Content Warning- strong language, violence, mild sexual themes
The lights come up on a bathroom. Maddie and Alex are sat in the bath opposite each other, Dan is sat on the toilet (but not using it) and Anna is pacing around the small amount of floor space, occasionally re-arranging the floor mat – each time she goes to do this, Dan has to lift his feet up to his chest. They are all clearly stressed, and none of them are fully sober. Muffled house music can be heard coming from downstairs. A towel is stuffed across the bottom of the door which leads offstage.
ANNA: Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck… (etc)
MADDIE: I thought it would be fine. A few friends, some drinks…
DAN: It’s never a few drinks though is it?
ALEX: It’s certainly not a few friends anymore, either.
ANNA: (snapping at Alex) Yes, thank you Alex.
ALEX: (quietly) Sorry.
DAN: Maddie did you manage a headcount?
MADDIE: Not a chance.
MADDIE: I kept getting to 50 and someone would talk to me, or offer me a drink or…
ANNA/ALEX: Fuck!/ Shit!
MADDIE: I’m sure there’s more than that; I couldn’t get through the front room. Maybe we could go down and ask them to leave?
DAN: You want to go down there?!
ANNA: But ‘they’ might be down there.
MADDIE: I just really thought we’d be fine. How did they find us?!
ALEX: No one is safe.
ANNA: Yes, thank you Alex, otherwise we wouldn’t be holed up in the bathroom.
Footsteps can be heard coming up the stairs. The group in the bathroom go silent, and stay completely still. The footsteps stop for a second, and a cough can be heard. The group hold their breath. A door opens, and then closes and the footsteps go back downstairs. As the person reaches the bottom of the stairs, a cheer can be heard. The group let out their held breath and resume movement and sound.
ALEX: Do you think that was…
MADDIE: No, they wouldn’t come upstairs.
ANNA: And even if one of them did, don’t worry folks – we have a towel protecting us!
DAN: Anna, we have to work with what we’ve got.
ALEX: What if it was one of them though? If we could hear that cough, surely a towel wouldn’t…
DAN: What else should we do? Huh?
ANNA: If one of them was outside…
MADDIE: But we don’t actually know who ‘they’ are. How are we supposed to tell? It’s a house party for fuck’s sake.
ANNA: I think the general idea was not to have a house party. Y’know: government guidelines and shit.
DAN: You didn’t have to come, Anna.
ANNA: Yes well I’m here now, aren’t I!
ALEX: Do you think we’ll get in trouble?
MADDIE: I’m sure it’ll be fine, we just have to make sure we know when ‘they’ have gone, and then we can…
ANNA: (sarcastic) Ah yes, let’s just wait for them to go! Thanks Mads.
DAN: What do you want us to do Anna?
ANNA: I wish I was in Manchester with Pete!
No one responds; the group is quiet for a moment.
MADDIE: Well, you’re not. You’re here.
DAN: There are more important things than getting laid, Anna.
MADDIE: Hmmm I don’t know actually–
ANNA: Fucking lockdown, fucking tier system, at least there he is locked down, so would never end up in this fucking situation…
ALEX: (trying to make a joke) Locked down or tied down? (Anna and Dan give Alex dirty looks, Maddie snorts with laughter)
DAN: You don’t think we all wish we weren’t here? We’re all regretting this, Anna. We’re all shitting ourselves. What if the police turn up? What if one of them kills us?
MADDIE: Oh don’t be melodramatic, Dan.
DAN: Melodramatic? There is a cult roaming the streets, we have no way of knowing who is a member, and if they get you alone they force you to join the cult, and if you don’t join they literally kill you. And they’re international now. How the fuck am I being melodramatic? One of them is in our house, Maddie!
MADDIE: Everyone is being overdramatic! We can’t let a stupid fucking cult run our lives. It’s bullshit hiding in a bathroom. I’m going.
DAN/ALEX/ANNA: No! (Dan jumps up to stand in front of the door. Maddie stands up in the bath)
DAN: Are you insane??
ANNA: Maybe she’s right. What are we supposed to do, sit here forever?
MADDIE: Thank you, Anna! Alex: let’s go
ALEX: Urm, I’m not sure that’s a good idea…
MADDIE: Does anyone actually know anyone in this cult? Or anyone who has been (sarcastically) ‘murdered’?
ALEX: Well yes I–
ANNA: See! We just need to get out and get on with our lives.
DAN: Wait what Alex? You know someone?
(They all turn to look at Alex, who looks uncomfortable)
ALEX: He was just someone I went to school with, urm, found dead a week ago.
DAN: Do you all see! This is happening!
ANNA: One person!
MADDIE: Jesus Christ, it’s like Shaun of the fucking Dead.
ALEX: (quietly) It was actually Hot Fuzz with the cult in it. Shaun of the Dead was zombies.
ANNA: (sarcastically) Ah brilliant, because what this situation needs is some accurate pop culture references!
MADDIE: How long have we been in here now? I feel pretty much fucking sober. At least let me do a booze run.
DAN: Your priorities are shocking, mate.
(There is a knock on the door)
GUY: Is anyone in there?
(They don’t reply)
GUY: I just really need a piss!
(They all look at each other, and eventually all look at Anna)
ANNA: (whispering) We can’t let him in, surely.
DAN: (whispering) No!
MADDIE: (whispering) He’s just a guy, at a party, who needs a wee!
ALEX: (whispering) What if he’s one of them?
DAN: (whispering) He might kill us!
MADDIE: (whispering) Oh for fuck’s sake (she goes to the door, bends to the floor to get the towel and an axe comes hurling into the door. Maddie screams, Dan and Anna throw themselves into the bath with Alex)
ALEX: (loudly) FUCK.
ANNA: I think he might be with the cult guys.
DAN: No shit!
(The axe gets pulled out of the door)
ALEX: Are you ok Maddie?
(The axe comes through the door again)
ANNA: I’m not too versed in student housing, but I don’t think their doors stand up too well to axes.
DAN: No shit!
ALEX: What do we do?
MADDIE: Maybe, just maybe, you all should’ve listened when I suggested leaving to get more drinks!
ANNA: Shockingly, Maddie, I don’t think booze is going to help us in this situation.
GUY: Hey guys…
DAN: (whispering) Fuck shit bollocks.
GUY: You know there’s a really easy way out of this.
ANNA: (whispering) You know earlier when we were saying how no one we know has come into contact with the cult?
GUY: I was in your position not too long ago you know.
MADDIE: (whispering) Yeah?
GUY: Now life is so much better.
ANNA: (whispering) I think we should have paid more attention to what Alex was trying to say.
GUY: It’s just a little lifestyle change…
MADDIE: Oh my God, if I have to hear about this fucking cult one more time…
Maddie throws open the bathroom door and runs offstage, the door closes behind her (it’s weighted). Noises can be heard – it could be a fight; it could be someone falling down the stairs. Open to interpretation – the audience and the three still in the bathroom don’t know what’s happening. They wait, anxiously listening. Everything goes still, and for a moment it seems like everyone is holding their breath. Someone outside the door slowly picks themselves up off the ground. Dan dives forward, locking the bathroom door
ALEX: (whispering) What if it’s Maddie?
DAN: (whispering) What if it’s not!
ANNA: (whispering) We should get out of here while we can.
DAN: (whispering) He might be out there!
ANNA: (whispering) He might not!
(The door handle starts to turn – someone is trying to get in)
MADDIE: Guys? I just really need a piss…
(Dan, Anna and Alex look at each other)