THE MYSTERIOUS VILLA
A Ghost Story In One Act by ALFRED VASSALLO

 

Dedicated to Mrs Mary Brown, my aunt, who when I was a child and stayed in there house for the summer vacation, used to tell me bedtime stories. This one of them.
 
CAST

NARRATOR
DOMINIC
RACHEL
FATHER THOMAS

 
 
The action takes place in a library room of a villa, now dilapidated and showing the signs of being empty for a long long time. On the right side of the wall, there is a huge library filled with books. Two comfortable chairs but torn and in bad condition, a door facing the audience and another door on the left side.
 

 

 

NARRATOR
The old villa was dilapidated and it had been like that for a long time. It was huge, shaggy and wilting. Its windows were unevenly boarded shut, giving a menacing look. The paint had worn away giving the house an unvarying grey look. Gales had ripped many of the slates off and a heavy snowfall had pierced the roof, giving it a flabby, deformed look. Edward did not let the appearance of the villa from going in it. He walked up to the overrun path, climbed the terrace and glanced through the gabs from the wooden panels into the foyer. He went to the front door and fortunately it was unlocked. He went in and stared at the house, he was almost hypnotized with its atmosphere. He walked down the hall, the paint was rotting away and the furniture was like junk lying around. As he entered the library room he felt a sense of history, a foreboding impression. At the end of the hall, you could turn right a go up the stairs, when he climbed them he counted twenty-two steps. On the landing looking down the hall, there was a closed-door, he opened it and looked inside and found it was a bedroom. Edward did not need to look any further so he returned downstairs and left. As he turned away from the villa he thought that it was enough to know it suited his purpose. He got into his car, started it and drove away with a smile on his face.
 
Rumours were widespread about the villa. Some said it was sinister. Others said that it was haunted by the ghost of a man who had been found murdered a long time ago. People avoided it and didn’t talk about much and since the owners of the house were all dead except one who lived somewhere in Australia, the house was left abandoned. The villagers were frightened of it because they believed the spirit was a vengeful one.
 
Although Edward heard about the ghost rumours he didn’t bother about it since he didn't believe in ghosts. When he told his girlfriend Jennie that he had found the perfect location for their weekend escapade and told her about the ghost that lurks in the villa, they just laughed. There were a lot of superstitious people who believed in ghosts but not these two young lovers. All they wanted is to escape the havoc of the weekend nights in town for an inexpensive weekend by themselves and the house not only provided them with the perfect location but it was also free.
 
(At the beginning the stage is empty and dimly lit, we hear a car coming and stopping, the doors open and shut)
 
DOMINIC
(From the outside)

This is not wonderful for us, don’t you think so?.
 
RACHEL

It looks in ruins….
 
DOMINIC
I know that’s what’s going to thrill us this weekend.
 
RACHEL
I hope so.


(They enter the room with RACHEL carrying a small case which drops it down on the floor and looks around)


This must be the library.
 
DOMINIC
Where the murders took place.
 
RACHEL
(Sits on the case)

You’re an enigma all right. I can’t quite figure you out. 

 

DOMINIC
What do you mean?
 
RACHEL
I know you were sexually aroused with the idea of a weekend in a supposedly haunted house. I wasn’t brought up like this you know!
 
DOMINIC
You don’t have to be scared when you’re with me.
 
RACHEL
But I am. I am also feeling slightly irritated with his perceptive observations. You don’t know me that well. We’ve only met a month ago.
 
DOMINIC
And what a perfect month it has been.
(He threads his fingers through her hair. He leaned down and pressed his lips to hers.)
 
RACHEL

Dominic, please stop for a moment.
 
DOMINIC
What. Have I done the wrong thing?
 
RACHEL 
(stands)

No. In fact, you did the right thing and I am worried. Nobody had ever kissed me the way you do. And I think you are a dangerous seducer.
 
DOMINIC
And nobody said that to me before, either. You know why we came here….
 
RACHEL
I know. So why do you persist?

 

DOMINIC
I would like to hear it from your lips.
 
RACHEL
OK. Yes, we are going to sleep together. I that what you wanted to hear.
 
DOMINIC
Yes. It has been a month and I can wait for us to make love. You a great girl Rachel.
 
RACHEL
Why? Because I agreed to sleep with you?
 
DOMINIC
No of course not. You are charming, intelligent and you have such a lovely sense of humour.
 
RACHEL
Right, so here are. Are we going to stand still all night?
 
DOMINIC
Let's go to the bedroom, it’s through there and upstairs.
(Dominic picks the case and they walk through the right side door.)
 
NARRATOR
The Villa then was occupied by a wealthy family, but there were only two brothers left. Their older sister died a year before and their parents a few years back. Thomas the younger brother immigrated to Australia and never came back leaving Peter the sole resident of the house. Except for his cook, his gardener, a handyman and his manservant, the latter was much needed as Peter was deaf and dumb.
One particular evening week after supper all the servants left the house leaving Peter with Reverend Mark who visited him once a week. They were sitting close to each other on the couch. The priest was reading something from a small piece of paper in his hand while Peter had his head down.
All of a sudden the door burst open and to masked men appeared in the room both carrying rifles. There was no reason for the priest to stand up immediately and ran to the bookshelves clutching at the books. It was a grave mistake because one of the men opened fire and the priest fell dead. Peter did not know what to do and when they ask him where the gold, jeweller, and money were, he could not answer them because of his handicap but the robbers didn’t know that and took his silence as defiance and he was killed too. The villagers were shocked, the police investigation took a long time but eventually, they had to give up as they could not find any clues of the intruders which never got caught.
Only a few months had passed since the shooting and rumours of disturbances in the villa had started. At first, the rumours were ignored but when they became frequent and more detailed the villagers started to believe that the villa was haunted by the two victims. As time went by the mystery of the haunted villa became the village chronicle.
 
(There is an instant Blackout and after few seconds allowing FATHER TOMAS to stand in a corner. When the lights are back we can hear the priest sobbing quietly) 
 
(From outside we hear the couple speaking)
 
RACHEL
What is that?


DOMINIC
I don’t know.
 
RACHEL
It sounds like someone is crying.
 
DOMINIC
It must a cat or a dog whining.
 
RACHEL
No Dominic, listen carefully….
 
DOMINIC
(After a pause)

You are right. That is crying. And it’s coming from downstairs. Let’s go and see what it is.
 
RACHEL
No way. I am not going downstairs and that is for sure.
 
DOMINIC
Come on don’t be a child. There is nothing to be afraid of.
 
RACHEL
You go then and if there’s nothing call me.
 
DOMINIC
OK if you are happy with that. Did this have to happen as I was enjoying myself?
 
RACHEL
Shut up and go.
 
DOMINIC
I’m going, I’m going…….
(After a while Dominic enters the library. He is wearing only boxer shorts. At first, he doesn’t see FATHER THOMAS but when he hears the cries he turns and Face the FATHER)
 
DOMINIC
(A bit apprehensive)

Are you all right? Can I help you?
 
FATHER
Yes, you can my son!
 
DOMINIC
Who are you?
 
FATHER
I am Father Thomas, a catholic priest from a long time ago when this villa was a happy place. It was I who had been killed in here along with poor Peter.”
 
DOMINIC
So you have decided to scare the villagers shitless is that it? And me too?
 
FATHER
No. Not at all, my son, I have been roaming this house for one reason only, and I cannot rest in peace until I fulfil my obligation.

DOMINIC
Why did it take you so long? According to the villagers, you’ve been haunting this place for more than fifty years
 
FATHER
True very true, I did not want to scare anyone, on the contrary, I wanted to attract someone to come in, face me and help me get rid of one item which is hidden in here.


DOMINIC
A treasure?
 
FATHER
No, nothing that grand, It’s only a piece of paper, I need somebody to get rid of it for me.
 
DOMINIC

Why? What’s in it?
 
FATHER
I’m afraid I cannot tell you!

 

DOMINIC
And you expect a stranger to come in here, scared to his teeth trying to help you and you won’t even give him the reason why?
 
FATHER
I can give you the reason, of course, I can but I cannot divulge what was written on the paper?
 
DOMINIC
I don’t understand!
 
(From outside we hear RACHEL)
 
RACHEL
Are you OK Dominic?
 
DOMINIC
I’m all right, just don’t come down yet.
 
RACHEL
Why is that?
 
FATHER
Please don’t tell her.
 
DOMINIC
It’s all right, I will be coming up in a minute. I was right. I am getting rid of some cats who are roaming about. Go back to bed Rachel.
 
RACHEL
If you say so.
 
DOMINIC
(To the priest)

You were saying?
 
FATHER

Did you know that Peter the owner of this house was deaf and dumb?


DOMINIC
No, I did not know that!
 
FATHER
Well, he was, and he also was a devout Roman Catholic. Every week I was invited here first to dine with him and afterwards we sit here and I hear his confession! But because he could not confess me his sins he used to write them down on a piece of paper and after I read them and absolved him I used to get rid of the paper in the fireplace. That night when the robbers came in I panic and ran towards the books and put the paper in one of them to hide it and keep it safe. One of the men thought I was going to defend myself and fired at me.
 
DOMINIC
And you want me to believe all this?
 
FATHER
Yes, I would! You see my son, the secret of the confession is sacred and cannot be broken. It would have been a great sacrilege if somebody had found it and read it. I cannot get eternal peace until I get rid of the secret
 
DOMINIC
So, it is hidden.
 
FATHER
Yes. You see that thick book on the third shelf

 

DOMINIC
Which one you’re pointing at? Is it red with the gold print on it?
 
FATHER
Yes, please bring down and when you do open it and you should find a piece of paper.”
 
(DOMINIC does as the man told him and he brings down the book and opens it. A piece of small folded paper fall on the floor and Dominic picks it up. )
 
DOMINIC
Is this it?”
 
FATHER
Yes, that’s it.
 
DOMINIC
(He looks at paper carefully and then without hesitation tries to give it to the priest.)
If this is what you want you can have it.
 
FATHER
I cannot have it. I cannot touch anything.
 
DOMINIC
What do you want me to do then?
 
FATHER
Burn it with. Burn it at once!
 
DOMINIC
Are you sure?
 
FATHER
Yes, my son, I am sure.
 
DOMINIC
(He takes a lighter out of his pocket, light it and burns the paper)

Are you happy now? Did I not burn it for you?
 
LIGHTS FADE OUT and LIGHTS FADE IN
(FATHER THOMAS has vanished and Dominic sits on one of the chairs astounded. At the same instant, Rachel comes down and enters the room wearing only a long shirt.)


RACHEL
What is wrong with you. 
(Moves towards him and sees that he is not himself)
Dominic, hey, tell me what happened? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.
 
DOMINIC
I did!
 
RACHEL

What? Don’t joke about that, please.
 
DOMINIC
Joke? I am not joking.? Have you not heard me talking to the man?”


RACHEL
What are you talking about? You just came in here a few seconds ago.
 
DOMINIC
Few seconds? You must be mistaken. I have been here much longer than that. I had a bloody conversation with a priest who asked me to burn a piece of paper.”


RACHEL
I don’t believe you. You’re making this up to scare me!”
 
DOMINIC

No, I’m not. Look I show you, look at the ashes on the floor
 
RACHEL
What ashes? There’s nothing here.
 
DOMINIC
(He take a look himself
)
I cannot understand this. The paper was in this book.
(He shows her the book.)
 
RACHEL
I told you you are crazy. Let's go up and finish what we started.
 
(They leave)
(As the Narrator tells the ending of this tale the lights fades out until darkness)

 
NARRATOR

The old villa was sold to a big consortium of hoteliers and they renovated into a beautiful modern hotel, leaving the old structure intact. Nobody ever heard any crying any more and mystery of the haunting which the villagers were so frightened of was forgotten.
 
Dominic and Rachel got married a few years later and had two children and on occasions, the children sit on the couch listening to their father telling the story of a ghostly priest!

 


END