Season 1/Episode 12: Lost in the Woods

by Jim McDoniel

Content advisories for this episode can be found below.

This episode features: Shariba Rivers as Lily, Amelia Bethel as Marisol, Marsha Harman as Dot, Priya Mohanty as Dr. Alicia Laramie, Christopher J. Wilson as Tony, Jillian Leff as Selene, Michael Turrentine as Wes, Pat King as Chester, Mark Soloff as ^6fh6*7%%@, Sebastian Orr as &$^#&$#, Ele Matelan as @&*@^$&.

“John the Revelator” is a traditional song, performed by Michael Turrentine, with backing vocals by Betsey Palmer and Jeffrey Nils Gardner

Written by Jim McDoniel, sound design by Ryan Schile, directed by Jeffrey Nils Gardner, music composed by Stephen Poon, recording engineer Mel Ruder, Unwell lead sound designer Ryan Schile, Executives Producers Eleanor Hyde and Jeffrey Gardner, by HartLife NFP.

This episode contains:
-Profanity
-Murder
-Death
-Animal attacks
-Breach of medical trust
-Discussion of Alzheimer’s and dementia
-Alcohol consumption
-Fire
-Gory sound effects

Transcript:

SCENE 1.

INT. A DOCTOR’S OFFICE. DAY.

DOOR OPENS. FOOTSTEPS.

DOCTOR: Sorry to keep you waiting.

SITS IN A LEATHER CHAIR THAT CREAKS

BACKWARD. PAGES FLIPPING ON A CLIPBOARD.

So, most of the test results have come back. The CT scans

showed no abnormal growths, no signs of stroke, no excess

fluid or physical trauma.

PAPER FLIPS.

Reflex and coordination tests all look good. I think we can

safely rule out Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob. Skip that

pesky brain biopsy.

PAPER FLIPS.

Blood tests and physical were normal. No signs of heart or

liver disease. Some reduced lung capacity but nothing out of

the ordinary for someone who refuses to listen to her doctor

about smoking. Kidneys good. No thyroid abnormalities.

DOCTOR (CONT’D): We’ll have to wait on the genetic tests but other than that,

based on these results and what you’ve told me about her

behavior, all signs point to early onset Alzheimer’s.

PAPER BEING SET DOWN.

So the important thing is going to be care and observation. I

want to start off with one of the milder drugs, galantamine, to

try and slow down the progression we’re seeing. We’ll

go with that for a few months and if we need to move on to

something stronger we can. Diet, physical exercise, and

mental stimulation are all going to be important as day to

day care is imperative. However, based on these incidents,

I believe she needs a full-time care provider. A family

member or a nursing aide, something. Potentially I can

recommend some assisted living facilities in Julian or

Tinley’s Ferry that will allow her autonomy while still

offering the necessary supervision. But...I’m afraid, that’s

where we are.

Any questions?

CHESTER: No. I think that’s everything I need to know.

STANDS.

CHESTER: Thank you Alicia. I appreciate the heads up.

DOCTOR: Anything for the Order.

DOOR OPENS. FOOTSTEPS WALK

AWAY. CLIPBOARD AND PAPERS ARE

GATHERED. FOOTSTEPS WALK OUT OF THE

ROOM. DOOR SHUTS. FOOTSTEPS WALK DOWN

THE HALL.

FOOTSTEPS STOP. KNOCK ON A DOOR. DOOR

OPENS.

Sorry to keep you waiting.

DOT: (OFF) That’s okay. I like sitting around with my butt hanging

out.

LILY: (OFF) Mom!

DOCTOR: (OFF) So most of your tests have come back...

DOOR SHUTS. END OF SCENE.

SCENE 2.

INT. CAR. DAY. THE CAR IS DRIVING ALONG THE

ROAD. THE AUDIOBOOK PLAYS.

AUDIOBOOK: (DUTCH ACCENT) “...And now this is what he is to us. He

have infect you—oh, forgive me, my dear, that I must say

such; but it is good of you that I speak. He infect you in such

ways, that even if he do no more, you have only to live—to

live in your own old, sweet way; and so in time, death, which

is of man’s common lot and with God’s sanction, shall make

you like him. This must not be! We have sworn together that

it must not.”

AUDIOBOOK IS TURNED OFF. JUST THE SOUND

OF THE CAR DRIVING ALONG THE ROAD.

LILY: Mom?

DOT: Yes Lily.

LILY: You okay?

DOT: I’m fine.

LILY: Okay.

PAUSE. MORE DRIVING.

LILY: Do you want to fill that prescription on our way back or

go in tomorrow?

DOT: Whatever works best.

LILY: Okay.

PAUSE. MORE DRIVING. AUTOMATIC WINDOW

GOING DOWN.

Please don’t smoke in my car.

AUTOMATIC WINDOW GOING UP.

LILY: Come on Mom. Talk to me.

DOT: What do you want me to say?

LILY: Whatever. Whatever you’re feeling.

DOT: I told you: I’m fine.

LILY: Bullshit. You’re never fine.

DOT: (LOW) That’s not what your father thought.

LILY: See. Yes. That’s you. Dirty. Frustrating. Getting the last word

in. That’s you. Not...

DOT: Not what, Lilian? Not this. Not some stupid, senile old

woman who can’t remember her daughter is thirty-four, not

thirteen? A ghost of who I used to be.

LILY: Mom, you’re still you.

DOT: For how long? This isn’t going to get better, Lilian. This

isn’t going away. This is me now. No matter what I want or

you want or anyone wants. This is me.

(PAUSE.) You’re right, Lily. I’m not fine. I’m scared. I am

very, very scared.

CAR DRIVES ONTO THE GRAVEL ROAD LEADING

UP TO THE BOARDING HOUSE.

LILY: Well I’m here.

DOT: Don’t.

LILY: What?

DOT: You don’t have to pretend. You hate this place.

LILY: That is not...

DOT: (INTERRUPTING) Lilian.

LILY: Okay that is true. But...

DOT: But nothing. You don’t want to be here. I don’t want to force

you to stay.

LILY: So you don’t want me here?

DOT: Of course, I want you here. I’ve always wanted you here.

LILY: Mom, come on.

DOT: No. Don’t. I have always wanted you here. Always and

always. It was your choice to stay away.

LILY: Like it was your choice to leave?

PAUSE. CAR DOOR OPENS.

Mom, I’m sorry.

DOT: (OFF) It’s fine.

LILY TAKES KEYS. TAKES OFF SEAT BELT.

OPENS HER DOOR.

LILY: Mom.

DOT: You’re right Lily. You’re right. I deserve that.

LILY: No.

DOT: It’s okay. Don’t worry about me. I’ll figure something out.

LILY: Mom.

FOOTSTEPS WALKING UP TO THE HOUSE.

SCREEN DOOR OPENS. REGULAR DOOR OPENS

AND CLOSES. CAR DOOR SLAMS SHUT.

LILY: Fuck!

CELL PHONE BEEPS. RINGING. FOOTSTEPS

WALKING INTO THE GRASS.

DALE: Hello?

LILY: Hi Dad.

DALE: Lily, how are you?

LILY: Not great.

CREAK OF THE CEMETERY GATE. MORE

FOOTSTEPS.

DALE: How bad is it?

LILY: It’s what we thought.

DALE: (SIGH) Okay.

LILY: The doctor...the doctor doesn’t think she can be alone

anymore.

DALE: What did Dottie say?

LILY: That she’ll figure something out. But I know she can’t afford

anyone.

DALE: You’re thinking of staying?

FOOTSTEPS STOP. SITS.

LILY: Maybe. I just...she abandoned us for this place.

DALE: That’s not true, Lilian.

LILY: But it is. Basically. This town...this house sucked her in. And

now it’s doing the same to me.

DALE: Your mother...Dottie...she was unhappy for a long time

before she left. You might not remember it but...

LILY: I remember.

DALE: We weren’t going to make it kiddo. She...we were on our

way out. The house just gave her a direction. Something

new. Something she couldn’t find here in Albany.

That...spark. And as insane as it seemed then, she found it.

I mean, twenty-some years later, she’s still there, running a

motel out of a haunted old house.

LILY: And if I don’t want to be here in twenty years?

DALE: Then you don’t have to be. Your mother made the choice

that was right for her. You make the choice that’s right for

you. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just...a choice. And you

are allowed to change your mind if you need to. You’re not

stuck there. And you are not alone. Cyn and I will support

you, whatever you decide.

LILY: Thanks Dad.

DISTANT CREAK OF THE GATE OPENING.

LILY: Hey, I’ve got to go.

DALE: All right, listen. If you want, I can ask around up here. See

what kind of living facilities there are.

LILY: Is that okay with Mom?

DALE: When I say “I can ask around,” I mean to say Cyn is already

Googling places.

LILY: Of course she is. Tell her thank you.

DALE: I will.

LILY: Love you both.

DALE: Love you Lilybelle.

HANG UP. FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING.

MARISOL: Hey.

LILY: Hey.

MARISOL: I take it the doctor’s visit...

LILY: Went exactly the way you think it did.

MARISOL: I’m sorry. (PAUSE.) How can I help?

LILY: Marisol...I can’t ask you...

MARISOL: Don’t get the wrong idea. I like you and all but I’m not asking

for you. Dot’s my friend. My neighbor. One of my very few

customers. I want to help her if I can. And I think you’ll find a

lot of people in town feel the same way.

LILY: Like Chester Warren?

MARISOL: No. He’s an asshat. But there’s Russel Epstein. Sheriff

Joshi. Maureen De Souza. Dot has friends if she needs

them.

LILY: Thanks.

MARISOL: That said...if you did decide to stay a little bit longer, that

would definitely be a plus.

LILY: Would it?

MARISOL: Yeah. I mean, I’d get to show you the jukebox I’m building.

And there’s the hayride race between Julian and Mount

Absalom. They always make me ride because I’m short

and won’t “weigh down the horses” and it might actually be

fun if I got to sit next to someone I liked instead

of...(MUFFLE NOISE.)

KISS.

You kissed me.

LILY: Yes.

MARISOL: You kissed me.

LILY: Is...that all right?

MARISOL: Yeah. Yes. It’s just...I didn’t come here for that. I don’t want

to complicate things for you and...oh God. Oh God. We’re in

a graveyard. That’s disrespectful, isn’t it? Like super

disrespectful?

LILY: Theodore doesn’t mind. Do you Theodore? (DOING A

SQUEAKY VOICE.) Nope. Not at all.

(NORMAL VOICE) See. It’s fine.

MARISOL: Are you sure?

LILY: (THEODORE VOICE) Yep.

MARISOL: You know what I mean.

LILY: I kissed you.

MARISOL: Yeah. You did. (PAUSE) I should go but...uh...I’ll see you

soon?

LILY: Sure.

MARISOL: Unless you decide not to stay which is totally fine and...

LILY: I will see you soon.

MARISOL: Great! I mean...no, I mean great. Bye.

FOOTSTEPS WALKING AWAY. GATE CREAKS

OPEN.

LILY: (BREATHES OUT) Wow...Lily Harper...kissing in the

graveyard. Again. (LAUGHS) Bye, Theodore. Thanks for

being my wingman.

FOOTSTEPS THROUGH THE GRAVEYARD.

CREAK OF THE GATE OPENING AND SHUTTING.

MORE FOOTSTEPS ACROSS THE GRAVEL

DRIVEWAY AND UP THE STAIRS.

LILY: Here we go. Here we go. Here we go.

OPENS THE DOOR. STEPS INSIDE.

(CALLING OUT) Mom?

VERY DISTANT, MUFFLED VOICES FROM THE

KITCHEN.

WES: (OFF CRYING) I’m sorry.

DOT: (OFF) For what?

LILY’S FOOTSTEPS WALKING BACK. THE VOICES

GET LOUDER. THE DOOR CREAKS OPEN

SLIGHTLY SO WE CAN HEAR CLEARLY.

WES: (OFF) I thought I could...I thought if I was good enough I

could help and everything would be all right. But I wasn’t

good enough and now she’s going to take you away and it’s

all my fault.

DOT: Wes...look at me. This is not your fault.

WES: I just...I just want everything to be okay. Why can’t it be

okay? Why can’t I make it okay?

LILY: Wes, you remember my motto?

WES: Never tell me what you’re afraid of?

LILY: My other motto.

WES: Shit happens: so make like a dung beetle and roll with it.

DOT: That’s the one. We are going to roll with this. We are going

to make it okay.

WES: You’re just saying that because you’re old and want me to

feel better.

DOT: When have I ever said anything that made you feel

better? I’m saying it because I’m Dorothy fucking Harper.

And I have you. And I have my daughter. And together,

the three of us can fuck this thing.

WES: I’m not sure that came out the way...

DOT: I take nothing back.

WES: (SNIFFLES)

DOT: Look you go on home. We’ll start working this out tomorrow.

WES: Okay...uh...do you need me to grab anything?

DOT: Condoms.

WES: Ugh. Dot!

DOT: I just want you to be safe.

WES: I’m going.

THE BACK DOOR OPENS. FOOTSTEPS WALKING

AWAY.

DOT: (CALLING AFTER) When two people find each other

super foxy and rent a motel room...

WES: (FAR OFF) I can’t hear you.

DOT: You can come in now.

KITCHEN DOOR OPENS.

LILY: Jesus, how do you do that?

DOT: I’ve lived here nearly thirty years, Lilian. I know every creak

of every floorboard.

PAUSE.

DOT: How much of that did you hear?

LILY: Enough.

DOT: Déjà vu?

LILY: What?

DOT: You don’t remember? When your father and I...when we told

you about our...my decision to leave, to come here, you

read from pretty much the same script. You were sorry. You

weren’t good enough to stop it from happening. You’d try to

be better.

LILY: And you said that we would figure it out. The three of us.

And that you would see me soon. Because I was Lilian

Fucking Harper and I was the most important person in the

universe.

DOT: You still are, Lilybelle.

LILY: Mom, I’m sorry about before.

DOT: Don’t worry about it.

LILY: No, I...

DOT: Seriously, don’t worry about it. Nothing you said is worse

than what I’ve said to myself a thousand times.

LILY: What do we do now?

DOT: We figure it out. Like we’re grownups or something.

LILY: Is that possible? You being a grown up.

DOT: I might need to take a Candyland break or two, but I can

adult when I need to. (PAUSE) You think you can stick

around for a bit?

LILY: Yeah.

DOT: Yeah?

LILY: For a bit.

DOT: Young Wesley will be pleased.

LILY: Ugh...his name is Wesley? That poor kid.

DOT: Oh it’s worse than that. Wesley is his last name.

LILY: Do I want to know?

DOT: Theodore.

LILY: Oh God, he never even had a chance, did he? Theodore

Wesley? 1937 to nineteen...fifty....

(REALIZING) Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

END OF SCENE. TRANSITION MUSIC.

SCENE 3.

EXT. THE WOODS. NIGHT.

THE SOUND OF KATYDIDS IN THE BACKGROUND

A FIRE CRACKLES. WHISTLING OF THE CELERY

SODA JINGLE AS THE PERSON WHISTLING

STIRS A POT. FOOTSTEPS APPROACH IN

CRUNCHING LEAVES.

TONY: (OFF) Jackpot.

SELENE: Hurry up!

FOOTSTEPS APPROACH. BASKET BEING SET

DOWN.

TONY: I found this whole thicket of huckleberries out there. Am I

late?

SELENE: No. You’re just in time. Grab the celery wine.

FOOTSTEPS REACH THE FIRE. BASKET BEING

SET DOWN. BOTTLE CORK BEING POPPED.

SELENE: Here we go.

DRINKS BEING POURED.

TONY: Five, four, three, two...

PHONE BEEP BEEP.

SELENE: The sun has officially set on another successful celery

festival weekend.

TONY: Cheers.

CLINK. DRINK.

SELENE: I was thinking. Rather than do the Radish Fair in Blaine...

TONY: Rather than radish...?

SELENE: We could head out to Delaware. To Burkesville for the

Cauliflower Cavalcade?

TONY: What about the radishes?

SELENE: All our radish friends will be there next year. But I kind of...I

think I want a new adventure. And cauliflower is it. Say

something. What do you think?

TONY: I think...I need to brush up on my cauliflower recipes.

SELENE: Yes! I love you.

TONY: And I love you.

SELENE: More than radishes?

TONY: And I do love radishes.

KISS. HOWL IN THE DISTANCE.

(SIGH) Coyotes?

SELENE: I’ll get the wolf urine.

FOOTSTEPS IN THE LEAVES. DISTANT.

OLD MAN: (OFF) Hello?

TONY: Um...hello? Who’s there?

CLOSER FOOTSTEPS.

OLD MAN: Sorry to disturb you folks, I saw the smoke. Thought a fire

might’ve broken out.

SELENE: No. It’s just us.

OLD MAN: You know there’s no camping in these woods.

WOLF HOWL IN THE DISTANCE.

It is isn’t safe.

SELENE: Are you with the forest service?

OLD MAN: No. I just live nearby.

TONY: Look, we were just in town for the celery festival and the

campground in Julian was so far and the boarding house

was booked and...

OLD MAN: Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. I’m not going to report you.

SELENE: Phew.

OLD MAN: But you should be careful. People go missing in these woods

all the time. Oh and be sure to police your fire there. You

don’t want to be like the Woodcutter in the Woods.

SELENE: I’m sorry?

OLD MAN: The Woodcutter in the Woods. Do you not know that story?

TONY: No.

OLD MAN: The woods back then were vast and it was easy to get lost

so as he went around cutting the low branches, he’d always

leave one pointing in the direction he’d come from. That way,

he could find his way back.

One day, his daughter wandered into the woods and got lost.

He searched for days, going deeper and deeper into the

forest, further than he’d ever cut. But there was no sign of

her.

Finally as the man sat under a tree and cried, an old gray

wolf took pity on him. The wolf told the woodcutter how the

Wood hated him, for slashing and mangling its branches,

day after day, year after year, cutting, chopping, and hacking

at the flesh of the trees with his axe. And so as punishment,

the Wood had taken his daughter.

The woodcutter pleaded with the old wolf. He would do

anything to save his child. The wolf told him that if he gave

himself up to the forest, if he took her place, the Wood

promised to return his daughter and that she would be safe,

ever after under its branches. The woodcutter agreed and

the next morning, the little girl wandered out of the forest,

following the path of lonely branches her father had created.

SILAS The woodcutter was never seen again, though on certain

nights, as she walked safely through the woods, the little girl

was sure she heard her father’s voice, screaming in pain, as

the Wood took its revenge. As he fulfilled his promise.

SELENE: Oooookay....

OLD MAN: The point is places like this, old places, they have a long

memory. The Wood remembers. And these woods, more

than anything else, these woods remember fire.

WHOOMP OF FLAMES IGNITING ALL AROUND.

TONY: What?

SELENE: What is going on?

TONY: The fire extinguisher.

FIRE EXTINGUISHER SPRAYING. FLAMES GROW

LOUDER. MEANER.

SELENE: It’s not working!

OLD MAN: I’m sorry about this. I truly am. But a little girl needs to be

shown the path. And that requires sacrifice.

TONY: What are you... [talking about]?

OLD MAN: (LOUD) Abaddon! Moloch!

CRASHING THROUGH THE TREES! LOUD THUDS!

GROWLING OF MONSTER-SIZED DOGS

SELENE: Oh my God.

TONY: This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening. This isn’t

happening.

OLD MAN: We three, blessed be.

RESPONDING GROWL/BARKS FROM ABADDON

AND MOLOCH.

SELENE: Please! Please!

OLD MAN: For in this hale and verdant wood, we have everything we

need.

ABADDON AND MOLOCH ATTACK. SCREAMS!

HOWLS! FIRE! OLD MAN LAUGHING!

ALL MIX TOGETHER INTO A CRESCENDO OF

HORROR AND THEN STOP. THE FOREST IS

QUIET EXCEPT FOR THE KATYDIDS. A WHIP-

POOR-WILL FLUTTERS DOWN. IT LET’S OUT A

CRY. PECKS ONCE. TWICE. LET’S OUT A

SECOND PLAINTIVE CRY. FLIES AWAY.

JOHN THE REVELATOR is sung, with dissonant backing voices filtering in and out.

Who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals

You know God walked down in the cool of the day
Called Adam by his name
But he refused to answer
Because he's naked and ashamed

Tell me who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals

(The singers continue to hum under the credits)

This episode features: Shariba Rivers as Lily, Amelia Bethel as Marisol, Marsha Harman as Dot, Priya Mohanty as Dr. Alicia Laramie, Christopher J. Wilson as Tony, Jillian Leff as Selene, Michael Turrentine as Wes, Pat King as Chester, Mark Soloff as ^6fh6*7%%@, Sebastian Orr as &$^#&$#, Ele Matelan as @&*@^$&.

Written by Jim McDoniel, sound design by Ryan Schile, directed by Jeffrey Nils Gardner, music composed by Stephen Poon, recording engineer Mel Ruder, Unwell lead sound designer Ryan Schile, Executives Producers Eleanor Hyde and Jeffrey Gardner, by HartLife NFP.

In the early 1800s, it was a Mount Absalom tradition to plant celery on the graves of departed family members. Stalks would be tended all spring and summer and then served at a special dinner dedicated to the memory of those they loved.

You know God walked down in the cool of the day
Called Adam by his name
But he refused to answer
Because he's naked and ashamed

Tell me who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Tell me who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals
Tell me who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Tell me who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Who's that writin'? John the Revelator
Wrote the book of the seven seals