CONTENT WARNING: Discussions of mental health and trauma, doppelgängers, claustrophobia, and loud noises similar to an earthquake.
11062019b: With the team finally assembled at Jerry Price’s home, Sam finds himself distracted by worries about his connection to the lake… And by the dangers that lurk in the dark places beneath Oslow.
Starring Maurice Cooper as Jerry Price, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, and Jesse Steele as Bill Tyler, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written by Trevor Van Winkle and produced by Virginia Spotts and Trevor Van Winkle, and made possible by our supporters at Patreon.com/homesteadcorner and ko-fi.com/homesteadcorner, 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
CONTENT WARNING: Discussions of mental health and trauma, doppelgängers, claustrophobia, and loud noises similar to an earthquake.
[A whine, and then a howl from an English Bulldog – Russel]
[A quiet home in the desert foothills of Oslow – quiet, that is, except for someone banging insistently on the front door]
[Russel’s tag jingling, howling, barking, and knocking continues]
Who the hell is knocking on my door at five in the goddamn morning? I swear if it’s the Jehovah’s Witness again, I’m gonna –
[He opens the door, stunned silent by who he sees]
You… You’re… [Russel barks] How?
Hi… Jerry. I’m sorry to –
[The sounds of the desert night outside]
Yes… Why does everyone keep asking me that?
You’ve been missing for six months.
Well… I’m back now.
I – guess you are.
It’s, uh… It’s good to see you, Jerry.
I’d say the same, but you kind of look like a drowned rat right now. Are you okay?
Yeah… Well, sort of. Kind of. Listen, I hate to ask, but – I
need a favor. I know you have no reason to trust me after what I did at the impound lot, but –
What is it this time?
You’re… You’re not upset?
Oh, I am. But I’m also not going to turn you out into the cold looking like that. I’m not a monster, Sam.
I – well, we need a place to stay. Just for a couple of days, until we figure something else out.
[Russel howls outside]
[Sam turns and waves, and Kate and Maria climb out of their vans]
That’s Maria Sol – Anna Sheridan’s girlfriend. She’s helping with the investigation. And that’s Kate Sheridan, her –
We’re… We’re trying to figure out what Morrison’s up to. He’s planning something… Something big. And we need to –
So you all need a place to hide. All three of you.
[In the background, the sounds of Kate & Maria gathering their things, zipping up backpacks, etc]
Well, Maria can stay in her van – she just needs a place to park it out back. And I can sleep on the couch if that would be easier –
Sam, I’m – [Russel howls] I don’t think this is a good idea.
Morrison showed up at the impound lot a few days after you did. [Someone closing their sliding van door] Dragged me down to the station and threw me in lockup for [footsteps from Kate & Maria] “aiding and abetting.”
Shit. Are you okay?
Of course I’m not. But he did let me out after a few hours. Told me that the only reason he wasn’t arresting me is that he couldn’t prove I knew what you were doing. If he finds out I let you stay here –
Jerry, I’m sorry, but… We don’t have anywhere else to go.
[A long silence – then…]
Goddammit. Get in here, Sam. And tell Kate and Maria to get their cars off the street before someone sees them.
You’re… you’re going to help us?
Of course I am. I bought this place to stay off Morrison’s radar, and I guess there’s no better way to see if it works than putting you up here.
Thank you Jerry, I really appreciate –
Save it. Sam, just… just save it. You stay here until you find a better option, and as soon as you do, you leave. You’re welcome in my house, but it stays my house. Understood?
I… I understand. Thank you Jerry. [Cassette noises] And don’t worry… We won’t be here for long. I just need to figure out my next move.
[Static fades away]
[Brief handling noises as Sam fiddles with the recorder and opens a door]
Okay – uh, it’s November 6th, 2019 at about… 6:15pm. It’s been a full day since we left Agate Shore, [dishes clattering in background] and this is the first moment I’ve really been left alone since we got to Jerry’s house. I’m going to try and go out the back while everyone else is busy with dinner –
[calling from next room]
Sam? Is that you?
Shit. [Calling back] Uh, yeah, Kate?
What are you doing out there? Come on, it’s time for dinner.
Right… Uh, I was just going to go for a walk really quick… Get some fresh air.
Now? It’s pitch black out there.
It’ll be fine, I’ve got a flashlight, and I can just –
Samuel Isaac Bailey, you haven’t eaten a single thing all day. Get in here, right now.
[Disbelieving, amused laughter]
Oh my god…
Ugh… Fine, fine… I’ll be there in a second.
[To recorder, muttered] So much for that –
[Sam restarts the recorder, stuffing it back in his pocket. Dishes clatter loudly in the background as he pads down the hall]
Okay – just finished dinner, and everyone else is busy cleaning up. They shouldn’t notice if I just –
[Russel suddenly races around the corner, his nails tapping loudly on the wood, and then barking at Sam]
Whoa, whoa, easy boy, easy… Shhh shh shh shh… Russel! Russel, be quiet!
What’s wrong Russel?
[Jerry enters the room]
Oh jeez… Sorry Sam, I don’t think he’s used to having this many people in the house at once. Russel? Sit.
[Russel whines slightly, then does so, going quiet]
Good boy, good boy.
I think I’m going to put him in his crate a little early tonight – see if that calms him down.
That’s, uh… Yeah, that’s a good idea. Just make sure you give him a toy so he has something to chew on.
Hmm – good call. Come on Russel! [Russel’s nails clatter on the wood again] Come on!
[Jerry leads an excited Russel off. Before Sam can sneak off…]
[from next room]
Hey Sam? Can you come help me with this for a second?
[To Bill, handling the recorder] Yeah, yeah, I’ll be there in a –
[Sam quietly eases the door of his room open, glancing around before sneaking across the hall]
Okay, it’s about 8:30 now. Bill left a while ago, and I just heard Kate’s door close down the hall, so I should be in the clear. I’m going to try and get out the sliding door into the backyard – it’s the quietest way out of the house, and – –
[Sam cuts off. Someone’s typing on a laptop, but stops when he enters the room]
Oh, uh… Hi, Maria.
What are you doing, Sam?
I’m, uh… What are you doing?
Checking on some of Kate’s leads. Seeing if she missed anything during her investigation.
Oh… Good. Good. Find anything interesting?
Not really. Just one very suspicious former detective [she begins tapping again] trying to sneak out of the house for some reason. You?
I’m not –!
Okay, fine. I was just trying to get some space to think, that’s all.
Sam, we talked about this. You can’t just wander around out there. If someone sees you –
Yeah, yeah, yeah – fine. Just… Wake me up if you find anything, alright?
I might be up pretty late –
So will I. Need to catch up on some reading.
Whatever you say, Sam.
[Sam quietly cracks the door open, listening. After a long moment, he sighs, relieved – the house is silent and still]
Okay… It’s about 2am now, and everyone is fast asleep, which means… [the wind whistles outside] I can finally get outside without anyone stopping me.
[Sam pads quietly down the hall. As he does, a strange, breathy sound is heard, and he freezes]
What the hell is that…?
[He freezes and listens for a moment. The sound grows louder – the sound of Russel, dreaming, barking in his sleep]
[Quiet sigh of relief]
Oh thank god… It’s just Russel.
[Sam sneaks across the living room, then gently slides the back door open]
[A slight, cold wind blows over the rocks. Only the distant sound of traffic and the occasional nocturnal nature sound chirps in the night. Sam slides the door shut behind himself]
Finally. Only took four tries to get out of there without being noticed. God, I miss the cabin already.
[Sam turns and starts walking away from the house]
I’m going to head up into the foothills a little… Not too far that I can’t find my way back, but far enough that nobody can see me from the house. Thank God Jerry doesn’t have any neighbors. That means I can focus on the problem at hand… Namely, whether or not I can still reach through the veil. My connection to the lake has felt… More distant, since what happened in Agate Shore, and I’m not sure what that means. But… I’m here, so I guess I’m still connected to it. Still, if it’s angry with me, I don’t know if I can count on it if this comes down to a fight with Morrison. And with all of us here in Oslow now, I can’t afford a repeat of our last confrontation.
The lake might not want to kill De Witt for me, but I may be able to find a loophole if I just keep looking. At the very least, I should be able to do something to him if he shows up here.
[Sam stops at the top of a small rise, looking back]
Alright… That should be far enough. Can’t see the lights from the house, anyways. God, it almost feels like being back at the cabin in a way. I mean, the topography’s about as different as it can get, but… Still. It’s easy to get away from things out here. Lose yourself. No wonder Jerry chose this place after what happened with Morrison. Plus, Russel could hardly ask for a better yard to play in.
[Despite his words, Sam sounds slightly melancholy. He realizes this and shakes it off, changing gears]
Alright… Let’s give this a go. Contact experiment, attempt – two. I really hope I don’t run into the guardian again.
[He sighs] Okay. Here goes nothing.
[Sam takes a deep breath, then falls silent. A faint static rises on the tapes, faster than it did before]
Huh… That’s – Odd. It feels… Easier. Like the veil is somehow… Closer? Maybe it’s because I was just in the lake, or because I’m more used to this now, but – Whoa!
[The static spikes suddenly, and the ambient noise around Sam begins to shift and distort. The sound of waves]
That’s… Wow. Okay, wasn’t expecting that. The, uh… It almost feels like the veil just – broke. Like it was already under pressure and just – snapped when I touched it. And there’s… I don’t know how many different emotions, messing with mine. Most of it’s just noise, but I can feel – Anger. Fear? Ah! [he winces] – Pain… A lot of pain. That must be the creatures Morrison has trapped in that bunker… Maybe. There’s too much interference to get a fix on any one thing. Maybe that’s why the guardian hasn’t noticed me this time? There’s just… Too much going on for it to realize I’m here. I can see that underground cavern I was in last time, but there’s less fog now, and more… Is that water? I can’t see the guardian at any rate, so… Let’s see if I can find De Witt.
[Sam focuses for a moment. The waves continue]
No good… There’s way too much noise to make anything out. God, Bill really wasn’t kidding about the things coming out of the woodwork here… It almost feels like – [increased static] Wait. Hold on.
Something’s coming. I don’t know what it is, but it’s getting closer. It’s not the guardian, but… I can sense it over all the other emotions. It’s not… Oh god.
I think it might be De Witt. Shit, did I just tip him off that I’m here looking for him?
[The static grows louder]
I need to break the connection, now.
[Grunt of frustration, static growing louder]
Come on, come on…
Why isn’t this working? The guardian’s not holding you here, so just… Use the other thing’s feelings. Push off them, like you did before. Just… Come on, work!
[The static rises and then spikes before fading away, the world returning to normal. Sam pants slightly]
Okay – that’s one question answered, at least. I can definitely still connect to the other place. Good to know… Good to know.
[Sam takes a deep, reassuring breath, then turns back the way he came]
That’s enough for one night, I think. I’ll just head back to the house now and… Well, at least try to get some sleep. I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to get any rest after that, but –
[Sam cuts off, noticing something nearby]
There’s, uh… There’s someone else out here. I can see them… They’re just standing there, a little ways down the hill. I think it might be…
[Sam pauses, concentrating. Static rises slightly on the tape]
No, it is the same thing I felt before. It’s clearer now – it’s not really an emotion, but it’s definitely some kind of presence. Maybe it’s… Masking its feeling, somehow? But either way… It’s not human. I can tell that much.
[Sam hesitates, then begins to walk slowly down the hill]
Shit. It’s between me and the house. And I think it knows I’m here. I’m going to try and get a little closer… Get a better look at it.
[Sam creeps over the loose rocks and sand, then stops]
Alright, I’m about ten yards away now. I can’t be sure, but it definitely looks like De Witt… Same build, same hair, but… He’s looking a little more ragged than he did before. Maybe he’s…
I’m going to try and get a little closer.
[Sam takes a step forward, but as he does there’s a deep rumble and cracking sound from beneath his feet]
What the hell?
[There’s a sound like ripping as a set of crevices suddenly open up in the desert floor. A few loose rocks tumble into it as the shaking slowly stops]
Um… Right. Okay, so… I don’t know if this is real or not, but… A couple of fissures just opened up in the ground ahead of me. I can see the start of some kind of tunnel or cave inside, but that should be – [the figure runs inside the tunnels] hey. Hey! Stop!
Shit, they just went down into one of the fissures. If that’s De Witt…
[He doesn’t finish that sentence, bolting into the tunnel. His voice begins to echo as he enters]
[Sam’s footsteps echo slightly in the enclosed space as he runs. He slows to a stop after a moment]
[Moisture drips from the tunnel walls & ceiling]
De Witt! De Witt, listen – I just want to talk!
God, I can’t see a thing down here…
[Sam pulls out his flashlight and finally switches it on, shining it around the cave]
That’s better –
[Sam tries to take a step, but his foot makes a sticky, squelching noise when he does]
What the – What is that?
[Sam reaches down and touches the floor, his fingers making a soft squishing noise]
The, uh… The floor of the cave seems to be covered in some kind of… Semi-viscous fluid. So are the walls and ceiling of the cave, by the look of – wait. No. No, this isn’t a cave. The walls are too smooth for that. It almost looks like it’s been evenly carved into some kind of tunnel. Or maybe it was… Burrowed.
[In the near distance, a faint slithering or hissing can be heard]
Shit, I need to get out of here…
[Sam stands, turning to go back the way he came before…]
Wait – Where’s the entrance? It was right… hm.
Nope. Can’t even pretend to be surprised anymore.
[Distant slithering & hissing]
Okay – what are we dealing with here? Snakes? Some kind of giant desert worm? Could be mole-men for all I know. I just… Can’t get a lock on…
[The static grows louder. The static cuts out as Sam grunts, slightly pained]
No… Still can’t read it. Most of it doesn’t even feel like emotions at all, just – impulses. And even that’s washed out by the emotional noise from the rest of Oslow. Really wish this had happened back at the cabin – at least I’d be able to focus there.
Come on – ignore the distractions. There’s got to be at least one thing down here [static raises] that’s human enough to read. You should be able to just – ah! There you are…
Huh. It seems like he’s… I don’t know, trying to match my emotions instead of the other way around. Maybe… Maybe De Witt’s trying to read me as well? Can he do that? I know he got inside my head the last time we met, but…
[Sam hesitates, then shakes his head, walking further into the cave. Static decreases]
Can’t worry about that. I can feel him now, and he’s close – should be just around this corner and then – aha!
[Sam enters a slightly larger chamber, then stops]
There he is. He’s just standing there, looking up at… What is he looking at? There’s nothing else in here.
[Sam takes a few steps forward, glancing up]
Oh – there’s a crack in the ceiling of this… Central chamber? Some kind of nest, maybe?
And he’s… Looking up at the moon, for some reason.
Hey! De Witt!
[The figure doesn’t reply. Sam walks forward]
Nice try, coming down here. Did you and Morrison find this place? Or… Did you make it, somehow? Are these… Snakes or whatever, are they working for you?
[No answer. Sam continues approaching, but slows]
Nice work hiding your emotions, too. I’ll need to try that out next time – after we have a little chat about what you’re planning with – AH!
[The figure turns, and Sam leaps back, horrified]
[Shocked] That’s… You’re… No, you can’t be the Echo, the Echo’s dead. But what are –
[The figure hisses through its teeth before it’s whipped back into the shadows with a slithering noise]
What the hell is –
[Something hisses behind Sam, louder than before]
Whatever that was… It’s gone, I can’t feel it anymore. But it looked like… Me. A little older, but… It was definitely supposed to be me. Was it just… Some kind of bait for –
[Something slithers past, knocking over a few nearby rocks]
Stay back! I’m warning you – I can send you back to where you come from if you so much as try to…
No, I can’t – I can’t key into their emotions – they don’t have any. We’re too different for me to –
[One of the creatures hisses from across the cave. Sam grabs a small rock and throws it at the creature. It impacts with a wet thud, and the creature hisses, angry]
Get back! Stay away!
[Another creature hisses – and then suddenly, Russel’s barking is heard from above]
Russel? Russel, where are you? I can’t see you!
Sam? Sam! Is that you?
I’m down here! Help!
[Footsteps approach, then stop just above the hole in the ceiling]
What the hell are you doing down there!?
[Russel continues barking and howling]
No time! Quick, help me up!
I can’t reach you! You’re gonna… going to have to jump!
Shit… Okay, hold on, I need to get a running start –
[One of the creatures hisses and snaps at Sam, and he yelps, breaking into a run. He grunts as he leaps, barely grabbing hold of Jerry’s hand]
[Russel continues howling]
[Gasp of exertion]
I’ve got you, I’ve got you…
Quick, pull me up before –
[Another creature shoots past Sam, snapping at his heels. Jerry grunts as he pulls Sam out of the crevice]
[Sam tumbles out onto the dirt, scrambling away. Russel barks at the creatures]
What is that thing?
Stay away from it! Russel, get away from the hole!
[Russel stops barking, looking back at Sam with a confused whine. The moment he does, the ground rumbles, and the fissure slams shut again]
[Sam lies on the ground, panting slightly]
What the hell was that?
[Russel’s collar jingles]
[Out of breath]
I… I honestly don’t know. I think we should be fine, though. These things usually don’t turn up again once they’re gone.
What do you mean, usually?
I… I’ve been running into… Supernatural disturbances like this since I left Oslow. I didn’t think they would follow me here, but… You don’t have to worry about it. They normally only show up to… well, to send me a message, I guess.
[Sam and Jerry sit in awkward silence for a moment]
What the fuck, Sam?
Six months! You steal a car from my lot, disappear, and then show up on my doorstep after six months when you knew this might happen? When you knew Morrison was looking for you?
I know, and I’m sorry, but there was –
But nothing, Sam! Do you have any idea how much shit I got thrown at me because of what you did? Look, I know you’ve got your own stuff going on right now, but you could have at least told me what was going on with you. I wanted to help you. I would have helped, but you just went off on your own with some lone ranger bullshit and left me to pick up the pieces!
Look, I’m sorry, okay! What more do you want from me?
I want you to actually give a shit about the people you left behind!
[Both fall silent. After a long moment…]
[He can’t finish that sentence]
Look, Sam… I know. I know you’ve been through a lot, but… Honestly, I was there for most of it too. Allen was my friend – one of the best friends I ever had. And now that he’s gone, I… I felt like I owed it to him. Do you even remember the last time we talked?
I… Sort of? Um… You agreed to take Russel with you, and then you… uh…
And then I said you could come with me to Oslow. Get out of Agate Shore before you got killed or it drove you crazy. Do you remember what you said to me then?
Well, I… I’m not sure, that time is all pretty –
Nothing. Nothing. You acted like you didn’t even hear me. You just walked off into your office and locked the door behind you.
God… Jerry, I’m sorry, I didn’t know… I didn’t –
I’m not mad at you for that.
You’re – why not?
Because I know you probably couldn’t hear me. Whatever was going on with you – you were barely even you back then.
What I am mad about is the fact that the only time we’ve talked since then was when you needed something from me. And that you lied to me to get it.
[Sam doesn’t have an answer for that. He stammers, trying to find the words – and fails. He sighs]
You’re right. I was… That wasn’t fair. I shouldn’t have lied to you. And I was wrong to treat you like that. If you want me to leave, then –
Sam, this isn’t me asking you to leave. It’s just me asking you to try a little harder.
Jerry, you… I don’t want you to feel like you have to keep us here. We can find somewhere else, and you have every right to tell me to leave. This is your home, and I’m putting you in danger being here.
[A couple laughs]
You’re not getting off that easy, Sam. Besides… We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
So… What does that mean? Are we still… Friends?
I don’t know. I hope so, but… We need to figure that out as we go.
[Before either of them can say anything else, Russel rushes into Sam, panting excitedly]
Oof! Hey, hey, easy boy – yeah, I missed you too… I missed you too.