Artwork by Garth Laidlaw

Episode 11: This is It

With their stomachs empty and health declining, access to Haven's resources could represent life or death for Isa's mom and little brother, like so many others outside the Project. When Haven's extreme prejudice against Outsiders leaves them with little hope, what can Isa and Markus do to help?

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SOUND: Door closing.

ISA: I’m home! Mama? (Footsteps and door creaking as Isa enters her mother’s room) Mama? Are you awake?

LOUISA: Yes. Just needed to rest for a moment. How was work?

ISA: A lot of paperwork today. We need another shipment of iron supplements this week; the emergency room is full of anemics.

LOUISA: You’re sounding like a real doctor these days.

ISA: (chuckling) Yeah, I’m sure my paper shuffling is saving a lot of lives. (Pause.) Do you have another shift tonight?

LOUISA: Yeah, from ten until seven.

ISA: Are you going to be okay?

LOUISA: Of course. Don’t worry about me, sweetheart. (Text tone) Who’s that?

ISA: (Typing)  Just a friend of mine from work.

SOUND: Rattling of cutlery, sizzling frying pan. Phone ringing. Markus’ voice on phone.

MARKUS: Hey, are you doing okay?

ISA: Yeah, I’m alright. Sorry about the other day.

MARKUS: You have nothing to apologize for. What are you up to?

ISA: I’m just making Mom and Raine some dinner.

MARKUS: And yourself, right? Have you eaten today?

ISA: (Hushed) I had a protein bar this morning.

LOUISA: Who’re you talking to?

ISA: I have to go.

MARKUS: Okay. (Hanging up) 

ISA: Just a work friend.

LOUISA: Just a work friend.

ISA: Yep. Just confirming- following up on the iron supplement paperwork. Dinner, Raine!

LOUISA: Where’s yours?

ISA: I...I already ate.

LOUISA: No you didn’t.

ISA: Yeah I did. At work. Now eat your food, before you’re late for your shift.

SOUND: Plate lifted.


ISA: I can’t. This is the last of the meat. You and Raine need it more than I do.

LOUISA: You need to eat too, Isa. You eat tonight.

ISA: No. I know you didn’t have dinner yesterday.

LOUISA: I won’t eat if you won’t.

ISA: Mama...

LOUISA: ...We’ll split it.

ISA: (affectionate laugh) okay.

SOUND: Phone call sound effect.

ISA: Markus? What’s up?

MARKUS: I told my dad the truth.

ISA: What? 

MARKUS: My dad’s a guard. If he’s on duty, I could sneak you past the border and he wouldn’t report it.

ISA: Markus...

MARKUS: He can help us, Isa. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. He’s your ticket in!

ISA:  And he agreed to this?

MARKUS: Well not yet, but-

ISA: This is ridiculous.

MARKUS: No, it can work! And it means you could bring your family.

ISA: Are you kidding me? We’d get arrested as soon as we got in. Your dad isn’t the only guard.

MARKUS: But he could sneak us past the others!

ISA: He’d never do that. You told me he’s terrified of Outsiders.

MARKUS: He’s terrified of the ones that come in with weapons. He doesn’t...he’s not like the higher ups on the wall. He wants to help people like you, he just doesn’t know how.

ISA: Maybe that’s because there’s no way. When we get caught, not only are me and my family dead but you and your dad are deported, right?

MARKUS: I’m willing to risk it.

ISA: You shouldn’t be. It isn’t worth putting your entire family in danger for me! Markus, this is real life.

MARKUS: No, I know, I know it’s real life. That’s why I’m so worried. I’m scared for you, Isa. I’m terrified and it freaks me out that you aren’t.

ISA: You think I’m not scared? Of course I’m scared! But fear doesn’t make crops grow. It doesn’t make my family less hungry. Raine is a child. What happens to him when I let myself be afraid? And Mama. She spent years giving me her meals, until her ribs stuck out and her legs were purple and she never let me know how scared she was. It’s my turn to be brave now. I don’t have a choice.

MARKUS:’re right. I’m sorry, I didn’t...

ISA: It’s okay. I’m glad you don’t understand. I wouldn’t want you to. I wouldn’t wish this on you. I have to go for now, I have to get Raine into bed.

MARKUS: Isa, I’m sorry.

ISA: Goodnight, Markus.

SOUND: Phone hanging up. 

SOUND: Background hospital chatter, Isa typing on a keyboard. Phone ringing.

ISA: Markus, I’m at work right now.

MARKUS: I talked to my dad and we have a plan.

ISA: You’re serious?

MARKUS: Yeah. You’re right, he said there’s no way to bring you in.

ISA: Thanks, Sherlock.

MARKUS: He and I can go out, though. I’m eighteen now. People are expecting my dad to start training me for guard duty. Guards in training have to leave the project borders through the forest.

ISA: So?

MARKUS: We’ll leave through the forest. We’ll be wearing all official guard gear; no one will question us. You said you can see the green city in the east, right? 

ISA: I think I know the town. It’s only about an hour east.

MARKUS: So we’ll meet you there, and we’ll bring food.

ISA: You can do that?

MARKUS: Well, not legally, but...we WILL do that. This is it, Isa, you’re going to be okay. You can keep your family alive until you can safely get them inside.

ISA: Holy crap, Mark. This actually sounds like a plan.

MARKUS: I know, right? Okay, get back to work for now. I’ll give you the details this evening.

SOUND: Hanging up.

SOUND: We hear Raine coughing and gagging in the background. Phone call sound effects.

MARKUS: Alright, so this is going to be tricky... are you okay?

ISA: (holding back tears) Yeah, sorry.

MARKUS: What’s wrong?

ISA: Raine’s sick again. I’m not sure what to do.

MARKUS: Does he need medicine? We can bring medicine.

ISA: Yeah, it’s just. I’m worried about getting him there in the first place, but I can’t leave him alone. (Pause. Isa takes a deep, shuddering breath.) I’m not bailing, though. He’s sick like this because he needs food. I know that.

MARKUS: We’re going to get him food. It’s going to be alright. It’s just not fair. (Pause.) We’re going to change things, though. I feel it. This is the start of something huge. No one deserves to starve, especially not when we have the resources to save you. We’re going to make a change, Isa.

ISA: (laughing through tears) I’m excited to be there for it.

SOUND: We hear a car driving over an uneven surface. 

PHONE RECORDING: I’m sorry, your call can’t be completed at this time

MARKUS: What’s going on? I haven’t been able to contact her all day!

DEVIN: They’re getting stricter about phone usage these days, kid. You aren’t the only one trying to break down the wall.

MARKUS: They aren’t on to me, are they?

DEVIN: I don’t know, but we know where we’re going anyway. I’d keep my phone turned off if I were you. Alright Mark, the border’s right up there. You keep your head down. If they ask, where are we going? 

MARKUS: South forest, sanction D. You’re training me for patrol.

DEVIN: Good. Right. Let’s do this.

SOUND: Phone beeping.

ISA: He’s dead, he’s got to be dead.

LOUISA: He isn’t dead.

ISA: Why hasn’t he called yet?

LOUISA: They’re probably blocking the calls. You know how Insiders can be with their tech.

ISA: I guess you’re right. (pause) It’s hot in here. Raine’s going to be fine, right, Mama?

LOUISA: He’s sleeping soundly, and he doesn’t feel feverish. You shouldn’t worry so much.

ISA: (laughing bitterly) I feel like all I can do these days is worry.

LOUISA: You sound like me when I was your age. (Chuckles.) Careful, or you’ll end up as wrinkly as I am.

SOUND: We hear the car again, as we return to the scene with Devin and Markus.

DEVIN: This is it?

MARKUS: This is it. The red building with the grey roof.

SOUND: The car slows to a stop. Car doors open and close. Footsteps on gravel. Knocking on door, in a specific pattern. Door creaks, opening.

ISA: Markus!

MARKUS: Isa! This is it, Isa!

ISA: We’re going to survive. We’re going to survive, Mama! Oh, sorry. Uh, Mama, this is Markus, and Devin. Devin and Markus, this is my Mom, Louisa. And here’s Raine. He’s sleeping because he wasn’t feeling well yesterday, but-

MARKUS: You don’t need to be so nervous, it’s just me.

ISA: (laughing.) I know, I’m just...

MARKUS: Happy?

ISA: Yeah. I’m happy. I mean...this is it. This is it, Mama. This is the new beginning.