Writing 12
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This is a period peace that takes place at a jail.

(Alfred is contained in a prison cell on stage right. As the lights rise, they only go to half capacity, making an effect that the scene is set by night. He paces the cell, unseen by the audience when he passes behind the wall. The audience can only see him when he is at his barred window.)

Alfred: (Desperately screams.) Clarissa! Why have you forgotten me? (Clarissa, Alfreds sister, appears from stage left and hurries to his cell window.)

Clarissa: Dear brother, I came as soon as I could.

Alfred: I dont belong here, Clarissa. You know that, right?

Clarissa: Of course, Alfred. How could you be accused of anything? Why have they put you here?

Alfred: The Duke has accused me of caring on affairs with his daughter, and has fathomed a story by which I raped her in order to have me thrown in this cell without food or water.

Clarissa: Dearest brother, here. (Produces a piece of bread.) It is not much, but it was all that I could scrounge up on my way here. (A Pause.) You didnt do it, did you?

Alfred: (Pauses in his hungry eating.) Do what?

Clarissa: Have you carried on an affair with the Dukes daughter? You have said many fine words on her behalf.

Alfred: She has meerly been an interest of mine, not a lover. (Returns to his bread.) Do you recall the summer before last?

Clarissa: How could I forget, Alfred? You know I nearly died.

Alfred: I know. I was there.

Clarissa: And if you hadnt been, I would have surely parished.

Alfred: I stayed by you, even as our parents died of the same virus.

Clarissa: Dont be too hard on yourself, Alfred. They were too infected for even you too help.

Alfred: But I helped you.

Clarissa: And I thank you for it, my brother. (A Pause.) Why have you brought up this subject?

Alfred: I saved you, dear sister, and now I fear that you are the only one who can save me.

Clarissa: How do you mean? I have no strength to break down these walls. I have no say in the ways of our legal system. What power do I have over this matter?

Alfred: You are becoming a rather appealing young lady, Clarissa.

Clarissa: I hardly see how that has anything to do with the matter.

Alfred: The Duchess no longer resides with the Duke?

Clarissa: Do you mean to say she has dissappeared?

Alfred: I mean to say she has been murdered.

Clarissa: The Duke must be furious! Why has the public not been informed?

Alfred: The Duke hired a man to kill his wife. If I were he, I would not want my actions broadcast.

Clarissa: What does this have to do with me? Surely you dont mean for me to go against the Duke and expose his crime.

Alfred: You would sooner be murdered yourself. No, I must beg of you a different favour.

Clarissa: Anything. What do you need, brother Alfred?

Alfred: I need you to sleep with the Duke.

Clarissa: What?!

Alfred: The Duke, although he hated his wife, misses her presense in his bed.

Clarissa: I cant even believe what you are asking of me.

Alfred: I saved your life once, and I now wish for you to return the favour. Didnt you say that you would do anything to help me?

Clarissa: What you are asking is beyond what any person should be expected to do.

Alfred: I stayed by your bed side even when neighbours and doctors told me it was useless. I stayed on even though I was at risk myself. I made sure that you lived, no matter what harm came to me.

Clarissa: You expect the Duke to release you if I do his deed?

Alfred: Yes, I believe he will be more than happy to do whatever you ask of him.

Clarissa: I will go to your Duke. You will be a free man when the morning comes.

Alfred: Dont forget to set down the stipulations to this proposal before you proceed.

Clarissa: I shall I ask him to free my only brother and to slit my throat so I might never live with the guilt of what I have done. You have granted me life just to kill me years later.

Alfred: You must not! How could you take your life?

Clarissa: It has not been in my hands since the summer before last. Good night, brother Alfred. May you live on for the both of us. (Exits.)