Episode 20: Wishing Well

[SCENE I. The halls of Portland High School. CELESTE is loitering against the lockers with her friends, RAVEN and VICTORIA.]

CELESTE: I just found the coolest thing just outside of town.

VICTORIA: Ever since the . . . incident with that lying reporter bitch, you’ve been different, Celeste.

RAVEN: Yeah, you’re all ‘oh, check out this abandoned building’ or ‘oh, isn’t it awesome under this bridge.’

CELESTE: Oh, I get it. The decaying remnants of a human life aren’t dark enough for you.

(RAVEN looks like she might be impressed by this, but VICTORIA responds first.)

VICTORIA: We’re not interested, Celeste.

RAVEN: (Distantly.) Yeah. What she said.

(VICTORIA and RAVEN walk off, leaving CELESTE alone, quietly seething. Eventually she stalks off in the other direction.)

[SCENE II. The Jaded Old Crone. MELISSA is having dinner with GAVIN, and evidently trying to sell him on something.]

MELISSA: Listen. Gavin. What do I have to do to get you to help me root out these cultists?

GAVIN: You’re asking dangerous questions, friend. (Beat. Clarification.) Dangerous to me, I mean.

MELISSA: Oh really? (Smiles devilishly.) And why should that be dangerous to–

(CELESTE enters, and makes her way to their table. MELISSA trails off and gives her a puzzled frown.)

MELISSA: Gotharella! What are you doing?

CELESTE: I need help.

MELISSA: (Sighs.) I guess I owe you one for the whole ‘lifting the curse on me’ thing, don’t I?

CELESTE: Yes. (She sits down.)

GAVIN: Are you going to introduce us?

MELISSA: This is Celeste. She’s an infinite font of darkness. Celeste, this is Gavin. He’s an asshole who won’t help a friend in need because he’s afraid I will stab him if he names a price.

CELESTE: Will you?

MELISSA: Maybe. Right now, I’m leaning towards ‘just stab him anyway.’

GAVIN: And what does Celeste need help with?

CELESTE: I found this fountain outside of town. It, uh. Look, could you just go with me?

MELISSA: Sure, why not? I think we’re about done here.

GAVIN: Mind if I join you? (MELISSA gives him a look.) Always happy to help a beautiful lady in trouble.

MELISSA: You’re treading on thin ice here, Gavin.

GAVIN: I like to live dangerously.

MELISSA: Except, apparently, when it comes to helping friends.

GAVIN: Exactly so.

CELESTE: (Impatient.) If you two are done?

(MELISSA and GAVIN exchange a look that says “we’ll finish this later,” pay the check, and follow CELESTE outside.)

[SCENE III. Somewhere outside Portland. A run-down looking mansion–and it is far too large to simply be called a house–dominates the scenery, but it also features what looks like an overgrown hedge maze and a small miniature park of its own. CELESTE, MELISSA and GAVIN pull up in CELESTE’s beat-up old car. CELESTE makes straight for the hedge maze, and waits for the others in the entrance.]

CELESTE: Hurry up.

MELISSA: If it’s so urgent you could have driven a car that is not one pothole away from falling apart.

CELESTE: It’s not urgent, you’re just slow.

GAVIN: Ha.

(She leads them with what might be described as worrying speed through the labyrinth–that is to say, she seems to know exactly which way to go. It becomes apparent that this is not a hedge maze but an actual constructed labyrinth that is just overgrown. Eventually she leads them to a fountain in what is presumably the heart of the labyrinth. The fountain is a still pool of black water.)

MELISSA: Okay, so. Next time you lead me through a definitely-haunted creepy labyrinth on the outskirts of town, could you slow down?

CELESTE: It’s not my fault you can’t keep up.

MELISSA: So what is it you wanted my help with?

CELESTE: (Fishing in her pocket.) Hang on. (She produces a penny.) Here, throw this in the fountain.

MELISSA: Should I make a wish?

GAVIN: I think it’s traditional.

(MELISSA hesitates for a moment, then throws the penny in the fountain. It sinks into the fountain and disappears.)

CELESTE: Did you see anything? Or hear anything?

MELISSA: Not as such. Well, I heard the little ‘plop’ sound the penny made. (Beat.) Plop.

CELESTE: I think I’m in trouble.

MELISSA: Look, creepy things happen in these places. I don’t see–

(A rapid cut to a disjointed series of images–a fairy glen by moonlight, filled with goblins. There is a mirror of this well in the glen, and, leading the goblins, the GOBLIN KING, a huge man dressed in leaves and crowned in white flowers. The general tone of these images should be one of the unsettlingly alien and generally foreboding.)

Back in the real world, MELISSA looks ill.)

MELISSA: Oh.

CELESTE: Oh, thank God. I was worried I was the only one. (Distantly.) It was beautiful though, wasn’t it? It’s why I started coming back here. But now it’s–I feel sick when I’m not here. It’s just so beautiful, and welcoming . . . .

MELISSA: Really? I got the distinct impression I wasn’t welcome here.

GAVIN: You get that impression most places, Melissa. (Laughs. Nobody else seems to find this amusing.) Okay, what am I missing here?

MELISSA: Oh, just–thoughts, images. Feelings. By the way, thanks for trying to get me addicted to your enchanted fairy wishing well.

CELESTE: I think . . .  the Goblin King wants to marry me.

GAVIN: Well, that’s encouraging! (Blank stares from MELISSA and CELESTE.) I mean, better than being out for your blood, right? (The blank stares continue.) All right, forget I said anything.

MELISSA: And you want me to do something about it.

CELESTE: Yes!

MELISSA: (Sighs.) All right. Gavin, do you have any loose change?

(GAVIN pats down his pockets and makes a ‘sorry, no’ gesture.)

MELISSA: Celeste?

CELESTE: Just the penny I gave you. I didn’t want to throw any more in, because I think that is how the spell works in the first place.

MELISSA: (Sighs and pulls a large gold coin out of her pocket.) All right. We’ll just go and have a word with him.

CELESTE: I’m not sure that’s how it–

(MELISSA kisses the coin and tosses the coin into the fountain. The water of the fountain glows a strange, swirling greenish color. MELISSA manages a smile.)

MELISSA: Paying for passage. I think we can just step through now.

GAVIN: Then what are we waiting for? (He steps into the fountain and slips beneath the surface. MELISSA and CELESTE wait for any sign of bloody dismemberment before following.)

(All three of them emerge, soaking wet, in the moonlit fairy glen. A handful of GOBLINS have found them, and a few are poking the new arrivals to see if they are all right. GAVIN is the first to get up, then MELISSA. When CELESTE raises her head, the GOBLINS cry out.)

FIRST GOBLIN: The Dark Lady comes!

SECOND GOBLIN: Send for the Goblin King!

[SCENE IV. The court of the GOBLIN KING. The familiar stone fountain is visible here. The grass is thick, the trees around are wild, and mushrooms grow everywhere. The GOBLIN KING himself is seated on a throne of woven branches, in a green tunic of leaves and a crown of white flowers. There are no other seats. Each of the guests–MELISSA, GAVIN, CELESTE–are now wearing something more appropriate for the situation.

MELISSA wears an elegant dress that shifts colors from red to yellow to orange–like autumn leaves. GAVIN has a tunic much like the GOBLIN KING’s. CELESTE’s dress appears to be made entirely from shadow.

As the trio approaches, the GOBLIN KING leaps to his feet.]

GOBLIN KING: Welcome to my court, Dark Lady! I see you got my invitation!

MELISSA: Yeah, about that. She doesn’t want to get married right now.

GOBLIN KING: And you brought guests to our wedding! How delightful!

MELISSA: Listen. Let’s not make this ugly. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve punched out a fairy.

GOBLIN KING: (Sighs.) Is this true, Dark One?

CELESTE: Um, yes. Sorry.

GOBLIN KING: Well, will you at least stay for the party?

(MELISSA looks like she is about to say ‘no,’ but is not quick enough.)

GAVIN: Oh, that sounds fun!

CELESTE: I guess it’s the least I can do!

MELISSA: (Resigned.) Sure, why the hell not?

[SCENE V. The court of the GOBLIN KING, much later. Several of the GOBLINS appear to be very drunk, including at least a few passed out near the drinks. CELESTE and GAVIN are getting on splendidly, while MELISSA and the GOBLIN KING look on. The former looks annoyed; the latter looks despondent. They are sitting next to each other in the universal posture of people who are at a party they haven’t been enjoying for some time.]

MELISSA: He was no match for her gothy wiles.

GOBLIN KING: What’s he got that I don’t?

MELISSA: He has a pretty good record collection.

GOBLIN KING: I have the music of the forests!

MELISSA: Yeah, no offense, but I think I’ll take the records. (Long pause.) What did you want her for, anyway? I mean–

GOBLIN KING: (Waves a hand dismissively.) A passing fancy, is all.

MELISSA: Really? ‘Dark Lady?’

GOBLIN KING: (Guarded.) There may be some old prophecies in which she plays a part.

MELISSA: How big a part?

GOBLIN KING: Oh, quite a large one. (Beat.) You might consider it a central role.

MELISSA: Really? (She looks at CELESTE, who has just spilled her drink from gesturing too enthusiastically.) And if I ask you to tell me what that role is–

GOBLIN KING: I would probably either lie or just laugh at you.

MELISSA: Ah.

(Long pause.)

GOBLIN KING: This party sucks.

MELISSA: Totally.

(Fin.)

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