CHOOSE YOUR OWN APOCALYPSE

August 29, 2016

 

Directed by Christian Haines

Featuring Jaime Currier & Katie Whitcraft

 

CHARACTERS

 

DANIELLE – Journalist.  Well dressed.  Begins the play in a torn shirt, a hood over her head and her hands tied behind her back.

 

MILLIE – A member of a cult organization called January’s Children. Well put together.  Well prepared.  

 

 

 

SETTING

 

The woods somewhere in upstate New York.

 

 

SCENE 1 – The Woods

 

Lights up. 

 

Deep in the woods.  DANIELLE, a fashionably dressed woman, stands with her hands tied behind her back and thick black sack over her head.  The sleeve of her beautiful blouse has been cut off and hangs at her wrist.  On her arm is a puncture wound where a bruise has already formed and a little blood has trickled down her arm.  Other then that she looks unharmed.  She is still wearing her heals, though the ground is uneven and she is unsteady on them.  

 

MILLIE enters.  She is dressed for being in the deep woods and has obviously been out here for a while.  She is completely at ease here.  MILLIE is carrying a pair of folding chairs and wears a backpack.  As soon as she enters DANIELLE hears her, but does not acknowledge her.  She refuses to be the one to speak first.  MILLIE sets up the folding chairs and pulls out a thermos and a timer.  She sets the timer for 30 minutes before turning to DANIELLE. 

 

MILLIE Danielle?

 

DANIELLE Yes?

 

MILLIE Are you ready?

 

DANIELLE Yes.

 

MILLIE We have 30 minutes.  I’m going to take off your hood and undo your restraints.  Please stay still.

 

DANIELLE Okay. 

 

MILLIE Close your eyes, the light is very bright. 

 

MILLIE removes DANIELLE’s hood.  DANIELLE has closed her eyes, but blinks them open.

 

MILLIE No sudden movements.  Please wait until I’ve moved away from you before you move.

 

DANIELLE Got it.

 

MILLIE removes the restraints and DANIELLE waits patiently until MILLIE has finished and moved away before she painfully brings her arms in front of her and rolls her shoulders and her writs to ease the pain.  She rubs the place where she was stuck with a needle and then removes the bit of shirt from her wrist.

 

DANIELLE Millie?

 

MILLIE You look older. 

 

DANIELLE You look… I’m sorry I’m just surprised that it’s you.  You look… very well.  Are you living outside The Compound now?

 

MILLIE Langdon needs a vanguard on the outside to protect all of January’s Children.  We learned that the hard way. Coffee? I brought some for both of us. Don’t worry, it isn’t that instant stuff Langdon loves.  Living away from The Compound has a few benefits.   

 

DANIELLE Thank you. 

 

MILLIE We can go ahead and begin, if you like. 

 

DANIELLE My purse was taken from me.  I don’t have anything to take notes with. 

 

MILLIE Don’t worry, you won’t need them.  It’ll be like old times.  You never had a pen before and you seemed to do fine. Besides, we trust that what you take from here will accurately tell our story. I’m sorry about your shirt, it looks like it was expensive.    

 

DANIELLE It’s fine. You didn’t have to dope me. I told you I would come voluntarily. 

 

MILLIE I know it isn’t ideal, but we don’t have the luxury of trust any more. We couldn’t risk your being followed or having a wire or anything like that. The injection site looks good.  It won’t be sore much longer.  Maybe give it a day.

 

DANIELLE I have a speaking event today.  I’ll be missed.

 

MILLIE We sent the organizers a text from your phone.  Emergency.  You had to leave.  So many apologies and sad faced emoji.

 

DANIELLE Wow. You’ve really acclimated to the times.  The Millie I knew had been on the Compound longer then Google had been a thing.

 

MILLIE We must know the tools of the enemy to know his weakness. 

 

DANIELLE takes a drink. She doesn’t know where to begin.

 

DANIELLE I didn’t think it would be you.

 

MILLIE It would have to be me, wouldn’t it?       

 

DANIELLE How is Langdon?  Is it true he’s very sick?

 

MILLIE stands up and starts folding her chair. 

 

MILLIE That wasn’t the deal.

 

DANIELLE I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  I forgot -  

 

MILLIE In about 28 minutes you will be taken back to the city - 

 

DANIELLE No really. I was thrown off.  I’m sorry.  My head -

 

MILLIE Do you think this is a game? I don’t have time to waste and neither do you. 

 

DANIELLE I’m sorry.  Please -  

 

MILLIE Any journalist would kill to be here right now - 

 

DANIELLE I know.  I’m sorry. I won’t ask any more questions about Langdon himself.  I’m sorry.  Millie!  Please!   

 

MILLIE considers.  She unfolds the chair but she doesn’t sit down.

 

DANIELLE Please.  Let’s start again.  

 

MILLIE I don’t want to chat any more.  I have this prepared statement that we would like you to print.  

 

MILLIE hands DANIELLE a one page document.

 

DANIELLE This seems pretty like a pretty standard January’s Children message.  Did you need to bring me out here to give me this?  You could have emailed it to me.

 

MILLIE This was typed up by Langdon himself.

 

DANIELLE Ah.  I see.  So, this is the word of God then?  Holy Writ. 

 

MILLIE You’re being sarcastic, but it was no small thing to get this off the compound.  And yes.  I do believe it is the direct word of God. You’ll print it?

 

DANIELLE That’s what we agreed to and that is what I’ll do. May I ask a few questions now?

 

MILLIE Go on. 

 

DANIELLE How many people are in The Compound now?

 

MILLIE 438.  What’s the count your FBI handlers have?

 

DANIELLE I don’t have FBI handlers. My editors at Buzzfeed are working with the FBI to make sure –

 

MILLIE I don’t see the difference.

 

DANIELLE But I don’t have… that is to say I’m not working directly…Ok.  The number they have is 325.

 

MILLIE Well, it’s encouraging that their intel is so bad.  Ok, go on.  Let’s get this part over with.

 

DANIELLE How many children?

 

MILLIE 72.  I’m sorry.  71.  I count Lisa by habit.

 

DANIELLE Millie – 

 

MILLIE Don’t.  

 

DANIELLE I can tell you about her if you like. 

 

MILLIE That isn’t why you are here – 

 

DANIELLE They’ve put her with a foster family in Spokane. 

 

MILLIE You are here because January’s Children wants to set the record straight about what his happening on the compound.  You are allowed to ask questions and I will – 

  

DANIELLE She seems really happy. 

 

MILLIE Stop.

 

DANIELLE She’s going to high school and she –

 

MILLIE I didn’t ask you to tell me any of this.

 

DANIELLE But, don’t you want to know –

 

MILLIE She’s not happy. They’ve tried to take God from her so that they can control her and use her in their unending death bargains.  But He sees her even in the shadows. She’ll outlive them all; the sinners and the walking decayed.

DANIELLE doesn’t know how to respond. MILLIE takes a calm sip of her coffee.    

We are short on time.

 

DANIELLE How many cells are operating outside the main compound?

 

MILLIE Don’t say cells.  You know they aren’t “cells.” They are churches, gatherings, homes, minds…the light goes where it will.  January’s Children are bringers of the light, so they go where there is darkness.  And I know you never believed this, but we don’t keep absolute records of who and where they are. 

 

DANIELLE If Langdon isn’t using email or regular telephones, how are you communicating with The Compound?

 

MILLIE Satellite phone.  I’m the only one on the outside with a direct line to him.  I disseminate his word to all of January’s Children around the world.  

DANIELLE takes a drink.

Do you know if they put Lisa through deprograming?

 

Pause. 

 

DANIELLE Yes.  They did.  

Pause.

I’m not going to apologize –

 

MILLIE Do you have any more questions? 

 

DANIELLE Is there enough food on The Compound?

 

MILLIE No.  They’ve gone through most of their stores.  With the FBI and ATF and all of big brother on the doorstep we can’t get in new supplies.

 

DANIELLE Someone tried to airlift supplies using a drone the other day, but Homeland Security shot it down.

 

MILLIE It doesn’t matter.  We are at the Threshold.    

 

DANIELLE What does that mean?

 

MILLIE You know what it means.

 

DANIELLE I know it means that Langdon believes the end of the world – 

 

MILLIE It is not the end, it is the beginning.

 

DANIELLE I’ve never been clear on what was supposed to happen at The Threshold.

 

MILLIE No one is until they are there.

 

DANIELLE If we are at The Threshold, what does that mean for the people on The Compound?

 

MILLIE We will walk the world again.  This is why your article was so uninformed.  You spent so many years with us and yet you never really listened.  You only saw what you wanted.  A bunch of crazy people instead of the inheritors of New Eden. 

 

DANIELLE Do you mean everyone will leave the compound?  Will they give themselves up peacefully?

 

MILLIE Are you trying to negotiate for them now?  Did they tell you to try and do that?  

 

DANIELLE They don’t want anyone to die.  

 

MILLIE You believe the strangest things.

 

DANIELLE Do they keep the children in the same places that they did when I was there?

 

MILLIE Do you mean that if I tell you where the children are the government will shoot at every building but that one?  

 

DANIELLE They don’t want another Waco.

 

MILLIE That isn’t up to us.

 

Pause.  

 

DANIELLE If things get bad enough, will Langdon tell January’s Children to kill themselves?

 

MILLIE January’s Children can’t die.

 

DANIELLE You know what I mean.

 

MILLIE No. I don’t. What do you mean?

 

DANIELLE Will he tell them to sacrifice their bodies so that God can take their light into Himself so they may live together?

 

MILLIE smiles. She pours herself more coffee.

 

MILLIE Langdon would not do so unless he felt that it was what God wanted.  

 

DANIELLE Would Langdon ask the sacrifice of just those in The Compound, or everyone?

 

MILLIE We will cross The Threshold together, where ever it may be.

 

DANIELLE Would you be the one to tell them to sacrifice their earthly bodies?

 

MILLIE Yes. Does that frighten you?

 

DANIELLE You’ve changed so much.

 

MILLIE I’ve become who I was always meant to be.

 

DANIELLE I can’t believe that the woman who was my only friend on The Compound would be the woman who would command people to kill themselves. 

 

MILLIE I feel so sad for you.  You were among us for so long and you had every opportunity to accept that you are one of January’s Children.  You were meant to live forever.  You were meant to see beyond the threshold and into the epoch.  The people you fear for will not die.  Whether in our earthly bodies or as one with the light of God, January’s Children will live forever.  If you had come to the light you would see that it is the people who have chosen the darkness you should be afraid for.    

 

DANIELLE What about the children?

 

MILLIE You still don’t understand.  And I think that is the saddest thing of all.  The answers are right in front of you, Danielle.  Just waiting for you to pick them up and take them.  Do you remember the song?  

Singing.

I live in the light of God,

And through the threshold

We will walk.

He will guide me all my days

In light and love never to part.

 

Pause.  She starts again and this time DANIELLE joins her.  MILLIE reaches out and takes DANIELLE’s hand and they hold hands while singing.

 

M & D I live in the light of God,

And through the threshold

We will walk.

He will guide me all my days

In light and love never to part.

 

Pause.

 

DANIELLE I’ve been worried about you. I missed you.  Singing that song in the evenings with you always felt right.  It was the one time of the day I wasn’t scared.

 

MILLIE I never understood why you were afraid then, but I see why now.  I should have known, but I trusted you like a sister.

 

DANIELLE I never meant to betray that trust.

 

MILLIE releases DANIELLE’s hand.

 

MILLIE It must have been disappointing for you. Imbedded deep undercover for three years with January’s Children.  Three years.  Three years of working your way up through the ranks trying to get to Langdon himself.  All that and your story boiled down to: “This Woman Lived in a Cult…And you Won’t Believe What Happened Next!” What’s it like to have the most important part of your life competing for viewership with lists of kitten gifs and videos of twenty year olds talking about their first sexual experiences? Does it turn your stomach a little?

 

DANIELLE I got a book deal out of it.

 

MILLIE And awards.  And fame.  It was what brought the FBI to our door. Why did you come in the first place?

 

DANIELLE I was a really young reporter.  I wanted to be like Nelly Bly or like the reporters I saw imbedded with the troops.  I wanted to tell a story that mattered.  No one could get into January’s Children.  I wanted to see if I could.  

 

MILLIE Why did you leave when you did?

 

DANIELLE At first it was nothing like I expected.  It was really nice.  I thought that maybe there wasn’t a story after all.  This was just a commune, I told myself, and it’s lovely.  There’s a farm and it generates it’s own electricity.  January’s Children sold soap and candles and strawberries to bring in money.  Langdon was just another man who believed he had a direct line to God.  I didn’t believe it, but everything seemed wholesome and good.  You and Lisa were the first people I met. You showed me around.  You were my first teacher. You were so kind. But the closer I got to Langdon, the more I saw the cracks.  The nights he would…rage…

 

MILLIE It costs so much to be the savior of the world.

 

DANIELLE His paranoia got worse and worse –

 

MILLIE You’ve got to admit that he wasn’t wrong, considering.

 

DANIELLE The endless drills against invasion.  We spent weeks not sleeping more than two hours a night.  

 

MILLIE And he was proven right.

 

DANIELLE It was a self-fulfilling prophecy, Millie.  Don’t you see that?

 

MILLIE Why did you leave that night? 

 

DANIELLE He started keeping all the children close to him and speaking only to them.  He doesn’t see them as children, Millie.  He didn’t see Lisa as a child.  They are tools for him.  Bargaining chips to control parents and shields to protect him from the government.  He plays games with them and is so kind and caring.  He is a God in their eyes, but he will kill them all to save himself.

 

MILLIE January’s Children –

 

DANIELLE Can’t die.  I know I know.  But, it doesn’t matter. I wanted to save the children. 

 

MILLIE becomes very calm and very angry.  She stands up and walks around behind DANIELLE.

 

MILLIE Do you know what happens during a deprograming session? 

 

DANIELLE It’s like drug rehabilitation.  There’s counseling – 

 

MILLIE pulls DANIELLE’s hair backwards.  This is very painful. DANIELLE yells in pain.  MILLIE has to yell to be heard.

  

MILLIE You change the associations.  What you loved and was associated with joy must now be associated with fear and pain.

 

MILLIE pulls DANIELLE out of the chair and on to the floor.  Twisting DANIELLE’s hair in her hands getting on top of her. 

 

Singing.

I live in the light of God,

SLAP

 

And through the threshold

We will walk.

 

SLAP

 

He will guide me all my days

In light and love never to part.

 

SLAP

 

MILLIE Go on.  Tell me how the children will be put into the warm, loving embrace of the FBI under a government known for their ability to restrain themselves. Go on!  Comfort me!  Tell me how sorry you are that you took my daughter from me, had her tortured, placed her with another family and tried to take away her faith.  Tell me how sorry you are for that!

DANIELLE says nothing

You believed, you say now that you didn’t, but you did. I saw it. You believed and you still betrayed me!

 

DANIELLE No.  I never believed. I faked it.

 

MILLIE spits on DANIELLE.  DANIELLE wipes away the spit and thinks.  There is no where for her to go.  Nothing to do but wait. 

 

DANIELLE There was a night that you and I stayed out and looked at the stars with Lisa all night.  We would point out constellations and we’d tell there stories.  There was no mention of The Light or God or Langdon or The Threshold.  It was just us and it was real and I thought that maybe that was my way in. I was already planning how I would get out of The Compound, but I didn’t want to leave you. I knew you wouldn’t leave if I asked you to, but I thought you would leave to follow her.

 

A pause.

 

MILLIE One morning, early in your stay, you were helping to serve breakfast.  I watched you serve January’s Children with love and reverence.  I heard you talk about The Threshold with so much joy. I saw the light in you.  You believed that day for that moment. And even now you can choose to throw off the darkness and come to the light.  January’s Children can’t die.  We are the inheritors of the great world. The old tenants who have abused their time on this earth will wear their death like great robes.  They will see each other clothed in their sins and they will despair.

 

DANIELLE You used to be different.  You used to press flowers between the pages of dictionaries and hand them out as birthday gifts.  You used to tell me stories about your dreams.  You had beautiful dreams.  

 

MILLIE I still do.  I dream of walking out into the world and finding my daughter and building a new life for ourselves, unburdened by the sins of the current world.  We would pass through the threshold and into a new Eden.  

 

DANIELLE A new Eden?  What does that mean?

 

MILLIE If you had stayed, you might have found out the way we all did.  Landgon called us together one day and told us the story of God’s plan for us.  

MILLIE thinks for a moment.

May I tell you about a pig named Alice?

 

DANIELLE A pig named Alice?  

 

MILLIE Yes.  She was one of the pigs we kept in the barn on The Compound. One day, a wild pig broke into the barn.  He was in a mad heat and he mated with Alice. She became sick and she died. When Langdon studied her he realized that God had given us a gift and Alice was his vessel. 

 

DANIELLE I don’t understand.

 

MILLIE Langdon, in direct communication with God, cultivated a variant of swine flu that will spread just as fast but has a longer incubation period.  Infected people can spread the disease for weeks before they or anyone realizes they are sick.  

 

DANIELLE doesn’t understand at first.  It doesn’t make sense.

 

DANIELLE Are you telling me that Langdon created a…super flu?

 

MILLIE God did, Langdon is only his earthly hands.

 

DANIELLE laughs out loud and hard.

 

DANIELLE Don’t tell me you believe this? 

 

MILLIE Why wouldn’t I?

 

DANIELLE Because it’s crazy.  Millie, look at me.  Please.  Really think about it.  Langdon got all this from some movie.  He’s saying this to scare you.  To control you.  It isn’t real.  

 

MILLIE You don’t believe even now?  Look at your arm.

 

DANIELLE remembers she was stuck with a needle. 

 

DANIELLE Oh my god.  Jesus Christ.  I thought it was just tranquilizer.

 

MILLIE The first shot was, to calm you down.  The second shot was the virus.

 

DANIELLE Why?

 

MILLIE The virus is the angel of death sent from God himself and you are the vestal God chose to carry it to the world. 

 

DANIELLE Jesus…you know.  I thought when I first saw you that maybe you were trying to defect.  That you’d finally had enough of Langdon and his bullshit and you where ready to come out.  But you are in so much deeper now, aren’t you?

 

MILLIE I never left, you did.

 

DANIELLE Millie.  Listen to me.  Langdon doesn’t have the resources or the knowledge or the ability to have made this happen.  I wasn’t shot with anything. It might as well be pop rocks in diet coke.  Langdon is a fake.  A charlatan.  An ego maniacal mad man who is going to get hundreds of people killed. 

 

MILLIE January’s Children can’t die.

 

DANIELLE Are you sure?

 

MILLIE Yes.

 

DANIELLE How?

 

MILLIE We’ve all been infected.

 

DANIELLE Jesus Christ.

 

MILLIE But we won’t die.  True believers won’t die. January’s Children can’t die. 

 

DANIELLE No!  Don’t you see?  That just proves that he injected you…me…with NOTHING.  NOTHING!!!!  When I tell the FBI this – 

 

MILLIE They’ll quarantine you.  Just to be safe.  And you’ll die in a white room surrounded by people who are afraid to touch you.  But it’ll be too late.  We’re going to drop you off in the middle of Times Square.  You’ll infect too many people too quickly.  We are at the threshold and New Eden is upon us.

 

DANIELLE Listen to me Millie. I don’t have anything.

 

MILLIE We’ll see.

 

DANIELLE Jesus Christ.  Well, so what exactly is the plan here.  I go out into the world and I spread the virus and everyone dies who isn’t one of January’s Children, leaving the world free for everyone to leave the compound and take it over?  Is that it?

 

MILLIE You don’t have to be afraid.  Langdon doesn’t see it, but I do.  I see the little bit of faith you still have within you.  If you come to the light, you could pass through the threshold too.  

 

DANIELLE Millie.  Please. Come with me.  I meant what I said.  I do love you like a sister.  That was real. It is real.  I can get you the help you need.  I never believed in January’s Children, but I did believe in you. I didn’t write about you or her.  I left that all out because I care about you so much.  And she is happy.  Whatever Langdon has made you believe she is happy.

 

MILLIE If you believed, you and I could find Lisa together.  We could be a family.

 

DANIELLE grabs MILLIE and holds her tight.

 

DANIELLE He lied to you.  It isn’t true.  This, thing.  This weird thing…it’s impossible.  Can’t you see that? Impossible. Please.  Come with me.  You know where we are.  We can just go.  You and me.  I can take you to Lisa.  You don’t have to stay.

 

   MILLIE sings.

 

MILLIE I live in the light of God,

And through the threshold

We will walk.

He will guide me all my days

In light and love never to part.

 

DANIELLE cries, listening to her friend who is so far gone. She joins in.

 

D & M I live in the light of God,

And through the threshold

We will walk.

He will guide me all my days

In light and love never to part.

 

They stop.  MILLIE stands.

 

MILLIE I will walk the world again when the darkness has been swept away and all that remains is the everlasting light of Gods’s love.

 

DANIELLE You couldn’t have done this.

 

MILLIE No.  Only God could have.  We carried out his will.

 

Pause.

 

DANIELLE You’ve gone crazy.

 

MILLIE I’m leaving.  I think this will be the last time I will see you face to face.

 

DANIELLE If I believed you, I wouldn’t go back.  I would hide here in the woods and I would let myself die before I would spread it.

 

MILLIE If you believed you were infected then you would also believe that God worked through Langdon to created it.  And if you believed that, you would believe everything I’ve said and you would know that it is God’s will you go out into the world. 

 

DANIELLE Wait. Did Langdon inject himself too?

 

MILLIE No.  But he worked on Alice himself so it wasn’t necessary.

 

MILLIE gets up to exit.  She starts collecting her things.  She pushes the timer to the end so it dings and stops counting down. MILLIE exits, singing the song.  The lights go down to a single spot as the sounds of a news show plays lightly in the back ground. DANIELLE is handed a blazer that she puts on. Hands fix and fuss with her hair and make up and help her put in an earpiece. She speaks to people in the room who are unseen as well as the makeup people.  She then speaks to people in some other studio somewhere else through the earpiece. When the earpiece goes in, she winces a little.

 

DANIELLE No. It’s fine.  Just a little tinnitus.  Could someone get me another cup of coffee?  

Pause. A hand appears with coffee.  She drinks it, then the hand takes the coffee away again and wipes her mouth for her.

Thank you. Yes.  Hello.  I can hear you.  Great.  No it’s not too early for me.  I usually get up pretty early. 

She laughs.

Yup. You and me both buddy.

She laughs.

Well, flattery will get you everywhere.  

Pause.

I’m ready when you are.

Pause. Serious and professional tone.

Good morning Jim. Thank you for having me.

Pause.

Well, I was never really a member of January’s Children.  I was undercover doing research for a story and that’s different.

Pause.

No but has been difficult to watch events unfold as they have.  My time spent on The Compound wasn’t always positive, but I did make some friends there and I worry now about their safety. I know I have to trust that Homeland Security have the best interests of the people living on The Compound in mind as they take any action, but it is hard when I think about what the children may be going through.

Pause.

It would be speculation to guess what might be happening on The Compound now.  I can only guess a great deal of fear.  Langdon is not a rational or sane man and his followers believe that they cannot die – 

Pause.

They believe that if left alone their bodies will continue to age, but never die of disease or natural decay.  If their bodies are harmed then their…souls I guess is the easiest way to put it, will continue on without their bodies and they will become one with their God.  In many ways this isn’t completely different from – 

Pause.

Yes.  I do believe this means there is a real danger that they will have no fear when it comes to putting themselves in actual harms way to protect Langdon.  But, faith is not a state that is devoid of doubt.  If I could guess, there are many people on The Compound who are doubling whether or not they will live forever and are looking for a way out.

Pause.

No. I haven’t had any in person contact with any member of January’s Children since I left.  I was emailing with a member for a while, and I had planned to meet with her but that never worked out. Besides, at this point any communication from The Compound or Langdon would be purely to insight general fear, or to undermine the work of the government, or act as a tool for recruitment.  I spent three years feeling like a tool for Langdon’s insane mission, and I won’t do it again. 

Pause.

I’ve heard the rumors as well, but there is nothing to substantiate them.  Even if Langdon is sick, that doesn’t mean he is weak.  He may begin to act like a cornered animal and become more dangerous.  

Pause.

Well any extremist group who separates themselves like this from society and who espouse to -  

DANIELLE coughs.  When she does, she brings up her hand to her face. 

   I’m sorry.  Excuse me.  I was saying –

DANIELLE coughs again.  This time she leaves some blood on her face and on her hand. She sees it and looks up into the camera.

 

END OF PLAY.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

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