This is a fantasy play with some romance and friendship aspects about dryads and more!
The curtain opens to a luminous, peaceful forest with oaks, willows, and elmwoods surrounding a picturesque silverbell tree. Our story takes place in the humble town of Woodmont, North Carolina. It is the middle of March, and although there is a slightly chilly breeze, it is a positively beautiful day. In the corner of the stage, there is a small house in which a girl peers out, unnoticed by the other characters. Her blond hair and blue eyes are visible through the window. KATINA, a pretty girl of 14, saunters onto the stage. She has dark brown hair weaved into two braids, green eyes, and a freckled nose. KATINA walks straight up to the silverbell tree.
KATINA: (Addressing the tree) Hello, Sabelle. (Shockingly, the tree doesn’t reply.) Oh, very funny! You can come out now… (No response. KATINA puts on a face of mock-annoyance) All right then. I’m leaving. (Starts walking away at an exaggerated slow pace.) Good-bye... (There is still no response from the tree.) SABELLE! (KATINA waits for a second then rolls her eyes and storms away, genuinely agitated this time. Unnoticed by KATINA, an enchanting girl who appears to be KATINA’s age steps out of the tree effortlessly. She has long hair that flows down to her knees, sparkling in the light of the forest. A silverbell flower, which is pinkish white and shaped like a bell, rests in the golden locks. SABELLE is wearing a dress made of bark, twigs, leaves, and flowers that is decorated with an intricate pattern similar to the one on the trunk of her tree. Her ageless blue eyes twinkle mischievously as she silently sneaks up behind KATINA.)
SABELLE: Boo! (KATINA screams and pivots on her foot to face SABELLE.)
KATINA: Do you have to scare me like that every day?
SABELLE: Yes, yes I do. (KATINA laughs and the two girls embrace.) How was your day?
KATINA: Same as usual. Ms. Collins gave me detention for reading a book under the desk while she was talking. It’s not my fault her class is so dull! How was your day?
SABELLE: It was nice! Look, I’m blooming. Don’t I look so beautiful? (KATINA giggles.) I’ll take that as a yes. Don’t you just love the spring? It’s amazing how much life it brings. A bird is already nesting in my tree. (KATINA admires the bird and the rest of the forest.)
KATINA: That’s great! I wish I was a dryad! Being a human is so… boring sometimes. We can’t do any magic, and are just normal peoples, not the spirits of trees. Plus, you could live for hundreds of years. Can you tell me more about dryads and magic?
SABELLE: Sure! You better sit down, because this story’s a long one. (KATINA sits in a patch of grass.) Every year, dryads, naiads, satyrs, fairies, and all the other creatures of the forest have a festival in honor of spring. This year it will be March 20.
KATINA: You mean the spring equinox?
SABELLE: (Smiles) What a smarty-pants you are! Anyway, spring is the best time of the year for us; it brings new life, flowers bloom, and everything is bright and joyful. You know what happens on an equinox, don’t you?
KATINA: (Nodding) The Earth is at an angle so the sun is directly over the equator. It occurs in fall, too.
SABELLE: Right again! (In a joking tone) Wow, you’re getting smarter than me! Now for the story. Once upon a time, in the same forest you’re sitting in right now, the was a fairy called Elize. She was kind, intelligent, and excelled in magic. But she had a big secret: she befriended a human, a girl named Maria. Back in those days, people thought any creature that did magic was evil. Have you ever heard of witch trials? (KATINA nods.) Most people don’t know that witches weren’t the only ones being crucified or captured. For that reason, the creatures of the forest were very strict about who was allowed in. Revealing your true form to a human back then was the worst betrayal. But Elize had a special talent: she could see into people’s hearts, into their soul. She knew that Maria was kind, loving, and would rather die than tell anybody about her fairy friend. Unfortunately, soon the inhabitants of the forest discovered the secret and condemned the two girls to death. Elize, in her misery, ran to Mother Tree, asking for help.
KATINA: (Curious) Mother Tree?
SABELLE: (Smiling) Yes, Mother Tree. She is the queen of all nymphs, the mother of the forest, and the most powerful and ancient dryad ever. Mother Tree is loving, gentle, and wise. When Elize came to her, she, like the fairy, could feel the souls of others and recognized the two girls for the compassionate beings they were. (SABELLE’s brow furrows in anger as she says the next sentence.) Mother Tree tried to explain this to the rest of the forest, but, in their hatred and fear, they became just as cruel and ruthless as the humans who condemned magical individuals to death. They stampeded through the forest to find the two girls, injuring Mother Tree. Elize did all the magic she could to protect Maria, but the magical creatures of the forest killed her.
KATINA: (Indignant) That’s terrible! How could they do that, Sabelle? Maria didn’t do anything wrong!
SABELLE: They were so angry at humans for murdering them, they thought Maria would be just as bad. I know, it’s horrible what they did. But you didn’t let me finish the story. When Elize discovered what her people had done, she experienced such a sense of loss and sadness, magic took over.
KATINA: Magic took over? What does that mean?
SABELLE: So much love was in Elize at that moment, with the magic of the forest and her own fairy powers, she transformed Maria into one of the forest, a fairy like her, saving her. (KATINA is wide-eyed and speechless. She mouths the word wow.) But, in doing so, she gave up her own powers. The dryads, naiads, centaurs, satyrs, witches, wizards, dwarves, unicorns, trolls, griffins, mokos, and fairies-
KATINA: (Giggles) What are mokos?
SABELLE: (Chuckles) They’re monkey-like creatures, except they have four arms and have earth and wood powers. Anyway, they felt compassion for Elize and Maria and shame for what they had done, and restored Elize’s powers. Can you guess what day this happened on?
KATINA: March 20?
SABELLE: It was actually March 21 that year, but you have the idea.
KATINA: And you call me a smarty-pants! (Rolls her eyes at SABELLE.)
SABELLE: The magic of the forest on that day is so strong, miracles can occur. (The two best friends sit in silence for a minute, staring up at the beautiful canopy of leaves.)
KATINA: Is Mother Tree still… alive?
SABELLE: Of course. (Seeming to read KATINA’s mind) But I can’t show you to her. That’s a journey you must take on your own.
KATINA: I hate it when you’re so mystifying and vague like this.
SABELLE: (Laughing) All right. I’ll stop being a fortune cookie. Let’s go over to the naiad pool!
(SABELLE grabs KATINA’s hand and the two girls run off stage. Two men dressed in yellow construction uniforms walk onto stage from the other side. They start sectioning off the area with yellow construction tape.)
GARY: Bill, where’s Bob?
BILL: I think he’s home sick. (He points towards house in corner.)
GARY: That’s too bad. (They finish putting up the caution tape.)
BILL: So, when are we gonna cut these suckers down?
GARY: Dunno. I think they said in one or two days…
BILL: Hehe. Sounds fun.
GARY: I dunno. They’re kinda perty.
BILL: (Goggling at GARY) Pretty!?!?
GARY: I meant, uhh, strong. Yeah, strong and tough. (BILL continues to stare then shakes his head.)
BILL: Gary, sometimes I worry about you.
(GARY’s ears turn red. KATINA and SABELLE come onto the stage. SABELLE is leaping from tree to tree at a speed far from mundane. KATINA is running after her, watching her in awe. The friends and GARY notice each other; KATINA and GARY scream.)
BILL: (Didn’t notice SABELLE’s extraordinary method of travelling) What’re ya screaming for, Gary? They’re just girls!
GARY: (Pointing at SABELLE) She- she…
(Before he could let out another word, there is an unearthly music as SABELLE starts to spin, arms aloft like a graceful ballerina. Branches and leaves rattle, and all the trees shake and sway, all except for the beautiful silverbell tree, which glows. There is a BANG, and a blackout. When the lights again come on, all is still. BILL and GARY lay unconscious on the ground, and the construction tape seems to have mysteriously disappeared. SABELLE is also nowhere to be seen. Her, tree, however, is still emanating a faint glow.)
KATINA: S-Sabelle? Sabelle? W-what did you do? (The forest remains silent. Not even the birds make a sound. Curtains close.)
KATINA, her sister ANNABETH, and their mom, MRS. BANKS, are all sitting down around a table in their clean and tidy kitchen. ANNABETH has short blond hair and blue eyes, while KATINA inherited her looks from her mother. They all are devouring the plate of eggs and toast in from of them… except for KATINA, who is merely poking the meal with her fork.
MRS. BANKS: Katina, stop playing with your food and eat up. Look at your sister. She’s enjoying her breakfast. (ANNABETH was consuming her eggs so fast she looked like she was training for an eating contest. MRS. BANKS is laughing as she looks at ANNABETH) Maybe a little too much. Calm down, Annie, what are you in a rush for? (ANNABETH blushes and starts eating at a considerably slower pace but keeps on shooting furtive glances at KATINA.)
KATINA: How’s Dad?
MRS. BANKS: Better. He still coughing, though. Hopefully he’ll be able to go back to work tomorrow.
ANNABETH: That’s good!
KATINA: (Earnestly) I hope he gets better soon. May I be excused? I’m full.
MRS. BANKS: You hardly ate any-
ANNABETH: I’m full too.
MRS. BANKS: (Sighs) All right. I have to go to work. But I can’t say I’m not offended, Katina. You hardly ate any of my famous scrambled eggs! (Takes her purse.) See you later. Love you two! Bye. (MRS. BANKS waves and walks offstage. KATINA tries to walk out of the room, too, but ANNABETH grabs her by the shoulder and stops her.)
KATINA: Ow! What was that for?
ANNABETH: You know perfectly well what that was for! Why didn’t you ever tell me?
KATINA: Tell you what, Annabeth?
ANNABETH: Stop playing dumb! I’m sick and tired of you always hiding stuff from me!
KATINA: What are you talking about?
ANNABETH: I saw everything that happened yesterday in the forest! (There is a long pause.)
KATINA: (Whispering) Everything?
ANNABETH: Yes, everything. (Bursting out in anger) Why didn’t you tell me? I’m your sister, for Pete’s sake! Don’t you remember when we were little and we promised not keep any secrets from each other and to tell each other everything that happens to us? We were best friends then. Now you keep the biggest secret in the world from me. Now that I’m second to a stupid old tree I guess it seems all right to you. Well, it’s not!
KATINA: (Tears silently running down her face) Don’t call her stupid! It’s not Sabelle’s fault! It’s mine! I should have told you. It’s my fault. It’s just that would get her into even more trouble if somebody else found out. She made me … promise….
ANNABETH: (Hysterical) Oh, of course you keep her promises! But you don’t care about my feelings at all! You don’t care about my feelings enough to tell me about her! Or to tell me that magic is real when mom and dad tell us there’s no such thing, or even to spend two minutes right now to clarify what a dryad is! You don’t care about me at all, but you care so much about your little friend (spitting the last word). I’m glad she’s getting cut down! (There is a pause as KATINA stares at ANNABETH, her face reflecting her jumble of feelings: shock, anger, grief, and incredulity.)
KATINA: W-what? Y-You’re just making it up to scare me. You don’t really mean that.
ANNABETH: Oh I could say I don’t mean it to make little Kitty-Kat happy. But I would be telling a big fat lie, almost as big as the one you’ve been telling me the past thirteen years. (ANNABETH grabs her backpack and storms off the stage.)
KATINA: Annabeth, wait! (But ANNABETH is already out the door. KATINA slumps down into a chair and starts crying quietly. She then looks at the clock and gasps. It is already 8:24.) Oh no! I’m late. Shoot! Can my life get any worse? (She hastily gathers her books and crams them into her bag, then runs offstage. Little does KATINA know, that the answer to that question is a yes.)
This scene takes place in a classroom in Woodmont Middle School where nineteen students sit in desks. MS. COLLINS stands in the front, talking. KATINA enters the room, looking distraught. Tear marks are still visible on her face.
MS. COLLINS: You’re late. Behavior like this is unacceptable. See me after school.(KATINA nods and takes a seat in the back of the room. She glances to the right, surprised to see a boy sitting in the seat next to her, which is usually empty.)
DEAN: Hey. (DEAN is an attractive boy with dark hair, tan skin, and deep brown eyes. He is tall and lean but muscular. He looks at KATINA.)
KATINA: (Caught off guard. She is rarely spoken to in school, except to be taunted.) Hi. (Blurts out) Who are you?
DEAN: My name is Dean. (Smiles) Who are you?
KATINA: Katina. So… where are you from?
MS. COLLINS: If Katina and Dean would shut up, they would realize we’re supposed to be copying down homework in our agendas. I’ll wait. (KATINA and DEAN hastily open their agendas and scribble the assignments on the board. Though she was just yelled at, KATINA is still grinning. She is amazed at her good fortune of being able to sit next to DEAN.) A very significant event is about to occur in Woodmont, North Carolina. New houses are going to be built in the forest, creating more room for people to live in our town. (It is apparent that MS. COLLINS doesn’t like the idea of more people.) So the new neighbors feel welcome, I have assigned a project. (Class groans.) Each of you – yes, that means you too, Katina, stop doodling- by yourselves or with a partner are going to come up with an idea to improve the town to make it a nicer place to live for the new citizens. You are going to research your idea and create a visual like a powerpoint or poster to promote it to the class. You need to be persuasive and have facts to support your reasons. In addition, you need to write a persuasive essay about why your idea would be beneficial. The mayor will be present during the presentations, and it is possible that he will be able to make transform the idea to real life (but I doubt any of your ideas will be good enough). In addition to the pride and prestige that comes with succeeding and doing something beneficial to your town a $500 prize is given to the winner. As 8th graders, I expect your projects to be informative and detailed. Any questions? Good. This is due Monday. (The bell rings and the class bustles out. Everybody except for KATINA.)
KATINA: Um, Ms. Collins. I have a question about-
MS. COLLINS: If you were paying attention you wouldn’t need to ask a question.
KATINA: No, um… I was just wondering which forest they’re cutting down.
MS. COLLINS: It’s the Smallmouth Forest.
KATINA: (Shocked) The Smallmouth Forest?
MS. COLLINS: (Suspicious) Yes, but why should it matter to you? Now go to your next class. (KATINA runs out of the room, looking troubled but determined.)
The front of the empty stage is a side walk where a MAN sits reading a newspaper bearing the heading: Mysterious Occurrence in Forest. He then places it on the chair and walks away. In the back of the stage is the forest and KATINA’s house in the corner. KATINA enters, notices the newspaper, and picks it up.
KATINA: (Reading) Two construction workers, Bill Chaysie and Gary Fooger, were found unconscious in the Smallmouth Forest… (eyes scan down the page) Medical experts hypothesize it was a harmful fume in the air… neither men suffered any injury… will clear away the trees March 20… what? (Shocked) Cody Banks will soon me joining them?!? No, no. Not my dad! Ugh! My life is becoming so much more complicated! A meteor might as well come from the sky and demolish the whole town! (She stuffs the newspaper in her backpack. DEAN enters onto the stage and runs to catch up with KATINA.)
KATINA (Surprised) Hi! What brings you around here today?
DEAN: My house is right around the corner.
KATINA: Wow. We’re practically neighbors!
DEAN: I know. Cool, right?
KATINA: Extremely! So, was your first day of school as ghastly as mine?
DEAN: Probably not quite as ghastly. But man, that Ms. Collins is an wicked old hag! (KATINA bursts out laughing, covering her mouth with her hand DEAN imitates MS. COLLINS in a witch-like voice.) You better shut your mouth, or I’ll shut it for you with a clothespin! (KATINA giggles even harder. Finally she recovers, clutching her stomach.) I was wondering… Doyouwannadotheprojectwithme?
DEAN: Do you want to be my partner for the English project?
KATINA: (Uncomfortable) Oh, um, well… I’m not sure you would want to do the subject I’m doing, so…
DEAN: (Downcast) Oh. I understand.
KATINA: No! No, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it that way. It’s just my topic is kind of defeating the whole purpose of the project.
DEAN: What’s your topic?
KATINA: I’m trying to persuade them that they shouldn’t cut down the forest in the first place.
DEAN: That’s brave of you. (Incredulous) And Ms. Collins let you?
KATINA: No. That’s why I didn’t think you would want to do it. I’m probably going to get into so much trouble…
DEAN: But it’s for a good purpose, right? It’s not fair of them to cut the forest down. (KATINA looks extremely relieved and grateful.) So… can I do the project with you or not?
KATINA: Really? Are you sure?
DEAN: Yeah, it sounds fun. Well, as fun as a project can be. (They reach KATINA’s house.)
DEAN: Is that your forest? The one that we’re going to stop from being chopped down.
KATINA: (Smiling) The very one. I didn’t know it would become so famous. I wonder what Sab- (She realizes what she’s saying and stops abruptly.)
DEAN: (Gives KATINA a quizzical look) I just thought it would be good to explore it, since we’re doing a project about it.
KATINA: (Tentative) Okay. (KATINA leads DEAN through the wide expanse of trees and plants. A CENTAUR appears, causing her to scream.)
DEAN: What happened, Katina? Are you all right?
CENTAUR: (Says in deep voice of superiority) Mundanes are not welcome in the forest at this time. You are a special case, but the boy must go. Don’t fuss, the boy cannot see me.
KATINA: What do you mean, people aren’t welcome in the forest? What’s going on? He’s just a friend from school, anyway. We’re doing a project together.
DEAN: (Baffled) Who are you talking to? (The CENTAUR retreats, looking at DEAN suspiciously.)
KATINA: Nobody. Race you to the end of the forest! (DEAN and KATINA pass ponds, a river, flowers, interesting plants, hundreds of trees, and a large variety of magical creatures invisible to DEAN’s eye. A NAIAD in the pond waves tauntingly at KATINA but hisses when she spots her friend. KATINA, who can navigate the forest easily, wins by a few seconds. They both pant like dogs on a hot day.)
DEAN: I can see why you like this forest. It seems so… magical. (KATINA studies his face for any trace of suspicions. She finds none. But those big, trusting eyes, those big wonderful brown trusting eyes push her on the verge of revealing all of her secrets.) It’s getting late. I should go home now. Thanks for showing me the forest. It was really cool!
KATINA: Oh. Right. Bye, Dean! (KATINA waves until he is out of sight, gazing longingly at the retreating figure. She sits on the tree stump, and, realizing she is hopelessly infatuated with a boy she only knew for a day, she lets out a long sigh.)
SABELLE: Awww! Somebody’s caught a disease called L-O-V-E!
KATINA: (Sticks out her tongue at SABELLE then becomes thoughtful for a minute.) Where did you learn how to spell English? Don’t dryads have their own language?
SABELLE: Between being a wise, old being and all the messages people carved into my trunk throughout the years, how could I not learn how to spell? (KATINA looks at SABELLE with a mix of exasperation and amusement.) Sooo, what’s his name?
KATINA: (Jokingly) For being so wise and smart, you sure are forgetful! I just said it two seconds ago! Don’t pretend you don’t spy on me. It’s Dean, you dingbat!
SABELLE: What can I say? My memory’s going bad in my old age. I am 113.
KATINA: (Remembering all the horrible things that are going on.) Sabelle, I can’t take it anymore! Don’t you know?
SABELLE: Know what?
KATINA: Know that you’re getting cut down in a couple of days? Know that their going to chop down the whole forest? Oh Sabelle! (Starts to cry) I don’t want you to die!
SABELLE: (Gently) Katina, calm down. Do you really think I would let them destroy the forest without a fight? Magic isn’t for nothing, you know! We have cast many enchantments around the forest. Like, the fairy dust causes humans to feel so giddy they forget what there are doing and prance with joy… or fly. But that’s a different story.
KATINA: (Sniffs) Are you sure it’s going to be okay?
SABELLE: (Kindly) Of course. But it’s really nice what you’re doing to try to make them stop. It makes our job easier. Really, everything’s going to be fine. It’s not like Rakhenetet is still alive. (Shudders involuntarily)
KATINA: Who’s Rakhenetet?
SABELLE: Only the most powerful and evil witch alive… or dead. Nobody’s exactly sure. She disappeared 13 years ago. But you needn’t worry about her. (KATINA’s cell phone rings from her pocket. She takes it out and presses it against her ear.)
KATINA: Hello? Who is this?
DEAN: Hi. It’s Dean.
KATINA: Dean? I don’t remember giving you my phone number…
DEAN: (Embarrassed) No… you didn’t, actually. I just looked it up in the phone book.
KATINA: Oh. That’s fine…
DEAN: Erm… I called about the Language Arts project. I was thinking that you were right; the topic kind of was going against the whole purpose.
KATINA: (Mortified) Oh… I understand. I’ll just work by myself…
DEAN: Work by yourself? I just thought that instead of just telling them not to destroy the forest, it would be better to also propose an idea of where they should live. But if you don’t like it that’s okay…
KATINA: Oh! No, forget what I said. That’s a great idea!
DEAN: Hold on… I’m googling it on the computer right now. Creative houses… (Typing noises are audible in the background.) This site looks awesome! It’s about tree houses!
KATINA: Tree houses? I love tree houses! Dean, that’s the perfect idea! Instead of cutting down trees, they could build houses ontop of the trees! But, wouldn’t most tree houses be a little small to be permanent homes?
DEAN: Actually, most of these are just as big as normal homes, a couple even bigger! And most of the trees in your forest are really tall, so it would work!
KATINA: Wow, Dean! You’re amazing!
DEAN: (Mumbles, embarrassed) It was nothing.
KATINA: Talk to you later! Bye!
DEAN: See ya. (KATINA closes her cell phone and puts it back in her pocket.)
KATINA: Sabelle, Dean, and I have an idea that instead of the construction workers cutting the trees down to build houses, they could build tree houses instead. But I wanted to check with you. Would you and the other dryads mind if people live in your trees?
SABELLE: I wouldn’t mind, but I’m not sure about the other dryads. Even though trees can’t feel any pain, some wood nymphs might be uncomfortable with the idea of tree houses. But, that’s a great idea, Miss. Smartypants!
KATINA: (Smiles, content for now.) Things are actually okay! You have enchantments against the construction workers if you need to and the project is going well so the construction might be canceled anyway. The only problem is Annabeth…
SABELLE: Don’t worry. She’ll come around. (As if on cue, ANNABETH walks into the forest, glaring at KATINA.)
ANNABETH: (Curtly and full of contempt) Mom and Dad want you for dinner. (She gives her another evil look and walks away.)
KATINA: She still hates me. Well, at least she’s not yelling. (SABELLE is not paying attention to KATINA. She is deep in thought, staring into space.) Sabelle, yoohooo? (Waves her hand in front of SABELLE’s face) What’s wrong?
SABELLE: (Slowly) Annabeth shouldn’t have been able to enter the forest. I didn’t remember this when Dean called, but cell phones aren’t supposed to work here either. (She faces KATINA, her face grim.) The defenses of the forest have been weakened. Trust nobody, especially not Dean, and don’t bring anybody into the forest. There is a traitor in our midst. War is coming. (At that last sentence her eyes flash, and the clouds darken ominously in the sky, as if predicting the not so far off future to come.)
It is March 20, the day of the vernal equinox and also the last day of the English project presentations. There is anticipation and excitement in the air of KATINA’s classroom. The principal, teacher, and mayor are sitting in the back watching the presentations.
MS. COLLINS: Now it’s time for the last presentation of the class. Dean and Katina, proceed. (KATINA and DEAN walk up to the front of the classroom, which is the back of the stage, and place a poster on the chair in front of them.)
KATINA: (Nervous) Hi. Um. I’m Katina Banks and this is Dean Mitchell, and, um, our idea is that instead of cutting down the trees to build homes, we could construct the houses on top of the trees, so to speak. This can be done with tree houses. (MS. COLLINS snorts. KATINA flushes red and loses the little confidence she had.)
DEAN: (Confident and smooth) When you hear “tree houses” you probably think of a small unstable wooden shack with little or no furniture sitting on a branch of a tree. The tree houses we propose are very different. They are actually well-furnished, sturdy buildings. Some are even complete with multiple floors. People can live very comfortably. Also, one design has solar panels and other forms of renewable energy, so it can run independently. (DEAN passes out some pictures of treehouses to the classmates.) A volunteer organization called “Monkeys on the Vine” builds sturdy, complete, large tree houses for a very low price. So building treehouses would cost you much less than normal houses, even though they are almost just as large. It would boost the economy of the town greatly due to the small cost. In addition, the large treehouses would serve as a tourist attraction, creating fame for Woodmont.
KATINA: By now you are probably wondering why we want to build tree houses. It’s not merely because of the novelty and sense of adventure present when living in a tree. The main reason is to protect the forest. The Smallmouth Forest is an extremely significant place. It is home to thousands of different and unique species, some of which are endangered. Clearing the trees would be destroying their homes, killing some of them. Cutting it down would not only harm the trees and thousands of species that live in them, but also you and me. We breath out carbon dioxide, which trees need, and trees emit oxygen, which we cannot live without. With all the pollution and carbon dioxide in the world, humans need trees more than ever. But, instead, we are taking part in the evil deforestation. Another reason why the forest should stay is the beauty of it. Here are some pictures of the Smallmouth Forest. (KATINA passes out pictures of her beloved forest that she took herself. SABELLE’s silverbell tree is visible in many.)
DEAN: Treehouses built in the right way neither harm the trees nor the organisms dwelling in them. In conclusion, treehouses are sturdy and spacious, cost little, and don’t harm the forest, which is very essential to people and animals. Thank you. (KATINA and DEAN walk back to their seats.)
MS. COLLINS: That was the most ridiculous presentation I’ve ever heard!
MAYOR: Unique would be more like it. What a creative, fantastic idea! I built a tree house when I was a young boy, but nothing compared to the ones in those pictures and diagrams! How I would love to live in one! I have made my decision: this project is the winner!
PRINCIPAL: But, Mayor, the rules state-
MAYOR: To heck with the rules! Katerina, Donald, whatever your names are, (KATINA and DEAN walk up to the MAYOR, attempting to hide their excitement.) congratulations! You each win a $500 prize! And thank you. You two made me feel young again. (Smiles and winks) The check will come in the mail in one week. Goodbye, everybody! Off to cancel the construction. (The class bursts out in raucous noise and chatter. KATINA and DEAN are jumping up and down shouting in unison.)
KATINA and DEAN: We did it! We did it! WE WON!!! (KATINA and DEAN look at each other, still holding hands, both lost in the depths of the other’s eyes. For a moment it seems like they are about to kiss, but KATINA shyly turns away. Curtains close.)
After school, KATINA and DEAN walk home together. They walk on the sidewalk with the forest and KATINA’s house in the background, until they reach KATINA’s house.The lighting is very bright, and the atmosphere is joyful.
KATINA: (Remembers SABELLE’s warning) Um… I have to … do something. See you later! (KATINA runs into the forest, leaving DEAN baffled. He shakes his head, mutters something incoherent about girls, and walks offstage.) Belle? Bella! Sab? Sabby- Abby! (KATINA giggles at the strange variations of SABELLE’s name she invented. SABELLE creeps up behind her again.)
SABELLE: Boo! (KATINA screams and both girls start laughing loudly.) Happy Spring Festival! You sure look happy! Let me guess, you won the competition for the project?
KATINA: Yes! We did it, Belle! We really did it! I can hardly believe it.
SABELLE: I knew you would do it! Tell me everything about it!
KATINA: The mayor and principal were there so at first I was really nervous, but then- (KATINA stops abruptly as she notices the CENTAUR galloping towards them. The joyous atmosphere changes to one grim, frightening,and severe. The half-horse, half-man looks fierce and intimidating. SABELLE goes in front of KATINA, shielding her from harm.)
CENTAUR: (Urgently) The humans, they are under some sort of spell. The town leader came and ordered them to cancel the destruction of the wood, but they refused and tried to attack him. The men are usually foolish, but they normally aren’t violent like this. It was obviously magic. They are coming now.
SABELLE: How long ago was this?
CENTAUR: About a minute or so. I came here as fast as I could.
SABELLE: (She nods to the centaur. Her voice projects to the whole forest) People of the forest, the war has started. The humans are being controlled by magic and will stop at nothing to destroy us. Prepare for battle and protect the woods with your life.
KATINA: Sabelle, what’s going on?
SABELLE: The construction workers have been put under a spell so they cut down the trees no matter what. The same person is also weakening the protective barriors so the men will be able to get in soon and destroy the forest. We can fight them off, but it will be hard until we know who the spellcaster is. But I think I have a pretty good idea…
KATINA: Oh no, Sabelle, it’s all my fault! I told Dean that I had to do something, but I didn’t see whether he actually left or not. I’m so stupid! He’s the traitor and I didn’t realize! I have to go and find him! (She runs to the edge of the forest and bumps right into DEAN. She is startled for a second, but then slaps him across the face with all the strength she can muster. Her voice is trembling with anger.) How could you do this, you wicked, evil…
DEAN: (Hurt both physically and emotionally) Ouch! What are you talking about?
KATINA: (She slaps him again.) I thought I could trust you. I even thought you loved me. But now I know you were just pretending. Now I know you’re just a traitor!
DEAN: Stop slapping me! Katina, can we talk this through? I still have no idea what I did!
KATINA: (Face filled with hate, anger, and misery) Leave the forest alone. Go! Now! I never want to see you again. And if you don’t stop controlling the construction workers, I’ll- I’ll…(DEAN runs away, looking extremely confused and hurt. KATINA rubs her eyes tearfully and returns to SABELLE.) He left. But how are we supposed to tell if he stopped using magic?
SABELLE: It’s impossible to do spells on this forest outside of its territory. I’m proud of you, Kat. I know that must have been really hard for you. (SABELLE hugs KATINA. At that moment, three construction workers come out of the shadows of the trees: BILL, GARY, and MR. BANKS, KATINA’s father. KATINA gasps in horror.)
BILL: Move out of the way, ladies. It’s very dangerous to be in a construction site, especially when we cut down the trees.
KATINA: But, you can’t cut down the trees! The mayor said not to!
MR. BANKS: (Harshly) The mayor is misleaded. Now go home. It is too late to be in a secluded forest with no adult supervision.
KATINA: Daddy, I know your somewhere in there. Don’t you recognize me? I’m your daughter. I’m Katina? Your little kitty-kat. Daddy? (Comprehension dawns on MR. BANKS’s face for a second, but then it went back to stern and harsh.) Daddy! It’s me. Katina! You know me! Snap out of it, Dad!
MR. BANKS: Katina? How in the world did I get home from work so fast? Hey Bill. Gary. (The two men nod.)
KATINA: (Inventing wildly) I don’t know, the bus was really fast today. Hurry up…. Football’s on! (MR. BANKS runs in.)
GARY: We said to step away, girls. NOW. (GARY observes the neither of them are going anywhere, so he goes inside his bulldozer, and drives straight up to the tree where KATINA and SABELLE are standing. SABELLE grabs KATINA and pulls her out of the way at the last second. They go to the other side of the stage and watch as one tree falls to the ground. At that moment, centaurs, dwarves, fairies, nymphs, all the creatures of the forest attack the bulldozer. After a couple of minutes, the magical creatures succeed, and capture the construction workers and tie them up. A dwarf leads them to KATINA’s house to join MR. BANKS.)
SABELLE: Don’t worry about your dad. The dwarf will remove the memory of the whole experience. If only we knew who was controlling them!
(ANNABETH marches into the forest.She stands with her arms crossed, a sinister grin forming on her face. ANNABETH is wearing a long black cloak-like clothing and is holding a stick in her left hand.)
ANNABETH:Your only problem is that the person controlling the construction workers is inside the forest right now. As a matter of fact, you’re looking right at her. (Smiles mischievously)
KATINA: (Disbelieving) Annabeth? What- what are you doing here?
SABELLE: Not Annabeth. Rakhenetet. It’s been her the whole time! 13 years… I should have realized.
KATINA: You mean she- but, that’s impossible! (She stares hard at Annabeth’s face: the light hair, pretty sky-blue eyes, the face she had loved for so long. Her sister. But in her heart KATINA knew that the ANNABETH standing before her was not her sibling.) What have you done with my sister?
ANNABETH: (Cackles) Your sister? You have no sister, Katina Banks. I created Annabeth. I inserted a memory into your parents’ brains of them having her, and pretended to be her for 13 years. She is merely one of my many forms. I am not only a witch, but a shapeshifter, so the task wasn’t too hard.
KATINA: (In shock and denial) No!
ANNABETH: Yes. (In a baby voice) As hard it is for wittle bayby Katinka to undwestand, her imaginawy sissy isn’t real. Boohoohoo! (Normal voice with malice) How pathetic are you? Don’t you realize how hard it was for me to act my role so convincingly for thirteen years straight? During those years I schemed, and schemed, and waited, and waited, waited, waited for the perfect time to strike, when people realized the forests deserve to be destroyed. I regained the strength and power that I had lost in the previous battle. I waited for the perfect time to reveal my true identity. Today, when you were least expecting it was the perfect time. I waited patiently, and I finally get my award! (Cackles)
SABELLE: If you want to destroy the forest you would have to defeat a lot more than the two of us.
ANNABETH: I know that. Which is why I’m going to defeat you two first and have fun doing it. (ANNABETH cackles.) Body of the ancient and evil sorceress, reveal thy true form. (ANNABETH glows a very dark shape of purple, and spin in what appears to be a tornado, but is really stage crew putting a witch costume on ANNABETH.When the tornado disperses, ANNABETH now has purple-black hair and is brandishing a long wand.) If you really want to protect your forest, dryad, then let’s duel.
KATINA: No, Sabelle! You don’t have to do it! Don’t listen to her.
ANNABETH: Shut up, you brat! (ANNABETH turns her wand on KATINA. This is the last straw for SABELLE. The agile dryad tackles the witch from behind, but RAKHENETET zaps her away with a flick of her wand. SABELLE, fuming, summons her magical energy and directs it all towards ANNABETH, who counteracts it with a curse. Colors flash as the two most important girls in KATINA’s life battle, one kind and true, and the other that committed the ultimate betrayal.)
SABELLE: You’re getting old, Rakhenetet. Is that really the best you can do? (Rakhenet’s face turns beet red in fury and she shrieks a curse, focusing all her magical power on the silverbell tree. KATINA screams, but it is too late. There is a deafening BANG and a black out. KATINA is coughing. Slowly, the lights return. KATINA cowers, too frightened to move.)
KATINA: (In a small voice) Sabelle?
ANNABETH: Sabelle is gone. Your little tree won’t be speaking ever again.
KATINA: (Voice quavering) Sabelle! Come out now!
ANNABETH: Do you ever listen? I told you before, Sabelle is dead.
KATINA: (Starts sobbing) No, no, NO! Sabelle! (Gathers the courage to get up, and finds the felled Silverbell tree.) No, SABELLE! Come back!
ANNABETH: (Enjoying KATINA’s sadness) She’s not coming back.
KATINA: (Glaring at the traitor through her tears) You… you…YOU KILLED HER! (Voice low with hatred.) You’re no sister of mine. (KATINA glows a pretty rose red and spins faster and faster and faster. ANNABETH, for the first time, looks frightened. KATINA’s heart is terribly broken because of the loss of her friend, but the love for her companion is as strong as ever. And in those strong emotions, love and hate, is where the most powerful magic occurs. There is a deafening noise with another black out. When the lights come on, both KATINA and ANNABETH are on the ground. DEAN runs onto the stage, spots KATINA, and tries to shake her awake.)
DEAN: Katina! Katina, are you all right? Somebody call an ambulance! Katina? (KATINA stirs sleepily and opens her eyes. DEAN sighs with relief.) You scared me, Katina! I heard a noise and then see you lying on the ground. What happened? You could have been- (But DEAN is silenced with a kiss to the lips. His eyes widen in surprise, and then he kisses KATINA back as if there is no tomorrow. The kiss clears KATINA’s mind, and she can’t explain how she knows, but she knows exactly what to do.)
KATINA: I’m sorry about slapping you.
DEAN: That’s all right. Are you sure you’re okay?
KATINA: I’m fine. Dean, I need you to help me with something. Can you help me carry Sabelle? She got injured, but I know exactly where to take her so she can heal. (DEAN find SABELLE’s dead body and gasps.)
DEAN: Wait here! I’ll get an ambulance! (KATINA grabs his arm before he can go anywhere.)
KATINA: There won’t be any need for that. I know how to fix this, you have to trust me on this, okay? (She holds DEAN’s gaze until he nods.) Good. You can grab her legs while I grab her arms. (They lift SABELLE in this fashion. KATINA is biting down her lip so she won’t cry, but the tears are coming anyway as they travel through the forest until they reach the very center, where KATINA predicted Mother Tree would be. Sure enough, the ancient tree is there, hundreds of feet tall. It is gnarled and old, but it has a motherly and kind feel to it. KATINA nodded to DEAN, and they lay SABELLE to rest beneath Mother Tree.) Mother Tree, are you there? (DEAN stares at her, perplexed, but somewhat used to KATINA’s strange behavior by now.)
MOTHER TREE: (Warm and grandmotherly) I am always here, Katina. (No dryad came out; it seems as though she prefers to stay as a tree. DEAN is oblivious to what is going on, as he cannot hear the voice or see the tree.)
KATINA: Can you please help me? Annabeth- I mean Rakhenetet, she ki-, kill- (KATINA cannot continue, and buries her face into her hands, crying uncontrollably.)
MOTHER TREE: Yes, it is possible to heal her on this day. Showing you is unnessecary, because you can do it all by yourself. Look within you for the answers.
KATINA: (Crying much more softly) That’s what I thought. (KATINA lays her hand on SABELLE’s chest and utters an incanation.)
I transfer my power to bring life back into my friend
So we could be together until the end.
(DEAN and KATINA both gasp in amazement and delight as SABELLE opens her eyes and blinks. KATINA throws herself at SABELLE, almost squeezing her to death in a long hug. Tears of joy are in both of their eyes.)
KATINA: Oh Sabelle! I’m so glad you’re all right!
SABELLE: You did it, Katina. You killed her. You saved me.
DEAN: Is anybody going to tell me what’s going on around here? (KATINA and SABELLE look at each other and grin.)
KATINA and SABELLE: (In unison) It’s a long story.
NARRATOR: After Katina turned Sabelle into a human, Mother Tree granted both of them their powers back, like what occurred in the story Sabelle told about Elize and Maria. Sabelle replaced Annabeth/ Rakhenetet as Katina’s sister with a little magic and memory alteration, and the girls continued to be best friends. Although Sabelle missed her old dryad life sometimes, she loved the freedom humans had of being able to travel wherever they want to instead of staying in one forest for your whole life. Dean and Katina’s relationship continued for years to come. Billy, Gary, and Mr. Banks were all back to their normal selves once Rakhenetet died. The treehouses were a complete hit, and the mayor was the first customer. Meanwhile, Ms. Collins was fired by the principal because of “advice” from the mayor about how she lowers the childrens’ self esteem and stenches their creativity. Katina, Sabelle, and Dean journey through the forest together every day. As they do so, Dean discovers more of the magical world, Katina discovers more of her powers, and Sabelle discovers what it’s like to be a human while keeping her dryad magic. The three friends embark on many adventures and all live Happily Ever After!