Animal (work in progress – 4th draft)

(previously known as Cirucs)

When Raina Shepherd was 10 years old, she began biting.  30 years later, she’s still biting.  But biting is not her only problem.  Raina is schizophrenic, bipolar and manic depressive.  And to make matters worse, she’s off her medication. 

Raina has lived with her parents, Cliff and Mercedes Shepherd, all her life.  They have been Raina’s constant guardians.  Cliff makes animal ceramics and the Shepherds own a successful shop where they sell these ceramics.  The Shepherds’ romance began as teens when they met at theGrand Canyon.  This is the same place where Mercedes badly hurt her leg and has never walked normally again.  Raina’s illness has prevented the Shepherds from ever going back to theGrand Canyon.

Following Cliff’s passing, Mercedes has been left alone to take care of her disturbed daughter.  As the years pass, Raina’s health gradually improved to the point where Mercedes felt confident enough to travel to theGrand Canyonwith Raina and show her where she first met Cliff.

On the morning they were to leave for theGrand Canyon, tragedy unexpectedly strikes, leaving Raina reeling and in a state of uncertainty.  As the months pass, Raina’s grip on reality unravels.  In an effort to regain some sense of control in her fragile world, Raina has barricaded herself in the living room of the house and has gathered all of her parents’ personal items around her.  Now mostly off her meds, biting again and afraid to trust anyone, this is where she’s at today.

Dr. Cranshaw has been Raina’s psychiatrist since she was a child.  He has not been able to see Raina for weeks because she has barred him from the house and refuses to even have a conversation with him.  In a desperate attempt to help his client, Dr. Cranshaw has called upon Raina’s brother Daniel. 

Daniel Shepherd has not lived with Raina since he graduated from high school.  He moved across the country and barely visits her.  His childhood was a traumatic one, growing up with a sister who bit him often.  Now 35, Daniel is a history teacher and has been taking care of Raina’s 18 year old sonGriffin.

Griffin Shepherd moved in with Daniel years ago following an incident that left the boy unable or unwilling to talk. Griffinhas not finished high school and works in construction.  He struggles with communicating and lately has become more violent, directed mostly at Daniel. Griffindoes not know who his father is or what happened to him.  Throughout his life, Raina has often denied that she is even the boy’s mother.

These two troubled men come to the house to help Raina but it may be too late.  Is Raina too far gone to be saved?  In the course of their tumultuous visit, what unfolds is a number of searing revelations from their collective pasts that rock this already fragmented family to the breaking point.


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