SEASON 2, EPISODE 10
RELEASE DATE: 06/12/2021
Nobody’s ever had a stressful family dinner before, right? With Nico back but Noel still on shaky ground, Liam isn’t sure which way to go. Mahira listens, but she’s got bigger things on her mind.
VALENCE is brought to you by Changing Hands Bookstore. You can use our link at bit.ly/hhchanginghands to support this podcast and indie bookstores. This episode, we recommend “Ella Chanted” by Gail Carson Levine.
- Depictions of a panic attack from 24:45 – 26:20
- Our theme was made by Travis Reaves,
- With production by Raul Vega.
- Additional music provided by Loyalty Freak Music and Kai Engel.
- VALENCE was created by Wil Williams.
- VALENCE is edited and sound designed by Wil Williams.
- VALENCE is directed by Katie Youmans and Anne Baird.
- VALENCE is produced by Anne Baird.
- This episode was written by Katie Youmans.
- Quiet Music for Tiny Robots: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Quiet_Music_for_Tiny_Robots
Performances by, in order of appearance:
- Josh Rubino as Liam and Liam’s Inner Voices,
- Alex Welch as Noel Alden,
- Miracle Fonmanu as Zoe Kafoa,
- John Westover as Nico Salvai,
- Caleb Del Rio as Flynn Velasco,
- Jordan Cobb as Sarah Harris,
- Sable the cat as Soap,
- and Ishani Kanetkar as Mahira Varma.
[[A door handle turns and clicks open. Soft wind chimes tinkle.]]
ANNE: Brought to you by Hug House Productions
AD (WIL): This season of VALENCE is sponsored by Changing Hands bookstore, an independent bookstore based in Phoenix Arizona, but shipping nationally. This week, I recommend you check out Ella Enchanted. Remember this childhood classic, millennials? Ella Enchanted is a new spin on the tale of Cinderella–one in which Ella is cursed to obey any order she’s given, which inspires her to find clever ways to get around them. It’s a great, fun read, and one you can pick up by going to hughouse.productions/changinghands, or at the link in the show notes.
Wil: VALENCE is a serialized fiction podcast with discussions and depictions of struggles with mental health. You can check our show notes, or the transcripts on valencepod dot com for a full list of content warnings and their timestamps. It’s important to take care of yourself — especially here in New Candler.
[[theme music – bright, synthy beat with airy, flowing strings that fade into a brief moment of a darker synth more reminiscent of the sharpness and grime of the Season 1 theme]]
INT. HALO OFFICES, EVENING
LIAM is standing outside of NOEL’s office. Inside, NOEL is typing away furiously at an email. She pauses, reading over what she has so far.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Judging by what she’s doing to that keyboard, she’s in an especially foul mood. I wonder how much of that is your fault.
NOEL: [stifled sound of frustration] . . . why was I not informed? I am the head of this — ugh!
NOEL resumes typing with the same aggression as before.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: You’ll have to go in eventually. It’s that or get caught skulking.
LIAM: [small cough]
NOEL: Oh! Oh, Liam, it’s you.
LIAM: Is this a bad time?
NOEL: [clipped, annoyed] What do you think? No, I–that was inappropriate of me. I’m sorry, it’s not you I’m frustrated with.
LIAM: Is it–
NOEL: Private. I can’t–it’s not something that involves you.
. . . I’m sorry.
LIAM: [gently, trying to lighten the mood] That’s twice now you’ve apologized to me. Are you sure you’re Noel?
NOEL: [exhausted laugh] Reasonably certain, yes. Was there something you needed?
LIAM: Two things. First, I wanted to let you know I’ve finished the last of the modules regarding testing.
NOEL: Excellent — you’ll be able to start running sessions without my supervision. Which is . . . ideal, frankly. She hasn’t said it outright, but I suspect Morgan is losing patience with how long I’ve been helping you.
LIAM: Is that why you were–
NOEL: No, that was something else.
LIAM: I see. If–if you ever want to . . . talk, I suppose? I don’t know that I’m especially good at being comforting . . .
NOEL: [uncomfortable] You said you had two things to discuss?
LIAM: Oh! Yes, I’d wanted to ask if you were still interested in coming over for dinner. Maybe tomorrow night?
NOEL: I–I have meetings until fairly late tomorrow.
LIAM: Oh . . . I unders–
NOEL: But Friday could be . . . nice. If that doesn’t conflict with your plans?
LIAM: Not at all! Friday would be wonderful!
NOEL: Should I bring anything? A bottle of wine?
LIAM: No, no, that’s alright. No wine. But thank you for asking. No, Friday at 7. You . . . have my address.
NOEL: I do. Will your girlfriend be joining us?
LIAM: She . . . mmm. No.
NOEL: That doesn’t sound promising.
LIAM: No . . . you’re right. I should . . . hmm.
NOEL: I really should get back to this email.
I’ll see you tomorrow, Liam.
LIAM: [absently] Yes, alright, tomorrow. I should. I should go.
LIAM walks back into his office and sits at the desk, sighing heavily, not looking forward to this conversation he’s about to have. He takes his phone from his pocket and dials.
ZOE: [over the phone] Hi Liam! I haven’t heard from you much lately . . . apart from the apologies for ditching me the other night — everything ok?
LIAM: Zoe, I . . . I have something I have to tell you. And I don’t think you’re going to—you won’t like it. And I’m sorry.
ZOE: Wow, way to start a girl off already concerned. Ok, yeah, hit me.
LIAM: My ex. The other night, at the barcade —
ZOE: When you ditched me.
LIAM: That would be the night, yes.
ZOE: I know I said you could leave if it wasn’t doing it for you, but like. I did figure you’d at least shoot me a text or something.
LIAM: I—again, I apologize for that. It was thoughtless and inconsiderate and–
ZOE: So you left to hook up with your ex? Listen, I typically caution against double-dipping, but you already apologized for leaving me hanging. You apologized a lot. So I don’t get what you’re-
LIAM: [rushing to get the words out before he loses his nerve] I’m sorry for cheating on you with Nico!
ZOE: You . . . wait, back up. Cheating on me? Liam, what do you think this–this thing we are–what do you think it is?
LIAM: [with dawning realization and horror] Are we—were we not—I had been under the impression that–
ZOE: [bursts out laughing] Liam, nooo! I thought we were just a fun, laid-back, whenever we’re both feeling it kind of arrangement! I mean, we met through my job! I’m not about to get into anything serious with a customer. That’s just asking for weird, awkward, messy fallout at one point or another!
[laugh/sigh as she catches her breath] Oh damn, I’m sorry for laughing, I just—I feel bad for not realizing you had the wrong impression all this time!
LIAM: Wait, I told you I cheated, and you feel bad?
ZOE: . . . point. Actually, yeah, that’s a Really. Valid. Point. You did what you did while under the impression you would be cheating on me and hurting me. Why am I apologizing to you? Now I am actually kinda mad at you.
LIAM: That seems deserved. I fucked up and did something unforgivable–
ZOE: Ok ok ok c’mon. Listen. We can both agree it was trash behavior. But like. I’m not your therapist? And I’m not your girlfriend. And I am for sure no longer your fuckbuddy. So I’m not the person you get to unload your baggage to. It’s been fun, but you are very clearly hung up on your ex, and I am not in the mood right now to help you deal with that. So I’m gonna . . . go, I guess. And if you wanted to find a different coffeeshop to go to for a little while, that might not be the worst idea.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Amazing how you could fuck this up in even more ways than imaginable. Well, say something kind to her. Or something clever. Or anything at all.
Certainly you can think of something to say.
ZOE: . . . ok bye?
ZOE hangs up.
CWs: Familial trauma
INT. LIAM, SARAH, AND FLYNN’S APARTMENT, WEDNESDAY EVENING
LIAM is making an unholy fucking ruckus in the kitchen. A pot is threatening to bubble over, a timer is going off, and he is shuffling helplessly from frustrating task to frustrating task. The windows are open to let out smoke.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: How in the fuck did Sol and Luis make it look so easy? And why did you not just order in? What would have been wrong with ordering in? This was pointless pride and you are going to fuck yourself over because of it.
LIAM: [frustrated grunt of effort]
LIAM’S OTHER INNER VOICE: You wanted to do something nice for your sister and that is commendable but you are allowed to ask for help if you need it.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: You need it.
LIAM: Can somebody who knows what they’re doing please HELP HERE? I really need not to fuck this up!
NICO: Jesus, Vamps, it’ll be fine. It’ll–
Nico walks into the kitchen and cracks the oven door. We hear Too Much Sizzling, he shuts the door quickly, and turns off the timer that was still beeping.
NICO: [coughing from the oven fumes] Ok so maybe that won’t be fine, but you’ve got the rest of the stuff, and like. Worst case, wine and gatorade? That’s a balanced meal.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Frankly, I’m shocked you’re willing to look this overwhelmingly incompetent in front of your not-boyfriend
LIAM: Nico, please, I am drowning here and cannot process humor at the moment. Please I know you know how to cook.
NICO: Welllll . . .
LIAM: And you know that I don’t. I have None Shit! I would . . . I would owe you one.
NICO: [immediately interested] Owe me one what? Think carefully before you go offering up open ended deals like that to me, Vamps.
LIAM: Whatever you want. I just want this all to go . . . perfectly.
NICO: Oho! I’m gonna have to think of something good to want for this.
LIAM: [already less panicked] I would expect nothing less. Tell me what you need.
NICO: Oh, nonono, no, I don’t cook for an audience. Let me salvage the tomato . . . thing. You get outta here, go help the gang with whatever they’re doing out there. Or pet the cat. Something.
LIAM: You’re a saint.
NICO: [already regretting this] Say that again and I’ll leave.
LIAM: Fiiine. [laugh] Flynn? Sarah? I’ve been banished from the kitchen.
LIAM walks into the living room, where FLYNN and SARAH are pushing furniture to one side to set up a folding table and chairs.
SOAP: [indignant, annoyed meowing]
FLYNN: Can you console Soap? She sounds pretty mad we moved the couch.
SARAH: We’re lucky no blood was spilled over it.
LIAM: [cooing] Oh, poor sweet baby, are you very cross with us?
LIAM picks up SOAP and cradles her like a very angry, very sharp baby. As soon as he starts scritching her chin, she stops yelling and starts purring.
LIAM: Are you sure there isn’t more I can be doing to help? It doesn’t seem fair . . . I did ask all of you to do this for my sister.
SARAH: Liam, it’s fine. Really. And you keeping Soap from swiping at us is actually helping a lot.
sounds of the fridge opening and closing, and then even, assured chopping drifting out of the kitchen
LIAM: Nico, are you sure you don’t wa–
NICO: No! Flynn, if he tries it, take him.
SARAH: I’ve got the tablecloth — do we own cloth napkins?
SARAH: That’s what I thought. Paper towels, it is.
SARAH walks into the kitchen, grabs the roll of paper towels and fishes around in the silverware drawer.
FLYNN: [hushed] So . . . is Nico, like, back back?
LIAM: [hushed] I–I hope so. Though . . . I think that’s up to him.
SARAH comes out of the kitchen with silverware and paper towels
LIAM: Let me help you with that.
SARAH: Oh, no, I’m giving them to you. I’ve been sent on a mission for “good olive oil”. I’ll be right back.
SARAH shoves the silverware and towels into LIAM’s free hand and leaves the apartment.
LIAM: But . . . we have regular oil?
NICO: [calling from the kitchen] I’m pretty sure I didn’t just hear the local joke from stupid town, buckaroo!
FLYNN: [laughs] Demoted to buckaroo.
LIAM: [huff] Let me put Soap in my room — I can’t help with an armful of cat.
LIAM walks to his room and sets SOAP down on the bed. She yells as he closes the door behind him.
SOAP: [meows in angry disapproval]
LIAM: I know, I’m sorry, but you can come out once everything’s ready!
SOAP: [more plaintive meows through the door]
FLYNN: Hey, so the conversation with Zoe went . . . ?
LIAM: Ah. Better than expected? And also somehow much, much worse.
LIAM starts setting the table, soft clink of silverware
FLYNN: So we were right?
LIAM: Yes. You and Sol were, for better or worse, spot on. I blew it out of proportion and made assumptions without talking to her about them first. Or at all. I’m not proud of that. And I’m not proud of my actions at the barcade.
FLYNN: Yeahhh, it wasn’t great. But you apologized?
LIAM: I did. And I meant it.
FLYNN: [sigh] That’s probably all you can do right now. It’s her call whether she wants to forgive you or not. But you’ve gotta be ok with it if she decides not to. No pressuring her to absolve you so you can feel better.
NICO: [calling out from kitchen] Dessert’s in the oven!
FLYNN: Ooh, I’m gonna go snoop.
LIAM: Can I–
FLYNN: [laughs] You already know the answer, buckaroo.
Footsteps in the hallway and a knock at the door. LIAM jumps to answer it
LIAM: Sarah? Did you forget your key?
LIAM opens the door and stops still. NOEL is there, fidgeting with her phone.
LIAM: I — you’re early.
NOEL: I apologize — I didn’t want to be late, so I budgeted extra travel time, but it seems it was . . . too much extra? I can go and come back if–
LIAM: No! No, don’t leave. Come in, we can . . . we can sit. And talk.
NOEL comes in and LIAM closes the door behind her
NOEL: Am I keeping you from the kitchen? I can entertain myself if I have to.
LIAM: Oh! No, not at all. I’ve–I’ve been banished from the kitchen.
NOEL: [surprised laugh] Banished?
LIAM: Nico’s a much better cook than I. It’s for the best, frankly.
NOEL: Nico? Salvai is back? Since when?
LIAM: Since . . . last Friday?
NOEL: Hm. And your girlfriend?
LIAM: Was not actually my girlfriend, as it turns out.
NOEL: [ugly chuckles at him]
LIAM: Oh hush. Come on, let’s talk.
LIAM and NOEL walk to LIAM’s room, where SOAP is still sulking. LIAM opens the door for NOEL, they go in, he closes it behind them.
SOAP: [meows of woe]
NOEL: [startled laugh] Your cat . . . is absolutely awful!
LIAM: [fondly] She’s perfect.
SOAP: [meowing for attention]
As they talk, Soap cozies up to them, purring occasionally.
You have a lovely home.
LIAM: [chuckle] Any loveliness is thanks to Flynn or Sarah. But thank you.
NOEL: Oh, I meant more the . . . the feel of it. When you walk in, it feels. Safe? I think? Warm, in a way I can’t quite articulate. With my kinetic magic, I can usually still feel sort of a presence even with–even with the Halo on. It feels less, mmm . . . hmm. Not less buzzy than the rest of the city. But a nicer buzz.
LIAM: I’d . . . never really thought about that. It does though.
NOEL: I don’t know if you remember how it felt at ho–at our parents’ house. But it was very different.
[thinking out loud, not really aware this isn’t his internal monologue saying it] Luis made every room he was in feel warmer. I wish you could have met him.
NOEL: [softly] So do I.
LIAM: [startled noise] I! I hadn’t meant to — that wasn’t meant–
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: But she did meet him. She killed him. You know this. Don’t be a fool.
NOEL: Is something the matter?
LIAM: Nono, not at all, not . . .
I . . . I hate to even ask this, and I hate that I’ve thought it at all, but–
NOEL: But you want to know if it was me.
LIAM: . . . yes.
NOEL: [sigh] No, it’s a fair question. But no. It wasn’t me.
[sigh of relief] Oh, thank fuck.
NOEL: How long had you been holding that in?
LIAM: Since the beginning. I . . . I don’t know how I would have felt if it had been you. If you’d been the one.
NOEL: [thoughtful hmm]
LIAM: I don’t know that I would have hated you. I don’t think I can hate you. And I didn’t know how to feel about that.
NOEL: It wasn’t me. But I know who it was.
You’ve met her, actually. Twice.
LIAM: I . . . have?
LIAM: [gradually putting it together] Hai- . . . oh.
NOEL: Yes. So if it helps at all, you got your revenge. She–she was my friend. Like he was yours.
LIAM: Noel, I’m s–
NOEL: [gentle, but firm] Liam.
NOEL: It was a fair question. About Luis. I’m not mad. About the question, or the . . .
. . . about her.
LIAM: Oh. Still.
NOEL: I understand. [sigh] But it seems neither of us can hate the other. So that’s . . . something.
A knock on LIAM’s bedroom door
FLYNN: [calling through the door] Nico’s saying dinner is almost ready — when you come out, we can finish setting up.
NOEL: We should go.
LIAM: We should.
LIAM and NOEL open the door to the living room. NICO is carrying out a broad, shallow dutch oven as FLYNN sets down bowls at place settings
LIAM: It smells amazing! Nico, what did you make?
NICO: Shakshuka and ossi dei morti.
NOEL: [dryly] Eggs in Purgatory and . . . Dead Bone cookies? I sense a theme.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: This is already going very well.
FLYNN: [trying to steer the conversation back to safety] I’m sure it’ll all be wonderful — let’s sit and start!
SARAH: Oh, when I went down for olive oil, I also picked up some of that fancy lemonade we liked — you want some?
LIAM: Yes. Please.
CWs: In-scene character death
EXT. ROOF OF MAHIRA’S BUILDING, LATE AFTERNOON
SFX: LIAM and MAHIRA are up on the rooftop again. The sounds of the city are faint from up there, and we can hear occasional gusts of wind from an oncoming storm.
LIAM: I’m endlessly grateful I never had to have a “meet the parents” dinner with a partner while growing up. If last night was any indication of how they normally go–
MAHIRA: [laugh] Liam, what part of that night was normal?
LIAM: That . . . is fair.
MAHIRA: I’m sorry to hear it didn’t go well.
LIAM: Oh, no no, it went shockingly well!
MAHIRA: Ha. “Shockingly.” But you just said . . .
LIAM: It didn’t start well! But then–
The apartment, right where we left off
NICO: So, Noel. What are your intentions when it comes to our boy?
LIAM: [spluttering his sip of lemonade] Intentions?
NOEL: Would you believe that I missed my brother?
SARAH: [skeptical] Mm-mmn.
FLYNN: Maybe? But not that you don’t have other reasons, too.
NOEL: That’s legitimate. I do have other reasons. But they’re not . . . they’re not nefarious.
NOEL: There’s something . . . Sarah, how secure is this apartment? Against surveillance?
SARAH: [scoffs] Extremely.
NOEL: [relieved exhale] There’s something going on that . . . that I’m not in the loop on. In my own department. Which is strange to say the least, but in light of–
[small choked sound – something is stopping her from saying more. A beat while she collects herself.]
It’s strange. And it has me feeling very uneasy. And of everyone there, Liam . . . Liam might be the person I trust most right now. And Liam trusts you all. So . . .
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: This might be a trap. It could definitely be a trap. Don’t trust this.
LIAM’S OTHER INNER VOICE: SAVE HER SAVE HER SAVE HER
MAHIRA: Fuck. That’s. Liam, that could be pretty promising. If she’s not — y’know.
LIAM: My thoughts exactly.
NOEL: So . . . I did have an ulterior motive in getting closer to Liam. It’s true that Morgan suggested hiring him, but I’m the one who asked that he be given an office next to mine. And.
LIAM: [obviously hopeful] . . . and?
NOEL: And I’m the one who erased footage of you going against standard procedure in testing sessions.
EVERYONE: [noises of surprise/alarm/confusion]
MAHIRA: Holy shit??
LIAM: Hang on, though. There was still more.
SARAH: Why would you do that? You’ve been unflinchingly loyal to Reilley for years now. What’s changed?
NOEL: I wanted to protect him! I still want to believe in Morgan and her mission, but — but I’m not ignorant! I know what happens to people who betray her! And people who go against the order she has set up in that company.
NICO: They get fucking got.
LIAM: [hushed, thinking out loud] When our father came, after . . .
FLYNN: Oh fuck.
LIAM: I had suspicions about it not being a heart attack. The timing was too . . . convenient. At least it’s good to know I was right.
SARAH: And after all that, you’re still on her side?
MAHIRA: It’s a valid question!
MAHIRA: Liam! Your sister confirmed that the Big Bad we’ve been after all this time murdered your father. And that it hasn’t changed her allegiance at all!
LIAM: [pleading, trying to convince her]
She’s been protecting me! Isn’t that good?
MAHIRA: She’s led you into the goddamn lion’s den! Every step of the way, she’s drawn you deeper into this, and for what? She’s–
NOEL: Her methods are wrong. But her goals are — years of my life have been [dedicated]–
We are forcibly flung back to the present day when MAHIRA’s phone alarm goes off.
LIAM and MAHIRA: [startled noise]
MAHIRA: Sorry, I forgot to turn that off.
LIAM: What was the alarm for?
MAHIRA: Water break, but we haven’t started training yet, so.
LIAM: Sorry, I got us off track.
MAHIRA: No, not at all! Or . . . ok, a little. But this was all good info to have.
A low, distant rumble of thunder
LIAM: Should we get started?
MAHIRA: Actually, I had an idea I wanted to run by you. I want to try something different today. But only if you’re ok with it.
MAHIRA: We’ve been practicing a lot of offense and defense, and those are good for sure, but . . . you remember how I mentioned the body has electrical impulses? That got me thinking about defibrillation and — we for sure could not tell the rest of the team we were doing this.
LIAM: But . . . defibrillation is for . . .
LIAM: No?? No, there’s no way. I don’t have the control I’d need and if I fuck it up then you’d [be dead and] —
MAHIRA: You do have the control, and you wouldn’t fuck it up.
LIAM: That’s easy for you to say! You’re asking me to [come out and murder you] —
MAHIRA: And then fix it, yeah.
LIAM: [horrified laugh]
MAHIRA: It’s a skill I hope you’ll never need to use, but one I think you need to have ready just in case. C’mon. There’s a storm rolling in soon to give you some extra oomph. Zap me.
LIAM: [scoff, and then, incredulous as fuck] Zap you.
MAHIRA: Liam! Trust me!
Think about it. If you can learn how to do this, you’ll have something you can do with magic that is completely, undeniably good. You can save lives.
A low, distant rumble of thunder
LIAM: I . . . huh.
LIAM: . . . yeah.
But I want a contingency plan. In case this all goes bad.
MAHIRA: We can’t tell the team. They’d lose it.
LIAM: Oh, that wasn’t who I was thinking.
LIAM pulls out his phone and texts NICO
LIAM: I’m letting Nico know we might need him in a minute, and to keep an eye on his phone.
MAHIRA: Smart — he’s probably had to re-alive someone at some point.
LIAM: My thoughts exactly.
LIAM’s phone buzzes — it’s Nico.
LIAM: He says, “Sure Vamps”. Should . . . should I be concerned that he needed absolutely no context?
MAHIRA: Eh, probably not. You ready?
LIAM: As I’ll ever be.
LIAM sinks into the stance MAHIRA has taught him and begins charging up his magic. At the same time, lightning strikes close enough to rattle nearby windows. He jumps and inadvertently lets out a too-strong blast of magic. MAHIRA, distracted by the lightning, crumples to the ground with a horrible thud. Immediately, LIAM’s heartbeat is much too loud, much too close, but muffled, like a pounding car bass heard through a wall. All other sound drops out.
LIAM: [shaky] M . . . Mahira?
LIAM: [choking back panic] Please say something.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Call Nico. Don’t even bother trying. You know you aren’t competent enough to save her.
LIAM’S OTHER INNER VOICE: This . . . learning this was the point of the exercise. Go. Do the second part. Help her.
LIAM: I-I . . .
LIAM’S INNER VOICE
You did this.
LIAM: [suddenly sounding very small and lost] What do I do?
LIAM’S OTHER INNER VOICE: Help her. Help her help her help her NOW.
LIAM runs to MAHIRA and skids to a stop before falling to his knees next to her.
LIAM: [very shaky, breathing raggedly] What do I do please Mahira please this was a terrible idea and I shouldn’t have said yes and–
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: You killed her with magic and they were right all along you’re dangerous you’re a monster you have no control at all you’re a killer you were wrong about which Alden is a murderer it was never Noel it was YOU and your magic is a FUCKING CURSE
LIAM: No. I — magic. I can save you. This was the whole point —
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Heartbeat. Check her heartbeat. At least know what the fuck you’re trying to do before you just do it.
LIAM presses his ear to MAHIRA’s chest. Her heartbeat is very, very slow and irregular, weak and barely audible, but there. But it’s getting fainter fast.
LIAM’S INNER VOICE: Not dead yet. Not yet.
LIAM: [barely holding himself together] I can fix this. I can — electrical impulses. Mahira, you said it. You said bodies have electrical impulses. I can undo this. I can — you’ll be ok. You have to be.
[half inhale/half sob]
Please, I can’t lose you too.
SFX: LIAM places his hands on MAHIRA. He takes several deep breaths, and his heartbeat becomes slightly less oppressive. We hear his magic — small and soft at first, but it builds. As it builds, it syncs with his heartbeat. After a moment, we hear MAHIRA’s magic join, also pulsing like a heartbeat.
MAHIRA: [sharp, sudden gasp, then coughing]
LIAM: Sweet merciful fuck, Mahira, thank you, I’m sorry I’m so so sorry I swear I didn’t mean to the car backfired and I know I should have better control by now and I’m so sorry I —
MAHIRA: [croaky, ragged sounding, but pleased] I was right.
LIAM: But you almost weren’t, you were almost gone and it was my fault and if you had died — are you — is everything — wiggle your fingers for me. Or your feet. Something.
I don’t know what to do.
MAHIRA: Ok, ok, wiggling.
[she wiggles a foot]
Ow. Everything hurts.
LIAM: Fuck I’m so sorry —
MAHIRA: Shh. Later. You did good.
MAHIRA: First things first, get me off this roof.
Gingerly, LIAM helps MAHIRA to her feet, supporting most of her weight, and they limp towards the door.
MAHIRA: Ok. This might have been . . . very stupid of us.
LIAM: THIS WAS YOUR IDEA.
They both laugh, not because it’s funny, because it’s really very not, but because they both need catharsis right then.
END OF EPISODE 10
Valence is a Hug House production. You can find more information at Hug House dot Productions.
VALENCE is created by me, Wil Williams. This episode was written by Katie Youmans. This episode was edited and sound designed by Wil Williams. This episode was directed by Anne Baird and Katie Youmans, and produced by Anne Baird.
This episode was performed by, in order of appearance:
-Josh Rubino as Liam and Liam’s Inner Voices,
-Alex Welch as Noel Alden,
-Miracle Fonmanu as Zoe Kafoa,
-John Westover as Nico Salvai,
-Caleb Del Rio as Flynn Velasco,
-Jordan Cobb as Sarah Harris,
-Sable the cat as Soap, and
-Ishani Kanetkar as Mahira Varma.
-Our theme music for season 2 was written and performed by Travis Reaves,
-with production from Raul Vega.
-Other music is provided by Kevin MacCleod, Loyalty Freak Music, Kai Engel, and in this episode, Quiet Music for Tiny Robots. You can find links to more information on them in our show notes.
-You can find our full cast list and information on how to support this indie podcast on valencepod dot com. There, you can find a link to our Patreon, where you can give us some support.
-Until next time, protect your magic.