curse of the eight rooks

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: World on Stage or Screen
charles talbot has had a successful life as a solicitor in england, but has been a monster to his family. he's been protected from an old curse by a magical talisman, but once that talisman is broken, he and his entire family suddenly feel the power of the old curse return in spades.

Submitted: April 06, 2016

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Submitted: April 06, 2016

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Act 1: Scene 1. <At rise, we see seven rooks flying through the air, circling a large mansion at midnight. Down below is a garden, and a large picture window, with large, thick curtains.>

 

Crash!

 

Charles: Come on, Chan, it's clear!

 

Chauncey: Ready when you are, Charlie!

 

 

 

Charles: What is it, Chauncey?

 

Chauncey: I cut my hand on some glass.

 

Charles: Hurry up! The old man said she can't do anything to you once you cross the street! <Charles runs.>

 

Chauncey: All right! <Chauncey runs. Lights turn on in the window.>

 

Miranda: Who goes there?

 

Chauncey: Oh my God! I think we've been caught!

 

Charles: To Hell with her. She's not getting her jewels back! Let's split!

 

<Charles grabs Chauncey by the arm and runs even faster. It becomes difficult for Chauncey to keep up, and he slips from Charles' grasp. Chauncey stops to catch his breath.>

 

Chauncey: Wait for me! <Charles does not wait. Miranda emerges.>

 

Miranda: Who are you boys? Answer me! What are you and what makes you think that you can just break into my house and rob me? <Still down, Chauncey starts stammering. Charles defiantly gives Miranda the finger, to Chauncey's shock.> So be it. If you won't answer to me, you can deal with the dead! Let them punish you! <Miranda draws a magic wand and points at the moon, then mutters.>

 

Chauncey: Charlie, she's trying to catch us!

 

Charles: Get up, you coward, or she'll get you!

 

Chauncey: Help me, Charlie! <Desperately, he reaches for Charles.>

 

Miranda: Speed will not save you, boys. Nothing will!

 

<Miranda redirects her wand to point at Chauncey. The seven rooks swoop down in rapid succession, heading directly for Chauncey, who screams. He tries to fight the birds, but they overpower him. Soon he is covered in a magical mist, screaming. Charles does not even look back. He runs until he gets to the gate, then he throws his backpack over it. After that, he climbs it. Only when he lands does he stop and look at Chauncey. Miranda approaches Chauncey, who is still covered by the birds and the mists, and screaming.>

 

Miranda: Shut up! <The screaming stops.> You brazen thief, daring to steal from me? Now you'll pay for what you've looted.

 

Chauncey: Please, don't!

 

Miranda: Quiet! <She touches his forehead with her wand.> So you were forced to help him. This wasn't your idea at all. Well, ideas still have consequences. I kill you, thief, but you shall find no peace within your grave. I sentence you to serve me forever, and to be evermore erased!

 

<While Chauncey screams, he then drops dead. The mists and the birds carry him away. Miranda turns to Charles.>

 

Miranda: Give me back my things, then I'm calling your mother.

 

Charles: Don't have one.

 

Miranda: No, it's a brother you no longer have. You'll find your parents, your school, and your friends have all forgotten him by now. Return my property this instant, unless you want to share the same fate!

 

Charles: Hell no! You killed him, you crazy witch!

 

Miranda: Have it your way, punk!

 

<She chants again, pointing at him. When she stops, the rooks return, flying toward the gate. Charles turns and runs again. The birds catch him and begin to peck at him, but he crosses the street and the birds leave him alone.>

 

Charles: I beat you! <Tauntingly.> I beat you!

 

Miranda: That's what you think. <She reveals a piece of wood with blood on it.> I place upon you the curse of the eight rooks! May your blood turn to poison. An infection of disaster that will not end until you admit that you belong to me. I own you now, and until you admit it and appease me, everything you do will be tainted. Keep those trinkets, since you value them so much. Enjoy the wealth they will bring you, while you still have a soul!

 

Charles: It won't work! You can't get me. I'm on the street. Your powers don't work outside of your mansion!

 

Miranda: Fool! You're mine!

 

<She points with her wand again. There is a flash of light, then Charles passes out.>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act 1: Scene 2. <A hospital room. Charles awakens to find himself in a hospital bed. He moans from the pain he feels.

 

Charles: Hello? Is anybody there? Where am I? <Lana rushes in.>

 

Lana: Charlie! <Lana runs to Charlie and hugs him tightly, kissing him.> Are you okay, sweetie? How do you feel?

 

Charles: I hurt all over.

 

Lana: I'll call the nurse. <She presses the call button, then kisses Charles' forehead.> I'm just so glad you're all right. Madame Miranda said she heard you screaming and found you on the road near her house. If she hadn't brought you to the hospital . . .

 

Charles: Lana, she killed Chauncey tonight!

 

Lana: I know I'm not your real mother, but I've asked you not to call me Lana. And who is Chauncey?

 

Charles: You know who he is. <Lana looks at him with concern, and has no idea who Chauncey is.>

 

Lana: Honey, you must have been dreaming. I'd better call the doctor . . .

 

Charles: What about Dad?

 

Lana: He's still at work, but he's catching the next flight home.

 

Charles: I see. Can you call him and ask him about Chan?

 

Lana: Darling, is Chan a friend of yours that I don't know about?

 

Charles: Lana, Chan is my brother! Chauncey! You know that!

 

Lana: <Gently, she holds him.> Charlie, you never had a brother.

 

<Kylie enters the room, in a nurse's uniform. She has a green bag.>

 

Kylie: You're finally awake, I see. How can I help you today?

 

Lana: He's in a lot of pain. <She pulls Kylie aside.> And I'd like to talk to a doctor. He keeps saying that he's got a brother I've never heard of. Is that a symptom of . . .

 

Kylie: No. <She looks at him, and nods to him. Then she goes to him and gives him an injection.> That will help the pain. <She whispers something to Charles that only he can hear. Charles smiles at her.>

 

Lana: Something going on I should know about?

 

Kylie: Are you his mother?

 

Lana: Sort of. I'm his stepmother, Lana Cox. I married his father, Eugene Talbot, last year. Eugene is on his way back home from business in the States, and Charlie needed someone, so I'm here.

 

Kylie: Smashing. I'll go call a doctor. Excuse me. <Kylie goes to the phone, picks it up, and dials.> We need Doctor Beltane in room 703 please. Could you have her paged? Thanks.

 

Lana: You know, Charlie, we almost lost you, and I'm never going to lose you again. I mean it.

 

Charles: What about Chan?

 

Lana: <Sighing.> We'll talk about that some more later, okay? <Charlie falls to sleep, the impact of the medicine.>

 

Kylie: Would you care for some tea, Mrs. Cox?

 

Lana: I'd love it.

 

<Kylie leads Lana to the other side of the room, where a table with a teapot and cups await. Each woman pulls up a chair and sits.>

 

Kylie: What's wrong, Mrs. Cox? You can tell me.

 

Lana: <Crying, with Kylie consoling her.> Damn it, where are you, Eugene? Always traveling for your work, never home, and now look. Once again you aren't there when your family needs you. I hate this, Eugene! Oh, I don't mind of you make me the last on your list these days, but . . .

 

Kylie: Go on, luv, let it out.

 

Lana: Eugene, I don't mind being last on your list, but I won't stand for you putting Charlie on it. Not anymore!

 

<Lana finishes her tea and puts the cup down. Curious, Kylie picks it up and reads the leaves inside.>

 

Kylie: Mrs. Cox, you need to call your husband again. Right now!

 

Lana: That's a good idea. <She pulls out a cell phone and dials it.> Eugene, I know you're there. Answer me. <Angrily.> Yes, I left you a hundred messages. And you couldn't even answer one of them? <Pausing.> You're on a flight that just left Philadelphia an hour ago, and you couldn't call and tell me that? Why am I . . . It's Charlie, you twit! Charlie had a stroke and was found near Madame Miranda's place. She brought him to hospital! <Pausing.> They say he'll survive, but they won't release him for a few days. See, I don't go calling you all the time, or stuffing your phone with messages, without a good reason.

 

<Kylie looks at Charles, then back at Lana. She goes to the table and begins using tarot cards. Kylie draws one card, The Tower, and holds it before her face.>

 

Kylie: I see eight rooks on this card I never saw before. There is an old tale about rooks. One is for bad news, two is for mirth. Three is a wedding, and four is for a birth. Five is for riches, and six is a thief. Seven is a journey and eight is for grief. Nine is a secret, ten is for sorrow. Eleven is love and twelve is joy on the morrow.

 

Lana: <Continuing to speak to Eugene.> What happened to us? When we met, we were mad for each other. How did we end up like this, mortal enemies over pounds and pents? I don't want to be your enemy. I want to be your wife. Darling, I'm on your side. No one wants to see you succeed more than I do, but right now your son needs you. <Pausing.> You're coming here? Oh, thank God. <Lana sighs and clutches her chest, relieved.>

 

Kylie: <Kylie goes to Lana, bringing the card with her.> Your husband is in danger. Is there a storm brewing around his plane? Ask him! <She shows Lana the card.>

 

Lana: <Sighing.> I've been told to ask you what the weather is like . . . Are you sure, Eugene? Storms don't just form without any warning.

 

Kylie: That is no storm. It is a curse. <She chants, but makes it look like prayer.> Make him tell the captain to land the plane immediately.

 

Lana: What? Nurse, I don't understand.

 

Kylie: The plane is going to crash!

 

Lana: How do you know?

 

Kylie: The same way I know that your stepson is telling the truth about his brother, but not the stolen property. Ask Mr. Cox if he sees rooks.

 

Lana: Rooks? <She gives Kylie the phone, and Kylie takes it.>

 

Kylie: So you do see rooks! They're coming for you, Mr. Cox. They've been called and you've been chosen, because your son went messing with magic. This is the price. <Hands the phone back to Lana.> He wants to speak to you again.

 

Lana: Eugene, no! Don't say things like that. There's no way that . . .

 

<A loud burst of thunder escapes from the phone, nearly deafening Lana for a moment.>

 

Lana: What was that? <She drops the phone from shock, and Kylie rushes to her, trying to help her. Lana turns to her.> He said a bolt of lightning just hit the plane. And now it's crashing. Eugene! Eugene! I love you.

 

<There is loud screaming, and the sound of a crash. Lana screams, and Kylie leads her to the table and tries to calm her and comfort her.>

Act 1: Scene 3. <A garden at midnight. Kylie stands in the center, in green sweatpants and a green ceremonial robe. She draws a magic wand and points to the moon. Lana sits in a chair at the side, waiting.>

 

Kylie: This place of power, this leyline, upon which my house is built, which protects my home and hearth from magical attack. Spirits of earth, hear my plea! <She makes a cutting gesture on the ground with her wand. Wild green light emerges in flashes.>

 

Lana: What is that?

 

Kylie: It's just the leyline itself, and the fairies that are drawn to it. There is no danger. Be at peace.

 

<A large sphere, glowing with green light, appears. Kylie walks to it, keeping her wand pointed at it.>

 

Kylie: I thank you, Mother Earth, and the spirits and the fairies that have come. I open the earth to access the leyline for an important purpose. The woman who sits nearby is in terrible danger, for her family was stricken with a mighty curse. I seek nothing for myself. My actions are to save another from a hex I cannot break. I ask you now to let me take a sample of your essence to make a charm so that the curse will turn away before it can kill any further members of the family.

 

<Kylie removes an envelope from her pocket. She opens it and pulls out a small mask. Then she places it onto the sphere and runs her wand along it.>

 

Kylie: Mask, I charge of thee, absorb the energy that's on display. Do not absorb the entire thing, but only what you can contain! May the sanctifying shelter charm deflect the curse Madame Miranda proclaimed!

<There is a brilliant flash of green light, making Lana scream and stands up. Kylie slashes at the air with her wand, then performs a sealing gesture with the wand. All of the green light fades.>

 

Kylie: The spell is cast and the leyline is sealed. <She scatters pieces of bread around.> Accept this offering of gratitude. Go have your fun, my friends. Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again. Do as thou wilt, my fairy friends, but must harm none.

 

<Kylie taps the mask one final time with her wand, then kisses it and approaches Lana.>

 

Lana: What was that?

 

Kylie: A deed without a name. <She smiles at her. When she gets to Lana, Kylie gives her the mask.> Take it. Go ahead.

 

Lana: What will this do?

 

Kylie: Your family is under a ghastly curse. One by one, each of the family's members will die prematurely and dreadfully. But this charm draws from the protective energy that wards my house.

 

Lana: What does that mean?

 

Kylie: So long as the mask is in the family's ownership, the curse will deflect away. But do not let this mask be lost or destroyed, or the curse will return with a vengeance.

 

Lana: Why not just break the curse?

 

Kylie: Only Madame Miranda can do that, and she's not likely to of her own accord; this is the best I can do. Take it, please.

 

<Reluctantly, Lana takes the mask. The instant she does, she feels greatly relieved.>

 

Lana: Thank you, Nurse Moriarty.

 

Kylie: You are safe now, Mrs. Cox. More importantly, so is your remaining son, Charles. Go in peace, and be careful not to step on a fairy on the way out. <Nodding, Lana departs.>

 

.>

Act 2. Scene 1. <At rise, revealed is a beautiful wall, with all manner of prestigious degrees and diplomas, and several swords. The mask is displayed prominently on a piece of furniture. Lorraine polishes one of the swords. Into the room emerges a much older Charles. He walks over to the sword Lorraine polishes, snatches it, and examines it critically.>

 

Charles: It's not good enough, Lorraine! <Wrathfully, he throws the sword straight to the floor.> Do it again!

 

Lorraine: Yes, Father. <She kneels down, and picks the sword back up.> Did you take your medicines this morning?

 

Charles: I'm forty-five! I don’t need those damned pills . . . <Lorraine glares at him, and shakes her head.>

 

Lorraine: Father, you know better. You've had two heart attacks already since last year. Come on, time for your meds.

 

<She puts the sword back in the cabinet, and then goes to the drawer. Once she gets there, she removes a key from under her clothing, and uses the key to unlock the drawer. As soon as she does, she removes three pill bottles, a clear liquid bottle, and a syringe. She also takes out a book, with a pen tied to it. Placing all of this stuff on a tray, she walks over to the couch.>

 

Charles: I’m not going through all this crap again. Not today!

 

Lorraine: Please, Father, you know what happens if you skip . . .

 

Charles: I don’t want to hear it! <He goes over to Lorraine, and then smacks the tray out of her hands. Shrieking from surprise, she drops everything. Charles kicks the medicines away.>

 

Lorraine: Father. <Shaking.>

 

Charles: Remind me again why I let you stay here again?

 

Lorraine: Father, you moved in with me. This is my house.

 

<Lorraine slowly breathes, forcing herself to regain composure. Then she begins to fetch the medicines. One by one, she finds them, and puts them on the table. She also takes a blood pressure cuff out from under the table.>

 

Charles: I told you I won’t take those damned pills any more!

 

<He grabs his chest, and his arm. His breathing begins to become labored. He grimaces. At once, Lorraine starts to check his pulse and blood pressure. Her jaw drops as she reads the cuff, but she writes the numbers down in the book anyway. Immediately after that, Lorraine rushes to the kitchen. She comes right back out with some aspirin, a glass of water, and a small oxygen tank.>

 

Lorraine: Here, Father.

 

<She gives him the aspirin and the water, and he takes them. Quickly, she helps him sit down. Then, without asking his permission, she goes to the drawer, and removes a new bottle. She carries the bottle to her father, and gives him a pill. Charles takes it, and starts to recover.>

 

Charles: You see what you do to me when you argue with me? <Lorraine shakes her head, then gives him the oxygen tank, and helps him don the mask. Next, she pushes the switch.>

 

Lorraine: Calm down, please, you’ll just make it worse. <Lorraine rushes to the telephone. She dials, and calls.> Hello? <Speaking into the phone.> Oh, good, Doctor Moriarty. It’s me, Lorraine Talbot. I need you to send the paramedics here, please. Yes, it’s my Father again. I think he just had a cardiac episode. The book’s bad, and he wouldn’t take his meds today . . . yes, that’s right. Gave him aspirin already, and oxygen. The paramedics will be? Thank you, Kylie. <Lorraine hangs up.>

 

Charles: I can’t believe you did that. How dare you do things like that without asking me?

 

Lorraine: Father, I’m your caregiver. The hospital’s where you belong right now. Father, I love you; now please, stop fighting me. You just had a cardiac episode, like I’ve been afraid of. One’s been building up. I could tell by the daily readings. But every time I tried to discuss it with you . . .

 

Charles: All this medical bullshit didn’t save your mother, did it, Lori? You know you’re not getting a dime when I die.

 

Lorraine: I don’t do this for the money, Father. I'm really not interested in it. I’m your daughter . . .

 

Charles: Don’t you give me any of that rubbish . . .

 

Lorraine: And you need to rest. You are getting worse.

 

Charles: What do you mean by that?

 

Lorraine: This can’t go on. I’m going to ask Doctor Moriarty to have you hospitalized again.

 

Charles: No! <He vehemently stands up and stomps his foot.>

 

Lorraine: Don’t do that! You’re still having a heart attack. I gave you the nitroglycerin, but you don’t need to be making your heart attack worse. Please, sit down and be calm.

 

<Resentfully, Charles sits back down, though he is hardly calm about it. She begins to take his pulse and blood pressure again. The door opens. Expectantly, she looks up, hoping to see the paramedics. But instead, she frowns. Walking through the door is Lukas.>

 

Lukas: Hello? <Charles turns to see Lukas, and clearly smiles. Lorraine continues trying to save her father’s life.>

 

Charles: Hi there, son. How are you?

 

Lukas: Dad, I need a new car.

 

Charles: What happened to the old one?

 

Lukas: Some bird back-ended me! <Charles, though still in obvious pain, refuses to acquiesce to it.>

 

Charles: That’s just plain awful. Lori, go fetch my checkbook. Write him out whatever he needs. <Lorraine checks Charles’ pulse and pressure again. She is visibly upset.>

 

Lorraine: Lukas, we can discuss this later. Go get the defibrillator I keep in my bedroom, please. I’m going to need it.

 

Lukas: I don’t even know what that is, sis. Aren’t you the one supposed to be handling this medical stuff?

 

Lorraine: Can’t you see he’s having a heart attack right now? Are you that stupid, or just selfish?

 

Lukas: Dad, are you all right?

 

Charles: No, but don’t you worry about it. Come close to me, Lukas. <Lukas advances to his father, and pushes Lorraine out of the way. This makes her fall to the floor. Charles and Lukas embrace.>

 

Lorraine: Terrific. Daddy’s dying and all you can think about is another car. <The paramedic sirens fill the air, giving Lorraine visible relief. She stands up, and gently separates Lukas and Charles.> I need to tend to him.

 

Lukas: But my car?

 

Charles: We’ll discuss it after we’re done at the hospital, all right? <Lukas nods, accepting this answer. Lorraine prepares Charles for the paramedics.>

Act 2: Scene 2. <A local diner. Liam emerges from the doors with a tray in his hands, filled with food. Into the restaurant walk Ryker, Colin, Janet, and Kaye. Quickly, the four newcomers go over to a dining table. Liam meets them, and offers them menus, as they sit down. Liam advances over to the table where Ryker, Kaye, Colin, and Janet are. He takes a seat at their table.>

 

Liam: Great to see you all. It’s a practical family reunion.

 

Kaye: With a couple of elements missing.

 

Liam: Yeah, I noticed. Are Lorraine and Lukas coming, or Grandma Lana?

 

Janet: <Icily.> I don’t think so. Nobody’s called them.

 

Ryker: Yet, she means. I called you all here because it’s very important.

 

Liam: What’s this about, brother?

 

Kaye: Has something happened?

 

Ryker: It’s about to. I’ve been having nightmares again. <Everybody at the table except for Ryker groans.>

 

Liam: Oh, not the dream routine again.

 

Colin: You must think you’re Joseph. At least his dreams made him a vizier. When will face the fact that you do not have psychic powers, Ryker?

 

Janet: I skipped going to my bridge club for this?

 

Kaye: Ryker, I’m only here in England for the weekend. I have to get back to New York by Sunday night, so I don’t have time for . . . <Angry, Ryker slams his fist on the table.>

 

Ryker: I am not crazy. I saw it. It’s our Father, guys. He’s going to die, and I mean real soon. So if you want to get on to your bridge club, Janet, you go right ahead. It doesn’t bother me. <Affronted, Janet hits Colin and turns to him.>

 

Janet: Did you hear that?

 

Colin: Please don’t talk to my wife that way, Ryker. Janet . . .

 

Ryker: Only married you to get access to Father’s money.

 

Liam: I’m with Kaye on this one, Ryker. I don’t have the time for this nonsense, either. We don’t believe you have any kind of visions, so knock it off! I'd better get back to work. <Liam stands up, but Ryker stares him down defiantly.>

 

Ryker: You’ll see. <Out of the kitchen storms Robyn. She advances to the table with Liam, Ryker, Kaye, Colin, and Janet. And she is very forceful.>

 

Robyn: Liam, you have a telephone call.

 

Liam: I’m going back on the clock. I’ll have to take a message.

 

Robyn: Sorry, Liam, it’s an emergency. It’s your sister, Lorraine. She said your father’s had a heart attack this morning. <Everyone except Ryker gasps from the shock. Liam collapses. Colin and Robyn help him. Kaye takes Liam’s hand. Janet glares at Ryker.>

 

Janet: How did you know? <Ryker ignores her.>

 

Colin: Oh my. This restaurant’s a mess. Would you like help cleaning up? <Robyn looks at the tables, and frowns.>

 

Robyn: You must be Colin. Liam says you’ll clean anything. But not here. Liam, listen, you don’t need to be here right now.

 

Liam: Robyn, I appreciate . . . <Robyn raises her hand.>

 

Robyn: You belong with your family now, not here. Go. Go, I say! <Robyn points to the door.> Let me take care of that stuffy mismanager. <Liam nods appreciatively.>

 

Liam: Thank you, Robyn. Come on, bro, we don’t have time to clean anything. We’ve got to get to the hospital. <Liam and Janet take Colin by the arms and lead him out. Ryker leaves the table and holds the door for everyone else, then Liam, Colin, and Janet exit.>

 

Kaye: Lorraine didn’t call you this morning?

 

Ryker: No, Kaye, she didn’t call. By the way, you will not make your flight.

 

Kaye: I'm a star on Heart of N. Y. C. The biggest soap out there right now . . .

 

Ryker: What’s about to happen is the biggest nightmare any of us will ever go through, sister, I promise you.

 

Kaye: You mean Dad can do something even worse to us than the stuff he pulled while we were all kids? <Ryker mulls this over, then concedes the point. Robyn turns to Kaye.>

 

Robyn: Say, now I know who you are! Didn't you play Ingrid the warrior woman in that movie a couple years back?

 

Kaye: Yes, I am. I'm glad you noticed. And remember; be strong. There is no excuse for weakness.

 

Robyn: You don't have to tell me, honey. I married Peter Pan.

 

<The two women laugh, then Kaye gives her an autographed picture, and walks away.>

 

Ryker: What was that?

 

Kaye: One of my earlier movies. Hills run red. I played Ingrid, warrior woman and niece of the king. I took over as leader of the troops when the general fell.

 

Ryker: You’re dangerous.

 

Kaye: You have no idea. <Ryker escorts Kaye out.>

 

 

 

Act 2: Scene 3. <Once more in the hospital room, with Charles in bed. Liam, Ryker, Kaye, Colin, and Janet rush into this area.

 

Ryker: Lorraine! <She looks up, then behind her. With that, she sees her family and stands.>

 

<A much older Kylie enters. She is now a full doctor instead of a nurse.>

 

Kylie: Are all of you here? I have some bad news. Please sit down, everyone.

 

Janet: I notice Lukas isn’t here.

 

Ryker: Who cares? We don't need him!

 

Lorraine: He already was, at the house. Asked for a new car.

 

Liam: How many would that make in the last two years? Six?

 

Lorraine: Seven.

 

Kaye: The rest of us had to literally pay for the food we ate as kids. What makes Lukas so different? <Lorraine shakes her head.

 

Lorraine: I don't know.

 

Liam: Well, Doctor Moriarty, what’s going on, exactly?

 

Ryker: Is he dead?

 

Kylie: No. <Everyone but Lorraine frowns. Kylie notices their reaction, and gives them a puzzled look.> I don't understand. Do you want him to die?

 

Lorraine: They do. I don't.

 

Liam: Then what did happen? Precisely?

 

Kylie: He suffered from another cardiac episode. Oh, sorry, I mean he had a heart attack. I’ve got him treated and stabilized, but I insist that he remain here for a few days.

 

Ryker: Is he going to die?

 

Kylie: Eventually, everyone will, Ryker. His longevity depends on how closely he follows the new treatment plan I’m going to work out with your sister.

 

Kaye: Is there anything we can do to help him?

 

Kylie: Truthfully, it doesn’t look good. Three heart attacks in the space of a year? At the moment, it’s still very borderline. <Kaye is taken aback, and starts to cry on Liam’s shoulder. Liam closes his eyes. Colin pretends he has not heard. Janet covers her mouth, and Ryker turns his head away.> I will not let him leave this hospital until I am satisfied that he will recover.

 

Ryker: Should we consider hospice care?

 

Kylie: When the situation is warranted. If you like, I’ll personally assign Sharayah Johensen to his case. She’s one of my best nurses and is experienced in hospice care.

 

Colin: We should leave this to Lori’s judgment. She’ll know best.

 

Kaye: May we see him?

 

Ryker: Yes, can we see him?

 

Lorraine: You vultures may not see him! They want him to die, Kylie! You must not allow them to see him.

 

Liam: A little bit over-protective, aren’t you, Lori?

 

Lorraine: And shouldn't I be? You all hate him. I wouldn't put murdering him past any one of you!

 

Ryker: Possible. Each of us has our own personal reason to hate him. In my case, I watched him swindle someone out of their entire life’s savings. I was thirteen at the time, and starting to work in his law firm. My intention was to become a law student and follow him into the business, until he taught me that the law and justice are generally mortal enemies. So I gave up law studies and devoted myself to my second love . . .

 

Kylie: The unseen. But your anger poisons your connection and exposes you to the evil spirits. Beware you do not lose your way like Madame Miranda.

 

Liam: So that’s it.

 

Janet: You actually watched him? <Ryker nods his head.>

 

Colin: No wonder you despise him so much.

 

Kylie: None of you strike me as suitable then to take your father in. I will have to seek other options for him . . .

 

Kaye: I don’t have the time. I have a plane to catch.

 

Janet: Colin can give more than enough time to help your father through this.

 

Colin: Yes, of course I can. I bear him no ill will for our past.

 

Kylie: <Kylie looks to Lorraine, who nods with approval.> Only if you’re sure. He’s going to need a serious helper, not someone lackadaisical or fair-weather. Your sister, Lorraine, is burned out. I don’t think you can ask anything more of her right now. <Lukas exuberantly walks into the clinic room, flagrantly opening the door, and holding a check in his hand.>

 

Lukas: Hey guys. <Everyone turns to face him.>

 

Lorraine: Been to see Father, have you?

 

Kylie: Who let you in there? The guard knew not to . . .

 

Lukas: All I had to do was say I was his son and . . .

 

Kylie: Well, I’m going to have a little chat with security. When I give an order . . . <She stops herself, and breaths, regaining her emotionless composure.> So, his diet’s going to need to be changed, and probably his caretaker, too. Lorraine needs a break, or she’s going to. Tell me, is Charles Talbot really as lousy as a father as I’ve heard from Lorraine?

 

Liam: Yes!

 

Ryker: Certainly.

 

Kaye: Absolutely.

 

Colin: You don’t know the half of it.

 

Lukas: No, Lorraine’s a filthy liar!

 

Janet: Quell your voice, you pampered infant. Lori’s no liar. Charles tortured his children with mental games, intentionally setting them up to fail, then using that as basis to attack them. <Shocked, Kylie covers her mouth.> If Lana wasn't there he'd have driven them all to suicide!

 

Kylie: Oh, how horrid! <Kylie looks to the siblings. All of them nod with assent, except for Lukas. A monitor starts beeping, so Kylie leaves the room, and then leaves the stage. Liam storms straight over to Lukas, and pulls him to the center of the stage.>

 

Liam: Let me see that. <He snatches the check.>

 

Lukas: Hey! <He tries to take the check back, but Liam holds it away from him to read it.>

 

Liam: Twenty thousand pounds, signed straight to you.

 

Lukas: <Defensively.> He can easily afford it.

 

Lorraine: That’s not the point.

 

Ryker: I’d sure like to know what twenty thousand pounds feels like in the hand.

 

Liam: I’d settle for two thousand pounds right now.

 

Kaye: Money is just money, guys. It’s how you use it that counts. The point is how differently Lukas has been treated compared to the rest of us. <The family begins to quarrel, except for Colin. Colin steps into the center and whistles, stopping all conversation.>

 

Colin: Doctor Moriarty is right. We must stop this bickering. Our poor Father may be dying here. I suggest we change the subject, quickly. <He looks directly at Kaye.> Is it true you make a quarter of a million per episode?

 

Kaye: Yes, actually.

 

Liam: We’re all in the wrong businesses, aren’t we?

 

Ryker: What a motley crew we are. A waiter, a phone psychic, a secretary . . .

 

Colin: Executive assistant.

 

Ryker: Sorry. Executive assistant and his housewife, a paramedic on leave of absence, and last of all, an actress.

 

Kaye: All children of one of England’s greatest corrupt solicitors.

 

Liam: And an even greater monster to his family than he was in a courtroom. <Lorraine walks into the clinic room.>

 

Lukas: You five are the most ungrateful, snot-nosed, weasels! Daddy’s sick, don’t you get it? None of you actually give a damn about him.

 

Lorraine: He’s not sick, he’s dying. And I give a damn. He lives in my house, not his. I gave up my job here. <She points to the hospital floor.> Just to take care of him. I try my best, despite all his resistance and his nasty names, and his threats, and his pure malevolence, to make sure he takes his meds. Bathe him, feed him, clothe him, track his vitals and keep him healthy. I knew this was coming, but it hit more quickly than I expected. I could've stopped it, but he wouldn't let me. He wouldn't let me! <She breaks down, sobbing and moaning. Ryker goes to her, hugs her, and holds her.>

 

Ryker: Sister, sister, calm down. I already saw it. <Lorraine looks Ryker right in the eye, and then weeps even harder. Colin goes to Lorraine, and touches her shoulder.>

 

Colin: If you ever needed help, all you had to do is call me. <He kisses her softly.> Sweet elder sister. No more tears.

 

Lorraine: Oh Colin, you’re as exhausted as I am.

 

Kaye: So take a break then. Come on. <Kaye pushes Ryker and Colin off of Lorraine, gently, and then she takes her hand.> Let’s get out of here, sis, have a ladies day out. Just you and me.

 

Janet: Terrific. Where are we going?

 

Kaye: You’re going home and waiting for Patrick to get home from school. Lori and I are going out.

 

Lorraine: But I’m not like you, all glitz and glamor. I haven’t got a thing to wear . . .

 

Kaye: Then we’ll go pick up something. Don’t worry. I brought my credit cards. We’re having a Lorraine day.

 

Lorraine: Father needs me.

 

Kaye: Father’s got What’s her name. One of you boys don’t mind staying here, just in case, do you?

 

Colin: I’ll stay.

 

Liam: No, I’ll do it. Ryker, you want to stay, too?

 

Ryker: Frankly, I can’t imagine anything I'd rather do less. But we do need to have a serious conversation, don’t we, Liam. All of us. Don’t forget it.

 

Liam: We’ll meet in the morning, at Lorraine’s house. Can you all make it?

 

Colin: We’ve all got bosses . . .

 

Liam: And they know things happen. This is a family emergency.

 

Janet: It seems to me it’s just what the family needed.

 

Ryker: His death is what we need. <Liam slaps Ryker in the chest. Ryker is surprised, but tolerates the blow anyway.>

 

Liam: To make your prophecy right?

 

Kaye: No, to set us free.

 

Lorraine: Oh, how disgusting!

 

Lukas: You’re all fucking traitors. I’m going to tell him everything you jackasses have said as soon as he starts feeling better.

 

Liam: Oh, go cash your check. <Lukas understands the implied meaning of the words, and, affronted, storms out of the clinic, muttering under his breath. Kylie returns.>

 

Ryker: Between Father and Lukas, I can’t tell who’s using whom.

 

Colin: Definitely Father’s favorite.

 

Janet: Yeah, I noticed. I wonder why? <Everyone scratched their heads, pondering the question.>

 

Kaye: Well, no good just standing here, Lori. Let’s go have fun.

 

Lorraine: This is inappropriate . . .

 

Kaye: No, it isn’t. <She grabs her sister, and leads her away. Lorraine protests but cannot fight Kaye's strength.>

 

Lorraine: <Offstage.> I'm being kidnapped! Help! Help!

 

Colin: Should I be helping someone right now?

 

Liam: No, Colin, you should be facing your problems, not burying yourself in work so you can pretend that problems don’t exist. Ignoring your trouble won’t make her go away.

 

Janet: <Offended.> Excuse me.

 

Liam: I said ignoring your problem won’t make it go away.

 

Janet: No. <She storms over to Liam, and smacks him in the face.> You said ‘her’. Not it, her.

 

Liam: Did I? Gosh, I’m sorry.

 

Janet: I refuse to stand here and be insulted. Come on, Colin. I’d rather hang around with Lukas. We can help him pick out a car. I know how to combine style and substance. <Kylie goes over to Janet and touches her hands sympathetically, and manages to calm her.>

 

Kylie: You’re all so angry. I’m used seeing people at their worst, but this is different. Each of you looks ready to kill the others. What's this about?

 

Janet: The same thing that’s always going on, Charles and his constant spitefulness. He raised his children roughly.

 

Colin: If roughly is the word. He claimed to be teaching us self-respect and self-responsibility.

 

Ryker: While he loved the responsibility part, he tore down our self-respects with his right hand, while claiming to build it back up with his left.

 

Colin: Endlessly. Every single thing we did, we got a lecture for, no matter what. Except with work. My work pleased him.

 

Kylie: There are worse things parents have tried to their children than lectures. Some of the patients I’ve seen in here . . .

 

Ryker: An hour-long lecture because you stayed in the bathroom too long?

 

Kylie: I don’t understand.

 

Liam: He used to time us.

 

Ryker: Three minutes, no more. Five for the girls. <Kylie is horrified.>

 

Colin: He drove us all to be afraid of him, then he’d bellow at us, ‘don’t be afraid. If you’ve got something to say, come out and say it.’ He always wanted us to tell him what we felt.

 

Liam: But may Heaven help us if we ever did.

 

Kylie: Which means he wanted you to echo what he felt, not say what you felt. He wanted you to mirror his worldview, not provide your own. Oh, I’m so sorry to all of you. <She hugs the entire group for thirty seconds. Surprised, but grateful at the maternal energy, they all reciprocate.>

 

Liam: And when that didn’t work, he shouted.

 

Ryker: All you had to do to get him shouting at you was to breathe.

 

Liam: Then we became teenagers, and we really got it.

 

Kylie: For what?

 

Ryker: We started trying to date. That went over real well. <His voice drips with disdainful sarcasm, and hidden rage.> He ruined my relationship with Dayna Nevwiner.

 

Janet: First he ruined my career as a house agent, then he tried to break up our marriage, but I nipped that in the bud. <She goes to Colin, and kisses him, and he rubs her shoulders adoringly.> Then he tried that crap on our Patrick, but I put Charles in his place real fast. See, he convinced me to let him baby-sit Patrick as a little boy. Well, I came home one day and heard Charles giving Patrick the same verbal abuse he dealt out to Colin and his siblings. But he didn’t know I’d come home.

 

Kylie Ghastly. What did Patrick do?

 

Janet: He took longer than five minutes on the toilet. Literally. That was his big crime. Colin tried to berate and break my son, saying things to him nobody should ever say to a child.

 

Kylie: But you were home.

 

Janet: And I stopped him mid-sentence, then I verbally tore him apart. An angry mother is the deadliest force in the world.

 

Colin: I loved it when you told him, ‘I will decide the way my son is raised. You won’t.’ And then you made him leave. Masterful. <He looks at her with love in his eyes.>

 

Kylie: Janet, I notice you keep saying ‘my son,’ not ‘our son’. Where was your mother in all this? Didn’t she do anything about this clear abuse?

 

Liam: Who knows?

 

Ryker: Who cares? She didn’t protect us. Only the girls. <Colin shakes his finger at Ryker, then clicks his tongue.>

 

Colin: Only Kaye. Lorraine got treated like a boy because she looked and acted like one. Kaye sucked up all the emotional space available.

 

Janet: I don’t want to talk about this anymore. That man has taken up too much of my life already. Let’s go, Colin! <Janet stands up and walks away. Colin looks at everyone else, as if he wants to speak. But he submits to his wife and leaves right behind her.>

 

Ryker: She’s his devil. It’s a tarot card. She’s enslaved him. He got away from Father by marrying her.

 

Liam: It didn’t work. She’s after the money.

 

Ryker: And you aren’t? <Ryker glares at Liam, skeptically.> His money is poison, Liam. I’m not touching it.

 

Kylie: Janet may be Colin's devil, but she is also his revenge. I see it in them.

 

Ryker: Yes. I wonder where the cafeteria is? <Ryker also leaves the stage.>

 

Kylie: Your siblings have all left. Why did you stay?

 

Liam: I don’t know, Kylie. There’s no reason for me to stay here. God, I hate that man, I hate him so much, and I’ve got too much anger in me . . .

 

Kylie: Anger you’re going to have to deal with. If you’d like, I can help you.

 

Liam: All right. If you can help. <Kylie reaches into her coat pocket and passes him a beautiful crystal.>

 

Kylie: It brings peace to the soul. So does a good conversation. <Liam pockets the crystal. Kylie closes the door.> You can tell me anything.

 

Liam: No, I can’t. <He breaks down, and begins to cry. Going over to him, she holds him.>

 

Kylie: There, there, Liam. It will be all right.

Act 2: Scene 4. <Lukas, Colin, Patrick, and Janet enter Lorraine's house together. Patrick is a boy roughly ten years old. He goes to the television. Reaching the television, he switches it on, and sits down to watch. Lukas carelessly spills liquid from the can he carries. >

 

Lukas: Doesn't that sports car just take the biscuit?

 

Janet: More importantly, Lukas, it is your car. Just imagine how you're going to look cruising all over the streets.

 

Lukas: But I sure appreciate your help in getting a great deal . . .

 

Colin: And a functioning car. <Everyone turns to him disapprovingly. He looks at the floor.> Sorry. Why don't I go make us some tea?

 

Janet: And sandwiches. I'm famished.

 

Colin: Yes dear. <Colin exits.>

 

Lana: <Offstage.> Is that you, Janet?

 

Janet: Quite! What are you doing?

 

Lana: I'm helping Liam get Charles' room ready.

 

Janet: Should you need any help, Colin will gladly . . .

 

<Janet starts walking, but trips on the liquid Lukas dropped. Screaming, she stops herself from falling by grabbing the piece of furniture where the mask is featured.>

 

Janet: I always hated that damned mask! It's so ugly.

 

<With a sweep of her hand, Janet knocks the mask down to the floor, breaking it.>

 

Lana: Janet?

 

Liam: <Offstage.> Are you all right, Jan? <Colin runs in and goes to his wife, holding a knife.>

 

Colin: I heard you scream while I was cutting up up some ham. What happened?

 

Janet: Lukas, don't be so careless. I slipped on your spilled drink!

 

Lana: What's wrong, Janet?

 

<Lana runs into the room, slipping on the wet spot. She crashes into Colin's knife, horrifying him. Lana screams and collapses. Colin is traumatized. Janet tries to help her.>

 

Janet: Colin! What have you done?!? <Colin tries to speak, but he cannot. Janet continues trying to tend to Lana.> Lana, speak to me. Lana! Colin! Call the hospital!

 

Liam: <Rushing in.> What is going on?

 

Janet: Lukas spilled his drink and wouldn't clean it up, and Colin came in when I slipped on the drink and called for him. Lana came down too, slipped on the drink, and ran into Colin's knife.

 

>

 

Liam: <Tearfully.> Don't bother with the hospital. Grandmother's dead!

 

Janet: Patrick, turn that telly off!

 

<Patrick finally turns off the television, then goes to Liam. Liam breaks down in tears and closes Lana's eyes.>

 

Patrick: Grammy Lana's gone? <Liam nods, and Patrick cries.>

 

Janet: I'm going to faint! <Colin rushes to her side, holding her, but keeps his eyes on Lana.>

 

Lukas: I wonder what she left me in her will.

 

<Janet faints and the others glare at Lukas angrily.>

Act 2: Scene 5. <The Silver Shamrock. Christine is serving customers at their tables. Kaye and Lorraine enter with shopping bags, and expensive new clothes and hairstyles. They get a table, and pull out the chairs, then sit down. Kaye puts her bags down.>

 

Kaye: Lorraine, put the bags down, and let’s relax now. <Lorraine complies, setting her bags on the floor.> And for the umpteenth time, forget about Charles! He's got his doctor right now, and the boys.

 

Lorraine: Dad, you mean . . . <Kaye raises her hand to cut Lorraine’s words off.>

 

Kaye: Not to me! <Angrily, she slams her fist on table! Christine comes running with a tray.> You know exactly what he did to me. <Lorraine moves around Kaye’s hand, to fight back against being silenced.>

 

Lorraine: Quite. He made you so angry that you packed up and moved to America as soon as you were able to. <Christine stands at their table, evading the shopping bags.>

 

Kaye: And you don’t remember why? Everything I said was wrong, everything I did was wrong. Nothing I did could ever please him. If I as much as looked at a boy, I was a tramp, and if I dared say a boy’s name, he thought I was dating him behind his back.

 

Lorraine: I remember, Kaye. Father thought, and he still thinks now, that none of us have any right to have relationships with anyone but him. Even talking to each other is “disloyalty.”

 

Kaye: And even our relationships with him are colored by his insistence on controlling, and ruining, everyone else.

 

Christine: Are you ready to order?

 

Kaye: Yes, we are. <Christine removes a pen and paper from her apron.> I’ll have the lobster thermadore, with red wine, and a Caesar salad.

 

Lorraine: And I’d like something they serve in the United States. A chicken-fried steak, with peppers and garlic garnish.

 

Christine: Yes ma’am. <Christine writes their orders.> And to drink?

 

Kaye: She’ll have a daiquiri. <Lorraine looks at her, affronted.>

 

Lorraine: No, I won’t. I’ll have a cherry cola please.

 

Christine: No problem ladies. We’ll have that out to you as soon as we can. Would you like chips or onion rings for an appetizer while you wait?

 

Kaye: We sure would. <Nodding, Christine writes that down too, then heads off to the kitchen.>

 

Lorraine: You were the lucky one, sis. <Kaye raises her eyebrows.>

 

Kaye: Was I?

 

Lorraine: You were talented, and beautiful. Everyone loved you, and that gave you protection. Look at me; frumpy at fifteen, and so unattractive, a brainy geek and nothing more. You were a star growing up, and you’re still one. Not like me.

 

Kaye: No, but you are a genius. The rest of us are jealous of your mind. Out of all of us, only you got the straight A’s.

 

Lorraine: A lot of good that’s done me now.

 

Kaye: You’re going to nursing school . . .

 

Lorraine: I was. Even if I graduate, it wouldn’t help. Father . . . oh, I don’t know. Excuse me, please. I’m going to the loo. <Politely, Lorraine excuses herself, and stands up. As she walks away, a stands up. Lorraine bumps into him.>

 

Lorraine: Oh, I’m sorry. Excuse me.

 

Jordan: Excuse me. <He looks at her, then back at her.> If I may say, ma’am, that is a smashing dress. <Lorraine is startled, then shakes her head.>

 

Lorraine: My sister always gets that. She’s an actress on a soap . . .

 

Jordan: No, no, you don’t understand. I meant you look gorgeous in that dress. <Kaye rises to her feet, and steps on over.>

 

Kaye: Say thank you, Lori. This is my sister, Lori. And I don’t believe we caught your name, Mister?

 

Jordan: Jordan Pescal. I’m a cashier at Pseudodiscothèque.

 

Kaye: Still the wildest club in town?

 

Lorraine: Still the only club in town. <Kaye and Jordan laugh.>

 

Jordan: You’re both right. By the way, I saw you on the dance floor earlier. If you’ll forgive me, Lori, you’re a tigress.

 

Lorraine: That wasn’t me, sir, that was . . .

 

Kaye: That’s the her she keeps hidden inside. <Jordan smiles.>

 

Jordan: She should show it more. Good evening, ladies. <He heads toward the bathroom, then looks back at Lorraine, and smiles at her. She sits back down, startled and off-balance. Kaye sits, and clasps Lorraine’s hand.>

 

Lorraine: What was that?

 

Kaye: I think he liked you, Lori. A lot.

 

Lorraine: But . . . Dad needs me.

 

Kaye: You need you, too. Do something for you, for once, Lori. Go talk to him. <Lorraine looks nervous, uncertain of the best course of action. Kaye reaches into her purse, removes a pen and paper from her purse, and writes a phone number on it. She puts the paper on Jordan’s table.>

 

Lorraine: What did you do? <Kaye grins, widely.>

 

Kaye: Oh, nothing. Go to the loo.

 

<Lorraine heads over to the bathroom. She passes by Jordan, but they do not speak. Kaye laughs as Christine returns with their drinks, sets them up, and departs. Jordan returns to the dining room. He takes notice of the note, and walks over to Kaye.>

 

Jordan: Hello again. Would you permit me to ask your sister if she would care to go to a movie this weekend?

 

Kaye: She would love to. I want her to get out and enjoy her life for once. Lori needs to do something for herself. You see, she's my our Father's caretaker and he's sucking the life out of her, which is his favorite game with all of us.

 

.>

 

Kaye: Nobody. Don’t be fooled by all the bags. She doesn’t ever look, or shop, this way. It’s all my money. I’m in town maybe one week of the year. She needs someone who is as good to her as she is to Char . . . Father.

 

Lorraine: Kaye!

 

Jordan: I quite understand. <He turns to Lorraine.> So how would you like to see a movie this weekend?

 

Lorraine: I don’t want to a see a movie. <Defeated, Jordan turns away and starts to collect his things. Lorraine stands up.> But I love to dance. Could we do that?

 

Jordan: Yes, we could do that. How can I get in touch with you?

 

Kaye: Try the paper on your table. I wrote her number down.

 

Lorraine: Kaye!

 

Kaye: Would you have done it? <Lorraine shakes her head no.> Precisely. So I did it for you.

 

Jordan: Either way, until that night. I will miss you, beautiful. <He kisses Lorraine’s hand, and leaves.>

 

Lorraine: He said beautiful, and he was talking to me?

 

Kaye: Yep, to you. So, a toast, sister dear; here’s to love. <Kaye and Lorraine laugh, lightly, then toast and drink. Christine cleans up Jordan’s table.>

 

Lorraine: Say, Christine, I read in the paper the owner of the Silver Shamrock is seeking to sell?

 

Christine: Yes. Mister Mallory is too old and wants to sell it so he can retire. It’s too stressful for an old man.

 

Lorraine: Maybe you should look into that, Kaye? <Kaye shakes her head, rejecting the idea.>

 

Kaye: Liam would be interested in owning this place, not me.

 

<A cellphone rings, and Lorraine answers her phone.>

 

Lorraine: What? No. It can't be! <She heads to the door.>

 

Kaye: Wait a second, Lori. Where are you going?

 

Lorraine: That's what I get for having fun instead of caring for Father. Grandmother just died. She slipped and ran in to Colin's knife! Thank you, Kaye. Thank you for nothing! <Lorraine storms out.>

 

Kaye: But wait, this wasn't my fault. Lori, wait a minute!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act 2: Scene 6. <Charles is in the mobile bed, resting and hooked up to a monitor. Liam is outside the room, with Colin and Janet. Ryker is in the room with Charles, watching him. Kylie enters and shakes her head. Everyone but Kylie and Colin begin to mourn her.>

 

Liam: Is Granny dead?

 

Kylie: No. We saved her, but she's comatose. There's no telling when she will recover, but I will do my best, as will my staff.

 

Colin: This is going to destroy Lorraine. She can't handle this and Father, too. I insist on taking Father. Today.

 

Kylie: Do you truly understand what taking tending to your father around the clock requires? It’s not like taking in a dog from the pound.

 

Janet: It might as well be. He barks non-stop, and soils the place like a newborn puppy. And then he starts chewing out . . .

 

Kylie: That will do. If that’s really the way you feel, then I cannot allow you to take over Lorraine’s duties as the caretaker, Mrs. Talbot.

 

Colin: It doesn’t matter, Honey, I will meet his every need. You needn’t concern yourself in any way. <The way he says it raises Kylie’s suspicions.>

 

Kylie: Colin, may I take your blood pressure, please?

 

Colin: My blood pressure? Why?

 

Kylie: A misgiving. Please, will you acquiesce to my wishes?

 

Colin: Whatever you say, Doctor Moriarty. <Colin sits down, while Kylie makes use of her blood pressure cuff. She reads it, and shakes her head.>

 

Kylie: So I thought. Your blood pressure is sky-high. Do you take medication?

 

Janet: No, he doesn’t take anything.

 

Kylie: Colin, I’d like to give you a physical. If I’m right, you’re heading for trouble. <Ryker walks into the hall with Kylie, Colin, and Janet.>

 

Janet: Doctors always overprotect their patients. Aren’t we here for Charles, not Colin?

 

Kylie: Colin, you are keeping stress and pressure under a very tight lid. And pretty soon, you’re going to reach the boiling point. <Colin crosses his legs and behaves defensively.>

 

Colin: I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.

 

Kylie: Of course not. You’re too busy deflecting your stress away by burying yourself in work. But you’re killing yourself. I strongly suggest you start counseling. How long have you had hypertension issues?

 

Janet: Since you started pestering him. Colin is perfectly fine.

 

Kylie: The numbers say otherwise. One-eighty over one hundred, Colin, is dangerous ground.

 

Janet: So we can’t take Charles?

 

Kylie: Take Charles? I’m about ready to hospitalize Colin!

 

<Colin moans. He clutches his chest for a moment, then he forces himself to smile. Kylie is not fooled, and grabs him. She puts the blood pressure cuffs on him again, while checking his pulse.>

 

Kylie: Higher! Colin, come with me. Your blood pressure is perilously high.

 

Colin: I’ll be fine with rest, Doctor Moriarty.

 

Kylie: Hypertension is the silent killer. In this case, you got bloody lucky that you were here. It was almost too late. <Kylie removes the cuff from Colin and sets it down.>

 

Colin: Define too late, please.

 

Kylie: Heart attack or stroke that hit you by surprise. <Kylie leads Colin and Janet into Charles’ room. Removing a pad and pen from her pocket, she writes some things down, then hands the paper to Janet.>

 

Colin: What’s this?

 

Kylie: It’s an anti-anxiety medication, a blood-pressure relief pill, and my orders. Colin, you go give that to Sharayah or Nolan, and they’ll set you up. Be sure you take them, right away, and you’ll want to lie down. Those drugs knock you out. Janet, be sure he follows my orders, immediately.

 

Janet: Yes, Doctor. <Then Kylie notices something on the monitor she has connected to Charles, and walks into the room where Charles is.>

 

Kylie: By Jove.

 

Colin: I don’t understand. <Kylie flips a switch on the monitor. The others gather outside, watching.>

 

Ryker: Kylie, what is it?

 

Kylie: Sharayah, I need you, now. He’s having another heart attack. Prepare for surgery! <Kylie provides Charles with three baby aspirin, and a glass of water, and nitroglycerin. Then Kylie looks at his monitor again. She prepares Charles to leave the room.>

 

Liam: What’s happening?

 

Kylie: A second heart attack, this one far more serious.

 

Ryker: Why didn’t I foresee this?

 

Janet: Oh my God. <She looks around, shocked and scared.>

 

Colin: Oh dear. <He begins to dust the room.> Can I do anything to help?

 

Kylie: You go do what I ordered. <Kylie wheels Charles out of the room.>

 

Colin: We still haven’t established who’s going to take Father.

 

Janet: But I thought we were going to.

 

Ryker: Colin is on the verge of a collapse, Janet. He can’t handle another thing. And knock off that damned dusting. <Ryker snatches the rag away from Colin, who submissively stands there.> There’s only one solution. I’ll take Father.

 

Janet: You hate Charles with a passion.

 

Ryker: All of us do, Janet, but Lorraine can’t do it anymore. Let me have a turn so she can have a real life.

 

Liam: None of you have asked me to do it. Did any of you even consider it?

 

Ryker: We don't want to see him ruin your engagement to Christine.

 

Colin: Please, let me take care of Father. <Liam walks over to Colin, using his body to herd Colin to a chair, which forces Colin to sit down.>

 

Ryker: You are getting your blood pressure down before you do anything else! You’ve got too much going on already, and Janet won’t help you. Don’t pretend you don’t know that. I will take care of Father, but right now, we’re going to see a nurse and do something about your blood pressure. <Ryker walks away, forcibly taking Colin with him. Janet glares angrily at Ryker, but says nothing. Liam whips out a cell phone.>

 

Liam: Hello, Kaye? It’s Liam. We're having a bad day. Dad’s had a second heart attack. Right now, he’s having it. Doctor Moriarty is with him. Okay, you’re already on the way? Great. <Then he hangs up.>

 

Ryker: He’ll be fine, for now. For one thing, it’s not his time to go. <Liam is taken aback, and looks at Ryker, squinting.>

 

Liam: What do you mean?

 

Ryker: Before his death, he has one final betrayal to deal to us. And after him, well, all we have to do is survive Halloween. <Liam rolls his eyes, and turns his back on Ryker with disgust.>

 

Liam: Can’t you just stop? Don’t you know how crazy you sound? We don’t need this right now.

 

Ryker: You’re just afraid, Liam, because you know I’m telling the truth. <Ryker stands up and heads to Liam. Then he touches Liam’s shoulder.> It’s okay. I’m afraid, too. <Ryker and Liam look at each other.>

 

Liam: I can’t believe this! <Lorraine storms into the room, with Kaye right behind her.>

 

Kaye: But Lori, please . . .

 

Lorraine: What is wrong with me? First Grandmother Lana and now Father once again! I’m so selfish! I should never have left him alone like this! How could I be so stupid? <Liam and Ryker look at her, and go to her.>

 

Liam: What is wrong with her?

 

Lorraine: I’m a selfish person, and a complete burk! This is the last time I’m leaving Father alone . . .

 

Ryker: It is indeed. I’m going to take over care of Father. <Lorraine glares at Ryker, with rage in her eyes.>

 

Lorraine: Oh no you’re not! <Ryker crosses his arms and gives her a defiant glare, tapping his foot.>

 

Kaye: Can’t you see that this is killing you?

 

Lorraine: What I see is that, now that he’s dying, all of you are being opportunistic assholes. Well, I won’t let you have him. I’ve been the one who’s taken care of him, kept him healthy and strong. <She points to herself.> Not you, you, or you! You haven’t helped in any way, not one of you. You haven’t even been here, not for him, and not for me.

 

Liam: You know bloody well why . . .

 

Lorraine: I don’t bloody care why! He’s staying with me!

 

Kaye: And let you confiscate all the money?

 

Lorraine: I don’t want his money! Not one shilling of it! You can all keep it, burn it, give it to the poor, I don’t care what you do. I don’t want it! I never did! I love Dad. It was me who let him move into my house, after his health became too poor to handle the stairs and distances in his mansion. He never gave me anything, and I didn’t ask! I actually love him, unlike the rest of you vultures!

 

Liam: Then you’re sick. No one could love a tyrant like that. <Lorraine slaps him in the face.>

 

Lorraine: I do! Now get the Hell out!

 

Liam: With pleasure. You want him, he’s yours, not that you’ll enjoy it. Have the miserable time of your life, sis. I’m through with this jerk. <Liam walks out of the hospital. Lorraine glares at Kaye.>

 

Kaye: And what did I do?

 

Lorraine: Convinced me to leave Father when he needed me. I should never have gone with you.

 

Kaye: Which means what? <She puts her hands on her hips.>

 

Lorraine: I belonged here, not shopping for new clothes or dancing, or flirting with a man. And how dare you interfere with my love life?

 

Kaye: You don’t have a love life. You don’t have any life! All you ever do is take care of Daddy dear. Liam was right. You can have him. <Kaye turns and walks out. Lorraine looks at Ryker next, rage still in her eyes.>

 

Lorraine: And you, psychic, I don’t even want to talk to you.

 

Ryker: You will not drive me away as easily as you did the others. I won’t talk. I’ll stay with you. Come on, let it out, sis, you’ll feel better. <He goes to her, and holds her. Gently, he hugs her, and leads her to a chair. Lorraine shouts incoherently, but eventually, Lorraine’s anger turns to grief, and she begins to cry. He offers her his shoulder, and lets her unburden herself.>

Act 2: Scene 7. <Once again, we are in the hospital room with the hallway beside it. Charles is on his bed again, with Lorraine sitting beside him, in a chair next to the bed. Kylie is outside in the hall, talking to Ryker.>

 

Kylie: I just want you to be absolutely certain you understand what we mean by being his caretaker.

 

Ryker: We’ve been over this six times. I know how to use the blood pressure cuff now, and the logbook . . .

 

Kylie: And which medications do what?

 

Ryker: Oh, rats. <He raises his hands, as if pushing away her disapproval.> Don’t worry, I’ll get it, I’ll get it. <Charles begins to wake up. Lorraine watches, and realizes what is going on.>

 

Lorraine: Doctor, come quick! He’s waking up! <Kylie and Ryker run into the room, in quite a hurry.>

 

Kylie: Are you okay, Solicitor Talbot? <She checks his pulse and pressure.>

 

Charles: I am fine. What happened, Doctor Moriarty?

 

Lorraine: You had two heart attacks, Father, on the same day.

 

Charles: How long have I been here?

 

Kylie: Three days. And in those three days, you’ve shown nothing but signs of improvement. <Kylie smiles gently at him.>

 

Charles: So I can go home?

 

Kylie: I want you here for one more day, for observation. After you’ve gotten back home, I’ll visit every day to make sure. <She raises her voice, sternly.> That way this isn’t going to happen again.

 

Charles: I don’t want you, an autistic freak interfering . . .

 

Kylie: Part of my daily visit is to ensure you’ve had your medications every single day. As well as check the daily statistics so we don’t have a second scare. Four heart attacks. The fifth one will kill you.

 

Charles: I don’t want to take those damned medications.

 

Kylie: That’s out of your hands now, Solicitor Talbot. <Charles frowns, and he looks angry, but he knows he’s been checkmated.>

 

Charles: Who is that sitting next to me?

 

Lorraine: Father, it’s me. <Charles blinks, startled at the change.>

 

Charles: Lori? Is that you?

 

Lorraine: Who else would it be?

 

Kylie: She stayed by your side the moment you were out of surgery from your second heart attack, faithful to the last.

 

Lorraine: I should never have let myself get talked into leaving with Kaye. My place was with you. I’m sorry. <Lorraine cries. Charles reaches for her, stops himself, then relents, and wipes the tears from Lorraine’s face.>

 

Charles: Lori, Lori. It’s okay. Did any of the others stay with me?

 

Ryker: I visited every day. Liam left after your second heart attack and we haven’t seen him since, but he calls often. Colin got put on blood pressure pills, and they’ve knocked him out.

 

Charles: That wife of his is going to kill him.

 

Kylie: That is certainly possible. She drives him like a sled dog team. <Charles laughs at this, agreeing with her statement.>

 

Lorraine: But that’s different than Liam, Kaye, and Lukas. Colin can’t be here with you. His new pills won't let him. The others just don’t want to.

 

Charles: No Lukas?

 

Ryker: He got a check the day of the heart attacks, and he bought a new car with Janet and Colin. We never heard from him again.

 

Charles: No Lukas?

 

Ryker: Not even a phone call. <Lorraine shakes her head, and brushes back her own tears.>

 

Charles: What are you crying about? Damned wimp.

 

Kylie: All right, that’s it. Everyone out. Ryker, Lori, beat it. <She makes a shooing gesture, so Ryker and Lorraine walk out of the room.>

 

Lorraine: I’ll be right outside if you need me. <Kylie closes the door on them.>

 

Kylie: I shouldn’t speak to you this way, especially when you’re in convalescence. But I think you can take it. You’ve certainly dished it out long enough. Do you understand what harm you’ve done to your children, Charles?

 

Charles: They’re worthless and weak. They deserve it.

 

Kylie: No, they don’t, and they never did. You are in danger, Charles, and so are all your kin. The curse from thirty years ago is back and I don't think I can put it to sleep this time.

 

Charles: <Sarcastically.> There is no such thing as a curse.

 

Kylie: Remember Chauncey? I do. <Charles looks stricken.> Make things right. You can start with Lorraine. She alone among your children wants to see you live and thrive, even at her own expense.

 

Charles: She’s after my money.

 

Kylie: Of course she isn’t. If she wanted your money, since you live with her, getting it would be the easiest thing in the world. So why hasn’t she? All she ever cares about is what you need, to the point that she’s neglected to care for herself at all. She needs rest herself, but the only one who’s willing to step in is Ryker . . .

 

Charles: And I don’t want Ryker to be my caretaker. He’ll probably poison me in his sleep.

 

Kylie: Let’s stick to getting you well. I want you to live. <She opens the door again to let Lorraine and Ryker in.>

 

Ryker: Father, I’ll be taking over your care . . .

 

Charles: I don’t want you, Ryker! Only Lorraine is worthy. I’ll stay with Lorraine. By the way, you look wonderful. You should dress like that more often. <Lorraine is shocked, but laughs lightly.>

 

Lorraine: I haven’t bathed, or changed, in three days! It’s all right, Ryker, I’ll keep him. But would you guys please be of more help to me?

 

Ryker: I promise, I will help you. Including helping you as his caretaker. <Lorraine smiles.>

 

Charles: Let’s have a party. <Kylie raises her eyebrows.> I meant on Halloween, Lori. We’ll invite all your siblings.

 

Kylie: What I said, Solicitor Talbot. Think about it. Whatever caused it in the first place, you need to make it right. For Chauncey's sake as well as your own.

 

Charles: Good day, Doctor Moriarty.

 

Kylie: I’ll be here in the morning if you need me. My nurses will be here if you need someone more immediately. <Then she leaves the room.>

Act 2: Scene 8. <Kylie's home. She stands behind a cauldron. Beside her, on a table, is a book and a tray full of magical reagents, as well as her green backpack.>

 

Kylie: By gentle winds, make amity bloom. <She drops the reagents into the cauldron and walks around the cauldron.> Fire bring back the warmth. Water wash away the slights of the past, and bind this spell of peace with earth. Shelter this family from what is to come. Turn the disaster away. May the bickering and the backbiting cease. Grant them all protection, oh spirits, I pray!

 

<She stops walking forcefully raises her arms and her magic wand high into the air. Then she drops the rune of Algiz into the cauldron. A wind arises. Lorraine enters.>

 

Kylie: What are you doing here, Lorraine? I never invited you.

 

Lorraine: I knew it! I knew it! You’re a witch! <She points her finger at Kylie.> What are you trying to pull? Put a hex on us all?

 

Kylie: Lorraine, you watch the world, but you’re not part of it. How long to you mean to keep deferring your life to your father? You have your own life to live. If I finish my spell, that is.

 

<Lorraine glares at Kylie and puts her hands on her hips.>

 

Lorraine: What do you mean by that?

 

Kylie: You're all in danger. Grave danger. I can feel it. Look to the skies!

 

<Kylie points to the sky, where eight rooks fly above. Lorraine looks and sees the rooks.>

 

Lorraine: What’s the meaning of this?

 

Kylie: Your father is the subject of a dreadful hex from years ago. I gave him a charm to suppress the hex, but something's gone wrong. My shelter spell is broken. I knew it when I saw Lana's body. With Lana comatose and bloody nearly killed surely you can see the need for protection.

 

Lorraine: Well I don't.

 

Kylie: I foresee a terrible tragedy coming, perhaps more than one. It’s my job to put a stop to such things. If you don't believe me, try asking Ryker. He sees why I see, but there's a darkness in him that disturbs me.

 

Lorraine: He is disturbing all right, but you . . . Kylie, I thought you were a respected doctor . . .

 

Kylie: I am. <She picks up her backpack.> I'm also a good witch. Don't fear me, Lori. Ah. Here comes love, Lori. Let it in. Love is even better at protection than sorcery is.

 

<Jordan enters.>

 

Jordan: Afternoon, ladies. How are you, Lorraine?

 

Lorraine: She's a witch! We have to get her out of the neighborhood.

 

Jordan: <Looking at the magic supplies.> What are you doing?

 

Kylie: Preparing for Halloween. And I just happen to have two tickets to the movies. <She reaches into the cauldron, chants, then removes two tickets.> Have a good night, my dears. <She passes the tickets to Jordan, then gathers up her things and exits.>

 

Jordan: Did she just create tickets for us?

 

Lorraine: With Kylie, you never know what she's going to do. I come here to ask her to stop by and visit Father and find that she's making magic.

 

Jordan: <Dreamily.> She sure is. Come on. We've got these two tickets. Why let them go to waste?

 

Lorraine: Did she invite you here?

 

Jordan: No. I called Kaye and she said you were coming here, so I came by myself. I can't help it. I can't get you out of my head. I want you, more than you can know.

 

Lorraine: You're crazy. <She tries to back away, but Jordan follows.>

 

Jordan: Don't be afraid of me. I look at you, and I see an angel.

 

Lorraine: I see a fool.

 

Jordan: If that's what you want, then let me be your fool. <He takes her by the hand.> I can’t stand to be away from you. Darling, I love you. You are my sun, you are my moon, and the stars in the heavens, too! <He runs his hands along her arm, slowly, gently. It awakens life in her.>

 

Lorraine: Oh, Jordan! That feels so good. No, stop. <She pries herself loose.> It feels weird. Weird, and yet . . . I . . . I <Lorraine flees to the center of the stage.> I cannot let myself give in to this. Something about you has been stirring within me. And when you touched me, it feels like a flame just lit up in my soul! <He looks hopeful, but she turns away from him.> But I can't let myself give in to what I feel. Father needs me. I must go back to him. Forgive me, Jordan, but I cannot be with you. I have to get back to Father. But, maybe just once . . .

 

<She goes to Jordan and kisses him. They kiss again, and embrace passionately. Dressed entirely in black, the Assailant enters, while the lovers do not notice. He creeps up on Jordan, drawing a knife on the way. Wrathfully, he lifts the knife up high above his head and readies to stab Jordan in the back.>

 

Lorraine: No!

 

<Jordan breaks away, turns around, and smacks into the Assailant, making the Assailant step backward two steps. Jordan steps in front of Lorraine, trying to protect her.>

 

Jordan: Oh God. Stop, please. <The Assailant grabs Jordan and throws him to the ground, making him cry out. Then the Assailant kneels over him and holds the knife, ready to kill Jordan.>

 

Lorraine: No! Stop! Stop! <Lorraine tries to slap the Assailant, but she’s too weak. He turns to her and pushes her down.> Help! Somebody, help!

 

<Lorraine starts looking for a weapon, but she cannot find one. Jordan tries to block as the Assailant brings the knife down to bear. Suddenly, jerking as if he is not in control of his body, the Assailant stands up. Kylie points her wand, which is aimed at the Assailant.>

 

Kylie: Put it down! <The Assailant tries to resist, but his body jerks and quivers.> You are my puppet. I pull your strings. Now do as I say or I’ll riddle your body with cramps! Drop the knife!

 

<Kylie walks toward the Assailant. He loses his ability to resist, and drops the knife.>

 

Lorraine: Kylie!

 

Kylie: Stand up, Jordan. Get up. He can’t hurt you anymore.

 

<Lorraine scrambles to help Jordan, and with her help, he gets back on his feet.>

 

Jordan: Wow. Thank you, Doctor Moriarty.

 

Lorraine: Honey, are you all right? Did he hurt you?

 

Jordan: I'm fine. <Jordan bends to pick up the knife.> Are you all right?

 

Lorraine: Yes.

 

Kylie: Now, puppet, it’s time for total truth between us!

 

The Assailant: I was told not to speak.

 

Kylie: Forget your past instruction. I am your mistress now. Who sent you?

 

The Assailant: A ghost did.

 

Lorraine: What ghost? Who are you?

 

Kylie: Madame Miranda's, I presume. Unmask yourself.

 

<The Assailant unmasks himself, revealing himself to be Lukas. Lorraine gasps and covers her mouth, while Jordan puts his hands on his hips.>

 

Lorraine: Lukas! My own brother!

 

Jordan: Bloody traitor!

 

Lorraine: What were you thinking? How could you do this to me?

 

Lukas: I'm going to kill you, Lorraine!

 

Kylie: You will not! <He struggles to move, but her spell bars him from taking any actions without her permission.>

 

Lorraine: What happened to you, Lukas? Why are you doing this?

 

Kylie: He's clearly high and the ghost of Madame Miranda took advantage of his open mental state. This is your brother possessed by someone else.

 

<Kylie gets close to Lukas, trying to purge the possession from him. Instead, he suddenly breaks free of her spell and makes her fall down. With his body back under his control, Lukas wrestles with Jordan, knocking him down again.

 

Lukas: Time to die, Lorraine!

 

<Lukas attacks Lorraine, but seeing him attack Lorraine empowers Jordan. Fueled by his love for her, Jordan proves stronger than Lukas and defeats him. Kylie stands up and holds Lukas at wandpoint.>

 

Lorraine: Jordan, you saved my life. Thank you.

 

Jordan: I told you, Lori, I love you.

 

Lorraine: <Excitedly.> I love you too! <She covers her mouth sheepishly, then uncovers it and kisses him.> Yes I do, Jordan. I'm in love with you!

 

Kylie: Be gone, ghost! You can't have him!

 

<Kylie chants while Lukas struggles, until there a flash of light. Lukas calms down.>

 

Lukas: Thank you. Lorraine, that wasn't me. I'd never hurt you. What's happening to us?

 

Kylie: You know very well what, Lukas, since we can all smell the marijuana you've had.

 

<Lorraine approaches Lukas, punching him in the chest.>

 

Jordan: Lorraine?

 

Lorraine: Are we safe, Kylie?

 

Kylie: Not yet.

 

Lorraine: You know I believe this is utter madness.

 

Kylie: No matter what I say, you will not believe me. So allow me to introduce you to the cause of all your family's grief. <Kylie turns to the cauldron and throws some herbs in, then she chants over it.> Madame Miranda! I conjure your soul. Meet me in this hour. Witch to witch, we need to talk. Come forth!

 

<There is a burst of lightning, and then Madame Miranda appears, causing Lorraine and Jordan to gasp.>

 

Miranda: Why do you call me, Kylie Moriarty? We have no dispute, though I do have some displeasure with your master.

 

Kylie: The curse against the Talbot house has come to my very door. Why do you press it?

 

Miranda: Because my curse is on the blood.

 

Kylie: Remove it.

 

Miranda: I refuse. You do it.

 

Kylie: I could try, but there's no guarantee I wouldn't cause some kind of backlash. You put it on this family, so you must release it.

 

Miranda: Not until every last one of them is dead.

 

Lukas: What the Hell is your problem, lady? I did nothing to you. I don't even know you. And I'm sure Liam and Patrick . . .

 

Miranda: It was your father, and your uncle, who vexed me. So I hexed them. Next life, choose better parents.

 

Lorraine: I have no uncle.

 

Kylie: You once did, Chauncey Talbot. She erased him. Only Charles and I recall the fact of his existence.

 

Lorraine: You mean she could make me just disappear, too? <Lorraine falls to her knees.> Please withdraw the curse. I'm beginning you . . .

 

Miranda: Not on your life.

 

Kylie: Exactly what curse did you craft, Madame Miranda?

 

Miranda An infection of disaster, permanent until Charles confessed that I owned him. Until he did that, and appeased me, it taints his every move.

 

Lorraine: What would bring you appeasement?

 

Miranda: The money he's made. I want all of the money.

 

Lorraine: That is good, because I don't. You can have it.

 

Lukas: What about me?

 

Kylie: For you, it's jail for a long, long time. End this curse, Miranda.

 

Miranda: I will not break it. But go ahead and enjoy your evening, lovebirds. Her magic is influencing your feelings, and be glad of it, for I cannot harm either of you so long as you are under the protection of her love charm. Do not interfere with my curse any further, Kylie!

 

Kylie: Our spells will not cross again. <Miranda exits.>

 

Lorraine: What does this mean?

 

Kylie: She wants to kill you all, but so long as you two are in love, my counterspell will shield you from her sorcery.

 

Lorraine: <Turning to Jordan.> Shall we go to the movies?

 

Jordan: Anything you want. <They wrap arms together and exit.>

 

Lukas: This is insane.

 

Kylie: And attacking your own sister isn't? Let's go!

 

 

Act 2: Scene 9. <Once again in Kylie's yard. Kylie is reading tarot cards again. Charles and Lukas enter and approach her.>

 

Kylie: Your first night out of hospital and you come to me, Charles Talbot? And you bring the brat who nearly killed his own sister with you?

 

Charles: Kylie, you owe me.

 

Kylie: And why is that?

 

Charles: My children know who you are now and they know you’re not dangerous. Except that you are. You caused a very bad thing, Kylie. <He walks around Kylie, circling her like a shark, and looking at Kylie like one.>

 

Kylie: I caused a very bad thing? Wasn't it you who angered Madame Miranda and got the curse put upon your entire family? All I did was try to stop it. And how did Lukas get out of jail?

 

Lukas: When your Father is friends with the top of Britain's legal system, springing his son from the slammer is no problem at all.

 

Charles: Especially on such asinine charges as my son attacking his sister after getting possessed. <He closes in and gets in Kylie’s face. Kylie turns away from him.> Look at me! <Charles grabs Kylie’s face and turns it back to him.> Look at me!

 

Kylie: Say what you want from me.

 

Maribel: <Charles releases Kylie’s face.> You can make magic potions, can’t you? I want you to make one for me!

 

Kylie: What kind of potion do you wish?

 

Charles: Is there such a thing as a love potion?

 

Kylie: Quite, but I never use them. Magic that is used to violate somebody’s free will always comes with a terrible price.

 

Charles: I don’t want you to make a love potion. <She breaks into a wicked grin.> You see, Kylie, I’d rather you make a hate potion.

 

Kylie: What makes you think I'd ever do that for you?

 

Charles: It's Lorraine. She's got some new boyfriend she doesn't want me to know about, but she's always making excuses to call him. She's got some kind of bounce in her step now, and she keeps almost but not quite singing . . .

 

Kylie: Oh, I see what you're doing. She's no longer your full-time servant. Instead, she wants something for herself, and it is giving her rapture, and you can't stand it. The madness is within you, and nowhere else. I’m not making you a potion. Ask me for a spell that’ll restore your vigor, and I’ll try it. Request a charm that will make you look young, or quicken your mind again, I’d help you. But I shall not ruin their love just to appease your spite.

 

Charles: Kylie, you owe me and I demand that you do what I ask!

 

Lukas: Yeah. <He draws a knife and points it at Kylie.> You wouldn't want things to get rough.

 

Kylie: Weakling! <She touches Lukas' forehead, and he falls to the ground as if he were a helpless weakling.> Madame Miranda! He has come.

 

<Madame Miranda appears again, laughing. Charles is horrified.>

 

Madame Miranda: Thank you, Kylie. Any anger I bore towards you is forgiven now. <She approaches Charles.> But if anyone has a debt to pay, it's you!

 

Charles: What fakery is this?

 

Madame Miranda: You have until Samhain to make payment in full. If you refuse, on the stroke of midnight, everything you have will crumble.

 

Lukas: It's her! The bitch who possessed me!

 

Madame Miranda: If you don't want possessed, stay off the grass. And the booze.

 

Charles: You'll get nothing out of me!

 

Madame Miranda: Oh indeed I will! Remember, Samhain. Admit that I own you and give me every little pound you have. Without my money, you'd never have been able to begin your law practice. Magic has laws too. Break them and you must pay the price. You, and, until I am satisfied, your heirs!

 

Kylie: And no court, no politician, no statute passed, can change it.

 

Charles: Sheer and utter madness. I won't give you anything!

 

Miranda: Then I will take it by force! Perhaps I'll give it all to Liam's mother just to see how much it galls you! <She turns away and leaves, laughing.>

 

Kylie: What does that mean?

 

Charles: Liam, my eldest, is only half-brother to his siblings. I swindled his mother out of everything she owned. We weren't even married. It was just a fling. She dared to challenge me for custody. It's good to have friends in the legal system.

 

Kylie: So Liam is the outsider in the family?

 

Charles: That's right. He doesn’t belong, and he knows it.

 

Kylie: If you don’t love Liam, why keep him?

 

Charles: Leverage. My keeping him prevented her from getting back anything I took from her with a child support suit.

 

Kylie: You condemned a woman to poverty, then practically kidnapped her son, all for power over her?

 

Charles: It gave me the money to start my own practice. Now that you know what I'm capable of, don’t you dare try anything, Kylie! If you do, I’ll make you sorry! I really mean it! We’ll see how you like it when I’ve get the neighborhood to grab you and burn you at the stake! Don’t you think I won’t, Kylie, ‘cause you don’t know who you’re dealing with!

 

Kylie: Neither do you. Now get off of my land! <End of act 2.>

Act 3: Scene 1. Once more inside of Lorraine's drawing room. The entire family is present. The room is decorated for a Halloween party, which is loud and jubilant, but only Charles is actually acting celebratory. Charles sits in the center of the room like a king at court. Ryker watches the scene unfold like a vigilant judge looking for trouble. Lorraine is playing hostess, keeping everyone’s food and drink refreshed, but she avoids Lukas. Kay is fixing her makeup and hair. Colin remains by Janet's side. Lukas is drinking wine. Liam sits on his own, angry and grieving. Patrick is madly texting with his cell phone. Christine and Robyn are at a table off in the distance, playing a party game.>

 

Janet: Patrick, stop that! Not here of all places! <She confiscates the cell phone, and Patrick protests but lets her have it.>

 

Charles: You should let me deal with him instead of raising such a gay spoiled brat.

 

Janet: If only it were that easy. If you had any knack for child

rearing . . . Lukas wouldn't need you to bail him out after

getting high and trying to kill his sister.

 

Charles: Don't you wish you had influence with the court system here, Janet? I'm friends with all the judges.

 

Lorraine: Father, I wish you wouldn't overtax yourself.

 

<Charles glares at her, so Lorraine tends to his drink. When

she is finished, Charles picks up a fork and clinks his glass

until he has everyone’s attention.>

 

Charles: Thank you. I want you all to know how much I appreciate each of you coming to this celebration. Lana's practical death has made me an even wealthier man than I was, and since all of you were gathering here on this Halloween night to mourn her, tonight makes for a perfect party.

 

Ryker: This is straight out of your playbook, Charles. Only you

would turn our time of grief into your time to party.

 

Charles: Think nothing of it, Ryker. I only regret that it didn’t happen sooner. And I've told you never to call me Charles!

 

Ryker: Oh shut up! For God's sake, Father, please, just this once

shut up and keep your evil to yourself! It’s an insult that you’re so happy that Granny is pretty much gone! It feels like you’re dancing on her grave before she's even dead yet, and I won't stand for it!

 

<Lorraine stands with Charles as if she could protect him. Patrick rolls his eyes.>

 

Patrick: Oh just stop it! All of you! Why don’t you all just go get hunting pistols and shoot each other and get it over with so Aunt Lorraine and I can have some peace? I'm all tired of you all! Some family we are, ripping each other to shreds! She's the only decent one out of all of you! <Everyone stands there, looking rebuked.>

 

Lorraine: Uh, thank you.

 

Kaye: From the mouths of babes.

 

Charles: Colin, I demand that you put that boy across my knees so I can give that little bastard the spanking he's had coming for years! Do what I say! <Colin reluctantly moves ahead.>

 

Janet: Stay where you are, Colin! <Embarrassed.> I'm so sorry that he popped off, but he's right and we all know it. My son will never be exposed to you again, Charles. Come on, Patrick, we're going out trick or treating.

 

Patrick: It's about time. <Janet takes Patrick by the hand and exits with him. Ryker looks around, examines his palm, and chases after them.>

 

Ryker: Janet, wait! Don't go out there! <Ryker exits.>

 

Charles: I want that boy of yours whipped before the night is up, and if I find out that she's given him any candy, I'm going to whip you! Is that perfectly clear, Colin? Why'd you ever marry that c . . .

 

Lorraine: Father, please.

 

<Kylie enters, looking worried. She sees Charles and approaches him.>

 

Kylie: Solicitor Talbot, I need to talk to you. <Charles grabs Kylie and forces her to dance with him.>

 

Charles: Not tonight, Doctor Moriarty. Tonight’s a special night. Care to whip us up some spooks with your magic?

 

Kylie: There’s no need to. I came to warn you that you’re in danger tonight. It is All Hallows Eve, or Halloween to you. And Madame Miranda meant what she said. <Kylie breaks free of Charles and Lorraine goes to him.>

 

Lorraine: Dancing’s not the best idea for you, anyway. You’ve only been home a few days. I think you should rest.

 

Kylie: You know what you have to do, Charles. You're just not doing it, but you're running out of time.

 

Charles: Both of you are so wretched. Don’t expect me to be drawn in to your gloominess. Go have some drinks. Please. <Charles leaves the two alone and looks for someone else to capture for a dance.>

 

Lorraine: Nothing I can say will reach him. He pretends nothing happened to him.

 

Kylie: Be careful, Lori. Death is has marked this house and she is coming. <Ryker approaches Kylie.>

 

Ryker: I know. Father won’t survive the night. <Lorraine looks at Ryker with a combination of fear and disgust. Liam goes to Christine, and looks at her dress.>

 

Liam: Christine, that is a spectacular dress.

 

Christine: Thanks. It’s a Gilda original. <Charles notices Christine and advances to her.>

 

Charles: And who have we here?

 

Liam: Everyone, this is my Father. This is my co-worker, Christine, and my boss, Robyn.

 

Robyn: Hello.

 

Charles: Pleased to meet you both. <Then he turns his attention to Christine.> Just what England needs. Another Arab.

 

Christine: I’m a legal, nationalized citizen, as are my children. My friend, Gwynnith Heartley, is babysitting for me.

 

Liam: She married a British soldier in Iraq and he brought her here, then she became a citizen, and he died and I don't have to justify Christine to the likes of you! Christine, would you do me the honor of a dance?

 

Christine: I’d be delighted, Liam. <Liam wraps his arm around Christine, and they go off together dancing. Charles drifts over to Lukas.>

 

Lukas: Dad, I’ve been thinking. I need money for some clothes.

 

Charles: Oh, how much?

 

Lukas: Fifteen hundred ought to do it.

 

Charles: How many times did you visit me in the hospital, Lukas? You get a hundred dollars for each time you visited me in the hospital.

 

Lukas: Uh . . . <Lukas begins trying to count on his fingers. He never gets further than one.> But then I . . . well no. And I . . . oh, that was here, and I told Lorraine . . . oh.

 

Charles: You don’t love me, son, you love my money. God what a fool I was not to see it sooner! I should've left you at the mercy of the legal system. <Lukas is shocked, and his face reveals a deep sense of betrayal.>

 

Lukas: What are you saying?

 

Charles: I’m turning off the tap, Lukas. You want new clothes, get off the drugs and get a job! <He angrily turns his back on Lukas, who tries to follow him. Kylie and Lorraine stand up, and lead Charles to the couch.>

 

Lorraine: Please, Father, take it easy.

 

Kylie: You should rest now, Mister Talbot. Have you had your nighttime meds?

 

Charles: No, I haven’t. Go ahead and give them to me. <He looks at Kylie, who looks right back at him. Kylie departs to go get him his medication. Kaye and Jordan enter, and Kaye leads Jordan straight to Lorraine.>

 

Kaye: Here she is, right here. I’ll leave you two lovebirds alone.

 

Jordan: Uh, thank you. Lorraine? <Lorraine gives him a strange look, as if she wants to be intimate with him, but can't.>

 

Charles: So are you the man Lorraine’s been singing about when she thinks I’m not looking? <Lorraine turns pale as a sheet.>

 

Jordan: Am I? <He smiles.> My name’s Jordan Pescal. <He whips out his hand for Charles to shake, so Charles does.>

 

Charles: Charlie Talbot, solicitor.

 

Lorraine: Retired. Yes, I just loved our date. Last night was wonderful. Dinner, a movie, dancing . . . I had such a great time. Except for Lukas trying to attack us.

 

Ryker: You feel it, too, don’t you? Doom and death rule here.

 

Kylie: Yes, I feel it. It sickens me, but you seem almost joyful.

 

Ryker: Do I? I’m sorry. <Kylie brushes past him and returns to Charles with the medications. She gives them to him, and he takes them, along with a swig from a soft drink bottle.>

 

Charles: Can you clear everyone out, Doctor Moriarty? Except for you, of course. I want to have a private conference with my children, then I think I will go to bed. Lorraine, you know what I intend to say.

 

Lorraine: Is tonight the right night? Are you up to it?

 

Charles: When else am I going to have all your siblings together again? <Lorraine nods her head in assent. Kylie draws out a magic wand from her pocket. She twirls it around for a moment, and then pushes high up into the air as high as she can. There is a loud boom, and a burst of light, which draws everyone’s attention to her.>

 

Lorraine: Excuse me, please. Father would like everyone who isn’t family to adjourn to the kitchen. There is a private matter we need to discuss.

 

<Liam quits dancing with Christine, then he kisses her, and she politely retreats to the kitchen with Robyn.>

 

Jordan: And what about the Doctor and I?

 

Charles: Let Doctor Moriarty stay. You are dismissed. Perhaps you’d like to wait in Lorraine’s room. <Jordan flees the room. Everyone looks at Charles quizzically.>

 

Colin: Father, is that you? You’re never nice like that.

 

Charles: Sit down, boy!

 

Colin: It’s him. <He sits down, as does Janet. Lorraine, Liam, Ryker, Kaye, and Lukas each take a seat somewhere around Charles.>

 

Janet: What’s the big news?

 

Kaye: Yes, please, what’s the to do?

 

Charles: Are you all ready now? I’ve made a big decision.

 

Liam: And what is that? <Everyone but Kylie leans down to hear him. Lorraine turns some music up, to prevent anyone from being able to hear the family in the drawing room.>

 

Charles: Right after Lana's hospitalization, my will was changed. <Each of them is astonished, and starts to mumble and murmur, except for Kylie. For a few seconds, they start to cause quite a commotion. Charles loses his patience, raises his arms, and claps his hands. This silences them all.>

 

Janet: What was wrong with the old will?

 

Liam: This is just another game of yours, isn’t it? Let me guess, the one who gets the money is the one who tries to kill my Mother?

 

Charles: No, that was the old will, actually. This time, it’s a better game. Each of you has a task to undertake before you are worthy to earn any of my money. The first to do so wins it all. Liam, I want you to find your mother and tell her the following number. 6320589431. Good luck finding her.

 

Liam: Thank you for reminding me, yet again, I am merely the stepbrother. <Furiously.> Thank you very much.

 

Charles: Glad to do it. Ryker, you are to sell your motorcycle and get a real job, such as working at my firm. No more psychic readings over the telephone. You make me ashamed to know you.

 

Ryker: That’s funny. I was about to tell you the same thing. You have no right to tell me how to live my life. <Ryker stands and turns his back on him.>

 

Charles: So you think. Even so, I do have the right to decide what conditions I put upon my heirs if they want my money. So I take it you’re unwilling to comply? Fine. Die in debt!

 

Ryker: I renounce you, Charles Talbot. Keep your dirty money. I don’t want it!

 

Charles: But you need it, to get out of your gambling debts, don’t you? <Ryker is forced into silence. Lorraine rests her hands on Charles’ hands.>

 

Lorraine: Stay calm, or else I’m going to have to tell you to quit. Don’t get yourself upset. <Charles breathes, and relaxes.>

 

Charles: Kaye, if you want my money, you’ll have to move back to England. Permanently. And give me control over your career.

 

Kaye: What do you know about the stage and screen?

 

Charles: What’s the matter, Kaye? England not good enough for you anymore?

 

Kaye: My career is hot right now. I can’t just walk away!

 

Charles: You always put your career first, Kaye.

 

Kaye: I should. It’s what you taught me to do.

 

Charles: Colin, your task is to divorce Janet. When and if you do, my money is yours. But it will never be hers. Do you understand? <Colin folds his hands, stands up, and begins to pick up trash from the floor.> And put your son in military school. I want him out of here before December!

 

Janet: You’re a lunatic.

 

Charles: We’re cut from the same cloth, bitch. But I worked for it. You made Colin do all the work to get where you are. And Lukas, the only way you’ll get my money is to get a job. A real one, and keep it for at least two years. And answer one question. Why didn’t you visit me?

 

Lukas: I did! <Irked, he starts pacing around.> Wasn’t I the one who came in to the room when the others let the security guard stop them?

 

Charles: As I recall, I wrote you a check, and you quickly ran off. One by one, you each fell away and failed me. Except Lorraine, who only left for lunch and better clothes, but came back. But she’s made it perfectly clear she doesn’t want my money. At least, that’s what she claims. So we’re leaving her out. <His tone becomes threatening.> Completely left out. She pretends that playing nurse will make me give her something on the side anyway. But it won’t. You don’t fool me. You ask for nothing, you shall have it, in spades!

 

Lorraine: I’m not going to stay around this. <Lorraine departs from the room, heading to her bedroom.>

 

Charles: There you have it. Each of you has something I expect out of you. Liam, you call your mother and tell her that number.

 

Liam: Why should I do that? Why should she care?

 

Charles: That’s the number of the bank account her inheritance was deposited in. She can finally have the number to it.

 

Kylie: Drained, no doubt? <Charles smiles at Kylie.>

 

Charles: Overdrawn. Ryker, sell your bike, Colin, divorce Janet, Kaye, come back to the family and give me control over your career, Lukas, get a job, and Lorraine won’t get a shilling. Now go, scurry like the worthless little roaches you are and snap to it. <He has a victorious grin on his face. Liam, Colin, Ryker, Lukas, and Janet all storm out with rage, grousing. Kylie and Kaye stay put.>

 

Kylie: If you intended to burn bridges, I believe you succeeded. This family situation is dreadfully toxic.

 

Kaye: Toxic? Thank you. That word explains it all. Can you believe what he wants us to do for that money?

 

Charles: Don’t talk about me like I’m not here.

 

Kaye: Why not? You do it to us. What’s good for the goose . . .

 

Kylie: My advice? It’s not worth it. You can all survive without his money. You can’t survive without your self-respect.

 

Kaye: Yeah, you’re right. And since you don’t want us to talk about you like you aren’t here, I’ll just tell you now. <She gets right up in Charles’ face, defiantly.> I’m going back to New York in the morning. And you can keep your filthy money. I have my own, and you won’t get a shilling. <Her tone echoes his exactly.> Are you happy now, Dad? <Kaye walks away. There is the sound of a motorcycle driving off.>

 

Charles: Oh yes, quite. <He grins, jubilantly.> Can you give me a sedative to help me sleep?

 

Kylie: Just a mild one, low dose. We have to be careful. <She draws out a bottle of pills from her medical backpack, and a glass of water from a table. She passes them to him, and he consumes them.>

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act 3: Scene 2. <Lorraine’s bedroom. A radio is playing romantic music. Lorraine and Jordan dance together across the room, until Lorraine trips on her bed, and falls onto it.>

 

Lorraine: Oh!

 

Jordan: Is that an invitation, sweetie?

 

Lorraine: It certainly is not! <She turns herself over and sits up, looking at him. Jordan joins her on the bed, sitting there with her. He puts his arm around her, pulls her close to him, and kisses her, which surprises her.>

 

Jordan: I can make you happy, Lori. No, I mean, really happy. <Breaking away, he stands up and walks to the center of the room.> Honey, I can take you away from all of this, and give you the kind of life you should be living.

 

Lorraine: Are you rich?

 

Jordan: Less wealthy than your father, but wealthier than you.

 

Lorraine: I wish you hadn’t told me that. <Jordan looks at her with dismay.>

 

Jordan: Does money make me evil?

 

Lorraine: Of course not. It is just that my Father . . . <Jordan returns to her, and puts his hand over her mouth.>

 

Jordan: He’s no good for you. The man is the most poisonous person I’ve ever met. Leave him.

 

Lorraine: I can’t. <She looks as if she is about to cry.>

 

Jordan: Then I will take you. <He puts his hands on her, pulls her to her feet, and holds her tightly against his body.>

 

Lorraine: What are you trying to pull?

 

Jordan: Your pants down. <Lorraine slaps Jordan in the face and breaks away from him.>

 

Lorraine: You’re just the same as every other man. Only out for one thing.

 

Jordan: Well, with that attitude . . . I was going to offer you the world, Lori, did you know that? But since that’s what you really think of me, you can stay here with the old curmudgeon and let him ruin your life. Maybe your sister, Kaye, is the better choice. <He turns and walks toward the door. Lorraine watches him leave. She realizes that it is now or never.>

 

Lorraine: Wait! I don’t want you to go, not like this. Forgive me for slapping you that way. I had no right to do that.

 

Jordan: And I had no right to force your hand. I’m sorry, too. <They go to each other and tightly embrace.>

 

Lorraine: We have to face it, don’t we? We’re doomed as a couple.

 

Jordan: Only because you want us to be. I can’t compete with a monster, and if you want a monster, I am not your man.

 

Lorraine: I don’t want a monster. But I’ve spent my life . . .

 

Jordan: Being his slave. It’s time to stop. Learn to be Lori. <He falls to one knee and kisses her hand. Slowly, he caresses her, moving his fingers slowly, gently, up her body. She breathes, giving in to the pleasure this is giving her.>

 

Lorraine: I’ve never had anyone touch me this way before.

 

Jordan: Do you wish me to stop?

 

Lorraine: No. Please, don’t. I am in bondage in my father’s house. Can you truly set me free?

 

Jordan: Tonight’s the night to find out.

 

Lorraine: Sometimes, he makes me want to kill him.

 

Jordan: Forget him. <His fingers reach her face, and he strokes her shoulders and hair.> I’m your future. He’s your past.

 

Lorraine: How do I know that for certain? <Jordan abandons Lorraine, then removes something from his pocket. It is a small box. Jordan falls to one knee, and offers Lorraine the box. She opens it, and there are two rings.>

 

Jordan: Lorraine Talbot, will you marry me? <Lorraine cries.>

 

Lorraine: Yes, Jordan, yes, yes, yes! Oh, my god. <He puts a ring on her finger, and one on his. Then she walks around as if she is walking on air.> I can’t believe this could happen to me.

 

Jordan: Sweetie, that should be my line. I’ll make you happy . . .

 

Lorraine: You already have! By Jove, I’ve got to tell Kaye. She’s the one who made this happen. She has the right to know. Oh, Jordan. <She grabs Jordan and deeply kisses him. Then she grabs Jordan’s shirt and discards it on the floor, exciting him.>

 

Jordan: Oh.

 

Lorraine: You wait right here. I’m going to tell Kaye, and when I come back . . .

 

Jordan: Perhaps you couldn’t reverse that sequence? <Lorraine breathes, pondering this a moment.>

 

Lorraine: What the Hell? It’s Halloween, and we’re affianced now. Why the Hell not have some fun for once in my life? <Lorraine rushes to Jordan, jumps on top of him, and begins wildly kissing him. The curtain falls.>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act 3: Scene 3. <The drawing room of the Talbot house. Ryker, Colin, and Lukas are gathered together.>

 

Ryker: This just makes me so mad! After everything he’s put us through, now he wants even more!

 

Colin: Get a hold of yourself, Ryker. If you don’t, you’re playing into his hands. <Ryker looks at Colin.>

 

Ryker: I know! <Ryker throws up his hands.> That just makes me even angrier. I just know I’m going to do something crazy if I stay around this!

 

Lukas: What I want to know is why he changed his will. Man, I wish I could fix him for this! He’s screwed me out of my inheritance! <Lukas slams his fist on the table.>

 

Colin: Recast your eyes, brother dear, it isn’t only you. He’s after all of us. Including Janet and Patrick.

 

Lukas: We can’t let him get away with this. Isn’t there a way to fight this?

 

Ryker: He’s a solicitor. Anything we do, he can argue with and shoot us down. Or get a friend of his to do it for him. We stand no chance of avenging ourselves on him, at least, not in the physical plane. <Lukas rolls his eyes, and Colin shakes his head.>

 

Colin: You really believe all this fortune-telling stuff that you do?

 

Ryker: If I didn’t, why would I do it? It’s not like the money’s great or anything.

 

Colin: Then I’d like you to take a look and show me what you can do. It’s a lot healthier than getting yourself worked up. Will you do a reading for me?

 

Ryker: I can. What do you wish to know?

 

Colin: Honestly, I’d like to know who’s going to get the money. <Ryker pulls a tarot deck from his pocket. He goes to the table and shuffles them, then motions for Colin. Colin goes to the table, and both men sit down.>

 

Ryker: So ultimately, who’s going to get Charles Talbot’s money? <Ryker draws the top three cards and reviews them.> Fascinating. The cards are telling me that he’s being dishonest about the will. He hasn’t changed it at all. This is just another game of his. <Colin and Lukas lean in to listen closely.>

 

Colin: So who gets the money?

 

Ryker: <Holding up a card, The Magician.> It's going to be the original owner. The money must return to where it came from. If it does not, we will all die gruesomely.

 

Lukas: What complete poppycock. <Colin raises his finger, shushing Lukas.>

 

Colin: Go on, Ryker, tell me more. <Ryker shuffles again and draws two cards this time.>

 

Ryker: Someone's out to kill us all.

 

Lukas: Who?

 

Colin: Stop it, Ryker. I can’t bear anymore. You are crazy!

 

Ryker: No, I’m splitting. I don’t want to be around when he dies, for it'll start with him, but it won't end there. <Ryker collects his cards, puts them away, and exits. As soon as he is gone, there is the sound of a motorcycle revving up. Kaye enters, very agitated, with a cell phone in her hand.>

 

Kaye: Where’s Ryker off to in such a hurry?

 

Lukas: Just more of his crazy voodoo.

 

Colin: He says the will isn’t real and that it’s just another trick to mess with our lives again. The money’s all going to the original owner, whoever that is. He also claims someone's out to kill us.

 

Kaye: How utterly absurd. If any of us deserve to die, it's Charles!

 

Colin: You’re rather hostile, Kaye. What's wrong?

 

Kaye: What do you think? How dare you? I could just kill him myself! <She realizes what she said and tries to calm herself down.> I just found out from my agent that he called the producers of Heart of N. Y. C.

 

Lukas: I don’t understand.

 

Kaye: He tried to get me fired. <Colin and Lukas are mortified.>

 

Colin: How did he do that?

 

Kaye: This morning, he called the producers and tried to convince them that I’ve been doing nudie shots, which are against my contract. I’d never do that! I'm so glad I’m leaving in the morning. Say, Colin, Janet was asking for you.

 

Colin: Oh really? I’d better go to her. Where was she? I thought she'd taken Patrick trick-or-treating.

 

Kaye: She just got back. She's in the kitchen.

 

Colin: Thank you. <Colin stands up and exits. Kaye looks at Lukas for a minute, but neither say a word.>

 

Lukas: What are we going to do?

 

Kaye: Lukas, I noticed there’s something wrong in the garage. Would you mind checking on it for me?

 

Lukas: Are you sure?

 

Kaye: Yes, Lukas. The electrical box keeps sparking.

 

Lukas: Yeah, I’ll check on it. <They exit.>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act 3: Scene 4. <Inside the kitchen of the Talbot house. There is a table with a telephone. Liam is dialing, while angrily putting candy on the table like a maniac. Janet and Christine are seated at a table. Robyn finishes passing out candy to unseen children, then closes the door.>

 

Robyn: Quite the ruckus, isn't it? What's going on with you?

 

Janet: Charles really got to you, didn’t he?

 

Liam: No, I throw things around and wreck my sister’s house because I’m feeling chipper. <Janet shakes her head.>

 

Christine: Please don't talk that way. I’ve brought you something. <She reveals a bottle of wine, then she offers it to him.>

 

Liam: Thanks. <He picks up the bottle and drinks straight from it, without bothering to seek a glass.>

 

Christine: Honey, don't do that. You'll be sick in the morning.

 

Liam: I'm sick now. Sick of my Father, that is! How dare he abuse my Mother that way?

 

Robyn: I'm going to make some coffee. <She prepares to do that.>

 

Janet: What’s got you so mad? The will?

 

Liam: It’s what he wants me to do. He wants me to call my Mother and give her a bank account number.

 

Christine: I don’t understand. What’s so bad about that?

 

Liam: Mother had an inheritance that was due to her. Charles confiscated it and kept the money from her, and managed to prevent her from ever finding it. And after the divorce, she knew she’d never see it.

 

Janet: What did he do with the money?

 

Liam: Does it matter? It was illegal and just plain wrong.

 

Christine: And giving her that number will do what?

 

Liam: Break her heart. He’s finally giving her access to what’s left of the money, which, when I checked on the account, turns out to be negative. By fifty thousand dollars. He’s not only misappropriated her inheritance, but left her with a debt she’ll never be able to pay.

 

Janet: So if you call her and give her the number, you inherit his money but she'll have to pay the debt? And if you don’t, you don’t get any money but she doesn’t get told about the debt at all?

 

Liam: She’ll be forced to pay it, one way or another. He’ll see to that himself.

 

Christine: Then you mustn't tell her! What kind of a man would pull a stunt like that? Even the men back home aren't so callous! Liam, let's leave this horrible house. Run away with me and never return!

 

Robyn: That won't help. Mr. Talbot has quite a reputation in town for making a career of ruining others, and avoiding him is no protection. Kaye is proof of that. She ran all the way across the pond, and she's still not safe from his malign influence. It helps to be best friends with the town gossip.

 

Janet: You might as well call her. At least you can make it right by using the inheritance money to pay off the debt. <Liam looks at Janet warily.>

 

Liam: Why do you care? Why are you being so nice? Normally all you care about is the latest fashions and keeping up with your richer-than-thou friends at the country clubs.

 

Janet: You don’t know me, Liam. All I really care about is Patrick. Everything I do, I do for him! If being out of the will can protect Patrick, which I believe it can, I’m willing to help you. Go ahead. Call your mother. I’ll watch and report it to Charles.

 

Liam: Are you expecting me to give you a share if he declares I win? <Janet shakes her head no. Liam goes to the telephone, picks up the receiver, and dials.> Mother, listen, there's something I have to tell you and it's going to break your heart, but I think some good can come out of it . . .

 

 

 

Act 3: Scene 5. <Kaye is outside in the backyard by the pool, near the entrance to the garage. She sits on a lawn chair with a drink in her hand. Lukas is still in the garage, messing around with something. He is visible in the lights. The outside phone rings, and Kaye goes to answer it.>

 

Kaye: Hello? Oh, hi, Nurse Johensen, how are you? What about Granny? WHAT?!> How can a woman who is in a coma suddenly just stand up and walk out of a hospital? And nobody stopped her? You people clearly have to fire whoever it is that you've got as your security guard. I'll get Doctor Moriarty and have her call you, after I've had a nice long talk with her! It would have to be Halloween that something like this happens, wouldn't it? No, I will not have a nice night! Round up some people and find my Granny before she hurts herself!

 

 

 

Kaye: Lukas, get out here! We've got a big problem and a miracle at the same time! Lukas, do you hear me?

 

 

 

Act 3: Scene 6. <Lorraine’s bedroom. Lorraine and Jordan are on the bed, but the lights are off. They are kissing. There is a loud smash, and a cry.>

 

Lorraine: What was that?

 

Jordan: <Enraptured.> I don’t know, but I loved it. You’re wonderful, Lori.

 

Lorraine: Jordan, I’m serious! I’m going to check it out. <Lorraine attempts to turn on the lights, but the lights do not respond. She goes to a dresser and removes a flashlight. After turning it on, she walks toward the door. There is a second scream.>

 

Lorraine: Father!

 

Jordan: What’s going on?

 

Lorraine: I don’t know, but we’d better find out!

 

<Lorraine opens the door, and sees Colin on the ground.>

 

Lorraine: Colin! Are you all right? <He is completely unresponsive. Lorraine sits down and examines him. He has been bashed over the head by a lead pipe with glass all over it. She quickly discovers that he is dead, and screams. Jordan rushes to her and holds her.>

 

Jordan: Lorraine, what's wrong?

 

Lorraine: Colin's dead. Call the police and then catch up to me, Jordan. I’ll get to the bottom of this. <She shines the light and finds the bathroom window has been shattered.>

 

Jordan: I don’t understand. What’s happening?

 

Lorraine: Somebody’s broken in. Dad screamed too, I’m sure of it.

 

Jordan: Yeah, you’re right, he did. Do you think he's okay?

 

Lorraine: Father! <She runs to the drawing room, and Jordan follows her.>

 

 

Act 3: Scene 7. <The Talbot drawing room.>

 

Charles: Thank you, doc. Good night. <Kylie starts getting ready to leave. The lights and all the electricity go out. There is a loud smash.>

 

Kylie: Who is there? What do you think you’re doing? <A figure in black scurries away from her sight, so she follows the figure, but the figure pushes Kylie down. There is a second loud crash. There is a skirmish in the dark between Kylie and the attacker. She is knocked out.>

 

Charles: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! <His scream draws the group in the kitchen, led by Liam, to spill out into the drawing room. Liam has a flashlight. Janet, Robyn, and Christine emerge.>

 

Christine: I’m so afraid. <Shining the flashlight around, Liam notices the clock has been knocked over, and the sword case cracked. A sword is missing. Then he sees Kylie on the floor.>

 

Liam: Hey, Kylie’s down there. <He shines the light on Kylie.>

 

Robyn: Help her.

 

Liam: I don’t know how. <Liam snaps his fingers.> Lorraine, Lorraine, we need you in here now! <Lorraine runs into the room, but she is only half-dressed. Jordan follows her, in nothing but underwear.>

 

Lorraine: What’s happening?

 

Liam: It’s Doctor Moriarty. She needs help. <Lorraine revives her and helps Kylie stand up, with Liam right behind her to help. After Kylie comes to, she pulls out her wand and uses a spell to restore the electricity. Once that is done, Kylie notices Charles’ body on the couch. A sword is sticking through his chest.>

 

Kylie: Mister Talbot has been murdered, I see. It has begun. <Everyone turns, and sees his dead body. Lorraine screams, while Christine and Robyn gasp. Kaye and Lukas rush into the room.>

 

Lorraine: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! <She collapses into the arms of Kylie and Jordan.> No, no, no, no, no. <She breaks down into tears.>

 

Kaye: What’s wrong? Why did you scream, Lori?

 

Christine: Look! <Christine points to Charles’ corpse.>

 

Kylie: I’m so sorry, Kaye, but it’s your father. <Liam laughs with a perverted sense of justice, Lukas hesitates for a moment, then turns his face away. The realization of what happened hits him, and he cries. Kaye covers up her mouth, and breaks down in grief. Janet screams.>

 

Janet: Colin! Colin! Where are you? I need you!

 

Lorraine: <Between sniffles.> It won't help, Janet. Colin's dead, too. Somebody hit him over the head with a pipe. <Janet becomes hysterical.>

 

Kylie: Robyn, would you please take Janet out of here?

 

Robyn: Certainly. Come on, honey. Christine! <Colin nods, so Robyn goes to Janet and takes her to the kitchen. Christine follows.>

 

Lukas: What was that? What happened here?

 

Kylie: Solicitor Talbot is dead, murdered by sword wounds to the chest. <Jordan holds Lorraine, who cries even harder.>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act 3: Scene 8. <Lorraine, Liam, Ryker, Kaye, Janet, Christine, Robyn, Kylie, and Jordan are gathered together. It is obvious someone has smashed into the sword’s case and used one of the swords as a murder weapon. Steve, Justin, and Sonja are working; Sonja at dusting and taking fingerprints, Justin at taking photos, and tagging things.>

 

Steve: Sonja, as soon as you and Justin are finished, take the bodies out. <The two cops nod.> So who, exactly was in the house?

 

Kylie: Everyone you see here, but, I believe Ryker was out.

 

Steve: Was anyone else in the house?

 

Kylie: Possible, but unlikely. <She looks at Kaye.> My dear, you have marks around your neck.

 

Kaye: That's because somebody strangled me outside!

 

Kylie: Probably the murderer, just before they broke in. <She examines Kaye to make sure she is unharmed. At the touch, she reacts as if she is shocked, but she fights it, regains her composure, and concentrates on evaluating Kaye.> Which suggests an external murderer. You have more spirit in you than you did before, Kaye. From your grandmother, I think. You should see my brother, Father Moriarty, and have it exorcised tomorrow.

 

Steve: So let’s begin here. Exactly what happened?

 

Kylie: First, the power went out. No doubt from the breaker box outside in the garage. Then I heard the glass smash. There was a figure in black. I tried to stop them, but they surprised me and knocked me out with a sword hilt. Whoever did this was a proficient swordsman. No mere amateur could’ve done this.

 

Liam: And that’s when we found Father, murdered on the couch. We were all together. Kylie wasn’t with us, but we found her on the floor when we came in together.

 

Christine: Yes, Officer Moriarty. I was in the kitchen with Robyn, Liam, and Janet. They were arguing over whether or not to call Liam's mother as the price of getting any inheritance. And he called. Then the power went out.

 

Steve: You say they were arguing?

 

Christine: <Protectively.> Yes, but he was never out of my sight! Liam wouldn't ever hurt anyone!

 

Robyn: As his unofficial supervisor, I can vouch for that.

 

Steve: But you're his lover, aren't you, Miss Solitaire? You'll say anything to protect Liam.

 

Robyn: But I wouldn't! Why should I protect Liam instead of telling my husband and my best friend, both of whom are big talkers, if Liam's a killer?

 

Kylie: Back off, Steve! Neither Robyn nor Christine had any motive to murder Charles, and certainly no motive to murder Colin. Don't forget, Steve, you've got two murders to solve here, and in my opinion, two killers. Not to mention the attack on Kaye that could've turned into a third murder if she wasn't as strong as she physically is.

 

Steve: How do you know that?

 

Kylie: The strength necessary to inflict the wounds on the victims is different, not to mention that Colin was killed in a very haphazard way, as where the stabs to Charles and the marks on Kaye were clearly professional.

 

Liam: But supposing you're right, all four of us were together in the kitchen when we heard Charles screaming. I was calling my Mother. Christine was beside me. Janet was at the table and Robyn was making coffee.

 

Lorraine: I vouch for that. Liam, Robyn, Janet, and Christine were together in the drawing room when I arrived.

 

Kylie: This reduces your suspect pool to five possible candidates if you stick to internal suspects.

 

Steve: Which would be?

 

Kylie: To pinpoint it, only Jordan, Lorraine, Kaye, Ryker, and Lukas. <Kaye goes to Lorraine, and rubs her shoulders kindly. Lukas stands up and paces the stage.>

 

Lukas: Oh, this is absurd! First I’m cheated out of the will, and now I’m suspected of murder?

 

Steve: He changed his will?

 

Lorraine: When Grandmother was hospitalized. He announced it to the family tonight at a family meeting for which Doctor Moriarty was present.

 

Liam: You don’t understand. He was always playing games with us.

 

Ryker: Games with people’s lives, especially ours.

 

Kaye: Now someone’s played back with him.

 

Lorraine: No, someone snuffed him out! Some bastard murdered him! And they killed Colin, too! Don’t you all feel it? Our Father, and our brother, have just been murdered, and here you all are . . . <Kaye is tired of Lorraine’s hysteria. She stands up, and storms over to the door.>

 

Steve: Don’t leave, Kaye. If you leave now, Sonja and Justin will arrest you on the spot. Sit down. And Lorraine, control yourself; what about the rest of you? You mentioned a new will. What was in it?

 

Kylie: Stringent requirements, Steve. Liam had to hurt his mother with a bank account number. Ryker had to quit his job, while Lukas had to find and keep one. Colin had to divorce Janet, Kaye had to return to England and give Charles all say over her career, and Lorraine was excluded, but insulted anyway.

 

Steve: What kind of a will is that?

 

Ryker: A sadistic one. And a lie. I'm sure of it.

 

Steve: Why would he lie about changing his will?

 

Ryker: It was his last game against us, to force us to do his bidding without a reason, knowing that before we'd all refused to do these things.

 

Steve: How long after he read the will did the lights out?

 

Kylie: Roughly thirty minutes, Steve, before the electricity in the house failed.

 

Steve: Ryker, where did you ride off to?

 

Janet: He’s got a good question there, Ryker. Where could you go in thirty minutes? It couldn't have been very far.

 

Ryker: I went to the Silver Shamrock for dinner and a drink. You can check their cameras.

 

Lorraine: And I heard someone breaking a window. Someone broke in the house.

 

Kaye: Yeah, right after assaulting me. They were all dressed in black. I couldn't see who it was.

 

Kylie: But you could feel information. What do you know?

 

Kaye: <Mulling this over.> They were mad, really mad. And it was a woman.

 

Kylie: Did the electricity discontinue functioning at the same time the window was smashed?

 

Lorraine: I’m sure of it. They were within seconds of each other.

 

Steve: Kylie, my dear, I know you’re a genius, but I’m the cop here. Stay in your domain. Now let me do my job and you concentrate on yours. What were you doing, Lorraine?

 

Lorraine: Yes. Jordan and I were, well, uh . . . we were . . . uh . . . <Lorraine becomes nervous and edgy.>

 

Steve: You and Jordan were what?

 

Jordan: Must you subject her to this?

 

Steve: If I want to find the killer, then yes.

 

Lorraine: <Enraged.> We were together, Steve!

 

Steve: No question of that, Lorraine, but what were you doing together?

 

Lorraine: Well, you know . . .

 

Steve: No, I don’t know. What did you do? <Lorraine gives Steve an embarrassed look, and cannot answer him.> Then did you stay together?

 

Lorraine: Yes, of course we did.

 

Jordan: No. She was the first one out the door, and she found Colin and the broken glass. And she told me to stay with him. Then she went into the drawing room, alone. I followed shortly after.

 

Steve: How shortly?

 

Jordan: I don’t recall.

 

Lorraine: Jordan, you traitor! You know that we . . .

 

Steve: That’s good enough, Lorraine. <Steve stands up. He gets to Lorraine, and slaps the handcuffs on her.> Your father was an asshole, and we all knew it. That doesn’t give you the right to kill him, and certainly not your brother, Colin. Lorraine Talbot, you are under arrest for the murder of Charles Talbot. <Lorraine struggles.>

 

Lorraine: What are you doing? Please, let me go!

 

Kylie: Steve, what is this? A rush to judgment?

 

Steve: Stay out of this, Kylie. Lorraine, you made yourself suspicious by that outburst! We know Kaye's attacker was a woman. You have no alibi for the time you left Jordan, and you called Jordan a traitor.

 

Lorraine: It was a poor choice of words . . .

 

Steve: No, it was your fatal mistake. <Jordan looks at Justin pleadingly, which Justin ignores. Kylie stands off to the side, out of the way.>

 

Kylie: Excuse me. Perhaps you ought to wait a moment?

 

Steve: For the last time, this isn’t a medical matter; it’s a police one.

 

Lorraine: Please, I didn’t do anything. <Lorraine begins to cry, but Steve shows no mercy. Jordan turns away, crying. Kylie advances to him.> We had nothing to do with this. Jordan . . . help me. We need to explain.

 

Justin: Bro, if you’re innocent, there’s nothing to explain. So what’s your story? We already know you said you were going to investigate the crash, but stopped at the bathroom. <He turns directly to Lorraine.> It seems that you two make a convincing murder team. <Lorraine becomes nervous, embarrassed, and scared.> My own brother. Sick, sick, sick. How did you get yourself mixed up in this one, brother?

 

Jordan: I didn’t do anything, and neither did she!

 

Steve: She must be the killer. Jordan, did you help her?

 

Jordan: No!

 

Steve: Come on, Lorraine. You belong in jail. <Steve and Sonja take Lorraine by the arms and escort her to the door.>

 

Kylie: Do you see what you’ve done?

 

Jordan: What do you want from me? <Kylie grabs him, and turns him around so that he has to see Lorraine being escorted. Everyone watches her as she is nearly taken outside.>

 

Kylie: She’s blameless, and you know it. You’re the only one who can exonerate her. Jordan, you have to go and tell them what you know, now.

 

Jordan: Our reputations may both be ruined. I'm a devout Anglican who lost my head in a moment of passion . . .

 

Kylie: Her life is certainly ruined if you do nothing! <She releases him. Jordan paces the room.>

 

Jordan: Lorraine and I never actually split up. We were together the whole time, including when she found Colin's body.

 

Kylie: Then why mislead Steve? Don’t you know how much trouble you’ve invited . . .

 

Jordan: I can’t tell you. I can’t tell anyone. <He stands up, and fretfully turns away.> I just can't!

 

Kylie: Your silence condemns Lorraine to a life in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. How selfish are you? Especially since that's a pair of engagement rings I see on your fingers.

 

Steve: Kylie, leave him alone! <Jordan approaches Steve.>

 

Jordan: Stop! She didn’t do it. My original statement to Steve was incomplete. Lorraine didn’t do it. I was with her when we heard the bathroom’s window shatter, when we heard Charles scream, and when she found Colin's body. At the time of the murders, Lorraine couldn’t be the killer, because she was too busy having making love to me.

 

<Liam, Lukas, and Janet are quite offended by this and angrily grumble. But Kaye is happy about it.>

 

Jordan: Shut up, all of you! Who cares if it ruins my reputation? We're engaged.

 

Sonja: And her outburst?

 

Jordan: Well-deserved. I’m sorry, Lorraine. Please forgive me. <Jordan closes his eyes, and takes a deep breath.> At the time Charles and Colin were murdered, Lorraine couldn’t have been the killer.

 

Steve: But why should we believe you? Kylie compromised your testimony.

 

Kylie: Then ask someone I didn’t compromise.

 

Steve: Like who?

 

Kaye: Me. I was outside and saw them from the window before I was attacked. Jordan was only away from her for a second, or two.

 

Steve: Then why not admit it right from the start?

 

Kylie: Because they were ashamed to admit what they were really doing. But honestly, you shouldn’t be. Making love is considerably better than committing murder.

 

Steve: You’re absolutely certain, Kaye, that they weren’t involved in the murder? Or in your attack?

 

Kaye: Lorraine couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with that! Even at her angriest, Lori would never put her hands on me maliciously!

 

Steve: Maybe she was the accomplice and cut off the power in the garage?

 

Kylie: From her bedroom?

 

Kaye: With me there? And Lukas as well?

 

Steve: Damn it! I was so sure! <He goes to the door, and brings back Sonja and Lorraine.>

 

Steve: I’ve only one question, Lorraine. Were you having sex with Jordan?

 

Lorraine: Yes. We were doing it until we heard the window break, because he'd just proposed to me and gave us both twin rings. <Steve unlocks the handcuffs, and removes them.>

 

Steve: Lorraine, you are exonerated, but don’t go anywhere.

 

Lorraine: Is the kitchen okay?

 

Steve: Perfectly. <Jordan rushes over to Lorraine.>

 

Jordan: I’m so sorry, honey. Can you ever forgive me?

 

Lorraine: I’ll have to think about that.

 

Kaye: This is too much. I need some coffee. <She goes to the kitchen. One by one, the others go with her, except for Lorraine, Sonja, Justin and Jordan. Jordan is walking to the kitchen, but Justin grabs his arm to stop him.>

 

Justin: Don't you follow her anywhere.

 

Kylie: Has anyone thought to check the bathroom?

 

Sonja: Let’s go. Mister Pescal, do not move! <Kylie gives Sonja the camera, then Sonja and Kylie heads to the bathroom.>

 

Steve: And Lukas, what were you doing?

 

Lukas: I was in the garage. Kaye asked take a look at the electrical box, and I did. I was there and I thought I'd fixed it when, all of a sudden, someone pushed past me and knocked me out. <Hastily.> They were totally in black and I couldn't tell who they were.

 

Kaye: I found him and awoke him, and then I took him to find Doctor Moriarty, thinking he may have been shocked from tampering with the box, but instead, we find the murder.

 

<Jordan continues pacing the room. Sonja and Kylie return drawing room together, searching the drawing room floor. Sonja holds the camera and takes shots of the floor.>

 

Sonja: You were right, Doctor. Someone broke the window and came in that way. <Kylie follows a trail the audience cannot see.>

 

Kylie: And goes right out the drawing room door.

 

Liam: So what’s the real story? The killer breaks in through the window, murders Colin, then Father, and goes out the front? <Kylie nods, and Liam scratches his head.> I need a drink. Anybody else want some of Christine's wine?

 

Steve: Lukas, how did she knock you out?

 

Lukas: With a blow to the head from a heavy pipe.

 

Steve: Kylie, would you check on him?

 

Kylie: Certainly. <She takes Lukas aside and checks him out. He shows no signs of head damage or neurological damage.> Arrest him, Steve. Considering that he already attacked Lorraine and Jordan at our own house, and the fact that he is lying now . . .

 

Lukas: <Enraged.> What do you mean by that? I would never lie . . .

 

Kylie: But you did. You were not hit with a pipe. I'm certain of it.

 

Kaye: But I found him lying there. I did! I swear it.

 

Kylie: Did it ever dawn on you that you may not be the only actor in the family?

 

Steve: All right, Lukas! <He handcuffs him.> You're under arrest. Now who is your partner? Who helped you do this? Where is she?

 

Lukas: I don't know! I swear, I don't know. <Steve drags Lukas out.>

 

Kylie: Well, I'd love to stay but I feel the need to go check on your grandmother. <Kylie exits.>

Act 3: Scene 9. <A prison cell. Lukas is locked in a cell, while Justin is at a desk typing on papers.>

 

Lukas: Let me out of here! This is all a mistake man, I'm telling you!

 

Justin: Tell it to the judge.

 

Lukas: But I'm innocent, I tell you!

 

<Justin waves him off and resumes typing. Dressed entirely in black, the second Assailant enters the prison and approaches Lukas' cell.>

 

The Assailant: I believe you, Lukas.

 

Lukas: You should. You killed Father, and nearly killed Kaye . . .

 

The Assailant: But you turned off the power, and you killed Colin. We're in this together, you and I. Just think of it. With your siblings all dead, all those traitors to your father rubbed out, you're the last one standing.

 

Lukas: And all the money is mine!

 

The Assailant: That's right.

 

Lukas: <Glancing at Justin to see if he is looking. Justin is not.> But right now I'm in jail and Father can't get me out this time.

 

The Assailant: I can, if you promise to do what I ask. Promise me!

 

Lukas: Anything!

 

The Assailant: Go to the hospital and see your brother, Colin, for there is work that you must do there. You must kill Colin's family. <The Assailant unveils her head to reveal who it is to Lukas, but not to the audience.> Do this for me and all the wealth is yours. I vow it.

 

Lukas: Get me out of here! <Justin hears this, stands up, and heads to the cell.>

 

Justin: Who are you talking to?

 

The Assailant: He doesn't see me. <She thrusts out her hand, and Justin passes out.> Now he doesn't see anything. <She touches the lock, and it opens.> He will think he released you himself. Go now before he awakens!

 

<Lukas flees and exits, followed by the Assailant.>

 

 

 

 

Act 3: Scene 10. <Janet and Patrick are together in the clinic, crying. Colin's corpse is on the bed.>

 

Patrick: I can't believe he's gone. Daddy!

 

Janet: Colin, please, come back. I beg you to come back. I can't do this without you. Please! Colin, damn it, I love you!

 

Patrick: I love you, too, Daddy.

 

<Kylie enters.>

 

Kylie: Is there anything else I can do for you, Janet?

 

Janet: No, Doctor Moriarty. Just letting me see him, and hold his hand one last time, was enough. <She wipes her tears with a handkerchief.> Come, Patrick, say your goodbyes.

 

<Patrick goes to his father's corpse. Kylie starts to look nervous and looks around the room.>

 

Kylie: Janet, something is wrong.

 

Janet: Of course something's wrong! I'm a widow now. My hard-working husband was murdered last night by some maniac. No doubt one of his own siblings. I'm not at all sorry somebody killed Charles, but did they have to butcher my Colin, too?

 

Kylie: So you really loved him.

 

Janet: <Looking offended.> Of course I loved him! He thought of nothing but my every need, and Patrick's. Such a devoted man. He may not have been the wealthiest man in the world, but a man who actually cares, a man who actually puts his family before himself, is a real treasure. And it is worth more than all the money in the world.

 

Kylie: So the airs you put on are all just a facade to impress people.

 

Janet: No. I believe in having the best of everything. But you know what, with Colin, I had the best of everything. <Tearfully.>Now what do I have?

 

Kylie: You have a son . . . <Stands up.> And you have a grandmother.

 

Janet: What? Lana is comatose and on the verge of death.

 

Kylie: I just found out that she woke up and walked out last night. Nobody told me. My best nurse called Kaye, but Kaye didn't tell anyone.

 

Janet: Lana's alive and mobile? That's wonderful!

 

Kylie: No, it isn't, because it's Lana in body, but only in body.

 

Janet: You sound as daft as Ryker. Do you have any proof of this?

 

Kylie: None that you'd understand, but I knew from the touch that she put a spirit in Kaye when she strangled her.

 

Janet: Why?

 

Kylie: The curse on the family's blood is back and it won't rest until all of you are dead. I'd made a mask that blocked it, but . . .

 

Janet: An ugly mask prominently displayed in Lorraine's drawing room? <Kylie nods.> Oh dear. I bumped into that mask and it fell down and shattered. You see, Lukas spilled his drink and refused to clean it . . .

 

Kylie: So that's it! When?

 

Janet: A few minutes before Lana ran into Colin's knife.

 

Kylie: That explains everything. The curse resumed when my mask was broken. I'm afraid that it's too far gone for me to make another mask.

 

Janet: Charles is enough of a curse on his own, Doctor. Shall I tell you what Charles and I quarreled about concerning Patrick? He was trying to berate my son, Patrick, for being involved in the theater. Can you imagine? Charles called my son gay and lobbied insult after insult against my boy. <Janet begins to get angry.>

 

Kylie: That’s not good.

 

Janet: No it’s not. Charles demanded Colin pull Patrick out of theater and put him on a manly soccer team, and that we strip him of his telly and computer forever.

 

Kylie: Why? What did Patrick do to anger him?

 

Janet: Existed. Charles was a controlling nutter, and quite honestly, I’m chuffed he’s gone. Colin seemed torn on the matter, like he was searching for a way to please everyone, but couldn’t find one. But I had no intention of sitting back and letting this fiend rebuke my son unjustly. He would not treat my son the way he treated his own! I threw Charles’ own verbal sewage right back in his face, and defended Patrick’s honor. After all, his grades are exceptional. He’s sweet as sugar, and the boy’s a brilliant singer. He belongs in the performing arts. And so what if he might be homosexual? Who cares? These days, everyone thinks they’re gay.

 

Kylie: What, exactly, did you say to Charles?

 

Janet: I told him quite bluntly that his opinion doesn’t count where my son is concerned. By the way, that will that he read on Halloween was a fake. Ryker was right. Charles didn't change it.

 

Kylie: How can you know this?

 

Janet: Colin heard Charles tell his secretary to prepare a fake will for the Halloween party.

 

Kylie: And Colin never bothered to inform the rest of his siblings that Charles was up to no good again? Who were the true beneficiaries?

 

Janet: Only Lorraine and Lukas, Colin said.

 

Kylie: So you had no motive to kill either Charles or Colin. You would have had nothing to gain, and neither would Colin. The inheritance is just a red herring. The real motive is revenge.

 

Janet: Of course I'd have nothing to gain! Sure, I want money, but I don’t want the money for myself. Oh, I mean, sure, it would be nice to live in luxury, but do you know what I really want that money for?

 

Kylie: Patrick.

 

Janet: That's right. His University fund. At least half of all the money Colin makes, I see to it gets stashed in that fund. You know, I didn’t marry Colin because of who his father was. I married Colin because he treated me like I was perfect, like a queen. Colin needed someone who could protect him from Charles, because he isn’t strong. But I am strong. And Colin gave me hope again.

 

Kylie: You know what, I admire you. <Suddenly, Kylie looks around nervously again, sensing danger.> Janet, get behind me.

 

Janet: What's going on? What's wrong?

 

Kylie: Death has come. Get behind me!

 

<Lukas enters the room with a gun. Janet screams.>

 

Janet: Get down, Patrick!

 

Patrick: Mother? <He turns and sees Lukas. Lukas turns the gun on Patrick. Kylie sees this and runs toward Patrick, while Janet tries to hit Lukas with her purse.>

 

Bang!

 

<Janet collapses, and the Assailant reloads the gun. Kylie draws her wand and starts chanting.>

 

Patrick: Mother, no! No! <He breaks down and cries.>

 

<With the gun reloaded, Lukas tries to fire at Patrick.>

 

Kylie: Force of reflection as a mirror dim, turn his bullet back on him!

 

Bang!

 

falls down to the floor, the victim of his own reflected bullet. Kylie goes to Janet and tries to treat her, then shakes her head. Next, she goes to Lukas.>

 

Kylie: Lukas again. I should have known. Charles got him out on bail knowing this would happen. He must have.<She checks his pulse.> It's all right, Patrick. The man who killed your parents is dead. <She goes to Patrick and comforts and protects him.> He can't hurt you now.

 

Patrick: You were brave. <Between sniffles and tears.> Brave like Auntie Kaye.

 

Kylie: How do you mean?

 

Patrick: Like that movie she was in.

 

Kylie: She was in a lot of movies. She's an actress.

 

Patrick: Yeah, but she was never a witch. But she was a swordsman.

 

Kylie: Swordswoman. In what?

 

Patrick: A movie where she was a warrior who took over leading the men in battle when the king died. I remember 'cause Mother wouldn't let me watch it, so I watched it from the hallway where she didn't know I was seeing it.

 

Kylie: You clever thing. <Kylie runs to the telephone.>

 

 

Act 3: Scene 11. <Ryker is in the kitchen drinking coffee and eating breakfast. There is a knock on the door, so Ryker answers the door.>

 

Jordan: Good morning, Ryker. Is Lorraine awake?

 

Ryker: She is. Lorraine! You've got a visitor! <Ryker suddenly looks very disturbed, so he looks into his cup of tea.> You bring death itself with you into this house. It's time you were going, and I don't want you to see my sister again.

 

Jordan: Hey, what? <Ryker tries to push Jordan out of the house, though Jordan tries to defend himself. Lorraine enters.>

 

Lorraine: What are you doing? Are you mad? Let him be, Ryker!

 

Ryker: He brings danger with him.

 

Lorraine: The danger is over. I'm sure this was all a big misunderstanding.

 

Jordan: Misunderstandings stop when he put his hand on me. Where were you when your father and brother died?

 

Ryker: That’s it! I’ve had enough of this! Leave this house Jordan Pescal!

 

Lorraine: Let this be my answer. <She immediately kisses Jordan passionately, surprising him.> I love him.

 

The Assailant: Hold it. <Entering the kitchen, the Assailant draws a gun, then sticks it in Ryker’s chest.> You’re not going anywhere.

 

Lorraine: Drop the gun, Lukas!

 

The Assailant: How about I just kill you now and stop all this trouble?

 

Jordan: You will not harm my fiancée! <He gets in front of Lorraine. The Assailant turns the gun on Jordan, then fires. Jordan screams and falls, and Lorraine kneels down to try providing medical attention to him.>

 

Lorraine: No! Jordan. No!

 

Ryker: Enough of this. <He tries to grab the gun from the Assailant, but the Assailant shoots him and Ryker falls down. As Ryker falls, the Assailant shakes and trembles.>

 

Ryker: You! I should've known. She's using La . . . Using La . . . <Ryker gives up and dies. Then the Assailant grabs their head and flees.>

 

Lorraine: Help! Help! Liam! Steve! Sonja! Somebody help! <She is able to stabilize Jordan, who was shot in the arm. Lorraine then goes to Ryker and tries to help him, but he was shot in an artery.> Damn it! He’s going into arrest. <Lorraine tries C. P. R.> Fight it, Rick. Please, bro. Come on, dear. 1, 2, 3, go! <She tries again as Steve, Sonja, Liam, Kaye, and Lukas enter.>

 

Steve: What’s happening?

 

Lorraine: He’s going under. Call an ambulance!

 

Steve: And my wife while you're at it!

 

<Liam runs to the phone and calls, first Kylie, then the ambulance.>

 

Lukas: What happened now?

 

Kaye: And what happened to Jordan?

 

Lorraine: He's all right. It was only his arm. But I think Ryker's almost out of time. My God, they're after all of us!

 

Kaye: Oh my word! Janet and Patrick.

 

Steve: Sonja, go check on their house.

 

Sonja: Whatever you say, Steve. <Sonja exits.>

 

Steve: Lorraine, who did this?

 

Lorraine: Ryker said “She's using La,” and he died before he could finish . . . Lukas! He ran out the door. And he was all dressed in black, Steve. In this darkness, you'd never find him.

 

Steve: But Lukas is in jail, Lorraine. He couldn't have done this.

 

Lorraine: Yes, he did.

 

Steve: One of you is a murderer, and the others are covering up for them! I'm going to find the killer, and you'd better pray that I do before the rest of you wind up dead! <Enraged, Steve storms out. Kaye goes to Lorraine and holds her.>

 

Lorraine: It's official. Ryker is dead. <The siblings cry together.>

Act 3: Scene 12. <There is a knock at the drawing room door. Lorraine leaves the kitchen to go and answer it. She opens the door to see Steve and Kylie together.>

 

Lorraine: Welcome.

 

<Steve walks into the drawing room, with Kylie right behind him. Steve’s demeanor is serious and stern. He goes to the sword shelf, and remains there. Sonja and Justin walk in right behind them, Justin with a look of shame and regret. Sonja and Justin resume their police work. Lorraine closes the door.>

 

Lorraine: Officers. How can I help you this morning?

 

Steve: Please summon your siblings, Miss Talbot. But don't count on Lukas. Lukas murdered Janet and tried to murder Patrick as well in my clinic this very morning, but I killed him.

 

Lorraine: That horrible, slimy . . .

 

Kylie: You have a bigger problem, Lorraine. I killed him at the clinic before Ryker was murdered here. Lukas is not the only murderer at work.

 

<Lorraine gasps, and leaves into the kitchen. She returns from the kitchen very quickly, with Liam and Kaye.>

 

Lorraine: We’re here now, Steve, all of us.

 

Steve: Please sit down, everyone. <One by one, each of them sits down. Each of them begins to react rather nervously.>

 

Liam: Do you have any idea how long this is going to take? I have a shift at the restaurant today.

 

Kaye: And I have to get back to New York. <Steve raises his eyebrows.>

 

Steve: So anxious to rush out of here, aren’t you, Miss Talbot? That doesn’t help your case.

 

Kylie: There's another way to prove her case.

 

Steve: What do you have up your mischievous sleeve now?

 

<Kylie goes to the sword case, and removes one of the swords. Then she goes to Lorraine.>

 

Kylie: Hit me. <Lorraine looks horrified.>

 

Lorraine: What?

 

Kylie: Hit me with the hilt of that sword. Right now. <Lorraine attempts to pick up the sword, but she is not strong enough. It is too heavy, and she drops it.>

 

Liam: What does that prove? You knew she was innocent already.

 

Kylie: Quite so. Your turn. <She brings the sword to Liam, and he takes it. He can lift it, but he is unproficient with it. Steve takes it from him. Then he heads for Kaye.>

 

Steve:You're the last one, Kaye. How long did you actually know that Charles intended to pull another of his cruel fast ones on you and your siblings?

 

Kaye: All right. Yes, I knew. I heard him tell his secretary about his scheme to manipulate us into hurting ourselves with a fake will when he hadn’t actually changed his will at all over the phone a couple of days ago.

 

Steve: And did you do anything about it?

 

Kaye: Why should I? What good would it have done me?

 

Steve: You needed the money. <Kaye looks shocked.> You think you're the only one who can figure things out, Kylie? I called the producers of Heart of N. Y. C. Charles did manage to get you fired, didn't he?

 

Kaye: Almost. I handled his dirty trick, but I have to leave today. But he would've just tried again the instant he had any leverage. I couldn’t allow him to hurt us any further. So I moved the real will somewhere where it would be . . . <Kaye twirls her hands around, seeking the words.>

 

Kylie: Effortless to find. <Kaye nods, affirmatively. She touches Kaye's hand.> Have you had that exorcism I recommended? You seem more purely yourself now.

 

Kaye: No, I haven't. Would anyone care for coffee? I brewed some. Let me get it.

 

Steve: Justin will get it. At least he can do that right! Justin? <Justin exits.>

 

Liam: After today, I'm half-sick of coffee. I'd rather drink tea.

 

<Justin returns with the coffee and enough cups for everyone. Kylie looks at the coffee pot.>

 

Sonja: Here you all are. <She begins to pour it and distribute it. Kylie examines her coffee, then throws it to the floor.>

 

Kylie: Don't drink it. There is death in that coffee! <Steve puts his cup to his nose.> So that's where the spirit went! Why did you make coffee, Kaye?

 

Steve: Poisoned?

 

Kylie: Quite.

 

Steve: The game's over, Kaye.

 

Kaye: I thought it was sweetener! Honest!

 

Kylie: That is certainly possible, since the curse is still active.

 

Steve: Kylie, what are you saying?

 

Kylie: She put the poison in the coffee, but she's not the murderess. That was the work of a spirit implanted in her.

 

<Steve and the other two cops advance toward a panicking Kaye.>

 

Steve: You don't get off that easily! You're under arrest. <He handcuffs her.>

 

Kylie: Steve, stop! She's not the one you're looking for. Lana is. <This shocks everyone, and they can't believe what they are hearing.>

 

Kaye: Oh yes! Nurse Johensen called me just before I was strangled and told me that Lana was gone, but I didn't remember it because of the murders.

 

Steve: Kylie, this is getting old. Why should we believe that Kaye isn't . . .

 

Kylie: Because Lana is here. <The Assailant enters, and points a gun at everyone. Kylie draws her wand and points it. Slowly, she approaches the Assailant, then she unmasks her to reveal Lana. Everyone else gasps and murmurs.>

 

Lana: Now that I have you all here, each of you will pay the price . . .

 

Kylie: I evict you, Miranda! I banish you and all your spirit servants. Leave Lana Cox and do not return! <Kylie smacks Lana with her wand and, with a flash of light, Lana drops to the floor.>

 

Lorraine: Will she die?

 

Kylie: She's dead already. Miranda used her body, installing ghosts inside it to make it move. Your grandmother was gone the moment Madame Miranda possessed her.

 

Steve: I can't arrest a dead body, Kylie. Someone has to take the wrap for this.

 

Liam: I don't feel good. Kylie! Help! <Liam shows signs of a heart attack. Kylie and Lorraine treat him and stabilize him. The eight rooks enter the room and fly above.>

 

Kylie: Madame Miranda. Call the paramedics, Lorraine. I'll take care of the real problem. <Kylie casts the spell to summon Madame Miranda. Miranda enters. Lorraine calls the ambulance, then hangs up.>

 

Steve: So you're the one responsible for all of this!

 

Miranda: Not I, Charles. Had he done right by me, none of you would have to go through this. I have not harmed the young woman, nor truly harmed her lover. Let me have the boy.

 

Lorraine: Here. <She points to the house.> Look at this house. It is yours. You can have it. There now, are you satisfied?

 

Miranda: Not yet. Admit that I own you. I demand this of you, your sister Kaye, and your brother Liam!

 

Kylie: No. <She conjures up Charles, who also appears.> Before you stands the guilty party. The father, not the daughter.

 

Charles: What is all this?

 

Liam: Father?

 

Kaye: Is this real? I'm getting lost here.

 

Miranda: You brought him to me. Thank you, Kylie. You must now admit that I own you, Charles.

 

Kylie: And tell Lorraine where she can find the money so she can present it all to Madame Miranda.

 

Charles: And if I don't?

 

Miranda: Your daughters, son, and grandson will be butchered. Your entire seed erased from the dustbin of history.

 

Charles: I don't care.

 

Kylie: But I do! You . . . <she points her wand at Charles.> You have brought nothing but ruin to your family. You will make it right by saving your kids, for if you don't, I will turn you over to Madame Miranda myself!

 

Charles: I won't! I'm a free man.

 

Lorraine: You're a monster! I've given up almost my entire life to serve you, help you, love you. When is it my turn? When do I get to live? Do you love me at all? What am I dying for? Can you answer that? Can you?

 

Liam: He will not respond to you, Lorraine. It's useless.

 

Kaye: But maybe there's someone who isn't useless. When you put that spirit in me, the one that made me mistake sweetener and poison, I saw someone I should know, but I don't.

 

Kylie: Of course. Children, allow me to introduce you to your long-lost uncle. <Kylie then conjures Chancey.>

 

Charles: Chauncey! Brother! <He goes to embrace him, but Chauncey pushes him away.>

 

Chauncey: Hello, Lorraine, and Liam. You two alone among your siblings are worth saving. Charles, you cost me my life. You will not cost your last son and daughters theirs. <Chauncey grabs Charles and holds him. He suddenly shivers and moans, his body wracked with torment. Miranda lends her power to increase his torture, relishing the punishment.> Save them, or I'll torment you for all eternity!

 

Charles: I admit it, Madame Miranda. You own me. Make it stop.

 

Miranda: And my money?

 

Charles: Call my firm. They have it. The will I read to you on Halloween night was a lie, nothing more. The old will is still good.

 

Lorraine: But where do I put the money?

 

Miranda: Burn it. I'll get it.

 

Chauncey: Justice at last. <He goes to Lorraine and embraces her.> I have money for you he didn't know about in the upstairs bedroom of this house, hidden in the floor under the bed. Take it and live, Lorraine. Farewell, my nieces. Farewell, my nephew.

 

Lorraine: Farewell, Uncle Chauncey. Farewell, Father.

 

Liam: I don't understand this at all.

 

Kaye: I'm starting to. Sins of the father being visited upon the sons.

 

Kylie: Take him. <Madame Miranda seizes Charles and drags him off, leaving Chauncey behind. The rooks follow as Miranda and Charles exit.>

 

Chauncey: I'm free!

 

Lorraine: Uncle Chauncey, we both are. <Chauncey departs to join the spirits.>

 

Kylie: It's over now, Lorraine. Enjoy your life, now that you can actually go and live it. <Kylie exits.>

 

Lorraine: You're right. Liam, as soon as the money is in my hands, I'm burning it for Madame Miranda, then I'm leaving for London with Jordan. I'll take custody of Patrick.

 

Liam: So this is goodbye?

 

Lorraine: It's also justice. <Liam looks at her quizzically.> Give your mother back what Dad took from her. I'll call you from London. It's time to live for Lorraine, not for everyone else.

 

Kaye: I'm so pleased that you feel that way! Have you thought of New York?

 

Lorraine: Your world, not mine. But I thank you for awakening me, Kaye.

 

Kaye: And you for helping save me, Lori. You know what I'd like to do with my share of the money? <The others look at her.> Use it to repay as many people Charles swindled and ruined as possible.

 

Lorraine: That's wonderful! Just wonderful!

 

<The sisters kiss and embrace. Kylie returns with a package, which she gives to Lorraine. She also has a glass of tea, from which she drinks.>

 

Kylie: Your inheritance, from Uncle Chauncey. <Lorraine takes it and splits it in exactly thirds, giving one to Liam, one to Kaye, and keeping the other for herself.>

 

Liam: Look! This is enough to buy the Silver Shamrock.

 

Kaye: Maybe you should.

 

Liam: Yeah, you’re right. I will. I've got to get Mister Mallory on the phone. <He runs to a phone. Lorraine holds up a glass of tea, and toasts.>

 

Lorraine: To Liam, may he have great success.

 

Kaye: To Lorraine! May you have true love and everlasting joy. And free tickets to my next movie. <The sisters laugh.>

 

Kylie: Enjoy your life, Lorraine. <Kylie toasts.> Here’s to love.

 

<End of the play.>

 

 


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