16: Acquiesce

Owen and Judith engage in some espionage in a bid to see what Claire and Adam are like in public, calling in a favour with a rich frenemy. What could go wrong at a fancy party? Hang on, I’m getting a note that says “lots of things.” So, lots of things could go wrong. Whoops.
CONTENT WARNINGS: the occult, the paranormal, cults, alcohol, death

[SFX: beep. Studio]

JUDITH: Turn that off.

OWEN: You do it.

JUDITH: We don’t need a reminder of how this day is never going to end.

OWEN: But it makes me feel like an old school radio host. Or a reporter.

JUDITH: Hey you hep cats, remember when journalism could pay the bills?

OWEN: You bet your bippy I don’t.

JUDITH: Late-stage capitalism will be the death of us! If Claire and her god of fire don’t get to us first. God. I’m tired. This whole day has been a nightmare, I swear I’m going to take a hammer to my desk phone. [pause] You ever had that feeling where you’re talking to somebody and then it feels like they’ve just jammed a hand in your chest and are now trying to twist your heart out of place?

OWEN: Yeah, talking to Claire will do that to you.

JUDITH: Yeah. I used to think that feeling was more metaphorical in nature, but… not anymore.

OWEN: Just… stay away from her.

JUDITH: Well, I was trying to until she appeared in my apartment uninvited. But… I still want to keep an eye on her, like what is she up to? Because if it’s something bad then we need to know sooner rather than later. I’ve been trying to get more info out of Lydia, but she is… in a word, evasive.

OWEN: Hm? Do you have some misgivings?

JUDITH: I don’t know. Something just feels off. Like I don’t see her doing anything but… She says that she knows a way to get the scary grandparent spirit… whatever… out of Claire and Adam, so we have to trust her for now. I guess, because… what other option do we have? [sigh] I think I’ve just got some major trust issues that I’m going to be working out with a therapist for the next like… decade and a half, at least. 

OWEN: Same. But yeah, I just don’t want to face off with her anytime soon. Or Adam, for that matter. I don’t like the weird messages he keeps leaving me, they’re upsetting.

JUDITH: You got another one?

OWEN: Yeah, and it wasn’t just heavy breathing this time.

ADAM: [voicemail] … hey … hey man … you home? … you safe?

JUDITH: Uhhhhh…

OWEN: Yeah, big uhhhhh. I blocked his number but this came from a different one.

JUDITH: Lemme see? Yeah, that’s Claire’s. Great! Love this. I don’t know, I guess there’s still social media, the stalking tool of our generation. Did you see that she’s hosting some party at a members-only venue? I’m so curious about what she’s like around other people.

OWEN: I’m sure we could scrape together… several thousand dollars for membership fees. Piece of cake!

JUDITH: What kind?

OWEN: A black forest gateau. But one of the ones from Tim Horton’s back when they sold cakes.

JUDITH: A simpler time. So, we don’t want to be around them but we have to keep track of them. We need to know where this ritual is happening and we need to know when this ritual is happening, if this ritual is happening. So, we have to keep track of them, but how do we do that if they’re going to places where either we can’t sneak in or…

OWEN: They’re at the house.

JUDITH: Or they’re at a private club.

OWEN: Maybe we can get someone else to do it for us.

JUDITH: You and I both know that we can’t drag anyone else into this who’s not already experienced in this bullshit. And I’m… I mean, I think I trust Lydia but… I’m feeling pretty off, and she has got some REAL issues with jealousy, so I do not want her around you because she will flip out. And I’m not hiring some private eye and having their hands burned off or whatever.

OWEN: Ok… alright then… hmm.

JUDITH: Do we know anyone fancy?

OWEN: I am very fancy, thanks.

JUDITH: You’re wearing a shirt from Big Crawdaddy’s Crawdad Shack and Bait Shop.

OWEN: I will tolerate no besmirching of the pedigree of Big Crawdaddy!

JUDITH: We just need more information. We learn something and then everything else becomes more complicated, and I feel like we’re blindly racing towards our terrifying, crushing, inevitable doom. We need to learn more about her plans.

OWEN: I have a thought.

JUDITH: And it is…

OWEN: We might be able to request a favour from a certain realty mogul.

JUDITH: Oooh, I like that. But he will never, in a million years, go for it.

OWEN: Probably not, but we can try. [SFX: Judith’s phone gets a message alert] Hey! Silence your phone in the studio, rookie!

JUDITH: I thought it was on silent! … Oh.

OWEN: “Oh”? No, don’t “oh” me, not today. Today’s been long enough.

JUDITH: I have a DM from Claire.


JUDITH: Yeah “oh”!

OWEN: I assume it’s not a cute dog video or something.

JUDITH: There is no preview.

OWEN: Well, go for it.

CLAIRE: [on recording] Hey there! Just hanging out at home. Thought it would be nice if you could join me for an unboxing.

OWEN: What?

CLAIRE: [on recording] It’s a little something that I was sent by a friend. I think it might be of interest to you? Maybe it’s something you might be into. [SFX: weird squishing noises]

JUDITH: Oh jesus christ!

OWEN: What part of the body IS that?

CLAIRE: [on recording] I think this is such a good lead in for what’s to come! Mmmm… [SFX: more horrible wet sounds] what a lovely addition to this room! I think it would look lovely here.

JUDITH: I didn’t think it was possible to make that basement MORE cursed. God, please tell me that’s not human.

CLAIRE: [on recording] Just wanted to give you a preview, Judith.Later babe!

OWEN: What the FU-

[SFX: beep. Office building, quiet and fancy]

OWEN: Is it hidden?

JUDITH: Yeah. Uh, hi, Mr. Bird.

BIRD: He-… oh, it’s you. Both of you.

JUDITH: Yeah, it’s us. Can we talk? It’ll only take a minute.

BIRD: I don’t think this is a particularly good time-

JUDITH: Please?

BIRD: [sigh] Alright, but make this quick, I have a luncheon in 15 minutes.

JUDITH: Thanks.

OWEN: How’s it going?

BIRD: It’s fine. Thank you for asking.

JUDITH: I’m going to cut to the chase: we need to ask a favour of you.

BIRD: If you’re looking for a deal on a condo-

JUDITH: No, we need you to… keep an eye on someone for us.

BIRD: Excuse me?

JUDITH: We’re trying to track down some info on Claire Sterback and there is an event coming up that we would not be able to blend in at, but we think you would.

BIRD: If you’re looking for me to engage with her, I can say with confidence that I want no part in that endeavor, thank you very much.

OWEN: Hear us out, Claire has… been getting into some questionable things lately.

BIRD: And how am I supposed to help you with that?I’ve seen Miss Sterback’s social media output recently; it’s been hard to miss in my circles.

JUDITH: You don’t need to do anything other than observe and report back to us. I mean, how’s your house been lately? Considerably less creepy?

BIRD: … Yes. It has been.

JUDITH: Well, this is us calling in a small favour as a sort of repayment.

BIRD: You think you can just waltz in here and ask me to join you on some sort of wild goose chase-

OWEN: Ok buddy, listen up, we saved your butt and now we need your help, so just shut up and let the lady talk, ok?

BIRD: I will not allow you to shout at me like that!

OWEN: Just do it! Stop being so… recalcitrant!


OWEN: Thanks, I have a word a day app on my phone.

BIRD: Fine. I’ll listen. What exactly do you want?

JUDITH: Claire is running an event at The Boulevard Club — some kind of product launch for a line of nutritional supplements or whatever. We think she’s using the event and maybe even the products as a way to… gain more followers, but not in an influencer kind of way. She’s up to something way darker and spookier. You already know what she’s capable of, so… I know this is a lot to ask, but if you could go and scope things out, that would really help us. Like I said, you don’t even have to talk to her, we just need you to tell us… what she’s like around other people. What she’s doing. It’s been hard for us to… properly interact with her as of late, because she’s been kind of volatile.

BIRD: And why don’t you go and skulk around in the background?

JUDITH: It’s a private event, closed except to media and club members. And I’m going to assume…

BIRD: [sighs] Yes, yes, I’m a member…

OWEN: Besides, we’re not stylish or moneyed enough to blend in, and Claire would never buy that we just “happened” to be there. She knows you, but she wouldn’t not expect you there…

BIRD: Hmm. I do think I know some people who will be attending the event as a way to mingle with potential clients.

JUDITH: Then you already have an excuse.

BIRD: Ok, to reiterate, you want me to go and… spy on her for you, while also trying to maintain my cover by carousing?

JUDITH: I mean, as best you can.

BIRD: [sigh] I’ll… see what I can do. If I do this though, I don’t want to go alone. I want security.


BIRD: You’re right on one thing, I do know what she’s capable of, and I don’t want to be there by myself. I want backup.

OWEN: I’ll go.


OWEN: It’s ok. One of us should, and… it’ll be fine. A buddy of mine actually works as a server there. I can ask him to get me a shift as a barback or something, they’re usually looking for temp event workers for things like this anyway, and I’ll duck into the kitchen if things get hairy. In the meantime, I’ll stay out of the way, avoid Claire, and keep an eye on things. If something starts to go wrong, Bird can let me know.

BIRD: I guess that would work. Do you have an appropriate outfit?

OWEN: What, like… black pants and a shirt?

BIRD: Have you ever been to a private club before?

OWEN: Yeah, obviously.

BIRD: [sigh] I never thought I would say this, but I think it’s time that you and I went on a little shopping trip.

OWEN: Oh… kay.

BIRD: Since it is my reputation on the line if I’m seen speaking with you, I will help you procure the needed items. I’ll see you on Friday at 7 PM at Holt Renfrew. Please wear nice jeans. Not those ones.

OWEN: These are… fine! They’re perfectly fine jeans.

JUDITH: Wow, this went better than I could’ve imagined. Please send me photos from your shopping trip. Please.

BIRD: I will speak to you both later about this… agreement. Now if you excuse me, I have a lunch date to get to.

JUDITH: Ok. Thank you, Mr. Bird.

BIRD: You can call me Austin.

JUDITH: Really?

BIRD: No, I don’t like you.

JUDITH: Ah, fair enough.

[SFX: beep. A fancy party]

BIRD: Why am I wearing this?

OWEN: Because if she says anything to you, we want a recording. And there’s a little transmitter on the pack in your pocket that will get this all sent to Judith’s computer for later listening. There! It blends in with the flower.

BIRD: Oh yes, please speak into the plumeria, very subtle.

OWEN: It’s fine. I have one on too. With the pack tucked into my incredibly well-fitted pants, thanks for asking. Should I get more of my clothes tailored? Is this like, what being rich feels like?

BIRD: Honestly, your choices in slacks were a bit early 2010s. If you’re going to be here, you’re going to fit in, not swagger around in old jeans and a novelty t-shirt.

OWEN: I hate to admit it, but I do look good in this shirt.

BIRD: It’s a lovely knit.If you’ll excuse me, I need to step away from here because I have been spending too much time near the back of the bar and people will start to talk. I don’t need any association with some sort of busboy. That’s not the kind of relationship I usually cultivate.

OWEN: Sorry, I’ll try to be more… Maserati boy.

BIRD: You do what you need to do. I will speak up if I need help. Oh, and here.

OWEN: Sunglasses? What, do they have a little spy-cam in them? Are they Google Glass? Is there a secret earpiece over here?

BIRD: What? No, they’re nice ones. Nicer than the ones you have.


BIRD: Good lord, I should’ve brought Judith.

OWEN: Ok, I still have feelings.

BIRD: Sorry. I’m… nervous. Alright, I’m going to get myself a Scotch and mingle. Go about your business.

[SFX: beep. Fancy party happening in background]

ADAM: Thank you all so much for joining us for the launch of the Valerian line of herbal nutritional supplements. We’d like to take a moment to thank our brand-partner, the Valerian Group, who will also be offering them as a complementary gift to guests at their gorgeous spa and wellness centre.

Without further ado, let me introduce the mind behind all of this: spiritual guide, blogger, poet, influencer, and the ethereal force I’m lucky enough to call the love of my life, Claire Sterback!

CLAIRE: Darlings, it’s such a pleasure to be here on this beautiful day. Indulge me for a moment, will you? Close your eyes and let the sun simmer on your face. Can you feel its warmth? That fire is the very energy that allows us to tap into our own potentials, to thrive in the way that makes us all visionaries, leaders. Let us connect with that energy as we enjoy ourselves here today.

At Valerian, purity is a leading principle of ours, along with transformation. This is not just about being health, as important as health may be. Anyone can be healthy. This is about strength. Becoming a force. Not holding back. To be a volcano unfettered by ash and bone. My dears, we are the future, and nothing can stop us. But you don’t need me to tell you that, you’re already members here! [SFX: fancy titters] Nonetheless, after… after all this… I’d like to go home. Can I? Can I… please? Let me go.

ADAM: [tight] Honey, are you ok?

CLAIRE: I’m great! I’m so GREAT! [SFX: a glass shatters in her hand] Oh, silly me, I broke my glass! Well, can’t trust me with stemware [SFX: awkward laughter from the crowd] Dear, can you hand me a towel?

Don’t worry about me or my blouse, a little club soda will get this out. I’m sure I could go on forever, but you’re not here for speeches, you’re here for canapés! [SFX: gentle laughter] Thank you all for coming today, I won’t keep you any longer, enjoy the party, and remember to pick up your free bag of samples. You’ll find more information about the science of the supplements included. Mingle, and together let’s enjoy this beautiful day.

OWEN: That’s not a good sign.

BIRD: [trying to be nonchalant] Ah, yes, I’m ok, I’m not finished my drink yet! … What are you doing over here, I thought you were trying to keep a low profile?

OWEN: I am, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t the only one seeing that.

BIRD: Yes. It was indeed… odd. She’s not ok. That is, as my nephew would put it, not a good look.

OWEN: I don’t think that’s the correct usage but… whatever. Look, I’ll be staying near the back far away from them, but if you need me, go to the bar. I’ll tell Mike that you might come looking for me. I told him we’re friends.

BIRD: Ugh.

OWEN: Hey, I’m not that bad. You like Dungeons and Dragons?

BIRD: Yes, actually.

OWEN: Really?

BIRD: No, of course not.

OWEN: Should’ve seen that coming. I’m sure I could get you into it, I’m wearing Judith down. Anyway, I’m going to sneak off, I think she might be coming this way soon. I’m trying to keep my head down.

BIRD: That explains the hat.

OWEN: I like my hat.

BIRD: Either way, she is heading in this direction, so I’d advise you to take this mostly empty glass and leave.

OWEN: Ah yes, thank you, good sir!

BIRD: Oh my god.

OWEN: Good luck, man.

CLAIRE: Oh, hi Mr. Bird! Honey, this is Austin Bird. I can call you, Austin, right? Such a cute name.

ADAM: Austin Bird… Ah right, the realtor. I’ve heard a lot about you.

BIRD: Good things, I hope.

ADAM: Not really.

BIRD: Well. Yes. Hello, Claire. How have you been? Cleaning up on social media, I’ve noticed.

CLAIRE: Yes, well, I had a bit of an awakening and now I’ve found a great way to improve myself while getting my message out to others. Social media, such a boon for this kind of thing, right?

BIRD: Certainly is.

[SFX: someone off mic: “Claire, over here!“]

CLAIRE: If you’ll excuse me for just a moment. [SFX: Claire walking away]

BIRD: [SFX: clears throat] Well, Adam-

ADAM: So, what’s a businessman like yourself doing here today? Looking for some spiritual guidance? Claire’s told me that there may be some sins you feel the need to atone for. I assume you’re here for the right reasons, Mr. Bird.

BIRD: My good man, I’m always where I need to be. I decided to make an appearance as a number of my clients are here. Thought it would be a nice way to possibly find a few more names to add to my roster.

ADAM: What, of clientele or friends?

BIRD: Why not both?

ADAM: You can never have too many friends. Claire has so many these days. And as I like to say, what someone is to my partner, they are to me as well.

BIRD: Well, I-

ADAM: Oh, have you gotten a sample bag? Here, take one. There’s a sample of our tranquility powder, Mr. Bird. I think you might you need it. It doesn’t look like you’ve been sleeping very well lately. Is something bothering you?


ADAM: Well, either way, just slip a dose of that in your nightly tea, and I’m sure you’ll be sleeping like the dead in no time.

CLAIRE: Hello again my lovelies! Sorry about that, had to go speak to a new follower, she’s so enthusiastic. Oh, I grabbed us some drinks too. Honey, did you know they have kombucha on tap? Mr. Bird, I got you a ginger-turmeric blend, you really need to try it.

BIRD: I don’t know-

ADAM: Try it.

BIRD: [SFX: takes a sip] Um, delicious-

CLAIRE: Wonderful. Are you boys having fun?

BIRD: Ah, yes, well, we were just getting acquainted. And Claire, let me be the one to… apologize for the animosity of the past.

CLAIRE: Well, that’s very nice of you. It’s really a shame, I don’t believe you for a second.

BIRD: Pardon?

CLAIRE: You little fool, you sidle around here trying to be the smooth, but I smell a rat.

BIRD: I am only here to mingle and have a nice afternoon.

CLAIRE: Aren’t we all. I feel like I should take this time to reach out to some friends I haven’t seen in a while. [SFX: she grabs the flowers with the lav in it]


CLAIRE: Huh, now that’s funny,I don’t believe that species of flower is known for its microphone-shaped growths. Hi there Owen, Judith. Too cowardly to speak to your pal face-to-face? You had to send a pest instead? That’s sad, even for you two. Anyway, if that’s how we’re going to do this, your little pigeon and I are just going to go somewhere have a little private chat.

BIRD: I will do no such thing.

CLAIRE: But Mr. Bird, we had a meeting scheduled! See, it’s right here in my day planner, signed in blood.

BIRD: Did you… do that in advance? Let go of me!

ADAM: I think it’s time we talk things out!

BIRD: Good lord, your hands are… let go, it burns!

ADAM: It’s fine!

BIRD: Help! Help!

CLAIRE: You have no power here.

ADAM: Oh yes. Just in here. [SFX: door opens, and then there is the sound of the lake, birds, water slapping against rocks at the bottom of a cliff. They’re at the Scarborough Bluffs]

CLAIRE: It’s such a beautiful day.

[SFX: beep. Phone call, Owen is in a supply closet]

JUDITH: [phone] Hey, how’s it going?

OWEN: Uh, about as bad as it could go. Claire and Adam took Bird.

JUDITH: [phone] What? Where?

OWEN: I don’t know, some room, but things got really weird and really creepy and I think I need to leave. I opened the door to the room they were in and it’s empty.

JUDITH: [phone] Maybe they just left through another exit?

OWEN: There’s no other exit, Jude! There’s only one door and I was watching it. They’re gone and I have no idea how.

JUDITH: [phone] Did they see you?

OWEN: I don’t think so, but she definitely knew that we put Bird up to this. They were talking, and then she grabbed the flower, and fuck… I couldn’t get over there, I got blocked in by a bunch of dudes around the bar and then… it all went silent.

JUDITH: [phone] What, like… the room?

OWEN: The crowd, everyone, just still and smiling, and Claire and Adam were leading Bird away and I just couldn’t move. I don’t know if it was fear or… I’ve tried calling his phone, but it goes straight to voice mail. 

JUDITH: [phone] Owen, you need to leave.  

OWEN: Yeah… but, I can’t just abandon him.

JUDITH: [phone] I know, but… nothing good will happen if they catch you alone. Owen, just… uh… see if you can find him, and then get the fuck out of there. 

OWEN: I… ok, ok.

JUDITH: [phone] Be safe, and don’t stick around longer than you need to, ok? Please.

OWEN: Ok, I’ll meet you at your place after.

JUDITH: [phone] Alrigh-

OWEN: Hello? Hello? Shit.

[SFX: beep. They are standing on the top of the Scarborough Bluffs, midday, but no humans. It’s deserted.]

BIRD: W-… where are we?

CLAIRE: [SFX: taps on the microphone] Is this thing on? I hope so, because I want you to hear this, Judith. You too, Owen. Let’s get the band back together.

BIRD: How are we here? What happened?

CLAIRE: Oh, this, it’s such a great party trick, right? I’ve honed over lifetimes of practice. Why not make the world fit you, rather than the other way around? I can do what I want, I can be what I want, and when I’m done, this world will bend.

BIRD: Please… please.

CLAIRE: Oh Austin, are you having trouble moving?

BIRD: Y-yes.

CLAIRE: My sweet love, he’s so talented. Hi honey!

ADAM: Oh hey babe!

CLAIRE: He has so many talents. One of them is making people… take a moment and just stop and rest. Forever, if they have to. So why don’t you stay there until we say you can leave, ok? Great. Now, Austin, I know, I know we’ve had a… complicated relationship, but I want us to explore our feelings. Well actually, my feelings. Specifically, how I feel about when people do things that I don’t like. I’m normally not one for visual aids, but maybe it’s time that I gave you a demonstration of why you really should work towards establishing a more better relationship with me. I understand that some people don’t want to. You know, apparently, some people just don’t care about my feelings at all.Reggie was always a selfish man.

BIRD: Wh- who?

CLAIRE: [deep inhale] Smell that fresh air. I love the breeze coming in from the lake. We’re at the Scarborough Bluffs, Judith. I finally made it! It really is as pretty as you always said it was, and, wow, the drop from here… well, that fall really looks like it would hurt. What do you think, Austin? Want to take a look? Mynd. I think you should try living on the edge.

BIRD: [SFX: he starts walking forward through the rocks and grass at the top, haltingly, like his legs are being forced forward and are dragging, he’s trying to exert against them. He’s panicking, trying to keep his balance] I swear, I swear, I won’t tell anyone about this if you just let me go!

CLAIRE: Really?


CLAIRE: That’s so sweet of you! I mean, not like anyone would believe you anyway. Although, maybe a few people would. Oh, you know, I know someone who would. My good friend Reginald. He probably would. You know, he used to not believe in me. He pushed back, wanted to do things his way, create his dynasty. He didn’t have my best interests at heart. So, I pulled him aside and kept him out of the way for a while. It’s been so peaceful without him around. It is so useful having access to… unobtrusive areas, especially for people who are… being a nuisance. So what do you think, Austin? Would you like to meet him?

BIRD: Sure! Fine!

CLAIRE: Great! Let me just get him out here.

Sit laus, Moloch destinatur

homo stultus



[SFX: Reggie suddenly appears out of nowhere in mid-air. He falls and hits the ground far below.]

BIRD: No. No! Oh my god… oh my god!

CLAIRE: Ah, right, silly me! I need to bring people back to this plane of existence on solid ground, not thin air. It’s a mistake I just keep making!

ADAM: You know, sometimes I forget how much blood is in a human body. It’s quite a lot!

CLAIRE: So, what do you think, little bird? Have you learned your lesson? Or should we see if you can fly?

BIRD: No, no-

[SFX: Beep. Judith’s apartment]

JUDITH: Oh my god, I’m so glad you’re safe.

OWEN: Thanks. I just feel… awful that I couldn’t find Bird. I tried looking around before I left, I checked any room I could get into, but… people were watching me, and not just because the busboy was poking around. They were… staring. Staring and smiling.

JUDITH: Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck, I thought this would just be some dumb rich person party and we basically fed him to her, shit. Ok, uh… what do we do?

OWEN: I don’t know.

JUDITH: Try calling him again?

OWEN: Yeah, hold on.

JUDITH: That shirt looks nice, by the way.

OWEN: Thanks. Hello?Mr. Bird? Are you ok?

BIRD: [speaker phone] Yes, of course I want another drink! Just bring me the damn bottle. …No, the Smirnoff, of course the Grey Goose, you idiot!

OWEN: Austin? Austin, It’s Owen, fuck, I’m so sorry I couldn’t find you-

BIRD: [speaker phone] Oh, as if anyone could follow me on that journey!

OWEN: What happened, man?

BIRD: [speaker phone] Oh, just on a little jaunt, a day trip from hell. I do not wish to discuss the events any further right now. As for you two, you can both indulge in whatever death wish you want, but I am done. Goodbye, and good luck, because you will need it. [to the waiter] Put it on my tab, I’m taking the bottle with me.

OWEN: Oh fuck.

JUDITH: Yeah… fuck. I’m glad he made it out alive but…

OWEN: I want to hear what happened on that recording.

JUDITH: Yeah… I’ll pull it up now.

[SFX: beep/beep]

OWEN: [pause] Jude?


OWEN: I think we’re a bit out of our depth here.

JUDITH: Yeah, just a little.

OWEN: [pause] You ok?

JUDITH: No! No, I’m NOT ok, I’m not… [deep breath] I can’t… figure out what to do. We’re digging and we’re looking and we find bits and pieces of information but there’s no clear path yet for how we can fix this and it just keeps getting WORSE-

OWEN: Jude, Jude-

JUDITH: People are dying, Owen! And I need to FIX this, I want to make it right, I want Claire BACK, I want my friend back. I want her and Adam to be normal again. I don’t want to have this constant horrible stress weighing down on me. I want her to be ok. I want us to be ok.

OWEN: I know, I know. I’m… really freaked out too. But, we’ve…fuck, we gotta get… we gotta just keep trying.

JUDITH: Yeah, yeah… I just feel so fucking lost, and… I don’t know. I need a break. I need to get out of this.

OWEN: Don’t.


OWEN: You’re stressed and you’re freaking out and you’re getting desperate

JUDITH: And you’re not?

OWEN: I’m not saying that, but I’ve seen your browser tabs, and you’ve been talking about going to Valerian. That is not the next step we should be taking. Do not go there.

JUDITH: Why not? That could be where they’re staging the ritual. That could be a key to all of this! We need to know!

OWEN: Look, we can… look at our options, but rushing in there is a bad idea. Ok?

JUDITH: I… yeah, I know, I know you’re right. [deep breath] You think we’re gonna be ok?

OWEN: Yeah, we’ll be fine.

[SFX: beep. Owen’s apartment]

OWEN: Judith… pick up, come on… goddamnit. Texts within minutes every other time and now it’s radio silence for a full fucking day… hang on.

OPERATOR: You have one new voice message. First new message:

JUDITH: [voicemail] Hey Owen, uh, I’m leaving you this message because… I’m at Valerian. I… this is incredibly stupid, I know, but… I needed to come here, get what we need to fucking figure this out and I… I am scared. I’m having some regrets right off the bat and probably shouldn’t have done this, especially alone. But I didn’t want to drag you into this any further. I don’t want to have anything happen to you as well, if something goes down here. I just walked into a horror movie set-up, right? Yeah, but just-… if, in the slight chance that you don’t hear from me again… for a while, [long pause] take care of yourself, ok? I’ll call you with updates when I can, but… stay safe. Ok. Talk to you soon, I hope.

OWEN: You have got to be kidding me.

[SFX: beep]