EPISODE 5: THE SORDID SHADOW WITHIN

The deceased typist, Hannah Pickering, is not what she seems! In her housemates' investigation of the poor girl's murder, Cyril and Deloras find themselves in the slums where "Hannah" goes by the name Miriam and has a tawdry reputation. They hope to discover more as they venture up to her attic apartment.

 

Meanwhile, after examining the scene of the crime, Ex-Federal agent Spade is convinced the young woman died from a bear attack - even though experienced tracker Hank Jr. can find no proof of animal or man having caused her untimely demise. The two return to the boarding house, ready to make their next move. 

Content Warning: Psychological trauma, mental illness, implied sexual abuse, implied rape, ethnic slurs, prostitution, religious zealotry and intolerance

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Full Transcript Below

Original score composed and performed by Ryan and Mike McQuinn of Neon Dolphin Music Design

CREDITS:

Written & Performed by:
Luke Stram – The Keeper
Doug Banks | Cat Blackard | Brandon Gerson | Kay | Ruel Knudson

 

Sound Design: Colin Peterson

Editing: Colin Peterson & Cat Blackard

Story Editing: Cat Blackard

Cast:

Doug Banks as Hank O’Brien Jr.

Cat Blackard as Cyril Bridgewater

Brandon Gerson as Father Grandfather

Kay as Deloras Delaney

Ruel Knudson as Sam Spade

Cat Blackard as The Narrator/The Announcer


Musical Spotlight: "Cry, Little Sister" by Geekapella

Original Score: Ryan McQuinn and Mike McQuinn
Neon Dolphin - Bandcamp

Series I Album Art by Tony Baldini
 

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS:

TRANSCRIPT:

[Omniverse Audio Brand]

 

Announcer:

The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program contains content that may not be suitable for all ages - listener discretion is advised. 

 

Visit CthulhuMystery.com and head to Patreon.com/OmniverseMedia to join our community of fans and unlock further secrets.

 

[Intro Music]

 

Gruff Voice: 

Do you hear that? 

 

[SFX: Echoing wail.]

 

Gruff Voice: 

In the cruel blackness of night, an unknowable evil from beyond time cries out! What dark deeds unfold on the streets of Arkham? And which unwitting souls, innocent or impure, will succumb to the maddening call? The call…of Cthulhu! 

 

Announcer: 

Miracle Reducing Soap brings you Part 5 of The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program. Tonight’s strange story: “The Sordid Shadow Within.” 

 

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Narrator:

The deceased typist, Hannah Pickering, is not what she seems. In her housemates’ investigation of the poor girl’s murder, Cyril and Deloras find themselves in the slums where Hannah goes by the name “Miriam” and has a tawdry reputation. They hope to discover more as they venture up to her attic apartment.

 

Meanwhile, after examining the scene of the crime, Ex-Federal Agent Sam Spade is convinced the young woman died from a bear attack, even though the experienced tracker, Hank Jr., can find no proof of animal or man having caused her untimely demise. The two return by cab to the boardinghouse, ready to make their next move.

 

[Music: Upbeat swing tune on a record player.]

 

[SFX: Birds twittering.]

 

Keeper:

Sam and Hank Jr.—

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]: 

How far away is Hardin’s house? 

 

Keeper:

You don’t know where Hardin lives. 

 

Sam Spade:

Okay, Hardin—no, I use the phone and I call the station first and find out where he’s at. 

 

[SFX: Rotary phone dialing.]

 

Keeper:

You call up, you ask.

 

Police Officer:

Detective Hardin, he’s—I believe he’s in his office right now.

 

Sam Spade:

Oh. Can you transfer me to his office phone number? 

 

Police Officer:

Yeah, yeah. Certainly. Certainly. 

 

Keeper:

You get a few rings and then—

 

[SFX: Phone ringing.]

 

Keeper:

—a weary voice on the other line:

 

Detective Hardin:

This is Hardin. What’s up? 

 

Sam Spade:

Can you swing by the house? I’ve got some information for you. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Oh! Oh, Spade, right? 

 

Sam Spade:

Yes. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Okay, yeah, sure. The Boarding House? 

 

Sam Spade:

Yes. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Okay. I’ll be there. 

 

Sam Spade:

Can you be there in five minutes? 

 

Detective Hardin:

Yeah, sure enough. 

 

Sam Spade:

Okay. 

 

[SFX: Phone disconnected.]

 

[SFX: Car tires crunching gravel.]

 

Keeper:

His car pulls up. 

 

[SFX: Car door slams.]

 

Keeper:

He gets out, he says:

 

Detective Hardin:

Hey! What did you guys want to see me about? 

 

Sam Spade:

We wanted to talk about the case. Found out some interesting things and we thought you might be able to shed some light on it. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Yeah, sure. Sure. 

 

Sam Spade:

Let’s sit down. We’ll sit down in the living room— 

 

[SFX: Door shuts.]

 

Detective Hardin:

Come on, come on—

 

Sam Spade: 

—where there’s a coffee table, and a couch, and a chair.

 

Detective Hardin:

That sounds good. I’d like to see how Ma’s doing, anyways. 

 

Sam Spade:

Oh, Ma—Ma’s not here, is she? 

 

Hank O’Brien:

Oh, I’m going to—yeah, I don’t believe so, but I’m going to go—let me go check. And when I do, I’m going to—Hank’s going to dip into the kitchen, see if she’s around. 

 

Keeper:

Hustle—

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

Is she there? 

 

Keeper:

Yeah, she is. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

Okay.

 

Keeper: 

Hustle her away? 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.:

I’m going to—yeah, yeah, I’m going to try and—

 

Keeper:

Okay. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.:

—take her—take her out back. Just say—ask her some questions. 

 

[Cast laughs.] 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.:

I’m going to distract her as much as I can.

 

Father Grandfather: [Out of Character]

“I’m going to take her out back!”

 

Keeper:

Okay. So, yeah, so she’s not getting—she’s not getting the Grandfather treatment. Okay. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

No. No, no. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]:

And he just fucking beat her up and…

 

Keeper:

So, Agent Spade, you come in with the detective. He sits down, he says:

 

Detective Hardin:

So what did you find out? 

 

Sam Spade:

You’re not on the case.

 

Detective Hardin:

Listen—yeah, I know. That’s the whole point. Listen, they weren’t going to let me touch it. I need somebody on the outside because if I do it, I’m in trouble, but if you—

 

Sam Spade:

Why do you care? It’s not your case. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Did you see what happened? Have you been looking at it? Where did you call from, anyways? What have you been up to? Have you been following it up, man? This is disgusting. 

 

Sam Spade:

I stand up, I pull out my notepad, I straighten up, I pull out my pipe—

 

[SFX: Match strike.]

 

Sam Spade:

—I go ahead and light the pipe, and I start kind of pacing around the room while I’m, like, looking through my notes until I can get—like, kind of right—the coffee table where, like, right between he and I. I’ve got a notebook full of information here, but before I give it to you, there’s two things I want to know. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Sure, sure. 

 

Sam Spade:

Why do you care? And how much of that care is going to line my pockets? 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Detective Hardin:

Whoa! What, are you going to tell the chief on me? 

 

Sam Spade:

That all depends on how you answer question number two. But first, I want you to answer question number one. 

 

Detective Hardin:

The chief is—he’s just thinking crazy. I know this town. I can fix this. Sweeney doesn’t know shit. He’s an out-of-towner. He’s only been here for a little while. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:

Is he lying to me? 

 

Keeper:

Roll your Psychology to find out. 

 

[Dice roll.]

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:

Wow. I bombed that one. I assume he’s lying his ass off. He knows something about this. This is important to him. This is important to you. This is not—this is really important to you. You wouldn’t hire me without even looking at my credentials, looking into me—

 

Detective Hardin:

I’ve been doing this shit for years. Listen, I got tossed out on my ass to fucking sit on my hands while Sweeney, some douchebag, takes control of this. Makes me look bad. 

 

Sam Spade:

What else do you know about this case? What do you know about that girl? 

 

Detective Hardin:

I don’t know shit. 

 

Sam Spade:

Are you the father? 

 

Detective Hardin:

Whoa, whoa! No!

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Sam Spade: 

Are you the baby’s father? 

 

Detective Hardin:

I haven’t even seen this lady before. First thing I ever saw of her was when I snuck in, saw her at the morgue. I wasn’t even supposed to be there because I’m not even on this case. If Nichols found out, he’d have my freaking head!

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:

I don’t know how I’m going to get more money out of him. Or—more information.

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

Freudian slip? 

 

Detective Hardin:

Listen, tell you what—

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:

Okay. I got it. I got it. 

 

Keeper:

Okay. 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:

I’m going to Persuade him. I’m going to Persuade him to be open and honest with me. 

 

Keeper:

Roll your Persuade!

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:

I am going to do this violently. No, I am going to imply copious amounts of violence. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

Are you playing bad cop? 

 

[Dice roll.]

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:

I’m playing with freaking asshole cop, yeah. I rolled an 8. 

 

Keeper:

Okay, so basically, you play the, “There’s-a-reason-I-got fired-from-the-Bureau” cop and make some dark and terrible threats, and pretty quickly he’s like:

 

Detective Hardin:

Whoa, man, listen, listen: I don’t want to end up dead. That Sweeney guy’s a fucking asshole, and this should be my fucking case. And I wanted to beat him to the punch. That’s why I hired you. I heard you were in town. I mean, you were a freaking fed! Yeah, this guy’s—you know, Sweeney’s some city prick, but you’re a fucking fed! You should be able to beat his ass as far as this case is concerned. I’ll throw another ten bucks in for it, man. 

 

Sam Spade:

I don’t want your fucking money, you moron! 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Sam Spade:

I never wanted your money. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Okay, well then, what the hell do you want, man? Listen—

 

Sam Spade:

I just wanted to know what you knew. You—obviously, you don’t know shit. So tell me about Sweeney. 

 

Detective Hardin:

That’s the point! 

 

Sam Spade: 

You want a drink? 

 

Detective Hardin:

Yes, very much. I would like one. 

 

Sam Spade:

I take some of the drink from the junkyard—

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]:

I thought you were going to say, like—

 

[SFX: Liquor pouring.]

 

Sam Spade: 

—I pour him a drink, and hand it to him, and I get everything he knows about Sweeney before I have to go talk to Sweeney. 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]:

I felt like when you were like, “I never wanted the money.” He was going to, “What did you want?” “I just wanted  you.” Like, the whole time I was like, “Please say that!” 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

And you kiss him hard!

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]:

Grab him from across the table. Lay your tongue in his fucking mouth. His mouth hole. Salivas commingle. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

I was going to say, if you guys—you guys been—you were shouting at him, I guess, a little bit? 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:

Yeah.     

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.:

At that, I’m going to make sure Ma’s going to be okay. 

 

Keeper:

Yeah, she’s sitting on the back porch. She is currently crocheting. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.:

Yeah, yeah. And then I’m going to get back inside and just—I’ll be leaning in the doorway into the living room just to be the muscle presence—

 

Keeper:

Okay, yeah. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.:

—while you go do your thing. 

 

Keeper:

It looks like Hardin’s pretty well—

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:

He’s—he’s out. 

 

Keeper:

—kowtowed at this point. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.:

I’m not interrupting. I’m just—I’m just—

 

Keeper:

You know, looks pretty pliant. Like, he’s like:

Detective Hardin:

Listen, man, Sweeney’s just some fucking prick from Boston. That’s where he grew up, that’s where he works as a cop. He only came here because of his sick mother, and now he’s here shitting up my business. He doesn’t give a shit about this case. He doesn’t give a shit about anybody. This is just another fucking case to him. This is somebody in my town getting fucking killed and he’s—he doesn’t care. 

 

Sam Spade:

Alright, well, that’s all I needed from you. It’s a bear attack. We checked out the… I give him everything. Everything I got. You should talk to the coroner. And then you should go straight to your captain and tell him everything I just told you so you guys can close the book on this case, let the dead—

 

Detective Hardin:

Did you guys get any evidence, man? Anything? Like, you know, like, somebody—find a witness that said the bear attacked her? Any…?

 

Sam Spade:

There is no witness. There’s no witness to a crime. Therefore, there is no crime. There’s no victim, there’s no weapon. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Man, I can’t go back with that. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.:

I’m pretty sure there’s a victim of something. 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Sam Spade:

There’s a dead body. A dead body is not a victim to a crime. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr.:

Then what is it? 

 

Sam Spade:

It’s just a dead body. A guy has a heart attack, he’s not a victim to a crime. 

 

Detective Hardin:

So you’re saying—so you’re saying she just died and got eaten by a bear? 

 

Sam Spade:

Or—yeah, or she passed out and was eaten by a bear. She was pregnant, okay? All the evidence of her walking down the road looks like she was intoxicated or sick. She laid down at the tree—

 

Detective Hardin:

I’m guessing you checked her room already. You find anything to show she was pregnant or anything? 

 

Sam Spade:

Nothing at all. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Well listen, man, keep looking. I’m telling you. I need something concrete.

 

Sam Spade:

What do you need concrete—? See, this is why I don’t trust you because it’s clearly a case that you just—should just close. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Listen, it can’t be a bear, man. Did you see those fucking wounds? That’s crazy. Somebody killed this chick. 

 

Sam Spade:

You see a lot of bear attacks? A lot of pregnant women eaten by a bear around here? 

 

Detective Hardin:

No, it doesn’t happen often. No, people don’t get eaten by bears usually. 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Detective Hardin:

What is happening? 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]:

What is this? 

 

Detective Hardin:

You know, listen, I’m going to let it slip that I think it’s a bear, but if I don’t have shit to come to him, I’m just going to look like a jerk. 

 

Sam Spade:

Or you could go tell him it’s a murder and then you could not have a murder weapon, you could not have a case, and then you could be chasing your tail just like this other guy is.

 

Detective Hardin:

Wait, wait. Whoa, whoa. You mean Sweeney will be chasing his tail.

 

Sam Spade:

Exactly. But if you go up there and you close the case—

 

Detective Hardin:

I get it. No, no, no, no. I see where you’re going. I see where you’re going. It was definitely a murder. Definitely a murder. And Sweeney should make sure to do everything he can to find it. 

 

Sam Spade:

Right. And you are going to present the evidence of the bear. All the evidence I just gave you? You can walk up to that evidence site and say, “Look at this, look at this, look at this.” If it was a murder, why wasn’t the body ditched? If it was a murder by a human being (and not a bear) then why would a dog who comes up to the area where the corpse is suddenly cower behind its master if all it smells is two humans? 

 

Detective Hardin:

Okay, maybe you’ve got a point there. I’ll—

 

Sam Spade:

You do that to your captain, you’re going to shine. 

 

Detective Hardin:

I’ll check with that farmer, see what I can find out. I appreciate it. Listen, but if you hear anything else, let me know, but without anything concrete, it’s going to be a bitch, but whatever. As long as I can make Sweeney look like an ass, I don’t care. 

 

Sam Spade:

You’re going to make him look like such a—such a moron. You’re going to do great. Okay, so we don’t have to worry about Sweeney anymore. 

 

Keeper:

He sighs and takes a deep swig of the—

 

[SFX: Slurping of moonshine.]

 

Keeper:

—moonshine, not realizing—

 

[SFX: Flask set on coffee table.]

 

 Keeper:

—quite what it is and—

 

Sam Spade:

You should wait till tomorrow to tell him so that’s not on your breath. 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Keeper:

—puckers up his face, and kind of sputters, and hands it back to you. 

 

Detective Hardin:

Blue hell. Okay. I’ll be seeing you folks later. Gentlemen, goodbye. 

 

Keeper:

He heads out. 

 

[SFX: Door shuts.]

 

Sam Spade:

That was fun but ultimately pointless. The only—the only—the only thing (I’m talking to Hank)—the only thing we really got out of that is now these two are going to be butting heads. We don’t have to worry about this investigator knocking on our door. I can make a phone call. 

 

Keeper:

Who are you calling? 

 

Sam Spade [Out of Character]:

I want to call the actual person that’s involved with this case. 

 

Keeper:

Okay, so you put in a call. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

To Sweeney? 

 

Father Grandfather [Out of Character]:

Sweeney Todd. 

 

[SFX: Rotary telephone.]

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

Sweeney Todd! 

 

Keeper:

To—yeah, you put in a call to Detective Sweeney. He’s actually at his desk at this point in the evening—

 

[SFX: Phone rings.]

 

Keeper:

—looking over a lot of different things. He—

 

Detective Sweeney:

So, Sir, who may—may I ask, what’s your business? 

 

Sam Spade:

I have some information about the murder.

 

Detective Sweeney:

Do you? 

 

Sam Spade:

Yes, I do. But I’m not finished kind of looking through it and I need to ask a favor. I’d like to, you know, basically let you know everything we’ve discovered and how I became involved in the case. 

 

Detective Sweeney:

Certainly, certainly. I can definitely help you out with that. I mean, if you want to come down tonight, you can. Otherwise, you know, I’m not going to be here too much longer. If you want to come in first thing tomorrow, that’d be better for me. 

 

Sam Spade:

Okay, well you know, the case is getting colder by the hour, so we can discuss this in the morning if that suits your needs better. 

 

Detective Sweeney:

Certainly, Sir. 

 

[SFX: Phone disconnects.]

 

[Music: Eerie ambient tones.]

 

Keeper:

So you guys make your way up to the attic, up to the fifth floor. When you get there, the door into the attic is locked. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

I burst it down with my 14 Strength! 

 

Keeper:

If you want to kick it open, you can. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

Lot of pent-up aggression? 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

Can I try? Yeah.

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

It’s—

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

This is why I don’t get excited, or why I don’t pursue things that are—

 

Keeper:

I mean, it’s going to make a terrible racket and that would be breaking and entering. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

What if we try to lockpick it? 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

Why did everyone look at the black guy all of a sudden? 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

I don’t see a Pick Lock skill on here…

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

Would it be—

 

Keeper:

Locksmith. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

Locksmith? 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

Locksmith. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

I have one percent!

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

Yeah—yeah, I got one percent, also, so if you want to, you know, jimmy that door… I mean, I got a—I don’t know much about, say, locks in the 1920s. I wouldn’t want to dull my blade on my knife, but maybe I could, you know, stick it in the—

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

Maybe I read a rousing book about locksmithery. Or how doors are made. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

Can I—I don’t know how one jimmies a lock. Perhaps I could jimmy such a lock as this. 

 

Keeper:

Well, yeah, if you want to try to pry it open with your knife, yeah, you can take a shot at that. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

Aw, fuck it. I’ll kick the damn door. 

 

Keeper: 

Okay.

 

[SFX: Kicking against a door.]

 

Keeper:

You kick away at that door and then—what’s your Strength? 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

12. 

 

Keeper:

12? Okay. Yeah. And then pretty quickly, Deloras gets fed up, and pushes you aside, and says, “Honey, Honey. Let me take care of this.” And she kicks that door open mightily. 

 

[SFX: Door crashes open violently.] 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

[Whistles.] Deloras, you are full of mysteries. 

 

Deloras Delaney:

Gotta keep them guessing! 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

Sure do!

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

For those listening, he just—

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

Adjusted his glasses? 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

—gave me the eyeballs. The bedroom eyes.

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

She must have some nice gam to kick that door open!

 

Keeper:

Now, then, with this place—

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

It’s all that sleep deprivation! 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

High-tension muscle fibers!

 

Keeper:

Looking around in here, there’s a bed up against one of the walls. Looks like she probably uses it as a couch, too. Tiny kitchen in the corner. The entire place is damp, dark, and really claustrophobic. The roof comes in at an angle and it’s not a pleasant place to be. 

 

Deloras Delaney:

She’s not very good at keeping house at either of the ones that we have—

 

Keeper:

There is a single window with distorted glass shining a small amount of light into the place and the roof is sagging and bulging all over the place. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

Ew. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

Spot Hidden? 

 

[Dice roll.]

 

Keeper: 

Yeah, go ahead. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

44. And my Spot Hidden is 38. 

 

[Dice roll.]

 

Keeper:

Okay. What do you got, Deloras? 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

45 out of 25 percent. 

 

Keeper:

Okay. So you’re looking around, Deloras, not finding too much, but Cyril, however, is quite a bit more successful. For one of the things, looking around in among some of the stained bedsheets and dirty clothes scattered on the floor, you see—

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

Pee-yew!

 

Keeper:

—a sepia-toned photograph of two women. 

 

[SFX: Dramatic stinger.]

 

Keeper:

One, the older, is wrinkled and white-haired. It looks like the photo’s been thrown across the room or something like that because the frame is all buckled and the glass has been shattered out of it. The younger woman in the photo is definitely Hannah, who you guys know, you know, as your—

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

Quote-Unquote housemate? 

 

Keeper:

Yeah, your housemate. Outside of that, the older woman definitely just bears a distinct resemblance to her. Make a Medicine or a Psychoanalysis roll, if you guys have any.

[Dice roll.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

I roll a 44 again for Medicine, which I have 6. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

I rolled a 7 out of my 5 percent. 

 

Keeper: 

That’s pretty close. And it’s really not all that hard to see, but the older woman definitely looks disturbed. You don’t—you don’t have a real good read on it, but Deloras, that old lady, that old bat, she has seen better days, even in this picture. Outside of that, though, I mean, this—the woman that you see, the woman that’s Hannah, your housemate, she definitely looks younger, happier, also a little more ragged. Like, inasmuch as she looks like she’s on a farm or something. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

I’m going to take the picture out of the frame—

 

Keeper:

Okay. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

—check the back, see if there’s anything written on it. 

 

Keeper:

Nothing written on it. As you’re looking at the picture, kind of looking around, you notice kind of off to the side, not too far from where you saw that, you find a battered journal as well—

 

[SFX: Dramatic stinger.]

 

Keeper:

—half-hidden under some of the other filthy bedsheets. Looking it over, you pick it up, flip it open, and this is not—this doesn’t look like Hannah’s handwriting at all. This is all clumsily scrawled and looks like a mess. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

What do you make of this, Deloras? Looks like somebody else wrote this. Another person’s journal. 

 

Deloras Delaney:

I’ll take a look at it. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

I’m going to pocket the photo—

 

Keeper:

Okay. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

—in case I need to show it to anybody. 

 

Deloras Delaney:

Excerpts from Miriam Hetfield’s Diary:

 

“Miriam was a bad girl. If I was a good girl, it never would have happened. God have mercy. Growing in my belly and whispering to me in dreams that I’ve been bad, debaser, debasement, roll like a dog in offal to cover my own stench. It hurt me. It did the bad thing Momma always told me boys wanted to do to me.”

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

“Dear God, it hurt me. God, there’s an itch between my legs I can’t stop, a fire I can’t put out. Hannah doesn’t know what I do with our body when she’s asleep. Feel and never forget the pain when I’m with another man. Can’t drive it out, can’t forget the memory even with another man after man. 

 

It wasn’t a man, wasn’t human. I ran, had to get away from Dunwich, had to not be me, to forget, had to be Hannah, but Hannah doesn’t know about Miriam, and when Hannah is pregnant, she has to let Miriam take over because she can’t know, or she’ll fall into the darkness and remember, and Hannah’s not real, and isn’t afraid of the dark, but she has no pain. 

 

God, oh God, oh God! It was part of me, this evil, and I cannot burn it out or cut it off. Cut it off me when I was born, but it came back because it knew it was part of me, and Hannah is a part of me, but I’m not part of Hannah. And when I’m Hannah, I’m not me. I’m someone else inside me, God, growing and rotting me inside, inside Dunwich…” 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

I was reading over her shoulder. 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

Jesus! Our little Hannah’s a—

 

Keeper:

Yeah, it’s Sanity roll time, after reading that. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

—crazy mess! 

 

[Dice roll.]

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

89 out of 76. 

 

Keeper:

You lose a point. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

Womp-womp!

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

76 out of 52. 

 

Keeper:

You lose a point. It’s a little unsettling, but not terribly so. The town—or, the place she mentions—

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

Dunwich? 

 

Keeper:

—is a town that you guys are both familiar with. It’s a small farming community west of Arkham, real backwater place. Dunwich is just rural farmers that have lived there for generations. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

Looks like—I don’t know, maybe she should’ve checked herself into an institution. This—I have no idea what to make of this. Maybe we better look into going to Dunwich. 

 

Deloras Delaney:

Sounds like a good idea. Can we give one good sleep—sweep over the rest of the place to see if we spot anything else? 

 

Keeper:

Okay, yeah. I mean, you guys look around through the place. By and large, it is a pretty nasty mess. And this place almost looks like it’s kind of a reverse of Hannah’s place. Where Hannah, like, you know, looked like she maybe ate some food there occasionally, did a couple things, dressed, put on clothes and stuff, this place just looks like it was a place for sleeping and soiling bedsheets. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

I have a Psychology of 55, and I don’t know that schizophrenia was in any way defined at this time period—

 

Keeper:

Go ahead and take the roll.

 

[Dice roll.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

I rolled a 23. 

 

Keeper:

Okay, to you, it sounds like some kind of—yeah, not so much like a schizophrenia thing, but more of a split-personality. Like a fugue. Like something terrible happened and that’s her way of repressing it is she becomes this other person that doesn’t have these problems. And so whatever it was, it was pretty bad to split her up and basically that other personality just dominates her during large periods of time, probably. From everything you’ve seen, that’s what it looks like. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

That’s the only handwriting that’s in that journal, is the one that looks like Miriam? 

 

Keeper:

Yeah. It’s just messy. 

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

Does it mention anybody else? 

 

Keeper:

No, you guys look through it, you guys see—there’s a lot of stuff—that hand—or, that diary, rather, it definitely gets worse over time whereas the other one was just kind of really bland and “blah, blah, blah,” you know, daily stuff. This one starts out—there’s some information about leaving Dunwich. From there, it starts drifting into that. And then from—after what you read, it gets even less coherent. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [Out of Character]:

So we’re walking downstairs, we’ve got the photo, we’ve got the diary—

 

Landlord:

Praise Jesus! 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

Jesus Christ! They came up the stairs? 

 

Landlord:

So you boys—I didn’t know you came—boys, ladies, whatever—I didn’t know you came with such a fine gentleman. What can I do to help you serve the Lord better? 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

What can you tell us about Ms. Miriam Hetfield? 

 

Landlord:

A sinner and a degenerate. 

 

Father Grandfather:

Amen!

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

Why, yes, we—it’s—

 

Landlord:

Coming and going all hours of the night. 

 

Father Grandfather:

Literally. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

She seemed like she was a troubled young lady. 

 

Landlord: 

Troubled with sin, my friend. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

She troubled with anything else? 

 

Landlord:

No, mostly sin. 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

She was filled to the brim with sin! 

 

Landlord:

Yes, sin and the base desires that come from sin. Leaving, coming all hours of the night, strange men, terrible things. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

Strange men. Any really, really strange men lately? 

 

Deloras Delaney:

And by “terrible,” how terrible do you mean? 

 

Landlord:

Dirty Micks. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

“Dirty Micks?”

 

Landlord:

You know, like that—like them—

 

Deloras Delaney:

The Irish? 

 

Father Grandfather:

Like an Irish—

 

Landlord:

Like that family—like that family up on the fourth floor. 

 

Deloras Delaney:

So the guy that we talked to?

 

Landlord:

Probably not him, but you know, his kind. 

 

Deloras Delaney:

Irish? 

 

Landlords:

Catholics. 

 

Deloras Delaney:

Oh. 

 

Landlord:

Damn papists, the lot of them! Giving their loyalty to that false idolator! 

 

Deloras Delaney:

Yes, that one that predates yours. Okay, let’s go. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

Heavens to Betsy! Yeah, thank you for the information. We will—we’ll be—

 

Landlord:

Thank you, my son! Listen, even thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach. I know a nighttime service. We can go and have ourselves cleaned. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

I had my pipes cleaned just the other day, Doctor, so I—Sir—so…

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

But just official business, got to skedaddle, but thank you. We might be back to ask you some official questions, yeah. [To Deloras] Come on, let’s get down the stairs real quick!

 

Deloras Delaney:

Let’s get to scooting!

 

Landlord:

Father, thank you for coming. It has been so good. I never get this chance to speak with a proper believer like you. 

 

Father Grandfather:

Oh, likewise. Likewise. But, see, I’ve come with these fine folks and I must, unfortunately, leave with them now. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

Oh, you can stay! You can have a good time with your new friend. 

 

Father Grandfather:

Oh, no, no, no. I insist. See, my and all my Bibles must come with you. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater [whispering to Deloras]:

Let’s run out the door!

 

Deloras Delaney:

Already in the car, trying to start it up. 

 

Hank O’Brien Jr. [Out of Character]:

I don’t know if you can beat that guy running anyway. 

 

Father Grandfather:

Told y’all that girl’s filled with evil! Y’all didn’t believe me. 

 

Keeper:

As you guys leave—

 

[SFX: Doors slam.]

 

Keeper:

—he waves at the door.

 

Landlord:

Farewell, my friends! Remember, hate the sin and the sinner! 

 

[Cast laughs.]

 

Father Grandfather:

Amen! Amen! 

 

Keeper:

Yeah, by now, you guys are loading up in the car—

 

Deloras Delaney [Out of Character]:

He somehow wormed his way in.

 

Father Grandfather:

I’m just sitting there. 

 

Keeper:

—like, you guys have spent all day driving around town and everything—

 

Father Grandfather:

I’m just sitting in the car. 

 

[SFX: Car door slams.]

 

Keeper:

—it’s getting late by now. Pretty much, like, it’s getting dark out now. 

 

[SFX: Car engine starts up.]

 

Deloras Delany:

Yeah, we’re not going to drive all the way to Dunwich right now. 

 

Cyril Bridgewater:

Let’s go back to the boardinghouse! Tell Sam what we found, maybe get some answers. 

 

[Outro Music: Jaunty big band jazz: “I’ve Found a New Baby.”]
 
Narrator:
Mmm-MM! Nice to have some thrills and spills after all those chills, that was The Dingo Doo-Dah Band with “I’ve Found a New Baby.”

Here on The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program, all our uncanny adventures are funded by listeners just like yourself. If our auditory entertainment tickles your ears and your fancy, why not head to Patreon.com/OmniverseMedia and let us know by joining our ranks. You’ll get access to Patron-only channels on our Discord, behind-the-scenes updates on our latest projects, and exclusive podcasts like Cthulhu Cthommentary, where you’ll hear fascinating insights into this very episode, such as:

[SFX: Radio static]

Cat Blackard - Showrunner:
Cyril mentions that he wasn’t sure about what he was supposed to glean from the journal and how there was clearly a dissociative identity disorder thing happening there but he said, like, “you know - I don’t know, did people know about schizophrenia in the 1920s?” So I looked it up, ‘cause I didn’t know!

The term started coming into use in the 1890s and by the 1930s lobotomies were being experimented with as a treatment so… Obviously dissociative identity disorder is previously known as multiple personality disorder. Starting in about 1927, which is a year before this episode takes place, there was a large increase in the number of reported cases of schizophrenia, which was matched by an equally large decrease in the number of multiple personality reports. It was argued in the 1980s that dissociative identity disorder patients were often misdiagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia during that time.

Colin Peterson - Sound Designer:
Wow.

Cat Blackard:
So I guess Cyril would’ve definitely said “schizophrenia”.

[SFX: Radio static]

Learn more about the history behind Mystery Program, again at Patreon.com/OmniverseMedia

Now, next up, I’ve got just the thing to put a bow on this sordid story: here’s a haunting little tune by a troupe of young a capella performers who call themselves Geekapella. This is, I believe, an old spiritual from the Miskatonic Valley. It’s called “Cry, Little Sister.”
 
[Geekapella: “Cry, Little Sister.”]

 

Announcer:

Thanks for listening to The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program! 

 

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Episode 5: “The Sordid Shadow Within”  - was written and performed by Luke Stram, Cat Blackard, Doug Banks, Kay, Brandon Gerson, and Ruel Knudson - and is based on the Call of Cthulhu module “Behold the Mother” from Dead Reckonings, published by Chaosium Incorporated. 

 

The series is edited and produced by Colin Peterson and Cat Blackard and the original score is composed and performed by Ryan McQuinn and Mike McQuinn of Neon Dolphin - home for all your custom music needs and more. Neondolphinmusic.com.

 

For full episode credits, transcripts, as well as character sheets and other supplemental material - visit CthulhuMystery.com.

 

This program is made possible by the support of listeners like YOU. Join us at Patreon.com/OmniverseMedia

 

All characters appearing are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. 

 

This series is recorded and produced in Central Florida and Nashville, Tennessee on lands ruthlessly taken from their indigenous people: the Timucua and Seminole, and Yuchi, Shawnee, and Cherokee - respectively. To learn more about the first nations of the land where you live visit: native-land.ca

 

This has been The Call of Cthulhu Mystery Program… Goodnight

 

[Music fades]

 

[Omniverse Audio Brand]

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