Episode 54: “Tremble Away”

Episode 54: "Tremble Away" The Sheridan Tapes

CONTENT WARNING: Depictions of death and dying, despair, coughing and choking sound effects, elements of body horror and transformation, psychological warfare, cult activity, themes of religious manipulation, and mentions of torture11122019c: Alone and under siege, the Searchers face off against the unleashed power of Amanita and the Oraculites.Starring Alejandra Cejudo as Amanita, Tal Minear as Hyde, Jesse Steele as Bill Tyler, Sam Taylor as Ren Park, Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, Lexa Childress as Lawrence, and Julian Dailey as Teller, with Adrian Gibbs as the radio host and original music by Jesse Haugen. Additional voices provided by Brad Colbroock, Drew Rutherford, JJ Jensen, Nossorgs, Olivia Manning, Bowman Dean, Jenna Rose Geiser, Jay Barou, Bridget Guziewicz, Mark Valentine, and Ashlee Taylor. 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/tst054Support 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 dying, despair, coughing and choking sound effects, elements of body horror and transformation, psychological warfare, cult activity, themes of religious manipulation, and mentions of torture

11122019c: Alone and under siege, the Searchers face off against the unleashed power of Amanita and the Oraculites.

Starring Alejandra Cejudo as Amanita, Tal Minear as Hyde, Jesse Steele as Bill Tyler, Sam Taylor as Ren Park, Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, Lexa Childress as Lawrence, and Julian Dailey as Teller, with Adrian Gibbs as the radio host and original music by Jesse Haugen. Additional voices provided by Brad Colbroock, Drew Rutherford, JJ Jensen, Nossorgs, Olivia Manning, Bowman Dean, Jenna Rose Geiser, Jay Barou, Bridget Guziewicz, Mark Valentine, and Ashlee Taylor. 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 dying, despair, coughing and choking sound effects, elements of body horror and transformation, psychological warfare, cult activity, themes of religious manipulation, and mentions of torture

Cold Open

[A large, echoey room]

[Labored breathing and coughing in the background]

[Someone’s body slumps over and hits the ground]

Amanita

When the Word is spoken to you, little children… Remember well these words… 

Hyde

That the Prophet will make… 

(breaking trance) Amanita… 

Amanita

…a new home once more… 

Amanita/Hyde 

The Promise… 

Amanita

Of… new birth… 

Hyde

Amanita, we can’t — (cry of pain) AH!

Amanita

Stand not against the roots of heaven… 

[Someone else falls over]

Hyde 

It’s been two days… please, we need to call for help… 

Amanita

Resist not the union of bliss.

[Background tremble increases]

Hyde

…be at One all the same and remember— 

Amanita/Hyde  

—The Name— 

Hyde

Of Time and Creation’s Kiss.

[The background tremble crescendos, leaving the lights buzzing as it fades]

Amanita 

…it’s done.

Hyde

No — no no no… 

Amanita

…we are new, you and I. We made it, Hyde. Can you feel it? The union of bliss? I feel you, Hyde. Do you feel me?

[Hyde whimpers; Amanita laughs softly]

Amanita 

Be not afraid. We have withstood. We are worthy.

[A heavy fist bangs against the closed temple door]

OCPD Officer

OCPD! Open the door, now!

[Hyde whimpers and cries; Amanita begins laughing, the sound of it echoing]

[Cassette noises]

[Main Theme]

Recording Begins

[Cassette noises; static fades]

[Gentle sounds of a forest at night]

[The presence of the Oraculites causes light continual static on the tape]

[Light creaking from the cedar tree]

Bill Tyler (background)

Forever and ever. Forever and ever. Forever and ever.

Amanita

Well hi y’all. Told ya you should’ve run.

Ren Park

Christ.

Amanita

Ooooh hey now — don’t blaspheme. Or do.

Kate Sheridan

It’s going to be okay, Bill — shh. (she continues shushing)

Bill Tyler

(Bill slowly stops his repetition, then) Her… Her… 

Amanita

I’ve missed you, Bill. Truly I have.

Maria Sol 

You leave him alone.

Ren Park 

Maria… 

Maria Sol 

Bill didn’t ask to be in that fucked up bunker with you. Leave. Him. Alone.

Amanita 

Maria, darling — I couldn’t, even if I wanted to. He and I are bound together by cords too strong to break. The only difference is that I’ve embraced my pain, and grown beyond it. After all… 

[a crown of mushroom caps springs from her skin]

We are what we will. I didn’t ask to be there either. And when Hyde and I were brought to that place — I will admit, I was afraid. But I did not understand. The true will of the Prophet. The true power that had come to reside in me.

Funny, isn’t it? How something has brought us all together. How something has given you that… rather handy cedar perch, just out of my reach. It would pain me to disturb your repose — literally.

Sam Bailey

What do you want with us?

Amanita

I want what every living creature desires — nothing more.

Ren Park

I doubt that.

Amanita 

I want belonging — I want legacy. I want to transcend the petty hungers of this too, too solid flesh. Soon… soon… and very soon.

Kate Sheridan

What does that have to do with any of us? You can have that — just leave us alone!

Amanita

I could… but I’d like you to — join me. I did say so, earlier.

Maria Sol  

You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.

Amanita 

Why wouldn’t I want you by my side? All of you.

Bill Tyler. Loyal, charming, adaptable. A tireless worker. One who longs for the freedom to stop.

Kate Sheridan. Brave, sly, principled. You turned your pain into action, and action into change… just like me.

Maria Sol. Patient, deep-hearted, protective — a kind and quiet soul, beneath all that grief and pain… just waiting to emerge.

Ren Park. Clever, proactive, optimistic. You’re a slippery one to catch, but I’ve a feeling you’re more than worth the chase.

Sam Bailey… 

There is so much I could teach you.

Lawrence, and… Teller, was it? Yes… you’ll do. Join Me.

[Her final words echo unnaturally on the tape]

[Lawrence and Teller begin scrambling quickly down the tree, compelled]

Ren Park

Wait — stop!

Maria Sol 

Don’t!

Kate Sheridan

Oh my god.

Sam Bailey

No! Lawrence, Teller, Come Ba— 

[Two cries of surprise and pain]

[Increased tape static; a horrible sound of organic growth as they are transformed and their lives end]

Amanita 

That’s better. Tell me, my children… do you feel pain?

Lawrence 

No.

Amanita

And what do you feel?

Teller 

…completion.

Amanita

Good. Now… go and join your family.

[They walk into the crowd of Oraculites]

Maria Sol 

What the hell are we going to do?

Ren Park

We’ll… figure something out.

Amanita 

I can still hear you, you know.

Kate Sheridan

And I can see you, bitch.

Bill Tyler

Kate, don’t— 

[Bill cries out in surprise]

Amanita/Bill Tyler

I see far more than you ever could, Kate. [Kate panics wordlessly] Deeper. Further back. You want to know what Bill really thinks of you?

Kate Sheridan

Sam… do something… 

Sam Bailey

That’s enough, Amanita — let him go!

Amanita/Bill Tyler

Tell me. What is it that repulses you so about this unity? The beauty of togetherness?

Sam Bailey 

Amanita, Go Away.

[Static increases on tape as Sam uses his powers]

[Amanita lightly gasps, Kate shudders, Bill coughs]

Amanita

Oh. Oh ho ho. Yes, Sam Bailey… I have so much I could teach you. Power makes its home in you — I can feel it. The weave of your will against mine.

Ren Park

What the hell just happened?

Amanita 

[laughter] Doctor Park — I can see that we’ve impressed you.

Ren Park

You’ve… piqued my scientific curiosity, let’s say.

Amanita

I’m sure.

Well, it seems our little stalemate will continue for the time being. But the night is long. The air is cold. And I’m rather enjoying the slow-burn. Aren’t you? [she laughs]

Doctor Park… I know you tried to contact Hericium. Many times.

Ren Park

I did.

Amanita

And why do you suppose he never called you back?

Ren Park 

I… assume… because he didn’t want to be caught. He was handling dangerous, stolen property, and people died because of that. Including him.

Amanita

Wrong.

Ren Park

Alright. Why don’t you tell me, then?

Amanita

If you had understood… if you could truly understand what Templi Prophetam was… but no. Hericium knew your ignorance all too well. He confided his fears to me on many occasions. He had other, closer confidants, but… we shared a special bond.

Maria Sol 

Ugh.

Amanita

He was protecting the Prophet from the careless hands of you and your… institute. He knew the truth of you: that if it couldn’t be flayed, or questioned, or dissected, or killed — then it would be taken from this world and buried in a metal box. Your people have never known what to do with true power. You would have locked away humanity’s only salvation to die in silence and darkness, forever! Christ, kept from his incarnation! An abomination too great to withstand!

[The Oraculites shiver in unison]

And so Hericium, in his final wisdom, protected the Prophet. Protected all of us, as he ushered in redemption. Even you, Ren. He had mercy, even for you. And I am the fulfillment of that work. I am here to preserve what was too precious to lose… though he never would have guessed the instrument of our transfiguration.

Have you guessed yet, Sam? Whose hand it was that lifted me to such great heights? Who lifted all of us out of the mire?

You’re a smart person, Doctor Park. Haven’t you figured it out yet?

Sam Bailey

What’s she talking about?

Ren Park

If I knew, I’d tell you.

Amanita

Dear me. The cold must be slowing your mind tonight. You know, I was able to hear a little of your postulating on my way here. I have ears everywhere I want them… well, within a certain distance. And only where there’s earth to grow in. You were so close… would you like a little hint?

Ren Park

I’m certainly not getting any younger.

Amanita

[laughing] You’re not at that! Decay still holds court in the temple of your body, as it always has.

Well. I’ll give you a clue. You were noting certain… attributes of mycelium. One in particular caught my ear. The one about… having no control center. Remember that one?

Ren Park

Obviously.

Amanita

Then what do you suppose I am? Why don’t I shamble to and fro in silence, like my brothers and sisters behind me?

Sam Bailey

You’re really going to make us play 20 questions before you—?

Ren Park

It’s alright, Sam — I think I see where she’s going with this.

So, what — you’re the brain? Did the Oraculites develop one stunning weakness your ancestors never had — one brave step back down the evolutionary ladder?

Amanita

[annoyed chuckle] Not quite. You almost had it — but it’s not a weakness.

You were right about the original nature of the Oraculites. Myself and Hydnellum, wherever they might be. We were the only two strong enough to endure. All the way to the end. Had we the time… well, I’m certain we would have worked together to build a new temple. Bring in new acolytes. Teach them the ways we were taught — and one by one, changing those we deemed worthy.

But it was a… difficult path. Four ceremonies a week, almost constant upkeep, the need to buy and sell goods to feed our mortal flesh while it clung to our souls… it was too much for many who heard the call. Even among those who stayed, they all fell short at the final threshold — they lacked the strength to endure the Prophet’s indwelling.

We lost too many. Even before the ritual, many chose to leave and return to their old lives, ruined though they might be. We were assured time and again by the urging of the Prophet within our veins, and the wisdom of Hericium’s words. Like the mycelium we adored, we did not need a central brain — we shared leadership. When we lost members, we simply kept growing. We re-formed. A true utopia, manifested in each and every soul who joined with us. An equal sharing of power that ensured that no one was ever truly lost, nothing was destroyed — and yet… 

When Hyde vanished into death, I found myself the last… the final disciple of the Prophet.

I felt Morrison’s puppet reach into my mind day by day… but every time, I was ushered into the Prophet’s true home instead. It was terrifying. A universe within universes, endlessly evolving. If my understanding was multiplied tenfold when I first beheld the Prophet… this was ten thousand fold. I heard the Prophet singing in my ear, leading me on, telling me how to bring his kingdom fully into being, faster than I ever dreamed possible. The pain of that revelation was great. But I endured, and the knowledge I now possess made Hericium look like an ignorant babe. He did always tell us that we would do greater things than he, in time. If only he knew… 

The next step of human evolution shall come by my hand. I have been gifted this burden, and there is no greater honor I could bear than to share the world I know with all humanity. A world without pain. Without death. Without loss or want or need.

I walk in the power of the Prophet, as the hand of his will. As his vessel. I lead my Oraculites as the first among many, faster and farther than ever before as my will drives us on. I can create them… instantly… through my own indwelling power. No years of faithful service. No endless weeks of ceremony and ritual. They do not even need to believe to change. I have found a new way forward for all of my children. It is difficult, but… it’s so much easier, with my family at my back.

And if ever I’m choked out… if ever I’m destroyed, impossible as that seems… all that I am will return to the Prophet and flow out into my children, waiting for rebirth. Like a drop of rain, returning to the sea that bore it.

We have gained an unimaginable strength, Sam Bailey — and it’s all thanks to one Edgar Morrison and the trial of suffering he gifted me. The Prophet used him… as it uses all men. Ignorant as he was.

[Stunned silence]

Sam Bailey

I can’t believe this… 

Amanita

Why shouldn’t you? Your story is much the same… do you not realize this?

Sam Bailey

What… what do you mean by that? What could you possibly mean?

Amanita

Ah, now, don’t get upset. This is a good thing… a miraculous thing. Morrison’s meddling in your life gave you a gift you can never fully know… fully appreciate. You’ll see what I mean, in time.

Maria Sol 

Sam?

Bill Tyler 

(coming to) Don’t… don’t listen to her.

Sam Bailey 

Bill, careful… 

Bill Tyler

She’s manipulating you — she always bends— 

[Bill cries out in pain]

[Static increases]

Amanita/Bill Tyler

—she’s a goddess of the Earth… A destroying angel— 

Sam Bailey 

You. Will. Stop.

[Sam’s voice is distorted]

[Amanita gasps as she’s thrown out of Bill’s mind again]

[Bill coughs]

[Kate breathes through her panic]

Bill Tyler 

“She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’s miss fucking United States…”

Amanita

Alright. I think I’ve had enough of explaining myself. You have all that you need to make your decision. You know our calling: to bring about the birth of a new humanity. You know our promise: to see the power of death broken once and for all. And you’ve seen our rituals: the little death that we all partake in day by day. We are restored each twilight, born anew as the sun dies… and you can be too.

Any takers?

[Moment of silence]

Very well. I wonder how long it will take, to break your feeble wills.

Oraculites. I need you.

[A great static and hum starts up on the tape]

[Bill cries out as she takes control again]

[Kate breathes in panic]

[The Oraculites, in a great hushed crowd, follow Amanita’s lead]

Amanita/Bill Tyler (background)

Eve, when she saw the fruit good to eat

and Adam, standing nearby… 

Sam Bailey 

You… sto— 

[Sam cuts off, coughing]

Why did — why didn’t that work?

Amanita/Bill Tyler

Could not bear the sting of separateness more 

Unity, lest they die… 

Kate Sheridan

[whimpering] No… 

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[The Oraculites’ psychic assault continues]

Sam Bailey 

Sam Bailey, sometime in the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 13th. Still up in this cedar tree, and this— 

Amanita/Bill Tyler

Tie, bind, joining yet still

Adam and Eve in their mirth… 

Sam Bailey 

…has been going on for over an hour. We’re all freezing. Kate’s doing her best to keep Bill warm, in spite of whatever state Amanita’s trapped him in.

Amanita/Bill Tyler

Knew the mind of God, the Father of God

The Prophet of the Earth.

Sam Bailey

They’re trying to break us.

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[The psychic attack continues]

Sam Bailey 

Shouldn’t the sun be coming up by now?

Amanita/Bill Tyler

When the Word is spoken to you, little children

Remember well these words… 

Maria Sol 

I want to go home.

Ren Park

I’m so sorry, Maria.

Kate Sheridan

Andrew… Peter… 

Amanita/Bill Tyler

That the Prophet will make 

a new home once more— 

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[Amanita breathes heavily in the quiet]

[Quietly, birds begin to chirp in the background]

Amanita

That damned tree… that out of place… abomination!

Ren Park

You know, that word loses a lot of meaning when you use it more than once.

Amanita 

This… Fucking Tree! You shouldn’t be able to resist! It shouldn’t be possible for you to endure this!

Sam Bailey 

We’re not… going… anywhere, Amanita. The sun’s coming up.

[Amanita regains her composure]

Amanita

I can only assume this means the Prophet has other plans for you. I have to accept that.

Sam Bailey

What?

Amanita

He has… condemned you. You will not be counted amongst our numbers when the final judgment comes.

[small laugh] Doctor… the other thing you said — amused me. That bit about our only weakness: “a disruption to the passage of time itself.”

That’s the heart of the matter, isn’t it? We can’t be stopped. We’ll always grow back, find food… endure. Our only weakness is the one impossible thing. Hm.

[She turns and begins to walk away]

Ren Park 

Are you serious?

Sam Bailey

Is that all?

[Amanita pauses, glancing over her shoulder]

Amanita

It’s like you said, Sam — sun’s coming up. I’m about ready for a nap, and I prefer the dark… like all my children.

Rest easy, y’all. I will not attempt to harm you again. You may not believe me, but I revere the Prophet. I obey him. I will respect the boundaries that are put in my way… 

…few as they are.

[She begins to walk away again]

[echoing] I’ll find you when the time is right, Sam Bailey.

[The group watches her leave in silence, the forest returning to peace and quiet]

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[Van doors close; ignition starts; seatbelts buckle]

Ren Park

Everyone got their seatbelts on?

Kate Sheridan

How are they going to get the rest of the vans back from here?

Ren Park

Not my problem. The only thing I’m worried about right now is staying awake long enough to reach the airport and get the hell out of here.

[He turns the radio on]

[The radio flickers through stations, then settles on…]

Radio Host 

You’re listening to Adrian Briggs, live and alert with Morning Brew AM! Bringing you the best and brightest tunes of the year to put that pep in your step, and the news you need to know, all served with a piping hot blaze of energy you won’t find anywhere else.

Doctors hate him! Renowned Silicon Valley tech mogul Carter Banks is launching a new healthy food startup based around — you guessed it folks, what else would we talk about on here — coffee! He calls it “Mushee,” and if you can get past the name that sounds like a gift from a bitter marketing intern, you may go wild for its benefits!

“Mushee,” which I’m being told quite emphatically has just joined the ranks of our proud sponsors, is a proprietary blend of organic fair-trade coffee, adaptogenic herbs, and the secret ingredient — wild organic medicinal mushrooms! Customers boast of heightened cognitive function, lower stress levels, improved mood, and “mush, mush more!”

[Voice lowering, turning to producer]

Hey! Next time, could you tell me I’m doing an ad read before handing off the card? Before I insult our sponsors? Just a bit of a heads up, alright? For F[beep]s sake.

[Back to the regular energy]

With “Mushee,” you can expect— 

[Kate switches off the radio]

Ren Park

Hey wait, that sounded interesting. Could you turn it back— 

Sam Bailey/Kate Sheridan/Maria Sol

NO.

Bill Tyler

Oh God, no.

[CLACK]

Recording Ends

End Theme & Credits


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