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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1275687-All-Through-The-Night
Rated: 18+ · Script/Play · Horror/Scary · #1275687
A one-act play finished in April 2007. Runs 15 minutes. My first try at horror theater.
(LIGHTS UP ON THE INTERIOR OF A SHACK. IT IS ESSENTIALLY A LARGE TOOLSHED, WITH TOOLS AND OTHER ASSORTED PARAPHENALIA HANGING FROM VARIOUS STUDS AND NAILS IN THE WALLS. THERE IS ONLY ONE DOOR HERE, SITUATED AT ONE OF THE FAR WALLS. THE DOOR HAS BEEN CLUMSILY BOARDED SHUT. THERE ARE NO WINDOWS. THE ONLY SOURCE OF LIGHT IS A NAKED BULB HANGING FROM THE CENTER OF THE CEILING. IT IS DIM- IT IS HARD TO SEE. THERE IS A SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE HERE, EACH ONE LOOKING TIRED AND AFRAID. THEIR CLOTHING IS THREADBARE AND SHABBY. THEY ALMOST RESEMBLE REFUGEES. LEA, A YOUNG WOMAN, IS SITTING IN A HEAP AGAINST THE WALL FURTHEST FROM THE DOOR. IN HER ARMS IS A SMALL BUNDLE OF RAGS- A BABY. BETWEEN THEM, SITTING ON A STOOL IS PAUL, WHOSE GAZE SHIFTS BETWEEN LEA, HER BABY, AND THE DOOR. CLOSEST TO THE DOOR, HIS BACK AGAINST IT, IS NICKEL, OLDER THAN THE OTHERS, BUT NOT YET MIDDLE AGED. THERE IS A LONG SILENCE, AS THE GROUP TRIES TO KEEP AS QUIET AS POSSIBLE. THE PAUSE CONTINUES FOR A LONG TIME- PERHAPS THE AUDIENCE WILL THINK THEY HAVE FORGOTTEN THEIR LINES. FINALLY, PAUL BREAKS THE SILENCE.)

PAUL
I’m…

NICKEL
(HISSING- PANICKED.)
Quiet!

(AND SO THE QUIET CONTINUES. NICKEL TURNS AND TRIES TO PEER OUT THE CRACKS AROUND THE DOOR, BUT HE CANNOT SEE ANYTHING. HE HAS DECIDED THAT THEY ARE SAFE.)

NICKEL
Alright. What were you going to say?

PAUL
…Nothing.

LEA
Are you-

(LEA IS INTERRUPTED BY A HEAVY, STEADY POUNDING AT THE DOOR- LOUDER AND FULLER THAN A HUMAN WOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE- IT SHAKES THE WHOLE SHACK. THERE IS SOMETHING INHUMAN OUTSIDE.)

NICKEL
Shut up! Didn’t I tell you to be quiet?

(AS THE POUNDING CONTINUES, PAUL MAKES HIS WAY BACK TO LEA, WHO HAS CURLED INTO A BALL, HOLDING HER BABY CLOSE TO HER. NICKEL MAKES HIS WAY TO THE CENTER OF THE STAGE, BETWEEN THE OTHER TWO AND THE DOOR. HIS HAND GOES TO A REVOLVER IN HIS BELT. LEA’S BABY BEGINS TO WAIL PATHETICALLY.)

NICKEL
Will you shut that baby up?

LEA
Come on, honey… shh….

(LEA TRIES AS BEST AS SHE CAN TO KEEP CALM AS SHE COMFORTS HER CHILD. AS THE BABY CRIES, THE POUNDING GETS STRONGER, AND WE HEAR A DULL, UNREAL SOUND FROM THE CREATURE OUTSIDE.)

NICKEL
(SHOUTING.)
Shut it up! Shut it up! For the love of fucking god shut it up!

(A GENERAL PANIC AS THE THREE TRY TO QUIET THE BABY, WHO ONLY CRIES LOUDER. THE POUNDING GETS FASTER AND HARDER, UNTIL, ALMOST LIKE A CLIMAX, THE LIGHT BULB BURNS OUT. THEY ARE BATHED IN DARKNESS. THEIR NEXT LINES COME OUT AS PANICKED PLEAS IN THE BLACK AS THE POUNDING CONTINUES.)

NICKEL
Oh Christ! Oh Christ!

LEA
Don’t touch me!

PAUL
Turn it back on!

(LEA BEGINS TO SING SOFTLY TO HER CHILD. HER VOICE CRACKS FROM FEAR. PAUL AND NICKEL ARE SILENT, BUT THE SLAMMING AGAINST THE DOOR AND ROARING OUTSIDE CONTINUES.)

LEA
“Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night.
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night.
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and dale in summer sleeping,
I my loved ones’ watch am keeping,
All through the night.

LEA (cont)
Angels watching, e’er around thee,
All through the night.
Midnight slumber close surround thee,
All through the night.
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping,
I my loved ones’ watch am keeping
All through the night.”

(AS SHE SINGS, THE BABY’S CRYING AND THE POUNDING AT THE DOOR, SLOWS, QUIETS, AND FINALLY STOPS. AFTER IT STOPS, WE ARE LEFT IN THE SILENT DARK. WE CAN SEE THE FIGURES MOVE, BUT LITTLE ELSE. NICKEL GOES TO CHECK THE DOOR, BUT OF COURSE CANNOT SEE OUT OF IT. PAUL IS NEAR LEA, WHO SITS SILENTLY. A LONG PAUSE. SLOWLY, NICKEL TURNS TO THE OTHERS.)

NICKEL
Is that baby quiet?

LEA
You can clearly see that it is.

NICKEL
Lady, I can’t clearly see anything.

LEA
Do you hear a baby crying?

NICKEL
I don’t.

LEA
Then it’s quiet. Forgive me- I didn’t realize that I had to explain the basics to you.

(AS THIS GOES ON, PAUL HAS BEGUN RUMMAGING IN THE SHELVES BEHIND HIM. HE HAS FOUND AN OIL BURNING LAMP. THE DARKNESS OF THE ROOM IS BROKEN VIOLENTLY AS HE STRIKES A MATCH. HE LIGHTS THE LAMP AND SITS IT ON THE SHELF. THE CHARACTERS ARE BATHED IN DIM LIGHT. NICKEL RUSHES TO THE LIGHT AND TURNS IT OUT.)

NICKEL
Are you crazy?

PAUL
What?

NICKEL
I said, are you fucking crazy?

PAUL
What?

NICKEL
That… thing. That thing outside- what if it sees this light?

PAUL
There are no windows.

NICKEL
Then under the door!

PAUL
It’s not coming back.

NICKEL
How are you so certain?

PAUL
It knows we’re in here.

NICKEL
Maybe it doesn’t.

PAUL
It saw us go in here.

NICKEL
Maybe it forgot.

PAUL
And it was hacking and bashing on that door because it forgot?

NICKEL
It might be some big, dumb animal. Animals are stupid. They forget.

PAUL
This one didn’t.

NICKEL
Well, aren’t you just certain?

PAUL
No. But…

NICKEL
But what?

PAUL
I’m not going to sit in the dark here while there’s a child that might need attention.

NICKEL
It’s got its mother, doesn’t it?

LEA
Weren’t you the one telling us to shut up a second ago?

NICKEL
I was telling your kid to shut up.

LEA
And that helped a whole lot.

NICKEL
Hey- it got you motivated to get it quiet.

LEA
I wasn’t looking for motivation.

PAUL
I’m turning this light back on.

(THERE IS A LONG PAUSE, THEN THE SUDDEN HISS OF THE MATCH AS PAUL RE-LIGHTS THE LANTERN. NICKEL DOES NOT TOUCH THE LAMP, BUT LOOKS ANXIOUSLY AROUND FOR SOMETHING ELSE.)

PAUL
What are you looking for?

NICKEL
There’s got to be something around here…

LEA
What?

NICKEL
A shovel, an axe…

LEA
What is he doing?

NICKEL
…something…

(NICKEL CONTINUES TO SORT THROUGH THE MESS IN THE SHED. PAUL BEGINS TO LOOK AS WELL.)

PAUL
What are we looking for?

NICKEL
Wood floors, ya see? With a shovel or something, we could dig our way out of here.

LEA
Are you serious? Dig our way out?

NICKEL
You got any bright ideas, lady? Between that thing out there and your screaming brat, I’m amazed we’re alive in the first place.

LEA
What was it?

PAUL
I don’t know.



NICKEL
It doesn’t matter- it doesn’t matter. It’s out for blood, and we’ve got to kill or run or be killed, you know?

PAUL
But how could we kill something if we don’t even know what it is?

(NICKEL PULLS THE REVOLVER OUT OF HIS BELT AND POINTS IT AT PAUL.)

NICKEL
I’ll tell you how: point and fucking shoot. You want written instructions?

LEA
Christ…

PAUL
Listen, man- put the gun away.

(NICKEL PUTS THE GUN BACK IN HIS BELT AND SEARCHES AGAIN.)

NICKEL
What? You think I’m gonna waste bullets on your ass? Now? Fuck that.

(NICKEL FINDS A HATCHET AMONG THE MISCELLANY ON THE SHELVES.)

NICKEL
You see that? This will save our asses, my friends.

(NICKEL GETS DOWN ON HANDS AND KNEES AND BEGINS TO CHOP, CHOP, CHOP, AT THE FLOOR.)

PAUL
Who the hell are you, anyway?

NICKEL
My name’s Nickel.

PAUL
Like a coin- Nickel?


NICKEL
Yeah- like the goddamn coin. Now that we’re all friends, mind if I save our hides?

(PAUL STANDS BACK AND GOES TO LEA. SHE IS GENTLY ROCKING HER BABY.)

PAUL
Is it hungry?

LEA
She. And yes, she is.

(PAUL SEARCHES AND COMES UP WITH A BAG OF TOBACCO.)

PAUL
Uh… Tobacco? It’s a vegetable, I guess.

LEA
It would kill her.

PAUL
Right. Of course it would. Sorry. I’m just not thinking straight.

LEA
I’m Lea.

PAUL
I’m Paul. Wish I could say it’s nice to meet you. And her name?

LEA
She doesn’t have one yet.

(NICKEL TAKES A SWING AT THE FLOOR AND CRIES OUT, CLUTCHING HIS SWINGING HAND.)

PAUL
What’s wrong?

NICKEL
There’s fucking concrete under here! Some genius lined the bottom of this shack with concrete!


PAUL
I guess that’s the foundation.

NICKEL
(SHOUTING NOW.)
What the hell for? It’s a goddamn tool shed! And now we’re gonna die cause some moron needed a foundation for this shitty shed!

(THE BABY BEGINS TO CRY.)

PAUL
Would you shut up?

(THE RHYTHMIC POUNDING HAS BEGUN AGAIN ON THE DOOR.)

NICKEL
Shut it up!

(LEA BEGINS TO SING AGAIN TO HER BABY, BUT IT WON’T STOP CRYING.)

NICKEL
Shut it up! I swear to God!

(NICKEL STANDS AND MOVES TOWARD LEA, HIS HATCHET RAISED. LEA SCREAMS, AND THE BABY’S CRYING IS RENEWED, LOUDER NOW. PAUL RUSHES NICKEL, WHO LOSES HIS WEAPON. THEY STRUGGLE, AS THEY DO, LEA SINGS IN A WOBBLY VOICE, AND THE CHILD EVENTUALLY CALMS. AS THE BABY STOPS CRYING, THE POUNDING STOPS. DURING THE STRUGGLE, NICKEL DRAWS THE GUN FROM HIS BELT AND AIMS IT AT PAUL. PAUL BACKS OFF.)

PAUL
What the hell is wrong with you?




NICKEL
(TO LEA.)
Give me the kid.

LEA
No.

PAUL
No.

NICKEL
It wants the kid. It hears the kid crying, it’s ready to break the door down. I’m screaming, I’m yelling, it doesn’t give a shit. Give me the kid.

LEA
No.

NICKEL
Lady, I will shoot you in the fucking head.

LEA
I’d rather be dead.

NICKEL
Lady, I…

(PAUL RUSHES NICKEL AGAIN, BUT NICKEL IS TOO QUICK, AND SHOOTS PAUL. PAUL FALLS BACK, HITTING THE FLOOR NEAR LEA. THE SHOT CAUSES THE BABY TO BEGIN CRYING AGAIN.)

PAUL
I’m sorry.

(PAUL BREATHES HEAVILY, AND AS THE FOLLOWING TAKES PLACE, HE DIES.)

NICKEL
You see what you’re doing, lady? You see how selfish? That guy’s blood is on your hands!

LEA
Leave me alone!

NICKEL
It’s just a baby, lady. Without us, it’d be dead anyway.

LEA
You’re going to burn in hell.

NICKEL
Hell? We’re there! You said yourself: it hasn’t even got a name.

LEA
She.

(THE POUNDING BEGINS AGAIN, MORE URGENTLY. WE HEARS SNARLS LIKE A DOG OR SOME SORT OF BEAST.)

NICKEL
You’re doing this to yourself, lady.

(NICKEL TURNS OUT THE LAMP. WE HEAR LEA SCREAM, AND A GUNSHOT RINGS OUT. THE BABY CONTINUES TO CRY, AND THE POUNDING ECHOES. THERE IS A LONG PAUSE, AND THE BRIEF FLASH OF LIGHT AS NICKEL STRIKES A MATCH, AND PUTS IT TO THE LANTERN. HE IS CARRYING THE CRYING BABY. HE TRIES TO SING TO IT. IT IS THE SAME SONG, BUT FEELS PERVERSE.)

NICKEL
“Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night.
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night.
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and dale in summer sleeping,
I my loved ones’ watch am keeping,
All through the night.

Angels watching, e’er around thee,
All through the night.
Midnight slumber close surround thee,
NICKEL(cont)
All through the night.
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and dale in slumber sleeping,
I my loved ones’ watch am keeping
All through the night.”

(THE BABY STOPS CRYING, AND THE POUNDING GRADUALLY ENDS. NICKEL WAITS FOR A VERY LONG TIME, STARING AT THE DOOR. FINALLY, SCREWING UP HIS COURAGE, HE PUTS THE BABY ON ONE OF THE SHELVES AND BEGINS TO PULL DOWN THE BOARDS AGAINST THE DOOR. WHEN THIS IS DONE, HE TAKES THE BABY IN HIS ARMS, OPENS THE DOOR AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE, AND PLACES THE BABY OUTSIDE. HE CLOSES THE DOOR, AND LEANS HIS BACK AGAINST IT DESPERATELY. WE HEAR THE BABY CRYING. THE SOUND ECHOES FOR A FEW MINUTES BEFORE ABRUPTLY STOPPING. THERE IS NO MORE POUNDING- NO MORE SCREAMING- ONLY SILENCE. NICKEL SITS AGAINST THE DOOR FOR A LONG TIME, RUBBING HIS FACE AND BREATHING HEAVILY. FINALLY, HE STANDS, AND OPENS THE DOOR A CRACK, PEERING OUTSIDE. HE SEES NOTHING, AND OPENS THE DOOR WIDER AND WIDER STILL, UNTIL IT IS COMPLETELY OPEN. HE PEERS OUT INTO THE WORLD OUTSIDE.)

NICKEL
Oh my god.

(NICKEL CLOSES THE DOOR AND BACKS AWAY FROM IT VERY SLOWLY. IN THE DISTANCE, WE CAN HEAR “ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT” PLAYING SOFT AND LOW. AS THE SOUND OF SMASHING AND HOSTILE POUNDING AT THE DOOR BEGINS AGAIN, NICKEL TURNS THE LAMP DOWN UNTIL THERE IS NO LIGHT LEFT. THE POUNDING FADES AS THE STRAINS OF “ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT” SOUND THROUGH THE AIR AND EVENTUALLY STOP.)

THE END
© Copyright 2007 Morgan Phillips (philkeeling at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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