from Tuesday, October14th of the year2014.
In March 2001 in an English industrial city, before widespread use of the internet, Detective Anne Strawson is given a case she does not want: Jake, 14, has been stabbed in the heart and remains comatose; Brian, 16, stands accused but maintains his innocence. He regales Anne with a preposterous narrative, claiming to have been ensnared online in a web of outrageous and melodramatic characters including wealthy, beautiful Rebecca, 17, her genius brother, Jake, their “Aunt” Fiona, a professional spy, and Peter, their mentally deranged gardener and private assassin in Fiona’s employ. Convinced that Brian is stalling by inventing such outrageous fictions, Anne pushes for Brian to confess to the crime, but Brian vehemently defends his tortured tale. Losing patience, Anne requisitions the boy’s computer from his clueless parents and asks her boss to obtain transcripts of Brian’s online chats to put an end to the nonsense.
At home with her invalid mother, Anne shares that Brian is the very age Anne’s child, given up for adoption at birth, would be today. She cannot bear to think of the kind of life her son must be facing. She and her mother review the security tape from the shopping centre where the stabbing occurred. There is no evidence of any assailant other than Brian. Anne confronts Brian with this and he startles her by revealing the fact that she knows less than nothing about internet life. Anne doesn’t even own a computer. Brian tells her how deeply he loved Rebecca and how agonized he was to learn of her rape and murder at the hands of Peter. Brian believes she was killed for helping her little brother investigate the high-level spy ring of “Aunt” Fiona.
Visiting Jake’s mother at his hospital bed, Anne asks if Jake has a sister Rebecca, and is told that he does and she has not been seen for some time. Jake’s mother also confirms that she has a best friend Fiona. Anne is then confronted with the transcriptions of Brian’s online chats, all confirming the stories he has been telling her. He is inventing nothing.
Alone in her office in the middle of the night, Anne reviews the evidence from every possible angle: how is such a crime possible? She asks her boss to help comb the morgues to see if Rebecca’s body has turned up, and to contact M15 about “Aunt” Fiona. Anne apologizes to Brian for not believing him and asks to be shown a chat room. For the first time she begins to hear the music that so intoxicates Brian. She makes him finish his testimony, in which Brian is approached online by both Fiona and Peter. When Jake shows up at Brian’s home seeking refuge, Brian takes the younger boy in and the two have sex before Brian vehemently rejects the boy. Soon after, Fiona offers Brian a large sum of money to assassinate Jake; at first he refuses. Anne, realizing she has forgotten about her mother because of her obsession with this case, rushes home to find her mother fast asleep. Anne explodes with frustration: she feels a failure in all regards and is glad she did not have an opportunity to destroy her child. Anne’s mother makes a chance remark that leads to Anne’s beginning to solve the case. Rushing back to the office, she listens to Brian explain how Jake was found to be dying of a rare brain cancer, and so Brian chose to accept Fiona’s offer and kill Jake. Brian meets the boy in a secluded area and stabs him.
Anne returns to the hospital, where comatose Jake is found to be brain dead and is to be taken off all life support. Looking on Jake’s computer, Anne finds the evidence of all the online monikers Jake indeed created: Rebecca, Fiona, Peter. She hears the voices of the characters he invented and she thinks of the children lost because of parents who fail to hear and see them, to love them, to keep them close. She has solved the case and is left with the image of so many children, “gone for now,” perhaps even the child she gave up at birth.
ANNE, a detective, 50’s: Alto
BRIAN, 16: Tenor
REBECCA, 18: Soprano
BOY, 12: Boy Soprano
FIONA, 35, a spy: Mezzo-Soprano
JAKE, 15: Baritone
PETER, 28: Bass
BRIAN’S MOTHER: Mezzo-Soprano
BRIAN’S FATHER: Bass
WOMAN (Jake’s Mother): Mezzo-Soprano
MARK FOLEY, Representative from Florida: Tenor
CONGRESSIONAL PAGE: Tenor
LORI DREW: Soprano
MEGAN MEIERMegan Meier: Soprano
PRECENTOR OF THE CHURCH: Tenor
Chorus of internet users, churchgoers, shoppers, citizens.