Scene II

Starlight

The hill on a summer evening. T. is leaning back against the oak watching the sun set. The first crickets are beginning to CHIRP. We hear FOOTSTEPS, growing progressively louder, but T. doesn't move.

J.

You're here early.

T. (not moving)

I felt like sitting here for a while. The sunset's beautiful.

J. comes into view and drops down beside T. T. immediately adjusts position to lean against J., who rests an arm across T.'s shoulders and looks out at the sunset.

J.

Alone?

T. (dry laugh)

Who else is going to come sit with me?

J.

True. (beat) What is it this time?

T. (starts to laugh - it chokes off into a dry sob)

Apparently, it's my fault.

J.

Oh, no.

T.

Oh, yes. I was there, and I'm stronger than them, and she was on her way to meet me. So it's all my fault. (beat) This time they might actually have a point.

J. (stern, but no sfx)

Stop that.

T.

Why? It's true.

J.

No. Were you of both kinds, you could not. (softer) You're still so young. Too young.

A moment's silence. The first bats skitter out across the sky.

T.

I miss her.

J.

So do I.

T. (wistful)

I miss my life.

J.

Last I checked, you still had it.

T. (hits J. in the leg)

You know what I mean.

J. does not say anything, but nods.

T. (con't)

All of my friends are gone. They hate me now. My parents are gone. My boss is suspicious because I miss work once a month. And I walk to work anyway, and I eat, and I come here at night. (beat) I don't go to the library any more.

J. (sighs)

She'd want you to.

T.

Doesn't matter. I can't. (bitter laugh) The chief librarian figured out what I was. Or rather, my 'friends' told him.

J. cards fingers through T.'s hair, frowning.

J.

You could leave.

T. twists around and stares at J., who shows no signs of joking.

T. (confused)

Leave?

J.

Yes. Leave this city, this state, this country if you feel like you have to. (slowly) There are clans I know, packs that would take you in. You don't have to stay here.

T.

I'd still be dead.

J.'s hand stills, and J. raises an eyebrow. T. sighs.

T. (con't)

I've only got one friend. I don't have any money saved. I can't get a job as easily as most people...

J. (quietly)

That's not all you were going to say.

T. curls against J. and gives a tired laugh.

T.

What, reading my mind again?

The question should have an actual edge to it - it's not entirely casual.

J. (entirely serious)

No. But I know you.

T. (sighing)

I'm tired. Everyone says I'm young, I should be happy, enjoy life, date, maybe get married. But I'm too tired. Most days I just want to go to sleep...

J.

...and not wake up?

T.

Maybe. Yeah. (beat) What's it like, being what you are?

J. does not answer immediately, stilling the hand on J.'s hair and staring off into the distance. After a moment T. twists around to look at J.'s face.

T. (confused, but a little hurt)

You don't have to tell me...

J. (starts)

No, no, I'm just thinking.

J. starts running hand through T.'s hair again; T. relaxes. Several beats.

J. (con't)

I was born. But for someone who wasn't, the first thing to go is the food. You still eat some, but mostly you aren't hungry for it. Then there's the sun - it doesn't kill, but have you ever had a particularly nasty sunburn?

T. nods.

J. (con't)

Right. You're happier in the dark. You live until something or someone kills you. You generally keep in close contact with your sire. You know our policy on unwilling victims.

Several beats.

T.

What's the deal with sires?

J.

Your sire is the one that turns you. (beat) Usually there's a bond formed in the process.

T.

A bond?

J.

...Yes.

T.

What kind of bond?

J. pulls away completely, holding T. at arm's length and holding T.'s eyes.

J. (sfx)

Do you know what you're asking about?

T. (meeting J.'s eyes)

...I'm asking about what you are.

J.

You're asking about dying, because you think you already are.

T. drops eyes, turns head, and huddles in on self, still held at arm's length from J.

T.

I'm sorry. But... I'm so tired. Please. Tell me.

J. (draws a slow breath, lets it out)

There is more to life.

T.

I'm a friendless wolf. Are you sure?

J. takes T.'s chin and turns it until J. can see T.'s face; T. does not meet J.'s gaze. J. sighs very softly and gathers T. back in.

J. (soft)

The bond depends on the people - spouses, friends, siblings - they are all unique. There will be some amount of empathy, and at first a new one will only drink from the sire. If the two are close enough... (shrugs) I have heard of telepathy before.

T.

Mm. (beat - hesitant) What's it like, needing blood?

J.

It's the reason we don't turn many people. If you don't drink regularly - especially when you're young, or for a few years after being turned - then you develop bloodlust and drain anything you come across.

T. winces.

J. (con't, very serious)

If you're lucky, others will notice and restrain you first.

Several beats.

T.

What about me? I mean, what happens when - when one like me is turned?

J. (hint of a smile)

Still so awkward...? No, I'll stop.

J. pauses for a few seconds, staring out at the sky. The sun has set, and the first stars are visible.

J. (con't)

Luna cannot steal their minds. The transformations are quick and painless and voluntary. Of course, you'd still be allergic to silver, and none of us can tolerate garlic.

T.

That's not bad...

Silence. The bats are out in force and the moon is peeking over the horizon. The first lights of the city are turning on. T. and J. watch together.

T.

Will you -

J.

-No.

T.

Why?

J.

Because you don't yet know what you are asking. (sighs) Consider it. I have always answered your questions. If, in six months' time, you wish this...

T.

All right. (quietly) Maybe, by then, I'll wake up.

J. (tightening grip on T.)

I pray that you do.

A long silence. A fox approaches the top of the hill, pauses as it sniffs the wind, and then disappears. Time-elapse: the moon is nearing the top of its arc.

T.

...Will I forget her, if I turn?

J.

No.


Fin