"We don't want to begin at the beginning. The brides of Count Dracula don't like the beginning, we have to step out of the darkness to go back there. The darkness is where we belong now, the darkness is the realm of the true voice, the Seal of Perfection and our Lord Dracula is his angel."
"In the darkness our Lord shines brighter than any star in heaven. In his supreme light we are as Gods with no fear of consequence to enslave us. We are like clay and he is like fire, it is to his eternal black flame we bow in allegiance and in return we receive the gift of no false promises."
"We are the brides of Count Dracula and we offer our souls in tribute to his deity."
The curtains are drawn back, revealing my friends Hazel and Melanie stood center stage and looking ever so sexy under the spotlights. Although they don't seem too impressed... but I am.
"Excellent," I tell my two rising stars. "You almost kept time with each other."
"It's all mixed up nonsense," says Melanie.
"And what's Count Dracula got to do with Satan?" asks Hazel.
"It's the same sort of thing," I tell her.
"No it isn't," they both reply, this time in perfect unison.
Two Brides For Count Dracula isn't going to work if those two are going to question every last line of my script. I think it's a brilliant introduction and who cares if I've taken a few liberties with the dark side? The audience won't notice, they'll be far too busy drooling once they see what my two glamorous debutants are wearing... which is the next little problem.
"Are you sure about these dresses?" Melanie asks me. "We feel a bit exposed."
"They're perfect. You're the female leads in a horror," I remind her.
"Yeah, we know we are but..."
"You can't cheat your audience." I tell her. "You have to dress sexy. It's expected."
"Well, OK," she says. "If you think so."
I don't think so, I know so and it would be silly if the two lovelies didn't get to show off their best natural talents in our play. I'd like to go further and have them strip naked for scene two's blood letting ritual, only it would surely be a mistake if Hazel and Melanie revealed too much, too soon in their acting careers. Best save nude scenes for the movie and we'll rely on the strength of my script and their fine acting to boost our theatre ratings.
Scene one is looking promising, despite my two friends unfounded concerns and we need to get a move on if we're going to have time for the rest of the dress rehearsal. If all goes to plan I expect the three of us to easily pass our 'Introduction To Drama Course' and who knows, a talent scout might show up for the performance and we'll all be professional dramatists and thespians before we know it.
I can see us now, beginning new lives as West End stars, then Broadway and onto Hollywood. I hope we'll stay friends and not bitch about each other to the gutter press. We could share a house on Malibu Beach, that would be cool and the press could speculate all they like about who sleeps with who. We could exploit our notoriety to express our forthright views on feminism and of course we'll all be fabulously wealthy with the royalties flooding in.
But first, Two Brides For Count Dracula has to be a success and I've already spent forever working it all out. The whole thing was inspired by a painting of Melanie by one of the art students. She didn't pose for it, he painted it from photos he secretly took, which was kind of creepy I suppose but it's a brilliant portrait none the less.
I've borrowed the painting and a few others for our production, the setting for scene one is a modern day college art exhibition, Count Dracula turns up to view and that's the part I get them to rehearse next.
Enter Michael, the geeky art student in question with an unrequited longing for Melanie. He looks a little more convincing as Count Dracula now he's wearing a cloak, only he's still far too skinny and wimpy to be considered ideal for the role.
Michael will have to read his lines from the script, as will Hazel and Melanie, but I'm confident they won't have too much trouble when it comes to memorizing their parts, I've deliberately avoided using any difficult words. If there is a problem, I'll let them keep their scripts for the performance and claim it's a piece of 'nouveau theatre.' We might even get extra credits for showing such inspiration.
"OK, lets take it from the top," I tell them.
There's an awkward pause as all three members of the cast stand there looking at me for some strange reason, then they kick off and it feels like a little piece of theatrical history is being made.
"Oh look, Luticia. There's someone admiring your paintings," Melanie recites.
"Oh yes, Lucretia. I wonder where he came from?" replies Hazel.
Count Dracula is supposed to appear from nowhere, I haven't figured out how to achieve that yet. I'm hoping a bit of trickery with the lighting and curtains will achieve the desired effect.
"These paintings are magnificent," says Michael. "And who is this fair maiden?"
"That's me," says Melanie. "I'm Lucretia and this is Luticia, the artist."
"Two lovely maidens," replies Michael. "This portrait captures both your souls."
Excellent, everything is going so well and I can hardly believe how good my script sounds and how simple it will be to follow the plot. Everyone will understand how the painting holds the keys to the two girls' souls and when Count Dracula takes possession of it, he'll possess the two girls as well.
The rest of the storyline smoothly follows on, next the seduction and blood letting scene, then the girls begin new lives as brides to a vampire before realizing their reborn existence involves nothing more than being concubines. Their solution is in the best theatrical tradition, they destroy the painting and thus free themselves. The subtle hints of lesbianism are a bonus, which I'm sure the audience will love.
Only now it's Michael who has a problem.
"This is awful," he says. "It's just one tired old cliché after another."
"They're not clichés," I tell him. "They're tropes actually."
"Come again?" he says.
"Tropes, clever literary techniques to make a script work. All play writers use them."
"Sounded like clichés," says Hazel, being no help whatsoever.
I'm disappointed in Hazel, I've already explained to her that my author's hands are somewhat tied by literary convention. Dracula likes hot looking babes, everyone knows it, although I've done what I can to update things. For instance, in my version it's made perfectly clear that the vampire is very well endowed - he would be wouldn't he? Stoker never mentioned it but I do because size really does matter to girls, so I think it's important to say something about it.
"And what's this about kissing?" says Melanie, looking horrified at the script.
Now what's the problem? They seem to be doing everything they can to frustrate all my efforts. Melanie leads Hazel off the stage so the two of them can have a quiet word with me.
"I'm not kissing him, he's creepy and horrible," whispers Melanie.
Hazel is just as horrified at the thought and I must admit Michael does look rather greasy and his face is covered with spots. He really should do something about his acne if he hopes to pull girls like Melanie.
"Can't you pretend to kiss him?" I ask them both.
"How do you pretend to kiss?" replies Hazel. "You either do or you don't."
I suppose we could try and find a better looking Count Dracula but there isn't much time left for that now. Besides, Michael might take offense and not let us use his painting. He's already spent his own money having a big photocopy made, seeing as his precious artwork will be destroyed at the end of the performance.
"I'll think of something," I promise them.
"OK, but no kissing creeps."
"What about you two having a girlie kiss?" I suggest.
"That's fine, we'd like that."
"Excellent," I loudly proclaim. "See, everything will be all right on the night."
"Oh no it won't," says a voice from the back of the hall.
We're not sure who the mystery voice belongs to at first. It sounded like Mr Wilson and indeed it is our drama lecturer who emerges from the shadows, waving what I think might be his copy of the draft to Two Brides For Count Dracula in his hand.
"You don't seriously expect the college to stage this monstrosity do you?" he asks.
Monstrosity? That's quite a compliment for a horror, although for some mysterious reason Mr Wilson seems somewhat agitated about our play.
"We have to perform it," Hazel tells him. "We need it for our diplomas."
"You can forget about your diplomas," he tells her.
"That's not fair," she replies. "We're not breaking any rules."
She's got him there all right. The only rules are for an original production of a classic, with no foul or offensive language and the whole thing must last no longer than twenty minutes, as there are quite a number of other students with plays to perform.
"This is what happens when you don't show up for lectures," Mr Wilson says, waving my masterpiece around.
"We were doing research," Melanie reminds him.
She might have a certain reputation around college, but no one would ever dream of calling Melanie a liar. We've all spent hours watching old Dracula movies and there are very good reasons why my snippets of lesbian dialogue are so convincing. Mr Wilson did say that the best school of drama is real life experience and we've certainly taken those words to heart.
Mr Wilson doesn't respond to Melanie's comment, instead he looks through the draft of Two Brides For Count Dracula as if he's considering suggesting a few very minor changes. He's left it a bit late to raise any objections, he should have asked for his copy of the draft earlier. If he denies us the chance of our diplomas we could appeal to the Education Authority and that might look seriously bad for him and the college.
"My Dad sends his regards, Mr Wilson," says Hazel. "Did you know he's a barrister?"
"Is he?" Mr Wilson replies, looking ever more worried.
Of course her dad isn't a barrister but Hazel loves nothing more than bluffing her hand. She doesn't really need to bluff, Mr Wilson is well and truly cornered and he lets out the most enormous sigh of despair.
"Congratulations girls," he says. "You've passed your drama introduction course."
"Really? All three of us?"
"Yes, just don't tell anyone yet or even think about performing this... this thing."
Wow, we passed and this is the start of my new life as a writer... I think. I hope. Although it's a shame Two Brides For Count Dracula doesn't need to be performed, for reasons best known to Mr Wilson. Hopefully we can find another venue to stage it and in the meantime the world of theatre will have to miss out.
If only there was some other way of sharing Two Brides For Count Dracula. If only there was a medium available where I could avoid the delays and hassles of publishers. If only I could freely publish my work myself and readers from England, America and even Australia and Canada were able to see my talent for themselves.
If only one day my dreams of being a star writer could come true...
I'll never stop trying.