Episode 7: Know Thyself

[SCENE I. MELISSA and SARAH’s house. MELISSA is on her laptop the couch, looking generally unkempt: she wears a dirty bathrobe, her hair is a mess, and she has dark circles under her eyes. She is staring listlessly at the monitor. The blinds are all drawn, so the only light comes from the laptop. MELINA walks in, casting sunlight on MELISSA, who cringes away from it.]LINA: Have you actually left that spot this week? (She goes to the blinds and opens them.)

MELISSA: (Without conviction.) I’m on vacation. I’m entitled to a vacation.

LINA: Usually when people go on vacation they go somewhere. Especially deranged experience junkies like you.

MELISSA: (Listlessly.) Hey now. I’m not deranged.

LINA: The fight has gone out of you, Lissa. If you don’t tell me what’s happened, I am going to beat it back into you.

MELISSA: Fine, fine. Sophie was the fake me, from the time travel party.

LINA: Did it injure your pride that she made such a compelling fake?

MELISSA: No! She was actually inside my head, somehow. I don’t think she’s really even left. It’s like, I looked into her eyes, and I saw myself staring back at me. And not in an awesome way like you’d think.

LINA: Believe me. You’re the only person that thinks hanging out with you is awesome.

MELISSA: I’m so glad my sister is so concerned for my well-being in this troubled time.

LINA: You know I don’t mean it. Mostly. Sometimes. (She turns back towards the door.) I’m going out. Take care of yourself.

MELISSA: You, too.

(LINA steps back out the door. MELISSA reluctantly gets up and closes all the blinds again, then heads upstairs.)

 

[SCENE II. The offices of the Portland Examiner. The WIZARD and CHARLOTTE are having a meeting.]

CHARLOTTE: I don’t think I understand. You’re saying Sophie is . . . what, exactly?

WIZARD: I’m not sure. The sorcerer used some powerful temporal instability to make Sophie into a near-perfect duplicate of Melissa. This wasn’t just shape-stealing magic. She gained the thoughts, memories, behavior patterns–nearly everything that made Melissa who she is.

CHARLOTTE: And now she’s back to being Sophie, she’s . . . kept those thoughts?

WIZARD: I don’t know for certain, but it’s safe to assume there are lingering traces. We should assume she’s dangerous.

CHARLOTTE: Well, she seems to have vanished without a trace, though obviously I’m–

(The door opens and ERIC CONNELL, who apparently still works at the Examiner, steps in.)

CHARLOTTE: I’m in a meeting, Eric.

ERIC: Sorry. It’s just that, you’d better turn on the news.

CHARLOTTE: I’m in a meeting.

ERIC: Trust me. It’s relevant.

(CHARLOTTE gives a nod to the WIZARD, who summons a television, already tuned to the news channel. NICHOLAS is giving a speech in front of the construction that will become the mayor’s office in due time, with SOPHIE SWANSON standing at his side, beaming.)

NICHOLAS: –pleased to announce that there is a new Director of Communications at the Mayor’s Office, and her name is Sophie Swanson. Now, Sophie can introduce herself far better than I, but before she does, I’d just like to say that Sophie has been a tireless defender of the truth, and of the people of Portland, for as long as I’ve known her. My only regret is that I didn’t hire her sooner! But now I’ll let the woman speak for herself.

SOPHIE: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. It’s no secret that the media in this town have something of a hostile relationship with the mayor’s office. With that said, I’d like to extend the hand of friendship to Charlotte Corday, who, let’s not forget–

(CHARLOTTE turns the television off.)

CHARLOTTE: This is bad, right?

ERIC: Everything Sophie touches is bad. I am saying this as someone who worked as her partner for years.

CHARLOTTE: Thank you, Eric. I’m sorry I was short with you earlier.

ERIC: Oh, it’s no problem. I’ve got thick skin.

CHARLOTTE: Good, good. However, and I don’t want to put too fine a point on it, what I said earlier is still true.

ERIC: What was that, exactly?

CHARLOTTE: I am still in a meeting. (She escorts him out the door and closes it behind him.) Now that is worrying.

WIZARD: Oh, I’m not sure about that. Your employee is just enthusiastic. I’m sure there’s–

CHARLOTTE: I mean the whole Sophie and Nick thing.

WIZARD: Ah, yes. But it is unsurprising.

CHARLOTTE: Well, I mean, while he did work with her occasionally in the past, he was never actually very fond of her–

WIZARD: But she’s not just Sophie now.

CHARLOTTE: Oh Christ. He is basically obsessed with Melissa. And she is basically Melissa now.

(The WIZARD nods silently.)

CHARLOTTE: Do you think he knows?

WIZARD: I can’t imagine he doesn’t. There’s . . . an odd power around him. It’s been there since the incident with the sorcerer.

CHARLOTTE: Is that as terrifying as it sounds?

WIZARD: Actually, it’s probably more terrifying than it sounds. I’m often told I’m not particularly good at conveying the full gravity–

CHARLOTTE: Right. So we need to do something. What’s the plan?

WIZARD: I’m afraid I have nothing to offer at the moment, since I don’t know precisely what we’re facing.

CHARLOTTE: Right then. We do this the old-fashioned way. (She pulls out a couple of notepads and tosses one to the WIZARD.) Let’s brainstorm.

 

[SCENE III. NICHOLAS’s house. He is using it as his office until the construction finishes, so there is a very mayoral-looking office where KELLY’s bedroom used to be. MELINA slips quietly into the office and hides in the walk-in closet. SOPHIE enters, followed quickly by NICHOLAS. She perches against the desk, and pulls him close while he kisses her passionately.]

SOPHIE:  (After a moment, she reluctantly pushes him away.) We really do need to talk, Nicholas.

NICK: (He abruptly shifts gears into business mode.) Oh, I thought you just meant–

SOPHIE: Well, yes, but. You have to know that making such a big announcement will draw out our enemies.

(In the closet, MELINA produces her cell phone and begins recording. SOPHIE glances in that direction, but is distracted when NICHOLAS paces around and sits down at the desk.)

NICK: Sophie, together we are the most powerful force in Portland.

SOPHIE: It’s best not to rely on such things. Even if you do have the devil’s own luck.

NICK: Oh, he’s definitely a fair-weather friend at best. I’m more counting on you. Melissa is already pretty much an unstoppable force. In the years since I met her I’ve spent many a fevered night imagining how terrifying she’d be if she learned how to harness her essential Melissa-ness.

SOPHIE: She’s afraid of herself.

NICK: And then I saw you in that basement. Just one look in your eyes and I knew we’d be unstoppable together. So let them come. We can take them all on.

SOPHIE: (She walks around behind the desk and massages his shoulders.) I always did think mayor was a boring title. King Nicholas, now . . . (She leans in and kisses his neck.)

(MELINA continues recording, making various disgusted faces, as the camera fades to black.)

(TBC.)

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