A PROLONGED NIGHTMARE
Adapted for the stage

by Alfred Vassallo
In Two Parts

CAST

VOICE          The Kidnapper

LUCY           an accountant in her thirties

JAMES         a middle-aged Paedophile

KAREN         a nurse in her twenties

ADAM          a juvenile delinquent in his twenties.

MICHAEL       a man late thirties committed manslaughter

MAN 1          Non-speaking part            

MAN 2          Non-speaking part            


SCENE

A room painted black with one door in the middle and another on the right-hand corner. In it a round table seating five people. On the walls we find a couple of speakers painted black too. Two security cameras on show.

TIME

The Present

SYNOPSIS

When five strangers who have unspeakable pasts wake up imprisoned in a warehouse, they discover they are being forced to participate in an evil game of truth until they’re forced to own up for their crimes. 

 

 

 

PART ONE

(As the play begins we found five persons sitting around a table with their heads tied behind their back. They are all unconscious with their heads lying on the table. After a while one by one, they wake up except for James and looks around them. Karen throughout has to show that she is the most frightened of them all.)
 
MICHAEL
What the hell is this?
 
ADAM
What the fuck. Why am I tied up? 
(He talks to Karen who still with his head down)
You, wake up, wake up.
 
KAREN
(She lifts his head distorted)
What is this? Is this a joke? What are we doing here?
 
LUCY
How do hell do I know? Ask him.
 
ADAM
Whatever it is I want to get out of here.
 
MICHAEL
(Looks around him)
How can we get out? We’re all tied up. We should calm down and see what’s going to happen.
 
KAREN
(Laughs)
I bet this is a game?
 
MICHAEL
A game? What kind of game is this?
 
ADAM
Yes, tell us, Look at us, fucking six people tied up, knocked the fuck out! Do you call this a game? 
 
LUCY
Kidnapped.
 
ADAM
I think we’ve been fucking drugged.
 
KAREN
Is any of us hurt?
 
MICHAEL
I hope not. I got out of my car and I found myself here.
 
ADAM
Well, I was smoking a joint with my eyes closed and now I'm fucking here.
 
LUCY
Will you stop swearing?
 
ADAM
Mind your own business.
 
KAREN
This is weird. Nothing is going to come out good with this.
 
MICHAEL
(To Adam)
What’s your name
 
ADAM
(Abruptly)
Adam
 
MICHAEL
(He looks at James)
Is he dead?
 
LUCY
Maybe.
 
ADAM
(To Karen)
You gorgeous, what’s your name?
 
KAREN
Karen
 
ADAM 
I bet it’s not
 
KAREN
I bet it is, arsehole!
 
ADAM
Oh, she’s a spirited one this bitch
 
KAREN
What did you call me?
 
LUCY
Will you please stop bickering at each other and let’s concentrated on our immediate problem. 
(To Michael)
And you who are you, you with the glasses?
 
MICHAEL
I’m Michael and I hate them, they’ always get dirty. I prefer contacts.
 
ADAM
Why do you wear them then?
 
MICHAEL
My girlfriend thinks I am sexier with them.
 
ADAM
I bet she sucks well too. 
 
MICHAEL
Actually, she does.
 
LUCY
(To James)
Hey you, wake up!
 
JAMES
(Lifts his head)
What?
 
ADAM
Welcome to the tie-up group.
 
JAMES 
(Realises he’s tied up)
Somebody help, please.
 
KAREN
Don’t you start!
 
JAMES
They got me.
 
LUCY
Who got you?
 
JAMES
They got me. They got me.

MICHAEL
Who got you?
JAMES
What's the meaning of this?
 
ADAM
Were fucking victims of a sick joke!
 
JAMES
Let me free!
 
ADAM
I kill the bastards who are keeping us here!
 
JAMES
Let me free right now!
 
KAREN
(Mimic him)
Let me free right now!
 
ADAM
What's his fucking problem?
 
LUCY
What do you think? He woke up and found himself tied up with five other people. (To JAMES) By the way, my name is Lucy, That vulgar man is Adam, that one is MICHAEL, and the others I don’t know.
 
JAMES
I’m James, but what the hell happened to us?
 
KAREN
I’m Karen, and like you, we haven’t got a clue.
 
JAMES
I’m James and I am fed up with this?
 
MICHAEL
We all are. I think I'm in shock. This is very peculiar, surreal.
 
LUCY
Surreal is not the word.
 
ADAM
Forget surreal this is fucking real woman. Can’t you get it? Real! And if any of you don't know why the fuck we're here, then maybe this bitch next to me does. (To Karen)
 
KAREN
If I get loose from this rope I’ll scratch your fucking face.
 
ADAM
(Laughs)
You might try.
 
LUCY
Maybe this is some kind of dream or something.
 
ADAM
A dream, try fucking nightmare.
 
MICHAEL
Are we going to die?
 
JAMES
Personally, I really feel like I'm dying already, I cannot take this much longer. My heart will give up.
 
ADAM
Ladies and gentleman, James here is not very optimistic, is he?
 
KAREN
Shut the fuck up.
 
ADAM
You shut me up!
 
MICHAEL
Why are we fighting with each other?
 
LUCY
We’re not, only those two are.
 
ADAM
I just don't know why the fuck I'm here for. That's all.
 
 
JAMES
We all feel the same way.
 
LUCY
I still think it's a dream.
 
MICHAEL
If this is a dream, let me come to yours and you come to mine. I remember the great Bob Marley, or was that Dylan? That said that. This is not a dream. I don't know maybe we are. You know, in each other's dreams.
 
JAMES
What the hell are you talking about?
 
MICHAEL
It wasn’t Dylan, I’m not quite sure.
 
ADAM
What is with you guys? One second you frightened shitless and the next minute you’re philosophising about Dylan.
 
KAREN
Fuck Dylan.
 
MICHAEL
Young lady, Bob Dylan is a great American songwriter and poet. Philosopher. Okay
 
KAREN
I don't give a shit!
 
MICHEAL
You should.
 
ADAM
Here you are talking about some dumb shit when we ought to be talking about what the fuck we're all doing here!
 
LUCY
Whoever is behind this will soon come and tell us. Until then, we might as well get to know each other.
 
MICHAEL
Absolutely. That is true, maybe we have some mutual connection. It might help explain why we're here.
 
ADAM
Okay well, maybe the beautiful bitch can help because she seems to know something.
 
KAREN
I don’t know anything, I am curious to know as much as you all are. And stop calling me a bitch. My name is Karen.
 
ADAM
Karen by any chance did you tie me up?
 
KAREN
Yes, and then I tied myself.
 
LUCY
Will, you both please shut the fuck up. There you are making me swear too.
 
MICHAEL
We are strangers, right?
 
JAMES
So?
 
ADAM
Well, I don't know any of you. None of us knows a damn thing except for Karen and she's scared shitless.
 
KAREN
I’m telling you I don’t know anything. Why are you picking on me?
 
MICHAEL
I don't know, now that I think about it, she looks like somebody I've seen.
Maybe on TV or something.
 
ADAM
Yeah, she's pretty sweet too.
 
MICHAEL
Okay, but she's scared.
 
ADAM
Yes she's terrified. I have to admit, I'm a little fearful myself.
 
LUCY
You, fearful?
 
KAREN
And you're the one accusing me of having any knowledge of this. I don't need to answer some silly questions from you.
I'm tied up like the rest of you!
 
MICHAEL
Look here now. As much as I'm enjoying this philosophical debate, how about we get back to what this is all about?
 
ADAM
Yeah, like why the fuck we're here?
 
JAMES
Well we know we don't know each other. Right?
 
LUCY
Right.
 
JAMES
So let's search for what we have in common.
 
MICHAEL
You mean, if we all have enemies or something?
 
ADAM
Enemies?
 
MICHAEL
Yes, enemies. You don't think your friends kidnapped you and tied you to a bloody chair, do you?
 
JAMES
OK, that’s great, so what the fuck does that mean.
 
MICHAEL
It means times running out. It's inevitable that when that door opens
something most certainly will happen.
 
KAREN
We’re fucked!
 
JAMES
Well, let's focus and figure this out.
 
KAREN
I told you, I told all of you, we're going to fucking die.
 
LUCY
Stop it Karen and calm down!
 
MICHAEL
Now let's think. Somebody wanted to do this to each of us. Now, why? Who and why.
 
MICHAEL
Well, I've had a few bad business deals that I came out on top of.
 
ADAM
Have you ever sold cocaine or Marijuana?
 
MICHAEL
You're a fucking dipstick. And by the way, I’m sorry for using your special
fuck word dude.

ADAM
I can beat the shit out of you old man.

MICHAEL
Not on a bet.

JAMES
All right, calm down boy, ease up man.

ADAM
Hey look, I'm not all that bad, okay. Just because I choose to express myself
in an angry eloquent fashion.
KAREN
Good, now we’re communicating nicely.
 
ADAM
In truth, I think we’re fucked.
 
LUCY
Why do you say that?
 
ADAM
How can you explain all this? Are we hear, kidnapped, tied up for a magnificent prize? I don’t think so. Whoever they are they have a good reason.
 
MICHAEL
That is right, so excuse me for repeating myself, but we need to get back on point. Now who and why would do this to us?
 
JAMES
Let me ask you a question. No one's come in here yet, right?
 
LUCY
No.
 
JAMES
Well, maybe they won't. So why don't we try and get out of these damn ropes?
 
JAMES
Right, and how do you suppose we do that?
 
MICHAEL
Easy
(He stands)
With my mouth, I try and loosen her next to me and she will untie our hands.
 
LUCY
Go on than.
(Michael goes behind Lucy’s chair and bends down. We don’t fully see him but we can see that his trying hard. After a while, he stands up with Lucy’s rope in his mouth. Lucy Stands and massages her hand. She unties Michael and both of them untie the others. They all stand up and move about and straighten their hands and so on.)
 
(There’s a voice that comes out of the speaker)
 
KIDNAPPER
Everything will be explained to you in time. But first, enjoy some treats.
(The door opens and two masked men enter the room one with a shotgun in his hand and the other with a box containing six small bottles of water and six sandwiches. The six prisoners move to one side and let the man with the box put it on the table and they leave locking the door behind them. The six rush to the table.)
Stop there and don’t touch anything yet.
(They stop)
All of you feel free to use the bathroom over that door in the corner. And you may remain untied as long as you do not try to escape from this room and make sure nobody tries to escape or they’ll be executed immediately. James, Lucy do we understand each other? That goes for you too Michael and Karen.

ADAM
Who the fuck are you?

KIDNAPPER
Adam, you should know yourself what you have done to be here. Don’t be an arsehole hero, or you’ll die instantly.
 
ADAM
OK, OK.
 
LUCY
If you just tell us what you want from us?
 
KIDNAPPER
Until I get back to you continue to get to know each other. I promise you, it's very important to speak the truth. I know you are wondering why you are here. You are here to pay a price for what you did. I have indisputable proof of your crimes, yet the authorities failed to take action for one reason and another. Once you confess you will be spared. If any of you lies will die.

END OF PART ONE

PART TWO

JAMES
These people are not playing around.
 
MICHAEL
Executed?
 
ADAM
Yes, fucking executed. Or are you deaf?
 
LUCY
Wait a minute. They know us. They called us by our names.
 
KAREN
Oh, fuck!
 
MICHAEL
Take it, easy kid, we’ll sort this out.
 
JAMES
Come, everyone, and let's get some of that water a have a sandwich?
 
KAREN
Do you think this is a picnic?
 
JAMES
Well, I’m bloody hungry.
 
ADAM
So am I.
(They move a take a sandwich from the box and a bottle of water)
 
LUCY
(As she walks to the bathroom door)
I'm headed for the bathroom. Come on Karen Join me. 
(They both exit by the bathroom door)
 
MICHAEL
I wonder why they're treating with water and sandwiches? First, they talk about executing us and the next this. As though we are guests.
 
ADAM
I don’t think the look on the gun was welcoming. Don’t forget they have mentioned the word escape. That means we are prisoners.
 
MICHAEL
What worries me is the word executing. Why not killing us, executing is a punishment of sort.
JAMES
True, but according to the the voice we are guilty of something. I don’t think I ever did anything wrong.
 
(Like before the voice comes out of the speaker)
 
KIDNAPPER
Michael, try and remember what happened a few years ago at the outskirts of your town.
 
MICHAEL
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
 
KIDNAPPER
Let me give you another clue. It was your birthday and after you left your friends from the pub, half-drunk you drove home on your motorbike which you have abandoned afterwards.
 
MICHAEL
I still cannot remember.
 
KIDNAPPER
This is your last chance. If you are going to keep pretending on amnesia then I have no choice but to execute you.
 
MICHAEL
I tell you I don’t remember.
 
KIDNAPPER
If that’s what you want.
(The main door opens and the gunman and the other man comes in)
Is your memory coming back now Michael?
(The gunman and the other man moves towards him. Michael is frightened and doesn’t utter a word)
OK, boys bring him in.
(Both men grabs him and carry him outside the main door.)
(From the toilet door Victoria and Lucy comes out)
 
LUCY
What’s happening?
 
JAMES
They have taken Michael away because he did not admit to a crime which he committed.
 
MICHAEL
I think they bloody mean it.
(From outside we hear James shouting)
No, no please, OK I tell you everything.
 
KIDNAPPER
It’s too late now you should have confessed in front of the others.
 
MICHAEL
Please take me back there and I’ll confess
 
(In a moment the main door opens and the two men holding Michael pushes him to the ground. The men leave and shut the door. Michael looks at the others.)
 
KIDNAPPER
I am waiting, Michael.
 
MICHAEL
(Guilty)
I was involved in a hit and run with my motorbike. I killed a young woman. I went to look at her but she was already dead. I could do nothing to help her. So I panicked, got on my bike and ran away. I didn’t mean to hit her, it was an accident.
 
KIDNAPPER
Drunk driving is not an accident it is murder. James, you lost a sister a few years back by a hit and run.
 
JAMES
(Runs towards Michael and take him by the neck) 
It was you, you bastard. I kill you for this.
(Instantly the two men enter and remove James from Michael and they carry Michael back outside)
 
KIDNAPPER
James, calm down, now you know who killed your sister. You have satisfied yourself with an answer you waited for so long to hear, yet you too committed crimes, haven’t you?
 
JAMES
Crimes? I never killed anyone?
 
KIDNAPPER
Crimes committed are not always murderous ones.
 
JAMES
What do you mean?
 
KIDNAPPER
School children! Does that ring a bell?
 
ADAM
(Angry)
He’s a fucking paedophile.

 

KIDNAPPER
Exactly. Tell us about it James?
 
JAMES
(Sobbing)
I can’t.
 
KIDNAPPER
There’s five of you are left. And if none of you is not going to tell
truth about yourselves you will end up like Michael.
 
JAMES
Who the hell are you people?
 
ADAM
Yes, who the fuck are you?
 
KIDNAPPER
All I can tell you is that we watch people. We watch a lot of people with sophisticated devices beyond your imagination. We have eyes everywhere
and see people commit crimes of all kinds. Crimes that they get away with
just like the rest of you did.
 
ADAM
Come on man, go to hell! You have nothing on us!
 
KIDNAPPER
Denial won't work with us. We make our judgement based on indisputable proof.
 
ADAM
Then take us to a real trial then.
 
KIDNAPPER
We do that our way. The evidence we have can't be used in the conventional system, because of the so-called we will rob society of true justice.
And when the shameless plea bargain lawyers prevent real justice from being executed.
 
LUCY
So you're some kind of vigilante group that's going to save the world from would-be criminals?
 
KIDNAPPER
But we are not vigilantes. We're government-funded.
 
KAREN
I don’t believe this. A government-funded program designed to kill people!
 
KIDNAPPER
That is enough now. James, you were about to tell us about your crimes.
JAMES
I told you I can’t.
 
KIDNAPPER 
Then you shall die.
 
JAMES
No, please. If you know what I have done, why do you want to hear it again?
 
KIDNAPPER
For their sake.
 
ADAM
I don’t want to hear his disgusting details.
 
KIDNAPPER
You must Adam. You must
 
ADAM
Why? 
 
KIDNAPPER
Because you were one of his victims when you were a child. Don’t you remember?
 
ADAM
No, I don’t and I don’t believe you.
 
KIDNAPPER
Tell him, James.
 
JAMES
How would I know? I’ve never seen in him my life.
 
KIDNAPPER
Adam have you been in the boys' scouts when you were a child.
 
ADAM
Yes, that I remember.
 
KIDNAPPER
Well, James?
 
JAMES 
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
 
(The main door opens and the two men enter quickly, grabbing James without letting him utter a word and takes him out.)
 
KIDNAPPER
That’s what’s going to happen to you if you don’t own up.
(We hear a gunshot. The women scream)
I told you so did I?
 
KAREN
Can you at least tell us where we are?
 
ADAM
We’re in fucking hell!
 
KIDNAPPER
Not knowing where you are the protection for those who survive, like Michael. That is why we're masked. That way we protect the survivor and the program.
 
ADAM
So you’re serious when you’re saying if we confess our crimes we’ll be set free?
 
KIDNAPPER
Yes, that’s what I said. So Adam tell us what is your crime?
 
ADAM
I enjoyed raping women.
 
KIDNAPPER
Of any age?
 
ADAM 
Yes. Why? Does it make a difference?
 
KIDNAPPER
I presume not with a deplorable mind like yours. Tell me Adam do you remember who you raped last?
 
ADAM
No, I don’t.
 
KIDNAPPER
Let me remind you. This girl came out of a nightclub with three other girls at 2.00 am in the morning. You followed out and kept walking close to them. Then one of them left the others and cross over to a public park only lit with one dim light.
 
ADAM
Yes, I think I remembered, I decided to follow her and ignore the other two.
 
KIDNAPPER
Where was that place?
 
ADAM
Let me see……..I think it was a few hundred yards from the nightclub by the Castle.

 

KIDNAPPER
Karen, when and where were you raped?
 
KAREN
(In disgust)
Was it him? 
 
LUCY
And how do you know all this?
 
KIDNAPPER
I’ve already told you that we know everything about the people we investigate.
 
KAREN
(She move towards Adam and look him intensely as though she is trying to recognise him from when she was raped)
Was it really you Adam?
 
ADAM
I don’t know, maybe it was me but that was a few years back
 
KAREN
Whether it was you or not, I have to thank heavens for that night. 
 
LUCY
Thank your heavens for being raped?
 
KAREN
At the time it was psychological painful, but I got over, a quick hot bath erased most of the disgusting deeds and I became strong. I stood on my feet for the first time and became the woman I am today.
 
KIDNAPPER
And what are you today Karen?
 
KAREN
I am the owner of a private care home.
 
KIDNAPPER
We, know that what you haven’t mentioned is how you manage it?

KAREN
I don’t know what you mean?
 
KIDNAPPER
Don’t you systematically rob your clients from their funds? Didn’t you also with in partnership with a house doctor, (who is now dead, used euthanasia for large sums of money? 

 

LUCY
Is that what made you strong?
 
KIDNAPPER
Can you deny that Karen?
 
KAREN
(After a pause) No, I’m afraid I cannot deny that. But what I did I help them from their misery, their pains.
 
ADAM
And from their bank account.
 
KAREN
We are all guilty of something so don’t be the first to point a finger.
 
(The door opens and the two men come in and stops at the opened door.
 
KIDNAPPER
Adam and Karen, you may leave the room.
 
ADAM
Without hearing what that bitch did?
 
KAREN
Forget about that and let’s get out of here. 
(She ran through the door and Adam follows)
 
(The men leave and shut the door behind them. The kidnapper without a mask enters and goes to Lucy)
Now it’s only you Lucy?
 
LUCY
I still don’t know how you found out all these secrets about us?
 
KIDNAPPER
You can't even imagine how far technology has taken us. Do you know what I
I mean? Lucy, come on. Tell us the truth. I want to hear it. If you want to join the others and leave this room alive you must confess your guilty secrets.
 
LUCY
I was tried and completely exonerated of the crime.
KIDNAPPER
What crime are you talking about Lucy? And after all let me remind you, we don't care about your rights here. You're here to pay a price for what you did. 

LUCY
If you know everything you don’t have for me to tell you.


KIDNAPPER
I need to hear from you. That’s what this program is all about. 
 
LUCY
Three years ago I was contacted by a lottery winner to oversee his winnings. He had two sons. His wife had passed but no other living relatives. After we became friends, he asked me to be in line as a beneficiary after his kids. He wanted me to oversee the giving of his money to certain charities if it came to that. People should never sign things they don't read.
 
KIDNAPPER
What happened then?
 
LUCY
I had a big deal go bad. And I was being sued. I lost everything and I was about to lose my house. I had already moved his money to another investment. It was
an account he and I could both sign off on.
 
KIDNAPPER
And?
 
LUCY
And what?! I've already told this to the police and they’ve let me go.
 
KIDNAPPER
I told you, Lucy, I don't care. This is life or death here. Look at your so-called colleagues. Except for one all left alive.
 
LUCY
Okay. Dammit! John that was the old man’s name, He had a house in the Devon, Him and his sons went there on weekends. I showed up one evening. At dinner and poisoned their drinks. 
 
KIDNAPPER
With what?
 
LUCY
I used Aconite. It's practically untraceable in an autopsy especially if you're not looking for poison.
 
KIDNAPPER
Clever
 
LUCY
After they died I put their bodies in his car and I drove it to a secluded ridge I knew in of in Chelmsford.
 
KIDNAPPER.
And then what?
 
LUCY
Did you ever watch Hitchcock’s film North By Northwest? They have put the drunken Cary Grant into the driver’s seat of a car and headed him toward a cliff.
 
KIDNAPPER
So you did the same thing?
 
LUCY
Essentially the same. Alcohol and all. Except for the car did smash into a deep ditch. It looked totally like an accident. After the car went into the ditch I was left on foot. There was a small sandwich bar a few miles up the road went in it. I called a taxi to meet me there. Instead, the cops showed up before I could getaway. They took our names and asked us if we had seen anything. Naturally, I left without getting into trouble. It was a month later when The police detective
called me in for question. I was tied to the money and seen suspiciously near the scene of the crime so I was put on trial. The rest is history. There. That's everything, and I was completely honest.
 
KIDNAPPER
OK, guys, I think we’ve we have got enough from her. That was great Lucy. I’ve got to say that's the best confession I've ever seen and heard. 

LUCY
Am I free to go?
(Instantly James who was shot in the beginning returns with a huge smile on his face.)
You?
 
JAMES
Hello Lucy
 
LUCY
(Confused)
Back from death James.
 
JAMES 
Yes, it’s me alive and kicking and I brought our friends with me who are dying to meet you again.
 
(Enters Karen, James and Adam and then the two men too and they shut the door behind them)
 
KIDNAPPER
Lucy Anderson, you're under arrest for the murder of John Smith and his two sons. Sammy and Tobias Smith.
 
LUCY
You can't do this! What is this, some sort of joke?

 

KIDNAPPER
Miss Lucy Anderson and you have told us that you were questioned by the police and let you walk away free.
 
LUCY
Yes, they couldn’t pin anything on me.
 
KIDNAPPER
But you murdered the Smith family as you just confessed to, just as we suspected. Now you get to go to trial on our invitation. Recognize this?
(He shows her a small bottle of Aconite.)
No doubt you thought it was empty Miss Anderson. You see Aconite leaves traces and we got a partial print.
 
LUCY
I was coerced into a confession. These people tricked me!
 
KIDNAPPER
Yes, and all these people around you are all witnesses as to what you’ve said. Let me introduce myself. I'm Charlie Rooney. This is a group of very fine actors which I hired for this purpose. Miss Anderson, John Smith was my best friend for many long years see before you took over his money, he had already told me of his suspicions about you but I was too late to avoid it. When they were killed I couldn't accept the fact that it was an accident and you were declared innocent. So I decided to launch my own investigation.
 
LUCY
Got any proof?
 
KIDNAPPER
You just came to a confession party. Isn't that right Adam?
 
ADAM
That's right. They have the footage that clearly shows your car pulling in the complex.
 
KAREN
They’ve got you this time Lucy.
 
KIDNAPPER
Unfortunately for us, you parked in a blind spot for the cameras. Making it impossible to see who exited the car. And with the technology, we managed to get that fixed.
LUCY
You son of a bitch!
 
KIDNAPPER
That I am. Yet this son of a bitch is going to make you serve lifetime imprisonment soon! The time has run out on you Lucy.

END