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HAUNT OF THE MIDNIGHT ORCHID






SCENE 1: BIRTHDAY.



NARRATOR: “Inside us all is a carnal hunger. A desire that springs from the deepest fountain within our souls. Reason… Logic… Understanding… all earthly commitments become obstacles to overcome in pursuit of the grand appetite.”




THE SOUND OF RUSTLING AND CLINKING BOTTLES CAN BE HEARD AS IF SOMEONE IS MOVING OBJECTS OUT OF THE WAY.


DAVID: "Please forgive me."




DOOR SWINGS OPEN VIOLENTLY. A GIRL GASPS.


GWEN: (UNSETTLED) "Dad! What are you doing?"


DAVID:
"I'm sorry, Gwen. I have to..."



GWEN: (BEGGING) "No! You can't! Put down the knife and get out."


DAVID:
"Just one cut..."



EXAGERATED SMACKING/LICKING OF LIPS



GWEN: "You'll ruin everything!"



THE GIRL’S TONE INTENSIFIES A WITH A WIMPER AND CRYING.



DAVID: "No one will care. It's my birthday. It's my cake."


GWEN: “Are you serious?! Be an adult for once. I swear, it’s like you’re turning 5 instead of 50.


DAVID: “C’mon. It’s only one piece.”


GWEN: "No!" The girl demands. "Get out of the fridge, go back in the living room, and wait. Uncle Eddie will be here with the food in 15 minutes."


DAVID: “You sound like your mother.”


GWEN:
“Well one of us has to be the adult. And I don’t want to be worrying about you and your health when I’m back at college in a few weeks.”





SCENE 2: DINNER.


CLANKING OF FORKS AND MUMBLED CONVERSATION.



GWEN:
“Dad tried eating the cake again, Uncle Eddie. I swear he has no self-control.




EDDIE AND DAVID LAUGH


EDDIE: “He always had a hard time waiting for cake. I remember at your parents wedding he tried sneaking a slice before the ceremonial cake cutting. Isn’t that right, David.


DAVID: “Mhmm.”


GWEN: “Oh my gosh, Dad!


EDDIE: “He left this huge hole carved out of one of the tiers. I don’t know how you thought you were gonna get away with it.”


DAVID: I didn’t plan to get away with it. It was my wedding and my cake. I shouldn’t have to wait for someone to tell me to eat it.


EDDIE: “Amanda had a fit. I thought she was gonna kill you.”


DAVID: “Your sister was always too serious for her own good. Her idea of fun was sorting receipts.”



DAVID, EDDIE, & GWEN CHUCKLE


EDDIE: “Yeah. But somehow you got her to loosen up more than anyone else. “



TONE SHIFTS FROM LIGHTHEARTED TO SINCERE/TENDER


“You were always good for her. I don’t know if I ever thanked you for that.”



DAVID: “Can we not do this? We all miss her… but not now. Please.”



EDDIE: (CLEARING HIS THROAT TO GAIN COMPOSURE) “You’re right. I’m sorry. Um. Change of subject…. I brought you a gift.”


DAVID: “You didn’t have to do that…”




TALKING OVER ONE ANOTHER.


EDDIE: “Yes I did. I figured you two are cooped up in this apartment all day and I thought it’d be nice to have something bright.




SETS DOWN POTTED PLANT


DAVID: “You got me flowers? Was the store out of motorcycles or something?”


GWEN: “Dad, don’t be rude. They’re beautiful orchids. Thank you, Uncle Eddie.”


EDDIE: “You’re welcome. But they are mostly for your dad. I ordered them online. Lucky for you they delivered this morning.



DAVID: (APPREHENSIVE) “Lucky… right. You say you got these online? Is that why there’s all this… Mumbo Jumbo on the pot?



GWEN: (SPOKEN AS THOUGH READING A POEM OFF A CARD)
“By midnight bloom
An orchid’s dream
to bend the world of what;
To joy or pain
Within your reign
Lest paradise be cut “


DAVID: (UNAMUSED AND SOMEWHAT ANNOYED) “Oh, so this is one of your Hocus Pocus spiritual healing things.”


EDDIE: “Gwen told me you were having a hard time sleeping lately and then I found these. The listing said that these were ancient Chinese orchids and that if you keep them near your bed you’ll feel calm and might even have sweet dreams. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.”



DAVID: (SPOKEN WITH LIGHTHEARTED SARCASM) “Well Gwen shouldn’t have told you that… but thank you for the fortune cookie flower plant.”





SCENE 3: SLEEPLESS.

SOUND OF KEYBOARD BEING WORKED INTENSELY.



GWEN: “Dad? What are you doing awake? It’s 2:30 in the morning.”


DAVID: “Oh. Hey. Yeah. I’m just finishing up some paperwork I haven’t gotten too.”


GWEN: “Is that Mom’s stuff? You really shouldn’t be doing that now.”


DAVID: “I’m almost done. I just wanted to get to it while I was thinking about it.”


GWEN: “I’ve been thinking about her too. But you need to get sleep.”


DAVID: “I will. Goodnight, Gwen.”


GWEN: “Goodnight, Dad. Happy birthday. And don’t forget your flowers.”





NOISE OF POTTED PLANT BEING SET DOWN.


DAVID: (DISINTERESTED) “Yeah… Yeah…”




DOOR CLOSES.
TYPING RESUMES.
A COLD WIND BLOWS TURNING PAGES.
MYSTICAL MUSIC BEGINS



AMANDA:
(OFF) “DAVID…”



DAVID: “Amanda? You’re… Here. And you’re young again. No. This can’t be.”


AMANDA: “I am here. And WE are young. We have the world ahead of us again.”


DAVID: “But you’re dead, Amanda. Am I dead? Did Gwen finally have enough of my nonsense and poison the cake?”


AMANDA: (LAUGHS) “No. You’ve done a wonderful job taking care of her. Just like you did a wonderful job of taking care of me. And now, I’m here to take care of you. “


DAVID: “Where are we? How did we get outside? The night is so bright here. And those flowers. Those are like the ones Eddie gave me.”


AMANDA: “You are in the joy of paradise among the midnight orchid.


DAVID:
“I’m so confused right now. This isn’t right. None of this makes any sense.”



AMANDA: “The charms of the flower’s dreams have brought me to you, and have brought you to me. Stay with me David and I’ll give you rest. We can dream together.”






SCENE 4: THE NEXT DAY/PRUNING


SCISSOR CLIPPING NOISE


GWEN: (YAWNING) “Hey”


DAVID: (WHISTLING) “Good morning.”


GWEN: (STILL WAKING UP) “Wow. You’re in a good mood for someone who fell asleep at the computer again.”


DAVID: “I did… but I had some really good sleep last night. Best in a long time. Maybe even the best I’ve had ever.”


GWEN: “So… Uncle Eddie’s plant worked?”


DAVID: "Either that or you put something in the cake.”


DAVID AND GWEN CHUCKLE


"But maybe your uncle Eddie was on to something. The dream was so vivid and real, as if I were really there.”



GWEN: “Maybe you were drugged. You didn’t eat the plant did you? Get a little of Uncle Eddie’s LSD tricks.



DAVID AND GWEN CHUCKLE


DAVID: “No… No…”


GWEN: (SAD/SERIOUS) “Did you dream of Mom?


DAVID: “Yeah, actually. I did… She’s still as beautiful as ever.”




CUTTING SOUND CONTINUES



GWEN: (MOCKING) “Well, if you’re planning on getting another good sleep like that you might not want to go destroying that plant just yet.”


DAVID: “I’m not destroying it. I’m pruning it. It’s good health for a plant, right? And I don’t know what to believe about this little guy…I mean, it was only one time. BUT, I’m not gonna be ashamed to have the pot on the dresser next to my bed tonight.”


GWEN: “Well, I’m glad. You deserved some rest.”




SCENE 5: UNREST


SOUND OF DISTORTED TV IN BACKGROUND WITH INTENSE MUSIC SWELLING



GWEN: “Dad…. Dad! Are you okay?”


DAVID: “Huh? What? Yeah?”



TV TURNS OFF



GWEN:
“You’re glazed. You weren’t even watching the TV. Ever since your birthday you’ve been looking thin and even more tired than you did before. Have you still been getting good sleep?”



DAVID: “Yeah… I think. I don’t really know. I think I’m sleeping. I see your mom every night. But now she doesn’t talk to me anymore. She just stands in the dark…. Watching… staring at me. I think she’s mad at me.”


GWEN: “That doesn’t sound right. I think you need to have a night without the plant. It might be making you sick.”


DAVID: “Maybe you’re right. I just… I see her face. She's there. Your mom is really there. I don’t know… “


GWEN: “Are you sure you're okay? I can cancel plans with Hazel tonight...”


DAVID: “No. I’ll be fine. You have a good time at the movies. “


GWEN: “Okay. I won’t be out too late. I’ll check on you the moment I come home.”


DAVID
: “Sounds good, sweetheart.”




SCENE 6: THE NIGHTMARE.


MYSTICAL MUSIC PLAYS DISTORTED



AMANDA: (whispers) “David…”


DAVID: “Amanda. You can’t be here. You’re just a dream. I must be sleeping again.”


AMANDA: “Oh, David. Is that all you see when you look at me? This face I put on for you? You haven’t slept in a week and still, I stood by you the entire time. And how did you treat me? You cut me... over and over again.”


DAVID:
“No. That's not true. I'd never hurt you.”



AMANDA:
“Look at me. You cut our leaves. Each day you pulled more of our pedals. And now you put us out in another room... “



DAVID: “The Orchid?”


AMANDA: “It didn’t have to be like this, David. You were warned. You read the pot yourself. You saw the words.”


DAVID: “The pot? You mean that riddled gibberish on the side?”


AMANDA: (HYPNOTIC TONE)

“By midnight bloom
An orchid’s dream
to bend the world of what;
To joy or pain
Within your reign
Lest paradise be cut “

“We could have been so happy together. But you had to ruin it.”


DAVID: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. Forgive me, Amanda. Please.”


AMANDA: “Why did you do it?”


DAVID:
“I was trying to keep you healthy. Prune you. Cut out the bad parts.”



AMANDA: “Bad parts? I see... Take these.“


DAVID: “I don't understand. Why are you handing me scissors?”


AMANDA: “Show me David. Take these scissors and cut out your bad parts.”


DAVID: “On me? I can't. People aren't like that.”


AMANDA: “I said 'show me, David.' Do what you did to me. Now. Cut it all out.”


SCISSORS SNIPPING/SOUND OF CUTTING MEAT
MAN WHIMPERING
DOOR SHUTS



GWEN: “Dad! I’m home.”


DAVID: (PANICKED) “No…Don't come in here… Please.”



CUTTING SOUND CONTINUES



GWEN: “Dad? Are you okay? What are you doing? Oh MY GOD! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? Where is your nose? Where are your ears? Your eyes! DAD. NO... PLEASE!


AMANDA: “We could be happy again. All of us… Together. You need to cut out the bad parts. All of them. Even on her.”


DAVID: “Amanda, I can’t. Not Gwen. She’s our daughter. She’s our baby.”


GWEN: “Dad? There’s no one there. You need help.”


AMANDA: (DISTORTED) “PRUNE HER!”




FOOTSTEPS DRAWING CLOSER


GWEN:
“DAD! Don't come any closer. No. Get away. You’re sick. You need help”




DAVID:
“I’m so… tired, Amanda. Will you help me? Please!”




STUMBLING NOISES. ITEMS BREAK



GWEN: “Dad, stop it. You’re scaring me. JUST STOP!”


AMANDA: “This is how it has to be.”


GWEN: “I’m calling Uncle Eddie.”



DOOR SLAMS
PHONE BUTTON NOISES FOLLOWED BY RINGING



EDDIE: (D) (WAKING UP VOICE) “Hello? Gwen? What is it?”


GWEN: (PANICKED) “Uncle Eddie! Something is wrong with Dad. He cut everything off with scissors. His ears, his, nose, his lips... even his eye lids. There's chunks of meat and blood everywhere. He doesn't look human anymore."



POUNDING ON DOOR/WALL


EDDIE: (D) "Lock yourself in a room.”



GWEN: “I did.”


POUNDING ON DOOR/WALL CONTINUES



EDDIE: “Good. Now call the police. I’m coming right over.”


AMANDA: (WHISPERED) “You know what you have to do.”


DAVID: (OFF) “I have to fix her so we can be together... “


GWEN: “He’s sick, Uncle Eddie. He's scaring me. Please hurry.’”



POUNDING ON DOOR/WALL BREAKS INWARD


GWEN SCREAMS



AMANDA: (WHISPERED) “C’mon, David. Cut out the bad parts.”


GWEN: “Dad? Dad? Oh my God.



SOUND OF SCISSORS SNIPPING AIR


DAVID: "Please forgive me."


GWEN: (scared) "Dad! Please don't?"


DAVID: "I'm sorry, GWEN. I have to..."



BANGING AND STRUGGLING NOISES (OFF) GIRL SCREAMS

URGENT KNOCKING. A WOMAN SINGING/HUMMING ‘HUSH, LITTLE BABY’.



EDDIE:
“Gwen? David? Open the door!




KEYS RUSTLING. DOOR OPENS


DAVID: (OFF)“I had to do it.


EDDIE: “What did you do, David? Where’s Gwen?"




SLOSHING STEPS LIKE ON WET CARPET


“Oh my God. David! What did you do? Where’s Gwen?"



DAVID: “She’s with Amanda. We can be together now. All of us. Forever. Without the bad parts.”


NARRATOR:
“Inside us all is a carnal hunger. A desire that springs from the deepest fountain within our souls. Reason… Logic… Understanding… all earthly commitments become obstacles to overcome in pursuit of the grand appetite. For some, the desire for love collapse the foundation of reality, permitting even the unthinkable. We all seek to cut out the bad parts, and eventually, the deepest longing wins.”






END



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