All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Characters – in order of their appearance
Police Officer I
Police Officer II
Curtain rises to an old house on the edge of an average American street. The house is old and looks like it went through a fire. A couple from across the street hurries past it. A dog sniffs the dying grass and leaves. A slight rain picks up. An old woman steps in front of the house.
Such painful memories. I remember when I first came here; you tried to scare me away. Ha! If only my parents had listened. Their deaths wouldn’t have happened. Sometimes I want to cry when I remember the past. You sure did make it tough for me, Liz. Oh, Liz, why could I not save you before you took so many lives? [Walks away slowly]
The sound of thunder is head in the distance. The curtain falls.
Curtain rises to the same house, years earlier. A young child is there with her dad on the porch and her mom laughing at the child as she sunbathed.
Mommy, mommy! [Runs up to mom] Look what I found. [Holds out an old finger bone]
Drop that, Clare! Don’t pick up just anything you see! Go inside.
[Drops the bone] Yes, mommy. [Enters the house]
Dad approaches from the porch and goes beside Mom. He sits on the lounge chair beside hers.
Don’t you think that was a bit harsh, dear? All she wanted was to show you what she found. It is a new house after all; she’s excited about the move.
[Whispered yell] She picked up a human finger! The person who sold the house did say the tenant was murdered. Her body was left in the cellar to rot. The maid found the body before it got too bad and called the police. What if the place is haunted?
Nonsense! People die; it’s the way of life. There are no facts pointing to anything supernatural. The sellers probably just didn’t want the house so came up with a person to practically give it away. All that matters is that we got it for cheap.
[Sits up from lounge chair] I suppose you’re right. I mean who believes in ghosts nowadays?
[Laughs] Ghosts! Yup, ghosts are haunting our house and killing everyone’s who’s lived here. Please, honey, did you honestly think that, even for a second?
[Looks at the house] You really don’t think that anything weird happened to the families?
Mom exits into house. Dad follows shortly after. Curtain closes.
[Runs up the street towards the house with a backpack. She’s carrying a paper] Singing John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. That’s my name, too. Whenever I go out, the people always shout “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.”
The sound of police sirens is heard and she sees ambulances and police cars in front of her house. The roof is completely collapsed and parts of brick lay everywhere.
Police officer I:
Awful, such a tragedy. Who’s gonna tell their kid?
Police officer II:
I don’t know. It seems to me like the child care service is going to show up later to tell the child. I can’t believe both of her parents were inside of the house when it collapsed.
[Standing beside police officer I and II] There were no survivors. Even the mice in the basement were killed in the collapse. Did you guys find a culprit? Was it just an accident?
Police officer II:
So far, there’s no evidence pointing to the collapse being anything but accidental. Of course, it’s still being looked into.
Mommy? Daddy? [Runs up to the house but is stopped by the police officer] No! Mommy, daddy!
A car pulled up and a woman stepped out. She approached the screaming Clare.
Clare? My name’s Mrs. Bennington. Listen to me, you need to calm down.
No, mommy! [Collapses into the arms of the police officer] Mommy
Clare, mommy and daddy had to leave for a little while. They told me to watch over you until you’re older.
[Wipes away tears] Mommy and daddy told you to?
Yes, mommy and daddy told me to help you while they were away.
Where did they go? Did mommy and daddy tell you where they were going when he went to ask you to watch me?
[A ghostly whisper in Clare’s head] Your mother and father will never return to you, Clare. I have gotten rid of them. They are gone.
[Looks towards the house] Gone?
What are you talking about, Clare?
Didn’t you hear that girl now? She said she got rid of mommy and daddy.
Come on, Clare. Let’s go to my car. I’ll take you to your new home. [Leads Clare to car]
NO! [Slaps Mrs. Bennington’s hand] I wanna live here where we all lived together. I’ll forget mommy and daddy if I don’t.
[Leans down to Clare’s height] How old are you Clare? How did you know the truth?
I’m seven. I’m a big girl. I heard the police officers. I know that mommy and daddy are dead. [Starts to cry]
Mrs. Bennington leads Clare to the car. Both exit the scene.
Open onto an old room with red drapes. Everything is old looking and there are kids playing various games; jump rope, ball, cards, board games, etc. Clare sits in a corner alone building a house of cards, triangle style. The kids maintain a distance around her, not coming close. Clare’s cards fall down as she’s approached by a girl who looks to be a few years older then her.
[Picks up the cards] May I help you?
Hi, I’m Merideth. You’re Clare right? Anyway, I was wondering if you want to play a game.
[Leans down to her cards] I only know how to make houses of cards. Sorry.
That’s ok. I know how to build them, too. Can I make one with you? [Sits down and begins building the pyramid]
[The pyramid slowly begins to grow. Merideth and Clare sit quietly until they get two layers from the top. Merideth looks to Clare.]
Why are you here anyway? Did you parents leave you? Did they-
They’re up in heaven with grandma.
[Clare suddenly stands up and Merideth looks at her in confusion]
I’m going to the bathroom. Jeez, I’m seven, a big girl.
Clare is now twenty. She is in her old house, talking to a woman in a suit. They’re talking as the scene begins. The room has one long tan sofa with a table in front of it and a wooden chair drawn in from the kitchen, shown from a door to the left. There’s paper on the table and a pen beside it.
So, a carpenter will come to fix the pipes and the ceiling tiles. You will pay for this. Also, we’re selling this for a hundred thousand dollars?
Yes, ma’am. It’s an old plot of land and I’m more then willing to pay for repairs. That much is written in paragraph five. And yes, the owners are willing to sell the house for ninety-eight thousand dollars.
For a house with three rooms, two bathrooms and a backyard?
The house collapsed a few years back; around fifteen years. I’ve heard that the parents were killed in the crash. Even the –
Mice were killed. Yes, I know. I already know the history. Now then, if you’ll give me a moment to sign the contract, we can both get on with our lives.
It was a pleasure doing business with you, Ms. Clare. I hope that we can do business later on in life.
I think I’ll stick with this house. Thank you for the business. I’ll go back to my previous home now and leave you to prepare the house.
[House Seller exits. Clare stays in the house.]
Well, I’m here. I still remember 13 years ago. I’m gonna unravel the secret. It’s practically unheard of for a house as well built as you to suddenly collapse and kill everything in the house with the foundation practically completely intact. I’m going to inspect every part of this house and find why you killed my parents.
[Ghostly laugh] You will never find the secret. I have killed many families, little girl. Compared to me, you’re a hen not even hatched.
Why? Why will I never find the secret? Why did you kill my parents? We never did anything to you! We only tried to make this house our home!
This house is my home. This is where I was born, lived, and died. No one will take it from me. It is my home! No one else’s!
[Everything in the house begins rattling. Clare looks around frantically. The rattling stops suddenly.]
Now do you see? You’re not strong enough. You can’t beat me.
Clare? I was walking to my car and I heard you scream. What happened?
[Shaken] The shaking’s gone. I feel like I’m seven again. I’m fine. It was just a short spasm. Well, shall we go?
Both exit the scene.
It is two years later and Clare is still in the house. She’s regarded as a mad woman by the way she talks to herself. Clare is only twenty two but is already growing grey hair as she sits in her front lawn. She’s reading a book in a jacket because it is early fall.
You know what, Liz? I don’t think you’re that bad a person. Sure you killed a few people, but you’ve only tried to kill me a couple times and I’ve lived here for two years.
[A branch breaks off and crashes to the ground beside Clare.]
Feeling bad? You normally don’t miss. Look, Liz, I just want to live in your house for a while. Why don’t you tell me how you died? Maybe I can help you get to the other side.
Are you still so naïve? I thought I’d broken you by now.
I’m more stubborn then that. I’m offended you think two years would break me.
[Enters with a bag of newspapers. Throws one at Clare and it hits her in the back of the head.]
Stupid old hag! There’s no one there for you to talk to. Why don’t you go and get a job, a boyfriend, a LIFE?
Thank you for the newspaper young man? Now, why do I need a job when my parents left me a huge fortune, a boyfriend when I have my “invisible person” or a life when I have books?
Just wait until your house burns down. You won’t be laughing then.
[Message Boy exits stage right]
The day this house burns down is the day that Liz stops haunting the place.
My house won’t burn down. I’ll agree with you with that.
[This is an act without words. The characters have to perform every thought and feeling through actions.]
[Clare is downstairs in the living room where there’s a rocking chair; stage right, a rug; centered, and a fireplace; upstage. Upstairs is silent. Clare stands up and Liz appears upstairs. She has on a giant silver necklace. Liz walks down the stairs and walks directly behind Clare, walking to the kitchen.]
[Liz looks after her but moves onto the living room. She’s tired of constant life. The TV turns on as Liz passes it. The TV shows a news reel of a wanted murderer being killed in a gang fight. Liz realizes that man was the one who killed her.]
[Clare comes back into the room and sees Liz. This is the first time she’s seen Liz. Fall backwards and causes the rug to slide towards the fire. Both stare in horror as the rug catches fire and fire quickly engulfs the house.]
[Clare watches as Liz fades from existence. Clare runs out of the house. The house catches fire and everything is quickly engulfed.]
[Clare walks away as her home burns and the ghost she’s tried to rid of forever dies.]
[Clare is back at the charred house. She kneels down on the grass and cries. The Mail Boy goes by and throws a newspaper at her feet.]
[Clare brushes herself off and goes to the house. She sees a silver necklace on the step and picks it up. She solemnly puts it on and walks away.]
[A couple from across the street hurries past the house. A dog sniffs the grass and runs away. Rain splashes Clare as she walks away.]