The Mask of Madness

Upon a barren stage, there  appear two women, one dressed in red, the other in green.  Both are lovely and ageless in appearance.  There is nothing about them to mark their era, or their age.  The one in green has red hair and green eyes, The one in red has blonde hair and blue eyes. 

They walk on to the stage together and stand, facing the audience.  As they speak various parts of the set are moved in place by figures dressed in black, totally, not even their eyes can be seen.  The one with red hair is named Wisdom, but known  as “Eillaine”, her sister, the blonde is named Reason but called “Laural.” Though their hairs are different colors, it is obvious that they are in every other way, twins.  Directions will be in italics. 


LAURAL:  Decker’s a charming man, Eillaine, I can see why you’re infatuated with him. 

EILLAINE:  Infatuated?  I doubt it, but I do care about him.  You do, too, for that matter.

LAURAL:  Of course, but as much for your sake as his own.

EILLAINE:  I suppose, if it came down to it, I do care for him more than I like to admit, but not enough to “want” him in the sense that most women would mean “want.”

LAURAL: What amazes me, then, is that for so many years you’ve watched him and protected him.  It has always been as though you viewed him as your lover.

EILLAINE: Strange, isn’t it?  Of course, as we are, I can’t remember half of what I’ve done, or perhaps less?  How could I tell?

LAURAL: Perhaps coming here was mistake?

EILLAINE: Laural,  would it help if I could remember why we thought coming to this place would accomplish anything to begin with?  Was it so I could meet Decker?  For why?  Would the Gods have caused all those events just so we could sit around Bay City while I find myself fascinated with a human male that I can’t find any deep emotions for?  There must have been a reason?  O, there he is now.

Decker Powell is a man in his late fifties.  At first glance, his face appears younger, but the eyes tell us that he is far older than he seems.  Tall, only very slightly stooped, but not bent, dressed in worn but expensive clothes, tan slacks and jacket over a dark green turtle neck sweater.

As he enters the stage, various trees and bushes, along with a flat painted to look like a 1950’s small town neighborhood street, are pushed out right with him, stopping as he stops, moving as he moves.  When he reaches the sisters and stops, the scenery stops.  As they talk, other figures, moving from the sister’s side of the stage, bring in a white metal ice cream table and four chairs, and a flat painted as a small town downtown.

Four small shops are there, the important one being an ice cream parlor.  The table and chairs are placed in front of the parlor.

TOGETHER: both smiling  “Hi Decker,”

DECKER: Hi, Laural, Ella, smiling warmly at the women.  How’re you two this beautiful morning?

TOGETHER:  Great, how about you?

DECKER: Pretty good so far, it’s a lovely day, no political persecutions scheduled in the paper, no inquisitions in the church bulletins, so it might even be a great day.

EILLAINE:   Not even one auto de fey?  Don’t you hate it when there’s no torture?  No Joe McCarthy this morning?

DECKER:  Nope, I guess he hasn’t heard of Bay City yet.  Wait till he hears a Russian freighter tied up here a couple of times.  We’ll make the Detroit Times yet. Care for a seat? 

He gestures to the ice cream table, as the sisters sit down, the figures in black pull the chairs out for them, then slide them back under them—no one seems to notice that the chairs have moved. 

Just warm enough for a “malt” for me, how about you two?

EILLAINE:   A strawberry sundae sounds good

LAURAL: I’d love a lemon aide.

 A figure in black wearing an apron appears and puts the chosen items on the table just as they finish speaking.  They do not notice that the drinks seem to have materialized as they spoke.

EILLAINE:   Decker, are you still dating Sheila? If it’s none of my business, just say so.

DECKER:  No, that ended rather quickly, I’m afraid.  Her father’s rather rabidly anti-red,  anyone who teaches college, even a little junior college like this one, is suspect to him.  I know, she’s way too old to be bothered by her dad’s opinion—except, he does have a hell of a lot of money and property— and she’d really like to keep it in the family.  Her family. 

LAURAL: She may spend a long lonely spinsterhood then.  Ah well, her loss is another’s gain.

DECKER:  You two are amazing,  Seems like we’ve known each other forever, doesn’t it? Yet, I know it’s only been about a year  since you moved here.

EILLAINE:   It feels like I’ve known you for a lot longer , Decker.

LAURAL:  I have a similar feeling, but I don’t think it’s as strong as Eilla’s, maybe you two knew each other in a different life?

DECKER:  To quote an old joke: “I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I did in a previous life.” He falls suddenly silent, then a sigh escapes him.

EILLAINE:  What’s the matter?

DECKER: It’s nothing, really

EILLAINE:   Come on, Deck, why the heavy sigh of resignation?

DECKER:  I guess it’s just life in general.  I’ve been working a lot, with little time off.  And…..no, damn it, it’s not.  It’s about her.

LAURAL: Her?

DECKER: This woman in my night school history class

EILLAINE: Yes, Decker?  What about “this woman in my night school history class?”  I assume you mean the one your teaching?  Here?  At 8:00?

DECKER: looking uncomfortable Yeah, that class.  The one you two disrupted  last year.

LAURAL & EILLAINE: “Disrupted?” Us?  Decker, all we did was….

DECKER: Was walk in together wearing shorts and tank tops and made every man in the school fall on the floor drooling, while the women started cursing the gods that made you.

LAURAL: Decker, it wasn’t that bad, was it?  Really?

DECKER: Do beautiful women do that on purpose?

EILLAINE: Do what Decker?

DECKER: Walk in to men’s lives and totally ruin our ability to think about anything but them?

EILLAINE: Tell us about “her” Decker.

DECKER: She’s incredible, the most unusual woman I’ve ever…

LAURAL: Just “incredible and unusual,” Decker?  That’s was a rather dramatic sigh—and is that a “love sick look,” I spy on your face?

DECKER: Is it that obvious?  I shouldn’t talk about her. Really not even think about her.

EILLAINE:  Not think about her?  Decker, this sounds rather serious?  Have you finally decided to come of the ivy covered tower of intellect and fall in love?

DECKER: Fall in love?  I don’t have that right.

LAURAL: Decker, every human being has the “right” to fall in love, any time, any place, that they feel like it.  It’s what they do about it that makes all the difference.

DECKER:  Laural, she’s a student of mine, in night school, but a student never the less.

LAURAL:  So?

DECKER: That just seems, some how, wrong! Besides that, I’m too old to be in love.  Too old to even fall in love.

EILLAINE: Wrong?  How can the simple unpreventable act of falling in love be wrong?

DECKER:  It’s not like I want to rush her off to bed, not that way at all. I just want to be near her.  I look forward to teaching the class for a change. She’s always there, so bright, so attentive.  She asks very deep and probing questions.  She has got to have the most incredible voice I’ve ever heard. And that face--I could stand and look at her for hours…. …silly isn’t it?  She’s tall, almost as tall as me but not quite— Her hair it’s the blackest smoothest…and she seems to glow sometimes almost a golden glow. Her eyes are so blue…but God, I’m running on like a teenager in love.  But it’s so damn weird, the first time we saw each other,  it was like an electric current shot between us for a moment.  I’m sorry, I’m just rambling on and on.

LAURAL:  That’s okay Deck, we just want you to be happy.  Life’s too short to let it stay unhappy.  If you feel that strongly, have you thought of telling her?

DECKER:  Laural, she’s at least 25 years younger than me,  this is a small town, it’s a very small college, but it’s all I’ve got right now.  Jobs, especially teaching, are getting harder and harder to find, even with Nixon telling us there’s no recession. Especially hard when you’re an arthritic, alcoholic, poetry writing, history teacher. I was blessed to get hired here after I ended my last tenured position and my professorship  with a high flying bender.  If old Charlie hadn’t stood up for me I wouldn’t even have this.  Besides, as I said, it’s not “that sort of feeling.” It’s more like I just want to be with her,  not even touch her, just be there.

Time stops…the black figures help the sisters from their seats and they talk.  To Decker there isn’t even a second in time transpiring.

EILLAINE:   We may, indeed, have to do the unthinkable.

LAURAL:  We agreed, only as a last ditch, nothing left to lose, desperation measure.

EILLAINE: “I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other Gods before me…, Amazing how humans have always misinterpreted that isn’t it?

They are once more seated by the figures in black.  Decker is still smiling from the previous moment.

EILLAINE:   We do understand, Decker, really we do.

DECKER: I’m thrilled to have her in my class, believe me.  It’s as much fun as when you were there, Laural.    She’s smart enough to challenge me on my own level. Did that come from me? Admitting someone is as smart as me? 

LAURAL: My God, he’s cracking up, someone call the ego police.

Figures begin moving the sets off stage.

DECKER: It’s getting later than I thought, I’ve got to get to class or I won’t have a job to worry about losing.

He stands, walks over, and helps each of the sisters rise from their seats, then hugs each lightly and, moves off quickly.  Before he leaves the stage Eillaine calls to him.

EILLAINE:  Deck, what’s her name?

DECKER: I’m sorry, it’s Rhiannon, Rhiannon Anwynn.  She’s Welsh, I believe.

He turns and continues off stage.  The scenery that followed him on stage follows him off stage. At the name the sister look at each other, and then at him as he leaves.  Their expression is one of confusion, tinged with fear..

EILLAINE:   Rhiannon?  That names strikes a chord—deep in my guts, a very uncomfortable feeling!

They exit opposite stage and the remaining scenery exits with them.  The man in the business suit steps on to the bare stage.

JACK  PATCH: Little goddesses playing at being human, how many times must they descend among the “son’s of men,” and get their eternal fingers burned before they learn.   I think it’s time Bay City had its own Coffee House, hmmm, what to name it?  Ah yes, “The Devil’s Brew” seems like as good a name as any. 

Speaks directly to the audience, there should be a light red filter in the light shining on him now.  

The amazing thing about this era is that they really don’t need a devil in Hell, they’ve got so many running the face of the Earth.

He exits rapidly all the way across the stage to follow the sisters.

The stage is empty for a moment, then a tall and extremely beautiful woman, raven black hair, blue eyes, alabaster complexion, simply crosses to center stage. She is dressed all in glistening gold.   At mid stage she stops for a moment, looks out over the audience, smiles lightly, raises her hand, a light seems to land on her pointed finger,  the sound of birds singing is heard.  She continues on across stage slowly and exits, the curtain falls.

Rhiannon’s voice is heard singing while the curtain descends, it rises again as her song concludes.

Can you hear my birds when they sing?

My birds, the birds of Rhiannon,

Wait outside my  portal,

Holy, pure and white.

Can’t you hear them when they sing?

Their songs, so pure,

As a cleansing shower, for your heart.

Can you hear them now,

My lovely birds?

The  singing birds of Rhiannon

Messengers of the Gods?

Do you hear them with your heart?

Listen, they will sing you now to life

Don’t you hear them when they sing?

The birds of Rhiannon will call you home,

Call you from you from your labours deep,

Summon you from your pain

Bringing solace o so sweet.

 

Don’t you listen when my birds sing?

My birds, the birds of Rhiannon,

Wait outside my portal,

Holy, pure and white.

Why don’t you listen when they sing?

Their song is a cleansing light for the soul.

Do you hear them now, my sweet birds?

Can’t you listen when my birds sing?

The birds of Rhiannon call you from your bed,

Call you to her bed,

Summon you from your doubts,

Bring love’s affections o so sweet.

 

Will you not listen when my birds sing?

My birds of love, the birds of Rhiannon sing

Outside your true love’s door.

Holy, pure and white.

Why won’t you listen when my darling birds sing?

Their pure sweet song is a healing for your love torn  soul.

And a  cleansing shower for your heart,

A healing light for your shattered soul,

Their singing, their love filled singing,

Will make you whole again,

Fill your joyless  soul again,

Cleanse your pain filled heart again,

Bring life renewed again,

Set you free again.

 

How hard it is for you to listen

When the birds of Rhiannon sing.

While my sweet  birds sing inside her loving chamber,

Outside her portal, pure and white,

Why must it be so hard for you to listen to singing of the birds?

The birds of Rhiannon that call you from your loveless sleep,

Lift your heart, fill you with new love’s joy.

Can you not put down your pride when the birds of Rhiannon sing?

 

My loving birds,

My precious birds,

My darling birds?

 

The birds of Rhiannon are calling you,

Calling you home,

Home from your labours deep,

Home to her bed,

Home to your true love’s bed

 

Can’t you hear their soul lifting song, the song of my birds?

My life filling birds, the birds of Rhiannon wait outside my portal,

Holy, pure and white.

Is your heart closed to magic?

Can’t you listen when my dear birds give song?

Their singing, is  pure, a cleansing rain upon the heart.

Do you hear them now?

The singing birds of Rhiannon?

You must hear them with your heart.

Please listen when my birds sing.

The birds of Rhiannon will call you home,

Call you from your labours deep,

Summon you from your pain

Bring love’s solace o so sweet.

 

Now will you listen when my birds sing?

My birds, my life giving birds

The birds of Rhiannon wait outside love’s portal,

Holy, pure and white,

Now will you listen when my birds sing?

Their song  is a healing light for the soul.

Will you hear them now, my lovely birds?

Now will you listen when my birds sing?

The birds of Rhiannon call you to your true love’s bed,

Call you from your empty bed

Sing you from your sleep of loveless death,

Summon you from your doubts,

Bring love’s true affections o so sweet.

 

Will you hear them now, my birds?

Do you hear them now, the birds of Rhiannon?

Can you hear the heart of Rhiannon beating now?

Will you hear the soul of Rhiannon weeping now?

Do you hear my birds now?

Can you hear with your soul now?

Will you hear with your heart now?

Do you hear how they summon the dead to life?

 

Can you hear the birds of Rhiannon now?

Will you hear their joyous song of love.

Do you hear them now,

Can you hear the messengers of the gods--- and love?

Will you hear them now and dare to love?

Do you hear how they summon the dead to love?

 

Hear the birds of Rhiannon,

And dare to live reborn

And dare to learn to love.

 

 

Prologue
Book ONE

Preface

The Past
The Hopeless State
Awakening Nightmare
The True Awakening
The Corrections
The Teacher Responds
The Flame Remembered
The First Ending of the Light
The End of the First Book

Table of Contents

Preface
Book TWO
Act One - Scene One
Act One - Scene Two
Act One - Scene Three
Act One - Scene Four
Act Two - Scene One
Act Two - Scene Two
Act Two - Scene Three
Act two - Scene Four

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