ACT 1
Scene 1

THE LIVING ROOM OF A BIG, BEAUTIFUL AND EXPENSIVE HOUSE.

(It is dark.  A loud knock on the door is heard.  BETH enters from left stage wearing her robe, which
is over a nightgown.  She switches on the nearby lamp, then hurriedly crosses the stage and goes
out the front.  Her voice and SAM’S voice are heard from offstage.)

BETH
Where have you been?  You’re late.

SAM
I’m sorry.  I got here as fast as I could.  The train was running late.  Then, when she got here, we had a
hard time finding her luggage.

BETH
All right, all right.  Just get in here.  And be quick about it.  If the missus finds out about this...

(She reenters followed by Sam who is carrying two small suitcases.)

SAM
She’s won’t.  It will be fine.  Quit your worrying.  (looks behind him.) Come along.  

(AURORA timidly steps into the room.  She is covered by her old, dark cloak.  The hood is up over
her head and it shadows her face.)

BETH
Oh, goodness.  Is this all she came with?

SAM
It looks that way.  That’s part of the reason it took me so long to get here.  I spent a long time looking
for extra cases, only to discover later that she has none.

BETH
Well, we’ll have to get her cleaned up.  She can’t be presented looking like this.  Sam, take her cases
up to her room.  I’ll get her a blanket and make her some tea.  She must be freezing.
 (Turns to
Aurora.)
 Does that sound all right with you?  

(Sam puts down one of the suitcases, takes Beth’s arm and leads her a couple of steps away.)

SAM
Beth, there’s something I think you ought to know.

BETH
Well, what is it, Sam?

SAM
The girl...she hasn’t said anything since I got her off the train.

BETH
What do you mean she hasn’t said anything?  You’re not telling me that she’s a mute, are you?

SAM
I don’t know what she is.  All I’m saying is that she hasn’t said a word to me and we were together for
almost three hours on the trip back here.

BETH
Well, maybe she just doesn’t like you.

(Sam looks mortally wounded.)

SAM
Why wouldn’t she like me?

BETH
(sighing)
Never mind.

SAM
Has someone said something about me?

BETH
(impatiently)
No, Sam.  Now, can you please take her things to her room?  It’s getting late.  (He picks up the
suitcase again and exits to the hallway.)  
All right then.  I’m going to go and get the tea started and get
you a blanket.  You may have a seat.  I’ll be back in a minute.
 (She exits to the kitchen.  Aurora
continues to stand in the same exact spot.  Beth enters again with a blanket under her arm.)  
You
didn’t sit down.  Okay, well, since you’re still standing, you can walk over here and stand by the fire.  
(Aurora still doesn’t move.  Beth goes over to her and guides her over to the fire.  Aurora just
stands there.  Beth moves to take off Aurora’s hood.)

AURORA
(yelling)
Don’t!

(She startled Beth who takes a quick step backwards.)

BETH
(regaining her composure)
Your clothes are damp.  You should remove them or else you’ll catch your death of cold.

AURORA
No.

BETH
Okay.  Then, have a seat.

AURORA
No.

BETH
Now, listen here, young lady.  It is very late.  I’ve spent all day preparing for your arrival and I’ve
stayed up all evening waiting for you to get here.  I have to get up early in the morning.  I have a lot of
things to do.  So, I need you to cooperate.  
(Again, she makes a grab for Aurora’s cloak.  Aurora blocks her by grabbing her wrist. The two get
into a small wrestling match until Beth goes falling back into the chair.  Aurora steps away, her
hands guardedly clutched onto her the hood of her cloak.  Angrily, Beth comes to her feet.)  
Fine!  
You want to stay cold and damp, you go right ahead.  See if I care.
(The tea kettle whistles.  Beth exits to the kitchen.  As soon as she is gone, Aurora grabs the blanket
from the chair and puts it around her shoulders.  Then, she goes over to the fireplace and rubs her
hands together to warm them.  She stands there for a moment, her mind drifting off into space.  She
doesn’t notice that Beth has reentered the room until she hears the clatter of dishes as Beth lowers
the tea tray onto the coffee table.  Aurora whirls around.)  
Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.  I
brought you some tea.  You can drink it now or wait until it’s cold, whichever you prefer.
 (Aurora
goes over and takes one of the cups.  Beth pours some tea into it for her.)  
Sugar?  (Aurora nods.)  
Milk?  (Aurora nods again.  Beth adds both to Aurora’s cup.  Aurora carefully takes a sip of the tea,
then sits down on the sofa.  She just stares down into the cup and fades away again.  Beth goes over
to the fire, opens up the screen and places a couple more logs in it.  Sam enters.)

SAM
Has she said anything to you?

BETH
No.

SAM
See, it wasn’t me.

BETH
No.  She said the word “no” to me—twice.

SAM
Oh.  Anything else?

BETH
The word “don’t”.  She didn’t want me to help her off with her cloak.

SAM
Why is that I wonder?

BETH
(Stands and wipes her hands together.)
Your guess is as good as mine.  Look at her.  She keeps fading out.  I think she’s been traumatized or
something.

SAM
Well, that’s an understatement.  You do know what happened to her, don’t you?

BETH
I heard that something happened to her parents and that’s why she’s here.

SAM
But you don’t know what happened?

BETH
No.

SAM
Her parents were shot and killed right in their own house.  It was a cold-blooded murder, that’s what it
was.

BETH
My word!  Who did it?

SAM
Rumor has it that it was her father’s business partner – either him or someone he hired to do it – but,
they can’t put together enough evidence.

BETH
There weren’t any witnesses?

SAM
One.

BETH
Who?
(Sam turns to look at Aurora.  Beth follows his glance and then, with a startled expression, looks at
him again.)
 
Aurora?

SAM
She was there, but...

BETH
But what?

SAM
She said she didn’t see anything.

BETH
How could she not see anything if she was right there?

SAM
She said she didn’t...which, well, everyone thought was rather strange.

BETH
So they think she’s withholding information?

SAM
I’m not sure it’s exactly like that—

BETH
Well, that’s what it is when you’re not telling people what you know.  And isn’t it a crime to keep
information from the police?  I heard that she was living abroad for a while.  Who knows what kind of
things she’s been involved in. I don’t like people with secrets, Sam.

AURORA
Isn’t that a little hypocritical coming from you?

BETH
Excuse me?   

AURORA

You speak as if you can’t understand why a person would keep information to themselves, which is
especially interesting seeing that you should appreciate more than most that the motivation of holding a
secret is born from fear.
(Startled, Beth and Sam look at each other.  Beth quickly steps away and moves over in front of the
fire.)

SAM
How–how do you know about our secret?

BETH
Sam!

SAM
How?

BETH
It’s probably obvious.  Everyone suspects by now.

AURORA
No.  No one suspects.  People never see what is right in front of them.  Or sometimes, when they do
see, they don’t.

BETH
What?

(Aurora stands.)

AURORA
Is there a room prepared for me?

BETH
Yes.

AURORA
Will you show it to me, please?

BETH
Yes.  (She begins to walk towards the hallway.  Aurora follows.  As they near the exit, Aurora gasps
and takes a terrified step back, nearly colliding with the chair.)  
What is it?  (There is a long pause
before Aurora replies.  She points to the portrait on the back wall.)

AURORA
Who is that?

BETH
That’s Mrs. Drogen.  Your uncle’s new wife.  They married almost four months ago.  Surely, you must
have heard.

AURORA
Yes.

BETH
Mr. Drogen had been alone for almost ten years after he lost his poor wife.  It was very difficult being
by himself.  I think he seems much better now that he is married again.  I think it’s been good for him.  
Are you ready to go to your room now?  Aurora?

AURORA
(nods slowly)
Yes, I’m ready.

(The two of them exit to the hallway.)

LIGHTS FADE OUT

Copyright © 2008 - 2010 Nia Imani
All Rights Reserved
Email: nia@niaimani-thewriter.com
Discerning Eyes

Book Preview
Paperback - $13.00
Ebook - $5.00