Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Lights Out
Show: Bon Voyage
Date: Jun 22 1938

CAST:
JULIA
EMMA: Two old maid sisters in their fifties, their individual descriptions follow in the dialogue below
THE SAILOR: A venerable old robust English sea-captain
CAB DRIVER

VOICE:

Lights Out, everybody!

TWELVE CHIMES - WIND UP ON NINTH, ALL OUT WITH:

GONG:

STREET SOUNDS DOWN BEHIND:

JULIA:

(SHE IS A TALL, THIN, DRIED-OUT OLD MAID - THE VINEGAR IN HER SYSTEM IS APPARENT IN HER VOICE) Now are you sure the trunk is tied on securely, Mister Cab-Driver?

CAB-DRIVER:

Yessum! Good and tight!

EMMA:

(SHE HAS A LIGHTER VOICE THAN HER SISTER'S - A CONSTANTLY HOARSE QUALITY) Ask him if he's absolutely sure, Julia.

JULIA:

Are you absolutely sure, Mister Cab-Driver?

DRIVER:

(WEARILY) Lady, so help me - if that trunk falls off, I'll give you my cab!

JULIA:

Now, just a minute, young man - if that's your attitude, let me warn you my sister and I can always take another cab - there're thousands -

DRIVER:

(WEARILY) Lady, so help me, I ain't taking any attitude! Believe me, the trunk's tied on tight, and if you want to get to the dock in time --

EMMA:

Tell him to drive slowly, Julia.

JULIA:

All right, Emma, get in. Now drive slowly, young man.

SOUND OF CLOSING OF CAB DOOR.

DRIVER:

(OFF SLIGHTLY, WEARILY) Yes, ma'am.

SOUND OF AUTO DOOR CLOSING, BACK - CAB STARTING OFF - AUTO SOUND CONTINUING - CAR FAR BACK BEHIND:

EMMA:

They might have at least come up to say goodbye.

JULIA:

Now, sister Emma, you know mighty well they're jealous of us, every one of them! It's our cross and we must bear it.

EMMA:

Mrs. McDonald --

JULIA:

Mrs. McDonald is just like the rest of them in that house - she takes our rent each week, but she's as jealous as any of them! (UP) Young man! Drive slowly or we'll leave your cab!

DRIVER:

(BACK, WEARILY) Yessum.

EMMA:

Never should have stayed there.

JULIA:

I told you that fifteen years ago! When we first moved in! I remember distinctly saying, "Emma, we shouldn't stay in a boarding-house where there isn't a solitary soul above the status of a trades-person." You remember I said that?

EMMA:

Ask him if we'll get to the dock in plenty of time.

JULIA:

(UP) Young man, we won't be late, now, will we?

DRIVER:

I'll get you there, lady, so help me.

JULIA:

(UP) Well, see that you do! (DOWN CONVERSATIONALLY AGAIN) Beneath us! There's no doubt about it, Sister Emma!

EMMA:

Everyone's always been jealous of us.

JULIA:

No doubt about it ...

FOR A FEW SECONDS ALL THAT IS HEARD IS THE SOUND OF THE CAB MOVING ALONG - THEN

EMMA:

Uh - the sea air should be good for our trouble.

JULIA:

(SHARPLY) Don't talk about it!

EMMA:

He can't hear us driving...

JULIA:

No, I suppose he can't...

EMMA:

It's been twenty years - why should we think about it?

JULIA:

The sea air'll blow it away.

EMMA:

Ask him if we're almost there.

JULIA:

(UP) Young man - how much further?

DRIVER:

Practically there, ma'am! We got plenty of time! It's half an hour to midnight!

JULIA:

Well, see to it that we get there in time or you'll regret it!

CAB SOUND ONLY, THEN

EMMA:

Sailing at midnight...I don't like it!

JULIA:

Don't talk like that! It was the only time!

SOUND OF AUTO COMING TO STOP

EMMA:

We're slowing up - ask him what's the matter.

JULIA:

(UP) Young man! What's the trouble?

DRIVER:

No trouble at all, ma'am - we're at the dock.

AUTO COMING TO HALT

EMMA:

Sea air'll make me stop dreaming those dreams, don't you think so, Sister Julia?

JULIA:

I tell you don't talk about it!

SOUND OF AUTO DOOR OPENING.

DRIVER:

(OFF SLIGHTLY) Here you are, ladies. (IN FULL) Got you here in plenty of time.

EMMA:

Ask him if it's the right dock.

DRIVER:

Sure it is, lady. Dock eleven! Should I take your trunk off?

JULIA:

No, no, you'll charge extra for that, and there'll be someone from the steamship company to do that. What's your fare?

DRIVER:

There it is on the meter, ma'am - a dollar and a quarter.

JULIA:

Here's a dollar.

DRIVER:

(WEARILY) A dollar and a quarter, ma'am. You can see for yourself - the meter.

JULIA:

I don't care what the meter says! It took much less time than I thought.

DRIVER:

But, lady --

JULIA:

Now I don't want to hear any more about it! Come, Emma!

EMMA:

Yes.

DRIVER:

Now, lady!

JULIA:

Stand to one side, driver - let us out!

DRIVER:

Now, lady, if the meter reads a dollar and a quarter, I gotta collect a dollar and a quarter! So help me!

JULIA:

Not another word! Unfasten the trunk and go about your business!

DRIVER:

But, lady - oh, (FADE) I give up!

EMMA:

Are you sure it's the right dock, Sister Julia?

JULIA:

Of course it is - see - dock eleven - what it says on the tickets.

THUD OF TRUNK ON STREET, BACK.

DRIVER:

(BACK) There's your trunk! A bum voyage to you both!

SOUND OF CAB STARTING OFF AND FADING BEHIND:

JULIA:

Impudent scoundrel! Left our trunk lying right there in the street.

EMMA:

Saved money anyway - get one of the ship's people to put it on.

JULIA:

No one around ...

EMMA:

Strange - everything so quiet...and just before sailing time.

JULIA:

There's a sailor!

EMMA:

Ask him to take our trunk aboard.

JULIA:

(UP CLOSE) Mister! Sailor! Mister Sailor!

EMMA:

He hears you...

SAILOR:

(SEA-FARING TYPE OF ENGLISHMAN - HE HAS A DEEP VOICE - THE VOICE OF A MAN ACCUSTOMED TO AUTHORITY) (IN FAST) You call me, lady?

EMMA:

Ask him if he's connected with the ship.

JULIA:

Are you connected with the ship?

SAILOR:

(IN CLOSE) Yes. You want to go on board?

JULIA:

We certainly do!

FADE IN SOUND OF PEOPLE'S VOICES - HOLDING BACK BEHIND:

EMMA:

Julia! Look!

JULIA:

(IN SURPRISE) People! Where did they --

EMMA:

One minute there was nobody and now so many people getting on board! Julia, ask him --

SAILOR:

(FADING IN...STRAINING) Got your trunk - this way to the gangplank.

JULIA:

Yes, yes, of course - come, Sister Emma.

EMMA:

(SOTTO) Don't have to tip him a thing, Sister Julia. Part of the service we get.

JULIA:

I know! I know!

SAILOR:

(BACK) This gangplank, ladies!

EMMA:

Got the tickets ready, Sister Julia?

JULIA:

(IMPATIENTLY) I've got them! I've got them! Walk quickly - don't want to lose sight of that man with our trunk.

SAILOR:

(BACK) This way, ladies.

EMMA:

Boat's so crowded - so many people --

JULIA:

Nobody seems to want to look at our tickets - well, that's all right, too! Come ahead, Emma!

BRING SOUND OF MUMBLING OF PEOPLE'S VOICES UP AS A TRANSITION FOR A FEW SECONDS, THEN DOWN BEHIND.

SAILOR:

Your cabin, ladies.

EMMA:

Ask him if it's the right one, Julia.

JULIA:

Now, are you sure it's the right one, sailor?

SAILOR:

Your trunk's inside, ladies. All ship-shape.

JULIA:

Very well. Come ahead, Emma.

EMMA:

All right. (SOTTO) Now you don't have to tip him anything, Julia - it isn't at all necessary.

CLOSING DOOR - CROWD BACKGROUND OUT KNIFE CLEAN

JULIA:

Well! It isn't much of a cabin!

EMMA:

Much smaller than they told us.

JULIA:

I'll speak to the captain!

EMMA:

Not now, not now! After we sail! Don't leave me alone in this place!

JULIA:

Now, Emma -

EMMA:

Don't "Now Emma" me! You get the same thoughts!

JULIA:

Don't talk about it!

EMMA:

(ALMOST PLAINTIVELY) The sea air'll do us both good that way, now won't it?

JULIA:

Don't talk about it!

SHIP BLASTS THREE TIMES, BACK

JULIA:

There! We're starting!

EMMA:

(EAGERLY) Yes! Leaving the curse behind!

VOICE:

(MUFFLED AS IF HEARD THRU DOOR) All ashore that's going ashore! All ashore that's going ashore!

JULIA:

I'm going out there!

SOUND OF OPENING DOOR - CROWD OF EMBARKMENT

EMMA:

No! Wait for me!

UP ON CROWD NOISE FOR A SPLIT SECOND - THEN DOWN CONTINUING BEHIND.

JULIA:

Here, Emma, by the rail!

EMMA:

They've taken down the gangplank already!

JULIA:

I see! I see!

EMMA:

(EAGERLY) That means we're freed of the land and everything on it, doesn't it, Julia?

JULIA:

Don't talk about it! Isn't it enough that for twenty years --

SHIP HOOTS THREE TIMES, BACK

EMMA:

We're starting!

JULIA:

Feel the ship move!

EMMA:

(PUZZLEDLY) How fast the dock and all the people on it are fading away!....

SHIP HOOTS ONCE, BACK

JULIA:

Yes - they're almost out of sight!

EMMA:

(THERE IS A NOTE OF AWE IN HER VOICE) Julia...

JULIA:

Wha'?...

EMMA:

Did you notice all those people on the shore?

JULIA:

Eh?

EMMA:

They were waving handkerchiefs, but - but they were crying!

GONG:

EMMA:

(FROM HER VOICE IT IS OBVIOUS ALL IS NOT WELL) Sister Julia...

JULIA:

What?

EMMA:

The time - what time is it?

JULIA:

I don't know - reach over and turn on the light.

EMMA:

Ship rolling so badly - ah - there!

SOUND OF CLICK OF SWITCH

JULIA:

Twenty minutes after two - the longest night...

EMMA:

I haven't been able to sleep a wink!

JULIA:

Why does the ship have to go so fast?

EMMA:

That's all right - taking us away from the cursed land...

JULIA:

(SHARPLY) Stop saying that!...

EMMA:

Strange how for twenty years a face can come to one in the night...

JULIA:

(EVEN MORE SHARPLY) Stop that I tell you! (DETERMINEDLY) I'm going up on deck!

EMMA:

No! Don't leave me here! I'll go with you!

JULIA:

Come ahead! Come ahead! But keep your mouth closed!

EMMA:

Are you going to get dressed?

JULIA:

No! No! Just a coat! (DOWN AS SHE SEARCHES) Find my slippers.

EMMA:

It might be cold!

JULIA:

Then stay here!

EMMA:

(HASTILY) No! I'll go with you! Got my coat already! Don't leave me!

JULIA:

Come ahead...

OPENING DOOR.

EMMA:

(DOWN) Don't fall, Sister Julia.

SOUND OF CLOSING DOOR

EMMA:

So quiet, Sister Julia...Can't even hear the engines...

JULIA:

Shhh! Everyone's asleep...

EMMA:

(SOTTO) It's good to be getting away from the land...

JULIA:

Here - up these stairs.

EMMA:

Eh?

JULIA:

(IMPATIENTLY) Can't you see the sign - Promenade Deck?

AS WE HEAR THE SOUND OF THE FOOTSTEPS GOING UP FLIGHT OF STAIRS:

EMMA:

Oh! Yes, the deck. That'll be nice!

STEPS CONTINUING - WE HEAR THE WHEEZING BREATH OF TWO OLD LADIES AS THEY CLIMB STEPS - STEPS OUT BEHIND

EMMA:

(SIGHS AS SHE REACHES THE TOP OF STEPS) Ah! Do you - do you think we should go out there this time of night, Sister Julia?

JULIA:

(TENSELY) You like the...cabin any better?

EMMA:

(DEFENSIVELY) You were as much to blame as I. The blood --

JULIA:

(SHARPLY) Stop it! Come - out here!

AT "COME" WE HEAR SHIP'S DOOR OPENING FOLLOWED BY WIND EFFECT WHICH CONTINUES RISING AND FALLING BEHIND ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ACTION

EMMA:

The wind --

JULIA:

You wanted to come out here!

EMMA:

Where - where will we walk?

JULIA:

(WITH ASPERITY) Where does one walk on shipboard? Come!

WITH THE WIND EFFECT WE NOW HEAR THE HISSING WAVES AS SHIP DRIVES ONWARD ... THIS EFFECT DOWN AFTER A FEW SECONDS BEHIND:

JULIA:

They drive the ship so fast!

EMMA:

It's frightening...

JULIA:

(FLATLY) Then go below!

EMMA:

No!

WE HEAR THE HISSING OF THE WAVES AND THE WAIL OF THE WIND FOR A FEW SECONDS AS TRANSITION, THEN DOWN BEHIND:

EMMA:

(SLOWLY) Julia...

JULIA:

Walk faster - I want to keep warm.

EMMA:

Julia...

JULIA:

What is it?

EMMA:

We've been all around the deck...

JULIA:

Well?

EMMA:

And we haven't seen anyone...

JULIA:

It's the middle of the night!

EMMA:

But no one...

JULIA:

What do you expect at three in the morning -- a brass band?

EMMA:

There should be someone...

JULIA:

Go down to the room!

EMMA:

(SHARPLY) Julia! Did you hear that?

WIND HOWLS, BACK

JULIA:

(DOWN) Nothing but the wind...

EMMA:

No! Something else!

THEY LISTEN AGAIN AND HEAR NOTHING BUT THE WIND

JULIA:

(FROM HER VOICE IT IS OBVIOUS THAT SHE, TOO, IS AFFECTED BY THE OTHER'S MOOD) Nothing...

EMMA:

(STRETCHES OUT THE WORD IN INTENSE TERROR) Ju-u-l-i-a-a.

JULIA:

(DOWN TENSELY .. QUICKLY) Wha - what's the matter?

EMMA:

(SLOWLY IN HORROR) Over...the side...of the ship...

JULIA:

Eh?

EMMA:

A hand!

JULIA:

(UP .. CRIES OUT HOARSELY .. NOT A SCREAM BUT JUST A LETTING OUT OF BREATH IN HORROR) Ah!

WE HEAR THE WIND MOANING OVER THE HISSING OF THE SEA AND THEN:

JULIA:

(FADE IN FAST AS IF SHE HAD GONE TO THE RAIL TO LOOK) You're crazy! There's nothing!

EMMA:

But --

JULIA:

Nothing! I went to the rail - there was nothing!

EMMA:

(MOANINGLY) We shouldn't have killed him, Julia!

JULIA:

Go below!

EMMA:

(TEARS IN VOICE) If I talk about it maybe I'll find a little rest from the crazy thoughts that have been in my head for twenty years!

JULIA:

(TENSELY) Stop talking! Stop, you fool!

EMMA:

(GOING RIGHT ON IN THAT FLAT INTENSE MONOTONE OF SELF-CONFESSION) Ever since that night, Julia - they've been tearing at me - crazy thoughts....

JULIA:

You're a fool! A fool!

EMMA:

(IN CLOSE) Not such a fool - the thought of it's made you an old woman, too...

JULIA:

(TENSELY) I'm all right!

EMMA:

You, too, Julia - all these years you've been afraid, too!

JULIA:

Will you ever stop talking?

EMMA:

At night sometimes I hear you cry out in your sleep ...

JULIA:

No! I don't!

EMMA:

You moan, Julia - you moan in fright of him...

JULIA:

(HOARSELY) Frightened? Why should I be frightened?

EMMA:

(GOING RIGHT ON INTENSELY, SLOWLY) You helped me carry him down the steps to the basement, Julia...remember?

JULIA:

Stop it! I'm not afraid! His bones - they're dust by now!

EMMA:

You are frightened! You are! (INSISTENTLY) Tell me that you are! (ETC. AD LIB)

JULIA:

No! No! Get away from me! Stop talking to me! There's nothing to be frightened of - we're miles at sea - water between us and the land! (AS SHE BUILDS HER VOICE BETRAYS HER WORDS) Miles between us and where we buried him! Why should I be afraid of something dead twenty years! Not afraid! Not afra- (SCREAMS PIERCINGLY)

EMMA:

(UP) Julia! What?

JULIA:

(SCREAMINGLY...AND I MEAN SCREAMINGLY) His face! See! His face in the sky!

GONG:

WIND AND WAVE SOUND COMPLETELY OUT...THE TWO WOMEN ARE BELOW LOOKING FOR THEIR CABIN

JULIA:

(BREATHING HEAVILY) Faster, Emma - walk faster! (IT IS OBVIOUS THAT SHE IS IN A PANIC)

EMMA:

(BREATHING HEAVILY ALSO) This - is this the right corridor?

JULIA:

(IMPATIENTLY) Oh, get out of my way! Cabin - got to get to the cabin - close the door and lock it!

EMMA:

Yes, yes, lock it! Can't hurt us if we're behind a locked door!

SOUND OF RATTLING DOOR KNOB AS SHE TRIES TO OPEN DOOR

JULIA:

It wasn't locked before!

EMMA:

But that isn't our cabin, Julia!

JULIA:

What are you talking about? Of course it is!

RATTLING DOOR KNOB

EMMA:

No!

JULIA:

I tell you it is!

EMMA:

Julia, no! This cabin (FADE) here! (BACK STRAINING) It's locked, too!

JULIA:

(TERROR IN VOICE .. STRAINING) Got to get in - got to get inside... (UP CALLING .. USE ECHO CHAMBER SLIGHTLY) Steward! Let me in my cabin!

EMMA:

(FADE IN FULL) No! You'll wake everybody up!

JULIA:

(UP) Steward! Come here! Let me in my cabin!

EMMA:

Julia! No!

JULIA:

(UP MADLY) Steward!

SILENCE BROKEN ONLY BY THE HEAVY BREATHING OF THE WOMEN

EMMA:

(HALF PUZZLED AND HALF FRIGHTENED) No one - no one heard you...

JULIA:

(TENSELY) I'll make someone hear me!

BANGING ON DOOR BEHIND

JULIA:

(UP) Let me in!

EMMA:

(FADE) I'll try another door!

BANGING, BACK

EMMA:

(BACK) Let us in! Please let us in!

BANGING ON DOORS IN CLOSE

JULIA:

Let me in! Wake up somebody! Let me in!

BANGING CONTINUING IN CLOSE AND OTHER BANGING BACK, PAINTING THE PICTURE OF JULIA IN CLOSE BANGING ON CABIN DOORS WHILE EMMA RACES AROUND TRYING TO WAKE SOMEONE UP ... ALL THE TIME EMMA AND JULIA AD LIB AS THEY TRY TO WAKE SOMEONE UP ... SUCH EXCLAMATIONS AS "WAKE UP" .. "LET US IN SOMEONE!" "CAN'T YOU HEAR US?" ETC. AD LIB....AFTER A FEW SECONDS EMMA'S BANGING ON DOORS BACK STOPS AND WE HEAR:

EMMA:

(FADE IN FAST) Julia! Julia! Stop! It's no use!

BANGING IN CLOSE OUT WITH:

JULIA:

What - what do you mean?

EMMA:

(HOARSELY...INTENSELY) They'll never answer us!

JULIA:

Eh? Why?

EMMA:

(IN CLOSE) They found out about him!

JULIA:

You're crazy! Come on! The next deck! Find someone to let us in our cabin. (FADE) Steward! Steward!

EMMA:

No, don't leave me! Wait for me, Julia!

JULIA:

(FADE IN CALLING) Steward! Somebody! Someone wake up! I want to get in my cabin!

EMMA:

(BREATHING HEAVILY .. FADE IN) Sister Julia! Wait!

JULIA:

They've got to answer me!

EMMA:

Look! That room! It says Chief Steward!

JULIA:

I'll show him not to answer me! (FADE) I'll show him!

DOOR FLUNG OPEN OFF SLIGHTLY

EMMA:

Julia! What --

JULIA:

(AGHAST) Empty!

ANOTHER DOOR FLUNG OPEN, BACK

JULIA:

(OFF) And this one empty!

ANOTHER DOOR FLUNG OPEN

EMMA:

This one's empty, too! (SCREAMINGLY) Sister Julia!

JULIA:

(IN QUICKLY) What? What have you found?

EMMA:

(AGHAST) Sister Julia!

JULIA:

Stop waving your hands at me! Talk!

EMMA:

(IN CLOSE - HOARSELY) The ship - tearing thru the night! Oh, don't you understand? We're alone! (UP MADLY) Alone!

GONG

JULIA:

(SLOWLY - MEASUREDLY) It - doesn't - seem - possible...

EMMA:

(THE STRAIN IS OBVIOUS IN HER VOICE) We've been all over the ship...

JULIA:

But what - makes it go?

EMMA:

(BREAKS INTO CONVULSIVE TEARS, CONTINUING)

JULIA:

Stop it, you fool! (BUILDING) Stop! Stop! You trying to drive me as crazy as you are?

EMMA:

(TEARFULLY) I can't stand it down here - walls closing in on me! (FADE) I'm going up!

JULIA:

No! Stay here!

EMMA:

(FIGHTING) No! Let go of me! Let me go!

JULIA:

You won't go on the deck! You won't go on the deck! You won't leave me!

EMMA:

I've got to get out of here!

JULIA:

Not up there!

EMMA:

I'm not frightened! I didn't see his face! You did!

JULIA:

Stay here or I'll choke the tongue out of you!

EMMA:

Let go of my neck! That's the way you killed him! That's the way!

JULIA:

No! You killed him! You! I only held his neck! Your hand was on the knife! You stabbed him - again - and again - and again !

EMMA:

(HYSTERICALLY, BEGINNING AT "YOU STABBED HIM") No! (AFTER THE FIRST "AGAIN") No! (AFTER THE SECOND "AGAIN" BUILDING) No! (AFTER THE LAST "AGAIN" SCREAMINGLY) Noo! I'll go up there! (FADE) I'll go up there!

JULIA:

Emma, come back! Not on deck! Don't leave me! Don't leave me! (SOUND OF HER STUMBLING UP FLIGHT OF STAIRS) Emma, come back! Emma, don't leave me alone! Emma, where are you? (SOUND OF HER GOING UP STAIRS BEHIND:) Emma, where are you?

BRING IN WIND AS SHE REACHES DECK

JULIA:

Where are you? I admit it! I am afraid! I am afraid! Emma, where are you? It's so dark out here - all these years we've been together - you can't run off and leave me now when I tell you I'm afraid! Emma - (GASPS WITH:)

EMMA:

(FADEIN SOBBING CONVULSIVELY)

JULIA:

Emma! You're here!

EMMA:

(WEEPILY) Go away!

JULIA:

Emma, we've got to be together! Don't lie there on the deck! Get up! We've got to stay together the way we always have!

EMMA:

(WEEPILY) You talked me into killing! You did!

JULIA:

(IMPATIENTLY) So I did! So I did! But you and I have got to stay together, I tell you, until we get off this horrible ship! (IN CLOSE) Listen, Emma! A ship can't go without men making it go!

EMMA:

(WEEPILY) But we've been on every deck! There's no one! Only him!

JULIA:

(IMPATIENTLY) Him! Him! You insane fool! How many times must I tell you he's dead and dust!

EMMA:

But you saw his face!

JULIA:

Imagination! Nothing more! The night's so black - I admit I'm frightened - of course I'd see the Thing I didn't want to see!

EMMA:

But how could the ship --

JULIA:

Listen and I'll tell you! A great ocean liner like this one - there are men in the engine room and men on the bridge! What if there aren't any passengers! It just means we got on the wrong boat!

EMMA:

But no one --

JULIA:

But I tell you there is someone - someone up there on the bridge steering the ship! If there was no one steering, we'd go in circles! Look! See how straight thru the waves we're going!

EMMA:

(TEARFULLY) There's no one!

JULIA:

Come on up on the bridge and I'll show you! There's a man up there steering this boat - a man of flesh and blood! There must be! (HER PSEUDO BRAVERY SUDDENLY BREAKS DOWN AND SHE CRIES OUT WEEPILY) There must be!

GONG:

HOWL OF WIND, BACK AND CONTINUING BEHIND:

EMMA:

(ON CUE, IN BREATHLESSLY WITH EFFORT AS SHE CLIMBS) I'm afraid to climb...

JULIA:

(TENSELY) Come ahead!

EMMA:

But how can you know!

JULIA:

A man must steer this ship.

EMMA:

(HORROR STRICKEN) If there's no-one there?

WIND HOWL UP AS TRANSITION, THEN BACK BUT NOT TOO FAR BEHIND FOLLOWING. THEY ARE UP ON THE SHIP'S BRIDGE EXPOSED TO ELEMENTS, WAVE SOUNDS ARE DISTINCTLY HEARD.

EMMA:

So dark! I can't see --

JULIA:

Yes! This is up where the steering things should be!

EMMA:

(MOANINGLY) No! I'm afraid!

JULIA:

In there! The wheel-house they call it! Yes, that's it! There's windows around it! (EAGERLY) You see someone in there? At the wheel?

EMMA:

(MOANINGLY) No, no!..(CONTINUING MOANING AD LIB BACK THRU [FOLLOWING])

JULIA:

(BUILDING) There must be someone there! Come close, Emma! Look! Windows covered with mist! Look in there, Emma! Your eyes are better than mine! Tell me there's someone steering!

EMMA:

(WEEPILY) No one! No one!

JULIA:

(UP) No! Let me see! Get away! Close to the window! I'll see - (CRIES OUT) Ahh! Steering wheel! (UP) Emma! We are alone!

EMMA:

(WEEPILY) I told you! I told you!

WIND HOWLS

JULIA:

(UP WILDLY ABOVE WIND) No! Stop the ship! Stop! Where are you taking me! Sto-op!

EMMA:

(WILDLY) No use, Julia! No use! Judgment for our sin! The ship won't stop 'till we confess!

JULIA:

(ALMOST BABBLING WORDS IN HER TERROR) I confess! Yes, yes, I confess! Killed a man!

EMMA:

We killed a man!

JULIA:

For his money - twenty years ago -

EMMA:

We did it together!

JULIA:

We needed money - we needed money - he had so much!

EMMA:

Stabbed him! I did! - Cut him up!

JULIA:

And we buried him!

EMMA:

In the basement - and no-one ever knew!

JULIA:

(UP) There! Confessed! Now stop! Stop!

SHIP'S STEAM WHISTLE BLASTS MOURNFULLY SUDDENLY, ONCE, IN CLOSE - THEN AGAIN - THEN A THIRD TIME. AFTER THE LAST NOTE HAS DIED AWAY:

JULIA:

(BREATHLESSLY) Emma! You heard!

EMMA:

(EXCITEDLY) (DOWN) Yes!

JULIA:

The whistle! Someone is aboard.

EMMA:

Yes!

JULIA:

Who?

SAILOR:

(IN CLOSE, SUDDENLY) I am!

BOTH WOMEN CRY OUT SHORTLY IN SURPRISE

JULIA:

The sailor!

EMMA:

You! The one who took us on this ship!

SAILOR:

(FLATLY) The same, madam.

JULIA:

(FURIOUSLY) You! Who are you?

SAILOR:

(FLATLY) The captain of the ship, madam.

EMMA:

(DECLARATIVELY) Captain!

JULIA:

(QUESTIONINGLY) Captain?

CAPTAIN:

My unfortunate pleasure, madam...

JULIA:

What - where -

CAPTAIN:

(SLOWLY) If you will excuse me, madam - I must go in there - it is time to take the wheel.

EMMA:

(DAZEDLY) But there's been no one - how could the ship --

CAPTAIN:

You will excuse me - it is time -

JULIA:

(HOARSELY - INTENSELY) You've got to tell us!

CAPTAIN:

If you will step into the wheel-house - (FADE) this way.

BRING UP WIND FOR A FEW SECONDS AS TRANSITION, THEN DOWN AND CONTINUING FAR, FAR, FAR BACK WITH CLOSING DOOR

CAPTAIN:

(THERE IS A FLAT DESPERATE NOTE TO HIS VOICE) I'll set the course...

JULIA:

You've got to tell us!

EMMA:

Yes!

JULIA:

What is this ship? Where is everyone?

EMMA:

And why did you bring us here?

CAPTAIN:

North by east - aye, that's the course...

JULIA:

(FURIOUSLY) Will you answer us!

CAPTAIN:

(ALMOST AS IF SPEAKING TO HIMSELF - SARDONICALLY) My hands - strong on the wheel...

EMMA:

Julia, make him tell us! I'll go crazy!

JULIA:

Sailor - captain - whatever you are. Tell us where we are! Tell us where we're going! You've got to!

WIND IS HEARD HOWLING, BACK, AS IF THRU GLASS OF WHEEL HOUSE .. THEN:

CAPTAIN:

(SLOWLY) Where you are?

JULIA:

Yes!

CAPTAIN:

On my ship, my ladies...

EMMA:

But what ship? Why did you bring us here?

CAPTAIN:

(FLATLY) Because you killed a man for profit...

BOTH WOMEN GASP IN SURPRISED HORROR

JULIA:

(GASPING) How - how did you --

CAPTAIN:

(IN THAT SAME FLAT VOICE) How did I know? When one is as I am, one knows many things...

EMMA:

(TENSELY) As you are?

CAPTAIN:

(FLATLY) Dead...

SHIP HOOTS ONCE, BACK SLIGHTLY

JULIA:

(HOARSELY) You're not dead! Why do you say that! You're not dead!

CAPTAIN:

Your other question, madam - "Where are we going?"

EMMA:

Yes! Where?

CAPTAIN:

You go to your...doom...

JULIA:

The man's insane! Emma, that's it! We're on a ship with a madman!

CAPTAIN:

(FLATLY) No, madam! A dead man...

JULIA:

Stop saying that!

EMMA:

Julia! What'll we do? What --

CAPTAIN:

(INTERRUPTING) Calm yourself, my ladies, and listen - Yes, listen closely. It's no more than fair that it all be clear in your minds before it happens. This is my ship and on a night like this many years ago I stood here just as I stand now, my two hands tight upon the wheel.

EMMA:

Julia! What's he talking about?

CAPTAIN:

I stood here, and below the decks, asleep and trusting in me, their captain, were five hundred souls - five hundred men, women and their children...

JULIA:

(HOARSELY) What's that to do with us?

CAPTAIN:

(BUILDING) Asleep - you hear me - five hundred souls - and I their captain - hands on wheel - an empty sea ahead! Mine to make the course - mine to turn the wheel! I closed my eyes! I slept! The captain slept! I didn't see! I didn't hear! A tower, a cliff of ice ahead! We crashed! (AFTER THREE COUNTS, DOWN FLATLY - DESPONDENTLY) Aye...crashed...and sank...five hundred souls, and I their captain.

EMMA:

(WHISPERING) He is crazy!

CAPTAIN:

(PAIN IN VOICE) So the captain lost his ship...and lost his life...and five hundred lives with it. (TENSELY) And so we sail again this night...

JULIA:

(THERE IS A NOTE OF AWE IN HER VOICE) What's - what's it all to do with us - with Emma and me?

CAPTAIN:

The captain who slept and died made a bargain with the devil - a good bargain to bring him peace and rest.

JULIA:

(IN CLOSE) What?

CAPTAIN:

Once each year my ship rises out of the sea again...once each year I sail it.

EMMA:

(MOANINGLY) Julia, why is he talking like that?

CAPTAIN:

I set the course the same as I set it on that very night.

WIND BLOWS:

CAPTAIN:

The wind - it blows the same! But with me now not five hundred souls but two - two of evil like yourself.

JULIA:

(TENSELY) Well?

CAPTAIN:

(BUILDING) We sail! My hands are on the wheel! On and on! The ship - it tosses beneath our feet! I close my eyes again just as I did that night! Suddenly, straight ahead, an iceberg!

WIND HOWLS

EMMA:

(UP) Julia, look!

JULIA:

(UP IN FRIGHT) It's true! Something is ahead!

EMMA: (UP) Iceberg!

CAPTAIN:

(UP) (MADLY) My eyes are closed tightly as they were that night! I cannot see it! I cannot!

JULIA:

(UP SCREAMINGLY) No! Turn the wheel! We'll crash!

EMMA:

We'll crash! Open your eyes! Turn the wheel!

WOMEN AD LIB IN GREAT TERROR BEHIND:

CAPTAIN:

(IN CLOSE - UP MADLY) No! My eyes stay closed! Don't you understand, you two? That's my bargain with the black one! Each year on this very night I bring someone of evil to his death and for each that dies with me this way, the blot of one of those five hundred who drowned beneath me is taken off my soul. One of them for each of you!

JULIA:

Open your eyes! An iceberg!

EMMA:

Please! We'll die! Turn the wheel! (ETC AD LIB)

CRUNCHING SOUND BEGINS AS SHIP BEGINS TO DRIVE ON ICE FLOW - SOUND INCREASES BEHIND.

CAPTAIN:

(UP MADLY) No! I want you to die! You must die! (UP) Black one, listen! I give you two more evil ones! TWO MORE!

WOMEN'S HORRIBLE SCREAMS BLOTTED OUT BY:

TREMENDOUS CRASH AS GREAT SHIP CRASHES INTO ICEBERG - THIS SHOULD BE A RENDING TEARING EFFECT LARGE ENOUGH TO PAINT THE PICTURE OF A SHIP IN FULL SPEED CRASHING INTO GREAT FLOATING CLIFF OF ICE - HOLD LONG ENOUGH TO DEFINITELY ESTABLISH AND THEN BLOT OUT BY:

GONG:

ANNOUNCER:

Lights Out, written especially for radio, by Arch Oboler, comes to you each Wednesday from our Chicago studios.