Ep 01 – It Was A Dark and Stormy Night…

INTRO: (It’s about summertime. The Narrator’s laptop hums almost as loud as the grasshoppers in the warm evening. “Proserpina Bop” bleeds through her headphones as she pulls up some files.) 

NARRATOR: 

Okay, files downloaded and we’re ready. So, my lovely brother sent me a huge file asking me if I could transfer all of this onto a hard drive and then bring it to our other brother, who is currently pretending to be some dumb adventurer or something in someplace with practically no cell service. That’s how you know it’s not a real place.

So I, their dear younger sister, am saying no. I’ve had enough of this boys club and the “we’re twins so you won’t get it” nonsense and am putting my foot down and for once joining on whatever shenanigans they are keeping to themselves. So I’m listening to all of these audio files before anyone else. 

SCENE STARTS: (“Proserpina Bop” transitions to the new scene.)

ALINA:

Today is March 15, 2016. This is Alina, investigating on the current assignment for Journalism Inquiry 201, quote-unquote, boring but important news

I’ve decided to investigate an online debate sparked regarding whether or not the correct number of public parks were listed in the local paper, a few stating an additional park at the far side of Lévi-Strauss Ave.  

Anyways, I am currently coming up on the supposed location of the rumored fourth park. Now there are apparently some fancy rules to get to the… park. 

Okay, so apparently the park entrance only appears at certain hours of the day. ooooh~  (pause) where am I?

MUSIC: (“Where am I?” starts)

Wh— I swear I was just on the sidewalk… This is weird. Maybe I zoned out while I was talking? But I didn’t— I don’t see the entrance… or the exit. (pause) No, okay, no I got this. No big deal. Drew, I know you’re listening, because I’m synced to the cloud, so you better come find me. (pause) and I guess the only thing to do now is… check out the park.   

So, I’ll describe what I’m seeing. It’s crazy big for a park that is only rumored to have existed. Like this is ‘far as the eye can see’ grass plains. Which in itself pretty weird. What kinda park has tall grass plains? Feels like a snake or something can be hiding in there, so I’m going to stick to the path.

You know, it’s also just… so quiet, like something is missing; like… where are all the people? Maybe this isn’t a public park…(pause) Oh, I hope I’m not trespassing… again. 

SOUND: (Alina turns off the mic. She returns with more information.)

ALINA: 

Okay, turned off the mic to conserve some battery, so quick update, I’ve been walking around for about half an hour now, and the path is just endless! I noticed a pond or like a lake close to one of the side roads that I’ll probably check out later and it seems like there’s a big patch of trees, possibly a woods area up ahead as well. 

BUT! The biggest news and the reason why I turned the mic back on, is because I’ve finally spotted someone! And he’s reading! In a park! Like in all those unrealistic rom-com movies! And I need to go talk to him now and hope he’s not a murderer and knows how to get out of this freakin park!

Excuse me! Hi! So sorry to interrupt your evening. My name is Alina, I’m currently working on a school report— ohmygod your dog has three heads!

SAM:

Woah! No Cerb, sit, be nice.

SOUND: (Cerberus barks a ton at this new stranger. Whines when Sam hushes them.)

Um, hi?

ALINA:

Eh heh, nice doggie. Sorry, I totally didn’t mean to blurt that out, it just uh… really caught me by surprise.

SAM:

Yeah… I keep him out of public view for the most part. Cerberus, no. Sit.

ALINA:

No, no, no, I mean I totally did not mean to be this rude. There’s nothing wrong with your dog— er, dogs? Are they singular or plural?— oh my god, I’m just not going to look at them.

SAM:

It’s not a problem. He can’t help who he is. But, who are you?

ALINA:

Oh, yes. This has been completely unprofessional of me. My name is Alina, I’m a student reporter investigating a current online rumor about this park. 

SAM:

(Shocked) You’re here… for homework?

 ALINA:

Yes! And I thought this was just a dumb prank, but now that I’m here, it’s so crazy that this huge area has not been accounted for! Like can you imagine what can be done with all this place?

SAM:

I think it’d be best to leave everything as is.

ALINA:

Oh… okay. You know you seemed really surprised to see me here. I couldn’t really tell if this was a private or public park since I didn’t see any signs or gates.

SAM:

(Sighs) This is a public park, but not in the way you’re thinking of.

ALINA:

Okayy, can you please go into more detail about the matter? Oh, and just for the record, I’m recording audio for my article.

SAM:

Wow, you really take your homework seriously don’t you? (Almost impressed by her insistence, but also doesn’t want her to learn more about the park)  Anyways, I think you should think of a new topic to write about, I don’t think anything you write about here would be believable to anyone.

ALINA:

Well, that will be up to me to decide. I want to know everything about the park, including your name and maybe your number, and I will do my best to disclose the truth.

SAM:

My name is Sam. And this park… isn’t exactly that safe. It holds everything you could possibly imagine, even your worst nightmare.

ALINA:

Is that a threat? All for staying in a park?

SAM:

No, it’s— look, this isn’t how it usually goes…

ALINA:

What do you mean?

SAM:

Look, most people get the picture after just glancing at Cerb. You’ve obviously been trying, very gallantly I might add, not to look at him. But, here, take a closer look. They won’t bite.

ALINA:

Hmm like how close do I have to be?

SAM:

Close enough to notice that he’s not a dog. 

ALINA:

Okay, what.

SOUND: (Alina goes closer to Cerberus and hears hissing sounds coming from him.)

ALINA:

What is that sound? Wait, are those… snakes? 

SAM:

Feel free to pet him if you’d like, the snakes don’t bite either.

ALINA:

Uh, I think I’ll keep my hands to myself for now thanks. So… does he have snakes as fur or are there snakes… attached to him?

SAM:

Not sure to be honest, I’ve tried counting how many there were when I was younger, but the number constantly changes. 

ALINA:

So if he’s not a dog, what is he…

SAM:

I thought his name would give it away. (He talks to Cerberus in a baby voice, shocking Alina) Guess you’re not as famous as I thought, huh Cerberus, you silly monster you.

ALINA:

Cerberus, as in the Cerberus of the underworld. In all that Greek mythology stuff. That Cerberus.

SAM:

Yeah…

ALINA:

And… Why do you have him?

SAM:

Well, he’s not mine… I’m just (pauses to think of an excuse) the dog walker.

ALINA:

A dog walker…

SAM:

I was just as shocked as you were when I met him.

ALINA:

And why are you telling me this?

SAM:

Because… this should scare you? I literally have a real monster sitting next to me. To be honest, most people want to leave just looking at him. He gives off the whole, you’re mortal and your time is dwindling and next time we meet, you won’t be alive, kind of feel…

ALINA:

I mean, yeah, you saw how scared I was before, but… it looks like he’s asking for belly rubs right now.

SAM:

Hold it, hold it, hold it. I just told you that this is the real Cerberus and you’re fine with all of this?

ALINA:

If he’s the real Cerberus, and this park is real and filled with mythical creatures, then this is the ultimate dream! I mean, I’m a journalist, learning something this new, this big! Can you imagine the headlines?

SAM:

It’s dangerous. Mythology was created to warn people of the past what not to do. There are thousands of creatures here that were created just to kill you. 

ALINA:

Then, what are you doing here?

SAM:

(Ignores her question)…I’m saying this for your own good! Please, the last thing we need is for a flock of ignorant people coming in here and getting themselves killed.

ALINA:

Well, Cerberus seems pretty docile to me… kinda.

SAM:

Cerberus is just a guard dog, his job is just to make sure people who are dead are dead and people who aren’t, stay away.

ALINA:

So how bad can the rest of the park be?

SAM:

Cerberus is a part of a category of creatures called Black Dogs. There are

stories all over Europe about the terror they bring. They’re the bearers of death. They’re not to be messed around with.

ALINA:

Like what? Tell me.

SOUND: (Thunderstorm appears in the background. A lone howl rings in the wind. A whisper speaks: Beware the Black Dogs.)

SAM:

…There were so many cases, people just knew to beware of Black Dogs, but there are some famous ones, like the Barghest or the Black Shuck, both from Great Britain, who were “dogs” the size of cows. They’d show up at night, mostly targeting solo travelers. Sometimes they’d have large, glowing, red eyes and the only hint you’d get that they were coming is a howl so chilling, it’ll freeze your blood. You’d only have a second, maybe even less, to close your eyes before they appear. 

ALINA:

Close your eyes? Why close them? Shouldn’t you run if a giant dog is coming at you?

SOUND: (The air reverts back to the park.) 

SAM: 

Okay, first of all. Please don’t ever run if any dog is coming at you. That triggers their hunting instinct and causes them to want to attack you even more. You’re supposed to just stand there and be standoffish so they’ll leave you alone. This is pretty common knowledge, it’s– we’re not even just talking about magical creatures here. 

ALINA:

Okay, no need for the scolding here…

SAM:

Sorry… it’s just you’re actually interested about this but… I’m trying to get it into your head that it’s dangerous.

ALINA:

I get it… I’d still like to know more, please.

SAM:

Fine. Talking is fine. But no snooping, no investigating, please. This park is for the creatures, not for humans to roam.

MUSIC: (“Welcome to Proserpina Park” plays)

ALINA:

Thanks, I really do appreciate it. I know I can come off strong to people. Can we start over? Alina, I’m 20 years old, journalism major, always working on my next scoop!

SAM:

Sam. I guess I’m just a glorified dog walker?

ALINA:

Wow, really gonna have to pull teeth don’t I? 

SAM:

I’d prefer you don’t do that either.

ALINA:

(Laughs) Well, at least you can joke. So can we keep talking about those dogs? You mentioned something about closing your eyes?

SAM:

Yes! I haven’t ever tried to prove this theory since I mean, I’d be risking my life, which I’d prefer not doing, but I think it makes the most sense. In most cases, seeing them is a warning that you’ll die. You can’t die if you don’t see the omen.

ALINA:

Did you just… meme your solution to death? 

SAM:

I know… not the best. But really, I think it’d still be better to close your eyes than to see Death itself dropping you a visit to a “save the date”. 

ALINA:

So most likely you’re still screwed.

SOUND: (The storm returns, this time the howl is accompanied by screams.)

SAM:

Kinda… There was one story about the Black Shuck that was even worse. Remember what I said, that they appear alone in the night? Well, one night out of nowhere it attacked a church, murdering people immediately instead of maintaining its usual distance. After that, it was practically branded as the devil.

ALINA:

Um, hold up. Why do these creatures exist? You mentioned before that mythology was used to warn people.

SAM:

Right. You know how as kids we learn about the Three Little Pigs and the Boy Who Cried Wolf? Stories like that teach us not to be lazy or lie. Mythology is the same thing. For the Black Dogs, their stories probably spread due to concerns about late-night travel and the dangers of thunderstorms. Stray dogs were really common back then, and seeing one on a dark stormy night, what guy wouldn’t be terrified? The Church incident realistically could have been caused by a storm gone wrong. But rumors fly… things get exaggerated, and the next thing you know, these dogs are now gigantic beasts who scare people to death.

ALINA:

SOUND: (The air reverts back to the park.) 

SAM:

Yes, although I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to come to parks late at night during a storm, so I think we’re safe. 

ALINA:

(Laughs) Very true. (Pause) Listen, thanks again for spending the time talking with me today. This was very useful.

SAM:

You can’t tell anybody about this park or bring anyone here.

ALINA:

I know, you were right. No one would believe this story. I’ll have to think of something new for my homework. But this, this is for my own personal curiosity. 

SAM:

You’re crazy.

ALINA:

I prefer driven. Would you mind giving me your contact info? I’d love to be able to talk to you more.

SAM:

If you want more information about this place, just find me. I’m always by this park bench. It’s Cerberus’s favorite spot.

ALINA:

Okay, I see, don’t think I won’t find out who you are exactly, but for now, I have one more question.

SAM:

Shoot.

ALINA:

How exactly do I leave this place? There wasn’t exactly an entrance or exit.

SAM:

Oh, this place is hidden due to fairy magic. But it’s very much connected to Earth, just like the fairies, so the best times to enter the park are at 6 am, noon, 6 pm, and midnight. After the consecutive hour passes, you just return where you started from and you’ll gradually get back onto the streets.

ALINA:

Oh, great! Thought I was stuck here when I first found this place.

SAM:

Don’t worry, someone would have found you… eventually. 

OUTRO: (We return to the Narrator. “Proserpina Bop” transitions back to her room.) 

NARRATOR:

Well… what a random thing for my brother to send, this wasn’t at all what I was expecting. Sounds like it’s someone’s fake audio journal, but Levi Strauss Ave is a real street in my hometown. So what are the odds? Well, this is just the first… of a lot of files, so I guess I’ll keep listening for now.

SCENE ENDS: (“Proserpina Bop” ends the episode.)

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