Broken Branches - A Ghost Story: extract

Carl:  Was it you last night?  I’m sorry I didn’t ...

     There was this knocking.  And …

  Pause.  She looks at him – slight hint of her biting her lip.

Morag:  No.  It wasn’t me.  Only this morning.  Just now.

Carl:  It was ... you know …

  He makes rapid knocking movements with his fist

     ... insistent.

Morag:  The wind got up last night.  It ...

     ... it whips around with the all the hills.  You can get ... sudden gusts that ... surprise you.

     You didn’t go to the door then?

Carl:  I said to her – I told Mrs Clancy – I mentioned I fancied somewhere remote. 

     It’s certainly that, isn’t it?

Morag:  You and the place become one.

     In time.

  She shrugs

     It’s where I live. 

  He holds up his mobile

Carl:  There’s no signal.

Morag:  No.

  He nods towards the radio

Carl:  No reception either.  For the ...

     It was a bit scary actually.

Morag:  ?

Carl:  The banging.

Morag:  They whip around.  The winds.  Things work loose and ...  Like I said she’s never here – a house needs ... maintaining.

     I just keep an eye on things – I check for leaks – and move the dust around.  It needs someone to keep up with the tiles and ... all the things that can work loose.

     There’s the tree too.  It could have been a branch breaking off.  Hanging loose and ... tapping.  Then breaking off.

Carl:  It was more than a tapping.

     It unsettled me. 


  She nods

     I might not stay the full week.

  She nods

     It’s that bit too remote, you know.

     I mean ... it’s nice to put some distance between you and the job.

     But …

  He holds up the phone

       I mean it’s not like I’m desperate to be in touch but I could be losing out on work, you know.

Morag:  What is it you do?

Carl:  I research family trees.

Morag:  Is that a job?

Carl:  I used to be an accountant.  But yeh, people pay me so it’s probably a job.  I just about get by.  I don’t live extravagantly.

It’s a long haul from that ferry point.

Morag:  Did she not tell you that?

Carl:  I thought she was embellishing it a bit you know.

     It must be a bit of a bind for you – back and forth on the ferry.

Morag:  Oh I don’t bother with the mainland anymore.

     I used to.

  She shakes her head.

     I don’t understand it now.

Carl:  ?

Morag:  It’s ... all moved on over there, you know.

     It doesn’t interest me.  And Shellagh’s got the shop.

     I’ll be popping there this afternoon if there’s anything you want.

     Groceries and such.

     I can load them on the back of my quad and drop them off.

     For you.

Carl:  Maybe tomorrow.  You’re just ...?

Morag:  I’m across the river.  There’s a bridge for the cows this side the fallen barn.  Leave a note if you can’t find me.  The dogs just bark – they’re noisy but they’ll just come up and sniff you.

  She nods at the tea-cup.

     I’ll fetch you some unpasteurised.

     Proper milk.

  She gets up – stares at the door a moment – walks towards it – turns

     There’s a lighthouse – across the bay.

Carl:  ?

Morag:  That’ll be what it was - what you thought were headlights

     ... moving.

Carl:  It’d be more regular though, wouldn’t it?

Morag:  A sea-fog could have been up.  If there was a break in it, it'd seem like a car pulling up.

  She goes out the door.  Lights down.  Carl off.


     Scene 5

     Morag in splash sitting on the edge of the stage to the left.  She talks to herself – or to a cat. 

Morag:  They’re still coming then?