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: Day 2 on this Alina girl… Kinda feels weird listening to these random people, but I wanna know what my brother is up to. I tried looking up the forum she mentioned she found online to see if it was real, and it is! But it looks like it was deleted… I can see the thread on the search engine, but the page itself is gone… Interesting.
SCENE STARTS: (“Proserpina Bop” transitions to the new scene. Sam’s blasting music as usual and Cerberus is unhappy to see Alina again.)
ALINA: Hey Sam! Hi Cerberus. Reading again? Hello?
SAM: Whoa! Hey uh, Alina. Back again I see.
ALINA: (laughs) Can’t get rid of me that easily. Should you really be blasting music this loud?
SAM: W-what do you mean?
ALINA: You mentioned before how dangerous it is to be here. Blocking out your hearing seems like a bad idea.
SAM: Oh, that. Nah, Cerberus here is better than any human ear anyway. He’d notice if something was wrong.
ALINA: Oh, life hack… What are you reading?
SAM: Uh, a book about curses.
ALINA: Anything interesting? Wanna curse somebody?
SAM: I was just curious what kind of crazy things people believe in.
ALINA: Interesting reason to read a book… Anyways, thought of a new topic we can discuss today?
SAM: Sure, figured we can keep going from our last conversation.
ALINA: Last conversation, like more dog stories?
SAM: Hey, I can’t help it. Kinda obligated to be a dog person.
SOUND: (Cerberus barks in agreement)
ALINA: (laughs) Makes sense, I’m down with that. Just you know, no more death, please.
SAM: No, these are fun.
SOUND: (A hollow, cold tone creeps in, a Dark World appears)
SAM: There is a story about why the sun and the moon travel across the sky; practically every country has a story like that. Hell, if you stick around when the sun sets, you might actually get a chance to see something in the sky.
ALINA: Something in the sky like… like a god?
SAM: Yeah, it’s pretty different every day; it’s either something chasing or herding the sun. In Greek mythology, it was always Apollo or Helios obviously, but there’s a story in Korean culture about the King of the Dark World and his dogs, the Bulgae.
ALINA: Aww, sounds just like Cerberus here.
SOUND: (Cerberus growls at Alina’s reference)
SAM: Yea, (laughs.) so in Korean mythology, there are multiple worlds in heaven, and one of them is the Dark World. The king there was tired of— you guessed it, darkness, so he sent his dogs to grab the sun and the moon.
ALINA: Wow, what kind of dogs are these?
SAM: So these dogs are like giant hunting beasts except they’re on fire. So it makes sense to have them nab the sun and moon. Except it still doesn’t work.
ALINA: Oh, why’s that?
SAM: Well, when one of them tries to bite the sun, it gets burned. (SOUND: Dog whining) And when the other tries to grab the moon, it freezes. (SOUND: Dog yelps) So to this day, they have yet to be successful in their attempt to capture the sun and moon.
ALINA: Wow, that’s some heist for a couple of dogs.
SAM: A long, unnecessary one. We can send lamps over if he still needs to redecorate.
SOUND: (Alina laughs and the air reverts back to the park.)
SAM: Oh, one tidbit in the story is that it also explains eclipses.
ALINA: Oh really? Wait… don’t tell me…
SAM: When the dogs bite the sun or moon to try and drag it back to the Dark Kingdom, their bite leaves a mark. Hence the dark part of the eclipses.
ALINA: And… it just grows back afterwards?
SAM: Believe it or not, it’s a pretty common occurrence for someone to try and snack on the sun. One of the first names for eclipse in Chinese is literally the word to eat.
ALINA: Oh, fun fact of the day.
SAM: It’s what you get when you read too much.
ALINA: Well, what else do you read besides books on curses–
MUSIC: (“Tell Me” plays .)
SAM: –But a lot of stories (Alina: Hey!) about the sun and moon have to do with consumption. Uh, a lot of the time it’s a creature similar to a dog, but there are also stories about frogs trying to eat them in Vietnam, a demon in Thailand. It’s apparently a popular snack around the world.
ALINA: Okay, but no one ever actually succeeds in eating the sun or moon right?
SAM: Yeah… that would be pretty hard to explain…
ALINA: Wait so how does that work exactly? What if a creature from this park succeeds in taking a bite? How would scientists explain how the moon just… suddenly had a chunk missing from it?
SAM: Everyone knows how important the sun and the moon are; you don’t need a modern-day scientist to tell you that. These stories are created for the purpose of these creatures to never succeed no matter how hard they try. So no one will ever take a chunk out, no worries.
Also, mythology was real back then, but now, they’re just stories, a look into the past when they had no answers and only imagination. While everything is very real in this park, they don’t hold much power on the outside world. No one believes in them to really exist, so they stay in parks like these, where they have the freedom not to be bothered by anyone anymore.
ALINA: The way you say it, it almost sounds like this is their nursing home…
SAM: Well, it’s not all that bad. I come here all the time willingly.
ALINA: So what’ll happen in the next hundred years? Or even after that? Will they all start to disappear?
SAM: (shrugs) Not everyone can be Achilles. We all have to go some time. But also modern technology helps keep them alive. You can find any of their stories online. It might be a sentence or two, but the internet is forever as they say.
ALINA: You’ve thought about this a lot.
SAM: I’ve had time to think.
ALINA: Soo, going back to what else you read…
SAM: (Gives Alina a look) Let’s stick with the creatures, Alina, if you don’t mind me closing this part of the conversation.
ALINA: Okay, I was just curious, you know. I want to know more about you.
SAM: Here, how about I tell you about my favorite dogs.
SOUND: (Cerberus barks and pouts)
SAM: Hush, Cerberus, I mean their story, not personally.
SOUND: (The wind picks up as we are taken to higher land on mountains. We can hear birds and dogs(?) flapping their wings.)
SAM: Now, the Armenians have dogs called Aralez. They’re these giant dogs with soft feathery wings. They can heal using their tongue so literally healing kisses. What the Armenians would do sometimes, if someone, especially a well-known hero was injured, would be that they would place them on top of a high mountain in hopes that the Aralez would come and save them.
ALINA: Wow, well, I can see why they’re your favorite.
SAM: Now, although these dogs are very good boys, the biggest story about them was used to tell a lie.
ALINA: What do you mean? How does that work?
SAM: You know about Helen of Troy right?
ALINA: For the most part, yeah. Pretty girl gets stolen, two countries go to war, and everyone loses.
SAM: Right. This story was the opposite. There was once a man called Ara the Beautiful.
ALINA: Ara the Beautiful… (smirks) nice.
SAM: (laughs) So Ara the Beautiful was beautiful, obviously. So beautiful that he catches the eye of a queen from the kingdom of Assyria, Shamiram. (SOUND: hello, Ara) Like most royalty, she demands to have him while disregarding any of his feelings. He obviously refuses, so she decides to go to war. (SOUND: For My Boy Toy!)
ALINA: Wow, I guess not all wars are started by men.
SOUND: (A battlefield commences below the mountains. People’s screams can be heard as the war continues.)
SAM: She tells her army to capture Ara alive because the whole point of this war is to make him her lover. And this is where the story breaks off, but obviously Ara doesn’t want to be captured and treated like a toy, so he either dies by suicide or is killed by one of Shamiram’s jealous lovers. (SOUND: No!)
Regardless, this is the point where Shamiram realizes that she’s made a big mistake. (SOUND: Shoot, now what?) The war is still going on, but she’ll never get what she wanted. So in order to stop the war, she claims the Aralez have come and brought Ara back to life and used a bit of magic to change one of her other lover’s faces to look like Ara’s. (SOUND: Tada!)
SOUND: (We hear the Aralez come to save Ara as the air reverts back to the park.)
ALINA: Okay wait, I have so many questions. She already has multiple lovers and magical powers that can change people’s looks, and yet she still went to war for this one guy?
ALINA: (scoffs) So why did the Aralez not come and save him?
MUSIC: (“Welcome to Proserpina park” plays.)
SAM: No one really knows the answer. But maybe it was a good thing. I have a feeling if he ever came back, Shamiram would continue to hunt him forever.
ALINA: Someone needs to tell this girl to work on her personality.
SAM: Yes, well… that’s the story.
ALINA: Okay, well at least there were cute dogs? I would love to meet them. Do they show up here?
SAM: They appear every now and then. They prefer the top of mountains obviously, so you’ll have to go pretty deep into the park.
ALINA: Mountains… say is that where this path goes to? I noticed–
SAM: Tons to explore, but not today. How about I walk you out?
ALINA: Oh, okay. Sure, I guess.
SOUND: (They get up and start walking to the exit.)
SAM: It’s actually a good thing we stopped for the day.
ALINA: Oh, what’s up?
SAM: Remember the Bulgae? Well, it’s getting to sunset now, let’s go see who’s chasing the sun today.
ALINA: Um yes, I would love to see that. Let’s go!
SAM: Come over here, we should get a good look.
SOUND: (A snake hisses as it chases the sun)
ALINA: Is– is that a snake?
SAM: Apep… it’s unusual to see him out. I should go.
ALINA: Is everything okay?
SAM: Yeah, I just need to check something. I’ll see you later.
ALINA: Oh, okay, bye?
OUTRO: (We return to the Narrator. “Proserpina Bop” transitions back to her room.)
NARRATOR: Wow, a lot more information here. Mythical creatures with their own place to do whatever they want. What a story. Still, I looked to see if my brother is friends with an Alina online and he is. So it seems like some things are factual.
Wonder if I should message her? But what would I say? “Did my brother pay you to act out this weird long skit to ya know, prank me?” (laughs) Gosh, would anyone ever respond to that? It sounds so random… I guess… I’ll wait a bit longer and see where this goes?
SCENE ENDS: (“Proserpina Bop” ends the episode.)
CREDITS: Residents of Proserpina Park is a production written and produced by Angela Yih. Directed by Angela Yih. The voice of the Narrator is Vida Shi. The voice of Alina is Angela Yih. And the voice of Sam is G3. Dialogue edited by Angela Yih. Mixed and mastered by Angela Yih. Original music by Hoa Pham. Season 1 cover art by Molly James. Series Logo by Macy Tang. For more information about the show, please go to our website residentsofproserpinapark.com