Episode 61: “Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler”

Episode 61: "Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler" The Sheridan Tapes

CONTENT WARNING: Themes and brief discussions of human trafficking, descriptions of violent injury and death including gore, fire, and impalement, and squelching sound effects12162019: The Searchers travel to New Orleans to investigate a string of disappearances and rumors of vampirism.Starring Ezra J Wayne as Ned Leroux, Brad Colbroock as commissioner Michaels, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, Jesse Steele as Bill Tyler, Zelda Kimble as the Tour Guide, Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, Sam Taylor as Ren Park, Kris Allison as Daniella Caldwell, Maurice Cooper as Jerry Price, and Delvin Green as Philippe, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written by Virginia Spotts and produced by Trevor Van Winkle and  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/tst061 Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/sheridantapes. Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information. Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/SheridanTapes.

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CONTENT WARNING: Themes and brief discussions of human trafficking, descriptions of violent injury and death including gore, fire, and impalement, and squelching sound effects

12162019: The Searchers travel to New Orleans to investigate a string of disappearances and rumors of vampirism.

Starring Ezra J Wayne as Ned Leroux, Brad Colbroock as commissioner Michaels, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, Jesse Steele as Bill Tyler, Zelda Kimble as the Tour Guide, Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, Sam Taylor as Ren Park, Kris Allison as Daniella Caldwell, Maurice Cooper as Jerry Price, and Delvin Green as Philippe, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written by Virginia Spotts and produced by Trevor Van Winkle and  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: Themes and brief discussions of human trafficking, descriptions of violent injury and death including gore, fire, and impalement, and squelching sound effects

[Heavy, running footsteps through corridor on linoleum]

[Ned, breathing hard]

Ned Leroux (through heavy breathing)

Next time — I pick a body — I’m adding wings.

[Ned slows, catching his breath]

[He opens a door and heads into a less echoey conference room]

[A clock ticks on the wall]

Morning, Commissioner. Apologies for my late entrance.

Commissioner Michaels

Trouble finding the room?

Ned Leroux

Just lost track of time, sir.

Commissioner Michaels

Right. Well, let’s get started then. Please state your name and rank for the record.

[Ned sits]

Ned Leroux

Ned Leroux, Deputy Chief — Oslow County Police Department, State of Nevada.

[pages flipping]

Commissioner Michaels

Is there a… do you have a middle name, Mister Leroux?

Ned Leroux

No sir.

[pages flipping]

Commissioner Michaels

Ah… no, I see you don’t. Hmm. Very well.

[Scattered coughs of observers and other commissioners]

Mister Leroux, I would like to state for the record that the purpose of this meeting is to address the Board’s concerns with the behavior of Chief Edgar Morrison, specifically his large number of unauthorized absences and unusual behavior during the last few months. I understand that he’s entrusted you with overseeing a number of high-profile cases during this time, along with promoting you to the rank of Deputy Chief. 

Ned Leroux

That is correct, sir.

Commissioner Michaels

And how do you find your new position?

Ned Leroux

Oh, just fine and dandy, Commissioner.

Commissioner Michaels

…I’m sorry?

Ned Leroux

I mean, it’s taken some adjustment to be sure, but… Morrison and I have our own way of working things out.

Commissioner Michaels

…your own way…?

Ned Leroux

Well, we’re in contact almost constantly, you know — I’m around the precinct more than he is, sure, but he’s the one doing most of the, uh… you know, the mental work. I don’t think he ever takes a break… just one of those guys who always takes his work home with him. Relentless, is what he is. Someone oughta make a documentary about him.

Commissioner Michaels

Mister Leroux, I would hate to think you’re not taking this inquest seriously.

Ned Leroux

Serious as a heart attack, Commissioner Gordon.

Commissioner Michaels

Is that a joke, Leroux?

Ned Leroux

Slip of the tongue, Commissioner Michaels.

[pages flipping]

Commissioner Michaels

Mister Leroux, you should also know that we’ve had a number of complaints regarding you.

Ned Leroux

Really? How, uh — how many?

Commissioner Michaels

Several. 

Ned Leroux

…I see.

[pages flipping]

Commissioner Michaels

Mister Leroux, it is the duty of this board to maintain a certain level of integrity within the department from all officers, top to bottom. If the integrity fails at the top, it will fail everywhere else. Do you understand?

Ned Leroux

I… uh… 

Commissioner Michaels

I will circle back to the issue at hand, Mister Leroux: if you don’t answer our questions to a satisfactory level, we will be forced to reevaluate the position Chief Morrison has placed you in. And if we discover you’ve held anything back from us… 

Ned Leroux

Understood, sir.

[pages flipping]

Commissioner Michaels

Now, tell me: is there a reasonable explanation [cassette winding] for Morrison’s behavior since his injury?

[Cassette noises]

[Click]

[Main theme]

Recording Begins

[Cassette noises]

[Static fades]

[The distant sound of whooping and laughing, people partying]

[The air is heavy and damp]

[Birds distantly chirp]

[Sam’s increased sensitivity causes slightly more static than normal]

Sam Bailey

Samuel Isaac Bailey, recording for ISPHA internal records — mission log, December 16th, 2019 at 8:45pm Central Standard Time. Location: New Orleans, Louisiana. Somewhere in the French Quarter — I don’t know the area well enough to say where, exactly. And hopefully I never will.

[a bus passes nearby]

That didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. It’s just… there are so many people here. Basically all of them drunk. There’s this feeling to this place — dark, indulgent… beautiful… alluring. Like a Siren’s song. The number of spirits that must walk these streets… I’ve never felt anything like it outside Oslow, and at least there the physical world wasn’t also— 

[Sam grunts]

[A drunk woman bumps into Sam and stumbles away laughing]

Anyway — back to the point. I don’t have much time, I’ve just stepped away from the Vampire Tour to make my log. And yes, I am choosing to breeze past that. I haven’t had a moment to myself since we got here, and I’m just going to enjoy the fact that no one’s talking my ear off at this moment.

At least we’re visiting in December. The air is already so humid that I… I mean, I’m still not entirely sure how it works, but I know my physical body is connected to water. I just feel… overwhelmed in this environment. It’s so much easier to feel where I end and the world begins in the desert or in the mountains. But here… 

I guess that’s kind of the point of this place though, isn’t it? The permeability of boundaries. Get drunk, dance with a stranger, speak to the spirits beyond in a dark and curtained corner, or… disappear. Carried off by some strange, invisible force — human, or otherwise.

That’s what we’re here to investigate. On our flight from New Mexico, Ren informed us that the number of disappearances in the city have spiked in the last few weeks. Just a couple of weeks ago, 15 people went missing in the NOLA metro area in the span of a few days. That’s far higher than the average rate for the entire state, and since then, the trend hasn’t slowed. The police tried to ignore it at first… they don’t really care about a single disappearance — I mean, unless you’re Anna Sheridan and the chief needs to cover up his attempted murder, of course. But when it involves tourists… affluent white influencers with influential parents… then the alarm is raised.

I picked up a copy of the Times-Picayune at MSY, just to try and get a feel for the city’s mood. There were some… unusual comments from one Jon Broussard, the owner of the Shrimp Barrel Family Restaurant chain and, of course, Louisiana State Senator. Someone leaked a speech he made at a private dinner party, where he said, and I quote: If there’s anything to be worried about in New Orleans, it’s the rampant drug use, casual sex…” etcetera, etcetera… he goes on for a while, “…the culture of death and destruction — those vampires — they’re the ones who represent that. Sure, they might look enticing, but that makes the youth follow their example, not knowing or caring about the real evil they create. Putting our beautiful city in danger.”

[He scoffs]

Of course, a state senator talking about vampires had been meme’d to death long before it reached the papers. But what interests me is… his statement doesn’t seem as metaphorical as the press is making it out to be. I’ve told Ren we should keep an eye out for Mister Broussard, or others like him. I’ve suspected [a man yells in the distance] that Morrison might not be the only person in power trying to use the supernatural to their own ends for a while now.

That’s not to say that I… actually believe we’re dealing with vampires. God, even saying that out loud feels ridiculous. I know, I know, we’ve dealt with weirder, stranger things, but… the idea that there’s just a secret society of bloodsucking immortals living in the shadows is just — it just feels like a step too far. This city is full of legends about all kinds of cryptids and ghouls and monsters. That doesn’t mean they’re all true. There’s something here — but whatever the truth is, I intend to let it speak for itself.

[Bill’s footsteps approach]

Bill Tyler

There you are… come on Sam, the tour guide’s already on the last stop.

Sam Bailey

What? Oh… uh, right! Um sure, I’ll just… 

Bill Tyler

Come on Sam — I know it’s a little goofy, but Ren already paid for the tour. Let’s at least finish it out.

Sam Bailey

Fine. [they begin walking back] Anything good from the last stop?

Bill Tyler

Some filming location from “Interview with a Vampire.” Kate kinda freaked out, apparently she’s a big fan. Maria picked the guide’s brain about people who… live in “vampire covens” and drink each other’s blood. I guess it’s a bit of local lore she researched. And the guide started talking about some “vampire speakeasy” in the French Quarter, which really doesn’t sound like my kind of place. [in the background the guide can be overheard] I mean, we’re in New Orleans, I want to party, not drink in the atmosphere, you know?

Vampire Tour Guide

…And now, I have just one more story to tell. This next location is the pinnacle of our tour, the juiciest and darkest of the French Quarter’s legends. Turn up your collars and keep your eyes open — you never know who might be dwelling in the shadows.

Sam Bailey

Dramatic much?

Bill Tyler

You’re one to talk.

Vampire Tour Guide 

This way!

[Bill, Sam, Kate, Maria, and Ren follow her down the sidewalk and across cobblestones]

Kate Sheridan

Whoa Sam — are you alright? You’re sweating a lot.

Maria Sol

How? It’s like… 60 degrees and cloudy.

Sam Bailey

We really don’t need to keep going over this, you know.

Vampire Tour Guide 

So, where did you all meet?

Ren Park 

I’m sorry?

[Street noises become closer, more immersive]

Vampire Tour Guide 

I just can’t quite figure you out. I thought you might be old school friends, but you’re all clearly — uh, different ages. Are you coworkers?

Sam Bailey

Uh… sort of.

Vampire Tour Guide 

Must be a cool company, if they’re paying for a vampire tour in the middle of the week. Where do y’all work?

Maria Sol

Uh…

Ren Park 

Microsoft.

Vampire Tour Guide 

…Microsoft!

I guess I can see it. Well, my cool ghouls and goblins — I’m pleased to announce that we… have… 

[they round the final corner]

…arrived, at our final location.

[Kate gasps in pleasure]

Maria Sol

Oooh!

Vampire Tour Guide 

Folks, what you see before you is one of the most infamous and adored buildings in all of New Orleans. This impressive 3-story estate on the edge of the French Quarter has undergone transformation after transformation in the course of its lifetime: a tale of promise, haunting, and ruin. Our story begins in 1830, when an ingenious but mysterious architect named David Whitmore commissioned its construction as a grand family home. As you can see, Whitmore drew great inspiration from the Italianate style, with posts supporting a 2-story gallery, arched brackets, and a deep horizontal overhang.

Sam Bailey

Fantastic… I thought the Italianate style wasn’t popular in this area until the 1840’s?

Vampire Tour Guide 

You know your architecture! You’re right, of course — Whitmore was always ahead of the curve. And given his fate, that might have been true for more than his stylings.

Folks, come in closer, if you would — I wouldn’t want the dark to creep in on us.

[the group steps closer together] 

As construction began in earnest on the Whitmore estate, the builders hit one delay after another. Missing materials. Sick laborers. Torrential rains. And Whitmore himself — the grand visionary for this project — kept changing his mind. A staircase on the plans would be four feet wide one day, then six feet the next. A solid wall in the blueprint would be scribbled out, replaced with a moveable panel. Construction stretched on for months. Then years. Whitmore began to find it more and more difficult to stay in control of the project. And his final request?

The estate’s third story, if you haven’t noticed, only has one small, single window. Barely big enough for a person to stick their head through. And the shutters on that window? Well, they happen to be open tonight. As they are every night. But between the second and third story, there isn’t a staircase, or a ladder, or even a gap in the walls. And if you were to return to this spot during the daytime… you would find that window closed.

So why build a third story that no living person could use? Well… some say, it was to hide a terrible experiment. An awful alliance. Who with? The only name that’s ever reached these streets, whispered in the moments when people forget themselves, forget the danger… is “the Ancient Ones.” Whitmore, they say, was aligned with something or someone… powerful. Something beyond us. And perhaps something he did not fully understand.

For you see, the third floor is not entirely empty. The interior, from floor to ceiling, is completely encased in a one-foot-thick barrier of heavy brickwork.

Think about the heat in there, in the summer. The radiating, unimaginable, burning heat. Even at night, there would be no relief, no escape — except that tiny window. And that begs the question: what was Whitmore so afraid of that he tried to hide it in a room like that?

Legend says that the day after the third story was finally complete, David Whitmore disappeared. But there are some eyewitness accounts… strange rumors that Whitmore was seen on that final night, standing pale-faced at the third story window, mouth open in a silent scream no living soul ever heard.

Almost 200 years have passed since that night, and in that time the Whitmore estate has been many things to many people. In 1837, it was purchased by Claude Colton the First. He purchased it as a family home, but chose to move away after only 3 years. Then, like all good haunted houses, it became a small jail in 1840, then a private academy which operated until 1952, when a horrible fire broke out in the corner of the second level. Eight boys are said to have died, but their bodies were never found. The Colton family still owned the building, but they decided to keep it empty for some time. Then, in the mid-80’s, Claude Colton the Fifth moved back in, using it as his private estate once more. Unfortunately, the estate’s troubled past caught up with him on Valentine’s day, 1998. It was a bloody mess… a Valentine’s Gala gone horribly wrong. More than a dozen party-goers were found dead at the estate, either partially or fully drained of blood. Colton himself was found unconscious in a guest bedroom, apparently unaware of the night’s events. He’s remained tight-lipped about the massacre ever since, and no arrests were ever made.

It’s not surprising that people say Vampires live up there. They’d be completely protected from the sunlight during the day, and their bloodless bodies might be able to withstand the heat better than we could. But if they are vampires, then there’s something different about them. Whenever brave or stupid souls dare to look up and gaze into that window late at night, they all swear to see the same thing — pale, tiny lights zipping out in the darkness just after midnight, returning just before the dawn. Some people claim to see those same lights in the darkened corners of the city, trying to draw in unsuspecting travelers. Maybe not. Maybe they’re just watching. But if you see what looks two pale eyes staring at you from a dark and narrow street… I’d recommend you run.

But whenever we speak of the dead, we must be careful… for the dead are often listening. Watch your step — wander too close, and you might find out exactly what dwells in that third story room. For in the shadows of New Orleans, there will always be something waiting to ferry you across the veil.

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[Inside a low-key bar; relaxed rock in the background, the clink of glasses, hum of conversation]

Sam Bailey 

Excuse me, uh — hi there. I know the tour is over, but I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions for us?

[Bill sighs]

Bill Tyler

Can I buy you a drink?

Vampire Tour Guide

Well… hell, why not. I was thinking about grabbing one anyway.

(to bartender) Vodka cranberry, please.

Bill Tyler

Make it three.

Sam Bailey

I really don’t want anything— 

Bill Tyler

Yes, you do.

[In the background, the bartender prepares their drinks]

Bill Tyler

This city really is beautiful.

Vampire Tour Guide

I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself. First time?

Bill Tyler

[pleased chuckle] Won’t be the last.

Sam Bailey

Have you had any troubles with your tours, lately? With all the disappearances?

Vampire Tour Guide

Oh… well, not directly. Things are a little tense, but… you know, these things can happen in any city.

Bill Tyler

Oh, of course. I’m sure it hits closer to home for you than most though, right?

Vampire Tour Guide

[she laughs] What, because of the vampire memes? 

[Maria approaches]

Maria Sol 

Hey, you’re still here! Could I pick your brain about something? I was doing some research, and I found some interesting stuff about Colton. Did you know he and John Broussard used to be in business together?

Sam Bailey

Really?

Maria Sol 

Yep! Hey… Wasn’t Broussard in the news recently about some offhand comments about vampires? I love your earrings, by the way.

Vampire Tour Guide

Oh — thank you!

Well, yes and no. Colton was one of Broussard’s first investors when he started his business. Have y’all gone out there yet? The Shrimp Barrel— 

Bill Tyler

—Barrel Family place, yeah… we haven’t been there. Sounds like a barrel of laughs.

Vampire Tour Guide

Or shrimp!

[Bill and the Guide laugh awkwardly. Sam clears his throat]

Vampire Tour Guide

But really — I know what you’re getting at, but I can’t say any more. I really wish I could, you’re all lovely people, but… we’ve gotten in trouble before, for talking about Broussard and the Coltons. They’re very touchy about their history, and things have a way of getting back to them.

Bill Tyler

But all that stuff about the Whitmore estate… 

Vampire Tour Guide

Ancient history to them. Everyone in town knows it, and the way we talk about it — well, it’s just a story. Entertainment. Not to mention, the Whitmore doesn’t even belong to Colton anymore. It was bought last year by some anonymous shell company or other. They don’t really seem to know or care what goes on in there.

[laughing awkwardly] I’ve already said too much.

I’m sorry, you’ve all been… really quite nice, but I have to go. Thanks for the drink!

[Click]

[Silence]

[Tapping at a keyboard]

[Beep]

[Through the surveillance cam at ISPHA Meriwether, footsteps]

[Knock at a door]

[Lock unlatches, door opens]

Dana Caldwell

Good morning Jerry. I hope you’re having a nice week?

Jerry Price

It’s, uh… it’s been good. No complaints.

Dana Caldwell

Wonderful. Listen, I came by to tell you that we’re planning to test-fire one of our new rocket prototypes later today. I wanted to see if you’re interested in joining us?

Jerry Price

That’s… that’s kind of you.

Dana Caldwell

I thought that — working with cars like you do — you might be interested. Mechanical work, and all that.

Jerry Price

I run an impound lot. Not a lot of call for mechanics there, unfortunately.

Dana Caldwell

Right. Of course. Well, the offer stands if you change your— 

Jerry Price

I was actually about to grab a snack. If you’d excuse me… 

[Jerry squeezes out, shuts the door, and starts off towards the atrium]

[Caldwell follows]

Dana Caldwell 

What an idea. I’ll join you.

Jerry Price

Of course.

[A CCTV camera motor, following them down the halls]

Dana Caldwell

So how are you enjoying your stay, otherwise?

Jerry Price

Well… of course I appreciate the, uh… protection that ISPHA has offered, but — there’s no place like home.

Dana Caldwell

I see.

Jerry Price

Is there any chance we get to leave here anytime before the world blows up?

Dana Caldwell

That’s a… major simplification of the situation. But you’re under no obligation to stay here — not if you have something more important to do. I just have to wonder what that could be.

Jerry Price

It’s not about what’s more important, it’s just that I have… 

Dana Caldwell

If it’s about your safety, I have to wonder if you remember the situation we extracted you from. Edgar Morrison hasn’t been seen in nearly a month, but I don’t think that means Oslow is any less dangerous for you. If you return now, you’ll be— 

Jerry Price

Doctor, please — I don’t want to argue about this.

Dana Caldwell

I would think that you’d want to keep the little home you’ve made for yourself safe. Your own little world.

[Jerry freezes]

Jerry Price

What did you just say?

Dana Caldwell 

I didn’t mean that as a threat, Mister Price. It’s just that… [she sighs angrily] ISPHA is paying you a very generous stipend while you’re away from work. Up until now, we haven’t require your participation, but I believe our situation has escalated, and we could really use all hands on deck. You’re a smart, resourceful man. I believe you would be an invaluable asset to our team.

Jerry Price

And if I don’t want to be an “asset” for anyone anymore?

Dana Caldwell

Well then maybe you should just leave. Just… run on home.

Jerry Price

Hm. You wouldn’t happen to be a Thurgood Vice fan, would you?

Dana Caldwell

And if I was?

Jerry Price

Good evening, Doctor Caldwell.

[Jerry walks away]

[After a moment, to herself…]

Dana Caldwell 

What the hell was that about?

[Beep]

[Silence]

[Click]

[A small, motorized boat navigating gentle waters]

[The chirp of crickets and toads]

Sam Bailey

Samuel Isaac Bailey, recording for ISPHA internal records — Mission log, December 19th, 2019 at 10:20pm Central Standard Time. We’ve rented a small boat, and Ren is currently trying to find a way onto Colton’s new estate, but it’s uh… it’s slow going.

Bill Tyler

Where did you learn to do this, Ren?

Ren Park

Florida.

Maria Sol

Are you sure this is safe to do without any lights?

Ren Park

Certainly safer than trying to sneak down Colton’s driveway, looking for vampires.

Bill Tyler

[uneasy laugh] Ooh boy… 

Sam Bailey

Speaking of which… last night, Bill and I attempted to enter Colton’s estate on foot. We managed to get right to the edge of the property line before we saw a small, hovering light out in the swampland beyond. We tried to follow it, but it kept moving off until it was lost in the fog. Eventually, we realized we were too close to the main house to keep going and had to circle back. But it’s odd… it almost felt like it wanted us to

follow. And I’m pretty sure it was the same kind of light that the tour guide described at the Whitmore.

So we’ve come back, this time approaching from the water about a half-mile east of the property, so we have a pretty good chance of getting closer without being seen. If our luck holds out.

[Ren switches off the engine, gliding it onto a low shore]

[He hops out and watches everyone disembark]

Ren Park

Watch your step, everyone… 

Alright — rules of engagement. No flashlights unless absolutely necessary. We’re too close to Colton’s property to use them without being seen. Do not step anywhere you can’t see moonlight. If you can’t see solid ground, turn back. Stay close to the group. And last but most important, keep your cedar stakes in your hands, but pointed down — I don’t want to get caught unawares, but I also don’t want anyone getting stabbed because they tripped over their feet. Everyone ready?

Kate Sheridan

Ready.

Maria Sol

Ready.

Bill Tyler 

Might as well.

Sam Bailey 

Lead the way, Ren.

[Footsteps through squishy earth]

[The animal and insect noises of the swamp fill the air]

Sam Bailey

I did look up some details of this estate before we left — it’s a recent purchase… brand-new build, bought a few months before the sale of the Whitmore estate, everything top of the line. The value of this new place? Nine million. The selling price of the

Whitmore estate? Only two million. Add that to the fact that Colton has apparently pulled out of all of his business ventures in the past decade, and it begs the question… where’d he get the money from?

Possible solution: these disappearances are due to vampires — either casualties of their feeding habits, or transformed into vampires themselves. I had my hesitations at first, but building on our working theory — we believe that Colton is working with these vampires, like Morrison worked with Ned. And whoever was backing Morrison is also lining Colton’s pockets.

We really don’t have any proof of that… his public image is almost suspiciously tidy. He’s well-connected, though — friends in high places, worked on the boards of several successful companies, the usual. But normally with figures like that, you can find something: pending lawsuits, hush money, maybe some links to shell companies and overseas ventures. But, no. His friendship with John Broussard, notable loud mouth and generally gross human being, is the only hint that he’s hiding dirt, somewhere.

Kate Sheridan

Well that, and people with that much money always have something to hide.

Ren Park

[hushed] I can see the lights from the property. Keep your voices down, we’re close.

Maria Sol 

Those reflections bothering anyone else?

Kate Sheridan

I’m having a harder time finding my way too. We might need to slow down a bit.

Ren Park

We’ll take a break on that bank up ahead… should be able to plot a course from up there.

[The group continues]

[Bill steps in something simultaneously wet and crunchy]

Bill Tyler

Oh god, I don’t even want to know what I just stepped in.

Kate Sheridan

Maria, you still doing— 

Maria?

[Everyone stops and looks around]

Sam Bailey 

Shit. Maria?

Ren Park 

Maria, where are you?

Bill Tyler

Where the hell did she go?

[They move through the foliage searching for her]

Ren Park 

This way! There’s some kind of clearing and a pond up ahead.

Kate Sheridan

Maria!

[Static rises on the tape]

Sam Bailey

Maria. Hear me.

[Static fades]

Kate Sheridan

Anything?

Sam Bailey

No. But there’s something… something else.

[Everyone stops]

Ren Park

And by something, you mean…?

Sam Bailey

[with dread] Oh, no.

[Measured footsteps emerge from the brush]

[Static rises on the tape]

Philippe

You lost one.

Bill Tyler

Thanks, we were worried she’d gotten lost. We’ll just… keep going on our way… 

Philippe

Wait.

[Static crackles]

Bill Tyler

Uh… Sam. I can’t move.

Sam Bailey

We don’t want any trouble.

Philippe

Bold claim. You were making so much noise, I’m surprised the rest of them haven’t found you already.

Sam Bailey

What do you want?

Philippe

You’re on private property, if you didn’t know. I’d recommend that you leave. But something tells me you’re too stubborn to listen.

[Sam tries to approach Maria]

Sam Bailey

Come on Maria, let’s—

[Static rises again]

Philippe

Don’t come any closer.

[Sam’s voice distorts slightly]

Sam Bailey

Alright. Maria… you’ve got to move. Come this way.

[Maria slowly walks towards them]

[Static fades]

Maria Sol 

I’m gonna be sick.

Sam Bailey

Ren… let’s go.

Kate Sheridan

Not yet.

Bill Tyler

Kate?

Kate Sheridan

I don’t know who you are, but we’ve come a long way to help. We’re not leaving until we try.

Philippe

Help? What could you five possibly do to help?

Kate Sheridan

We know there have been disappearances. And… pain.

Philippe 

That’s what you know, is it?

Kate Sheridan 

My name’s Kate. What’s yours?

Sam Bailey

Kate, this isn’t a good idea—

Kate Sheridan

Sam. Please.

Philippe

Philippe.

Kate Sheridan

[sigh of relief] Nice to meet you, Philippe.

[Maria sees his face in the moonlight]

Maria Sol 

Oh my god… you’re trying to help too, aren’t you?

Sam Bailey 

Everyone, we need to leave. We’re talking to a vampire— 

Philippe

You’re right. Both of you.

But I am… not a danger. Not to you.

There is truth in what you say. If you’re here to help… maybe you can help me.

Bill Tyler

Do you know something about the disappearances?

Philippe 

I… 

Maria Sol

You were trying to sneak into the estate too… weren’t you?

Philippe 

[after a sigh] I’ve been following you five for the last few days. I know what you’re after.

I was sneaking in, yes. But this isn’t my first time. I’ve been doing this for months now. Within those walls, there are… [a shudder] there are dozens of untrained, scared vampires, being held against their will by Claude Colton. He used to care about our numbers. Spent time working with us. Taught us things… things that I have no idea how he knows. But now he’s stopped caring about what happens to us. He stopped controlling their feedings, let them run wild. They don’t want to be doing what they’re doing, but they don’t know how to stop… 

Ren Park

Wait… so this is an out-of-control vampire infestation?

Philippe

Please — listen. I’m not a threat to you. Any of you. And I’m trying to teach the rest of them how this life is to be lived.

Kate Sheridan 

I believe you, Phillipe… it’s okay. Um… You said he stopped caring about…?

Philippe

I heard your theories about Colton. You have a far more charitable view of him than he deserves. It’s not just that he’s letting them run rampant. He’s selling them. To any high-profile buyer who wants their own personal monster.

Kate Sheridan

Wait… he’s trafficking them?

Philippe

Yes.

Bill Tyler

How long has he been doing this?

Philippe

Only a few years, now. It used to be a hobby for him… creating vampires amused him, somehow. Gave him a sense of power. But when he inherited the Whitmore, he soon realized the power the third story held. It’s been a conduit for transformation and terror for so long, the frame of the building itself is imbued with power… with the mark of… 

Kate Sheridan

The ancient ones?

Philippe 

[wincing] Do. Not. SPEAK. Their. Names. 

I’m telling you all, right now: there are dangers in this universe that would swallow you in a heartbeat. Even you, Sam Bailey.

[slight pause]

Sam Bailey

So what changed with Colton?

Philippe

He grew obsessed with the audacity of Whitmore’s alliance with… them. Whitmore allowed them to conduct whatever experiments they desired on the third floor. They came to him in his dreams, promising him riches, power, even immortality. Instead, he was their first guinea pig.

[slight laugh] For all that, he ended up impaled by a piece of broken wood on a construction site. Freak accident, if you can believe it. He never could resist a promising build.

But Colton… Colton is even worse. Eventually, the rush of power he got from manipulating us wasn’t enough. He decided it would be a waste not to use our power for his own benefit.

He started small. At first, he just used us for his own personal business. Treated us like entertainers, like party decorations for his guests… an enticing edge of danger with the reassuring sense of control. But his methods were… 

[he sighs]

After the Valentine’s massacre, he didn’t try it again.

Kate Sheridan

Oh my god… 

Philippe

After that, he started assembling his list of buyers. Only those willing to accept the risk. Only those who had enough money that they felt untouchable. Those who were willing to pay anything, put their families in any kind of danger, just to feel something.

I escaped last year, just before the sale of the Whitmore. I’ve been around a long time… I know more about Colton than some of his own children. Which is why I’ve risked everything to save the ones I can.

You see, the energy of the Whitmore… it’s not just darkness… it’s potential. And if you’re unprepared to handle it, if you’ve never had to live with that same power trying to tear its way out of you — it can all too easily go wrong. But for those of us who’ve been turned? We can use that power. At least… as long as we know the possibility exists. Which is why I’ve been taking as many of us back to the Whitmore as I can. It’s the perfect training ground, now Colton and his ilk have abandoned it.

But something’s gone wrong. I don’t know what, but Colton must have gotten complacent… comfortable. His vampires are young. They’re hungrier than usual. And as they feed, they make more of themselves. I’m trying to help them… but I’ve never felt so lost.

[Stunned silence]

Sam Bailey

What do you need? How can we help you?

Kate Sheridan

Sam, we may be out of our depth here… this sounds like— 

Maria Sol 

Can’t you do something about this, Ren?

[slight pause]

Ren Park

Philippe… I want to offer you something. The organization I work for… we can give you a new identity. All the documents you need, whatever name you want.

Bill Tyler

Wait… you can do that?

Ren Park

We’ll track down the owners of the Whitmore. Negotiate a lease in your name. Make the house yours.

Philippe

I don’t know if that’s—

Ren Park

My organization will pay for everything: rent, bills, food… uh, I guess however you take your, uh—

Philippe

Animal blood. It’s distasteful, but it’s better than the alternative.

Ren Park

We can arrange that.

Philippe

And if Colton realizes who I am and comes after me?

Ren Park

He won’t. We’ll hire security for the building, keep any watchful eyes away.

[Moment of silence]

Philippe

It is very generous — but you have to understand, I’ve been around long enough to earn my skepticism about handouts. What does your… organization get out of this arrangement?

Ren Park

We learn from you. About vampires. That’s what we do now — we study the supernatural. And if we can do that while saving lives and cutting off Colton’s supply… well, that’s more than worth the cost.

Could we meet tomorrow to discuss the details?

Philippe

I… I have many… many conditions. But I’m willing to hear you out. Where should I meet you?

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[Late night in New Orleans, crickets chirping and the far-off sound of partying]

Sam Bailey

Samuel Issac Bailey, recording for ISPHA internal records — final mission report, December 20th, 2019 at 11:45 pm Central Standard Time.

We’ve just wrapped up our meeting with Philippe. The deal is done. While the situation is still unstable, this at least introduces some level of stability and safety for the vampires of New Orleans. Philippe has agreed to Ren’s plan, and everything is underway. Ren didn’t sleep at all last night, he was on the phone with all kinds of people arranging documents and contracts for Philippe and those in his care. It’s amazing how fast ISPHA can move when it wants to… 

Anyway, Ren took his own recording of the meeting, so I don’t need to bore you with the details. All I’ve got to contend with is the prospect of the clock striking midnight. Never thought I’d spend a birthday in New Orleans… not a chance in hell—

[Bill appears around the corner of the alley]

Bill Tyler

[far off at first] Please tell me that I just heard what I thought I heard.

Sam Bailey 

Uh… 

Bill Tyler

Your BIRTHDAY! It’s your BIRTHDAY, and we’re in NEW ORLEANS?!?

Sam Bailey

You’d like to get me drunk, wouldn’t you—

Bill Tyler

Yes, I would like to get you drunk!!

[Bill pulls Sam over to the others]

Bill Tyler

You guys are not going to believe this — Sam, tell the class how old you’re going to be at midnight.

Sam Bailey

29… 

[Kate gasps, Ren laughs]

Maria Sol

I’m designated driver!

Sam Bailey 

I really don’t… Isn’t that a bit… disrespectful? To go out partying, with everything that just happened?

[Bit of a heavy silence]

[Kate sighs]

Kate Sheridan

You’re right. We stumbled onto something horrifying… 

Maria Sol

…and we figured out how to keep a bunch of vampires from being sold to rich assholes.

Bill Tyler

AND prevented a bunch of people from being turned into vampires themselves!

Ren Park

All told, this is about the most positive outcome we’ve had yet. Not just for the research.

Sam Bailey

But people have still died because of—

Kate Sheridan

Sam. Horrors don’t stop being horrors just because we hold ourselves back from joy. You need to let the light in.

Bill Tyler

…shit.

Sam Bailey

Shit.

Maria Sol

Come on, Bailey… we’ve got work to do.

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[Wild laughter, conversation, a montage of the evening]

TEAM 

CHEERS!!

[Glasses clink]

Sam Bailey

Oh, this doesn’t look like my kind of—

[he downs a shot, coughs slightly]

Hey, that’s good! 

[The team cheers]

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[A noisier dance floor]

Kate Sheridan

Go dance with him, Sam!

Sam Bailey

What!?

Kate Sheridan

Go! Dance! With—! Oh, forget this—

[Kate pushes Sam against a handsome stranger]

Sam Bailey

HI, WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK?

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[The team walks down the street]

Sam Bailey

I love New Orleans! The Big Jazz!

[The team dies laughing]

Bill Tyler

I’m sorry, what!?

Sam Bailey

Big! Jazz!

Ren Park (through laughter)

It’s the Big EASY, Sam!

Sam Bailey

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

[Sam stumbles]

Oh, what happened to the ground?

Maria Sol

Whoop! Time to go home!

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[In a quiet hotel room, Ren snores]

Sam Bailey

We should take a road trip home!

Kate Sheridan

[clapping] Road trip! Road trip!

Bill Tyler

Maria, drive us! Please!?

[Kate pleads]

Maria Sol

That does sound fun, doesn’t it… 

Kate Sheridan

Aw, Ren’s passed out… 

Maria Sol

Ren, we’re road tripping back to Meriwether.

[Ren only slightly wakes up]

Ren Park (half awake)

Have fun… I’ll catch… plane… home… 

Maria Sol

Aww, come on, Ren?

Bill Tyler

Nope, [snaps his fingers] you heard the guy — let’s GO!

[Everyone whoops and leaves the room]

Ren Park

Don’t forget the… road snacks… 

[Door closes]

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[Ren starts the tape as he wakes up, groaning]

Ren Park 

Hey… where did they…

Ohhhh, shit… 

[Clack]

Recording Ends

End Theme & Credits


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