The All-Teen Issue Has Launched!

Dear Readers,

Last year, longtime Inlandia Ontario workshops participant Victoria Waddle proposed that we dedicate an entire issue of the online literary journal to the creative output of teens. Of course we said yes!

Victoria got to work sending hundreds of emails to teachers, youth librarians, and other school administrators across the region. Word got out. All in all, eight teens volunteered to guest-edit. In the end, the teens selected 50+ pieces to be published in this issue, ranging from the usual suspects – art, poetry and short stories – to a short film, drama, reviews of books, music, and movies, and essays on tough topics like racial identity and Ferguson.

The work in this issue is insightful, funny, earnest, honest, smart, heartbreaking.

These kids are us, decades ago. These kids are the future.

Read them and weep.

~ Cati Porter

Field Trip to the LA Times Festival of Books By Faraz Rizvi

I first went to the LA Times Festival of Books when I was a high school student. I remember vividly the excitement at the thought of being in such close proximity to some of my favorite writers, hearing many of them read for the first time. I almost fainted when T.C. Boyle signed my copy of “When The Killing’s Done.”

This year felt different. As a recent graduate of the University of California, Riverside some of that excitement had cooled down, and the festival felt less like a pilgrimage than an assignment I had taken: After all, I was going to be starting my own piece on it shortly after I left. I thought that I would be too focused on taking notes and getting the details than on enjoying what was in front of me.

But I ended up taking no notes. As soon as I exited the 10 toward USC’s Exposition Park and rolled down the window, I felt that sunshine so particular to Southern California Spring. I dragged a friend along with me, and it was her first time attending. The invigorating sun, coupled with a cool seaward breeze, brought the excitement that I had been missing right back, almost as if it was my own first time attending.

I can’t describe you to the exact layout of the festival–it was a massive sprawl of canopies and tents, with three different sections for Children’s Lit, Young Adults, and Adults. We got lost through the labyrinthine maze of the festival looking for food trucks, which were located at the North and South entrances. To claim we were lost is perhaps an exaggeration: realistically, we would stop every few feet, distracted by a new set of books or a new reading or lecture that was happening.

I spent far more on books than I should have, but with such a massive selection on display and such interesting books it was almost futile to resist. Books from independent publishers, foreign publishers, arcane studies to rare and autographed books (a specific stall devoted to these had a volume signed by T.S. Eliot) one could possibly find anything. Poetry, which often gets short shrift in book stores, was in such abundance that I ended up spending way too long deciding what to purchase (I walked away with “Poetic Diaries 1971-1972” Eugenio Montale and “The Selected Poems” of the late Geoffrey Hill). Another gem I found hard to resist was a neglected manuscript by the Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez about the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile titled “Clandestine In Chile.”

Toward the end of the festival, we sat down to hear a brief reading by Bengali-American poet Tarfia Faizullah, who read from her recently published collection, “Registers From an Illuminated Village.” Her poems were powerful, political, and brilliant. Her voice as she read, echoing back the cadences of her poems, picked up registers of emotion that swept over the crowd like grief, fear, anger, but also hope. One poem in particular that stood out, “BEFORE THE ACCIDENT AND AFTER” , narrated the author’s grief after the death of her sister. Hearing her read made the reality of what the poem described vivid, enhancing my own understanding of the text after I went back and read it. After the reading, Faizullah devoted some time to signing copies of her new book, and by the time my we ran over to purchase one, they were all sold out!

No, I don’t apologize for not taking many notes, because getting lost within the labyrinth of the festival was worth it. If you haven’t gone, I urge you to do so some year. While Los Angeles may seem a million miles away from the I.E., the LA Festival of Books gives open access to independent bookstores, publishers, and authors that we otherwise might not get to see. In times of political crises, books are a refuge, an act of resistance and a source of strength. The LA Festival of Books is a celebration of all that, and yes more.

FarazRizviHeadshotFaraz Rizvi is a writer and activist based out of the Inland Empire. He studied Political Science at the University of California, Riverside and currently blogs at


Larry Burns: Inland Empire’s take on Indie Author Month

Since 2011, writers and readers of independently published works have designated October as Indie Author Month.  What began as a small group of publishers and writers from around Indianapolis has grown into a national celebration.  Coffee shops, libraries, universities, theaters and more, opened their doors this month to celebrate something that millions of us try each year – writing! As a writer with a foot in traditional publishing, but a much longer history with indie publishing, I wanted to understand how the Inland Empire put this month to good use.  My writer’s training took me first to Jurupa Valley, then Claremont, and ended in San Bernardino.

On October 1st, the Riverside County Library System proudly started the month off with a day of indie author events hosted by Inlandia Institute. Taking place at the Louise Robidoux Branch Library, authors, editors, publishers, and advocates provided timely information about the state and purpose of independent publishing.  During the panel discussion, each demonstrated the winding and often varied paths that brought each of them into writing. All were energized by the variety of voices, as well as the emphasis on new voices.

This event served to highlight an ugly fact of our Inland Empire literary landscape:  a dearth of literary agents based in the Inland Empire.  Nobody in attendance could name a single one. Given a piece of independent work will not have the built in support of a national publisher, it is even more important for indie authors to have supporters to promote exceptional writing. Most, including Ruth Nolan, editor of Phantom Seed, started new publications just so there were places that could champion new work.

On the western edge of Inland Southern California, Pitzer College featured an indie event dedicated to the publishers themselves.  October 5th’s Small Press Fest, funded by Pitzer’s College Campus Life Committee and spear-headed by Brent Armendinger, focused on the interplay between independent publishing and social justice.  It was great to see a regional college take on this task.  Like libraries, they have a built in love of the written word, self-expression, and new ideas. It makes sense that higher education would eagerly find ways to support this knowledge sharing and the book crafting enterprise.

What stood out was the varied shape and feel of the books offered.  There were series of short tracts and tightly folded, accordion-style books, pop out books, books on all sorts of papers was popular.  Another stand out was the emphasis on marginalized voices, voices of women and people of color.  At the panel discussion, the overarching themes were social justice and how to create a sense of community with small presses. Amanda Ackerman with eohippus labs summed it up simply when she stated, [small presses] rely on idiosyncratic forms, information, and distribution”.  The result is a product that looks, says, and does things differently from traditional presses.

San Bernardino Public Library, Feldhym Central branch, celebrated Indie Author Day as one of 200+ libraries participating in a virtual town hall, panel discussion, and book sales on October 8th.  Program Coordinator Linda Adams Yeh provided a space to explore how each genre approaches self-publishing. Horror stories, detective tales, children’s books, fanzines, comics, graphic novels, biographies, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction offerings ensured everyone in attendance could go home with a new book.  The day featured two writers sharing best practices and processes to support artistic aspirations by drawing upon personal experience and community connections.

The nation-wide virtual town hall included an Indie Author Day panel discussion led by Jon Fine. Jon is a media consultant and the previous long time Director of Amazon’s Author and Publisher Relations. He led a panel of writers, librarians, and entrepreneurs speaking about what drives independent publishing.

Novelist L. Penelope spoke about what inspires the indie writer, stating they “want to get [their] hands into all the specifics” when it comes to the writing process. She shared what she did during that year of writing her first title.  Alongside her novel, she prepared an extensive marketing plan. She incorporated the selling of the book into her creative process.

Lessons worth remembering? First, no matter what form publishing takes next, quality writing will still be priority one.  Second, you can find great homegrown writing with a mouse click or a trip to your local bookstore. Third, independent publishing is a time-tested method to explore new ideas and sustain a vibrant, local arts community.

Ghost by Jeremy Perlstein and Gidget Webb

Note: This story will be featured at the 2016 Ghost Walk on the Run for Your Lives tour.










Actors 1/2/3/4



(Lights focus on Narrator.)

Narrator : Our story begins in 1986 at Poly High School. The theater program is one week away from debuting their spring musical. Rehearsal has just ended, but their young, aspiring, stage manager is staying late to help set up the stage lights.

(Lights refocus onstage.)

Alex is standing on a short, stool, struggling to place a stagelight on the ceiling.

Meanwhile, a group of actors walks past Alex, paying no attention to him/her.

Actors are talking over each other.

Actor 1 : Oh my god, finally this rehearsal is over.

Actor 2 : I know, these Hell Week rehearsals take forever. Alex notices the group of actors and tries to get their attention.

Alex : Hey guys, can you help me get this last one?

Actor 3 : Do it yourself.

Alex : I would, but I can’t reach it.

Actor 4 : Figure it out yourself. That’s your job.

Alex (mumbles): I hate actors.

Actors walk offstage right. Alex jumps up to reach to place the light on the ceiling.

Alex falls off stool and stagelight lands on her head. Alex dies.

Narrator : 30 years passed. It is now 2016 and it is the opening night of Poly’s Spring Musical.

James, Danielle, Cole, and Lizzy are all sitting down preparing for opening night.

Teacher walks in from stage right.

Teacher : One hour till curtain. This is going to be a great show. Teacher walks offstage right. Ghost walks in, replacing Teacher.

Ghost walks up to Lizzy’s chair and pulls the chair ot from underneath her. Lizzy falls to floor.

Ghost walks offstage right. Lizzy glares at Cole.

Lizzy : Ugh…Cole that’s not funny.

Cole : I thought it was. (chuckles)

Danielle : Wow Cole you’re so childish. What made you think of doing that?

Cole : What? I didn’t make her fall. I’ve been over here this entire time.

Lizzy : Well someone did…

Cole : Maybe it was the Poly theater ghost.

Danielle : Oh shut up Cole.

James : No, Cole’s right. It was definitely the ghost.

Danielle : There’s no such thing as ghosts.

Cole : Of course there is. There’s one right here at poly. It likes to terrorize all of the actors.

Lizzy : That’s just a stupid story the Seniors tell the Freshman to scare them.

James : No there’s an actual ghost. It’s not just some made up story. I’ve had experiences with it before. I bet I could summon it.

Cole : Yeah, we should hold a seance to prove to YOU that it’s real.

Danielle : Sure, whatever.

James : Okay. let’s stand in a circle. That’s what they do in the movies.

All four stand in ‘circle’ facing out towards the audience.

James : Are there any spirits here that wish to communicate with us?…Are there any spirits here that wish to communicate with us?

Ghost walks onstage right. Starts talking silently. (Characters cannot hear ghost)

Lizzy : Well, looks like there’s no ghost. Great prank guys.

James : No, no there is…Maybe it’s just shy or something. Just wait for it.

All characters freeze, EXCEPT Ghost.

Ghost : Why arent they listening to me? Why are they ignoring me? Actors never change; they always ignore me and never give me any respect.

Ghost kicks over chair. Characters unfreeze

Danielle (Sarcastically): Oh my god, the chair fell over by itself. That’s so scary.

Cole : No that must have been the ghost.

Characters freeze, except Ghost.

Ghost : Can they not hear me?

Characters unfreeze.

James : If you can’t communicate to us directly, you can use my body as a vessel.

Ghost walks behind James and grabs his shoulders. James gets possessed. James now talks in Ghostly/Possessed voice.

James : Can you hear me now?

Lizzy : Yes James, we can hear you perfectly.

James : Who’s James. I’m Alex.

Danielle : Ok James, you can stop all of this nonsense now.

Cole leans on James.

Cole : Yeah James, I think they’ve had enough of our little joke.

James : My name is NOT JAMES.

James, controlled by the ghost, turns to Cole and begins to strangle him. Lizzy and Danielle start screaming.

MarkerMorse runs onstage right.

Teacher : What’s going on back here. The show starts in 5 minutes.

MarkerMorse notices James strangling Cole and tries to pry James’ hands off of Cole’s neck.

Teacher : James, What are you doing? What’s going through your mind? Don’t break my lead.


James grabs a pair of scissors off of a table and stabs Teacher. Cole and Teacher die. Lizzy and Danielle begin to walk away slowly.

Danielle : What’s wrong with you?

Lizzy : This has gone too far. Why are you doing this?

James : You actors are the reason I died. They denied me help when I needed it the most. I lost everything because of those ignorant, selfish actors. Too “important” to help their own stage manager. Every year, I try to interact with the actors. I was never able to talk to them until your friend offered his body as a vessel. Now I can finally take my revenge on the actors who stole everything from me.

 Lizzy : We’re not those people. We don’t want to hurt you.

 James : Hurt me? I’m already dead, I have nothing to lose.

 Lizzy and Danielle continue walking away from James.

 James : Where are you leaving so soon?…You’re Next.


Riverside’s Reckoning by CJ Gainer

Note: This story will be featured at the 2016 Ghost Walk on the Blue Tour.


(inspired by The Purge franchise)


There is a podium in the middle of the stage decorated with American decor. Looks like a political speech will be made that is of great importance.

ANNOUNCER (well dressed) walks out to the podium.

Announcer: Hello and welcome. Thank you all for taking the time out of your day to support a man we know will be the game changer in our country. It is clear, by you being here, you hold the same values as we do in preserving and keeping our country pure. So without further ado please welcome our future president,Senator John Morgan!


John Morgan: Thank you. Thank you. It is my pleasure to be here and share this glorious moment with you. We are here today, on this election year to discuss the future success of America. In the past, I’m sure many of us can remember the substandard way of life many Americans had to endure. Parents without jobs, criminals running the streets, children so scared they can’t even learn in school. That was a time no one wants to go back to. And thanks to our new founding fathers we won’t have to. Having a night of reckoning eliminates this in our society by allowing a period of time for people to release their stress and get back at those who have betrayed them! Statistics have shown a great decrease in crime and unemployment since the purge has begun; and it is my great pleasure to share with you that I will gladly be supporting the continuation of The Purge!

Plants in the crowd begin to hoot and holler

John Morgan (con’t): With your support I promise to keep this country on the straight and narrow. No more lies! No more corruption! By ridding the streets of the weak we can focus on keeping us strong!

More cheering

John Morgan (con’t): Never forget the wonders the purge brings us. Purge and purify! Purge and Purify!

JOHN MORGAN raises fist in the air. Plants in the crowd join in


Goes black for 3 seconds. Then red lights turn on. JOHN MORGAN is gone and the purge siren begins to sound. Then gets cut off. JULIET runs up to the podium clearly nervous and rushed.

Juliet: Excuse me! Please! The Purge is a disgusting tradition that has gone on for far too long! Burglary, Murder, Rape! How can you stand by and allow this to happen to people. Our country cannot continue like this. We have lost what it means to be a true American and even worse, we have lost what makes us human.

Someone in a mask pops up from behind her, and slits her throat with a fake knife. The Siren turns back on and the “Emergency Broadcast System” stating what the purge is begins to play. People in masks and weapons come from around the corner all creepy like. Some of the plants pull out their weapons and masks and begin to circle the crowd and taunt them.

JACK runs out in battle gear up to the crowd

JACK: What are you guys doing here!? Don’t you know it’s Purge night!(starts to leave)

Plant: Please help us! We don’t know what’s going on!

Jack: I can’t promise you anything but if you want to live follow me! If you are too slow YOU WILL DIE. SO COME ON!

The group follows Jack to the next destination.

Purgers will be hidden throughout the path he leads them through so they can scare the group. Some can follow and taunt them but will not touch them.

A Purger can grab a plant , dressed normally, and drag them away.



The group enters a darkened room with a window to the front of them. For now the window is just considered a wall.

Jack: Of all nights a group of (states approximate number of people) decides to go wandering in the streets with no weapons, no protective gear and not one D —

JACK gets interrupted by shooshing from Plant #2. The lights on the other side of the widow turn on.

The room is a fancy decorated upper class dining room with a wooden table in the middle and a chandelier hanging over it.

People (The aristocrats) dressed for an evening dinner enter the room loudly talking to each other and find their seats and continue to chatter.

OLIVIA wearing a grey wig and nice red dress stands and begins to tap her glass with a fork to get their attention.

Olivia: I am so glad to have you all come here tonight to celebrate with us.

Jack: Can they see us? Why can’t they see us?

Plant #1: Maybe it’s like one way glass or something

Plant #2: SHHH!!! They might hear us!

Olivia: Are we all enjoying the refreshments?

Aristocrats respond with a murmur

Olivia: Wonderful! Now for the main course.

One of the waiters bring someone that is gagged and moving erratically. They are screaming through the gag.

Olivia: Did everyone bring their utensils?

People begin to take out different weapons. These weapons are different than the ones the Purgers have because they are very nice and expensive. (i.e. knives/blades)

Olivia: Oh! Splendid!

Plant #1 scream and then quickly cover their mouths

Olivia: What was that? There’s someone behind the wall!

The aristocrats slowly turn their heads to the glass in unison

Jack: They can see us! We have to leave!

JACK runs out and the door quickly closes behind him leaving the group in the room.

The aristocrats come from around the window and circle the crowd with their weapons in hand.

Olivia: Well, well, well. Do we have anyone to thank for this gift? (silence) No one wants to take credit for this? This is the biggest purge we’ve ever had!

The aristocrats shrug and say nothing

Olivia: Well if no one will take the credit, I will (laughs) Now before we begin, let’s get to know our new guests. Let’s start with you! (points)

At this point there can be some improv with the group.

OLIVIA will stay in character while she interacts with the group.

After being signaled by one of the aristocrats who is keeping the time she delivers her line.

Olivia: Well we’ve wasted enough time. Let’s get to it!

Everyone raises their weapons and then there is loud gunfire.

All the aristocrats are on the floor dead.

JACK is at the door way with a big gun in his hands.

Jack: What did I say about keeping up!? Do you want to die? I mean I can kill you right now if that’s what you want. And I won’t even get in trouble for it with the Purge and all. (sighs) Let’s go.(pause) Fall behind again and you’re gonna look like Mrs. Claus over there.

At this point the group will move on to the next destination.

Purgers will be set up around the path to scare the group The group goes into a building for shelter. The building looks abandoned so Jack tells the group to go in.

Destination #3


The group enters the abandoned room. Then two people behind the group pop up with chainsaws. Then three more people dressed like bikers show up in front of them. They are surrounded. Then a man in a nice leather jacket comes out of the doorway holding a bat with barbed wire on it.

Niegan: Man you guys just make it too easy. Before we would have to hunt you down and break into your security systems. Now. NOW YOU JUST SHOW UP!(laughs) ON OUR DOOR STEP! (laughs) Now does anyone want to explain why a group of confused idiots are walking around on Purge night? How about you. (Points to someone in the audience with bat) Or you. (points) Or maybe—

Jack: Wait! They’re with me. Please don’t do anything. We thought this place was empty. We’re just trying to find a place to hide out for the night.

Niegan: Do you know who I am?

Jack: Um. An Ed Harley fan club? (tries to chuckle to diffuse the situation)

Niegan: So you think you’re funny? Well let me show you what I think is funny. Take her!

Niegan points to on of the female plants in the group and they grab her by her hair (fake of course) and pull her into the room next to them. The men turn on the chainsaws in excitement and jump around. Niegan joins them in the room and all you can see is the bat swinging through the door frame. There is a loud screaming then silence. Niegan returns with blood all over his face.

Niegan: I think we’ve made it pretty clear what we plan to do with you so let’s not make this any harder than it needs to be.


Niegan: You have a 3.0? Man I graduated with a 3.8. And look at me. Killing people for fun. Struggling to pay for my tuition. That’s half the reason why I’m voting for John Morgan. Free college? I’d do anything for that! No more Top Ramen, no more —

Jack: Um, so are you saying I’m going to end up like you?

Niegan: You would be lucky to end up like me! I got a posse! Do you know how hard it is to get a Purge Posse? (thinks) Well, half of these guys are my frat brothers.

Chainsaw Guy: (lifts up mask) Don’t forget we have a party next week on Friday at Jenny’s place.

Jack: Aw man you’re right! I was going to go and see Doctor Strange that night!

Jack: That looks like a good movie.

Niegan: Right! I love Benedict Cumberbatch! He was great in Imitation Game and he should’ve won that Oscar. I’m also feeling some, like, Inception vibes from it and that movie messed me up!

The Biker Gang guys murmur and shake their heads in agreement

Niegan: What were we talking about again? OH yea your death.

Jack: No wait! Maybe we can all join your posse? And it can be like a Mega Purge Posse.

Niegan: No that’s too many people. That will be real dangerous, try again.

Jack: Uh okay. Maybe we can clean your jackets or something?

Niegan: (gets an idea) Or maybe I can buy nicer jackets with the money I get from selling you to Senator Morgan!

Jack: Wait what? No please! Not that! Do you know what they’d do to us?! It’s disgusting! There’s women and children here! You can’t do that to children.

Niegan: I can and I will. If you think about it. It’s a lot less work. Beating people with bats, then having to clean it all up later. The Purge is starting to feel like a 12 hour workout at LA Fitness. Plus, as I said, I’m low on the funds right now.

Jack: Here take my money! (talks to group members) Guys come on give him your money! Anything will work! Based on past knowledge I’m sure the audience will do nothing. Which is not hard to believe because I wouldn’t give a bunch of kids money either.

Jack: Why are you just standing there! I know you have to have jewelry or something! (points to one person) I saw you at the ATM. I know you have money!

Niegan: Please don’t even bother. Senator Morgan will give us one grand for every head. So unless you have ten grand, you can keep your pocket lint.

Jack continues to plead

Niegan: Hey Sawyer. (points to one of his men) Walk these people to Morgan’s place. Tell them it’s a gift from Niegan.

Sawyer: You got it Boss. Alright everybody’s hands in the air! I don’t want to deal with any heroes around here.

SAWYER continues telling them to put their hands up until they do

Sawyer: Alright now lets get goin!

Niegan: Don’t forget my money!

Sawyer: I won’t Boss!

The group is now being lead by Sawyer to the next destination while Jack pleads in the background.

They arrive at a place that looks really dirty and gross. (possibly the ally)



Sawyer: Alright guys keep them hands up! Now line up against the wall! Shoulder to shoulder!

Two men in black suits and shades walk up to him with another man following them. The two men are blocking the main leader that is behind him. SAM WALTON. The two men then move aside with SAM in between them.

Sawyer: Sam Walton! Is that you?! Oh my gosh! It’s a real honor. But where is Senator Morgan? That’s who Niegan told me to sell them to.

Sam: He’s out campaigning.

Sawyer: On purge night?

Sam: (says nonchalantly) Yes. He’s leading a group of people who carve J.M. into the chests of the people they kill. Then they hang their bodies around the city.

Sawyer: (creeped out) Oh. So does he still want these people?

Sam: ARE YOU AN IDIOT? OF COURSE HE DOES! What do you think he will use as target practice for the P.P.P?

Sawyer: (chuckles) what’s the P.P.P?

Sam is becoming visually annoyed by Sawyer

Sam: (aside) Do I have to explain everything to this idiot? The Post Purge Party.

Sawyer: OHHHHHHH! I thought it had to do with. (pause) Somethin’ with the. (to the group) well you know what I’m talking about right?

Sam: I can’t stand him anymore. It’s like sand paper on my ear drums! Get him out of here!

The men then start to grab Sawyer by his arms and drag him away.

Sawyer: But what about the money? Niegan won’t be happy if I’m dead!

Sam: Tell Niegan not to get involved if he can’t carry his own weight. Now. Who am I going to pick?

Guard: I think he wanted us to take all of them Sir.

Sam: All of them!? No. that’s just too many. How about I get rid of a few. You. (points)

Plant #3: (takes a moment to respond) Me. No. I’m not in this thing.

Sam: What thing? The Reckoning? I don’t think you get to choose honey.

Plant #3: NO. Like Ghost Walk. I’m not in the play.

Sam: HA! So you think this is a play. So I must be Romeo and, and who are you? Juliet! (laughs loudly) It’s people like you that allow me to enjoy my job. I pick her/him!

The guards drag Plant #3 away while they yell “stop touching me” “Im not in Ghost Walk” etc.

Sam: (happy sigh) So who’s next?

Jack: Who are you anyway?

Sam: Who am I? You can stop joking now. It’s not funny anymore.

Jack: No seriously. Who is Sam Walton?

Sam: (stares at Jack for a second and begins to get angry)Don’t act like you don’t know who I am. My name is everywhere!

Plant #4: I don’t know who he is either.

Sam: My name is Sam Walton! (pause) Sam’s Club! Walmart!

Both Plants and Jack: OHHHHHHHH!

Sam: How do you not know who gave you one of the best stores in America!? And look at you! It’s not like you shop at Tiffany’s or Ralph Lauren! You should know very well who I am!

Plant #4: Okay let’s not get rude here. We are all just here for fun.

Sam: FUN! I’ll show you what’s fun.

Sam pulls out a nerf gun spray painted black to look real. And right when he does that bright lights turn on and the siren rings again. The voice speaks again saying how “the purge has ended and everyone must stop purging immediately.”

Sam gets furious.

Sam: I’LL GET YOU NEXT YEAR! DON’T YOU WORRY! Sam storms off with his men. Then Jack thanks everyone for coming to Ghost Walk and shows them back to where they started.

The End

Ghost by Noreen Lawlor

( Introduce the play with this poem )

The Maid

We never saw her but she left us clues

thin wisps of smoke

muggy evenings turned briefly ice

footsteps in the attic that paced all night

as if to tell us she was not unfriendly

just a little lost

as she walked those rooms

looking for the light

or some sign that she was home


I suppose we were in fact her guests

my son and I

and a pair of Burmese cats…

in this house where she lived

two hundred years ago

fifteen high ceilinged rooms

the kitchen with the red brick floor

perhaps she’d swept

that opened into the backyard where

two dead locust trees intertwined

and dense ivy covered everything



Lela…35 year old, pretty, sort of ditsey, comfortable with the concept of living with ghost, divorced, working mother, living in a very large old house which she sublet for the summer from a friend who is away in Europe… friend has told Lela that house is haunted but has lived there for 25 years with no problem.

Bren…Lela’s son who is a 13, very bright and independent who is staying in the house for. The summer with his mother…he is not so comfortable with ghosts and has had some concerns about the things that have gone on in the house over the past few weeks, like the footsteps in the attic, the piano that seems to plays by itself

Cathy…a funny, perky, 20 year old art student, practical but sensitive to environment and a who used to baby sit for Bren…she is not comfortable with the occult.

Calvin… an African American artist in his late 20’s who sometimes works in his fathers funeral parlor… friend and x-school mate of Cathy. He is familiar with ghosts.

Sheila…a ghost who was a maid in this house and does not know she is dead. She has continued to clean and take care of this house although she has been dead for two hundred years…she is a bit afraid men. In her previous incarnation she was very sylphlike and shy…she is still that way.


The four living characters are gathered around the dining room table in a high ceiling room… french doors opened to a small back herb garden… it is 9 o’clock at night and they have candles burning and a Ouija board sits in the middle of the table. Sheila stands in the corner shy but curious…the others cannot see her.

Calvin: So tell me, have you felt your sheets being pulled off in the middle of the night but no one is there?

Lela: I am not sure… it is possible… but last night Bren and I were sitting in the back kitchen, you know the one with the brick floor…because it was so hot a muggy and it was a little cooler in there …we had just finished dinner and suddenly the whole room grew cold and there were wisps of smoke and Bren asked me if I was smoking a cigarette and I thought he was…so we just looked at each other and sort of pretended the whole thing was not happening.

Bren: I’ve heard footsteps overhead in the attic, late at night and nobody else was in the house.

Lela: Are you sure that isn’t the workmen next door?

Bren: In the middle of the night…I don’t think so, mom

Lela: Hmm

Cathy; I think this house is very spooky and what do you propose to do with the Ouija board. I am not sure about connecting with the world beyond. I mean the spirit, if there is one could be diabolical or something.

Calvin: We don’t have to use the Ouija board…and I don’t feel any malevolence here.

Cathy: No offense Calvin but you work in your father’s funeral home…probably more used to the dead…

Calvin: Thanks, Cath

Lela: I agree with Calvin…I think the ghost is kind of lost but not harmful.

Calvin: We have more to fear from the living than the dead…that has always been my

thought..not original but true.

Bren: So what do you think we should do?

Sheila: (not heard by the others) Who are these four? About whom or what do they speak…they do not see me…I feel so strange…confused…( she moves a little closer to the group and eyes them with suspicion….(the group feels a slight breeze and a chill)

Cathy: What was that? Did you feel that air current …it was cold…I might go home.

Lela: Before you go let me tell you the story I heard about this ghost maid.

Cathy: Ask her to clean my house will you…just kidding

Sheila: ( unheard ) I do not think this one is funny…maybe I should pull her hair…she does not know the pain I have been through…or care…no one cared what happened to me…those awful men…fighting over me…I never gave them any reason…

Lela: The story goes that two male servants who lived in this house were both in love with the maid and quarreled over her affection.The one man murdered the other and was subsequently hanged .The poor maid felt so guilty and depressed about the whole thing that she grew ill and died a short time later.

Bren: That’s tragic, mom but why would her ghost still be haunting this house.

Calvin: They say sometimes a spirit remains in a familiar place if it is traumatized…it is sort of stuck between the worlds

Sheila: Are they talking about me…died of grief…or shame…I have been so alone… only my work to keep my mind off things…but dead…it doesn’t make sense…yet, they can’t hear or see me.( she begins to cry softly and the room gets dimmer)

Cathy: Talking about death and murder is giving me the creeps…can’t we put some more lights on it’s awfully dark in here.

Calvin: (turns on a lamp in the corner of the room and Sheila moves toward the fireplace

creating another stir of cold air)

Cathy: (shivers)

Lela: I’ve heard that sometimes you can do a little ritual to kind of send a spirit on their way.

Bren: We’re not ghostbusters, you know. Suppose she doesn’t want to cooperate.

Calvin: I don’t think it could hurt to send out some positive thoughts…I mean kind of

acknowledge her.

Lela: Ok…lets join hands

athy: If this is a seance, I am not doing it

Lela: No…we are just going to send out a little compassion and peace and the message for her to go towards the light.

Sheila: (moves closer to the four and is within the circle)

Bren: You can go or stay but may your spirit be free

Calvin: We bless you and send love.

Cathy: May you have peace and rest.

Lela: Sweet ghost, go toward the light, it has always welcomed you.

(There is a feeling of lightness in the air and the scent of rosemary as Shelia slowly wisps away )

Sheila: Thank you,my friends… remember me… my name is Sheila.

Maggie by Melodie Rae Gunn

Note: This story will be featured at the 2016 Ghost Walk on the Fear Tour.


This Annex was built in 2 phases….1913 and 1926. It 1st served as a  girls dorm for the staff of this hotel. Later..a boys dorm was added to the back. That bridge goes straight across to a stair case that goes down to the kitchen, where they would start their day. Our story is about a young  girl, just 17 years old…named Maggie. . .

It was Halloween and Maggie was one of the few staff still working.  She was orphaned at a young age & had to start working early in life.  Since she didn’t really have any family or friends to spend the holidays with…she was always willing to work so others could have the night off ..and..of course… so she could  make a little extra money.

It was just past midnight & she was heading to her room. She always dreaded walking across that small, dark, bridge to her room. Tonight …there was a thick cloud cover it was much darker than usual. And maybe….just maybe..since it was  all Hallow’s Eve …her imagination was working a little harder than normal.

There is a large cross just before the bridge….and for some reason…she always imagined someone …or something…crouched upon it…ready to jump. She diverted her eyes and hurried towards the gate. The gate closed behind her with a resounding click. She started across the bridge…and felt as if someone had followed her… and was  right behind her. Terrified…she paused. The hairs on her neck stood up. She took a deep breath and whipped around and started to say ‘Who’s there’?!’ and her question fell short….

She was greeted by darkness….and dead silence.

She had a bad habit of biting her nails when she was nervous….and tonight…she looked like a wild, animal caught in a trap…. As if it were chewing upon its own flesh to free itself from the steel jaws.

She picked up her pace and made her way across the rest of the bridge and went straight to her room!

She was glad to find Beth there. They had become best friends and confidants in the last year since they started working together. Beth had taught her a lot about her job…

Maggie started to get ready for bed and thought she heard humming. She paused to listen ….and it stopped. She chided herself… Oh Maggie.. you are really letting your imagination get the best of you tonight.. Stop this nonsense!

She continued getting ready for bed and suddenly there was a loud noise…like something falling to the floor. Beth woke up …and rolled over…

Maggie…are you OK? What was that?

Maggie: with a strained voice said… It wasn’t me Beth.. I don’t know what that was!

Beth sat up ..wide awake now & reached for some matches. Electricity was still very limited in places…and their rooms were always dark. Beth lit her candle and together, they started looking for the source of the noise. They found a book on the floor by the chair and nightstand. It was Beth’s from earlier. She thought maybe she might have set it too close to the edge of the table earlier….as she was quiet tired when she had retired for bed. They both let out a strained laugh and went back to what they were doing.

Maggie: Beth..I thought I heard someone humming when I came in. Is there anyone else in the dorms tonight?

Beth: I don’t think so…but maybe ….

Maggie: OK. I swear…ever since that boy, Mark, told me about seeing strange apparitions in the catacombs and that some  guests had been mysteriously pushed down the stairs near the honeymoon suite…I think I jump at just about everything these days!

Beth: Oh Maggie…they are just silly stories the boys made up to scare us!

Maggie: I guess so. But even tonight…as I crossed the bridge…I swear It felt as if someone had followed me and when I turned around…there was no one there.

Beth: Wow…that is odd. But I’m sure its just your imagination.

Maggie shrugged: Yeah…probably….

Maggie finished getting ready for bed and Beth was almost asleep when Maggie thought she heard humming again.

Maggie:Whispering… Beth…do you hear that?

Beth: In a half sleepy voice….Hmmm..what?

Maggie: The humming…I hear it again.

Beth: Mmmm…maybe there is someone here then….

Maggie; I’m going to go look & see if I can find anyone else…

Beth OK….and she instantly fell back asleep as Maggie went out to look.

The next morning….Beth awoke and Maggie was not there. She figured since they were so short handed…that maybe she had already started work. Although it was unlike her to just leave without saying something….

She got ready and headed down to start her day. She asked several of the other staff members if they had seen Maggie yet. No one had. Beth went to the Security office to ask.. they hadn’t seen her and she hadn’t clocked in either.

No one had seen or heard from Maggie since she got off work the night before.

Beth thought it odd that Maggie would just go off without saying anything. She had no friends or family out here in Riverside. So where would she go??

Beth went about her day and hoped maybe Maggie would be back in their room later. When Beth ended her shift…she went straight to their room. No sign of Maggie…or that she had even been there at all.

No one knows what became of little Maggie….

And sometimes….to this day…people report hearing what they think is a young girl humming …just up there…where the girls dorms used to be…




Music Box by Alison Eccleston

Note: This story will be featured at the 2016 Ghost Walk on the Fear Tour.


Scene-anywhere in downtown Riverside

Materials- a music box that plays an old song, orange blossom scent

Players 2 lovers

Opening Scene- 2 Friends are walking downtown to a party at the Mission Inn, as they approach the sounds of a music box can be faintly heard.

(Friend 1) –Shh did you hear that? (Stopping)

(Friend 2) –Hear what?

(Friend 1) –I’m not sure it sounded like music, but old-

(Friend 2) – Old music? What like the Beatles?

(Friend1)-No-(swats Friend 2 playfully on the shoulder)-don’t be thick! Old…. like…Listen! Can you hear it?

(Friend2)- (Waiting listening) I don’t hear anything-you must be imagining it. (Starts to walk)

(Friend1)-Wait there it is again! And I smell orange blossoms! Now do you hear it?!

(Friend2)- OMG Yes! It’s a music box, it sound’s lonely and far away.

(Friend 1) – It’s beautiful—and yet haunting

(They stop and sit and listen to the music)

(Friend2) – You know I heard an old story about a music box once.

(Friend1) –Really, do you think it’s the same one?

(Friend2) –How many spooky music boxes can there be?

(Friend 1) –Well,, (sigh) Tell me the story.

(Friend 2) – Alright, When Riverside a young and very rich city, a beautiful daughter of a well to do orange grove owner. Fell in love with a shop owner. She met him one day while she was looking for a music box.

(Friend 1) –Her dad thought he was after her money right?

(Friend 2)- Well yes, that and he was Chinese.

(Friend 1) –Ouch, not something that was done in the early 1900’s.

(Friend 2)- Sadly no, but the story goes that the two truly loved each other. Oh, and that is their signal.

(Friend 1) –What was?

(Friend2) –The music box

(Friend 1) – They danced?

(Friend 2)- No, well perhaps, she would play her music box in her families orange grove when it was safe for them to be together.

(Friend 1) –This doesn’t have a happy ending does it?

(Friend 2) – Wouldn’t be much of a ghost story if it did, no the two young lovers were together deep in the orange groves surrounded by the sweet perfume of orange blossoms. When they were discovered by the girl’s father. The father was enraged, and he killed the young man. And buried him there, deep in the orange groves.

(Friend 1) –That’s Terrible!

(Friend 2)- The story goes on to say, that the young girl was pregnant, and her father was so ashamed of her he wouldn’t let her go out until late at night when she would walk the empty streets of Riverside playing her music box and waiting for her lover to come back. By the time the baby was to be born she was so sad, that both died.

(Friend 1)- Depressing, but not really scary.

(Friend 2) -The story goes on to say, that if two lovers hear the music box and smell the orange blossoms, one will die.

(Friend 1)- Well it’s a good thing we are just friends!

(Friend 2)-Are we?

(Friend1)-Naturally, 2 really, really good friends. That have sleepovers and breakfast-but just good friends really.

(Friend 2)-Friends! (Angrily) That’s all I am to you? And it took a ghost story for me to find out?!

(Friend 1)- Why are you getting so upset?

(Friend 2)- I am not upset! (Crying) (Friend 2 starts walking away-the music box is playing)

(Friend 1)-Come back we can talk this over!

(Friend2)-I am done talking. I am glad that I know how you really feel about me.

(Friend 1)- I love you! You were right all along, please don’t go!

(Friend 2)- (turns, screams and falls to the ground)

(Friend 1)- (Catches up to Friend 2 and cradles Friend 2 in arms) – No, No.

Ends with the smell of orange blossoms wafting through the air and the sound of a distant music box.


The Ghost of the Opera by Christina Guillen


INSERT: Female opera recording.

RITA LONGWOLF GHOST, Native American, in Native inspired theater costume, slams window, shakes curtains. Darling opens eyes.

DARLING: It can’t be…it’s a dream.

Rita knocks Native costume and music from Darling’s nightstand. Darling looks around.

DARLING: It’s you isn’t it Rita? I’m the star of the theater now.

Darling picks up costume and music.

DARLING: I wear what I want, sing what I want—what you need it for now anyhow? Leave, you hear me, scat, goodbye!”

Curtains, music stop.

DARLING: Better. My name will be front page…you’ll…see.


Darling snores.

Rita drops red scarf from Darling’s bedpost. It lands over Darling’s throat. Darling tosses and rubs throat.


REPORTERS and PHOTOGRAPHERS shouting. LENNY, manager, used car

salesman smile, and JOHNNY, teenager, Native American, hold them back. Darling in Native inspired costume.

REPORTERS: Darling! Miss Belle! How’s the ‘ol theater treating you?

DARLING: It’s sweet as drugstore candy boys. Staying for a taste or will you be shooting questions at the moon all night?

Reporters laugh.

REPORTERS: Darling! Nice get up—not spooked about the Rita Longwolf ghost?

DARLING: Oh fellas, that’s just a publicity bauble cooked up by the opera. Nothing to fear—but if it turns a few heads why sure…I’m just terrified!

Lenny, reporters laugh. Johnny shakes head.

REPORTERS: Miss Belle! What’s it like singing with the dead! Cold in there? Sightings? Fancy Longwolf wants one last jab at the stage?

DARLING (to Lenny): I’m going nutty with all these dopes hollering at me. Isn’t there another way in?

LENNY: Touchy tonight ha?

JOHNNY: There’s a secret tunnel.

DARLING: Just get me outta here.

Darling follows Johnny.

REPORTERS: Darl’, Darling! Careful! Don’t let her get ya!


Dripping noises, dimly lit. Darling slips.

DARLING: Some getaway.

JOHNNY: Feel free to turn back, but I’m almost there.

DARLING: No, I’ll manage. I just—

INSERT: Opera song.

DARLING: What’s that?

Music stops.

JOHNNY: It’s her.


JOHNNY: Before she strayed from her people, she was a singer known only to the Cahuilla.

DARLING: How do you know?

JOHNNY: I’m of the Cahuilla tribe.

DARLING: Ah, I see. What’s she want?

JOHNNY: Maybe she wants her songs back. Have anything else belongs to her?

Johnny laughs, points at her dress.

Fog surrounds. Darling gasps, coughs.

DARLING: J-Johnny!


RITA: Darrrrr-ling. Afraid? Someone might steal the show? Like you stole mine?!

Darling screams.


DARLING (cracking): My voi—voice Lenny. The tunnel—

LENNY: Nerves Darl’.

DARLING: I can’t…

LENNY: Time kid…show must go on!

Lenny pushes Darling on stage.


INSERT: Clap and cheer recording.

Darling lights up, fake smile, opens mouth.

DARLING (cracking opera singing): Hooooooooe…

Rita appears, Native costume.

RITA: What’s the matter Daaaaar-ling?

Darling faints. Lights flicker, dim. Rita disappears.

Lights flicker, brighter. Darling sits up with jerky, floppy rag doll movements. She sways and slips to stand, opens mouth.

INSERT: Opera recording plays beautifully.

Darling sings, moves on stage awkwardly.

Darling closes mouth, stands doll-like, stares, faints.

Audience cheers wildly.


Johnny sits in spotlight, reading newspaper.

JOHNNY: After that fateful performance, Darling rose to national stardom. Her name

hit front pages just as she wished. She was invited by every stage across country.

People everywhere wanted to hear the angelic voice of Darling Belle. But to their

disappointment she never sang again. Some say it was because she couldn’t duplicate

what must’ve been just a lucky night. Others say her voice was destroyed by the tunnel

gas leak. But I don’t say any of that—what I say…it was the ghost of the opera.

Monstrous Fiction by Andrea Fingerson

Cast of Characters:

(1) Justin,

(2) Frankenstein’s Monster, otherwise known as The Monster

(3) The Bride of Frankenstein, otherwise knows as The Bride,

(4) Elizabeth

(5) Jonathan, Elizabeth’s mother

(6) Mina, Elizabeth’s father

The scene opens upon a young girl reading in bed. Elizabeth (14) is engrossed in a novel- “The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde.” When her parents knock on the door, she jumps in fright and the book flies through the air, landing on the floor with a crash. Her parents rush into the room and take a defensive stance in front of Elizabeth. Both of them wielding knives. Her mother looks mildly vampirish.

Mina: What was that?

Jonathan: Is someone in here?

Elizabeth: (She pushes them away from her) Relax. It was just my book.

Jonathan: Are you sure? (He explores the room, jabbing his knives into empty corners.)

Elizabeth retrieves her book, rolls her eyes, and turns to her mother for help. She points in her father’s direction and mouths the word “please.”

Mina: Put it away, Jonathan.

Jonathan: Are you sure it’s safe?

Mina: Yes, dear. (She turns to Elizabeth and examines the book.) I do wish you wouldn’t read such trash. It’s pure fiction.

Jonathan: I could lend you my diary to examine.

Elizabeth: No thank you. Once was enough. Besides, I like fiction.

Mina: Very well. Don’t stay up too late. (After tucking in Elizabeth, and kissing her head, Mina pulls Jonathan out of the room.)

Elizabeth: Night. (She rolls her eyes again and throws the blanket off herself in disgust. Then she turns over and continues reading.) Now, where were we Mr. Hyde?

The scenes closes on Elizabeth and rises on another. Next door, a young boy is sitting on his bed with a laptop. His face is alive with an eerie grin. He is stroking a collection of hair that is braided together. The hair is made up of blond, black, brown, and even red hair. There are also several pictures on the wall: selfies and portraits of Frankenstein’s monster with his dead creator, Victor Frankenstein.

Justin runs to his window to watch the house next door, Elizabeth’s house.

Justin: Good. She’s home for the night. (He looks at his braid of hair, still clutched in his hand.) I need another sample for my collection.

Someone knocks from off stage. Justin jumps back onto his bed, hides the braid under his pillow, slams the laptop closed, slinks under the covers, and grabs a book from his end table. (He holds the book upside down. It is “The Legend of Sleep Hollow and Other Scary Stories.”)

Then, the door opens.

The Bride: Are you still awake, Son? It’s past midnight. (She reaches for the book.) Time for bed.

Justin: One more story?

The Bride: Did you finish your homework?

Justin: Ages ago.

The Bride: Fine. Don’t forget, you have to help your dad tomorrow.

Justin: With what?

The Bride: He’s working on another monument to Saint Victor. (She motions to the pictures on Justin’s wall.)

Justin: Where’s he going to put it? The bathroom?

The Bride: We’ll just have to make more room.

Frankenstein’s Monster peaks his head around the door.

The Monster: What’s that, Dear? (He enters the room.)

The Bride: Nothing, Darling. (Frankenstein’s monster doesn’t notice. He’s too busy admiring the wall of portraits.

The Monster: I forgot this one was in here. (He picks up a picture frame and examines it, but the frame falls apart and the picture falls to the floor. After snatching it off the floor, he glares at Justin.) Why didn’t you tell me this one needed attention?

Justin: Sorry. I didn’t know. (Justin turns away and whispers) I’m not obsessed like you.

The Monster: You have to take better care of these, Justin. After all, Victor Frankenstein is the only reason any of us are here.

The Bride: He’s knows, dear. He’ll help you fix the frame tomorrow.

The Monster: You bet he will. (He turns to Justin and gabs him in the arm.) You bet you will.

Justin recoils and rubs his arms. The Bride, grabs her husband’s arms and pulls him toward the door.

The Bride: Come along, dear. It’s getting late.

Glaring at his son, The Monster allows his wife to pull him out the door. Justin collapses back into the bed.

Justin: Finally. (He rushes back to the window and stares next door. Snores can be heard from the neighbor’s house. An eerie grin spreads across his face) Good. They’re asleep.

Justin checks to make sure his bedroom door is closed. Before he sneaks out the window, he retrieves the braid of hair from under his pillow.

Justin: Time to add to my collection.

After climbing down the wall to his house (his joints are stiff, so this isn’t easy), Justin starts scaling the wall of the neighbor’s house (he almost falls more than once, but he’s patient and strong). While’s he’s sneaking into the neighbor’s house, he sings to himself. “Black is the color of my true love’s hair.” (Note: this is the title of an actual song.)

Justin falls silent as he enter’s Elizabeth’s room. He watches her sleep, all the while stroking his braid of other people’s hair. She is one her side and her hair is stretched across the pillow. After a few moments, he slowly pulls out a pair of scissors and creeps toward her, despite his stiff joints. He lifts up a few strands of Elizabeth’s hair and lowers the scissors.

Just as he is about to make the cut, Elizabeth rolls over. Justin jumps out of the way and lands on the bed across from her. Elizabeth wakes up and sees him. Without thinking, she jumps out of the bed, but not before she grabs the knife hidden under her pillow.

Elizabeth: Who are you? (She jabs the knife toward him.)

Justin gets to his feet, the braid still in his hand. He looks around the room, unsure how to


Elizabeth: Answer me! (Justin flinches) Well?

Justin: (Puffs up his shoulders in a determined way and tries, unsuccessfully, to look menacing.) Your worst nightmare.

Elizabeth: (With her eyes to the ceiling) Oh my, God. Not another one.

Justin: Excuse me? (He steps back) Do you often wake up to strange men in your room?

Elizabeth: No, I don’t. But when you hear about it all the time it loses it’s impact. Who are you anyway?

Justin: Who are you? (This is said at the same time the Elizabeth says the same words.) Oh. My name’s Justin.

Elizabeth: No. I mean what kind of monster are you?

Justin: I AM NOT a monster. (He paces in annoyance.)

Elizabeth: Then what’s with the creepy braid? And the sneaking into my room? (She watches him) And the stiff joints?

Justin: Fine. I’ll tell you. But you can’t tell anyone else. (He waits for her to nod.) My dad is Frankenstein’s monster.

Elizabeth: Really? Cool. I read that book last year. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it’s real too.

Justin: (Surprised) Ok. That’s not what I was expecting. (He looks down at his braid and tosses it out the window.) Your turn.

Elizabeth: Huh?

Justin: Who are you?

Elizabeth: Oh that. (She sits down on her bed) my name’s Elizabeth. My parents are Mina and Jonathan Harker. They killed Dracula.

Justin: No way. (He plops down next to her) I loved that book. Wait a second. I thought Mina died.

Elizabeth: She did. Mom’s a vamp. (Elizabeth picks up the book she was reading before bed. It is on her nightstand.) Do you think Hyde’s real too?

Justin: (He considers this for a moment.) Probably not, but I would love to meet the Headless Horseman.

Elizabeth opens her book and the two start reading. As the scene ends, two people dressed like Mr. Hyde and A Headless Horseman look in the window and wave.