A WALK IN THE WOODS by Curtis Scott Dunn
© 2018 – All Rights Reserved
The script requires two lighting looks, a warm and a cool, and recorded or live animal growls that get more unnatural as they go. Otherwise the stage is as the director sees fit.
1: gender unspecified, but should look capable of killing someone
2: gender unspecified, but must go from friendly, happy-go-lucky to an imposing inquisitor and back. Character wears a non-descript bag of some sort, with a canteen and a length of rope and noose in it. The latter items should not be visible until they are needed.
1: Where ARE we?
2: Right here, duh! Sure is a nice day!
1: How long have we been walking?
2: Couple days, I guess?
1: I was sure we would have found something by now. A town, a road, something? It’s a park for God’s sake! It didn’t seem like we were even that far off the path. We’re lost, you know.
2: Maybe we aren’t? Everything happens for a reason, right? Maybe this is where we are supposed to be right now!
1: OK, right. YOU tell my boss that I didn’t do what I was supposed to because I got lost. That will go over well. Good luck with that!
2: Don’t be down! Come on, it’s a beautiful day! Just keep walking!
1: It is beautiful weather. Not a drop of rain the whole time we have been here.
I can’t believe this stream is running as strong as it is. I wonder where the water is coming from?
2: Somewhere upstream, I’d think.
1: Don’t be a smartass! I mean, is it a spring? Ice melt? Where does the water come from?
2: Why question it? It’s here. We can drink it. It’s good!
1: I guess. I guess we’re lucky.
1: Well, yeah. I mean, we’re lost. But we have a seemingly endless supply of clean fresh water, and we haven’t had any problem finding food either. The weather has been so nice we haven’t had to really even think about shelter. And we haven’t run into any wild animals that might want to eat us.
2: It’s not luck! We are supposed to be here! We’re getting what we need because this is where we are supposed to be!
1: What are you talking about? I’m supposed to be working right now!
2: Are you? What would you be doing at work right now?
1: None of your business!
2: Fine. Why do you do that work? Do you like it?
1: I hate it! But I have to live…
2: So you would do something you hate, in order to afford do what you are doing right here. Doesn’t it make sense that, given the choice between that, or just being able to live, that the latter is better?
1: Um, no?
2: Why not?
1: Look. My boss expects me to do the job he gave me. My landlord expects me to pay the rent for my apartment. If I’m not doing those things, then I won’t have a job and an apartment anymore.
1: What do you mean “So?”
2: You don’t need those things. Stay here.
1: I can’t stay here!
2: Why not?
1: Because I have responsibilities! Are you just stupid?
2: That isn’t very nice.
1: I’m not nice. I’d like to be, but that’s not how it turned out.
This weather won’t last forever, we won’t find food forever, and we won’t avoid predators forever!
2: We have so far.
1: We have been lucky! That’s all!
2: It isn’t luck.
1: Fine. OK. Let’s just keep walking.
2: We haven’t stopped.
1: Keep your ears open for sounds, OK?
2: Like birds?
1: NO! Like people! Or the highway! Or airplanes! Maybe someone is looking for us!
2: Oh…. I don’t think they are.
1: Are what?
2: Looking for us.
1: Of course they’re looking for us! When someone goes missing, you look for them!
2: Who is going to look for us?
1: What do you mean, “Who is going to look for us?” Somebody! The police?
2: Why would the police look for us? We didn’t do anything wrong. At least I didn’t.
1: (LONG PAUSE) Someone is going to notice we haven’t come back!
2: I don’t know about that. Who did you tell that you were coming here?
1: I… no one, actually. I was only going for a walk, and then I got lost.
2: And then you met me!
1: Yeah, and then I met you. How is it that I couldn’t find my way back to my car, but I could find you!
2: Maybe because you needed me?
1: What the heck did I need you for?
2: Company? Someone to talk to?
1: What were you even doing out here?
2: I came here because this was where I was supposed to be!
1: Is that what you do? Just go where you think you’re supposed to be?
2: Yeah. Is there something wrong with that?
1: Don’t you have a home?
2: I am home! Wherever I am, that’s home!
1: No, a REAL home! Someplace that’s yours. Someplace you live. Someplace permanent.
2: Nothing is permanent.
1: You’re pissing me off. I kinda wish you would leave me alone to find my way out of here.
2: You want me to leave you alone?
2: OK. Are you sure?
1: AAAGH! OK! Not right now! There’s no point in us wandering around these woods separately. We have a better chance of surviving if we stick together. But once we find the way out, we are parting ways!
2: What if we don’t find the way out?
1: You’re not making sense. Of course we will find the way out! I was only walking for 10 minutes or so before I got lost. How is it that we’ve been wandering around for days when I was only a few minutes from the trail?
2: But we haven’t found the way out yet.
1: We will.
2: Are you thirsty?
1: Yes, actually.
2: Here. (Hands over a canteen. 1 drinks. Lights shift slightly from warm to cooler.)
1: That water seemed to taste better before.
2: It’s the same water.
1: Do we have any food left?
2: No, but there’s some mushrooms right there, and that’s an apple tree.
1: We really haven’t wanted for anything this whole time.
1: How long have we been walking?
2: Who knows? Does it matter at this point?
1: But I don’t even feel like a day has passed. I haven’t slept. It hasn’t gotten… dark?
2: No. Are you tired?
2: Then don’t worry about it!
1: Why were you in the woods? When we met?
2: I told you. I thought I needed to be there, so I was.
1: That doesn’t seem like a real reason.
2: Shall I ask you the same thing?
1: I told YOU! I was out for a walk!
2: Was that all?
1: What do you mean?
2: Was that all you were doing in the woods?
2: Are you sure?
2: So, just a walk in the woods. 10-15 minutes or so?
2: Didn’t bring anything else with you?
1: NO! What are you getting at?
2: You were carrying a rope.
1: WHAT? No I wasn’t!
2: Yes, you were. This one. (Produces a length of rope, with a noose at one end. Lights get slightly cooler.) What were you going to do with this?
1: What? Where did you get that?
2: From you.
1: I… No… You…
2: What were you doing, in the woods, off the path, with a rope?
2: What were you doing?
2: WHAT WERE YOU DOING?
1: FINE! I went into the woods to end it. I was there to kill myself! I didn’t get the chance! YOU came along!
2: Are you sure?
2: Are you sure that’s what you were doing? Are you sure you didn’t get the chance?
1: Of course I’m sure! I’m here with you! I’m talking to you!
2: Yes, you are here with me. Yes we are talking.
1: Then I didn’t do it! How would I be here if I were dead?
2: How indeed? What happens when you die?
1: I don’t know! No one really knows!
2: YOU know. Don’t you?
1: OK. You’re getting really weird. Maybe you should go.
2: I can’t go. This is where I’m supposed to be.
1: WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?
2: Where are you supposed to be?
1: I’m not talking to you anymore. If you won’t leave, just shut up!
2: If that’s what you want.
1: It IS!
2: I don’t believe you.
2: Are you thirsty?
1: Yes, kinda.
2: Here. (hands over canteen)
1: (drinks, empties canteen. Lights get cooler.) That tasted terrible! Can we get some fresh water?
2: I don’t think so. The stream seems to have run dry.
1: What? (looks) Oh, it has run dry. When did that happen?
2: When it needed to happen.
1: You are really pissing me off with that.
2: Well, hold on to your anger. It’s getting chilly. It might keep you warm.
1: (realizes the cold) Holy crap! You’re right! When did that happen?
2: Just now. I guess it needed to..
1: (interrupting) DON’T!
(silence for a bit. A low growl is heard.)
1: What was that?
2: No idea. A bear? A mountain lion?
1: Oh, God!
2: That’s not going to help. Might have at one point, but predators don’t listen to God.
1: I don’t understand you.
2: Yes, you do. What were you doing in the woods?
1: I told you.
2: You told me part of it.
1: What are you talking about? What do you mean, “Part of it?”
2: You tell me.
1: I have nothing to tell you.
(a low growl is heard, closer, less animal-like)
2: Tell me. Tell me and I’ll take you back to the road.
1: What? We have been walking around these woods all this time and you knew how to get out?
2: Of course!
1: Damn you!
2: Not something you can do, so pipe down with that. Tell me who you were with.
2: In the woods. Who were you with?
1: (clearly dismayed) How? What?
2: You weren’t alone.
1: How could you know that?
2: I saw you.
1: What? You couldn’t have seen… WHO ARE YOU? (lights darken, very cold)
2: You already know. But it isn’t important. Who was she?
1: I’m not telling you anything.
(another low growl is heard, it finishes more like a scream)
2: You brought her to the woods. Did you know she was only 15?
(1 takes the rope that he has now been carrying, winds it around own hands, and tries to attack 2, as if to strangle. 1 isn’t able to approach 2. 1’s hands are too cold. 1 collapses to a kneeling position. 2 is unaffected.)
You can’t. You’re too cold. You can barely move. You can tell me what you did, though.
1: I brought her to the woods. I was supposed to kill her. I don’t know why. My boss wanted her dead.
2: So the rope wasn’t for you, was it?
1: No. Yes. Not at first. I was supposed to kill her and bury her in the woods. I couldn’t do it, so I drugged her and tied her up a little way off the path. I figured when she came around she’d make noise and someone would notice and find her.
But boss wouldn’t have that. I knew he’d kill me if I let her go. So, I took the rest of the rope and went a little farther off the path. I was looking for a tree when everything went off. Then I was walking with you.
(The scene brightens. It gets warmer.)
2: She’s ok, you know.
1: She is? That’s good. For her. But not for me.
1: Boss will come for me. He’ll kill me when he finds out. And, it will be slow and painful. He’ll want to make an example.
2: You could stay here. No one can find you here.
1: I don’t know. Where am I?
2: You are where you need to be.
1: What does that mean? This place is weird. It’s warm, it’s cold, there’s food and water, then there isn’t. And there was something out here with us that sounded hungry.
2: We are here. This place is whatever it needs to be. I am whoever I need to be.
1: I don’t understand.
2: Yes, you do. (long pause as they regard each other) You have a decision to make.
1: I do?
2: Yes, you can stay here, or you can go back to the road.
1: You’ll take me back?
2: If you like. But you can find it yourself pretty easily. It’s about fifty feet beyond those trees.
1: (looking in that direction) No kidding.
1: But I don’t know if I want to go back. Bad things and a lot of pain wait for me there.
2: You can stay here.
1: Which here? The nice sunny woods, or the dark cold place with the growling thing?
2: Whichever you need. You’ll be where you are supposed to be.
1: It might be nice to get away from you, though. I might be able to get away from the boss, move somewhere he can’t find me.
2: True enough. He’s not all powerful. You can run. But you and I, we will see each other again.
1: I’ll come back here? Is this death?
2: It is what it needs to be. Nothing is permanent. I will see you again either here or there or somewhere else. I probably won’t look like this, but if you pay attention, you will recognize me.
1: Are you an angel, or a devil?
2: Yes. Both. Neither. Make your choice.
(1 looks back and forth between the parking lot in the distance and 2, undecided, as the lights fade)