An Empty Field,

Lone Oak Tree

A gawky teen with coffee brown hair sways placidly on a creaking rope swing hanging from a thick oak branch. He lets his feet drag; a plume of dust whirls around him. The BOY’s breath, argent in the frigid air, stands out against the sable night sky. The BOY raises his head to face the sky above. A lone star shimmers down on him and the moon resides within an alcove of heavy clouds the color of brushed steel.

BOY(barely a whisper): What was it for?

The BOY explodes to his feet in a sudden burst of emotion.

BOY(shouting at the sky): What was it all for, huh!?

He keeps his gaze skyward, his eyes fixed on the solitary star. Tears swell in his eyes and he swipes at them furiously with his sleeve.

BOY: I just… just want to know why. Is that too much to ask?

The BOY takes a moment to gather himself; straightens his jacket and takes another swipe at his eyes. He stuffs his hands into his pockets and kicks at the dirt, unsure of what to say or do. A flare of wind sweeps through the field and the BOY tosses his hood up against the cold. A deep sigh escapes him and he once again glares into the star’s distant visage.

BOY:(reclaiming his seat on the swing): It’s never made sense, ya’ know? I see all these people doing things; meaning something. They matter, right? And, then there’s me. Seventeen years and what have they amounted to? (laughing to himself in spite of it all) It’s funny, isn’t it? I’m sitting out here freezing my ass off in the middle of the night and for what? To scream at the damn sky? God? The Universe?

The BOY extracts a hand from his pocket and gnaws at his knuckles.

BOY(still biting at his knuckles): I guess everyone thinks they’re special; that they have a higher calling. Then reality hits ‘em with a one-two and they get themselves a cushy desk job or some minimum wager behind a counter. (his face grows grim) Or they could end up dead in a club bathroom OD’d on crap they bought off the dude in the parking lot for twenty bucks.

The BOY lets his words fill the emptiness around him and he drops his face between his knees.

BOY(muffled and somber): I wonder which one I’ll be?

The BOY’s voice tapers off into the wind; a rustling comes from behind the tree. A girl, SIERRA, dressed in clothes as black as the night stands a few steps from the swing. Her hair, auburn to the BOY’s brown, flutters in the growing winds.

SIERRA: What the hell are you doing?

She pulls her phone out for emphasis and lowers it towards the BOY.  The clock reads 1:27.

SIERRA: Mom and Dad would kill you if they knew you were all the way out here right now, you know that right?

The wind has not let up and SIERRA trembles in the cold. She steps in front of the BOY and talks down to the back of his head; he still has it nestled between his knees.

SIERRA: Hey, are you even listening? I thought we talked about these little late night excursions and how they weren’t the best thing for your health?

SIERRA reaches for the BOY’s hood but recoils when she hears the sobbing.

SIERRA: Woah, dude what, uh(her voice falters) what’s wrong? Come on you can talk to me, you know that.

SIERRA kneels beside the BOY and slings an arm over his shoulders.

BOY(voice breaking; ready to fall apart at any moment): Do you ever feel lost, like nothing makes sense anymore?

SIERRA takes a moment to think the question over.

SIERRA(delicately): I don’t think anyone has life figured out. And, if they tell you they do, then you know they’re full of it.

SIERRA sees that her words have done little to affect her brother’s spirit.

SIERRA: Life isn’t something you can just figure out and then have everything magically fall into place. You have to work your problems out and even then, even if you do everything you could possibly think of to make things go right, sometimes they don’t. But what’s important is that you try.

SIERRA lowers herself to the ground and stares at the moon, now emerged from the clouds and shining brightly.

BOY(raising his head to look at SIERRA): But what if you don’t even know what your problems are? What if everything should be fine, everything is fine, but you still have this goddamn…(he struggles to find the words) This goddamn blankness inside. What then?

SIERRA shudders at her brother’s words but steels herself as she stands.

SIERRA(extending a hand): You could start by going home and getting a decent night’s sleep for once?

The BOY assesses her hand before taking it. SIERRA pulls him to his feet and they set off away from the oak; her arm around him. The swing rocks in the breeze and the light fades to the sound of crunching footsteps and the whistle of the wind.


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