CONNOR TOLL: A 21 year old college student studying to become a creative writer. She has already written many horror stories. She is very sophisticated, mature and smart.
CECIL VAIN: An 18 year old high school student hoping to become a famous horror writer. He wants to learn from an actual writer. He is very smart, but immature and rude.
CAIN TOLL: A 22 year old college student that has nyctophobia, fear of the dark. He is studying to be a psychiatrist. He shares an apartment with his twin sister, Connor. Like his sister, he is smart but easy to scare.
SCENE: It is a small apartment bedroom with one window. The room is divided into half with a single bed in the corner on each side. One side of the room looks dark and dreary and has many bookcases overflowing with books. The other side of the room is decorated with lively and bright color, and night lights are shoved into all the sockets on that side of the room. CONNOR is sitting on her bed on her side of the room, the dark side, and typing on her laptop.
CONNOR: It's going to be sundown soon. Cain better get back from his appointment soon or I'll be forced to drag him back in the dark. How ironic is it I have little to no fear of the dark, yet my twin is terrified by it. I suppose it proves twins don't mean same, or even similar. I suppose we are alike, but our differences are quiet obvious. That doesn't mean I don't love him, but he can be a bit of a thorn in my side. (CAIN runs in, slamming the door shut and breathing heavily)
CAIN: Oh, gosh, I just barely made it. Three minutes until sun down. (CAIN walks over to his bed and sits down)
CONNOR: Brother Dearest, you know I love you, but when your fear of the dark causes you to know when it is about to become dark outside it is a serious sign you need some sort of help. At some point my love of the darkness and horror, which you so greatly despise, and your fear will create a barrier between us and our relationship will be nevermore.
CAIN: I am receiving help, Connor. I am studying under Dr. Karahalios, the Greek psychiatrist I told you about, remember? (CONNOR nods.) He's not only teaching me about psychology, but helping me overcome my fear of the dark. I can do nothing more, as my schedule is completely booked with my other classes and assignments.
CONNOR: Did he recommend anything to help?
CAIN: He recommended I read one of your stories, the one posted in the newspaper this morning, "Horror's Company." By the way, he told me to tell you he loved your story and is looking forward to the next one. I read it, and nearly lost my lunch. You used only a small description of the gore, yet I nearly got sick. I showed it to some of my friends and they looked the same way. You're like Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King rolled into one. How do you do it, Connor? The critiques in the paper all saying you're the next person to bring horror stories to a new level. I'm curious at how your mind works when writing.
CONNOR: Where to begin, where to begin. There are so many things I could tell you, dear brother. I suppose I should start with a question. What is horror to you, Cain?
CAIN: Horror to me? Darkness, things I can't see or grasp with my mind, things I can't understand. (CONNOR chuckles.) What's so funny?
CONNOR: Brother, do you know why I am not easily scared?
CAIN: What does this have to do with your writing?
CONNOR: Allow me to explain. To me, horror is just a reaction caused by the mind. Most people find the idea of body parts, blood, demons, the undead, or death terrifying. I never found those things scary, as some may have. I found it interesting. I watched old horror movies and read Poe poems as a child, as you know, and that influenced me greatly. I believe horror is and always will be a part of the human mind, in some way. It is a natural instinct of humans to fear thing we don't know, can't see, or don't understand, I just repress the urge to fear those things and embrace them.
CAIN: How does that affect your writing?
CONNOR: Let me compare it to your fear of the dark. You gained that fear when you got locked in that supposedly haunted house by those bullies in seventh grade, correct? Your fear for what would have happened to you, along with the adrenaline and not knowing what was in the house and not being able to see caused you to start fearing the dark after that event, as you think something terrible will happen to you if you stay in the dark.
CAIN: Please don't remind me of that. It was bad enough it was the middle of the night, but if you had been in my shoes and had no source of light at all, you would have been scared, too. But you're correct, that's what happened.
CONNOR: You're letting your mind let you believe something bad will happen to you if you are in the dark, since you have always preferred seeing things to believe them, and I have a much more open mind than you. I do something similar to that. I let my reader's imagination decide to create the gore and horror in their head. I just build up the suspense and try and create an interesting plotline that will drag them in. Their mind does the rest. Just a few sentences describing a murdered corpse or a stabbing scene and you get goose bumps just by thinking about it. The mind can exaggerate things sometimes, so that's why we can imagine scenes much more violent or sickening them they truly are, making them much more horrific. It's so much harder to make a good horror story when you are writing every single detail, it just gets boring and you're leaving nothing to the reader's imagination. I want my readers to think, not just read.
CAIN: That's rather interesting to hear, Connor. I'll keep that in mind; maybe I can use that advice sometime in the future.
CONNOR: Why is that good advice?
CAIN: It just seems useful, and when you plan on becoming a psychiatrist you should be prepared for anything. I'll think about what you said, maybe that will help me get to sleep.
CONNOR: I doubt it will. Cain, may I ask something?
CAIN: Yes, Connor?
CONNOR: What did you think of my story?
CAIN: Other than the fact I nearly lost my lunch and it nearly made me fear the dark even more, I enjoyed it. I liked how the exorcist gave his body up to the demon to save his daughter, but he committed suicide because he was already going mad and the demon in his body was increasing his decend into insanity, not because he wanted to get rid of the demon.
CONNOR: Most humans are not selfless by nature, so I figured rather than having the man kill himself for the greater good, I'd have him kill himself to escape the life he hated.
CAIN: It was a good twist, I liked it. Well, it's getting late and we ought to be headed to bed.
CONNOR: I agree. Good night, brother.
CAIN: Good night, sister. (CAIN gets into bed while CONNOR turns the lights off. CAIN's side of the room is lit up by the nightlights. CONNOR gets in her bed.)
(SCENE: CAIN is sitting in a apartment living watching TV. CONNOR is in the kitchen. The room is brightly lit and the window shutters are closed. There is a flash light on a table next to the door. There is a raven in a cage with a chair in front of it. It is storming outside)
CAIN: Connor, when will lunch be done?
CONNOR: (Shouting.) When Beelzebub quotes "Nevermore"!
CAIN: I can think of a million better comebacks than those, Connor! And no matter how many times you quote "Nevermore" Beelzebub will not talk! Why did you even name your pet raven Beelzebub? You know that's another name for the Devil, right? In fact, why do you even have a pet raven?
CONNOR: It's not that odd. Edgar Allen Poe had a cat.
CAIN: What is so odd about owning a pet cat? I like cats, but I can't own one because of your creepy raven.
CONNOR: It was all black. Does that not remind you of another one of his famous stories?
CAIN: (Holds his hands up) I admit defeat, dear sister. Your knowledge of all things that involve horror is something I cannot beat. (There is knocking at the door.) I'll get it. (CAIN walks to the door and opens it. CECIL steps in)
CECIL: Hello, sorry to bother you.
CAIN: Good afternoon, and its fine. Might I ask what you need?
CECIL: Yes, my name is Cecil Vein. (CECIL holds his hand out and CAIN shakes it.) I'm looking for someone, Connor Toll. You wouldn't happen to be the great horror writer, would you?
CONNOR: (Walks in.) I'm Connor Toll. That is my brother, Cain, who is going to finish his own lunch.
CONNOR: I have a guest, or would you rather I turn the lights off? (CAIN runs into the kitchen CECIL has a shocked expression.)
CECIL: Is he afraid of the dark?
CONNOR: Yes, and it's a gift as much as it is a curse. Is something wrong? You seem a bit shocked.
CECIL: Well, when I was coming to meet you, I honestly expect you to be a man.
CONNOR: The name Connor can be used for any sex, it's just used for men more often than for a girl, so that I can understand. Or is it because of the way I write? Women can do anything just as good as men. You may not know this but the person who wrote "Frankenstein" was a woman.
CECIL: Yes, I know. I just thought you were a man because of your name, I didn't mean any offense. And I knew the writer of Frankenstein was a woman.
CONNOR: It's fine. Please, sit in that seat in front of Beelzebub.
CECIL: You name your bird after the Devil?
CONNOR: He bit my finger when I saved him from some cats and pooped all over my favorite chair. Beelzebub fit his demonic personality.
CECIL: I see, that makes sense, but allow me to explain why I am here Miss Toll. I'm only in high school, but I've already decided on what I wish to do with my life. I want to write horror stories. When I read your stories that are posted in the papers, I can't help but feel they bring horror to a new level. You somehow make every little thing in your story matter, and use such simple words to describe such complex things. It's truly amazing. I am asking you to teach me how to write such amazing stories. How do you capture such images that send chills down spines and goose bumps to rise on the skin? I have to know, please teach me!
CONNOR: You wish for me to teach you when I have nothing to teach?
CECIL: What do you mean?
CONNOR: Have you not noticed anything in my stories? How much my stories are simple twist of old and new tales. Besides, teaching one how to write is nearly impossible. Everyone has their own style and writing type, so your style may be much different than mine, making it even harder for me to teach you. Get serious and try finding your own path rather than coming to me. I'm still mediocre compared to Stephen King or R.L. Stein.
CECIL: (Stands up.) I'm serious! You are one of the greatest writers I've ever read! You have to have something to teach! Please, help me become the writer I strive for! I don't care if you're not famous, you're an amazing writer and I truly want to learn from you!
CONNOR: Sit down, boy! (CECIL sits down quickly.) Your desperation to learn how to write is blocking you from your goal, that's your first problem. When it comes to writing, if you strive too much you can end up failing altogether, so I advise you don't stress learning too much. Second, the only way to learn in writing is from constructive criticism. I will help, on one condition.
CECIL: You will?!
CONNOR: Yes! Be quiet, you're giving me a migraine. And I will, but you have to do whatever I say to the letter, and I'll only accept excuses if it involves family. Do we have a deal? (CONNOR holds her hand out. CECIL shakes CONNOR's hand)
CECIL: Yes, I accept those conditions!
CONNOR: Good, now let's begin.
CECIL: We are starting right now?
CONNOR: Don't worry; this will only take a few minutes. Now, Cecil, what do you use for horror in your stories? How do you make your readers feel fear?
CECIL: My stories? I try and make my stories seem real, comparable to real life. I try and make my readers fear things that are harmless.
CONNOR: That is a simple tactic, often used in other stories. To tell the truth, it's been overdone, especially in this generation. R.L Stein's stories are a perfect example. They're made for children, really. You need to expand your horizon. Tonight, write me a story about anything other than that.
CECIL: Tonight? I have swim practice-
CONNOR: We shook on it, and I said no excuses.
CECIL: (Looks shocked, then sighs.) Yes, ma'am. (CECIL stands up.) Thank you for doing this, you won't regret it. I promise. I'll write a great story, I promise. I'll stop by tomorrow in the evening. I have to go now. Again, thank you. (CECIL leaves through the front door. CAIN walks in and sits down.)
CAIN: You are serious about teaching that kid?
CONNOR: Eavesdropping is a nasty habit, dear brother. And yes, I am. I have a feeling this will be interesting, an opportunity that I may regret if I pass up. Besides, I had a feeling he would annoy me and shout until I agreed. We shall see what happens.
CAIN: Whatever you say, dear sister. (There is a flash of lightning and roar of thunder. The lights go out, the room is dark. CAIN screams and jumps onto CONNOR's seat, hugging her.)
CONNOR: Cain! Get off of me, you obnoxious oaf! It's just the dark! The lights will come back on when the generator kicks in!
CAIN: It's dark! Too dark! No, no, no, no, no, no, no- (Lights come back on. CONNOR pushes CAIN off he falls onto the floor.)
CONNOR: The lights are back on, so stop your blabbering! (CONNOR stands up.) I'm headed to the library, so I won't be back for a while. (CONNOR leaves through the door.)
CAIN: Okay, I think I'll be okay… All alone… With no one to help me… When the lights risk going out again... (CAIN stands up and runs out the door.) Connor, don't leave me alone! Wait for me!