Released: November 12, 2018 Duration: 38:17 Listen: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/dir-t39rc-50655f1
+18 days 2 hrs since Lia Haddock’s abduction.
Transcription by /u/secret-x-stars Edit
Sylvia: You come home from work and there’s a note on your kitchen counter. You didn’t put it there, and no-one else has a key to your apartment, not even your landlord. There’s no sign of a break-in. Everything is still. Someone has written names on the note, some names you recognize, some you don’t. The names are of Limetown survivors who’ve been killed since the last note you received. Sometimes you go as little as a month between notes, sometimes as long as a year. Underneath the names of the deceased is the name of a country. The country is where your hunter is headed. If the country is someplace far away, you can rest easy another night.
Charley: And if it’s the country you’re in?
Sylvia: Then you run.
Interrogator: Shit, no. That’s not quite where I’d like to begin. [tape rewinds] [coughs]
Trivia night host: Monsieurs, madames, question trois…
Interrogator: [over tape] Wait, I enjoyed this part, let’s start here.
Trivia night host: La France a gagner le coupe du monde a quelle année? In English: France won the World Cup in what year?
Charley: Charles Dickens Pub, Bordeaux, France; 9:15pm; Tuesday. Seems to be some kind of Trivia Night.
Trivia night host: Okay, okay. Question quatre – Okay, okay, shh! Question quatre: La Marseillaise a été écrite en quelle année? In English: La Marseillaise was written in what year? Shh, no, no no. No complaining. Mais… alors. If you can sing me the song, I’ll give you one point, bonus point.
Woman: Hold on, if we do it, can we get the point?
Trivia night host: Ouais. But you must be good.
Woman: Alright, I’m doing it. Move it.
Man: You shove off, come on!
Woman: Alright, everybody shut it! [cheering and whistling] [clears throat, begins to sing] ♫Allons enfants de la Patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé! Contre nous de la tyrannie l'étendard sanglant est levé…♫
Charley: [music fading as she walks away] Four bartenders working tonight. There’s a short Peruvian man, an Englishman, a Frenchman washing dishes, and…
Sylvia: What can I get you?
Charley: …Sylvia. [a glass drops and breaks; Sylvia and Charley both start running] No! Out of my way, excuse me! Move, move! Sylvia! [sound of scuffling, panting] Sylvia, stop, stop, stop, stop! I am not here to hurt you, I swear to you, I am not here to hurt you! My name is Bec – ugh, goddamnit!
Interrogator: Did you have to headbutt her?
Charley: She was being difficult.
Interrogator: How did you find her? [05:02]
Charley: Same way I find anyone: research. Start with the last thing you know, work backwards – or forwards.
Interrogator: That’s not very specific.
Charley: Well, specifics are boring.
Interrogator: How did you get her to talk so freely with you?
Charley: To quote Lenore, “I am very good at my job.” I know what people wanna hear. I knew what she cared about, what she was afraid of – it’s basic.
Interrogator: Okay, so you found Sylvia. [rewinds tape]
Charley: Yes. In France.
Charley: Goddamnit! [Sylvia still attempting to struggle] Stop, please!
Sylvia: [whispering] Oh my god…
Charley: Sylvia, I have been hired to save Emile. Emile is in great danger. That is all I am here to do. I am not here to hurt you.
Sylvia: Ugh, shit… my head…
Charley: I just need to talk to you. Please, d-don’t run. I promise I won’t hurt you, I have no reason –
Sylvia: Fuck! Off!
Charley: I’m sorry about that! You ran, so I had to –
Sylvia: So you tackled and headbutted me into the ground?! Seriously?!
Charley: I’m-I’m sorry, I don’t normally do that.
Sylvia: I’d hope not! Christ!
Charley; I’m sorry I startled you. And tackled you. And… the rest of it. I just need to talk to you, I have questions.
Sylvia: Are you one of Lenore’s goons? Because just leave me alone, okay? I don’t need your help.
Charley: No, no, I don’t work for Lenore. I’m here about Emile.
[sirens in background]
Sylvia: I don’t know any Emiles.
Charley: Sylvia, please!
Sylvia: I can’t help you! [starts walking]
Charley: Wait. Wait, wait, wait!
Sylvia: Don’t you fucking touch me.
Charley: Look, no touching! I’m-I’m-I’m sorry about tackling you. I’m not here to hurt you, I don’t work for Lenore. Sylvia. Someone is hunting Emile. I don’t have a lot of time. If I don’t find Emile first, he will die. Very soon. There is a killer out there and I have a very narrow window of time to get to Emile before the killer d –
Sylvia: How much do you weigh?
Sylvia: 50, maybe… 55 kilos? [110-120 lbs]
Charley: G-give or take, what’s that got to do with –
Sylvia: You don’t stand a chance, not unless you’ve got a machine gun under those khaki slacks.
Charley: What are you talking about?
Sylvia: Daniel is a fucking beast. He’s, I don’t know, more than 250 pounds on the American scale? He’d crush your head with his bare hands. What makes you think –
Charley: Wait. Wait – how do you know about Daniel?
Sylvia: …Who did you say you work for?
Charley: Sylvia, please. For Emile’s sake.
Sylvia: Is he okay?
Charley: I don’t know. That’s why I’m here.
Sylvia: Have you ever wondered why I’m even alive?
Charley: Uh, I…
Sylvia: Look! No tech. I don’t have the implant. Never did. Check my whole head – nothing. Why am I even alive?
Charley: I-I don’t know.
Sylvia: Come on, you did your research, you found me.
Charley: Lenore must have had a soft spot for children.
Sylvia: There were seventeen children in Limetown. Lenore is responsible for sixteen of their deaths. Try again.
Sylvia: Come on!
Charley: Oh—y-you meant something to Emile. Emile meant something to Lenore. So…
Charley: S-so it was a favor, Lenore did Emile a favor.
Sylvia: That’s right. My life is a favor. I will answer your questions if you can answer mine.
Charley: I can’t make promises, but I can try.
Sylvia: Me too.
Charley: What do you know about Daniel? Do you know anything about the bridge?
Charley: Where are we going?
Sylvia: Do you want me to answer the other two questions, or this question?
Charley: …All of them…
Sylvia: I’ll choose the order, then. Careful – dogshit.
Interrogator: How was she? [10:04]
Interrogator: Sylvia; how was she?
Charley: Tired. She looked tired. Paranoid. Uh, otherwise healthy. Strong, physically; she almost dislocated my shoulder, so…
Interrogator: And how did it feel? To lie to her.
Charley: Good, when she believed me.
Interrogator: You knew her circumstances –
Charley: The straightest line is the shortest path. Trauma is a weakness that can be exploited.
Interrogator: Why don’t you care about hurting people?!
Charley: Why don’t you care about hurting people?
Interrogator: …Okay. Let’s keep going.
Sylvia: For any normal person, Limetown would’ve been a nightmare. In its entirety. I woke up one morning and my mother was gone. The next day, all the grownups go crazy. I watch a man burned alive a stake. I still remember the smell, the screams… Limetown was just the start for me. Keep up.
My nightmare kept going. Lenore decided that I should be saved. That was her first favor. I woke up after The Panic in a hotel room in frickin’ Melbourne, Australia. Lenore’s there, I recognize her because she was the city manager in Limetown. She grabs me by the head, two palms cupping my face. I think she’s trying to be tender? But she just scares me. She says to me in that robot way she talks, “Your name is Morgan Litton. Your parents died in a car accident. Limetown doesn’t exist, you don’t. know. what. it is.” She repeats this lie to me, makes me repeat it back to her over and over and over again! This is my script. She says people will be watching me to make sure I stick to it. She says if I don’t stick to it, my parents, who haven’t died in a car accident, something really bad will happen to them. They will get hurt and it will be my fault. “What is your name?” “Morgan Litton.” “Where are your parents?” “They died in a car accident.” “What happened in Limetown?” “I’ve never heard of it.” What happened in Limetown – that’s not my story.
I lose track of time. Maybe we’re in that hotel for a few days? Maybe it’s a few weeks. Then she puts me in a boarding school in ##Millwarra## with the nuns. It’s miserable. She moves me every few months so I can never make friends, never trust anyone enough to tell them the truth. My brain and my body are numb and I’m repeating a lie to myself and no one asks me about anything and I just want to scream. But I can’t, because I don’t know I’m angry – not yet.
Two years into boarding school, Emile shows up.
Charley: What was your relationship to him? Why did you mean something to him?
Sylvia: What do you think? [sighs]
Charley: I don’t know?
Sylvia: It wasn’t in your research? Emile couldn’t read my mind.
Sylvia: You spend your whole life being able to read everyone’s thoughts, it’s not normal. You hear things you don’t wanna hear. No mystery… surprise, delight? It’s gone. And then you meet someone – she’s only seven, but her mind is a black box. Maybe she doesn’t have anything interesting to say, but the fact that you don’t know what she’s gonna say makes her the most exhilarating person in your life. She makes you feel –
Charley: [sighs] Normal.
Sylvia: Yes. Adults think they know what children are thinking, and most of the time, they’re wrong. [chuckles] Emile knew he had no idea what I was thinking, so he never made assumptions. It was nice, talking to him.
[train pulling in]
Sylvia: We’re getting on this one. I’m two years into this shitty boarding school, and Emile shows up. He takes me to a McDonald’s by a highway, orders, like, five Happy Meals [chuckles]. I think he’s gonna take me home, that I’m gonna see my parents again; for the first time in a long time, I think I can feel – like when you get pins and needles because blood is rushing back into your legs? And he tells me there is a very bad man named Daniel who is killing everyone from Limetown. [15:24]
Charley: Wait, when was this?
Sylvia: [laughs] What the hell was I meant to do with that information? I was nine. Emile told me he and Lenore would do their best to protect me, which meant Lenore would keep moving me around. I’d undergo some name changes again – I’ve been a Morgan, a Lena, a Sophie, Emily, mixed-and-matched… Lenore stayed close. I had no way of reaching her, I never did. But she always had a way of making sure I was where she wanted me to be. They needed me to at least figure out wiping my own ass before they could trust me to protect myself.
Charley: And what then?
Sylvia: And when I got a bit older, like, thirteen? I had passports. Lenore wasgood about that – one for every fake name. It was abstract at first: this paranoid, frazzled-looking man takes you to Macca’s and tells you someone is out there killing Limetown survivors and he might come for you too. Emile had been traveling all over the world, he said he was on a mission to warn Limetown survivors. When I saw him, he’d just come from Halifax, Canada. But, again, I was nine. What do I even know? Lenore thought it all out, of course. Her next favor for me was to help me understand that Daniel was real. She would tell me who he most recently killed and where. I read local reports about all these supposed tragic, gruesome suicides of John and Jane Does. One woman pulled all her teeth out, sanded down her fingers, cut off all birth marks, then blew her face off with a shotgun. Ruled a suicide.
Charley: How did you get this information?
Sylvia: At first, Lenore sent them as cards with my care packages.
Sylvia: I know, fucked up, right? ‘Here are your Oreos, Snicker bars, Twinkies – and, by the way, here’s a list of dead people!’ She also sent me photos – of Daniel. I think they were… old photos. She wanted me to know what he looked like.
Charley: What did he look like?
Sylvia: Dark eyes, chunky kinda face, like maybe he’d been a wrestler or something? I don’t know. I committed his face to memory – I couldn’t tell you what he looks like, only that I would recognize him anywhere. I left the boarding school when I was fifteen, started driving across the country and working odd jobs, all under-the-table. Lenore always knew how to find me.
Sylvia: I don’t know. But no matter where I went, I got updates on who Daniel had just killed and where he was going next. You come home from work and there’s a note on your kitchen counter. You didn’t put it there, and no one else has a key to your apartment, not even your landlord. There’s no sign of a break-in. Everything is still. Someone has written names on the note, some names you recognize, some you don’t. The names are of Limetown survivors who’ve been killed since the last note you received. Sometimes you go as little as a month between notes, sometimes as long as a year. Underneath the names of the deceased is the name of a country. The country is where your hunter is headed. If the country is someplace far away, you can rest easy another night.
Charley: And if it’s the country you’re in?
Sylvia: Then you run. [train stops, passengers board] Let’s move to the other end.
Charley: Did you ever have to? Run, that is. [19:49]
Sylvia: I… it wasn’t a perfect system. I’d just turned sixteen and I saved up money from my job at a fish and chip shop. And I decided I wanted to make my hair pink. I wanted it done properly, though – I didn’t wanna fry my hair at home. So I went to this salon in Sydney, way out in the suburbs near where I was working. It was the kinda place where they hairdresser wouldn’t talk to you, which is exactly what I wanted. It was a pretty busy salon with a lot of old Vietnamese ladies getting their perms out front [chuckles]. And I was guided to the hair washing stations out back. There’s a mop sticking out of a bucket in the corner. Whole place smells like bleach. And I show this woman a photo of the hair color I want, and she doesn’t even acknowledge it, just waits for me to lie back to she can brush my hair. She’s super distracted, starts washing my hair and then she stops to answer the phone… then she comes back and puts in shampoo before going off to yell at someone – I’m pretty sure she ate a sandwich at one point [laughs]. And I try not to think of this hole of a place, I close my eyes, hum something to myself. And then she finally comes back and starts rinsing out the shampoo, and, uh, the water gets hotter and hotter… and I don’t wanna be the wimpy girl [laughs] who complains about it, but it goes from warm… to scalding. I grit my teeth and hope that if the water is burning my scalp then it must be burning her hands, too, so maybe she’ll figure it out?
And then I feel it. Two hands, big and rough, and they don’t belong to a woman. There’s one on each side of my head and I’m too scared to open my eyes. I hope and I hope and I hope that she just passed me on to another hairdresser, that someone else is finishing the job, but… hands just hold my head, gripping it. Tight. And then I’m sweating, because maybe I’m terrified, or maybe my scalp is still burning. The water stops. I still feel his hands move. He’s holding my head with one hand, he’s moving my hair around with the other. He’s pulling it back and parting it slowly, like he’s… looking for something. My eyes are still closed, my heart is beating out of my chest, and I am so tense I don’t even know if I’m breathing anymore. I don’t know how long this goes for. He starts feeling the base of my head, still searching for something, these big hands that could crush my skull.
Then he pulls away. I open my eyes. He’s right there, hovering above me. His face is upside-down, but I can recognize it anywhere: the dark eyes, the chunky features. And then I hear his voice for the very first time.
Charley: What did he say?
Sylvia: “Boo.” Then I felt him pull a towel over my face, I thought he was gonna suffocate me or something. I’m freaked out. I jumped out of that seat, flinging water everywhere, but he was gone. I didn’t stop to ask the hair salon what the fuck just happened or-or how he got here – I just ran. I booked the first flight out of Australia and was on that plane in three hours.
Charley: Where did you go?
Sylvia: Ho Chi Minh City. I check into a hotel by the airport and I get a call, and it’s the first time I’ve heard Lenore’s voice since, I don’t know, since she tried to brainwash me in that Melbourne hotel room! [laughing] And she’s like, “The fuck took you so long to get out Australia?!” And I told her I never got the warning that Daniel was in Australia. And she said she warned me three weeks ago, didn’t I see the note? I said, “Yes, I saw the note, and I would notice if it said Daniel was coming to goddamn Australia!” The note said he was in Austria, which is about as far from Australia as you can get before you’re on your way back. Someone made a fucking typo.
Charley: You’re kidding.
Sylvia: As I said, it wasn’t a perfect system. Lenore works – worked – through people. She’d hire one person to hire another person who’d hire another person to do something as simple as write a note and deliver it. She didn’t realize there was a dipstick in her supply chain. [train chimes, stops] This is us. [25:16]
Charley: Where are we going?
Sylvia: To my car.
Charley: Did Daniel say anything else to you?
Sylvia: No. [sighs]
Charley: What do you make of what happened?
Sylvia: I… my theory was – is – that Daniel wasn’t just killing anyone who had been in Limetown; it was the tech. He’s hunting people who have the tech, and I think he was searching my scalp to see if I had the implant scar.
Sylvia: I don’t know. [laughs] Why would anyone kill anyone ever? That’s just my theory. Maybe he was waiting for me to grow up before he killed me. Killing kids is a bad look even if murder’s your brand, right? I was in Switzerland for maybe a year before I got another note saying Daniel was on his way to Switzerland, so then I ran again. I bounced to Morocco, to Belgium, and then to here.
Charley: Was Daniel chasing you through all those places?
Sylvia: No. After Switzerland, he went to South America and Asia. I just moved because, well, I wanted to have some control over my life. I wanted to be able to decide when and where I would live and not just be somewhere because I was running.
Charley: Do you know where Daniel is now?
Sylvia: Last note was a month ago, he was back in the United States. I haven’t received any note since.
Charley: Even though there have been new deaths.
Charley: You heard about them.
Charley: Did you know Lenore was going –
Sylvia: To kill herself? [snickers] On national public radio? Not exactly, but I had an inkling.
Sylvia: [takes out keys, opens car trunk] Because she’d filled my trunk with number plates that I could use if I wanted to keep running around the world. [going through plates] I’ve got EU, ##Middle East##, United States… Bit of a weird parting gift.
Charley: And… Winona?
Sylvia: [trunk closes] What about her?
Charley: She was your mother.
Sylvia: My parents were killed in a car accident. It was all favors. My mother told my dad to take the job in Limetown because she thought she was doing him a favor; my father took the job in Limetown because he thought he was doing the whole family a favor. Moved to a shiny new place, a great opportunity, ‘think of the money we’ll put away!’ Emile asked Lenore to save me because he wanted to do me a favor. Lenore agreed because she wanted to do Emile a favor. The two of them moved me around and gave me information and terrorized my entire fucking life because they wanted to keep me alive because it was a favor. ‘I’m doing you a favor by making sure you live through all of this.’ But did anyone ever stop to ask whether I even wanted any of it? No one wants to fucking live through this. I saw a man get burned alive when I was seven years old, and that was just the start of this nightmare. I didn’t want the boarding school or the money or to know about Limetown and Emile and the bridge and –
Charley: Wait, wait, what did you say about ‘the bridge’?
Sylvia: Who fucking cares!
Charley: Sylvia, what is the bridge?
Sylvia: I don’t know. Do you know what Iwanted?
Charley: Sylvia, what is the bridge?
Sylvia: You haven’t asked me what I want –
Charley: I need you to tell me!
Sylvia: Dance school! I was really good at it. I was the only kid in Limetown who could do The Worm. When I grew up, I wanted to be a dance teacher. Maybe I still do.
Sylvia: It’s where Emile was. The bridge. It was that place in Halifax.
Sylvia: I don’t know! I just know that’s where Emile came from when he took me to McDonald’s. He told me he’d come from the bridge up in Canada.
Charley: Did he tell you anything else?
Sylvia: Do you know where my mother is?
Charley: No, I don’t.
Sylvia: Do you know whether she’s alive?
Charley: I do not.
Sylvia: That’s what I asked Emile. I sat right across from him, looked him in the eyes, and asked him. You know what he said? He said, “I can’t tell you.” I asked him if he at least knew, he said he didn’t know. I kept looking at him and he broke eye contact with me, maybe because he couldn’t stand to look at someone whose mind he couldn’t read. And finally, he said, “I need you to have hope. I need you to keep fighting to survive.” He and Lenore probably thought that if it was left a mystery, if I didn’t know if my parents were alive, I’d hang on to hope that they were and I’d take better care of myself, or follow their rules, not step out of line – well, Lenore’s dead, and it sounds like Emile’s gonna be dead pretty soon! [30:32]
Charley: Was that all Emile told you?
Sylvia: When I heard my mother’s voice on the radio, heard that she was alive, heard about how she left Limetown, heard her say my name… that’s when I lost hope. [car door opens, closes]
Charley: Where are you going?
Sylvia: If you could find me, it means I’ve overstayed. [key turns in ignition, engine starts] Hey, if you stop Daniel, will you do me a favor?
Charley: What is it?
Sylvia: Give me a sign. I’d like to settle down somewhere… someday. Maybe I’ll open a dance school. [car drives away]
Interrogator: What most surprised you about your conversation?
Charley: That Daniel had been killing off Limetown survivors for more than a decade and Gene hadn’t bothered to tell me about it.
Interrogator: Why did that bother you?
Charley: Because it meant I didn’t have a full picture of the opposition.
Interrogator: [loads tape into tape deck] And then you called to yell Gene.
Charley: I sure fuckin’ did.
Charley: Why didn’t you tell me that Daniel has been killing Limetown survivors for the past ten years? What the hell is wrong with you?
Eugene: [whispering] Oh, oh, Christ, it’s you. This phone started ringing, I thought it was going to explode or something when I answered it.
Eugene: I don’t know. I haven’t slept in, like, three days, now.
Charley: Focus for me, Gene. We have 30 hours. I need to know why you didn’t tell me everything you knew about Daniel.
Eugene: We-we didn’t want to incriminate ourselves! I mean, we didn’t know for sure. We wouldn’t want to accept responsibility for something – I mean – it could’ve been something else. Maybe it wasn’t Daniel.
Charley: Gene, is there anything else you are not telling me? Gene?
Eugene: I don’t know…
Charley: Let’s start with ‘the bridge.’ Where is it, what happened there?
Eugene: Well, that was before my time!
Charley: If Sylvia knows about it, how the hell does the firm hired to clean up not know? Come on, Gene.
Eugene: You found Sylvia?
Charley: Of course I found Sylvia. Focus. The bridge.
Eugene: Look, I don’t know. I just know something really bad happened there and it was – it was the reason why Lenore left IDS.
Charley: Jesus Christ, Gene! This is the kind of information I need to have if I’m to do my job and save your ass! What happened there? Sylvia told me it’s in Halifax.
Eugene: I – I don’t know. Look, I really don’t. I swear. I’m telling you everything.
Charley: Was IDS aware of it?
Eugene: Maybe. I think so. Well, everything was wiped. That’s what they do. They just get rid of anything they don’t want to exist.
Charley: Is there anything else? Because if I find out you’re keeping anything else from me, I swear to God –
Eugene: No – I just – I know that Lenore could stomach a lot, but i-if the bridge was her final straw, I… well, I-I don’t know.
[phone hangs up]
Interrogator: How did you feel about that?
Interrogator: Were you afraid?
Interrogator: Were you afraid? Of Daniel.
Charley: I’m not afraid of anything.
Interrogator: I think you may be lying to me, Charley.
Charley: Go fuck yourself.
Interrogator: I know you can be afraid. I heard it. Tell me what I heard. After Sylvia drove off, your tape kept recording. There… were sounds.
Charley: I didn’t understand it.
Interrogator: Eh, talk me through it.
Charley: Alright… we were in the middle of nowhere, at the outskirts of the suburbs of Bordeaux. There were bushes, but it wasn’t exactly a wooded area. There was a rustling, footsteps, it sounded big. It got closer and closer, picking up speed. I thought it – whatever it was – was coming right for me. I screamed.
Interrogator: It sounded primal.
Charley: I wasn’t scared, I was just… I was unnerved.
Interrogator: Yeah, because of Daniel. [35:00]
Charley: The mission changed. I adapt to the mission. I just needed a moment to make that transition.
Interrogator: The transition to hunting an equally-accomplished murderer.
Interrogator: So, what was it?
Charley: What was what?
Interrogator: The thing that made you scream.
Charley: A deer. I don’t know what a deerwas doing in the suburbs of Bordeaux. It charged but missed me. And…
Charley: It fell… so I approached it. Something… had happened to it. Its facewas all… messed up… there was blood everywhere. I don’t know what happened. It didn’t look… natural.
Interrogator: How did you feel?
Charley: I already told you, it was just unnerving.
Interrogator: What happened next?
Charley: I went to Halifax.
Interrogator: Did you find Lia Haddock?
Interrogator: But you learned where she was. Are you ready to tell me where Lia Haddock is? [sighs] Oh, Charley… in that case, we will have to continue another time when you are feeling more cooperative. [loads tape] And by the way? I’ve updated your playlist. I think you may recognize it.
[animal snarling, picking up pace; Charley running and screaming; deer bellowing; Charley panting. Repeats to the end of the episode]