Folklore and childhood tales vary from family to family and certainly in this case it is no different. Those dark tales told by firelight sometimes become tangible and the unknown becomes frighteningly real. For 30 year old Dee Carpenter, it is a perfectly warm Saturday in June and Dee and her live in boyfriend are celebrating her birthday in the backyard with friends and family.
*a bright kitchen – a small dog scampers into the room with its nails clicking on the tiles. –laughing and party sounds from outside – classic rock music. Small dog sniffs along the floor and growls at the window when a shadow passes by. On the counter a black cordless phone begins to ring. The handle of the door rattles slightly and stops*
Francis: And where are you going birthday girl? Come on Dee, you promised. No calls til tomorrow. You’re always on the damned phone. Don’t roll your eyes at me.
Dee: (annoyed) You just love to torture me don’t you? It could be important, like the that guy in scary movie calling to save me from you.
Frances: (with a nasty laugh) You wish it was, and you love it. Come on honey. Just for a few more hours okay? Everyone came for you, not to see you on the horn.
Dee: Fine. But it’s your fault if I die.
*inside – answering machine interrupts *
Dee’s Voice: (in weird voice) Greetings Earthlings! I’m out of my mind right now, and Francis isn’t far behind.
Are you sure you couldn’t have texted instead? *giggle* do whatcha gotta! Ciao!
*answering machine beeps. a gasp and a woman’s shaky voice*
Cora: DEE? God Dee, I need you, please pick up? Jesus… *click and hiss of a lighter followed by a shaky inhale*
Dee, It’s Cora. (coughing fit) Fuck me I gotta quit these things. Okay, I know it’s been a while so don’t be hard on me. I emailed you on Friday so you can’t complain too hard. Dee, please pick up the phone. Something’s happened. I’m not sure exactly how explain it and I could and will call back to explain, if I can, but you need to know that I put this in a letter and sent it to you. I may not be able to call if – This needs to be in writing. It’s going to sound nuts, like you expected any less, but I mean really nuts and it’s true. I swear on my life it is. On my own grave even.
*drinking sound – wheeze and cough from Cora*
Cora: I really wish you had answered Dee. I’ll call back later, if I can. I love you Dee. Happy Birthday.
*call disconnect – dial tone*
outside – Dee – NO DON’T YOU DA- *a scream, a splash and laughter*
Unknown Female voice: Francis ain’t getting any tonight for that *giggle* She loves that dress.
inside – Dog barks and howls at the door. Scratches and whines in a fretful way.
*deeper in the house – slamming door – soft dark chuckle – dog whines louder*
*Break in the music – Phone rings three times –
Francis’ Voice: (deep) You’ve reached Francis and Dee. Dee can’t come to the phone right now. I have her tied up in the basement…(muffled noise) Just kidding! We’re busy. You know what to do (evil chuckle) Coming dear!
Cora: For fuck sake, can’t you two do anything normal? Dee, it can’t wait and you need to pick up the phone! This is so frustrating! (growls) You know that story mum used to tell us about Gramma and great-Gramma and so on? About how they all just fell to pieces and died too young? I’m hoping against hope and praying you remember or I will sound well and truly bonkers. I’m not convinced I’m not crazy.
I never believed a word of it you know. Not even that first time. Do you remember? We were maybe four or five and mum had invited you for a slumber party. I know Aunt Cate hated that Mum loved all that scary stuff but for some reason said yes when mum called (laughs sadly) usually it was a big old Hell NO! Anyway, it was right near Halloween and the house and yard were decorated with pumpkins and zombies and those fuzzy bats she hung from the trees.
*amused chuckle and inhale*
Francis: *opens door* I’m just going inside for a second! (muffled voice) I need to get more beer! Okay Mom okay, I’ll go through the garage. 27 years old and I still get told what to do by my mother – yeah yeah I’m goin!
Cora: Mum let us help make rice krispy squares in her coffin tin and we decorated them with bones and flowers. You were so scared of the bones. Anyway, that night mum lit the fireplace and we gorged ourselves on sweet stuff while she told us that story. It was little more than a delicious wasn’t it? Knowing your mother would disapprove, and somehow that made it even scarier. Dee, WHERE ARE YOU? God. *sniffling* I need you. I’m scared and I need you.
I just didn’t believe it when my mum told me about how all Alexander women, what were the words, “come undone and die on the floor.” It’s creepy as fuck and dammit Dee- where the hell are you?! *quiet sobbing* The one time I really need you and –
Francis: *opens door* Okay Mom okay, I’ll go through the garage. (to self) 27 years old and I still get told what to do by my mother – yeah yeah I’m goin!
*loud rattling in the background*
Cora: (scared tone) What the hell is that?!
Dee, honey, I’m sorry to call today with this but mum’s gone. I found her tonight when I came round to bring her dinner. She’d been wearing a bandage on her ear for a few days and she just wouldn’t talk about it. She wouldn’t let me look either. I was going to force her to come to the doctor with me this morning. She was fine when I arrived; she had made me my favourite breakfast, from when I was five, and reminded me of that story.
She seemed fine otherwise but that bandage was bothering me and when I told her about the doctor she ripped off that thing and *a scream followed by choking sounds and heavy breathing –a trembling breath*
Unknown Breathy voice: deeeeee
Cora: OH FUCK DEE!!!