Absentia (2011) Script

Hi. Hi!

So sorry, did I keep you waiting? No, no, it's okay.

Where are you coming from? There's a park through there on the other side...

Look at you! I know.

I'm gigantic, and it happened really fast... No, you look great!

Tricia, with child... holy fuck! Yeah, I know.

Great. Yeah, me too.

Well, let's get you inside. Yeah, good idea.

So your drive was...? It was gorgeous, everyone should do it once.

And you took the... you went...? The southern route, the real 66 Texas was just fucking... ...fucking forever....

Right yeah. I know. I'm so sorry, I was out and...

I didn't expect you until tonight, maybe this afternoon at the earliest.

Yeah, I drove all night, Once I hit Tucson it was just.. aIl about here.

Yeah, it's the last of them, I figured just... you know... use them, and then... tonight maybe we can do something kinda formal, to... Of course.

It's really good to see you. It's really good to see you.

The bed is amazing. Yes, it's fine.

It's like almost real quality mattress. It's fine, I've slept on worse.

We both know.

So... I brought some stuff for the little nephew, niece, or whatever.

Oh, Callie. Don't get too excited. It's all from Goodwill.

In New Mexico.

Nothing special, but... I wanted to.

You sure you don't mind? I don't want to make you feel...

No, I'm fine with my soda juice.

And you're sure it doesn't violate the trems of your ...

We're good. Then by all means, get blasted.

I'm really glad that you're here. As opposed to... I mean, I know about Vermont...

...and Pennsylvania. And then mom said something...

...about North Dakota? Yeah...

I lived out in my car, in the Badlands for a hike.

That was something. But mostly Worcester.

Ohio? Ohio for the longest, a few months.

And then Louisiana, which I tell you... complete Oh, yeah I know.

Even after the whole... it's amazing. Yeah.

And what was the good clinic, right? Louisiana?

Alright, so spill it, pregnant. Come on.

No, easy, sister. Who was he? Some random hottie?

A pool boy? Gardener? Did mom totallt freak out, or was she ok?

No, mom was thrilled actually happy. I haven't told dad yet.

Fuck him, anyway. I mean, if you can find him.

I'm just damn curious. Alright well, we'll talk about it later.

I'm going to go clean up the kitchen. Ok... you giant whore!

You giant drug addict.

So it all basically looks the same since I was here last.

God, was that five years ago? It was right before you took off, so ...

Oh, you took you wedding pictures down.

I didn't want to change anything at first.

Just... you know, in case he walked in one day.

And then later on, I didnt want to change things, in case...

I don't know. Sure.

Death in absentia... I know, it sounds really...

I knew there was going to be paperwork, I just didn't realize...

Oh yeah, big time.

The paperwork goes in, And then that with the police statements, they'll issue you a death certificate, which... then I give that to the insurance companies, and then a few creditors.

And it affects a lot, you know, like car insurance, his registration... life insurance, his 401K... They didn't think...

...that maybe after seven years he wasn't going to come back?

Once you declare someone dead, it's a different deal.

You know, missing, dead... it's tough to come back from that one.

So that's why they make you wait so long, seven years...

Yeah, I get it. There's no need.

So the posters?

I printed out so many and it's just a habit to go out and change them out.

Rather than watch them rot off the trees and poles... You put up new ones?

Just the last of the run. The last ones...

Can I ask you...?

You know, if it is not...

Ask. What ...

What do you think, you know, all said and done?

I used to think he left because we were fighting.

Marriage growing pains. Then I thought amnesia.

He wanders off, no memory. Starts over, lands,,, and he's happy.

And he thinks of me, doesn't know why.

I had a million of 'em. He was an NSA agent.

Couldn't tell me what he did for a living, to keep me safe.

But then his cover got blown, so he had to underground.

But he still checks in, all the time.


That whole first year, that's all it was about, just what happened.

Kidnapping, runaway, alien abduction.


He was so sweet to me. He called me "kid" and...

He didn't stare.

And make fun of me, or tease me about dating...

I liked him.

He'd be proud you cleaned up so well.

Yeah... I know he would.

So I'm going to go with whichever version has him...

...sitting on the porch, watching the sunset, happy and alive and Ok.

And I'm here to help you file that paperwork and...

...pack your stuff up for a new place. Which I'm working on, I will find one.

Sure. I'll hold your hands throughout the ultrasounds and whatever...

I'm here.

And then what? Where do you land, Calls?



Fuck me. Please...

Sorry... Please...

I'm sorry, I don't have anything. Do you see me?

I don't have anything to give you. Wait, wait ...

It's sleeping.

What? I don't know.

I'm sorry, I did not mean to wake you. I'm here...

I... I...

Trade. What?

No, I really don't have anything. I'm sorry.

Walter. Walter?

I'll bring you something later. Please ...

I'll come back and I'll bring something for you, ok?

Wait, wait!

My son! My boy...


Can you tell him?

Sorry, I just... never mind. Hi.

Hi. Callie, my sister, this is Detective Mallory.

He's... was on Daniel's case.

Hi. Not the guy I first met when you...

The old guy with the suede...

No. I got assigned a couple of years ago.

They moved those guys onto newer...

Anyway, I'm glad to meet you, miss. I've heard a lot about you.

Really, why?

I'm just heading to... There was a robbery...

Up the street, a waste of paperwork actually...

There was just a bracelet, almost worthless. They left the expensive stuff.

We have some petty burglaries, just keep the door locked.

It happens way too much in this neighborhood. I've been after your sister

...to move for years, even just a couple of exits Just bring that to the attorney...

...and it says everything they need to move forward.

I have it. I'm going to shower, I smell like an armpits asshole.

Nice to meet.

Yeah, you weren't kidding. Yeah, right?

You'll call me when you're finished with the lawyer?

I'll call.

Do you need anything for the... I'm fine. We're fine.

Alright. Because I can get whatever, for anyone that's bothering you.

I got my taser. Taser, huh? Big man.

I know what you did.

Oh, shit!

Is there any food for another plate? Or do you have a paper plate?

Are you still hungry? No, there's this guy in the...

Never mind. It is a Christian thing.

Yeah. I was going to ask you about this new Christian thing.

Can I borrow your Tupperware, please?


Trish, you want help?

I just... maybe not tonight, you know?

Tomorrow, it can wait. Technically, it usually waits until you've actually signed a lease on...

I'm on it, ok? I'm working on it.

Lord, please help me get my shit together. In Jesus' name, amen.


It's normal.

Well, fuck normal then, I guess.

These, let's call them lucid dreams, that you're having.

They started about the time you decided to declare him dead in absentia?

I know that we said we knew that would do something with me, but...

Because it's big. And we knew to expect something.

Not this.

Not this.

You describing lucid dreams. They're... visual, auditory, even olfactory, tactile halucinations.

And not unusual for someone negotiating the kind of stress you're living with.

Ok. This is good, keep going.

How does seeing him, hearing him this way make you feel?

The first time it was like he was devastated.

Furious. Because you...

Because I'm declaring him dead.

And then? Then it was like he was just enraged.

At me and... At the baby.

At the baby.

The mind cannot immediately deal with... trauma.

With grief, guilt.

It's sometimes easier to create something to help us to process it.

But it is you, Tricia, not him...

And you're telling yourself how you feel.

Ok well, when will that stop?

You're the only one who can answer that.

You're still meditating? It's still helping with... Yeah.

Yeah, absolutely. Good.


I'm sorry?

Don't leave those there.

They're not mine, I'm returning them.

Just don't.

This looks good.

Do you need anything else from the police? No. This is good.

He's been missing from his home or usual residence for a period of seven years.

Such absence has been continuous and without explanation, and we took the adequate safeguards concerning property. I think you did it great.

So what happens now? We file. And I think they'll issue the death certificate.

I need you to sign the last line of the petition.


That's it.



I'm getting kinda tired. You sleep, I'm minutes away.


Good night. Good night.

Oh Shit!


God bless you too, nephew or niece, whoever you are.

Is that's all of them? Looks like it.

With some of these we can't be sure... Copy that.

Some of them? Some of them match descriptions of the items.

Yeah? Like I said, can't be sure.

Sure. Can I borrow that from you? Thank you.

The door was locked. I think so.

We've discussed this. Always in this neighborhood, you lock the door.

No, I told her. I'm sure it was locked.

There's no sign of forced entry, so...

There was, earlier, another incident. I'm sorry, what incident?

A man in the tunnel, you said? Yes, I'm trying to remember...

I can't remember he said his name was. He was talking....

...nonsense, anyway. The crazy, nonsense-talking tunnel guy...

...that you fed was in my apartment? That's great, Callie, really wonderful.

I told you. For two years I told you. Anywhere but here.

They got a nickname for this neighborhood in the precinct. I know. calm down.

No. Now we talk seriously. I'm packing, ok? I've been packing.

To go where?

You've been packing for six months. Leave, walk out of here.

You can just stay with me. Detective!

Hi, sir. Hi, I just wanted to check in. You doing ok over there?

I'm fine. The door's locked. No worries, just packing.

What time are you coming home again? Around seven. You ok until then?

Yeah, I'm good. Alright, bye.



What's that?

I think I'll go to bed, if that's ok.


Good night.

Get up!

Hi, it's me.

I found a place.

No, Callie made me.

So since the cat's kinda out of the bag with her...

I was wondering if you might like to go out?

Like for real.

Ok, great.

Ok, bye.

Well ok. Alright, then.

Don't get all excited. No! I think it's great, I just...

It's time, right? Yeah.

What about this? Maybe a trimester and twenty pounds ago.

Right. Maternity clothes only.

Yeah? Yeah.

You did this for me on my first date.

Oh my god, that kid with the giant ears.

Kevin. Kevin, yeah.

Oh god, mom was horrified you put makeup on me.

The beginning of the end? Right?

Hot? Yeah.

What do think I should do with my hair? Back.

Move it a little just here.


Hi. Hi.

Detective. Miss.

Callie, you look terrific.

I can feel the face you're making, you little rat.

So, I'm going to run upstairs, I'll be right back down and then we can go.

So, how long have you been trying to get her to go out with you?

Let's just call it a while.

Ready. Great.

Lock that. I got it!

Do you need anything? Do you need money for dinner?

Please, go and have fun, ok?


Ok, see you later.

Callie. Detective.

Are you okay? Yeah.





Tricia, make a call. Call an ambulance!

Tricia, Look at me. Are you ok?

It's ok. I got you.

Oh, God!

Hi, Ruth. It's Tricia.

I don't know how to say this... except to say first that I'm not doing this to be cruel or dishonest.

Tonight... it was 19.30... Squeeze my hand, Daniel.

Daniel came home.

Ok, that's good. Let go of my hand, Daniel.

You can see me?

Yeah, I can see you.

David admitted him to Sacred Heart Hospital.

Severly malnourished.

They're treating him for dehydration and malnutrition.

I'm not sure exactly what caused that.

But he hasn't said anything. It looks like it might be from a chronic lack of sunlight exposure.

I'm sorry, but that's all I know right now.

We're looking at his abdominal X-rays. There's an ill-defined mass in his stomach.

I'm sorry, that's all I know.

Tomorrow, hopefully, or the next day.

No, I'm here.

No, call when you know your flight info. Bye.

She was laughing.

Did you tell her about what the doctor said, about the trauma...?

She's still wrapping her head around her son being alive, She doesn't need to wonder about...

...what kind of results his body's undergone.

I know this is hard right now.


We've got to figure out where you've been.

Daniel, the doctor said that you show signs of significant physical...


We're trying to figure out who did that to you.

We've been looking for you for more than seven years, Daniel.

I was underneath. Underneath where, Daniel?

Stay with me. Underneath where?

Oh, Tricia.

It's ok.

I'll get you some fresh clothes.


You want to lay down or you want a glass of water?


His parents will be here tomorrow.

This isn't real.

Hi. Hi.

I'm sorry to stop by. We tried to call.

I had unplugged the phone. It was crazy.

We talked to the doctor. We'd like to talk to Daniel again.

He's asleep. We can wait a while.

You talked to him ay the hospital. He didn't say anything.

We were hoping if we talked to him again, some place he was more comfortable, then...


He's in here.

How are you feeling, Daniel?

Your doctor called. They figured out what those light bits sere in your X-rays.

You had animal bones in your stomach, Daniel. You want to explain that one to me?

The hospital also released the clothes you were wearing when you were admitted.

They were the same clothes you were wearing when you disappeared.

So does that mean that in all this time you haven't been to a hospital, ...a shelter? I don't know.

You see, Daniel...

You do, because someone fed you.

As recently as yesterday morning. Daniel, please.

And you still had your wallet.

Seven years on the street, no one took your wallet?

There's a lot of people trying very hard to find you.

And if you're telling me you don't know where you had breakfast yesterday, you're a liar.

Liar! That's enough.

For now.

I'm sorry about all this, ma'am.

We're just relieved that your husband is alive.

We'll figure everything out in time.

But in the meantime, if you need anything, please don't... I got it.

I'll stop by after ten. Can you talk?

I don't know. Just to talk. Will you?

Yeah. After ten.


Last time you saw me, I was barely driving, remember?

You disappeared too.

Yeah, that's right. I did.

I was chasing a guy and a few dragons.

I saw plenty I never want to think about again.

How did you get out?

I don't know.

Can we have a minute?

Of course.

If you ever want to talk...




Where the fuck were you?

I'm here.

I'm not asking you to make any decisions today.

And I will not add any more pressure to your life.

It's impossible, this whole situation. I just need to say that I'm devoted.

I will never quit, I will never leave.

I will provide, and I will protect you and the baby.

I will do everything I can to get help for Daniel.

I am still the same guy. But he is not.

He is not the same as when left.

And remember, things weren't that great then, from what you said. Don't...

I'm sorry, I just need to say that that death certificate ...

...is accurate.

Even if he is upstairs.


Are you ok?

It's not what it looks like though.

It's more like an insect.

A skin like silver fish.


You traded with it.

I wish you hadn't traded with it.

It fixates.

Daniel, I think you should go back into your room...

...and wait for Tricia.

Oh no. I can't go back in there.

It's in one of the walls in there.

Maybe it'll go away.

No more!

No more!

Be quiet, Daniel.

It stops... us.

I'll make sure that you're as involved as you ever want to be with the baby.

Tricia... You always said you'd bring him back to me.

And you did. I love you for it.

I understand.

I used to clam up.

I used to just disappear for a weekend, or a week at a time.

And sleep under the stars and... no one would know or care if I was coming back.

I understand...

I understand wanting to just walk away...

...and just leave the mess and say "fuck it". It would be so just...

Wouldn't it just...?


Did you...? No!


Tricia! He's gone!

He's gone! He's gone!

It's gone!

No one goes back in there. They'll be here in five. What happened?

Daniel, Daniel!




I know how that sounds but I swear to you, I could hear him in the walls.


He'd been dragged. It's ok, alright?


Do me a favor, ok?

Look me in the eyes real quick.

No big deal.

Booze tonight? Anything I should know about?

I had some wine earlier.


I'm going to need to talk to you again, ok? Yeah.

Fucking asshole.

I got it.

You see her eyes? Yeah, her pupils, I know.

But still, doesn't mean she was loaded. No, I want the unies searching the park...

...the highways, I don't care where you... Yeah, they cast a big net, ok?

I do not love that you were here tonight with this. I know.

I'm going to need a statement.

And it's going to change some things for this...

I know.

So, you want me to take her...


No. That much I can do.

If anyone's going to ask her to do this again it should be me.

I need to...

I don't even know how to tell you... how sorry I am to...

Oh, Jesus. You mean...?

I need you to file a missing persons report.

Tricia, my god, I'm so sorry. Shut your mouth!


I saw your eyes, you were orbiting the apartment! Where is it?

Who the fuck do you think...? No. Look, I saw it!

You hallucinated it! I saw it. Jesus!

Can't we have enough tragedy for one evening without Callie's gutted acid trip!

It happened! I wouldn't have believed it either. No!


What happened if it wasn't what I said?

While you were wherever, doing whatever.

What happened then, Tricia?

I do not know! But I heard that fucking giant bug story before... last time you were under your skin, remember?

Fine, but it happened! Nothing ever fucking changes!

Dad leaves, mom's a mess...

...and brand new Callie decides to retreat into a needle!

And at least I didn't decide to retreat into a marriage with that high school boyfriend I didn't really...

Hi, Ruth, it's Tricia. You're probably on the plane right now, but... listen...



I'm sorry about... No, it was senseless. All of it.

I think I can make some sense out of it.

Ok. Walter Lambert lived three doors down from us...

...went missing in 1995, walking to work.

Guess which way. Left behind a son, who still lives here apparently.

It says his dad was taken away by a monster.

They declared Walter dead in 2002.

I ran into him just last week. Guess where?

Which would just be, you know, except he's not the only one, not even close.

Five others from this neighborhood just in the last 100 years.

The tunnel wasn't there 100 years ago. Right.

The freeway was built in the early fifties, but before then... and I'm not kidding, it was a natural sinkhole, They built a footbridge over it, and you know what?

People went missing.

In 1928, Charles Ashford goes to fetch water from his family well.

Crosses the footbridge, his family goes looking for him. No sign.

His footprints in the dirt lead halfway up to the well.

Not enough? Three students made the covers of The LA Times, ...after going missing in what they called a series of underground caves, near the Verdugo hills, but emerge through a long tunnel in the valley.

They couldn't find the tunnel, the students...

Listen! This is important. They said it was under the city.

Not underground, but like an underworld. Jesus, Callie.

No, look. 1968, David Stone...

...goes to a party, three blocks from here... starts acting strangely, wanders into his neighbor's yard...

...doesn't know where he's going, what he's doing. All he can say is that it's after him.

Callie, when the mind can't process a horrifying situation ...

Did you know that there are 109,000 active missing persons cases in this country?

Guess how many disappeared in tunnels. The mind creates patterns...

I was seeing things too, Ok?

Awful things, they felt so real.

There are myths, legends, folklore. It's easier to imagine the most horrifying fantasy...

...than to accept the truth. Tricia, every culture in the history of our species...

...has had mythology about creatures that spirit people away.

That take them into some unreal underworld, enslave them, brutalize them...

It is easier to embrace a nightmare than to accept... how stupid, how simple reality is sometimes.

The Scandinavian troll legends, the Egyptian insect demons, the banshee, the Wendigo.

There's a common thread to all this! There just ...

...finding ... Ok...

Dark matter, tangential dimensions...

If everything is made of atoms, and atoms are mostly empty space, how is anything really solid?

Things go missing in this neighborhood, and have for as long as history has recorded it.

And those things turn up in one place.

I love you, Callie.


I still can't... Where is he?

Hi Ruth... Mitch... Daniel!

I have to tell you guys. Come in and sit down ...

You just sit down...

What's happening? I need to speak to your younger sister for a minute.

What's happening? They found a body in the tunnel... and I need her to identify... No, ma'am, come back, please!

Don't go there!

What happened? Oh, God!

Oh, God!

That's him. That's Walter Lambert.

Hold him back! I'm sorry!

But you have to stand still! Hold it!

Hold him back.

Holy shit!


I don't want to keep you here another minute.

And your father... I told you he wasn't dead.

I'm sorry. There have been a lot of animals disappearing in your neighborhood, and I need to know why I found you with a dog in a bag?

I just wanna go home. I need to know that I can go to your neighbors... and I can ask about all of these break-ins, and I can ask them about all of these animals disappearing....

...and they're going to tell me Jamie Lambert is a good guy.

I just want to go to sleep.

And I need you to give me anything.

Anything at all that's going to send you home, or get you help, If you need it.

I came to you for help, and you couldn't help me.

If you want to help, can you help me just...

...get out of here so I can get on with burying my father, please.

Yeah, I can help you do that.

Ok, we're done.


Hey, sir.

How's the Buddha shit? It's good. Come and sit with me.

So you just sit here and think? Kind of.

You try...

Really you try to...

...free yourself of attachments...

...the sources of suffering.

Then you try to find, I don't know, nirvana.

What is nothing, right?

Don't underestimate the ​​attraction of oblivion.

Not until you've lived a little longer.

Even when I close my eyes, all I can see is that body tangled up like that.

Yeah, I know, I thought so too. But now, it could have been him.

It could have been Daniel like that.

All twisted up like that.

Poor Daniel.

You know the Church says that...

...there are some people called "victim souls"? Do they?

Some people that God lets...

He lets the devil and the demons do their thing.

They're destined for torment...

...with some great reward in heaven.

I didn't mean to call you prodigal...

...or hit you.

I know. I am though.

I think you had the right ideas sometimes.

You just pull yourself towards some unknown horizon...

...and just try to get untangled.

I never thought less of you for whatever types of escape you were able to find.

I think I'm just so fucking done.

With this one.

It's just so night and fucking day, from what I set out for.

How was I to supposed to know it would end up like this?

How the hell are we suposed to know?


Yeah, I know.

Fucking drink? Can't.



One more time, miss.


I need to understand something. The unies found up in your room a locker...

You think I hadn't heard about you. The company you keep.

What, did the deal go bad? No, did the deal go bad?

I can do what I want.

So... we're going to need to test your blood.

And question you a lot... more.

Right now, you're only a person of interest.

You have any plans on leaving town soon? No.

Never stopped her before. Ok. Now we're going to continue, but...

...before we get to the meat of it all...

...I need you to file a missing persons report.

Stay close, miss.







You know, just because...

I know you don't need me to tell you this, but ... I know.

We'll keep the case open.

Indefinitely. Whatever it takes. I know.

Hey, you said it yourself. It's not about speculating.

It's about what we know and... we don't know.

We know that they lived down the street from a man... who exhibited the textbook signs of a serial killer.

And it's only a matter of time... from animals to...

When all the bills are piled up, we know the pressure was immense. We know...

...she could just walk away, just leave the mess

...and just say "fuck it". It would be so just...

Wouldn't it just...? She could live on the land.

I used to camp. She used to camp. She could just vanish...

...be on her own, and camp and be just fine.

Whereas her sister?

History of drugs, the drugs in the apartment...

She's a runaway. With almost no bagage, she dropped back.

Maybe they took off together.



Just because I can't think of a scenario that leads from the open... door of that appartment to Tricia Riley living off the radar, baby in arms, happy and free...

I know. ...living with no money, no credit cards and no vehicle.

It doesn't mean that scenario doesn't exist.

Of course it does.

Stranger things have happened. People get lost, people get found.

No one will think the worst of her.

Not of her.

Not of them.