EXT. CROSSROAD- NIGHT
A coin levitates suspended in the darkened sky as it slowly tumbles downward. Its descent happens with clean rotations as it reflects the light of a hovering street lamp.
NOAH stares up intently tracking the coin as it falls. Noah is an introverted high schooler who tends to be a supportive people pleaser. Currently, his tendency to avoid conflict and reluctance to make brash decisions is under fire from a looming necessity to decide his future.
The crossroads is hauntingly uninhabited as it streches forward in each direction to an uncertain vastness.
The coin thuds into Noah’s outstretched palm.
EXT. FRONT DOORWAY – NIGHT
Noah’s hand connects to the silver door knob giving it a gentle twist. The door creaks open as Noah gently pushes it inward.
INT. HUDSON’S HOUSE – NIGHT
The spacious home was heavily draped in glimmering gold and silver decorations. Each corner of the room was occupied with an assortment of metallic balloons slightly bobbing in tiny unsynchronized motions.
The ceiling hosts a cascade of dangling tissue balls, lanterns, and streamers as well as an grand banner that reads “CONGRADS TO CLASS OF 2019”.
The room was empty besides the assortment of littered plastic cups and other remnants of a once lively atmosphere. Signs of life ring from the adjacent room as Noah sneaks in to the sound of a tuning guitar and indiscernible chatter of A GROUP OF PARTY GUESTS.
Noah gently resets the door shut as he is unexpectedly greeted by HUDSON. Hudson is Noah’s oldest friend, and someone whose quick wit he admires.
Oh, I thought you left already?
Noah pauses returning an embarrassed look.
No, still here.
Glad to hear, since it seems you’re staying for a bit would you care to humor me with a game?
What did you have in mind?
Hudson pulls something out of his pocket, looks up giving an expression of deep thought and then tosses the object in the air.
INT. LIVING ROOM – NIGHT
A pair of dice thrash upon a wooden surface producing a cluster of cacophonous clanks. Hudson scoops them up and squeezes them tightly into a fist. He sits at the head of a long table while Noah sits nearby.
So, care to explain?
Well, it’s simple really, I just had a few questions I wanted to talk to you about and thought it would be best if we had some fun with it.
Let’s keep the rules pretty simple then. Each turn one of us will ask the other two questions and if that person can answer them they get two points. However, for every question that the recipient chooses not to answer gives the asker the point. First to ten wins. Seems simple enough right?
Noah takes a brief pause, processing his understanding of the rule set. Finally, he gives an affirming nod of approval.
Alright shall we begin? Any objection with me starting off?
Hudson takes a deep breath then aligns his spine. He takes one of his die in his left hand and with a rapid flick of the wrist releases it into the air. He then snatches it up with his right hand and proceeds to cup the die near the left side of his face. He gives a quick glance at the result.
I guess it’s a fairly expected question but have you decided where you are going yet?
You answered that kind of quick, you sure about that?
Noah gives a passing glance down at the table, finding his coin facing tails. He lets the air ring silent, indicating his refusal to answer this time.
Seems we’re all tied up then. Ask away.
Since we are on the subject, where are you heading off to?
Sorry to bore you, I’m just attending the state university.
Have a major yet?
Yes. Actually I’m going to be majoring in marketing with a minor in psychology. Sounds fun doesn’t it?
I’ve always thought we’ve made a pretty good team. I’d be fun if it continued into college wouldn’t it?
Hudson began to tap his finger on the die as he cocks his head upward as if looking for his next question to appear on the ceiling.
Sorry. I hope it doesn’t come across as if I’m trying to persuade you into anything. It’s genuinely not my intention.
Then what is your intention with this silly game then?
Hudson taps the die as it rests on the table.
No answer, c’mon I’m not going to keep playing your stupid game if you can’t tell me how this benefits you?
Hudson grabs at the dice and drops them effortlessly.
Honestly, I think the benefit is more for you. I think you’re finally confronting questions you’ve been avoiding.
Noah gives a cold stare.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Noah shifts uncomfortably in his seat as he refuses to answer the question.
So how long do you plan on waiting before deciding on this?
I’m not. Waiting.
Noah slumps his shoulders, and releases a deep exhale as he shoots a quick glance over at the coin on the table. Heads.
So what do you think I should do?
I don’t think I can answer that for you.
Why did you choose to stay in state? It’s a little shocking you didn’t go out on some adventure.
I don’t know. I guess I just consider this place home and I can’t imagine myself leaving it all behind. Maybe it’s the same for you?
Yeah. I mean I’m not sure. I guess it’s hard to picture myself somewhere else.
Alright, final question. Answer it and I’ll crown you today’s victor as I’m not too fond of ties.
Noah sits up in anticipation.
Have you talked to her about it, yet?
Noah sits with his head tilted towards the floor. He raises his face and looks distraught directly at his friend. Noah hastily snatches his coin from the table and makes a brisk escape from the table as he darts deeper into the house.
Hudson remains composed, with his balanced posture he picks up his dice and slowly inspects them.
Looks like I won.
Hudson releases the dice, letting them hit the table.
INT. HALLWAY – NIGHT
Noah marches up the stairs with determination. He darts into the upstairs hallway as he accidentally bumps into AIDEN. Aiden let’s out a brief hardy cough, as he bends down, Juul in hand to pick up some loose change that flew out his hoodie pocket from his unexpected encounter.
Oh, hey Noah. Congrats on graduation.
Thanks. Hey any idea where you’re going next year?
Aiden picks up a magic 8 ball that dislodged from his pocket and gives it a hardy shake.
Uhh, ask again later dude.
Noah pushes deeper into the hallway stopping in front of Hudson’s room and leers into the ajar window at the back of the room.
You allowed up here, A?
Probably not dude.
EXT. ROOFTOP – NIGHT
A view among the elms that looms over an unimpressive, untrimmed backyard, yet connects the mundane sight to the sea of radiating stars engulfing the sky.
The little brown tile paneling acts as the comfortable perch of ALICE. A breeze of wind gently tosses her autumn locks forward as she shrinks into her cherry red flannel jacket. She gracefully shuffles a deck of playing cards being held tightly to her body.
Something told me you’d be here.
Noah steps through the window, ducking his head and slightly swinging forward.
Oh, it’s you.
Sure is. So I heard Chicago is nice this time of year. You’re excited right?
Alice cuts the deck and then flips over the top card.
Of course I am, why wouldn’t I be.
I’m glad you decided to pursue photography, I’m sure you got a bright future ahead.
Alice cuts the deck again, and peaks at the top card.
A moment passes, as a gentle breeze hits the two of them. Alice continues to shuffle the deck and pulls a card at random.
It’s just weird thinking about how often the three of us sat together on this rooftop. And this is the last time, huh.
The wind picks up and the two begin to shiver. Alice slides her palm from under the deck of cards and flips over the bottom card.
I’m going to miss coming up here to count the stars.
I always did find that absurd. Did you every expect to count them all?
It was never about counting them all. Just picking where to start and see where in the sky you end up.
The two silently gaze upon the stars in the sky admiring their beautiful vastness. Another gust of wind picks up
I think it’s time to head inside. You coming?
Just another minute.
Noah starts to lunge towards the window.
Wait. Before you go, have you decided if you’re coming with me or not?
Noah stops dead in his tracks. He lets out a deep exhale.
I need to sleep on it.
Alice takes her deck of cards and begins a methodical shuffle. Alice takes the cards and squeezes them into a burst of chaos set adrift into the wind. As the cards rain away she presents her last remaining card to Noah.
Noah examines the red decor of the card’s back design.
EXT. CROSSROAD- NIGHT
A playing card is flipped over to reveal the two of hearts. On it is inscribed the message “I hope you find yourself”.
Noah walks sluggishly towards his destination. He halts once reaching the crossroad. Noah looks longingly into each direction.
Noah takes the card and tucks it into his pocket and replaces it with the silver coin. He paces back and forth prolonging the decision.
Noah exhales, and stands firm. He places the coin steady onto his thumb. Noah locked into position, closes his eyes and flips the coin high into air.
Noah stands stagnant anticipating for the coin to hit the ground. It never does.
Noah opens his eyes and tries to scan the sky and then surveys the ground to find where his fate has landed.
Noah gives a puzzled expression, unable to find his vanished coin. He returns his focus to the sight of the crossroad and the depth of each path the juncture offers.