10: Observance

CONTENT WARNINGS: Hauntings, possession, the occult, blood, violence

[SFX: Judith’s apartment. Someone’s banging on the door]

JUDITH: [whispered] Uh, ok, someone is banging on my door and I’m going to answer it but uh, if I die, Owen, please avenge me. [pause] Holy shit. [SFX: door opens] Hey, Claire, oh my god!

CLAIRE: [harried but cheery] Hi! Hi. How’s it going?

JUDITH: Yeah, I’m… good. I’m fine. Are you ok? Come on in. [SFX: Door closes. They’re standing in her living room]

CLAIRE: I’m ok! I’m great. I had some stuff I had to figure out. Some research!

JUDITH: Yeah, uh… your mom said you were at a retreat?

CLAIRE: I was! I needed out of the city, into the wild, I could really think there, y’know? But then I had some things I had to find, because I have a plan.

JUDITH: Do you want to sit down? You’re sounding a little… overly energetic right now. When did you get back? Was Adam with you?

CLAIRE: Oh, yeah. He’s fine. He’s great! I know what I need to do now.

JUDITH: Do about what?

CLAIRE: I can fix the house. I met some people who knew Minnie and Hugh. They told me a lot about them, they gave me some insight, and they need my help. They’re trapped, Judith. They’re trapped in the house. I was right.

JUDITH: Yeah, um, ok. That’s great. I’m… interested in the fact that your suspicions were true. Let’s go sit down.

CLAIRE: I don’t have the time. But I need your help.

JUDITH: [nervous] Sure, uh, alright, uh, with what?

CLAIRE: For the ritual. To free them. Their spirits are trapped in the house and it’s hurting them. I can let them out! I know how now.

JUDITH: Claire, that’s… look, the house has its weirdness but honestly-

CLAIRE: I know, I know, it’s ridiculous sounding, but I’ve been there. I hear them, I hear the sounds in the night, and besides, if it doesn’t work then no harm no foul, right?

JUDITH: Right.

CLAIRE: Please, please help me with this.

JUDITH: I’ll will… I will do what I can. I… honestly, this is making me a little uncomfortable. I need to talk to you about some… things that Owen and I have found out about the house. Are you sure you’re ok?

CLAIRE: I feel great. Tired, but great. Thank you, Judith. I missed you.

JUDITH: I missed you too.

CLAIRE: You trust me, right?

JUDITH: I… yeah.

CLAIRE: Great. Thank you. Ok, I’m sorry to just run in and run out, but I have to get back to the house. Can you meet me there at 8 PM? Shouldn’t take too long. Oh, can you call Owen, see if he wants to join? That would be perfect. An extra body would be a big help.

JUDITH: Uh, sure. Look, I really need to tell-

CLAIRE: Amazing, ok, great. This’ll be good! This is gonna work out. Let’s open this baby up.



JUDITH: Claire, what is going on? I haven’t heard from you in weeks except for that… weird phone call.

CLAIRE: What phone call?

JUDITH: I… you… you called me? I think? I thought it was you. It was all staticky and… I don’t know.

CLAIRE: [confused] When did I… did I call… I called you because… Judith, I… [static pop] I totally forget. It’s fine! I’m sure it was nothing. Ok, look, I’m sorry, I gotta run, I just wanted to come talk to you in person, but I’ll see you soon, ok?

JUDITH: Yeah, uh, cool. I’ll see you in a bit. [SFX: door closes] Christ. [SFX: typing on phone, sent. Sigh]

[SFX: beep. Outside, walking on the sidewalk, it’s late in the evening]

JUDITH: Recorder’s on, by the way.

OWEN: Sure. So, ok, just so I’m clear, she turned up at your door, no warning, kind of manic, asking you to help with a ritual. Sorry, I didn’t want to talk about this on the bus.

JUDITH: That’s fine, you never would’ve heard me over that baby. Yeah, she took off before I could get her to explain what she meant. I was just so… shocked at her returning? It was overwhelming.

OWEN: Yeah, I bet. Look, Judith…

JUDITH: I know, this is a bad idea.

OWEN: Yeah, it is. I know it’s… good? that Claire is back. I think. She’s acting weird, but… everything that comes out of that house is tainted. That place is sick. I can’t stop thinking about the recordings. Are you sure you want to do this?

JUDITH: Yes. I… I need to figure this out, I need to talk to her, I need to make sure she’s ok, or else I’m going to be filled with even more regret. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have called. So just, I don’t know, it’s probably best if you just go home and… I’ll call you after. You’re right, that house is a sickness. And I guess we’re already infected. God, this is probably going to be a shitshow.

OWEN: Yeah, that’s why I’m coming with. Might as well be stupid as a team. We’re both already in this up to our necks.

JUDITH: This whole thing is giving me a stress headache. Ok, we’re… almost there. Just hang on for a second, [SFX: they stop] I need to wrap my head around this. Come here, ok: Claire thinks she needs to release the spirit of her grandmother or both grandparents or whatever after going missing for weeks, and I’m feeling completely overwhelmed. Ok. That’s about it. Let’s go. [SFX: they start walking again]

OWEN: Are you sure you want to do this?

JUDITH: Is there another option?

OWEN: Not really, I guess.

JUDITH: Great. Let’s just hope for safety in numbers, then.

OWEN: Sure.

[SFX: walking up the front walk onto the porch, knocking, door opens. Inside, living room]

CLAIRE: Hey guys! Come in, come in. [SFX: door closes. She locks it] It’s going to be a busy night!

JUDITH: Hey, well, uh, here we are.

OWEN: Hey Claire. How’s it going? I’m sure you and Judith have… a lot to catch up on.

CLAIRE: Totally fine. I’m glad you’re here. You can help! Do you want to help?

OWEN: Uh, sure? I’ll see what I can do.

JUDITH: So what’s going on, what exactly are we doing? You were more than a little cryptic before.

CLAIRE: Yes, ok, so I know I’ve kind of dropped off the map lately but I was such a mess, I just needed to get out of here for a bit. I had this realization that I needed to… clean myself up, right? Like, I’d been doing all this reading about how to really reach the clearest part of your mind, how to tap into that power and use it to cleanse the space around you. I needed to find that within me, so I could turn it outwards. And hey, turns out the retreat? It was actually the retreat my relatives used to go to!

JUDITH: Yeah, that’s… neat.

CLAIRE: Yeah, right? So I went and did all that deep breathing and steam room stuff, had a lot of weird smoothies, and it was really something. It was all such a blur. I feel different, but in a good way. Cleaner. I know that sounds weird, but I started talking to people who actually knew them, Minnie and Hugh, and they told me stories and they sounded really interesting. And one night, we did this, like, ceremony thing, where we all sat together in this dark room and like, we were probably just hotboxing the place, but that was when I knew what I had to do. I could see it, it was so clear. Only through me could the house become a home. Only I could restore this place! They’re trapped here. That’s why it’s been so freaky, that’s why there’s this weird energy. They’re stuck in here somehow and I can set them free to pass beyond.

JUDITH: … uh

CLAIRE: What’s up, Jude?

JUDITH: I mean, that’s… I don’t even know how to interpret that.

CLAIRE: Please, please believe me. Please help me. I can’t do this all by myself.

JUDITH: Claire, please, I just need to talk to you first. I think this is a terrible idea. The recordings, Owen and I have been going through them and there are voices on them. Angry voices. There are things in this house and I don’t trust it and you shouldn’t do anything that could possibly… rouse them more. Claire! [SFX: Claire is rifling through a drawer]

CLAIRE: [she’s only half-listening, she’s doing other things] I mean, there might be other spirits trapping them here.

JUDITH: Sure, at this point that’s not outside the realm of possibility, but, jesus christ, something is wrong here!

OWEN: Yeah, here, let me play this recording, listen. [SFX: phone noises] Hang on, uhhh… ok, volume up… annnd it’s not working.

JUDITH: God, why now?

OWEN: I don’t know, but it won’t play on my phone. [quietly, to Judith] Nothing’s working, I don’t kno-… well, I can hazard a guess as to what’s wrong.

CLAIRE: Well if there’s an aggressive spirit here, then all the more reason to free the good ones. Wait here, I gotta grab something. [SFX: footsteps]

OWEN: [whispered] I don’t like this.

JUDITH: [whispered] I don’t either. This is bizarre and- heeeey Claire, whatcha got there?

CLAIRE: Well, while I was at the retreat I did some research into what would help release spirits bound to a building and I ended up having to scour like, most of Southern Ontario for the items I needed. But I’m ready! Well, almost ready. I need a couple things… hang on.

JUDITH: What were you looking for?

OWEN: Yeah, and what smells like a burnt pillow?

CLAIRE: [SFX: rooting around in a drawer] The ashes of a feather. Southernwood. Ah! An iron key.

JUDITH: And what’s in the jar?

CLAIRE: [SFX: she taps her fingernails on the jar] Wisteria oil, rosemary, parsley. Birch bark. But I also found these.

OWEN: Jars of broken glass and… rust?

JUDITH: The world’s worst snowglobe?

CLAIRE: It’s kind of like a witch jar, which people would use to ward off or trap spirits. But it’s not a witch jar. This is a special one. It’s blood magic. I found it in the basement, in a little crawlspace. I think it’s been used to trap spirits in the house, so I have to break it with this ritual.

OWEN: Oh, good! It’s just blood. Very normal.

JUDITH: Claire, nothing good can come from anything found in that basement. Please, let’s go somewhere else and talk.

CLAIRE: It’s ok! It’s alright. I’ve got a plan. Oh, Adam’s going to join us. Power of four.

JUDITH: Adam’s doing what?

OWEN: Power of what?

CLAIRE: Four! Four, power of four, here. [SFX: paper]

OWEN: One, a lock
Two, a key
Three to hear
Four to free

JUDITH: Claire, you have to stop.

CLAIRE: It’s fine! This will work and once they’re free, this place will be cleansed. [flat] They will be free. The gate will be opened [SFX: knocking at the door] That’ll be Adam, hang on.

JUDITH: Oh no, oh no no no.

OWEN: [whispered] Judith, what do we do?

JUDITH: [whispered] Ok, we deal with whatever plan she’s come up with, and then we, I don’t know… call her family? I think this is massively outside our pay grade.

ADAM: Oh, hey guys.

OWEN/JUDITH: Hey. How are you?

ADAM: [nervous] Y’know, fine. Nice to have Claire back in town, right?

JUDITH: Yeah… hey, Adam, have you noti-

CLAIRE: Hey! Ok, let’s get this show on the road. Come on.

JUDITH: Oh, we’re doing this… downstairs. Claire, please, I need you to listen-

CLAIRE: [she’s not listening] Yeah, we need to be close to where the jar originally was. Come on!

ADAM: [kind of resigned] I’m sure it’ll be fine. Let’s just get this over with, right?

JUDITH: I… Owen, stay up here, I’ll go down and see what I can do to stop this.

OWEN: Uh, yeah, no, I think this is an all hands-on-deck situation.

CLAIRE: Come on!

JUDITH: Ok, ok, stop pulling.

OWEN: Yeah, I’m coming down.

JUDITH: [quietly] Thank you.

OWEN: [quietly] Don’t thank me until we’ve left this place. For good, hopefully.

[SFX: going downstairs, basement]

JUDITH: [whispered] Adam, what the hell is going on?

ADAM: Just go with it, ok? This has been an incredibly bizarre month.

JUDITH: Yeah, I’m flummoxed by basically everything that’s happening. Claire, where did you find this ritual?

CLAIRE: The ritual was in this book the whole time. Some people at the retreat helped me decipher it.

JUDITH: You found that in the house?

CLAIRE: Yeah, with the diaries. It’s called “To Open the Door.” Come on, in here. [SFX: door to the spooky room creaks open]

JUDITH: Ok, nope, no thank you. This needs to stop right now. I don’t want to do this. Just come back upstairs.

OWEN: I don’t think we should be in this room. Bad vibes. Bad… everything.

JUDITH: [quietly, to Owen] Owen, get out of here.

CLAIRE: No, you have to be here. You must both be here. [SFX: door slams, static recedes, she’s moving around] Besides, it must be combined with these materials. Ok, Judith, Owen, stay there, Adam, there… ok, great. Great. Great great great great. Ok, uh… right. [stops, deep breath, opens book] Ormot, Allore, Limor, Ballo, I call to you by your true name. In this hour bring unto your voice. Ormot, Allore, Limor, Ballo, I command you, speak. [SFX: the static builds, then drops out entirely, then…]


OWEN/JUDITH/ADAM: [cry out in surprise]

OWEN: What the-

ADAM: [frightened] You heard that too?

CLAIRE: [excited] It’s actually working!

SCARY STATIC VOICE: [SFX: the static begins to build again, electrical and horrible, like someone rubbing brand new velcro on your face] next. the door. the door. open. Please.

OWEN: Judith, burnt wood. It smells like burnt wood again.

JUDITH: Claire, stop-

CLAIRE: We’re not stopping. Ormot, Allore, Limor, Ballo, I beseech you, unto your eye see this, the hair of the innocent… [SFX: grabs Owen, slice of knife through hair and scalp]

OWEN: What? [yelp] Hey, that wasn’t just my hair!


OWEN: [kind of mildly offended] Hang on, why am I the Innocent?

JUDITH: Not the time!

ADAM: Guys, what is going on??

JUDITH: Oh jesus, he’s shaking like a leaf.

OWEN: I think he’s in shock, Adam, we need to leave!

ADAM: [to Claire] You said it would be easy!

CLAIRE: It’s working! It will be fine! ENOUGH. You must take part for this to work. You must allow the door to open.

JUDITH: Shit. Oh shit, it’s locked. [SFX: door rattles as she tries to force it open] Hey!

CLAIRE: I need you here. Blood of the sister. [SFX: stabbing sound]

JUDITH: [yells because she has been stabbed and that sucks] Jesus, why?!

OWEN: Jude!

CLAIRE: Breath of the lover. [SFX: She kisses him, he collapses]

OWEN: Holy shit, we have to get out of here, NOW.

JUDITH: GodDAMNIT, she stabbed me in the hand! I can’t get the door open and now there’s blood all over the knob.

CLAIRE: STAY. [SFX: thick static] Bone of the one who calls! [SFX: Claire pulls a tooth out]

JUDITH/OWEN: [yelling in shock]



CLAIRE: Arphax, Malceb, Malfes, Malloch, with your power I release those trapped within this room. With your power I release those trapped within this room

JUDITH: [angry, moving towards Claire] Claire- [SFX: she’s thrown backwards, hits the wall, gasping for air]

OWEN: [angry] Hey- [SFX: he’s thrown backwards, hits the wall near Judith, gasping for air]

JUDITH: [out of breath, on the ground] Gah, my ribs. Owen?

OWEN: [out of breath, on the ground] Just got kicked in the gut, no big deal. Claire!

CLAIRE: I beseech you, release! [SFX: smashing of jars, key hitting the ground, all sound leaves the room, only the ringing tinnitus tone remains. Static pops start to build. It is getting louder. It is coming.]

JUDITH: [scrabbling to get up along with Owen] Oh god oh god oh god, we have to get out of here right now. OWEN!

OWEN: Don’t have to tell me twice! [SFX: door handle rattling, slamming, door bursts open, Judith and Owen hit the ground as they tumble out, then the door slams behind them]

JUDITH: Claire! [SFX: frantically trying to open the door] Adam! They’re still in there!

OWEN: Can you smell that? Something is burning! [they keep trying to force open the door]

[SFX: from behind the door, the sound of breaking glass, the ringing gets louder, the static ramps up, Claire screams. Then, everything stops, except for the sound of Judith and Owen trying to force the door. It creaks open]

JUDITH: Claire, oh my god, are you ok?

CLAIRE: [shakey] Yes. Yes, let’s go. Please get Adam.

JUDITH: What happened in there?

CLAIRE: I did it. I released them.

JUDITH: That was NOT a benevolent spirit!

CLAIRE: [shaky but calm] It’s ok. They’re free. We’re free of this now.

JUDITH: Let’s just… get out of this horrible basement, and I need to bandage this… What the hell were you thinking? Why did you stab me?

CLAIRE: It worked. That’s what matters.

JUDITH: That’s not… that’s not an excuse! Owen, you alright?

OWEN: [shakey] No, but whatever. Let’s get out of here.

[SFX: heading up the stairs. Living room.]

JUDITH: Claire, WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? WHAT HAPPENED DOWN THERE? You pulled your own TOOTH out! You STABBED ME. You STABBED Owen! What even happened to Adam? I don’t even know who’s blood this is anymore. Owen, you might want to take a look at your head, it’s a mess.

OWEN: Oh man… yep, you’re right. I’m fine, it’s shallow, I think. Because someone CUT ME with A KNIFE in the DARK.

CLAIRE: He’ll be ok. I’ll be ok. You will be fine. Thank you for helping me today.

ADAM: [hazy] Hey, what’s going on?

CLAIRE: Hi, you’re awake. That’s good.

ADAM: It worked?

CLAIRE: It did.

ADAM: I… [weirdly happy] I think I need to lie down again.

CLAIRE: Me too. I feel a bit… shaky after that. Thank you, Judith and Owen.

JUDITH: I don’t want to be thanked for that.

CLAIRE: It was the best thing you’ve ever done for me. This is the freedom that we needed.

JUDITH: Whatever. What’s wrong with you?

CLAIRE: I promise you, I’m fine.

JUDITH: You are not fine. You need to raze this place and salt the earth.

OWEN: [quietly] Jude, I think it’s time we go.

JUDITH: I can’t… just go. I…

CLAIRE: You need to go to the hospital. That cut is going to need stitches.

JUDITH: Yeah, thanks for reminding me, person who stabbed me. What’s your goddamn DEAL, lately?

CLAIRE: You do what you have to do. Besides, don’t you trust your friends?

JUDITH: Claire.

OWEN: [quiet but firm] Judith, please, we have to leave. You have an open stab wound. We both do.


CLAIRE: Go home, rest up. Tomorrow we’ll deal with this in light of day. Adam and I will keep an eye on each other. I feel so much better than I have in a long time.

ADAM: I’ll take care of her.

JUDITH: Ok, fine. We’ll deal with this tomorrow.

CLAIRE: Goodnight. Be safe.

JUDITH: A little late for that. [SFX: door closes. Pause. They head down the walkway to the sidewalk] Shit shit shit shit SHIT.

OWEN: Whoa, hang on, here, I’ve got an old shirt in my backpack, let’s wrap that hand up before you bleed all over the street.

JUDITH: Fine. I’ve got some bandaids in my purse we can use for your head. Doesn’t look too deep, luckily.

OWEN: Thanks. [pause] That was bad in there.

JUDITH: Yeah. That was really, really bad.

[SFX: beep. Facetime call ringing. Judith’s living room]


JUDITH: Hey. So, how’s the bruising and the head wound?

OWEN FT: Been better. I’m sore, and generally feeling… crummy. How’re you doing? How’s the hand?

JUDITH: Not great. Also sore. It’s also just really annoying trying to not use my hand.

OWEN FT: I bet. I’m just trying to not move my forehead much. Have you heard from Claire at all?

JUDITH: Uh, a little. She responded to a few texts but said that she was taking some time to recover. Said she’s not feeling well. I mean, I feel like she’s just going to up and quit soon and move to a yurt somewhere.

OWEN FT: Yeah. I guess she’s been with Adam.

JUDITH: Probably. I guess they’re back together for real.

OWEN FT: Yeah.

JUDITH: I feel like I’m in mourning. Is that weird? She’s not dead. She’s just… not herself. Maybe she’ll never be herself ever again. [pause] What do you think happened down there? I can’t… stop thinking about it.

OWEN FT: Same. I… I don’t know. She released something, and seems to think that it’s benevolent, but… I mean, you and I have heard differently.

JUDITH: Yeah. Something horrible was down there. Is down there. But Claire wouldn’t attack us.

OWEN FT: I mean, she technically did…

JUDITH: You know as well as I do that something else is at play here.

OWEN FT: Yeah, it’s just… a lot to wrap my head around.

JUDITH: Did you go into work? I took a sick day.

OWEN FT: I went in for like, half the day. Then I left because I… don’t really want to be around anyone right now.

JUDITH: Same. [sigh] I’m going to go back in tomorrow, though. Maybe she’ll be there? I doubt it though.

OWEN FT: Who knows.

JUDITH: I just wanted to see how you were doing. I think I’m going to go lie around and watch a movie.

OWEN FT: Which one?

JUDITH: 10 Things I Hate About You.

OWEN FT: Nice.

JUDITH: See you tomorrow?

OWEN FT: Yep, see you then.



[SFX: beep. Studio]

OWEN: Do we need to record this?

JUDITH: Might as well, at least for my own need for… I guess closure? Not like I can talk to anyone else about what happened. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and… I just really want to get this off my chest.

OWEN: Ok. Hi, anyone who’s listening. I guess this is it. Claire’s back. At least physically. Or, well, she’s alive, somewhere.

JUDITH: It’s been three weeks since the incident at the house. A couple days after that happened, Claire put in for extended health leave, packed a bag, and took off to that retreat up north. I know this time because she told me, but… whatever.

OWEN: Yeah, she didn’t even say bye to me when she packed up her desk. She just… took off.

JUDITH: Yeah. My hand’s healed up nicely, though. I got 7 stitches, it wasn’t too deep of a cut but, still…

OWEN: I can’t believe you kept talking to her after that.

JUDITH: I mean, what was I supposed to do? She wasn’t herself and I don’t know how to handle this.

OWEN: I guess.

JUDITH: Maybe someday when someone you care about stabs you, you’ll understand.

OWEN: Hopefully not.

JUDITH: But yeah, I’ve heard from her a little bit. She says that she needed to take time to settle back into herself a bit, whatever that means. I’ve… been giving her some distance, though.

OWEN: Do you think she’ll be back?

JUDITH: Who knows.

OWEN: Yeah.

JUDITH: [sigh] She came back and that’s what I wanted to figure out. But… there’s still so many things I can’t stop thinking about. What happened down there? What was that voice? What’s with these recordings…

OWEN: There’s a lot of unanswered questions.

JUDITH: Well, I might have a few answers. I went back to the house yesterday.


JUDITH: I knew she wouldn’t be there, but… something is just bugging me so much. I… I went in though, which was dumb! I know. But whatever. I let myself in and just… walked around. In a weird way, I think she’s right, I think the house has changed.

OWEN: At least tell me next time. Anyway, what do you mean by “changed”?

JUDITH: Previously, I felt like… like the house was angry. Like there was the pressure constantly pushing on me. I know you felt it too. But now it just feels… like an empty house. Anyway, I kind of snooped around to see if I could find anything that gave any clue as to what was going on or what had happened. I didn’t go in the basement. I couldn’t… I couldn’t bring myself to go down there again.

OWEN: Uh, yeah. I think we both need a lot of therapy before that happens. Did you find anything?

JUDITH: I did. I went into the attic bedroom. I’ve been thinking about that room. You know how I had mentioned before that there was a door there?


JUDITH: I needed to know what was in there, so I broke the lock. Wasn’t hard. And I was right, it was a closet.

OWEN: And?

JUDITH: Had a couple of shirts in it, a small bag of hair? I know, gross. But that wasn’t the worst thing somehow. There was a scrapbook. It was filled with printouts of everything that Claire posted on social media. Tweets, IG pictures, FB statuses, all of it. All printed and clipped out and just put in here.

OWEN: Whoa.

JUDITH: Yeah. It only went up until June 2018 though. After that, nothing else in there.

OWEN: … Uh, you know who does stuff like that, right? Prints out tweets and screenshots from social media.


OWEN: Old people. Well, old people who don’t understand social media.

JUDITH: Yeah. I found a screen name though in the clippings, nuummite_52. Uh, no posts anywhere, but they followed a lot of people? Mostly just a lot of clean-living bloggers, and like, lifestyle stuff, so maybe they were just really into celery juice and sponcon. But yea, honestly, I panicked. I just closed it up and left because… I don’t know, something clicked into place. I don’t think that we were wrong about there being a malevolent spirit or spirits in there. And I don’t think Claire was wrong about her grandparents or… something approximating them wanting to be freed.

OWEN: They… they were the same thing. They wanted out, and she did it.

JUDITH: They played her. They knew who she was. They were watching and learning. No wonder they weren’t that worked up when she reached out. God. Somehow… they’re behind this whole thing. … Permission to say something kind of ridiculous?

OWEN: Permission granted.

JUDITH: I’m not ready to give up. I feel like I know less than when we started. But this isn’t just a ghost story. They had a plan. They used her. And now I want to know why.

OWEN: Well, to be fair… I’m not either. This is such a mess but I want to know. I want to figure this out too. It’s just… all these recordings. They’re not right. They keep shifting and changing and they’re full of creepy voices and then they AREN’T full of creepy voices. I’m worried that whatever we hear isn’t… going to be what happened? It’ll be something else. But between their apparent plan and the Family of Fire and all the connections there… I’ve had a knot in my stomach for weeks now just thinking about it.

JUDITH: [sigh] I can’t believe I’m asking this, but can you play back the incident in the basement? I want to hear it again, now that I’ve got a little distance.

OWEN: Sure, let m-… hang on.


OWEN: Uhh, wait. [SFX: clicking] Well, this is great.

JUDITH: What’s wrong?

OWEN: [SFX: clicking] None of these files will play.

JUDITH: Please tell me you’re joking.

OWEN: I’m trying. None of the stuff we recorded in the house or about the house or with Claire or anything recorded outside of this studio, none of it will work.

JUDITH: Are you sure it’s not the computer?

OWEN: Yeah, listen. [SFX: plays another file, plays fine] Now see what happens when we play back one of the recordings. [SFX: just audio static, popping noises, tape hiss]

JUDITH: [quietly] Everything is gone.

OWEN: I don’t know what happened. Well, I mean, I know, but…

JUDITH: No, no, I believe you. Ok. Uhh. Hmm. [deep sigh] I need you to do me a favour.

OWEN: What’s that?

JUDITH: Back them up on the drive, then wipe them from this computer. I don’t want to take any chances.

OWEN: Yeah, no, that I can do. Fuck. We’ve lost all this work, all these recordings. I feel like we’re being taunted. [SFX: in the distance, you can hear a motorcycle rev] And some dingus is out there on the loudest motorcycle ever, that’s going to get picked up through the soundproofing. [pause] Y’know, I used to trust what I heard, right? It felt real to me. Now… I don’t know.


OWEN: What are you going to do with the drive?

JUDITH: I don’t know, burn it?

OWEN: I get the feeling it would like that.

JUDITH: Yeah. You know what’s frustrating? Part of me is sad that these traces of Claire are gone. These little parts of her, her voice, the normal moments on the recordings. I’m sad they’re gone. I’m bummed out about all the work we lost, but I feel like I lost something else in this that just feels… bigger.

OWEN: Do you want to talk about it?

JUDITH: I think I just want to go home.

OWEN: Yeah, same. [SFX: a ding in the distance] Is someone else supposed to come in today?

JUDITH: Probably not?

OWEN: The door chime just rang, so someone else is here.

JUDITH: On a Saturday? I mean- [cut off, SFX: heavy studio door opening] hey, we’re in… CLAIRE? Hey, how are you? Why have you been avoiding my calls?

OWEN: Oh jeez.

CLAIRE: Hi Judith! Oh my gosh, yeah, I’m so sorry, I kind of went off the grid again, right? I just came by to get some things out of my office and saw your computer was on, so I thought I’d poke my head into the studio.

JUDITH: Uh, yeah, I mean… It’s been three weeks. What’s going on?

CLAIRE: Oh, I’m great! I’m so great. I just needed to get my head in the right place. And I did! I feel amazing. I also want to tell you this to your face: I sent in my resignation yesterday, so I’m sorry, babe, but it’s time I move on. Just needed to grab a few things before my exit interview.


CLAIRE: I knooooow, but it’s time for a change. I’ve got a few things underway and I think you’ll be seeing some interesting new ventures from me.

JUDITH: Yeah. I mean, that’s cool, and… you look great… wow, Claire, you really look great, you’re kind of… glowing? Did you start using highlighter? But wait, why didn’t you contact me? I was so worried and you just… stopped speaking to me.

CLAIRE: Oh Judith, sweetie, I know, I’m so sorry. I should’ve just said that I was taking some me time. And come on, let’s be honest, that stressed out mess I used to be – well, she wasn’t great.

JUDITH: Oh, uh… yeah, well you sound… good.

CLAIRE: I am, Judith. I really am. I spent so much time in the darkness, and now I am flourishing in the light.

JUDITH: That’s… awesome. It’s just… did you dye your hair?

CLAIRE: Do you like it? I feel like highlights bring out something in me. What’s the harm in a little change, huh? It’s like our reno project! Sometimes you have to tear down a few walls and rip up foundations to… open things up. Find the new doors. There’s a world of possibilities out there, just waiting for me – I just had to let myself believe in my truth.

JUDITH: Uh, ok.

CLAIRE: Oh, look at you with your little furrowed brow. You’re so cute. I know, it’s a lot, but it’s for the best, I promise. And I wanted to thank you, Judith.

JUDITH: Oh, uh, I’m probably going to regret asking this, but for what?

CLAIRE: For helping me get my life back on track. For helping me with the house. It’s put years back on my life.

JUDITH: Yeah… are you sure you’re ok?

CLAIRE: I have never felt more lucid, powerful, or in touch with the divine feminine.

JUDITH: [nervous] Great. … well, do you… want to go get a beer and catch up?

CLAIRE: Actually, I don’t drink anymore. Bad for the system, y’know? But I should get you some of the kombucha I’ve been having lately. It’s good ‘buch.

JUDITH: Oh, uh… ok. New Claire.

CLAIRE: Brand new.

JUDITH: Yeah. So, do you… want to tell me what you’ve been up to?

CLAIRE: Oof, I’d love to, but I’ve got so much to do now that I’m truly back. Adam’s outside waiting for me, we’re going to check out this great new keto-focused place? It just opened up.

OWEN: [in background] “Keto place”?

CLAIRE: Oh my Gosh, the Keto diet has changed my life. You cut out carbs, and your body goes into this state – the energy, Judith. You wouldn’t believe it. It’s otherworldly.

JUDITH: Because you cut out carbs? – Ok, nevermind. But hang on, I thought you and Adam – he…

CLAIRE: We have really reconnected, and he was… so ready to start anew. It’s a new life for both of us now.

JUDITH: So he’s ok?

CLAIRE: He’s better than ok, he’s like a different person. I love that. I love the new us. He’s even talking about renovating the basement into a yoga studio once he sells the condo-

JUDITH: I did not know he was moving in with you. This is just… A lot to take in. But I’m… happy. For. You. Can we meet up soon? There’s a lot we need to talk about.

CLAIRE: Yes! I’ll text you, I’m just so busy! It’s all such a blast, hashtag loving life!

JUDITH: Oof, new you is using hashtags. So where were you, some hashtag Boss Babe conference?

CLAIRE: Better than that. Sometimes, you just need to make a few sacrifices and some big changes to see who you were always meant to be. Hic manebimus optime, my dear.

JUDITH: I guess.

CLAIRE: And I finally did. I found her.

JUDITH: [pause] Yeah.

CLAIRE: Come on, you’ll get it. Trust me, Judith. [under breath] You are going to love her. [SFX: cell phone chimes] Ooh, gotta jet hun, I’ll be seeing you. Ciao, babe.

JUDITH: Yeah… you too.

[SFX: door closing. Long pause]

OWEN: That was… did she just air kiss you?

JUDITH: Yeah. Yeah, I think she did. [pause] Do you trust your friends?

[SFX: beep]