Tag Archives: “The Stranger”

The Stranger

The tale fades in to ravens perched on a prisonyard gallows still being set up as the workmen whistle placidly, even as a cowled prisoner, face completely shrouded, watches them work from his barred upper-story cell window in impassive silence.  Finally, the music starts in full as he begins to sing, as the images flitting past carry us backwards and forwards in time.

Convict:  Well, we all have a face that we hide away forever
Quick cut to guards leading his faceless form down the hall.

And we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone
He glances at his own reflection through a puddle on the floor.

Some are satin some are steel, some are silk and some are leather.
Still covered, the scene shifts to show him testifying at his own trial.

They’re the faces of the stranger–but we love to try them on.
At this, two gusts of flame flickers into view from out of his hooded shadows.


Bishop, testifying on the stand:  Yes, he did lead a girl astray who did disregard the danger
Convict, contemptuously:  Love, it doesn’t make you cautious, nor does it make you wise.
Pregnant mother, from out of the crowd:  Tom, you’re a fiend–you’re a dog within the manger!
Tom turns to her, allowing us to at least see the smile across his lips.
Tom:  Then it shall be my pleasure, now, to pierce you with my eyes….
At this, sparks erupt from the cowl, even as the woman tumbles back in instant miscarriage and the guards knock Tom down before hustling him away.


Tom, merrily:  Now don’t be afraid, my friends, to sin
If the urge is strong; just don’t try to win.
Bishop:  I’ve refused, and so have others too.
Tom:  You’re quite rare–your kind is few….


The scene shifts back to Tom in his cell, visited by the Bishop, who’s offering him Last Rites.
Bishop:  Once, you used to believe you were such a great romancer.
Tom, disgusted, eyes folded:  Then I visited a woman in a form she could not recognize.
When I pressed for a seduction, but said too much within my answer
Quick cut to a shadowy flashback of a smirky smile.
Bishop:  Was it then that she recalled the stranger, and it led to her her demise...?
Another quick cut to a girl’s gasp, a knife, a brief struggle, and a scream, to which Tom in the present grimly nods.

Bishop, kindly:  Well, we all fall in love but we disregard the danger.
Tom, placing his hands behind his head:  We may share a lot of secrets, there’s some we never tell.
Bishop: Why were you so surprised when she finally saw the stranger?
Quick cut to show Tom’s face getting angry.

Have you ever really, truly, see
n the stranger in yourself…?
At this, Tom turns to spit a stream of sizzling venom at the floor before looking up, glaring and growling, at the Bishop, who calmly returns his gaze, before getting up to leave as Tom watches through a barred window.

B strolling down the hall:  Against all your remorse don’t try to win.
Someone does repent, every now and then.
If I’ve done it, why can’t someone else?
It’s not too late, even for yourself….
Cut to Tom’s half-shadowed face, looking grim and moody as slumping, he turns down to look at his still-sizzling venom.

The scene is now Tom on the scaffold before his execution, giving his last words.
You may never understand how the stranger is inspired (Quick cut to a heckler in the audience.)
But he isn’t always evil and he is not always wrong.
At this, Tom turns the heckler’s way as the sparks erupt from the cowl, and as their eyes lock,  the heckler’s pupils literally start to burn.
Though you may drown in good intentions, you will never quench the fire
You’ll all succumb to your desire when the stranger comes along….

And with that, the trapdoor swings open, the noose tightens, and Tom is left swinging for all the crowd to see–and cheer, even as we cut briefly back to the heckler, slumped on the ground, hand over his eye sockets, which are still smoking.  As he still swings, the music fades, the crowd vanishes to denote the passage of time.  At last, it ends as it started, with ravens perched on the gallows, only with whistling workmen taking them down, instead of setting them up before we fade out.

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