14: Backbite

A visit to Austin Bird’s house gives some insight. Judith steals a magazine. Owen ruins all his laundry. Lydia reveals that she’s got a better understanding of the situation than one would expect. And in the distance, something begins to burn…
CONTENT WARNINGS: the paranormal/hauntings, cults, the occult, fire

[SFX: beep. Judith’s bedroom]

JUDITH: Hey Owen, I’m recording this so I don’t forget and then we meet up and I’m like ‘hey, there was this thing I wanted to tell you but I didn’t write it down so I don’t remember what it was’ and then like, four days later I remember it while taking a shower and it’s like… 99% not related to anything, but even if it isn’t, it’s kind of funny-

LYDIA: What a bunch of- oh, sorry, didn’t realize you were recording.

JUDITH: No worries, I’ll deal with this later. What are you watching?

LYDIA: One of Claire’s videos for her patrons.

JUDITH: Right. Uh, look, Lydia-

LYDIA: Before you ask, my mom sent it over and asked me to watch. Sorry, I know you’ve got your… thing going on with her.

JUDITH: [sigh] It’s not important. What’s she even posting, more recipes?

LYDIA: Mostly tips for how to use hyaluronic acid. But this is from a series about how to grasp your truest needs through guided group meditation. It’s about working as a team, as a “family”. It’s fine. I don’t think it’s the best use of anyone’s time, but whatever.

JUDITH: A family?

LYDIA: You all work together to achieve bliss, to quote her.

JUDITH: That’s an orgy.

LYDIA: It is not. Why do you think everything is an orgy?

JUDITH: … never mind. How are you “working together” through a video?

LYDIA: Apparently, when you hit a certain spot in the guided meditations, if she thinks you’re ready for it, you get to come to the group meetings at her house. My mom has asked me to join her at one of these meetings this week.

JUDITH: What? Lydia, don’t go to that house.

LYDIA: Why? Are you afraid of her? It’s not like she’s a knife-wielding maniac or something. She’s just some wannabe influencer.

JUDITH: Seriously, I’ve been there and it’s… it’s not good, ok? Also, the basement is… full of pests, last time I checked.

LYDIA: It’ll be fine. I’m just going there to support my mom.

JUDITH: Can I see some of these videos?

LYDIA: I guess. I don’t know, it might be better for you to like, talk to her. Or sign up for her Patreon yourself if you’re that desperate to see what she’s up to.

JUDITH: Why are you being so weird about this?

LYDIA: Why are you?

JUDITH: You don’ t know her like I do.

LYDIA: Yeah, but you’re don’t seem willing to tell me what’s actually going on. I can help, Judith.

JUDITH: I… look, she changed. I don’t know how else to explain it, but the change is for the worse and I don’t want you getting wrapped up in it.

LYDIA: If you’re worried about her woo-woo beliefs then I’m already long since exposed to those, but let me help you, Judith. I can’t do anything until you trust me.

JUDITH: I know, I know, it’s just… this is really hard for me to talk about. It’s just… I’ve known her most of my life, and I think that for you she’s just an internet personality.

LYDIA: I just wish you could sort your issues out constructively instead of stalking her from a distance.

JUDITH: I’m just… I’m curious about what she’s been doing.

LYDIA: Just be honest with me about what’s going on inside your head. It would probably be better for the both of you in the long run. And for me, for that matter.

JUDITH: Yeah, ok. I… need to marinate on it a bit.

[SFX: beep. Judith’s living room] 

OWEN: You ready to try this?

JUDITH: I never thought I’d be saying this, but let’s sign up for Claire’s life coaching course and see what’s going on.

OWEN: Yeah. Credit card?

JUDITH: Yep, ok… I’ll just wait for my confirmation. [pause] Are you much of a dog person?

OWEN: Yeah, I’d say I’m more of a dog guy than a cat man. I grew up with a terrier mix, she was the best.

JUDITH: What was her name?

OWEN: Ruby.

JUDITH: Awww. Please say you have photos.

OWEN: Yeah, hang on. I got one on my phone somewhere.

JUDITH: I think if we ever escape… whatever this is, I’m going to get a dog. Adopt one, maybe?

OWEN: Nice.

JUDITH: Yeah, something sleepy and old. I need more chill vibes in my life.

OWEN: Don’t we all. I might ask to borrow the dog.

JUDITH: You are welcome to.

OWEN: Here, that is Ruby.

JUDITH: Oh my god, she is so cute. [SFX: email notification] Oh, hello. Let’s get ready for… oh.

OWEN: What?

JUDITH: I was denied.

OWEN: Actually?

JUDITH: Yeah, it says my application was denied. My account has been blocked. I’m denied access to anything on the site. I could try with a different email address but I don’t have another credit card.

OWEN: Can they do that?

JUDITH: Clearly, they can. I can see the homepage and all the boring bland info about the courses but I can’t log on and therefore I can’t sign up for anything. Fuck. [sigh] Is it worth trying with your card?

OWEN: Uh, well, if you were blocked from joining anything…

JUDITH: Then you’re probably blocked as well. Great.

OWEN: Now what?

JUDITH: Wait. [SFX: walks off, comes back, puts laptop down]

OWEN: Who’s is that?

JUDITH: Uh, it’s… Lydia’s. She went to a yoga class and left it here.

OWEN: Ok, this feels wrong.

JUDITH: It is, and believe me, I don’t like doing this, but I also know that I want to see what goes on in those videos and those apparent meetings at the house-

OWEN: That’s a thing?

JUDITH: Oh yeah. According to her there’s special meetings for people Claire deems “ready”.

OWEN: Oh no. Didn’t her grandparents hold meetings as well?

JUDITH: Yeah, so… guess that’s a thing again, yikes. Ok, password… uh… fuck. Guest? No. 12345, I don’t know-… seriously? Oh my god, Lydia. Ok, hopefully she’s got the password saved… no. … 12345.Are you serious? Jesus Christ, Lydia, how has your identity not been stolen like, 10 times? Ok, let’s try… this one.

CLAIRE: It feels so right to have you all here, my darlings. My beautiful inner Circle. Here you are in my living room, my — soon to be our — place of power. Welcome! I know we’re recording this, but don’t worry, this is only for us, and the only one’s viewing will be those who have proven that they can be trusted, so don’t feel like you have to hold back! I want us all to be as open and candid as we can.

Ok! By now, all of you have finished my seven-day intensive, as well as the fourteen hours of one-on-one coaching. So, I’m sure by now you’re completely sick of me. [SFX: women laugh] I know how difficult and scary this work can be, believe me. Gosh, just ask some of my friends from before I did this — they thought I was losing my mind! But it was so worth it, wasn’t it?Don’t you feel like a new person? [SFX: women murmuring agreement] Here, take my hand. We’re a family.

I like to call that part of the program the “trial of fire.” And guess what? You’ve already passed. You are the stone that cannot be burnt. You are the foundation that cannot be destroyed. The fire lives within you. And I love being the keeper of the flame.

So, what now? Well, now comes the really fun part. Are you ready? Genevieve, I see that smile, is it nerves or are you feeling ready? I knew you would be, darling. Now that you’ve kicked that emotionally unavailable fiancé to the curb, you’re ready for anything. Ladies, take a look at Genevieve, because you are looking at one badass woman.

JUDITH: Shit. She’s back already. Uh… can you get the door and tell her I’m in the bathroom? I’ll take this back to the bedroom.

OWEN: Uh, ok.

LYDIA: Oh, uh, hi.

OWEN: Hello! Sorry, Judith is indisposed, come in, she’ll be out in a second.

LYDIA: Sure. [awkward silence] I think your recorder is still running.

OWEN: Ah, right-

[SFX: beep. Studio]

OWEN: Since when do you subscribe to Toronto Life?

JUDITH: It was in the lobby. Here, look at this.

OWEN: “Toronto’s Secret Club for the Super Rich” … Are you thinking about managing a hedge fund anytime soon?

JUDITH: Not that, the note below it. It says that Austin Bird’s big yearly fancy fundraiser at the Soho House is cancelled.

OWEN: So? It’s not like we were going to go.

JUDITH: No, but I was poking around on Twitter and he’s basically dropped off the map entirely as of late. No sign of him anywhere at all the places he’d normally be socializing at, and no one knows why. 

OWEN: Huh. So… what’s your point?I don’t see a problem with this.

JUDITH: This guy, this… endlessly self-promoting big money big name real estate dude has just fallen off the radar, for no obvious reason. Sure, maybe something happened in his personal life, but… we know that he did piss off Claire and was hounding her about a house that we’re sure has some kind of evil supernatural powers, and since Claire came back, he’s gone AWOL. Seems kind of weird.

OWEN: I guess.We could go by there then and ask how he’s doing.

JUDITH: You know what? Let’s do it.

OWEN: I was joking.

JUDITH: I’m not. If there’s any way that he’s still connected to any of this Claire stuff, I want to know. He came by the house. He saw her on his property. He was already pretty jittery back then when we asked him about it. And now he’s not even schmoozing. This is a schmoozy man. He’s powered by schmooze.

OWEN: True. I mean… alright. I was going to go home and… honestly, probably do nothing. Ok, screw it, let’s go up to see how the other half lives. What’s your plan if he’s got nothing to offer?

JUDITH: Then he gets a chance to make fun of our spring wardrobes.

OWEN: Aw jeez.

JUDITH: Come on, let’s pack up.

[SFX: beep. Outside Austin Bird’s house]

BIRD: [speaker] I’m not accepting visitors at this time.

JUDITH: Mr. Bird? Uh, sorry to bug you, we’ve met before, this is Judith Antoni and Owen Hopkinson? We spoke previously about Claire Sterba-

BIRD: [speaker] Do NOT speak that name around here! She is NOT WELCOME. GOOD BYE.

JUDITH: I think that went well.

OWEN: Mr. Bird? We have a few questions. I think we can help.

JUDITH: Can we?

OWEN: I doubt he’ll talk to us if we don’t at least try.

BIRD: [speaker] I need you to tell her to never come near this property again.

JUDITH: Where have you seen her? Outside?

BIRD: [speaker] I… yes… I’ve seen her… everywhere.

OWEN: Has she been inside?

BIRD: [speaker] She has been here! In the dark! But when I turn on the lights she’s gone. I don’t know what to do! I just need her to GO.

OWEN: Mr. Bird, listen very carefully to me: do you have anything from the house?

BIRD: [speaker] I’m sorry?

JUDITH: Is there anything at all that you took from her house? Books, trinkets, a piece of furniture?

BIRD: [speaker] I… [pause] after the porch collapsed, I took a piece of the wood, just so I could get it looked at by a contractor I keep on retainer. My concern was that if the house had rot or pests or structural issues that it might change the resale value. But it was just a piece of wood, it’s garbage!

JUDITH: It’s something. Do you still have it by any chance?

BIRD: [speaker] I mean, I might? I’d have to check in the conservatory, I have my spring home office in there.

JUDITH: God, eat the rich.

BIRD: [speaker] I’m sorry?

JUDITH: Look, we need you to find that piece, so if you could just get it and bring it down to us.

BIRD: [speaker] I don’t see how this will help.

OWEN: Look bud, has anything else worked?

BIRD: [speaker] … No.

OWEN: Then just give us your wood.

BIRD: [speaker] Fine.

JUDITH: “give us your wood”?

OWEN: It sounded better in my head.

[SFX: beep. Outside Austin Bird’s house still]

BIRD: Here you go, it was still with the files pertaining to the house. I was using it as a paperweight. [pause] I see you two are as rumpled as ever.

JUDITH: You’re one to talk. When was the last time you shaved?

BIRD: I have not had the capacity to make a barber appointment. I haven’t been sleeping well. Not since… this started happening.

JUDITH: Look, Austin-

BIRD: Mr. Bird.

JUDITH: Mr. Bird… something is wrong with that house. I don’t really know how to explain it but anything that is taken from it is tied to it, and Claire is tied to the house. So, we’re going to return it. God, this wood feels weird. It’s… brittle and it… does not feel right.

OWEN: Why do you still have it?

BIRD: I don’t know. It just… stayed there. I didn’t want to touch it. Even now, it was hard to pick it up.

JUDITH: Hmm.

BIRD: Just take it. Get it away from here.

OWEN: Will do.

JUDITH: Well, hopefully this works. Here’s my number. If you see her again, just please let me know.

BIRD: Alright. … Thank you.

OWEN: We try.

BIRD: I’m glad to see you got a new coat finally.

OWEN: Alright, let’s go.

[SFX: beep. Judith’s apartment. The phone rings]

JUDITH: Hey.

LYDIA: [phone] Hey, how’s it going? I tried calling before.

JUDITH: Yeah, sorry, I was out.

LYDIA: [phone] What were you up to?

JUDITH: Owen and I had to go talk to some guy about, uh… some issues he’s been having. It’s just this guy that we know who’s been having problems relating to Claire. Not someone we know super well or anything, but we thought we could help.

LYDIA: [phone] Huh. You and Owen are pretty close, huh?

JUDITH: Uh, yeah. So?

LYDIA: [phone] I don’t know. You spend a lot of time with him.

JUDITH: He’s my friend, there’s no reason to be jealous.

LYDIA: [phone] I guess. I just want to be, y’know, your number one at some point. But I get the feeling I’m always going to come second to him.

JUDITH: Lydia, I think we need to talk.

LYDIA: [phone] Yeah, ok, should have seen this coming.

JUDITH: Seen what coming?

LYDIA: [phone] You know, if you’re hooking up with Owen, you could have just told me. You didn’t have to come up with some excuse about worrying about some dude you barely know and his problems with your friend, a person whom I have actually talked to lately, unlike yourself.

JUDITH: What? I… ok, first of all I’m not sleeping with Owen. I sometimes sleep on his couch, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what you meant, and when did you talk to Claire?

LYDIA: [phone] I told you, I went with my mom to some meeting she was holding.

JUDITH: Ok, and what happened? What did she say?

LYDIA: [phone] Like I said, she’s recently taken on a leadership role in their spiritual and meditation group and my parents have some issues with how it’s been going since she stepped in.

JUDITH: Like what?

LYDIA: Too commercial, too much focus on the brand, not enough on the realistic goals. Andmy dad is… not doing well. Old man Reginald can be a bit of a hard-ass, but he’s… not in a good place right now. Anyway, I decided to speak to Claire on his behalf and somehow the topic of you came up. She doesn’t understand why you gave up on her after being best friends for that long.

JUDITH: I haven’t given up on her, andwhat is this group?

LYDIA: Just their meditation group. It’s a bunch of old hippies.

JUDITH: Lydia, there’s a lot going on that you don’t understand-

LYDIA: [phone] I understand a lot more about this situation than you think I do.

JUDITH: Oh yeah, well then what do you know? Because honestly, I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed for a while now and if you can just help me out then it would be greatly appreciated.

LYDIA: [phone] Ok, chill out. That’s not what I want to talk about right this minute. You’ve been acting really distant with me, so if it’s not because of Owen, then why?

JUDITH: I’ve got a lot going on in my head, and I think I need… I think I need space. [sigh] Listen, I just have to figure out this stuff on my own for a while. If you need me-

LYDIA: [phone] And what if I told you that I do need you? You’d probably take off.

JUDITH: I’m not taking off! Everything has just been really intense lately and my head is swimming.

LYDIA: [phone] Ok, look, let me just tell you-

JUDITH: I’ll just stop you here. Lydia, I’m sorry. I just need to figure this out on my own.

LYDIA: [phone] Fine. Fine.And with Owen, I assume?

JUDITH: Whatever. I’m sorry.

LYDIA: [phone] There’s so much you don’t know, and never will. Bye.

JUDITH: Lydia- [SFX: Phone cuts out]

[SFX: beep. Studio]

OWEN: [SFX: thump] Hello? [SFX: thump] … Hello? You can come in, it’s fine. [SFX: thump] Hello?  

JUDITH: [SFX: coming in to room]Were you saying something?

OWEN: Were you knocking on the door?

JUDITH: No, why?

OWEN: Heard something outside the studio. Maybe my ears are losing it.

JUDITH: Is nothing sacred? Anyway, new terror, I’ve got a job coming up for you- [SFX: text tone, but it’s weird and distorted] uh… was that your phone?

OWEN: Nope.

JUDITH: [SFX: text tone again] I have a voice message.

OWEN: From who?

JUDITH: You.

OWEN: What?

OWEN: [phone] Hi Judith, you dumb bitch.

JUDITH: [SFX: distorted text tone] Oh good, another one.

OWEN: [phone] What is happening? Did you leave me here? Are you going to leave me here to die?

OWEN: That’s a new one. I hate it.

JUDITH: Fuck right off with this.

OWEN: [SFX: text tone] How am I getting regular texts? … Ah.

JUDITH: Not regular.

OWEN: No.

OWEN: [phone] Reminder, buy milk, eggs, cheese slices, hot dogs-

JUDITH: What the…

OWEN: [phone] -and remember that this is your fault. Whatever happens, it’s your fucking fault.

[SFX: beep. Judith walks up to Claire’s house, tosses Austin Bird’s piece of wood at the porch and starts walks away.]

JUDITH: [on phone] Ok, Owen. By the time you hear this, Austin Bird’s wood is successfully back on the porch of this hell house, so… he owes us one. Remind me why we didn’t just do this instead of going inside to replace the notebooks? Should I just get “bad decision maker” tattooed on my forehead? … You know what? don’t answer that.

DEBBIE: Oh hi, Judy?

JUDITH: Judith, yeah, hi.

DEBBIE: How are things? Haven’t seen you around the neighbourhood much lately.

JUDITH: Yeah, I… haven’t been hanging out with my friend as much.

DEBBIE: Oh, well, that’s too bad.

JUDITH: It happens.

DEBBIE: Uh, well, if you have a second, can I… speak to you about your friend?

JUDITH: Sure? Mind if I record it? I’ve been doing some… research… on the house and if there’s anything relevant, I want my partner to hear it.

DEBBIE: Well, I don’t mean to be… alarmist, but I’ve been seeing a lot of unfamiliar people around the place lately and I wanted to see if you knew anything about that.

JUDITH: I… I have suspicions.

DEBBIE: Right… it’s just that… it’s making me a touch nervous.

JUDITH: How come?

DEBBIE: It reminds me a little too much of Dana’s family, her parents, the… gatherings they used to have. I mean, I know it’s probably nothing, but I can’t get it out of my head.

JUDITH: I… don’t think you’re wrong in your suspicions. You might be onto something unfortunately.

DEBBIE: Oh, that is not what I wanted to hear.

JUDITH: Yeah, something’s up. I know we talked before, but is there anything else you remember about what things were like back then? Or about like, Dana’s parents or anything?

DEBBIE: Hmm. You know what? I think I might have something that could be of use for you.

JUDITH: Really?

DEBBIE: Yeah, it’s at my place, just around the corner [SFX: they start walking]. You know, ever since… what’s her name?

JUDITH: Claire.

DEBBIE: Claire, yeah. Since Claire moved in, I’ve been keeping an eye on the house after you mentioned that she was related to Minnie and Hugh. It seemed fine for a while, but lately… I have to ask, did anything happen? Is she like… ok?

JUDITH: [pause] I think the house was causing her a lot of stress. She felt that she had to do something to… cleanse it? She wanted to… I mean, this is going to sound completely unbelievable, but she wanted to release the ‘spirits’ trapped in there? And I think she did.

DEBBIE: What? Oh, oh that’s not good. I don’t like that.

JUDITH: Yeah. I know that sounds super weird.

DEBBIE: Well, yeah, but also no.

JUDITH: Really?

DEBBIE: [deep breath] Yeah. Look, Dana was a lovely girl, but she had her… oddness, her quirkiness, and she was a dabbler. She got into horseback riding, then she was into tennis, she started learning Esperanto and then gave up, but she definitely was always into mystical things… crystals and horoscopes and etc. Obviously, this wasn’t unheard of in her house and she was getting a lot of this stuff from her family, but yeah, Dana, she had her… proclivities.

JUDITH: Hmm.

DEBBIE: Yeah. I didn’t take it too seriously, but when we were teens, she used to read me passages from some of her mom’s books to kind of freak me out – which worked – and she ended up leaving one at my house. I meant to return it, but… you know how it is, you borrow a book and then 5 years later you find it jammed in the back of the shelf, never to be returned.

JUDITH: Yeah, that is about 1/5th of my bookshelf.

DEBBIE: Yeah, exactly. I kept forgetting to give it back and then… life moved on. Then she went missing and when I found the book again after that, I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it. It was a piece of my friend that was gone. So, I kept it, even though I couldn’t bring myself to open it. Hang on, I’ll go grab it.

JUDITH: [to herself] “Maybe that’ll make me a half-witch,” not totally wrong, Claire. [sighs]

DEBBIE: Here, this might interest you. Or not, I don’t remember it smelling so smokey.

JUDITH: Hmmm… yeah. But thanks for this, I’ll take care of it.

DEBBIE: I know you will. It’s… not a pleasant book to read, from what I remember.

JUDITH: Yeah, none of these are, but… oh, I’ve got to be on my way, but I’ll bring this back later this week, ok?

DEBBIE: Yep, you can just leave it in the mailbox.

JUDITH: Thanks again.

DEBBIE: Stay safe out there.

JUDITH: Yeah, you too.

[SFX: beep. Studio. Phone rings]

OWEN: Hello? [SFX: static, silence] Hello? … Hello?

ADAM: [phone] Hey man, you wanna hang?

OWEN: [SFX: he hangs up the phone] Jesus Christ-

[SFX:beep.Debbie’s front porch]

CLAIRE: Hello.

DEBBIE: Oh, hello, uh… I’m sorry, you live just up the street, right?

CLAIRE: Yes. Yes, I do. I’d like to speak to you for just a minute. Can I come in?

DEBBIE: Oh, no, no this isn’t a good time.

CLAIRE: Oh, it’ll only take a moment. [SFX: door begins to close, Claire stops it] Thanks, I can show myself in. Wow, what a nice place.

DEBBIE: I’m sorry, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.

CLAIRE: Why? I’m just a part of the community. I’ve been trying to liven things up around here, but it’s been a real dead zone.

DEBBIE: Miss, why are you here?

CLAIRE: I’m just here to chat. I saw you with my friend Judith, what did you talk about? [sniffs the air] Say, those are some nice candles you have burning. Very lovely. So please, why don’t you put on some tea? Let’s get to know each other. I’m sure you’ll warm up to me then.

[SFX: beep. Phone call. Judith is outside, walking down a residential street]

JUDITH: Hey.

OWEN: [phone] Hey, how’s it going?

JUDITH: Not too bad, you?

OWEN: [phone] Would you believe me if I told you that I just spilled an entire smoothie into my laundry?

JUDITH: I mean, yes, since you’re saying this. How did you… [SFX: fire trucks racing down the street]

OWEN: [phone] Jude? You ok?

JUDITH: Yeah, yeah, sorry, just a whole bunch of fire trucks blew by. Um… yeah, so, how did you end up dumping a smoothie into your laundry?

OWEN: [phone] I’m still watching my brother’s dog, and she was very excited and kept trying to eat all my socks while I was putting away clothes. Like, I could even take them out of the basket without her trying to snack on them. Y’know, thinking about it, this probably explains why he’s always wearing sandals. Anyway, Daisy’s jumping at me so I put the basket on the kitchen table, and I decide to take my smoothie over to the room first so I can drink it while I’m putting everything away, but before I could leave, she jumps up and headbutts the cup straight into the basket, so now I have to rewash almost everything. Strawberry! Also, Daisy ate one of my socks while I wasn’t looking, so my night has been kind of a mess. How about you? Jude? Judith? Hello?

JUDITH: Uh, I’ll call you back. Oh… oh no. [SFX: firetrucks and people around. A house is burning]

JUDITH: Excuse me, sorry, hey-

FIREFIGHTER: Hey, miss, sorry, you need to get back.

JUDITH: I know the woman who lives there.

FIREFIGHTER: I’m sorry, you have to-

JUDITH: Is she ok?

FIREFIGHTER: Miss, please- If anyone was home, they would’ve been taken to hospital. You need to leave the area, now.

[SFX: beep. Owen’s living room]

OWEN: Hey, Jude, how’s it going? [pause] Hello? Hello?

JUDITH: [phone] Hey, Owen.

OWEN: Yeah?

JUDITH: [phone] You know how I said I was going by Claire’s neighbour’s place?

OWEN: Yeah…

JUDITH: [phone] I… I spoke to her. She gave me some info. She gave me a book. And… and I was walking back nearby after picking up dinner and I could see smoke billowing up into the air from the street and I ran over and…

OWEN: Hang on, what?

JUDITH: [phone] I… I don’t know, I don’t know, I got there and the house was fully engulfed in flames. And I tried to ask the first responders if she was ok but all I know is that she was taken to the hospital and…

OWEN: What happened?

JUDITH: [phone] Claire’s neighbour’s house, the lady who knew Claire’s family, it’s burning down, and this happened after I spoke to her and I know there’s a small chance it was an accident but it doesn’t feel like one right now.

OWEN: I mean… it could be?

JUDITH: [phone] I… I don’t know if it was.

OWEN: I’ll… we can keep an eye on the news. See if there’s any details.

JUDITH: [phone] Yeah. What if Claire saw me talking to her? Did I… cause this?

OWEN: No, you didn’t do anything. Why would you think that Claire would… burn her house down?

JUDITH: [phone] I don’t know, I just have this horrible gnawing feeling.

OWEN: … look, it’ll be ok. Do you want me to come by? 

JUDITH: [phone] Maybe tomorrow. For now, I think I just want to go have a beer and a panic attack on my bathroom floor.

OWEN: Jude-

JUDITH: [phone] I’ll see you at work tomorrow. Bye.

[SFX: beep]