Tales From The Town #68: Surveillance Tapes (5-7)

5. Anna and Oya’s room (evening)

Oya: Sometimes I wonder if we already know everything there is to know about each other. Everything we’ve said. Everything we’ve done. Everything we’ve felt.
Anna: There’s always more to learn than we currently know.
Oya: That sounds like the sort of thing you’d find painted on a piece of driftwood in a coffee shop by the sea.
Anna: I actually used to own a coffee shop by the sea.
Oya: Really?
Anna: Well, not exactly own. I sort of inherited it one summer.
Oya: How do you sort of inherit a coffee shop?
Anna: One of my aunts was ill and everyone else had jobs and I was 18 and considered by almost everyone in the family to be both responsible enough and boring enough to run it instead. Which basically meant nobody else wanted to look after it for my aunt while my aunt was ill so I had to instead.
Oya: I see. How come you’ve never mentioned this before?
Anna: Well, it’s not exactly interesting, is it?
Oya: It sounds quite interesting to me. I want to hear all about it now. So where was it?
Anna: By the sea. I already told you that. Sometimes the waves would come rushing through the door and you had to sit on the tables instead of the chairs. I’d send the cups of coffee across the room on little paper boats.
Oya: Is any of this actually true?
Anna: It might be. It could be. You’ll never know for sure.
Oya: (sigh) I really need to find my phone.

6. Bathroom (bedtime)

Claire: Who’s been using my toothbrush?!
Tina: No one’s been using your brush, Claire.
Ethel: Your brush is the worst.
Claire: It’s not.
Ethel: It is. You bite it all the time and now the bristles go everywhere!
Claire: They do not!
Daniel: It’s like brushing your teeth with a hedgehog.
Claire: It’s nothing like that at all!
Daniel: Or a porcupine.
Claire: So you have been using my toothbrush?
Daniel: Or a pinecone.
Claire: I told you someone had been using my toothbrush!
Daniel: A pincushion pinecone porcupine porpoisecone.
Claire: Shut up and brush your teeth, Daniel! No talking!

7. Corridor (night)

(unidentified voices rising then falling)

“… watching!”
“He’s listening!”
“He’s stealing!”
“He’s nasty!”
“He’s creepy!”
“He’s evil!”
“He’s in our rooms!”
“He’s in our heads!”
“He’s in our dreams!”
“We have to tell someone!”
“We have to get help!”
“From the little ones!”
“The little ones!”
“The little ones!”
“They have to stop him!”
“Before it’s too late!”
“It’s too late!”
“Too late!”
“Late!”
“…..”

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Notes:

1. Written on May 20th-21st, 2022

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Tales From The Town #68: Surveillance Tapes (1-4)

1. Kitchen (breakfast time)

Ethel: Someone’s eaten my yoghurt!
Tina: Someone’s drunk my milkshake!
Daniel: A milkshake is a yoghurt in a bottle.
Ethel: Mum! Someone’s been eating our food?
Agnes (from the garden): Was it Claire?
Claire: NO!
(pause)
Daniel: A yoghurt is a milkshake in a pot.

2. The Hall (lunchtime)

(phone ringing)

Agnes: …Yes? Hello?….Oh, hi Mum. How are you?… Well, if you want me to answer faster why don’t you ring my mobile instead of this old thing in the hall? I was upstairs… We have a lot of stairs, remember? Actually I think we’ve got even more now since the last tme you stayed… Yes I know how far away you live, Mum… and I know how much it costs!…. I wasn’t complaining at all…No, everything’s fine here, Mum. I don’t know what the children have been telling you but really he’s just this totally unremarkable man. I barely even know he’s here. I see that boy in the mirror more often than I see him… He is not a ghost, Mum. We’ve been over this before… He’s just a delayed reflection… Well, you believe what you want and I’ll believe the truth, okay?… Fine… Yes, okay, I’ll tell the children you called…. No I won’t tell the children WHY you called…. Goodbye….Bye…. Yes, bye Mum….You’re always welcome here, Mum, you know that…. Of course I mean it!… Okay, bye…. Speak to you soon….Bye… [click]…Urgh…

3. By the swing (after school)

Claire: I’m the oldest. I should go first.
Ethel: You’re not the oldest.
Claire: Well I’m the biggest. And the loudest.
Tina: That’s not the same thing.
Ethel: At all.
Claire: It is.
Ethel: It isn’t.
Claire: It should be.
Ethel: It still isn’t.
Claire: Well someone has to be the oldest and it might as well be me.
Tina: None of us are the oldest.
Daniel: We’re twins.
Claire: But there’s four of us.
Daniel: Twin twins.
Ethel: We’re all the same age.
Claire: That’s stupid. One of us must have come out first. And I bet it was me!
Tina: None of us came out first.
Ethel: We all came out together.
Claire: How could that work? We wouldn’t fit! It’s not like they sliced Mum open and pulled us out all at once.
Tina: I think that actually is what happened.
Ethel: That’s why Mum’s got that big scar.
Claire: That’s disgusting! (pause) How awful. Poor Mum. (pause) I’m still the oldest I just know it.

4. Dining Room (dinner time)

Agnes: Now I spoke to Christopher and he said it might have been him who ate all your yoghurts and drank all your milkshakes.
Claire: See?! I knew it! I hate him!
Agnes: Might have been him, Claire. And if it was he apologises.
Claire: He hasn’t apologised to me!
Agnes: Claire! He didn’t even eat anything of yours so I’m not sure why you’re so angry about it all..
Claire: Only because he forgot to look in the freezer.
Tina: What?
Ethel: What are you putting things in the freezer for?
Claire: I’m allowed to put things in the freezer if I want.
Daniel: A freezer’s a fridge that freezes food.
Tina: Not if it’s bread.
Ethel: Or cornflakes.
Claire: I didn’t put bread in the freezer. Or cornflakes! What sort of idiot would put cornflakes in the freezer?
Daniel: A fridge is a freezer that foodens the fridge.
Ethel: Well what are you putting in the freezer then?
Claire: I’m not telling.
Tina: We can just look you know?
Agnes: Yeah, what exactly are you putting in the freezer, Claire?
Claire: It’s a secret.
Ethel: I’m taking a look.
Tina: So am I.
Agnes: Be careful you two! I don’t want one of you falling in there again.
Claire: Ha! I’ve never fallen in the freezer at all!
Tina: It’s okay Mum we’ve got a stool.
Ethel: See!
(pause)
Tina: My milkshakes!
Ethel: My yoghurts!
Claire: They’re not yours. They’re mine. I put them there.
Agnes: Well, they’re everyone’s now. You’ll have to share.
Claire: I don’t want to share.
Agnes: Claire…
Claire: Fine!
(pause)
Agnes: And you know Claire, you really shouldn’t put cornflakes in the freezer.
Claire: I didn’t put cornflakes in the freezer. I already told you that!
Agnes: Well someone did. And so much bread!

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Notes:

1. Written in May (2, 3) and July (1,4) 2022
2. There’s a chapter in An Escape that has the same name, very similar illustration as this.
3. Although I think the tapes there are probably nicer looking.

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Thank you!