Stories in the Dark
eBook - ePub

Stories in the Dark

Debra Oswald

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eBook - ePub

Stories in the Dark

Debra Oswald

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A terrified 12-year-old boy finds himself separated from his family in the unfamiliar streets of a war-torn city. He takes refuge in a bombed-out house and in the total blackness his bravado crumbles into tears.%##CHAR13##%%##CHAR13##%Into his life steps Anna—older, street smart and scornful of his crying. As a way of shutting the boy up, she starts to tell him a story that she vaguely remembers from her own childhood. And so begins a journey into the shifting, shimmering world of ogres, princes, singing bones, foolish lads and wolf-mothers.%##CHAR13##%%##CHAR13##%Stories in the Dark explores the power of storytelling, mingling the magic and earthy wisdom of folk tales with the hard-edged story of violence, conflict and the struggle to survive.

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Scene One

Night. A once-grand city house, battered by mortar shells. There are a few bits of furniture half buried under rubble.
A sixteen-year-old girl, ANNA, enters and switches on the unbroken bulbs on the ornate light fitting. She drags in a car battery and fetches plastic bags which she dumps onto the floor.
A boy lurches up from behind a pile of junk—TOMAS. He’s disoriented, terrified, but full of bravado. His sudden appearance makes ANNA yell out with fright, ready to defend herself.

Anna What are you doing? Get out!
When she sees it’s just a kid, she relaxes a little.
You shouldn’t skulk around like that!
TOMAS grabs a hunk of wood as a weapon.
Tomas Don’t come near me!
Anna Whoa… I’m not going anywhere near you.
TOMAS lowers the weapon.
Tomas Who are you? Was I asleep? Must’ve fallen asleep.
Anna Yeah, well, whatever. Get out.
Tomas Is this your house?
Anna No.
Tomas You can’t tell me to get out if it’s not your house.
Anna Yeah? Is that what you reckon, you little insect?
She grabs a broken chair.
Get out now or I’ll wrap this round your stupid head.
TOMAS gets ready to defend himself with the hunk of wood.
Tomas I’ll fight you.
ANNA snorts a laugh and drops the chair.
Anna Oh, I’m too tired. Go back to where you came from.
TOMAS doesn’t answer. ANNA scrutinises him.
Ah, you’re a country bumpkin, I bet. A farm boy.
TOMAS shrugs.
You and your family dig potatoes and push goats around?
Tomas Well, on our farm, we’ve got—[pigs and fruit trees]
Anna Yeah, whatever. You’re in the city now, potato-brain. And the point is, this is my spot, so you can’t stay here.
Tomas I don’t want to stay here anyway.
Anna Excellent. You’d better get going.
Tomas [peering out the window] Is it night already?
Anna Hey, bring any food with you from the farm? A cabbage? A few carrots?
TOMAS shakes his head. ANNA casts a disdainful eye over him—that’d be right.
She rummages through the plastic bags to find various items.
She untangles a string of party lights and hooks them up to the car battery.
Tomas What’s that for?
Anna Word is the power’s getting cut off tonight. I’m going to be ready.
Tomas That’s dumb. They’re not even proper lights.
Anna These little guys suck up less power. So the battery’ll last longer.
Tomas But they’ll fix the electricity.
Anna You understand nothing, cabbage-head. In this city, we’ve been putting up with crap for months now. A thousand different kinds of crap. And I bet we don’t even rate thirty seconds on the world news anymore. I bet—
ANNA realises she’s gone into a rave and confused TOMAS.
Look, the militia—the arseholes over there shooting at us—they cut off the power and water when it suits them.
Tomas You stole that car battery and the party lights.
Anna [laughing] Do you think anyone’s planning a party tonight?
A mortar exploding in a neighbouring street makes TOMAS jump with fright.
Oh, must be the party fireworks.
Tomas That was a shell. A mortar.
Anna The kid’s a genius.
TOMAS peers anxiously out the window.
How old are you?
Tomas Almost thirteen.
Anna Twelve.
Tomas How old are you?
Anna A hundred and five.
Tomas I’m not stupid. You can’t talk to me like I’m stupid.
TOMAS goes to leave.
Anna Really? Where are you off to now?
Tomas Wherever you’re supposed to go until they find your parents.
Anna Listen, carrot-boy, don’t go out unless you know exactly where you’re going.
Tomas I’m not a carrot-boy. I have a name—Tomas. And I’m going.
Anna There’s a curfew for a reason. In the day, there are snipers, stray mortars, but at night, it’s way uglier. At night, either side could...