FC: c o m p i l a t i o n | b y A L I C I A K U L I C K
1: "there is nothing as easy or lucky or free" -bright eyes | all text and photographs by Alicia Kulick
2: c h a p t e r o n e The Becoming A Continuation of "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell | The air was drenched in fear. It was so terribly present, it could almost be heard, like little trembling mouse claws scurrying and scraping along an attic floor. The fear was seeping from their pores, escaping from their chattering teeth. The only thing more apparent in the awfully cold room was a deep, hideous laughter. It echoed along the ancient stone cellar walls and clung to the low ceiling. It wrapped up the prisoners like a wet blanket, making them shiver. Making them cold, colder. Freezing. The laughter ceased, leaving an almost unbearably loud silence in its wake. The walls seemed to be closing in, as if sound was the only thing pushing against them, preventing them from collapsing. “Do you know why you are here?” a voice bellowed into the darkness. No one dared to speak. Only an occasional, shaking breath could be heard; nothing but a faint whisper falling upon deaf ears. “Do you know?” the voice exclaimed again, louder this time, thick with resentment. “I am a victim, just like you. We are all victims here.”
3: As if on cue, odious, vicious snarls could be heard outside the room. Perhaps it was coming from above, or below, or from all sides. It was too distant to tell, yet eerily defined. The voice became louder still, booming over the barking. “I am, however, a victim of a game; a game you all have yet to encounter.” The voice grew exceedingly exasperated, rising in pitch. “It is a game of the most exciting sorts. I do not chide when I praise its incomparable thrill.” And then, the sound of someone shuffling through their pockets replaced the voice. Mumbling, mumbling. Scraping; then suddenly, light. The face that appeared out of the darkness was almost handsome. But the high cheekbones were caked in blood and dirt, and the plump red lips were cracked and contorted into an awful sneering smile. The flickering candle flame casted ghostly shadows along gnarled wrinkles etched into his forehead and along wisps of matted brown hair. One could follow the contours of his prominent jaw and pointed nose like a map, only to stop short at the sight of his eyes. They were black. Blacker than soot, blacker than a sleepless night. They did not reflect the glimmering candle light; instead, they appeared to absorb it, hungry for the only source of comfort. The man spoke, revealing himself as the owner of the crackling voice. His teeth were yellow. “Rainsford is my name, but you shall not need to ever refer to me. Our little game does not involve much conversing, I’m afraid. In fact, I shall not take up your time much longer with tedious explanations. The rules are quite simple.”
4: Rainsford began to walk slowly, one leather boot in front of the other. Light washed over a table on the far right wall as he lowered the candle he was carrying with excessive prudence, trying to avoid spilling wax on his white, bare-skinned hand. Once the candle was resting on the table, he spun around on his hell, almost violently. In front of him stood ten men. They were difficult to see, for they had plastered themselves against the wall furthest from the voice. Rainsford could see their breath, coming out in rattling gasps. He began to laugh again. “My boys, my boys, why do you cower so? I mean you no harm really! Come closer please, so I can see your lovely faces!” The room was silent. Not a finger twitched, nor a leg shook. Rainsford did not speak. He merely stared; glaring with his black eyes at the ravaged men in their torn clothes and bony bodies encasing their souls like a cage. His eyes were wide and wild with amusement, and that crazed smile was plastered across his disgusting face. The silence stretched on for what seemed like hours; days. Until one man stood up straight and took a slow step towards Rainsford and his table. “Ah, and who do we have here? Please, come forward my boy. I mean you no harm, I promise!” He extended his arm, and the man continued to step closer and closer, steady, steady, steady He was standing in front of Rainsford. Rainsford’s rancid breath hit the man as they stood face to face. The man was taller than Rainsford, but the fear that racked his fragile, starved frame made him appear weak like a child. His eyes were a brilliant green. He reached out a shaking hand, and Rainsford gripped it firmly.
6: “See my boy? I am a friend.” Rainsford moved his hand up and down for emphasis. “Now listen carefully,” he continued. “All of you. I am going to play this game a little differently than from how I was taught. The rules are very basic. All you have to do is survive.” On the last word, his voice dipped low and quiet, almost dripping with glee. There was a pause. No one spoke. No barking, no anything. Just terrible, terrible silence. Rainsford gripped the man’s hand harder, and with his opposite hand reached into the bowels of his coat pocket. Suddenly, the laughter filled the room again, drowning the men like raging flood water. Rainsford was holding a pistol, and pointing it straight between those two brilliant green eyes. Bang. *** “A beast at bay, a beast at bay a beast a beast beast beast please stop stop please” The light from the candle was still burning, as if nothing had changed. It was a light; the same light that glimmered in every darkness. Lying against the cold stone wall, Rainsford sat defeated, drenched in sorrow, anguish, fear, hatred; blood. There was no other sound in the room. No one was alive. The pistol was resting innocently in Rainsford’s cold hand. It was too heavy, Rainsford thought. It was crushing his palm. He was overly aware of the stench of blood and sweat and terror in the air, and it pushed down on Rainsford’s shoulders so hard he thought his spine would snap. The dogs were barking again, but this time they were louder, and howling in desperate confusing.
7: They had heard the gun shots, all then of them, fired in a few brief seconds of madness. Rainsford’s ears were still ringing; the gun was still hot. He wrapped his fingers around the handle, the metal glistening with fresh blood. He raised the gun slowly to eye level, and stared down the smoldering barrel. Then he wailed. “Oh god,” he screamed. Panic was bubbling inside his stomach, clawing up his throat. The dead bodies in the cellar, Zaroff's carcass rotting away in the stomachs of hounds; he was a beast. But no, it was all wrong, I do not want to be a beast please I am so sorry this is not who I am I wish none of this had ever happened... He was a little boy, shivering in a corner, tortured with his sick past. He wailed and wailed and wailed, the most awful sound the stone cellar had ever heard. The dogs howled louder. The gun was still in his hands, staring at the space between his brown eyes, glistening in the candle light. He was shaking, all over. Everywhere; shaking down to his heart. He kept his eyes wide open as he pressed the barrel of the gun painfully into his forehead. He cried out again, one last time. “I am so sorry.” Bang.
8: c h a p t e r t w o The Difference in the Shades A Short Story | The first thing I noticed was the hair band. It looked more like a bandage than an accessory; something to patch up a traumatic head wound instead of something to keep my hair in place. Not that my hair would have much trouble passing as traumatic. I squinted at myself in the mirror, smoothing a limp right hand over the shock white of the hair band and through the tangled mess of a ponytail that slouched nonchalantly atop my head. I lightly patted few frizzed wisps of hair and sighed, dropping my hand. Maybe the mirror is really a window, and this red-eyed, disheveled mess staring back at me is just some lonely sad girl who has nothing better to do than to look through windows. I almost feel bad for her. Those creases between her eyebrows are going to wrinkle when she’s older. “Adilene, come out of the bathroom.” My heart skipped a beat, leaving that dull ache of receding panic in its wake. With painful prudence, I slowly turned my head to the left to stare at the peeling paint of the bathroom door, holding my breath. Maybe if I keep quiet, she’ll forget I’m here and leave me alone. Please leave me alone, please please please please The brass colored handle jiggled, the loose old lock straining under the pressure. I edged myself a little farther away, eyes still glued on the door knob covered in fingerprints and speckled with nail polish. It jiggled again, violently.
9: “You open this door right now Adilene, you've been in there long enough.” Her barking voice was bitter and hard, the coldness of it creeping under the door and biting at my bare feet. Shivering, I took another step backwards, my arms tight around my torso. I gently ran my fingers over my rib cage and counted every bony protrusion. One, two, three... “Adilene!” It was like the screech of tires stopping short on pavement. Four, five, six... And then suddenly, that old lock had had enough. It had been my protector for years; one little contraption that kept life away from me and me away from life. Maybe it finally realized that it wasn't doing me any good anymore and decided to let me have it. But on the inside, I want to believe it was just too rusted and beaten to go on, letting go of the door frame with one final grunted squeal of apology to its oldest and most loyal friend. The lock gave way with a massive crack, and I staggered backwards as the door slammed open to reveal the glowering and hideous snarl of my sister. Disgruntled dust from the severed door frame settled about her feet. I stood deathly still, my eyes locked on the cutesy sleeping bunny graphic that decorated the top of her dingy blue slippers. Seven, eight... “You promised.” Her voice was hoarse and frighteningly quiet. “You promised that if you were going to stay here, you were going to listen to your doctors, listen to me, do what you need to do to get better.” I watched her fists clench, the tanned skin pulling tight across her knuckles. I didn't dare look her in those perfect just-born-baby-blue eyes, glistening with ocean water and honesty.
10: In all those years we'd spent growing up together, I would always have staring contests and try to steal some of that blue for myself, desperate to lighten the black murky waters of my irises. It never worked. She sighed and slackened her shoulders, her fists loosening. I expected her to speak, but she merely stood there and washed her blue eyes over my hunched frame with tired sympathy. The heavy silence stretched thin between us and made the air tight and difficult to swallow. I wrinkled my forehead, annoyed at the infinite oblivion of the white walls and the laminate sink top. They would never understand emotion. Happiness, anguish, desperation. It was all meaningless to them at the end of all things. Why couldn't it be meaningless to me? I bit the inside of my cheek and raised my eyes to meet my sisters. “Do you remember that time when we were little?” She wasn't looking at me, but up at through skylight on the ceiling. “You kept crying and wiping the sweat from your eyes because it was so hot, so I tried to distract you by asking about your favorite color. And you stopped in the middle of the road and tilted your head way back and pointed at the sky. And that's all you said. Then you turned around and ran into the house.” I didn't remember that. I can't remember a lot of things. My sister sighed at my lack of response and wiped her hands on her jeans. She glanced over her shoulder at the mess of a door knob and then looked back at me. I kept my gaze on her lips. “I'm sorry. I know.” She paused and gently bit her lower lip, shining with gloss. “I know,” she said again. “That things have been rough with mom. But they can be better.” She began to nod her head, almost as if reassuring herself. “They can be
11: better here.” She turned around abruptly and left me standing in that little white bathroom with the kitten photographs on the wall and the faint scent of lavender shampoo. Nearly three months ago, I stood in this exact same spot, staring at the exact same white walls and pictures and wondering where I had fallen off the tracks. Wondering if the train was ever going to come back and pick me up. Wondering if my sister would be mad that her fluffy white rug was soaked in my blood. I tried to kill myself in this bathroom, and my sister just broke down the door to stop me from trying again. “Thank you,” I whispered. But she was already out of earshot, probably downstairs being productive with her life. And I just stood there, acutely aware of the emptiness in the depths of my stomach, the amount of air between my pencil thighs; the frail and assiduous tremors of my bones. The doctors told me I was sick. My brain had glitched somewhere along the line, they said; almost as if I had lost the bookmark to my mind and could never find the page I left off on. I walked tenderly back to the mirror and tried to find that sad little girl who was looking through the window. But I couldn't believe any of it. All that stared back at me were those two black pits dripping with tears. I hadn't even realized I was crying, and I angrily rubbed my eyes with the palms of my paper thin hands. Everything was so hollow it hurt. Why couldn't I be full of blue like my sister, why did my mother always love her and never throw half drunken beer bottles at her or threaten to kill her when she moved out? Why the mirror whispered. Why are you not your sister? My breathing grew shallow as I fought for air. It was thick and sticky, and heavy with lavender.
12: I could taste the purple of it, coloring my insides and coating them with a glaze of false perfection. “Stop!” I cried and pressed my hands against my ears until it hurt, my fingers tangled in my hair. “Stop, stop, stop, a mirror a mirror a mirror it's just a mirror just a mirror.” Just a window, just a window, just a window...it whispered like the wind through shaky autumn leaves, barely hanging onto their branches. A window into yourself, yourself, escape into yourself...it was my mom's voice now, thick with cigarette smoke and stale beer. A burden to everyone, can't even take care of yourself, can't even, can't even, can't, can not do anything right...my sister's voice. My sister, with her eyes made of water and sky. I punched the mirror. Harder than I had ever punched anything in my entire life. I needed it to break. I needed the sad window girl to get out of there so we could stand in the white walled bathroom and help each other. Her eyes were the same color as mine, after all; perhaps we could empty out the black soot from our eyes together. “Where are you? Please help me,” I exclaimed to the girl. Red was everywhere; in the cracks of the broken class, seeping into my thin t-shirt, cascading down my arm like a waterfall in seek of the ocean. The shards of glass were like glitter, swimming before my eyes. They crawled in through my parted mouth, danced through my aching veins to my heart. Where was that girl? She was the only one who could stop the bleeding; no doctor could save me from this. “Please, I know you're sad too. I know you don't eat enough because it makes your insides hurt. I know you can't sleep because the darkness does terrible things to the light. I know how you feel, that's why I opened the window.”
13: “Oh my god Adilene, Adilene!” My sister's blue eyes were pouring into mine. She wrapped her arms around my body and held my head in her hand. “You can't do this. Why did you do this? Not like this. Please not like this...my darling Adilene, you are so much more than this, my darling...” Her cheek was pressed against my own, our tears mixing into one. “You know I've always loved you. You've taught me more about myself than I could have ever hoped, I'm so sorry if you thought I didn't care, I care so much.” Were those my sister's words? Or my own? The white walls stared at me on the floor, no longer laughing. Just existing, like a wall should. But they were changing colors, tints of reds and blues mixing with the milky paint. And then black seeping in from the edges of my vision, an unwelcome guest at an unwanted party. All I could see was my sister's face. She really was beautiful. I wanted to tell her that, more than anything. But my brain was shrouded in the stench of blood and heavy with weakness, and words no longer made sense. Nothing made sense, but everything was quiet. Almost peaceful, with my sister stroking my cheek and rocking me back and forth. “The ambulance will be here any minute now, my darling.” she said as if I was a newborn in need of a bottle. “It's okay.” I mustered. “I can see the sky now. Thank you.” And all the shades of the world blended into one. Everything was black.
14: Characters JAYDEN BRONA FATHER Scene A boy with messy brown hair (Jayden) sits on a couch, flipping carelessly through a magazine. A younger boy (Brona) runs around the couch and coffee table, playing make believe with some miscellaneous plastic toys. Brona trips and falls. He cries loudly, and Jayden looks up from his magazine. | c h a p t e r t h r e e The Brothers A Play
15: JAYDEN: Hey! You stop that right now! Stop it! Stop it Brona! Heck, you're gonna bother the whole world screamin' like that! BRONA: (Pathetic weeping) B-b-but, the table, it hit my knee and now it hurts real b-b-bad... JAYDEN: Aw heck, well maybe you shouldna' been running around like that in the first place! In fact, now that I think about it, didn't I tell you to stop it yesterday? Yeah I did! I did! You was running all over here like you couldn't be touched by nothin' and I said 'stop, stop, you're going to fall right into that table,' and you just laughed, you stupid little kid. Why don't you ever listen to me? Are you even listening to me now? Ay! I said shut up! (Jayden stands up and the magazine falls off his lap onto the floor). BRONA: (Whimpers) But Daddy didn't say anything... JAYDEN: Aw, screw Daddy! He's always letting you do whatever the heck you want and see what happens? Now I'm gonna get blamed for this, just look at your knee! It's all bloody, now I've got to clean you up cause you're just a stupid little kid and I'm going to get blamed for not stopping you! Because nothing is ever your fault! No, not precious little Brona! (Jayden approaches Brona and tries to pick him up). BRONA: (Standing up swiftly and backing away) Daddy said, Daddy said! I was running around like I was in a plane! Just last night! And Daddy said I was the best kid in the world, yeah he did! Because I was really imaginative in my plane and well he said I could be imaginative anywhere I want. Go away, go away, go away! You're always snappin' at me Jayn'! JAYDEN: You deserve to be snapped at! You never listen! BRONA: You never listen! JAYDEN: What's that supposed to mean?
16: BRONA: You're weird! You never play games with me and all you do is sit there. Sit, sit, sit! JAYDEN: I'm not sitting right now. BRONA: Yeah well you were. JAYDEN: (Sighing) Okay, can I please just wash off your knee before Dad sees? He worries about you too much, he'll probably get mad and think your knee will get all infected... BRONA: (Looking down) Yeah. JAYDEN: Yeah what? BRONA: My knee hurts and I don't know how to stop it. JAYDEN: Well I just said I would clean it if you'd let me, didn't I? BRONA: What are you going to do? JAYDEN: Wash it with hot water and then put some cleaning stuff on it, just like Dad does. This isn't anything new, Brona. You've scraped yourself lots of times. BRONA: Yeah but you're all angry so I don't know if you would remember how to do it right. JAYDEN: I'm not angry. BRONA: You yelled at me. JAYDEN: No. BRONA: Yeah you did! You told me to shut up! Daddy says that's a bad word. I never use bad words. Daddy says not to use them but you used them! And you used them loud. At me. So that's yelling. JAYDEN: Why do you care so much what Daddy thinks? It's always 'Daddy this' and 'Daddy that.' Why can' t you just think for yourself? BRONA: See there you go again yelling at me! I'm not going to let you clean my knee and then Daddy will see it and tell you to shut up!
17: JAYDEN: (Walking towards the open kitchen). Yeah and he would say that to me too. He'd never say it to you. (Gets a paper towel and wets it with hot water, then turns around to stare at Brona still in the other room). Come here please. BRONA: No. JAYDEN: Brona- BRONA: NO NO NO NO NO SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP JAYDEN: God damnit Brona, you get over here right now! (Jayden stomps his foot, fuming. Brona is stunned into silence). BRONA: (Quietly, almost to himself). You said a very bad word right there, mister. In school they would take away your recess and your friends if you said that. That's very bad. I wouldn't get a star sticker on my homework if I said that, no I would not. You should wash your mouth out Jayn'. With soap! Sticky soapy soap! JAYDEN: (While walking towards his brother). I'm thirteen, I can say whatever the hell I want, you hear me? I've had enough of this Brona. You're such a stupid little kid. Come here! Jayden grabs Brona's arm and drags him into the kitchen. The two squabble and Brona fights bitterly to escape Jayden's clutch, kicking and biting at Jayden's arm in the process. JAYDEN: Ouch, you stupid kid, you! You think you're some kind of dog? Because you sure act like one, you're nothing better than a stupid dog! Ay! Biting me, that's so stupid Brona! Now I'm going to get all gross because of you! BRONA: Haha, let me go!
18: JAYDEN: I just need to put the cleaning stuff on it, can't you sit still for two seconds? You need to sit still Brona, this stuff is really bad for you if you eat it or it gets in your eyes. Stop moving! I'm just trying to take care of you! BRONA: Daddy takes care of me a lot better than you! JAYDEN: Stop. Talking. About. DADDY Jayden reaches onto the counter and gets a bottle of peroxide. He opens it and pours a decent amount on Brona's leg. Brona cries out in pain and kicks Jayden in the chin. BRONA: OW, Jayn' that hurts, stop stop stop stop, that hurts more, stop! JAYDEN: Oh don't be such a baby! It's just cleaning stuff, you've used it a hundred times! BRONA: But Daddy always kisses my hurt spot and tells me that it doesn't actually hurt and then it never hurts but you did it all wrong! Oww! JAYDEN: Fine. It doesn't actually hurt. BRONA: Yes it does!! JAYDEN: I just told you it didn't. Now stand up and don't touch it, I'll put a band aid on it if it bleeds again. BRONA: Daddy would put a band aid on it right now to keep it from fecting. JAYDEN: Infecting. To keep it from infecting. Stupid kid. BRONA: Stop calling me stupid! You're stupid for hurting me, I'm telling Daddy you hurt me! JAYDEN: For Christ's sake! Everything I do is wrong! Every word that comes out of my mouth you say is not like Daddy Daddy Daddy. Well I'm not Daddy, I'm your brother! You're supposed to listen to me! BRONA: Daddy says I'm a good listener. JAYDEN: Christ.
19: BRONA: Well I am. JAYDEN: You're the farthest thing from it. You're obnoxious and you're too loud to ever hear anything anyway. Ever since you were born this house has been nothin' but noise. BRONA: Ever since you were born this house has been noise! JAYDEN: That doesn't even make sense, and you weren't even born when I was born. BRONA: Yeah I was. JAYDEN: God, no you weren't! How does your knee feel? BRONA: Ouch JAYDEN: Whatever. Don't pick at it or it'll bleed again. BRONA: I'm hungry. JAYDEN: What do I look like, your maid? BRONA: Daddy said you was supposed to make lunch for me at lunchtime, and I'm hungry so I think it's lunchtime. JAYDEN: Fine. If I make you a sandwich will you shut up? BRONA: NO JAYDEN: Well then I'm going upstairs so I don't have to listen to you anymore. BRONA: Wait! Jayn'. I'll be shut up. (He giggles). If you make me a sammmich!! With lots of jelly! JAYDEN: Jelly has too much sugar in it, I'm not giving you lots of it. BRONA: I'll give you lots of it! JAYDEN: Why do you keep doing that? You keep repeating everything I say but so that it doesn't make any sense. That's really annoying. BRONA: Daddy said I'm a really good kid and I'm not 'noying.
20: JAYDEN: It's UHnoying, Brona. And Daddy is wrong. Because he likes you the best so he just refuses to believe that you're UH NOYING. BRONA: That's not true. Make my sammmmmich! JAYDEN: It is true and you know it! Everyday you come home from school with some silly little glitter sticker or a note from the teacher about how excellent you are or how much you read or how many math problems you can do...and Dad hugs you and tells you that you're a perfect little angel! And then he tells me to watch you while he goes and does whatever he does in the garden or in the basement. And I'm stuck with you! BRONA: Yeah well that's because you never get glitter stickers. JAYDEN: They don't give glitter stickers to grown up kids! BRONA: Yeah they do! Julie's big sister has them all over her homeworks! I've seen them! So you must not be good enough to get them on your homeworks. JAYDEN: That's not true! I just don't spend my whole life doing stupid multiplication or rock cycle diagrams. BRONA: Sammmmmmmmmich! Now! And what's the rock cycle? Do your work!
21: JAYDEN: Never mind. I get a lot more work than you! Easy for you to say. Just wait until you're old like me. Big kids have it a lot harder than you. BRONA: I bet you don't! You just don't know how to work. Work work work work. I do all my homework and my teacher's give me big smiles all the time. My report card always says good all over it! But your report card doesn't! That's why Daddy doesn't say you are perfect because you're not. You're lazy. JAYDEN: Christ Brona! How would you know what my report card says? BRONA: SAMMMICHHHHH JAYDEN: Brona! I asked you a question. BRONA: What, why are you lazy? JAYDEN: No! How do you know what my report card says? BRONA: It's in your bag! That black bag that you bring to school everyday. I saw it in there when I was looking in it. JAYDEN: You were looking through my bag? You little twat! BRONA: Hey you're yelling again! Shut up shut up shut up! Do you know who killed President Kennedy? Do you? I do! We learned about it in class. The teacher said it was a super serious lesson so that's why I know about it because I paid attention. JAYDEN: Brona! You can't just look through my bag like that! That's my bag! My stuff! You have your own bag, and you look through your own bag. Why would you look through my bag Brona?? BRONA: Because it was sitting open on your bed and Daddy is always saying that I need to keep an eye on you because you never do good at things.
22: JAYDEN: Daddy? BRONA: Sammich time now this is boring Jayn' I'm hungry! And you still don't know who killed President Kennedy do you? Because I know! I know! JAYDEN: I can't believe it! Daddy told you to go through my bag? BRONA: No. JAYDEN: Well then why did you say he told you to do it? BRONA: He didn't. He told me to keep my eyeballs on you. So I kept my eyeballs on your bag and your card was write there. JAYDEN: No it wasn't, it was in a folder! You twat! You stupid little kid! You went through my folders! Christ! BRONA: Make me a sammich please Jayn' JAYDEN: Not until you apologize! You've got to learn how to act Brona, that's not respectful to me at all, I'm your brother. You keep your little dog paws out of my things! BRONA: You did really bad on your card Jay jay JAYDEN: Don't call me that. My name is Jayden. You've known that since you were born, stop pretending like you don't know how to talk. I'm your own brother, you should at least know how to pronounce my name! BRONA: JAY JAY JAY JAY JAY JAYDEN: You stupid kid! I can't believe I'm related to you! Jayden reaches out and slaps Brona across the face. Brona begins to cry immediately. Just then, Jayden hears footsteps on the deck outside. He clamps a hand over Brona's mouth and whispers fiercely. JAYDEN: Look, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that. You are just so stupid sometimes! But Dad is coming inside right now. He's going to walk in any second. You've got to stop crying. Please Brona? Please? I'm a good brother. Please. I want to be a
23: good brother, don't get me in trouble right now. Dad is going to send me to my room all day if he knows I hit you. He'll be so mad, he really will! Stop crying Brona! Stop, please, stop! BRONA: (Through Jayden's fingers) Gwross! Stwop! Out of my mouf! JAYDEN: You promise you'll stop crying? Brona does not have time to answer, as just then, the back door jingles and then opens. The brothers' father walks in just as Jayden drops his hand from Brona's mouth. Brona does not cry. FATHER: Hey boys. Hi Brona, what's wrong? JAYDEN: Nothing, Dad. Brona is just hungry. I was going to make him a sandwich. Do you want one? FATHER: Oh no thanks, Jay. Make sure you put on some extra jelly if you're making PB&J. Brona really likes jelly, doesn't he! BRONA: YEAH, sammmmmich with lots of jelly! See Jayn', see? Lots of jelly! JAYDEN: Right. BRONA: Right! Right! Daddy! (Brona runs and hugs his father's legs.) FATHER: How's your day going Brona? BRONA: It's okay Daddy. JAYDEN: It's fine. Brona, can you help me with your sandwich? FATHER: Now, now, Jayden. I think you can probably just make that yourself. Brona can't even reach the counter top. BRONA: I can! If I fly! Like a plaaaaane! JAYDEN: But Dad, he's got to learn someday. FATHER: Not today. I don't want him knowing where the knives are just yet.
24: BRONA: Plane plane plane! Daddy aren't I such a good plane? FATHER: Yes, Brona! You are the best plane I've ever seen! (He pats Brona's head and tousles his hair.) Now boys I've got to go outside for a little longer. Brona, you'll be okay with Jayden, right? BRONA: I guess. FATHER: You guess? BRONA: Yeah. I guess. I'm hungry. FATHER: Haha, okay Brona. You enjoy your lunch. Just call for me if you need anything. Anything at all. Okay? Okay Jayden? Make sure you both do your homework too, okay? BRONA: I already did mine! I did it last night! Because today is Saturday and I don't like to do homework on Saturday and if I have time to do my homework then I do it as soon as I can! Because you always tell me not to wait.
25: FATHER: That's right, Brona. Good job! Jayden, watch over things okay? Don't let Brona out of your sight. JAYDEN: Dad, he's seven. I think he can handle being out of my sight for two seconds. FATHER: No. Don't let him out of your sight. I'm going outside. Bye guys, let me know if you need anything. Bye Brona! BRONA: BYE DADDY, BYE! Have fun outside Daddy! Watch out though! I'm a plane! Whirrrrrrrrrr! FATHER: Haha, okay son. I'll keep my eyes open. You keep your eyes open too. Jayden could use some piloting over there. He can't even make you a sandwich. JAYDEN: Huh? Yes I can! I just asked if- FATHER: I'm just teasing Jay. JAYDEN: My name's Jayden. The father purses his lips and exits. BRONA: SAMMMICHHHHH time now please? With lots of jelly! JAYDEN: Fine. I'm putting it on whole wheat bread though. BRONA: Gross, why would you do that? I want wonderful white bread please Jayn' thank you. JAYDEN: No, that stuff is nothing but air. At least whole wheat has some nutritional value to it... BRONA: I know all about nutrition! I know about 5 A DAY THE COLOR WAY! Those posters are all over the lunch room place and I read them everyday. That's how I know about them! JAYDEN: That's great. Go sit at the table and stop bouncing around like a Lima bean. BRONA: I don't think Lima beans bounce Jayn'. They're just food, I don't think they can bounce like me. See how much I can bounce!
26: Jayden squeezes his eyes shut and sighs, balling and unballing his fists. He cracks his eyes and watches Brona twirl around to the table and struggle to climb up the bar stool. Jayden spins on his heel and stalks to the refrigerator, retching open the door. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees the bottle of hydrogen peroxide sitting on the counter. He grabs the peanut butter and jelly from the refrigerator and tucks the peroxide under his arm. BRONA: Look I'm on a mountain table! We should call this table a mountain! Right Jayn'? Right? Because it's so tall! JAYDEN: (muttering under his breath) It's not really that tall. You're just a stupid little kid. BRONA: What Jayn'? What did you say? (giggles) JAYDEN: Here's your sandwich. With more than enough jelly. (Jayden slides the plate across the table and then steps back and watches Brona eat). BRONA: YUMMY thank you very much brother! Oh I sure do love sandwiches. Planes need to eat lots of sandwiches for power. That's what daddy says anyway! JAYDEN: If you mention daddy one more time, I'm gonna- BRONA: DADDY DADDY DADDY, DADDY LOVES ME AND I LOVE DADDY JAYDEN: I'm gonna! I'm gonna do it! BRONA: DO WHAT? Make me another sammich! JAYDEN: (his voice loud and shaking) You stupid little kid! You killed our mother Brona! Before you, everything was great and then she had you and she died. It's all your fault! Daddy just loves you because you look like Mommy. But I know if you weren't around he'd love me again and pick me up and say I was the best kid in the world just like he used to. (His voice cracks and he starts to cry). Brona I hate you! I hate what you did to our family!
27: Brona is stunned into silence. Jayden grabs the peroxide bottle and tears off the cap. He runs to Brona's chair and pushes the stool over. Brona falls to the ground crying, and Jayden shoves the bottle in Brona's mouth. Brona kicks Jayden and yells, coughs hard, and whimpers. Jayden has hit his head off the table and stumbles back into the other room. He rubs his dead dramatically and feels the warm blood on his forehead. He collapses to his knees and the stage lights darken except for the spotlight. From the other room, cries of “My baby! Brona! Help!” can be heard from the father. Jayden is still holding the bottle of peroxide. He slowly raises it to his lips and drinks the remainder of the bottle until he is coughing to hard to continue. JAYDEN: (In a shaking and nearly inaudible whisper) Daddy, I'm so sorry. (Jayden collapses). CURTAIN
28: c h a p t e r f o u r Poetry | The Girl and Her Cat E n g l i s h S o n n e t Curled up beside me, my cat sleeps softly Her breath in time with summer nights and stars. Into her sweet dreams I gaze longingly, And admire her pureness from afar. We have eyes and ears and sleep the same sleep. We love to be loved and lie belly-up, Sun singing warmth in a chorus of heat. Our lives are the same, yet mine is corrupt. I am heavy with too many secrets, Too many thoughts inside one simple mind. Wounded by the memories I frequent, I stumble for help that I cannot find. But my cat still sleeps as I greet the sun, And wish that animal and man were one.
29: The Type I t a l i a n S o n n e t | I'll paint my nails blue and start wearing rings Put down all the dreams and pick up a book Stop the awkward for the sake of the look Lie through my teeth when you mention cute things My customized mask is quite flattering Blood golden red like helpless fish hooked On your line, fame just a thorn in your foot Can't remember what you wanted to be But on those days when the dark is too dark And the disappointment is real and raw Your summer eyes warm the chill in my bones That for so long at away at my heart And perfected me, perfectly flawed You are fire I cannot leave alone
30: The Dance V i l l a n e l l e | Life is a dance that I know all too well I've known the steps since I began to walk If all the movements lie I cannot tell I live the dance, I am no empty shell I spin so madly I forget to talk Life is a dance that I know all too well I wear no clothes, just tutus shaped like bells So nervous to perform that my knees knock If all the movements lie I cannot tell I don't wave goodbye, I courtesy farewell The audience laughs, so I have the door locked Life is a dance that I know all too well The music is ingrained within my cells Keep with the rhythm by watching the clock If all the movements lie I cannot tell I cry out because my broken bones need help I leaped right out of life and into shock Life is a dance that I know all too well If all the movements lie I cannot tell
32: Rain C o n c r e t e P o e m
33: Remember R o n d e a u | The ink is red and running low But all those things you do not know, All those secrets I've held for years I give them up and write them here With hopes that it will help me grow Turn on the sink, let the words flow I feel that it cleanses, although It also gives me more to fear The ink is red Nothing I write will ever show How much I miss that day of snow When you asked why the sky was clear And I told you that luck was near What I would do to make it so The ink is red
34: A Sweet Reflection P a n t o u m | So long the children live in photographs But all too short their memories remain The houses sepluchres without the laughs I wonder what the children all became But all too short their memories remain Days of sticky fingers forever lost I wonder what the children all became Are they happy with what they've come across? Days of sticky fingers forever lost Hard lines dug deep in innocent faces Are they happy with what they've come across? Or still looking for good hiding places? Hard lines dug deep in innocent faces The houses sepluchres without the laughs Are they still looking for good hiding places? So long the children live in photographs
35: You Are Forever What You Were F r e e V e r s e | Like auburn autumn fades to winter gray So quickly your bones began to peel back flesh But not a single person noticed I breathed in deep as you walked by hoping praying believing I could suck out every last cell of despair that Crinkled and crumpled inside of your skull Lock them up inside of my ribcage and never let it blacken your pretty blue eyes again. But you know how to hold in deep And I can't breathe deep enough You see the same blue But you're not the girl that I knew You're not dead, you're perfect You head is always turned Upwards into the sky You bathe in the beauty of the moon Instead of in the brains of the sun And then that morning the phone rang twice Before my chipped fingernails tapped the stained white plastic I answered slowly hoping praying believing It was you, it was you breathing It wasn't you The moon was still awake A sliver of silver before daybreak Like auburn autumn fades to winter gray You fell asleep a little too perfectly But not a single person noticed Except me