Characters In their own Words
Every character has a life of their own before they become part of the story. This page is devoted to the development of these characters through short stories and monologues. Excerpts may be used for auditions or in an academic setting. For more information please mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beneath the bereft
(this story appears in One Foot In the Door. The character Sara Harris appears in Circumstance.)
I’ve never considered myself as one prone to anger, even though I’m sure that each of my brother’s would disagree. I will admit to the occasional bout of moodiness. As the only girl in a family of five, I believe that I am entitled to a certain amount of crab.
I did threaten a girl for putting my younger brother in a compromising position. I think she was much more traumatized by the fact that she intended to seduce my older brother, but she hid in the wrong closet.
And then I assaulted my brother with a banana.
That so doesn’t sound right.
It all just hit me at one time.
Like I said, under the best of circumstances, it’s hard to be the only girl in a family of huge, genius boys. Especially since Charlie is so obtuse. And Cyril is just so damn pretty. Between the Charlie bumbling around the world like a blind meerkat, and all of the girls flocking around, it’s pretty nerve wracking even without my friend being gone
That’s what it is. That’s really what started it all.
Vanessa and Rebecca and I have been best friends since Kindergarten. It seems strange to have two best friends, but it worked out perfect for all of us. I’ve always wanted sisters, and I love them as much, possibly more than I love my brothers.
You don’t have to write that down. Of course I love my brothers. All four of them. Let’s see, there’s Timmy and Eddie, who are older. Then there’s Charlie and me and Cyril. They said I had a breakdown. I think that’s putting too fine a point on it. These last few months have been the really disaster. That’s what’s breaking me down, if you want to know the truth.
Like I said, Rebecca and Vanessa are practically my family. I’m closer to them than I am to anyone else.
As you probably know by now, Vanessa disappeared. It sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud. People just don’t disappear, right? Well she did. Right after lunch on that Monday, she said that she would meet me and Rebecca later and she just walked down the front steps of the school and vanished.
That’s not possible. We haven’t heard anything from her. Vanessa and Rebecca and I have spent just about every single day together for the last ten years and she just disappeared. That’s not even the most unbelievable part. The unbelievable part is that she didn’t get reported missing for almost a week.
She left on a Monday afternoon, and her mother didn’t know she was gone until Friday evening. To be fair, Ness’s mom, Mrs. Riley, has had a lot to keep her busy.
That sounded bitter, didn’t it?
After the whole rest of the school week had passed, almost five full days without any one but me and Rebecca saying anything or hell, maybe even noticing that she was gone. We couldn’t stand thinking the horrible things we were thinking about where Vanessa was or what might be happening to her, not for one single minute longer.
That was weeks ago. I don’t regret a thing we did. Beck and I went over to the Riley’s; I think we both were hoping a little bit that maybe Vanessa was there. So when we pulled up in front of the house and I saw that her window was dark, it was like ice water in my veins. Beck noticed the car in the driveway. I knew that car. It’s a car that’s in front of my house a lot. I don’t even remember walking up to the house. I went to the back door; that’s how we went in when we were with Vanessa. I went into the kitchen and I heard the steps on the stair. I would recognize the sound of those size 14 shoes any anywhere. My brother’s best friend, my nineteen year old brother’s best friend, Marcus came down the stairs in a bathrobe. If the situation hadn’t been so horrifying, I would have laughed. How insane is that? One of my closest friends was missing and Mrs. Riley was boffing a guy who was practically my age.
Then it took two more days to get in touch with Vanessa’s dad before she could officially be reported missing. So that makes what? A week? Vanessa had been gone for a whole week before anyone started looking for her. I’ve watched enough crime drama to know that if the person isn’t found in the first 48 hours, they aren’t likely to ever be found. Especially if that person is a pretty sixteen year old girl in a place where a lot of pretty teenage girls just disappear.
It seemed like nobody cared.
When they found her uniform at the city dump; everyone cared. But no one cared as much as me and Rebecca.
They didn’t find a body or any blood or DNA on the clothes, so they don’t know if it means anything. It means something to me.
So the thing with Charlie, the thing that brought me here.
Vanessa has been in love with my brother since we were in kindergarten. That’s ten years. In kid land, that’s an eternity. We all pretend that we don’t notice how she lights up when he’s around. I hate that he pretends that he doesn’t notice that she’s not around anymore.
Every day has been the same since she’s been gone. I get up, fight with Cyril to get in the bathroom, fight with Charlie over the last cup of coffee, go to school and keep people from putting their stuff on or sitting at Vanessa’s desk. Then Rebecca and I go from class to class and wait for nothing to happen. Because Vanessa is gone, Rebecca and I can have our phones in class because Vanessa might call. When school is out, I wait for Cyril to drag himself away from whatever it is he’s doing, and then we go home. And every single day when I try to pull in the driveway, I almost clip Charlie’s car because he’s parked too close, and it doesn’t usually bother me that much because you know, there are other things to be worried about because Vanessa’s gone. But not this time. This time I couldn’t overlook it. I went into the house and Charlie was just standing there eating the last banana. I don’t even like bananas all that much, but I pulled it out of his mouth and smashed it all over him. And he said, he actually looked into my face and said, “Sara, you have to get over this. You can’t lose control just because your friend is gone.”
I just got out of there and went to my room. I slammed the door and slumped down on the floor, pressing my back against the door so no one could open it, not that anyone would, no one wants to interrupt the hysteric in the middle of the breakdown, right? After the scene downstairs, Charlie would go back to his room and mope and Cyril would just go be Cyril for a while and by dinnertime no one would mention it.
But it still hurts
Several weeks ago, I can’t bear to think of it in terms of months, my best friend walked down the front steps of our school and disappeared.
It’s just that it’s been on my mind so much and I don’t think I’ll be able to focus if I start there.
I know she didn’t vanish into thin air, but it sure seems like it.
The worst part of it is that no one but me and Rebecca noticed she was gone. The school noted her absences but didn’t do any follow up after the first day. Her mom said that since Vanessa’s schedule was so directly opposite of hers, they often missed seeing each other, and since it was during the school week, it wasn’t uncommon for them to communicate only through notes and text messages. Of course, Rebecca and I know the reason Ness’s mom was so preoccupied.
Teresa Riley was sleeping with my brother’s best friend. That sounds almost soap operatic. It’s disgusting. Not the age thing, that’s fine. I can even see how Marcus Anderson would have some kind of oily appeal, but the disgusting part is that any parent, any mother could be so blinded by what was going on in her pants and her bed that she wouldn’t notice for five days that her daughter hadn’t come home.
Since we haven’t heard anything, everyone still assumes she has run away.
Everyone knows that if she hadn’t been heard from in 48 hours, chances are we will never find her. When you break it down, I’m not sure she knows we’re looking.