24: Ere Long

ERE LONG: (archaic) before long; soon. Claire lets off some steam while Judith and Owen go antique shopping. What? Not everything is doom and gloom, only most things. Sometimes you just have to take a little walk and see what the day brings you (and sometimes that thing is... a singing fish? Am I reading this right? Ok, whatever).
CONTENT WARNINGS: The occult, dolls, sex (mentioned), physical violence, blood (mentioned)

ERE LONG: (archaic) before long; soon.

[SFX: beep. Late at night, quiet. Claire is sitting alone in the living room. She’s reading and the occasional page turns. There’s the sound of footsteps in the hall]

CLAIRE: Jude? Owen? … Hm. [SFX: silence, and then a gentle tap-tap-tapping on the table, fingernails running gently along it. The recorder turns on]

JUDITH: [on recorder] She… really doesn’t seem right.

OWEN: [on recorder] Did you expect her to?

JUDITH: [on recorder] No, but… I don’t know. Something’s off in a way I didn’t expect. Not just what happened earlier, but there’s something… different in a way I can’t fully describe yet. Or I just don’t want to describe.

CLAIRE: Is there a point to this? I’m reading.

JUDITH: [on recorder] She’s a fucking mess.

OWEN: [on recorder] This is what you wanted to save? This is what we put our necks out for?

JUDITH: [on recorder] She knows what’s coming.

CLAIRE: Right. Enough of that.

JUDITH: [on recorder] Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare. Listen to me: if you try to stop this then you will have failed at the only thing you were ever meant to do. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING in your life has ever mattered except for this. This was the only thing you were made for and now it’s here and you fucked up. Your path has forked and only you can find your way back from the weeds. Do you hear me? DO YOU HEAR ME? YOU CHILD, YOU STUPID CHILD- [SFX: she turns the recorder off]

CLAIRE: Do you have anything else to say for yourself? [SFX: she turns the recorder back on but it’s only weird distant static, an occasional cracking sound, like a chicken bone snapping in an empty room] Fine. Be that way.

[SFX: beep. Living room. Judith is standing by the window]

OWEN: Morning.

JUDITH: Hm.

OWEN: Is there coffee?

JUDITH: Huh? Oh, yeah.

OWEN: [SFX: walks over to the window where Judith is standing] What’s up? Is someone out there?

JUDITH: No. Look at the lawn. Where Claire dumped that guy’s ashes yesterday. There are nettles there now.

OWEN: Nettles?

JUDITH: Yeah, growing up out of the grass in the fresh ash.

OWEN: That’s… huh.

JUDITH: It’s funny.

OWEN: A man died in here.

JUDITH: It’s not like, “ha ha” funny, but it’s… interesting. But yeah, nettles are… it’s weird, they’re good. Like they sting you, but they’re beneficial. Very useful.

OWEN: When did you get so into plants?

JUDITH: Sometimes I take a break and read some of the other, non-evil books here. Turns out most of them have to do with horticulture. And there’s also a bunch that’s just on the history of the British royal family, but I think that’s more a hobby thing than anything tied to the cult. Unless they’re a part of it? … I don’t know. But yeah, I think after all of this I want to start gardening. On my windowsill, if I have to.

OWEN: What about parsley?

JUDITH: Not a chance. I worry I’ll never be able to eat tabbouleh after this. 

OWEN: At least it looks like what was outside is all dead now.

JUDITH: Yeah, that’s weird too. Everything else is fine, but the parsley is completely dead. 

OWEN: Hmm. So… is Claire asleep?

JUDITH: Yeah, she’s still out. She came to bed real late last night, like after 3 AM, I think? I think she’s been taking sleeping pills. There’s some in the cabinet, nothing super strong, but… can I tell you something?

OWEN: Sure.

JUDITH: I put my hand on her forehead this morning when I woke up, and she was burning up.

OWEN: Like a fever?

JUDITH: Not really. She wasn’t sweating or clammy, she’s just was… hot. It radiates off her. Just this… endless heat. It’s honestly like sleeping next to an oven sometimes.

OWEN: Has she brought this up to you?

JUDITH: I asked her and she said she felt fine, but there’s… this tightness there. I… get the feeling she doesn’t even trust what she feels right now.

OWEN: Well, we buried all that stuff she made us buy in the yard and she put ground up bones into the holes we dug, so I guess it’s not Lydia anymore.

JUDITH: Yeah, I hope not. Did you ask her where she got the bones?

OWEN: Oh hell no.

JUDITH: Cool. Neither did I. Also, check this out. [SFX: pulls up shirt a little]

OWEN: Ah yes, I’m glad I’m not the only one left with bright red handprints in weird places. [SFX: also pulls up shirt a little]

JUDITH: We’re gonna look like shit when this is done.

OWEN: Speak for yourself, I’m only getting hotter.

JUDITH: … is that a fire joke?

OWEN: Yes. I’m very tired and we’re going to be burned alive.

JUDITH: I really hope these heal up. I don’t ever want to hook up with somebody and then have to try to pretend this is a birthmark. Did you listen to Claire’s voice note from last night yet?

OWEN: No, I was waiting for you, in case it was like… y’know… evil.

JUDITH: Smart. Ok, let’s do that-

[SFX: glitch beep. ??????]

LYDIA: Knock knock-

[SFX: beep. Kitchen, late at night]

CLAIRE: Ok, Jude, Owen, I have a migraine and I don’t know if it’s because it’s late, or because I’m still looking through these books or… whatever, everything is weird. I wanted to send this to both of you as a voice note before I get too confused so that you can listen at a more reasonable hour and – lord willing – maybe I’ll be asleep by then. So, I tracked down some more information on the blood magic that we might be able to use to stop Lydia… by force. And I do mean literal force, this is a no-holds-barred option. Bad news, we can’t make the telum as specified, we just don’t have the materials. But we can do something similar! If we treat silver with a simple incantation – and I think I know where we can get that – we’ve got a chance? It’s really hard for me to tell, the lore is just… all over the place, but they should at the very least let us harm her in a way that mundane weapons wouldn’t. So, seems like we need silver knives, or… daggers? Or something? And, uh… some of our own blood. I’m going to jump in before one of you says “why can’t it be spit?” or something along those lines. It’s just what the book says, ok? [sigh] I would offer mine for all of us, but in order for this to work, the wielder must sacrifice their own life force, which is a bullshit clause if there ever was one. I don’t know. I am so sick of this arcane trash. So anyway, I checked the house and the closest thing I can find is what I think is some fancy silverware, but it’s got nothing sharper than a butterknife, and the idea of us coming face to face with Lydia and taking her down with magical dessert forks is kind of funny, but definitely a bad idea. So, I was thinking about where we can find silver, and I went online and flagged some estate sales that we can check out. I’ll send you the links for them, a few are open tomorrow. Many of these look like they are loaded with old tableware, if the listings are correct. If we needed to destroy Lydia with egg cups, we’d be set, I can tell you that. Great. Wow…wow, we might be showing up to a demon fight with literal forks! Stick a fork in me because I am DONE. [vaguely hysterical giggle] Better than nothing. If you find me passed out on the floor from pure exhaustion, please, for the love of god, just leave me be. 

[SFX: beep. Living room]

JUDITH: I can’t say I’m enthusiastic about you or me parting with any more blood. 

OWEN: That makes two of us.

JUDITH: She’s right though, we need to find something that works with spit or hair or literally anything else, because blood stays inside my body, thank you! Ok, so one of these things is up in Wychwood. Fitting name. Guess we’ll start there.

OWEN: She said estate sale, right?

JUDITH: Yep.

OWEN: Alright. Great. Let us paw through the wares of the dead.

JUDITH: No one’s saying that these people are dead-

[SFX: beep. Inside a quiet, large house]

JUDITH: Oh god, yeah, these people are definitely dead.

OWEN: Did the smell of potpourri kill them? It’s thick in here.

JUDITH: Probably trying to cover up the smell of something else. Maybe they died in here and that’s why it reeks like stale flowers.

JUDITH/OWEN: Nah, nope, not thinking about it.

JUDITH: Egg cups, egg cups, did people eat a lot of soft-boiled eggs in the past? Good lord. Uh, this lot appears to be just a bunch of fur coats.

OWEN: Good thing we’re not trying to get mid-century modern furniture. That appears to be a popular option. We’d be screwed if we had to stab her with one of those pointy starburst clocks. How are we going to know if any of this stuff is silver?

JUDITH: Silver tarnishes, so I guess look for that?

OWEN: Right. What is this lot? A giant stack of comics and… some felt hats?

JUDITH: I don’t understand how they sort this stuff. It’s so random. This lot has… seriously, the number of egg cups, and why are they paired with nightgowns? Oh, here we go. Owen, come check this out.

OWEN: [SFX: walks over] A full cutlery set. And it’s got serrated knives. And… crab forks?

JUDITH: It’s oddly specific, but I think we should use those instead on Lydia. She’s definitely crabby.

OWEN: Let’s just get the lot. Not like we’ll get the chance to use any of the knives on a filet anytime soon.

JUDITH: There’s a lot of weird stuff in here. Why is it paired with Hummel figures, a vintage doll, and…

OWEN: A singing fish!

JUDITH: Seems out of place, more hunting lodge than fancy house.

OWEN: I want it.

JUDITH: Sure. Hey, uh, can we offer… $70 for the lot?

SELLER: Yes indeed, can I get your name-

THRIFTER: Excuse me, I’d also like to put in an offer on the lot with the Whiting Flatware. $95.

JUDITH: Hey buddy, we need this.

THRIFTER: And I do as well.

JUDITH: We’ll give you $100.

THRIFTER: I can offer $150.

JUDITH: Fuck, uh-

SELLER: Ma’am, if you’d like to counter-offer?

JUDITH: Hang on, let me see what I can do-

OWEN: $300. We’ll take the lot.

JUDITH: [quietly] Holy shit. Did you take that out at the bank beforehand?

OWEN: [quietly] Did you not? You gotta prepare.

THRIFTER: Ugh, resellers. You know you ruin this for everyone else, right?

JUDITH: [low] Bud, that is the least of your worries right now.

OWEN: [quietly] Easy. If you’re bowing out, then I’d like to finalize this purchase.

THRIFTER: If I could have some more time-

OWEN: That’s not how this works. I have cash on hand now.

SELLER: Perfect. Are you willing to counter-offer? No? Alright, this lot is yours. You are aware that you’ll be taking everything, right? Including the… singing fish?

OWEN: Especially the singing fish.

[SFX: beep. Claire’s bedroom]

CLAIRE: Ok, so I found some notes in the desk about family history. Did you know that Minnie did one of those swab-your-mouth DNA family tree things? Very weird. But it’s worth investigating. I wanted to poke around more, see what I could find. Maybe there’s something in there that could help us. Or someone? Probably not. For as much as this whole thing is about “family”, it really feels like this was Minnie and Hugh and them alone. I don’t think her siblings had any interest. Or any contact. But they’re all dead. But… I think there’s a lead here. I’m going to dig. I’ll… should I send this? Nah. Nah, I think it’s fine. It’s fine. I’m gonna go lie down.

[SFX: glitch beep. ??????]

LYDIA: Sanguis meus in cinerem vertitur, venae meae arefactae sunt-

[SFX:beep. Claire’s room]

CLAIRE: Jude, hey. I found a book that will help us perform the rite, but uh, it’s not here, it’s at Robarts Library, which we can’t get into because we’re not students, but… [SFX: Tinder notification] I think I found a work-around? [SFX: Judith and Owen come in downstairs] Oh, you’re back. [SFX: Tinder notification] I’ll write this in a note, I gotta get ready. [SFX: Tinder notification] Alright already, it’s not like we’re married-

[SFX: beep. Living room]

OWEN: Is Claire coming down?

JUDITH: Shortly. I think? She was in the bedroom and said she needed a minute, since she was “getting ready”.

OWEN: That’s… ominous.

JUDITH: I think she was using hairspray?

OWEN: What?

JUDITH: I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine.You were good back there at the sale. I… don’t feel super comfortable doing that kind of thing and I really just don’t understand how people haggle.

OWEN: You know how I have that set of vintage Le Creuset pots?

JUDITH: Yes, and I envy you every day for it.

OWEN: Well, I got them piece by piece through things like this. It took me… oh, I don’t know, maybe 4 years? But I got them. Even the Futura piece.

JUDITH: Colour me impressed. Alright, so we got the silver, Claire will be pleased. We might as well sort through the rest of our bounty. [SFX: picks up doll] What even is this?

OWEN: A horrible doll. But the important thing is that we’ve got the singing fish. I remember these from when I was a kid — my uncle got us one for the cottage. [SFX: pulls out fish from box] I hope the speaker still works, might need batteries. [SFX: clicks button]

FISH: [singing] Let’s go fishin’ / Down by the sea / Let’s take those worms / And just be free / Ooooooh let’s go fishin’ / Just you and me!

OWEN: I loved that as a kid.

JUDITH: it’s very kitschy. What else do we got here?

OWEN: A big heavy silver soup tureen, an ugly tea pot with two mugs, a needlepoint of a flower, and a Victorian doll with a frilly dress and dead eyes. 

JUDITH: Wait a second, I think this might just be made to look antique. It has a spot for… yeah, there we go. It has a battery pack. Speaking of things we had as kids, one of the hazards of being a little girl is that people think you want dolls, when really you just want more Lego. This one might talk too. [SFX: she pushes a button]

DOLL: Hi! I’m Cuddly Christine, and I want to cuddle!

OWEN: Yeah, you can keep that.

JUDITH: I think I like the fish more. [SFX: she pushes a button]

DOLL: I love you!

JUDITH: Let’s burn it.

DOLL: Do you want to hear a lullaby?

JUDITH: Oh god, I think I broke it.

CLAIRE: [SFX: comes into the room] Hey. Looks like you guys found something useable?

JUDITH: Yeah. Yeah, we did. Claire-… are you wearing perfume? And eyeliner?

CLAIRE: Yes. Sorry, I have to go out? That looks like silver. Good. Who’s ready to bleed?

OWEN: Are you sure we can’t just… burn some hair over them or something?

CLAIRE: No. You can toss the rest of that into the trash.

OWEN: I have a fond spot for that singing fish.

JUDITH: And yeah, maybe we  could sell the doll to someone who likes objects with cursed auras.  

CLAIRE: Whatever works. I found a part of the incantation, but the rest of it is proving harder to track down, but I think I know where to get it… [SFX: Tinder notification] uh, ok, this is going to sound weird, but I have a date?

JUDITH: You what?

OWEN: Huh?

CLAIRE: I left a note upstairs explaining because I really don’t have time, but look, there’s a piece of the puzzle missing for us and I found a way for us to get it. So, I’m going to be out for a bit and hopefully when I’m done, we’ll have one less obstacle.

JUDITH: Can’t you just tell me now?

CLAIRE: [SFX: Tinder notification] No, because I’m already late. I left all the info upstairs, don’t worry about it.

JUDITH: What if he’s some cultist?

CLAIRE: He’s not, believe me. Sorry, I have to roll. I’ll see you guys in a couple hours. Bye! [SFX: Claire walks out and closes the front door]

OWEN: … thanks for helping!

JUDITH: Owen.

OWEN: I know! I know.

JUDITH: I… let’s just put this stuff away. And check that note.

OWEN: Aye aye, Captain.

JUDITH: I mean, I’ve got to say that this is the most upbeat I’ve seen her in… well, since the house.

OWEN: I hope it’s worth it. [SFX: landline phone starts to ring] I didn’t realize the landline was still hooked up.

JUDITH: … it’s not?

OWEN: Uh… should we answer it?

JUDITH: I don’t think that would be wise. It’s not even plugged into the wall.

OWEN: … good point.

JUDITH: Let’s ignore it, ok?

OWEN: Ok.

FISH: [singing] You’re gonna burn / die in the flames / you only have / yourself to blame / you’re gonna burn burn burn burn BURN BURN BURN-

OWEN: What the fuck-

JUDITH: Get that thing outside, now. All of it!

OWEN: The whole box?

JUDITH: Yes! Just for now, just in case! [SFX: Owen grabs the box and runs for the door, runs out and onto the porch] And enough with the goddamn phone!

OWEN: The singing stopped.

JUDITH: I heard. Don’t!

OWEN: Hang on, it stopped the second I crossed the threshold. I want to see something. [SFX: he presses the button]

FISH: [singing] Let’s go fishin’ / Down by the sea / Let’s get those worms / And just be free / Ooooooh let’s go fishin’ / Just you and me!

JUDITH: Is it… fine out there?

OWEN: I guess so? That’s… huh.

JUDITH: Can I see it? [SFX: presses the button, it sings the same song] Ok, now… [SFX: walks inside, presses the button]

FISH: [singing] Oh, the fishies in the sea / love to see you in agony / you’re gonna have your bones torn out / and chewed on by deeeee-mons!

JUDITH: That doesn’t even rhyme! Now you’re just getting lazy. Ok,if you want to keep this, it’s staying outside.

OWEN: I don’t want it anymore.

JUDITH: Great. [SFX: opens garbage bin, chucks it in] We… we know the house messes with you.

OWEN: Yep.

JUDITH: This is more aggressive now. Maybe having Claire around keeps it in check, because this is… escalating in a way I didn’t expect.

OWEN: Uh, maybe? Should… we check with something else?

JUDITH/OWEN: [same time, talking overtop each other] I don’t want to try with the doll, do you want to? You know, the arms and the legs and oh god, ok, uh…

JUDITH: Just to… test the theory, let’s try with the doll. Then we can throw it out as well.

OWEN: Ok.

JUDITH: Ok. Outside. [SFX: presses button]

DOLL: What’s your favourite colour? Mine is pink! [giggles]

JUDITH: And… inside. I’m just going to hold it in through the door frame, and if it says something creepy, can you open that garbage can? I’m going to throw it. [SFX: presses button]

DOLL: I’m cuddly Christine, [SFX: heavily distorted] and I love to see you in pain! [SFX: it grabs Judith’s hair and starts to yank]

JUDITH: Fuck, fuck, it’s got my hair! Fuck, ahhhh, get it off! Get it off!

OWEN: Oh for fuck’s sake- [SFX: pulls the doll off, the doll runs off quickly down the hall by]

DOLL: I’m your best friend! Don’t hurt your best friend!

JUDITH: Where the FUCK did it go? [SFX: silence, and then doll steps pitter-pattering down the hall, and a giggle. A pause, and then it runs by again]

OWEN: I think it went into the kitchen

JUDITH: Here’s a thought, what if we burned this place to the ground with the doll in it? Many problems solved.

OWEN: Not yet. I’ve got this. Give me the tureen. [SFX: picks up the soup tureen]

DOLL: [SFX: from another room] Can we play? I love to play! I love to watch you suffer! I am always watching! [SFX: it runs over] Hi! I’m cuddly Christine, and I want to cuddle your insides! GIVE THEM TO ME. [SFX: she stabs Judith in the leg]

JUDITH: Ahh! [SFX: drops] Owen, HELP!

OWEN: I’ve got you, you motherfucker! [SFX: bashes the doll with the soup tureen. It cracks and breaks]

DOLL: [voice is slowly dying and distorted] I’m… cuddly… Christine… I will… gut you… and use your ligaments… to strangle… your loved ones.

JUDITH: Jesus CHRIST, that thing tried to slice my fucking Achilles!Owen?

OWEN: Yeah?

JUDITH: Let’s not bring anything else into this house.

OWEN: At least nothing that can hold a knife. Fuck, are you alright?

JUDITH: I’m… yeah, I’m fine. It’s not a deep cut, it was just grazing and disorienting.

OWEN: This place gives a cursed life to everything within it.

JUDITH: That was my biggest worry coming here to stay, to be honest, because this house feels more alive than ever. Like, it knows we’re here.

OWEN: Is it feeding off us? Or… off Claire?

JUDITH: She’s not here right now, so I don’t know.

OWEN: She’s been real weird though, Jude. You know it, I know it. And now she’s out fooling around with some guy for… some reason-

JUDITH: Fuck, right, that note. I need to go see what she’s up to.  

OWEN: The house certainly hates us more than her.

JUDITH: Can you blame it? I haven’t dusted once.

OWEN: Jude-

JUDITH: No. Give me this. And band-aids, give me those.

OWEN: What are we going to do with this horrible, horrible doll?

JUDITH: Throw it in the lake?

OWEN: Seriously?

JUDITH: Maybe not the lake, that’s polluting, but I want it far away from us. Let’s go take a walk down to Sunnyside, cram it in a bin there. If it ends up in the lake, then it’s the trout’s problem-

[SFX: glitch beep, ??????]

LYDIA: Do you know where they are?

TABITHA: I’m keeping an eye on them. Can’t we just torch them now?

LYDIA: You can’t! You can’t just burn down a station of power! Besides, they are weak. And they’re worth more to me in the end than now.

TABITHA: Is that why you’re following them around?

JUDITH: Don’t touch them!

TABITHA: Fine, whatever.

LYDIA: Don’t you backtalk me-

[SFX: beep. Bedroom]

JUDITH: -a Tinder date with a guy doing his Masters at the University of Toronto?

OWEN: Ok, uh, why?

JUDITH: She needs help getting into the library there. I guess you need a student card or something.

OWEN: I guess this is one way of getting it.

JUDITH: Sure. Why not? At least someone’s having fun. Want to take a look at that rite for the blood knives or whatever it’s called that she bookmarked?

OWEN: Sure-

[SFX: beep. Dive bar. Phone message]

CLAIRE: What? No, I’m leaving a message. I’m calling her! [laughs] If you do that I can’t talk on the phone-

[SFX: beep. Hallway. There’s a knock on the door, and Owen opens it]

OWEN: Good evening. How might I be of service?

JUDITH: Can I ask you something platonically?

OWEN: … yes?

JUDITH: Can I crash in here tonight?

OWEN: Uh… also yes? But first I have to ask why, exactly? Claire’s not even here.

JUDITH: I know. She… is bringing someone home. From whatever app she’s on.

OWEN: Demonic Mingle.

JUDITH: Ha ha. But yeah, I just got word that they’re uh, coming back here? And… I don’t know how to delicately explain this, but she’s had a rough go the last little while and I think she wants to let off some steam, and I’m not really here to block that. I mean, unless this becomes a pattern. But for one night? I can adapt, if that’s cool with you?

OWEN: Isn’t there the living room couch?

JUDITH: You ever hooked up with someone and come back to their place, only to come face to face with their roommate? It is an incredible mood killer.

OWEN: Right. Why aren’t they going to his place?

JUDITH: He lives on a houseboat. In Scarborough.

OWEN: A what?

JUDITH: Floaty house. When the boat’s a rockin’ don’t come a-knockin’, because it’ll tip and we’re all gonna drown.

OWEN: Ok. I’d ask if you snore but I already know the answer to that.

JUDITH: We both snore.

OWEN: Sure, that’s what you say. I’ve never heard myself snore so I don’t have to believe you.

JUDITH: I will record you all night long if I have to. [SFX: the front door opens downstairs, there’s laughing] Oh shit, they’re back, get in the room!

OWEN: [quietly] Y’know, I think I like this, where the sound we’re listening to is not some horrifying monster trying to char our flesh but is instead…

JUDITH: Sexy escapades?

OWEN: I mean, if I had to choose between the two, the second one is much preferred. [SFX: there’s a laugh from Claire and then her door closes] So, uh, what do you want to do first at our sleepover? Paint our nails? Check our horoscopes? Got any good gossip about hunky boys?

JUDITH: Yeah, but then it’s just me telling you things about yourself.

OWEN: Hey-o!

JUDITH: Gimme a pillow.

[SFX: beep. Kitchen, breakfast. Owen is cooking]

HENRY: This is so good, man.

OWEN: Thanks! I’m just glad I had the components for French toast kicking around.

HENRY: And you’re sure French toast isn’t from France?

OWEN: It is not. 

HENRY: Well how about that? Claire, did you know that?

CLAIRE: Hmm?

HENRY: Went my whole life thinking this was some haute cuisine from la belle France, and it turns out it’s got a much more interesting history. 

CLAIRE: Yeah, Owen knows his food facts. 

HENRY: Really? Tell me another.

OWEN: Ok, uh… scientifically, a banana is a berry.

HENRY: NO.

OWEN: No word of a lie.

JUDITH: Yeah, and strawberries and blackberries aren’t berries, in a botanical sense.

OWEN: Also correct.

HENRY: You guys are blowing my mind.

CLAIRE: They do that sometimes.

HENRY: They aren’t the only ones.

CLAIRE: How dare you be so saucy around my roommates! 

HENRY: Sorry, sorry. Seriously, you guys seem chill though.

JUDITH: I’ve been known to chillax.

HENRY: Look, I’ve got to run, but thanks so much for the breakfast, and thank you for a lovely evening.

CLAIRE: Right back at you. But before you go, remember that you promised to help me with that one little thing.

HENRY: Right, yes. Totally. Just give me a call?

CLAIRE: Great! I’ll see you out. 

HERNY: Later guys.

JUDITH: Bye.

OWEN: See ya. Would you like some Not French Botanically But French in a Culinary Sense Toast? 

JUDITH: Is there anything not soaked in egg? [SFX: toast in the toaster pops up]

OWEN: I knew you’d say that, so I already toasted you some non-eggy bread.

JUDITH: An absolute lifesaver, you are. [SFX: Claire comes back in the room]

CLAIRE: So, you guys have a good night?

JUDITH: Owen snores.

OWEN: You snore!

CLAIRE: You both snore. 

JUDITH: How dare you. Henry seems nice. Dumb as a bag of hammers but nice.

CLAIRE: I know, right? He’s doing his Masters in Civil Engineering at U of T so great mind for academics, but last night he asked me what kind of cheese was in a mozzarella stick.

JUDITH: A himbo gift from the heavens.

OWEN: Would being more of a himbo help when dating?

CLAIRE: What are you thinking?

OWEN: Ayyyy broski, that’s gnar, want to pound some brewskis annnnd this isn’t working. You know what? I’ll just try learning how to ballroom dance. 

JUDITH: Good call. 

OWEN: One of these days I’m going to do it. I ain’t graceful but I am determined, and that’s half the battle.

JUDITH: What’s the other half?

OWEN: Grace, unfortunately.

CLAIRE: But yeah. I need access to the main library at U of T and he can get us in. I told him we were working on a podcast and needed to scan some books but don’t have time to go through the normal channels.

JUDITH: Why do people keep believing that excuse?

CLAIRE: Because everyone and their mom has a podcast these days. But he can get us access to some student cards. I’d ask him to get us the books, but if I want to make sure it’s the right texts myself. Plus, I don’t want to drag him into this. Maybe I’ll reach out again if we all make it out but… we’ll see. Sorry for kicking you out of the room last night. I thought it would be rude if we hooked up in the living room and the third bedroom is too cursed to do anything in. 

JUDITH: Yeah, I’m not going in there, except maybe to set it on fire. Was it at least fun?

CLAIRE: Yes.

JUDITH: Then I’m fine with it.

CLAIRE: I’m just glad that there was no spooky business while he was here.

JUDITH: Yeah, that’s a relief. Is that how we can stop the house from bugging us? Getting laid? Should I be upping my game?

OWEN: Is the house a prude?

CLAIRE: I don’t know, but I’m just glad I didn’t have to explain to him why the walls were bleeding or why there was a pile of bones in the closet.

JUDITH: Oh, uh, actually, we should probably tell you-

OWEN: Apparently if we bring things with the potential to be animated into the house, they become imbued with a cursed energy that enlivens them and makes them try to kill us.

CLAIRE: What?

JUDITH: After you went out last night, some of the stuff we brought home from the estate sale kind of… flipped out.

OWEN: Like obviously we’re totally fine, but that cursed doll isin 600 pieces and in a dumpster far away from here.

JUDITH: I should’ve realized that something with hands could pick up a paring knife.

CLAIRE: [sigh] New rule: nothing with thumbs can enter the house except for us.

JUDITH: It let Henry in.

CLAIRE: I let Henry in. It’s my house.

JUDITH: So it is.

CLAIRE: And definitely no repeat invites for him until this is done.

OWEN: Yeah,I don’t think he’d make it for very long. We barely do.

JUDITH: Hey, guys?

CLAIRE: Yeah?

OWEN: Hm?

JUDITH: Lydia’s got an Instagram story up? Close Friends only.

OWEN: Let’s see.

LYDIA: [on the video] Hey. I know you’ll see this. Jude, you still follow your exes on social media? Have some dignity.

JUDITH: I will not.

FISH: [on the video] [singing] Let’s go fishin’ / Down by the sea / Let’s get those worms / And just be free / Ooooooh let’s go fishin’ / Just you and me!

OWEN: That was in the garbage bin outside.

JUDITH: Very bad. Just… very bad.

CLAIRE: When was that posted?

JUDITH: Uh, like… an hour ago?

CLAIRE: Jude, there’s another one.

JUDITH: Jeez, that was quick. Uh, ok.

OWEN: Is that a boomerang?

JUDITH: Oh my god.

CLAIRE: Oh my god.

OWEN: That’s a lot of blood.

JUDITH: We all just saw that? That person is definitely dead, right?

CLAIRE: Yeah, we did. [SFX: the horrible scraping noise can be heard from downstairs] And they are. [SFX: the horrible scraping noise can be heard from downstairs] There’s another one.

JUDITH: Well now she’s just taunting us.

OWEN: I think her throwing up a peace sign and covering it in goofy gifs really detracts from the message.

JUDITH: “Workin’ 9-to-5”, “Girlboss”, seriously, that better be sarcastic.

CLAIRE: “One more for the road.” She’s sacrificing someone else.

JUDITH: You think?

CLAIRE: I know.

JUDITH: Yikes. Ok. But… where?

CLAIRE: … I know this house.I know the house in the background. It’s nearby! I know where she is. We have to go.

JUDITH: You said we’re not ready to face her!

CLAIRE: No, but we can try to stop her from getting another body for the pyre. Come on!

OWEN: Should I get a weapon or something?

CLAIRE: Uh… yes. Grab what you can.

JUDITH: Oh, this feels like a real bad idea.

CLAIRE: If we can throw her off, if we can save one person, that might just… slow her down a little. We have to! We have to try!

JUDITH: … ok. If we can maybe prevent this from happening to someone, maybe… maybe they’ll convince others that this is a bad idea? I don’t know, this all feels like way too much way too fast.

OWEN: I’m not feeling too confident about this.

CLAIRE: Let’s do this.

JUDITH: … ok [SFX: a phone rings] Whose is that?

CLAIRE: Mine, hang on-… are you shitting me?

LYDIA: [on speaker phone, there’s someone screaming in the background] Heeeeey! Hey hey, how’s it going?

CLAIRE: Lydia, don’t.

LYDIA: [on speaker phone] I’m just finishing what you started. It’s not my fault you’re not a completionist. [SFX: there is the sound of sinew cracking] Is he dead yet?

CLAIRE: Lydia, why are you doing this? You know what this means!

LYDIA: [on speaker phone] Because you are too WEAK to see this through. At least I can honour those that came before.

CLAIRE: You’re just as much of a puppet as I ever was, your family-

LYDIA: [on speaker phone] SHUT UP, shut up shut up shut UP, don’t you DARE even SPEAK about my family you MURDEROUS BITCH. You should be glad that I’m doing the dirty work, this is literally a bloody mess. [SFX: more horrible fleshy noises]

CLAIRE: You were never meant for this.

LYDIA: No, you weren’t. And I’m going to take a lot of joy in ripping your lungs out.

CLAIRE: Come say that to my face.

JUDITH: Claire-

LYDIA: [on speaker phone] Tell Judith I miss her. I’ll see her soon.

CLAIRE: Don’t you dare-

LYDIA: [on speaker phone] [SFX: there’s a sound like a ‘whompf’, like something catching fire very fast and burning away, and right after you can hear the sound of the scraping of another gouge being put in the wall from the basement] He’s dead, right?

CLAIRE: … yes.

LYDIA: [on speaker phone] Great, just wanted to touch base. See ya!

JUDITH: Claire-

CLAIRE: No, no, don’t say anything. We’re going to the library, we’re making those weapons, and we are ending this, ok? I started this, and I am ending it.

JUDITH: I-… ok.

OWEN: … is it too early to make a joke about everyone being hot-headed?

JUDITH: Yeah. … yeah.

[SFX: beep]