The Play

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: December 05, 2017

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Submitted: December 05, 2017

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The Play

Michael Larson waits in the soft interview room of the Minatoca Police Station.  It has been exactly two hours and forty-seven minutes since his arrest and what constitutes this amount of time is a twenty-minute car ride, sixty-two-minute booking procedure where evidence and personal belongings were accounted for (wallet/clothes/the play/dagger/glasses/costume), a thirty-five-minute wait in a holding cell until Michael asked to confess to the crime of murder, and the fifty-minute wait in the soft interview room.

The young man shifts from side to side in his seat and gazes at the oppressive one-way mirror that dominates the south wall of the room. What he sees is the visage of an actor who can’t comprehend the part he will play. He knows he had an audience watching him but cannot see him yet, but is sure that someone will come for him ultimately. That is was what was said to Michael if he agrees to do his part. His pulse quickens as he perceives footsteps approaching down the hall, along with deeply ominous voices conversing that blend together to form meaningless noise to him. The voices stop at the simple door. A lock unlocks and the door opens as Officer Turning, Officer Roberts, Police Chief Reeding, and Detective Calvin Morris entered the soft interview room.

The room feels crowded with six entities filling the eleven-by-nine-foot room, but nonetheless, all the officers enter the room. Detective Calvin Morris sits across the table from Michael as the rest take seats or stand in silent vigil where there are none.

“Mr. Larson” says the fifty-seven-year-old Detective Morris, “I hope your stay here has been comfortable for the most part. How are you feeling?”

Michael’s mouth gapes open dumbly at the question. Instead of the gruff voice that Detective Morris would have seem possess was a calm, grandfatherly cadence of an old man welcoming someone to his home.

“Good, I mean well, considering the circumstances” Michael says. A slight smile creeps at the corners of the detective’s bearded face. The other men do not smile, their thoughts and stances are as rigid as performers who have rehearsed the blocking too many times. He appears to be nothing more than a nervous boy to them. Despite his nonthreatening demeaner, the issue of If, Where, and Why loom in the minds of the men.

“I’m glad to hear it Mr. Larson. Now before we begin with any questions related to the events that took place tonight I’d like for you to tell me about yourself.”

“You want me to talk about myself?” stuttered Michael.

“Mhm, hobbies you have, where you go to school and work, family, friends. Just anything about yourself, I’d like to get to know you before we begin anything that would go on record. Remember, we did read you your Rights before we brought you in so you can choose not to talk to me at any time. It’s up to you Michael.”

“I was under the impression I was going to be interrogated for what I di-.”

“So, you did do it then,” interrupts Chief Reeding. The timbre of his icy voice cuts through the warm pleasantries like a sacrificial blade, getting to the heart of the matter at hand.

“Chief Reeding, I believe our guest here would be more willing to speak if there were less ears in the room,” the detective states with a hard edge, “Would you be more comfortable if it were just me and you, Michael?”

Michael looks up at the rigid eyes of men in the room and then quickly back down. He starts to shake. He trembles at the way they accuse and revile him like. If Michael could shut their eyes forever he would do it, but he does not possess the way; he is merely a frightened young man in a town that would forever despise him, in a room full of people who could hurt him if it were not for Calvin Morris. The CCTV cameras haven’t been working properly in the underfunded Minatoca Police Station. If something terrible would to befall him at the hands of someone in the room tonight, who would know? The idea turns Michael’s stomach.

“Michael?” the kindly detective asked as the twisted thoughts pass “would you like to speak to me alone?”

“Yes, yes, I would.”

Morris silently turns to the men in the room. Chief Reeding is the head of the department and nearly as respected in town as the mayor, but the detective held the upmost authority in the room now. Reeding nods to officers Roberts and Turning and they leave the room. They, however, did not go to their respective offices, and instead go to the adjacent room so that they can listen and watch through the one-way mirror.

The door shuts and detective Morris pulls out a notepad, pen, and sets a handheld voice recorder on the table.

“I hope you don’t mind if I record our conversation and jot down my thoughts. My memory isn’t as good as it was when I was your age, I find it helps me order my line of thinking. How old are you again?”

“No, I don’t mind and I’m 18.”

“I see, and did you recently graduate last spring?”

“Yes, at Eagle Lake Adult School.”

Morris continues writing. “Not at Minatoca High School?”

Michael hesitates to answer as he is aware that answering would lead to an embarrassment that serves as a wellspring toward his actions this night at the theater. A fleeting moment passes and he answers “No, not at the high school.”

Morris is acutely aware that his question might shame the young butcher.

“There is nothing wrong from getting a diploma from an adult school. I did when I was young because I fought too much with the other boys and teachers. May I ask why you went there?”

“I did-I did because I threatened to kill one of my classmates.”

“And what did this classmate do to you that made you want to hurt him?”

The detective is a deliberate and shrewd man.  From just talking to him, one might assume, as does Michael, that he has a person’s best interest in mind and understands that the boy who violated the girl Michael loves was in the wrong and deserved to die. The detective listens to Michael tell his story. How he longed for a girl who never talked to him and placed her on the pedestal of his desires. The girl in question, Abigail. It was on a remarkable day in junior year that Michael sat in Ms. DeLacey’s acting class and overheard a peculiar conversation coming from behind him. Michael paid no mind until the name Abigail was repeated several times and like a dog who answers its owner’s call, he answered the call of Abigail’s name and began to listen.

“I heard him say… that he took her virginity” Michael meekly states to Detective Morris.

“Do you remember what exactly was said and who said it?”

“That he fucked her, that he drove her in his car by the shore of Eagle Lake and that he ‘screwed her tight pussy until she screamed.’” The words came out like a bitter bile from deep within his guts. They have been repeated and memorized every day in Michael’s head since he thought he heard them two years ago. Screwed her tight pussy until she screamed…until she screamed…until she screamed.

“I turned around and saw Travis laughing with his friends and I started to yell and everything went red.”

In the interviews later held with Ms. DeLacey, Travis, and other students in the class, it is corroborated that Michael did have a nervous breakdown and lashed out at the students behind him, saying that would “Rip Travis’ fucking guts out and feed them to his dog.” The students that will be interviewed deny that they said anything related to Abigail, as she was a new student and they were not aware she was even attending the school. When Ms. DeLacey will be asked about the play that inspired Michael Larson’s crime, she will deny ever seeing it in the theater library.

Detective Morris listens closely to the story and jots down notes every few minutes on his notepad.  Michael finishes talking about high school the detective steers the questions to things relating to his childhood and interests growing up. Michael answers honestly how he grew up without knowing his mother and how he lives with his father who spends most of his time working construction outside of Minatoca. He briefly mentions that his dog Gigi recently died about a month ago, and that he is currently a student at Minatoca Community College and is a student of theater arts. The banal conversation continues and the detective jots down notes every few minutes. From Michael’s perspective, all he can see is a patient old man listening closely to his life, more closely than anyone has cared to before in his insignificantly small existence. But if something were stand not but a foot behind Morris, they would see the accurate deductions of Michael’s psyche on the notepad. The detective is part of an audience and is doing a careful character study of the Dramatis personæ before him.

Conf to murder. Slender Cauc male, glasses, short stature, bad hygiene…

Noncomp of high school, nervous, avoids eye contact,

Responds well to friendly male figure

Infat with girl who doesn’t know him

Viol outbursts, antisocial, no mention of friends

Poss mother aband issues?

Casual mention of pet dying, artistic.

 

The detective is a masterful director, guiding Michael through his lines and encouraging him to give more and more until there is nothing left for him to give except his soul. After listening to Michael give his introductions, Morris was ready for the second act.

“Michael” the detective gently interrupts, “What caused you to do what you did tonight?”

“I don’t know exactly.”

“You don’t know?”

“Not that I don’t know why I did what I did, I’m not sure what it is that caused me to do it. The reason why I did it was to be with Abigail. What it was that made me do it…” Michael’s pulse started to increase and began he began to tremble. He reconsidered his wording while staring off into the empty void behind the detective. “What convinced me to do it was the play.”

“The play, you are referring the one that you performed tonight at the college theater?”

“Yes.”

“What happened at the performance tonight that convinced you to do it?”

Michael smiles; a haunting reminder of an ancient Dionysian mask that pagans would wear as they praised their old and terrible gods. It will be the only time he smiles this night, and it disturbs the old detective greatly

too comf with me

“It wasn’t the performance that convinced me. It was when I rehearsed the play for the first time.”

Calvin Morris’ act almost broke. He did not want to know what happened during the first rehearsal as he had already accurately guessed who Michael’s first inamorata was. Morris regained the small amount of composure he lost and continued with his line of questioning.

“What happened during the first rehearsal?”

Michael feigned a look of guilt that a child might have after their parents caught them doing something they know they shouldn’t do.

“I killed Gigi.”

Animal cruelty, lack of comp

“Your dog, you killed your dog?”

“To put it simply, yes. I don’t know think you want to hear the details. You don’t seem as nice as you were in the beginning.”

“I’m just surprised Micha-”

“Why would you be surprised? I murdered someone tonight… I’m a murder. But you don’t understand why.”

“Then help me understand Michael.” The old man pleads.

“Because the play said I would. It said I was going kill the thing I cared about the most, and if I did, I would see him and be with her forever and she would be mine! I rehearsed so I could do it right. When my dad was gone for work I went for a walk with Gigi to Eagle Lake to rehearse and I stabbed her in the heart and she screamed. She actually screamed! But there was no one to witness, no audience to watch. I even began to cry because I thought I killed my dog for nothing. But then I heard him.”

The room falls silent. The detective’s eyes dart to the corners of the room. The old man’s fear settles as he recalls there are only the officers in the next room watching and listening. No thing else.

“Who did you hear?”

“He, it, the writer, the director, the final player.”

“You didn’t tell me that you went to Eagle Lake with someone else.”

“Something else. He isn’t a person in the way you and I are. He exists in the play and he is the play and he is outside of the play.”

Poss schiz, psych break

“So, he isn’t a person who was there?”

“No, he is formless. It called to me when I first found the play in the theater library, before I left Minatoca High School. It followed me for a year, writing my story, directing the play before I rehearsed it with Gigi. He told me that I was ready to show an audience and only then could he manifest and let me be with Abigail.”

Morris stays still for a moment. “So that is why you enrolled in Minatoca Community College, because you somehow knew Abigail was in the theater program and most likely forgot about you after two years. You have been committed to this plan ever since you killed Gigi.”

“Yes.”

“What did you tell your father about Gigi?”

“I told him she ran away and got lost in the woods, that I couldn’t find her.”

“And your father believed you?”

“Why wouldn’t he? I wasn’t lying.”

“What do you mean?”

“After I began to leave and heard the voice, I turned around and Gigi was gone.”

“The dog was not where you left it?”

“No.”

Another sickening thought begins to enter the detective’s mind. His face is a blank slate but his eyes are drawing down to the table. It was a nervous habit he tried to get rid of when he was reprimanded as a child.

“Is it possible you didn’t actually kill the dog?”

“I thought that too, but there wasn’t a blood trail. Just an imprint in the dirt.”

The detective doesn’t know what to make of his story. He thinks he has underestimated Michael’s ability to act as he almost believes for second that he is telling the truth.

“If you don’t believe me then you can read the play.” Michael says. “The yellow book that Officer Turning took when I was arrested. Along with the dagger.”

“I will in time, along with the testimonies of the witnesses tonight.”

“How many people will that be? I heard it was a full house.”

“It was, 150 citizens of Minatoca.”

“That’s a large audience.”

Morris looks at him closely, “It is.”

Sad pleas in what he did? Voy behav

The detective deliberates for a moment at what his next question would be. The reasonable one would be how he even convinced Abigail to be in a play with him.

“So, you joined the theater program at the College and then what? You just asked Abigail to be in the play with you?”

“No, I was patient. It wrote in the play that she would be chosen and she was. ‘Forsooth, the Virgin was chosen to be the archangel Michael’s bride in heaven where she shall eternal lie’ Act 2 Scene 3. The program director chose random pairs for a student play showcase and Abigail was assigned to me. I only showed the director and Abigail the third act of the play and told them I would not be using a real knife in the show. They agreed and we began rehearsing for tonight.”

The detective heard almost everything he needed to hear at the present time. There might be time to question him tomorrow and in the coming days as the hour was growing late. But the detective needs to hear what happened tonight from Michael, while it is still raw and fresh. In his thirty years as the detective of the Minatoca police station, he has never encountered a case like this. A lawyer would have enough evidence to plead insanity even though it was a premeditated murder. There are 151 witnesses to the crime and he possesses the play that Michael seemingly wrote himself detailing his life since he was kicked out of high school up until now. He estimates that he only needs another few minutes with him until he can go home and sleep on everything that is said tonight. In his mind, Michael Larson fit the character typecast of such killers as Eric Harris or Dylan Klebold. Michael would not do well if he went to prison. Detective Morris hopes that the boy will be put in some institution.

The tired old man shifts in his seat and lets out a sigh. “Tell me what happened tonight, Michael.”

“What else can I say? Tonight was the showcase, Abagail and I were going to perform the play. Not the whole thing because that started when I first found it, but Act three. We got dressed in costume and waited until the other performances were done. She didn’t talk to me much during rehearsals other than to get what needed to be done but it was still nice being with her while she was alive. I knew she would be mine soon and the rest didn’t matter. The lights went down and it was our turn to take the stage. She said the lines perfectly. I couldn’t see into the audience but I knew my father was watching, along with her friends and family. The whole scene was probably not more than ten minutes long but it was beautiful. When she laid on the ground, waiting for me to kill her, she looked at me with her green eyes and said those final lines. I actually considered letting her live and just throwing the play away. But I heard someone. Someone in the back of the audience was laughing when the rest of the theater was quiet. I think I heard them say that they fucked her. She was looking past my face waiting to die but I think she got scared when she saw the look on my face. I wasn’t going let anyone else have her.  I followed the stage directions and stabbed her in the heart with the real knife as hard as I could. Her eyes, her eyes got real wide and she started screaming and crying loudly. That was the cue for the stage hand to close the curtains and they did. Once Abigail died, the theater for a brief moment seemed so empty, I heard not a sound from where I was backstage. I waited to hear his voice again. To hear the final lines. But it never came. After a few moments I walked into the green room backstage, locked the door behind me, and waited for the police to arrest me. Now I’m here, still waiting for the play to end.”

The detective takes a few moments to process everything he heard.

“You believe you are still in the play?”

“Yes, it won’t end until the final player says his lines, he’s still here with me. Writing this play. He’s in room.”

The detective was acutely aware he was being watched at the moment. Despite himself, he turned and looked at the mirror behind him. The men on the other side looked puzzled. All the detective could see was the reflection of the room, the two people in it and nothing else there. Nothing there. A delicate and terrible idea takes form in Calvin Morris as he starts to look at the floor again.

“Wait here.”

The detective stands up and leaves to go into the other room where the other officers are. Michael hears the lilt of laughter from somewhere. A few moments later Detective Morris, Chief Reeding, and Officers Turning and Roberts enter the cramped interview room.

“Michael” the detective says in his deliberately steady tone, “Where did you put Abigail’s body?”

“Where I left it.”

“If you killed her then where is the body? Where is the body!”

“The body is with the Play, but the Play is not with the body. The Play is a thing-”

“Tell me where she is!”

“In heaven. Send your Chief to look. If he cannot find her, seek her within the play yourself.”

With that, the interview ends and Michael is sent to the detention room to sleep in his cell. Calvin Morris leaves the station and drives the lonely lane to his home where he will never find an easy night’s rest for the rest of his life. In the dark cell, Michael waits for what was to come. There are no other people in the adjacent cells. No audience to witness the final scene. It matters not, as Michael fulfilled his role and I am ready to reveal myself to him. I enter Michael’s cell and he calls out to me.

“Are you there? I’ve done what you’ve asked, I want to be with her now.”

My voice fills the room, and the space between spaces and I utter the final lines.

“Michael, I shall remove the shade betwixt you and I make you one with her. I reveal myself to you, So shall I reveal the true actors beneath their masks’ so that they receive their due praise. Gigi, Abigail, Michael, and I.”

My Play ends and Michael beholds me in my true Beauty. He screams.

  •  

The next morning, Detective Morris receives a phone call. Abigail has been found. Her body had been sitting on stage the whole night. The detective silently begins to hand up the phone and leave until he hears there is more. Michael Larson is dead. His body remains in the cell he was interred in last night. When he arrives at the station, he is greeted by Chief Reeding who then takes him inside the station. Outside the door of the detention room, officers Roberts and Turning sit on cold metal chairs. Morris goes to open the door when Reeding stops him.

“You don’t have to go in Calvin. Please don’t.”

Morris looks past him with tired and defeated eyes and then enters the room.

The End

 

 

 

 

 

Inamorata: As I draw my final breathes and edge closer

To the realm known as death, Methinks

I hear him but he is shrouded, Haste

Michael, so that I may lift the veil

and see the face of God

[He stabs her. As she dies, she witnesses His true form. And screams]

The Play, Act III, Scene 6.


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