Episode 68: “Lingua Ignota”

Episode 68: “Lingua Ignota” The Sheridan Tapes

CONTENT WARNING: Strong elements of existential dread, paranoia, and terror, depictions of a psychotic episode, and brief mentions of accidental death and suicide01192020: Recovering from his injuries, Sam Bailey rediscovers one of Anna's stranger tapesStarring Sophie Borjón as Detective Ramos, Ezra J. Wayne as Ned Leroux, Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, and Airen Neeley Chaconas as Anna Sheridan, 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/tst068Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/sheridantapes. Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/SheridanTapes. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

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CONTENT WARNING: Strong elements of existential dread, paranoia, and terror, depictions of a psychotic episode, and brief mentions of accidental death and suicide

01192020: Recovering from his injuries, Sam Bailey rediscovers one of Anna’s stranger tapes

Starring Sophie Borjón as Detective Ramos, Ezra J. Wayne as Ned Leroux, Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, and Airen Neeley Chaconas as Anna Sheridan, 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: Strong elements of existential dread, paranoia, and terror, depictions of a psychotic episode, and brief mentions of accidental death and suicide

[OCPD Break Room; occasional sounds of radio chatter and light conversation in the background]

[Hum of a refrigerator]

[Ned pulls the coffee pot from the machine and pours a cup]

Detective Ramos

Are you really going to drink that? It’s been sitting in the pot all day.

Ned Leroux

I kind of like it when it’s sludge.

[He puts the pot back]

Detective Ramos

I’ll add it to the list, then.

Ned Leroux

What list?

Detective Ramos

Stuff you’ve said that makes me think you’re not human.

[Ned laughs uncomfortably; sips his coffee]

Detective Ramos

Where are you from, anyway?

Ned Leroux

Oh, uh — I was stationed in Houston before this.

Detective Ramos

So you’re from Houston?

Ned Leroux

More or less.

Detective Ramos

I have a lot of friends in Houston, you know. We might know some people in common.

Ned Leroux

Yeah, probably.

[He sips his coffee]

Detective Ramos

You ever meet Toni Garza?

Ned Leroux

Tony… Tony Tony Tony — you know what, I think I did. Great guy.

[He sips his coffee]

Detective Ramos

Toni with an “I.”

Ned Leroux

Oh yeah, of course — sorry, I still use “guy” for everybody, bad habit of mine.

Detective Ramos

Right.

Ned Leroux

Anyway, I’ve gotta get back to work before I—

Detective Ramos

How long were you stationed there? With Houston PD?

[He sets his cup down]

Ned Leroux

Ramos, I’m sensing a bit of tension here. Anything you want to talk about?

[She hesitates]

Detective Ramos

I’ve been here a long time. Made a lot of sacrifices to get where I am. And I was… surprised, when Morrison picked you as deputy chief.

Ned Leroux

I see.

Detective Ramos

I’m not saying you weren’t the right pick, you’ve definitely got some good instincts.

Ned Leroux

But… 

[She sighs; frustrated]

Detective Ramos

But I feel like you’re not being honest with me. With anyone. You walk around like you’re in charge, but I can see right through it. You feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, don’t you?

[He hesitates, then takes a seat]

Ned Leroux

You’re right. Honestly, a lot of this just goes right over my head. The politics, the paperwork, the… [sound of annoyance]

Detective Ramos

I know the feeling.

Ned Leroux

Alright, Ramos. Honesty. 

[He pulls his breath through his teeth]

I was at Houston PD… for a few months.

Detective Ramos

A few…? 

[Brief pause]

Leroux, I don’t know why you think you need to lie so much.

Ned Leroux

Beg pardon?

Detective Ramos

I’m telling you, it’s not worth the effort. Just tell the truth, and get it out there.

Ned Leroux

That’s not as… easy as you think it is. Not for me.

Detective Ramos

That might be true, but it’s a hell of a lot better than putting even more distance between yourself and other people.

Ned Leroux

I really don’t think people want that distance to go away, Ramos.

Detective Ramos

Well maybe they do.

[Brief pause; she sighs]

Whatever. You’ll see what I mean in a few years, anyways. How old are you, by the way? 28?

[Ned has picked up his coffee for a sip and coughs on it as she finishes speaking; he begins to laugh his ass off]

Detective Ramos

Okay fine, I could maybe see… what, 33?

Ned Leroux (laughing still)

I’m sorry, I… 

Detective Ramos

Come on, there’s no way… drop the skin care routine, Leroux!

[Despite herself, Ramos starts to laugh with him]

[Ned’s laughter slows]

Ned Leroux

You got me.

Look, my past… it’s hard for me to get into. But tell you what, let me buy you a coffee sometime, and I’ll tell you some more.

Detective Ramos

Including how old you actually are?

Ned Leroux

Maybe on the… fifth coffee.

[She laughs]

Detective Ramos

You’ve got a deal. But I’m picking the place. Not all of us are fans of the sludge.

[Cassette noises]

Ned Leroux

I can live with that.

[Click]

[Main Theme]

Recording Begins

[Tapping on keyboard as someone accesses a digital file]

[Surveillance audio crackles to life; static fades out]

[Distant boom of machinery in the facility]

[Heart rate monitor beeps gently]

[Someone accesses a key card door; it opens softly]

[Kate walks in, then sits down on the side of Sam’s bed]

Kate Sheridan

Sam… Sam… wake up.

[Sam groans as he wakes and sits up slightly]

Sam Bailey

Kate…? Hi… what are you—

Kate Sheridan

Shh shh, it’s okay… they just cleared you to have guests.

Sam Bailey

What… what day is it?

Kate Sheridan

Sunday. The 19th. I found you on the 16th, so… 

Sam Bailey

Three days… god, they must have me on some strong meds.

Kate Sheridan

Yeah, they… mentioned something to that effect.

[Kate shifts, setting a slightly heavy box of tapes on Sam’s bed]

[Sam grunts slightly]

Kate Sheridan

Anyway — I brought you one of those green chile breakfast burritos from the canteen. Thought you might be sick of liquid food. And I figured that if you can’t leave your bed yet, I’d better bring you the tapes so you don’t try anything stupid.

[Sam scoffs]

Sam Bailey

Do you really think I’d try to leave while—

Kate Sheridan

Yes, Sam, I do think you’d try.

Sam Bailey

You didn’t let me finish.

Kate Sheridan

I didn’t need to.

[Sam sighs]

Sam Bailey

You’re right. I’m guessing you listened to the tape?

Kate Sheridan

Once Ren and Caldwell were done with it.

Sam Bailey

Of course.

Kate Sheridan

I don’t know why you kept that a secret from us, Sam — but Molly’s gone. You didn’t mean to do it, but… you can’t fix everything.

Sam Bailey

Kate, I have a responsibility to use my abilities to help people however I can—

Kate Sheridan

You have a responsibility to me, Sam. To Maria. To Bill. Even to Anna. How are we supposed to find her if you keep throwing yourself into the fire thinking you can put it out?

Sam Bailey

Stop talking to me like I’m a child, Kate.

Kate Sheridan

Then stop acting like one.

[Silence hangs in the air; Sam sighs]

Sam Bailey

What should I do, then?

Kate Sheridan

Be honest with us. Trust us — trust me. The same way I trust you.

Sam Bailey

You don’t trust me to stay in this bed with a deflated lung, Kate.

Kate Sheridan

If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be talking this through with you at all.

Sam Bailey

Fair point.

[Brief pause]

Look, I’m just… I’m used to making decisions on my own. I haven’t needed to run them by anyone, not since… 

Kate Sheridan

You don’t need to ask me for permission, Sam. I just want to know that we’re on that same team. That we can count on each other, because I’m sure as hell counting on you.

[Brief pause]

What was it like?

Sam Bailey

The other place?

[Kate gives a small noise of affirmation; Sam sighs]

It was… a vast, dark ocean. My consciousness kept jumping around to different places. Sometimes I could control it, but not very often.

Kate Sheridan

So it wasn’t… a reflection of the real world, then?

[Sam laughs lightly]

Sam Bailey

No… definitely not. Why?

Kate Sheridan

Just wondering if it was the same place I was in, but… doesn’t sound like it.

[Kate stands and begins to walk to the door[

Sam Bailey

How are Peter and Andrew? 

[Kate stops and turns]

Kate Sheridan

Peter’s worried about you, but… he’s doing okay. Andrew’s… we haven’t told him.

Sam Bailey

Is it… do you still think Meriwether’s the safest place for them?

[Kate laughs, pained]

Kate Sheridan

I don’t know, but I can’t… I can’t even imagine sending them away. Peter is… knowing he’s here is the only way I feel safe. And Andrew — god, these years are never going to come back. I can’t send them away. I know there’s no way you could understand that, but—

[Kate cuts off, pauses, clears her throat]

Sam Bailey

You’re right. I don’t understand that. But I do understand what it’s like to lose someone because I was too scared to send them away. Because I waited too long.

Kate Sheridan

Allen.

Sam Bailey

Yeah.

You know… I completely missed out on New Years after what happened at Christmas. That’s when we… we always called that our anniversary.

[Sam shifts]

Kate — if I were you, I’d let them go. Now. Somewhere far away, maybe even outside the country if they can.

Kate Sheridan

Peter has… family in Canada they could stay with… 

Sam Bailey

That sounds like a good idea.

Kate Sheridan

I’m the one who gets to decide that, Sam. Me and Peter.

Sam Bailey

Understood.

[Brief pause]

It sounds like you wouldn’t go with them if they did, though?

Kate Sheridan

Huh?

Sam Bailey

I mean, we’re talking about all of this as if… 

Look Kate… what happened to me, I think it’s just the start. The closer we get to figuring this out, to finding Anna… I think it’s going to get worse. For all of us. And if you’re still here… 

Kate Sheridan

You’re right. But I mean… I can’t just leave her, can I? After everything I didn’t do before — I couldn’t live with myself if I gave up.

I’m not abandoning her. I’ll go to hell and back if I have to.

Sam Bailey

I think that might be where we’re going.

[Kate sighs, holds back a tear, clears her throat]

Kate Sheridan

I’m… I’m going to go check in with everyone. Tell them how you’re doing…?

[She walks to the door, it creaks open slightly]

Sam Bailey

Fine by me.

Kate Sheridan

And I’ll… I’ll think about what you said.

Next mission leaves in a few days, if you’re up for it.

Sam Bailey

The doctors told me I should be out of here by tomorrow.

Kate Sheridan

That’s… good. Good.

[She walks out and shuts the door; we briefly hear an intercom message play before it becomes muffled]

[After a moment…]

Sam Bailey (singing softly)

For Auld Lang Syne, my dear, for Auld— 

[Emotion chokes Sam’s throat]

[He takes a deep breath and quickly starts a new tape before he gets overwhelmed]

Samuel Isaac Bailey, recording for ISPHA Internal Records — daily log, January… 19th, 2020 at 9:37am Mountain Standard Time. Reviewing tape… 

[He picks one up and examines it]

Ah… this old chestnut. Great.

[He slips it into the player]

[Click]

[Static starts strongly, then fades out]

[A clock gently ticks on Anna’s bedroom wall]

[She sounds strange… floaty… disconnected]

Anna Sheridan

The light in here… the way it filters through the blinds and hits my pillow… beautiful… 

I’ve been thinking about a story I heard about a haunted ski lodge. This place where thousands would come every year, but the region itself was incredibly remote. The lodge was run down, and more people than the ski company wanted to admit died there every year. Some were never even found… lost in the great white backcountry. I don’t even remember where this was. The lodge was full of ghosts… legions of ghosts… 

Ha… I’m not telling this very well, am I?

Anyway… I was thinking about a ski lift operating in the middle of the night under a full moon. The chairs turning without anyone operating it. One after another after another after another, taking those spirits right to the top. Maybe they felt like they never got to finish their last run. Maybe they ride that ski lift all the way to the other side… 

I’ve gotta say, of all the places to encounter ghosts, winter in a ski area sounds like one of the worst. It’s hard to move quickly with that much snow. Hard to run. Easy to die. Easy to never be found again… 

I wonder what it’d be like to live somewhere like that. Where your friends could just die out of nowhere, doing what they love. What keeps people there? What keeps them going back to those same activities? The skiing, the paragliding, the snowboarding, the mountain biking, the ice cave exploring… not to mention the suicide rates in ski towns. I wonder how claustrophobic the open air can start to feel when it’s all you have?

[She shifts, looking at the corner of her room]

There’s always been those shadows. Right there, at the edge of my room. They won’t leave. They refuse to. The light can’t quite… cannot quite reach. Can’t touch. Won’t wipe it out. Why… won’t… the light… 

[She shudders; brief pause; she starts up again but faster]

I got a phone call from Ren. It was 1993… and they were afraid. They told me to run. But my shoes, they were outside. I couldn’t get there. I couldn’t… I can’t do it… I tried to call Maria, but the line wouldn’t connect. A voice said “We’re sorry, Maria can’t come to the phone right now,” but why would the phone say that if it was disconnected?

[Her distress increases]

I keep waking up in the night from the ringing… the ringing, the RINGING. I’ve unplugged my landline, I’ve turned off my cell, and still the calls keep coming! Someone will not stop reaching out. It was 1993 and they were afraid, so afraid, and the line was disconnected… 

[Quieter]

I keep waking in the night, in the light. The light, shining up from the well, through the tunnels… Tunnels that turn into wells, and wells that turn into… into what? What do wells turn into? I can never remember this part.

[She groans, distressed]

I’m so tired. I haven’t been able to sleep since I got back. My nightmares came home with me. The shadows… they… 

But the light won’t… [she groans] it won’t… 

[Whispered, slightly rhythmic]

The light… the light… twas brillig… twas brillig and the… slithy… 

[Distressed]

I can’t do it, I can’t DO IT, I can’t do it, I can’t do it… 

[Falling into a familiar poem, adding her own lines]

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves 

Did gyre and gimble in the wade; 

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

All flimsy were the corazon

And the roamer vans outlaid

Beware the Jabberwock, my son! 

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun 

The frumious Bandersnatch!

And shun the frumious… 

[A phone begins ringing; she slows]

The ring, the ring, the ring… 

He took his vorpal sword in hand— 

The light… the light… ‘twas brillig… 

Long time the manxome foe he sought—

[The phone rings again, longer this time]

So rested he by the Tumtum tree, 

And stood awhile in thought.

Now next to the tumtum tree 

was a great white rabbit, 

an odd white rabbit, 

a rabbit that talked, 

a rabbit with a watch, 

and down it went into the tunnels, 

into the well, into… 

[She listens to the phone ring]

Oh… oh, I wonder, I wonder, 

when the whole world’s gone asunder… 

And as in uffish thought he stood, 

The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame—

[the phone rings its loudest now]

With eyes of flame, with eyes of

flame, don’t look too close 

you’ll lose your brain… 

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,

And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two!

One, two, three, four, FIVE! 

[the phone stops ringing]

And the dark is still alive!

And through and through

The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head 

He went galumphing back.

[The phone briefly again, quieter]

I want to go back. I want to go back. I want to go back… 

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? 

Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” 

He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, [distant rings] and the slithy toves 

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; 

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths… 

The light… the light… ‘Twas brillig… 

‘Twas brillig in the… 

[She cuts off]

I have to do it. I’m going to do it.

[She shifts in her seat]

I don’t know if I can take Ren’s calls again. Or the ones that come in the night. I don’t think those are good for me. I should try to call Maria. I don’t think that was her real number that I called. It was 1-9-9-3… And that’s not right… I know that’s not right. Phone numbers are longer than that. It can’t be…

[She stops; quiets]

Where am I? Where am I?

[She shifts]

Find me.

[Click]

[Tape ends]

[Sam’s heart rate monitor beeps steadily]

[He lets out a tense, emotional breath]

Sam Bailey

What the hell was… oh god… 

[He cries out, his voice distorting as static increases]

She was in so much pain. I didn’t let myself feel it before, but… it’s, it’s there, in the tape. I can feel it now. I don’t know what it means, but the shadows that haunted her, the light… [static increases sharply] the light… ‘twas bri… 

[Sam cuts off, realizing he’s mirroring her]

[Heart rate monitor beeps faster]

[Static decreases]

I have to be careful. I have to breathe.

[He takes a deep breath]

[Heart rate monitor slows; static continues decreasing]

God, this one made my guts twist. It sounded like… like that other place. The one I barely made it out of. Disorienting, dark… dangerous. It made me feel like I was back there.

[Brief pause]

None of these tapes felt this intense before. Was it… was it going to that other place that changed it for me? Has my ability to sense and absorb emotions… expanded, somehow? Or was it just this tape? How close did Anna get to that other side? There’s no way she could survive touching it directly, but… maybe through a proxy with some kind of guide, like Amanita?

I… I don’t know. Pulling apart what’s metaphor, dream, or freaky supernatural event has been almost impossible with these later tapes. Like the phone call… was that all just in her head? I’ve had some… strange phone calls myself. The one that sounded like Anna early on, and the one that connected me to Allen when… 

[Brief pause; he considers]

It’s like I’m hearing a story being read aloud, but it’s in a language I don’t know… something I don’t understand the words of, but I still feel the twists and turns and emotions all the same. And that… “Find me…” [slight static increase] it felt like she could see me.

[Sam takes a deep breath; he groans and shifts in his bed]

I feel sore all over… though I don’t know how much of that was the tape and how much is my injuries. I guess I’d better stop before it gets any worse.

[Brief pause]

I just hope Anna’s nightmares don’t end up in my dreams tonight.

[Clack]

Recording Ends

End Theme & Credits


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