Under the Water

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Act 2

DAUGHTER enters through the door alone. MOTHER is sitting waiting for her, much like the first scene but reversed. MOTHER watches as DAUGHTER prepares for bed. Putting on her shift, rubbing he hadns with a stone in some water. When she's done with these tasks, and just before going to pray she turns to MOTHER.


You will not join me?


No, no. There is still light, I have some tasks to tend to.


Alright then, Goodnight.

DAUGHTER completes her prayers quietly, climbs into bed and goes to sleep. MOTHER sits there watching her sleep until just after the sun goes down, she quickly looks out the window and then jumps into action, moving out the door and grabbing the bucket which has some cloth rags in it.


She goes down the path to the river, but before she reaches the river she goes off the path into the woods. She walks a little while until she reaches a mound covered by leaves and such. She pushes some of the leaves away grabs hold, and pulls the canvas tarp off of a wooden row boat. She pulls the items out of the bucket and cautiously walks a few feet to the river, steps in with no shoes, getting the hem of her dress wet, grabs a stone and fills the bucket with water. She climbs back up to the boat, sets the bucket down, dips the rock and a cloth into the bucket. She places one in each hand, and begins to scrub at the boat with the rock; then wiping it off with the cloth. She does this to get any of the moss and what not off. Eventually she does the entire bottom of the boat, and then flips it and does the inside. By the time she is finished it is morning; the sun just rising. MOTHER is covered in sweat and dirt.


MOTHER is in the corner "washing" her hands with the stone, like DAUGHTER did the night before. DAUGHTER wakes up, and sees the state that MOTHER is in.


Is something wrong Mother?


Smiling, ominous and creepily.

No, no of course not. Just think we need to be especially clean. Come, I have an idea.


MOTHER walks outside, DAUGHTER following her. She walks down the path to the river, and to the spot they normally bathe. There the boat is sitting.


What are we doing Mother?


I thought I could teach you to swim. Come on, help me get it in the water.

They together push the boat gently into the water. MOTHER climbs in, DAUGHTER stands watching apprehensively. But after MOTHER climbs in and looks pointedly at her, she follows. MOTHER grabs the oars, as DAUGHTER looks around. They row down the rive a bit, to a calm portion, with some overhanging trees. MOTHER throws a rope around a tree, while they are still quite far out. Far enough out that you would not be able to stand.


Alright. Now get in the water.




Get in the water. Climb out of the boat.




Get. Out. Of. The. Boat.


Mother, you're-


Do it now.

DAUGHTER slowly, and wobbily stands up. She looks down and doesn't seem to move. She looks back at MOTHER. MOTHEr gives her a pointed look back. DAUGHTER slowly moves her footing closer, grabs the edge of the boat, and puts her foot in. She then quite ungracefully topples into the water. Her legs start thrashing,unsure what to do. She clings to the side of the boat with white knuckles.


Shhh, shhh, shhh. Just calm down. Breathe, and calm down. Relax.

In a panicked voice.


Mother...I don't... this... Can I get out?


No, no just be calm, alright? Now just let go of the side okay?

She tries to take a few slowed breaths. And has an internal struggle to let go, with little physical progress. She's nearly crying.


Mother, no I can't do this, can't we go home? Please.


No, go on you can let go. Don't worry I'll be here for you.

DAUGHTER looks into MOTHER's face, and then lets go with one hand. Sinking slightly into the water, because she is no longer held up.


Good. Good. Now go on...the other one...

DAUGHTER, takes a few short breaths, preparing herself. And takes the other hand off. She sinks even lower into the water, her head tilting back trying to get air, her limbs flailing about struggling to grasp anything. MOTHER turns and grabs the rope she tied to the tree, using it to pull the boat towards it; out of DAUGHTER's reach. Once she reaches the shore, she turns and watches DAUGHTER. She watches as DAUGHTER just struggles for air, bobbing up and down, trying to find some hope. MOTHER sits there watching as her struggles slow, and her head appears less and less often. Finally she doesn't bob up any longer; yet MOTHER still sits there watching. Eventually she unties the rope, picks up the oars and rows back upstream to where they departed. She ties the boat, and heads back to the cottage.


MOTHER is there, clean now, saying her prayers, in the white shift, and then climbs into bed.


MOTHER is walking along the path to the wall. She has no expression, and shows no remorse. As she reaches the gate there is a gathering of people there. They hold a wrapped, short body above their heads in a white sheet. MOTHER approaches a man, FELLOW, along the outskirts of the group.


What is going on?


A poor girl's body came drifting down the river. We came to honor her life.

FELLOW rejoins the group, leaving MOTHER. The group speaks to GATEKEEPER, yet MOTHER does not hear them; watching them yet hearing nothing. She watches as the gates open, and the body of DAUGHTER is brought inside. She walks forward to follow, and the gate slams in her face.


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