Lady With a Lamp
by Marina J. Neary
Enter Bennett, dragging Rebecca, whose hair is disheveled and blouse ripped. There are bruise marks on her cheekbones, and her lower lip is bleeding.
BENNETT: What’s the matter, Miss Prior? You’ve turned the hospital corps into a whorehouse, and when I hold you up to your duties, you back down. You are a useless nurse, but apparently you have other gifts. It would grieve me to see them go to waste.
REBECCA (whining half-audibly): Please, don’t...
BENNETT: Why not? What can I do to you that other men haven’t done already?
REBECCA: The God sees...
BENNETT: He sees! Why does He only see my transgressions? You still play the virgin with me, even after I catch you half-naked between two drunken soldiers.
Rebecca whimpers. Bennett wraps her hair around his hand and brings her head close to his.
BENNETT: What? What was that, Miss Prior? Were you about to tell me that the sin of flesh is lesser than that of pride? Perhaps, we should consult the chaplain. What do you think?
Martin runs up behind Bennett and stabs him in the back with a scalpel. Bennett releases Rebecca and falls to the ground. Martin stands over him, panting.
BENNETT (on his side, mocking Martin through his teeth): Not shabby... You handle a scalpel well. Had I known, I would’ve trained you as my assistant. I was telling Miss Prior moments ago how I hate to see talent wasted. (Nods towards Rebecca) I wouldn’t mind sharing her with you. It would be an honor. She can amuse two men at once. It is a proven fact.
Martin jumps on top of Bennett and plunges the knife into his throat. Bennett’s body twitches and freezes. Martin drops the scalpel and runs to Rebecca.
MARTIN: He can’t hurt yer now!
Rebecca turns away. Martin squeezes her shoulder. She winces and pulls away.
MARTIN: Look at me! He’s dead. The bloody bast’rd... He won’t cripple ’nother man, nor will ’e touch ’nother woman. ’Tis all o’er.
Rebecca shakes her head with disgust and keeps backing up.
REBECCA: I can’t...
Martin drops on his knees and stretches his intact hand towards Rebecca.
MARTIN (begging): Don’t pull ’way from me. Yer have nothin’ to fear. I’m not like ’im. I done many a rotten thin’, but I never harmed a woman. I swore to yer I’d be yer vassal till the end of me days. Recall that?
Martin remains on his knees, hand outstretched, as Rebecca backs away.
Copyright © 2011 by Marina J. Neary