Retribution: A Radio Play

Part II Transcript

Scene 1: Town Square

(They are back in the town square. The BUSYBODIES and TERRA are panting in the heat.)

 

TERRA

It’s burning. 

 

BUSYBODIES

Sweltering. 

 

ALL

God, this heat.

 

CLETUS

Must’ve gone from 70 to 120 overnight. 

 

MS. BETTY

Too hot to breathe. 

 

CLETUS

Too hot to live.

 

MS. BETTY

Swear, it’s eating me up.

 

CLETUS

First the organs.

 

MS. BETTY

Then the skin.

 

BUSYBODIES, MS. BETTY, CLETUS

Then the soul. 

 

TERRA

I’d like to keep the soul.

 

CLETUS

That witch. Don’t she know people could die in this heat?

 

BUSYBODIES

When will her curse end? 

 

TERRA

Have any y’all seen her?

 

BUSYBODIES

No. 

 

TERRA

No? What good are you for?

 

MS. BETTY

What good are you?

 

TERRA

I didn’t start all this. I didn’t watch a girl get...I can’t even say it. 

 

MS. BETTY

You didn’t stop it either. 

 

TERRA

I didn’t know.

 

BUSYBODIES

Is that better?

 

TERRA

It’s not worse. 

 

(IRVING enters)

 

IRVING

Terra! Terra!

 

TERRA

Did you find her?

 

IRVING

No. 

 

TERRA

Then why would you come over here screaming my name?

 

IRVING

I love to scream your-

 

TERRA

Not the time.

 

IRVING

Right, sorry. I looked all over the place, been looking for a week now, but I can’t find her at all. 

 

TERRA

Did you check her house?

 

IRVING

Course. She ain’t there. 

 

TERRA

Thank God. 

 

IRVING

Maybe she’ll come out when she wants to.

 

TERRA

But I need her. 

 

IRVING

Listen, I know her a little better than you-

 

TERRA

We can’t all have carnal knowledge of our friends-

 

IRVING

That felt loaded.

 

BUSYBODIES

It was a tad aggressive.

 

TERRA

Quiet. 

 

IRVING

Why do you even need to talk to her?
 

TERRA

It’s important. 

 

IRVING

But what is it?

 

TERRA

This farm business. The rain business.

 

IRVING

Aw, Terra, I’m sorry I got you hung up in all this. I was wrong.

 

TERRA

I don’t think so. 

 

IRVING

I said it was ‘cause of the father didn’t I? Well, Neil and me both laid claim to that kid and it weren’t us, so I must have been wrong. 

 

TERRA

No, neither of you are the father. 

 

IRVING

Then who else would it be, I mean, they ain’t many men like us wandering round-

 

TERRA

I know, Irving. 

 

IRVING

Know what?

 

TERRA

What you knew. 

 

IRVING

I know a lot of things.

 

(Beat) 

 

TERRA

Y’all need to go.

 

BUSYBODIES

Can’t keep us out of our own business.

 

TERRA

Why bother keeping you out of something you ignore? Now, I said you need to go. 

 

CLETUS

I swear, for God, this girl- 

 

IRVING

Cletus, please. Me to you, this is serious. 

 

CLETUS

I don’t even care ‘bout it too much. Just won’t be disrespected on my own land. 

 

IRVING

Terra, apologize. 

 

TERRA

Sorry. 

 

CLETUS

Good girl. 

 

(BUSYBODIES, CLETUS, and MS. BETTY exit.)

 

IRVING

Sorry ‘bout him, but you know how Cletus can be. Just hiding all that heart under his gristle. 

 

TERRA

Do you make excuses like that for everybody?

 

IRVING

Terra Anne, we need to make it real clear ‘bout what I think you think I know. Cause I won’t be the one spilling secrets cross this soil. 

 

TERRA

What I think you know? What you….she told me. 

 

IRVING

Told you what?

 

TERRA

Told me….Jesus, I can’t even say it. You’re a disgrace, Irving. 

 

IRVING

Terra, please-

 

TERRA

How could you let him do that? She told you about her father and you did….tell me you did something. Tell me my best friend ain’t someone who would let somethin’ like that go by like daises. Irving, just tell me you did something. 

 

IRVING

I took her mind off it. 

 

TERRA

So you had her, that’s it?

 

IRVING

Don’t make it sound so crass. 

 

TERRA

Crass? Have I died and gone to heaven? Irving is talking to me about crass. Well butter me up and call me a three headed-snake. Next, I know the four horsemen will come pounding out the sky-

 

IRVING

Now, you’re just being dramatic.

 

TERRA

Sleeping with her doesn’t make you a hero. 

 

IRVING

I never said that. 

 

TERRA

Well, you just said to me, in a perfectly serious tone, that you sleeping with her was suppose to make up for the fact that you knew what was going on, and you lived your life like nothing happened.  

 

IRVING

I didn’t just sleep with her, I made her laugh. 

 

TERRA

Not something one would usually like to admit. 
 

IRVING

Not during. After. We sat and we talked. I listened and we joked. I made her laugh. Took her mind off it. 

 

TERRA

Yeah, I’m sure that laughter was all she could think about when her father was on top of her.

 

(Beat) 

 

IRVING

She doesn’t want to talk to anyone, Terra. 

 

TERRA

How do you know?

 

IRVING

She told me. 

 

TERRA

I thought you said-

 

IRVING

I lied. I found her out where I found her, and she said she didn’t want to be bothered by anyone, so I lied so she wouldn’t be bothered. 

 

TERRA

Irving, I need her. 

 

IRVING

I was wrong about the water thing. The father….it won’t save your farm. 

 

TERRA

Not about that.

 

IRVING

Then what?

 

TERRA

I can’t tell you. 

 

IRVING

What does that mean?

 

TERRA

It means what it means.
 

IRVING

What it…..I tell you everything- (TERRA laughs) Willow asked me not tell bout me and her. If she didn’t you’d have been the first person I told. Terra, I’m sorry I slept with her, truly. Please forgive me. I love you. 

 

TERRA

Oh, stop it. I’m not upset over that. 

 

IRVING

Then why-

 

TERRA

You let her go back. 

 

IRVING

What else was I supposed to do?

 

TERRA

I don’t know, but you don’t let her go back. You don’t let her go home when you know what happens there. You don’t get to smile and feel good when someone else suffers because of you. 

 

IRVING

Because of-

 

TERRA

She needed a friend. Someone who could look out for her. Someone who wouldn’t let her get hurt. 

 

IRVING

Terra-

 

TERRA

Where is she?

 

IRVING

I can’t tell you that.
 

TERRA

You have to. 

 

IRVING

She asked me not to. 

 

TERRA

Please. 

 

IRVING

No. 

 

TERRA

Irving, please.

 

IRVING

No. 

 

TERRA

But-

 

IRVING

She doesn't want to talk to you. 

 

TERRA

What?

 

IRVING

She doesn’t want to talk to you. That’s why she’s hiding. She’s hiding from you. 

 

TERRA

Why would she….I thought….no, she….are you lying to me again?

 

IRVING

What? Terra, no. 

 

TERRA

She doesn’t like you, you know?

 

IRVING

What are you talking ‘bout?


 

TERRA

So, keepin her hidden away like some kinda  Rapunzel, it may be fun for you now, make you feel like a hero now, but know she doesn’t like you at all. 

 

IRVING

What are you-

 

TERRA

She told me she doesn’t like you. “Never much cared for you” her words. Thinks you talk too much. Thinks you’re pushy. 

 

IRVING

That’s not true. 

 

TERRA

Oh, did you love her too or something?

 

IRVING

I...why would you say that?

 

(IRVING exits. After a moment TERRA sits. A few tears roll down her cheek and she sniffs, much to her confusion and frustration.)

 

TERRA

Jesus Christ, am I crying?

 

(NEIL enters)

 

NEIL

There you are. 

 

TERRA

Hi. 

 

NEIL

I went to your farm in the early morning, but you, conspicuously, weren’t there. What did you have to do at such an early...what’s happening to you? What’s wrong with your face?

 

TERRA

Could you please not be upset with me? 

 

NEIL

What-

 

TERRA

I think need a friend right now, and I’d really like it if it could be you. 

 

NEIL

Uh…..I suppose I can be mad at you later. 

 

TERRA

Sit with me? (NEIL sits) It’s an awful nice day, isn’t it?

 

NEIL

It’s hotter than Boston in the mid of July. 

 

TERRA

Besides the heat. I mean, just look at that sky. So blue-

 

NEIL

Well, it certainly isn't it going to be grey. It hasn’t rained in months. Even with all those rain clouds still swirling over your farm-

 

TERRA

Neil.

 

NEIL

Yes, I suppose it is rather nice. Cerulean, the English might call it.  Yes, rather nice. 

 

TERRA

I think so too. A sky so blue….bluer than water. 

 

NEIL

So, why’d you leave so early?

 

TERRA

Let’s not talk about all that. 

 

NEIL

Then why were you crying?

 

TERRA

Let’s not talk about that either. 

 

(Beat)

 

NEIL

You hear about that horse, Man-O-War. Papers say he’s the fastest thing on four legs. 

 

TERRA

You still follow the horses. 

 

NEIL

Occasionally. I don’t bet much on them anymore. Just enough to remind me that I’m alive. 

 

TERRA

You’re gonna burn through your money. 

 

NEIL

I’d have to set a pretty big fire. 

 

TERRA

No one ever thinks they’ll lose. 

 

NEIL

Oh, I don’t lose often. I have a very functional mathematical system that accounts for the length of the horse's legs and their age and when I do lose it just goes to show the fun unpredictability of the game-

 

TERRA

Cornelius, have much money have you lost?

 

NEIL

120.

 

TERRA

One hundred and twenty dollars!

 

NEIL

Shh. 

 

TERRA

That could’ve bought you a home as big as anything!

 

NEIL

Shh!

 

TERRA

Where’d you even get that kinda money?

 

NEIL

Father.

 

TERRA

Oh. Of course. Father.

 

NEIL

He thought I was going to use it to….I don’t know….start a family or invest or something in that vein. I’m sure if you wrote and asked-

 

TERRA

I assure you I won’t.

 

NEIL

You know, he loves you Terra. I know you might be a little embarrassed and think you can’t go back, but he has written me dozens of letters asking about you and if you’re okay. He would take you back without hesitation….Terra?

 

TERRA

You ever been in love?

 

NEIL

Excuse me?

 

TERRA

Have you?

 

NEIL

Why?

 

TERRA

I’ve never asked. 

 

NEIL

You’ve never asked me about me favorite fabric either-

 

TERRA

Fabric, Cornelius?

 

NEIL

It was an example, ex tempore. I’m sorry my wit is beneath you. 

 

TERRA

I always was the smart one. 

 

NEIL

Is that what you think? Then why was it that you were the one that managed to get caught throwing an illicit soiree in the pool house?

 

TERRA

I am almost positive that Oletita Sloan is the one who told just because I wouldn’t invite her. The brat. 

 

NEIL

And you were the one who soiled Mother’s satin curtains when you tried to wear it as a dress to impress you Bohemian friends.

 

TERRA

I think I gave it a fun new pattern. 

 

NEIL

Ruined them. 

 

TERRA

But what a story we all got. 

 

NEIL

Yes, surely you’re the smart one. 

 

TERRA

I was smart because I always kept you around to fix it.

 

NEIL

Is that why you “kept me” around so to speak?

 

TERRA

You know, I love you, Neil. 

 

NEIL

I had my suspicions. 

 

TERRA

I wish you could fix this. 

NEIL

The farm? I can’t control the weather, Terra. 

 

TERRA

No, you can’t. 

 

NEIL

You still think this is all wrapped up in Willow’s….condition?

 

TERRA

I know it is, maybe not because of the father….hell, maybe exactly because of the father….what about Willow?

 

NEIL

What about Willow?

 

TERRA

Do you love her?

 

NEIL

She’s a sweet girl and a true delight to speak to-

 

TERRA

That’s a no. 

 

NEIL

It’s not a no. 

 

TERRA

You do love her?

 

NEIL

No.

 

TERRA

Well-

 

 NEIL

It’s not that I’m incapable or she’s unworthy, I mean, if things were right I think we’d be just fine, but she is….a little too free and a little too poor so-

 

TERRA

Who cares about that?

NEIL

I don’t know why you’re pretending like you don't know who our parents are. 

 

TERRA

Mother and Father don’t control you. What you want is what you want, who cares about them?  

 

NEIL

I do.

 

TERRA

Why?

 

NEIL

Because I love them, of course. 

 

TERRA

Their love won’t last forever, Neil. Might as well go out and find your own. 

 

NEIL

Why won’t you tell me what happened between you all? 

 

TERRA

Because I don’t want you to hate me too. 

 

NEIL

Terra, I could never hate you. Ever.

 

TERRA

Promise?

 

NEIL

Of course. 

 

TERRA

Stop smiling like that, it’s terrifying. And, also, I mean, marrying a poor woman isn’t nearly as bad as stealing two thousand dollars and fleeing cross country, so you’ll have to think of a better excuse than that.

 

NEIL

I’ll try to draft a list tonight. (Pause) How about you? Have you been in love?

 

TERRA

No. 
 

NEIL

Really, I would think with your-

 

TERRA

My what?

 

NEIL

Temperament. Your volatile-

 

TERRA

Volatile?

 

NEIL

Passionate

 

TERRA

Thank you.

 

NEIL

Temperament. I’d have thought cupid had swooped you up a dozen times over by now. 

 

TERRA

No. 

 

NEIL

What of all those boys that used to linger around the house? Surely they weren’t all Mother’s doing. 

 

TERRA

No, some were Father’s.

 

NEIL

And not one caught your eye?

 

TERRA

No. 
 

NEIL

Not even that Mckinley fellow with the red hair?

 

TERRA

Who?

 

NEIL

The slender man with the brown eyes and gelled hair that would always sing to you. Looked like a fox in human form? Classically handsome, strong jaw-

 

TERRA

Did you fancy him, Neil?

 

NEIL

What, I, I would never debase myself in such a, a, vulgar-

 

TERRA

I know. I know. I’m just teasing. Clearly. 

 

NEIL

Surely. You know, I think love might be good for you. It would balance you out. 

 

TERRA

I’m balanced. 

 

NEIL

Of course, you are. Do you feel better?

 

TERRA

Seems like it. 

 

NEIL

Good. I can only babble for so long. Now, why weren’t you at home this morning?

 

TERRA

I was looking for Willow.

 

NEIL

Now, why didn’t you just say that?  There was no need to be cryptic. Now, I do believe the post has my latest-

 

TERRA

Wait,  can I ask you a question before you leave?

 

NEIL

Go ahead. 

 

TERRA

If someone didn’t want to speak to you, what would you do? 

 

NEIL

I wouldn’t speak to them. Why waste both of our time?

 

TERRA

But what if you want to speak to them? Need to speak to them.

 

NEIL

Well, they clearly neither need nor want to speak to you. 

 

TERRA

But what if-

 

NEIL

Do you have an answer you’d like to hear? Is that why you’re asking?

 

TERRA

No, but if you do have another answer-

 

NEIL

Do what you’d like. That’s what you do best.  It’s what you’ve always done best. 

 

TERRA

Wait, Neil, I….I’m sorry about what I said last week. What I said about you going back to Boston, About you getting comfortable. 

 

NEIL

Yes, well, we all say terrible things sometimes, don’t we? 

 

TERRA

Neil-

 

NEIL

I should go home. It’s too hot out here anyway. 

Scene 2: Town Square (Night)

 

(The stars twinkle in the inky indigo-blue sky. Crickets and Coyotes do their business. Terra is just happy to be a part of their landscape.)

 

TERRA

God, Maggie if you could see this….it’s like a sea of sky with waves of stars! They don’t have stars like this in Boston. They don’t have Earth like this in Boston. Even with the heat it’s still so….do you remember when you helped me sneak out Father’s estate? And we escaped to that little tent you set up in the forest behind the Northern Wall? I thought that that was wilderness. God, the mosquitos devoured us. You should have seen me try to explain that to Mother the next day. I swear if you saw her face when she saw the skin constellations on my leg you would have laughed and laughed and….God, this is idiotic. You’re not even here. Wait a minute...is that…..Mary, Jesus, and Joseph!!

 

WILLOW

Who’s there?

 

TERRA

Willow?

 

WILLOW

McHale. 

 

TERRA

Willow, it is you! (WILLOW runs away) Wait! Willow, don’t run! Wait. 

 

WILLOW

No. I don’t, I don’t want to talk to you. 

 

TERRA

I’m sorry. Willow, please. Please, just-

 

WILLOW

No. No, stop following me-

 

TERRA

Is it me? Willow, is it me?

WILLOW

What do you mean?

 

TERRA

Willow, is it me?

 

WILLOW

No, it….stay away from me. Stay away. Stay away. 

 

TERRA

Willow. Please. Please tell me.  (WILLOW exits.) Willow! Willow! 

 

(TERRA tries to run after her but the wind becomes aggressive and she can’t move, she exits in the opposite direction. The night becomes day)

 

Scene 3: Town Square

 

(BUSYBODIES, MS. BETTY, and CLETUS stand, exhausted and tense. The wind continues to blow.)

 

BUSYBODIES

So help us God-

 

MS. BETTY

If He still listens to us-

 

BUSYBODIES

Not a wink for a week. 

 

CLETUS

Lying in bed-

 

BUSYBODIES

Waiting for sleep.

 

MS. BETTY

Only to hear the wind. 

BUSYBODIES

This devil’s wind. 

 

MS. BETTY

It’s all I can hear. 

 

BUSYBODIES

It sucks the soft right out the skin.  Leaving marrow and shell and rot. The hard. The loss. The-

 

(The BUSYBODIES unleash a primal guttural scream.)

 

MS. BETTY

Hey! Find your heads and keep them on. 

 

BUSYBODIES

It’s this heat. This wind. I feel it whip up the worst feelings inside of me. It stirs my hate. 

 

MS. BETTY

I understand. 

 

CLETUS

Me too. I used to hate nothing. 

 

MS. BETTY

Now, I look at the sky and I feel rage. 

 

CLETUS

Wrath becomes me. 

 

BUSYBODIES

This wind, this punishment, untempered. God help what we might do. 

 

MS. BETTY

God help us all.

 

Scene 4: Terra's Kitchen

 

(Terra’s Kitchen. TERRA is sitting still as the winds rage outside her house. She takes a deep breath. She takes another deep breath. IRVING enters.)
 

IRVING

Terra! Terra! Terra Anne, I can’t take it anymore I can’t take it. I’m trying to be good. I look in the mirror every day and say Irving, Irving, Irving, be good. Be good, Irving. Be good, but when I haven't slept in a week. Haven’t slept and now I feel like my skin is falling off and my body’s rotting from inside out. No water. No sleep. I feel curses dancing on my lips. Where is my peace? Who must I take it from-

 

TERRA

Shhhhh. 

 

IRVING

But-

 

TERRA

Shhhhhhh.

 

IRVING

Why? What’s wrong?

 

TERRA

Two things. One, if you keep shouting you’re gonna make Neil come down, and I’ont wanna deal with him right now. And two, I am trying very hard to concentrate so I can get calm. 

 

IRVING

Calm? How can you be calm? The wind is making us all crazy. Just yesterday I saw Ms. Donahue try to claw Ms. Betty’s eyes out because her mac and cheese was dry. No one has slept for days. Calm is a luxury and poverty’s our state.

 

TERRA

I know, which is why I have to stay calm. If I don’t stay calm, I might not be able to find her. 

 

IRVING

Who?

 

TERRA

Willow.

 

IRVING

Who cares about her?
 

TERRA

Irving!  (Beat) I’m sorry, I…..this wind started after I saw her last week. 

 

IRVING

You found her?

 

TERRA

She found me. I was lying on the ground and she found me and I….she’s in a bad state. You need to bring her to me.

 

IRVING

She don’t want to talk to you, unless you forgot. 

 

TERRA

Ask her, Irving, Jesus!  Sorry. Sorry. I didn’t mean...I don’t mean to shout. I just, I need to talk to her now. Not just for the rain, but to stop all this madness. 

 

IRVING

What if she don’t wanna talk to me either?

 

TERRA

I’m sorry about that too. 

 

IRVING

Are you or do you just need somethin’ from me?

 

TERRA

If it hurt your feelings then, of course, I’m sorry, but you’re so sensitive I coulda said anything and set you off. 

 

IRVING

You think this is funny?

 

TERRA

I think you’d better take a step back. 

 

IRVING

What? You scared?

 

TERRA

No. 

 

IRVING

Whatcha fingering your gun like that for, Terra? You think you can shoot me.

 

TERRA

Step back, Irving. 

 

(Beat. IRVING steps back.)

 

IRVING

Fine. I don’t know where she is anyway.

 

TERRA

You lying now?

 

IRVING

I’m not lying. I guess you were just right. She don’t wanna talk to me. 

 

TERRA

Sorry. When’d you see her last?

 

IRVING

Last week. Fore the wind.  She was back in….hell, she ain’t there no more, she was stayin in our shed. 

 

TERRA

You made a pregnant woman sleep in a shed?

 

IRVING

Not made.  Well, yes, made, but it was the only option. If Pop found her then it’d be up to him where she goes and, you really never know with the old man. 

 

TERRA

But she’s gone now?

 

IRVING

Yep. Up and gone the night the wind started.  Last thing she said to me was “see you tomorrow”. (Beat) What if you were right, Terra? 

 

TERRA

About what?

IRVING

What if I could’ve helped stop it? 

 

NEIL

(off-stage)

Terra Anne McHale!

 

TERRA

What!

 

(NEIL enters holding a letter)

 

NEIL

Have you read this, Terra? Have you read this?

 

TERRA

How could I have read it if it’s in your possession, Neil?

 

(IRVING snickers)

 

NEIL

Why is he always here?

 

IRVING

Maybe I just like seeing your neurotic face, Corneilus. 

 

NEIL

Perhaps, flower boy, if you were not so concerned with my sister and Willow you’d have a nice well-furnished home of your own to lounge around in all day.

 

IRVING

Well, maybe if you stopped wearing three-piece suits in three-figure heat, you’d finally find that good bit of common sense you’re lacking. 

 

TERRA

Shut up! The letter, Neil.

 

NEIL

What letter?

 

TERRA

The one in your hand!

NEIL

Oh, yes. Have you read it?

 

TERRA

Cornelius, who is it from?!

 

NEIL

It’s from the bank. 

 

TERRA

Good news?

 

NEIL

They’re taking away the farm. 

 

(Long Beat.)

 

IRVING

Terra, I’m so sor-

 

TERRA

No. No, they can’t do that. 

 

NEIL

They can. 

 

TERRA

No. No, they...no. No. I just need some time.  A little time. A little rain, I still got clouds over the farm. I just need Willow, just need some time. I can still make payments-

 

NEIL

Terra-

 

TERRA

No, this is my gift, Neil. This is what I got left. This is it. This is it. They can’t take this. They can’t.

 

IRVING

Terra-

 

TERRA

No. No! Everyone, everybody out. Everybody get out.

IRVING

Terra-

 

TERRA

Get out! Get out!! Get out!!!

Scene 5: Town Square

 

(The BUSYBODIES, MS. BETTY, and CLETUS look meaner than all the sins they’ve committed, and boy haven’t they committed a bunch.)

 

BUSYBODIES

I’m sick of life like this.  Sick of strife. Sick of sweat. Sick of cricks in my neck kept down so long under sun’s senseless toil. 

 

CLETUS

Sick of witches weaving webs ‘round the good folks I love. 

 

MS. BETTY

Sick of self. So sick my belly aches. 

 

CLETUS

So sick my eyes strain. 

 

BUSYBODIES

So sick my back’s broken till it’s bent like the scythe of the reaper sent to haunt me.

 

CLETUS

Is he there in the corner?

 

MS. BETTY

Or there, up above?

 

BUSYBODIES

Death, he lurks like those little dots that float in front of your eyes. 

 

MS. BETTY

Appearing outta nowhere.


BUSYBODIES

Only to disappear, making you question your own good mind. 

 

CLETUS

I see him on the faces I love. I see him in myself. 

 

BUSYBODIES

I see him everywhere. 

 

MS. BETTY

Just everywhere. 

 

ALL 

He waits for me.

 

CLETUS

God and all the angels, y'all just okay with this?

 

MS. BETTY

What else are we to do?

 

BUSYBODIES

Not enough money to move and even if we did, not enough family to go back to. 

 

CLETUS

Not talkin’ bout moving. I’m talking bout are you okay with havin’ those two girls treat us like this. 

 

MS. BETTY

Girls?

 

CLETUS

Miserable girls.

 

BUSYBODIES

Terra and Willow?

 

CLETUS

Course, or ain’t you been payin’ attention? You think it’s just coincidence all this started happening when Willow got pregnant? With the rain and all?  Terra knew it, that vicious girl,  she knew it and she went to talk to Willow. I bet that girl, that little girl, that little, irreverent, ungodly girl wrapped Terra round her finger, that’s the sort of thing that would draw a girl like Terra in, you know? The two of them, that twisted pair, the wind, the rain, the earth laid bare, who else but them has brought death into this, our paradise?

 

BUSYBODIES

The girls. 

 

CLETUS

Miserable girls. 

 

BUSYBODIES

Miserable girls. Miserable, wretched, damnable girls. 

 

CLETUS

We must right the scales. They’ve unbalanced the order. They’ve gone out of order and now we suffer for their crimes? For their infidelity. Why must we bear their sin?

 

BUSYBODIES

Why must we be punished for their iniquity? Is it always the duty of the righteous to bear the weight of the forsaken? 

 

MS. BETTY

Wait. 

 

BUSYBODIES

What, woman?

 

MS. BETTY

You can’t-

 

CLETUS

Can’t what? 

 

MS. BETTY

Cletus, you can’t be serious. You have to understand what’s really going on here. Cletus, you have to know what we did. 

 

CLETUS

We? We did nothing wrong. Did we?

 

BUSYBODIES

No. 
 

MS. BETTY

But we-

 

CLETUS

But what? Listen, Betty, you’re either for us or against us, and if you’re against us, then you’re with them, and if you’re with them, you better not be. 

 

MS. BETTY

You don’t even have a plan. If they are the cause, and they’re not, but if they were then what’s the plan to fix the scales, as you called it. You’re not God. 

 

CLETUS

Of course not, but it wouldn’t be the first time He, in his high holiness, gave his people a certain license against those who despised him. 

 

BUSYBODIES

Wouldn’t be the first time at all.

 

(Beat)

 

MS. BETTY

You can’t kill them. 

 

BUSYBODIES

Sometimes death is justice. 

 

MS. BETTY

No. They’re kids. Kids, Cletus. 

 

CLETUS

Haven’t been kids in a while, Betty. 

 

MS. BETTY

No. 

 

CLETUS

I’d rather a hundred of them than any one of us. 

 

MS. BETTY

No. 

 

BUSYBODIES

Then tell us another way.

 

MS. BETTY

I…..we can wait.

 

BUSYBODIES

Wait? Wait. You think us so foolish as to twiddle our thumbs until they kill us all. Kill our loves. Kill our children. 

 

CLETUS

You of all people should know how that feels. 

 

BUSYBODIES

Wait? Wait for what? Wait for Death ‘round the corner to come carry us home? The time of waiting is done, the time of action is here. 

 

CLETUS

Go home, Betty. Get some rest. I promise it’ll all be different in the morning. 

 

MS. BETTY

I’m too old for this, Cletus. We’re too old for this.

 

(MS. BETTY exits.)

 

BUSYBODIES

Wait? Of all the indignities. Nevermind all that, so, tonight, under the cover of darkness we’ll ascend on the house of McHale.

 

CLETUS

With gun, rope, and torch. 

 

 BUSYBODIES

Scorch them from this Earth. Scrub them from our paradise. 

 

CLETUS

Justice will be done tonight.

 

IRVING

(off-stage)

Hey, everybody, hey!

 

BUSYBODIES

Irving, our boy. Our gentle sweet boy. 

CLETUS

Speak nothing of this to him. 

 

(IRVING enters)

 

IRVING

Hey, Cletus. Ms. Caper. Ms. Donaahue. Everyone. 

 

CLETUS and BUSYBODIES

Hey, Irving. 

 

IRVING

Any of y’all know what’s going on with Ms. Betty? Saw her when I was walking over here. She wouldn’t speak to me, which….I mean, I don’t even know why she wouldn’t be speaking, y’all know it’s her favorite hobby. But I think something might be wrong.  She was just walkin’ home empty ‘hind the eyes. Any of all y’all know what’s going on? You think I should go and read with her or somethin’?

 

BUSYBODIES

Oh, you know how the old woman can be. Flighty. Foolish. Fretful. 

 

CLETUS

Don’t waste your time waiting on her. I’m sure you have better things to do, don’t you, Irving?

 

IRVING

Not really….so, what are all y’all whispering about over here?

 

 CLETUS

Ain’t whispering ‘bout nothing. (CLETUS pats IRVING on the chest.) Just passing time with our neighbors.  

 

IRVING

Just passing time?

 

BUSYBODIES

You remember what that’s like, don’t you Irving? You used to pass time too before you forgot us.

 

IRVING

I ain’t forgot you. 

 

CLETUS

Course not. O’course not. Listen, why don’t you come over round my place tomorrow and we can all sit and talk like we used to? 

 

IRVING

That sounds mighty nice. 

 

CLETUS

Hear that? Mighty nice. It’s mighty nice. Now come on everyone. Sorry, to leave like this boy, but we all made plans to talk ‘bout the old times. Not something much fun for you I’m afraid. But we can all talk tomorrow, you hear? 

 

(CLETUS and BUSYBODIES exit.)

 

IRVING

Yeah….tomorrow.

Scene 6: Terra's Kitchen

 

(TERRA is sitting at her kitchen table. She’s writing a letter. One in a long line of failed drafts if the pile of crumpled paper by her feet is any indicator.)

 

TERRA

-one of the great joys of the territory is the hard work. The dark blueberry skies are made twice as sweet by the labor needed to enjoy them. However, these past months have been...it’s been, difficult. No. Hard. No, it’s been…..it’s been, complicated. Impossible. Devastating. (She rips the letter.) “Dear Father, I need money. Be generous.” (She rips that paper as well) “Dearest and Sweetest Father, I hope your pockets are still as deep as the dark, unforgiving, cavern you call a heart, you murderer.” (A little too provocative. Rip!) “Dear Father, if I said some days I forget to hate you, would you believe me?” ( She rips the paper with vigor.) “Dear Father, if I came home would you even recognize me? Would I recognize you? Would I want to recognize you, or is life better like this? As a living ghost?” (She can’t stand to finish this one. She tears it up. She takes a deep breath and starts a new letter) “Dear Father, I know that somewhere deep inside, you still feel you love me, and maybe you do. I am your daughter after all, and you’re my Father. My Father. The same man who would carefully walk me through the neighborhood after Easter service making sure everyone could see my fine new navy blue dress I was so proud of. The same man that would encourage me to read about all the far off places in Europe and Asia, even though his friends felt it improper. The same man whose shoes I used to wobble on as we haphazardly two-stepped to the exciting crackle of phonographs. The person who loved me. A person I was glad to be loved by. My Father. It is the least you could do to give me enough money to show the bank that I am not a hopeless case. And in case you’ve forgotten, that money is as much my birthright as Neil’s. More even. I’ve earned that money through blood. Both mine and hers. So, is it not right, is it not just that I get to benefit from that which has wounded me and killed her? Isn’t that fair? No. No, it isn’t. To be fair, I’d have to lock you away, make Mother die a slow death, and let her body be defiled by birds and vermin, but I’m being forgiving today, the way she’d want, so money will do. Your daughter, Terra Anne McHale.” (She tears it to shreds. There’s a knock at the door.) Go away!

 

WILLOW

(at the door)

Terra?

 

(TERRA goes to open the door. WILLOW enters, disheveled and dirty.)

 

TERRA

Hello. 

 

WILLOW

Hi. What’s happening with the all paper?

 

TERRA

I’m not good with words. Why are you here?

 

WILLOW

A pregnant woman shows up at your door and that’s the first thing you ask?

 

TERRA

What else would I ask? 

 

WILLOW

You could have asked if I was okay.

 

TERRA

You look fine. 

 

WILLOW

I look like I bathed in dirt and lotioned with mud.

 

TERRA

Why are you here?
 

WILLOW

Where else would I be?

 

TERRA

I don’t know. Where ever you’ve been avoiding me. 

 

WILLOW

I haven’t been avoiding you.

 

TERRA

Truly?  (Pause) Is it me? Cause I know that you may not have met someone like me before but fleeing typically isn’t the proper response to our vulnerability. It is, in fact, quite hurtful.

 

WILLOW

No, I don’t care. You think I have time to care? No, it’s...I don’t hate you, I suppose. 

 

TERRA

Thank you?

 

WILLOW

No, that’s not what I mean. 

 

TERRA

You do hate me then?

 

WILLOW

I mean, you didn’t know so how….so I don’t hate you. Every day of my life I’ve been surrounded by people who knew what was happening to me, and they mocked me for it. They ignored it, and I don’t think there’s a whole person in this town who I don’t hate. Even Irving with his, well-meaning bullheadedness, but you didn’t know. You never knew. How am I supposed to hate you if you never knew?

 

TERRA

You sound like you’re asking.

 

WILLOW

I think I am.

 

TERRA

I could’ve known. I could’ve asked. 

 

WILLOW

I think you already said that that day all way back when. 

 

TERRA

Feels like forever ago. 

 

WILLOW

Might as well be. 

 

TERRA

Doesn’t matter though. It’s true. I could’ve paid attention.

 

WILLOW

Yes, I suppose you could’ve. (Beat) I’m sorry, I avoided you. I needed time to figure out what not hating a person looked like. What it felt like.

 

TERRA

Did you figure it out?

 

WILLOW

It all feels the same. Just awful. (WILLOW sighs) Just awful.

 

(Pause)

 

TERRA

I was lyin’ earlier. You look terrible. You okay? Where you been sleeping?

 

WILLOW

I’m fine mostly, and out in the ravine. 

 

TERRA

The ravine?

 

WILLOW

Wasn’t as bad as you think. Not the most comfortable but I’m here, and food was never too hard to find. A piece of fruit here, a clumsy bird drops a scrap of meat there. Even had water leak out the rock walls. No, wasn’t too bad at all. 

 

TERRA

There’s water in the ravine?

 

WILLOW

Not a lot, and definitely not enough to collect.  Just enough to keep a person alive. No more no less. 

 

TERRA

That’s…..that’s strange, Willow. Mighty strange. 

 

WILLOW

Maybe so, but normal’s no good most of the time no way. I’m sorry, no I’m not sorry, I mean, I just need to know, are we friends now?

 

TERRA

Friends?

 

WILLOW

I’ve never really had one, and since I don’t really hate you, I assumed ...I’d just like to know if I have one now.

 

TERRA

Uh, course? Course we’re friends.

 

WILLOW

Oh, good. I meant it, I did. I’ve never really had one before, well not one I haven’t slept with. And never a girl. I can’t believe it. I’m friends with another girl, one my age even, well, not quite my age, more or less my age.  What is it that friends do? Am I to braid your hair? In all the old books I’ve read that’s what friends seem to do all the time, isn’t it? Braiding hair and singing songs and-

 

TERRA

I-

 

WILLOW

Or maybe we can just talk or are we to cook food and share recipes? Crochet?

 

TERRA

I don’t crochet. 

 

WILLOW

I can teach you. 

 

TERRA

Listen, Willow-

 

WILLOW

Yes?

 

TERRA

I think you should-

 

(A frantic knocking on the door.)

 

WILLOW

Were you expectin’ someone?

 

TERRA

No. Probably Irving, but he has a... stay here.

 

(TERRA exits. She opens the door.)

 

IRVING

(Distant)

Good, you’re safe. 

 

(IRVING and TERRA enter. IRVING paces)

 

TERRA

Irving, what’s this all about. You lose your...what’da mean “you’re safe?”

 

WILLOW

Why are you here?

 

IRVING

Are all your doors locked?

 

WILLOW

Why? Were you hoping for a more dramatic entrance?

 

IRVING

Are they?

 

TERRA

Yes. 

 

IRVING

Good. 

TERRA

Did you run here?

 

WILLOW

Can you stop pacing? You’re making me dizzy. 

 

TERRA

Irving, what’s going on?

 

IRVING

Something’s wrong. 

 

WILLOW

What’d do you….stop pacing.

 

(IRVING stops pacing)

 

TERRA

What’d ya mean something’s wrong? What’s wrong?

 

IRVING

I mean, Cletus and them, I think they’re tryna do something. Like malicious sorts of something. Saw em whispering together.

 

WILLOW

They always whisperin’.

 

IRVING

Naw, they looked different. 

 

TERRA

What’ca mean, different?

 

IRVING

Mean different. Can’t describe it. They looked….they looked like somethin’ else.  Somethin….something else. I think you two need to go.

 

WILLOW

Go? Go where?

 

IRVING

To my house. To Neil’s place. Anywhere other than here. They know Terra’s probably here, and if they know she’s here they’ll be here, and I don’t want any of us to find out what’s gonna happen when they arrive. 

 

TERRA

Why would they wanna hurt me? I mean, I know I ain’t made no friends, but I sure didn’t make no enemies. 

 

WILLOW

They’re miserable people, Terra. Who knows why they wallow in miserable states?

IRVING

Alright, we can stand here wax on about human nature and the heart of man, or we can get out this house while we still got all our working bits and pieces. 

 

TERRA 

Fine. We’ll take my truck-

 

IRVING

Naw, too noticeable. They’d track us easy. Walking’s best bet.

 

TERRA

But she’s pregnant. How we gonna sneak a pregnant woman all the hour-ways back to town on foot? She can hardly walk all that way. 

 

WILLOW

S’true. Only managed to get here cause the ravine’s so close. 

 

IRVING

Ravine?

 

WILLOW

S’where I been hiding. 

 

IRVING

You’ve been living in a ravine?

 

TERRA

Irving. 

 

IRVING

I know the shed’s not a hotel, but a ravine?

 

TERRA

Irving!

 

IRVING

What? 

 

TERRA

The ravine’s a good place to hide.

 

IRVING

It is a good place to hide. 

 

TERRA

Willow, you think you can lead us back there in the dark?

 

WILLOW

Might take a few wrong turns, but I think so. 

 

TERRA

We can take the back door. We should take food just in-

 

(CLETUS tries to ram down the front door.)

 

IRVING

Aww, naw. 

 

(TERRA pulls out her revolver, loads it, and cocks it.)

WILLOW

You’re gonna shoot ‘em?!

 

TERRA

Take the back door. I’ll find you. 

 

WILLOW/IRVING

Okay. /No way, Jose. 

 

TERRA

I’m serious, Irving.  I got a gun. I-

 

IRVING

No, we’re not leaving. 

 

WILLOW

I need to leave. 

 

IRVING

Willow-

 

WILLOW

I got a kid. I got responsibilities. 

 

TERRA

Can you two get out before they get in? That door ain’t thick.

 

IRVING

Y’aint got to be a hero. 

 

TERRA

Don’t wanna be a hero. But if they don’t know you’re here, you can get far away while me and my widow maker keep ‘em busy. 

 

IRVING

No. I already left one of you, and I’m not leaving you too. I don’t know what I’d do if you died. 

 

TERRA

Willow, take him and leave. 

 

WILLOW

Will do. Irving-

 

(CLETUS busts through the door and enters brandishing a gun of his own.)

 

CLETUS

Evening, Ms. McHale. Ms. Willow. Irving.

 

TERRA

Cletus, you best get out my house. 

 

CLETUS

Won’t be doing that. No. 

 

IRVING

Cletus-

 

CLETUS

Don’t move, boy. 

 

IRVING

Cletus, come on, I know you. You’re no killer, Cletus. Not you. 

 

CLETUS

It’s a man’s responsibility to defend what he loves. I love this town Irving, and them two girls behind you there are putting it in danger.  I told you we weren’t doing nothing. You should’ve listened. 

 

TERRA

Put the gun down, Cletus, or I’ll shoot you dead. 

 

CLETUS

Bet I’ll shoot you first. 

 

TERRA

Run.

 

(WILLOW pulls IRVING off through the backdoor.)

 

TERRA

Cletus, you even twitch and I’ll shoot you through the heart.

 

CLETUS

Big talk.

 

TERRA

Look, I’ont know what sort of delusions you got wrapped up in your head, but whatever’s going on up there don’t make it so you gotta kill us. 

 

CLETUS

You really gonna stand here and tell me that Willow ain’t controlling the weather somehow and you ain’t helping her? (TERRA pauses) Good, so you understand why I have to do what I have to do. 

 

TERRA

It’ll make it worse. Killin us’ll make it worse. 

 

CLETUS

How could it be worse than this. No rain for seven months. Ceaseless wind. Countless woe. Not a wink of sleep for days on end. Madness is our only friend with Death soon to follow? What could be worse than this?

 

TERRA

I don’t know. Just know hurtin her’s never made anything better. 

 

CLETUS

But not doing anything has made things worse. Listen, I’m sorry you went and got yourself wrapped up in this but you made your choice-
 

TERRA

I’m not even the one doin it, you know, and the one who is, already gone. You can try to go get her, but I’ll shoot you for you-.  (CLETUS laughs) What?

 

CLETUS

McHale, you think I came alone? Come on in, everybody.

 

(BUSYBODIES enter with IRVING and WILLOW, trying to break free.)

 

TERRA/IRVING/WILLOW

Irving! You better let him go right now. Look what you did. If he’s not okay, you don’t want to know what I’ll do if he’s not okay./Ms. Donahue, please. Please. Let us go. Please. I just wanna go home, please. Please. Please just let me go home. Just let us go./Let go of me. When I get out, misery unlike anything you’ve ever known will follow.

WILLOW

You have not yet begun to know the depths of your consequences. 

 

BUSYBODIES

Quiet! We’ve gone too long without correcting this indecency. This immoral girl, and you Irving. We were too kind on you. Too forgiving, but tonight you will see what happens to those who mock us, and hopefully you’ll return to us.

  

WILLOW

Terra, shoot them. 

 

CLETUS

Bring that other one over here. Tie ‘em to the chairs. We’re gonna make it quick and clean.

 

IRVING/WILLOW

Terra!

(TERRA shoots the wall.)

TERRA

Everyone be still. Don’t move a lick. I don’t wanna kill you, Cletus. 

 

CLETUS

Too bad.

 

(IRVING tackles CLETUS from behind. The two struggle)

IRVING

You should have stopped, Cletus!

 

BUSYBODIES

Get off Irving! Stop it! Stop it you two!

 

CLETUS

Get off me boy. 

 

IRVING

You should have let it go, Cletus. Let dead dogs lie. 

 

TERRA

Stop. Stop moving the both of you. Irving, get off. 

 

(CLETUS fires a shot. TERRA screams.)

 

IRVING

Terra!

 

TERRA/CLETUS

No, I’m fine. I’m-/Wait, I didn’t mean-

 

IRVING

Give me the gun. 

 

(CELTUS and IRVING struggle)

 

CLETUS

Get off. 
 

IRVING

Give me the gun! (CLETUS shoots IRVING. IRVING falls to the ground) Ahhhhh!

 

TERRA/WILLOW

Irving!

 

(TERRA and WILLOW rush to Irving’s side.)

 

IRVING

Terra? Terra?

 

TERRA

I’m here, Irving. Okay? I’m here. Willow, come on. Push on it. Don’t stop. God there’s so much blood. Come on push harder. Harder. 

 

IRVING

Ms. Donahue? Ms…...Terra?

 

CLETUS

I didn’t mean to….you have to know I didn’t mean to-

 

TERRA

Look, just go and get a doctor or something. Get a….Irving, come on, stay awake, alright? You have to stay awake. 

 

IRVING

I wanna go home. I want my Pop. 

 

TERRA

Okay, we’ll get you home. You’ll see you Father and….can someone get a doctor, please?

 

BUSYBODIES

Town’s an hour away. 

 

TERRA

Take my truck. 

 

BUSYBODIES

Don’t know how to drive-

 

TERRA

Then run. Run do something. Do...Willow press harder. Press harder, damnit. 

 

IRVING

Willow?

 

WILLOW

Yes, Irving.

 

IRVING

Willow, you’re gonna be a good Momma. 

 

WILLOW

Thank you. 

 

IRVING

Name it after me, okay? Irving’s a good girl name too, you know?

 

WILLOW

No, it’s not. 

 

IRVING

No, it’s not. 

 

WILLOW

You….you were better than most, Irving. 

 

IRVING

I was?

 

TERRA

Hey, stop talking like that. You’ll be fine. You’ll be up and walkin’ tomorrow. Look, it’s barely even a scratch. You’re so dramatic. You’ll be fine. Come on, tell him. Tell him. Barely even a….come on, tell him.  (No one says anything.) Forget them. You’ll be fine. You got too much living to do to die. Irving, come on, look, get up. Take you on a walk right now. We’ll show ‘em. Look, we can go outside and see the sky. The stars are so pretty at night and-

 

IRVING

Terra, stop. 

 

TERRA

But you’re...no.

 

IRVING

Hey. Hey. 

TERRA

Yes. 

IRVING

(jokingly)

Think it’ll stain?

 

(IRVING dies. Much like in life, he was the only one laughing at his joke.)

 

Scene 7: Terra's Kitchen (The Next Morning)

 

(TERRA is sitting at her table. She stands, gently crying. She steps to the left, then to the right, then to the left again. She walks to the kitchen cabinet. She opens it and takes a cup. She closes the cabinet. She cries as she slams the cabinet shut three more times. A cry claws it way out of her throat as she hurls her cup at the wall. It shatters. She flings open the cabinet and a mixture of rage and grief tears through her as she shatters nearly all of the dishes she has in her cabinets. With each through she releases a scream full of rage and primal grief. She has nothing else to throw. She quietly tries to catch her breath and what's left of her composure. WILLOW walks down the creaky wooden stairs.)

WILLOW

Morning. Your chickens still lay eggs?

 

TERRA

You’re hungry?

 

(WILLOW makes her way across the ceramic covered floor)

WILLOW

Eating for two and all that. 

 

TERRA

Right. No, they don’t. 

 

WILLOW

Huh. Got butter?

 

TERRA

A little.

 

WILLOW

Then I’ll make us some pancakes. 

 

TERRA

Ain’t you gonna ask why the kitchen looks like a tornado came through?

 

WILLOW

No, I’ve been there before. You like pancakes?

 

TERRA

Depends. 

 

WILLOW

On what?

 

TERRA

If they’re good. 

 

WILLOW

Oh, mine are good. It’s my mother's recipe. 

 

TERRA

Ain’t got syrup. 

 

WILLOW

That’s fine. Thank you for letting me stay here tonight. 

 

TERRA

Where else were you gonna go? JR’s coming by to pick up Irving later. 

 

WILLOW

Did you clean him up?

 

TERRA

Yeah. Changed the clothes too. It did stain. 

 

WILLOW

You could have asked me to help. 

 

TERRA

No. 

 

WILLOW

Did it take long?

 

TERRA

No. 

 

WILLOW

You got chocolate chips? Momma used to put in chocolate chips. 

 

TERRA

How’d you do it?

 

WILLOW

Do what?

 

TERRA

The rain? The wind? How’d you do it?

 

WILLOW

I didn’t do anything. 

 

TERRA

I won’t be angry if you tell me, but I mean, if you hadn’t done any of this, I’d still have a farm. I’d still have my friend.

 

WILLOW

I didn’t kill Irving. 

 

TERRA

I know you didn’t directly, but-

 

WILLOW

No. No buts. I didn’t. Cletus did. 

 

TERRA

But it’s all around you-

 

WILLOW

I’m just trying to live, I’m not….you’d still have the farm?

 

TERRA

 I would. 

 

WILLOW

Terra, I didn’t know. 

 

TERRA

That’s fine, I didn’t tell you. 

 

WILLOW

What are you going to do?

 

TERRA

I don’t know. 

 

WILLOW

Does Neil know? He has money-

 

TERRA

I don’t want that money. I can’t take it.

 

WILLOW

There’s no shame in getting help if someone’s willing to give it to ya. 

 

TERRA

No, you don’t understand. 

 

WILLOW

Yes, I do. You told me. 

 

TERRA

I….I don’t want to talk about this anymore. 

 

WILLOW

Ain’t this the sort of thing you talk about with your friend?

 

TERRA

I don’t know. 

 

WILLOW

Well, it just seemed like if you have someone to talk to it makes no sense why you oughtn't not talk to ‘em….McHale?

 

TERRA

But how’d you do it?

 

WILLOW

I really didn’t do anything.

 

(Beat)

 

TERRA

I don’t want pancakes. I’m not hungry.

 

(The front door swings open. NEIL hurriedly enters.)

 

NEIL

Terra? Terra! Terra, I heard what happened. Is it true?

 

WILLOW

It’s true. 

 

NEIL

Oh. 

 

TERRA

It’s true. 

 

NEIL

They did all this to the kitchen too? Were they trying to bring the place down-

 

TERRA

No. That was….no.

 

NEIL

Are you….are you both well?

 

TERRA

No. 

 

WILLOW

Physically, yes.

 

TERRA

He died in my arms, Neil.

 

NEIL

Willow, could you please give us-

 

WILLOW

I’ll be in the parlor.

 

(WILLOW exits.)

NEIL

Terra Anne-

 

TERRA

Why does this keep happening, Neil? Why do I know so many dead people?

 

NEIL

Perhaps you should sit.

 

TERRA

Did I do something? 

 

NEIL

Really, you should sit-

 

TERRA

Cause if I did something I’m sorry. You hear, me? I’m sorry. I couldn’t be more sorry. I can’t be more-

 

NEIL

Terra. Please just...I did something that concerns you and I feel you should sit before you-

 

TERRA

Jesus, just say it. I can take it. I always take it. 

 

NEIL

I telegraphed Father.

 

TERRA

Why would you-

 

NEIL

A rather expensive one at that. I told him everything. 

 

TERRA

Everything?

 

NEIL

Everything. It’s time you go home, Terra. 

 

TERRA

I am home. 

 

NEIL

It’s time you really go home. 

 

TERRA

You….you can’t do that. 

 

NEIL

But I did. 

 

TERRA

No, Neil, you can’t. I’m supposed to stay here.

 

NEIL

Stay here? Here? A place where the closet doctor is an hour away. A place where everyone smiles in your face and talks behind your back. A place where nothing grows. A place where you only have one friend and now you don't even have that-

 

TERRA

It’s my gift, Neil. 

 

NEIL

You keep saying that, but I don’t know what that means. All I know is that this place, this place is going to kill you, and I refuse to be the brother of a dead sister. 

 

TERRA

I hate you. 

 

NEIL

That’s okay, as long as you get help-

 

TERRA

I don’t need your help. 

 

NEIL

Yes, you do. 

 

TERRA

I don’t want your help.

 

NEIL

This isn’t about what either of us wants. 
 

TERRA

You can't do this. 

 

NEIL

You need more than I can give. More than this place can give.

 

TERRA

I hate you. 

 

NEIL

One day you won’t.

 

TERRA

You sound just like him. (Pause) I thought you loved me. 

 

(Beat)

 

NEIL

I….this….fantasies aren’t forever, Terra. 

 

TERRA

Where are you going?

 

NEIL

To help you pack. (As NEIL Exits) You can go in now, Willow. 

 

(WILLOW enters.)

 

WILLOW

Cornelius has the strangest look in his eyes. Something close to heartbreak. Is everything okay? Terra?

 

(TERRA loses the accent) 

 

TERRA

I'm a bad farmer.

 

WILLOW

O….kay. 

 

TERRA

Even before the drought. Neil’s been lying to our parents since I got here. Lying saying I was good, I’m not good. 

 

TERRA

How did you survive in this Godforsaken town?

 

(WILLOW really thinks about it.)

 

WILLOW

I don’t know, but I did. 

 

TERRA

You know, in Boston, when things felt a little too oppressive, I used to pretend that I was someone else. That I was some grand adventurer trapezing around Europe and the thick jungles of the Amazon. You know, like some sort of Charles Marlow.

 

WILLOW

Really?

 

TERRA

Really. Sometimes, all I ever wanted to be away from there. 

 

WILLOW

But don’t you miss it?

 

TERRA

All the time. How ‘bout you?

 

WILLOW

How ‘bout I what?

 

TERRA

What did you use to imagine you’d do? What was your big fantasy?

 

WILLOW

Promise you won’t laugh?

 

TERRA

I’ll try my best. 
 

WILLOW

I used to imagine that I was a princess. 
 

TERRA

A princess. 

 

WILLOW

You said you wouldn’t laugh. 

 

TERRA

(laughing)

I said I’d try my best, and I am. I am trying my best. 

 

WILLOW

I suppose it is kinda silly. 

 

TERRA

No, it’s nice. A princess. 

 

WILLOW

A princess, and ‘course, I had my own little castle on the top of the tallest hill in the kingdom. And a prince-

 

TERRA

A prince?

 

WILLOW

The kindest prince, who would always be there to play and do all the things that princes and princesses do. 

 

TERRA

And servants?

 

WILLOW

Oh, we didn’t have servants, Food would appear. Magic of course was a staple. 

 

TERRA

That sounds nice. 

 

WILLOW

It was. It really was. 
 

TERRA

How about now?

 

WILLOW

Huh?

 

TERRA

What do you want now?

 

(A gentle roll of thunder.)

 

WILLOW

What do I want? What I want….I think I…I just want to be a girl. I just want the things girls want. I just want to be loved and to love and be needed. Not the way that people need entertainment, or distraction, not the way gossips need a target, but the way people need people. I don’t think that’s a lot to ask do you?

 

TERRA

I don’t think that’s a lot at all. 

 

WILLOW

See, that’s what I think. 

 

TERRA

Willow, if you could go anywhere in the whole world, where would it be?

 

WILLOW

Anywhere?

 

TERRA

Anywhere.

 

WILLOW

Mmmmmm….anywhere in the….I’d like to see the sea. I always read in my books that it was….I don’t know, it just sounded like it would be so….so different than here. I just want to go meet it where it stands. 

 

TERRA

My family used to go to the coast in the summers.

 

WILLOW

Is it wonderful?

TERRA

It’s…..you should come and see. 

 

WILLOW

Whada’ mean?

 

TERRA

Today I decided I’m gonna run away again, and you're right the sea’s a good place to go. 

 

WILLOW

Run away?

 

TERRA

It’s the only thing I’ve ever been good at. 

 

WILLOW

But-

 

TERRA

No buts. I lost the farm. I lost my friend, but my freedom’s still here, and yours is too, so if you want to use it-

 

WILLOW

You want me to go with you?

 

TERRA

It’s no fun being alone.   

 

WILLOW

You want me to go with you. 

 

TERRA

But only if you want to. So what do you say? Willow, are you coming or what?

 

WILLOW

I….I’d love to. 

(WILLOW laughs and TERRA laughs too, then, for the first time in seven months, they can hear it. The gentle patter of rain. The curse is broken, retribution has been had, and those who have been denied their voice the longest have finally been recentered in the narrative.)