Grace Ow


Since I was young, I was a voracious reader and had a deep love of words and the way they could be used to convey meaning. I hope that my words and my stories would have a positive impact on others.

Message from Writer

Every face that we see in a crowd has a story behind it. I am trying my best to listen, tell and share all the stories that I can.

Bribing Death

June 22, 2016

[Lights on, with two people standing on stage: a middle-aged woman ELIZABETH and an older man BERTRAM on an unnamed pavement near a market. ELIZABETH, surprised, sees him first.]

ELIZABETH Heavens, Bertram, is that you?

BERTRAM Good morning, madam. It's been ages since I last saw you. How have you been doing?

ELIZABETH Not fantastic, but... I guess as best as I could be... How about you? How's the family?

BERTRAM Very good. My daughter's graduating from university.

ELIZABETH [Nostalgically] Yes, I remember when you brought her to our house one weekend...

BERTRAM She had always wanted to see where I worked, and you were very generous in giving your permission. 

ELIZABETH Oh, it was nothing. You were one of our best house staff in years.

BERTRAM It's been- what five years- since I retired from Whitehall. I remember Bea as a little girl, running across the rose garden. She would be thirteen now, wouldn't she?

ELIZABETH Yes. We just celebrated her birthday a month ago.  [She pauses]  I supposed you've seen the news. About Bea. 

BERTRAM Yes, it's rather awful. How much do they want?

ELIZABETH A million dollars.

BERTRAM  A sum which you can very well afford.

ELIZABETH Which has to be handed over to them before the deadline today.

BERTRAM Are you sure about giving them the money so easily?

ELIZABETH [Glares at him, offended] What's there to be unsure about?

BERTRAM You don't have to give into their threats. What they are asking for is completely unreasonable and-

ELIZABETH Of course I have to! It's Bea's life we're talking about! Every minute we're wasting-

BERTRAM You haven't been the same since Callum died in that fire ten years ago. You've been overprotective of Bea, and I understand that as a mother, this is difficult, but try to be rational.

ELIZABETH Rational? If you were in my position, could you be rational? All I see is another one of my children dying right in front of my eyes again. Do you remember, the night we ran out of the house, Callum was just asleep. I tried to go back for him, but I couldn't... I choked on the smoke which then rendered me unconscious...

BERTRAM You tried your best, as we all did. These people have been targeting you for years. They were the ones who lit the fire that killed your son. They don't just want money; they want revenge. 

ELIZABETH  I know they have been targeting us; but I don't know why. I know we have always had "old money". Maybe that's a reason. Maybe if I give them the money, they will stop. But I can't just sit here and do nothing. It will... destroy me.

BERTRAM You know better than to rush into a situation like this. 

ELIZABETH They say they'll kill her-

BERTRAM: Even so, do you think that these men are trustworthy? What if even after they receive the money, they kill her anyways?

ELIZABETH Of course I know. But what other choice do I have? I can't give them another reason to take her away from me. Someone tell me, What am I supposed to do? 

[Suddenly, ELIZABETH phone rings. She frantically searches for it in her handbag, and answers. All stage lights are turned off, besides a spotlight on ELIZABETH.]

ELIZABETH [voice shaking] Hello?

MAN Hello, madam. It has come to our attention that two days after our conversation, the money has yet to be transferred. 

ELIZABETH Yes, I know, but-

MAN And the news about Bea has been plastered all over the media. [Pause] Was there not an understanding that the details of our last conversation were to be kept to yourself?

ELIZABETH I tried, but I couldn't keep it hidden, they found out-

MAN [Yells menacingly] Do you want your daughter to die?

[Bea's screams can be heard over the phone]

ELIZABETH What have you done to her?

MAN Nothing. Yet.

BEA Mum, I'm scared.

ELIZABETH Bea, listen to me, everything's going to be okay.

BEA No, mum, please. Save me. Save me, before he-

[Sound of a shot being fired can heard over the phone]


[No answer]

[Fade to black]

I decided to submit my first published piece, Bribing Death for the competition after some minor edits on the ending. 

Login or Signup to provide a comment.

1 Comment
  • Gail -u-

    That was cliche(but not really?) and cheesy. But it's not a sickening kind of cheesiness.
    I feel conflicted and confused. but good job, it's cheesy and an expected ending, but it somewhat feels like it should have ended like that.

    over 4 years ago