Fresh as the Day | by Zack Peercy

Characters: Maggie, 24, could be anyone.
Setting: Maggie’s bedroom, dark with a spill of moonlight.

The door to the bedroom opens, the hallway light momentarily illuminates the room before the door is closed by MAGGIE, who goes to her bed. She sits on her bed, almost dazed, then falls back onto it. She digs in her pocket. She throws something small to the ground of her bedroom. The object is the size and shape of a small action figure. Maggie is silent. Breathing.

MAGGIE: Every year, you do this to me…

Maggie rises from the bed and paces near the object.

MAGGIE: I didn’t know, okay? How could I know? I get it now!

Maggie kneels down and picks up the object.

MAGGIE: Do you hear me? I get it now. And I’m sorry! Just tell me what I need to do!

She shakes the object, but as always, there’s no response. She places it down gently. She sits on the ground next to it.

MAGGIE: For awhile, I thought I’d get used to it. I thought it would be something I could handle, you know? I’d set aside the day, make sure I’d be ready for whenever you’d pop up, but it was always a surprise. Always the one moment when I’d feel relief; like you weren’t coming this year. On my sixteenth, my friends threw me that surprise party, and when they jumped out, I screamed. But it wasn’t because they had scared me. It was because I could feel you in my pocket. In that exact moment. Just got a little heavier.

Maggie puts her head in her hands, remembering.

MAGGIE: I tried to put you back.

Maggie lays herself down on the ground, next to the object. Looking down on it.

MAGGIE: Did you know that? Were you aware? I tried to put you back two years ago. My parents sold the house, but the new owners let me into the backyard. I had told them it was for “sentimental purposes”. They probably thought someone had died. Little did they know…

Maggie lightly touches the object.

MAGGIE: But it didn’t work. Obviously. Because here you are again, right? You know what I can’t get used to? I can’t get used to the hair. Sixteen years, I’ve pulled you out of my pocket and every time, when my thumb touches the hair on your head, a chill goes up my spine. I know it’s coming, I always know it’s coming, but it’s like my brain refuses to believe it’s possible.

Maggie lays down on the ground next to the small body.

MAGGIE: Your wings were so beautiful. I think that’s how I even noticed you. It was like a flash of a rainbow. I was always good at swatting flies, or catching frogs… This was just one more thing. I snatched you so quick and stuffed you in my pocket, I didn’t even hear the snap. Mom was lighting the candles on the cake… When I felt for you later, you were gone. I thought I had imagined it.

Maggie sits up and picks up the small body.

MAGGIE: I was just a kid… It was instinct more than anything…

Maggie feels the small body.

MAGGIE: Fresh as the day I snatched you…

Maggie begins to cry. She clutches the small body close to her own.

MAGGIE: Please… please… I can’t do it anymore… I’m sorry, I don’t… please…

Maggie pulls her hands away from her body. They’re empty. She lets out a broken scream. She collapses onto the floor. She cries. The moonlight in her room fades until…

Blackout.

 

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Zack Peercy is a young playwright and screenwriter currently based out of Chicago. His work has been published by Every Day Fiction, Toasted Cheese Magazine, Eunoia Review, The Sandy River Review, and a few others. He is personally offended when people don’t respond to emails in a timely manner. Please send him compliments. He’s always sad.