There are few people in this life that can really earn the title of deep soul. I’ve been fortunate in my life to meet more than one person who actually possesses this quality and character, and Amy Holt most certainly does. We met originally when she was one of my SI students and, though this is a cliché, she was impossible to forget. With her pink hair, boisterous laughter, and wisdom of topics from fantasy/sci-fi to using wasp spray instead of mace to take down muggers (it’s a neurotoxin so they have to go to the hospital) she instantly became my friend. Over the years she’s been not just an incredible intellectual companion but a true friend.
I don’t like to kiss ass, and so when Amy sent me a one act play she had written in a creative writing class I read it and knew I had to publish it. A dark masterpiece about abuse the psychological state it can leave us in, Amy’s play is haunting and beautiful.
I hope you enjoy.
Whispers in the Dark
[The scene opens to an empty kitchen, a dining table with no chairs [DSC], and one window [CSL], only one light spotlights the table and room, but it is daylight “outside”; there are a two entrances to the kitchen, one [CSR], the other is where a woman enters. [USC]].
[standing with a blank look, she shambles across the room, swaying and clutching a whiskey glass that only has ice left to her chest, staring at her bare feet. Dressed in a shabby-looking sweater that looks two sizes too big and hole-riddled jeans, she shuffles to one wall in an empty kitchen, nothing but a black ashtray on an empty table. She leans her left side against it. Her hair is erratically messy, with dark circles under her eyes. In the other hand, she holds an unlit cigarette. Closing her eyes, she talks into the empty glass:]
It was your fault, really, but you’ll never know it.
(said sadly and with a heavy sigh, crosses stage to [DSR])
You were the tragic antagonist that was never supposed to be in my life.
You were never supposed to mean anything.
But you did. You did.
GOD DAMN IT!
(throws a drinking glass against [USL] wall, shattering it. WOMAN chuckles darkly.)
God damn it.
That was the last one. The last glass that was left of you.
(tugs at the sweatshirt)
There’s still this. I swear I’ll be buried in it.
(looks out towards the audience, her gaze sweeping back and forth; dreamily)
I burned the photos; that night in fact. What few there were. What little of us there was. Odd- how I don’t remember how you even became a part of my life.
(WOMAN fishes a lighter out of her pants, leans her back to the wall and slides down, lights the cigarette, and takes a long drag, before colliding her forehead into her knees and exhaling.
She raises her head up so fast it knocks against the wall behind her. She lets it rest there.)
You were just… there. At parties- I saw shadows of you, ghosting in and out of the social circles. Then after the bar, racing my ex-husband down hydroplane highway to smoke hydroponic.
How you slid your car into a ditch and cried like a bitch, and it was fine.
The bruise you lied about.
The trip to jail.
And then there’s the big hole that you left at the end. Or at the beginning, depending on how you look at it.
You were always looking with those orbs of malachite.
(snorts and takes a drag)
Fuck you, darling. You and your damn green doe-eyes.
(WOMAN hits her head against her knees 5 times, saying “Fucking. Damn. Green. Doe. Eyes.” on each respective hit. WOMAN raises her head and shimmies up the wall to stand. She moves across the stage to set her cigarette down in the ashtray, strip off the sweatshirt and lay it across the table. She is wearing a vibrant red camisole top underneath it and a pearl necklace. Leaving the one cigarette burning in the ashtray, she takes out another and lights it, moving from [DSC] upstage to [CSL], opening the cabinet to get a dustpan. She sets it on the counter and looks out the window.)
Thinking back, it was always your eyes.
The way your hair fell in rings of gold curtains, casting a malicious shadow under your eyes, making your soul-sucking jade slivers shine like the Styx. That sexy dark mystery. My forbidden fallen child-man.
(takes another long drag, exhaling up and staring into dead space, pauses, then bluntly:)
A virgin at 22.
(chuckles, takes another drag)
Playing with cards and telling tales of wizards, rolling dice… surprising your dad one morning with a girl in your bed. Hiding under the family quilt in the morning light, shadows cast on the wall your mother hand-painted.
(snorts, and takes another drag, wobbling to the center of the room, waving the dustpan in one hand and the cigarette in the other, mimicking a man:)
“Dad! I have a guest. Coffee for two.”
That was my introduction. Like a harlot.
And we hadn’t done anything…
(laughs darkly, and looks behind her out the window)
Is it sick that I find glee and guilt in that I was your first?
Glee because it was so trusting of you.
Guilt because it was so trusting of you.
(pauses sadly, takes another drag)
You didn’t know me. I didn’t know you. The monster you became. The nightmare I began. I knew it, but I didn’t.
(talks to the audience, wide-eyed, palms flat on the table, on the chest of the sweatshirt.)
Deep down, that blackness that whispers in the dark while dreaming- the things that claw you apart in dreams and leave real wounds to find when you wake.
Deeper down that that, go there.
(takes a drag, exhales sensually/languidly)
I reveled in the darkness, bathing in it and the spiritual blood it would spill.
The unbridled chaos.
Life was so fucking stagnant and yet in such an angry turmoil, it might as well have been inverting the intestines into the bloodstream.
Deliciously toxic and horrifyingly pleasing. Gut-wrenching insides that coiled and spawned the meal worms of desire. That was the lust I felt for you.
(Ashes the cigarette, takes another drag and puts it out on her jeans.)
Broken. You wanted to fix me. Promise me anything to get a grin. Full, gorgeous, tempting lies about traveling and hidden money; promises of jade tigers and other sparkling trinkets to buy affections of air-headed simpletons. You managed to slip in the promise of something more dazzling though.
(WOMAN bursts out laughing, throwing head back, losing her balance and stumbling into the wall [DSR],hitting it and falling down it, then begins hitting her head sideways into the wall over and over, before breaking into sobs and screaming.)
I NEVER WANTED IT!! I NEVER NEEDED IT!!
I WAS LOVED! I HAD LOVE! I HAD LEFT LOVE IN SEARCH OF BETTER LOVE WHILE STILL BEING IN LOVE!!
(Gasping for air, she continues softer:)
Being lonely and in love. Fuck.
(sniffles, then struggles to stand.)
And now you’re in my head. It’s your fault, really. I bet you fucking put a hex on me. That would be like you.
(wipes her nose on her sleeve, then stops, chuckles and shakes her head, taking out another cigarette and lighting it.)
You were never just a rag. Though I could throw you like one. Skinny ass.
(reaches around the corner and grabs a broom; begins sweeping up the glass, putting the cigarette in the ashtray.)
Though not when I needed to. Muscle is more dense than fat.
(WOMAN begins sweeping)
I can’t hear water without thinking of all those candles. Never fails, every time.
My favorite show was ruined when you changed the lyrics so you could serenade my narcissism, with such genuine love in your eyes.
(stops, leans her forehead on the top of the broom)
Such love… that led to obsession.
(WOMAN unnerved; moves to the ashtray, picks up the cigarette and takes a long drag. She looks out the window and down at the sweatshirt.)
Coming home at 4 a.m. To find you sitting on my apartment stairs in icicle-balls cold, shivering, crying- no, whimpering, like a beaten animal, cowering and injured from a comment I made about not wanting to go to your bed that night.
Begging forgiveness for any misdeed that would cause such a harsh denial of, “Not tonight, I’m too tired.”
No was rarely told to you. You didn’t like it- fucking spoiled child.
(takes another drag)
Child. You were still considered a child. Barely legal, running wild and hot.
(takes another drag)
I had wanted children one day. I thought they would look beautiful if they looked like you.
(takes another drag, then puts the cigarette back into the ashtray to continue sweeping)
And you never thought that I would find out about your lies.
Not the elaborate ones, that seemed so good, they could never be a falsehood.
(takes another drag, snorts and laughs)
Bitch, please. I’ve kept my darkness hidden from most of the world for years; not to mention all the petty shit I kept from you.
So I guess it was only fair.
Wrongs and rights and all that horse shit.
(takes another drag)
And yet, I still could have had it all. Without you.
(shouts and throws the broom, begins to stomp her feet as she screams and throws her arms out to the audience in rage.)
I COULD HAVE HAD CANADA, FUCKER. I would have been round and plump with life, probably on my 3rd batch of bun-in-the-oven. Fresh and full of promises.
(stops and picks up her foot, she stepped on a piece of glass. Laughs darkly and looks out the window [CSL], then down to the floor, her hair hanging in her face. Terrified:)
Glass against flesh. That was what it felt like as you tore through me.
(sounds of a car pulling up, a door shutting, and footsteps outside)
I have it great now.
So why can’t you get the fuck out of my head. Why can’t I sleep at night? WHY DO I ALWAYS SEE YOUR FACE?
(throws cigarette. Sighs. Limps over to the cigarette, leaving a trail of blood. Picks up cig, takes a drag)
Why do I hope that I didn’t ruin your life, but still secretly hope that I did, just so I know that you will never forget me?
(Puts a half-lit cigarette in the ashtray and lights another, limping around.
The sound of front door unlocking echoes.)
That should have been my roommate. My brother.
(She stares at the window, silent.
Recording of WOMAN saying “Be right there! Clumsy me knocked a glass off the shelf!”, her face visible to the audience, silent. She takes a drag, then puts cigarette into ashtray and looks to the audience)
I worry that you’ll forget me.
(She limps upstage to [USC] to answer the door, fade to black)
I never saw it, but I was told of how your eyes bore into the backs of my brothers when I would hug them in greeting.
Hey, sorry it took me so long, I knocked a glass o… What are you doing here? I told you to stay away from me! No, let go of me! Stop it! NO! STOP! GOD PLEASE NO!
(screaming begins offstage, sounds of things shattering, door slams. Lights come back on stage, showing a man disheveled and covered in blood. He grabs the sweatshirt off the table and picks up the cigarette, taking a long drag, exhales, before smirking to the audience:)
I really did love you.
(fade to black)
About the Author:
I have always had a fascination with the power of language when woven into a story.
Since I was small, when I would drift off to the sounds of fantastical things and magical impossibilities, my imagination would overflow into vivid dreams. I would regale my family with these dreams, some horrific, some overbearingly sappy. I was encouraged to write them down. However, this was the last thing I wanted to do, as my handwriting was atrocious (ask my Third Grade teacher…). Side note: never tell your mother you are bored at her office. You’ll promptly receive a spiral notebook and be instructed to write ten pages of the Alphabet in print, and then ten pages in cursive. Yes, this was when cursive was still a big thing in schools. I improved a bit, and began writing girlie poetry and dreaming of love.
I fell in love in seventh grade. The Secret of Dragonhome by John Peel. I had crushed before, on wondrous magical tales like The Secret Garden, The Fairy Rebel, and the entire series of The Chronicles of Narnia but nothing had entranced me so as the world of John Peel. I followed with feverent passion into the world of Garth Nix’s Sabriel, then the brilliance of J.K. Rowling.
High school and college brought forth new challenges and magical realms of their own, and I developed a deeper passion for writing my own stories that had crawled from the depths of my dreams. I didn’t realize it, but I was becoming ravenous for words. The Romantic Era blew my mind.
My thirst was both quenched and further fathomed to my soul in Tyler, Texas. A marvelous group of delightfully mad people in a cackling class of creative writing. Brilliance in a 24pack. Their inspiration, encouragement, and no-holds-barred critiques helped me to bloom into a binding thirsty bookworm and writer.
I am grateful to those who read the work I write, and please be advised, a great deal is surreal and slightly disturbed. I hope you enjoy, and if not, blame my dreams.
Thank you for your time,