Hearts of Improvement

Reads: 30  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 02, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 02, 2018

A A A

A A A














 

HEARTS OF IMPROVEMENT

 

by

Cecily Lessa






















 

CHARACTERS

 

EMELINE GLEN

An independent young woman who is determined to defy her self-centered father and find her own path in life.

KALEB LOWELL

Emeline’s boyfriend. A boy who wants to keep everyone safe but is willing to risk himself for the right cause.

MAYLA LOWELL

Kaleb’s mother. A frail but determined woman who refuses to give up. She wants to fight for what’s right, regardless of the consequences.

MEREK WOLFING

The leader of the Perfecting Process. A stern, controlling man who only cares about his reputation.

CRISTIANA WOLFING

Merek’s wife. A gullible woman who longs for power but deep down wants respect and freedom as well.

TERRYN GLEN

Emeline’s father. The vice president of the Perfecting Process. Dedicated to his work. Deep down, he does care for his daughter and wants to please her.















 

SETTING


 

A large city, what used to be New York but has evolved into the economy of the Perfecting Process, New Worlds.




 

TIME


 

The day before the Perfectors and the leaders of the Perfecting Process are going to wage war on the Unperfected.




 

ACT I

 

Scene 1 Emeline’s home.

 

Scene 2 Kaleb’s home.

 

Scene 3 Merek’s home.







 

SCENE ONE

 

   

(We open in a large living room. Crystal decorations and delicate glass carvings are scattered around the room. A blazing fire is alive in the hearth, and large leather couches face a towering bookcase full of thick novels. A seventeen year old girl is sitting comfortably on one of the couches, reading a battered red book. Her name is Emeline Glen. An adult enters, his clothes shiny and silver. He is standing up tall, giving off an air of confidence. His name is Terryn Glen. He is Emeline’s father.)

 

TERRYN

(Crossing the room to sit next to her.)

Still reading those silly books, Emeline?

 

EMELINE

(Keeping her head in her book.)

They’re not silly.

 

TERRYN

Why not engage in something more useful? We have plenty of manuals on the Perfecting Process. They’ll get you ready for your birthday.



 

EMELINE

(Glancing at her father.)

And what if I don’t want to be Perfected?

 

TERRYN

(Crossly.)

Why wouldn’t you? The technology gives you a chance to become better than those who can’t afford it! Your sight, your hearing, your thoughts . . . They’ll all be improved! The surgery brightens and broadens your senses and abilities, and once you turn eighteen next Tuesday, you will be Perfected.

 

EMELINE

(Putting down her book.)

I don’t want to be changed.

 

TERRYN

You won’t be! You’ll be . . . improved.

 

EMELINE

And what about those who can’t be improved?

 

TERRYN

If you’re referring to Kaleb and his family, forget it. Your silly boyfriend isn’t worth your time.

 

EMELINE

Don’t insult the Lowells! I love Kaleb!

 

TERRYN

That’s the problem.

 

EMELINE

(Standing up in anger.)

How dare you! Kaleb’s family is amazing!




 

TERRYN

All you ever care about is that silly family. What about us? What about me?

 

EMELINE

All you ever care about is your stupid project! You think it’s so extraordinary. But aren’t there flaws in the Perfecting Process?

(Quietly.)

Mom died from her Perfection last year, didn’t she?

 

TERRYN

(Sadly.)

The Perfectors won’t make the same mistake twice.

 

EMELINE

(Sitting back down and putting her head in her hands.)

Won’t they? I don’t want to take that risk. I want to be with Kaleb. And if who I truly am isn’t enough for you, then why do you even care?

 

TERRYN

(Sitting beside Emeline and rubbing her back.)

I care because you’re my daughter and I love you.

 

EMELINE

(Sarcastically.)

Sure you do.

 

TERRYN

I care about you enough to want to protect you from the world. Being Perfected will save you from scorn.



 

EMELINE

(Pulling away from Terryn’s hand.)  

I don’t care. And neither does Kaleb. That’s why I’ve decided to skip the Perfecting Process.

 

TERRYN

(Surprised.)

What?!

 

EMELINE

Don’t be so surprised. You knew this day would come.

 

TERRYN

No, I thought I knew the day would come when my daughter would be Perfected and finally saved from a pathetic life! I saw a beautiful, worthy girl through my improved eyes!

 

EMELINE

(Standing up.)

Well then I guess you never opened them all the way.  

(Emeline shakes her head one last time before she exits, taking her beaten book with her.)

 

TERRYN

(Standing and calling after her.)

Get back here, young lady! Don’t ignore your father! You’ll be Perfected if I have to force the Perfectors to operate on you in your sleep!

(When Emeline doesn’t answer or come back, Terryn begins to pace.)

She has to be Perfected. She doesn’t know how disgraceful she’ll be when we . . .

(Terryn sighs.)

When we wage war on the Unperfected. She’ll be vulnerable. And she’ll be fighting on the wrong side.

 

(He exits, his head still held high.)


 

SCENE TWO


 

 

(We open in a small entryway, where everything is poor and limited. There is a small table with a vase of wilted flowers, and the walls are a dark brown. A wooden stool sits alone in one corner. Emeline rushes in and collapses into a decrepit chair in a sobbing heap. A teenage boy, Kaleb Lowell, enters. He sees Emeline and rushes over, kneeling next to her.)

 

KALEB

(Concerned.)

Emeline! Are you okay?

 

EMELINE

(Sobbing.)

Oh Kaleb, I told him, and he’s furious!

 

KALEB

(Guiltily.)

I’m so sorry. You really don’t have to do this with me.

 

EMELINE

(Looking up.)

I love you, Kaleb, and nothing can change that. We have to stand tall. We have to fight for what’s right. I just wish my father wasn’t so fixed on his image of the world being perfect.

 

KALEB

Isn’t that why the Perfecting Process was created?

 

EMELINE

Well, yeah, but . . . It’s just wrong, letting the less wealthy become corrupt while everyone else thrives.

 

KALEB

(Seriously.)

It’s terrible.

 

EMELINE

(Frowning.)

I’m just so scared.

 

KALEB

We’ll get through this.

 

EMELINE

I hope so.

 

(Suddenly, a lean and lanky woman enters, dusting the cabinets. Her name is Mayla Lowell, Kaleb’s mother. When she sees Emeline, she drops her duster excitedly and grins.)

 

MAYLA

Emeline! You’re here!

(She glances at Kaleb and frowns.)

Well don’t just stand there, tidy up the place!

 

KALEB

Mother, Emeline has had a rough day. She told Terryn everything.








 

MAYLA

(Kindly.)

Oh, Emmy, you must be so depressed! Your father can be a bit too harsh, I’m afraid. You’re doing the right thing, helping us. Here, let me go get you something to eat.

(Mayla hurries off, forgetting her duster on the way out.)

 

EMELINE

(Sadly.)

What are we going to do?

 

KALEB

Well, we could . . .

(He trails off, his eyes glazing over as he thinks intently.)

No, that’d be too dangerous.

 

EMELINE

Tell me!

(Just then, Mayla enters with a plate of cookies. Seeing Emeline and Kaleb sitting there silently, she trudges over and looks suspiciously at them, putting down the snack.)

 

MAYLA

What are you two up to? What’s the plan?

 

EMELINE

(Annoyed.)

Yeah, Kaleb, what’s the plan?

 

KALEB

We don’t have one.


 

EMELINE

(Slightly angry at Kaleb for his resistance.)

You just had an idea! Tell us what it was!

 

KALEB

No, no. It’s too dangerous.

 

MAYLA

(Eager.)

I’m expendable . . .

 

KALEB

Dangerous for Emeline.

 

EMELINE

(Nervous.)

M-me?

 

KALEB

You.

(Hesitantly.)

We would send you to Merek Wolfing’s home to do some . . . negotiating.

 

EMELINE

(Terrified.)

Merek Wolfing . . . The leader of the Perfecting Process?! He would never agree to any of our terms!

 

KALEB

We have to make him.

(Desperate.)

We have to change what’s been happening.

 

EMELINE

(Accepting.)

What do I have to do?

 

KALEB

Well . . . Since you’re the one denying the Perfecting Process, it seems more logical to have you do the negotiating. He’ll also take you more seriously because you’re wealthier than us. You’ll just have to get him to agree with you. You’re a very persuasive person. I’m sure it won’t be that tough.

 

EMELINE

It will be tough with Merek. He never listens to anyone.

 

KALEB

Well, hopefully he’ll listen to you.

 

MAYLA

And . . . me?

 

KALEB

You’re not expendable.

 

MAYLA

And Emeline is? Do you just expect me to sit here and watch as my son and future daughter-in-law risk their lives to do what’s right? No! I want to help! And I expect you to let me participate.

 

KALEB

Mother, when Father died he told me to look after you. He knew your fighting spirit and weak body was not a good combination. I promised him, Mother. I promised. And I never break my promises.

 

MAYLA

My helping you is what he would want. And it’s what I want.

 

KALEB

(Standing.)

Mother, listen to me-

 

MAYLA

(Angrily.)

No! You listen to me! I am a perfectly capable woman who wants to make a difference! Please, let me do something for the greater good.

 

KALEB

(Reluctantly.)

I can’t believe I’m going to let my mother just walk into the line of fire.

 

MAYLA

(Happily.)

I can’t believe you are either!

 

EMELINE

When are we going to execute this plan of yours?

 

KALEB

Immediately.


























 

SCENE THREE


 

 

(Emeline shakily enters a huge shiny entryway, her hands nervously clasped behind her back. She glances around, trying to detect any sign of life. Merek Wolfing silently enters, holding hands with Cristiana. She is Merek’s wife, a practical woman with her long hair tied back into a swooping hairdo.)

MEREK

We’ve been waiting for you, Emeline.

 

CRISTIANA

Are you ready?

 

EMELINE

(Nervously.)

Ready for what?

 

MEREK

For your Perfection, of course! My wife Cristiana and I assumed you had finally come to your senses.

 

CRISTIANA

Sit down, now, and we’ll get started. The Perfectors should be here soon.

 

EMELINE

(Gaining her courage.)

I’m here to negotiate.

 

CRISTIANA

We can talk after the Perfecting.

 

EMELINE

(Courageously.)

No! I will not be Perfected! I refuse! It’s wrong. And I will not participate.

 

CRISTIANA

(Furiously.)

Merek! You told me she would be Perfected! I have everything arranged!

 

MEREK

And she will be Perfected.

 

EMELINE

(Shakily.)

W-what?

 

MEREK

Strap her down.

 

EMELINE

(Panicking.)

No, no . . .

 

(Emeline staggers back as Cristiana tries to grab her.)

 

EMELINE (Continued)

Ahh!

 

MEREK

Don’t fight us. This happens to everyone.

 

EMELINE

(Re-gaining her confidence.)

No, it doesn’t! What about Kaleb?

 

MEREK

Who?

 

EMELINE

Kaleb Lowell! What about him? And Mayla? And everyone else who can’t afford it?

 

MEREK

They’ll just have to lose the war.

 

EMELINE

(Surprised.)

War?!

 

CRISTIANA

Oh, don’t act so surprised, deary. Everyone’s been expecting it.

 

EMELINE

I haven’t been expecting it! How could war be the right answer?

 

MEREK

It may not be right, but it’s effective.

 

EMELINE

And I thought Perfections made you able to choose the best conclusion.

 

CRISTIANA

They do . . .

 

EMELINE

They obviously don’t.

 

MEREK

Stop tricking my wife! The Perfecting Process is amazing! It’s also necessary if you want to survive.

EMELINE

Well, I don’t want to survive. I want to live!

 

MEREK

Cristiana, I said strap her down!

 

EMELINE

This changes nothing. How does the life of one girl affect your plans?

 

MEREK

You’re rebelling.

 

EMELINE

Open your eyes! Have you not noticed the other human beings besides your precious Perfected folk? Not everyone agrees with you anymore! Other people will come and try to get you to stop. Others, like me. Like you. Real people with real lives who are suffering because you’re too selfish to think of how your plans are affecting everyone else!

 

MEREK

Perfecting their leader will surely put them off balance and stop them.

 

EMELINE

(Laughing.)

Don’t you know? I’m not their leader! I’m the representative of our cause right now, but I’m not in charge. I’m not yelling at people. I’m listening to them. And do you want to know what I hear?

 

CRISTIANA

What?

 

MEREK

Cristiana!




 

EMELINE

I hear the lonely weepings of those who believe they will never amount to anything because they can’t afford to be Perfected. I hear the concerned questioning of parents who think Perfected children can not talk to less wealthy children. I hear the sad whines of friendships being torn apart because some people can’t be Perfected, and apparently that’s notokay. I hear the battle cries of citizens who want to go against all that you have worked to create. The Perfecting Process is ripping us apart. It’s ruining us.

 

MEREK

No, it’s ruining you. Do you have to be so selfish and only care about yourself?

 

EMELINE

(Shocked.)

I’m selfish?

 

MEREK

Yes. Isn’t that right, Cristiana?

 

CRISTIANA

Um . . .

 

MEREK

(Warningly.)

Cristiana, think before you speak. We were Perfected, and we’re happy!

 

CRISTIANA

I . . . The thing is . . .


 

EMELINE

Cristiana? You have freedom of speech. You don’t have to agree with Merek.


 

MEREK

Yes you do! You’re my wife! My support!

 

CRISTIANA

Well . . .

 

EMELINE

Yes?

 

CRISTIANA

Merek, I can’t help but notice-

 

MEREK

Enough! You are supposed to be loyal to me! Why else do you think I decided to marry you? You’re gullible! You’re stupid! You’re brainless!

 

CRISTIANA

(Unbelieving.)

Merek?

 

MEREK

You can’t have believed that I ever loved you. I was rich. You were careless and desperate. Who cares what I did? It worked!

 

CRISTIANA

(Hurt.)

Merek . . . ?

 

EMELINE

You don’t deserve Cristiana. You never did, and you never will.

 

MEREK

(Angrily.)

How dare you!




 

CRISTIANA

(Shocked.)

Why did I ever marry you?


 

MEREK

You loved me.

 

CRISTIANA

You’re right. I did love you. And that was my worst mistake.

(She stomps away, wiping a tear off her cheek.)

 

MEREK

(To Emeline.)

Now look what you’ve done. She’ll tell everyone! I’ll be done for!

 

EMELINE

(Smugly.)

That’s your own fault.

 

MEREK

My Perfecting Process will crumble! I’ve been so successful, I can’t fail now!

 

EMELINE

Haven’t you realized? You’ve been failing all along.

 

MEREK

(Reaching for her throat.)

You messed with the wrong man today. Don’t you know? I am incredibly strong, thanks to my Perfection. Goodbye, Emeline.

(Just then, Mayla rushes in. She jumps on Merek’s back, causing him to stagger forward, past Emeline. While Mayla distracts him, Kaleb runs up to Emeline.)


 

KALEB

Emeline! Are you okay?

 

EMELINE

(Confidently.)

I’m fine.

 

MAYLA

(Still on Merek’s back.)

Can-you-guys-help-me-here-please?

 

KALEB

Mother!

(He rushes over, helping Mayla pin Merek to the ground.)

 

MEREK

(Struggling.)

Get off of me!

(He looks up and smiles mischievously. He stands easily, throwing Mayla and Kaleb off of him. Mayla slams into a steel couch and loses her consciousness. Kaleb skids across the floor and immediately jumps to his feet.)

 

KALEB

Mother!

(To Merek.)

You’re going to regret that.

 

MEREK

(Laughing.)

You know I’m out of your reach. My strength exceeds yours.






 

KALEB

What about your want to succeed?

(Just then, Kaleb pounces. He punches Merek. Merek spins and lands face-first on the floor. Kaleb rushes to Mayla, feeling her pulse. He shakes her, and she sits up slowly.)

 

MAYLA

What . . . What happened?



 

KALEB

(Angrily.)

He . . . He . . . He tried to hurt you! No one has permission to lay a finger on my mother! I promised . . . I promised! I said you wouldn’t be hurt! I swear on my life I’ll get him back.

 

MAYLA

(Tenderly.)

It’s okay, I’m not hurt.

 

KALEB

(Furiously.)

But you could’ve been!

 

MAYLA

(Standing up.)

I’m fine, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.

 

(She glances at Merek, who is slowly getting to his feet.)

 

MAYLA (Continued)

Worry about the evil man who’s apparently not unconscious anymore!

 

KALEB

What?!

(Merek stands fully and kicks Kaleb in the back of the knee, sending him sprawling.)

 

MEREK

Foolish young boy. You’ll never win this battle.

 

KALEB

(Gasping.)

Maybe, but I can win the war!

(To Mayla.)

Now!

 

(Mayla, who has snuck backwards, throws the doors open and smiles.)

 

MAYLA

You have some apologizing to do.

(Cristiana Wolfing, her head held high, enters.)

 

CRISTIANA

(Confidently.)

Hello. I’ve gone and submitted a complaint about you and your precious Perfecting Process.

 

MEREK

(Cooly.)

I’ll get to it and destroy it before anyone sees it.  

 

CRISTIANA

Too late. I gave it straight to Terryn Glen. He knows everything. And he’s telling the public now.

 

MEREK

(Gasping at her.)

How . . .

 

CRISTIANA

You’ve lost.



 

MEREK

But . . . My money! My reputation! This was my life’s work! I made a difference! I should be on the top!

 

CRISTIANA

Your ego is the only thing that’s above anyone else.

 

MEREK

How dare you! Fine, I surrender. You’ve won. But you’ll always have to live with the guilt that you’ve stripped the world of it’s Perfection.

(With that, he exits, pushing past Cristiana, who is smugly grinning at him.)

 

EMELINE

Did we . . . do it?

 

MAYLA

I think so . . .

 

KALEB

I’m not convinced.

 

CRISTIANA

I am! Merek never surrenders like that!

 

MAYLA

(Excitedly.)

So we’ve done it?

 

CRISTIANA

(Happily.)

We’ve done it. He’ll be going to apologize to everyone right about now, but Terryn will be telling them everything. He won’t be forgiven that easily.

 

KALEB

We haven’t just stopped the Perfection Process, we’ve stopped a war!

 

MAYLA

Wow . . . just wow. I’ve never been a hero before! It feels really good, actually.

 

CRISTIANA

It does!

 

KALEB

(To Cristiana.)

So what are you going to do about Merek?

 

CRISTIANA

I don’t know.

 

EMELINE

(Smiling.)

We’ll help you figure out something.

(Hesitantly.)

But . . . My dad was loyal to your husband. What turned him?

 

CRISTIANA

You may not believe me, and I don’t blame you for that, but I just submitted the complaint - and told him you were in trouble. He cares about you, Emeline. He really does.

 

(Suddenly, Terryn comes rushing in. He runs up to Emeline, reaching to hug her, but stops and frowns.)

 

TERRYN

I heard what happened.

 

EMELINE

Dad, you’re here.

 

TERRYN

I’m so sorry, Emeline. I was so blind. I see more clearly now. Oh, I’m so so sorry.

 

EMELINE

Are you sorry? Really?

 

TERRYN

I am!

 

EMELINE

I can’t always trust you.


 

TERRYN

You can trust me right now.  

 

EMELINE

Can I?

 

TERRYN

I promise.

 

EMELINE

I will always be scarred by your expectations, and I hope one day you’ll be able to see me, to actually see me. But for now, I don’t know if I can forgive you. Not yet. I’m sorry.

 

TERRYN

I know I was awful. Please just know that I will always be here for you.

 

EMELINE

I’ll remember that.



 

(Terryn smiles at Emeline and nods. He goes in for a hug again, but stops and settles for patting her on the shoulder. He waves before exiting.)

 

KALEB

(To Emeline.)

You’ll learn to appreciate him.

 

EMELINE

But will he learn to appreciate me?

 

MAYLA

How could he not? You’re an amazing young woman, Emeline. Your father does not define you.

 

KALEB

You don’t have to make him happy to make yourself happy.

 

EMELINE

I’m just afraid he’ll never accept me.

 

KALEB

The real question is will you accept you?

 

EMELINE

I don’t know.

 

MAYLA

(Kindly.)

You always have a place in our home.

 

EMELINE

Thank you.

 

MAYLA

No, thank you.

 

EMELINE

For what?

 

MAYLA

For helping us remember that it is the whole person you should love. People’s quirks and flaws are what make them special and we should love them for that. Emeline, you helped everyone see that. You improved their hearts and intentions. You are a true hero.

(Blackout.)






 


© Copyright 2018 Cecily Lessa. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments: