Amoura Awakened

Screenplay Type
Screenplay Award Sub-Category
Logline or Premise
In a world where witches and humans coexist, 16-year-old Amoura Renly's unique connection to magic sets her apart. As she navigates a society with a dark history of persecution, Amoura must unravel the secrets of her identity and confront the forces threatening her existence before it's too late.
First 10 Pages


I spotted the postcard under our doormat, tucked safely so as not to blow away in the afternoon breeze. Amoura Jimenez Renly, it read across the front. No address, no indication of sender. Just a sharp indentation in the top half, as if something had attempted, unsuccessfully, to puncture the thick paper.

I assumed it to be a mistake. Or some kind of stupid prank left by one of the bottom-dwelling miscreants who tormented me at school (though I knew realistically it was way too clever to have been planted by any of them). An invitation to attend an entrance exam at a school for the “magically inclined.” Hysterical.

“Love note, my darling?” a voice crooned, startling me. My neighbor, Mrs. Mulgarden, lounged along the oversized railing of her front porch, her bare feet crossed at the ankles and peeking from below her cerulean caftan, a mug steaming between her hands. Unlike me, Mrs. Mulgarden was “magically inclined”, and looked in that moment, perched on her banister, like she could’ve been the poster child of whatever whimsical creature this Elderwood place promised to produce. If it was even a real place.

“Not quite,” I called back, studying the card. “Just someone’s weird idea of a joke.” I ran my fingers over the embossed watermark at the bottom of the card, what looked to be a wand underlining the letters “ESMI." That’s quite an elaborate detail for a prank.

I looked up at my neighbor. “Did you see who left this?”

Mrs. Mulgarden’s emerald eyes widened. “No, my darling! I’ve been inside all afternoon brewing that elixir your father asked for—the healing potion for his marathon next weekend to help with his shin splints. The formula they sell at that overpriced apothecary on Hawthorne is such a waste,” she rolled her eyes. “I swear they dilute all their brews with old herbs.”

I nodded and looked back down at the card. The tip of my finger retraced the embossed letters. ESMI.

I was too competitive not to be intrigued by the idea of an entrance exam, too curious not to wonder, just a little, what life at a school for the “magically inclined” would be like. I probably had a better base of magical knowledge than most human sixteen-year-olds, being that Mrs. Mulgarden had been making me potions and tinctures to cure my every ailment since I started toddling around and hurting myself as a baby.

ESMI. The slightest vibration lingered on my skin like a whisper as I brushed the letters once more. Curious, I thought, examining the tip of my finger.

“Everything alright, darling?” Mrs. Mulgarden called, snapping me back to attention.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I quickly tucked the card into my satchel. There’s nothing magical about you, a voice in my head scolded. It’s a prank or a mistake. The thought stung more than I expected.

“It doesn’t matter, it isn’t real,” I grumbled to myself as I shoved open the front door and disappeared into my house, leaving all thoughts of magic and entrance exams on the porch behind me.


The clock hanging above Miss Haverman’s desk was the most insolent in the school. Its incessant tick shattered every silent second of my lunch hour on Thursday afternoons, clicking between my ears like claws tapping on glass. It made it hard to focus on my sandwich. The clocks in every other classroom had gliding hands that moved like silent exhales. Time passed without rude interruptions, without having to think about it passing. The clock in my history room seemed determined to remind me with each crisp tick that I was alone.

“Thanks for holding down the fort!” Miss Haverman chirped with a smile as she breezed through the door. My history teacher said this to me every Thursday upon returning from the bathroom just before the bell as if she’d charged me with a group of rowdy five-year-olds.

The smile I returned was thin and dishonest.

I didn’t feel bad that I always ate alone. I’d spent my lunch hour in various classrooms for almost an entire school year, ever since my best friend, Finn, moved to San Francisco. Finn was the only company I ever missed, but I’d taken to using my newfound lonely lunch hour to catch up on some drawing, so it didn’t seem like a bad thing.

It was amazing how quickly our lunch bunch dispersed when Finn moved away. Finn’d been the glue holding everyone together. He was a total “brain”, obsessed with coding and computers. No one considered him uncool, though, because he had a magnetism that made him impossible to dislike, and a smile that made both girls and guys weak in the knees. Saying you didn’t like Finn was like saying you didn’t like puppies. The drama kids found his expressiveness inspiring, and the jocks found his exuberant enthusiasm hysterical. I loved Finn, because we’d grown up together and he was the closest thing I had to a brother. My classmates tolerated me only because I was Finn’s friend. To them, I was the “weird smart girl”, always dressed in black, always lingering nearby like a shadow. When Finn moved away, they absorbed into their proper circles, the drama kids with the other drama kids, the jocks with the other jocks, and I found myself alone. It wasn’t long before they realized my social protective shield was gone, and tormenting me was, well, fun. And easy.

“You know, Amoura,” Miss Haverman said gently, perching on the desk in front of me. She swung her loafers onto the seat and rested her elbows on her knees as if preparing for a heart-to-heart with a girlfriend. Miss Haverman was one of the younger teachers at Rose City Prep, filled with an untarnished love of teaching and an unabashed drive to save the youth of America. I braced myself for another one of her pep talks. “I know I say this a lot, but if you ever want to…talk, I’m always here.”

“Thanks, Miss Haverman, I’m fine.” I picked up my pencil and looked down at the sketchbook spread open on my desk. My cheeks flushed as I noticed the letters I’d mindlessly doodled through the lunch hour, the letters I couldn’t unsee in my mind. ESMI. Bold block letters lined in thick black, elegantly curving calligraphy, rounded bubbles like balloons covering every inch of the page. I quickly flipped to a flower I’d worked on the previous lunch hour, hoping my teacher hadn’t noticed my doodling.

“You could invite a couple of other kids to eat with you on Thursdays. I’m totally cool with that.”

My pencil pressed harder onto the page, and I overshadowed a flower petal. “Thanks,” I said, my tone clipped. I grabbed an eraser from my bag. She’s just trying to be kind, I reminded myself with a deep breath.

“Now that I think of it, there are some really smart sophomore girls in my third-period class. Kind of quiet, like you.” She spoke as if she were making this realization for the first time, though her acting skills were sub-par. “I could see if they want to join us on Thursdays for a book club or something?”

The frosty look I shot back in response could’ve formed icicles on her eyelashes.

“Oh, come on! It wouldn’t be that bad, would it? You love to read! What was the last book you read?”

The Brothers Karamazov.” I stopped drawing to hold her gaze.

“Oh.” She sat a little taller on the desk. “I’ve never read any Tolstoy.”

I looked back down at my journal and began shading. “Dostoyevsky. Not Tolstoy. Wrong Russian.”


Did you really need to do that?

“I really think if you—”

“Miss Haverman,” I interrupted, exasperated. “I know you’re probably just out of college and eager to change the hearts and minds of every antisocial teen like me, but I promise you: I don’t need saving, I don’t like high schoolers, and I don’t like book clubs. I just want a place to eat my sandwich.”

Wounding reflected in her eyes.

You shouldn’t have said she was just out of college. The bell signaling the end of lunch saved us both from having to say anything further. Miss Haverman dropped her eyes, her cheeks flushed, and scurried back to her desk where she busied herself with a stack of papers. Great job, idiot. It’s been a while since you made a teacher cry.

I sighed heavily, slipping the journal into my bag as I endured the internal lashings of my conscience. You’re so weak, Renly. I pulled out my laptop as voices poured in with my classmates from the doorway. By now I’d think you’d be able to control yourself. I opened a blank document, preparing for the notes I’d take in class. No wonder everyone hates you. I huffed, shaking my head wildly as if to rattle out the final thought.

I don’t NEED anyone, I shouted back in my mind.

“What’s up, Goth Girl? You miss me?” Asher Rockford slid into his desk behind me and breathed his greeting into my ear, sending every hair on my arms to full attention. I’d become pretty good at shielding myself from the taunts of most of my classmates, at not allowing them the satisfaction of seeing their jeers stab my soft underbelly. But there was something about Asher Rockford that really twisted my guts. Perhaps it was the fact that being the star of Rose City’s winningest soccer team made him impervious to the behavioral expectations all other students were subjected to. To his credit, Asher was an equal-opportunity asshole, tormenting students and faculty alike. But I had earned extra-special attention being the only sophomore in his senior-level classes.

“What do you do to make your hair so big?” I felt his fingers pick at the frizzy curls on the back of my neck, hard and sharp like pinpricks.

“Don’t touch me.” I jerked my head away from his hand and felt a sharp snap at the base of my skull when he didn’t let go of a few strands.

“You shed everywhere.” I glanced over my shoulder to see him shaking off the hair he’d pulled. “You should really think about shaving that pelt. It would make a great blanket in the winter.” Snickers popped around us, his audience growing as students took their seats, curious to see how Asher would taunt me today. My stomach twisted hard as I pulled my curls over one shoulder. I kept my eyes on the blank computer screen in front of me, breathing deep. Don’t engage. He wants you to react.

His finger poked hard into the crown of my head. “You in there, Goth Girl? I feel like I’m talking to myself here!”

I tapped the mouse on my keyboard and labeled the open blank document with the date. My fingertips quivered as they grazed the keys.

“Well, if Goth Girl isn’t home, I guess that means I can go through her stuff, right?” I flipped around, my cheeks igniting. He held my satchel in front of him.

“Give it back.” I grabbed for the bag, but he slid from his seat to his feet and out of my reach, eyes alight with satisfaction.

“There she is,” he smiled. “What could be in here that’s got you so hot and bothered?”

“Kids, let’s take a seat; it’s time to get started,” Miss Haverman called, her voice devoid of any demand for respect.

Asher ignored her and opened the bag. “Hmm, nothing really interesting,” he said as he rummaged, disappointed. Then, “Oh, but what’s this?” He revealed my sketchbook dramatically, and my stomach dropped. “Could this be…your diary?”

Our classmates hooted at the show. My skin tingled with anxiety, intensifying with each thud of my heart.

“I wonder if I’ll find anything about me,” he mumbled, flipping it open. “Dear diary. Asher Rockford is the boy I dream about when I’m alone in my bed,” he cooed in a high-pitched voice. My classmates laughed.

Miss Haverman clapped her hands at the front of the room. “Enough, Asher,” she called, pleading rather than demanding.

I lunged at him, grabbing for the book as he stumbled backward into a desk, laughing. He rolled out from under me and took a few steps backward down the row. “Dear diary. I wish I could feel his hard arms wrapped around me.”

Tears burned the corners of my eyes as I followed him, jumping towards the book he held above his head. “It doesn’t say that. Give it back.” I could feel my control slipping, like the binding that secured my anger deep in my marrow was fraying at the seams. My fingers vibrated with energy, the sensation shooting up my arms to my shoulders, like an infusion of electricity in my veins.

Asher stumbled backward, lifting the journal farther out of my reach. “Geez, Goth Girl. If I’d known you were so hot for me, I might’ve been a little nicer to you.” Laughter continued as I followed him farther down the row, stepping over books and backpacks while he dipped the sketchbook in and out of my reach, as if taunting a cat.

“Dear diary. I’d give up all my black clothes just to feel Asher Rockfort’s body against me. Ohhh, Asher!” he cried. The classroom roared. Miss Haverman clapped her hands. I lunged for the book, and he grabbed me around the waist with his free hand, pulling me close as if I weighed nothing, pinning me against his left hip. “You like that, Goth Girl?” He breathed into my face. I thrashed against him, kicking—I hadn’t realized he’d lifted me from the ground. I felt my foot smack the back of his knee. Without warning, he let me go, and I collapsed on the ground at his feet.

The hollering from our classmates was deafening. His face above blurred behind my tears. I wanted to claw the smirk right off his face, but my joints felt locked in place, frozen by the rage and embarrassment pulsing through me. I could feel everyone’s eyes on us, eager to see if he’d take pity, hoping he wouldn’t. For a split second, as a tear slipped from my eye and his face became clear, I thought he might give it back. But his mouth curled into a sneer, and he flipped open the sketchbook.

“What’s in this thing, anyway?” he asked, scanning the drawings. Asher’s eyebrows raised slightly, as if impressed. “These are good.” He held the book up for others to see. “Like, really good, Goth Girl. You could make money off these.” Asher flipped the page and scanned the next drawing. Then, with a flick of his wrist, he ripped it from the book. My body flinched at the action as if something sharp had cut me.

“Don’t do that,” I bellowed, jumping to my feet and lunging at him again.

He didn’t stop. One by one, Asher ripped out the pages, throwing them into the air for other students to catch as they fluttered around us. “Share the wealth, Goth Girl,” he laughed as I lunged at him again and again, tears flowing down my face.

I have few memories of what happened next. I remember the tightness spreading in my chest and the passing thought that I might be having a heart attack. I remember the shift in Asher’s eyes as he realized the earthquake rolling through my body was no longer from desperation; the flash of emotion across his face—amusement to confusion to fear. I remember how hot my hands felt, the tingling sensation that ignited fire, real fire. Vibrant sparkler flickers solidifying into orange and crimson flames that danced on the surface of my outstretched palms. I remember the classroom going silent, all eyes on the flames twisting on my skin, the steadfast tick of the clock echoing as the realization that something was shifting settled on everyone. I wasn’t what they’d all thought.

And then the world went black.