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Sisters and Lovers
Sisters and Lovers
Louise Mallard: Bushra
Brently Mallard: Ivan
[Louise and Brently are having morning tea. They are sitting apart from each other. There is no chemistry between them, no attraction. ]
Louise: I -
[She pauses; wets lips nervously. Opens her mouth to try again. Closes it. Brently looks up from his newspaper.]
Brently: What’s the matter?
Louise: I’m with child.
[Awkward pause; there is a rustling sound as he puts the newspaper aside.]
Louise: I’m afraid, so, yes.
Brently: How far along are you?
Louise [bowing her head]: My third month.
Brently: Well – err – that is certainly great news!
[Pause; both sip their tea quietly; Brently glances at the clock]
Brently: I should get going, then.
Louise: Shall I get your things?
Brently [looking uneasy]: Shouldn’t you rest? Go and lie down.
Louise: It is only the third month, I can manage.
[She gets up and starts packing things for him. She brings his briefcase over to the door and stands there waiting for him. Brently comes to the door; he is uncertain about how to say goodbye.]
Louise: Well, goodbye.
Brently [taken aback]: Err – yes, goodbye.
[She closes the door slowly. She presses her forehead onto the door, and heaves a heavy sigh. Then she walks slowly past the door and begins cleaning the house.]
[There’s a knock on the door. Louise rushes to open it. A black man is standing there. There is a pause, in which they look at each other for a few seconds. Then Louise throws herself into his arms.]
Louise: Richards, darling! Oh!
Richards [surprised]: Louise!
Louise: Oh darling! Oh!
[She breaks into tears]
Richards [looking alarmed]: What happened, darling? What happened? Are you alright?
[Sobbing, she shakes her head]
Are you sick?
[Shakes head again]
Are you hurt? Did he hurt you?
Richards [impatiently]: Then what happened, darling?
[Louise looks up into his eyes]
Louise: I’m – I’m –
Richards: Yes? Go on!
Louise: - I’m with child!
Louise: and it’s yours!
[There is an impatient knock on the door; Richards and Louise spring apart; the door bursts open right afterwards – Josephine rushes in]
Louise: Sister! What are you doing here so early in the morning?
Josephine: Well – I heard –
[She looks bewildered at Richard’s presence; her cheeks color at the sight of him]
Louise [flustered]: I –
Josephine [worried]: And were you crying? What’s the matter?
Louise: Well, I –
Richards: Well then, Mrs. Mallard, I’ll get going now. Please tell Mr. Mallard his official papers are ready for him.
Josephine: Sister! You’re with child!
Louise [surprised]: What - ? How did you know?
Josephine: I ran into Mr. Mallard on the way here! He told me! He looked so awkward, though! As if he didn’t know how to say it at all!
Louise: Oh well, he gets like that sometimes… but you said that you were on the way here anyway? What for?
Josephine: Well – it’s just – I –
Josephine: I –
Louise: You’re not with child too, are you?
Josephine [blushing fiercely]: No! Of course not!
Louise: Good. What is it, then?
Josephine: I – I’m in love!
Louise: What? Really? With whom? Do I know him?
Josephine: Well – yes, as a matter of fact … it’s Richards.
[Pause. Louise looks dumfounded. Josephine looks embarrassed and blushes a lot more.]
Louise [with a quavering voice]: Richards?!
Josephine: Yes! I’m so sorry! I know he’s a black man - !
Louise: Yes! I mean, no! Are you out of your mind?
Josephine: Sister, I am so sorry! I am so embarrassed! How do I tell Mother?
Louise: Tell her what? That you’re in love with a black man?
Josephine [wailing]: Sister, I love him!
Josephine: He’s so handsome! I saw him once with his shirt off, and it was mesmerizing! And his eyes! So big, and, and – brown, and his broad nose – and smile – and he’s so kind, so gentle –
Louise [absent-mindedly]: I know –
[Josephine stops chattering abruptly. Louise turns bright red]
Josephine [sharply]: What?
Louise [talking fast]: I mean I know what this feeling is like, Sister; I’ve gone through it!
Josephine: Yes, but –
Louise: You must forget him, you must, you know it, and you know that no one would accept it.
Josephine [looking glum]: Well, yes, I guess you’re right
Louise [looking guilty and helpless at the same time]: Oh, poor Josephine!
[The sisters embrace each other.]
[Another day. Brently is leaving the house; to show passing of time, Louise’s belly is more round; she is heavy with child. Husband and wife’s relationship has deteriorated. Their exchange of goodbyes is non verbal. The door closes. Almost immediately, Richards enters.]
Louise [smiling brightly]: Oh, there you are, darling!
Richards [hugging her tightly]: Darling, I’ve missed you!
[They sway together in their embrace]
Richards [drawing back, placing his hands gently on her shoulders]: I’ve taken care of everything.
Louise: So, are we leaving today?
Richards [smiling warmly]: Yes. The sooner the better – because, once the baby comes –
Louise: I understand. I have the letter ready. I hope he takes it well.
Richards: I hope so too.
[They embrace again. There is a commotion outside. Josephine had seen them together. She had heard everything. She hides quickly from view. The lovers don’t seem to notice her. Richards and Louise leave after some time. Louise leaves a piece of paper on the table.]
[Josephine sitting in the armchair. She looks helpless and angry and shocked. The letter is crumpled up in her hands. In a fit of rage, she tears it up. She starts crying and wailing, like a wounded animal. It takes her a while to compose herself. She looks murderous and determined. Her eyes are wide with fury and betrayal, her cheeks are flushed, and her hair is frazzled. She grabs a handkerchief and takes something out of a drawer. She runs out.]
[Josephine is pointing a gun at Richards and Louise. They are at a secluded corner of the train station. Richards and Louise look frightened. Louise’s hands instinctively shield her protruding belly. Richards has his arms around her.]
Louise [whispering]: Josephine, Sister, what are you doing?
Richards [whispering urgently into Louise’s ear]: Run for it, run for it, RUN for it - !
[With a cold and harsh sneer upon her face, Josephine shoots him with a deafening shot to the head. A passing train muffles the sound. Louise screams. She flings herself over his body, shielding it from further harm, screaming and crying, her eyes unbelieving and frightful]
Louise: LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE! YOU MONSTER! RICHARDS! RICHARDS! MY DARLING! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!!! NOOO! RICHARDS!
Josephine: You betrayed me. You’re having his baby. You – you’re my sister – how could you? – I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you!
[She points gun at Louise’s head. Louise is desperate. She starts to plead for her life and for her baby’s]
Louise: Josephine – please, think about the baby, it’s HIS baby, don’t kill him again – it’s a part of him – Josephine, I’m your SISTER – Josie, calm down, please! Think about - !
Josephine: I always hated you. You got all the love from everybody. Mother and Father loved YOU best. You got the house, you got the husband. What did I get? Nothing! Now I loved Richards, and you took him away too! And you have his baby now! What do I have left? Nothing! You took everything away from me! Everything! –
Louise [crying] – Josephine, please, don’t do this, I’m sorry - !
[Shoots Louise in her belly]
Louise [screaming in pain]: NO! NOOO! NOOOO! STOP!! NO!!!! MY BABY!! NOOOOOO!!! NOOOOOO! NO NO NO!!! STOP!!! STOP!!!! STO - !
Josephine: Goodbye, Sister.
[Shoots Louise in the head this time. Louise crumples to the ground. Josephine hesitates above the bodies, her arms wavering. She throws the revolver away. Her breasts are heaving up and down, and there is a crazy look about her. She walks back to the station, where everybody is waiting for the train. She is smiling to herself. When the fast train comes speeding by, she jumps in front of it.]
[Brently is an old man. He is having his morning tea. He is alone. He puts down the teacup and puts his head in his arms. Muffled sobs can be heard.]