Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 90,556,131 Issue: 162 | 15th day of Collecting, Y6
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The Sweetest Acara: Part Two


by scarletrhapsody

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ACT II

Scene 1

(The scene of the Neopian Pharmacy is on the left, while the other half of the stage shows the town square. Light goes on in the Pharmacy. Whitney is standing at the counter on the left, waiting patiently while the pharmacist searches for some bandage and gauze behind the counter. There are only a few other Neopians in the Pharmacy. Whitney hands over the Neopoints and takes the bandages from the pharmacist, then walks out into the town square. Light slowly goes out in the Pharmacy, while a street light illuminates the square. Whitney stands under the street light and waits.)

Whitney: (to audience, frowning) It’s already eight twenty-five. Where could Keegan be? He said we’ll meet here…(trails off as she looks left and right for Keegan. The Acara continues to look at her watch periodically. Just then, a small Pteri flies over to her with a message in its feet. It thrusts the piece of paper into her hands. Whitney looks confused, but reads aloud) Whitney; do not bother waiting for me at the town square. Change of plan. I’ll not be meeting you today. We’ll meet at the corner of the Neopian street tomorrow at five in the morning instead. Sorry if it is too early for you, but this is an emergency. Keegan.

(Whitney looks up from the paper, at the audience, her eyes wide with shock)

Whitney: (flustered) Emergency…what emergency could it have been? What about his injured leg? How—what—why…? (She looks anxious, pacing around nervously while gripping tightly to the piece of paper. Finally, Whitney sighs, and goes home, deciding to wait for the next morning to come.)

Scene 2

(It is the crack of dawn. The scene is of the quiet and slightly dark Neopian street corner. Whitney enters from left, wringing her hands worriedly. After a while, Keegan enters the stage, limping, with a green Kougra on his shoulders. The other Kougra is badly beaten and is semiconscious.)

Whitney: (gasping) Where had you gone yesterday, Keegan? I was so worried…(noticing the other Kougra) who is this?

Keegan: (puts the second Kougra down onto the ground with his back resting on the background picture of a brick building. Panting) I’m sorry, Whitney, I was out rescuing my brother—(Gesturing towards the second Kougra as he speaks)—Kelvin.

Whitney: But you said he was missing!

Keegan: I’m sorry, I lied to you. I knew where he was all along, just that…I know how some folks feel towards the Chia police—

Whitney: (screams) What? (Keegan quickly quieten her down. In whispers) He was with the police? And you freed him? Do you know that to rescue a prisoner is against the law?

Keegan: (nodding) He was caught for theft. But that was because we were dead broke and he wanted to clear his debts faster, so that Solaine wouldn’t get me involved as well! He was doing it for me, Whitney! How could I not do anything to help him? Those people whom he stole from, they hit him so bad. And I knew you would react so violently on hearing about his arrest—so I simply said he was missing. Otherwise how would you be willing lend a place for us—

Whitney: (quietly) You lied so that you could play on my sympathy, so that I would give you a place to stay? So that I wouldn’t freak out because your brother is a criminal? You really think I would be so heartless to you just because your brother is a wanted criminal? (She is by now on the verge of tears, her voice jerking with emotion.)

Keegan: No, listen, Whitney—

Whitney: (turns away from him) You made use of me. And you were making use of me all this while. (breaks down) Why is everyone always exploiting me—my employer, the shopkeepers, now even you whom I call my friend?

(Keegan looks down at his feet guiltily. Just then a loud siren of a police car sounds in a distance, and Keegan immediately tries to pull Kelvin up on his shoulders.)

Keegan: (red with anguish) Whitney! Hurry, help me get him on my back! (Whitney wipes her tears with the back of her hands, but is hesitant to help. Flustered) Whitney, please! I beg you! Kelvin is my brother, my only brother! If something were to happen to your own sister you would wish for someone to help—so please, Whitney! They’re coming!

Whitney: (her firm stand shaken, she gives Kelvin a thrust so that he is now completely resting on Keegan’s back) Quick, get into that alley. (She points to the right corner of the stage.) They’ll never find us there.

(The both of them run and squat hiding in the alley. A yellow Chia in a blue uniform, the Chia superintendent, and a few of his officers, enters hurriedly from left, halting just at they got onstage.)

Chia police superintendent: (to two of the officers) Harry, Oliver—you search in the back of the shops. (They go off. Motioning to another two remaining officers) You two—come with me.

(The first two officers move off the stage, while the Chia authority superintendent and the two others run upstage, searching for the escaped prisoner with torchlights. The Chia authority superintendent quickly moves his light across the stage corner, just missing the three Neopets crouched there. He turns to his two officers.)

Chia police superintendent: They’re not here. We’ll go to the other side of the street to search. Walter, you’ll inform the two others. Come on.

(The Chia police exits from left. Whitney and Keegan, with Kelvin on his shoulders, reappear from the stage corner. Seeing that they are gone, Whitney and Keegan heave sighs of relief. After a while, Keegan looks at Whitney.)

Keegan: Whew. That was close. (pause) Whitney. (She looks away.) Would you mind lending us a place to stay? At least while Kelvin and I convalesce? I promise we wouldn’t trouble you for long. (She looks at his still-injured leg, and at his semiconscious brother. She hesitates, but nods after a while of deliberation.) Thank you! We’ll never be able to thank you enough, Whitney. But we’ll repay you some day.

(Whitney tries to smile as she led the way to her Neohome.)

Scene 3

(The scene is of Whitney’s Neohome living room. It is poorly furnished, with a creaky front door which is part of the background picture of a wall, and which is workable.. The only sofa is tattered, while the two chairs each rest only on three legs. The only proper furniture in the room is an old wooden table. Kelvin is seated on the sofa, removing the bandage on his hind leg with some help from his brother. Keegan is almost fully recovered. Whitney enters from left from the unseen kitchen with a glass of water.)

Whitney: (hands the water to Keegan as she sits on one of the chairs) Well, it’s been two weeks now.

Keegan: I think we can leave within the next two days. Kelvin’s recovering good.

Whitney: (waves her hands in protest) No, that’s not what I mean. Today when I went to work the first thing Mr Ridley asks me is whether I know the new guys in town. I think he saw you when you went to the hospital the other day, and when you came back here.

Kelvin: What did you say?

Whitney: Well of course I said I didn’t know them, but he didn’t seem to take my word for it. All day at work I can feel his eyes on me, as if he suspects something. You guys better be careful from now. I mean, I kind of have a feeling that he knows about you being here and all…though it’s no cause to worry—just my premonition, that’s all.

Kelvin and Keegan: (in unison) Okay.

Kelvin: We’ll be careful all the same.

(Whitney’s mother, a blue Acara who looks weak and ill, walks slowly into the room carrying a baby red Acara in her arms. The brothers smile politely at her, while Whitney stands as her sister is handed over to her.)

Whitney’s mother: (to the brothers) How are you boys going? As in, your recovery?

Kelvin: We’re going fine, Mrs Stanley. We’ll most likely be fully recovered in two days’ time, so we wouldn’t impose on you for long.

Whitney’s mother: Oh. And Keegan? How’s you and Whitney going?

Whitney: (nudges her mother, blushing) Mum!

Keegan: (laughs) There’s really nothing going on between us, Mrs Stanley. Really.

Whitney’s mother: (teasingly) I do have a bright pair of eyes. (Whitney nudges her again.) Alright, alright, I’ll go make dinner. (She exits left.)

Kelvin: (to Whitney’s sister) You’ve really grown, Laurie. In no time you’ll be a tall as your sister. (Laurie giggles and stretches out an arm as a reply.)

(The three of them continues in idle chatting until there is a knock on the door.)

Whitney: (standing) I’ll get it.

(Whitney walks over, with Laurie still in her arm, to the door, and opens it. There stands three Neopets—Mr Ridley, the Chia police superintendent, and another police officer. Before Whitney could act, Mr Ridley peers into the Neohome and points at the brothers.)

Mr Ridley: Those are the ones! The escaped criminal and the one who freed him!

(Whitney is held frozen in shock, but Kelvin and Keegan immediately turn to try to run left of stage. But the police are faster. They pulled out their batons and gave chase. Before the brothers can reach the corner of the stage, they are caught and paw-cuffed by the police officers, with only a slight struggle.)

Chia police superintendent: The both of you will be detained to record your statements. You may choose to remain silent, but whatever you say may be used against you in court. Let’s go.

(Whitney’s mother enters the stage, gasps in horror as she takes in the scene. Whitney hands Laurie over to her mother.)

Chia police superintendent: (to Whitney and her mother) The two of you will need to come with us to the police station too, for illegally harbouring wanted criminals. (Whitney turns pale-faced with shock, with tears running down her cheeks. To Mr Ridley) And Mr Ridley, we need your statement too. (Mr Ridley nods confidently.)

Whitney: (To Mr Ridley, sobbing) Why, Mr Ridley? Why did you do this? (Mr Ridley moves out of the house, refusing to answer. Whitney turns to Keegan and Kelvin, who are being forced to move forward.)

Keegan: I’m so sorry, Whitney. I got you into all this. I’m sorry. (He looks down, as tears rolls down his cheeks. Whitney shakes her head, wiping Keegan’s tears with her hands.)

Whitney: Don’t be, Keegan. We’ll be fine. We’ll all be fine. (She breaks down into tears as she speaks, knowing in herself that whatever she is saying is only an impossible dream.)

Keegan: Oh, Whitney, I’ve always wanted to say this, but I think this is my last chance at it...I think you truly are the sweetest Acara I ever met. Thank you, Whitney.

(With one last shove from the police officer, they move out of the Neohome with tear stained faces, one by one, each with their destinies sealed.)

Curtain

 
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