Except by ten o’clock he still hasn’t texted back. And he always texts back. Always within the hour. He finds a way. He’s texted me from lessons, from his family supper, wherever. He doesn’t not text. But right now he’s not texting.
It’s eleven. He’s not texting.
It’s midnight. No text.
And now it’s one o’clock, and I don’t know what to do. I can’t sleep. I can’t even lie down. I officially “went to bed” three hours ago but I haven’t touched the covers. I’m pacing around my room, trying to calm my whirling thoughts, but they’re like a hurricane.
I’ve wrecked everything with Linus. He’s never texting. It’s over. He was right, I was selfish. I should never have gone to that stupid meeting. Why did I do it? Why? I always do stupid things. I’m such a stupid, idiot failure, and now I’ve spoiled the only good thing I had in my life, and he hates me and there’s nothing I can do about it. The whole thing’s over. And it’s all my fault, my stupid, stupid fault…
My thoughts are speeding up and my pace is speeding up too, and I’m pulling at my arms, pulling at the flesh of my forearms, trying to…I don’t know. I don’t understand it. I glance in the mirror and flinch at my own wild stare. I can feel a weird sparking all over my body, like I’m more alive than I should be, like my body is overloaded with life force. Can you have too much life stuffed into one body? Because that’s what this feels like. And everything’s too fast. My heart, my thoughts, my feet, my clawing arms…
Maybe I should take something. The thought hits me like a very sensible person talking in my ear. Yes. Of course. I have things I could take. I have lots of things.
I rootle around in my box full of magic tricks, dropping bottles and packets on the floor in my haste. OK, a Clonazepam. Maybe two. Maybe three. I swallow them, and wait for everything to calm down. But my mind is still screaming, round and round like a motor race, and I can’t stand it. I can’t stand myself. I have to escape…
When suddenly another brilliant idea hits me. I’ll go for a walk. I’ll burn off all this energy. The fresh air will do me a power of good. And I’ll come back and sleep it off and, like they say, things will be better in the morning.
MY SERENE AND LOVING FAMILY—FILM TRANSCRIPT
INTERIOR. 5 ROSEWOOD CLOSE. DAY.
The camera wobbles as someone stabilises it on a high surface. As this person backs away we see it is Frank, in the sitting room. He stares into the camera with deeply worried eyes.
Is this working? OK. Hello. I’m Frank Turner and this is my video diary. My sister Audrey is missing. It’s a nightmare. We woke up this morning and there she wasn’t. Mum and Dad are just…(He swallows.) We’ve looked everywhere, and we’ve phoned everyone. Mum and Dad called the police, like, that instant. And the police are great, they’re really calm. But…
He shuts his eyes briefly.
I still don’t believe this is happening.
He’s silent a while, his eyes hollow.
They blame me. Which is…
He exhales miserably.
Anyway. We’re going out again in a minute, to look again. I dunno where—I mean, we’ve looked everywhere. All the little side alleys, maybe? But Mum said I should have some food first. Like anyone wants to eat.
He gives another heavy sigh.
Anyway. I told them what we did yesterday. I had to. Audrey, if you’re watching this, I had to.
Audrey, please come home and be watching this.
The doorbell rings and he jumps a mile.
Wait a sec.
He runs out of the room. A few seconds elapse, then he returns, slack-shouldered, accompanied by Linus.
It wasn’t her. It was Linus.
He looks awkwardly into the camera.
Mum comes striding into the room, her face drawn, her eyes burning with purpose, her manner hyper.
Frank, we’re going through her things, and I need to know—
She sees Linus and stops dead, full of hostility.
You. What are you doing here?
Linus is shocked by her aggression.
Me? I just—Frank told me about Audrey, so—
Do you know where she is?
No! Of course not! I would have said!
He gulps nervously at Mum’s manner but carries on.
Frank said you wanted to know who she’d been texting? Well, she sent me this text yesterday, but it only came through just now. I had no idea she’d texted.