17: Ash and Bone

When stressed, you should take a step back and reassess, try to relax, and avoid doing anything too rash. Judith, when stressed, does none of these things, and NOW S H E WILL PA. Y FO R HER H U B RIS Y O U STUPID CH I L D
CONTENT WARNINGS: the occult, the paranormal, cults, fire

[SFX: beep. Hotel room]

JUDITH: Hey, Owen, uh… so I know you’re not too thrilled right now. I got your texts on the shuttle here, but, uh… service is really bad out here, so I don’t think mine are going through. If you get this, let me know? I’ll try to keep my phone on me but… yeah. I just… I need to see this place. I think you’d like it if it wasn’t so… teeming with probable evil. Lots of beautiful wood furnishings and everything smells like pine trees and eucalyptus, it’s very your aesthetic. And kind of mine too. Should I get new furniture in my place? The food is great. I signed up for a few things, uh… meditation, CBD yoga… I think there’s just CBD in the mats. [sigh] Most of these things seem… earnest. Like, I guess I expected that I would show up here and it would be cultists in hooded robes or chanting to the blood god, but it looks like most of the people here are just well-to-do ladies who wanted to get away for a weekend. At least, that’s how it’s felt so far. So, I’ll keep you updated as things happen. For now, I’m going to go to bed, because I’ve got an early wake-up tomorrow for a “selenite-infused sunrise salutation.” Whatever that means. Definitely keeping my door locked, though. Anyway, hope you’re having a good day. I’ll call you tomorrow with an update. … Bye.

[SFX: beep. Quiet office]

ELLEN: So, Judith, tell me about why you’re here.

JUDITH: Oh, um, well, I… I needed to relax. I just really wanted to get out of the city for a bit.

ELLEN: This is a great place for those looking to get away from the din of everyday life. What else brought you here?

JUDITH: Just wanted to have some time for myself.

ELLEN: Do you find that you don’t get enough alone time usually?

JUDITH: Oh, no. I mean, I’m busy with work and everything, but it’s not too bad.

ELLEN: Do you have a partner?

JUDITH: Not really. More… on and off. Mostly off.

ELLEN: And this has been happening recently?

JUDITH: I don’t know if I’m comfortable talking about this right now.

ELLEN: That’s ok, I only want to make sure that we can cater to your needs while you’re staying with us. Sometimes, people come here because they’ve experienced some sort of trauma and need a place to recharge. In case you do need them, we have a number of on-site therapy options to go along with the other forms of self-care provided.

JUDITH: Cool. If I need one, I will let you know.

ELLEN: Yes. So how are you feeling having gotten away from the city?

JUDITH: Yep, real nice out here, get that good country air in my lungs.

ELLEN: Well, if that’s something that interests you, I can recommend our deep-breathing class that runs midday on Monday. It can help you achieve the type of calm you find most comforting. Did you live with your partner?


ELLEN: Right. And any issues at home? Family, tension with friends? Stressors in your personal life?

JUDITH: Nothing out of the ordinary.

ELLEN: Do you have any siblings?


ELLEN: And do you have an emergency contact? You will need to include one on the sheet, just in case. I see you left it blank.

JUDITH: Oh, ummm…[sigh. SFX: pen writing]

ELLEN: Thank you. Is this person your partner?

JUDITH: No, he’s a friend.

ELLEN: Well, I’m glad to see that they’re someone you can trust.


ELLEN: Well, now that we’ve gotten that sorted out, have you seen anything offered here that piques your interest?

JUDITH: Ummm… yeah, I’ll be doing some of the yoga classes, uhhh… reiki, I guess?

ELLEN: Wonderful. And have you looked at our more involved treatment options? I do think that you might benefit from time in the steam room. The aromatherapy options are excellent for detoxifying.

JUDITH: Sure, why not.

ELLEN: Ok, and will we be seeing you at the turba on Wednesday night?

JUDITH: The what?

ELLEN: The turba is our group get-together for those looking to find connection. I really feel that you could use a little more connection right now, Judith. You feel very closed off. We’d like to help.

JUDITH: Uh, maybe. I’ll see how I feel.

ELLEN: Wonderful. Here is a copy of the schedule. I’ll let you go and explore the grounds. Have a lovely day, Judith.

JUDITH: Thanks.

  [SFX: beep. Hotel room]

OWEN: [voicemail] Hey, this is Owen. Leave a message and I’ll back to you. Probably.

JUDITH: Hey Owen, I know you’re at work right now, sorry to bug. Finally got a chance to escape back to my room and give you an update. It’s been two days and honestly, it’s been… fine. I got a massage and, surprise, turns out I desperately needed one, because my back has been shit lately. But yeah, so far it hasn’t seemed that evil at all. I’m not really sure where to look for anything… supernatural, and plus there’s people everywhere. It’s hard. I can’t tell who might be a spooky occultist and who’s just here because they want to go sauna and cat pose. So… I’m going to go sit in the steam room at some point because I might as well enjoy it while I’m here. I definitely paid enough to be here. [pause] Call me back when you get the chance. Hope you’re having a good day. Alright, um… bye.

[SFX: beep. Dock by a quiet lake]

OWEN: [voicemail] Hey, this is Owen. Leave a message and I’ll back to you. Probably.

JUDITH: Hey, Owen, it’s Wednesday. I haven’t heard from you. I can’t tell if it’s because the service out here is shit or if you’re mad. Uh, but yeah, if you get the chance, drop me a line. Thanks. I’m sorry.

TABITHA: Hey, mind if I join you?

JUDITH: Yeah, that’s fine.

TABITHA: Sorry, didn’t mean to cut off your call there.

JUDITH: Yeah, it’s ok, I was checking in on a friend but they weren’t around.

TABITHA: Beautiful out here, isn’t it?

JUDITH: Yeah, it’s really nice.

TABITHA: I’ve spent so much time in the city that sometimes I forget what it’s like to be out in the open. It’s so quiet. You can actually hear yourself think.

JUDITH: Yeah, unfortunately.

TABITHA: [laughs] I’m Tabitha, by the way.

JUDITH: Hi, uh, I’m Judith.

TABITHA: Judith.

JUDITH: Yeah. … So, just here to take a break?

TABITHA: Yeah, I’m in law school and I needed to get away from it all for a bit. This is a personal favourite escape of mine, so here I am, getting away. How about yourself?

JUDITH: Same. Not the law school part, the part about needing space from it all.

TABITHA: It’s great out here. Sometimes I think, maybe I should just leave Toronto forever. Leave all the people behind. It’s too crowded. Too loud. There’s just too much.

JUDITH: God, yeah. Too big and still too small somehow. [pause] This is going to sound weird, but I feel like I recognize you from somewhere, but I don’t think we run in the same circles.

TABITHA: Are you into skeet shooting? Taekwondo? Butchery classes?

JUDITH: None of the above?

TABITHA: Well, then probably not. Doesn’t matter. It’s great being out here. Especially since I don’t need to be anywhere near my ex. He’s one piece of the city I can leave behind with no regrets. As far as I’m concerned, he can rot in his City Place penthouse prison for all I care.

JUDITH: Hah, yeah. I’m trying to deal with someone I care about treating me… poorly. Just trying to process everything, but uh… yeah. So, what have you been up to while you’ve been here?

TABITHA: The usual, got a facial, yoga, massage, crystal meditation, tried oil pulling. Turns out I hate it.

JUDITH: Is that the reason why somebody handed me a little cup of coconut oil this morning? Because I thought it was for my toast.


JUDITH: Well, either way I don’t like it.

TABITHA: Crowds around here have been changing as of late, I’ve seen this place played up on a few IG accounts I follow. I mean, if it’s good enough for popular people on the internet, it’s good enough for me.

JUDITH: Yeah, like who?

TABITHA: Ummm… MyLifeinTO, BigBrightBabe, Madeline Wang, A Lambent Life…

JUDITH: Yeah… uh, I’ve heard of a few of those. I’ve heard of A Lambent Life.

TABITHA: She’s great. Such a visionary.Claire’s a big name around here, definitely a fan of the spa. We’ve hung out a bit when our paths have crossed at the retreat.


TABITHA: Maybe we have met before. You seem familiar.

JUDITH: I doubt it.

TABITHA: Oh shit, ok, I’m going to totally be late for my microdermabrasion appointment if I don’t get going, but hey, if you’re around later, want to hit up the sauna?

JUDITH: Uh, ok.

TABITHA: Great. 7:30?

JUDITH: Sounds good.

TABITHA: I’ll see you there, Judith.

JUDITH: Come on… Owen, pick up.

OWEN: [voicemail] Hey, this is Owen. Leave a message and I’ll back to you. Probably.

JUDITH: Goddamnit.

[SFX: beep. Quiet hallway]

JUDITH: So I’ve been searching the main building, I fucked up and wandered into at least one therapy session and more than one aromatherapy one, yikes, but this one is listed as a “private non-denominational worship room” deep in the floorplan. It just has a big gold rune on the door. I brought a credit card to shimmy the lock open, but I get the feeling that I’ll probably not have any- [SFX: the door opens] Wow, ok, not even a knob lock. Does no one have any sense of proper security here? [SFX: she goes inside] Whoa, this… is a big room. It shouldn’t be this tall… It feels… too big, Owen. And the air is heavy, not dusty but… [deep breath] it’s been used recently enough and will be again likely, because it’s set up for… something. There’s a lot of ornate glasses on all the tables that line the room. And there’s a… I’m going to call it an altar? There’s a deep wooden bowl at the front and it’s full of… god, that smells bad… it looks like… faded rotten wine. Ugh. … You know, for what’s probably a place of horror, it’s decorated very tastefully. Lots of lovely wood details. Like a… demonic Scandinavian thing. Owen, this room is a cathedral, the longer I’m in here the bigger it feels… I feel like if I stay here too long, I’ll lose sight of the door. But it’s right there… Ok, well, I think I found something. And I don’t feel any better for finding it. I only feel worse knowing it exists. [sigh] I’m going to go meet up with someone. I’m sure it’s a terrible idea but I just need to know-… ooook, I’m late-

 [SFX: beep. Sauna]

TABITHA: Come on in, plenty of room on the bench.

JUDITH: Thanks. To be honest, I’ve never really been one for saunas.

TABITHA: I love them. I love the heat, that hiss of when the water hits the rocks. The smell of the hot wood.

JUDITH: Yeah, I’ve always been more of a cooler temperature person. I honestly love winter. Skiing, skating, and excuses to wear nice coats.

TABITHA: You have to get used to it. Just lie back and let it engulf you. The first time I got in one, I thought I was going to choke. But I stayed there. I let myself be overcome with the heat until I felt like it had sunk into my whole body, like I was roasting myself.

JUDITH: That doesn’t sound enjoyable at all.

TABITHA: But it was, it was so freeing. I finally felt like I could trust my own skin again. It was the first time I really felt like me.


TABITHA: Yeah. There’s something about just… giving into that emotion, even your fear and pain, and then casting it away from yourself that makes everything become so much clearer.


TABITHA: So, what really brought you here, Judith? You seem like someone with a lot going on under the surface.

JUDITH: Oh, umm… the usual. Relationship issues. Work is stressful. Problems with friends. Nothing that interesting. Look, maybe-

TABITHA: You don’t have to open up to me, I know I’m basically a stranger, but I hope you have someone that you can talk to. You’ve got a real tense edge to you.

JUDITH: Yeah, I do.

TABITHA: That’s nice.

JUDITH: Hmm. Yeah.

TABITHA: That heat, feels good, right?

JUDITH: It’s a little much for me. I think I might bail sooner rather than later.

TABITHA: No, stay. Hang out for a while. I think you could use some heat, it might help you open up more. Tell me, have you lost anyone lately?


TABITHA: You look hunted.

JUDITH: I’m fine.

TABITHA: You don’t seem fine.

JUDITH: You don’t need to keep doing that.

TABITHA: You could stand to sweat a bit more. Opens your pores, helps remove toxins.

JUDITH: That’s not how pores work.

TABITHA: You should be sweating, Judith. You should give in to your fear and discomfort. Accept it. Because it’s real.

JUDITH: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

TABITHA: You’re not here to relax. You’re not here to learn. You look at everyone as if they are out to get you. But you don’t know exactly where to look, or what to watch out for. And you’re so careful but so starved for connection that you let in those you really shouldn’t.

JUDITH: Ok, I’m done here.

TABITHA: I’m sorry, am I scaring you?



JUDITH: Goodbye, Tabitha-

TABITHA: I want you to listen to me. I think you’ve fucked up. You hoped you could find answers here, salvation, but you won’t.

JUDITH: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

TABITHA: How do you think Claire would feel about you snooping around? I’m sure she’d feel betrayed.

JUDITH: Who said anything about Claire?

TABITHA: You honestly thought you could come here and someone wouldn’t notice?

JUDITH: I’m just here for the overpriced continental breakfast.

TABITHA: Good for you. Maybe you should be looking inward, though. I found meaning. I found purpose here. And I don’t like people who might infringe on that. You think you can stop this, but you can’t. You are on a path towards your own destruction.

JUDITH: That’s fine. I’m leaving.

TABITHA: You can’t leave.

JUDITH: Yeah, no, I’m going. Bye, or whatever.

TABITHA: You can’t leave. Why did you come here? Was it to punish yourself?

JUDITH: I don’t need to justify how I spend my vacation time, especially not to you, you random creep.

TABITHA: And what does Owen think about that?

JUDITH: I didn’t tell you about him. How do you know about him? Don’t you fucking dare-

TABITHA: You reek of fear. I love it. You think you deserve answers, but you deserve nothing.

JUDITH: Fuck off.

TABITHA: You can run if you want, you’re not going to get far. I’ll make sure of that. I love a chase.

JUDITH: Whatever.

[SFX: beep. Heading down a hallway]

ELLEN: [down the hall] Judith! Where are you going, Judith! It’s time!

JUDITH: Ahh! Um, I’m ok, I’m just very tired and sweaty and I’m going back to my room.

ELLEN: No, but it’s time, you have to join us for turba.

JUDITH: I’m ok, really. I’m so tired, I think I’ll just go back to my room.

ELLEN: Come with. It’ll be quick, I promise. You’re so anxious, my dear.

JUDITH: Which is why I should go back to my room and relax. Let go of me.

ELLEN: I promise, this will help.


ELLEN: It’s time for you to join us!

JUDITH: I get the distinct feeling this is not something I’d be into.

ELLEN: Oh, but it is! You came here just in time. You are at a crossroads, my friend. One that can lead you into salvation, and one that can lead you into destruction.


ELLEN: Come.

JUDITH: I’d rather not.

ELLEN: You don’t really have a choice, my dear.

JUDITH: Please don’t touch me.

ELLEN: Shhh, it’s ok.Come this way. Renee, can you light the brazier, please?

JUDITH: Whoa, whoa whoa, don’t you-

ELLEN: It is only for the burning of herbs and wood to help clarify the mind and relax the body. Here, take a deep breath…

JUDITH: Maybe I just try not breathing too much for a bit?

ELLEN: Just let it pour into your lungs. You can’t hold back forever, can you, Judith?

JUDITH: Oh, you know me, I’m pretty stubborn. Please, let go of my arms.

TABITHA: Oh, I think you should stay.

JUDITH: Tabitha? Oh god.

TABITHA: Yup. By the way, not thrilled that I had to cut my sauna short for this, but if all goes well, watching you squirm will be worth it.

ELLEN: Let the smoke waft across your skin. Take a deep breath. Let it seep in. You’ve been feeling quite lonely here, haven’t you, Judith?

JUDITH: [getting a little woozy] What is this? Stop. I’m… fine. I’m ok.

ELLEN: But are you? Or do you just tell yourself that? I can see it in your eyes, I can feel it right down to your bones. You are breaking apart. You miss your friend. You want her to come back, but you can’t have that. She’s so much more now. She’s a voice powering along the movement that cannot be stopped. I know you want something different, but you can’t. That sort of want is very human, but so very, very flawed. Do you understand?


ELLEN: Good. There are two paths for you, Judith. One is this path of recklessness, of loneliness. One where you struggle and fall and fail, weak and fearful. That is the path you are currently on. But there is another option. Here, breathe with me, child. All of us, together. There, that’s so much better, isn’t it? Do you want to see Claire? She’ll be here soon.

JUDITH: yeah. I would.

ELLEN: Do you want to help us? We can make this all better.


ELLEN: My friends, we will soon have another join us! For the fire!


ELLEN: Here, drink this, it will clear your mind.

JUDITH: yeah, okWait, wait, hang on…

ELLEN: Shhh, that is of no importance.

JUDITH: No, I want it… my mom… she sent so many texts, why did I not… and… I should… I should call Owen… I… I have to go.

ELLEN: You must stay.


JUDITH: No, no, I have to go, I gotta get this, I have to go! [SFX: knocks a brazier over, which spills onto Tabitha]

TABITHA: [yells out in pain] You clumsy bitch!

JUDITH: Sorry, sorry about the burn, oh god.

ELLEN: You must stay! This is your path!


JUDITH: No, no, no, out of my way!

ELLEN: Those who run are weak!


JUDITH: I’m fine with that!

[SFX: beep. Outside, heading into the forest]

OWEN: [voicemail] Hey, this is Owen. Leave a message and I’ll back to you. Probably.

JUDITH: Shit. Hey, it’s me. Well, I’m leaving, and if you get this, I’m bailing because I think if I stay any longer, I will end up a corpse and I don’t want to be a corpse. Or worse. So, I’m heading towards the woods, I’m going to follow the trails out because if I try to leave through the front door I’ll probably get stabbed or something. [deep breath] If you get this, I’m heading towards Highway 35. I’ll probably be on foot. If you come out here and you get to Moore Falls and you don’t see me or can’t get ahold of me… I’m sorry, fuck, I’m so sorry. I’m so stupid. Ok, I’m going to go. I’ll be recording, so maybe… if all else fails, someone will find the recording. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

[SFX: beep. The woods.]

JUDITH: Ok, I have a map that I grabbed from the front desk. It’s… out of date, but my GPS is all out of whack out here because the signal sucks. I can’t get ahold of anyone. I know there’s a trail that runs parallel to the highway, so if I can get out there, I can at least start heading south-west and away from here. I’ve been walking for… maybe an hour? Maybe more? I left around 8 PM, I don’t know, I can’t navigate in the dark and it’s only getting darker, but I can’t use a light because then it’ll just be a big cult beacon, like, “Hey! I’m over here! Come take my blood!” [sigh] Ok, I need to keep heading this way because I think I can get around the ravine if I head… south… south-west. It’ll take longer, but I don’t want to have to scale that cliff if I don’t have to. I’m going to turn this off to save battery. I’ll start recording again if anything changes.

[SFX: beep. The woods.]

JUDITH: It’s been… like another 45 minutes? An hour? I don’t think I’m making much ground. The path is so twisty and hard to follow. I just don’t want to get turned around. I’m listening for the road, but… I can’t hear it yet. I don’t think there’s a way out of here that doesn’t involve at least a little bit of a climb down the escarpment. So, I am very glad I packed light.

[SFX: beep. The woods.]

JUDITH: I think there’s something out here following me. Honestly, if I’m lucky, it’s a coyote or something. Please be a coyote. Or a bear. I’d rather it be a bear than more cultists. Please god, let me be eaten by a bear.

[SFX: She slows down. She stops and listens. The sounds die away until there is only wind, and just barely]

JUDITH: Oh, no.

TABITHA: [in the distance] Judith! Are you out here, Judith? It’s time for you to come back.

JUDITH: [panicky breathing]

TABITHA: [in the distance] We’re so worried about you! We’ve been searching all over the forest! We’ve got this great new treatment laid out for you. It’ll be very relaxing. It’s great for your skin, lots of essential oils and a nice massage. It’ll be so clear and supple once it’s been flayed from your body.

JUDITH: [breathing hard]

TABITHA: [in the distance] I can hear you, Judith. I can feel you. Your filthy aura is all over this place, contaminating it. I know you’re trying to escape, but that’s not a good idea. We hate people who try to skip out before their stay is complete. Come back and let’s talk. The group is waiting. [pause] Ok, have it your way. You want to run? You can try. But one last thing: You might be able to outrun me, but can you outrun the flames? And I mean literal flames, Judith. Good luck, bitch.

JUDITH: Oh shit. Owen, if you’re ever asked this question in a pub trivia night, a forest fire can move up to 10 km/h, which doesn’t sound fast, but it’s faster than I can easily run in a densely wooded area. The canopies dry out and cause more fires. It rains fire. If the wind hits it, if it hits a clearing, if there’s a slope, if I can’t run fast enough… I have to go.

[SFX: beep. The forest, fire can be heard in the background]

JUDITH: Fuck, fuck, FUCK, god. I’m so fucked. I’m at the edge of the cliff face. It’s not c high, but way too high to jump. I’m going to climb down. That’s all I got. Because the fire is here, and ok, it’s ok, ok, you’re ok, shit, ok. Owen, I’m so sorry. Tell my family I love them, I love you man, I’m so sorry, I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry.

[SFX: Judith is edging her way down the rock face. It’s not super tall but it’s tough going. The rocks slip and Judith swears, and falls. The audio cuts out.]

[SFX: beep. Side of the highway. A car approaches.]

JUDITH: Does this still work? Oh, it does. Ok, ok … [SFX: car pulls over onto the gravel shoulder] hey.

OWEN: Hey! Thank God, I have been driving and driving and driving trying to find you. Come on, get in. … Jesus Christ, Jude, you’re a wreck, what happened?

JUDITH: I’m ok.

OWEN: What? No, you clearly aren’t.

JUDITH: I mean, no, but whatever.

OWEN: No, not whatever.

JUDITH: It’s fine.

OWEN: Jude, tell me what happened-

JUDITH: I came out here and it was probably a terrible idea and then you had to drive out here to get me and I’m sorry, you didn’t have to come out here-

OWEN: What? Jude! Yes! Yes I did! Of course I was going to come out here because… you took off to a goddamn CULTIST SUMMER CAMP in the woods ALONE.

JUDITH: I don’t think I was wrong to do it! You want this to end as much as I do!

OWEN: Yes, I do! But not like this! Honestly Jude, what were you thinking?

JUDITH: I had to. I just… I had to see it. I had to see what it was.

OWEN: Fuck, what if… what if something had happened? What if the worst-case scenario ended up coming true and you got… whatever horrible thing they do with their sacrifices or tributes or whatever, then what? I play some vague voicemails to your family to fill them in? Hi, nice to meet you, P.S. your daughter has been murdered, let me get you up to speed?

JUDITH: You never even called me back!

OWEN: I tried! I tried! Nothing ever went through!


OWEN: I don’t know, maybe the signal sucks or… whatever kind of power they’re manifesting makes the place a cell phone dead zone. But I even tried calling the front desk at one point because at least that would be a landline. They wouldn’t let me speak to you unless it was an emergency.

JUDITH: I put you down as my emergency contact. I guess I wasn’t getting any signal while I was there? I don’t know. It got very fucked there up at the end.

OWEN: [drives in silence for a bit] Do you know what I saw rushing out here? Fire trucks. Fire trucks and cops everywhere, and I turn on CBC and I hear that there’s a forest fire around Black Lake, and I’m flooring it to get out here because I’m afraid that if I don’t make it in time, I’d be bringing you back as a box of fucking ashes. Which I would never find because the entire forest burned down with you in it.

JUDITH: OK! Ok, I get it. This… was a bad idea. Mostly.

OWEN: Yeah, it was. [long pause] Are you ok? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be taking this out on you, you’ve clearly been through enough, it’s just… I’ve spent the entire drive down trying not to stress barf and I’m a little messed up right now.

JUDITH: I’m… fine. Physically, I’m a little bit of a mess.

OWEN: No shit.

JUDITH: I fell down a cliff.

OWEN: Come on.

JUDITH: … but aside from that, mentally? Emotionally? For every answer I got, I got like… 10 more questions. That place is weird, Owen. But… it seemed like there were actually people who were there in earnest, having a nice weekend. It’s a real resort! It’s not just a terrifying murder place, there’s actual guests. And they know nothing about what’s going on. I… I think they use it as a place to maybe recruit people, though. Or find new sacrifices. Or consolidate power? But there are just people there enjoying themselves and it’s surreal. They don’t know. And I doubt they would’ve believed me if I told them. It didn’t even feel real to me sometimes.

OWEN: [long pause] I just wish you hadn’t waited to tell me about this plan until after you left. I get why you did that, but that doesn’t make it right. Because when I found out you had taken off, I started to panic. I don’t know what to do in that situation, Jude. Like you’ve said, I can’t just… explain this to a friend and talk things out with them. I don’t have anyone else to turn to at this point. I’m stuck here in this mess, we’re both stuck here, and all I can hope for is that we can find a way to pull each other out. I want to help Claire and Adam in whatever way we can, if that’s possible. But I think at this point it sounds like it’s no holds barred at this point. And I don’t want that. I don’t want to give in to blind, careless heroism. That’s not worth it. It’s only going to result in one of us dying, or worse. I can’t do this alone, Jude. Neither can you.[long pause] I’m sorry for snapping. I just… yeah.

JUDITH: No, I would’ve done the same if you had also run off into the wild. I’m sorry I did that.

OWEN: It’s… it’s ok. Let’s just go home. Regroup. Get you an ice pack or… twelve. Sound good?


OWEN: Alright. I’m… I’m really glad you’re ok.

JUDITH: You and me both. [They drive in silence for a bit] Owen?

OWEN: Yeah?

JUDITH: You’re right. We can’t just… blindly run into things without thinking, or not be honest with each other about our plans. That’s all true. But what if something happens where there’s no other option? Some things we can plan for, but sometimes… we’re going to have to react.

OWEN: [sigh] Then… I guess we react. This is just a best-case scenario kind of request, right?

JUDITH: I don’t think there are a lot of best cases left. [pause] I don’t regret going. I know it was stupid, but I stand by my choice, even if it was at least… three-fifths terrible. There is a fire coming. We can’t outrun it.

OWEN: Then… what can do we do?

JUDITH: We fight it.

OWEN: And if that doesn’t work?

JUDITH: Then we burn knowing we tried.

OWEN: [pause] That’s not very comforting, you know that?

JUDITH: All we can do is pull the other one out, until we can’t.

OWEN: … ok. Ok. Yeah. Alright.

JUDITH: You alright?

OWEN: Yeah. … I want to know what happened. While you were there. So, maestro… from the top.

JUDITH: Well, it begins with a poorly thought-out voicemail…

[SFX: beep]