The Faust Syndrome
Act 1, Scene 1: open with head shot of Sam. His hair is dishevelled, his eyes wild-yet-vacant. his head is moving, almost as if he is struggling against bonds. Slowly zoom in on Sam’s eye until the camera appears to go into the pupil. Fade to a cloaked stranger descending into Hell. Even the demons give the stranger wide berth. His purpose in Hell is made known as he is accosted by the Devil resulting in him gesturing to a figure, obscured by a multitude of ravens feasting upon it, affixed to an ‘X’ shaped cross. The Devil nods and allows the stranger to go to the figure.
(in a strange tone)
be at ease, my child, and begin your tale. I shall record all and take it to the world and let all be known.
(pained, yet not muffled by the ravens. Repentant)
For those who read this tale, please–I beg of you–do not make the same mistakes I have made, for the tale you are about to read is true. I know, I lived it. (pan out to reveal hands writing as he speaks) And now, I regret my ever having lived…more than I could ever imagine. I regret ever being so polluted by desire and aspirations that I do not know where to begin making amends.
fade to scene of a birth. The family is affluent. progress through growth from baby to young child. Young Sam has an unnatural gleam in his eye that hints at an unhealthy obsession with wealth and power. As the scenes progress, he pulls “Dr. Faustus”, “The Devil and Daniel Webster”, and historical legends (Julius Caesar and the Ides of March) from the shelves in the family library.he also pulls other books (random) from the shelves feverishly researching something. as the scenes progress, it is evident that Sam seems to slowly transform from a normal youth to someone dark and evil, though very much handsome.
(narrating the scenes)
I was born to wealth and privilege, but began to have great ambitions long before most children know what they want to become as adults. Being a voracious reader, I knew well the classics Doctor Faustus and The Devil and Daniel Webster…and even classic tale of Julius Caesar and the Ides of March. Much of my youth was spent in my father’s library divided between devouring the classics and doing research.
As I read, my ambitions grew. My desires, all so selfish, festered within my soul–eating away at me. My aspirations blinded me so to the realities of life and the world around me. All three caused me to stray from the path of truth, though I believed I was in search of it.
I became completely enveloped in my ambition and desire that all else was darkened and only my self-created search for ‘enlightenment’ mattered. But it wasn’t enlightenment that I found. Nor was it the freedom I craved, nor the power that I thought was rightly mine. Instead, I was to find that my soul was bound to slavery and no longer my own. In haste, I would sign away something that never belonged to me in the first place…and become a vassal of the darkness, owned by the Devil himself.
Scene changes to a cold dismal November. A 20-year-old Sam is in the family library, desperately searching through antiques tomes, some that are huge, others that are small, for something that isn’t made directly known through his ad libbed mutterings. he is pale, making it apparent he is both ill and weak due to the lack of sleep caused by his fevered search. Moaning can be heard somewhere else in the mansion, rising from time to time over the howl of the wind. The calendar behind Sam is on Nov. 22. pictures of Sam’s five anonymous brothers hang on the sides of the nearest interior shelves.
It all happened on a cold November night, when I was in the midst of my delusional search and at my weakest.I sat in the library, surrounded by the books I hoped would bring me some understanding of the occult world, when he appeared. It wasn’t my father,for he ailed at death’s door in one of the rooms above; and my brothers had all left the comforts of the manse for lives of their own. How I envied them all that they had, all that they had worked hard for and earned. Their money, their notoriety, their wives, their children, their homes, their cars…ah, but I stray from the story.
He appeared, there in the library, perched high upon the wheeled ladder that hung from the furthest shelf–smoke and the smell of Hell itself upon him. His name, though not that of the Dark Prince,was only breathed in the confines of Hell.Yet, he was considered, at least in his own mind and heart, a Lieutenant of Hell’s legions and an expert at buying souls.
Scene 2: Sam is distracted by a smell. Brimstone. He searches the room with his eyes, turning in his chair, for the source of the odor. Sitting upon the top of the wheeled ladder farthest from him sits a dark stranger who had not been there before. He is evidently excited, almost overjoyed, at the sight of the stranger.
(Smiling. In a mesmerizing, seductive voice)
Seems you need a friend. Maybe I can be of service…?
And what sort of person needs friends when friends betray
your plans and keep you from rising to the level in life that you should?
(in an amused hiss)
Well said, child of man, but not all friends betray your trust.
I won’t. It is not my place. In fact, my master has sent me to make all
your wishes and dreams come true.
Then, what must I call you?
My true name Is far too long and unutterable for your tongue,
so you may call me Belial.
And the price for your friendship?
(evidently lying, but convincingly)
Nothing. But for what I can give you, my master only asks for
Belial produces a contract out of thin air and lays it in front of Sam. He produces a quill as well and hands it to Sam.
And what can your master give me? I must know
before I sign anything.
(perceiving Sam’s businesslike stance)
Very astute, you are, so I shall tell you. Powers supernatural,
strength of a thousand men, the reverence of your peers,
and fame throughout the world. Immortality, agelessness,
whatever your heart desires.
Very well, friend, then give me the contract. I would
have this and more.
(pushing the document closer to Sam)
Here it is, but it has to be signed in your own blood
for it is a pact betwixt you and my master. (pauses for a moment)
Yet there are a few restrictions I must make you understand.
(pauses to ponder his words) You must never ask any questions
about my master, the workings of our realm, or bring up the name of the High Father or His Son in my presence or even after I am outside your presence. And believe me, we will know.
Then I have no more use for going to church?
None. Continue to go, and our agreement would be
jeopardized. We wouldn’t want that, now, would we?
Hands Sam a knife. Sam pricks his finger and puts the nib to his finger, allowing his blood to be sucked into the reservoir. Sam puts the pen to the document.
(signing his name)
Not at all.
The signed document vanishes in a whisp of smoke. Belial smiles at Sam. Sam is less than amused. INtrigued with this new business arrangement, he begins plotting with his new “friend” as narration continues.
Still, being young and naive, I allowed my desires to override my sensibility and clear thinking. I had no interest in my own soul, though I should have been more astute, defensive, and cared most about the wellbeing of my soul. But I thought, ah, but what is a soul that I should care one way or the other what happens to it? And so, I signed away the most important piece of me…my soul. And for what? A bit of power otherwise earned by hard work and careful planning? Abilities that are taboo to man for the very reasons I wanted them? A few years’ notoriety that I could have gotten by fair means rather than foul? All so selfish of reasons that I rue the day I ever met Belial, though that is not his real name. Nor will I utter it, for to do so is to call upon him and the bargain I made with him.
Fade to scene in Hell, Sam on the cross-though hidden from view by the ravens that are pecking at the man beneath as he continues to narrate.
Oh, if I could but turn back the clock…go back and prevent myself from committing so foolish an action! But it is too late for such, so I must suffer the pangs of my torments which I bought with my selfishness and decadence. The unquenchable flames which lick my feet; the hellish ravens which peck at my belly, pulling flesh-if, indeed, you can call it flesh-from there and my limbs.The agony! But all of my making. All the while, the Devil sits with my captive soul, mocking it and laughing…leering at me with mocking eyes and false concern.God forgive me!
Pan to scene of a leering Devil holding a glowing globe in his hand. The Devil looks over, from time to time, at the figure on the cross.
the one desire that sealed my fate was for power unimaginable. Some would term such a desire a form of magic but power over the air and such appealed to me. Powers supernatural were the forbidden fruit I desired so much that I gave my one chance at Heavenly glory away. As for money and fame, they were-in my eyes-a plus that were fringe benefits of my bargain. Once signed, the document vanished in a puff of smoke and my soul was taken from me. for the first time in my life, I felt empty. More than empty. I felt as if my life had truly ended. Yet, my newfound journey had just begun.
the hole where my soul had been began to fill with a deep greed, an insatiable thirst for riches and power. My heart began to grow dark and evil; malice, avarice, lust, sloth, gluttony, and a multitude of other evils which I would have never taken on if I had continued my journey with my born companion, my soul. My ambitions now had no end.By fair means, or foul, I desired to get as much as I could. I lusted after what I could not have. I envied all who had more than I. I plotted their demise with every waking breath.