[E̠̙̩̩X̙̹̹͇̤̥̳T̸̫͖̥̦͕̱?̫͓͔̗̳̜̳ ̣̬̺͡ͅI͖̣̗̦N͍͍͉T̶͙̖̜̺̬?̶͔̩̰ ̨̮͎̼̰-̛̫͇̜ ̻̞S͘O̰̬̦M̫̠Ȩ̰͉̝Ẉ̻̖Ḩ̱̟̻̤̘̙͔Ẹ̙̠̮̯̬R̤̪̣̟̘͘E̝̹]̗̯
See the boy in centre stage, illuminated and ghastly, pale back arching up towards the sky. Count the knobs and curls of the spine. Count the fine hairs on his arms and legs.
[ENTER FROM STAGE REAR – T̩̬H̩̪̙E̢͍ ̛̮̥͈̞̫D̮̫̦̙́E̜̜̙̻̭̣Ṣ̟̀E̟̭̩ͅR̖̱̫͔͕T]
See a man draped in black, dripping in midnight satin, emerge. See his broad brimmed hat, his gloved hands, his hidden face. The Desert opens his mouth and lets out a stream of bright television static. It’s unintelligible, but also completely understandable.
“Who are you now? After all of this, who are you?”
See the boy. He thought, after all of it, he’d be a different person. He thought that by falling apart he would emerge as something better. He thought that by running away he could control life, that by building his ego he could conquer fear.
A rusting red car, with two tyres missing and an engine full of death, sits in one corner of the stage. In another, a group of people, friendly faces with names like “Max”, “Shelby” and “Floor”, stand watching. They whisper to each other.
On the front of the stage, his sister kneels, phone in hand, trying to find that precious lifeline that will connect them again. She is close, but oh so far.
The boy sits hunched over his own knees, a mottled, papery and fragile human lump. With each careful brush of fingertip against skin, more came off until he sits amongst small mountains of forgotten skin, the fallout from his brush with the sun.
The skin underneath is not new and clean like he had wanted at the beginning of his short adventure, but pink and violent. An eruption of pain and dryness. He went through a wasteland seeking to find himself, but has ended up as part of it.
He falls forward, letting legs come out from underneath him. Laying with chest against the cool grey floor, he admits “there are no fresh starts… I couldn’t find one out there… I want to go home.”
“Nonsense,” The Desert says, “This is your home now.”
[EXIT STAGE REAR – ͓͇̮͖̩͇Ț͙̦͎̱̟H̙͉̮̝̯̩̹E̲̩ ̙̺DESER̗̺̣̜͕T͚̥̰͎]