The 13th Floor

A Letter from SCREAM’s Maureen Prescott to Her Daughter Sidney

Today on, we have a fascinating piece of creative writing from author Stephen Graham Jones, a letter from the SCREAM movie character Maureen Prescott to her daughter Sidney just hours before her birth. 




February 22nd, 1980

Sweet child—

Your father’s out in the hallway of the hospital, pacing. When he hugged me earlier, his chest crinkled. It was the cellophane of cigars. What he’s carrying back and forth from the nurse’s station to the door of my delivery room, it’s two blankets. One’s pink, one’s blue. Because I told him I wanted you to be a surprise. Since I had to call you something these last few months, I talked him into a name that works for either pink or blue.


You’re hours away, the doctor tells me.

What will you be like? Who will you be?

What can I tell you to help you along?

It’s why I’m writing you this letter. In case you make it through the next few hours, and I don’t. I haven’t told your father, but . . . I fear that this perfect life I’ve fallen back into here in Woodsboro, it’s only on loan, as it were. Like it’s a dream I’m going to wake from. Like my own past is going to walk by when I’m not looking, and leave the check on the table.

I’m afraid I’m the payment, Sid. I’m afraid to look too long at that retreating, black-robed figure. I don’t know what I’ll do when it turn its pale face to me.

If it keeps you safe for even one minute more, though, if me paying that tab keeps you from having to, then I’ll pay everything I’ve got, willingly. If you then have to grow up without me—your father would tell me I’m indulging my melodramatic bent—then what I want for you, simply, it’s the world. But I want you to win that, Sidney.

There will be challenges, yes.

Those challenges, though, every next resistance you meet on the way to your goals, they’ll be carving you into a more pure version of yourself. It’s important you understand this. Your character is established by the obstacles you overcome, and the manner with which you overcome them.

So, the more obstacles standing in your way, the more you have to overcome, the purer you will be in the end.

I want the best for you. I want every happiness for you. But part of that, it’s also wanting the worst for you. So you can prove yourself, Sidney. So you can burn bright and pure.

You’ve got it inside you, I know. That Roberts spark, as my father called it.

He says it’s what got him through the war. That he felt it flare up in his chest and consume him, until he was a machine out on the battlefield. After he lost his rifle, he had to cut his way back to us with a machete, the way he tells it. He was the final one of all the boys he shipped out with.

I don’t want you to go to war, of course. No mother wants that for their son or daughter. No mother wants that for anyone. But there are battles every day. There will be battles in our neighborhood, in your schools, in your social circles.

You’ll be a Prescott, of course, so you’ll have a level head on your shoulders, but you’ll also be a Roberts, meaning you’ll have it in you to cut your way through whatever might try to do you harm. At some point you might think all is lost. But look inside, Sidney.

You have reserves of strength your classmates won’t even be able to guess at.

Remember, of your grandfather’s platoon, he was the only one to make it through that long night, to see the morning sun crest over the hill. He was covered in—he says he was covered in the results of his efforts. That he was blind with it. But blood, Sidney, it washes off. In an hour or two, here, you’re going to be born into it, the blood.

The nurse will wipe it off, though, and, if my bill hasn’t come due yet, she’ll pass you across to me, and you’ll never have to see this letter.

More than likely you’ll be wrapped in both the pink and the blue blanket. I can see it in your father’s eyes, that he’s not going to allow even the slightest chance of a chill getting to his first baby.

I was that way too.

And if that nurse misses some blood in the corner of your eye, or behind your little ear, never mind it.

It’s your heritage, Sidney. It’s your inheritance.

We should all be such fighters.

We should all see the sun, rising over some perfect green hill, burning off the fog.

I know you will.

You’re my Sidney, after all.

Nothing can hurt you.

See you soon,



Stephen Graham Jones is the author of twenty-three or so books, so far. Most recent is the werewolf novel Mongrels. Most slashery is The Last Final Girl. For more info, follow him on Twitter at