EXT. TRAIN - DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN
Suburban Connecticut, outside of New York City, 1973. The
still after a terrible storm. Trees dripping, their branches
torn, the air warming just before the break of a new day. The
train lies dark and motionless, a few flashing yellow
emergency lights up front, as a work crew removes debris from
INT. TRAIN. PRE-DAWN
Various passengers, huddled uncomfortably, cold, asleep.
On Paul Hood, 15-and-a-half, stoner-preppie look, hunched up
in his seat under the faint emergency exit light. He reads
his Fantastic Four comic book by the pale light of the
emergency exit sign.
Suddenly, the lights begin to flicker on and the hum of the
train's engines returns.
The conductor enters the car, blasting forth in his classic
Good morning ladies and gentlemen --
He sounds like a baseball announcer.
(mumbling, ad lib)
-- this train originating at New
York's Grand Central Station is
back in service - next stop will be
New Canaan, Connecticut. New
Canaan, Connecticut, next stop!
He moves on to the next car.
The train begins to move.
Paul rubs his elbow against the window and looks out into the
still-dark early morning.
He looks back down at his comic book.
On the comic book: Reed Richards (also known as Stretch) has
zapped his young son with a cosmic ray gun to neutralize the
destructive energy that Annihilus has implanted in him.
The Thing, Medusa, Flame, and Richards' wife Sue Storm look
"THEN YOU'VE TURNED HIM INTO A
VEGETABLE. YOUR OWN SON." "DON'T
YOU SEE, SUE? HE WAS TOO
POWERFUL... IF HIS ENERGY HAD
CONTINUED TO BUILD, HE WOULD HAVE
DESTROYED THE WORLD!"
Paul looks up again, thinking.
In issue number 141 of The
Fantastic Four, published in
November 1973, Reed Richards has to
use his anti-matter weapon on his
own son, who Annihilus has turned
into a human atom bomb. His son is
the result of Richards' coupling
with the earthling Sue Storm, and
the problem is that the cosmic rays
that infused Richards and the rest
of the Fantastic Four on their
aborted moon mission have made
young Franklin a volatile mixture
of matter and anti-matter.
EXT. TRAIN BRIDGE. PRE-DAWN
The train moves slowly through a suburban, semi-forested
And that's what it is to come from
a family, if you analyze it
closely. Each of them is negative
matter for the other ones. And
that's what dying is -- dying is
when your family, which is in fact
your personal negative matter from
which you emerge -- it's when the
family takes you back, thus hurling
you back into negative space...
INT. TRAIN. CONT'D.
On Paul, as the sun breaks over the horizon. His face glows
warmly in the yellow light. He looks down idly at the comic
So it's a paradox -- the closer
you're drawn back in, the further
into the void you're thrown.
EXT. CONRAIL STATION. EARLY MORNING
The train slowly pulls in.
The train doors open, and Paul, weary from the long night,
emerges. He sees his family gathered at the other end of the
platform -- Ben, 40, a bit worse for wear but still retaining
traces of his boyish looks; Elena, 37, distant and elegant
even in her oversized sweater; and Wendy, 14, a sullen
He pauses, regarding them.
They stand, silent, even dignified, awaiting him.