Billy the Kid vs. Dracula
He’s 21 but looks 16. His front teeth used to buck out from his lips but are now gone, broken off in a saloon outside of Fort Worth. A network of pink scars covers his forehead like a veil. He feels the sharp ruins of his teeth with his tongue.
The men who inflicted these wounds are dead. We see quick stills of their bodies.
Billy has gone by Henry, William, Antrim, McCarty. He’s killed eight men in New Mexico, four in Texas. Between ages 16 and 19 he wrote letters to the governor of New Mexico asking for a pardon (“If it is in your power to annul . . .”) and stating his innocence (“As to my character I refer to any of the citizens . . .”) The letters grow pointless as his body count rises, but he sends them anyway.
We see him force his stolen horse into a rapid canter. We see the sun disappear and pink light flood the prairie. He heads toward a small town in southern Colorado called Cole Hill. Louis Abraham, an old friend of his, owns a saloon there.
Billy sees his missing teeth and new scars as a method of release. He envisions tending bar for his friend. He has a new name picked out that he has told no one. His dreams are all of crows.
We see a coffin in a cart. The cart is pulled by two horses. The coffin has writing on the lid: “For Mayor Kerr of Cole Hill only.” A letter to Mayor Kerr delivered several days before names him as the beneficiary of his great uncle’s fortune. It explains that the money will arrive concealed in the coffin. “Open soon after arrival,” the letter says, “and open alone.”
The body in the cart is 500 years old. Its skin is gray and frequently ruptured. The hands lack two fingers on the left, three on the right. The nose has eroded away.
Two days later. Billy arrives in town late at night. He hitches his horse in front of the closed saloon—the doors are shut, the lanterns unlit. He assumes it’s Sunday because light streams out the open church doors. A crackling sound reaches his ears. He had thought it was Saturday—the days have grown slippery since he lost his front teeth.
He laughs—Louis has gone soft, closing the bar on Sundays. He imagines his old friend seated in a pew among the townspeople.
He looks inside the church. We see empty pews. We see fire raging behind the pulpit.
Draped over the pulpit is the preacher, and over the preacher is an ancient man with gray skin. He gulps the preacher’s blood.
Billy unbuckles his gun. The fire wraps toward the front of the church, toward Billy. The ancient man lifts his head and lets the preacher’s blood spill from his mouth. The ancient man shows his fangs. Bodies are strewn around the pulpit, their ribcages split open and dry.
A lantern crashes to the floor and combusts—Billy covers his eyes with his arm, lurches backward. We hear ceiling beams crack. He flees.
We see Dracula masked by flames, screaming from pain and the rush of fresh blood. He howls like an animal.
We hear him. We see the church collapse.
Billy retreats to the saloon. On the tables rest half-empty glasses of beer. The flames from the burning church cast the room in writhing shadow. Three bodies lie on the floor, their chests torn open and drained of blood.
He barricades the doors and windows. He lights a lantern. He huddles in a corner and tries not to look at all the human remains.
On the wall, written in blood, are the words: “BURY HIM DEEP.”
Something groans behind the bar. Billy turns his head toward the sound. He rises from the floor, pulls a revolver from its holster. The thing behind the bar groans again. Billy walks toward it.
The body back there is his friend. The body is missing part of its neck. It clutches the dry wound with its hands. “Louis?” says Billy. The body’s pupils are gone—its whole eye is completely white. It tries to speak but just wheezes out its open throat.
Billy says he is sorry. Words pour out of him. He says he wishes he got there sooner; he wishes he left New Mexico with him; he’s sorry for the man they killed in San Ysidro. He concludes his babbling (“ . . . and I’m sorry for everything.”) when he sees new teeth burst from the creature’s gums.
Billy finds a long, dull knife stuck in the counter. He says he’s sorry one more time.
In the Town Hall basement. Dracula bursts in through the cellar door, smoke hissing from his clothes. He beats out the glowing embers.
His coffin rests next to the mayor’s drained body. He laughs when he remembers his youth, when he needed home soil to sleep on. Now it doesn’t matter—now no ground provides comfort.
He looks at his hands. The blood has grown most of his fingers back. The new appendages are thin and pink. A husk of skin on his face peels away to reveal a fresh, smooth surface underneath. The process can be described as blooming.
Dawn comes through the cracks in the cellar door.
He will stay down here today and heal. He will not expose his new skin to the sun. He remembers living through that pain before, and there is strength in the memory of survival.
This scene is lost.
The next night some of the turned (the ones left intact) come find Dracula in the basement. They are struck dumb with hunger.
He tells them to stay out of the light. He says to go for the neck, but if you’re really hungry just bite and bite until you get all you can. He says they have no home anymore. He decides not to even mention Europe. He tells them that they will have to make do with what they have—they are, for now, scavengers. He tells them he will make them a new home. He holds them to his chest, one at a time, all of them.
They leave the basement and go through town, home to home. They drag some hidden survivors out into the street.
Billy forms a posse from the few remaining townspeople. We see shots of him rescuing people from cellars and trees.
Dracula’s group grows larger. He looks more and more beautiful each day (hair black, nose sharp, lips red).
A gunfight at the bank. Four of Billy’s group are taken.
A comedic scene with an old prospector intended to break up the mood.
A scene where a monk shows them how to kill the vampires with silver and stakes. He explains that Dracula may be impervious to these methods because of his age.
The vampires chart a course to the next town, then the next. They have maps; they have a surplus of blood in sealed tanks.
A gunfight at the general store. Three of Billy’s group are taken, among them the monk.
Two somber musical numbers at Billy’s campfire (the first sung by Billy, the second by a 12-year-old boy in his group).
The vampires burn crosses.
A gunfight in the graveyard. Dracula’s group picks off Billy’s already depleted posse until it is just Billy and the boy.
At night. Billy and the boy barricaded in a silver mine. They pour silver into bullet molds by torchlight. The boy sings the songs they sang earlier but idly, leaving out every third word or so.
The vampires arrive long after midnight and tear at the barricade. We see Billy hand the boy a gun—it is comically large in his young hand. Billy’s lips move but no sounds emerge—they are effaced by the sound of the vampires breaching the barricade.
They stream through. Then gunshots and blood on dirt. They climb over each other to get close to the pair. They tangle. We see the boy, frozen with terror. We see the vampires close in on him. Billy retreats further into the mine. He yells at the boy, “Move, move!”
The boy disappears into the press of vampires. Billy keeps shooting, reloads with one hand while firing with the other.
The bullets stop.
We see a trail of bodies, all unmoving.
Dracula approaches. He is silhouetted by moonlight at the mouth of the mine. Billy stares him down. The ancient man comes into view. We see the years in his eyes despite his new youth.
Dracula advances on Billy. Billy shoots six bullets into him. Dracula clutches his chest—six streaks of black, overused blood spill from him. He rights himself against the mine wall and keeps coming. He is only a few feet from Billy now.
Billy fires the bullets in his other gun. Six more holes. Dracula is at the edge of collapse. Then a last burst of life—he yells and leaps at Billy. The camera shows them locked in a sort of embrace.
We see the tip of a stake sticking out of Dracula’s back.
He staggers away from Billy. He stares at the chunk of wood lodged in his heart and his mouth eases into a smile. The ancient man collapses.
We see a grave. We see rain. We see water collecting at the bottom of the grave.
Billy nails a coffin shut. He lowers it into the grave by a long, thick rope. We hear rain and the sound of fingernails digging at wood. We hear the decay of the audio track.
Billy wears a handkerchief around his neck. He shovels dirt back onto the coffin. When he finishes, he throws the shovel down and his handkerchief comes untied. It falls to the ground.
We see two dark wounds on Billy’s neck. The veins leading into it are black and pronounced.
We see Billy’s face. We see the curse in his eyes, the cake makeup streaking in the rain. He picks up the handkerchief and obscures his face with it.
We see him climb onto his horse. Billy disappears into sheets of rain.
|Copyright © 1999 – 2021 Juked|