A chilling Christmas horror
By Stewart J Clark
A confident young man - Michael - takes to the confession box to tell all to THE PRIEST, but what secrets lie in the hearing and telling of such an...exhibitionist, spectacular confession?
With the fantastic Fiona Thraille as THE PRIEST and Quirky's own Sarah Golding as MICHAEL, this promises to be a chilling, unnerving ride.
Ages 16 and up
PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS REFERENCE TO BODY HORROR MURDERS, PERIL AND SEWING OF BODY PARTS IS ALLUDED TO IN SOUND EFFECTS. SOMEONE IS IN PERIL IN A CONFINED SPACE AND UPSET WITH RISING ANXIETY BECAUSE OF BEING TRAPPED.
'The acting is amazing. Totally amazing!'
Shannon K Perry of Oz9
'Actually gave me chills'
Graz Richards of Audible Visions
Stewart is a writer based near Scarborough and produces original works for stage and other media, and here are some links to his works - go give him some 5 star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads why dontcha! Hearty thanks to Stewart for giving us permission to make this fantastic horror script into chilling audio fiction.
Facebook: Stewart J. Clark: Writer
Amazon UK author page
Fiona Thraille can be found producing for DASHING ONIONS, WIRELESS THEATRE and DASHINGLY QUIRKY LIVE, and writes, edits, produces and wears al of the hats! She can be heard being astoundingly good in many many audio fiction shows including Perfect Retreat, Edict Zero, Pixie, Anyone F'Coffee, Cyclone, Amelia Project, Phantomwise and oh so much more - find links to her works here!
Sarah loves to play with some experimental sound here and there and would love any new scripts to play with - whether it be a two-hander for her and Fiona to play on or a whole group piece or monologue, feel free to send her your scripts with your production rates for the rights to make, produce and publish it with Quirky Voices. Please contact her on email@example.com
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CHURCH BELLS RING OUT
A DOOR OPENS, SQUEAKS AND IS SHUT, AS BELLS BECOME MORE DISTANT
Quirky Voices presents
Stewart J. Clark
Michael clears his throat
Moves his chair
Michael: Bless me…priest, for I have sinned. This is my first confession. Maybe my last.
Prunella: Your last?
Michael: Yes. Perhaps.
Prunella: Very well, my child. Go ahead.
Michael: Hm, where to start? Perhaps it would be prudent to find out what you already know. Just so we’re on the same page.
Prunella: Know? About what?
(VOICE ECHOES INTO THE CHURCH)
(INTERNAL CHURCH BELLS STRIKE THIRTEEN)
Prunella: I…don’t know you. Do I?
Michael: You sure about that? You don’t read the newspapers? Don’t watch the reports on television? Never go for a scroll online?
Prunella: Which reports, specifically?
Michael: Really, do you need to ask? Have there been any other stories of late?
Michael: That’s right - Local. National. International - They’ve been rather hard to miss, even to you: locked in this inverted coffin, listening to your parishioners spill their dirty little
secrets, while you...you sit in divine judgement. But today...today you get to hear my confession. And you finally get to judge me in person.
Prunella: I…I’m…not sure I can—
Michael: Shhhhhhh. It’s alright. You’re new to this aren’t you? Well don’t fret. I’m only here to talk. Nobody ... ever listens you see. Even those who were paid to do so – I mean, why
would they, when they can sedate me with their pills and keep charging and...
Michael: And there’s so much I have to say. And it’s important. It’s life and death – well, that’s your trade is it not?
Prunella: In…in a manner of speaking.
Michael: Good. Good, good good. Then we have something in common.
Prunella: Very well. OK. Right. Erm, yes, I’ll listen. My child—
Michael: Don’t call me that. Never call me that.
Prunella: Alright, my ch…
Prunella: I mean…what should I call you?
Michael: You know.
Prunella: I do?
Michael: You know what they all call me.
Prunella: Yes, but it’s not for me to presume that you really are—
Michael: Say it. SAY IT. Say it, priest.
Michael: [LAUGHS, CLAPS VERY SLOWLY THREE TIMES.] Not gonna scream, are ya?
Prunella: I…I, no. I won’t scream.
Michael: Tell you what, for the sake of our little chat, you can um...call me Michael. Keep things simple.
Michael: It’s a made-up name, of course. But then, so is ‘The Toymaker’. Yeah, yeh...The tabloids spewed that out, didn't they?
Prunella: Right. Yes.
Michael: So, my confession…I suppose it would be wise to go back to where it all began. Get the usual clichés out of the way. The traumatic childhood. The abusive family. The years
of squalor and degradation. I didn’t even have toys back then. They ...they didn’t let me.
Prunella: Who didn’t Michael? You’re mother? Your father?
Michael: Doesn’t matter now. They’re gone. As is my stepbrother. Yeah, he er... he didn’t make it out of the cot. So tragic.
Prunella: Did you—
Michael: I said it doesn’t matter, it was a long time ago. I don’t want to talk about it.
Prunella: But you—
Michael: Shut up. I don’t want to. Never. Just stop it.
Prunella: Ok Michael. I understand, I didn’t get toys either. Not the ones I wanted anyway. Just…just take your time.
Michael: Will you stop telling me what to do. I’m not a baby anymore. I’m big alright? [PUTS HEAD IN HANDS] I’m older now. I’m..I'm better. Much better.
Prunella: Yes. Yes, I can see that.
Michael: And I know ...I know about art. Do you know about art, priest?
Prunella: I…well, I’ve done some Amateur Dramatics in my time—
Michael: Do you know why they branded me The Toymaker?
Prunella: I-I…don’t know.
Michael: Yes, you do. You know it as clearly as you know of the invisible man in the clouds who...who built the universe in one week. (And foolishly let in the devil). It’s not really a secret, is it?
Given the amount the coverage I’ve had. I’d wager that half the world knows. So go on, tell me. Tell me why.
Prunella: The….according to the articles I’ve read, the victims are…presented in such a way, that they resemble…toys.
Michael: Correct! Dingaling ding dinggg! And do you recall any specific ones?
Michael: Yes, you do. (MOVES HIS CHAIR)
Prunella: Michael, this is not conducive to—
Michael: Go on. (BANGS TWICE ON THE WALL OF THE CONFESSION BOX)
Prunella: The first, I believe, was…was referred to as The Hobby Horse.
Michael: Not the first, but certainly an early design. I wanted to create something simple. And there’s nothing so simple as removing a head and placing it onto a carved wooden pole.
I mean It has been done for centuries hasn't it? Go on. Another.
Prunella: The…that Teddy Bear.
MICHAEL BANGS EXCITEDLY ON THE SIDE OF THE CONFESSION BOX
Michael: Now, that one was more of a challenge. To find a man of the right shape, who lived alone, with no close neighbours or acquaintances. I had to subdue him quickly. Then remove
his skin, completely intact, (that's no simple task, I can assure you). Then, I had to take care not to. tear it, as I stuffed in the synthetic fibre. Took a whole night, and much of the following day I must say but (taps fingers on bottom of chair)
But I would say that the results were worth it. Anymore?
Michael: Come on, we’ve barely scratched the surface. And you’re doing so well.
Prunella: (BIG INTAKE OF BREATH, SIGH) The Dolls House.
Michael: Ah, my most recent. And, if I may say, my greatest creation…You... disagree?
Prunella: An entire family, Michael—
Michael: You might think it’s strange for a boy to crave such a plaything, but... I’ve always loved the idea of a dolls house: A..An entire little world, utterly convincing, right down to the
last detail. And yet, truly (TAPS FINGERS) fake.
Michael: That was another night job. I had to redress the innards of the entire home, as well as my... ‘dolls’. And then I had to decide where to place them to create the (TAPS FINGERS EXCITEDLY) proper effect.
Around the dining table seemed like the best idea. A family meal. A last supper.
Prunella: Do you believe everything is fake?
Michael: That would be my experience.
Prunella: Or is it possible it’s just you?
Michael: (HISSED) Excuse me?
Prunella: Perhaps your own perceptions of the world have blinded you to the reality.
Michael: Oh really? Says the woman who worships crosses.
Michael: You..you don’t... believe me, do you? You think I’m telling... lies.
Prunella: I do.
Michael: (TAPS FINGERS IRRITATED) Be careful now. You know what I’m capable of.
Prunella: I’m not sure I am. All I’ve heard from you so far, is extracts from news articles. Nothing more.
Michael: Well, ok, well If you want the gory details, I’ll be SO happy to share them.
Prunella: No thank you. But I am curious: what would you make ...from me?
Michael: What would I…what?
Prunella: It’s a straightforward question, for a man of your so-called talents.
Michael: I…right, uh well, it’s just after Halloween. I could cut..cut out your brains, and poke out your eyes, pull out your tongue and ...stick a candle in there—
Prunella: Hardly original. And since when were Jack-O-Lanterns considered toys?
Michael: I…I’d have to give it some thought. Inspiration doesn’t always come fully formed, does it? It has to be developed, like a foetus in a womb.
Prunella: But what if there isn’t the time? Sometimes opportunities present themselves and you have to go with them. That’s what it’s all about.
Michael: Art....So you do consider me an ...artist, then?
Prunella: No. I consider you a fake.
Michael: (BANGS WALLS IN IRRITATION) You’re really treading on very thin ice—
Prunella: So kill me. Go on. Go ahead. (MICHALE TAPS FINGERS IN IRRITATION) You could get away with it, if you really wanted to. The church is empty, the doors secure. You have more than enough time to create something beautiful. So go on, Michael. Prove it is you. Prove it, Toymaker. (WHISPERS)
Michael: [LAUGHS] Yahahaaa! I really had you going there, didn’t I? You actually thought I was a psycho. The psycho. (LAUGHS)
Michael: Sure you did. You were terrified.
Prunella: I’m afraid not. (PAUSE) And I don’t understand what would compel anyone to pretend such a thing.
Michael: Oh come on...It was Just a joke, alright? A dare. Jamie reckoned that vicars are gullible, believing in all that.. bible ..stuff. But, fair enough, you’ve proved you aren’t. So... well done!
Prunella: You’re a Liar.
Michael: Yeah. Uh. Ok, I admit it: I’ve broke the…whatever commandment it is. I confess. I confess...
Prunella: It was in poor very taste Michael, given the circumstances.
Michael: Yeah, yeah I know, but how else would I have gotten your attention? I had to come on strong. I didn’t mean to diss the dead or anything.
Prunella: I’m referring to the fact, that you claimed the credit for someone else’s work.
Michael: Right...Well…Won’t happen again, alright? I’ll see my myself out. [TRIES DOOR HANDLE. IT
WON’T MOVE] Hey, what the…the door’s stuck.
MICHAEL TRIES TO GET OUT AND STARTS TO BANG ON THE DOOR
Prunella: They’re not simply toys you know.
Michael: The door, it’s not moving…
Prunella: They say Toymaker, but there’s so much more to it than that. They are statements. Snapshots. Frames from a stolen childhood.
Michael: Hey, I ‘m stuck—
(MICHAEL'S VOICE STARTS TO ECHO...HIS ANXIETY RISES)
PRUNELLA THROWS AND CATCHES SOME KEYS
Prunella: And they always go on about the same ones: The Hobby Horse. The Bear. The Dolls House. And yet, there have been so many others.
ORGAN MUSIC STARTS
THROBBING UNDERCURRENT STARTS
Michael: Come on. This is— I can't breathe...I CAN'T BREATHE...
MICHAEL BANGS ON THE DOOR AND IS IN GREAT DISTRESS
THRUM STARTS AND SLOW BUILDS
Prunella: And by the way, The Dolls House, it wasn’t the most recent. That would be the priest. But no longer a priest…Do you remember those small tin soldiers, with the red coats
and the tall bearskin hats? All it took was a drop of paint. And a few dabs of glue. He’s in the vestry right now, standing to attention. If you’re interested?
Michael: Oh, yeah, very funny, can you open the door now? Please? Open it.
Prunella: But Michael, you can’t leave. I haven’t forgiven you yet.
Prunella: And this is your last confession, remember?
A WOODEN OBJECT IS OMINOUSLY DRAGGED ALONG THE OUTSIDE OF THE CONFESSION BOX
Michael: I’m sorry. Alright. I’m sorry. Let me out. OK? Go on. Let me out. Oh god— I cant.....I (IS BREATHLESS)
Prunella: You’re not going to scream, are you?
Michael: (YELL) LET ME OUT. LET ME OUT....I didn't know it was you...I DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS Y—
Something is dragged across the floor and stops
A chair is moved
The sound of sewing is heard. Squelchy, delicate, sewing.
AN UNNERVING THRUM RISES
A distant door clashes open...
You gave just listened to... and survived...
by Stewart J. Clark.
A Quirky Voices presents production.
Please search out Stewart's other works in the shownotes.
And of course, my hearty thanks go to the effervescently brilliant -as always - friend of mine - Fiona Thraille for coming to play as PRUNELLA.
And... I am Sarah Golding.
And I had a little play with the old pitch changer - don't know if you noticed, that wasn't my natural voice...as Michael.
Thank you so much for joining us,
Look out for more bespoke and fun Quirky Voices productions in the future.
And if you've got a script for me and Fiona to play with, ping it to QUIRKYVOICES@GMAIL.COM
Merry Christmas ya filthy animals