Episode 8: Needs Must

[SCENE I. NICHOLAS’s place. KELLY arrives just as NICHOLAS and SOPHIE are leaving; she tries to get him to stop, but they ignore her as they hurry into the car. She tries the front door, but it is locked, and her key no longer works. She is about to break in through the window when she spies MELINA peering out the window at the retreating car. Their eyes meet and KELLY indicates the door; MELINA hurries over and unlocks it.]

LINA: Shouldn’t you have a key or something?

KELLY: (Stepping inside.) The bastard went and changed the locks. And he didn’t even look at me when he saw me just now. I’m his sister! He’s supposed to at least pretend to like me.

LINA: Maybe he doesn’t like talking to his sister right after making out with Sophie Swanson.

KELLY: Maybe.

LINA: Also, I’m pretty sure he’s been possessed by the devil. And Sophie–I don’t think I want to know what’s up with her.

KELLY: The devil thing isn’t new, at least. Nick has always been the devil worshiping sheep of the Hayes family. It comes of being spineless and convictionless. (She begins looking around in Nick’s office.)

LINA: What are you looking for?

KELLY: (Producing a leather-bound notebook.) Diary. (She flips through it.) Huh.

LINA: Find anything?

KELLY: Some confusing thing about Sophie and Melissa?

LINA: Oh, that. I think she’s somehow, like, sapping Lissa’s will. And stealing her thoughts.

KELLY: That is creepy and terrifying. How do we stop it?

LINA: Well, if we assume Sophie thinks like Melissa, we just have to figure out what Melissa would do if she were evil, amoral, and sleeping with an arbitrarily powerful devil cultist.

KELLY: And since the answer to that is basically ‘whatever she wants,’ then we’ll need to come up with a completely different plan?

LINA: Right. But it can’t be the sort of plan Melissa would come up with or expect us to come up with.

KELLY: So basically nobody that Melissa knows can come up with a plan, because Sophie will be anticipating the sort of plans people Melissa knows will come up with because she has access to all of Melissa’s thoughts.

LINA: . . . yes?

KELLY: I think you’re overthinking this. Sophie and Melissa are both basically crazy. If you cram two crazy minds into one brain, the result is not usually a transcendental genius.

LINA: I’m just trying–

KELLY: Look, I have an idea. Just follow my lead.

LINA: (Sighs.) This had better work, Hayes.

 

[SCENE II. The Jaded Old Crone. The WIZARD and CHARLOTTE are brainstorming in a corner booth.]

WIZARD: In any case, I don’t believe that–oh, one moment, I’m getting a telephone call. (He answers his phone, and time stops: everyone else in the diner freezes in mid-action, leaving the WIZARD the only person who is moving.) Celeste, always a pleasure.

CELESTE: I’m being asked for help dealing with a problem I don’t fully understand, because the people explaining it to me have no idea what’s going on.

WIZARD: Ah, the Sophie situation. Sophie now has Melissa’s mind, on top of her own.

CELESTE: I assume she’s also dangerously unstable as a result?

WIZARD: Most likely. My wizardry is being repelled by a powerful force. I suspect the devil’s involvement.

CELESTE: Yeah, Nick Hayes is apparently in league with the devil again. Lina seems to think he’s probably arbitrarily powerful at this point.

WIZARD: Well, I hope you remember from your lessons that fairy magic is quite efficacious against devil magic.

CELESTE: I was rather hoping it wouldn’t come to that.

WIZARD: I’m afraid you will be disappointed yet again.

CELESTE: I’m used to it. See you later.

WIZARD: And you. Be well. (He hangs up the phone and time resumes again.) Now, where were we?

CHARLOTTE: You were saying something you didn’t believe.

WIZARD: Oh. I don’t believe that direct action on our parts will be efficacious, but I have an idea for a diversion.

CHARLOTTE: Aren’t diversions mostly helpful when we’re not completely alone?

WIZARD: A pupil of mine has taken the initiative and I have every faith in her endeavors.

CHARLOTTE: All right. What’s this diversion?

WIZARD: Well, Sophie now shares Melissa’s mind. What is the first quality that comes to mind when you think of Melissa?

CHARLOTTE: Insane?

WIZARD: More specifically.

CHARLOTTE: Narcissistic?

WIZARD: Precisely. Neither Sophie nor Melissa will be able to pass up the opportunity to meet the other in a safe, controlled environment. It just so happens that I am quite accomplished with safe, controlled environments.

CHARLOTTE: That’s a useful skill.

WIZARD: Indeed. And with Sophie thus distracted, my pupil will only need to deal with a man who wields the power of the Devil himself.

CHARLOTTE: That easy, huh?

WIZARD: She is a remarkable young lady.

CHARLOTTE: Well, then. How do we set up this meeting?

WIZARD: They’ll suspect trickery if it comes from anyone besides me. I shall pay them a visit. (He produces a scroll from thin air.) If my calculations are correct, Celeste Jones and her companions will be arriving in approximately ten minutes. Deliver this missive to her when they arrive. (He hands her a wad of cash, also apparently from nowhere.) I apologize for leaving you on such short notice. (He rises and departs, summoning a motorcycle as soon as he reaches the sidewalk.)

 

[SCENE III. The wizard’s extradimensional mansion. Apart from the fact that the sky is a weird swirling greenish purple, it looks quite lovely. There is a table set for three with tea and a tasty meal. MELISSA enters, hesitantly at first, then with confidence when she sees the WIZARD.]

MELISSA: I was worried maybe there was another false wizard.

WIZARD: I’ll see to it that does not occur again, Miss Xenakis. It is good to see that you are well.

MELISSA: Well, well enough. Is this thing really me?

WIZARD: I believe so. She is just confused.

MELISSA: The Sophie half of her also wants to destroy me.

WIZARD: And the Melissa half would find that unthinkable. It is my hope that this meeting will help the two of you coexist peacefully.

(SOPHIE enters, with the same hesitance.)

WIZARD: Ah, Miss Swanson. Do come in. We have a great deal to discuss.

(SOPHIE sits down at the table, and the camera zooms out as they begin talking.)

(TBC.)

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