Ruth, a twenty-something mother of three, steps slowly into her
kitchen. It is 1957. Her young age is masked by stress lines and
worried eyes. She is short, and appears frail, but she has large bones
that support her tiny figure. Her long, ginger hair partly covers her
face as she looks across to the door, where he husband enters. He is
Jacob. Jacob is nearly 30, hard working, and has thinning gold hair.
His predicament seems hopeless; he has worked his whole life, and now
finds that his company is bankrupt, throwing him out of the doors with
no benefits. Now, without a job, he finds the lives of his three
children in his hands. Must they suffer with him and Ruth, or is there
hope in the monastery?
Jacob: Hello, darling. How is everything? The bread's in the oven, mm?
Ruth: Yes. I'm making that special Japanese kind, with the seaweed
salt. Have you any news from the company?
Jacob, looking down with a slumped voice: They're losing it, Ruth.
It's all gone. They haven't a damn pension for any of us. Twelve
years, and all's I get is a boot n' a goodbye!
Ruth, sighing, slightly pausing: Well… we mustn't worry about those
business men. I'm so proud of you, Jake- you're such a strong person,
and good father. But I fear (she pauses)… I fear about the kids. I
just worry about them.
Jacob, shaking his head: I don't know, Ruth. I just don't know. The
times are hard, and they look to be gettin' harder.
Ruth: I know. What about the kids? We can't expect anything from them.
Jacob, looking at Ruth with sadness: Did you ever consid (is interrupted)
Ruth, eyes widening: Oh, Jake! Don't say that, now. We can't just..
send them off, like a bunch of goddamn orphans! They have two loving
parents; some kids (interrupted)
Jacob: Some kids have a father with a job.
Jacob: I realize that they're just kids, but I can't see them grow up
in nothing, with nothing, except us. Look, the way I figure, they'll
have more chances than I ever had. They can be something.
Ruth, sadness increasing: Is there no other way? Pause Is there no other way?
Jacob: Maybe the church'll do good for 'em. Besides, they'll get a
good education, and make something of themselves. They would suffer
with us. You know this.
Ruth, tears run down her face: I'll call the dean tonight.
Jacob: Please don't be upset. It's for the best. I bet they'll have a
lot of fun, make great friends. Life in the cloister isn't so bad.
Rise in urgency Ah, look. The bread is done. I'll get the kids.
They're all sleeping in your room again, huh?
Ruth: Yes. Go get them; I'll cut the bread up. Jacob (almost
whispering) … is there no other way…?
Jacob: Let God decide.
The bread is enjoyed by the family. The three children living under
Ruth and Jacob are Mary, 7, Simon, 5, and Mark, 4. They all have brown
hair and chubby faces. Although very young, they seem to know the
sadness of their parents, and reflect it in their usually calm
Here we find the family traveling to the Townsbury Cloister, shrouded
by forest in the corner of town. The children are dressed all in dark
colors, while Ruth and Jacob tie together their best clothing for the
occasion. They arrive, get out of the car, and enter the gates.
Ruth, with a face of faux happiness: Ok kids, come along now, hold my
hands, there you go. We're going to the church now. Is everyone
excited about going to the church?
Mary: Yes, momma. But what will we do in the church?
Simon remains silent. He is supposedly mute, for his lack of speech
deems him a misfit amongst his peers.
Mark, in the slumbering confusion of childhood: How long are we goin'
stay here, momma? Poppa, are you gon'a pray?
Ruth: We're gonna pray alright, Mark. We'll stay here awhile, and see
how things go…
Jacob remains silent. He knows the fate of his children, and tries to
hide his fears and swelling emotion through silentness.
Ruth: Come along now, kids. Here we go, into the church doors.
They enter the church. Behind the massive wooden doors lies an
enormous house of refuge and learning. Nuns silently pass by without
acknowledging their new guests. Mary and Mark are filled with puzzled
terror at the sheer complexity of their current threshold. Simon pays
little attention to anything that is happening; he slowly moves his
eyes across the landscape, and shuffles behind his parents.
As the family waits in the doorsteps, a large, burly man by the name
of Chester Stewen flies on his feet to greet them. He has pitch black
hair, with a large scraggly beard. He is dressed in a large, brown
robe, with white garments underneath, all supported by a large rope
belt. His shining cross, sitting around his neck, and the Bible in
hand signify his holiness.
Chester Stewen: Ah, good morning. You must be Ruth, and Jacob. A-ha.
Here are your little ones. You must be… Mary, no? And you're Simon,
and Mark. Welcome. I am Father Stewen, but you can call me Father S.
This is my cloister. You will find it very comfortable and
educational. He signals the family Follow me.
Father S, with a stern face, with a slight twist of excitement: Here
is my office. If you ever need me, please, come and see me. And here-
he moves about- this is one of the rooms you young ones will be
learning in. He motions them to look inside You see? There is a vast
amount of knowledge to be learned here. Our trained staff of clergy
will do the best they can to fulfill your educational, spiritual, and
The children look puzzled, except for Simon, who follows the strange
man without speaking a word. His siblings are much more receptive-yet
they are unsure of how to react to this situation.
Ruth, pleasantly: Thank you, Father, for the tour. I just need a
moment with my husband and children. If you will…
Father S.: Of course. Take all the time you need. I'll be in my office.
Mary and Mark notice their father walking in the door. They were
unaware they had left them in the first place. Slowly, they realize
what is going on. They see the bags under their father's arms, the
tears in his eyes, and the sadness their mother shows; they realize
they are going to be staying here in the church.
Mary begins crying
Mark, with tears in his eyes: Momma? Why are we staying here? Poppa,
why do you have our bags?
Ruth, kneeling down and looking into their faces: Don't worry, guys.
You'll all be fine. This is going to be where you stay from now on,
just till daddy and I get things situated, ok?
Mary: But momma I want to stay with you! I don't want to stay in the church.
Mark, wiping his eyes: How long will it take to get things sich-ated?
Ruth, reassuring: Oh, not that long, honey. Not that long. And look-
you'll have Simon and Mary to be with you. You'll all have each other.
And I know this might be frightening or sad, but we aren't leaving you
all forever, now. We just need to sort things out. I promise, you'll
all be fine. Let me see those smiles.
Simon looks her in the eyes. A single tear falls from his eye.
Ruth, comforting: Now, now my babies. You'll all be fine. Hush, don't
whimper in the house of God. He wouldn't want to see you crying now,
Mary and Mark: No, momma.
Jacob, looking stern and fatherly: Ok, kids. This is where we leave
you, but only for awhile. If you ever get scared, go to each other.
Mark, Mary- even Simon. Help each other out. And always know, we'll be
here for you guys, whether you can see us or not. Be good, respectful.
Mind your adults, eh? C'mere. Hugs the children
Ruth and Jacob: Goodbye.
Mary and Mark: Goodbye, momma and poppa.
Ruth and Jacob walk backwards to the doors. They wave and look on as
a nun attends to their children. Mary looks back one more time before
disappearing into the shadows and schoolrooms of the cloister.
Ruth, confused: Oh, Jacob. Did we do the right thing?
Jacob: It's in God's hands now, honey. We'll be back for them.
Someday, we'll be back for them.
Twenty years pass. Mary is now studying law, preparing for a life in
politics. Mark has become an electrician-master's apprentice, and
studied the ways of popular electronics. Simon has been dead for
twelve years. When he was 17, he disappeared mysteriously one day
while he was going with a retreat group into the local woodlands.
Search teams failed all attempts to find him.
Their parents, Ruth and Jacob, never returned to them. What were
unknown to their children were the circumstances their parents faced.
After Jacob's job flop, he turned to local thieves and became involved
with the nearby-city mafia. After three unsuccessful heists, he and
his wife were kidnapped and never heard from again. The only clue was
a scarf found in the woods, never identified.
Fast forward to 1977; Mary has discovered the secret life of her
parents and brought it to the attention of her brother. Together, they
hope to discover any leads in the case of their missing parents.
Mary, smiling: Welcome home, Mark!
Mark: It's good to see you again, Mary. It's been so long. How're the
books treating you?
Mary, rolls eyes: Ha, they're alright. But let's get down to the real
business here; you know mom and dad left us when we were little. Well,
dad apparently got tied to the mafia, and lost some money for them…
Mark, eyes widening: Whoa.. wow. I never would have suspected stuff
like that. Did they find the bodies?
Mary, saddened: No, they didn't. But we can't let them just fade away
like that. You remember when we were little? When Simon talked for the
first and only time? What did he say?
Mark, scratching his head: He said something about mom and dad, and
something bad happening. Boy, I wish he was with us today. What do you
suppose it meant?
Mary: I'm not sure. We don't have Simon, but we have each other.
Think! I could book those scumbags if I could only trace some kind of
evidence to prove they did it.
Mark, skeptical: Yeah Mary, but who? Which mafia killed our parents?
Mary, serious: Mark- help me find the evidence. Your tools could help
us track down any clues.
Mark ponders for a few moments
Mark: There is one thing I have. A while ago, I was testing a new
machine for electron suction. You know, magnetism and such. It was for
some product this developer wanted to test… Anyway, it failed. The
machine actually shot out elections and beamed whatever was in its
way, like a scanning electron device. It did the opposite of what it
was supposed to do. I guess we could use it on any evidence and see if
anything shows up in the scan.
Mary: Great. I'm heading out to the town's department and seeing if I
can't get any evidence. Be back soon.
Mark: I'll go to my shop and get the equipment. Meet back in three?
Mary: Perfect. See you then.
Mary retrieved the scarf from the department; they weren't going to
refuse her any ways of solving the mystery. Shortly thereafter, she
and Mark scanned the scarf and found nail follicles scattered over it.
They took it to a detective and found it matched her mother, and another
man- their brother Simon. Mary and Mark were shocked by the results.
They knew that Simon was somehow aware of their parent's dangers, and
must have fled to find them. They searched everywhere for any clues
they could get that would further their findings. However, nothing
more was found. The mafia was not suspected, and in fact Simon, Ruth,
and Jacob may very well be alive today, living in secrecy in some