Season 1/Episode 6: Storm

by Jessica Best

Content advisories for this episode can be found below.

This episode features: Shariba Rivers as Lily, Marsha Harman as Dot, Kathleen Hoil as Abbie, Joshua K Harris as Rudy, and Michael Turrentine as Wes.

 Written by Jessica Best, sound design by Anna Rodriguez with 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.

Content advisories:

-Stories involving animal death
-Stories involving poisoning
-Getting lost
-Obscenities
-Low-level jump scares

SCENE 1

TORRENTS OF RAIN, WIND

CUT TO THE INSIDE OF THE BOARDING HOUSE

RAIN PELTING THE ROOF, RATTLING THE ATTIC WINDOWS


LILY:    Sorry, I think you got cut off in the middle of a word, what were you--Hello? Hello?

   

    Oh, come on.


A PHONE PLACED BACK INTO THE RECEIVER.


ABBIE:        (CALLING UP) Internet’s down, can someone call the company?


THUMPING FOOTSTEPS DOWN THE STAIRS.


LILY:     (CALLING DOWN) I can’t, my cell’s got no service and phone lines are out!


DOT:             (CALLING UP) Ooh, who were you talking to?


LILY:             (CALLING DOWN) Mom.


DOT:     (NO LONGER NEEDING TO YELL TO BE HEARD) No you weren’t, I’m right here. (CHUCKLES)


LILY:     Yeah, thanks. I already get more than enough dad jokes from Dad. (AWKWARD) I mean--


DOT:     You can say your father’s name, you know. I won’t dissolve like the Wicked Witch of the West.


FOOTSTEPS CEASE. LILY IS DOWNSTAIRS.


ABBIE:         I had things to do today. Outdoor things.


DOT:             Well, the Farmer’s Almanac said it’d be stormy tonight.


ABBIE:     The Farmer’s Almanac? Is this the 1730’s?


DOT:     Don’t knock it if it works. Y’know, weather like this always makes me think of Old Bowser.


LILY:             (HALF-LAUGHING) Nooo, not Old Bowser, come on.


ABBIE:         Huh?


LILY:             It’s this scary story she used to tell when I was a kid.


DOT:             Made poor Lily here almost pee her pants.


LILY:             It did not!


DOT:     So, about thirty years ago, the McPhersons down the street had this dog. Nobody knew where he came from, they found him as a stray. Grew up into this big, hulking thing--even chances he was part wolf. He had that snout, you know? And a little too much intelligence around the eyes.


The trouble came when the McPhersons brought home a new baby. Let’s just say Mrs. McPherson didn’t like the way Bowser was eyeing the crib. So they load him up in the station wagon and drive him out to Julian, drop him off at the animal shelter. But then--


ABBIE:     If this ends with him finding his way back to Mount Absalom, it’s not that shocking. Canines tend to be good navigators.


DOT:     Oh no, Old Bowser got hit by a truck. Nobody knows how he got out of his kennel, let alone out building, but by the time a volunteer found him on the street, he was dead.


So the next night, it’s storming like crazy, just like now, and they’re all sitting down for dinner--ham, Old Bowser’s favorite, when there’s this weird sound outside--


A FAINT KNOCKING ON THE DOOR


--hold on, do you hear something?


ABBIE:     Okay, congratulations, you rigged up a way to knock on a door frame or something while I wasn’t looking, bravo.


DOT:             I’m not kidding, somebody’s out there.


FAINT KNOCKING GETS SLIGHTLY LOUDER.


ABBIE:     You know, kind of a lackluster ghost story, if the punchline is “then a phantasmal dog came up and knocked on the door.”


DOT:             Lily, will you please answer that?


ABBIE:         Lily, don’t tell me you’re in on this, nothing is out--


DOOR OPENS. THE STORM OUTSIDE IS ROARING.


RUDY:     (SHOUTING TO BE HEARD OVER THE STORM) Oh thank god!


DOOR CLOSES.


LILY:             Hi there.


ABBIE:         Who are you.


DOT:             Oh, are you the astronomer?


RUDY:         That’s me! Wow, I was getting worried nobody was home!


DOT:    (TO RUDY.) Come in, come in. Take off your wet things, you must be soaked. Coat rack’s to your left.


RUDY:         Thanks.


LILY:             Mom, can I talk to you in the kitchen for a sec?


FOOTSTEPS ON CARPET, THEN TILE.


(IN A HUSHED VOICE) You did not say anyone was coming--


DOT:     (HUSHED) C’mon, I know I did. The astronomer, room 3, I remember telling you this, Lily.


LILY:    (HUSHED) Yeah, the day I arrived. You didn’t say anyone was coming today.


DOT:    (HUSHED) Oh, yeah, we spoke on the phone the other day. Nice kid. Ru-something. Ru-fus. Ru-by. Rudolph, that was it.


LILY:            I really doubt that’s this person’s name.


RUDY:     (CALLING FROM THE LIVING ROOM) It’s Rudolphus, actually.


DOT:    Ha!


FOOTSTEPS BACK ONTO THE CARPET.


LILY:     Uh, sorry about that.


RUDY:     No worries. Hi, you guys can call me “Rudy.” I’m from Wisconsin, I’m a Capricorn, and before you ask, my favorite planet in the solar system is Neptune. Nice to meet everybody.


LILY:     Hi, I’m Lily, and my favorite planet is Earth, I guess?


RUDY:     No shame in rooting for the home team. Dot I already talked to on the phone, hi--


DOT:             Hi, Rudy!


RUDY:         And you are...


ABBIE:     Abbie. They/their pronouns.


RUDY:    ...Favorite planet?


ABBIE:    No preference.


LILY:    So, you’ve got room number 3 on the third floor, here is your key.


THE ‘CLINK’ OF KEYS BEING HANDED OVER.


RUDY:    Thank you kindly.


LILY:            Can I carry your suitcase upstairs for you?


RUDY:        That’d be great, thanks.


DOT:    I can get the suitcase, it’s no trouble.


LILY:    How are you gonna manage a suitcase and stairs on crutches?


DOT:    I can carry it with my teeth. I saw a lady at a circus once—


LILY:    Mom, I’ve got it, nothing to worry--


            THE BZZZT OF THE POWER GOING OUT.


ABBIE:    Well, there goes the power.


DOT:    I swear, any time bad weather rolls in, it’s like the whole town’s got a cold. Sorry this is your intro to Mount Absalom, Rudy.


RUDY:    Not a problem at all. If I’d wanted fun in the sun, I would’ve chosen that residency in Maui. Honestly, I’m kind of digging this.


ABBIE:    You’re ‘digging’ the loss of electricity?


RUDY:    The whole Agatha Christie, spooky mansion vibe. I vote we lean into it. Ooh, d’you have any candles? Do you have candlesticks?


ABBIE:    I vote we bypass reenacting a murder mystery.


DOT:    Hey now, there’s no murderers here...that we know of. (LAUGHS) But in case we need it, there’s a flashlight in that drawer--


A DRAWER ROLLED OUT.


RUDY:        Here you go, Madam.


A DRAWER SHUT.


DOT:            Thanks.


ABBIE:        ‘In case we need it’ for what, more spooky stories?


TORNADO SIRENS.


LILY:            Yup, I was afraid of that.


TORNADO SIRENS CONTINUE.


ABBIE:    What’s that sound?


DOT:    I keep forgetting you’re not from here.


ABBIE:     How.


LILY:    Those are tornado sirens, Abby.


ABBIE:    Meaning--


TORNADO SIRENS DUCK OUT.


RUDY:    (MILD) Well, Occam’s Razor would suggest a tornado.


ABBIE:        I know that, but--


DOT:    We want a sturdy room with no windows that’s low to the ground, so in our case--


ABBIE:    You’re joking.


DOT:    In this house, we do not joke about tornado safety. To the basement!


FOOTSTEPS.


DOT:            Damn, stairs.


RUDY:        Need a hand, Mrs. Harper?


DOT:            I need a new goddamn leg.


LILY:            Hang on, I think I can carry you. Fireman carry, come on.


DOT:            You’re joking.


LILY:    Dead serious. One thing they teach you in firefighter training: you can carry a lot more than you think you can, as long as you (STRAINING A LITTLE) lift with your knees. Abby, can you get—


ABBY:    The crutches? Got it.


DOT:    Woo! High-ho silver! Let’s go!


FOOTSTEPS DOWN THE STAIRS



ABBIE:    So. Rudy. Fun fact: you used Occam’s Razor wrong.


RUDY:    Sorry?


ABBIE:    Most people do. William of Occam wasn’t going for “the simplest solution is the best,” as much as “don’t repeat numbers in a math problem if you don’t need to.”


RUDY:    Okay, but language is constantly evolving and you knew what I meant, so at some point doesn’t it all get just insufferably pedantic?


FOOTSTEPS DOWN STAIRS. A TINY BIT OF AN ECHO.


ABBIE:        How long do we have to stay down here?


DOT:    (SLIGHT GRUNT AS LILY LOWERS HER BACK TO THE GROUND) Thank you, Lily. Goddamn crutches, please.


Depends how long the storm lasts. With any luck it’ll scoot past us, but if it doesn’t--well, I hope you’ve all gone to the bathroom.


RUDY:        In the meantime, I’m loving this idea of sharing spooky stories.


DOT:            I’m all for it. Nothing like a good spine-tingler to break the ice.


ABBIE:        I’ll go first.


RUDY:        Really. You’ve got one?


ABBIE:    Only scariest ghost story you’ll ever hear.


LILY:    Bring it.


ABBIE:    So, I had a friend who interned one winter at Gregory Manor, in upstate New York? One of those turn-of-the century living history houses. Supposedly the youngest daughter disappeared under mysterious circumstances. All Ali knew was, the staff hated closing up in her room at the end of the night. So on his very first shift, right away, he volunteers.


He’s vacuuming in her room that night, making sure none of the tourists left anything, when this wave of cold washes over him. It’s an old house, he figures, it’s drafty.


But he’s pretty sure he can hear something too, like a quiet hiss, or maybe quiet breathing. (BREATHES IN AND OUT) He assumes it’s one of the staff playing a prank on him. This goes on for weeks, so he finally decides to sit there with his phone and wait them out, you know?


And as Ali’s sitting there, this pressure settles on his chest, like tiny hands pushing down as hard as they can. And that sound, that inhale-exhale, (BREATHES IN AND OUT) seems to be getting louder and louder. (BREATHES IN AND OUT, IN AND OUT)


And very slowly, he turns around--


RUDY:        And then?


ABBIE:    He realizes...that all his symptoms line up with carbon monoxide poisoning. It was a gas leak. He told his boss the next day, workers came to fix it, and he was fine.


LILY:    So...how is that even remotely scary?


ABBIE:    Uh, carbon monoxide can give you permanent brain damage, or even kill you? Ghosts--aren’t real.


RUDY:    Y’know, some people say that die-hard skepticism is its own form of dogma.


ABBIE:    Do they.


DOT:    Let’s stay on track. If Abby doesn’t like ghost stories, maybe we can take turns talking about something real that scares us.


ABBIE:    Okay, but I’m out the moment someone brings in clowns.


RUDY:    Why?


ABBIE:    Nobody is afraid of clowns. People claim to be because they think it makes them sound cute and quirky.


RUDY:    And just out of curiosity, how did you gather this data? Did you interview every person who reported any degree of clown phobia and then carefully analyze--


LILY:    Octopuses!


ABBIE:    Huh?


LILY:    Octopuses, that’s what scares me. They’ve got no bones, they’re smart enough to solve complex problems and they can fit through a hole the size of a quarter. I used to room with a guy who worked at an aquarium. If they could live on land full-time, we would all be screwed. Maybe they already figured it out, and they’re just biding their time, letting us draw a sense of false security. Octopuses. Octopi?


ABBIE:    Octopi, but your overall--


RUDY:    No it’s not.


ABBIE:    Excuse me?


RUDY:    It’s not octopi. “Octo-” is Greek, why in the world would the suffix follow the plural conventions of Latin? Either the anglicized “octopuses” is right, or we have to stick with the Greek, in which case it’s “octopodes.” If you’re gonna correct somebody, at least take a second first to make sure you’re actually, y’know, correct.


DOT:    (CHANGING THE SUBJECT) How about we listen to the radio? I know we’ve got a battery-operated radio on one of these shelves, I was listening to it the other day. Can somebody shine the flashlight over here?


RUMMAGING SOUNDS.


DOT:            Here we are! Hm, now let’s see…


THE RADIO PLAYS.  AFTER SOME MUSIC, WE HEAR A VOICE WHISPERING

“—can’t trick me, I know you’re out there, I can hear you breathing. I know exactly wha you are--”



LILY:            What...the hell was that?


ABBIE:        Radio’s broken.


RUDY:        That didn’t sound like any broken radio I’ve ever heard.


ABBIE:    Maybe you haven’t heard every radio, Rudy. Where’s the working one?


DOT:    That...is a great question. (STRAINING) Hold on, I think it’s up—


LILY:    Mom, don’t use your crutch to reach, let one of us—


DOT:    Almost got it---


A SMALL METAL OBJECT TOPPLING OFF A HIGH SHELF, HITTING DOT’S HEAD AND THEN THE GROUND.


DOT:            Ow. Shit. Shit.


LILY:            Mom, are you okay? Rudy, can we get a little more light on Mom?


RUDY:        Um, Ms. Harper, you’ve got a cut on your cheek.


DOT:            Oh, damn.


LILY:            Do you know what hit you?


DOT:            Felt like one of those damn fondue forks.


RUDY:    The cut looks pretty shallow. I think we just need a band-aid, any down here?


LILY:    I think we’ve got supplies in the upstairs bathroom.


DOT:    Lillian Henry Harper, you are not wandering around upstairs in the middle of what could be a tornado.


LILY:    Thirty seconds, Mom. Forty-five seconds. Instead of you stuck there, bleeding--


DOT:    So dramatic--


WES:    It’s okay, guys, I saw a First Aid kit in the utility room.


LILY:    Wes?


RUDY:    Uh, hi Wes, nice to meet you. I’m Rudy.


WES:    The astronomer? Hi.


LILY:            How long have you lurking down here in the dark?


WES:            Since the power went out? I was reorganizing the pantry.


LILY:    How’d you get in? I would’ve heard you.


WES:            Lily, your mom is bleeding, is this really the time?


DOT:    Quit your yapping, all of you. It’s just a flesh wound. A little disinfectant, and I’ll be good as new.


LILY:            Okay, we’ll stay here with Mom, and Wes, you go get--


WES:    I don’t know exactly where it is. You know, I’m happy to stay with her, since it happened on my watch.


LILY:    It wasn’t just your watch.


DOT:            Hello, I am fine. I don’t need a nursemaid for a glorified papercut.


LILY:    You said it was a fork. A fondue fork, meaning sharp and probably from the seventies. You could have tetanus.


DOT:    I said it felt like a fork. Come on, if we need this whole rigamarole, Wes can keep me company while the rest of you find that kit.


RUDY:    I’ll stay behind too. Dot, you can fill me in on the household rules.


DOT:    Fine.


LILY:            Alright, flashlight please.


TWO SETS OF FOOTSTEPS ON A BASEMENT FLOOR.


ABBIE:        So, the utility room should be...that door, right over here.


LILY:            How’d you—


ABBIE:        Had some spare time, so I memorized the floorplans.


LILY:            Of course.


AN OLD CREAKY DOOR OPENED.


LILY:            So, shout if you see anything.


ABBIE:        Hey, shine it this way--never mind, bottle of detergent. Wait--


LILY:    Yeah? Any luck?


ABBIE:    Nope, it’s a toolbox.


RUMMAGING SOUNDS.


Why did you guys keep all this stuff? Who needs more than one broken vacuum cleaner?


LILY:    Apparently, my mom. Abbie, I’m not losing my mind, right?


ABBIE:        We have no proof Wes committed B & E. Your mom keeps the door unlocked; he might’ve slipped in while you were on the phone.


LILY:            I could’ve sworn I had my eyes on the front yard the whole time.


ABBIE:        Maybe he jimmied a back window


LILY:            That’s the definition of B & E.


ABBIE:        Technically just E?


LILY:            Comforting.


ABBIE:        See that pile of mannequins?


LILY:            Yeah, I have no explanation for that.


ABBIE:    Oh, one of the old owners was a seamstress. Her husband bought the property in 1853, and after he died, she ran it herself. There’s a rumor she was a spy for the Union during the Civil War, sewed secret messages into her skirts, but I haven’t found any contemporary sources yet.


LILY:    (SINCERE) Hey, that’s cool, though.


ABBIE:    (TOUCHED) Yeah. It is.


LILY:    The farther in we go, the older this stuff looks. How long should we give it before we head back and either brave the upstairs or improvise a bandage?


ABBIE:    “Improvise a bandage”? Are we at war?


LILY:    She’s my mom, Abbie.


ABBIE:    Accidents happen to everyone.


LILY:    Just, how many more accidents is she gonna get.


ABBIE:    Look, if we fail to locate anything. There is pure vanilla extract in the pantry.


LILY:            And?


ABBIE:    It’s over 35% alcohol by volume. Stings like hell, but it can be used as an antiseptic.


LILY:            Thanks.


ABBIE:        It’s—basic chemistry, really.


MORE RUMMAGING--A PILE OF OLD LOOSE PIPES, SOME EXTRA LIGHT FIXTURES--JUNK.


THE SOUND OF THE LIGHT GOING OUT


ABBIE:         No, keep the flashlight on.


LILY:    It is on.


THE CLICK OF THE FLASHLIGHT POWER BUTTON BEING PRESSED, MULTIPLE TIMES.


ABBIE:    Shit.


LILY:    (WHISPERING) Do you hear something.


A SLOW, HUSHED CREAK.


ABBIE:    (WHISPERING) Standard old building creaks.


LILY:    (WHISPERING) No, shh, quiet.


HUSHED FOOTSTEPS.


ABBIE:        (WHISPERING) Any other way into the basement?


LILY:            (WHISPERING) Not unless Wes knows something I don’t.


ABBIE:    (WHISPERING) What if--


FOOTSTEPS ARE LOUDER.

THE CLANK OF SOMEONE’S FOOT HITTING A BUCKET.


LILY:            (WHISPERING) Stand back, Abby.


ABBIE:        (WHISPERING) What?


LILY:    (LOUD) We know you’re there, we can hear you.


RUDY:    Guys?


LILY:    Rudy?


RUDY:    Wow, it is really dark in here. I mean, it’s dark out there, too, but in a smaller space, with all this detritus to navigate around, it feels even darker, somehow, don’t you think? Like the darkness is packed in tighter, too.


LILY:            Rudy, what are you doing here?


RUDY:    Ms. Harper didn’t seem like she needed two people looking after her, and I thought, an extra set of eyes can’t hurt.


LILY:            Well, I don’t see us finding this thing without a light source.


RUDY:    Yeah, is there a reason you guys turned off the flashlight?


ABBIE:    We decided to try echo-location. (A BEAT.) It ran out of juice.


LILY:    Hey guys? Which way is the door? (NERVOUS LAUGH) Sorry, not sure how I’m spacing on this.


ABBIE:    No, it’s--I don’t remember either.


RUDY:    Seriously?


ABBIE:    Do you know which way the door is, Rudy?


RUDY:    ...okay, what the hell. What the hell.


LILY:    Okay, nobody panic. We just need to feel along the walls until we find a handle.


A CRASH, MANNEQUINS FALLING OVER.


ABBIE:    Dammit.


RUDY:    Hopefully, that was nothing valuable.


ABBY:    I think it was just those stupid mannequins.


RUDY:    You know what this reminds me of? Those stories about people who freeze to death in a snowstorm, and it turns out they were only a few feet from their front door.


ABBIE:    Thanks, that was...grim.


RUDY:    I’m not saying we’ll be in this storage room until we die, I was just...free-associating.


LILY:    Hey, uh...


RUDY:    You okay, Lily?


LILY:    I found a door.


RUDY:    That’s awesome!


LILY:    It’s not the one we came in.


ABBIE:    You sure?


LILY:    The handle’s really old, it’s flaking off in my hand.


RUDY:    Do we think it leads...into another utility room?


ABBY:    Utility room doesn’t connect with anything but the hallway.


RUDY:    Or…


LILY:    Or?


RUDY:    Secret passageway?


ABBIE:    Rudy, for the last time, this is not Clue!


CREAKY DOORKNOB TURNED, DOOR RATTLED, THUD OF SHOULDER AGAINST WOOD.


LILY:    Ow. It’s really, really heavy. Come over here and help me push.


RUDY:    How?


LILY:    Follow the sound of my voice.


FOOTSTEPS.


LILY:    So, the end of the Old Bowser story, the McPhersons step outside.


A CRASH. THE MANNEQUINS AGAIN. FOOTSTEPS.


RUDY:         Ahh! Okay, it was the mannequins again.


LILY:            They step outside, and nothing’s--


ABBIE:        Sure, nothing’s there. Where are you, Rudy?


RUDY:        What do you mean, I’m right here.


ABBIE:         Wave your hand.


RUDY:        (SINGING) This is me, waving my hand, back and forth--


Ah! Jesus, your hand is freezing. And cold. And...motionless. Uh, Abbie?


ABBIE:        It’s a mannequin arm, I was extending my reach.


LILY:    (SLIGHTLY FARTHER AWAY) Nothing’s there but a set of big, muddy pawprints, leading all the way up to the front step.


    How are you not here yet? The room’s not that big.


ABBIE:        We must be walking slower.


RUDY:        I swear, we’re farther away than when we started. Keep talking, Lily.


LILY:    (SLIGHTLY FARTHER AWAY) So they go back inside, and they shut the door, and they walk back to their table. And their baby’s crying and crying, and there’s one nasty bite taken out of the ham.


ABBIE:        The baby did it.


RUDY:        An infant wouldn’t have teeth.


ABBIE:    You know what else doesn’t have any teeth, is ghosts, because they don’t exist.


RUDY:        Okay, but there’s science-logic, and then there’s story-logic.


ABBIE:        Story-logic?


RUDY:    Story-logic. The world of fiction operates on a slightly different plane than our own, and we all accept it because ideally, when we suspend that little piece of disbelief, we’ll be rewarded for our faith by transcending our own selves, if just for a few seconds. A lot of times, we make that bargain without even noticing. Y’know that dream where you’re walking through your parent’s old house, and then you’re in your first grade classroom, except it’s also a restaurant? You don’t even think to question it.


Modern science still has yet to definitively tell us why we dream in the first place.  Maybe it’s training, to teach our brains how to overcome our cynicism and our skepticism and our knee-jerk need to know all the answers, long enough to fully get lost in a story.


ABBIE:        How are we not to the other side of the room yet?


RUDY:        Gosh, Abbie, it’s almost like there’s not a reasonable explanation!


ABBIE:        Lily?


RUDY:        Lily.


ABBIE:        Lily!


LILY:             (FROM VERY FAR AWAY) Guys!


ABBIE:        Where’d she--


RUDY:        Shh. Listen.


LILY:            (FROM VERY FAR AWAY) Guys, where are you?


RUDY:    Over here! (TO ABBIE) We’re getting further away.


ABBIE:        That makes no sense. We’ve been heading towards her voice.


RUDY:    You know what else doesn’t make sense, is to keep doing the one thing that we’ve proven doesn’t work. Science, right? You don’t keep pushing the same defunct hypothesis.


ABBIE:    (PAUSE) Alright, fine. We head in the opposite direction. For thirty seconds. And if that doesn’t work, we try something else.


FOOTSTEPS RESUME.


ABBIE:        LILY? Twenty-nine, twenty-eight...


LILY:             (FROM SLIGHTLY LESS FAR AWAY) Can you hear me?


RUDY:        YEAH! (TO ABBIE) Does she sound closer?


ABBIE:        We were facing her, I know we were facing her.


RUDY:        Who cares, it’s working. Lily!


LILY:    (SLIGHTLY CLOSER, STILL FAR) What’s taking you guys so long?


ABBIE:        Rudy says we weren’t being counterintuitive enough!


LILY:            What?


RUDY:        We got lost!


LILY:            How?


ABBIE:    You tell me, it’s your weird house!


LILY:    It’s really not.


ABBIE:    Just stay calm and watch out for octopo--octopod--


RUDY:        Octopodes.


ABBIE:        Octopodes!


LILY:            (SLIGHTLY CLOSER) Sea creatures are no laughing matter.


RUDY:        Oh? Then explain clownfishes!


LILY:            (SLIGHTLY CLOSER) Puns aren’t a laughing matter, either.


ABBIE:    Was that the end of the Old Bowser story?


LILY:    (CLOSER) Yeah, except for the part where mom would creep up to my door as I was lying in bed and howl.


RUDY:    Your mom sounds like a trip.


LILY:    (CLOSER, NOW A NORMAL DISTANCE AWAY FOR HAVING A REGULAR CONVERSATION) That’s one word for it. Come on, help me with this door.


RUDY:    Alright, count of three?


LILY:    One, two--


WES:    What are you doing!


LILY:            Wes?


WES:            Did you find the first aid kit?


LILY:            Did you leave Mom alone?


RUDY:        We got a little turned around.


WES:            Where’s the flashlight?


ABBIE:        Out of batteries.


WES:            Okay, backup plan--


THE CLICK OF A LIGHTER

           


LILY:            Where’d you get a lighter?


WES:    Borrowed it from--a friend.


LILY:            You mean my Mom?


WES:    Hey, I could be in with some ne’er-do-wells, you don’t know.


ABBIE:    Wes, pro tip: actual ne’er-do-wells don’t say “ne’er-do-well.”


WES:            (EMBARRASSED) So I think I saw the kit on one of these shelves--


RUDY:        Hey, is that it?


LILY:            What?


RUDY:    On the shelf, behind the--vintage jugs of soap, I think? Move the light closer.


LILY:    But not, you know, too close. Tiny, crowded room, open flame--


WES:            Yeah, there we go. Good work, what’d you say your name was?

RUDY:        Oh, I’m Rudy.


LILY:            Alright, let’s get out of here before Mom goes septic.


FOOTSTEPS.


RUDY:        Hey Wes?


WES:            Yeah?


RUDY:        Do you know what that other door leads to?


WES:            What other door?


ABBIE:        In the room, back on the opposite wall.


WES:            There’s no door there.


LILY:            Yeah, Wes, there is, I felt it.


WES:    Maybe you found something that felt like a doorknob, like a sconce or a mannequin elbow.


LILY:    Wes, do you really think I can’t tell the difference between a doorknob and an elbow?


WES:    For crying out loud--


WES DARTS BACK


Here, take a look for yourselves---


No door. Haven’t you ever seen a floorplan of this place?


LILY:            Uh, sorry, Wes. I don’t know what that was about.

                       

FOOTSTEPS


RUDY:        Hey guys?


LILY:            Yeah?


RUDY:        ...Wasn’t that mannequin facing the other way before?


ABBIE:        You weren’t even in here when we had a light source, Rudy.


RUDY:        It was worth a shot.


ABBIE:        Was it?


THE SOUND OF MUSIC, A MINIMALIST PIANO TUNE, GETS LOUDER AS THEY APPROACH DOT AND THE RADIO.


WES:            Dottie, I have the kit!


DOT:            And my lighter, looks like.


LILY:            I thought you were trying to quit.


WES:    Well, you’ll notice she currently has no way to light her smokes.


DOT:            Yeah, yeah, Wes, you’re very clever.


WES:            Let’s clean up that cut.


DOT:            I can do it, just hand me the disinfectant.


LILY:    Mom, did you get the radio working again?


DOT:    Mm? Oh, yeah.


ABBIE:    What’d you do?


DOT:    Honestly, I smacked it a couple of times. This is the only station that’s coming through, though.


RUDY:    I like it. College station?


LILY:    No colleges around here for miles.


RUDY:    It’s nice, though. The music, the rain...


DOT:    So, what took you guys so long?


LILY:    I don’t know...I can’t really explain what happened.


ABBIE:    The flashlight went out, we panicked, briefly lost our bearings due to some kind of misleading echo situation, Lily mistook something for a doorknob, and then Wes saved us with fire.


LILY:            Abbie, do you even believe that?


ABBIE:        Tell me an alternative, Lily, I dare you.


DOT:    Don’t worry about it, let’s just blame it on the weather. Honest to god, any time bad weather rolls in, it’s like the whole town’s got a cold.


ON THE RADIO, THE SONG ENDS. THE RADIO ANNOUNCER SAYS “Das war Peter Carl Goldmarks dritte Simfonie in A-moll, von niemandem interpretiert.”




END

THE THEME SONG COMES IN- STOMPING FEET, RHYTHMIC GUITAR, AND PRONOUNCED BANJO.

CREDITS:        This episode features: Shariba Rivers as Lily, Marsha Harman as Dot, Kathleen Hoil as Abbie, Joshua K Harris as Rudy, Michael Turrentine as Wes.

MUSIC BREAK- A HAUNTING SUNG NOTE    

        Written by Jessica Best, sound design by Anna Rodriguez, 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.

THE STRANGE BASS NOTE RETURNS

During the flood rains of 1924, many residents of the Mount Absalom Graveyard next to the Fenwood House became disinterred. When the bodies were finally put back, there were twenty-three extra. Thus began the legend of the Mount Absalom Ripper.