// THE CONVERTED TRAIN STATION //

A bright midday blue shines over a huge red-brick monstrosity. Somewhere in Brooklyn rests a formerly abandoned train station: ‘PREEMINENT DOMAIN’.

For years the place had lain empty, home only to the occasional transients. But seemingly overnight, the building was outfitted with all the fittings of a modern conversion. The neighbors had no intel on why the place wasn’t simply torn down and commercial properties set to complement the local development. But the squatters disappeared, the property was fenced-in, and a singular cat had taken it upon himself to pose as the mouser supreme.

Inside is a woman who has no memory of her childhood. She knows only that painting seems to provide her not only a livelihood, but also a solace that quiets the nagging of unanswered questions.

She calls herself ‘AVAELLE EASTON’.

The afternoon passes without event. Light threatens to disappear, trickling in at ever-deepening angle. Her cat scuttles through the house, preying on dust bunnies and trailing rodent stench. She is on the upstairs balcony, paintbrush in hand, when she hears the front door open and slam.

AVAELLE

(thinking) Has it become that windy outside?

She pauses, listening to the ambiance. The clatter of cars creeps into her consciousness. Her windows, set awkwardly amidst the brick walls, groan against their aging fittings.

McCOY

(yelling) EY, SLIM!

YOU IN HERE?

The voice is LENARD McCOY, a weathered man with greying hair. AVAELLE can hear the whispers of a coat removed.

AVAELLE knows she must respond, but words evade her as she hastily tries to suspend her work.

AVAELLE

(thinking) The paint will dry.

McCOY

(yelling) SLIM??

AVAELLE bumps her foot against an ill-set table, speckled with mis-flung paint.

Hanging over the edge of the balcony, she gleans McCOY. The opening here is overly-tall, beckoning back to the time when the building sat as the confluence of train and passenger. They have to yell to be heard amidst the empty air.

AVAELLE

YEAH I’M HERE, SORRY. I’LL BE DOWN IN A MINUTE. CLEANING UP.

When she turns her back, the cold realization hits her that she’s going to have to deliver the bad news.

From downstairs comes a shuffle of grocery bags. McCOY typically came bearing gifts.

AVAELLE dunks her paintbrushes into cloudy glasses of murky water, promising to return to them posthaste.

She walks downstairs as slowly as she can muster. McCOY speaks from the kitchen, the soft patter of items being removed from plastic grocery bags offering the promise of domesticity.

McCOY

(loudly) THEY WERE OUTTA THE YELLOWS SO I GOT YOU BLUES INSTEAD.

Finally she must turn the corner. The Doctor is placing a carton on the counter. A cluster of red-blushed oranges makes an appearance in the fruit bowl.

He turns around to greet her. He wears a messily crocheted sweater; dark Dockers.

McCOY

HEY BUTTERCUP. I MISSED YOU.

The pair embrace; McCOY chastely kisses her cheek, his hands holding her arms’ edge just below the shoulder. AVAELLE is sullen, silent. She looks down, staring absently at the yarn.

Her despondent attitude is anything but mysterious.

McCOY

WHAT’S UP?

AVAELLE steadily takes in breath, her palms sweaty.

AVAELLE

IT’S BAGLEY. HE…

DIDN’T SEND WORD THIS MORNING.

McCOY’s arms free her from the embrace. He looks to the side.

NOTHING. NO WORD. NOTHING.

He backs away.

McCOY

LET’S GET SOME LIGHT IN HERE, SHALL WE?

He turns from the shaken woman and removes a box of matches from his pocket. On the counter sits a candelabrum.

( FWICK! )
(...KKKKKSSSSsssss...)
(...)

The wax crackles as the flame grows. AVAELLE stutters, trying to find something appropriate to say.

AVAELLE

I… I THOUGHT –

McCOY

(interrupting) TRY NOT TO WORRY ABOUT IT.

AVAELLE

BUT I AM WORRIED ABOUT IT!

McCOY

IT DOES YOU NO GOOD.

THESE THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN.

AVAELLE

I FEEL SO POWERLESS, JUST SITTING HERE WAITING FOR NEWS.

McCOY tries to soothe her.

McCOY

YOUR DAY COMES SOON. PLEASE BE PATIENT.

But AVAELLE is distraught; she backs away and her eyes flash a wild fear.

AVAELLE

‘BE PATIENT’?!

AREN’T YOU AT ALL CONCERNED ABOUT THEM?

McCOY

OF COURSE I AM. BUT I KNOW WE MUST BIDE OUR TIME, WAIT FOR THEM TO TAKE A STEP OUT-OF-LINE.

HAVEN’T YOU MADE PROGRESS WITH YOUR PROTÉGÉ?

AVAELLE scoffs.

AVAELLE

I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK I’M DOING.

McCOY

YES, YOU DO. PLEASE DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF. YOUR MEMORIES WILL COME BACK IN TIME.

AVAELLE

WHAT IF THEY NEVER COME BACK?

McCOY reaches forward, using the side of his knuckle to raise her chin, their gazes now connected.

McCOY

THEN WE’LL MAKE NEW ONES.

AVAELLE’s eyes are threatening tears. She removes herself from the embrace and steps backward, leaning against the door frame. She wraps her arms around herself, trying to block the cold and stop the shiver.

AVAELLE

I THOUGHT BAGLEY WAS… STRONGER.

McCOY

THEN HE WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH.

YOU KNOW THAT.

AVAELLE sighs and resigns herself that his words ring true.

AVAELLE

I WANTED TO HAVE FAITH.

McCOY

ILL-PLACED.

BUT I DON’T FAULT YOU.

She looks toward the candle and thanks its effortless light.

AVAELLE

SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

McCOY

THE ORANGES AREN’T ENOUGH, EH?

AVAELLE manages the tinest of chuckles.

AVAELLE

VITAMIN C AIN’T ENOUGH TO COMBAT THE KINDA ENEMIES WE FACE.

McCOY

TRUER WORDS NE’ER SPOKE.

WOULD IT…

AVAELLE looks up at him, imploring.

WOULD IT HELP IF WE EXPEDITE THE PROCESS WITH THE YOUNG THING?

YOU SEEM TO NEED A FRIEND.

AVAELLE

I…

McCOY

WE GOTTA TRAIN THE GIRL. SHE DON’T KNOW NOTHIN’.

AVAELLE

I…

McCOY

I THINK YOU’RE READY. I’LL HELP YOU.

AVAELLE

I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO WAIT A FEW YEARS ON HER. UNTIL SHE WAS FULLY GROWN.

McCOY

DO YOU WANT TO?

AVAELLE

DO ‘I’ WANT TO?

McCOY

‘T’S WHAT I SAID, TOOTS.

AVAELLE stands for a moment; strangely stunned.

AVAELLE

NO I DON’T ‘WANT’ TO WAIT.

McCOY

SHE ISN’T GOING TO CRACK THE DREAMERS’ NET WHILE WORRYING ABOUT HER CALCULUS FINAL.

A moment passes between the two. Outside, a car honks.

AVAELLE

NO, I SUPPOSE NOT.