Whisperings


(A play)
It’s summer evening in the mountains. Three friends, Dale, Morgan, and Corey, have gone exploring up Anklebone Canyon. They rush into a cave when a cloudburst begins.

Corey: Did you ever see it rain that hard before? I thought that I was going to have to start growing gills like a fish.

Dale: And it got dark so fast!

Morgan: Dad says that they often get sudden storms in these mountains.

Dale: We’re lucky that we were close to this cave when the rain started.

Corey: It’s not very much of a cave.

Dale: No, but at least we’re out of the rain.

Corey: Hey, what if … ? Nah.

Dale: What if what, Corey?

Corey: I was just wondering if any animals use this cave.

Dale: You mean like a mountain lion or a bear or something?

Morgan: Dad said that he didn’t think there were any mountain lions or bears still around here. But we have seen deer, and once we heard some coyotes.

Dale: Coyotes don’t attack people, do they?

Corey: If they’re trying to protect their babies, they might.

Morgan: Well, there aren’t any coyote pups or other animals here, or we’d hear them.

Corey: It’s awfully dark! Maybe some old mountain lion dragged its prey up here to eat, and these aren’t rocks we’re sitting on, but old bones.

Dale: Corey, stop imagining things! And why are you always thinking about food?

Morgan: I’m a little hungry myself. At least when we get back to the cabin, Mom will have dinner ready.

Corey: And we’ll have dry clothes to change into.

Morgan: And after dinner we can crawl into our sleeping bags and watch the fire in the fireplace.

Corey: And tell ghost stories!

Dale: Listen! The rain is letting up. [They pause to listen.]

Morgan: It is stopping.

Corey: I’m beginning to taste that stew already.

Morgan: And toasted marshmallows.

Corey: Let’s go!

Morgan: The ground will be slippery, so we’ll have to be careful.

[Dale bows his head, shakes it, then looks up again.]

Dale: I don’t think that we should go yet.

Morgan: But the rain’s stopped.

Corey: And I’m hungry.

Dale: No. We need to wait.

Corey: What’s the matter with you? Are you scared of the dark?

Dale: No, it isn’t that.

Morgan: It’s easy to find our way back. We just have to climb down the hill to the bottom of Anklebone Canyon. It’s so narrow that we can touch both canyon walls while we follow the riverbed to the trail that leads up to our cabin.

Corey: And the sooner we get started, the sooner we’ll get that hot stew.

Dale: I just have this feeling that we shouldn’t go yet.

Corey: Well, I have feelings, too—feelings of being hungry and cold and wet.

Dale: I feel all those things, too, Corey. But I have this stronger feeling that we shouldn’t go yet.

Corey: Think of Morgan’s parents. They’ll be worried about us.

Morgan: And what if this cave is the home of some kind of animal and it comes back now that the rain’s stopped?

Dale: All I know is that we ought to stay here.

[Corey and Morgan grumble a bit and try to push Dale out of the cave.]

Morgan: Wait a minute. Do you hear something?

Corey: Nothing but water dripping off the trees.

Dale: I hear it—a faint rumbling sound.

Corey: I hear it now. It’s probably just the storm off in the distance.

Morgan: We’d better hurry back.

Corey [To Dale]: Are you coming or not?

Dale: No, and you’d better stay too.

Morgan: This feeling of yours, Dale—is it like being scared that we’re in some kind of danger?

Dale: Sort of. But mostly it’s just a feeling that we should stay where we are.

Morgan: I’ve had that feeling before when I’ve prayed for Heavenly Father to help me. I’d get this strong feeling inside of me about what I should do, and I’d feel real calm and peaceful.

Corey: I’ve been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and I don’t feel anything right now but my teeth chattering.

Morgan: Maybe you’re not really listening.

Dale: Just put everything else out of your mind and listen “inside.”

Corey: You two are making too much out of this. I’m not waiting around here to freeze to death when I can be eating hot stew at the cabin in less than half an hour.

[Corey starts to leave, but Dale grabs his arm.]

Dale: Wait a minute, Corey. Listen to that noise. It’s not the storm—it’s coming from below us!

Morgan: It sounds like a giant waterfall.

Corey: With rocks crashing against each other.

Dale: You know what that sound is? It’s a flash flood!

Morgan: You’re right!

Corey: Do you think that it will reach us up here?

Dale: No, we’ll be safe this high.

Morgan: And the cabin is high enough to be safe.

Corey: But if we had started back—

Morgan: We’d have been caught in the bottom of the canyon!

Corey: We could have been killed!

Dale: Well, we’re OK now.

Morgan: Thanks to you, Dale. You stuck up for what you felt was right, and because you did, you saved our lives!

Dale: I’m just thankful that the Holy Ghost guides us when we need help.

Morgan: But some of us need to listen a little better to the promptings of the Spirit.

Corey: That’s right—and to the promptings of good friends too!

[illustration] Illustrated by Dick Brown