMAN

You better shush that foolishness!You don’t want massa tom,hearing you say that! He’ll send his overseers!
  
                     MASTER THOMAS

What in the hell you talking about?! I am Master Thomas Wilkerson!

EXT.SLAVE QUARTERS-WILKERSON PLANTATION GROUNDS-MORNING

The Slaves are proceeding towards the cotton fields,under the watchful eyes of the overseers.Tom beelines towards the big house.But he is stopped by an overseer!

                      OVERSEER

Where you think you’re going boy?

                    MASTER THOMAS/SLAVE

I’m going to my house!There’s a nigger in my house! Wearing my clothes,sleeping in my bed and such! What the hell y’all standing around for? Why aren’t you hard driving these niggers?!

The overseers howl with laughter!

                  1st OVERSEER
                (BRANDISHING A WHIP)

Well! Looks like we got ourselves a saucy nigger here!This nigger thinks he’s white!


The second overseer advances closer on Master Tom.He is all business. Stern and tall.

                   2nd OVERSEER

You going to get in that field boy?


                  MASTER THOMAS/SLAVE

I’m Thomas Wilkerson!I don’t work in the damn fields!I got slaves to work the fields! You work for me! Now get the hell outta my way!


The tall overseer strikes,Master Tom! Tom tries to defend him self,but the other overseer joins in!They beat tom severely.Tom lays on the wet ground bleeding.

EXT.BIG HOUSE-DAY

The two overseers escort,the bruised and beaten Slave,to the big house.The tall overseer strikes tom,sending him to his knees. Afterward the Slaveowner walks out,on the portico.

                  2nd OVERSEER

Thomas…this here nigger says,that’s he’s a white man. Says that you’re a nigger,and he wants you out of his house.

                    SLAVEOWNER

Really now? You said that boy?

                   1st OVERSEER

How do you think we ought,to punish the nigger Thomas?

Master Tom looks up,only to see that “Master Thomas” is the fancy dressed Black man! The Black man gives him a big wide smile.

                BLACK MAN/MASTER THOMAS

He needs to be chastised. Give him a hundred lashes.

EXT.FRONT LAWN-WILKERSON PLANTATION (BIG HOUSE)- DAY

Master Tom is tied to a whipping post.His shirt torn off.All the slaves are gathered to watch. The well dressed black man, sets in a rocking chair on the Portico.
The tall overseer,stands with a long bullwhip in hand.He turns towards the slaves.

                    OVERSEER

Let this be a lesson,to you niggers,to learn to keep your place in society.


The overseer draws back the whip.POW! The lash bites master tom’s white back!

                     OVERSEER
                     (SHOUTING)

Still think you’re a White man Nigger?!

The overseer utters curses,as he continues to lash Tom’s bare back!The 2nd overseer keeps count.

                    1ST OVERSEER
                      (COUNTING)

EIGHT.NINE.TEN.ELEVEN!

The Slaves watch as the Overseer whips,beneath the hot burning sun!Tom’s blood,splatters across the beautiful,deep green grass,of the plantation yard.

                    1ST OVERSEER
                      (COUNTING)

TWENTY NINE!THIRTY!THIRTY ONE!

By thirty one lashes,Tom’s back is a lacerated bloody mess!Tom’s teeth gnash,as he pleads to no avail!The overseer continues his task!
Tom’s body contorts due to the intense pain! Tom calls out to the Lord! But the Lord doesn’t answer.

                    1ST OVERSEER
                     (COUNTING)

NINETY SEVEN! NINETY EIGHT! NINETY NINE! ONE HUNDRED!

The second Overseer relaxes the whip.He is exhausted!The black man walks around,the severely whipped master Tom.Who hangs limp,from the whipping post.

                  BLACKMAN/MASTER THOMAS

I think he’s had enough.Cut the Nigger down.Put some Epsom salt on the wounds.Now get him outta my sight.

INT.BARN-WILKERSON PLANTATION-DAY

Master Tom lays in the hay,as the overseers pour saltwater, over his lacerated back.Causing Master Tom,to winch and cry out in agony.The Blackman enters the barn. The two overseers exit.

                  
                    MASTER TOM

I don’t belong here.

                    BLACK MAN

Neither do the slaves.


                    MASTER TOM

I’m being treated worse than an animal.


                    BLACK MAN

You are being treated,no different than your slaves.


                    MASTER TOM

This is all some bad dream.


                    BLACK MAN

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

                   MASTER TOM

It can’t last forever.

                   BLACK MAN

You know Thomas,you could forego all of this.You could try to redeem yourself.You could start by releasing the slaves.Maybe then,the final judgement wouldn’t be so severe.


Master Tom raises his head,and laughs.

                  MASTER TOM
                  (LAUGHING)

Release the slaves? What a nigger gon’t do with freedom?

                   BLACK MAN

I admire your sense of defiance Thomas.Even in the face of utmost defeat,you hold your stance.Well,I’m afraid this “parlor trick”,will go on for a little while longer.If I were you Thomas,I would get some rest.There is a lot of work ahead of you.

EXT.SLAVE QUARTERS-EARLY MORNING

Horns blow,and bells ring!Signaling the Slaves to get up.The Slaves attired in their Ragg Clothing,exit their huts.Heading to the Fields,in a long procession line.Master Tom is included in their ranks.Walking in the morning darkness.

EXT.COTTON FIELDS-WILKERSON PLANTATION-DAY

Vast acres of cotton,stretch as far as the eye can see! Numerous Slave Men and Women,are bent over,busily picking cotton.Filling their large sack cloth bags,full of cotton.
The Overseers ride on horseback,keeping a watchful eye on the slaves productivity. While brandishing shotguns,and the rawhide.
Master Tom is among the Slaves numbers.His back bent over,hard at work.Picking cotton beneath the scorching morning sun.Tom decides to take a breather.He raises up,while grimacing,due to his back being sore from the lash.And long hours of being bent over.
He brings his forearm across his brow. Wiping away sweat. Suddenly an overseer catches sight of Tom!

                  
                  OVERSEER
                 (SHOUTING)

Get your ass back to work Nigger! Now!


                  THOMAS

Water.I need water.

                  OVERSEER
                 (SHOUTING)

You don’t need no water boy!Now bend your ass back over,and get to pickin that damn cotton!


Master Tom’s face turns red with anger.

                  THOMAS

Look,it’s hotter than hell out here.All I need is some water.

The young Overseer climbs off,his horse.Whip in hand.He approaches Master Tom. The other Overseers,and some nearby slaves take,stop and take notice of the event unfolding.
The young Overseer,walks up and stands face to face,to master Tom.

                   OVERSEER

I’ve bout had enough of your sauce Nigger.Now are you going to get back to pickin that damn cotton? Or am I going to have to set an example here this morning?

There is a moment of silence.Master Tom stands deciding.The young Overseer,unfurls the whip.Tom decides to go back to work, picking cotton.

                   OVERSEER

Damn bunch of lazy Niggers.

MONTAGE:

Master Tom along with the slaves,heading out into the Cotton Fields, before sunrise.Toiling beneath the hot sun all day.While the overseers, patrol the fields on horseback. Day in and day out,it’s the same routine. Master Tom being flogged,for slacking off in work.At lunchtime, Master Tom,along with the slaves stand in line to receive corn meal mush,and salt meat!
At night,Master Tom collapses on the dirt floor,of the slave hut.Dead tired!
 
INT.SLAVE HUT-NIGHT

Master Tom sets on the floor of the Slave hut. All alone in the darkness. Mosquitoes hum all around him. His eyes bloodshot red from long hours of being overworked, whipped, and starved.

                   BLACKMAN(O.S)

This could all be over Thomas. Just a bad dream. You know what you have to do.

Master Tom looks around.But doesn’t see the Black man anywhere.
Tom stands up.

                    MASTER TOM

I…Thomas Wilkerson,being of sound heart and mind,do release the slaves.

Master Tom stands quietly afterwards. Nothing happens.

                     MASTER TOM
                     (SHOUTING)

Did ya hear me?! They’re free!! Goddamn it,they’re free! Take em!

INT.BEDROOM-BIG HOUSE-NIGHT

Master Tom wakes up in his bedroom! He sets up,looks around! He looks at his hands:they are not worn out from long hours,of toiling in the cottonfields!
He runs to the mirror,raises up his shirt:There are no lacerations on his back! He turns to stare at the rocking chair: the Black man is not present! He is all alone!

                    MASTER TOM

It was only a nightmare.A bad dream.Fancy dressed nigger,and all(laughs)(mocking)Release the Slaves! That would end my way of life.Niggers are mine.What the hell they gonna do with freedom anyway?

Suddenly a gust of wind comes through,the window!The Blackman appears in the Rocking Chair!

                    BLACKMAN

I see you have learned nothing Thomas. Pity. Judgement is at hand. JURORS! Come forth!

Suddenly the room is filled with Slaves! Their clothes dirty,and torn,their barefeet on the floor!

                     

                   MASTER TOM

Wait!! I recognize all of you! You shouldn’t be here! You’re all dead!

Tom points to one of the slavemen.

                    MASTER TOM

Gordon!You died last year!Hell,I watched you die!!(turning to another slave)Sadie?! You died in childbirth!

                     BLACKMAN

Yes,they are all victims of your malicious depredations Thomas.And now the dead,have risen up against you.So that you may stand trial,for your crimes.Jurors! What is your verdict?

All the slaves answer in one Voice:

               GUILTY! GUILTY!


                      BLACKMAN

And what should his punishment be?

Again the Slaves answer in one voice:

                  DEATH! DEATH!

The Dead Slaves all move in slowly,on Master Tom! Their arms outstretched! Their dead fingers reaching out,to tear them to shreds!

                   MASTER TOM
                   (SHOUTING)

NO! STAY BACK! STAY BACK,DAMN YOU!!

The dead Slaves crowd Master Tom! Their hands all grabbing and pulling,ripping,and tearing! Tom screams to the top of his Lungs,as he disappears beneath,the throng of dead slaves!

FADE TO BLACK.

FADE IN:

EXT.WILKERSON PLANTATION-MORNING

The large plantation house sets beneath,the morning sun.Leaves and tree limbs,are scattered across the lawn of the plantation house.


INT.HALLWAY.WILKERSON PLANTATION-MORNING

The House servant: Sylvia, walks down the hallway.She opens the door to a:

BEDROOM-

Where she finds,Master Thomas laying sprawled across the bed! Turned belly up!Dead! His eyes and mouth, gaped wide as in terror!

                 SYLVIA

Massa Tom? Massa Tom? Massa?

Master Tom doesn’t answer.

EXT.WILKERSON PLANTATION-DAY

A horse drawn carriage pulls up in front, of the Big house.The words labeled on side the carriage reads:

                  DR.WATKINS

A man wearing a suit,and carrying a black leather bag,steps out of the carriage.He is met at the door,by two overseers.

INT.BEDROOM-BIG HOUSE

The Doctor examines Master Tom’s body.

                   DR.WATKINS

There is no sign of foul play.He seemed to have died of natural causes. Heart Attack.

One of the overseers,spots something rolled up in Tom’s hand.He pry’s it out of Master Tom’s cold, dead, fingers.He unfolds the paper,and looks at it.

                2ND OVERSEER

Whats it say?

                 1ST OVERSEER

Hell if I know! Bunch of squiggly lines going on bout something.


                 DR.WATKINS

May I see that.

The overseer hands the document to the Doctor.
  
                     DOCTOR WATKINS

It’s his last will and testament.

Sylvia stands framed in the doorway.As the doctor proceeds to read.

                  DOCTOR WATKINS

It states: I Thomas John Wilkerson, being of sound mind,and heart, hereby do release the slaves,upon the event of my death.

The Doctor turns to Sylvia.


                    DOCTOR WATKINS

Well,Sylvia…you’re free.

Sylvia stands in amazement in the hallway.The Doctor laughs,and hands her the will.


                  1ST OVERSEER

Free?! What in the hell Niggers gon’t do with freedom?

The Doctor pats Sylvia on the shoulder,and proceeds out of the bedroom.The two overseers follow behind the doctor.


                   2ND OVERSEER

What about this here body,Dr.Watkins?


                    DOCTOR WATKINS

Summon the undertaker my boy. He’s beyond my care now.

Sylvia stands in the hallway cradling the will to her bosom.

                  SYLVIA
                (NARRATING)

We were free! Every slave that was on massa’s plantation,was free! I never knew Massa,loved his slaves as much.But suddenly,something happened,which I will never forget…


SYLVIA’S P.O.V-A Well dressed Black Man,wearing a wide brimmed hat appears in the rocking chair,in the late Master Tom’s bedroom!
He gives Sylvia a wide smile, and tips his hat,to her! Then he vanishes as fast as he appeared.Leaving the rocking chair empty,but still rocking!


                   SYLVIA
                 (NARRATING)

He appeared before me,just as plain as I had just saw,Dr. Watkins earlier! And he vanished right in front of my eyes!


EXT.WILKERSON PLANTATION-NIGHT

Sylvia sets on a horse driven wagon.She looks up at the Wilkerson plantation home…the “Big house”.

                    SYLVIA
                   (NARRATING)

I never told a soul,what I saw.Maybe one day,I’ll tell my children,bout this day. And they’ll tell their children.

 
Doctor Watkins walks to the wagon,and hands her some papers.

                  DOCTOR WATKINS

There are your passes Sylvia.Show these and you should be ok.I’ll escort you far as Illinois.From there,you can continue north to Canada.


They: Doctor Watkins,Sylvia,along with some Former Slaves on the back,of the wagon,embark on their twilight Journey.


FADE TO BLACK.


THE END.


ROLL CREDITS.




 

                                                                                                                                                                    

             

 


                    

  












      
      

 

 

Copyright © 2010 Willie Travis Jr
Published on the World Wide Web by "www.storymania.com"