Here is a short radio play I wrote for some reason a few months ago. It’s pretty simple so could also work as a short stage play or something similar. Let me know what you think.
Each evening I would walk home from the neighbouring
village to my little cottage where I lived with my wife
and two children. In the summer it was a pleasant walk
across the moor. The sun used to pleasantly warm me on
my walk and I could see the hills in the distance and
the birds sail between the far off trees. This however
was the winter. The winter was wholly different. The
rain would oft beat down upon my head, my feet
squelching through the mud beneath me. And the mist.
The mist would often rise from the moor making it
nearly impossible to see an inch in front of my face. I
would often lost the faint path across the moor on
nights such as those. Yet it was on nights such as
those that I would see him. My travelling companion. I
did not know his name, though he seemed to know mine.
Perhaps he told me it on our first meeting and I since
forgot. I was too polite to ask him now, after knowing
my travelling companion for three years. He only seemed
to travel between villages across the moor at winter,
and only, as I mentioned, on nights where the fog was
thick and visibility faint. Each night he would
seemingly appear from nowhere by my side at 6pm and
greet me in the same way.
How was your day Mr Smyth?
Of course, he couldn’t appear from nowhere. He must
have been shortly before or behind me on the moor and
slowed down or caught up. The faint vision from the fog
would mean that he could literally come from anywhere
and surprise me. That night, like many others, I was
making the trip over the moors. In the distance I heard
the church bell of St Barts strike six.
SOUND: CHURCH BELLS
How was your day Mr Smyth?
You gave me a start again my friend! Where do you
spring up from?
I was making my way across the moor at a quick pace,
when I heard your footsteps through the mud. I
quickened and decided to sneak up on you – as is my
way. My little joke Smyth, I hope I did not startle you
No more than normal! How did I not hear your steps,
when you so clearly heard mine?
I tread very light. Was your day so dull you avoid my
Not at all my friend. My day was the same as usual. Not
too busy, not too dull. And yours?
It was quite peaceful.
He would often answer in that way. Yet never explain
why. I never thought to pry. As we would walk each
evening we would talk. Sometimes our conversation would
turn to literature. He was well versed on Dickens – but
had never heard of Wilde, Stoker or Stevenson. Politics
was another topic that we conversed upon, but he was
remarkably ignorant on current topics and politicians.
In my opinion, he held quite archaic views – perhaps
dating back 30 years. The same applied for music, art
and theatre. Our most often discussed topic was
philosophy. Be it aesthetics, epistemology, ethics or
metaphysics I found these conversations stimulating and
thought provoking. Tonight though, the conversation
turned towards theology and death.
Do you think part of us continues to be aware after
Do you mean the idea of an immortal soul?
I would like to think it does go on somewhere. That
part of us continues to exist. Perhaps up there. Living
in harmony with those who we have lost.
It is a comforting thought for you?
Well… Yes… I suppose. I find it comforting to know
that one day I will be with ones I have lost.
Surely you mean to believe, not to know.
To believe then.
Do you think that a soul can wander the earth again?
No. I’m not a believer in spooks or spectres. If they
are anywhere, they are in heaven – waiting for us.
Like your daughter?
I froze. I did not remember having told him this. I
searched my brain for a memory. He was right, my little
girl had died several winters ago from a disease of the
lungs. It happened shortly before our first meeting.
But I do not recall ever telling him this!
I do not recall having confided this in you… Did I?
You did not. I heard others speak of it. Forgive me for
my impudence Mr Smyth – I did not want to upset or
offend you. It must be very hard.
It is. Yes. It is very difficult to lose one so young.
And yes, thinking I shall see her again one day is a
comfort. Some days… Days like today almost. I
contemplate making that time come swifter. The moors
bring that feeling on me.
I have noticed the melancholy in your face many times,
my friend. But you have not yet ended it. Despite
walking through here every night.
On nights when I feel like that I don’t seem to be
alone. You always seem to be here. And we talk. And
then I think of my wife and the boys. And I realise
that I must go on living, that one day I will see my
little Mary again, but not today. Today I must go on
for those left living.
I had no idea that our conversations had such a
Now that I think about it, you have saved my life more
often than I care think about. And I thank you for it.
Then perhaps, once more.
SOUND: SOMETHING BEING KNOCKED AND FALLING TO FLOOR
On those words he hit me from the side and pulled me
backwards where I fell to the ground.
What are you doing?
In the commotion my hat fell off and landed in the spot
I was just about to step. I gasped as I saw it begin to
slowly sink into the mud. I had nearly stepped – and my
companion had stopped me – on some of the quicksand on
the moor that would surely have trapped me and sucked
me down to the depths. I looked up at my companion. He
had a half smile on his face, yet tears in his eyes.
Mary misses you and wants to see you again. But you
have many years ahead of you my friend. Please, live
your life and then in the next world you will see her
With those words he faded away into the mist, vanishing
before my eyes!
I lay there in the mud, my breathe heavy and my eyes
disbelieving. I carefully got to my feet and found my
way back to the path – cautiously making my way back
home to my cottage where my family were waiting for me.
That night I felt joy in my heart for the first time
since we lost Mary when I arrived home and greeted my
wife and sons. I pulled them tight into my arms and
kissed them upon the cheek. After dinner, my wife put
the boys to bed and we sat together in each others arms
on the sofa as we did in years gone by. Eventually she
raised the question that had been on her mind all
night. Why had my demeanour changed? Why had I suddenly
been pulled out of my years of melancholy. And why had
I come home with my trousers soaked, my clothes
dishevelled and with no hat.
I told her everything. About the suicidal thoughts on
the moor. About my travelling companion who would
always appear when they overcame me, and finally about
tonight. The discussion of life and death, his
knowledge of Mary and finally his saving my life and
his message from our daughter.
As I went on, her eyes lit up with shock and hope, and
filled with tears. Finally her hands flew up to her
mouth and she cried before running from the room. I
felt guilty for putting her through that ordeal. She
would now surely think me mad, and was probably calling
the doctor to have me committed at that moment. And who
could blame her? I sat there in silence.
Moments later she returned and handed me a small framed
portrait. It was an old photograph of a gentleman
holding a small child. Tears were in his eyes. The
child was unmistakable deceased. As I looked into the
face I gasped in shock. It was my companion!
Who is it?
What she said sank in. I knew her father had died on a
foggy night on the very moor where I had walked. Could
it be that 30 years later his spirit was still
wandering the moor, discussing Dickens and Descartes
with me? She then began to explain.
When we were younger my brother Jack developed a
terrible cough. At first we thought it would pass and
he would recover, but then he began to cough up blood.
We knew nothing could be done. He died age 4. My father
was devastated. Jack was the apple of his eye. He had a
mememto mori taken and kept it on him at every waking
moment. Then one day, my father left the house and did
not take the photograph. He left it on his desk. It was
then we should have realised what he was doing. He did
not come home that evening. Three days later they found
his body, drowned in the swampy water. The coroner
recorded a verdict of suicide.
My wife had never told me the circumstances of her
fathers death before. Just that he had died on the
moor. I held her in my arms as she wept. I sat
reflecting on the fact that my father in law had saved
my life and my wife and children’s happiness from beyond
SOUND: THREE SHARP KNOCKS ON THE DOOR
I started. It was very late. Nearly midnight. Who could
be calling at that hour. I looked at my wife. She had
the same thought.
SOUND: THREE SHARP KNOCKS ON THE DOOR
Together we rose and walked carefully towards the front
door. I reached forward and slowly opened it.
VOICE: WOMAN GASPING
At the end of the garden path stood the man who had
been my walking companion on the moor. Holding his left
hand was a small boy, who I recognised from my wife’s
photograph. Jack was not limp and wasted. He was
smiling and full of life. Holding his right hand was
Mary! She waved and blew kisses at us!
I put my arm around my wife and we both waved as my
father in law nodded his head at us and turned, leading
his son and granddaughter away. They began to fade and
vanished into the night, waiting for us in the next
life – but only when this life had been lived.