Confronting Fog – 10 Minute Play

(An empty stage that portrays three areas, each segregated by curtains, LS is the captain’s cabin, RS is the crew’s quarters and CS is the deck of the ship)

Characters: Captain, First Mate, Sailor, Entity and Narrator.

First Mate
This night, where we to go in such dangerous conditions? There presents a distant fog ahead, if we venture any further we will forfeit the idea of where we are at this position?

Captain
Hold your tongue for I am at hindrance of thought (Pause). Do you feel that, this balance beneath our feet? How does this cradle’s sway begin to cease, when we’ve been constantly sailing at sea?

First Mate
May it be a dream sir? Upon deck a mere minute ago, I was staring out into the midnight horizon. I witnessed waves after waves crashing into the haul while drinking from this Rum of Morgan. Out there is only the speech of the oceans howl, the frantic winds that shake us about, and that mysterious fog approaching inbound.
Captain
Yes, but that isn’t the case right now, it’s as if the ship has tightened up somehow from the stern to the bow. Hand me that Morgan from your grip and wake the men, something rather strange is abound this ship and I am not going to give her in.
First Mate
It is strange how this ship has separated itself from the ocean, it feels as if it’s stubborn with anger and absent from emotion. What is to happen among us out here in the open?

Captain
I do not know, now please would you….!

First Mate
Aye Captain, I will wake the crew, and notify them immediately of this peculiar phenomenon.

Captain
Very well, I will be on deck promptly to gaze upon, this report of this unknown obstacle that has set us off course.

Narrator
The first mate rushed through the cabin doors that exposed him to the blanket of dense fog. This entity smothered his body whole infiltrating his lungs, conflicting into his brain activity as well as manipulating his tongue. He soon found himself amongst the slumbering crew harkening obscure things that are wrong.

First Mate
Wake up lads and place yourselves above awareness, our captain has violated our trust and has turned against us!

Sailor
What has happened, the captain conspires against his company? How did you come across such treachery?
First Mate
He ordered me to retrieve explosives, and rig them to blow. There is an approaching fog that holds a threat to us both. We must vanquish ourselves from this foreboding exposure for it may bring sadness with torture.
Sailor
Whoa!!(Stands up) What is this awkward lore? Has our captain gone mad with scurvy?

First Mate
No, but quick, we must hurry!

Sailor
Wait (Feels that the ship is motionless)? Have we breached the shoreline or am I still drunk from the night before this time? I could have sworn that we are miles away from the nearest harbor. This makes no sense nor conjures any notion for certain death? What beguiled encounter has struck our captain to provoke such squander? This is not like him; he is a good natured fellow with a strong will and virtues that follow. This voyage means a great deal to his heart, why do you bear news that would shatter all that we have achieved thus far?

Narrator
Meanwhile, as the first mate arouses the slumbering crew below deck, the captain collects his instruments of valor: his sheath and sword, his scope as he throws on his coat, and the hat of warn honor that dignifies his suit. Before his departure through those oak cabin doors to the bridge, he grabs a letter written in his own words, a proclamation to the purpose of this voyage. He holsters the parchment in the breast pocket beside his chest, and then embarks a stupendous step into the darkened abyss. As he confronts the desolate air, he is bewildered and fazed upon this dreary sight of cynical shades, the captain collapses crashing his knees hard to the splintery floor boards.

Captain
My dear god what have I come towards, some sort of entity dispersed among this fog? How dreadful I feel for this may yield an end to my ship and cause! I have ventured long and far to claim victim to an infringed heart, but now I am enthralled to throw myself off into the angry waves of this oceans mouth!

Entity
Have no fear my loved one, I am yours among this fog. Take that piece of parchment and read it to send your last breath off.
Captain
(Reaches for the scripted letter in his broach and reads it) My dear wonderful counterpart, I write to appease my conflicted heart, to explore these open waters in hopes to come across the desired truth of what became of you, but so far no albatross. It has been months since your disappearance, an event that I can’t resolve, I won’t submit to failure until you are safely in my arms. . . . .

Narrator
As the captain professes his strife through a letter and psalm, the first mate encourages the sailor to hastily move along.

First Mate
The captain is anxious and awaits my return to him with the explosives.

Sailor
Hold it right there my lad, we are not sending this ship to sleep with the fishes! I’ll see if the captain is feeling well upon this eerie motionless vessel.

First Mate
I can’t allow you to do that, He is infused with fear captivated by an enemy full of deceit; we must carry out his command to avoid such a pitiful defeat!

Sailor
Silence! You have pinned no sense against my free thought to such an occurrence. We must seek the safety of our captain, he deserves it!

Narrator
As the sailor makes his way upon deck, his blood flow thickens at the sight of his captain with this ghostly apparition! He is entranced, stricken with fear and confusion, an emotional wreck misguided by a fabrication.
Captain
………Oh wondrous mistress where shall I end my search, in this monstrous rush of water that will purge this grief into a peaceful submerge. Or shall I surrender my worth to you and release this burden for an afterlife that I have been forever yearning.
Narrator
All that is between the captain and this entity is a white knuckled grip on the rails that prevent his fall towards the angry sea. In his delirium he accepts this false fate into thinking that she was her and begins to move straight, while bleakness bleeds from his face.

Sailor
NOOO! My Captain, my friend, where is your mind if your heart has collapsed from within?! Break free from its captive grasp and look forward with faith, she is out there I promise. Don’t give in to its deceptive ways!
Captain
(Looks toward sailor) My devoted sailor, you are mistaken of this plea, are you blind and cannot see? Here is what I have been searching for, my maiden who was lost at sea, she has finally returned to me!

Sailor
No captain, that is a manipulative force, scorned with the plight to deceive. It captures lost souls filled with despair only to feed it to the sea! I have read of this in ancient lore, this is nothing more than a vile corrupted engagement that saturates itself in meaningless accords. Break free I say, break free from its lure!
Narrator
The First mate makes his way from the belly of the ship with dynamite in hand. He is conflicted with sorrow and confusion while igniting the fuse in hopes for all of it to end. But before he makes it top side there is an explosion, causing the ship to sway and splinter but the integrity seemed not to falter.

Entity
I am losing you oh captain, I am losing you again……come with me to extinguish your anguish, bury that loathing existence by letting go of everything from within.

Captain
My dear, I am strung from a height that I wish to fall from. I want to be with you as you are with me now, I have finally found you, and I won’t let our flame die out!

Sailor
(Rushing toward the captain) Sir! Take my hand before you plummet toward that watery grave, you are delirious and know not what you are doing! This is a mistake!

Captain
Goodbye my good mate, you have served me well. She is here now to save me from hell.

Sailor
Please captain! This is not my story but yours to tell, you want to live with her, not see her at the bottom after falling over those rails!

Narrator
The captain looks down at the fury of the sea, retaining a blissful impression as he releases his grip to the ships frame. While grasping the letter tightly, he is motionless falling to face the crashing waves that soon bury him toward the deep.

Sailor
Captain!!

Entity
He has submitted himself to the failure of the damned, (Turns toward sailor) and where do you fit in this tourniquet? Have you stricken immunity to my enticing nature?

Sailor
I am aware of your stories and murderous tenure, what you do to those you captivate and where you hither! I heed no warning to your docile ways you shouldn’t have killed him, and now you will pay.

Entity
See that you survive this desolate plain of a watery grave, for there lurks far more disastrous instances than your little heart could muster enough courage to be saved.

Narrator
With that utterance of character, the entity vanished releasing the ship from its captive stasis. Submitting the end to this insidious encounter, she left the sailor to pick up the pieces.

A Blistered Badge – Short Story 

It was 7:30 a.m. and the morning sun was radiantly shining. Charles awoke with a head pain beyond a tolerable sensation. He lifted the apex that contained the former night’s memories with a wonder of contingent variables that left him perplexed.

“Charlie?” Amie woke up startled by her husband’s sudden ascension from sleep, “What’s wrong? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”

“I . . . I’m fine.”

Charles left the bed hastily flinging the night-terror-soaked sheets away. In doing so he knocked over his phone from his nightstand and onto the floor. He started to pace striking his hand through his sweat-drenched hair while contemplating his nightmare. His wife looked down for a moment, and then with a concern that flourished her face to a pigment of satin-pink-plush, she said, “Was it another one of those nightmares? I told you, again and again . . . you, you need to see the doctor more often about this . . . it’s getting to the point where I can see the pain it’s causing you. You’re losing sleep.”

Charles seemed tense, suspended in thought that delivered a resentful gaze that pierced through the window as the sun licked his face. “I’m handling it in the best interest of us.” He stuttered in his speech for the briefest moment after noticing the lock of the bedroom window unlatched. His mind raced to an array of inferences that would explain this peculiarity. It stimulated a keen interest. He glanced down and grabbed his phone off the floor, checked it and placed it on the dresser next to his gun and badge.

“I’m telling you, you don’t look well!” Amie said.

Charles turned toward her and approached in a manner that soothed her concern. “It’s OK, there is little to be worried about dear, I’m just going through some stress with work.” He swayed toward her in a beguiling fashion with both shoulders. “I’m working on a case right now that requires my full attention, and to see the doctor only takes me away from it.”

Amie smiled but with contempt, “I only wish what’s good for you, I don’t want to see you losing sleep.” Charles pecked his wife’s cheek bone with the assurance that all would be well. After, he retracted from her to proceed with his morning routine.

“I want you to be happy too.” Amie said as she softly touched his kiss’s point of contact; ever so softly.

“Yes my lady, I am, thank you.” Charles said while taking a bow to show a gesture of genuine gentlemanly conduct and sincerity. “I’ll pay a visit to the doctor if that warrants your contentment.”

“You know that’s all that I want.” said Amie with her hand still reaping the residual love left by her husband’s lips.

Charles didn’t seem to notice her reaction, but of the faint cuts on the bottom of her night gown, his attention was captured. “My dear,” he said, “I will see you this evening.”

She nodded and told Charles to continue his routine. Until his progress of this routine took him to the point of a potential brash behavior. A foreboding tendency in the form of fabricated thoughts bewitched his brain; “was his martial bond equivocal?” he thought. The fulguration vociferously brought him to dwell on images of flipping furnishings to asunder and ingloriously insulting his wife. It seemed, to his imagination, that she didn’t take it that well; but, for a moment she reposed to a position of stimulating proportions where her face tucked under her collar bone and her lips pursed to an angle above her cheekbone. Charles abruptly stopped his introspection of the furniture’s violent dismantle. He found himself staring blankly into her eyes, and only for a moment he felt intensified, a sentiment soon flourished his stipulated character.

“Honey, darling . . . why, or more so, how do you put up with me in such a manner where I find myself in a disposition; the current of which I ride only corrodes my benevolence toward you?”

“What on earth do you mean?!” shot back Amie.

“I can’t help but wonder about what you do during the time I am at my job, stranding myself from my love only to cater her every desired wish in order to have a happy, stable, and fulfilling life!” Charles recanted a few more times until his breath gave way to a retracting motion. He threw a fist through the gracious air that rested between his argument and his wife, in disrupting that air, all peaceful accords were vanquished. His mind danced among the various thoughts that stimulated his false perception of the current reality; of course, in this moment he could not tell for sure, but (as time progresses as it sure does), he felt the need to further his inquiry of trust with his woman until the fabrications were just that. . . not real.

“I have nothing but the vastest care for you, I adore you Charlie!” Amie projected as she blasted her body into the rustled sheets.

As Charles grabbed his phone, gun and badge from the dresser, he looked at her with eyes piercing, and said, “Coyness is adorable only when the sentimental statement conveys truthful proceeding actions,” he raised his unoccupied hand to his head, “and those actions have yet to take place; for this I am at a stalemate with my illusive assumptions.” His disgruntled conveyance ceased to exist as he exited the bedroom. “I love you!” He shouted as he left.

Charles stepped outside of the house with a stupor of renounced cognition, stimulating his mind to another perception outside of himself. His thoughts, for just a moment, felt residual, a false sense of reality seemed to interrupt his receptor arrays to a docile state of contemplation. This contemplation fused his previous mental standpoint, now fallible, toward the core nature of his being. He began to think to himself.

“I feel it, it’s like a metamorphosis into a more crystallized structure; and I can see it clearly. . . It’s just the pain that’s involved with such a transition. Oh the maelstrom in my head; vortexes of consistent misconstrued inquiry. How it shimmies deceit in the forming crevasses in my foundation of conceptual intake! The insanity of it all gives me the intuition to convene the stagnant stipulation of perplex curiosity; it is an intrusion of never knowing where it may lead. It also befits an appeasing appeal for previous deceit; my heart feels boundless against the channel of its passive acceptance.”

During this inner monologue, he anticipated the call from the doctor. The unlatched window had him thinking. His thoughts were inclined to seek for an approval of what coerced his brain to conjure such damnation of his effort in love.
Charles heels clicked from the impact of the pavement, shortening the distance from his position to the car, while flurrying the Chevy’s keys around his left index finger. The circulating motion created the noise of which attributed the rhythmic change of his stammering step to a swaying style. . .

“Nice swag Charlie,” shouted his neighbor Martha. . . Martha was cloaked in a robe, a bath robe that covered her legs down to the region of the knees, and as she lightly waved her hand while grabbing for the newspaper, the ‘quilt of the thing’ moved along with her giddy hand; and the accompanied smile, her smile reposed with a pompous kinda weight. Every time, Charles would resent such a clamoring curve of her teeth and lips.

“Thanks Martha; hey uh, are we still down for poker night next Tuesday?” He said with a slightly raised eyebrow.

“You know it,” Martha’s laughter followed briefly until she decided to speak again, “And I’ll tell Richie to hold the cream next time; you know, how you like it?!”

“Nah,” Charles looked down at the cobble as he made it to the car door in the standoff with the decision to how he should deliver his answer, if he should yield or confront. . . “I don’t mind cream in my coffee, I just prefer it black.” He responded, at the point of reaching for his keys to penetrate the hole on the Chevy’s door for entry. “Plus,” he said while looking back at her swinging the door open and placing his right foot on the floor next to the accelerator. He had his body poised to fully harness the throttle and wheel; a pending engagement. “I would like to see any recent additions to your china.” He finished as he studied the area where his lawn met hers. In the moment of silence between his remark and her response, he perceived a parting of the rose bush that sat right on the dividing line of both their properties.

“Well, I have been thinking about purchasing a platter with a complimentary fondue. . .” Her voice was muffled as Charles concluded the motion of entering the vehicle and closing the door, immediately after, he rolled down the window to not have been appeared as cutting the woman off from her unrequited effort to express the undying fascination of her hobby. “With small plates and everything . . . did you hear me?” Martha said.

“Oh yeah, Martha, I would love to have some fondue sometime,” Charles lit a cigarette, and puffed it with a countenance of disdain from the taste. “Hey, have you seen Richie this morning?” Martha’s smile dissipated into the mist spraying off from the water as it hit the rustled roses.

“No, he left for the office before I got a chance to wake up and say bye.”

Charles looked down at his phone then up at Martha. “Time to run,” he said, “have a good morning Martha.” With the exhibition of the sound from the key’s turn in the ignition, and the weight on the pedal from his foot, he throttled the reverse with a certain charisma that emulated from his face to the mean brashness of the eight cylinders under the hood. Dust proliferated behind his departure’s exuberance, flooding the image of Martha’s plastic existence out of his rear view mirror.

The commute to work was quaint, something Charles always looked forward to. It was the only time he could commit his thoughts with the indignation of malcontent and have nothing more to do about it than to drive with the windows down and the music up. He would embrace the morning sun on his face as if he was enduring nuclear fallout, and the development around him was nothing but ash. This conjured a pantomime in his head in tandem with the radio that became a resolute gesture of composure for him. The aviators he wore reflected all that was good from the sun, only filtering in the grudge of retaliation. The music penetrated his ear drums, drowning out any sense of reality. What silenced his galloping neurosis was the phone. It rang.

“Yeah,” Charles immediately answered, with certainty, as if he was expecting the call. “Have you now?” The muffled response from the phone emitted a convincing tone, as if Charles was adherent to a prime directive, “I’ll be right there.” He said.
His countenance expressed content, a gradual degradation of repose flourished until the itch, the urge to pursue the newly received news burgeoned to its entirety. Over-zealously strung up, he hung up, and deviated from the course to work.

He arrived at the entrance of where his contact told him to be, the gapping mouth to the hiking trail of the woods off route 70. He parked his car right on the shoulder – mile marker 3 – and began to walk nonchalantly. Through the brush and past the welcoming trees, he swayed off the beaten path right before breaking a sweat from venturing. A stagnant lake rested right before him after following directions he had committed to memory.

Charles traversed the terrain a bit farther until he stumbled upon a pile of bones near the edge of the lake. He stopped over them and stared into a skull of what seemed to be of a deer. He smiled and felt highly attuned with himself. His mind didn’t wander, nor did it coerce him to engage in any irrational behavior. Caught in this moment of bliss, he was soon taken away from it by sudden snapping noises that he heard in the distance. Out of the woods came rushing Richie with his garments ripped to shreds and his blood that added to its decorum. Charles was flabbergasted, but not in the way of seeing something so horrifying. He was excited.
“Hey-hey-hey” He said trying to calm Richie down. He was hysterical until the point of contact with Charles’s arms. When he crashed, his body went that of rigor mortis; petrified and paralyzed.

In this moment, Richie looked up. “Charlie?” His voice was of a gurgling mess, where blood got in the way of his words due to a stabbing wound in his chest. “I-I-I don’t know . . . wh-wh-what happened, I was on my way . . . to work. . .”

“Rest your eyes now Richie.” said Charles as he lifted his fingers to close them. He leaned deep into his ear where the heat of his breath stimulated Richie’s fear, “You think I haven’t noticed the little things.” Richie’s eyes grew tense. They dilated and began to shake as if the truth of the matter shot anxiety throughout his entire nervous system.

“I saw a rose outside my window this morning.” Charles began to project spit from his whisper that expressed a tense angry tone in his voice. “It assured my certainty.” Richie tried to gasp for his final breath of life when Charles shoved his fist in his mouth to deny him the pleasure.

The sudden hoot of the owl perched upon the moss covered drift wood beyond the lake’s ridges reverberated past the hollowed out trees that bordered the glassed vastness of open water. The echo startled Charles after staring down at the lifeless body. Warm blood dripped off Richie’s collar and onto his bare hands when the phone rang. He looked beyond into the lake where his own reflection was.

It dissipated as leaves fell onto the silhouette, contorting his reflection. The ambiance perpetuated how he felt; the fast clash of his pride with his dismay, along with a stunted growth of his charisma. He was torpid and transfixed. Where those daunting premonitions fluttered his cranium – the portion where his delusions intertwined with reality – the space was now empty. He was too reposed to find a sensible perspective in the matter. The only thought that he had was if Amie would be the same. He spoke into the receiver of the phone.

“I guess that ends this premonition of deceit . . . everything made sense, which perhaps warranted this.” He spoke from his gut as his grip loosened from the phone, “thanks doc.” He said, while staring blankly into space.