Episode 22: “Such a place as this”

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CONTENT WARNING: Arachnophobia, loud noises (including screams), doppelgängers, betrayal, paranoia, threat of gun violence, some strong language

Tape 2-5-53-5-6: Pushed to the point of desperation, Sam Bailey and Maria Sol prepare to arrest the false Anna at the halfway house. But things are not as they seem as the investigation takes another dark twist…

Starring Airen Neeley Chaconas as Anna Sheridan, Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, Liz Hull as Alice Kearnes, and Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written by Virginia Spotts and produced by Trevor Van Winkle, and made possible by our supporters at Patreon.com/homesteadcorner

For more information and additional content, visit thesheridantapes.com

Script

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Outtakes

Transcript

CONTENT WARNING: Arachnophobia, loud noises (including screams), doppelgängers, betrayal, paranoia, threat of gun violence, some strong language

Cold Open

Anna Sheridan

What makes a person who they are? Fundamentally, I mean. Is it physical? Mental? Spiritual? Or something else that no one’s even begun to guess at yet?

[Scoffs]

I know I’m not the first to ask that question: we’ve been theorizing on it since we had the words to do so. But, cliche as it may be, I’ll ask again: what makes me — me? What makes Anna Sheridan… Anna Sheridan? Ability? Talent? I don’t think so. She’s hardly the first person to ever sit down and write a scary story. Not even the first writer to lose their grasp on where the fiction ends and real life begins: Arthur Conan Doyle tried his hand at criminal deduction on more than one occasion… You know, when he wasn’t attending seances and debating spiritualism with Harry Houdini. That all happened, by the way. Look it up.

So if not ability, then what does define Anna K. Sheridan? The work? The accomplishments, the awards? No… even colder. Without her books, she’s still the same Anna… Maybe not the version the rest of the world got to see, but still the same, when you get right down to it.

The friendships, then? The relationships? Ah… Now that’s getting closer. Much closer. But still no cigar. Go back fifteen years, back when it was just her, the van, and a few ghost stories, and she’s still Anna goddamn Sheridan, through and through. It was all already there… Even if some parts of her were hidden, even from herself.

So not her abilities, then. Not her work, or her accomplishments, or her friendships or her lovers or her family. So what’s left? A name? That’s hardly unique either. “A rose by any other name would…” 

[She laughs]

…etcetera etcetra. And she’s gone by more than a few in her time. Anna. Amy. Even A.L. Sheridan, that one time she listened to a publicist about a century behind the times.

So it seems like that only leaves us with… memories. It’s fitting that someone who lived such a storied life should be reduced to nothing but stories. Sometimes it even seems like that’s what she wanted: recording her own life like it might slip away from her at any moment. Huh. I guess it kind of did, in the end.

But that’s not quite true either. I mean, if someone looked like her, sounded like her, and knew every thought she’d ever had, every memory and fantasy and fleeting hope that ever passed through her mind — would they be the same person? I mean, the rest of the world might think so, but what about the person who replaced her? What about that other Anna? Would they ever be able to forget who… what they were before? Could they ever really become her, or would they forever be stuck between who they are and who they want to become? A halfway person, never able to be whole? How long does it take for the mask to become more familiar than the face behind it?

[Someone knocks quietly on the door]

Well then… I guess it’s time to find out.

[Cassette player motor whirs, then stops]

[Click]

[Main Theme]

Tape 2-5-53-5-6

[Click]

[Mic handling noises]

[Sounds of distant traffic]

Maria Sol

Tape rolling?

Sam Bailey

Uh, yeah… Looks like it. Any luck with that thing?

[Sound of a mechanical device]

Maria Sol

Not really… I tried to follow Anna’s old blueprints, but… hardware was never my strong suit.

Sam Bailey

So you don’t think it’ll pick up the Echo’s signal?

Maria Sol

Oh, it’ll pick up its signal all right.

[Click]

[A noisy, slightly out of tune scanner chime begins to beep wildly]

Maria Sol 

It’ll just pick up everything else in a three mile radius too.

[Maria switches it off]

Sam Bailey

So… pretty much useless then, huh?

Maria Sol

And what are you bringing to the table, detective Bailey? A gun you’re not going to use? Your razor sharp deductive wit?

Sam Bailey

Okay, okay, I get the point. Look, is everything okay?

Maria Sol

What?

Sam Bailey

It’s just… You’ve been acting kind of strange since…

Maria Sol

[Scoffs]

You’ve known me for less than a week — I don’t think you have enough of a baseline to tell when I’m acting “strange.”

Sam Bailey

No, I’m serious — ever since we left the station you’ve been…

Maria Sol

You mean since you stumbled back into your office bleeding and rambling about the thing wearing my girlfriend’s face? Yeah, I don’t know why I’d be acting weird — complete mystery to me…

Sam Bailey

Alright, fine. But still…

Maria Sol

But nothing. We’re here. We deal with this thing, and as soon as we’re done with that, we never see each other again. Sound good to you?

Sam Bailey

[Sighs]

Yeah. Come on, let’s go.

[Car doors open and close]

[Two sets of footsteps across asphalt]

[Maria suddenly stops]

Maria Sol

Wait a minute.

Sam Bailey

What is it now?

Maria Sol

Something’s… Something’s not right here.

Sam Bailey

[Sighs]

Please don’t tell me you’re having premonitions or something?

Wait, is that actually a thing?

Maria Sol

No, you idiot… Don’t you feel it?

Sam Bailey

Feel what?

Maria Sol

A slight… movement in the air. Like it’s vibrating or… twitching, maybe. And an odd taste too, like…

Sam Bailey

Like licking an old penny.

Maria Sol

Copper. I was going to say it tastes like blood, but… yeah.

Penny works too.

Sam Bailey

What is it?

Maria Sol

I’m not sure… I’ve felt it before though. It’s subtle, but once you notice it, you can’t really ignore it again.

Sam Bailey

Do you think it’s the Echo?

Maria Sol

No, no… Not just the Echo. It doesn’t feel like it, somehow. More like… Um… Sam?

Sam Bailey

What?

Maria Sol

Was that door like that the last time you were here?

Sam Bailey

Like… Oh. No, definitely not.

[Footsteps]

[Sam knocks on a heavy, old sounding door]

Maria Sol

It looks… what, medieval?

Sam Bailey

Gothic revival, more like. What? I took a few architecture classes in college.

Maria Sol

Of course you did. So — Not supposed to be here?

Sam Bailey

No. Definitely not supposed to be here.

[The sounds of traffic]

Maria Sol

I don’t suppose there’s another way in?

Sam Bailey

I’m… pretty sure there’s another door around the back. Come on.

[Two sets of running footsteps]

[Footsteps slow, then stop]

Sam Bailey 

Oh, come on…

Maria Sol

Look, are you sure they didn’t just change them out since you were here last?

Sam Bailey

No, I’m sure they didn’t. Here… uh, keep an eye on it… I’m going to check the front again.

Maria Sol

What will that do?

Sam Bailey

Just trust me, okay?

[Sam’s footsteps as he runs back]

Sam Bailey

Is it still the same?

Maria Sol

Yeah! Why?

Sam Bailey

The front door’s back to normal.

Maria Sol

What? When did it…

Sam Bailey

Wait, wait!

[Footsteps approach, then stop]

Maria Sol

Why? What are you… Um, Sam? Why are you staring at…

Sam Bailey

Because I think that if one of us doesn’t keep our eyes on that door, it will change back.

Maria Sol

Oh. That… makes sense, I guess.

Sam Bailey

Come on, let’s just get inside before it changes again.

[Two sets of footsteps]

[Door opens]

[Small clock ticking across the room]

Sam Bailey

Hello? Is anyone here?

Maria Sol

Nobody home, I guess. Jeez, it doesn’t look like anyone’s been in here in weeks… The receptionist’s desk is a total mess.

Sam Bailey

That’s weird… He had it spotless the last time I was here.

Maria Sol

Guess they’ve really let themselves go. These curtains look like they haven’t been cleaned…

Sam Bailey

Wait, don’t touch that!

Maria Sol

Ah! Jesus Bailey, what was that…!?

Sam Bailey

Those aren’t curtains.

Maria Sol

What?

Sam Bailey

The lobby didn’t have curtains. Not when I was here.

Maria Sol

Then… What are these?

Sam Bailey

They’re, um… Just… Look a little closer.

[Footsteps]

Maria Sol

What the… It looks like there’s something stuck in it…. Lots of somethings. They kind of look like…

Sam Bailey

Flies. Dead, desiccated flies.

Maria Sol

Oh god…

Sam Bailey

“Come into my parlor, said the spider to the…”

Maria Sol

Oh god, I think I’m going to be sick.

Sam Bailey

You’re not alone. God, what kind of spider could…

Maria Sol

Um… Sam? I don’t think that’s the worst part.

Sam Bailey

What do you mean?

Maria Sol

What time was it when we got here?

Sam Bailey

Uh, about… 5:30 or so. Why?

Maria Sol

Look through the blinds.

[Sam lifts one of the plastic blinds]

Sam Bailey

It’s.. it’s pitch black out there. I can’t even see the moon. Wasn’t it supposed to be full tonight?

Maria Sol

Yeah. But even if it wasn’t, shouldn’t we be able to see the streetlights from here?

Sam Bailey

Oh shit.

[A heavy scuttling and purring sound from down the hall]

Maria Sol

We need to get out of here. Now!

[Sam and Maria run for the front door

[Door handle rattles]

Maria Sol

Dammit, it’s locked!

Sam Bailey

How can it be locked, we just…

Maria Sol

Oh, wake up Sam! You still think we’re in the real halfway house?

[The spider noises get louder]

Sam Bailey

Oh god.

[Draws gun, cocks it]

Maria Sol

Can you see anything?

Sam Bailey

No the… the hallway’s too dark. I think there’s a light switch on the far wall if I can just… 

[Glass breaking]

Ah!

Maria Sol

What!?

Sam Bailey

I just… I just saw a leg. It’s… It’s right there.

Maria Sol

Shit. Get back.

Sam Bailey

What are you…?

[Maria kicks the doorframe. It rattles, but doesn’t budge]

[Kicks it again — Wood splinters]

Sam Bailey 

Maria…

Maria Sol

Hold on… Just… One… More!

[Maria kicks on each word

[The door bursts open]

Come on!

[Sam and Maria run]

[Door slams shut]

[Loud murmuring, and a louder clock]

Sam Bailey

What the hell…

[Voices stop immediately]

Maria Sol

Um… Sam? They’re staring at us.

Sam Bailey

Yeah. I noticed.

Maria Sol

I… I think they want you to put your gun away.

Sam Bailey

What? Oh, right….

[Sam holsters his pistol]

Sorry everyone, uh… Just a false alarm. Please go about your…

[Voices resume as though nothing happened]

Maria… Do you have any idea what’s…

Maria Sol

Not a clue. It looks… Closer to normal, though.

Sam Bailey

[Scoffs]

Depends on your definition of normal. Do you think… Do you think they’re actual people, or…

Maria Sol

Not likely. But your guess is as good as mine right now.

[Footsteps]

Sam Bailey

What’s going on with the windows now?

Maria Sol

Huh? I don’t know… It looks like it’s the middle of the day now.

[Maria lifts one of the blinds, then immediately drops it]

Ugh, my eyes haven’t adjusted yet. Can you…

Sam Bailey

Yeah, sure.

[Sam pulls something out of his jacket pocket]

Maria Sol

Wait… Are those seriously aviators?

Sam Bailey

First day of work present from Bill. He gives them to everyone in the office, even though he’s the only one who can really pull them off.

Maria Sol

Why do you still have them, then?

Sam Bailey

They’re, uh… 

[Clears throat]

They’re the only sunglasses I have.

[Sam slips them on and lifts the blinds]

Maria… It’s not the middle of the day.

Maria Sol

What do you mean?

Sam Bailey

It’s… It’s not day out there. It’s not… Anything, out there. It’s just…

Maria Sol

What? Let me see…

[Maria grabs the edge of the blinds and pulls the whole thing up]

[Someone in the room screams]

[A sound like sizzling meat]

[Scream stops]

[Silence fills the lobby]

Sam Bailey

What the hell…

[Someone picks up a phone, dials a three digit number, then hangs up]

[A low, warbling siren begins to shake the room]

Maria Sol

I… I think we’d better get out of here.

Sam Bailey

Yeah.

[Running]

[Door opens]

[The spider hisses, louder than before]

Sam Bailey

Shit!

[Maria slams the door]

[Sam grabs a chair and wedges it under the handle]

[The spider slams against the door]

Maria Sol

Do you think that’ll hold it?

Sam Bailey

I don’t know… Maybe? But we need to find another way out of here, now! Come on, let’s try for the back door.

Maria Sol

Do you think you can find it?

Sam Bailey

Maybe. I think… I mean, if this was the real house, it would be…

[The wood of the door cracks behind them]

This way! Come on!

[Running footsteps down the hall]

[The siren grows fainter behind them]

Down here, it’s just…

[A door burst open ahead of them]

[Sound of gently lapping waves]

Maria Sol

What the hell is that?

[Slow footsteps]

Sam?

[Waves]

Sam! Snap out of it, we need to go!

Sam Bailey

I… I can’t believe I forgot how… Beautiful it was.

Maria Sol

Sam!

[Maria slaps his face]

[Sound of waves vanishes]

Sam Bailey

Ow! What was that for?

Maria Sol

Sorry, you just… You looked like you were about to go in there. What was that?

Sam Bailey

I…!

I’m not sure, actually. I think… I think it was supposed to be Agate Shore. What happened to that noise?

Maria Sol

I don’t know… I think it cut off when the door opened. Let’s get out of here.

Sam Bailey

Yeah. I think the way out is…

[Sam takes a few steps, then stops]

Maria Sol

What is it?

Sam Bailey

This… This is her room.

Maria Sol

What? You’re sure?

Sam Bailey

Absolutely. She’s here.

Maria Sol

What, are you having a premonition now?

Sam Bailey

Do you taste copper anymore?

Maria Sol

No… I don’t…

[Sam steps up to the door]

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

[Through door]

How long does it take for the mask to become more familiar than the face behind it?

[Sam knocks]

Well then… I guess it’s time to find out.

[She calls out]

Come in!

[Sam opens the door]

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Well well, Detective. This is a pleasant surprise. Maria! What are you doing here?

Maria Sol

You know exactly what I’m doing here.

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

I… I really don’t. What’s going on, detective?

Sam Bailey

Um…. Miss… Sheridan, I just have a couple of questions for…

Maria Sol

Don’t you look away from me!

Sam Bailey

Maria…

Maria Sol

Don’t pretend you don’t know exactly what’s going on here.

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Maria, please don’t…

Maria Sol

No!

[A deep breath]

Look me in the eyes right now, and tell me… Who are you?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

I… I’m Anna.

Maria Sol

Don’t lie to me! Who are you? Who are you, to me?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Maria, I… I… I’m the woman who loved you. Who loves you. And I’m sorry I left you the way I did, but… It had to be this way. I know you probably can’t accept that, but — It’s the truth. I just hope you can find a way to forgive me.

[Silence]

[Maria rips the pistol out of Sam’s holster and cocks it]

Maria Sol

Wrong fucking answer.

Sam Bailey

Maria, don’t! She’s…

[Sam cuts off as Anna begins to chuckle darkly]

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Well. It was worth a shot, at least. Can’t fault a girl for trying. What did I get wrong? Out of curiosity?

Maria Sol

I… Anna didn’t leave me. I left her. Before… You know.

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Ah. That would do it, I suppose. Though that one was a flip of the coin, to be honest.

[Footsteps]

Sam Bailey

Maria… You can’t do this. I know you can’t. It isn’t you.

Maria Sol

And how would you know, huh?

Sam Bailey

Because you’re not a killer. I know you’re not.

Maria Sol

Oh, and I guess you’re an expert on that subject, huh? Tell me: killed many people in your time?

Sam Bailey

I… what are you…

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

[Chuckles]

You’re not going to kill me, Maria. Trust me: I know how this ends.

Maria Sol

God, is everyone psychic today?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

[Laughs]

No, not psychic. Just… well prepared, that’s all. One more thing I learned from Anna. Tell me, Maria… how’s Alice?

Maria Sol

She… how do you know about her?

Sam Bailey

Who’s Alice?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Miss Sol’s roommate. Currently taking care of their apartment in Bakersfield all by her lonesome.

Maria Sol

What have you done to her?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Me? Nothing. She’s fine. How about you give her a call, hmm? Check up on her?

Maria Sol

Look, whatever you’re trying to do, it…

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

[Distortion increases]

Call her!

[Maria pulls out her phone and dials]

[Beep]

Alice Kearns

Maria?

Maria Sol

Alice! Alice, are you okay?

Alice Kearns 

Geez, no need to yell. I’m fine, I just got back from the store.

Maria Sol 

Is… everything alright? Nothing… Weird going on around the apartment?

Alice Kearns 

[Laughs]

Why are you asking me?

Maria Sol

Uh… Because I’m not there?

Alice Kearns 

Uh, sorry? Yes you are!

Maria Sol

What?

Alice Kearns 

[Sighs]

Maria, I know you like a good joke, but this is a bit much. I’m literally standing in the kitchen right now. Only you could leave this much of a mess.

Maria Sol

I’m… Alice, I’m still in Nevada.

Alice Kearns 

No, you’re not. I heard you come in last night. I mean, I haven’t seen you all day, but that’s not exactly unusual, is it…

Maria Sol

Alice! Listen to me, this is important: Is the… do you think I’m still in my room?

Alice Kearns 

I… I don’t know. I’m pretty sure you are. Look, this isn’t one of those… Those things you and Anna used to talk about, is it…?

Maria Sol

Alice, get out of there. Get as far away from there are you can and… Hello? Hello?

[Static rises]

[Phone beeps as call fails]

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Oh? You must have lost signal. It’s terribly unreliable in this old building…

Maria Sol

You… You complete and utter….

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Ah ah ah… Sticks and stones may break my bones… But guns will never stop me. 

[Gun cocks]

Go ahead: pull that trigger. See what happens to poor little Alice Kearnes. 

[Distortion increases]

I dare you.

Sam Bailey

What’s going on here?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Oh, pay attention, detective. Maria’s roommate: she’s my deadman’s switch. She shoots me, and my… counterpart in Bakersfield comes out of her room and strangles the life from poor Alice before anyone could possibly help her.

Mind you, it’s not a perfect copy of Maria… I had to fudge a few details and keep her out of sight until she was needed, but…

Maria Sol

If you hurt her…

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

[Scoffs]

You’ll what? Shoot me? You know that will only be a momentary inconvenience at best… One that will land you both in prison in very short order. Hm. Might even be worth the trouble, if just to take you off the board for a little while…

Maria Sol

Well maybe I just don’t want to see you wearing Anna’s face anymore… You think of that?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

[Laughs]

You don’t need to try and impress me, Maria… I know exactly what you’re capable of.

[Maria lowers the gun]

Maria Sol

Here.

[She hands the pistol back to him]

Sam Bailey

So you’re… You’re really it then. The Echo.

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

The one of many. Pleased to meet you at last, Detective — properly, I mean.

Sam Bailey

You… You know we’re not going to let you get away with this, right?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

[Laughs]

Who’s we? You and Maria? The police department? What exactly do you have that you can charge me with?

Sam Bailey

Identity theft. Either forgery or burglary of Anna Sheridan’s ID. And now, attempted assault.

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

I haven’t attempted anything! If something happens to Miss Kearnes… Well, the blame would fall on Maria, wouldn’t it?

Sam Bailey

Not if we had your whole confession on tape, it wouldn’t.

[Sam pulls the recorder out of his pocket]

Sam Bailey 

Oh wait… Whoops. Looks like we do.

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

And you really think I didn’t know that? You try to use that thing…

[distortion increases]

…and I’ll burn it over with enough terrible voices to drive the listener mad.

Sam Bailey

You… You can’t do that… Can you?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

You already know I can… Or how else do you think my voice ended up on one of Anna’s blank tapes? 

[Distortion increases]

“…Whatever you’ve heard, I’m alive — I’m alive, and I need help!”

[Distortion cuts off]

I knew that would get your attention.

Sam Bailey

That was you?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

You crashed your car less than a mile from here. Close enough for me to leave you that little… Easter egg. Lure you in.

Sam Bailey

And… the call to my house? I’m guessing that was you too?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

What call?

Sam Bailey

The one right before I ran into De Witt. After you knocked on my door?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

…Nope. Not ringing any bells.

Sam Bailey

But if that wasn’t you…

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Look, detective: right now, the only thing that matters is what you’re going to do next. Shoot me, arrest me, and you have an innocent person’s blood on your hands. Alternatively — you both walk away. Forget this ever happened and bury the tape with all the rest of Anna’s old recordings. Move on.

Sam Bailey

[Sighs]

What, so you can create more doppelgangers? Replace more people?

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Maybe. Maybe I’m done with that. Maybe the other Maria’s just… insurance. Want to find out? Just try me.

Sam Bailey

I… I…

Maria Sol

[Opening door]

Come on, Sam, let’s just go. She beat us.

[Footsteps]

Anna Sheridan (OTHER)

Au revoir, Detective. Maria. I think you’ll find the exit’s where it’s supposed to be now. I’ll be seeing you both, soon enough.

[Sam stops up short. He draws an angry breath]

Maria Sol

Sam… What are you…

[Sam turns on his heels and marches back to Anna]

Sam Bailey

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you…

Maria Sol

What? Sam, don’t! She’ll…

Sam Bailey

You warned Alice, right? She had a chance to run?

Maria Sol

She… Well, yes, I guess she did, but…

Sam Bailey

Then I’m not letting this happen. Not again. It stops here and now.

Maria Sol

Sam, you can’t do this!

Sam Bailey

Yes, I can, and I will. So stay out of my way, or I’ll arrest you for obstruction. Understood?

Maria Sol

Sam, it’s…

[Sighs]

Yeah. I understand.

[Maria turns and starts walking away]

[The Echo begins to laugh, the distortion increasing]

Sam Bailey

Anything you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions. You have the right…

[Static rises, overpowering the recording]

[Clack and clatter as the tape ejects]

Tape Ends


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