ELENA: Monsters may not always have fangs and sometimes they eat children, but in the land of Faerie the courageous can fight back. Join Lizzie on her adventure down the rabbit hole with Of Fae & Fiends, right here on Radio Drama Revival
[theme music – smooth, jazzy horns playing a mellow, sultry tune that fades out gradually as Elena speaks]
ELENA: Hello, and welcome to Radio Drama Revival, the podcast that showcases the diversity and \vitality of modern audio fiction. I’m your host, Elena Fernandez Collins. Today, experience the first episodes of a fiction podcast in our showcase — Of Fae & Fiends, a dark faerie tale; next week, return to join us for the creator interview with Fred Greenhalgh.
Lizzie is a ten-year-old who returns to her ancestral home in Maine and discovers a portal to another world in her backyard: Faerie, a land under threat by none other than her great-uncle Carlow, who has his sights set on total control and power.
Of Fae & Fiends is a richly designed and imagined universe where the realm of the fantastic is just one tree in the backyard away. A dark world, a scared one, a world that bears the weight and scars of those who would try to control it and harness it. This is a story about intergenerational trauma, reflecting on how children carry the turmoil and past hurts of their family and their ancestors and how that same trauma has its impact on communities and environment. It’s also a story about fear, how it wiggles into us and how we can fight it, understanding that it may not leave us, but that we can face it down every day with help from our friends.
For full disclosure, creator Fred Greenhalgh is one of our executive directors and founder of RDR. I also worked as a sensitivity consultant on this podcast when it was in the writing stage. Of Fae & Fiends is a truly fun romp recommended for ages seven and up. Please be aware that episode one has elder injury and scary chase scenes that may be stressful for young listeners.
INT. THE OLD BOX ATTIC, FARMHOUSE – PRESENT DAY
The story begins with a tape recording of JACK, the main character’s grandfather, recording on a scratchy cassette in the early 1990s, aged early 60s at the time. Jack has a Downeast accent, of the kind rarely heard anymore, and the terror of what happened when he was a boy shines through his matter-of-fact telling of the story.
SOUND DESIGN throughout to accompany action. As well as off-stage shouts, e.g. the boys saying “Hey, come on!” And a shriek when the FAE QUEEN is struck down.
JACK: Ayuh, so true as i can remember, this is the story of Carlow and I, what happened to us when we were boys. How he went missing. The newspaper says the boy was lost in the woods, but the folks who know much about the Greenways and the bechels know that there’s more to the story. The wood out behind the family farm has always had weird ways about it.
The old timers, they knew. My grandpa told me some of the old time wisdom, the ways people had of crossing the veil between worlds:
“run widdershins round the great oak tree nine times on the full moon”
for instance. Or maybe:
“put together a circle of rocks near the old quarry and light a candle with the hair of a horse that only ever walked on three legs”
that sort of thing. Oh, there were sightings, too. Odd creatures in the dark, mist that seemed to come alive, chuckling voices, all that stuff. Most of it was people’s overactive imaginations, but some of it… (pause) some of it was real.
Now we was boys just then, Carlow and I, and we were born six months apart to the day, me on the height of summer and him on the height of winter. We were cousins, but we may as well been twins, we looked so much alike and we were that tied together. We ran amok together nearly every day. There were other kids in the village but in those days there weren’t too many cars so the village felt far away. Carlow’s place was only a little walk through the woods, though, he always came my way and never the opposite. Carlow’s family wasn’t as well to do as ours, his daddy was a fisherman, and a mean one at that, and his mom spent her days being quiet and letting him go do whatever he wanted to do. So just about every morning in summer carlow would come by… We’d find him in the barn looking around or poking into the root cellar or even just sitting down at our dining room table. We never thought much of it. We loved carlow, he was family.
So it was on account of this that I never really noticed the gleam in his eyes. The way Carlow always seemed to be on the lookout for something just out of sight. How he seemed to think things that other people had ought to belong to himself.
Carlow, like others, had heard the stories about the creatures who lived in the woods, but I guess he never had much luck tracking them down. It’s why he needed me.
He needed me to show him all the haunts in the forest and the ways of knowing my family always had… The things we did for good luck, the places we laid out treats for the fae folk, the special places in the woods where something just a little extraordinary might come to pass.
On the evening of my tenth birthday, which just happened to be the full moon, carlow and i took to exploring down by the greenway spring. Now, you probably know the greenway spring is just an empty pit, now, the water drained out the year after this happened and never came back. But that night, it was full.
My grandpa told me, just like i’m telling you, about how on some special nights that if you sat quietly at the spring’s bank and let the water go flat, and the moon come up and grace its surface, that the water might fall out and a doorway would open to the land of fae.
Creatures might come through then, usually something trivial like a shapeshifting squirrel or an enchanted rabbit but maybe, every once in a blue moon if you were lucky, a faerie would come, and if you asked in just the right way, she might deign to grant you a wish.
Carlow knew this, I suppose, and he insisted he come along with me on the journey that night. I lay in bed, after mama rae sang me to sleep – or so she thought – when in actual fact i lay wide-eyed with anticipation until i heard a plink! Then another. Carlow was down below, throwing pebbles at my bedroom window.
I snuck out the window onto the landing that’s above the summer kitchen, then a quick hop over to the maple tree and a shimmy down and I was on the ground next to him, sneaking out to the wellspring by the light of the full moon.
We made quick work of it, hardly speaking a word the whole time, and maybe if i had, i’d have had a better idea what carlow was really thinking.
We arrived at the well maybe — i’d guess 10, 11 at night? We sat quietly for the longest time, staring into the rippling water and waiting for the moon to rise. I had a wind-up wristwatch, and I listened intently to the second hand. Tick. Tick. Tick. A minute would creep by, and then another. All the while staring at the moon, waiting for…
And then it happened. At the stroke of midnight, the rippling water went stock-still and slowly, ever so slowly, something came out. A faerie… And not just any faerie, but the queen of Faerie herself. I don’t know how I knew that, I just did… Knew it in my bones as true as my own name as soon as I laid eyes on her.
Now there was one rule, my granddaddy said, and that was to never move, lest you spook whatever came through. It was like meeting up with a wild animal, you didn’t want to startle it, or it’d run away or even attack you — but if it saw you, and acknowledged you, then you should go ahead and converse. But never make the first move. And never, ever think about hurting the creature. There were powerful forces in Faerie and with one curse, a creature might ruin you and all your descendants in a single breath.
(pauses, licks lips)
So you can imagine my horror when Carlow springs like a beast from his crouched position, and muckles on to the queen of Faerie like a front lineman breaking through and tackling the quarterback. I catch the merest glimpse of her, we lock eyes and the stare she gives me ripples down like lightning to the bottom of my spine. And then, splash. They’re in the water, sinking so deep and fast that by the time my muscles work to stand, the surface of the water has already covered them both over and settled in like nothing ever happened. It was just a still night again; the warbling water, and the ripples of the moon’s reflection, glowing in there like the water trapped its soul.
I ran like hell back to the farm and raised a ruckus. Pa came running with me back to the spring while Ma went raising a search party. We dragged up half the village that night with lanterns and flashlights, searching the great woods far and wide. The search went on for seven days straight, we even made the state paper, but no one ever laid eyes on carlow again.
The ones who really knew, knew we were wasting our time to start. Carlow wasn’t in our world anymore. He crossed over into Fae.
(licks his lips, unsure if he’s ready to continue)
No one’s seen Carlow since that day, except, no, I get a feeling in my bones that he’s coming soon. It’s coming up on forty years to the day of what happened. I got a feeling something —
FX – Clack! The cassette tape stops midway through Grandpa’s sentence.
INT. ATTIC, FARMHOUSE, DAY
POV shift to LIZZIE, 10, who has been listening to this old recording of her grandfather in the attic of the 1800s family farmhouse in rural Maine. It’s modern day (2019’ish).
Her mom, CHERIE (30s) catches her listening to the tapes, and freaks out. Everything to do with her dad (Jack) is clouded in a trauma she won’t talk about.
FX – Attic door pushed open. Lizzie jumps.
CHERIE: Lizzie! I told you not to go in the attic! There’s loose floorboards in here and — what’s that you’re playing with?
LIZZIE: Tapes, mom.
LIZZIE: It was grandpa —
CHERIE: Give me those!
Cherie steps forward, grabs the tapes, starts stuffing them into the box.
CHERIE: Grandpa was sick, Lizzie, that’s how he ended up breaking his neck —
LIZZIE: He said there were faeries —
CHERIE: Stop. Jeez, in this house for less than four hours and already talking about faeries. Go downstairs.
LIZZIE: I can help clean up —
CHERIE: Downstairs, Lizzie!
Lizzie reluctantly agrees.
Lizzie heads over to the stairs, walks down. Waiting downstairs is her grandmother, NORAH (60s).
NORAH: It’s okay, Lizzie.
LIZZIE: (sniffs) Hi, grandma. I was only looking at old stuff…
NORAH: I’ll go talk to her.
LIZZIE: Is that okay? Mom says you have a bad hip.
NORAH: I’ll be fine.
Norah goes upstairs. We hear this conversation off-mic, from Lizzie’s perspective.
NORAH: You shouldn’t yell at her, Cherie.
CHERIE: Mom?! What are you doing up here? Doctor Bronson said those stairs aren’t safe —
NORAH: I’m trying to calm down my only daughter.
CHERIE: Calm me down, oh now that’s rich. If you want me to “Calm Down” how about you stick to your promises, mom?
NORAH: She asked me about him, I couldn’t lie.
CHERIE: We talked about all this. I only agreed to come up here for you, not to go prying the lids off family secrets —
NORAH: It’s been thirty-years to the day, sweetie —
CHERIE: Don’t call me
NORAH: — and I think it’s time we remember him. Try to fix what happened.
CHERIE: Fix. What are you even talking about?!? Don’t you get it? THIS IS WHAT I MEAN!
NORAH: Cherie, I know it hurts. You always blamed yourself but it wasn’t your fault —
CHERIE: Oh and now you’re my therapist, is that how it is, mom?!
NORAH: We can make things right, Cherie —
CHERIE: No! Do you how many years with Doctor Stark it’s taken me to get my head straight after what happened?! I will not have that for my little girl!
NORAH: She needs to be prepared, Cherie! It’s her right to know!
FX – Someone KNOCKS on the nearby farmhouse door.
It’s Great-Aunt DEBBIE (60s). A seemingly sweet old lady who turns out to be quite sinister. She is the sister of the late CARLOW.
The argument with Norah/Cherie continues in BG as Lizzie approaches the farmhouse front door.
DEBBIE: Oh, well, hello there. You must be little Lizzie.
LIZZIE: Uh, hi?
DEBBIE: I’m your Great-Aunt Debbie. Your grandma told me all about you. Can I come in?
LIZZIE: (confused) How’d you know we were here?
DEBBIE: (smiling) Well how many other cars with New York license plates show up in Spencer Village? Besides, it’s the anniversary of a very big day. I had a feeling you and your mom might come visit.
DEBBIE: So can I come in?
LIZZIE: I don’t know, my gram and mom are upstairs —
DEBBIE: (brightly) And it’s just them I want to say hello to! Do you mind? We’re family, after all.
Debbie crosses the threshold. Unbeknownst to Lizzie, Debbie is a foe of her family and an enchantment has kept their family from harm for all these years. No more.
DEBBIE: (peering around) Ah, so this is the Greenway Farmhouse kitchen. Ma always said how fanciful it was, how you all ate on the finest china plates and fine silver. (sniffs, disgusted) Now I see you eat take-out Chinese with plastic forks.
DEBBIE: (raises voice) Hey Norah! Norah Greenway! Your kissing cousin has come calling!
Debbie walks through the farmhouse kitchen, to the living room, approaching the stairway up where we hear snatches of the ongoing argument.
NORAH: You’re part of this, Cherie, like it or not —
CHERIE: I should’ve known, every other promise you’ve made to me you’ve broken, why not this one —
NORAH: We can make it right —
CHERIE: I’m out of here, mom!
Cherie storms down the stairs.
CHERIE: Lizzie, grab your things, we’re leavi–what? Who the hell are you?
She stops stone cold to look at Debbie.
DEBBIE: Don’t I look familiar? I’m your Aunt Debbie.
Debbie should look familiar to Cherie. She’s been haunting her dreams. But Cherie’s mind is so denying of magic that she refuses to consciously understand the connection.
DEBBIE: Your dad, and my brother were cousins.
CHERIE: My (thinks through the relationship) Carlow. The boy that went missing.
DEBBIE: That’s right. Sixty years to the day since that happened. And thirty years since your dad had the same thing —
CHERIE: (briskly) I do remember that thank you. What are you doing in my house?
DEBBIE: Your little Lizzie let me in. We’re family, Cherie.
NORAH: (alarmed) Cherie? Who’s here?
DEBBIE: And there’s your mom. I just mean to have a word with her.
CHERIE: Have a word with… ?
Cherie knows she should do something, but is so puzzled, she stands still. Debbie approaches the stairwell.
NORAH: (hissed) Debbie.
DEBBIEL: Norah! Norah Greenway! Are you up in that attic again?! You know what I’ve told you about your bad hip!
NORAH: Now why don’t y — aaahhhkkkk!
In a gruesome cacophony, Norah tumbles down the stairs.
Cherie rushes to her mom.
CHERIE: Oh mom, mom, mom!!! Holy holy holy mom… mom…
CHERIE: Oh Jeez, Jeez, Jeez… Need to… need to call 9-11
Cherie digs up her phone, plugs in 9-1-1.
CHERIE: Come on, come on!
Phone gives an error sound
CHERIE: (vexed) No service! STUPID! Stupid boondocks!
DEBBIE: Sssssh calm, Cherie. I’ve got the landline.
We hear off-mic a cordless phone dial. Barely hear the 9-11 operator.
9-11 OPERATOR: 9-11, please state your emergency.
DEBBIE: We’ve had a terrible fall at the Greenway farmhouse, on the Simpson Falls road. Yes. It was Norah. Okay.
Debbie hangs up.
DEBBIE: They’re on their way. They say not to move her.
CHERIE: Okay… Okay… Oh mom… Mom… Please… you… (trying to stay calm) Thank you, Debbie.
DEBBIE: Don’t think anything of it, Cherie. After all, we’re family.
INT. FARMHOUSE, MOMENTS LATER
MUSIC – Up opening THEME
NARRATOR(age 40) recounts the story.
NARRATOR(V.O.): Once upon a nearby time, there was a girl named Lizzie, who lived in a place called New York City but came to Maine with her mom to mark an important anniversary. But, things didn’t go as they planned. Lizzie’s grandma Norah got hurt, and two men and a lady came in a flashing red ambulance to take grandma away.
Sound design of WHOOSHING ambulance, crackle of radio, etc. Cherie is hysterical, the medics are matter of fact/brushing her off.
CHERIE: Is she going to be okay?
MEDIC: Please, move aside, ma’am
CHERIE: IS SHE GOING TO BE OKAY?!
MEDIC: You can follow the ambulance —
MEDIC 2: Mike, she can ride with me.
MEDIC: You sure?
MEDIC 2: Would that work for you, ma’am?
CHERIE: But my daughter, my daughter Lizzie —
DEBBIE: She can stay with me.
DEBBIE: The hospital is a scary place for a little girl.
MEDIC 2: Your aunt’s right. You can run her out to the hospital later, right, Debs?
DEBBIE: Of course.
MEDIC: Alright, we need to hurry, Doc Bronson is already on his way!
CHERIE: Ah, yes. Okay. Sure. Lizzie. You take care.
LIZZIE: Sure, mom.
CHERIE: Whatever you do. Don’t go exploring around this old house. It’s dangerous.
LIZZIE: Okay, mom. I promise.
CHERIE: You still have your phone on you?
LIZZIE: Yes —
CHERIE: Shoot it’s not going to do any good, is it? There’s no service around here. Tell you what. I’ll call on the landline phone. You know what that is?
LIZZIE: (eye roll) Yes, mom.
CHERIE: Love you.
LIZZIE: Love you too.
MEDIC: Got to go!
Ambulance packs up, drives off, sirens wail.
INT. FARMHOUSE, MOMENTS LATER
NARRATOR(V.O.): Lizzie’s mom told her not to go exploring… But that was impossible, right? How could a little girl from New York not go exploring all the gigantic rooms of that huge, big house? Especially with her great Aunt Debbie egging her on?
MUSIC – Mysterious transition
LIZZIE: What’s this room? (beat) It’s full of books!
DEBBIE: That’s the Greenway family for you: so wealthy they have a whole room with nothing but books in it.
LIZZIE: And a piano!
Lizzie presses some keys. The piano is horribly out of tune.
DEBBIE: Maybe not the piano, dear.
LIZZIE: I take lessons.
DEBBIE: Mmm sure you do. Well that’s a player piano. Look here.
Debbie fiddles with the piano, it starts playing, horrendously off-key, “IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL”
DEBBIE: So many treasures they have, those Greenways.
LIZZIE: Why do you keep saying “Those” – aren’t you family?
DEBBIE: A different line, sweetie. My family has a farmhouse on the other side of the wood. It’s not like this one at all.
LIZZIE: Yeah? What makes it different?
DEBBIE: Our fields have never grown so rich as yours, for one. We’ve never had such fortune. Terrible things happen to us.
LIZZIE: Like what?
DEBBIE: (seemingly changing the subject) Lizzie, how old are you?
DEBBIE: Ten. See, that’s the age my brother went playing in the woods, and never came back.
LIZZIE: (meekly) Oh. Was his name Carlow?
DEBBIE: It was. How do you know that? Wait. I’ll guess. *You* found some tapes hiding in the old box attic.
DEBBIE: Mm no wonder your mom was in such a state. She never forgave herself for what happened to her dad – your granddad.
LIZZIE: She never talks about it.
DEBBIE: Guilt will do that to you. Just like it did to her dad. My folks suspected he never forgave himself for what happened when he was a boy. How Carlow went missing.
LIZZIE: Do you think that?
DEBBIE: It was an accident, sweetie.
LIZZIE: Like how grandma fell down the stairs?
Debbie knows full well it was not an accident.
DEBBIE: Exactly. (beat) Now, are you ready to go find the goat?
LIZZIE: (brightens) Wait. What? Grandma has a goat?!
DEBBIE: Oh yes! And he is a most extraordinary goat.
LIZZIE: Why’s that?
DEBBIE: Because he showed up when your mom was about your age, and he hasn’t aged a day.
LIZZIE: (laughs) Silly. Goats don’t live that long. Even I know that.
DEBBIE: Do you now? Let’s show and tell you then. (Debbie starts leaving) Are you coming?
LIZZIE: Mom said to stay near the telephone, to let me know what happened to grandma.
DEBBIE: We’ll only be a minute, dear. It’ll be over before you know it.
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EXT. OUTSIDE FARMHOUSE, OUR WORLD – DAYNARRATOR(V.O.): Maybe Lizzie should have said no, but grownups have quite a lot of power over kids and so instead of saying any of the thoughts that were on her mind, Lizzie just nodded, and followed Aunt Debbie out of the room with all of the books, through the farmhouse kitchen and out a back door into a narrow passageway filled with piles and piles of old stuff. Lizzie was full of all kinds of funny feelings, bad ones, because of what happened to grandma, but also curious ones, because she was trying to understand what was going on.
LIZZIE: Aunt Debbie?
DEBBIE: Yes, dear.
LIZZIE: Where did the goat come from?
DEBBIE: (smirks) What kind of question is that? From a mommy and daddy goat, of course.
LIZZIE: But why would my mom never tell me about him,, if she had him her whole life?
DEBBIE: You’re asking the wrong person, dear —
LIZZIE: But —
DEBBIE: –but if I were to guess, it’s because he showed up the day your granddad died.
LIZZIE: (stops, confused) Wait, the goat had something to do with granddad?
DEBBIE: You sure do ask a lot of questions, dear. How about you be a good girl and help me catch him? Then you’ll have all the answers you ever need to know.
INT. INSIDE BARN, OUR WORLD – DAY
Door opens with a terrible creak
GROWNUP LIZZIE: The passage ends with a regular-sized door, an old one, that opens up into the goat barn. It’s dark in there, the only light coming in from a window way up top where the full moon is flooding in, catching on old farm tools and making shadows that look like monsters.
It smells like hay and poop. Lizzie is about to say that, but then, Aunt Debbie starts acting even weirder. First sign: Aunt Debbie grabs a shovel.
FX – clink! Shovel picked up
DEBBIE: As I suspected, he broke right out of his pen. Good thing I locked the barn doors now, isn’t it? Couldn’t have gone too far… (raises voice) Hey! Hey little goat goat!
(attempts to make goat sound) Brrrrrraaah! Brrraaaaahh!
Come on… Come on little buddy, I’m not here to hurt you. (low, fast) You’ll hardly feel anything.
(aside) Lizzie, darling, make yourself useful. Grab that coffee can and fill it with grain.
NARRATOR(V.O.): Sign number two: Debbie’s not holding a shovel the way you hold a shovel to dig things. She’s holding it like a weapon, the sharp edge of the spade facing the ceiling.
Lizzie complies, walking over to a grain bin.
LIZZIE: You want what’s in here?
DEBBIE: Yes, that’s the grain bin. Go on.
(whistling) Hey goat! Hey goaty goat goat! I’ve got a real, authentic Greenway girl here for you! She’s going to give you your supper!
NARRATOR(V.O.): Sign number three: there’s a look in Aunt Debbie’s eyes. A bad look. Lizzie has seen that look before. It comes right before bad things happen.
And that’s when she hears it. Inside a goat barn. The goat BRAYS.
NARRATOR(V.O.): Now, Aunt Debbie, all she hears is the “Braaaahhh” of the Goat. But little Lizzie, she hears something else:
Repeat of Goat BRAY, but this time it’s superimposed with English:
GOAT: (now in Lizzie’s head) Gettttttt outttt!
LIZZIE: Huh? What?!
NARRATOR(V.O.): Lizzie staggers back, dropping the can of goat food.
DEBBIE: What did you ?! Lizzie ? What’s wrong with you girl?
Goat brays again.
GOAT: Gettttt meeee outtttt!!!
LIZZIE: But where? Where are you?!!
DEBBIE: Hey! Lizzie! He’s talking to you, isn’t he?! What’s he saying?!
LIZZIE: He wants out.
DEBBIE: We can help him with that, can’t we?
LIZZIE: I don’t know. This is so confusing.
DEBBIE: Come on out Goaty Goat! Lizzie and I would LOVE to get you on your way. Wouldn’t we, dear?
LIZZIE: B-b-b-b-b-but… Goats don’t talk.
DEBBIE: This one does. (raises voice, getting sinister) Come on! Show your face, Kylindrian! Time to get this show on the road!
NARRATOR(V.O.): This is when Lizzie notices a glimmer out of the corner of the barn, a little bit of moonlight catching in the eye of a living creature: the goat. And then the strangest thing seems to happen. The goat winks at her. Like it’s the most obvious thing, like he isn’t an animal at all, but a person, just like her. Aunt Debbie glances over, sees where Lizzie’s staring, and then she rushes forward with the shovel!
DEBBIE: Alright, enough of that!
NARRATOR(V.O.): Lizzie raises her hands to her mouth, about to shriek, to warn the goat about her crazy Aunt, but no! The goat moves quickly, he jumps back on his hind legs then launches forward at Debbie!
Goat leap attacks, Maaaaahhh’ing loudly, knocking Debbie sprawling!
DEBBIE: Unngggfff!! You rotten bugger!
DEBBIE: Get back here! Lizzie – Help me catch him!
BOOM! Goat beats at one of the doors, desperate to escape the barn.
GOAT: Fooollllooowwww !!! Fooolllooowwww !!!
DEBBIE: Lizzie! You don’t know what he’ll do if he gets loose!
NARRATOR(V.O.): Lizzie wonders why the goat’s not running away, but then remembers what Aunt Debbie said. The big front doors of the barn are closed, locked from the outside. The goat bashes as he might, but he can’t get them open. And Debbie is rushing at him again!
GOAT : Heeellllllppp!
DEBBIE: This ends tonight, Kylindrial, like you always knew it would!
NARRATOR(V.O.): Without thinking of what she’s doing, Lizzie shoves over the grain bin, which whacks into Debbie’s knees and sends goat food flying everywhere. Debbie slips and falls!
DEBBIE: (howls) Auuuggggkkk!!!
NARRATOR(V.O.): And Lizzie runs forward to the opposite side of the barn — not to the big sliding barn doors, but to the small doorway they used to come in from the farmhouse.
LIZZIE: This way!
NARRATOR(V.O.): It seems crazy, to Lizzie, this idea of talking to a goat, but she doesn’t even stop to look back and see if he’s following. She just shoves the door open and starts running.
INT. FARMHOUSE HALLWAY, OUR WORLD
Lizzie and goat go barreling through the farmhouse.
LIZZIE: This way!
NARRATOR(V.O.): She’s only been through there once but the layout of the house is easy enough to remember. The connecting hallway brings them from the barn to the kitchen. It’s only a quick run from the kitchen to the front door, but something freezes Lizzie in her tracks.
FX – An old fashioned rotary phone rings.
LIZZIE: Oh no. Grandma.
GOAT: Cooommmmeeee onnnnn… We need to gooooooo
Phone rings again. Beat. Again.
LIZZIE: I can’t. It’s about grandma.
NARRATOR(V.O.): How long has the phone been ringing? For how much longer will it ring? Lizzie knows they need to escape. But she can’t not know.
Lizzie picks up the phone.
Mom is completely strung out.
CHERIE: What took you so long Lizzie you nearly gave me a heart attack —
LIZZIE: I was out in the barn, mom, with Aunt Debbie, looking for your goat.
CHERIE: My (confused) Goat? What goat? Lizzie what are you —
LIZZIE: Nevermind! How is grandma?!
CHERIE: (freezes) Not good.
LIZZIE: Is. She.
Lizzie can’t bring herself to say it.
CHERIE: She’s alive, Lizzie. She’s asleep. She’s in a deep sleep, she’s not talking. They don’t know how long she’ll be asleep like this. It’s probably… You should get over here. Can you have your Aunt Debbie drive you?
At this point, we hear the THUMP THUMP THUMP off Aunt Debbie charging through the hallway toward them.
LIZZIE: (scared) No! Sorry. Mom. I gotta go.
CHERIE: You gotta, what?! Lizzie —
Lizzie slams down the phone.
BOOM! The door swings open!
DEBBIE: I was trying to be nice but not anymore!
NARRATOR(V.O.): Debbie doesn’t have a shovel anymore. She has a sickle, the old fashioned curved blade they used to use to cut down wheat. The blade might be old but it’s still very sharp.
DEBBIE: Someone’s dying tonight. Who’ll be first?
NARRATOR(V.O.): Faster than they know what’s happening, Debbie spins around the table and is between Lizzie and the front door. The goat stands with his back to the front porch. He could easily turn around and run, but he doesn’t.
NARRATOR(V.O.): Aunt Debbie looks left, then right, weighing whether to go after Lizzie or the goat. Lizzie decides to force her to choose. She turns around and darts off — not toward the porch or back to the barn, but instead to the living room, deeper into the farmhouse. Debbie’s decision is soon clear — she’s after Lizzie!
DEBBIE: Don’t you be a nasty little girl! Come to your Auntie!
NARRATOR(V.O.): Lizzie has only a vague idea what she’s doing, but finds herself relying on something that is not really thought, but something deeper. She realizes that, even though this is her very first night in this house, she knows the map of it perfectly in her brain. It’s like she’s been here a thousand times, lived a thousand lives in it. And it’s that sense, that vague, deeper thing inside of her, that guides her into the room with all the books again, and to the player piano, where she plays a very simple melody, that comes to her as if from a dream.
INT. READING ROOM, FARMHOUSE
LIZZIE: (panting) Mary had a little lamb, little lamb —
FX – Creaking sounds as the piano transforms into a staircase.
NARRATOR(V.O.): The piano keys roll up into themselves, spin around into disappearing, and leave behind a stairway. Lizzie wastes no time rushing down them… And out into the yard behind the farmhouse!
EXT. OUTSIDE FARMHOUSE, OUR WORLD
Nighttime in midsummer. Crickets, etc.
LIZZIE: (panting) Hello?! Hello!?
GOAT: Over heeerrreeee!!
NARRATOR(V.O.): Lizzie locks eyes with the goat’s — eyes which seem to glimmer with moonlight again — and runs toward him. The goat bows slightly, and Lizzie, hardly realizing what she’s doing, leaps upon his back.
GOAT: Timmeee to gooo!!!!
NARRATOR(V.O.): They’re off! The goat starts running like all the hounds of hell are after him, a sneaking path that goes out from behind the barn, crosses a rotting fence into a paddock, overgrown with grass so thick it pulls at Lizzie like fingers as they run through them. Strangely, she’s not scared. Her fingers hold the goat’s fur tight, and it’s so warm, it gives her comfort, she feels that so long as she’s riding the goat, nothing bad can happen. But they’re not out of the woods yet. In fact, they’re just entering the woods.
INT. EDGE OF THE WOODS, OUR WORLD
To signal scene change, we now hear a big HOOT HOOT HOOT HOOT of a Great Horned Owl.
LIZZIE: (whispered) Where are we going?
GOAT: Juusssttt about to figure that out.
Now, the goat has to start communicating with a flying squirrel, so this next sequence sounds quite odd (a goat trying to sound like a squirrel)
GOAT: Brraaahh hbaabrraaahh barrraaahhh bbraaahhh baarrrraaaahhh
LIZZIE: What are you —
A moment of just quiet, crickets etc. then. A squirrel responds.
SQUIRREL: Chitter chitter chitter. Chitter chitter chitter. Squeak! Chitter chitter.
GOAT: (understanding) Brraaahhh braaaah SQUEAK brraaahhh braaaaahhh. (beat) Thank you brother Squirrel. So, things have moved around a bit since I was here last. The woods are dying, and overgrown, but squirrel assures me there’s another path, other than the wellspring which haaaaa believe you me we do not want to use unless we want your Great-Uncle to catch us instantaneously. So I uh. Hm. I think it’s over here. Darn. Uhhh Lizzie, you know which direction is North?
LIZZIE: You don’t know which way is North?
GOAT: Your directions are always a little opposite-ish from my world. It’s confusing.
LIZZIE: Oh! Hey my mom left me my phone, it’ll tell us.
Lizzie pulls out her phone, uses Compass app.
LIZZIE: It’s… uh… That way.
GOAT: Cool! That’s a very strange looking magic wand.
LIZZIE: It’s not a magic wand.
GOAT: Okay. Whatever you say. Let’s keep going!
EXT. DEEPER IN THE FOREST, OUR WORLD
NARRATOR(V.O.): Lizzie and the goat ride further into the forest, their way lit by the full moon, the great, big, fat full moon of midsummer, illuminating all the massive trees around them, which, Lizzie thinks, would impress her more and make her think that she is certainly in the biggest and largest forest she has ever been in, so much different from anything she ever felt in New York City, but she doesn’t have time to process any of this, even just as she’s starting to wrap her head around any of what’s happening they stop.
GOAT: (winded) Okkayyy! That’s it! Now just nine times widdershins.
LIZZIE: Widder… What?
GOAT: You have to do it too! Get off my back!
NARRATOR(V.O.): Lizzie drops down, the goat takes off, and Lizzie starts running after… doing circles around the tree.
LIZZIE: One… Two…
DEBBIE: (off) I’ll get you yet! My brother will have your head!
LIZZIE: Aunt Debbie!
GOAT: Keep running!
LIZZIE: Three.. four…
DEBBIE: (off) You can’t stop the coming of the Goblin King!
LIZZIE: Five, six…
DEBBIE: (off) And if you think the King is bad, wait until you meet the Queen!
LIZZIE: Seven, eight…
DEBBIE: Come on, little girl! I just need your little heart!
FX – Magical SWOOSH! As Lizzie and the goat go tumbling into the land of faerie. The forest sounds and Debbie all immediately cease.
INT. INTERSTITIAL ZONE, FAE
MUSIC – Magical interlude, under.
NARRATOR(V.O.): It’s hard to put into words what happens next. It’s like fireworks going off at the fourth of July, and maybe flying, all at the same time, but flying in a falling kind of way, tumbling, as the world around Lizzie seems to find a new shape for itself, and suddenly…
FX – With a great bending CREAK the roots between worlds grow awkward
LIZZIE: (shouting over magical noise) What’s happening?!?!
GOAT: The tree roots aren’t as strong as they’re supposed to be… They’re bending…
LIZZIE: What does that mean?
GOAT: It means we’re not going exactly where I wanted us to – gooooooo!!!!
FX – Crack ! Crack ! Snap ! Snap ! Snap !
Portals from our world to faerie are made by enchanted trees whose roots are strong enough to connect between the veil between worlds. Well, after decades of neglect, the tree roots of the portal Lizzie and Goat have gone through, snap!
FX – a terrible crunch
As of the breaking of a massive, ancient tree, the roots break and Lizzie and the Goat are hurled out of the faerie portal and NOT into the great enchanted wood, home of the fae, but instead into the edge of the badlands, a land laid barren by the machinations of the goblins.
EXT. EDGE OF ENT-LAND, FAE
Lizzie and the Goat fly out of the faerie portal and crash land into the dusty, barren environs of the badlands.
LIZZIE: Oof! Oww!!! Unnggffff
GOAT: (coughs) Ow, yeah. That hurt…
A moment. Dust settles. Goat groans and gets up. He surveys the landscape, which is a dusty, barren badland abutting a twisted forest of undead trees.
GOAT: Wow. So much damage in so few years… (sighs) Well. There’s good news and bad news.
LIZZIE: Yeah? Let’s start with good news.
GOAT: Good News: Your Aunt won’t be following us with her sickle.
LIZZIE: Great. And the bad news?
GOAT: Much of Fae has turned to badlands in the years since I was here. When I left, this was still part of the Great Forest, and now the Great Forest has receded to… (peers) I can’t even see it from here.
LIZZIE: Badlands? What’s a — (peers around) It kind of looks like New Mexico.
GOAT: New Mexico?
LIZZIE: A place I went with my mom once. Lots of desert and plateaus and stuff.
GOAT: Uh-huh. “Desert” is close enough. Magic is our water here, and as magic grows weaker, the forest recedes like water in a drought.
LIZZIE: But there are trees all around us.
GOAT: That’s the really bad news. These aren’t living trees, Lizzie, look at them. They’re Ghoul-Trees.
LIZZIE: Ghoul-Trees. That sounds bad.
GOAT: It is.
With a great, gravelly creak, a tree branch snaps around the legs of both goat and Lizzie.
LIZZIE: Ayuuukkk! Something grabbed me.
GOAT: They do that. If we’re lucky, one thing won’t have happened.
LIZZIE: (scared) What?
GOAT: They won’t have attracted a troll.
GHOUL TREE: (wickedly cackles) Did I hear someone who wants to meet our troll?!
GHOUL TREE: Welcome to the Ghoul Tree Forest, little girl! widdershins will be most delighted to have you…
(smiling) just after he finishes his goat appetizer! (evil cackling)
MUSIC – Dramatic rise up, over, out.
ELENA: If you liked what you heard, you can support future work by FinalRune Productions via PayPal using the link in the episode description. Don’t forget to tune in next week for our interview with Fred!
Radio Drama Revival runs on the steam-powered cogs of creativity and cold slices of watermelon. If you’d like to help keep us afloat and featuring new, diverse, unique fiction podcasts and their creators, you can support us on Patreon, at patreon.com/radiodramarevival.
And now we bring you our Moment of Anne.
ELENA: That means it’s time for the credits.
This episode was recorded in the unceded territory of the Kalapuya people, the Clatskanie Indian Tribe, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and the Atfalati tribe. Colonizers named this place Beaverton, Oregon.
If you are looking for ways to support or donate to Native communities, the Quileute are fundraising to move their at-risk community to higher ground, and out of the tsunami zone, so that their culture and heritage can thrive for generations to come. Their first objective is to move the Quileute Tribal School, which is currently located right next to the beach, endangering the lives of children and the future of the Quileute tribe. You can learn more and donate at https://mthg.org/; the link is in the episode description.
Our theme music is Reunion of the Spaceducks by the band KieLoKaz. You can find their music on Free Music Archive.
Our audio producer is Wil Williams.
Our marketing manager and line producer is Anne Baird.
Our researcher is Heather Cohen.
Our submissions editor is Rashika Rao.
Our associate marketing manager is Jillian Schraeger.
Our transcriptionist is Katie Youmans.
Our audio consultant is Eli Hamada McIlveen
Our associate producer is Sean Howard.
Our executive producers are Fred Greenhalgh and David Rheinstrom.
Our mascot is Tickertape, the goat.
I’m your host, Elena Fernandez Collins. This has been Radio Drama Revival: all storytellers welcome.