23: Malison

MALISON: (archaic) a curse. There is a certain amount of vulnerability you need to be able to have with someone to share a bed with them, to share a space, to go out in public unapologetically. There is a certain amount of courage and foolhardiness one must have to do these things while a plume of smoke starts to waft in your direction, as the winds change and the fires come ever closer. Judith, Claire, and Owen attempt tiny bits of normalcy while surrounded by an ever tightening ring of fire around them. The air grows thick and dark and all Judith wants is for things to be ok again (and also to have roasted fingerling potatoes). Is that so much to ask?
CONTENT WARNINGS: The occult, stalking, fire, physical violence, possession, death

MALISON: (archaic) a curse.

[SFX: beep. Farmer’s market]

CLAIRE: We should hurry up.

JUDITH: I know, but we need food to make it through the next week and I want to treat myself, and a very public farmer’s market seems as best an option as any. Your kitchen has so little in it that’s edible, I checked. Bee pollen? Collagen powder? Expired cashew cheese? Like if the house is going to restore itself, it could’ve at the very least left us something good.

CLAIRE: Like onions?

JUDITH: Nice onions. Also fingerling potatoes.

CLAIRE: You do love a roasted potato.

JUDITH: I do. I want to live deliciously while I can. Do you see Owen?

CLAIRE: Yeah, he’s discussing croissants with the guy who runs the bakery stand.

JUDITH: Well, at least he’s enjoying himself.

WOMAN: Um, excuse me?


WOMAN: Just wanted to say hi to your friend, you’re Claire Sterback, right?


WOMAN: Oh my god, I love your work!

CLAIRE: Oh. Yeah, great.

WOMAN: Are you back in town for the weekend?



WOMAN: Sorry, your post, I think it’s so cool that you’re trying out the off-grid lifestyle. I’m so looking forward to all your tips for living a wilder life!

CLAIRE: Oh, uh… yeah.

WOMAN: Um, yeah! Just wanted to say that I think it’s super cool.

CLAIRE: Sure. 

WOMAN: Are you one of Claire’s assistants?

JUDITH: Yes, hello, sorry, the support is appreciated but this isn’t a good time.

WOMAN: Oh, uh, sure. Sorry to bother you.

JUDITH: No problem at all. Unfortunately, Claire’s quite busy while she’s in town, so we have to keep on schedule. We should go.

CLAIRE: Ugh, that felt… weird and bad.

JUDITH: Yeah, I kind of forgot that people might know who you are? Like something in my brain went, “After she’s no longer possessed then things will return to normal!”

CLAIRE: I wish. … Have you looked at my old socials?

JUDITH: Not in the last couple days, but I guess we should. Ugh, I dread it.

CLAIRE: Same. [SFX: checks phone] Oh, oh my.

JUDITH: Wow. I guess you had posts lined up.

CLAIRE: Yeah. [SFX: typing] Ugh, I can’t even log in to torch these. I’m locked out. I don’t even remember doing some of these things.

JUDITH: Yeah, this is weird. Are those even your hands?

CLAIRE: Maybe? I mean, it’s just a hand, they could’ve grabbed anyone, but I’m pretty sure that’s me.God, they take my fucking life over and then they take my body and now they’re still using my BODY to hawk fucking ESSENTIAL OILS-

JUDITH: It’s ok. Let’s get Owen and head back. Don’t need any other fans chatting you up.


JUDITH: Hey, Owen? You done here?

OWEN: Yes, and I got scones.

JUDITH: I thought you were getting croissants.

OWEN: He convinced me to get the scones.

CLAIRE: I want the cheese one.

JUDITH: Don’t let your fan see or else she’ll know you’re not actually keto.

OWEN: You met a fan? Wait, like… a cult member?

CLAIRE: I don’t think so, I think she was just a lady who likes bland lifestyle content.

JUDITH: Yeah, we’re going to have to get used to weeding those people out from the actual spooky ones.

OWEN: Like the one near the juice stand?


OWEN: Don’t turn around. There’s a guy near the booth selling juice and smoothies who’s just… watching. And he does not look like he wants to chat about microdermabrasion.

CLAIRE: I know who that is.

OWEN: Is he a family friend?

CLAIRE: In the worst sense of the word.

JUDITH: Then I definitely think it’s time we go.

CLAIRE: Yeah. [SFX: they start walking away] Is he still there?

OWEN: He’s following us.


OWEN: Cut through this crowd, come on.

JUDITH: Stay low when we leave, keep your head down. Any sign?

CLAIRE: No. I think we shook him.

JUDITH: Let’s just get back to the house. Ah fuck.


JUDITH: My bag of potatoes got ripped in the crowd. I assume they’re mash now.

CLAIRE: We’ll order in.

JUDITH: Can’t have anything nice these days.

[SFX: beep. Youtube video]

S2!CLAIRE: Hey lovelies. Hope you’re all having an amazing day. Just wanted to give a quick shoutout to one of my favourite juice places in the city, Alyfe Juices. They are all organic, no GMO, sugar-free, cold-pressed, and just so so amazing. I routinely have their Great Green juice, full of spinach and celery and just a hint of lemon, it really wakes me up in the morning-

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

LYDIA: If you are watching this, know that you are a part of what is to come. We are on the edge of the final steps of our glorious purpose. Please don’t be alarmed. This will be difficult. This will be a challenge, and it will not be kind. But it will be worth it. And you cannot stop it. So… enjoy.

[SFX: beep. They’re walking into Claire’s house. They enter and lock the door behind them]

OWEN: Did you see that guy again at all?


OWEN: Good. But I’m locking everything just in case.

JUDITH: Who was he?

CLAIRE: I forget his name. Marvin? Martin? Something like that. He was a particularly ardent follower. Real accelerationist.

JUDITH: Bet he’s fun at parties.

CLAIRE: I can assure you that he’s not.

OWEN: [SFX: comes back in the room] Back door is still locked.

JUDITH: Great. I’d make potatoes but I guess I can’t now.

OWEN: I think we have bigger problems.

CLAIRE: I’m going to go check the basement.

JUDITH: Why? Oh, the tally of death.


JUDITH: Do you want me to come with?


JUDITH: Owen, you mind putting this stuff away?

OWEN: Yeah, no problem.

JUDITH: Thanks. [SFX: they head towards the basement and go down]

CLAIRE: [counting to herself] … 12.

JUDITH: Jesus, she’s killed 12 people?

CLAIRE: Well, her or whoever her right hand is.

JUDITH: You can delegate your sacrifices?

CLAIRE: You can appoint a partner. Mine would’ve been Adam, if this had gone as planned.

JUDITH: Right, that makes sense.Have you spoken to him?

CLAIRE: He asked me not to contact him, and I’m respecting that. I mean, it’s not like we were ever going to have a functioning relationship in any sense of the word after all that.

JUDITH: Is he still in Alberta?

CLAIRE: I assume so.  

JUDITH: Right. Can I say something… uncouth?

CLAIRE: Go ahead.

JUDITH: I am… sorry for what he had to go through. I know that had to have been horrible. But… I don’t know, maybe I’m just feeling shitty or maybe it’s childish of me to be so salty or maybe I’ve also just been fucking going through it too so I’m very tired, but, like, we need all the help we can get, even if it would’ve been fucking Adam.

CLAIRE: He could’ve at least told me in person.

JUDITH: You’d think, right?

CLAIRE: Like, y’know, he comes up and goes, “Hey, I know we should try and save the world from demonic fire, but sorry, gotta split, got work in the morning halfway across the country.”

JUDITH: “You mind if I step out for a minute? I’ve got a three-day drive to oil country.” [SFX: the horrible scratching noise happens again as another scar is made in the wall happens beside them]

JUDITH: Oh fuck me.

CLAIRE: Do you feel it?

JUDITH: Feel what?

CLAIRE: Every death is like a warm breeze on my neck.Are you afraid?


CLAIRE: This is what you signed up for, are you afraid?

JUDITH: Claire, fight this.

CLAIRE: I hope you know just how powerless you are.

JUDITH: That wasn’t you there. What was that?

CLAIRE: I don’t know, I just felt… everything, for a moment. I was here and I… wasn’t.

JUDITH: You’ve said some weird stuff but this was straight up Lydia talk. Do… do you share some sort of weird fucked up connection?

CLAIRE: No? I mean, I don’t think so?

JUDITH: … let’s go upstairs, we gotta talk about this. [yelling up the stairs] Owen!-

[SFX: beep. Living room]

OWEN: That’s… unsettling.

CLAIRE: Ugh, I’ve got such a headache.

JUDITH: Well, you’ve already taken a million painkillers so I’m going to have to cut you off for now before your liver revolts.

OWEN: This didn’t happen before with the other sacrifices.

JUDITH: This has to be Lydia’s doing, somehow, intentionally or not. Also, here’s my other thought: is there any way for us to… stop her right now? Entirely?

CLAIRE: Not yet.

JUDITH: Seriously?

CLAIRE: Jude, what are our options? We’d have to track her down and then start tailing her AND whoever her appointed is. Also, most of these people involved are going to be… uh, willing, in a sense.

OWEN: Seriously?

CLAIRE: Yes, I mean, the Family of Fire is fundamentally a death cult. Some members are ardent believers, and in a death cult sometimes a core belief is… death.

OWEN: So people aren’t even going to be reporting this.

CLAIRE: Probably not, so tracking it in general is going to be tough. I saw you checking the police news releases. That’s not going to help.

JUDITH: Alright, so our options are… what? We have no leads on finding her and even if we did, we’re severely under-levelled. And now she’s in your head or something.

CLAIRE: I don’t know if she’s in my head exactly. I mean, I’m fine now, I think.

JUDITH: Owen, can you come back to the basement with me? I want to check something. I have a hunch.

[SFX: beep. In the basement, searching around]

JUDITH: Well, my hunch is wrong.

OWEN: I’m not finding any new writing, no spooky jars, nothing.

JUDITH: Ok. Fuck, I was hoping that maybe something in the house had changed or something had like… grown new terrifying occultist lettering on the walls or left a note written in blood, but it’s just the same as before. A big empty space with a death tally.

OWEN: You sure it was Lydia?

JUDITH: No, but I’m pretty sure. I don’t know. Have you seen anything pop up on any social media? What are the chances we can get her going on a Snapchat streak with us or something?

OWEN: I’ve been keeping an eye on all of Claire’s old stuff but it looks like it’s all pre-made posts and things not involving her. Photos of plants and sprouted almonds, juices, things like that.

JUDITH: I guess it’s just in autopilot now. [sigh] Back to the books.

OWEN: I think Claire found some that might be of use in the study, at least.

JUDITH: That’s the only upside to her still being full of the knowledge of what went down over the last few months. She… really doesn’t seem right.

OWEN: Did you expect her to?

JUDITH: 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. We’ll see.

OWEN: Do you feel safe sharing a room with her?

JUDITH: For now, yeah. We’ll see how things go. Creepy talking I can deal with, but… yeah. I don’t want to leave her alone either.

OWEN: Should we head back up?

JUDITH: Yeah. Wait.

OWEN: What?

JUDITH: … I think there was a shadow by the basement window.

OWEN: Like a person?

JUDITH: I don’t know, stupid frosted glass. Come on. [SFX: they run up the stairs to a back window] Do you see anything?


CLAIRE: [SFX: comes into room] Hey, what’s going on?

JUDITH: Thought we might have seen something. I don’t know. Might’ve just been a cat or a raccoon, but my brain is only on high alert mode at this point.

OWEN: Let’s keep that back door locked at all times.

CLAIRE: So did your hunch work out?

JUDITH: [sigh] No. Nope. Ok, where’s my laptop? I’m going to start seeing what I can dig up.

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

LYDIA: Who’s next? Who’s next? I got a list of names and I need to know who’s next. I need another. I need another.WE CANNOT STOP.

[SFX: beep. Claire’s room]

CLAIRE: Alright, time to take some notes. I feel nauseous, but I’m going to do this. I think the only… good? … That’s not the word, is it? Useful? Whatever. Uh, the only useful part of having kept what little of my wits I still had about me during the last while is that I know Minnie had a lot of texts she kept safe in the house. So we got denominational texts, reference books, spell books… some of this stuff is useless because it’s things that we’d already know or that won’t really help, but there’s definitely some interesting stuff here. Of course, now I have to read all that stuff, which is less than ideal. I still feel like my bones don’t fit my body anymore, but I might as well try to be useful. I mean, what else can I do, abandon everyone and run off to another province so I can, I don’t know, take a nap?

You can’t run. No one can run.

Anyway, I’m going to keep recording so if something else happens, Jude and Owen, you should have records of everything. Ok, uh… we’ve got a couple options that I’ve found for how we can deal with Lydia: she’s going to be moving through the Family, identifying acceptable sacrifices – people who are willing – so hopefully enough people balk that it slows her down somewhat. Who knows, maybe we’ll have more time to find a way to cut her off at the pass. They’ll be keeping her and her appointed murder partner safe somewhere, probably moving only at night. That’s what I would’ve done. Although I guess if things had gone according to the original plan, well… I guess I would’ve been up a few bodies up before I even started recruiting Family members.

Bleak! Real, real bleak. Sorry, I know neither of you want to think about that. I don’t either but… it’s there. It’s all there. It’s there all the time and it feels awful and I don’t know if it’ll ever not be there, but I guess that’s trauma for you. Or something. But yeah, so far what I’ve found is that we can take her on face to face using the telum, which is a weapon that you forged in a ritual that would be capable of piercing her flesh, even if she was like, wreathed in flame. And hey, fun fact, that’s a thing! That’s a thing that could happen! It’s never a cult that worships daisies or shag rugs or something, it’s always fucking fire or blood or big sharp knives. I don’t know if we are even able to craft one, but we should try? Or something along those lines. There are similar, simpler options. If we can, we should also make a backup. Doubt either of you will like any of those options though, because it’s all blood magic. [SFX: paging through a book] Page 86 of Liber Lacrymarum though, so if you end up having to look it up, there it is. Sorry in advance. We could also cover her in a certain oil blend and set her alight, but I looked it up and the types of oil we’d need are rare and expensive, so not only would it take us probably way too long to track them down, it would also cost us like, $15,000. A useless option, if there ever was one. If I find one that uses refined coconut oil, we should do that. There’s a couple others that I think might be possible, but there isn’t a lot we can do from a distance. So, I think at some point we’re going to have to take her on in person no matter what, and I’m… really not looking forward to that. I don’t know if I can handle it without breaking completely. I feel like I barely exist, anymore. I’m sorry Jude, I know you’re probably going to listen to this at some point and it’s going to make you real sad, but… yeah. On the upside, you know what I found? A family tree. Turns out Minnie kept some pretty immaculate records. Well, until me.

I’m going to do some digging, see what I can find. Who knows? One of the options that probably still won’t work is the ritual of The Blood of the First, but I can’t really figure out what “the first” means. Like, would that be Minnie? Dana? Is there an older option? I think we have to learn how to make weapons, first. Fuck it. I’m going to take a nap. I know you’ll wake me up when dinner’s ready.

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

TABITHA: Is it on? Ok, great. Whew! Ok, this is fun. How are you doing?

GARY: I’m… wait, are you filming this?

TABITHA: Don’t worry about it. This is a wonderful thing that you’ve offered to do, Gary. Now, repeat after me: I give unto our one true god…

GARY: [deep breath] I give unto our one true god…

TABITHA: My soul, my body, my flesh…

GARY: My soul, my body, my flesh…

TABITHA: Sanguis meus in cinerem vertitur, venae meae arefactae sunt…

GARY: Sanguis… sang…

TABITHA: [SFX: she slaps the table] Sanguis meus in cinerem vertitur, venae meae arefactae sunt…

GARY: Sanguis meus in cinerem vertitur, venae meae arefactae sunt…

TABITHA: I will burn.

GARY: I will burn.

TABITHA: Ego pro te moriar

GARY: Ego pro te moriar… is it hot in here?

TABITHA: You did a great job.

GARY: Can I have some water?

TABITHA: Hm? Oh, no. You’re fine.

GARY: No, no, stop, it’s so hot. Why am I so hot? What’s going on?

TABITHA: You said you wanted to help.

GARY: You said it would be painless!I wanted… oh my god, why did you do? Why are you doing this?

TABITHA: Just adding another body to the pyre. [SFX: Gary is engulfed in flames and screams, and is turned to ash. There is a delicate crackling of the wooden chair legs] This is great! Lydia, thank you so much for trusting me with this power. This is such a hoot.

[SFX: beep. Claire’s bedroom. Judith gets in the bed]

JUDITH: Budge up.

CLAIRE: Bed hog.

JUDITH: I’m the bed hog? You’re the blankets hog.

CLAIRE: You have the world’s coldest feet.

JUDITH: Oh, I do now?

CLAIRE: Ahh! Keep your ice feet away from me!

JUDITH: I can’t, you’re way warmer than me and my circulation could use the help.

CLAIRE: Give me that quilt.

JUDITH: How are you cold? Your skin is so warm. Are you feeling ok?

CLAIRE: Yeah, it’s just… always like this lately.

JUDITH: Yeah. Keep an eye on that. I want to make sure that it’s not demon magic or like… the flu.

CLAIRE: Could you imagine if we all caught a stomach bug and couldn’t find the energy to stop the ritual from happening?

JUDITH: God, what a way to go. Lydia just sails to victory while we all barf. If she was smart, she’d just come here and give us all norovirus.

CLAIRE: Everyone always jokes about how in a Bond movie, the bad guy should just shoot him when he gets the chance, but it would work just as well if you gave him like, giardia.

JUDITH: “Ah, Mr. Bond, I see that you have shit yourself. Everything is going according to plan.” All she has to do is get someone to deliver expired take out to us, we all barf, boosh: time for a sacrifice spree.

CLAIRE: Jokes on her, I’m barely hungry anymore.

JUDITH: Please eat breakfast tomorrow. We’ll be getting a grocery delivery and I got some plain bagels and smoked salmon as a treat.

CLAIRE: Great. I want to enjoy myself before we die horribly.  

JUDITH: We’re going to make it.

CLAIRE: Do you really believe that?

JUDITH: No, but it’s nice to say.

CLAIRE: Go to sleep. I’m going to read for a bit.

JUDITH: Sounds good. G’night.

CLAIRE: Night.

[SFX: beep. Claire’s bedroom. Silence, just soft sleepy breathing. Then it stops]

JUDITH: Claire? You awake?

CLAIRE: I feel it inside me.

JUDITH: What do you feel?

CLAIRE: You know, every time I touch something my fingers feel like they’re going to peel away at the tips. My bones want to push themselves out of my body.

JUDITH: I’m going to get Owen-

CLAIRE: [SFX: she grabs her by the t-shirt, pulls her close] NO. You don’t bring him in here. I don’t WANT him here. You always chose him over ME.

JUDITH: [trying to stay calm but panicking] Hello Lydia.

CLAIRE: Baby girl, baby girl! Shhhh, isn’t this nice? You want to relax? Just relax, RELAX. [SFX: she grabs Judith’s wrist] HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT A LIVE CREMATION? WHAT A WAY TO GO!

JUDITH: Oh god, OWEN- [SFX: they start fighting]

OWEN: [SFX: bursts into the room] Holy shit, Claire, stop, STOP! [SFX: He pulls her off] Oh my god, her skin feels like it’s lava!

CLAIRE: Get out GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT [SFX: she throws herself onto the floor] Jude? Jude, help me.

JUDITH: Claire, what happ- [SFX: Claire slams her into the wall]


OWEN: STOP, STOP [SFX: he tries to pull her off but her skin is so hot it hurts, she’s slapping and fighting him]

CLAIRE: No, NO, ENOUGH. [SFX: it all stops, everyone slumps down]

OWEN: Is she… ok?

JUDITH: I don’t know, I even don’t know if that’s her. Claire! Claire, who was your date to prom?


JUDITH: Who was your date to prom? Tell me!

CLAIRE: Andrew Chen.

JUDITH: That’s Claire.

OWEN: What happened?

CLAIRE: Something in me is tied to Lydia, I think?

JUDITH: How are you not ash? Your skin hurt to touch.

CLAIRE: I don’t know, I… I’m so sweaty. And you’re both…

OWEN: Covered in angry red handprints.

CLAIRE: Oh god

JUDITH: I’m going to go soak some towels in cold water. I don’t think any of us are going back to bed.

[SFX: beep. Kitchen]

OWEN: 4 AM, alright.

JUDITH: How’re you doing?

CLAIRE: Weird. I’m just really, really sick of being someone else’s fucking meat puppet.

JUDITH: Yeah. Ok, uh, there’s got to be something causing this link. Can you think of anything?

CLAIRE: Like I said, I was meant to see this through and Lydia took that from me. Now… clearly she’s found an exploit and is messing with it. Owen, can you grab me a book from the other room? It doesn’t have a title but it’s got a blue cover and like, 40 little orange bookmarks sticking out of it.

OWEN: Yeah, one sec. [SFX: leaves the room]

CLAIRE: Good call on asking about my prom date.

JUDITH: I knew it was an answer only you would know. You sure you feel like… yourself?

CLAIRE: I’m sure. Go ahead, ask me anything.

JUDITH: Uh, what’s your childhood cat’s name?

CLAIRE: Pancake.

JUDITH: What’s your favourite topping on pizza?

CLAIRE: Green olives.

JUDITH: What colour was my car in high school?

CLAIRE: You didn’t have a car in high school.

JUDITH: Trick question, you’re too smart for that.

CLAIRE: Oof, that burn on your neck is looking real bad.

JUDITH: Maybe it’ll scar and look super badass. Then I can tell everyone I was in a cool fight.


JUDITH: I’m sorry, I’m just real tired. Of everything. Let’s figure this out, and then we can go back to bed. And then wake up again and continue on in this hellscape.

CLAIRE: Yeah. I think…


CLAIRE: Never mind. Just something I need to think on.

OWEN: [SFX: comes back in] Found it.

CLAIRE: Right, uh… [SFX: flipping through pages] I saw something in this yesterday or the day before, uh… Oh! Here it is. You can create a stronger ring of protection around the house.

JUDITH: Will that cut her off? Stop her from weaseling her way into your brain?

CLAIRE: Hopefully? Or at least make it so she can’t do anything while I’m here.

OWEN: Better than nothing. How do we do it?

CLAIRE: Going to have to run some errands, I definitely don’t have all these things on hand.

JUDITH: Heliotrope, roses, hellebore, wormwood, uhhh… where do we get these things?

CLAIRE: Did you know there are a bunch occult shops in the city?

JUDITH: No, but I’m not surprised.

OWEN: Are any of them open at 4 AM?


OWEN: Then I’m going to go lie down. You two ok?

JUDITH: Yep, go rest. We’ll head out in a few hours. The witching hour now begins at 11 AM.

[SFX: beep. Kitchen]

JUDITH: Find anything else of interest?

CLAIRE: Not for this, but maybe for other things. … Jude?

JUDITH: [yawns] Yeah?

CLAIRE: What if I used this connection to my advantage?


CLAIRE: Hear me out, what if I could find a way to turn this back on Lydia? What if we could use this to find her, stop her?

JUDITH: I mean, it’s an option, but that seems… real dangerous.

CLAIRE: What ISN’T dangerous at this point?

JUDITH: I know, just… like you said, she’s volatile and literally out for blood, and she seems to have figured out the backdoor first. I don’t want to take chances on that.

CLAIRE: I guess.

JUDITH: What’s going on in your head?

CLAIRE: A lot.

JUDITH: What would happen if you tried to… reach out and touch Lydia? Like, metaphorically.

CLAIRE: I don’t know.

JUDITH: That’s my worry.

CLAIRE: It’s like… I know she’s there, lurking in the shadows. I just don’t know where to look.

JUDITH: … what would help you find her?

CLAIRE: Something, anything that would connect to her. Something… even like, an object would help.

JUDITH: Are you sure you can handle that?

CLAIRE: Yeah, probably? I… I have something left in me. If I have any sort of ability to fight back, I’m going to use it.

JUDITH: This just… really feels like a bad idea.

CLAIRE: I just… I don’t know, I need to try it.

JUDITH: … ok.Take my hand.


JUDITH: I mean, I was kind of an object to her, something to be used. This is probably an incredibly stupid idea but… I mean, it’s not like she doesn’t know where we are.


JUDITH: Let’s just… see what happens. And if it starts to go off the rails, you drop the connection, ok? No sticking around.

CLAIRE: Ok. [SFX: she takes her hand]

JUDITH: Does this help?

CLAIRE: I… I don’t know… maybe this doesn’t help. It still feels murky. Do you even know what to look for, Jude?

JUDITH: I have no idea.

CLAIRE: You should, you’ve definitely got the most intimate knowledge. [SFX: she squeezes Judith’s hand tighter]

JUDITH: [uncomfortable] Hi Lydia.

CLAIRE: Don’t you fucking dare come knocking around here. You think you can come barging in, unwelcome? Then come find me in person, don’t send your pathetic friend after me. Who does she think she is? Weak! WEAK.

JUDITH: You are too much of a coward to face us head on.

CLAIRE: You wish. I don’t even want to see your FACE until you’re needed. It’s still such a nice face [SFX: touches her face], don’t you DARE pull away.

JUDITH: You could stop crushing my fingers for a moment, that would be greatly appreciated.

CLAIRE: I will crush every bone in your body, Judith.

JUDITH: Ok, that’s enough. Let go.

CLAIRE:Guess I’ll see you when I see you, huh?

JUDITH: I’ll see you in hell, Lydia [SFX: wrenches hand away] Holy shit.

CLAIRE: Ok, we are NEVER doing that again, I am never ever ever doing that again, what the FUCK.

JUDITH: Are you ok?

CLAIRE: No! No, I am NOT ok, she just PUSHES her way into my mind, I want this place locked DOWN.

JUDITH: Claire! Claire, it’s ok, she’s gone. Deep breath, ok, shh. Let’s never do that again, that was…

CLAIRE: I am so fucking SICK of being a SOCK PUPPET.

JUDITH: I know, I’m sorry. I just… thought we’d be safer here, I guess.

CLAIRE: We can be, we just need to fortify. God, I am SO TIRED.

JUDITH: Please just go lie down. I’ll be ok down here.

CLAIRE: You sure?

JUDITH: Yeah. I’m going to go sit in the living room and read for a bit. I can hear Owen shuffling around upstairs, so at least he’s awake. We probably woke him up. Or maybe I’ll just spend some time scrolling through twitter, I need to take my mind off what just happened.


JUDITH: Uh… Claire?


JUDITH: I don’t mean to add to the problems at hand, but what’s this? [SFX: audio from the earlier ad]

CLAIRE: Oh, oh jeez, that is… still running?

JUDITH: When was this from?

CLAIRE: Uh, a few weeks ago? Sponsorship deal, and… wait, what brand is this?

JUDITH: Alyfe Juices. That’s a dumb name.

CLAIRE: What kind of juice was being sold at the farmer’s market?

JUDITH: By the scary man? No idea.

CLAIRE: It might have been this.

JUDITH: Oh, I assume that’s bad. I thought it was just overpriced juice.

CLAIRE: Remember your experience at Valerian?

JUDITH: Sometimes in my nightmares, yes.

CLAIRE: They wanted you to drink something, right?

JUDITH: Yes. Wait, is that the same people?

CLAIRE: Marvin… Martin? Whatever his name is, he was the one who would brew that stuff.

JUDITH: What was it?

CLAIRE: It’s an incredibly strong sedative, it puts you in a suggestive state. What was at Valerian was a concentrated version, could’ve told you anything if you’d drank it, and if he’s only selling to people who ask for it specifically, then Lydia’s going to know.

JUDITH: And that’s going to make it a lot easier to find a hundred willing bodies, ugh, fuck, ok. Just one more thing to add to the list. You know what? I think I need to go lie down, and then I guess go buy some wormwood.

CLAIRE: It doesn’t contain actual worms.

JUDITH: Excellent. No more bugs. Ever.

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

[SFX: beep. Adelaide street]

OWEN: That was weird.

JUDITH: The occult shop?

OWEN: Less the shop and more the location.

JUDITH: Yeah, why was it sharing space with a sneaker store?

OWEN: Need to share rent with someone, I suppose.

JUDITH: At least sneakerheads think we’re witches now. That’s cool.

OWEN: I thought the line-up was for herbs and I was very confused.

JUDITH: No, there’s a drop today.

OWEN: Are you into sneakers?

JUDITH: I’m into subcultures I know nothing about. Sneakerheads are entertaining. I just can’t be bothered trying to wait in line for shoes.

OWEN: Well we got what we needed to cleanse the house.

JUDITH: Seal. Or guard. I don’t know, I’m really tired.

OWEN: Yeah, I’ve got a crick in my neck that would kill a weaker man.

JUDITH: Well, my bag smells nice, at least. This area is weird on a weekend

OWEN: Financial district is not a happening place outside the 9-5.

JUDITH: Nope. I was can just TTC back?

OWEN: Yeah, head back up to Queen and get the streetcar?

JUDITH: Sounds good. [SFX: drops something] Oh, hang on, I’m making a mess-…

OWEN: What is it?

JUDITH: Don’t look back, but someone is following us.

OWEN: How do you know?

JUDITH: Because he just dived into a storefront when I looked back.

OWEN: Subtle. What does he look like? Was it the guy from the farmers’ market?

JUDITH: Maybe? He’s too far away to tell. Uhh… Black pants, hoodie, uh…Owen?

OWEN: Yeah.

JUDITH: Why can’t I see his eyes? I couldn’t see his eyes.

OWEN: You said he has a hood.

JUDITH: I can see his face but… I can’t see his eyes.


JUDITH: We need to move.

OWEN: Yeah, yeah. [SFX: they start walking, turn a corner, stop, construction noise] Oh shit.

JUDITH: Goddamnit, I swear to god, this city needs to go one day without a road closure.

OWEN: We have to go back to the other northbound street.

JUDITH: And run into that guy? No thanks.

OWEN: Well then what do we do?

JUDITH: We can- [SFX: running footsteps in the distance] Oh fuck.


JUDITH: [SFX: they start running] Where?

OWEN: Quick, down here!

JUDITH: What? No. No, I’m not going into the PATH.

OWEN: You want to stay out in the open? 

JUDITH: How is this a better option?

OWEN: Jude!

JUDITH: Fine! Fuck! [SFX: they run in the door and down the stairs]

JUDITH: Which way do we go?

OWEN: Left, I think?

JUDITH: Seriously, how does anyone get around in here?

OWEN: Over here, duck behind this wall.

JUDITH: Do you hear anything?

OWEN: No. Maybe he went the wrong way.

JUDITH: Let’s just go this way, keep moving. God, it’s so empty down here. Why does this city have a spooky underground labyrinth?

OWEN: Well normally it’s busier and not as creepy and… 


OWEN: Don’t say anything, just keep moving. [SFX: they are now running towards them]Oh SHIT. 

JUDITH: RUN. Which way?!

OWEN: Left, left!

JUDITH: Subway! Whatever train is in the station, just get on!

OWEN: Right! Up ahead! [SFX: the footsteps are catching up]

[SFX: they run into the subway station – slam into the heavy door, run, push hard through the turnstile, run down the stairs. They are breathing hard but the footsteps behind them are so close. There is a train and you can hear the door close chimes going. They throw themselves through the doors and slam into the other side of the train]

JUDITH: Come on, close close close!

[SFX: The doors close, and just as they do, the heavy THUD of who was chasing them slams into the door. They stand there, breathing heavily, as the train slowly begins to pull out of the station.]

JUDITH: I don’t think Lydia wants to take any chances with us.

[SFX: beep. Claire’s living room. There’s a knock at the door. Claire freezes and doesn’t move off the couch. Martin speaks to her through the door]

MARTIN: I know you’re in there.


MARTIN: Come outside. I want to talk.


MARTIN: I bet you’re waking up in the night. I bet you feel her snaking into your brain. She’s strong. Stronger than you ever were. You can’t outrun us. You can’t hide in there forever. Eventually, the flames will come.

CLAIRE: If you want to speak to me, you have to come inside.

MARTIN: No. Open the door and come out here.

CLAIRE: No thank you.

MARTIN: Then I guess we wait. I saw your friends leave. Do you think they’ll be protected out here? Others may have discretion, but I don’t. [SFX: He drags a knife down the wooden door] Sorry about the gouge in the wood. It’s a nice door. This blade is better used on flesh.

CLAIRE: Don’t touch my stuff.

MARTIN: You afraid to come outside, little girl?

CLAIRE: Not as afraid as you are to come in here, Marvin.

MARTIN: Martin.

CLAIRE: Whatever.

MARTIN: I’m going to split your little friend open like a pig. She’s pretty. What a waste.

CLAIRE: [SFX: gets up and very quietly creeps over to the door. Martin’s talking gets louder as she gets closer to it]

MARTIN: You can warn them all you want, but I’ll find them. I’ll find your friend. She- [SFX: the door swings open and Claire grabs him, he’s startled and she pulls him inside]

CLAIRE: You know what? Why don’t you come inside for a chat? [SFX: he’s pulled in and the door slams behind him] You are not welcome here. I am not the holder of the keys but I am still the master of my domain. This is my house, and you are unwelcome. Come, be warm by the hearth. [SFX: Martin screams and burns away, leaving only a pile of ash] What a waste of a rug. Can’t believe you had to burn up and take my stupid floor mat with you, jackass. [SFX: she sends Judith a voice message] Hey, Jude. If you get this in time, can you grab some more bandages at the store? Also, if you see a front door mat somewhere, grab that. I’m… fine, but I have to go sweep up some ashes. I’ll explain when you’re home. Hurry back, please. Bye.

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

LYDIA: Can they hear me? … Knock knock.