RWWP – Act One
Warning: The following writing fails. It fails so hard, I want to print it out so I can rip the paper to shreds, burn it, and spread the ashes across the train tracks outside my window. It’s also only half the scene, as the full scene was too long. Even half the scene is rather long, but it’s mostly dialogue so it goes fast. It’s just terrible.
Act One – second half of Scene Five
Pounding on the door interrupted the maid’s protest. The door opened before either woman could react.
“What are you doing here? The lady is hardly ready for an audience,” the maid said to the man inviting himself into the room.
“Doing my job, Maid,” he answered. His voice was smooth and reeked of deeper meaning. “And it’s time you did your job, as well. Elsewhere.”
“Hmph, well don’t blame me if the Master is unhappy with her appearance.” the maid sauntered out of the room.
The man shut the door behind her. Eva heard it lock. She took a step backwards.
“Why don’t we have a seat?” he asked, gesturing to the chairs at the other end of the room.
“Who are you?” Eva asked, still backing away from the man. He didn’t look particularly menacing. He wore a robe of sorts, open slightly in the front to show hints of what he wore underneath. Eva could see the glint of a gold pocket watch chain beneath the robe.
“Apologies, my lady,” he bowed his head slightly, “I am what the Ministry calls a Leger.”
Leger? Ministry? Eva’s head spun. Why had he referred to her as “my lady” when he was clearly the older one?
“I’m sure you have questions, so why don’t we sit down and talk?” he placed his hand on Eva’s arm and lead her to the fainting couch. She sat, not sure what else she could do, and the Leger sat in the chair across from her. His robe opened more, revealing the black trousers beneath. The pad of paper and pen he took out next did nothing to help Eva relax.
“Now,” he began, “You are Miss Evalise Beaumont, are you not?” Eva’s name flowed from his lips as if he’d said it many times before.
“Do you remember how you got here?”
The image of her bathroom flashed in her mind. “I was kidnapped.”
“Ah,” the Leger leaned forward as if confiding in her, “And do you know who kidnapped you?”
Eva leaned back, the Leger’s icy gray eyes making her nervous. They held a certain kind of confidence. He wasn’t here to get information because he already had it. He was here to see how little Eva knew. She thought about his question and the memories came back. The tub, the hand over her mouth…
“I didn’t see his face,” she told him. She wondered if this Leger was indeed her kidnapper. He seemed the type, but why would he kidnap her to interview her?
“Quite unfortunate,” he said as he leaned back, scribbling something on his notepad.
Unfortunate for whom? Eva wanted to ask. For her, clearly. She swallowed, noticing how dry her mouth had become.
“Your father is in the Guard, is he not?” His voice held the cadence of an experienced public speaker. He would hand you poison and convince you it was candy.
“Yes,” Eva answered.
“Admirable position. Your mother however…”
“Dead.” Eva’s response made his pen stop moving. At least she could throw him off balance.
“By curious circumstances, as well.”
“They say she missed my father so much, she could no longer bare to be without him.” Eva’s heart raced. He already knew what Eva was. He was looking for proof now, a confession.
“That would be your father in the Guard, correct?” he didn’t look away.
“I don’t know any other,” Eva shrugged.
The Leger nodded and continued writing. He knew. He knew everything. He knew and could ruin her. He was teasing her now, like how a cat toys with its prey before devouring it.
“Why am I here?” she blurted before deciding to ask.
“Because it is safe,” he didn’t even look up from his writing to answer.
“And my home wasn’t?”
“We had reason to believe Zephaniah was after you. We brought you here in secret to keep you safe.”
“Zephaniah? That’s why I’m here?” Eva’s memory went back to Adair, Clara, and the piece of paper she had tucked in her boots.
He kept writing.
“Who is ‘we?'” her heart was racing now. What if they found that piece of paper and followed the address?
“The Ministry, of course.”
“What reason does the ministry have to suggest Zephaniah wants me?”
“The Ministry has eyes everywhere, Lady Evalise.” Lady again. “Now if you don’t mind me, I must be off.” He closed his notebook and tucked it and his pen away before standing up.
“You’re leaving?” Eva stood up with him.
“I’ve other matters to attend to.” He made for the door.
“What about me? What am I supposed to do?” Eva followed.
“I believe the Master wishes to see you for dinner.” He opened the door.
“That’s not what I meant. You can’t just keep me here!” Eva moved to follow him out of her cell.
Without warning, the Leger spun around and grabbed Eva by the arm.
“The Ministry does whatever is necessary to keep the city safe.” He leaned over her and stared directly into her eyes. His fingers dug into her arm. “You will stay here because the Ministry deems you must. Leaving here would put not only you, but your entire family at danger. Is that what you want? Is it?”
Immobilized with fear, Eva found it in herself she shake her head, not losing eye contact with the Leger.
“So you will stay here and be a grateful guest until the Ministry deems it safe for you to leave, understood?”
Eva opened her mouth, but no words would come.
“Understood?” He pulled on her arm.
“Yes.” She winced at the pain.
“Good.” He released her arm, pushing her backward in the process.
Eva stumbled backward and fell to the ground. She looked up in time to see the door shut and lock behind the Leger.
The tears came now. One after another they fell down her cheeks, congregating at her chin until their combined mass was enough for gravity to take over. Still on the floor with her back against the bed, Eva pulled her knees to her chest and cried.