This was the final project for the class I wrote my other play (My Friend's House). Personally, I like this one better, but I would love to know what you think.

Characters

Girl: A girl with a mysterious past. She looks about 17 years old, with very unkempt hair, and she wears boys' clothes (in contrast to the dresses that all the other girls wear). She is shy, but her introversion hides an angry and bitter interior as a result of her struggles.

James: Looks like a 20-year-old man. He is callous, and doesn't seem to care about other people. Sarcasm is his native tongue, with a condescending accent.

Ben Thurman: A man in his late 40's. The keeper of the inn in Calston. He has seen it all, and he's just not interested. His policy at the inn is to just leave well enough alone, as long as people can pay the rent.

Lisa Thurman: A woman in her mid 30's. Ben Thurman's wife. Unlike her husband, she is very curious, and has a bad habit of being nosy about people's business. However, she is very kind, and is willing to go out of her way to accommodate her guests.

Claire Willis: 18 years old. Works in Peter Latimer's shop. She tries to be realistic and fair to others, but can sometimes lose track of the things that are really important.

Joshua Willis: A man in his mid 40's. Claire Willis' father. He is unemployed, and is known to go on large drinking binges, much to his daughter's irritation.

Peter Latimer: A man in his late 50's. A shopkeeper. A very bitter and suspicious man, who doesn't get along well with his fellow townspeople.

Setting

The fictional rural village of Calston, circa late 19th century.

Synopsis

A girl arrives alone in Calston. Her refusal to talk about who she is or where she came from leads the villagers to be suspicious, but they cannot imagine the horror that has followed her into their midst.

Scene 1: The Inn

(Ben and Girl enter. Girl sits down on the bed, while Ben remains standing.)

Ben

Here's your room, missy. Now, lights out is at 10 o'clock, y'hear? (James enters.) There's other folks that are staying here, so if there's any noisy shenanigans going on after 10, I'll have to throw you out.

James

You watch out: she's a bad girl. (Ben acts as if he doesn't hear or see James.)

Girl

I won't be any trouble, I promise. (James laughs, and Girl glances angrily at him. Lisa enters as Girl continues talking.) I'll be out of here before you know it.

Lisa

Why so soon? It must have been a long trip from Ansville. (Girl shakes her head.) What's that, dear?

Girl

I didn't come from Ansville. (James laughs again)

Lisa

Then where- (Ben clears his throat loudly) Are you sure you can't stay awhile?

Girl

I mustn't. If I don't leave soon…(beat)

Lisa

What? What's wrong, dear?

Ben

Oh, leave the kid alone, you old hag.

James

If you think your wife is ugly, I'll take her. (Girl appears disgusted, but no other characters react)

Lisa

Benjamin Thurman, you watch your mouth. There might be something wrong. (To Girl) Did someone beat you? (Girl shakes her head) Are you running from someone? (Girl steals a glance at James, then shakes her head again) Is it something we can help you with? Don't be afraid, you can tell us.

Girl

No! No, there's nothing you can do! (she then falls to her knees and puts her face in her hands). I'm sorry. I just…don't want to talk about it.

Ben

See, Lisa? She just wants to be alone.

James

Yeah, none of your damn business, bitch.

Lisa

Well, excuse me for trying to help. I'll be making lunch in the kitchen if you need me (Lisa exits).

Ben

You, uh, let me or my wife know if you need anything. (Ben exits. Girl lets out a sigh.)

James

Oh, come now, it wasn't that bad.

Girl

If they could have heard the things you said…

James

But they didn't. It's just you. (beat) They did seem like nice people.

Girl

If you even think of-

James

Whoa, now. Don't go accusing me of doing anything. That was all you, too. You've turned into quite the little mischief-maker. You make me proud.

Girl

I don't want to make you proud! I want you to go away!

James

Well, maybe if you ask nicely, I'll stay here while you go get food for your trip. Give you a few hours to yourself. (Girl gets up and goes to the door). Don't try to leave without me, though. Or I'll be very…disappointed. (Girl exits to a slamming door, and James laughs again.)

Scene 2: The Shop

(Joshua Willis and Peter Latimer are talking at a table, while Claire Willis is sweeping the floor silently.)

Joshua

Are you sure? (Ben enters, as Joshua continues) We are talking about Ben's wife here.

Ben

What's that about my wife?

Peter

Did you say that you and your wife found that girl by the western road?

Ben

(sighs) No, but I'm guessing she did. Which means the whole town knows. But so what?

Peter

She said she wasn't from Ansville. But Ansville is the only place that road leads.

Ben

Last time I checked, being from Ansville isn't anything to be suspicious of.

Peter

You've not heard what's going on in Ansville, have you?

Ben

Can't say that I have.

Peter

Neither have I. That's just it. I've still got a lot of friends in Ansville. But I haven't heard from any of them in months. I tell you, that's not natural.

Ben

You know, now that you mention it, I have relatives in Ansville too, and I haven't heard from them either. But you know what's weirder? Have either of you talked to Charlie or Joe recently?

Joshua

(beat) No.

Ben

Well, they always run the mail between here and Ansville, and that's only a 2-day trip. But I haven't seen them in several weeks…

Joshua

You think something happened to them in Ansville?

Peter

What other explanation is there? (Claire finally looks up and lets out an exasperated sigh.)

Claire

Father, isn't it about time for you to head over to the bar or something?

Joshua

Don't you get sassy with me, young lady. We're having a conversation here.

Claire

No, you're just all preparing for a witchhunt. (pause)

Ben

Your daughter has a point, Willis. We sound pretty ridiculous. (stands up) That girl can pay the rent, so she can stay, regardless of what may or may not be going on in Ansville. (Exits)

Joshua

I'm leaving, too. (stands up) Try not to stir up too much trouble, eh Latimer? (begins walking toward the door.) I think I will go get that drink now. (Exits)

Peter

(Peter looks at Claire) Don't think you'll distract me that easily. That girl is trouble, mark my words. (Claire ignores him. Peter exits "to the back of the shop." Girl enters)

Claire

Hello, there. What can I get for you?

Girl

I just need a large bag, and some blankets.

Claire

Alright. (she starts gathering the items.) You planning on having a picnic?

Girl

Not really. Living out in the woods is certainly no picnic. (Claire looks horrified, but Girl laughs nervously. More to herself, she says) I wonder how long it's been since I made a joke like that.

Claire

You don't have anywhere to live?

Girl

Huh? Oh, it's not that. I just-

Claire

Wait, are you the girl that came to the inn today? (Girl starts to walk away quickly, but Claire calls out.) I'm sorry: you don't have to say. I know it's none of my business, but I can't help being a bit curious. Don't worry, I won't judge you like those monsters do.

Girl

(shrugs) It's just talk. They're not monsters. And it's alright to be curious. Usually, anyway.

Claire

I guess so. I suppose they're not monsters. Just men. (laughs, and Girl nervously joins in.)

Girl

Oh, men aren't all bad.

Claire

Latimer is. And so is my father. He doesn't do anything for himself.

Girl

You shouldn't have such bad feelings toward your family: you're lucky to have one.

Claire

If your father was like mine, you wouldn't say that. He's a lousy drunk.

Girl

Oh, mine was, too. Then…(sniffles) then he died.

Claire

Oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have been so harsh. I just never get to speak quite this openly to anyone.

Girl

No, don't apologize for being honest. Not all of us can be, but it's a good quality to have.

Claire

Well, if you want, we can talk about more pleasant things instead.

Girl

Alright. (beat) You first.

Claire

Well…(Peter enters.)

Peter

Claire, did anyone come…(notices Girl) Oh, it's you.

Girl

Me? (suddenly looks around, wide-eyed)

Peter

Yes, you. I know you've been to Ansville recently. What happened? (Girl whimpers.)

Claire

Can't you just leave her alone?

Peter

No! (to Girl) What did you do to my friends? What…what…(suddenly grabs his chest in pain, falls to the ground, and is still. Claire screams.)

Claire

Mr. Latimer! Oh no, oh no! (kneels down, trying to wake him. To Girl.) Quick, help me! (Girl backs up in terror.)

Girl

No…not again…not again! (begins running. James enters, and Girl shoves past him) Stop it! (She exits.)

James

Well, that was rude.

Claire

(to James) Quick, call a doctor! (James ignores her.) Don't just stand there, do something! (James turns, and sees Claire is looking right at him.)

James

Are you talking to me?

Claire

Who else could I be talking to?

James

Fascinating. (He kneels down next to her, looking her over.) You can actually see me?

Claire

Yes, of course I can! Now, call the doctor, please! We have to help him!

James

(still looking at Claire,) Oh, it's too late for him. He's long gone. (sniffs the air.) Your hair smells nice.

Claire

Who the hell are you?

James

Oh, just call me…James. That's a good name, right?

Claire

Do you know that girl?

James

Oh, yeah. We're best buddies.

Claire

But…I thought she came to town alone… (suddenly, a loud explosion is heard from offstage.)

James

(laughs) It sounds like the party has started (grabs Claire by the hand) Come on, you won't want to miss this. (They exit.)

Scene 3: The Village Square

(Orange lights pulse across the stage to indicate fire. Joshua lies trapped under a wooden beam. Girl enters.)

Girl

Mr. Thurman? Mrs. Thurman? Anybody? (Sees Joshua) Oh no! (looks around nervously for a moment, then runs to him.) Don't worry, we're going to get you out of here. But then you have to leave.

Joshua

Not…without…Claire…

Girl

It's not safe here, anymore. (Claire and James enter)

Claire

Father! (James looks around at the devastation and lets out an impressed whistle.)

Joshua

Claire…listen…

Claire

No, don't try to talk.

Joshua

I'm sorry. If only your mother had been here for you. I just…wish I could have been…a better parent. (He closes his eyes and becomes still. James begins clapping slowly.)

James

Bravo. That was beautiful.

Claire

What is wrong with you?

Girl

You…can see him?

Claire

Yes. Why do I keep getting asked that?

Girl

Because I'm the only one who can see him. He follows me wherever I go. And wherever he goes, people die. He's the spirit of Misfortune.

Claire

What?

James

Yeah, I kind of lied about my name being James. Sorry.

Girl

You wanted to know about me? I used to have a nice quite life, in a village just like this one used to be. Then he came. Everyone I ever knew…(cries for the rest of her line)…gone. But my fate was worse. I got to see it all: over, and over, and over again. That was so long ago…I don't even remember my own name. I try to avoid people, to keep them safe. But every few weeks I have to get new supplies, and…(gestures around at the fires)…this happens. And whenever I try to warn them…disaster just strikes even sooner.

James

It's a mutual partnership. She gets to live forever, and I get to see the world through virgin eyes.

Girl

Don't. Just don't even talk, you mons-

James

No. You be quiet. (James points in Girl's direction. She immediately clutches her chest, falls over, and is still.) Oh, dear. Looks like I was a bit too rough. (to Claire) Well, we'd better get going. Not much left to see here. (He notices that Claire has fallen to her knees and is trembling.) It's okay. It's alright. You're safe. You're with me now.

FIN