Modern Fae, Chapter 3: Siren-ara, Suckers SCENE 1 [The Fount] (sounds of shuffling papers, DIYA lets out a defeated sigh as she closes a big book.) DIYA Well, that was the last of the reference books I could find that even mentioned Encrucijada. I figured I’d start recording just to see if I can sort my ideas out, but honestly there’s not much to say yet. What’s up with that? I mean come on, you’d think that at least there’d be something interesting on the internet about this place, but nope! Nothing. (pauses) Nothing that explains any of the weird stuff that’s been happening around here, anyway. Yea, so I moved here quickly- but at least I checked the Wikipedia page for this town beforehand. There’s a disambiguation page to tell it apart from an Argentinian movie and some other town in Cuba, but other than that all it tells you is that it’s a normal town in South Texas, population 13,000, must be a relatively recent settlement because there’s basically no historical records. It just exists! Not a word or an article or even a frickin yelp review about the weird vibe here. (She sighs) Well, the store’s pretty sleepy today, so I might as well keep trying. There have to be some answers somewhere… (Theme fades in) DIYA Modern Fae, Chapter 3: Siren-ara, Suckers (Diya is typing something at the Fount’s computer) Now I’m starting to get a little creeped out. I just went on Facebook to see if I could find who else lives here, maybe find some events going on this weekend. But it’s like Encrucijada is entirely populated by old folks. Nobody has a Facebook! Well, nobody put Encrucijada as their hometown anyway. (pause) I’ve been looking through the books that the Fount- the books from the back room yesterday. One of the first chapters in the Encyclopedia of Mythology was about ancient Sumerian deities, and I saw somethingwell, weird would be putting it lightly. Apparently Enki and Isimud are the names of some knowledge god and his messenger. I mean, honestly it seems in character for Enki to change his name to an
ancient god, if he’s really into Mesopotamia or something, but Isi...god, it feels like this whole town is pulling some elaborate prank on me. (She starts to shuffle the papers on the desk.) It doesn’t help that Enki doesn’t seem to have cleaned this room out in millennia. Let’s see, these ones probably need to go to the storage shelves. (Door opens and closes as she goes to the back room. Sounds of her footsteps as she walks along the shelves.) Almanacs...Carpentry...Cartography.. these shelves seriously go on forever. I can’t even see the back wall... South Texas Geographical Encyclopedia, where do I put you? (small grunt as she runs into a shelf) What in the- oh. Geographical Supplements, Southern US. (She puts the book back in place) This shelf’s definitely not in alphabetical order. Because why would it be! I’ve already lost enough of my sanity in this back room. (Sigh as she sits down on the floor) Fount...am I dreaming? (Thunk.) “Reality as we Know It”.
Lovely. Amazing. Incredible.
How can this possibly be reality? (Lighter thunk, as another object rolls onto the floor) Oh. That’s new...It looks like a GameBoy or something. I haven’t seen one of these in a while. There’s something on the label.. (Reading the label slowly) “Flash Magic.” You have got to be kidding me. (Thunk.) “Songs of the High Seas.” What? This just gets more and more confusing...
(There is a loud kick at the door. Diya startles.) DIYA
Clio! What did I tell you about knocking so loudly? CLIO Sorry, Di! We have a bit of a...situation out here. DIYA (Sighing) Come in! CLIO So, there’s a girl that just walked in, and I mean normally I’m the one flirting with customersDIYA -yea we’re gonna have a talk about that laterCLIO -but this time Isi is completely useless too! I couldn’t possibly even go out there. She’s too perfect. (Takes on a misty, singsong tone) I mean, you don’t understand. She moves like a cloud of wisteria blossoms in the breeze- I could just get lost in her honeysuckle eyes and the gentle slope of herDIYA Ok! I get the picture! My two supposed employees can’t do their jobs. Come on, let’s go. (Sound of door closing and footsteps as they walk out to the front of the Fount) ISIMUD (distracted, nervous) I…uh…you…can I help you, miss? SABBIA (calm, sultry) Yes, you already asked me that. I would like a copy of Ariosto’s Furioso, if you have it here. ISIMUD Uhh…I’m not sure. I’ll go check you out- I-I mean check that out! DIYA (under her breath) Oh dear lord.
(bright and cheery customer voice) Hello! Apologies for the inconvenience, I’ll take over from here. What can I…help you…with…? (her voice slows down as she also gets distracted, having made eye contact with SABBIA.) SABBIA Oh, thank you so much. I was just looking for… (pause) Are you all right? DIYA (shaking herself out of a trance)I…yes! Yes, of course. looking for Orlando Furioso, I heard?
Yes, that’s right!
SABBIA The Stewart Rose edition, preferably. it?
Do you know
DIYA It’s one of my favorites! Bit long, but totally worth it. Let’s see, it should be over here, if you’d like to follow me…and there it is! We don’t have the Rose translation, but hopefully Harrington will serve your purposes. (nervous laugh) SABBIA That’s fine! Thank you. (sound of putting the book in the paper bag, ringing up cash register) SABBIA You know, I’d never have thought to read Ariosto, but I’m actually taking it to my book club. We have a meeting tonight, if you’d be interested… DIYA (too quickly) Yes! I mean (clears throat) yes, that sounds lovely. SABBIA (graceful chuckle) Well, we’ll be at the coffee shop around the corner at 7. If you find yourself free, I’ll see you there! DIYA
See you…there! (sound of the door closing as SABBIA walks out.) (to herself) I didn’t even get her name…god, I never lose my cool like that! I think it was her eyes that threw me off. Warm and so kind, like Mari’s… SCENE 2 [Diya’s house] (sounds of keys hitting the table, Diya getting home from work.) DIYA (yawns) Man, I don’t know why I’m so tired already. It was a long day, I guess. Confusing as hell, for a number of reasons. (short groan) To be honest my head is still spinning around what happened when I was doing research earlier. I keep thinking there must be a logical explanation for all this, but I don’t know what to believe anymore. I mean, I’m a practical enough person- I’d like to think I’m not going completely bonkers just yet. But all the arrows are pointing to something- well, not exactly mundane. Probably not very scientific. Possibly kinda...magical. (pause, frustrated sigh.) God, nothing about this town makes actual sense! And asking people has only led to more questions, so far. (She takes a pile of heavy books and drops them on the table.) OK. So, I brought home some of the books that fell in the Fount. Whatever’s going on, it looks like I’m gonna be figuring it out on my own. After my first book club tonight, that is. (chuckles to herself) Mari always said I was impulsive. Guess that’s pretty obvious. But there was just something about this girl...I was thrown. It’s no secret I get flustered around pretty girls, but I really forgot myself when I saw her. She looked so eerily like Mari... Oh, yikes, it’s nearly 7. Confused gay rant to be continued. (recorder clicks off) (sounds of Diya going out the door, locking it, and going down the steps, a little too fast. She crashes into AOIFE, who she hadn’t seen approaching.) AOIFE (she and Diya talking over each other) What in- Oh, Dee! I’m so sorry. Here’s your bag...(sheepishly)
DIYA Oof- Aoife! Yikes, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I was going too fast andBOTH (nervous laughing, pause) AOIFE (clears throat) Ehm, well I was just about to go check up on your door. haven’t had any more, uh, bug problems?
Thanks so much though.
I hope you
DIYA I’m sorry for running into you like that!
AOIFE (light laugh) No worries! I’ve been through worse. headed tonight? DIYA I’m, uh, meeting someone actually!
Where are you
At the coffee shop.
AOIFE (trying to hide her disappointment) Oh! Of course. Well, have fun! DIYA Thanks, Aoife! (sounds of DIYA getting in her car and starting it) TIK and TOK (watching from the roof, they break out into hysterical laughter) We saaaaaw that! AOIFE (hissing) Hey, get off the roof! I told you two to stay away from this house! Go find some trolls to hassle or something. TOK OOooh, someone’s just mad ‘cuz she got, like, rejected. AOIFE I didn’t-
TIK Can’t blame it on us this time! (cackles) AOIFE SCRAM! (sigh. softly) I wonder who she’s met already...
SCENE 3 [Bean There, Done That] (sounds of coffee shop, the door jingles as DIYA walks in.) MUSTARDSEED (Distracted, quick) Oh hey, new girl! DIYA Hey, Mustardseed…are you doing ok? Seems busy today. MUSTARDSEED It’s been hard to manage by myself. ‘Cissus didn’t show up for work today. (Coffee shop sounds. She takes a deep breath.) What can I get for you? DIYA I was actually looking for…a book club meeting? I heard it was happening here. MUSTARDSEED (A bit taken aback) Oh! Are you sure that’s what you’re looking for? Not the knitting club? Modern Marx group? The…Greek pantheon reunion, maybe? DIYA The what reunion? MUSTARDSEED (quickly) Never mind. DIYA Yeah no, definitely looking for the book club. earlier today.
I was invited to it
MUSTARDSEED Right…I still don’t think it’s the bestSABBIA (sultry) There you are! I was wondering if you’d come. getting started.
Join us, we’re just
DIYA Of-of course! Be right there! MUSTARDSEED (quiet) Just…be careful, alright Di? SCENE 4 [Bean There] SABBIA And I’d like to introduce you all to a new member today, the lovely new manager at the Fount. I’m sorry love, what did you say your name was? (slightly ominous shift in music) DIYA Oh, I’m so sorry! I’m Di… (music pauses. DIYA speaks slowly, almost dreamily.) ..Diya. (faint whooshing sound, then fades back into normal music/background noise). SABBIA (laughs gently) What a beautiful name! Here, let me introduce you to the rest of our circle. This is Selena, Pearl, and Kalyani. SELENA Hi! PEARL Nice to meet you, dear. KALYANI (flirty) You’re quite the catch, aren’t you?
SABBIA (calmly) Kal, give her some space. DIYA (distracted) Nice to meet you all! Sorry, this is embarrassing, but I don’t think I ever caught your name? SABBIA You can call me Sadie. DIYA (unsure) Oh. Well thanks for inviting me...Sadie. reading Ariosto?
I..I heard you’re
SABBIA Yes- and thank you again for finding me that edition earlier, it’s a simply enchanting translation. ALL the SIRENS (softly) Enchanting. SABBIA Before we get to our discussion of the maiden warriors and queer themes of the Furioso, you wouldn’t mind telling us a little more about yourself and how you got here, would you, Diya? DIYA Well, it all started with a breakup. (fading out) And then I got blackmailed and then fired. It was a rough couple of days... I- of course.
SCENE 5 [Diya in her car] (recorder clicks on) DIYA I just got out of that book club and- well, it was strange, to say the least. Everybody there was so nice, but I also had this weird feeling like I would do anything for them? I mean, I don’t even know them that well yet. I feel like I just woke up from a dream. A pleasant dream, though. It’s not that I didn’t like it, it just didn’t feel quite...real. (takes a deep breath)
I’m probably just tired though. And if I’m being honest, a little heartsick. Sabbia really does have Mari’s exact eyes, as if I needed another painful reminder. As beautiful as ever...and come to think of it, some of the other women looked kinda familiar too. Like Selena? Practically a carbon copy of Aoife, choppy haircut and everything. (Yawns) Well, I’ll go back to the club next week, get to know them better. For now, though, bedtime. (Car starting, sounds of pulling onto the road) (recorder clicks off) SCENE 7 [Outside Diya’s house] (sound of rustling leaves, ominous music mounts) TOK (mimicking Diya- gasps) Who’s there? TIK I AM YOUR WORST NIGHTMAREE, DEEE(loud crash as TIK falls out of the tree) TOK (laughing hysterically) Omygod, Tik, nice one! TIK (grumbles in Fae) TOK But seriously, we should like run a scam on Diya. For money and whatever. But you have to learn how to lie this time if you wanna be in on it. I’m thinking we should try the car scam. TIK (getting up, dusting themself off) I don’t wanna lie! I wanna beat her fair and square, dude. TOK (sigh) It’s called using your resources, Tik! TIK
You can use your own resources! I just don’t want to be the one pretending to get hit this time. It’s lyyying. TOK It’s just acting! Acting isn’t lying.
You’re insulting my art.
(sounds of car pulling into the driveway) Ugh! Now we like, totally missed our shot! so much-
If you hadn’t been whining
TIK It was your idea! TOK Shhhhh! Aoife just got here too! (quietly) (Diya getting out of her car in the background, car door slams. and TOK scramble back up the tree, more leaf rustling.) DIYA Hey, Aoife! AOIFE Oh hey! Good to see you, DTIK and TOK (obnoxiously loud) Dee and Aoife, sittin’ in aAOIFE KIDS, get DOWN from there RIGHT NOW! (The twins scamper away, giggling). AOIFE Sorry again. I do what I can with them, but.. DIYA Don’t they have parents? AOIFE Whatever you do, do not ask them about their parents.
DIYA Why? Are they foster kids or…? AOIFE (obviously uncomfortable) Well...kind of?? It’s...hard to explain. DIYA (pause) Are they...yours? AOIFE NO. I just look out for them when I can. DIYA Uh..does child protective services know about them? AOIFE (uncomfortably loud laugh) NOPE DIYA Right...well, uh, would you like to come in for a sec? It’s kinda hot out. AOIFE (breathing a sigh of relief) That sounds great, thanks. (They go up the steps and in the door, sitting at the kitchen table) So how’s the Fount doing? DIYA Actually, pretty well! Business is back up again, more or less. Seems like people are getting used to me. I’ve even been going to a book club recently, meeting some new people. AOIFE (suddenly cautious) A..book club? DIYA (light laugh) Don’t look so surprised! I do run a bookstore, after all. AOIFE
It’s...it’s not that. Dee, does this club meet at the coffee shop? A group of women, maybe some that look like people you know? DIYA I- yes- how do you know that? AOIFE I- well, let’s say I’ve had some experience with them. It’s not that they’re bad people, but...maybe you shouldn’t go back there. They’re not all what they seem like. DIYA I...but I love those meetings.
AOIFE Believe me, I know. But I also know it’s best for you if you stay away.
DIYA (long pause.) Ok. You know what, there’s a lot of things I don’t understand yet about living here, I guess. But I trust you. AOIFE (exhales in relief) Thank you. I just want you to stay safe. for the record...I trust you too.
SCENE 8 [Aoife’s Rental Apartments] (AOIFE is tightening bolts in an engine for FRED, a friendly middleaged elf and one of her tenants.) AOIFE Fred, could you give me a hand? This oil filter’s a nightmare. FRED Be there in a sec! Where did I put that filter wrench… (shuffling tools) Here you are. I can’t thank you enough for helping me out, Aoife! (sheepishly) It’s gotten more dangerous to show my face around here ever since…
I know, Fred.
AOIFE Believe me, I know how the Seelie Court can be. you guys will be safe here. (sound of scraping metal)
How are your kids, by the way? FRED Ah, the little ones are doing fine. Kate’s been feeling a little cooped up, though. AOIFE Your oldest? FRED That’s her. She’s been pretty upset recently, too, about a friend of hers. She doesn’t have many friends at school- you know how it goes, being a bit quiet and the only one coming from a family of forest folk ‘n all. But she’s started spending time with that Icharus boy recently. I told her to be careful with him, but turns out he’s a really nice kid. Thing is, apparently he’s been missing for a couple days. AOIFE Missing? And nobody’s done anything? FRED Well, it sure has me worried. Everyone knows he’s a bit of a reckless kid, a bit hot-headed. And his dad’s a big shot architect, always away on work trips. People think he just went to find his dad, or wants attention. But I know he’s smarter than that. And even though I know kids in this town can usually handle themselves--
Ha. Tell me about it.
AOIFE But even the nightmare twins, sometimes…
FRED He’s still just a kid. Something’s not right. AOIFE Definitely not. It’s unsettling, even for here… (grunts, sounds of metal slamming) Alright, that should do it. As long as you check up on it, your engine should survive a while longer.
I owe you one, Aoife.
FRED Actually, much more than one.
AOIFE (distracted) Oh, don’t worry, don’t worry...I just…
(pause) Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but have you seen Mrs. McMillian lately? FRED Is she that Selkie on the West side? AOIFE Yea...her house has been looking almost abandoned these past few weeks. I mean, I didn’t think anything of it before- she goes down to the ocean for long vacations sometimes. But she usually tells me, and…
I don’t know.
FRED (grunts) Best not to jump to any conclusions.
AOIFE (small sigh). You’re right. I’ll…I’ll just go check on her later. (she packs up her tools and starts to head out.) FRED Thanks again.
AOIFE Say hi to the girls for me! And- let me know if you hear anything about Icharus. FRED I will.
SCENE 9 [Fount--Bean There] ISI Are you doing ok, Dee? ENKI You do look quite pale, my dear. Is there something the matter? DIYA I’m fine...Isi, come and help me restock the romance section, will you? ISI
Yup. I’ll be right there. DIYA The new shipment came in yesterday and I was going to… (long pause) ISI Where are you going? DIYA I… ISI (resigned sigh) I guess I’ll just finish this myself then. (Door to bookstore opens and closes, Diya walking down the block.) DIYA Why am I...I need to get back to work… (Diya starts quietly humming a sea shanty.) (Door to Bean There, Done That opens and closes.)
SABBIA You weren’t thinking of skipping out on us tonight, were you? DIYA (dazed) I…I was just at work, but…
SABBIA But this was more important for you, of course. Please, have a seat. Join us.
DIYA But I need to go back to the shop, I- I really can’t stay. I don’t know why I’mSABBIA (forceful but still charming) DIYA. Sit down.
SIRENS (together, soft) Sit down. [DIYA collapses into the chair hard and immediately.] SABBIA There we go. That’s much more comfortable now, isn’t it? DIYA (hypnotic) Much more comfortable… (shakes her head hard) No! This isn’t- what are you doing to me? SIRENS (very softly) Shhhhhhhh… SELENA (giggle) Doing to you? Honey, you only feel this way because you’re being so resistant! If you just listened to us you would feel so much better. SIRENS Soo much better. SABBIA (sweetly) Thanks, Selena! Couldn’t have said it better. we get started on our meeting?
DIYA (with difficulty) Your…voices… SABBIA The Furioso was once spread by voice much more than by paper. Ariosto’s work became so popular at the time because, like many epic poems, it was memorized and performed as a song, generally.
Excellent point, Diya!
PEARL Yes, and you could always add a personal touch. KALYANI Twists and turns.
SELENA We never get to practice it the old way. SABBIA Today I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time we show you a wider range of our talents. (background music increases in tension, the SIRENS start to hum together starting softly and slowly crescendo. All SIREN lines are spoken softly and hypnotically) PEARL Sometimes the best way to preserve beauty is in the form of song.. KALYANI And songs can have powerful effects on us all... SABBIA (slowly) We need you, Diii..
DIYA (Humming comes to an abrupt stop.)
SABBIA (surprised) But this is impossible- how are you resisting? DIYA You wanna talk to me about impossible? (short, panicked laugh) None of this is anywhere near the realm of possible. But I know for sure I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to find out what happens when you guys start singing your freaky song for real. How about we use our words first. But just to be clear, not our singing words. Our regular words. (pause) Right then. What the hell do you all need from me? (stunned silence) PEARL (bright laugh, breaking the silence. Amused) Well, Sadie, you really brought in a girl with spirit! Alright Diyathe truth is all we really need is a place to practice our music. Under a protected roof. Like, for example, that lovely bookshop you run with Enki.
DIYA You guys just need a place for your creepy choir rehearsals?
KALYANI You mean you’d be willing to let us have that? Like, of your own free will? DIYA It never occurred to you to ASK first?? I mean, whatever your mind control deal is, it hasn’t exactly made me like you guys a whole lot, but yea, I’ll give you some studio space in the backroom after hours if that’s all you want. Just- no funny business, alright? No luring people, no mind control, just Do Re Mi, ok? SELENA Sadie, what do you say? SABBIA (fake sweet) You know what? Alright! It seems we’ve found an arrangement where everyone gets what they want. PEARL But there is one thing you should know, dear. When we first drew you in here, you told us your real name. In this town, that can be used to control you in unimaginable ways. We only used it sparingly for our purposes, and we won’t use it again, but- do be careful. Not everyone will be as harmless if they learn it. DIYA I’ve been told that before...I just didn’t realize how true it was. PEARL We all agree not to use her name against her again, right? SELENA and KALYANI As long as we get our time in the Fount, you have our word! SABBIA Your name is safe with us... SCENE 10 [Diya’s house]
(Sounds of Diya going to bed. Brushing teeth, turning out a light, getting into bed, light and slower breathing.) SABBIA (a very soft whisper) Diyaaaaaaa……… (Siren music fades in, and we hear Diya get up and sleep walk to the windy roof, under the sway of Sabbia’s song. Howling wind sounds begin when she opens the hatch to the roof and continue the whole time they’re outside. Siren music gets louder and louder..) AOIFE (powerful yell) SABBIA! STOP! (siren music abruptly stops, but a quiet creepy humming remains) Dee, get back from the edge! SABBIA You promised never to use that name against me! AOIFE And you promised never to lure innocent people! SABBIA I was having a bit of fun. AOIFE (hard) You were about to kill my new tenant. Now you’re going to get off that roof, Sabbia, and you’re never going to harm Diya again. (Sabbia hisses, then disappears.
The creepy humming fades out.)
DIYA (yawning) What- how did I get to the roof? AOIFE (gentler) Dee, you need to get down from there. Now. (sound of Diya going downstairs and opening the door to let Aoife in.)
DIYA Here, come in.
AOIFE Are you hurt?
DIYA No, just a little shaken. Was that…? But I already gave them what they wanted, they promised to leave me alone. AOIFE She won’t try to hurt you again. The others are much more harmlessthey probably won’t take it very well either when they find out what Sabbia did. Now you should get some sleep. Are you sure you’re ok? Do you need anything? DIYA I think I’m gonna need a lot of questions answered. time. But not now.
For real this
AOIFE Try and get some rest.
DIYA And, Aoife? AOIFE Yes? DIYA (tenderly) Thank you. SCENE 11 [Diya’s home] (sound of car door closing) DIYA Hey, Clio, are you ok with opening the shop this morning? I’m on my way now, but there was another infestation of cockroaches in my kitchen so I’m running a little late. (sound of car ignition, pulling out of driveway) CLIO (static-y, on the phone)
Yea, no problem Dee. Me and Isi have already been here for a little while. We invented a new way of playing(There is a loud BUMP as the car runs into something.) Uh, Dee? What was that? DIYA I’ll call you back. (beep to indicate phone call hung up, then Diya hurriedly shuts off the car again and opens/closes the door as she gets out to take a look.) Holy shit! TOK Oh my god, look what you did! (wailing desperately) My twin!! Are you ok? Talk to me, Tik, please! DIYA (panicked) Did I hit him? We need to get him to a hospital, now! TOK They can’t go to a hospital! (fake crying) We don’t have any money for hospital bills, and the Court will try to take them back! DIYA I’m calling an ambulance. (starts dialing) Don’t worry kids, I’ve got you covered. Tik, can you speak? Where does it hurt? TIK (deadpan voice, clearly not hurt at all) Ow. It hurts everywhere. I’m definitely dying. Look at this red stuff everywhere that’s definitely not raccoon blood. Ow. DIYA Uhhh...you don’t sound very hurt, Tik. Can you show me where you got hit? TIK (back to normal voice)
You know what? No.
I can’t keep on lying for this stupid trick. have better ideas. Like-
(loud bang as Tik kicks something off of Diya’s car.) DIYA (spluttering) My tailpipe! Get back here, you littleTIK (scampering off) Smell ya later, Dee! TOK (following Tik, voice fades into distance) TIK! UGH! Get your butt back here! DIYA (dryly) Well, I guess this is a normal Monday for me now. Encrucijada.
END CHAPTER 3