The Ghost Light Tales by R S Powell
CAN MY NIGHTMARE COME OUT TO PLAY
Lights up on a Writer sitting in a director's chair in an old
theater working on plays. He seems on edge looking around at times
like he is being watched. Also, there is a Figure in an all-black
morph suit or all black outfit with hood that is hiding in front of a
A cell phone rings
WRITER Hello? Oh, ya, Dad it's all good. No, I'm just hanging out
at the theater trying to write this last Ghost Light Script. I just
don't know what to write about. What? Oh, ya I got plenty of ideas.
I'm just starting to feel the pressure to make this show so much
scarier than last year. Ya if I live through it. No, no just talking
to myself. Funny I've been doing that a lot lately. I guess all the
zombies and ghosts have finally caught up with me. Ya I know. I'm
taking these pills the doctor prescribed. They help take the edge off.
Come on stop nagging me. You sound like mom. I'm only taking the
required dose. I think. Anyway, don't worry. I'll be fine. Oh, I'll
get this script written tonight if I have to sell my soul to the devil
to do it. Look just call me back in a couple of hours okay? Hopefully
I'll have a plot by then. Thanks, good night, Dad. Hey, Patty what
time is it?
STAGE MANAGER (enters with a velvet scary clown painting that is
facing away from the audience) 11:30
WRITER Hey thanks for sticking around. I'm sorry that I'm keeping
you out so late.
STAGE MANAGER That's alright I know you havta have that play done
by the end of the week. I'm glad to help. Plus, gets me some time to
myself away from my husband.
WRITER Really. Are things bad at home?
STAGE MANAGER Oh no. We are so much in love it's honestly
sickening. But, it only stays that way knowing each of us needs a
little space away from each other sometimes. You mark my words. If
it's meant to be then people and things always find a way of coming
back into your life.
(starts to sing)
EVERYBODY NEEDS A LITTLE TIME AWAY.
I HEARD IT SAY.
FROM EACH OTHER.
(turns the black velvet clown painting around behind Writer)
WRITER (He turns to see the painting and jumps out of his seat)
What the hell!
STAGE MANAGER Oh did I scare you? (Strange laugh as Stage Manager
gives the painting a kiss.) I found this thing buried in the prop room
and thought you could use it in one of the shows. Whooo Creepy
WRITER Ya. Can you believe that my parents hung a painting like
that over my bed when I was a kid? It scared the hell outta me and
gave me nightmares for a good year or… maybe two.
STAGE MANAGER Hmm… That explains a lot.
WRITER What's that supposed to mean?
STAGE MANAGER Nothing, just sayin'.
WRITER Spiders give me the willies but I still hate clowns. My
father used to dress up like a clown. He didn't understand why I
couldn't get into it. Let's just put this over here outta harm's way,
okay? (He moves paining next to the Figure) Say tell me. When you're
working with me on these Ghost Light plays, do you ever have
nightmares or get frightened?
STAGE MANAGER In this dark and old theater? Never. (a pause as she
looks around) Okay, yes sometimes. Scary can be fun, but creepy crawly
things bug me.
WRITER There is a time I might have found that amusing. But not
STAGE MANAGER Is something wrong? (she is flirting a little but
writer is oblivious) Anything I can do?
WRITER I don't know. Tell me. Did you ever sit alone in a room at
night and have a premonition that, well I mean, you know, suddenly get
the feeling that someone or something was in the house? Maybe crouched
down somewhere in the darkness in the next room, just waiting?
Something dark, something very evil. Ah what's the matter with me? If
I keep talking like this they will be using me as exhibit A in the
psych ward. Come on, let's get to work.
STAGE MANAGER Well, if that's all you want for now. I guess am all
WRITER Let's see, we can start with the regular opening. The spooky
girls chanting, “If you don't want to play with us then we will kill
you.” Guy screams “Ahhhhhhhhhh!” First Characters name? Something
original, hmm, oh forget it. I'm on a time crunch here so let's just
call him Hellman. You know how I love finding ways of using Mr.
Hellman. Okay! John Hellman, yeah I like the sound of that. So, he
commits the murders and um. They die and um. There's a ghost and um
they're dead. Oh, what's the use I can't write another one of these
stupid plays. The same ghosts and ghouls and blood I tell ya. I can't
do it. I can't do it. Plus, now I can't get that damn clown outta my
STAGE MANAGER But the cast? There expecting a script tomorrow. We
need to rehearse.
WRITER Rehearse! Oh, to hell with the rehearsal. Half the time the
reviewers think we make it up as we go along anyway. If we can keep
the audience past the intermission it will be a blessing. I'm tired of
going insane writing these things for people just leave me alone and
let me write this okay. (Stage Manager Exits as he sits to write) Play
opens in the dark basement of a house. A father of two is cowering in
the corner. He is reading from an old book of children's games and
whistling a tune to himself.
(Writer whistles a little bit of the song, send in the clowns)
We hear screams of pain and terror from upstairs as the laughter of
the flesh-eating clown echoes through the house. The father not
knowing as he reads from this deadly book he makes the clown stronger
and hungrier to play. As the clown can be heard reciting the same
twisted verses. Ring around the rosy - pocket full of Posy - ashes
ashes they all fall dead.
(as Writer gets to the ashes part the Black Figure psychotically
says it with him and places a book beside the Writer)
Wow! Now I'm hearing things. I'm done writing this stuff, man, it's
giving me the willies. Ring around the rosy, what kinda twisted stuff
is my mind full of?
(Writer looks down and sees the book, reads title)
“Child Hood Games.” Where did this come from? Patty must have dropped
it. It's book marked. Some childhood games were played in olden days
to frighten away evil spirits. However, it is also speculated by a
select few that these games were constructed by demonic priests as
ancient incantations for the summoning of a child's worst nightmares.
Funny I thought about writing a story like this last week. Then I
thought it wouldn't be good enough. I swear I hadn't even herd of this
book when I started writing this.
(Black Figure takes book)
Wait! Where'd it go? Hey, who's there?
CREATURE/BLACK FIGURE (in a creepy slow voice) Can Jackie come out
WRITER Who said that? I hate being called that! This isn't funny,
who said that?
(Black Figure dances a clown mask around as if it is floating in
CREATURE/ BLACK FIGURE Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Jackie Right
WRITER No this isn't possible you were in my mind. You're just my
imagination. Your only in my mind.
(the Black Figure approaches him laughing as it pulls a knife)
WRITER No you stay away from me I tell ya, just stay away. It's a
nightmare. You're just a damn nightmare.
SISTER (She enters not seeing Figure) Hey, bro, what are you doing
here this time of night? I was on my way outta town when I saw your
car parked out front. Are you still writing that last script?
WRITER Gwen get outta here. Please just get outta here!
SISTER Oh okay, right.
WRITER Can't ya see it? Get out!
(Creature/Black figure laughs)
SISTER See what? Are you messing with me? We're all alone here.
Look I didn't fall for that when we were kids so
WRITER Behind you. Look behind you!
SISTER Bro you better check yourself before you wreck yourself.
There's nothing behind me but the black wall. Honestly you've been
weirder lately since I became the Artistic Director of this theater
and gave you a shot.
(Creature/Black Figure puts on white gloves and the Clown head mask)
I think you really need to check your prescription. I'm all for your
plays but as your sister that loves you sometimes, I think you're
going a little bat shit crazy.
WRITER For God's sake will ya just leave? I don't want you to get hurt.
SISTER Your puttin' me on. Come on what is this? Some kinda scare
tactic for your new play?
(Creature pulls out knife and approaches Sister laughing)
Maybe you need to take a break after this season.
CREATURE Ring around the Rosie…
WRITER Can't you hear him?
SISTER Hear who? What, are purple vampire hippos in spiked heels
and pink tutus coming to get me?
CREATURE Pocket full of posies…
WRITER Gwen turn around, please just turn around. Nightmare just a
CREATURE Ashes - Ashes…
SISTER Jack I'm really beginning to lose my patience.
(Creature moves behind Sister)
CREATURE They all fall dead!
(Creature stabs Sister as she screams)
WRITER No Gwen. No please stop this! Please stop! No! (Creature
drags Sister off stage as Writer hysterically calls police on his cell
phone) 911 please send an officer to the—- (Actor playing Writer
please use the name and location of the theater you are doing your
production) Please my sister, please hurry he is killing her! Help
#2 THE CHAMBER OF HORRORS
(Lights up on a sign reading “Hellman's Clockworks A Futuristic
Extravaganza”. And a single red light on the opposite side of the
stage for effect. We hear whistles and then a man offstage yells)
POLICE MAN (off) Halt there, sir! I would like a word with you.
What's all this then? Wait, stop! Come back here. Murder!
MAN (off) Most ghastly murder. Jack The Ripper has struck again.
Marry Kelly's body just found savagely mutilated. Her body slashed and
her organs removed on display next to her. Lock your doors! Be careful
who you let in. Saucy Jack is still on the loose!
(Lights up on a dark basement room with only broken up light as if
from a grate to create a creepy effect. In it are seven clockworks
figures of murders and famed literary killers: JACK THE RIPPER,
ELIZABETH BATHROY, BLACK BEARD, MR. HYDE, MARQUES DE SADE, and VLAD
THE IMPALER, You can remove a figure if you want for timing or less
characters. They are in a dark, dimly lit room. The clockworks stand
on low pedestals with numbered tickets at their feet. The light
highlights certain different clockwork figures eyes and mouths and
weapons. The clockworks are on high boxes or pedestals to symbolize
there wind up mechanisms. MR. HELLMAN and MRS. STANSBURY are in front
in their own special light)
MR. HELLMAN So you're wanting to write an article about my
beautiful and mysterious clockworks. It is a curious fact, madam, that
this is the first time said request has been made by a woman. No man
was available in your whole office? Hmm? Most curious, and strangely
exciting is it not? Although I do not see them taking a woman
seriously in this great endeavor. I do, however, need the publicity.
I suppose any press in my opinion is good press. But are you sure
you're made for this? Are you of the right mind? After that great
tragedy years ago, when that poor man went mad in the house of wax?
What was his name? Let me see now. Burbage I believe? Hmm. I must
admit it was great for their business! Everyone believed the figures
were real. That at any moment they would lash out and come to life.
Possessed by the souls of the dead if you will. Booohaaa! Silly. Is it
not? Especially, with all the current events. I figured a woman to be
terrified to even set foot out her door at night.
MADELINE That was a falsehood, sir, and nothing more. A tall tale
and an urban legend. Died of fright so they say. I will not be
intimidated so easily by you or any other superstitious hocus pocus
and irrational tomfoolery. No such event took place. A warning I dare
say for journalists to be careful of the unknown. To only report the
truth and to not overstep their bounds. Fate mixed with utter
nonsense. I am a progressive woman, Mr. Hellman. You do not need to
waste your precious time by selling this mumbo jumbo to me. In this
day and age, for someone like me, an overactive imagination is the
least of my worries. That is why this piece will kick-start a
wonderful career for me, good sir. Its time for a new voice to be
heard. The voice of feminism. No longer shackled. That is my dream,
Mr. Hellman. And tonight is my stepping stone. With all the killings
of late. Your Hellman's Futuristic Extravaganza has been a farce in
the papers and not taken seriously. We need each other, Mr. Hellman. I
am hoping your enhanced wax figure toys will not disappoint. I hope
they will be more life like as you say.
MR. HELLMAN We do, do we? Then don't insult me. Everyone has seen
wax works my dear. What I offer is a wonderful futuristic extravaganza
of mechanical splendor and enticing art of pure wonderment. You must
understand my clockworks are not just crude interpretations of
lifeless wax. They have life of there own. So to speak. I don't need
to sell you, for this exhibit will sell itself. Now, granted they are
only nuts and bolts with gears of movable parts, however, to the
uneducated they can be a bit alarming. But understand, clockworks have
been around since the days of King Solomon. Solomon's throne was an
intricate clockwork said to be alive. Enchanted with a power of its
own. It was thought to be inhabited by spirt animals to protect him
from danger and his enemies. A lost art begging to be rediscovered and
made anew. Well, my dear, are you destine to be the one to survive to
tell such a magnificent tale! A night in Hellman's Chamber of Horrors.
MADELINE Yes. Make no mistake, I am a woman who wants to report on
the Ripper killings. Like you, I want to be taken seriously. You as a
businessman and myself as a journalist. We can help each other.
Believe me, sir, this man's world is ready for a independent woman.
They just do not know it yet. Now you tell me that's not something you
don't want to be a part of. A man looking toward the future. Sir,
stick with me and you'll get more headlines and press than you ever
imagined. Just read the many headlines now. Women empowered by
Hellman's vision of the future. Now look, the editor of the paper said
he would give me a full page article on the Ripper if I spent the
night here and wrote this Chamber of Horrors piece, that no man in his
office would take. I find it disturbing there is a killer out there
stalking women, and grown men are afraid of nothing more than
oversized wind up toys. No offence meant to you, sir, or your
mechanical statues. It is how you said, silly. Now I should get no
difficulty in getting this story printed. Woman Survives A Night Of
Terror With Hellman's Mechanical Murderers. No paper could turn it
down. I will also refer to the waxworks incident and I shall make it
gruesome, of course, gruesome, with just a saving touch of humor.
Frightening, yet fancy free!
MR. HELLMAN Hmm Sounds like my kind of story. But you wish to
spend the night? You're asking of your own free will to spend the
MADLINE Yes! Why else would I be here? You are under no
responsibility and you will not be held liable for me, MR. HELLMAN. I
am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, sir.
MR. HELLMAN Are you now? Okay yes… yes…. Ha ha ha, okay
lass. Very well, Miss Stansbury, we have an accord. But first of all,
it is no small ordeal that you're proposing to undertake. I have
purposely made this room very dark and very dank. I go for realism
mind you. As you can see, this room is in the lowest level of the
building. I've taken every effort to make my customers experiences as
real and uncomfortable as humanly possible. Its called sensory
perception my dear. Your eyes and the things you feel and touch can
betray you. I guess you could say you have nothing to fear but fear
itself. Wave of the future, my dear. Wave of the future. The room is
only lit by candle light and a steel grate from the street up above.
The clockworks in this space represent the most dangerous, psychotic
and devilish types of humanity. Some come to see them to be scared,
but I swear others come to be inspired. I hope you know what you're
getting yourself into. Because I warn you, that you are in for a very,
very disturbing experience.
#3 MASQUE OF THE LIVING DEAD
(Lights up on the main room of a mansion on a hill with a bunch of
rich kids 19 and older entertaining themselves during a zombie
epidemic. DALTON and SHANNON are looking out the big windows as
MILTON, RICHRD, JANICE, and MUFFY are scattered around the room. On
one side of the stage is a big gate representing the entrance to the
property that has a number of zombies trying to get in. And depending
on your stage maybe zombies moving around in front of the audience.
Just have fun with it. And place your zombies where you like. Or you
can board up the big windows and have zombies walking back and forth
NEWS REPORT We are under Marshal Law! Everyone of you who have not
been exposed please stay in your homes. The Rockefeller Labs are on
the verge of a cure for this terrible plague that has taken hold of
our suffering nation. Military out posts and shelters are available.
We will continue to broadcast as long as possible. We are promised a
light at the end of this dark tunnel. So stay safe and blessings to
all. This is your weekly world news report.
DALTON Did you see that chick out there fending off those Zombies?
It was like she was in a video game. Or that one horror movie. That
was so bad ass.
SHANNON Ya it was like something out of Resident Evil or something.
DALTON Nonono. Chainsaw baby! That was so Evil Dead. Oh shit!
Hey look out! Oh man that was one hot chick. Damn what a waste.
SHANNON One less poor tawny big breasted bimbo. Hey, you don't
think she was hotter than me do you?
DALTON Don't matter, she's brain chow now.
SHANNON Some boyfriend. Your such a dumb ass!
RICHARD Who do you people think you are? Can't you take anything
seriously? Can't you all just…
JANICE Richard, please?
RICHARD But, Janice.
MILTON Just shut up, Richard. Will ya just shut up?
RICHARD I'm just sayin'
MILTON I know what you're saying and I don't want to hear it.
Janice is sick of it. Muffy is sick of it. We are all sick of it. NO,
be quiet and shut the hell up!
RICHARD Okay. Okay, but just let me point out one more thing.
JANICE Richard, please. Can't you see how upset your making my
brother? Your talking as if…well…if he and I were doing something
awful. When all we are doing is saving us from this chemical disaster.
MUFFY You should have a little more gratitude, Richie.
RICHARD Don't you all understand? Don't any of you understand? Look
out that window. Into the valley where the city is. Can't you see
those terrible things out there? I mean hell, can't ya just hear them
from were your standin'? Everything is gone, they're all dead and
MILTON Janice, shut him up. Shut him up or I won't care if he is
your boyfriend. That's the only reason we brought him along. I'll
throw him out, I swear I will.
RICHARD Make up your mind, Milton, you didn't bring me here. You
forced me here.
MILTON For Janice's sake not yours. Why my sister would waste her
time on you is still a mystery to me. She always was one for bringing
in strays. It's 2020 and your parents are what? That's right, they're
damn grocery clerks. I know the economy is bad but come on. How they
were ever going to send you to Harvard with Janice I'll never know. If
my parents even took half the time to know what was happening in our
lives. They would have had your parents' jobs a lifetime ago. Then
what would you do, trailer trash?
RICHARD Just listen to me you trust fund princess. No my parents
don't come from a lineage of money like yours. Throw me out like trash
if you want but it don't change the facts. It's your stupid parents
that put us in this mess. They're tampering with a bunch of chemicals
they didn't understand helped cause all this. The company that some
day you, yes you, you rich dick, would inherit, is what caused all
MILTON Okay so the company caused it, but they almost have a cure.
If we hold up long enough we will all be saved. Now get him away from
me or so help me I'll throw this low class ingrate out this window and
he can get eaten alive like his dead beat parents!
#4 SHERLOCK HOLMES END GAME
(Lights up on WATSON narrating at the falls of Reichenbach)
WATSON The next day we had resumed our journey and were well on our
way to Geneva. We wandered up the Valley of the Rhone, and then,
branching off at Leuk, we made our way over the Gemmi Pass. I remember
a large rock which had been dislodged from the ridge upon our right
clattered down and roared into the lake behind us. In an instant
Holmes had raced up on to the ridge, and, standing upon a lofty
pinnacle, craned his neck in every direction. It was in vain that our
guide assured him that a fall of stones was a common chance in the
spring-time at that spot. On the 4th of May we set off together to see
the falls of Reichenbach. We stood near the edge peering down at the
gleam of the breaking water far below us against the black rocks.
(HOLMES enters looking down from the cliff)
HOLMES This is indeed, a fearful place. The cliff plunges into this
tremendous abyss. The spray rolling up somewhat reminds me of smoke
from a burning house. I seriously doubt anyone could survive that
SWISS MESSENGER (enters in a panic) Dr. Watson, please come,
please. Our local doctor is away and the woman, she is dying. I was
told by the Inn Keeper to fetch you. Please, come quick. This is an
HOLMES Go, Watson, I'm sure I will be fine alone for a short time.
I will just take in the quiet and the peaceful sound of the water.
WATSON Are you certain?
HOLMES Yes. It is an emergency. I can think of no better man for the
job than the Great Dr. John Watson. Now go! I am certain I can take
care of myself for a little while. I will be fine.
WATSON I shan't be long Holmes.
(MESSANGER and WATSON exit as MORIARTY enters)
HOLMES (without looking at Moriarty) MORIARTY, the plot thickens.
MORIARTY I warned you to leave well enough alone. I'm afraid this
meeting was inevitable. I find it almost comical that you tried to
run. You never had a chance to run from me, Mr. Holmes. Your fear of
me has made you weak, my dear chap. I know what you know and I know
the method to your madness. I know you better than anyone. Even better
than poor fool Doctor Watson I'm afraid. I will burn the heart out of
him. It is sad that it has come to this final confrontation. We were a
great team you and I. I create the ultimate crimes and you solve them
making me devise something even more dastardly. We needed each other
to grow and develop. I fear however like any good union, the stronger
grows apart from the weaker. You were always the weaker of us and
just didn't know it. Well you were a bit self absorbed to accept the
truth. It would be so simple if you would just stop dissecting every
little thing and admit what is right in front of you. Unlike you, Mr.
Holmes, I knew we would reach this point. Yes, I knew our little game
would end here at this moment and in this place. Tonight, Sherlock
Holmes shall be gone forever, and I, Moriarty shall finally be free to
bring this world to its knees.
HOLMES You know I cannot let that happen. I will admit I have been
hesitant to face you, sir, however my mind is cunning and my heart is
as bold as ever. With a steady hand (he pulls two swords from his
coat) I say to you, let this be the endgame. At your ready, Professor.
(They fence to the death with HOLMES being stabbed as falls from the
cliff and MORIARTY bows to him as he exits.)
WATSON Holmes? There was no dying woman in the hotel! I was duped.
Holmes were are you? Holmes? (sees the two swords one with blood)
The boy must have been in the pay of Moriarty. And I left the two men
together! Watson, you damn fool! And then what has happened? Who is to
tell me what had happened?
(light change, Watson to audience)
I stood for a minute or two to collect myself, for I was dazed with
the horror of the thing. Then I began to think of Holmes's own methods
and tried to practice them in reading this tragedy. It was, alas, only
too easy to do. My worst fears were realized. Sherlock Holmes was no