Episode 52: “The Twilight Apace”

Episode 52: "The Twilight Apace" The Sheridan Tapes

CONTENT WARNING: Depictions of death and drowning, body horror, mind control, dread, and some loud noises11122019a: The Searchers investigate strange occurrences within Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania.Starring Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, James Cain as Peter Slate, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, Jesse Steele as Bill Tyler, Sam Taylor as Ren Park, Julian Dailey as Teller, and Lexa Childress as Lawrence, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written and produced by Virginia Spotts, with dialogue editing and sound design by Trevor Van Winkle. This episode was made possible by our supporters at Patreon.com/homesteadcorner, ko-fi.com/homesteadcorner, and our backers on Seed&Spark.For more information, additional content, and episode transcript, visit homesteadonthecorner.com/tst052Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/sheridantapes. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/SheridanTapes.

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CONTENT WARNING: Depictions of death and drowning, body horror, mind control, dread, and some loud noises

11122019a: The Searchers investigate strange occurrences within Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania.

Starring Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, James Cain as Peter Slate, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, Jesse Steele as Bill Tyler, Sam Taylor as Ren Park, Julian Dailey as Teller, and Lexa Childress as Lawrence, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written and produced by Virginia Spotts, with dialogue editing and sound design by Trevor Van Winkle. This episode was made possible by our supporters at Patreon.com/homesteadcorner, ko-fi.com/homesteadcorner, and our backers on Seed&Spark.

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

Script

Transcript

CONTENT WARNING: Depictions of death and drowning, body horror, mind control, dread, and some loud noises

[Light sounds of a moderately busy airport]

[Dial tone, Peter answers on the other end]

Peter Slate

…hi.

Kate Sheridan

Hey, love.

[Peter begins to say something, stops, then sighs]

Kate Sheridan

I know.

Peter Slate

This is all so much.

Kate Sheridan

I know.

[She sighs]

Um… Well… we’ve landed in Pittsburgh.

Peter Slate

I thought you weren’t supposed to tell me where they’re taking you?

Kate Sheridan

…shit.

Peter Slate

Well, hello from the past!

Kate Sheridan

Huh?

Peter Slate

The time zones… I’m an hour behind you now.

Kate Sheridan

Oh — sorry, yeah.

Peter Slate

Sorry, bad joke—

Kate Sheridan

—No, no, of course, it’s… I’m just tired—

Peter Slate

Yeah, didn’t really give it my all on that one—

Kate Sheridan

—no, no, it’s fine—

Peter Slate

—I’m tired over here, too.

[They pause, Kate clears her throat]

Kate Sheridan

Did you tell Andrew about… 

Peter Slate

The research stuff? Yeah, he’s actually pretty excited about it. Fair warning though, he thinks we’re all training to be

Astronauts.

[A small laugh from Kate]

Peter Slate

Yeah. He keeps telling me: “Don’t be sad, daddy, we’re going to space!”

Kate Sheridan

Aww… 

Peter Slate

Yeah… I tried to tell him what we’re actually doing, but… well, honestly, I’d rather you be the one to let him down about that.

[Pause]

Kate Sheridan

I’m… 

Yeah. Uh, I know this isn’t ideal. I’m glad you’re both going to be there, though… be safe. And there’s actually a pretty cool atrium in the facility, next to the living quarters — some rocks, a little bridge over a pond, that sort of thing. I asked Ren, and they said Andrew could probably play on the rocks — you know, with supervision. It wouldn’t be the first time — he says engineers get drunk and end up on top of them at all the staff parties.

[She clears her throat]

Peter Slate

Yeah, that’s… well, it’s something, at least.

Kate Sheridan

Peter, I… I wish things had gone differently.

Peter Slate

I know.

Kate Sheridan

I mean it.

Peter Slate

I know, Katey. This is just a lot.

Kate Sheridan

Yeah — it is.

Peter Slate

I think you’re right, though — it’ll be safer out there. And, well… I’ll get to see you again.

Kate Sheridan

And I’ll get to see you again.

Peter Slate

Our living quarters — they don’t happen to have separate bedrooms, do they…?

Kate Sheridan

Oh, right — good news there, I convinced them to let us use the empty dorm across the hall, so Andrew will have his own room.

Peter Slate

Finally, some good news.

Kate Sheridan

I think it might be a converted closet? I don’t know — Ren said it was a little small. But I think Andrew will love it.

Peter Slate

Well… you know, that’ll be great for his astronaut training.

[Kate laughs, then remembers something]

Kate Sheridan

Um… Any word about mom?

Peter Slate

Well, uh… The nurses said that she’s… 

To be honest, she’s not there most days. But she’s happy, I think. They’re taking good care of her, and they’ll give us a call if anything changes.

Kate Sheridan

I guess we’ll just have to wait, then.

Peter Slate

Yeah.

[Pause]

Kate Sheridan

I’ve gotta, uh, get going—

Peter Slate

Look, I feel like you expect me to be mad at you, but I’m not. Honestly… I think I’m more scared than anything.

[Kate sighs, relieved]

Kate Sheridan

I don’t know where you got that big heart of yours.

Peter Slate

Blue light special, K-Mart.

[Kate groans & laughs]

Kate Sheridan

God, I’ve missed your dumb jokes. I can’t wait to… [she sniffles] it’s been scary for me, too. But I know it’ll be better once we’re together.

Peter Slate

You can say that again.

Kate Sheridan

I’ll say it a hundred times.

Peter Slate

Nah, just one more time is good.

[She laughs]

Kate Sheridan

It’ll be better when we’re together.

Peter Slate

See you soon, love.

[Kate takes a deep breath]

Kate Sheridan

Love you both, bunches.

[Cassette noises]

[Click]

[MAIN THEME]

Recording Begins

[Cassette noises]

[Static fades away]

[Footfalls through leaves]

[Birds chirping nearby]

[Cold wind that occasionally rustles through dry leaves]

[Sam clears his throat]

Sam Bailey

Sam Bailey, recording Tuesday November 12th, 2019 at 4:29pm Eastern Standard Time. We’re about a mile and a half from the eastern end of Mead Run in the Allegheny National Forest, Northern Pennsylvania. A fairly large team — including myself, Maria Sol, Kate Sheridan, Bill Tyler, Dr. Ren Park, and a half-dozen ISPHA Researchers — landed at PIT earlier today following an red-eye flight from a private airstrip in New Mexico. It’s been a long day… a long day after a long day, preceded by a couple more very long days. None of us are at our best right now. On the bright side…

[He listens for a moment]

It is quite peaceful out here.

I didn’t have time to do any research on this area besides looking at its Wikipedia page. The region used to be known for its incredible biodiversity, but it was almost completely clear-cut about 100 years ago to meet the rising demand for housing, mining, and manufacturing. It became protected land in the 1920’s, but by that point it was little more than a barren plain with most of the native wildlife driven off. Most of these trees are less than a hundred years old. Hm. A young wild-

land, trying to come back from a devastating fall.

[He falls silent again]

Sorry, it’s… it’s just so quiet out here.

[He clears his throat]

This area is normally open to the public, but ISPHA sectioned this part of the forest off to make sure we’re alone. I’m pretty sure they’re posing as Forest Rangers, trying to shoo people away. Ren told us to stay at camp and not talk to anyone not wearing an ISPHA badge, so I’m pretty sure this expedition isn’t entirely above board. I’ve tried to listen in on a few conversations between the researchers, see if I can catch any privileged information — but they all seem to be playing this pretty close to the chest.

All that being said, I did manage to catch a few hints. According to Ren, Anna was convinced that the four of us had a key role to play in the period leading up to the world-ending events she dreamed about. She referred to us as “the Searchers,” and given ISPHA’s insistence on investigating those incidents Anna would have sought out before her disappearance, all signs point to the conclusion that we’re supposed to continue her work… which is why they brought us here, to Mead Run. As for why, Ren has adamantly refused to tell us what we’re supposed to be looking for — he said they “don’t want to spoil the results.” The only hint I was able to get out of Ren is that we all have a more… personal connection to the powers that Anna went up against, so we’re supposed to operate as — well, I don’t want to say “canaries in a coal mine,” but that is the phrase that comes to mind. ISPHA’s here with their best attempt at a scientific survey of the supernatural, and we’re here with nothing more than our instincts.

Thankfully, I did manage to eavesdrop on a handful of less careful conversations once we arrived in camp.

Over the years, this area has gained a reputation for a variety of otherworldly apparitions: mysterious floating lights, specters with average humanoid torsos on six-foot-long legs, and to top it all off, multiple reports of time-slips — people who wander out of the forest only to discover that hours or days have passed without their knowledge. Put this all in front of someone a little less skeptical than me, and I’m sure they’d cry “aliens!” right off the bat. I’m not ready to hang my hat on that quite yet, though. Even with some of the encounters Bill and Maria had in October. Which reminds me, um: I took advantage of our flight time and the drive to the site to review Kate and Maria’s tapes, along with the body cam footage Bill copied to his laptop before things fell apart at OCPD… although the audio’s pretty much the only usable part of it, given how badly the footage has degraded. I’m guessing we can chalk that up to the presence of Ned Leroux in most of the recordings. But in any case… it seems like all of us were running into supernatural forces more often than usual before we met up. Sometimes even on the same days, despite being hundreds of miles apart. Now that ISPHA has us all together in one place… I have to wonder what we might drag over from the other side.

I’m… still trying to operate with caution. I want to know what Ren isn’t telling us, but I’m not going to go rifling through his files or try to break into his office… not yet, at least. We don’t quite know what we’re dealing with, and I want to be careful about looking for answers. [Someone creeps closer] Something tells me there’s more to ISPHA than meets the eye.

[Someone pushes through the brush]

Maria Sol

There you are Sam, I was wondering where you—

[She notices the recorder]

Ah. Pinching off your daily log?

Sam Bailey

You really don’t have to phrase it that way.

Maria Sol

Since when have I done things the way I “have to?”

[A knowing, dry chuckle from Sam; then a pause]

Sam Bailey

Maria… what’s your take on all this? With ISPHA?

Maria Sol

I’m… not sure. This all makes… a lot of sense, all things considered. I mean… the dreams Anna had… 

I think she tried to tell me about them. She mentioned dreaming about a storm, but I never took it very seriously. I mean, it was interesting, but it didn’t sound… well, apocalyptic. But the fear in her voice… I don’t think she meant to tell me as much as she did. And the way she was acting and talking about her work that last year, it’s just… 

I don’t know why ISPHA thinks they need to fly four exhausted idiots out to Pennsylvania for a haunted sleepover, but… I kind of get the feeling ISPHA doesn’t know either. I think they’re just following what Anna told them to do.

[Dry laugh]

“The more things change…”

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[Water flowing not too far away]

[A crackling campfire]

[Sam is mid-sentence]

Sam Bailey

—Uh, I’m just looking for a sentence or two about how you’re doing, is all.

[Kate shivers]

Kate Sheridan

I’m freezing, is what I am. It’s going to get so much colder once the sun’s below the horizon.

[She pauses]

I… have a knife in my gut. I told Peter and Andrew they’d be safe at Meriwether, but… I don’t know if that’s true. I guess… I hope it’s safer than being at home. If I could only be… 

[She breathes in and out]

I believe what Anna saw in her dreams was… accurate.

Sam Bailey

Are you saying that… Do you remember Anna having any dreams that seemed — prophetic? When you were growing up?

Kate Sheridan

I… no, not that I remember. I’m sorry, I don’t have anything else to tell you. 

[Sam turns to Bill]

Sam Bailey

Uh, Bill?

[No response — Bill stares into the fire]

Sam Bailey

Bill.

Bill Tyler

Huh? Oh… I don’t know. Maybe things will start making sense when I start sleeping through the night again? Maybe tonight will be better — you know I… I always did like camping.

You said we’re in New York?

Sam Bailey

Um. Not quite, uh… Northwest Pennsylvania.

I’m sure a night in the woods will do us all some good. And those ISPHA cots don’t look half bad.

Bill Tyler

At least they’re off the ground. Wouldn’t want to set your feet on that tonight.

[Pause]

Kate Sheridan

What was that, Bill?

[Bill responds as if repeating himself]

Bill Tyler

The food. They’re… they’re tying it up, away from the bears? Wouldn’t want to have that on the ground tonight.

Sam Bailey

That’s not what you said the first time, Bill.

Bill Tyler

Huh. Well, maybe I should get to bed a little earlier than I thought.

[He rises]

Kate Sheridan

Here Bill… let me help you get settled.

Bill Tyler

Thanks, Kate.

[Kate & Bill walk to the canvas tents]

Sam Bailey

Goodnight.

[Something splashes in the water nearby]

Sam Bailey

Wha—

Huh… 

[Sam stands and makes his way to the edge of the water]

Sam Bailey 

There’s something in the water… there’s a tree draping into the stream, but I can’t see—

[Sam pushes a leaf-covered branch aside to find Ren, dunking canteens into the stream]

Ren Park

Don’t worry — this’ll all get filtered.

Sam Bailey

Uh, Doctor Park — hi.

Ren Park

You’re not leaving the camp, are you?

Sam Bailey

No, I just… didn’t realize you were over here. [Ren caps a canteen] You need any help with those canteens?

Ren Park

Nah, it’s alright — I’ve got most of them already.

[He uncaps another]

Boy, would you look at those fall colors?

[He dunks the canteen]

Sam Bailey

Uh… yeah, they’re — very beautiful.

Ren Park

I grew up in Florida, so I didn’t get to see stuff like this very often. Makes me feel like a kid all over again.

[He caps the canteen, setting it aside]

Sam Bailey

Yeah?

Yeah — me too. Grew up in Northern Nevada, so… some fall colors, in the bits that weren’t desert. Mostly places we had to drive to, and even then… not like this.

Although there were these two gorgeous maple trees in front of the precinct. Turned bright red every fall. Still the most beautiful trees I’ve ever seen.

Ren Park

I’m partial to aspens, myself.

Sam Bailey

Really?

Ren Park

Oh, yes. They’re beautiful of course, and the leaves make the best sound in the wind, but… it’s the symbolism that always stuck with me.

Sam Bailey

What do they symbolize?

Ren Park

Well, the aspen has been called the tree of heroes. The quaking of their leaves represents someone who knows the trembling path between this world and the next. And they say that if you place an aspen crown in the hands of the dead… it allows their spirit to be reborn.

Sam Bailey

Interesting.

[An owl hoots]

Sam Bailey

You know, you really don’t strike me as the folklore type.

[Ren laughs]

Ren Park

You’d be surprised. If you knew half the superstitions I’ve picked up from engineers and researchers over the years… well, I guess we’re just better at rationalizing them.

I think it’s a universal trait — myth-making, creating folklore. Finding answers, even if there aren’t any. Keeps us human.

I’m going to head back. Don’t stay up too late, alright?

[Ren takes off towards the camp]

Sam Bailey

Hey, Dr. Park?

Ren Park

You can just call me Ren, Sam — we’re going to be spending a lot of time together, and it’s much more efficient.

Sam Bailey

Ren… is there anything we should be looking for? Specifically? I mean… for us non-scientists.

Ren Park

I’ve told you everything I know, I’m afraid. This is a potential touch point for supernatural activity, and we need you four to tell us if and when you sense anything out of the ordinary.

Anything else?

Sam Bailey

No, that’s… that’s it. Thanks Ren. I’ll head back in a bit.

Ren Park

Roger that! See ya later, alligator!

[Ren continues towards the camp]

[Very muffled conversation from ISPHA researchers back at camp]

[Sam shivers]

Sam Bailey

Kate’s right — it is getting colder.

[Sam zips up his coat]

[Footsteps along the riverbank]

[He hums a verse of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to himself]

[Sam cuts off, noticing something across the water]

[Slight rustling]

Sam Bailey

I think I saw a deer on the other side of the river.

[Pleased chuckle]

[Rustling as something emerges, stepping into wet earth]

[Sam draws a frightened breath]

Sam Bailey

No, it’s not a deer — it’s… 

[The thing walks slowly into the watery bank across from Sam]

Sam Bailey

It came out of the forest on all fours, but it’s… it’s human, and it just… 

[The thing has shoved its head underwater]

Sam Bailey

They’re drowning themself — how are they keeping their own head

underwater like that?

[Air bubbles]

Shit, they’re going to drown!

[Sam turns and runs back towards camp]

[Alarmed voices back at the camp]

Teller

There’s another one!

Lawrence

Does anyone have eyes on where they’re coming from?

[Noises of continued wet footsteps and heads dunking underwater]

Teller

Shit — how many are there?

Sam Bailey

What’s… oh my god.

[The horrible splashing and gurgling continues as more and more figures appear]

Lawrence

Nobody touch that water!

Teller

Everyone, to your stations!

[Commotion in the ISPHA camp]

Sam Bailey

Ren, what’s going on?

Ren Park

I guess we’ve found what we’re looking for — not what we were expecting, but—

Sam Bailey

I thought you said you didn’t know what to expect?

Ren Park

We’ll discuss it later.

Anyone have binoculars?

[An ISPHA assistant runs over with theirs]

Ren Park

Thank you. Now, let’s see what we’ve got to work with… 

Lawrence

Doctor — do those look like gills to you?

Sam Bailey

Gills?

Ren Park

Damn this light — I can’t see a thing. Someone get a spot on those things!

[Behind them, a tent quietly opens and footsteps approach]

Bill Tyler (muttering in background)

The Source of all that was… and was not… and will be again… is within me… and without me… and beyond me… and below me… and before me… 

Kate Sheridan

Bill? Bill! Are you awake? Bill, Bill, stop!

Ren Park

Wait… Kate, you need to make him stop, now!

Kate Sheridan

Bill! Shhh shhh… Bill, Bill, come on… Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, shhhhh. 

Bill Tyler

The Source of… huh? What? Where am I—

[The bubbling from the drowning figures becomes more intense]

[Gasps from the camp as the drowned figures go limp, falling into the water]

Kate Sheridan

Are they—?

Ren Park

Where’s that searchlight? I need to see what’s going on, now!

[A heavy switch is thrown; a powerful arc lamp buzzes to life]

[After a moment…]

Ren Park

Lawrence — they’re not gills.

Lawrence

You don’t think… 

[Pause]

Ren Park

Everyone, we’re evacuating, now!

[The camp goes into commotion, scientists packing up equipment and supplies]

Kate Sheridan

Evacuating? Wait — why? What’s going on?

Teller

Doctor Park, we can’t just abandon the camp like—

Ren Park

Teller! Those things on their necks are foribus oraculi caps.

Teller

Oh Jesus… 

Bill Tyler

No… No!

Kate Sheridan

Bill, please — you need to calm down… 

Maria Sol

What’s going on? Why are we evacuating?

Sam Bailey

How the hell did it get out here? Did Templi Prophetam have other compounds outside Oslow?

Ren Park

Questions later, Sam!

Sam Bailey

What are they doing this far from Nevada?

Lawrence

Doctor Park!

[Ren turns and gasps]

[The figures are rising from the water, dripping and swaying]

[Distortion rises in the background]

Sam Bailey

They’re getting up… They’re all… How?

Ren Park

Motherf— Abandon camp! Everyone, get to the vehicles, now!

[The camp becomes a mess of running footsteps, shouting, and movement]

Maria Sol

We’re a mile and half from the parking lot!

Ren Park

Then RUN!

[Running footsteps as others flee]

[Sam slowly steps to the water’s edge, unseen by anyone]

Sam Bailey

The death… the rebirth… life restored, through water. Anything… Anything… 

Maria Sol

Sam? Sam, come on, we have to go!

[Maria grabs hold of him]

Sam Bailey

What?

Maria Sol

Sam, run!

[They take off]

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click–the recorder is bumped to life]

[Jostling and running footsteps]

Teller

Did anyone grab more flashlights?

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click–the recorder is bumped to life]

[Jostling & running footsteps]

Lawrence

Can anyone see the road? It should be close by—

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[People breathe heavily, including Sam]

Sam Bailey

We’ve run over two miles, and the road just — it isn’t here. The road isn’t here, and it used to be here.

Okay, if this is like the wildfire at the cabin, then the loop won’t stop on its own. Not until I… 

[He steps towards Ren]

Ren — listen. I think I know how to get us out of here.

Ren Park

We must have passed it… a half-mile back. Just missed it in the dark. We need to… retrace our steps.

Sam Bailey

No, Ren — listen to me… 

Ren Park

Come on, everyone — we’re close!

[The team groans]

[Footsteps]

Sam Bailey

Ren, we are not going to find that road unless I lead us out.

Ren Park

Sam, I know you’ve been out of a command structure for a while, but I don’t—

Sam Bailey

Everyone, STOP!

[Tape distortion and static rises suddenly]

[Most people continue moving]

Teller

What is it?

Ren Park

Sam, let go of me!

Sam Bailey

Tell them to stop, or they’re all dead!

[The ground suddenly rumbles]

[Dirt is torn aside as rapid, organic growth swallows the majority of the ISPHA scientists]

[Their screams fade]

[The survivors gasp and cry out in fear]

[Silent figures stand in front of them, unmoving]

Lawrence

Mother of god…  

Maria Sol

Where did they come from?

Bill Tyler

Forever… and ever… 

Kate Sheridan

Bill, please — please stop… 

Sam Bailey

I told you Ren. Those things were right on our heels the whole time. I don’t know how — they must be able to travel faster underground. They were trying to confuse us, turn us around by erasing our path.

Ren Park

Is everyone okay? Lawrence, Teller… God, are you the only

ones left? Are the rest—

Sam Bailey

Gone. Or… worse.

Ren Park

There’s no way they could’ve — not unless… 

[Pause]

They were chasing us through the forest’s mycelial networks. And now they’re—

Sam Bailey

Freshly fed. With most of our team.

[Unhurried footsteps, then slow claps, as someone steps from behind the line of beings]

Amanita

Boy oh boy, the minds on you — y’all figured that one out right quick. Amanita’s missed you, babies.

Bill Tyler

Stay away!

Amanita

Bill, sugar — how on earth are you still standing?

Maria Sol

How the fuck did you follow us out here?

Bill Tyler

The bunker… whatever Morrison was messing with down there… 

Amanita

All I know is one minute I was underground, preparing for a very

satisfying feast — the next I was blown so far along the unseen paths that I barely knew where I was when I stopped. Had to make myself a new family when I did. Family, meet — old friends.

Doctor Ren Park — good to finally meet you… officially. My sweet old Bill… strong, fierce Maria… brave, wise Kate… Teller and — Lawrence, was it? Smart of you to listen to… 

[Amused laugh when she sees Sam]

Oh… now you’re the one they call Sam Bailey, aren’t you? Strange name for such a… person. Sam Bailey — do you know who I am?

Sam Bailey

You’re… Amanita. The sole survivor of Templi Prophetam.

Amanita

Right you are, darling.

Well, now that’s over with — did I already say thank you? Oh, how rude of me. Thank you for the food offering. These disciples are so new to this world, and as such… they can be quite hungry.

Ren Park

So… what happens now? What do you want from us?

Amanita

My invitation is and always will be for you to join us. We are the Children of the Earth, after all — the Children of Adam, and at the end of all things, we’ll be the only ones left standing. Barring that, well… we’re not known for speed, us mycological folk — but we always catch up. So I suggest you start running.

[Clack]

Recording Ends

End Theme & Credits


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