Episode 73: “Après moi, le déluge”

Episode 73: "Après moi, le déluge” The Sheridan Tapes

CONTENT WARNING: Strong elements of existential dread and terror, mentions of medical abuse, institutionalization, and police corruption, and discussions of violence, gore, and a near-death experience. 01292020a: ApotheosisStarring Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, Airen Neeley Chaconas as Anna Sheridan, Joanna Swan as “strange woman,” Mike Kennedy as Edgar Morrison, Ray O’Hare as Ellis Spengler, Sophie Borjón as Detective Ramos, and Ezra J. Wayne as Ned Leroux, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written by Trevor Van Winkle 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/tst073Support 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 and terror, mentions of medical abuse, institutionalization, and police corruption, and discussions of violence, gore, and a near-death experience.

01292020a: Apotheosis

Starring Amitola Lomas as Maria Sol, Airen Neeley Chaconas as Anna Sheridan, Joanna Swan as “strange woman,” Mike Kennedy as Edgar Morrison, Ray O’Hare as Ellis Spengler, Sophie Borjón as Detective Ramos, and Ezra J. Wayne as Ned Leroux, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written by Trevor Van Winkle 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 and terror, mentions of medical abuse, institutionalization, and police corruption, and discussions of violence, gore, and a near-death experience.

[Inside a quiet hotel room, a heater whirs]

[Distant sounds of crickets outside singing before sunrise]

[Maria Sol snores softly on the bed]

[Anna sighs and sits up beside her, bed creaking]

[She zips her bag open, pulls her tape recorder out, and starts recording]

[She stops recording after a few moments and sighs]

[She stands, walks to the hotel room door, unlocks it, and steps outside]

[Noises of distant traffic as she steps into the open air]

[The door creaks as it shuts, she shivers, and zips her jacket up]

[She walks out to the edge of the parking lot]

[She activates her scanner, it pings wildly for several seconds]

[She shuts it off and sighs again]

[She turns around and begins to head back to the hotel room]

Strange Woman

What’ve you got there?

Anna Sheridan (jumping)

Ah!

Strange Woman

[light laugh] Now now… I’m not as scary as all that.

[The woman lights a cigarette with a Zippo lighter and takes a drag]

Anna Sheridan

Sorry, it’s just… you surprised me, is all.

Strange Woman

I tend to do that. [she extends a cigarette] Want one?

Anna Sheridan

No thanks.

Strange Woman

Don’t smoke?

Anna Sheridan

No, but… my partner hates the smell.

Strange Woman

Fair enough. [she takes another drag] So… what do you have there?

Anna Sheridan

Oh, um… it’s an EMF scanner. It… detects changes in electromagnetic fields.

Strange Woman

You a scientist, then?

[Anna laughs dryly]

Anna Sheridan

No, not really — my dad was the scientist. I got it from him.

Strange Woman

And what’s it tell ya? I could hear that racket all the way over here.

Anna Sheridan

I — I don’t know. I’ve never seen readings like this before, but… I think it means something bad is coming.

Strange Woman

What, like what happened up in Agate Shore?

Anna Sheridan

No, I’m… I’m scared it’s something worse. Something… bigger. Here in Oslow.

[The older woman scoffs and takes another drag on her cigarette]

Strange Woman

If that’s true, then it’s about damn time. Oslow’s been due a reckoning for a while now.

Anna Sheridan

What do you mean?

Strange Woman

Don’t let the desert charm fool ya — this whole place is rotten to the core. Far as I’m concerned, flood wiped out the wrong town.

Anna Sheridan

But… Agate Shore was abandoned.

Strange Woman

And?

Anna Sheridan

…and people still live here.

[The woman laughs dryly]

Strange Woman

“Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Wilt thou sweep away…” No, I guess there are still good folk, even in this town. But the ones in charge put ‘em on a path, whether they know it or not — and they don’t fight it. If nothing changes, it’s gonna spill out in death sooner rather than later.

Anna Sheridan

You seem… awfully sure about that.

Strange Woman

I’ve been around a while. Seen a few things. And everywhere I go, the pattern’s always the same. It might take a while to get there… but it always comes round. Always.

[She grinds her cigarette down on her tailgate and flicks away the butt]

[She walks to the cab, and opens her door, which squeaks]

[She gets inside]

Anna Sheridan

Does it have to, though?

Strange Woman

Come again?

Anna Sheridan

Does it have to happen like that, or… can people change it?

Strange Woman

Ethos Anthropos Daimon, Anna. Wherever you’re going — whatever you do next — it’s yours to decide. Yours to shape. Trust your instincts… and listen.

[The woman closes her door, starts the truck, reverses, and drives off]

[Anna watches her go and shivers again]

[She looks at the scanner in her hand]

Anna Sheridan

You brought me this far, dad… and I’m thankful for that. But I think we both know I have to take this last step on my own.

[She walks to a trash can, opens the lid, dumps it inside, and closes the lid]

[She walks back to the hotel room door and opens it, calling inside]

Maria? Are you up yet? It’s time to go.

[Cassette noises]

[Click]

[Main Theme]

Recording Begins

[Dial tone]

[Voicemail beep]

Edgar Morrison (pre-recorded)

You’ve reached the office of Edgar Morrison, OCPD. Leave a message.

[BEEP]

Ellis Spengler

Good afternoon, Edgar. This is Dr. Ellis Spengler, calling regarding the, uh… matter we discussed during our last conversation. I understand you might be hesitant to reach out by phone, but we would like an update as soon as possible. You know how to reach me.

[BEEP]

Ellis Spengler

Hello Edgar — Ellis Spengler again. I’m not sure if you got my last message, but I just wanted to check in and confirm that you’re still able to make it to our… meeting next week. I know speaking in person isn’t all that convenient, but I don’t think we have a choice in the matter. If we don’t hear from you, we’ll assume it’s still a go. Call me if anything changes.

[BEEP]

Ellis Spengler

Spengler again — where were you last night? I waited for nearly six hours, and not a sign of you! I understand your movements are being more closely observed after that article, but christ, Edgar — do you really think a reporter would follow you all the way out to Scallow, of all places? Hell, I almost couldn’t find it myself, and I knew where I was going. And speaking of reporters, how on Earth did they find out so much about you? I thought you had your records locked down tight? If people find out about the MK project or, god forbid, the facility… 

Anyway — call me. As soon as convenient. Sooner, if possible.

[BEEP]

[In the background, sounds of a busy airport]

Ellis Spengler

I’m getting on a plane to Louisiana as I speak. Morrison — what in the hell is going on in Oslow? Last I heard, these people were either dead or under your control or chasing wild geese off god-knows-where, and now they turn up in NOLA and completely disrupt Colton’s operation! I need an update. Now. Yesterday. Whenever, just — call me, goddammit!

[BEEP]

[He pauses before he speaks]

Ellis Spengler

Edgar. I’ve just received word that you’ve been suspended by the Oslow County Commission Board. This is unacceptable. Myself and my colleagues have spent years and a not-inconsiderable amount of money keeping you in your position, and now you’ve thrown it all away to… I don’t even know what, besides not show up to work.

[He sighs]

Our other agents have failed in their attempts to replicate the psychic wheel. At this point, I have to accept that you either deliberately altered the designs, or that there’s something unique about the Oslow site that we can’t replicate elsewhere. In either case — we will be taking over your operations at the earliest opportunity. You were warned this would happen if you couldn’t maintain control. You knew this was coming. I will not be calling again. Goodbye, Edgar.

[Beep]

[Silence]

[Cassette noises]

[Click]

[Static fades away]

[A recorder starts mid-conversation in a quiet corner in Morrison’s office]

[The sound of rummaging through files]

Detective Ramos

It should be in with the files from this October… maybe November.

Ned Leroux

I’m lookin’ there… what did you say the designation was?

Detective Ramos

Grey-1714b… at least, that’s what’s on the inventory.

Ned Leroux

Gods, he didn’t keep these in any kind of order.

[Ned closes a drawer and opens a few other ones]

Detective Ramos

Who, our late great chief of police? Not surprising, considering he forget to come in to work for two months straight.

Ned Leroux

You’re really not scared of him anymore, are you?

Detective Ramos

What’s he going to do? Even if he shows his face, he can’t arrest me. [she examines some files] And I definitely don’t believe those rumors about what he did to Bailey.

Ned Leroux

Why not? Everyone else seems to.

Detective Ramos

You were partners with Lieutenant Tyler for a while, weren’t you?

Ned Leroux 

What’s that got to do with anything?

[A drawer is closed and another one is opened, the sound of shuffling papers]

Detective Ramos

Well, the rumor is that he and Morrison took the lead on arresting Sam before he was killed. Can you really see Bill letting that happen?

Ned Leroux

No not really. So what do you think actually happened to him?

Detective Ramos

Me? I don’t know and I don’t care. I didn’t know him that well, and he was an asshole every time we talked.

Ned Leroux

I was kinda prickly the first couple times we talked, too. Doesn’t seem like you’re holding that against me.

Detective Ramos

Yeah, well… you changed.

[He closes a drawer, clears his throat, and hands a file to Ramos]

Ned Leroux

Right, here you go… Morrison’s file on the Shamson fire and the sightings of the mine monster. Should be something about the unconfirmed encounters in there too–

[Ned cuts off as Ramos hugs him]

Detective Ramos

Thanks Ned — you’re a lifesaver. 

[She steps back]

Oh! Me and a couple of the other detectives were going out for drinks tonight — you want to come?

Ned Leroux

Uh… yeah, yeah sure. I’d love to.

Detective Ramos

Right, well… see you soon!

[Ramos turns and walks out of the office, letting the door shut behind her]

[Ned laughs softly to himself, a gentle sound of gratitude]

[Ned begins walking to the door when someone clears his throat behind him]

Ned Leroux

What the—! Who’s there? How did you get in here?

[Spengler steps from his hiding place in the corner]

Ellis Spengler

I’m looking for Morrison.

Ned Leroux

Spengler? What are you doing here?

Ellis Spengler

Oh, so you do remember me. I was hoping you would. Where’s Morrison?

Ned Leroux

Chief Morrison was suspended last month. No one’s seen him since November.

Ellis Spengler

I know — I’ve been to his house. The only things left are the mice and cockroaches. And if Morrison’s in the wind, then he’s just vanished with a significant amount of our money.

Ned Leroux

Your money? Listen buddy, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I think you’d better—

Ellis Spengler

Don’t play dumb with me, “Leroux” — it took longer than I care to admit, but I finally made the connection between you and Morrison’s “lynch pin” for the psychic wheel. You know where Morrison’s hiding. Tell me.

[Ned steps closer]

Ned Leroux

If you know who I am, then you should know better than to threaten me. I could kill you and walk out of here wearing your face, and no one would ever know.

Ellis Spengler

I’m afraid it wouldn’t be as easy as you think. My… organization has had dealing with you in your… past lives. I’ve taken certain precautions.

Ned Leroux

You’re lying.

Ellis Spengler

Maybe I am… but I’m sure you haven’t forgotten how cold it is in Petrograd.

[Ned freezes in stunned silence]

Ned Leroux

What do you want?

Ellis Spengler

I already told you: I want Morrison. His location, if he’s still alive. His body, if not.

Ned Leroux

He’s… he’s alive. I’ve seen him.

Ellis Spengler

Take me to him.

[Click]

[Silence]

[CLICK]

[Inside an echoing, vast stone tunnel]

[Footsteps, distantly-dripping water, and the movement of air can be heard]

[Spengler speaks into his recorder]

Ellis Spengler

My god… look at this place. It’s incredible… I wish you all could see what I’m seeing. Oh wow, there’s even some of the old program logos still left on the doors—

Ned Leroux

It’s a ruined tunnel, Spengler. It’s really not that impressive.

Ellis Spengler

Not to you, maybe. But I’ve been waiting to see this place for more than 40 years. I just wish it was under different circumstances. I mean, look at the size of it! It’s an underground cathedral, built to last a thousand years and all the nuclear fury of the Soviets! The engineering required to build it at all, much less in secret just outside a populated area… no project in human history compares. It’s a wonder of the modern world, and almost no one knows about it. [he laughs] It’s… it’s—

Ned Leroux

It’s the dead husk of a dream that was never going to come true. That’s all.

[They stop walking]

Ellis Spengler

Maybe not… and certainly not with Morrison leading the charge. But our reach is greater than one disgraced police chief in the middle of the desert. And our plans are measured in centuries, not decades. We’ll find a way… eventually.

Edgar Morrison

No… [Spengler gasps in alarm, spinning around] You won’t.

Ellis Spengler

What the hell, Edgar — you nearly gave me a heart attack!

Edgar Morrison

You knew I was down here… there’s no point in being afraid.

Ellis Spengler

Well, I was. Why’d you have to jump out at me like that?

Edgar Morrison

Follow.

[Morrison turns and walks through a darkened blast door, which creaks heavily on its hinges]

Ellis Spengler

Morrison? Morrison, wait… come back here!

[Spengler starts to follow]

Ned Leroux

Well, I guess I’ll be going now that you and Morrison are back together—

[Spengler turns to address him]

Ellis Spengler

You will come with me, or I’ll make sure you live to regret it.

[Spengler continues after Morrison, Ned follows after a reluctant sigh]

[Footsteps as they all proceed to the central chamber, stepping over chunks of broken concrete and equipment]

Ellis Spengler

Edgar, listen to me: you know why I’m here. You know what you’ve done. Just tell me… why? Why did you throw away everything we’ve worked for? Everything we promised you?

[Morrison gently clicks on some overhead lights]

[They slowly flicker on; he turns to face Spengler and Ned]

Edgar Morrison

And now we are brought into the light of truth… and he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be manifest.

Ellis Spengler

Jesus Edgar… when was the last time you ate?

[Morrison laughs darkly]

Edgar Morrison

Truly, I say unto you: I will not eat of the bread of this earth until the first heaven and the first earth are passed away, and the sea is no more.

[Ned takes a few steps back]

Ned Leroux

Spengler… I wouldn’t get any closer if I were you.

[Spengler steps closer as he addresses him]

Ellis Spengler

Listen, Edgar… You need to come back with me. We’ll get you some food and water — some fresh clothes, if we can find some. You need to—

[Morrison laughs, genuinely amused]

Edgar Morrison

Come back with you? No… no, I’ll not be going anywhere with you. You… you and your ilk have held me back for far too long. I never should have tied myself to your hollow promises and empty words. I never needed you — your money, your “influence,” your ridiculous ceremonies. I had what I needed all along, from the moment that door was opened. You’ve only ever slowed me down.

Ellis Spengler

You’re not well, Edgar. I can help you, you know I can… 

[Morrison laughs, nearly wheezing]

Edgar Morrison

Help me? Help me!? Like you helped all those poor souls in your consulting room, pleading for your pity, your understanding, your mercy? How many of them did you “help?”

Ellis Spengler

How do you know about that?

Edgar Morrison

[small laugh before downshifting] Oh, I know more than that, Ellis… much, much more. I have seen you. The tearful child you once were, begging your mother to kiss you better when you scraped your knee, receiving silence and scorn that never quite went away. The quiet, fearful boy that you became, learning to fear that tremor in your father’s voice that warned you of his wrath. The pompous, prideful student you became when you left for university, learning to wield your parent’s name and wealth like a cudgel against any who dared to question you. [he sighs] And the cold, cruel doctor you became when all your insecurities at last bore fruit into the man you are now: sending all you viewed as unworthy of your grace to be locked away in the halls of institutions that would never try to cure them.

But your greedy hands could only reach so far, and the world changed — you were caught — and you were given the chance to retire with dignity because you were born from an old family with old money and all the privilege it conferred.

But before you did, you took your one last chance at petty revenge: when your mother came to the practice and confided that she was hearing voices in the empty halls of your childhood home, long bereft of your father’s brooding presence. She spent the last decade of her life locked away in a dark and dreary hospital, never seeing another friendly face before the end. And she cursed your name with her shaking, final breath.

Ellis Spengler

You can’t know that… you can’t know any of that!

Edgar Morrison

Can’t I? Can’t I!? For my eyes are quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, a discerner of thoughts and intentions of the heart. I know what you are, Doctor Ellis Spengler — even as you left your work in disgrace, you were called upon by those pompous fools who think they know the meaning of shadows… of silence… of knowledge. You used the secrets whispered by your clients to blackmail and bribe your way into power and wealth and privilege of all kinds — and all this, you fed into the open mouth of the beast without a name… those fools who worship at the foot of a god whose face they cannot ever truly know. Trading the knowledge of a safe and certain world for vague prophecies and mysteries that stirred their hearts to fanatic, foolish faith.

From the birth of your cult to the fall of Byzantium, all the way to the schism that split you from those who sought to catalog and understand the impossible things they witnessed rather than worship them… from then ‘til now, you have chosen ignorance over wisdom, power over stability, and pleasure over responsibility. Say what you will about those fools at ISPHA… at least they pretend to serve some greater good. At least they tried to follow their own beliefs. What good have you and your brothers ever sought, except your own endless self-gratification, filling your coffers by the blood of the innocent?

Ellis Spengler

There is no way you can know any of this… it’s not possible!

Edgar Morrison

Isn’t it?

Ellis Spengler 

I burned every single record myself… and you know the other sponsors are even more thorough. There is no historical record — there never has been!

Edgar Morrison

Ooh… but there is. The path of misery and violence they’ve cut through this world cannot help but leave a trace — just not one that can be seen or heard or touched. But in the darkness… in the shadows… there is no silence. And when all my plans had come to ruin and death seemed near… I heard a voice… my own voice… the voice your mother heard, all those years ago. Asking what I would do to save myself… who I would give to save myself. In my fear, I made all the promises I could think of and more — promises I thought I’d never be able to keep. I promised it everything, everyone, to do any terrible deed it asked of me, if only it allowed me to live. And as one of the creatures of fire and stone I’d captured and lost sunk its red-hot claws into my chest and pulled out my heart… [he sighs] I felt myself change. The door that had been opened in this bunker oh-so-long ago finally opened again — opened fully, inside my soul — and the darkness and chaos I’d spent my entire life fighting flowed into and through me like liquid fire, tearing holes in the world around me through which the monsters who sought my death vanished in an instant.

Alone, I wandered these tunnels, unaware of who I was or where I was going. I felt like I would drown in the power that sought to fill me, and I was lost for many weeks — no longer eating or sleeping or drinking, but feeling no hunger or thirst or fatigue. As I wandered, I found myself adrift… the cage of my body falling away as I saw and heard things I should never have known — things long past, things far away… and things yet to come in the dark days ahead. And I realized… I’d been given a gift.

[his voice begins to sound distorted]

[a light buzzing begins on the recorder]

So I strove with the power inside my soul — wrestled with a being more great and powerful than any mortal mind could contain, and said: I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And I was blessed. I was victorious. And I saw the vast expanse of history stretching back to the birth of all universes, and the terror of the future which mankind shall bring forth in the days to come.

[distortion increases]

And I said behold: I am coming soon, and my reward is with me: to give to every man according to his work. I am the end of the ending, the watcher of the watchmen… the last of the first. And if my right hand offend me — I shall cut it off and cast it from me.

[moment of stunned silence]

Ellis Spengler

Ed, please… you’ve clearly suffered some kind of mental breakdown. We can figure this out, but first you have to leave these tunnels and come with me to—

Edgar Morrison

You think I am so blind that I do not know your mind? I have failed you and your little crusade, and you… you intend to kill me!

Ellis Spengler

No, of course not! I’m just trying to help you before you hurt—

Edgar Morrison

[growling] You Lie. That is all you do… you and your little boys club. Lie, and cheat, and play with powers you could not possibly comprehend. You are unworthy of the world I will create, Ellis Spengler — so now I take you from it.

[Morrison raises a hand; the universe tears open with a horrible rending sound and the crackle of flames]

[Static and distortion increases; Spengler’s scream stretches and distorts as he falls into the roiling chaos]

[The recorder falls to the ground; the tear slams shut]

[Static, and something that sounds like fire]

Ned Leroux

[breathing hard] Fucking hell.

[Morrison turns to look at him and laughs, growling in an exhale]

Edgar Morrison

Go: leave this place and this city and this desert far behind. Warn your friends the Searchers, if that is what you truly desire. You are already on the path to your own destruction, and I will not raise a hand against the doom which you have made yourself. Go.

[Ned bolts]

[Morrison laughs, low and guttural]

[The earth begins to rumble beneath his feet]

[Clack]

Recording Ends

End Theme & Credits


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