A Thinning Veil by Andrea Fingerson

Still Hungry for More Thrills & Chills?

We will continue to run a new story each day this week. These stories were written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk.


Cast of Characters: Male Narrator, Female Bystander, Isadora, and Fred.

When the scene opens, a man and a woman are arguing with each other upstage. Downstage the Narrator (an elderly male) is preparing to introduce the scene when he begins talking to a bystander (female) hidden in the audience.

Narrator: Welcome. Welcome. Please, gather around. Come closer. But not too close, of course. We are surrounded by visitors tonight.

Bystander: Visitors?

Narrator: Yes, of course child. It’s almost Halloween. The veil between our world and the next has been stretched thin. Look, the ghosts are beginning to bleed through.

Bystander: What are you talking about? I don’t see any ghosts.

Narrator: Oh, you will. Take those two, for instance.

Bystander: The couple in the corner?

Narrator: That is Fred and Isadora. Poor souls. They’ve been stuck here for at least half a century.

Bystander: What are they fighting about?

Narrator: Who knows. It’s always something with those two. Let’s listen in. But remember, don’t get too close.

Bystander: Why?

Narrator: Trust me. It’s for you own good.

Fred: I still can’t believe you killed me.

Isadora: It’s no more than you deserved. Or have you forgotten about shooting me on the steps of the courthouse?

Fred: You were trying to take our daughter away from me.

Isadora: For good reason.

Fred: Things were perfect until you filed for divorce.

Isadora: Sixteen trips to the emergency room is not what I would call perfect.

Fred: Why, I ought to.. (he tries to hit her, but misses; they’re both ghosts, but they can’t touch each other)

Isadora: I’m not afraid of you anymore, Fred. You can’t hurt me.

Fred: You never used to be so flippant.

Isadora: Now all you can do is annoy me.

Fred: It’s the only way to have fun in this place.

Isadora: It’s called limbo.

Fred: Who cares what it’s called. I just want to know how to escape.

Isadora: You’re not the only one.

Fred: Oh, I’d give anything to be able to touch something again. Anything. Even you.

Isadora: You’d probably just hit me.

Fred: And this is my punishment? An eternity stuck with you?

Isadora: You deserve a torturous afterlife. I, on the other hand-

Fred: (interrupting) Killed me, remember?

Isadora: Not quickly enough. I should have started dosing you with arsenic the first time you hit me.

Fred: You were so timid. That’s what I liked about you. You never hurt a fly, until you went and killed me.

Isadora: Best decision I ever made.

Fred: I would never have hurt our daughter. I loved her.

Isadora: And how was I supposed to know that? You took your frustration out on me enough times.

Fred: God. What I wouldn’t give to have another chance at life.

Isadora: That’s probably the one thing we agree on.

Fred: What would you do differently? If you had the chance?

Isadora: I wouldn’t be so timid, that’s for sure.

Fred: But it was your best quality.

Isadora: You mean my worst. No, if there’s one thing I’ve learned being stuck with you all these years, it’s to take what I want.

Fred: So I did make an impression on you.

Isadora: Don’t flatter yourself.

Fred: I won’t. I’ve learned a little humility being stuck with you all these years. (quieter) Wish I would’ve learned it sooner.

Isadora: What was that?

Fred: I said I wish I would’ve learned it sooner. Ok?

Isadora: Oh, Fred. You mean I’ve made an impression on you too?

Fred: I suppose so. Despite myself.

Isadora: At least that’s something.

Fred: And I intend to do something about it.

Isadora: What are you talking about, Fred?

Fred starts looking around at the crowd. He begins to examine them carefully. Isadora is following behind him, asking him what he’s doing)

Narrator: (backing up) Oh no. We’ve gotta get out of here.

Bystander: What are you talking about?

Narrator: We need to leave. Now.

Fred: (stops in front of the bystander) Oh yes, you’ll do nicely.

Narrator: I’ve heard about this. (he starts to push the bystander away) You’ve gotta get out of here.

Before the bystander can leave, Fred pushes Isadora into her. After this, the actress who plays Isadora should stand one to two feet behind the bystander and mimic the bystander’s words and movement.

Bystander: Fred. Fred. Where are you? What’s happening?

Fred: Coming dear.

Fred faces the narrator, staring at him.

Narrator: Oh no you don’t.

The narrator turns to run, but Fred grabs his arm and pushes himself up against him. After this, the actor who plays Fred stands one to two feet behind the narrator and mimics the narrator’s words and movement.

While this is happening, Isadora and the bystander are freaking out and calling for Fred. They don’t know yet that they can be seen by everyone else.

Narrator: Wow. That felt weird. (he turns to the bystander) Are you in there Isadora? Did it work?

Bystander: Wait. Can you see me?

Narrator: Of course I can, Isadora.

Bystander: (looks closely at the narrator) Fred? Is that you?

Narrator: (proudly) It is.

Bystander: What happened? Where are we?

Narrator: This my dear, is our second chance. I suggest we make the best of it.

The entire cast walks out, arm in arm. The actress playing Isadora and Fred should follow behind the narrator and the bystander.