Drama

The Ghost of the Crying Widow-Aneela Saqib

Act 2 Scene 1

(One year later)

One day, while walking on the road, Blair listens to Henry’s echoing voice, calling “Daddy”. Another day he feels that Henry is walking on the road. So, he discusses all these unreal happenings to his senior colleague Hannah.

Hannah: How are you holding up?

Blair: Can’t motivate my students? All I had to do was protect my son. I couldn’t even protect him.

Hannah: Listen you can’t bring him back.

Blair: My son isn’t dead. I feel him and until I know what happened to him. I am not going to stop looking for him.

In the meanwhile Blair drops fliers and pamphlets to all police stations. Officer assures him that they double check every offender in every area.

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Scene 2

One day Blair is pasting fliers on the roadside wall, suddenly he finds a dart of Henry’s pirate gun that hits against the wall near him. He lifts it, looks around in search of him, then soon he finds Henry riding on a bus. He runs behind the bus and halts it but can’t find Henry. After alighting from the bus, he comes across an old building where “pay the phantom” is written on the wall. Whereas three black vultures are also sitting on the roof top. Blair enters into the building hurriedly, as it is an old and frightful place. Inside the building, some mysterious people are sitting around the fire. Blair asks them about what a graffiti is mentioned outside. But nobody replies him. At last a mysterious, worn out and blind old man appears before him. Blair feels something petrifying and alarming inside the building. Suddenly a dreadful and nerve-racking sound of a crying woman resounds and listens to everyone.

Blair: What is it? It is horrifying enough. 

Blind man: Nobody knows. She always comes out just before Halloween.

Blair: What does “Pay the phantom” mean?

Blind man: Come with me. (Blair follows the blind man. Both of them walk into a place full of dark, come across a wall where it is written for several times “pay the phantom”.

Blair: What does it mean?

Blind man: Just what it say. I guess. (A ghost appears behind the Blair only blind man can see.) Time is up. You need to leave.

The next day Blair goes to meet Sophia to talk to her as she is angry to him for losing and not protecting their only child. (She starts living separately.)

Blair: Sophia, I need to talk to you. Seriously.

Sophia: It is not good time. I have got some client designs I gotta finish.

He discusses with her what he sees written on the wall.

Blair: I remembered something that Henry had said to me on that day just before he disappeared. He asked me. Can we pay the phantom? Have you hearing anything or feel that Henry might be trying to communicate with you? He might be reaching out to me? (Sophia overcomes with emotions and leaves the room. Blair follows her and she bursts into tears)

Sophia: I see him every day. I see him on the street. I see him on the subway. I see him on the grocery store. But every time I get closer, it is not him. It is never him. You had to take him to that stupid fair. He was my boy, my son. (Cries bitterly)

Blair: I know, I know.

Sophia: Then why didn’t you protect him?

At night Blair is sitting on the table and watching the video made by Henry at the fair. When it comes to an end, he puts the camera on the table, it blinks with a sound, turns back and holds it to view. An image of an old cottage starts appearing in the camera, then suddenly a phantom appears and then disappears. This sight horrifies him.      

The same midnight Sophia awakes by some noisy sounds in the house. She listens to these distorted noises and goes downstairs. She finds there that Henry’s scooty is coming towards her. No one knows who is driving it. It halts near her and then falls to the ground. It leaves her uneasy and makes her feel frightened. 

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Scene 3

 The very next day Sophia goes to her husband’s house to discuss about the incident what happens last night.

Sophia: I need to talk to you.

Blair: Come on in.

Sophia: (says hesitatingly) May be I imagined it.

Blair: You didn’t imagine it! It’s real. I have been doing research. (Opens his laptop, shows her the lists of all missing children) If you try the date of Halloween only about half of the missing children have been recovered.

Sophia: Why are you showing this to me?

Blair: Why if all of these missing children on Halloween, in New York City, what if they all are connected? What is something behind it?

Sophia: How would we find out?

Blair: I have the address of a parent whose daughter was missing last year at Halloween. (After this discussion, both of them go to the missing child parent who tells them that his son says just before the missing day, “Can we pay the phantom?” His son’s name is Jack. And Jack’s father started hearing things and sounds about his son too.

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Scene 4

The next day Mr. Blair talks to police officer about the meeting with missing boy’s parent. Blair tells the officer that something mysterious happens on Halloween and it takes the children.

After that the police officer investigates about another missing girl “Emma” on last Halloween. He decides to meet her mother who serves as a chef in a restaurant. Officer goes there and wants to talk to her in private. When talking about Emma, her mother discloses the same secret about Emma. Officer discovers that before missing, Emma says the same sentence like Henry “Can we pay the phantom?” (Suddenly, after this very sentence, a rapid fire spreads out in the restaurant’s kitchen and overlaps both of them. But some people come to help them in extinguishing the fire.Both are shocked after seeing the fire incident.

The same night Blair and Sophia celebrating their dinner together. Blair is setting the table for dinner while Sophia is taking shower; when suddenly all the lights of the house are got fainted and eventually put out. Blair peeps into the window where three children are standing in a row outside of their house. Their faces are covered. All of a sudden, they catch fire and burn into ashes. It frightens Blair a lot. After that he senses another alarming and quite scary situation when he looks manya ghosts of children into the dining room. At once, lights are turned on and everything scary is disappeared. He tells Sophia all what happened to him sometimes before.

Blair: (To Sophia) Children were wearing old costumes.

 Sophia: Was Henry one of them?

Blair: They are so many in number. I don’t know.

Sophia: May be it is the time to bring someone into the house. Like a psychic or a medium or something.

Blair: Those people are fraud.

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Scene 5

Next day a psychic comes to the house to investigate the mysterious object or something dreadful. Sophia takes her to Henry’s room where all of his toys are kept on the shelf.

Sophia: He used to take this bear everywhere with him. He usually sleeps with it.

Blair: How does it work?

Psychic: If something was here, I would not need to find it. I just need to let to find it. (She comesto the window and opens it. All of the sudden, a huge and strong blow of wind swirls her, she screams that if someone hold her neck tightly. That mysterious thing holds her upwards to the ceiling and after that immediately throws her to the floor. All in a sudden, she falls to the ground and died as some unseen power has burnt her to coal. Instantly, the police is called to the house.

Blair: (To the officer) It must be something spooky that has taken my son.

Officer: (In amazement) You told me that the woman was flying around the ceiling. I believe in facts and logic.

The very next night Sophia goes to her bed. She puts her tablet on the side table and goes to sleep. Suddenly she awakes due to some noisy sounds at the side table. She is surprised to see that an image ofa scary creature is appeared on the screen of the tablet. Blair awakes all the night at down stairs. He sits on the sofa in the lounge when he listens to some abrupt and noisy sounds in the bed room. He runs to their bed room where she is sitting against the wall. He asks her that what she is doing at this time. But all of a sudden, like a phantom, Sophia speaks in Henry’s voice. She cries in Henry’s tone, “Come and save me from the ghost”.  As Sophia is not in her senses, she cuts her wrist with the scissors lying nearby. She makes a specific emblem and shape on her wrist with it. She knows nothing about the recent incident, like appearance of Henry’s voice in her and cutting her wrist with scissors. Blair tries to provide her first aid due to the bleeding when he puts bandage on her wrist she comes into her senses.

Sophia: what happened? (Crying with pain)

Blair: You were cutting yourself, you don’t remember.

Sophia: No!

Blair: I heard Henry’s voice in you.  “He said come and save me.”

Sophia: Where is he?

Blair: Don’t know (Looks at her bleeding wrist, where she has made a specific sign)

 Scene 6

 Next scene sets in Hannah’s lab, where Blair, Sophia and Hannah is talking and   searching about the specific sign that Sophia has made on her wrist.

Hannah: (Searches on the computer) This sign does not appear to be Greek or Roman. Interesting. The Celtic Godess. The most revered of all Celtic Symbols.

Blair: There were no celts in America. And their original culture ceased to exist over 1,000 years ago, so.......

Hannah: There was a small group of Celtic rehabilitation, who migrated from Ireland. New York was a big then.

Blair: What happened to them?

Hannah: “The influenza epidemic in New York 1679. When it struck, it devastated the population. Some colonists blame an Irish woman of using black magic to bring about the deadly epidemic. They burned her at the stake.”

Sophia: Does it say in there what her name was?

Hannah: No, not in this document. But I am sure I will find it. I will check the archives tonight.

Blair: This happened when New York was still a rural settlement, 300 years ago. At that time, the trading post would have been just along this park, right?

Hannah: Yes, there is an old church in that area. Saint Joseph’s. It is here. A small Irish community still gathers there each year to celebrate Halloween in the Celtic tradition.

Blair: I don’t know.

After that meeting, Blair and Sophia goes to a village where Celtic celebration of Halloween is going on. A group of ladies is walking around the burning fire with Halloween costumes. A wonderful song is playing too. All of them are throwing puppets and dolls into the fire to get rid away from the evil and deadly spirits. A woman in white dress is leading them.

Blair: Hello!

Woman: Hello! Welcome, I don’t think, I have seen you folks here before.

Sophia: We were wondering about the song. Can you tellus about it.

Woman: Of course. It is the portal song. It is played during Sawan. It is meant to honor and welcome the spirits. This place was home to the first Sawan celebration in the country.

Blair: My son was abducted on last Halloween.

Woman: I am sorry to hear that.

Blair: For almost a year after he disappeared, there was nothing. Then two days ago, we began to hear his voice. Moment when we could see him.

Woman: I am just a school teacher from Bayside. We get together here every Halloween for fun. I am truly sorry, but I don’t know anything about your son.

Sophia: No! No! Please can you tell us about the Celtic Godess. I did myself last night. (Shows her injured wrist to the woman)

Blair: Do you recognize this symbol?

Woman: This is the waxing moon. You can tell because the crescent faces left. It means Maiden. The waning moon. The crescent faces right. It means Crone. It is the most devastating of all the pagan symbols.

Sophia: Why?

Woman: It is said that hate made her forget her true nature as a mother.

Sophia: Could she have taken our son?

 Woman: It is believed that there was one day a year, when the Crone could take someone to the outside. The final day of Sawan when the boundary between the two worlds dissolves and she returns to take three children on Halloween night.

Blair: So Crone is a ghost and you pay the ghost with your child.

Woman: That is why the children burn dolls tonight. It is an offering so they won’t be taken.

Sophia: So, if our son was taken? Does it mean that he is dead?

Woman: All that I can tell you is that at the beginning of Sawan, as the door between the two worlds slowly opens, only the children taken the previous year can still reach out to this world. And they are the only ones who can be saved. But only until midnight, that when the portal between the two worlds closes again.

Blair: Two hours?

Sophia: Where do we find him?

Woman: Legend says, that in the days before Halloween, the Crone can be heard crying for her lost children.

Blair: Crying woman, I know the place. That is why I saw him, he tried to show me. To bring me there.

Blair and Sophia ride in a cab to reach from the village to that place where he once heard the sound of a crying woman and looked “pay the phantom” written on a wall. When both of them are going to that scary, old building, Blair receives the call from Hannah, she informs them about the name of crying woman.

Hannah: I found the name “Annie Sawquin.” She was young widow with three children, living on the first New York settlement. On Halloween night of 1679. An angry mob approached her home. The influenza outbreak had infected most of the settlement and many people blamed Annie’s family because of their Celtic beliefs. The angry crowd broke into their house, looking to punish her and the children for the misery they were suffering. But ultimately, the children were discovered and captured by the mob. On the same night, they burned them at the stake. As the children cried out for mercy, their mother was forced to watch on in horror. With the last breath, she swore to return every year on that day and replace her three slaughtered children with those from the living. That’s all the information I have.

Blair: Thank you. (Suddenly many of vultures attack their cab and the car gets a serious accident. Resultantly, the driver dies.)

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The scene changes, Hannah closes her office after providing the information to Blair and Sophia, when she locks all the doors, she feels that something extraordinary is going to happen with her. At once, ghost of crying woman appears and throws Hannah out of the window. Eventually, she is died.

Blair: It is 10:15

Sophia: You have to go to find Henry. He needs you, I am fine.

Blair hurriedly runs towards his destination where the door between the two worlds opens for a while. Time gets short due to the accident. He goes straight into that scary, old building where he heard the voice of a crying woman for the very first time, who took away Henry last year on Halloween night.

Blair: (Enters into the building) Hello! Anybody! Somebody there! (The voice echoes) Can somebody help me? Where is everybody gone? (Blind man appears)

Blind man: It’s Halloween. Ghosts are all out. Why have you come back?

Blair: I need your help? How do I found crying woman?

Blind man: What do you want from her?

Blair: My child back.

Blind man: Give me your watch. You want to cross over to the other side or not? (Blair gives him the watch)

Blair: You can see!

Blind man: I am blind as a bat. Not deaf.

Blair: Take me to her. (Blind man walks and Blair follows him and reaches across a bridge, where darkness dwells everywhere)

Blind man: The portal is open now. What you are looking for is on the other side. You better be back before midnight.

Blair: What happened then?

Blind man: Halloween is over. You are not back, you will be trapped in there. (Blairsteps on the bridge in a hurry) Oh wait! (Gives him a torch) You might need this. A lot more than I do.

Blair starts crossing the bridge. A huge thundering sound of clouds echoes with lightning. The bridge is too long to walk as vultures are crossing over the bridge. At last it comes to an end and there is a wide grassy ground. In the middle of the ground, that old, weird and scary house appears which Blair saw in the Henry’s camera some days before. It must be the house of the crying woman, Annie Sawquin. He enters there and it looks that no one lives there since ages. Blair steps down the basement stairs of the house where he looks a big table made of stone on which Celtic sign has been carved. Soon he faces a bloodcurdling scene of many a ghosts of the children. All of them are staring at him. He goes through them and it seems spine-tingling for him. They are all wearing Halloween costumes.

Blair: Henry! I am here son, I am here. Where are you? (Blair can’t touch all of the children because they are ghosts. His hand is going through their fearsome bodies. Suddenly Henry holds his hand.) My son! My boy!

Henry: Is it really you, Dad? I missed you so much.

Blair: I will take you home now. (He is turning back when two more children hold Blair’s hand. These are Emma and Jack.

Emma: Can we come too?

Henry: This is Emma and Jack, Dad. We were brought here together.

Blair: There is no time. We have to stay together. (Blair goes outside of the house and rushes towards the bridge along with three children) Come on, keep moving on the bridge. (When all of them are running on the bridge, Blair finds the ghost of the crying widow staring at them. She is full of anger and wants to take revenge from him. Instantly, she flies and comes near to him and holds him from the neck. She takes him up to the sky in order to take his life. Henry, Emma and Jack get horrified by seeing that, so Henry cries for his Dad. Now all of the ghost children are out of the house and Henry tries to seek help from them. They fly up in the sky, around the crying woman in order to save their friends and their Dad as well. Now a war starts there between the crying woman and ghosts of the children. After a tiresome and nerve-racking fight, the crying woman disappears and dissolves into the sky along with the ghost children. Now the scene is clear, so Blair holds the children with him and runs towards the real world. The bridge starts collapsing behind them due to the shortage of time. They move quickly as they can but they face hair breath escape from the collapse of the bridge behind them. Finally, after a long and tentative trial, they enter into the real and human world.

Final Scene

The last scene opens where the sun rises from the east. Blair returns to his home after dropping Emma and Jack to their destinations. Sophia feels so much happy at looking Henry, safe and sound in her arms. She thanks Blair for getting their child back. But Henry, Emma and Jack don’t remember any memory regarding another world.

Henry: Mom! I enjoyed my Halloween carnival a lot. I love you Mom.

The End

Aneela Saqib is an Mphil scholar currently enrolled in Riphah International University,Faisalabad.
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