Episode 28: “Come in Under the Shadow”

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CONTENT WARNING: Claustrophobia, depictions of grief and loss, existential dread, familial conflict and separation, some strong language and loud noises (including screams)

10222019b: In another part of California, in front of a very different house with another connection to Anna Sheridan’s life, Kate Sheridan struggles to summon her courage and cross the threshold…

Starring Airen Neeley Chaconas as Anna Sheridan, Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, James Cain as Peter Slate, and Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, 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

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Transcript

CONTENT WARNING: Claustrophobia, depictions of grief and loss, existential dread, familial conflict and separation, some strong language and loud noises (including screams)

Cold Open

[A front door slams heavily]

[Birds chirping outside]

[Footsteps]

[A van door slides open and shut again]

[Kate’s voice is muffled through the van doors]

KATE SHERIDAN

Oh come on Anna, you know she didn’t really mean it… Anna, please just – open the door and come back inside…

ANNA SHERIDAN

[bitter laugh]     

Seriously? Fuck that, and fuck you.

KATE SHERIDAN

Look, you know how she is when she’s had a bit of wine. Just ignore what she says and we can have a halfway peaceful Thanksgiving for once in our…

ANNA SHERIDAN

Oh, sure, blame the wine, that’s rich.

KATE SHERIDAN

Excuse me?

ANNA SHERIDAN

How come every time she gets drunk off her ass it’s the wine’s fault, but whenever I get high it’s mine?

KATE SHERIDAN

It’s… That’s… She’s our mother, and…

ANNA SHERIDAN

Is that an explanation, or an excuse?

KATE SHERIDAN

Could you at least come back inside and talk to her? You know how Andrew gets when he sees you two fighting.

ANNA SHERIDAN

There’s no way I’m going to talk to that… Fine. Just give me a minute, alright?

KATE SHERIDAN

Could you just… Come back with me? Otherwise Mom’s going to…

ANNA SHERIDAN

Just give me a second!

[Anna sighs in annoyance]

[She shifts to the back of her van]

KATE SHERIDAN

Can I at least come in there with you? It’s freezing out here.

ANNA SHERIDAN

Yeah, sure.

[She raises her key fob & unlocks the doors]

[Van door slides open]

[Kate gets inside]

KATE SHERIDAN

Thanks.

[She closes the door behind her]

KATE SHERIDAN

Huh. It’s… Nice in here.

[Anna scoffs]

KATE SHERIDAN

So, uh… See any good ghosts lately?

ANNA SHERIDAN

No. Just a bunch of hoaxes and frauds.

KATE SHERIDAN

Oh. I’m… Sorry?

ANNA SHERIDAN

I’d rather not talk about it.

[Kate makes some non-committal noises, trying to speak]

KATE SHERIDAN

Did you, uh… Meet anyone nice

this year?

ANNA SHERIDAN

[groans]

Jesus Christ, Kate.

KATE SHERIDAN

What?

ANNA SHERIDAN

If I didn’t meet anyone, I wouldn’t want to talk about it. And if I did, I also wouldn’t want to talk about it.

KATE SHERIDAN       

I just thought that maybe we could…

ANNA SHERIDAN

God, can you not just shut up for ten seconds? I’m trying to forget all the reasons I hate this family before I have to go in there and… apologize to my mother. Of all people.

KATE SHERIDAN

She’s my mom too, you know. She can be a little much sometimes, but she’s still family, and that’s…

ANNA SHERIDAN

I swear, if you say some shit like “Family always comes first,” then I’m getting up and driving off right now. I don’t care that she’s my mother, she doesn’t get to sit there and make me feel like shit for every decision I’ve ever made. Nobody gets to do that to me. Nobody.

KATE SHERIDAN

I’m not saying she does, but… We’re both stuck with her. And you’re going to have to talk to her eventually. I mean… You don’t really think you can keep your entire life a secret from her forever, do you?

ANNA SHERIDAN

[bitter laugh]

I will if I can help it.

[Cassette noises]

Main Theme

Recording Begins

[Cassette noises, static fades out]

[A coyote howls in the distance, muffled through car windows]

[Crickets]

[Windy evening outside]

KATE SHERIDAN

I’ll be honest… I’ve just been sitting here for about an hour, staring at your stupid, stupid house across the road. I know I need to go in there eventually, but… I can’t actually seem to force myself to get out of the car and go. That might be because of how cold it is out there, but… That’s not all of it. Not even half of it.

[sighs]

If anything, the cold’s going to force me to move sooner than later. I thought starting the recorder might push me in that direction, too. Otherwise, I’d just go back to the hotel and spend the rest of the night in my room, even if I still can’t fall asleep. And a little peer pressure never hurt anyone – at least, not in your books. Isn’t that right, Anna?

[She chuckles]

Yeah, yeah – once again, I know you can’t actually hear me. Still. Feels more normal talking to you than to… What? “My dear listeners?” No thanks.

And if I’m not recording this for your sake, I  don’t know why I’m doing it. God knows I never understood why you were always recording things you didn’t want anyone to listen to. So I’ll pretend I’m talking to you, instead. Just – don’t feel any pressure to talk back, alright? Great.

[She sighs]

It does still feel like trespassing, though. I know you gave me the spare key in case of emergencies, but I’m still not sure you disappearing without a trace counts. If it does, then your whole life was one big, ongoing emergency most of the…

Sorry, that… That came out wrong. But you know what I mean. Not that you’ll complain about it, even if you don’t. But still…

Maybe I’m trying to ask your permission, talking like this. Does that seem fair? I know you can’t actually give it to me, but I’d rather feel like I checked with you before I went in there. Made sure you’re okay with what I’m going to do, you know? I’m not going to mess with anything or move anything, or even tell anyone about… Whatever I find in there. I’m just going to look. I’m just…

I just need somewhere to start. A clue. Some kind of hint. Anything that’ll help me figure out where you went. And I know you never spent much time here, but it’s really the only place I can think of to start.

[She chuckles]

Alright, alright… You’ve convinced me. I just hope none of your neighbors spot me and call the police. It might look a little weird if someone saw me going in there at… God, what time is it?

[She pulls out her phone and clicks it on]

[Phone buttons clicking]

Midnight. Perfect.

Oh, shit… I must have left it on silent. There’s a voicemail from Peter. Maybe I  should just wait until after. I’m sure he’ll…

[Voicemail tone]

[Peter’s voice comes through the phone speaker]

PETER SLATE

H–ey honey… Sorry I missed you, I guess you’re probably already in bed. I know it’s late and… God, it’s late here too. I just barely managed to get Andrew to go to sleep. I let him have a bit of the Halloween candy early, and – yes, yes, I know it was a bad idea, but you know I can’t say no to that kid. Anyway, he’s been bouncing off the walls all day, so he’s more or less back to his old self. He’s um… been a little bummed the last few days, to be honest. He definitely misses you. I had to tell him you probably won’t be able to go trick-or-treating with him this year, and I swear I thought he would…

[sighs]

God. Sorry, I shouldn’t be telling you that. I mean, I should be telling you, you wanted to know everything, but I could have found a… I mean, I probably could’ve said it…

Look – we’re okay here. I may be pretty useless with most things, but I do know how to take care of our little guy. I just miss having the backup. I miss you. And I know you’re doing what you have to do for… Your own reasons. And even if I don’t know what those are, I know they’re the right ones. I just hope you find what you’re looking for out there, and… Once you do, I’ll still be here.

I love y–

[A door bursts open on the recording]

[A 4-year-old’s maniacal laughter]

PETER SLATE

What the – AANNDDREEW…!

[Beep Beep, the message ends]

[Kate’s laugh turns into a stifled sob]

KATE SHERIDAN

I am doing the right thing. I’m doing the right thing.

[Kate opens the door and steps outside]

[She reacts to the cold and closes the door]

Oh God, Jesus, how did it get even colder out here?

[Footsteps]

[She shivers]

Oh come on, you’re trying to unlock a door, not…

[Jangling of keys, turning of lock]

[She opens the door, steps inside, and closes the door]

Oh, of course it’s just as cold in here… Really hope that fireplace still works…

[Footsteps, she crosses the room]

[Gas dial turns up]

[Striking of lighter, flames whoosh to life]

Oooh, that is much better.

[she blows into her hands, rubbing them together]

Oh for godssake, Anna, it looks like a bomb went off in here. Did you seriously do a load of laundry and just leave it on the couch before you left? What, did you think it would magically put itself away while you were…

[she laughs ruefully]

Listen to yourself. This is the same argument you’ve been having with her since you were five. Good to know some things haven’t changed.

[She crosses to the couch and picks up a shirt]

[She folds while she talks]

And I know you won’t take fashion advice from me, but seriously, Anna – you really need to expand your horizons beyond flannels and t-shirts. I know they’re good for traveling, but there are other styles available to you besides “lesbian lumberjack-core.” I mean…

[Kate cuts off, then pulls the shirt closer, sniffing]

Strike my previous comment – you didn’t do a load of laundry, you were going to do it and forgot. Everything still smells like smoke – and yes, I do mean both kinds.

[Kate drops the half-folded shirt back into the pile, sighing]

You’re not here to judge her, Kate. You’re here to help her.

[Footsteps]

[She shivers again]

Oh come on, it’s still too cold in here. I wonder if…

[She walks back to the pile of clothes, picks something up]

Holy cow, that’s Dad’s old sweater. She actually kept it. I thought for sure she’d lost it.

[Somehow, over the tape, an echoing flashback comes to life]

ANNA SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

No, no, I want you to have it.

KATE SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

Are you sure? It fits you better…

[Kate puts on the cable-knit sweater]

KATE SHERIDAN

[reacting in relief]

Ahhh… Yeah, it’s still a bit big on me, but… It’s definitely warm enough.

[Sniffs]

And surprisingly, it doesn’t smell too much like weed.

[Kate continues through the house]

[Her footsteps turn from carpet to hard flooring]

[She flicks a switch on the wall a few times]

Oh, of course they turned off the power. At least the gas company hasn’t emptied out her propane tank yet. Thank god for little mercies.

[She rummages through a drawer]

[A flashlight clicks on]

“Let there be light.” And of course it’s a mess in here too. I guess it would be asking too much for her to actually do the dishes before she left. Not that…

[Kate picks up a ceramic mug]

Wow… That takes me back. Anna had this with her on that camping trip back in… What, 02? 03? Must have been right after she dropped out.

ANNA SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

I think you did it wrong, Kate… I can’t feel this coffee at all.

KATE SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

Oh, it’s decaf.

ANNA SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

It’s fucking what…?

[Kate sets the mug down]

KATE SHERIDAN

That must have been the last time I could talk to you without feeling like you were… Well, Anna Sheridan, I guess. And one of the last times we actually managed to talk to each other without…

[She sniffs]

Ugh, what is that… Oh. Of course you didn’t clean out the fridge before they shut off the power. Maybe I could… No. You’ve got a job to do Kate, so just… Focus.

[Kate crosses the house to the stairs]

[Flashbacks echo on the tape again]

ANNA SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

“When are you going to stop? When are you going to come home? When are you going to sit down and get your head on straight?”

KATE SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

Well, when are you?

ANNA SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

Oh sorry, am I bothering you now? What happened to “call anytime you want Anna” or, “you’re always welcome here, Anna?”

[Glitches of static]

[Creaking as Kate climbs the stairs]

KATE SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

That’s just what people say Anna, it doesn’t mean you can call me out of the blue at 10pm on a Sunday night!

ANNA SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

Well sorry if I wanted to have a nice talk with my sister for a change.

KATE SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

You call this a life? You’re living in a dream world, Anna, and it’s high time you wake up.

ANNA SHERIDAN (FLASHBACK)

Seriously? A dream? It’s a nightmare!

[Kate looks down the second-story hall in Anna’s house]

KATE SHERIDAN

I think… I think your room is that one at the end of the hall. God, why couldn’t I have done this when there was at least a little bit of light in here…

[Her footsteps fall softly on the carpet]

[She rattles a locked door handle]

So you didn’t do the laundry or dishes before you went, but you locked your bedroom? Typical.

[Kate tries different keys on her key-ring]

Oh, and of course you wouldn’t give me the key to your room. Why would you? Maybe I can find a spare somewhere in here? If I can guess where you hid it.

[Kate walks back up the hall, opening another door] 

Okay… Bathroom. I don’t think you’d hide it in here, so… No, I wouldn’t think to hide a key in here, so it’s probably where you put it.

[Kate steps inside, not closing the door]

Geez, how big a bathroom does one person need? It looks bigger than the living room. How the hell is this thing crammed into – 

[Kate stifles a scream]

Oh for… Anna, I don’t know why you’d put a clawfoot bathtub in here in the first place, but we seriously need to talk about what people don’t want when it comes to bathroom decor. Anatomically correct wolf legs with six-inch claws being key among them.

[Footsteps]

[Kate pulls open the drawers under the sink, rummaging

through them]

And… No key. Dammit. I guess that would have been too easy, huh An…?

[Footsteps as she begins to walk away]

[A thumping behind her stops her movement]

Just… Turn around Kate. It’s… Probably not the bathtub. It’s just…

[She turns quickly]

[The wind moans]

What the hell… God, I think this whole house is trying to scare me to death or something. It’s just… The old apple tree out front, tapping on the window. The wind must have kicked up again. Did I really think the bathtub came to life? How old am I again?

[She shuts the bathroom door behind her]

Next door looks like it should be the linen closet. If you actually had a linen closet, I mean. There isn’t much room for anything else up here between that bathroom and your…

[She rattles the knob on the linen closet]

Why would it be… No, no, it’s not locked. It’s more like… There’s something holding it shut?

[Static]

Maybe something got pinned underneath it? If I just pull hard enough, it should…

[The door bangs open, along with the sound of a hundred other doors swinging open, fading into the distance]

What the hell? 

[She steps inside]

[Her voice begins to echo]

Wow. Did… Anna, did you know about this? No, I don’t think you did… You definitely would have told me you had an infinite hall of doorways in your house if you did. God, you would love this.

[The first door slams shut behind her]

Shit! Sorry, I just… Oh no.

[Kate tries the handle, but it’s locked tight]

Oh, of course it’s locked now. Maybe… Maybe there’s another way out further down the hall? I mean, it can’t really be infinite, can it? 

Oh god, can it?

Try not to think about that. It’s dark, but I think I can almost see something down at the other end with my flashlight. Maybe if I…

[She ventures forward]

[The second door closes behind her]

Ah! – shit, not again.

[She tries the handle, but it’s locked tight]

Oh… Fuck. Oh, shut up. You didn’t hear that. Well. I guess I can take comfort in knowing that this night couldn’t possibly get any worse…

[The door in front of her slams shut]

[The echo cuts out – she is now trapped in a small room]

[She groans]

I just had to say something, didn’t I.

[She rattles the doorknob in front of her]

[She begins to breathe quickly]

Okay Kate… Keep breathing. In, and out. It’s a little tight in here, but I’m fine. I’ll get out of this, and I’ll be fine. Breathe.

[She takes some deep breaths]

Okay. Okay, I can get out of here. None of these doors have deadbolts, and they’re pretty lightweight. If I can take the pins out of their hinges, then… No. No, they all swing outward. If I take the pins off this one, I’ll just end up further down the hall. Maybe I can use my card to trip the lock on the doorknob and just…

[Frustrated sigh]

If I didn’t leave my purse out in the car… Dammit!

[She slumps, sliding down the door behind her into a sit]

And don’t you start asking me how I know all that. You’d be surprised how easily a four-year- old can lock themselves in the  bathroom.

[Frustrated sigh]

All that assuming these are actual locks that actually work the way they’re supposed to. For all I know this hallway could be some kind of monster in disguise, holding all the doors shut with a million, million teeth.

[Rueful chuckle]

God, I really shouldn’t have listened to your audiobooks on the way here, should I.

[She sighs]

[A long silence] 

I wonder… I wonder if this is how it started with you – wandering into something impossible without realizing it. Having to find a way out, a way to deal with it by yourself.

[She scoffs]

Or maybe you just went looking for it, as usual. Maybe you knew exactly what you were getting into from day one, and just…

No. I don’t think that’s true. It must have been like this – you, ending up somewhere you shouldn’t have been, trying to do something you shouldn’t be doing, and… Again, don’t look at me like that, I know I’m doing the exact same thing right now.

[She sighs]

You got into trouble. Then you got back out of it. And that was before you were Anna Sheridan. God, how young were you when… I know you started writing about this stuff when you were what, 12? But how long before that did you…

Well, if you got out of something like this when you were 12, then I can definitely get out of here at… 39… 

[She slowly stands]

Yeah. I’m getting out of here. Now.

[She knocks on the door in front of her experimentally, listening]

[She chuckles]

Speaking of books – there’s a quote from the one I was listening to on the way here. Inferno… something or other. It seems apropos.

“There are some places better left alone, some doors better left unopened – But I’ve never much cared for other people’s advice. 

ANNA SHERIDAN (ECHOING)

“…other people’s advice. I’d rather see for myself.”

KATE SHERIDAN

“I’d rather see for myself.”

Hello? Is someone there? 

[Tape distortion]

That almost sounded like… Anna?

[The door ahead of her creaks open}

[Faintly, the sounds of an ocean shoreline are heard ahead]

Well that’s… Definitely unexpected.

[She steps forward, flooring giving way to sand]

[The sound of the waves grows louder]

There’s a beach in here… Somehow. And it’s not Lake Isabella. Definitely not. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this was the ocean, but there’s something about it that’s…

Anna?

[No reply]

[Kate speeds up along the beach]

Anna, is that you? What are you doing here? How did…?

[Thunder rumbles, close and deep]

[Kate comes to a stop]

Oh god… Anna, are you… I can see right through you.

[Tape distortion]

[Anna’s voice is strained, far away]

ANNA SHERIDAN

Kate…!

KATE SHERIDAN

Anna, is that really you? Are you…?

ANNA SHERIDAN

No time…! Kate… You have to listen to me…

KATE SHERIDAN

How do I know it’s really you? If you’re another Echo or something, then…

ANNA SHERIDAN

Kate… LISTEN.

[The thunder grows louder]

ANNA SHERIDAN

You have to find me… There isn’t much time left…

KATE SHERIDAN

Find you? Where? How?

ANNA SHERIDAN

No time… Please… Find Maria. Find Bailey… Find me…

[The waves grow louder]

KATE SHERIDAN

Anna, the waves, they’re…

ANNA SHERIDAN

FIND ME!

[A huge wave crashes onto the beach]

[Kate yelps]

[Anna cries out as she’s dragged back into the sea]

KATE SHERIDAN

Anna!

[Kate runs a few steps towards the water, then stops]

Anna…

[Static rises steadily on the tape, then…]

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[The static fades]

[Recorder is handled]

[Van turns on, heater blasts]

KATE SHERIDAN

I… I made it back to the van okay… I had to run, the whole place just kind of… Disintegrated around me the moment Anna… After she…

[Kate breathes deeply]

God… I don’t know what the hell that was in there, but you couldn’t pay me to go back in there again. I don’t know if that door would still lead to that place now, but even if it didn’t…

I guess I should have expected something like that, though. I went in there looking for someplace to start. I just didn’t think you would actually show up and give it to me. Maybe you were actually listening, after all.

If you were, then you could have given me a better hint. I have no idea who this… Bailey is. And I think your old assistant was named Maria, but I don’t know what…

Oh. Yeah, I guess that makes sense, doesn’t it. No wonder I only got to meet her that once. 

[She pulls out her phone absentmindedly]

[Clicks & chimes of a phone]

Although I think I still have her number from when you… 

[An owl hoots in the distance]

Wait, why am I calling her now? It’s two in the morning–

[Beep]                 

[The dial tone stops as Maria picks up]

MARIA SOL

Hello, Maria Sol speaking?

KATE SHERIDAN

Hi Maria! I don’t know if you remember me, but we met at my cousin’s wedding and I was…

MARIA SOL

Whoa, slow down, who is…

KATE SHERIDAN

Sorry, I’m just a little flustered, and I wasn’t sure if you’d remember me, so I thought I’d take some… 

MARIA SOL

Wait, is that… Kate?

KATE SHERIDAN

[relieved laugh]

Oh thank god, you do remember me. Uh… Hi Maria!

MARIA SOL

Um… Hi?

KATE SHERIDAN

Listen, I know it’s late, but… God, how do I even explain this? You, uh… Knew my sister pretty well, right?

MARIA SOL

Well, uh… I’d say so, I guess. A little bit.

KATE SHERIDAN

Did she… Did she know anyone called Bailey?

MARIA SOL

Why do you want to know?

KATE SHERIDAN

She just… Okay, look, I know this is going to sound strange, but… I just saw her.

MARIA SOL

Saw who?

KATE SHERIDAN

Anna. I saw… Anna.

MARIA SOL

Anna? Kate, Anna’s… Anna’s dead.

KATE SHERIDAN

No, she isn’t – that’s what I’m trying to tell you.

MARIA SOL

Where did you see her? Exactly?

KATE SHERIDAN

I didn’t just see her, Maria. She was there… Kind of. But it felt like her. Some kind of… Ghost or projection of her, but it was Anna. And she told me to find her.

MARIA SOL

I thought you didn’t believe in… Those kinds of things.

KATE SHERIDAN

[bitter laugh]

Um… consider me a new convert. It was her, Maria. She’s trapped somewhere, and she needs our help.

MARIA SOL

“Our help?”

KATE SHERIDAN

She told me to find you. And someone called Bailey, but I don’t know who she could be talking about. I thought maybe you’d know?

MARIA SOL

I… I can’t tell you.

KATE SHERIDAN

You can’t, or you won’t?

MARIA SOL

Look Kate, you have no idea what you’re dealing with here. You really shouldn’t get involved.

KATE SHERIDAN

[She laughs]

Get involved? She’s my sister. I’m involved whether you want me to be or not.

MARIA SOL

Fine. I still can’t tell you anything. It’s too risky.

KATE SHERIDAN

Well who can tell me something?

MARIA SOL

Maybe Bill, but I can’t… tell… 

[Maria groans, cutting off]

KATE SHERIDAN

Yes? Bill who?

MARIA SOL

Bill Tyler. Oslow County Police Department. That’s all I can tell you.

KATE SHERIDAN

Maria, wait…

[Beep beep. Maria ends the call]

[Silence]

KATE SHERIDAN

Well… It’s a start.

[Clack]

Recording Ends


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