Episode 27: “Ethos Anthropos Daimon”

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

CONTENT WARNING: Spectrophobia, depictions of grief and loss, doppelgängers, some strong language and loud noises (including breaking glass)

10222019a: Six months after leaving Oslow County and striking out on her own, Maria Sol finally finds herself outside a strange little house in Northern California that she’s been hunting for a long time…

Starring Airen Neeley Chaconas as Anna Sheridan, Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, and David Ault as The Host, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written by Trevor Van Winkle and produced by Trevor Van Winkle and Virginia Spotts, and made possible by our supporters at Patreon.com/homesteadcorner and ko-fi.com/homesteadcorner

For more information, additional content, and episode transcript, visit thesheridantapes.com

Script

TST_210122_S027_Thumb 

Transcript

CONTENT WARNING: Spectrophobia, depictions of grief and loss, doppelgängers, some strong language and loud noises (including breaking glass)

Cold Open

[Birds chirp in the trees]

[Gentle waves lap against the shore of a lake in the distance]

[Footsteps]

[Trunk opens, someone rummages around]

[The door of a house opens nearby]

MARIA SOL 

This place is way too big for you, Anna.

ANNA SHERIDAN

What, have trouble finding the bathroom?

[Footsteps]

MARIA SOL 

No. I just had trouble deciding which one to use.

ANNA SHERIDAN 

Oh come on, it’s not that big – and there are only two.

MARIA SOL

And two stories. And five bedrooms.

ANNA SHERIDAN

Three.

MARIA SOL

Of which, you’ll be using…

ANNA SHERIDAN

One. The second story guest room, in fact.

MARIA SOL

I rest my case. Why the guest room?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

It has the best view of the lake. And it’s where I stayed after the accident, so it kind of feels like home. Sort of. 

[Shuffling in the van]

Stop standing around and help me move this stuff in.

[She throws some items around in the van]

MARIA SOL 

Yes ma’am.

ANNA SHERIDAN 

Oh, fuck off.

[They laugh]

[Footsteps]

[They drop bags in a hallway] 

MARIA SOL

How the hell did you convince him to sell you this place?

ANNA SHERIDAN

I told him it was haunted. Said he’d better scram if he knew what was good for him.

[Footsteps]

MARIA SOL 

Seriously?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

[She laughs]

No, of course not! He was one of my dad’s friends since before I was born. He couldn’t really take care of the property anymore, so…

MARIA SOL 

What, and he thought you could?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

What’s that supposed to mean?

MARIA SOL 

Has he seen the inside of your van lately?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

Oh, god no. Hey…

MARIA SOL

I rest my case. Again.

[Footsteps]

ANNA SHERIDAN 

What makes you think I couldn’t take care of my own place if I wanted to?

MARIA SOL

Nothing, nothing at all. Ten bucks says that apple tree’s dead in six months.

ANNA SHERIDAN 

Get ready to lose, Sol.

MARIA SOL 

Bring it, Sheridan.

[They laugh]

[Shuffling in the van]

ANNA SHERIDAN 

Hold on, let’s get this first.

[Heavy scraping]

MARIA SOL 

Get what… Is that a mirror?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

Picked it up antique shopping the last time I was in Oregon.

MARIA SOL 

It looks – heavy.

ANNA SHERIDAN 

Hence, I’m asking for your help with it. If you wouldn’t mind?

[Heavy dragging]

Got a grip?

MARIA SOL 

I… I think so. You’ve got it on your end?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

Yeah, I’m fine. Ready? One, two, three – lift!

[Heavy dragging, slow footsteps]

MARIA SOL

Jesus Christ, how much does this thing weigh?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

Just get it to the porch, we can – wait – hold on.

MARIA SOL 

What?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

My grip’s slipping – hold on, I think I can get a better one if I…

MARIA SOL

Wait, wait!

[The mirror slips and shatters on the pavement]

[The birds in the nearby trees take off in panicked flight, cawing in alarm]


ANNA SHERIDAN

Oh… Shit.

MARIA SOL

I’m sorry, Anna…

ANNA SHERIDAN 

It’s fine, it’s fine, it… It wasn’t your fault.

MARIA SOL

Well… Still. Sorry. It looked expensive.

[Light tinkle of broken glass]

ANNA SHERIDAN

That’s what I get for shoving it in the back of a van for six months. Guess I had it coming.

MARIA SOL 

So which of us gets the 7 years bad luck? Or do you think we split it?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

[She laughs]

I think we’re fine. I don’t believe in luck, anyway. What?

MARIA SOL 

You don’t believe in luck. You.

ANNA SHERIDAN 

I’m not lucky, Maria… I’m smart enough that I don’t have to be.

MARIA SOL

Come on, you seriously don’t think luck has anything to do with it?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

Not luck. Not entirely.

MARIA SOL 

What then?

ANNA SHERIDAN

Ethos Anthropos Daimon.

MARIA SOL

Um… Gesundheit?

ANNA SHERIDAN 

It’s Greek. Heraclitus,

MARIA SOL

And it means…?

ANNA SHERIDAN

[Chuckles]

“Character is fate.”

[Click]

[Main Theme]

Recording Begins

[Rain falling on a van roof] 

[Cassette noises, the static fades away]

[Someone shoves a tape into a tape player]

ANNA SHERIDAN

One of the most disappointing things about living in America is the lack of genuinely haunted houses. Oh, there are plenty that claim to be haunted – especially if you drop your nickel in the hat. Some of them are pretty effective too, if you’re more than a little credulous.

[Click]

[Someone fast forwards the tape]

ANNA SHERIDAN

Nothing quite compared to The Mirror House, though. One small silver lining to the recession – at least, for me – was the number of new haunted houses that started to appear online. Like I said, most of them were fakes, but one or two were the real McCoy: places too disturbing to normally be open to the public. But now, they were too expensive to keep–

[Click. They stop the tape, fast forward, then play again]

ANNA SHERIDAN

…my idea of a haunted house. The pictures showed a single-story ranch-style house with a long, wrap-around porch, a short, gravel driveway, and a two-car garage with one door falling slightly off its track. It wasn’t in the middle of a dark desolate forest either, but on a small plot of open land covered with tall, green grass. The only trees–

[Click. Tape spits out]

[Someone sits back and sighs]

MARIA SOL

Well… I guess this is the place. I really hope it is, at least – don’t want to get in a fight with a random neighbor at 2 o’clock in the morning. Again.

[She grabs a heavy sounding backpack, zipping it open slightly]

Do I have everything… Yes. Good. 

[Zipper closes]

Let’s just hope there’s actually someone here to let me in.

[Recorder is stuffed into pocket] 

[Van door swings open and closes]

[She buckles the backpack]

Okay… This is Maria Sol, recording on October 22nd, 2019 at approximately 2am. I’m somewhere outside Hilt, California… Exact location unknown. Marker.

[Soft clap]

[Footsteps over muddy terrain]

The house seems to be dark. There are no cars in the driveway, and nobody else parked nearby. No street signs, either. I’m pretty sure this road wasn’t here the last three times I drove past tonight, and I know this house wasn’t. I don’t think I ever would have found it, if I didn’t…

[Thunder rumbles in the distance]

That’s weird… There wasn’t supposed to be any lightning this late in the – AH!

[She jumps, then sighs]

For fuck’s sake – you knew he might be here, and you still… Ugh.

[Maria marches across the wet yard]

[Footsteps on a wooden porch]

[The rain quiets]

Ezra Zilberschlag?

THE HOST 

[Chuckles]

No, no my dear… I’m simply the host. I work here at the Mirror House, you see…

MARIA SOL

Save it. I already know what this place is, so you can just cut the whole song and dance number.

THE HOST 

My my… We are a troubled young woman, aren’t we?

MARIA SOL 

[Scoffs]

No, I’m a troubled young woman. You’re a supernatural parasite that steals other people’s reflections and uses them as bait. Or you might just be a normal human who’s helping the house do it, which is probably worse, come to think of it.

THE HOST

I’m terribly sorry, but you seem to have me confused with someone else.

MARIA SOL 

Maybe. How about you teeth, and then I’ll know for sure?

THE HOST

[Yawns]

You must forgive an old man, but it is late, and I’ve had rather a long day already. Perhaps if you came back at a better time, I’m sure I would be…

[Door creaking]

MARIA SOL

Oh no you don’t.

[Door stops]

THE HOST

Would you be so kind as to remove your foot from the door jamb, Miss…?

MARIA SOL 

Do you really think I’m stupid enough to just give you my real name?

THE HOST 

I have little idea what to think of you at the present moment.

MARIA SOL 

Let me give you a little context then. I’ve been driving up and down this part of the state for the last month, looking for this place. Of course I didn’t find anything, but I finally caught a break and got your address off an archived version of your old webpage. Your DNS expired back in 2007, by the way. You might want to look into that.

THE HOST 

Indeed.

MARIA SOL

I thought about just calling the number you had listed, but then I thought; no, they’d probably appreciate an unexpected guest, I’ll just surprise them instead. Except the address I found didn’t exist. 

[Thunder distantly rumbles]

Has never existed, as far as any official record is concerned. Still, I thought I’d follow the directions on the website. See what happens.

THE HOST

How very enterprising of you.

MARIA SOL

[Scoffs]

Oh, just wait. I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. So I drive up I-5, take exit 796, and what do I find at the end of the road? Nothing. No street, no house, and nobody in town who’s ever even heard the name “Zilberschlag.”

THE HOST 

That’s… Unusual.

MARIA SOL

You’re telling me. Still, I can be pretty stubborn when I want to be, so I just kept looking. At first, I thought I’d have to stumble onto this place by accident, but that didn’t work either. Then I thought, hey, maybe the house only shows up at night. Makes sense, right? But nope – still nothing at the end of the lane. Then finally, just when I’m about to give up, I get a stormy night with a full moon, and – – presto. One abandoned Mirror House, right where it’s supposed to be. Why do you think that is?

THE HOST 

I… I really can’t say for sure.

MARIA SOL

I can. This place is dying. It needs new visitors just to stay in this plane of reality, and I’m guessing you haven’t had many of those since Anna escaped from here. So you and the house are starting to fade away. I’m guessing you’re less than a year from vanishing for good. Maybe two, if you’re lucky. And the worst part is, you don’t even know it’s happening.

[Door creaks open]

THE HOST 

That’s quite the elaborate tale you’ve spun for me there. My compliments.

MARIA SOL

I don’t want your compliments. I want you to let me in.

THE HOST

Of course you do. Unfortunately, the Mirror House is closed for renovations at the moment. I’m sure that if you call back later, we can…

MARIA SOL 

What did I just say? You need me. Do you really think other people will just stumble onto this place the way I did? What do you think the chances of that really are?

[Wooden porch creaks]

THE HOST

You’d really risk losing yourself in here, knowing what you know? Why? Just to satisfy a curiosity?

MARIA SOL

To set things right. And yes, I would. I will.

[The door opens]

THE HOST

Hm. If you insist. Though I will have to ask you to leave your bag in the foyer before you go.

MARIA SOL 

[Scoffs]

Yeah, sure.

THE HOST 

I mean it. The house rules are…

MARIA SOL

Look. Either I come in as I am, with what I’m carrying, or not at all. Your choice.

THE HOST

[Sighs]

Oh, very well. 

[Door creaks open]

Welcome to the Mirror House.

[The door is held open]

[Footsteps as Maria enters]

[The noises from outside quiet]

MARIA SOL

What the hell…?

[The door slams shut behind her]

Ah! Stop doing that – you’d think you’d never been in a haunted house before. And of course my host has vanished too. What a surprise.

[She tries the door handle. It rattles–locked]

Locked. Of course.

[Footsteps]

Fine. Let’s do this.

[She marches down the hall]

[A high, whistling draft can be heard, and the lights overhead flicker and buzz occasionally]

So that’s the first mirror in the Mirror House, huh? Color me unimpressed. I can’t even see my reflection in it – all the edges are covered in patina, and the glass is too clouded to see anything. Someone’s starting to show their age, I think.

[Footsteps through the house on various surfaces] 

You may notice I’m not commenting on the rooms I’m passing through. Don’t worry – you’re not missing much. They’re all exactly like Anna described, just a little bit more worn down. The only difference is…

[She unzips a pouch on her backpack and clicks something on]

…I actually thought to bring a flashlight, so I can see where I’m going. 

[Zips backpack]

Good thing too, because I’ve already wasted enough time looking for this place. I have at least a dozen more tapes I need to follow up on after this.

[Footsteps again]

[Static & whine rises on the tape]

Looks like this is the three-mirror room, and… Yep, there’s the hallway with the jump scare mirror on the other side of it. Geez, I can even see the lightbulb from here. I really don’t know how Anna fell for that.

[Footsteps]

[Static fading into background slightly]

And… Exactly what I was expecting. Consider me… Actually… Huh. That’s weird. It’s completely faded out, but there are… I think they’re scratches, all over it. It almost looks like someone’s been trying to remove the patina with their fingernails, but I don’t know why they’d…

[Her finger slides off with a squeak, like the sound of a squeegee on a clean window]

It’s… Smooth. Really smooth, like it’s just been cleaned. It can’t be though, I can see the scratches, and it’s…

[She pauses]

They’re not… Someone wasn’t scratching at the mirror to get something off. Something has been scratching at it from the inside, trying to get out.

[She pauses]

Nope. Not sitting there with that thought any longer than I have to. Stick to the plan – get in, get to the inner sanctum, and get out. Everything else should take care of itself.

[Footsteps]

I hope.

[The surfaces under her feet change–wood, carpet, mirror]

[The whine and static increases]

[It quiets down]

[Carpet footsteps again]

Finally. I think that was the last room, so this should be the central chamber up ahead. There’s a door at the end of the hall, and I think there used to be a light next to it, but it’s burnt out. I can’t see any…

THE HOST 

You made rather good time.

MARIA SOL 

[Sucking air through her teeth to keep from screaming]

[She sighs]

And where the hell did you run off to, huh? You have better places to be?

THE HOST

I had… Preparations to make. Nothing you need worry yourself about.

MARIA SOL

Imagine my relief. You going to let me in there?

THE HOST 

Of course.

MARIA SOL 

Huh. And will you let me out once I’m done?

THE HOST 

I haven’t made up my mind on that yet. Though I suspect that if you do decide to go in there, whatever happens is on you. Are you sure you’re quite ready for this?

MARIA SOL 

Of course I am. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.

THE HOST 

[Chuckles darkly]

No. I rather suspect you wouldn’t.

[Jingling of keys]

[The door unlocks, swinging open]

[Footsteps, turning thin and metallic]

MARIA SOL 

Would you mind turning on the… 

[Door closes]

Lights. Great.

[The lights, metallic, blink on]

Oh, wow. Anna wasn’t kidding – it really does go on forever. And it does feel like I’m floating, even with my feet on the ground. It’s kind of like… Don’t look down – seriously, don’t look down. Fuck, this place is enough to give you vertigo if you tried to…

[Shuffling]

Oh – right on cue. One of my reflections has decided to take on a life of its own. Piss off! I’m not here here for you!

[Static noise rises]

[A few slow, metallic, and unnatural footsteps can be heard]

Ooh, spooky reflection moving by itself. Is that seriously the best you can do? I faced down a monster wearing my girlfriend’s face. Good luck trying to scare me with this funhouse shit.

[The footsteps stop, then after a moment slowly retreat]

That’s right… Just keep walking…

[Another set of footsteps begins to rise, louder and more natural than the ones before] 

[Maria gasps]

Anna?

ANNA SHERIDAN (MIRROR) 

Hello.

MARIA SOL 

Are you… No. Of course you’re not her.

ANNA SHERIDAN (MIRROR) 

No. Just an image of someone who passed through here a long time ago. Nothing more. Did you know her?

MARIA SOL 

You – you don’t know who I am?

ANNA SHERIDAN (MIRROR) 

How can I? Anna didn’t know you when she came here. And you didn’t give our host your name. I have to say, that was very rude of you.

MARIA SOL

So you’re not part of the Echo, then? I thought this place might be…

[Mirror Anna laughs, the noise echoing in the small room]

Okay, okay, I get the point!

[The laughter dies slowly]

ANNA SHERIDAN (MIRROR) 

Do you? No. You think you do, but you haven’t begun to grasp the smallest edge of the smallest corner of what you’re dealing with. And when the time comes for you to face it alone… The world behind the world will eat you alive.

MARIA SOL

Hey… I’m ready to get out now.

[No answer]

ANNA SHERIDAN (MIRROR) 

He can’t hear you. And why should he let you out of here, even if he could? Like you said… We need new visitors. New faces. New blood.

[She pounds on the walls]

[A thin noise, like she’s hitting membranes of energy]

MARIA SOL

Let me out of here!

[The image of Anna (and Maria) laughs, echoing]

God, will you all just…

[Backpack unzips, is thrown on ground]

 …Shut up!

ANNA SHERIDAN (MIRROR) 

That is a… Very large hammer for a young lady to be carrying around in her backpack.

MARIA SOL 

Well, subtlety is overrated, if you ask me.

ANNA SHERIDAN (MIRROR) 

You really shouldn’t have that in here. If you would just…

MARIA SOL

Maria.

ANNA SHERIDAN (MIRROR)

What?

MARIA SOL

My name’s Maria. There. Now you have it – for all the good it will do you. Go on. Say it.

ANNA SHERIDAN (MIRROR)

Maria… Please don’t do… Whatever it is you’re thinking of doing. It’s seven years of bad luck to break a mirror, you know…

MARIA SOL 

[Scoffs]

I don’t believe in luck. And neither did Anna. Besides… I don’t think it could get much worse than it already is, do you?

ANNA SHERIDAN (MIRROR) 

Maria, don’t…

[The hammer hits the mirror]

[It shatters, and the echo of Mirror Anna’s final words resounds in the room]

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[Static fades]

[Footsteps]

[Insects chirp in the background]

MARIA SOL

Oh, great, the recorder’s finally working again… Whatever happened when I broke the mirrors must have overloaded it somehow.

I don’t think we’ll have any more problems with the Mirror House. The lights went out right after the mirrors shattered, but I found my way out easily enough without them. Only problem was, it seems like all the mirrors in the house shattered

when I broke the ones in the inner sanctum. 

[The van door creaks as she opens it]

I’m going to be picking glass out of my hair for weeks. There is one thing I’m worried about, though – the mirror in the hallway, the one with all the scratches… It didn’t break with the others. I’m not sure what that means. I thought about smashing it too, but… If something’s trying to claw its way out of there, I really don’t want to deal with it right now.

[She throws her backpack inside]

[She gets in and closes the van door]

But besides that, the house looks dead. No lights, no power, and no sign of the host. Looking at it from the outside, the building seems even older than it was when I first showed up, and I think it’s…

[Her phone buzzes]

What the… Hold on…

[She pulls her phone out]

Huh… 515. Who’s calling me from Iowa?

Hello, Maria Sol speaking?

[Faintly, a voice is heard on the other end]

Whoa, slow down, who is… 

Wait, is that… 

Kate?

[Clack, the tape spits out]

Recording Ends


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s