Nothing in the Dark
from "The Twilight Zone" TV series by Rod Serling, written by George Clayton Johnson
Wanda Dunn (Gladys Cooper) is an old lady who lives alone in constant fear. She tries to explain to a policeman named BELDEN (played by a young Robert Redford) what it is she's afraid of.)
Wanda: Mister Death. I know he's out there. He's trying to get in. He comes to the door and knocks. He begs me to let him in. Last week, he said he came from the gas company. Oh, he-he-he's clever. After that, he claimed to be a contractor hired by the city. I knew who he was. He said this building was condemned, that I'd have to leave. I kept the door locked. Then he went away. He knows I'm on to him. ... I know it sounds crazy. But it's true. I know it's true... At first, I couldn't be sure. It was a long time ago. I was on a bus. There was an old woman sitting in front of me, knitting. Socks, I think. There was something about her face. I felt I knew her. Then this young man got on. There were empty seats, but he sat down beside her. He didn't say anything but... his being there upset her. He seemed a nice young man. When she dropped her yarn, he picked it up. Right in front of me. He held it up to her. I saw their fingers touch. He got out at the next stop. When the bus reached the end of the line... she was dead. ... I've seen him since, several times. I've seen him in crowds, I've watched for him. Every time someone I knew died, he was there. Once he was a young soldier. A salesman. A taxi driver. Someone you wouldn't notice unless you were watching. I wondered why I could see him. And that no one else could. Then, I knew. It was because I was getting older... and my time was coming. I could see clearer than younger people could.
Belden: All right. But if you knew what he looks like, then why be afraid? You could avoid him.
Wanda: Because his face is always different. I couldn't be sure.
Belden: How 'bout when you go out? Now, couldn't he touch you then, if he wanted to?
Wanda: I never go out.
Wanda: I haven't been out for years.
Belden: Well, what do you do about food?
Wanda: A boy delivers it. I leave him money and a list. And I always wait until he's gone away before I unlock the door.
Belden: How can you live like this?
Wanda: But if I don't live like this, I won't live at all. If I don't watch out, if I let down even for a moment, he'll get in. I know he will.
(She looks around at her dark room.)
Wanda: I haven't always lived like this. I was young once. People said I was pretty. I lived out in the sunlight. (touches her face) People said I'd spoil my fine complexion. I didn't care. I loved outdoor things. I lived out in the sunlight.
(Wanda looks down and sees that, beside her on the floor, a small patch of sunlight has found its way through her boarded up windows. She reaches out and puts her hand in its warmth.)
Wanda: I've always hated the dark and the cold. I'm old. I've lived a long time. But I don't want to die. I'd rather live in the dark than not live at all.
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