High Tide Line

When he pulls one reckless stunt too many, a cocky teenager with a mysterious ability to heal clashes with his loving but overwhelmed father, who sees his once thoughtful and kind son teetering on...evil.

MYJA, 16, is a fearless, cocky teenager. He and his best friend Cory enter a ruined old beach house surrounded by “No Trespassing” and “Danger” signs. Myja tries a stunt that goes horribly wrong: he falls and slices his head open. At the hospital, the doctor tells Myja’s father, Don, his son has healed incredibly fast. Don says it’s just something they’ve taken at face value about him.

Don scolds Myja, saying his ability to heal may not always be there—he needs to be more responsible. Myja snickers, but his father says that now Myja’s sister, Claire, can’t go on a school trip as his money’s just gone on the hospital bill.

Cory spends the afternoon at the public library, researching books and articles about the “healing gene” and about good people turning bad. It bothers him most of what he can find comes from dubious sources with titles like “The Goddess Speaks”. He meets a young lady who mistakes him for a fellow university student. After he notices he had doodled the word “freak” in an angry scrawl in the corner of one of the photocopies, he takes the young lady up on her offer for them to go talk.

Back at home, Myja has an exchange with his widowed grandfather, Jake, that heatedly escalates as Myja reveals his arrogance about his own invincibility and that no one can stop him whatever he now decides to do. Don comes home drunk from the bar, and the situation Jake had managed to calm flares back up as father and son re-engage. To refute Don’s claim about how selfish he’s become, Myja gives Claire a stash of money he’s been saving, but he scares her when he says he can just steal from an old man’s store to make the money back and no one can stop him. She refuses his money. Myja storms out into the night, upset at everyone, including Cory whose parents say Myja is too dangerous to hang out with.

The next day, Myja helps Don work on the family fishing boat. As Don naps, Myja, reckless as ever and still convinced his mysterious ability will protect him, falls overboard when he gets excited about a pod of humpback whales that appears beside the boat. Myja slams his head against the hull, and, disoriented and neither wearing his life preserver nor tethered to the boat’s safety line, he quickly sinks and becomes snagged on a broken harpoon jutting out of the flank of a big female humpback who swims past him with her nearly-weaned calf. Drowning, Myja experiences a magical if heart-rending moment with the calf as each entity stares long and hard into the eye of the other. The silent, soulful communication pulls Myja into memories of his mother lost to cancer and of his grandmother lost to a drunk driver. In what Myja becomes convinced are his last mortal moments, Myja accepts he’s been hiding behind his mysterious ability, which he’s expected to spare him feeling and processing his loss and hurt and pain. Myja comes to understand that riding out feelings, good and bad, that's the real power.

He opens his eyes to find himself on the deck of the fishing boat, with Don, soaking wet from head to toe, hovering over him. After coughing up an incredible amount of seawater, he grabs his father in a tight embrace and sobs into Don’s shoulder as his entire body quakes and shakes as Myja sheds the pain and loss and hurt of a lifetime.

A week later Myja meets up with Cory in the locker room before a swim meet. Myja tries to drag out of his friend why Cory’s been so incommunicado all week, but Cory remains strangely so, simply saying he’s been spending a lot of time with someone new. Finally, Cory tells him his parents might be right that he and Myja no longer have contact. Myja sits with that hurt that his friend and he just might be growing apart. Cory tells him they're still their team's “Dynamic Duo”, and Myja, a week older and a whole lot wiser, musters a grin that speaks to the peace he’s achieved in his heart and soul.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Short Screenplay
Starring Roles For:
Asher Monroe in Fame
Grant Gustin in Glee
Ed Harris
Author Bio:

Contest Results:
ScreenCraft Short (Quarterfinalist) [2017]